Tribute to A Friend

Today I posted a poem by Margaret Penner Toews on my Swallow in the Wind poetry blog. Shortly after she died I wrote the following as a tribute to her; she was such a special lady, a friend to all, a prolific poet and writer of devotionals, mentor to up-and-coming writers like myself.

When I wanted to take over Canaquest, a friendship newsletter for women, I appealed to Margaret for help and she kindly agreed to write an article for every issue; this was my encouragement to go ahead with my dream.

What is writing?

It’s an inspiration.  For some it can be just the inspiration for a story line, but for others, it starts with a flash from heaven.  We catch a glimpse of a celestial rainbow so impressive that we want to tell the world how beautiful and compassionate God really is.

It’s a message.  Writing can convey many messages, both holy and sordid.  But in its purest, highest form it’s a message of hope and love that our Heavenly Father has asked us to convey.

It’s a vision.  We see that writing can touch others, can inform and inspire to action.  This vision, coupled with the realization that one soul is worth all our pain, gives us courage to say what we believe needs to be said.

It’s a calling.  For some it’s simply a desire for the world’s applause.  For those who have dedicated their life to Christ, it’s a sense that God is asking us to devote our time for His cause.

Some see it as a weakness.  They will look on and shake their heads at the things we’re neglecting.  While others are accomplishing “worthwhile” and very visible tasks–or at least keeping their houses spotless–we’re frittering away our time scribbling tales.

It’s a struggle.  Choosing words, defining words, chopping words.  Pouring your thinking, your heart, your life experiences out on paper and holding them up for others  to examine and comment on, to frown on.  While other folks keep mum about the mistakes they’ve made, here you are blabbing them to all the world!

It’s a stewardship.  Inspirations that are divinely given demand productiveness; we must someday give account of what we’ve done with them.  Whether verbal or written, we all must answer for the kind of message we have conveyed to our fellow man.

It’s a legacy.  You have left something invaluable for your grandchildren–and ours, too.  We can’t thank you enough!

It’s a reward.
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”  Daniel 12:3

When you rose to your heavenly reward, my friend, you dropped your mantle. If it fell on another servant of the Lord, I pray they will be a faithful steward just as you have been.

Margaret’s poem books:
Five Loaves and Two Small Fish; First A Fire; Fourth Watch

Her devotional books:
Through the Scent of Water; Threads From His Hem; The Winds of God

Her children’s books:
Pig Pen Boy; Paul and the Unfriendly Town; Fly High My Kite (poetry for children)

These are all available in the USA from
Gospel Publishers, Moundridge, KS or E-mail:
In Canada from
Gospel Publishers, Ste. Anne MB or E-mail:


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