Saturday Photo Prompt | Giant Belgians

jmspp_logoLook at the picture below and write a 100 word story. It really is that simple.

If you care to share, either post a link to your story in the comments, or post the whole story.

I can’t wait to see what you write!

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Friday 5 | Click-worthy Links

Wireless Computer Mouse with Wheel

Here are 5 more places online worth checking out:

  1. Have you ever wondered what would happen if a terrorist got hold of a nuclear weapon and detonated it in the city where you work? Wonder no longer! Just drag the marker to your town and detonate a digital nuke.
  2. I know that writers have a thing for writing on a typewriter. I don’t personally have a thing for typing on a typewriter, but if I did, I’d be tempted to use this website that replicates the typewriter experience.
  3. You know how sometimes when you are watching a movie and you see a car and you wonder what type of car it is? Here’s the IMDB for vehicles:
  4. Cheese!
  5. Ever wonder how many years old you would be if you were born on a different planet within our solar system? Some planets move around the sun faster than others. For instance, if I were born on Uranus, my first birthday would be on the 12th December, 2066 (my Earth birthday was 33 years ago).


Muslims have Mecca; I have the Lego Store.

My wife and I just got home from a trip to Chicago. As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we went to Chicago for a day of museums, cheesecake, and Lego fun. And before you think that we only did the things that I wanted to do, let me assure you that we did. I’m terribly selfish that way.

Believe it or not, I had never been to the Lego Store. Sure, I’ve loitered in the Lego aisle of every store that has a selection of toys, but being in the Lego store was different. For one thing, there were giant Lego statues.

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For another, there were mini-figure building stations where you could assemble your own custom Lego mini-figures to take home (for the low price of $10 for 3 mini-figures). So that is exactly what I did.


My wife helped me pick out the best configurations for some unique characters. You’ll see them individually in the days to come (as Lego Story Prompts which pop up on my blog every Saturday), but here they are in the package: Judy the Queasy Nurse, Stubby the Pirate with his pet seagull, and Old-Timey Ninja Policeman.


If you are a Lego fan, you should consider making the trip yourself. It was more fun thank you can shake a brick at.

5 Ways to Stimulate Your Creativity by Rachel E. Watson


5 Ways by Rachel WatsonMy well of ideas runs dry more often than I’d like. If I had my druthers, it would never run dry at all. But it does. I’ll wake up one day, and I’m all drained of creative energy. I can’t think of what to write.

If your well also runs dry, here are a few tricks for refilling it:

  1. Travel. Take a full-fledged vacation, a simple day trip to the beach or a park, or even an hour-long walk in your neighborhood to the local library or ice cream parlor. You’ll see sights along the way that will help get your creative juices flowing.
  1. Daydream. Relax in your backyard, if the weather cooperates. If it’s raining, stare out the window and let your eyes notice everything they want to notice. Fantasize about what you see. Let your imagination run wild with possibility. And then write about it.
  1. Doodle or color. I read an article recently that said coloring is good for adults because it helps us combat stress, get in touch with our senses and express our creativity. It exercises a different kind of creativity than writing does. But I’ve found that artistic pursuits tend to feed off and stimulate other artistic pursuits. There’s a reason why some artists keep a blog, and some writers paint as a hobby. It helps increase creativity.
  1. Exercise. I wrote a whole blog post on this recently, noting that motion helps clear your mental cobwebs, provides opportunities for people-watching, enhances your self-discipline and boosts your energy levels. All of those things can help you get through the creative dry spell you’re facing.
  1. Play. If you have kids, engage with them in games, fort-building, swimming, reading together or playing outside. If you don’t have kids, hang out with your nieces or nephews. I’m always amazed at how an hour or two with the little ones in my life can refresh my perspective on the world. Even if you don’t know any little ones, you can find other ways to embrace play in your life. It’s all about re-learning curiosity and wonder.

My hope is that, if you’re struggling through a dry spell, trying one or more of these tips will help restore your well and revive your joy.

Go forth and create!

Rising Strong with Brene Brown


“The story that I’m telling myself is…”

There is power in the story. Our brains reward us when we fill in the information gaps in order to make sense of the data. But often, the stories that we tell ourselves are far from true.

If someone is giving me the stink eye, I tell myself that person is mad at me. Perhaps they even hate me. Probably, I said or did something to them that they took issue with. Maybe they are even plotting my downfall in some way. In reality, they may just have their contact lenses in backwards and the stink eye is a physical response to a foreign object being stuck in their eye.

The real problem with stories isn’t that they are powerful, it is that we usually tell the worst stories possible. There’s a term for a person who regularly fills in the information gaps with bits of story to make sense of the data; we call that person “paranoid.”

To combat this, we need to be aware of the stories that we tell ourselves. Are they really true? Are they tainted by past experiences? Are we really trying to get as much information as possible?

Here’s how our storytelling ability relates to leadership. There’s a typical format to stories: The hero is faces with a challenge. The hero tries all of the easy ways to overcome the challenge, but fails. The hero realizes that the thing to fix the problem is going to be extremely uncomfortable, but they do it anyway. The challenge is overcome.

Leaders today are faced with stories all of the time. Often, leaders find that they face uncomfortable challenges and they can respond by either denying the story (ignore it and it may go away) or they can embrace the story and write the ending. Leaders can choose courage or comfort, but they can’t choose both.

Hear more from Dr. Brown’s Ted Talks here.

I am 33.

33Today is my birthday. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for life and whatnot. I’m still enjoying it these 33 years later.

I was trying to think of some things that famous people did at age 33, so I could know what to expect, but aside from Jesus being crucified, I didn’t come up with much. I really hope I don’t get crucified this year.

So I did a bit of research on the number 33 itself. There’s a fair amount of mathematical mumbo jumbo associated with it:

33 is the smallest sum of two different positive numbers, each of which raised to the fifth power: 1^5 + 2^5 = 33.

33 is the largest positive integer that cannot be expressed as a sum of different triangular numbers. It is also the smallest odd repdigit that is not a prime number.

But that isn’t all that interesting (really, I just don’t understand any of it and at 33, I’m not going to start learning it now).

33 is the atomic number for arsenic, which is poison, which is probably a better thing to die from than crucifixion, but still not the happiest thought in the world.

On the upside, according to one Yahoo news article, 33 is the happiest age. I don’t know how to feel about that. I guess that means that I’ve peaked and everything else will be worse than it is this year. I suppose I should just enjoy it and not consider that I’m about to embark on a downward spiral toward death.

To be honest, I think I’m going to like being 33. I’m within a few days of having 10 amazing years of marriage under my belt to a beautiful woman. My kids are great fun and aren’t too cool for me yet. And I have a grown-up job, drive a grown-up car, and do grown-up things. It’s a good time to be alive.

Here’s hoping that this is my best year so far!