R. G. from Salem, Illinois asked, "At work, I just can't figure some problems out. It seems like I have no ideas that relate. Any solutions?"

Dear R.G.,

This question reminds me of the story of the greatest chef in the world!

Everyone felt that Lexi could make anything and everything. She often concocted her own recipes, and every chef and person who ate was in awe of her talents.

One day, the townspeople put her to a test. "Lexi, we need the most unusual meal possible. Can you help?"

Lexi thought for a moment and went back to her huge pantry. She was there for quite sometime determining what would be the most unusual meal. She returned with an armful of ingredients and made that special meal. Some of the ingredients she carried were used and some were not.

The people asked if this was a magical pantry that filled itself with just the right ingredients. Lexi laughed out loud saying, "Why, no! I travel to many markets throughout the land picking ingredients that I'm not sure will work anywhere, but they look, sound, and taste interesting to me. Then I look through catalogs, visit cooking shows and any other places I can learn about ingredients. The only magical thing about the pantry is that it keeps expanding to fit the supplies I bring in. Sometimes, I am amazed at how the ingredients combine."

I'm hoping by now you are seeing the dough rising! Gather all information around you whether it seems to fit with anything you're doing or not. your magical pantry will hold it until the time is right. Ask yourself, "How are a string cheese package and a band-aid alike?" "What happens when vinegar and baking soda mix?" "What aspect of a sliding telescope would help in making a cup for hiking?" By seeing connecting aspects of items, facts, and solutions to other problems, you can glean an answer to a new problem.

Now, get to work filling up your pantry of information - just because you may need it one day.

Thanks for asking!  Lynnette Schuepbach

Lynnette is an author/illustrator who sees creativity in every aspect of life. To find out more about her and creativity, visit her Web site KidsDoRead.com.  Her children’s books create curiosity in children and speak to sibling rivalry and bullying.

Lynnette serves as chair of Art in the Park on the second weekend of October at the Lindendale Park in Highland. Many local artists will be exhibiting there. It’s her pleasure to be a part of this opportunity for you to experience “World Class Art in a Hometown Atmosphere.” More info at www.highlandartscouncil.org.

Click here to send your question to Lynnette.