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The Artist Who became Famous. But not by Choice.

September 10th, 2010 by stephanie

As we sat enjoying the evening breeze and shooing flies from our Mexican food, her words hit home. We were talking about where our lives were at this point. She was honestly admitting personal discouragement and disappointment. “It wasn’t supposed to look like this,” she reluctantly admitted with a wave of her hand. I understood. Many times we work toward one goal, or pursue a particular dream or vision, only to end up finding ourselves somewhere that looks and feels quite different.

It reminded me of one particular person who spent years of preparation for one vocation only to end up doing something completely different. Interestingly, he became famous as a result.

His name was Samuel. All he wanted was to be a painter. And he actually managed by midlife to accomplish that dream. For a short time, he was able to make a living at it. But it didn’t quite work out like he’d truly envisioned or planned when it was all said and done. During his lifetime, it was difficult to make a living as an artist in America. If that wasn’t enough, crises hit. His wife died; then his mother and father also died soon after. Filled with grief, he withdrew to Europe to paint and reflect on his life.

On his return trip home, while aboard ship, he found himself in discussions at dinner about new experiments in electromagnetism. Apparently, as the story goes, Sam made the following comment, “If the presence of electricity can be made visible in any part of the circuit, I see no reason why intelligence may not be transmitted by electricity.” His creative mind still spinning, he retired to his room to solve this new equation. His attempts and endeavors upon arriving home, however, didn’t prove successful. He once wrote:

“The only gleam of hope, and I cannot underrate it, is from confidence in God. When I look upward it calms any apprehension for the future, and I seem to hear a voice saying: ‘If I clothe the lilies of the field, shall I not also clothe you?’ Here is my strong confidence, and I will wait patiently for the direction of Providence.”

Soon after he wrote those words, he received a wonderful surprise. One day, in 1843 he approached Congress one last time. They had continuously called his ideas ridiculous. However, on the last night of the Congressional session, Samuel B. Morse made one final attempt. Then, resigned to the fact he’d given it his best shot, he went to bed tired and disgusted. In the morning, however, he was told that a few minutes before midnight Congress had awarded him $30,000 to construct a telegraphic line between Baltimore and Washington!

Within a year the line was established, and Morse received the amazing honor of tapping out the first message by telegraph. But what message would he send? After some thought, he chose an Old Testament passage found in Numbers 23:23 of the Bible: “What hath God wrought!” To him, it said it all.

Had his wife and parents not died, had he not gone to Europe, had his artistic dreams succeeded as he’d dreamed and planned, the world would never have experienced the telegraph. And the rest, as they say, is technological history. But oh, how differently it could have been written.

Perhaps you are experiencing setbacks and disappointments. Maybe your projects are lacking funding. Will you, as did Mr. Morse, “…wait patiently for the direction of Providence”?
Morse went on to create several other inventions and is often recognized today as the father of faxes, modems, e-mail, the internet and other electronic communication. All I can say is, “Wow.”

It seems worth asking the question: should we allow the interruptions and discouraging moments to get the best of us? It is possible, that perhaps, in them alone, lies the spark that will light the fire for the best that is truly yet to come.

Just my thoughts.
Yours?
S.

http://www.christianhistorytimeline.com/GLIMPSEF/Glimpses/glmps099.shtml

What’s It All About, Alfie?

January 16th, 2009 by stephanie

As I mentioned yesterday, writing a Blog on singleness was not one of the big 10 on my life-list of to dos. I just assumed that at some point in my little life I would be one of the myriad of women in the proverbial yellow house with the white picket fence, 2 kids, 2 cars and a dog in the yard. (The younger generations may not even get that last bit about the picket fence. But then, they’re pretty savvy. So, who knows.)

Ironically, I didn’t really think about it until I started this whole “sharing” thing, but it occurred to me one day, I am probably qualified to write this blog more than I really realized. I may have even been prepped to write my story since I was but just a pup. Allow me to divulge.

DIVORCED, WIDOWED and NOT YET MARRIED.

My grandmother was a knock out. She married a very nice man when they were young. A guy who looked like Ronald Reagan actually. He was athletic. A couple of years older than she was. He played the trumpet. They even volunteered their time and ministered to what they called the “bums” down on skid row in Los Angeles during the ’30s. (I know, that last part is completely politically incorrect these days. But honestly, back then, that is how they were referred to in many parts of the country.) But I digress

Anyway. The young man got a bit older, had a slight problem with alcohol and my grandmother ended up a divorcee’ with two children – in the 1940’s. Not real common back then. And there was definitely no plan “B” in place. Nor was there a precedent that she was aware of or had access to that would help her in this situation. In order to keep, and stay in, her apartment she had to appear before a board of men (the ones who ran her apartment building) and be judged and tried. She was forced to petition to see if they would even grant her permission to work off the 9 months back rent –which her husband had left her. (We’ve sure come a long way since then.) Long story short. She won. And she paid it all off!

To make ends meet, she worked in a little fast food joint (where the married owner thought she was a cutie and liked to hit on her periodically), worked at a movie theater ticket counter, collected bottles for cash and served her girls chipped beef on toast. Not only did she survive, she ended up owning her own company later in life. That company ended up with three different branch offices in Southern California. Not bad for a divorced mom, with no mentor or role model, and no college education. In those days, women did not grow up and get single by divorce.

My mother was also a knock out. She was married to a super guy and had a little girl. (That would be me.) One day, when she was 33, she was informed that her 36 year old husband had been diagnosed with cancer and that he had 3 months to live. He lived for 4. And then, he was gone. No life insurance policy. No real savings. Just an eight-year-old daughter and a house. She had a high school education. But that was it. It never occurred to her that she would grow up and get single by widowhood.

As the child of a single mother, who was also herself the child of a single mom, it is amazing that I ended up finishing high school and attending a 4-year, private university. I even went to Hawaii and Europe with the high school band. In college, I had the incredible opportunity to live in L.A for a semester and study acting professionally in Hollywood (while getting college credit). I also got my Screen Actor’s Guild card. It was simply awesome. My grandmother and mother supported every move I made. They were always there. At every performance and in the front row. With bells one. (Well, not really, but you get the picture.) They were determined to make sure I had the opportunities in life that they had not been given. They wanted me to succeed and have the things they did not have when they were growing up. I am more than grateful, I am honored and moved to tears at times when I think about it. (Don’t get weepy on me. It’s all good. Really!)

So there you have it. My grandmother was a divorced, single mom. My mother was a widowed, single mom. And again, I have a dog. I too am a single mom. Well, sort of.
But you get the idea. I am definitely– single.
See you tomorrow!
S.

DAY 12. BIRDS OF A FEATHER…

June 12th, 2008 by stephanie

OK. Let me say this now.  Please listen very carefully.

Divorced, widowed, and not-yet-married are not the same. Single. Yes. Same? No.

 If the women you spend the majority of your time with are married, and you are not, you will begin to see that on many matters and emotions, you just can not relate. Nor should you be able to.  And too, if you have not ever experienced marriage to this point, and your friends are divorced, you will not be on the same page in this area as well.

It’s not that you don’t adore the women in your life, but in time, you might come to assess a bit better that those you commiserate and share certain matters with during your week might not be the best pick. If truth be told, there might be a call for some adjustment. Point I am trying to make? Your intimate friends, those with whom you share your heart, need to include girls that are on the same wave length or at the least a similar path as yours.

Let’s be honest, do your married friends really want to hear about how you dropped everything in order to head out for dinner and a movie with your best girl pals while they were at home bathing the kids, cleaning up after dinner, and throwing in another load of laundry?  Or, better yet, how you had such a terrible day at work you are going to forego all house work or the to-dos on your list and just soak in a hot tub before retiring early? Hmmmmm.  Probabaly not. Might want to save that for your single friends.

Just some food for thought as we prepare to head into the weekend.

Talk soon.

S.

DAY 4. WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE?

June 4th, 2008 by stephanie

I know you are not going to believe this, but writing a Blog on singleness was not one of the big 10 on my life-list of to dos.  I just assumed that at some point in my little life I would be one of the myriad of women in the proverbial yellow house with the white picket fence, 2 kids, 2 cars and a dog in the yard.  (Can you tell I’m in my 40s? The younger generations may not even get that last bit about the picket fence. But then, they are pretty savvy. So, who knows.)

Ironically, I didn’t really think about it until I started this whole experiment thing. But it occurred to me one day, I am probably qualified to write this blog more than I really realized. I may have even been prepped to write this little tome since I was but just a pup.  Allow me to divulge.

DIVORCED, WIDOWED and NOT YET MARRIED.

My grandmother was a knock out. She married a very nice man when they were young.  A guy who looked like Ronald Reagan actually.  He was athletic.  A couple of years older than she was. He played the trumpet. They even volunteered their time and ministered to what they called bums down on skid row in Los Angeles during the 30s.  (I know, that last part is completely politically incorrect these days. But honestly, back then, that is how they were referred to in many parts of the country.) But I digress

Anyway.  The young man got a bit older, had a bit of a problem with alcohol and my grandmother ended up a divorcee’ with two children – in the 1940’s. Not real common back then. And there was definitely no plan “B” in place. Nor was there a precedent that she was aware of or had access to that would help her in this situation. In order to keep, and stay in, her apartment she had to sit before a board of men (the ones who ran her apartment building) and be judged and tried. She was forced to petition to see if they would even grant her permission to work off the 9 months back rent –which her husband had left her.  (We’ve sure come a long way since then.) Long story short.  She won. And she paid it all off!

To make ends meet, she worked in a little fast food joint (where the married owner thought she was a cutie and liked to hit on her periodically), worked at a movie theatre ticket counter, collected bottles for cash and served her girls chipped beef on toast.  Not only did she survive, she ended up owning her own company later in life. That company ended up with three different branch offices in Southern California.  Not bad for a divorced mom with no mentor or role model and no college education. In those days, women did not grow up and get single by divorce.

My mother was also a knock out. She was married to a super guy and had a little girl. (That would be me.)  One day, when she was 33, she was informed that her 36 year old husband had been diagnosed with cancer and she was informed that he had 3 months to live.  He lived for 4.  And then, he was gone. No life insurance policy.  No real savings. Just an eight-year-old daughter and a house.  She had a high school education.  But that was it. It never occurred to her that she would grow up and get single by widowhood.

As the child of a single mother, who was also herself the child of a single mom, it is amazing that I ended up finishing high school and attending a 4-year, private university.  I even went to Hawaii and Europe with the high school band.  In college, I had the incredible opportunity to live in L.A for a semester and study acting professionally in Hollywood (while getting college credit).  I also got my Screen Actor’s Guild card. It was simply awesome.  My grandmother and mother supported every move I made.  They were always there. At every performance and in the front row.  With bells one. (Well, not really, but you get the picture.) They were determined to make sure I had the opportunities in life that they had not been given. They wanted me to succeed and have the things they did not have when they were growing up. I am more than grateful, I am honored and moved to tears when I think about it. (Don’t get weepy on me. It’s all good. Really!)

So there you have it. My grandmother was a divorced, single mom. My mother was a widowed single mom. And again, I have a dog.  I too am a single mom. Well, sort of.
But you get the idea. I am definitely– single.
See you tomorrow!
S.

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