Soul Sisters!

So, this has been an AMAZING week for the writer in me! In this one week I have had the opportunity to engage with two inspired writers who have had major impact and reach and both of them have had an impact on me.  The first person I met was W. Paul Young, author of The Shack who visited my class and spoke life into me and my aspiring student writers.  I will share more about his visit in a later post.

The other person is Chrystal Evans Hurst, author of Kingdom Woman and She’s Still Here whom I have just spent the past two days with in her home town of Dallas, TX.  A few months ago, on a whim, I responded to Chrystal’s call for interns to be a part of a six month project to help her build on her current media platform.  By some fluke–one might say God’s Providence–I was one of the 15 chosen! Now, as part of her “Mastermind 2018” team, I will help her to create and manage the content  for her podcasts and social media in order to further develop her ministry of encouraging, equiping, educating and empowering women.

Although Chrystal is a brilliant writer and speaker, she is also the most warm, kind, down-to-earth person you will ever meet. So when she told me that she thought that I was a “good writer” and that she knew she wanted me to be part of the team in order to “put my writing skills to use,” I can’t tell you how much that seal of approval meant. Validation matters–especially when it comes from someone you admire.

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But, this is not all about me! This is about the beautiful women that I met this weekend. Amazing women with an array of talents and vibrant personalities. Chrystal’s core team did an incredible job of pulling together a group that clicked immediately! I LITERALLY wanted to spend more time with every one of these ladies. We just did not have enough time together!  Each one exuded such a spirit of Godliness and love that I wanted to know them more. I wanted to hear their stories. I wished we had two more days, at least! I know that this group can and will do good work together simply because we connected so well, so quickly, which can only translate into good things for Chrystal’s ministry, which is a win for all of us. I’m truly excited about the possibilities and I am looking forward to everything that is to come.

The title “soul sisters” popped into my head because that’s what it felt like. We made a “soul” connection. First with Chrystal, then with each other and soon it will flow outward to all of you! Big things are coming, so get ready!

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Never heard of Chrystal or her book, She’s Still There? Well, this is one that that very well may change your life–for the better! Don’t just take my word for it, click here to see what others have to say.

 

Monday Mayhem: On Writing & Magic!

“At its most basic we are only discussing a learned skill, but do we not agree that sometimes the most basic skills can create things far beyond our expectations? We are talking about tools and carpentry, about words and style…but…we are also talking about magic.” Stephen King, On Writing

In 2018 I will be focusing on this notion of creativity. Writing, yes, but also creativity broadly speaking, because I believe that all of you out there reading this can identify in some way with this idea of making something out of nothing. You can appreciate the beauty of a song, a poem a painting or a well-turned verse, and perhaps you’ve tried your hand at creating one or more yourself. Yet, you also know that while we are allowed to admire beauty we are, too often, discouraged from creating it unless it’s in our spare time, on the weekends or after we’ve done the “serious work” first.

In other words, creative work is often not taken seriously. It is mere trifle. Entertainment. Distraction. Relegated to the margins of the mainstream day-to-day work that everyone else is doing.

Well, I would like to move it from the margin, to the middle, if I may. Because, for some of us, creativity is a calling. Dare I say? Serious work, in fact.  So, I want to talk more about creative work.  Believe it or not, that’s not an oxymoron. In fact, the value of creativity has proven to be more important in recent years on the heels of the sterilized, standarized sameness of industrialization and technology.  According to Daniel Pink author of A Whole New Mind, “our country has entered a “conceptual age” where “right-brained skills such as design and storytelling” are “more crucial than traditionally left-brained skills such as accounting and computer programming”. (CNN) It seems there might be a place at the table for us after all.  For those of us who live in our right brain anyway, Pink says the world may become a more welcoming place! But, will it?

Will moms and dads support little girls and boys who say they want to be artists, writers, and dancers instead of engineers, scientists and doctors? Will the world only accept creative types if they use their creativity in the service of technology and engineering?  We certainly need both scientists and artists, but I fear that we still value one more than the other. In this economy with jobs in demand and healthcare in decline, it’s the bottom line that matters more than the poetic line. When there are budget cuts in education, the arts are always the first to go, but is that okay? STEM is all the rage, but I don’t hear nearly enough about STEAM.

So, I guess it’s up to me, here in my little corner of the internet to defend creativity, to keep it alive and to declare its value.  I’m committed to convincing you, if you’re not convinced already, that creative work is important. That creative work, is work. So, here I am with my top hat & bunny in hopes that you’ll be impressed.

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“Look everybody! It’s not just writing…it’s magic!”  I know I have my work cut out for me, but happy Monday, anyway!

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Monday Mayhem: Why King Isn’t a Superhero

Sacrifice.

That’s what I think of as we celebrate Martin Luther King today.

His life of sacrifice. His dedication to civil rights and his life long commitment to the struggle for equality–not just for African Americans–but for all Americans. It’s what made him so well loved and hated  (by some) in his time.

Yet, this idea of sacrifice is often thought of in such lofty terms that we don’t consider King’s humble beginnings. We don’t think of the small churches where he organized, the small following he began with and the many naysayers he had who criticized his methods.  In hindsight, King is a hero, in retrospect we hail him “King” with little thought for the cost of his kind of sacrifice.

But, hindsight is a funny thing. They say it’s 20/20, yet looking back tends to bend the prism of our perspective on how change happens. Thinking back on the marches and protests, petitions and progress of King and other leaders, we assume it all just happened as smoothly as turning the pages of our history books.

Thus, when we set out to make change we expect the same smooth strides from what is to what should be. We demand it, in fact, and become angry when it does not happen as quickly as we expect. We lament the “good ‘ol days” and bemoan the loss of “good ‘ol” leaders, like King, who can rally the people towards the goals we’ve set.  Obviously, hindsight is not 20/20. Nostalgia blinds us to the reality that change is never easy, rarely smooth and always requires sacrifice.

Sacrifice isn’t sexy.

Those who sacrifice have to give up something–they have to determine that one thing is worth losing in order to gain the other.  The problem comes when what is sacrificed is of greater value than what is gained.  King was willing to put his life on the line for the sake of an entire nation of people. His life was certainly valuable, but his legacy has meant a better life for millions.  You don’t see many like him these days. In this generation, it seems people are more concerned with their legacy first.  Everyone wants to be a leader, but no one wants to be a servant.  Sacrifce? We would rather be served!  “Butler, bring in the silver tray!”

We look to leaders in our communities to inspire us, but what made them leaders? Did they possess some special powers? Was Martin Luther King superhuman? No. He was a simple man who had a simple beginning and made a simple–not easy–choice that you and I can also make: to do what matters, to value what is important, to put the needs of others first.

While we like to look at the end result, we should not forget how it all began and where each of us can begin–right where we are.  It’s not about the legacy, it’s about the daily living. Each one of us can make a difference, but we need to do two things: (1) shift our focus away from how we think things used to be and (2) stop looking for an “ideal” leader to bring about a change that we ourselves are capable of creating.

The question is, what are we willing to sacrifice in order to obtain the future we wish for? How you respond to this may be in terms of where we are socially, politically or personally. The basic principle is the same.

Happy Monday

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