Spring birds, like a symphony of high notes, along with the bass notes of mourning doves, create a spring song like no other. Bright spring greens fill the trees and the ground below, accented by deeper green cedar pines. As I look down, I notice the boards on the deck of the old porch have peeling paint, a reminder of summer projects ahead. All around, spring is my favorite season… that is, until summer, then fall and winter. Thank God for the variety.
What I like best about spring is that it’s a season of hope, and it’s hope we all live for. It comes in different forms, but, unlike a magic lantern, Santa Claus, or possibly-unanswered prayers, our hope, in many cases, is in our own hands.
Stop and think about what you hope for.
There are clearly things we can hope for but can rarely affect personally, though we each need to do our part if we can clearly see the role we should play.
Two speakers at my father’s services recently, recalling memories of my dad, repeated his mantra, which is exactly the one I grew up with.
He would say…
“If you don’t think you can, you can’t.
If you think you can, you can and will.”
Though the negative among us will challenge these words, perhaps they might not challenge them if they lived them.
Loving the Transformation
I’m not against negative people. I try hard to love everyone, and the best part about negative people is watching the twinkle they get in their eye when they finally get it … try it … and succeed.
Dad would say, “No challenge is too big. You just have to expand the possibilities of your thinking.”
And when he’d suggest something big to me, I often caught myself telling him the reasons it wasn’t right for me, or how it was too big, something I could never possibly do.
He would then remind me that every big dream accomplished in the world started out in someone’s head. Often, with disbelief.
“Push those negatives out of your mind,” he would say. “We all get them, but the key is to push them away.”
A couple of years ago one of my mentors suggested I launch a national television show on a major network. My immediate reaction was, “I can’t do that. Why would they want me? There are people much more qualified.”
Watching the Magic Happen
His response, as if he had been talking to my dad: “You certainly can’t do it if you think that way. How about you take the weekend, rethink it, and figure out how you’ll do it.” Two weeks later I had a preliminary deal for a show, and after a few weeks of discussion, a firm deal. Ultimately I had to push out my insecurities, and the more I thought about it, the more I believed it, and the more I believed it, the more I made it happen.
My grandmother always used to say, “Once you set your mind on something, you’re halfway there.” Once I had set my mind on this big, seemingly impossible idea, I overcame my fears.
You see, your belief has to be stronger than your fear. We all have fear. It’s normal. But if you want something badly enough, you’ll push that old fear aside.
When I meet people, I usually start by asking, “What’s your story?” They usually say, “What do you want to know?” I then say, “You choose. What’s your big dream?”
Typically, they can’t answer that question, but as I probe further, they realize there is an unrealized dream buried deep inside. They have pushed it down because their belief had not overcome their fear.
We all have excuses. They are very convenient. You know … I don’t have what it takes, I don’t have the money, I don’t know how to do it, I don’t have the degree, I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, I can’t be as successful as my dad or mom, I’m not smart enough … I don’t … I’m not … I can’t.
Just because you have not done something does not mean you can’t.
Do you really want to be at the end of your life, looking back at all the opportunities missed because you did not try? To me, the biggest crime is giving up on your dreams.
What is your big dream?
What are you going to do about it?
There is nothing like a funeral to make you realize how fast life travels. Seeing cousins with great-grandchildren has a way of making you realize how quickly time sprints by. For me, other than the sadness of the moment and our loss, it was a good kick in the behind to focus on the big dreams. Yes, there is still time.
At 94, Dad was working 15 hours a day and he had just started a new business. He talked of the things he was planning to get done over the next 20 or 30 years. He refused to place limits on himself. God had other plans, but he never had to look back over missed opportunities. He always went for it. You can too.
Make time now.
Don’t give up on dreams. Ever. Never ever.
You can turn dreams into reality. There is no excuse, no limitation, no age restriction. You can find a way.
Make your list. Then ask yourself what excuses you’ve been wallowing in. Now push them aside, and start thinking about the possibilities.
You can climb the mountain. You can live that dream. You can accomplish the impossible.
PS: My friend used to tell me, “It’s easy for you to say because you grew up with a dad who has done incredible things.” Though it’s true that he helped me overcome my limited thinking, I can tell you stories of people who had every strike against them and overcame those circumstances. Excuses aid and abet the plot to hold you back. Do you really think God does not want you to be the best you can be? You were made for a purpose … but you need to push out the negatives, the excuses, and discover the magic that happens with an unlimited mind. Most of us spend more time watching television than thinking about our dreams and finding ways to make them happen. Imagine if you took that time to invest in yourself. Change would surely happen.
I’ve had a surreal experience this past couple of weeks. Thousands of people I don’t know personally have reached out with condolences. My e-mail, social media, and mailbox have been filled with very loving thoughts from so many. I feel surrounded by your love and concern. And though this has briefly knocked me off my game and required me to take a lot of time away from my normal broadcasts and interviews, I’ll be back soon because I have big mountains to climb. Thank you to everyone for everything you’ve done. It’s deeply meaningful to my family and me.
Add my condolences to all the others. You ARE your dad…his spirit will always inhabit you and through you..we all get to share your dad and his influences.
I must have been living under a rock since I didn’t see that you and your family had had a major loss. I get your Coffeewitheric…Pardon me for asking, but did your Dad pass away? If so, I am sorry for your loss of his company and love. But he still loves you all and who knows?! Maybe he will be the one tugging on God’s arm saying, “Hey! That’s my boy Eric! Please help him with_________fill in the blank;) ”
Thanks for writing such encouraging and wonderful stuff! My hubby is looking at maybe a job loss(again, since he lost a job right as the ‘Rona hit last year) this fall so this article has bigger meaning to our family now. But God is always bigger than our storms, I keep reminding myself;)
God bless and keep you all! You and your family will be in my prayers.
The youngest twin,
Blessings your way. Thank you very much for giving so much to us through the pandemic. I have been inspired so much by the videos.
Eric, I only discovered you a few months ago and I have loved every word you write each week. I feel like you are writing to me personally. I am so sorry for the loss of your Father, he sounds like he was a great man in many ways. It is wonderful that you learned so much from him about failure and success, that is a great gift to receive . I lost my husband of 56 years a few months ago and I struggle each day without him. Thankfully I have my art. Soon I will be starting a class that will teach me something I have dreamed about and thought I could not achieve. Your Coffee With Eric writing this past week was the encouragement I needed to hear. Thank you for your wisdom and inspiration.
Always words of wisdom, especially from your old man, May He Rest In Peace. I lost my mother last week, she was 84 years old, and she had Multiple Sclerosis for over 30 years, she was very resilient. I feel a big void. RIP Mama
i can not get your other programs–streamline because ((McAfee says they are suspicious) Do you have a way to fix this ?? or do you have Mc Afee?? thank you IVA
Thank you for your positive thoughts
It gives people hope and belief in themselves & takes away those awful negative thoughts.
I enjoy your column, it is sort of a chat one on one with a cuppa in your hand.
I am sorry for your loss but they remain on in your heart and you never forget the lessons.
Thank you for all you do and the encouragement you always offer to others. Thank you for the “coffee on the porch” talks.
Eric, thank you for your encouraging thoughts. Your father is a wonderful man as are you. Very sorry for your loss. I bet you don’t even know how many people you help daily by sharing your thoughts, sense of humor, knowledge and more. That you Eric for being a part of my human experience and art journey.
Thank you Eric, your messages are very inspiring! You are truly gifted and have so much to share. Thank you for having the courage to go deeper and express your wisdom for the benefit of us all. Much appreciated!
Care and love to you and your family
Thank you for your continued inspiration… you are amazing. Every Sunday I look forward to your posting- over the course of this year you have navigated so many relevant and timely issues- all very selflessly . It is clear that you put a lot of thought into your writing. In fact, it reminds me of painting, where a few phrases describe a complete picture, similar to well placed brush strokes. You are very generous with your life lessons and sharing your personal journey, the elation and the sorrow. I know what it’s like to lose your father- there is always a “sea change ” in one’s life after. There will be days when you want to make that phone call only to remember you cannot. So, just like you remind all of us to keep painting, to follow your dream and to live a life worth living- I just want to say : ” right back at you!” Your dad was undoubtedly proud of you and in the coming years when you wish he “could see you now”….well those of us lucky to be in this community “see you” . Thanks for being you.
Thank you once again for your wisdom, your determination, and your giftedness via the arts. You are an inspiration to me, and to so many others. During my recovery from two knee replacements this winter, I have had time to reflect on how I continue with the rest of my life, and the arts are my number one priority (after caring for my wonderful husband!). I have found that I need art in my daily life to feel fulfilled, challenged, and refueled.
You have been a part of that quest for more hands-on art in my daily life, so this week I am entering my study/art studio to begin once again creating drawings and paintings. I am looking forward to it with great enthusiasum! Thank you, good and faithful mentor!
I always look forward to your Sunday posts…thank you for being such a positive voice.
My sympathy for the loss of you father. Your father has left this world but his spirit and guidance will be with you for ever.
I look forward to your Sunday Coffee post. You have a great writing ability and inspire and encourage so many thank you for that.
My deepest Condolences to you and your family.
Thanks for the reminder that I can!! Sincere sympathy for your recent lost. losing a patent is always very hard. Try to keep in mind that He will always be with you in your memories. You have my prayer.
Thank you for continuing your dad’s legacy in passing on love, wisdom, and strength. I’m grateful for your father’s dedication to raise the man you have become. Also thank you for being open about your faith. It is an encouragement.
Almost two years ago my wife’s cousin lost her husband to cancer.This guy meant a lot to a tremendous amount of people,including me.I felt his spirit reaching out to me and compelling me to do two things. One was to persuade my wife to attend his funeral, ( she was reluctant to barge in on the family) and the other was to commit to painting a portrait of him in watercolor and pen and ink.Both those things took place, and I am very close to presenting my wife’s cousin with the painting. COVID-19 prevented us from visiting , until next month.His spirit is very much with me still. Perhaps not as strong as when he first passed, but with me nonetheless. I wish that for you, regarding the spirit of your Dad. As painful as it is to go through the rest of your life without him, you were blessed to have such a wonderful Dad, not to mention the memories he left behind for you to cherish.May G-d bless you and all your family. I pray our paths will cross, someday Eric.
Barry D. Gellert
Your Dad was a big influence on your life, and now I know one of the reasons, and a very big reason why you are so
successful!!! I love your Sunday post, and all the videos you have presented this past year. Thank You, Eric.
Thanks for your timely thoughts, today. Turning 70 a few weeks ago hit me more than I thought and was focussing on my time left. But your thoughts today “kicked my butt” to forge ahead with smiles and positive energies. Thanks, Eric!
Dear Eric good Beautiful Healing Morning.
Hope you be feeing a little better every coming day.
Eric, do you still accept people for your Russian Art trip? I was unable to commit when you first offered, due to Health and $. Since then i did commit, it would a great delight for me.
Again i wish you wellness swim in the ocean of DIVINE HEALING LOVE daily.
You have lovely motivational words. Heartfelt sympathy for your loss.I lost my parents at young ages mom(49) and dad (56). As I am 67 now I look at all those years they did not have and feel thankful for the time I’ve had. My mom was very creative( oil painting,pastels,reupolstery,sewing,knitting,crochet,drawing) and my dad was creative too as he remodeled,made frames for my moms paintings and woodworking. I am trying to learn the art of watercolor and am watching many videos and reading many articles. Looking forward to reading your articles each week. God bless.
Once again Eric, thank you for sharing these deep, sensitive thoughts! For myself, I’ve been in the Fine Art Field for over 45 years…and still working at “obtaining my dream”! I’ve yet to attain it, but work on it daily, thru my website, my blog (where I share art ideas to help others on their journey), and other online connections! Again, thank you!
Thank you for all of everything you do for artists and others. My niece now subscribes to your Sunday Morning “thoughts and talks” and she isn’t an artist but has other interests and talents. You’re a great inspiration to so many. You are appreciated. I am sorry for your loss and happy for you that you had loving and caring parents. It shows..they did good! Take care of yourself.
Take all the time you need. The life halting events that can not be prepared for will unearth things in your soul that demand attention. Management of these things is so different from the management of your ambition, your business, your personal love and friends. Well adjusted, successful and happy people can be upended in a flash- or in my case, my sister’s and mother’s deaths. My father’s death was earlier and they were still here to keep me right side up. I had no idea it would take years to realize all that was to be managed inside my head (and outside). Your encouraging words have been added to the sources I have used over the last few years to stabilize my thoughts. I was always the stable, logical, calm, organized and self confident person…..until the unravelling. It was a dissolution of all that was: the family members all seemed to die at once, the passing on of property and business. Realizations of revealed truths that I was blind to, and the amazing out pouring of love from people I felt were far from me. So there has been good and bad. The issues of past decisions, past omissions, etc. had to be addressed. So, Eric, be patient with your head. You may have to delve deeper than you would like to find your peace on this journey through grief, but your advice to others will serve you as well. Your faith may be shaken harshly or stirred gently and become sweeter.
My sincere condolences to you and your family, Eric. No matter how old you are, it’s still gut-wrenching to lose a parent. Your father sounds like a wonderful influence to you in your life, and I’m sure he was very proud of your accomplishments. My own dad was a bit of a pessimist. His favourite saying: “Always expect the worst, and then if something good happens, it will be a nice surprise.” So whenever I did earn a bit of praise from him, I really felt like I had accomplished something great. In high school I was introduced to algebra and geometry, and to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. As a result (and due to a terrific teacher), my final grade was 98/100. I ran home and excitedly presented my father with my marks… he responded “Well, why didn’t you get 100?” I’m looking forward to improving my art skills via your daily Streamline videos when you get back. All the best to you and your family in these difficult days.
Hi Eric, after reading your coffee newsletter I would like convey my sympathy. I’m truly sorry for your loss. I still miss my parents and wish I could speak to them and ask their advice about many things in my life. We just have to carry on and be positive. Life is a wonderful gift and we must cherish it and as you said, never give up on your dreams. We are only here once.
Thanks for all your words of encouragement.
All the very best from Switzerland Irene
True comments and reflections. My HS Yearbook quote is from an old play by Maeterlink Act II. The quote is: “The future is a world limited by ourselves. In it, we discover only what concerns us.” It means you will never pursue a dream if you don’t go for it. Our daughter didn’t give up her big dream. Didn’t make it into Vet school 4 times!! She reapplied much to our surprise and made it in the 5th time. Of course we are so proud. But what we feel proud about is that she was up for the difficult challenges. First to to get in and then to do the hard work with some failures on Boards, clinical rotations, etc and yet she kept pursuing her dream. She has now been a Veterinarian for three years and has lots of experience. We feel proud that we must have helped her to somehow understand that the only failure is the one in which you don’t try! It’s all about attitude! Parents can make a huge difference in the lives of their children. I am truly sorry for your deep loss. Lessons he left you will fill you with the love he gave. I’m sure you smile when you think of him.
Thank you, Eric. I started sharing your Coffee posts with my family. One sister has subscribed even though she isn’t a graphic artist. She’s a talented musician. I’ve seen some significant changes in her life in the last six months. I think some of it can be contributed to an attitude adjustment that seems to fit with your themes.
Your father gave you the greatest gift one can give. Thank you for sharing it with the world!
Your article respecting your late father reminded me so much of my own father who struggled along with my deafness, my introversion and my AHDH-influenced procrastination mostly as far as I can remember since he found out from my mother who told him about our experience at a noisy Parade where I simply fell asleep there long ago. You also revived the bittersweet memories of his much-beloved jovial self through the years when he sought to help me on my education progress like my mother – amen! Thank you so much!!
Its tough to say goodbye Eric, its been 5 yrs since my dad died at age 92. Miss the stories he would tell us of growing up as a farm boy in Minnesota. Our parents are always with us, you have been blessed to have so much in common with him. I’m sure he was proud of you. I’m sorry for your loss
First of all, my sincere condolences for your loss. Your dad sounds like a truly incredible man and certainly gave you the tools for achieving success in life.
I really enjoy your Sunday posts. This was one was especially poignant. I have recently been reminded how quickly our lives can change and that we must live like today is the only one we have for tomorrow is not guaranteed to us. It’s so much easier to fall for the excuses of why we can’t do something than to actually do the work to make dreams a reality. Today’s story reminded me at age 68 to seize the days gifted me and go for the dreams I’ve had since childhood.
Thank you for all you do! Your writings, your sharing art videos the exciting online “live” events have all kept me sane during this strange time in history. And are a big part of what encourages me to keep learning and painting as I work towards my goal of being the best artist I can be.
Your weekly posts are always interesting to read, on many levels. But this week’s subject is perhaps the most pertinent and potent message anyone could hear. Thank you for sharing it so passionately.
Thanks so much for your Sunday Coffee emails. I look forward to reading your email each week. They motivate me to stretch and grow as an individual and artist. So sorry about the passing of your dad. I can tell from your emails he was a great man and father.
Thanks for all you do!
I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your Father. My deepest condolences to you and your family and may the Lord comfort you in this time of grief. I lost my Mother in February, 2021, at 92, almost 93 years old. I have looked back on her life and thought about how Mother was a mentor in my life. The loss of the last parent is heartbreaking; I am so happy to know your parent and my parent are with the comfort of our Lord.
Your comments about your Dad’s great and encouraging attitude have touched me in many ways. I too, am now that next generation of life on earth. You asked the question about what will we do with the rest of our life and what type of legacy will we leave the world has resonated with me as well. Having a “quest” in life for both men and women is so important. The “do” attitudes, thoughts and actions are the “energy” that propels us forward allowing us to achieve goals that perhaps, once, we never dreamed possible!
Thank you for your “Sunday Coffee” writings and the positive attitudes and images that you share with all of us!
Good Morning Eric,
I started to send you a note last week about your Father’s passing, but did not. Today’s letter is a beautiful testimony demonstrating the Word of GOD put into action. Your words speak loudly of the true foundation that one should build their life on. Thanks for being the type of person who is not afraid to speak about the importance of faith and believing in your dreams. I can see that through your pain, GOD is strengthening you for the journey. My best to you with your continued dreams… Your Dad is watching and cheering you on. <3
I’m am sorry for your loss. Your dad must have been a wonderful dad to have inspired you to do the wonderful work you do. I enjoy your Sunday Coffee tremendously and look forward to reading and meditating on the content each week. I have applied many of your principles to my own life and have passed on to friends struggling your posts.
I am hoping to join you at a plein air event in the future . Currently I’m still working on improving my financial status to attend. Thank you!
Your father’s legacy of faith, passion, determination, confidence and enthusiasm for life shine through your gift of love and inspiration to everyone you touch. I am so grateful that I am one. May he Rest In Peace and you continue to share your passions for years to come,Eric. You are a gift.
I too lost both of my parents recently, please accept my condolences for your loss of your Dad. It leaves a huge hole in our hearts.
Your recent message about your Dad was so touching, and brought back my thoughts and feelings when my Dad passed. I can see why you looked up to your Dad so much.
My Dad was a hard worker too, mechanic in White River, SD, Rancher and Farmer. There were no days off as I remember growing up on the ranch. After he was gone many people came to me with stories of how he had helped them with their cars, tractors, ambulances, firetrucks etc and saved them money by preventing them from getting parts they didn’t need. And how he listened to people’s stories about their families, he knew everyone in the area. He worked out of a three-stall garage that was off of main street. Evenings and weekends he farmed the land and took care of his head of cattle. Mom was his side-kick helping with everything he needed. I encouraged her to try painting and she became quite good at it, made her feel proud to accomplish and show her talent. I miss them both. And once again I am so sorry for your loss Eric.
Thank you for these inspiring words today, Eric. Just what I needed! It has been a tough couple of years for all of us and personally we have lost five people in our family and both my husband and I have been faced with diagnosis portending possible hard times ahead. I am a painter and my work has always been joyful as I’ve loved experimenting and learning new things. But I have found it almost impossible to be in that frame of mind lately and have done less painting because the joy has been missing. Writing helps me and I’ve been doing a lot of that but your words today inspired me as my own have not and I am grateful that you take the time to share them. I want you to know that they have made a difference for me. Thank you. I understand your own sadness and that we simply have to go through it, but you have the gifts to do that and will no doubt be ok. Your father sounds like an incredible man and you seem to have learned a great deal from him, especially with your kindness in sharing your thoughts with the rest of us.
Thank you for this wonderful post. I needed to hear it and be reminded of the need to be positive, active, and more aware of how I waste time. You are a gift to so many people, sharing your thoughts and faith in God. I look forward to your weekly posts and find them very encouraging. Thank you!
Good morning Eric I always enjoy your Sunday Coffee post. This one is really good. Thank you and God Bless.
You really are the Oral Roberts of the art world. You advise is dam good and I hope you can keep giving it for a long time.
As usual, Eric you have inspired a lot of “someone else”s. I am in that crowd because I thought that a recently developed tremor would stop me from my art. It has in fact improved it greatly…now I must slow down and take the time to make precise strokes, perhaps something I should have been doing all the way along. It has made me appreciate how every stroke that we take in life leave an impression on our canvas. May your canvas always be one that reflects your Faith and your belief in the best of others, as well as yourself.
You, like your dad are truly remarkable individuals. You care and share words and thoughts that inspire and motivate others to do great things.
Thank you again Eric for all you do!.
Been reading about your difficult loss and know how hard it is. 8 years ago, I fell and broke all the bones in my elbow. Doctors didn’t know if they could save it, but I had a marvelous surgeon. I paint, garden, play the viola and knit so was supremely grateful for her skill. Right afterwards, my mother, father and sister all died within 10 months, so it was a very painful year. To this day, I think about them every day, dream about them every night and almost feel as if they are still with me. I wish you peace
Enjoy your posts!
This is a keeper. I love these columns. Thank you for inspiring me to be a better person.
I appreciate your positive encouragement so much. I’m a late bloomer in the art world. It was my dream as a teenager to be an artist, but with the exception of my high school art teacher, had no one encourage me to do this. After all you couldn’t make a living and support yourself doing art I was told. So I agreed to be an art teacher….and was told if there is a depression art teachers will be the first to go. So it didn’t happen. I got married and had a good job in the postal service until I retired in 2011. So at this time I had also divorced and reconnected with a high school friend that had different visions. I started photographing birds at my feeder and then tried watercolor which I fell in love with. We also opened an antique shop where I also now sell my paintings, prints and note cards. Two years ago I won a blue ribbon at the New York State Fair. I couldn’t believe it. I’m 70 now and feel there is much more to come. It’s never too late and I’m ordering your book for more good information. Thank you.
Thank you for all you have done and continue to do. I can’t afford to join you at the annual conference or at paint-outs, but I tag along best as I can otherwise.