In And Out Of Africa


Originally published, December 31, 2017, on Cracked Nirvana.


In And Out Of Africa
Painting by Jane Garrison, 2014
Photo by Glenda Clemens, 2017


“Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
Focus on your character, not your reputation.
Focus on your blessings, not your misfortunes.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

For the past few years, I’ve been a member of the  Greater Issaquah Toastmasters Club.  It has been a great experience, filled with many blessings,  in spite of the 30-45 minute drive which seems longer in the darkness of winter. It has been worth every minute of time I have spent with this marvelous group even if I whine about going to the meetings!  One of the members who has become a great friend and mentor is Jane Garrison. She is an artist, master gardener, and an incredible person. About two weeks ago, she gave a speech about this painting and what it meant to her. It was inspiring to say the least BUT she surprised each of us at the meeting with a gift. The gift was a holiday card she made for each of us with this painting on the cover and her speech on the back. With her permission, I’m posting not only a photo of the painting but her speech.


“When we lose one blessing,
another is often
most unexpectedly
given in its place.”
C.S. Lewis

Without further ado, Jane’s speech:


You probably look at this painting and
wonder how I could be so naive, such a
suburban, American point of view.

I painted it a couple of years ago during
the Boko Haram crisis.

At that time a man from Africa spoke at our local
Rotary club. He had been on of the “Lost Boys”. His story was so terrible that I didn’t want to bury it.

I wanted to remember it and all its terror from
both human and wildlife threats.

I wanted to remember, so that I could appreciate my situation and be thankful every day, even though it seems rather tedious at times.

Here’s to our good fortune in this country.

Happy Holidays!
Let’s enjoy the season,
appreciate what we have
and remember how lucky we are.
—-Jane Garrison


My wish for you and for me is that we always remember how incredibly lucky we are and that we care deeply about all of those around us whether family, friends or those far away people we have never met. Many blessings to each of you and may your days be filled with light no matter how cracked!



“You have to participate relentlessly
in the manifestation of your own blessings.”
Elizabeth Gilbert

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