School starts on Thursday. I am enjoying a quiet night; the baby finally quieted down in his crib and the newly decorated tree is all lit up beside me. I have a lot on my mind, despite the stillness of the house. I have been thinking about painting. My family makes such sacrifices in supporting my efforts to paint. We own a small three bedroom house and all four of our children sleep in one room, so I can have a place to paint. Nan is almost eight and I have been wondering if I shouldn't pack up the studio temporarily (we are going to close our carport in for a new office/studio space in the spring) and let the girls and boys have their own rooms. I have been thinking of what happened the last time I had a show (Feb 2008 in Salt Lake). When the show ended, I didn't paint seriously again for two years. Coming into the Holiday Tour I recalled all the time that went by and tried to identify why I stopped. This is what I came up with: I had a four month old baby and my two other children were 5 and 3. My husband was finishing grad school and later that summer we moved across the country. It always takes me what seems to me to be a longer than normal time to get my bearings straight when I move (mostly socially) and there was no exception when we moved to Louisiana. My oldest child started attending public school and then I was expecting our fourth child. Pregnancy and I do not get a long well, and neither did the children left at home while Nan was away. So I had our fourth child a little over a year ago and when I decided to start school again (on the extremely slow track- one class a quarter, so I can still be at home with my little ones) I think I started to see the light at the end of the creative tunnel. Of course while in that unproductive tunnel I judged myself. I thought that if painting was important enough to me I would make it happen no matter what. Who knew that it was a necessary time for me to be attending to other things? I don't think I need to be afraid of a repeat. I am in a different place in life now than I was three years ago. The studio needs a bitter cleaning, and now that Thanksgiving break is almost over and our wonderful guests are safely in their own home again, I can attend to that. I will not temporarily pack things up, and maybe this will help speed the process of our home addition along. I will honor my family's sacrifice and paint.