Introducing Chris Dunmire

Chris Dunmire is a creativity enthusiast, wife, and student of life who resides in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. Chris is a graphic designer and driving force behind the Creativity Portal, a Web site promoting the exploration and expression of personal creativity. Her lifework includes Web publishing, artistic dabbling, drawing corny comics, motivational writing, and encouraging creativity, self-awareness, and personal growth in others.

Annual Day of Reflection

I grew up in a family that didn't celebrate birthdays the way most people do. In fact, due to adhering to a strict set of religious beliefs, we didn't celebrate them at all. The same went for celebrating holidays and most other "Hallmark" occasions.

Despite the ixnay on birthdays, every year that April fourth came around I knew deep down inside that it was my special day, but I wasn't allowed to acknowledge the day in any extraordinary way, take cupcakes to school, or eat the birthday treats of fellow schoolmates on their birthdays either. Couple that with the ironic coincidence that my sister was also born on April fourth (seven years earlier), made the day stand out as doubly significant to me. Still, I wasn't allowed to express joy or happiness about my (or my sister's) day of birth or participate in any celebration of it. (The reasons "why" we didn't acknowledge birthdays will be saved for another time.)

This seemingly odd tradition went on in my life until my mid-20s, when I decided to analyze the beliefs I was raised with. I started to question everything I was taught and evaluated the inherited belief system (religious and otherwise) of my parents. Once that process began, there was no turning back. Thinking and reasoning for myself produced an inevitability: I began to allow myself to live authentically and behaved in ways I consciously knew were right for me. Acknowledging the anniversary of my birth was important to me. Celebrating another year of life was important to me. Acting like I mattered in the vast sea of humankind was important to me.

Serendipity The many years of "birthday repression" has undoubtedly affected how I feel about my day of birth. It's forced me beyond the shallow surface of birthday celebrations into a quiet thankfulness for another year of life. While I wasn't allowed to celebrate outwardly, I began to celebrate inwardly, while truly appreciating the one day out of the year that belonged to me. It reminded me that I wasn't insignificant; my being here did matter; and my life was worth honoring.

The anniversary of the day I was born evolved beyond birthday balloons and superficial wishes into a personal checkpoint for learned lessons, notable accomplishments, and future goals. It became an extraordinary day to celebrate in a way that felt right to me. I still don't expect others to do anything special for me on my birthday, but I make sure that I honor my day however I see fit.
Chris Dunmire 2004

The Creativity Portal
Everyone is Creative - How to nourish and flourish your own creative style
Children Teach Creativity by Linda Nowicki
On the Importance of Creativity by Ashfaq Ishaq
Interview with Soul Food's Heather Blakey

Nourish Your Creativity and It Will Nourish You!

"Children have an endless well of creative energy. It shows up in the whimsical lyrics they sing, their imaginative play, and in their innate ability to make something out of anything. Because they don't fret over what anyone else will think, they are free to live an authentic life that reflects their unique style." Linda Nowicki, Children Teach Creativity

Once upon a time I was a creative child. From Kindergarten to fourth grade my favorite activities always included manila drawing paper, a big box of crayons, pasty glue, and colorful construction paper. Second grade was my favorite year by far, as our class spent much of our "free time" involved in creative writing and crafting paper projects. I'll forever be grateful to our teacher Ms. Raymond for making us be creative.

But like so many other people, my free flow of creativity waned as I grew older. By the time I entered high school, my insecure self-consciousness and yearning to fit in halted the growth of my authentic self and redirected the flow of creativity into a tool for mental survival. In response, I picked up journal writing as an outlet for my teenage angst against a world that didn't understand me.

Life into my 20s centered on establishing an adult life for myself: working, marriage, and education. But deep inside I knew there was more to life-more to me-than domestic and career fulfillment. I knew this because a distinct part of me excitedly emerged during relaxed moments and jumped at opportunities to express itself through all sorts of creative endeavors. Through these endeavors I found an inner sense of purpose that connected me to something much bigger than myself. These events inspired me into starting a Web-based project with the sole purpose of promoting creativity and learning in others.

The Creativity Portal

"The Creativity Portal promotes the exploration and expression of personal creativity through free learning, arts, crafts, writing, and other creative activities. You'll find our site chock-full of how-to resources, inspiring articles, downloadable projects, fun and humor, and motivation to Be Creative!" Creativity Portal Web site

Since its humble beginnings in the year 2000, the Creativity Portal has been an ongoing personal experiment in design and content within a creativity-based theme. Although the how-to directory has been its mainstay, the site has grown into a hodgepodge of creativity related features, and continues to be a personal outlet for my own creativity-and desire to inspire creativity and learning in others. I've been honored to host a variety of contributions by published authors, artists, and teachers worldwide-who freely share their knowledge and expertise with others. The Creativity Portal is visited by droves of people daily, and the feedback it receives from individuals and organizations gives it more life and purpose than I ever thought possible.

The Nourishing Gift

There is no doubt in my mind that we all possess the innate gift of creativity. Some of us learn to grasp it early on in our lives, and (perhaps like myself) lose sight of it until we are ready to embrace it again in later years. Others might have missed out on the opportunity to tune into their creativity, or just chose to leave it dormant while they pursued other interests. Neither is right or wrong, just a free choice we have before us in the banquet of life. I am certain, however, that when we take time to nourish our creativity, it will nourish us in return. And having experienced that generous payback, I can say with confidence that effort given to developing personal creativity is healthy "food" for the mind and soul.

by Chris Dunmire.

Mirecle33 Creativity Patch

I nearly choked with envy and spluttered my coffee all over my keyboard when Chris Dunmire from the Creativity Portal showed me her brand new Mirecle33 Creativity Patch. These creativity patches are for those who claim not to have a creative bone in their body. Now why didn't I think of this first?

Actually, this whole new collection of Dunmire tidbits has my mouth watering. If Chris keeps producing things like this I am going to have to head north and physically blow her out of her pond. Too clever!