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Silver Linings

2020! Definitely a year we’d like to forget. From a world-wide pandemic to the ongoing racial injustices, the horrific wildfires this summer to an ugly, country-splitting election. So much pain, sickness, sadness, death and suffering.

But with all despair there is also light and love, it’s just sometimes hard to see. As a "forever optimist" I have spent some time reflecting back on the year and thinking about all the silver linings that make me smile and fill my heart. I'd thought I'd share my Top 10! (not in any order)


Silver Linings: a sign of hope in an unfortunate or gloomy situation; a bright prospect:

1. The Great Pause

This is something most of us felt whether we wanted to or not. With the early onset of Covid-19, we were looking at our neighbors in the East and Europe with heavy hearts, and then in shock as we began a "shelter-in-place" that went across the States. The virus does not discriminate and soon all countries were affected.

This new SIP was as if we hit the Pause button. Staying indoors, online grocery shopping, online schools and remote work. Without the hustle and bustle of life, carpooling, social events, sporting events, errands and commuting, things started to slow down. Life became still for a while. Cities turned into ghost-towns, roads opened up, air pollution improved, and we all found out we had a little more time on our hands. Home projects started, more family dinners with discussions and conversations, new hobbies were made (baking anyone?), pets became happier and amazing innovations were figured out for how to live in this modern pandemic. I would bet that in our lifetimes we will probably never again have an opportunity to have all this “time/stillness/quiet” and it something that I am grateful for. #silverlining2020


2. My Creative Community

One of the best things I did in 2020 was create a Facebook Community. I wanted to make a space where we could come together, share and encourage one another. I believe every one us is creative in some way or another and has gifts to bring to the table. And as long as we kept the group about creativity, art and inspiration I knew it would be amazing.

Finding a community is more important now than ever before. I know that some of the members in our group are alone and feeling anxious through this pandemic, but art, kindness and support have been able to lift spirits and spread hope. Many virtual friendships have been made through our weekly Saturday morning Lives and daily postings from the group. It has been such a joy and heart fill for me this year.

If you are looking for a community for inspiration, fun and creativity then we’d love to have you join in! Check us out: Andrea Garvey Creative Community

I went back to Buffalo in October and have a great Live with my mom!

3. Family Time

Did you know I am the Queen in my family? Surrounded my boys who are all taller than me now. Teenagers, hubby and a male dog. Lots of testosterone, wrestling, hormones, dirty laundry, messy rooms and all that good stuff. But at the top of the list of “Silver Linings 2020” would be spending a most of time with them.

Instead of figuring out meal times between the busy sports game and practice schedule we were able to sit down, enjoy a dinner and conversation (even if I am bored with cooking the same things, do most of the prep and clean up), I will take the quick 20 minute sit down dinner every night with the family as a true blessing! Many good discussions and check-ins were made along with an incredible amount of laughter as well.

Some other favorite family moments; ebiking around town, hiking and day trips to the Big Sur, countless card games of Shropshire rummy (I still have not won since our trip to Barbados last year) and waking up my boys each morning with a cup of tea (I know, I know, but I love to do it!). #silverlinings2020

Family hikes in Big Sur
We are loving our new e bikes from Rad Power Bikes!
Shropshire Rummy Rules - such a great family game!

4. Launching my online art courses!

For 2020 I had a goal to create an online art course, and was given an incredible opportunity to release one for Jeanne Oliver’s site in early Spring. I created and produced my first course, “Colorful Joy” throughout the months of January and February. Teaching myself the how to’s and technical aspects of producing a 4 hour video course with multiples lessons was not easy. But when I completed “Colorful Joy” I was really proud of myself as I knew it would be a great class for students.

Then boom! The pandemic hit us all like a brick wall in March and by the time my course was scheduled to release mid-April people were losing their jobs, anxious about life and everything else that was changing because of Covid-19, and anxiety levels were at an all-time high. However, as the world was adapting quickly, people were looking for ways to be inspired and creative and it didn't take long before we all knew that online classes would become an amazing outlet and affordable option for many.

With the success from my first course, I dove right into the next one that would sell directly from my website called “The Whimsical Elephant”. Inspired by my love of elephants and colorful mark making with acrylic paints I made this 4 hour online art course which launched in October.

What I learned from creating these courses and teaching through an online community is that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE sharing my art and encouraging others to find that creative spark and joy that I know art can bring.

Now the floodgates are open and I am creating 4 new courses in 2021, as well as guest teaching for the upcoming Life Book and will be teaching Zoom art classes this winter for an even more virtual experience. #silverlinings2020


5. Walks with Scout

The neighborhood never seemed so active as it did this year! With most of us in lockdown early on, and now again, the one place to get some air is to just walk outside and keep going for about 30 minutes. Doing this daily I was able to see all the beautiful gardens as they grow and change through the seasons, make my dog Scout super happy and greet the neighbors along the way doing the same thing. Some days saying hello and having a quick chat with a neighbor was just the smile or the wave I needed to know we are all in this together. And together is always better. #silverlinings2020

Lots of beach walks too!

6. Home

All these home projects never seemed possible until now. I am so lucky to have married a handy man that can build pretty much anything (he remodeled our home and built me an art studio!). 2020 was the year that all the big home projects were going to come to an end, but you can’t stop a man and his tools when time is on their side. Some fun new projects that were completed; BBQ outdoor area, greenhouse, skateboard half pipe, outdoor walls, veggie garden raised beds, fence painting + more!

I was able to enjoy more time in the garden; tending to my English flowers and trying to grow veggies (due to the coastal climate this is not always easy!) More time to putter in the art studio and then of course rearranging furniture and areas in my house as I got so inspired seeing all the amazing redecorating going on through Instagram. #silverlinings2020

Making concrete countertops for the outdoor BBQ
Halfpipe Skateboard ramp - a great father + son project