Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Getting to the Root of the Problem!


By Debby Giusti

We’re twenty days into the New Year and I’m still thinking of resolutions for 2016 and ways to improve myself and my craft...so today I want to talk about the false assumptions that hold us back from achieving our full potential and the importance of bearing good fruit. In past blogs, I’ve mentioned my favorite scripture in regards to writing:



Knowing that God chose me—hopefully to be his writer—brings comfort and encouragement, even when I’m faced with blank pages and writer’s block.

At first glance, one might think my published books or completed manuscripts are the fruit I produce, but I trust God sees my writing journey through a larger lens. Perhaps he includes writing relationships, mentoring, the sharing of information and even intercessory prayer for those on the path to publication as part of the fruit he wants me to produce.

What fruit is he asking you to bear? Have you planted seeds but have yet to bring in a harvest? (I don't mean publication, but rather ways you've improved your craft or increased your writing output.) Can you pinpoint something on your end that’s hampering your production? Perhaps you need to dig deep to find the root of the problem.

A few years ago, I attended a two-day seminar on healing prayer. The very learned and Spirit-filled instructor talked about that very subject. He said some folks ask to be healed of the bad fruit they bear, the external problems that can be seen or heard. As the picture below illustrates, the fruit could be irritability, reclusive behavior, anger or addiction.



To eradicate bad fruit, get to the root of the problem.
Tree 
courtesy: allfreeclipart.com/

The person may be successful and eradicate the bad fruit from his life for a period of time, but more often than not, the behavior returns bearing more bad fruit. Why? Because he hasn’t gotten to the root of the problem. The anger, the resentment, the jealousy are only outward manifestations of an unhealed and unresolved wound from the past. The goal is for the person, with the help of a healing minister, to dig deep to find that brokenness and pain. Once recognized and exposed, it can be healed and the person set free of anything that holds him back.

Famed Hollywood screenwriting consultant Michael Hauge talks about this same phenomenon in many of his workshops. He encourages writers to give protagonists a wound, usually occurring in adolescence, which causes the main character to create a false front in order to cover up or ignore that pain from the past. The protagonist lives within that false identity, as if wearing a mask.  In a romance, the love interest sees beyond the false front and recognizes the essence of who the protagonist really is. Over the course of the story, the protagonist or main character must recognize the wound and move from the false identity to his essence or true self.

What about your writing journey? Are you making excuses or not giving yourself the opportunity or wherewithal to succeed? Is a past hurt or unintentional comment from someone whose opinion you value holding you back? Were you told you couldn’t write as a child? Was your work compared to someone else’s and found lacking? Can you identify the source of the false truths you’ve believed for too long? Do you need to dig deep to find the root of the problem?

What fruits are you producing in your writing life?
Tree courtesy: allfreeclipart.com

My father was a talented writer who critiqued my youthful writing attempts with a heavy hand and a red pen. I learned so much from his editing and critique, but I never thought I could measure up and, thus, felt inadequate as a writer. Eventually, I realized my father was an accomplished technical writer who probably would have struggled to create fiction. Recognizing that truth freed me from the false assumption about my own writing and helped me move forward.

Michael Hauge asks those who attend his workshops to fill in the blank in the following statement, first for their main characters and then for themselves.

Quote from Michael Hauge's Writing Workshops

Sometimes when we recognize what we’re not willing to do, we can more clearly identify that which holds us back. After attending one of Hauge’s workshop some years ago, I looked at my own life to find anything additional that was impeding my progress. Digging deep, I recognized a hesitancy to make time for myself, not wanting to put my own desires above those of my family. Once I acknowledged that concern, I gave myself permission to write.

The coffee’s hot. Tea is available, and I’ve brought hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit, muffins and grits for a light breakfast as we dig deep to find what’s holding us back from achieving our dreams!

What’s stopping you? Are there past hurts that need to be healed before you move forward? What’s your line in the sand, the one thing you won’t do to achieve your dream? Is it a valid concern? Leave a comment to be entered in two drawings. Both winners will receive a copy of my February Love Inspired Suspense, PLAIN DANGER, and "Be Still," an adult coloring book filled with beautiful art and some of my favorite scripture passages.


Happy writing!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

To be released in February...


PLAIN DANGER
By Debby Giusti

DANGEROUS INHERITANCE 
When Carrie York arrives at the house she inherited from her father in an Amish community, she's shocked to discover a soldier's body on the property. Her neighbor, army special agent Tyler Zimmerman, starts investigating the murder, and Carrie fears it's related to her father's mysterious death. Tyler doesn't trust the pretty speechwriter or the suspicious timing of her arrival—especially since her boss is responsible for his father's death. But when someone attacks Carrie, Tyler insists on protecting her. With his help, will Carrie be able to hold on to her inheritance and her life? 
Pre-order your copy HERE!


143 comments :

  1. Wonderful post, Debby. This past year I have been on a journey to find out what's holding me back from...no, not writing, just living to my full potential. A dim still learning. But I know I have come out of a narcissist environment and because of this I have had (and still do) a hard time believing I am good enough. It really sounds like I need that coffee, Debby! Thanks. And cinnamon rolls for those with a sweet tooth like me!

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  2. I'd love your book, Debby. Please put my name in!

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  3. I hope someone brought a couch for me to lay on as this is going to take some time.

    One thing I learned from a very excellent Christian psychiatrist years ago was was the back track method.

    When I am angry I try to back track the steps of that anger. Usually the root is hurt. My feelings were hurt. Sometimes that back track leads to fear.

    Excellent post, Debby. Thank you.

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  4. What's with the popularity of coloring books. I admit to having my own Crayola erasable colored pencils at my own desk for doodling. :)

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  5. Years ago, I was able to to forgive my dad. It set me free of anger, hurt, bitterness & all that stuff that goes with it. It was so freeing!! I understand now that I need to get to the root of any problem because if I don't, those things can still linger and permeate other areas of my life, attitude or outlook. It's not good for me or other people around me. I'm so glad that God shows me areas that need work & He gives me the ability and wisdom to do it through Him! Great encouraging post , Debby, thanks for sharing it :-)

    I already have a copy of "Plain Danger" so no need to enter my name. Blessings!

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  6. Hi Debby:

    I just don't visualize any things holding me back. Things really don't care if I move forward or backward.

    My question is:

    Why am I not using all the gifts and resources God gave me to move forward?

    Why don't I have enough 'gotta wanna' to get what I want?

    Do I really want it more than I want other things? Am I not now getting what I really want? Are roadblocks really just excuses to sooth my soul over the choices I am actually making?

    I do believe that with enough 'gotta wanna' all things are possible.

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  7. On a serious note, Debby, this is really a powerful post and I know it will minister to many. Thank you.

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  8. At this point in my life I don't see that anything is holding me back.

    Count me in thank you.

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  9. What a great post, Debby. I work to discover those deep wounds my characters have and the mistaken beliefs they bring about. Only by overcoming them, can they grow.

    If only I resolved things as quickly and thoroughly as my characters do. They get their acts together in a relatively short period of time, whereas as I've spent years dealing with my issues. I'm surprised they trust me to help them work though theirs. =)

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  10. Debby, this is the kind of post that helps so many people. I learned these methods while working with emotionally disturbed kids. We took a course called Life Space Intervention, and in that course the adults went through all of the steps to recognize their own triggers. Like Tina said, often those things trace back to hurt feelings... or as you quoted "adolescent" trauma of some sort. Those hurts, at a time where we're old enough to never forget them, can be game-changers.

    But once we recognize them and kick the legs out from under them, we can move on and/or use them in stories. The gift there is that the conflict is SO REAL because it was ours to own.

    There is another thing that I see holding people back, and it's huge, but not grandiose or poignant... lack of self-discipline.

    This is a tough job if you can't push yourself to produce, or if you can't accept an editor's notes on changing a story.

    So lack of self-discipline and a stubborn nature can be two very fixable roadblocks. I love seeing new authors succeed, but I also know there's more to this gig than producing a good book.... so keep on writing. And put on your humility apron for the editing phase! :)

    Loving the coffee, thank you!

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  11. YES! So true. When I'm writing a story, it's finding the character's wound that allows me to find their redemption...and that is what creates my story!

    Good morning! I need more coffee...LOL

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  12. What an excellent post! Wonderful advice, Debby. The biggest things holding me back are self-doubt and not making enough time for my writing. As for the root of these problems, that may take me a while to figure out. I do know that I have a bad habit of focusing on my flaws and not my talents. Hmmm...this will take a bit of thought, but I will work on it.

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  13. Marianne,
    Sounds as if your past could have provided lots of false truths. Try to dig to the bottom of each of them and realize who you really are...a wonderful person with amazing gifts!

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  14. TINA, grown up coloring books are awesome. I have a couple of them. I love to color after a stressful day at work. Coloring is relaxing and doesn't require a lot of thought.

    VINCE said, "I do believe that with enough 'gotta wanna' all things are possible." Yes!! I believe "gotta wanna" is 99% of the battle.

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  15. Tina, I try to do something similar. If I'm upset, I dig to reveal the reason. Is it my pride? Have I been embarrassed, and if so, why did the comment--or whatever--touch me in a particular way? Through self-analysis, I can usually uncover a little wound that needs healing. We carry around a lot of baggage, and some of us, no doubt, have many hurts to uncover. The process helps us to grow and become a stronger and better person. Luckily, we've got a lifetime to work on becoming healed and whole.

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  16. Thanks for sharing a bit about your journey, Trixi. Isn't God wonderful! He can bring us through the pain and heal us when we trust in him. Often it's a lifelong process. Glad you've been able to forgive and move on with your life! Bless you!

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  17. Vince, I like your "gotta wanna." I often say, "If you're hungry enough, you'll do...whatever." Sometimes I'm not hungry enough.

    But wounds in our past can hold us back. Let's look at writing. A friend was told by an English prof that she couldn't write. My friend couldn't get past that comment. She kept working and re-working the beginning of her book to get it right! She couldn't move on. Regrettably, we sometimes hang on to offhanded comments from those we respect. We take those negatives and accept them as truth. By doing a bit of self-awareness, we can uncover the negatives and, hopefully, shine the light of truth on them. A prof talking about a few essays in college, written by a young coed, should never stop the woman from writing later in life, especially if that's her heart's desire.

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  18. Mary Preston, that's wonderful. You're doing exactly what you want to do. No wounds. Nothing holding you back. I'm proud of you! Congrats!

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  19. Keli, I'm smiling at your comment. We do heal our characters quickly, don't we! :) If only life could be so easy...but wait, mine almost die first. Hmmm? I'll take the way real life plays out instead of the fast resolves in our fiction!

    Hugs!

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  20. What a great post. So much to think on. I find that most actions in myself and others are not really that action, but something deeper. I really like your tree visuals. More to ponder today.
    Becky B.

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  21. Ruthy, words of wisdom, as always. Self-discipline is so important. Another blog, no doubt.

    Your Life Space Intervention course sounds like something we should all take. I'm sure you've helped so many children through tough times. Now you're using the info in your wonderful stories of healing and redemption. God uses everything for good, doesn't he!

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  22. Jessica, your comment needs repeating:

    "When I'm writing a story, it's finding the character's wound that allows me to find their redemption...and that is what creates my story!"

    Perfect! Thanks for sharing!

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  23. Morning Debby, How funny that you are giving away a coloring book. This concept has appeared several times in my life this past month and tonight I was invited to go to an adult coloring class with a dear friend. So maybe I'm supposed to go. LOL

    Do you color? Talk about permission for time for yourself.

    What holds me back is time. Seems like my time management has disappeared as I've aged. But I work on it. I don't spend as much time writing as I used to because I feel it is important to spend time with hubby while we can. But even though I write less words, I still get a book finished. yea.

    Thanks for the lovely scripture also. I enjoy your posts on facebook.

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  24. DEBBY, great post. I was blessed with a happy home and supportive parents. Don't ever remember anyone saying I wasn't enough to do whatever I wanted to do. I'm thanking God for my parents as I know many weren't as fortunate. Still, my imperfections are real. I'm always working on some flaw in my character, if I recognize it. Thankfully our God loves us unconditionally.

    My Speed button must be broken as I take longer to do everything. Oh, and I possess that perfectionism curse, all of my own doing. I'm with Tina--where's the couch?

    Janet

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  25. DEBBY, I got an adult coloring book for Christmas. Not as cool as your Scripture coloring book. I haven't grabbed my colored pencils and played yet, but I will.

    Janet

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  26. This is a wonderful post, Debby. Like Janet, I was raised in a loving environment, full of encouragement. Lately, what holds me back the most is worry. Worrying about my mother's diagnosis of Dementia and seeing what the disease is doing to my father. After 55 years of marriage, he treats her as though they were just married yesterday. It's difficult to see his heart breaking.

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  27. Thank you so much for your post! Please enter me in the drawing. :)

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  28. JILL, my heart aches for your father and for you. My mother had dementia and my dad took care of her. I understand how hard this is for all of you. God was merciful. She knew my dad until the end.

    Janet

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  29. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
    But in ourselves, that we are underlings."
    Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)


    'gotta wanna' puts the iron in self-discipline.
    'gotta wanna' turns roadblocks into delays and detours but never defeat.
    'gotta wanna' is the spinach of desire.

    If your child were drowning in a stream, would you not try to save him because your college professor told you that you were not a good enough swimmer to save anyone?

    Football teams spend a lot of money on obstacles, like sleds, dummies and chutes, because by offering resistance, they build strength.

    And is it not often said after a brutally fought football game that, "The other team just wanted it more"?

    And when one team trashes another team before the big game, do not the coaches post those negative comments on the locker room door?

    Often it is not the skill of a team but the motivation that wins the game.

    If it is to be, it is up to me.

    We must motivate ourselves. We gotta wanna enough to see us through. Obstacles are opportunities to build strength. If we find ourselves getting up at 3 am to write because that's all the time we have, then we've got 'gotta wanna' on steroids!

    There will always be many things that can hold us back from doing anything both good and bad. Time and resources are limited.

    Feed your 'gotta wanna' and you will one day dine at the head of the table.

    ****

    Debby: I've given hundreds of motivational speeches over the years. Today's post just wound me up. I'm just having a good time. Love the topic. The stars are the limit!

    Vince

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  30. Thank you, Janet. I appreciate your kind words. xo

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  31. Good morning, DEBBY! I love that verse. Such a good reminder to go back to our roots. WHY are we writing? To what end? John 15:16 says it all.

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  32. Vince, I love the "gotta wanna" theory, because it's so true.

    But there's another part to that in publishing, and that's the don't quit... even if you've been writing book after book after book...

    and no one is yet to give you the time of day.

    Now sure, folks can self-publish, and I'm a fan of that control and the sheer fun of a job well done, but for folks who want to break into a publisher, or a particular line, wanting is only part of the deal. It's like working with a Realtor... and not finding a house match.

    Until it's the right house, nothing happens.

    Sometimes an author waits for the right house/editor/agent before the ducks start lining up.

    I'm going to add P&P to that gotta wanna: Patience and perseverance.

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  33. Great Verse. Enjoyed this post very much. Please enter me in contest.

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  34. I relate to the question of I'll do whatever, but don't ask me to ___________ because that's just not who I am. So many quizzes and interactive questions in workshops just have me looking at the teacher going HUH??? But I'm just enough of a rule follower that I feel guilty in the workshop for sitting staring at a blank page with all these people scribbling all around me.

    I'm too private and psychiatristy probing sets me on edge. I have to THINK about my answers to most of those questions. Maybe a good long .... oh, 10 years might do it .... session with a good shrink might help me open up more.

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  35. I'm back. Grabbing a cup of coffee!

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  36. Rhonda, I know how hard teachers work. Congrats on your writing progress with a demanding full-time job! I'm sure you come home exhausted and mentally drained. I wouldn't be creative at the end of a long work day.

    You mentioned focusing on your flaws instead of talents. Isn't that the way most women operate? We look in the mirror and see the bad hair or the extra pounds, the bags under the eyes or the drab outfit we're wearing. It goes with our gender, girl friend. :) Glad to know you're normal in some ways...and exceptional in others.

    Hugs!

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  37. Rhonda, thanks for mentioning the coloring book craze sweeping across the US. Tina commented earlier. Glad you picked up on it and mentioned the relaxation that comes with coloring.

    I love coloring with the grands. Haven't worked in an adult books yet, although I love to give them as gifts!

    Do colored gel pens work best?

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  38. Hi Becky,
    You can see from my basic graphics that I'm NOT an artist. Glad the point of the blog struck a chord with you. Often our actions, especially our negative actions, spring from that deeper place of pain or misunderstanding. Getting to the root of the problem can be liberating.

    Stay warm! Is it snowing in your part of Ohio?

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  39. Hi Sandra,

    Guess you're getting confirmation about coloring! :)

    You're a busy lady with lots of activities and pickle ball tournaments! I don't know how you find time to write.

    I'm in a busy phase right now. Life is making huge demands on my time, and yes, I agree about finding time to spend with your hubby. So important. We can't take our heroes for granted.

    Congrats on writing in spite of a packed calendar. I'd appreciate prayers for my production that seems stalled at the moment! :)

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  40. I'm forwarding your post to my cousin Karen, who is a women's pastor in LA. I won'the go into it here, but I have an inkling of ... well, at least one root of my problem. Something both my mother and my aunt said to me before their deaths. The hard part is that they're not here anymore for me to talk to them again. Oh well.
    Your newest looks fascinating. And I love to color too! Thanks for another keeper post.

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  41. Janet, I'm laughing and nodding in agreement. My Speed Button is broken too! How can we fix them? Perhaps we need to ask Ruthy...she's an energizer bunny!

    I feel that putting ourselves in right order, so to speak, is part of our spiritual journey. We are the cracked pots. Some of us have been badly broken. With the Lord's help, we can glue the pieces together and let his light shine through. Sometimes, the flaws cause us to snag against something or someone. That's when we need to reflect on the deeper problem and find ways to smooth our rough edges.

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  42. I'm forwarding your post to my cousin Karen, who is a women's pastor in LA. I won'the go into it here, but I have an inkling of ... well, at least one root of my problem. Something both my mother and my aunt said to me before their deaths. The hard part is that they're not here anymore for me to talk to them again. Oh well.
    Your newest looks fascinating. And I love to color too! Thanks for another keeper post.

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  43. Debby, what a great post! When I first began writing, Susan May Warren mentioned something similar to Michael Hauge's teaching—look for the lie the character believes and the truth they need to learn. This taught me how to do this in my own life. It's been a slow process identifying the lies I believe and the things holding me back. It's life-changing though, to figure out the root of my own problems/challenges/roadblocks when it comes to writing.

    I LOVED the question that asks what will I not do because "it's just not me." I'm going to be pondering that and see what God shows me.

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  44. Jill, you're carrying a heavy load and lots of heartache. It's so hard to see someone we love in pain. I hate dementia and the "A" word, Alzheimer's. My dearest friend is caring for her hubby with ALZ. My mother-in-law and her sister both died from the disease. Needless to say, it has struck much too close to home.

    Worry is like fear. It does no good and robs us of joy. When times are tough, I turn to my favorite "little" prayer: Jesus, I trust in you!

    Putting the problems, the cares, the worries, the fear in his hands brings comfort and a better sense of peace.

    I'll be praying for all your loved ones and their needs during this difficult time. May the Lord provide you with strength and clarity as you help your parents.

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  45. Waving to J Baugh! You're in the drawing. Thanks for stopping by the blog today.

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  46. So inspiring, Debby! Those lies we let ourselves believe are pernicious, and it can be hard, hard work to acknowledge the truth and root them out.

    The coloring book looks so pretty! I bought myself a Johanna Basford book last fall to take on vacation. I need to get back to it!

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  47. Janet, I'm so sorry about your Mama, but how wonderful that she was able to recognize your dad through it all. God bless your father. Caregiving is a true ministry of love.

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  48. Vince,

    Wound up in a negative way? Can we get to the root of your problem. :) Laughing with you!

    Love your quote: If it is to be, it is up to me.

    So true.

    You always add substance to our blog discussions!

    Thanks!

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  49. Glynna,

    You're our hero! Demanding job! No time for yourself! Yet you create beautiful stories and remain totally focused on your writing schedule and the many demands of publication.

    Hope you're not snowed in! Sending warming hugs and love!

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  50. Ruthy, you're so right. Patience and Perseverance are necessary. Too often, I've seen gifted writers give up and stop writing. Perhaps the rejection was too much for them. Such a shame. Sometimes they throw in the towel when they're very, very close. If only that would have hung on a bit longer, they could have realized their dreams.

    So to everyone who is frustrated and discouraged...DON'T GIVE UP!!!

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  51. Cathyann40! Glad we share a love for John 15:16! A powerful verse!

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  52. Debby,

    I find it interesting to give our characters a problem that carried over from the teenage years. It's very fitting since our teenage years are so full of angst and it really is where our fears or insecurities start. I'm going to remember this the next time I'm plotting a novel.

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  53. Pam, hope today's blog didn't set you on edge! :)

    Hauge's fill-in-the-blank statement is good for our characters. When we find that one thing they won't do...well, of course, that's exactly what we MAKE them do in the course of the story.

    He also applies it to writers and to what holds us back. Sometimes it's a very easy hurdle to jump over. For others, it might be something more significant. But getting rid of baggage is always good, IMHO. For characters and for the writers who create them.

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  54. Debby, this is so true. We need to really dig deep to see what's holding us back. I've seen how destructive negative self talk can be.

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  55. Trixi, that's so true about forgiveness. I learned one way to do that was to try to recall the GOOD memories. That helped me replace the painful ones.

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  56. Jill, I'm so sorry about the pain of watching that. I've seen some of the same in my family.

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  57. Hi Pam!

    Missed you at GRW. Great meeting. Walt did a wonderful job with the program. Stephanie Bond is always delightful. But I had hoped to see you there.

    I'm sorry about your mother and aunt's comments that remain unresolved. It's hard when you can't get closure. My advice? Spend time in prayer, asking God to go back to those moments with you. Listen anew, with Christ holding you close, as the words are spoken so you can identify any false truths and/or misconceptions that continue to bring pain. Sometimes, we have to forgive ourselves and others in order to move forward. I'll be praying for you!

    Hugs and love!

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  58. Hi Jeanne!

    Susie May Warren is a smart lady. Love what she said about characters' beliefs and what they need to learn. Which, as you mentioned, applies to our own lives.

    No matter how long I've been digging deep, there's always something new to weed out. As you mentioned, it can be life changing.

    Stay warm. Love your pics on FB of your family and the beautiful area in which you live.

    Hugs!

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  59. You're so right, Myra. Often it's hard to rid ourselves of the negative. That little voice in the back of our heads can be very vocal...and destructive!

    Perhaps we need a Seekerville coloring party! :)

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  60. WOW, Deb, great post and so very DEEP, which is just what we need as we go forth into this new year.

    You said: "t first glance, one might think my published books or completed manuscripts are the fruit I produce, but I trust God sees my writing journey through a larger lens."

    Ah, the "larger lens," indeed!! His will vs. ours, His plan and purpose for us vs. our own. Give me the larger lens any day of the week, although my flesh may buck it at times, I know deep down that His way is best.

    Tina said: When I am angry I try to back track the steps of that anger. Usually the root is hurt. My feelings were hurt. Sometimes that back track leads to fear.

    Oh, AMEN, Tina!! And I have NO idea what the draw is to adult coloring books, although I will admit to enjoying coloring in my granddaughter's coloring books! ;)

    Ruthy said: lack of self-discipline.

    I would have to say that that is the biggest thing that holds me back, promoted by focusing on emails and everything else but writing. I'm one of these who feels the need to have everything else done before I write -- prayer time/devo, emails, blogs read/commented on, other projects -- before I allow myself to write. I used to practice discipline as a kid. I would put a pile of M&M peanuts next to me and not allow myself to have one until I accomplished a task. Those days appear to be long gone, but I am praying for the discipline to get them back.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  61. Hi Rose,

    Ah, the teen years. Why do they carry so much weight...for so long?

    Still thinking of your Confined Setting blog from yesterday! Thanks for being with us!

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  62. Missy...

    #NoNegativeSelfTalk!

    That's a great motto for 2016!

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  63. Debby,
    This post was so insightful. I did want to ask about the first tree illustration which shows bad fruit we may bear and lists reclusive behavior. As a writer, I'm sitting here thinking about all the time I spend alone (and love it). Would love for you to talk more about that, maybe in another post?
    As for coloring I have a half dozen adult coloring books and jump from book to book depending on what mood I'm in. I will say I do find the meditative act of coloring to be very soothing after a busy or stressful day.
    Please enter me. I haven't read your newest book yet :)
    Christina

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  64. Julie, I may try your M&M trick. Like you, I often do the "other things" first. Perhaps so I can feel productive. Laundry? Done! Dishes? Done! Thank-you note? Written/done! Grocery shopping? Done!

    My entire day can fill up quickly with those other projects. Then it's dinner time with cooking, and by the time I tidy the kitchen, it's 8 PM and I'm too tired to be creative. :)

    Must break the cycle!

    Ruthy's wagging her finger and instructing us to get up at 4:30 AM! I'd need a bag of M&Ms to get me out of bed that early. :)

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  65. Debby, I suspect Ruthy's remedy for our broken speed buttons would be a swift kick in the posterior. But I'm a good dodger. LOL

    You have a beautiful way of sharing truth.

    Janet

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  66. Hi Christina,

    The reclusive behavior I was talking about is something different than what you mentioned. I like my alone time...and a quiet house. That's not a problem.

    The negative recluse hides for fear of facing others and perhaps himself as well. That behavior can be destructive. Also he/she can turn his back on others, even loved ones, with hurtful words, with anger, with bitterness. That's the bad fruit that comes from an unresolved wound.

    Does that make sense?

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  67. Hi Debby:

    I think my problem is that I only want to think in positive affirmations. I am very much into Unity.

    The more one thinks about fear, for example, the more power one gives fear to control one's life. I think this is the truth that is behind, "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil..." Matthew 5:39.

    I like the West Point leadership approach of: "No excuse, sir."

    "Gotta wanna" is not just a measure of an aspirational desire, it's a measure of the resources one is willing to expend in the pursuit of a goal.

    If there were no obstacles, you'd already have your objective. Excuses are the opium of the less motivated.

    It's about motivation. For every excuse that's holding one back, there are three more excuses sitting on the bench eager to get in the game.

    I can be guilty, too. I used to tell my old boss that something could not be done by the advertising deadline because of reasons: a, b, and c. And he would always answer: "Well, what would you do if this was your idea and you really wanted to get it done by the deadline. Think about that and come back with some ideas."

    Of course, this was a direct challenge to my creativity, so I would always come back with some ways to do it and he would always say, "Fine, do it your way." And that was that -- until I learned to stop making excuses -- which were not going to work anyway.

    If you are not following God's plan, I think the best answer is, "No excuse, Sir."

    And then get to work on that motivation. : )

    Vince

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  68. Janet, I'm sure Ruthy is shaking her head and saying we're hopeless! :)

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  69. Jill and Janet, we belong to a club we'd rather not be part of. My dad cared for my mom as she slowly faded into her dementia. Five years as her caregiver, and then five years of daily visits to the nursing home (where she received great care). He was at her side when she finally passed away. I feel privileged to have witnessed his love for her.

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  70. Lovely post, Debby, and so timely.

    I'd love to win your book, as you know I read them all!
    Valri

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  71. Debby, this was a great post!

    Getting to the root of the problem is so important as we develop our characters. Until we get to the very root, we can't know why and how our characters act. Knowing what makes them tick is what gives them many dimensions and brings them to life.

    And that same principle applies to us, as you pointed out so well!

    Thanks for the great post. :)

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  72. First time to chance upon this group. You look like you know each other well. Debby, how do you find the time to write a post every day, and answer everyone with such alacrity and understanding?

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  73. Great advice, Vince!

    #NoExcuses!

    I won't tell you how many years I wrote before getting "The Call." Lots and lots of rejection. Lots and lots of soul searching to make sure I was following the right path. The writing journey is not for the weak, IMHO. It takes stamina and determination to succeed, which I see in so many of those who follow this blog. We're all working to achieve our dreams and follow that inner voice that says we are writers and we can make a difference. I applaud all of us.

    I'm so proud of those who have doors slammed in their faces and yet continue to find the next door to push open. Publishing can be a tough business. We need thick skins and a strong resolve to keep moving forward.

    Sometimes things in the past can hold us back. That's what we need to weed out, little by little, so nothing impedes our progress. That's what I'm talking about today.

    In Seekerville, we reach out to those who need support and encouragement because burdens are easier to carry when shared. Let's all work hard to make 2016 the best year ever...for all of us!

    Writers are not only creative, but also inspirational! You all inspire me and make my life brighter. Thank you!

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  74. Jill, to have terrible things happen to those we love breaks our hearts and theirs. Sometimes all we can do is love them and cling to God, the One with the power to sustain them, to help them through it, to release them from it. If you can, focus on the good memories of happier times with your mom and all she did for you. I'll be praying.

    Hugs,
    Janet

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  75. Hi Debby
    Great post. You wrote "At first glance, one might think my published books or completed manuscripts are the fruit I produce"

    My first thought? Nooooooo, that is not near the only fruit you produce. There's a island full of peeps here at Seekerville that are fruit of you and ALL the Seeker Ladies and the ministry that IS this blog. Just sayin...

    I know what holds me back. Giving myself permission to pursue writing. This stems from having young Guppy and a hubby with PTSD to care for first. Part of me thinks this time is for caring for them and soaking in all the learning to be had here at Seekerville (with an occasional foray into submitting a story here or there). Active pursuit? Not sure it's God's time for me yet. I know I'm prepping though, thanks (again) to Seekerville.

    As for the coloring books - um... I never grew up and have a job where I technically get to "color" all day, so I have no need of adult coloring books. I sort of see the appeal, but I still shrug a bit with the puppy-dog cocked head of "huh?" when I think about it.

    I do like all the advice of getting to the root of things. Of course, my mom has been gently prodding me to do this my whole life, so I think I got a head start. Still, at times, I'm a bit like Tina - where's the couch?

    Thanks for this post and all the prayers you offer up for us Seeker Villagers. Mucho appreciated!!!

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  76. DEBBY, I always enjoy your posts and this one is a deep one.
    I really don't know what's "holding me back," if anything. I don't have a lot of time, but RUTHY would counter that with "self-discipline" and she would be right. (RUTHY is always right.) I do manage to keep up a steady pace of some writing, some editing and some submitting, but it's never as much as I want to be doing. And as the market adjusts itself, I am concerned about not being good enough. We'll just have to see, won't we? Anyway, it's good to have a dream.
    KB

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  77. I love that question from Michael Hauge.

    Another version comes from singer songwriter - Meatloaf. "I'll do anything for love, but I wont DO THAT" inspiration comes from so many sources--wink wink.

    I think when a story fails to hold my attention, it's because the writer has failed to push their protagonist into that same corner. Thanks for the excellent reminder, Debby!

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  78. Welcome to Seekerville, Psalmpen!

    This is a group blog. The Seekers (13 of us) write a post each day a month. We have a contest post once a month. Friday's are a day off to write and read and we post archived posts with comments blocked. Saturday and Sunday's the same post stays up-The Weekend Edition.

    Any empty days are filled by our wonderful guests!

    Check all the tabs at the top of the page to find out more about us!

    Again, WELCOME!!!

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  79. Happy Wednesday, dear Debby! (and Seekerville) :)
    Echoing what many others have said about your post today - - very powerful and deep. And lots of wisdom here.
    I struggle with time management - - although I've gotten better, I still become frustrated because I tend to "jump" from one thing to another. (Of course the fact I'm feeding/caring for numerous cats does require a lot of time, but they're worth it). Anyway, I honestly think if I would block out certain chunks of time each day and determine I'll only write during those times, it would help me a lot. Sometimes I wonder if the root of my time management struggles is partly due to feeling I must take care of various needs at that particular moment- - rather than spacing them out.
    No need to enter me in your drawing, as I'll be purchasing your Feb. book (can't wait!).
    Thanks for bringing grits today, LOL - - I've been hungry for grits lately. ;)
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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  80. p.s. JILL, hugs and prayers for you. I so understand, as we went through the same with my precious Mama some years back. I know it's so difficult, so all I can offer is to keep leaning on the Lord for strength each day. Will pray!

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  81. What a generous prize package, Debby!

    You have definitely produced fruit, and not just wonderful books! I'll never forget how you prayed over me at ACFW in St. Louis. (Can we repeat that this August, except we'll pray together? :-) ) I know exactly what you mean about a hesitancy to make time for myself. When I write, it benefits the entire family. Thanks for a great post!

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  82. Jill, adding your folks to my prayer list and you as well.

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  83. Psalmpen, we're glad you found us! We hope you'll come back.

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  84. Debra, you're right about that Meatloaf song! :)

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  85. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  86. I just checked with Ruthy, and she thinks you're both wonderful! :)

    I think I've learned that everyone marches to their own drummer.... and finds their own path, kind of like 30 Christian churches in a sweet, small city, and all taking the same path to eternity, but from different locations!

    And if we all did it the same, how boring would we be?????

    No boring authors.

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  87. Vince uhoh so No Excuses, Sir. ...is the right answer?

    I suppose I needed to abandon my favorite answer then......."It's not my fault!"

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  88. God bless your sweet dad, Jan. So hard!

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  89. Jan, I agree. We don't truly know our characters until we get to the root of their problems.

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  90. Valri,

    I appreciate your support! Hugs and love. You're in the drawing!

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  91. Hi Psalmpen!

    Glad you found Seekerville! We alternate days and invite guests to blog as well. It's a great community of writers and readers. Tell us a bit about yourself. Reader? Writer? Blog visitor?

    Don't be a stranger, as they say in the South!

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  92. Janet, thanks for those lovely words of support for Jill.

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  93. Amazing post today, Debby.
    And yes, mere weeks into 2016 and yet - I definitely need to get to the root of the problem to move forward.
    LOVE that fill in the blank from Hague.

    Need to think about that one *gulp* and complete the exercise. :D

    Appreciative of your wisdom and transparency.

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  94. DebH!

    Thanks for your affirmation for Seekerville! You've touched our collective hearts for sure!

    Moms with young ones are always so, so busy. Plus you have a job and family responsibilities...and I know you reach out to your extended family as well. That's a full plate times ten!

    You mentioned learning and prepping. Both great verbs. Preparation is always key to any successful mission. You're such a creative person. The writing plays into the graphic design, I would think. What fun to someday look back on this time and see how all the pieces will eventually fit together.

    You're already bearing fruit in all that you do for others. I know God is smiling. I am too!

    Continued prayers and lots of love!

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  95. Hi Debby:

    What's all this about 'Reclusive Behavior'?

    Do you think that reclusive behavior is a bad fruit? I kind of consider 'reclusive behavior' to be a virtue. Like being self-reliant and not being a busybody or gossip. Reclusive behavior makes me think of the desert fathers of the early Church, the holy hermits and the monks and nuns leading contemplative lives in prayer.

    Does the Bible consider reclusive behavior to be a sin? This is new to me. Maybe I have to get out more.

    Vince

    P.S. Please put me in the drawing for a copy of "Be Still" -- it seems like the perfect subject for when I'm being reclusive. In fact it might be perfect for me at any time. : )

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  96. Don't know why my comment didn't post (can't see that it did)

    Trying again - Amazing post today, Debby.
    And yes, mere weeks into 2016 and yet - I definitely need to get to the root of the problem to move forward.
    LOVE that fill in the blank from Hague.

    Need to think about that one *gulp* and complete the exercise. :D

    Appreciative of your wisdom and transparency.
    Enjoyed reading some of the comments. Hope to get to the rest shortly!

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  97. AH - I don't know why but I now see that it says "Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author."

    So. I think my comment(s) will appear shortly.

    This is the first time I've noticed this verbiage - usually I see my comment posted right away.

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  98. Hi Mary:

    You wrote:

    "I suppose I needed to abandon my favorite answer then.......'It's not my fault!' "

    Right! That answer has not worked too well with God ever since Eve.

    Of course, it is always the right answer if you are a politician.

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  99. KB,
    You're doing everything right! Don't doubt your ability. We each contribute something different to the writing world. The good thing is there's room for all of us...and readers who want to read the stories we write.

    I'm convinced 2016 will be a Dream Come True Year!

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  100. Hi Deb,

    Love the visual of pushing our protagonists into the corner. I'll keep that in mind for my next story.

    Do you think Meatloaf took a Michael Hauge workshop? :)

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  101. Ruthy, I live in a small town and there are seven churches in a town of 900 people.

    MOST of them are very minimally different from each other. I think once upon a time when church's were created or split off from another church, the differences might have been great. And I also wonder if a church splitting might not have caused reform in the old version of the church, just like Martin Luther splitting from the Catholic Church caused so many reforms that by the end the split might not have been necessary.

    So now a small town with seven churches, largely the same, but no one will join together.

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  102. Hi Patti Jo!

    Your cats are family. I'm sure they demand attention! :)

    You're such a giving person. I have a feeling that you always put others first. That's a very wonderful trait. No wonder we love you so much!

    Of course, Ruthy would tell you to get up at 4:30 AM! :)

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  103. Patti Jo, thanks for adding your prayers for Jill. Hopefully she'll feel the support of so many in Seekerville. Isn't that a blessing...to be able to pray for one another! Love how a Christian community willingly reaches out to others.

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  104. Meghan, I would love to pray together at ACFW! Thanks for sharing that your writing benefits your entire family. Such a lovely way to look at your work and how it blesses others, even your children and husband.

    Your beauty always shines...even in blog comments.

    Hugs!

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  105. Jill, I missed your comment earlier.

    Dave's Dad had Alzheimers. All of his uncles had it, too, so we face the very real possibility of that genetic flaw.

    I have no words to soothe this, it's a troubling walk that can last for years, but you know this.

    I want a cure for cancer and a cure for Alzheimer's. I want them to tie in the new lymphatic system surrounding the brain, or to figure out why the brain stops mopping up refuse... and fix it.

    The beautiful side of modern health care is living longer, but the down side of that is seeing how many people then acquire the symptoms of this disease.

    I'm praying for you and your family, and I'm praying for that cure.

    And I'm hugging you from here. A big hug.

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  106. Mary, we had an editor a while back who balked at having more than one church in a small town, and all the authors on the project laughed....

    A wise woman once told me that the Christian churches have divided more than any other religion, and I bet that's true. We tend to want things "our way". We're so human!!!

    So the faith is one true loving faith, such a gift.

    But the buildings vary!

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  107. Very interesting post, Debby. Good advice both for looking at ourselves as well as at our characters. I need to look at what holds me back. I have always had a lot of support for my writing, so that isn't it. I also need to use this for my characters. One of them is a young woman who is both estranged from her father and from God. I am having difficulty tying the two together and figure out what is really troubling her.

    I can certainly attest to the coloring book craze. I work part-time in a book store, and we have trouble keeping them in stock. My family has discovered it, too. When I walked into my parents' house on Christmas Eve, both my sisters-in-law and all three of my nieces were coloring in books they had received for Christmas.

    I would love to be entered for your prizes.

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  108. Debby...so very blessed by your post today!! Seems like the digging deep is a journey...once we've conquered one aspect of our life...another one surfaces!! LOL Good thing Jesus walks with us!!

    A VERY long time ago...I taught a Bible Study using John 11:44 (New International Version) "The dead man (Lazarus) came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, 'Take off the grave clothes and let him go.'"

    I realized I'd been set free like Lazarus, but refused to let go of those stinkin' grave clothes: those buried hurts, stinging criticisms, expectations of others, childhood trauma's, etc., etc., etc.!! I kept dragging them along...but little by little I've trashed those rotting pieces of fabric ...and found amazing freedom. Sometimes I lift up my foot just to see if one of 'em is still stuck on my shoe! (You know, like accidentally dragging toilet paper caught on your foot from a public restroom...YUCK!!)

    Anyway, would LOVE to be entered in the drawing for your book...Thanks for the snacks too!! Yum!!

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  109. I had a pastor once who liked to bring churches together. He figured that we all have the foundational belief, it's just when we get in the weeds (off the main trail) that we differ. His quote: "We're all on the same team, just wearing different jerseys." This was when I lived in Denver. Um... big sports town, so, well, the sports analogy seemed apropos.

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  110. What happened to my comment? I left a long one but it isn't showing up.

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  111. DEBBY, thank you for this thought provoking post! My daily prayer is that He would strip away everything that is not of Him. I long for my life to bring Him glory and honor.

    BLESSINGS

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  112. FANTASTIC post Debby! My daily prayer is that He would strip away EVERYTHING that is not of Him. That my life would bring Him glory and honor.

    Blessings

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  113. This year, my new year resolution is to choose gratitude in all, seeking Him and see His blessings everday. When I am angry or irritable, I try to remind myself all that is good. Getting to the root of it all sometimes easier said than done. Will need God's grace and prayers. Rambling here. Will stop.

    Thanks for the giveaway.
    Annie

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  114. This year, my new year resolution is to choose gratitude in all, seeking Him and see His blessings everday. When I am angry or irritable, I try to remind myself all that is good. Getting to the root of it all sometimes easier said than done. Will need God's grace and prayers. Rambling here. Will stop.

    Thanks for the giveaway.
    Annie

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  115. HI Debby...I tried to post earlier, but couldn't...don't know if this will get to you either...but I was very blessed by your post today!!

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  116. Barbara,

    Don't limit God. He wants your writing to touch hearts all over the world. No matter what you asked back in 1993, he still wants you to be his writer, his successful, multi-published writer. We box him in with our own concerns because we see with human eyes. He sees and knows all. Tell him your heart's desire and put your writing career in his hands. Big things will happen. I'm sure of it!

    Hugs!

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  117. In reference to VINCE's Gotta Wanna, and his 'if it is to be, it's up to me'

    I read once that if you measured the serving speed, the hitting speed the strength and height and practice hours of each of the top 100 tennis players in the world, you wouldn't find a HAIR's worth of difference.

    The difference between being #1 and #100 is all MENTAL. Not what you can do, but how MUCH do you want it. How HARD to you play. Your WILL to never give up. How FOCUSED can you be?

    Mental. That's got to apply to everyone in every pursuit....doesn't it?

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  118. Thank you for this great post. I have been told I can't write. This was years ago. I am a little afraid to let someone read my work, so now that I am a member of ACFW I want to take advantage of the critique groups and learn where I need to improve. I am asking the Lord to help me develop my writing so it can be used for Him.

    I hope you are safe with the storms out there. My sister in law had to park at the bottom of our mountain and walk up to the house because the road was too slick to drive up in the snow. I will rest a little easier when I know my brother has made it home. Church has been canceled for tonight.

    Sorry I haven't been commenting much the last week. I am having dental problems with a couple of abcessed teeth. I have been more tired then usual and my brain hasn't wanted to work clearly, an advantage is I have been able to read. I've read the posts just not commented.

    I'll be praying for all those in the winter storms.

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  119. Ruthy and Mary, we were stationed at Fort Polk, La. The neighboring town of DeRidder was called the Town of Churches. One on every corner...well, almost. It was/is a delightful place. Lots of prayer power, for sure!

    Ruthy, cancer and ALZ are my big two, as well. More prayer is needed for breakthroughs and cures. Too many of the folks I know and love have cancer. We're doing something wrong, more than living longer. Although we're also seeing the power of prayer coupled with good medicine. Lots of remissions and that makes me smile.

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  120. Mental also relates to the "Ps" Ruthy talked about earlier. So important.

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  121. Wow, Debby, thanks so much for this post. One of the things I have been teaching, and was a big focus in my retreat is this exact topic. So much of what holds us back in life is all the "junk" inside us that God is asking to have access to so He can heal it. Those wounds don't have to be writing related. I spent years trying to get published, and when I finally did, I know now the reason is that I finally dealt with a lot of the stuff in me that was holding me back.

    I know we hate to admit it, but sometimes, the real reason we aren't published is that we have issues in our own character and God needs us to take care of those first. Especially for those of us who want to write "for God." He can use anyone in any circumstances, but He also needs us to first be willing to turn our hearts toward Him. I've asked God for some really big things, but before He can allow them to happen in my life, I need to be the kind of person who can handle those things and be a good steward of those gifts. I still have a long way to go, but the more I turn my heart to God and allow Him to work in those areas where my own personal character needs to be developed, the more success I have. And the more I view my success differently. :)

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  122. Sandy, so glad blogger let you comment. Sorry for the earlier problems!

    Funny about the coloring books. They seem to be the rage!

    Often my characters think God has turned his back on them. Of course, we know they're the ones who have rejected God. Don't know if that would work for your story. When bad things happen, folks often think God has abandoned them...again, not true. And God is often seen as a father figure, so if a character has issues with her earthly dad she could also have them with her heavenly father. Just my two cents, although you didn't ask for suggestions. :)

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  123. Kathryn, thanks for sharing your reflection on John 11:44. Excellent. We hang on to so many things that weigh us down, like the grave clothes! Your toilet paper visual is great too! :) Glad you've unwrapped yourself and are now set free!

    You're in the drawing.

    Sorry about the blogger glitch, but your comment appeared! Yay!

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  124. Caryl, such a good prayer! To be stripped clean of anything not of him. Thanks for sharing!

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  125. Annie,

    Sounds as if you're doing everything right. If only, we were all more grateful!

    Hugs!

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  126. Wilani, don't listen to that negative voice. You can write, and like all of us, you can learn to become a better writer. Practice makes perfect...or at least improves our craft. Ignore that voice from the past and focus on what you want to do with the rest of your life. If you want to write, then write. I'm cheering you on!

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  127. Danica, your comment was so powerful. Thanks for sharing. Everything in God's perfect time, right? Often we need to open ourselves completely to God and put him in change. Then good things happen, as you mentioned.

    Hugs and love!

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  128. KC, you've appeared. Don't know what the problem is today. You're not alone.

    I like the Hauge fill-in-the-blank too. Sometimes the answer is fairly easy to identify. Good luck!

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  129. Vince, I just found your "reclusive behavior" comment. Blogger is playing games with us today.

    I mentioned my thoughts on the subject at some point today. I don't mean someone who handles everything well and just likes to have alone time. I'm talking about the recluse who's bitter and cutting, perhaps angry at the world. And, no, I don't think that's a sin...but it's a bad place to be, especially when that bitterness festers.

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  130. Enjoyed this post, Debby, thank you! Lots to think about and work on (especially the negative internal critic and procrastination). I love that scripture, John 15:16. Not only did I read it here, but my pastor used it in his sermon tonight. Got my attention both times.

    Please enter me in the drawing - thanks again!

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  131. Oh Debby, so sorry to be this late but thank you for such an insightful post that I'm sure I'll be thinking about for days to come.

    Nancy C

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  132. Hi Debby:

    So glad you mentioned my reclusive post. I posted that and one about a comment Mary made and when I came back an hour later they were not up on Seekerville. I checked back an hour later and they were still not up.

    Eventually I figured that I had decided not to post those two comments. It's as if almost any comment I post I can think of good reasons why I should not post it.

    I work on being reclusive. : )

    No man is an island. But one can live on an island.

    Vince

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  133. A powerful post, DEBBY - thank you!!

    For a number of years, I allowed numerous hurts and insecurities from childhood to dictate my life's path/success. When I renewed my relationship with God years ago, I was able to acknowledge and confront those hurts and insecurities - with success via His guidance. I'm still "a work in progress", being human and therefore imperfect, I will continue to be - however, am grateful for each negative I turn/have turned into a positive.

    Would love to read your book, please drop my name in the drawing - thank you!!

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  134. JILL: I'm saying a prayer for strength, peace, comfort, and wisdom in decisions to be made - for you and your family. I so relate to your situation, as my mother has Alzheimer's. It's complicated by the fact my father, aunt and I all have serious health issues also. The harder I strive to maintain a close relationship to God through acknowledging He has control over all our health issues and will guide us through them, prayer (mine and others), bible study, Christian music, and daily contact with Christian friends - the less I worry. It isn't easy and requires my taking one day at a time, some days are even harder and require taking just one hour at a time. But He is faithful!!

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  135. I really appreciated this post. I find myself begging God for those same things. When I finally wait in stillness he does the deeper work in me. After reading this post I know how to make my characters hurts deeper. Throw my name in the drawing. I love your books and have just discovered the relaxing effect of adult coloring books.
    Cindy Huff

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  136. Debby, thank you so much for this insightful post. As I read through it I began to think of my character's wounds. The further I read, I realized I need to dig out the root of my own wounds. Wow. "Can you identify the source of the false truths you’ve believed for too long?" This is a place I need to began.

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  137. So much to ponder in your post.. I don't mind being reclusive..saves me from what hectic lives some of my relatives seem to live.. I'm pondering designing one of those coloring books, although there are so many out there! Please toss me into the drawing, I too find coloring relaxing.. I do enjoy designing & coloring quilts!

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  138. Debby, if I fill in the blank of "I'll do anything except ____________," I immediately think, "anything except building a social media platform." Yes, this does come from fear, fear that no one would be interested in what I have to say or to sell. This is one person whose Tupperware parties never made the salesperson any money!I always felt like a jinx on those entrepreneurs! However, if God wants me to keep learning the writing craft and the author business, I'm sure He'll teach me.

    And I would love to put my name in the hat for your book.

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  139. Wow, such an impressive post and much to think about here. The Amish genre is one of my favorites add suspense to it and you have a real winner. I look forward to reading your newest book, Debby. Please enter me for the book. Thank you.

    Deanne P.

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