You’ve seen that person walking nose-down, intent on a gadget, aiming right for a pole? I’ve been that person, loved people on similar paths, and I enjoy preventing bloody noses. Maturity has taught me we don’t have to fear pain, but we can often avoid it through wisdom. When tough times come uninvited, we can respond in a way that makes us stronger and more resilient.
I’m inspired by writers who blend poetic skill and truth. Philip Yancey woke in me a desire to write about God, when I was 25 and read The Jesus I Never Knew. He fearlessly explores hard questions about pain and mental illness, spiritual deserts and religious cruelty. That fearlessness leads to a deeper trust, a genuine gentleness that comes from real relationship. In his book, Vanishing Grace: Whatever Happened to the Good News? Philip wrote, “Christians are not mere wayfarers en route to the next life, but rather pioneer settlers of God’s kingdom in advance, a sign of what will follow. By living out lives of grace in a spoiled environment, we point forward to a time of restoration.”
Rich Mullins will always be one of the best lyricists I’ve heard. In his song, “Here in America,” he described hitchhikers as “Two legged memorials to the laws of happenstance, waiting for four-wheeled messiahs to take them home again—but I’m home anywhere if You are where I am.” Who comes up with a line like that? He spurs me to excellence, and I can’t wait to meet him and King David in heaven. In his song “Land of My Sojourn,” my heart swells when I hear, “Nobody tells you when you get born here how much you’ll come to love it and how you’ll never belong here, so I’ll call it my country but I’ll be longing for my home. Oh, I wish that I could take you there with me.”
A girl’s gotta laugh. Each winter, I spend one snowed-in weekend reading a Terry Pratchett novel. He was a genius whose writing makes me laugh so much I barely notice it’s making me think.
I’m not these guys. I have a different style, but they inspire me. In my heart is Yancey’s longing to share the compassion of our Creator, Rich’s keen grasp of human frailty and Pratchett’s drive to inspire social change through story.
Writing! Other than that, I come alive when I’m outside hiking, dancing, riding a bicycle or swimming. I’m not a die-hard adventurer; I just go when my heart needs air. I learn out there. We humans like to freeze things in place at exactly the moment we decide they’re beautiful. Just visit the aisle full of anti-aging creams at your local pharmacy to see what I mean. God adds beauty to every stage of life, useful beauty that nourishes others. My coffee-table book Yes, Please! With Sprinkles is a beautiful expression of that truth. One day, I noticed half-eaten mushrooms in my path. I recognized that the death of a tree isn’t fearful, but fruitful. Soon on my hikes, it seemed God was going before me and sprinkling little decorations just off the trails for me to discover. I think He enjoys being noticed.
My handwriting says no. My “f” is that of a planner, with a big bottom loop but no creative loop on top. Psychology fascinates me, but it’s not an exact science. The mind leaves clues in our handwriting and language, so this “f” thing “threw me for a loop,” you could say. When I learned what I was missing on top, I had already been in several bands, written over 300 songs and poems, created a line of colorful greeting cards and begun several short stories. I am a planner through and through, that’s true. I’m also proof it’s possible to develop creativity if we don’t realize it’s missing 😉
Writing requires hours of solitary focus. I enjoy my office, having only God for company, but I make plenty of time for personal connections. I maintain good relationships and get into the grit of life with people, to understand how wisdom really works. Otherwise, my words would be cotton candy, large and seemingly important but melting away to nothing. As a corporate trainer and a writing instructor, I enjoy helping people discover their own talents and promoting them to others. My students and I laugh a lot, surprise ourselves and occasionally sing Motown.