Grandma Moses, Late Starts, and Joy in the Work

The other day my family and I visited the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin. We saw art from Bouguereau, Picasso, Calder, and ancient pottery and coins from Rome.

We also saw quite a few nudes which caused one of my 8 year old boys to declare that the art museum was a “plaza of nightmares”.

Ah, buddy.

On a mission to avoid a room with life sized naked lady statues in a circle, I lead the kids to a dim hallway lined with paintings. We looked at each and discussed the materials used, the era in which it was created, the style.

Then I turned and gasped. There in front of me was a painting by an artist I greatly admire. MTE1ODA0OTcxNzMxOTQ0OTcz

Grandma Moses. (Can we just take a moment to reflect on how adorable she is?)

It’s not her work that I admire so much. I like her paintings just fine, but her craft isn’t what endears her to me. It’s her story and her words that make me love her.

Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was 78 years old.

Let that sink in a minute. 78 years old.

And she became one of America’s most famous folk artists.

Do you want to know what she said about her late-found art?

“If I hadn’t started painting, I would have raised chickens.”

Seriously. Adorable, right?

I wonder if she’d have found as much satisfaction in the raising of chickens as she did in the painting. Part of me thinks she may have found pleasure in work, whether it be spreading feed or paint.

Soon my lazy and restful summer will end, school will begin and so will my new novel. My mornings will be a rush of getting kids ready for the day and out the door and dropped off at school where they’ll work hard at learning. While they’re gone, I’ll be tapping away at my keyboard, creating a story. Then, afternoon will be me getting the kids, helping them with homework, making dinner, cleaning (maybe), getting them to bed, and working on the novel while they’re asleep.

So. Much. Work.

But I intend to find joy in it. Satisfaction. Pleasure. At the end of each day I want to shut my eyes with the knowledge that I did my best and with the hope that I brought Glory to my Creator even if in a small and imperfect way. If for some reason I can’t see that in the day I spent, I have the hope of a fresh start in the morning.

And, like Grandma Moses, as the years go I hope to be able to say,

“I look back on my life like a good day’s work, it was done and I am satisfied with it.”

Untitled design (11)



4 Comments on “Grandma Moses, Late Starts, and Joy in the Work

  1. You may be many years removed from “Grandma”, yet comparable in many ways. You are Truly an inspiring artist.


  2. I so enjoyed your two posts. As a former teacher I’m glad you are spending your summer with your children and helping them make memories. Teachers always want children to write or tell about their summer vacations. I taught in a poorer district and many of the children didn’t do much of anything during the summer. In fact they were glad to get back to school to see their friends and have something interesting to do.

    You mentioned previously that the book you would be working on was the last of the Pearl Spence series. Will there be just two books or have I missed one? I bought A Cup of Dust when you were in Canton which I haven’t read yet because Meghan said you were going to write a sequel. I like to have all the books in a series before I start. If I’m missing one just let me know when you have time.

    I’m so glad you will be writing again.

    Have a wonderful Fall as you enjoy the changing of seasons. I really like Fall,

    Happy writing and lots of God’s wonderful blessings,



    • Hi, Anita! I remember meeting you in Canton. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

      You know, I think working at a daycare summer program before I had kids made me realize how much fun children are. I love seeing the wonder on their faces when they experience something new.

      As far as the books go, A Cup of Dust is the first in the series. The second, A Trail of Crumbs will release in March. Then the third book will release next winter some time. Thanks for asking!

      Thanks for the blessings, Anita! I hope you enjoy a beautiful fall, too!


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