November 29, 2020

Peace, Be Still - Gloria Guest


Every year around Christmas I choose either a word or a scripture verse that I sense God is wanting to speak over myself and my family in the coming year. Last year as 2019 was waning down, I felt no such inclination. I was a little burnt out from another trying year and just didn’t sense that God had a word or message for me. Or maybe, truthfully, I just didn’t care.

As many know, a huge bright spot in my life are my five grandchildren; four grand-daughters and one grandson. Since the twins, Sydney and Sarah, first entered my life at the age of five, when they moved out west with their momma who was marrying our son, they stole my heart, captured my love and brightened my days. In the next few years, three more little bright spots have come along and all are the lights of my life.

So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that it would be through one of those little lights that God would provide me with my ‘word’ for 2020. We had been decorating the Christmas tree that day and I had been handing them the ornaments. When it was done, I noticed that one of the girls had found an old sign that I’d forgotten I had and placed it prominently in the middle of the tree. PEACE, it read.

And there was my word.

I knew it came from God straight through my grandchild’s innocent gesture and so I accepted it as my word for the year. Deep inside though I wished it had been something more exciting, more in line with my need to figure out where I fit in this life of mine that had seemed to stall. So I mulled over ‘why that word?' a little bit, feeling it was somewhat out of step.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. We all know what happened in early 2020. And suddenly, peace, which had never been my strong point, was in even shorter supply in my life. My husband and I both struggled to adjust and figure out what the new restrictions and eventual shut downs meant for us and our family. In a nut shell it meant: extra precautions and restrictions for my husband on the road as he was a semi driver and therefore an essential employee. He would come home mentally exhausted from a week’s worth of dealing with it.

I am one who has some medical vulnerabilities so it took some time to figure out just what risks I should take and which I shouldn’t and also put extra pressure on my husband since he was concerned about not bringing the virus home.

Of course, there were the restrictions of not being able to see those lovely little bright spots in our lives I mentioned earlier including a much anticipated visit from our son and his wife and our little grand-daughter from Ontario.

Summer lifted restrictions somewhat and at times it seemed as things were ‘sort of’ normal. Of course they weren’t though and suddenly we found ourselves in the dreaded state of my husband having to get tested for Covid. Way back in January I had dared to pray that God would give us some extra time together this year, but him staying in his semi and me in the house with only our back yard for visiting and shared meals, all six feet apart, was not exactly what I had ordered!! My birthday, in which I had hoped we would go somewhere interesting, ended up being held on our back deck. But I admit that with the addition of the Creators stars and some fun pictures we took and birthday cake in the dark it turned out kind of charming. Of course the great blessing was that he tested negative and was able to go back to work and that he still had work of any kind to do at all!

We are both a little wearier at the end of this year then when it all began last spring. The most crushing blow has come in the form of realizing we cannot travel to see our son in the military and his family, for Christmas and he deploys overseas for six months in January.  It’ll be a long wait to see him now and our daughter-in-law and that precious little two year old, as it’s already been over a year. It crushed my usual Christmas spirit some. I wasn’t even planning on putting up a tree.

But God, in all of His concern for every detail in my life has arranged an unexpected visit from my three grandchildren tomorrow (we are currently allowed five in a household in Sk) and guess who will be helping me decorate that tree?

Peace. It’s such a small little word. But so mighty. When I took the sign off my tree last Christmas I kept it up in my living room all year as a reminder of what God wanted to provide for me. Many times this year I’ve called on Jesus to step out and calm the storm.

“Peace be still,” He said.  (Mark 4:39 NIV)

And it is.

Blogging for inScribe...

What a wonderful group of bloggers we have here on the InScribe Writers' Online Blog!  

If you are a regular contributor, THANK YOU! 

If you were a guest blogger, THANK YOU!

If you wrote a review, made a comment, or shared this blog on your Social Media platforms, THANK YOU! 

So, what's next for the IWO blog in 2021? 

Well, we will continue on, of course, because this is such a wonderful place for members of our organization to share their ideas, practice their writing skills, and connect with one another. 

For those who are regular contributors, you've already been contacted about your plans for 2021. If you are a member of InScribe, you are cordially invited to join us, either as a regular or a guest blogger. If you're just visiting but like what you see, please share or comment. 

The current moderator, (Tracy Krauss) is looking to step down sometime in 2021, so if you feel this is a ministry you would like to take on, please contact her. 

In the meantime, keep on blogging!

November 28, 2020

My Idea of a Joyful Noise - Bruce Atchison

I'll admit it up front. I'm not a good musician. Even so, I had fun dabbling in electronic and experimental music. 

I must have done something right because program hosts in Moscow, Warsaw, Trondheim, and Paris figured my music was good enough to air. Even the CBC played one of my compositions and paid me a hefty royalty cheque.

Though my keyboard skills aren't up to professional standard, I worked diligently on each piece. I layered each instrument's sound on my multi-track machine in the way I felt worked best.

I also made chrome cassette copies of my music from the mix VHS tape. I could have skimped on the quality by using regular cassettes but I wanted the clearest sound possible. When I bought a new computer with a CD-R burner, I made my own disks for sale and to send to radio stations.

The Apostle Paul certainly understood the value of making use of our talents. Romans 12:6-8 (Bible in Basic English) does encourage us to use our talents. "And having different qualities by reason of the grace given to us, such as the quality of a prophet, let it be made use of in relation to the measure of our faith; Or the position of a Deacon of the church, let a man give himself to it; or he who has the power of teaching, let him make use of it; He who has the power of comforting, let him do so; he who gives, let him give freely; he who has the power of ruling, let him do it with a serious mind; he who has mercy on others, let it be with joy."

And as Proverbs 11:27 (BBE) says, "He who, with all his heart, goes after what is good is searching for grace; but he who is looking for trouble will get it.

Now some might say that my music was a vain waste of time. Even so, I knew that God used my compositions to bring disparate non Christians into my life. And as Isaiah 55:2 (BBE) says, so I modeled good Christian conduct in the hope it brought folks to salvation. "Why do you give your money for what is not bread, and the fruit of your work for what will not give you pleasure? Give ear to me, so that your food may be good, and you may have the best in full measure."

Even today, my music videos are on YouTube for all to see and hear.

November 27, 2020

Reflecting by Lorilee Guenter

Promises Kept 

 "For I have not given you a spirit of fear (timidity), but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-control." (self-discipline) 2 Timothy 1:7

In January I chose this verse as a focus verse for the year along with the words courage and boldness. At the time no one predicted what was to come during 2020. When I started to reflect on this verse, I thought about changing my habits to care for this gift of life God has given me. I thought about being willing to grasp hold of the opportunities God showed even in uncomfortable situations. I thought about using what I have to build up those around me, to engage with neighbours more, and to continue to look for God's hand in my life and our community. All these happened and so much more.

This year this verse came to mind in unexpected ways and at unexpected times. Even when I prepared to write this post, God reminded me through a podcast that His spirit of power and love and self-control are working through us to accomplish His work. Not only that but He wants to work with us boldly and powerfully.

I clung to Him during the spring shut down. The absence of physical gathering with community highlighted the value of these communities. But our God made us with creativity and we were able to find new ways to gather, new ways to reflect His love. For me it came at great cost to my mental health but not with fear or panic. God gave me peace in place of panic. Peace I could then share with others.

As we were forced to give up distractions, I was surprised by new things, new opportunities. I had the courage to say yes to telling Bible stories for our Sunday School via video using my art and a basic script. I have been encouraged to share my art in other ways I had never considered. My first response to these opportunities was to be hesitant. When I was asked the same question by three people about an art related possibility, I knew I need to trust God and step into this role with boldness.

I do not know what God will do with any of these things. Some of the things God has shown me this year have been huge, some small. Through it all, at various times and in various ways, I have been reminded that God is at work. He will use what I give Him in unexpected ways. Through His power and love even the small steps of courage through faith will reflect His glory.

As we step towards a second shut down, I continue to trust god will continue to work with me and through me. Where that leads I have no idea, but He does. His power will replace panic with peace, fear with faith.

November 26, 2020

A B Cs of 2020 - Marnie Pohlmann


 is for And.

My word for 2020 was “and” to help me remember that I have choices.

 is for But.

I mentioned in the January blog that adding focus to life might be important “but” letting go of what blocks you is equally important.

 is for choice.

I thought “And” and “But” would help me with my Choices. If we cannot fit one more thing on the top shelf without something falling off, then we need to make a choice about what belongs.

could also be for Covid.

The pandemic of Coronavirus 19, or Covid-19, has effectively helped make choices for me, removing many activities. While many people are anxious for life to return to normal, I am enjoying the slower pace of not rushing to and fro. Meetings are through video chats so seem to be more productive and over quicker, leaving me time to do what I say I will do before another endeavour takes my attention. I have saved almost $300 on haircuts. I have a window to see daylight as I work from home. I have so much more to write about - when I choose to write.

Or is 

for Create?
The old saying goes, write what you know. The year 2020 has given each writer the experience to write in many new genres that they may not have considered before. In this post, I am exploring some of these ideas.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Science Fiction

We went on a weekend of romance and rest, hibernating in a friend’s cabin on the lake. No TV, no Internet. Just books, games, and each other. On Monday we returned home, feeling refreshed.

And although we like adventure, everything at home is the same, except it isn’t.  We have entered an alternate universe. 

The whole world is struggling with a pandemic. Travel to and from far-away places spreads an illness never seen before. No one is safe. Everyone is at risk. People are dying.

Schools are open, but the children are at home. A telephone call counts as a visit to the doctor. The elderly, already treated poorly, are constrained in group homes, not able to go out or have visitors in, and many workers no longer go in to help them.

Something unseen is a menace to this new world we entered. We are told it is a menace to us, too, as no one is immune.

Masked, trying to be unseen, we avoid others as we search for the wormhole that brought us here. If we return to the cabin for another weekend, will we be transported back to life as we knew it? Can we escape, without being caught, the evil that has invaded the earth...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Relationship Advice Column

We are at home together. Isn’t it wonderful?

We work at home. We rest at home. We visit only with those who share our home. The elderly are lonely. The singles are lonely. The parents are overwhelmed by demanding, bored children. But I have you.

We are at home together. Isn’t it wonderful?

Marriage is for life, but that does not mean every minute of life is meant to be shared together. Forced to stay in the confines of our home, we begin to sound like children traveling in the back seat of a car. “She’s breathing on me.” “He smells.” (Followed by, “Do I need to stop this car? I will…”)

We are created to need others. We are also created to need space or quiet time. Different people have different amounts of others and the space they need, but we all need a bit of each.

So, when not being with others beyond your spouse, and needing some space to yourself without someone walking in, how do you keep your marriage healthy and strong? How do you not annoy one another to the point of no return...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
Political Intrigue

We shelter in a windowless room and discuss the news reports that are causing fear in the masses. The number of people tested. The number of deaths. An overwhelmed medical system throughout the country. But something seems to be missing. The statistics don’t tell us what is really happening.

The reports show us how terribly we have treated our elderly citizens. They talk about immune-compromised people. Schools are shut down. Working parents are panicked. Stockpiling essentials causes shortages. All countries are affected. 

“Will a one-world government be established to direct the recovery from this worldwide disaster?” asks a hooded man.

Another man, wearing a mask, cuts in. “Businesses are forced to close, and even declare bankruptcy. What will a new economy look like when only major companies are left? Are those companies controlled by the same power-people who caused this?”

A lady with red hair that announces her defiance of hiding, stood. “We are told to stay home, behind closed doors. We are told not to talk to our neighbour. Don’t get a haircut. Work from home, if you even have a job. Be disconnected. Listen only to the news you are given. You can trust us. How can we trust those who are treating us like robots waiting to carry out their next directions? We need to find out what is behind all this.”

When darkness comes, we all, even the red-haired lady, put on dark jackets, and with masks covering our faces we silently step through the door. The streets are deserted, just as they have been all day...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Don’t give in. Don’t give up.
In our new world order, new ways to stay motivated are needed.

Gathering on a computer screen helps but is just not the same as hugs and edits from a fellow writer. It is almost as difficult as reading on an electric device instead of holding a page-turning book in your hands.

We have much more time to write, but less time to watch people and become inspired by their antics. If we write about what we know, too many of us will be writing about cleaning the floor. Somehow, we also now have more time to procrastinate with projects that we had on a get-to list, which also cut into the time we can be writing.

We always think when we retire, we will have more time to write. Today’s Covid-19 circumstances show us that discipline will be needed even in ideal circumstances.

Scripture guides us on how to develop discipline, so we do not quit...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Are you inspired to write something new? You can inspire me to continue writing any of these new-to-me genres, and more, by leaving a comment below.

Pictures courtesy of CCO license through

Marnie Pohlmann isolates in northern BC to protect her coworkers and her church family. She presently works from home and writes in undisciplined moments between playing with her Lego and watching her husband cook.

November 25, 2020

Calm in the Storm by Sharon Heagy


     Hanging in my house is a sign that reads “Sometimes God calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the  storm rage and calms His child.” Though this quotation has been attributed to many, I am unable to find the actual source. Most of the time I don’t even notice this little plaque, but along comes a crisis and there it is. And I read it and sigh. It calms me.

            I have had a similar experience with the verses that I sensed the Lord gave me in January. Thinking back, I can see a broader spectrum of why I needed these verses.

            The beginning of 2020 had my husband and I a little stressed. A third of our crop, and thus one third of our annual income, was still in the field unharvested and laid flat by an early heavy snow. Most crops subjected to winter weather deteriorate and lose grade making it worth much less money. The weather teased us from October to March, melting snow and drying until conditions were just about fit for winter combining and then more snow. Though we fought distress and worry knowing it was pointless, it would come in waves, trying to rob us of our steadfast faith that God would make a way. Enduring through the learning and folding into leaning on Jesus became a process. Then came COVID.

            More unknown added to our lives and to everyone’s life around us. The everyday struggles of those we know best became the actual mountains of the proverbial mole hills.  How could we help? How could we bring perspective to their lives and our own?  This was a whole new ball game. Loss filled the lives of many - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. What to do, what to do, what to do?

Turn to God. To the One who knows the beginning from the end.  This pandemic is no surprise to Him and he is more than able to bring good out of chaos. That’s when the verses from January hit home once more.

“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness” Lamentations 3:19-23NIV

           Hope. Because God is, there is hope. And it is fresh every morning. We turned our eyes to him and tried to be instruments of His love to renew the hope of others.

            We connected and reconnected with family and friends we do not see frequently due to the supposed busyness of life we all seem to share. Our church saw 7 water baptisms and our congregation grew. Personally, our sons were able to keep their jobs and one was able to pass an exam to enter a new field. Another was accepted, moved to the head of the waiting list, for a course he will take to pursue a goal that he believes God has placed on his heart. We downsized our farm and were able to sell our land to two young families who will be amazing stewards of the land rather than some unknown speculator.

            We continue to hang on to hope as my husband ripped his quad tendon off his kneecap at Thanksgiving and had to have surgery to re-attach it. We are incredibly thankful he will have the quieter winter season to recover.

            And that crop that wintered in the field was combined in April in the mud. But the grain was dry and miraculously did not lose a grade. The people who market the grain were amazed and had to check to see if the samples we brought in were from last fall or this spring. What a mighty God we serve!

            Hope. How can we pass this on to others during these challenging times for today and for the days ahead? I think Romans 12:9-16a says it best:

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.” NIV


            May you know God is with you through whatever storms you are experiencing and may His peace overwhelm you on rough waters.

November 24, 2020

Bountiful ~ Valerie Ronald


Last January when I chose my word for the year, I had no inkling that in the coming months the world would be turned upside down by a microscopic virus. The word bountiful seems incongruous with the restrictions, isolation and other deprivations forced upon us by COVID-19. Yet I am thankful it is the word God laid on my heart, because it helps me to be intentional in noticing God’s bountiful gifts in the midst of a pandemic.

The world began to shut down in the middle of March while I was three provinces away visiting family. I was there for a niece’s wedding and my daughter’s surgery, which both went ahead as planned, a day before cancellations came into effect. I recognized God’s timely provision in these two important events happening as scheduled. 

Originally I was to spend the following week caring for my daughter during her recovery while her husband worked and my granddaughter was at school. Instead, we were all home in isolation, so God gave me abundant time to care for my daughter, go for walks with my granddaughter and enjoy conversations with my son-in-law, such gifts when we normally have so little time together.

While in isolation for two weeks after coming home, I had time to consider and pray about where God wanted me to focus my priorities. He gave me peace of mind about choosing to work less, thus freeing up more time and energy for writing. At last I had bountiful, uninterrupted days to give myself wholly to God’s call to write for Him.

The pandemic restrictions brought about a slower pace of life and as I relaxed into it’s gentler rhythms, I found myself noticing more of God’s bounteous gifts. The long summer evenings spent in easy conversation with my husband in our peaceful backyard, the satisfaction of sinking my hands into fragrant dough as I took up bread-making again, recalling happy times spent with loved ones while I sorted and organized old photos. Such simple activities, yet because of the looming threat of the pandemic, they took on new value.

When our normal way of life is restricted or altered for whatever reason, our first reaction is often to complain or push against the boundaries. What if instead we look for the good within the difficult?

Not that we view the horror of this global health crisis in a light way, but rather we look for the activity of God at work in the everyday details. How His love shows up in the weary eyes of overworked healthcare staff still able to comfort patients through a plastic face shield. The way His provision arrives in cheques from the government to help small businesses survive through shutdowns. How His creativity is displayed in technology giving family and friends ways to see each other’s faces and stay connected while in isolation.

When the news tells of rising death reports from COVID-19, I imagine a face for every number; an empty chair at a dinner table, a family in mourning. Although I want to stay informed, I find the constant bombardment of bad news difficult to filter without it affecting me. So I limit my media time, choosing instead to focus on recognizing God’s bountiful blessings in the midst of disaster. It is a paradox how the jewels of God’s gifts shine brightest against a dark backdrop.

In the beginning of Psalm 13, David cries out to God because of his trials, yet by the end he has chosen to refocus on God’s eternal blessings.

How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me? (vs. 1-2)

But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me. (vs. 5-6)

Choosing the word bountiful as my focus for 2020 has helped me see that God’s abundant blessings are not always about the temporal. His best gifts do not inhabit our physical world. They are heaped within our souls in bountiful measure, where even during this world-shattering epoch we can rest in the surety of God’s care for us.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Eph. 1:3 NIV) 

Valerie's devotionals can be read on her blog

November 23, 2020

Unshaken by Joylene M Bailey


When I was given Psalm 16:8 for the month of January 2020, little did I know that it would become a fortress for the entire year.

In January I wrote:
Because I have set the LORD continually before me, He is within easy reach. I don't even need to think about it. It should be a natural reflex to reach for Him no matter the circumstances.
Like a child reaching for her father's hand, certain it will be there every time.


When neighbours hid in houses and bustling streets went quiet,
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

When plexiglass barriers went up and friendly smiles were covered,
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

When looking down at directional arrows replaced looking each other in the eye,
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

When Covid numbers climbed and human experts cautioned,
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

When travel was restricted and I was cut off from children and grandchildren,
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

When groceries had to be disinfected as they entered our doors,
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

When my temperature was taken before I entered my hair salon,
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

When Mom was not allowed to attend the funeral of a beloved sister,
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

When grandchildren couldn't invite friends to their birthday parties,
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

When riots broke out and the world seemed to go crazy,
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

When I watched friends suffer during a time of Covid,
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

When fear threatens and despair taunts,
When weariness for the world sets in,
When prayers for others stack up like bricks too heavy to carry,
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.


When I look back over the year, I see how I reached for my Father's hand over and over again. Because He has proven Himself trustworthy in my past, it is a natural, almost unconscious, response to reach for the strong and comforting hand that I know will be there. Every time.

 Photo by Jed Owen on Unsplash


I have set the LORD continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Psalm 16:8


Joy writes from Edmonton, AB where she lives with her Cowboy, and soon-to-be-married Babe. The arrival of Covid19 prompted her to begin the Tea Time posts on her blog, Scraps of Joyin order to help create community in isolation.

November 22, 2020

To Write Is to Rest by Alan Anderson


My post in January reflected on “rest” as my word for 2020. Words from the book of Matthew helped plan my thoughts.


 Matthew 11: 28-29—"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”


Here is part of what I said in my January post. 


“I admit the yoke of the world, its ways of life, can weigh me down. This yoke is too much and difficult to bear. These days, with so much sin, confusion and disorder being tolerated, I want to fade away. My thoughts taunt me by saying I don’t feel safe and I don’t fit in. The temptation to find a place to run away can be a difficult invitation to resist.”


Now, as the end of the year draws closer, rest is still a need. I admit as I write this post; I am tired.


I am tired:

  • ·       Tired of not being with my family
  • ·       Tired of my church family being split up for now
  • ·       Tired COVID-19 cases increase daily here in British Columbia
  • ·       Tired of a consequence of my diagnosis of extreme obstructive sleep apnea continues to affect my ability to concentrate
  • ·       Tired of Zoom meetings and events because I find them a challenge to concentrate on
  • ·       Tired of people and their agitation toward healthcare professionals
  • ·       Tired of not being able to sit in a coffee shop and people watch and write
  • ·       I am tired of noting things that cause my tiredness


I find the reality of rest found in God is a process. I am getting there, but I have not arrived. Matthew 11:28-29 speaks to me. The promised words embrace my soul. “…I will give you rest… you will find rest for your souls.” The words remind me of my deep need and a promised gentle rest. This is not an elusive emotional longing, but a stated result of an honest heart after God.


Throughout this tumultuous year I can still laugh, rest, love, and write. I relate several of my writing projects to emotional healing. I wrote a four-part series on writing as healing for InScribe’s, FellowScript Magazine. This offered time to reflect on the power of writing to be an aid to emotional healing. I also began a writing project that has been brewing in my mind for years. I mentioned this in my August 22 InScribe post (Plant Them a Garden: A Work of Reflection and Poetry by Alan Anderson). I look forward to sending this book into the world in 2021, Lord willing.


God has given me the privilege and call to be a writer. I write to give people hope in the presence of grief and hardship. I find rest when I write. I hope what I write gives God pleasure. I am tired and I have found rest.


InScribe family of writers, in what way does what you write impact your life?

November 21, 2020

The Clarity of 2020 Vision - Tracy Krauss

In January I chose the word 'Clarity'. It just seemed to fit so well with that fact that I needed to refocus my priorities because of ongoing heart health issues in an effort to minimize my stress. I also liked the way it meshed with the whole idea of "20/20 Vision" in the year 2020. Who could pass up on such a theme?

Well, to continue the play on words, hindsight is 20/20, as they say, and now that this strange and challenging year is drawing to a close, I can see that continuing to seek clarity is still as valid now as it was eleven months ago. 

In my January post, I explained how I had chosen to step down from several long time activities in order to be able to keep up with others. I simply couldn't continue with the demands of directing an Easter Passion Play, volunteering on the local and regional Arts Councils, or substitute teaching. Little did I know that not many months from then, schools would be closed, and plays and other arts events would be shut down anyway. 

I also didn't know that just a few days after that post went live I would end up being taken by ambulance to the hospital and later flown to Vancouver to investigate the cause of even more heart problems. Two weeks later I was home again, just as Covid was starting to take hold. Again, my previous decision to let go of some responsibilities seemed providential. 

The reminder to clearly seek the Lord before taking on any activities or projects has been an ongoing process. While the first few months of the Covid crisis were an 'excuse' to lay low and not take on too much, by late summer I found myself falling back into my old habit of over committing. 

Fall Conference - and our very first ever virtual conference - was taking place in September, and as InScribe's president and part of the committee, I was very involved in making sure it went off without too many problems. 

Added to that, school started up again. As an online support teacher for a Distributed Learning School, I had parent consultations, Student Learning Plans to write, and many, many staff meetings. 

Somehow, two new books came out at the exact same time in mid-August: Tempest Tossed, book three in my THREE STRAND CORD Series and a memoir I helped my 85 year old friend write called Angels Watching Over Me. This meant I had book launches and other marketing activities along with everything else. 

And finally, a precious grandson was born on September 1. I wanted to be there for my daughter, providing meals and helping as much as possible because that's what Moms (and Omas) do, right?  

Let me backtrack just a bit - not to garner sympathy by any means, but just to make things clear. My current condition of microvascular disease on top of congestive heart failure and previous bypasses due to coronary artery disease means that I often suffer from chest pain. To put it plainly, my heart isn't very healthy. I currently take a mitt full of drugs and wear a nitro patch every day. I also never go anywhere with out another bottle of nitro just in case I need an extra shot. Over exertion can cause problems, but the biggest enemy for me is STRESS.

Somehow I managed to get through September with a minimum of 'episodes'. (What I call chest pain that stops me in my tracks.) Perhaps it was sheer willpower, but Fall Conference went off without a hitch, Student Learning Plans got written, one book became a bestseller on Amazon, and I got in lots of "Freddie snuggles". (My grandson's name is Fredrick.)

But then, almost immediately afterwards, I paid the price. The last couple of months have been a struggle for me. Too many 'episodes' too frequently have me realizing that saying I'm letting go is not the same as actually letting go. 

Another daughter had a baby boy on November 8, 2020. (Yes, we're prolific that way...!) I had to face the fact that I could not physically go and stay with her to help out like I did for her other two kiddos. Rather than be a help, I could be more of a hindrance if they had to worry about me having an 'episode'. This felt like a blow, and I shed a tear or two. I wanted to be there for this daughter, too, because "that's what Moms and Omas do". But it is very clear because of the frequency and severity of my so called episodes that I'm not that person any more. People often remark, "I hope you start feeling better soon," but my condition isn't like a cold or flu from which I will recover. Limitations are my new reality.

Which brings me to one final point. As we approached this year's InScribe AGM in September, I prayed long and hard about whether I should step down as president. With so many changes to the executive as well as other key exec members leaving for health related reasons, I felt it right to continue my term until its conclusion in September of 2021. However, I am so very grateful that God saw fit to bring alongside an amazing, skilled, efficient and larger team than we had previously. With these folks in place, I foresee a gradual stepping back from the extra duties I usually take on and plan to let the team carry the load. I know that this organization is in good hands. 

I am also looking to pass on the torch as moderator of this blog. If anyone feels the call to take it up, please contact me.  

As God continues to give me clarity about what I am to be doing right now in this stage of my life, I cannot continue to look back and long for how it used to be. I do believe I have more books to write, grandchildren to snuggle, people to encourage, and interceding to do, but perhaps not at the same pace. 

I know that God has perfect vision for the future and that He has a plan and a purpose, both for me and this organization.

Tracy Krauss
is serving as InScribe's president. She lives in Tumbler Ridge, BC where she continues to write - and get in as many snuggles as possible.

November 20, 2020

Pondering Priorities – Denise M. Ford

As I rounded the corner past our garage, I heard the unmistakable, “Jay, Jay.” I knew before I set foot into the backyard that a blue jay had returned to enjoy some seeds from our bird feeder. The calls became louder, growing with intensity, echoing and shouting, “Jay, Jay.”


I looked up towards the top of the spruce trees trying to pinpoint where the blue jay balanced at her perch. There at the highest branch the white face delineated with black and blue captured my gaze, its steely black eyes holding mine in a daring bold stare.  “Jay, Jay!” she called. I nodded and mumbled my excuses for retrieving the burlap covers from my flowers.  “I’ll get out of your way soon,” I whispered.


“Jay, Jay!”  She swooped by me, focusing on a landing not far from the other flower bucket awaiting my undraping. I carefully stepped away as I realized she had a partner replying to her shouts as he flitted from the crab-apple tree to the ground below the feeder.  I quickly went inside to retrieve my camera as I hoped to capture a shot of the visiting pair. We have strategically placed bird feeders directly beyond our kitchen bay windows so we can enjoy the frequent and varied menagerie that relies on the food sources we faithfully replenish.


Surprisingly, as I snuck into place to begin my photographic shoot, a small flock of blue jays descended one by one next to each other on the grassy patch under the feeders.


As if a patchwork blanket had been shaken and spread before them, the jays came together to eat companionably amidst the scattered seeds.


For nearly thirty minutes the picnic proceeded with blue jays alighting for refreshment and then posting themselves in the higher branches to spy any approaching predators. Back and forth they flitted, eating and scanning. Thankfully the magpies and squirrels which also depend on our backyard diner did not challenge the serenity and comradery of this band of jays.  In fact, the acrobatic squirrels who twist and gyrate themselves into all sorts of ridiculous poses as they attempt to open the bird feeders had unknowingly contributed to the feast that unfolded for this travelling jay flock.


As they sated themselves scrounging for every bit of seed, one by one the jays took turns grabbing new morsels from the feeder that swayed above them. I continued to maneuver myself to hopefully acquire photographs that would reveal the scene before me.  I wondered how professional nature photographers managed patience and precision with finesse and clarity.


All too soon the party dispersed, as a silent signal moved them to depart towards the edge of the row of spruce trees.  Except two remained, enjoying the quiet cove, eventually calling to each other as they retreated into the thickness and camouflage of the spruce trees between our and the neighbour’s yards.


As I reflect on the word I chose as my guiding light for this unexpected year, awareness, I gratefully accept and claim my message.


Become immersed in it.


Become intensified by it.


Become determined by it.

Let it open your ears to listen and to follow the messages presented to you.

Let it open your soul so you may delight in the abundance of mercy offered to you.


Let yourself respond within an everlasting covenant with God.


At that time my covenant stated that I would make writing a top priority in my life, with awareness serving as the mechanism to inspire my writing ideas. However, the CoVid virus broadened and altered the scope of my priorities. My awareness now includes the fears, anxiety, frustrations, isolation, disappointments, limits and boundaries of living safely with a deadly virus that swirls and lurks in the atmosphere. Writing priorities of any kind happen haphazardly and certainly without discipline. I had revised a purposeful strategy which I hoped would begin consistently this September. And then the question arose as I struggled to begin a writing schedule. What still matters?


Like a little flock of blue jays our immediate cohort during this pandemic remains as our sons’ families. That’s the group that travels with us, with whom we pause to enjoy an outdoor picnic, and who we protect from danger as we enjoy each other’s company. Our little band, our little party scrounging for the moments of meaningful time and searching for ways to branch out in our love and care for each other.


Yesterday, I called my dearest friend and we reiterated the priority of our prayer covenant with each other. We promised to continue to pray for wisdom and protection as we choose to boldly grandparent in-person throughout these days of an unrelenting deadly virus. We choose to support each other as we receive our calls to come to help care for our grandchildren. Every time we swoop in to be with the grandkids, we find unexpected bounty amidst simple scatterings of laughter, love and faith.


Are we aware of who provides, protects and places us as needed so we can lavish loving care on our grandchildren? Yes! Do I understand how this Nana role limits my writing priority? Yes!


The year 2020 definitely highlighted Awareness, as it prevailed during the unfolding of this pandemic. What still matters? Immersing myself in loving Nana activities and allowing the intensity of those experiences to infuse unique and meaningful writing ideas. As I respond to my little flock, I trust in the priority of love.