Carol Harrison B.Ed. is a storyteller, speaker, writer, teacher,and facilitator who loves to share from her heart one on one or with any size of group.

You can reach Carol via:
email: carol@carolscorer.ca
phone: 306 230 5808

twitter: @CarolHarrison6

Recent Posts

NaNoWriMo 2017


Today begins a month of novel writing for many people. November has been designated as NaNoWriMo – national novel writing month. The challenge, should you decide to accept it, is to write 50,000 words on a novel. A writer can have a story outline, plot details, character sketches and research done before November 1 but are not allowed to begin writing the actual story prior to the first day of November. The idea is to write, do a brain dump but not edit as you go – that can come later.

Last year I accepted the challenge to try and write 50,000 words towards my first fiction book. My grandson, Nathaniel, challenged me to the fiction writing and my oldest daughter, Lorilee, decided NaNoWriMo offered the perfect venue to accomplish the deed. I made it to 56,000 words.

In the past year I have done some revising, editing and received feedback from some readers and a critique of the first couple chapters. Yet I have remained stuck in getting any further on the book. Now it is time to accept or decline the challenge of another November of writing.


I thought I had an idea. Actually I had a few ideas for another book, yet this present work in progress nagged me to come back and finish it. My husband added his words of encouragement or pressure ( depended on the day) to get it done and available for people to read. I looked at the manuscript again. I had my husband start to read it. After we chatted I realized what caused my problem. I had a character that begged for her story to be told too but that gave too much story for the book.

I came up with a solution. The new idea I planned to work on for this November could be put on hold. The present manuscript would have at least another 50,000 words added to it and split into two books of a series. Relief at a possible solution flowed through me. The character did a happy dance at being heard and I quickly jotted notes for the additions to the stories. I am hoping that by the end of November I will have met or exceeded the word count and have the rough drafts of not one but two fiction novels.

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The time starts now to put my plan into action. Happy writing for anyone who is taking part in NaNoWriMo or simply following your own plan of action to get the stories inside you out into the world in some way, shape or form.

Putting the Puzzle Pieces of Life Together


I saw a display of puzzles at a store the other day with interesting pictures on the box. Some had beautiful scenes but others included a display of cupcakes, memorabilia or other objects. Puzzles seem to have photos to appeal to a variety of tastes and interests.

When you buy a puzzle, crack open that seal and know that all the pieces to put together a picture like the one represented on the box will spill out, you know a journey of discovery, of creativity and fun is about to begin.
But what about opening up a used puzzle box? Do you wonder if all the pieces are still contained in the box? What do you do with a puzzle with missing pieces?

I found some interesting ideas on Pinterest when I looked for clip art about puzzles. I saw unique ways of reusing or repurposing puzzle pieces. I found someone used them on a photo frame to give it a unique look. Others took them to make a picture, unlike the original intended use. puzzle pieces 8puzzle light

But what about life? The pieces of our lives, the things we have learned, done and experiences in the past all help shape how we will deal with a new situation or our new normal. What have we learned from looking back over the good, bad and ugly times in our lives that we can generalize for the present or future situations we find ourselves in?

lessons learned

I Each one of us can make a list, either mentally or a physical list on paper, about what we have learned through our lives and what taught us those lessons. Yet there are some things that can be general for anybody. I found several as I researched what others had to say on this topic.

life lesson1 Looking back the negative often jumps to the forefront. The hard times, the struggles with many things, the hurts, disappointments and fears. Yet each of these things has helped shape us into who we are today and as we look into the mirror – look honestly at the present – we can see the strength that has developed, the lessons learned, the empathy for others who are hurting and yes pride in our accomplishments – I would add gratefulness to God for giving us the ability to accomplish what we have. How can we use this going forward?

I think as we look back and see the faithfulness of God in bringing us through the storms, teaching us valuable lessons and growing our faith and strength we can remember that if God did that in the past and he never changes we can rely on him to guide us through whatever bumps and twists the journey ahead contains.

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be a blessing

I think these two quotes are a great way to end looking at how we an put the puzzle pieces of life together. May our perspectives become eternal, looking at God for our hope, help, peace and strength. May we beat back the negative with positive words, actions and thoughts. May we look back in order to see the successes after the tough stuff, the growth and lessons learned as we move forward, allowing God to guide us in the unique journey he has planned for each one of us.

May you cherish the uniqueness of the puzzle pieces of your life, encourage others and build them up truly accepting them for the unique individuals they are.

Abundant Life – Journey or Destination?


When life is a tangle of puzzle pieces that do not seem to fit together we wonder how a beautiful picture will ever take shape with this abundant -plentiful number of pieces.
In John 10:10 Jesus says that he has not come like a thief to steal, kill and destroy. He has not come to get but to give. He comes as the shepherd ready to care for the sheep, look after all their needs and love them. He has come to give life. He goes further and says he wants us to not only have life but to have an abundant life.

Abundant means exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure, a quantity so abundant as to be considerably more than one would expect or anticipate. I love the one phrase I read in a definition of abundant – more than is necessary.

When life is tough and we wonder how to make it to the end of the month before the money runs out or illness ravages us or our loved ones or we grieve the loss of a family member or friend we wonder how that can be abundant life. Our wants, our desires for more material possessions, an easier life, a better job, a bigger house or any other material possession that we are told will show others we are a success, might not match our present circumstances. Yet if we are believers in Jesus as the way to a right relationship with God and heaven as our destination, than our perspective should not match society around us.


What possible abundance do we have when the puzzle pieces of life remain in a jumbled mess with no clear picture formed, no end in sight. Heaven seems but a far off dream of abundance? Jesus tells us that he will provide peace and that can happen in the middle of the worst possible circumstances. It is unexplainable in human terms. He provides help but not always the way we expect or in the time frame we demand. He allows us to experience wonderful times and hard times, challenges and accomplishments. He only asks that we trust him and follow him no matter what is going on.

Is this journey of an abundant life an easy one? Does it contain times of uncertainty and grief? No it is not easy but the alternative of hopelessness and a lack of peace does not appear to me to be satisfactory either.
I have known peace beyond explanation or imagination while my baby daughter lay in a coma even while I shed tears of fear and grief. I have known instant forgiveness when the basement stairs collapsed and I fell eight feet into the basement, because my husband had not fastened the staircase adequately. I have known a deep sense of hope even while saying goodbye to my mom when she was only 75 years old and I wanted more time with her. But she believed, beyond a doubt, in her hope of heaven and I did too.

Yes I have had times where the hope seemed dim and the outcome of a hard time did not appear to be able to come quickly enough. I shed tears of fear and doubt crept in where I did not want it. I cried in pain when I broke my knee and asked God why now when I have been obedient to your call to speak. I get a bad case of wantitis – envy of what others have and I can not afford.

I need to remind myself that God is waiting to take those fears, doubts, pain, guilt and envy and turn it into something beautiful in his timing and in his way. Oh how I wish my faith would be stronger while I walk this journey. I desire to claim God’s promise of an abundant life.


In I Corinthians 2:9 the Bible tells us, “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”
God has promised an abundant life in him full of peace in the midst of turmoil, calm in the face of fear, love and forgiveness in the place of hate and bitterness. The choice is ours.
I really like this benediction in Ephesians 3: 20 – God’s promise that he is able to do more than all we ask and imagine.
Are you living with an eternal, God perspective so you can join others on this journey called life in the abundance of God’s promises?

Life Lessons from a Puzzle – Thriving on Challenges


There are challenges ahead. Maybe we have already discovered the latest challenge in our life. The challenges may be tough stuff over which we feel we have no control and really do not want to accept them let alone try and thrive while experiencing them. The challenge may be something new you are starting – a new job, place to live, school or learning a new skill.

Each type of challenge comes with its own set of rules and effect on our lives. The tough stuff requires our faith to be strong, helping hands to come along side and digging deep for courage, hope and finding the positives in the middle of the tough stuff.

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I am reading a friend’s posts on facebook as she goes through a tough journey with cancer. I appreciate her positive attitude, even as she shares how hard it is and how tears come often. She accepts prayers, visits and help from family and friends and posts pictures of the blessings of a view of the sunset through her window, the care of the staff in the hospital and stories or jokes that have helped bring a smile. She is in the middle of a challenging part of her life and yet she is thriving by believing that God has a plan and is the God of all possibilities.

Other challenges are learning times for us. I have accepted a challenge from my grandson, Nathaniel, to try and write fiction.


It means I have needed to read my favourite genres with a more observation. What makes them readable? Why do I like them? What has the author done to capture and hold my attention?
It means I need to learn more about writing skills and then practice them. I need to discover my style and what it will take to hold the reader’s attention. I also need to be willing to have help with editing to make it the best possible piece of writing I know how to do. The more I learn, the more I observe, the more I am willing to take the advice of more experienced writers, the better my writing will become.


What challenges are you experiencing in your life? Are you thriving on them or in spite of them or are they breaking you down? What help do you have as you experience life’s tough stuff or the learning of a new skill?

This road sign picture captures the premise of thriving on the challenges – keep going – you can do this. But I would like to add – you can do this – whatever the challenge is- with the help of God and those he puts in your life for such a time as this.

Life Lessons from a Puzzle – Observation


I often watched my father work on putting a puzzle together. He always searched for the edge pieces first. It gave him a starting point and they were often easier to spot with their one smooth side. Yet once the edge was complete he needed to begin to assemble the picture. Almost a thousand pieces still remained scattered across the table in front of him, each one painstakingly turned so the colour – picture portion side faced up.


He never seemed to rush in deciding which piece to pick up. Instead he carefully studied each piece and the spot he needed to fill. The more of the picture he had completed, the longer he seemed to study the remaining pieces. I saw him pick up a piece and pop it into the spot. When I tried working on a puzzle I looked at the pieces and chose several I thought might fit. I tried each piece this way and that. Sometimes I found the one I searched for but other times I needed to go back to the pile of pieces and try again. My dad, through observation, discovered pieces much more quickly and without as much effort or so it seemed to me.

Puzzle making and putting them together requires keen observation. You need to compare the pieces to the picture on the box – hopefully you have that guideline. You need to compare colours of pieces to know which ones likely go in the same area of the puzzle. You need to observe the bumps and holes as I call the them.

In life we also need to be observant. In the last few months I have been asking myself if I am paying enough attention, observing closely enough the needs and joys of those in my family and among my friends. Then I wonder if I am taking time to observe needs in the world around me – or my corner of it – that I might be able to address. Is there someone whom God is nudging me to do something with or for. Do I think about those who are lonely and in need of a visit? Do I have a burden to pray for someone and follow through? Do I even take the time to observe what God is trying to teach me?



Am I being observant of the blessings in my life and giving God thanks for them? Some people make a gratitude journal to help focus their attention to the positives, the blessings, the things to be grateful for. I think this might be a good exercise to help me focus and then to remember when life seems tough.

What do you use to help you focus and be observant?

Life Lessons from a Puzzle – Patience


lots puzzlw pieces

I look at all the puzzle pieces from a large picture puzzle scattered across the table and wonder how someone will find where they all belong. I have no patience for trying each piece until I find the one that fits. When I watched my father put a puzzle together, I noticed he looked, stared really, at the pieces. He was patient as he tried to discover the correct piece he needed at that moment. It takes patience to put a large puzzle together. There are no shortcuts in puzzles or in life.

patience def

Bill Butler in a June 2014 blog post said, “If it doesn’t fit, don’t force it. There is a mystery to a puzzle. It starts as an incoherent jumbled mess.”

Life can be an incoherent jumbled mess just like all the pieces dumped out of a puzzle box. We often, or at least I do, get impatient. I want life to be ordered, perfect and harmonious and when it isn’t I want it fixed yesterday. Yet most things happen beyond my control. I can not fix everything for myself, let alone for others. Only God knows the entire picture.

A number of years ago I lay in a hospital bed fighting for breath. I had a serious lung infection and asthma. The doctor listened to my lungs and shook his head. My skin had a grey tinge that got deeper each day due to a lack of oxygen. My lips looked like I had applied blue lipstick. The doctor said he heard no breath sounds at the bottom of my lungs. Any exertion, including the necessary coughing to rid my lungs of unwanted phlegm added to the distress my body encountered. A lady from church came to visit. She asked what to pray for and my first response was, “Patience.”

I wanted this infection to leave and leave now. I wanted the asthma to be under control immediately. I wanted to breathe freely, be discharged from the hospital and resume my everyday, normal duties of life. I was impatient for relief, impatient for healing, impatient for answered prayer. After several days of continually having my lungs become worse she told me she could not bring herself to pray for patience any longer. She felt she needed to simply leave that in God’s hand and pray for my recovery.

I ended up in the hospital for two weeks and an outpatient coming for daily nebulizer treatments multiple times a day. All summer my asthma caused breathing difficulties. I do not know or understand why God did not heal me immediately. I know he had a plan. I had to learn to be patient and listen to what my breathing allowed me to do.

patience words

Patience, the ability to put our desires on hold for a time, is not an easy task. I wish I could say I had learned how to be patient at all times but the truth is some times my impatience explodes. At other times my patience seems to be a great virtue I possess but I realize I truly do need to take this part of me to God and ask him to help me continue to learn to be patient with life circumstances, with other people, and with myself.

How is your patience? Do certain things cause it to disappear or be in short supply? May we learn from putting together puzzle pieces that if something in life doesn’t fit we shouldn’t be impatient and try and force it to be the way we think it should be. Instead I know I need to remember to trust that God’s plan is far better than anything I can imagine.

Comfort One Another

Comfort. The word evokes pictures of warm, fuzzy feelings, a sense of security and help. We hear about comfort food – mine is chocolate and sweet things and it shows on my figure or lack of one. I think of my children and their security blankets – comfort they could carry with them and snuggle into. My grandchildren wrapped the afghans I made them around themselves and some envisioned it like a grandma hug when they were not right with me.


Linus from Charlie Brown always has his blanket with him. It comforts him, helps him block out the struggles of the world around him but in the one Christmas special he gives the blanket to wrap around the base of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree – that forlorn looking, needles falling off little tree that needs some love and attention and only in the cartoons could it be made beautiful. He offered what comforted him.

To comfort means to ease or alleviate another person’s feeling of grief or distress. There are so many situations in our puzzle of life that can cause us distress or grief, no matter who we are.

In 2 Corinthians 1: 3& 4 it says,

Praise be to the god and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

I attended a ladies salad celebration at our church. The speaker, Kim Arendt, shared this passage with us along with part of her story. She shared the tough stuff and the lessons God taught her as he offered her comfort through on going hard times where the puzzle pieces of her life and her family’s life did not seem to fit together.

She challenged us to remember the comfort God gave us – the people he sent to walk along side us and the encouraging words or deeds in a time of despair. Then she said we should find a person whose story is like our past story and comfort them. If we have suffered a loss, then find someone else who is grieving and walk alongside them, offering comfort you experiences. I have a daughter with special needs so I can find another parent, maybe who is just starting on the journey of parenting someone with special needs. I can offer suggestions, respite, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on as I walk with them.

Have you struggled with an addiction or had a child or other family member who is addicted, then find someone who needs some comfort as they walk a most difficult past. Maybe your past contains depression, mental illness, chronic illness or cancer. There are so many others facing these issues. As God has comforted us, we are to walk with others who are hurting and comfort them.

This past summer I met a parent who just found out their teenage daughter found life almost unbearable. She had taken too many pills in order to rid herself of the internal pain she felt. But a friend found out about it, almost right away, and got help. The young girl’s cry for help had been heard but came as a total shock to her parents. I’ve struggled with depression. I know the internal pain. I had the opportunity to listen to his pain, share a bit of my journey – just enough so he knew he was not alone. I had received comfort from God, from people he had put in my life at just the right time and now I could pass on some of the comfort.

comfort one another

Think back to times you have needed someone to comfort you, whether a recent event or in the past. What brought you comfort in the midst of pain? How can you share that comfort with another person.

Be Kind To One Another


Being kind, according to the dictionary includes things like being friendly, generous and considerate. I read one time that kindness is love in working clothes. It involves doing something nice for someone else to show them we care.

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I love this word picture from scripture – clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness. . . Put it on like a beautiful garment – one that never goes out of fashion and looks good on everyone.

Kindness can take many forms. In depends on the person’s needs and situation as to what kindness might look like. It might be a smile, a listening ear, giving someone a ride or bringing them some food when they are hurting. Other times it might look different. We need to be open to possibilities to show kindness to someone else.

A few years ago I fell as I tried to walk carefully across an icy parking lot. I landed on my right knee with a thud and pain shot through the knee, then radiated up and down the leg. I knew from past experience ( yes I am a clutz) that falling on a knee causes a lot of pain, even when the injury is not serious.

The ladies whom I had just been a speaker for at their retreat offered to drive me home. I thought if I sat in the car for a few moments I would drive myself and let them go home to their husbands and families. They brought my car close and helped me up. Several stayed with me until the shock of the fall wore off a bit. I phoned my husband to warn him of my clumsiness in case I needed him to come and rescue me part way home.

By the time I drove the rest of the way into the city and pulled into our parking spot the knee no longer wanted to bend and the pain had become more severe. I phoned my husband to come out and take me to the ER. The X-ray revealed a piece of bone had broken out of the knee joint and I needed to be off my leg for six weeks and then another six weeks of partial to full weigh bearing on it.

Crutches and I did not get along well and winter, with its ice and snow still held a firm grip on the outside landscape. Ladies from church brought suppers for a week while my husband needed to be out of town. My father helped take me for X-rays when I needed them. Phone calls helped pass the time. But towards the end of the six weeks my friend phoned and said she wanted to come and look after my feet since she knew I likely had not been able to and would not have asked anyone else.

My friend came and sat at my feet while we visited. After allowing my feet to soak in a basin of warm water she gently dried them. Then she clipped and filed my toe nails. She added a bonus – she polished them too so I could feel pretty and pampered. What a beautiful act of kindness. I have never forgotten how much that unexpected act encouraged me, helped me and made me feel special and humbled.

What acts of kindness has someone shown you? What have you done to bestow kindness on another person. We need to scatter seeds of kindness everyday. We might never know how much it means to the person we do it for.

kind act

Forgive One Another



People mess up and hurt each other with words and actions. Oh wait – we are all those people at some point in our lives for we are an imperfect people living in a broken world.

I do not set out to hurt someone else but I have done it. I feel so bad afterwards. I have also been hurt by others. Sometimes my attitude is not one of forgiveness. I hold on to those hurts and have a giant pity party. I think, ‘Why should I let them off the hook? Why should I forgive them since they are the one that did something wrong?’

To forgive, according to the dictionary means to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw or mistake. Wow! Stop feeling angry or resentful. Saying it is much easier than doing it I find, especially sometimes.

The Bible tells me to forgive others as Christ has forgiven me. It also says to forgive so I can be forgiven. Forgiveness is a command. It is a condition of us knowing forgiveness. I believe that forgiveness has nothing to do with whether the other person deserves it. We do not deserve for God to forgive us. It is a gift, an act of mercy and grace. It is given out of love.


Forgiveness mends out broken hearts. It allows us to move on and keeps bitterness from growing like a bad week in our lives. It pulls the dark shadowed piece of puzzle out and gives a better fitting piece in its place.

Almost four years ago my husband’s health started to decline. He began to have problems with his water works and sought medical treatment. Several tests revealed things that caused a red flag and needed to be followed up but the specialist put off doing anything but ordering another test with a long wait time – a test my husband did not need. Over the next couple of months he became sicker and sicker. His doctor tried to get the specialist to see him but nothing happened. A visit to the ER resulted in pain killers, not a thorough investigation into the cause of the problems. I feared my husband would die shortly. I became angry at the medical system and their seeming lack of compassion. This anger and fear clouded my judgement, colour my world with negativity and worry. Finally an ER doctor took the symptoms seriously and did something to relieve a bit of the problem. He also told the specialist he needed to do something and not the test and he needed to do it now or his patient would be dead.

That day the specialist saw my husband and began to do something. But my anger continued. It spilled over into other areas of my life. I had no peace. I had no patience. The dark pit of depression threatened to engulf me. I needed help. I needed to forgive so I could be free. It did not matter if the doctors took responsibility. The onus rested on me to let the anger and resentment go, to give it to God and let him restore me, bandage my heart and put the pieces back together.

It took me longer than I like to admit but I finally let go. It is a work in progress way too often in my life. Doctors are imperfect people just like I am. They can procrastinate. They can be wrong. They can mess up. Holding on to my anger did nothing to them but it made me hurt, lose focus on what God wanted me to do and make bitterness grow.

I still have my husband, although the result of the procedure showed his cancer had returned. Only a miracle can cure him as all the other options are not viable. But God’s timing is the best even when I do not understand it. The puzzle pieces of my life appear very scattered and messed up. I do not always see how they will fit together but at least the anger is not taking over my life thanks to forgiveness from God and his showing me how to forgive others.


God commands us to forgive one another. Forgiveness is hard, especially sometimes. God waits to help us and to forgive us.

Have you struggled with forgiveness?

Affirmation – Build One Another Up

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The dictionary defines affirmation as emotional support or encouragement. To affirm someone means to offer them emotional support or to validate. Some of the synonyms include add to, develop, promote, improve, boost, enhance, reinforce and strengthen. What powerful words!

I often hear people, and not just young people, putting each other down. Sometimes in the name of teasing they say things that can be taken as hurtful words. Words that can undermine confidence, weaken another’s resolve or injure the self esteem.

Our words are powerful. We can use them to affirm, to build up or to tear down and discourage. God’s Word tells us to build one another up, encourage and affirm them.

build up

Just like this brick layer in the picture adds one brick at a time, securing them solidly, so God wants us to speak into other people’s lives and show with our actions that we are adding to the puzzle of their life rather than hiding pieces they need to be encouraged in their journey.

I have a file of notes which people have given or sent me. These notes have words of affirmation on them, encouraging words which have helped me realize that God has gifted me with the ability to tell stories that encourage, teach about God and uplift people. When I listen to God and use these talents, abilities and gifts, other people benefit. I heard about keeping an encouragement file a number of years ago and began to keep these notes or other encouraging pieces of information. I must admit the “file” is not well maintained and all in one place which makes it difficult to pull it out on days I need to be built up and affirmed again. That organization is still very much a work in progress.


Another part of the definition of affirmation includes validation. There are times I wonder if I have heard correctly what God is asking me to do – the direction I need to move in. At times like this I have asked trusted friends and fellow believers for their prayers and input. I need some affirmation I have listened correctly. God has also provided affirmation from some unexpected sources.

When I first thought God wanted me to move outside my comfort zone of teaching a ladies Bible study at our church, which was a relatively new comfort zone for me, I hesitated. Speaking to ladies ministry groups and at retreats had never been on my bucket list and I was not sure I wanted this to be God’s direction for my life at the moment. I shared it with the Bible study group. They affirmed the direction and I took a huge step of faith and let people know of my availability.

The first ladies retreat I spoke at, only a few months later, was on the theme of prayer. pray

What a huge and important topic and I studied for hours. I prepared by praying and asking friends to pray. I went to the retreat filled with peace at what I had learned in the process and yet apprehensive of this big challenge. I had a friend praying for me during each session. In the second session, as I was speaking, God told me to change my illustration. It was such a clear message I wondered if everyone had heard it. I did not want to change. I had things planned. I had prayed. I had prepared but I decided to obey God and change the illustration. Two ladies came to me after and said it was just what they needed to hear and a third lady came and encouraged all three of us. Wow God had a plan.

Later that afternoon I had some quiet time to reflect, pray, and review my notes for the evening message. God spoke to me about changing my illustration for that night. He wanted me to share a very vulnerable time in my life that I did not want to share. I knew he had worked and brought people into my life at that time who had helped, encouraged, and build me up but I wanted to keep it to myself.

I lost the argument with God and with much fear and trepidation I shared what God had asked me to share. It took until noon the next day for a young lady to come and talk to me. She had tears streaming down her face, crying so hard she could not speak. I prayed with her and simply let her cry on my shoulder. Finally she told me that she needed what I had shared. She had felt alone, like no one would understand. What if I had not listened and shared what God put on my heart.

When I arrived home my friend asked me to share what had happened. When she had been praying in the morning session and around 4:30 in the afternoon, God had told her to pray I would change my illustrations. She told me she argued with God, knowing how much prayer, preparation and study I had done. She lost the argument. God used this as an affirmation I was on the right path. I had heard him correctly.


I pray that our words to each other will be positive and build others up, affirm the gifts you see in them and encourage them, especially when the puzzle pieces of life do not seem to fit.

What stories of affirmation do you have? Do you have an encouragement file – notes that build you up?