September 30, 2019

Time Well Spent by Katie Gerke

My Solstice started to form in the first cool days of August, when several storm fronts started to gather.

In summers past, because I am in a wheelchair, I always think that “everybody is doing everything but me.” That sends me into a downward spiral of depression of grief because of my many losses.

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance
Ecclesiastes 3:4

This summer was going to be different. I was blessed to be able to see a grief counselor for the first four months of this year. She was able to help me prepare mentally, create tools on how to plan, keep connected with friends and family, and find meaningful activities, to make the best of the fleeting summer months.

But…I am in a season that is not universally defined by a particular date on the calendar or the position of the sun to the equator.

My chair started to become unstable. It prevented me from driving my chair safely and thus limited the outings I could take. The shocks and seating back were no longer of use, and it made my handibus rides intolerable. My back failed to heal after an adjustment at the chiropractor. I have an intolerance to painkillers. I have been in my electric chair for 18 years, and ever since my butt first hit the seat cushion, I have never experienced mind-numbing and limiting lower back pain such as I am now!

We worked so hard and I had so many summer plans. I had full intentions of writing about how my garden grew, my walks and talks with friends, my summer frocks and skimpy tops, having a barbecue or two, and definitely going to the zoo. Needless to say, I just couldn’t see myself venturing too far from home via bike path or handibus. 

My mental, psychological, and spiritual constructs started to become uprooted. The burning in my back consumed my ability to see, hear, speak, and think with any clarity.

What was more tragic was that I was not writing or painting. I started to panic. The warm days of summer were being blown away by the time.

Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 

With my God-given gifts of cleverness, practicality, and diligence, I was able to move forward with some things that needed immediate attention.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, 
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 

So my doctor and I have been working on solutions to control my pain and getting x-rays to see exactly what we can’t. A certified wheelchair vendor confirmed that my 10-year-old chair is beyond repair. My occupational therapist and I are working closely with the Alberta Government to order the proper chair and expedite delivery. And finally, more good news, the seating clinic can reinforce my seat back for better comfort and support.
When blue sky could be seen and my back pain would subside, I savored these calm moments where I could pray in full sentences. I read, listened to, and meditated on Scripture. A few things struck me – not lightning, but revelations.

It was futile of me to put on the armor of God if I wasn’t going to use it. Wearing a solid breastplate of righteousness and helmet of salvation wasn’t going to be protection if I wasn’t going to faithfully yield my shield and courageously wave the sword of the Holy Spirit. I know this armor protected me from evil, and Satan, but I needed to be more in tune with the unknown evil.

See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,
waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.
You also be patient. Establish your hearts,
for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
James 5:7- 8 

Now, moving forward since the unusually warm days of mid-September, I have persevered, like the bumblebees and butterflies harvesting the nectar of the late September flowers. It’s having hope that changes in any new season are necessary, like the summer leaves losing their chloroform, as the sun creeps lower and lower towards the horizon, but the new fall colors will shine more brilliantly than the midsummer sun. It’s this light that helps me overcome the darkness in such a time.

I was inspired by what Charles Spurgeon wrote about – a time to be patient:
“When God shall give you a rich return for all you have done for him, you will blush to think you ever doubted; you will be ashamed to think you ever grew weary in his service. You shall have your reward. Not tomorrow, so wait: not the next day perhaps, so be patient. You may be full of doubts one day, your joys sink low. It may be rough windy weather with you in your spirit. You may even doubt whether you are the Lord’s, but if you have rested in the name of Jesus, if by the grace of God you are what you are, if he is all your salvation, and all your desire, — have patience; have patience, for the reward will surely come in God’s good time.”

Katie Gerke was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1988, but has soldiered on despite her losses. Katie started mouth painting in 2008 and has been writing since 2010. She now runs her own business and is still walking with Jesus Christ.

September 29, 2019

Get Connected!

Fall Conference 2019 is a memory - and hopefully a good one! The Open Space concept was a huge success. Thanks to all who attended and to the planning committee. One way to get the most our of our wonderful organization is to get connected!

InScribe hosts several contests throughout the year as well as Fall Conference, WorDshops and so much more. It’s why we encourage you to stay connected. Of course, you can always check out website: or wait for the next edition of Fellowscript Magazine, but… there are so many other ways to stay in touch. Here are a few ways so that you don’t miss a thing:

Yahoo Group or ‘Listserv’
Join the ‘listserv’! Gwen Mathieu will be sending you an invitation to join our ‘yahoo’ email group. <> This is just one place to share or ask questions, (If you want to participate in the Word Challenges, you will want to join this group!)  

You will be asked to create a new yahoo email account if you don’t already have one. However, you do not need to use this as your primarily email account. It is just for signing up to the group and you can request that all correspondence through this yahoo ‘listserv’ come to your regular email address. Follow Gwen’s instructions if you have difficulty. (This may mean having to start a new email rather than hitting “reply to sender”.) it is not the only way to communicate, but some people find it is a good fit for them. 

Facebook Group
Ask to join our InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship Members Group -
This is another way to stay in touch, join in the conversation, and keep abreast of upcoming events.

Facebook Page
What’s the difference between a group and a page? Groups are meant as a place for interaction among members – a place for people to ask questions and comment, while pages are often more focused on announcements etc. and are moderated by the ‘owners’. Both are good places to find out about what is happening in InScribe. Our page can be found here: InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship -

We're also on Twitter @InscribeCWF , Instagram and Pinterest! 

InSide InScribe
Periodically, we will be sending out a newsletter called InSide InScribe. It’s another way to stay in tune with what is happening in terms of events, contests, and other news of interest. Please check your email inbox as well as your spam folder.

InScribe Writers’ Online Blog
This is one of two blogs hosted by our organization. This one is specifically for members to share about their writing journey and is a wonderful way to connect with others as well as get experience in writing topically to a deadline. We have a ‘team’ of writers who commit to writing a post on a specific day each month for at least one year. Check it out here: <> and leave comments. We love to interact with one another. If you are interested in joining the team, email blog moderator Tracy Krauss:

Get connected!

September 26, 2019

An End or a Beginning? - Marnie Pohlmann

The view from the top of the hill looking over the valley shows a landscape clothed in summer greens and autumn golds with deep red highlights shining in the afternoon’s pale sun. The air is still warm, but with an undertone encouraging longer sleeves as the breeze arouses goosebumps on my arms.

I’m not ready to let go of summer, especially as the long days did not bring enough time in the sun. Cloudy skies and raindrops discouraged me from enjoying lazy hours in a lawn chair. I’m not ready for the shorter days of fall that move too quickly into the cold white season.

Autumn has always been my favourite season. I love the smell of fresh paper and coloured pens as the stores fill with school supplies and the promise of new learning, experiences, and friendships. Fresh produce is plentiful and tasty. Activities I have enjoyed or wish to discover are beginning to be scheduled. A restful summer usually means I am energized for the busy change of seasons.

But not this year. This year I look in the mirror to see myself clothed in highlights of gray, sometimes silver as my hair catches the pale sun. I still feel young, but my aging skin needs longer sleeves as it thins and becomes marred.

I’m not ready to let go of youth, or even middle age, especially as that time of my life was not filled with long days of enjoyment. Sadness and tears discouraged me from growing to where I hoped I would be by this time. I’m not ready for the fall days of life that seem to move so quickly into the winter season.

As I considered this Autumn time of my life, I expected it would be more productive and enjoyable. I enjoy my work but am ready to leave it behind to make room in my days for other learning, experiences, and friendships. New opportunities are plentiful and exciting. Activities I once enjoyed or ones I wish to begin could be scheduled, but I do not have the energy to try them.

At this time in my life I see a tired woman who doesn’t know where the time went and has thin skin that reacts too often in ways that cause scars or bruises. Yet this is the season of life I am in. There is no going back to Spring or Summer. There is only Autumn, which will turn too quickly into old age. I don’t want this time of life to lead into a winter of discontent, so I ask God to develop in me a renewed love for life and the discipline to make this season one of growth, with productive activity in His plan. I may be aging, but I am not too old to learn new lessons about God and walking with Him in every season. I will continue to climb the hill, following the path God has appointed for me. I will take time to see the beauty of this present season rather than dwell on the losses of the past or predicting the trials of the future.

What about you?
Are you taking joy in the present season of your life?
Or are you hibernating, sleeping through the days as they are neither colourful nor filled with opportunity? 
Do you view the Autumn of life as a time for fresh growth, new experiences, and new connections?
Will you carry on in the direction God has been leading you in, knowing the road may be more difficult but trusting the view from the top of the hill will be clear and beautiful?
Are you content, treasuring your present season, seizing the opportunities God provides, and actively living through shortening days?

May God provide you with the assurance of His presence, which is all we need no matter our season of life.

September 24, 2019

The Path Before Us - Shirley S. Tye

Life is filled with valleys and hills; different seasons.  

Interesting how many definitions there are of the word valley.  A “time in the valley” is most often taken to mean a dark or troubled or a fearful experience.  Yet in geographical terms we often think of a valley as a place of peace, lush green grass and fertile soil with a river meandering past well-kept homes and farms. The Oxford Canadian Dictionary’s definition of valley is “the extensive tract of land drained by a single large river system or any depression or hollow resembling this” such as “an internal angle formed by the junction of two sloping sides of a roof”.  A version of the word is vale which is sometimes used in place names such as the Vale of Glamorgan.  It has also been used “poetically in regard to a scene of trouble or sorrow” (The New Oxford American Dictionary). Many valleys are mentioned in the Bible and five distinct Hebrew words describe valley in slightly different ways.  

Then there are desert places; dry, barren, lonely places.  Jesus spent forty days in a desert fasting and then in his weakened physical state was tested by the devil.  Sometimes we find ourselves in such places as did Job.  He lost everything.  He too was tested in a “desert” place in his weakened stat of grief.  

Thankfully there are mountain top experiences in our lives.  Those times are awe-inspiring; a time of joy, peace, excitement.  Moses enjoyed an amazing time with God on Mount Sinai. Peter, James, and John witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus on a mountain top.

As many people, I have wept in dark valleys, wandered in deserts, and been refreshed on the mountain tops. It hasn’t been an easy simple route from one point to another.  There have been unexpected turns, detours, and delays.  Sometimes I’ve headed into areas I should not have ventured into and sometimes God has let me go down an unpleasant road to test me or teach me.  And now, I can’t even remember my original plan or destination.  But it doesn’t matter; I know Jesus has been beside me all the way as He promised.  I’m just doing my best to keep in step with Him as we walk this path before us.    

September 22, 2019

To Dance In My Seasons by Alan Anderson

For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:… a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…-Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4

I am struck by a question our writing prompt asks this month. “How would you describe your season at this time?” I’m sixty-five years old as I write this post. When I consider life is made of several seasons, I estimate I’m in mid-Autumn. 

My spring season has long past but I have memories from those early days. Ah, the memories so varied and real. I remember as a little boy sliding down the stairs of our house to rush into the kitchen for breakfast. I remember at nine years old seeing my grandpa collapse and soon die in our home.

When I became ten years old I remember the ocean liner sailing us to Canada from Scotland. I remember the first time I tasted a peanut butter and jam sandwich for the first scrumptious time. I remember my parents surprised me with a dog for my birthday. I loved her until her final day. I remember graduating from high school and being glad these years were over.

My summer came on with no fanfare. I was now confronted with the reality of adult life staring me in the face. I became a Christian at twenty-one and enrolled in Bible College the next year. In 1978, I married my darling and two years later; I became a dad. I devoted a number of years to bi-vocational pastoral ministry. When depression came upon me I wandered for two years in “The Tunnel” unsure of which way to go. A few years later, I served as a chaplain in healthcare and loved those I called, “my teachers.”

Now in my mid-autumn season, I expect new adventures and experiences. Looking back, however, there have been life-changing challenges since autumn came. I said farewell to both my parents as their winters ended. I cried when five of my grandchildren went to heaven without ever enjoying the kiss of spring. Yes, times of tears have not escaped me. As my autumn season drifts by, I am all too familiar with a time to mourn.

I also glory in my autumn season for times of dancing. With my transition into autumn, I waltzed into the arms of the InScribe Christian Writers Fellowship. InScribe helped save my words. My words now have a place for nurtured and to dance. Through our InScribe family, I became a blogger. This gave me the confidence to begin my blog, Scarred Joy. Autumn is where I have sent more of my words out into the world.

When I think of winter, I hope it is still a long way off. In winter I may encounter creaky and stiff joints longing to write or do other fun things without challenges of the body. For now, in my autumn, I am content with life, at least for the most part.


When my season turns into winter, I hope I accept it well. I hope I embrace my old age without grumbling. I hope I still take pleasure in seeing young women being courted by young men. I hope I still embrace happiness at seeing children run and jump and giggle. I pray my darling will still be with me as we look back at the decades we enjoyed together. I don’t want us to be parted and yet I know heaven is across the horizon. For now, I continue to dance in life with my beloved and our season is sweet.

September 21, 2019

Falling into Autumn/Out of the Express Line ... by Jocelyn Faire

Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry John Piper

“Sometimes these are the slowest lines,” the white haired customer ahead of me lamented. I agreed adding that this was my second slow express line of the day; I'd been at Walmart that morning and was certain the lady ahead of me could not count, clearly she was over the limit. “If this is your second express line today, you might be a slow learner. But,” he paused, “I'm guessing we both have enough time that we shouldn't be hurried.” My response included a chuckle, “Well, looking at the others in this line, I'm guessing that overall you and I have less time left in our lives, and I don't want to be wasting it in a slow line at Safeway.” With a twinkle in my eye I added, “I also don't buy green bananas anymore.”
     When observing others, I think of aging as the autumn season of life, a kind of unhurried time. There are parts of this I love ... the slow down after a busy summer, the cooler weather, the invite to sit by a fire, the harvest time of apples, and the way autumn carries itself with an elegant mature beauty. While I want this season to feel unrushed and want ample time to be still and know that I am God, the harsh reality is that life continues in busy format, unless I do something about it. While in her early nineties my mother expressed that time still passed too quickly for her, even though she spent much of the day in her chair with few tasks on her to-do list. She spent her time remembering. 
     One of my favourite theologian poets John O Donohue said “In the autumn of your life, your experience is harvested ... Aging invites you to become aware of the sacred circle that shelters your life ... In fact if you come to see aging not as the demise of your body but as the harvest of your soul, you will learn that aging can be a time of great strength, poise and confidence." My sister-in-law believes people's character distills over time, both the best or worst have potential to grow stronger.
     I've come through quite a long season of transition ... Feb 2020 will mark the fifteenth year that two of my children went to Heaven ... to say it has been a journey would be the biggest understatement of my life. In the last decade, I have lived on two different continents in five different places, undergone divorce, ended my nursing career, began writing, met many, good-byed many, remarried, blended two families. The highway of transition has been a rich, difficult and beautiful journey with much time spent both in the desert and by the nourishing river waters. Change is constant, but self-initiated change is always more welcome than change thrust upon us. And now I find myself in a new season ... and it takes adjustment as well ... you see we never arrive at a place without some baggage from the previous season. As obvious as it is, our today, is not exactly a brand new slate. We may enter the autumn phase having undergone a wet spring, a dry summer, a late frost, a freak hail storm. And seasons do not end precisely on their designated equinox days ... chinooks do happen.
     When I ponder the question Jesus asked Bartimaeus: What do you want me to do for you (now)? I wonder what do I want? Reversal of time does not happen. Through the grief journey, I feel as though I “lost” some of my productive years ... and yet, while on the healing road, there was/is no point in hurrying. I knew I did not need to explain to God my hours spent in reflection and contemplation. While I lived my life solo, I had no one's task oriented life to measure mine against. Now that I have remarried, with a husband who works half time, I feel as if my productivity is once again measured by tasks done. This is more my perception than his. In her book Jesus Calling, Sarah Young tells us that spending time with God can be a difficult discipline because it goes against the activity addiction of this age. You may appear to be doing nothing, but actually you are participating in battles going on within spiritual realms. Last Sunday morning I passed a little girl on training wheels calling out ... Help Mommy, I'm stuck and can't move. At times I feel like I'm still spinning my training wheels, not going anywhere. It's not God's measurement I'm up against, it's my own, as perceived by others. Perhaps the man at Safeway was right, perhaps I am a slow learner.

     With God's help, I want this to be a slow down time to take in the elegant beauty of fall and share from my harvest those who need its gleanings. This week my new granddaughter and I were picking leaves in awe of the rich reds. To take a line from a gardening show ... I've matured into foliage. And isn't that a beautiful thing!