When I stand before God at the end of my life,
I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say,
"I used everything You gave me."
~Erma Bombeck

May 8, 2013

Answering the call to create.

I held her hand 3 days before my Mama passed away. She had been battling ovarian cancer for a year. “I think my painting days are over.” She said. I had no response because what do you say to someone who will be leaving this world within days? Those words packed such a wallop for me.

Original acrylic mountain scene by Barbara Whitlock (my sweet Mama)

I’ve been holding myself back now for quite sometime. I just looked back in my blog posts and found several places that I have conveyed a longing to be an artist.

In March 2010 I wrote this:

I had a dream as a child and held it into my teen years. Somewhere along the way I lost it. I thought I wasn't good enough. I wanted to be an artist. We all know I love to create, but I feel like what I am creating at the moment is superficial and not from my heart. I don't know how I lost the dream. Maybe I didn't get enough positive reinforcement or somewhere along the way I just gave up. Since I lost Mom, I realize I want to return to the dream some 20 or so years later, but am unsure how. Fear grips me and I wonder if I have the courage. I watch my 7 year old create with wild abandon, not caring what others think and I encourage her everyday to continue on, for I know it feeds her soul. I know what it is like to lose that and I don't want her to do the same. She inspires me to step out and try and she has no idea that she does this. She is amazing.

Lately I have been very attracted to mixed media paintings. My love for paper and mod podge is longing to be combined with a little bit of paint and lettering on canvas or wood. I am sure this is God whispering to my soul and I have much to share. Still unsure how to proceed, but hopefully the block will move soon or I will have the strength and courage with God's help to move it myself and push forward.”

It is now May of 2013. Not much has changed on the creative front. The 7 year old is 10 and still creating with wild abandon. The 5 year old is almost 8 and is blossoming into quite an artist herself . And we’ve added a little 19 month boy into the busy mix. Everyday, I rush about. tending to my children, my husband, and my household duties. Everyday I push aside the deep longing to sit down and create something. Every night, I go to sleep knowing I didn’t start my journey to my dream. Time marches on and my mother’s words ring in my ears, “I think my painting days are over."

Original doodle by Lanie J. 

How can I teach my children to follow their dreams if I am not following mine? How can I honor my mother’s legacy if I don’t use the gift that she has passed down to me? How can I release myself from a cage of fear I have created if I don’t feel the fear and do it anyway? What if I don’t answer the call to my soul?

I really want to live Erma Bombeck’s quote:

Print by Lori McDonough of Whimsy Studios

I am positive this deep longing that I have is a call from God. He is going to keep nudging me and I will continue to be in pain (I have no other word to describe it) until I answer the call and use this gift to touch the lives of others. It’s time to open the door to the cage that I have created for myself. It is time to stop making excuses and make time to be what I truly want to be… an artist.

This post is part of a brave blogging link-up that's part of Liv Lane's How To Build a Blog You Truly Love ecourse. As a participant, I was challenged to step outside my comfort zone and share something with you that felt especially brave. You can see what others have written by clicking here


  1. Lanie, I love your blog post. Open, honest, true. An invitation to both you and "us," your blog visitors, to follow our bliss.

    But what I really, really love is that "doodle." Doodle! It's marvelous!

    Keep going, ok?

    Many hugs and creativity courage boosts for you,
    Ps. I love that your little ones are teaching you without even trying. You must have a child within that can go a little wild with creative abandon, too, hmmm?

  2. Yes! Good for you!

    Follow your dreams for yourself and for your children.

    I've pinned your "doodle" on my board "Artists I Love".

  3. Lanie, I almost wrote a very similar post so I know just how brave this is! I too am going to pin your doodle as soon as I get to a real computer (I'm posting from my phone) :). You ARE an artist. Rock it.

  4. I love this Lanie! You HAVE to create art! You have to. One of my favorite things from Kelly Rae Roberts e-Course was, "Listen to the whispers". Sounds like you are listening. Keep listening. You are an artist! YOU ARE! By creating and doing what you love you are honoring your mother, your children, AND you! There is NO way that is anything but a recipe for wonderful! I look forward to watching you create!

  5. Lanie, thank you for your brave post. Expressing yourself through art is like allowing your soul to exhale. Once you start, you know how vital it is to keep going.
    It helps me be more present to my family and friends when I can create. It's about taking little bits of time not big chunks or you'll never get it, right? Your "doodles" are fantastic!! xo

  6. Lanie, This is wonderful! It amazes me how I was thinking about very similar things this morning and then your blog appeared. A "God wink" for sure! You are so very brave and should be so very proud of yourself. Love, Britt

  7. Just knowing you need to listen is key. You're already on your way.
    Yes! Go for it!
    Looking forward to seeing your future "doodles!"

  8. Lanie - you ARE an artist - through your doodles and your words! Keep going! And thank you for being brave enough to share your journal and hopes and dreams with us!

  9. I love your doodles. Revisiting our journals can be a great wake-up call to make the changes we dreamed of in the past into a reality now. Keep creating!

  10. Love it! I am often plagued with the fact I do not follow my dreams most times. The Bombeck quote is one of my favorites; I pass by it hanging on my wall every day, and realizing that I do not employ it in my life...well, that's a pretty big wake-up call that I seem to keep ignoring. Thank you for a little nudge today.