New Year’s Challenge – Part 1: “Flap Those Wings”


I just reread the post I wrote last January, You’re Invited To The Unveilings. I have mixed emotions sitting on this side of that yearlong challenge as I reflect on all the goals I achieved and the ones I feel I fell short of. I sure learned a lot about myself and gleaned several life lessons along the way that I plan to share over the next 4 weeks. My hope in doing so is to pass on helpful tools as you start out the New Year with your own hopes and goals.


First off, I learned the power of our own initiative. I talked and whined about and wished for years to broaden my gift and use it more, yet I did nothing about it. Results came when I finally acted; but that happen only after I stopped focusing on all the obstacles and focused instead on the possibilities. It reminds me of a time when I was sitting at my desk watching a flock of wild turkeys in our backyard. They got separated and half were on the far side of our fence and the other half were still in our backyard. One was just distraught, wanting desperately to get to the other side of the fence. He kept pacing along it incessantly for over 5 minutes. I felt so bad for him as I watched, so my mom went out to open the gate to the fence for the turkey to be able to get to the other side. What was so fascinating and intriguing to me was that when the turkey saw my mom he was frightened and quickly flapped his big wings and flew over the fence!! I couldn’t help but wonder why he didn’t do that in the first place. But wasn’t that just like me (and maybe you), wanting something desperately, yet for years I didn’t ‘flap my wings’ to achieve it – even though it was well within my power.


Secondly, I learned the power of commitment. Once I had the thought to do a weekly challenge, I was filled with excitement and inspiration (and fear)! But it was the passion and determination to become who I wanted to be that drove me to commit to creating a new piece of art each week. Dawn Chere once said, “Your commitment is your strength.” She was right. I created new art the week my dad had a heart attack, the weeks I was traveling and even the week I had surgery. Without that resolve in my spirit each week, which came from an upfront commitment, I would have easily said, “Not this week”. I learned that it’s not about being strong, but being faithful. Its diligent persistence that yields the results we want; it’s what filled my blocks of watercolor paper and sketchbooks with 50 new paintings and drawings last year.


Lastly (for this post), Holley Gerth helped me to see that we don’t have to feel ready to take on challenges, we just have to show up. She says, “(God) will give to us and then He’ll give through us. We’re simply asked to be willing and brave enough to do it as we are and not as we’d like to be”. Those are just such powerful words to me. They remove the power of lies and excuses that keep us bound from pursuing and achieving more…now. Each week it didn’t matter if I was exhausted or uninspired, I just had to be present. So, might I encourage you to “show up” and “flap your wings” today?


“When you pray, work to achieve what you pray for.” – William Carey



  1. Jean Gigante says:

    Thank you for the challenge you have put forth💕

  2. Your words of encouragement are applicable in every life challenge! Thanks for all the encouragement you have been to me!

  3. Karen vervoordt says:

    Okay I’m trying again!!! lol what u just posted so spoke to me. Thanku! Again congratulations you accomplished what u set out to do. God blessed not only you but so many others through your doing what He put before you! Love, Karen v

  4. Colleen says:

    I am going to flap MY wings too.
    So many excuses are given way too much attention.
    Time to pray…wait, put a load of laundry in.
    Time to read your Sunday School lesson…wait, give the dog a bath.
    Time to paint…wait, call your sick friend.
    Thank you Michele for a whole year of teaching and encouragement to make a commitment, show up, and do what you committed to do.

  5. Bari says:

    Michele.. you were right. This is what I needed to take into my soul. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. None of my words can describe how inspiring this year long challenge has been to me and how I feel about what you’ve accomplished. Huge!! This writing puts it all in perspective…love your stories and you.

  6. Amy says:

    Thanks for sharing what you have gleaned from it all. What you have learned through the challenge I believe will inspire and encourage many.

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