Friday, June 10, 2016

Creativity "On the Spot"

   It's summer where I live, and one of my favorite things to do when the weather's nice is to take my laptop outside to the deck where I sit in my zero-gravity chair and write--but NOT anything I plan to publish. I use the environment as a prompt. I write "willy-nilly," meaning I simply start writing without concentrating on all of the things I normally care about when preparing something for publication. It helps my brain "let off steam" and relieves the pressures of daily life.
   Sometimes I close my eyes and take in all the sounds and smells. I feel the breeze and the sunshine and begin to type my reactions to all of those things. Sometimes I watch a bird and type about what it's doing. Sometimes I hear power equipment in the background and imagine what is going on, or I hear motorcycles or four-wheelers on the two-tracks that meander through the woods around my home, and I type my own fantasies about riding them where no one else exists at that precise moment.
  When I finish typing, I make it a point to read what I've written without using an editor's eye. Instead, I hide what I have invented within one of the folders on the memory cards of my brain; often, I use that invention another time. Sometimes I simply highlight it all and press "delete." No one even knows that I've been a spur-of-the-moment author, but I know that I have made an attempt at being creative, letting my thoughts guide my fingers on the keyboard. There is no better feeling than letting loose all of the pent-up words that have been filling my head. It's a great way to allow them to overflow by trickling rather than flooding.
   Give it a try.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

From the Nose of Our Kayak: Chapter 2 What's a Deer Drag?

Hello and welcome to the JLB Creatives Blog, where you'll find an array of creative features from a hand-picked group of creative geniuses. 

Wednesdays on the JLB Creatives Blog are set aside for our blog book, "From the Nose of Our Kayak." JLB Creatives CEO, Janet Beasley, and her husband, Don, have been kayaking for nearly 10 years. Together they are excited to share with you, their awesome experiences that they have encountered. In this Wednesday feature you'll find kayaking stories, scenic nature photography from their outings, and some helpful tips when it comes to maneuvering your "butt sleds" (aka kayaks) on your journeys.

So if this is a topic that interests you, you'll want to be sure and become a follower of the JLB Creatives Blog, and stop in on Wednesdays each week for the latest chapter in Don & Janet Beasley's adventure blog book, "From the Nose of Our Kayak." 

Previous chapters can be found in our blog archives, we began the series on June 1, 2016.


From the Nose of Our Kayak 
Don & Janet Beasley
Chapter 2 What's a Deer Drag?

Woohoo! We discovered Silver River in Silver Springs, Florida. We had heard all about how gorgeous it was, and that the wildlife was astounding. We couldn't wait to give it a go.

But as always, when you're blazing a new trail there are many added...shall we say, surprises?...that you weren't expecting, never thought of, or possibly ignored. Yup! We fell into this category. 

We arrived at Silver River for the first time with our "fancy" plastic kayak (that had survived a trip from Florida to Michigan's U.P. - yes, all the way up to the Lake Superior region across from Canada), a mini tornado on I-75, and busted up - slippery - basically useless roof-top pads...hmmm, maybe there is something to those fancy kayak racks on top of fellow kayakers' vehicles? 

Regardless, proudly we pulled into the Silver Springs State Park and were beyond eager to get started. Then the deflating'll have to portage your kayak about a 1/2 mile to the river. 

Wait, what?

First off, the word portage meant nothing to me, though it meant everything to Don. He looked at me with those wide eyes and said, "I'll explain it once we get parked."

We found a parking space no problem. I jumped out of the car ready for action. Don then proceeded to inform me that "portage" meant we had to carry, push, pull, or drag that beast a 1/2 mile down a dirt, root-infested path. That's when my eyes widened. 

We only did that once. (Did I mention it's great being married to a MacGyver kind of guy?)

With his amazing engineering ability Don researched and finally came up with the greatest piece of apparatus...EVER! Back in the day, we didn't have a lot of extra cash to go spending on a set of true kayak wheels, we had more of a garage sale budget. So once "Macgyver" had his plan it was off to garage sales we went.

Living in Florida has its advantages. For instance, there are a ton of golfers down here. They make the perfect providers of the homemade contraption we're going to share with you.

Eureka! We found some! We finally found the right garage sale that had just what we needed...a hand-pulled, golf-bag-caddy-thingy. One of those metal things on wheels that golfers use to pull their golf bags around the courses.

With a few moderations our new hand-pulled kayak-hauler was up and running in no time. So back to Silver River we went with our homemade kayak caddy. This may sound really exciting, but it wasn't as exciting as we thought it would to be. The kayak still seemed heavy and the cart wobbly. Back to the drawing board for Don.

In a few days Don said to me, "If you are out shopping and find a deer drag, grab it! Oh, and a couple of carabiners. I need those things for the kayak-hauler." 

I thought, OK, like portage, I have no idea what a deer drag is, I assume it drags deer but what does that have to do with our kayak wheely-thingy? Oh well, at least I know what a carabiner is. 

Low and behold, there really is such a thing as a deer drag! 

Don rigged up a way to pull the kayak on the wheels using the deer drag, and we lived happily ever after...when ever we had to portage.
Our first outing with the homemade kayak-hauler being pulled by Don using the deer drag.
"Ahhh - this is so much better than trying to pull
and balance this contraption by hand. I love my new deer drag!"

We made it to the river with ease, and were rewarded immensely 
with the beauty of nature and all it has to offer on the Silver River. 


Our next chapter, Chapter 3, will boast some photos of the very first encounters we had with the unique wildlife and nature while kayaking Silver River for the first time. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

We Did It!

If you've been following the blog throughout the month of May, then you are fully aware that we had quite the schedule to tackle, and you have probably been long awaiting the report. Well good news all of the way around, WE DID IT!

Here's the recap of the fun and success we achieved during the busy month of May...

Starting the first weekend in May we sent our Michigan team members, Dar Bagby and Connie Thompson, to Mackinac Island, Michigan for the Loleta Fyan Small and Rural Library Conference. Dar had the opportunity to speak alongside Pickford Community Library's manager, Ann Marie Smith. Together this dynamic duo presented how effective the library's Young Writer's Workshop has been not only in the local community of Pickford, Michigan, but also across the Upper Peninsula. Thanks to Pickford Community Library using the JLB Creatives writing curriculum, Journey to Publication, this group has received kudos from state representative, Frank Foster, and has been deemed the largest writing group of its kind in the state of Michigan. 

Dar Bagby (L), Connie Thompson (R)
Exhibit at Loleta Fyan Small & Rural Library Conference 2016
While Dar was speaking at the conference, Connie was busy at the JLB Creatives exhibit table. Flooded with questions and interest that was peaking the scale, Connie handled it with ease and there are multiple libraries now interested in making Journey to Publication an endeavor for their local (and not so local) writing enthusiasts to help increase community bonding as well as offer a worthy program that actually leads to publication through JLB Creatives Publishing for the "star" writing enthusiast of the group.

Book Release Soiree1 2016
Pickford Community Library's Young Writers Workshop
(standing L) Dar Bagby, (on screen  L) Janet, (on screen R) Jean E.,
(standing R in red) Connie, (standing R in black and white) Ann Marie
Only a few days after Mackinac Island, Dar and Connie, along with the Florida JLB Creatives CEO, Janet Beasley, and the Senior Financial Director, Jean E. Lane, celebrated with the enthusiasts and their families of the Pickford Community Library's Young Writers Workshop at their Book Release Soiree`! Dar and Connie attended in person while the Florida team was there, live, via Skype. Visit the blog on June 13th, 2016 and you'll find the links to download these outstanding works for FREE.

Dar Bagby
Journey to Publication exhibit
INCH Conference 2016
Once the Soiree` was over, it was off to Lansing, Michigan for Dar and Connie, this time to exhibit and speak at the INCH Convention. This convention is dedicated to homeschooling families. Here is where our Journey to Publication writing program curriculum gained even more exposure. Dar presented an Exhibitor's Workshop that gave attendees an in depth look at the curriculum. Success was seen all the way around. The workshop brought in many interested homeschooling parents and students, and the exhibit booth lent itself to a wonderful "hands-on" look for attendees.

Jean E. Lane
FPEA Convention 2016
Journey to Publication exhibit
The Michigan team wrapped up their busy schedule, then it was time for the Florida team to get in gear! JLB Creatives team members CEO Janet Beasley, Senior Financial Director Jean E., and JLB Creatives co-founder Don Beasley headed for the action - double the action - as they were exhibiting at two major conventions in the same weekend. 

Janet Beasley
FPEA Convention 2016
JLB Creatives Journey to Publication writing program was stunningly represented at the FPEA Convention - not just another homeschooling convention, but the largest homeschooling convention in the nation. With 25,000 in attendance JLB Creatives had to be on their "A" game. Jean E. manned the exhibit booth Thursday - Saturday, and Janet joined her on Friday and Saturday. Janet gave a total of 8, well-received presentations regarding Journey to Publication in those two days. Again, the curriculum was well represented and gained even more interest in the homeschooling community.

Sir Bwana Beasle and Lady Vixen Beasle
MegaCon 2016
BeaslePunk Artistry
And of course our CEO wouldn't think of being at a convention without "straying" and having some fun. While walking the show floor and networking with future business clients, Janet discovered the Gator Land exhibit. She couldn't help herself from stopping for a picture with the baby alligator.

Last but not least, BeaslePunk Artists, Don and Janet, exhibited at MegaCon. Their booth was nothing shy of amazing, and the compliments, comments, reactions, and sales tell the tale of success for this JLB Creatives division.

More new things are on the horizon...but it will be a bit before they are released. We encourage you to join the JLB Creatives Blog to stay up on all of the creativity this company has to offer. 

To say we conquered May 2016 with a vengeance is an understatement! We couldn't be happier with the responses, results, and just plain fun we had promoting and selling JLB Creatives popular, imaginative creations. 

JLB Creatives

JLB Creatives Blog Hosts

JLB Creatives Blog Hosts
JLB Creatives Editor Dar Bagby (L) and JLB Creatives CEO Janet Beasley (R)