Grace Notes (#48 with Photos)

Grace Notes (#48 with Photos)

Grace Notes #48 with Photos

This is a periodic blog feature I call “grace notes.” It occasionally captures my jottings of incidental gratitude. My hope is that this practice will make me and you more aware of the constant flow of amazing good we are perpetually steeped in, which we are surrounded by all the time. It is here only asking to be noticed and amplified.

So now I am furthering my ongoing goal of appreciating such a continuous, overflowing abundance of random good. I’ve taken photographs of some of them with my iPhone, which you can see in this post.

So let’s start this gratitude list with:

  • My big news that I got in the Pastel Society of America’s Enduring Brilliance Show in New York City this September. The first step to that is you have to jury into membership (I did that in 2021), and then those members are allowed to apply for this yearly, elite show. This year there were 1,463 submissions, and they selected 174 paintings for inclusion. I am so grateful, humbled, and delighted to be included! I’m also grateful for the overwhelming number of folks that celebrated this news with me on social media. It is lovely to meet some of one’s life goals, and great to have community to enjoy it with.
  • I’m also very grateful for my sister (shown above and first below) who just retired after a meaningful 43 year career in teaching young people beginning strings in elementary schools, and in middle school as an orchestra director. I’m grateful she celebrated with a trip to the southwest with her daughter, seeing the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Bryce, and Zion National Parks. I’m grateful for how well God is leading her as she goes forward with more time and freedom to embrace new opportunities.
  • I’m grateful for all the help I’ve gotten as I continue to rebuild my art website and that it will be completed sometime this summer. I’m grateful that I’m taking my “tech” New Year’s resolution seriously and gaining new tech skills that will help me going forward. (One of the tech things I’m doing is that I’ll be taking an audio/visual class this year at Creative Arts Camp in Maine– skills to use on future projects!) I remember when the tech of doing a blog was a big reach, so I am encouraged that I can wrap my head around all the new things I’m trying to do. I am grateful I know to s-t-r-e-t-c-h.
  • I’m grateful that I have a miracle of a summer intern, which I didn’t ask for, who called up and earnestly requested the opportunity without pay, just after I was praying to be receptive in accepting whatever I needed! “Do you need help marketing your art?”, he asked, to which I burst out laughing. I’ll write a post about this sometime, but this list would feel remiss without mentioning it.
  • I’m grateful for our younger daughter is working from our house for much of the summer, for the fact that she’s cleaning out her room here (hence her mattress is in the hall in the photo below with grandma bunny, purple bunny, and Sprout), that she still engages creatively with her (never call them stuffed) friends, that she’s started to re-terrace our side garden strips as a favor to us, that she is finally learning to drive, and that she likes to hike, eat, play, and hang out with me. I am so very grateful for our good relationship.
  • I’m grateful our older daughter just had a breakthrough with the California early learning labor negotiations, and is in general making such a huge (if all consuming) contribution in her job for the state government there. People can criticize government, but from watching what she goes though, working to benefit the public, much more gratitude is owed to all the efforts many people pour into making our society work as well as it does.
  • I’m grateful too for all the work our older daughter has done to pull together, research, and plan our trip to Switzerland. I’m so grateful to be going with both daughters and my husband, which is rare, and the destination is one that has been on my bucket list since I was about seven years old. Our youngest mentioned that the last time she’s traveled all together with her dad, me, and her sister, she was four! I guess it is time, and I am overwhelmingly grateful for the opportunity, so long awaited.
  • I’m grateful to have sold two paintings in the last month, one to someone I know, one to someone I don’t.
  • I’m grateful for our local farmer’s market, our CSA (photo of their field below), for Community Shellfish, for Costco, for good restaurant dates, and for food made me by other people (see photos in this post).
  • I’m grateful for friends and family near and far, for genuinely loving my husband’s extended family, for friends who celebrated their 50th anniversary in Hawaii with their children and grandchildren, for our niece in Louisiana who is expecting a baby this month, for artist friends and for church friends. There are wonderful people in my community and I’m grateful for each one of them.
  • I’m grateful for my sweet husband, and for all he is and does. I’m grateful for his kindness and for his enthusiasm. (When I got in the show in NYC, he was as thrilled as I was!)  I’m grateful for his doing the laundry and the dishes, and for growing the best flowers. I’m grateful his podcast (The Bible Speaks to You) is doing so well, approaching its 200th episode.
  • I’m grateful for books and audiobooks, for playing cribbage or cards after dinner, for my fountain pens, for Einkorn flour and all un-hybridized, unbleached, unbromated ancient grains, for sweet dogs, for smooth rocks, for our daughter’s two accordions (small one pictured) and for the cheery music she plays in our home, for huge homegrown raspberries coming in fast, for organic grass fed cheese, federal architecture, new pastels on sale in Maine, for new Pastel Mat paper from Dick Blick, for roses, for hibiscus stuffed with goat cheese, for Swiss chocolate indulgences in Boston, for what a great dad our nephew is, for bringing the church flowers, for not even being tempted by that Jellybelly display, for succulents, for cooking for my friends in Maine and for friends and family here, for art I like in friend’s houses, for discovering Polly brand gasoline, for a Father’s Day picnic made by our daughter for her dad while I was in Maine, for girders and I-beams that hold up bridges, that the PSME plein air retreat went well and that the weather cooperated more than it looked like it might, for our daughter’s popovers with homemade jam, and for my lovely office studio space where I get to work and pray and paint each day.
  • I’m grateful for each one of you blog readers that read, share, subscribe to, and/or financially support this blog. It wouldn’t happen without you and I’m so grateful you find it meaningful, helpful, interesting, inspiring, and/or supportive. Thank you for reading this far and commenting on any post when you do. Thank you for being authentically yourself and brave in the world, and for amplifying good in whatever way you do. I wish each of you all these best, now and forever more.

Put some of your grace notes in the comments! We are so blessed!














































I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. John+gregory 10 months ago

    Interesting choices.

    • Author
      Polly Castor 10 months ago


  2. Grace Keown 10 months ago

    Polly, you are amazing!! Congratulations on your acceptance into PSA (something I’ve got on my horizon) and acceptance into the Enduring Brilliance show! Stellar accomplishments.

  3. Kate+Gibson+Oswald 10 months ago

    Beautiful beautiful beautiful dear Polly…and celebrating in joy with you. Colour abounds…life romps and the garden grows on…

  4. holly wayman 10 months ago

    Grateful for my mother and her continued support of me, my cousin and his love, my friends who are rock solid and fun to be with, my home Martha’s Vineyard and my community which is so loving, the beach and nature and my cat of course!

    • Author
      Polly Castor 10 months ago



  1. […] is the sister I honored in my last grace notes for retiring, but it turns out she was only retired for two months, since she accepted a job at the […]

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