Living the Sweet Life: It’s the Little Things

By Alisa Murray Nationally recognized portrait artist and award-winning columnist.

I hope that somewhere tucked in a bookcase or perhaps hanging on your wall there’s a piece of art that has been created either by you, a dear friend or by someone in your family. As all of you know, both my parents left this world way too soon, and it’s very different living without parents. This month is always so special to me because of their birthdays, Mother’s Day, and of course, sweet Brian’s birthday, too. May is full of people that I care deeply for and think of often.

In my home there’s a handful of little pieces of art that mother somehow got done prior to her passing, and they are sprinkled in all my books on the shelves in my library. There’s a bunch of strawberries that at first glance appear to be some test to see if she could learn how to do crewel. There’s a tree with  little apples that she covered carefully with thread that hang off her work. There’s a tiny board where she etched little mushrooms. In my kitchen there’s a painting of a field of flowers with a little girl with brown hair that my Daddy painted of me. There’s a vase full of roses that he also painted hanging in my bedroom and a clock, a chair and a pull done by my dear Nana.

These little things were created with love and are reminders that I am always surrounded by my loved ones. Recently my daughter dropped by and fell in love with something I had been working on. “I said you can take it!” And she replied, “No, I want to remember it here with you, and when you are gone, I’ll take it then to remember you by.” That’s what got me to thinking about my little things. It also got me to thinking about more little things that I want to create in my time right now.

Recently, my boys and I redid what for twenty years what has been our “presentation room.” This was a big deal for me because a lot of my hours have been spent showing my portraits to our clients in that space. Unlike many of my real estate clients that just love open concept houses, I do not like them at all. I want each room to serve a specific purpose, and when I was not selling photography, it was just perfect to close the door and “be done” working for the day. I realize y’all are just starting to understand that with the changes in work from home we have come to see during the last few crazy years. But, I have always worked from home and having that separation has been my way of being balanced and “turning work off.” Anyway, the space needed to be reconfigured for our lives now, where clients come to see us and then select their images over zoom instead of being in that space. I decided to use it for my painting and for my coaching students. You should have seen the faces on both of our children when I announced that. They helped me sort and bring down the canvases and paints and helped me create the space where a new beginning of creativity will blossom for me and for my entrepreneurs seeking their calls for the Kingdom.

I found a stack of tiny canvases amongst my supplies and have some big ideas for these little things. I’m thinking about painting them out like my parents would have and then stitching into them beautiful herbs and flowers with butterflies and bees and lady bugs like my Nana. They will be portable, and of course, made with love, and one day they will sit on a shelf or be tucked into a library and give my loved ones a little reminder that although I am gone, I am always with them, too.

Take care of you, and

of course, “Stay sweet!”