May 30, 2015

Human by Susan Barclay

Censorship is a very important topic among librarians and the organizations that exist to educate and support them. It's an important subject in the day and age in which we live, a time when people are killed for exercising the freedom of expression (Charlie Hebdo, anyone?). 

The reality is, though, that everyone censors to one degree or another. We all decide what we're going to share and how much we're going to bare. It's called self-censoring. Even the most enlightened librarian in a position of acquiring new library materials will practice some form of bias. Certain items will get ordered, others not. Of course there is a limitation of funds, but still. And writers also self-censor. We pick and choose which personal thoughts, feelings and experiences we write about. We tell some things and not others. Whether this is to protect ourselves or our readers depends on what we are writing about and who we think our readers are.

We all have a tendency to put our best foot forward. We want others to view us favourably, to think well of us. So we write ourselves the way we want to be seen, and rationalize our thoughts, actions and decisions to create the most positive spin. Don't you agree?

Having said all of this, what type of person do we most admire or want to befriend? I think it's the person who is authentic and transparent, the one who is willing to be real. This doesn't mean she has to share her story on national television or draw worldwide attention to herself. It means she has to be willing to self-reveal in private conversations with people she cares about or is interested in, who will hopefully treat her authenticity with the respect it is due.

What does this mean for writers? Should we withhold the "breathings" of our heart and share them only with certain people in oral settings? Should we fill our pages with these breathings and send them into the world where anyone may regard them and treat them how they wish? Self-censor and rationalize or be authentic and transparent? 

Quite honestly, I find it hard to say. I think it depends on the person and the story she has to share. I think it depends on how willing she is to accept any response and on how valuable her thoughts/feelings/experiences/knowledge may be to someone else who may be thinking/feeling/experiencing the same thing or its polar opposite. 

I have shared personal stories online and in print. I have revealed parts of my self. I have tried to be authentic and transparent. I've no doubt also omitted details that may be too personal or that would have painted me in a less than rosy hue. What can I say?

I am human.
For more of my writing, please visit 

May 29, 2015

How are you? - Ruth L. Snyder

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." -William Wordsworth
It started at the breakfast table. After we read about what qualities God looks for in a person and how we should look beyond people's actions and appearances.

"You're dumb. I don't like you."

"I don't like you either."

"Mom, Levi's bugging me."

I sighed. My husband was already at work. "Are you guys being kind to one another?"

They gave me crooked grins and shook their heads. It was quiet for a few milliseconds before they were at each other,  again.

I took a deep breath and prayed for wisdom. The day before Steve Green's Hide Em in Your Heart had calmed them all. I put on the music. Today it didn't seem to make a difference for them, but it calmed me. I repeated expectations and separated two of the boys.

Time to write in agendas. I opened one up and read:

"Levi wore boots to school. Please make sure he wears shoes."

A thought flitted through my head. "I'd like to see her get five kids ready for school in the morning." I quell the urge to react.

"Sorry for the boots. By the time I realized he was wearing them it was too late to get him to change before the bus came."

"Mom, can I have an egg?"

Dorothy had already eaten cereal. She must have been hungry this morning, because usually she didn't want to eat more than a few mouthfuls.

"Sure." I fried an egg, then continued on to the next journal.

"Luke, did you make your lunch?" No answer. I found him in his room, playing. "Is your lunch in your backpack?"

He shook his head.

"Go get it done and then you can come play."

"My stomach doesn't feel good." It was Dorothy. The egg sat in her bowl, untouched.

"Go get dressed and then see how you feel."

Journal writing completed. Two lunches out of four made.

"What do you want for lunch today, Levi? There's some pizza in the fridge."

He nodded, then smiled when I handed him a slice.

I glanced at the clock. Ten minutes until the kids needed to go to the bus. Dorothy was still upstairs. I found her with her clothes heaped in front of her, still in her pyjamas.

"Need some help?"

She nodded. We worked together.

"Okay, go brush your hair and then we'll get your hearing aids in."

We both walked down the stairs. She went to brush her hair. I grabbed her hearing aids and placed them on the table. Levi's hearing aids were still sitting there. I found him heading out to see our dog, Olaf. I handed him the hearing aids and went to check on Dorothy. Across the house I heard Levi's hearing aids squealing. I finished with Dorothy, then went back to Levi. His hearing aids sat in the windowsill with both earmolds separated from the hearing aids.

"I don't want to wear my hearing aids today."

"Is there a problem with them?"

"I just don't want to wear them."

Jayson came up behind me. "I have the leash for Olaf."

"Okay, but I need to check on Dorothy first."

He followed me like a puppy. I didn't want him to follow me, but he wasn't doing anything wrong. I bit my tongue.

Dorothy had her hair brushed. We worked together on her lunch. Time to go.

Jayson and I went outside. Olaf wagged his tail and bounced around, happy to see us. It took me a couple minutes to get him to settle enough to get the leash on and unhook his chain. We walked down the driveway, stopping a few times for me to talk to Olaf and settle him. He seemed more energetic than normal.

We finally made it down the driveway. Luke had rubber boots on.

"What happened to your shoes?"

"I couldn't find them."

Great. I can already see the note I'm going to receive in the agenda.

Then, Levi came into view. He had boots on too - his older sister's boots. She's not around this morning, but I can imagine what she'd be saying if she were. Argh!

"Levi, you can't wear those boots. They're Grace's. Let's go change."

Levi, Olaf and I returned to the house. Poor Olaf didn't understand why he was being put back on his chain. He yipped.

I took Levi back into the house where we replaced the boots and he put on his shoes. I also found Luke's shoes. We walked back down the driveway, arriving just in time for Levi to get on the bus with his siblings. I placed a smile on my face and waved as it left.


About twenty minutes later my husband found me at my desk.

"How are you?"

"This morning was challenging, but I'm okay." If he only knew, I thought.

(Maybe I'll get him to read this sometime.)

May 28, 2015

The Breathings of God's Heart - Bruce Atchison

Isn't The Holy Bible the breathings of God's heart? Second Timothy chapter two and verse sixteen declairs that all scripture is God-breathed. Therefore when we read it or hear it read aloud, we're experiencing the breathings of the Lord's heart.

We can discover much from studying our heavenly Father's communication with humanity. We learn of his continual sorrow when we reject his sovereign and magnanimous love.  Reading the Old Testiment prophets alone shows how troubled the Lord was over Israel's never-ending harlotries. Jesus also wept over Jerusalem because he knew how close they came to meeting their messiah and yet they rejected him. Christ also wept as he foresaw what would happen in A.D. 70.

Our heavenly Father's joy is also manifest in both testiments. Whether it was his blessings on Israel when they worshipped him or his joy over Christ's faithfulness, even a casual reading shows how the Lord felt about those he chose. At the end of the worldly system, Jesus will pronounce his joyous blessing on all of us who have been faithful.

God's anger is also evident in scripture. Sadly, some non Christian readers mistake it for petty jealousy and many other insulting things that I'd rather not list. This is because they don't know him as we do, as our heavenly Father. Like any good parent, he punishes bad behaviour for its sake alone. Our Lord is immune to the human faults of peevishness or waking up in a bad mood. His justice is just, completely free of malice.

The Bible also shows us that God laughs at the puny efforts of humanity to rebel against him. As (Psalms 59:8 KJV)says,  "But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision." We human beings figure we're made of gold and can't be sold, yet we lack the experience of our eternal and all-powerful Lord to see how foolish we look.

One of the most wonderful facts we can learn in regard to our relationship with God is that, through Jesus, he knows what it's like to be human. Hebrews chapter two and verse sixteen to eighteen demonstrates how he experienced life as we do, not as if he were some distant super being without emotion or empathy.

The passage above deeply touched me as I recovered from the teachings of an aberrant house church minister. Please listen to my testimony here and rejoice with me that our heavenly Father rescues lost lambs from the clutches of wicked shepherds.


May 27, 2015

Writing From the Heart…it’s gonna get messy! by Melanie Fischer

When I think of the saying “breathings of the heart,” I think of eloquent words and articulate phrases.

When I write breathings of the heart, there tends to be a lot of hot air. I spill my guts onto my page—making it rather soggy—then I pray that it dries out by the time I need to publish it.

May we not get trapped in Hollywood’s version of writing, where the writer just breathes and the words show up on the page. There might be a micro thin slice of writers who are able to do this. But for most of us there is much crying, cussing, weeping, wallowing, and pleading with the Lord to making our writers life a bit easier.


Because writing from the heart is tough. Writing from the heart is not usually as neat and tidy as
many finished products appear. And writing from the heart gets messy. But messy is what needs to happen before it can get neat.

Think of a pure white carpet. A cup of fruit juice spills on it and it is changed forever. You sop up the
bulk of the mess, but scrubbing, soaking and bleaching will not release the grip of the stain that is left behind.

Writing from the heart happens in much the same way. You spill your messy nitty gritties onto the 
pure white page. Then pray for wisdom and discernment to sop up the words which do not need to stay—If you are going to rely on breathing for your writing, may it be the breath of prayer.

No need to lament over messy writing…that is what leaves the stains behind in order to make your piece unforgettable.
Melanie's hunger for purpose fuels her blog at

May 26, 2015

Breath Test by Marnie Pohlmann

I am not a fan of exercise, but a few years ago, my town became the focus of a television show called “Village on a Diet.” My husband and I joined other townsfolk to learn about healthy living. Together we climbed hills, built community gardens, hiked, and ate tofu (yuck!) Every Sunday afternoon we gathered to walk or run about four kilometers. Taping a television show was a lot of fun, and some lifestyle changes did stick, but the best part was the building of community – learning who our neighbours were and encouraging one another to a healthier lifestyle.

During that time, I learned about the “walking breath test.” While you are exercising, if you can carry on a conversation you are doing alright. If your heart is racing and you are gasping for breath, you may be able to continue for a little while more, but you soon need to slow down to recover. Of course, as I exercised more regularly, I was able to walk further, faster, and still visit with my co-panting friends.

Many writers use the healthy exercise of personal journals to process their daily lives – the good, the bad, the ugly, the painful, and the celebrations. The question is, at what point do we share that personal breathing of our heart and soul?

Like the walking breath test, I use a writing breath test. If, as I write my story, state my position, or share my heart, tears course down my cheeks, I am stretching my feelings with those tears as a healthy cleansing of emotional toxins, much like exercise sweat. However, if I begin to huff with anger, or sob in sorrow, I need more time before I share that writing with others. If I am not able to read the words aloud, or I leave my writing desk to kick the dog or eat a gallon of ice cream, those are signs I am not ready to carry on that particular conversation. When my feelings are still raw as I write, overwhelming me with grief, depression, or anger, my words may cause injury. I need to slow down to continue my recovery – to pray, heal, submit, and process through God’s eyes, what I am writing.

This may be one reason I have not (yet?) established my own personal blog. The temptation to publish in the passion of the moment is strong, but is sure to leave me gasping in pain, raging over injustice, or misrepresenting my Lord. You see, my heart daily battles with the black of sin, and while Christ has washed me white as snow, I still bleed red with emotion. Like the song I learned as a child says, I need to “be careful little mouth what you say.”

I can honestly share the secrets and angst of my past and present, the wheezing of my soul, to encourage others as God leads. There are times, though, when God gives me a very clear "not yet", "be quiet" or even “shut up” – because either I am not ready to speak or someone is not ready to hear. When the time and place is right, I believe my words will heal, not harm others or myself.

So as I share stories or lessons from my most personal journals that are my heart breaths, I continue to apply the writing breath test.

photo credits:
Lose Weight Now -
Crying -
Be Still Journal - Marnie Pohlmann

May 25, 2015

On my heart... By:Vickie Stam

With all of the social media in the world today one might think I would have learned to let my hair down, relax and express myself, but I'm just not that comfortable yet. I have to admit, I'm a little envious of people's ability to openly share the breathings of their heart without leaving even the smallest details out. The truth is, I came from a family where I was expected to be "seen and not heard." I was forbidden to speak my mind, discouraged from sharing my opinion and told to play quietly and sit quietly. It comes as no surprise that most people who know me well, describe me as someone who is "quiet."

I would describe myself as someone who has found her voice but often shivers at the thought of using it.   

Still, not that long ago, Facebook was merely something my friends talked about. I never would have considered being a part of this social network until my sister convinced me this was a good thing. "You'll be able to see the pictures I post from where I live in Prince Edward Island and we can message one another too." "It's a great way to stay in touch." she said.

The photos she posts are beautiful and I do enjoy sending her messages. But then there's that box that calls me, the one that asks..."What's on your mind?" It stares at me every time I log into Facebook, just waiting for me write something...anything. I gaze at it as though it were some sort of test. So every now and then I coax myself to share something. 

In fact, not so long ago, in that very box, I shared how much I've enjoyed the privilege of writing for InScribe's on-line blog for over a year. No one so much as hinted that they've even read anything I've written on InScribe nor did they even ask about InScribe itself. I'll be honest, there was a part of me that was breathing a sigh of relief. All the feedback I receive from my friends at InScribe is always kind. Very encouraging! But, will I receive the same from my friends on Facebook?

I write almost daily. My journals hold the breathings of my heart and when I'm ready to share them whether on Facebook or someplace else, God will open the door for me and tell me-- it's time for you to breath.





May 24, 2015

Breathings of My Heart by Tandy Balson

Several years ago I heard a song that reduced me to tears.  It seemed to speak to the breathings of my heart.

The song talks about what you hope people will say about you after you pass on.  I still get emotional when I hear the words, “She loved more than anything else.  She loved, with all of her heart.”

This resonates so strongly with me because it is the cry of my heart to accept, encourage and inspire others by showing them love.  The more I bask in the Father’s love, the easier it is to reflect it to those around me.

Until a few years ago this was done through a smile, a hug or spoken words.  As personally rewarding as these methods of sharing love were, God had something bigger in store for me.

He chose to give me words to write down and share.  Not only did these words point others to the love of God, they made it deeper and more personal for me.  
The message of God’s love that has flowed through my fingertips has spread farther than my spoken word ever could have.  I am humbled that He chose to breathe His love though my heart and onto the page.

May 23, 2015

In This Place by Lynn J Simpson

A breathing of my heart at 16 yrs old;
Hope is not the closing of our eyes of risk, difficultly or failure. It is the trust that if I fail now, I will not fail forever; that if I am hurt, I shall be healed; that life is good and love is powerful; and I shall find myself, and others, and God.

 And 30 years later;

 Friends draw my eyes to the abundant skies. So often I fill my plate with a heap of doing but what gives me more nutrition is a mountain of being. Friends keep me centred on the journey, vividly colouring my skies daily. Friends are true treasures and blessings from God!

 And six month ago;
Jesus, help me to love as You call me to love and not to cause breaking of the unity of the oneness You call us for. For I know my heart longs for that unity, that oneness is how you made us. But my sinfulness, my un-forgiveness destroys that unity. Help me to extend graciousness because You call me to, not for my own expectations of what I think is 'right.' Help me be righteous as You call me to be, not self-righteous which only breaks the unity. And continue to heal my heart Lord as You are my healer and redeemer. Amen

 And today;

 Even in the dryness of this place, separated from the crowd, where words do not form but instead, I feel only the rising of my chest with each breath and the beats of my heart with each step.  Even in this solitary place You have led me, where pleasures do not form, where human comfort does not exist, where I can’t find You in the song, in the worship, and can only sit in church and cry. Even in this silent place, I know that life is good and love is powerful; that You are refining me, correcting me, leading me to living Waters.  And I keep my eyes open in hope of You turning this desert into a fruitful garden. Even in this place, I breathe in; I look up to the abundant sky. And my heart beats.


May 22, 2015

The Road I Walk Is Quite A Journey! by Alan Anderson

Years ago the Beatles brought out a song called "The Long and Winding Road". I know I date myself when I refer to the Beatles but good music never dies! A line of the song goes, "the long and winding road that leads me to your door." I feel at times that my life is on a long and winding road. I believe I know where it leads but sometimes I wonder as I wander. At times I may wander off the road and take the odd detour. I may also lose my way and become somewhat lost or misdirected. My journey of life kind of reminds me of John Bunyan's story "Pilgrim's Progress". Anyway, I digress. 

Dear writer friends, what is your road like?  Where is it leading you?  Perhaps like mine you come to a hill on the road that looks insurmountable. The hill may also be made of gravel and has potholes all over it. The potholes fill with water when it rains and it becomes difficult to walk on. In spite of such perceived obstacles or drawbacks or things that may slow us down, we must keep on keeping on.  Even the grief in our lives, 
our grief journey, our road paved with sadness and dips of despair, leads somewhere.  I thought of this many times after hearing of the “miscarriages” experienced by my daughter and one of my daughters-in-law.  Where does this part of the road lead?  What is the purpose of this part of my life’s journey?

I live by the faith that devotes itself to the words of Jesus when He said, “I go to prepare a place for you.” That is good enough for me. The road ultimately leads to love we have never experienced before. It is the place where God lives!  It is the place where my grandchildren who were never born live!  Some day I will be there as well!  Wow, what a road I’m on!

May 21, 2015

Not Flatlined ... by Jocelyn Faire

I am like a little pencil in God’s hand. He does the writing. The pencil has nothing to do with it.
~Mother Teresa

The breathings of the heart.
For this months prompt ... I would like to share an excellent resource that was recommended to me in
my current Creative Writing course.
The book is called Writing the Mind Alive, The Proprioceptive Method for Finding your Authentic Voice, by Linda Trichter Metcalf and Tobin Simon.
I have fallen in love with this method of reflective journaling. For many of you who also journal your way through issues, this will be a resource you want in your library. Initially when my mentor suggested this method of writing, I did the google search on Proprioceptive Writing (PW) and had some reservations, thinking this sounded new agey. (And old fundamentalist habits want to steer clear of new agey.)

A lot of my own writings and journaling have been the conversations God and I have. This PW method added a steroid boost to writing the breathings of my heart. What Metcalf explains as the difference between journaling and PW is the reflective nature of the writing. The writer is instructed to ask the question—“What do I mean by ______” and then fill in the blank with what is being triggered in the writing. It is structured in a clear methodical way which includes the use of music, blank sheets of paper, a candle (this was where I thought it to be wonky). I veered from the method slightly to accommodate my musical tastes, I selected my own background music, and began with one worded song by Steve Bell—The Lorica, with lines that invite the Trinity to be present in the writing. I have been doing this for a month now, they recommend trying this five times a week, for half an hour each day ... and I must say there are times, 45 minutes passes without notice. I think because of my journal practice this deeper level of writing has been a fairly simple but exciting way that has
opened myself to hear the spirit.
If any of you have practiced PW I would love to hear from you. And if you haven't tried it, check it out ... it has been like the spring flowers to bring fresh breath into the breathings of my heart.

God said to Moses, “I AM who I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'” Exodus 3:14 NIV

From a recent writing at the end of my session:

You hold my right hand.
The longing, the aching I felt on Mother's Day as we sang
Better is one Day in your courts than thousands elsewhere.
Brittany has had ten years of one day in your court
And I have had thousands elsewhere ...
And yet, the longing to be with you, to be with her
Help me Jesus ..... I AM
You answer with I AM?
When I say help me, you say I AM
When I say walk beside me, you say I AM.
When I say Live in me, you say I AM
When I say Are you listening? You say I AM
Your name says it all, is that what you are trying to tell me? I AM
Thank you Jesus, that brings me a smile, Me too.
And when I can already hear the doubts, the unbelief question on this experience,
this feeling, and I say Help thou my unbelief, and you say I AM.
And I say Thank-You and you say ... Your welcome.

Jocelyn blogs at
 She is the author of Who is Talking out Of My Head, Grief as an out of Body Experience. 

May 20, 2015

Breathings-of-My-Heart, Where Are You? by Joylene M. Bailey

Sometimes I can’t hear the breathings of my heart for the screamings of my head.

From the moment I wake up in the morning the incessant yammering begins running through my brain.

Two deadlines to meet by Sunday. Gotta get crackin’!

Get groceries for the Care Group dinner on Friday.

Meet Christine for lunch.

Go through that box in the closet.

Find my pearl necklace for the wedding. Who was the last person I lent it to?
Answer that email.
Library books due. Pay the credit card bill. Make sure his dress pants areironed.Findoutwherethatsmelliscomingfrom.Mailthatpackage.Gotothebank.Takethecattothevetwatertheplantsphonemomdefrostchicken...


I go to my favorite chair, open my Bible, ask God to speak. 

I listen to the breathings of His heart. 


And then …

There you are, breathings-of-my-heart!