Briercrest student a finalist in national songwriting competition

Posted: July 9, 2013

The following article about Briercrest student Cindy Palin was printed on July 2 in the Olds Albertan and was written by Jared Siemens.

Singer-songwriter Cindy Palin of Olds was recently shortlisted for her song Help Yourself to My Life in a national competition of Christian writers.

Palin, one of seven shortlisted in the songwriting category, ventured to Mississauga, Ont., to attend a black-tie gala for the 25th annual Word Awards on June 12, which celebrates Canadian writers and editors of the Christian faith.

Winners were chosen from 285 competing entries focused around the theme “Live and breathe the written word,” with 146 of those entries being books, while 139 entries were shorter pieces, including articles, features, books reviews and song lyrics.

“I was up against Steve Bell, who is quite a famous Christian artist. He ended up winning the award,” said Palin.

Bell, who hails from Winnipeg, took the Terence L. Bingley Award for best song lyrics for his song Oracle.

Though Palin remains thankful for the experience, she vowed when her next opportunity presents itself to “be more aggressive and find more avenues to share my writing.”

“I want to be able to do things that fit me,” she said. “This Word Guild, being a Christian author thing, it fit for me. Lately I’ve been keeping my eyes open for other opportunities that fit.”

One of these opportunities, Palin said, is the Olds and District Hospice Society, which she plans on writing a song for.

“That has been really cool for me because the song has gone over well and I’m in the process of getting it produced.”

Palin said she scored quite highly with the judges for storytelling quality, creativity, and engaging the listener throughout the development of the song’s theme.

“They weren’t fluffy comments – they were very solid, educated and intelligent, and I appreciated that.”

The song Palin entered in the Word Guild contest is an older number she has never released, though she said she has mentioned it in her blog (

Help Yourself to My Life talks about the biblical stories of Mary, Joseph and Jesus as they offer their lives to God, not fully knowing the sacrifice that would call for, Palin said.

“My favourite verse is “Help yourself to my life, God announced with stars. Even from the manger bed, he could see the scars.’”

“Only God knew how to love us by saying ‘Help yourself’ and giving his only son.”

She said she was inspired to write the song after her sister had returned from a mission trip in India.


“She had said, ‘Help yourself to my life,’ in regard to the mission, and the phrase just stuck with me. It wouldn’t leave. I couldn’t get it out of my mind.”

A few hours after the conversation with her sister, Palin said she sat down and had a very unique experience where, in a wave of divine inspiration, everything came together for the song in a very short amount of time.

“This song, above all my others, was one of those I could really say was God-breathed.”

The local singer-songwriter owns and manages My Hometown Framing, a custom picture frame shop, while taking a bachelor of arts in Christian studies online through Briercrest College and Seminary.

All this while trying to keep up with her hobby of writing in every medium.

The Word Guild is a growing team of more than 325 Canadian writers, editors, speakers, publishers, booksellers, librarians and other interested individuals who share the Christian faith.