Archive for the ‘books’ Category


In 2018, I wrote and published a book called “Enough. God and the Fine Art of Measuring Up.” I was really happy with the book, but it I never really got to promote it, the way I wanted to. It’s just been kind of floating out there as a result, and I think it’s a really important piece that could really help and bless some people, so I’ve decided for the next few months, I am going to re-edit it and re-release it and do a sort of tour in support of it in 2020. The presentations will be pretty much what folks who’ve seen me are used to—high speed art, storytelling, maybe even a little drama, video and more, all designed to communicate the Gospel and encourage people to know that they really can measure up and in Christ, they are enough. If all goes well, I will start booking this by the end of the year for 2020. If you think you’re group could use some hope and encouragement, contact me.


So yesterday I was offered some workshops at a Christian Writer’s Conference on the topic of illustration. I’ve illustrated my own books, and of course my messages as a sped painter are also illustrated. I’ve also illustrated numerous coloring and activity books over the years as well as illustrating Herald the Angel with my friends the Furches’ but as yet I hadn’t written a children’s book. I decided now was the prime time as I can kill two birds with one stone. I can write a book that’s been on my mind for a while and use the “in-process” illustrations as examples for my workshops. This morning, I wrote the book. Needless to say, I can’t complete illustrating the book in one day, and taking the extra time to make slides in process will lengthen the process, but the project is launched and with it, another series of workshops I can share with people everywhere.


I remember the day pretty well. I had a letter to take home from school. I was probably 10 to 12 years old. Usually a letter from school was a bad thing in those days, but this one had me beaming with pride. I had been selected to be in an elective program for gifted students. I had all kinds of ideas, but in truth, I ended up doing nothing with it. It was kind of a combination between childish dreams, being a human target in school and the fact that all I really wanted to do even then was be an artist/creative, which really didn’t fit the mold of being academically gifted, at least by my school’s definition.

Fast forward a couple decades though and I was struck with a revelation. Everybody’s gifted. Everybody, every single person, is gifted. The problem is our definition of gifted is too limited. Gifted is not always about the way you write a paper or solve an equation or the grades you get on a test. Gifted implies a gift. Something you come by naturally, something in your DNA, or, dare I say, your design. There is truly something that every person, every single person, has, that can help to make the world a better place. Everyone has something to offer. EVERYONE!

Now I know what you might be thinking, this is another manifestation of the “everybody gets a trophy” mindset. Nothing could be further from the truth. Or maybe you’re thinking labeling everyone gifted somehow cheapens the designation. Not at all. I maintain that we have defined “gifted” too narrowly. Gifted is more than a grade on a standardized test, and besides, since when has any human being been “standard.” There is a uniqueness to every human being. Everyone has something to offer. Everyone has the potential to do something great. Everybody’s gifted. EVERYBODY!

Case in point, I just spent a week at one of my favorite places, a camp for adults with special needs, and by the way we all have “special needs” we need a better term here. A lot of these folks would have trouble with a standardized test, and not many would move that needle to gifted. Pity because each of them is a gift. I see in them an authenticity most of the world is lacking. Last night was our last night of camp for the year, and as such several of the campers were emotional. In most of the world, everyone would just stand around awkwardly, embarrassed at an emotional display. Not my campers, they embraced their crying friend until the tears dissipated. Friend that is a gift, and not a small one. This idea of everybody being gifted has been floating around in my mind for a while. Last night brought it into focus. I don’t know what this thing will become, I just know it’s time.

Everybody’s gifted. And yes, that includes you!


Leave it to Andy Andrews to be able to take a made up childhood pool game and turn it into a way to success that has helped companies reach stellar heights, by doing what seems counterintuitive and yet ends up making so much sense. Sometimes the way up is down and the way to outpace your competition is to do what others aren’t doing, competing at a level where no one else is playing. While this is largely a business book, in typical Andy Andrews style, there is a larger principle that works every time it’s tried in every aspect of life. This guy is a walking wisdom generator, and I love all his stuff. Check this one out.


Two of my favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I had heard of their writer’s group at Oxford, but I had no idea how influential this group, the Inklings, were on each other. Diana Pavlac Glyer, through 40 years of research allows us to be those proverbial flies on the wall in this amazing gathering of great authors, in her book, Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings. This book is amazingly impressive. Here’s an example.

As a Tolkien fan, I have always loved The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. Then one day I decided I wanted to read more. I found a book called The Silmarillion. I thought surely this book would become another favorite of mine. While I appreciated it as a piece of art and a way of gathering more insights behind my favorite books, but I found it hard to follow and at times really over detailed. I was surprised to read this book, and not the more successful LOTR, was Tolkien’s heart. The Silmarillion was published posthumously in 1977, having been compiled and completed by Tolkien’s son, Christopher, himself a member of the Inklings. What I began to see was the influences that Lewis and others had on LOTR and I began to wonder if Tolkien had not had these collaborators who helped him to refine what became LOTR, and if he had written it similarly to Silmarillion, would it have become the classic that so many know and love? While I can’t answer that question for sure, I do know it was the pressure from the Inklings that got Tolkien to finish LOTR. This is just one example. There are many more throughout the pages of this very readable and yet scholarly book.

After discussing the Inklings in great length and detail, Pavlac Glyer turns the corner and gives very helpful advice on how to start ones own Inkling group. I think I am going to try to do this. Besides being a great book on some of my favorite authors, there is a recurring theme of the book that was so appealing to me. It states, “Creativity Thrives in Community.” I think I can use a little more creative community in my life, how about you? Pick this book up!


James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, shared the story on his blog of a young Swede named Ingmar who started selling matches from his bicycle. He found a source for inexpensive matches and began to sell them at reasonable price, and still make a tidy profit. Eventually he added a few other items to his product line. In 2013, Ingmar’s company made $37 billion. You see Ingmar Kamprad’s company is called IKEA.

Inspirational story, right? Why can’t we do that? Well the truth is, maybe you can. The problem with a lot of us creative entrepreneur types is we want to have IKEA but we don’t want to sell the matches. We have to grow and build our skills all along the way. Show me an overnight success, and I will show you someone who labored in obscurity for years building the skills that one day shot them to the top.

James Clear says it much better on his blog. Check it out.


I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of me giving a review. I guess they are wanting more than, “Wow, just wow!” but that’s pretty much what I have to say. This book does a careful dance between heart-wrenching and uplifting and it does it flawlessly. You’ve no doubt heard the stories of the “Lost boys” of Sudan, but have you heard about the lost girls? The book is the autobiography of Rebecca Deng, who was one of the first group of unaccompanied refugee children to enter the U.S. after Sudan’s second civil war. The book begins with an almost idyllic description of her very early life in a small village. While they did not have much by western standards, she felt blessed and loved. That all changed when her village came under attack when she was just four years old. Her mother died in that attack. Later she lost more and more family members and ended up in a refugee camp.

Things were unbearably hard there, but it was also there that Rebecca grew in her Christian faith. Her story is a rollercoaster of pain and redemption, but it led to a life of helping others to overcome what she had experienced. This is the story of a real person who went through real tragedy but who came through it all and managed to see God at work. If you have ever wrestled with your faith or doubted whether or not one person can really change the world, this book is a must read. Five stars and I’d give it a sixth if I could.