Monday, August 28, 2017

Missing Mom by Glynis M Belec

Ten years ago, July 20, mom died. She was the heartbeat in my little girl soul. I remember when I was a wee one, praying to God in earnest to never ever let my parents die. I could barely breathe as I imagined life without them. As I grew I came to understand that death is part of life - the earthly end but clinging to the hope and anticipation of heaven and Jesus.

As I reflect on my life with Mom I have so much to be grateful for including the life lessons she instilled as I grew.

It's been over ten years now. Ten long/quick years. I learned how to breathe again. I am keeping my promise to her to look after my 91 year old dad and I count blessings because he is still with me. 

Grief is fickle. Do you experience fickleness in your grief? One day I can talk openly; other days - like yesterday, the tears fall and I felt like I couldn't cope. 

I think it's because I am getting older, as death walks around swinging her wretched blade, with abandon.

But it's okay.Today is an okay day. Dad is doing well for his age. I really never expected him to live past six months of Mom dying, but he did. And I am grateful. It's a bit of a journey some days. And I have to admit that sometimes I feel a little trapped caring for my lovely Poppa Bear 24/7. But I know it is a season and then God gives me a scripture to get me through. 

He whispered a little something to me this morning, actually:
As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted 
over Jerusalem.” Isaiah 66:13
I like that. I'm okay. Missing you mom ... but I'm okay.

Here's one of yours and Dad's favourite oldies ... I can hear you singing it.

Glynis lives, loves, laughs and does an awful lot of reading, writing, publishing and praying in her home office. 
        How thrilled Glynis is to be part of GOOD GRIEF PEOPLE (Angel Hope Publishing) - an anthology filled with stories that help readers recognize, honour and celebrate  the individuality of grief.      

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Roadside Warnings by Carol Ford

While stopped at a red light I noticed a utility pole just off to the side. Several faded baseball hats were attached to the pole and they were stacked high in two vertical rows. The lettering “Never forget Johncould still be read on the white T-shirt stretched across the post. At the base three pots of coloured plastic flowers completed the tribute.

The car behind me honked and the light had changed to green, so I gave an apologetic wave and continued driving. But my mind was then processing the scene and trying to remember what had happened in that spot. The story drifted back into my memory.

Two years before a teenager had lost his life running across the street to catch the bus. He was heading home after his shift at a local restaurant. It was late at night, he wasn’t crossing with the light, and he was wearing a new black winter coat. The elderly couple who hit him didn’t see him until it was too late.
The more I thought about the tragic accident, other details came to mind. His family had lost their mother to cancer a few months prior, and his dad and younger brother were now reeling with this second loss.

I couldn’t help wondering what the effect had been on the elderly couple; had they been able to cope with this trauma? If they lived locally, did they avoid passing this spot whenever possible?

The memorial had done its job. It brought back the tragedy and produced sobering and reflective thoughts. Did it make me want to be a more careful driver? Maybe... These roadside markers, as a Christian, evoke in me concern for where that person will spend eternity. A fatal car crash, a stroke, a heart attack, or any violent episode that produces an instant death, usually leaves no time for an eternal decision.

My birth brother, with whom I was reunited when I was fifty, died alone at night suffering a heart attack. To my knowledge he did not share my faith, and the grief of losing him this way was far greater than I could have imagined; now our separation may be forever.
Evangelism courses, over the years, have promoted the use of the following statement “If you died today, do you know where you will spend eternity?” I’ve always felt that this question was a bit too bold and personal and I’ve been afraid to ask it directly for fear people will reject me.

If I had asked my brother this question, I would at least know that I had tried to share God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life.  We had sixteen years together after our reunion, and during all that time, I carefully crafted our conversations so as not to venture too far into topics that would be divisive.

I have no trouble being a guest speaker in front of strangers and sharing my life story and the gift of salvation in a public setting, but when it’s one-to-one, I shy away from these conversations. With non-believing close friends or relatives, I assume that they can see that I am a Christian and if they need to know more about my faith, they will ask. Also, over time, we settle into an unspoken agreement that our relationship works better if I go into their world and keep mine separate. It’s awkward, and the longer it happens, the more difficult it is to broach the topic of heaven and hell.

In the Bible, Paul, a follower of Christ, says, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”[1] This sums up my dilemma.

Roadside memorials are stark reminders of the brevity of life, and writing this article has become a personal confession. My prayer to God is a request for the courage and opportunities to ask others where they will spend eternity before it’s too late.

Note: This article was shortlisted at the 2017 Word Awards

Carol Ford is a published author, speaker and career coach. Carol lives in Ontario, Canada. Her short story entitled “My Mother’s Gift” is published in Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon and another short story will appear in Christmas with Hot Apple Cider. Carol is a co-author of the devotional entitled As the Ink Flows: Devotions to Inspire Christian Writers & Speakers. Carol is writing a memoir about her adoption, her reunion with her birth family, and how God has blessed and protected her throughout her life.
L-R Carol Ford, Claudia Loopstra, Mel Teague 

[1] Romans 7:15 (NLT)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Sacred Copyright by SUSAN HARRIS

One of my Facebook  pages is devoted to prayer. Each year I choose a theme, and this year, the theme is God’s Direct Words. As last year drew to a close, I felt a strong desire to hear God speak to me as He spoke to His people in the Old Testament, and through thought He impressed on me to study His directs words. Not when it is repeated by Moses or another but when HE first says it directly to Moses or another. 

I feel a holy awe come over me each time I read God’s direct words, as if I am there. I tremble when the people trembled. I pause when His presence stands still in a cloud.  Each time I highlight those sacred words with my yellow highlighter in my Bible or copy and paste from the online NIV Bible, I feel His presence.  God promises in Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ (NIV) . I sincerely believe this, and each time I call, I glean a fresh truth, a hidden insight from His words.

I chose the post from July 28 to highlight in this blog, “Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. 31 Say to the Israelites, ‘This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. 32 Do not pour it on anyone else’s body and do not make any other oil using the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred.33 Whoever makes perfume like it and puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from their people.”  Exodus 30:30-33 (NIV)

The thought the Lord dropped into my heart is that just as Aaron and his sons (and generations) had exclusivity to the anointing oil and holy garments, so too, it is with the intellectual property He has entrusted to us as writers, artists, singers, musicians, publishers. In the natural, copyrights, patents, and trademarks guard exclusivity, and there are fines and punishments associated with their theft, abuse and misuse. 

The Lord our Creator, the Lord of Hosts has consecrated our giftings, and He looks over them jealously. I believe that whoever desecrates or copy our work unauthorized will face a punishment similar to the “cutting off from the people.”

We can personalize the verse so that God speaks to us directly.
 “Anoint (insert your name or names) and consecrate (me, us) so (I, we) may serve You as (insert writer, singer etc).

Considering how effortless stealing intellectual property can be in today’s digital world, this assurance keep my heart at peace. I hope it will settle your heart, too.

SUSAN HARRIS is an author and speaker. This year she is focused on reading God’s direct words in the Old Testament on her 1-Minute Prayer page and is finding it transformational. Any is welcome to join.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Thorn in my Side - by Heidi McLaughlin

They are the bane of my existence but I can’t ignore them any longer.  The twelve large rose bushes that create a private hedge around my lower patio are covered in limp petals and desperately need pruning. Twice a year for over twenty-one years I’ve gritted my teeth, gathered my tools, put on my ragged long sleeved pruning shirt and tackled the thorns.  But this year I don’t have Jack to gather the debris and make it disappear. Ok kiddo, you’re on your own, give it all you’ve got!

Almost three hours later I’m sweaty, dirty and tired but the pruning is done and the debris hauled up the hilly side of the house to be recycled over a period of time.  As I stop to gulp down an entire water bottle, I see the blood on my arms and the side of my t-shirt where the thorns grabbed me and took pieces of skin. Why do I put myself through this misery?

Then I remind myself about the months of June and July.  Those days when I sat on the lower patio with my feet up reading a great book and surrounded by a hedge of bright pink petals and buds. Those thorny bushes had to be pruned to create this captivating beauty.

The pruning experience made me reflect on those times when I feel “thorny.” 
  • ·      Someone won’t let me merge
  • ·      A cashier chatting up a storm and holding up the line
  • ·      Someone who compares the pain of my second husband’s death to the loss of her dog
  • ·      When you’re having a bad day on the golf course and someone gives unwarranted advice and says: “When was the last time you had lessons?”

The apostle Paul, the greatest recorded missionary in the Bible had a “thorn in his side” (2 Corinthians 12:8). Three times Paul pleaded God to take this thorn away but God said: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” In other words, live with it, learn from it and in the harsh process become more like Christ.

Christ shed His blood so that we can be free to love each other and pass on His undeserving grace. I was willing to shed some blood for my rose bushes, but am I ready to put up with some emotional pain and extend grace to those things that feel “thorny?”

By the grace of God I am trying. I know that in the future when I feel “thorny” I will recall the blood on my sleeves and the pile of dead rose petals and pruning. Showing grace is beautiful but hard. But through the process I am becoming more beautiful from the inside out.

Heidi McLaughlin lives in the beautiful vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia. Heidi has been widowed twice. She is a mom and step mom of a wonderful, eclectic blended family of 5 children and 12 grandchildren. When Heidi is not working, she loves to curl up with a great book, or golf and laugh with her family and special friends.
Her latest book RESTLESS FOR MORE: Fulfillment in Unexpected Places (Including a FREE downloadable Study Guide) is now available at;, or her website:

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Creative Power of Words - David Kitz

Have you ever considered the creative power of words? Words change the world. They bring order out of
Foster farm, Durham, ON
chaos. Words shine the light of day into the darkness of this world. From the very beginning words have been imbued with divine power. The psalmist reminds us, "By the word of the L
ORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth."

But it's not only God's words that have this vast power. Our words—human words, whether spoken written or thought have enormous power too. Adam's first job assignment was to speak words—to name the animals. Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals (Genesis 2: 19-20).

Strangely, God didn't do what every parent does. He didn't tell Adam what the animals were called. Adam told God their names. By so doing, God vested mankind with the power of language. Life is what we call it. Our words describe the world and give meaning to it.

MosaiCanada 150, Gatineau, Quebec
Through our words we bring order and make sense of the world around us. As a writer I am continually processing and attempting to make sense of this chaotic thing called life. I do it with words. From the beginning of time, by divine command that's what we are called to do. We are to speak order into chaos—speak accuracy and clarity into this world’s muddled reality.

With our words we shine the light of truth onto a situation. With words we write laws, administer justice and design government. With words we woo and romance and vow our love to one another. Our words create imaginary realms into which we can travel—words that transport. With our words we have the power to elevate the human spirit, or crush someone to the point of suicide.

Finally, there is something innately prophetic about our words. What we think, speak and write is potent. It has within in it the latent ability to become reality. Therefore, we need to guard our lips. See James 3:1-12. The psalmist reminds us not only of the power of the word of the L
ORD, but also our own words. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

Response: LORD God, help me give careful consideration to my words. Today, may my words, whether written or spoken, be a creative force for good in Jesus' name. Amen.

Your Turn: How has God used your words for good lately? Are your words bringing order out of chaos?

David Kitz experiments in bringing order out of chaos in our nation's capital. His historical novel The Soldier Who Killed a King was released by Kregel Publications on July 25th. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Surprise Attitude Adjustment

Last week’s shopping trip left me feeling elated and deeply satisfied.  Now if you know me that is quite a statement!  Unlike many women, shopping for anything other than books, is not my favourite thing to do—not even weekly grocery shopping.  However last week turned out to be quite different.  This week I had an identical experience—all the more exciting because of the two happening barely a week apart.

Last week I had walked past the meat department and had rounded the corner past the laundry detergents.  I was headed for the baking goods when the new clerk behind the meat counter came rushing up to me. 

“Ruth?” she smiled with delight and assurance.


I wondered how she knew me and what she was so excited about.

“You don’t know me. I am a friend of Mike and Sarah’s and I just started working here.  Sarah let me read your book that she bought several years ago and I just love it.  I laughed and cried through it and was so sorry when it ended. I could have kept reading if it was twice as long.

 Sarah said it was you when you passed by and I wanted to come tell you how much I loved your book.”

“Was that my latest book or one of my novels?” I asked.

“You’ve written more than one book?” she asked with eyes aglow.  “I’m sorry, I can’t remember the title.  I just know that I almost lived in the story as I was reading it.”

That statement of her inability to remember the title was rather comforting to me, for much as I enjoy stories I read, I often am ashamed to admit that I can’t remember the title either.  Sometimes even the author’s name escapes my mind.   

Once we had established that it was my first novel, Not Easily Broken, I informed this excited and affirming reader that there was a sequel.

“Oh-hh!  Where can I get it?”

“I have one in my van right outside the store.  If you’d like one, I’ll bring it in to you when I take my groceries out.”

I finished my shopping and as I promised, brought the book to her.  She thanked me profusely.

This week, I was barely inside the store when she came hurrying toward my cart. 

“I took Not Far from the Tree home last week and I kept reading for a full day and into the night to finish it.  Again, I laughed and cried and lived with the characters until the book was finished.  You have a way of writing that takes you right into the setting and makes it feel so real.  I felt as though I was living right with them.  Could I get one of the first books from you so I have a matching set?  I just love your books! ”

Somehow the chore of shopping felt much lighter this week.  I came out of the store smiling and I’m still basking in the glow of knowing that someone enjoyed what I had written.  

Not Far from the Tree was based on Freda, a wonderful woman who became my dear friend when she was in her nineties.  Not Easily Broken was based on her mother's life.  Freda had a real sense of humour and a genuine interest in people.  I feel quite confident that she would have been pleased to know her life story and that of her mother meant so much to this reader and many more. She may even have been pleasantly surprised that her life could be that inspiring to much younger readers. We do not know what influence our lives have on others.

Nor do we, as writers often know what effect our writing has on people .  Getting occasional feedback like I received can renew our passion and give us new vision for continuing to tell stories. 

Popular Posts