Dear Family, Friends and Colleagues,

our wedding portraitOn Valentine’s Day in 2011, Paul and I were featured in the National Post newspaper about our love story. The article began, “Who knew when Paul and I met at a cottage closing party on Sept. 30, 1967 we’d be celebrating our 42nd anniversary …a month after our transplant surgeries?”

In early January, 2010 Paul’s kidneys failed as a result of polycystic kidney disease. Since it can be inherited, direct family members were not suitable donors. I volunteered. During the following 11 months Paul underwent dialysis three times a week, five hours each session. Meanwhile, we were each put through a series of tests for compatibility. To our surprise, results indicated my kidneys were an excellent match. On November 25th that year, one of my kidneys was transplanted into Paul—and began working immediately. We thought we were home-free for at least the next 20 years!

Unfortunately, two years ago, our transplanted kidney’s function was compromised by a rare effect of a virus. Since then the outstanding medical staff at the Toronto General Hospital (TGH) has worked diligently to slow down the kidney’s deterioration.

Contrary to wide-spread belief, there is no living kidney donor list in North America.

In Ontario, only when someone goes on dialysis is he or she automatically added to the bottom of a list of recipients who typically have to wait 7–10 years for a kidney from a donor who has died. Up until now, every person whose kidneys fail must find his or her own living kidney donor. Can you imagine being in such a predicament?

I am appealing to you to help us find an extraordinary individual who would be willing to donate a kidney to Paul.

IMG_2294I have never been comfortable asking anyone for anything; however, the time is approaching when my husband may have to go back on dialysis. This would mean being confined three times weekly to a hospital room, attached to a dialysis machine, and restricted to an unhealthy diet. Paul is known throughout the legal and business communities for his professional work and mentorship. For decades, he has volunteered as a leader in community service organizations domestically and internationally. Paul prays to be able to continue his work, and to enjoy the freedom to come and go, our four children, their spouses, grandchildren, relatives, friends and colleagues.

Recently, a successful media appeal for donors was made on behalf of Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk who needed a liver transplant. Five hundred people came forward. My hope is for a similar response of living kidney donors, not only to benefit Paul, but also other kidney patients in need of a transplant. It’s time to create a living kidney donor registry! Please help. Spread the word: forward this appeal to your network of family, friends, colleagues, associations and organizations.

Outcomes for living kidney donors are excellent. Long term studies show that they continue to live normal lives after donation. Our bodies are able to adjust and function quite well with one kidney – I can attest to that. Living donor evaluation includes many tests to help determine that this is the right decision for the donor from a physical, practical and emotional point of view. All donors are seen by a health care team different from that of the recipient to ensure their needs are specifically addressed. Only those who have passed this rigorous evaluation process are accepted as donors. The well-being of the potential donor is never compromised for the sake of the recipient. To learn more about organ transplants and the TGH team, visit

Furthermore, TGH Living Donor Kidney Transplant Assessment Coordinator Julie Cissell or I can provide email attachments which include donor manual, consent and health history forms. Potential donors can contact Julie by phone (416-340-4577) or email ( Mention my name or Paul’s. Julie will answer any questions about living donor criteria and testing process.

I am also prepared to share my personal donor experience with any person, group or organization. Just contact me by email at Thanks for your help, which is very much appreciated!

Warm regards,

Nellie Jacobs

Another Significant Day

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you keep them? This is the very first year I made one. I decided to …


That’s it.

For me, being present means noting the moment, paying attention, and eliminating distractions.

If I’m truly present, I also think about the elements that make each day meaningful. Here’s an example…

This past Friday I learned a new skill.

The Art Gallery of Ontario had offered a Members’ Night which included various activities. Paper-covered tables and an easel were set up in the central court for a cartooning workshop. Inspired by a visit to the Gallery’s Art Spiegelman exhibit which displayed dozens of his drawings for his Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus books, I was eager to participate  in a learning experience that would combine my writing and artistic passions.

Cartoonist Dave Lapp gave an inspiring beginner’s demonstration to a growing crowd of onlookers. He pointed out some key elements to consider when drawing within frames:

Click on any photo to expand its size.

Click on any photo to expand its size.

When he finished his demonstration, I stared at Lapps’ drawings, taking in the information I’d just learned.


The horrifying significance of the day hit me like a bolt.  If you recall, Friday, January 9th, 2015 was the third day after the French cartoonist murders in Paris, and the criminals had just been found and killed.

I looked around at the surrounding audience, consisting of young and old, men, women and children, people of all cultures and stages of life. Many waited their turn while I and others already sitting at long tables completed creating our first cartoons. What a coincidence that this particular workshop would be offered on such a momentous day. We were all participants in an affirmation of the power of ideas – and a pencil. It was an incredible experience.

Here is my first cartoon. When I picked up the pencil I had no idea who to draw or what to write. The completed comic arrived unconsciously and unexpectedly:


 Thanks to an opportunity provided by the AGO. On a day when shots were heard around the world – I stumbled across a new and powerful way to express my creativity.

Holiday Emotions can Fuel Creativity

* As the holiday season and year end approach, some of us can experience all kinds of heightened emotions. Mixed with the joyful anticipation of festivities and gatherings of friends and family can come sad thoughts about a myriad of disappointments and losses.


In my own experience, embracing my deep emotions and subsequent reactions has resulted in a wide range of creative benefits that include articles, artwork, television shows, podcasts, books and poetry.


I believe that if we identify our feelings and reactions–and if we explore the reasons for them–we can turn our insights into opportunities that fuel raw creativity. As example, without self-editing (at least in first drafts), I fired off “Just Let me F***n Dance!” a few days after taking my teenagers to a holiday concert where, embarrassed, they kept whispering to me to sit down. Reading that particular item of poetry to audiences inspired the most wonderful discussions among participants who were moved to share their own stories. Can you imagine the conversation with my late, beloved 90 year old mother-in-law about the poem’s title? I love to share that, too, because its description has become a piece of comedy on its own.


So, as the holiday season approaches, let’s welcome the depths of our emotions. Let’s mine our reactions and express them. Let’s use our insights as springboards for infinite creativity. Let our feelings fuel the development of music, plays, movies, poetry, dances, performances, paintings, sculptures, pottery and quilts. As I see it, powerful reactions can lead to exceptionally powerful creativity.


Creativity consultant Nellie Jacobs is an artist and author whose revised e-book edition of Grading the Teacher-a best-seller first published by Penguin Books-is now available in most e-reader formats (Kindle:  & Kobo: Website:

* This article was first published in the Creativity Coaching Association November, 2014 newsletter:

Please Re-post: Sign Petition for Creation of Living Kidney Donor Registry

Since my last post/update about our appeal for a kidney/registry, following is some new information.

How YOU Can Help Thousands of People suffering from Kidney Failure

Please support these two new sites:

1. Facebook page:

Facebook Take the Leap Support Registry

Please click here to “Like”: Facebook Take the Leap Now Living Kidney Donor Registry

Recommend anyone who is a donor or recipient to visit it to share their stories!

2. Petition: 


Please click here to sign: Petition to Create a Living Kidney Donor Registry

Forward the link to your networks,

Consider contacting media about featuring the absence of a living donor registry and reasons for its creation.

If you have any suggestions for reaching out, please contact me, and I will follow through.



Grading the Teacher is now an E-book specially reduced


Are you a parent with school-age children?


Are you a teacher at any level?


You may be interested in “Grading the Teacher: A Parent/Teacher Guide, reduced next week to $.99.


Follow the links for details>

Keeping Motivated and Completing Projects

Ever since leaving the formal “job” of elementary school teacher in the 70’s to become a stay-at-home mom, I have developed all kinds of non-traditional creative initiatives.

Clilck on image to see how you are depicted.

Some suggestions I practice to keep myself motivated and complete projects may be useful to you:

  • Infuse your working space with inspiring quotes, photos, posters, music, or knick-knacks:

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were.
But without it we go nowhere.

Carl Sagan

  • It’s so easy to dwell on failures, so make a point to emphasize your accomplishments. Find a place to proudly display examples of your own creativity. Refer to it as often, especially when you are feeling frustrated and “down”.
Displaying my books, art, awards, etc...

My Studio: Displaying my books, art, awards, etc…

  • Set reasonable short and long term goals. Work towards them, follow through – and reward yourself when you achieve the difficult ones.
  • If something doesn’t work or presents a significant challenge, think why and then brainstorm how to turn it around and open your mind to 50 possibilities and opportunities.
  • Hook up with some encouraging creative thinkers who will not only motivate you and one other but also will make you feel safe to explore your ideas.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and complete your projects?



Creativity consultant Nellie Jacobs is a Canadian award-winning artist and best-selling author whose creative initiatives-incorporating all the above suggestions-have been featured for decades by major national, regional and local media across the country. For more about Nellie’s books, artwork, workshops and upcoming events, visit her website at

Promoting Creativity


I wrote the following post for Creativity Calling, the March 2014 issue of the Creativity Coaching Association (CCA) newsletter:

It’s one thing to be chomping at the bit, ready-finally-to inspire and change the world; it’s quite another to let the world know you exist. These days, with a bit of imagination anyone engaged in the creativity field is in a terrific position to promote themselves and their creative passion. Countless platforms and websites offer simple tools to help you grow your network and achieve your goals.

 If you haven’t already done so, for very little time, money and research, you can start a blog or send out an e-newsletter to your network. (If it’s too difficult to maintain regular postings, invite guests to contribute articles, or offer to write your own for other people’s blogs.) Pitch editors of traditional or online publications with an idea for a regular daily, weekly or monthly column. (Have some samples ready for submission). Consider writing and self-publishing a short e-book that might, for instance, offer a step-by-step guide to your insights, experiences, or expertise. Speaking of specialties, prepare a course to teach in-person or online. Initiate and lead supportive groups. Post comments and share links on social media. Conduct interviews of creative individuals on a podcast series-or offer yourself as a well-informed talk show guest.

 Creativity has become the buzz word used in ads, articles and media headlines around the world. The trick is to produce a ‘hook’ for a press release that will lead to a feature story. Plan events relating to current events or holidays. Identify a pressing public concern, its creative solution-and then act on it. As example, after internationally renowned creativity specialist Marci Segal read a 2001 newspaper banner that said creativity was in crisis, she was moved to establish World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 (Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday) to 21. Through networking and media coverage, WCIW is now celebrated in more than 40 countries worldwide!


 Here’s an idea to promote creativity AND yourself immediately. Use WCIW as a newsworthy reason to go out into the community to encourage individuals and groups to do something special to celebrate creativity. Approach businesses, schools, recreation centers, clubs, and public institutions to establish partnerships or guide creative projects. For great ideas, explore Add to the list!


Creativity consultant Nellie Jacobs is a Canadian award-winning artist and best-selling author whose creative initiatives-incorporating all the above suggestions-have been featured for decades by major national, regional and local media across the country. For more about Nellie’s books, artwork, workshops and upcoming events, visit her website at