Paint Life Grand


Each year at Christmas, my daughter and I buy each other one inexpensive, frivolous gift. This year we somehow both ended up gifting one another coloring books.

The book she gave me was of the “paint with water” variety where you reveal the hidden colors on the page by running a water-dipped paintbrush over what appear to be black-and-white images. And the resulting colorful pictures I have been able to create since then have made me feel akin to Picasso.

My most recent masterpiece comes from a page labeled “Look at all the different kinds of cats!” When magically unleashed via the power of H20, this formerly colorless page suddenly revealed six different colors of cats in various stage of play.

I only brought two ingredients to the project – a paintbrush and water. But because of the seemingly invisible characteristics that the images started out with, all of the cats looked remarkably different once my efforts were complete.

When I think about the events of the last calendar year, I realize that we actually have a lot in common with those before-and-after cat images. Much like hidden hues in my coloring book, we all brought many pre-existing capabilities, perspectives and resources into 2023, including some we might not even have been aware of. And much like the transformative water I used to change each cat’s appearance, several brushes with disaster ultimately wound up showing us exactly what we were made of.

For some of us, the results were downright beautiful, reminding us that we were capable of more compassion, patience and collaboration than we ever imagined. For others of us, the outcome was more like a muddy mess. And for most of us, it was probably a little bit of both.

Now we’re at the start of a completely new year, which means that unlike my painted cats, we have the chance for a truly fresh start, and that’s a wonderful thing.

Whatever our goals or our expectations for our industry and our lives, we still have time to alter the overall picture of who we are and how we deal with adversity before the “paintbrush” arrives. To wit, we can make changes, get more disaster-ready, and even “change our spots” if we so desire. In the process, we can make sure that whatever “waters” come our way 2024, the changes they create in us are all good ones. That’s certainly what I’m trying for – and I hope the same for you.


Kathy Fulton

Executive Director

American Logistics Aid Network

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