October 31, 2020

Our Word of the Year in Review by Sandi Somers

Image by Unsplash

In January our blog topic focused on our word or Scripture of the year. Now with our year soon coming to a close, we look in our rearview mirrors and reflect on what that word/Scripture and God’s activity have meant for our life, spiritual growth, and writing.

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Before writing my own review, I spent an enjoyable morning reading all our January posts. Several themes emerged.

Most writers described the life issues and challenges that brought them to the place of choosing their key words/Scriptures.

Writers looked forward to 2020 with hope, faith, and expectation. Some even outlined specific goals and plans. Others gave suggestions for choosing and processing their word/Scripture.

Writers found Scripture promises of God's faithfulness and encouragement. The goal of most writers was to trust God and follow Him more closely.

The writers of comments added insight and affirmation as they shared with compassion and understanding how their own experiences resonated with those of the writer.

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My 2020 theme was the Lord of The Impossible. Over the year, however, my word tended to be breakthroughs. However, I discovered that the Lord’s breakthroughs often don’t come with blazing fireworks, but through His quiet indwelling and empowerment. It can be a slow process, as Carolyn Arends wrote: “As a gen­er­al rule (God) works incre­men­tal­ly – a shift in per­spec­tive here, a small break­through there, slow­ly enlarg­ing our capac­i­ty to see and receive what He has for us.” Over the year, my focus gradually shifted from breakthroughs to God Himself and what He has done (from Luke 8:39).

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God Provided during Covid

Image by Reddit

Shortly after Covid flatlined us and turned our lives upside down, I awoke one morning with the Spirit’s quiet assurance, “Rest in the shadow of my wings until these calamities are past” (from Psalm 57:1).

As I learned to rest and not worry, God gave me the impetus for more extended times with Him and His Word in early mornings. A friend had given me a daily Prayer Journal, so I began more structured times of listing my verse for the day, praise and gratitude items, and prayer requests. I was conscious that I was praying more for our governments and those with various Covid-related needs. While my own months were fairly calm, God brought several into my life who needed prayer and encouragement. I became more conscious of daily practicing the presence of God, too.

God opened up new opportunities during Covid

Because we couldn’t attend church in-person, I spent early Sunday mornings on bird watching at our local bird sanctuary and different lakes and ponds. This was a time of worship before returning home in time to watch our 11 o’clock services online.

Zoom offered alternatives to in-person meetings--new prayer gatherings (and there were many), webinars, and our Fall Conference, all from the comfort of my home. For me, it was quite an adjustment to lead our local writers’ group on Zoom without all those interpersonal nuances!

God brought a change of lifestyle—either temporary or permanent

With spending more time at home—with shops closed and appointments cancelled, I continued quilting projects and cleaning the house. As spring blossomed, I worked more in my yard and flower beds, enjoying it more than I have in several years. My morning walks became longer and I explored new trails farther from home. My increased activity paid off: by autumn I felt physically stronger, I determined with God’s empowerment to develop greater strength and endurance in other areas of my life.

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God gave me new insights and strategies for writing.

Major turning points came to my writing this year. First, as I wrote my June 2020 blog on writing themes, I discovered unused potential in exploring some topics. God was leading me to, “Launch out into the deep.” Further, over the year my writing focused more and more on Christ’s redemptive work and the Spirit’s empowerment. Valerie Ronald spoke so eloquently into my desire in one of her blog posts. She wanted: “to soak my stories and words with the love of Jesus...My goal is to weave His essence throughout my stories, to evoke a deep inner response in a reader’s heart toward the good.” (Thank you, Valerie!)

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God brought our family both joys and the valley of death.

Our extended family held a number of (mostly) outdoor events this summer, bringing me to a closer relationship with several others. One spiritual highlight was the baptism and then marriage of my great-niece Amanda. At her baptism, I was invited to speak words of encouragement. Doing so prompted me to pray more deeply and further encourage both Amanda and Nick in their new lives as new Christ-followers.

In March, my nephew Kevin passed away suddenly from a massive heart attack. Our smaller “Covid Funeral,” in August included mostly family and close friends. Then as I prepare this writing, Kevin’s father and my brother-in-law, Peter, is in Palliative Care from liver cancer and heart issues. In my last in-depth conversation with Peter, he expressed how much his life has become a life of thanks. While death is a great sorrow to those of us left behind, I rejoice to know that both men will be at rest in God’s presence.

Like Peter, I pray my life will be characterized by thanksgiving, joy, and peace.

~ ~ ~

As you prepare your post this month, ask yourself these questions:

How have I seen my relationships, daily experiences, life challenges, spiritual life, and writing through the lens of my word or scripture of the year?

How has the Spirit of Christ been working in me?

What has God taught me about Himself—and myself?

How can I encourage my readers?

October 30, 2020

Dear Editor... Guest post by Gloria Guest

 *The following blog post addresses a sensitive subject on the issues of mental health that some readers may find triggering. 

On August 13, 2004, a letter to the editor that I wrote was printed in the Edmonton Journal entitled;
Sister’s suicide raised questions about state of mental health care.

I was surprised it was printed, but glad that a tiny sliver of attention had been granted my sister and our family, at last. I even hoped it would somehow make a difference and some other mentally ill person may be saved and their family would be spared the horrific ordeal we had just come through.

In brief words I described some of what we’d gone through over the last ten years, including the lack of communication between the professionals which eventually resulted in a court order not being carried out properly and her being released from hospital. I went on to describe the many other occasions where she was released from the psychiatrist unit despite the fact that they knew she was going home to the exact same circumstances and cycle. Our family was left, for the most part, out of the loop and patient privacy was protected to such an extent that no matter the mental state she was in, she was always made aware of the content of any conversations we had with her psychiatrists, causing a huge dilemma.

My letter went on to say that I knew it was most likely due to a lack of beds that she was released so prematurely and contained questions as to what could be done about that and what I considered the overly extreme protection of patient privacy rights, even when it was to the detriment of the patient. 

Of course, I had many more questions and issues that there was no room to bring up. There was so much more hidden between the lines of what my sister and our family had been through .My sister was chronically depressed and suicidal. She’d been through the emergency wards and psychiatric wards more times than we could remember. Often she was there when we didn’t know, as no one called. 

She eventually did take her life on a beautiful spring day in June of 2004. Although since January of that year, we’d seen a steady decline in her mental and physical well-being, we were all still taken off guard when it happened, as she had always managed a way back. Not this time. 

It’s a surreal feeling when you’ve tried to help someone for so long and held onto hope that maybe someday, something, would change and then just like that….it’s over. I didn’t know what to do with my shock, my anger, my grief or my left-over feelings that I had been her older sister and should have found a way to save her. Perhaps that was a part of writing the letter. All I knew then and know now is that there were more problems than solutions with the system we found ourselves in; that revolving door cycle I mentioned earlier. In learning more about what some of that was like for her later, we even discovered that the parting words of one of the nurses on the psychiatric ward when she left for the last time were, "See you next time Brenda.” 

Those words are a shocking, eye-opening insight into some of the issues. I find the statement beyond callous but most likely said by someone who in fact did believe what she was saying and was so a part of the system that she didn’t even question the effect of such a statement on my sister. Although I’m not saying that it caused her to take her life it had to have confirmed to her that she was caught in a vicious cycle. Stigma does in fact exist within the very mental health system that claims to help. 

After her death, our family also tried without success to gain access to her medical records. Without her spouse’s help that was impossible and her last psychiatrist did not even return a simple courtesy call when I asked if we could have one final family discussion with him about her. In their eyes, it was over and done. Case closed. That is also why I wrote the letter, naming the hospital of which she had so recently been a patient. To her family, this tragedy would never be over. Yes, we’ve moved on and lived our lives these past sixteen years without her and with all of our unanswered questions, and I personally have gone through many years of healing. I’m a far different and better person for going through it. Yet that doesn’t excuse how she or we were treated. Our family needed and deserved more. So do other families.

Over the years, in the midst of my own growth, I’ve tried to do my small part in sharing my voice, for both Brenda and myself and other families. I don’t feel I’ve been overly successful and often think of whether there is more I can do. Mostly I’ve blogged about her, in a far more personal way than I could share in a letter to an editor. I’ve written a few poems and shared one on one with people about various aspects of walking the hard road of being a survivor of someone who died by suicide or about childhood sexual abuse issues or the many other parts of the web that made up her story. It never really feels like enough on my part. So I look around to what others are doing and yes I do often feel encouraged; the start-up of Survivor of Suicide groups that were barely around when this happened to our family, grief counselling which is now far more understood. I’m encouraged by things I’ve personally learned through research and gifted counsellors such as the effects of early childhood abuse and how that leads to childhood complex trauma, a condition which is becoming far more understood by counsellors trained in therapy to deal with it. 

I’m not sure what my Letter to the Editor would say on the subject of mental health if I wrote one today, but it would still raise many questions and concerns. When I think about the stigma that still surrounds the words suicide, depression or mental illness, I’m not so encouraged. People still back away and you learn not to talk about it. I’ve spoken with enough people over the years to know that it’s not just me seeing this lack of growth. In fact only today I spoke with someone who told me that it’s really not worth asking for a mental health day at work considering the stigma attached. Yes I know people are talking about mental health more these days and it’s all over social media; I’m just not convinced that the stigma has had much of a dent put in it. Maybe someday…..things will be different.

For now, I will keep growing and healing and having my one on one conversations and writing my small blogs and poems. Perhaps with Gods leading I can find more ways to have that voice in a much needed area. I will keep talking about my beautiful sister who fought her battle so hard in the midst of great odds against her. And I will talk about the families left behind.  

The Canada Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS), by Crisis Services Canada enables callers anywhere in Canada to access crisis support by phone in French or English: toll-free 1-833-456-4566 Available 24/7 text 45645 (4 PM - 12 AM ET)

October 29, 2020

What Is a Ministry Team?

Our Purpose

You may have seen InScribe's purpose statement on our website:

Our purpose is to minister to Canadian Christian writers by stimulating, supporting, and encouraging them in the advancement of their writing so they can effectively minister to others, promote Christianity, and contribute to the public’s appreciation of the arts.

Note the word "minister". What does it mean, exactly? In its verb form, "minister' means to give service, care or aid. That is what we want to do here at InScribe. It is our purpose!

Ministry Teams

One way to minister to others is to get involved. InScribe has so much to offer, but most of our programs and events take a lot of "behind the scenes" effort. We are a volunteer organization, and as such, we need willing workers. Rather than individuals working in isolation, we encourage "Ministry Teams" - groups of people working together on projects and events. Even if a position appears to be filled, there is still room to come along side and offer assistance or mentorship. Many hands make light work!

We could use your creativity and assistance! Here are a few examples:

FellowScript Team - there are lots of opportunities for proofreaders, marketing, and more! Contact the editor. 

Website Team - Always a huge job, we need people skilled and willing to assist in this area.

Communications - How do we stay connected? Through Social media, emails, newsletters... there are many ways to get connected and help with this area. 

Contests and other programs - from contest judges to writing group leaders there is a lot to do and many ways to get involved.

Events - Fall Conference isn't the only show in town! We regularly host smaller workshops and special events. 

Blogging - Yes! You can be part of our blogging team. We are always looking for fresh perspective, so join the team. We have two blogs - this one, for members new and old, and our Professional Blog on writing, with advice from seasoned authors who are part of our organization. 

How Can I Get Involved?

Visit our website for all the links and more info about who we are, what we offer, and how you can be a part of our wonderful organization. 

October 28, 2020

Siblings in Trouble by Bruce Atchison

 One attitude that grieves me in North American Christians is the lack of care for anybody whom we don't have face-to-face contact. Just because we don't know them doesn't mean we shouldn't be concerned with their welfare.

I love Hebrews 13:3. The Bible in Basic English reads, "Keep in mind those who are in chains, as if you were chained with them, and those who are in trouble, as being yourselves in the body." 

It's far too easy to become so involved in one's own problems. I liken it to how a toddler views the world compared to an adult. Children know only their surroundings. They can't relate to the larger world around themselves. Therefore, a broken toy is a huge concern.

In this interconnected age, there's no excuse for not knowing how our siblings in Christ are doing in the rest of the world. Organizations such as The Voice of the Martyrs sends out e-mail alerts and a monthly magazine highlighting the sufferings of believers in the rest of the world.

This  reticence to care about, and advocate for, Christians in peril isn't new. It happened to Paul, as he related in 2 Timothy 1:16 and 17. "May the Lord give mercy to the house of Onesiphorus because he frequently gave me help, and had no feeling of shame because I was in chains; But when he was in Rome, he went in search of me everywhere, and came to me."

We shouldn't be ashamed or uninterested in those folks who don't look like us or don't live in the same places we do. And with the ability to send funds to accredited aid organizations which also preach the gospel, we can offer help without leaving home.

We have this remote-giving precedent in the scriptures. Paul took up a collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem, as we read in 1 Corinthians 16:3 and 4 "And when I come, I will send the men of your selection with letters to take the money you have got together to Jerusalem. And if it is possible for me to go there, they will go with me."

With the help of accountable agencies and secure money transfers, we can give Christ's workers the finances they need to spread compassion and the gospel around the world.

October 27, 2020

Environmental Caretakers by Lorilee Guenter

 The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; Psalm 24:1

This sentiment directs much of my activity. Since at least high school the environment and our impact on it has been a topic I am drawn to. There is much harm happening to the world around us, a world God gave to us for our provision and our pleasure. He instructed us to rule over it and care for it. We have a choice to be a benevolent caretaker or to take all we can.

My interest in caring for our physical surroundings is not just for the benefit of the land, but for the people this land holds, people who are created in  God's image. Our treatment of our surroundings impacts those we share this place with. Our choices can help or harm.

As a writer and artist my words can influence others to consider their choices. I can recite the mantra of "reduce, reuse, recycle" until no one hears it, or I can invite others into the conversation. I try to listen and create, sharing the story of respect. This story, if told well, balances the needs of all. We need to use the resources around us to survive. We need energy to heat our homes, to grow and cook our food. We also need to recognize these resources are not evenly distributed, and those of us who have been blessed with more need to consider how we can help others. This recognition can help us as we care for God's creation, both His people and the world He gave us.

My words, no matter how compelling the story, are not enough. There are actions I can take, and so I must. I do not mean tossing recyclable materials in the correct bin and letting others deal with it although, for some things, that may be the best option I have at this time. I mean considering my impact and making small changes that can become large changes later. I must be aware the easy or popular choices are often not the most effective choices. I recognize my changes are not the same as changes others take. I must respect the places God has put them in, but I can use my actions coupled with my words to show respect and to inform.

I could list all the different actions I have taken or seen others take. I think respect and observation are much more effective because it lets us take the steps we can where we are. Many people have offered ideas. I choose to encourage people to consider the world around them and what they can do to be a good steward of what God has given us. Hopefully, as I watch and listen, I can learn how to be a better caretaker of the gifts I have been given, and encourage others to do the same.

October 23, 2020

Hearing God's Heart About Homosexuality ~ Valerie Ronald


Whenever I drive to town I pass by a section of sidewalk brightly painted like a rainbow. It’s been there since our town held its first Gay Pride Parade about three years ago. I cannot pass the rainbow sidewalk without a familiar sense of loss and sadness flooding my heart. To most of society it represents a celebration of the LGBTQ movement, but to me it is a reminder of a beloved stepson estranged from our family because he chose to live a homosexual lifestyle. It was his choice to sever contact with us, not ours.  

My husband’s four children were a delightful bonus when I married him. Especially the youngest, Scott (not his actual name), a bright 12 year old full of curiosity and quirky ideas. Whenever it was his turn to help with after dinner clean-up, I knew I would be well entertained. Scott demonstrated a lively interest in the Christian faith on which we founded our home, so we encouraged him in his own walk with Christ in every way we could. But as he grew into a teenager Scott became increasingly withdrawn, antisocial and passive aggressive. We tried all we could think of to show our love and concern, but he was unreachable. Not long after he moved out of our home, he called to announce his upcoming marriage to his male partner. We had heard rumors of his homosexual lifestyle, but this news broke our hearts.Though we assured him of our love, we could not blithely condone his decision which went against God’s view of homosexuality. In spite of this, we made sure he knew our door would always be open to him as our cherished son. Sadly, Scott has refused contact to this day.

Does this mean we are homophobes? Of course not. We could no more hate, fear or scorn someone for their sexual orientation than we could for their ethnicity or social standing. Never in our conversations with Scott did we openly condemn his decision. Because he grew up in a Christian home learning God’s word, he knew what our position was on the subject of homosexuality. We believe God’s created intent for the expression of human sexuality is fulfilled within the covenant of a monogamous and heterosexual marriage. (Matt. 19:4-6) Any other expression, including homosexuality, is a violation of God’s created intent and outside of the boundaries He has set. (Rom. 1:26-27)

Scott presumed we disapproved of his choice based on our own opinions and therefore condemned him as a person. That is untrue. Our theological conviction is not a catalyst to treat him poorly. Our view of his choice is founded on a perfect source outside ourselves, God’s Word. And this Word also teaches us repeatedly to love others in spite of their sin, yet not to compromise our beliefs by condoning their sin.

We long to demonstrate our love to Scott for who he is, but he has not given us the opportunity yet. We long to understand him as a person, the grown man he has become since he left our home. We want to know about his experiences, dreams, hopes and fears. Our love for him is not based on his right or wrong choices but on his irrevocable position as our son, which will never change no matter how distant he becomes. We care enough about him not to reduce him to his sexual orientation. He is so much more than that to us. It is not our job to try and change him. That is God’s department.

We cannot force him to have a relationship with us. His estrangement signifies his support of the argument that “acceptance but not approval” is not actually love. It could be that he is following the direction societal opinion is moving, that anything short of full approval is homophobia. His actions demonstrate that he considers us intolerant, therefore he treats us the way he himself does not want to be treated. If only he would give us a chance to love him as we want to.

I do not see divided views on homosexuality as strictly a social justice issue. Those who identify as homosexual have the same rights and freedoms as everyone, and are even celebrated for their sexual choices, though I don’t see those who identify as heterosexual having parades and special days designated for their orientation. From our family’s personal experience with homosexuality, I have come to the conclusion that it is also a matter of the heart. The reason it broke our hearts when we learned of our son’s decision to marry a man is because we saw it as his decision to embrace sin. If he had chosen to rob a bank or become a terrorist, we would feel the same. He knew God’s mandate on the subject, yet he implicitly chose to disobey, to follow his own desires and turn away from his family and the God he previously trusted.

Choosing a homosexual lifestyle is not a social justice issue, it is a sin issue. When I look to Jesus Christ for direction, I see how he hated sin, but loved sinners. Always. He loved sinners even to the point of His sacrificial death on a cross. He was clear in His condemnation of their sin, generous in demonstrating His love, and openhanded in His offer of redemption for those who repent.

Author John Badertscher wrote, “Love, properly understood, is not a feeling which may or may not last. It is an ordering of my will in which I hold the well-being of another at the center of my own well-being.”¹

My husband and I daily hold the well-being of Scott at the center of our hearts, praying for God’s love to reach him and return him to faith and his family.

¹Ten Steps on Freedom Road: Why the Commandments are Good News by John Badertscher; Wipf and Stock Publishers; Sept. 30, 2019

Valerie's devotionals can be read on her blog https://scriptordeus.wordpress.com

October 22, 2020

“Lord Have Mercy” by Alan Anderson


“Love sinners, but hate their deeds, and do not disdain sinners for their failings, so that you yourself do not fall into the temptation in which they abide… Do not be angry at anyone and do not hate anyone, neither for their faith, nor for their shameful deeds… Do not foster hatred for the sinner, for we are all guilty… Hate his sins, and pray for him, so that you may be made like unto Christ, who had no dislike for sinners, but prayed for them.”

(St. Isaac the Syrian, Homily 57,90)


If there is ever a month of our blog posts to weep over this is the one. This theme of social justice causes me to pull within myself. I find myself overwhelmed by the fragility of people as I read our posts this month.

For decades now, my heart has grieved for the unborn. Canada’s form of barbarism is most noticeable in our country’s absence of laws on abortion. Even our politicians seem to avoid discussion in terms of the inhumanity of abortion. I am thankful I gave up trust in politicians years ago. I also grieve for Canada in the decision the Canadian government took by inflicting Medical Assistance in Dying on the country. Lord have mercy

Rather than go off on a tangent about Canada’s barbarism, I have decided on a different direction for this post. This month’s blog theme fills me with love for our InScribe family of writers. You all care for our world in word and deed. We walk through this theme of social justice together with hearts bonded by love.

Not too long ago, I posted a brief message on Facebook to counteract the negativity expressed on social media. Here is what I wrote. “Shh! Can you hear it? Listen. Yes, listen. Shh be still. No, don't move. Listen. Calm your heart. Sit alone. Listen. Listen. Ahh, yes, the still small voice of God amidst the confused clamor of the world.” Simple, right? This Facebook post expressed my need to slow down and listen.

The blog posts this month remind me of the tenderness God has placed on the hearts of His people. My friends, your messages are an encouragement for us to slow down and listen to your beautiful hearts. You help in this child of God being determined to love people. To love others is more of God than judging them. In my lifelong sadness over abortion and euthanasia, I cling to love and not judging people. 

Sin has damaged humanity. None of us is without sin. In Eastern Orthodox Christianity we have a saying used in a simple prayer. We ask for God’s compassion on us, “Lord have mercy.” Lord, have compassion, have mercy on those who cause injustices. Lord have mercy on victims of injustices. Lord have mercy on those of us involved in ministries of compassion. Lord have mercy on us all. 

Dear InScribe family of writers and readers, listen. Despite the confused clamor of the world, God still speaks.  Take a few minutes when you finish reading here to listen to God. 

Dear friends, writers, and readers, what have you taken away from our posts this month?

Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. 




October 21, 2020

My Hot Button - Tracy Krauss

When Sandi Somers suggested this month's topic almost a year ago, I doubt she had a crystal ball, but when we look around us at the world today, it seems more timely than ever. There is one issue that has always been my 'hot button' topic and that is racism. It is probably the one thing that sets my blood boiling. 

I am a fairly tolerant person. Some people don't like the word 'tolerance' because they feel it smacks of being wishy-washy; not standing up for what is right. I will admit that in most cases, I prefer not to stir the pot and can let some things slide. I try not to "sweat the small stuff." 

BUT, as any of my past students can attest, there was (and is) one thing I would not tolerate - ever. Racism. Even "jokes" or what might seem to some as just a passing comment, were called to account. It didn't matter who the slur was directed at - or even it it was directed at no one in particular - I addressed it. 

Racism is ugly. It is also indiscriminate. 

A few years ago I submitted a piece to The Upper Room.  I felt privileged when it got published in the summer of 2019. It was based on an incident that happened to a close friend of mine who lives in Winnipeg. He also happens to be Cree. Here is the UR mediation below:

A Real Life Samaritan

Read Luke 10: 30 -37

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. (Luke 10:33 NIV)

A good friend was mugged one evening after getting off a city bus. He normally projects a rather intimidating figure, but he was using a cane because of a painful abdominal condition. Apparently, his vulnerability made him an easy target.

Unfortunately, no one came to his aid immediately until two young men arrived on the scene. They chased the mugger away, called 911, and then sat with him until the ambulance arrived. The thing that struck my friend the most was that these two young men were immigrant Muslims. While no one else would stop to help, it was two unlikely looking strangers who showed him true kindness, despite the cultural differences. It was a poignant reminder to avoid making judgements based on outward appearance or cultural expectations.

In Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan, the two people that should have stopped to help did not, while the ‘unlikely candidate’ did. Perhaps we could all benefit from taking a look at the way we view others, no matter their background or the colour of their skin. When we look through Jesus' eyes, we see each person as He sees them – made in the image of the Creator. 

Thought for the day: Every person has value in God’s eyes.


The thing that didn't make it into this account was the fact that my friend was a victim, not only of the mugger, but of racism. He is a husky, strong, obviously First Nations man. Because he had just had surgery he was using a cane and he was in a lot of pain. He said that no one helped him when the mugging was happening and then people passing by took a wide berth. In his words, "Everyone thought I was just another drunk Indian." 

Honestly, I am actually crying as I write this. My eyes are so blurry I can hardly see the keyboard! That description does not fit my friend. He is a compassionate and hard working person. But here is the thing that really makes me cry: Even if he WAS drunk and homeless, that doesn't make him less deserving of basic human dignity! 

People's worth is not about the colour of their skin, but human value also has nothing to do with socio-economic status, or current situation. THIS is what truly breaks my heart! 

I'm glad that governments are trying to bring about reconciliation and that people are being educated about racial inequalities. However, I'm not sure that government legislation is going to make much difference. I believe it starts in the hearts of people. Each individual must look inside themselves and make a conscious effort NOT to judge others, no matter how they appear or what the circumstances. 


Tracy Krauss
writes from her home in northern BC. She is currently serving as InScribe's president. Visit her website for more: tracykrauss.com -fiction on the edge without crossing the line-

October 20, 2020

What Do You Stand For? – Denise M. Ford


If someone took a photograph of me and then applied an enhancing filter, I believe an outline would appear. I picture it glowing and pulsing depending on the situation or conversation surrounding me. Highlighting the unmistakable reactions, the facial expressions that wrangle and pull my visage into downcast, taut grimaces, or puckered, sucked mouthing. The unmistakable eyebrow lifting and reflexive grinning. Unseen but just below the surface my heart beating with loud thudding, pounding to depths that threaten to burst through my chest wall. 

An emotional outline clearly delineating my threshold, or my tolerance. I admit, my physical reactions will uncover and dismantle any pretense I hope to convey regarding social injustice. How do I allow them to produce words, spoken or written; how will my intentions influence these impulses to share my soul wrenching beliefs; this becomes my constant question. 

Especially in today’s world when we can read someone’s post on social media, absorb its brief assertion, ignore a conscientious tugging for discernment, and share it boldly to others with the ---what? Intent to sway or reprimand them in their beliefs. What moves us to press a button and feel relieved that we have contributed to the social injustice conversation, in a moment of release have we found a way to control others?  Ah, control becomes the underlying purpose, the mechanism that starts the process. Does it become the ultimate goal?

Why do we as loving, caring individuals succumb to attitudes and ways to control others to suit our own beliefs?

While I understand how writers influence and inform society on topics that demand social response, I firmly believe that we need to constantly inquire from where our honest intentions originate: From a need to control? Or from a need to stir love and cooperation? From a need to judge or from a need to accept our own responsibility? From a need to gain superiority or from a need to provide perspective? From a need to promote loyalty or to uncover truth?

I do not suggest that my outline of tolerance encompasses correct perceptions or limitations. I have confronted evil and I have accepted when I cannot. I mistakenly and impulsively share on-line posts that in retrospect I wish I had bypassed the click of the button. I listen to many descry the media at a time when information desperately needs to reach the uninformed. I cringe and shake my head to convey my disbelief at interpretations that astound me, conspiracy theories that disregard science. Yet I believe in words. I believe in accepting and acknowledging language that will record our social relationships.

Alongside my writing corner sits a framed postcard from the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. The center block poses the question: What Do You Stand For? Smaller blocks enclose the inquiry demanding visible consideration: courage, wisdom, justice, honesty, imagination, empathy, citizenship, self-discipline, integrity, caring, accountability, respect, restraint, sincerity, forgiveness, truthfulness, compassion, cooperation.

What Do You Stand For? What prompts you to create the emotional outline that surrounds you as a moral and ethical human being? What draws you forth to engage and experience the social fabric unfolding today?

What Do You Stand For? From what need do your honest intentions originate? 

Before you press a button, or type out thoughts, or speak your words to influence others, be mindful. What lies within those words? How will others receive the outline you project?

My husband and I took a much-needed day trip to Banff National Park last week. We walked by a small riverbed and discovered a beautiful outline created by nature’s changing season. Yellow leaves released and abandoned by the branches of surrounding trees haphazardly layered on top of each other snuggling against the curving riverbank. As the current brought water to lazily lap against them it drew our attention to pause and reflect on the image they created.
What do you stand for? How will you allow your emotional outline to penetrate your words? At their release will they line up in a manner that will reflect your intentions. 

Writing necessarily informs, exposes, criticizes, and enlightens. Offered objectively or satirically, factually or exaggerated. It can and has moved society to alter its ideas.  Articles, speeches, editorials, tweets, posts, broadcasts, debates, discussions, podcasts, blogs, letters, emails, texts… we fill them with words, we release them and wonder what reception they will receive.

We tread the boundaries of our own emotional outlines, we know the power and value of ideas, statements, metaphors, and stories. When we choose to breech our emotional outlines, we need to discern potential outcomes and consequences. 

As we shed our emotions, and our reactions into words will they form a visible outline to the world that motivates or inspires as our thoughts line up for scrutiny?  Will our beliefs and perceptions invoke a pause and reflection or impulse and incitement?  What do we want, what will our releases evoke? What will cause others to marvel at the visible emotional outline we design?

While we should not shy away from social injustice, I pray that we will seek the guidance and direction of the Spirit In our interactions to confront it. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Galatians 5:22-26 (NET)

October 17, 2020

Press The Stop Button On Bullying by Lynn Dove

Talk about intimidation!  

She yelled her insults at me from across the room.  I tried to ignore her, but her taunting continued.  She was calling me names in front of my peers and challenging me to fight her after school.  Her unrelenting, persistent bullying of me throughout the year had finally culminated into this tirade during a study period.  The teacher had left the classroom, so spurred on by her "pack" of she-wolves' who laughed at my embarrassment and discomfort, she called me names laced with the most vile expletives that made me cringe.  

"Don't let her bug you!"  My friend, who sat behind me, tapped me on the back and whispered.  

"It's kind of hard," I whispered back.  

I remembered all the times she had bumped into me in the hallway.  Whenever she found me by myself and vulnerable, she hip-checked me with all the gusto of a hockey defenseman into the lockers, and then glared at me and bellowed, "Watch where you're going, b****!"  I found expletives scrawled about me in the girl's change room.  I was the subject of malicious gossip.  I was tripped, books knocked from my hand, and as she and her friends played keep-away with my pencil case, her laughter rang in my ears.  

I don't know how or when I had first offended her, or why she wanted to punish and torment me, but she hated me, that was obvious, and she took devilish delight in hurting me physically and emotionally every chance she could.  We followed a strict code at my school.  I couldn't "tell" on her, that would only label me as a snitch and she threatened more punishment as a result. So, I felt trapped and wounded in a school environment that could not seem to protect me.  I discovered the best offense was a really good defense, so I avoided her as much as possible.  There was safety in numbers, so I surrounded myself with a few choice friends that were not as intimidated by her as I was.  Still, there was palpable tension whenever we passed one another that finally built up to this final altercation in the classroom.

I stood up and faced her and agreed to meet her after school.  She punched her right hand into her left palm and menacingly grinned at me, "You're dead meat, Princess!"

"Are you insane?"  My friend behind me said.  "She's going to pound you up!"

I shuddered, but thought to myself, "If I die, I die."

It was anti-climatic when I showed up at the designation of our "rumble" to find myself alone.  I waited for a half an hour and she never showed.  Word got around the school that I had been prepared to fight her, but she "jammed out".  I didn't feel like I had won any great victory.  In fact, I was more nervous than ever to be alone in case she decided to ambush me.

A few days before graduation, my english teacher asked to speak to me after school.  English was my favourite subject and I had just turned in my final writing assignment.  On her desk were two papers.  She asked me to read the one that had been written by my nemesis.  I only read a few sentences to realize she had somehow plagiarized my paper.

"This is very serious," Mrs. Lidster said.  "I have two papers in front of me that are virtually identical.  I'm not quite sure what to do about this.  There is no time to submit another paper for a grade.  I have to have my final marks in this afternoon."  I opened my mouth to speak, but she held up her hand and shook her head.  "I know what you've been going through, Lynn," she said.  "I've seen how you've put up with her all year long.  I wish you'd have talked to me, but you have a chance now to enact a little revenge.  You're a straight A student in my class.  I don't know how she managed to get a hold of your paper to copy it, but I'll find out.  The thing is, she needed this paper to pass my class.  She must have been pretty desperate to steal your paper knowing she needed a good one for a passing grade.  Without a paper she will not graduate.  I just wanted you to know."

I stared at the paper in my hand.  Her name was on the paper, but the words were mine.  I remember the hours I had spent writing it.  It felt good that I hadn't needed to defend myself to my teacher.  She knew my innocence before she had even called me in to see her.  That was a great relief.  On the other hand, I now held in my hands the evidence I could use against my Bully.  If I accused her of copying my paper, she would not graduate.  It was a small town.  Our graduating class was small.  The ramifications of not graduating with her peers, despite all she had put me through, did not fill me with glee, but great trepidation.  I surprised myself when I suddenly blurted out, "Is there a way you can pass her anyway?"

Mrs. Lidster sat back in her chair and folded her hands in front of her on her desk.  "Are you asking me to show grace to her?"  I was not a Christian in high school and had no Biblical understanding of the word "grace", but I nodded.  "I am meeting with her in a few minutes.  I make no promises, but the fact you're the injured party in all of this and you want her to graduate anyway,...well...I plan on letting her know who she should be thanking for this."

The girl who had tormented me through high school sat a few seats down from me at graduation.  She did not speak to me, nor acknowledge what had transpired between her or Mrs. Lidster.  However, I think we both knew she was there because of me.  I had somehow defeated my bully with an act of kindness.  I think it surprised both of us.  

When I became a teacher, one of my goals was to be an anti-bullying advocate.  I not only tried to recognize the signs of victimization, and take action to prevent further abuse, but also learn what goes on in the hearts and minds of those students who choose to bully others.  I discovered quickly that "Hurt people hurt people."  

Our family went through a very dark time when my daughter in Junior High was placed on suicide watch because she had been bullied to such an extent she had convinced herself that ending her life was the only way to cope with the abuse.  Thankfully, before my daughter took action, she confided in another adult she trusted, her piano teacher, who in turn took the appropriate action to inform me of my daughter's dire situation.  A guilt haunts me to this day that I had trained myself to recognize the signs of victimization in other students, but I had completely missed seeing it in my own child!  It spurred me on to be even more involved in several anti-bullying forums that equip teachers, parents, and students with resources and action plans to stop bullying in schools.  When I wrote my "Wounded Trilogy" books, I was very purposeful in having bullying as a major theme.  Directed to a young adult reading audience, my books have been recommended as resources by websites such as www.bullying.org here in Canada. 

There are so many causes, social injustices etc., that I could rally behind, but for me, to see bullying in all its forms eradicated from all the hallways, school playgrounds, and social media, motivates me to take action like nothing else. 

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 at lynndove.com 


October 15, 2020

An Annus Horribilis by Nina Faye Morey


Image by Mary Pahlke from Pixabay 

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;

Love and faithfulness go before you.

~ Psalm 89:14, NIV


In a speech marking the 40th anniversary of her accession to the throne, Queen Elizabeth II referred to 1992 as an “annus horribilis,” a Latin phrase meaning a horrible year. She said, “1992 is not a year on which I will look back with undiluted pleasure.”¹


The year 2020 has been my “annus horribilis” — a dreadful year full of grief and sorrow. My loving husband of nearly 48 years passed away from cancer on April 30 at the relatively young age of 75. Only a few months earlier, our family physician had remarked that he was quite healthy for a man of his age. Regrettably, cancer is not a disease that could be readily picked up by a routine physical examination. It’s a cunning and insidious disease that seldom reveals symptoms until it’s too late to administer life-saving treatments.


On top of dealing with the grief and heartache of my husband’s passing, I’ve had to cope with the added stress caused by the Covid-19 Coronavirus. This pandemic has left many of us struggling to cope with feelings of fear, sadness, loneliness, anxiety, and depression. These feelings can easily overwhelm us and exacerbate any pre-existing mental health conditions. For me and countless others, this year has indeed been an “annus horribilis.”


Unfortunately for us, our society tends to stigmatize and discriminate against those who are prone to mental illness. While someone with a high fever and cough will receive immediate medical attention, a person suffering from a broken spirit will often be met with an attitude of indifference, or even disrespect. Everyone in our society deserves to have equal rights, which includes the same right and ease of access to both physical and mental health services. Negative attitudes and stereotypes not only make it harder for those with mental health issues to deal with life’s stresses, they are also detrimental to their inclination to seek help and their ability to recover.

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay 

Unfortunately, Covid-19 has only intensified the impact that these systemic inequalities have on those who suffer from mental illness by increasing their social isolation, unemployment, poverty, and homelessness. The Canadian Mental Health Association released a nationwide survey in June that revealed that the pandemic has dealt a devastating psychological blow to many Canadians, especially “those with existing mental illness or mental health issues.”²


According to Statistics Canada:


1) “Over 2 million Canadians aged 15 years and over have a mental health-related disability.”


2) “Four of the most frequently reported mental health-related conditions are: anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and severe stress disorders.”


3) “Nearly half of employed Canadians with a mental health-related disability feel that one or more of their conditions makes it difficult to change or advance in their job. Of these, 1 in 4 believe it is due to discrimination or stigma.”³

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your

mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect

justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the

latter without leaving the former undone.

~ Luke 11:42

Jesus fed the poor, defended widows and children, embraced lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors and other outcasts from society. He did not stigmatize or discriminate against anyone. He treated everyone equally, whether they suffered from spiritual, physical, or mental disorders. He spoke out against those who cloaked themselves with the mantle of faith and religion, but did not practice justice and mercy.


As followers of Jesus, we must recognize that we are all made in the image of God. Therefore, we must work towards making our society more just and humane for everyone. It is incumbent upon us to challenge the inequities and injustices that those with mental illnesses and disabilities experience daily and to take an active role in creating positive change. Like Jesus, we need to place our focus on the wellbeing of the whole person, tending to all of their needs: mental, physical, and spiritual.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.

And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

And to walk humbly with your God.

~ Micah 6:8

Take a few minutes now to reflect on your attitude toward those who suffer from mental health conditions. How might you make amends for any transgressions you’ve committed? What unique role do you see yourself playing in righting the root causes of this social injustice and promoting a more just and equitable society for everyone?

¹ “A speech by The Queen on the 40th Anniversary of her succession (Annus horribilis speech),” The Royal Household, November 24, 1992, https://www.royal.uk/annus-horribilis-speech.

² “Covid-19 effects on the mental health of vulnerable populations,” Canadian Mental Health Association, June 24, 2020, https://cmha.ca/documents/covid-mental-health-effects-on-vulnerable-populations.

³ “Mental health-related disabilities in Canada, 2017,” Statistics Canada, January 30, 2019, https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-627-m/11-627-m2019005-eng.htm

Solas to Remember .... Mid Month Moment by Connie Inglis

Mid-Month Moments - from the archives of former spiritual advisor, Connie Inglis.

The older I get and the more I interact with other believers, the more I've come to realize that I'm one of the fortunate ones. No, I'm not talking about being a writer (though that IS a goldmine of joy!), but about being a believer who has a Christian heritage - a faith shared with me through my parents, my grandparents, my great-grandparents... Growing up with that kind of heritage is a wonderful gift from God.

More than 500 years ago, Martin Luther nailed his "95 Theses" to the Wittenburg door, and thus began the Reformation. Even though this is history, it still affects our lives today.

Today I want to share with you Five Solas that came out of the Reformation - Five Latin phrases that we now know to be true, but back in Luther's day they were considered heretical. As you read these, think about how these five truths play out in your writing, your speaking, and your relationships, whether it's with other believers or with the world:

Sola Scriptura--by Scripture Alone. 2 Tim. 3:16,17. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Sola Christus--in Christ Alone. Acts 4:10-12. " then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is 'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Sola Gratia--by Grace Alone. Eph. 2:4,5. "But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved."

Sola Fide--through Faith Alone. Rom. 3:25,26. "God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 He did it to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus."

Sola Deo Gloria--Glory to God Alone. 1 Peter 4:11. "Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."

My prayer for us this week is that we take time to be thankful - thankful for how God has moved down through history, for how God moves in our lives and in the lives of our families right now, and for how God still moves and continues to move in this world. And may we give Him ALL the glory due His name for who He is and for what He has done IN CHRIST ALONE.

In celebration,
Oct 31, 2017