Got your attention, didn’t I?
Unfortunately, humans seemed to be wired so that negative/tragic headlines catch our attention. 2018 has been a banner year for such rhetoric and it hasn’t been pretty.
But my attention-grabbing headline isn’t to focus on what’s wrong at the moment; there’s enough of that out there. No, I’m going towards a much more positive place with this post, towards an illuminating orb of light approaching fast. It’s blinding at first, so bright in its glory but once our eyes adjust, we realize that this beautifully magnificent radiance is warm and inviting, beckoning us onward into its embrace. Once inside its folds, we look all around and realize that this glorious palace is in fact…
2019!!! The future is bright, folks and I’m here to light your lamp!
You see, back in 2011, God gave a me a beautiful image and called me to put it on canvas. That image came to be The Lamplighter and I’ve written before about its significance as the first painting in The Jobs of Yesteryear Series and the catalyst for everything that has happened in the seven years and 92 paintings since. To say the least, it was a turning point in my life.
But what I’ve also realized is that this image is so meaningful to me because it also represents the type of impact I want to have in the world: I want to light lamps!
I’ve been richly blessed with an “I married up” wife, two adorable little runts, and a career that gets me SO excited to go to work every day. But my role in this life isn’t simply to enjoy the gifts I’ve been given and sit contentedly on the sidelines of life. I’ve been put here to share that light with others, to illuminate their lives by putting my lamp on a stand and letting all bask in its brilliance.
And boy was 2018 a brilliant year for our family. We bought a slice of heaven in Michigan, moved our business and lives there, and watched our oldest go to his first day of Kindergarten at the three-room schoolhouse down the road. We continued to see growth in our art business, including our highest-grossing festival EVER (by a longshot) in Ann Arbor, MIchigan. Looking back, I can’t believe all that we accomplished and feel so grateful to share these stats:
Miles driven: 28, 932
Miles driven while Orin scream cries: 5,328
Cups of coffee slammed after a terrible night of sleep: 652
Rest stop playgrounds found: 7
Rest stop playgrounds wished for: 192
Long-day-in-the-van impromptu dance parties: 13
Marker caps lost: 82
Crackers lost to floor: 187
Mice caught in car: 1
Beach days: 35
Lake Michigan sunsets witnessed: 26
Sharks or salt found in Lake Michigan: 0
Festivals attended: 17
States visited: 18
Paintings created: 31
Paintings sold: 23
Panel prints sold: 295
New friends made: 56
New side hustles launched: 2
As I said, it’s been an incredible year and a joyful rollercoaster of life on the road and life by the lake. But back to 2019, a NEW YEAR! As many of you know, we’ve been planning a trip to Morocco to launch The Jobs Project which celebrates and honors the world’s workers through public murals. We launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to help us fund our adventures in art, and you all responded with incredible generosity, THANK YOU!
As we prepare to embark on our epic journey to Morocco on December 30, we still can’t believe the incredible life we’ve been given. My job is to make art. That, in itself, is such a blessing. But on top of that, my art allows us to travel the globe and connect to people from all walks of life and share our light with them. What a gift!
What I’ve realized in our travels is that when you light other’s lamps, their wick begins to glow, slowly growing into a bright radiance, impossible to hide and visible from a distance. Their confidence blooms and they get a gleam in their eye. They become who they were meant to be. You see, when we make an effort to share our light, the world becomes a brighter place and we all benefit from the brilliance.
I know it sounds cheesy and I know it ain’t easy, but this is the real deal folks. Make an effort to shine on someone else this year. Make 2019 brighter by sharing your light and love with those around you. Be a lamplighter.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Postscript: If you’re not a Facebook or Instagram type of person, you’re probably better off in the big picture, but, you also have been missing out on my very first mural going up at Baseline Middle School in South Haven, Michigan, just 10 miles away from my home. It’s the first of four installments and the entire mural will be a sprawling 100 ft. scene depicting the history of workers in South Haven. Check out my Facebook and Instagram pages for the latest updates.