Painting The Masterpiece of Our Life

by Lance Ekum on · 67 comments


“Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it.” ~ Danny Kaye

NoteThis post is a collaborative effort between myself and Emily, from Remodeling This Life.  The photos, taken by Emily, were the inspiration for this article.  Emily's contributions appear in the shaded boxes.




Just like a child painting on a great big piece of canvas, our lives are much this way too.  We are creating our lives every day that we're here on this earth.  Our canvas, our life – is colored by the directions we've taken our lives so far. 

I get out a huge roll of white paper, splatter some finger paints on it and tell my children to create some art. They step in the paint, they smear the paint on their hands, in their hair, and even some on the paper. There are no lines, no rules, they can simply create to their heart's content. The process is messy, the result a masterpiece.

So, in this life we're living, what are each of us creating?  Sometimes it's messy, sometimes we may not like what we've created, and sometimes we're thrilled with how this canvas is being created.  Whatever it is we have, though, this is our masterpiece.  This is our life. 


This is what life is. We're handed a blank piece of paper and told to create, make a life for ourselves. Some of us, even though there are no rules, worry about if we are doing it right. Is this okay? Do I have to stay on the paper? Color within the lines? Others dive in, making their art, with their own rules. My daughter loves to take this finger painting exercise off of the paper and paint the rocks outside too. And the deck. She'll go get blades of grass and see if she can use them as paint brushes. A girl with no boundaries. My son, he stays on the paper, admiring the colors on his fingers, complaining about the mess all over him, sitting in the paint.

We are all different and approach the canvas of life differently. Some of us use broad strokes while others make small, deliberate strokes carefully planned out. Some of us get messier than others. Some worry about the rules more or what people will think of the art we're making.

Our canvas starts from a blank sheet when we're born.  Much of what gets created in those early years is a by-product of our environment.  As we get older, we begin to color this canvas ourselves.  As a child, this is fun, this is life.  And boundaries are what we make them to be. 

And then we grow older, and into adulthood.  Been there?  It's a place where we sometimes (often times) start to "conform".  Because that's what everyone else does. Maybe we color inside the lines of our "life canvas" a little bit more.  Maybe we create our life as others expect we should.

Life is messy, like a roll of paper smeared with finger paints.  Sometimes we want to hide the flaws, try again with a new piece of paper, rip the one to shreds that we just messed up. In the end, each piece of art is unique to each of us and our vision. As long as the art is made with love, care, intention, and purpose, the artwork is sure to be a masterpiece.

 Life is messy!  If we're creating our life, though, and listening to our hearts, then we are creating our very own unique masterpiece. 

And even if we're not, just like finger painting out on the back deck, if we don't like what we have, we can paint over the top, or start fresh with a new canvas.  We all can.  Our lives going forward do not have to be dictated by our past.  Today is a new day!  And we all have a masterpiece that yearns to be created!

This is YOUR moment.  Get out your paints, take off your shoes.  Get a little messy if you have to. This is your moment to create the life you want!  This is your moment to paint that masterpiece within you, on your canvas of life!


A very special thank you to Emily, for sharing her thoughts and photos here!  Emily is creating a part of her wonderful life masterpiece over at Remodeling This Life.  To keep up with the many great things she has going on, subscribe to her blog, and follow her on Twitter.

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
View all posts by Lance Ekum
(Visited 468 times, 1 visits today)

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Yum Yucky July 14, 2009 at 4:55 am

Some people in life are handed only a piece of torn paper and one color paint and asked to create – their lives don’t become much as a result. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I was given about a 1/2 sheet of paper and 2 colors to use, but I made the most of it, and my masterpiece has grown and grown and now includes all the colors of the rainbow! Life is truly what we make it. It doesn’t matter how we started out. NO excuses!!
.-= Yum Yucky´s Last Fabulous Post ..Revenge of the Talking Stomach =-.


Hilda July 14, 2009 at 5:39 am

Hi Lance (and Emily),

I LOVE this post. It’s such a wonderfully appropriate metaphor for life. “The process is messy, the result is a masterpiece.” – how true! Not only are we creating our lives as we go along, but we also get to re-create it any time we want – what freedom!

A few weeks ago I created a large painting that didn’t turn out quite as I hoped it would. Last night I gessoed over it and tonight I’m going to do something that resonates with me more. And if it still doesn’t work out, I’ll learn something in the process and try again 🙂

PS, I hope the triathlon went well on Sunday?
.-= Hilda´s Last Fabulous Post ..Let go and let God =-.


jen July 14, 2009 at 6:18 am

Oh, I can’t wait to break out the fingerpaints today! That first photo sings!

Lance, I’ve been reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point for the third time. Have you read it? I think you’re what he calls a connector! Many blessings, jen
.-= jen´s Last Fabulous Post ..mile markers =-.


Stacey Shipman July 14, 2009 at 6:29 am

What a fun post…I’m reminded of Julia Cameron’s the Artists Way and how she emphasizes artist dates…something I need to start doing again. And after reading this, I have a strong urge to buy some finger paints and get messy. I think I will….I hadn’t thought of this, so thanks for bringing it top of mind.


Lynn July 14, 2009 at 6:51 am

Lance – I love how you interspersed your comments and Emily’s. Yes – Life is indeed messy and that is what makes it so wonderful. Taking what life throws at us and turning that into positiveness.
.-= Lynn´s Last Fabulous Post ..Sunflowers, the boys and field =-.


Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord July 14, 2009 at 6:59 am

It’s funny because when I read, “Some of us, even though there are no rules, worry about if we are doing it right,” I related it to my first experience walking a labyrinth. They say that walking one is symbolic of our lives, and what comes up while walking it is indicative of what we face day in and day out. What’s the first thought that popped into my head as I started to walk the thing? “Am I doing this right?” Immediately I flashed to the parallel with life. I am guarded and suspicious by nature – afraid to get messy, silly, make a mistake and be found out. Embarrassment? Worse than death for me.

But I’m learning. I might not take my shoes off and step in the paint just yet, but I’m more willing to go outside the lines and maybe (MAYBE) even get a little paint on my hands.

What a lovely post! I see colors as I type this!
.-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s Last Fabulous Post ..Paying Attention to Signs Along the Way =-.


Evelyn Lim July 14, 2009 at 7:29 am

This is a lovely post. I resonate so well with it, because I happen to enjoy painting. I also encourage my children to express themselves in art. The descriptions that you play alongside each other are beautifully weaved together. Great collaborative work!
.-= Evelyn Lim´s Last Fabulous Post ..Life Between Lives Regression Therapy Review =-.


Jannie Funster July 14, 2009 at 8:06 am

Yep, I’m ready for the mess. Gonna do 5 things today to get me messy in non-conformist kind of way. Five things!

Your posts always so great, Lance. What a way to start the day. Super collaboration with Emily!
.-= Jannie Funster´s Last Fabulous Post ..Why we usually eat at home =-.


Jewel/Pink Ink July 14, 2009 at 8:33 am

Love this metaphor, Lance and Emily. Let the painting begin!

My most interesting work-in-progress: my kids!!


vikum July 14, 2009 at 9:35 am

Hi Lance and Emily,
So lovely ideas. As children we paint so freely but when become adults we worry too much about the lines and shapes. That decreases the creativity of our fabulous piece of art. So if we can practice to live free and out of borders from the childhood our life will be a masterpiece for sure. That’s what Emily is doing with her children I think which should be appreciated.
Nice words, nice thoughts and a great piece of work.
You are awesome Emily and Lance .
.-= vikum´s Last Fabulous Post ..Brick walls are there for a reason =-.


Tess The Bold Life July 14, 2009 at 9:36 am

Lance and Emily,
How fun is this. I’ve been thinking about painting again and now I’m inspired. I agree it brings so much freedom when we have this power.

This reminds me of my favorite quote “You have your colors, you have your brushes, paint paradise and walk right in!” -Nikos Kazantzakis

Now how difficult is that?!? Oh and did I tell you I love being messy…Roger calls me Tess the Mess at times! Lance this rocks you are always challenging us to be more creative and taking you on.
.-= Tess The Bold Life´s Last Fabulous Post ..75 Ways To Make The World A Better Place =-.


Tess The Bold Life July 14, 2009 at 9:36 am

Ooops I should have said I’m taking your challenge on!
.-= Tess The Bold Life´s Last Fabulous Post ..75 Ways To Make The World A Better Place =-.


Positively Present July 14, 2009 at 10:04 am

This is YOUR moment! I love that. This is a great post and really reminds me of the power we have to create our own lives. Life, as you said, is messy, but we have the canvas and we have the paints and it’s up to us to make what we want of it.
.-= Positively Present´s Last Fabulous Post ..the purpose of a wish =-.


Nathalie Lussier July 14, 2009 at 10:06 am

I love it! Life IS messy. I especially liked Emily’s quote: The process is messy, the result a masterpiece.

I’ve found that to be true in my own life, only after I stepped out of the lines of course. 🙂 Here’s to the messiness and enjoying the process!
.-= Nathalie Lussier´s Last Fabulous Post ..Organic Food: The Raw Debate Over Benefits of Organic =-.


Amy @ Living Locurto July 14, 2009 at 10:28 am

Hi. I came over from Emily’s site. Wow, I love all your wonderful comments. I hope this helps people loosen up, be creative and not “conform” 🙂
.-= Amy @ Living Locurto´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cajun Caviar Recipe =-.


Audra Krell July 14, 2009 at 10:29 am

I love these pictures, the first one especially is very powerful. And Amen Yum Yucky – here’s to no excuses!
Great collaboration – thanks for sharing your joint creativity, really good idea!
.-= Audra Krell´s Last Fabulous Post ..Doing their own stunts? =-.


Jennifer July 14, 2009 at 10:51 am

Lance, thank you for introducing us to Emily. As an artist, I LOVE this post. It’s easy for me to relate. I love this message from both of you.

Emily thank you for sharing your talent in photography and words with us. My favorite sentence is: “As long as the art is made with love, care, intention, and purpose, the artwork is sure to be a masterpiece.” So true!

As an artist, sometimes the canvas just doesn’t turn out as nice as we want it to. But, we can start all over and the same is true with our lives. And we can do it at any time if we don’t like it. We can do it today. I love the idea of letting loose and having fun as we do this.

Again, I would like to say this is a beautiful post!
.-= Jennifer´s Last Fabulous Post ..An Extraordinary Life =-.


Jodi at Joy Discovered July 14, 2009 at 11:04 am

I resist the messy in all areas of my life! But this post inspires me and puts me in the mood for adventure! I’m pulling out the paints and my kids and I are going to dive in!
.-= Jodi at Joy Discovered´s Last Fabulous Post ..An Elephant, a Rope, and Programmed Beliefs =-.


Srinivas Rao July 14, 2009 at 11:30 am

Such a cool post. I always say color outside the lines. We put so many rules and restrictions into our lives as adults.
.-= Srinivas Rao´s Last Fabulous Post ..How to follow through on anything: from commitment to habit =-.


Nadia - Happy Lotus July 14, 2009 at 11:45 am

When I was a kid, I never understood rules. My mom used to say that I always used to want to know the reasons behind things and if it made sense, I would adhere and if it didn’t, I would do my own thing.

I think what is beautiful about life is that it can be whatever you want it to be. There are no absolute formulas. I have seen people do all the right things and never be happy. I have seen people who just did what their heart told them, and they are in bliss.

So I fully endorse spreading that paint around and being messy. My husband jokes that I use the bathroom mirror as a canvas because my side usually is full of interesting designs which I have no idea how they get there. My paints in that case are usually toothpaste, skincare products and my face wash! 🙂
.-= Nadia – Happy Lotus´s Last Fabulous Post ..Hanging Out With the Saltwater Buddha =-.


suzen July 14, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Lance and Emily,
How DElightful! This post just made my heart sing! Oh my King of Metaphor, you hit another prize one here! Had a good laugh at myself as well. I’ve always been kinda ass-backwards! As a child I was so very careful to stay in the lines, choose just the right color, shade the dark and light appropriately, cautious, careful and scared to death of “mistakes”. Any wonder I joined the Hippie movement? Freedom! Explore! Go for it! Happily and joyfully, I make great messes and like Hilda’s comment, if I don’t like it or it turns out icky, wham-0 – paint over it and move on!
.-= suzen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Wounded Warriors, Love & The Chain of Pain =-.


J.D. Meier July 14, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Life is messy.

I really like how you show the progression from environment by-product to change artist. The more we know, the more we rise above victim of circumstance, when we know the *right* things. A little mindfulness, a lot of skill, and continuous learning go a long way. Nothing teaches like experience, especially when it’s immersive .. no shoes and all.

You’re right, each day is a new day and a fresh start.
.-= J.D. Meier´s Last Fabulous Post ..12 Practices for Improving Likeability =-.


Mindful Mimi July 14, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Lance, Emily,
So much fun. I loved the pictures. They remind me so much of my kids making art.
My oldest once painted something and asked me ‘Mommie, what is this?’ It was a non descriptive blob of paint and lines. I said ‘That is art.’ He looked at me funny and asked ‘What is art?’ I answered ‘Art is when you create something someone else likes. And I like what you painted. So it’s art’. He smiled and repeated ‘art, art’.
Great post.
.-= Mindful Mimi´s Last Fabulous Post ..Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one — Hans Selye =-.


Diane July 14, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Hi Lance and Emily!

Loved your Post!

Yes life can be very messy metaphorically and really.

Create your own life…be your own author, architect, painter!

Just love it!

Thanks So Much!


Sami - Life, Laughs & Lemmings July 14, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Hey Lance & Emily, what a great metaphor for life. Love it! Life really can be messy but the end result (the masterpiece) can still be beautiful. In fact, it probably wouldn’t be as beautiful if it didn’t have the messiness.

I also love the idea that, just like art, one person’s masterpiece may not be what someone else would like but it’s unique to them. We can’t all be liked by everyone and it’s important to not get hung up on what other people think (something I’m still learning to do).
.-= Sami – Life, Laughs & Lemmings´s Last Fabulous Post ..Advice I Would Have Given Myself When I Turned 21 =-.


Dr. J July 14, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Great post, Lance! Not that you asked 🙂 But my email letters stand for the answer to the question I get asked, “what is your medium,” when I say I’m an artist- “Life is the medium!”
.-= Dr. J´s Last Fabulous Post ..Nibbles: Looking for a genetic link to salt sensitivity, food stamps for farmer’s markets, and the best way to sharpen an aging brain =-.


Lance July 14, 2009 at 4:39 pm

@Yum Yucky – Making the most of what we have…Josie, I love that thought. So maybe we have less to work with than others. We can still create. And as we do, our 1/2 sheet of paper can still be a masterpiece. Josie, you ARE a masterpiece – and you are most definitely full of all the colors of the rainbow. Love your attitude…and your belief in “you”!

@Hilda – Hi Hilda. This whole idea that we can re-create our life, this is such a liberating concept. We are not limited by whatever our past might hold. We are limited only by our imagination and gumption. And very cool – this painting you’ll be re-creating. Because you CAN! Do overs are allowed! And thanks – the triathlon went well. Very nice weather, the swim was tough, but the rest really went well. And then I needed a nap!

@Jen – Happy painting!! Yes, doesn’t that first photo just really shout “get messy and have fun”! I have not read the “Tipping Point”, although I am familiar with it (and now you’ve really piqued my interest). Jen, what you’re saying really means alot to me…thank you!

@Stacey Shipman – Hey Stacey. Artist dates…I’m guessing that’s setting aside a date with yourself to do something artistic (sounds pretty awesome – schedule it in to make sure it happens!). Hey, I hope do get out there and get messy (take some pictures!!), have some fun with it, and just let your imagination go!

@Lynn – This was fun, putting the pieces together, between what Emily wrote and what I wrote. And messy…messy can be good…

@Megan – Walking a labyrinth sounds very much to be a look within (and it sounds so fun too!). Embarrassment – something many if not all of us have faced at one time or another…and have been “mortified” by. So, Megan – here’s to spilling some paint…being a little bit messy…having some fun…and not caring what others think! (I know…this is easy to write, and harder to do). You do what feels right, my friend… whatever that is.

@Evelyn – Very cool! Keep painting and encouraging your kids to express there creative sides as well! Thanks so much Evelyn, working with Emily was so easy, and really what we wrote just complemented each other well.


Lance July 14, 2009 at 4:39 pm

@Jannie – Jannie, I’m not surprised! Here’s to you doing those five things – being a bit messy – and having some fun along the way – and all part of creating the masterpiece you already are! And thank you – working together with Emily was a real treat (treat…hmmm…now I want ice cream!).

@Jewel – Let the painting begin!! Kids…yes, they are a creation too – something you as a parent have created – and that’s pretty beautiful!

@Vikum – As adults, we can become conformists (not that everyone does). If we conform because that also speaks to our heart, then that’s what we should be doing. If we conform though, just to conform, then that’s when it’s time to consider what kind of artwork our life is. Emily’s kids…I love the freedom I get from these pictures of them just doing what feels right to them – awesome! Thanks much!

@Tess the Mess – Bring out the paintbrushes (or the fingers…or the toes!). Love the quote, Tess. We can paint our very own paradise, our life – if we just listen to our heart. And I love the new name I now also know you by (Tess the Mess!!!). And I think you’re already there, creating your wonderful masterpiece already!

@Positively Present – This is what we have – the ‘now”. And this is good for me to read too, and remember that for every minute I put off creating the life I desire, that’s one more minute where my own masterpiece isn’t quite as good as it could be. Here’s to creating amazing masterpieces!

@Nathalie – I love what Emily is saying also, even though our day to day may get messy sometimes, that messiness becomes part of us – and our grand creation…our masterpiece! And that’s a great point, sometimes during the messiness of life, it may not feel like we’re creating something magnificent…but we really are!

@Amy – Welcome,and thanks for stopping by and commenting, Amy! It’s great to have you here. Yes, here’s to loosening up, and really just letting the person inside of us out to play! Whatever that means for each of us…


Lance July 14, 2009 at 4:40 pm

@Audra – These pictures are great, aren’t they! Kids in action – way awesome…and proof that we can learn a lot from our children. This was fun to do, and working with Emily…gosh, way easy to do! Thanks Audra!

@Jennifer – You’re welcome! The artist in you – she knows, doesn’t she – about the messiness that can happen in the creation of art. And to the artist within all of us – the one who is daily creating “us” – that same thought applies! And when “that” artist comes out with love, care, intention and purpose – it is truly our own masterpiece being created! Jennifer, I know you are creating something very special, that your “artist within” is focused on all of this – and the creation is a beautiful masterpiece!

@Jodi – Yay, getting the paints out and diving in! Have fun, creating whatever your hearts lead you to! Jodi, I think this is awesome, and in all your life adventures…know that they are all a part of your magnificent masterpiece!

@Srinivas – Short of breaking the law, or hurting others…here’s to breaking a few rules and living the life we desire!

@Nadia – So there you go, Nadia – you’ve been being “you” since you were a little girl – how awesome! What you’re saying really has me thinking – it really all comes down to what we believe deep within our soul…and then living that out. We might seem weird to others (or we might not) – but we are being “us”. And that’s a life so worth living, and artwork in motion! And…ha! – it sounds like you’ve mastered messy right within your own bathroom! I love it!! Thanks so much for sharing all of this (and for a really big smile!).

@Suzen – So…as a kid, you followed all the rules, colored inside the lines – and then as an adult – bring on the Hippie movement. Suzen, this is awesome! And it speaks to really living life today – so there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being ass-backwards…in fact, it’s pretty darn cool! Keep painting your life in amazing ways! I know you are…


Lance July 14, 2009 at 4:40 pm

@J.D. – Immersion…getting right in there. That’s what life’s about. And getting dirty, living our life, and listening to our heart! Here’s to today, and for the fresh start each of us has!

@Mimi – Mimi, thanks so much for sharing that link – that’s such a great shot of your son…getting messy and creating some wonderful pictures along the way! How fun! Art – creating something others like – or even something that we ourselves like. And that can be our lives – art – something that makes us smile at what we’ve created!

@Diane – Hi Diane! Yes, creation of our lives is up to us – and we can decide how deeply we listen to ourselves as we create that life…that masterpiece. And the more deeply we listen, the more real and authentic this masterpiece is!

@Sami – Hey Sami! Yes, I love it – the messiness does really add so much to our masterpiece. It’s shaped by how we live our life – the good days and the bad – and how we bring it all together. And yes – we’re all unique (think parmesan cheese!) and what matters is that we believe in the masterpiece of our life. Great thoughts Sami – thank you!

@Dr. J – “Life is the medium” –> I love it! Life is what we have here, each of us – we have our life – and how will be use it – what will we create from that life? It is indeed up to us in creating our masterpiece…


The Exception July 14, 2009 at 6:00 pm

I can’t add much of anything except that this was a beautiful post and there are many things here to note. I am one of those who learned early to make the most out of life as I started losing my vision (eye sight) In this light, I have filled my life with the music of different drummers – beats only I can hear most of the time. I raise my daughter this way too – with the freedom to explore and experience life and adversity and all the colors under the sun. The world is her canvas… she is learning how to create just as I am remembering how to do the same.
.-= The Exception´s Last Fabulous Post ..An Honest House =-.


Amanda Linehan July 14, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Hi Lance and Emily – Blank canvases can be fun – they can also be scary! Sometimes we see that big white canvas that we need to add color too and we are not sure where to start. But once we get started, our ideas start to flow and before we know it that canvas is filled. 🙂
.-= Amanda Linehan´s Last Fabulous Post ..Practicing Patience With Others =-.


Vered - MomGrind July 14, 2009 at 7:56 pm

What a beautiful collaboration between two of my favorite bloggers. You both have a knack for enjoying life. You both inspire me!
.-= Vered – MomGrind´s Last Fabulous Post ..Low Rise Jeans: Five Reasons To Hate Them, One Reason To Love Them =-.


Lisa's Chaos July 14, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Such a deep message and it does make me want to get out huge paper and tons of paints and feet paint with the grandchildren. 🙂


Lance July 15, 2009 at 5:31 am

@The Exception – “The world is her canvas…” — such a wonderful and life-fulfilling thought! If we all thought this way, if we all saw the possibilities in life instead of the things holding us back – how much greater our lives all would be. Thanks so much for sharing part of your journey.

@Amanda – Hi Amanda. You’re right, they sure can be scary – and that’s not something we’ve touched upon. A blank canvas really says that all possibilities still exist, and we can go in any direction we choose. And this is where listening to your heart is so important – because if we don’t – then are we going down a path on this canvas that isn’t truly us? Amanda – thanks so much for this – such an important part of the whole – how we start with that blank slate…

@Vered – Thanks so much Vered. It’s be so great working with Emily, and really trying out something new here for this site. Thank you for being here…

@Lisa’s Chaos – Hey Lisa, sounds like a Kodak moment!


LisaNewton July 15, 2009 at 7:12 am

Oh, I’m so far behind Lance. And I love the idea of a collaboration. Thanks for sharing. I “conformed” for many years, but now I’ve found my “voice” and it’s coming out loud and clear.

I see art everyday in my photos and am having a great time taking them. 🙂
.-= LisaNewton´s Last Fabulous Post ..A Review of West Coast Drawings VIII at the Koplin Del Rio Gallery =-.


Zeenat {Positive Provocations for mind body&Soul} July 15, 2009 at 8:06 am

Wow! Lance and EMily….I love the feel of this post. Its uplifting and inspiring all at the same time. And not to mention COLORFUL!
This is my first visit to your blog..and i am positively inspired. I love colors, but i hate rules…so I believe life should be colorful without borders and outlines and i love it that way.
My little 2 year old is finding her inner artist on my walls these days….but hey,,when i dont follow rules why should she:)
Love your posts. Keep them coming.
.-= Zeenat {Positive Provocations for mind body&Soul}´s Last Fabulous Post ..See The Positives In All Situations =-.


Mark July 15, 2009 at 10:18 am

Excellent post. We are all creating all of the time. The key is to be aware of how and what we are creating.
.-= Mark´s Last Fabulous Post ..Anxiety =-.


carla July 15, 2009 at 12:14 pm

This reminds me of the last “Sunday Thought of the Day” when it was emphasized (for me) that we are the creators of our lives. I like to think that I am my own artist. 🙂
.-= carla´s Last Fabulous Post ..Link Love: Bottled water, organic produce and more… =-.


Bella July 15, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Wow, this collaborative post really touched me today. And, it’s serendipitous as I went away for the weekend to a friend’s wedding with another friend. That friend and I were talking a lot about our lives and choices we’ve made or experiences beyond our control that influenced our lives. At the conclusion of the weekend, both of us agreed that while some of the experiences weren’t ones we would want repeated, we both love the way that we’ve turned out! How, all the expereiences intermingled to create “gorgeousness”! I love this post and the thought of how we’re all creating masterpieces all the time. Sometimes we might not be able to see the magnificence of it all and it’s a blessing when others do and point it out to us, don’t you think?

Thanks again, Lance and Emily!

.-= Bella´s Last Fabulous Post ..Once Upon A Time ~ =-.


Katie @ Making This Home July 15, 2009 at 4:54 pm

This project is fabulous. I love how it’s all about creating all while being written by two creators. Beautiful!
.-= Katie @ Making This Home´s Last Fabulous Post ..A Simple Workspace =-.


Laurie July 15, 2009 at 5:14 pm

What is so nice about it is that if you didn’t paint the picture you wanted at first, you can paint on top of it and go a different direction. I feel like that is what I have done the last year or so. I took out some other colors and got to painting a picture that reflected my passions more. I like the picture that is developing a lot more.

Thanks for the wonderful post. A great reminder to make life happen instead of letting it happen to you.


Lance July 15, 2009 at 10:13 pm

@LisaNewton – Good for you, Lisa – finding your “voice” and painting your canvas in the colors and patterns you want! That’s awesome! Your photos are wonderful, and I really do feel that they connect deeply with you – which makes them even more meaningful for me.

@Zeenat – Thanks for stopping by today Zeenat. The colors are wonderful, aren’t they! That’s some kids who are really having fun! “…life should be colorful without borders..” – I love that! It really speaks to us listening to our hearts and doing what it speaks – whether that conforms or not. Deep down, I believe we’re all rooted in good – and getting to that spot – even if it means breaking some “rules”, per se, that’s still a very good thing.

@Mark – Awareness…yes, so important. Otherwise we could be creating something that doesn’t have meaning for us… Thanks much Mark!

@Carla – Carla, thank you! These two posts really do go together so well! Everyday we have the chance to write in the book of our lives – and when we do – and when we really listen to our soul – we are creating a masterpiece! I love the thought Carla! So much! Thank YOU!

@Bella – Bella, thank you for sharing this story. I love especially your whole attitude – life isn’t perfect for any of us – and we are the way we are…today. That we cannot change. What happens going forward, that is within our control. So – gorgeousness it is!! Big time!! You shine light in the world Bella…and right there is even more of the gorgeousness coming through! And to your question – a big resounding YES!! When other shed a little light on “us”, that is pretty wonderful!

@Katie – It’s great to have you here today Katie! I love what you’re saying about creating and about creators – thank you!!!

@Laurie – That’s it Laurie – we don’t have to be limited by our past. We can start with a new canvas in life, or we can paint over what we already have. And that’s a pretty freeing thought! You’re creating an awesome “life canvas”, Laurie!


janice July 16, 2009 at 8:09 am

Nice choice, Lance; I’ve been a fan of Emily’s for ages. I love how the bloggng world shrinks when yo fnd folk you resonate with! This post reminded me of the lines from scripture that say we’re made in our Maker’s image. I always took this to mean we’re created to be loving and creative and have been given a lifetime to create – and creatively rearrange – love, life and beauty, no matter how we choose to do it. Some chose to create pain and evil but I say bring on the empty canvases, pages, potter’s wheels and stages!
.-= janice´s Last Fabulous Post ..How to Breathe Life Into Your Writing =-.


Jannie Funster July 16, 2009 at 9:08 am

Just popping by to say hi because I really like you and am extra glad we’ve “met.”

You are a very special person, loved by all us blogging buddies. God was so good to give us you.

.-= Jannie Funster´s Last Fabulous Post ..Flying By The Seat Of My Soul: A Review =-.


Hilary July 16, 2009 at 10:09 am

Hi Lance and Emily .. the little feet surprised me .. I was expecting to see a magnificient expansive intricate piece of art .. so the simpleness of little feet and sea-green paint foot steps and magic brush strokes is wonderful.

I have in my head at the moment the tapestry of life .. I can’t paint, nor can I do stitch work .. but the imagery of the carpet of life that we weave as we go .. and we all express ourselves with art, with the images we chose, or the images we send .. little ones offer so much truth to life .. I too was a non-conformer and still am .. hate being tied in .. always trying to do things differently .. my creativity I guess ..

A really interesting look at life and the way we are all so different .. and everyone’s comments too – so fascinating to see the reaction to the post and story within it ..

Thank you to both of you ..
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters
.-= Hilary´s Last Fabulous Post ..Wine, Dyes and Swans .. =-.


tony July 16, 2009 at 2:27 pm

We are all artists of our own masterpiece. This post really puts things in perspective, we can choose to make the best of what is given to us, and in the end its really what you want to see. Thanks for the insight.
.-= tony´s Last Fabulous Post ..Safest MMA Training Glove – Combat Sports SafeTech =-.


Sagan July 16, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Life is art!
.-= Sagan´s Last Fabulous Post ..Recap of an indulgent weekend =-.


Evita July 16, 2009 at 4:14 pm

This was fantastic Lance and Emily!

And I have to say messy is good! Many of us want to keep life boxed in some perfect container that we constantly compare with others, but life was meant to be OUR life, our canvas, so yes may we paint it and sculpt it and design it any way we choose – and most importantly have lots of fun along the way doing it 🙂
.-= Evita´s Last Fabulous Post ..Eckhart Tolle TV =-.


Tim July 16, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Lance and Emily:

This is an excellent collaborative post! I am blown away by its wisdom and simplicity and I love the photos, too. This is a great reminder to me and others that it is fine to make mistakes (in drawing and in life) because ultimately, it will lead us to our best selves. Thanks!
.-= Tim´s Last Fabulous Post ..All-Stars Among Us =-.


I TAKE OFF THE MASK July 16, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Hi Lance! This is a very timely post. I am at a crossroads right now, I’m going out of the country tomorrow. Reading this article helps me feel better. Like I’m just starting out on a new canvass, and I’m free a a child to just spread away any color I wish to put on it. I hope it’ll be a beautiful and colorful one 🙂
.-= I TAKE OFF THE MASK´s Last Fabulous Post ..Hope – The Secret Key to Happiness =-.


Marelisa July 16, 2009 at 7:56 pm

That’s so funny how Emily’s daughter tries to paint everything in sight, while her son makes sure to stay within the lines. I think my approach to life is to paint outside the lines. And yes, things really do get messy once in awhile, but then it all works out.
.-= Marelisa´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Buddhist Approach to Happiness =-.


Lance July 16, 2009 at 8:53 pm

@Janice – Emily is pretty great, isn’t she! “…made in our Maker’s image” – yes, I love that. And I think that takes us to our core, and to what truly matters. …if we get there… And trust in what we’re hearing. And if we do, then it doesn’t matter how our paint ends up on our life canvas! Here’s to all you’re saying Janice – bring it all on – a masterpiece for sure!

@Jannie – Jannie, it’s great to see you here! What? I’m the one who’s extra glad we’ve met! Now what we need is a great big ol’ blog party! Once again…you’ve brightened my day! Keeping singing your song Jannie…

@Hilary – And aren’t those little green feet awesome! And it goes so well with the idea that our life masterpiece can be whatever our heart sings – and it doesn’t matter what others think of it – it is uniquely us! Yes, that is you, Hilary – your masterpiece in action – non conformist and all!

@Tony – Yes, making the best of what we have…whatever that is for each of us. Thanks for stopping in today Tony!

@Sagan – …and I just got a print that says that very saying — “Life is art”! Yes it is!!

@Evita – Thank you Evita! Our canvas…something about the way you’ve said that here really is so wonderful. And having fun…if we’re not having fun as we go through life, then we are missing out. And the thing about fun is that there’s enough for everyone!

@Tim – Hi Tim. Thanks much! Working together with Emily was so easy. And the photos that Emily shared just fit this whole concept of a “life canvas” so well. So, let’s go out there, make some mistakes, have some fun, and really live our life!

@Jocelyn – I wish you safe travels Jocelyn. Whatever it is that’s taking you on these travels, always remember who you are, deep down. With that, you can’t go wrong. Spread you wonderful colors…your amazing masterpiece is being created! And it WILL be beautiful…

@Marelisa – And that just shows that it’s different stroke for different painting, and in life. And that’s good isn’t it. That’s what makes life interesting – that we’re all different. Keep painting outside those lines, Mare! Your masterpiece is filled with amazing colors and life!


Tabitha@ichoosebliss July 16, 2009 at 9:46 pm

BRAVO You Two!!!
.-= Tabitha@ichoosebliss´s Last Fabulous Post ..New Venture in Making A Difference =-.


Caroline July 16, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Darn it! Tabitha literally took the words out of my mouth! But I will say it again, BRAVO! This is has got to be one of the best posts I have read in a long time. So much of this is true and I love how you presented this…the collaboration is wonderful. Oh how I have tried to paint over flaws and start from scratch. And right now I am. I am getting a new sheet of paper and beginning my new painting. I turn 40 this year and I am starting over. I am living my truth and not conforming. I will paint outside the lines if I like. I will create a masterpiece. And if I make a mistake…it’s all good!

Thank you for this today!
.-= Caroline´s Last Fabulous Post ..Bye bye birdie… =-.


Liara Covert July 16, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Every stage of everyone’s life is a masterpiece. Thanks for reminding readers to realize their own unconditional love and inner beauty.
.-= Liara Covert´s Last Fabulous Post ..Dr. Judith Orloff & Interview on Emotional Freedom =-.


Rhythm Rob July 17, 2009 at 8:45 am

Hi Lance,

I couldn’t help but visit your site after reading today’s post by Lisis on her blog, Quest for Balance.

It’s funny how your last post relates to the stage I am currently in my life. I think that sometimes we tend to forget that we are the Picassos of our lives and we determine how we shape it. For a while, I used to think that it was all up to destiny and that things were unfolding in my life for a reason with no control on my part. While I still think this is partially true, now I believe that we are what we make it to be. Sure there may be a “potential” destiny waiting for us to discover, but we’ll never get there if we don’t make it happen. So I try as much as possible to remember that I’m the creator of the circumstances surrounding my life and I try not to think that my life is being run by external forces. It’s still a struggle at times, but it’s getting better day by day as I consciously decide how I want my life to turn out.

Lance, you’re an inspiration and you speak true words of wisdom. I’m glad to have come across your site and I look forward to many more insightful thoughts you have to offer!

Rhythm Rob
.-= Rhythm Rob´s Last Fabulous Post ..A Quote by Robin Sharma =-.


Angie July 17, 2009 at 10:21 am

Can I tell you how much I love this! I get the awesome gift of being able to be around my 2 toddlers (ages 1 and 2) all day- literally seeing life through the eyes of a child is so wonderful! Children are just themselves, they don’t worry they just are- they say and act as they feel (that is what is so endearing and attractive about small children, they are naturally authentic with no pretense!)
It is true that life is messy! We learn so much about ourselves when we are paining our canvases- and they are changing moment to moment! It is so wonderful to enjoy the process as much as what we are creating.
Such a wonderful post Lance!!!
.-= Angie´s Last Fabulous Post ..0711ddebe7fd2b92.jpg =-.


Julie July 17, 2009 at 12:34 pm

My painting is currently a big ole mess; however, I’ve been trying to clean it up a bit. Thank you for this post. 😉
.-= Julie´s Last Fabulous Post ..Backyard Observation =-.


Lance July 17, 2009 at 1:05 pm

@Tabitha – Thank you!!

@Caroline – Ha! Thanks much Caroline!! Hey, guess what – I turn 40 this year too! Keep doing that, my friend – living YOUR truth. That’s what matters. And whatever that looks like, it’s “you”, and that’s pretty special. You ARE a masterpiece!

@Liara – Every stage is a masterpiece, and that masterpiece is what we make it to be. Liara, thank you!

@Rhythm Rob – In the everyday-ness of life, it is easy to forget that each day we are creating that masterpiece that is us. This idea of us making our lives what they are to be – I completely agree. While there are some things that are out of our control, we can always control how we respond – and I think this says a lot – in the way we DO respond to any given situation. I love that you’re using the word “conscious” – that’s such a key in this whole process. If we’re to live our life on our terms, then we need to be conscious of what that life is. Thanks much for coming over here today Rob. And thank you for the very honest and heart-felt comment…

@Angie – Hi Angie! I’m so glad this post is meaningful for you. The whole idea really resonated with me, this idea of our “life canvas”, when Emily originally shared these pictures on her site. And having her add her perspective, along with everyone else who has added in the comments – has made this all very powerfully moving for me. “I get” –> I hear much joy in these words, and how you truly love the time you have with your children – that’s awesome! And we can learn so much from them. Thanks so much for this today Angie, and for being here…

@Julie – Julie, it’s great to have you here today. That your painting is a big old mess…that’s perfectly okay. We work with what we have, and we move forward. Maybe we start fresh, and maybe we paint right over the top. Keep at it, keep creating your “life canvas” as you want it…it’s there within you!


Amy Jewell / Cirklagirl July 18, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Lance & Emily,

What fun to fingerpaint! Emily – did you get in there with them? I guess that I would be like your son… looking at my fingers and marveling at the mess and yet, a little apprehensive of it. But I do love to make messes! My thing is collage. THanks for the reminder to CREATE FUN!
.-= Amy Jewell / Cirklagirl´s Last Fabulous Post ..Hump Day Hero #9 Christine Kane =-.


John July 18, 2009 at 8:06 pm

What an inspiring read! I’ve heard that phrase before actually on a children’s television show. “Life is messy”. But you articulated in within your writing very well. I can safely say I’m not conforming anytime soon into a life I don’t like and a job I don’t want. I live the way I want and if a few people don’t like it, I have to accept that’s how they want to perceive it.

Great post, Lance, but you don’t need me to tell you.
.-= John´s Last Fabulous Post ..Be Yourself and Stop Emulating the Masses =-.


Amy Jewell / Cirklagirl July 19, 2009 at 9:11 am

How do I get my lovely pic on your comment list?
.-= Amy Jewell / Cirklagirl´s Last Fabulous Post ..July Giveaway =-.


Lance July 21, 2009 at 7:07 am

@Amy – The fingerpainting looks really fun here doesn’t it! Here’s to enjoying the “messes” in our life…whatever they bring us…

@John – We’re not going to please everyone, are we. And that’s okay, what matters is that we’re living the life we want. Keep doing that John!

@Amy – To get your picture here, go to and sign up with the email address you use when you comment. When you sign up, you can upload a picture to use.


lucie February 12, 2011 at 10:00 am

this is sooooooooooo harmonious


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: