June 30, 2013

Caught and Found - Susan Barclay

One of the suggested topics from this month was to write a post from the point of view of a Bible personality. Here's my effort; I hope you enjoy it.
21 Tamuz, 3760
I'd never been so scared in my entire life. I've had bad days before, but I thought today could very well be my last. Ruben and I were together, as we had often been before, when all of a sudden, a group of men burst into my private quarters and grabbed me. "What do you want?" I screamed. Their voices were angry and I caught the words "adultery" and "stone her". An icy terror gripped my chest, and I barely had time to gather my robes about me before they dragged me into the street.
Ruben had fled at the first sign of trouble. How like him. Our relationship was always on his terms - he chose the times, made the demands, and I fell into line. It didn't matter what I was doing or what my own needs were.  And of course the men who had interrupted our latest tryst weren't interested in him. It's always the woman who pays for such transgressions.
I'm not blaming Ruben. I knew what I was doing, and I knew it was wrong. I could rationalize it all I wanted - Ruben's wife didn't understand him, couldn't fulfill his desires, and I could. And because I could, I enjoyed some benefits. He would bring me fresh dates, fine linens, jewellery and little trinkets. Sometimes I worried about what would happen if we were found out, but I guess I figured that if we were careful... Well, you know.
These men were filled with rage. I looked at their faces as they led me down the street and I could see murder in their eyes. I recognized some of them as religious leaders, and this filled me with dread. Several stopped along the way to arm themselves with stones while my heart thudded in my chest and pictures from my life raced through my mind. Where were they taking me? Why didn't they just get it over with? I wondered if there was any chance of escape, but there were too many of them and they pressed around me.
The sun was hot and the air dry. By the time we stopped - in front of the temple, I noticed - I was filthy from the dust and my throat was parched. I didn't dare say anything or ask for a cup of water. I kept my head down as they brought me in front of a huge crowd that had gathered. If all these people were to stone me, I was finished. I thought about my parents and siblings and how they would take the news. I was ashamed of bringing such dishonor to my family and, when I thought about it, to me. I knew that in God's eyes, I deserved to die.
 The men spoke to someone. I could only see his feet because I still couldn't bring myself to look up. "Teacher," they said, "this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
I held my breath, certain the rabbi - the Teacher - would agree with the law of Moses. But the man said nothing. I heard a scratching sound, then my accusers clamored for an answer again. I dared to raise my head a little to peek at what was going on. The men who had brought me here were wild with impatience and fury, but the rabbi seemed calm in the center of the storm. He looked at each one of them and his eyes spoke I knew not what, but they shrank from his gaze. Then he spoke one simple sentence: "Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down and wrote in the dust, and I heard the scratchy sound I had heard earlier.
My jaw went slack as I watched each of the men slink away, tossing down their stones as they went. Waves of relief washed over me. Perhaps I would not die today. At last the rabbi - Jesus of Nazareth, I discovered - stood and spoke. He asked me where my accusers had gone, and whether or not any of them had condemned me. Of course I said no.Then I waited for the punishment he would surely mete out in order to fulfill the law. His words astonished me.
 “Neither do I," he said. "Go and sin no more.”
Go and sin no more? I shook my head to clear out the cobwebs, and frowned in disbelief. 
Jesus smiled. "You are free to go, child," he said. 
I looked around at the crowd. I could see that they were as stunned as I was, but some of them were smiling and nodding at me. A few waved me away in a sign of encouragement.
I clapped a hand over my mouth to stifle the joyful laughter that was welling up inside. I ran to Jesus and embraced him quickly before letting go.
"Thank you, Jesus!" I said. "Thank you!"
As I ran back to my home to gather my things and follow him, I knew my old life was past and a new thing beginning. I felt washed clean in the forgiveness he had offered, and I would never be the same again.
c. Susan Barclay

For more of my writing, please visit my website at www.susan-barclay.ca

June 29, 2013

Memories to Cherish: Dealing with Dementia - Ruth L. Snyder

This week has been an emotional one for me: the last week of the 2012-2013 school year for my own children, celebrating high school graduation with one of my nieces, and moving my parents into a senior's facility. This was a new phase for me on the roller coaster of dealing with my father's dementia. Those who've walked down this road with loved ones understand what it's like - skills and personality inexplicably dissolve before my eyes, turning him into a shell of the person he once was. My Dad, once a confident leader whom the africans nicknamed "Big Bull Elephant," acts more and more often like a lost child. But some memories are there, for both of us, to cherish.

In the process of packing, we came across black and white photographs which became a doorway into those precious memories. My Dad was a printer by trade, and one of his  hobbies was photography. He not only knew how to take incredible pictures, but he was also a master at developing them. Growing up in southern Africa as missionary kids, my siblings and I spent hours sitting very still while Dad took hundreds of pictures in game reserves, villages, and wherever else we happened to travel. We spent many more hours with Dad in his makeshift dark room (usually in our bathroom), where we watched with delight while pictures magically took shape before our eyes. Once, Dad even filled the bathtub with chemicals so that he could develop a large rendition of a glorious african sunset he captured.

Although it is difficult to watch the Dad I know disappear, I am thankful for many things:
  1. The godly example my Dad set for me. He not only taught me about Jesus, but he also modelled Jesus for me.
  2. Many happy memories I have of times with my Dad - family holidays, playing table games, going fishing, camping.
  3. The love of photography passed on to me by my Dad.
  4. Many years with my Dad and the privilege of watching him grow old. I know many people do not have this privilege.
  5. This life is not all there is. One of my Dad's favourite songs is, "When we all get to Heaven." 

I have some of these treasured times in picture format. I hope you enjoy a small glimpse of the memories I have because of my Dad.

A home-made lathe used to carve beautiful wooden candlesticks

A closer look at the candlestick

It's a two-person job - one turns the lathe while the other carves

The eldest lady we met - 104!

Making flour!

Ruth L. Snyder

Ruth was privileged to spend the first 10 years of her life in southern africa where her parents were missionaries. She now lives in northeastern Alberta with her husband, Kendall and their five children.

June 28, 2013

The Blog According To Saint Jude - Bruce Atchison

If the first-century saints had our technology and posted blogs, I'd follow Jude's. Why? Because he warned believers about the clear and present danger of false shepherds.

While I acknowledge the writings of Paul, Peter, John, James, and the author of Hebrews as important, Jude's short epistle magnifies the need for vigilance. Talking about our "common salvation" is all very well but Satan ever seeks ways to thwart the work of God in believers.

In addition to warning about the ones who creep into congregations secretly, Jude reminds his readers of the need to hold onto the truth. Citing God's destruction of those Israelites who constantly murmured against him in the desert, as well as wicked gentiles and fallen angels, he reminds believers to "contend for the faith once delivered to the saints."

Furthermore, Jude warns of the eternal destruction awaiting these false shepherds. In graphic terms, he demonstrates how vile and deceptive these people are. Not only that but they also contaminate anybody who follows them.

Though Jude did use harsh language in his epistle, he also wrote one of the most beautiful benedictions in the Bible. We can see in this that his attitude wasn't judgmental or gloating but he had a deep concern for his readers that they hold on to their holy faith in Christ.

Some might assume that it's wrong to admonish sinners and errant Christians but it's actually an act of love. We wouldn't consider a person hateful if he or she warned somebody about a dangerous situation or activity. We receive news all the time from friends about recalls of products, diseases going around, and similar warnings. Why not give straying Christians and sinners warnings of a far more important nature, namely eternal damnation?

I was once a wandering lamb, deceived by a false teacher at a house church. In How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity, I wrote about how the Lord providentially guided me to his awesome truth. I now apprehend the true nature of the Trinity and especially the sovereignty of God. My hope is that he will use my memoir to guide other lost souls out of the deception they're under and into his loving truth.

Bio: Bruce Atchison is a legally-blind Canadian freelance writer with articles published in a variety of magazines. He has also authored three paperbacks. When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living with Bunnies is a memoir of the surprising facts he discovered about house rabbits.Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School is his recollection of being sent five hundred miles from home for months at a stretch. How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity shows how God led Atchison out of a legalistic house church. Contact him at batchison@mcsnet.ca or via Facebook or Twitter. He also posts regularly on his Blogspot and Wordpress blogs. Atchison lives in a tiny Alberta hamlet with his house rabbit, Deborah.

June 27, 2013

Blogging Through Flogging - Brenda J Wood

St. Paul self-published his way through manuscript after manuscript, continuing to write through every kind of pain and suffering. He wrote even when he didn't know if anyone would read. He wrote because he wanted the world to know truth, no matter the cost to himself.

Forty lashes, administered five times
Beaten with rods three times
Stoned once
Shipwrecked three times
A night and a day in the deep
Perils of every kind
Hungry, cold, weary and naked
And even worse? The care of the churches

Dear writing readers... We have no idea what suffering for our craft means. Are we willing to find out? Will we write when no one reads? Will we self-publish  and if necessary,give away our books to those who need truth? Will we endure when the reviews are terrible? Will we take rejection with a grin?

There is only one way to find out. Keep on writing, no matter what.

Brenda J Wood

June 26, 2013

Content Is King: Tips for Better Blogging - Bonnie Way

I started my blog seven years ago as a way to encourage myself to write.  My blog gave me a place to put my writing and an audience (I hoped) to read my writing.  Since then, my blog has changed and grown as I've learned more about blogging and as blogging and social media have themselves changes.  Amid all the changes of the blogging world, however, one thing has stayed the same: Content is king.

As writers who are bloggers, we have the ability to offer quality, well-written content to our readers.  As writers who are Christians, we have a further call to excellence in our writing, whether that writing is a poem or a novel or a short blog post.  With that in mind, here are a few resources I've found that have helped me to be a better blogger.

10 Must-Have Blog Elements
Kelli Miller and Crystal van Tassel have created an excellent series of videos called #LearnToBlog.  You can find their videos on YouTube or on Crystal's blog.  I highly recommend taking the hour to watch "10 Must-Have Blog Elements," which are applicable for any blogger.

Use Keywords Effectively
Another video by Crystal and Kelli explains how to use keywords well on your blog.  This is important for any blogger who wants to drive more traffic to their blog, but especially for authors who are attempting to write in a certain niche.  Use these tips to research the keywords related to your book and then work at crafting blog posts around those keywords to improve your search engine ranking with Google for those keywords. 

Great Photos Help Great Content
Today's social media is increasingly becoming photo-driven, especially with the rise of Pinterest.  Great photos can help any blog post stand out more.  Check out my post on using photos with your blog for more tips.

Share Your Great Content
Writing great content is a great start, of course, but people also have to find your content.  One way to do this is by linking up with other bloggers.  Many bloggers host linkies where you can leave a link to your blog post and visit the other bloggers who've also linked up to leave comments on their posts.  A few linkies that I recommend include:

What is the best tip you've received about blogging?  Where you do you go to learn more about blogging?

~ © Bonnie Way 

June 25, 2013

How the Lord got me Started! by Bobbi Junior

Blogging. Oh my. Although I’d been hearing for ages that any writer who wanted to move forward in the New World needed to blog, it wasn’t for me.

Being 60+ years of age, my brain is hard-wired for pen and paper. I made the transition to computers, software, downloading, and e-mailing while my brain could still adjust, but now, each new cyber-update leaves me trembling. Blogging seemed beyond my reach, and I rejected the idea without further consideration.

However, God will have his way! 

September 2012 found me at my first Inscribe conference in Wetaskiwin. The message was inescapable, as now I was hearing it from these speakers as well: “Go forth and blog!” 

Driving home I nurtured my resistant mindset: “No way. I don’t have the skills. I don’t have the interest. This isn’t for me.” 

I neglected to consider the Lord might have a different opinion. 

As I pulled into the city I had a sudden revelation. My daughter and son-in-law run a website design company. Surely they could set me up. (Seriously! I had such a mental block to blogging, it had never occurred to me I had the perfect resource at my beck and call.)

The kids were thrilled to set me up. An afternoon sitting with my son-in-law and I was ready to go. My plan was simple. If I was going to do this, I would be disciplined. I would ask God’s direction in each article, and I would post every Saturday. 

How to get the word out that this new blog existed? Another simple strategy. Once I published my Saturday blog, I would copy the link and post it on my Facebook page. Now, at least a few people were able to be aware.

I remember the first time I received notification that someone had commented. WOW! How exciting! A friend had shared some kind words.

Slowly, more notable progress occurred. 
  • Someone pulled a quote out of my blog and posted it on THEIR Facebook wall.
  • Someone I didn’t know commented on one of my posts. He didn’t like what I’d said, but that was fine! I was thrilled.
  • Someone linked my website in their blog post.

After 10 months I have just 9 subscribers. Readership is another matter. The link I post on Facebook each week will quickly draw interest, especially if the title intrigues people. Some weeks I’ve had as many as 95 readers on a particularly sensitive topic. Other weeks, 10.

Recently I was asked to speak for a local organization. When several asked for copies of my talk, I posted it on my blog. I put the link on Facebook, and e-mailed it to those in the organization. They in turn posted the link in their newsletter. Suddenly my blog profile is growing. 

I don’t know where the Lord will take this, but for me, it’s one more step as he draws me out of my solitary writing mode and into the cyber world.

Are you considering blogging? My recommendation is to pray about it with an open mind. You may be as surprised me as the Lord has gently moved me to this new cyber-experience.

While Bobbi has been writing for several decades, sharing her words in a public forum is relatively new.  In 2011 her mother's progression into dementia could no longer be ignored. One day she demanded, "Someone needs to write about this!" Bobbi began to share snippets of her mother's story in a blog, and is now documenting her mother's journey in a manuscript: The Reluctant Caregiverwww.bobbijunior.com

June 24, 2013

To Blog or Not to Blog, That is the Question! - Lynn Dove

When I published my first book, "Shoot the Wounded" I was a rookie in the market place.  I had absolutely no idea how to develop a platform, how to market, didn't have a Twitter account, Pinterest hadn't been established, and I did not have any idea what it meant to blog or to be a blogger.  As I have stated in a previous posting, I was mentored by some wonderfully successful writers and I very quickly learned that the best way to get "noticed" is to have an established blog.  Most readers will check out new authors by reading their blogs first before they buy the books.  It's a good way to see if an author can actually write!

In fact, two boys from my church's youth group, Mike and Daniel Blackaby, who are both best-selling authors now, were "discovered" by someone reading their wildly popular blogs first.  I'm sure being the grandsons of "Experiencing God" author, Henry Blackaby, may have attributed to some of their success, but their blogs have definitely launched their writing careers.  I am so blessed and honoured to have been their Sunday School teacher ...I can always say, "I knew them when...!"

Blogging.  Who knew that I would enjoy the experience of blogging perhaps even more than I do writing books!  In fact, if I were totally honest, I am sure I have more people following my blog than have actually read my books.  Blogging has become a way for me to connect with people on a personal level and the feedback I receive from readers makes me very aware that this is way more than a writing platform for me, it has become a ministry.

If you are an author, it is vitally important to have a blog.  Write from the heart and write often. 

A good rule of thumb when blogging:
1.  Write at least 1 - 3 times a week.  (Yes, it's a lot of work sometimes, but the more you write, the more engaged you are with your readers.)

2.  Write what interests you and what will interest your reader.

3.  Don't be long-winded.  It's hard to tell a writer to keep it brief, but readers who read blogs want "short and sweet" articles.  Think about your blog like a devotional - brief and to the point.
I would highly recommend to those authors and writers who are contemplating starting a blog to go to Michael Hyatt's blog for suggestions on how to set up a blog, what to write about, etc. etc.  He is a "professional" blogger and has some common sense advice to seasoned and rookie bloggers alike.

Lynn Dove calls herself a Christ-follower, a wife, a mom, a grandmother, a teacher and a writer (in that order). She is the author of award winning books: The Wounded Trilogy.  Her blog, Journey Thoughts won a Canadian Christian Writing Award - 2011.  She has also had essays published in LifeWay magazines: "HomeLife" and "Parenting Teens", "Mother of Pearl: Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith" and "Chicken Soup for the Soul - Parenthood" (March 2013).  Readers may connect with Lynn on Facebook, Twitter and on her blog: Journey Thoughts 

June 23, 2013

There is Healing in the Writing by Terrie Lynne

As I quietly type out my posting in the wee hours of this morning, I find it difficult to stay focused on the task at hand. My thoughts drift to the concerns of my dear, sweet Mom who is undergoing surgery tomorrow and to the thousands of people in southern Alberta who have lost their homes, businesses and even loved ones over the last few days due to major flooding. I whisper a prayer for them and refocus, but my mind seems as blank as this page that I'm staring at. The thought comes to me, "Why write...what's the point?"

I'm reminded of the words that were spoken deep into my soul last summer, "There is healing in the writing", and I remember what I still believe to be true about writing. For me, the blank page is like a meeting place where I can "lay my cards on the table" through words on the page. I can be myself and bare my soul to the one that I am writing to, be it the Almighty Counsellor, the Author and Finisher of my faith, a family member, a friend or that someone out there in cyberspace that may just need a word of encouragement for that moment.

I'm reminded of revelations from last summer that I still believe to be true; that if I wait until I feel 100% confident in myself or that everything is perfect in my life, then I will never write because that will most likely never happen this side of heaven. Why? Because I'm human...you're human. We live in a broken and fallen world that desperately needs a Saviour and His healing and empowering grace.

It's a world that needs to see my transparency, both as a believer and a writer; to see that I need His healing and empowering grace in order to live out every moment of the day, and that I am simply nothing without Him!

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

In Him we live and move and have our being . Acts 17:28

If you are in Me and I in you, you will bare fruit; apart from me nothing. John 15:5

June 21, 2013

David's Final Blog Posting - Sulo Moorthy

These days, as I lay on my bed under a mound of blankets, frail and old, awaiting  my end to come, I love to look back on my bygone years and revel on the goodness of God. It's beyond anyone's imagination, how, I,  who grew up in an unknown town like Bethlehem and spent most of my boyhood  watching over my father's sheep, became a king to rule over the entire nation of Israel.

In fact, I wasn't even considered as a tag-along by my father or brothers when they went to the sacrifice given by Samuel. Until Samuel asked them to send for me, they hadn't even noticed my absence.

Probably, in their eyes, I was just a kid, a dreamer, who's good at only watching sheep and playing the harp. Unlike my handsome looking, muscled bodied brothers, who were sent to the battle front to fight with the Philistines, I was sent there only to deliver bread and cheese to my brothers and to bring back news about them to my father.

Like any youngster, I hated to be left alone in the fields faraway from my family and friends. Now, looking back, I find those days to be the best times of my whole life. Being alone and away from people, I had ample time to talk to God, to notice His fingerprints on things around, and even hear Him in the quietness of the dawning hours.

For any onlooker, I might have seemed wasting my time doing anything interesting. But I must say, watching my sheep in the fields, gazing the stars at  the night, and  spearing bears behind the bushes taught me much more valuable lessons than what I had learned being on the throne.

Wow! To be named as the Man after God's own heart by God Himself is the highest honor anyone could wish for, and I was so blessed to receive it.   In comparison, the bejewelled crown placed on my head, the wealth acquired as a king, or the fame of conquering many cities weigh far less value to me.

I'm not trying to paint a perfect picture of me to gain admiration here.  Neither do I deny the horrendous deeds I did to stain my life.  But, as far as my devotion towards my God is concerned,I wouldn't even question it for a second. I must say, I sought the LORD with the eyes of my heart that I saw Him everywhere and in everything. That's what made me to blurt out in songs and dance around joyfully whether I was leading my sheep in the fields or returning to my city  in a victory parade.

My deepest regret, which I weep over even to this day is how I grieved the LORD, by my foolish acts. Even though I had the assurance of His forgiveness, I cannot still forgive myself for what I did. .

I presume, power and prosperity must have boosted my ego to block God from my view for a while. And how quickly a mere look at another man's wife over the balcony led me to commit the horrible sins I had never imagined myself doing. Me...an adulterer and a murderer? But, I did become one, and didn't even feel guilty about it till Nathan pointed his finger at me. That was the worse part.

I do not know how many days more I'm going to live. I had chosen Solomon over Adonijah to be the king after me, because he's much wiser, and fears God as I do. However, I warned him about the trap of temptations and told him if he ever backslides in his commitment to God, His  favor would surely depart from him as it did with king Saul.

If you ask me what advice I want to give to the future generation before I go,  I'd say the following:

"Seek the Lord with full adoration. Love Him for who He is  and not for what you can get out of His hands.

Let your love be genuine towards Him and towards others. Trust Him at all times, even when He seems too faraway to heed to your cries.

Temptation can come in any form. Never say, you wouldn't fall for it. I too overestimated myself like that at one time. See what happened. So,watch out your steps !"

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord - David (Psalm 150:6)


June 20, 2013

Because Lorrie Orr Is Right - Brenda J. Wood

Because Lorrie Orr Is Right!

I am posting this letter my daughter recently received from her newly widowed girl friend.

"Yes, I got your Mom's book! The Pregnant Pause of Grief)  I've been doing OK handling things and adjusting to life without Andy - my house nearly flooding this spring was a big one but I managed without a meltdown. But last week putting my dog down and living that again was nearly my undoing.

I have been thankful for your Mom's writing - it gave me something to focus on during the days I awaited test results that was helpful to healing and kept me from falling apart. It was the hardest time I've had since March and was far too soon for me to live again. So I can't thank your Mom enough for giving me something so tangible to help me during this time - who would have ever thought I'd have such a refresher to my mourning all over again so soon?

 For all that I've been through, I still feel incredibly blessed. Thank you for thinking of me and please thank your Mom. I hope she's ok and I admire the strength it took to share her journey with me and others learning this road. I hope it helped her in writing it as it has helped me :)Take care,

You see, folks, this is why we write--to change lives. Publishing is a bonus...but writing the words and sharing them in some form is what really counts.

Brenda J Wood

June 18, 2013

The Theology of Inspiration - Dayna E. Mazzuca

We're pleased to welcome InScribe member Dayna Mazzuca today as our Guest Blogger on InScribe Writers Online.

For a writer, the search for inspiration is constant and ongoing. This sounds laudable, except the perfect phrase, or opening line, or even story structure often comes when we least expect it. It’s one of the paradoxes writers live with, a truth-of-the-trade.

I can be on my morning walk to the duck pond and be inspired by a fallen willow branch letting in the sun. I’ll come home and write a poem about God’s mercy breaking through in a storm. Or watching my son collect rocks at the beach and compose a poem about wanting the “heart of stone I own” to feel like flesh again. I can be piling my kids into the van and begging God for patience. When suddenly I’m in touch with my own childhood and my mother’s endless patience—that I took for granted for too many years.

That’s how it happens. I’m living life and I’m struck with a phrase, a poem or a memory that wants to be told.

So why do we, as writers, actively look and search for and concoct creative moments? What makes us think that when we ask for inspiration we will receive? Or when we knock on the door of our imagination it will produce? Or when we seek something meaningful to discuss that it will materialize?

Personally, I think we ask, seek and knock because we know it’s there. We know those moments happen. We hear those special words. We feel things beneath the surface. That’s why we write: to connect the dots between the ordinary and the extraordinary.

There’s a subtle point of reconciliation between this “seeking what can only be found when we’re not looking.” When we, as Christian writers, knock around for creative inspiration, we realize it’s really our own hearts and minds that we’re asking God to make receptive, open and aware. We want to notice what is right in front of us. We want to have ears to hear what is happening all around us. We want our spirits attuned to the unseen, as well as to the special, even divine, nature of what we can see.

To write inspiring words, in any genre, we must be living inspired lives. And that means being receptive to God, as he comes to us in our everyday lives. This is made possible for us by God coming to us in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. There is a working theology to our working lives.

We live in an incarnational world. And more often than not, for writers, it’s the theology of the Word of God becoming flesh and living among us that underlies our ability to invest with meaning what we do see, hear, taste, smell and touch. Words matter. So, the ability to receive and translate that creative spark into words our readers can understand is something we take seriously. And so, we prepare ourselves—our hearts and minds—to imagine reality. Afresh.

We ask. We seek. We knock. Then we relax, and wait for life to reveal its glory, as we know it will. In the walks we take, in the things we pick up, and in the tasks we perform. God is with us. As writers, we have the pleasure of saying this most basic truth in so many, many different ways. Thanks be to God for this gift he has given us.

Dayna E. Mazzuca, former journalist and magazine writer, is working as a poet and freelancer for Christian media on beautiful Vancouver Island. She's a homeschooler, creative workshop leader, writing coach and leads women's writing circles. Her bio is online at www.daynawrites.com; she blogs at iWonder.

June 17, 2013

To Blog Or Not To Blog? by Bryan Norford

That is the question. It faces me weekly. Because I blog each week as a form of discipline, I face that blank screen every time, often without an idea what to write. Surely, if nothing is moving me, why write? And then, if only a handful of readers respond, what’s the point anyway?

Of course, I could be motivated by the possibility my blogs will be discovered in some future century, but that’s far too remote. However, my grandchildren and beyond might be interested someday. That thought does cross my mind occasionally.

But to be honest, if I write as a discipline, I write for myself. If so, why write, for isn’t writing primarily for others to read? If that is true, then writing for self-discipline is a contradiction. Which brings me back to the original question: why blog?

Then again, blogging is almost universal. Anyone with an itch for writing blogs, and few of us will attain a readership like Ann Voskamp. Add to that an often passionless article and the effort to blog becomes almost meaningless.

Perhaps my problem is really one of pride. Do I measure my worth by my readership? The truth is, some always read my blogs, and one person encouraged, blessed, or challenged is worthwhile. The least inspired writing is still a reflection of me, providing some colour and diversity to the world.

June 16, 2013

The Sparrow Of Galilee - by Marcia Janson

Oh, what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day...

I sing to the sun as it rises over the distant mountains, bathing the treetops with light. On mornings like this, I sense clearly the grand and loving Presence, the One who weaves life and breath into everything. Joy rises in my breast and I hop from branch to branch, singing my finest song. The leaves on my tree quiver as The Presence draws near and I know that my music is pleasing to Him. A heavy covering of water droplets has settled on the ground during the dark hours and I can see breakfast worms poking through the damp soil. Mmmm…

Tummy full, I flap my wings and soar down into the valley, where the rest of my flock sits chattering in a grove of olive trees. Some humans have gathered nearby. We keep well away from them, for they are leaders in the land and their taste for bird flesh makes them a danger to us.

A man walks up the hillside a little way and sits down. There is something familiar in his eyes and, when he starts to speak, The Presence vibrates in his words and demeanor. I flap my wings with excitement and trill a sweet melody of greeting. My friends in the trees and hills all around respond in kind.

The mountains and the hills will burst into song,
and the trees of the field will clap their hands! ~ Isaiah 55:12

I watch the humans. Will they sing? Dance about? Surely they sense The Presence in their midst! It is hard to tell with humans, but they do look as if they are listening intently. Some shift and fidget and others nod their heads and murmur; some wipe tears from their cheeks and others gaze at the speaker with hungry eyes.

The man talks for a very long time and the crowd swells as more people come to listen. Despite the multitude of humans, we birds rest in peace among the olive branches. For the man has a rare and gentle authority.

At last the man rises to his feet and many of the humans clap and cheer. As they follow him down the mountainside, they chatter amongst themselves and I wonder if this how they express their joy in The Presence.

The sun has travelled across the sky and is on its descent toward the night hours. My throat is dry, so I head for a quiet spring close to my home. Landing near the water’s edge, I wade in a bit and dip my head right under the water, flinging water droplets up so they sparkle in the afternoon sun. Other birds join me and then we flit from one tree to another, drying our feathers in the air currents.

The sun slips behind the distant mountains and it’s time to head to our resting places. I settle in my cozy nook, high amongst the branches of a tree. As I tuck my head under one wing, I’m startled by the screech of an owl. The large bird glides past my tree and the “whoosh” of his wings ruffles my feathers. My heart races, but then The Presence is there with me, saying, "Be still, little sparrow, be still." And so I am.

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest
and raises her young at a place near your altar... ~ Psalm 84:3