How to Let Your Gift Keep on Giving!

grandma's bearYesterday this picture caught my eye. Suddenly memories of bygone years flooded my soul.  This needle work picture of a bear was hand sewn by my grandmother almost 100 years ago.

The detail is amazing, but more amazing is the personal value I place on this little piece of my grandmothers legacy. Please read to the end and watch the legacy video that my granddaughter recently made for me. 

IMG_9333I took the picture out of its frame to get a good photo. As I turned it over I saw that my grandmother had sewn the picture into an old feed sack and then painstakingly used string to stretch the art over a piece of cardboard.  She couldn’t possibly have known that nearly a century later her grandson would stare at this work of art and fondly remember her impact on my life.

scan0074As I cradled the picture, I could smell bacon and eggs. No one made bacon and eggs like grandma. You will not find her recipe in a health magazine.

She fried the bacon first. Then the eggs were fried in the bacon grease. Extra grease was poured over the top to ensure that every morsel of egg benefited from the bacon flavor. Her toast was buttered to the point of soggy and fresh squeezed orange juice finished the gourmet touch.

Grandma smiled like an angel and smelled like Noxzema, soap and love.

Her needle point picture of a bear brought all of these wonderful memories back.

Here is how you can allow the gifts that God has given you to keep on giving for generations to come:

  • Don’t Hide Your Gift… Set it Free!

I am so grateful for this treasured artwork that has survived the years. Yet, I wonder what wonderful works of art went to grandma’s grave with her. What paintings, sewings, poems, or journal thoughts scampered in her soul but never made it to paper or canvas?

My dear friends Patsy Clairmont, Gail Hyatt and Joanne Miller, blossomed as they explored the artist within. Some of their artwork hangs on the walls of my home. More importantly much of their artwork will hang in the hearts of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren because they had the courage to set their gifts free.

I can almost hear you: “I can’t paint! I’m not a writer! I haven’t got an artistic bone in my body. ”

ou were made in the image of the Creator Himself.

  • Realize that Your Gifts are PRICELESS!

My father-in-law couldn’t draw, paint or write. But he made little wooden puzzles that will be passed on for generations. A few weeks ago I found the tiny bank he constructed out of wood.

When a coin is dropped through the slot it sets off a mousetrap hidden inside. Pieces of the bank flew in every direction. Immediately, I had to figure out how I could put it back together so I could show my grandchildren. And someday… they will encourage their grandchildren to drop a coin in the slot and laugh as they hear the screams of surprise and delight.

In the last stages of Alzheimer disease, my father drew a picture of me. It will never hang in a museum, my grandchildren think it’s creepy. But it is a piece of my father’s heart I will cherish as long as I live. When I look at it, I wonder what he might have been able to produce if early in his life someone had encouraged him to draw.

  • Give Your Gift Away

A card with a few clever words, something you sculpted, photos you have taken, paintings, drawings, a video, each has value because it is a part of you and an expression of who you are.

There is nothing to fear. You are not competing with anyone. You are sharing who you are. I promise that some of what you give will bless generations to come.

My 13 year old granddaughter freely expresses the artist within. She is a talented video producer. We can all learn from her example.
[youtube id=”Iu8KjAVtbJg”]

What family gifts of art do you treasure?

What gifts do YOU have that you need to set free and share with others?[reminder]

Some important notes:

  • I encourage you to read Joanne Miller’s book Be Your finest Art –  Awaken your Creative Self
  • You might have noticed the note on the back of the bear picture says. “For Carol Ann”  That note was written by my impostor sister named “Carol Ann.”  However, just before my grandma died, she pulled me close and whispered, “The bear picture is for you!”  I’m keepin it!!!
  • Below are a few gifts I am leaving for my extended family

KD Watercolors


  1. My dad’s gift of art lives in the hate, um heart of many. He is the guy who designed the Minnesota part of the Taylors Falls, MN to St Croix Falls, WI bridge, but, his greatest piece of art is the section of freeway in St. Paul, MN fondly known as the “spaghetti Junction/interchange”. My mom’s art was worn by all her kids and grandkids as she was a seamstress. She was actually proud when we wore out the clothes she made for us because that meant we liked the clothes so much that we wore it until there was nothing left.

  2. Thank you, Ken, for this encouraging and affirming blog. I have started to get my creative juices going in the last few years by writing children’s books about my two older grandchildren. The books are a trilogy. I am still in the editing stages but I have been commended by other writers that these are good. Though looking into publishing them myself, I am seeing God alone work in many areas. I am waiting for the final results to come in. Aside from sewing for the little ones and framing their art work and finding artwork worthy for their rooms from me, I feel I am leaving little snippets of legacy for them in the years to come. Looking back at what I have done while reading this blog has encouraged me to press on, to continue in these small yet big creative ways to my grandchildren. Thanks again. The sideline site has been noted by me for further study.

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