Creative Posts

Creativity abounds among Blacknall women.  You write essays, songs, poems and devotions.  You create paintings and photographs and recipes.   Here is a place for us to share our work in a way to “encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).   To submit an offering, e-mail


  • Rachel Frey’s blog  is a mix of spiritual insights on farming, parenting, and missions from Rachel’s winsome and humble perspective.  She has gorgeous photos of landscapes and cute kids too.
  •  Margot Hausman has a fun, brightly colored provocative website,  Her blog is called “Live Love in the World, Inspiring followers of Jesus.”   Check out her video clips called, “Margot’s Monday Minute.”  You may recognize some people you know.
  •  Kathy Mitchell’s blog is called “Mitchell’s Moments:”  Much of what Kathy posts is centered around life with Mikayla, their adorable three-year-old daughter adopted from Ethiopia last year.  Adoption is one theme of this blog.  They hope to adopt another child soon.
  •  Anna Morrison’s blog is “Home Grown Sunshine” and with beautiful photos and a special section on the topic of foster parenting.
  • Katie Reeder-Hayes’ blog:  The most recent entry is a vivid description  of  the birth of ” Tater Tot, ” their youngest son, the evening of the Duke/Carolina basketball game! 
  • Ann Stuntz’s blog   Tarmama Wanderings,  “Reflections of a Wanderer in this Place Between the Two Comings of Christ. “  Ann shares deeply on universal subjects such as fear, God’s love, grief, beauty.  The photos are stunning too.
  • Alice J. Wisler is a novelist and writing teacher.  Her blog is: She also contributes to a blog called “Writing from Home” which also has many ideas about generating a vocation and income by working at home.  Alice also has a website which features her writings and workshops.   Her website address:

*There may be other of you creative Blacknall people who would like to share your blog addresses.  If so, please send the address to Margaret


Do you want to get well?

There is no shade

despite five columns surrounding the pool

built by those Romans stuck on

showing us their strength and power.

But little impresses me after 38 years –

more than 38,000 days of lying here.

I often take a week off at Passover,

     in case you are wondering.

I watch the rippling water become smooth again

body after broken body slipping in and out.

Most walk away, dripping wet, but

I’ve seen a few leaning heavily on their crutches still.

     Old habits die hard.

When he speaks to me

I have little idea what to do.

I don’t know the last time

someone really looked into my eyes

     and saw the tears gather.

“Do you want to get well?”

Cornered, I rely on old excuses.

“I have no one to help me.” “It doesn’t feel safe.”

“The water is probably colder than it looks.”

“Then choose another way“  he says.

“Just pick up your mat and walk.”                                                                  

Martha C. Carlough

Loyola House, Guelph Ontario



The Honor

Daylight breaks, coffee brews, work awaits, God is here.

In the uncertainty of this day, the question poised:

Will anything be  more of a privilege today

than reaching out my hand and asking Him to take it?

Together, through meadows, over thorny crags,

in sunshine, clouds, and torrents that seem endless.

Never will I walk alone.

This hand of mine was formed to hold His.

Alice J. Wisler


Proverbs and Portraits

by Serena Whisenhunt

When my seventh grade Bible students begin our unit on Proverbs, their first task is to look at the many verses that describe Wisdom, as she is personified in the book.  They note the details of her appearance (long life in her right hand, riches and honor in her left hand, feet planted on pleasant paths of peace, etc.) and then each student creates Wisdom’s portrait.  Some draw her with her house (it has seven pillars) and some place her with her roommate (her name is Prudence).  Whether the portraits of “Lady Wisdom” are drawings, paintings, or collages, they always delight me; and they give students a taste of how the book of Proverbs presents abstract ideas in concrete language.

As I reflect on Proverbs, though, I realize that the book presents quite a few portraits. Yes, there is Lady Wisdom, gleaming with adornments that make gold and precious gems seem dull.  But there is also the portrait of the adulterous young man (he’s compared to a dumb animal who, unaware, is walking to his own slaughter).  There are portraits of diligent workers, lazy slugabeds, speakers of falsehood, and those who practice the discipline of self-control.  Proverbs also describes the wicked (picture the background in shades of comeuppance and consequence!) and those who are generous (“a man who refreshes others will himself be refreshed”).  We also get a portrait of Folly, who is very loud, undisciplined, and, unfortunately, attractive to some people.  And then, in the last chapter of the book is the famous  description of  the “wife of noble character,” who gets up early, transacts real estate, clothes her family in linen and purple, and generally makes this writer feel tired.

Read these portraits—a good plan is to read whatever chapter corresponds to the day of the month—and see the most important portrait of all.  It is the portrait of the person who heeds instruction, embraces wisdom, and pursues knowledge and righteousness.  You have to read all of Proverbs to see how this portrait is fleshed out.  It is a person (let’s call her a woman, since this is a women’s newsletter) walking in right relationship with God, recognizing that God’s wisdom is inextricable from righteousness.  She is a woman who does not need to look uneasily over her shoulder, but rather she walks confidently on straight, well-lit paths.  She weighs her words carefully.  She is kind and considerate.  She enjoys sensual pleasures in moderation, receiving their intended benefit without being mastered by appetite.  She has integrity.  She listens to rebuke and becomes even wiser.  She helps the poor and oppressed.  Rather than act rashly, she does her research .  She embodies humility and fear of the Lord. . She keeps good company.

That’s quite a portrait, and who would not want to aspire to such wisdom?  But the book does not offer formulas or guarantees. The wise sayings of Proverbs are not intended to be read as God’s decrees, but rather as statements of general life truths. They are offered to enlighten a person as to how things are (for example, bringing a gift is usually a good idea, especially if you are asking for something); how to live out, in daily life, obedience to God’s commands (“Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’ Wait for the LORD and he will deliver you,” for example); and pitfalls to avoid (debt, gossip, sexual immorality, drunkenness, and talking without thinking are some that Proverbs warns about).  Read in whole, though, these practical sayings do point to the greatest command, to love God with your whole heart, mind and strength.  The pithy sayings affirm that the series of choices we make each day matter in the spiritual realm. The vivid, succinct language of Proverbs grabs our attention and invites us to look at those choices with new eyes .  We read, for example, that “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.”  Proverbs are provocative!

Best of all, the reader of Proverbs is inspired to seek out the best that her Creator offers on this side of heaven: the ever-increasing  joy and enduring riches of living in unabashed allegiance to the Lord.  Embedded in that commitment is the belief that God is, that God sees, and that God is in control. Proverbs give us practical guidance in living out that belief, and we are reminded, over and over, of the blessings that come with that commitment.  “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”