Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Looking Back Ten Years!


By Debby Giusti      
   
Happy 10th Birthday, Seekerville!

My debut novel released in May 2007 and our Seekerville blog went live five months later. It seems like only yesterday in some ways, yet when I think of where I was then as far as my writing journey and where I am today…well, you get the idea. In ten years, an author can cover a lot of miles.

Back in 2007, I was a novice. Yes, I had penned six manuscripts that will forever gather dust under my bed, but I still had much to learn about the craft of writing and especially about time management and the way I would handle deadlines and marketing and all the other sometimes unexpected hats an author must wear following publication. 

Church of the Transfiguration

For a number of years before I got “The Call,” I freelanced, writing for various magazines. The process of putting an article together became almost second nature. After my focus turned to full-length fiction, I kept striving to reach that same sweet spot when I would intuitively know how to create a 300 to 400 page manuscript. In prayer, I frequently heard the number ten. I had hoped to feel that same confidence after publishing ten books, but God was whispering ten years. Today after publishing twenty stories for Love Inspired Suspense and two indie stories for our Seekerville collections, I’m at a better place. I know my creative process and have a good understanding of story and how the various parts fit into the whole.

Peter's House, Capernaum, where the first Christians gathered
after Christ's death.

Trying to encapsulate some of what I’ve learned over the last decade into ten pithy statements is a challenge, but here are a few ideas to ponder. I’ve included photos from my recent trip to the Holy Land to add visual interest to the post.
 
Jerusalem as seen from the Mount of Olives.
  

Work as if everything depends on you. Pray as if everything depends on God.

The quote has been attributed to both Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Augustine. In either case, it’s sage advice. God is in charge. It’s his book, and I’m his humble scribe. When I’m struggling with a particular plot point or character, I often chuckle and remind God that he should have chosen someone with more talent. Along those same lines is a quote from the Iron Nun, an 87-year-old religious who still participates in and wins Ironman triathlons. Her motto is, “I do my best. God does the rest.” Give your writing to God. Create stories for his honor and glory and he will bless your work.


The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The star marks the spot of  Christ's birth.

"Perfectionism is not a quest for the best."

The quote comes from Julia Cameron. She goes on to say, “It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough, that we should try again.” Her book, The Artist’s Way, which I read and studied long before publication, is packed with wonderful insights into the creative process, such as the statement on perfectionism that, in my opinion, is spot on. Consider a writer struggling to make the beginning of her story sparkle. She writes and rewrites, she edits and revises day after day after day, searching for perfection. I’ve done that far too many times. Now, I remember to distance myself from the pages for a period of time. Usually, the problem is easy to resolve when I return to the work.


Jordan River where Christ was baptized by John the Baptist

"Kill the negative voice."

Another favorite quote from Julia Cameron. We all have a little voice that tells us we can’t do something or we can’t do it well enough. “We won’t publish, we can’t complete a story, we are stupid or unskilled or unlovable.” Don’t listen. Override the voice with positive affirmation. “I am a writer! I can and will succeed!”

The Wailing Wall

You can’t do everything.

Nor do you need to do everything. Everyone else isn’t doing everything. They’re doing certain things that fit into their lifestyle or area of interest or expertise. I don’t have to do all social media. I just need to find the right forum for me. I like Facebook. Twitter not so much. But that’s okay. I know that now. Find what works for you, not what works for others.

Garden of Gethsemane. This olive tree is thought to be
over 2000 years old and could have been in the garden
at the time of Christ.

Appreciate your editor.

I have the best editor in the whole world. Really! When she speaks, I listen. Intently. She always—always—makes my stories better. Editors know story. They know reader demographics and reader likes and dislikes. Editors are pros at what they do. At least, most of them are. Note to indie writers: find the best editor you can afford. She/he’s a gift you give yourself.

Via Dolorosa, the path Christ walked on the
way to his crucifixion.

The writing comes first.

After my debut novel published, I spent the next six weeks promoting the story and ignoring my writing. It didn’t take me long to realize my mistake. Write the next story. When you have extra time, do promotion and marketing!

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The church covers the place of Christ's crucifixion and burial.
Golgotha is located behind the large windows, upper right.

Find your groove/pace/process.

Each of us has a unique way to tackle a story. The earlier you learn your process the better. I slowly labor over the first three-chapters and synopsis. Once they’ve taken shape, I grab my AlphaSmart and write a fast first draft. I need words on the page. Then I revise and rewrite. It works for me. Find out what works for you!

Golgotha.The spot where Christ
was crucified.
Remember Aesop’s Fables? The tortoise wins the race.

I write two books a year. That gives me enough time to enjoy life, to take trips with my husband, to attend writing conferences, join in church activities and relax over the holidays with family. Maybe you’re the hare. Ruthy is. Mary is. I’m not. Embrace who you are and how you write. Don’t try to be something—or someone--you’re not.
 
Boats like the one I took to cross the Sea of Galilee.


Be Not Afraid.

The phrase is found often in scripture. Christ wanted us to take his words to heart. Get rid of fear along with the negative voice. They go hand in hand. "Easier said than done," you say? True. But when you give your writing to God, he can give you the peace that is beyond understanding. Live in that peace and you’ll be walking in accord with his Holy Will. That’s where I want to be.

The Dead Sea


Live in God’s perfect time.

This dovetails with Be Not Afraid. God lives outside of time. We need to trust that he’ll provide the time and opportunities necessary to achieve our goals. If we give it all to him, he’ll work out the schedule. Even if we’re that tortoise, we can still get to the finish line. 

Mount of Beatitudes

Speaking of achieving our goals and reaching the finish, my eldest daughter completed an Ironman triathlon on Sunday. That’s 140 miles of swimming, biking and running accomplished within a 16 ½ hour time limit. She did a half-Ironman four years ago and spent the last nine months training for the longer event. Her determination and persistence paid off. 

My daughter achieved her goal. You can achieve yours too.

As writers, we need to train to achieve our goals. The Seekerville blog this month has been packed with valuable information, tips and techniques that can help all of us no matter where we are on our writing journey.

 
Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount

Share a tip or favorite writerly advice to be entered in two drawings. Winners will receive a copy of my Publishers Weekly Bestseller, Undercover Amish, the second book in my Amish Protectors series, along with a surprise gift or two!

Debby Giusti rides Jimmy, the camel. 

To celebrate Seekerville’s 10th birthday, I’m serving ten cakes topped with ice cream…German chocolate cake, red velvet, carrot, spice, rum, lemon, angel food, sponge cake, marble cake and apple cake. The coffee’s hot. So is the tea. Grab a cup, along with a slice of cake, and let’s talk about writing!


Wishing you abundant blessings,

Debby Giusti

Undercover Amish
By Debby Giusti

After Hannah Miller’s mother is murdered and her sisters go missing, someone comes after her. Now the only way she can survive is to entrench herself in an Amish community…and rely on Lucas Grant, a former police officer who is planning to join the Amish faith, for protection. But finding refuge for Hannah— disguised as Plain at a secluded inn—pulls Lucas back into his old life. And when Lucas discovers the criminals after them may be the people who killed his partner, the mission to take them down becomes personal. With the assailants closing in, though, can Lucas stop them…and finally put his past behind him to start an Amish life with Hannah?
Order here!


137 comments :

  1. I've got to go back and review Julia Cameron.
    "Kill the negative voice."

    I love the photos. Thank you for sharing your journey--and your stories!

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    1. I need to review THE ARTIST'S WAY as well. Love the book. Cameron provides so many tips on determination and perseverance.

      Did you get some cake?

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  2. Debby I enjoy all your pictures from your trip! To walk the streets Jesus did and visit the places the apostles did must have brought the scriptures to life in a new way for you. What a fantastic experience :-)

    I love find your own groove/pace/process. You can't be anyone but yourself and what may work for one person isn't always going to work for you. My husband and I are perfect examples of that! He does one thing his way and I've learned how to do the same thing slightly different. We each get the same results, we've just come at it from a different angle. Like people you may work with or interact with everyday. I had a co-worker that was a lot like myself and we worked together like a well oiled machine :-) I can appreciate someone else's unique style even if it's vastly different from mine. It would be quite boring if God made us all the same!

    I've learned to like myself over the years because of this very principle. I don't tend to please other people because I want them to like me, I just be me and if they like me great, if not, then there's nothing I can do to make them like me. That sounds harsh and I'm not trying to sound like that. I had spent way too many years losing who I was to be a people pleaser. I had to learn who the real me was and embrace who God made me to be. :-)

    Great tips Debby, I enjoyed your post! Everything you said here can pertain to all of life. That's what I love about Seekerville, I always glean something good out of it.

    Toss my name in for a copy of Undercover Amish, thanks so much!

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    1. Trixi,

      As you mentioned, learning to accept who we are, knowing that we can't and won't please everyone, is a sign of maturity and so important. Often our youth seek to fit in with the crowd, sometimes the wrong crowd.

      So glad you can apply the writing tips to life. I always enjoy YOUR comments! You're in the drawing!

      Our trip to the Holy Land was a dream come true and a powerful time spiritually. I'm still "unpacking" all that I experienced and frequently return to those holy places in prayer. It was the trip of a lifetime, for sure. That's why I wanted to share some of my pictures.

      Hugs!

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    2. Trixi, I had a co-worker who worked from opposite ends to resolve an accounting problem. It never failed.... if I started with the answer and worked backwards, she'd start at the beginning and work forward. If she started with blue, I started with yellow. If she started at A, I started at Z.

      It was a good system and we knew that once we arrived at the same destination/conclusion, we'd resolved the issue.

      It worked for us for almost 30 years. :)

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  3. Debby, I can't decide which I enjoyed more - your great tips or your pictures from Israel. Israel is on my bucket list of places to go.

    I need to read Julia Cameron. It sounds like she has many good tips.

    One of my favorite tips is do what works for you. I can't tell you how much Snowflakes confuse me. Overwhelming!

    Congratulations on 10 years of Seekerville and on publishing 20 books with LIS.

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    1. I'm laughing at your Snowflakes comment. Michael Hauge clicks with me. Others sometimes confuse me. Funny, huh? We need to find what works for us...as you mentioned. Thanks for sharing!

      Praying you get to Israel!

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  4. A great post and thank you for sharing the amazing pictures too.

    The "journey" is as important as the finish I always think.

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    1. Mary, you're so right. We need to embrace each stage of the journey. There's so much to learn about writing and about ourselves. Each step/stage is important!

      So glad you enjoyed the pictures.

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  5. Beautiful pictures of the Holy Land Debby! Thank you for sharing. Also, thank you for sharing your ten tips. I especially love "Be Not Afraid", this can cover a multitude of things in life...we need to trust everything to Him and have faith He will see us through.

    Congratulations on 20 books with Love Inspired books!

    Happy 10th Birthday Seekerville!

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. Cindy, I used to fear not being able to write the next story or finish the one on which I was working. Fear isn't healthy or productive. I finally prayed through my fear, gave it to God and found peace. That's the thing. I want to live a peaceful life. When I'm afraid, I lose my peace, which tells me I'm not where I should be or where God wants me to be.

      Glad you enjoyed the pics!

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  6. Debby, what sage advice, and what beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing them. What a trip that must have been...

    So much wisdom in your words. We've learned a lot in ten years. And I've seen a common thread throughout birthday month from editors, authors and marketers we've had on: Don't compare yourself with others.

    It's a senseless thing and a negative force within us because there is always someone who gets more awards, more sales, more hype, more shelf space, more... the list goes on and on.

    We need to be ourselves. To write as ourselves, uniquely us. To be in the moment and for me, of the world. But that's me... and I've got plenty of hermit-type writer buds that do great staying on the sidelines.

    God created us.

    He did well!!!!!

    Just as we are.

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    1. As they say, "God doesn't make junk." So true!

      We need to be who God created us to be, as you mentioned.

      Although, I wish I had your energy, Ruthy!

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  7. And I love that quote from Ignatius or Augustine... Just love it. God's in charge, but he gave us the hands to do his work and our work.

    Hands and feet of Christ. What a blessing!!!!

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    1. I love that quote too. Also love the Iron Nun's statement: "I do my best. God does the rest." She must be feisty to even attempt Ironman triathlons in her 80s. Impressive to say the least!

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    2. Wow. 87 and doing the IronMan. Just wow.

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  8. What a lovely post. Thank you for sharing those pictures.

    The process is pretty much the same for me at about Chapter 5 I hit the sweet spot and the story unfolds. I wish it was at Chapter 1. HA!!!!

    Congrats to your daughter on her Ironman!

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    1. Thanks for the congrats for Liz. Completing an Ironman is a huge accomplishment. Her mother almost didn't survive the stress! I wasn't taking "Be Not Afraid" to heart on Sunday! :)

      So true about wishing that sweet spot came earlier. For me, the first three chapters are a struggle...a writer's triathlon! :)

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  9. Twenty LIS books and two Publishers Weekly hits. Not bad dear writer. In fact, it's glorious. Hard work pays off.

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    1. Thanks, Tina. Actually, I've had three books on the Publishers Weekly Bestsellers List. Totally a God thing! So grateful to my readers!

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  10. Wonderful post, Debby. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your beautiful photos.
    The advice that's helped me the most over the years is to find out what works best for you.
    Congratulations on your success! You look so cute on Jimmy. :)

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    1. Jimmy wasn't sure he wanted to let me off at the point the picture was taken. :)

      Finding our own way is the key, as you mentioned, Jill.

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  11. Hi Debby,

    Thank you for the great post and pictures. I really love the picture of you on Jimmy the camel! What fun!

    Everything on your top ten list resonates with me, especially "Live in God's perfect time." One of my big goals this year is to be present and not perfect so I can truly enjoy every big, small, good, or not so good moment of my life in all areas of my life.

    When I get caught up in the future or past, I get hung up, so reminding myself to be present and to live in God's perfect time is a great reminder.

    Thank you again, Debby. You are a true GRW treasure and I could not be more thrilled by all of your success! You deserve it!:)

    Happy writing,

    Jeanine

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    1. Jeanine, thank you for your kind words. You've touched my heart this morning! :)

      I loved your comment "to be present and not perfect"!!! That's it! When I get hung up on wanting everything to be perfect, I miss out on the here and now because I'm focusing on what might be in the future. Living in His Perfect time was an important change in my life that brought the peace I need in my life.

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  12. Great post, Debby. Lots of great reminders. Thanks! And congrats on Undercover Amish.

    Alison

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    1. Thanks, Alison! So glad you stopped by this morning. Have a great day!

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  13. Thank you for sharing your journey. Someone here at Seekerville suggested the Artist's Way a year ago, I think now it was you. I have worked through it over the year and it has made a big difference in my writing.

    For those of you who aren't familiar with the book, you don't just read it. You learn how to make writing a habit. It also revived a latent drawing talent. It made it ok for me to take myself on an artist's date (writing workshop, museum, art class) and not feel guilty about doing so: 3 daily journal pages filled with insights and a memoir, a daily doodle, and daring to do things different. Yup, the book changed me. Thank you Debby for making the suggestion.

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    1. Bettie, I'm so glad you enjoyed THE ARTIST'S WAY. I'm also glad you started drawing. Creative people often express themselves in more than one medium. Good for you! You reminded me of artist's dates. I usually saved mine for Friday afternoons. Always fun to give myself permission to...well, have fun!

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  14. Wow, Debby - there's so much to unpack here. First, your trip to the Holy Land looks inspiring. That's a dream trip of mine and one I hope to one day take.

    The quote about perfectionism resonated. That it's about finding the "do it again" in ourselves is a truth that is quite profound. There's a fine line between your best work and "never good enough" and it's one I have to be mindful of.

    I smiled when I read about your process. I'm very similar. I struggle over the first few chapters. Once I've nailed those down, the rest flows. I'm just starting out on my writing journey, but I doubt I'll ever be the hare. It's really all about finding what works for you.

    Work hard, pray hard is a great way to live.

    Congratulations on your many successes and God bless you!

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    1. God bless you, Josee!

      I've struggled with perfectionism over the years. Not that I'm perfect. Far from it. That's the problem, as you mentioned, nothing is every good enough! :)

      If only I could learn to jump more quickly into those first three chapters. Often I stew far too long trying to see the whole plot. When I dive in and start swimming--to use the Ironman analogy--the story unfolds. Why do I always hang back at first? Cold feet, no doubt! LOL!

      Have some cake! Keep praying for your trip to the Holy Land. You'll get there!

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  15. Good Morning, Debby!

    Your success is an inspiration to us all. Your daughter too! WHAT an accomplishment! Tell her congratulations from me.

    I think my write advice is to have a good handle on grammar. It is important. It is true each publishing house might use a different manual of style for grammar, but if you have a basic grasp of one, you give your manuscript a step up.

    Also, know your market and write according to their guidelines.

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    1. Good advice, Rose, about grammar and knowing your market and writing to the publisher's guidelines. Thanks for sharing!

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    2. Grammar Queens sends you her love, Rose! 😍

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  16. Debby--Thank you for sharing your writing journey insights and encouragement of "lessons learned." And for sharing the beautiful photos from your trip to the Holy Land!

    And congrats to your daughter on that amazing Ironman achievement!!

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    1. Thanks, Glynna! I have your newest release! Can't wait to start reading! Congrats to you!

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    2. Thanks, Debby! Hope you enjoy Cash & Rio's journey to love! :)

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  17. Enjoyed the picture tour and your thoughts today..

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    1. Thanks, DK! Hugs and Seekerville birthday greetings!

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  18. Debby, your post is inspiring and practical. In other words, perfect. I suspect most of us have insecurities that make us question ourselves. The solution is to keep our eyes on the One who calls us.

    Congratulations on the THREE Publisher's Weekly Bestsellers!

    Congrats to your Ironman daughter! She has a lot of her hard-working mama in her.

    Thank you for sharing the photos from your trip to the Holy Land.

    Janet

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    1. Hi Janet,
      Liz and I are a lot alike. But I am so NOT an Ironman!

      Hugs!

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    2. Debby, you're an ironauthor.

      Janet

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  19. Debby, love this post. Enjoyed seeing the pictures from the Holy Land. Thanks for sharing them and your tips!

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    1. Hi Sally!

      You're in the drawing! Did you get a slice of cake?

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  20. What a great post, Debby. I relate most to the advice about killing the negative voice and not being afraid. That is my biggest problem. Really enjoyed the pictures of the Holy Land. How wonderful to be in those places.

    Also congrats to your daughter. I just can't imagine as I'm not one for running, swimming, or biking. I have never understood how anyone can do that.

    Congrats to you on your 20 books and your 3 Publisher's Weekly Bestsellers. You have certainly accomplished a lot in 10 years.

    I think the best advice I have learned to follow is to kill the inner editor and just keep writing. I want to stop and fix things as I go along, but then I don't get anything written. Speedbo really helped me to work on that.

    Please enter me in the drawing!

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    1. Sandy, I do the same thing--editing as I write. It makes me a rather slow writer, but it's my process and I've learned to respect it. As others have said, there is no "right" way to write--only what works for YOU.

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    2. I have to turn off the internal editor as I push through that first draft, Sandy. Although I wish I could be more like Myra and have a clean copy as I go. The grass often seems greener as they say. But I can't change. I've tried and I always revert to my AlphaSmart and a fast draft.

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    3. There are times that editing as I write can be good, but I have discovered that I don't get words on paper if I continually try to do that. So it's good to at least try to push through the first draft.

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  21. Wow Debby - what a great post. 'Be Not Afraid.' I would have to admit sometimes I am terrified. Seekerville is where I come for encouragement and support and I always find my fears chased away.

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    1. I'll pray you're able to work through the fear. I struggled with my fear for many years. God finally led me to a better place. He'll do the same for you! I'm sure of it!

      Hugs!

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  22. Debby, your post encouraged me so much today. It's just what I needed. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Hi Jackie! Hope you have a wonderful day! I know you spread joy wherever you go!

      Hugs!

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  23. Thank you for so much encouragement, Debby. I needed to hear your advice to stop trying to do everything -- everyone else isn't doing everything. That makes me say to myself, "Yeah, that's right. Stop being the weirdo." As a new author, it's been difficult to discern between what's important and what's not--because everything seems important, so I try to do everything...which is exhausting and can drain the joy from the journey. I'm learning though. Beautiful pics and congrats to your daughter!

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    1. Oh, Karen, I am so with you! I've wasted entirely too much time comparing myself to others who seem to be writing more, marketing more, selling more. I continually have to discern not only what's important but what's right for ME.

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    2. Agreeing with you both, Karen and Myra! It's human nature to think something is wrong with us when we see others running so far ahead of us in this writing race. Except it really isn't a race. It's a vocation and we all have different gifts. I used to think I had to do everything, as I mentioned. But that set me up for failure. Now I do what the Lord tells me to do. My challenge is to hear his voice.

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    3. My 18-year-old daughter taught me a new phrase, and I think it describes how I've felt throughout my first publishing experience. The phrase is FOMO -- fear of missing out. I fear if I don't do this or do that, I'm going to miss something important. But you know how our faith grows when we can look back on life and see God all over things? I'm arriving at the point in my writing life...because in spite of everything I've tried to do, so many things have happened that are not because of me, things that have taken me by surprise. I'm learning...slowly... :)

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    4. Karen,
      Fear of missing out! FOMO! I have missed signing up for things that turned out to be important. God then provided another way for me to participate. It's usually something that I never expected and I know the Lord had to have been involved. Now, if I miss something, I ask him to give me another chance if it was something I should have done. I'm finite and know so little. He knows all!

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  24. Great post. Please enter me in drawing.

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    1. Hi Cathy Ann. You're in the drawing! Hugs!

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  25. The fear and resulting procrastination is real.

    Must.Not.Give.In.to.Fear.

    And the IronMan/Woman - 140 miles in 16 1/2 hours. Unbelievable what the human body is capable of! I can't even imagine.

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    1. Without training, she couldn't have done it Pam. And she's not sore...a little stiff but really okay. That's because she was ready.

      This writing journey is our training, right? We keep honing our skills and, hopefully, taking those leaps of faith. Fear keeps me huddled on the sidelines. That's not where God wants any of us to be. Agreeing with you about the procrastination that comes from fear. So true. And I'm a huge procrastinator! Shame on me! I'll try to do better.

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  26. Debby, thank you for your encouraging post. I LOVE the photos of Israel! Congrats to your eldest daughter on her achievement!

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    1. Thanks, Caryl! Loading the pics allowed me to relive the memories of our trip, which was delightful. God is good. Always!

      Hugs!

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  27. Wow, this month in Seekerville has been a truly memorable one! When I look back at our journey over the past 10 years--both individually and as a community of caring writers--I feel so blessed! Thanks for sharing these memories and insights, Debby!

    Loved your photos from the Holy Land, too! Project Guy and I have been twice, each time uniquely special and deepening our faith.

    Congratulations to you on your 20th book and another best-seller! And to your daughter on her amazing accomplishment in the Ironman!!! Just . . . WOW!!!!

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    1. Two trips to the Holy Land! How special, Myra. I want to go back. How was it on the second trip? Even more meaningful? I'd like to see less and be able to spend more time at special spots. Time for prayer and meditation.

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    2. Debby, our visits were 10 years apart. So much more archeology in the intervening years! Also, our first guide was a secular Jewish woman. Ten years later we had a Palestinian Christian. So two very different perspectives.

      And I agree--rushing from site to site was the real down side. Seemed there was never enough time. We did travel both times with pastors, though, who brought out spiritual insights along the way.

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    3. Our pastor was with us as well as two deacons. We had prayer at each stop, read the scripture that applied, they said the words of baptism over us at the Jordan, we had the anointing of the sick at the pools of Bethesda, prayed the Way of the Cross...you get the idea so it was a spiritual journey. But it went by much too quickly.

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    4. I'll never forget our remembrance of baptism at the Jordan. That was so meaningful.

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  28. What a great post, Debby! I was encouraged to read a little about your writing process. It takes me forever to get the 1st 3 chapters. I rewrite, rewrite rewrite. For me, that's where my characters really take shape. No matter how much I plan or plot my characters before I start writing, until I start to put them down on paper, they don't really come to life. And when they do, they always change my plans. After the 1st 3 chapters, I go pretty quick. And I came to terms with being a tortoise a long time ago, lol! I loved your photos. Thanks for the inspiration this morning!

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    1. Sounds as if we use the same process, LeAnne. It often takes me a long time to understand my characters as I struggle through those first chapters and synopsis. Then the light bulb comes on. Thankfully!

      I'm able to trust the process now, realizing the light does come on. That has helped to limit the fear. Before I was afraid that I would never understand the story.

      Hugs!

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  29. Debby, thank you for sharing your wonderful pictures of the Holy Land.

    I am definitely a turtle! I don't know who said it, or wrote it, but I have a sticky note on my bulletin board that says: It Takes As Long As It Takes. And when you add in that inner editor...yikes! My first three chapters were hard to come by, and with daily prayer, I'm pushing through with the rest.

    Congratulations to your daughter...now that's getting it done!

    Blessings,

    Marcia

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    1. Seems there are a lot of turtles in Seekerville! And that's okay! Because, as you mentioned, It Takes As Long As It Takes. I hadn't heard that before...great truism for writing and for life! Thanks for sharing!

      Hugs!

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  30. Debby, the Holy Land! What an experience! Thank you for letting us live it vicariously through you. I got chill bumps!

    Congratulations on your 20 book milestone! You and others here continue to inspire us.

    I LOVED every one of your points. Every single one.

    I guess my little piece of advice would be stop with the self-comparisons. While we might share similar journeys with others, each one's still unique. Constantly comparing can impede our progress.

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    1. So true about comparing ourselves to others being a stumbling block. Yet, it's easy to put ourselves down when we see others moving quickly forward. I have to remember that the tortoise achieves his/her goal in the fable as well as in life.

      Still remembering you at the ACFW Award's Ceremony looking so elegant and beautiful in that spectacular dress! You were/are regal!

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    2. You really are too kind! I thought the same about you, lovely Debby!

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    3. Hugs and kisses headed your way, Cynthia!

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  31. Debby! You are AMAZING! Just thought you should know that today! :)

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    1. Jana, continued prayers for you, sweet one. I was praying for you as I walked in Christ's footsteps. You needed the prayers at that time, I later found out. I hope you're feeling the Lord's peace and healing love these days. You're always in my heart!

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  32. DEBBY!!! I am sooooooo excited to see your pix of the Holy Land, my friend, so THANK YOU!! I get warm chills just looking at them -- can't imagine how you felt actually standing there!!

    And, WHOA, this post -- absolutely OUTSTANDING!! Soooooooo much good advice here for prepub and post pub alike, novice or veteran.

    And this quote is priceless: “It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough, that we should try again.”

    I should paint that on my wall.

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

    P.S. I happen to think two books a year is pretty incredible, my friend. Isle of Hope was 520 pages, so I guess that could be considered two books, but only one payoff! Sigh. I'm working on writing shorter books, trust me.

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    1. Don't limit yourself, Julie! You write amazing books. Never stop!!!

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  33. Congratulations on your success Debby!

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    1. Thank you, Heidi. Sometimes I have to pinch myself. For so long, I wrote in the closet, so to speak. It still amazes me that God allowed me to find a publishing home...and that readers buy my books! Amazing! :)

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  34. Debby, Thank you so much! This post truly touched my heart. I have suffered the loss of my beloved Aunt passing and I just couldn't find my writing heart. Your pictures added so much I felt HIS presence. My debut YA novel will be released in Feb 2018 and I think the best bit of writing advice I heard is, "Write ugly its the first draft" It's been so freeing. Thanks again!

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    1. Jeri, I'm so sorry about your sweet Aunt! It's always hard to say goodbye to loved ones, although we know they're never far from us and that we'll be united again.

      Thrilled to learn about your YA in FEB!!! Congrats on your success!!! So proud of you and your hard work and determination!!!

      Write ugly! Love it!

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  35. Debby, what a wonderful post! Just reading your words gives me a sense of peace, makes me feel calm. I need you here talking to me each day as I start to work! :)

    I was really struck by your quote: "Perfectionism is not a quest for the best."

    Ouch. That's so true in my life. This is something I will always struggle with. I get immobilized when I worry about creating something that's not good enough. Thanks for sharing that word of wisdom!

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    1. I should have said Julia's quote. I realize you were quoting The Artist's Way.

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    2. I struggle with perfectionism too! It's not a good thing and it holds us back. I'm embracing Jeri's statement of Write Ugly! :)

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  36. Debby, so much wisdom in your words here! I so appreciate all that you shared. The Fear Not and trusting God's timing have been the big lessons I've been learning lately.

    I don't know that this is advice so much as a piece of wisdom someone shared with me. I keep coming back to it. I am the only one who can write my story.

    God has given us each unique experiences, perspectives, and hearts. These combine (with other elements) to create a story no one else can write.

    I'll be pondering your post today!

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    1. So true. And our story touches someone's heart. That's why it needs to be written. Thank you for sharing, Jeanne!

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  37. And, I forgot to say, your daughter is amazing! I can't imagine doing an IronMan!

    AND, I loved your photos of Israel. The picture of you on the camel is so fun!

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    1. We're going to see our daughter and celebrate our grandson's 7th birthday. I'll pass on all the kind comments shared today. She's still in an adrenaline rush. I'm thanking God that I didn't have a stroke or heart attack. I thought I was at peace about the event...NOT! I'm hoping she checked Ironman off her to do list and never wants to do it again! :)

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    2. Grinning. I never thought about the mama-of-the-daughter-competing-in-IronMan's heart. ;) I'll pray with. you on that one.

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  38. Love, love the pic of you on the camel!!!

    The writing comes first.

    I've been hearing a lot of people say that lately. So true.

    Debby, I think this my favorite cover of your books. I love the look on the woman's face.

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    1. Thanks, Connie Queen. The heroine has a pensive look, doesn't she? A bit different. Glad you like the cover.

      Someone in a previous blog mentioned finish the book, which is good advice as well!!!

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  39. This was a timely post for me and I think I need to get that book, The Artist’s Way. I tend towards the negative, mainly to not be too disappointed, but my amazing mentor is teaching me that HOPE is powerful and necessary. That would be my advice. Stay positive and keep writing.

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    1. Amen to your mentor's advice, Sherrinda! Believe in yourself and your God given ability! The Lord wants your stories to find a home!!! For sure!!!

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  40. Hi Debby, What a great post. I love all the photos of your travels. smile And yes, we have learned so much over these past ten years. What a blessing our friendship in Seekerville has been. Thanks for sharing. And I'll have a bite out of every one of the ten cakes. smile

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    1. Sandra, forgot to mention that a woman who attended M&M had walked the Camino! So special. Congrats to you!!!

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  41. Debby, Congrats on your 20th book and congrats on the PW list. Also a huge hug to you for supporting your daughter as she (wow!) completed the Ironman.

    Thank you for all your wonderful advice, and most of all, thank you for being so gracious to everyone you meet.

    Hmm. Writerly tips? Just what everyone else has already said, but I'd like to add trust your process. If it takes you longer to write that first chapter, as long as you're really writing, trust that and do your best.

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    1. Great advice, Tanya, to trust your process. Also trust your voice and your ability.

      Congrats to your Maggie win at M&M!!! And all your awards! So excited for you.

      Hugs!

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  42. Excellent post, Debby. Thank you for sharing so much wisdom with us this morning. Congratulations on your latest PW list accomplishment and on the release of your 20th LIS book. You are an inspiration!

    My writerly advice would be just write. When you get the rejection or the revise and resubmit request and you are so tired and wondering if it's time to just quit. Don't. Instead, just write.

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    1. Just write! Nike has "Just do it!" I like your motto even better. Just write!!! That's going on my computer.

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  43. Hi Sweet Debby!
    Thank you for sharing your Holy Land photos. It's been many years since I was there, so your photos brought back wonderful, spiritual memories for me. I'm truly touched by those memories.

    Congratulations on your many writing successes and a shout out to your daughter for her major accomplishment! I can't even imagine doing that. I see many parallels between your writing path and your daughter's ironman journey, including how you both practiced, put in the time necessary to perfect the task and continued until you completed the goal. Wonderful!

    Thanks for your inspiration and encouragement! Blessings.

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  44. Lyndee, thanks for your lovely words. You're determined and persistence, I know. Don't let anything throw you off track! God has wonderful plans for your stories.

    Would love to chat about our Holy Land experiences someday! I feel so grateful to have been able to go on the trip. We've almost gone twice before but were worried about the world situation. This time, we had no doubts about it being the right time.

    Thanks for beings such a dear friend! Hugs!

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  45. Debby, You sure had your share of ups and downs and continued on to be such a successful author. The first writing book I ever bought was The Artist Way, a really long long time ago. Loved your blog today. Where do the years go? Don't blink your eyes or you'll miss them.

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    1. Suzanne,
      Time passes much too quickly, doesn't it! Oh my goodness, it's mid-October. How did that happen? Blink and it will be Christmas. :)

      Did you get a slice of cake? Thanks for joining in the birthday party! We always have fun in Seekerville.

      Hugs!

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  46. Congratulations on your ten year anniversary and your twenty LIS books Debby! And thanks for the lovely virtual trip to the Holy Land. You look adorable on Jimmy the camel!
    I'd love some of that German chocolate cake and a hot cup of tea this afternoon, yum!

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    1. Thanks, Tracey! German chocolate cake heading your way, along with a cup of tea! Enjoy!

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  47. Thank you, Debby! I loved your photos as much as the article.

    Guess my tip would be to not get distracted. I read this post this morning and before I could comment, got interrupted... now it's evening and I still haven't done any real writing and am just getting back to this post. Wild day. But God is good!

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. God is good and distractions happen. Be easy on yourself. Also remember a kitchen timer is one of my favorite writing tools. Set a timer for 30 minutes. Write during that time. You can accomplish a lot!

      Hugs and birthday greetings!

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  48. Debby, first congratulations on your well deserved award!!! :)

    Second, I agree with all you've said and the comments before me offer great tips as well.

    One thing that was wisely spoken to me some time ago was: sometimes a good thing can distract from a better thing.

    I have trouble saying no to people so I have to keep remembering to stay focused and not get distracted by other things that I don't have time for.

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    1. Great point, Sharee! Sometimes we can be distracted. We want to keep our eyes on the goal!

      Thanks for being with us this evening! Hugs!

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  49. What a great post. Hope you had fun on your trip!

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  50. Love this, Debby! Thank you so much for such an uplifting and encouraging post! And thank you for sharing your photos - just incredible!

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    1. Thanks, Laura! Glad you enjoyed the photos! I loved seeing them again.

      Hugs!

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  51. I'm too tired to think of something wise and profound, so I guess I'll just say the early bird gets the worm, and the author who wakes up early gets her/his manuscript done

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  52. The only advice I have is that I often use sudoku for editing or to break writer's block.

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    1. You're a math person, for sure, Walt! :)

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  53. What a wonderful, uplifting post, Debby---thank you!! It's going to the front of my Keeper File because I needed (and continue to need) these reminders.
    Your Holy Land photos are absolutely amazing---and what a blessing you were able to visit the land where Christ walked and taught. WOW!!!
    CONGRATULATIONS to your amazing daughter on her IRONMAN success!! What a tremendous accomplishment and I know you're SO proud of her!! :)
    You are adorable riding that camel---so cute!!
    Even though I'm later stopping in today (been WRITING!!) I'm happy there's still some red velvet cake and coffee left---YUM!
    Thank you again---you are such an inspiration to me and many others.
    Hugs and Love, Patti Jo

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    1. Glad you found time to write, Patti Jo! Hope all is well with you and your beautiful family!

      Hugs and love!

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  54. P.S. Ooops! Meant to add a tidbit of writing advice I've been given that helps me: Find the time of day when you are most productive with your writing! :) If possible, I try to get most of my writing done then (not always possible but when I can, it works great!).

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    1. So true, Patti Jo, about finding that best time to write!

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  55. I'm remembering the fun of stretching. Trying something different. Challenging yourself.

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    1. Stretching is a struggle at the time, but often the results are amazing! Thanks, Mary, for that bit of inspiration!

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  56. Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures. I'm sure that seeing where Jesus walked was truly inspiring. Congratulations on your 10 year publishing anniversary and your 10 years as a Seeker.
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  57. Hi Debby:

    I'm late to the party but it's a going and lively party. I think writing your books, at two a year, is rabbit fast! I also believe that I derive an inordinate amount of pleasure by carefully watching how you've weaved all your disparate story threads into the seemless fabric of a single story.

    I think your books are the hardest to write because of the need to do justice to each theme. You always seem to have fully developed mystery (who done it), suspense, (will they survive) inspiration (how does God's plan affect the story), military (Army life and CID procedural) , Amish,(a genre all its own) and romance (toward an HEA) themes.

    Instead of six themes to work out, you could have a simple romance, ala HR, and write many more books a year…but then that would not be a Debby!

    All things considered, I think you're the fastest writer in town…and if that gives you enough time to enjoy life and smell the roses, then that's just the reward for industry.

    Keep up the great work!

    Vince

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    1. Thanks, Vince, for making my day/night! I so appreciate your comments. Sending hugs of appreciation. One "atta girl" from you is better than a contest win!!!

      Hugs!

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  58. Debby, thank you for sharing! The pictures are amazing! I wish I could visit the places some day. Blessings to you!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures, Natalya. I never thought I would get there, but I kept praying and a trip came about through my church. Yes, it was a dream come true.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jubileewriter!

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  60. Great post, love your pictures!!

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  61. I love that your first statement is about prayer! Yes and amen! Oh, for the Holy Spirit to guide my fingers across the keyboard for His honor and glory! Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom and your beautiful pictorial of the Holy Land. Enjoyed them...much to ponder. All God's blessings, fellow tortoise.

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