thanks to all who answered me. i found all of the stories to be interesting and many quite inspiring.
thank you again, larc.
thank you again, mystery/deborah, for your understanding, encouragement and insight.
thank you, carmel, for helping to bring to consciousness what was there just beneath the surface, undiscovered until your comments. you have given me the gift of knowing where i need to continue to do work.
strangely enough, i am in a profession that allows me to earn $l25(+/-) per hour, and this fairly lucrative work allows me also to work in an in-home studio doing something creative which i love and at which i earn substantial but less money overall. between my two occupations i am kept quite busy. but, you see, this apparently was not about money - it was about self-worth.
so, finally, bebu, thank you so so much for your loving answer, for giving me a reality check, and for reminding me of what is really important. i have enjoyed your posts as well and look forward to knowing you better.
and if anyone else would like to share his/her story, please do!