Monday, September 9, 2013

Hi everyone,

We are gearing up for a busy Fall at Elation Press. The cover you see of CAST magazine is one of my favourites -- it is the Summer of 2011 and the picture is by an awesome Victoria photographer named Will Winter.

Can you believe that it's September? After a whirlwind Summer bustling and brimming with a plethora of activity, we anticipate an amazing Fall season that will be even busier. Yes! We love publishing CAST magazine and we now have four book titles that will inspire you: John Hill's Spiritual Truths That Will Set You Free; King of Hearts by Rod Ellis; The Hand that Writes the Love Song also Holds a Gun by Lesley Richardson with David Richardson; Neil Lemke's book of poetry, The Fields of Life and more to come ...

As a writer and a publisher, I am elated when a project that I've seen on a computer screen is breathed into print. The penultimate experience for you, as an author, is holding that labour of love in your hands for the very first time.

Fall is a time for new beginnings and ample creativity. I hope this season will bring richness and discovery for you.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hi everyone,

It is production time for CAST magazine, Summer 2013. Exciting! After months of reading submissions, carefully choosing our Feature Photographer, finding out what's inspiring Vancouver Island, we will have the magazine out soon. It still feels like Christmas whenever our graphic designer e-mails me a proof. I never get tired of that wonderful feeling of elation.

We are thrilled to announce that The Fields of Life, by Comox Valley poet, Neil Lemke, will soon be in stores for you to purchase. Neil is a gifted poet who deftly weaves verse into a reader's soul. His creative use of metaphor and mastery of rhythm are remarkable. Details of how to purchase the book will be on our website in the near future.

We have revamped our website: please go check it out and give us feedback. You can visit 

Did you know that Elation Press has published or assisted with 21 publications since 2011? We can't believe it either.

Since this is our first blog of 2013 and it's June, we are going to make a conscientious effort to share more of what we're doing. The problem is usually that we're pretty busy doing what we're doing.

I would love to hear from you: e-mail me at

Signing off with a grateful heart,

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Loving My Lexicon -- Christmas Musings

Hello everyone. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Sadly, I did not receive my dream gift, a new guitar, but we have a beautiful re-faced fireplace with a new mantle -- yay for us! However, that being said, I was uber excited about one of my gifts. I received (brace yourself right now) a shiny new book, the Strong's Concordance of the New Testament with Greek lexicon -- "YES!!!" I cried. I rejoiced at the sight of my hard cover piece de resistance filled with Greek words from the NT. Because meaning of a word can be lost in translation, it becomes necessary to reference Scripture with my trusty Concordance. Okay, I know what you are saying. Natalie, what a nerdy gift . . . wouldn't have you been happy with some fluffy slippers. Yes, I would've, and I love my two pairs of new slippers, but my Concordance, well, we bonded immediately. And, I am giving myself a refresher course of the Greek alphabet, can we say Alpha, Beta . . . Omega?

Anyway, I am going to try harder to blog in the New Year. Bye for now xoxo

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sabbath-Keeping: Reflections on Sunday

After listening to Joyce Rees speak about the Sabbath last Sunday (part of the Adore 2012 Conference), I picked up a book by Vancouver Island writer and pastor, Mark Buchanan, THE REST OF GOD. I have been reading it since last Monday . . . and as every day's challenges and hurdles bombarded me, my anticipation was a parched and dry mouth awaiting that gentle gulp of water, Sunday. Every day presented itself with another mountain, and the quest for Sunday arrived . . . and I welcomed it.

I opened my work e-mail, something I do not normally do on Sunday, and there I was in a wasp's nest. A friend of mine was making a demand on my time today, and I was outraged. Seriously seriously outraged. I had been cultivating this field of time for the whole week, and again, someone or something was infringing upon my time with God.

So, what did I do? I considered this request. I prayed about it. And, I made a decision. I had made a date today with rest, and this request interrupted that (it was something that could wait), so I said to my friend, "Sorry, I can't help you with this today."

This act was liberating -- but I was spiralling into anger and supreme righteous indignation and tumbling fast . . so I wrote a song. I wrote it from God's perspective:

Come to Me
I've set a table just for you
Come to Me
Come be here with Me

You are so adored
I am Your Holy Lord
Come to Me
And hear My Word

I have a song for you
I sang it before you were born
Your heart was prepared for me
Come here and just be

Rest my child and stay
Hear Me as I sing out loud
You are created with purpose
And can you hear its sound?

The love I put in you
Cannot be hidden away
I gave you this joyful heart
and taught you how to pray

I went on with my special day and practised how to be celebratory and just relax with my family and enjoy His presence and gentle persuasion.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Adore Conference 2012 #adorecon12 at Glad Tidings Pentecostal Church Oct. 12-14, 2012 -- Living God's Heart

Hi everyone,

First of all, an apology for not blogging for a long time . . . but it's time to blog once again! A quick note for those who are wondering: the Fall 2012 issue of CAST magazine is in production!!!!

I attended a conference this past weekend at Glad Tidings Pentecostal Church that was challenging, inspiring, thought-provoking and exhausting (not necessarily in that order). The theme of the conference revolved around Micah 6:8: "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (NIV).

This was heavy heavy heavy (did I say heavy?) subject matter and the conference attendees were bombarded with images of children being trafficked, startling pictures of exploitation in many different forms as well as being involved in discussions about homelessness, prostitution, and the "bad news" of our day.

Last year, this conference was promoted as an event for young adults, and it left many of us not so young adults (ahem middle-aged) that attend the Adore congregation thinking that it may not be for us. This year, the church wanted to express that it was for anyone who wanted to attend. So, I purchased my ticket in great anticipation of what God had planned for all of us.

The first night, to be honest, was a little disappointing. I was extremely excited about Aaron Gillespie attending, and we were told after an hour of worship that he could not attend due to a family emergency. I felt terrible about this, as I am sure everyone else did.

It was an entire weekend of shattered expectations, but you cannot create a beautiful stained glass window without breaking some glass first.

The Adore band played on Friday night, with a new song that I believe James Liira wrote. I really liked it. I love it when the band shares new material, and I am sure many songs will come out of this weekend's experiences. There were some glitches at first (Luke's guitar wasn't receiving any amplification), but it was quickly fixed. Pastor Andy spoke about compassion, and my favourite part was his story about sharing his umbrella with a street person.

On Saturday morning, Joyce Rees spoke in the morning about the "emaciated church" attempting to give Christians and seekers a "reduction of the Gospel." She explained about the upsidedownness of the Gospel and how the marginalized act as "conduits of the good news." Joyce is a pastor from Abbotsford (I think she is originally from Ontario), and I love how cerebral she is and how she unpacks a message. I also love how she goes on "rabbit trails" as she calls them. She is an excellent and engaging speaker.

On Saturday afternoon, the video that Alexa Gilker and Jonathan Bryden created was debuted, but I was unable to attend that, as I went for lunch with some new friends. I heard the video was really well done. I spoke with Jonathan about it who said it is not available online, but I think it would be great if it could be shown again. I do not think the video was in the program of events (it may have been added on?).

The speaker for Saturday afternoon was Mark Wollenberg, the Canadian rep for IJM (International Justice Mission This organization aids in legal aid and other assistance for those who are being trafficked and exploited all over the world. He showed a video that was disturbing, but  hopeful for those being helped by this organization.

Saturday evening was spent in worship and Joyce Rees took the mike. She centered her talk around the woman at the well and what an amazing witness for Jesus this marginalized woman was. There were some powerful moments of the Holy Spirit at work throughout the weekend, and Saturday night was no exception. Touching me was something one of the spoken word speakers said: something about "eating stew with prostitutes." This was a message for me. That week I had made a turkey stew, and a friend of mine came over and I filled up a tupperware container for her of turkey stew to take home. She has recently become a prostitute because she is struggling with making ends meet. I could not get her out of my mind all weekend . . . I have been praying for her, but I feel very helpless. But, I can give her turkey stew. I was grappling all weekend with this question: what else can I do to help?

Sunday morning was a highlight with a bright and cheerful event, if you will: The Dream Women Breakfast. It was such an awesome morning to connect more with one of my friends, make new friends and hear Joyce Rees speak again about the Sabbath. I loved what she had to say, and this is a valuable message. She explained it as a time where we are "being, rather than doing."

In the 10:30 and 6:30 services, we heard Elijah Waters speak who travelled from Seattle to be with us. He was funny, and this was the perfect placement for his talks, as I think all of us were desperate for some comic relief due to the heady material being presented to us. He is a charismatic Pastor with an incredible singing voice (we found that out later), and it is not a surprise that thousands of people attend his church. Sunday night's message was about how we need to stop focussing on our sin stain (which we will never get rid of), but we need to centre our lives on Jesus.

The film, "Nefarious," was viewed Sunday afternoon. When Kleenex boxes are being passed around before the start, you become painfully aware that the subject matter is going to be intense. The film looks at child prostitution in Third World countries, the Red Light District in Amsterdam, and also prostitution in the United States. I was familiar with one person featured: a former call girl who lives in Las Vegas, Annie Lobert. I follow her on Twitter (her handle is @hookersforjesus), and she has founded Destiny House a safe house for women who have been in the sex trade. View more of her story on -- I plan to do a story on her for CAST magazine.

Leeland, a band from Texas, performed on Sunday night, with a mind-blowing demonstration of God's ministry through music. They were incredible.

When I returned home, driving through the rainy streets of Victoria, I became to think. When I put my head down on my pillow, I prayed. So, God, I asked Him, "What was the message this weekend?"

I felt He was telling me one thing throughout the conference: "Create" was the word constantly coming up.

And, He said: "this is My heart. You wanted to know what it was and you have wanted to know Me better, and I have shown you this weekend."

I know there is more to come . . . I will keep you posted.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Connecting with the Community at Elation Press

Hi everyone,

How are you? As we are barrelling through September at breakneck speeds, I suddenly felt like "whoa, slow down" -- I need to blog! I journal a lot, but I am still getting used to blogging. I love the privacy of my journal, knowing that I can just emote on paper and no one will read (unless I'm dead or I'm not home). But, I'm still getting used to the public aspect of blogging. I am a publisher, and I put my words out there all of the time. Perhaps it's the immediacy of the digital world. When I publish CAST magazine, and other publications, I have time to sort through what I am "putting out there."

So, I've really deviated from my topic which is "Connecting with the Community." September is when everyone is kickstarting something, whether it be back to school or the new ministry at your church. I am really trying to get out there and meet new people in Victoria. I want to find out what everyone is doing in the community and see how Elation Press can help promote what you or your organization is doing. I am meeting new authors, poets, musicians and just feeling so inspired by these creative people. I feel very excited about what is going on in Victoria. There's a vibe here right now that has been suppressed for a long time, but it's emerging as a beautiful butterfly plucks herself out of that darkened cocoon. I feel really energized right now. It's a time of beginnings, and here we are! Together!

It's a good time to be in this city and on Vancouver Island. It's a great time to be a Christian.

I will leave you with this thought:
"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Let's pray that we will continue to create beautiful art and reach those who haven't heard the life-changing message of the Gospel. Let us meet and share ideas about how to enact change.

Peace, prayers and blessings,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Creating Summer: CAST magazine and Other Projects

Hi Everyone,

I hope everyone has had a restful summer. I am excited to announce that the Summer Issue of CAST magazine is out! This is our second published magazine, and we are thrilled. Our Feature Artist is Will Winter (check out his work on and our Feature Writer is Chris Synesael, a church planter in the Western Communities of Victoria, BC. This issue is stunning. Beautifully designed by Terre Britton (, CAST magazine, a Christian quarterly based in Victoria, BC, is a piece of art. And, I'm not just saying that because I'm the publisher . . . Our contributors have made this issue a must-read, and it is such an honour to showcase their work.

Although this summer has been busy with working on the magazine, helping authors with their manuscripts and doing marketing for CAST magazine, it has been a wonderfully creative time. I think that being around such creativity in the submissions for CAST has inspired me to get the paint brushes out. I love colour, and I do not have any training in visual art, but it feels so good to just express on a canvas.

In addtion to completing a few paintings, I have made some cards. After feeling like I could do better than Hallmark with a handmade card and my poetry, I started making cards last year. As a little girl, I used to make cards for my mother. I stopped making them for her when she passed away in 1994. But, after several encounters with stuffy staff at my local Hallmark and surprised at how expensive a mediocre card was, I decided to make cards for people's birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I love cardmaking. It's a personal gift, and it's truly from the heart. I make each card one at a time, and it is designed especially for the person I am making it for.

I wrote a new song last week. I was going through a journal that I keep of songs/lyrics, and I came across a poem. I decided to turn it into a song.

Leonard Cohen once said, "Poetry is just the evidence of your life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash."

As a creative person, it feels so good to be stepping into the calling that God has placed on your life. There are so many challenges, but art is a way to embrace the obstacles and step into the light.

I hope your summer is blessed. I leave you with this Scripture:
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect " (Romans 12:2).

May you create and know that God, the Creator, is with you.

Peace and blessings,