Saturday, January 19, 2013

Let's Get Creative!


Something we wish we had more of, right? 

Today I’m hosting author and speaker Karen Whiting who’s written a fun book of craft ideas for girls. Check out her suggestions for finding God's creative spark in the New Year.
I love creativity and always feel that letting myself go to be creative unleashes my soul and spirit.

One aspect of creativity is your frame of mind

  • ·         Let go of the critical spirit that put down your ideas. Let go of worry about what people might say or how they’ll respond.

  • ·         Be ready to fail at times. Thomas Edison had at least 99 failures before he invented the light bulb. He clung to his dream and kept trying. So be persistent.

  • ·         Dream big and write down all your ideas, no matter how crazy some may seem.

  • ·         Be playful. I like to walk through a craft store and touch the materials and look at the supplies (like types of glue). I like to play with children and listen to their comments. All of this gives way to creative ideas and to the crafts in my books for girls.

Creativity builds on knowledge and skill

  • ·         Thomas Edison was a scientist and did study materials and how things work. Basic knowledge lets us learn to add our own touches and then turn our own visions into reality. Once you can sew you can add your own embellishments or little changes to a pattern. Once you experiment in the sewing you can create your own patterns.

  • ·         Consider skills you possess, whether cooking, gardening, or work-related skills. Then consider what you can do with your ability that you have not tried before and go for it.

Creativity is bigger than one type of art

  • ·         Often a person considers creativity as only being able to draw, write, or compose. But creativity is the art of developing something different and the art of being able to see other possibilities or alternatives.

  • ·         So, creativity includes people who are creative at organization, diplomacy, and hospitality, and those who come up with fun activities.

  • ·         Creativity also applies to people who solve problems and find solutions.

God is the author of creativity

  • ·         God looked over the earth and saw chaos. Yet he dreamed and envisioned what could be and created his vision—a world of variety. He saw color and splashed that onto flowers, people, and the sky. He saw movement and created joints, limbs, and wind that moves. He saw possibilities in creating people with minds to think and create.

·         My life verse is Ephesians 3:16 which begins: 
We pray that God out of his glorious riches 
will strengthen you with power 
through his spirit in your inner being  . . .

Think on those words. God’s riches include his mind and creativity. His power includes his creative power. And his spirit is sent to enrich your life and guide you. I believe this reminds us that prayer can bring out creativity and strengthen us to persevere. I have always prayed when I needed ideas, and the prayers always unleashed ideas.

May this year be a creative one for you!

To buy Karen's book, My Mini Dream Room, click this link to Amazon.
To learn more about Karen, her books, and her speaking topics, visit her at

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Can You Hear the Angels Sing?

Angel Song. 

Sounds like a book title or a new fragrance at the cosmetic counter.

However, Pope Benedict XVI takes the concept quite literally, as if everyone has heard such song or at least heard of it.

I recently read about Benedict’s new book debunking a few cherished Christmas customs such as the presence of donkeys and oxen in traditional Nativity scenes. And while he stoutly defends the virgin birth, he accuses carol writers of misquoting scripture by declaring the angels sang the good news of Christ’s birth to the shepherds.

The biblical account clearly says they spoke those words, Benedict argues. But it is what he says next that grabs me by the earlobe.

But Christianity has always understood that the speech of angels is actually song
in which all the glory of the great joy that they proclaim becomes tangibly present.”

That comment struck a familiar chord with me, for as a musician who has long played on church worship teams, I have always believed that music is a language—the language of the heart.

The pope might agree.

Imagine – hearing angels sing, or better yet, singing with them.

Several years ago a friend posted on his Facebook page this account of angels joining in worship with humans. (Listen to song. Listen to commentary.)

I cannot prove the recording and testimony are true, but neither can I disprove them. What I can do is continue to lift my own voice in song to the maker of heaven and earth, the lover of my soul, the king of my life—and hope that the angels are listening and joining in my praise.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Is This Good Enough?

For years I told my own children and students at school that there is no such thing as a stupid question. I’ve changed my mind.

Too many times one of those aforementioned youngsters posed the query, “Is this good enough?”

If they have to ask, the answer is always no.

OK—maybe that’s not a stupid question, like “How much do you weigh?” But it’s certainly an annoying and unnecessary question.

In the context of effort, “good enough” insinuates that whatever “it” is could be better. “Good enough” usually means the inquisitor wants me to settle for something less than his best.

Students asking if their paper is good enough are really saying their penmanship could be neater and the story could be longer. My young son and daughter asking if the results of their chores were good enough were telling me the toilet could have been cleaner, the leaf bags could have been fuller, and that yes, some of the bowls in the dishwasher were facing up, not down toward the water.

I’m not saying every result must be perfect. Perfectionism drives people away and leaves the perfectionist frustrated. A 6-year-old cannot accomplish what a 16-year-old can, nor should she be required to do so. But I am saying that every effort must be one’s best. No half-hearted attempts.

Please don’t confuse this idea with the advertising world’s attempt to make us buy bigger, more expensive products. Bigger is not always better, and more is not always best

But when it comes to 

giving, sharing, working and helping, 

“good enough” short changes the whole process. Something is missing.

In 2013 I want to give God my best, not my almost-best. Every day He gives me 24 hours. Never once has He said, “Twenty will do.”

At creation, the Creator said, “Let there be light,” not “Let there be just enough light to get by.”

And on His way to Calvary, Jesus didn’t pause, look up to heaven and say, “Is this close enough?”

My best won’t be flawless in this new year because I am human. But I don’t want to fall back on half-heartedness. Why offer a good-enough effort when I can give the finest that I have?

Please visit this site to hear a most magnificent song of God's best for us, then just click on the video.

“… be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV