December 28, 2023

Lean into the waiting by Mary Folkerts


I should know by now that nothing beautiful comes without spending time in life's waiting room, but that doesn't mean I have learned to enjoy the wait.

We live in a world of instant gratification, instant meals, instant pots, instant facelifts, diets that work within a week (or we quit), and wifi that needs to be lightning-quick (or we complain). 

And yet, we know that good things take time. When the sun warms the earth in early spring, and green shoots burst forth in all their glory, I plant my tender seedlings in freshly tilled ground. I water and fertilize, dig out unwanted weeds, and carefully tend the transplants. And then I wait, for I know better than to expect a flower the next day.

We have come to despise the wait when, in actuality, it's in life's waiting rooms that most of our growth occurs.

I have been a new mom four times in my life, and each time we found out a baby was on its way, we knew that we had nine months to anticipate the child's arrival. The child needed that time to grow and develop in utero, and as parents, we needed that time to mentally prepare ourselves for the child's arrival. None of the nine months were wasted, even though the wait was sometimes difficult.

One of my most challenging times of waiting was as a single girl, waiting for "Mr. Right." I had my share of false starts and stops that left me feeling unworthy, uncertain and anxious that I would ever find someone to share my life with. But even this waiting had a purpose.

Waiting has become more complicated in this fast-paced world. We have come to despise the wait when, in actuality, it's in life's waiting rooms that most of our growth occurs.

Hindsight brings perspective, and often, we realize what we learned after our waiting period has seen its fulfillment. As writers, it's these times that become our inspiration. "Here's how I grew in the wait. This is what I learned–".

Could we lean into the uncertainty that waiting brings and write from the position of certainty that our faith in God provides? 

You may be looking at the new year ahead of you from the vantage point of a waiting room. So far, you see no good resolution, no light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. How could we learn to wait better, and could our waiting itself become a witness to the world? Could we write about the waiting, in the waiting?

The phrase "lean into" has become popular in the last decade. The dictionary defines it as "persevering in spite of risk or difficulty." Could we lean into the uncertainty that waiting brings and write from the position of certainty that our faith in God provides? 

And here's where we come to the heart of the matter. Are we waiting for God to resolve our struggle, or are we waiting on the Lord? Writing about hope and faith in God while in a posture of waiting takes faith in God itself. Trusting not in the outcome but in His faithfulness.

" If you throw us into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from the furnace. He will save us from your power, O king. But even if God does not save us, we want you, O king, to know this: We will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up."

Daniel 3:17-18 NCV

Mary Folkerts is mom to four kids and wife to a farmer, living on the southern prairies of Alberta, where the skies are large and the sunsets stunning. She is a Proverbs 31 ministries COMPEL Writers Training member and is involved in church ministries and music. Mary’s personal blog aims to encourage and inspire women and advocate for those with Down Syndrome, as their youngest child introduced them to this extraordinary new world. For more inspiration, check out Joy in the Small Things  

December 26, 2023

L is for LMK ~ by Michelle Strutzenberger

How much do you pepper your social media posts and text messages with emojis and acronyms such as LOL and LMK?

Do you believe a day will come when such symbols and text forms will slither into other types of writing? Will longer-form, less transient pieces, such as academic papers, news articles, blogs, and books one day be speckled with emojis and internet slang?

If that day does come, will it be a happy one for you? Or will it be as though a cloud has darkened the sun?

Love and Hate

I admit to having a love hate relationship with the use of emojis and acronyms in my text messages to family and friends.

Emojis, for me, equal simplified pictures. Pictures, as they say, can be worth a thousand words. So, I love scouring for just the right emoji to convey certain feelings.

On the other hand, I squirm at using acronyms. For me, they reek of sloppiness and border on emitting a lack of love for the people I care about. Acronyms such as NM or WU shout, “I’m too busy for you to even take the time to spell out a full word.”

This is the line of reasoning I’ve taken, though I understand it may not necessarily be fully logical and/or the rationale everyone ought to subscribe to.

Averse and Open

As for whether I think these forms will and should eventually dot our other written works, the jury is still out for me. I waffle between aversion and a desire to be open minded.

I recently gave in to temptation and inserted a tiny emoji in of my blogs. The smiley emoji seemed to fit the context of my article so perfectly that I just had to include it, but I also felt strangely ashamed for giving in. I couldn’t help feeling as though I’d let my writing standards slip just a bit with this concession.

On the other hand, however, I understand that living languages evolve. They always have. We no longer use many of the words that snaked through the works of, for instance, Geoffrey Chaucer, which sits on my shelf. Here’s just one of the sentences from his book, The Canterbury Tales: “My thinketh it acordaunt to resoun, to telle yow al the condicioun…” (p. F2).

So, while my first reaction is one of aversion, I am also not ready to completely shut the gates to these “new” forms of communication in our longer, less transient writings.

All this to say that I’m still not sure what I’ll do should I, some day in the future, open an academic journal and find it crawling with emojis and internet slang.

Will I shriek and slam the journal shut in horror, as if I’ve just made a discovery of a cockroach nest?

Or, will I widen my eyes in delight, as I welcome these “insects” like a new source of literary protein?

Your Thoughts?

BTW, what do you think?

Would you say NBD and IDC if emojis and internet slang someday sneak into all forms of writing?

Or, would you 😲?

What about the Bible? Should we have an emoji and acronym-filled translation of the Bible? You may be aware that one already exists. (To learn more, click this link:

LMK what you think 😊.

Michelle and her family enjoy hiking mountains and trails together. She is currently sharing a series called, What Growing Up in a Mennonite Family of 10 Taught Me About Survival.





December 22, 2023

L is for Longing by Lorrie Orr


December is a paradox of longing and joy. We move through the days of Advent waiting for and anticipating the coming of the Christ Child. Here the church calendar begins, acknowledging the darkness in which we long for light and hope. 

Longing and grief walk together, uneasy companions on difficult paths. Grief over the wars in Ukraine and Israel mingle with longing for peace and resolution. I long for loved ones to run to Jesus' open arms. Like the Psalmist, I stretch out my hands to my Lord, longing for him like a prairie dustbowl longs for rain. I ache with longing for the day when all things, big and small, will be made whole and right. 

One of the most beautiful Advent hymns says, 

"O Come, O come Immanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear:

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel."

When we long for wholeness and healing, we admit our brokenness and inadequacy. Without longing, joy is incomplete. And there is great joy as we celebrate Jesus' birth, for he is our salvation. 

Lorrie Orr writes from Vancouver Island where sadly, there will be no snow for Christmas. Lights will twinkle and joy will prevail because Jesus is the fulfillment of her longing heart.

December 21, 2023

Limitless - Tracy Krauss

 The sky is the limit.

Actually, when it comes to writing, that isn't true. We aren't limited by the sky, space, gravity, or any other physical laws. It’s one of the things I love about writing fiction. I get to make it up!

Of course, depending on the genre, one has to be aware of certain facts and stick to them. Historical fiction is especially tricky in this regard, since good writers must know the era from which they write. While the characters may be totally fictional, many facts can’t be bent. Perhaps that’s why I’ve steered clear of writing in that genre, although I do love to read a good Regency romance!

During Nanowrimo, I finished the first draft for a NEW Sci-fi novel – unnamed as yet. I had such fun writing it, that I had to wonder why I haven’t written more Sci-fi. I was limitless in building the world, applying character quirks, and the “Science” didn’t even really matter since anything is possible!

Strangely, I haven’t written a lot of Sci-fi to date. I was part of a collaborative effort in 2014/2015 and contributed to a series called Colony Zero. I thought it was pretty good until some of our group started going off the rails in some weird directions. Then the publisher got sued… You can still get the first paperback on Amazon, but the rest of the series is in no-man’s land.

In 2021 I wrote Aliens Among Us, a YA Sci-fi and my first full-length Sci-fi novel. I just rebranded it as The Alien Next Door since the title and cover made it sound much more sinister and serious than it actually is. It’s actually a fun book. (If I do say so myself.) It’s a coming-of-age story, has a solid moral base as the main character struggles with his faith, and of course, there are good-looking aliens in it! I just reread it recently and laughed a lot at my own cleverness! (PS: It could use some ratings on Amazon!)

I have to say I had such fun writing all of these that I plan to step over the cliff and do more Sci-fi writing in the future. I think I love the genre so much I was afraid I couldn’t do it justice. I see how twisted that logic is since, as already stated, I can make it up, so it doesn’t even matter!  

So, dear writer, I encourage you to apply some “limitless” logic to your writing. Whether you write Sci-fi or devotionals, don’t be afraid to be limitless in your approach and take delight in your craft!


Tracy Krauss writes from her home in northern BC. Look for more Sci-fi in the future!

December 20, 2023

Longing for Loveliness by Alan Anderson



Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. -- Philippians 4:8



A Longing for Loveliness


In this post, I would like to give readers my reflection on a longing within me. A longing for something not elusive but perhaps ignored or even evaded by people today, yet it is all around us. This is a longing for loveliness.


By the grace of God, I realize I cannot afford to embrace the attitudes and reactions of the world. All too often, this is the face of ugliness. I can, however, make a concentrated effort to notice the place of loveliness in the world.


Dear Loveliness,


I missed you. I allowed the weight and the relentless murmurings of this rebellious world to hide your presence. Please forgive my weakness and fear of the wiles of the Enemy, the one who would love to steal my soul forever.


May the confused clamor of those around me fade into distance from my tired mind. Please guide me to listen to Your voice so I won’t lose my way. Help me hear the still, small voice, this voice of thin silence, of He who beckons me to rest.


Oh, Creator of Loveliness, may I be content to look at you, the Lovely One, He who is altogether lovely. Scarred images obscured my vision like the cataracts which cause my eyes to look through a film of clouds. Like an expert surgeon, restore my sight and let me see beauty. Allow loveliness to shine as the precious jewel it is.


Moments of Loveliness


In this time in which we live and write, imposters challenge loveliness. Yet, loveliness has always faced challenges and remained undefeated. Those who recognize loveliness must cling to whatever is lovely.


Dear ones, loveliness is all around us and is not far away. You might drive on your way home for dinner and the last sunbeams of the day illuminate the snow on a nearby mountain. A stranger opens the door for you as you enter a local grocery store. Your granddaughter asks you with a sweet smile on her face to read her a bedtime story. A little boy runs up to his parents and invites them to enjoy a group hug. These are all moments of loveliness.


A Moment of Loveliness



Perhaps loveliness, in some form, will visit you soon. If it does, do not forget to breathe it in. Loveliness can take our breath away.


The beginning of autumn 2023 motivated me to write a poem after sitting outside on a warm fall day. My inspiration was a hummingbird who visits my backyard every day. There are also butterflies who love to cozy up to the pansies my wife and I planted in our baby memorial garden.


I now share with you a poem I wrote as I watched the hummingbird and butterflies. Even in the days in which we all live, loveliness is not far away.


Where Butterflies Sing

By Alan Anderson,




All play together,

in this place where butterflies sing.


Ants dance,

Dragonflies flap their wings,

Ladybugs curtsy and giggle,

in this place where butterflies sing.


Come sit beside me.

Breathe in flowery air,

take off your shoes.

Feel the grass under your toes.

Rest, relax, and wonder,

in this place,

   where butterflies sing.



Dear friends, in this Holy season of life, I pray He who is altogether Lovely will fill your every longing for loveliness.



Alan lives in Deroche, B.C. with his wife, Terry, and their poodle, Charlie. He contributed stories to Good Grief People by Angel Hope Publishing, 2017; Story by Story: The Power of a Writer, Unstoppable Writers Publishing, 2018; Easter Stories & More by InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship, 2021. He is currently working on a book expressing the grief of grieving grandparents entitled “Hidden Poetic Voices: A Reflective Work of Grief, Faith, and Poetry.” Alan periodically writes articles for FellowScript Magazine and the online magazine for Compassionate Friends. He has written posts for our InScribe blog since 2015. Blog:

December 19, 2023

Are You Listening? by Valerie Ronald


There is an expectancy of hope resonating throughout time. Can you hear it?

A whisper, a murmur, a hum of anticipation beginning in a garden, rippling in a flood, rustling across a desert, then gaining volume in the voices of prophets. Someone is coming!

History thrums with portends of a coming king. In the fullness of time, God brings together nations, languages, people, and the alignment of stars. Like musical notes blending to create a singular symphony, God ordains precise circumstances for the birth of His royal Son.

Listen. Hear the stories beneath the Story. Be attentive to the fathomless mystery of God becoming man on that night long ago. Let this epiphany swell your spirit with the sounds of salvation.

Give mind to the messages from God spoken from the lips of an angel ˗˗

˗˗ telling Zechariah a son would be born to he and Elizabeth in their old age, destined to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Imagine the inner dialogue between speechless Zechariah and his God while waiting for the birth of John the Baptist; unspoken words rising like incense for a coming king.

˗˗ announcing to a young woman the news she has been chosen by God to give birth to His Son, the Messiah. Hear Mary’s sharp intake of breath, her trembling voice when she questions how this can be be, since she is a virgin. Take note of the bravery with which she declares, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”

Can you overhear the murmuring among Joseph and Mary’s neighbors as the pair leave for Bethlehem? ˗˗ catch the whisper of Joseph’s hand brushing Mary’s sleeve in reassurance? Their eyes speak truth to each other, for they know their purpose, no matter what judging lips may say.

With each footstep on the rugged path, the young couple draw closer to their destiny. Amid the noisy streets of Bethlehem, bend near to catch the moans of Mary’s labor, the frantic queries of Joseph seeking a place to stay. Finally they end up in a lowly stable, innocent creatures the only ones to welcome the Innocent One. The air is thick with the odor of oxen and donkeys, a flickering lamp barely holding darkness at bay. Mingling with brays and bleats, Mary’s cries grow more intense as her pains increase. Heaven holds its breath, bending near to catch the first cry of a newborn baby. With that cry, almost lost in the cacophony of bellowing beasts and bedlam of crowds, God speaks His Word into time.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1 NIV)

Jesus Christ came as a spoken Word, sent to be heard by all who seek peace with God. He who made our ears to hear, speaks His message of love and salvation clearly in His coming. No one is denied its life-changing truth. Few open the ears of their heart to hear it; most disregard it. Many are openly hostile to it. Yet His spoken Word continues to ring down through the ages. It won’t always be so. Someday He will call those who truly hear and believe to come home to Him. Home to the place in which ~

“~ eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. (1 Cor. 2:9 NKJV)

Are you listening? 


Valerie Ronald writes from an old roll top desk in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, with her tortoiseshell cat for a muse. A graduate of Langara College School of Journalism, she writes devotionals, fiction and inspirational prose. Her purpose in writing is to encourage others to grow in their spiritual walk.

December 15, 2023

L is for Legacy by Carol Harrison


Experiencing a season of grief during this festive time, I’ve thought a lot of the legacy my husband left, how people remember him and as I sit at my desk to write, wonder how people will remember me. 

Leaving a legacy goes far beyond leaving behind wealth or family heirlooms that can be lost, broken, or stolen. While I enjoy the family pieces I have inherited, I remember the people who I received them from. I think of the long-lasting impact they had on my life through their words and actions.

Reflecting back over forty-nine years of marriage, I see the ups and downs, the difficult times where we chose to stand together and trust God for the outcome. I remember my husband’s love along with his stubbornness. But the impact of his loving me unconditionally for who I am and encouraging me to try things like writing when I had no confidence in my ability or gifting to do so is a legacy of love he left for me.

But what in my life impacts people and resonates with them? Does my writing? Do my words or actions? I pray they do. For the sum of my actions, words, writing, and accomplishments that resonate with people are the legacy I will leave behind. I long for it to be positive and glorify God.

I believe that having an impact that is positive and gives God the glory is how we can be the light to the world around us. Letting Christ shine through us leaves an affirming, positive legacy rather than a destructive one.

I am blessed to have received faith-filled, positive spiritual, emotional and social legacies from parents and grandparents as well as my husband. So even though this season brings more tears, the memories remain in this legacy of love.

My grandfather was a quiet man of faith. He didn’t share many words about what he believed but his everyday actions showed that he followed Jesus. He was slow to anger, quick to forgive, full of compassion. He wasn’t perfect for he was merely a man living through the good and bad times. Yet the impact of watching him live out his Christ-centered beliefs still impacts me today. He tried, with God’s help to live out Ephesians 5: 1 “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Our social, emotional and spiritual impact leave a legacy far beyond monetary value and can be shared with many throughout our life and still make an impact after we have passed from this life to glory. How will we be remembered? What legacy will we leave? Does our writing, words, and actions reflect that in our everyday lives right now? 


Carol Harrison is a writer and speaker who is passionate about mentoring people of all ages and abilities to help them find their voice and reach their full potential while finding glimmers of hope and glimpses of joy.