Tag: creativity

Mark Keup & Dan Dotson: Creators of Opportunity & the Making of a Champion Team

Mark Keup & Dan Dotson: Creators of Opportunity & the Making of a Champion Team

Wheaties may be the Breakfast of Champions, at least for some. But we all know there’s a lot more to making a champion than eating a bowl of Wheaties every morning. Besides having talented students, one thing that makes the difference between an excellent team and a good or mediocre...Read More
Engineer Dan Dotson: Creating innovative Solutions

Engineer Dan Dotson: Creating innovative Solutions

Engineer Dan Dotson once did a high school book report on Thomas Edison. “He might have inspired me more than I know,” Dan says. "Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration." --Thomas Edison Edison knew all about that. He barreled through obstacles and never gave up. Regarding his work...Read More
FIRST Lego League: Robotics & Tomorrow’s Engineers Creating innovative Solutions for Global Problems

FIRST Lego League: Robotics & Tomorrow’s Engineers Creating innovative Solutions for Global Problems

Goofy hats, colorful T-shirts with crazy logos, flowing capes, and loud, pounding music. Where am I? You might think it’s a Halloween party. Nope. I’m at a FIRST Lego League (FLL) robotics competition. [caption id="attachment_1569" align="aligncenter" width="470"] A new type of Superhero---ones who battle germs of all kinds. The Sanitizization...Read More
We’re off to See the Wizard, Part 4: The Man Behind the Curtain, continued

We’re off to See the Wizard, Part 4: The Man Behind the Curtain, continued

Do you recall the resume in my last post? We left off with L. Frank Baum leaving Aberdeen--broke, disappointed, and disillusioned---with a wife and four kids to feed. Chicago---The Lean Years and New Beginnings (1890s) The Baums arrived in Chicago in time for the 1893 Columbian Exposition, a time of...Read More
We’re off to See the Wizard, Part 1: The Wizard of Chittenango & the Magic of Oz

We’re off to See the Wizard, Part 1: The Wizard of Chittenango & the Magic of Oz

Recognize any of these phrases? • “Some people without brains do any awful lot of talking.” • “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” • “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!” • “Follow the Yellow Brick Road.” • “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” •...Read More
Monday Metaphor Musings #4: Life

Monday Metaphor Musings #4: Life

I am participating in the writing contest "You Are Enough," hosted by Positive Writer. "Life is like a doughnut. It can be sweet and tasty, but there’s always a hole in the middle.” That’s just one of many ways people have tried to capture the essence of human life on...Read More
People Watching #4

People Watching #4

Have you done any people watching lately? The first time we looked at Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. Then we examined a 1930s Charles Walton photograph. After that, we speculated about the dynamics of two girls and a guy at the dinner table. I loved reading your comments---the ideas evoked by those...Read More
Elmer Sparks, Part 2: Spreading Happiness through Bluegrass Music

Elmer Sparks, Part 2: Spreading Happiness through Bluegrass Music

Tuesday nights at the Muckwanago Library must be the happiest in all of Wisconsin. It’s the night of the monthly Bluegrass Jam. Even before I stepped foot in the room (April 9, 2018), the twangs, strums, and picking of banjos, guitars, and string bass wafted out to the corridor, compelling...Read More
Elmer Sparks, Part 1: Spreading Happiness through Photography

Elmer Sparks, Part 1: Spreading Happiness through Photography

Only one photographer ever got my husband to smile for a portrait. Just one. And a genuine smile, not a fake smile-through-your-teeth “can we get this over with?” kind of smile. That man is Elmer Sparks. That was the year he took portraits of every family in our church for...Read More
Master Gardeners: Beautifying the World, One Yard at a Time, Part 2

Master Gardeners: Beautifying the World, One Yard at a Time, Part 2

For years, every time I called my dad, he’d say, “Dave and I weeded this . . .” and “Dave and I built that . . .” and “Dave and I transplanted this . . .” Who is this Dave? I wondered. My siblings and I only knew him by...Read More
Master Gardeners: Beautifying the World, One Yard at a Time, Part 1

Master Gardeners: Beautifying the World, One Yard at a Time, Part 1

Last time I shared my own gardening tip: live next door to neighbors with gorgeous landscaping. Today you’ll meet one of the reasons for this tip. Over the years, my dad, Don DeNooyer, raised the landscaping bar so high, it’s beyond my reach. Though I don’t live next door to...Read More
Get out that Club

Get out that Club

A pastor once said that when he’s stuck on writing his sermon, he cleans out his garage. Yup, that’s it. That’s the cure for his writer’s block. I can totally relate! When I’m stuck on what to do next in my own writing, I start organizing piles, files, and boxes....Read More
Accidental Art & Inventions: Popsicles, Post-it Notes, & Parisian filmmaking

Accidental Art & Inventions: Popsicles, Post-it Notes, & Parisian filmmaking

What happens when cooked wheat sits too long? Or when the movie camera jams? When you run out of ice cream cups or baker’s chocolate for your recipe? When your science experiment turns out the opposite of what you expected? Or when your cleaning product becomes obsolete? Sometimes these mistakes...Read More
The starving artist is not so hungry

The starving artist is not so hungry

[caption id="attachment_752" align="alignleft" width="231"] Via picksnoz on Visual Hunt[/caption] How long could you live in a sterile environment devoid of color, surrounded by stark whites or drab grays? What if your only food was rice, cream of wheat, fish, oatmeal, or bananas (without the peel)? Could any of us survive...Read More
People Watching, #2

People Watching, #2

Have you done any people watching lately? Last time we looked at Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. [caption id="attachment_745" align="aligncenter" width="456"] Via State Library of New South Wales[/caption] Aside from knowing that a picture is worth 1000 words, a picture evokes 1000 stories. If I showed a picture to a dozen students...Read More
Should kids get trophies for participation?

Should kids get trophies for participation?

When my kids were in elementary school, they received little trophies each year just for running in the jog-a-thon fund-raiser. Speed or agility didn’t matter. The number of sponsors and the amount you raised didn’t matter. You could get a trophy just for the fact that you showed up and...Read More
Are you Celebrating or Lamenting?

Are you Celebrating or Lamenting?

Did you ever read a book and wish you’d written it? Have you walked through a gallery and wished you had a better eye and camera for your own photography exploits? Have you found yourself envying the singer with the beautiful voice or the musician with such mastery of his...Read More
Revision: When is it good enough? Finished or abandoned?

Revision: When is it good enough? Finished or abandoned?

How do you know when you’re done revising a poem, essay, or novel? Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” He obviously wasn’t completely satisfied with the final product. French poet Paul Valery concurred by saying, “A poem is never finished, only abandoned.” Such is the case...Read More
Barbara Britton: Perfume Pics, Coloring Pencils, and Records: An Author’s Unconventional Tool Box

Barbara Britton: Perfume Pics, Coloring Pencils, and Records: An Author’s Unconventional Tool Box

Have you wondered what it would be like living in Biblical Old Testament times? So has author Barbara Britton. In fact, she digs into O.T. history to create story worlds from 1000s of years ago. Her wanderings start with map-making and music. Last year I read the first book from...Read More
The Compulsion to Tell A Story: The Dog Ate My Glasses

The Compulsion to Tell A Story: The Dog Ate My Glasses

My husband Tim tells the story of when he was in 4th grade playing baseball with the neighbors. He had brand new glasses and was afraid of breaking them. He set them in a “safe place” in the grass nearby. A dog was snooping around. After he got up to...Read More
Interior Designer Kaysie Strickland: Home as a Haven of Healing, Part 2

Interior Designer Kaysie Strickland: Home as a Haven of Healing, Part 2

How has your home or your art been a healing place for you? Kaysie Strickland, founder and president of Homes & Havens, is an interior designer who has mastered the art of creating healing home environments for wounded women. Last time, she shared her philosophy of home as a healing...Read More
Interior Designer Kaysie Strickland: Home as a Haven of Healing, Part 1

Interior Designer Kaysie Strickland: Home as a Haven of Healing, Part 1

Have you ever thought about the most healing features of your home? What in your environment brings you comfort and peace and reminds you to focus on the right things? These are questions that interior designer Kaysie Strickland might ask if you hired her. My daughter Kaia introduced me to...Read More
My Pitiful Venture into Interior Design

My Pitiful Venture into Interior Design

I call my decorating style eclectic. That’s mainly because I can never decide which route to take. My daughters, who have very good taste, probably laugh at me behind my back. Not in a mean way. Just something like, “Mom and her crazy decorating ideas. It just never goes well...Read More
Monday Metaphor Musings #1: Web

Monday Metaphor Musings #1: Web

What comes to mind when you think of the word web? I teach writing students how to brainstorm ideas on paper, using a webbing technique that some call clustering. Many teachers use this. The rules are simple: start with a word, phrase, or concept in the middle of the page,...Read More
Artist Laura Fesser, Part 1: Inspired by Polymer, Playable Guitars, & Portraits

Artist Laura Fesser, Part 1: Inspired by Polymer, Playable Guitars, & Portraits

Laura Fesser wears two creative hats: artist and teacher. Her lively artwork brightens our community at the local hospital, library, and gallery, as well as numerous homes. Laura teaches elementary art at Heritage Christian School where I started the secondary art program years earlier. Later, she taught my four children,...Read More
Ode to Broken Crayons: Some do’s and don’ts

Ode to Broken Crayons: Some do’s and don’ts

We’ve all been there with a huge sigh, staring at a pile of old crayons. Ready to throw them out. Or staring in disbelief as our child peels the paper right off brand new crayons! How dare he! And if he snaps a crayon in half, oh my! Call in...Read More
Let it Go to Let it Grow

Let it Go to Let it Grow

“What a great job you’re doing on that tower!” I said to my three-year-old son, my enthusiasm rivaling a rock concert crowd. CRASH! In an instant, he sent blocks flying across the room. Not for fun, but in a rage. What was his message to me? Hmm. He wasn’t able...Read More
Backyard Art Fairs & Tie Dye Parties

Backyard Art Fairs & Tie Dye Parties

Tie dye, anyone? When my kids were little, we had the neighbors over for tie dye parties. In the backyard, we dunked T-shirts, pillow cases, and socks into big buckets of dye. My husband Tim monitored the garden hose as we rinsed the colors out. The alley flowed with turquoise,...Read More
Alison Sherwood, Part 2: Memory Maker, Memory Finder, & Memory Keeper

Alison Sherwood, Part 2: Memory Maker, Memory Finder, & Memory Keeper

As a mom of small children, Alison Sherwood says YES to Mess and Mayhem. Not only does she enjoy creating and capturing memories for friends, she makes art for, about, and with her kids. She doesn’t dictate the outcome but engages them in the process, even working alongside them. Their...Read More
Alison Sherwood, Part 1: Memory Maker, Memory Finder, & Memory Keeper

Alison Sherwood, Part 1: Memory Maker, Memory Finder, & Memory Keeper

Need inspiration? Need ideas for a party or craft? Look no further. This woman is overflowing with them! Non-stop. Alison Sherwood is a journalist turned stay-at-home-mom to three kids (Corban, 6, Mara, 4, and Haddon, 3). For nine years, she was a writer, videographer, blogger, and digital jack-of-all-trades for the...Read More
Process vs. Product: the Sizzle or the Steak?

Process vs. Product: the Sizzle or the Steak?

We all love shortcuts. From dishwashers to washing machines, from cars to planes, from texting to email, from Google to apps for anything you can imagine, the modern world is all about convenience and finding the easiest and fastest way to do something. But that’s not how creativity usually works....Read More
Say YES to MESS & Mayhem – the Joy is in the Journey – right?

Say YES to MESS & Mayhem – the Joy is in the Journey – right?

Is the joy really in the journey? [caption id="attachment_408" align="aligncenter" width="759"] Photo credit: cogdogblog on VisualHunt / CC BY[/caption] What price are you willing to pay for letting creativity flow? In other words, what messes are you willing to put up with? This is an ode to my mother. I...Read More
Author Liz Tolsma: Story Worlds steeped in WWII history

Author Liz Tolsma: Story Worlds steeped in WWII history

Unlike my friend Cathy, I cannot read and cook at the same time without drastic consequences. Spaghetti boiling over. Overcooked Chicken Divan. Burned biscuits. Have you ever been so engrossed in a novel that you forgot you were reading? Or didn’t hear the oven timer? And your smoke alarm went...Read More
We Need Fairy Tale Dragons

We Need Fairy Tale Dragons

We need Fairy Tale Dragons. [caption id="attachment_365" align="aligncenter" width="650"] CC BY-SA 3.0[/caption] We need the bad guys, the villains. Jack’s Giant. Cinderella’s and Snow White’s evil step-mothers. The Troll who bullied the Three Billy Goats Gruff. The witch in Hansel and Gretel. The Big Bad Wolf. Not to mention Captain...Read More
Why was Einstein so brilliant?

Why was Einstein so brilliant?

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Albert Einstein? The theory of relativity? The atomic bomb? An image of a wild-haired genius? How about fairy tales? Seriously. He was a huge fan. Here’s what he said . . . ************************** "If you want your children...Read More
The Ruby Slippers

The Ruby Slippers

“Today the ruby slippers went on auction,” I wrote to my college-aged daughter in November, 2011. “They’re expected to be sold for 2 or 3 million dollars!” [caption id="attachment_334" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Photo credit: twm1340 on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA[/caption] Audrey and I share a love of old movies, including The...Read More
In the schoolyard: R.I.P. Here lies imagination

In the schoolyard: R.I.P. Here lies imagination

“My legs have hiccups.” That’s how my daughter described muscle twitches at age three. “There a melted rainbow on that truck.” That’s her four-year-old description of a colorful array of fuzzy, blended images. “It’s the same sky over Milwaukee as in Michigan. God just spreads it over us all like...Read More
Creativity: Popcorn Popper vs. Slow Cooker?

Creativity: Popcorn Popper vs. Slow Cooker?

Ever been on a committee that had to come up with ideas for the next best thing? It could be great fun, depending on what has to be made: --a Super Bowl commercial --a plot twist for a TV show --a name for a new doodad --a catchy slogan or...Read More
Creativity is not just for Artists

Creativity is not just for Artists

    Brad and Joyce, my in-laws, would never call themselves artists, but they are two of the most creative people I know. Give Joyce the high school play title along with yards of fabric and accessories, and she’ll whip out a bevy of fantastic stage-ready costumes that will leave...Read More