July 31, 2010

School Children - Lyn Kublick

This class attended school in my home town, Orland California, somewhat before my time. Their teacher was my mother's aunt, May Reager.

As a writer of historical fiction I spend a great deal of time dwelling in the past and I find it interesting to compare life then and now. One area of great change is child rearing methods. As we look at this class picture 8 and 9 year old students, we first notice the difference in the their clothing, and that of the teacher's. Hair styles also catch the eye. Compare this picture to youngsters today that often dress like miniature teenagers.

These physical differences are minor compared to the change in the way children are expected to behave. How would today's kids respond the the old adage, "Children should be seen and not heard"? In many homes, and even in public places, the younger generation tends to claim the center of attention.

Raising children to respect adults is also over looked in some modern homes. In fact, in the worst cases, the youngest members of the family seem to be in control. It's not unusual to hear some of these little people bully their parents by making demands rather than polite requests. Their elders feel the need to buy expensive toys, that they can ill afford, so the children can keep up with others in their play group.

One thing that worries me is the constant need, of this generation, to be excited and entertained. How often do we hear children complain of being bored. Many seem to have lost the ability to enjoy their own company . They expect parents, teachers and youth workers to provide exciting diversions for their benefit. When left on their own many turn to electronic devices to fill their time. What is happening to imagination and creativity

Most important, is enough care given to helping children find Jesus? How can they learn to pray, meditate and listen for God's voice in houses where electronic noise is constant. I visited a home lately and heard the mother say that she keeps the radio on 24/7. The television is constantly on as well, and video games, a DSI and a Wii are available.

I pray that God will bless all of our children and help them to have a desire for Him in their often chaotic lives. Without His presence in their lives they will never know the joy of peace.

July 28, 2010

Hearing The Word Of God - Bruce Atchison

churches really must make more of an effort to accommodate disabled congregants. Though many houses of worship now have wheelchair ramps and some buildings were designed as single-floor structures, blind and deaf Christians are often left out of the activities.

In my case, I can't read the overhead screen or hymn books easily. This puts me in an awkward position when everybody else is singing. The previous church that I attended graciously provided me large print copies of the songs. For the first time in my life, I was able to sing with the rest of the congregation. I gained a deeper appreciation of the lyrics too.

Thirty-five years ago, I attended a cultic house church. In my upcoming How I Was Razed memoir, I tell of how that congregation's elders bought something which benefitted me greatly.


"The church just bought something wonderful," Sister E enthused one Wednesday evening before the meeting began. "You'll enjoy this - it's The Bible In Drama." She pulled a large white wooden box out from the book shelf next to the communion table and placed it on the card table. She unfastened the metal clasp on the side, revealing two compartments with two rows of red and maroon cassette boxes in each. "We bought this especially for any blind members of the church and for the children to hear. Look at this. There's the New Testament read by a Shakespearian actor and down there are stories of great Christians."

I stared myopically at where she pointed and said, "That's cool! Can I borrow some? I'm borrowing a cassette recorder from the CNIB."

"Sure. I'll ask Mother first though. They are brand new cassettes, you realize. We don't want them ruined before others can have a listen to them."

"You'll want to hear the New Testament first," Sister R explained when I asked to borrow a few tapes after the meeting.

"How come?" I frowned.

"Because you'll get wrong ideas if you listen to the Old Testament first."

"What do you mean? Can't I hear the tapes from the start?"

"Most of the Old Testament doesn't apply to us because it was written to the Jews. They were under the law but we aren't. The New Testament was written for us Christians. "If you don't hear the New Testament first, you'll be confused and learn the wrong things from the Old Testament."

Since she insisted, I grudgingly took the handful of tapes she proffered.

I fell in love with the series as soon as I arrived home and listened to the first cassette. "Wow! It's like I'm there with Jesus and the disciples," I repeated as I sat on my bed. In a matter of a few weeks, I borrowed every Bible In Drama, King James New Testament, and Lives Of Great Christians tape. The Bible stories were thrilling but the biographies of believers, mostly American, who did great things in Jesus' name seemed jingoistic to me.


How I Was Razed is my third, and most likely final, memoir. I previously published When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) and Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School). They are both available from the InScribe web site, along with information regarding my writing.

July 26, 2010

A Passion - Let it Go, Dig Deeper or Embrace Another - Karen Toews

There's nothing like being passionate about something - an activity or expression that gives you focus, inspiration and fulfillment. A friend of mine discovered her inner artist in her forties, and from the get-go, her talent was obvious and her passion palpable. Through hard work and education, the appreciation, awards and value for her paintings are increasing. She's having the time of her life - immersed and absorbed in something she loves to do.

Yesterday I toured six gardens in our area of Nova Scotia. The blend of God's creation and these gardeners' visionary design and hard work was splashed across these landscapes - a display of handiwork wrought by zealous commitment.

When my husband was in high school, he knew he wanted to be a carpenter-builder. Almost forty years later, his passion for the process and creativity of construction hasn't diminished.

Observing others enjoy such fervor and satisfaction makes me feel: motivated, intimidated, challenged, negative self-worth about my own shortcomings, angry at circumstances that are somehow to blame for my own lack of focus, or (and I hate to admit it), jealous that I'm not experiencing the same drive and results from a passion of my own.

When I was in my forties I too discovered a passion - running. It actually grabbed me, a fitness activity that I shared with my husband. I loved everything about it: the effort, the physical rewards, the pain, the accomplishments, the camaraderie. I believe that God gives us abilities, and I openly thanked Him for allowing me this personal joy - and the opportunities for coaching others. I used the philosophy of running as a parallel for other avenues in my race of life: learning and teaching nutrition, being an example for an active lifestyle, making and achieving goals, using it as a vehicle for raising funds for missions. I felt I was treating this passion with respect, balancing my expectations with the realities of my physical body.

Four years ago an injury began a journey of redirection. Treatments, exercises, therapists, classes, costly appointments - it's been an on-going quest that I regularly lay down and pick up. Endless analyzing and strategizing is tiring - I question if unlimited funds would be the answer. This pleasure/force that helped define and motivate me is now radically limited, a one-of, on a list of fitness activities for my goal to remain strong for years to come. And I still miss what it was.

Countless hours have been spent praying for direction, crying for help, asking for healing. As time lapses, and hope waxes and wanes, I want to know what to do with this passion - do I let it go, dig deeper, or embrace another? Until I know my answer, I will continue to seek Him....

"...Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened..." Luke 11: 9, 10 (NRSV)

July 24, 2010

The Blessings of "Early Garage Sale" — Lynda Schultz

Late last night I posted the story of this picture on my website. Alex and Alicia were married last week in Caracas. Circumstances didn't permit my presence at the wedding but that wonderful Sunday afternoon when they came to my apartment to look at the furniture I was planning on leaving behind was proof enough to me of the depth of Alex's feelings for Alicia.

I never doubted how Alicia felt—she was obvious! But Alex is the "strong, silent type," and even a little shy, so I was never quite sure about him and thought that perhaps Alicia was just being her dramatic self when she overwhelmed me with adjectives even time she talked about him.

My furniture was well-used. I have always jokingly said that my decorating style is "early garage sale." Neither Alicia nor Alex had a lot of money to spend but they both work and had been saving for this moment for a long time.

Alicia comes from a very dysfunctional family. Her mother always made a huge effort to degrade her daughter in private and in public. In spite of her difficult ealy years Alicia blossomed, particularly after meeting Alex. That Sunday afternoon showed me why.

The "kids" were renovating an annex for their first home and needed just about everything. She was reluctant to get too excited about the washer and dryer, the dining room set, the bed, the crystal, and the Royal Minton china I was leaving behind. Some things were essential; others were not. She and Alex had talked about the washer and as Alicia ran her hand over it, she looked a little longingly at the dryer. Alex saw the look and told me that he'd take that too. Alicia couldn't believe it. The whole afternoon was like that. She'd look at something, half afraid to want it because maybe they didn't need it, and Alex would tell her to add it to the list. By the time the "shopping" trip was over, their house was furnished and Alicia was in tears.

She could not believe that anyone, even Alex, would be so good to her. The scars of her past experience forbade her to trust that someone saw her worth and valued her enough to give her whatever would pleasure her—even if it was second-hand!

As God's children we are often a bit "Alicia" in our relationship with God. We are afraid to ask Him for certain things because we fear the rejection that we have sometimes been handed by others. We can't believe that God values us enough to bring into our lives whatever good thing will give us pleasure. Alex loved satisfying the desires of his wife-to-be. He didn't give Alicia everything she eyed, but he certainly gave her more than she had thought to ask for. And I suspect that as these two become more established in their lives, Alex will be just as delighted to pleasure his wife with a few new things to replace my "early garage sale."

To my great surprise, it isn't only Alicia who is overwhelming cyberspace with adjectives about her new husband from their hotel room on Margarita Island. Alex's FACEBOOK posts are almost as descriptive about how much he loves her as hers are descriptive about him. Isn't love wonderful! Is God wonderful!

July 22, 2010

A Tale of Two Replies

Dorothy Bentley

Last fall, I volunteered to be on a committee for a general market magazine. I did not pray about the decision, but when I was asked, I was instantly thrilled to be included in what I perceived to be an elite writing community of college professors and the like. I also thought if I was one of the team, my writing would be easily accepted for publication. I said yes.

The commitment began easily enough: a monthly meeting, a few opinions on artwork and layout, themes, and possible venues to sell, but it didn’t take long before the group’s expectations of my volunteer work grew exponentially. And to make matters worse, my submission was rejected.

Suddenly, I faced the truth. I hadn’t asked the Lord His opinion about this new involvement. Instead, I had rushed ahead, excited about a new opportunity for publication. What I had seen as an easy way to step up one more rung of my writing career ladder became a heavy burden, leaving no spare time to write.

Jesus says His burden is light. There was something wrong.

Gently the Lord prompted me to withdraw myself from the group, and once again pursue His direction for my writing.

It frightens me how easily I was drawn in. How could I have let my desire to achieve worldly success lead me away from God’s timing?

I continue to receive emails from this group. Each one is a reminder from the Lord; a reminder to pray before I accept any assignment, and to pray before I write anything. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

So the first submission reply had been negative, but not the second.

Amid a computer crash and needing to borrow my daughter’s laptop for daily survival, I submitted to a Christian publication. This was right, of the Lord. I prayed about it, and sensed His leading.

Yesterday I was overjoyed to receive a positive response. What a thrill! With this, there were hurdles, but not a negative gnawing inside like before.

It’s not about writing what I want and asking God to bless it, but asking, “What would you have me write, Lord?” and “Where should I submit, Lord?”

I think this has been a good learning experience for me. As a writer, I need to stay focused.

Father God,
Please forgive me for giving in to temptation. Please wash me clean and restore a right spirit within me. Remind me often to pray and stay in fellowship with You. Thank you for the privilege of being one of Your writers. May I bring glory to You and accomplish the work You have already chosen for me. Please remove any confusion about what I need to focus on, and help me to be balanced and organized in all areas of my life.
In Jesus’ precious Name I ask,

July 20, 2010

Fiddler On the Post by Brenda Leyland

It's my turn to post and even though I've been thinking about what to write for days, Posting Day is suddenly here as if by surprise... again.

I am shaking my head. The crazy thing is that I have had a whole month to work on my article.

So there's no excuse, which makes me wonder, what is my excuse? And why do I end up doing projects that too often hover precariously over deadlines? After some pondering and pencil chewing I uncovered some pieces to my puzzling habit:

1. I put it off until later. After all, I have a whole month to work on it, so I don't need to start today.

2. I don't schedule an actual day or time slot to work on the post. What's not on the schedule is easily put off for another day.

3. I think working under pressure is the norm. After working in a job for many years where urgent adrenaline-high deadlines were the norm, I still believed that I had to work that way in my own life, including my writing life. 

4. I have an undeniable knack for fiddling and diddling, which the dictionary defines as 'to use triflingly, or to spend time aimlessly'. Of course I don't intend to fiddle away an hour, but suddenly 60 minutes has flown by. Yes, my desk is tidier and freer of dust bunnies, but my article is a little light on word count. Oh well, say I, there are three weeks still to finish this.

In the Gospels, I never encountered a time where Jesus was running around like the White Rabbit, saying he's late for his next appointment. He always seemed to be perfectly poised and at the ready for whatever the Father had for him that day. There's no footnotes indicating, Oops, sorry, Father, I was fiddling with Peter's fishing net, so now I don't have time to spend with that man who came to talk about kingdom issues.If Jesus was able to live in control of his time, that means He has given me the ability to do so as well.

I like what Don Nori of Destiny Image Publishing says: "Whatever you do not confront will not change." So, now how does an expert fiddler change her tune? Here's what I have come up with to confront these beastly old habits:

1. Don't fall for the line 'there's lots of time'. Begin early with planning, researching and getting ideas down. We probably have heard of the Parkinson's law that says work expands to fill the time available for its completion. Someone suggested one way to break this habit is to set yourself almost impossibly short time-lines, eg. complete three paragraphs in the next 10 minutes.

2. Block off actual days and times for the project. Pencil it into your schedule. Honour the project by beginning it on the day you've set aside for it.

3. Work on the project little by little so that it doesn't overwhelm. So that it doesn't get to the urgent, rushing stage. Anne Morrow Lindbergh, in her book Gift From The Sea, talks about the possibility of living in a balance and rhythm that allows a person to actually experience the joy of 'working without pressure'. That's what I want, and you probably do too. This means asking the Holy Spirit for help to show us how that can be done. To renew our minds and let go of old beliefs that procrastination is good and skidding under the deadline is the norm. To learn how to walk in Kingdom time patterns, and thus, learn how to stay focused on the present day's work -- just like Jesus did.

4. Stay focused on the job at hand. No e-mail checking, no answering the phone, no coffee refills, no rearranging the paper on the side of your desk and sharpening all the pencils in your drawer.

It's quite the challenge for a fiddler. Think we can do it? We'll let you know our progress...

July 19, 2010

I GET ALLA IT! - By Martha Toews Anderson

I finally got my book manuscript sent away so I can now focus on my my next project, collecting information for our family memoirs. As each one of our six children made their appearance, they brought with them their own personalities. I received great pleasure seeing them daily making new discoveries and developing their own interests. When Timothy was three years old, and enjoying his food, as children do, he thought it special to be the one who got to scrap the last crumbs of whatever we were having for our meals. As someone would pass him the empty container, he would sing out, “I got alla it! I got alla it.”

One day I was setting the dinner table for a houseful of company, while Timmy stood beside me happily watching the food appear on the table. As I lifted an oversized casserole dish from the oven and carried it to the table, he bounced along beside me, clapping his hands and singing, “I get alla it! I get alla it!”

“Oh Timmy, you are such a selfish boy. You always want everything,” a guest rebuked him. “If you want to eat all that meat loaf what do you think the rest of us are going to eat?”

I explained that when Timmy says he wants all of something, what he really means is that he wants to be the one to get to scrape the serving dish. Everyone is welcome to as much meatloaf as they can eat as long as they let him have the last dregs.

As I was adding this anecdote to my collection of memories I thought of how this is a parable of how many people seem to view God’s intention when He calls us to a full surrender to Him.

When Jesus said to His followers, “Take up your cross and follow Me,” He really meant just that. Yet we have a tendency to keep on chasing worthless pursuits, sharing their lives and resources with the world and the devil, hoping that when their lives are spent and the candle is about to go out, we can call on God and He will gratefully scrape up the dregs and delightfully announce, “I got alla it! I got alla it!”

Oh, how much we miss when we fail to recognize that only as we give our all to Him, can we experience that abundant life that He died to provide for us. Jesus said, “I am come that ye might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Backburner Ideas by Kimberley Payne

On The Word Guild general discussion forum, Darlene Oakley posed a question, “Anybody have it happen where a great idea for a book hits and you just don't have time to write about it?”

I nearly yelled at the screen, Yes! Yes, I have no problem with generating ideas for new books. It’s the follow up that causes greatest distress.

Darlene continued, “So it festers and festers behind the jobs that pay driving you insane...luckily while it festers I'm gathering some great ideas. I think the most frustrating part so far is not that I haven't had time to write it or that it's festering and driving me bananas...but it's that for the foreseeable future I don't see opportunities to even contemplate sitting down and writing it. I write longhand first and that requires a wad of paper and a quiet atmosphere - nighttime. But my nighttime is filled with business. I know people will say that if it's important I will make time. But, I know I can't write for myself until I have provided for my family first. As it is looking right now, family first is all I have time for. *sigh* (Even my husband says it's a great idea...oh, well. Perhaps by the time I get to sit down and write it, I'll have a few more things figured out.)”

Stephanie Tombari agreed, “I know exactly how you feel. Multitasking is not my gift area, so with my day job, family, and freelance work I have little time for small personal projects, let alone a big one like a book. By not putting the ideas to paper, I get really squirrely, very frustrated, and wonder if I'll ever get to it. I've read that's the curse of a perfectionist. Writers are often perfectionists, and so we want more time that we often have to get good ideas down; little snippets of time (for novice book writers at least) don't feel like enough to really start making the big project come alive.”

So what can we do? Benjamin Collier offered this advice: “I boast at times that I have more good ideas than I know what to do with. And I'm looking seriously at the possibility that some of my ideas are not for me to write but are perhaps for a friend whose style of writing can communicate the idea better than I could. I know that before I can do them justice many of my ideas require research into certain areas I haven't yet studied. Some ideas that came to me months or years ago have evolved over time and sprouted new ideas and character concepts that would not have been in the story had I written it right away. So it's possible there is more to this book that you've yet to discover.”

Jenny Burr offered this suggestion: “Would recording your thoughts help? You could use various methods to ‘speak out or tell your ideas’ while leaving your hands free to work on your immediate freelance assignments. Then the ideas won't be lost and you can type them up later. I read a novel in which the author dictated the entire story into a tape cassette player. She was elderly and felt the need to tell the story. Later, it was transcribed by someone else.”

How do you deal with the problem of “so many ideas so little time” to write them?

July 16, 2010

Walk Hand in Hand With God to Make His Purposes Known - Janice Keats

In the beginning of my search for God, I became very inquisitive. I wanted to know all about God and why I was feeling the struggle of wanting to attend church and at the same time live my life of normality of the world. As time went on I found myself listening to Christian music, reading the Bible, and asking many, many questions. One such question I asked my friend was, “Why is it that when I am in church I feel really good and when I go home I fall into a slumber of emptiness again?” She replied, “You know Jan, you can take Jesus home with you.” After several more months of soul searching, I did take Jesus home with me. Those words have always remained on my mind.

In our Christian journey we are not only to take Jesus home but to take him along with us on our path in life. We are his hands extended. Even though we do not see his physical body walking beside us, we have his awesome power. We have the wonders of old to recollect, and we have his guidance and grace to fulfill his mission.

Jesus saw a need from the days of old. His people, the Israelites, were held in captivity in Egypt. Following the death of Joseph, a new king emerged who knew nothing about Joseph and his supremacy. The king saw that the Israelites became large in number and was threatened by this increase for fear that they may join forces with his enemies. God’s army would be greater and would in turn defeat the Egyptians. So, in attempt to halt God’s army, the king put the slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor. (Exodus 1:8-14)

God had a plan of action. How could God accomplish the task without the help of his people? He knew the need because of their cries to him. “God heard their misery and their crying out because of their slave drivers.” (Exodus 3:7) God hears the cries of pain and misery of his children everywhere, even right where you live. God already has a plan for their release from suffering. Who will go and deliver God’s message of love? Who will take God’s hand and walk into the community of needs? Who can hear the moans and groans of the sick and the lonely? Who will share the heart of God?

Out of compassion, God saw fit to send Moses and Aaron to rescue his people from the hands of the Egyptians. Was the task too hard for them? After all there were being sent to the ruthless one. It was no easy task. God is the leader; he leads the way to safety. He needs our help with his work!!! No one else can go or do with what God has planned specifically for you. It’s no use to tell God that someone else should go. The Lord did not accept that response when Moses suggested it.

If God is specifically speaking to you, he will give to you his power for the journey. God is pleased with His faithful ones. “You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” (Psalm 77:20)
Look what two people can do with the help from on high!!! The Lord is my Shepherd; the Lord is your Shepherd. The Lord is Shepherd over all. Jump in on the journey and discover for yourself God’s purposes!

Janice Keats

July 14, 2010

A Better King - Pamela Mytroen

Can you imagine living in the 4th or 5th century B.C.? Persian Kings would make a law and when that law was discovered to be intolerable, they refused to change it. Even if it caused them regret and sadness, they stood by their written, sealed word.

King Xerxes allowed Haman to write an order for the annihilation of all Jews in his vast kingdom. When the king discovered that his beloved queen was of Jewish lineage, he was angry with himself. But would he change the law? Never. But, he allowed Mordecai to take his own royal signet ring and issue another order.

However, the Jews were still faced with a death sentence on the 13th day of the month of Adar, but now, according to Mordecai’s decree, they had the right to gather and defend themselves. The Jews were saved by God’s miraculous intervention.

Though the kings of this period appeared ruthless and unfeeling, they serve to demonstrate both the wrath and mercy of God.

Consider God, our Heavenly eternal King. He too has issued a death sentence. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death...” We have all sinned and the verdict is eternal death, a constant dying apart from the beauty and friendship of God our creator.

Yet God, though unrelenting in justice, is also merciful. Like the miracle of strength and protection he gave the Jews, He interceded supernaturally to save us from certain death. He gave Jesus, his own Son to serve our death sentence, and the sinner is given a full pardon. The verse finishes with: “...but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

God stands by His Word. His laws must be fulfilled. And it’s a good thing, or we would lose trust in an authority that constantly changed His mind.

But God the Judge is also our Savior. Like the Persian kings, He issued the stiffest sentence a King could allow for sin. Our Judge, however, takes it a step further. In humility, God stepped down from the bench, wrapped his royal cloak around the sinner and took the full condemnation of the law on His own shoulders. We are set free from the chains of guilt and death.

Thanks be to God for His amazing love!

Pam Mytroen

July 12, 2010

InScribers Review: Embracing Your Second Calling - Review by Violet Nesdoly

From the moment I saw this book’s title and read a description of it, I knew it was one I had to read. Now that I have I can, without hesitation, recommend Embracing Your Second Calling: Find Passion and Purpose for the Rest of Your Life by Dale Hanson Bourke to any and every woman in the second half of life.

Bourke begins by identifying the issues aging women face. Among them is the loss of many of the things society values – like looks, power, and ambition. She describes how these are either fading naturally or losing their appeal. She tells her own story and, using the example of Naomi from the Bible, talks about how one can get through this time not only gracefully but in a way that enriches oneself and others. I found the chapters dealing with the past, idols, prayer, and friends especially probing.

Bourke’s writing style is warm, companionable and interesting – sprinkled, as the text is, with lots of anecdotes. Sidebars, in the form of text boxes, supplement the main chapter sections.“Reflect” boxes contain questions for personal reflection, journaling or group discussion (e.g.: "What are you doing today that is an investment in the future?” p. 105).

“Act” sections have suggestions for action (e.g.:“Find a friend who wants to try a prayer adventure with you. Try walking and praying out loud. Or meet together and read a classic book on prayer such as The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence” p. 146).

Quotes are also scattered throughout the text.

Each chapter ends with a personalized prayer that gives the reader another window on how to apply what she has just read.

The book’s end matter has a section of footnotes and a couple of pages of “Recommended Resources” – both books and websites.

The only criticism I have of the book is the way it’s bound. My paperback volume has a plastic film laminated to the paper. The film started to peel away as soon as I began handling it. Resisting the urge to peel more is as hard as not picking at a scab or ripping loose wallpaper. My poor book looks like it needs a face lift of its own.

That little matter aside, I found this an altogether uplifting, encouraging, and affirming read. I am using the “Reflect” sections as journal prompts to help me dig deeper into my own past, current motivations, and future expectations. Bourke has given me lots to think about and this book will be my companion for a while.

Besides personal use, I can see Embracing Your Second Calling being useful as a springboard for group study and discussion. I don’t think the groups would even have to be confined to middle-aged or older women. For the mindset and spiritual outlook Bourke describes in her maturing self are not restricted to women who have reached a certain age, but are available to women of any age open to spiritual renewal and continuing spiritual health and usefulness.

I actually put my money where my mouth was, and ordered five copies to give away to sisters and friends. With the bulk order, I even saved shipping costs. It's a good deal all around!

Read a Christianity Today interview with Dale Hanson Bourke.

Title: Embracing Your Second Calling: Find Passion and Purpose for the Rest of Your Life
Author: Dale Hanson Bourke
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, May 2010, Paperback, 240 pages

ISBN-10: 0849946972 
ISBN-13: 978-0849946974


Read a Christianity Today interview with Dale Hanson Bourke.

(Article first published as Book Review: Embracing Your Second Calling: Find Passion and Purpose for the Rest of Your Life by Dale Hanson Bourke on Blogcritics. I received a copy of this book as a gift from the publisher for the purpose of writing a review.)


Violet Nesdoly
Website: www.violetnesdoly.com
Personal blog promptings
Writerly blog Line upon line
Daily devotions for children Bible Drive-Thru 
Daily devotions for adults: Other Food: daily devo
A poem portfolio

July 10, 2010

Musical Inspiration - Bonnie Way

A few days ago, I attended a concert with my mother-in-law at her church.  A music camp was going on in the community and the faculty had gotten together to put on a recital.  There were three pianists, three violinists, and a cellist.  The evening began with some duets on the piano and then different combinations of strings and keys.

As the music filled the small church, I found myself amazed that someone could put the notes together to create such beautiful sound.  How did they know that each violin should play these notes while the piano played those notes?  It flabbergasted me.  Then I realized that maybe it's not so different than writing.  Just as I have novels playing out in my head—characters talking, plots happening, scenes growing—so a composer has notes, bars, entire pieces of music dancingn his head, asking to be released in the instruments.

As I listened, I wanted to write.  I felt the creativity both of the composer and of the musicians who now brough his music alive, and it inspired my own creativity.  I drank in the music, the beauty, the complexity.  I watched the musicians, the way their expressions changed as they played—it was clear that they too loved this music.

At one time, I took violin and piano lessons.  I stopped when I started university, as I was unsure how much time I would have to devote to my degree.  I tried piano lessons again briefly and picked up my violin a few times while we lived up north, but I've realized that playing music isn't my talent.  Perhaps someday I can teach Sunshine and Lilibet the beginnings of either instrument and, because of my lessons, I can better appreciate the effort put into a concert like this.  But my creative expression is through words.

So I listened and let the beauty, artistry, creativity of these musicians inspire my own muse.

~ Bonnie Way, http://thekoalabearwriter.blogspot.com/

July 08, 2010

Fireflies in Brooklyn

My husband was in New York City for meetings last month, and I tagged along. During the day, I caught up on writerly things and did some exploring. Visited my friends the turtles in the Central Park Zoo.

At night and on the weekend we turned tourist, checked out the American Museum of Natural History, saw some Broadway plays, and ate very well. Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and stopped at Grimaldi’s Pizza, a spot so good they can insist on cash-only, no-reservations, and still have a 30-minute line-up waiting for a seat.

On the way back from our pizza pilgrimage, we passed under one of the approaches to the bridge. During the day, I imagine the area is a shady, green nook. At dusk, it’s magical.

I’ve never seen fireflies like that: sparking bright against the dark, winking like a meteor shower.

It brought tears to my eyes. Not just for what I saw, but for what it said.

My first chance to visit Manhattan came a few years ago, out of the blue. Big New York City was not on my wish-list to visit. Truth be told, I was a bit scared.

You hear the stories of violence and of bystanders who won’t get involved. You hear about pushy people, aggressive, demanding everything not-now-but-yesterday.

Aside from Central Park, I imagined everything to be concrete, asphalt and glass.

God surprised me on that first trip, with spring flowers growing in tiny pockets of soil among the buildings. With pedestrians who’d stop and give directions. With the sidewalks in Times Square that sparkled in the light.

He was there too, so there was room for me in this suddenly not-so-alien city.

This trip, He surprised me with fireflies: more sparkles. It reminded me of His first surprises, and the later ones. My tears came from the intimacy of the message. He knows me. He loves me.

Fireflies in Brooklyn. The highlight of my trip, and it was free.

© Janet Sketchley, 2010
For devotionals, reviews and conversation, stop by Janet Sketchley's blog, God with Us: Finding Joy.

July 06, 2010

De-Liveration! Glynis Belec

For years I have been trying to convince my dearly beloved that liver is an excellent source of iron and a nutritionally superior food, totally worthy of sampling and savouring once in a while.

Sadly my attempts to convince my not so easily-convinced partner in marriage, continue to fail miserably. No matter how much I disguise the liver with sizzling bacon and scrumdillyishus fried onions, he won't take the bait or a bite.

"Toss me on a burger with those onions and bacon, and you finish the liver," comes the response.

But the other day I thought I was making some headway. You know how it is (well some of you do) when you get older. You start thinking how you should get over some of your silly ways and focus on what really is good for you. We had been talking about eating healthy and changing a few things in our diet.

To my surprise, when I announced that I would be putting liver on my shopping list, it wasn't met with the usual moans and groans. I jotted it down and put a happy face on the page. :)

However, it was not to be. Any thought I had about changing my hubby into a liver lover went down the toilet.

...And speaking of toilet, a little later in the week, I heard a noise coming from the downstairs bathroom.

I investigated. 'Twas not a lovely sight. The toilet was overflowing - gushing forth with abandon. My dearly beloved, armed with pipe wrench and towels called me for reinforcements. To cut a long story short, or to flush out some of the details, suffice to say, our septic tank was full and we needed to call - pronto, the nearest available septic tank cleanout guy.

Mr. Septic Tank Cleaner arrived in good time. The flood subsided and we were able to do away with the towel dam. Of course, once the work was completed, we felt duly obliged to offer our septic tank hero a coffee before he went on his way. He accepted and happy hubby had a good old chat with him. The topic of conversation, you guessed it, was the fine art of dealing with sewage. I was stuffing wet towels into the washer and listening in on the conversation every now and then.

"Do you have any liver?" I heard the nice chap ask my hubby.

"Liver?" I interjected. I thought he needed a snack. "Yes, I think I do. But I might have some brownies in the freezer instead."

"No, no..." His furrowed brow indicating a serious matter was underfoot.

"I want you to put some liver down the toilet. And you should do it once a month, too."

My dearly beloved grinned like a Cheshire cat. I knew exactly what he was thinking. He had been telling me to toss the liver down the toilet for a long time. Now he had backup.

Mr. Septic tank guy chatted on for quite a while about his liver suggestion. He shared with us the merits of how liver in the septic tank will help multiply the bacterial count and other sordid details. Apparently liver down the toilet, a healthy septic system makes...

As I become more educated on the beneficial aspects of liver in the septic system and how it multiplies the bacterial count, I start to ponder how sin is multiplied in our lives. We can try to wipe up the mess ourselves and cover up and try to wash our own dirty laundry, but if we do not have the Lord in our lives, it's like the liver in the septic system. Before we know it, the bacterial count in our lives is rampant.

I'm liking the reassurance, though, that God will rescue us if we call upon His name. He wipes away our sin and cleanses us completely. All we need do is ask: He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:2)

July 02, 2010

Pepper Flecks - M. Laycock

“In holes and lostness I can pick up the light of small ordinary progress, newly made moments flecked like pepper into the slog and the disruptions.” Anne Lamott

I watched The Soloist the other night and it made me think of the quote above from Anne Lamott. It made me think about all the brokenness in the world and how easy it is to be overwhelmed by it. Some of the images in the film brought tears to my eyes and made my spirit cry out, “O Lord, how long will you linger?”

Yet, as Lamott says, there are those flecks of pepper, those “newly made moments” when the light of Christ breaks through, when men and women succeed in overcoming the selfishness in their nature enough to reach out and be part of the “small ordinary progress.” Perhaps that’s why He lingers – to give us the opportunity to receive the blessings of such moments and such service.

Writing is vital in that process. Words created in obedience and submission to Christ can help to stimulate and even create those newly made moments in someone’s life. Like the young girl who was raped as a teenager who read my novel and said, “I think I finally believe that God really does love me, in spite of everything.” Small, ordinary progress, a step toward the love and light of Christ, a step toward truth.

That is why we, as believers in Christ, must keep writing, keep broadcasting the flecks of pepper God gives us. We may get discouraged by low sales, by all the changes happening in the industry. We may even be bitter because we don’t have the support we feel we should have from friends, family and even our churches. But we must fight against these barriers. We cannot quit, because it is the pepper flecks that count - the tiny specks of hope we throw out every time we write in Christ's name. Until His return.

“And now, dear children, continue in Him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at this coming” (1John 2:28).

visit Marcia's Website - www.vinemarc.com