October 01, 2014

Facing our Fears by Sandi Somers

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We all have fears associated with writing. We may be afraid our ideas will never materialize or that our writing isn’t good enough. We may be afraid of the publishing process. We may be afraid that nobody will read our work. We may fear rejection or failure. On it can go.

This month’s prompt asks: What strategies do you use to get past your fears?

DARE to Be an Artist

 


At one time I began writing about living on a mission station in Colombia. As I wrote about interpersonal difficulties, I was afraid of exposing all that weakness in myself and others.

I even wondered if I should continue. How could I write about that discouraging time?

I journaled and I prayed.

Through journaling, God brought some insights that I never would have discovered had I clung to my fears. I gained a deeper understanding of the real issues. Many of our difficulties arose out of our confined location on the mission station. Others came about because of unhealed areas in people’s lives. I was also much younger, without the maturity of my perspectives today.

Through these insights, God brought to mind: “Let your conversation (writing) be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Col 4:6.

God transformed my writing into words of grace and forgiveness.

This was one example of how God taught me to face fears, not just in writing, but in other areas of life.

I faced my fears square on. Fear can also hide below the surface, masquerading as worry, anxiety, nervousness or timidity.

I asked strategic questions:
  • What exactly am I afraid of?
  • What does God want to say to me through this fear?
  • What does God want me to do?
  • What would I attempt if I were sure the Holy Spirit would fill and enable me?
God word gave me encouragement “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline,” 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT

There will always be challenges in overcoming fear. But as we wade into the river of fear and take one step at a time, God will part the water and we’ll find secure soil under our feet. And God will strengthen us as we dare to be an artist.

DARE to be honest about the world that is around you and within you.

DARE to go as far as the stars—and even farther.

DARE to go as deep as your own heart and the deeper heart of God.

~ Murray Pura at InScribe Fall Conference (2013)


Now over to you. What has God taught you about facing your fears?


September 30, 2014

Mrs. Jones's Car - by Susan Barclay

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magnetic poetry photo by Natalie Roberts
The best writers are always learning – whether from life experiences (their own or others’) or from books or teachers. Games can be instructive also, whether they be games like Trivial Pursuit and Jeopardy or Scrabble and crossword puzzles.

When I was in junior high, I had a dusty humourless history teacher who spent time reading his dictionary every day. Once I had the opportunity to play Scrabble with him and he was an impossible opponent. Every time I challenged him on a word, he could prove its authenticity. It quickly became apparent that there was no point in dispute.

You’d think I’d have learned from this to spend time in my own dictionary, but it was an activity I viewed as a boring chore. Instead, my own vocabulary has been built over time through the more enjoyable act of reading. I may not always be able to give you a dictionary definition, but I can usually offer a word's gist.

This brings me to this month’s blog challenge: to find three words I don’t know the meaning of, look them up, and use them in a piece of writing. I’ll give you the piece of writing first. See if you can figure out which words I’ve chosen:
The accused squirmed in his seat to the left of the judge, whose gaze he felt most keenly. Under the fierce scrutiny of the prosecutor, he couldn’t keep his hands from trembling, though he tried to hide them from view. 
“Come, Mr. Jones,” the prosecutor thundered. “It’s a simple question: answer it. Why did you decide to replace the victim’s 1928 Ford Roadster with something more neoteric?” 
Mr. Jones’ insides quivered. He hadn’t, but should have, foreseen months ago that he’d be defending himself in a court of law. Was there a way of eliding the direct question while answering honestly? He was under oath, after all, and didn’t want to add perjury to his charges. 
“Please answer the question, Mr. Jones,” the judge prompted, not unkindly. “It’s germane to the case.”
 Blast and bother! Mr. Jones thought. It had all begun as what he thought of as an act of munificence. Apparently his intentions didn’t matter. 
He took a deep breath and exhaled it loudly. “Well,” he began, “The Roadster had a lot of problems, and I thought it was throwing good money after bad to continue getting it repaired.” 
“Was that your decision to make? The car wasn’t in your name, was it?” 
“No, but my wife and I had made similar decisions on one another’s behalf in the past. I wanted to surprise her.” 
The prosecutor looked from Jones to the judge with a laugh. “Well, you certainly did that.” He turned his back before rounding on Jones again with a scowl. “I suggest that it wasn’t just the cost of the car repairs that motivated you. In fact, weren't you jealous of your wife’s attention to the car? Hadn’t you been trying to ablacate her from it for some time?”
Jones sputtered and his face turned red. He hadn’t expected this line of questioning. His wife’s fixation on the car had certainly felt like negligence of him, but he didn’t realize his feelings had been so evident. His next answer would have to be carefully considered. He would not be emasculated in front of his peers.
Once I got started on the piece, it was hard to stop. But see if you guessed my 'mystery words' correctly. They were:
ablicate, meaning 'to wean'
eliding, meaning 'suppressing, omitting, ignoring, passing over'
neoteric, meaning 'modern, new, recent' 
Were any other words new to you? Is the dictionary a useful writers' tool?

_________________________

For more of my writing, please visit www.susan-barclay.ca and www.notesfrominnisfree.blogspot.com


First photo credit
Second photo credit

September 29, 2014

InScribe Christian Writers' Fellowship Fall Conference 2014 - Ruth L. Snyder

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InScribe Members Sheila Webster, Glynis Belec, Carol Schaefer, Ruth Snyder, Tandy Balson and Greg McKitrick at the ICWF Book Signing, The Fig Tree in West Edmonton Mall
Thursday night mixer

What a wonderful few days I've enjoyed! The fun and fellowship started on Thursday afternoon at the InScribe book signing at The Fig Tree in West Edmonton Mall. Six of us were able to participate. Although we didn't sell books that day, the manager invited us to leave our books in the store on consignment. He also set up a special InScribe Christian Writers' Fellowship section in the store! That evening we held our first ever Artists and Writers Coffee House Mixer. About 40 people came out and most attendees shared either a reading or a description of art. One attendee commented,
"This was a great way to meet others and share stories. I appreciated having the stories connected to the art piece."

Plenary session at Fall Conference
Attendance was up a bit for this year's conference, and before the weekend was over we gained 15 new members :). The extra workshops on Friday went over extremely well; in fact, people are asking for conference to start Friday morning next year. Attendees commented they appreciated the variety in workshops and the warm, welcoming atmosphere.
Keynote Speaker, Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway shared stories from his own writing journey and walk with God. On Saturday morning his session was called, "If Phil Can Write...So Can You!" He encouraged us to:
  1. Be talented
  2. Be a reader
  3. Be self-critical
  4. Be neat
  5. Be strategic
  6. Be focused
  7. Be knowledgeable about words & markets
  8. Be personable; Act like a Christian should!
  9. Be observant (Show, don't tell)
  10. Be persistent
  11. Be yourself
  12. Be prayerful; Ask God what He wants you to say
  13. Be a doer (Psalm 34:3-4
  14. Be faithful
"It is by sitting down to write every morning that one becomes a writer. Those who do not do this remain amateurs." Gerald Brenan
Executive members for 2014 - Back (L to R) Bryan Norford, Tracy Krauss, Ruth L. Snyder, Glynis Belec, Gwen Mathieu, Eleanor Bertin. Front (L to R) Sheila Webster, Shirley Patterson, Sheri Hathaway, Sandi Somers, Janice Dick, Bobbi Junior

 I'm thankful we have almost a full slate of officers on our executive for 2014. We still need someone to step into the Vice-president role. Here's a list of our current executive members:

President: Ruth L. Snyder
Vice-president: (Vacant)
Secretary: Sandi Somers
Treasurer: Bobbi Junior
Membership: Gwen Mathieu
Website: Janelle Baldwin
Local Writing Group Coordinator: Tracy Krauss
Publicity Coordinator: Glynis Belec
FellowScript Editor-in-Chief: Sheila Webster
FellowScript Acquisitions Editor: Pam Mytroen
FellowScript Columns Editor: Joanna Dawyd
FellowScript Layout Editor: Bryan Norford
Contest Coordinator: Eleanor Bertin
Conference Convener 2015: Shirley Patterson
InScribe Writers Online Blog Moderator: Tracy Krauss
Professional Blog Moderator: Stephanie Nickel
Spiritual Advisor: Sheila Webster
Listserv Moderator: Sheri Hathaway
BC Rep: Tracy Krauss
Saskatchewan Rep: Janice Dick
Manitoba Rep: Addy Oberlin
Ontario Rep: Glynis Belec
New Brunswick Rep: Elaine Ingalls Hogg
NL/Labrador Rep: Beverley Nippard

One of our new members sums it up well:
"I’m very grateful for the effort put into the conference this year.  Glad to have met so many new friends."

September 28, 2014

ALWAYS BE LIKE THE BEREANS - Bruce Atchison

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What's the most important thing to remember when hearing anybody who claims to have a fresh revelation? Check it out with the Bible, that's what. Far too many Christians take the teachings of popular preachers at face value on the assumption that they know what they're saying. This is about as hazardous as a baby putting any object into his or her mouth. Like rat poison, Satan mixes tasty meal with enough cyanide to kill anybody foolish enough to swallow the bait.

Consider what Luke wrote in Acts 17:10-11 (KJV). "And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto  Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than  those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and  searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Since the Bereans checked out the teachings of the Apostle Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, we must likewise challenge the beliefs of others.

How I wish somebody mentored me when I gave my life to Christ in 1969. Had I known how to discern biblical teaching from poisonous doctrines, I would never have joined a cultic house church a few years later. I would never have swallowed the blasphemous lies told by its lay minister. Knowing how to discern truth from error would have saved me from several decades filled with frustration and anger.

This is why I felt so strong about the vital need for discernment that I wrote my memoir of those days. How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity walks readers through the wilderness of chiding which I suffered because my eyes never were healed. It shows how cruel those elders were in their criticism of my supposedly-insufficient faith. My testimony also demonstrates how the heavenly Father deprogrammed me of all the lies and misapprehensions I collected during those cultic years. I'm so much happier now that I know the true nature of the Trinity and how to read the Bible.

Additionally, I want to warn as many pastors as possible about neglecting the discipleship of new believers. I heard recently on The Bible Answer Man how Robert in Calgary had nobody who would answer his questions. The attendees at his church were too busy with their own concerns. He finally called Hank Hanegraaff's show for help. As far as I know, Robert was paired up with a mature believer who would assist him with his quest for the truth. May we all be open to mentoring new Christians as Christ has commanded us to do.

Twitter handle = ve6xtc