Mentoring Mona Lisa

January 12, 2018 in for writers

I started reading the new DaVinci book recently and it inspired this piece.  It reminds me how much we all need each other and what a blessing it is that God has placed people who love, inspire, and mentor us in ways that help us become all that we are meant to be.  I wrote it for women originally, but it’s not really a gender specific piece.


Walter Isaacson’s newly released novel about Leonardo DaVinci is in part, a 15th century version of networking, and learning from the people around you.  Peeling back the onion layers of DaVinci’s life, we see that he surrounded himself with stimulating peers and mentors.  Some were much older than he was at the time, but they shared their expertise, their curiosities, and their techniques for getting ahead. Since DaVinci was curious about practically everything, he made it his business to learn things he didn’t know, and to learn from the people around him.

Consider DaVinci’s, Mona Lisa. We don’t know much about her, but her remarkable image has spanned decades. She influenced our thinking whether she meant to or not. In nearly every time and culture, people, especially women who accomplished great things, had to stand on the shoulders of those who came before them.  They managed to thrive because of the input they received from others like themselves. Today’s woman behind a Mona Lisa smile needs a mentor, a guide, a critique partner and a generous source of inspiration.

Have you put your life dream on hold? Is technology leaving you in the dust? Is social media making you downright antisocial?  Mentoring each other is not a new concept, but it’s a brilliant way to get closer to your goals; to that bar you set some time ago.

If your hope is to get your voice heard and your ideas considered in the work that you do, then reach out to those around you.  Your voice is unique.  No one else thinks exactly the way you do. No one else perceives problems or offers solutions the way you can each time you are willing and able to let your light shine.

Your workplace, or even your local small group brings an opportunity to discover your gifts of cooperation and encouragement, strategic thinking, and creativity.   You need others who recognize and foster what you do, helping you grow and develop new skills. Those who mentor others, thrive in the process, enjoying the fruit of their labors in new ways.

Peer mentors may guide you through the weeds of technology and social media.  Seasoned mentors teach you valuable lessons about timing and sensitivity; about positive attitudes and the advantage of having a sense of humor.  Somebody helped them when they were younger, and somebody will help you too.  You  have potential male and female mentors who would love to see your talents and skills be more broadly recognized.

You deserve to be heard and have a voice in the way the future unfolds. You need a structure that allows you to become all you were meant to be. Mentoring begins with you and one other person that you trust.  Just look at your skill sets and determine how you can help each other thrive.

Perhaps part of the reason the Mona Lisa could smile is that she knew who she was in her world.  She knew she could raise her voice any time she chose because she’d have people smiling back at her for centuries. She was indeed a Renaissance woman!

What can we do this year to help each other grow and accomplish our goals?


Managing Your Platform, Building Your Foundation

November 9, 2015 in for writers, Inspirational

In the world of writing and publishing, we talk a lot these days about building a platform.  We need to have a “platform” if we want to be published because that’s how we make sure more books will be sold.  We do everything we can to create an image that will cause buyers to want our books.  I understand this need and as an author,  I certainly realize the beauty of being able to sell my books.  My concern though is about building a platform at the expense of building a foundation.  What is it we really stand on or stand for?

Politicians remind us continually of the issues they stand for or against.  They share the platform with each other and debate the ways they will manage the current chaos.  We watch. We listen.  We still don’t know if any of them have a foundation.  They certainly have a platform, whatever that means.  Is it sand or rock though?

Jesus warned us about building a house on sand.  In Matthew 7, we read, “Everyone who hears my words and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock.  It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and hit that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on rock.  Everyone who hears my words and does not obey them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and hit that house, and it fell with a big crash.”

As a writer and as a believer, I want to build a platform of joy and confident assurance of the One who created me.  I want to be firmly placed on a foundation that can never be blown away by current trends or destructive tides.  It’s not easy.  For any of us, whether we write, or speak, or create fine artwork, or manage a household, we have to build on the Rock.  We have to know what we do and why we do it so we are not discouraged, nor made to believe that our work is not important because our platform is too small.

Today, I just wanted to offer a reminder that the winds may blow however they will, but if you have a strong foundation, then nothing will crush your goals and you can manage the work of your platform.  It’s a good day to introduce one new person to what  you do for the Lord.  That one person will share the joy of what they learned from you.  If your work is built on the rock and not on the sand, then your platform will soon come together and your foundation will stand forever.

Let’s stand together, creating hope and building up the kingdom in every possible way.  turning up the lightpsdimage010




The SCWC–God Showed Up!

June 12, 2015 in for writers, Inspirational

Last weekend I had a chance to participate in the Southern Christian Writer’s Conference in Tuscaloosa, Alabama!  Though I’ve been a part of many conferences in my career, this one will stand out as a living example of what happens when God shows up.  As I prepared for my keynote talk on Friday night in the months before the conference, I prayed my way through the notes and ideas I wanted to share.  I asked God to direct my thinking and the messages and to anoint this work for His sake and the sake of the writers who would be there.  I’m not certain how it worked for those who attended, but I know that my heart left that conference rejoicing in what God had done.  It was a beautiful few hours, totally immersed in his Spirit.

As writers we have an important job.  We are the ones who seek God’s face in our work each day.  We know that nothing we do will matter unless we’re keeping our eyes focused on him. It’s so easy to get distracted; so easy to see the obstacles and forget why we do what we do.  If you struggle with that, I invite you to stay connected to me and to others who seek to write for God’s glory.  We write because we are His hands and feet and voices in the world.  We are the ones He has commissioned to remind others that no matter what happens in their lives, they are not alone.  As I mentioned at the conference, we have to be the ones that help others understand that the world may look bleak, but as long as we have a place to go, as long as we can sit at the feet of Jesus and talk to him, then we have hope.  Help others to connect to Him and have a place to go.  Remind the people you love that nothing can separate them from the love of Christ.

We’re spiritual beings and we’re sons and daughters of the Living Lord. That gives us a unique perspective, a vision of the world that others may miss.  As a writer you are a moonbeam, reflecting the light of the Son so that those who walk in the dark might find their way.  Help them!  Make it your business to set your dreams on fire so that what you create becomes a reality.  Stay in the Word and then write words that make a difference.  That’s your gift and your challenge. It’s mine too!

Blessings to all of you who so graciously encouraged my work.  May God bless the work of your hands and your heart today.

turning up the lightpsd


Writing and Other Acts of Juggling

March 9, 2015 in for writers

Some of the people who are kind enough to read my posts are gifted writers. You know who you are.  From time to time, readers ask me questions about writing or why I write.  It’s a good question. It’s even a fair question since I’ve been blessed to write a number of books and continue to do so.  I thought I’d make an attempt to share why I choose to write instead of say, juggling sharp knives above my head.  Oh, the juggling would perhaps be easier, and the options for improvement somewhat daunting, but writing gives me more than enough of the thrill of juggling pointed objects.  George Orwell once wrote, “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”

Well, I don’t know about what drives other writers, but I can agree that it is an exhausting, sometimes horrible, but mostly rewarding business.  Unlike knife juggling, the options for spinning tales are endless.  There are countless ways to shake up your readers or inspire their thoughts. There are endless stories that need to be told in ways that only you as a writer can tell them.  No one else has your unique voice. No one else can do what you can do no matter how well they juggle their subject matter.  That’s why I write.  I believe that it’s what I am meant to do, a calling, if you will.  It’s the place where I can be me every time I sit down at my keyboard.  It’s the place where I can express myself in ways that no one else can and the place where I can bring ideas and perceptions and life lessons into focus.  It’s where the One who called me can help me embrace a moment and share His Spirit.  It’s the place where the juggling ceases and the endless possibilities begin.  I write because it’s who I am and nothing else I do can bring quite that kind of satisfaction.

The writing life is a juggling act.  You have to balance your dreams with reality, your time with opportunity, and your limited resources with unlimited hopes.  You have to want to do it because it isn’t easy.  You have to be comfortable with a lot of solitary pursuit of your dreams, trusting in your direction and believing you’re on the right path.  You have to be sure of your tools, always polishing your writing instruments through research and editing.  You have to be sharp and alert for the pitfalls you often create yourself.  You have to keep a lot of balls in the air at the same time to make everything come out well.  So writing requires a unique gift, a sense of wonder, a willingness to try,try again, and a desire to perfect your craft with every blank screen that beckons for words.  Whether you’re keeping the balls in the air, the sharp knives above your head, or the spinning plates from falling to the floor, if you’re a writer, then you’re juggling.  You’re juggling your skill, your perceptions of the world, and your readers and at any moment in time, one or all of them can come crashing to the floor.  Do you stop then?  No!

Neil Gaiman gives us one reason to keep juggling.  He says, “Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you are, and there will always be smarter writers than you are.  There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that…but you are the only you.”  Now there’s the answer.  You are God’s unique design. You are the only one that can clearly share your heart and mind.  Now get out in the kitchen (and no, don’t get some sharp knives), but get some good coffee and get back to your blank page.  You’ve got work to do!turning up the lightpsd