I’m not home yet. As this post releases I prepare to board a plane back to Denver after Sunday night’s excitement. But as I write the day is last Thursday. I prepare to leave home, to face the unknown of the Carol Awards.
I’m pre-scheduling my blog because I want to share my acceptance speech with you. I don’t know yet if I’ll actually get to say it, but win or lose it needs to be shared. Being chosen as a finalist for the Carol (no matter the outcome) is an honor that is not just mine alone.
Below are the words I’ve prepared. I’ve practiced them over and over, not because they are difficult to say, but because I can’t get through them without crying. Not those nice quiet tears, the loud, sobby ones. So deep is my gratitude. So deep is my passion.
Yes, it’s the acceptance speech I was asked to write, but really, it’s a thank you note, maybe even a love-letter, to all of you.
For this blog I must begin with the words . . .
The dedication for my novella includes these words, “to all my friends who ‘bazillion-dupled’ my joy of a first book contract.”
It seems a fitting way to open tonight.
Ours is not a solitary journey. For the Christian writer, we first hold onto our God for all we’re worth, empowered to persevere through success and disappointment, and then we hold hands with our friends. The true ones cheer us to victory and soothe the wounds of discouragement.
In 2004 when I joined ACFW I had no idea how valuable this group would become to me. I mostly wanted a discount to hear Francine Rivers speak! But almost ten years later I realize how invaluable this organization and each of you are to my journey.
Part of the road to becoming an author includes, at least for me, a lot of refinement, digging deep to find courage, and stretching. The ACFW prayer team prayed me through some of the most difficult years of my life, as did other dear friends and my sweet husband, Jerry. Brandilyn Collins committed to pray daily for a year for my children–and ended up praying for several.
Editors, authors and critique partners offer wisdom and encouragement and teach me to write. Those who’ve gone before, like Kathy Kovach and Darlene Franklin, opened doors so I could follow, and Rebecca Germany, JoAnne Simmons, and Barbour Publishing took a chance on a newbie.
Last year when a car accident shut me and my writing down, my agent, Rachelle Gardner, offered wise council, loving me through the difficult curve in my path, and the editor I felt I’d disappointed offered me hope and grace instead of censure.
What a community we have!
At home, my dear family daily enriches my life and cheers me on despite burned or forgotten dinners when I get lost in fictional worlds.
Yes, I’ve persevered. I study hard to perfect craft. I’m intentional about learning how to become a professional, but when the rubber hits the road, this victory is not mine alone. It is a collective one, an honor given first to my God, then to each and every person who taught me, mentored me, prayed for me, and believed in me.
As we endeavor to write for our Lord Jesus Christ, believing we help shape eternity as we do, we need each other.
Thank you for being there for me. Sharing this moment with you bazillion-duples my joy.
Tagged: acceptance speech, Barbour Publishing, Becky Germany, carol awards, celebrating with friends, community, family, friendship, gratitude, Kathleen E Kovach, learning with friends, rachelle gardner
Awesome!!! Your a blessing!!
Thank you, Sheila!
Wonderful thoughts! Thanks for sharing. It was good to talk to you at ACFW. You look amazing and so healthy! I will keep what you shared in mind and be praying for you!
Thank you dear Carrie. I’m so blessed by your friendship even though we only see each other here and there!
Love you, Paula! It’s been an amazing journey God’s taken you on, one filled with laughter and joy as well as tears and sorrow. You’ve persevered in faith, my dear friend, and for that the LORD says, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Looking forward to what lies ahead… 🙂
I was afraid to start listing the prayer warrior and friends who have helped me walk this journey by name for fear of hurting someone by omission, but I hope you know you are in the short list of those who kept me going. I love you very much!
Thank you, Megan!
Thank you for posting this, Paula. Fantastic words!
Thank you, Robbie!
Wonderful speech Paula, full of your transparent love and care for others. You are loved and appreciated in return. Your example of “never give up” is a good one for all who know you. Blessings and hugs,
What a beautiful comment, Paulette. Thank you.
YOu are an AMAZING woman of God and I thank HIm for you.
Thank you, dear lady!
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