‘Life is what you make of it. Always has been. Always will be’
Let me introduce you to the woman who said this. Her name was Anna Mary Robertson. She was an ordinary woman who never allowed her circumstances to define who she was and never stopped learning and growing as a person. So allow her life to challenge and inspire you as she’s inspired me.
Anna Mary grew up as the third child in an impoverished family of ten in Greenwich, New York. Her parents were farmers and her childhood was happy even though she was unable to attend school in the winter because there was no money to buy warm clothing. At the age of twelve she began working full time as a hired help in nearby homes.
Anna Mary was married to Thomas, a hired farm hand when she was 27 years old. She gave birth to ten children but five of them died at childbirth. Working on a small farm meant a lifetime of grinding hard labor and when Anna Mary could no longer do the physical work required in her mid-seventies, she took up embroidery to fill her spare time. But she suffered from arthritis and three years later found she could no longer do embroidery, so at the age of 78 she took up painting. She used old house paints because that was all she had. Over the next 20 years she painted over 3,600 paintings and became a highly regarded American artist. Hoping to earn some money during the Great Depression, Anna Mary persuaded the owner of the local drug store to display her paintings for sale in his window. One day in 1938, a passing art collector saw the paintings on display and purchased them. The next day he bought all the paintings she had at the farm.
A year later in October 1939, three of these paintings were exhibited at the “Contemporary Unknown Painters” show at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and then Anna Mary was invited to hold a one-woman’ show. Just shy of her 80th birthday she became famous almost overnight. As an artist, Anna Mary was known as Grandma Moses.
I believe Grandma Moses was able to turn an ordinary, difficult life into an extraordinary one because she lived according to the following principles:
Life is what you make of it – always has been, always will be.
Are you inspired or challenged by Grandma Moses? I’d love to hear what you learned from her life.