70 is the New 40: Grandma Moses

Do you feel stuck?  Like what you have been doing isn’t working anymore?  Is there a dream lying dormant inside of you?  Something that might even make you famous? Do you feel too old to start again? That life has passed you by and it’s too late?

You are never too old to try new things. It’s never too late to explore ideas that have been buried for a while beneath other obligations. That is exactly what Grandma Moses, farm wife and self-taught painter, did!

Like most farm wives, Anna Mary Robertson Moses spent much of her

Grandma Moses’ Fourth of July 1969 stamp

time caring for the farm and her family.  Owning a New England farm and raising 5 children (5 died in infancy) took up all her time. It was after the death of her husband, when she was 67, that she used the busyness of needlework to help her with her grief. Having an artistic father, though not a professional artist, Anna knew a thing or two about art. She dabbled at painting to help beautify her home on a couple of occasions.

 

When arthritis prevented her from doing her intricate needlework pictures, Anna, also known as Grandma Moses, decided to try her art with paintbrushes instead of sewing needles. She was in her 70’s. In today’s society, it is thought one should relax and take it easy at that age not try your hand at something new.

Soon, she had so much art that she started entering her pictures in state fairs and displaying them in stores and galleries.  She made a little money which helped with the farm bills but she never dreamed her paintings would make her well-known. In 1938, at the age of 78, she was discovered by an art dealer who bought all the paintings she had displayed in the local drugstore.  He went back to New York and convinced the art world to hold an exhibition (they thought she was too old too!) The rest is history.  Her paintings are in many prestigious museums and even has one hanging in the White house.

You can check out her art here. (I really encourage you to do so!)

Her paintings made her famous when she was in her 80s. Her 80s, people! United States presidents from Harry Truman to John F. Kennedy esteemed her and the governor of New York twice proclaimed her birthday as “Grandma Moses Day”.

There are somedays I think I’m too old to try something new and I just in my 40s. Too old to dream dreams and work to make them a reality.  I’ve even thought, ‘if I haven’t made it yet, I’m probably not going to.’  What a lie! Do I have breath in me? Is God still calling me?

Age is not an excuse

I can accomplish anything God has called me to do, even if the calling seems to be coming a little late.  God’s timetable is not my timetable. He is into growing oak trees, not mushrooms. Mushrooms are here one day and gone the next. Oak trees last a lifetime but take a long time to grow.

Don’t let age be an excuse that keeps us from fulfilling our dreams! Keep learning and trying and growing!  You’re not dead yet.

Writing is one of my dreams.  What’s one of yours?

Keep Looking Forward

This week my Dad celebrated his 75th birthday.  In honor of him, I would like to tell you a little bit about him.

My Dad is the coolest ever! Always ready with a listening ear and helpful advice.

Many times, when I would go visit him and Mom, we would stay up late into the night having deep theological discussions. Having problems with school?  Just ask Dad!  He was always there to help me.  Frequently, when I called and immediately asked for Dad, Mom knew something was wrong, whether it was my computer or a backed-up sink.

He’s been through several changes in his life; being laid off, moving several times to different states, changing jobs, retiring and changes in his health.

Change is as hard for him as it is anyone else, yet he embraces it with such grace.

How?  I’m sure it is because he has never lost his curiosity.

“I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.”
– Albert Einstein

Always curious about the world, my dad, Martin, is constantly learning, experiencing and growing.  As a young child he would read the encyclopedia just for fun!  He was always taking things apart and putting them back together again.

An engineer by trade, he has had many hobbies including woodworking, golfing, biking, photography, gem cutting, making stained glass windows, and reading. He even sewed himself a suit! He is most avid about woodworking.  He makes beautiful bowls and vases with his lathe. He also turns pens. You can check out some of his work here.

Never Stop Learning

After retirement, most people would rest, relax, take it easy.  Not Dad!  He threw himself into his wood turning.  He created a business and website.  He sold several pieces in galleries.  No naps for him in retirement!  Life was good.

As you can imagine, turning wood is a very physical endeavor.  He stands at the lathe for hours and then sands and polishes to create the final product.Mesquite Vase

Major Change

Two years ago he was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that affects his muscles. Sometimes his voice temporarily quits working, sometimes his legs quit working.  He is on medication to control the disease.  This has been a major change in his life.  No longer could he spend hours daily in his shop working on his passion.

But he doesn’t wallow in self-pity.  He is a voracious reader and a great story-teller. Just ask his grandkids about his exciting bedtime stories!  Now he is taking that story-telling ability and writing a series of short stories.

“Unless you do something beyond what you’ve already mastered, you will never grow.”
– Ronald E. Osborne

When life takes an unexpected turn, don’t just sit there!  Learn something new. Change is hard but don’t look back.  Keep looking forward!

You might try your hand at crossword puzzles or Sudoku.  Check out web courses on Udemy or Creative Live.  If you love to read, pick a different genre of book.  It could be a new hobby like sewing or pottery.  Find a class, in your area, of a hobby that interests or think might interest you.  You will learn something new and make a few friends in the process.  It might just be the thing that keeps you going.

What have you learned new lately?

 

Success Has No Age Limit And That’s Finger Lickin’ Good!

Do you have a dream?  Something you enjoyed in your childhood but life and bills and other things got in the way? Do you think now you are too old, too washed up to live your dream, your passion? 

No matter your age, you can still accomplish great things!  You don’t have to give up any chance of success if you are past your 20’s or 30’s. You can realize your dreams at any age.  Don’t give up!  Keep that dream alive!  Someday, with a lot of work, it may come true just like it did for Harland Sanders, aka Col. Sanders.

You know who I’m talking about; the face of Kentucky Fried Chicken.  You still see his likeness on commercials today though he died over 35 years ago.  He’s an icon in the fast food business.

Harland Sanders was old by our standards today when he realized what his purpose was; cooking the best fried chicken.  He was older still before he saw major wealth from it.

I have always been fascinated by the story of Colonel Harland David Sanders. As I scoured the internet to find out who the real Col. Sanders was I noticed a few things.  First, in his early life, he was bumping around a lot, as a friend of mine likes to call it. He had so many jobs just to try to put food on the table as most people did in the early 20th century.  Second, he didn’t give up his passion but worked it continuously.  He finally made a way where his passion and livelihood could collide to be a prosperous living.

Don’t give up your dreams!

Always interested in cooking, he was forced to cook for his siblings when his father died and his mother had to work outside the home.  He held a plethora of jobs by the time he was 40 never really liking any of them enough to stick with it.   He was a street car conductor, served in the Army, worked as a fireman, studied by correspondence and practiced law, sold tires and ran a service station just to name a few.  But he always enjoyed cooking!  He served home cooked meals out of his gas station in Kentucky to road-weary travelers.   In his 50’s (his 50’s!) he closed the gas station and opened a restaurant.  This was when he perfected that ‘finger lickin’ good’ chicken with its secret recipe and pressure cooker.

You’re never too old to succeed!

He sold his restaurant in 1956 at the age of 56. He began franchising his fried chicken process by teaching other restaurants how to make his delicious chicken in exchange for getting a few cents for every piece of chicken sold.  In 1964, he sold the franchise for $2 million ($15.3 in today’s money).  That’s a big chunk of change.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  He worked very hard for that money.  He wasn’t an overnight success but he kept at it and it paid off in the end.

Don’t give up on your passion.  Continue to work it and you never know, you just might make it a reality whatever your might be!