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How Did They Fare?

by Deb Abraham Spalding

In 2017, The Catoctin Banner staff followed the progress of two residents’ resolutions. Artist, Rachel Mohler, resolved to complete a painting-a-day of the scene outside the window of her Sabillasville home. Health and Wellness Coach, Susan Torborg, resolved to impact the health of others by sharing her R3 Weightloss Plan. Take a look at how they progressed in meeting their resolutions. Thank you Rachel and Susan for being a part of this year-long adventure!

Rachel Mohler

Rachel Mohler of Sabillasville started 2017 with the resolution to paint the view outside her kitchen window every day. In May, I interviewed Rachel to write a progress update. At the time, she and her family had learned valuable lessons from the resolution: more awareness of nature and changes in the weather, as well as the overall lesson to notice more detail about life. Shortly after our interview, in June, construction started for an addition on her home. During that time, life at the Mohler’s house was complete chaos, as her family of five had to live in two rooms, around construction and construction workers. You can imagine that painting took a back seat and was limited during that time. As summer went on, the thought of painting daily became unreasonable.

Despite the distractions, Rachel completed some watercolor paintings to sell. Seemingly as a distraction, she made some art charms and the charms were selling out. Along the way, several collaborations and projects presented themselves, and Rachel followed the opportunities. She’s been very busy.

First, a long-time friend, Amy V. Lindenberger, who owns a co-op art gallery in Gettysburg, called The Drawing Room Gallery, asked Rachel to start selling her art this coming March. Rachel will have at least a dozen pieces for sale at one time there.

Second, as an analog pen pal artist, Rachel’s friend, Trina O’Gorman of WarriorWriting on Instagram, asked Rachel to collaborate with her on a year-long journaling project. As an artist, when Rachel sends a letter, she paints something on the letter. The letters are placed in a pocket notebook and sent back and forth. Trina wrote an article about Rachel and their journal project for her newsletter. Rachel said, “It was a wonderful, very touching article.” This occurrence inspired Rachel to start blogging online. Rachel belongs to the MTN and Fountain Pens group on Facebook, where participants use fountain pens to write letters back and forth. The letters become art, as the writer indicates the model of fountain pen they used, the type of tip (called nib) on the pen, and the brand and color of ink used to create the expressive words.

Third, Julianne Du Four is a friend that Rachel met in a mom’s group in Walkersville. Julianne started the Petal Patch Flower Farm, from which she sells her flowers at a Downtown Frederick market. Like Rachel, she has small kids, so Rachel recognized the work it takes to make her business grow. Noticing how Julianne’s passion for her flowers transforms her, Rachel was inspired to paint portraits of Julianne each season, and is planning a line of Petal Patch Flower Farm charms, using dried flowers provided by Julianne.

Amidst all the chaos of life, Rachel’s painting-a-day 2017 resolution transformed into new awareness and opportunity.

“While I failed at my original goal, the resolution forced me to do something that propelled me through a winter phase of the artist’s version of writer’s block.” She explained, “I’m in places at the end of the year that I never, ever dreamed.”

The 2017 resolution served as a tool for her. “I’m human, and it’s been helpful. To fail at a goal is almost better than actually succeeding, because it helped me look past that to horizons I’d never dreamed or thought possible.”

Having turned forty in October, Rachel has officially arrived at a goal she never truly took seriously, “…to be an artist with a capital A.”

In 2018, her resolution is to complete one painting of a local scene per month.

Susan Torborg

We first introduced Susan Torborg in our March 2017 issue as our second Catoctin Banner Resolutions Spotlight. At the time, she and her husband Jim and their five children lived in Fairfield, Pennsylvania. In her introduction article, Susan showed a picture of her vision board for 2017. On it, she indicated that she wanted to achieve balance in her life with family first followed by faith, motherhood, health, and financial freedom.

With a degree in exercise science, Susan’s life mission has been to help others. She has been a personal trainer, she even marketed her own workout CD in the 1990s with some success. In more recent years, she has been on a mission to enhance the lives of other people by educating them about how to live chemical-free in their homes and how to achieve their weight loss goals. She introduced her FREE six-week weight loss program called “R3 Weight Loss Plan.” In 2017, through the R3 Plan, Susan had re-solved to help over 300 people lose a cumulative total of 1,000 inches and at least 1 ton (2,000 pounds) of fat. “People love the R3 Weight Loss Plan because it teaches the skill of weight loss. It has keto affects in the first two weeks, but is maintainable long-term because of the variety of foods allowed,” Susan explained.

In addition to helping hundreds of R3 individuals, Susan conducted the first official six-week R3 Weight Loss Challenge from November 1 through December 13, 2017. In this challenge alone, there were 552 participants from all over North America and Canada. The participants in that challenge lost a total of 2,428.8 pounds and 3,036 total inches. Susan far surpassed her original resolution goals.

Susan had achieved success! But, like most lessons in life, it was the journey to the results where her bigger achievements were found. Shortly after a resolution update article that appeared in the July issue of The Catoctin Banner, Susan’s husband Jim, was recruited for a new job in Minnesota (where his large family lives). Within a month, the Torborg family moved to Minnesota so their children could start school in the beginning of the new year.

Susan’s biggest achievements in 2017 resulted while helping her children settle in the new schools, and making a new home for her family in a new place. Susan knew how hard it is to ac-climate to a new community, so she pushed herself out in the community to meet as many people as she could. She said, “It was very hard at times and found myself going through some tough days of missing Emmitsburg and Fairfield and crying as I drove myself around trying to find the local super market.” The intentional push out of her comfort zone resulted in meeting many amazing people and new friends. She started building her business locally in Minnesota in November and initiated partnerships with chiropractors and local gyms.

“I have learned and seen my confidence has grown a lot this year,” Susan shared, “I have a renewed sense of confidence in approaching other trainers, gym openers, chiropractors, and other health professionals to partner with them in helping teach their clients the R3 Plan. My goal in 2018 is to partner with ten other health professionals. I have realized I have been letting fear stop me in approaching them before. I am pushing through fear this year in 2018 and doing the activities anyway to reach my goals.”

Susan is very active on Facebook with frequent live videos about her challenges towards health and life as well as posts and live videos from some of her clients.

You can find the R3 Plan on Facebook by requesting to join the closed group, “R3 Weight Loss Plan” and Susan will add you. She made the group public early in 2017, and now it has over 8,250 members and grows by hundreds of new members weekly. You can download and print the plan for free and find it in the first pinned post. Susan wishes you a new journey of resolution in 2018. You can do it! She will help. The next R3 six-week Weight Loss Challenge starts January 1, 2018, and anyone can join the group at any time during January. If you miss the start date, you can join the next challenge in February.

The view out of Rachel Mohler’s kitchen window is so picturesque that it should be a painting—in fact, it is a painting. Or, should we say, it is many paintings. Rachel has painted that ever-changing view nearly a hundred times since her resolution to complete a painting-a-day started on January 1, 2017.

Her New Year’s Resolution had no real rules, so Rachel kept it seemingly simple, painting the view from the picture window in her new home on the mountain in Sabillasville. Each day she paints a unique rendition of the scene on a new 2×3 inch piece of gesso board.

The goal of a resolution is often measured in quantity, like counting calories or losing weight, or an absence of quantity, like stopping a bad habit or abstaining from eating a certain food. Rachel’s resolution seemed to be of the first variety, simple arithmetic—a painting a day.

In fact, Rachel’s resolution took on a life of its own, complete with the emotion of changing moods in the weather; the changing perceptions of the scene by Rachel, her children, and her husband; and the lessons of attention to detail: appreciation of nature, awe of the grand order of the world, rhythm and changing palette of the seasons, ebb and flow of life, happiness about being part of something grand, and peace in new inspiration.

Rachel has captured the scene at the birth of sunrise, the rest of sunset, the blanketing of snow, the cloak of fog, the bathing of sun, the cleansing of rain, and amidst the demand of storm. She said, “Sometimes the fog goes on for days, but then you realize, the color of the fog is changing depending on what’s going on above the fog.”

In the first two weeks, she painted with her usual watercolor but couldn’t quite capture the beauty of the images as well as she wanted, so she switched to oil paint. Feeling somewhat intimidated by oils, Rachel told herself, “Just do it. That’s how you’re going to learn.” So, she completed her first-ever oil paintings.

As the days progressed, Rachel noticed involvement by her children. “They’re seeing when the clouds are pink, the sky is green, there’s a rainbow.” At one point, her daughter Saige (turning five in June), joined the project and completed her own watercolor paintings on small pieces of hand-torn paper.

With a five-year-old (Saige), a three-year-old (Atlas), and a one-year-old (Wren), the mom artist was bound to battle the demands for her time, and family comes first—as it should. This winter, one family member after another battled sickness, as strep, flu, pink eye, and fever swept through the family. Because of this, Rachel was not able to meet the painting-a-day demand.

Reconciling what could be construed as a failure, Rachel was able to give herself a break after talking to her husband, Brian, and her mother, Linda Faulkner, who are very supportive of her. Her mother, who is also an artist, told Rachel, “If you had a friend who went on a diet and fell off the wagon a bit but still was making progress, would you call her a failure?”

Rachel surmised, ”If I can just give myself some grace, it’ll be okay.” So, she paints when she can.

Having never done a daily or a long-term goal project, Rachel quickly streamlined her painting processes. She takes photos of the view with her phone. Her choice of 2×3 inch gesso boards was really a matter of convenience. With three youngsters, she needed her studio to be at-the-ready when the opportunity to paint presented itself. Therefore, she owns a small travel portfolio case that, when unzipped, has all supplies handy, including pens, pre-cut boards, her brushes, and a small old tobacco tin that she purchased from the Emmitsburg Antique Mall, used as her paint box so her paints don’t dry out.

The many paintings that Rachel has completed so far are displayed on the wall next to the family’s dining room table. Some look like photographs. Each painting is different.

There is one painting that Rachel does not like. She has repainted it several times. The image was from Valentine’s Day morning. Rachel explained, “It was the most beautiful sunrise ever. The sun shone like a spotlight into the sky on the clouds. I just cannot capture the light of the clouds. I can’t even count how many times I’ve started that one over. I just don’t have the skill to capture it yet.” Undeterred, Rachel aspired, “It will make me feel better once I’ve conquered it.”

Read more about Rachel’s story and her painting-a-day resolution results at the end of this year in The Catoctin Banner Newspaper. To see postings of Rachel’s paintings visit and

Catoctin Banner Resolution 2017 Spotlight #1

Being a new contest, identifying our resolution contestants has been an adventure. We’re introducing our first contestant in this issue, and we will introduce another in our next issue. Then, we’ll give progress reports through the year to measure progress and capture their story.

Rachel Mohler is a thirty-nine-year-old artist and mother of three small children (four-and-a-half years, three years, and seven months). She moved to Sabillasville last November and has resolved to paint one tiny painting a day that is inspired by the view out the window of her new home. Each painting is created on a 2 1/2” x 3 1/2” piece of watercolor paper.

She has defined her objectives as: (1) to try and stay creative in the wake of small children, sleep deprivation, and all the chaos that comes with being a mom, wife, and business owner (she and her husband own a land surveying business); (2) to remind her to pause each day and take in the wonder that is nature and to be grateful for such a lovely place to live; (3) to watch the colors of the seasons change and to learn nature’s palette; and (4) to be open to the lessons this resolution has to teach and to have a record to share with her children when they get older.

Rachel has already begun her daily paintings as of January 1 (see samples below) and is looking forward to sharing her progress with the readers of The Catoctin Banner.