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So we are well into December 2020. I choose joy for this month. No matter what brings you joy I think we all can use it these days. For me it is the fact that after 8 long stressful months of unemployment my husband began work again December 1.

Covid has hit my family hard and instead of a much needed break from working so hard my husband was one of many that got laid off due to covid at his company. This was a hard thing to swallow as a whole department got told they were no longer hired in the midst of a pandemic. We have two compromised children and healthcare was running out and the reality of unemployment in the midst of a pandemic is all to real. Job-hunting in the middle of political disputes, riots and other stress related news everyday it was hard to breathe sometimes. We tried to manage but the months kept melding into each other and as others complained about not being able to go on vacations and ordering everything from amazon under the sun. I felt our stress was on another level. As things started to reopen and covid numbers went down it was hard to engage in conversations with friends. Facebook was hard to look at. The economy needs to come back or my family will not survive this. I couldn't complain about covid restrictions or presidential debates. Then I realized as with all things in life unless you are personally affected you really don't have a clue what people are going through. I like to learn from these lessons in life. Financially we were kicked to the ground but health wise we all stayed safe. We had each other and we were well. The job would come in time. My husband was a superstar through all this. I don't think I would of been able to handle the stress as well. Searching and applying endlessly. Having interviews that lasted months with 400 applicants for a job. Doing presentations for interviews that went nowhere but made you spend a week or so preparing for them. Making it to the last round to just missing out on it. Trusting the recruiters became really hard. Eventually losing faith in humans. Humor is what kept us afloat. I would joke that a interview on zoom was like online dating. It was hard to present yourself as a normal guy. Trying to guess if it went well or not. My husband kept on going and after long 8 months he is now back in the work field where after his first week his colleges remarked ugh so glad it is Friday right? Funny a normal reaction for someone who hasn't been unemployed for 8 months in the middle of a pandemic! My husband was so glad to be back to work after this experience he is forever grateful for a job.

So my first act of joy is that my husband who was dealt a horrible experience has now risen back into the work world and he so deserves this position and so much more for what he endured.

While this was happening I was questioning all my decisions in life. I am a stay at home mom and after having a career in the real world I can tell you being a stay at home mom for me was the best decision I made. I had the big fancy titles at work at top places like the Boston Globe, Travel and Leisure, Garden Design, Saveur Magazine, Target headquarters, Exhibit Group Giltspur in Soho NY to name a few. My work has been published and was rewarding. I was creative director I got the huge salary had the big meetings but was told by doctors I would not be a mother. I had tumors grow on my ovaries and operations to remove and test for cancer. I had scares or precancerous cells and benign tumors. I had pain and discomfort but I never had cancer. I considered myself lucky. Then when I accepted a raise and big position just when we moved into our little home in Westfield I started getting sick. The only home at the time was this small house with wall to wall carpet and wallpaper outdated kitchen one bathroom with a yellow tub mind you and my young enthusiastic husband and I thought we found gold. It took a Er visit to find out twelve years ago that it was not a tumor forming again but a baby boy.

Against all odds and doctors I was pregnant and then I was pregnant and then pregnant again and then finally again. Two boys and two girls are under a year apart. I don't regret a sleepless night or the sheer crazy amount of work that it involves. I gave up the huge career and relished in raising my four little humans. Fast forward to 2020 with my children remote learning and my husband out of work I felt helpless. We would go on walks as I worried how we would pay for health insurance and the asthma medicine my two needed. I was admiring the homes. The lovely homes that Westfield has. I would dream of all we could do to our home. We are still in that small little house with a updated kitchen but bedrooms are still small and the bathroom ugh one bathroom for six people is challenging. The massive addition never happened. I still would dream ohh look at their nice font porch and that lovely stone on my walks with my kids. My daughter said mom you should really paint our house. I came to love our old little house with the two small bedrooms and not enough closet space when it became our sense of security. I went home sketched our little home and posted it online offerring home portraits and well the rest is history.

I have been posting them every Friday since that walk. I was so thrilled all the while watching my husband exhausted trying to find work. It is now that I can really enjoy painting my homes seeing him happy as well. So my second act of joy was being able to do these commissioned pieces and sharing with the community. Taking time for myself to do my website and take a break from shuffling four kids to every activity and find some quiet time in the chaos.

My last act of joy is one the matters more then painting or finding a job. I was not feeling well and I knew something was up.

it turns out those pesky tumors are back on my only ovary left and a biopsy was done. Everything was finally falling into place and I just realized health is the number one thing that is important. The doctor called right before thanksgiving he wanted to speak to me personally. My heart dropped he never calls the patients. He wanted to tell me the good news the biopsy was negative.

I am not out of the woods yet January we will have another scan but I can deal with operations and I can deal with pain. The fact that it isn't cancer has been the greatest joy. As I paint away to finish last houses before the holidays. I am so grateful so grateful for these houses pulling me through everything I was going through. I am so thankful for my art and so thankful for my life and so thankful that I was reminded once more what really matters in life.

Here is my holiday card. All who have purchased or reached out to me for a home portrait really didn't know the whole story behind the person you were purchasing art from. I thank you. You have gotten me through this whole weird year more then you know. I recently did a painting for the church for the advent season

. I am compelled to give back as I can for I believed I was so blessed myself.


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