Oops, I did it again

*insert Homer-esque D’oh! here*

Remember when I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I had been having problems with my leg but it was almost healed? Well…. It healed. It looked good. Everything was closed.

And then it reopened. There are a variety of reasons for this. I won’t bore you with them. Let’s just say that I went to Wound Care on Monday. My final appointment was supposed to be on Wednesday. You guessed it. No “final appointment” for me. At least not yet.

However, things will be different this time. While I do have to have my foot up, I don’t have to go into hibernation again. And I won’t. I have some posts planned coming up, so I will do those. You won’t have to wonder where I’ve gone, because I’ll still be here. Living the creative life.


Inspiration Station

&copy 2014 Jen Nipps
&copy 2014 Jen Nipps

You know how it goes. You’re going along, keeping on keeping on, and you run out of steam. You feel like you’re going through the motions and not getting anywhere. You’re in a rut. Your get up & go finally got up & went.

What’s a person to do?

Get it back, of course. You have to be motivated to get work done. You have to be inspired to be motivated. Where do you get that inspiration?

The easy answer? All around you.

The hard answer? All around you.

It isn’t a cop-out. It really is both that easy and that hard. It’s easy because we don’t have to go far to find a source of inspiration. It’s hard because, since it’s always around us, we don’t always see it.

One of my favorite sources of inspiration is my youngest niece. We’ll call her Miss J. She’s 5. She’s cute (absolutely adorable, actually!), smart, busy, and curious. She asks questions about everything. (I know. All kids do, but she’s the one currently in my life doing this to me.) Sometimes, a lot of times, I will find inspiration in the questions she asks me. I will get ideas for something to knit or crochet because of something she says. I take a lot of pictures of her.

She wants to know how I feel, how my leg feels, why Gabby (my dog) is running around outside like that, where Papa (my dad) is, when Nana (my mom) is going to be home from work.

She’s worried about not being able to read “good enough” for kindergarten in August!

She is a huge source of my inspiration for pretty much anything I do.


What are the words?

standwithorlandoSometimes, there are no words. Sometimes, this time, there HAVE to be words.

“I’m sorry” isn’t enough.

“I’ll pray for you” isn’t enough.

Yesterday, I was in a hurry to post a blog because it was “the day” I had assigned myself to post. I didn’t wait until I could think of what I wanted to say. I just posted.

This morning, I found myself wishing I had waited.

We are all on life’s journey together, though none of us have the exact same journey. Ours are all different. We just intersect, some more frequently than others. I am not a part of the LGBTQ community. However, I AM an ally! It is time I do more than sit quietly on the sidelines. Staying quiet means that I am complicit in what happens. I am not.

I am trying to figure out what I want to say, how I want to say it. I am trying to figure out how to express my anger and sadness at what has happened. At what has been allowed to happen.

There are people who will not agree with what I say, with what I believe. That’s okay. Some of these people will be people I know, people I love. That’s okay, too.

When has it become acceptable to think that people who are different are less than human? Please notice the key words there: “People” and “Human.”  Let me further emphasize that.




That is something we can never forget. The people in that nightclub were humans. They were people. The deceased were. The injured still are. And for what? Because someone saw “two guys kissing?” Grow up! We need to move past that. If you don’t agree with it, look away. In this day, I guarantee there are still people who don’t agree that people of different ethnicities should marry. Or different denominations (such as Baptist and Methodist, just as an example). Or that right-handed and left-handed people should marry.

It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?

We are all creative souls. Some are allowed to express that creativity more than others. I’m not saying that allowing creative expression would have prevented this. As long as ordinary people are allowed access to assault rifles and military-grade weapons, it will continue. I am not in favor of taking all guns away from everyone, but I truly do not believe you or I need to be able to buy AR-15s, MK-47s, rocket launchers, or hand grenades.

Today, I have been seeing memes and graphics that say “More love, less hate.” Yes, that is a start. But we also need to seriously start the conversation. We need to make changes. I saw someone else say that building a wall will not keep out the home-grown terrorists. That’s true.

Think about it.

And let’s talk about it.

Putting Down the Needles, Picking Up the Hook

yarnI could be called a fiber artist, if you were so inclined. Sometimes I refer to myself that way because I do more than one thing with yarn. I knit and crochet.

I learned how to crochet about six or seven years ago. I learned how to knit in February.

Since then, I have knit more than I crochet.

I found a project, though, that is making me put down the needles and pick up the hook.


They are so cute! I need — want — to make at least 6 for my nieces and nephew. (Yes, I am going to make one for a — *gasp* — boy!

It’s all done in single crochet. I have the safety eyes and the stuffing for the head and everything! The only hesitation now is, WHAT COLOR?

I mean, really, it’s not like I don’t have choices. I might have to play a couple games of eeny-meeny-miney-mo.

I better get started.

Goose on Water


I decided I wanted to do a photo post today.

This picture was taken at Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Oklahoma. We had some cousins who were vacationing on a houseboat. We spent the day with them. As we were leaving, we noticed a flock of geese near shore. We stopped and I took a few pictures. This was one of the best.

I had this photo printed on a mouse pad that I still use and on a canvas print for my dad for Father’s Day a couple years ago.

Planner Up!

bujoI know I need a routine. It gives my day some structure so I don’t just fluff off a whole day. I’ve done that before. More than once. It’s not a good feeling to realize it’s 10:30 at night, time for bed, and I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing.

That’s what not having a steady, full-time (or even part-time) job can do to you. Er…. To me.

To help establish and maintain a routine, I need some kind of planner system.

I’ve tried the DayPlanner system that you can buy at office supply stores. I use it for a while, then stop because it doesn’t really work for me. It’s not flexible. I can’t add things to it.

Then I tried coming up with my own system.  I called it the KNOWS – Keep a Notebook Organizational Working (or Writing) System.It worked, to an extent. I could only use it for one project at a time, though.

I needed something I could customize. Something flexible. Something that I could use for more than one project at a time. That’s how I work. More than one project at a time. I typically have one big project — a novel, perhaps — and several smaller ones — articles, blog posts, etc.

Someone online mentioned this thing called the Bullet Journal. I watched the video by Ryder Carroll and I knew it was exactly what I was looking for — and trying to create myself. Someone had already developed the system, tested it, put it in place, and knew it worked.

After I watched the video, I went to the website and read everything I could to learn how to set it up. Then, in January, I started it. I used it for a while, but since nothing was really happening, I let it slide. Now, since I’m getting back into a routine, my Bullet Journal (aka BuJo) is back. And I’m making things happen. Which is really how it should have been in the first place.

If you decide the Bullet Journal system is for you, I’ve been collecting resources and have run across some great ones. My Bullet Journal is evolving from a plain vanilla notebook that I’m not all that inspired by to something decorated and showcasing me and my life on the page. I like that. I’ll be glad to share my resources with you. And even tell you how it works for me.

But for now, I figure we’re good to go.

Oh, and what kind of notebook do you use? Whatever kind you want! The one in the picture above is my current personal BuJo. I’m working in a larger black one (that I will soon decorate on the outside as well) for my work life (writing, editing, photography, speaking, etc.). It’s so customizable, there is really no wrong way to do it. And that makes it fun.

Until later.

How Jen Got Her Groove Back

Used under a Creative Commons license.
Used under a Creative Commons license.

I can’t actually say I have my groove back, or even that I have a groove, yet. I am, however, on my way to getting one.

As a result of having to keep my foot up for so long, I lost any kind of momentum I may have had. Because of my eyesight, it’s difficult for me to work with a computer in my lap. It can be done, but with a lot of difficulty. I prefer to use an external monitor adjusted for easy (well… easier) viewing and an external keyboard. It just makes my life easier. If I were working for someone else, they would call it accommodations. I call it doing what works for me.

Anyway, I digress.

Since I don’t have to have my foot up as much (though I still do a few times during the day), I can start getting back into a routine. It looks something like this:

Morning: Morning routine & housework (including tidying my office & living areas)
Noon: Lunch & a walk
Afternoon: Writing & marketing (and other work as it comes along)
Evening: Dinner, knitting or crochet/TV, family, & end-of-day routine (maybe another walk, especially if the noon time is too warm as the summer progresses)

It’s nothing major in the grand scheme of things, but it will help me get back to where I want to be, so it’s pretty major in that way.

I used to think schedules and routines were anathema to creativity. A few years have passed since then. (OK, more than a few.) I have come to realize that having a schedule and following a routine actually allows room for creativity. For me, creativity requires structure. If I have no structure and it can have free rein, nothing ever gets done. It’s funny how that works.

As things progress and I get assignments and other work coming in, I have no doubt the schedule will change. It will have to in order to accommodate deadlines. For now, though, this is a start. And I think it’s a good one.