December 29, 2019

Your 2020 InScribe List:

2020 is almost here! What better time to try something new?

Join a Writing Group - contact Susan Barclay about finding (or starting) a group in your area! We MAY be considering a virtual group, so if you are interested in this, let Susan know.

Find a Writing Buddy - Eleanor Bertin head up this department. Having an accountability partner is wonderful!

Participate in a Word Challenge - Glynis Belec, our enthusiastic Writing Challenge lady, posts prompts on a regular basis on the listserv (you will need to join that group. Ask her how) and folks from around the country write to the theme, send their submissions to Glynis, and she posts them anonymously so that everyone can read and give feedback and pick a winner. It's tons of fun. Why not try one?

Enter a Contest: Inscribe offers many contest through out the year, usually for members only, so it's one of the benefits of being a member! The next one coming up is the Winter Contest, but check the entire roster on the Contests page.

Connect on Social Media: Have you joined our private Facebook group?  Or check us out on Twitter!  We have a Pinterest board, an Instagram page and more. There are so many ways to connect. Let's get social!

Volunteer: And of course, there are multiple opportunities for you to get involved... Speak to one of the executive!

Note: You will have to be logged into the members portal on the website to see some of these pages. If you can't log in (or don't know how) contact our Webmaster.

December 28, 2019

A Day Which Won't Disappoint Us - Bruce Atchison

Well, it's over for another year. The presents have all been opened. All the Boxing Day blow-out items have been purchased and put away. The turkey is now leftovers for sandwiches. And most people are back at work.

Charles M. Schultz, of Peanuts fame, often commented on the post-Christmas let down. All the build-up to Christmas morning leaves people feeling let down once it's in the history books.

But a day will come which won't disappoint us who await our Lord's return. We read in 1 Corinthians 15:51 and 52 (BBE) how this wondrous day will arrive. "See, I am giving you the revelation of a secret: we will not all come to the sleep of death, but we will all be changed. In a second, in the shutting of an eye, at the sound of the last horn: for at that sound the dead will come again, free for ever from the power of death, and we will be changed."

Better still, the things which have let us down won't matter anymore. As far back in the Bible  as Isaiah 25:8 (BBE), we read of a future without sorrow. "He has put an end to death for ever; and the Lord God will take away all weeping; and he will put an end to the shame of his people in all the earth: for the Lord has said it."

We also read this glorious promise in Hosea 13:14 (BBE). "I will give the price to make them free from the power of the underworld, I will be their saviour from death: O death! where are your pains? O underworld! where is your destruction? my eyes will have no pity."

We also know who ransomed us from eternal death in hell. Jesus himself promised in Matthew 20:28 (BBE) that, "Even as the Son of man did not come to have servants, but to be a servant, and to give his life for the salvation of men."

And as the angel in Revelation 7:17 (BBE) declared, "For the Lamb who is on the high seat will be their keeper and their guide to fountains of living water: and God will make glad their eyes for ever."

What a blessing it is to know that our future is in such capable hands. Nothing good or bad in this present age can even begin to compare when we bear these promises in mind.

December 27, 2019

A Glorious Night - by Shirley Tye

My brothers and I relaxed by the fire after supper.  The hills were quiet, and the evening cool and peaceful.  It felt good to lie on the grass gazing at the twinkling stars. Our hometown, Bethlehem lay below us still bustling with activity.  It had been a busy day; an unusual day.  Bethlehem was overflowing with wayfaring strangers who were in town for the census declared by Caesar Augustus. Because we had a large flock of sheep to tend, my brothers and I went into Bethlehem one by one to be registered. We didn’t want to leave the sheep unattended.     

As I lay on the grass watching the stars, they seemed to flicker in beat to the songs my brothers were singing.  I thought it most amazing or perhaps I was just over-tired and seeing things.  Suddenly, the whole sky seemed very bright as if it were daytime.  Then there appeared before us a glorious angel.  We trembled with fear.  I glanced around for a hiding place but found none.  The angel spoke to us in a calm soothing voice; “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you; you will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”  (Luke 2:10-12, NKJV) After the angel finished speaking, a multitude of angels appeared praising God and saying; “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2: 14, NKJV)

It was amazing!  I know I wasn’t hallucinating because my brothers saw and heard the very seem thing.  I said to my brothers; “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”  (Luke 2:15, NKJV) I tell you; we never ran so fast!  I stumbled over a few rocks and one of my brothers fell and rolled several feet down the hillside. We laughed and shouted, making quite a ruckus as we raced to the stable where the Christ Child rested. How we knew our way to the correct stable was beyond me.  I suppose we were guided by unseen angels. 

We found the parents and the Christ Child just as the angel had proclaimed.  Although Mary and Joseph were weary from their journey, they were very happy.  In fact, their faces glowed with blessedness. We excitedly told them about the angels and the amazing news we received. We had no gifts to give our new King except for praise and worship.  And that we gave in joyful abundance.

When we left the little stable, we made our way back to the fields through the streets of Bethlehem.  We told everyone we met along the way about the wonderful news. Many marveled and some thought we were under the influence of wine.  There were questions: how could a king be born in a stable and why would such royal news be first received by lowly shepherds? Regardless of what others thought, we celebrated; “glorifying and praising God for all the things we had heard and seen that night”. (Luke 2: 20, NKJV) Our shouts of joy carried far into the night.  Oh, it was no longer a silent night!  And the sheep?  They were safe and sound; waiting for us!  Praise the Lord!

We will always remember this night and celebrate it yearly with everyone! 
Humbly Yours, 
A Shepherd

This will be Shirley's last post as a regular contributor this blog. Thank you for your faithfulness and commitment to posting each month, Shirley. Your voice will be missed. 

December 26, 2019

Breathe - Marnie Pohlmann

Take a breath.
             Take a deep breath.
Breathe - in, out, repeat
                          Inhale through your nose. Exhale through your mouth.

In. Out. In. Out. Breathe.
             In... 2... 3... 4...
                          Hold... 2... 3... 4... 5... 6... 7...
                                        Out... 2... 3... 4... 5... 6... 7... 8.

Hear the air sweep up your nostrils and blow out your mouth. Feel the cleansing of stale air in your diaphragm as you force your breath out.

This article is set to post on December 26th, Boxing Day of 2019. Perhaps your Christmas celebration was a whirlwind of activity, filled with family and friends, so today you just need to catch your breath before the New Year begins. Perhaps you had a quiet Christmas, maybe even sad or lonely at times. You held your breath, trying to get through the season without breaking down, so today you breathe deeply to ready yourself to carry on, to finish the last few days of the year. Whatever the case, just breathe.

We usually breathe without thinking about it. Breathing is an automatic physical response by our bodies because we need oxygen. 24/7 we breathe. When we need more oxygen, we may yawn. When we physically exert ourselves, we may gasp, taking in small quick bits of oxygen as our heart beats faster to move oxygen through our blood.

Breathing is a wonderful, complex action.

Breathing techniques like the one shown above are used for relaxation, to increase oxygen flow, and to calm anxiety. By concentrating on our breathing, the brain is forced to slow down and stress and anxiety symptoms are lessened until we can once again respond to the moment, not react to the imagined.

This Christmas season, I have been thinking about breathing and how, though I take it for granted most of the time, God’s breath really is central to His gift to each one of us.

Our physical breath comes from God, from the way He designed our bodies. Everyone, believer or not, benefits from this design. Genesis 2:7 (NASB) says, Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

God’s own breath blown into our nostrils to give life to our bodies. At the same time, our soul, mind, and emotions were awakened. We live. We were created by God, in His image, and given life from His very breath.
Amazing! In the beginning, God breathed life into us.

At the birth of Christ, the reason we celebrate the Christmas season, God became Emmanuel. God with us. Jesus, God’s Son, our Messiah, was born just like us and physically lived among us. Although Jesus had power over the physical, demonstrated by calming seas and healing bodies, he chose to be limited by the very breath needed on this earth. He probably even had the hiccups, yawned, and gasped as he ran with his boyhood friends. His breath was ragged as he mourned his friend Lazarus and the state of Jerusalem, and he sobbed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus experienced the basic need for oxygen, for breath, to live among us.
Born in the shadow of the cross

Thirty-three years later, Jesus was put to death on the cross. Mark 15:39 (NASB) describes that time by referring to Jesus’ breath. When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” Jesus gave up his breath for us, to take the punishment of death that each of us deserves. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice needed for the forgiveness of our generational sin. Once again, God’s breath gives us life.

Three days later, God raised Jesus from the tomb. Jesus defeated death and breathed again to show that death does not end life. God’s breath, given to our body at creation, is eternal and, believer or not, there is a future eternity waiting for us. We have the choice to accept Jesus’ sacrifice and victory so we can breathe with God, or we will forever be gasping and sobbing as we breathe without God.

After the resurrection, the Holy Spirit, our Comforter, came to dwell in believers, into the very heart and soul of those who believe the death and resurrection of Jesus is the only way to have a relationship with our Holy Creator. The Spirit in us allows God to breathe through us in our lives on earth.

Breath is a basic need of our bodies, and the basic need of our souls. This Christmas, as you celebrate Emmanuel with us, will you live the coming days and years with God, allowing Him to breathe through you?

Take the breath God offers through His Son.
             Take a deep breath.

In...  to accept salvation...
             Hold... in thanks for eternity with God...
                          Out... in confidence of God breathing through you.


*photos compliments of CCO license,

Marnie breathes the cool winter air of Northern BC. See her reflections on life and faith at Phosphorescent.

December 24, 2019

Words to an Unborn King by Valerie Ronald

The road is rough and long to Bethlehem, my child, so to distract myself from the discomfort, I will talk to you in my heart. Where do I begin? 

My life was no different than any other girl in Nazareth. I came from a poor family, yet we found joy and comfort in our faith in the Lord God. My father had just pledged me to be married to Joseph, the man now leading the donkey we are riding on. He is a good and upright man, a carpenter from the line of David. That is why we are traveling to Bethlehem, to register for the census in his own town. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Do you remember the night the angel came? Of course you do; you sent him after all. I have never felt so afraid, until he spoke to me. How could I, never having been with a man, give birth to the Son of the Most High? For that is what he told me would happen. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,” he announced, “and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35 NIV) You, my child! It is you the angel spoke of!

I remember often hearing the prophetic words of our forefather, Isaiah. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isa.7:14) That I should be the virgin chosen to give you birth is beyond my comprehension. As the angel told me, nothing is impossible with God. When peace flooded my heart, even in the face of such an extraordinary announcement, all I could say was, “May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38)

I am so grateful the angel told me about the miracle of my cousin, Elizabeth’s expected child. The reality of who you are came clear when her child leapt in her womb at the sound of my voice and the Holy Spirit caused her to bless me as the mother of her Lord. Those months I spent with her before her baby’s birth strengthened me for what lay ahead.

As I see Joseph walking steadfastly ahead of us, I am filled with gratitude for this man chosen by God before I knew about you. He had every right to set me aside before our formal marriage, once you were evident, but he chose to believe what the angel of the Lord told him. Even in the face of public condemnation and family scorn he remained obedient. He will be a kind and loving earthly father to you, my son.

All these months you have been growing inside me, child, I have pondered your destiny. It is prophesied you will be a king who will save your people from their sins. Only God can save us from our sins, and you are He. It is a mystery to me how you will do this. Because you are Messiah, you will make a way. For now I wait for your coming, longing to hold you in my arms. Through the coming dusk I see lamps glowing in the windows of Bethlehem. Can you wait until we get there, little one? Already I feel you stretching and pushing to be born, but let the world wait a little longer to see you. I want to keep you close awhile so I may treasure up all these things and ponder them in my heart.

December 22, 2019

My Christmas Promise by Alan Anderson

“…whereas you do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”—James 4:14

“but Jesus said, Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”— Matthew 19:14 RSV.

This December post is one I am compelled to write. There are lighter or more fun messages on my heart yet I must present this one. You see, I made a promise to five little children I never met, yet love.

In my Dec. 22, 2015 post, I dedicated it to my four grandbabies that never made it to birth. Not too long after it became five babies to be remembered. Terry and I have six grandchildren who live close by and we love each of them. As a grandfather I am also mindful of the five in heaven. In my grief I promised these children I would never forget them. They matter to me. This post is part of my promise.

Just as in December 2015, my mind bounces from the joy of the birth of Jesus to the cries of parents. They are the parents who grieve the absence of little ones they looked forward to. Grandparents grieve as well for these babies.

In July 2017 I began a Facebook group for grandparents grieving the death of a grandchild. I keep the size of the group manageable by capping membership to seventy-five. The grandchildren the group remembers were not all babies when they died. A vast number of the group mourns in a deep way for their grandchildren. This is especially so during the Christmas season. Each of them made a promise to never forget these grandchildren. Grief is what bonds us together.

Even at Christmas time there is suffering and loss. This time of year is not magical where only smiles and laughter are enjoyed. There are poignant memories taking up residence in my mind and heart. They are a continual prompt for the tone of my writing. I never want these memories to fade. They are reminders of the frailty and vulnerability of life. Life, indeed, is but a vapour, a mist!

When I consider life I tend to become contemplative. To reflect on life and the fact this life is not all there is invites me to look toward the life to come. To meditate in a silent setting I try to grasp the beauty of the Christmas season. Immanuel, God with us, staggers my mind yet also blesses my heart.

My grief wrapped in the love of God, helps soften the sting of it. I do not grieve as one without hope. My grief over the pregnancy losses of my grandchildren does not take God by surprise. My grandchildren are among the citizens of heaven.

Every Christmas season reminds me to cherish life. I am not promised tomorrow therefore, I say glory to God for each day He grants me. I am aware as I become older of how every breath I take is a gift.

Perhaps this post only speaks to me. From my point of view my promise to my grandchildren in heaven is a serious one. As I wrote in 2015,

… these children have not vanished away.  They live in my heart!  They live also where Jesus is!  ….  Children who are not granted physical birth do not cease to exist.  They are not “miscarriages”!  They are not really lost!  This is a belief of hope found in the One who came to earth and was born as a baby.  The One who loves children.

To all my InScribe family, bless you, my friends. You are loved with an everlasting love. Merry Christmas to you and your families.

December 20, 2019

Silent Night Memories – Denise M. Ford

When we made our way into the restored one-room schoolhouse, we had no idea what joy would unfold there. We slid onto a side bench overlooking the rows of inkwell desks where countless children had slumped between the hard iron and wooden chairs. Mother squeezed my hand and pointed toward the schedule of entertainers noted in the program we had received as we entered.

Shooting in the New Year Blessing
“I know him, I worked with his mother. He’s giving the New Year’s blessing. And this group, they are the singers that came to our church when Daddy was still alive.”

Later I would relate this day to my friends, “We shared a day with mother at an historic Pennsylvania Dutch Farm, it can only be described as a gift from the Lord.”

As we sat and listened to the speaker closing his presentation, mother asked me to walk over to see what book he had been promoting. Turns out it featured scripts from a 1930s and 1940s radio show that had been popular in the Lehigh and Berks County area.  I bought a copy since each page printed the scripts in Pennsylvania Dutch with English translations lined up next to them. This would give me an opportunity to learn key phrases in the language that my Dad always feared would fade away from use. I bought a copy of the book and brought it to show mother before the next performance. She hugged the book as if I had given her a treasure and laughed with exclamations of recognition as she paged through it.

“We would hurry home from church on Sundays so we could listen to this radio show!  Look I never knew the speakers were two men, they spoke like a husband and wife! It’s all here! The shows we laughed at as we sat at our kitchen table. Look at that, I never pictured them like that, but there they are!”

The Belsnickel
Soon we heard pounding at the windows and banging at the doors.  A Pennsylvania Dutch version of Santa Claus, Belsnickel, appeared at the back of the classroom demanding to know if those in attendance had been naughty or nice.  Mother recounted her memories of her uncle dressing up to be a Belsnickel and scaring the cousins on Christmas Eve. 

“He would pound on the wooden siding and we would run and hide as fast as we could.  He always carried a big stick.  But he never came inside, he only pounded on the house to scare us.”

The Belsnickel at this performance obviously was a hunter since he was dressed in animal skins complete with antlers upon his head.  Mother whispered to me, “Our Belsnickel never looked like that. But he did give us a good scare!”

The New Year’s Blessing presentation included some familiar Pennsylvania Dutch songs that mother happily joined in to sing and clap along to the music.  But the most beautiful time unfolded as the closing music trio performed.

To the accompaniment of a banjo, a bass and a fiddle we sang in unison to several Christmas Carols and finally to Silent Night.  We didn’t have candles in our hands as we traditionally had during Christmas Eve services.  But we held each other’s hand and let the tears run down our faces as we lifted our hearts together to sing this beautiful Christmas song, thinking of many Christmases past and all the loved ones who had sung this song with us.

I had chosen to come home to visit mother over the timeframe that encompassed the anniversary of my Dad’s birthday, his stroke and finally his death.  This Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas celebration at the Kutztown University Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center happened to fall on the last Saturday of my stay. 

Later as we sat outdoors in the open barnyard, mother reached over again and clasped my hand. 

“Thank you for this beautiful day,” she said.  “Daddy would have enjoyed this too!”

With that my husband appeared to serve us our simple lunch from the barn refreshment stand: hot dogs with sauerkraut and a gooey piece of Shoofly pie. I hadn’t known what would transpire at this small celebration in a corner of our Pennsylvania Dutch area. It provided in wondrous ways, Christmas memories that will forever come to mind as I sing Silent Night.

On the way home we drove up the winding roads to New Jerusalem to her childhood church and to the cemetery in which her family is buried.  We paid our respects at the Geisinger, Miller and Hertzog sites. Finally, we pulled into the small town where I grew up. We had brought the Christmas decoration for Dad’s grave, so we made a final stop at Solomon’s Church cemetery grounds.  The shortened day of December welcomed the moon coming to settle over us as we walked to the gravesite.

In the distance Macungie mountain rose up, resolute in its reminder of strength and solace to my little town. The chimes from the bell tower atop my old schoolhouse on Main street rang out the hour and the tune carried down to Church street to where we stood.  Mother reached for my hand and again we shared the tears brought forth by Silent Night memories only we knew.

December 17, 2019

The Cradle and the Cross by Lynn Dove

One of my most favorite hymns is “Christmas Has Its Cradle, Easter Has Its Cross” by Rae E. Whitney.  Although probably sung most often at Christmas than at Easter, I think it is a hymn that is equally appropriate for both celebrations.  The two most important celebrations in Christian history are inseparably linked together, all part of God’s perfect plan to redeem the world.

Christmas has its cradle, where a Baby cried; did the lantern’s shadow show him crucified?
Did he foresee darkly His life’s willing loss?
Christmas has its cradle and Easter has its cross.
Christmas has its cradle; shepherds came to see, Little Son of Mary, Lamb of God to be 
Had His Father warned Him, none would grant Him room, save in the Christmas cradle and in the Easter tomb?
Christmas has its cradle, wise men came to bring, myrrh and gold and incense, offering for a King;
Myrrh alone stayed with Him, death’s balm for this Boy, from the Christmas cradle and to His Easter joy.
Christmas has its cradle, where that Baby cried; in the Easter garden, Christ lay, crucified;
When death’s power was conquered, God’s life through Him poured;
Christmas has its cradle and Easter has its Lord!

My sister-in-law gave us a beautiful nativity scene over forty years ago.  Every Christmas, I display the little scene prominently, so that it is the centre of attention amongst all the other decorations of the Christmas season.  When my daughter was only two years old, she watched with wide-eyed fascination as I carefully set out the little figures and I asked her to name each one. 
"Who are these three men with gifts in their hands?"  I asked her.
"Oh, those are the three wise men!"  She proudly stated.
"Who is this man?"  I pointed to another figure.
"That's Joseph!"
"Who is the Baby?"
"Baby Jesus!" she proudly shouted.
"And who is the lady beside Baby Jesus?"
Without hesitation she exclaimed, "That's Mary Christmas!"

I still can't help but giggle whenever I recall that precious memory.

My aunt gave me a ceramic depiction of The Last Supper many, many years ago.  It is one of my most cherished possessions for a couple of reasons.  Every time I look at it, I think of my sweet, little aunt, Eja, and how excited she was to give this to me as a gift.  She was my Godmother, and she was affectionally called "Gudmor", Danish for godmother.  She had a simple, honest, uncomplicated faith and I loved her like my own mother.  She passed away in 2003, and I miss her every day.  The depiction of The Last Supper is displayed all year round on a window ledge in my living room, and when I look at it, the Words of Christ come to me immediately, "Do this in remembrance of me." 

Jesus was with His closest friends the night before He was crucified, and He was trying to explain to them through the breaking of bread together during the Passover, that He would become the once and for all Sacrifice for the entire world.  They didn't understand the symbolism of the bread and wine until Jesus had ascended to His Father, but the act of taking Communion or The Lord's Supper has become one of the sacred ordinances within the Christian church. 

At Christmas, I display the Nativity Scene close to The Lord's Supper scene.  My kids didn't take note of this "tradition" and why I insisted the two displays be in such close proximity to one another until my daughter learned to play "Christmas Has Its Cradle, Easter Has Its Cross" on the piano.  As she played the song, she got the connection right away.  The Cradle and the Cross are inseparable.  The Birth and Death of Jesus ordained by God the Father to redeem the world.  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  John 3:16

Merry Christmas, Fellow InScribers, and many happy returns in the New Year!

Lynn Dove is the award-winning author, of the YA “Wounded Trilogy”- a contemporary Christian fiction series with coming-of-age themes.  A wife, mom, grandmother, and free-lance writer with articles published in several magazines and anthologies including Chicken Soup for the Soul books, her blog, “Journey Thoughts” is a Canadian Christian Writing Award winner.  Readers may connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and at