Today I was watching a reel on Instagram from a friend of mine who inspired me to get into art. She taught my daughters art lessons when I was homeschooling them through middle school. I never took the lessons she taught in person, but then she started to do online lessons. I decided to try those lessons and found out that I love painting! She still does art lessons but always wanted to travel the world. Now she does her art lessons while traveling the world with her family, and it’s fun to see the different places they go and the experiences they have. If you would like to follow along, her name is Ashley Krieger. You can find her on YouTube here or her website here. Hopefully both links work!
Anyway, I was watching her reel thinking how I love watching all the fun things they do. I am very much a home body, and while sometimes I would love to go travel to a few specific locations around the world, I wouldn’t enjoy traveling full time. But it is fun to watch them go and do it. And, while I don’t think I’d like doing what they do, I am inspired by her courage to follow a passion to travel the world, to expose her kids to different cultures, and her and her husband’s commitment to jump in and do it! As I pondered on Ashley, I also started to think about other people who have influenced me over the years in some way.
I always think of my family first. Who I am at my core is in large part because of how I was raised by my parents. While that is the case for most of us, we can at some point decide the values they taught us in our youth are not going to be our values or way of life, we always have a choice. But we can embrace the good that we learned as a youth and teach the upcoming generation the good things we learned as children as well. If we pass on the bad, that’s a choice we make, to not change. I feel blessed that my parents taught me good values and that I can rely on those values and strive to teach them to my children.
I have always enjoyed exercising and staying fit, but I hated cardio, until about 12 years ago or so. A number of friends and family members suddenly decided to get into running. I had been thinking about trying that activity to stay in shape but knew my cardiovascular system would need a lot of work. I had already started doing a little running at that point but often got discouraged because I couldn’t go very far very fast. But when these friends and family started to run, it motivated me to actually put forth some effort and do better. Some of them still run, some don’t, but they all still inspired me. Because of them I have run for many years, not as consistently as I once did, but still way further ahead than I used to be. My cardiovascular system is much stronger than it has ever been, and I love the health benefits that started years ago with running and I am grateful for those who inspired me to keep trying even when I was discouraged.
Lastly, I had a friend who inspired me a few years ago when I was discouraged about my art. I hadn’t told anyone that I was frustrated, but as I visited with him one day, he must have sensed my discouragement. By that point I had sold only 20 or 30 prints and a few hundred note cards, but I was discouraged thinking that I should be farther along in the process by then. I had decided I probably wasn’t an artist and had seriously thought about quitting. He gave me a pep talk, in a nutshell, I had already sold art, so people obviously liked it, and these things just take a little time to get going. I can’t remember his exact words, but it was in text form, and I kept a screenshot of that text for several years, so when I got discouraged, I could look back and read it. His words kept me going, and while I’m not leaps and bounds further along than I was then, I have progressed at least artistically, and I am so grateful I didn’t quit. I am also grateful for the many people over the years who would come up to me randomly, like at Church, at the Post Office, wherever, and ask about my art. Their interest in what I was working on at the moment has also kept me going, knowing there are people out there watching, even when I’m not aware they’re there.
My husband inspires me every day. This past week my husband has had all of our kids at his job helping him tape and mud a couple of small cabins. I watch as he patiently teaches the kids new skills, whether it’s taping or mudding sheetrock joint, or laying down concrete, or framing a house, or installing trim, they learn a little bit more every time they work for him. Because of his willingness to teach them, they jobs usually take a little bit longer so he can explain and instruct, but he does it because he wants them to have marketable skills and knowledge, even if they never work in the same field, they could. They have also learned how to work hard over the years, which is a blessing in and of itself.
My kids are huge inspirations to me. I have people, come and tell me what wonderful kids we have, very respectful and kind, conscientious of others and always willing to help. While we have always tried to raise our kids that way, and they really are that way, both at home and in public, I think they came that way! I’m not sure it had a ton to do with our imperfect parenting. They are of course teenagers, and definitely not perfect, but when the chips are down, they usually make the right choice, and when they don’t, they are willing to admit it, correct it, learn from it, and move on with life. They inspire me always.
I am so grateful for all the people in my life, so many I know personally, and so many that I may never know, but who crossed my path and inspired me in some way anyway. Who has inspired you today?