A gift. A blessing.

Back in May we lost our family friend and pet, Sam. It was all I could do to share it here with everyone. Sam was a good dog. He would’ve made an even better person.

Since then, we’ve been much too busy, and, honestly, I just haven’t wanted to think about the void that’s been left, so I’m finally getting around to being able to share this painting with you.

A few weeks later we received this painting of Sam from Lauren, a 14 yr. old talented young lady. Isn’t it cool? We were all blown away and blessed with such a thoughtful gift. And such talent. My kids were so surprised that someone, who didn’t even know us, would take the time to paint a picture of our Sam.

I sometimes think we don’t know how our gifts, as trivial as they seem to us, have such an impact on others lives. Whether it’s painting, singing, cooking, sewing, story telling…you know I could go on and on. The list is endless. Sure we derive joy from our talents, but it’s when we share them with others that they become so much more. Sorry, pulling out my soapbox for a moment…

These days it’s easy to get stuck in this technology infused world with all the bells and whistles. So much so, I can forget about my unplugged gifts and talents. And even worse is to miss the opportunities that may come with passing on the love of art, music and other gifts to my kids. I’ve tried to always have art supplies on hand at the ready. From the meekest crayons (with the built-in sharpener) to oil pastels, or acrylic paints in every color of the rainbow, my kids have everyday access to create until their heart’s desire. But do they? Sometimes. Usually we’re too busy, or the TV is on with yet another rerun of their favorite show.

School starts here tomorrow, and with that a new schedule begins, a new routine packed with goals, expectations and deadlines. I’m hoping we can carve out some downtime for exploring their gifts. Less TV will be a must. Less TV and more crayons.

I’d hate to think that we would’ve never been blessed by Lauren’s talents because she opted for TV instead of her paints. Thanks Lauren! And keep on painting.

Here are a few art projects that may inspire the little Monet or Picasso in your home, some fancy coloring and creating a masterpiece. Fun stuff! Inexpensive too.

Do you have any art projects to share?

By the way Lauren and her sister have their own food blog site called Goodbye to Gluten. Check ’em out. Yummy stuff!

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  1. 1


    “Less TV and more crayons.” Yes! We’d probably all be better off with less TV. My grandchildren, like so many others, seem to be glued to the television. But, it’s really interesting, that when we turn it off and do something else, even just a board game, they get so into it! I think we’ll be turning that tv off more often when they are here.

    And what a beautiful gift from an incredibly talented young girl. We never know what might come of the words we write, do we?

  2. 2


    School starts for me tomorrow, too! And I completely agree with you. Being in a blogging community and saying that I need to get off the computer more often might be a bit of an oxymoron, but I think it’s important to go out and live!


  3. 3

    Patrice says

    Amy, you brought tears to my eyes!Lauren loved your picture of Sam so much that she couldn’t resist painting it. We “unplugged” the TV when our oldest was about seven.That was eight years ago. My youngest has never watched a TV show, but we sometimes choose movies. The TV is only a vehicle, so to speak, for our DVDs. I wish someone had unplugged the TV on me. I lived in front of the box when I wasn’t in school. My girls read and enjoy hobbies instead. We have so much technology in our lives! I wonder what my grandparents would have to say about that. I’m trying not to let the computer become the new big distraction for me. I could read blogs and blog all day. I’ve set a limit for myself.
    Check out Lauren and her sister’s cooking blog if you get a chance.
    Once again, thanks Amy. What a nice surprise!

  4. 4

    Tickled Red says

    Less TV, less video games & more crayons to document some of life’s wonders. Absolutely!! I started M2 on a new routine this morning and he was NOT happy. Thanks so much for the extra encouragement, fun links and sharing Lauren’s wonderful painting.

  5. 5


    Such a wonderful story (awesome job Lauren)!
    I agree, it is much easier to let the kids run amuck and do what they please, it takes dicipline of ourselves to steer them in the right direction and stop what we are doing to help them as well. Great points Amy, I for one take my responsibility seriously…after all I am “making people” and want to do my best to get it right.

  6. 8

    Sharlene says

    What a wonderful gift in remembrance of, I’m sure, a wonderful dog and friend. There’s definitely too much television and computering going around these days for kids and parents alike. As a child, we were only allowed TV on the weekends (although, I admit, I snuck a little here and there on the weekdays) and I definitely think I’ll be doing something similar for my kids when I have them. Me, on the other hand, I’m going to have to try and find a way to unglue myself from the computer!!

  7. 9

    Nanny J says

    Thanks, Amy and thanks to Lauren. I saw Sam as I have seen him in the past with his paws under chin and that look – oh that look – could melt anyone.

    You and your friends are so wise. There is so much God-given talent in all of us that has not been unearthed. Thanks for the reminder and the “challenge” to unplug and start moving.

    PS: Hope you are feeling better!

  8. 10

    SMITH BITES says

    Oh goodness, now that I’ve dried my tears & blown my nose a few times . . . Losing a pet is just so hard and I’ve grieved for my own pet’s – they are family and fill such an important part of our lives. The painting is beautiful as is the post – thanks so much for sharing, Amy, I’m certain it was a hard post to write.

  9. 11


    This is a beautiful painting and gift. It is a great reminder everyone has special gifts. Sorry to hear about Sam, he was a beautiful dog.

  10. 12


    WOW! All I can say is WOW! What a talented young lady! That is definitely a gift.

    Yes, unplug those electronics {ahem, me too} and draw, color, paint, take photographs, dance, sing, and if you can’t do any of those things — hum. Your mood and your brain will be happier.

    Love it, Amy!


  11. 13

    Wenderly says

    Amen sister!! As you know, I’m a crayon fan all the way! I’m on the band wagon as well, less t.v. time, more creative time is a MUST at my house!

    Lauren you are a very talented young lady!Keep up the good work!

  12. 14


    What a beautiful gift and such a nice post. The kindness of strangers always amazes me.
    Here here to spending more time being creative. It could do us all some good!

  13. 15

    mags says

    What a lovely post and a beautiful painting of your Sam. We lost our Sam a few years back and it was almost more than I could bear also. We still keep a photo of him along with his collar and “jingles” right there beside the kids’ photos.

  14. 17

    Jennifer Kreh says

    What a special gift! Lauren really captured sweet Sam. I miss him! I think all families these days could use a little more creative down family time. Thanks for sharing!

  15. 19

    Kathy says

    What a blessing you had, I am a hopeless pet lover, the sight of your beautiful pet moved me to write this post, I lost one too, it has been 2 years, Petloss is very hard to deal with. I did get pets to fill that emptiness, 4 of them, lol. The drawing of your pet is beautiful.

  16. 20

    Betty says

    Lauren’s “Got Talent” and heart, as well. It was very sweet of her to share it with you and you with us.
    As for TV and Computers, etc. I think we all could stand a little “unplugging”. Not only the children but we adults as well. The way time flies it is more important to spend it with family and friends, face to face, than it is with electronic devices that can not only take up our time but can create isolation from those physically around us. I need to remind myself more than I like to admit “to love the ones you’re with”

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