June 30, 2016

In His Image by Susan Barclay

I come from a somewhat artistic family. My mom is great with her hands, using them to sew, knit and crochet, and later in life picked up a paintbrush and demonstrated some skill as an artist. Her sister is actually an artist and has painted all her life, as well as teaching others in the form. I am not a seamstress, knitter or crocheter, and dropped art after grade eight. 

There are perhaps two pieces of art I produced that I am not ashamed of: a painting of a whale that I probably did in elementary school or junior high, and a watercolour of a sunflower in a vase that I did when my aunt taught a one-night workshop in my home.

From my father’s side it would appear that I acquired a decent singing voice. I do enjoy singing and have been in both small groups and in choirs over the course of my life. I took vocal music in high school and at one point thought I would like to be a solo artist. But I knew I wasn’t sufficiently competitive, the industry was/is pretty cut-throat, and I wasn’t likely suited to it.

So here I am. It’s the writer’s life for me. God gave me a gift for words and a love of reading which goes hand-in-hand. I often think what a blessing it is that God has given many, if not all of us some form of creativity. He is the Creator, the One with the biggest imagination, and He made us in His image. Thus our creative abilities which bring us such joy.

How cool is that?
Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars. The Father doesn’t change like the shifting shadows produced by the sun and the moon. (James 1:17, GW)
Visit my website, www.susanbarclay.wordpress.com
for more about me and my writing 

June 29, 2016

Endless Summer Of Writing by Bob Jones

School’s out for the summer! Endless days of ice cream, popsicles, pools, playing in the park and… O wait, that was my post intro from 50 years ago.

For most of us, summer may not mean two empty calendar months like it does for students, but it does signify the start of a new season for learners.

You can look at this summer as a blank slate of possibility when it comes to writing.

This summer can be your time of experimentation. These next two months can be a creative playground to find new inspiration, dedicate time for your work in progress or start a new project.

Here's a suggested summer writing to-do list (courtesy of Jessica Lawlor at “The Write Life”):

1. Write in a new space. There’s nothing like removing yourself from your normal writing space to give you fresh perspective and new inspiration.

2. Plan an at-home writing retreat. Set aside a full afternoon with no distractions to write at home.

3. Participate in a summer reading challenge. The best way to become a better writer is to be a 
voracious reader.

4. Join a writing group or find a writing partner.

5. Clean up old files to find new inspiration. Sometimes, taking space from an old idea is just what we need to come back to it refreshed and inspired to start anew.

6. Start a blog. Blogging helps you build a personal brand, and can lead to valuable connections and new opportunities. It also helps you improve your own writing skills.

7. Find new blogs to read. Browse the list of 100 Best Websites for Writers

8. Refine your personal brand. Dedicate a little bit of time to further developing your unique personal brand as a writer through social media.

9. Pitch a guest post. Make a list of blogs where you’d love to see your work, research their submission guidelines and craft a pitch to send their way.

10. Plan ahead. Use summer as a time to plan for the future.

Summer may not hold the same meaning as it did when you were a kid, but you can still use these next few months to take your writing to the next level.

Let your summer of creativity begin!

Robert (Bob) W. Jones is a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. His office walls are adorned with his sons’ framed football jerseys, and his library shelves, with soul food. He writes to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose.

June 28, 2016

Marching to a Different Drum Machine

 I'm so thrilled with this month's topic. Many of us aren't mere writers but have talent in art, music, and other creative disciplines.

For me, it's electronic music. I've composed more than fifteen albums of synthesizer-based tunes. Some of them were rather experimental but many had strong melodies.

It was the German group Kraftwerk who inspired me to create my own electro-acoustic music. The first three albums from the band showed me that I, with limited resources, could compose and record my own music. They didn't have much in the way of equipment when they began either so they had to build or adapt whatever they could find.

As you would expect, my first attempts at electronic music were primitive, lacking in professional polish. But I improved as I acquired a few good synthesizers, pedals, and cheap keyboards.

Though I haven't had commercial success, my tunes have been played on radio stations in Moscow, Warsaw, Paris, Helsinki, and on various U.S. and Canadian college stations. One tune was even broadcast on CBC's Brave New Waves radio show. I received a nice royalty cheque from that airplay alone.

Kevin Prinsen, a fan who became a friend of mine, used my tunes in his Naked "I" art movie. It didn't get shown in theatres but I felt flattered that he liked my compositions so much.

I now have music videos of my compositions online. Please visit my Youtube channel to see and hear them.

June 27, 2016

What's V.I.P. Day?

This year Inscribe is hosting a VERY SPECIAL pre-conference event on Thursday, September 22 called VIP Day. What's it all about, you ask? Well, I'd be happy to tell you!

VIP Day is an all day event from 9:00 until 4:00 designed to help you build your author platform. Well known author Carolyn Aarsen will be the keynote speaker. You won't want to miss her amazing story of how she went from being a back woods writer to a New York published author - and she's a local! Other hands on activities will include getting a professional headshot, (and yes - there will likely be hair and makeup assistance before hand!) help with one sheets, press releases, elevator pitches AND MORE!

It's a full day designed to help you put together your author platform - and maybe pamper you just a little bit - while also inspiring you to reach for the stars.


Haven't registered yet? Get on it! More info below. 

Register for the Fall Conference!

Early Bird Rate Ends July 31
Conference: September 22 - 24, 2016

Check out our New VIP Day - Thursday, Sept 22            
 (special rates apply, limited seating)

    Inscribe: Supporting Canadian Christians Who Write


    4235 Gateway Blvd. NW Edmonton, AB

Have You Registered Yet?

InScribe's Fall Conference is just around the corner! (Well, maybe not JUST around the corner, but it's coming soon...) 

If you've ever been to Fall Conference you'll know what a fantastic time of growing and learning it is, not to mention the opportunity for face to face connections with other writers of Christian faith. Join us on September 22 - 24 in Edmonton at the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre. Linda Hall is the keynote speaker and there will be tons of other informative workshops. 

For more information or to register, go to the Inscribe Website. (While you're there, take note of the beautiful newly revamped website. Thanks to our webmaster, Janelle Baldwin, for doing such a stand out job.) Early bird rates are still in place so don't miss out!

Also of note:

Visual Arts Contest

Inscribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship would like to invite two dimensional art submissions from visual artists. The winning submission will be used as the November 2016 FellowScript Magazine cover and be featured on the InScribe website. The winning artist will receive a digital copy of the 2016 FellowScript Magazine cover. Second and third place winners will be featured on the InScribe website. For complete details see our FellowScript page on the website. 

June 26, 2016

Art Appreciation by Marnie Pohlmann

“Those who can do; those who can't, teach.” – George Bernard Shaw

Let me add that those who can’t teach appreciate.

I am a writer, but I try my hand at many creative endeavors – only to find out I am not
a musician,
an artist,
a dancer,
a performer,
a gardener,
a sewer,
a decorator;
and I am not even very crafty.

However, I appreciate the creativity that surrounds us. As a teen I fell asleep to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and watched my Dad and brothers perform in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. I have enjoyed Shakespeare at the Avon Theater in Stratford, Ontario and on the banks of the Saskatchewan River. I learned to read basic music. I have acted in skits. I learned to garden, somewhat. I have sewn simple items and chosen the colours and furniture for our home. When it comes to art, I feel like "a jack of all trades, master of none."

I have supplies for many creative arts. Cross-stitch, quilting, crocheting, stamping, card-making, colouring books… the list goes on and on. These supplies are loaned out more than used, and piled in totes, seldom touched by me as life elbows them out of the way.

I do find creative ways to live everyday life, though. Pretty napkins are added to the dining table. Fun pictures make announcements at church. Beautiful photograph backgrounds, some my own, contribute to worship song presentations and my blogs.

My soul is fed and my writing improved by seeing, hearing, and moving among the creativity around me. I cheer on friends and family as they draw, paint, or sew. Today as I write on my deck, wild fescue is dancing with the breeze in the empty lot beside my home. Chickadees are singing praise for God’s supply at the bird feeder. My sister-in-law (she really is the best) is painting our garden planter that is growing lettuce, dill, and herbs.

I have found, even when storms rage and crash on the shores of life, the magnificent imaginative power of God is evident. All around me life continually births anew, strengthening and inspiring my own God-gift of creativity.

Marnie blogs at Phosphorescent

June 25, 2016

Shy and Outgoing By Vickie Stam

I've always claimed to be one of those people sitting on the fence, somewhere between shy and outgoing. My husband, Tony is an extrovert through and through. At times I need a little help from him; an introduction to break the ice or an arm around my shoulder that lets me know he's there. Sometimes I'm not shy at all. 

Most days I want nothing more than to be surrounded by people, call some friends together and gather at the lake for good food and fellowship. Planning a dinner menu, playing games or just sitting around talking reveals the outgoing side of me. And then there are times when I want to just sit by the lake and observe the vast expanse of water and its ever changing patterns. I want to listen to the chatter among the birds, hear the sound of the waves lapping against the shore and embrace the freedom to just relax and be alone.    

A year ago Tony and I sold our cottage of seven years and purchased another one....right on the shores of Lake Erie. Some say, "The view is to die for!" I absolutely agree. It was all part of our retirement plan. We finished raising pigs last November and decided the lake was calling us. But there's work to be done. The old cottage is coming down and a new one is to go up. A place that will become our "forever home." It's all very exciting yet overwhelming too. 

We're now in constant decision making mode. 'Choices' seems to be the operative word these days and I keep hearing that familiar phrase, "The sky's the limit." I often wonder, just what their sky looks like. The number of people being added to this project is growing and some days I feel them stretching the capacity of my introverted limits. Too much information and opinions.       

Builders, planners, a drafting team, a demolition crew, excavation crew, site inspectors, county authorities, Long Point Conservation authorities and so on. It's really the beginning stages to receiving our permit. Deciding the pitch of the roof is not my forte. Thank goodness, Tony finds these task masters less daunting than I do. After a long day of discussions and choices I can't wait to sink my toes into the sand once again and not hear a peep from anyone.

It's true, our little cottage is an old three season structure that's small and the lack of proper insulation doesn't allow for us to live there over the winter. The pink carpet throughout is dated, marked by years of another family's summer fun and if a marble was rolled it would most certainly end up in a corner of the kitchen. A well defined slope has invaded the floor that was once level. Nothing about the place meets code.   

Still, in the midst of all this chaos, the thought of decorating the new place excites me. In-fact, I love it! It's sort of like putting a puzzle together without seeing the picture on the box. On the flip side, Tony finds this task rather daunting. Here's where he gets to lean on me. I can't wait to get started. I see a splash of colour on the walls, family photos in the living room and of course art work and various knick-knacks that will only enhance the feeling of living on the lake. Clearly it's the breath taking view that drew us to this place.    

I've been told on more than one occasion that I should be an interior decorator. What a wonderful compliment! Picking out things that tell a story, treasures found in antique stores and mixing the old with the new is truly fun for me. It's one of those things where I feel confident and content doing it on my own or taking a friend along. I love the end result when everything comes together just like that puzzle.          

This summer is going to keep us busy as we carve out our new beginning. Our love will have us drawing from the proverbial pots of introvert and extrovert all the while leaning on one another the way God fully intended us to.

June 24, 2016

Uncreative but Passionate! by Tandy Balson

I have never thought of myself as a creative person.  While others were busy with wondrous creations I referred to myself as craft challenged!

As long as I can remember I have had a passion for singing. This was my creative outlook. When I was a child my mom taught me songs that she’d learned as a girl. We would always sing in the car rather than listen to the radio.  I joined choirs in school and carried the love of music into my adult years.  

When my daughter was in Girl Guides I had fun learning the Brownie and Guide songs.  Soon I became Area Music Trainer and went from group to group teaching songs, musical games and folk dances to enthusiastic girls and their leaders. I stayed with the organization for fifteen years and sharing music was one of the highlights for me.

One of my musical outlets was as an active member of the Sweet Adelines, a women’s chorus that sang four-part harmony acapella.  I also spent many years as a member of church worship teams. This was the ultimate passion for me as singing praises to the Lord enabled me to feel connected to him in a way that nothing else could.

Our little church closed five years ago and the desire to join the worship team at our new church was never present.  I enjoyed singing as a member of the congregation, but didn’t feeling the calling to be part of the music ministry.

God replace this passion with a totally unexpected one. Gradually I felt him calling me to start writing. He has inspired me and given me words to share. This has fulfilled me in a way that only music had in the past.  To accompany the writing I have discovered a new-found interest in photography. My trusty iPhone camera is ever present!  These two new passions have helped me focus on the wonders and beauty that God surrounds us with everyday.

Although I look at creative people and think how nice it must be to have their talents, I refuse to say it will never happen. A few short years ago I wouldn’t have believed I had the ability to write. God can do amazing things when I trust him. I’ve heard of a business in my area that gives lessons in working with stained glass.  Maybe God will lead me in that direction!

June 23, 2016

An Escape by Lynn J Simpson

For the past few years, typically on one of those January afternoons where the temperature has not risen above -15 C in days, you will find me at the Muttart Conservatory (also known as 'those three pyramids just south of downtown Edmonton') purchasing my annual pass. It's the perfect place to escape to on those cold, winter days where my skin longs to be touched by heat, where my eyes long for colours beyond type on a computer screen, and where my mind longs for a new challenge of creating images with my camera. It's also a place where, no matter the season, I can spend a lunch hour, or an entire day capturing pictures of the beauty of God's unique creations, read long names of flower and plants I can never quite remember, and sit on a bench in the 'tropics' dreaming of other places in the world I have yet to visit. 

It encompasses all the qualities of the perfect hobby--a time to feed my heart, my mind, and my imagination. 

May your heart, mind, and imagination be fed today!


Lynn blogs at Inspiring Hope and some of her captured moments are at her photo blog.

June 22, 2016

Doing Goofy Things and Just Being! by Alan Anderson

This post may be a bit of a stretch as I consider the theme for this month.  It does, however, give an idea of what I do when not writing or working.  I hope it gives you a bit of an idea of who I am as a person as well.

I doubt too many people would consider me an artistic guy.  I mean artistic in things like drawing or painting or photography and things like that.  I don’t sing too well either anymore or play an instrument.  I’m pretty well still at the stick figure level of drawing.  I do have a fondness for Vincent Van Gogh and love his “Starry Night” painting.  I sense a hint of the longing of his soul when I look at that painting.

The work and ministry I have been called to is often of a serious nature.  I spend a lot of time with people living with challenging health needs as well as those facing the closing chapter in their lives.  I find a need for humour especially when encountering prolonged situations of sadness.

A highlight in my life is doing goofy things together with those I love and especially with my wife Terry.  I’m not a complete and total introvert but I am certainly more of an introvert than Terry.  I am with people a lot.  I have to say I need times where people are few and far between.  During some of these times I go out of my way to avoid people.  Yes, you read right, I periodically avoid people.  I enjoy these times immensely (insert smile here!).

I never get tired of being with Terry.  Now and again I know she wants a bit of a break from me so I accommodate this need.  As a guy who doesn’t know what it is like to be bored I can easily turn to something to do when not with her.  I can write, I can play with our dog a whole bunch and I can do things around the house.

Terry and I like to goof around. We may send our kids a text just to confuse them.  We may show up unexpectedly when we know they have plans of their own just to see their expressions of surprise or shock.  We may also do something on the spur of the moment like take a goofy photo together.

Life has taught me the importance of having fun.  With all that goes on in life as the years go by and as the seasons change, there is still a place to just “be”.  I am thankful for the moments of fun and being goofy.  I am thankful for moments of just “being,” to sit and ponder, to breathe.

Terry keeps me grounded and from taking life too seriously.  She is more outgoing than I am by far.  Perhaps that explains why we get along so well and have been together for so many years.  What would I do without her?  I have thought about that but don’t like to very often.

God gave us to each other.  He has watched over us even during challenging and sad times.  It is as if being goofy is a healing balm to soothe scars we may have been marked with because of jolts in life.  Perhaps when we are being goofy, when we giggle with each other, God laughs as well.  That leaves a wonderful picture in my heart.  God laughing with us!

My love to you all my dear readers and writer friends!

Blog: ScarredJoy@wordpress.com