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Adversity Is An Opportunity For Improvement

Frederick Brotherton Meyer, an English Baptist clergyman, once gave an illustration of the process that produced quality, as follows :

A bar of iron worth $2.50, when wrought into horseshoes is worth $5.

If made into needles it is worth $175.

If into penknife blades it is worth $1,625.

If made into springs for Rolex watches it is worth $125,000.

What a "trial by fire" that bar must undergo to be worth this ! But the more it is manipulated, and the more it is hammered and passed through the heat, beaten, pounded, and polished, the greater its value.

So do for human beings.

If you have a lot of forming, forging and exams due to the difficulties of life, the noble character in you will be more and more formed.

Remember that you do not have to live in a hurry way. Just enjoy the process and let the persistence bring out the great triumph.

Adversity Is An Opportunity For Improvement
By Pierre Will on
Frederick Brotherton Meyer, an English Baptist clergyman, once gave an illustration of the process that produced quality
If you have a lot of forming, forging and exams due to the difficulties of life, the noble character in you will be more and more formed
Rating : 4.5
You have read this article Inspirational Stories / Inspirational Wisdom with the title February 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Stephen Wilkes

"For two weeks after shooting the first group of pictures of Ellis, I was obsessed.  I couldn't sleep, I couldn't erase the buildings from my mind.  So I went back, many times, every chance I could.  What began as a one-hour editorial assignment became a five-year passion."

American Photographer


What are you obsessed with?  What keeps you awake at night?  What haunts your waking dreams?  As creative leaders what makes us great are our obsessions.  They define who we are and whom we become.  Encourage, honor and celebrate your obsessions.

Photos of Ellis Island

by Stephen Wilkes

(Check out his book.)

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Inspirational Pregnancy Quotes

Photo Credit: Stuart Miles
 “Part of being a parent is rolling with the punches, so consider an unexpected pregnancy the universe’s way of helping you to learn to do that.”Heather Wittenberg

“There is no greater feeling of love for your spouse or significant other, as you look them tenderly in the eye and say, “We’re pregnant!” There is such an immense feeling of joy and love and you feel closer than you have any other moment in time.”Jennifer Shakeel

“You wonder, “What will this child look like?” “How big will this child be now?”…No matter what your baby will be doing while that ultrasound is being done, you and your mate will be filled with a love that is incomprehensible.” Jennifer Shakeel

“I know that it’s important that I don’t lose myself and I have my passion and I have things that I love.  I believe that life doesn’t stop.” Beyonce

“The dreams that we have in pregnancy are tainted with the worries and joys of pregnancy and the changing roles of our lives.” Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE

“It’s difficult to get excited about a pregnancy when people say negative things, so be sure to surround yourself with positive people who will be happy for you and your baby-to-be.” Ariane

“I decided to focus on a couple of silly things I really love about pregnancy, like new and improved cleavage and not worrying so much about fitting back into my size six pants. Once I was feeling a little bit of joy about the pregnancy, I began to think about how great it would be for my child to have a brother or sister.” Sarah Green

Tiny movements like tiny kicks
Tiny baby, a mother’s bliss
Can’t wait to give the tiny you
Huge hugs and lots of kisses too”
Danielle Bramlett

It's a gift…I have a friend who has lost more babies than any woman should. Her last pregnancy was a stillbirth at 32 weeks. She told me that no matter how bad the timing is, it's a gift. There are so many people who can't have children. That really helped me."Danielle Tipton

An unplanned pregnancy may not have been in the cards for you right now, but remember that you remain your own life manager. You now have the opportunity to make the most of not just yours, but now another's life.” Lisa Cooper

“"It's true, change forces us out of our comfort zones, stretches us in ways that might hurt for a little while, but the rewards can be astounding. In releasing the stale familiar, we clear the way for new experiences that can feed our thirsty souls and re-animate our lifeless dreams. Purged of the fears that held us back, we emerge as better people, more free and certainly more interesting." Roberta Rand

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Victor Hugo

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."

French novelist, poet

1802 - 1885

I am amazed at how music more than painting and literature can touch people at a much deeper level. Filmmakers understand the power of music. Try watching a film without the music and you will understand. Unfortunately, paintings and novels don't have musical support. I am waiting to read a novel with a CD of appropriate music.

What impact has music had on your creative process? Do you write or paint to a certain type of music? Do you listen to only one type of music or are you eclectic? What music pumps you up and makes you want to dance? What music calms and heals you?

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Al Hirschfeld

"Life isn't a science.  We make it up as we go."

Al Hirschfeld

American Artist

1903 - 2003

Creating art is not a science, no matter how many times people attempt to build computers that can write poetry or paint pictures.  Creativity cannot be reduced to binary numbers programed into a machine.  The human experience cannot be reduced to mathematics or science.  We create and recreate the world as we go.  Even when the world seems to be against us, we somehow survive and thrive.  Don't worry about following all the rules or what others expect and demand of you.  Be yourself.  Find your own way.

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Henri-Frederic Amiel

"Learn to limit yourself, to content yourself with some definite thing, and some definite work; dare to be what you are, and to learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not and to believe in your own individuality."

Swiss Philosopher/Poet

1821 - 1881

Sometimes the world we live in can be overwhelming.  There are too many choices.  Which direction should we take.  If I do this, then I will miss out on that.  Have you ever felt that way?  Paralyzed by too many choices?  I have.  After graduating from college, I didn't know which way to go.  I was afraid to choose because I might miss something, so I did nothing.  When we come to a fork in the road, we have to make a choice.  And when we take that path, we need to follow it to the next fork.  And again, we must make a decision.  But no one decision will destroy us.  I firmly believe that each path we choose ultimately leads us to where we are supposed to go.  In the end we become who we are supposed to be.

Amiel is also talking about strengths and weaknesses.  People tend to focus their attention on their weaknesses and try to improve them.  I believe we should focus on improving our strengths.  We need to accept our weaknesses and learn to navigate around them.  Be the person you were meant to be.  Accept your individuality and your originality.
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Charles Dickens

"I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time."

English Novelist

1812 - 1870

What are your work habits?  Do you meet deadlines?  Are you able to focus and concentrate on what you are doing?  While no two people have the same work habits, you can learn to improve your work habits by studying the habits of others.  Are you organized?  Do you have a system for keeping track of your work?  There is also the business side of creative work.  You have to be of two minds — the creative mind and business mind.  Do you know how to promote yourself?  To sell your work?  What are your habits?  How can you improve your habits?  Do you rise at 5 am before everyone else wakes up?  Do you work best at night?  Do you listen to music or do you prefer silence?  Do you take long walks to clear your mind and energize your creative juices?
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Edward Hopper


"No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination."

American Artist

1882 - 1967

Skill will take a creative leader only so far.  Imagination is required to make the great leaps that dramatically reshapes the world.  Imagination requires being able to let go of the old and embrace the new —  to leap from one place to another.  What makes you different from others around you is your ability to imagine the world differently — to see what others don't or won't see.  Embrace your imagination and give thanks daily for the gifts that it bestows upon you.  Imagination helps you to connect the dots where most people do not even see the slightest connection.  Imagination is a sacred gift given to each and everyone.  Few know how to use its powers to the best of their ability.  Many are scared by what they see and withdraw from the clutches of imagination.  Let your imagination shine.

Summer Evening, 1947 

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Paul Gauguin


"I would like to write the way I do my paintings, that is, as fantasy takes me, as the moon dictates, and come up with a title long afterward."

French Artist

1848 - 1903

Crouching Tahitian Girl

Choosing titles for my poems has always been difficult for me.  I am more into the creation of the work than giving it a title.  I am more into the fantasy than the reality.  My haiku and many of my short poems do not have titles.  Why do we need to name everything?  Why do we need to title the work?  Can the work stand alone without a title?  That being said: when I go to an art museum or an art gallery I always check out the title thinking it will give me some insight into the painting.  Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't.

Gauguin's quote, though, takes us deeper than the title.  It is talking about the creative process.  Do you plan out your work in advance or do you let the mood of the moment take over?  Some writers write from an outline.  They are just filling in the blanks.  The creative work took place when they prepared the outline.  Other writers shoot from the hip.  They never know what the next line is going to be or where it will lead them?  I never know where I am going until I get there.  I find outlines boring and only of value when I do article writing.  Even then I keep the outline to a minimum — four to seven key topics.

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Camille Pissarro

"It is only by drawing often, drawing everything, drawing incessantly, that one fine day you discover to your surprise that you have rendered something in its true character."

— Camille Pissarro

French Artist

1830 - 1903


The key to success is to practice, practice and practice!  If you don't get it right the first time, do it again.  Keep working.  Too often we give up too soon.  Draw, write and paint every day.  Be patient with yourself.  Give yourself time to develop and grow into the artist that you want to be.  Nothing happens over night.  Sometimes it takes years.  Sometimes it takes a lifetime. 

The time is now.  Get up off that couch.  Stop watching television.  Draw.  Paint.  Write.  Do something.  Anything.  Every minute you waste is gone forever.  Practice!  Practice!  Practice!

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Charlotte Bronte

"I'm just going to write because I cannot help it."

English Novelist/Poet

1816 - 1855

Do you have an urge to create?  To paint?  To write?  The desire must run deep if you want to succeed.  If you pick up a pen because you are interested in the fame and fortune, forget.  There are easier ways to make money.  Invest in stocks.  Writers write because they have no choice.  Painters paint because the choice has been made for them.   There is something deep inside all artists that demands that they create even when the odds are against them.  They cannot help it.
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Amy Tan

"We dream to give ourselves hope.  To stop dreaming — well, that's like saying you can never change your fate."

American Novelist

1952 -

What do you do when your dreams don't happen the way you imagined?  Do you stop dreaming?  Or do you change the dream?  Or do you reframe your expectations to match the reality?  Dreams are all that many of us have left to hold onto.  If we give up our dreams, our lifes might as well be over.  Even if we never achieve our dreams, we need the hope they inspire in us.  We always need hope until that moment arrives when we take our last breath.  Hope keeps us alive.  

Here is Amy Tan discussing how she found meaning through writing.

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T. S. Elliot

In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo.

American Poet

1888 - 1965

When I was introduced to the poetry of T. S. Elliot in college, I fell in love with his work.  One of my favorite poems still today is The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock from which these two lines are taken.

We are a nation of talkers and storytellers.  We always have something to say even when it has no value or frame of reference.  People come into our lives and share their opinions on art and the world before taking their leave and going elsewhere.  Sometimes we give too much importance to the ideas and opinions of others.  We need to listen to ourselves first.  Often the opinions of others are not as valid as we are led to believe.  In fact, their opinions can be dead wrong.  

Are you trapped in a room and forced to listen to the negative opinions of others?  Break out!  Find a new room with people who will support and help you.  Avoid the negative people who try to steal your energy and enthusiasm.  

Here is a link to the full text version of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: (Read and enjoy.)

Listen to this fabulous reading of the poem by Anthony Hopkins.

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Edward Calvert

"Only paint what you love in what you see...."

English Painter/Printmaker

1799 - 1883

Sometimes we put too much into our creative work. Simplicity is often best.  One way of reducing the clutter in our creative work is to focus only on what we love and ignoring everything else.  Think about what you can cut from your work without destroying its meaning and purpose.  What is extra?  What do you need to let go of so you can clarify the meaning of your work.?
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Simone Weil

"Contradiction is the criterion of reality."

French Philosopher/Writer

1909 - 1943

For me, I am a walking, talking contradiction and my experience is that so are most of the people whom I have met in my life.  Have you ever said one thing and done another? Do you tell people that you love them and yet you often hurt them?  Do you believe in peace and love and yet find yourself becoming angry at the behavior of others?  Do you teach one thing and do another?  Life is full of contradictions.  And that is okay.  Contradictions make us human.  All our heroes have clay feet.  And we should love them anyway.  What are the contradictions in your life?  What makes you human?

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Isadora Duncan

"All my life I have struggled to make one authentic gesture."

American Dancer

1877 -1927

Have you been true to yourself?  Or have you spent a lifetime wearing masks?  Do you know who you are and why you are here?  Are you living an authentic life?  Or are you hiding even from yourself?  We all have struggled to find ourselves and to accept who we are.  For some, this struggle has taken longer than others.  And some may even go to their grave without discovering who they are.  As artists, writers and actors, it is easy to be attracted to wearing masks and disguises.   At the very least, we should not lie to ourselves.  Even if we don't let others see the true us, we must look inward with clear vision.  We must be true to ourselves.

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Adages of Wisdom Quotes by Master Sheng Yen

May good words be spoken by all; may good deeds be done by all; then may the fortunes of all be transformed.


May all speak good words; may all do good deeds; then all may transform their fortunes.


If everyone can just say one more good word or do one more good deed every day, all the small good will add up to a great good for society.


If an urgent task is waiting to be done, come forward and say, "I'll do it!"


In harmony with self and so with others, both in mind and in speech, one is full of joy and happiness.


In harmony with the inner and so with the outer, with causes in harmony with conditions, in peace and well-being one is truly free.

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Carl Jung

"We meet ourselves time and again in a thousand disguises on the path of life."

Swiss Psychiatrist

1875 - 1961

Have you ever felt that you have been here before?  That you have traveled down this road and met these people before?  Life is a path or should I say a series of paths leading us to where we are supposed to go.  Sometimes we come to a fork and make choices that lead us in directions we could not foresee.  Sometimes the path dips and turns in ways we could never have imagined.  Sometimes the path almost disappears and we feel lost and disoriented.  But we are all on a path that intersects with the paths of others.  And we even meet ourselves in various disguises and masks.  Where are you on the path of life?  At the beginning?  Nearing the end?  Caught in the middle?  Have you looked in the mirror lately?  What disguise are you wearing today?

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Hazrat Inayat Khan

"Love that ends is the shadow of love; true love is without beginning or end."

Indian Poet/Musician

1882 - 1927

Art is about love.  

     Love of self.  

          Love of others.  

               Love of nature.  

                    Love of God.  

Love inspires.  

     Love motivates.  

          Love transforms.  

               Love demands.  

                    Love commands.

Art is love.

     God is love.

          Love is art.

               Art is God.

                    Love is God.

Are you love?

     Are you art?

          Are you God?

               Is there a beginning?

                    Is there an end?

Remember love.

     Remember art.

          Remember God.

               Remember your name.

                    You are the beginning.

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Georgia O'Keefe

"I decided to start anew — to strip away what I had been taught, to accept as true my own thinking."

American Painter

1887 - 1986

Papaya Tree-Iao Valley

By the time we reach adulthood, we have subconsciously learned a lot about the expectations of the people in our lives — our family, our teachers and our friends.  And we often try to live our lives as others want us to live and work.  The problem comes in when we fail to live up to those expectations.  Some people spend unhappy lives trying to please others.  A few creative leaders are able to shake off the expectations of others and discover their true self.  Who are you?  Are you trying to please your family, friends and teachers?  Or have you discovered the person who you are meant to be?  Turning your back on what you were taught can be very difficult.  Letting go of the past can be very traumatic, but if you want to attain the person you were meant to be, you must find your own voice.

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"The greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor.  It is the one thing that cannot be learnt from others; and it is also a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilars."

Greek Philosopher/Writer

384 BC - 322 BC

What are the metaphors in your writing?  Your art?  Your life?  The metaphor is as Aristotle implied almost 2400 years ago a very important part of western literature.  When I studied haiku, it was very clear that metaphor was not a part of haiku.  So why metaphor?  Why do we use one image to represent another?  Why do we find similarity in things are not similar?

Let's play with this.  Here is a metaphor I just made up.  "My life is like a fishing boat adrift on the waves."  How is my life like a fishing boat?  1.  Like the boat I have a purpose — a reason for being.  2.  Like the boat adrift, I am sometimes lost with not direction.  3.  Like the boat I am slapped by the waves of life — pushed here and there by forces beyond my control.  4.  Like the fishing boat I am not the captain of my life.

So here is my challenge:  Share a metaphor that explains your life.  "My life is like . . ."
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Kathe Kollwitz

"I have never been able to carry out any work coolly.  On the contrary it is done, so to speak, with my own blood.  Anyone who looks at my works must be able to sense that."

German Artist

1867 - 1945

Do you know why many young people choose to write poetry even when they don't read it?  They have a need to express what they are feeling.  The same is true of older writers as well as artists of all ages.  The creation of a work of art is a form of emotional expression — sharing with the world how we feel about a subject.  What feelings are you attempting to express?  What emotion is exposing itself in and through your creative work?  For at its heart, creative work is about expressing emotions — even deeply buried and often unconscious emotion.  And that's the good news.  If there is emotion at the core of your creative work, it will touch the hearts of those who see it or read it and you will be successful.

Widows and Orphans
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Happiness Quotes

These happiness quotes will help you to meditate on what it takes to finally reach the level of happiness that you seek. In these quotes you will find many words of wisdom.

"Don't expect to be happy all the time. You will sometimes be sad. You will sometimes be anxious and nervous, you'll get dumped, and you'll feel overwhelmed. These are human emotions. Don't fear or be embarassed of them. Instead embrace them." Cal Newport

"There are some people who always feel happy, they're called psychopaths." Dr. Ben-Shahar

"...the pursuit of goals that are concordant with your values can produce significant increases in your sense of well-being." Cal Newport

"Our state of happiness or unhappiness colors everything. Happy people perceive the world as safer and feel more confident. They make decisions, cooperate more easily, and are more tolerant." D.G. Myer

"Let your mood brighten, and your thinking broadens and becomes more playful and creative." D.G Myer

"...what makes one person happy may be very different from what makes someone else happy. Revel in your individuality and do not worry about whether or not your desires are comparable to those of your peers." Unknown

"True happiness comes when we learn to be content with what we have." J.D. Roth

"Financially, physically, and socially, comparing yourself to others is a trap... Focus on your own life, on your own goals." J.D. Roth

"...the road to happiness is paved with goals. Continued self improvement makes life more fulfilling." J.D. Roth

"When we regularly take time to be thankful for the things we have, we appreciate them more. We're less likely to take them for granted, and less likely to become jealous of others. " J.D. Roth

"It is important to work on social skills, close interpersonal ties and social support in order to be happy." Diener

"The idea that you have to go bigger to be happy is false. I really believe that the acquisition of material goods doesn't bring about happiness." Tammy Strobel

"If we observe genuinely happy people, we shall find that they do not just sit around being contented. They make things happen. They pursue new understandings, seek new achievements, and control their thoughts and feelings." Ed Batista

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"The greater the obstacle, the more the glory in overcoming it."

— Moliere

French Playwright & Actor

1622 - 1673

We have all faced obstacles in our lives — some big, some small, some real and some imagined.  Sometimes these obstacles defeat us and sometimes we are victorious.  The winners never give up.  There is always a way either over or under or around or through the obstacle.  I have often backed up and found another route around the obstacle.  Sometimes I have plowed right through the obstacle smashing it.  On other occasions I have been able to leap over the obstacle or even dig a tunnel beneath it.  The key is not to let the obstacle stop you.  And the bigger the obstacle, the greater the joy in victory.  What obstacles stand in your way today?  How are you going to overcome them?

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Granddaughter Quotes

The following quotes are meant to inspire granddaughters and grandparents alike.

"Scars from the past you have accomplished to mend. Smiles with hope to be carried on shoulders so small and fragile." LJ. Myers

"The wonder of a miracle from which this love began. There is so much found in the touch of holding a grandchild's hand." Unknown

"There are no words to explain of my love, for my angels sent to me from above. They are my heartbeat, they are my life. I'll be there for them through happiness and strife." devilsdaughter-65

" dear granddaughter make sure you have God inside so that you may deal with all these different emotions inside." Denise Boyce

"You're such a special granddaughter of that there is no doubt, the kind that lucky grandparents are proud to boast about." Unknown

"I say a special prayer each night to keep you safe from harm. I know my prayers are answered as
 He holds you in his arms, to give you strength and comfort when sometimes nights are long" Miss Angel

Read More Granddaughter Quotes
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John Updike

"Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them."

American Novelist

1932 - 2009

Have you ever wondered why we have hopes and dreams?  Why do we desire to be writers, singers and painters?  Why do we want a house with a little picket fence?  What would life be like if we did not have dreams?  Probably very boring.  There would be no progress.  We would all be happy where we were and would not strive to achieve more.  Understand that since we have been given dreams, we are capable of achieving our desires.  We don't dream about things which we can not achieve.  That does not mean achieving our dreams comes easy.  We have to work hard and not give up.  What are your dreams and desires?  Are you working hard to achieve them?
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"Some give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; while others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than ever before."

Greek Historian

484 BC - 425 BC

The one trait that every writer, painter and musician needs is persistence.  Without persistence and determination, most creative people will quit before they are successful.  People often give up too soon.  They forget that the night is the darkest just before the dawn.  When every things appears to be lost that is the time to push the hardest — to exert that extra effort.

Most successful artists and writers throughout history have understood the power of persistence.  Herodotus said it more than 2500 years ago and nothing has changed.  You still need persistence to be a winner — to be successful.  The world is full of obstacles and naysayers.  It takes persistence to find a way around or through the obstacles.  Don't give up on your dreams and hopes.  
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George Elliot

"It is never too late to be what you might have been."

English Novelist

1819 - 1880

We all have dreams and things we want to accomplish in our lives.  Unfortunately, most of us either give up too soon or misinterpret our dreams.  I thought being a writer meant being able to write full time.  It does not.  Many writers had other lives.  Writing is only a portion of living. I thought being a writer meant having a best seller on the charts.  It does not.  Some great writers and artists never made a penny from their creative work.  I believe that we all become what we are meant to be.  We just need to discover what we are meant to be.  Search deep within your soul to understand who you are and what you are meant to do.  For some of us being a mother or father is the most important thing we can do.  Creative works helps to keep us sane.  For others being a teacher is the most important thing they can do.  Painting is the work that keeps them in touch with who they are.  It is never to late to be what you can be.
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