March 17, 2019

Setting Sail by Lynn Dove

Forty years.  I can scarce recall what happened yesterday let alone four decades ago and yet on June 2nd I will have been married forty years.  I remember the day for the most part.  I remember I stressed over the fact that it rained the day before and the clouds looked ominous early that morning, but the rain never fell.  In fact, the sun radiated warmth all day and sitting on my parents' deck, trying to calm myself for the afternoon festivities, I actually got a little sun-burned.  It didn't matter.  I was getting married and nothing could spoil the day.

I don't actually remember getting into my wedding dress, or the short drive to the church in my father's big, blue Oldsmobile Cutlass.  The photographer took a picture of me being helped out of the car by my Dad, who reached for my hand and smiled at me.  If it weren't for that picture, I might have wondered if I had somehow been Star Trek-like transported to the church.  I don't remember walking up the stairs of the church with my best friend leading the way.  As the only bridesmaid, she was the centre of attention as she walked the aisle on the arm of my fiancĂ©'s best friend.  I remember we had to wait, my Dad and I, behind a closed door while my bridesmaid and groomsman strolled casually down to the front of the church.  Then it was our turn.  Dad kissed me on the cheek.  "Ready?" he said.  I must have nodded because somehow I found myself at the front of the church and standing next to the man I was going to marry.

I know the church was full of people, but I was too nervous to acknowledge any of them.  I don't remember the Pastor's words.  I was thankful someone had the presence of mind to tape the entire service on a cassette tape so I could listen to it months later.  I remember looking at Charles, who looked nervous, which was odd, because he was always so stoic and unflustered.  He smiled and my heart melted.  We would be okay.  We had no idea what the next day would hold, or the week, or months and finally years ahead of us would look like for us.  We held hands, exchanged our vows and pledged before God and our families and friends that we would love one another "'till death do us part".  It was enough.

Forty years.  2 miscarriages.  3 children.  4 grandchildren.  Numerous pets.  5 homes.  Countless cars.  Job changes.  Health scares.  Career changes.  Camping trips.  Family vacations.  Holidays.  Forty Christmases, Easters, and Thanksgivings.  Forty years of memory-making.  Forty years of holding hands, praying together, and leaning on God for our daily bread.  Forty years claiming His promises, and letting Him lead and guide us.  Constantly repeating the life verse we chose together forty years ago: "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."  Proverbs 16:9.

As retirement looms ahead for us, we are not content with sitting in rocking chairs and wiling away the days in relax mode.  We are celebrating our fortieth anniversary going on a Mediterranean Cruise.  It's a first for us, one we hope will mark the first of many travel adventures together in our future.  We love exploring new places and experiencing new things.

We are blessed that all three of our children and their families live close by so we can continue to memory-make with them, indulge our grandbabies, and watch them grow up.  We will be celebrating the wedding of our youngest daughter next year.  It will be a blessed event.  I'm sure there will be other momentous events in our future.

As we set sail in a few months I can't help but think that we are charting a new course, my husband and I.  Retirement is like sailing into new territory.  What sites will we see?  What will we experience?  Who will we meet?  What new memories will we make?  We've had our share of many peaceful cruises on life's ocean, intermingled with some unexpected tidal surges and rough waves over these past forty years.  Still, we keep walking hand in hand, looking forward, full speed ahead, our eyes focused on the horizon and praying for calm waters in the years ahead.  I look forward to where God will direct us over the next forty years!

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  

March 16, 2019

Living in Faith Rather than Fear by Nina Faye Morey

I memorized Psalm 23 at a very young age. I don’t remember the reason—perhaps I just loved its message and the sound of the words. Whenever my life seemed to be falling apart, it would resurface in my thoughts. I’d find myself reciting it over and over again to myself. It always had a calming effect on my soul.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, I was scared. But I didn’t have a lot of time to spend processing this new twist of fate. This life-threatening crisis meant that I immediately began a hectic round of medical appointments, examinations, and tests. Shortly afterwards, I took my first tentative steps into uncharted territory—a full year of cancer treatments. This first phase of my cancer journey passed by in a blur of fear and anxiety.

Once I got over the initial shock of my diagnosis, I began to rail against God. Why me, God? I lashed out as my heart filled with fear. How could you let this happen, Lord? Why have You abandoned me when I need You most? I simply couldn’t understand why God had seemingly deserted me in my time of crisis. Faith and hope can be difficult to hang onto when you’re faced with cancer.

All too often, clouds of helplessness and hopelessness rolled in, darkening my horizons. They cast their dull gray shadow of uncertainty over my future. I craved that feeling of “normalcy” that had all but vanished. Was this now my “new normal”—living in fear of death? I yearned for the return of some warm rays of sunshine. In those dark moments of desperation, Psalm 23 ran its continuous loop, playing over and over again in my mind—offering me one small ray of hope to cling to.

Having come face to face with the reality and inevitability of my own mortality, I sought comfort in prayer and encouraging Bible verses, such as John 11:25-26 (NIV): “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”

Although my cancer left me with a heightened degree of uncertainty about my future, I soon realized that no one is guaranteed a long life. I came to view my cancer as somewhat of a blessing in disguise because it offered me an opportunity to renew my life. In his book, At the Will of the Body, cancer survivor and author Arthur Frank said: “Death is no enemy of life; it restores our sense of the value of living. Illness restores the sense of proportion that is lost when we take life for granted.”¹

The truth is that you never completely recover from cancer. It’s a chronic disease that merely goes into remission. Fear of this disease still lurks in the back of my mind like a dangerous predator, ready to pounce at the slightest provocation. Any little ache or pain regurgitates my worry about a cancer recurrence. In order to regain some sense of control over my life, I needed to come to terms with this fear.

I’ve learned to take fear very seriously because of its power to confound my faith. I’ve come to rely on God’s presence and His promises. He offers me the encouragement I need to hang on to hope when faced with life’s challenges. By learning to live in faith rather than fear, I’ve been able to regain my strength, recover my confidence, and recapture my contentment with life.

¹Frank, A. W. (1995). At the Will of the Body: Reflections on Illness. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 120

Photos: 1) Psalm 23 – The Sunday at Home: A Family Magazine for Sabbath Reading, 1880, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; 2) Sun Rays – CC Pixabay; 3) Hope – CC Pixabay

March 15, 2019

New Territory - Tracy Krauss

Charting new territory... this is the theme for this month. In many ways, I feel as if taking on the presidency this past year is just that. I stumble along, as best I can, hoping that the nudge to take this responsibility on wasn't a mistake. Despite my shortcomings, I keep putting one foot in front of the other, meeting each challenge as it comes.

I am so grateful for the mentors who have gone before, like Ruth Snyder and Marcia Laycock, to name only a couple. I am also grateful for other executive members, who give so sacrificially of their time, energy, and giftings. 

God called Abraham: “Go to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). That took faith. Centuries later when Abraham’s descendants were ready to occupy this land as their own, God encouraged Joshua: “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land…Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1;6,9).
I need this same faith and courage. I realize that 'leading' InScribe is a far cry from the job Joshua had to do, yet it has it's challenges, too, and is a calling that is not for the faint of heart. There are many things that go on behind the scenes that members may never know about. The executive makes it look easy, but I can attest that it is not always so. We need your prayers and your grace, at times, when things don't work out the way we think they should.

Many of you may know that I have been dealing with semi-blindness these past couple of months. I had eye surgery in February to 'fix' a complication that occurred since having eye surgery eleven years ago for a congenital eye condition. I am already blind in one eye and it was necessary to deal with some complicated issues in the other before it followed suit. I am happy to report that my sight is returning and I can now even do some limited things on the computer.

During this time, the other members of the executive have come along side me in more ways than I can recount here. Thank you especially to Charity Mongrain, Bobbi Junior, and Marnie Pohlman, who have gone above and beyond in filling those gaps. Thank you to Brenda Leyland for taking over the job of moderating this blog. Her graciousness and faithfulness are deeply felt and I am so grateful to her. Of course, there are many more I could mention, but I think, perhaps, this may become some weird 'love in' type post, so I best stop here! (Also, I am at the maximum I can stand since I am about six inches from the screen...!)

God bless everyone of you as you continue the good fight, meeting each challenge head on, knowing that God will help you chart whatever new territory He has asked you to take. 

March 14, 2019

Charting New Territory - Ruth L. Snyder

Have you ever wondered what it must have been like for Abram as he set out from Haran with wife, Sarai, his nephew, Lot, and all his earthly possessions? He didn't know where he was going. But Genesis 12:1-3 tell us he knew four things:
1. Abram knew God had called him (vs. 1)
2. Abram knew God would show him where to go (vs. 1)
3. Abram knew God would bless him (vs. 2)
4. Abram knew other people would be blessed through him (vs. 3)

I am in the middle of charting new territory in at least two distinct areas of my life.

In September 2018 I received an email inquiry about an opportunity to write stories for the WorldServe Ministries monthly newsletter. I knew nothing about the mission at the time. After some emails back and forth, I agreed to write a sample story for them, free of charge, to see if they thought I would be a good fit. A couple weeks later I heard back. They liked my story, but were working with someone else and would get back to me when they needed help.

This month I am working on my third series of stories. (You can see the stories I wrote last month in the March newsletter.) The mission receives information from the countries where they work. Each month there is a different theme or focus for the newsletter. My task is to take the information and create attention-getting stories that will capture the hearts and minds of donors.

I have little experience in fundraising, other than the typical bake sales and bottle drives that most parents participate in to raise money for a child's school trip. Did you know there's a whole science behind telling stories that motivate people to action? (If you're interested in exploring, check out I'm finding the experience challenging, intriguing, and rewarding. I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to help people with my writing.

Structure for fundraising stories
The second area in which I'm charting new territory is helping launch our 18-year-old twins with developmental delays into their adult lives. Luke and Levi are able to do things doctors never thought they would be able to do, and for that I'm very grateful. However, they do have significant challenges. At the same time, I believe that our twins are gifted in special ways and have unique contributions to offer. The challenge is helping them discover and develop those gifts and finding places where their contributions are needed and appreciated.

I'm grateful for the supportive community provided by Inclusion Alberta. Through advocacy available through Inclusion Alberta we have gained access to the customized employment program with Employabilities, and also Personal Futures Planning with Inclusion St. Paul. It's also great to have funding through Persons with Developmental Delays and AISH (though I wish someone would change the moniker for AISH!). We have opted to go with Family Managed Services, which means we and our boys have more freedom to make choices. However, we also have more responsibilities as a family than if we chose to go with a service provider. Right now I am in the process of hiring new support staff for the boys and training them.

I'm grateful that God knows where each of these paths are leading, that I know he has called me to these paths, that he is showing us the way, that he is blessing us, and that others are able to be blessed as well.

What new territory are you exploring? What is God teaching you? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

March 13, 2019

Lack or Abundance? by Wendy L. Macdonald

I've been guilty of focusing on my lack instead of focusing on God's abundance.

I believe God is challenging me to do something new concerning some of my writing. A few readers I met via Twitter and Facebook asked about buying a book I’ve published. The problem is, I haven’t published anything of my own.

Once in a while I imagine putting together a devotional book using my own poems, photography, and personal stories; then, I decide not to because I believe I don’t have enough time to add more to my busy blogging and podcasting schedule.

But God.

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, 
and he will establish your plans.
 Proverbs 16:3 NIV

During the past year I’ve witnessed God’s multiplication process when I trusted Him to help me meet deadlines; therefore, I should know better than to dismiss an idea because of lack. God specialises in shoring up when His followers need more wedding wine, more cooking oil, more fighting power, more fish, more bread, more… well, just fill in the blank with your favourite Bible story.

Prayer is the first step.

Showing up is second step.

Showing up one day at a time is how a big project gets completed.

Alright then, I’m going to stop over thinking this and ask God if this is something I’m called to do. If it is, I’ll set time each week to work on it.

I’m nosey-to-know if you’ve been focusing on your lack instead of upon God’s abundance? 

Abundant Blessings ~ Wendy Mac