Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Spring of Hope through the Years

by Ann H. Gabhart


At thirteen, I started writing in a journal to try to figure out life and because I loved words. Later, when I began writing for publication, my journal was where I whined and cried over discouraging lows and celebrated exhilarating highs in my writing life. Perhaps these peeks at some of my old entries will encourage you to persevere and write on.


Jan 4, 1978 – It seems appropriate I waited till now to write here in ’78. I’ve waited so long and now I’m almost without words. It got an offer. Specifically, Warner Books wants to publish my book. My agent says she’s not entirely satisfied with the terms but wants to know how I feel. What can I say? Of course I’m satisfied. To me, it sounds like a fortune, a miracle, an answer to prayer.

Dec 31, 1978 - I’ve written on so many New Year’s Eves since I began journal writing. Sometimes that seems such a long time ago. In other ways, only a soft twirl of days. This passing of the old year to the new is a time to mark accomplishments, to count successes and mourn over failures. This has been an exciting year full of newness. Seeing my book on the stands was a definite high. 

Jan 3, 1983 – I didn’t write on New Year’s Eve. Guess that is indicative of my mood. I hate to keep reiterating my failures, and that’s all 1983 held professionally. Rejections and even worse than that–no rejections. Only silence. So I’ll let 1982 roll past and turn loose of it. I’ll realize I’m still able to work. I still want to write even if the words seem elusive and difficult. So what if my drawer is full of rejections. It’s all part of learning and getting better. Pray God I am getting better and 1983 will hold something good in the wings for me, the writer.

Jan 14, 1985 – A new year. New hope. I keep trying anyway. I got a nice letter from my agent saying my “lack of sales” was no reflection on my writing ability.

Jan 2, 1987 – This time last year we were just realizing Dad was sick, and now he’s gone. I can’t review the year. Too sad. I’ll stick with work news. I did sell 3 books, a record for me.

Jan 3, 1989 – Life brings both joy and sadness. I have been gifted with many good things… my family, my talent, the chance to do what I love. So many blessings. Perhaps I shouldn’t forget my spring of hope that sustains me when I’m discouraged. The next book. The next idea. The next editor. I have only to believe, to keep trying, to step forward with prayer. 

Jan 3, 1991 – I love it when I can think positive. I want a whole year of positive
thinking. “You can do it” stuff.

Jan 17, 1994 – Guess I didn’t search for time to write about my year because it’s been such a sorry one in regard to writing successes – a deep valley of discouragement. 

Jan 12, 1995 – It’s a funny thing chasing after a story idea, and today, so futile I thought I’d write about it. It’s as if I’ve blanked out my mind and I’m stumbling around searching for a way out of the blankness, hoping I’ll bang into something to suggest some possibilities. But right now it’s a white-out blizzard of nothing. Another way to describe it? I’m in a huge field. Nothing but flat ground. I’m lost but not really worried. I know that one direction will lead me to something interesting – maybe a hole I can fall into. But which direction? Where’s the story?

Jan 21, 1998 – I want to do something fresh, something to inspire me and make me proud to say I’m a writer again. Maybe I’ll be a writer again. Now I’m just going through the motions and doing a poor job of that. I need a new story. I need a story. Period, exclamation point.

Jan 14, 2003 – Here we are starting the fourth year of the 21st Century. I haven’t worked the way I’d like. I keep dragging my feet. Letting things interfere. Falling to sleep at the wheel (or keyboard). Afraid of failing. I’m still working on Jocie’s story. (Scent of Lilacs) I like it, but will anyone else? I don’t know. But I am going to push through to the end. If I fail, I fail. But I’ve failed already if I don’t try. 

Jan 3, 2005 – Of course, the year’s writing highlight is selling my book. I’m so excited about that I shouldn’t even think a depressing thought. 

Dec 27, 2005 – Time spins away from us in great circles. One day it’s the first of the month. The next the end. A new grandbaby girl has come into the world. A beautiful perfect miracle of a child. Blessed beyond imagination.

Jan 3, 2008 – So long ago I started writing in a journal. So many private words. Yet it continues to feed my soul. Words on paper. Thoughts and ideas. Gripes and complaints. 

Praises and joys. Worries and troubles. Happiness and love. So many things to record over the years. I started my first journal when I was 13. I’m not 13 anymore. But I’m still here. Still writing. Still having joy and worries. But pray God, always more joy.

As you can tell from the entry dates, I’ve been writing for many years, but without being able to record my dreams and hopes in my journal, who knows? I might have given up during those discouraging times of no sales. My recent release, Love Comes Home, is my twenty-seventh published book, fourteen of those after the Lord gave me that new story I so needed in 1998. It was a few more years before I wrote Scent of Lilacs about a preacher and his family in the Sixties. That story landed me squarely in the inspirational market, a place I love since I can share the spiritual journeys of my characters in their stories. What are we without what we believe? 


My first book was published almost forty years ago. Since then I’ve worked with different publishers, re-invented myself as a writer several times, but I felt like I had come home when Scent of Lilacs came out. (By the way Scent of Lilacs is a free download right now!) 

Sometimes the Lord opens a door and then has to nudge us in some way to make us notice the opportunity. In my case, perhaps rejections were my nudge. I can’t say I’m glad for the rejections, but I am glad to be writing for the Christian market. Each new story is a gift and I feel blessed to be able to share my stories with my reading friends. 




Have you ever faced discouraging times in your writing life and considered giving up? Or maybe you’re not a writer, but have faced discouragement in other areas of your life? What made you keep trying and how did you keep your hopes alive? 




ANN H. GABHART, the author of several bestselling novels, has been called a storyteller, not a bad thing for somebody who never wanted to do anything but write down stories. She’s published novels for both adults and young adults with more stories on the way. She keeps her keyboard warm out on a farm in Kentucky where she lives with her husband, Darrell. They have three children and nine grandchildren. To find out more about Ann or her books visit www.annhgabhart.com. Check out her blog, One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com or join her on Facebook. www.facebook.com/anngabhart 


Today, Ann is giving away a copy of her latest release, Love Comes Home to one commenter. Let us know you want to be considered for this special book. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.



World War II is finally over and the people of Rosey Corner are busy welcoming the boys home. The Merritt sisters in particular are looking toward the future. Kate is eager to start a family and live out her dream of happily ever after with Jay. Evangeline wants a beautiful house and encourages Mike to pastor a big-town church. Victoria wants what can never be--a life with a man who will never come back. And little Lorena is growing up and wondering more and more about her birth family.


Through the heartfelt storytelling of bestselling author Ann Gabhart, readers join these endearing characters as they walk an uncertain road. Each sister must learn to hold her plans with a loose hand, trusting that God will guide and strengthen them as they share the joys and sorrows of life in their little corner of the world.


Dear Friends of Seekerville: Our friend Ann Gabhart's momma has recently gone to heaven. The funeral is today, so we don't expect Ann. But this post is such a blessing to all of who are journeying in the publishing world-so do please leave a comment and let Ann know how much it blesses you and we'll all be saying a prayer of comfort for Ann and her family.

Tina Radcliffe for Seekerville

86 comments :

  1. Hi, Anne. I loved The Scent of Lilacs and am so thrilled about your new novel. I would love to win it!

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  2. Thank you for your encouraging post.

    I too have kept journals through the years.

    Please enter me in the drawing for the book.

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  3. I loved your post, it really spoke to me. Please enter me in the drawing for your book,

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  4. So sorry for you loss, Ann. I can only imagine your journal entry for this week, praying for comfort.

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  5. Ann, I'm so sorry about your mother... We're never fully ready to say goodbye, no matter how blessed the years and longevity.

    And this post should be required reading for everyone who gets published, especially those who get published quickly, without the traditional years of smackdowns!

    This biz doesn't come with guarantees and it barely comes with nods of approval on both sides of the publishing divide, so this post speaks to all of us.

    I watched Karen White and Holly Jacobs re-invent themselves several times, and that taught me to be flexible. To think outside the box. To stretch and study.

    This is huge advice from a gracious author and I thank you!

    Ruthy

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  6. SEEKERVILLE!!! COFFEE IS SERVED!!!!

    And a wide selection of syrups and creamers are available on the table to the left of the coffee service.

    It's Bring Your Own Mug day, because I'm out of hot cups!!!! MY BAD!!!

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  7. Ann, my heart goes out to you during this time of grief. You are in my prayers.

    Thank you for sharing the ups and downs of your life and the value of journaling. I do the same.

    I suspect every writer goes through discouraging times when they question themselves. I know I have. Yet we keep on keeping on.

    Bless you.
    Janet

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  8. Ann, my thoughts and prayers are with you as well today.

    Thank you for sharing these journal snippets. There's nothing like going over past journal entries to put things in perspective.

    Please don't enter me in the draw because I have Love Comes Home on my TBR pile. Really looking forward to getting back to Rosey Corner!

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  9. Anne, I'm so sorry for you loss. Your mother was blessed to have you for a daughter.

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  10. Hi, everybody. I do so appreciate your kind thoughts and prayers today. Mom lived a full and happy life. The last few years she suffered from dementia that took some of the joy from her life. So when the end came, she was ready. She's up in heaven laughing with her sisters and glad to see her mother and dad.

    I will try to pop in from time to time if I can today, but it is going to be a long day.

    I do hope the post is encouraging to those of you who have perhaps been on rejection road at times. And I thank those of you who have already read some of my books.

    Marianne, always good to see your comments and I'm glad you enjoyed Jocie's first story.

    Wilani, journals have helped me keep my focus and sanity.

    Loves to Read, your tag says it all. Glad the post was one that touched you.

    Melissa, it may be a while before I can journal about Mom. Of course, I have shared about her many times on my blog, One Writer's Journal, including a picture tribute last Sunday. If you'd like to see it, the link is http://bit.ly/Momsblog.

    Ruth, thank you so much for your condolences. I was blessed to have my mother in my life for so many years. She was a beautiful lady who taught me much about grace during any season in life. I will miss her. And I've certainly had what you call a few smackdowns along my writing journey.

    Wish I could be there to have a cup of tea with you. I'll let you all have the coffee, but I did make some zucchini cake yesterday that I'm willing to share.

    Janet, glad your journal helps you, and most everybody has those ups and downs. I appreciate your prayers.

    Kav, great to hear that Love Comes Home is in your TBR pile. Hope you'll enjoy the story. Thanks for stopping by and sending your prayers my way. I appreciate that.

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  11. Thank you for the post, Ann—it was encouraging, I enjoyed reading it.

    I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  12. Ann, may the good Lord bless you in your sorrow and remind you - yet again - that He will see you through the sorrow into joy. I pray your mother's memory lives long and strong within you.

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  13. I loved reading your journal entries, Ann. So heartfelt, so real, so relevant! Thanks for sharing them!

    I've tried to keep a journal...I usually start one January 1, and by Feb 1, it's sifted to the bottom of one of my many stacks. LOL. Probably a good thing : )

    Thanks for sharing your road to success. I often look at successful and accomplished authors with awe, completely forgetting they, too, have had pot holes in their road to fame.

    God bless you and all you do!

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  14. Cups? Did I hear Ruth needs cups?

    Here you are, I've stacked them all around the coffeemaker. I'm cleaning out rooms and discovered just how impulsive my purchases are when it comes to fun stoneware!! LOL!

    Thanks for the syrups, Ruthy! What a treat!

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  15. Ann, I'm so sorry for your loss. You'll be in my prayers.

    Your post brought tears to my eyes because I can relate so well. If I wrote in journals, mine would be similar. Thank you for sharing! It's nice to see someone who has gone through the same struggles and is an example of persistence.

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  16. Dear Ann, I am so sorry about the loss of your mom. What a tough time this is. Please know you are in our prayers.

    And thanks for sharing your journal. Good grief, it sounds like mine. smile But you stuck through better than I did. Much better. Thanks for hanging in there and keeping those stories coming. I know you will make it through this time also.

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  17. Prayers going up for you and your family, Ann. I'm so sorry for your loss.

    Thank you for the encouraging post today. I've been fighting feelings of discouragement, fear of failure, etc. this month, so reading about your own struggles as a writer helps me feel like I'm not the only one.

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  18. I can't wait to visit Rosey Corner again. So sorry about your mom. Mine's been gone ten years and I still miss her.

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  19. I'm totally here for Ann's zucchini cake!!!!

    :)

    I love that she thinks of others, and Ann, honestly.... we lost my father-in-law to Alzheimer's 18 months ago and by the end of that long, drawn-out fight, seeing him diminish and fade away... So sad. Knowing he's whole in body, mind and spirit with Christ is the BEST THING EVER.

    I fully believe that his paradise is extra-special because of those final years.... He is in the blessed calm, after the storm.

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  20. Dear Ann, Bless your heart!

    I'm so very sorry to hear about the loss of your mom. That you would show up at Seekervile on such a day as this is nothing short of amazing and speaks to your giving heart.

    In reference to your question about dealing with discouragement, ironically the loss of my mom was the toughest fight of discouragement for me. At 43 and a new grandmother myself I still wasn't ready to be a motherless child. Mom was my spiritual mentor and my best friend. I pressed into God for comfort and support. I started "casting my cares" on Him, and He showed up. Every. Single. Time.

    Praying for you today, He cares for you, God bless you!

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  21. With deepest sympathy on your loss, Ann. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Shaun

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  22. I agree with you Ruthy,

    Knowing mom is with her Savior is the BEST THING EVER! I miss her everyday but would not change THAT for anything :)

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  23. Anne,

    Such courageous words to encourage! I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. Many prayers for you and your family!

    Stephanie

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  24. So sorry for your loss, Ann. God bless you and your family.

    I don't journal, but I regret NOT journaling. :(

    My Cowboy journals every stinkin' day in his cattle record book, and his one-liners make me smile. He's a cowboy-carpenter and he always writes down where they worked that day, then 2-3 highlights of his day.

    - Smith. Rained. Sharpened mower blades. Sold #25
    - Smith. Darin started school. Church.
    - Smith. John Doe passed away. Went to funeral.

    While I regret not journaling, I will hogtie and strangle HIM if he ever throws any of his away!!!

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  25. I've read Ann's journal six times. Seriously. I find it so amazing that such a diverse group such as writers, really has such a commonality in our journeys.

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  26. My daughter is in the other room dusting. I haven't dusted since Christmas, if then. I can either write books or keep the house dustfree. I choose writing books. But she was always great at dusting for me when she was a teen too. Sweet to have family here willing to pick up some of the load. The family is supposed to come here after the funeral this afternoon. I told them they could come, but not to expect me to clean and now my daughter is picking up my slack. :)

    I know many of you have walked the same pathways as I've walked with my Mom with your own loved ones. Ruth, you are so right when you say it is difficult to see someone emptied out by Alzheimer's. I read somewhere someone called it the "long death." I can see what he meant. Mom left us little by little until she was ready to move on to heaven and find her smile again. I appreciate all of you who have said a prayer for us today. You know, as Tracey knows, that losing a mom is never easy. Tracey, I understand why you were so sad. You wanted to share that new grandbaby with your mother. We do so love sharing our joys and feel privileged and blessed to be able to share our sorrows with our mothers. I hope my children feel that way about me too.

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  27. Ann, my heart goes out to you upon the loss of your mother. Thank you for this inspiring post, and thanks for popping in even though I know today will be emotionally exhausting. As others have said, we keep you in our prayers.

    I journaled regularly for many, many years, but a few years ago I just quit. Guess I got tired of listening to myself whine--which is what many of my journal entries ultimately amounted to, a dumping place for my negative thoughts and emotions. Not a bad thing if it kept me from venting too much to others, but it got tiresome.

    Those years of daily journaling did help me work through some difficult personal struggles, though. Just putting the words on paper has a healing effect, bringing perspective and fresh insights. It's a tool I still briefly return to now and then whenever I need to think things through.

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  28. Audra, I could never do daily journals either, but only wrote in them when I felt the need to talk to myself about what was happening in my life or my writing world. Now that I'm blogging so much, I don't write in the private journals as much. But journaling however you do it can be uplifting.

    Pam, you should try doing a journal like your cowboy for a few weeks. It might be fun. I loved the examples of his journal you put. That's the kind of journal that can make for great insights for a writer. My mother kept similar journals. I've never read any of them and won't for a while, but maybe someday I can dip into them and see her life day by day.

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  29. Missy, persistence has always been my best friend as a writer. I could have given up several times, but I could never quit writing. Your persistence has obviously paid off too.

    Ola, always good to see your comments. I don't suppose we ever stop missing our mamas. I know my mother was still missing her mother these last few years.

    Anna, I think most writers have some similar struggles. We sometimes only see the published book and not all those that didn't make the published pile. I did want my post to be an encouragement and something that says, see, it's hard, but sometimes if you keep trying, you find the right stories.

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  30. YES!!! I love that you don't dust!

    I don't clean unless there is company and since I just moved to the other side of nowhere, I get no company.

    The cats don't care. They write FEED ME, in the dust.

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  31. What an inspiring post! Thank you,
    Ann. And my sincere condolences on your loss.

    I think aspiring writers think that once they sell a book, it's easy street after that. But that's not true at all. You are a testament to that! We always have to look for the next story, the next rejection, the next sale. For me, focusing on what I love to do instead of the money aspect really helps!

    Congratulations on all your success in the inspirational market! I'd love a chance to win your book. Off to download "The Scent of Lilacs".

    Cheers,
    Sue

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  32. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family today, Ann. Thank you for taking the time to visit with us even now. I hope we may help to lift you today.

    I, too, felt only relief when my dad passed. He was such a gentle soul who had suffered so greatly for so many years. I could be sad for us, but could only rejoice for him.

    I loved reading your journal entries. I never kept a dedicated journal, but my drafts of my manuscripts have served that purpose over the years. Many years ago, a workshop leader recommended writing like that as a way to get into the day's writing. Now when I go back and read through my drafts, I find pages with notes to myself about my plans for the year, my celebrations and disappointments, my thoughts about characters and life.
    Reading back through them is like taking a journey back through my writing life.

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  33. Tina, love your cats. :) It's amazing that you taught them to write. Get them to write stories next.

    Susan, focusing on what I love to do keeps me writing through discouragement.

    Mary, what a great idea. Sometimes we need something to get us going and writing about what we want to write about might get us going.

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  34. Tina, love your cats. :) It's amazing that you taught them to write. Get them to write stories next.

    Susan, focusing on what I love to do keeps me writing through discouragement.

    Mary, what a great idea. Sometimes we need something to get us going and writing about what we want to write about might get us going.

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  35. I won't be able to join you again until much later today. Getting ready to go tell my Mom an earthly goodbye. I've already told her goodbye. I did that while I was sitting with her Friday night. But this is a time for all the family to gather and remember this lovely lady who meant so much to all of us. I appreciate your understanding and your prayers.

    I'll check back in late tonight or in the morning. I will miss getting to talk with you all day, but I know you all understand. You're the best. May we all seek joy!!

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  36. Ann, you have done well over the years for a little girl growing up on a farm in Ky. I have enjoyed reading your stories and am glad you never gave up though there were times when you weren't sure you would keep going on. I know your last years with your MOM were bittersweet and I am sad for you now as you go through this time without your MOM. You were a good daughter and I am sure now you are remembering the good times as you should and not the bad.
    always good to see a post by you somewhere and to read your words.
    Paula O

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  37. Ann,
    Sending prayers and hugs and lots of sympathy today. In my church, funerals are celebrations of a life well lived, but that doesn't take away the pain of separation. Asking the Lord to comfort you as you grieve.

    Thank you for sharing your journal and journey with us today. The writing life is filled with ups and downs, as you noted. Each step needs to be embraced. God's timing is perfect, and his love is everlasting, which brings hope and keeps us moving forward.

    Holding you close in prayer.

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  38. Ann, Thank you for your post. Such an encouragement. I'm praying The Holy Spirit will wash comfort and peace all over you and your family today.

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  39. Ann, love your books. Please enter me in drawing.'
    Kathy Bailey

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  40. POL! You sweet gal. How nice to see you again in Seekerville.

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  41. Ann, I know you're off at the funeral, but like Tina, I love the lack of dusting! I had to have my daughter find our Swiffer duster because it was buried with something else fairly reprehensible... The long thing you clean under the refrigerator with. :) Both were relatively unused.

    You know, there's always something missed when someone dies. A child's birth, a wedding, a dance, an anniversary. I think that's our message from God that no matter when he calls one home, it is not the end... the family, the life, the times go on, just different. As they always have.

    When Dave's dad died, my sister-in-law drove over to our church to get us... it was a selfless thing to do because she didn't want us to be the last to know. So she left her mother and sister, and drove to our church and had an usher come find us... And we knew, the minute that usher touched Dave's arm, what must have happened.

    But it was good. He'd have been unhappy to see himself that final 18 months. But the other side of that was that every now and again he would like "wake up" and be coherent for a few hours, or days. And then the cloud would re-descend.

    I want a cure for cancer and Alzheimer's. That's my prayer goal. And God in his infinite wisdom is guiding smarter people than me in that direction.

    Alleluia.

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  42. Thank you for your wonderful encouragement today, Ann. Great words for those of us still waiting, although I dare say we're all waiting for something in some form or fashion.

    I'm so, so sorry to hear about your mother. Praying for peace and comfort for you.

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  43. You know, reading Ann's journal entries reminds me of how many times I nearly gave up on writing/publishing. What if I hadn't been so stubborn??? What if I hadn't kept trying (for over 10 years)? I'd be missing out on all that I love doing so much today!

    If any of you are at the point of wanting to give up, I hope you'll speak up. We'd sure love to encourage you today.

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  44. Ann,
    I particularly enjoy your Shaker stories. I grew up around the Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire -- my late father was a good friend of their curator Charles "Bud" Thompson and spent much time with them, especially with Eldresses Bertha and Gertrude near the ends of their lives. They were amazing people.
    Kathy Bailey

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  45. Dear Anne, I am so sorry about the lose of your Mother. Praying for you , family and friends. Thank you for sharing your encouraging post. I have enjoyed your books and would be honored to win your newest book. ~ Blessings to you ~ lisastifler(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  46. If I fail, I fail. But I’ve failed already if I don’t try.

    An encouraging post Ann -- especially the entry I quoted. There's comfort in knowing how similar the writing journeys are.

    Wonderful that your mother lived a full and happy life. What a blessing for her and a gift to you!

    Nancy C

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  47. ANNE!!! It is SO good to see you here, my friend, but please let me express my sincere condolences on the passing of your mother -- never an easy thing to go through, whether expected or not.

    LOVE this post -- getting a glimpse through your yearly journals is truly encouraging and inspiring.

    You know, Anne, I don't think I ever mentioned this to you, but when I first signed with Revell, I remember my editor telling me about you, saying how much Revell loved you and your style of writing. So much so, that apparently they asked if you had any other manuscripts hidden away, and you said yes, you had an old Shaker ms. Of course, as we both know THAT was at the beginning of the Amish craze that has taken Christian fiction by storm and continues to do so. I'm not sure, but I wonder if your incredible success with that series was why my editor asked me if I thought I could write Amish ... ;) Of course, my response was, "I don't know -- is there such a thing as 'edgy Amish'??? ;)

    Cannot wait to read Scent of Lilacs -- have had it on my bookshelf for a long time now, and this post reminds me I need to dive in soon after once I get through other reading obligations.

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  48. Ann, I am deeply sorry to hear about the loss of your mother, but I rejoice with you that she is now in Heaven with her Jesus. Prayers for comfort for you and your family now in her loss.

    Thank you for sharing your heart through your journal entries today in Seekerville. They were moving, and I hope I can be as honest with myself, and determined on my writing journey as you have been.

    BTW, I'd love to win your book. WWII stories get me every time.

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  49. Ann, so sorry for your loss! I pray peace for you and your family...

    Thanks for this post. It almost brought tears to my eyes several times because I could relate. I've never seriously considered given up writing because I know I'd be miserable if I did. But I've MANY times WISHED I could give it up -- pursue something easier with frequent moments of satisfaction. :) But I know God put a passion for writing in me for a reason.

    Thanks again for sharing! And I'd love to be entered in the drawing for your book.

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  50. Ann, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. You will be in my prayers.

    I downloaded Scent of Lilacs. Looking forward to reading it!

    Please enter me in the drawing for your other book.

    I can relate to recording in my journal at the end of the year and realizing what I have not accomplished.

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  51. I have actually given up on writing for the last few years. I have still had a few short stories published, but beyond that have done very little. I have fleshed out an idea for a novel but done nothing more with it. But now I want to seriously get back to writing. Thanks for the words of encouragement from your post.

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  52. Nancy C., I agree. I think that sentence shouts truism to all of us...

    You lose 100% of the races you don't enter.

    Life's like that. So is writing.

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  53. Hi Ann, Sorry for your loss, know that our prayers are be with you and your family.

    Thanks so much for sharing from your journal, you opened your soul to all of us and we are blessed. Keep writing you have accomplished so much in following the desire of your heart which was given to you as a gift from God!

    Thanks again and God bless you...

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  54. Sandy S, I'm glad you're diving back in. You can do it!

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  55. Missy, Thanks for the vote of confidence.

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  56. Thank you for sharing with us today, Ann - - exactly what I needed to read. You've had quite a journey, and I feel sure the Lord has more good things planned for you.

    Please know I am praying for you and your family during this time. Losing a loved one is so very painful, and I pray you'll feel comfort and peace in the days ahead.
    Blessings from Georgia,
    Patti Jo

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  57. Anne, what an encouraging post! Thanks for being so honest. It helps all of us to see we're not alone on this writing journey.

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  58. Hi, Ann.

    Sorry for your loss.

    I love your writing, but please do not include me in the book drawing. I won your Christmas at Harmony Hill book when you were here before. Someone else should win this time.

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  59. Ann, I love your books and so enjoy reading your words. I admire your ability to share some of your private journal. Our ability to share with others is what enables us to touch lives. Thank you for touching mine.
    Although I am sorry for your loss, I am happy to celebrate with you on your mom's journey to heaven. God bless.

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  60. Welcome to Seekerville, Donna Harmon and thanks for sharing part of your day with us!

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  61. Ann, I'm so sorry about your mom. No matter how old we are we always need our mommas. Mine will have been gone 20 years this month and I still miss her.

    I think you wrote this just for me, 2014 has been a discouraging year writing wise. Still in other areas of my life I've been blessed beyond measure. I'm choosing to focus on those blessings.

    Thanks for sharing and encouraging.

    Mary Curry - belated, but heartfelt congratulations!

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  62. Please enter me in the drawing.

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  63. Paula, always good to see your comments. I so appreciate your support. And I am just a girl who grew up on a farm with a love of reading and words. I'm so thankful for the stories I've been given and for the reading friends I have.

    Debby, thanks so much for your prayers. Hope is good and so much can be found in the Bible. Our pastor also likes to do a celebration of life when he preaches a funeral. Mom certainly had a life to celebrate.

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  64. Thanks so much for your prayers, Pat. They are so appreciated.

    Ruth, I think everybody can get behind the prayer for a cure for cancer and Alzheimer's disease. But you're right that life does go on. My grandkids are here tonight and their youth and energy shows that. Now if I could just get them interested in dusting or cleaning the floors or washing dishes. :)

    Meghan, so glad my post was encouraging for you. I have walked through many discouragement valleys. So many that I've often said perseverance was my best attribute as a writer. May you be rewarded soon for your persistence in writing the stories in your heart.

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  65. Missy, thanks for letting me come over and join all of you here on Seekerville again. While the day of the visit hasn't worked out too well, I do love hearing from your many readers. Overnight successes are really pretty rare in the writing world. So glad you stuck with it so readers can enjoy your stories.

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  66. Kathy, glad you've enjoyed my Shaker stories. They were an amazing group. I've enjoyed reading about them in my research. However, I don't think I could have been a Shaker. Love being a mother to my children.

    Lisa, thanks so much for reading my stories. I appreciate you and good luck in the drawing for this book.

    Nancy, glad you were encouraged by the post and that you liked that line. The worst kind of failure is the kind where you give up before you try. Of course, over the years, I've had to keep trying. I'm blessed to be in the inspirational market now and able to write books that I love and that some of your readers out there enjoy.

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  67. Julie, that's interesting. Good to know the Revell editors were happy to have me aboard. That first Shaker book has a whole other story behind it, but when my editor said she was interested in the Shakers and I mentioned I'd written a book about them once, doors opened. And I'm sure you could have written an Amish book if you'd wanted to. Hope when you get a chance to read Scent of Lilacs that you'll enjoy that story. Not Shakerish at all.

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  68. Stephanie, good to hear that you enjoy WWII stories. I think I've got one for you. Small Town Girl leads up to the war and Love Comes Home is after the war. As to being honest on my writing journey, you might as well be honest with yourself, hadn't you? Best look at things straight and see which road the Lord is pointing you down next.

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  69. Tina, thanks about the covers. Revell does a great job with my covers. But my favorite is probably Angel Sister because they got Lorena, my young girl in the book, so perfect with a perfect look on her face as she look up at Kate who she calls her "angel sister."

    Jennifer, God gives us talents and expects us to use them. He did give you that talent for a reason and I hope you'll keep on following your heart in your writing. I do hope my posts were encouraging to you.

    Sandy, thanks for downloading Scent of Lilacs. I hope you will enjoy the story. Getting anything published is certainly an encouragement to a writer and maybe you should dust off that novel idea and give it a try.

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  70. Peace and prayers to you and your family, ANN!

    So much of your journal reads like my experience. It's so interesting how we all share similarities in our life path. So many lessons to learn yet, but it's such a powerful encouragement to hear others struggles and see that all things happen in God's time.

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  71. Thanks, Ann, for your encouragement. I have indeed gotten my notes on my novel out and starting to work on it again.

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  72. Thanks, Mark, for your prayers. I have been blessed to be able to follow the desires of my heart and write for many years. Sometimes the writing was hard, but I do love to tell stories.

    Patti Jo, so glad you found my words to be encouraging at this time in your life. I appreciate your prayers from Georgia.

    Cara, sometimes our writing journey can seem lonely. Except, of course, all those characters we take along with us. But it is just you, the writer, staring at that blank page and wondering if you're going to find the words to tell the story that is building inside you. But you know what? A story is told one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page at a time. Writing is a journey.

    Donna, I do want my words to encourage others. I've been writing a long time and those ups and downs of my writing journey have taught me a few things. I want to share those with others, but sometimes we have to learn the lessons on our own. Still, it can be encouraging to read about other writers journeys.

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  73. Thanks, Mark, for your prayers. I have been blessed to be able to follow the desires of my heart and write for many years. Sometimes the writing was hard, but I do love to tell stories.

    Patti Jo, so glad you found my words to be encouraging at this time in your life. I appreciate your prayers from Georgia.

    Cara, sometimes our writing journey can seem lonely. Except, of course, all those characters we take along with us. But it is just you, the writer, staring at that blank page and wondering if you're going to find the words to tell the story that is building inside you. But you know what? A story is told one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page at a time. Writing is a journey.

    Donna, I do want my words to encourage others. I've been writing a long time and those ups and downs of my writing journey have taught me a few things. I want to share those with others, but sometimes we have to learn the lessons on our own. Still, it can be encouraging to read about other writers journeys.

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  74. Thanks, Mark, for your prayers. I have been blessed to be able to follow the desires of my heart and write for many years. Sometimes the writing was hard, but I do love to tell stories.

    Patti Jo, so glad you found my words to be encouraging at this time in your life. I appreciate your prayers from Georgia.

    Cara, sometimes our writing journey can seem lonely. Except, of course, all those characters we take along with us. But it is just you, the writer, staring at that blank page and wondering if you're going to find the words to tell the story that is building inside you. But you know what? A story is told one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page at a time. Writing is a journey.

    Donna, I do want my words to encourage others. I've been writing a long time and those ups and downs of my writing journey have taught me a few things. I want to share those with others, but sometimes we have to learn the lessons on our own. Still, it can be encouraging to read about other writers journeys.

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  75. Thanks, Mark, for your prayers. I have been blessed to be able to follow the desires of my heart and write for many years. Sometimes the writing was hard, but I do love to tell stories.

    Patti Jo, so glad you found my words to be encouraging at this time in your life. I appreciate your prayers from Georgia.

    Cara, sometimes our writing journey can seem lonely. Except, of course, all those characters we take along with us. But it is just you, the writer, staring at that blank page and wondering if you're going to find the words to tell the story that is building inside you. But you know what? A story is told one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page at a time. Writing is a journey.

    Donna, I do want my words to encourage others. I've been writing a long time and those ups and downs of my writing journey have taught me a few things. I want to share those with others, but sometimes we have to learn the lessons on our own. Still, it can be encouraging to read about other writers journeys.

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  76. Terri, we can have our discouraging times in writing, but still be blessed, as you say, beyond measure in our family lives. I certainly have been. I have a wonderful childhood and now I have a loving family and some energetic and fun grandkids. May you keep trucking and find reason for encouragement as the year goes by.

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  77. I must say I am more a glass half full kind of person. So any kind of discouragement never lingers for long.

    Please count me in for LOVE COMES HOME.

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  78. May you feel the comfort of the Lord today.

    Would love to win and read your book.


    plhouston(at)bellsouth(dot)net

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  79. May you feel peace in the storm of loss, Ann. Moms are special and one of a kind. Let your family nourish you with their love this week. We are all blessed with the care and empathy of the Seekers and lean on your online family as well. Thank you for your gift. The Scent of Lilacs, and put my name in the drawing for your book please.

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  80. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother, Anne. My thoughts and prayers are with you through this difficult time.

    ~Cindi Altman

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  81. I'm sorry about your mother, Ann.
    I'm glad you persevered with your writing even when the rejection letters were coming. I've read several of your books and love them. I'd very much like to win a copy of Love Comes Home to complete this series. I really liked the previous books and want to find out what comes next after the men come home from war.
    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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  82. Thank you to all the lovely people who left comments. You are the heart of Seekerville.

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  83. I appreciate all the comments and your sweet words of comfort for me during a difficult time. I'm sorry I wasn't able to be more present for the talk, but I enjoyed all your comments. My hope was that sharing my journal through some of my ups and downs would be encouraging to you, and some of you said it was.

    Seekerville is always a great place to visit. Who among us isn't seeking something? I even titled one of my Shaker books, The Seeker. I'll look forward to making a return visit in the future. Until then, do what I put when I sign that Shaker book, The Seeker, for readers and "Seek joy!"

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