See Ya Later, 2016!

How Was Your 2016?

I’ve heard a lot of people express that they’re really ready for this year to be over, hoping that 2017 will bring some better news. Others have had an amazing 2016, full of memorable life events and fabulous experiences.

Wherever you fall on that spectrum, here’s something for you:

I’ve put together this free, printable “worksheet” you can use for a simple chance to stop and reflect on some positives and some areas of opportunity from the year. It’s a grid of 16 themes from 2016. In each block, write down the first thing that comes to mind. My intention if for you to be able to complete it in as few as 16 minutes. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be!

I know this is a bit of a personal thing, but I’ve listed #dearyear16 in case you’d like to post your reflections on social media. I’d be interested to see your thoughts!

If this worksheet isn’t for you, maybe you can do something similar in your own way.

If you need more space, feel free to break out and write more in a notebook or journal.

If any of these topics feel particularly important to you, make the time to consider them further or set some goals for the future.


The image above is a small image file for reference. You can download a higher-quality PDF to print at this link: See Ya Later, 2016!

christmaschallenge-fIn other news, my Christmas Challenge is well underway, running now until Christmas Day, and I’ve been so blown away by the creativity of the few people I’ve seen participating. If you’re interested in checking it out, remember you can search the hashtag #12creativedays on Facebook or Instagram . . . and it’s not too late to jump in and create some things for the challenge. No pressure to hit all 12 days – just do what you can!


This will be my last regular Monday blog post for 2016, so I’ll leave you with my best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and joy in the New Year! I hope your 2016 has been great, and I’m looking forward to sharing even more creativity with you in 2017!

❤ Nicole

Would you like to click “Follow” to be notified each time I post? I promise you’ll never be bombarded with spammy e-mails. My regular schedule is a weekly post [usually] every Monday & sometimes I add a mid-week “Collecting Creativity” post about other creative topics.

10(ish) Creative Questions to Ask Yourself This Holiday Season:

This past weekend, I visited my Parents for a few days. I had a lovely Thanksgiving Day “feast” with extended family and spent some time catching up, relaxing, and . . . yes, a bit of shopping. I also found myself doing some thinking about the holiday season in general and what I’d like the next month of my life to look like.

Here, I have to admit my temptation to get sucked into every single possible event, decoration, craft, movie, recipe, sale, and display the Christmas season can offer – more and more. Glitter on EVERYTHING!


I’m not saying there’s anything specifically wrong with a whole lot of Christmas merriment, but I do know that my heart is craving something different this year, and I’m having to really wrestle to listen to that craving and make different choices.

I think it’s a real exercise in creativity to ask myself how I can slide past some of the things that tend to lure my attention, finances, or spirit and tap into an experience of the holidays that’s more grounded in a few key personal values. I’m asking myself some specific questions, so I thought I’d share them with you in case you’d like to ask them too.

Note: I celebrate Christmas, but I think most of these could apply to other holiday traditions.

10(ish) Creative Questions to Ask Yourself This Holiday Season:

  • Am I doing something because I feel it will bring happiness, or just because “It’s what we do”? Will I have regrets (or hurt anyone) if I let certain things go?
  • Am I purchasing something because I think it’s worth it and useful to me or a loved one, or just because “It’s on sale” or “It’s shiny”?
  • Am I eating something because it will nurture my body or is a special/occasional treat, or am I grazing mindlessly on the seemingly endless array of cookies, cakes, and candies, pushing down stress and storing up discouragement?
  • Am I filling my time up with things that just entertain me, or am I making time to build memories and feed relationships for the future?
  • Am I giving gifts out of a truly generous spirit, or are my attitudes in any way reflecting pride or selfishness?
  • What do I really feel when I’m in a crowded, loud retail environment at the holidays? Is it excitement, fun, festivity and glee . . . or over-stimulation, frustration, disconnection or despair? Will I take the time to actually self-check?
  • When I reflect on this season come January, what will I be most glad to remember about it? What would I most wish I had done differently?
  • What can I do (that I may never have done before) that would change my holiday experience for the better?
  • Is there anything my heart is nudging me to do or try this season that I find myself afraid to embrace? If so, why? Will I push past the fear and demonstrate my courage?
  • Do I actually believe that God came to earth in the form of a human baby named Jesus? If I do, how should it shape my choices or my joy this month?

If you ask yourself any of these questions and find that the answers improve your holiday experience in any way, I’d love to hear about it . . . would you post a comment & let me know?

I’d like to leave you with a short video I watched this week that shows some young men being “selfish” in a fun, creative way:

Wishing you a lovely holiday season that really feels like the most wonderful time of the year.
❤ Nicole

Would you like to click “Follow” to be notified each time I post? I promise you’ll never be bombarded with spammy e-mails. My regular schedule is a weekly post [usually] every Monday & sometimes I add a mid-week “Collecting Creativity” post about other creative topics.

Doused in Ice & Creativity . . .

Sometimes the timing of things makes me think I should pause and take a closer look. Over the weekend, a friend and I went to visit another friend’s Dad who has ALS. On the way home from this visit, I was listening to NPR & heard an interview with Nancy Frates on the TED Radio Hour. The show featured clips of Nancy’s TED talk about why her family started (and how much they invested themselves into) the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Hint: Her son, Pete, has ALS.

I remember being amazed in the Summer of 2014 by how quickly the Ice Bucket Challenge took off and grew. Hearing Nancy’s story and reading more of the history of the challenge on the ALS Association website, I’m impressed by how much quick thinking and creativity was invested in fueling the movement while it was in its prime and how much dedication and effort continues to go into supporting research and the search for treatments and a cure. I also know how much creative experimentation, love, and sheer hard work go into caring for an individual with ALS. 

Certainly the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge had its share of detractors, people who critiqued it for a variety of reasons. Some labeled it ‘slactivisim’ (a too-easy brand of activism fueled by emotion). Others questioned its impact. The ALS Association has posted a helpful info graphic that shows some of the results that have come from both the funds raised and the increased awareness that was generated by the movement (this is just a clip – click to see the full graphic):


I wanted to draw attention to this topic in today’s blog post, not because I feel qualified to make any sweeping general judgments about the Ice Bucket Challenge itself but because I think it’s a story that demonstrates creativity in a unique way (my blog is all about creativity in various forms) and because I think it’s worth thinking about what factors come into play to make things like this spark to life.

What does it say about us as humans that we continue to try to raise awareness of and support for causes that are important to us . . . or that sometimes we don’t continue trying?  I ask the last part of that question with zero judgment. I know that sometimes life doesn’t allow us to try, sometimes we’re fatigued or overwhelmed, and I know we can’t all always be trying about everything, but I feel grateful that we live in a world where there’s such a thing as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (and the American Cancer Society . . . and World Vision . . . and adoptive parents . . . and people who volunteer at local food banks . . . and without getting too cheesy, people who are simply as kind as they can be and as willing as they can be to admit it when they don’t feel like being kind and need a bit of grace) . . . It inspires me.

If you read this & think it might be of interest to anyone you know, would you pass it along? I’d also love to hear any of your thoughts about it if you’d leave a comment for me below.

Wishing you a week that’s full of kindness and grace,

❤ Nicole

P.S. This isn’t a pressure thing, but if you donated to ALS during the Ice Bucket Challenge but haven’t thought of it since then, or if you have never given to this cause, and have any interest in giving, please click here.

Would you like to click “Follow” to be notified each time I post? I promise you’ll never be bombarded with spammy e-mails. My regular schedule is a weekly post every Monday & then sometimes I add a mid-week “Collecting Creativity” post about other creative topics.