The Creative Power of Limitation

I think one of the greatest ways to promote creativity is to have limitations that seem to hamper the progress you are able to make. Think about it. If material is lacking, you learn to be creative with what you’ve got. If money is an issue, you get creative with the money and resources you already have. If you don’t have much space, you either turn a bedroom into a studio or find a way to do your work outdoors, where the atmosphere is better anyway. Limitations and roadblocks promote greater creativity.

If you think your limitation is hampering your creativity, maybe you just need to think more creatively about your creativity.

It rarely does any good to put off an aspiration until you have the money or means to do something about it. Whatever it is that you want to do, start doing it, with whatever time, money, and resources you DO have.

For example, let’s say you want to take up sculpture, but have no clay, and no money. That is an issue – but not enough of an issue to justify waiting until you have money or clay before moving forward. Start with home-made playdough. Does that sound too cheap?

Have you ever heard of Don Marco? He’s a crayola crayon artist, and he’s AMAZING. It’s not the fact that he uses crayons for art that’s amazing – your kids do that, (though yes, they are amazing in their own way, but you know what I mean). It’s the fact that he makes incredible art with crayons.

Use what you have to do what you want to do. Then when the resources are available, you can move up – and still have a unique portfolio.

What if time is your limitation? Become a five strokes a day artist, or perhaps “The Five Minute Painting” artist, or whatever. You don’t have to base your career on your limitation, but turn your limitation into an asset by trying something creative with your creativity.

Creativity is spawned where limitations prevail.

I’ve been publishing CD’s for years, and though it would be awesome and ideal to record with a real grand piano in a real studio, that’s never been an option to me, because it’s so dang expensive. But instead of complaining or waiting until I had the funds, I record with a professional program that allows me to fix minor mistakes that would be untouchable in a studio recording. That made my first CD better than it would have been if I’d had a studio to record in. Limitations aren’t roadblocks, limitations promote synergy.

If something goes wrong and you suddenly find yourself lacking what you once had, turn your disability into a superpower. Only you can figure out how to do it. That’s the beauty of creativity.

Progress never comes from maintaining the status quo, but from running into problems and coming up with solutions that were better than the initial plan.

The Lord is My Shepherd – Piano Solo Sheet Music

Printable Download: $3.95

The Lord Is My Shepherd

This arrangement of The Lord is My Shepherd has been floating around in the musical side of my brain for a number of years now, so I’m excited to finally have it done and put onto sheet music. Psalm 23, which is the basis of the text of this hymn, is probably one of the most quoted scriptures in the world, and for good reason.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Macaroni Bandaid

When it comes to kid injuries, Band-Aids can fix anything. If only they weren’t so dang expensive. Tootles had been having a crash boom bang day by dinnertime already tonight when he pinched his finger between his chair and the table. The wails were followed by blubbering begs for that traditional toddler cure-all. There was no blood at all, and if we gave Tootles a Band-Aid even half as often as he asked for one, I’d need a second job just to pay for them all.

So I said, “Hey, Tootles, I know what you need!”

He paused his wails long enough to see what I had in mind.

I pulled a spaghetti noodle out of the pot and said, “A macaroni band-aid!”

He shook his head. “No. I want a Bam-baid!”

“This is a Band-Aid!” I said, “It’s a macaroni Band-Aid. Don’t you want it for your finger?”

He shook his head.

“Alright,” I said, “I’ll just give it to Squeaker then.” Then I held the noodle out to nine-month-old Squeaker, who’s flailing hands caught it mid-swing and mashed it to her mouth before Tootles had a chance to protest.

There were a few silent seconds (other than the sound of vigorous Squeaker slurps), and then another scream from Tootles. “I want it! I want it!”

Now, of course I wasn’t about to take macaroni from a baby, but I did use the daddy slight-of-hand trick that involved taking another noodle from the pot and making a motion as if taking the noodle from Squeaker. It almost backfired when Squeaker was also momentarily fooled by the trick, but finding that her noodle was still hanging safely from her mouth, she commenced slurping her prize. Then I coiled the “recovered” noodle around Tootles’ sore finger.

By the end of dinner, the Band-Aid had been devoured and the soreness had been forgotten.

I think this opens a whole new world for toddler Band-Aid treatment.

Dating Goals

As some of you may already know, I’m getting a dating advice book ready for publication. My wife and I have a dating advice blog as well, which we’ve neglected a bit lately, but since I post fairly regularly on this blog, I thought I’d post the entries for that blog in both places. So here’s the entry for today!

Photo by Shelly Hathaway at
Photo by Shelly Hathaway at

One of the important lessons I had to learn quickly in dating is to not let fear of the future rule the present. I suppose I wasn’t unique in wanting to get just the right girl on the first try. As a teenager, I used to think to myself: wouldn’t it be cool if the first girl I ever have 2 dates with turns out to be my wife? Well, that goal was spoiled in high school when a girl I asked out asked me to a school dance, and we never went out again.

So modified my goal: Wouldn’t it be cool if the first girl I went out with twicewhere I did the asking both times, was the girl I ended up marrying? Well, shortly after my mission I went on a blind date with a girl, and it went well. I thought I might kind of like her, so I asked her out again. That didn’t last, though we did go on a total of three dates.

So I modified my goal again: Maybe the first girl I go on more than 3 dates with will be my wife someday. Well, a year or two after my mission, I met a girl who I liked, who liked me, and we hit it off okay at first – we even decided after “the talk” (we’ll discuss what ‘the talk’ is later), that we would consider each other boyfriend and girlfriend. A couple weeks later, we broke it off.

So much for my goals. I hadn’t yet held hands, kissed a girl, or fallen in love, so I thought about forming new goals around those things. But after that last failure, those kinds of goals suddenly seemed silly. The point was not to succeed without failure, the point was to succeed. I was looking for an eternal companion, and if that meant first holding hands with or falling in love with a number of girls I wouldn’t end up marrying, so be it. The Lord never said I had to get it right on my first try.

In fact, I think there is benefit in dating a good number of girls, and if in that process you find one that you think just might have a slight chance of being the one for you, don’t be afraid to encourage things to progress that way. That’s how relationships are formed, and once you find someone that meets your basic requirements, it will likely take risk and commitment to learn about the deeper aspects of the person’s life. You aren’t likely to find out a person’s dirt or gems on the basis of simple friendship. And once you do get close enough, and make simple commitments to each other, you will find out more about your date than you could in casual dating.

You need to learn as much as you appropriately can about a person before deciding to marry them. You won’t learn everything before marriage, but the more you learn, the more equipped you are to make that decision.

One day I attended a fireside talk by John Bytheway. His topic was “What I Wish I’d Known When I Was Single.” The whole talk was basically about single life and the dating game. One of the things he mentioned was that in his search for a wife, there came a time that he decided he would go on a date at least once a week.

I thought a lot about that resolution. By this time in my life, I had slowed my dating progress and was going out about once a month or so on average, and didn’t feel like I was getting much accomplished in the dating scheme. So I made a similar resolution (though not as intense): I would ask a girl on a date at least every other week. That was my rule.

For me, this was a very effective plan. For one thing, it got me going on dates often, and going on dates provided the social and emotional development I needed to be able to handle the whole dating experience. Of course, some of the early attempts at this program were rather humiliating, but with practice, asking girls on dates became far less traumatic.

Second, following this plan allowed me to focus on what I could control. My job was to ask a girl on a date. If she said “no,” then I was off the hook for a couple weeks. It never does any good for anyone to focus on what they can’t control. I could not control her response. I could only improve myself and try again with a different girl later. I’d try to give myself a better hairstyle or wear a different deodorant. I’d try working out a bit more and cutting back on my bad habits.

This pattern of every other week dating (and it wasn’t too long before I was going on dates at least every other week,) turned out to be one of the most fun periods of my life. I learned a lot, spent a lot, and met a lot of great people. Though it could be frustrating when these efforts didn’t seem to lead to any serious relationships, I was learning how to interact with girls, and learning what to look for – and look out for.

Baba’s Backseat Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m no food blogger, but I enjoy cooking, and I rarely follow recipes. So when I got a sweet-tooth for chocolate chip cookies today, I decided to do a little experiment. First I Googled ideas for making your chocolate chip cookies better, and there were all kinds of things. I took notes. Then I looked at three or four different recipes to get an idea of proper quantities – then I went to work, with Lunch Bucket as co-cook. The result? Baba’s Backseat Chocolate Chip Cookies. (the backseat thing is a sort of inside joke, which I’ll have to explain some other time.)

They came out great! Anyway, here’s the recipe! Enjoy!

Baba’s Backseat Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/4 corn syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 TB Vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
Mint chocolate chips (or any kind of chips – white, butterscotch, peanut butter, milk chocolate, semi-sweet, whatever)

Cream corn syrup, sugars, and butter in small saucepan and simmer on lowest stove setting, stirring constantly until butter is melted and sugar dissolves (do not boil). Remove from heat, pour into cool (even cold if available) container and place in freezer.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, soda, and baking powder together.

In another separate bowl, separate the eggs and beat whites to soft peaks. Beat yolks in separate bowl (sorry, a lot of dishes, I know) and then fold into whites.
Take the first bowl out of the fridge (should be cool and syrupy) and mix the eggs into it. Mix well, but do not whip.

Mix in the powder ingredients, but don’t whip, so there’s a little bit of powder that’s not completely mixed in.
Add vanilla and lemon juice, and mix slowly but thoroughly (just enough so it’s mixed well, not whipped).

Fold in chocolate chips.

Chill in the fridge for as long as you can stand (up to a day). Preheat oven to 375. Spoon onto cookie sheet in 1 inch round balls. Cook for 8-10 minutes.

Makes about 5 dozen scrump-diddly-umptious cookies!

Another Go at Photoblogging

I was doing a little research yesterday about white balance in digital photography, and there are all kinds of fun things you can do with it. Then I researched more about metering, and before I knew it, I was all pumped to do more artsy photography. I’ve gotten lazy about posting photos lately, mainly because I just don’t have the time and energy to edit them. So I’ve given myself a challenge. I want to post more photos, but the rules I’ll give myself (for my sanity’s sake) will be these:

1. No post production – I love doing it, I just don’t have time. It’s got to be straight from the camera (if I make an exception on a single photo once in a GREAT while I’ll label it). Not even rotating.

2. I have to delete photos I don’t want as I go along – I tend to take a photo 10 times, so the other 9 have to go before I upload.

3. No RAWs – Doing RAWs are way fun, but by definition, they require post-production, which violates rule #1

4. I don’t HAVE to be regular about how often I post – though I’ll try to be a little more regular. Don’t expect me to continue – I reserve the right to stop any time for no reason at all. Not that you care, but writing it frees me to not feel guilty if it’s been awhile. 😀

5. If I’m shooting for posting, I have to post what I shoot (unless there’s a reason it wouldn’t be a good idea – such as privacy or safety – you’ll notice I never mention my kids real names), no picking through. It has to be deleted or posted.

These rules only applies to artsy photography intended for posting, not day to day family events, etc, though I’m sure there’ll be a few of those, too.


I’ve started walking to and from work (short distance, but very pleasant walk) just to get a little exercise, so a lot of my photos will be from that.

We’ll Bring the World His Truth Sheet Music Released!

Harrah!!! I’ve finally got the piano solo arrangement of We’ll Bring the World His Truth available for sheet music purchase. I had to get permissions from Janice Kapp Perry, so it took a little longer than usual. But now it’s here! To see the real store, go to, but to save you a step, I’ve pasted all the links so you can buy it right from this page if you want:

We'll Bring the World His Truth Purchase Sheet music for $3.95

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