Life has an interesting course.
I thought it might be encouraging or helpful to add a little about my own story for those who may be interested in how I've navigated life as a mom, a teacher, and an artist.
I've always had a great attraction to visual arts. Some of my earliest memories involved drawing, creating, color, even sculpting. I believe that creativity is a wonderful aspect of how we are created. It is a reflection of our Creator's image. Visual arts, however, have not always been my highest priority. Fine arts was my major in college, although I considered other majors. And, I worked in the field of commercial art for several years after graduation.
Soon after college, I married and had a family to raise. And, wonderfully, that has been the most rewarding and exciting "employment" of my lifetime! For quite a number of years, my visual art interests had to take a lower priority to the needs of my family. I did not abandon them altogether, but I had to find avenues of creativity that I could manage with 3 young children and increasing levels of responsibility as a mom. During those years, I became more and more of a single parent as my husband chose a path that took him out of our sphere with increased regularity. During those years I also homeschooled the 3 kids, which was a rather intense (but absolutely wonderful) use of my time.
When my children were a little older, our marriage sadly ended. And I was left with the total responsibility of raising my 3 kids into their adult years. The financial responsibility was mine and it became immediately evident that I needed to find a job that had the capability of supporting the 4 of us. Not having worked in the work place for about 18 years, I felt very unqualified and unprepared for that position, and yet there was no choice. As I look back, I see so clearly that there was much divine intervention given to us through unexplainable opportunities and practical help given by friends and family. I certainly learned to pray and depend on God's grace in a new way at that point in time!
I entered a Master's Degree program, while taking a part time job to try to pay our monthly bills. And within a couple year's time, I was certified as a secondary school teacher in IL and a job teaching art at the local public high school in my town, rather miraculously opened just as I was applying. I've been teaching there for over a decade now, while finishing the privilege of raising my children into their adult years.
In 2007, I became very interested in the Daily Painters I was seeing on the internet. I really wasn't sure where my path was leading, but knew that I needed the motivation and accountability to be working on my own work, giving it a high priority once again. Teaching has a way of draining one's energy and creativity, without some sort of motivation. This idea and keeping a public account through my blog(s) was the perfect approach for me. I still look for a good balance between the demands of a full time teaching job and the development of my own artistic style and skills.
Teaching is not a career one enters to make large coffers of money, as most people know. It has certainly been a stretch to make enough money to support my family and yet maintain a similar schedule to them so that I could be the present parent that they needed in their daily lives. Having the opportunity to sell my work online has been and continues to be helpful, and was far superior to having to find a second job. Of course, we have had to live very frugally. Entering at the first level of a career in mid-life with a family to support has been extremely challenging!
What I've found out, as I look back over these years is this - God is present. He is faithful. He has provided, and He has opened doors. And He has expected me to work hard and to trust Him. And He has not failed to walk with me. I have also come to realize that He has given me opportunity to work with high school students, helping them develop skills and enjoyment in visual art, and he has applauded and been pleased with the development of my own skills as an artist. Though none of us can see the future, I must conclude that He will continue to lead me as he has.
We live in days of unexpected changes and much uncertainty. But there is hope!
Please feel free to email me if I can offer encouragement.