The feminist movement did great things for women.  It allowed them to leave the ties of housekeeping behind and venture into a whole new world.  It was a world which challenged their abilities, their brain power, their industriousness, their ingenuity, their organizational skills, their talent and their compassion.

Yes, I said compassion.  Now where in the world does that word fit into the world of commerce?  Up until then, compassion was woven into the fabric of nursing or caring for others.  The corporate world was and still is, filled with money driven men who were trying to change the world.  Not a lot of compassion was necessary  When women became part of that world, things changed a lot.

In the beginning men said women’s place was in the home, raising a family, tending to the chores of the day and caring for her husband.  The game was on.  Women started attending colleges for things other than secretarial or medical skills.  They proved that they could work under pressure and handle the stress of corporate life.  It wasn’t an easy road, because these same women still had the responsibilities of running a home, but they managed to do both.

Today women are deeply imbedded into politics.  They hold positions of power in the medical field, the corporate world, high finance and industry.  They have proven to be equal to men, but still fight the battle of equal pay. I’m sure that day isn’t far off

In the process, families have become accustomed to both parents working.   The material things that were put on the back burner until they could be paid for are now staples in most homes.  The home fires still burn, but most of the management of that place is being carried out by hired workers.

In the meantime, women have become equal with men.  In my opinion, they always were in God’s eyes.  Woman was created to be a partner for man.  I’m sure there are statistics that prove that men are the hunter/gatherers and women, the caregivers, simply because of the way they are made up physically.  Women are sensitive, intuitive and have the ability to listen.  The tenderness of their hearts is something that continues to exist, even though they try to put on an armor of toughness.  Women cry.  Yes, so do men, but women seem to do it more often.

As women take on some of the roles of their counterparts, they’re expected to be tough,  put their emotions aside and act like a man.  However, even in a society that wishes to determine their own gender, men are men and women are women.  The differences were designed to compliment each other.

Women do have a softer side.  Our emotions are often worn on our sleeves.  Our compassion is evident in the way we work with others and live with them and should be considered a medal of honor.  It’s not an attack on your character to say you can cry if you need to.  There will be days when the pressure of work gets in the way of family – when the demands of travel take you from those you love – when the extra hours of work keep you from kissing your children goodnight.  It’s OK to feel bad about those things.

God made tears for a purpose.  They come out when we grieve, when we’re frustrated or angry and even when we’re happy. The silent tears you pour into your pillow each night do not go unnoticed.

There’s someone who understands those feelings.  Jesus wept.  He knows all about sorrow.  He understands our pain.  He is also our comforter.  He hears our prayers and dries our tears, but He allows us to  bring all our burdens to Him, so he can carry them for us.




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” The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”  Proverbs 9:10

Dear, Lord,

You know all things.  Nothing is hidden from you. You are the only consistent in our lives.  I pray that you guide our leaders to proceed with dignity and fairness.  Two people have been dragged through the mud and may never recover from what’s happened over the past few weeks.  Please give the men and women in the position of passing judgment, the wisdom to do your will.  Help us all to accept what is happening and what will happen because of these events.  You are also with every one of us. You’ve judged each of us with fairness and abundance of grace, giving us a freedom we don’t deserve.  May your Word be upheld.  May your will be done, in Jesus name.  Amen!

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John 5:1  “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.”

I want to know you, Lord.  I want to feel your arms around me, comforting, protecting, loving me.

I long for your presence in my life.

Your Word connects me to you.

Your Passion shows me how important I was to you.

Your resurrection assures me that I will live forever with you.

You come to me when most I need you and yet I know that you are always there.

I can try to hide, but you are so much a part of me, I can’t escape.

Such a love is so hard to understand.  There is nothing like it.

We are connected like the grapes connect to the vine.

Help me to find that intimate connection, where I know,

You are the vine.  I draw life from you.

Help me to know you better every day, so that when that final day comes,

I will be ready for you.

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A lazy Saturday morning, as waves crash on the shore,

Watching as anchors are lifted, in search of something more,

Wind arches within snow white sails, pushing the craft to sea,

Cut from the bonds which captured it, longing now to be free.

The days of summer are waning, the leaves are turning red,

Soon ice will form on the water, the boats then put to bed,

We leave this glorious season replaced with cold and snow,

And wait again ’til spring arrives, when waters once more flow.



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I’ve completed editing and am ready to take the next step, but I’m still not sure what the next step is.  I’ve decided to share the prologue with you and would appreciate feedback.



The days of our youth are so tender. We long to be nurtured and cared for. Love needs to be taught right from the start in the gentle embrace of a mother’s arms or the strength of a father’s touch. Through example we learn how to love, but we also learn to hate.

The first impression made on us comes from those within our family. When we’re old enough, we venture outside our comfort zone and stumble almost helplessly into the complexity of living. Through our experiences we begin to develop our own personality. We become who we will be for the rest of our existence in those few early years.

Good or bad, we carry hidden secrets about what goes on behind closed doors. If told, they could devastate or destroy us. If known, they might not be believed. We can work through those things or allow them to consume us.

When lives collide and intertwine, they can rely on each other for comfort, encouragement and friendship. They can also reap the best character traits of those with whom they join. In the process of growing a friendship, there will be disagreements, conflicts and emotional breakdowns. Add to that the hormones of growing up and you have a prescription for a rich and full existence, with no lack of excitement.

Three women, all from very different backgrounds, are at the core of this tale. They meet at the time of life when a young girl blossoms into a woman. Their friendship continues throughout the days of their lives. Together they endure hardships, pain, suffering, loss, love, joy and all the other situations that meld people into a unit fit for battle. That is precisely what happens with these women. They are being prepared for a war of sorts which they will wage on this planet. When death comes, the war ends and peace transcends all understanding throughout eternity.

They come together in the small township of Haley’s Corners, a charming resort hamlet just a couple hundred miles from Chicago. The time is the 1930s – a time of rebuilding, restoration and rejuvenation. It was the perfect time and place for this friendship to be forged.

Each girl has a story to share which blends their personalities into a concoction of beauty. Friendship is like that. It’s a mixture of emotions, past adventures, the construction of an existence of breathing through each other, all united until our dying day.

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When it seems that all is gone and the days stretch on too long,

There is hope and consolation in God’s perfect preservation,

He provides for every need, even when there’s naught to feed,

When miracles are required, He will give with love inspired,

His perfection does abound in creation all around,

Lift your hands to Him in prayer, He will answer you with care,++++

Maybe not as you expected, but in ways that He’s directed,

He will soothe your troubled mind, give you peace in all you find,

He will lift you to His breast, calming fears through every test,

He will breathe new life in you, when the present one is through.






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When my kids were little, there was an inflatable toy made to look like anther person.  It was weighted in the bottom so that when you pushed it down it would pop right back up again.  It entertained the children for a while, but they became frustrated after a time, because the thing never stayed down.  Maybe that toy had some influence on their work ethic in the years to come.  It showed them that no matter how many bumps or bruises we take in life, we can always get up and start all over again.

After a while though we often get more than frustrated when the punches keep coming.  We feel sort of like a punching bag that has seen better days.  Our exterior is wearing out.  Our insides are weakening.  Eventually all the air comes out of us and we’re flattened.  We can patch the holes and restore the surface, but all that punching is bound to have an effect on us.

For most of us, blow after blow changes us.  We can become sarcastic, uncaring, hard skinned, victimized – or we can bounce back up and start all over again.  A strong woman will live this way.  If she is a Christian, she has an outer armor that protects her from all those obstacles.  This isn’t to say, because she’s a Christian, life will treat her better, but with that protective shield she will be able to treat life a lot better.

Her resilience will display itself in her faith that God will restore her, rebuild her, renovate her and renew her.  She has learned to rely on her creator through prayer, the Word and worship.  You certainly can’t have a better defense against the battles of this world.

This life is temporary.  There will be struggles.  Even if you possess great wealth there will be problems.  I believe that God allows those issues into our lives to draw us closer to Him – to convince us that He’s in control of everything – to refine us into the perfect life which lays ahead.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us; Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2

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Another time, another place, a world so far gone by,

Where streets were paved with cobblestones, under an azure sky,

Where people took the time to share a word or more with you,

Where moments pass without distress or without much ado.


A place that’s  gone, but still exists in small towns everywhere,

Away from all the ugliness that meets us here and there,

To capture just a little time, to hold it in our hearts,

To dream our dreams with hope and love, before this life departs.


































































other century,

Where roads were made of cobblestones and homes were built with care,

Where life was so much simpler, with beauty everywhere.




































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As I look back on my life I can see the influence of several strong women.  My mother was a rock.  She married the love of her life at the age of 18 and two years later I was born.  We were close enough in years to almost be sisters.  In a way, we grew up together.

She was a beautiful woman.  She  probably didn’t weigh more than 120 pounds.  She had dark brown hair, which was made possible with a bottle of hair coloring.  Prematurely greying hair at 20 years old was not an option for this woman  She would continue to color her hair until she was in her 80s.  She grew up on a farm in a family of eight children.  She was used to working hard, but she also played hard.  She loved to climb things and wasn’t afraid of heights, but snakes would send her reeling.  Four of her siblings were girls and no boys came along until they were all born – not exactly farm hand material, but they pitched in wherever they could, while maintaining their femininity.

She endured the loss of five siblings at an early adult age.  She watched her father suffer through a massive stroke and her mother (also a giant of strength) cared for him until his death.  She wasn’t unfamiliar with sadness, but she had a beautiful smile and positive attitude which carried her through most of it.

She taught me about perseverance, patience and prayer.  She wasn’t overly religious, but I knew that God was important to her and her decision making.  She taught me how to pray – made sure I went to church and Sunday school – worked outside the home so I could get a Christian education.

She went through the usual trials of marriage.  She and my dad spent more than 40 years together before he passed away. Each of those years held challenge upon challenge.  There was always a shortage of money.  There were times of infidelity, arguments and illness along the way.  Still she was a woman of strength through all of it.

When I think about strong women, she’s the first to come into my mind, but I believe she came from a long line of very strong women.  That sort of thing doesn’t just happen.  Who we turn out to be is often generational and most of the time we imitate those who first come into our lives.

I was one of the lucky ones.  Not all women have model mothers.  There are those who are abusive, narcissistic, overbearing, insecure, addicted.  There are those who never wanted to be mothers.   Even if that’s the case, some of the strongest women are built through adversity.

You can almost bet that another woman has influenced her somewhere along the line.  It can be a grandmother, an aunt, a teacher or a friend.  There is a uniqueness in the sisterhood of women.  Our strength is reliant on each other.  We learn – we grow – we thrive on the friendship of other women.

“Strength and honor are her clothing; and she will rejoice in time to come.” 

Proverbs 31:25







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A quiet, steamy morning – the wind not yet ready to hit the sails,

An ominous sky of pink tinged clouds hanging low over the still water,

Some of the boats stand anchored in the harbor while others push off to find adventure.

Where will the wind take them when once it opens billowy canvases of white?

Steam rises from heat filled waters – not a whisper of wind,

The waiting can be forever, but when the first gust fills the sails the power of God is made known.

Off to the highway of the sea.

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When John Wayne appeared in the movie, “True Grit,” as sheriff, Rooster Cogburn, everyone thought the film was about this man’s courage and ability to pursue and capture the bad guys  In fact the true heroine of the movie was the character, Mattie Ross whose father had been killed by a hired hand  Mattie was determined to bring her father’s murderer to justice and hired Cogburn to track the man down and bring him to trial.  Not only did she pay for the job, she went along to make sure he got it done.

Women often take a back seat in the old westerns of Hollywood, but Mattie had a strong moral core, was raised in a Christian home, and believed in God’s hand in her life  She might be considered a bit of a pain at times, because of her persistence, but in the end it paid off.  Being a squeaky wheel sometimes becomes necessary when we want results.

Grit is defined in the dictionary as courage, resolve and strength of character.  When you think of a strong woman, that word doesn’t always come to mind, but it should.  Women are often called upon to do courageous acts.  They may be the sole bread winner of a family.  They usually put family first, but still maintain jobs outside the home  They’re called on to be consultants, advisors, menu planners, house cleaners, dish washers and transporters of children to various activities.

That doesn’t necessarily involve courage, you may say, but tell that to a woman who gets up at 3 AM to make lunches for her family, do a couple loads of laundry, shower and get ready for work, make a to do list, clean up last night’s dishes, scrub a floor or two and take time to help her children with their homework.

Tell that to the woman who takes care of an elderly parent with dementia, wonders how she’ll pay for the repairs to the car, discovers that her husband is cheating on her and wonders what she did to make him look for greener pastures.

Tell it to the woman who stays at home to work, sends her husband off with words of encouragement and empowerment  The one who volunteers at a homeless shelter, visits homebound folks from church and is on an overloaded prayer chain.  She’s the one who suffers from low self esteem and feels she doesn’t serve any purpose.

Then there’s the woman who is an abusive situation – one who has been taught to view her husband as the head of the house, yet when he comes home from work, she fears for her life and those of her children.

All of these women have one thing in common.  They put others before themselves  That takes an overt amount of courage in a world that teaches us we should think only of number one and get all the gusto out of life that we can.

Grit is not a solo activity.  We can’t overcome the obstacles of life on our own.  Thankfully God has provided a rescuer, a champion, a knight in shining armor so to speak, to carry the brunt of our courage.  He will give us the grit we need to get the job done, even when we have no clear picture of how that will happen.  He is the anchor that holds us in place.





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I remember it well. I was nearing twenty. The twist was the dance of the day.  A new band from across the pond was making its way to the US.  I fell somewhere between Elvis and the Beatles and never lowered myself to swooning over either of them.  I was much too sophisticated.  I was one of the “good girls” of the sixties.

During those years my husband and I would clear the floor when the music began to play.  We’d polka, fox trot, two step, twist and all the modern dances, until the cows came home.  To top it off, I did all those dances while wearing stilettos.  By the time the evening was over, my little tootsies were screaming for relief.

Now when I think back to those late nights and the blisters, soreness and distortion of my feet for a number of hours, I can’t help imagine what damage I was doing to those ten toed extensions.

After three children, I still opted for stylish shoes.  They weren’t those high, high heels anymore.  As time passed, the heels disappeared, but memories of those stilettos lingered on.  It took a lot of courage to put on those shoes, simply because you were submitting yourself to a balancing act of sorts.  Your arches were reaching heights unknown to mankind.  The unnatural positioning of your dainty little toes was almost like being placed on a rack of torture.

Today, I have slowly submitted to more sensible shoes.  I have one pair which cost well over a hundred dollars.  I will be wearing them for a long time.  They aren’t like the orthopedic styles grandma used to wear. They’re actually pretty cute with slacks and with the addition of arch supports, I’m walking better and I’m comfortable.

Yesterday I opted for style and wore shoes that went well with my outfit.  By the end of our time at church, doing the duties for fellowship, altar guild and cleaning up, my toes were screaming.  My step had slowed to a crawl and I was pretty much wiped out for the rest of the day.

So what’s my point with all this useless information?  Well, like my posted image says, strong women wear their pain like stilletos, I think there’s truly a lesson in those words.  No matter how life is kicking us or throwing bricks at us, we can still carry our beauty.  It may not be what it was when we were twenty, but women have a way of hiding their pain under the guise of a mask, their beauty or a pair of shoes.

Think about it.  When you’re young, you’re in the process of conquering mountains. You are at your prime and with each problem you encounter the heels get higher.  Sometimes you need to get the spikes out to cut through the clutter.  As time goes by, the weight of those problems pushes deeper into the ground.  The shoes now flatten out along with the burden.  You go through ups and downs through out your life, but continue to hang onto the spring in your step until the very end.  Your footwear will change along with your challenges but walking with God will always keep your feet pointed towards heaven.  When you walk in Jesus sandals, you’re going to experience pain.  Being a servant isn’t easy, but it is a blessing that will last for eternity.















































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When life engulfs you with anger and rage – when you struggle with fear and temptation,

Turn your mind to the glory of God’s written page – He will heal you and give you salvation.

Though your days seem relentless, your nights never end – your hope is in Jesus, your brother and friend.

He’ll give you His peace with a love overflowing – your burdens He’ll carry for you,

A peace that’s eternal, no tears, no regrets – He’s paid the full debt that was due.

So look heavenward, leave the world far behind, and focus on Jesus the King,

His arms are wide open – He hears every prayer – and surely His peace He will bring.


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In our age of technological advances it hardly seems necessary to use our minds.  Our information is right at our fingertips.  Wouldn’t it be interesting if at some point we all eventually wind up like E.T. with our line of communication being our pointer finger?

We’ve been designed as visual creatures.  Our eyes are an important part of our makeup and we often look only at what’s right in front of them.  We need proof – we need to see for ourselves – we need to have the drama laid out before us so we can experience the beauty of a story or an image.

My husband knows how to craft beautiful images through his art.  I use my gifts to turn stories into performance drama.  There are so many talented authors who have transferred their thoughts into beautiful words for the eye to read and to stir the imagination.

Until we no longer have use of our eyes, we rely on them for many things and yet we’re often blind to the truth that’s right in front of us.  The clarity of God’s Word requires only one thing from us and that’s opening our eyes in faith to what its pages hold.  We don’t need to be an intellectual – we don’t need to be a theologian – we don’t even need to be a believer.

In faith, inspired by the Holy Spirit, our eyes will be opened to the beautiful plan God has designed for each of us – a plan that goes far beyond what our earthly life provides.  It’s the nourishment – the feast – the eye candy that God has prepared for everyone in eternity.

We need to look beyond what lies immediately in our view and into a future of a perfect life.  Our eyes will find clear vision when we turn to the One who created them.








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In my lifetime I must have tried at least a couple hundred different kinds of diets.  I started to notice that I wasn’t the cute little Shirley Temple look alike I thought I was when I turned nine or ten.  I’ve been fighting the battle of the bulge ever since.

I’ve tried starving myself – counting calories – Weight Watchers – Jenny Craig and others like her – Atkins – Low carb/high fat – vegetable soup diet – Keto and so many more.  They all had one thing in common.  I’d lose a few pounds right away and gain it all back with an additional five within a month.

My stretch marks were getting stretch marks.  I was entering high school large enough to play center on the football team.  Unfortunately, girls in football were not a thing at that time.  When I started dating my high school sweetheart and lifetime partner, I outweighed him by fifty pounds.  Come to think of it I still do.

Years passed and the yo-yo dieting continued.  I was one of those eaters that ate because she liked food.  Depression – mood swings – hormones – metabolism had nothing to do with it.  That is until I got pregnant and added another forty pounds to my already chubby self.

Now I’m at a point in life when I know that losing several pounds would take some of the extra load from what I carry on my aging legs.  However, I was told by the doctor last week that my knees are really in good shape for my age.  Walking is an option, but there are all the respiratory issues.  See – I have an excuse for everything.

So as life continues to put up with me, I’ve decided to forget about dieting and start enjoying life.  Excuse me, while I go slice another piece of cake.


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Summer is winding down, but there are still a few steamy days left.  Soon the beaches will close along with public pools, but the memories made during the summer of 2019 will live on.


The grandeur of a summer day, the warmth of golden sun,

The birth emerging from the trees, new life has now begun,

Incomparable perception, upon the highest heights,

Of golden fields and new mown hay and other glorious sights,

Of unpolluted county sides, of azure heavenly skies,

A glimpse of full contentment, lays right before our eyes,

Of waters flowing here and there, of peace and solitude,

Of quiet walks and friendly talks, will change our attitude,

When summer comes again to us, our time may well be spent,

Our days dried up and bodies cold, our days of discontent,

But still we’ll live in splendor, of endless summer days,

When breath inspired by God Himself will set our souls ablaze.



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From a very early age, I was taught that we shouldn’t succumb to anger.  Not only was it a negative way to behave, but it had serious consequences.  As my life progresses, I keep hearing that voice in the back of my head telling me not to get angry – to keep my temper under control – don’t over react.  Yesterday I got angry.

I had no particular reason for being angry.  It was a culmination of negatives that had been building up for some time.  It was the state of our world – the fake and real news (who knows what is and isn’t anymore?) – getting rid of this stupid cough that keeps me up at night – my feelings of inadequacy for not being able to contribute to the daily stuff that continues to require attention.  I was lonely for my children and grandchildren.  I was angry that I couldn’t get in my garden.  I was crabby because my first time driving my stick shift car put extra strain on my sprained knee.  The voice returned.  “Chill – don’t over react – count to ten!”  The more I heard this voice in my head, the angrier I became.

Why shouldn’t I get angry?  Why have I spent the past 77 years being the calm one?  Don’t my feelings matter?  Guilt again crept deep into my brain.  I seem to have these conscience battles from time to time – like when Sylvester the cat had the little devil and little angel sitting on each shoulder trying to run his life for him.  “Don’t blow up,” says the angel while the devil roars, “Do it!  Go for the gusto.  Blow up!”

Finally my brain was becoming a little teapot ready to explode, so I went to the one person I knew would understand – my one and only sibling.  My sister and I didn’t like each other very much when we were children.  Our teen years were spent in constant competition.  Once we both left the nest that changed and we’ve been very close ever since.

She lives in Nashville, TN and I live in Minneapolis, MN.  Many miles separate us, but there is a connection that transcends time and space.  I bore my soul in the form of a text message.  She responded with an email.  She’s much more tech savvy than I am.  We rarely talk  on the phone because of my hearing loss. Since the phone doesn’t have subtitles or closed captioning we communicate electronically.

She gave me some very good advice.  She said sometimes we just have to let off steam, especially when we feel overwhelmed.  We can’t be expected to hold all that garbage in our head and not have a negative reaction.  Anger can relieve some of the tension that’s trying to escape.

I then remembered how my grandmother would go out to the woods when things got tough.  I don’t know what she did out there, but whatever it was, it seemed to soothe the savage beast.  I imagined she would go there to scream at something or to blame someone or to simply cry.  We need to release the steam that’s causing our anger from time to time.

This world is in a state of craziness.  Anger and hatred seem to be working at a fever pitch and people aren’t very happy anymore.  Maybe we all need to go to the woods and have a good holler.


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For many years, my husband painted in various plein air competitions in our area.  My itinerate outdoorsman thrived on this type of painting and still does, however the competitive part of it has waned over the past couple years.  To look at the process, it would appear to be as easy as pie to go set up an easel and paint for the day.  Competitive painting requires more than that.

You can plan to be at the event for at least three days of solid painting. You must find your own location to paint.  You load up your gear and trudge deeper into the space.  You fight with mosquitos, weather events (rain, excessive heat, humidity and poor air quality) and you finally get started.

Competitive art can be brutal in other ways too, if you let it.  You’re trying to do your best work.  You’ve spent some hefty entrance fees.  You may have to provide accommodations for your stay, which means another layout of cash.  You’ve purchased fresh paints, canvases and lots and lots of water to keep you hydrated throughout the day.  Sometimes, like us writers, you’re faced with a blank page, a gorgeous location, perfect light and no inspiration – only a desire to create beautiful art that might win a monetary prize or lead to a sale of some of your work.

There is a bright side to this type of painting though.  You make new friends.  You swap ideas.  You learn from each other. You share your craft.  You are forced to make art in a short period of time and it usually is some of the best you’ve ever done.  At the final judging, you may never have heard of the judge, but your hopes are high.  Judging of any kind of art is usually in the eye of the beholder and often subjective, but for the most part, they are fair.

The awards are given out.  You’ve made some new friends and contacts.  Several people have viewed your work and commented positively on it.  Collectors and other customers are in the audience.  It’s a sort of marketing experience I guess.  However, as age grabs a hold of us, the competitive side of our nature slows down too.  It gets harder and harder to fight the elements – to move around as quickly as you once did  – to haul a heavy load – to come up with the necessary funds.

Today, Paul still paints outdoors.  It’s his favorite type of painting.  He loves being in nature.  He enjoys the sounds of birds chirping and the rustling of trees.  He now teaches it to others through the art center he works for.  He continues to share his love for plein air painting through example.  He doesn’t have the pressure of competing and he can relax while doing it.






























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