Archives For Making Life a Creative Project

Outside of donuts and bacon for breakfast, I find Christmas disappointing.

In a weird way.

Things are good. Actually they’re great.

I have a wonderful wife.

Beautiful, healthy kids.

A great family.

A job.

A house.

A new Keurig.

More donuts and bacon.

Things are good.

But there’s a side of me that isn’t satisfied. That never says enough. It keeps searching for transcendence and rescue from my daily struggles.

This side builds the whole Christmas season into a giant expectation of syrupy awesome sauce spilling out my pores as I run down the sidewalk yelling “Merry Christmas, Bedford Falls!” and start to cry as I look into my kids eyes and we sing “Fah who for-aze! Dah who dor-aze! Welcome Christmas! Come this way!” and Tiny Tim says “God Bless us, everyone”. I then cry and just burst into sunbeams because nothing could ever be more awesome.

But usually I just feel tired. And bloated. And irritable.

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As a 19 year-old I was convinced that after submitting my comic strip to syndicates, I’d be able to quit my lawn care job within a year.

  • A couple years later, I was convinced a house-flipping business with my friends would take off.
  • Two years after that I was convinced my band would make it.
  • After college I was convinced my design business would work.
  • A few years later I was convinced it had all come full circle and writing pop songs for a pre-teen band during the height of the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana craze would pay off our mortgage.

And yet:

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As the writer of a book that’s sold 80 copies (and who’s been writing intentionally only 4 years), it feels pretentious to share my creative process.

It’s not like masses of people (or anyone, actually) are waiting for me to reveal hidden secrets. My mom’s never even asked.

But we’re in this together.

You create. I create. We share.

So, I’m sharing.

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Basement

July 14, 2013 — 2 Comments

In our house we fight bad guys.

That’s just what we do. Just ask my four-year-old son. Just like Batman and Aslan, we’re brave and protect people.

It’s interesting how brave you feel when everything is ok.

Last night we woke up to the police chasing someone who shot at them at the baseball field across the street from our house and was loose in our neighborhood. We were told to go down to the basement while they searched.

12:30 a.m. found the five of us huddled on the couch in the dark as we told our kids it was like a storm. At that point I wasn’t feeling too brave about fighting real bad guys. The sight of me in my boxers and brown polo with cupcake icing on the shoulder didn’t really give off the Russell Crowe Gladiator “Look out bad guys” vibe either. 

Instead I felt a very tangible helplessness, a weird feeling that all I could do was hide in the basement of my own house.

It’s interesting how much of life we are powerless over and how much we delude ourselves thinking we’re in control.

30 minutes later we were notified they’d found the suspect and everything was ok, but that feeling danced around in my head and heart as I laid in bed.

I’m not in control.

All I can do is hide in the basement. But, that feeling also reaffirmed to me my desire and need for something greater than myself – because I’m not strong enough to fight the bad guys on my own. Although I wouldn’t mind a Batmobile.

Firsts and Familiar

March 19, 2013 — 2 Comments

Beauty
We all remember the first date, first kiss, first job, first day at a new school, first time eating a cake pop.

That nervous feeling, the feeling that something new and wonderful has just begun.

Firsts are fun. They make the highlight reel on the story of our lives. We talk about them, laugh about them, and sometimes wish we could experience them again.

First are also simple. It’s easy to see why they’r exciting and romantic, because there’s not much to compare them to.

Which also makes them seem like something we miss out on down the road. “Wait, I’m in my thirties and haven’t had too many firsts in a while, outside of new bills and responsibilities. Where’s my magical moments?” We’re sad that there are no more first kisses, first dates, although cake pops can still be pretty magical.

But maybe we’re looking at it all wrong.

Maybe our firsts don’t have to be our lasts.

Maybe life is meant for not just firsts, but for the familiar. Maybe things like relationships are meant to be uncovered, slowly, year after year, as we discover new meaning and layers to our lives. Like a book you read over and over, finding new layers you hadn’t noticed before. Maybe there are wonderful treasures waiting to be found, which provide much more significance and purpose and satisfaction than the firsts of our lives. Maybe the firsts of our lives are just opening the door to new firsts. And while some of those new firsts may not be as dramatic, I wonder if they provide more lasting impact as the years go by?

Joy and I have been married 8 years today. I’m finding through the bustle of 3 kids running around, working, paying bills, fixing up our house, and all those things that we do, that the real beauty of being married is much less about our firsts, and much more about a continual uncovering and discovery of who Joy is and how we help each other. The appreciation, satisfaction and love grow in a much more real way than our firsts. I believe there’s a strength, a truth, and a beauty that are only achieved through time, and that far outshine chasing new firsts.

Firsts open the door, but it’s what inside that’s the real treasure.

When you think about food creatively you begin to think about
everything creatively – Tim Ferriss, Author of The 4 hr Chef

Tim Ferriss, Author of 4 Hour Chef, on Food and Creativity

Little Surprises

February 22, 2013 — Leave a comment

Little_Surprises

Life sometimes feels like we all just jump on to follow where it leads, not knowing where we’re going.

So often our plans turn to nothing, and what we don’t plan turns into some of the greatest parts of our lives.

Approximately 2 years and 7 months ago we found out we were pregnant. Planned.

A few weeks later Joy called and said “It’s two.” Unplanned.

I laughed out loud, got really excited and began searching online for minivans. The next year, for various reasons, turned out to be one of the weirdest, most difficult years ever as we wondered how we could possibly provide for two additional short people.
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Dallas Willard on Hurry

February 20, 2013 — Leave a comment
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Image courtesy of http://behappy.me

Good advice from Dallas Willard for both creativity and for life.

Creative Space Image

Space.

Like the cosmos, I need space. 

I’d like to impress you by saying I work 60 hours a week,

but I get edgy when I work too much.

Maybe I’m lazy.

I really don’t think so.

But, I like life better when I have space. 

This is an excerpt from Creative You – Making Life A Creative Project
Read the first two chapters for free.
Get it on Amazon

Dr Seuss and Creativity

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Click for more info.

Dr. Seuss wrote a series of books aimed at younger readers.

Each book was created with fewer than 250 simple words such as “to,” “too,” “ball” and “bump.” The king of made up words like “zizzer-zazzer-zuzz” and “yuzz-a-ma-tuzz” limited himself to these simple words. This series of beginner books became extremely popular, including “The Cat In The Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham” and others.

Like Dr. Seuss, our current circumstances are an opportunity for a creative solution. You might be thinking “Here comes the pep talk, our circumstances don’t define us, blah blah.” Humor me—just think about it. The things that confine something are sometimes the things that define it.
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