You Can Get Creative and Never Grow Old

“Have nothing to do with growing old—but fall in love with growing older.” — J. Ellsworth Kalas

Image courtesy of jiggoja at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of jiggoja at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are you growing older? According to J. Ellsworth Kalas, in his book, I Love Growing Older but I’ll Never Grow Old, this is far from a duh-yes question. Kalas says, “Older is a journey. Old is a destination.” Whereas Kalas’s destination is heaven, for others it might be sourness.

What I address today is how we can get creative to stay on life’s journey and never stop at the destination called bitterness. I’ll give examples to get your creative juices flowing.

mage courtesy of Sujin Jetkasettakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
mage courtesy of Sujin Jetkasettakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A person who is “growing older” learns new things.

  • Take a writing or art class and write and illustrate stories for your grandchildren in which they are the main characters.
  • Join a scrapbooking group and learn how to create beautiful albums for each of your children. Go through your boxes of stored photos and select the best. Then pitch the rest so your children don’t have to do that job after you’re gone.
  • Learn to play the guitar or keyboard and visit nursing homes and prisons with your church or other groups and share age-appropriate music.
Image courtesy of nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A person who is “growing older” develops relationships.

  • Build a friendship with someone who’s older than you.
    • A homebound person. Be consistent in your visit schedule. Bring tea and cookies, read a book together, assemble a 300 large-piece jigsaw puzzle, listen to her stories.
    • A mentor. Look for an expert to teach you a “dying” art: canning, gardening, knitting, tatting lace, woodworking, sewing.
    • An Octogenarian. Record her stories. Start a historical blog and share real life stories.
  • Grow a friendship with someone who’s younger than you.
    • A child without a parent or grandparents. Create a road and businesses and play cars (have a police car for those speeders), play restaurant with plastic food (take turns being a server, a cook, and a patron).
    • Join interest groups attended by people of a wide range of ages. Writers groups, book clubs, a church choir.
  • Schedule “date night” with your spouse whether you have children in your home or not. Try something new. Dancing lessons, a sport, dinner with friends in a different nationality restaurant each week, geocaching.

 

mage courtesy of nongpimmy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
mage courtesy of nongpimmy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A person who is “growing older” helps others.

  • Use your expertizes from your still active or retired career to help others. Help with someone’s taxes, show a novice how to plant a garden, change the oil in a widow’s car, give an art lesson, tutor a student, pray for others.
  • Volunteer in something new to you. In a food pantry, at the voting poles, as a chaperone for a teen mission trip, teaching Sunday school or Vacation Bible School, at Habitat for Humanity, driving people to doctor appointments or the grocery store.
  • Write a blog sharing information you’ve learned. How to: write fiction, research genealogy, make the best deviled eggs, travel across the country in an RV.

Get involved in learning, building relationships, and helping others. You’ll grow older in a wonderful life journey.

What are activities you do to grow older gracefully in your journey?

Can You Beat These Creative Solutions to Everyday Problems

“It’s amazing what ordinary people can do if they set out without preconceived notions.” — Charles F. Kettering

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Today in brainstorming a blog idea, my conscience convicted me to address the title of my blog: Creative in Everything. Could I show that everyday people with everyday problems can be creative in everything?

I brainstormed the creative solutions I’ve come across over the years. Without judging their worth, because we can be creative in poor solutions, I merely report them.

How Everyday People Creatively Solve Their Everyday Problems.

Briar Patch21. How do you lighten the day of a passerby on your rural road? The photo says it all.

2. How do you bore your mind to overcome insomnia? Spell every word that comes into your overactive mind. You don’t have to spell the words correctly.

3. How do you keep the hall light from shining in your eyes while you watch TV in your room? Tear off a portion of the tissue box next to your recliner and wedge it between your face and the ear handle on your glasses.

4. How do you repair a snag in your fingernail when you’re paralyzed on one side? Have your son glue an emery board to an end table.

Drag Strip5. How do you protect 5-year-olds’ ears at a drag strip? Stuff their ears with blobs of tissue.

6. How do you manage a runny nose during allergy season? Twist two tissues and stick them up your nostrils.

7. How do you reduce headache pain? Loop a belt around your head and thread the free end through the buckle end. Then pull the free end as tight as you can, making a vice grip.

8. How do you close the trunk of your sedan when your lazy-man’s load debilitates you? Balance on one leg and lift the other high and close the trunk with your foot.

9. How do you hide the new package of cookies from your family? Put them in the dishwasher. (I’m told they’re fine after they’re forgotten and washed.)

10. How do you at age 3 entertain the neighbor’s child while your mother is occupied? Dust an entire container of baby powered over the playroom, or dump the birdseed into the dryer.

11. How do you manage a stretched-out maternity slip that won’t stay up in the store? The next time it slides down your legs step out of it and keep walking.

River Flags12. How do you remind preschoolers not to go near the river? Stick orange flags every few feet a couple of yards from the riverfront and instruct the children not to go beyond the flags. Then  watch them like a hawk.

13. How do you keep your son-in-law from juggling your fresh tomatoes you store in a bowl? Place three red rubber balls in the bowl and store your tomatoes out of sight.

14. How do you get a class of four-year-olds to listen to the story and answer questions? Tantalize them with the promise that after each correct answer, you’ll inflate more of a hippopotamus balloon that you’ll let fly after the questions are done.

These are the few I could recall in thirty minutes. So, it seems anyone can be creative anytime they see a need.

What creative everyday-life solutions have you witnessed?

8 Ways You Can Grow Your Creative Work While Helping Others

“Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.” — Les Brown

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You want to help others, but you’re drowning in getting everything done for your own creative work.

I experienced this early in my writing career. Then one day, I knew the answer to an author’s research question she’d asked on an author email loop. I answered her, and from her gracious thanks, I realized when my research failed, I could ask authors on the loop to help me.

Here are 8 ways helping others boosted my creative work. I hope you can adapt them to your creative work.

8 Ways I Helped Others and Grew My Creative WorkBusiness Discussion

1. I joined critique groups. Thinking critically about another’s writing and story teaches me what works and what doesn’t. I can heed these things in my work. Also, I want to give others correct suggestions. So, I look up what I question in their work, and learn. As I mature in critiquing, I discern what’s important to suggest and what’s better left alone. I’ve developed lasting relationships.

2. I accepted an author’s search for “influencers,” people who help spread the word about an author’s upcoming novel. Although a novice then, I interested some people in her book. I read several of her novels and kept in touch with her. Now years later, she’s agreed to read my upcoming book as a potential endorser.

bookstore3. I volunteered at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference bookstore a few times. Working among a well-populated cross section of Christian fiction, I discovered the many genres, which helped me select a genre that fit me. This year I’ve volunteered to be a reporter for the ACFW publication. I’ll report on one conference workshop. Another skill I’ll learn.

4. I joined local writers groups and have given presentations and worked on their boards. Besides absorbing much while developing the content of presentations, I’ve honed the skill of speaking. This will help in promoting my novel. Working on the boards has provided me closer relationships with other authors. And I’ve picked up much about the business of being an author.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5. I created a blog to help others use their creativity and perform the tasks related to their creative work. Writing the posts has given me a greater appreciation for the creativity God has given others and me. I recognize how creativity has sustained me in everything over the years.

6. I started writing book reviews for the books I’ve enjoyed. Collecting the aspects that engaged me in the stories, directs me to what I want to emulate in my stories.

Image courtesy of phanlop88 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of phanlop88 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

7. I promote other authors. This has forced me to become adequate in using Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and guest blogging in both directions. In joining an author’s promotion team, I’m learning the tasks and how such a team works.

8. I pray for authors, editors, and agents. I understand much about the challenges and joys of a writing career, especially from Gods perspective.

After helping in these ways over the years, I’ve discovered an unexpected bonus to my career. People have learned who I am. That can only help in a career where exposure is crucial.

What examples do you have in which helping others has helped in your creative work?