February 21, 2018

Moving Ahead in Hope .... by Jocelyn Faire

If we could see time as a circle, we might be better able to see how birth and death belong within the one embrace. John O'Donohue 
Our plane landed this past Monday night and my husband and I drove directly to the nursing home that my mother has called home for the past 13 months. The messages had been giving rise to anxieties... should we try to return early? Her health was failing rapidly. We had known this for awhile ... but when the day comes to say good by to your mother, it is still a sad day. 
My mother of ninety three displayed a strength and joy of life, a contentment and sense of adventure. 
The following poem was written after the painful death of children, but no matter the age death is difficult. 

What is Grief?
It is not a sentiment,
of heart wrenching beautiful words.
It is incredible pain,
A darkness I cannot breathe in,
A tangible taste I cannot brush away.
A pain I think I cannot survive
It is not pretty, but it can bring about beauty.
It is a journey, I did not choose to embark on.
Grief is questions and searching
It redefines my soul.
Grief is so lonely it doubts the existence of love. 
Bizarrely, the sun still shines in the midst of grief
And flowers still bloom. 
Because of that 
         I choose to live!


There have been many opportunities to share the hope I have been given despite life altering grief. Choose hope, choose life.


February 19, 2018

Little thing are big by Eunice Matchett


After a few days of a winter escape and a seven-hour drive, I pulled back into town. Fresh snow lay everywhere. Not just a skiff, but at least a six-inch covering. My heart dropped. I live n a corner house with a double driveway. That meant shoveling. Lots of shoveling.  All the way down the last block I convinced myself it wouldn’t be as bad as it looked. That starting was the hardest part of any job. As I turned onto my block, my jaw dropped. Someone had not only blown the snow off the outer sidewalk, but the driveway and back approach as well. Gratefulness washed through me.

A week later, I still don’t know who the good neighbor was, but I am blessed every time I look out my windows or drive on the driveway.

Our writing life should be much the same as my good Samaritan neighbor’s. He saw a need and met that need. Me especially, am too old to shovel out the neighborhood but there are tons of other needs. Perhaps it’s an encouraging little blurb for a church bulletin or an opinion piece in a local newspaper, or−a biggie−take time to write a review on a book we enjoyed, are small things but could make someone’s day.

When God impresses something on our spirit to write, we need to take note and obey. Perhaps it seems foolish, or simply doesn’t make sense, but that’s not our concern. God knows who needs to read what He’s impressed us to write. He chose us to be that messenger, just as he knew this little old grammy would have a difficult time shoveling my seemingly never-ending walkways and sent someone to do it for me.

February 18, 2018

Hope - Gloria Guest


*I share the following previously published blog post in keeping with this months topic on writing from the heart and how I choose to try to use my writing as a tool to encourage and uplift others from where I've been and where I'm headed.


With winter lingering I’ve been thinking  about a poem that I wrote quite awhile ago about the hope that I felt one year in finding the first crocus of spring. We need hope even more when it is nowhere in sight so even though winter is still with us and spring is still a ways off I’m going to share it. Some of you will recognize it as I’ve published it on my blog or Facebook before or perhaps I’ve sent it to you sometime when I hoped it would help you through something you were going through.
Hope
Signs of Life
Purple stems protruding from prairie earth
With snow still visible on the ground
A day when my heart seeks shelter and solace
How brave and fierce the Crocus is!
Not grown in potting shed or tended in gardeners plot
It’s undaunted courage inspires me and woos me
I cup them to my face
And inhale their fragrance of hope
While Creators breath midst prairie breeze
Surrounds my searching soul
During trying circumstance
Gloria Lynn Guest 2002
Spotting the first crocus of spring has always been to me the sign that spring has truly arrived. While it’s premature, I can always hope that spring is not too far away.
Hope is a small but mighty word.
It’s as strong as an anchor when the winds are blowing and the waves are crashing; the only thing we have left between us and death.
It’s as fragile as a flickering light in the window, placed there by a mother, wife or child of a soldier in a conflict far overseas, lighting the way home.
Hope is as gentle as a baby’s breath or as fierce as a battle cry.
The embers of hope can stir in the heart of one or two and catch fire across an entire nation  Yet hope can also appear in the form of the small purple crocus that bravely grows on a snowy hillside.
Without hope, men give up and die and with it, they find the strength and will to fight and live.
Hope doesn’t come in predictable ways but through the window of the unforeseen; it’s presence perhaps even going unnoticed until it’s all you see.
We don’t find hope. Hope finds us. It seeks us out in whatever circumstances we are in and whispers a question. Do you dare to hope?

Gloria seeks out the early Spring Crocus' on the sunny side of hills near her hamlet of Caron Sk., where she resides and also the hills of the farm near Hardy Sk., where she and her husband farmed and raised their two sons. She writes words of hope on her blog at gloriaguest.wordpress.com and also plugs away at writing her Memoir entitled Dandelions From Heaven - A Story of Hope & Healing
. Her blog and memoir deal with the not so easy topics of Childhood Trauma, Grief, Suicide, Depression and other life circumstances that she or those she has loved have faced. In her writing it  is her utmost desire to shine a light back for those who are coming behind while still seeking the light she needs to shine on her own path daily.


February 17, 2018

Hope to the Hopeless - Lynn Dove

When I wrote my first Y.A. novel, "Shoot the Wounded", I had two goals in mind: Become a published author and bringing Glory to God in the process.  I was purposeful in writing my book that any young person who read it, no matter their circumstances, would see that "hope" is found in the Person of Jesus Christ.

The themes in that book and later in the trilogy, were heavy ones for a teen and a young adult to process and deal with.  I incorporated themes into my books, such as teen pregnancy, cancer, grief and family violence, based on my many years of teaching and working with youth who were struggling with these societal issues.  Later, after my books were published, I began writing my blog to help promote my books, but soon discovered that people who started reading and then following my musings responded especially well to posts that contained encouraging scripture and anecdotes that pointed them towards God.  One posting in particular about Grief, that I wrote in 2013, after my daughter lost one of her friends in a horrific traffic accident, has since been viewed an average of 500 times daily!  People share heart-wrenching stories of loss in the comments section, looking for some comfort as they deal with the excruciating pain of losing someone dear to them.  Truly, I have been humbled by the response.  Even more humbling is the responsibility we have as writers to share our faith openly and honestly with people who need to hear The Good News!

As Christians here in Canada and in the United States in particular, we have been openly maligned and denigrated for our faith and belief.  Just last week on my Facebook page a man commented that "Christianity is based on falsehoods and fables, and only idiots would adhere to that religion."  Social media has become a gateway for all manners of attacks and persecution against us, but it also opens up a means for us to share openly with those who "hunger and thirst" for Truth.  (Matthew 5:6)  It is a great responsibility for us, as Christian writers, to boldly proclaim the Truth, no matter the opposition levelled against us.

 "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"  (Romans 8:31)

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  (Romans 8:38-39)

I want to send out a "shout out" to Connie Inglis, InScribe's prayer warrior.  I have benefited immeasurably by the many times she has sent me an email saying she has prayed a Scripture passage for me.  This always greatly encourages me in keeping me focused on my writing ministry.  Thanks, Connie for your faithfulness!  We need prayer as we face an often hostile world that opposes our message of hope to the hopeless. 


Lynn Dove is the award-winning author, of the YA “Wounded Trilogy”- a contemporary Christian fiction series with coming-of-age themes.  A wife, mom, grandmother, and free-lance writer with articles published in several magazines and anthologies including Chicken Soup for the Soul books, her blog, “Journey Thoughts” is a Canadian Christian Writing Award winner.  Readers may connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and at lynndove.com  







February 16, 2018

Bringing Hope to the Brokenhearted by Nina Faye Morey



“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
~ Romans 15:13 NIV



Faith, hope, and love are fundamental to Christianity (1 Cor. 13:13).

But what exactly is hope?



HOPE

To the worldly wise, hope means something quite different than it does to us Christians. To them, hope is simply a desire or yearning for a certain outcome: “I hope it doesn’t rain today.” For many, it also means having a positive outlook on life. The hopeful focus optimistically on the opportunities that life’s challenges present. Those who tend to be more downcast, pessimistically focus on the challenges that come with life’s opportunities.


For nonbelievers, much of the hope that the world has to offer turns out to be false hope. Despair abounds and is often reflected in literature and the arts. Many people are so overcome by hopelessness and despair that they turn to drugs and/or suicide as a means of escape. Suicide is one of the top ten leading causes of death in Canada <https://suicideprevention.ca/understanding/suicide-in-canada/>.


FAITH


For Christians, grounded in the Word of God, Christ offers true hope: “The assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). This hope, based on our Christian faith, sets us apart from the world. It’s not the kind of false hope that blinds us to life’s challenges or leads us to expect good things to simply fall into our laps.



But how can I, a believer, convey to the world’s brokenhearted the genuine hope that Jesus Christ offers? The Bible exhorts us to be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks why we are so hopeful:



“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give
an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope
that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
~ 1 Peter 3:15 NIV



As a Christian writer, I must not be timid about sharing my testimony (2 Timothy 1:7-8). However, it’s imperative that I not offend my readers by being critical or judgmental. I must be careful not to write in a patronizing tone or make the mistake of putting myself on a pedestal. To gain my readers’ trust, I need to reveal my true self and be open and honest about my flaws and mistakes. If I’m not authentic, how can I connect with my audience or expect them to be receptive to my message? My desire is to reflect Christ through words that offer kindness, patience, gentleness, understanding, compassion, and respect.



LOVE


My mission is to share with the brokenhearted a sense of the incredible, infinite love and mercy of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 61:1). By sharing my own faith in the face of challenges and suffering or the peace that I feel in my heart and soul because of the trust I place in God, my words have the potential to give someone whose world is filled with hopelessness, darkness, and pain a faint glimmer of hope, light, and love.



My objective is to offer my readers words that encourage and inspire. But no matter what our Christian ministry, we can never single-handedly fix a broken world. However, by spreading Christ’s message of love and hope, we have the power to mobilize someone to take that first tiny and timely step that will start them down the right path to redemption.





Photo Credits: © 2017 Nina Faye Morey