Archive for May, 2010

Creativity … How Does It Make Your Life Better?

~More about Nanci J. Gravill’s new book “Fresh Hope … Cleveland”

NOTE: Share your thoughts below after my blog entry:  How has creativity made your life better?  Thank you!

~Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.   – Albert Einstein

My Book “Fresh Hope…Cleveland” Shares Creative Ways to Live

Can you imagine in a book such as “Fresh Hope … Cleveland,”one all about resources, that creativity is a part of it all? Yes, it’s all about creativity. The ideas came from a real need in my life – the need to survive and s-t-r-e-t-c-h my dollars: I figured out how to make less become more. I don’t mean that in just the sense of finding help in the community for things like food, rent money, or cheaper car repairs. I also learned how to feel better and thrive emotionally during my struggle as well. I found creative ways to live by trying different things: less again became more. That is to say, I made my life fuller. The quality of my life expanded from the principles and concepts I gathered and tried. All these ideas are part of “Fresh Hope … Cleveland.”

Creativity Is All About How You Think

Take a step back. I bet when you think about that word “creativity” you probably think of the ability to paint, sketch, write, dance, or sing. That  to me is artistic ability and I believe we all to have some artistic ability somewhere tucked away inside us. However, let’s decide right away to look at the broader concept of creativity. Because, really, creativity is not just about coming up with lovely creations. Rather, think about creativity as the way you approach something. In actuality, creativity involves the way you think. Did you know that some of the most intelligent people (Aristotle and Leonardo to Einstein and Edison) were seen as “supercreative”? They were thought to be geniuses. That’s because when confronted with a problem they would internally think, “How many ways can I look at it?” Or “Can I rethink the way I see it? “  And finally they would ask, “How many ways different ways can I solve the problem?” (Thanks to Michael Michalko, author of the article “Thinking Like a Genius: Eight Strategies Used by the Supercreative from The Futurist, May 1998).

Creativity: God’s Intended Response to Crisis

Dr. Myles Munroe in his book “Overcoming Crisis; The Secrets to Thriving in Challenging Times,” also recognizes creativity and its value. He sees creativity as being important in your most difficult and trying times. He sees your creativity to be an avenue to finding greater potential in your life. In fact, it could be the most important factor in every crisis in your life. Dr. Munroe says, “We need times of crisis to jolt us out of our ruts. Without some kind of crisis, we are not inclined to think hard enough, pray hard enough, or work hard enough to make innovative changes. That’s why God allows crises to happen. …Crises will make us expand. Crises will provide us with plenty of motivation to try something new.” Munore continues, “A crisis is simply a change in the environment that demands a new, unscheduled response. This is one of the reasons that I say that a crisis is the source of creativity. If you are working with other people, sit down with them and say, ‘OK, everybody. Let’s find some new ways to think.’ If you can pull together a couple of friends, ask them to help you think of creative ways to overcome your crisis.”

God Designed Us to Be Creative

I believe that God designed us to be creative people. He did so — so we could use these skills to make our lives better — fuller– richer. Here are a couple ways I’ve used my creativity: Obviously I used my creativity in response to my own personal crisis—getting through breast cancer and much, much more! And afterwards, I set about the task of creating my book “Fresh Hope … Cleveland” to help you.

I used my creativity to teach middle school and high school-aged students for a period of about three years. But now on a weekly basis, I use my creativity to teach the kids I tutor. I come up with math problems that are all about brownies and cookies. Somehow they can relate to food! Sometimes there are even donuts in the equations and their friends are enjoying them, too! Then I give them real-life situations: shopping in the store and figuring the change. This helps them learn math in a very practical and delicious way – and they have a lot of fun more so than the old conventional way!

How Do You Use Your Creativity?

Your Turn to Share: ~Leave me a message below and I’ll share the results next week. ~ I bet some of you have some really interesting things to say!

Please Share: How has your creativity made your life better –for example: more interesting, enjoyable, and easier? Thank you!

I pray the rest of your week is filled with many unexpected gifts of love and kindness! Try using your creative abilities to bless someone today!

God Bless You!


Note~~~All ideas here and more will be found within the pages of “Fresh Hope … Cleveland.”

© Blog Contents — From “Fresh Hope … Cleveland.” –Copyrighted May 25, 2010 ~All rights reserved 

May 24, 2010 at 9:25 pm Leave a comment

“Fresh Hope …. Cleveland” is full of RESOURCES!

~More about Nanci J. Gravill’s new book, “Fresh Hope … Cleveland”

 NOTE: My “Fresh Hope … Cleveland” Blog has a new look! Leave a comment below and tell me what you think about the new furnishings! Thanks!

(Posted early for your Early Birds!) As I promised last week, in this entry I’ll share some of the resources from my book “Fresh Hope … Cleveland — “Resources to Help You Navigate Through Unsettled Times.” On each colorful page in the first section you’ll find many resources in the community to help you.  Section two shares something quite different. This section puts you in touch with your own inner resources –some you may have never considered or tapped into before.

To start this off in a very logical way, I’ll discuss the very nature of resources –what are they, how they help us, and how can you  tap into their beauty and power? I’ll give you the basics then I promise to kick this discussion up a notch with some real examples from “Fresh Hope … Cleveland!” Hold on to your hat – you’re headed for a MOST RESOURCEFUL DISCUSSION! Here goes ….!

What Are Resources? Resources are those very helpful things that provide you with the answers to your questions; they help meet your needs. I looked up the word “resources” at The Web site expanded upon my idea by saying that resources are a source of supply, support, or aid, especially one that can be readily drawn upon when needed. And amazingly enough, the definition also explained that our own capabilities are also considered resources we can draw from in an emergency or daily circumstance. That’s because they allow you to deal with a situation.

Two Different Types of Resources  

When you look at the definition you know that resources then can be tangible things like money, people, books, and the Internet. But they can also be intangible – things you can’t see or touch like faith, trust, hope, courage, or the ability to persevere. Both kinds of resources are important. Why? Because the issues you face in your life will require a variety of solutions and that means you’ll need a variety of resources. If you are looking for a job now, your resume, skills, job opportunities, and networking will be important issues. However, you will need to manage  from this day forward until the day you are hired by your new employer. To do so, you’ll need to plug into some resources. But the kind of resources you’ll need won’t be found out in the community. They’re not listed in the phone book and they’re certainly not on the Internet. These resources must come from you – from your own inner strength and wisdom. For this you must tap into your faith, past experiences, motivation, intellect, and positive self-talk (positive things you say to yourself). All these things will help you wait for that awesome new job.

How Do Resources Help You? Resources help you solve your problems — they’re the answer to your concerns. They make your life  better.  And as they answer your questions, they enable you to move forward in life instead of staying stuck in some type of a holding pattern. Once your questions are answered you are freed up to enjoy your life and then tackle some other issues.

If you get out there and hustle to find the resources you need, a secondary benefit is created. Oddly enough, as you search for the right things to help you, you will notice that you are beginning to grow emotionally, intellectually, psychologically, and spiritually. Why is that? Well, when you look for ways to meet your needs (resources), you are in a position to learn more about your community and definitely more about yourself. If you do the work necessary along the trail, you’ll evolve into a much more splendid version of yourself. Working out the details of my life that unknowingly became the text for “Fresh Hope … Cleveland,” I grew in many ways. All my hunting, asking, praying, and sifting through information taught me a lot. With a very grateful heart, I can tell you I am not the same person I was before. That’s because I acquired new skills, new information, greater confidence, and a sense that God and I are capable to meet the demands life may place upon me at any time. I found that no matter how difficult it may be, with God’s help I will be able to come through it!  

How Can You Tap Into The  Beauty and Power That Resources Provide? To actualize the beauty and power resources possess, l have one thing and one thing only to say: Leave your pride behind. You cannot be helped if you are worried about what someone else will think of you. You cannot be helped if you think you are too cool to do what must be done. You cannot be helped if you think something is beneath you. Neither Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Bill Gates, Diane Sawyer, Brad Pitt, Vera Wang nor a handful of people that you see every day started their journey at the top. Instead they started out small and did what needed to do every day. They put one foot in front of the other and kept right on going!  And that’s what you need to do too!

So that means, if you need to apply for food stamps – then apply now. If you need to work a part-time job at Panera’s until a full-time professional one is available: Do it! Do what ever you need to do today. You’ll be better off for it and you’ll feel good about yourself as well!

Now, find below, examples from “Fresh Hope … Cleveland.” I pasted examples here from the first and second sections only. Check out “Give, Receive, or Barter” or the entry on “Hope” below from the second section, “Soothing the Soul: Tips for Emotional Well-being ~Let Your Spirit Rise.”

A tidbit from section #1 …… minus the cool pictures! They would not copy here. Sorry!

 GIVE, RECEIVE, OR BARTER – creative ways to get what you need.    

1.  Faith Classifieds is a place to not only barter with other Christians (share your skills and receive other services), but you can also buy, sell, or trade on a Web site that is Christian-owned and operated. Everything is FREE, but there is a limit of ten ads posted per month per person. Each ad expires in thirty days. Go to

2. The Freecycle network is a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) things for free in their own towns and thus keeping good things out of landfills. Membership is free, and everything posted must be free, legal, and appropriate for all ages. To view the items being given away or sought, you must be a member of a local group. Go to and sign on to a group near you.  

A tidbit from section #2 ……Soothing Your Soul: Tips For Emotional Well-being  ~Let Your Spirit Rise

~Hope is belief in a positive outcome to your circumstances.

Hope means you’re expecting something, you’re looking for something to show up in the future. It’s a confident feeling that the tide will soon turn –and it will! To keep hope alive, read something uplifting about God right before bed. And, instead of looking at what’s wrong, chose to look at what’s right in your life. Then, let those good feelings be planted in your life by watering  them and consciously choosing to tap into the good feelings they produce.

 “When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.”–Pauline R. Kezer

Here’s another great resource, your creativity. Let’s visit here next Tuesday and I’ll talk a little more about that interesting concept. Until then, may you see God’s outstretched hand there to help you each day — He is a wonderful resource! He is your most powerful resource!

Don’t forget to leave a comment on my blog’s new furnishings and this “Fresh Hope” text if you wish.

Enjoy your week!

God Bless You!


©Blog Contents — From “Fresh Hope … Cleveland.” –Copyrighted May 18, 2010 ~All rights reserved

May 17, 2010 at 11:40 pm Leave a comment

A Little Slice of “Fresh Hope”

~More about Nanci J. Gravill’s new book, “Fresh Hope … Cleveland”

Since I’ve been telling you all kinds of things about “Fresh Hope … Cleveland,” I felt it was a great time to share a little more of the book with you. In the next couple of weeks I’ll be giving you a glimpse into some of the helpful resources the book contains – shopping tips, ways to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your hard-earned dollars, ways to feel your best emotionally and other great things for your life. My mother used to also say information is power. And it is! It’s especially powerful at this time because my book can help you know where to find the answers to your concerns. The information in the book is also powerful because it will allow you to make the best decisions possible for you and your family.  

Read an Excerpt  & Endorsements From “Fresh Hope … Cleveland”

Today, I’m sharing some wise words from the preface of my book along with two of the major  endorsements I’ve received. Next week I’ll talk about some resources and you’ll be able to experience firsthand, another taste of “Fresh Hope… Cleveland.” Enjoy!

Note: I hope every mother was pampered and appreciated on Sunday. Happy Belated Mother’s Day!

God Bless You!


 Excerpt (from the Preface)

If you apply the information contained within this book to your life, you and your family will gain momentum in tackling your concerns. That will also bring a sense of peace and balance to your life. In a sense, it will help you live differently. And what will remain will be what the media is calling, the new normal. The new normal is all about having a new point of reference for your life! And that can be a really good thing!

My advice to you is simple. Don’t be afraid to try something new or explore new ways to live your life. Innovative ideas can change the quality of your life – making it much more rewarding than it was before! It’s possible too, that you will discover things that bring healing and joy where they may have been an emptiness or hollow place in your heart. As a breast cancer survivor, I can tell you I’ve tackled a few issues. And I know that good things don’t always come wrapped in beautiful packages tied with gorgeous bows. Many times good things come to you through pain, struggle, and a determined spirit. So, if you are struggling today, God is still at work in your life even if you can’t yet see the outcome your circumstances will eventually produce.

Endorsements: Here’s What They Are Saying

#1~ “I think that often when people are the most needy, disillusioned, in pain, and overwhelmed, this book would serve them exceedingly well. When I’m feeling like a loser, sick, overwhelmed, or broken, if “look-ups” aren’t easy, I don’t do them. This book would help anyone reach out and get support for what ails him or her.

“I think in the many years that I have done psychotherapy; I have learned that many people could benefit from this great, “what’s the thing I should do now?” kind-of-book, which this certainly is. Easy to read and well organized; it will serve important functions in the lives of the unhappy, needy, or (for those who want to find other good things for their lives). I know I’m into a set of great ideas when, as I am reading it, I want to create new stuff off that original idea and I do with your book! It’s an organized and easy-to-use guide to doing things that will help people feel better right now.”- Walter Broadbent, Ph.D.  – Psychologist

#2~ I fully endorse Nanci’s wonderful book ‘Fresh Hope… Cleveland.’  It was crafted by a woman who has found ways to make ends meet during tough times.  Nanci has learned what it means to “suffer well” by producing these material to help others. 

 In my role as a pastor and clinical social worker I am constantly reminded that people are searching desperately for hope and direction.  Nanci has effectively addressed both of these issues in her timely and practical book.  The suggestions you will find on these pages are excellent reference point for people who want to pursue godly wisdom, save money, and access vital local resources. 

I believe her work is an invaluable for pastors, counselors, church leadership, social workers- and most obviously for people who are looking for concrete help.  So many of us don’t know what is available right in our own community.  It is my desire that the ideas and help she has compiled will find its way into many people’s hands.  Simply stated, people need what she isoffering.                                                                                                                                                               

I wish that more people would travel the narrow path, like Nanci, in seeking God, serving others, and advancing Jesus’ work in the world.  She is clearly seeking to be both “heavenly minded” and “earthly good.”  I was encouraged and challenged to grow as a person and a Christian through reading her book.  You will be too!   – Ryan Edlind, LSW, Pastor of Care Ministries, Cuyahoga Valley Church

©Blog Contents Copyrighted May 10, 2010 ~All rights reserved

May 11, 2010 at 5:36 am Leave a comment

Meet Emma!

~More about Nanci J. Gravill’s new book, “Fresh Hope … Cleveland”

Who’s Emma? Well, I’ve been waiting a little while to have you to meet my special little friend. She’s wonderful – a little small but you know what they say, good things do come in small packages! Today I’m so thrilled to introduce you to Emma. She’s my little field mouse. We’ve know each other now for just over a year. Yes, I’m her creator and obviously that gives me insight into her character, personality, talents, and her future!

Emma’s a blast! Sweet and cuddy she’s the color of caramel;  at home she wears her overalls and then sometimes she likes to wear her pearls! After it rains she’ll sneak out to play in the puddles and the mud. Oh, my Emma! She’s very health conscious and so aware she should be more concerned about her cholesterol. Still she loves her Jarlsberg cheese. But in a pinch, she’ll eat Swiss if there’s nothing else around. But her most favorite, favorite thing is riding with me in the car to Narducci’s Bakery for chocolate nut brownies. Personally I love everything there. And you have to know, Emma makes everything  a special occasion – especially when it’s not at all! For any and all occasions instinctively up goes the blue umbrella on her patio table. It’s her way of saying, I’m now somewhere in the south of France vacationing. And she says to me in a sort of French accent, “Don’t worry Nanc, I’ll be back in plenty of time to do the thing with you and your book.” I didn’t know a brownie could have such power and take you all the way to la France! Still I marvel at how an ordinary bakery trip finds her later basking in the sun in France and then of course, gobbling up every delicious crumb! Oh and then she giggles at me because of course she can be in France and I have to write more of her script – more of her life – more of the book!

Emma’s got an exciting future ahead of her. Lots more books for her to do besides my book, “Fresh Hope … Cleveland.” But get this, Emma wants to see this book go big time. She says to me, “Nanc, let’s take this to the big cities. We could take it to Akron and Toledo then maybe Mansfield!” There’s excitement in her voice. Her eyes sparkle as if a book tour could change her whole life and her family’s too. Never mind all that! In this my first book Emma has a very important role. And that sure makes her a little mouse with a GREAT BIG GODLY PURPOSE!

Emma’s a communication vehicle. But don’t tell her that!  In my book, Emma explains information in a very friendly way. And you know when I think about it, Emma’s presence in the book is kind of comforting. Besides, who doesn’t like a sweet little mouse? In “Fresh Hope … Cleveland,” Miss Emma introduces the Social Services section in the first part of the book. Like the folks who need help and may visit that section of the book, Emma too is having a hard time because of this global economic crisis. Her cupboards are sometimes bare and her job has really been slow. On top of that she’s a little depressed because she has no cheese. Ugh! Now for a mouse that’s a pretty scary thing. Emma’s wondering where to turn for some answers to her problems. But being a very wise and resourceful mouse, Emma knows God is her source for everything in her life. She knows God will provide her with food, money, rent, job, friends, and family. So, in spite of everything, she’s not worried. But this time she tries something a little different. That’s because my sweet mouse is willing to do whatever she needs to do to make it through this time in her dear life. Most of all, Emma believes in prayer and she also believes in a God that faithfully answers our prayers. But the big question is, when will God answer those prayers? You may have faced something like that too in your own life.

Emma will be on my Web site.  Right now I can’t tell you the outcome to Emma’s story. So you’ll just have to get the book! However, I can tell you this, Emma will have her own bio on my Web site which will be hopefully be up by July. She’s bugged me enough about this so of course being her loving and caring creator, I said “yes” to my little dumpling.

Emma knows God answers each one of our prayers. Loving us so much He blesses us and answers our prayers when the time is right – and after we have asked Him so kindly sometimes night after night. God’s timing is always perfect. So if you haven’t had an answer yet to your prayers, Emma wants you to know that truly glorious things take time and preparation. That’s so they unfold in just the right way. But don’t worry. God has not forgotten you. He’s busy now attending to every one of your needs. And when everything has been brought together you’ll receive the answers in a most unexpected and miraculous way! And as you can imagine, dear little Emma believes God answers our prayers in the most delicious way! And He does!

For more about me and Emma, you can go to (July 2010). Visit my blog too at this address:

God Bless You!

Nanci and Emma

May 5, 2010 at 2:07 am Leave a comment


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