Career vs. Home

She was full of life.  There is just no other way to describe her.  She loved life.  She got up each morning and tackled what was in front of her. Raine or shine.  Good times and bad.  She was a marvel of womanhood.  I will never be like her, and I believe few could.

What’s sad is I didn’t see how amazing she was until she left us.  I have always thought that the only women to look up to and emulate are those women who work and live in the high rises, drive expensive cars, command the board room and everything else in their life.  This woman had none of that so how could she be a success, but she was.

She lived in a small country home, raised four daughters, kept a garden, sewed, cooked, maintained a beautiful home, crafted, fixed, loved and loved some more.  How could that not be a success?  Did I think she wasn’t a success because she didn’t wear a three piece suit, never sat in a corporate board room, drive a fancy car or work for a Fortune 500 company?  Perhaps.

This woman was Olive.  She was my paternal great grandmother.  She lived an amazing 102 years in this world.  She kept a large garden until she was 98, which she said she would stop, but in reality kept going until she was 101.  She drove, cooked, sewed, cleaned, served others, loved her family unconditionally and loved life.  She woke up each day and was excited to have another day.

Her crafts, garden, sewing, cooking and home were never featured in a magazine.  She never made a living doing any of the creative things that made her who she was, but she changed peoples lives by what she did.  An entire family was blessed and changed by what she made us, how she taught us to sew, the gifts of homemade pies and food when we were sick, the example she gave of keeping a beautiful home and how she enjoyed and loved her garden.

Her desire was to display her art to her family.  She did this with amazing success.

I knew another woman.  She was an artist.  She painted with great attention to detail, from the heart and for others.  She painted scenery and items that were familiar to her life in Northern Indiana.  She sold her paintings at art shows in Chicago and the surrounding area.  She loved meeting people and sharing about her craft.  She would later have art shows in her home and attract hundreds of people who were eager to buy a new painting.

Her goal was to display her art to the outside world and to make a career out of that.  She accomplished that and was successful.  I sit now looking at one of her paintings.  Her name was Evelyn.  She was my maternal grandmother.  She had a sweet, gentle soul that was born to create, and when she was able to create she soared.  She touched many peoples lives. Her paintings are here as a reminder of who she was, and what we can be, when we set out to use the talent that we have.

Does our art and talent only have meaning in the professional world?  Is our art and creative talent lost in our personal world?  I don’t think so.  I think that art and talent have a place in both worlds, and that we are successful when we use our talent in a way that fits who we are.

Olive wanted to be who she was with her family.  She didn’t consider herself of less value, or what she did, because it didn’t earn her a big paycheck.  Evelyn wanted to make a career of her talent and did so successfully, why?  Because she made goals for how she wanted to use her talent and accomplished those goals.

I believe that using our talents and creativity in our personal lives is essential to being who we are, and that is very important.  It is important to express who we are.  I believe that what we do in our personal life can transfer to a career, if we want it to.  We can become a professional painter, writer, sculptor, photographer, you name it.  If that’s what we want to do.

I asked Olive once how she did so much.  She was in her 90’s then.  Mama, how do you do it?  You are up early, go to bed late, and run all day.  You never stop and are always doing for others.  How do you that?

She said, “Well, I just wake up and do what I want to do.  If I wake up one day and can’t do it then I guess I will stop, but until then I am just going to keep doing.”  She did.  Right until her last day at the age of 102.

You are a success when you accomplish your goals for your life.  Not when you accomplish mine.  However your life is lining up right now, go, be the best you can be, set goals and accomplish them, and then you will know that you are a great success!

Live life today and to the fullest,


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