Wednesday, February 16, 2011


By Debby Giusti

Ask Christians if they believe in the healing power of the written word and most will respond in the affirmative. As lovers of Scripture, they know the Word of God can enlighten, affirm, uplift and even heal. But what about other writings?

In my opinion, the highest honor an author can receive is a note from a reader whose life has been changed for the better after reading the author's book. Perhaps the story helped the reader work through a painful memory or discard baggage that weighed her down. She may have finally been able to forgive another or even herself.

So we know that fictional tales as well as Scripture can bring healing. Let’s dig a little deeper.

The custom of writing letters—actually taking pen and paper and writing the missive by hand—has gone out of vogue as more people rely on emails or texting to communicate. Yet, a handwritten note has a personal quality that electronic mail does not.

Think of a deployed soldier. When he receives a letter from home, he—or she--feels a connection with the loved one thousands of miles away as if the essence of the sender is captured in the written word. To a lonely soldier, that link is especially important.

Some years ago, a friend’s mother-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The woman—I’ll call her Rose—lived alone in a senior apartment complex in Florida far from her children. She had little faith in God and wasn’t interested when her family witnessed to His love manifest in their lives.

My heart went out to Rose, and at the Lord’s prompting, I started to send her cards. At first, I wrote only a few words about being friends with her family and that I knew she was ill and was praying for her. Over the weeks, I continued to write, each time adding a bit more about my faith and God’s forgiveness.

Rose’s daughter-in-law told me she was touched and looked forward to hearing from me. Perhaps because I wasn’t family and had only met Rose once, I felt free to share deeply and wrote often and soon learned that Rose waited for the mailman each day, hoping to receive my notes. As her health declined, this woman--who had blocked the Lord out of her life—accepted His love and mercy.

I can’t take credit for the change in Rose. Looking cancer in the face is sobering, and the realization of our own mortality can soften the hardest heart. Neighbors reached out to Rose. Her son and daughter-in-law visited often and an excellent medical staff managed her care, but I do believe the healing words of God’s love in those little notes cracked a closed door that eventually stood wide open to receive the Lord.

Frank and Ruby Grace--a dear couple in my church--celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last September. Just a few months later, Gacie, as her family called her, passed away. Frank was devastated, and each time I saw him at church, he seemed more and more despondent. He walked with a cane due to arthritis, and the love of life he had exuded when his wife was alive had disappeared. Even his daughter feared Frank would soon follow his dear Gacie into death.

A World War II veteran and South Georgia forester, Frank had years earlier self-published a collection of stories, which I had the pleasure of reading. His quick wit and warmth came through on the written page, and the wisdom of his tales had universal appeal.

As I prayed for Frank, the Lord gave me an idea. The next time I saw him at church, I encouraged him to write more stories about his life and the lessons he had learned.

The following week, his eyes seemed a bit clearer as he told me he’d taken pen to paper and had made an effort to jot down some of his thoughts. The following week, he stood a bit straighter, frown lines no longer wrinkled his brow and his smile came even more readily.

Last week, Frank told me he was using a computer to write the many memories of his past. He walked without a cane and his eyes twinkled with that old love of life. In Frank’s case, the actual process of writing was healing.

Julia Cameron in her book, THE ARTIST’S WAY, contends we need to sit with paper and pen and write three pages of whatever comes to mind soon after we rise in the A.M. She claims the hurts and frustrations that bog us down are released through the healing process she calls Morning Pages.

Counselors use a similar technique when they encourage their clients to jot down memories that bubble up from the past. I was recently with a woman who, over the years, had worked through the dysfunction that had been her childhood, yet she still didn’t feel closure. In an effort to get to the bottom of what was troubling her, she began to write any memory that surfaced in a small notebook. By reflecting on the written entries and with prayer, she was finally able to forgive her mother, which brought healing to both of them.

When past pain holds us back, writing about the hurtful incident or incidents can be freeing. Whether we’ve suffered physical or emotional abuse, penning a letter to the one who hurt us can be cathartic. We don’t need to mail the letter. The healing comes in the writing.

Long-term illness, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the end of a marriage can be obstacles that seem impossible to overcome. We search for answers and can find none. We harbor anger, sometimes at God who seemingly allowed such pain. Writing a letter to an ex-, to a deceased loved one, even to God helps us verbalize our feelings, release the hurt and begin to heal.

Most of us in Seekerville are writers or enthusiasts of the written word, so I hope we’ll share more stories today. Have you been healed by the written word or have your words touched others?

Leave your email address to be entered into a drawing for a copy of KILLER HEADLINE and a $10 gift card from Starbucks!

Breakfast is on me…scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, cranberry muffins, biscuits and gravy, hash browns, and grits!

Wishing you abundant blessings,

Debby Giusti

Watch for THE OFFICER'S SECRET, the first book in my new Military Investigations series, out in May.


  1. Since Seekers and Seeker Friends don't think they can have breakfast without coffee, here's a fresh pot, set to be ready at 4 a.m.

    I don't recall my words touching others, but I've been asked many times to repeat songs that someone has particularly loved.


    P.S. Would love a book, but there's no Starbucks around here.

  2. Hi Debby:

    Life is full of ‘if I only knew then what I know now moments’.

    The problem is that there are some things you cannot know until you have had certain life experiences. This is where the writer comes in: if you have the experience, you can build a story that will at least give younger readers a glimpse at what it is they will someday wish they knew today. You have a chance to share your wisdom and change lives for the better – often without the readers ever knowing it. When you also do this with Christian eternal truths, you are doing God’s work.

    I think Christian writers have such a rewarding mission that I sometimes wonder how they fall asleep at night knowing that a wonderful new day is just hours away.

    Thanks for all you do.


    I have your book but we do have a lot of Starbucks in Tulsa. : )

    vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

  3. Debby,

    As usual, you get to the heart of things in a hurry!

    Thanks for this post. So much of what you said rings true. You obviously have the gift of encouragement and the Lord is using you big time! :)

    I took a secular business course "awhile back", shall we say (!), where one day, the instructor encouraged us to look at a handout. She had drawn boulders along a pathway to our ultimate goal and we were to fill each one in with something keeping us from meeting our goal.

    When we did, and after we were alone... We were then to get a very nice pen, a thick legal pad and we were to write a minimum of 10 pages on the topic of each boulder, whatever it might be. The point was to keep the pen moving. We could write anything - This is the stupidest thing I've ever done. I hope no one reads this. Whatever. Just write 10 pages.

    I was astonished to find that on boulder, (a REALLY big one), about page 7 or 8, my self-talk and doubt got out of the way and the junk poured out. Wow.

    This happened on 2 occasions that I specifically recall, and on one of those, I wrote 19 pages.

    Afterwards, I got a pie pan and filled it with water on the back porch. Found some matches and lit those pages. There was something quite freeing in watching it go up in smoke.

    Highly recommend this exercise. Thanks for reminding me of it. Been awhile. There's an entirely different set of boulders these days!

    Then I'll write a thank you note or something of encouragement to someone, following your lead! ha!

    Thanks again for sharing this powerful message. Super good.

    Great coffee Helen. Vince, great to see you here too! Wisdom as always.

    Yes please - may at maythek9spy dot com

  4. Debby, I really believe that is something is bugging you, some one or some situation, the best thing you can do is to write it all down, tell someone off, pour out the hurts, anger, resentment, onto the page.......then give it a few days to simmer, maybe even re-read it, then throw it away.

    I know this sounds like the start of a romance novel. Where she MEANS to throw it away adn instead mails it to someone....ooops. But seriously, you're not gonna accidentally address an envelop, right?

    Anyway, maybe it's because I'm a writer, but that exercise seems to get whatever's bugging me out. It really seems to ease the unhappiness.

    I don't do this so much anymore. I think I write it into books instead.

    A writer's joke I did NOT write.....

    My counselor told me it would take me years of therapy to get over my anger, but one good murderous rampage in my novel....and I'm feeling pretty good.

  5. This is a beautiful post! God has used writing this way in my life, where journaling and letter writing were ways for Him to work through whatever I was struggling with or learning. It's been a while since I've written a card, though. Seems like nowadays a lot of my communication with farflung friends and family is online. I hear from my former students through Facebook messages. But receiving those words of encouragement can be just as sweet. I copy and paste and save them!

    Please include me in the giveaway and thanks for the opportunity! reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  6. Ah, Deb.

    What a great post. Just lovely, and I can just envision you doing those little things that build to bigger things. You have such a good heart and soul.

    Thank you for this. You have touched me deeply, and the story of Frank's loss and eventual healing through writing... So perfect. I am a BIG believer that the Holy Spirit nudges us to do things, that it's not a prosaic conscience but an act of God that shows us need and spurs us to act...

    Words touch me all the time. They inspire the stories in my head, and how I treat others.

    Whoops!!! ;)

    One letter I got from a reader touched me deeply. She wrote about how she lost her baby boy at six months old, and how mad she was at God. At everything. She didn't understand how such a thing happened. Her words, so sweet and simple, put a chokehold on me.

    And then she went on to say that she read Winter's End and sat there, holding the book, realizing that God was speaking to her. Wanting her to re-embrace her faith. Her God. Realizing there are second chances. New beginnings.

    I just downloaded Amy Grant's "Better than a Hallelujah" for that very reason. While God loves a good choir, he treasures a lament.

    Deb, thank you. Bless you.

  7. Helen,
    For a gal who drinks tea, you do a great job with the coffee. Just what I needed this morning!

    Thanks for always getting us off to a good start. :)

    I sat next to you during an ACFW praise session and can attest to your beautiful voice. God does use it to uplift his people!

  8. Vince,
    You're so right about the wisdom that comes from having lived a few years and being able to impart some of it in our writing.

    That's what Frank is doing. He's filling his stories with the wonderful lessons he has learned from a life well lived.

    Before I start a book, I ask God to reveal any truths He wants incorporated into my writing. Having the work not only be for me, but also offered to the Lord, gives meaning to my humble attempts to craft a story.

  9. Ah, KC, I love the exercise you shared. How interesting with the boulders.

    Yes, it does seem they get in the way, doesn't it? And sometimes we don't really know what's buried beneath those rocks that keep us from achieving our goals.

    Burning the "pages" is an excellent visual of rebirth. The old problems that weigh us down are destroyed in the fire and we're new people ready to continue this journey called life. Very nice!

  10. I'm ready for that breakfast! Sounds great!

    Every time I read a Love Inspired book I'm encouraged. They lift my spirits so much. One thing I get out of these books is that if you're faithful to God, He will be faithful to you.

    The book and gift card would be great!


  11. I agree, Mary. Writing our problems helps us move past them.

    Before I published and was filled with frustration and confusion about what the future would hold, I worked my way through Julia Cameron's book and did Morning Pages. Often I was surprised by what I wrote.

    Now, as you mentioned, I just kill a character or two! :)

  12. Hi Renee,

    You must be an excellent teacher with a warm heart or your students wouldn't keep in touch!

    Glad you save those special email messages. Someone once mentioned having a file with all the "good" stuff people had written to him. Was it Chip McGregor? Anyway, when he had a down day, he'd open the file and reread some of the lovely comments people had sent him.

  13. Debby,
    Great post. I'm a note writer. I always have some sort of little cards handy for whatever. I used to send my Grandma a card everyday---but she wouldn't get one everyday because of the mail. 2 or 3 days would go by, then she'd get 2 or 3 at once.
    The story of Rose is a sweet one. All those things you mentioned worked together to lead her to Him.

  14. Ruthy, thanks for sharing what you received from the young woman.

    WINTER'S END is a powerful story that has and will continue to touch and heal many lives.

    How special that the woman took the time to write you. She, no doubt, was nudged by God to reveal how your story transformed her life.

    I was nudged to write the blog so you could tell us about the woman and we could all be uplifted today. God works in interesting ways. He even uses blogs. :)

  15. Patsy,
    All of us who write for Love Inspired are proud of the stories they publish. Glad you like them, as well!

  16. Lindi,

    Your grandmother must have felt so special and so loved.

    My mother and her mother wrote to each other daily. (My mom was an Army wife and always lived far from home.)

    When I went to college, my mother wrote me everyday and I tried to do the same, although tests and projects sometimes got in the way. :)

    Once the cost of long distance phone calls went down, we wrote less and talked on the phone more often.

  17. Yesterday on Laura Frantz's blog, we were talking about something similar. I loved the stories you shared. I started writing in my journal a couple of years back for the reasons you mentioned. I bet it would be a real treasure to have an older family member write about the memories they didn't mind sharing.

  18. Adge,
    Do you journal everyday? I don't, but I do a weekly wrap up of what's happened over the past seven days or so and my reflections.

  19. Debby, this is such a beautiful post.

    Last year I started prayer journaling. Praising God and pouring my heart out to him was so much easier when I wrote it down because I wasn't distracted. I found that to be healing when faced with a difficulty.

    Also, I love to make my own cards, either hand-stamped or through digistamps (computer). Sending someone a hand-written note is always more personal because I took the time to make it specific for that person.

    I'm hoping my novels touch readers' hearts. I'll soon find out!! Yesterday, I signed and mailed the contract for my first novel--Lakeside Reunion published by Love Inspired and available November 2011. :)

  20. Morning Debby, What a great post. I so agree with you on the healing power of writing and can picture you doing all of those precious things for others.

    I love to send cards and notes. My mother always maintained that she needed to reach out to someone every day. When she became housebound, she did that through notes. Many of the people she corresponded with write to me now because those notes were so important to them.

    My dh keeps saying "why send cards when you can email?" I send the cards because like you say, there's something about the touch and feel of a written note.

    Love the Southern breakfast. yum
    Have a great day.


    Won't be long and your story will be in print! Now that's great news!


    So, so special to create a card for a friend. I received a handcrafted Valentine from a friend and was touched that she made it for me. Such a gift of the heart!

    A prayer journal is a wonderful way to talk to the Lord. You're right, it does still us to concentrate just on our thoughts of praise and thanksgiving.

  22. Debby,

    I miss getting handwritten letters! Growing up in a small town, I had several pen pals and couldn't wait to receive their letters or write back.

    The written word does evoke healing or revelation, not just for the readers but for the writer as well.

    Thanks for such an insightful post.

  23. Sandra,
    What a dear mother you had! Reaching out to someone everyday! Not that's a worthy goal.

    How special that her friends now reach out to you and you to them. That love has passed from one generation to the next.

  24. Rose,
    Pen pals!

    That brings to mind images of our WWII Greatest Generation.

    Love your cover and title! Congrats!

  25. What a fabulous post, Debby. And such a good reminder. Would LOVE the book - and my hubby would love the card :)

  26. Oh, Debby, your post has me close to tears. I'm blessed to know you through your spoken and written words. You've ministered in a mighty way to "Rose" and Frank. Christians need Scripture and each other to fully know our Lord and all the blessings He has in store.

    I'm grateful for the lovely letters and e-mails I've received from readers, but the notes that bless me most are those that say my story impacted their life in some meaningful way.


  27. a touching post...what an inspiration.

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  28. Debby -

    Wonderful! We were talking about this at my Bible study group Monday night. My best friend is in the group and she pulled two letters out of her wallet - from her husband. The only two he'd ever written her - one from not long after they started dating and the other for her birthday a couple years ago.

    The other day I came across a [typed] note DH wrote me last year - where he said he believes my writing is going to change the course of our family. Wow. I've reread it many times since then - mainly when I've felt he wasn't being all that supportive... :/ Means so much.

    I need to do more of this.

    But in the meantime, I've got a letter from a dead character to write...

    Thanks for breakfast. It's yummy. Much better than the Cheerios I had planned.

    Got a sick 9yo at home today. The others seem okay.

    Would love the book and know a friend who would love the card as a gift. What I'd really like is that whole pile of books you got sitting there ;).

  29. Hey, Debby! I'll check in later. Have a friend calling for a critique session. Hope the morning goes well for you all!

  30. This was beautiful Debby. Each day I write I'm blessed by your 'writer's prayer'.

    Thank you for this reminder of the power of the written word. Perhaps it's time to write some healing words of my own.

    Jodie Wolfe

  31. Oh, Deb, what an incredibly beautiful post, my friend -- deep and touching and SO very true!!

    This makes SO much sense because if God used words (His Word) to heal and uplift and teach, then I'm guessing He wants us to do the same, and man, nothing feels better than a letter from someone who tells you that YOUR words blessed and encouraged them. Thanks for expressing this today in such a wonderful way, Deb.

    And LISA, WAY TO GO, GIRLFRIEND!!! We are SOOOO proud of you and excited for you!!


  32. What a beautiful post, Debby! Thank you so much for your words and for sharing those sweet stories. I'll have to come back later to read comments, but I'll look forward to it!

  33. My best friend and I live over five hours away from each other and the main way we keep in contact is through snail mail. There is just something about getting a letter in the mail that just thrills me. It is a tangible connection that fails during the correspondence of emails. When we occasionally type out a letter, it even has a different feel, it's just not the same as that hand writtin note.

    I journal every day (or try except for Sunday) and have really enjoyed that. It's a great post Debbie, we are definately losing the joy of a handwritten message. Thanks for encouraging more to take it back up! :)

  34. Oh and I spelled your name wrong, Debby! Sorry. :)

  35. I pretty much journal whenever anything interesting happens. I started noticing things more after I would write them down. Also I always feel like I can let things go once I write. It's as if I don't have to keep them.

  36. LISA!!!!


    Doing the happiest of Snoopy dances here in upstate for you! Welcome aboard, my friend!!!!


    (Sorry, Deb, I KNOW this is off-topic and it's such a good topic. I blame Lisa. Totally. Or the Holy Spirit. If you hadn't written this blog, I wouldn't have shared my story and Lisa might not have posted about her FIRST SALE!!!)

    Note to self: Thank Holy Spirit for everything. Totally!

    Mimosas for everyone!!!

  37. I can certainly attest to the power of writing!

    It's been 11 months since my husband lost his job. During that 11 months he was unemployed for 6, and has now been living and working in our new hometown for 5. Meanwhile I've been holding down the fort and trying to sell the house. In the weeks leading up to Christmas I could feel depression and stress slowly strangling me - I'm sure you all know what it's like - and I felt like my prayers were falling on deaf ears (although I know they weren't). My faith hasn't waned, but my peace of mind was another story.

    Once I started writing every day (thank you ACFW Novel Track) instead sporadically, I've felt a new lease on life and hope. The writing has given me something to DO while the rest of my life is beyond my control.

    And whenever the depression tries to worm its way in again I just whack my character with a new problem to get herself out of! :)

    Thanks for breakfast!

    And Lisa! I'm so happy for you!!!

  38. Oooo. Mimosas! Thanks, Ruthy!

    And YAY LISA!!!!!!!

    Got sidetracked by kids earlier and didn't get that in!

    GO LISA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Signing your name on a contract is definitely life changing writing, huh?



  40. What a sweet post, Debby! You are so precious. :-) Writing can be very healing, and I think it's so incredibly unselfish of you to have written to that lady with cancer. That is wonderful. And the tears came when I read about the man at your church that you encouraged to write again after his wife died. I think writing has been extremely therapeutic for me. It is very healing.

    And Missy just told me that I will get to see you and her in April! How exciting!!! Can't wait!

  41. Thanks for this reminder of why we write, Debby. Sometimes, I forget. :)

    I write for a small-city newspaper which can be frustrating at times. Two of "my" readers come to mind. One is pretty much confined to a chair in her home. The other passed away a few weeks ago after a couple of years fighting a brain tumor.

    Their eyes always light up when they see me and they say "I read every one of your stories."

    What an honor that is.

    cathy underscore shouse at yahoo dot com

  42. I've been writing most of my life. As soon as I could form sentences, I wrote letters to my grandparents. As I got older, my list of correspondents grew. I penned countless letters longhand, and those dear recipients said, "You should be a writer." They were so kind and told me how much my words had meant to them.

    My hope is that my stories will reach readers, touch them, give them hope, an insight, a chuckle--just as my letters have.

    Others have touched me with their words, both in books as well as letters. I have a file full of handwritten notes I treasure. While an email or tweet is nice, there's something special about opening my post office box and finding a card or letter.

  43. Debby,

    This was such a beautiful post today. I think it's such a shame letters and cards are being replaced with emails. I was visiting with a Marine Corps historian and he was saying it's already affecting how history is told, because there aren't the letters home and from home for historians to use like they did for previous conflicts.

    I've had an Irish pen pal for 20 years (we tell people we were advanced for four year olds) and we still send at least 2 handwritten letters a year.

    My most cherished letter is the one my dad sent me the first week of my freshman year in college. He NEVER writes and out of the blue I got a letter saying how proud he was I'm his daughter and for all I've accomplished and would accomplish. The written word is a powerful thing!

    And writing literally saved me. When I started writing I was really depressed about circumstances and then I started writing my first ms and it was like light returned to the world. Even my parents and friends commented that my voice sounded happier and more content then it had in a very long time. As stated before, it's amazing what shooting down a couple bad guys can do to relieve tension.



  44. Thanks for this inspiring post, Debby.

    How wonderful for Frank to re-discover the world of writing. He needed something to focus on and you gave him that. So beautiful.

    And a big CONGRATS to Lisa on her first SALE!! (who snuck that amazing piece of news in her comment!) So happy for you!

    ps. don't enter me in the draw.

  45. Hello Debby,

    Writing does clear the blues away! I guess it is a form of active meditation.
    Thanks again for the wonderful post.


    janet(underslash)kerr (at)msn (dot)com

  46. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraFebruary 16, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    What a great post Debby! I know that many of the books written for the Love Inspired Lines have touched me and I thank all of you authors that continue to share your stories. I really loved Killer Headline by the way.

  47. Wahoo, Lisa!!!! Thrilled for your sale!!!


  48. Kirsten, I loved what you said about how writing saved you.

    It's amazing how therapeutic this is, even with the time lapses, the waiting, the bridge building from unpublished to published.

    Just the act of creating can (and I think should) be soothing. Fun. Exciting.

    And when you get that urge to stop one project and move on:


    Push through.

    It gets easier with practice. I double dog promise.

    I brought sweet tea and lemonade for the afternoon session AND...

    More coffee for my fellow addicts.

    Lovin' it!!!

    And hey, oh my stars, there's a BIG CHOCOLATE CAKE with LISA'S name on it!!!!

    Yeeeeee Haaaawwwww!!!!

    So excited still!

  49. So sorry for being away this morning. Bible Study. Then a meeting followed that went on quite long.

    It's good to be back in Seekerville!

  50. RUTH: Thanks for your encouragement!! Seekerville has been such a wonderful place to start blooming.

    You know I've never felt discouraged with a project (I hate to say that because now I probably will) But I've loved each story and every character the Lord has given to me. He's really lit a fire in me for the whole process from research to editing. I wake up excited every morning to see what's going to happen next.


  51. I brought Subway sandwiches for lunch. Chips and colas! Tea for Helen.

    And a huge Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Cake to celebrate Lisa signing her contract.

    Helium balloons and streamers!

    Dig in everyone!

  52. Joanne,
    You and hubby are in the drawing! :)

    Grab a Subway and chips! Get one for hubby too.

  53. Janet,
    I'm sure your readers are always touched by your stories. Isn't it nice that some of them let you know how they feel! :)

  54. Hi Karen,
    Glad you liked the blog. Thanks for being a part of Seekerville.

    Hope you're touched in a special way today or are able to touch someone else.

    Spread the joy, right?

  55. Hi Carol,

    Sorry about your sick 9 year old!

    Glad you noticed the picture of Seeker books...and that's not all of them. I only grabbed some of the books for the photo. :)

    How nice that your hubby wrote you such a sweet letter that you saved! It's wonderful to read and reread special notes...and a love letter is extra special.

    Give hubby a big hug tonight for being so sweet! :)

  56. Rose, I keep thinking about your pen pal comment and stories I've read that revolve around pen pals.

    Maybe inspiration for a new book? Have you used pen pals in your stories?

    Hmmm? Food for thought.

    Grab a sandwich and some cake.

  57. Absolutely lovely, Deb--so touching! When I think of the handwritten letters I've received from friends and family over the years, they are really so much more memorable than 10,000 e-mails!

    And LISA!!!!! Congratulations, girlfriend! What a thrill!!!!

  58. My son and daughter-in-law were email "pen pals" when he was deployed the first time to Iraq. She got his email from a friend and starting writing him, just to thank him for his service.

    Long story short, they fell in love online before they met in person.

  59. Hi Linnette! I visited your blog the other day...and Brandilyn Collins new blog that featured you as a guest.

    What a long struggle you've had with Lyme Disease. I'm praying for your full recovery.


  60. Ah, Deb.

    Ice cream cake.

    I'm even happier now if such a thing is humanly possible!


    And JAN....

    Jobs are such a tough situation. Being out of work, struggling, making ends meet, making changes. And I can honestly say that some of the best things in my life evolved from some of the toughest circumstances, BUT...

    That future prospect was an unknown entity when I was going through them. Thank God for faith, that simple faith of a child. That amazing gift.

    I'm so glad you found ACFW, us, writing, the chance to jump in the sandbox and play/work.

    Such a blessing even on the bad days, my friend!

  61. Congratulations to Lisa Jordan who sold her first novel to Love Inspired!!! Woohoo! So happy for you!

    Yay, Lisa!

  62. Jodie,

    I'm always touched when people mention The Writer's Prayer. God gave me those words so I can't take credit!

    Yes, spread the joy today. Write someone and bring a smile to their lips.

  63. Julie,

    I know you get lots of mail and email from your readers. Your stories transport me to another time and place and always speak to my heart.

    God is using you so beautifully!

  64. Hi Missy, thanks for stopping by! Come back and visit.

    Grab some lunch, too!

    The cake is yummy.

  65. Casey,
    How lovely that you and your friend are using handwritten notes to keep in touch. So special. Even the paper or the decoration on the note card conveys a personal message about the sender and how she feels about the person to whom she's writing.

    Thanks for confirming the way I feel about the written word.

    Hugs to you and your sweet friend.

  66. Casey, don't ever worry about misspelling my name.

    I married a Giusti. You can imagine how that gets rewritten.

    On first glance, it seems hard to pronounce so I wrote a one-liner to help people remember. Guess I should share it with Seekerville.

    Remember juice and tea to remember me!

    That's it: Juice Tea AKA Giusti!

  67. Adge,

    Do you reread the pages often?

    There are times now when I wish I had recorded more of the special events in my earlier years. I think I'll never forget how something unfolds, but with time, the memory clouds a bit.

    Now, like you, I try to capture the really major events in my weekly notebook/journal.

  68. Lisa, if you stop back, be sure to tell us a bit more about the big event and your book.

    We'll listen while we drink Ruthy's mimosas and eat ice cream cake.

  69. Jan,
    I've added the sale of your house to my prayer intentions! Hope you and hubby can be reunited soon. How wonderful he has a job. Times are tough, aren't they? And the holidays can be so stressful. Especially when loved ones are apart.

    So glad to hear writing has helped. You mentioned having control over that when everything else seemed out of control. That's so true, isn't it?

    We can feel success and affirmation, even in the midst of chaos, when one part of our life is in balance.

    And, as you also mentioned, you can heap more problems on your characters. Or, like Mary says, kill someone!

    I think she means on paper. But then, knowing Mary, sometimes I wonder! :)

    Ruthy, what's your take?

  70. The Bible is always my go-to book for healing and inspiration.


  71. Hi Melanie,
    YES! Missy and I will be at the Heart of Dixie Readers Luncheon on April 30, in Huntsville, Alabama.

    Any other Seekerville friends out there who might want to join us?

    It's always a delightful day. We go in early and visit with all the Alabama writers. They're a great bunch.

    On Monday's blog when we talked about the first romance we had ever read, a number of you mentioned Linda Howard's books. She's an HOD gal and usually attends. BTW, she's a very sweet and warm person.

    Melanie, can't wait to see you!!! Will your next book be out by then?

  72. Hi Cathy,
    Thanks for sharing your heartwarming story about your two readers. What dear ladies! I know your articles brought joy to their lives.

  73. Nicely stated, Keli!

    Sounds like you're a lover of the written word, for sure!

    As a child, writing letters was one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon. Your comment brought back that memory. Thank you!

    Ever think about keeping notes of the way life is today...the products, the styles, the concerns we all harbor? How interesting to share with future generations.

    Sometimes I tell my children that, at one time, we had to dial telephones. Or that we used to have to get up to change the channel on the TV. (As an only child, that was always my job.)

    We were traveling a few weeks back and my daughter and I stumbled on a pay telephone at a roadside rest stop. She had me take her picture standing next to it. They're hard to find these days. Especially one that works. :)

  74. Kirsten,

    You brought up an interesting point about how the lack of letters will affect history. Remember the Civil War Saga on TV a number of years ago? I can still hear Shelby Foote recount the messages written in letters.

    My hubby attended the Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, PA. While we were there, a friend of mine volunteered in the History Department. Her job was to read letters, some even earlier than the Civil War. What a fantastic opportunity.

    Kirsten, so glad writing has made a difference in your life. I often say if I don't write, my spirit starts to die. The written word is so important.

  75. Kirsten, I failed to mention your Irish pen pal! Twenty years! You did start young. :) But what a special bond after all this time. Have you ever met in person?

    Also, the "keeper" letter from your dad. That makes my heart smile.

  76. Hi Susan,

    Frank is a delightful man. You'd love him. Everybody does. My suggestion about writing more stories came from a higher authority, believe me. I just passed it on. :)

  77. Jan,
    You wrote that writing is a form of active meditation. Hmmm? I need to think about that.

    Can you explain what you mean? Is it because our mind focuses on something other than ourselves?

  78. Laura,
    You sweetheart! Thanks for your kind words for KILLER HEADLINE. You get an extra big piece of cake and a balloon!

    And a hug! :)

  79. Ruthy, thanks for bringing the chocolate cake to celebrate Lisa's sale!!!

    Aren't we proud of her!

    Double dog promise, Ruthy? Really? That's a new one one me.

  80. were born to write. No doubt about it!

  81. Myra,
    You mentioned cleaning out your closets the other day. I hope you are saving some of those special letters. I have a box where I store the keepers.

  82. Well, I'm a bit late to the party, but I'm here. I ended up waiting three hours for a nearly two hour phone conversation.

    I have problems with my hands. I can't write anything at all without pain and cramping, but I still use writing as a tonic for the blues. I can sit down and type out those vicious thoughts that tend to circle your brain and keep you up all hours of the night or interfere with focus during the day. If I can type it out, it gets it out of my system. Once in a while I'll have a good day and can write in my journal and that's helpful, too.

    As far as my writing helping others? One of the editors for In Touch Magazine with Charles Stanley suffers with chronic illness. When I met her at a writer's conference in 2007, I showed her several article ideals and she really latched on to one. It touched her so much that she made room for it in their magazine. It's called, "Can I Still Bear Fruit." (Nov. 2008) She told me later on in an email that my article is one that its one article that will stay with her for a long time. It made my day to know that God took my struggles and turned it into a blessing not only for me, but for others, as well.

    lr dot mullin at live dot com


  83. Hi Runner10! I agree. Scripture is so rich and so powerful!

  84. Debby,

    I love reading the letters from the Civil War. Some are so beautiful I think "is this guy for real?" What a source to see both the front lines and homefront. It made me a bit sad to hear that so much is lost to future generations from the experiences of these recent conflicts.

    My pen pal and I have never met. We were 15 when we started writing (she'll kill me for spilling the beans) and it's funny I went through a service that placed high school students with pen pals. Anyway I was given the name and address of an Irish boy. By the time he got my letter he already had a pen pal, so he passed my letter on to her. About 5 years ago she sent me a wedding announcement and said "guess who I'm marrying?" It was the same boy, now a man, who passed her my letter and they met again years later and chatted about that. So, I, of course, take credit for her current happiness.

    We're hoping to meet someday. They travel to the US a bit for his work. But I'm hoping to visit Ireland someday.
    Anyway that was a long story to say, No we haven't met. :o)

    I love the story of your son and his wife. That's so sweet.

    And I know what you mean about writing it's such a part of me I cannot imagine not doing it.


  85. Debby, I saw your comment. Thank you! I did send you a message through your website. I appreciate your prayers! Can't wait for Brandilyns book to come out! May 1st: Lyme - Over the Edge! Grab a copy. I'm sure it will open a lot of people's eyes as to what Lyme sufferers deal with on a daily basis. I can't wait to read it! I'll post a review on my blog after reading my copy. Talking about using words to help others and change lives! That's exactly what Brandilyn hopes to do with this book. I'm excited! Thanks for your loving support!


  86. HI Linnette,

    Oh what a lovely story to share with us. That editor was moved by your work...and she was an editor, which made it even sweeter, I bet!

    Have you tried using the voice activated computer programs? You speak and the computer types out the words. Some of the authors who have carpal tunnel and back problems use it and seem to like it. Anyone remember what it's called? I'm sure you could google voice activation and find it.

    I saw my friend who has Lyme Disease and told her about your web site. She plans to stop by.

  87. Kirsten,
    Your pen pal story is a book waiting to be written!

    Watch out, Ruthy will use it! :) one tell.

    Really, what a heartwarming love story about the Irish gal and guy. No coincidences, right!

    I hope you can meet in the future.

    I've wanted to go to Ireland, too. Maybe a Seeker tour? Doesn't that sound like fun! :)

  88. Hi Linnette,

    Evidently Brandilyn's book also highlights the war within the medical community about treatment. Amazing!

    I can't wait to read it. She's a favorite suspense author of mine, and the Lyme Disease topic will be interesting, to say the least.

  89. Kirsten and Debby -

    My thoughts exactly!! There is so a book [or more] in that!

    Pen Pals of Madison County

    Oh wait.

    That's not quite right, but what a series name =D.

    What a wonderful story!

  90. Debby,

    Yep! It's such a political illness and people are suffering as a result. Too many people in high places are more concerned about lining their pockets than helping patients. I'm anxious to see what angle she uses for her suspense. Can't wait!

    Thanks for sending your friend to my site. I hope it will bless her somehow.

    Yes. It made my day to have Erin say that to me. She's a single gal having to support herself and I just can't imagine the frustrations she must experience with balancing her job with the fibromyalgia. She's such a sweet girl!

    It's been so fun to have you hostessing today! :D


  91. I can just see the editors being inundated with Pen Pal books now :)

  92. Oh my goodness! I'm so touched. You had a party for me at lunchtime and I missed it! Did anyone save me cake? I'll save a balloon for my scrapbook.

    Debby, you asked about my first sale and novel. I posted my story on my blog:

    But the gist of it is I received the call on 1/7 and sobbed to the point where my hubby thought someone shared tragic news. I signed my contract yesterday so I could finally go public. My novel, Lakeside Reunion, from Love Inspired will come out in November. It's a story of trust, forgiveness, and second chances.

    Lindsey Porter escaped her hometown of Shelby Lake with a broken heart, and said good-bye to her relationship with God at the same time. But family obligation calls her back home, and the former fiancé who dumped her is the first person she sees after crossing the county line. Is there room in her heart for forgiveness? Lindsey hopes for a second chance at love, but the obstacles in her way might just be too great to overcome.

    Thanks for celebrating with me!

  93. AHEM.

    FIRST OF ALL!!!!

    I never steal book ideas from people I LIKE!!! So y'all are safe.


    Mary is a person to fear in fact and fiction and that's all I'm sayin' 'bout that.

    Pass the beer nuts.

  94. LOL! It would make a cute story. Especially since her family ran the cutest Irish Pub ever. Perfect. Beautiful setting.

    And if you're looking for quirky characters you found 'um with us.

    A Seeker trip to Ireland sounds like a blast!


  95. Thank you for this beautiful post today, sweet Debby (sorry I'm so late chiming in---had my Physical Therapy then lots of errands). ~ The examples you shared of how your cards and encouragement have helped others are a true testimony of how the Lord uses us to help and minister to others--WOW!!! (And I must add here--that YOU have been a tremendous help and blessing to me as I've recovered from my surgeries last summer--I treasure ALL the beautiful cards and notes you sent me, and still re-read them from time to time--so I can speak "first-hand" about how powerful YOUR words have been to me! And of course the Lord's timing is always perfect--so many times I received an uplifting note from you at the exact time I needed it. God is sooo GOOD!!!). ~ I wanted to share a quick example of how the Lord recently worked when I sent a note. For months I'd wanted to send my neurosurgeon a personal note (although I've verbally thanked him numerous times for the amazing work he did on my spine!). A few weeks ago I finally mailed a card with a personal note I'd written--thinking to myself that he might not even have time to read it. The following week I went in for a follow-up appointment, and as he came into the exam room he pulled my card out of the pocket in his doctor's coat. He smiled at me and began telling me about the rough week (filled with surgeries) he'd had the week before, and how he came into his office that Saturday to catch up on some things and check the mail. When he found my card and read my note, he said that affirmed to him that he WAS indeed making a difference in his patients' lives! I knew that was the Lord's timing again--HE arranged it so my surgeon received my card at the time when he needed it! ~ Thank you again for sharing today, and for being such an inspiration to so many. Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  96. Pen Pals of Madison County!

    Love it, Carol!

  97. Linnette,
    There are so many chronic illnesses that hold people back. We need to pray for medical breakthroughs!

  98. Very touching post, Debby. Thanks so much for sharing.

    When my children were young, I always made them write thank you cards to friends and family who gave them birthday/Christmas gifts. It always seemed to make them more thankful for those items they had been blessed with, and the givers were always blessed to know that the gifts they'd given were appreciated enough to warrant a thank you card. The written word does have a unique power that is often underestimated.

    I'll pass on breakfast since it's evening now. Think I'll whip up a treat of hot chocolate. Come join me!

  99. Jan, you're right. Twenty-five pen pal books will be heading to NYC next week. Thanks to Rose! :)

    I hope at least one person from Seekerville makes a pen pal sale! We'll all celebrate!

  100. What a wonderful post, Debby. There is nothing like a handwritten note/letter to warm your heart. I have boxes full of letters I've saved over the years. Unfortunately, they arrive more sporadically with Facebook and e-mail, but that makes the ones I receive these days, even more special.

  101. Oh, Lisa, coming home stories are always so powerful! Can't wait to read it. And your pub date isn't too far in the future. How exciting!!!

    Cute of your hubby to think something bad had happened with all your tears! How long until you came back down to earth?

    Yes, there's cake. Lots of it. Ruthy brought chocolate and I've got an ice cream cake. Both are yum! Big slices of each for you and hubby...and anyone else who might be in your household!

    Mega Seeker Congratulations, Lisa!!!! We're so excited for you and proud of you!!! Whoo-hoo!!!

    We need some type of tracking system this year for all the Seekerville sales! Sounds like a job for Tina. But wait, she does everything!

  102. Okay. No pen pal books from Ruthy!

  103. Kirsten, you get first dibs on the Irish Pub pen pal book.

    Sounds like a Love Inspired to me. :)

  104. I'll take the military pen pal story that my son and daughter-in-law lived. Okay?

  105. Way to go LISA!!!!!!!!!

    Yesterday, I signed and mailed the contract for my first novel--Lakeside Reunion published by Love Inspired and available November 2011. :)

    February 16, 2011 7:47 AM

  106. Speaking of military pen pals, when my hubby and I met, he was stationed in Quantico, VA, and I was here in his hometown. We were 6 hours apart.

    He came home on leave, and we ended up being pen pals for a couple of months. When he came back home on leave, we started dating. 18 months later, we eloped. In October, we will celebrate 22 years of marriage.

    I have all of his letters tied in a ribbon and stored in the cedar chest he made me. :)

  107. I actually have a pen pal type story in my idea file but I have no idea what genre it would fit.

    They had met each other once as pre-teens or so but then didn't see each other for years though they wrote often.

    But the 'romance' section begins post high school rather than say post college and where do 18yos fit in romance genres? Though I guess it could also be women's... except 18 again seems young for that too....

    Maybe one of these days...

  108. Debby, I just saw that you did an interview with a CDC doctor. Bless you for your involvement! And, yes, we do need to keep praying for a medical breakthrough.

    My first major writing was done writing penpals. My brother often teased me that I couldn't write anything without writing a book. I'd write my penpals pages and pages. Both sides. I've no ideal how much money my dad spent on postage when I was a teenager. :D I'm a lover of detail and could never write or tell a story without the most minute details. I'm better at controlling that compunction now. :d


  109. What a great reminder about taking the time to write notes to others.

    I love the story you shared too about the older couple, what a beautiful example of the healing of writing.

    I think we all pray that our writing (published or not) would bring blessing and healing on at least one person's life.


  110. Hi Patti Jo,
    You're such a dear person. What a lovely story you shared with us about your outreach to your neurosurgeon. For some reason, we always think professionals don't need our thanks. Yet the note to your doctor made a major difference in his life. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could...and would reach out to all those who touch our lives.

    You've touched mine. Thanks for your sweet words. I'm thrilled you're doing so well. You're an inspiration!


  111. Debby this is a beautiful post. Thank you. I've already shared it with several people.

  112. Dianna,
    Aren't you a good mama, teaching your children the importance of thank you notes. That's a lesson that will serve them well throughout life. Bet the relatives loved receiving those notes! :)

    Hot chocolate sounds delicious. I'm coming over to your house! :)

  113. This is a wonderful post! :) I love all the stories and examples you share (as well as the stories shared in the comments). As a hopeful author working on her first manuscript, I really believe that God can use words to reach out to others--I think authors are missionaries traveling to others (and helping others travel) through the written word.

    And as a college student, I love writing and receiving letters! My grandma and I write letters back and forth, and a dear friend of mine who is going to a different college and I also write occasional letters. I sometimes get letters from my parents, as well. And, of course, it's always fun writing a little note to a friend on campus, too! College students LOVE getting mail in their boxes, and it truly is special to get a handwritten note. :)

    Thank you again for this post!


  114. Jillian,
    You and I think alike. I love to save letters. Many of the very special notes are stuck in my Bible.

  115. You eloped! Oh, my gosh, Lisa! Sounds like another book. Coupled with the pen pal idea and you've got a winner for sure! :)

    We need to share our own romance stories someday. Tina, are you listening?

    And, Lisa, you tied your hubby's letters with a ribbon and keep them in a cedar chest he made! Be still my heart!

    Sounds like true love to me. Congrats on 22 years as well as the book.

  116. Carol, young adult (YA) books are big now. Really big! Could your story work for that genre?

  117. You know... I started thinking about my last comment, and I don't think I've really "sent" letters to my friends here on campus in quite a while... I should do that more often, because I always love getting mail from others, and I should share the love! :)


  118. Linnette,
    Bet your pen pals loved getting your letters!

    Think what kids these days are missing since they don't have pen pals.

  119. Julia,
    Let's all write someone this week. Maybe a shut-in or a person who's struggling in some way.

    You mentioned my dear friend Frank. I'm hoping he stopped by the blog today and was able to see his photo with Gacie! I'm sure we'll talk about it the next time we're together.

  120. I guess I don't really see it as a YA, Debby - though that thought did occur to me.

    More of a 'we ain't got money honey but we got looooooooooooooooooooove' sort of growing up/coming of age type story. Or a late-teens romance but grown-ups not like... Sweet Valley High type stuff.

    If that makes any sense...

  121. Hi Amber!

    So nice to hear of the letters you receive. I remember how important mail was to me when I was in college.

    Good for you to think of others who might need a note tucked in their mailbox! :)

    When I was little, my grandmother would always include a stick of gum in the letters she wrote to my mother. You can bet I looked forward to the mailman and my gum from grandma!

  122. It does make sense, Carol. I just mentioned YA because of the ages of the characters. Of course, if you make them just a bit older, the story would work for LI.

  123. What is the LI age range?

    It's not really my story with DH but I was on my own by 17 really and love the idea of the young love that beats the statistics, you know?

    Maybe it could be YA... I dunno...

  124. Carol, you mean the age for LI heroines? Hmmm? I'd say starting at 23 or 24. Not sure how old they would go.

    But that's just my best guess. Don't know if I've ever heard the editors mention an actual cut off either way.

  125. That's about what I figured Debbie. This particularly plot bunny I see as younger, fresh out of high school.

    I've got a million years before it might possibly get written anyway ;).

  126. I love seekerville for the amazing posts, but also for the equally amazing comments. I always click on the comments thinking I'm going to write something quick- but end up reading all the others first. :D Thank you for the blessings...

  127. My mom, who passed in 2004, sent small cards and notes to a lady who she met once who had cancer. She wrote faithfully, and shared verses and an ongoing round robin story set in a seaside town. After this woman's death her daughter gathered all the cards etc. her mother had saved them all -- and sent back to my Mom, saying her mother was comforted and entertained all the way through to hospice. I now enjoy reading these letters to re-experience my Mom's faith and loving outpourings. Our little acts of caring have huge repercussions. jenna at jennavictoria . com. Would love a five page critique, BTW.

  128. Jenna,
    Thanks for sharing about your mom. What a wonderful lady she must have been.

    Bet her daughter takes after her!


  129. Debby, so sorry I missed your post yesterday! You are so right about the written word leaving a tremendous impact on the recipients vs an email or text.

    I've got to admit, taking the time to sit and jot out a note isn't high on my schedule of events for the day. It seems like the keyboard has become the most efficient method of communication.

    But not the most personal.

    Thanks for the reminder, Debby. I think I'll stop by the staionary store today and pick up some cute note cards...

  130. after spats getting a written note from the one you argued with is always healing. thanks for the post.

    I love the love inspired books. please enter me in the drawing thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  131. I would love to win the copy of you book Debby. I love to read and always wanting new and exciting books. And the Gift Cert. to Starbucks would be great too!
    Joy Hannabass


    Please enter me in your drawing to win the book & Starbucks gift card.

    Thank you for your article on the Written Word. I am a note-writer, card maker, and journaling gal. I believe in the power of the written word! There is nothing like getting real mail in the mailbox, is there?

    God bless you!