A Little Thing

I’m sitting by a woman, and we start talking about creativity and how God uses our creativity.

She tells me she’s been baking. 

She enrolled in a cake decorating class with her family in order to make “occasion cakes” for children and teens who don’t have anyone to make a cake for them.  For birthdays or graduations, local shelters and juvenile detention centers alert my friend about any cake needs. 

She’ll bake and decorate a cake and then deliver it to a teenage who never once had somebody make a cake for them.  Never once had this teen been celebrated with something so simple as a birthday cake. 

I start to imagine all the recipients of my friend’s cakes.  I see the looks on their faces as the beautiful birthday cakes arrive with their names on them.  I start to imagine how–for this one moment–they feel something start to bubble up inside.  Maybe, just maybe, I’m loved.  Maybe, just maybe, somebody sees me and cares

It’s a little thing: a birthday cake decorated for someone who never had one before. 

Living with flair means using creativity to bless someone who needs it. 

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What can you make for someone who needs a blessing?   

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On the Cheap

Who would have thought that living with flair could be. . . cheap!  I used to think that budgets and coupons and delayed gratification (blah, blah, blah) meant limitation.  But it actually offers me a different kind of freedom.  I’m free not to buy.  Imagine! 

Just today, my daughter and I made homemade hazelnut frappuccino drinks because you can make anything good with a blender, ice, and something sweet.  You put out some ingredients on the counter, start pouring things into the blender, and you ask–wide-eyed and smiling–“What can we make with this?” 

It was better than Starbucks.  I mean it.

Earlier, I took the advice of my world-traveling neighbor that you don’t need to buy expensive craft kits or distractions for your children when you travel in the minivan.

“You just need one thing,” she says.  This is the woman who drove her children from Pennsylvania to Washington in her minivan last summer.  “And it will cost you less than five dollars.”

“What?”  I’m taking notes.

“Pipe cleaners!”  She tells me that if you hand a child a bunch of pipe cleaners, they can make whole villages of imaginary animals and flowers.  “There’s no mess on the floor, either.”

I’m going to buckle them into their seats, hand them some pipe cleaners, and simply ask, “What can we make with this?”  

I like living on the cheap.  It’s never felt more creative.

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Journal:  How do you live on the cheap?

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Come See This!

At Fitness Group, the children huddle around me and tug on my sleeve because they have things to show me.

One boy has drawn a dragon out of chalk that spans the length of 3 cars.  He drags me over to his drawing, insisting that I observe the scales, the teeth, the wings, the claws.  With precise detail, he explains his work.  “You have to see this!” he cries and points to the “primary set of claws.”    

Others alert the parents to ducks that have landed in the far corner of the parking lot.  “Watch me chase them!” I hear.  Still another displays a kite in the shape of an owl.  “Come see this!” she calls out.

Others jump rope and tell me I have to watch them

I consider how beautiful this insistence to come see this! is.

It won’t always be this way.

At some point, they’ll stop showing themselves–and their discoveries–off.  They’ll become self-conscious and internal, hidden away and private.  The world becomes a critical judge, and they’ll hide. They’ll become embarrassed and worried about the crowd.

They’ll produce things that deserve our attention, but we won’t know about them because they won’t dare tell anyone.

I know because I teach college seniors.  Dragon drawings will stay hidden in notebooks.  Nobody admits to chasing ducks or wanting to fly an owl kite.

I wish we all did. 

Living with flair means we build communities where it’s right and good to cry out, “Come see this!”  We build communities where we invite others to show us what they’ve made, where they tell us what they’re thinking, and where we watch and listen intently.  That’s why I love Saturday Morning Pancakes and Creative Projects Night Out with the Ladies (what we did for my birthday in autumn).

In these spaces, we celebrate one another and rediscover that child within that once drew dragons, chased ducks across a parking lot, and told everyone about it.  Come see this! 

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Journal:  What have you made or been doing that you can tell others about?

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