How Do You Spell Relief?

Relief: removal or lightening of something oppressive, painful, or distressing. 

We all need relief from time to time. The struggles and chores of our work and life can be overwhelming. The key is knowing when to delegate and when to take a break.

Yesterday I woke up at 5:45 a.m. with the little one and had a full day of caring for him, art business work while he played by himself, and knocked out a good solid 3 hours of straight canvas building while he went down for a nap. Upon cutting and routing the stretcher bars, I realized I was one board short. I was going to have to go back to the lumber yard for just one board. Well, of course as soon as he woke up ate lunch we went back out for that one board (along with a few other errands). By the time we got back my wife, Marie, was home from work. I desperately want to get back out to the woodshed to cut that board down, but there was dinner to be made (and eaten), house to clean, and Marie wanted to go to the store to get some household supplies. It was gnawing at me a bit that I could not get out there to cut that board. Finally there was a break after dinner when Marie came out to the backyard with our son. I had to take something to the front yard (where the woodshed is) and I thought to myself “I’ll just cut that board down and glue a couple of stretchers together and then stretch a couple of canvases and prime a few and…” See where I am going? It is hard to know when the day ends sometimes. But I quickly realized just as I was rolling out the miter saw that I was about to miss some quality rest time with my family. That miter saw was immediately rolled back into the garage. I delegated the board cutting to the next day. Like the contemporary musical composition 4′33″ by experimental composer, John Cage, reveals: the rest is just as important as the notes.

One of my beloved wildlife sanctuaries here in Athens, Bear Hollow Zoo, could use some relief. They are in desperate need of major facility upgrades. From now until June 30th 30% of all art sale proceeds will be donated to Friends of Bear Hollow.

The Friends of Bear Hollow, Inc. is a nonprofit group of volunteers dedicated to supporting Bear Hollow Wildlife Trail (aka Bear Hollow Zoo) through fundraising and outreach. Friends of Bear Hollow believes in the zoo’s mission of conservation through education with native, non-releasable wildlife. You can read more about them at

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