Inspirational thoughts and random writings from the alumni and friends of Quad-Cities Christian Writers Conference.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wondering About God?

By Michael Elmore

Have you ever wondered about God? I mean really wondered about him? That’s good because that means that you have begun a spiritual journey and that you have a sincere desire to find God.  So as you are wondering about God you may be relieved and excited to discover that God has provided several ways for us to learn more about him.  Besides this, God promises us that “everyone who seeks will find (Matt. 7:8).” You can depend on that!  

One of those ways is that God has revealed himself to us is through his Son Jesus. Jesus said that he and God are One and that if you have seen him, then you have seen God. The best way to learn about God then is to learn about Jesus by reading concerning his life in the Bible. Open up your mind to learning more about God.

Another way that God reveals himself is though his actions. One of the greatest things God reveals to us through Jesus’ life is that He is Love. God loves you and me so much that he acted by sending Jesus to earth to give his life for us. Jesus said that no one can prove his love in any better way than by laying his life down for them. Open up your heart and let God’s love touch you deep inside.

One of the most important ways to learn about God is by talking to him and getting to know him. Can you imagine trying to get to know someone but never even talking to them? Praying then is crucial to someone wondering about God. It’s the best way to get to know him personally. You may be surprised to learn that God is longing to talk with you. Open up your spirit and discover that God wants to know you and that he is vitally concerned for you.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Don’t Try

By Robin Steinweg

“Remember to clean your room,” I told my son.

“I’ll try,” he said, and immediately forgot.

“Remember to lock the door,” I said to the wall. (It may as well have been the wall.)

My son said, “I’ll try,” and I returned home hours later to an unlocked house.

“Don’t forget, your essay on the second law of thermodynamics is due tomorrow.”

“I’ll try to remember.”

You get the picture. These scenarios frustrated me as a mom more than most things. But the memory is a funny thing: I could easily remember myself at that age, forgetting things the minute I said I’d try to remember. Perhaps that made me a little too empathetic. 

I tried punishments and rewards to no avail. I quoted the Bible on procrastination, and famous people who had wise-sounding words, to inspire my sons to do a thing right away, before it could evaporate from their brains. Nothing seemed to help. Until a little yellowish-greenish fellow with large ears and stray whiskers came on the scene. I would never have believed that a puppet-like creature from a science fiction movie would help me in parenting. But Yoda did.

“There is no try. Only do.”

Six words. Yoda’s super six words made all the difference in my parenting technique—and in the results. It worked even when I used a Yoda-like voice.

The one thing I’m left wondering is, can I use it on myself?


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Message to YOU, Wall: You're Not the Boss of Me!

By Gail P. Smith

"Sign, sign, everywhere a sign ~ Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind~Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?"

“The show must go on.”
For a while now I’ve been feeling bombarded with messages from strangers and, stranger still, from inanimate objects.  These are not imaginary messages just running through my poor over-loaded brain.  Nope, these are actually commands, suggestions, exhortations and requests imploring me to DO things.

“March forward!” 

I suspect it all began innocently enough back in the sixties with this little guy:  Remember him (the shirt, not the model)?

Sometime during late sixties, early seventies he & his chirpy little entreaty appeared on t-shirts. “Hmmmm,” thought some manager somewhere, “Surely that phrase must be magical and will sell more pet rocks or cheese-whiz or tires,” and just like that it became more popular than “Here’s your change,” as a farewell from store clerks everywhere. Thus we all became accustomed to having strangers telling us what kind of day to have just because we'd purchased some toilet paper.

As I’m sure you know, the phrase caught on, and has now become more acceptable than “Bye-bye.”  If you don’t say it when someone is exiting from a brunch or a wedding or a car wash, you’re considered a Philistine unskilled in the finer points modern etiquette.

Of course the next step was T-shirts telling us what do to and some of them were NOT suggesting a nice day.  I’ll have to take on T-shirt wisdom in a different post. 

“Inspire Yourself”

What I’m wondering today is when did this “slippery slope” slide us down into deciding that we need the walls of our homes to “message” us.  And our friends and family as well as to any visitors who may wander over?  Surely I’m not the only one who has noticed this trend.


AAAAHHHH!  Sure, it’s a nice suggestion with pretty fonts, but who wants to come home to this gigantic entreaty-way every day?  It's not that I don’t want all these fine things in my LIFE,  I just don’t want them on my walls, yelling at me every time I’m watching rubbish and eating junk food on the couch. Too much pressure. If the words really wanted to help couldn't they have said, "Think carefully before buying an uncomfortable looking chair in hot pink?"
(By the way, I do believe if you try to” laugh as much as you breathe,” it might cause some serious health issues, not to mention what your family will think. I’m just sayin'.)

 “Take charge and mean it”

In one room especially I do not care to be lectured.  That would be the bathroom.
Let’s leave this kind of nagging where it belongs, with the professionals—Moms.  Real moms don’t trust their walls do the work for them, especially in the “Flush” department.

Having said that I will confess to putting up my own code of conduct in the bathroom one summer when my children were young and trips to the pool were a daily occurrence as were wet towels on the floor:

“Hang up wet things,
That’s the pool rule
If you don’t
They’ll get mildewed” 
(And now you know why I never attempt poetry.  Bad poetry and all, it was effective.)

“Put a little strut in it.”

I had been trying to ignore all these subtle, subliminal, angst-inducing messages creeping into my subconscious, attempting to take a “live and let live” attitude, until last week when that final straw dropped into my lap in the form of a cough drop wrapper.

 Et tu, Halls?

Yes, indeed, even my cough drop was giving me orders and making such personal comments as:

“Tough is your middle name.”  (I thought it was Lynn)“It’s yours for the taking.” (shoplifting?) “Elicit some ‘Wows’ today.” (just scary to think what I'd have to do for "Wows")
What could be the reason for all these admonitions and advice? There it was right in the middle of the wrapper:


Oddly, this does, in some strange way, seem to make more sense to me than the other preaching I’ve mentioned.  After all, if one was ill and taking the cough drop for soothing cooling of the throat, wouldn’t some soothing comments for the day be appropriate?  Nevertheless, I really don’t want a cough drop that tells me what to do, do you?  It’s unseemly, given our brief acquaintance, the fact that we hardly know each other, and that I’m going to be consuming the product and pitching the comments.  After I take a picture of them, of course.

Please tell me I’m not alone in my pursuit to stop this madness where the entire world, including and especially inanimate objects, is now presuming to step in where our friends and family leave off, to advise, suggest and cajole one and all on how to live our life and conduct our business. 

Please join me in just saying “No.” You don’t have to put it on the wall. In fact, I'd rather you didn't. 

Oh, and don't forget to have a nice day.

“Turn ‘can do’ into ‘can did!’ “
All the little quotes in the middle courtesy of Hall's cough drops' Pep Talks.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


By Jeannette Doran

In summer we rejoice in the abundance.
We take time to enjoy all that our God has so graciously
given in the fruit of our labors. As our hearts are filled we
share out of plenty. Gifting others with our overflow of
tomatoes, cucumbers and other garden fruit.
We give from our spiritual bounty as well our material
profusion. How true it is that as we give to others we always
seem to be left with a sufficient amount. We find that not
only are our needs fulfilled but our desires are often satisfied
as well. With the virtue of gift giving the reality becomes
that the more we give the more we actually do
receive. As we learn to trust more and not save for the
future want God will provide for all our needs and even our
desires. May we each grow closer to God as we learn to trust
abundantly in God’s loving generosity.

Thursday, August 16, 2012



By Nerola  (Rolie) Grady

My family is preparing for a trip in the next few days.  Isn’t it amazing how much work goes into planning for a few days of R and R?  That made me think of the following prayer exercise that you can do by yourself or with a group in the comfort of your own home.

Provide pencil and paper for each person.  Imagine you have arrived at a way-station on your spiritual journey.  Picture a lovely, relaxing place where you can become spiritually refreshed.  See yourself resting there with Jesus.  Let His peace fill you.  (pause)  When the time comes to continue the journey, everyone ponders these questions.

1.        What do I need to pack for the rest of my journey? 

2.       What shall I leave behind?

3.       What do I need to acquire so I can complete my journey?

After a time of silence, check to see if anyone needs more time.  Let each person share his/her answer to all three questions.  It seems best if you really listen to what others are saying from their heart.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Still Standing

By Helen Knueven

There breathes a certain company of people
Unimpressed with themselves
Still standing – to give honor to His name.

The enemy can’t rejoice against this nation
When they fall – they do arise
Still standing – to his horrified surprise.

There lives a unique family related
By the blood of Jesus Christ
Still standing – unshakable in the shakings

There thrives a select group of folks, as one,
Who love the name of Christ
Still standing – with expectancy.

This company of people, brought close by His presence
Are a joyful crowd of because they know
The Master’s love, The Savior’s touch
Still standing – receiving strength.

Lord, give me this certain company of people
Gone through the fire, Called from the wilderness
Still standing - by your grace

My heart is warmed when I think that we
sharpened each others’ blades, readied ourselves,
Still standing – we have been changed

If I have to go to war – let it be with these
Who counted the cost, and called it pocket change
Still standing – for the glory of the call.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Heart Ready for Response

By Kathryn Lang

Develop the habits to become a heart ready for response. Christian writers hold more responsibility than other writers just telling stories. Each one  of us should be prepared to give a response about the Who that directs the words and the why behind the need to share them. It is not just about a Christian message within the words, but the heart behind their creation.

Getting a Heart Ready for Response

Be ready to answer - Know why you do what you do. Some writers are in it for the money and others are in it to make a difference. Make a list of the reasons behind your actions. Let the list build a vision sentence that sums up what you want others to see and know about your writing abilities.

Be ready to pray – Comments from readers and those that want to begin their own writing journey often come with hurts, habits or hang-ups that need healing. Being in a place where those pains are presented to you will require a heart ready (and even eager) to cover that pain with a touch of prayer.

Be ready to encourage – The world drags down the heart and enthusiasm of those that dare to walk through it. Daily doses of inspiration and motivation can be the difference between a heart that stumbles on and a heart that stumbles and quits. Meeting those people – through the written words or personal appearances – means that you may be the only one that can offer the courage they need to be hearts that push through.

Be ready to stop – Reaching out to others may not be convenient for your timeline or schedule. It takes practice to live out the idea to “Love God – Love others,” especially when a deadline looms on the horizon. The time invested in holding out a hand to another will return an interest that could never be found another way.

Be ready to listen – There are so many needs in the world, and no single person can fill them all. Each person has been given a time, a season and a purpose. The only way to know yours is to know the Weaver on a personal and intimate basis. Listen to the directions that He gives you and then follow through on His directives.

Words have power – even those that are “just telling a story.” The Christian has been called to go to all the world and share the good news. Begin to come to a place where the One that created the good news is the One that directs your words and actions. Soon, you will become a heart ready to respond to the needs of those that you encounter.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I Ain't No Grammar Girl

By Lori Boruff

I am a writer but not the best
so I'm getting this off my chest--
I ain't no grammar girl!

My participles dangle                                                             
and I don't even no it,
I imagine the scene
but don't know how to show it.

Double negatives haunt me,
ellipses taunt me,
conjuctions I strut—
don't look at my big but!

I ain't no grammar girl!

I often compare my verbs to yours.
Am I a skinny or fat writer?
In my dreams I hear
Cec Murphey scream WRITE TIGHTER!

I ain't no grammar girl!

I suffer from split infinitives—
however, they're not readily contagious,
that's what I think about that!
Is that too many thats?

Will I grow up to be the grammar queen?
The bestest writer you've ever seen?
Practice makes perfect, I know that's true,
so look out grammar gurus—someday I may be like you!