Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Never Give Up! Keep Writing!

Sandra here and as promised I have two surprises for you today.

Do you remember Martha Alderson, the Plot Whisperer?  She just sent me a copy of her new book, THE PLOT WHISPERER BOOK OF WRITING PROMPTS. It is filled with easy exercises to get you writing.  I will be giving away a copy of this book to one lucky commenter.

So are you ready for Speedbo?  Only three days to go.

And just in time I have a guest today with words of encouragement and cheer.  I met Jo Russell last fall at the Society of Southwestern Authors Wrangling for Writing conference in Tucson.  This conference is always fun because it includes every genre, so you meet lots of interesting people.

Jo and Sandra at SSA writing for Wrangling Conference

Jo and I were both teachers, retired from teaching and followed a calling to write. Jo has written a lovely devotional that offers words of encouragement. She has generously offered copies of Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? to five commenters today. These words of encouragement are just in time to get you through the tough days of SPEEDBO.

Welcome Jo and have fun in Seekerville today.

Never Give Up! Keep Writing!

By Jo Russell February 26, 2013

At one time, *Emily was only one of five female generals in the U.S. Army. That involved persistence in an uphill climb over prejudice and obstacles, but she proved her excellence at supervising the R.O.T.C. program [Reserve Officers Training Core]. The Army then sent her to a training location where soldiers’ performance fell short of preparing professionals for wartime.

The officer in charge of the troops explained to her in detail, “The men are handicapped. They come from impoverished homes. They don’t have an education or previous military experience, and they didn’t have any R.O.T.C. The fact they are disadvantaged shows itself in our training efforts.”

“I certainly understand that,” General Emily replied, “because I, myself, am handicapped.”

The officer was puzzled. He had not noticed a limp or any other visible handicap when the confident leader had entered his office. “Handicapped?” he repeated.

“That’s right. I am a woman, and I never had R.O.T.C.”

Her iron will prevailed along with an expectation of higher standards. The troops shaped up.

You’re not alone!

Overcoming handicaps, challenges, and attitudes applies to all professions. When it comes to the writing profession, a writer may feel he or she is facing challenges alone. But that is not so. Visualize that Jesus is with you, as he promises, “…I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” [Matthew 28:20 NIV]. Fuel up for inspirational/spiritual writing with whatever works for you: time with God, prayer, or Bible study.

Change how you look at obstacles.

Challenges are part of life. Conquering them gives you a sense of accomplishment. It builds confidence in what you and God can do together! Problems and new situations are constant, but no matter what, God will help you over or through them! Tuck this promise into your heart, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” [Proverbs 16:3].

Set achievable goals

You have to know where you are going so you know when you get there.
Since using goal charts written out on a regular basis, I’ve had articles spanning many subjects and in many magazines, anthologies, and a devotional book, Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? as well as a humorous weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.

Examples of annual and weekly goal charts follow.
Yearly Goals in 6 areas to encourage a balanced life
Dates:  from ______________to ________________







Daily Goals:  Professional Week ________________Year__________________







Daily Goals:  Home/Social projects







Never give up! Keep writing!

My writing career began over forty years ago with a humorous travel-type story I sent in to a slick national magazine with a large circulation. Imagine my surprise when I received a check a few weeks later which totaled about a half-month’s salary! I did what every self-respecting woman does with a windfall as I cried aloud, “I’m going shopping!”  After that, I became a regular contributor to a number of special interest magazines.

But I cite the advice of never giving up because I did. Twice. I have since learned why it is so important for all of us Christian writers to persist with goals, a close relationship with God and using the talent he gave you and me. Keep writing!

After the birth of my twin sons, I found myself transformed from a pregnant married woman with a job to an unemployed single mother of diaper-clad infants. As I struggled with motherhood and sleep deprivation, my mind was active, but my pen wasn’t. I had given up. The only tangible evidence of writing was journaling: telling it how it was on a day-to-day basis; being real. It was full of struggle, tears, heartache and victory.

However, journaling can be a pot of gold. It can stockpile experiences that touch hearts and lives: the hope that in spite of obstacles, one can win!

No one ever died from too much genuine encouragement
or hope
or laughter.

Revisit experiences to share because sharing may help others.  Keep writing!

As my sons grew to be independent and I became a mere irritation on the home front, I began to write for publications much more frequently.

The boys packed to leave home claiming, “I bet you can hardly wait for us to move out!” With the two of them leaving doors standing open, leaving behind the smell of sweaty track shirts, socks, and an icebox full of freezer burn, all I can say is, “No comment!” It was great material for humor.

A short time later, the family foundation collapsed with the death of my mom and an entire generation. In close succession, I had to handle two estates. Life happens. Keep writing!

As I received some windfall funds, I began to rationalize, “What good is writing, when it brings so little in such spread-out payments?” I stopped writing. But not for long.

What are we to do with our talent? “Use it or lose it,” is the cry of fitness enthusiasts everywhere encouraging us to use our muscles. The same applies to us as writers exercising our minds, talent, and ideas. Keep writing!

Think carefully on the parable Jesus himself told of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30.  Today, the word “talent” has evolved into meaning a skill or ability. In New Testament times, a talent was 130 pounds of silver.

The master gave the first servant was given one talent was given about $90,000 value; the second about $180,000., and the third, five talents at about $450,000.  After a long time, the master returned. The servant with five talents invested it and now had about $900,000. The one with two netted about $362,000. . The last still had $90,000.  He was afraid, so he had buried his one hundred thirty pounds of silver in a good-sized hole.    

To the servant who buried his talent, the master gave him a tongue-lashing and handed the talent to the richer of his other servants. To two servants who doubled their investment, he said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”

We must keep writing. As servants of God, we must invest what he has given us and trust in the results. Someday, we will stand before him. If we invested our talent as He would wish, we can expect him to say,

“Well done, my good and faithful servant!” It doesn’t get any better than that!

*true story, name changed

 [Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from Amazon.com and her website (http://www.button-to-god.com) as well as speaking engagements. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]

Be sure and check the Weekend Edition for Winners


Melanie Pike said...

Wow! I'm first? "Just happened" to see this come up as I was finishing catching up on Facebook and decided to check it out. The Plot Whisperer? That is my most difficult thing in writing and probably why I've been procrastinating for ages about writing again. I have a bunch of books started, a few finished ones awaiting rewriting, and a ton of ideas in my head. Could certainly use some prompts, too, I guess...

And I'm considering doing Speedbo... It might get me going again.

Also need to spend more time here.

All of this I think I can accomplish in the extra 8 hours a day I've been given.


Christina Rich said...

This is such a timely post. I have my moments when I want to toss up my hands and walk away from writing. And it's not the writing that causes me to feel this way. All right, fine! So, if I'm to be honest, yesterday's little tiff had to do with the writing. I'm driving myself crazy over the lack of research details I WANT to start another story. I guess I fear a beheading by historical purists. ;)

Thank you, Jo, for reminding me just why I write and who I write for. I have committed this project to God. I just need to trust that He'll guide my paths.

Christina Rich said...

I just had to come back and say that as I was waiting for Seekerville post I was trying to map out this next story. I've been researching this story for days and felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall. Getting nowhere with my map, I opened Seekerville, read, wrote Proverbs 16:3 on my notes, read it aloud and then commented on Seeker. I went outside and took pictures of the snow, walked around the house, went and brushed my teeth and BOOM! Adi's life, that is my heroine, just started to unfold before me.

Edwina said...

I appreciate this article - really need it today!

Cathy Shouse said...

Jo, This was all excellent advice. I like how straight-forward you were, with no "woe-is-me" attitude.
Cannot imagine raising twins alone! You are an inspiration on many levels!

Annie Rains said...

I love that parable about the talents. Thank you so much for your inspirational post!

Happy Tuesday, Seekerville!

Jackie said...

Jo, thanks for sharing with us. What a great post right before Speedbo.

Mealnie, you can do it.

I just read my morning devotional, about how we spend our time for God. I'm not published and wonder if I'm wasting the time God gave me. After praying I decided, once again, that God has called me to write.

Your post is a beautiful exclamation mark to my prayers.

Thanks so much.

Jackie L.

Jo Russell said...

Welcome, Melanie!You're an early riser! It's great to share enthusiasm and encouragement with you! Jo Russell

Sandra Leesmith said...

Go for it MELANIE. How wonderful to hear your thankfulness. Its easier to complain, but giving thanks produces results. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi CHRISTINA, I so hear you about wanting to be sure with the research. But what a great witness that it came to you after prayers. God is so good. smile

Jo Russell said...

Christina - We always feel that way sometimes. After a year of health and other major setbacks, a friend commented, "Wow. Sounds like Satan has been after you. Good thing that God is in charge!"
Jo R.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oh Hi Jo, Its early here in Arizona. Isn't she a trooper? Thank you for joining us. Sounds like you've already touched some hearts with your words of encouragement.

Have fun today.

Jo Russell said...

Edwina - Thanks! I'm glad it encouraged you. I feel that is one of the jobs God has given me!

Sandra Leesmith said...


Jo Russell said...

Cathy - Sometimes people have said, "What a hard life you've had!" But it is just a life and much enriched and guided by God. He helped me through every challenge and still does. My grown young men - unlike the terrible statistics for fatherless children - turned out very well.

Jo Russell said...

Hi, Sandra! I always enjoy the early morning. When it snows here (like Sunday) it is a beautiful time to pull back the curtains and admire God's handiwork. I didn't see snow until I was 12, and moved to NE AZ. about 20 years ago. So it's still magic!

Jo Russell said...

Hi, Jackie! One has to develop a thick skin with the writing business. It is full of rejection slips - or in today's technology - no response at all.

It's a matter of getting the manuscript across the right editor's desk at the right time.

For example, my story "Taking Exercise to Heart" was selected for Chicken Soup for the Soul - Shaping the New You with a publish date of about Dec. 7. I'm sure it was chosen partly because the first lines read, "I was released from the heart unit of the hospital the day after Christmas. It was my worst Christmas ever."
It has a positive and humorous outcome, however.

You will be published!

I would suggest that you find someone in your life or writing group who can be your cheerleader. That is someone with whom who can celebrate your victories - small or large.

Jo Russell said...

Hi, Annie!I love the parable about talents, too. My grandmother paraphrased it often to me. Her creativity included writing a book, designing her own hats and clothing, as well as painting and carving blocks for prints.

It is essential in our worship of God that we use out talents.

DebH said...

love your post. it reminds me of Dorrie in Finding Nemo when she sings "Just keep swimming... just keep swimming..."

the parable of the talents has always been big in our family. my mom always encouraged us kids to discover the talent God gave us and then make sure we moved forward and used it.

the older i get, the smarter my mom is.

Jo Russell said...

Hi, Deb!
Glad your family embraces the parable, too! It's a great message from Jesus himself!

Christina Lasswell said...

I'm up early this morning. . .hoping to get in some computer time before we lose electricity in this snowstorm :0) Positive thinking-- maybe we won't! Just wanted to say I felt encouraged by your post today. Thanks.

Bridgett Henson said...

Jo, I LOVE your red hat!!!!

Thanks for an encouraging post. I think all writers want to give up at some point.
As I read this, I heard Dory from the movie Finding Nemo. "Just keep swimming...just keep swimming."

Translated into writer speak. "Just keep writing...just keep writing..."

Bridgett Henson said...

Hi DebH,

Just saw your post.

Great minds think alike. :)

Connie Queen said...


You sound like me! Take one of those new, fun ideas and get it written during Speedbo. What a great way to kick start your writing again.


Audra Harders said...

Good morning, Sandra and Jo!

Tough times come at us, it's all a matter of how we deal with it. Inspirational story, Jo. I'm impressed with your survival instincts. It is so easy to give up.

Glad you didn't : )

Connie Queen said...


Thanks for the inspirational post.

Let me say, I love your pic w/the red hat and dress!

Cara Lynn James said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Jo! Thank you for your words of encouragement. I think there are times when we're forced to 'give up' writing because of circumstances. But that's okay as long as we have a long-term plan/goal and consider this break as just a short pause.

Christina, I think all writers of historicals worry about being beheaded by historical purists -- and with good reason! We have to find a balance between doing enough research and doing to little.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I haven't read comments yet, but Jo and Sandra, this is beyond excellent.

Jo, I agree, concur, and every other type of "YES" verb known on the planet in multiple languages.

Nevah Give Up.

Don't Quit.


I am blessed by your post today, and I'd love to meet those boys and hear them laugh over life with you.

Thank you so much for being here today.... I almost don't feel like making fun of Mary.... and maybe Tina.... and of course, Mary Virginia Carmichael Munoz because that's a ridiculous number of names to bandy about.

But before I poke fun at people, I'll leave some fresh creamers for the coffee bar and carrot cake. I've been dying for carrot cake.

Well. Dying is "overspeak" but I want some and that's almost the same, right?


Welcome, Jo. And Sandra???? She's a keeper!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Christina, that's amazing, beautiful (and I want to know what kind of camera you have because I want one like it.... great pics...) but isn't it amazing how grace, spirit and intuition come together through quiet and listening?



Go for it, woman. Why wait? Why hesitate?

Jesus didn't hesitate, but he forgave the apostles numerous times for that same tendency...

Do not fear for I am with you...


Go for it, Melanie. Write.

Jan Drexler said...

Thanks for sharing Jo with us, Sandra! What a great boost to take us into Speedbo :)

Jo, I'm impressed with the way you can look at situations with an eye to finding humor and inspiration in them. That's a sign that you're not just letting life happen to you - you're wringing every bit of God's goodness out of every minute.

And thanks for the reminder to set goals. I often set goals for specific things, but neglect the larger and broader things. I have my daily, weekly and monthly goals for Speedbo, but I need to WRITE THEM DOWN!

Yup. I needed this boost today :)

Carol Moncado said...

Hey! Arizona peeps!!!!! I miss AZ :D.


Today, I'm enjoying snow ;). Kids are out. The schools where my college classes are held is out. College is closed till 10. Accidents and slideoffs everywhere. And we don't have the worst of it. I cancelled classes and am staying home with 2 extra kiddos and a goal of getting my words in. Oodles of them.

I don't know how many times I've wanted to quit. I haven't yet. At least not for long. Someone always talks me back from the edge. The last time I even talked myself back.

I am quite proud of that.

Praying for direction, fast fingers and a clear mind today. Trying to finish this WIP by tomorrow so I can prep for Speedbo. But have been up since 430 with the will they/won't they school stuff... so my mind just may be a bit fuzzy :p.

No comments Ruthy.

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Jo! The solid truth of your message is the best kind of butt kick before we head into SpeedBo.

With your sense of humor I'm sure your devotional carries a laugh and a wallop. Fun hook in our push button world.

Love the hat!


Julie Hilton Steele said...

Thanks for sharing your experience and that of others!

I quit writing once. Never again. But I do let things slow me down.

I just sent an email to Man O to remind him Speedbo is coming. I figured that way he can put it on his Outlook calendar.

Put me in for the drawing!

Peace, Julie

Piper Huguley said...

Hello Jo,

I love the red--it is my favorite color! And your words come at a good time since I received an R yesterday. The post reminds me of my word for the year--persist--and not to give up. Thank you,


Sandra Leesmith said...


You both thought of Nemo??? That is just too funny.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Never never never never never never never never never never never never never EVER give up!!!

Good advice, Sandra and Winston Churchill. :-)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi CONNIE QUEEN, Don't you love the hat? And the rest of you who have commented on it, you would have loved meeting Jo. She had a different hat for each day and occasion.

Very classy.

And fun.

Sandra Leesmith said...


Thanks for the carrot cake, RUTHY. It hits the spot.

I've been down with the flu arrgh. so didn't dare bake anything. Didn't want to spread any of those nasty germs.

And you're sweet not to pick on Mary today. I'm sure she will appreciate it. smile

Melanie Dickerson said...

Whoops! That should have said, Great advice, Jo!!! :-)

Sandra Leesmith said...

CAROL would you believe we had SNOW here in the Arizona desert last Wednesday?

In Scottsdale they had to close freeways and roads. UNBELIEVABLE. This winter has been the coldest for a long time.

I think TINA brought it with her from Colorado.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi JAN, Wasn't that list reminder perfect? Reminded me to get mine written. NOW.

Persist. Great word PIPER.

JULIE thanks for reminding people its time for SPEEDBO

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi MELANIE, Yep that's Jo's advice but you see we all agree. smiling.

Mary Connealy said...

Keep writing!
simple and so true.

I find myself unable to expound.

pol said...

Good morning Ladies, what a wonderful post and this should really get these speedbo gals hopping to their desk and getting ready to write -write-write. I am a reader and I promise you I will be ready for your finished writings. I am looking for a whip to crack like they did on rawhide to keep you gals moving(Motivated).
March is just around the corner are you ready. this post sure came at the right time -I think.
Paula O

Sandra Leesmith said...

Good thing MARY cause RUTHY is holding back. So she says.

Sandra Leesmith said...

PAULA, Love it. You crack that whip to keep us writing.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome, Jo and thanks for the encouraging words.

I like how you think!!!!

And I like your red too!!! :)

Christina Rich said...

Jackie, I love when God shows up with confirmation!

Ruthy, it's a little Nikon Coolpix. It doesn't do too bad, but it's limited in some areas. I want one in the D series. One of these days.

Connie Queen said...


Sorry to hear about your dreaded R, but that means you're way ahead of a lot of us.
R= you've written.
R=you took a chance and submitted R=what writers receive on the bumpy road to publication.

3 days 'til Speedbo.

Debby Giusti said...

Sending hugs. Sorry about your R, but so thrilled that you submitted!!!

You have to get a stack of R's before you can publish. Did you know that? So don't fret. You're that much closer to publication.

Debby Giusti said...

It's the 11 o'clock hour and one of our Seekervillagers needs prayer. For a good reason. Could everyone take a moment and lift her up...I'm hoping she'll make herself known at a later time.

Pray NOW!

Thanks and hugs!

Sherida Stewart said...

Jo, just what I needed to hear since yesterday's writing didn't go as well as I planned. The setting goals advice is a good reminder. And I put Proverbs 16:3at the top of my WIP also.

Christina, what a perfect example of trusting in our Lord. Beautiful!

Paula and Tina, I'll remember you both will keep me accountable for Speedbo....I will not quit!

Ruthy, love the carrot cake!

Thanks again, Seekerville. I'm off to write for FHL's BIAW. Need 1500 words today. Eeeek!

Myra Johnson said...

JO & SANDRA, thanks for sharing this inspiring post! I love the parable of the talents. Every time I read it, I'm reminded that there's risk involved in anything we attempt. Little effort brings little reward, so I'm challenged to step out of my comfort zone and use my God-given talents with boldness.

Um, often easier said than done. But I keep trying.

Debby Giusti said...

Jo, thanks for being with us today. I'm a goal person but haven't been writing mine down. Must do it NOW!!!

Love your red, which I see Edwina is wearing as well. So am I today, although you can't see me.

Red is such a power color!

Thanks, Sandra, for bringing Jo to us. She's a gift! :)

Digging for Pearls said...

Thanks for the encouraging reminder to develop, nurture and grow our talent - to not bury it, but instead find a way to multiply and share it with others.

Jodie Wolfe

Debby Giusti said...

Oh happy day! I'm meeting Patti Jo for lunch. We'll talk about Seekerville so your ears will be burning, but in a good way.

Wish you all could join us!

Debby Giusti said...

Jodie, how's the pain?

Digging for Pearls said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Digging for Pearls said...

Hi Debby,

Pain is a little less today than last night. The doctor ended up giving me four shots in my back. It may take a few days for it to be effective. Thanks for remembering me. :)

Jodie Wolfe

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sandra, darling, I didn't say I wouldn't pick on MARY CONNEALY... I merely acknowledged that Jo's lovely post made me feel more prayerful and therefore less inclined.

But that was HOURS ago, so I think Mary's fair game now!!! :)

I'm so sorry you've been sick, Sandra! Oh, yuck, and you're using that as an EXCUSE TO NOT MAKE pretend food.



Hey, fresh bread and chicken salad for lunch. You low-carb peeps, just go for the chicken salad... Anyone who's in a bread-n-butter frame of mind, this is melt-in-your-mouth bread.

I'm just sayin'... Gives you somethin' to chew on besides Jo's heartfelt post.

Lyndee H said...

Life is really trying to throw my off track over here, so I appreciate this post. Yes, I will keep writing, even if I have to start adopting Ruthy hours!

Julie Lessman said...

JO ... WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE ... and WOW, did you inspire me today, girl!! Thank you SO much for this encouraging post, which is EXACTLY what I needed to hear.

It seems that lately, I've had so many days when I tell my husband this wasn't the gig I signed up for, so I am going to chuck it all, but you are SO right -- we writers need to keep on writing. It's a talent God has given us and we cannot bury it!!

Thanks to Sandra for bringing you to us, Jo, at just the right time!!


Mary Cline said...

I've heard the parable of the talents since forever and often, but today your post hit me again.

Thank you Jo for a new layer of inspiration.

Pam Hillman said...

What an encouraging post for all of us. Keep on, keeping on!

As Cara said, there are seasons when we have to step back, but we don't have to quit, not unless quitting means we've moved to some other passion.

I've had the question asked of me, "What would you do if you weren't writing?"

and, I just can't think of anything else...

Pam Hillman said...

Ohhh, chicken salad sounds really good, Ruthy.

Pass it down!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oh folks, sorry I've been gone. I don't know where Jo went. Hope she didn't catch my flu. I went to doctor and have been sitting there FOREVER.

whine whine. I know. No sympathy. I NEVER get sick so I make a HORRIBLE patient. LOL

DEBBY You have carried the ball. Thanks. ANd I'm jealous that you are meeting Patti Jo for lunch.

Sandra Leesmith said...

PIPER I totally missed the R in your post. So sorry, but as so many have pointed out, the R is a badge of courage so to speak. You get to brag about them, esp after publication.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi SHERIDA, Good luck on getting those 1500 words in.

JODIE, so glad to hear the pain is less. You're in our prayers.

Sandra Leesmith said...

MYRA so true about better said than done. Why is that? So not fair. chuckle.

JULIE isn't God always on time. smile Yes, Jo's message hit home for me also.

PAM I agree, the chicken salad hits the spot.

Thanks RUTHY. And I don't see Mary bleeding YET.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hang in there LYNDEE.

MARY Cline so glad the post helped.

Marnie King Langley said...

Sandra, I'm so sorry you've been sick! Glad you were able to get in to see the doc, even if you did have to wait forever. Isn't that the pits, though?

Hope you feel better soon!!!

Digging for Pearls said...

Thanks Sandra, and I'm praying you feel better soon.

Jodie Wolfe

Cara Lynn James said...

I'm sorry about the R, Piper. You're in good company. Most of us have gotten lots of them and will continue to in the future along with plenty of sales, too. That's what we all hope for. I suggest a piece of chocolate for now. Keep writing!

Jodie and Sandra, I hope you both feel better soon.

Janet Dean said...

Debby, lunch with Patti Jo will be such fun!

Sandra, sorry you've been sick! Thankful you're on the mend.

Christina, Ouch! Glad you got your heroine's story. You're going to need that brain. I'm still searching for mine. We may both have a bad case of pre-SpeedBo jitters. LOL


Piper Huguley said...

Thanks for the R sympathy, folks! Seekerville is a nice place to be after getting one....

And Debby did you say a stack of Rs? You meant to type "a handful of Rs", right? *sigh*

Guess I will print them out and begin my stack...Prayers for the sick and dispirited,


May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

So much wisdom (and fun) here.
Thank you Sandra and Jo, the lady in RED!! Ooooh lalaLA!

Very much enjoyed this, and will take to heart.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Gee whiz, I feel better already with all the prayers. JODIE we are in good company. smile

And PIPER-yep, DEBBY meant stack. sigh

You're on your way.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi KC, Woof woof from Cody and Suz to May. They were at the vet yesterday and at least they are healthy.

JO does look snazzy in that red outfit. You should see some of her others. Quite the lady. I was so impressed when I met her. Knew from all the hats she was going to be fun.

CatMom said...

Great post, Jo - - thank you so much for sharing this with us today - - I think we can all benefit from your wisdom. And I join the millions of others who've said they love your RED!! Such a powerful color. ~ I was SO blessed today to have lunch with wonderful Debby Giusti---what a sweetheart (and awesome author too!). ~ It's later in the day, but in case anybody needs a lift, I've brought a warm Georgia Peach Pie (with vanilla ice cream). Or if you prefer chocolate, here's a pan of warm fudge brownies. These desserts are good for energy! ~ Hugs, Patti Jo

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi PATTI JO, Was so jealous to hear you were having lunch and now am still. smiling So glad you had fun. Debby is a sweetheart.

But the peach pie does help. It is yummy. Thank you.

Joanne Sher said...

LOVE this post - and, of course, would ADORE winning :)

Already have my SpeedBo goal in to Tina - and I WILL be ready!

Debby Giusti said...

Waving to Patti Jo! Wasn't today fun? So glad we could meet for lunch!

I'd love some GA peach pie!

Debby Giusti said...

Piper, I'm sure your road to publication will be shorter than mine was! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Jodie, glad to read that your pain is a bit better today. Praying for the trend to continue.

Sending chicken soup to Sandra, along with Patti Jo's yummy peach pie! I'm calling her our own Ms. Georgia Peach from now on.

Hope you feel better soon, Sandra. That flu is a nasty bug!

Walt Mussell said...

It's been a long day and I've nothing to add, except to saqy that I will persevere.

CatMom said...

P.S. Oh Sandra...meant to add that I hope you're well SOON---bless your heart--that flu has been extra-rough this year. Gentle hugs, Patti Jo

P.P.S. Piper, so sorry about your "R" but don't despair--things will look brighter soon! (says the lady who's contemplating printing out all her Rs and using them for wrapping paper, LOL.) Well, can't "R" be for RECYCLE too?!?! ;)

Debra E. Marvin said...

Piper - your two days of frowning over that R 'are' over.
Back at it tomorrow, kiddo!

Sandra, I hope you are feeling much better ASAP! Thanks from bringing Jo in to prod us forward -it gave Tina the day off (She needs the rest to be in whip-cracking form on Friday).

Good night!

Jo Russell said...

Thanks, everybody for your comments today! It encouraged me as well to hear from you.

Sandra Leesmith said...

JOANNE I'm so glad you're ready for Speedbo.

Isn't it going to be fun?

Sandra Leesmith said...

Persevere is an excellent word WALT. Great going.

Sandra Leesmith said...

PATTI JO AND DEBBY Thanks for the well wishes. I'm feeling somewhat better.

Sandra Leesmith said...

DEBRA I just know Tina is cracking that whip. I can hear the snaps in the air.

Be afraid everyone. LOL

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks Jo. Sounds like your words of encouragement were helpful to many people today.

Jo and I will be picking winners for five of her books so be sure and check out the Weekend Edition.

Marion Ueckermann said...

Thanks for the reminder and encouragement. That parable has been weighing heavily on my mind in recent days and is what keeps me going in pushing the bounderies and to keep writing. I don't want to be the one who buries her talent - God has given it to me, and I want to use it to the best of my ability, and to His glory!

Gail Kittleson said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Jo. I needed it. I'm not going to quit writing now, but I certainly have at various junctures in the past. It's a calling now, and even though the wait seems VERY long for publication, words like yours, and esp. the stories, are SO helpful.

Bless you!

Gail Kittleson


Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi MARION, Don't you love it when you get confirmation about a Bible verse and what it means to you personally? Thanks for sharing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi GAIL, Hang in there. Perseverance is the key.

Cheryl Hart said...

No one ever died from too much genuine encouragement
or hope
or laughter.

Love this! Great post. Thanks for the encouragement!

Jo Russell said...

Christina -
You must live in a place where they run out of money to deal with snowstorms! That's our issue in early spring!

Jo Russell said...

Cara Lynn James -

I had to stop writing, too, at a few points, but I kept journaling. Don't give up!

Jo Russell said...

Hi, Ruth Logan Hern!
Thanks for your input. You can meet my boys and laugh with them in most of my blogs on www.button-to-god.com and in my book, Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? I have since learned that I have to change the posts to third person and alter their names. When I went to Alaska to visit one in September, he wouldn't let me speak at the local church. I think that's because of the story of one twin teaching the other how to drive - Within 15 minutes, they were standing at the door pointing at each other. It was a writing contest winner.

Jo Russell said...

Sandra - Hope you're feeling better today and up and running!

Jo Russell said...

Cara Lynn James -

Living a balanced life is something I strive to do all the time - even now. I thought it would come when I retired from teaching and then from building trades. It comes down to goal-setting and determination.

Keep workin on it,and balance comes!

Jo Russell said...

Janet Dean -
Thanks for the compliment about the sense of humor. My mom modeled that well as shown in http://www.button-to-god.com/?p=36
"Grief and Potatoes."
Ironically, the time I spent hating h.s. science and reading joke books sandwiched in the middle of my text resulted ultimately in God giving me leadership in the largest academic after-school club grades K-3 - You guessed it! Science.

Jo Russell said...

Patti Jo -
Thanks for your comments and encouragment! As a cat-lover, you would probably enjoy these two cat-lover posts from my website: http://www.button-to-god.com/?p=525
and http://www.button-to-god.com/?p=33

I appreciate you!

Jo Russell said...

Hi, Julie L!

Thanks for your comments! If you read some of the biographical information about romance writer Debbie Macomber, who cranks out 2 - 3 novels a year, you will know how much sheer determination counts. Sometimes I am motivated by just people saying that something can't be done!

Jo Russell said...

Tina - Thanks for your comments.
That is one of my favorite summer red hats. I've got about 70 hats total - summer, winter, spring, those that soothed my wounded feelings over something, etc. I have to be careful and weigh my collection against God's word about storing up treasures! However, the Postmistress told me when I picked up the new hot pink newsboy cap that if hats were my only vice, that was a positive thing!

Marianne Barkman said...

i love hanging out at Seekerville, though i'm a day late, and sure no one else goes back to read comments. That's totally okay. i know i've been here by the coffee and carrot cake. (kinda funny, since i just heard a comment about slowcooker carrot cake).


Jo Russell said...

Brigette - Thanks for your comment. I love the hat, too. I had to start wearing them about 15 years ago because of skin cancer, but learned the benefits included
- setting a fashion trend
- keeping my face out of the sun
- building a fashion wardrobe that hides all bad hair days (Only my hairdresser knows for sure)
- keeping one's head warm during the winter
- making a personal statement!

Jo Russell said...

Piper - Don't worry about R's. I pass out cute little wall notices that say, "While I am waiting, God is working." One example of that was a discouraging day and when I picked up the mail, I had sample copies of a magazine and a check inside. They never even let me know they accepted it! But it was an example of five new markets I broke into over the summer!
It's a matter of getting the manuscript under the right noses.
Like sales, it's a numbers game.

Jo Russell said...

Hi, Conniek!
Glad you were encouraged by the article.

Jo Russell said...

Debby G.
Prayer is powerful! Hope to hear a positive answer!

Jo Russell said...

Christina - Glad you got over your writers' funk. I find so often that can be accomplished only by nailing oneself to the office chair and starting to write.

Each week, I have a deadline for my Sunday funnies blog on www.button-to-god.com. The challenge is not to write something helpful, spiritual, or insightful. It is to open with something funny when we may be surrounded by death, disease, distemper, and fallen arches. Example: http://www.button-to-god.com/?p=854
But you can do it. Even if you throw away two or three pages, the idea is just to get started.

And, of course, the more you write [and read], the better you get.

Jo Russell said...

My apologies, ladies, for abandoning you yesterday. I saw only comments until 7:50 a.m., then no more. Sometimes this is because our internet service is remarkable in a notorious way; sometimes it is my challenge with technology. http://www.button-to-god.com/?p=994 "Faster than a Speeding Smartpone" is one of three blogs on technology on my website.
I'm answering all your comments today.

Jo Russell said...

Jan - I think that humor is an outlook on life. It's a good one for looking at the positive, like those seniors who say, "Live your life! Forget your age!" I have often been able to turn terrible experiences into humor. My very first article, a travel story, was a disastrous motorcycle trip Phoenix to Denver with a female traveling companion who took off with her married boyfriend and left me to come home alone. I actually left out the bad and made fun of the rest.

Jo Russell said...

Julie - Thanks for your comments.
Five books will be given away. Sandra is taking care of drawing for the winners. The book is also available on my website, as well as excepts to read, funny speeches and blogs on www.button-to-god.com.

Jo Russell said...

Audra - I think of a number of impressive people who didn't give up - Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack when she was 13 - Look how many interviews conclude with her attributing her success to God! Nick Vijicic, born with no arms and legs, who has become an evangelist for audiences in the tens of thousands, and Winston Churchill, who had such problems with bio-polar he had to step back from the tracks at train station to keep from throwing himself in front of it. From him, we have the famous (and often misquoted words)"Nevah give in!"
Nick has been my inspiration when he talked about bombing in front of his first very large audience. He stammered and was unsure of himself. He learned from that he wasn't ready, but God helped him to develop into the man and messenger he is today.
That helped me when I bombed a radio interview. All other speeches, publicity and interviews had been great.

Jo Russell said...

Carol M. - Glad to hear you have someone talking you back to writing! I found how important cheerleaders are in our lives - People who genuinely appreciate and encourage our success. It is good to have such genuine friends. Remember, always, that God is one of our cheerleaders.

Jo Russell said...

Jodie - Thanks for the comment. Yes, we sure have to use and multiply our talent.

Imagine when we stand before God, he will show us what effect our writing had in changing lives. We may have no clue just now.

Jo Russell said...

Melanie - Thanks for your feedback and comments. It is such a lift as we writers are often working alone, thrashing ourselves with guilt over whatever multi-tasking responsibility we didn't conquer for the day. I know that your encouragement helps me so much because my writing critique group, which meets once a month is 176 miles away - It is not always accessible during the winter because of snow and ice. For those of you thinking that AZ is all palm trees, sunny skies, and balmy golf courses, the northern part (where I live) has four seasons and all the biomes - like tall trees, rain forest, canyons, high desert, etc. You get the idea watching CARS, which is based on Route 66, illustrating Holbrook, Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon, Flagstaff, etc.

Jo Russell said...

Paula - Thanks for all your blogs, your writing, and your encouragement, which includes some thrashing with a wet noodle!

Jo Russell said...

Sherida - You are so right about Prov. 16:3 "Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed." NIV

Don't worry about having to toss some writing completely. I have a very intense story "No More Rocks, Please" about finding myself mother of newborntwins, owing three years' salary of med. co-pay, with a divorce pending, and having to quit my job and move across the state for my newborns and me to be safe. I couldn't imagine what would happen. It was a wall that God moved. The story was so emotional for me - though about 30 years ago - I couldn't sell it or write it without crying. However, I got it into an anthology in 2010, then sold a rewrite of it just this month to a magazine I'd been trying to break into for six years. Persevere!

Jo Russell said...

Gail K - Yes, it is often a very long wait. I was given two assignments on the same day, with only about 10 days to finish both. One came out in six months and paid on acceptance. The other seemed to be dead as editors changed, but the article came out a year and a half after assigned. God is still working, even when you don't see anything happening at all.

Jo Russell said...

Lyndee H. - What are Ruthy hours?

Jo Russell said...

Mary C. - Thanks for your comment!

Jo Russell said...

Pam H - You're right - What would we do if we weren't writing?

My father always said that I "got on a horse and rode in all directions." That meant that I couldn't focus on art, writing, fashion design, interior decorating, literature, teaching, etc. But eventually, I did figure it out!

Writing is a worthy investment of our energy.

Jo Russell said...

Debra E. - Thanks for your comments and your writing.

Imagine the lives you touch!

Jo Russell said...

Myra J. You bet that God is smiling as he pushes you out of your comfort zone! He's taking you to a new level! Here is a blog about that:http://www.button-to-god.com/?p=68

We can do anything with God's help!

Jo Russell said...

Walt M. - Glad to read your comments! Thanks for the input!

Jo Russell said...

KC - Thanks for the comments! You like red, too!

Jo Russell said...


Thanks for your comment.
I do believe that along with food, water, shelter, and clothes, we need hope, laughter and encouragement as a daily diet!

Natalie Monk said...

This is such an encouraging post.

"If you don't use it, you lose it!" I needed to hear that today. I've got a sinus infection and found out I have to leave town tomorrow (when Speedbo starts), but I'm taking my writing materials and plan to MAKE time to write. I've just gone through a writing workbook and don't want to lose what I've learned before I'm able to implement it. God put writing in me for a reason and I'm determined to use it for Him!

Thanks so much for the motivational boost!

Jo Russell said...

Natalie - Good for you for taking your writing materials with you! I'm glad the post helped you.

Janet Kerr said...

Thanks for the great giveaway.
Please enter me in your draw.