March 28, 2024

On Another Level by Mary Folkerts


Have you ever wondered if the words you say and write may have a greater impact on someone's life than you imagine? 

Recently, our church sponsored a family from Afghanistan to come to Canada. The process began after the country fell into Taliban hands, and many people’s lives were in danger. By the grace of God and his protection, the family managed to escape to Pakistan. They waited for papers and documentation for about a year before nine of the eleven could move to Canada. Because of logistical problems, one of the family members had access denied, so a sister stayed with him until he could be cleared to join the rest of the family. 

The months of waiting turned into another year, during which time many people prayed and advocated on their behalf. Waiting was hard, especially since the ones left in Pakistan were still in a precarious situation. It took 15 months, but God provided a miracle for them to arrive a few days before Christmas! What a time of rejoicing that was!

During this period of waiting, the two left in Pakistan would watch our Sunday morning church service online (thanks to Covid times), and we would pray for them. 

After they arrived, my Afghan sister shared how blessed she had been by the songs of worship I led in those online services. She said they would help her sleep at night. 

Little did I know that somewhere across the globe, in an uncertain situation, in a country that decried the name of Jesus, a struggling woman could find comfort in the songs that I sang. 

But here’s the most amazing thing. When we aim to serve God with our words, be they sung, spoken, or written, He transforms them with His power to comfort, challenge, and change lives. 

Sometimes, we underestimate our abilities, but we should never underestimate what God can do with our paltry offerings. 

The mind fascinates and                     
imagines wild 
and wonderful 
of different 
The possibilities that
we’re not alone,
another universe 
parallel to ours
existing without us 
even being aware, 



Mostly we scoff 

at such fantasy, 

we see our world

as the only.

We, the people

are the arbitrators, 

the fortune makers,

the destiny fulfillers,

the peacekeepers, 

the lawmakers,

the kings. 

We believe in what we see

concrete, scientific 

evidence of what we

can reason. 

Logic says that what goes

around, comes 


Live well,

enjoy well,

leave the world 

a better place 

for those who come after. 

That’s all.  

But what about 

all the unanswered


Why is there good 

and evil in every story?

If heaven is real

can hell be a fairy tale?

If there is a God 

is the devil so farfetched?

If humans are so 


why are we always 

searching for a 

Higher power?


Do our fervent prayers 

evaporate into the 


leaving our desperate souls

with little hope of 

an answer?

Platitudes to placate 

the feeble-minded?

Or is it true that the 

parallel universe 

of spiritual forces lies right 

above us, 

beneath us, 

and around us?

That our prayers like sweet

smelling incense waft

into the very presence 

of Almighty God,

A king who also calls me


And like a gentle Father

He cradles my prayers

with a tender mercy 

and knowledge that only an 

All-knowing God could 


He answers my prayer. 



His answers not 

always to my human comprehension. 

Sometimes yes,

sometimes no,

sometimes wait. 

But never arbitrarily. 

If we had faith

could we see the spiritual


warring for our very 


The battle raging

though the final

war has long been won?

If we were still,

without pressures and 

pleasures to 


could we hear 

our inner longings,

our spirits,

cry out for our Maker?

Every day

I hear the clang 

of battle.

I know the victory is secure

but the war wages on 

for my soul,

for my mind.

God help me when I 

live my life 


thinking I don’t need

His armour

for this battle. 

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  or connect on Instagram 


March 26, 2024

O is for Outhouses ~ by Michelle Strutzenberger


Acrylic painting by Maria Strutzenberger 2023

As a daughter of missionary parents in Central America, I developed a far more intimate acquaintance with outhouses than I would have liked. Outhouses were the only mode of plumbing at our home, at school, the store, church, clinic, and the homes of friends and other family members.

So, I had to use one every single day.

For me, this was normal life.

But just because something has become “normal” in our lives, does mean we have to pretend it is good.

I sure did not enjoy my outhouse experiences.

Were they adventuresome?


On every trip to one such tiny building, I would check for snakes, tarantulas, and any other creepy creatures lurking in the shadows. This was in Central America, remember.

At night, I would try to remember a flashlight. But sometimes one just wasn’t handy, and then the trip was extra fast and full of thrills as I hoped and prayed that this wouldn’t be my last visit to the toilet.

As a very young child, I constantly worried about falling through the hole into the horrible pile of mess below.

When we moved back to Canada when I was a preteen, I never for one moment missed those outhouses.

I have fond memories of the adventure and thrill they brought to my life with their dangers and grossness.

But I don’t wish to go back to them.

In this life, we have some “outhouses” that have become normal for us – death, pain, suffering, loss, separation, loneliness, emotional struggles. This list goes on.

But just because these experiences are "normal," we do not need to pretend they are good in and of themselves.

As a young adult Christian, I took verses like “Count it all joy when you face trials…,” found in James 1, and wove a twisted view that I needed to put on a mask with myself, God, and others when it came to my suffering. I felt I needed to pretend I wasn’t hurting and didn’t hate my pain.

With more experience and study of Scripture, I slowly untwisted that subtle lie. Of course, it is not the pain and sorrow we are called to celebrate. Instead, we can jump for joy and be glad because of the powerful and amazing work of Jesus in that trouble.

The following truths have become especially real and meaningful to me over the years as I’ve struggled through various trials. I understand now that I can be full of great glee and yell yippee, not because I’m having a hard time, because I know these truths are true:

1.         God is close to us in our suffering (Psalm 34:18).

2.         He helps us through it (2 Corinthians 12:9).

3.         He does not give us more than we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).

4.         He works it out for our good as we trust Him (Romans 8:28).

5.         The suffering has an end (1 Peter 5:10).

6.         Someday, all suffering will be permanently finished (Revelation 21:4). Hallelujah.

In my years since living in Central America, I’ve encountered a few nicer outhouses than the ones I used as a child. Some sport fresh paint, pretty curtains, scented candles, and even plastic toilet seats. But no matter how much is done to “enhance” their appearance and smell, I will never ever be able to view them as anything but stinky, yucky containers of waste.

I now intentionally try to be honest about my pain and suffering. When I hurt, I talk to God about how much it hurts, how I don’t like it, and how I want it to end. I also have some close friends that I can trust to remove my mask with. In both cases, I first need to be honest with myself.

But realness alone is not enough, of course. I allow myself to be honest, but I quickly follow that with an intentional “note-to-self” about the truths Jesus has given us.

Similarly, when I write as a Christian, I hope to always be real, both about the awfulness of the struggle, and how Jesus helps me in that struggle.

I like the Psalmist David’s approach to his trouble, as shown in the following verse: First, he names the state of his spirit. He doesn’t sugarcoat how he is feeling. He is real. But then he intentionally adds some spirit-boosting self-talk, followed by a deliberate choice to praise God even in his depressed state. Psalm 42:11 “Why are you so downcast, o my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and My God” (NIV). 

Outhouses may be necessary, but they simply are not -- and will never be -- the Taj Mahal.

Michelle and her family enjoy hiking mountains and trails together. She is currently writing a series under her maiden Mennonite name, Michelle Teigrob. The series is called, What Growing Up in a Mennonite Family of 10 Taught Me About Survival. To receive the bi-weekly tips, visit this link and subscribe.



March 25, 2024

Overflowing by Valerie Ronald

                                                                              painting by the author

Before I step out of the car, I hear the deep roar of the waterfall echoing up from the ravine below. I make my way down a steep path with the increasing thunder of the falls reverberating in my chest. The dense coastal rain forest drips with mist created by the swollen river cascading in a high free fall to the deep pool below. The constant flow of glacial river water is mesmerizing, ever-moving, a living force breathing mist and noise into the atmosphere like a mythical dragon. I wonder how many thousands of years this particular flow of water has carved its way through the landscape, shaping the rocks and terrain on its way to the sea?

God’s overflowing generosity toward His people has its source in His heart of love. He floods us with grace upon grace, demonstrated in the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior. There is no end to His love, His faithfulness, His grace, streaming in a perpetual river to those He loves. His blessings fill us to overflowing, splashing over onto others, as He intends. There is a reciprocity in His blessings, for they are given to return to us in even fuller measure. This is not to say we selfishly seek after God’s gifts so He will bless us even more. An overflowing vessel is first filled to its brim before its contents spill over. When God’s blessings overflow to others, we cannot help but be blessed as well.

Don’t hold back—give freely, and you’ll have plenty poured back into your lap—a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, brimming over. You’ll receive in the same measure you give. (Luke 6:38 The Voice)

So how does this concept translate to our writing life? What sets us apart from writers who do not follow Christ? They may have extensive gifting, talent, education and experience informing their writing. Although we have the same opportunities, as believers we draw from a different source ˗˗ a supernatural source ever-flowing from the throne of God. No matter what genre or topic we choose, when the Spirit of God fills us it overflows into our writing.

The heart overflows in the words a person speaks; your words reveal what’s within your heart. (Luke 6:45)

A waterfall is a metaphor of our writing life as believers. Before a waterfall occurs there must be a source of abundant water. The headwaters of a river often begin high in the mountains where glacier melt and gravity create a water flow gaining speed and volume as it runs downward. When it reaches a precipice, the water plummets over, creating a waterfall. Just as a river is fed by ice melt, rain and ground water, we need a pure source of living water filling our spirits before our words overflow beneficially to others. Jesus is the only source of living water able to saturate spirits with the truth of who He is. But first we must drink of Him˗˗fill ourselves to the brim with His living words until they overflow into our writing.

Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:37-38 NIV)

A waterfall creates a lush environment. Flora and fauna thrive around it as it releases oxygen-rich mist into the air. People are drawn to the music and scent of its rushing waters, stimulating calm and meditation. Do your readers grow spiritually from reading your writing? Do you provide refreshment and enrichment with your words? Does the abundance of joy and peace God pours into you overflow on the page, providing hope to your readers?

I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Rom. 15:13)

After spending time by the waterfall, I felt renewed and energized by its bounteous flow. I know there are scientific explanations as to why a waterfall makes us feel good. I choose to see it as a beautiful picture of God’s blessings overflowing into the minds and spirits of His waiting children, so they in turn, overflow these blessings to others. 


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.

March 22, 2024

Onomatopoeia is a Hoot! by Lorrie Orr


Want to add a little zing to your writing? Use, but don't overuse onomatopoeia. This is a former English teacher writing this post, so sit up and pay attention. No dilly-dallying!

Onomatopoeia, words that resemble the sound they describe,  is widely used in comic book writing. BAM! KABOOM! ZAP! It's fun to read children's stories featuring onomatopoeia and often causes little listeners to giggle and imitate the sounds. Made-up words are just fine. Dr. Seuss is a stellar example of this. Animal sounds are some of the first sounds we encourage our little ones to make. 

Using onomatopoeia effectively in writing other than for children helps to create a vivid picture for our readers. Combined with assonance, consonance, and alliteration, onomatopoeia can create specific moods such as excitement, tranquility, nostalgia, fear, and other responses. Short snappy sounds evoke liveliness whereas longer sounds lengthen the text and slow it down to evoke quieter moods. Here are two examples:

I heard a fly buzz - when I died -
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air - 
Between the Heaves of Storm
(Emily Dickinson)
(Buzz, Heaves - onomatopoeia with l and r sounds lengthening the
second and third lines)

Beat! Beat! Drums! - blow! bugles! blow!
Through the windows - through doors - burst like a ruthless force
(Walt Whitman)
(Beat, blow, burst - onomatopoeia, with consonance and alliteration evoking the drama of impending war)

Onomatopoeia can be used as verbs, nouns, and more rarely, as adjectives. Effective use of this literary device enriches writing. One caution: resist the temptation to replace "said" in dialogue tags with too much onomatopoeia or you risk telling, not showing. Now, get your keyboard clacking or your pen scratching and think of how you can use onomatopoeia to liven up your writing. Just snap to it!

Lorrie Orr writes from Vancouver Island where she enjoys hiking or boating with her husband and spending time with her five grandchildren. Gardening, sewing, reading, and cooking are other activities she enjoys. 

March 21, 2024

O is for Opportunities! Tracy Krauss

Opportunities. One never knows when the next great “opportunity” will present itself. In fact, so many come across our path that we might start to feel overwhelmed. While we don’t want to wear ourselves thin, we also need to prayerfully look at each opportunity and examine our motivation for saying yes or no. A simple, yet powerful piece of advice has been one of my mainstays: Try saying YES. 

The first time I really appropriated this advice was at an InScribe Conference back in 2013 (or there about.) Murray Pura was the guest speaker and he talked about saying “Yes” in spite of fear and doubt because sometimes this is exactly the small door that might lead to something bigger. He gave examples from his own life of a time he said “yes” to a seemingly insignificant project (and one that didn’t pay well) and then God used it to open a much bigger door which set his writing career on a completely new path.

I think the real point Murray was trying to get across is that we shouldn’t look down on small opportunities. We just never know when these will be gateways to other things.  Zechariah 4:10 admonishes us not to “despise the day of small things.” 

I’m not saying you have to take on everything, nor should you. Learning to say “No” is a skill we also need to learn. It’s brought me balance and helped me establish healthy boundaries. 

However, often we say, “No,” for the wrong reasons. Fear and doubt are the most common. “What if I can’t do it? What if I make a fool of myself? I’m not qualified,” etc. If these are your reasons for saying, “No” you might be selling yourself short. If it’s truly a matter of maintaining healthy boundaries or allowing someone else to step in, then by all means. However, if it’s simply because “Yes,” seems scary, then maybe God is asking you to take a leap. It’s good to get out of our comfort zones!

Another excuse is lack of time. I use the word “excuse” quite intentionally. We’re all busy, but most of us tend to waste a lot of time on unimportant things. If something is important; if it’s something you believe in or feel motivated to do, you’ll make the time. Try saying “Yes” and allow God to help you fulfill the commitment. It could be exactly what is needed to bring your life into alignment. 

Better yet, try adding the word “and”. “Yes AND…” is a powerful way to clarify your yes. It means you’re not just agreeing to anything and everything, but you’re setting boundaries around your “Yes”. You are accepting the opportunity while not necessarily overwhelming yourself with other people’s expectations. 

Saying “Yes” opens all kinds of unexpected doors. It stretches and helps us grow. We might be surprised by what we learn and where it takes us. When opportunity comes knocking, try saying “YES!”

Tracy Krauss lives and writes from her home in northern BC. She said, "Yes" to joining the InScribe executive many years ago and has enjoyed the wonderful benefits of community ever since! Visit her website:

March 20, 2024

O is for Openhearted Ramble: A Writer’s Struggle by Alan Anderson


Openheartedness, the free expression of one’s true feelings and opinions, is a strong focus of anything I write. Openheartedness can refer to being blunt or direct, but we do not have to be mean at the same time.


A ramble, whether in speech or written word, exhibits an aimless wandering on an erratic path through life. Readers may notice this post rambles.


What does a writer do when words will not come?


These past eighteen months have been a ramble for me because of a health condition that continues but is undiagnosed to date. I do not mention this for pity but to ask you, dear readers, a question. What does a writer do when words are silent?


I have been a contributor to this blog since 2015. This is the first post I have struggled with to write. The words crowding my mind argue with each other. They argue over how openhearted I will be in this post. Some words encourage this writer to be direct. Other words want me to hold back and ramble. How does one cope with such a struggle when words will not cooperate? Perhaps a ramble is the result and has a purpose.


Here is another question.


What does this writer do when words will not come?


An answer to this more personal question is, I write with my vulnerability. In this vulnerability, openheartedness is a companion to my periodic rambles. Today, as I sit with my laptop, it is two days before my post is due. Words in my head seem to have fallen asleep. This leaves me with another question.


Have my words abandoned me?

This question is torturous, yet I know words are beautiful. How can I express myself but through words, these darlings within my soul? Here, I continue to write, even words content to ramble.


If my words abandoned me, what would I do? Shut up my laptop? Throw away my pens and pencils? Burn my notepads?...No!


I pray to God, who has called me to write. I do this not as a simple solution, but for He who understands and cares. Prayer causes me to turn to the Great Author, our Master Creator. Through His words, He spoke all things into being and He can help me resurrect my words. This then causes me to turn to why I write.


To Whom I write.


I write to help others hope and to know they are not alone. I accept even my rambling has this purpose and is an answer to why I write.


I write to encourage those who struggle or feel abandoned by life to know someone cares. They may have ceased to keep their hope. This means my words can arise from their slumber, gather themselves, and realize we are all in the struggle together.


Dear writer and reader friends, please know in your struggles there is hope. Your struggles, as in mine, have a purpose even when we do not know what it is at this present time. Reach out to someone if need be and know you are not alone.


Take time with your words and love these darlings within your soul.



Alan lives in a small village called Deroche, British Columbia, with wife, Terry, and their poodle, Charlie. He enjoys walking on the dike near his home, where he finds inspiration for his writing. He occasionally writes articles for FellowScript Magazine and is a regular contributor to the InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship blog. His website,, is under construction.

March 18, 2024

O is for Ordinary by Lorilee Guenter


This past week, I have stumbled across a number of quotes related to journeys. There is an excitement about the destination. New experiences, celebrations, and milestones all draw our attention. In between the milestones are everyday, ordinary events. these are part of the journey that at times we overlook, at least I do.

In the midst of planning, hoping and dreaming we encounter the moments of life. Some church traditions mark ordinary time. It is important. When I rush around, or when I fix my attention on that upcoming event, I miss the daily joy of being. When I pause, when I lean into the everyday experience, I notice details. Conversation flows as we enjoy a meal together. The ordinary becomes extraordinary as I notice and acknowledge God's presence. I am able to recognise His hand at work in the moment.

Rushing and wishing, grumbling and complaining,with impatience, not only lead me to miss what is in front of me, they block my creativity. This is not a surprise since I believe my creativity is a gift from God. It is one way we as humans can reflect God's image. Grumbling does not reflect His character. Rushing causes details to disappear that might draw us closer to Him. Stress of what might be clouds what is. Peace falters. My mind spins. I lose sight of the source of everything.

As I sit down to revise and edit, I realise it is only when I ground my characters in the ordinariness of life that the story begins to come alive. Those ordinary details set the stage for the journey that pulls the reader in. They are connection pieces. I can not include these grounding pieces if I haven't allowed God to ground me in the moment.

Recently I have been in a liminal space, a time of transition. I am not quite here and I am not yet there. It is a place of waiting, of trusting and of learning. It is a place God is reminding me that the ordinary, everyday experience is valuable. He is with me in the waiting. He knows what comes next and will show me at the right time. When I write a story, I am discovering as I go. Not so the author of my life. He knows me intimately and is gently guiding me into every discovery. He is shaping me by them.

This gives me confidence and comfort as I live out my ordinary days. It is my hope and prayer that as the next destination comes into view, I will be able to enjoy both the anticipation and rest in each ordinary moment between now and then. I hope you will join me in this. 

March 15, 2024

O is for Object Lessons by Carol Harrison


Object lesson is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as a practical example of a principle or abstract idea. Using object lessons O is for Object Lessons

An object is not a new concept. Even Jesus used object lessons such as washing the disciples’ feet to teach them about servant leadership. I use object lessons when I speak to children at Bible camp but even the teen leaders and adults enjoy the small lessons to capture the audience attention and lay the groundwork for the Bible lesson to come.

Have you ever used object lessons in your writing? How did you incorporate them? I took many of the object lessons I had used at camp and wrote them as devotionals which I published in a little book called On Target. I want to share one of these pieces in the blog today.

The Jelly Bean Jar

I held up a jar of jelly beans. Bright colours of this sugary treat grabbed the camper’s and staff’s attention. I told them they had an opportunity to win the entire jar of jelly beans but a few rules must be followed.

Everyone leaned forward as if they did not want to miss one word about my proposed contest. The rules were simple. Each cabin had to work together to come up with their guess—yes teamwork—not an individual guess. They needed to find me before lunch, supper, or during free time, as a cabin group, leader included. This meant planning on their part. The jar could be held and observed but not opened or tampered with in any way. Once each group decided on their answer, they needed to write it on a slip of paper and deposit in my special container. The cabin with the correct number would share in the prize of a jar of jelly beans.

Hands flew into the air. Some campers stood up and waved to try and get my attention. The one question they repeatedly asked, “Do you mean the one whose answer is closest wins the jelly beans.”

“No. The correct answer wins. There is only one right answer and close is not good enough.”

Their second favourite question, “What happens if no one guesses the right amount?”

“Then I get to keep the jelly beans because I know the exact number in the jar.”

Groans and murmurs of ‘it’s not fair’ floated towards me as I repeated the instructions before dismissing them to attend their next skill. I knew if they didn’t come and find me before the deadline, I would search for them because I didn’t want anyone to be left out.

I loved observing the interactions between the cabin mates. The variety of ways they came up with to try and figure out the correct answer intrigued me. I answered their questions about close enough versus correct amount a number of times.

In all the times I have done this object lesson at camps, no one has ever guessed the exact amount. The closest has been two away. Each time I get to keep the jar of jelly beans as I explain how the Bible tells us there is one way to be right with God. There is only one way to heaven and that is through Jesus who died for us.

John 14:6 says, “Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Of course everyone wished they had got the right answer, but I had kept it a secret. God never keeps the way to Him an unknown. The Bible tells us the way is Jesus and nothing we can do on our own will make us righteous. It also tells us to share the good news with everyone. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus tells his followers to go and make disciples of all nations. I Peter 3:15 reminds us, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

The good news of the gospel needs to be shared. It is not our secret to keep. The jelly beans were not mine to keep so I shared them with everyone.


 Carol Harrison loves using object lessons and everyday stories and objects as she shares the truth of God's Word with audiences of all ages.