Creative Thursday: 5 Benefits of Collaborating with Others

Often working together with a partner or team is a great way to open doors and stretch your creativity.

Several reasons collaborating are beneficial:

  1. Brainstorming—when working together you’re able to bounce ideas off of one another and to brainstorm together.  You can brainstormingboth bring new ideas and slants that can be considered and discuss the pros and cons of what will work best, why and how.
  2. Networking—Collaborating with others offers networking opportunities that may not otherwise be available to you.  Your partner{s} may have contacts that you do not have and vice versa.  You never know what doors might be opened through this association.
  3. Learn New Techniques—Working together you can learn new techniques from one another.  Maybe you’ve always done things one way, but there is a simpler way or new technique you’re not aware of that your creative partner is able to share with you.
  4. Utilize Strengths—each partner may have his/her own strengths and weaknesses.  By teaming up you can draw on one another’s strengths.  Ideally, you would want to search for a partner that has a strength where you have a weakness and vice versa.
  5. Fun—collaborating together can be fun and give you the necessary socialization needed that you would not have when working alone.  This can make the craft of creating less stressful, more productive and even more creative.

What are some benefits you’ve had of collaborating with others in your creative field?

music in ear

Caregiving Monday–Musical Ear Syndrome

music in earAfter GG* broke her neck four years ago, she began complaining about noises that were not there.   Often she hears people talking, songs that are not being played, etc.

A visit to the doctor and some research showed that she has a condition called musical ear syndrome.  This is most common in individuals with severe hearing loss.  After breaking her neck, GG developed severe hearing loss.

GG often tells us that we think she is crazy, but we actually believe her.  We understand what she’s dealing with but have a difficult time making her understand what she’s hearing.MES

Musical ear syndrome is classified as phantom sounds in the ear and brain that are considered “auditory hallucinations.”  More women than men are willing to admit that they suffer from musical ear syndrome.

Some enjoy the sounds or music they hear and others wish they would go away.

GG will sit in her chair and carry on a full conversation with these voices that are talking to them.  I’ve watched GG carry on a 20-30 min conversation with these individuals.  However, this is typical for individuals that struggle with musical ear syndrome {MES}.

Even though GG wears hearing aids and they help to an extent, they are not a catch all.

Do you know of anyone that struggles with MES?

*Name altered


Transitional Friday: 10 Steps to Making a Decision




Last week we discussed how much our decisions matter.

Often when we’re in a transitional period, we don’t know which way to turn.  We often wonder what is the best path and how to decide.

Here are a few tips, I’ve discovered the hard way:

  1. Pray about the situation and seek God’s will
  2. Pretend a friend came to you with this situation.  How would you advise a friend?decisions2
  3. Journal your thoughts and feelings about the situation.
  4. Make a list of the Pros and Cons to the situation.
  5. Listen to your gut and what your instincts or saying.
  6. Imagine 20 years from now.  Do you see regret?  What would your future self tell you now?
  7. Write out all of your concerns and seek the answers.
  8. Role Play—if this involves another individual role play the situation {even if you do this with a different friend or spouse}.  This often gives you the other individuals point of view.
  9. Limit the information and don’t focus on too much information.  You’ve heard the adage that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.  This is the same idea.  I often worry about issues way down the line, instead of the present.
  10. Pray—this is so important, it’s worth repeating.  Pray, study the Bible and seek God’s will in the situation.


How do you make a decision?


Creativity Thursday: 5 Lessons When Going Professional

Have a contract to keep both parties accountable
Have a contract to keep both parties accountable




After years of developing your craft, at some point you may decide to go professional, and earn money for your craft.  Whether you decide to monetize your hobby, go part time or make this a full time job, there are some hard lessons I’ve learned in my pursuit of going professional.



  1. Treat this as a business—the craft is great and your passion, but you have to remember to treat this like a business.  That
    Know Your Limits
    Know Your Limits

    includes keeping records, paying taxes and negotiating contracts.

  2. Have a contract—when getting started this may be a little scary.  I’ve made numerous verbal contracts with various businesses and often have been burned because they changed their minds, did not know their own budgets or had a change in their itinerary.  With a signed contract, the company realizes the sincerity of your efforts, and are less likely to take advantage of you.
  3. Take it slow—don’t overwhelm yourself with too much.  Start slow, gain the experience and training that is necessary.  The more experience you gain the more you will be able to charge, but appreciate those small breaks.
  4. Know Your Limits—know what you can and cannot do.  If you are asked to do something that’s not possible or will take longer than the time required, tell the company up front.  It’s better to be honest from the beginning, than to take on more than is humanly possible.  You have to know when to push yourself to meet a deadline and when to give yourself more time.
  5. Read Your Audience—Know your audience and be willing to change when something isn’t working.  As a musician, I often think that one song or activity will work with my clients.  I often discover in the middle of it that it is not going as well as I planned.  I make a mental note not to do that song or activity again and will even change my outline in the middle, if necessary and possible.


What lessons have you learned going professional?

Plenty of Water

Caregiving Monday–The Importance of Staying Hydrated

We were recently concerned that my grandmother had become dehydrated.  In these hot temperatures of 80s, 90s, and even 100+ degree weather, it is important for senior adults to stay hydrated.

elderly water          When a senior adult becomes dehydrated this causes confusion, lead to muscle cramps, lead to fatigue, headaches, irritability and increase the possibility for falls.

However, GG* and other senior adults that I’ve worked with do not like to drink much.  One excuse commonly given is they do not want to go to the restroom very often.

Meal times is when most senior adults have the bulk of their liquid intake. I’ve tried explaining to GG that she needs to drink at least 8 oz of water at breakfast and then 8 oz in each three hour block she’s up.  Unfortunately, we ignores me and looks at me like I’m crazy.

There are some tips that might encourage senior adults to drink more:

  • Fix special beverages s/he will enjoy  {ex. GG loves hot chocolate, so I fix her a cup each morning}
  • Milk in cereal

    Jello is a great way to help the elderly stay hydrated
    Jello is a great way to help the elderly stay hydrated
  • Cup of tea in the afternoon with crackers and fruit
  • Soups
  • Fruit—especially those such as grapes, oranges, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc. that are water based
  • Juice—there are many to choose from but check the contents for one more water based and less sugar based
  • Popsicles—again there are many to choice from, but look for one that is healthier and more water or juice based and less sugar based
  • Foods that are water based such as applesauce, yogurt, cottage cheese, pudding and jello.


Remember that it is important to encourage regular sips of water throughout the day.  Many senior adults only take baby sips.

It is important to drink plenty of water, especially in extreme heat.
It is important to drink plenty of water, especially in extreme heat.

Also, encourage heavier consumption in the morning and afternoon than in the evening.  Most senior adults do not enjoy getting up to go to the restroom on a regular basis.

How do you encourage your senior adult to stay hydrated?


*Name altered

life is all about choices

Transitional Friday: 10 Questions to Ask if Our Choices Matter

life is all about choices




When I reached adulthood, I made a lot of dumb choices.  At the time I did not think about the long term affect these choices would have on my life.  Some of these choices effected the direction of my life, made life a lot more difficult and cost me some of my dreams.

I didn’t stop to think or pray about what I was doing and I did not consider the long term cost these decisions would have on my life.

Some questions we can ask when looking at our choices and decisions are:

  1. How does this affect me now?choices
  2. How will this affect my future?
  3. Is this a want or a need?
  4. Does this have a life and death impact?
  5. Can I wait or postpone for a better future?
  6. Do I feel pressured to make this decision or change?
  7. What does The Bible say about this situation?
  8. What does my gut say?
  9. Am I following my intuition, my heart, my dreams or my hormones?
  10. What does God say about this?

Most importantly, take time to pray and ask God for guidance and direction.

What mistakes have you made that you wish you could change


Transitional Friday: When Change isn’t your Idea

Life throws us a curve ball at times and change is forced upon us.  This can be through the loss of a job, loss of a loved one, abusive relationship, natural occurrence, decision of another person, tragic accident and number other causes.

So, how do you deal with change when it isn’t your idea?

  1. Cry—sometimes we just need to cry and express our pain.  There are times when there just aren’t words. mourn
  2. Mourn your loss—a loss is a loss, regardless of how large or small.  Even if the change is one that we want, our life is changed and we need to mourn and say goodbye to that part of our lives.  Sometimes this is a few hours or a day and other times it is months or years.
  3. Pray and ask God for guidance and to help you move on—in all things we need to pray and ask God what He would have to do now.
  4. Accept your new normal—we have a new normal, even if it is for an interim time.  We have to accept this and learn how to live in this new reality.
  5. Determine your ultimate destination—we need to decide what our goals are.  What do we ultimately want in life?  Sometimes it takes weeks or months to determine what we may truly want and what God’s will might be for our lives.  We mustn’t forget to seek God’s will.
  6. Make a list of steps to reach that goal—now that we know where we are going, we need to access where we are and the steps to get from one place to the next.  Again, sometimes our goals are short term and other time they are long term.reach
  7. Work hard towards those goals—we work hard to meet these goals, whether it is returning to school, searching for a job, selling a house, etc.
  8. Continue to put one foot in front of another—there are days when life gets difficult and we don’t feel that we can keep going.  We take a deep breath and continue to put one foot in front of the other.
  9. Reach for your dreams—never give up—if this is truly what God has laid on your heart, never give up.  Ask for His help and keep pushing through no matter how difficult life gets at times.

Sometimes life altering events, lead to positive change.

What other ways do you deal with change?



When Change isn’t your Idea

Techniques to deal with change