May 29, 2024

Questions Writers Ask Themselves by Lorrie Orr


    Waaaay back in elementary school I learned about the five Ws and one H as necessary elements for structuring a piece of writing. Other uses for these questions include project management, investigation, and problem-solving. I find them useful for evaluating my own writing. These questions can be focused on me personally, or on the work I am currently doing. 

    Who am I writing for? Who is my audience?

    When I first began my current project, a memoir, it was for my family, my children. However, others have asked if it will be available to a general audience. Expanding my audience from my children who know the setting to friends who do not means that I have changed some aspects of my story.
    Also, who am I? When I look back, I rely on letters and journals to recall events and emotions. And I see how I have grown over the years. The slow transformation of God's grace through time is a part of who I am. How do I communicate that?
    What is my purpose in writing? Firstly, I write to bring glory to God. Beyond that, I want to tell the story of God's faithfulness throughout the years. 

    What makes me the person to write this? What can I write that no one else can? My story is not the typical missionary story. I struggled mightily with remaining in Ecuador for 21 years and longed so often to return to Canada. My story is one of obedience to God that is greater than my own desires, and of God's redemption of my struggle. 

    Where do I write best? We have a breakfast table for two overlooking the garden. I sit on one side and Tim faces me. After breakfast, I take over his spot to write for a couple of hours as I find that view more expansive. Simply sitting in the other chair signals to me that it's time to get to work. I have a studio upstairs, but for now, this is where I write.
    Where is my story set? What are the smells, sounds, and sights that convey the setting? Once, when arriving at my parents' home, my mother suggested that we launder all of our clothing. It carried with it the musty dampness of the jungle. 

    So many whys! Why do I write? God has given me the desire to write, so I write. Why not?

    Another why could be - Why am I structuring my story this way? Why not try this? 

    How much research must I do?
    How do I choose a POV?
    How will I carry on when the writing bogs down?
    How do I connect my emotions to my story?

    The question possibilities are endless. Jesus asked pointed questions of the people in his life. In Luke 18:41 Jesus asked a blind man, "What do you want me to do for you?" I imagine Jesus asking me that question and it causes me to evaluate what I really want. To God be the glory. 

Lorrie Orr asks questions from Vancouver Island where she lives with her husband. Her five grandchildren ask plenty of questions that she cannot answer. 

May 28, 2024

Quiet with my soul by Mary Folkerts


I cannot be quiet

with my soul 

when resentment is there

when anger bubbles 

too close to the surface 

when hurts are harboured 

like decaying skeletons

who wants to sit quiet 

with that? 

I cannot be quiet with 

my soul 

when jealousy and comparison 

play their little games 

with my mind 

when contentment 

is absent and my prayers

read like shopping lists.

When all I have pondered 

in my heart 

are the things I have not

how can I come 

and quiet myself

before a God who has given 

His all 

and I, with this discontented


I cannot be quiet with 

my soul 

when the stillness is too loud

reminding me of what 

I’ve left undone,

the things I need to mend

the gentle persistent 

calling back I’ve tried

to ignore. 

But in the quiet is where 

peace is found. 

It’s where the compassionate 

Physician brings healing.


searching and restoring 

my contrary heart. 

He doesn’t demand I come 

in a manner worthy 

of Him,

but promises I will not

leave unchanged 

having been 

in His presence. 

I wonder if the times we least want to be quiet and alone with our souls and God are the times we most need it?  

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 


May 27, 2024

Q is for Quilt by Lorilee Guenter


I have a patchwork quilt made by my grandma. Squares of various blues, pieces leftover from other projects or from old clothes cut down, were stitched together into something new. I've seen art quilts, the pieces carefully chosen to create a beautiful image. Lately, I've found myself fascinated by the "crazy quilt." These quilts use small scraps of varying sizes and shapes stitched together. Fragments. These sometimes tiny pieces are often stitched by hand into a larger, interesting piece.

Like quilts, some writing is functional. Other writing offers vivid images that jump off the page. Our writing takes scraps and pieces of life and stitches them together. I have a file of snippets that I cut from other writing. I have quotes, overheard dialogue, interesting words with their definitions collected in random files. Each of these scraps has the potential to become the start of a new piece of writing. Some pieces will remain in the "basket of remnants." I take these out, ponder them, and put them back, until I find the right project for them. Other pieces find a home easily.

A quilter stitches fabric together with thread. A writer stitches ideas together with words. God stitches our lives together in community. Each one of us is placed with care. Unlike fabric, or words, we sometimes try to go our own way. We complain that we are in the basket of remnants. God told His prophets that, no matter how far His people strayed, He would keep a remnant who continued to worship. I want to be part of the masterpiece God is creating. My stubbornness, gets in the way. I am learning slowly that no matter where I am, whether waiting for His timing as part of the remnant, or being pieced together with others, I am not alone. I am a valuable part of His creation.

Each day I pick up my pen, I stitch together an offering of words. I hope and pray the pieces of my writing, my observations, and my life, bring glory to God, our creator and Lord.

May 24, 2024

An Eternity of It? ~ by Michelle Strutzenberger

I am eagerly awaiting the day we’ve been promised when Jesus’ righteousness will reign supreme and “quietness and confidence will fill the land forever” (Isaiah 32:17).

Even as I anticipate that time, I must admit, that part of me is surprised that the promised eternal reward is quietness.

I mean, what about singing? Parties? Whooping it up because Jesus is king?

Or does quietness in this context mean only the ceasing of certain noises?
Noise that grates?
That stirs fear?
That arouses anger?
That signals useless activity?

Will that eternal quietness be the kind in which peace can flow, creativity can flourish, and joy is alive?

Will we look around and see writers and artists, sculptors and music-makers producing as never before as the endless quiet allows for a kind of generative activity that empty noise often quells in this life?

Maybe we will still hear sounds, but will it be only those that soothe and settle, or lift up and awaken?
The rustle of the breeze in the cool trees, shush of long grasses, sprinkle of bird music, children laughing, people singing?
The warmth of peace in our own hearts?
The sigh of the whole Earth as it finally, finally redeemed (Romans 8:19-23)?

A few InScribe blogs have addressed the theme of quietness recently. Some may say it’s a coincidence. I wonder if it’s God working through each of us as writers and readers to remind us of this vital truth – quietness in Him matters – a lot. So much so, we can look forward to an eternity of it. So much so, that for now, here on this Earth, we need to keep hearing about it.

I encourage you to go back and read Carol Harrison’s, “Q is for Quiet Reflection,” Steph Beth Nickel’s “Illusive Quietness,” and Alan Anderson’s, “Q is for Quietude and Quietness.” Steph offers some encouraging thoughts on ways to help achieve physical, spiritual, and emotional quietness (you may be surprised by some of them.) Carol shares a compelling story about her experience with a moment of quiet reflection and how it drew her closer to the Lord. Alan writes beautifully on quietude as a friend.

As for my thoughts on making space for quiet in my life here I will just say one thing. It can help to have a “quietness buddy,” a person who shares the same view of the value of quietness that you do. Now, it is my daughter. She invites me to some of her places out in nature and encourages me to listen. I’ll do the same for her. When I was a teenager, it was my twin who was my quietness buddy. We used to challenge each other to remain silent for certain periods of time, mostly because we had been studying Scriptures that spoke of the value of silence (even while we understood that there is a time for speaking as well!).

Of course
, the quietness that God calls us to do is about so much more than the ceasing of noise, as I already mentioned earlier. As quietness buddies, we might make two lists: Sounds that Grate, and Sounds that Lift Up. Then we can start a treasure hunt for the latter, a small way to start living in eternity now.

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.

May 23, 2024

A Question of Love ~ Valerie Ronald


“Why do you argue when all I want to do is bless you?”

The question dropped into my mind fully formed, almost audible. After years of struggling against a flood of numerous personal crises, the tide had turned, bringing resolution and happier prospects. The let-up of relentless negative pressure felt strange, causing me to doubt the possibility of better days to come. So I argued with God. Can this truly be your will? Am I to marry this man and start a whole new life or is it just my own desires taking over? Then He asked me the question above, which changed everything. I quit arguing and answered yes to His overflowing blessings.

The questions of God have a way of making those He queries look at their situation in a different way. God doesn’t pose questions to find out the answers. He is omniscient, all-knowing, the One who looks into the heart and sees the end from the beginning. His questions are always succinct, probing and worded to get us to examine ourselves and our present thought process.

The first question asked by God in His Word is still relevant to us now. Our reply to this question determines our present journey and our eventual destiny. Adam, a man previously free and unashamed before God, disobeys His command then goes into hiding. But God does not abandon Adam in his sin. He comes near, walking in the garden in the cool of the day, calling to him, “Where are you?” (Gen. 3:9 NIV) God knows exactly where Adam is, physically and spiritually. He asks this question because Adam needs to see himself where he is. God’s question makes him realize he is hiding in shame ˗˗ avoiding God for fear of punishment ˗˗ making excuses. Thus man’s first conscious awareness of guilt is exposed in the revealing light of God’s query.

If He asked you the same question, where are you?, how would you answer God? The answers could be numerous but there are only two that really count. If you answer, “I am far away from You, not even sure You exist,” then remember how God walked in the garden to draw near to a man whose sin distanced him from perfect love, and know He provides a way through the sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, to bring you close. If you answer, “I am here, Lord, close to your side as your beloved child, but You know how easily I wander away,” then remember He will never leave you or forsake you. No matter how fickle your heart is or how easily your eyes stray from His face, He never loses sight of one He calls His own.

Perhaps God is querying you about your writing. Do you enjoy getting lost in your own fictional world? Are you writing for recognition, to see your name on a book cover or a blog post? Or are you truly doing this out of love for others and a desire to see them grow in their walk with God?

Think about another significant question God asked, which turned the trajectory of Moses’ life in a new direction. Previous to his encounter with God in the burning bush (Exodus 3), Moses lived in isolation, tending sheep in the desert. Now God was calling him to lead the captive Israelites out of Egypt. But first He asked Moses, “What is that in your hand?” Moses held a long wooden staff, his most essential tool for herding and protecting his sheep. This staff becomes an instrument used by God to achieve His purposes through Moses.

Not only is God asking, where are you?, He also queries us specifically as writers, “what is that in your hand?” What we hold in our hand is our gifting, ability, aptitude and desire to write. Your writing craft is the tool God wants you to use to speak the truth in love. (Eph. 4:15)

God asks questions to help us see ourselves in light of where we are in relation to Him. Self-examination can be painful but when done in the light of God’s redeeming love, it reveals areas of our life needing a touch from Him. We don’t have to find the answers alone, for He walks with us through the process, providing guidance in His Word and by His Spirit. God already has an answer for His own question. He just wants you to search and find it for yourself.


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.

May 21, 2024

Quality vs Quantity - by Tracy Krauss

Quality trumps quantity every time, especially when it comes to writing. A few well-written words are worth more than copious substandard words. Just think about poetry, for instance. It’s all about brevity and choice—finding just the right word. I believe the same goes for any type of writing. 

WRITE TIGHT! It’s a mantra I tried to drill into my students when I taught English. 

But wait… Is there ever a time when writing more is better? If we expand our thinking beyond words, there are scenarios when this is the case. Writing the next book—and then the next and the next--will eventually result in a whole body of work that can, eventually, have more impact than one book alone. 

This also applies to blog posts. A backlist of material, whether it be blog posts, books, or magazine articles adds credibility and establishes authority. They are valuable assets whose sum really is greater than the parts. 

For example, they can be used for marketing and promotional purposes. Recycle your own writing in different ways. An excerpt can become a blog post, a blog post can become a magazine article, and an article can be used in an email. Mix and match for social media posts! The more backlist you have the more material you have to draw from and the more creative you can become!  

Combine books into a “boxed set” or collection, articles and stories into an anthology. Conversely, use excerpts as reader magnets, or even publish episodes separately as serialized installments. 

Quantity is important—even essential—if you want to expand your reach and find new readers.

However, no amount of material will cut it if it isn’t well written… Which brings us full circle to the quality aspect of writing. Quality must come first. For those serious about writing, the two must go hand in hand.


Tracy Krauss
writes from her home in northern BC. Visit her website for more: <

May 20, 2024

Q is for Quietude and Quietness: My Tone as a Writer by Alan Anderson


Quietude and Quietness


Did you know there is a slight difference between quietness and quietude? Quietude represents a state of tranquility or peace. Quietness, an absence of disturbance, accompanies this state. Quietude may not be silence, or a state of complete sound, but it is tranquil. I love both terms.


Quietude is my friend. We hang out together as much as we can. In quietude, I am bathed in the gentle waves of quietness, allowing me the freedom to think and enjoy words as I write. Solitude, silence, stillness, and contemplation are our buddies. When we get together, we enjoy peace.


Quietude is also my writing partner. Without this, my attempt at writing is like running a marathon with broken crutches. Devoid of quietude or quietness, my pencil breaks, the ink in my pen is dry, and my computer battery needs a constant recharge. As I write in quietude, I do so in the presence of calmness, with no rush to do anything else in the moment.


Noise is an enemy allowed to invade.


Noise, all too common today, handicaps my words. Clamour kills them. I am then left with a mind like a morgue with frozen, dead words scattered all around. This is not what I strive for as a writer. I seem, however, to allow noise, busyness, demands, information overload to have too much attention. This is something I am working on and indeed must. I am saying “no” to more of life.


 Quietude is where I find quietness and my words.

In quietude, the world slows down enough for me to breathe. The shenanigans around the globe suffocate creativity if allowed. My hands lift as if I am pulling myself into heaven. My silent scream, heard only by the Almighty, expresses my longing for calmness. I realize all I can do is send quiet words into our world.


The words I am honoured to write and give to people are often quiet. In this world of information overload and task-oriented energy, quietude still lives. Quietness, like contemplative and quiet words, calls us all to rest. Rest in the Lord.



In humbleness, please allow me to suggest a few points drawn from quietude and quietness.

1.  We can think without distraction. This may present a challenge to us in a society bombarded by noise, but we can still find and enjoy quietness.

2.  We have time to rest from noise within and without. Let us not underestimate the power of the noise within our minds to rob us of quietness.

3.  Jesus us gives us a model to follow in the need for quietude. Think of the demands on the Lord’s life, yet He knew the value of silence and stillness.

4.  Quietness is a natural part of life.

5.  Allows us to take in calmness while breathing in peace.

6.  Quietude invites us to enter stillness, where we can hear God’s gentle voice and gain guidance for living.



A Few Words from Scripture to Meditate On

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” 

(Psalm 37:7).

“Peace! Be still! And the wind ceased.” (Mark 4:39). 

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” (Psalm 23: 2-3)



A Final Thought


In the quiet blanket of a gentle evening,

I rest from the noise of an unsettled world,

In the arms of He who never sleeps,

And gives me rest.

By Alan Anderson



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.

May 16, 2024

Qualities of a Successful Productive Writer by Sandi Somers

Often writers are guided in developing good habits, but this time I’m focusing on the qualities of writers themselves. 

Become quiet before the Lord and listen is our first priority. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), is a theme that’s been on my mind lately. Often my thoughts are busy with projects on my to-do list. But God drew my attention to take time every day to shut the door to all that clamours and listen to how He speaks with tenderness, graciousness, and power. 

I was reminded of A.B. Simpson’s wise words: 

As I listened, it became to me the voice of prayer, the voice of wisdom, the voice of duty, and I did not need to think so hard, or pray so hard, or trust so hard; but that ‘still small voice’ of the Holy spirit…was God’s prayer…was God’s answer to all my questions, was God’s life and was the living GOD Himself as my life, my all.[i] 

Dare to trust God. He often calls us to tasks that are beyond our ability. Know that He goes ahead of you. I’m reminded of what God said to timid Gideon, “Go in the strength you have…Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14). As we go in His power, He strengthens us step by step. 

Face your excuses. We’ve all sabotaged ourselves. We’ve procrastinated, succumbed to feelings of inadequacy. We've been afraid that our writing isn’t any good. Or we suddenly realize that the laundry needs attention. Bring your excuses out into the open, be honest, confess, and ask God to help you overcome what’s holding you back.    

Invest in yourself. Staying healthy maintains our stamina and inspiration. Walking helps us think through a writing issue. At times we need to take a big breakaway from a sea of words. Nancy Rue, one of our former Fall Conference speakers, takes two weeks off after finishing a book to relax, rest her mind, and go for long walks before she tackles the next book.  Follow the rhythms of life, and you’ll become refreshed in body, mind, and spirit.  

Persevere. My niece once gave me a fridge magnet with the message: “When the going gets tough, the tough keep going.” Like the turtle that won the race, persevere especially when the going gets tough. The writer of Hebrews advised us to run the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, who initiates and perfects our faith (12:1-2). Even if your drafts end up in the recycling bin, you’ll have gained experience and expertise for the next attempt. In persevering, you may discover a new wellspring of creativity and decisiveness in yourself, and you’ll submit more of your work for publication. 

…and finally, give God the honour and glory He deserves. It’s not just for ourselves that we write. God has placed in us the dreams, abilities, and ideas that will be part of His story to meet the needs of the world around us and beyond. Let the Lord shine through to your readers, to inspire them with His limitless power to transform.

Image by Pivotal Moments

[i] A.B. Simpson, In Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman, Streams in the Desert, (Los Angeles, CA: Cowman Publishing Co., 1925, 1950) June 30.   

May 15, 2024

Q is for Quiet Reflection by Carol Harrison


Q is for Quiet Reflection

Exciting moments peppered our train trip across Canada in 2018. We saw new sights, explored new places, and visited far flung family members. Yet I also had times to pause and reflect on the journey, journal my thoughts, and see examples of God’s creation all around.

When I returned home I reread my travel journal and noted so many instances where what I saw reminded me of verses from God’s Word. These had been quiet moments of reflection. I gathered those thoughts and wrote some devotionals and published them in a little book called On Track. I’ll share one on this blog post.

Significant to God

With the artistry of the St.-Anne-du-Beaupre Basilica still fresh in my mind from the day before, I entered the much older and smaller Notre Dame cathedral in historic Quebec City. It sat at the edge of a narrow street, the only building on that corner. It did not have the impressive dimensions of the basilica but still commanded a presence in the old city with its stone spire reaching for the heavens.

A sign on the heavy wooden doors of the sanctuary advised us to enter quietly. As I left the high ceilinged, empty vestibule I stepped into another time. I sat on a wooden pew at the back as a priest offered mass in French for a handful of parishioners against a backdrop of stained-glass windows and gold covered images. The ornate ceiling drew my eyes upward. Images of white fluffy clouds, a light blue sky and accents of gold reminded me of lying on a grassy hillside and staring at the clouds floating overhead.

Lights reflected off a large empty cross and a golden image of Christ ascending to heaven, both overlaid with gold, at the front of the sanctuary. They stood in stark contrast to the low lighting at the back, the dark wooden pews and crimson padded kneeling ledges. I sat in quiet contemplation.

In my travel worn clothes and dusty feet I felt insignificant compared to the craftsmanship displayed in this two hundred plus year old basilica. Scripture verses flashed through my mind. In John 14: 6 Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus who died, rose again and ascended into heaven is the only way to God. I also remembered Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. In verse 24 he said “God is Spirit and his worshipers must worship in Spirit and in Truth.”

I gazed once more at the workmanship displayed all around me. I knew all of as human beings are God’s masterpieces. God does not require a fancy place for me to worship. He does not want empty religious rituals.

Ephesians 2: 8-10 (NIV) says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I enjoyed the spectacular workmanship in Notre Dame even as my thoughts were drawn to God who created us. Verses from His Word reminded me of important truths. He just wants me to sit quietly before Him in awe, in worship and in praise. This keeps my life on track.  I took a moment to bow my head and pray that anyone who entered here would have their eyes and hearts drawn to God and know they are loved.

As I write this blog post, I ask myself if I remember, in the midst of life’s busyness, to pause for those moments of quiet reflection. What do those quiet reflections look like in your life?

Carol Harrison enjoys writing, family history, and reading and would love an old desk to sit

and reflect and write at but realizes those moments of quiet reflection can happen anywhere and at anytime.