When I met Lisa we were both still newbies on our writing journey. We saw each other once a year at a writer’s conference, we both decided to enter the Guideposts Story contest in 2010, and we both won a trip to Rye, New York.
Since then, we have stayed at each other’s homes, interviewed each other for book projects, and continue to grow in a sister-like bond that is knit together with laughter.
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how creative and insightful Lisa is. She can weave a touching story together with the same artistic touch used in knitting a ball of yarn into a wearable piece of art.
I think being CREATIVE is something that is often underestimated and under valued. So, I decided to do a series on the topic. Lisa was at the top of my list.
“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Albert Einstein
Marci: Your degree is in graphic arts but your first published book was on Hospitality. How does being creative tie in with being hospitable?
Lisa: There are lots of creative aspects of hospitality. Just planning a menu is creative! What am I going to serve? But I like to think of hospitality as more than a menu. You can be creative about the times, places, and inviting others outside your comfort zone. Hospitality is about the people and connection not frills and a clean house.
Marci: Do you think people underestimate the power of using our creative gifts to bless others?
Lisa: Yes I do think people underestimate the power of the creative gifts they’ve been given. Just getting a toddler to eat his vegetables takes all the creativity a mom can muster. And what about the gardener who grows and gives cut flowers to a neighbor? That took creativity too. We all have a creative gift of some kind. You don’t have to sit at an artist’s easel to do something creative. Sharing whatever gift you’ve been given makes God smile.Marci: I think people look at the amazing things you create and feel like they could never do something that intricate, but everyone starts somewhere, the point is that you have to be willing to START.
Lisa: My first project was a snake that I stuffed with old bread bags. Yikes right? Doesn’t sound amazing. But I learned how to do the knit stitch. And over and over with practice I made a length of knitting. I learned to seam it and make a stuffed toy. I was 13. Do the math and you can figure out I’ve known how to knit for 43 years. This hobby stuck. And I’ve gotten better over time.
Marci: What is the most unique testimony of using your gifts to share the love of Christ with others?
Lisa: When I first got back into knitting, after taking a break in my twenties, I did it by making sweaters for a Guideposts outreach and over the years have made over 70 sweaters. Now I am
knitting for World Vision Knit for Kids (Here’s a link if you want to knit for them too).
Then I started knitting sweaters for family.
And moving beyond family, friends, and charities, I decided to knit because I wanted to make people smile. I knit coffee cup cozies and would give them to folks in line at Starbucks. It was a tiny thing but it was so fun. Here’s a link to my website there’s a button on the homepage with a pattern for the cozies.
Marci: While it is not uncommon to see a pair of knitting needles in your hand, people are also used to watching you doodle with colored pens.
Did you ever think that your fun pieces of art and your love of devotional writing would converge and become a book that is carried in stores nationwide? Not just one book but several?
Lisa: I worked as a graphic designer for over a decade before I became a publisher author. So I’ve seen my work out there in advertising and corporate literature. But no I didn’t think I’d ever get to put out my personal art just for the joy of it.
Combining my love of doodling and words has been a creative adventure with God at the center. I really felt like we were in it together. He seemed to whisper next steps and nudge creative ideas out of me. I was a willing scribe and artist. And the fact that there are three coloring books out there is really His design. I was working on the first book and about to start the second, Christmas one when the publisher came to me and asked if I’d consider writing a third. I jumped at the chance even though it seemed like an impossible deadline. I knew I’d have help from the publishing team but I also saw God’s fingerprints all over the offer and so I knew we’d continue to be creative together.
Marci: Why do you think the adult coloring books captured so much attention?
Lisa: I think there are a lot of reasons coloring has taken off. Like the fact that we want to do something real and not on a screen. And it’s nostalgic.
We used to color as kids and it is comforting, fun and familiar.
Anyone can do it. It’s inexpensive. As hobbies go this is a cheap one to get started: a coloring book and some markers or colored pencils and you are off.
I also think it is a way for people who don’t think they are creative to jump in and feel accomplished. It’s very creative to pick the colors and make the picture your own. It feels great to complete something. It’s also a stress release and can take you outside yourself.
Marci: Do you have a project you are thinking about that you would love to share?
Lisa: Someday I would love to check a knit hike in Iceland off my bucket list. You laugh but they have tours. It would be a blast hanging with other knitters and enjoy hiking!
Marci: What or who inspires you? Why?
Lisa: Small things seem to inspire me. The change of seasons. Standing in front of a masterpiece in a museum. Eating a really great meal. A good phone conversation with a friend. I try to be on the look out for the ah-ha moments in my life. That is why I write devotionals. It keeps me thinking small and looking for all the tiny ways God shows up in my life all the time. And then I get to share my thought with others. And these days I get to draw my ideas too.
Marci: Any parting thoughts?
Lisa: Think of yourself as creative! You do not have to be a painter or sculptor to qualify as creative. You are made in the image of God and He’s the most creative being in the universe. The spark is in you too!
To find out more about Lisa and her books feel free to go to Amazon, your local Barnes&Noble, or visit her website.