The Power of Creativity

Orange SparkDo we create in order to have some control of our lives in a world that dictates much of how we live? In a world of cubicles or ‘How may I help you?’ from the back side of a counter does our desire to create come from the desperate need to have some personal freedom? And does everyone feel this way? Or are some people totally content in accepting the 9-5 grind? Or the swing shifts or the ever-changing schedules of retail? Are there people for whom that is enough?

Much of our world does not reward creativity and often punishes or demeans any spark of individuality or independent thinking.

So for those of us who find this way of life draining we crave to be creative. On our own limited time we have the desperate need to write, draw, sew, design, paint or build. We wake up early or stay up late to work on our own creations. We spend hours dreaming, visualizing and ultimately bringing our ideas to life.

And doing all of this empowers us. We feel more in control. We get recharged. We are happy that we get to create.

If we had lives that we could create all the time without limits, what would that be like? Would we lose the desperate feeling of needing to create? Would we settle into a peaceful contentment of working on what we love all of the time? I can only imagine.

For those who can only do the dreaming and the visualizing but never get to manifest their ideas must be the saddest of all.

To live a life flat, sterile and devoid of passion would be the worst.

If you have the craving to make something; do it. Start small. Start tiny. Jot down a few words. Make a rough sketch. Take some measurements. Then see how you feel.

Excited? Scared? A spark of … something?

It’s a start.

Think of it as an adventure. How can you take the next step?

Grab on to your creative spark, add a tiny bit of kindling and blow gently. Nurture your idea; your vision. Feed it a few minutes at a time.

Little by little your dream will come to life and you will benefit from the boost it will give you. You will thrive in a tough world.

When you are in your cubicle or ringing up an order at the register, remind yourself that you have a creation in the works which will make you smile and give you something to look forward to. Something to love.

Use your power of creativity. Let your imagination shine!

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Taking Our Time

One of my greatest pleasures in life is having a day to take my time. Those are rare days.

People in this world always want us to rush. Everyone is always in a hurry. Time is money but maybe we have it backwards. Maybe we would get more satisfaction in life if we didn’t have to rush for everything. If we put value in quality rather than quantity.

I’ve always done things slower than most people. I like to savor things in life. I eat my meals slowly. I like to read every word in a book and not skim. I like to take my time to make sure I am doing something right.

And while the world makes us rush, I know that I can make myself rush. Like when I have a whole day to do as I please, I find myself running around trying to cram in everything. That takes away from enjoying it. I end up jumping out of bed and rushing to get to as much as I can. There is something much different about rushing because you want to rather than outside influences forcing you to do something your heart isn’t into. Yet even when we rush ourselves, we are missing something. That isn’t the best way to go about things.

At the same time it seems time is limited and if we want to do all the things we want to do in life, we have to hurry. There is a sense of urgency to life. Maybe that’s why it’s hard to take our time?

My best days are when I wake up in the morning with a clear picture of what I want to get done that day and make a point of doing each thing at my own pace. My own pace is the key. Then I can relax and enjoy whatever I’m doing.

I feel like time favors those who are truly in it and appreciate exactly what is going on; really being in the here and now. The entire feeling of time seems to shift. That feeling of being in the flow happens and isn’t that what life is really about? Being and enjoying exactly where and when you are and what you are doing? Appreciating every breath? Looking around and realizing that there is no place else you would rather be?

I wish I could do that all the time. It’s harder than is sounds which seems silly.

Maybe hobbits have it right and we should just have more mealtimes? Good food with good company makes time just right.

Do you like to take your time? Do you get to?

Ursula K. Le Guin, 1929-2018

Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea Trilogy was one of the first and biggest influences for me and my love of the fantasy genre. I think I was only around 12 or so when I first read these books. I was in awe of the new world that her writing opened to me. I was transported to the world of Earthsea and (the main character). I had never read anything like it.
Ursula K. Le Guin’s writing went far beyond fantasy and I loved how her writing expands ours minds and always will. She introduced me to ideas and worlds I had never imagined and showed me how to explore new ways of thinking. She has left behind a large amount of writing to still explore.
She passed away on January 22. She will be missed but her writing lives on and that is a tremendous gift to this world.
Here is a link to more information about her books and great suggestions for new books to read:
http://link.bookriot.com/view/57f720272ddf9c4c130557b975pn0.a2p/9e3deed3

Live & Learn

Things don’t have purposes, as if the universe were a machine, where every part has a useful function. What’s the function of a galaxy? I don’t know if our life has a purpose and I don’t see that it matters. What does matter is that we’re a part. Like a thread in a cloth or a grass-blade in a field. It is and we are. What we do is like wind blowing on the grass.

Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven


Notes: Quote – Thank you Beth @ Alive on all Channels. Photo: Scientific American

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Science Fiction

It’s been a while since I did a book review and it occurred to me that I’ve been reading a lot of amazing science fiction books in the past year or two. I want to share some of the ones that I’ve enjoyed.

I’ve been reading science fiction off and on over the years and enjoy it but a lot of it seems to focus on the science and technology and not so much on the character development. I think this has changed at least in the books I’ve been reading.

Many of these books show a view of the future which I never imagined which makes reading them a fun adventure. They are so different and sometimes weird, that I can never guess what is going to happen which keeps me turning the pages. These two books are examples of this. The Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang Stories of Your Life and Othersis a book of short stories that I’m still thinking about. The movie, Arrival, was based on one of the stories in this book. The other book is Sleeping Giants by Silvain Neuvel. Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1)The premise of the book is very strange but I couldn’t stop reading it and look forward to reading the sequel.

Many are cautionary tales like Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Station ElevenI think Sleeping Giants could fit into this category. Probably a few others as well. These are stories that make you wonder what you would do in the situations the characters are in. 

There are retellings of old stories with amazingly imaginative new twists and visions like Unclaimed (The Memoirs of Jane E, Friendless Orphan, Book 1) by Erin McCole Cupp which is a unique retelling story of Jane Eyre, science fiction style and is full of  neat ideas that I never would have thought of but make for a fun read.  Also the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)This is a fun series that retell the stories of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White but the main characters are strong, kick-butt young women and the stories are full of cyborgs, robots and space travel. 

Some are written in an amazing physically graphic way; meaning the format of the story is a big part of the story itself like the Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)If you haven’t seen these books they tell the story using a variety of emails, confidential files and amazing pages of words that fly across the page or look like they are exploding making you feel like you are in space with them. They are books you experience as well as read.

But the ones I enjoy most have a little bit of everything. And the story is told through the perspectives of fully developed characters that I can relate to. The ones I like most usually have a positive outcome. Books that say, sure there are problems but we can overcome them. Some of the worlds they take place in I would love to visit. Others, not so much.

These last two authors are ones that I am telling everyone about because their writing is amazing! First there is the Imperial Radch series by Ann Leckie who wrote Ancillary Justice,Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch, #1) which is the first one. These books are what I would consider more hard-core science fiction but the way they are written is mind-blowing. The main character was once a starship with the ability to be able to ‘be’ in many places at once but is now trapped in one body. The way the author manages to give us the various views this character has had is amazing.

And my final recommendation is theThe Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers. I just finished the first two and need to wait for the next one this summer. These books were so much fun I couldn’t put them down. The characters are so real that I wondered what they were doing when I wasn’t reading the books. These are lighter than the other ones which makes a good break from heavy reading.

I hope you will check some of these out and let me know if you do. I would love to hear what you think. And if you have any suggestions for me to read, please share.

Happy reading!

 

Zelda Obsession Confession

I have a confession to make. I’m obsessed with the Zelda games. I play a few video games but Zelda is the one I’m obsessed with.

The first one I played was The Legend of Zelda, Twilight Princess. Being able to explore the world of Hyrule and solve puzzles and make progress so much fun. The game was huge and I loved exploring it. Then came the Skyward Sword and this one was even better. I’ve been playing these games for years on the Wii.

I would love to say that I played right through these games as fast as I could but no. For me exploring every inch and solving puzzles and side quests is just as fun as the main objective. Losing myself in the world of Hyrule is the point. While I’m concentrating on those games, I’m not thinking about anything else. It’s a true escape for me.

This Christmas my husband totally surprised me by getting me the Nintendo Switch. Colorful fireworks background Free Vector I was beyond excited. This was the best present I’ve gotten in years! Some women want jewelry or nice clothes. Not me! Give me a game system and I’m in heaven! I know, I’m weird that way. And this is the first game system that was just for me. Obviously I share and like to play games with others but I feel like a kid who just got their heart’s desire and didn’t even know that’s what I wanted! I’m thrilled.  

Nintendo Switch

He got me the MarioKart 8 game to play on it which was great because I played that on the Wii too and have enjoyed it.

Zelda Breath of the Wild

Then my son gave me the new Zelda game! Cue the angelic choir! Zelda! Zelda, Breath of the Wild.

I immediately set it up and couldn’t wait to get familiar with how it worked. I behaved and I let the family all try it on Christmas day. But I couldn’t wait try it by myself, to get to know the controls so well that I wouldn’t have to think about them and just play. I couldn’t wait to be back in the world of Hyrule again!

The great thing about the Switch system (And no, I am not a spokesperson for Nintendo. I just happen to think this system is convenient for me.) is that I can play it on the TV but it also has a hand held console with a screen so I can play the game on that when others want to watch the TV. I can set the screen on a table and play or I can play it right in my hands. I can take the game with me! Anywhere!

Uh oh. This could be dangerous!

So here we are three weeks after Christmas and I am thrilled to be back in Hyrule again! I’m exploring and learning. I think this is the best version of the game so far. You can go anywhere and do just about anything. And when the character dies because of my making a bad move, which happens a lot for me, it just picks up at the last saved place. It auto-saves or I can save it any time I want to which is fantastic because I’m terrible at these games so I save all the time.

So what is the point to all of this?

It’s the feeling of the excitement of a child. Its the ability these games give us to be childlike and explore and just go for it. Knowing that we are having fun without real life consequences is exhilarating. These games are an escape from a tough world from time to time.

And as long as I’m going to work and fulfilling my duties in the real world, then what harm is there in playing?

I think that’s why I’m having so much fun. We all need to find that something that lets us play like a child. And if we forget how to play what kind of life are we living?

What do you do to feel like a kid again? How do you play?

Believe and Focus

2017. What a year!

I was really struggling in the last quarter of 2017. I’m usually a pretty positive person and for the short times when I’m not, I can pull myself out of it and move on. I wasn’t able to do that as well as usual. I had a sense of anxiety that didn’t seem to be caused by any one thing. That was unnerving. And scary. And for those of you who suffer from severe anxiety on a regular basis, I have a new respect for what you deal with on a regular basis. And I’m so glad there are a variety of treatments out there.

I knew that I needed to keep searching for a solution and an answer to why I was feeling this way. But the more I thought about it the more I worried and the worse it got. So I stopped questioning why I felt the way I did and shifted my focus. 

This all sounds very deep and wonderful but I’m also a bit stubborn so I sometimes overlook the obvious. After a week or so (maybe it was longer) I was in a store looking at Christmas ornaments and I found one that had the word ‘believe’ on it. I realized that I had been seeing or hearing the word ‘believe’ over and over again for weeks! I mean a lot. Like a ridiculous amount of times. I finally really saw it and knew that this was my sign, my word, and I was on the right track. I bought the ornament and hung it on the Christmas tree at eye level, (which is pretty low because I’m short) so I could see it as a positive affirmation every day.

Just focusing on that one word a few times a day made a difference.

For me, focusing on believing that things happen for a reason and that it will all work out was what I needed to get out of my funk. Mostly. It’s a daily practice. Sometimes it’s hour by hour or minute by minute. It depends on the day.

So that brought me to the word ‘focus’. Our thoughts are powerful so we need to focus on what we want in our lives and not all the craziness in the world around us. I know this sounds like a cliché but it’s true.

If I can focus on finding something beautiful, positive or inspiring every day it’s amazing how much better life is. It never fails. It isn’t easy, but it works.

Like what?

Like the miracle of the tiny Juncos that visit my feeder in this frigid weather. The fact that these tiny creatures can survive outside when the temperature has been in the teens during the day and in the single digits at night amazes me. 

Junco hanging on a windy, frigid day.

Or the soft touch of my cat’s paw resting on my arm at night. And that gentle look of contentment on her face.

Or the giggle of a toddler at work.

Or helping someone anytime and anywhere. It doesn’t have to be big. Just seeing someone smile or say thank you because of something I did is huge.

When I focus on these things then I can believe that there is good in this world and if we choose to focus on that instead of all the terrible things the media throws at us then I believe that 2018 will be a better year.

I wish everyone a positive 2018.

Happy New Year.

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Christmas Book Tree’s

This post if full of great creative ideas. Has anyone else done this?

The Reading Chick

I was in Columbia, TN this week wandering around their downtown and wandered my way into a bookstore. Funny how that happens!  What drew me in was this beautiful Christmas book tree in the window of the store. (I’ll be honest, the books did too!)

Book TreeI took a picture and turned to the guy at the counter and asked him how many books it took to make this tree. He said “I dunno.” Very disappointing answer! I can’t imagine I’m the first person to walk into the store and ask that question. Anyway, I took a picture and marveled at how high it stood, wondering if I had enough books at home to make one.  I probably do, but it would leave my bookshelves absolutely empty! As well as the thought of putting all of those books back on the shelves persuaded me to not build a tree quite that…

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