Sometimes as we work in our gifting, it’s important to look at how it began. When did you first discover your love of what it is that you do? Who encouraged you and who helped you become who you are?

For me a couple people come to mind. My Nana, Beatrice Steininger was among the first to ever put a crayon in my hand. I don’t know how old I was, but I am sure I was younger than the package recommended. As I grew, she gave me a multitude of gifts and flea market finds. I remember the oil paint set and the old bed sheets she ripped up to be my first canvasses. I remember her buying me puppets and ventriloquist dummies and tons of model kits. In short, anything else she could do to inspire my creativity. A lot of what I am doing today is due to her near constant encourage.

Another person, was my first pastor, Bill Waugh, who opened the door for me to use my gift in the church. He did this with a simple request. He requested that I paint a backdrop for the skits at Vacation Bible School. That one project opened the door to a lot of the ministry I do today. Of course I never would have met Bill were it not for my wife Dawn, who first invited me to church and who has constantly put up with and encouraged me to the point where I can do ministry for a living.

My parents didn’t always get this strange creative journey I was on, but they supported me and loved me as I figured it out. Of course, I also have to give credit to all the people who trusted me enough to bring me in and allow me to create for their groups. Without them, very few people would know what I do and I would have given up long ago.

There are tons of people who have made this journey possible. Teachers, employers, friends, family, my siblings and my sons and basically anyone who saw my gift and gave me the opportunity to put it to work. Of course before all of that, the gift came from God and He is worthy of any glory I might receive.

Why do I post this? Well first of all in this season of gratitude we need to be grateful. We all started somewhere. Secondly as we remember those who brought us to where we are, our “creative cloud of witnesses” if you will, it is vitally important that we look for the ones we can encourage and inspire. We need to do our best to be inspirational people and sow into the creatives to come after us.

So how about it, who inspired you in the past, who inspires you now, and most importantly, who can you inspire?

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