September 29, 2023

Imitation by Mary Folkerts


What comes to mind when you think of the word imitation? 

Imitation leather that cracks, 

fake Gucci handbags, 

knockoff watches that try to 

look expensive, 

cheap reproductions–

the express purpose being to

impress without cost.

Maybe it's imitation in the arts–

someone tries to replicate another's 

sound in music,

copying a style of painting,

using a respected author's way with words.

But imitation isn't just about replicating expensive items and reproducing famous works of art. It's also a way in which we learn. 

Children, for example, learn by following what is patterned for them. Younger siblings watch older ones to learn a new skill, and kids emulate their parent’s actions and attitudes for better or worse.   

We learn by example. 

Who do we learn from? Where are we getting our inspiration? Even as adults, we are continually being inspired by others. We read an author’s work and love how the words fall on our ears, catching our imagination and igniting our own thoughts and words. We read many different books to find our own voice and learn to write by imitating what we enjoy. Our writing style grows out of what inspires us. This is more about being inspired and less about replicating another’s work. 

But there is One who we are told to imitate.

“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NLT).

 Jesus left us a perfect example to follow, but the enemy of our souls and minds provides us with many counterfeit promises that seem easier to attain and require less from us. When life gets hard and the schedule demanding, we can forget where our strength comes from. We dig deeper within ourselves but find that the well is empty. 

Throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth, we often read that He would find a quiet place to be alone with his Father to pray and find strength (Luke 5:16). If Jesus needed that time, I must realize how much more I need to prioritize time alone with God.

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished, and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13 NIV)

Can people notice that I have been with Jesus? Am I allowing His heart and strength to saturate me so that I begin to resemble Him more and more?  

Mary Folkerts is mom to four kids and wife to a farmer, living on the southern prairies of Alberta, where the skies are large and the sunsets stunning. She is a Proverbs 31 ministries COMPEL Writers Training member and is involved in church ministries and music. Mary’s personal blog aims to encourage and inspire women and advocate for those with Down Syndrome, as their youngest child introduced them to this extraordinary new world. For more inspiration, check out Joy in the Small Things  


September 26, 2023

I is for Illiterate ~ by Michelle Strutzenberger

Imagine if, as you stared at this page on your computer screen, all meaning in the letters leaked away. The page had slowly mutated into a design of random dots and circles, curls and twisted stems.

Throughout my time of teaching English as a Second Language to adults, I’ve met several people who never learned to read and write in their first language. As they begin to master a new language, we also teach them how to decode letters for the very first time in their lives.

I’ll never forget Latifa, a delicate-boned Afghani woman, with kohl-lined eyes, and a soft, high-pitched voice. She came to us at the age of 60, never having read or written in her first language. Most days, she arrived in class with a faint herbal-citrus scent wisping from the sprig of basil she held in her tiny hand. After months of working with her, one day I realized she was picking out her name from among a choice of words I had printed on small slips of paper. Slowly, she scanned the dots and circles, curls, and stems. A small up-curve to her lips and glint in her eyes were all that hinted at her self-satisfaction as her finger pressed on her name again and again.

My spirit sprayed happiness that I had been able to help her discover the mystery of some of those printed dots and stems.

I don’t know why God allowed this Middle Eastern woman to be born where she was, unable to learn to read and write until she reached her 60s. I don’t understand why I received the blessing and privilege of growing up in a home and place where I was taught to decode letters as a young child.

But maybe God brought Latifa to me when He did to allow each of us to give one another a gift. I have been able to teach her to read. And she has illuminated a valuable detail about the gift of writing – that sometimes the very smallest manifestation of that gift, like the spelling out of someone’s precious name, can be just as meaningful in a person’s life as the most eloquent book in someone else’s context.

I have always leaned towards the view that God most delights in the latter types of written works – many-paged, beautiful, bestselling, “viral” on social media.

I need the reminder on occasion that He can make “masterpieces” - works that help to change people’s lives for the better – of the teeniest things.

My experience with Latifa has inspired me to wonder about the potential in other types of “mini masterpieces.” I’ve started a list of what these masterpieces might look like:

1. Story bookmarks. What if the cardboard that marks our book pages is the actual conveyor of a full, albeit very short, story?
2. Story business cards. What if we pass out our stories full and complete on small business cards?
3. Story labels. For those of us with other hobbies, such as cooking or crafting, what if we include a story on our creations? For example, a jar of our homemade jam could be shared complete with a label inscribed with our latest story.

This InScribe writer’s group is so very creative and thoughtful, I’m wondering if people might wish to share other related ideas they’ve experimented with or plan to try.

Michelle is an instructor and Braillist. She and her family enjoy hiking trails and mountains. She recently launched the series, "What Growing Up in a Mennonite Family of 10 Taught Me About Survival." To learn more, visit

September 25, 2023

Imago Dei ~ by Valerie Ronald


I do not see what God sees when I look in the mirror.

                    I see a woman weighted by decades lived,

                                            outwardly wasting away.


God sees Genesis perfection

                    inwardly renewed day by day

                                a finite likeness of His own nature

                                                Imago Dei ˗˗ image of God.

From Adam’s hand flew a stone of sin

                                shattering the image

                                        splintering the reflection

                                                stretching a chasm between divine and mortal.

Perfection came walking

            Christ, the Chasm-healer

                        His arm round my shoulders

                                we look in the mirror together.

                                            My likeness melds into His˗˗

                                                    conforming to the image of God’s Son.

I am Imago Dei ˗˗ intended to reflect His image

                    the same way the moon reflects the sun.

                            When I make choices, when I create, when I love

                                                a glimmer of Him shines out,

                                                            changing me from glory to glory

                                                                    until it is His face I see in the mirror. 


Valerie Ronald is a pastor's wife, mother and grandmother 
who enjoys reading, writing and taking photos of the
 beautiful prairies where she lives.

September 22, 2023

Interior Richness by Lorrie Orr


"A good person brings good things out of the good 
stored up in her/his heart." 
Luke 6:45

Writers think a lot. We imagine, we ponder, we observe, we untangle thoughts and emotions. We must pull these stories out of ourselves, sometimes at great effort, in order to transpose them into words on paper. Developing a rich inner life is crucial to writing. 

This "rich inner life" phrase is a bit trendy these days. A simple definition is a personal life where one is attuned to one's dreams, talents, emotions, and so on. For a writer of faith, it also includes being in harmony with God's spirit within us. It's a delicate balance between being self-aware and self-absorbed. Having richness of heart and soul is allows a writer to understand herself as well as understanding others and their stories. 

Developing heart of richness takes time and intention. It's so important to spend time with God and his word. Sipping at Scripture slowly allows time for thoughtful deliberation.  Alternatively, gulping whole books of the Bible at a time allows for an overarching story to emerge. The Holy Spirit can use both to build richness into the soul. 

Other practices such as reading widely, knowing your own needs for society and solitude, understanding why you might be feeling a certain way (threatened, angry, sentimental, etc), and taking time to think and pray also contribute to the treasure chest of your inner life. 

One practice I find especially valuable is appreciating beauty. While we live in a world scarred by sin, there is still so much beauty all around us. My husband and I have spent the last two months travelling across Canada (we're currently in Quebec, heading home to BC within a couple of weeks). Everywhere, from the tip of Newfoundland to the red shores of Prince Edward Island to the immense prairies, I've found beauty. Not only in the landscape, but also in people. As the old song goes, "everyone is beautiful in their own way." Beautiful because each is created in God's image. 

Beauty sinks deep into my soul, enriching me via all of my senses. When I take time to observe a caterpillar inch its furry way across my path, or catch snippets of a conversation between two friends at the table next to me, or watch a young couple with their baby, the glorious beauty of it all fills me with an ache that is not of this world. I store these things in my mind and know that they contribute to what I have to offer to others through my life and my writing. 

How do you develop your inner life? I'd love to know. 

Currently writing from her camping trailer in Quebec, Lorrie is looking forward to being home on Vancouver Island soon. She writes a blog at, and loves beauty in many forms. 

September 21, 2023

I is for... INSCRIBE! by Tracy Krauss

When the idea for this blog post came to my mind, I literally laughed out loud! It just seemed so obvious! I had been tossing other great “I” words around, and then it hit me!

INSCRIBE starts with I! 

InScribe has played a major role in my writing life since 2010. At a recent ZOOM meeting with some other members, I said how I felt such a deep connection to InScribe. I view this organization almost like I view my church. It has truly been a place of fellowship for me and I love the people and the organization dearly. When asked what it was that made me feel this way, I had to think for a moment, but then it came to me: the connections I’ve made over the years. Yes, I have learned A LOT at conferences and WorDShops; I’ve poured over FellowScript magazine; writing consistently for the blog has taught me about consistency. But far outweighing everything, I feel connected to the people. I’ve made deep, lifelong friendships. 

These are my PEEPS. This is my TRIBE. 

I first “happened" across InScribe in 2010 after reading Marcia Laycock’s bio on another blog. I was fairly new to the world of the “published”, (although not new to writing… I’d been clacking away since 1985.) I hadn’t known I was expected to do much of my own marketing. I didn’t even have a facebook account! Yet, suddenly, I was expected to put myself out there. Talk about being thrown into the fire! 

I started blogging and tried to find some author networks where I could interact and hopefully get some advice. (Ning, anyone?!) That’s when I came across a blog for “International” writers and low-and-behold, a Canadian Christian was part of their roster! Further, Marcia Laycock had also lived in the Yukon, so I felt an instant connection to her. However, she was a celebrity in my eyes, so I don’t think I reached out. I did notice a reference to InScribe Christian Writers Fellowship so I looked it up. I was ASTOUNDED! An organization for Canadian Christian writers? Who knew?!

I joined, of course, and soon afterward went to my first conference in Edmonton. Rudy Wiebe spoke at the banquet, Sigmund Brouwer was the keynote, and Marcia Laycock was President. I was in the presence of ROYALTY! Seriously, I was awe-struck at that first conference. I’m sure I looked like it, too. I didn’t know a soul, but everyone was friendly. Of special note was Brenda Leyland. Brenda was so gracious and invited me to sit with her at the banquet. She’d also presented a workshop, so I felt very honoured. (Brenda often contributes to this blog and was the moderator at one time.) Turns out, Marcia was a real, down-to-earth person, too! LOL!

I think the secret to feeling connected is getting involved. I started blogging on this very blog and got to know many members through their writing, both here and through FellowScript. I discovered a writing group near me in Taylor, BC, where I met my now dear friend Marnie Pohlmann. The next conference I attended was in Wetaskiwin in 2012. Somehow, at that conference, I connected with Sharon Espeseth, and she suggested I take over her position as Writing Groups Coordinator. That was my first “official” position. Since then I’ve been blog moderator, writing buddies coordinator, on the fall conference committee, WorDShop coordinator, done many workshops at conferences and WorDshops, been Vice President, and even President! What a journey from the awe-struck newbie to chairing executive meetings! 

I encourage you to get involved. It is one of the best ways I know to really feel like you are part of something—because being part of INSCRIBE IS SPECIAL!  I have come to love and appreciate so many individuals that I’ve met through Inscribe. I’m looking forward to seeing some of you this very weekend in Saskatchewan. Woot! Can’t wait!

Tracy Krauss lives and works in northern BC, but she's still a prairie girl at heart! Visit her website for more on her many books and plays.