On May 28, 2013, as the driver from Highlights Foundation drove along the narrow, tree-lined lanes of Honesdale and Boyds Mills, Pennsylvania, I stared in amazement. I had not imagined the home of Highlights Magazine for Children as such a rustic place.

IMG_6989The lovely serenity was a stark contrast to my home in southern California, where millions of people crowd neighborhoods between rushing freeways.

Influence, I thought. This tiny place has influenced children around the world.

Influence became my personal theme during the next few days as I attended, “Sharing Our Hope: Writing for Religious and Inspirational Markets.” The peaceful surroundings, which many call writer’s heaven, included my own cabin nestled in the woods and delicious meals prepared by excellent chefs.IMG_6987

Two encouraging teachers, Kristi Holl, and Paula Morrow, challenged eight workshop participants.IMG_7041

“Create complex characters,” they said. “Use positive heroes with flaws children understand. Increase tension in plot. Move the story forward. Keep kids turning the pages!”

Each day our knowledge increased.

“Think from an editor’s viewpoint. Care for your writing self. Build personal boundaries. Above all, write with charity.”

We scribbled notes. Discussed. Shared. Our desire to help children and our writing passion joined us with common bonds.

IMG_7006During our last session, Sunday morning, we gathered on stone patio of The Barn to recite Bible verses and pray for each other. Kim pointed to the sky. “Look!”

Three majestic eagles soared above the towering pines. I thought of Isaiah 40:31.

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”


It is possible with God.

As writers, teachers, leaders, and parents of children, we can share hope. We won’t faint. We won’t give up. We will walk on. We will run!

We will influence.

Many thanks to Kristi Holl, Paula Morrow, Kent Brown, and the Highlights Foundation.




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One Response to Influence

  1. Pingback: Learning to Write With HopeKristi Holl

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