April 30, 2021

The Power of Our Words by Sandi Somers

Our theme this month has many implications. When I began to draft this post, it was difficult to choose concepts from the many meanings of the power of words.


Our words may be easy, but they are never neutral.

In our April blog posts on our names, one theme that resonated with me was how others spoke our names. Parents often spoke our names in tenderness. Other children made jokes of our names. Sometimes, as Katie Gerke wrote… “My name was always a good yelling name when my mom wanted me to come into the house…She definitely meant business when she added on the Gerke. “KATIE MARTHA GERKE GET IN THE HOUSE RIGHT NOW!”


We can never get our words back – for good or ill. 

Charles Simeon (1759-1836), a pastor in England, faced opposition from his congregation. They spread rumors about him and rejected his ministry. But Simeon, filled with the Spirit, coped with gossip by never believing the rumors unless they were true. His aim was “always to believe, that if the other side were heard, a very different account would be given.”


Sometimes we experience a poverty of words

When I arrived in Colombia to teach missionary children, I didn’t speak Spanish, other than to greet people. I felt helpless, reduced to early childhood when I didn't have words to describe things, to express my feelings, much less talk about abstract ideas.

On the other hand, trying to express feelings of wonder leaves me speechless. The wonder of God’s Creation on my early morning walks. A novel experience. Something surprising. Something unexpected. God’s new words to me.


God gives us words beyond our own wisdom.

I once read the story of Isobel Kuhn (1901-1957), a missionary to China, who was to give a talk for students at a Moody Bible Institute party. She ran out of time to prepare. Instead of going to the dinner, she stayed in her room to pray and meditate on her message.

She later said, "Quietly, point-by-point, (God) outlined for me the devotional message I needed....It was an unforgettable experience and an unforeseen lesson."

20 years later, Isobel overheard someone say that a message from some party years ago stood out in his memory. He described what Isobel had said and then added, "I forget who led it, but...the devotional message blessed my soul. I've never forgotten it."

Isobel didn’t reveal her identity, but she was thrilled that God had used her words in such a powerful way.


God, the Living Word, through the power of the Spirit, is the source of our gifts of words as we write.

Valerie Ronald wrote: “The Word, that Divine Expression, Jesus Christ, has been spoken into the world…As writers who are Christians, we have been gifted with a sacred task. It is not to write, but to listen. Listen for the stirrings of God in all the world around us, then let that sound become a symphony of words declaring His glory.”


May each of us live a deep purpose to speak of the love of God and to love others above all else. May our words shine as a bright light to the world around us – a brightness that exudes joy, peace and comfort that can only come from knowing the heart of our great God. Shannon Nickerson


My prayer for you that you will praise God for giving you the gift of words and language in all their beauty and power. May you use these gifts wisely and for God's glory, to heal, build, to encourage others.

 “The preparations of the heart belong to us but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord” Proverbs 16:1


 Note: A special thanks to our InScribe writer who inspired this post:

 Valerie Ronald wrote how God inspires her writing: “I enjoy the mystery of how God guides my writing…I am always energized as I write, knowing the living Word is inspiring my words.”

Pure and Simple By Katie Martha Gerke

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm: 139:14.

My name was always a good yelling name when my mom wanted me to come into the house. Respond to the first Katy Martha. She definitely meant business when she added on the Gerke. “KATIE MARTHA GERKE GET IN THE HOUSE RIGHT NOW!”. 

I love my last name. People found it difficult to pronounce and spell. Gerk, Jerk, Jerky. You can call me Kate or Katie but never Cathy. I grew up with several nicknames: Katie turkey or Perky dog food. My friend’s father always greeted me I "K-K-K-Katy, beautiful Katie standing by the kitchen door". 

I was named after both of my grandmothers. Katie is my grandmother Scott’s name and Martha is my grandmother’s name on my father’s side. Katie is Greek meaning “pure” and Martha is Latin translated into Aramaic meaning for “Mistress” or “lady” of the house. Gerke originated in Hamburg Germany where the name contributed greatly to the development of an emerging nation. 

Here are some excerpts from my testimony, “Surmounted and Absorbed”, where I was that emerging nation. My narrative describes the rise and fall of who I thought I was to the rejuvenation of who Katie Martha Gerke was meant to be in Christ. I fashioned my narrative around the lifespan of a building’s worth.

I grew up in a non-Christian home with a mother who struggled with alcoholism. As a result, I had no solid foundation, firm supports, trustworthy materials, or a readable blueprint of what “Katie Martha Gerke” (KMG) was supposed to start to look like.

“Pride Incorporated” (PI) was founded in 1988 by Me, Myself, and I. PI was essential in helping Myself,  to build KMG the way I needed to. That being, to sever some relationships and to make a “difference in the world”. And that’s exactly what I did. I signed a three-year contract working as an x-ray technician in the Middle East. I enjoyed the camaraderie of the many nationalities working within the gold-trimmed hospital. It was an exotic and adventurous time.

When I returned home in June 1992, I was handed a lifetime contract, when positively diagnosed with MS. I wandered through Calgary where KMG barely had enough support and financial resources to continue standing on My own two feet. PI was finding it difficult to maintain balance, focus, and cope with unpredictable emotional and physical structural deterioration. I needed new drafting tools and a blank slate to sketch out what KMG was supposed to look like now. Talk about writer’s block!

The Devil’s Demolition Derelicts (DDD), whose sole mission was to wreak havoc and ultimately destroy KMG, successfully crossed over the property line and the explosive devices that were laid in and around me, that I denied so many years, finally triggered, collapsing the edifice that I'd lovingly built into a cloud of fine dust that was blown away by an ill wind. My grief and loneliness led me to the final desperate act of attempting suicide. 

Days later, once home from the hospital, while unpacking my possessions, I found a stuffed white bear with a pink heart on its chest emblazoned with the words:

“Jesus Loves You”.

I embraced that teddy bear and the Message ever so tightly. Two months later I was baptized, and “Pride Inc.” was liquidated and absorbed by a much larger conglomeration of new architects. The proprietors being the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, declared that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. 

I soon experienced a feeling of tremendous peace. I knew Jesus Christ would take my slates, wipe them clean of my transgressions, and begin to rewrite the plans that were meant for me from the beginning.  

Project ”KMG” legally expanded to its full Christian name, Katie Martha Gerke thus getting rid of the constricting quotation marks and ambiguous capital letters.

Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.  Revelation 21:7

It’s that simple!

Katie Gerke was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1989 and ever since, significant work continues to be done in and through her regardless of the loss of ability from the neck down. Her inability to use both arms has blessed her with the ability to creatively express herself orally through painting and writing. Katie's website is oralart.ca

April 29, 2021

Get Ready for an InScribe Zoom-In! Contests Tutorial

Have you always wanted to enter one of InScribe’s writing contests but weren’t quite sure:

  • What to submit?
  • How to submit?
  • If your writing is good enough?
  • What exactly the judges look for?
  • If you could handle the critique?
All these questions and more are about to be answered.
Mark your calendars for the InScribe Zoom-In: Contests Tutorial.
When: May 15, 10 – 11:15 a.m. MST
Where: the comfort of your own home, via Zoom
What:  the Zoom-In will include:
  1. How to Prepare for a Contest – a tutorial
  2. Ask a Judge – a panel of judges who will answer questions and demonstrate what their job entails
  3. Q & A.

To register for this event, please send an email to contests@inscribe.org with Contests Tutorial in the subject line. Include your name and email address so we can send you the Zoom invitation link. We will take registrations until May 13 at noon MST.
Get your questions ready and see you on May 15!

April 28, 2021

Rick Springfield, "Bruce" by Bruce Atchison

Have you ever had people continually call you by the wrong name? That happened to me often and all because I was with my brother Roy. It annoyed me to no end that people kept mixing us up.

Apparently, Rick Springfield had the same problem, and maybe he still does. In this song, he sings about people confusing him with Bruce Springsteen.

Click here to hear Rick Springfield's song.

Roy and I are complete opposites. Roy is stupid while I'm not. Roy loves Satan while I love Christ. Roy does foolishd things, like putting a ton of Brill Cream in his hair until it shone, whereas I try hard to be prudent. Roy seeks approval from everybody whereas I seek only Christ's commendation. Roy also talks slower than I do.

Though Satan is a mere angel, though a powerful one, he isn't God and that's all there is to it. Sadly, people easily fall into the trap of believing his crafty lies. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 11:14 (KJV, "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."

How awesome it is that Christ knows us and never gets confused. We're sealed with the Holy Spirit unto that blessed day when our Lord returns!

Manfred Mann's Earthband: "Be Not Too Hard"

Manfred Mann became famous in the sixties for his pop songs but during the seventies, he produced some wonderful space-rock albums. They weren't widely accepted by the public but dedicated fans like me bought them.

Listen to one of those tunes here:

One sin I slip into at times is being angry at sinners. They can't help being the way they are because of what Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:1 and 2 (Bible in Basic English) about why we're saved. "And to you did he give life, when you were dead through your wrongdoing and sins, In which you were living in the past, after the ways of this present world, doing the pleasure of the lord of the power of the air, the spirit who is now working in those who go against the purpose of God;"

Now some folks might say that we have the light of our consciences to guide us. Romans 2:14 and 15 )BBE) does say, "For when the Gentiles without the law have a natural desire to do the things in the law, they are a law to themselves; Because the work of the law is seen in their hearts, their sense of right and wrong giving witness to it, while their minds are at one time judging them and at another giving them approval;"

But Paul also wrote in 1 Timothy 4:1 and 2 (BBE) that people can desensitize their moral and spiritual cumpas'. "But the Spirit says clearly that in later times some will be turned away from the faith, giving their minds to spirits of deceit, and the teachings of evil spirits, Through the false ways of men whose words are untrue, whose hearts are burned as with a heated iron;"

Paul also answers the question of why bother preaching to spiritually-dead people in Romans 10:14 (BBE). "But how will they give worship to him in whom they have no faith? and how will they have faith in him of whom they have not had news? and how will they have news without a preacher?"

If Christ's return hasn't happened by Saturday, I hope to post about never surrendering when trials strike.

April 27, 2021

Importance of Names by Lorilee Guenter


Isaiah 43:1b
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

Hello, my name is... Finishing that statement should be easy. After all, I have lived with my name for decades. I like the name my parents chose for me - the middle names of my aunts. And yet, I have been known to introduce myself two different ways, using either my given name, Lorilee, or a shortened form, Lori. One day Bruce asked me about this after he noticed I introduced myself each way within about ten minutes of each other.

Up until high school, I used my given name almost exclusively. I would often have to spell it for people but would rarely need to correct pronunciation. Close friends and family used nicknames, but to everyone else I was, I am, Lorilee. Just before high school we moved. With the move came the frustration of people mispronouncing my name. Even after I corrected them many times I seemed destined to have Lorilee become Lori Lee or Lori uh Lee. Ugh! One day after yet another attempt to correct the same people I decided it would be less aggravating to have everyone call me Lori. I still used Lorilee anytime I needed to write my name, so all my homework and documents held my given name.

I recently had the question posed to me: "Have you ever thought of returning to Lorilee as your name?" Our name is a piece of our identity. When my counsellor proposed the idea, she talked about how, since my choice came out of frustration, it may be an unconscious reminder. Hmm. I never even considered the idea until that conversation. Something I needed to think about. This question prompted conversation with those who knew me well. Now I mostly introduce myself as Lorilee. Many people who know me still go back and forth between the two versions.

As I considered how my name impacts my writing and my interaction with others, I remembered a time someone I never previously met telling me I pronounced my name wrong. I walked away from that encounter and complained to Bruce, "How can she tell me how to pronounce my name?" Shades of high school frustration returned. I had used this name for decades. I heard my parents and grandparents use the name chosen for me. Now a stranger tried to correct my pronunciation. After complaining out the frustration, I tucked the memory away.

Even tucked away these events impact my actions. Our neighbourhood has seen many unfamiliar immigrants move in bringing their customs and their names. I sense frustration rising in me when I hear others say things like: "I'll never learn how to say that name", or "Why can't they give their children a name we can pronounce?" Why indeed. That name might be chosen to honour a family member. It might have ties to important people or events in their own history. Why should others give up their choice for our convenience? I don't think they should. Their story can enrich our own. Our honest attempts to listen to them and to use their names properly can build into relationships. By working to learn their name we show they are important enough for us to put time and effort into respecting them.

Friends in spite of differences

I have stumbled over names that are foreign to me. I expect to encounter more names that cause me to stumble. I have made it my practice to ask if my pronunciation is correct when I encounter an unknown name. I ask them help me say it correctly. This gives me the opportunity to demonstrate they are worth the time for me to learn this.

Whichever name I use, Lori or Lorilee, God knows my name. He knows how to pronounce it. He has shown me the frustrations I had can and will be used by Him as they shape my actions.

Hello, my name is Lorilee, derived from the laurel tree, a symbol of honour and victory. I will also answer to Lori. I choose to honour those I meet by learning their name and using it well. Will you join me?

April 26, 2021

Hello, My Name Is... Marnie Pohlmann

The song by Matthew West begins with the words of this blog title. The lyrics begin by claiming the names of regret and defeat, but the chorus reminds us that our name is truly, “Child of the King.” I have been finding this month’s blog interesting in the variety of love, hate, rejection, acceptance of the names we are called in this world, and how exciting it is to wonder what our Heavenly name will be.

When I started school, I became confused when the teacher called me Marjorie. I had only ever been called Marnie. Who was this, Marjorie? I accepted being Marjorie at school, though, excited to learn to print that name. It had a lot of letters to learn but I was glad I did not have a shorter, more popular, common name. When I arrived home to show Mom my printing, she stated I had spelled my name wrong. Not only did I not know I was Marjorie, but I was Margery!

I am told I gained the nickname Marnie when I arrived home after my birth-day to a houseful of brothers who could not pronounce my name so shortened it to something they could handle. (I wasn’t the only one in the family that happened to. I’m sure one of my older brothers wouldn’t appreciate me sharing how I pronounced his name, which thankfully didn’t become his nickname!) 

I don’t really know why I was called Margery - the name or with that particular spelling. Marjorie is English, meaning “pearl.” Margery is English or Scottish, also meaning “pearl” or my preference, “a precious pearl.” The name was popular in Medieval times but was definitely out of fashion by the time I was born.

Oddly, my nickname Marnie was not found in baby books until recently. I was a teen when I first met another Marnie, with that being her actual legal name. Now I know of many others. Different sources explain Marnie is either Scottish, meaning “from the sea” or Hebrew, meaning “out of the sea.” I consider that information a God-wink, letting me know that whether I am called Margery or Marnie, I was meant to be a precious pearl gathered out of the sea.

The name Marnie is probably most known for not being a nice character, as in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie or in the book by our Inscribe President, Tracy Krauss. (Do you know which book my namesake is in?) However, in art, the meaning of my name(s), pearl out of the sea, has become a metaphor for something rare, fine, admirable, and valuable. I like that.

Pearls are formed to protect a mollusk from aggravation. A microscopic speck settles inside the mantle of a mollusk, which is irritated by the speck and so begins to cover it with a pearl sac. Layer upon layer grows the speck into a pearl. Pearls sold throughout the world today may be man-made, cultured, or farmed. However, the rarest and most precious pearls are naturally created in the wild. The pearlescence (white shimmers) or iridescence (coloured shimmers) are more spectacular on wild, natural pearls than those created by mankind.

I am understanding more each day how these names suit me. I am the woman I am today developed through the aggravations of life. Enduring pain is not how most of us would choose to live out our life. However, without the pain, I would not find it easy to recognize the need for God’s protective covering as he heals me to be who He created. The irritation has been covered with His iridescence. 

God has plucked me from the sea of sin, regret, and defeat to polish me as a child of the King; to be someone valuable in His kingdom. My second name, Ellen, means “light.” I am God's iridescent pearl out of the sea.

Marnie Pohlmann writes from northern British Columbia. She shares on her blog, Phosphorescent, how God continues to form her to be someone who absorbs and reflects His Light.

Photo of the girl from Pixabay.com
Photo of pearl in a shell from Pixabay.com
Photo of the pearl from Pexels.com

April 25, 2021

"Did the Nurse Tell You My Name?" by Sharon Heagy


“Did the nurse tell you my name?” I asked this question at the dinner table when I was young and it brought milk snorting chuckles from my siblings and amused smiles from my parents.  Though I had never considered how the nurse would know, in my mind every child was born with a name.

It was then that I learned my parents had chosen a name for me. I’m not sure what the thought process was in their decision making. Perhaps after giving names to five other children before me these two names popped up and they thought ‘these will do’. I do know, because of a mistake, my middle name became Leah instead of Leigh.  My Dad had misspelled my middle name on the registration and so I was named Sharon Leah.

Sharon means a fertile plain. Leah’s meaning depends on which origin you use, the most common from Hebrew meaning ‘weary’, the oddest, from another root, meaning cow.  Does that mean I’m just a weary cow chewing my cud on the plain? Perhaps not such a bad thing. Laying in the sun, contentedly chewing away. On a stress filled day it might be most welcome.

The mother of a friend of mine called me Heather. She said I didn’t look like a Sharon and she wouldn’t remember that name so she decided to call me Heather. I thought that was weird but I was a kid who didn’t generally talk back to adults so Heather I was.

My own Mom passed away in 2001 and much of the memory of the sound of her voice has faded away but I can still hear her calling my name. It echoes from the mists of memory. My Mom on the front step, calling me home for supper. Her voice landing on my ear no matter where I was on the block and above all the other moms’ voices who were beckoning their own kids home.  I can hear the hardness of the S and H when she was angry with me and the sigh of an ‘Oh, Sharon’ when she was disappointed. Just before she passed away she couldn’t speak or rather she ‘spoke’ but no sound passed her lips due to a stroke.  I often wish we would have had someone in the room who could read lips so we would know what she was trying to tell us in her final hours.

I’ve always thought a person’s name and their preference for what they want to be called matters a great deal. We should have respect for their moniker and not shorten or change their name to suit ourselves. And especially not change their name entirely, to say, Heather. (It’s a lovely name, so much softer sounding than my own but it is not mine.)

When our three boys were born, they were each given a middle name that reflected the family history on the Heagy side. Since my husband has 3 sisters our boys are the only ones who will carry the last name from his Dad’s lineage. It seemed an important thing for us to do. However, there are times when names like that can cause confusion. For instance, we know of a family where there are three generations of males named John and as a result, senior, junior and little were tacked onto their names to differentiate between the three. In my own family my Dad and eldest brother were both named Ronald and so senior and junior were quite often used for clarity.

Names are fascinating as are their origins. If we think it is challenging for us to name our children imagine when God honoured Adam with the task of naming all the birds and animals. It makes me wonder if he was running low on creative juices when he named the platypus. It is conceivable that the word ‘platypus’ was just gibberish.  I envision him rubbing his chin with his hand, weary and a little brain fogged, staring at the creature and saying, “Let’s see…. duck billed…. Platypus.” Then he and God had a good chuckle and kept the name in remembrance.

Whatever our names, whatever their origin, our hope is that they will all be found written in the ‘Lamb’s Book of Life’. Us, our children, our grandchildren…all. May we look forward to that day when we will be struck with awe and wonder as we hear our name spoken with love by the Lamb himself.


April 24, 2021

Naming Day by Valerie Ronald


Today is my naming day as I write this – April 14th, the day I was born. On a fresh spring morning I was placed in my father’s arms, a wee redheaded girl arriving after two sons. He named me Valerie, a name he liked in a book he had read, and Evelyn, after my grandmother.

When I was young I loved to hear the stories surrounding my birth. Shortly before my mother was due to have me, my father, a sailor with the Royal Canadian Navy, received orders to report to his ship for a four-month voyage. Out of consideration for my mother, he chose to wait until after I was safely delivered to tell her he would be leaving soon. She was a seasoned sailor’s wife, used to his frequent absences, however, with two small boys and a new baby to care for alone, she felt overwhelmed. She recalls waking up in the morning to a neighbor and her two daughters waiting in the kitchen with a hot breakfast and willing hands to help. They got her through those months before my father returned.

In elementary school I decided to change my name. I thought that Val, which I was called most often, sounded blunt and masculine. I wanted to go by my second name, Evelyn, or better yet, Eve ˗˗ more feminine, romantic names. My mother quashed the idea immediately. Your father chose a perfectly fine name for you, and that’s that, she informed me. Now that I have lived quite a few decades with this name, I must agree with her. I don’t know if my father researched the meaning of the name he chose, but I do believe God knew the name I needed in order to face life’s challenges. I have grown into my name.

The name Valerie has its origins in ancient Rome, feminine of the family clan name Valerius. As an English name it means valiant, strong, brave, fierce. It’s Christian connotation denotes spiritual purpose. Years ago I would have argued that I had been misnamed, if the meaning was meant to be indicative of my character. As a child I often felt inadequate, on the outside looking in at others who seemed more capable, smarter and better liked. I definitely would not have described myself as valiant, strong or brave. When I married, my perceived weaknesses were exaggerated and used by my husband to achieve his own selfish purposes. Years of emotional abuse left me with little sense of self-worth or dignity.

I am so thankful that my God saw value in a devalued woman. He stirred my soul to seek after Him, to discover who I am in His eyes. I kept these verses from His Word, and many others, close by to remind myself of how He saw me.

“Don’t be afraid. I have rescued you. I have called you by name; now you belong to Me. I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, the God who saves you. To Me, you are very dear, and I love you.” (Isaiah 43:1, 3, 4 CEV)

Gradually the qualities ascribed to my name began to rise up within me, revealed by God when I needed them most. He imbued me with fierce bravery as I fought to escape from an abusive marriage. When cancer stalked my body, He helped me face the life-threatening disease with valor, relying on His strength to emerge a survivor. My name’s connotation of having spiritual purpose was realized as I absorbed the deep lessons God taught me in the valley of my troubles. My spiritual purpose is to convey the truth of who He is to others through the gifts He has given me.

And my second name? Evelyn means to live; to breathe, derived from Eve, the first woman God created. When the apostle Paul gave his well-known discourse to the people of Athens, he said, “God gives us the power to live, to move, and to be who we are.” (Acts 17:28)

I want to live, to move, and to be who I am valiantly, strongly and fiercely, growing into the names God gave me before I was born.

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

April 23, 2021

Joy Comes With the Morning by Joylene M Bailey

I was only a little late for our pre-service choir rehearsal that morning, but our director was already finishing his short devotional as I rushed through the green room to get to the choir loft. As I walked through the stage door onto the platform, Blaine concluded his final scripture reading:
Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. - Ps. 30:5 

All eyes turned to me, and I took my bow amid laughter and chuckles.

Moments of perfect timing, like that one, don't happen very often in anyone's life, but when they do, the shared delight carries on with each retelling, like the ripple effect of a pebble dropped in a pool.

Joy is the serious business of heaven.
- C.S. Lewis -

I suppose that because Joy is part of my name (my full first name is Joylene - pronounced Joy-lynn), I'm consciously and unconsciously on the lookout for joy.

It's why I keep the window open in my study, so I can hear the birds chortling as they carry out their own ordinary day. 

It's why I have that special drinking glass that shimmers blue in some lights and purple in others. Even a glass of water tastes better when taken from that cup.

It's why I buy paper napkins in all different colours and patterns. I love napkins! They're perfect paper squares of glee.

Find ecstasy in life:
the mere sense of living is joy enough.
- Emily Dickinson -

Life can be full of grief and hardship, but I believe joy is there if you look for it. It's the looking for it, however, that I forget to do sometimes. I get stuck in keeping my eyes fixed on my feet and the rough road ahead instead of looking up and noticing there's more to life than concrete and cracks in the sidewalk.   

If you carry joy in your heart, 
you can heal any moment.
- Carlos Santana -

The various mugs and cushions around my house marked with the word joy are there to remind me to choose joy. Because it is a choice. A choice to raise my eyes from the crack in the sidewalk to the clarity of the sky; to put my trust in the Joy-Maker. After all, isn't joy actually looking for God at work - even in the tough times?

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy
and be glad all our days.
- Psalm 90:14 -

Photo Credits: all photos from Pixabay
1. Jill Wellington
2. Larisa Koshkina
3. Jill Wellington
4. ThreeMilesPerHour
5. Rudy and Peter Skitterians

Joy lives in Edmonton with the Cowboy and soon-to-be-married Babe. She writes about her name here on her blog, Scraps of Joy.


April 22, 2021

My Parents: Favoured and Beloved by Alan Anderson


“Honour your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”—Ephesians 6: 2-3.



I dedicate this message to my parents.



The meaning of my name, Alan, is “precious.” Well, being my parents gave me this name, I accept it as a gift from the two precious people who also gave me life.


My mother’s name was Agnes, which means pure, but she went by a name related to her birth name. For as long as I can remember my dad, her sisters, her friends, and others called her Nancy. Nancy means favour or grace, or God has favoured me.


My grandparents gave my dad the name, “David.” The meaning of his name is, “beloved.” Most people called him, “Dave.”


My parents had distinct differences in personalities from each other. My dad could be strict and firm, yet soft, full of fun and love. Love, gentleness, funny, and thoughtful come to my mind when I think of my mom. My parents raised me along with my five siblings as best they could. They raised us when it was common for a mother to stay home for her children. She did this well.


My dad worked most of his teen years until he joined the British Navy as a young man of eighteen at the time of World War Two. He never spoke of the war years. I never knew him to be out of work until he retired when he turned sixty-five. As a Christian, he loved to sing in the church choir.


I gave no thought to the meaning of my name when I was in my younger years. I remember many times while in school I wished I had an alternate name. Teachers had the irritating habit of using the alphabet as a tool. For instance, I can still hear the words of my teacher’s introduction to a class assignment. “I will call out your names alphabetically and you will tell the class what you did this summer. Okay, Alan, you are first.” No escape to this agony presented itself. “Come on Alan, we’re waiting.” Full of reluctance, I stood up and informed my classmates of my summer.


Many times, when I got home from school, I asked my mom, the favoured one, things like, “How come both my names begin with the letter “A”?” In a masterful way, my mom would reply, “Because that’s your name!” What? How does this help? She would then sit me down and give me a cookie. I still love cookies.


My dad worked as a school custodian prior to my parents packing us up and emigrating to Canada. When I was eight, my dad taught me how to clean out the coal furnaces responsible for heating the school. This was a tough job, but I soon became used to it. The coal dust made me dirty, and this never thrilled my mom. I was fine with it.

Those memorable days with my parents are in the distant past. I still look back on them as precious. Now I am older, I understand the meaning of my name even more. Life is precious and in God’s eyes I am as well.


Both of my parents died a few years ago. I think of them every day. They are never far from my thoughts. Thank God for precious memories with them. May their memories be eternal.


Alan lives in Deroche, B.C. with his wife, Terry. He contributed stories to Good Grief People by Angel Hope Publishing, 2017 and Story by Story: The Power of a Writer, Unstoppable Writers Publishing, 2018. Alan has also written articles for FellowScript Magazine. Blog: https://scarredjoy.ca. Alan is the Provincial Rep. Liaison and BC Rep for InScribe. Alan is currently working on his book, "Plant Them A Garden: A Reflective Work of Grief, Faith, and Poetry.

April 20, 2021

The Story of a Name -- by Denise Falk

Photo Source: Jon Tyson on Unsplash

My mother had my name chosen before she even finished elementary school. She and her best friend promised each other that when they grew up and got married, they would name their daughters after each other. My name was set to be ‘Jocelyn’, or Josie for short, and everyone in the family knew of the ‘pact” that Connie and Josie had made. We don’t talk about that now though, because I have a cousin, who’s a year older than me, named Jocelyn.

The story continues that my Mom was going to call me ‘Elise’ next, because it sounded so ‘graceful and sophisticated’, but by the time I arrived, I became ‘Denise’. It doesn’t have any special meaning that I know of other than it’s a French name that means ‘lover of wine’, which is actually hilarious because I really don’t like wine.

Overall though, I liked my name growing up. It was easy to spell, easy to say but, unfortunately, it was also far too easy to remember because of a joke that went viral in the 1960s of a pregnant woman who was involved in an accident and, while in the hospital, she fell into a coma. When she awoke days later, the woman noticed that she was no longer carrying a child, and asked, "Doc, what happened to my baby!"

The doctor replied, "Ma'am, you've had twins! You're the proud mother of a handsome baby boy and a beautiful baby girl. Also, you should know that while you were in a coma, your brother named the children for you."

"Oh, no!" shrieked the woman. "Not my brother!"

The doctor replied, "Well, ma'am, your brother named your daughter Denise."

"Oh, well that's not so bad," smiled the woman. Then, hesitantly, she asked, "What's the boy's name?"

The doctor grinned and said, "De-nephew."

I would cringe when I could sense someone was about to say, “Hey Denise, how’s De-nephew,” but I learned early on to be polite, to laugh and allow them to retell that tired old joke, because to be honest, I didn’t even understand what it meant.

I learned right from the start to hold my name loosely, either people were laughing and making the ‘de-nephew’ joke or mixing up the verbal and spelling nuances between the feminine and masculine forms. To this day, I continue to be called Dennis and Denis often.

My brother called me ‘Den-Den’ growing up. He initially meant it as a sibling insult, thrown around as kids do in some fight about who would choose the after school tv show, or who could have their friends over for dinner. That name stuck though, and as we grew up, I continued to be Den-Den to him. He was the only one who could call me that, and he would smirk while saying it too, eyes glinting with sibling ribbing. I miss being called Den-Den and have missed my brother a lot since he journeyed ahead of us all to heaven, far too early.

Denise is a great name, and it has served me well so far in life, but the story of my name is far from finished. The most important Person in my life calls me something else – he calls me His ‘masterpiece’ in Ephesians 2:10! 

Compared to the incredible beauty of the all the things that God has created, he calls ‘me’ His masterpiece, and what’s more, He has also given me a brand-new name! God has a new name for me that he wrote on the stone (Rev 2:17) (Isaiah 62:2), that is an everlasting name that will not be cut off (Isaiah 56:5) and one that will serve God’s purposes for all eternity. Isn’t that just incredible! Isn’t He wonderful!    

April 19, 2021

Gloria - A Welcoming, Celebratory Name


A few facts about living with the name Gloria:

 I hated it. It sounded old fashioned and for an old lady. 

It was regularly sung every single year at Christmas Concerts. I can’t remember the first time that I had to hear my name sung with long, drawn out syllables, or worse yet when I myself had to participate in singing it in a school concert, but it soon became a yearly occurrence. To me it was mortifying. Later someone would start singing my name, usually off tune, with taunts of Gloriiiiiiaaaaaa ringing down the hall. Torture. To be honest, I’ve had many an adult do it to me too!! I’ve gotten tougher skin now though and I know people mean it mostly in humor. 

However, I still continued to hate my name. 

Some more facts: 

It means ‘Glory to God’ which is a very special meaning. But as a child, I cared more about how it sounded and thought it not a pretty, soft sounding popular name like most of the girls seemed to have.

It’s Latin and is therefore much more popular in Latin America. But I grew up in a world where girls were named Lorie, Heather, Sally & Carol (a Christmas name too but so much prettier and not to be made fun of).-

My mother once confessed that I was named after a nun in a Catholic hospital, who had helped her with my birth. Horror of horrors!! 

And so, I continued to hate my name right throughout my entire adult years. 

I did grow into it somewhat, as I aged….and became a Grandma. Grandma Gloria had a nice ring. But I still didn’t really feel it suited me, personally. Me, bring Glory to God? A little too lofty. I should have something more simple and sentimental. I loved my middle name of Lynn and felt that’s what I should have been called. It means waterfall or cascade. I’m a lover of water and consider water my ‘happy place.’ So I continued to still struggle with my ‘hate/love’ relationship with my full name. 

There was one thing that I did like about the name Gloria though, and that is when it came off of my mother’s tongue, in the short form of ‘Glory.’ She called me that often and it always sounded softer and more loving when she called me that. My husband took it up also and I am often called ‘Glory’ by him too. And so between that and now being ‘Grandma Gloria’ it helped. 

And then, a couple of years ago, something very special happened, to change my feelings completely about the name Gloria. It was Christmas time…again…but by then I was pretty steeled to the usual sounds of Glooorrrrriiiiaaaaa floating through the air somewhere, whether sung well, or not so well, or downright butchered. Often I can ignore it or barely notice it now. On this day however, I was in for a surprise. We had flown to Ontario for Christmas, to be with our son, and his wife and daughter. I was excited as it would be our first Christmas with them, but in the moment, I was also tired. As I was headed down the escalator feeling drained and just wanting some rest…. I saw and heard it at the same time. A small band had set up at the bottom of the escalator near the baggage claim and were peeling out the sounds of Glooooorrrrrriiiiiaaaaa. I waited for that deep begrudging feeling that I usually got when I had to endure that song, especially when I wasn’t up for it…but it didn’t come. It  sounded good! It was beautiful actually, the way the musical notes of my name rose up to me, enveloped my tired being, and held me in a welcoming embrace. To think that this name that had actually heralded the Christ Child into the world could make me feel so welcome too?! And just like that, the song that I had hated for most of my life and the name that I had hated, I no longer did! I loved the song and I felt the first real embers of love for  my name ignite in my heart…my welcoming, celebratory name! A name that celebrated the Christ child and invites me and us all to do the same. 

“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2: 13-14 NIV 

Gloria Lynn Guest lives and writes from Caron, Sk. 

April 18, 2021

The Third Daughter By Vickie Stam

 My name did come easy....

I am named after my father who was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario to French-Canadian parents. He was given the name Aurel and in English he goes by, Harold.

My mother wanted to name one of their children after him, something that isn't uncommon and usually falls on the shoulders of the firstborn. My mother in all of her wisdom had decided that if she had a girl she would call her Haroldine - just like other little girls who were affectionately known as Jeraldine, named after their father, Jerald. But, in 1957 when my sister was born, my father refused to go along with this outlandish idea. He flat out said, "NO."

Six years later another daughter arrived and the answer remained the same. Two children and no namesake. Have no fear though - eighteen months later another daughter was born. My mother went ahead and filled out the paperwork for my birth certificate and penned Haroldine in as my middle name. A compromise - Vickie Haroldine is my name - a name that I learned to appreciate over time.

Growing up, I dared not share such an odd middle name with other kids. It seemed to me that my friends all had normal middle names, prettier names and ones that sometimes were actually two used as one, like my cousins, Barbara Louise, and Carry Anne. 

Whenever my friends asked what my middle name was, I pretended that I didn't have one or I thought of something that I thought went well together. Eg: Vickie Lynn. And to add fuel to the fire, my mother threw an (ie) on the end of Vickie and did not name me Victoria. I was born with a 'nickname.' 

It was dreadful for me to have to continually tell people, "Vickie is my given name and then have to actually spell it for them to boot. What was my mother thinking? 

I learned to smile when I got a response such as, 

"Oh... like the Miss Vickie chips!"

"Those chips are so good. Have you tried them?" An office clerk once asked me.

"Oh... silly me, you must have." She said. "Everyone has."

"No I haven't, but I'm sure the are quite tasty." I clucked back, wondering if I was supposed to feel honoured that my name is sprawled across a bag of chips.

It really wasn't until I was a student in a writing class in 2012 where I came to treasure my name. A fellow classmate's story suddenly pierced my heart without him even knowing it. He shared how his name was a "precious gift" from his mother. He recalled how his mother knew exactly what she was going to name him if God would give her a son. Wow! I couldn't help but hang on every word as he wiped away the tears from his eyes. 

Was it a gift for my father or for me? I'm not sure why my mother was so relentless in naming one of her children Haroldine. But, what I do know is that my name doesn't need to be popular or famous. It doesn't need to define who I am, my personality or even make me feel accepted by others. It just needs to be appreciated as the gift it truly is - a name given with love from my parents.  

And most important --- is that God knows my name...

Isaiah 43:1 "Fear not, for I have called you by name; I have summoned you by name; you are mine"