April 21, 2018

Stories From The Crutches Table ... by Jocelyn Faire

It was The Crutches Table ... earlier this month my husband and I attended a Samaritan's Purse medical recruitment brunch. This was his event, but I joined him, assuming that I would sit quietly on the sidelines, not knowing anyone there. To my delight and surprise, that was not the case ...
As we entered the church basement, I noticed a man on crutches standing at an empty table. Only twelve days earlier, I had a downhill ski accident that resulted in a fracture, and ligament damages. A G-2 brace from ankle to upper thigh was my new best friend, and I was trying to adjust to walking with crutches. The other man invited us to join he and his wife at the Crutches Table. Camaraderie developed over injury stories. Apparently I had had more fun attaining mine; he was four weeks post surgery with a walking cast, much more mobile than I.

People mingled as we waited to begin. A lady of similar age was looking at me ... I think I should know you, she says. I did not recognize her immediately, but as I introduced myself, a knowing smile spread across her face. I'm Olive, and you spoke at Providence two years ago. Her husband Randall had invited me to speak on the topic of 'Through Thick and Thin,' at the Bible College my son had attended. It was a delight to reconnect with her, and introduce her to my husband of sixteen months. She was absolutely thrilled to hear that my story had taken such a positive turn from the tragedy I had spoken about that day. When I met Olive at the speaking engagement, it had been by divine appointment. Olive had also been a nurse in the Emergency Department years earlier, the day of the accident that claimed three lives. (The thick and thin of my topic) This day, I felt her warm caring as she beamed with each word I shared. Wait till I tell Randy that I met you, he will be so happy to hear this. We chatted for a while and then Olive rejoined her group as I sat down at our table.

Other people at the table continued the joking about this being the crutches table. A lady whose husband was chatting with mine came to my end of the table and asked me if the seat beside me, occupied by my purse, was vacant. I nodded setting my purse on the floor. She leaned over and whispered, I probably fit in here as well ... I am going through my final treatment for ovarian cancer ...
As a nurse I knew that her type of cancer often does not have a happy ending. I am so sorry, I say.
Then she leans in close and in a conspiratorial voice says I've read your book. And I know she knows more about me. She knows I have gone through deep pain, she knows I know of some of her pain. She knows that I have gone through my questioning period. We share a common thread of a deep disappointment with life events. We also share hope.
Two hurting daughters of the king. She said that many days she was ok, but many days she was not. I told her I had many, many days I thought I could not make it through. But I had to speak myself into the place I wanted to be. There was a lot of self-pep-talk that happened. She nodded in agreement. I found that I was not always at the place I wanted to be, but I chose to believe it would be better, I chose to believe that God's hand was present, even when it felt absent. I spoke words before the conviction took root. I told her I firmly believed that we speak ourselves in the direction we want to go. Many times the strength and courage came after speaking myself in the direction I hoped for. Many days I heard myself speak, and I wondered Who is talking out of my head? (That became the title of my book on grief.) It was like being outside of myself, but there was someone inside me who knew what I needed to do. Tears glistened in the corner of her eyes. I think I was meant to sit in this chair, she said. Coming from you those words have meaning. To change the tone she asked: Do you like my hair? Her modern hairstyle was a very well done wig. She looked fabulous, one would never guess her story. Before we parted we had a quick hug and prayer.
Thirteen years earlier I had been obedient to write down my story, that morning I received affirmation through these women of the fruits of earlier difficult seeds. God tells us to cast our breads upon the water. When we are willing to share our stories, He uses them to bring hope.

You have all this evidence confirmed by your own eyes and ears. Shouldn't you be talking about it?
Isaiah 48:6 The Message.

Jocelyn is the author of Who is Talking Out of My Head, Grief as an Out of Body Experience.  
She is offering a complimentary copy of her book, contact her at jbmarietalking@gmail.com  and she will mail it to you, or someone who has gone through a serious loss. She also blogs(sometimes) at https://whoistalking.wordpress.com

April 19, 2018

Why do I Write by Eunice Matchett

Why do I write? I need to sit and ponder the reasons. If I can.

To be truthful, I haven’t entertained thoughts as to why I write. Until now. Writing has always been a large part of my life, and a larger part of who I am. It is my best friend, and to whom I seek when the events in my external world are impossible to fathom. It is my Teddy Bear and fuzzy, warm blanket.

When my throat swells, and I am unable to produce appropriate words, my fingers quiver, encouraging me to find quiet corner and allow my feelings to express themselves on the paper pad I always carry in my purse.

Since I give worship a whole new meaning when I try to sing, I worship my Heavenly Father through my words. Doing so allows me time to pause and dwell on each word or thought, not just as I write it, but in the future as well. Often, when I reread my worship words I pause, and wonder did I write that?

  I am an introvert. I do not do well in large groups. I never learned the art of small talk, nor do I enjoy listening to it. If I have something to say, I’ll say it, which often gets me in trouble. After years of getting myself into deep water, I’ve learned that I write much better than I talk, and by doing so, my life is much smoother and less regretful.

I am also the middle sibling, and the second daughter in our family, which made growing up with a voice extremely difficult. Sometimes it felt like forever for me to get a word edgewise into a conversation. When screaming “I’ve got something to say,” or stomping my foot in frustration didn’t get me voice time, I turned to pencil and paper. It worked like magic. I could finally state my opinion uninterrupted. Not that it did me much good, because no one read it, but it did leave me feeling smug.

For me, writing is a privilege. It is my calm in a storm, a bridge across deep water. Experience has taught me it is the safest way to express myself. It fills hours in my day, and always makes me smile when I type ‘the end’ of my latest story.

April 18, 2018

Writing to be Real - Gloria Guest

I think I basically write to be real. If I’m not going to be real, what’s the point? Writing is where I am at my best in expressing authenticity.
As someone who can sometimes have too quick of a tongue or be a bit too blunt in my personal conversations, I love the fact that in writing my keyboard has a delete button. Something sounds not quite right? Delete. That wasn’t said the way I intended? Delete. Start again and this time say it better.
I find that writing has far more grace for my particular  communication foibles than talking does. In my conversations I’ve had many times where I wished that I could take back a word, or two or more. With my written words, I can. Delete. It’s great. J
My personal blog is based around the theme of Hope. As someone who came from a difficult childhood and has spent my adult years recovering from it, I have found hope to be my anchor. And so in finding that hope it is my desire to share it with others. Hope is the solid cord that is found woven through all of my writing and that cord leads to the source of my hope which is God and His faithfulness.

In talking about being real I would like to add that I don’t always feel hope or even follow its light. I have dark days and times where I wonder if God cares or is listening or has forgotten all about me. I have days when I look around at the world and wonder the same thing. Is God even with us or has He just wound up the world like a giant clock and is letting it tick down?
The Chaplin of the Humboldt Bronco’s hockey team, Sean Brandow, spoke about this in his message after the tragic bus crash on a lonely Saskatchewan highway,
#Humboldt Strong
 that took sixteen lives and injured all remaining.

‘Where was God?’ he stated at the vigil. He had been on the scene and saw the twisted wreckage and the dead and wounded. He felt as if he was in the valley of the shadow of death. And he was. But then later in the week he was reminded of the other half of the verse that states, “I will fear no evil for thou art with me.” His message went around the world. He was real and that’s what drew people to want to listen. He didn’t hold back his raw emotions and his questioning of God. I believe his message drew many to God.
May my writing be as real as that Chaplin’s heart felt words were.

May I allow people more than a just a tiny glimpse into my soul and then a quick cover-up. May my writing reveal a deep gaze into who I am and where I’ve been because I don’t have to give in to fear. Sure, people will see my pain and failures but through that may they see God, piercing through the fog of my life as the light from a lighthouse searches out the waters saying, ‘This is the way. Come home.’
May it lead them home too.

Gloria shares messages of hope from the small hamlet of Caron, Sask. You can read her blog by clicking here.  

April 17, 2018

Write to Ignite - Lynn Dove

In my opinion, the hardest part of writing, is typing that very first sentence for an article, blog or book.  A blank page is my nemesis.  It begs to be filled with word pictures that will somehow illicit an emotional response from the reader.  Once I have agonized over that very first sentence and my page is no longer blank, I can start to formulate my thoughts and start the creative process of actually writing.  The word "ignite" by definition is the first step of fire-lighting.  Once the flame is lit, the task then becomes keeping the fire stoked. That first sentence is the initial spark, and the story builds upon that to become an inferno.

I don't know if it's a conventional way to write.  I have attended writing workshops where I was taught that characterization is paramount.  I've also been taught that plot structure is the essential component to writing a story.  I am not negating either as important, but I liken the way I write to the way I paint, haphazardly and with wild abandon!  I choose my colours with carefree spirit and splash them on abstractly.  Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason to my activity and then surprisingly a pattern develops and as more word colours flow, or drip over the white canvas, I become more and more frenzied and inspired to complete the word painting inside of my head.  (It is my editor's job to add the finishing strokes so that as an artist I am kept humbled :)

Just like a painting should invoke some kind of an emotional response from whomever looks at it, inspired writing should ignite a passionate response from readers.  Reading should never be a boring activity.  If the reader is not engaged emotionally with the writing in some way, negatively or positively, then a writer has failed in their attempts to write to ignite. 

It is my passion as a writer and as a Christ Follower to use words to draw people to respond to Christ.  To ignite their interest by sharing my faith openly in my books and in the articles and stories I write is of great importance to me.  I have tried to write in the secular realm, but have failed miserably.  It's not my passion, Christ is, and so I write to ignite that same passion in others.  To do otherwise goes against the specific calling I have as a Christian writer.

 Lynn Dove is the award-winning author, of the YA “Wounded Trilogy”- a contemporary Christian fiction series with coming-of-age themes.  A wife, mom, grandmother, and free-lance writer with articles published in several magazines and anthologies including Chicken Soup for the Soul books, her blog, “Journey Thoughts” is a Canadian Christian Writing Award winner.  Readers may connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and at lynndove.com  

April 16, 2018

My Reasons for Writing by Nina Faye Morey

So, why do I write?

To gain a greater understanding of God’s Word

One of the main reasons I enjoy writing is that it helps me develop a better understanding of God’s Word. Through my Christian writing, I’m able to grasp more meaning from Bible verses and gain greater insights into the Scriptures than by any other means. When I open my heart and mind to Jesus’s words, I feel like His apostles must have felt listening to His teachings. It’s as though His Holy Spirit is inspiring and guiding me, prompting me to write the words that flow through my pen and onto the paper. So many times I’ve been searching for just the right words or the right Bible verse, and suddenly the words magically form in my mind or I open my Bible by chance to the perfect Scripture. But my experience isn’t unique. I’ve heard other Christian writers express these same feelings and experiences.

And let us consider how we may spur
one another on toward love and good deeds.”
~ Hebrews 10:24

To use God’s gift for the good of others

I can’t imagine not using this great gift that God has given me (Ephesians 2:10). I know that many Christian writers feel this way regardless of whether they write for the Christian market, the mainstream market, or both. Whatever and wherever we write, we feel impelled to uphold Christian principles because we wish to serve our Lord and use our gift for God’s glory. We want to reach out to our readers and have a positive impact on their lives, comforting, encouraging, and inspiring them. We want to help and uplift them in times of tribulation. We want to bless and heal their hearts and souls with God’s Word. It’s true that the pen is mightier than the sword, so we must choose our words wisely so we never lead our readers astray or cause them to stumble (Matthew 12:36). We must always remember that our words are capable of inciting love or hate, good or evil, violence or peace.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
~ Flannery O’Connor

To gain a better understanding of myself

I write to find out what I’m thinking. It’s as though I don’t know what I really think about something until I’ve written down the words and read them on paper. It helps me express my ideas, insights, and emotions. Writing helps me answer questions and work through problems. It helps me process my thoughts, feelings, ambitions, and motivations. It helps me embrace my hopes and fears. It provides a cathartic release whenever the floodgates open. Writing helps me unravel the mysteries of life and discover what is truly important.

To indulge my love affair with words

Ever since I first learned to read, I’ve desired to participate in and find my niche in the writing world. I never tire of the thrill of capturing an idea that’s in my mind or an emotion that’s in my heart with just the right words. Writing is never easy. But that’s also part of the attraction for me. It can be very difficult to craft a well-written article, story, or poem that reaches readers’ hearts and minds and stirs their emotions. If you write for publication, there is not only the need to write well but the additional pressure of meeting the editor’s expectations and deadlines. But even if no one ever read a single word I wrote, my love affair with words would impel me to keep writing them down on paper.

So, why do you write?

Photos: Pixabay Free Images

April 15, 2018

Answering the Call to Write - Tracy Krauss

Why do I write? 
I've spent quite a lot of time, over the years, thinking about this question. The simple answer is, I feel called to write. I suppose I view writing as a form of ministry, even though my primary avenue is fiction. A few years ago I attended several one-on-one sessions with a marketing coach. One of the first things he had me do was fill out an extensive profile about myself - genre, target audience, marketing plan, future goals etc. It was an excellent exercise in learning to focus instead of using what he called the "spray and pray"method of marketing. Among the questions was, "Why do you write?" I came up with five reasons:

1. Entertain – I write to entertain and provide an escape for the reader. Although some may not find this to be the most noble reason, I believe entertainment has value - even spiritual value. Proverbs 17:22 - A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (NIV)

2. Encourage – Through my stories, I hope to encourage others in their Christian walk. I write primarily for a Christian audience, so the expectation is that most are already saved. However, people still need encouragement along the way and that's what I want to do. Philemon 1:7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord's people. (NIV)

3. Enlighten – I like to bring a potentially difficult or controversial issue to each book I write. Examples include racism and prejudice, native spirituality and cults, pornography, substance abuse and addiction, and physical and sexual abuse. Every one of these topics is relevant in the church. My experience in ministry has taught me that Christians still struggle with each one of these issues, although not always openly. Galatians 6:2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (ESV)

4. Expand the reader’s viewpoint. This is tied to number three, since my purpose is not always to offer a definitive answer. (Other than Jesus !) I try to stay away from a ‘hardline’ legalist viewpoint and focus instead on grace. I intentionally try to leave some loose ends and unanswered questions for the reader to ponder. 2 Corinthians 12:9But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (ESV)

5. Evangelism - not my primary focus since my assumption is that my target audience is already Christian. However, the gospel message is there, so someone could potentially come to Christ. Romans 1: 16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (ESV)

The above list focuses on writing as a ministry, but I do have more selfish reasons as well. As an artist, writing is one avenue of self expression and fulfills that need for a creative outlet. As well, writing - specifically journalling - is a way to make sense of my world. It helps me to process my thoughts and feelings and I often use it as a form of prayer. 

So there you have it! Do any of these 'reasons' resonate with you? 

Tracy Krauss is InScribe's current Vice President and writes from her home in northern BC. Visit her website http://tracykrauss.com - fiction on the edge without crossing the line - 

April 14, 2018

Ruminating about Roots: Why I Write - Ruth L. Snyder

According to the calendar, it's Spring. In Alberta, that means it could be warm enough outside for the snow to melt into puddles, but also cold enough for fresh snow and freezing wind, still making it feel like Winter. When I was younger, we used to joke that Alberta is the only place you can slip on ice, fall into a mud puddle, and get up and dust yourself off—because the weather changes so quickly in the Spring.

We do know that warmer weather will come to stay sooner or later (Genesis 8:22). Then we will see shoots of green pushing through the sod, pussy willows, and fragile crocus blooms. Everything that grows has roots.

"Roots have two main roles—anchoring street trees in the ground and collecting minerals, oxygen and moisture to supply the tree." (citygreen.com/solutions/managing-tree-roots/)

In other words, roots provide a strong base from which a plant can grow and roots also enable the plant to gather what it needs to grow. As I thought about it, the reasons we write are like roots. Having a clear defined reason to write provides a strong base for our writing. Knowing why we are writing also enables us to sort through material that comes our way and select only those facts, anecdotes, and explanations that will help our story or article grow, blossom, and bless. If we are unclear about why we are writing, we end up with writing that is rambling and ineffective.

This week my husband and I had the opportunity to watch I Can Only Imagine, the story behind the popular song by MercyMe.

The quote that jumped out at me was, "Write about it—Let that pain become your inspiration." 

My first published piece, Gifts From a Loving God, shared how God led my husband and me through infertility and a miscarriage to the place where we adopted our children. My book, Twitter Decoded: Tips and Tools for Authors, shows writers how to use social media and do it without using up precious time they need for writing.

God has been showing me that lately I have been hiding my pain. I choose not to be authentic, because it hurts too much. The problem is, when I hide my pain, my writing comes across as trite and phoney. People around me are hurting. They are hungry for authentic words. The reason I write is to give hope. God wants to use my pain to minister to others:
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ" (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
I'm working on sharing and being more authentic in my relationships and my writing.

What is God teaching you? Why do you write? Please share in the comments below.

FYI: I wrote this post in a hotel room with four kids around me. Frequent interruptions, a pillow fight, and kids asking me when I would be done.

Ruth and her husband are enjoying the transition to grandparenthood, are working through the struggles of transitioning their twins, who have developmental delays, into the adult world, and are continuing to encourage all five of their kids to grow in grace.

April 13, 2018

Reason for Writing - Wendy L. Macdonald

     I remember the moment I realised my reason for writing: It happened when a Bible verse jumped off the page of a Beth Moore book I was studying with a group of ladies at my church. Before that moment, I suspected I was supposed to head in that direction, but I hadn’t experienced a specific word or leading until then.

     Although I already had an arsenal of favourite Scripture verses I memorised for my battle against eating disorders back in the 1980’s, I hadn’t found what many call a “Life Verse.” And although I enjoyed selecting a verse of the day and a verse of the year, I hadn’t chosen my forever one.

     But as I recently worked on a podcast draft for HopeStreamRadio, the verse I noticed during the Beth Moore Bible study came to mind and reminded me it not only applied to Jesus, but to all who believed on His name, because we’re to be filled by Christ, empowered by Christ, and imitators of Christ.

      A Christian is defined as one who follows Jesus. To follow Him is to do as He did, which is to be a fisher of men—as He called His disciples to do. Part of being a Christian fisherman is to instruct and build up the body of believers.

Are you curious—yet—as to which verse I’m alluding to?

     Here it is: Isaiah 61:1 NIV

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
 because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
 He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives
 and release from darkness for the prisoners.

     When I read this verse in the context of Christians being called and anointed to do as Christ did, it sent shivers of inspiration though my spirit. I long to live as one who binds and builds up broken people because I’ve been blessed with healing through the Word and through the words of those God used to help me overcome darkness. And as a result of my own rescue from eating disorders, depression, and infertility:

 My faith is not shallow because I’ve been rescued from the deep.

     There are a lot of people drowning in disorders. There are a lot of rescues still in need of happening. I write because I want to be part of the rescue efforts. Sure it’s humbling—even humiliating at times—to share my story. But I thank God for the brave people who didn’t just recover from the darkness and hide the Light under the pew they sit on each Sunday. We’re to share what the Lord has done for us so that others may believe and glorify God too.

I’m glad I needed a rescue because now I know the Rescuer.   

     This is the reason I write. I’m nosey-to-know what yours is?

 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted 
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 NIV

     Rescued from the deep blessings ~ Wendy Mac

a white down feather
 fluttering in surrender
 I kneel before God
 for He comforts broken hearts
 and lifts the low in spirit
~ wlm


Wendy L. Macdonald is an inspirational blogger and podcaster who loves to photograph nature on Vancouver Island. She hopes you’ll visit her “Daily Bread” style Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Her byline is: “My faith is not shallow because I’ve been rescued from the deep.” Her main website is wendylmacdonald.com where she enjoys interacting with readers.

April 12, 2018

Some Type of Crazy - Whitney Braun

“You’ve got to be some type of crazy to do something like that,” my grandfather mumbled at the television. My husband and I looked at each other with knowing eyes. We were that type of crazy.

            It was the week between Christmas and New Years of 2017. My side of the family was gathered around my grandparents’ living room watching the very first outdoor hockey game of the World Juniors Hockey Championship. Canada and the USA had one period left to battle it out. Over forty thousand spectators sat around Buffalo’s football stadium to watch the rink down below. It was a blizzard with subzero temperatures, yet the stands were full—warmed only by the love of the game. I guess my grandfather’s love of the game wasn’t as deep as theirs.

            If my husband and I had the means we would’ve been there at that very game. The year before, we attended the tournament in Montreal, walking four kilometers in -24 wind chill to and from the arena. We had a blast.

            I looked to my grandfather, and before I could stop them, the words just stumbled out. “But wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same?”

It’s not often my eighty-five year old gramps is rendered speechless.

It got me thinking about the passage in 1 Corinthians. For the body does not consist of one part but of many. We all play a part in making up Christ’s body. Those spectators in their parkas were as much of a part of the puzzle as my grandfather and the rest of us lounging in his temperature controlled home.

Not everyone can write. Not everyone can sit outside in a blizzard for three hours. That’s okay because that would be boring.

Often we find it easy to look at someone and gasp when they tell us they haven’t read a single book in a decade. Or, we might tsk at another for using the wrong punctuation in a Facebook status. But here’s the thing. They might be thinking the same thing about us. We are all some type of crazy.

My reason to write? I believe that the stories in my head weren’t put there by accident. Someone’s got to get them onto the page, right? Someone’s got to fill those stadium seats.

Let me go get my toque—it’s game time.

Photo Source: https://www.facebook.com/pg/WorldJuniors/photos/ 

April 11, 2018

My Reasons To Write - Carol Harrison

For years I never considered myself to be a writer. I had no plans to write, other than to journal my thoughts and feelings or keep track of important information on a calendar, but with a few extra details added. In fact, even though I had loved English and writing back in high school, I buried that desire to communicate in written form. I refused to acknowledge it when that form of creativity attempted to peek out of its hiding place.

Negative words, or perceived negativity towards pieces I had written in school and first year university bombarded my thinking and instead of talking it over with anyone else or even with God, I hid away any thoughts of writing for anyone else to read. For years I refused to acknowledge the one time enjoyment of writing, until I had convinced myself it was a distant, girlish dream unworthy to mention.

At the Saskatchewan WorDshop in February, Sheila Webster said, "Negative words we have heard in the past stop us from writing and speaking the words God wants us to use now."

Her words resonated with me, even though I have, for the last ten years, begun to write and speak in response to nudges God gave, with His help and wonderful people who encouraged me. Yet I still vividly remember the hurts, the fears and the wondering if I had words that should be heard or read. Other presenters and attendees reinforced this thought. I also heard it from Shelley Hitz at our Inscribe 2017 fall conference. She referred to these negative words as "creative injuries" that inhibit us from sharing the stories God plans for us to share.

Why should I write? What is my reason for telling stories? There are several reasons I write. I write to share the message God has given me.  I believe that our story matters, for through sharing these stories we can share what God has and is doing in our lives.

Psalm 78:1-4 says,
"O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter hidden things, things from of old- what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us, We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power and the wonder he has done."

Tell me the story of Jesus is one of the old hymns that helps me remember the importance of sharing the personal stories of God's working in my life and the Bible stories of Jesus, our hope, our Saviour, our everything. God can take the words he gives me to share and use them to help those who read them to be helped, encouraged, comforted, challenged or inspired.

 I also write to share and thus preserve family stories and memories. These stories will be available for my children and grandchildren to read, to enjoy and maybe to learn about previous generations and the role faith plays in my life. It is my legacy to give them the stories.  If anything is published it is a bonus because then people beyond my family can enjoy my storytelling too, the gift God has given.

 I write because it is the gift God has given me and I long to use it to help make the place I am better. The ideas tumble around in my mind, begging to be released. I write the ideas as they come - enough at times to fill a jar with slips of paper, if I chose that method to corral them, until I have time to fill them out for family, for submission and at times for the one other person God asks me to give the written story to. 

My reasons to write and speak form part of the mission statement I include in my bio to help me remember why storytelling is important in my life as well as help others know where I am coming from. I desire that God will receive the glory and that the words will touch others in His perfect timing.

I believe that as we share our reasons to write, as we attend events like Inscribe fall conference and the Spring WorDshops, we will make connections, be encouraged, glean nuggets of inspiration and share in times of prayer for and with each other. God will take those positive moments, those interactions, divine appointments and prayers and will heal the negative words of the past so the stories he wants us to tell will no longer hide but spring from their hiding places deep within us. What's your story?

As a speaker, published author and storyteller, Carol Harrison is passionate about mentoring people of all ages and abilities to help them find their voice and reach their fullest potential. She shares from her heart, telling stories from real life experiences and God’s Word to encourage people and help them find a glimmer of hope no matter what the circumstances. She believes we need to continuously grow in our walk with God and lives out her storytelling passion by speaking at women’s events and retreats, Bible Camps as well as school assemblies and church events. Carol is a wife, mother of four adult children and grandmother to twelve. She makes her home is Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

April 10, 2018

Bring My Scrolls, Especially the Parchments by Sharon Espeseth

Free Bible Image--Jesus Teaching the People

Why did the apostles write?

1. Because they wanted to share the story of Jesus and his ministry on earth.
2. Because they were believers.
3. Because somebody had to tell the story and they felt called or compelled to write it.
4. Because they were present during Christ's ministry.
5. Or because they had the connections and the ability to research and write the story.
6. So the story wouldn't be forgotten.
7. So readers would have access to the story of God who loved the world and gave his only son so
    that they might be saved.
8. So they could figure out for themselves what actually happened when Jesus came to earth.

Rather than a scholarly study, these are ideas that come to mind in light of the topic, "Why do you write?"

What did a tax collector, fishermen, a youth and a physician have in common?

Free photo from foundationsofmyfaith.blogspot.com

See the list above. Then also consider that they had--
1. Love for Jesus, God's only begotten son who came to earth to carry out God's plan of salvation.
2. A God-given ability to write, even if they didn't realize it at the time. (They were ordinary men, but they had been with Jesus.)
3. Faith in God's calling along with the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
4. Courage, for Jesus had told them, "Be not afraid. I will be with you." Even in your writing.
5. Belief that God would bless their efforts if they obeyed his commandment to go into all the world
    and preach the gospel.
6. Their desire to bring honour and glory to God by sharing the good news Jesus brings.
7. Enthusiasm for the gospel.

None of these lists is exhaustive, but they do give pause for reflection and a desire to further study the lives of the writers God called and infused with the Holy Spirit to write.

Why did God ask more than one person to write the gospel?

1. So that we would see and understand the story from more than one perspective.
2. So that one story would corroborate the others.
3. Because each writer would bring his own life experience to the story.
4. To further exemplify the universality of the God's plan of salvation.

Reference to the following link will show examples of how the "Saga of Salvation," as one writer calls it, has universal appeal and authority.


In the above text you will read that Matthew's gospel closes like a hinge on the door of the Old Testament and opens into the New Testament. Matthew's many references from the Old Testament explain the gospel to the Jews by pointing to the fact that Jesus is the Messiah foretold.

In this same web article, you will discover that the Gospel of Mark is believed to be Peter's testimony as told to young Mark. Mark was Peter's scribe while Peter was imprisoned in Rome. This  gospel seems written with the Greek or Gentile Christians as the original target readers.

Luke, the Physician, wrote a scholarly and well-researched account. Although Luke didn't meet Jesus in person, he is considered one of the greatest historians of all times. His readership may have been the Greeks, as this was his ethnic origin. At the beginning of Luke, he writes that although others have attempted "to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us," he too has "investigated everything from the beginning. With this mindset, Luke decided he too would write "an orderly account . . ."

John, in his gospel, beautifully writes about God's love and plan of salvation. The writer of the above online article says that if he had access to only one gospel, he would prefer that it be the Gospel of John. Why? Because this gospel "shows the divinity of Christ and the great passionate love Jesus had for his disciples and lost sinners."

Remembering the apostles were ordinary folk like me, I ask myself,

Why do I write?

Why do I write?

1. Because Jesus commanded: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." I may not 
    get to the far corners of the world, but when I write, I do not know where my words may go.
2. Because God has given me the gift of writing and teaching, i.e. an instructed tongue.
3. Because God has built the urge to write within me and he calls me to write.
4. Because I have stories only I can tell.
5. Because the Lord is my shepherd.

Writing this blog reminds me how easy it is to write on a computer compared to the arduous task of writing on papyrus or parchment, especially if you had to make your own writing material from animal hides. How about writing on parchment as Paul did? How about a reed pen you had to dip in ink every 6th letter?

We don't know the exact tools the gospel writers used, but we do know that Paul, writing around the same time as the gospel writers, used scrolls of parchment and possibly of papyrus.

For more information on parchment, go to


Imagine a writer like Paul being stuck in prison with no writing materials. That would explain Paul's words to Timothy, "When you come, be sure to bring the coat. . . and my scrolls, especially the parchments." (2 Timothy 4:13)

Paul writing in prison
Free Image--missionbibleclass.org

Maybe we need to ask ourselves, my fellow writers, "Why do I not write?" 

April 09, 2018

Why Not! - Shirley S. Tye

Why, oh, why does anyone write?  There are many reasons for writing.  We’re obsessed with the power of words; addicted to creating word pictures; we enjoy the freedom to be whoever we wish to be behind the pen while exploring things, places, and events we may never otherwise encounter; it’s a stress relief; the excitement of interviewing people in various lines of work and those with fascinating hobbies; it’s entertaining and/or encouraging to both the writers and readers; it’s a sweet love affair with words.  Ah, but all art is captivating. 

What lures writers?  Is it the feel of a well-balanced pen; the aroma of a recently sharpened pencil; the clinking of a key board; the magical appearance of words on the computer screen; seeing one’s name on the cover of a book?  Ah, but writing is fascinating.    

Writing is a strange business.  No matter what we write, whether it’s a book; an article; a piece of humour; a devotional; a poem; there is always a part of us that is exposed whether we want it to show or not.  Sometimes we’re not even aware that part of us is revealed in our work.  But our readers may notice it.  Actors also reveal themselves when portraying a character.  Directors are able to spot certain traits of an actor that show through subtlety despite how deeply an actor has delved into the character and believes to have become that character.  Being an artist can be uncomfortable at times, especially for private or shy individuals.

The power of words is amazing. Proverbs mentions the power of words many times.  “A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)  “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life.”  (Proverbs 55:21)  Proverbs 16:24 tells us that “pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones.”  But yet “no one can tame the tongue; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”  (James 3:8)  Yes, “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21).  But remember “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11)  Yes, there is power in words.  Use them wisely.   

Whatever the reason; we write because we must.  We write to inform, to teach, to encourage, to entertain, and to provide a little stress relief.  Why do we write?  Why not!