May 31, 2021

Silence... by Sheila Webster

 Sometimes it is not the words that mean the most but silence in all the ups and downs of life.

For some time I have had a friend who thought I was helping them.  Turns out perhaps they have helped me more. When I talk they do not edit me or argue. Often their silence is pure affirmation of me as a person.  It has not happened before in this way. 

They may not believe the argument but they always believe me - life changing for me. 

Every evangelical needs an agnostic as a friend to sharpen and hone their beliefs and to help discard absolutely false ones of themselves and the Creator.

I thank God everyday they arrived during this last turbulent season to remind me of who God made me to be and that I may be a dishevelled mess one day but it isn’t a permanent state. The next day without explanation I will be amazing. It doesn’t matter i can be like Saskatchewan weather 32 degrees one day and snow on the horizon that evening. It doesn’t mean anything is deeply flawed in me. 

Their silent encouragement and occasional words have brought out a stable acceptance that I am not just ok...I have moments of amazing and it’s all good.

In turn I have been able to edit the things in my life that hindered me from being my best. (Throwing off all that encumbers echoes loudly here)

We never know what slaves we have been to our stuff, loyalties, false notions of low self worth (no matter how deeply those lies have been branded on our fragile hearts) until we are set free from them by the truth.  It doesn’t matter who speaks that truth, God uses whatever or whomever we will listen to.

I will miss them when they go as our friendship is not a permanent fixture. The impact of their silence, their few words, their looks and the mutual enjoyment of creation how ever is empowering and endearing. Loads of laughter, challenging circumstances, crazy adventures and heap loads of room and forgiveness have created an internal cohesive space I no longer want to leave.

Thank God for friends of all faith and walks of life. 

Sheila Webster

May 30, 2021

The Power of Our Words Guest Post by Ruth Ann Adams

My nine-month-old grandson delights us with his vocalizations. He is listening, experimenting, enjoying the sounds he makes. As he grows, his early babbles will lead to a world of language and communication that is yet beyond his understanding.

Madeleine L'Engle tells us:

"When the words mean even more than the writer knew they meant, then the writer has been listening. And sometimes when we listen, we are led into places we do not expect, into adventures we do not always understand."

As writers, we know that words have a power beyond themselves. The Gospel of John states: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (1:1, NIV). Jesus is identified as the Word, the ultimate source of truth. God chose to bring the universe into existence through words. The spoken and written words of God possess creative power. Since we are God's children, made in His image, our words also contain creative ability.

When we sit down to write, we begin a journey. Whether we make careful preparations or follow an unknown route, there is a leap of faith involved. What will we create? Where will our journey take us? What obstacles or surprises will there be along the way?

Writers understand what it means to have an uninvited character show up and insist on staying. Or perhaps the main character, or even a minor one, turns rogue and decides that he or she will dictate the story. A non-fiction writer may be plagued with an annoying idea that was not part of the outlined plan.

Of course, the decision is with the writer. Characters can be eliminated or ignored. An idea can be tossed aside. But sometimes we may need to listen.

Madeline L'Engle reminds us that our words mean more than we know. Many times, God has spoken to me through an image, detail, perceptions of a character or glimpse of a thought. This might be a detail such as a character's choice of a butterfly-patterned bedspread, reminding me of the potent image of new life from difficult circumstances. What we say and what we write possess the power to encourage, instruct, inspire and protect. We will not always, perhaps not often, be aware of how our writing impacts others.

Allowing ourselves to listen may lead to unexpected adventures. Some years ago, my husband and one of our daughters planned a surprise trip to England, Scotland and Wales. Touring England, especially the city of London, was the dream of a lifetime. England was all I had hoped for, but I was completely taken off guard by my reaction to Scotland. I fell passionately in love with the rolling green hills, Scottish traditions, music and romance this land had to offer.

Sometimes as writers, we wonder whether the road not taken, the story not told, might have been the best of all. If we listen well, we will take some of these roads. We will be amazed that the side trip is beyond what we imagined. We will listen to creative nudges, to God's heart, and with our words satisfy the hunger in the hearts of others, even if we don't foresee the impact.

Over the next months, my grandson will continue to experiment with sounds. His babbles will turn into words, sentences and conversations. This progression will be a largely unconscious, biological process. Acquiring language skills will thrust him into adventures that he has no concept of now. His vocalizations are more than he knows, and our words as writers are more than we understand.

Ruth Ann Adams is a high school English teacher, pastor’s wife, mother of five and grandma of one.  She has been published in anthologies and magazines. Ruth Ann has a passion to bring God's love and  encouragement to others. Her blog, 5 X Mama, can be found at










May 29, 2021

Fall Conference AND Fall Contest

Two exciting "Fall" roll-outs happening in June!

Fall Conference

InScribe's Fall Conference 2021 is happening IN PERSON at the Providence Renewal Centre in Edmonton from September 30 to October 2! 

DS Martin, well-known Canadian poet, is our keynote! Plus there are a lot of other workshops lined up! Registration opens on June 21 so keep your eyes open!

For more, check out our Fall Conference page on the website:

Fall Contest

Our annual Fall Contest for members opens on June 1. There are several favourite categories plus some new ones: Poetry, Creative Non-fiction, Children's Fiction, Devotional AND Published Work from 2020!

Great prizes, a chance for possible publication in our magazine, plus so much more. Winners will be announced at Fall Conference.

Check it out here:

Wondering about entering a contest? Watch all or part of this intensive workshop on entering contests - All the whys and hows!

May 28, 2021

The Stranglers: "Here and There" - Bruce Atchison

I'm always amazed at what I find in deleted record bins. One of my "treasures" I found was a combination magazine and LP from 1983. One band featured was The Stranglers. I braced myself for something nasty when their track started playing. To my surprise and delight, their "Here and There" song was delightful. Here's the link:

Though we mere mortals can't speak things into existence like God did, our words can harm or help. Job's friends were in the first category. Eliphaz the Temanite accused him in Job 15:6 (Bible in Basic English), saying, "It is by your mouth, even yours, that you are judged to be in the wrong, and not by me; and your lips give witness against you." But Job was blameless for the tragedies which befell him.

We also know what a dangerous part of our bodies our tongues are. With that small muscle, we can build up or destroy people. James 3:5 and 6 (BBE) reads, "Even so the tongue is a small part of the body, but it takes credit for great things. How much wood may be lighted by a very little fire! And the tongue is a fire; it is the power of evil placed in our bodies, making all the body unclean, putting the wheel of life on fire, and getting its fire from hell."

It was this destructive power of the tongue which God sought to limit in Genesis 11:6 and 7 (BBE) the Lord scattered humanity after people wanted to stay in one place. "And the Lord said, 'See, they are all one people and have all one language; and this is only the start of what they may do: and now it will not be possible to keep them from any purpose of theirs. Come, let us go down and take away the sense of their language, so that they will not be able to make themselves clear to one another."

And as God confused the languages, he gave humanity a foretaste of when we'll be able to understand one another again. Acts 2:5-8 (BBE)  tells us how foreigners in Jerusalem heard the gospel in their mother tongue. "Now there were living at Jerusalem, Jews, God-fearing men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound came to their ears, they all came together, and were greatly surprised because every man was hearing the words of the disciples in his special language. And they were full of wonder and said, 'Are not all these men Galilaeans? And how is it that every one of us is hearing their words in the language which was ours from our birth?'"

We, whom God has chosen, will be able to understand each other in heaven. No interpreters will be needed then.

May 27, 2021

What do you hear? by Lorilee Guenter

Birdsong, creaky floors, snippets of conversation, rustling leaves. Sounds abound, giving depth to life. Do you hear them? 

A number of years ago an advertisement featured a person asking: "can you hear me?" "Can you hear me now?" Even in many unexpected places we are connected. This past weekend, my girls and I were texting while hiking through a northern forest. We could have carried on a phone conversation taking us away from the forest while still surrounded by trees. We have a choice what we listen to and what we block out. 

Our conversations add to the hum of life. Just as we choose what we listen to, we choose what we contribute. Our voice can add to the symphony of sound or it can detract from it. When I played in a concert band, I needed to know my part and I needed to listen to the conductor while being aware of the other instruments. I could know my part well and add noise if I was out of tune or out of tempo. Too loud or too quiet and the whole became unbalanced. The most important person to pay attention to in a band is the conductor. They tie the pieces together. 

Listening increases the impact of our part. We choose what we listen to and what we block out. We can listen to the Holy Spirit as He conducts the symphony of life, or we can let distractions pull our attention away. He sees the whole just as the conductor of the symphony sees each part. If we let Him give us our cues then our words, our voice is infused with His power. If not we become part of the background noise adding to the distractions of life. 

The Holy Spirit asks: "can you hear me? Will you listen?" Our best answer is: "yes Lord, I hear you. It only comes when we silence the distractions and enter into conversation with Him. Then our voices, shown in our art and our life, sing out reflecting His vision. Some of us will play a solo, some harmony, all part of the song of life.

May 26, 2021

Truth-telling - Marnie Pohlmann

My blog post for today is late. I did not procrastinate - much, but I am hesitant to share my thoughts on the power of words. Words are so powerful they change lives. God is the power of words of Truth. I am still working through my view on the appropriate use of truth-telling.  But with trepidation, may I present a different view than most of the posts this month?

When I speak,
I often say the wrong thing or use the wrong words or have the wrong tone, even when speaking Truth. I am not understood. Sometimes it is like I’m speaking a different language, trying to make my point. If I am not with people, there is less opportunity to offend with my words, right? Perhaps that is the true reason I am an introvert - fear.

When I write,
I am also afraid, of putting words in black and white - they may last for eternity, always to be referred to as proof I was wrong, or unkind, or selfish, or whatever else was lacking in me at the time of writing. I was silenced from speaking the truth of my life for many years, so putting it onto the stone tablet for sharing is especially frightful. Of course, conversing in laughter, or writing creative fiction of some sort is safer. Those times and writings are fun.

I am not the happy sunflower type of Christian. I am prone more to being a weedy Christian - like dandelions. Sometimes bright, sometimes fun, but still considered a pest when I blow up when I attempt to spread seeds of Truth that are meant to multiply, to influence near and far, but are not liked.

I think when I act or speak or write in ways that offend others, there are three reasons.

1) I am still responding to the trauma of my childhood, to lies that were set into my being as beliefs. My whole adult life I have been dealing with capturing and learning Truth to combat those lies, and some are so deeply entrenched I expect to spend the rest of my life digging them out when I recognize them.

2) Again because of my childhood, I feel silenced, unheard, not valued, until I cannot stand it anymore and blurt out my thoughts. Having spent time with those thoughts inside me, I have often dissected them enough to have compared them to Scripture and am convinced of their Truth. But the delivery means the Truth is not always heard.

3) The third reason that others may be offended by what I write is that it hits them squarely between the eyes as Truth.

We are often told to “sandwich” criticism as a layer set between encouragements, or to at least find ways to say it kindly. When speaking or writing Truth, though, especially when speaking into the life of another, whether we know them or not, there are times when kind words mask the truth, couching it to make it seem not too important or necessary to respond to.

So how do you correct, criticize, reprimand, or discipline others when it is needed?

What would Jesus say?
The red words in our Bibles do not always sound kind. Jesus was compassionate to the lost who sought him. The writers of the Gospels record many incidents of this. But they also recorded some of Jesus’ harsh words to his disciples and the leaders of religion. He was not kind. He was straightforward, reprimanding, even name-calling! A few examples?

Jesus told the disciples that what God did in the life of another disciple was none of their business (John 21:20-23) 

2)      He suggested to the quibbling disciples that neither of them may be qualified to sit at his side in the coming Kingdom. To seek position is not what is important, but God Himself would decide (Mark 10:35-45. Matthew writes it was their mother who asked Jesus if her sons could sit at his side, but Mark attributes the question to the brothers themselves.)

3)      Jesus called the Pharisees names, like the “offspring of vipers.”  (Matthew 23:13-36)

So, I ask, is it appropriate to speak or write words of Truth that will and do offend others?
More examples, these from Paul.

1)      Paul tells Christians he will deal sharply with them if things have not changed before he arrives. (2 Cor 13:10) That sounds harsh, doesn't it?

2)      Paul tells others to correct and rebuke those (other believers) who sin. (1 Tim 5:20, Titus 2:15)

We all know any correction is difficult to take. Those red pen marks from an editor are difficult for writers but are meant to be helpful, so we accept them. If they are suggestions or general comments, we may not take them seriously. If they are definite, like “no comma needed,” we are likely to concede the editor is correct. Even if a non-writer, non-editor, reader makes a comment that “This sentence is hard to read,” we will take a good look at it. It does not matter so much who gives correction, we still need to look at it and decide if it is applicable to us.

Being reprimanded is even more difficult than correction. Yet again, reprimands are sometimes necessary. While correction is helping us be better, a reprimand is telling us we are wrong and need to change something. In our writing, if we make a historical error, we may receive a reprimand that we did not fact-check so are misrepresenting the truth. In business, we may receive a reprimand for a mistake that costs money, time, or clients. These are examples of stating a fact - this is the truth, this is what you did or what happened or what your actions caused while telling us we need to correct it or at least own it and not repeat it.

We can and hopefully do learn from our mistakes without others always pointing them out, but sometimes we have a blind spot that keeps us from recognizing we are doing wrong. Someone may need to point it out. I believe it is a believer’s responsibility to correct and reprimand our eternal fellow-travelers in The Way. The fruits of the Spirit are to be sought, learned, and practiced, absolutely. But does it not also take correction and reprimand to sometimes help us learn to put into practice those fruits?

While I believe in practicing kind words, I also believe there is a time and place to give and receive a reprimand. With this, there are also cautions I am learning.

1)      Ensure you are not criticizing from a gut reaction that may be guided by faulty beliefs on your part.

2)      Think it through and know why you are convinced “someone” should say “something” to correct another. Remember that like needs, if you are the one who sees it, you are probably the one God is calling to do it.

3)      Speak Truth plainly, with clear honesty, calling sin what it is. Do not make a rebuke into a suggestion.

Are we able to be kind in rebuking others?
I hope so. But like using words in speech or writing, we need to practice so we get better. At first, we may be a little weedy. Others will be offended no matter how it is done if they are convicted by the Truth of the words, but we cannot learn if we do not practice. (In my opinion) Christians are too willing to reprimand non-believers and excuse believers, rather than love non-believers and reprimand those in their local church family.

As I said, I am not good at reprimanding. I do not want to do it. Someone in a position of authority, or knowledge, or with a closer relationship should say what needs to be said. God can do this through His Word, even, or through those who He has placed in authority. However, God does not usually choose the mighty to battle wrongdoing. He sends the child, the weak, and the broken to show His strength and Glory in the battle.

God sends you and me to reprimand others. He sends others to reprimand us. God asks us to use our words to give both Life-giving Love-Truth and Life-giving Discipline-Truth. This is partly why both speaking and writing words can be scary. Others may be blessed, but they may also be offended. 

Is it a risk you will take?

An open rebuke
is better than hidden love.
Prov 27:5

May 25, 2021

Communication by Sharon Heagy


Communication. It seems the more ways we have to communicate, the less adept we are at actually doing it. This is particularly true when it comes to the methods of communication that use words.  We are now part of an era where constant communication is available due to the advent of handheld computers, the internet and satellites.  The technology boggles the mind. The rapid advancement in this area is absolutely amazing but like any tool it needs to be wielded wisely.

Terse text messages can be and often are misconstrued and misinterpreted. Worse yet, messages composed of acronyms and emojis can leave one totally dazed, confused and scratching one’s head. A conversation may go like this, “Btw fwiw idk. Otoh tbh yolo.” (Translation – By the way, for what it’s worth, I don’t know. On the other hand, to be honest, you only live once.) And then there is auto correct. Don’t get me started, or should I say ‘dgms’.

Those of us who love language and who appreciate a well-crafted turn of phrase have the task of keeping the written word alive. It is becoming more of an art form than ever before.

This is one of the reasons we are told in workshops to show not tell. To convey a written picture for all the senses. To reveal humanity in all its messiness and wonder. And, of far more importance, to give others a glimpse into the heart of God.

Be a craftsman, my friends, make it your passion, or dare I say almost an obsession. Be an artisan of syntax. Written words become thoughts in the brain, tears in the eyes, aches of both joy and sorrow in the heart.  The written word becomes spoken word and the spoken word has power.   Power to cut deep or to exalt on high, to crush or to comfort, to pummel or to prop up, to rip open the heart or to bathe its scars with healing waters.

Take not lightly the gift of language bestowed upon you.  Guard it closely, use it wisely and above all, bask yourself, your pen and your purpose in prayer.  Be brave.  When the words won’t come and you are left with a pounding head and a ‘blech’ on your lips, or when words are just a jumbled mess before your eyes, take the pen and ruthlessly slash and cut. Rip the paper to shreds or wad it up and throw it forcefully into the bin with a satisfying swoosh. Backspace like your life depended on it and relish the rhythm of reverse keyboard clicking at a speed nearing that of light itself. Then dare to try, again and again and again. And once the words weave together as they should, like the various sections of a symphony all coming together, rejoice. Rejoice, for this is where the communication zone lies.  This is where the music of the soul is poured out. Where the artist of the written word thrives. This is communication.  Human being to human being, heart to heart. Clear and actual and concise.  Poignant yet positive and, above all, full of hope and love.

May 23, 2021

Just the Right Word ~ Valerie Ronald


There are so many of them flying around the atmosphere today ˗˗ words. They fill up our air space, bookshelves, cyberspace, even our own minds. Yet I confess, I love words. They are the vehicles for the expression of our inner heart and spirit. They reach across the lonely space between each one of us to voice our commonality, to make the connection that lights up the eyes and says, you know! ˗˗ you understand!  

The ultimate communication from God to man came in the form of a Word.

“In the beginning the Word already was. The Word was in God’s presence, and what God was, the Word was.” (John 1:1 Revised English Version) 

The apostle John was not writing about speech but rather a person, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Readers of John’s day would understand the Logos (Word), as coined by Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, “to designate the divine reason or plan which coordinates the entire universe.”1  But John took it a step further, declaring the Logos, at a particular time in history, took on flesh and became a man ˗˗ Jesus of Nazareth. The powerful statement beginning the gospel of John declares the deity and eternal majesty of Christ from the outset, so that the stories of Jesus in the next 21 chapters are read in the context of His divinity. 

This is the Word voiced without time constraints ˗˗ always speaking, always heard, uttered into the future. This Word, this perfect expression of what God is like, was spoken into the world at a specific time for a specific purpose. “So the Word became flesh; He made His home among us, and we saw His glory, such glory as befits the Father‘s only Son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) How the immensity expressed in the small, three-letter word God, is contained within another small, three-letter word, man, is the unknowable mystery of the incarnation.

My love of words often has me searching for just the right one to express my thoughts in writing. My desk holds a dictionary and thesaurus which give the meanings and nuances of thousands of words. Finding the perfect word for my purpose is a satisfying accomplishment.

God found just the right Word on the first Christmas. To convey His love for mankind, He knew He needed to speak into their lives in a way they could relate to and understand. So He placed His most precious Word, His own son, into the body of a helpless baby. From a human womb the Word was birthed to live among us, fully man and fully God.

This Word wasn’t vague or indecipherable. He spoke truth and hope into darkened hearts, healed broken bodies and spirits, cut through hypocrisy and legalism. He walked dusty roads and broke bread with His friends. The depth of His humanity is found in the shortest verse in the scriptures, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) We can’t know what He experienced as God, but as a man He knew sorrow and compassion, expressed with human tears. He made His home among us, the Word made intimate.

The Enemy presumed the Word was silenced when Jesus died on the cross of Calvary. But it was the ultimate shout of victory, because He rose again to offer forgiveness and new life to all who believed what He said. Now Jesus resides in hearts open to the truth of who He is, and embodies the definition of the Word love.

Madeleine L’Engle said, when the words mean even more than the writer knew they meant, then the writer has been listening. Listening to the Word is not just done with our ears, but with our heart, soul, spirit and mind. What a privilege it is as writers who believe in this Word, this ultimate expression of all God wants to say to us, to use our words to communicate Him to a broken world desperately needing to hear it spoken.

1 Keri Wyatt Kent, Deeper into the Word - New Testament (Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Pub., 2011) 224

(painting by my daughter, Kristina Jones)

Blossoms and Bugs by Joylene M. Bailey

The story was about an ant named George who had moved into a new neighbourhood. He was looking forward to meeting all of his neighbour ants, so as soon as he got all of his furniture moved in, he put his name on the mailbox at the end of his driveway: Mr. G. I. Ant. He waited and waited but nobody came to visit him. Turns out that all the other ants were afraid to visit Mr. Ant because of the name on his mailbox.

That story blew little Joy's eight-year-old mind. 

In that split second of understanding - that G. I. Ant could also be read as GIANT - she entered a whole new universe, an extraordinary and enchanting garden. A place where words were magic. Where they blossomed and bloomed, shifted and shimmered, startled and soothed. 

Her love of what words could do was born in that moment. 

As Joy grew, she collected words, like a gardener collects blooms in a basket, carefully choosing the choicest ones to display on notecards fastened to walls and mirrors in her house, or to press in the pages of a quote book. 

Scripture words, unique words, other people's words. She marvelled at the way the fragrance of another's words could carry her through the hardest days, and she hoped that one day she'd be able to use her own words to encourage someone else in the same way. 

So she worked in her garden of words whenever she could. She planted and weeded, collected and pressed. She studied and practiced, honing her skills. And she started giving her words away, in single blooms or larger bouquets, each a little different from the last.

Many years later, in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, she was contacted by a stranger who had read her words and wanted to use a small bouquet in a book of hope and encouragement she was publishing. 

That request blew Grandma Joy's fifty-eight-year-old mind.

But what is even more striking is that someone somewhere wrote a little story about an ant named George that blossomed the mind of a little girl. 


All images from 

Joy plays in her word garden in Edmonton where she lives with The Cowboy and soon-to-be-married-in-the-middle-of-a-pandemic Babe. Find more of her words at Scraps of Joy.


May 22, 2021

Quiet Words Listen by Alan Anderson


After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.—I Kings 19:11-12 (NIV)


The posts this month are words of life to me as a reader. The prompt for May causes me to ponder even as I write my post. The simple yet profound statement of our own, Lynn Simpson, has me recall a personal experience with the intimacy of words. In her post of October 3, 2020, Lynn noted, “Yet, I have now learned, our voices don’t have to be loud to be a role in change.” I love her line and resonate with it in a big way. As I continue here, please allow me to explain.


A Brief View of My Depression of 1997


The fog came down first and gripped me. Before long, the grey of the fog led me into the black of a tunnel. I am trapped. No, I am lost.


I look at my words, and they look at me. None of us speak. There is no urgency, only stillness. I smile, and my words wink at me. A thought keeps going through my mind. “What do I do? Where do I take these words and care for them?” Suddenly they move. My words sit beside me, then embrace me. Their embrace sweeps over my thoughts and emotions. I realize my words care for me. They listened to me in the stillness. My mind clears and I know what to do. I too must listen. My words came to me unhurried, quiet, gentle, and changed me.

Depression Taught Me to Listen

The fog, the tunnel, the loneliness, and the darkness taught me about myself. This time of depression allowed me to confront my insecurity, fears, and doubts in life. I realized I had given too many years to them. I listened to the wrong words.


In my experience with depression, I also experienced the intimacy of words. This time where I withdrew into myself taught me to listen. I learned to listen more to who I am as a person. As I learned more about the art of listening, it helped me to listen to other people.


One’s ability to listen shows a more personal and helpful approach to come alongside people. Listening skills proved essential in my work as a chaplain. To listen to people who live with a progressive or terminal illness taught me about life. I call them “my teachers.” My teachers taught me to use words in a quiet manner.


Please allow me to recall one precious visit. The person lived with Alzheimer’s disease. She no longer spoke in an audible voice. She did, however, like to hold hands. This is how we spoke to each other. No words. I learned to listen with my eyes as well. Her eyes smiled. Her eyes told me she would die soon. A lesson I will never forget.


Here are a few humble lessons to share with you. 

11. Practice stillness. There is no need to rush through every day.

22.  Listen to stories people may speak from their darkness. The darkness can be crippling. They may need help to find God’s light.

33. Be gentle with those in the darkness. Listen to their words even if they stumble. This may open them to hearing your quiet words.

44.  We listen to show we care. Your words don’t have to be loud to make a difference.

55.  My depression had a purpose. God did not leave me.



Alan lives in Deroche, B.C. with his wife, Terry. He contributed stories to Good Grief People by Angel Hope Publishing, 2017, Story by Story: The Power of a Writer, Unstoppable Writers Publishing, 2018, and Easter Stories & More, by InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship, 2021. He has also written articles for FellowScript Magazine. Blog: Alan is the Provincial Rep. Liaison and BC Rep for InScribe.


May 21, 2021

A Play On Words by Katie Gerke

 This My heart is stirred a noble theme

 as I recite my verses for the king; 

my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1

I was sifting through some old file folders and came across a stack of, "Quotable Quotes", which I thought would be appropriate for this month's theme. These quotes were written in moments of grief, joy, injustice, frustration, hope, comfort, and wistfulness.

In Passing  

"I enjoyed listening to your father tell stories. He had an exquisite sense of humor that mingled through his words like delicate wisps of smoke and if one looked carefully through the tendrils, you would see a glint in his eye as brilliant as a diamond that confirmed they were in the presence of a great man." 


“Dearest Marlene, I am glad we were able to reunite after 15 years of being apart. We seem to have weathered the "test of time" rather well. Thank goodness the exam consisted of multiple-choice questions that, statistically speaking, guaranteed a degree of victory in our lives. The questions asking us to describe our life's journey at length were daunting but the bonus marks for our efforts were generously rewarded. Now, it's time to heal, plant, laugh, and dance together again! “


"Black is not a color. As an artist, it's only a pigment of my imagination. As a person with obvious physical limitations, black signifies darkness which can overwhelm me at any time. By God's grace, I have brilliant lights of joy, peace, and hope within me that can, with all intents and purposes, extinguish it."

In Support of a Cause

“A citizen should take significant small steps to understand each other's burdens. By removing just one stone from another's shoulders will enable them to make great strides to do the same."

 My Website's Subliminal Message  

"Oralart makes the simple, important."

 Vertically Challenged

Do you know what I can't stand?

 What can't you stand?

 That's what I can't stand. 

You can't stand what? 

That I can't stand.  


I can't stand! I can't stand! 

If you don't explain, I am walking away. 

You do know, I can't stand?

I'm standing now and going to walk away if you can’t explain what’s up.

Obviously, not me but you can still stand it. 

Don't tell me what I can stand and not stand. 

You can do both, but I can’t.  

I can't stand this; I'm leaving now. 

Yes, you can, and you can't stand it. 

I'll see you later. 

Now, that's something I can stand doing!   

Vital Statistics 

“I have His: phone number, fax, email, website, and street address. He's next door, right around the block, just across the street, a stone's throw away, a short hike, or you can even take a rocket ship to the moon and still be within an arm's length, the diameter of the teardrop, the volume of the breath, a thread of the heartbeat, a synapse of the first waking moments, He can still be found, regardless if you're lost, just call upon Him, and He will answer. No long-distance charges will apply.”

Taking Captive My Thoughts

 “The garbage piled up high up against the chain-link fence of pristine property, I was hoping to gain access to in the years to come. However, climatic changes were against me such as wind and rain, but I guess it was ultimately my responsibility to tend to the pile daily and diligently to remove the debris to dispose of it responsibly. Where this garbage comes from can be beyond me but once it is trapped up against the fence, either on myself or the Constant Gardener's on the other side, can pluck it up nimbly and destroy it as quickly and effortlessly as a whisper lovingly spoken in the middle of the night."

He stilled the storm to a whisper; Psalm 107:29


“This is the type of writing that will be making me millions! I am praying to God that I can find a person who knows a person who knows a friend whose father's brother-in-law, who lives next to a family of five, who just lost their beloved and very old pet dog, who knows the veterinarian, who euthanized Sparky (finally) who knows a publisher, who brings in his one-legged macaw, irritably named, Mac, to get his wings clipped. What are the chances? I’ll stick with the first two people and the friend and the rest of the prayer will have to play itself out.”

May 20, 2021

A Word Journey - Gloria Guest


I love words. I’m a word person to the core of my being. My love language (from the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman) is Words of Affirmation. Yet my personal journey with words has been a long and arduous one, often painful, but I have to admit also at times, fascinating.

There have been times when I simply had no words.

Times when my words have simmered too long in the back of mind, until I blew my top and out they came, not at all in the way that they would have, if I had given voice to them when I should have;

Times when my words were so buried deep within that even I did not know that they were there;

Times when I found the right ones to comfort someone in need or stand up for a cause;

But many more times when I didn’t.

Words have been frightening and empowering to me at the same time. Frightening because of the vulnerability I risk in sharing them and empowering because of the strength I feel when I take the plunge.

Sometimes I have regretted sharing my words, but I’ve always learned from it. Perhaps it’s not best to share some of my deeper thoughts with some people. Yet as a writer that leaves a bit of a conundrum. I am called to share my words. And something deep within me stirs me to share the hard ones. When I hesitate I can’t help but think of the times that I have been encouraged by the words of someone else. Words that may have been hard for them to speak. And so with the sharing of words and when to do it and with whom, also needs to come the learning of wisdom.

It’s a definite word journey. I go down one path and turn around when I realize it’s not for me. Another path I try, ends up leading nowhere. I’ve had my own unique experiences with words, each one leading somewhere else, although sometimes I hit a wall of sorts and struggle to find a way over or around or under. Prayer is the only way. And sometimes we need the help of a friend or a counsellor.

As a small child my words were stifled. “Children are to be seen and not heard,” was a common mantra from my father. A few years later, my words were buried deep within my six year old heart, when I witnessed something I shouldn’t have. Those words built a cocoon around themselves, where not even a whisper could escape,
and soon no memories of the event existed either. This is where complex childhood trauma takes shape; changing the actual brain development of a child, changing their personality and who they could become.

And so, my deepest journey with words, has taken me back meandering through hidden mazes in my past, wondering if it was even worth the time and incredible energy it took. I’ve had to sacrifice a lot of other things that I could have been doing but, now I can say, yes it has been…worth it. Words I never knew I needed to say, have been said, and in that came some of the greatest spiritual and emotional healing that I could not have imagined. Perhaps there are more words to find and to say. I’ve learned that God truly is the one who will help me find them and help me say them. And as part of that healing I’m praying that all of my other words will become…..better. I’m a work in progress and I’ve learned some ingrained patterns with my words that I’m wanting to change.

May God take you on your own journey with words; spoken or unspoken. He knows them all and holds them in His hands. He knows exactly what words are buried deep within your heart that you need to speak and He knows how to teach you what words to not speak or to whom you should speak them to.

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psalms 19:14 (KJV)

Gloria shares her words from Caron Sk., while studying to obtain her editing certificate through the Simon Fraser University. She has published many of her words in newspapers articles and columns as a past reporter for various newspapers and in a couple of anthologies. Along with being a work in progress she also has a memoir in progress that she hopes to publish before her ink runs dry. 

May 19, 2021

Words By Vickie Stam

We don't always plan to say the things we say.

Romans 7:15 in the ESV reads, "I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want but I do the very thing I hate."

What if I said, I do not say the things I want to say but I say the things I hate to say. Doesn't that sound frightening? But, if you admit it, you are probably guilty of saying something you wish you had never said.

And then there are those who have a tendency to speak without thinking more often than not. They blurt something out and their impulsive behaviour might be seen as undesirable or as just a part of who they are. 

The average person speaks about 7000 words per day. Imagine what the consequences of our words can look like. Our words can honour or shame, build up or tear down, soothe or annoy, love or hate. Each scenario offers others an insight into our nature.

Are you quiet or do you talk a lot? Are you optimistic or pessimistic? Are you kind hearted or insensitive? The words you use paint a picture of yourself for the world to see.

I'm seen by others as quiet or introverted, something I don't always find flattering and yet I guess my lack of conversation could make some people think that I have nothing to say. I just hope that I choose both the timing and my words carefully. 

On the other hand - I know someone that I will call, "B." B doesn't think before B speaks. I grew up hearing the words - "That's our B." It soon became apparent that it was part of B's character to just come out with it. 

Your words can be silent and still have power. How many words are implied with a look. When I was a child I knew what the look meant - mom's not kidding, do it again and see what happens, if your dad has to stop this car, you're going to wish he didn't" The look offered my mom a solution for a host of unspoken words. 

And yet, a smile could provide a mountain of encouragement, positivity, kindness, and love. Words have power! How someone talks to us will be remembered. How we talk to someone will also be remembered.

God tells us to choose our words wisely. Harsh words stir up anger. Your soul is nourished when you are kind. Gentle words bring life and health. 

May 17, 2021

Welcoming Coffee, Wild Rides, and Word Power - by Connie Mae Inglis

Confession #1: I love my morning coffee. Are you the same? In fact, some evenings, as I head for bed, I’m already thinking about tomorrow’s first cup of joe.

While I do love coffee, I am, in actuality, using the word “coffee” metonymically because it’s during my morning quiet time that I enjoy that first cup. That’s my favourite time of day. And when that time is done, my mind, spirit, soul, and body, have all been “caffeinated.” 

 In my upcoming novel, my protagonist is encouraged by a little girl’s words in his mind. They become a jolt of caffeine for him in the moment and are exactly what he needs in the face of some difficult choices. They offer him energy, understanding, encouragement, support, and hope.

Here’s another confession: As a mother, I’ve had a stressful and exhausting week. When you have adult children diagnosed with a mental illness, like I do (two, in fact, each diagnosed differently), life can be painful. When the illness become overwhelming, they can make choices that hurt—that cause sadness and grief—and that can result in lots of questions without answers. Lots of uncertainty. That’s been my week. 

This is not the first time I’ve ridden this merry-go-round. In fact, I’ve ridden it so often that I’ve started to give the horses names: Thunder. Fury. Donnie Darko. Funny words—but not! 


I could end this post right here with those two words and it would be enough because GOD is enough! 

But I also know I’m not alone in facing troubles in this world. In fact, Jesus even promised this would happen. But He also provided ways to deal with trouble—to take heart. And to offer words rich with caffeine—words that energize, encourage, support, and offer hope. 

I’ve learned a lot about trusting a faithful and merciful God. 

I’ve also learned a lot about trusting faithful and supportive friends. I’ve learned that being vulnerable with people that really care about you is good. There is hope there. 

Confession #3: Sometimes I get so distraught and so exhausted on this caregiving journey that I don’t know how to pray. I have NO words! 


In those times, I’ve learned to cry out to prayer warriors for help. I’ve learned to lean on others to uphold not just me but my family as well. Their prayers have often been my jolt of caffeine when I’m drowning in sorrow. 

One specific InScribe group has been my support. I’m talking about my writers’ group, Writers’ Café. The first time I opened up to them about what was going on, I discovered each one had encountered mental illness in some way, whether in their families or with friends. They listened. They empathized. They supported. NOT with trite answers or hollow clichés or judgment, but with love and grace. 

This group not only spoke into me and my situation but they wrote. I received many emails of support—their words of prayer and also Scripture passages that they prayed. Their words have sustained me through some difficult time. 

I’ve kept all their emails and return to them at times as a reminder of how good God has been in gifting me with this group of prayer warriors. I’d like to share some of their words with you in the hope that they’ll encourage you today:

“You and Doug are exercising faith beyond anything you every expected could happen in your family. When you get wobbly, take it to the Lord immediately. He's ready to hear anything you may have to say. I know you know that, but in circumstances like this we parents can shock ourselves with how violent our sense of violation and desire to protect can become. Remember, God had a son as well. He had to let Jesus go through some horrific stuff too before He could come out the other end. God knows. He understands.”

“When I closed my eyes to pray for you and Doug this afternoon I immediately saw a thick heavy fog. Then in the fog I could just make out the form of Jesus walking. He appeared tall and strong and resolute. You and Doug were stumbling along in the fog almost overwhelmed, one on each side of Jesus. He had a firm grip of each of you by the wrist and He was pulling you along through the fog. The look on his face was sad but determined. He looked straight ahead and He wasn't stopping and He wasn't letting go.”

Do these words fill you with hope like they do for me? 

I’m learning something else through these life-giving words. I’m beginning to realize that I too should be offering words to others. When the Spirit is nudging me to pray something specific for a person, I’m learning to ask the Spirit if He wants me to share it with the person I’m praying for. God can even use my words to help someone else. 

A few years ago, someone shared the song, “Speak Life” by TobyMac, with me, as a reminder of how powerful words can be. As a follower of Jesus, I desire to speak words of life—just like God and His people have done for me. I’m still learning. But, in God, there’s always hope! 

May 16, 2021

Trip of a Lifetime - guest post by Sheri Hathaway

Madeleine L’Engle wrote: 

When the words mean even more than the writer knew they meant,

then the writer has been listening.

And sometimes when we listen, we are led into places we do not expect,

into adventures we do not always understand.

Madeleine L’Engle had a deep faith, a member of an Episcopalian church in the United States. Although she doesn’t give God’s name specifically, I think in this quote she’s thinking of the rewards of listening to God’s voice as she writes. She has certainly gone to places she didn’t expect when she wrote the book she is best remembered for, A Wrinkle in Time, where her characters journey into outer space. Her imagined planets and strange beings that populate them are the product of her imagination, gifted of course, from God. 

I think she was using the gifts God gave her, to craft a story, but left them in God’s hands to use as He desired after publication. Her characters who quoted scripture remind the reader of Christianity without being preachy, and that’s what we are told to do as writers today. But her work of science fiction where she mixed science and Christianity was unorthodox for her day and not always appreciated. Today that theme is more widely accepted and her book is still celebrated. 

Mother Teresa wrote, 

“I'm a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.” 

I think when little Teresa was growing up in Macedonia she never imagined she’d spend her adult life in Calcutta, India but what an achievement she accomplished by listening and allowing God to use her life. God began by planting a seed and when she listened, He used her for much good, telling people of God’s love. 

As for me, well, I don’t see a work of science fiction or a trip to Calcutta in my future, but who knows what God will do with my writing, such as it is. I have a prayer group that I send out an email to every week. I update them on my current work and a shortlist of prayer requests. I haven’t felt led to produce explicitly Christian writing but I want God in everything I do. So, I ask for prayer that He will lead my writing. I want to do my best for Him. I have a keen interest in history – the victories and failures of past lives. A few people have sent me a message about my published writing, thanking me and telling me what my article has meant to them, but perhaps there are more that have enjoyed my writing and even been changed in some way, and not told me. I know I have read lots of good stories by wonderful writers and not contacted the author to tell them how much I enjoyed it. Like releasing children into the world when they’re grown, a writer sends their words out to find their own way, guided by God. Writing history is the interest God has given me, and I leave the future of the words in His hands. I hope my writing has gone places and done good in someone’s life that I do not know of, perhaps not around the world or into outer space, but perhaps into someone’s heart. Now there’s the trip of a lifetime! 

“He is at work on your behalf, not to make you a best-seller, but to make you the best tool for His work. As much as we’d like to think this whole gig is about selling books, it’s not. It’s about obedience. About writing, because that’s the task He’s given us. It’s about seeking to serve Him and others through the gifts He’s given us.” ~Karen Ball.

Sheri Hathaway
is a freelance writer and watercolour artist living in Saskatoon. She writes historical pieces focusing on farm and family. Her writing has been published in the Western Producer, Neighbourhood Express, Freelance magazine and others. Her online home is and on Facebook at Author Sheri Hathaway. 

May 15, 2021

Words, Words, Words! by Tracy Krauss

"Words, word, words!" 

Hamlet's declaration from Act Two Scene Two rings in my head as I ponder what to write for this month's theme. Hamlet is responding to Polonius's question, "What do you read, my lord?" At first, his answer seems obvious - even cryptic. "Words, words, words!" He is pretending to be mad and therefore the lines are often performed with either dramatic flair or comedic nuance. My favourite example is from a comedy spoof by the Reduced Shakespeare Company.  It makes me belly laugh every time! It's probably why these words are stuck in my head.

Words stick. 

Unfortunately, as some have already shared, negative words tend to be the most tenacious in this regard. I am reminded of the times when I have been careless with my own words or have even felt I had the right to express an opinion that ended up hurting someone. Oh, how I wish I could take those words back! Even though I apologized and tried to make it right, I cringe to think that my negative words may still be planted in someone's heart. 

Fortunately, we have God's Word.  

Psalm 119 in its entirety is a wonderful study on the attributes of the Word of God, including the familiar: "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psalm 119: 105 (KJV)

Then there is THE WORD.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1: 14 (NIV)

As writers, we are in the business of words. 

No matter whom we are writing for, let's make sure our words are laced with grace. 


Tracy Krauss
plays with words on a daily basis from her home in northern BC. Visit her website to view her many novels, stage plays, short stories and devotional books. She is currently serving as InScribe's president. 

May 14, 2021

May - Mid-Month Moments by Connie Inglis

 May Mid-Month Moments

Do you remember this little jump-rope rhyme from when you were a child: "Liar, liar, pants on fire; nose is longer than a telephone wire"? I recently heard it in reference to a politician and I just thought, Whoa. However funny, those are strong words.

It seems that in our physical world, we can often sniff out the liars, although some are more blatant than others. We don't like liars and so when we sense someone is lying to us, we seek to know the truth--our moral compass desires truth. But what about in the spiritual realm? Are we aware of the lies Satan feeds our minds? In John 8:44 Jesus did not hesitate to call Satan who he really is: "A liar and the father of lies."

Here is one of his lies that I recently heard someone say: "If I try harder, God will love me more." Hit the buzzer. That's wrong. We all know it's wrong. Or do we? Satan can speak that lie in much more subtle ways: A good Christian would pray more; A good Christian would study God's Word more; A good Christian would be more involved at church; A good Christian would go knocking on the neighbour's door and share the Gospel.

Of course, none of those things are wrong UNLESS we're doing them for the wrong reasons--unless we think that God will love us more if we DO more. Hit the buzzer. Do we hear Satan's lie in that thought? We ought to. Those lies are subtly telling us that we need to change (we need to be "doing"), so that God will love us more.

Here is God's response to those lies: 1 John 4.

Verses 13-21 in The Message):

"This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in Him, and He in us: He’s given us life from His life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.

17-18 God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.

19 We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.

20-21 If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both."

I think God gives us this chapter, along with many verses on His love for us, because He knew we would need to be reminded--reminded that God's love is already in us. It is NOT something we need to pursue. It is something we already have, and it is perfect. The change comes in us NOT in pursuit of God's love but BECAUSE of His love in us.

My prayer for us this week is that we will read 1 John 4, meditating on the constant, faithful, perfect love of God; And that we will ask His Spirit to show us where we are listening to the enemy's lies that speak against His Word; and that we would renounce those lies and rest in God's perfect love for us; and then go away rejoicing that we are LOVED BY GOD!

Loved by God,


November 16, 2016

Mid-Month Moments are past devotionals written by Connie Inglis that she shared each week when she was InScribe's spiritual advisor. (Originally called 'Mid-Week Moments') They are shared from her archives with permission in the middle of each month.