What do you do when you are 89 years old and in the midst of a pandemic?

What do you do when you are 89 years old and in the midst of a pandemic?

Get creative!

My family celebrated my mom’s 89th birthday at our farm in Colorado two days before the United States began to lock-down because of COVID-19. Ruth Firestien is my model of how to stay vital and creative in your later years. My sister Judy and I agree that Mom is a creativity rock star.

I wrote about my mother in my latest book, Create in a Flash. Mom was a church organist and played for over 100 weddings and 100 funerals between 1946 and 1997. She also taught children’s Sunday school classes, and in 1973, she was the first woman to become president of her church’s leadership council.

When my sister and I were growing up in rural Colorado, Mom canned fruits and vegetables from our garden and helped our Dad, Chuck, raise sheep. She was particularly busy during lambing season when she and Dad spent long nights in the cold Colorado winter in the sheep barn helping ewes give birth.

In addition to her love of music, Mom was a school photographer and even took calligraphy classes. She is an avid quilter. Her quilting “body of work” includes over 200 quilted pieces.


So, what does Ruth do to keep her creative juices flowing when she is staying home, avoiding the virus? Why, make masks, of course!

Mom raided her “stash” of fabric scraps from other projects to make the masks, so her face masks are patterned – some are patriotic with red, white and blue designs, others have flowers, bees, butterflies or hearts. My mask is made out of John Deere tractor patterned material.

Mom has mailed her masks to loved ones across the country, so people from California to New York are wearing them.

Throughout her life, Mom has been a doer, a mover, and a changemaker in the lives of those around her.

Ruth’s advice for living a long and creatively productive life:

“Get involved with your church or other organizations. Join a club. Always have a project in mind. I usually have two or three projects going at one time. Don’t just sit around on your butt and do nothing.”

Happy belated Mother’s Day Mom! All our love, Roger and Judy.

ruth firestien with quilt

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  1. Carol Reis

    Thanks MOM!!! You have inspired me to drag out my material, get off my butt and start quilting, again. I just got my butt kicked from Colorado! Awesome!
    Happy Birthday, Happy Lifeday, and another LifeYear.
    Peace, Carol

  2. Craig Liebig

    Your Mom is a doer!! Thanks for sharing her story and wise advice!

  3. Peter Loehr

    Roger, from unique parents come unique kids who grow up to make unique contributions to others.

  4. Charles Eze

    An interesting write up. Mother and son are great at creativity. I also love creativity, but am yet to find much time to follow Roger on his creative efforts, but I will surely do so soonest.


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Just as you follow a recipe to cook a great meal, there is a recipe to create great ideas. Create in a Flash is for leaders who know that in order to grow their organizations, they need to generate ideas and solutions on demand. With Flash, you’ll learn the recipe, why it works, and how to use it to be more effective and innovative in life and at work.

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