November 29, 2012

10 Things I Choose to Remember - Ruth L. Snyder

As I started writing this post I listed a few things I choose to remember. Considering the time of year, Remembrance Day and Christmas were at the top of my list. My friends and family were there too. Then I began to wonder if the things I choose to remember match with God's priorities. In the process I found Online Bible Study Tools and used the concordance to look up the word remember. Here's my revised list of 10 things I will choose to remember.

Mountains, one of God's majestic creations
  1. The Sabbath - Exodus 20:8 In our fast-paced world, it's easy to treat every day the same. God set the pattern of remembering the Sabbath way back when He created the world. Even though He is never tired, He rested on the seventh day. There are many benefits of rest, and we would all do well to follow God's example.
  2. The Commandments of the Lord - Numbers 15:39 Obviously to remember the commandments, we first need to know them. Spending time reading and studying God's Word consistently will enable us to learn and remember God's commandments so that we can obey them.
  3. God's Deliverance - Deuteronomy 7:18 It is easy to forget what God has done for us. Many times in the Old Testament God instructed people to do things (like make a pile of rocks) which would prompt conversations about God and His past deliverance. Remembering gives us hope when we face intimidating circumstances.
  4. To Trust in God - Psalm 20:7 This verse references some of the things people place their trust in like horses and chariots. Perhaps in our day and age we trust in education or wealth. In Jeremiah 2:13 God compares the temporal things we trust in to broken cisterns or wells which cannot hold water because they are full of holes. 
  5. Our Creator - Eccl. 12:1 Although this verse specifically references remembering our Creator in the days of our "youth", it's important to remember God no matter what our age. Today many deny not only God's existence, but also the fact that He created the world. 
  6. Lot's Wife - Luke 17:32 This may seem a very strange thing to remember. However, there are many stories and events we should remember and learn from so that we don't make the same mistakes. God is merciful and forgives, but sin has consequences. We can avoid these unwanted results by remembering.
  7. The Poor - Gal. 2:10 In Galatians instruction is given to remember the poor. James 1:27 adds that pure religion is demonstrated by caring for the fatherless and widows. Jesus stated many times that the defining mark of His people should be their love for one another and for others. When people look at me, do they see someone who remembers the poor and loves unconditionally?
  8. The Resurrection - 2 Tim 2:8 Without the resurrection, our faith would be worthless - without hope. The resurrection is the anchor of our faith.
  9. The Prisoners - Heb. 13:3 In chapter thirteen of Hebrews, the author mentions many actions which are pleasing to God. Remembering those "in bonds" is among them. In Matthew 25:36 Jesus references visiting those in prison and goes on to say, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." We serve Jesus by serving others, even those in prison.
  10. Our Leaders Heb. 13:7 This passage instructs us to submit to spiritual leaders. Verse 17 explains that these individuals, who watch over our souls, will have to give an account. Romans 13:1-7 and Ephesians 6:5-8 expound on this instruction and the reasons behind it. We are reminded that we are to obey as if we were serving the Lord Himself.
What about you? What have you been learning in your spiritual walk and remembering lately? (Education information) (Ruth's writing and family life) (Information for caregivers of children ages 0-5)
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November 28, 2012

Trigger Those Memories -- Bruce Atchison

In my September 28th blog post, I mentioned how a course from Writers Weekly inspired me to write my memoirs. One of the most useful points mentioned in that course was how to use memory triggers.

We've all experienced how certain smells or sounds bring back childhood memories. It could be something as simple as the smell of autumn leaves or the taste of fruitcake. According to the course material, the sense of smell is the most evocative one we possess.

For me, songs often evoke strong memories. The ambience of the time I first heard a certain tune tends to be associated with it. For example, El Paso by Marty Robbins reminds me of being about three years old. My parents, Roy, Diane, and I were riding in Dad's powder blue Volkswagen on the way to one of Mom's relatives one warm summer afternoon. That song was playing on the radio as I watch the prairie scenery roll past the back seat car window. More than fifty years later, it still floods my mind with impressions and scenes.

This is a powerful technique we should use whenever we write about events in our lives or the lives of others. It helped me when I was writing Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School as well as my current memoir, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. I recommend it highly.

I also post excerpts of my books on Bruce Atchison's books blog as well as at Wordpress. My hope is that people reading those blogs will want to buy my paperbacks.

November 27, 2012

Did You Vote for InScribe Writers Online?

InScribe Writers Online has made it to the finals in the Canadian Blog Awards (under Best Collaborative/Multi-Author Blog). That's exciting, wouldn't you say?

If you have not voted yet and you feel our blog is worth your vote, will you take a moment to vote by clicking here. (Look for the Best Collaborative/Multi-Author Blog. Click on it. Then select InScribe Writers Online.)

And while you are there, do also check out the category Best Religion and Philosophy Blog -- where our very own Lynn Dove's blog is a finalist. 

VOTING closes December 1st.  To vote, click here. (You don't have to be Canadian to vote.)


Blog Editor / Moderator

November 24, 2012

Go Ahead and Write! -- Lynn Dove

One of the young ladies in my youth group is an avid writer. She has a hunger for expressing herself on pen and paper and she is eager to write her first book. She has read my first book and is waiting patiently for my second novel to be released so she can read that too. She is an avid reader too. The thing is, as much as she loves to write, she is already asking the question so many young people ask at her age...can she make a "living" out of writing? Eeeeeeek!

Since going on this writing, publishing journey over a year ago, I am still coming to terms with what it means to sell and market books. I'm convinced that there are spectacular writers out there but so very, very few who actually make it "big" in the industry. For all intents and purposes, the industry is a very, very discouraging place for would-be novelists.

I read somewhere that traditional publishers only publish 2% of manuscripts that are sent to them. That means they turn 98% of authors away. Certainly a few of those authors are those who have vastly over-estimated their writing ability. (Ever watch American Idol? Some of those people who can't carry a tune are actually shocked to be told they can't sing. Well the same holds true for writers. Some people were just never meant to write.) That said, traditional publishing houses are in the business to make money. They know what kinds of books are popular and what will sell immediately. It's not only who you know in the business, it's what you know about the business that will determine whether or not a traditional publishing house will even look at you.

So why write?

I have been writing since I was in elementary school. I had amazing teachers who encouraged me to write. I never thought I would actually have one of my stories published. I didn't write to become published (although I know that to be the goal for many a writer). No,...I wrote because I just LOVED to write. It's a form of expressing myself.

My biology teacher in high school signed my yearbook "To the only literary biologist I know!" When I handed in an essay, in any subject area except Math, my teachers could expect a treatise that Tolstoy would be proud of. (My editor will tell you that he spends most of his time slashing and cutting down on my verbiage...sorry Evan.)

I would say I am "driven" to write. It's part of who I am. I am called by God to write and so I write. I told my husband when my book, Shoot the Wounded, was published that if one person read it and liked it, I would be happy. Well, God has greatly blessed that effort. 

For me, writing has become an expression of praise and worship to God. He has gifted me with this talent so every time I write, I am praising Him with my gift. So I say, to all my young writer friends out there, go ahead and write! If God has called you to write, go for it! Write for the sheer enjoyment of writing, and write to glorify the One who gave you the talent and the ability to write!
"Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Did you catch that last part? "...strengthen you in every good deed and word." That should be a great encouragement to all those writers out there.

~ originally published in FellowScript, Nov 2012

November 21, 2012

A Writer's Thoughts - Sulo Moorthy

"Writing to make a living in this generation is like walking on the moon,” wrote an author. Landing on the moon was once thought to be inconceivable. But it became not only achievable, but applaudable when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in 1969.  Likewise, even though the thought of making a living by writing seems unattainable these days, some brave to dream and make it happen with sweat and determination. I’m not one of them. On the other hand, some live to write. They could write physically or mentally at all positions-sitting, standing, driving, walking, shopping and even in sleeping. They do not know how to stop writing and they won’t allow anyone or anything to stop them from writing. I’m not one of them either. So, what am I? That’s what I’m still trying to figure out.

Reading and writing are like the right and left eye for the writer. If one becomes weak, the vision gets dimmer and the walk begins to stagger. Without much reading, writing becomes stale. It starts to stagnate and loses its essence. On the other hand, all reading with little or no writing rarely ends up in a publication. Equal importance need to be given to both reading and writing in order to have 20/20 vision and great outcome.

Inspiration without perspiration produces poor writers. In our day and age, promotion needs to be tagged on to perspiration to make the sell. Without the accompaniment of a sale pitch, the writer’s voice is rarely heard beyond the four walls these days. Those of us who do not know how to text, tweet, interact with social network or give an interview cannot blame anyone, but ourselves for not earning a cent from our writing.

Talent draws attention, admiration and applauds. Talent taken for granted, but put to little use produces no winners. But a little talent fueled by great commitment yields great rewards.

“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from successful one is a lot of hard work.” ~ Stephen King

“ I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” ~ Albert Einstein

Engaging the readers in your story and educating them in an interesting and entertaining manner is a marvelous skill. Still more marvelous is to enlighten them with the truth and impact them to embrace the One, who called Himself the Truth.

Road to success is never short and straight. It does loops through rejections and discouragement. Yet the lessons learned along the way help to build courage and character. Let not the world define what success means to you. Success may produce celebrities, but it doesn’t always guarantee happiness. To hear the words, “ Well done, my faithful servant!” at the end of the journey is truly the success worthy to seek after.

November 19, 2012

Did I Forget to Remember? - Linda Aleta Tame

"If you have to do it anyway, you might as well enjoy it." My mom is 93 now, and is still practicing her practical proverb. Launching from that springboard, I learned to love winter. I live in central Canada where the winters can be extremely cold, with icy streets and huge snow drifts. People here usually love to hate winter, and I was one of them until I remembered Mom's advice. I started to list the things I appreciated about winter: Christmas, the cozy warmth that hugs me when I come in from the cold, no mosquitoes, being snowed in with my reading and writing, and so on. I determined to love winter, and now I do!

I used the same technique with waiting.  Waiting is something I'll always have to do, so I might as well enjoy it.  I now love waiting.  It's the only time I get to do nothing without answering to anyone for it.

Since it's November again, I had to face the dread of it.  It's gray, windy and cold, and here on the prairies, the trees have turned into brown sticks.  I've learned to love all the other months, even January, which is now my hibernation month, but November?  What's to love about it?

This year, I've learned to love it.  My best friend's birthday is this month, and I love her to pieces.  But, November is important for something even greater than that, and how could I have forgotten to remember.  No, I really didn't forget to remember, but I did forget that loving November means loving people for the sacrifices they've made and continue to make on my behalf.  I am so grateful for the freedoms I enjoy that came at the expense of our soldiers and their families.  November comes every year anyway, I might as well enjoy it.  Thankfully, I am free, protected and alive so, now and forever, I will love November.

November 17, 2012

She Said, He Said - Bryan Norford

What? Are you stuck at that computer again?

What are you doing?


Writing what?

I’m not sure yet, I’ll let you know when I’ve given it some more thought.

I can see. You haven’t written anything yet—you’ve got a blank page.

I know.

Well, write something. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to be doing?



I’m not sure yet what to write.

How much did you spend on that computer?

I don’t recall.

Too much if all you do is look at it.

I know what to write about, I just don’t know how to start.

Okay, What are you writing about?


And you don’t know what to write? You’ve been married umpteen years.

But starting is the problem.

Okay. Let me help.

You’re not a writer.

Nor are you by the look of that page.

Alright. What do you suggest?

Write: “My wife is a better writer than me.”

No you’re not.

I’ve written something. You haven’t!

But that’s not what I want to write.

You want to write about marriage. That’s about marriage.

Oh! Okay. I’ll write, “My wife thinks she’s a better writer than me.”

Hmmm! You think “thinks” is better?

Yes. It aches for a retort. It draws in the reader’s curiosity.

Glad I could help!

Well, it’s a good start for a start. Thanks.

Footnote me! I’ll go make coffee . . .

I might change it later . . .

November 15, 2012

Remembering Rembrance Day - Tracy Krauss

Remembrance Day has just passed and many of us are still reflecting on what that means on a personal level. There is something about the day that brings up strong emotions, even though I have never suffered personal loss because of war. Attending a service of some kind has become an important ritual for me and my family. I should not have been surprised, therefore, when my 22 year old daughter explained to her boss that she wouldn't be able to work on Nov. 11 until later in the afternoon. (She works at a restaurant.) Finding a service she could attend, no matter what the city, had become an important ritual for her, too.

I remember sitting through two services each year as a child. The first usually took place on Nov. 10 at my school. Hundreds of students would cram in the gym and sit quietly through the familiar reading of 'In Flanders Fields' and the 23rd Psalm. Amazingly, everyone was able to remain still - even the normally fidgety ones, during the minute of silence. Somehow, the sense that this was something REVERENT had gotten through.

The second service took place at the Elks Hall. For some reason, this service had even more impact. It followed much the same program with the reading of 'thee' poem and 'thee' psalm, but there was something more. All the aging soldiers were there, medals jangling on their breasts as they marched in as best they could and sat in a place of honor. After the playing of 'Reveille' by our local trumpet player came what was - and still is - perhaps the most moving aspect of all: Reading the roll call.

There is something very poignant about hearing name after name being called; all young men and women who fell defending democracy. The other thing that made my heart flutter was the fact that I recognized most of the surnames. Many of these last names were repeated during my morning attendance at school. You see, I come from a small prairie town where everyone knows everyone. These were relatives of people I knew; fallen soldiers that claimed Mossbank as their home.

Added to this was the fact that my hometown of Mossbank used to be home to an airbase during World War Two. A lot of air force veterans trained there during the war years, so anything military was kind of a big deal. After the war, most of the activity was moved to nearby Moose Jaw, a much larger and better equipped air base. (And currently still the home of the famous Canadian 'Snow Birds'.) When I was a child we could watch for free as the Snow Birds did much of their flight training over our town, and you could still go exploring many of the abandoned hangers. They have since all been removed and the former base is now the home of the golf course.

When I moved away from Mossbank I continued to make attending a Remembrance Day service a part of my life. We moved a lot, so I've been at many different types of services. Most contain the same basis elements, but some seem more reverent than others. Still, I find it one of the most touching ceremonies, despite the sense of 'ritual' that it most often contains. I inevitably shed a tear or two, and usually go home to spend the rest of the day in reflection. One year I was able to take my children back to Mossbank for Remembrance Day. They were all a lot younger then, but I think it may have helped them understand the deep meaning that the day continues to hold for me. As we listened to the 'Roll Call', I think they may have recognized a name or two, as well.

May we never forget that these are not just story book heroes that we read about years later. They were real men and women who sacrificed themselves for our freedoms. No words can really express the gratitude that we owe. Thank you.

November 13, 2012

Said - T. L. Wiens

Recently, there’s been a movement to strike all other words that describe a spoken word in written form and only use “said.” The reasoning I’ve heard for this movement are:

  1. People don’t notice “said.”
  2. Other words are “telling” words.
I don’t know who decided that “said” is an invisible word but they are wrong! It’s also a telling word.

I had the pleasure, and I say this tongue in cheek, of revising a manuscript in which the author only used “said.” It was horrible! The piece read like a Dick and Jane story without pictures. I’ll admit there are other issues with this author’s writing skills but every dialogue was “he said,” “she said,” covering pages of writing. It was boring and unimaginative. Readers need to see the picture and that takes more than using “said” as a dialogue tag.

I see parallels with my Christian walk and my writing ministry. I can say I’m a Christian and quote scripture but at some point there has to be a picture—my life has to show the meaning of the words. I have to live my faith.

So whether it’s in a manuscript or in living, “said” may not always do the job and is definitely not invisible.

November 12, 2012

The good new days -- Violet Nesdoly

This month's theme of remembering in the context of writing has me thinking back to when I first started writing and all the changes I've seen in a mere 15-or-so years.

Horse and buggy days

It was in 1997 (March to be precise) that I made my first manuscript sale to Keys for Kids. What an exciting day that was! I had begun my ICL course "Writing for Children and Teens" just a year before and had promised myself five years of trying before I'd give up on my childhood dream of becoming a writer. Now I had made my first sale just a little past one year in!

Those days my ICL Magazine Market Guide was my writer's bible and a laid-in stash of Canadian and U.S. postage stamps my calling card to request magazine samples and send out manuscripts.

I operated like that for a few years, until the internet came to our house. During our family's first days online we only had the family computer connected so I was still relatively free from the distractions of email and online life. But once I connected my computer to the web, how quickly everything changed for me and my writing business.

Writing goes digital

One by one publishers began accepting email queries and submissions. The speed of this was pushed ahead by 9-11 when publishers suddenly became wary of opening unsolicited packages (after a few mystery deliveries contained ominous white powder).

The internet had other attractions too. As search engines improved, a world of information became available at a mouse click. And I found places online where I could post my writing—places that had "Buy this Article" next to every piece I posted, implying that there were buyers out there who might be interested! My naive hopefulness changed to realism after a few months of offering pieces there without receiving a single offer. But there were other payments to vie for—comments, clicked stars, votes, possible inclusion in anthologies, altogether far too much excitement to ignore!

And then blogging came along. I first got on the blogging bandwagon with with my personal blog  promptings in October of 2004. Of course I soon found out that if I wanted people to read and comment on my blog, I had to read and comment on theirs. I recall how nervous I felt the first time I left a comment on someone's blog with my signature a link back to my blog. I don't know what I thought would happen—the world would come flocking to my little place on the web to find out who violet was? I'll bet you can guess what did happen. That's right. Nothing!

All these changes brought with them not a little dis-ease too. I remember, even in the early days when the speed of online life was still half the pace it is now, thinking—What am I doing? I should be back in my old womb-room writing instead of indulging in all this online gadding about.

But I couldn't go back. It was as if I had shed too-small clothes, moulted,* if you like, and returning to the way things had been before was as unthinkable as a snake trying to fit himself back into the outgrown, shriveled skin of last week.

Changes have continued. I've begun many blogs, joined Facebook, become active on Twitter, set up my own web page, read and sifted through books and articles about blogging, self-publishing, marketing, publicity and selling, and earlier this year published a book...

At each new stage I get some of the same feelings I did when my writing life changed from solitary to web-based: I'd like to go back to the way things were before. But  just like then, I can't. In some strange way I feel like I keep outgrowing the old.

Too much of a good thing

Changes are in the wind again. I've come to realize that I'm a little burned out with blogging and have decided to simplify my online life.  A few weeks ago I shut down my  writing blog (Line Upon Line) and have now begun blogging from my website. This will become my main blog.  Though I will keep recycling my kids' devotions and writing my daily adult devotions, my dear old personal blog promptings will change to a photolog with mostly photos and less words. This will be my last post on the Inscribe Writers Online for a while as I'm taking a break from posting to group blogs as well.

Where is God in all this? I trust that He is in the restlessness to shed some of these commitments  now, as I sensed His go-ahead to get into them years ago. But as in many things, it's faith, not sight.

Will I be back? In the comments for sure. But as a blogger—perhaps, perhaps not. You see, it all depends on what the next moult allows.

*"Molting, or Moulting, the shedding, or casting off, of feathers, hair, horns, shell, or a layer of skin by an animal. Molting is a periodic process of renewal, the cast-off parts being replaced by a new growth." (emphasis added) - Animal Planet

~ by Violet Nesdoly
Author Violet Nesdoly on Facebook

November 11, 2012

There are no small moments—Stephen T. Berg

For me, remembering as a writer is about continually coming back to, and holding to a truth that propels you as a writer. It may be a truth that has evolved or changed shape but it is one that has a mystery about it that keeps you probing with the tip of your pen. With that, I offer this:

There are no small moments,
but how do you prove this
to the hero, or the progressive,
or the chief investments officer?
And how do you convince
your own soul—as you lift
the black plastic bag
from the white plastic bin
and take the hallway
to the stairs
then to the alley—
for the inertia of blood
makes the blue heart slow
to speak the splendour it sees
in snow, in wind, in light, in eyes,
and these left unattended
—their seriousness,
lost to all but the very young—
add to the verdict of
shallow moments.
And now,
                   there is no way around it
but to lay open and wait:
who knows, in time, with luck
you may burst into flame.


November 10, 2012

Do Words Fly Away? by Sharon Espeseth

"Scripta manent," our elderly friend, Father Croteau, recently said to me for no apparent reason. My Latin rusty, I asked what this meant.

"Words remain," he replied.

Father C. wrote the expression down so I could google it later. I set his hand-written note on my pile of jottings for further investigation.

The full phrase, "Verba volant, scripta manent," I discovered, means "Spoken words fly away, written words remain." This proverb is attributed to Caio Titus, a past Roman orator. But what does this have to do with me? I wondered.

In the same pile of jotted ideas was my published story about losing an almost-full journal. Under the heading, "Three months of life in lost journal," the Edmonton Journal ran my story ten years ago when my loss was fresh. I had recently converted my journal writing from the “burn-them-when I’m gone” status to “treasures I want to keep”

In my article, I wrote passionately about my loss, and my readers responded with empathy. Although I appreciated their understanding, my chronicles didn’t reappear.

All I could do was buy a new journal and continue recording my thoughts, experiences, and concerns. My journal was still willing to listen to me, even though I had let a past volume slip through my fingers.

For my November blog in, I planned to revisit this episode, hoping the marvelous vision of hindsight would add new perspective. New reflection, however, didn’t come up with anything good to say about my misfortune and I still found no reason to be thankful about it.

I still can’t recall what I had written; nor can I replicate the book in any way. Again, I let released the book like a child releasing a helium balloon, even though it contradicts the principal of the written word remaining.

Close to the due date for my Inscribe blog, I clipped Father's proverb to the front of the file about my journal and went to bed. What was the connection between my missing journal and Father Croteau's phrase offered without context or meaning at the time?

The next morning, I awoke with the thought that the act of analyzing and putting my thoughts down on paper still has value. These words do remain in my heart and mind. They may have physically flown, but they are a part of me. Writing clarifies my thinking. Writing teaches me about life and about faith.

A biblical story from John’s Gospel came to me. The Pharisees and religious scholars dragged an adulterous woman before Jesus to see what he would say to, or about, her. Recognizing the potential trap, these learned men had set for him, Jesus said, "If any of you is without sin, let him cast the first stone." Then he bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger.

Recording this story, John doesn't say what Jesus wrote or why he wrote in the loose dirt. I picture the ground being sandy. Jesus knew the waves would wash over the writing and people would walk over the words. Materially the words would be gone, but the story was recorded and the woman was forgiven.

While Jesus wrote, the crowd dispersed and Jesus was alone with the woman. No one had condemned her. "Go and leave your life of sin," Jesus told her. Those forgiving words would remain. So do the words I wrote in my journal and the story I wrote in the "Voices" column of the Edmonton daily. What seems gone still exists.

I wrote. Scripta manent.

November 09, 2012

A Storybook Life - Shirley S. Tye

As soon as I learned to read, I was swept into that other world where I’m an observer yet feeling every emotion the characters experience; walking beside them; cheering them on; warning them of danger.

It all began with the simple stories of Dick and Jane.  I was so excited to be able to make sense of the strange markings on the pages called letters. 

One of my favourite storybooks was about an infant who ventured out into the front yard and discovered the softness of the green grass, the fragrance of the flowers, bees buzzing, butterflies dancing in the air and the comforting warmth of the sun.  It was a perfect world of peace, beauty, discovery and freedom.  While reading the story, I felt happy and could feel Baby’s excitement in the adventure of learning and experiencing new things.  But when I got to the end, I felt sad.  I longed to have the same comfortable life Baby enjoyed.  Yet I knew Baby’s life was fiction and my life was real.  I read the book many times and always felt the same emotions. Perhaps without realizing it at the time, I was using the book as emotional therapy; to lift my spirit.

I don’t have that book now but I often think about it.  The story had a good but simple lesson which I didn’t catch as a child.  Instead, I read the book with longing for a life without sorrow, without fear, without worry; a storybook life.  But now I see the lesson it held.  It reminds me to stop and look around; see, touch, draw in God’s wonderful fragrance.  He is here; there’s nothing to fear.  No doubt about it, life is the pits sometimes but there is still much that is good and beautiful. My life isn’t a storybook but God is in it and that makes all the difference.

November 07, 2012

Remembering Heroes - Ramona Heikel

This month on Remembrance Day in Canada, and Veteran’s Day in the United States, we celebrate our military heroes, who have willingly committed themselves to defending our country.  My beloved peace-loving father served in the U.S. Marines and Air Force, and I am proud of him for making that sacrifice for his country and for his children and grandchildren. 

He was the most patriotic person I’ve ever known, and helped changed the world for the good by standing against hatred, prejudice, government oppression and terrorism.  Many others that I know—such as my dad’s cousin, a friend’s brother and my best friend’s son—also served, and in a way, so did all the parents, siblings and spouses of these families.  To all current and past members of our military forces, thank you—I could never thank you enough.

I also want to celebrate some non-military heroes, authors who have changed the world through literature, by giving worthy attitudes and vision to our minds, and who have consistently given joy and delight no matter what we’re facing in our lives.  Here are just a few that have been on my bookshelves since childhood.

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, you introduced me to the magical world of books and adventures.  A. A. Milne, through Winnie the Pooh you taught me patience, gentleness and tolerance.  Beverly Cleary, your Ramona Quimby taught me to always be myself, and to not be afraid to laugh at myself.  

Robert Louis Stevenson taught me to dream and to take joy in being a dreamer.  He also introduced me to the utter beauty of poetic words, rhythm and rhyme.  C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle showed me that fiction—even science-fiction—can make its way deep into our souls and introduce us to the Savior.  Jane Austen taught me poise and discipline through her strong female characters, and Charlotte Bronte taught me self-sacrifice and courage through Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester.


The bottom line:  all of these authors made me smile inside.  They changed their worlds, and changed me.  It is because of them that I love to read and write, and I hope to give the same to my readers.  I’d like to think that I also have changed my world by being someone better than I would have been apart from these literary works.  

My admiration and appreciation goes out to all of these heroes, past, present and future.

Posted by Ramona

November 06, 2012

Remembering To Rely -- Glynis M. Belec

Our local elementary school in little ol' Drayton has a wonderful sign that helps keep the community informed. Often they announce report cards coming out, lest any student 'forget' to tell Mom or Dad. There are announcements about upcoming school events, PD days, awards, drama productions and more. I love keeping an eye and seeing what those sweet students and teachers are working on or dealing with at any given time.

     Every November when I drive by, I notice the grand announcement about 'Random Act of Kindness Day.' This year it will happen on Friday, November 9th. I think that is a wonderful thing, except it makes me sad.

I think it is wonderful because it perhaps makes students and those of us who notice the sign a little more attuned to the human condition and alert to finding ways to improve or delight in it. But it saddens my heart to think that we have to be told to do random acts of kindness or to have a special day to celebrate such.

     I'm trying not to be a grumpy old bear but what has our world come to when we have to have a special day to remember to hold the door, or help someone with their groceries or to give someone an unexpected word of encouragement, a free coffee, a handful of change, a helping hand?

     I know this is a big city concept so I am sure it is a good way to snag the attention of the busy and the indifferent. But still I find it sad in a way. I'm hoping no card makers or gift givers make a profit on this day or my soul will really be saddened.

     I love our little Drayton because, for the most part, people thrive in this community by doing little and big random acts of kindness. I would not have dreamed 27 years ago, that I would still be living here. But the people of this community and the hearts of those who make this place special, are what makes me stay put. I have been the recipient of untold and numerous acts of kindness over the years here. And I hope and pray that I have been able to reciprocate naturally rather than out of obligation.

    A very sweet and dear friend told me once when I tried to find words and ways to pay her back for the many things she had done for me as I dealt with my battle with cancer. At my wit's end, she found a way to comfort and assure me. "Pay it Forward," she said. I love that concept. I could never ever pay her back for what she did for me but I certainly can find ways to pay her generosity and kindness forward. I seek ways to do just this. My friend was very wise.

     Perhaps if we could find ways to turn  Random into Remember, then daily life could be turned upside down for the better! Random, after all, is dictionary-defined as lacking any definite plan or order or purpose, governed by or depending on chance. In other words, haphazard. The way we treat people shouldn't come on a whim.

     Okay, so I am retiring my grumpy bear attitude and have decided to focus on the true doer of random acts of kindness. I'm thinking that Jesus' acts of kindness were not so random. He didn't reach out haphazardly. He always had a way of connecting with the poor, the disenfranchised, the lost, the lonely, the hurting, the afflicted. His acts of kindness always involved meeting their physical needs and their emotional and their spiritual needs. He went far beyond conducting His life in a random manner.

     Jesus wasn't concerned about what church people attended, what clothes they wore, their economic status, their marital status, their skin condition, their habits, their profession. He reached far beyond that and cared about the condition of their heart.

     I am thinking that as a Christ-follower, I better not just do random, haphazard acts of kindness. I should, like Jesus, be more concerned about relationship than religion. "Go...sin no more and don't tell people what I have done." No need for a Hallmark card to make an announcement. Jesus' one concern was that he made a person's life better. Shouldn't that be mine?

    I guess the key is to remember to rely on the Grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit so that my acts of kindness can be less random and more filled with purpose and humility.

November 05, 2012

InScribers Review: Unlease the Writer Within

Carolyn Wilker Reviews Unleash the Writer Within—Cecil Murphey

(Carol was one of our recent Giveaway contest winners)
One of the questions I’ve been asked over and over is why I write. Most often I just write without getting hung up on why I do it. But when someone asks me the question, I have to really think. I have stories to tell. I just have to write. I like what happens when I write.

Here is a book for all writers. And perhaps interviewers could read it too—it could give clues to the many different answers.

The author asks many questions of himself: Why do I write? Is it because I have a gift? Am I true to myself when I’m writing? Am I being authentic? And that’s only the opening chapter.

Writers talk about the need to write, writer’s block, and the idea of writing only when they get inspired. Murphey has the answer to those questions too. It’s about what is going on within oneself. It’s like the author held a mirror to his soul and inner self and shared it with the world—being transparent about why he writes and what he writes.

This is a book for every person who feels the need to write, and a book that I will recommend to all my writing students.

Carolyn Wilker is a writer, editor and creative writing instructor. She is also the author of 'Once Upon a Sandbox', published in 2011 by Hidden Brook Press.