March Meeting Fun

In spite of Monday’s snowfall, five members gathered for the March 13 meeting fun.

  • Chris
  • Marilyn
  • Kris
  • Deb
  • Beth

shamrockTo our delight, Deb brought snacks-to-die-for: mixed nuts, fresh fruit compote (blueberries, raspberries, green grapes, clementine orange sections), the most delicious homemade gluten-free muffins, and flavored waters. Yes, we feasted on such bounty! Thank you, Deb.

Our “Limericks Leave ’em Laughing” educational indeed had us laughing. Based on an article in the February/March 2017 issue of Our Wisconsin and a little library research, it covered:

  • fun facts about the Irish origins and history of limericks from Shakespeare’s day to the present
  • the popular and fascinating “Limerick Hall of Fame” in Greendale, WI (A great place for a Word & Pen field trip. Any takers?)
  •  the five “rules” of form, rhythm, and content for writing limericks
  • Stopping four times to read together another hilarious limerick–the last while beating out the rhythm with our hands
  • information on the opportunity to write and submit original limericks for possible publication in Our Wisconsin  (find contributor guidelines at


In addition to the educational, Beth also presented a devotional titled “My Writer’s Anthem” about fighting through fears in order to write what God has put on our hearts. It ended with the prayer:

“Lord, thank you for your unfailing care and the power of your Word to overcome the enemy’s attempts to defeat your writers. May our anthem–the glad song of praise in our hearts and on our lips–always be: Lord, I trust in you alone (Psalm 31:1, The Living Bible). Amen!”

Chris read a riveting article that included President Trump saying it never failed to touch his heart when people said, “I’m praying for you, Mr. President.” She then passed out postcards on which we might write such words (if we wanted to) and gave the address:

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington DC 20500

Deb closed the meeting by praying for members’ needs, including those who were not able to come to this meeting. (Yes, we missed you and always love it when you can make a meeting.)

By the way, Chris is looking for someone to teach an educational at the next meeting. See you then!





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March 13 Word & Pen Meeting

Hello Writers,

Can you feel spring in the air? Maybe smell it where the ground has thawed? Believe this: Spring is coming soon.

RobinThese days are like a movie trailer, luring us into the big event when we can dash outside without heavy coats and cozy mittens. However, the weatherman reminds us with colder temps in the offing, winter does not give up easily.

Whatever comes next Monday evening, Word & Pen members, guests, and visitors will gather to share about the craft of writing.

Join us at 7:00 p.m. Monday night, March 13, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Menasha. Guests and visitors are always welcome.

  • Beth will lead us in a devotional.

  • Beth will also teach a how-to educational titled : “Limericks Leave ’em Laughing.”

  • Deb S will provide the refreshments.

Every0ne is welcome–even encouraged–to read aloud one page of writing when it is your turn to tell the group what you accomplished writing-related this past month and what you hope to work on until the April meeting.

If you need help with an idea, here is this month’s prompt: Write about “fever,” be it an illness like Scarlet Fever, or a feverish need/ambition, or even Spring fever.

Please respond with your attendance intentions. Knowing how many to expect helps greatly in planning handouts and refreshments for the meeting.

Looking forward to seeing you next Monday!


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February Word & Pen Meeting

Have you noticed that daylight lasts about an hour longer now? The sun is alive and giving us light for at least one more  go-around.

Now what about us? How is the Son alive and giving light in our own particular daily world?

winter-sunshineMore particularly–are you writing?

I admit to laxness this past month. Too much other living-life distractions. Well, that’s why we get together every month–to be accountable, to learn, to have fellowship, and to encourage one another.

Consequently, I invite you to come to the writers’ gathering on Monday night, February 13, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Menasha. Come at 7:00 p.m., enter through the back door (by the ramp), and walk straight ahead to the lounge.

Here’s the plan:

  • a devotional offered by Kathi
  • yummy treats prepared by Beth
  • educational presented by me (Chris) on “Building a Character”

I love to make up characters and hope to share that joy with you. At least I’ve got some good ideas and expect to get them in presentable order by next week.

Everyone is invited to bring a one-page piece of writing to share in the accountability round. (This is an optional activity but much appreciated.)

As for this month’s writing prompt (if you need one), try developing something about this scenario: The girl on the bus stared out the window. Tears streamed down her face. What did she see?

We do like to know how many members and guests to expect, so please let us know your attendance plans. Hit the comment button now, and I hope you say you can come! Guests are always welcome.

See you next Monday evening, February 13 at 7:00 p.m. Meetings last till 9:00.

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Important Message on January Meeting of Word & Pen

It’s a brand new year! The holiday season is behind us, and we’re looking forward to learning and growing in our writing craft.


Along those lines, here’s message from our Word & Pen Christian Writers leader about next week’s meeting …

Hello Writers!

Let’s try it again, shall we? That is–another year of writing to hone our craft, be accountable to God for the gift of our talent, our ideas, our unstoppable urge to write, write, write.

Just as the year has turned, so also it’s time for each of us to turn from our too busy, to lazy, too harried, or whatever your particular “too” is, and get back to exercising our talent. Let’s make “time to write” our goal in this new year.

Consequently, here is your invitation to our writers’ gathering at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, January 9 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Menasha WI.

  • Pedar will inspire us with his devotional.

  • Deb will teach us on the topic of “Block Busters.”

  • Kathi will supply refreshments.

JANUARY WRITING PROMPT: Write abut a particular funeral, funerals in general, death/dying, starting anew, adjusting to changed circumstances … you get the idea.

You may bring one page of writing to read to the group.

MEMBERS: It’s time to renew your membership. Please bring your $10 for this year.

GUESTS: We always welcome guests, but do appreciate knowing how many to plan for.

MEMBERS and GUESTS: Please let us know whether or not you intend to come to this month’s meeting. REPLY

Looking forward to seeing you next Monday night!


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Word & Pen Meeting Info for Nov.14

Hello Writers,

Daylight Time is over; now the dark falls early. I know it’s only a
matter of manipulating the clock, but that’s the way it seems,
almost like a preamble to winter’s spreading his white mantle over

Let me remind you that November 14 is the very last meeting of Word
& Pen for the year 2016. I hope you are planning to come out at
7 o’clock Monday night to greet fellow writers at St.Thomas
Episcopal Church in Menasha.

  • Trish will bring us the devotional and yummy treats.
  • Pedar will teach the educational on “Building a Twitter Base.”twitter-and-social-media

You are welcome to read aloud one page of writing as we go around
the accountability circle, hearing what all has been happening
in our writing lives this past month.

I came across an intriguing prompt from Writers Write and can see
several ways to take off on the idea. See what you make of it: “Write
about the girl with the dandelion soul.”

Guests are always welcome. We do like to know how many to plan
for, so please reply and let us know your attendance plans.

Our meeting after November will be January 9, 2017, but I hope to
see you yet this year.



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Word & Pen Writers Meeting Info for Oct 10

autumn-leaves-with-heartNo doubt you all keep your own calendar with important dates like Word and Pen’s meetings, so that my reminder notice is just a little extra ink on the page. I hope so, anyway. Know, then, that Word and Pen Christian Writers will gather at
7 p.m., on Monday night, October 10, at St. Thomas Episcopalian
Church lounge in Menasha. Yeah, I know that’s not much notice.

  • Kris Orkin is doing the devotional
  • Beth Ziarnik is taking care of the educational on
    “7 Ways to Prayer Power Your Writing”
  • Marge Tuxen is in charge of the goodies.

As usual, each person is welcome to read aloud one page of writing during our accountability round.

If a “what to write” nudge is useful for you, write about color. This is a good month to think color; we see it out our window every day. It could be the trees changing in the autumn, or the red of an embarrassing moment, or delve into some of the racial issues in the news. A topic like color is wide open for interpretation.

Guest are always welcome. Everyone, please let us know your attendance plans. Please hit “comment” now.

See you in a few days,

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Author of Snapshots Shared Her Writing Journey at November 9 Meeting

Twelve gathered for the November 9 meeting of Word & Pen Christian Writers to enjoy Mary Van Deraa’s story about her journey of writing her newly released book, Snapshots: Framing My Life’s Purpose (Tate Publishing). Her husband, Michael, assisted her in an interesting question-and-answer format.

An endorsement her book by Wisconsin’s first Poet Laureate, Ellen Kort that says it all: “What an engaging story Snapshots is, as it carries the reader through the hard truth of life. There is heart and soul and bravery. There is hope here, he heartbeat of our lives.” For more, go to Mary’s website:

Besides Mary and her husband, those in attendance included Marilyn, Kathi, Kris, Chris, Diane, Nancy, Pedar, Donna, Beth, and Leslie Turner, a guest invited by Mary and also a Tate author. Leslie’s book, Cowboys Coffee and Inspiration, released in 2014. For moew, go to:

Diane Pulda also inspired us with a reading from Smith Wigglesworth’s Devotional Book.

Beth Ziarnik provided refreshments and opened and closed the meeting in prayer.

The next meeting is scheduled for January 11, 2016.

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Word & Pen Christian Writers to Meet November 9

Word & Pen Christian Writers is all about growth in relationships and writing skill, so don’t miss this month’s fun and information that will spur you on to becoming an even better writer in 2016.

We gather on Monday, November 9 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Menasha WI, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

  • Beth Ziarnik will open and close the meeting in prayer and provide the refreshments
  • Diane Pulda will inspire us with a writer’s devotional.
  • Mary Van Deraa will share her experiences as she wrote her new book, Snapshots.

Those attending are invited to read a page of of their writing during the accountability round. This reading is optional.

Don’t have anything to read? Here is a writing prompt suggested by Chris S.: “Take an old photograph and write about it, answering the questions of who what, when where, why, and then how it made you feel. If you can’t find a photograph, write about something that happened to you as a child before you went to school–fact or fiction; again, use the five W’s and how it made you feel format.”

Guests are always welcome, whether experienced, newbies, or just thinking about the possibility. For planning purposes (refreshments and writing handouts), please let us know by responding to this post. Thank you and hope to see you November 9!

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Word & Pen Christian Writers to Meet October 12

Get ready for another lively meeting of Word & Pen Christian Writers as we gather at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Menasha WI on October 12, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

  • Kathi Bloy will facilitate the evening’s educational program (on CD from the 2015 Write-To-Publish conference). This month’s offering is “Write Fresh” by Erin Taylor Young, acquisitions editor at Redland Press, who says, “We want our readers not only to love our stories, but to love every word along the way.” We will learn how to engage our readers word by word through adding humor, vivid description, symbolism and metaphors, and dialogue that doesn’t dead end.
  • Marilyn Hein will inspire us with her devotional for writers.
  • Deb Schauland will provide refreshments, available throughout the evening, as well as open and close the meeting with prayer.

Chris S., our intrepid leader, invites all who attend to read aloud a one-page sample of their writing. Need an idea for this optional exercise? Chris suggests, ‘Write about something that happened suddenly–true story or fiction, any genre.”

Do you hope to come to the meeting? Please let Chris know by leaving a comment to this post. Chris says, “Knowing how many to expect  is ever so helpful as we plan for refreshments and the number of educational handouts.”

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“18 Rules for Improving Your Writing” Is a Hit!

The September 13 meeting of Word & Pen Christian Writers came alive during this month’s educational feature, laughing in response to Dr. Dennis Hensley’s humor and avidly taking notes on his CD topic, “18 Rules for Improving Your Writing.”

Those on hand included:

  • members –  Lois, Chris, Diane, Judi, Mary, Pedar, Marj, Kathi, and Beth.
  • guest – Lois’s friend Laura who is a member of Lighthouse Christian Writers in the Peshitigo, WI area

Next month’s educational: “Write Fresh to Interest Editors” by Erin Taylor Young, also a 2015 Write-To-Publish elective on CD. You won’t want to miss it.

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