Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Reflections

I love the string of colored lights I turned on by the window and the tree filled with snow, standing outside the front window, visible to me next to the red stockings hung on the mantle.

What a holiday season. We started with thanks back in November. Then we moved to the natural response of giving. It is wonderful to hear stories of people's lives being touched by love because of hearts reaching out.

This Christmas was filled with music and children. What better reflection of the Christ Child could there be!! The pinnacle of love.

It's strange but maybe the hardest part of the season is the tenderness it creates, that opens to all reality, even that of harshness and loss. I know we will all "toughen up" as 2014 moves us along. We will become highly intellectual again about good and bad. We will become task focused and check off the list. We will heal from winter bugs that slipped in or pulled us down.

But I hope we won't forget completely...that we were touched by the love of this Christmas season. And we are different because of it. We are richer and fuller because we paused a moment, maybe not much longer, to be grateful and to be love and to give.

What a year! Thank you, 2013.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Ocean Reflections...

Where does it start?
Where does it end?
The ocean waters wonder
As they wave their white flags
In defiance or surrender.

Gravity is serious stuff!
What's it like to be a cloud,
Floating serenely with fluff?

A school of many
Cuts the water below.
Black and white behemoth
Leap as they blow.

Where there's a will
There's a way...
That's what the
Hearty ones say.

I think it's a mystery--
We may never know why
The ocean is water
And there's air in the sky.

The way ahead means don't quit;
Even if you blunder, the path is lit..

It always turns out
One way or the other.
The journey is what matters
Surprises to discover.

Thanksgiving in Seattle 2013
Puget Sound Photos

Ocean views...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Learning About Me


This is the season of the year we give thanks for all of our blessings.   I am thankful for all of the readers of High Notes and want you to know that you touch me through your responses, as well as inspiration and new ideas touching you through the newsletters. Check out the full High Notes newsletter or archive on my blog site, which has additional photos and poems.,/    Linda

I am excited so say that the official release of the wonderful product, Learning About Me, occurred at the Crisis Nursery Benefit Concert on November 15, 2013.  By a child we are led.

FLY…Free and Loved

 Two books for children, with artist comments for parents, are now available for you online.  Check it out at and you will find two stories; Wings to Fly and I Like Myself Too that will be fun for kids and inspiring for parents.  Meet Abigail and Timothy.
Go to my web site at and click on Learning About Me Videos on the bar of choices.   That will take you to the web page that has the book video selections for you to choose or the comments I offer about the inspiration and artistry of this product.
Abigail, the butterfly, and Timothy, the dragonfly, give us all great messages of acceptance about others and ourselves in both books. 
Just like Abigail and Timothy, kids teach adults every day about curiosity as well as   acceptance.   I hope you will love the book characters and their messages as much as I do.
Enjoy Learning About Me at and feel free to pass on the link to anyone who may benefit from this teaching material. 
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
 Melody Beattie
Genesis Creative Concepts
Linda Carlson, Creative Strategist,/

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Piano Bench

Pianos share a legacy
Far beyond their melodies.
Stories of dreams and aspirations
Rise among black and white keys.

Remember lessons for the children,
Hymns to say what we believed?
Duets: who could forget chopsticks?
Practice is finished—necessary, most relieved.

Pianos carry memories
Of love and hate and hurt,
Of charm, beauty, or comfort
Like a well worn plaid shirt.

Children gathered round about
Or sitting on a knee,
The tunes of time move quickly on
Yet capture you and me.

Where do we find reflections
Of these treasures in our hearts?
Lift the lid on your piano bench;
That will surely be a start.

A collection of keepsakes
We didn’t want to lose,
Sermon notes, songs composed,
Recital programs, sheet music to choose.

It seems so second fiddle
To the glory of hammer and strings,
But the hidden joys of my piano bench
Came to light and made my heart sing.

For life is filled with moments.
We walk in measured feet.
Pause for lyric or word refrain,
Relish those secret treasures that you keep.
(Dance and choreographed reading by Leah Nelson at the Crisis Nursery Benefit Concert)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Spectacular Fall Colors

Halloween Soup

It's a grey, sometimes drizzly day.
Surely, all the little folk in costume
Will still come out to play.

Butternut squash is calling.
It is a soup day for me,
What creative mess can I make
That will be delightful to taste
This day's inspiration, not to waste?

Friday, October 4, 2013

High Notes

I recently crossed paths with a friend, Pastor Joel, and we mused how I cannot not create!   It's likely that you have a unique God gift that nudges you like that, too.  :)L


A benefit concert is planned for November 15, 2013, for community support of the CAP Agency Crisis Nursery.   A separate flyer will be sent soon with additional information for you to use and to post. 


Watch for the release and easy free access of the DVD, Learning About Me.  This DVD electronically packages two of the children's books that I have written.


I promised in an earlier newsletter that more information from the book, Give and Take by Adam Grant, would be forthcoming.  Look for the book.  I learned a lot.

Here are the high points for me in this book.  Givers are the winners in the most successful and the least successful categories.  Giving generously—often and to many—is important, however, the giver can never lose sight of his or her own goals and healthy growth.  Takers are concerned first that their own needs are served, even if the words may sound giving to others.  Selfish or self-less are the dangers to avoid in interpersonal motivation.  Givers.   Takers.   Matchers.   Understanding can change self or other perception in the stuff of relationships.   


Sometimes situations come up that we have never faced before, and we honestly feel clueless about our response.   But most often, something kicks in from our values or experience that gives us the guidance for making good choices.  
Lifelong learning continually updates the knowledge base that serves us when making decisions.  Learning new information is step one, but applying that information is step two and equally or even more important in the process.    For example, many people attend conferences but immediately file the information and forget it when they get home.  Intentional application of strategy makes a huge difference in outcomes.  This might involve new information or tried and tested wisdom. Continue to learn and be intentional about the use of your entire foundation of good knowledge.

Genesis Creative Concepts
Promoting Natural Wonder

Friday, August 16, 2013


Love’s spirit is filling you.
Be open to receive.
Take a deep breath.
Maybe two will do.

The tasks are still done
With wider vision, maybe more fun.

Most children regularly ask why.
What causes the tide to rise?
They might wonder about clouds.
Why is blue the color of the sky?

Perhaps they have visions we miss.
As adults we go first to logic.
The answer may seem obvious to us
So we overlook the question: what’s this?

Meaning.  It’s not a fancy word.
Yet, the answer, turned over
Might cause us to soar
Like the Albatross or a backyard bird.

Ten minutes, more or less.
Be open to wisdom.
For a moment reflect and go beyond
Whatever you call “the mess.”

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Be watching for God's favor.

High Notes

Journey with me to a true commitment to our environment. Journey with me to the serenity of leaving to our children a planet in equilibrium.
Paul Tsongas 

This pictures is missing the one year old boy from our family who wears the shirt.   But I think we can all take a lesson from his name: Will.  :)


My friends, Randy and Jane, just took a road trip to Georgia.   Randy described seeing many houses with front porches and all variety of chairs, some that rock and others that don't.   A company of creative MN custom builders that I know has built access to the fireplace from the porch, so this idea can flow toward northerners.

What happens when people take time to sit on a porch?   Sitting in a state of relaxation can cause time and lists and goal directed action to slow or momentarily stop.  A porch can be a conversation place for two people from the same house or an invitation to neighbors walking by.  "How is your family?"

Ideas are like clouds floating by.  One has to slow down enough to catch them.   Porches can create a place for people to do that.

Do you have a porch? 
Do you have a place like a porch?
Porch like experiences might happen when you are anywhere and carried off by sounds of music.
It might happen when you are watching the bird feeder or watching hummingbirds drink nectar from the flowers.

Make room in your life for porch time!

Do not go where the path may lead.   Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.  Emerson

Genesis Creative Concepts
Promoting Natural Wonder

Alaskan Beauty!!

Thank you, Michael and Laura, for this beautiful sample of Alaskan habitat!


Learning Through Story.

1.  Experienced through another person rather than at first hand, by using sympathy or the power of   the imagination.
2.  Done or endured by somebody as a substitute for somebody else.
3.  Delegated to somebody else or performing a function that has been delegated.

Parents are sometimes given credit for living through the successes of their children.   This use of the word vicarious is sometimes viewed with a jaded eye because this experience can create unneeded pressure for a son or daughter and take away opportunity for the parent.
I recently read Influencer, The Power to Change Anything, Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, and Switzeler, which gives several examples of the use of story and vicarious learning in a very deliberate and powerful way.   Oh yes, I took notes with my pen, but even more powerfully, I mentally took notes!
The examples given told about the use of TV stories, designed to show positively changed behavior related to a cultural issue.  It actually reminded me of a story I read one time of a researcher who taught words to her parrot by modeling the teaching with a lab assistant in sight of the parrot.   It all makes sense.

So, what are my mental notes?  Life learning is an active process.   I can be inspired by listening to music, but my neural network fires up in a new way when I make music.  I have said that I intend to write on my blog about personal use of creative principles.   You have heard me say before, Fill up.  Fill up.  Fill up.  Spill over

This week all of the accumulated reading about vicarious learning has spilled over.
JK Rowling has been my inspiration in many ways.  I follow her as a person and not the Harry Potter books.   Funny!  This week I was touched by her recent foray into publication under a pen name.  I also researched with the librarian, the Nancy Drew mysteries, a series which was written by several writers under a pen name, Carolyn Keene.   Nancy Drew was my first reading as a child related to a woman of independence, intelligence, and inquisitiveness.

"Daring to risk the uncertain…" is the first phrase of my definition of adventure.  There is a great deal of uncertainty about a writing project intended to teach and model vicarious learning, in this case future roles for women, through imagination.  But willingness to accept mistakes is an important part of the creative attitude.  Trying and exploring are good things and reflect a curious spirit.  Seeing with my spirit as well as my eyes has taken me down this path.

Curiosity I have.
Adventure I love. 
Stay tuned.   I plan to!

Monday, June 10, 2013

High Notes

Thought for the day:  Be blessed to love and serve others.  Linda


I am not a landscape gardener but do compartmentalize my garden appreciation in pots on my decks and by my doors.   I care that we keep that which affects us in positive ways in front of our eyes and in our ears.   You regularly hear me talk about books I read or color or the woods.   Or you hear me talk about music, that which I make or that which I hear on my favorite classical music station.  You won’t hear me talk about the news.  So, putting flowers in the pots to greet my arrival home served several purposes.   Purple is a color I usually associate with the church and tradition.   In this case it is actually the red geraniums that trigger my sense of history.   My dear departed mother always planted geraniums by her front door so it is a very small way of honoring as well as enjoying.  My grandmother always had moss roses on her front steps at the farm so generally there will be a pot of those on the deck somewhere, too.

I share so you will also enjoy and think about what you intentionally keep in front of your eyes!


Spring is a time for new beginnings.  It may be reflected in leaves on the trees or flowers in bloom.   It may be reflected in the traditions of June weddings.   I think creative new beginnings are much like watching the birds build their spring nests…one twig at a time.   That’s how new creative products are developed…one idea at a time.   Just like the birds gather from a variety of places, so do creative strategists.   Ideas come from conversations, from books, from observing any aspect of life and making notes.   Since I love writing, intriguing words are often saved in my iPhone notes for later use.   Just remember that “spring” can be a year-round attitude summarized with this saying: Today is the first day of the rest of my life.


It is so important to be proactive to keep what we believe in front of us, eyes and ears.   My gardening pots are an example of this principle as it applies to me and the color which uplifts me.   But this week I have also added to the affirmations that I post around the house in places that I see regularly.   Advertisement works.   This principle has been proven by marketing gurus and is witnessed regularly in all of business.   Actually, some people like to watch the very expensive commercials that are aired at half time of major sports events.   It affects our behavior.

Since advertising works, it occurred to me long ago that I should apply it on a personal venue and advertise to my family those things that had strongest value to us.   I have always appreciated and posted personal characteristics as well as loving, giving qualities that lead to life success.   It has been said that five years from now our lives will reflect the accumulation of things we read and people with whom we associate.

What are you reading?  Who do you hang out with?  Next time I will tell you about the book Give and Take by Adam Grant that I am reading now.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's time for summer baseball. Batter Up!

I never saw my dad play baseball, but I know he was the catcher on a farm team with Sunday games that drew his passion for years. I have his wool baseball uniform hanging in my closet.

No, I never saw him play baseball, but I saw my father watch hundreds of baseball games on TV. Of course, he knew the stars of all the teams and always had a good guess about who would move on.

I didn't think it would happen to me…. being a baseball junkie.  But it has happened! I just turned off the broadcast of the afternoon game. It may have shown up first with score checks with my son, Michael. Now, it is a baseball app for my iPhone. I like caring about things that people I care about care about. Michael cares about baseball. He has made a point to visit baseball parks on his adventures around the country. Only true baseball interest would stir that behavior. Of course, he supports the teams closest to his life and work, but one time he reminded me: "You can take the baseball guy out of MN but you can't take the MN baseball team out of the guy."

It's clear my people attachment is showing up. Conversations always bloom. I am often involved in conversations with the people who care about baseball. My friend, Jan, follows the MN Twins even though she lives in TN now. Yet, I know my baseball passion started with my dad. I might be listening to my favorite classical music while writing, but there is often a baseball game on the radio in the background.

As I said, Dad was a catcher. Catchers understand strategy and call the game for the pitcher. Catchers are leaders and often find themselves in long-term careers of baseball management. Or they find themselves in non-baseball management leadership roles, watching games on TV like my dad did or enjoying season tickets to their local team's games.

Dad always said baseball was good clean family fun. I am also convinced he liked the strategy and quiet calculation involved in the game. Some day I'll talk about his wit. I'm sure there is a connection. I'm also sure there is a connection to the creative strategy, which absorbs me. Some days it shows up in artistry, and some days it shows up in baseball!!

The creativity of Disney...

Recently I read a book about the life and work of Walt Disney.   It is filled with creative inspiration, and it seemed helpful to summarize it and share the heart of the work, which integrates many of the creative strategies I value.  Enjoy!

How to Be Like Walt Disney, Pat Williams with Jim Denney

"Walt was unique---and so are you!  The attitudes and traits we learn from Walt's life teach us how to be more uniquely who we are and we were meant to be.   If each of us would dream big dreams, approach life with hope and confidence, and persevere until our dreams come true, then we would not only be more like Walt, but we would become the people God created us to be."
Art Linkletter Introduction

 Lesson One: Live the Adventure
"Walt's boyhood…inspired a sense of wonder and imagination that stayed throughout his life."
Lesson Two:  Be A Salesman
  1. Honesty
  2. Enthusiasm
  3. Confidence
  4. Courage
  5. Persistence
 Lesson Three: Dare to Do the Impossible
"If you can dream it, you can do it."

Lesson Four:  Unleash your Imagination
  1. Draw on all your life experiences.
  2. Remove the limits from your imagination.
  3. Consider all possible solutions to every problem.
  4. Silence your inner critic.
  5. To be creative, be courageous.
  6. Work Hard.
  7. Ask yourself, "What if…?"
Lesson Five:  Become an animated leader:
1.     Vision
2.     Communication Skills
3.     People Skills
4.     Good Character
5.     Competence
      *     A strong track record
      *     A commitment to hard work
      *     A commitment to continual personal growth
      *     A commitment to winning
      *     A commitment to excellence
6.     Boldness
7.     A Servant's Heart

Lesson Six: Take a Risk
"Walt demonstrated that true success lies in going where no one else has gone."
Lesson Seven: Dealing with Loss
  1. When you suffer a loss, let go of the need to know why.
  2. If you feel guilty, learn to forgive yourself.
  3. Look for the meaning in your pain and loss.
  4. Be patient with yourself.
  5. Learn to accept what you cannot change.
Lesson Eight: Plus Every Experience
            Give people MORE than they expect.
Lesson Nine:  Be a Person with Stick-to-it-ivity
"The risk paid off because Walt wouldn't quit."

Lesson Ten:  Become a Sponge for Ideas
"I carry ideas around in my head for a long time."

Lesson Eleven:  Ask yourself, "How about tomorrow?"

1.  Embrace Change.
2.  Identify ideas and trends that produce change.
3.  Learn to effectively plan for change.

Lesson Twelve: Live for the next generation.
     "Think beyond your lifetime if you want to accomplish something truly worthwhile."
Keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things. Enjoy a childlike curiosity.  Curiosity keeps heading us down new paths."

One hundred years from now it won't matter what kind of clothes I wore or the size of my bank account, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.

Lesson Thirteen: Build complementary partnerships.
Walt was highly creative, but his brother, Roy, was the Left Brain of the family.   
Every Walt needs a Roy.   Every Roy needs a Walt.

Lesson Fourteen: Stay Focused!
"Our dreams will become reality if we remain faithful to them and never lose our focus."

Lesson Fifteen: Accept your mortality.
"Am I using the time God has given me to make my God given talents come true?"

Lesson Sixteen: Make family your top priority.
"Walt always made time for adventures with his girls.   
He didn't just love his family, he enjoyed his family."

Lesson Seventeen:  Be the Person God Made You to Be
"Walt had to gather up his talents and put them into action.   He had to take risks and persevere so that God's gift in him could be revealed."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

High Notes

I am creating this page because I have to write. I love to write. Maybe you are here at the blog because sometime recently you tasted chocolate and felt my gentle nudge:) I am writing because it is helping me to focus on my goal to be more transparent with you about how I integrate creative thought into my every day life. I am sure it makes a difference in quality, fulfilled living.

I have had conversations with people recently who are in the midst of job changes. I have learned many things about life choices since I first realized that my spirit has always been creative, even before I realized it. It helps me say to self, and to those looking for their path, be watchful of yes and no. What do I mean?

Understanding and being able to list strengths and God gifts is a very important task. Everyone learns how to do many things, some very well. Sometimes these learnings are like red herrings and lead us on paths that are not fulfilling to ourselves or blessings to others. True gifts are those things that we love to do, do exceptionally well, maybe with small effort and great satisfaction.

Here's an example. I have learned to do accounting to keep track of business and to get ready for the tax accountant every year. I work very hard to accomplish this task well. I would probably never call it fun! It has always been a job that had to be done. My brother is an accountant and loves keeping track of things in little boxes. He does it exceptionally well. It happens in all families…you look around and wonder how you all have the same last name:)

This story is proof that I should never list the ability to combine data sequentially on a resume. But, thoughts and notes are different. Those I can list on a resume and must say yes about when opportunities occur in these venues. When I have said no it is about the setting and my heightened sensitivity.

Employment is not just about paying the bills. It is also about life purpose. People need to spend their days contributing to the good of the world with the gifts and talents they have been granted. So, reviewing gifts and strengths is a helpful task and not a waste of time. It does matter in the world of creative thought to use your God given passions and competencies to help steer your course.

What does it mean for me? Looking at my Pansy picture will affirm for you what gets me out of bed in the morning…color! Always the last thing I do and sometimes the first thing I do in any day is writing. My favorite bay window brings the environment to me, and this is always the site for breakfast and morning meditation. All of these realities have helped me find a way to promote my passions and skills for the benefit of Realtors who have chosen for their life work helping others buy or sell properties. Maybe they chose the positions or the positions chose them. That's how I feel. Making choices and guided.

I have said no to gigs for money that did not match my heart purpose. I have said no to opportunities that match what I have learned to do well with great work. But my greatest joy lately is enthusiastically saying yes to an opportunity I have shaped, with lots of help, to think color and design and catch the words that best describe properties. I can think about what kids need from the environment to live and learn at their highest and describe the opportunities that are close at hand.

The point is this…creative living means knowing when to say yes and when to say no and why.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Robin, Robin Redbreast

I've spotted you,
It must be spring.
Yet, snow and ice
Have a MN ring!

When it's cold
You disappear
So, your return
Says sun is near.

Circles of life
Go round and round.
Joy in all seasons
Can be found.

Build your nest,
Stay a while.
You give metaphor,
A creative smile.

Color At Last!

Sunday, March 31, 2013


Could it be...?

A coil in a bed
A skip in your step
A kangaroo bounce
A kitten pounce
Baseball in Florida
A calendar date
Trampoline rebounds
Gymnastic vaults
Random thinking

Once again I'm ready for the color of pansies.

Spring is what you make it!!

Time Marches On

I rarely watch television.  During the last two weeks I have watched basketball games.  Lots of them.   It is NCAA tournament time.  Beyond the fact that watching TV can be addicting for me…Gotta Have It….I was absolutely inspired by the focus of the young athletes and their commitment to their goals and their team.

Their drive comes from the inside.  Yes, they have a commitment to their team and love their coach, but they compete because something inside of them calls them to be better, to show up each day with the best of who they are, that day.

I have just read a book called The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson, that says we should work like it depends on us and pray like it depends on God.   Well, all of those young people surely do work like the game depends upon them, but today I know one of their colleagues was injured and they all prayed …even on the other team…like his well being depended on a higher power.  God.

So, what have I learned?   All of these games have shown me the efforts of young people who knew how to show up for the game.   Makes me wonder if I show up with the same vigor for the life game every day.   These games show me that these young people understand that outcomes are really dependent upon a higher power.  For college basketball it may be the NCAA and competition.  Makes me wonder why it often seems so logical to  me that I am responsible for outcomes as well as effort.  I probably would save myself headaches and a stubborn stiff neck if I just believed boldly that my job is to show up with energy and God given skills and talents, but my job is not to control the outcomes.  The creative spirit that I value depends on this attitude.

March Madness is really more sane than the name implies.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ramen Noodles

I recently had an opportunity to talk about "going the extra mile," which Napoleon Hill in his life research supports, and sometimes living "outside the box," which I am known to do in creative thought.

This is what came to me:

Going the extra mile sometimes means living outside the box.
To do so is less than common.
I probably began wanting the success outcomes it brings
When I realized that excellence meant steak and not just Ramen.

Going, Going, Gone!!

Everyone knew it would happen.   February is a breath away from gone.   New opportunities come with each new season...really, with each new day.  They will soon come marching in.  

So, I'm headed to the mountains to gather with my family to ski as one last hurrah for winter.   Family playtime is a gift that goes on forever, at least in families where the recognition of joy and priority are made.   I am so glad we did.   I think my sons held me accountable when they were young if I became too task focused on the business of living.  

Play is a way that young children rehearse the skills for life.  Play is a way that people can focus outside their life issues and just enjoy the moment.  Play brings laughter and that in itself promotes joy and health.  

Play happens in community and that speaks to a definition of family that expands caring about others.   I'm glad that there is a little girl with red hair in one of our family pictures taken at the Michael and Laura wedding last fall.  She is the niece of the new bride.  But my affection for the photo is related beyond new kin to a statement that our family will be open enough so others can join.  This diversity and inclusion will be honored on our ski weekend.  

Love really doesn't know bounds.  Fortunately, it is not like February 2013, which has come and gone.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Quotable Quotes

It is pretty well known that I can usually be found with a book in hand. It's interesting that I will read most any thing of quality....except directions. I keep a mental list of email addresses and phone numbers ready at hand for this very reason.

Last week I was reading Linked In business articles and found these great quotes. I hope I have given credit to the right people.  The ideas seemed thought provoking enough to pass along.

Failure isn't the worst outcome.   Mediocrity is!
Tim O'Reilley

Pursue something so important that even if you fail, the world is better off with you having tried.
Drew Houston, Dropbox

Life is short. We have a limited amount of time to achieve our potential.

In business, there is danger of "ramen profitability." The company is making enough money that the founder can live on Ramen Noodles.

Friday, February 1, 2013

High Notes

High Notes
February 2013

Real estate is one of my many passion interests.  I recently met with a Realtor to discuss marketing for a parcel of family land and some potential changes that we wanted to review.  Of course, we analyzed all the variables!   I smiled today as I pondered the meeting because the "take it apart" analysis has been a part of my strategy repertoire for a long time. 

One of my first applications of this process involved the choosing of music for the CD, Hello! Come Fly With Me.  My goal in this writing and music project, which I have spoken of before, was exploring the concept of transformation.  People change.   Circumstances change.   Life changes.  In writing the essence of the book, I had already found (in my imagination) Abigail the Butterfly and Timothy the Dragonfly, who both portrayed friendship characters.  The story had unfolded.

So, when it came time for the music, I made a very long list of all the musical sounds, phrases, feelings, songs, and associations that came to me when I thought of wings and flight.  I ended up with grace notes, triplets, glissandos, trills, and long flying finger runs up and down the keyboard.  At one point I even thought about rockets and space ships and found a Bach Invention, ultimately played as a duet with one of my sons, that represented super fast flying fingers.  My closing piece on the CD was a Mozart Sonata that had fast fingers in some parts but was chosen primarily because it reminded me of the mood that is set by a pilot who announces in a gentle voice that we have reached a 37,000 feet cruising altitude.   He hopes we will sit back and enjoy the flight!   Enjoyment and inspiration was my hope for the music listeners...listening to the CD and in life. 

One of my favorite memories is the process of transforming the music and story into a black light staged production, used in churches and this time at a school program for 900 students.  Two students were dressed in black and animated the characters, which had been built by graphic artist Randy Herget.  While the music played, trained voice over theater people, my son and a friend, told the story of Wings to Fly which we had recorded.   Thank you Michael and Molly.   The story, Wings to Fly, is really about believing in yourself and embracing differences in others as you find your way through life.

Of course, at the meeting with Andy the Realtor this week, he offered me paper when I reached for a napkin to jot my notes.   But I really love napkins as an awesome way to collect and take apart ideas in all directions, whatever is being discussed.   I have been cautioned by friends about using a napkin in my pocket for a sneeze because they know I may have some treasured idea written on it!  It is likely that somewhere there is a napkin with notes about wings.

As you know from other newsletters, this process is called divergent thinking and is the absolute balance to convergent thinking.  I say it a lot.   When making decisions, take the idea apart in as many variables or dimensions as you can think of or tolerate!   Then build a process, which represents your values, to make your choices based on your divergent thinking.  The process will lead you to a level of wisdom that brings satisfaction and enjoyment.

Circling back to the CD, after I made the list of types of sounds that would reflect wings and flight, I needed to make music choices with these reflections.   I knew what I was looking and listening for!  When it was all done I had the satisfaction of engineering the process as well as the enjoyment of the music.

I know the product was packaged because of what I needed to do and learn at that time.   But creative work always touches somebody somewhere somehow.   I am grateful.

It's all amazing.   I love the thought of sharing the joy.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Warm up with imagination.

The weather is cold
But my spirit is aflame:
Only footsteps were slowed
By the January snow and icy rain.

Stir yourself up,
Let your imagination loose.
Don't treat wonder as if
Your vision rides in the caboose.

Winter Wonderland

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Take time to look ahead...

I think the companies that begin their new fiscal year in July may have an edge on most of us.  It occurred to me recently that living in MN means that January is the month when I draw every part of my body toward the very core for warmth, which means that I regularly wear my shoulders up around my ears.  That serves a temporary purpose but strikes me so like convergent thinking that it brought a roll of my eyes.  New Year's Resolutions became an obvious mountain.

My strategy on "now and next" is highly convergent thinking.  Yes, it has value and has its place but not really in the dreaming part of setting new goals.  Dreaming and goal setting demands big picture possibilities.   It calls for big wide arm stretches, the kind that we are most prone to make on a warm day in July in MN.

I guess it all means that I am not really finished yet with my new year vision building.    Of course, this activity can be done any time.  But it often helps to have annual reminders to engage in this process.   Really, the other half of goal setting means the review of things accomplished which is good too.  

I was recently given a book that describes praying circles around our biggest dreams and greatest fears. Some of the author's goals were written as a graduate student and have extended through his lifetime.  Not all goals are to be checked on or checked off every January.

But my point is this.   Visioning and dreaming big is really important.   For some it is an act of faith.   For some it is a stretch activity that keeps their thinking and lives balanced.  For some it is an opportunity to reach beyond grasp as they consider their todays and tomorrows.

Yes, I have begun to write and talk about 2013 goals and visions.   I hope you will too.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Goals

It would be so easy to cite platitudes about new goals for the new year.  Actually, earlier New Year's Day I wrote about having none and relying on "now and next" to guide me forward.

What I remember now is that prior to launch of the new blog, I wrote about my favorite creative products and process: Wings to Fly and Hello, Come Fly With Me!  I haven't posted it yet.  What I understand in a new way today is that my focus was transformation.  Change alone, just stark, can be very harsh.   So, I studied the transformation of butterflies.   Oh yes, I used all the creative process steps and thought throughout the entire process.   But today, standing on the brink of 2013, I am aware that change alone can't offer the peace that the attitude of transformation provides.  Maybe the concepts mean the same thing for some, but I think the word transformation releases the word "same" from our minds and lips.  Something new is born.

I was given an article once about cocoon changes.   The article prepared the reader for the mushy ambiguous stages of this evolvement.   There are some things on the 2013 horizon that excite me deeply.  I also anticipate moments...maybe like now...where I will experience amorphous mush.

Now and next is perhaps the best way to start 2013 with focus.

Happy New Year.