June 28, 2024

What do we recall? - by Mary Folkerts

 Why is writing good for the soul? For me, It cements truths in my mind that I already know but too often forget. I have good intentions to remember, but life throws its challenges, and I get bogged down in negative emotions. 

Lamentations 3:19-24 says it perfectly, “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (NIV).

Every day, we have a choice about what we will let our minds recall. I can remember all the struggle, pain, and disappointment; the result will be that “my soul (will be) downcast within me.” The other option is to call to mind what I know from past experience and the truths I read in God’s word, that His love and faithfulness to me never run out. Every morning I awake, His faithfulness is evident in the rising sun and the breath in my lungs. This kind of remembering produces hope! If God has brought me through to this point, I can trust Him to continue to see me through this current hurdle! 

As Christians, we are called to bear witness to God’s faithfulness, and as we speak (or write) hope to our own hearts by recalling His love and mercy, we can stir hope in others who struggle to recall God's faithfulness to them.

Recalling my affliction (calamity, suffering, adversity, misfortune, trial, ordeal) = a downcast (discouraged, disappointed, disheartened, miserable, cheerless) soul.

Recalling God’s love, compassion (grace, kindness, mercy, tenderness) and faithfulness (constancy, dependability, loyalty, trustworthiness) = HOPE (confidence, expectation, dependence, endurance).

God‘s faithfulness towards us, does not mean we receive everything we want but that He will, in His time, give us everything we need to produce in us a heart after God. 

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 https://maryfolkerts.com/  or connect on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/maryfolkerts/ 


June 25, 2024

Renewing a Writer's Mind ~ Valerie Ronald


A month after moving to a smaller house, I am still trying to bring order out of chaos. On the days when I seem to be loosing the battle, I escape to the backyard, a small plot of ground revealing unexpected beauty. I am refreshed by the sound of the breeze running its fingers through a windbreak of trees between our yard and a farm field. I sometimes glimpse a red squirrel or a wild rabbit in the undergrowth, or hear the flute-like whistle of a meadowlark. Above the treetops the skyscape unfurls like an ever-changing scroll, parading white cloud castles across its blue expanse. Lately, looming thunderheads crowd in, a prelude to resounding thunderclaps and torrential rain. As quickly as it comes, the storm moves on, leaving a renewed landscape with its freshly washed face lifted to the sun breaking through ragged remnants of clouds.

Observing the renewal of my backyard vista after a storm, I am reminded of God’s desire to see us transformed by the renewing of our minds. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Rom. 12:2 NIV)   

God wants us to think as He thinks, as revealed in His Word. We can’t achieve this on our own, but only by the power of His Holy Spirit indwelling us. The transformation occurs from the inside out, as we are “cleansed by the washing with water through the Word.” (Eph. 5:26) This supernatural renewal allows us to experience the direct guidance of God in our lives, including our writing life.  

So how is the mind of a Christian writer renewed? What practices and disciplines help keep us fresh and focused on what God wants to accomplish in and through our words? Our mind gives us the ability to weigh possibilities, make decisions, analyze emotions, and determine our affections. Our will has a major part in determining which direction we choose to take in these important areas, however, the influence of the Holy Spirit cannot be underestimated. The more our lives are surrendered to the authority of God, the more of Him can shine through our writing.  

Allow God’s Word to inform your writing  

The Bible reveals God’s mind, character, purposes and plans. Consistent reading and study of His Word cleanses and conforms our thinking, resulting in increasingly pure thoughts and holy living. What we put into our mind will come out in our writing.

Preface each writing project with prayer

Prayer is essential if we are to follow the writing path God desires for us. Constant conversations with Him can result in new inspiration, themes, direction, and much more. Let Him speak to you during these sacred communications, giving you opportunity to tap into His boundless creativity.

Refresh your mind in nature   

Our minds and bodies are refreshed and renewed when we spend time in God’s beautiful creation. Going outside gives us a break, often bringing a new perspective when we return to writing. Finding inspiration in the natural world helps focus our mind on God.

  Reflect on what is good  

“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.” (Phil. 4:8) As this verse alludes to, we can choose what we think about. Be discerning in where you put your thoughts. The world holds many enticing things to draw our minds away from God. Practicing discipline in your thought life will help you realize that God’s way is best, because there you find joy.

Just as our writing life is constantly changing, so our minds are in a state of renewal and transformation by the Spirit of God. We are on the way˗˗neither all we ought to be but also not what we once were. As I watch the sky transformed day by day from my backyard, it encourages me to trust in God’s good, pleasing and perfect will as He renews my mind daily. 


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.

June 24, 2024

Readers Who Write by Lorrie Orr


Doris is the eldest girl, with three younger siblings,
 of which there would eventually be 9 more.

Every night, Doris' father sat in his armchair, unfolded his newspaper, and began reading. Four-year-old Doris watched his lips moving, forming the words silently as he read in English, his second language. Doris wanted desperately to read, so much so that during the day, she would sit in his chair, hold the newspaper as best she could, and move her lips. Sadly, this method did not seem to help her decipher words in the least, but once she started school, reading came easily. Doris grew up to become my mother and loves to read to this day.

Do you remember learning to read? Dick and Jane were the stories I read in Grade One, and I do not remember the learning process, but the joy of reading has never left me. So much happens when I read. I escape into other worlds. My mind races and/or calms. I learn about a plethora of subjects. I deepen my connection with God, not only when I read the Bible, but also when I see how He is present in others' lives in the stories I devour. I am motivated to do things. Reading is my great delight.

Reading teaches me much about writing. Do you know a writer who does not enjoy reading? I don't. Stephen King says, "If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write." How I read influences how much I learn. 

I read quickly, often racing through books to get to the denouement, then most often sitting back with satisfaction at a tale well-told. And since I miss a lot when I do that, I often return to the story, reading more slowly, taking note of the way the author uses words or details to bring about a desired outcome. Francine Prose (what a great name for a writer), says "We all begin as close readers. Even before we learn to read, the process of being read aloud to, and of listening, means that we are taking in one word after another, one phrase at a time, that we are paying attention..." When I read to my young granddaughters, I read the story as it is written the first few times. Then I begin changing individual words. The little girls love to catch me out and correct me. They are paying attention. They know that the words I substitute do not fit the story. They are learning to delight in reading.

Learning from literature, from reading, teaches me by positive models. I ask myself why the author chose this word over that one, how this sentence is constructed, why this gesture is included. Strunk and White's classic Elements of Style tells me what and what not to do. In reading literature, I see those elements at work. Prose, in her work Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them cautions that the "advantage of reading widely, as opposed to trying to formulate a series of general rules, is that we learn there are no general rules, only individual examples to help point you in a direct in which you might want to go." I notice Hemingway's concise way with words and L. M. Montgomery's flowery use of them. I see how Charlotte Bronte uses colour to evoke meaning in Jane Eyre. The list could go on and on. 

Last summer I read a cleverly constructed light novel dealing with time travel. The ending startled me and I found myself going back and forth in the book, looking at clues the author had written with seeming effortlessness. I love the story in Acts 8 of Philip hearing the Ethiopian reading from Isaiah and asking him if he understood what he read. Those words led to grace and salvation. The power of words cannot be understated. My words and your words are not inspired as Isaiah's are, and yet God uses our writing to his glory. 

What do you enjoy reading? 

Lorrie Orr writes from Vancouver Island. Sitting down with a cup of tea and a book is a lovely way to spend a few hours, inside, outside, on a boat, or in the woods. Her favourite genres include mystery, history, memoir, historical fiction, cooking, gardening, and just about anything printed between two covers. 


June 21, 2024

Read and Review! by Tracy Krauss

Good writers read. Widely. I’m sure we’ve all heard this advice and can agree. 

But how many of us take the time to review what we’ve read? 

We should all know by now that reviews are an author’s best friend. They add credibility and are what propels books forward in search engines. In short, online reviews are valuable to authors, no question. But what about the value of writing a review to YOU as the reader?

I make it my practice to write a review for every single book I read. (Almost.*) 

Writing reviews is excellent writing practice. It’s the perfect practical way to hone one’s writing skills and is a great exercise in writing concisely while also using descriptive details. Writing reviews also sharpens analytical skills, requiring one to reflect on character development, motivation, pace, or overarching themes—all aspects of writing that any author should want to develop. 

It forces one to distill the story down to its most basic elements without sounding cliché or giving too much away (unless you like spoilers) while still engaging with readers beyond a mere retelling of the plot. It stretches one to think of different ways of saying similar things. (“I loved this book!” isn’t really saying much. WHY did I love this book?) 

There are many good reasons to write reviews. First, they are very helpful—crucial even—for today’s authors. So, if you truly like an author, why not give them a boost by writing a review? This shouldn’t be a daunting task. As writers ourselves, we should be able to express our views with a certain amount of eloquence. Instead of a burden or a chore, look at writing a review as an opportunity! 

* The exception are books that are so poorly written that I can’t honestly give them higher than a one star. I’m not in the business of crushing a person’s self-esteem, especially online for all to see. However, if I have a relationship with that person, I would likely contact them privately with my feedback in order to facilitate future growth. (I suppose it’s the teacher in me.) It’s a bit like telling someone they have spinach in their teeth or their dress is tucked into their nylons… Sure its awkward, but that’s what a true friend would do to help them avoid future embarrassment. 


Tracy Krauss
lives and writes in Tumbler Ridge, BC. Writing reviews is a fun way to bring closure to each book she reads! Visit her website https://tracykrauss.com

June 20, 2024

Remembrance of Writers by Alan Anderson


A few of my favourite poet/writers:

John O’Donohue (1 January 1956–4 January 2008)

Sylvia Plath ( October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963

Rainer Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926).

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886).


Special Remembrances


There are times throughout the year where we remember people and times that matter. I imagine certain days come to your mind, such as the birthday of your parents, spouse, children, and best friends. There are other special days we may hold dear, like Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Remembrance Day, and the like.


Perhaps there are writers you look on with great remembrance. These are writers whom although passed from this world, still speak, their words full of life. I pray this simple message encourages you to remember your favorite writers.


I can’t go into detail about each of the aforementioned writers, but please allow a few thoughts to summarize why I hold them in remembrance.

Passionate Writers

Poems from Emily Dickinson hold my hand as I read them. There are times her poetry also kisses my soul as I reflect on them and soak in her expressive words. Even though most of her poetry was published after her death, readers still benefit from her words.


I regard Sylvia Plath as a favourite writer because I am interested in her as a person. Sylvia had her first published poem when she was nine years old. In her earlier poetry, she wrote about nature. Her later themes of mental illness and relationships in her poetry give evidence of a broken soul. She took her own life in 1963 when only thirty and her poetry touches me even today.


Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke affects me like no other poet. I can’t explain this enough, but the way he writes enraptures my ears and eyes, then settles deep within.


John O Donohue and I would have been buddies if we had met. Perhaps my Celtic background caused me to sense him as a kindred spirit. I can imagine John and I sitting in an Irish pub enjoying fish and chips with a beer on the side. We would chat about the beauty and spirit of poetry.


Writers who love their words share them with the world. They have a way with words like a passionate chef who wants to feed all those he meets.


Remembrance of Legacies

The names of famous writers I mentioned at the beginning of this post left legacies. They live on in the sense we still love their words. Years after their deaths, we recite their poetry or read their stories and novels. Their legacies indicate who they were as people. Their words are like offspring eager to please the authors and bless the world.


Write and Keep Writing


Reading words of writers I remember encourages me to keep writing. Reading about their lives reminds me God can use even me, a broken vessel, to offer words of hope through my trembling pen.


Dear writer sisters and brothers, keep writing. Allow pen and paper to be constant companions of your soul. You see, as you write your next short story, novel, play, poem, blog post, or essay, you are adding to your legacy.


Please realize as you remember writers you admire and love, God loves your words. He has given you and me a passion for words. When we write, we express the longing of our souls.


Bless our words, O Lord,

as they make their way into the world.

Help them touch hearts,

Heal minds,

Blanket souls in love eternal.

Allow our words, O Lord,

To speak long after we have gone to our blessed hope.

May they live as seeds of your love.



Alan lives in a small village called Deroche, British Columbia, with his 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, https://scarredjoy.ca, is under construction

June 18, 2024

R is for Reflect by Lorilee Guenter


“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands." Psalm 19:1

This spring the northern lights were so bright they could be seen in the southern United States. At the same time, the southern lights lit up most of the southern hemisphere. The lights danced in various colours from green to red and purple. People all over the world looked to the sky in wonder. As mesmerising as this was, it is only a hint of God’s glory. A reflection can’t catch the whole, but it can make us look up.

On a still night the various ponds and lakes in our area reflect the sky. Sunsets appear to cross the horizon, illuminating the water with various shades of orange, pink, and red. The water joins the sky in declaring the glory of God. A breeze sends ripples across the reflection breaking the colour but not obliterating it.

Wind and rain mar the reflection. However, the source, the sky, remains. Even when storms obscure the light, the source remains. With a word, the wind is stilled, the clouds part and the reflection shows what was always there. The stars shine no matter how many clouds fill the space between us and them. The heavens continue their chorus. They reflect the glory of their Creator, of our Creator.

As I write, I wrestle with questions big and small. My words and the characters I create reflect the questions I have. Through my reflection, I have the opportunity to encourage thought, and to encourage conversation. Through my writing in whatever genre I use that day, I hope to reflect God’s glory. The surface of my life is marred and broken just as the wind and waves break the surface of the water. However, God never changes. He is calming the storms swirling around and inside me. He is refining my life allowing me to reflect more and more of His glory.

The heavens declare the glory of God. As creation reflects the Creator, we are invited to join in the chorus.

June 17, 2024

R is for Research by Carol Harrison


R is for Research

I have loved research since grade school. One of my favourite assignments in elementary and high school involved researching and writing an essay. I enjoyed the facts I could find and the opportunity to learn more about various subjects.

As a writer, research is important whether we are writing fiction or non fiction. A website called Lumen Learning posted this on their webpage to answer the question, what is research in writing?

“Research is the physical process of gathering information and the mental process of deriving the answer to your question from the information you gathered”

In fiction this can be about your characters’ behaviour or idiosyncrasies. It can involve researching cultural and social context and historical details. Making sure you find the answers to questions about your characters, your settings, and your historical accuracy can help give you confidence in your material.

When I was writing A Mother for Anna, which is set in 1903, I used the term “milk mustache”. One of my early readers asked me if that was a term commonly used during that time frame. I assumed it must have been, but further research showed me the term didn’t get coined until in the 1920’s. A little detail but by changing it my novel became more accurate.

Where can you find materials?

1.     Start with what you already know. This might be snippets of family stories, photos of people, clothing, housing, or any other details. For my Prairie Hope series, I had those little nuggets of family history that left me asking what else might have happened?  I had old photos to show the clothing of various time periods and also some old family documents.

2.     Access material from a variety of sources.

a.      Archives/ records/ maps

b.     Newspapers

c.      Encyclopedic knowledge – google for valuable insights into various time frames

d.     Libraries

e.      Travel to places to get ideas of the scenery, distances, etc.

f.      Opinions – whether stories of people who lived through an era or opinion pieces from papers.

3.     Organize material. What links together? What is non essential for your writing?

4.     Use the materials to lay basis for plausible story lines.. Ask yourself the question about whether this could have happened by having factual accuracy. The little village of Hepburn in my Prairie Hope series didn’t get a store until 1912. Where did the homesteaders have to travel to get supplies? If I would have had them go to the little village it wouldn’t have been accurate and anyone reading it from the area would have realized that.  If the railroad didn’t go to Hepburn in 1899, where did the settlers disembark and how did they get to their homesteads? Contemporary novels are easier to know details or travel to find out what things are like than needing to rely on historical maps and documents for historical pieces.

Enjoy this part of the writing journey as you delve into the research to help make your writing the most accurate it can be. What sources have you used to help you learn more about a character, place, or era?


 Carol Harrison writes and researches from her home in Saskatoon, SK. She also enjoys searching out information on family history.



June 14, 2024

Rhubarb by Sharon Heagy


            Rhubarb. Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb. If you get close to actors having an indistinct background conversation, this may be the word they are repeating to each other to mimic a conversation. This practice is attributed to the English actor Charles Keon who established it around 1852 at London’s Princess Theatre. The word was chosen because it does not have harsh-sounding consonants or clear vowels.

            Rhubarb has other uses as a word. It has been known to mean nonsense, poppycock, codswallop, gobbledygook. (There are some great words for nonsense, but I digress.)

            It can also mean a heated dispute which may include a scuffle. Like a donnybrook, a brouhaha, a dust-up, an argle-bargle. (More digression - deviation, detour, departure, excursus. You get the idea. My apologies. It’s just one of those days where I need a touch of whimsy, fancy…– ok, I’ll stop.)

            Rhubarb is also a vegetable. As confusing as this is, that statement is true. It is related to the buckwheat and sorrel family. In 1947 a New York court classified it as a fruit in order to lower the tariffs and reduce the price of bringing it into the country, but it is indeed a vegetable.

            The leaves are inedible and contain toxic amounts of oxalic acid. The stalks are full of antioxidants, fibre, calcium and vitamin C. To harvest rhubarb you don’t cut the stalks but rather you pull the stalks out one at a time. This encourages new growth.

            What on earth does rhubarb have to do with writing? Let us consider this wonderful plant. The leaves are huge! Like elephant ears! Well maybe like the ears on a large stuffed toy elephant. But still. They cover the stalks and protect the plant. Just as God covers us as writers of faith. 

            The stalks grow under that precious covering, from the ground up. Out of one plant many stalks emerge, just as many ideas for writing projects are given to us by the Lord as we are sheltered and nurtured under His covering. When rhubarb stalks are ready, they can be plucked out and used. Many ideas for writing projects are grown through Jesus and, when they are ready, full blown, they can also be plucked out and used for His glory. And as they are pulled out, there remains room for more ideas to take root. 

            Rhubarb tends to be bitter. It generally needs a bit of sugar, just as our prose needs a bit of sweetness and anointing from the Holy Spirit to produce something wonderful for writer and reader alike. 

            And when ideas will not form, we may need a time of rest. Just like the rhubarb plant, which needs a season of rest to grow and thrive again. Then one day when the sun brings warmth to the soil and the clouds yield rain, new sprouts will pop up and they will be covered by giant leaves and God will nurture them into full grown stalks once more. And, in His grace and mercy, He will do the same in us as writers. 

            I need to go now. There is a person in this household who will perhaps read these words and will most definitely inquire if this wouldn’t be a fitting time for a fresh rhubarb crisp. The rhubarb in the garden calls and I must go and pluck out some mature stalks. God bless.