Work for Free until you Gain Experience


“Skudeneshavn Norway”  20 x 16 Oil on canvas; SOLD, Prints available!

The economy goes up and down, depending on the world’s financial health and our own. The stock market rises and falls with the state of business and who the decision makers are in Washington.

My first husband thought my writing was a waste of time until I started getting paid for it. When I could pay for my own dental bills, contact lenses and clothes the time I spent at the typewriter and computer was suddenly valued.

“Money is the root of all evil” until it digs us out of a hole or provides for our wants and needs. Money is power and a necessity in today’s society.

But I have to sound off about all those hours and days I volunteered my time and talents to organizations such as “Kansas Right to Life, Pro-Family, Neighborhood Watch, and the churches I’ve been a part of throughout the years.

Practicing my craft writing plays, skits, and stories for local groups helped me develop the skills I needed to write for profit. I also met many artistic types and those who only needed them. I learned how to solve problems, reduce costs and persevere to the end.

In the fall issue of Guideposts magazine, a young single mother was asked to paint something patriotic on the tailgate of a truck. She had never painted something like that before, but she took the challenge. Her beautiful work was noticed and other jobs appeared. She enjoyed it so much that she began painting these scenes for nothing for the many veterans who admired her work.

When I moved to Florida 13 years ago, I ended up painting on the outdoor Nativity scenes with another member of my church for our mini Christmas pageant. I had to improvise, create in my mind, and use up gallons of acrylic paints when up to that point, I had only used oils. After this there were so many outlets to express myself and participate.  I became involved in a totally new genre’ of art leagues, artists and shows.

Great things can come from the giving of your time and talents for a good cause. What can happen?

  • Recognition. People get a glimpse of your artwork or read an article they enjoy and they remember your work and your name. Soon you’re in one of their contact lists and the rest is history.
  • Opportunities. Your work may be admired by an Interior Decorator, a buyer or an agent. Your skills may be wanted by a business or a corporation. I was able to write for an airline, an insurance company, a rehabilitation center and many other health and education institutes.
  • Connections. Getting work is all about networking and getting to know people in many walks of life. By word of mouth, I was able to connect with the heads of many companies. Sometimes other people who were working on a project found out that I’d been on a similar project with a photographer at another company. I would get a call for a meeting, and then I’d be off and running at another place, using the skills I loved.

Don’t give up. Your generous heart may eventually be rewarded!


“Arabesque” 18 x 14 Oil on canvas; Egrets taking off (framed)

Run Your Laps Every Day – Reach for the Stars not the Dazzle of Fool’s Gold


“Namesake” 24×18 acrylic on canvas

My oldest daughter ran track as did her younger brother. I remember the grueling contests, the aching muscles, and the near collapse after a race, the throwing up afterward, the dark side of competition all for the ribbons, the glory, the win.

Running gets in your blood. It drives you. My daughter could run miles on the steam of anger leaving from our house and traveling for sympathy to see her friend in another county; a different city.

I watched them both compete and admired their persistence. Peer pressure helped, but the adrenaline rush after a track meet was addictive.

I tried it a few times at the YMCA. The track was the diameter of the building. I ran around and around, and around. 15 laps equaled one mile. I did a lot of counting (and forgetting), and counting again. My “round” trip was tedious and boring. My goal wasn’t to win. I was competing against myself. The end game was to lose 10 pounds. I didn’t last long enough.


“With These Hands — Hope” Oil on acrylic under painting; 16×20 canvas

I discovered that the difference between success and failure, for me, was being outdoors. I knew where to walk and just how long I needed to go. I used my car to gauge the distance. I started with five miles, then ten. After a few weeks, the pounds started to melt away. Exercise is much easier than counting calories, and more fun.

Every athlete, every runner knows you have to put in the time. It’s no different with any other skill or profession. Time equals distance, equals gain. “No pain, no gain;” you’ve heard it a million times.

The difference between success and failure is often as simple as this. One person spends his or her time vegging out in front of the “Boob Tube” while the other one does the laps, the practice, and the work to improve his or her skills or business.

One person reads books related to their interests and dreams, and another would rather spend his time making things with his hands. If either develops a skill and a driving interest, they have a shot at success.


Open Book” 20×16 Oil on acrylic under painting; Original SOLD, but prints are available.

What is success? Does it mean money? Does it mean having all the toys and whistles? Or does it simply mean doing something that rewards you with fulfillment, satisfaction and a decent living? Of course, the answers are unique to each individual. But I guarantee that if you were in a devastating tornado or a destructive hurricane, you’d probably say what most people on T.V. say in the aftermath:

“These are just things. We can replace things. But my family – thank God they’re all alive!”

If you haven’t yet discovered what you’re willing to live or to die for, you haven’t really lived. If there is nothing on this earth for which you are willing to sacrifice your time, effort, and devotion to besides yourself, you haven’t really loved.

Many people can’t understand faith or a belief in something greater than themselves. Without a guiding force it is easy to get caught up in the moment and waste your time on quick gratification or cheap thrills. A guiding force or higher power can help you resist that which hinders your growth and success. A deep inner peace can empower you to run your laps, every day, until you reach the heights of your potential. It costs nothing, but it will change your life forever.