You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.

Three weeks into September and I have never been busier. I feel as though I have just thrown myself into the month and have been busy with school prep, student issues, freelance work, cooking, sewing, so much of my girls’ busy lives, my husband, volunteering for community events — and painting. Mind you, this is pretty standard for me most of the time but this month I have been really aware of my community and helping people out as much as I can.

My friends Lesley and Mark launched a website (http://www.onestrong.org) to help raise awareness about their beautiful young daughter, India, who has a degenerative disease and is dying. It’s heartbreaking. It shouldn’t be happening. They have all been on my  mind a lot lately and I have been following India’s (and their) days on Lesley’s blog (http://onmefall.wordpress.com/) and on facebook. The community has been so supportive of their plight and money is being raised for research. People are coming together to help and I’ve been really taken with all the kindness out there. It has even helped me to reach deeper to be kinder too.

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I painted the above painting of my daughter’s coach, Colleen, a few weeks ago and framed it. I then donated it to a fundraising event taking place at their barn for the Snowsuit Fund. It felt really good to donate my work and to contribute in some small way to something bigger than me. I can’t really afford the tickets for the evening, but I can use the talents I possess to make a small difference. I’m really happy and honoured that I can do that and I think it’s really important to pay it forward or to pay back into your community. I mean, we’re only as strong as the people that surround us. We need each other.

I just finished another painting of a horse that Juliet has been riding since January. (This painting will go into a local group art show in my neighbourhood). Atticus is a lovely 22-year-old retired race horse who belongs to Colleen and together they have been coaching Juliet and helping her to develop into a better rider. It’s been a really great year. Juliet has gained so much confidence and has learned so much. Both Atticus and Colleen have been really wonderful teachers and as Juliet moves up to another horse next month and a higher degree of riding, we feel confident that she can only improve.

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