Home > Children, Farm & Ranch Life, Life Experiences > Life, Snow and Painting

Life, Snow and Painting

Sunday morning started like many mornings…I went to kitchen, started my coffee and sat down at the computer to catch up on Twitter and Facebook, while waiting for the first pot brew. It was still dark outside, but I could tell we had received some snow. After replying to a few mentions and posting a few thoughts on Twitter, I opened up Facebook. The very first post that I saw was from a friend who usually posts in the afternoon,

a very very sad thing happened in the valley today! please grab your loved ones hold on tight and tell em you love them! life is too short!!

I had just finished reading the post and wondering what had happened when my phone rang…not common before 6:30…it was a close friend. The news, tragic…a very dear family, to both of us, had lost their son, by his own hand. We talked for a few minutes, both in shock and said a prayer for the family.

I poured my coffee…lost in thoughts…

The sun had finally begun to rise and on cue my son came out, ready for breakfast. After giving him a very big hug…holding on longer than usual, giving him his morning kiss and “I love you”…I fixed him some pancakes and hot chocolate, turned on some ‘Scooby Doo,’ gave him another hug, told him I loved him again, reminded him not to wake mommy and headed out to start chores.

Feeding the horses and bulls at the barn was a blur…I loaded the feed truck with hay and headed to the fields.

I arrived at the field with the cows and calves and went through the motions, still in shock over the news…as the feed truck made its gentle left hand turn (by itself), the sun broke through the clouds for a moment and landed on my neighbors freshly farmed field, covered in a soft blanket of snow…

I have had moments that I felt lead in a certain direction before, but this time it was as if a voice was directly speaking to me, “Your life is a canvas…my son gave his life so that you could start afresh…what you choose to paint is up to you…who you choose to share your brush with is up to you.”

I was in awe…then realized I was about to run into the fence, jumped off the truck and into the front seat. As I proceeded down the lane to feed the horses, I stopped, climbed in the back again and took the picture at the beginning of this post…what I had heard kept running through my mind. I finished feeding, returned to the house and was promptly informed that our boy wanted to spend the day with his mom, so I was off to finish cleaning ditch with the friend who had called me earlier.

Throughout the day, the voice stuck with me and the pieces came together…

“Your life is a canvas.”

What are you going to do with the opportunities before you? You have the opportunity to enrich others lives, but will you?

“What you choose to paint is up to you.”

Who will you include in your life? Will you build relationships with others? What colors will you use, how will you make others feel? Do you take an interest in helping others through challenges and becoming more than they could achieve alone?

“Who you choose to share your brush with is up to you.”

Will you help others? Will you allow others to help you? Are you willing to share? Are you willing to share someone else’s brush when asked, to make an impression upon their life? Are you listening for the opportunity? Will you make broad strokes upon the canvas, highlight, shadow?

Our lives are that blank canvas. We have all been blessed with a plethora of opportunity. We all get caught up in our own lives and challenges. Take a moment…look around…listen…

Life on this earth is finite. Make the most of it. Enrich the lives of others. Offer to help. Show that you care. Express your love, support and compassion.

Paint a masterpiece!

  1. March 18, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Simply, Amen.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      March 19, 2012 at 7:30 AM

      Thank you Ray.

  2. March 18, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    What a compelling and beautiful message Jeff! Thanks for sharing. I know that we all get wrapped up in our “familiarity” (rituals/routines/habits) and we take a lot for granted–to the point that many precious things fade into the periphery of what we plan to do next. When tragic news like that slaps you in the face, you suddenly realize the stupor you’ve been living in. I hate that often it takes tragedy and loss to make us conscious of our reality.

    Thanks again for the reminder of how precious and finite the personal experience of this reality is. I hope to leave behind a masterpiece upon the canvas allotted to me. Sorry for you and your family & friends loss.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      March 19, 2012 at 7:34 AM

      Thank you Ed and you are more than welcome. It is sad that it takes events such as these to bring us back to what is really important. I love the progress of your masterpiece 🙂

  3. March 18, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    Thank you Jeff. This is a precious message.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      March 19, 2012 at 7:34 AM

      Thank you Shaun.

      • March 25, 2012 at 11:05 PM

        Take care Jeff and keep up the good work!! Shaun

  4. Chuck Roundy
    March 19, 2012 at 4:31 AM

    Sorry for your loss Jeff. Great message in your blog. Once again you have ministered to me.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      March 19, 2012 at 7:36 AM

      Thank you Chuck. Have a blessed day.

  5. pearlsnapsponderings
    March 19, 2012 at 5:32 AM

    Thanks for this, Jeff. That was just what I needed to start my day. Life is too short to take it for granted.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      March 19, 2012 at 7:37 AM

      You are more than welcome Jesse. Have a great week and keep up the awesome painting 🙂

  6. Mark Lathrop
    March 19, 2012 at 5:50 AM

    Such a great message Jeff. I too was touched by suicide 5 years ago…it is something you never get over and affects all the family members very deeply…we all need to remember no matter what we are going through, everyone around us is going through something similar and probably even more difficult. When we are there for them it truly can make a difference.

    God bless you!

    • commonsenseagriculture
      March 19, 2012 at 7:39 AM

      Thank you Mark. These events do stick with us. Appreciate your sharing and having a positive influence in my life and others 🙂

  7. March 19, 2012 at 6:05 AM

    Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

    My prayers are with you and the family that lost their loved one.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      March 19, 2012 at 7:40 AM

      Thank you Alyse.

  8. March 19, 2012 at 6:26 AM

    A wonderful post, Jeff! The “voice” and what it had to say was pretty powerful. Thank you for sharing and for making my heart feel what you are feeling.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      March 19, 2012 at 7:43 AM

      Thank you. It is amazing sometimes what we are able to hear when the world around us is quiet…I just need to remember to listen more often.

  9. March 19, 2012 at 6:40 AM

    This is a very wonderful post. So much pain in the valley this weekend. Thanks !

    • commonsenseagriculture
      March 19, 2012 at 7:43 AM

      Thank you Stan.

    • March 19, 2012 at 8:08 AM

      This day Monday and the coming weeks, will be so difficult for all of us here in the valley, but especially our youth. Pray for them, they will need strength to perservere through this very difficult time.

  10. March 19, 2012 at 6:48 AM

    Awesome Jeff. Thank you.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      March 19, 2012 at 7:44 AM

      Thank you Ray, have a blessed day.

  11. March 19, 2012 at 7:07 AM

    Jeff, we lost THREE high-school kids in our community a few weeks back – ALL at their own hands. We are not a hugh community so this was an extreme shock, especially to my older son who knew well one of the boys. All boys, btw. Two took violent means to take their lives while the 3rd may or may not have intentionally killed himself as he died of a drug overdose, while nearby friends watched, thinking he was okay.

    EVERY DAY is a blessing. EVERY DAY we have a chance to do good and help others. Be aware of those around you that could use a good word, some specific help, and/or just a quick talk. It might make a difference!

    • commonsenseagriculture
      March 19, 2012 at 7:46 AM

      You are spot on Bruce. We all need to take that extra moment to look around us and see who needs that little word of encouragement or even a simple hello. Have a great week.

  12. March 19, 2012 at 8:18 AM

    I think that we all forget how precious and wonderful life is…everyday! Thank you for sharing your story.

  13. Laura L. Helsley
    March 19, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    just beautiful……our family has been touched by suicide 3 times, so we know what this family is going through. they need to be embraced and supported by the entire valley. and they need alot of prayers because the road ahead for them will be tough.

  14. Lonnie Dixon
    March 19, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Thank you for your beautiful thoughts—my family is from Scott Valley in particular Quartz Valley where my mother and her two brothers were raised in the same house in which my dear cousin lives now. My mom, Rae Dixon (Eastlick) called me Sunday morning with the sad news–it hits us all hard that something like this could happen at such a young age–although I live in North Central Washington my thoughts and prayers are with Grant Lillian and their family. Thank you for being such a great freind of my family I know they appreciate everything you can do for them.

  15. Debbie Wilmot
    March 19, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Thank you Jeff….. very touching post.

  16. nanahogie@msn.com
    March 19, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    What an awesome blog, Jeff….All of prayers and thoughts go out to the Scott Valley Families and community. Sawyer will be missed and remembered forever by all that knew him. My God be with you and yours.

    Karen and Ray Hogan

  17. joyce Ash
    March 19, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    So moving Jeff, my canvas I hope will capture every detail that God gives me to see and listen and act upon. God Bless You

    Joyce Ash

  18. Elaine Eldridge
    March 19, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Jeff – such a beautiful message and really hit home. Thank you for sharing with us. You made such an impact in the lives of our boys. Sawyer was indeed a wonderful young man and our prayers are with Grant and Lillian in this time of sorrow. God Bless you and your family.

  19. Christie Domingo
    March 19, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Beautiful, Jeff…and such a very, very sad reminder of how fragile life can be. Thank you for the inspiring and motivating words to live by. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

  20. Cece
    March 19, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Well said brother.

  21. Jacob West
    March 19, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    Wow. Very nice, almost brought me to tears!

  22. March 19, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    ~ beautiful Jeff…thank you for sharing your thoughts…with many tears as I read this and all day through…Sawyer such a sweet person….his light will shine and he will live in our hearts forever…my heart hurts so for Grant and Lillian…I pray their faith and God’s strength will carry them through the empty times…God Bless you All Jeff… ❤ <

  23. March 20, 2012 at 6:15 AM

    Thanks so much Jeff…Yes….Life is like a boomarang…what you throw out there comes back…be sure it’s something you’ll be glad in getting in return…Sawyer was part of our family and it’s been a real struggle these past few days for the whole family…I have a really
    hard time with loosing people…but as you say..we have been promised by the Lord that we’ll see each other again someday in a much better place…and until then we have a chance to make things better here by sharing and caring…Thanks again…and the picture only makes me miss my friends like you so much up there in Gods Valley! My best to you and May God Bless you and your family….

  24. March 20, 2012 at 8:19 AM

    Suicide is something that impacts so many. It’s been over 30 years yesterday since my stepmom killed herself on a sunny springlike morning. The day is burned in the memory much as it will be for the family you know. The rest of the world goes on, but sometimes I wonder about all she missed. She never saw her kids graduate, and go on to jobs. They’re much smarter to get into money jobs. She never saw her grandson graduate and go to China to follow his dream of learning martial arts from the world’s best. She didn’t value herself enough, for whatever reasons, to be there. We can invite, but can’t make people do what we want. Sincere condolences to those affected.

  25. March 20, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    you have a great way with words Jeff. Thank you!! It is amazing how much we all impact each other here in the Valley!! I had never meet Sawyer but my heart is heavy for his family,friends and the community!! We are all a tight nit family!!

    • Teresa Johnson
      March 20, 2012 at 4:37 PM

      I agree with my daughter in her post, Jeff, you do have a great way with words. I live just across the road from the Eastlick family and got to see Sawyer grow up these last few years. My thoughts and prayers are with Grant and Lillian in their time of sorrow. I know our Valley is saddened to hear of Sawyer’s passing and wondering what could have been done to avoid the choice he made.

      Teresa Johnson

  26. Christa
    March 20, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Wow, this touched the core of my heart. Thanks.

  27. Kathy Page
    March 20, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    Beautifully said Jeff. All our thoughts and prayers go out to Grant and Lillian and their family!!

    Kathy and Shawn Page

  28. lyn hayden
    March 20, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    Jeff that was beautiful, so true I hope I can live by that wisdom, Thank you, Lyn

  29. March 21, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    Absolutely beautiful…amazing way to look at life!!

  30. April 25, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    This was a great and amazing post. It makes me want to hug my children one more time. Give them a second kiss before they go to bed. It also makes me want to be better and improve others lives and help people. It makes me really just think about my family and let them all know how I feel. Thanks for opening my eyes again.

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