“I wanna be a Brontosaurus!” “Mom, can I be a train conductor?” Thank goodness for pinterest, I thought to myself. A vague memory from the year before of me venting to my husband after all the Halloween festivities were over, “Next year we BUY the costumes!” floated back to my mind. I brushed it off, like I do every year. Eh, last year was different, and it really wasn’t THAT bad, was it? M, dressed up as the “Red Barron” even won the costume contest. That had to have been worth something. The hours and hours of work to create a plane out of cardboard boxes and duct tape resulted in one exhausted mom, three tuckered out kids, and a $5 coupon to the ice cream shop for winning grand prize. Totally worth it.
We scoured pinterest for a couple minutes, and soon they’d decided on pirates. No, lions. Firefighters? Cowboys!! Cowboys. It was settled. R and N would be cowboys, M would be the horse, Dad would be the bad guy, and mom would be the “Damsel in distress?” I offered. “No, Mom. You can be the cactus.” Ok, the cactus. The cowboys we found in our closets, and the horse head we paper mached half of a milk jug and painted brown with a mess of yarn hot glued to the top.
I threw myself on our couch and sat back to admire our work. Then, like every year, the thought came back. “Why do I go through this every single October? It would be easier, cheaper, and loads faster to just go buy them.” And then words from one of my favorite talks came to my mind.
“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.
Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty…”
It seemed silly, really. I’m just creating Halloween costumes, I’m not generating amazing pieces of art for the world to enjoy. I’m not serenading visitors with beautiful melodies flowing from my fingers or my voice.
“You may think you don’t have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us. The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.
What you create doesn’t have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned? Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside.”
Creating is an inherent trait we received from the greatest Creator of all. Whether it is Halloween costumes, happy homes, loving children, meals for our family, or lovely paint strokes on a canvas. We often get down on ourselves and feel like we don’t measure up. But even when our contributions seem small, when our works fall short of a masterpiece, they still make a difference. And we must keep trying.
Peggy is older and lives in a small house all on her own. Chances are you have never heard of her. I only met her a handful of times, but her story of creation will forever be with me. Gram would visit her often, helping with grocery shopping, housework, and whatever else she needed. That’s how her story became a part of my life. You see, she is completely blind. She was diagnosed with MS and has suffered for years from the effects, but that never slows her down. Even with her loss of eyesight, she continues to bake bread for those in her small town. Gram would often get phone calls from Peggy asking her to deliver a loaf of bread to this family or that, one having just returned from the hospital with a new baby, another simply needing a friendly gesture. Her bread doesn’t always look perfect, but her creations bless the lives of all who receive it. It’s a simple act of love that she shares with others. A few weeks after Gram passed away, we received a note in the mail. It was from Peggy, someone we vaguely knew. The writing was slanted and some words went over the others. She so kindly sent her sympathy and expressed her love for the amazing woman we all would so dearly miss. That simple note was not written with beautiful penmanship. It was difficult to make out the words as they jumbled together. But that card touched us so deeply.
“If you still feel incapable of creating, start small. Try to see how many smiles you can create, write a letter of appreciation, learn a new skill, identify a space and beautify it…”
“In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us, and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers.”
YOU are an artist. You can create masterpieces, you can touch lives. Maybe you don’t feel like your medium is a paintbrush, a hammer, a keyboard, a cooking spoon, or the ivory keys of a piano. Start with a smile, and go from there. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect, if it doesn’t measure up to that of others. Even if our Red Barron hadn’t won the costume contest last year, it would have still been worth the time we spent together duct taping, cutting, and painting, laughing, working, and talking. Don’t allow yourself to feel like your contributions are small. Even if your efforts only touch one, that one is worth it. Even if that one is simply you.
All quotes taken from a talk given by Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Happiness, Your Heritage October 2008)
A really great 2 minute video!! Please watch: Create
I love this post! When reading of you asking yourself why you’re not just buying the costumes again, I’m reminded of one of your new goals that you stated on here not so long ago…..to make new traditions for your boys. This is one. And how do you think they’ll look back on this? Will they remember the smell of a plastic mask that was bought in a store? Will they remember that they were “in” because they matched all their friends? Or will they remember that Mom and Dad took the time to make something individual just for them and backed it up by being part of the theme (a cactus indeed!)? Something tells me…when they grow up and have little boys of their own, they’re not going to be heading for Target when Halloween rolls around. 🙂
I hadn’t thought of this as being a tradition, but you are totally right! I make their costumes because that’s what my mom did. And it was always so much fun and such a huge deal to me that she did that. I loved Halloween because of it! I hope you’re right…that they will do the same with their kids someday. And the cactus, oh boy. Where they came up with that I don’t have a clue. I even have a great dress for the “damsel in distress.” Ah well, maybe another year, right? 🙂
I was already completely entertained and laughing. Then, I saw the decision for you to be the cactus: priceless!! My mom always made our costumes every year. In fact, I do not think we ever wore a single store bought one. It was such wonderful, fun memories which I still remember to this day. Love the message: we were born to create!
We had a Halloween party last night and would you believe our camera was out of batteries and I didn’t get a single picture?! Hopefully we can get a good one tomorrow before the kids are completely sugared up and crazy. I have to give it to them, the cactus was pretty clever. I’m excited to see what your cute kiddos dress up as tomorrow!
I love this talk, Chelsie! Seriously, I feel like ever since I heard it, I have had bits and pieces of it stay with me. In fact, I believe that is why I love to blog. Having my own space to create; create the feel of my blog as well as the content. What a beautiful story–costumes, cactus, and all! I amazed at what a knack you have with crafts–you definitely amaze me. In the end, I’m sure your boys will cherish the experiences and moments you shared. Beautiful post! 🙂
When I looked up this talk to reference I couldn’t believe he gave it in 2008! It seems like it was just last year because it has stuck with me so well. Definitely one I love as well! Yes, I totally agree! This is exactly the reason I blog as well–to create. Thanks so much for your kind words! I don’t usually think of myself as a crafty person, but I do enjoy trying. A lady I knew before we moved was amazing at woodworking and she told me about this blog: ana-white.com which has plans for every woodworking project you could dream of. Someday I think that would be a pretty awesome hobby. Hope you have a fun Halloween with Parker!
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Chelsi, I too was thoroughly entertained by this! The cactus was indeed hilarious! I am not a crafty person … but you reminded me that we all can create in our own way and that it is a natural desire in all of us! Wonderful post!
Thank you, Kim! I will have to get a picture of the cactus costume. It isn’t much to brag about, but I do think the horse turned out pretty well! I never thought of myself as much of a crafty person either. I love how this talk says that creating can be something as simple as making someone smile. I think your writing is very creative and certainly brings smiles. We really are all creative in our own ways!