An interview and FREE GIVEAWAY from the artist who created our RV wall art.

Hi, Girlfriends and Guy friends.

The metal artwork crashed to the floor 30 seconds after we hung it on the wall.

Rats… Decorating our new-to-us RV was proving to be difficult.

And guess what? THREE years later our bedroom wall was STILL devoid of art.

We live in a 450 square foot RV and there just aren’t that many areas to decorate. So, when we desired to personalize our home we wanted that space to contain smashingly fantastic and meaningful art.

That Creativity Moment

Luckily inspiration hit me one day as I casually reviewed the syllabus from the Marriage Retreat that John and I attended. The climactic exercise of the event asked us to think about the values that we share as a couple.

Hmmm…our barren bedroom wall popped into my head. What if we could create some type of wall art that reflected John and my shared values?


Then it hit me. My nephew, Karl Fay, is an artist who creates amazing murals and art where he sketches “words” instead of lines.

Here are some examples of his work.

What if Karl could incorporate our Core Values into wall art? I tossed him the idea and he grabbed the challenge. Next, I sent him a photo of the blank wall space, our Core Values, and color scheme. After several drafts, the following art piece was born!

We absolutely love Karl’s design for our home for many reasons;

  • Its subtle beauty draws you in.
  • We are visually reminded of our core values.
  • It is a conversation piece.
  • We can pull our slide in without worrying about it getting jammed in the space.

You could win this unique wall art! 

That’s right.  And I’ll inject the funny way this giveaway came about.  When Karl shipped the wall art to our RV Resort, it got “lost” in transit.  Karl contacted his vendor who kindly shipped another to us. 

You guessed it. 

The “lost” wall art magically arrived the very next day.  I contacted Karl and he generously offered “keep them both” applauding the idea of the GIVEAWAY. It’s just the kind of guy Karl is.  Thanks, Karl!

To enter the drawing simply subscribe to my blog on the pop-up or on my website page. On Saturday (48 hours from now) I’ll utilize a random number generator and contact the winner by email. .

Going Deeper…

I thought you’d like to get to know Karl a bit better, so I interviewed him. 

Gretty:  So, Karl where did your love of drawing come from? 

Karl:  From my earliest years I enjoyed art, and it was one of my favorite ways to spend time with my dad. He helped me with creative projects for school, encouraged me, and made sure I had a steady stream of art supplies and the space to create. I cut my teeth on drawing cartoons and doing variations of block and bubble lettering. Handmade cards to mark birthdays, anniversaries, and other family occasions were one of the first ways I learned to share my art with other people. So, my parents were instrumental in planting this seed, the love of art, in my life.

Gretty:  I love talking about RV’ing and Relationships.  Please share how Art enriches our lives and relationships. 

Karl:  I love this quote from Pablo Picasso:

Everyone’s an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when one grows up.

These words compel me. I believe on one level that the visual arts can be a tremendous gift for all people. Take a drawing class; you’ll learn to see the world in a whole new way! On another level, I believe everyone is an artist in his or her own media–parenting, spreadsheets, welcoming strangers, writing policies, dancing, caring for sick and injured people, giving really thoughtful gifts, fixing broken or clogged pipes. You get the idea.

My questions for you are these:

  • What’s your media?
  • What’s your canvas?
  • Not IF you are an artist, but WHAT is your art?
  • How can you share that art in a way that blesses others?

Gretty:  Please share how you began using “words” to create a richer art expression.

Karl:  How to remain an artist when I grow up continues to be a guiding question for my life. Even as I got a bachelor’s degree in art, I had not yet pursued visual art as a career. Rather, it’s a hobby. It’s recreation in the best possible sense. You see, while studying art in college, I felt a calling to become a pastor. I began to discover how using words and images together can be a really rich way to communicate inspiration and provoke conversation, to draw people into deeper experiences of wonder at this world in which we live and compassion toward the people with whom we share it.

I’m now in my sixth year serving a wonderful church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. I love sharing my art with my church, doing art on my own, and it’s one of my favorite ways to connect with my own kids. I even use visual art as I mentor a fifth-grade boy one day each week over the lunch hour.

Art gives me life. As I draw, my eyes grow wide with wonder and my heart grows full of compassion. In a very real way, I must make art. I can’t NOT make art for too long and still feel well. If I go too long without drawing or creating, I grow frustrated, impatient, crabby, and withdrawn. Ask my wife.

A few years ago, on MLK Day, I created a portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. comprised of a portion of his “dream” speech. I wanted to celebrate the man and his legacy and give hope and encouragement in the present.

GrettyThank you, Karl, for taking the time to speak with my peeps.  Now, how can my subscribers see and purchase more of your artwork?

Karl: You can get framed prints, bags, and other inspirational gear with my designs at

Gretty: Can you please tell us about all about how Dandy World came about?

Karl: Dandy World was born from kicking ideas around over coffee with my cousin, Rachael Hooker. The image of the dandelion spoke deeply to each of us – that powerful seed that can endure the harshest environments, even killed with chemicals, but if even a bit of the tap root remains, it can spring forth new life & spread its seed far. 

Our paths & positions allow us to bear witness to the tremendous struggles of life but also the overcoming & hope that lies in the resilience of everyday people. 

Fred Rogers believed in the power of television to spread important messsages & we believe social media offers a similar opportunity in our time. 

The idea was to use our artistic, writing & connecting gifts & create a platform to elevate important voices that provide hope in a modern world. 

We also believe that what we wear creates an opportunity to make a statement & spark conversation in our neighborhoods.

It is our hope to spark these connections between people, spread important messages of iconic figures & weave pop culture, history, science, spirituality & art in ways that inspire. 

We’re sending out an inclusive, learning from each other vibe that’s necessary for our time & it’s a whole lotta fun! For a regular dose of inspiration, follow Dandy World on Instagram and Facebook. G

Your two-minute Challenge

Ok, Girlfriends and Guy friends. What are your Core Values? Have you ever thought about writing them down? I challenge you to take a moment and jot down what resonates with you from this list. Next, have your partner or a friend do the same. The fun starts now as you compare your lists and discuss the results!
And finally, how could you display them as a daily reminder?

Get in touch with Karl by visiting his portfolio site:

Our wall art project was inspired by the efforts forged at Jill and Mark Savage’s marriage conference. Check out their website and peruse dozens of their books ie; Is there Really Sex after Kids?, Better Together, and No More Perfect Marriages.

I hope you win the wall art!

Love from your Unlikely RVing Girlfriend,


An interview with Laura Fahrenthold- author of The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles- plus author-signed Giveaway!

 “Laura Fahrenthold tackles grief and loss in the most American of ways, hitting the road in a camper, with two kids, a dog, and her dead husband’s ashes.  Courageous, brutally honest, and observant, “The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles” is a classic road story of love and healing.  It’s also laugh-out-loud funny.”  Barbara Barker, Newsday

Hi, Girlfriends and Guy friends.

What drew me in?

It was the RV on the cover that immediately caught my attention on the Facebook post.

Bonus that it was an RV named “HaRVey The RV.” 

Once I began reading the book, I couldn’t put it down.  It helped that Laura is funny.  

Super funny.  

Even though she tells a deeply traumatic story. 

You’ll fall in love with her too.  And you’ll be surprised at her coping skills…

Another reason I was drawn to Laura is because we had something in common.  We each coped with loss by getting out of our “normal” surroundings.  Hers was death, mine was divorce. 

(Read to read my coping story.)

These three things

  1. I am delighted to share this interview with my reading audience.  AND…
  2. How cool that you have the chance to win a FREE AUTOGRAPHED COPY of “The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles” just by subscribing to my blog! (Previous subscribers are automatically entered in the giveaway.)

3. PLUS…Laura happily agreed to meet/chat with all of us on Facebook live Monday, February 25th at 12 noon CST. Start reading, Girlfriends and Guy friends! It’s a fairly quick read, told in slice-of-life, page-turning dispatches.

The Interview

I wanted to know more about Laura, her late husband Mark, and her incredible journey.

So I asked.

Gretty:  Tell me more about yourself and your background.

Laura:  I got a lucky career break in landing a job as a crime/police beat reporter for the New York Daily News. From there, I worked at another newspaper in Sunday features and then became an editor at Woman’s World magazine, where we have 1.6 million weekly readers throughout the US and Canada.

I have interviewed more than 60,000 women over the course of my career at Woman’s World. I’m not a news junkie. More like a human-interest story junkie. That’s why I love my job so much. I get to interview and write the stories of women’s lives. We are incredibly resilient! It is that resilience that drove me through grief.

Gretty:  I loved reading the pages where you describe how you and Mark met.  Can you share a bit of your love story with my readers?   

Laura:  Let’s put it this way. I called my mother after meeting Mark in the newsroom of a new job and told her I was in love with one of my editors. She said I was crazy (in the nicest of ways.) How could that be possible? Mark and I moved in together a week later! I never believed in love at first sight, but I saw home in his eyes the second we met. We were together and married for 15 years.

Gretty:  What advice would you give to other couples who find themselves facing health concerns? Or even the death of a loved one, a divorce or a lingering personal crisis?

Laura:  I wish I had the perfect answer. No one does. Each of us has to come to our own place of acceptance in life. We can lean on friends and family. We can go to shrinks.  We could even fly the Dali Lama in to give us private meditation classes and pedicures. But at the end of the day, everything just takes time… lots of time… All I can say is be kind to yourself.

Gretty:  You begin each chapter with an excerpt from Mark’s personal journals.  How long had Mark been writing these prophetic words?  Did you read them prior to his death? 

Laura:  It’s crazy because after traveling all those miles, I found the answers at home through a lone sunflower and the discovery of his journals.

Gretty:  Since I live in an RV fulltime, I am naturally fascinated by all things RVing.  Your decision to travel the country in an old RV was impulsive and hilarious.  Can you share what ran through your mind in that decision process?  

Laura:  It was all about the price. $4,200 seemed totally worth it to ditch the tents and hit the road.  

Gretty: Your book describes your journey through grieving the death of Mark, but I know your grieving didn’t simply end when your manuscript was finished.  Describe the effect that promoting your book had on your grieving process. 

Laura:  You are the only person who has ever asked me that. It honestly often makes me feel uncomfortable like look at me, look at me. It’s not like that at all. I wished there were a book like this when Mark died. Then I could have lived vicariously through another person’s life!

My Kindle Copy of The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles


If you have signed up for my blog, you’re already registered.

If you’re not receiving my email updates and newsy RV and Relationshippy stuff, sign up now! I promise you that I’ll never share your information with anyone else.

Deadline to sign up is 11:59 p.m. MST on Friday, February 8th, 2019.

A name will be selected by a random number generator. I’ll contact the winner by email, and they’ll have 48 hours to reply with their mailing address. If I haven’t heard from them in that time, I’ll select another name randomly, and we’ll repeat the process.

A special thanks to Laura for this interview and our future Facebook live event on February 25th. I’ll be sending a reminder on FB.

Hugs from your Unlikely RVer,


P.S. I love to hear from my readers! Just like these nuns who did a book club with Laura! Check out her FB page!

Please let me know if you’ve read Laura’s book already or if you are planning to. Can’t wait to meet up with ya’ll on Monday, February 25th for our discussion!

“Grettytheunlikelyrver is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to her site.”