A Call for Reflections

Margaret SkipworthMargaret Skipworth is a Christian writer living in Yorkshire, England. For many years she worked as a newspaper journalist. Since starting to fiction in 1995 she has won and has been shortlisted in many short story competitions. Her stories have appeared in magazines in the UK and Australia, in anthologies and on the internet.

She provides a manuscript assessment service for the UK Association of Christian Writers. She is also a Home Study tutor and editor.

Margaret recently set up a ‘Reflections’ page on her website (www.margaretskipworth.com) and is inviting Christians all over the world to share their stories, meditations, poems and photos about some aspect of their Christian lives.

Here, she explains:

I was delighted last year when two of my meditations were accepted by The Secret Place and The Upper Room and I was then asked to write a piece for The Upper Room blog.

I received some lovely feedback from readers. Like me, these people were interested in reading about ‘ordinary’ Christians, from different countries and cultures, who had been touched by God’s love and grace in their daily lives.

Many Christians have a message they would like to tell others. But, not everyone can – or wants to – write to the strict guidelines laid down by the daily devotional booklets. So, I decided to open a page on my website for Christians to share their thoughts and stories. There are many ways to rejoice in God’s goodness and to spread His word – through testimonies, stories, anecdotes, poems, photos… I am hoping to have room for them all.

Some people have asked why I didn’t set up a separate Christian-themed blog. Well, my website is already visited by non-Christians, so I am praying they will also enjoy reading these ‘reflections’ and be prompted to find out more about Christianity for themselves.

I don’t have many ‘rules’ but submissions should be no more than around 300 words and I would like the tone to be warm and chatty, rather than preachy. Further guidelines can be found on the Contact page of my website.

I am planning to change the page every month – more often if I receive enough contributions. I am hoping this is a page people will look forward to reading on a regular basis.

Thank you so much for inviting me to ‘speak’ to you on your blog. It’s been a pleasure, and I am looking forward to reading some of your ‘reflections.’

Here’s an example:

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2014 was to fit more exercise into my daily routine. So, on New Year’s Day, I set the alarm and leapt out of bed at 6.00 am to go for a brisk walk.

My husband was suffering from ‘man-flu,’ so he didn’t share my enthusiasm.

‘Bring me a cup of tea when you get back,’ he murmured.

When I set off, it was cold, damp and dark. On previous occasions when we’ve been out at that time we’ve seen dog-walkers, people waiting for buses to take them to work, teenagers delivering newspapers and people doing their shopping at the nearby 24-hour supermarket.

On New Year’s Day, I came across one dog walker and a hoodie withdrawing money from the cash-point at the supermarket. I presumed most people were ‘sleeping off’ the effects of their New Year’s Eve celebrations.

By the time I headed for home I was feeling quite miserable. But then, a glorious sunrise appeared before me and my spirits lifted.

Now, several months later, it’s always light – and sometimes sunny – at 6.30 am. We don’t have to do our walk in the dark and I am always thankful for the precious gift of these beautiful mornings.

A few days ago, as we enjoyed our walk, two Bible passages popped into my head – 2 Samuel 22:29 and Isaiah 50:10 – and I was reminded that many people live their whole lives in darkness because they don’t know our wonderful Saviour.

Jesus said ‘I am the Light of the World’ (John 8:12). As Christians it’s up to us to pray for people who don’t know Jesus and to spread the Good News. If we do this every day, how many more people will be walking in the light tomorrow? 

Margaret Skipworth

www.margaretskipworth.com

'Inspire Victory' Launch Celebrates Latest Anthology

Sacramento readers can expect uplifting reading and an inspirational time when they attend the launch party for Inspire Victory, the latest Christian anthology from Inspire Christian Writers. The party kicks off on Saturday, May 10 at The Bible House in Elk Grove at 11 a.m. and concludes at 2 p.m. Contributors will be available to autograph copies of the book and answer questions about the organization.

The book offers a collection of poetry, essay, devotions and fiction dealing with the subject of victory in the Christian life. The offerings come from writer of many backgrounds and experiences. All contributors are members of Inspire Christian Writers, a California-based organization that encourages and provides training for Christian authors in all disciplines.

Editors Michelle Janene and Dana Sudboro reviewed submissions from many of the membership to choose the best in each category for this volume. The book is available online as well as in bookstores.

Previous anthologies from the group include Inspire Trust, Inspire Faith, Friends of Inspire Faith and Inspired Glimpses of God’s Presence. At least fifty books have been published by individual members of the organization, as well. Genres include nonfiction, fiction, young adult fiction and children’s books.

The editors for the next anthology under development, entitled Inspire Promises, are accepting submissions for consideration through June 1. Membership in the organization is a prerequisite for contributors.

Toward the goal of “equipping writers to inspire the world,” the group offers a variety of workshops and seminars. Individual critique groups scattered across the state, and branching into other states as well, provide opportunities for writers to affiliate with Inspire Christian Writers. Members gain a supportive environment to help improve writing skills within the framework of faith.

“Inspire has outgrown my vision for it several times over! We started with a critique group and have added other membership benefits as we saw needs arise in our writers. We host several workshops each year where authors share their experiences and expertise with our writers. We host an annual conference that provides learning and networking as well as opportunities to share our projects with an agent or editor,” says founder Elizabeth Thompson. The group continues to expand and pursue new avenues of helping Christian writers become the best they can be.

___________

Mary Beth Magee writes for Sacramento Writing Examiner covering topics and events of interest to writers in the Sacramento Area. You can follow her articles here.