This Week’s Gratitude Greats

My visual gratitude journal continues….


Of course, this week I include fireworks which are not only stunning on their own, but I am also grateful for all the freedoms that we use them to celebrate!


Grand-babies, the two I already have and the one on the way!  They are all a precious gift, and I am reminding again of the awe inspiring miracle of their arrival.

polka dot legs

Went to the zoo this week.  How great are the polka dot legs on this chicken sized blue pigeon?  That is definitely going to appear in a painting one of these days! I am thankful for the diversity that we are surrounded with!



It seems that I spend much of my time fighting the clock, but I am actually grateful for the gift of time that we use to measure our days and mark our memories.



Do you ever think about how complex the activities of our brain are?  It keeps track of a gazillion little things that don’t even hit my awareness.  I joke about needing a personal secretary, but actually I have one… my brain does a pretty good job making sure I make the phone call, juggle priorities, navigate safely through the house, breathe, …. you get the idea.  Thanks, brain.

There you have it, my gratitude greats for the week.  What are yours?



These steps led to the room in which my son was housed during basic training for the National Guard.  They were to be a daily reminder of the standards that would qualify these young men and women for service.  To me, it was a reminder of the many people who have selflessly displayed these qualities so that I and others could enjoy the abundant freedoms that we possess in this country. Freedoms  and privileges that I far too often take for granted.  Privileges that I perhaps have come to value above the qualities on these steps.  Eisenhower said,

“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”

Today seems like an apt time to reflect on what that freedom we have gained is really about.  What do I do with my freedom?  Is it freedom to pursue my own self indulgent way of life, or freedom to follow a God that calls me to be better than I am?  To love better and to have more courage and integrity.  To be selfless and loyal and honorable.  What would our nation be like if we all practiced a reliance on the God who is the Author of every good quality? Even more sobering, what will it be like if we do not?

Today we celebrate our independence as a nation.  Good.  But free for what?  Free to do what?  Free to be what?  I don’t want to waste the freedom that I have been granted at great sacrifice on what is trivial and unworthy.

“It must be so fun to be an artist!”

I get lots of remarks about how fun it must be to work as a self employed artist.  Well, yes it is.  I love it.  But I’m not sure it is exactly what people visualize.  I don’t get to spend nearly as much time making art as I would like.  In fact, I maybe get in 1 hour of art making for every 3 to 4 hours spent doing other parts of the job.

a wrinkle in time watermark

  • There is all kinds of business stuff to take care of; bookkeeping, ordering, listing items on etsy, paying bills, packing and shipping, accounting (yuck!).  I also keep track of inventory carried through a number of local business, and deliver new items as needed.  This is the part where the word “job” trumps the word “hobby”.


  • Keeping up with social connections is also a important part of my job.  I do this through blogging, Facebook, Pintrest and Instagram.   Since everything is pretty visual based, that means lots of photos that have to be taken, edited, watermarked, and re-sized for the web.
  • In addition, a fair amount of time is spent in the category I call continuing education.  I look at what other artists are doing, read publications, experiment with different techniques, and take classes.  I pay attention to trends and techniques that I can incorporate into my artwork.
  • Then there is also the pro bono work.  Art mentoring, how-to instructional sharing, volunteering my art services for community projects, and so on. I have to be pretty careful here, because though I love to share, there are only so many hours worth of free work I can afford to do!
  • And of course, there is the shopping time involved in finding the treasures that I re-purpose in my artwork.  Combing garage sales and thrift stores is a fun, but time consuming task.  In addition to my artsy etsy shop, fromvictoryroad, I also have a vintage shop called stashanew on etsy, so I always keep on the lookout for things to stock that shop as well. Then all of that stuff has to be cleaned, organized and put away!

This tray is so handy to drop all my stray baubles into, and easy to transport to the table for a project.  I love using vintage!


  • Art shows and craft fairs also take a load of time…pricing, packing, loading, setting up, taking down, and then generally hanging out for a day or two.

craft show

  • I write magazine articles that need to be edited, and re-written, often with instructions included.


  • Then finally, I can squeeze in a little time for actually creating art.  I am often doing this while visiting with family, or watching a movie, or any other spare time I can find.

IMG_4354 copy (1)


  • Once the art is made, a considerable amount of time is spent on the computer in digitally preparing it for making prints, notecards, etc.  I also make my own prints, and spend quite a bit of time making sure colors are just right, and everything is coming out just right.  That means equipment maintenance as well.

The only thing that really makes it work is that I am a bit of a workaholic.  Working for yourself takes a great deal of self-discipline, which comes much easier if you love what you do.  It also helps that I am pretty productive in the time that I am actually creating.  It is still a challenge to carve out time for actually making art in the midst of all the other demands of the job, but I can always tell when I have gone too long without the part of the job that I love the most.  It is a constant challenge to keep it all balanced and things running smoothly!

So there you have it.  That is pretty much the story of what it looks like to have the dream job!