Character Development

boy readingWhat makes the characters in one book seem so real, and in another, flat and uninteresting? There are many possible answers, but I’d like to focus on one aspect of character development… [Read more…]

The Farm

swingingAt the foot of the lane, just inside the gate, protruded a long, rusty pipe embedded in the steep rock wall. From its spout gushed a cascade of sparkling cold spring water, into a square, moss-grown stone reservoir. Although this was intended for cattle, we children had discovered its real value. How delicious and cool it was to our parched throats after a rollicking game of “hide and seek” or “kick the can.” [Read more…]

It Is Well With My Soul

Horatio_SpaffordIt isn’t often we sing the same hymn twice in one Sunday, but we did today. One of my favourites, and one of the most beautiful hymns I know, it also has one of the saddest stories behind the writing of it.

Horatio Spofford lost everything in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and in an economic downturn in 1873. He and his family were to travel to Europe, but at the last minute he was delayed on business, and sent his wife and four little girls on ahead. [Read more…]

Smoky Sunset

sunset over St. Louis' (May 23 2015) The land lay under an heavy pall of smoke today, from dozens of forest fires burning around the province. Smoke came in through the open windows of our home, making me wonder who had a wood fire going. We weren’t burning anything, and our nearest neighbour is half a mile away. [Read more…]

What Will You Be Remembered For?

walking caneLast month our son Timothy graduated from Mount Carmel Bible College. It’s a small school with a family atmosphere. It wasn’t surprising, then, when a staff member who addressed the graduates gave a two-word description for each one. Some were obvious, like “Kim’s melody”, for everyone knew how she loved to sing, and would do so in meetings and ministry. But most of them were inside jokes that only the graduates and their own families knew. I waited, breathless, for what she’d say about our son. [Read more…]

Overcoming Writer’s Block

Typewriter.Some of my favourite, most highly respected writer friends don’t believe in writer’s block. “Just sit down and write!” they say.

I don’t believe that, because I’ve been battling writer’s block for six years. [Read more…]

Kindergarten Adventure

Willena Rose Cummins - Gr1I never had company as I walked to kindergarten. At five years old, I took the mile-long walk alone. I didn’t mind. I liked being alone. There was so much to do along the way. Kick a pebble ahead of me… admire the flowerbeds in the yards along the way… throwing pebbles in the creek… balancing on the curb pretending I was a tightrope walker… [Read more…]

The Ring

The RingKatie Higgins sat on her bed, chin resting in her hands. Her eighteen-month-old brother, David, played quietly at her feet, with three tiny plastic kittens.

What a waste of a perfectly fantastic day, she fumed inwardly, to have to spend it cleaning my room. [Read more…]

A Baby for Mother’s Day

Last week, on the first of May, I shared a little of my family with you because that day was the anniversary of my Granny Cummins’ birth.

The truth is, the first half of the month of May has always been a special time in my family, especially for my mom and me. May 10th is my birthday, and May 13th was my mom’s birthday. Since May 10, 1953 was Mother’s Day and I am the eldest in my family, I’ve always liked to say… [Read more…]

Music in My Heart

I’ve always wondered why Mrs. Smith chose to teach kindergarten as a profession. She never seemed to enjoy it.

Her favourite form of punishment for the smallest misdemeanor was to send a child to stand in the corner — behind the big upright piano. Her victim didn’t have to be a wayward kindergarten pupil. Sometimes it was an older kid, making faces at us through the window. Occasionally Mrs. Smith would forget she had sent someone there. One hapless 7th grade student was forgotten until noon when he timidly spoke up from behind the piano and asked to be allowed to go home for lunch. [Read more…]