Monday, January 4, 2016

Face the sun and the shadows will fall behind you

I struggled last week when Ruthy asked me to tell her what fear I needed to face, then lock away for good.

I couldn’t come up with a fear. Oh I hate and fear mice. But the only way I can see to get over that is to hang around with mice until I get used to them. NOT HAPPENING.
V for Victory over FEAR!
As for public speaking, well, it’ll never be my favorite, but I have found a comfort level with it. I don’t go looking for chances to speak, but if I have one presented to me I will usually say yes without much terror.

So what did I fear?

What echoed in my head was the Bible verse I chose for Wade Sawyer in The Husband Tree, where he was a newly born again Christian and a reformed drinker and womanizer. A man who thought he could prove himself as a man if he could shoot somebody. And he’d never done it which, to Wade, confirmed his cowardice, his failure to be a strong man.

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When trouble came Wade’s way (after his salvation) he’d ask over and over, “Whom shall I fear? Whom shall I fear? Whom shall I fear?”


This is from Psalm 27:1 - The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?

The title of this blog is a saying that different cultures claim. The most frequent is from the Maori language-of all strange origins. :)

Face the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.

What that means to me is, if you keep busy focusing on the good, the bright, the clear, the hopeful and the loving, you’ll have no time to dwell in the shadows of hate and sin and fear and despair.

Fear is sneaky. It’s the quiet whisper in your ear that says, “You’ll fail.” It’s the restlessness on a sleepless night that stirs up old anger, old conflict, old fear, and keeping those things alive when they are long gone and unimportant.

So when Ruthy asked for a fear, I had to look directly at my fears and ask, “Am I really afraid of this?”

You can't believe how many times I typed, "Face the son!"
Now there's a good idea!
In clear, logical thinking I found the answer to almost always be NO. Do I really fear public speaking? Honestly, no. Do I fear financial failure? No. Do I fear ill health? I don’t want to be old and sick, but that’s not fear is it? More like common sense. And along with that common sense is the realization that we can’t predict it and we can live healthy lives an do our best, but we can’t really stop old age when it comes our way. There’s no fear, not if you look straight at it.

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What then do I fear? I came up with writing DRECK. What that means is I’m afraid I’ll start to let my writing slide. And I don’t think I have, but I’ve got some old favorite authors who have.

I’m not going to name names. But I look at authors and think, “Doesn’t she know? How could she turn this in?”

I read a favorite author just recently and she used to write these fat, rich books full of humor and danger and love. The book I had was thin. The whole story was one idea. Trapped in a dangerous situation. They survived it and got married. The whole book was maybe two days long. It was that one dangerous confrontation. There was nothing else. COME ON!

Does the author not notice that she used to write 100,000 word books and now it’s half as long?

I’ve seen it happen. And I don’t want it to happen to me.

So our fears….I guess that one stuck because I really don’t know what to do about it. I suppose I won’t realize it’s happened. Maybe it won’t happen.

There are a lot of authors walking around, writing (they probably don’t walk around and write at the same time) and are in denial. So I guess I’ll just hope if I get bad I'll be in denial, too. So even then it's a fear I can avoid.

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Are you really afraid of much? Are you really loaded with fears or for one day if you try to pin them down, face them, you find out they aren’t really that big of monsters. Maybe today instead of talking about fears we have, we can face the fears, and find out they’re no big deal. We can face the sun and let the shadows fall behind us.

How about today we talk about things we used to fear and no longer do?

Let’s try and have some fun talking about the monsters we kicked out from under our beds.
I've got two books releasing this week. TWO???
That seems like a mix-up, but they're good books.
I'll give away a copy of each.
Lassoed by Marriage--a book with nine novellas including mine: Sweetwater Bride
And our Seekervillager friend Rose Ross Zediker is in the collection with me.

And

With this Ring?, a novella collection of proposals gone awry, with Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings and our own Seekervillager buddy Melissa Jagears!
Two prizes, two winners.

175 comments :

  1. Mary, I love the saying you have "face the sun and let the shadows fall behind us". Because if we have our eyes fixed on Jesus (who is the light of the world) we won't see the shadows (doubt, fear, anxiety, etc) behind us. We'd be too busy focusing on what we should instead of things that will drag us down. I love that "Face the Son" :-) Look what happened to Peter when he looked down at the water he was walking on and lost his focus on Jesus, he began to sink. And what did Jesus do? He held out His hand to pull Peter up. Now how can we NOT trust Him to do the same for us today? I used to fear a lot of things, but I've learned that God takes care of me in all situations. We've had financial fallout (one fear) & God actually worked it out for the better. Did it seem like it at the time....no way!! It was the scariest (and probably darkest) time in our lives not knowing what would happen. But as I look back at it, I can see God's hands in everything. We might have been scared, but we never lost our focus on God. We had to cling even closer & maybe that was the point of it all. God was building in us a better character! Now I'll not doubt His provision in my life again :-)
    What a wonderful post & so encouraging! I think the idea of a fear box to lock our fears in is a wonderful idea for 2016. Let's not see how big our fears are but rather show our fears how big our God is :-) I've seen similar sayings and I think it can apply to fear as well, don't you?

    Please add my name to the pot for the books. I'm especially excited about "The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection" as that would be my first pick. But really, I'd be happy for either one. Some great stories by some great authors! Thank you for the chance. Here's to a fearless 2016, Mary!!

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  2. I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.
    I don't always remember that, but it's a comforting thought when I need it and do.

    Coffee's on!

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  3. I don't think you saw my comment on dreck mixed up in that New Year's Eve party post, but I fear writing dreck as well, or going backward, or not having enough talent to go forward I guess. Though I think I more fear annoying Naomi so much she quits on me, cuz then I'd have to find someone else that tells me what I wrote just stunk--to call me out on writing dreck.

    I've heard a few authors say they've outgrown crit partners and just rely on their editors but my editors are too nice to me,I think, Naomi is not (Or maybe everyone and their brother is nicer to each other than Naomi and I :P)--She's not getting paid to put up with me (Ha!). I know, I know, some people don't like mean critters, but you either have that or mean one star reviews....okay, I get those too, but I bet I'd have tons more if Naomi weren't mean to me to begin with!

    I've always wondered what I'd do when I got to the point where it seems some author's writings don't go anywhere. Like you said, I've followed certain authors for a long period of time and then they just start dialing it in at some point...but writing is hard! So I can kind of understand giving up and throwing out a good story because you're weary, but you're expected to top yourself each time. Or it's a series that was way longer than you intended and yet readers and publishers are crying for more and you're just burnt out. I read somewhere that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle got sick of Sherlock and wrote a short story about Sherlock where Watson basically called him a hack and not worthy of all this fan love because his deductions if taken literally can be taken out to reductio ad absurdem (Sorta breaking the fourth wall and pointing this out to the readers) and readers still ate it up!

    Yeah here's a link to Doyle getting tired of his own character:
    The Burden of Holmes

    GRR, but I can't remember which story it was that Doyle called Sherlock out, but I read it once, where Watson says Sherlock ain't that big of a genius...Gah, I'm not a big enough fan/reader of it to know exactly what one I'm talking about, and I'm thinking it was an article rather than an actual short story....Anyway...

    I think if I got to that point, I'd have to write something else. Maybe it means an entirely different genre, maybe a setting/time period change. Though that would "kill" my brand. But I think drecky stories would be a more of a killer, really.

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  4. Good morning Seekerville! Before I head off to the hospital this morning I thought I would check in here first. Boy, what a post for me today. I am facing surgery in a few hours and the one verse I continue to come back to is 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind".

    I pray you all have a blessed week. I'll try to come back to visit on Friday. I think they will probably let me come home on Thursday.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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  5. I used to be terribly shy but God saw to it by putting me in situations where I had to get over my timidity It was so bad that I put off a required freshman public speaking class until my senior year of college. One of my early jobs was inventory. ..a nice quiet position until computerized cash registers took over and I was moved to a position where I had to answer the phone and make calls to New York for my bosses. That was step one. After many other steps a courageous me went back to school and added teaching to my profile. Since then I've taught from preschool to college. I couldn't have changed without keeping in mind that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
    Please put my name in the hat for either book. Happy new year!

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  6. Mary, I enjoyed this. I do sometimes walk in fear, but this year, I am determined to give this to God. I belong to Him and I trust Him to handle it.

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  7. Hi Mary,

    I've been pondering that question since Ruthy asked it on New Year's Eve. They only fear I can really come up happened when I first started writing, but it is LONG gone by now. I only told the people closest to me that I was writing for publication because I was afraid that people would make fun of me. Yep, that's right, but once I had a short story accepted-it took two years-that fear vanished.

    Hope to see you soon!

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  8. Such an interesting topic and timely because of the new year. There are several major life changes ahead for me this year. A little nerved up a few months ago, I admit, I began to pray for His help in keeping my eyes and heart focused on Him. He's pretty big ;) He can handle it! Not me. Only He can give me the peace I need. Grant you, one of these changes (the launch of a debut novel) is a dream come true. Another is changing jobs after 10 years of working in one place, aka security challenge (even ruts in life provide the odd sense of familiarity). Of course there are the biggees like fearing the future, health, etc. I'm totally powerless without Him. So, that's why I really appreciate the part about keeping my eyes on the Son (sun).

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  9. Mary, a good post and a good way to start the week/year. While I wouldn't presume to be the interpreter of All Things Ruthy, I think she did mean internal fears and not things like mice (yours) or ice-covered roads (mine, mine, mine), parking garages (mine) or roller coasters (also mine but usually not an issue). It's the fears that matter that we have to face. I think she meant the important fears, the ones that keep us awake at night. In writing mine is NOT not getting published, that's in God's hands, but not being good enough. Which I work on with my crit partner, contest judges and taking advantage of every 5-page critique you Seekers offer, hint hint. I know I'll never be good enough for God, but I want to be "good" enough so that someone will read my story and be drawn closer to Him, or even find Him for the first time. I took a couple of weeks off to work on the business end of things, blog posts etc., because my husband was home a lot and the computer is in the living room, ha ha. Ready to roll again, on EVERYTHING.
    Kathy Bailey
    Facing 2016 in New Hampshire

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  10. Mary, you "public speak" just fine. I loved your Webinar thingy last year. Just be yourself.
    KB

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  11. This was a very fitting topic to begin the new year with. Fears. They hold us back, and we stay stuck. We can't move forward.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Mary.

    I'd love to be entered to win either of your books, though I'm really looking forward to Lassoed in Marriage.

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  12. Hi Mary:

    Fear is sometimes a euphemism for something else that we'd rather not think about.

    Do we really have a fear of public speaking or is it really a fear of making a fool of ourselves in public?

    Maybe we don't need to face our fears as much as we need to address the possible consequences hiding behind those fears.

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  13. Mary, I also know what you mean about established authors dropping the metaphorical ball, and I don't mean in Times Square. Not naming names either and certainly no one in Seekerville, but many become formulaic or repetitive after several years of a series. Or even in stand-alones if they have a formula that works. I still love them, but after years of studying writing myself, I can tell when someone is putting in the time and it grieves me.
    Off to secular job, hope to be back this afternoon, Love You All.
    K.B.
    Keeping it fresh in New Hampshire

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  14. Hi Mary,
    When I was a young mother, my biggest fear was not doing something right and messing up my kids. Of course being human, I did make mistakes and I have regrets, but God always showed up and you know what? They all survived and and all three tell me their mistakes were their own and I did a great job raising them.
    My first experience with fear being highly overrated.

    Another big fear is public speaking. I've hated it all my life since that earliest book report in school. I guess it's because I can't stand to be the center of attention and have all eyes on me. I've done it a few times that turned out ok, like giving a testimony, but that was ALL GOD and me realizing "it's not about me".

    When I hit 50 almost 10 years ago, it was like most of my fears, big and small, started to fade and I could relax and just enjoy being who I really was. The wisdom of age? Maybe, or finally realizing I didn't have to be all things to all people.

    So Mary, I know you picked REMEMBER as your word this year, seriously or in jest, but I have a new word for you, me and everyone else, FEARLESS (even though like you said about being afraid to read the book Overcoming Fear, I'm intimated by the word fearless).

    So I'm going to strive to be fearless, not in a jumping out of an airplane kind of way, yikes, but fearlessly strive to be all God wants me to be and do all He wants me to do.

    I'd love to win With This Ring? Can't wait to read about all these proposals gone wrong.

    Happy fearless Monday all!


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  15. Talk about what I used to fear and no longer do? I had to think about that one because I tend to revert to my pre-salvation days and try to solve things myself, which means that lifelong fears rise up and I forget to turn to the Son...

    But because of my salvation and reading the Bible, there is one fear I don't really have any more and that's the fear of death. I know where I will end up!

    Yet one fear that I still cling to for some reason surrounds my writing and I have no idea why. Years ago I would write almost-constantly, even when I was supposed to be doing other things (homework? Pshaw! I. Must. Write!!! Dishes? Bah! Here I come, writing!), yet today, with numerous projects awaiting completion, I freeze up (and, no, that is no indication of our weather here in western NY this morning--projected high of 15 and snow coming down) and things--ANYthing--to do instead.

    It's a fear I MUST SHAKE OFF.

    Thanks for letting me rant. ;-) And please toss my name into the hat for either of the books--thanks! And blessings to all!

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  16. I have found that a verse I learned when I was a little girl, is a tremendous help when I am frightened. Psalm 51:3 What time I am afraid I will trust in thee.

    Do I still have fears? Yes, but I know I must face them and trust the Lord to help in the conquering. I too have a fear of mice.

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  17. Mary, I love the face the sun/son quote, a wonderful motto for us all.

    I think most writers fear they'll put out a less than stellar book. At least you can add my name to that list. Perhaps big name authors are pressured to put out more and more books faster and faster until they burn out. Or something happens in their lives that temporarily destroys their creativity yet they still have to meet a deadline. Or perhaps they get jaded and lose the wonderful appreciation for the gift of storytelling they've been given.

    When my children were babies, I was overwhelmed with the need to protect them from anything bad that could happen. I had to release them to God. Today's Jesus Calling reminds me to say "I trust you, Jesus" anytime something happens that could produce worry. Turn to the Son and the shadows fall behind you. We've got a powerful God who loves us.

    Janet

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  18. Cindy W, I'm praying for your surgery and recovery.

    Janet

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  19. Hi Mary, Great post. I really don't have fears either now that I have a true relationship with Jesus. Fears just sort of disappear and what a blessing that is.

    Although I do have many fears and I think they do fall into the common sense category that you mentioned. My nickname from hubby is "La Clucka" (chicken- get it?) Because he is into extreme sports and loves to do adventurous things and I'd prefer to watch but he wants to drag me along. I have experienced intense fear in those situations because my brain is saying "NO-don't be stupid" However, in my hubby's defense, I've done some incredible things that I am thankful for that I would never have done on my own.

    And now, whenever put into those situations I have a ton of Bible verses I stand on. And that helps. And I always say, "Well, if I die, I'm going to die happy." LOL

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  20. Cindy Already said prayers for you and your medical staff this morning. Hang in there.

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  21. Oooo, great blog today, Mare! This was one of my favorite paragraphs in your piece:

    "Face the sun and the shadows will fall behind. What that means to me is, if you keep busy focusing on the good, the bright, the clear, the hopeful and the loving, you’ll have no time to dwell in the shadows of hate and sin and fear and despair."

    BECAUSE it is totally Biblical, almost verbatim to Phillippians 4:6: "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

    What are some of my fears that I've conquered?? Well, the biggest one is ... drum roll, please ... ONE-STAR REVIEWS!!!

    Yep, from that very first review on A Passion Most Pure that began with, "This is simply a horrible book," to the one that asked people to pray for me after she defamed my husband, my marriage, and my relationship with God, I have kicked that puppy to the curb once and for all. (Uh, the fear, not the reviewers!) Unfortunately it took a lot of tears and self-flagellation and a WHOLE lot of prayer to get there, but we did it (God and me), and because of it, there are a WHOLE lot of people I've prayed for that I wouldn't have otherwise, so YAY!!

    Some fears down, a few more to go, and I'm looking to kick each and every one to the curb this year, so here we go, 2016!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  22. Mediocrity in writing is another common sense fear. I don't fear it so much as I pray it doesn't happen to me. In any part of my life actually. Yikes. And to not even realize it. Yikes again.

    I hope my friends will not be afraid to say anything. Like Melissa's crit partner. We need friends who aren't afraid to speak out and tell us like it is.

    Thank you friends. btw Ruthy has kicked my behind many times and I thank the Lord for that just as many times. smile

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  23. Mary - I am terrified of those little furry creatures. The "M' word. I can't even type it. Does that count as a real fear? My husband would say not since it is illogical. But I do have real fears, as I guess we all do. I think the idea is not to abolish the fear but face it, give it to God and let Him deal with it. Sometimes I get really fearful someone will read what I wrote. How's that for illogical?
    Praying for you Cindy W.

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  24. Love the quote about facing the sun and shadows falling behind because it's so true on many levels. I used to be afraid I'd never get married, but just celebrated my 20th anniversary so that fear is long gone. After ten years writing, I used to fear I'd never get published with fiction, and that one is behind me now.

    I guess you could add me to the bunch fearing the next book won't be as strong ... and yet my job today is edits for September's release. Of course I flinched at all the red and balked at the suggestion to add or extend a couple scenes, but with my fabulous editor's help, I don't have to worry about this one falling short because she's making me raise my game. Now the WIP waiting in Scrivener is the next mountain to climb. Guess that's the part where facing the sun comes in handy.

    Thanks for the timely reminder today!

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  25. It is ironic that today is on fears and I am facing one of my big fears this morning--the Dentist! The closer it gets to my appointment the more rapid the heart beat and the anxiety is increasing. It helps that my dentist is a member of my church and his assistant is one of my friends also from church. The last time I was in, I kept unconsciously scooting in the chair towards my friend and not the dentist. She had to keep scooting me back over. This morning I am constantly talking to the Lord as I wait. I probably wouldn't be going in but I have been in pain for a couple of weeks. Isn't it wonderful that we can talk to the Lord and take our fears to Him.

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  26. Trixi that's the perfect example, Peter walking on water and sinking when he took his eyes of Jesus.

    Thank you for that. All verses of the Bible have the ability to be profound in a unique way that fit our lives right at the moment. That's why we can read it over and over again.

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  27. Helen thanks for the COFFEE!!!!!!!!

    That's what I found out about fear as I tried to write one down for the New Years Eve blog. Rattling around in my head I'd have told you were a LOT of fears but I had to face them to write them down and actually looking at them shrunk them until they didn't seem big enough to count.

    I wonder how much time we spend worrying about and fearing something that if we'd take it on, honestly, we wouldn't be that afraid of it.

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  28. Melissa I suppose fearing Naomi could be considered good (Poor Naomi!) LOL If it makes you keep reaching for excellence.

    I said "I let my writing slide" but your phrase 'dialing it in' is better. More correctly what I mean.

    I just picture some of the big stars who just keep selling even as a few people drop away and find someone new and energized. And the publishers keep coming up with contracts and you need the money so you say yes. Even though you've got NO IDEA.

    I think that could sneak up on you. Embrace denial, Melissa. I think that will help.

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  29. Cindy W GOD BLESS YOU! EACH AND EVERY PERSON READING HER COMMENT OR MINE SAY A PRAYER, PRAY CINDY THOUGH THIS DAY.

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  30. Mary, I wrote out your quote and it's taped to my desk. Thanks.

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  31. I don't know, Mary. No matter how much time passes, I'm still afraid of driving in city traffic. I have no sense of direction. And it never gets any better.

    :)

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  32. Bettie how wonderful you can look back and see how you've grown and progressed. And to have a Bible verse that is encouraging and powerful to carry along with you.

    Thank you for that great example!

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  33. Susan, good for you! BE BRAVE! Because God is with you. The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?

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  34. JEWELL! You're coming Saturday right?????????

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  35. Rose, oh my gosh isn't THAT the truth.
    I never talked about my writing, except online with writer friends.

    I mean people KNEW but I didn't really care to try and talk about it. It's hard to explain spending YEARS alone, makin' stuff up, with no book to show for it.

    You get a lot of mental eyeball rolls, I think. And maybe you don't, maybe that's all ME putting that onto someone else.

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  36. Writing dreck. I couldn't have said it any better, Mary. That succinctly sums up my fear as a writer.

    And talking about fear . . . seems the topic has been coming up everywhere. Our pastor preached on it before the holidays. Then we attended worship with our daughter while we visited over Christmas weekend, and her pastor talked about how it isn't the THING itself we fear, but the possible dreadful outcomes. For example, as VINCE said, we probably aren't as fearful of public speaking as we are of what people will think of us if we do it badly.

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  37. MARY! I enjoyed your post! I agree that if we keep our focus on the SON, fear will be eclipsed by His Light. For He did NOT give us a spirit of fear, but power, love and a sound mind. Also, I don't think you are in danger of writing a bad book. You have so many fellow authors who love you enough not to let you go down that path.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Please put my name in the cat dish....

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  38. Goodmorning, Mary and fellow seeker friends. Loved waking up this morning to this! I love the quote. I'll think on it through the day, but right now I can't think of any fears. Worries? Maybe. But even those are put into perspective when we face the ZSON. I'd lve either of the collections, Mary. Thank you!

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  39. I used to be afraid of bad things happening to me and then a whole bunch of bad things happened to me. I'm glad, because I learned that nothing - make that NOTHING - is too difficult for me to get through if I hold tightly to God's hand. He has strengthened me through incurable disease, death of loved ones, financial struggles and so much more. He is faithful and I am forever HIS!

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  40. Count your blessings, name them one by one! I have way too many worries and quite a few fears, but when I face the Son and count the good things in my life, everything else retreats to the shadows. Terrific post, Mary, and a wonderful way to get into the new year!

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  41. Elaine those are HUGE changes. God bless you as they come. And the book!!!!!

    Isn't it wild that we can get so worked up about a DREAM COME TRUE!!!??? Been there!

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  42. Kathy Bailey I was struck by your mention of the fear of not being good enough AND THEN the list of things you were doing about it.

    That's such a wonderful thing. I realize what you fear and WORK YOUR HARDEST TO TACKLE THE DETAILS. You realize that's what you're doing. Yes facing your fear but also facing it with hard work and strength to make yourself better and READY!!!

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  43. Dawn well HAPPY NEW YEAR and face those fears. It's a good step ONE to making them shrink.

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  44. Hi Mary,

    What a wonderful blog title! It really speaks to me on my writing journey. I've always been this outgoing, vivacious kind of person but somewhere along the road I became fearful of pursuing my dreams and began living a very small life. This writing journey has been more about conquering fears and the voices of doubt in my head, than getting published and its been incredibly liberating. However, that nagging voice is still there at times telling me the first book contract was a fluke and I can't do it again. So I guess that's it, the fear I'm beating back now. But I'm determined to push ahead and never be shackled to fear again!

    Printing your meme to hang on the bulletin board where I write!

    Feeling blessed!

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  45. Vince as always you're very wise.

    I've discovered that I don't fear public speaking. I mean IN THE MOMENT I AM SPEAKING I AM NOT THAT FEARFUL.

    But what drove me crazy about it was the BEFORE. The DREAD. My vivid imagination thinking about all the ways (just like you said) I could make a fool of myself. Or say something wrong that hurt somebody. (me and my jokes can be clumsy sometimes...teasing can turn hurtful)
    I'd lay (Myra? Lie?) awake at night and FRET. I'd spend WEEKS fretting and staying awake and just working myself up into a froth!

    So I've learned a coping skill for that.

    First it helps to realize the folks that listen to me speak aren't that interested in what I say. They walk out after and are busy worrying about their own lives. But I've developed what can only be described as DENIAL. I simply ignore the approaching speech. I've got two and one had two versions, a more sermon-y one and a more secular one. So maybe you could say three speeches.

    I also have two classes I teach, both concocted from Seekerville posts. And why couldn't I do more of them, huh???

    So I know the two possible speeches and offer them to the person who's asked me to speak and then I FORGET IT.

    I block it from my thoughts, have the date set on my computer calendar to send me a reminder two weeks ahead, then one week ahead.

    Even then I just figure out where I have to go. I carry both speeches in my book bag and I take them along and have them mostly memorized. The speeches amount to about ten sentences. I write NOTHING OUT.

    That's it. I've given up on the fretting before. I also fret afterward but I'm pretty good at letting that go these days, too.

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  46. Tracey, ahhh, worry for my kids. Is that fear? I do fear somewhat the messed up world we're leaving our grandchildren.

    But is worry fear? I suppose it's NOT exactly but maybe next year we should do FACE YOUR WORRIES...because they're a big old waste of time, too.

    And it tickles me that all of my daughters now call me for advice.

    I promise you they thought I was an IDIOT for most of their teen years.

    Now they want advice.

    Brats.

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  47. Mary, I loved this post. And, if I wasn't a Christian woman, I might be a little bit envious of the fact that you don't have big fears. :)

    Because of things that happened when I was a girl, my fear for much of my life has been (and becoming WAS) rejection. IMagine God's sense of humor, in giving me a calling and a desire to be a writer! :) Years ago, I head someone define fear as:
    False
    Evidence
    Appearing
    Real.

    This definition really opened my eyes. For years now, I've been praying Phil 4:8, which reminds me where my thoughts should dwell. NOt on the What If's or the Maybes, but on those things that are true, right, honorable, pure, lovely, of good repute, praiseworthy. These things all point me to Jesus, which is where my thoughts SHOULD dwell. And when I'm focused on Him, that fear of rejection loses so much power in my life!

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  48. Melanie all I'd say here is, I wrote for ten years before I got a book published.

    And a ways into that ten years I thought, "You know what? If nobody's going to publish me, I might as well entertain myself."

    So I started writing for fun! I wrote any genre I pleased. I wrote five romantic suspense, one slightly sci/fi, a gothic, which I still love...these are all still on my computer...five or six books.

    I wrote long and short. I made the characters as whacky as I wanted. And that was fun. I really stopped writing for a brand or with a specific goal and just had fun.

    Maybe that's missing from your writing. A project you just love that will call you back.

    I remember writing that gothic romance and I HAD to get my heroine into the attic. Into an attic while she KNEW one of the people in this scary, remote old house from which there was NO ESCAPE, was a killer. She knew this because a few people were already dead.

    Okay she HAD to go up there (or maybe the basement, I tossed that around) and I just couldn't STAND to make her be an idiot. I sat there tossing around reasons, what would make her go up there. And I remember thinking of such wild things that one of the children came in to see what was wrong with me.

    "Rat's Mom had finally gone nuts!"

    But that was fun.

    Maybe just have some FUN with your writing.

    Write a cozy mystery with no intention of publishing where the gargoyle on top of the city hall is suspected of the crime. Maybe he can even help solve it.

    I'm a big believer in FINISHING PROJECTS too, so don't let me lure you away from that too much!

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  49. Wilani I checked the text of your verse. It's Psalm 56::3 What time I am afraid I will trust in Thee. I love this!

    That's King James Version. Here's NIV: Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

    This is perfect Wilani. Thank you.

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  50. Amen to that, Mary. Fear of failure is the largest fear there is. I fight it constantly. Then I focus on why I am doing something and the reality is I cannot fail if I do something for HIM. What's that old saying bout attempting something large enough that failure is guaranteed without God's help? It's true.

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  51. Janet that's such a beautiful sentiment.

    I still look at my children and know I could have done more. They're wonderful young ladies but if I'd only been a better example. A better Christian myself and led them in a better way. So that is my own failure. And yet they are fine your woman. So I need to let all that go and work toward TOMORROW.

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  52. MARY, you sweetheart, it's "lie awake" (present tense) or "lay awake" (past tense). :)

    JEANNE, this is brilliant!

    False
    Evidence
    Appearing
    Real.

    Thank you!

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  53. Sandra I so respect that fear of dangerous things.

    You know I used to want to sky dive. I remember that so intensely as a twenty-something. I wanted to go out and have an ADVENTURE.

    No, I never did it. I have three of my children in my 20s. Are you MAD? Go Skydiving? I've got children to raise!!!!!

    Now I look back on that and have NO REGRETS!

    In fact many people have a bucket list right? Things they want to do before they die?

    I have what I call a REVERSE bucket list and I'll have things I want to do and GET OVER IT and strike it off the reverse bucket list. If I keep at this pace I'll have checked off everything in the next few years. All without leaving home.

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  54. I knew that the minute I typed it wrong, Myra. And I thought of you.

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  55. Julie you made me laugh about kicking the fear to the curb (not the reviewer) LOL

    I had a review for Petticoat Ranch that used the word DISGUSTING so many times I swear I wanted to offer the woman some advice on writing and finding a wider variety of adjectives.

    I was so fragile back then. Those reviews cut DEEP!

    But if we throw our work out to the public then get to comment, that's the way things are set up. :(

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  56. Yes, Sandra we are always grateful when Ruthy kicks our butts.



    sigh

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  57. Cindy it's called muscophobia and it does NOT count as a real fear. It is a psychological condition for which I believe I should qualify for a handicapped parking sticker.

    My doctor doesn't agree.

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  58. Candee maybe instead we should fear they day we AREN'T afraid. Fear they day we think, "Ho-hum, another book, you fix it editor. I don't care. It's good enough."


    Maybe in this one circumstances we should embrace this....not FEAR...but this ambition to handle criticism and tackle any suggestions and allow that sometimes painful editing advice as a good thing.

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  59. PS Candee. I'm always afraid to open my editorial revision letter. LOL

    Honestly the hard part is Bethany editors are almost always right. And when I disagree with them I can see their point and I make things clearer.

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  60. Wilani, I don't fear the dentist. I HATE THE DENTIST. Those are two completely different things.

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  61. NOW HELEN...are you sure you're AFRAID of city traffic, or do you just know you're BAD AT DRIVING IN CITY TRAFFIC.

    To not drive there might just be God saying, "Stay out of town, girl, you're going to kill someone or yourself."

    Please don't drive in heavy traffic if you're afraid.
    You know I'm getting really tired of city traffic, too. I might quit one of these days.

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  62. Myra, that's so perfect that you're getting that message from all around.

    God obviously is comforting you and telling to to BE NOT AFRAID! (wait that's the title of a funeral song...forget I mentioned it.

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  63. This is a totally stellar post and I can't even believe I'm sucking up to you and it's January 4th.

    That's got to be SOME KIND OF RECORD, HONEY!!!!!

    Myra noted this in her hour, the fear of mediocrity, of becoming lazy or jaded and settling for less than our best.

    You know we're not alone in this. I know some gals who sing in a choir, and they face the same fear, that they'll keep on doing what they've always been good at long after they ceased being good.

    But then I look at Herman Wouk and Michener and Laura Ingalls Wilder and Jessica Tandy and I think "This can be done!!!! If we never settle for less than we are, than what God wants us to be!!!"

    Such a great post, Connealy.

    I hardly have any ammunition at all.

    Dagnabbit!

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  64. Caryl isn't it amazing how many Bible verses deal with this. It really makes you think doesn't it? God knew our hearts. He knew our burdens. And verse after verse telling up to keep our eyes on him.

    He did NOT give us a spirit of fear, but power, love and a sound mind.

    Also you really think sweet little Missy will tell me when my books suck? She'll probably cry for me and pray for me, but not want to hurt my feelings.

    Maybe Tina will come through though.

    Maybe an intervention?

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  65. Melissa, I remember your comment on New Year's Eve, and yeah, I hear you loud and clear...

    But here's the other side of that. Sometimes (not always!) it's not the writer... it's that we've read so much of one author that we could actually plot and write the book for her, and darn her if she goes her own way... or we're so accustomed to her "voice" we expect it to be different, and of course it won't be...

    But I think you provided the great solution. Write something else!!! There is nothing like dipping your toes into something totally out of the realm to push you back up the ladder, while clinging rung by rung.

    It's like changing a third grade teacher to being a fifth grade teacher because they know too much of the 3rd grade curriculum and now they're same-old, same old boring... because they've done it too many times.

    Aunt Isabelle used to say "A Change is as good as a Rest."

    Stinkin' true.

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  66. Mary I am stealing your Bible verse for a story.

    Thank you.

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  67. Laughing at kicking Sandra's behind... :)

    Um, yes, guilty as charged.

    Oy, we're a fine bunch!!!!!

    And you know, when you retire from writing, there's no pension coming in the door, so maybe folks stay on a little long to pay doctor bills.

    I want them to be able to pay their doctor bills.

    I remember some buzz when a few older authors didn't have contracts renewed, but we're in a NEW TIME...

    If we are not renewed, we can self-publish and still pay the bills as long as readers like the work, and now that becomes a BATMAN scenario, remember, the first Batman movie???

    "Mano y mano" with The Joker.

    So when it's us against/vs. the reader, the readership decides and I'm hoping we're all pleasantly surprised! :)

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  68. A reverse Bucket List, I like it! I'd never thought of that, brilliant! Not really a fear, but something I didn't want was to be grey (headed) in my 30's. So I did what everyone my age did and colored my hair. At 50 I thought I was read to stop, but I couldn't do it. So this year I'll be 60 in April, I don't care anymore and have seen some lovely grey headed women and decided this was my year. So today, I'm having some highlights put in to help me transition to grey.

    I'm saying a prayer for my nervous self, haha. I'll have to change my profile pic down the line, once my nerves settle, so when I do, don't think I've had some shock overnight and gone instantly grey :-)

    Anyone else ever struggle with this one?

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  69. The only thing I could think of this morning is CONFLICT! I really fear conflict! I'm a "peacemaker" person and I don't like conflict at all! My husband knows I don't even like it on TV! If two people start arguing on TV, I will turn the channel! It just makes me nervous and fearful! When my kids were little and they argued, it took a lot of prayer for me to come up with solutions to get them to overcome that. I've just always had a problem with it! It's still an everyday thing for me! I don't like people, countries or situations in conflict - can't we all just get along???? :)

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  70. Ruthy raises hand....

    "I'll tell you when your books suck!!! I promise!!!!

    And we'll be in the home together and I'll lock your stupid keyboard away in a meds cupboard.

    And the staff will sing my praise.

    :)

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  71. Great post, Mary! It's funny, I never really had fears about my writing, only those nagging self-doubts. It wasn't until my book ended up in the hands of an editor that my fears ignited. However, I'm working on extinguishing them.

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  72. Mary, as I said during the NYE party, I'm impressed by your lack of fears--among many other things. You're an inspiration!

    When Ruthy asked me to list a fear to put in that box, I had to sort through a passel of 'em to find one I wasn't too embarrassed to list. I don't like being a fearful person, but I came by it naturally, having been raised by two fearful people.

    Because I didn't want to pass on that trait, I fought my fears as I raised our daughter. I didn't do as well as I wanted, but our gal is far more courageous and confident than I am, for which I thank the Lord. Since she's been living abroad three years, He's been the one watching out for her. I love seeing Him at work in her life.

    The Lord's been at work in mine, as well. I'm definitely a work-in-progress, but I'm not as fearful as I once was. He's not content for me to remain as I was, for which I'm grateful.

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  73. Great post! I had to think about this and then it hit me. I am afraid of where my writing will go. What if I submit and it doesn't get accepted? But what if it does? It all changes then.

    My fear is limiting what God wants to do for fear of what God wants to do. So for now I am happily writing along. My word for 2016 is uncommon hope. Uncommon hope, as in the uncommon hope we have in Jesus when He died on the cross. Uncommon hope that He loves us. John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” Uncommon hope that we have eternal life in Him. John 10:26-28 26"But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. 27"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.… Uncommon hope that God is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).

    Geared toward my writing, uncommon hope that God is doing amazing things. He is the coordinator and He is leading. My job is to follow. Easy, right? lol. Fear. Yeah there's a big chunk of that I didn't realize was there holding me back. I am praying for a joy-filled year full of unexpected amazing God-given things exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think. Don't limit God and what He can do. My motto for the year. Thanks Mary for making me think and put this into words.

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  74. Worries vs fears, Marianne. I really know exactly what you mean. God calls us not to worry right? Someone have a verse on that?

    But we have to attend to things and we have to get through some things. Which means planning an debating how to do it. Are we worried about it, or planning? I'm sure there are degrees of it but I also thing some 'worry' isn't really wrong. It's just necessary.

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  75. Jan that is beautiful. God bless you.

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  76. Count your blessings. That's a terrific way to face the sun!

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  77. Kelly good for you.

    Your comment is so encouraging. I'm reading so much that is uplifting.

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  78. OH MY GOSH JEANNE! A woman who fears rejection becomes a writer.

    I will say this. You get so much of it you get tough. Grow a rhino hide. If it doesn't crush you, being a writer will teach you to not be too upset about rejections.

    False
    Evidence
    Appearing
    Real

    I love this. Wow, so much wisdom about fear today!

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  79. Great post. I have to make time to come back and read the comments later.

    I can relate to your fear, Mary. I've seen it happen, too - a great writer turns out volumes of drivel. Maybe they got tired? Maybe the deadlines were too close together? Maybe they feared the pressure of success?

    I don't make New Year's resolutions, but if I did, this would be it: Face the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.

    Love it.

    Now I must write. It's okay if it's drivel this time around - it's my first draft!

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  80. Hey Teenster. Great quote.

    Attempt something large enough that failure is guaranteed without God's help.

    Thank you!

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  81. Ruthy there goes your New Years Resolution, to tease me without fail at every opportunity for the whole year.

    And it's the 4th and you're being nice.

    I'm sure it's a bitter pill for you to swallow.

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  82. Ruthy I used to always thing a vacation isn't really a REST because sometimes is full time go go go go go.

    It's the CHANGE that's restful not the activity.

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  83. Yeah...ahem....go on an steal it. Although I did buy it and own it.

    shake my head

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  84. Tracey it's scary but I've got two friends who've gone gray and right now gray is IN. I've seen younger women going gray because it's so cool currently. You're picking the perfect time!

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  85. Valri, I can sympathize with that. I'm so non-confrontational it's pathological.

    Good luck. If you ever figure it out, let me know!

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  86. "THANKS, RUTHY! I APPRECIATE THAT," Mary lied.

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  87. Jill, I do NOT blame you. Get busy writing the next book girl!

    ps you're back in Seekerville! I saw you on the Weekend Edition too. I think we tested ALL THE LIMITS OF BLOGGER!

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  88. KELI YOUR DAUGHTER IS LIVING ABROAD??????

    HAVE YOU SEEN THE MOVIE 'TAKEN'????

    NOW I'M AFRAID

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  89. Sally I love 'Uncommon Hope'. That's so beautiful and it's a deep truth.

    And I feel so badly for people who don't have it.

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  90. Ahhhh...I love this. Last year my word was brave and I faced a lot of fears head on. One in particular is fearing what other people think. Being a preacher's wife I have always felt like I had to walk on eggshells but I have learned that I am a child of God and it only really matters what He thinks. I think that fear is why I quit writing but the Lord is nudging me some and so I'm trying to get Brave and Surrender (my new word for this year...yikes!) to His leading.

    Thank you for the encouragement.


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  91. Jan I hear people say, "She didn't even write this book."
    And that makes me laugh, because if she did hire someone to write her book, the writer would be trying so hard, thinking of their own future success that the book would be great. The very fact that it's so mediocre PROVES she did write that book.

    PS this is also a comment I made NYE. I am an echo chamber.

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  92. Surrender is wonderful and ... it is also pretty brave and scary.

    Yes, try and let God lead me in everything. I'm not doing to well in that.

    I'm sorry. :(

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  93. I love the idea of changing 'sun' to 'son'. Face the son and let the shadows fall behind. Amen to that.

    I have to admit to being a fearful person. It's not something I'd recommend because -- especially when you pray for help overcoming your fears -- you'll likely end up living smack in the middle of one so your only recourse is hanging on to God for dear life. He knows I learn by doing.

    When my marriage broke up I was so afraid of what came next. Finances, raising my daughter, even mundane things like what people would think about me. It was nearly crippling. It took me a looooonnnnnnggggg time to let go of those fears. Especially of looking like a failure in the eyes of others (especially church people). I was so afraid of being judged. Looking back, I can see clearly how those fears stalled my emotional recovery. I didn't begin to heal until I learned to trust others, accepting help and encouragement. Yes, there were some who judged me and it hurt. A lot. But there were sweet surprises along the way -- like finding out that a wonderful woman I looked up to was actually on her second marriage. I thought her life was perfect, but she shared some tough stories with me. She gave me hope that I could overcome as well.

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  94. MARY - I am, I am! Yes, I'm back on the island. I was mortified when I got locked out. Ruthy said you did it. :)

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  95. I think my fears are subconscious and manifest in avoidance. Why am I avoiding starting the new eating plan I recently learned about and loved? I'm not afraid of losing the weight. I think I'm either afraid of failure, change, or self-discipline. Probably all of them. Recognizing and identifying the fear gives us the power to put it in its place and overcome it. Now I can make a plan for achieving my goals by keeping my fears in mind and incorporating strategies that address them.

    Looking forward to reading your new stories! Please put my name in the hat!

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  96. DID YOU JUST SAY THAT TO KELI GWYN??? FOR REAL???????????????

    have you no heart??????

    Oh my stars, oh my word, I am shocked.

    Well, okay, not really, but I was happy that Jill got back onto the island with NO SHARK ATTACKS.

    But even I never tease Keli about Adrianna being snatched!!!!!!

    Oy.

    oy.

    Oy.

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  97. KAV what a struggle. I'm sorry you had to go through that.
    Frowning as I type.

    And here you are. Alive and well and stronger for going through a tough situation.

    It's always a struggle when church people, who are called above all to love, turn their backs on someone who is suffering.

    Help us all remain humble enough to know we could be next. Our hard time can come. Reach out a hand to someone in pain or in need because your turn may come.

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  98. Jill I did NOT lock you out!!!!!!!!

    RUTHY YOU TAKE THAT BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    But I do completely commiserate. I mess up so often...especially with computer things...that I tend to always blame myself.

    BUT SOMETIMES IT IS SOMEONE ELSE'S FAULT! IT IS BLOGGER'S FAULT!

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  99. Dieting, Heidi?

    Okay, I guess from taking a look at me you'd all assume I'm afraid of that.

    And maybe I am!

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  100. MYRA, when I heard that acronym/definition for FEAR, it obviously stuck with me. :)

    MARY, I know, rejection does grow that rhino hide. And that's one thing God's teaching me on this writing journey. The other one is that when I am fearful about being rejected, I need to run to God and remember what He says about me. And take comfort on that when my writing hits a hiccup. :)

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  101. I didn't think it was TEASING KELI!
    I thought I was saving her child!

    Also glad we aren't stitching up shark bites on Jill.

    I hate when that happens.

    I've warned Myra a THOUSAND TIMES not to feed the sharks in the water between the island and the mainland beefsteak!

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  102. I mean honestly, when we watched that movie TAKEN with one of our children, My Cowboy turned to my child and said, "I do NOT have that particular set of skills, so just BE CAREFUL!"

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  103. Mary, I won't even attempt to list all my writing fears. I'm sure there is a limit to how long a comment can be. My biggest of these fears is never writing anything again that's worthy to be published. I'm sure many authors have this fear, or at least that's what I tell myself.

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  104. I agree with Melissa. I love a critique partner who wields a red pen! We're too close to the story to always see issues. I prefer having them pointed out before the story gets to my editor. :-)

    Janet

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  105. Jeanne T, I've heard but had forgotten the acronym for fear: false evidence appearing real. Thanks for the reminder!

    Janet

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  106. Janet, I agree with you and Melissa. Nothing worse than being told after the fact that a critique partner "thought" that was a problem.

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  107. You did lock Jill out, I WATCHED you.

    Oh my stars, I can't believe you're denying it. :)

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  108. Terri, that was a common fear throughout the NYE party. From hosts and visitors alike, and I think it's so normal. First because when folks know you're doing it, you become a non-entity when they discover you're not published...

    But the funny thing is I've published (counts in head...) at least 8 of those original books between publishers and indie publishing, so they were rejected THEN... and they're money in the bank now. So I was just as much of an author then, I just wasn't getting paid yet!

    So hang in there. Don't let those fears hold you back (although honey, we ALL have them!!!)

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  109. Sandra was a great critique partner. She wasn't afraid to shape me up, smack me down...

    Actually she could have been NICER. ;)

    Naw, seriously, it's important, but even more important that your critique partner likes the kind of hero and heroine you like/write.

    If they don't, oops. DOOMED.

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  110. Trying to catch up on all the great comments. Fear is such an interesting topic. Over the last few years, I've come to the conclusion that some folks worry and have fear...and others live life thinking nothing can go wrong.

    I, of course, am on the "worry" side. I always thought it was coming from a military family. My dad and my hubby always had to look at the worst case scenario and plan accordingly. Thus, I learned at an early age to consider the negatives and to realize that bad things can happen.

    The other side doesn't think about the "what ifs." Some of them have never experienced real threats or loss, at least that's how it looks to me. I could be completely wrong.

    I did battle fear a few years ago in regards to writing and seem to have conquered it, at least somewhat. Giving the work to God and placing Him in charge helps. If he wants a project to fail, well, then okay! Thankfully, he usually doesn't want failure, which brings comfort.

    I'm rambling...and trying to clean my office. A scary thought. Glad the webcam is off.

    Congrats on your two releases this month! I was rearranging books in one of my bookcases. I kept moving Mary Connealy books...you are prolific! :) And aren't we glad you are!

    Hugs!

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  111. Oh, wow!! Look at all the comments already!!

    What a wonderful saying, Mary. I love it! And now I'm claiming it as my new mantra. :) I also love your attitude of cutting off those old fears at the knees, knocking them down to size. (I know, I'm cliched today.) :)

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  112. Wow, Mary, awesome post. I love what you said about some things not being real fears And I love what Janet said about releasing her children to God. I have to do that, too, or my concern for them would suffocate me.

    And I'm going to hop on the writing dreck boat. What a cool term for such an awful worry. I do worry that maybe I only have so much talent for a specific number of ideas, and then I have to repent for ever thinking for one moment that this gift is mine. He gave it to me for His ministry, so it will last for as long as He wills it. So why worry?

    And I think God is pretty cool about putting people in your path to assist. I had written something and it was pretty horrible, so I asked a different friend than usual to read it, and she was painfully, brilliantly honest in her comments. Now my despair that I had written a hopeless piece of trash has a light at the end of the tunnel because I have a new focus for it.

    My favorite verse tackles this fear. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."

    Proverbs 3:5-6

    Blessings!

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  113. Oh, and go ahead and throw my name in the cat dish.

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  114. Mary, I am so laughing about your cowboy's comment to one of your kids while watching TAKEN: "I do NOT have that particular set of skills, so just BE CAREFUL!" I've seen that movie several times and it still scares the peewaddin' out of me. I don't know the derivation of that word, but it was one of my mother's favorites. I come from a long line of worriers.

    I would so love to win a copy of Lassoed by Love, but I pre-ordered it. :)

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  115. Wait--sharks??? What did I miss??? You were swimming among the sharks, JILL???

    And no, I have NOT been feeding any sharks. Sharks in the ocean are among my greatest fears, if you must know.

    Sharks on land, too. Sharks anywhere.

    Except dead.

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  116. Anyone seen Sharknado?

    Sharks on a plane--really?????

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  117. Mary, Mary, Mary, it's a good thing I love you and know you have a sense of humor that won't quit, my friend, or I might have taken your reply seriously. But I know you're a hoot, so I didn't. Instead, I laughed. And then I rejoiced because of a very recent victory that proves there's hope for me yet...

    I just Skyped three and a half hours with my daughter. Adriana had arrived back in her Austrian town--safe and sound. However, she did mention in passing that the bus driver had stopped in Brussels, Belgium to tell the three passengers on board that since no one else would be joining them, they would arrive in Austria ahead of schedule. Yes. Brussels, Belgium, the town that was on lockdown for day after the Paris attacks as the authorities routed out terrorists.

    And you know what? I didn't freak. I might have mentioned to Adri that it was a good thing I didn't know the bus route would take her through that particular city, but I didn't freak. If this true story is not proof that I can overcome my fears as I entrust my daughter to the Lord, I don't know what is. Turning them over to Him is the way to go--and grow. =)

    P.S. Thanks for standing up for me, Ruthy, but I'm fine. After all, you yourself taught my Toughening Up 101 course. I did listen and learn, really. =)

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  118. @Barbara @Mary

    I'm in love with your cowboy's honesty. You know, some guys pretend they can do anything.

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  119. Mary, I am so late checking in today. Probably won't have time to read through all the comments but would be interesting to hear everyone's fears. I am a first-class worrier and don't want to be, so I like that quote you posted. I will have to remember it. I do have some fears that I have gotten over--or at least gotten through. I used to be very afraid to fly. But I have flown several times, even though it still isn't my favorite thing. I have not flown in this century so it has been a while. But given the chance to go some place where I had to fly I would do it.

    I also used to be deathly afraid of tornadoes. I got through that when I was 13 years old and was babysitting during a tornado warning. (No actual tornado.) After that, I knew I could get through it. But tornadoes still fascinate me and I am writing a novel about one.

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  120. Mary she is NOT lying. I promise. She will say that. And thank the Lord for that. I count on that. But don't tell her we are thankful because we don't want her to do it YET

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  121. Oops, Just reread and saw that you said you lied. ha ha ha. Well we DO appreciate it. May not like it, but appreciate it. ha ha ha

    But shhhhhh


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  122. Jeanne T I love this:

    False
    Evidence
    Appearing
    Real.

    I'm with Myra. Great and so true.

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  123. Awww Ruthy you do still love me. I guess I'm safe for a little bit longer. smile

    Love you back. We did a lot of smacking back then before we were published and look how it payed off. Especially you. I am so tickled every time I see an announcement for another book out there.

    So see folks that aren't published YET. Don't give up. Ruthy and I (and the other Seekers also) waded through so many rejections before we sailed off the island. That's why we love to share what we can so as to help others off that ole stinkin island.

    And sailing off of it was rather frightening too in its own way. But we had each other. That helps too. Dana R you said it so well. God puts people in our path to assist. That's what Seekerville does for me.

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  124. Sandy Can certainly understand the fear of tornadoes. Haven't lived through one, but they look terrifying. I think that falls in Mary's category of common sense. chuckle

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  125. Myra Good thing you aren't married to my hubby. I have been in the water with sharks, moray eels, whales, and we were in a rubber raft in the waters off of Mexico when a huge manta ray swam under us and lifted us out of the water. I was freaking. My hubby was so excited because he said that was rare. He chased after it after it set us back down and swam away. I think I was hyperventilating. He was ecstatic. Crazy man.

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  126. Debby When you get done with your office, will you come over and help me with mine? I only have the small space in the RV set aside for "office" and that little space can hold an amazing amount of clutter. sigh. I keep thinking I'm organized, but then I look at this corner and grab a blanket and COVER IT. lol

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  127. I was lying about lying, obviously I need an intervention!

    Sandra, I love that you have my back! Go you!!!!!

    Keli Gwyn, I know you're tough, but what if you hadn't stopped back????

    HUH????

    If I hadn't gone in to take one for the team, whoa!!!! Who knows what might have happened???

    :)

    You know, I'm not a worrier. I'm not fearful. Like Keli (you!!!) I was afraid of things when I was younger, but wanted to raise fearless children, so I did the fake it til you make it thing... and honestly, there's nothing I fear in thought.

    Now, coming face to face with one of our new resident black bears... I'd wet my pants.

    But I don't worry about it or fear it ahead of time.

    I think my only fear ever is disappointing others, and that's kind of what Mary is talking about today, so I don't have to talk about it.

    Instead, I think I'll pass around this THM cottage cheese salad Jan Drexler had at Yankee Belle Cafe today, and you will love it... crunchy apples and celery, toasted nuts, oh my stars... I'm so happy right now! JAN'S SALAD

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  128. Barbara I LOVE that word. I have a family member who says that too. Who would guess it was a real word. chuckle

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  129. Oh My, I haven't been to Yankee Belle yet. That salad sounds delightful. Thanks for bringing some by Ruthy.

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  130. Cindy's comment about her surgery has inspired me to be honest about my fears. Not really writing fears. I think years of being a journalist has given me quite the thick hide.
    No, my fear is about ill health and I have to pray for courage every day. Old age is a privilege to me as I have lost 3 young cousins (27,30 and 47) so if anything I'm afraid I won't reach old age. Losing those 3 cousins is at the root of my fear. I love 2 Timothy and I'm always jotting down verses on 'do not be afraid' in my prayer journal. Mary, your post is inspiring me to stand up to my fears and meditate on what good might happen instead of waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm working on strengthening my faith.
    Cindy, you are in my prayers for smooth surgery and a speedy recovery.
    Great post!

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  131. Congrats Mary on your two releases!!

    I was raised by an adventurous Daddy...and a Sweet Momma who overcame her many fears without worrying out loud! But, I married into a fearful family...not My Sweet Husband. By the Grace of God, he escaped their fearful input. But whenever we were around his parents, siblings or grandparents, I found myself thinking maybe I wasn't normal...maybe I should fear everything they suggested. It didn't take long for the Lord to help me see I didn't need to take on their interpretation of situations...He would show me if there was something I needed to reconsider! Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) says "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Our thoughts...our hearts control our actions...we need to be careful listeners!

    I loved reading all the comments...fun discussion today!!

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  132. Hi Christina There are certainly many circumstances in life to make us fearful. I like your idea of writing down Bible verses though. Standing on those helps us go through those circumstances.

    I'm with you on prayers for Cindy. She should be through with the surgery by now and in recovery. yay

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  133. Hi Kathryn I'm so thankful you found ways to overcome the negativity. Your Bible verse says it so well. And being a careful listener is key. If I do worry, it is that I don't listen. sigh. Sure thankful you did. smile

    I agree with you. Lots of fun comments today. Glad you stopped by.

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  134. I never feared inconsequential things, except for my fear of flying which is funny since my husband was a Navy pilot. I lost several pilot friends in aircraft accidents, so I gradually became afraid of flying. That was years ago and I don't mind flying anymore.

    The big fears of life are something different. Fear of death of a loved one, a child, a spouse, fear of being alone, fear of a terrible disease, fear of not having enough money, fear of everything going wrong. You can't face most of these things until they actually happen and you don't know how you'll react when they do. How will I deal with a major crisis is another fear. Are we stronger or weaker than we thought we were?

    I faced most of my fears this year and I don't have any major ones left. Of course things can always get much worse, but I have faith that the Lord will pull me through once again.

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  135. .
    FEAR
    is the Caution Sign
    that God provides
    the illiterate.

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  136. Mary, I was just thinking today (I read Fire & Ice over the weekend) that I don't think you could ever write a bad book. :) I love all your stories, but I understand your fear. I've battled it just with sharing book 2 of my Marriage & Mayhem series. Will it measure up to the first one? What if it's not as good? However, I'm striving to keep moving forward and learn from any mistakes I make. Like you, I'd also hope someone would tell me if I was slipping too. :)

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  137. Oh Cara I'm so thankful that you see how the Lord pulled you through all of the trials and circumstances. We have so much to be thankful for don't we.

    I used to be afraid of flying also. My Dad used to take us up in his plane when we were kids and then he would sit back and throw his hands up and say "okay kids you fly". He and my brother would just laugh at my sister and I as we screamed. the rascals.

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  138. Vince How do you manage to come up with the perfect sayings for everything we post? You are amazing.

    I love this btw.

    Hate to acknowledge how illiterate I am though. chuckle

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  139. Hi Crystal, I really loved that book also. And I agree. All of Mary's books are so wonderful.

    And I'm sure yours are also. But it is scary isn't it? I always get scared when I give my book to someone I know. That scares me the most. ha ha

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  140. OH MY GOSH you cannot believe how my day took a turn,

    My very elderly aunt died a few days ago. Her funeral was today, 90 minutes away. I did not go. But the graveside service was back here close to me. Closer still to my mom.

    Mom invited the family to her house after the funeral for coffee and bars, for a chance to warm up and get a chance to visit.

    Such lovely people. Some of them I haven't meet since childhood. We assumed they'd stop in, warm up and head out. But instead it turned into a chance to catch up. These are my father's first cousins, including the lady who died.

    This whole family, some who live around here and I don't really think of as family, were just lovely. Honestly, the salt of the earth.

    It's one of those days when you remember there are lovely people in the world. Good decent down-to-earth people with good manners and kind hearts.

    Anyway, expected to be gone a couple of hours and now here I am finally. I'm sorry I missed the fun here but so glad I got a chance to visit with all these second and third and how many times removed cousins.

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  141. Dana there is NO CAT DISH!

    On my days there is a very cool STETSON. We throw your name in the STETSON.

    I don't think Ruthy even WASHES her cat dish!!!

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  142. Barbara Scott...I wonder if I could use peewadding in a book.

    its so perfect.

    I'll bet I have trouble finding it on Google.

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  143. Honestly Ruthy being afraid of a BEAR. Again, like Tornadoes, I think this falls under common sense.
    God did not give us a spirit of fear, but he did give bears really sharp teeth. So you should run even if you're peewadding yourself at the same time.

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  144. Christina a good friend and high school classmate of mine recently posted on her birthday....."I am officially at an age when no one can ever say I died young."

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  145. Kathryn what a wonderful verse. Guard your heart.....I'm really touched by that verse.

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  146. Crystal, I hope I'm still in that phase when I can keep improving.

    I have lately really embraced Vince's Rewards Per Page.
    And putting emotion on the page.

    I know I have a long way to go until I've gotten as good as I can get. (forever!)

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  147. Vince that's just a perfect way of saying FEAR can have a purpose.
    Fear can be common sense in dangerous situations.

    Fear itself isn't bad it's just when we fear things we shouldn't and let the fear run our lives. And that can happen to easily.

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  148. Sandy Smith, you should probably still go ahead and be careful when dealing with tornadoes!!!

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  149. Mary, I'm so sorry for the loss of your aunt, but I'm glad you had a chance to catch up with family members. The older I get the more I cherish the opportunities to spend time with my older relatives, regardless of the circumstances, and share memories and stories again.

    Thank you for such a thought-provoking post. Many fears and concerns for me (most of them career-related at the moment) but your post made me stop and consider that they're not all worthy of the time I spend worrying about them. I love the verse you used: Psalm 27:1 - The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid? That kinda says it all. Thanks again.


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  150. Mary, thank you for the post elaborating on New Year's Eve and fears.

    With writing, there are so many fears-will I be able to write another book after I edit this one, will I ever get published, and more. I think I'm learning to work with God to control what I can control and keep plugging away and trying to get better and not getting complacent.

    With life, there are so many times I've had a fear and it's become reality that I have to keep praying and keep my head up.

    Thank you so much for sharing and being open and honest.

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  151. Mary, I loved the post! Especially the part of face the sun and the shadows fall behind you. I'm printing that off to hang by my computer.

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  152. MARY... pardon me. I'm sure it's a very fine Stetson.

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  153. I've been giving this "locking away our fears" some thoughts ever since the NYE's party. In the past, I've struggled with many fears and only through God's grace that I have overcome it. However, it doesn't mean fear doesn't sneak back on you. I remembered a book that was gifted to me by a fellow sister in Christ, Victory Over Darkness by Neil T. Anderson, it said somewhere that satan is like roaches: where there's light, they scurried to find darkness. I'm paraphrasing, but the idea is that satan will use every opportunity to hurt us, and fear one way. Only by finding the light in our Lord Jesus, will we be free from fear. He is the Light of the World. When fear does creep up, I try to focus on His words, immerse in prayer and in turn let His peace shield me from within.

    Mary, thank you for sharing and for a great giveaway. Please throw my name in the hat for either of these books. Many thanks!

    Annie

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  154. Never fear, Mary. I still have a healthy respect for tornadoes. Not going to become a storm chaser.

    I forget to say please enter me in the drawing.

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  155. HI Mary,
    I wrote a very thoughtful comment earlier today, but google or blogger whoever runs the internet wouldn't let me post. Let's see if this gets through. Thanks for the enlightening post.

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  156. Great post, Mary - thank you!!

    I was very insecure when I was young - so bashful I was scared to speak to people when I was in school and walked with my head down. When I first started school, my father spanked me before I would get on the school bus in the morning. As with Kav, I was fearful of gossip and reactions from members of my small home church - when my marriage fell apart. A fear afterward was living alone, for the first time.

    I no longer fear those things - others rejection and/or ridicule isn't an issue as I've found even the seemingly most secure people have "hang-ups". My fear of speaking to others has revolved into my being an "open book" much of the time. I've lived alone for 26 years, working more than one job at a time - while raising my children alone - I was forced to take risks and become more independent. Maturity also played a part in overcoming my fears, however, developing a close relationship with God - prayer, learning to trust Him for guidance, and knowing He had all situations under control - provided the solace and reassurance needed to truly overcome those fears.

    I'm so looking forward to reading both of the novella collections, Mary - please include my name in the drawings for each. Thank you!!

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  157. Bonton, I was so SHY when I was little. I remember kind hearted old ladies making a fuss over me for my blushing and hiding behind my mom. Trust me kind hearted old ladies, I did NOT want your attention.

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  158. Lyndee it's like Blogger gets HUNGRY and has to eat a post every once in a while. And like a good hunter, they wait to bag the good ones!!!

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  159. I experience fear when I try to take control instead of trusting in God's sufficient grace. Sometimes it's hard to let go and stop trying to "fix it" all the time.
    Please put me in the hat for With This Ring, I have Lassoed by Marriage (yay!) Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway! Congratulations on your new releases!

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  160. I experience fear when I try to take control instead of trusting in God's sufficient grace. Sometimes it's hard to let go and stop trying to "fix it" all the time.
    Please put me in the hat for With This Ring, I have Lassoed by Marriage (yay!) Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway! Congratulations on your new releases!

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  161. I find that the stories I've read of yours so far are soul stirring. You are far from writing DREKK. I need to get over my own fear and get my first book completed and out there. Thank you for the challenge.

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  162. I was so much fun chatting with you at the Seekereville New Years Eve party. Congratulations on your 2 new releases. Please throw my name in for the Lassoed by Marriage. I already have With this Ring.Hope you have a wonderful day.

    Deanne P.

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  163. haven't had a chance to read through the comments, but will eventually - but I did want to mention I would LOVE to have either collection you're offering.

    As for true fears? I'm still figuring that out. I think I'm a little bit like you, Mary, in that my fears really aren't true fears if I face the Son. I like that bit.

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  164. I normally wouldn't put in my two cents worth, but the topic wouldn't let me pass by. I've always been a person who chased my fears and confronted them head on. That is until my 28 year marriage fell apart. After 2 years, I remarried to a sweet Christian man 6 months ago and we have had every challenge imaginable.

    Through it all, I've learned that the experiences we survive leave very real scars that need to be given to the Lord on a daily basis. I compare it to a parent losing a child to cancer to find that a second child is showing similar symptoms. The panic brings you right back to the past even though things are not that serious.

    When I get to that place, i work to remind myself that the Lord is in control. He will never leave me alone. I can trust Him no matter the challenging situation. Jesus and I will face it together. Everything will work together for His good purposes in my life.

    Best of all, I've learned that when I can't cling anymore, the Lord will hold me.

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  165. I would love either of the books you are offering.

    Fears--Face them each day with 7 children including some with disabilities. Turning to the Son is daily or hourly event for me. :-)

    Blessings,
    Becky B.

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  166. Can I update my post? I received With This Ring today, so please keep me in the drawing for Lassoed by Marriage. Thank you. Annie

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  167. My fear is being a burden to my kids as I get older. I don't have a husband to grow old with.
    It isn't an all encompassing, crippling fear, but one that is there in the back of my mind. I've had to rely a lot on the Lord, especially in the years since my divorce, so I'm getting better at turning those fears over to Him.

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  168. MARY, I would love to be entered to receive a copy of With This Ring. I am reading The Bossy Bridegroom. I am halfway through it and am getting so much out of it. I usually will skip ahead to the ending just to see how it ends. I can't with this one. I want to savor it. Keep the ending a secret until the ending. I don't know whether to believe her husband has changed or not. But I won't go look. Great job!

    MYRA, I love the Sharknado movies! Sharknado 4 is coming!

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  169. Wonderful post, Mary. I've been a fan of your books for years and I can tell you, you haven't lost your touch. I still get a thrill whenever I see another Connealy book being released. I have "Fire and Ice" just taunting me from my TBR shelf. LOL I'd love to have my name put in for either of your new books. I've heard good things about both of them. :)

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  170. Congrats on your new releases! I would like to read With This Ring.. I have the collection & looking forward to reading it :)

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  171. Fear can be so crippling. I know it attacks me. I have to constantly remind myself that God is in loving control. And He's ALWAYS good. (o:

    I'd love to win With This Ring. It sounds excellent!

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  172. I was afraid of public speaking. I managed to avoid it through college and didn't think much past that. I went into the Peace Corps and went overseas. It was a wonderful experience. Within a few months of arriving in the town where I was to work, I was welcomed to the town and the school system. The welcome was held in the town plaza and well over 100 people attended. I was informed I was to give a speech about myself. I was given an overblown introduction which made me even more apprehensive. When I got to the lectern, I held on with a death grip. I discovered your knees really to knock and if I hadn't been holding on, I would have fallen. I talked way too fast and few people were able to understand what I said. I was embarrassed, but it didn't kill me. Now speaking to a group of any size doesn't bother me, although I have never had to address a really large group. The key is to make it short, accurate, and interesting and never take yourself too seriously.

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  173. I have a fear of rejection which goes all the way back to when I was an infant. I've come a long way in healing from that rejection but there are still times when that fear raises its ugly head. When I get fearful, I quote that verse "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power..." Your post was excellent and I will now add "Face the Son" to my mantra.

    Thank you for such an encouraging post! Please put my name in for the drawing for With This Ring!

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