January 18, 2019

Five Smooth Stones - Gloria Guest

There were giants in the land.

We are told about them in the days of Noah and we read of them again in the time of David. Most of us know of Goliath, who David slew, but less is known of the fact that he had four brothers, who also in due time were chased down and killed by Saul’s army.

There are giants in my life.

Giants in my writing that have paralyzed me as surely as Goliath paralyzed the entire Israeli Army.

When David who was still just a shepherd boy faced the mighty Goliath of the Philistine Army, we are told that he ‘chose him five smooth stones out of the brook,” Isa 17:40. With one stone he slew Goliath and some biblical scholars think that the other stones represented the four other Giants in the land who would also eventually need to be slain.

There are five giants in my writing life
1)      Shame
2)      Fear
3)      Disappointment
4)      Confusion
5)      Unbelief

Here are five smooth stones that I’ve chosen from His living waters to slay my giants.

Shame – Isaiah 50:7 “Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” 
I received this verse in an email from our Inscribe spiritual advisor, Connie Inglis  (thank you Connie) and knew immediately that it was meaningful to my writing. In working on my memoir there have been parts that cause me to feel shame; shame for what others might think or say about me; shame where I shared no blame. But this verse tells me to ‘set my face like a flint’ meaning to be determined to do what He has called me to do, because I have God to help me. He only brings good and not shame.

Fear - "I am leaving you with a gift –peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." John 14:27 (NLT)

This verse came to me at the end of 2018 when I received it as a small token of appreciation from The Salvation Army. God wants to give me more peace. In 2018 I was led to a new counsellor who works specifically with post-traumatic stress caused from childhood trauma. It is an area that I have never directly dealt with in my life and even in the first session I felt a peace that I had never felt before.

Confusion - "Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure". Prov. 4:26

Every year I seek a specific word from God to take into the New Year. This year, as I wrote my Christmas post on the ponderings of Mary and how pondering is so much different than worrying, I knew that my word for 2019 would be ponder. And then another Inscribe member included this verse in her post (thank you) and I knew it was one of my smooth stones. With confusion often comes worry. But God promises that as I ponder, meaning think through and pray through the issues deeply, then I can be sure that my feet are on His path.

Disappointment -"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful". Hebrews 10:23

I have had many disappointments in life and in my writing life. I often want to give up in my writing. Already in this New Year, some plans to take a specific writing course have fallen through for me. This verse gives me renewed hope. I am to be unswerving in hope in all areas of life, not because of anything I have done or can do, but because God is faithful to his promises to me. He knows best.

Unbelief See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

My husband gave me a terrarium for Christmas but rather than containing a living plant it was a desert scene with sand. Besides the fact that I know he doesn’t have a lot of confidence in my plant caretaking abilities, I was a little confused by his choice since I have been trying much harder with my plants. I want living things around me! I’m tired of the desert! But here it sits on my coffee table…..looking very lovely in all its deadness. But rather than ask my husband for a terrarium with an actual live plant, I’ve been pondering over what God might want to be saying to me through it. In my post-Christmas reorganizing of the living room I placed an Ivy plant that is starting to grow prolifically (my green thumb is emerging!) beside the ‘dead’ but yet beautiful terrarium (thank you Reg), and this morning I was reminded of the above verse.

Yes there have been wastelands in my life, but they have not been without purpose and Gods beauty has still shone through. But now God wants me to know that He is doing a new thing in my life (and writing). But just as I had to physically move the living plant beside the dead for that inspiration to come to me, so do I need to refocus my spiritual thoughts from the dead to the living; from shame to honor; from fear to peace; from confusion to pondering; from disappointment to hope; from unbelief to faith.


In 2019 I will work to remove my cumbersome beliefs and wrong thinking, as David removed the armour that had been given him as a defense against the giant. It just weighed him down. I will instead choose these five stones, washed smooth from the river of God’s word and meditate on them.

And then, in time God promises that I, “shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatsoever he does shall prosper.” Psalms 1:3 

Gloria Guest writes and blogs from her home on the prairies in Caron, Sk; where she lives with her husband Reg and two cats. She has many writing credits in the form of newspaper articles and columns along with a few published pieces. She enjoys continuing to develop her writing skills alongside her brown but turning green thumb and developing new interests and doting on her four beautiful granddaughters.

January 17, 2019

New Year, No Goals by Lynn Dove

I will admit that I do not make New Year's resolutions anymore.  I find the effort to be very discouraging for the most part because inevitably only a few days into the New Year I've already failed in some way at keeping them.  It's not that I have not made resolutions in the past because I have.  I tried to make goals that were easily attainable.  I knew that setting far-reaching and pursuing lofty ambitions for myself or for my career at the start of the year, would undoubtedly cause me grief and guilt in the weeks and months that followed.  Being an "A" type personality, I would be consumed with perfection in succeeding, that I would become obsessed, and all else would fall by the wayside while I strove for the unreachable.  Let's just say, it not only made me miserable, it made everyone around me miserable too.  So I made more realistic goals for myself only to find I had not the time or the discipline needed to accomplish those either!  I would then spiral into a guilty malaise where I did not do anything!  That's not a good way to start a New Year.

I applaud those, especially fellow writers, who set and keep goals for themselves to start the New Year.  Whether the goals are just a continuation from the past year, or newly made, I pray that like the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:24, you will be spurred on towards the finish line!  Keep running the race set before you and keep at it until it is finished.

I strive for that as well, but I don't sprint for the finish line as some might do.  My race for many years now has been a steady jaunt, like a cross-country run with deep mud pits and high obstacles to go over or go around and the finish line nowhere in sight.  People keep nudging me to run faster but I can't.  I keep my slow and steady pace and continue to be amazed by the intricacies of the journey lessons I learn along the way.

My writing journey meanders like a contented stream.  Some days I am caught up in the current and will pour my thoughts onto paper undammed and heading straight for a waterfall.  I will write for hours and days with no slowing down.  Then there is that inevitable log jam, and words merely trickle onto paper.  Life gets in the way.  Grandchildren need my attention, my husband requires a proper meal, I must shoo dust bunnies from the house.  It can be days and weeks before I return once more to the computer keyboard to again write.

Previous years, I would fret about not writing.  My writing goals always before me, causing me angst because I could not keep to them.  I no longer am guilty during those "log-jammed" times.  My writing can wait.  It is enough to know that I am in the centre of God's Will.  There is a season for everything and He is in control.  I embrace the journey and know there is a finish line at some point, even though for now, I don't see it.

 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  

January 16, 2019

Writers Need to Embrace Rewards by Nina Faye Morey

Why do we writers need daily incentives to motivate us? Because it’s imperative that we acknowledge and celebrate every accomplishment, not just our major achievements. Life has a nasty habit of sabotaging our dreams of becoming successful writers. Work, family, friends, and our own perfectionism, procrastination, doubts and fears—all these and more conspire against us. So, if we want to keep our butts in the chair, our fingers on the keyboard or pen, and our minds focused on writing, we must somehow reinforce our writing habits. We need to embrace a system of regular rewards. Giving ourselves a small reward for each step we take on the way to achieving our goals will keep us on track to finish our writing projects.

But what types of incentives will motivate us to reach our writing goals? There are several ways to reward ourselves that don’t require a huge expenditure of time or money. Here are some simple rewards I use to motivate myself to complete my daily writing goals: a cup of hot chocolate or Chai tea, a walk with my husband, a good book, a little treat that’s definitely not healthy, a board game I enjoy playing with a family member, or a shopping trip for something I really need. However, I admit there are those rare days when my real reward is simply shutting down my computer and going to bed!

Why do we writers so often fail to reward ourselves for our daily accomplishments? One reason could be that we’re setting unrealistic goals, so we never feel deserving enough. We may even decide to punish ourselves for not achieving our goals when we should be celebrating every small stepping stone along the way. Rewards are positive and create incentives to write. But when we deprive ourselves of rewards as a form of self-punishment, this generates negative connotations that create a disincentive to write. That’s definitely not what we need. We should never devalue our work as writers!

Incentives serve as catalysts for our creative output, and we deserve to reward ourselves for making our writing dreams come true. Writing is definitely hard work and if we don’t create some little rewards for ourselves each day, eventually all that hard work will suck all the enjoyment out of it. Incentives also make it a lot easier to stick with our writing on those days when we “don’t feel like it,” we’re “not in the right mood,” we “don’t feel inspired,” or we’re “feeling too tired.”

If we are so hard on ourselves that we rarely give ourselves rewards for our daily accomplishments, one way to counteract this tendency is to have a previously prepared list of rewards to choose from. This makes it so much easier to be kind to ourselves, especially on those days when we’ve jumped so many hoops and hurdles before we’ve even sat down to write that it feels like we’ve already lost the battle!

One advantage we have as Christian writers is that God is our partner every step of the way. His Word provides the encouragement and inspiration we need to find our voice and achieve our goals. Even when God nudges us beyond our comfort zone, we trust Him to lead us down the right path. We may often doubt ourselves, but we never doubt God. As we learn from 1 Samuel 3, God is infinitely patient and persistent. He will continue to nudge us until we listen, understand, obey, and ultimately succeed.

What are some of the goals God is nudging you to achieve this year? How will you reward yourself for what you’ve accomplished today?

Photo Credits: Pixabay.com

Nina Faye Morey is a Canadian writer, editor, and speaker. She’s had fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art published in Christian, secular, and literary journals. She’s also contributed to two InScribe anthologies: 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers (2015) and Christmas: Stories and More (2017). Nina’s served as columns editor for InScribe’s FellowScript magazine and is currently the editor-in-chief. She finds working with fellow writers as an editor and through InScribe workshops gratifying. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, travelling, and spending time with family.

January 15, 2019

Go With the Flow - Tracy Krauss

My plan this year is to be less structured than normal. I know that might sound counter-productive when we're talking about writing goals and keeping on track, but I feel it's necessary for me at this time in my writing career. 

To give some context, I started writing more than 30 years ago and it is ten years now since my first book released. In that decade, I've had eight novels, nine stage plays, several short stories, two non-fiction books, an illustrated children's book, and numerous articles published. I've worked with traditional publishers, vanity presses, and tried self publishing. I've acquired an agent and I've lost an agent. I've joined various groups, most notably InScribe in 2010, getting involved in various capacities until I now serve as president. When I look back at my track record, it appears quite productive. Still, there is always the sense that I could do more; that there are so many stories that need to be written. Time is running out and there must be a way to accelerate the process. 

Some reality checks in the past couple of years have helped me focus more on God's timing than my own. I realize that stress can kill - literally, so I try not to take myself and my goals too seriously. Plans are a good thing as long as they don't become an obsession. It's why I felt the urge to purposely decide to 'go with the flow' this year when it comes to my writing. I still have a list of projects and goals,  but I'm giving myself permission to ignore it. 

January 13, 2019

My Main Incentives to Write by Wendy L. Macdonald

God’s nudges are my main incentives for showing up to write each day. My journal is my drawing board for most of my nonfiction writing. It’s where I record my faith journey—and my faith failings.   
One of my main incentives for writing is described in a verse I fell in love with while working through a Beth Moore Bible study. It encouraged me to write for a particular reader. Hints of what my brand should be have shown up at various times in my life, but this verse solidified it:

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, 
because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
 to proclaim freedom for the captives
 and release from darkness for the prisoners.
 Isaiah 61:1 NIV

Each morning I choose a verse of the day from the passages of Scripture I’ve read. I don’t follow a strict reading plan. My simple read-through-the-Bible method is: Place a sticky note in the New and Old Testaments to mark where I’ve read to. Some mornings I read several chapters. Other mornings I may only read a few verses. On particularly stressful days, I skip my reading routine and dip into the Psalms for spiritual refreshment.

After choosing a verse, I record it in my journal and write a poem based on it. Later, if the poem is worthy to be shared, I edit it and schedule it and the Scripture verse on my author Facebook page with a nature picture I’ve taken. Often, an entire blog post or podcast is birthed from one of my verses of the day.

God’s Word is literally a lamp for my pen. When I show up and read it, His inspiration shows up too.

My heart is overflowing with a good theme: 
I recite my composition concerning the king;
 my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
 Psalm 45:1 NKJV

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
 because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
 and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free… 
Luke 4:18 NIV

I’m nosy-to-know what Scripture verse has been the most incentive in your writing life.

Blessings ~ Wendy Mac