Artist Liz Drake’s “The Things I’ve Done”

Yesterday, while working on a Chinese/English artist focus, I was taking a much needed break and happened to check my Facebook notifications. One was a post from artist, and friend Liz Drake. You may remember Liz from her artist focus article several months ago. Here’s the link if you are interested in seeing her amazing art! Her post yesterday was so deep and meaningful, I just had to share it here.

The Things I’ve Done by Liz Drake 

Wanting to do something EPIC makes me want to think about the things I’ve done already in this life of mine. Not just the ordinary things that most anyone has done by the time they hit my age, but the things that make me unique. I acknowledge everything I have done int he past prepares me in some way for something I will do in the future. With that in mind, I thought I would just randomly list things I have done (In no particular order). It will be interesting, educational, exciting and sometimes heartbreaking to see where the future will take me. Bring it on!
I have lived in a home on the historic register that was once owned by clowns.
I have swam in the Ocean, I have dipped a toe in both Lake Superior and the Gulf of Mexico
I have worked in the field I attended college for for 40+ years
I have worked in a prison.
I have worked in a doctor’s office where I learned to assist with minor surgical procedures, remove stitches and casts, give immunizations, draw blood for labs and do simple lab tests.
I have also managed a garbage company at the state fair.
I have had the honor to serve my Lord on Alter Guild in my home church.
I have managed a florist company while the boss was on vacation.
I have done telephone soliciting for a local newspaper.
I have been paid to scoop ice cream and wait tables.
I have lived happily for 2 years in 47 square foot with my spouse.
I have been a hockey mom, gotten involved, kept score and laced more skates than Heinz have pickles.
I have been camp leader with the boys at scout camp for a week.
I have had poems and essays published in magazines.
I have won contests.
I was once voted one of my town’s “Ten Most Interesting People”
I have single handed taken 11 kids between the ages of 16 and 6 camping for the week end.
I have lived in a small town, in the middle of nowhere and in the cities. I prefer small town.
I have driven a stick shift in a car and taught my children to do the same.
I have driven a semi truck—forwards as well as backwards.
I have piloted a boat. I have rowed a canoe, a kayak, a john boat and pedaled a pedal boat.
I have flown a light plane….with much coaching, but I was in control.
I have won blue ribbons at the state fair, for art, for gardening, for floral design, for baking, showing rabbits and for hobbies. I have collected several silver platters for “Best in Show” at the state fair.
I have owned a milk cow–and milked, and made my own butter.
I have sheered a sheep.
I have managed a salt water fish tank and several fresh water tanks as well.
I have been represented in several art galleries.
I have grown, frozen, canned and put by fruits, vegetables and meats for winter. I have made jams, jellies, and dehydrated foods.
I have rendered tallow to make candles.
I have made funeral arrangements for someone I love.
I have stood sentinel over a very dear friend while she waged her personal war on cancer.
I have held vigil and been present when someone took their last breath.
I have sewn my own clothes and too many costumes to count. I have even done the sewing for a couple weddings–as well as my own.
I have changed the oil in my car and made minor repairs.
I have repaired the lawn mower–successfully a few times.
I have written and self published a book that has sold over 200 copies.
I have written and maintained a bimonthly professional column in a nationally distributed magazine.
I have published and edited a state wide newsletter with a circulation of about 350 families.
I have been part of a team teaching vacation bible school in both Canada and Alaska.
I have re-wired and re-plumbed my home.
I have heard the heartbeat of the ocean, smelled it rain in the desert and felt the night come alive in the mountains.
I have been divorced more times than I care to admit to, but when I finally got the getting married right, I got it right!
I have given birth to and had the opportunity to herd four amazing sons and enjoy their journey from babes to amazing young men. I have had the opportunity to watch them enjoy the journey of parenthood and to share in their joys with my amazing grandchildren and even now great grands.
I have had the opportunity to watch my siblings chase their dreams and have even been included on a few occasions.
I have watched The Magic Flute performed at Semper Opera House in Dresden, Germany.
I have at least driven through parts of every state in The United States of America.
I have flown “stand by” and learned the inner workings of commercial flight.
I have encouraged others to dream the impossible dream through public speaking.
I have learned to laugh at myself.
I have been the first person on a young horse’s back. (Not as dramatic as it might sound as my sister literally had him eating out of the palm of her hand before plunking me up there.)
I have started an art club, that continued to meet and grow even after I was unable to attend.
I have taught art classes, and enjoyed watching people do what they didn’t think they could.
I have learned to walk again when I was told I never would.
I have learned to trust in God, not religion.
I have learned to embrace hope and to look for the light.
I have enjoyed sunshine and danced in the rain, I have dreamed dreams and chased them down. I still struggle with not sweating the small stuff. I have learned that life is a journey, not a destination. I am determined to enjoy the journey.
Liz Drake
Facebook Art Page Tangled World by Liz Drake

I think you can see why this moved me to think about my experiences and accomplishments as well as heartaches! As I thought of some of the things I would put on my list, I decided that writing the list would be a great personal growth exercise. So here’s my list of things I’ve done:

  • I have sung/performed in 12 states and 6 countries.
  • I sang a gospel spiritual as part of a choral performance in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and in the Cathedral in Riems, France. Amazing acoustics!
  • I’ve rattled windows with my sung high notes.
  • I’ve interpreted classes from preschool to advanced university courses.
  • I have earned fluency in 3 languages (though sometimes I think I should remove English from the list).
  • I have earned 2 college degrees.
  • I don’t have biological children but have always raised others’ kids.
  • I drove a school bus for 5 years.
  • I’ve worked as a bilingual secretary for a relief organization.
  • I’ve studied Music in the German language.
  • I’ve performed in the opera including roles in Don Giovanni and La Traviata and Die Fledermaus.
  • I have sung in churches across a 6 state region. I felt at the time that it was Every church in the region!
  • I’ve driven on the Autobahn at speeds so fast it scares me to think about!
  • I have learned to play the violin, piano, kettle drums, electric bass and the trombone.
  • I’ve been a manager at McDonald’s.
  • I worked as a Sign Language Interpreter for 15 years.
  • I’ve been abandoned by a parent and rediscovered them after 31 years.
  • I’ve experienced the grief of losing 2 careers to illness.
  • I’ve been the choir director in a church.
  • I sat and sang to my mother as she slipped into death.
  • I have ridden a Tennesee Walker, an Appendix (quarter horse/thoroughbred mix) and an ornery palomino.
  • I have mucked stalls, fed, hayed and groomed horses.
  • I learned to drive on a stick shift (manual transmission).
  • I’ve experienced youth hostels in 4 countries.
  • I have been a foster parent.
  • I’ve worked as a travel agent.
  • I’ve taken an overnight ferry between Maine and New Brunswick Canada
  • I’ve traveled through Alaska, eaten Caribou sausage, stood in Denali and ridden a tram up the side of a volcano. I have seen the Aurora Borealis, whales and been herded by dolphins.
  • I’ve stood at the foot of the Swiss Alps unable to see the tops.
  • I have fostered abused and rescued dogs for the shelter and the rescue agencies.
  • I’ve volunteered in the local animal shelter.
  • I’ve worked as a legal secretary.
  • I’ve become an artist and blogger.
  • I’ve been a college football fan and attended Oklahoma University home games from about 1972-1982, as a child with my younger sister. We watched Billy Sims’ heisman trophy season and several National Championship years.
  • I started working as a sacker in a grocery store at age 14 years.
  • I experienced the shaking and boom of the explosion of the Murrough building bombing in downtown Oklahoma city.
  • I sang in the National Memorial Service for those lost in the bombing.
  • I’ve traveled and camped in most states in the union.
  • I have lost 3 people to suicide.
  • I have learned to care about God’s opinion and ignore those of organized religions.
  • I have learned to focus on the good and survive the bad.
  • Most importantly though, I’ve found that you can still find happiness and fulfillment even after your dreams and hopes are crushed. It’s all about the willingness to open up to new experiences and possibilities, and having the right attitude about the change.

I can only imagine the amazing lists you all might come up with! I encourage anyone interested to use the comments section and post your own lists! It’s a fascinating experience and you will feel much more accomplished and interesting when you finish! I look forward to reading your comments! Write in your own language and I’ll post a translation. If you have questions, please contact me at


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