February 29, 2020


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2020 Vision: Glimpses from the Rear-View Mirror by Sandi Somers

To our writers and readers,

I’ve sometimes thought I’d like to write a blog at the end of the month, highlighting the encouragements and insights of our InScribe writers.  I’ve decided to begin on a frequent or occasional basis.

Image from istoci
My theme comes from Tracy's “2020 Vision—Clarity”, where she wrote, “with God's help I hope to move forward in 2020 with new vision for what's really important.” My focus is that often clarity comes in retrospect. Just think of how often we say, “Hindsight is 2020 vision!”

(A side note: A collective thanks to Tracy who’s been our moderator and has scheduled most daily slots with new or returning bloggers. And thanks to Brenda Leyland who filled in when Tracy was in the hospital. I especially thank Tracy for pulling out from her archives one of Connie Inglis’ Mid Week Moments, now transformed into Mid Month Moments.)

January: Our Word or Scripture for the Year.

Thank you for writing such inspiring blogs! Each day as I read your words, I said, “Yes! Yes! I relate to what you’re writing.”

I pray God will keep these words before you this year, and that you will ask yourself: “How can I see my relationships, daily experiences, life challenges, spiritual life, and my writing projects through the lens of my word or scripture of the year? How can I encourage my readers to press on and pursue God’s high calling for me (Hebrews 12:2)?”

February: How God Refreshes Us

In February, we answered the question, “How does God refresh you?” We wrote of our humanness in its many forms—fatigue, worry, health issues, bad habits and sins—and joy, I thought of how much we are subject to our human frailties. But God knows our humanness, and He “remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14 NLT).  

In all your humanness, you brought in a shift in perspective, reframing your issues to see God at work refreshing you moment-by-moment, throughout the day, in critical moments and at particular life crossroads. Your diverse perspectives helped us all to stand in awe at the richness and many nuances of our Creative God.

God’s Refreshment
As you wrote of how God refreshed you, you spoke of transformative moments: through daily quiet time where God gives His words of life; through silence, and through prayer that is “the pause that refreshes”.

Several people mentioned how important music, photography, writing and other arts are to them. Just recently I read Bach’s words: “The aim and final reason of all music should be none else but the glory of God and refreshing the soul.” (That goes for our writing, too!)

Many of you found God in nature and relishing God’s creation: walking in the woods near waterfalls and among birds, and finding companionship with our animal friends.

Health brokenness was another theme. Lynn Dove, who’s shared her progress through cancer, saw God’s faithfulness in answering her prayers for health and healing.  

Others found hope and refreshment while still living in brokenness. Katie Gerke discovered “hidden treasures” in fading flowers in late summer, affirming to her that God still has a purpose in her disability. 

So many said how we need others to refresh us: a child or grandchild who shows love through their smiles and attention. Others become our fellow travellers who affirm us and pour into our lives.

Our Responses                                                                                                    
Hidden in some messages was that being refreshed means we need to do our part. Several bloggers wrote that we are transformed through a “focus shift”, a “new mindset”, thankfulness and rejoicing in hope. “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds,” Paul instructs us (Romans 12:2).

Yet others discovered refreshment in joy and beauty, in reframing the world as through the eyes of a child, or in consciously seeking daily “shining moments”. Sometimes (these moments) surprise me,” Joy Bailey wrote. “(W)hen they happen I need to stop in my tracks and take them in…Moments of refreshment sprinkled throughout a day, a week. Strung together they form a strand of sparkle and shimmer that adorns this ordinary life.” (Joy has the perfect name for this meditation, too!)

Sharon Heagy reminded us: "Refreshment, true refreshment, is only found in Him and I need to surrender and let it pour over me like a healing, restorative balm. This will indeed take practice. To surrender the moment.” 

Our Ultimate Hope
Bruce Atchison finalized our month by reminding us that our ultimate refreshment and hope comes from being assured of our citizenship in Heaven. Jesus encourages us with His promise that He’s preparing a place for us (John 14:2-3). 

In all God does for us, I think of how He wants to make us a people who worship Him and give honour back to Him. I leave you with two inspirational songs and my prayer for us all: Faithful One, So Unchanging,  and What a Faithful God!  

 “Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises, he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth"
(Hosea 6:3)

February 28, 2020

The Hopefulness of February - Bruce Atchison

For me, February gives me a hopeful feeling. The worst of winter is passed. The sun rises higher each day, shortening the nights. And just knowing that spring is coming gladdens my heart.

Hope is one thing we all require to stay sane. That's why we followers of Christ should always be rejoicing. As Titus 2:11-13 (BBE) reminds us, "For the grace of God has come, giving salvation to all men, Training us so that, turning away from evil and the desires of this world, we may be living wisely and uprightly in the knowledge of God in this present life; Looking for the glad hope, the revelation of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ;"

Moreover, we believers have an eternal future with Christ. While other belief systems lack assurance, ours is guaranteed. Ponder what 1 Corinthians 15:19 (BBE) tells us. "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most unhappy".

As time passes, we know that the coming again of our Lord grows nearer. We need to remind ourselves daily of what Paul wrote in Romans 13:11 (BBE). "See then that the time has come for you to be awake from sleep: for now is your salvation nearer than when you first had faith." This particular salvation is the resurrection when Christ will return.

And even today, we know a great secret which gives us purpose and joy. Paul wrote in Colossians 1:26 and 27 (BBE), "The secret which has been kept from all times and generations, but has now been made clear to his saints, To whom God was pleased to give knowledge of the wealth of the glory of this secret among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"

In a world of uncertainty, we are assured of our citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven. In the event that we die before Christ's triumphant return, we have this promise which Christ gave his disciples. John 14:2 and 3 (BBE) encourages us with these words. "In my Father's house are rooms enough; if it was not so, would I have said that I am going to make ready a place for you? And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come back again and will take you to be with me, so that you may be where I am."

So we are the victors whatever happens. This hope is what keeps us going through trouble or even those tedious Mondays where everything seems to go wrong. What a glorious future we look forward to!

Please contact me directly since Blogspot won't forward comments to me by e-mail

February 27, 2020

Daily Inspiration by Lorilee Guenter

Heart shaped moss
vibrant red rosehips
    against bright white snow
glitter falling from the trees
a nuthatch defying gravity

Images from the hands of the Creator

Warmth of a hug
laughter and prayer
    with family and friends
puzzles and wordplay
family games night

Gems in the everyday

Everlasting love
rooted and strengthened
    by the power of the Spirit
undeserved grace
unfailing promises

Treasures from God's word

Details observed and recorded as God refreshes and restores. Pieces of His creation and His grace shown to me. Whether I am writing, painting or resting in the in between, God is there filling me.

February 26, 2020

Silence and Sunshine - Marnie Pohlmann

Whoo. Whoo.
My eyes open.

Whoo. Whoooo.
I look toward the window, knowing all I would see is the deep darkness of night still covering the view.

Whoo. Whoooo.
Yes, it was definitely there tonight. Again. I sigh. No sense trying to sleep until it silenced or flew away. The night owl of inspiration is echoing in my mind, so I slide out from the covers, grab pen and paper, and go to my comfy recliner to doodle some words while I wait for sleep or morning to come, whichever returns first.

Demons of the past also wander in the night, crossing the paths of storylines as I write. I actively battle them through the words I write, which often reveal how I have faith in the One who wins at the end of our Great Story. They are not to be feared. I am safe, cuddled in the shadow of my Lord’s wing.

I find the silent stillness of night to be a refreshing time for me. Lately, I still spend moments or hours awake, yet have not sought out my writing tools like I used to. In the last few years, my night owl time has focused less on my muse and more on God - and perhaps still worrying about the ‘morrow.

Ah, silence.
Many writers share how music wells their emotions, spilling sentence after sentence onto paper. I don’t mind music, especially instrumental music, playing in the background while I write, but I am just as content surrounded by silence as I give voice to the characters in my mind. For me, In the blackness of night or in bright daylight the silence, that is never truly silent as I listen to the normal sounds that fill my home, provides a calmness conducive to creativity.

Silent sunshine.
When we lived in Big River, Saskatchewan, after Wally was off to work and I sent the kids to school, and before I busied my day with cleaning or contract work, I would sit at the dining room table to read Scripture. The consistent Saskatchewan sun joined me, warming my study until it boiled over with a need to write prayers, ideas, and stories. I was unrushed, usually, and treasured that time of inspiration from within the resting.

The sun doesn’t sit with me much anymore, even though we live in another very sunny location, in northern British Columbia. I have neither the sun nor the unhurried morning time to write as I work years of hours in a basement office. So I occasionally steal quiet moments between projects, daily demands, and workmates, to type some words.

And in the summer, after work and on weekends when daylight refuses to share time with night, I can sit on the porch to tap out words. The music of the outdoors plays in the background. Neighbours mowing lawns or gardening and children running and screaming in play. Even in those times the daytime demons, mosquitos, try to interrupt my writing process so my battle continues.

Yet the writing itself is how God provides refreshment to my soul and my creativity. So I cherish the silence and the sunshine.

The days are beginning to stretch as the winter season yawns and readies for a nap. The sun once again seeks to peek over this writer’s shoulder. And perhaps it is time to once again calm the night owl voices by writing within the silence.

Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com CCO license

Marnie is a night owl shivering in today's winter, watching for tomorrow's sunshine, and writing to experience refreshment in God.

February 25, 2020

Surrendered Refreshment by Sharon Heagy

Yesterday I woke up in my son’s basement bedroom to the patter of tiny feet on hardwood.  There by my bedside stood our seven-year-old grandson, waiting for an invitation to enter the cocoon of warm bedclothes.  Smiling, I gathered him into my arms and cuddled this treasured bundle of love.  As I lay with him, my mind wandered to the theme of this month’s post – ‘refreshing’. Was it possible, I wondered, to transform this gifted moment into a time of refreshing? The Word says “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…” (James 1:17NIV) How could this moment become a perfect gift?

As I reflected on the situation, the word surrender repeatedly crossed my mind.  I began to surrender this moment to God and as I did so it became so much bigger. Suddenly I was filled with thanksgiving for this wonderful little person who fills my heart with overflowing joy, and for his siblings and his folks and for my entire family who do the same. For God has created us all and holds this family in his righteous right hand.  There was a focus shift from the moment, to the child, to the one who created him; and God, in His grace and mercy, poured out refreshment like a sudden rain shower.

Is this where refreshing begins?  Each event, each circumstance, each moment of our lives surrendered to God? What about the painful times? Can refreshment be found there too? The Lord says he ‘will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” (Jeremiah 31:25NIV) Something is accomplished in God’s purposes and plans through the tough times.  Romans 5 speaks of rejoicing in suffering because the process produces perseverance, character and ultimately hope. Not wishful thinking but true hope in God. I think it will all take practice. Surrendering each moment to the one who has blessed me with them. 

And what of writing, do the same rules apply? Shall I surrender each project and each turn of phrase? What about the balls of wadded paper sitting in the trash basket and the bricks from the  wall of writer’s block? Shall I surrender them too, hoping to glorify His name but also to allow Him to mould me into a vessel for His purposes?  Refreshment, true refreshment, is only found in Him and I need to surrender and let it pour over me like a healing, restorative balm. This will indeed take practice. To surrender the moment.

As I type these words my gaze falls on a framed poem that sits atop my desk. It offers encouragement, not only in writing but in the perseverance to forge ahead in the learning, in the process, in surrendering and it too brings refreshment as the Lord has used it many times to keep me from giving up. The author, Marcia Lee Laycock, has given me permission to share it with you and I hope it will bless you, encourage you and lead you to surrender to Him.

What If?
By Marcia Lee Laycock        

What if the words I write here on this earthly plain have an effect in eternity?
            What if the Lord is smiling with approval even when the rejection letters keep
             piling up?
            What if the next article or poem or book I write is already planned, just for me?
            What if all of those words will be put into just the right place for the right people
            at the right time?
            What if all of those words are just as much for me as they are for my readers?
            What if some day the veil will drop and I’ll understand why all the struggle and?
            frustration was necessary?
            What if all that I do, all that I write on this earth is just a training ground for what I
            will do, what I will write in the realm beyond?
            What if this career I strive so hard to maintain isn’t the point of my existence?
            What if the more I struggle with my craft the more I get to know the One who wants
            me to develop it?
            What if I remember all of the above each time I sit down to write?
            Yes, what if?

February 24, 2020

Friends of the Heart by Valerie Ronald

When she enters the room where our women’s Bible study group meets, she breaks down in tears, her pain and sorrow over a wayward daughter spilling out where she knows she is safe with friends. She is embraced and given freedom to cry without hurry, without judgement; just loved because she is precious to us. We listen, encourage, share a little of our own similar stories, then we pray and talk about the faithfulness of God and how He has all things in hand concerning this situation. Later there is laughter, sweet, reviving laughter to lift our spirits and bond our hearts. Our friend leaves refreshed.

I have known many people in my life, but only a few would I call friends of the heart. Though unique, there is a common tenor in each relationship which sets it apart as a true friendship. They refresh my heart, and I delight in refreshing theirs. True friends renew each other’s spirit and vigor. They encourage and believe in one another, so time spent together is energizing, not draining. A synergy occurs when giving friends share freely of their love and support, spurring one another on to bloom as God intended.

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Prov. 11:25 NIV)

The women’s Bible study group I mentioned came about at the prompting of the Holy Spirit when a new friend asked me to start it. I was already meeting for prayer with two other women, so we formed a group of four. Only God could bring such unique personalities and life histories together to create a connection beyond a formal study. We all have a passion for God’s Word, seeking to learn it and live it in our daily lives. Hearing from each other how this is working out is a source of encouragement and faith-building. We share our triumphs and struggles on an intimate heart level rare in this day of social media isolation. Trust, compassion, respect, love; all intertwine to refresh our spirits and make us eager to meet each week. God is refreshing us through the study of His Word and the bonding of our Christ-centered friendships.

Another source of positive friendship for me is the writers group I have been a part of for many years. I would not be writing this post for InScribe today if not for the reviving camaraderie and encouragement of my peers in this group. The isolation required in being a writer can be lonely at times. I am inspired through interacting with fellow writers who have a common goal, who understand the joys and challenges of our calling and who genuinely seek to bring out the best in each other. Some of the friendships made here have spilled over into time spent together outside the group and with each other’s families, where our bond has grown beyond writing into friendship on other levels.

  As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Prov. 27:17)

Jesus is our truest friend, one who sticks closer than a brother and refreshes our spirit as only He can do. He also provides for our need for human connection through those kindred spirits He brings into our lives, who love with a pure heart and speak with grace --- friends of the heart.

  Valerie Ronald lives in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. She is a graduate of Vancouver’s Langara College journalism program, and has worked as a newspaper reporter, freelance writer, public speaker and bookstore employee.Valerie finds being a member of the Manitoba Christian Writers Association has honed her writing skills and confidence. She writes devotionals for her home church bulletins and her online blog. Her current book project chronicles how God’s faithfulness saw her through the dark valleys of divorce and cancer. Along with her husband, Valerie enjoys spending time with their blended family and six grandchildren.She is a nature photographer, water colourist, cat lover and Scrabble addict.

 More of her devotionals can be read on her blog https://scriptordeus.wordpress.com

February 23, 2020

Moments by Joylene M. Bailey

There are times when I am able to take long periods for refreshment and restoration, where lapping waves and turquoise waters help me breathe deeply. Most of the time though, my life is quite ordinary and I am replenished in moments of beauty and joy, like pearls on a string.  


Image by Pexels from Pixabay 

Music: The second movement (Adagio) of J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Oboe and Violin BWV 1060 has never once failed to set my spirit soaring. The dialogue between oboe and violin is so finely matched that sometimes it’s difficult to discern where the oboe ends and the violin begins. It is a gentle conversation between kindred spirits. The entire 14-minute concerto can be found here, and the Adagio begins at 4:51. When you get there, close your eyes and take it in.


Image by Mabel Amber, still incognito... from Pixabay 

Words:  Most often, it’s not the story that refreshes my spirit. It’s the words. Fresh, unique phrases that surprise and delight, and spark tingles along my spine from head to tailbone. I recently read Toni Morrison’s Beloved. It is a dark story about the horrors and aftermath of slavery, and I couldn’t read it for long periods of time, but the language kept drawing me back. Phrases like 
On nights when the sky was personal, weak with the weight of its own stars  
Their quietness boomed about on the walls like birds in panic.
Words like these exhilarate and replenish me. They urge me on to work harder at my own writing.


Laughter: The last time I had an all-out-can’t-stop laughing fit I was in a Chicken Chef in Gimli, Manitoba. I couldn’t tell you what set me off, but people at other tables turned to stare. My husband and grandson looked at each other bewilderedly. 
And then took a photo. 
How refreshing to be able to laugh. Whether it’s full-blown, like that day in Chicken Chef, or a chuckle of delight at something else, to laugh is to be refreshed.  

One chuckle I got this week:
My two-year-old grandsons had never seen their Daddy without his beard. This week he shaved it off. The first time the twins saw him sans beard their reactions were notably funny:
A: Me no like this Daddy.
E: Where you other chin?

If I know I need to have a good laugh, I often turn to children’s books. Who can resist Jack Prelutsky’s silly rhymes?
I have a pet tomato,
it doesn’t have a stem.
My friends have pet asparagus –
why can’t I be like them?


Image by 育银  from Pixabay

Sometimes I go looking for these moments. Sometimes they surprise me. Either way, when they happen I need to stop in my tracks and take them in. Add those pearls to my string. Moments of refreshment sprinkled throughout a day, a week. Strung together they form a strand of sparkle and shimmer that adorns this ordinary life. 




February 22, 2020

Charlie, the Birds, and Poetry by Alan Anderson

“So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.”-- Genesis 2:19-20.

I can often demand a lot of myself. I’ve realized this through the years. As I become closer to being an almost old guy, I am also aware of my need to slow things down. I gave readers an idea of this in my January 2020 post. Remember?

2019 goes down in my life history as a drain on my emotions and health. I couldn’t concentrate well enough to write or read for long. I bemoaned perhaps my writing days had ended.

In an endeavour to slow my life down and focus again God drew my attention to creatures familiar to me. These creatures are Charlie and the birds. Charlie is the poodle my wife, and I brought into our family a few years ago. The birds are those I see every day outside our home. They come for the food I leave for them in the bird feeder. I don’t know all the various types that hang around, but they are all welcome.

Charlie is like my shadow. He always seems to be with me. He loves to go for walks on the dike with my wife and I. He sniffs the air and stops every so often to mark his territory. We know it isn’t all his territory but we don’t have the heart to tell him. He loves being with us and we love being with Charlie.

One day, first thing in the morning, I got up to let Charlie out to perform his morning ritual. When I opened the porch door to let him out, I noticed one of the bird feeders was empty. The air was cool and frost lay on the grass. I walked the few steps to the feeder and replenished the bird food.

An hour or two later, I went out to the porch again. I noticed the birds enjoying their brunch. The menu comprised a variety of birdseed and a suet block. 

Charlie and the birds are great therapists. My mind relaxed after several times sitting on the porch with Charlie as we watched the birds. I could sense and almost feel words in my mind. The words ached to get on to a page. I once again had the driven desire to write.

My rejuvenated desire to write came in the form of poetry. This also came as a surprise to me. I never thought I would write poetry. After writing a few poems and revising them, I discovered I love to write poetry. For me, writing poems is also therapeutic. Each word is meaningful as I bring a new poem to life. I can almost feel my brain relaxing as I write. The poems are like a healing tonic for my mind. 

Charlie and I watch the birds from our porch almost everyday now. Most times when we arrive home from our walk we say hello to the birds. I must admit, however, as soon as they see us they fly away. When that happens Charlie and I stand on the porch with the door closed. A minute or two later the birds return and resume their meal.

God has given us creatures like Charlie and birds to relax and rejuvenate us. My friends take the time to love and cherish these beautiful creatures. Our hearts and minds will be all the better for it. Our sense of wonder will soar and our creativity will be free again.


February 21, 2020

Worship for Rejuvenation - Tracy Krauss

I love this month's prompt: How has God come in and provided refreshment for you? How does He rejuvenate your spirit and/or your writing? It's just what the doctor ordered - quite literally in my case! 

Meditating on scripture and listening to worship music have always been my 'go-to' methods of refreshment and rejuvenation. During my convalescence after open heart surgery, I was so grateful for my phone and a pair of earbuds. It allowed me to rest in God's presence while listening to scripture or music. It seems God puts certain songs in my head that really speak to me and I like to listen to them over and over again. During that first bout with heart disease, one song really stood out and I listened to it repeatedly each day for several months. Unstoppable Love by Kim Walker was my lifeline during that time. 

I mentioned in last month's blog that I am experiencing some health issues which have forced me to take stock of my activities and pare things down a bit. Since then I spent fifteen days in hospital, eleven of them in the Heart Centre in Vancouver for what doctor's are calling 'Coronary Microvascular Disease'. It's like Coronary Artery Disease, (which I already have - had the by-pass surgery to prove it!) but in the small vessels instead. It presents a lot like the other type of heart disease with shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue and numbness in one's arms etc. In fact, the symptoms can be more severe than CAD, a fact I can attest to! More than once I thought I was having 'the big one' and even now that I'm home with my medicine cabinet full of new medication, I experience daily symptoms, albeit not as severe. 

Recently I have been listening to Michael W. Smith's entire 'Awaken' album. There are so many awesome songs including 'Surrounded' which is a favourite of mine and which I often use as background while praying. However, while I was being transported by air ambulance to Vancouver - rather drugged I might add because of the pain - the chorus from 'Waymaker' from the album kept playing over and over in my head. It is sung by Vanessa Campagna. It is POWERFUL and I encourage you to take a moment to listen to it. 

Miracle Worker
Promise Keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who You are

Meditating on the truth of who God is gave me peace - and continues to do so as I try to adjust to my 'new normal'. 

Music has always been an important source of inspiration for me, and when combined with God's Word, there is nothing better to refresh and rejuvenate. 

Tracy Krauss is serving as InScribe's President. She writes - and currently rests - from her home in Tumbler Ridge, BC.