Thursday, June 24, 2010


by Debby Giusti

My book club’s read last month was SARAH’S KEY, by Tatiana de Rosnay, a fictional story about a terrible event in France’s history that some in that country wish to forget. On June 16, 1942, nearly 10,000 Jews, many of them children, were rounded up—not by German Nazis—but by French police and held for six days without food or water in the Vélodrome d’Hiver, an indoor stadium used for sporting events. The conditions were deplorable, sanitation was non-existent and many died in the unbearable heat within the tightly enclosed structure. Those who survived were eventually herded onto transport cars and taken to a camp outside the city, where parents were separated from their children and, a few days later, sent to the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

Stumbling upon information as she browsed the Internet, French author Tatiana de Rosnay says, “I realized I didn’t know much about what exactly happened that day. I was not taught about this event at school, during the ‘70s. And it still seemed to be shrouded by some kind of taboo. So I started reading and researching.”

Eventually, she wrote the story that was first released in her native country and then picked up by St. Martin’s Press for publication in the U.S. The novel chronicles the lives of two heroines—one a young Jewish girl arrested on that terrible day in 1942. The other is a modern-day journalist in Paris assigned to write a magazine article about the sixtieth anniversary of the seemingly forgotten event. The lives of the two characters intertwine as Tatiana reveals the horrors of the roundup and the ramifications that play out in France today.

Tatiana had the courage to write a difficult story about a dark time in her country’s history in hopes that, by knowing the past, we will be ever vigilant to ensure nothing similar happens in the future.

Over the weekend, I read an article about Gene Patterson, a Georgia journalist who wrote for the Atlanta Constitution, during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. When a church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, killed four African-American children, Patterson penned an editorial, which began, “A Negro mother wept in the street Sunday morning in front of a Baptist Church in Birmingham. In her hand she held a shoe, one shoe, from the foot of her dead child. We hold that shoe with her.”

With unrelenting determination, Patterson took up the cause for integration and radial equality. Threats were made to his life, and the Ku Klux Klan frequently picketed the newspaper building where he worked, but Patterson had the courage to be a voice of reason in a stormy sea of unrest. His editorials helped change the hearts and minds of the old South and earned him the Pulitzer Price in 1967.

Six months before my first book sold, the word courage played repeatedly through my mind and appeared wherever I looked, in newspaper articles, on television shows, in the books I read. I didn’t need a degree in theology to know God was placing the word in my path for a reason. At first, I feared it concerned my son who was deployed to Iraq, but upon reflection after I received “The Call” a short time later, I realized courage is a necessary virtue for any writer to possess. Courage, or fortitude, strengthens us to continue on in the face of rejection and to step boldly into new, uncharted territory when the Lord calls us forth.

As writers, I believe we have a responsibility to use the talent God has given us for a greater good. A wordsmith can craft a letter of recommendation that sells a person or product, affirms the excellent service received from a hardworking employee or heaps well-deserved praise on a teacher who has laid a strong foundation for a child’s future progress. Are you using our gift to uplift and affirm?

The Christian fiction writer is given an opportunity to bring his or her characters to faith and in so doing can impact readers as well. But, even in fiction, the faith thread must be gently woven. Is there, perhaps, another forum where God is asking you to proclaim him as Lord and Savior?

In prayer, I always hear God telling me that his children are hurting and need to know of His love and mercy. Are you doing enough to spread the message of His love?

Recently, our world has been stricken with disasters—fires in Arizona, floods in Nashville, tornadoes in Minnesota and a massive oil spill in the Gulf. A mountain of pain lies behind each catastrophe. Are you being asked to reach out to those struggling to rebuild their lives after their world has crumbled into oblivion?

Politics aside, we know our economy is teetering on a giant precipice, just as other countries, such as Greece and Spain, are near collapse. Do you have advice or words of caution in the face of such an eminent threat of financial ruin?

Pick up any newspaper or listen to any local newscast and you’ll see stories about strife and heartache. Are you troubled about an injustice that needs a spokesperson? Could you be the lone voice shedding light on a situation or problem in your local community?

How are you using your gift of writing? Are you a courageous writer or are you ignoring a call to action the Lord may be placing on your heart?

I’m eager to hear your thoughts and hope you’ll share examples of people you know who made a difference, who stepped out in faith, who took the hard road that did not bring popularity but did effect change for the better?

Wishing you abundant blessings and much courage,
Debby Giusti

Grab a cup of coffee. I brought some of Paula Dean’s favorite Southern fare from her Lady and Sons Restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, so help yourself to the Lady’s perfect scrambled eggs, smothered chicken and biscuits, chocolate chip pancakes with cinnamon cream and pineapple blueberry crunch cake. You’ll find the recipes at:

Leave your email to be entered into a drawing for one of my books, the title of your choice.


  1. I picked up Sarah's Key about 5 months ago and have loved it every since! It hasn't left me yet.

  2. Intriguing title. Will have to check it out.

    Thank you Debbie.

    You've nailed it - we are called as Christians to share His love and since we're all different in the "body", we have different assignments.

    Imagine if a toe wanted to be a nostril! It's late, ok? :)

    It is difficult to stand for Truth when you are faced with antagonism or worse. I heard about a young African man earlier this year who was associated with a Christian ministry here in the States.

    He was leaving church on a bicycle with a friend, when they were surrounded by a Muslim mob. The mob demanded, upon penalty of death, that the young men recant their faith in Christ. The one who refused was hacked to death on the spot. The other recanted, was roughed up, and allowed to leave.

    That happened this spring.

    I've since wondered what I would have done, or will do, if and when I'm faced with the same decision.

    I know what I'd LIKE to think... But... Most certainly, I will need courage and to keep my eyes focused on Jesus. (Which I aspire to be doing anyway.)

    GREAT topic Debbie. Thank you!Have a great day, Seekerville! I'm turning in for now!

  3. Ruthy, since Debbie brought the coffee, and Paula Dean's, can I be let off the hook for this morning? I forgot to ask hubs how to run the coffee pot. I was going to bring some gluten-free muffins (yeah, they don't taste too well, but you get used to it), but since Debbie brought all those goodies, I'll just set the fruit bowl over here on the table.

    Debbie, a week or two ago our pastor read from My Utmost for His Highest. The section was about how we can't consecrate to God what is not ours to give (speaking of gifts). I love how Chambers in turns say that if we will give God our right to ourselves, that God will make a holy experiment out of us. The entry is found on June 13, if anyone is interested in reading further.

    I love the scripture referenced by Chambers. Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1

    I have a song that runs continuously through my head. This is my prayer, to be a holy and pleasing sacrifice. This is my prayer, O Lord, to be a holy and pleasing sacrifice.

    I've had a heart for Jerusalem and her people (for all the Hebrew people) for as long as I can remember. It is something instilled from my mother, I believe. We are asked by God to pray for Jerusalem. I have a picture of Jerusalem on my home page so that everytime I see it I remember to pray. I'm in the process of revising a manuscript set in Israel that I pray God will use to touch. I'm also blogging in several places, most of the time sharing my hope in God so that others may know, and I try to mentor other aspiring writers so that they may use the gifts God gave them. I don't know if any of this makes me courageous. Many times I don't feel courageous. I feel hesitant and unsure, I think that is my lack of confidence of who I am, but I turn it back to God.

    It is late. I did not mean to ramble.

  4. Debbie,
    The word "transparency" has been on my mind and heart lately. I believe that if we, as Christians and as Christian writers, are to be Jesus to the world and share His love, we must be transparent. That doesn't mean we admit to not being able to stick to a diet (not that there is anything wrong with that) but it means that we let God, first of all, and the world, see us as we truly are. It's what Amy Grant's new song, "Better Than a Hallelujah" is all about.


  5. Steena,
    I agree. Sarah's Key is a haunting story that needed to be told.

  6. KC,
    Thanks for sharing the story about the man in Africa. We do need to realize that times are changing and freedom of religion is a precious right that must be upheld.
    I pray we will never be placed in a situation like that young man, but we must be ready to defend our faith in Christ should we be called to do so...

    Heavy stuff this morning. I'm off to grab a cup of coffee.

  7. Renee,
    I have so many friends who are gluten intolerant. My daughter has to go on a gluten-free diet during her children's first year of life or so when she's breast feeding. Their little systems can't handle any gluten she might eat. Thanks for bringing the gluten-free muffins this morning.

    We do need to, as you said, give God the right to enter into our lives because of free will. Opening ourselves fully to his love is so important and something we need to do each day...asking Him to work within us. When we are filled with His love, we're able to share that love with others in a special way.

    Like you, my heart has always reached out to the Jewish people. Stories of World War II and the injustices placed on them--as well as so many other religious people--are necessary so we will not forget, lest in forgetting we fail to recognize any movement or trend that could lead to such horrific actions again.

    You make an excellent point about does not come easily.

  8. You're so right, Edwina, about being transparent in our people will know from where our strength comes.

    You do that in so many ways, Edwina, especially in your thoughtful blog posts. I often reflect on the one you wrote about giving up yourself for God! Lovely.

  9. Ah, Deb, this was wonderful. A call to service.

    To stand.

    A great reminder.

    I love that our writing can touch hearts from something as simple as a child's innocence, a baby's smile, a tiny touch of a hand to the pain of miscarriage, social injustice, death, divorce, dishonesty, deceit.

    And on a bigger scale things like genocide and occupation. One of my longer unpublished works deals with that and a refugee that finds her place in America at long last.

    Deb, this is a precious reminder of what we have and what we should be and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this thought-provoking reminder that while all may be well in our world, all is not well in the world.

    Faith. Prayer. And more prayer.

    And I love Paula Deen. Anyone who cooks with that much butter and cream earns the right to be one of my bff's and she's adorable besides.

    And persistent. And tenacious. But that's a different post, a different day.

  10. Debby, Thank you for the encouraging and challenging post. Sometimes it's easy to get distracted when writing and forget what our purpose for writing is: to show Christ to the world and encourage others.

    I have always had a heart for those who serve our country. Since moving to the DC area I started volunteering at Walter Reed. I don't know as this is classified as courage, because I spend the whole day praying before going there. It's always a challenge to walk in and meet a new group of guys. I thank God that he always revs me up to go when it would be easier to go home.

    Thanks again for the great post and examples of courage.

  11. Hi Ruthy,
    As insightful as your debut novel was -- which I love and may reread -- your story about genocide and occupation would probably rock the world.

    Hope a courageous editor realizes it needs to be published!!!

    Yes, Paula Deen is the queen of cream and butter! I gain weight just reading her cookbooks! And the lines to get into her restaurant--oh my goodness! They stream down the block. We always place our name on the waiting-for-a-table list when we end our sightseeing, then go back to our hotel to freshen up and return later to wait until our name is called. God has certainly blessed her with success. Some may not know she suffered from agoraphobia and was afraid to leave her home at one time. She had to step out in faith and conquer her fear so that her light could shine. I'm so glad she did!

  12. Wonderful post!!! That sounds like a fascinating/sad story, and I loved hearing about Patterson. Amazing opener to his editorial.

    Mary DeMuth posted today about risky writing, and now you've posted about Courageous writing...maybe God's trying to tell us something today? Well, he's probably always trying to tell me something. lol I'm just hearing it today, I hope.
    Anyway, this is great food for thought! Thank you. :-)

  13. Oh, Kirsten, I've got tears in my eyes and a huge lump in my throat. THANK YOU for what you're doing to help our wounded heroes!!!

    And you pray before you go to see them so God can fill you to overflowing. I know He flows through you to them as you brighten their lives.

    Yes, my dear, you are a courageous woman. Walter Reed is not an easy place to visit.

    God bless you and your ministry. I'm adding my prayers to yours for our military.

  14. By the way, dear Seekerville writers, please pray for a gal who visits our blog often, although usually she doesn't post a comment.

    She's having the last of three surgeries on her spine today--the first two were done yesterday.

    She needs our prayers!

    Thank you!

  15. Jessica--

    The idea for this blog post has been plaguing me for months. I finally had the courage to write what the Lord kept placing on my heart.

    No doubt, He spoke to Mary D. as well.

  16. I have a dental appointment this morning that couldn't be I'll be away from my computer for a few hours.

    Keep adding your wonderful comments and I'll be back as soon as possible!

    Love you all!

  17. First off, will be praying for your request.

    Second, there is a new book coming out by the author of Sarah's Key entitled, A Secret Kept.

    Third, thanks for a thoughtful and thought provoking post this morning. My pediatrician was a German Jew whose entire family was killed in the Holocaust. She came to the States, never married, but adopted all her patients in DC (from the poorest of the poor to the children of the most powerful) treated them the same and made them her family. To me, to live as a saint in the aftermath of all that evil and loss, is the sign of great courage and conviction. I wrote about her in a devotional on unexpected saints years ago but not a week goes by when I don't think about her.

    Thanks again for starting my day off right.

  18. Great post, Debby. I do believe God calls each of us to use our writing for something good or "bigger" than us. This is such a well-timed post for me. Currently I write grants for a local shelter because I feel strongly about the humane treatment of animals. Only recently have I decided to use my fiction writing for a similar purpose. I think I've ignored God's nudging on this issue a little too long, and it feels wonderful to finally acknowledge.

    Thanks for the words on courage (and the link to yummy recipes!).

  19. Hey, Debby! I think our book club--the one I just started going to at my library--is going to read Sarah's Key. We just finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which is also about WWII, and it was fabulous. Such characterization! Love those quirky characters.

    I totally agree about the courage thing. It can get you in trouble, but it's worth it! I occasionally speak out about things I believe in. I can't stand injustice or meanness.

    People often talk about how bad things are getting in our world. And it's true. But I also think back to what happened during WWII as so much worse than anything we face today. So much death and so much evil and mass murders, governments intent on killing their own people. We are blessed to be able to live in such safety and peace here, but we should speak out against injustice wherever we see it and not be lulled into complacency by our safety and peace.

  20. We talk about Premise on this blog sometimes.
    The premise of my WIP is Courage. A hero and heroine who both consider themselves cowards and how it shapes their lives and their fight to find courage.

  21. Excellent post, Debby. I haven't heard of Sarah's Key and will be buying it. Sounds like an amazing story.

    You've definitely spoken a word to my heart today. Thank you!

  22. Debby,

    Thank you for a thought provoking and sould challenging post.

    This is as good a time as any to thank you for what you have taught me this spring.

    I keep your "writer's prayer" on my desktop with my first novel. It reminds me why I write and that I write for an audience of one, my Lord and Savior.

    I have also picked up practical tips from you about character development etc. I was looking forward to reading what you wrote today. Thank you!

    kathy5476 at yahoo dot com

  23. Okay, I don't know what a "sould" is - maybe a sold out sou, but I meant to type "soul".

    Maybe I need some Cowfolk isdom about romance? Today's quote from "Just One Fool Thing After Another":

    "There's a big difference between a good sound reason for doin' fomething', and a reason that just sounds good."

  24. Where's the coffee? I need an IV full.

    That should be Wisdom. Sorry for the typos. Its early out here. I give up.

  25. Thanks, Debby! But I think they end up encouraging me more than I do them. A great group of people our military.

  26. Beautiful and thought-provoking post, Deb!

    I think that courage -- like books -- comes in all genres. Whether it's the courage to fight for one's country, the courage to work in the ER, or the courage to just say hello to a stranger at a conference, the common thread is having the guts to step out and give of yourself for someone else.

    And Christian writers do this when they write from the heart, exposing their inner hopes, fears and secrets in order to bring forth a truth and draw others to Christ.

    You asked: How are you using your gift of writing? Are you a courageous writer or are you ignoring a call to action the Lord may be placing on your heart?

    It's hard to think of myself as "courageous" in writing edgy romance, but the truth is I have a lot of passion, not only to portray realistic romantic relationships according to God's precepts, but to impart to the reader just how REAL an intimate relationship with God can and should be in everything that we do and every breath that we take. For me, the romantic passion of my books is almost like a smoke screen to catch the reader unaware when the true passion of my books -- living and breathing for God -- hopefully sparks a fire of desire to live for Him in every aspect of our life, including our morality.


  27. Debby, you daughter is in my prayers. Going gluten-free gave me new lease on life. I wish I could have been diagnosed with Celiac when I was a child, it would have saved me a lot surgeries an heartache. I plan to have my children tested as soon as possible (I wouldn't if I didn't think they were Celiac). It's all that Irish and Scottish blood.

    Sarah's Key, sounds very powerful. Is it suitable for High School students? I think I'd like to add it to our WWII studies when we start school back up. I was surprised to find that in the U.S. Germans had to register their names.

  28. Speaking of courage, the wonderful folks who gave us Fireproof are coming out with a new movie called "Courageous".

    And don't you think every writer needs courage just to put the writing out there? I do.

    terism at rgv dot rr dot com

  29. Wonderful post. I needed a reminder this morning to be courageous. Thanks. :)


  30. I'm back at long last!

    Julie, thanks for sharing the story about your dentist. She, no doubt, was able to focus on God's love instead of the horrific pain she had experienced. As you said, she truly is courageous.

    Thanks, too, for the info about Tatiana's new book. Any info on what A Secret Kept is about?

  31. Hi Callie,
    How wonderful to take the good work you do in your day job and incorporate it into your writing. That larger forum will allow your message to touch so many folks.

    Always great to see Southern Magic represented in Seekerville. Congrats again on your "win" last week! :)

  32. I've been petrified to write my WIP. It deals with abortion.
    I'm so afraid of the path.
    Not that I'm the one that first trod it, certainly not, as we all know.
    Abortion is an injustice to God's children everywhere...
    I just didn't think I'd delve into it so...dangerously.
    thank you for these words.
    I have been procrastinating, Afraid. Scared. Foolish, really. I know God has called me to write, the world is not right till I write, but
    Satan? Nerves? The Unknown?
    I've been so...distraught.
    I know that's Satan preventing a good thing for God, now I see that a whole lot more clearly.
    Thank you so so much for this!

  33. Hi Mel!

    You said it all!!! Thanks, dear, for not being afraid to speak the truth.

    We always have to be vigilant. I've often thought of the many Jewish people in the 1940s that kept saying things couldn't get any worse. Of course in hindsight, we know they did.

    When hubby was stationed in Germany, the Russians were still a threat, the Berlin Wall was in place and everyone was well aware of what could happen. The men would be called up on alert in the middle of the night. I'd hear the tanks, leaving the kasernes and heading east to the border. The wives never knew if it was a real attack or a training mission.

    We had a plan for opening our homes to the wives and children who lived in the outlining region, if an attack occurred. The military would try to get us out of the country as soon as possible. Should that fail, I knew I might have to drive the children west into France, heading for the coast and a ship or flight that could take us back to the US.

    Thank God, our plans were never needed, but I found comfort knowing we were prepared if anything happened.

  34. Another great Connealy read, no doubt, Mary!!!

    Good for you! Wonderful premise. Can't wait to read the story.

  35. HI Cathy...a great Army wife!!! I know you and your hubby have touched many during his career. The military is more than a job, isn't it? It's a vocation and a ministry. So many courageous voices are needed to ensure the wives and family members are helped, especially now with the non-stop deployment rotations.

    God gave me The Writer's Prayer shortly after I received "The Call." The Lord knew I needed Him to guide me each day as I began to work at my computer. It always touches me deeply to know others are saying the prayer as well.

    Thanks for leaving your email addy. You're enrolled in today's drawing!

  36. I'm laughing at your sold out sou, Kathy! And realized I had a typo--spelled your name with a "C" sorry! :)

  37. Kirsten,
    Isn't that the way God works? He has us help another and then turns around and allows us to receive more than we could ever have imagined giving.

    I have a friend who's paralyzed from the neck down due to an auto accident. She lives in a long-term care facility in Atlanta. When I visit her, I'm uplifted by her courage. If the tables were turned, I would be bitter, yet she's filled with joy and acceptance and has a deep faith in the Lord.

  38. Debby, thanks for the uplifting reminder to cultivate courage. Reading your blog and all the comments has been a great (and much needed) 'retreat' in the middle of my workday.

    Oh -- and by the way -- you changed my life with those ergonomic tips in a previous blog!!!!! I marvel at the timeliness of that one. Hmmm,I guess that means you've nourished the body and the soul! :-)

  39. Ah, Julie, nicely said. You understand perfectly the mission God has chosen for you and your writing.

    And you are incorporating the messages He wants others to receive into your novels.

    I feel so fortunate to be able to include faith in my stories, and thank God that my initial work never sold to secular markets. Although I did have God in my books, I'm sure secular editors would have told me--had those stories sold--to cut the religious talk and focus on the suspense. :)

    Luckily, God was in charge!

    Anyone in Seekerville today on the fence about writing for the Christian market?

    It takes courage to make the switch, but IMHO, you'll never regret including faith in your stories.

    Anyone else care to chime in?

  40. Hi Renee,
    Thanks for the prayers for my daughter. She's pregnant with baby #3, so she'll be going gluten-free this October when the little one arrives!!!

    I didn't know about the Scottish-Irish propensity toward Celiacs! Interesting. I'll check with my friends and see if that's their background as well.

    My hubby's nine-year-old niece was just diagnosed and her older sister is scheduled to have the biopsy, although the doctor feels she's more intolerant than a true Celiac.

    Please read Sarah's Key before you recommend it for high school students. The modern-day journalist has issues with her husband and some of their problems may be too graphic. Let me know what you think after you read it.

    I'm sure the teens have seen everything that's in the book, but I wouldn't want you to recommend it, if there's a problem.

  41. Hi Terri,

    YES, sending out manuscripts, especially after rejection, takes a huge amount of courage. In fact, all writing takes courage and determination, no matter the subject matter.

    I'm sure God kept me focused on courage because He knew I'd need it throughout my writing career.

    Soon after publication, I wrote on a 3x5 card, "That I may have the courage to proclaim your Holy Word." That card is still taped to my fridge!

  42. Hi Angela,
    You're in the drawing. Thanks for leaving a comment and your email.

  43. Blinking back tears after reading your comments, Kelly.

    There's a story I keep thinking about...actually it won't let go of me so I know I'm supposed to write it, yet I haven't gotten started...we're kindred spirits in that regard.

    God keeps telling me to just start writing...I'm hoping He'll pick up the ball and go with it as soon as I open the blank computer page.

    So that's my advice to you...just start. Then see where He wants the story to go.

    BTW, did you happen to read the Seekerville blog when Francine Rivers was our guest? She talked about The Atonement Child, her novel that deals with abortion.

  44. Hi Kav,

    So glad the ergonomic tips helped.

    I've enjoyed all the comments today, as well.

    As always, I marvel and rejoice at the wonderful folks who are part of this blog.

    You are doing wonderful things to help others.

    Your love of the Lord is so evident, and your determination to write for Him is like a breath of fresh air in a very stagnant world.

    I'm so glad we can come together--from various spots around the globe--and talk about courage and how the Lord is working in our lives.

    We are connected in a very real way and that uplifts me.

  45. Okay, Kathy has me rolling on the floor laughing because she can't type before 10:00 A.M.

    Oh my stars....


    And Deb's away? So we can talk about her now????

    See we could DO that if she'd done a whimsical post, but you can't do it nicely with a SERIOUS post.

    So I'll behave.

    Hey, we're making fried dough here in upstate. With powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar.

    Fresh, delicious, tender, better-than-carnival-and-fair fried dough.

    I'll bring some by.

    Who knew a hunk of fried bread could be so good?

    Paula Deen would be proud of us.

  46. Ruthy,
    After your books hit all the Best Sellers Lists, think about having your own cooking show...Cooking with Ruthy.

    Seekerville recipes could be featured.

    We could all do guest spots on the show and share our own cooking tips.

    Wouldn't that be fun?

  47. Hey everyone, speaking of courage, if you don't know, Joni Eareckson-Tada was diagnosed day before yesterday with breast cancer. SEE courage in action right before your eyes and watch the video she filmed yesterday. Wow...

    If you don't know about her already:

    Please add her and husband Ken, and her ministry to your prayer list if you would.

    Some of y'all know that my husband and I have helped with 2 Wounded Warrior Getaways already, and I'm scheduled to help with another soon. If you would like to participate, perhaps with handwritten thank you's, gift cards, Christian or other uplifting books (gosh - could there be authors nearby?!), prizes for drawings, or maybe coming in person yourself, please let me know, okay?

    We are so honored to help our finest and bravest, our wounded military and their families, and I know many of you are too.

    Please consider helping and certainly by praying!!! There is a WWG going on today through Sunday in San Diego for Marines and their families.

    may at maythek9spy dot com

    Thanks again Debbie! :)

  48. KC,
    Thanks for posting info about the wonderful respite for Wounded Warriors and their families that Joni's foundation organizes! And God bless you for doing so much to help!!!

    I first heard about Joni years ago--a young woman who had a diving accident (I believe she was at a lake with friends) and was paralyzed. She went on to paint lovely watercolors by holding the brushes in her mouth. Talk about a courageous woman!

    I also recall she asked God to bring a man into her life who would love her. (Ruthy, here's a story for you!!!)

    Well, a great guy saw Joni in church, they met, married and the rest is history.

    Now Joni is battling cancer and needs our prayers.

    Keep us posted, KC!

  49. Debby, thank you for the kick in the pants. I have been battling a lot lately on whether I am really hearing God calling me to write. I know He has given me a lot to share but I continue to let my fears hold me back.

    Thank you for your wonderful words today. I needed to read them.

    Many Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  50. Lovely, inspiring post, Debby! I have to thank God that He's spared me from so many of the more frightening ways my courage might have been tested. I doubt any of us really know the depth of our courage until we're called upon to use it.

    This makes me think of God's words to Paul in 2 Corinthians: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

  51. Debbie, another strong ancestry in Celiac is Native American. I've lost a lot of faith in doctors, but mainly it's because Celiac, up until about 3-5 years ago, was considered one of the rarest diseases. Now they are discovering that many other diseases, like Lupus, MS, IBS etc, etc can mock Celiac.

    Of course, you know probably know all of this. But for others who may not . . .

    If you feel awful all the time, stomach issues, sore joints, migraines, research Celiac. If anyone has ever called you a hypochondriac, research Celiac. If you've ever been diagnosed with IBS, research Celiac. Chronic hives, irregular monthlies (sorry), infertility?

    I was told by a doctor that there was nothing they could do for me. Some people are just sick. Frustration. I was heading toward a life of pain and misery. Not to mention severe depression because all of my illnesses were in my head and I needed anti-depressants. Did they know the medicines they were giving me had gluten? I don't blame them. Even when I suffered muscle dystrophy, I took it all in stride. I praise God for it all. Because of my testimony, a few others have discovered they were also Celiac. I know God's plan is much bigger.

    Going gluten-free saved my life, literally. I hadn't been able to eat breakfast my entire life without getting ill. I had trouble sleeping at night, by the time 2 a.m. came around I'd be violently ill (our meals always had pasta or bread). I still have issues sleeping, but it's not due to my stomach or my migraines, or any of the other stuff. I think it's from years of being awake at night.

    I no longer live my life around eating and the possibility of the extremem pain and sickness I experienced afterwards.

    Sorry for the information, but I know there are others out there that suffer from these issues and have tried every sort of medication possible to make it all better. Nothing seems to work.

    I'm glad there is becoming a huge awareness. I think it would be a good idea to test children periodically. Since it's a malabsorption auto-immune disorder, I would not be surprised if some cancers could be prevented.

    Oh, and depending on the amount of gluten you've ingested over a period of time prior to testing, depends on how the results turn out. Safe bet, if there is a slight intoleranc, to get rid of it completely.

    If anyone reads this and has questions please feel free to email me at christinainspirationals at gmail dot com. Please don't tell me I talk too much, I know I do. I'll try not to overwhelm y'all anymore with my chat.

    eek, I've taken up way too much space, at least the day is almost over. All right, stepping down. *blushes*

  52. Hi Cindy,
    YES, the Lord is raising up writers who put Him first. You are supposed to write. He will bless your work. Does it take time and effort? You bet, but with God in control, doors will open.

    Start writing!!! Okay?

  53. Ah, Myra, I love that reading from scripture because I am a weak woman...and God realizes my weaknesses. Yet He loves me in spite of my failings.

    Thank God!!! :)

  54. What a time you've had, Renee. Thank you SO much for providing valuable information to all of those who stop by Seekerville today. So many folks are having problems due to gluten and are unaware of the cause of their symptoms.

    Unfortunately, if left undiagnosed, damage can occur to organs as well as overall health.

    I've heard the increase of folks with intolerance to gluten as well as Celiac Disease is because of the genetic engineering that's been done to our wheat. Is that correct, Renee?

  55. a great posting...thanks for the recommendation :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  56. Hi Karen,
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment and your email addy. You're in the drawing!

  57. Debby, thank you for the lovely, thought-provoking post on courage! I'm late getting here but glad I didn't miss it. The comments blessed me too.

    Thanks, KC, for telling us about Joni's cancer. I've bought her calendars for years and feel close to her through her precious words and drawings. What an example of courage she's been.

    Renee, I've been hearing lots about gluten intolerance. I didn't realize it had ethnic origins. Glad the word is getting out.


  58. Hi Debby, I loved your post. I was just talking to some friends today about the miracles around us that we don't notice we are even a part of until we look back.

    What great testimonies.

    Sorry to be coming so late. Am roasting here in the desert so have some frothy root beer floats to top off the day.

  59. Debby, I've never heard of this before. Thanks for teaching it to me.

    E-mail address not left as I already have all of your books. :-)

  60. Debby, I haven't heard anything about the genetic engineering. I suppose it is possible, but they say, at least with Celiac, that if one person has it, then a mother or father most likely has it. I can pretty much tell you that several of my aunts and uncles, as well as my mother as some sort of tolerance, if not the disease. If only they'd test. I'm sure that three of more four children has it. The problem with looking back to older generations is that a lot of people didn't 'talk' about those sorts of problems. AND if it was so highly misdiagnosed only a few years ago, just think of how misdiagnosed it was way back then.

    I think that whenever things are messed with genetically there might be issues, but as far as the wheat is concerned, from what I understand, certain ancestries were hunters and certain were gathers. The hunters tend to be the ones more susceptible, hence the Northern Europeans and Native Americans. Also, I just found this out last week from a friend whose son has Celiac, the Irish ancestry tends to have something in their blood (an ant-body?) that causes a negative test. Which means you could really have Celiac and it won't show up in the test.

    It's something I'm very passionate about and learning more everyday. As you said, if left untreated it can cause issues with organs. When I was 24 I was the youngest, at the time, our hospital had seen to need their gallbladder removed (I had 4 dozen stones). At that same time a surgeon diagnosed me as a ticking time bomb. My triglcerides were in the 1000s. Yes, I said thousands. Normal range in the 100s. When I was 26 I was diagnosed with congenital kidney disease (basically they knew it wasn't working but didn't know why). I was mentally unstable (very suicidal at times). Not to mention all of my digestion issues, heartburn, acid reflux, IBS. And then there was the chronic hives. The kill-me-now migraines. The hypoglycemia. You name it I was a walking hypchondriac. The problem was all symptoms were backed up with blood work and sonograms. I had carpal tunnel, the thing was my feet went tingly numb too, as did my chest and back.

    Two weeks off the gluten, I could get out of bed with out crying from my joints hurting so bad, and my stomach issues went away. I went from having 4-5 migraines a week to 4-5 a year! All my other symptoms are gone too, even the numbness.

    Let me tell you, I'm not even 40. I cried the first time I ate a bowl of cereal without getting ill. It was gluten-free.

    Thank you for letting me preach.

  61. Debbie,
    I'm chiming in late, but I wanted to thank you for such a touching and insightful article.

    If we don't teach our children the past, they are doomed to repeat our mistakes.

    I'm writing a non-fiction --biography-- about a young woman caught up in drugs (and the crime to feed the habit) and prostitution but what God has done with her life since He pulled her out of that pit. He is using the experiences He allowed her to walk through (although not alone) to enable her to reach out to other girls going through what she endured.

    It probably won't shake the world, or win a prize, but if it touches even one life to give the person hope for a better future or directs even one person to the saving grace of God, then it's all worth it.

    Thank you for reminding me that it takes courage for people to stand up and change things around them.
    Lisa Hensley (the girl in my biography) is very brave to share her story with the world.

    Thank you.
    Sandy Elzie

  62. Hi Janet,
    Thanks so much for stopping by this evening. Always nice to hear from you!

  63. Walt,
    You're a dear friend! Thanks for having all my books!!! My heart is smiling!

  64. Renee,

    So sorry you had such a struggle. Less than fifteen or twenty years ago, folks didn't know much about the condition. A lot of docs didn't even think to test for gluten problems.

    A friend of mine had a married daughter who was pregnant with her second child when everything hit. She couldn't care for her toddler and went from doctor to doctor, trying to determine the cause of her total demise. The mother--and the docs--feared she wouldn't survive. She wasted away, was too weak to get out of bed, had pain, organs were failing.

    Lots of prayer and finally a savvy physician diagnosed her. Your story sounds so much like hers. Now I hope they're considering gluten as the first possible diagnosis instead of only after years of suffering.

    I'm sure what you've shared today will help someone else realize the need to be tested. Thanks, Renee!

  65. Sandy,
    And aren't you wonderful to write Lisa's story so others can learn from her mistakes.

    You're a courageous lady!

    Thanks for sharing how you're answering God's call to write.

  66. Renee and the other gluten freers out there.

    I have recently realized that many of my auto-immune diseases can be traced to the stress put on my body by trying to cope with gluten. Now that I am gluten free I feel so much better. I had the same migraine issues as you had! 5 days a week to 1 a month. Woo Hoo!

    But what I wanted to share from my research is that genetically engineered wheat is causing this problem to become more wide spread.

    The reason for adding gluten to bread? More gluten equals longer shelf life! Poofier breads and cakes are more appealing and the gluten enhanced flour acts as a preservative. It all comes back to money for the food industry. So...the flour our grandparents ate is not what we are being given today.

    Another thought from a dear nurse friend of mine. Those with the celiac gene are also those with the gene that helped our ancestors survive the plague!
    Yes, the plauge survivors also have the celiac gene. Well, that is something to think about!

    I wish everyone struggling with this problem well and may you find a gluten free bakery nearby!


  67. Thank you, Kathy, for sharing about the genetic engineering. And that bit about the plague is interesting.


  68. Kathy,
    I had no idea that gluten was added to our wheat. No wonder folks are having problems.

    Now that's a topic needing a spokesperson. So glad we could give voice to some of the facts here in Seekerville.

    Love and prayers to all...especially those who are suffering from chronic illness.

  69. Wow, Debby, you really did have to contemplate doing some really brave things when your hubby was stationed in Germany. I could so totally see you being that courageous!

  70. First of all: thank you. Thank you for reminding me to be a Valkyrie Woman with a willingness to fight injustice.

    Second: my dad and mom were in Japanese concentration camps during the second world war -- as dutch citizens. This fact has profoundly affected my life, too.

    Third: thank you again for reminding me that GOD IS BIGGER THAN ALL THIS.