As we celebrate inspirational reads all month long, we thought that on the eve of Thanksgiving it was only fitting to chat with a few of our favorite writers about what they are thankful for. Today four fantastic authors share a look at the blessings in their life and the stories they write about keeping the faith.
When I wrote Spring for Susannah, I focused on the story with little thought about who might read it. Deciphering early Dakota Territory newspapers, trying on a corset, touring General Custer’s house? Anything for the story!
Since the book was released, I’ve been surprised by letters from readers. How wonderful to hear from a new mother who read it between feedings and a long-time friend who stayed up all night to finish it. Several felt a deepened appreciation for the struggles of their pioneer grandparents. Two fell in love with the hero even faster than the heroine did. And how gratifying to know the story drew a reader closer to her husband. Every letter was a blessing!
So this Thanksgiving, in addition to feeling grateful for my family, friends, and health — I’m thankful for readers!
Catherine Richmond was focused on her career as an occupational therapist till a special song planted a story idea in her mind. That idea would ultimately become Spring for Susannah, her first novel. She is also a founder and moderator of Nebraska Novelist critique group and lives in Nebraska with her husband. Through Rushing Water published by Thomas Nelson releases next summer.
Last November, I received an e-mail from a reader who was dreading a bleak Thanksgiving. Her life felt as empty as her cupboards. Isn’t there anything, I asked her, that you can find to be grateful for? Good health, a roof over her head, a call from a friend, a sunny day? Giving thanks isn’t about stuff. It’s about our attitude, our frame of mind. Our focus.
A few months later, she e-mailed me again. She said that she decided to try and be thankful for what she had, rather than dwell on all she lacked. “Nothing changed,” she wrote, “but everything changed.”
Gratitude is transforming.
Traditionally, November is the month of giving thanks. Here’s the thing: it’s a reminder we need more than once a year. G. K. Chesterton wrote that we need to get in the habit of "taking things with gratitude and not taking things for granted." Gratitude frames everything in a fresh perspective; it raises our awareness of the blessings that surround us. And the more ways we find to give thanks, the more things we find to be grateful for.
Gratitude is powerful.
Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of Amish fiction and nonfiction and the host of a weekly radio program called Amish Wisdom. She has twenty books under contract with Revell. Her next book The Keeper comes out January 2012.
There may be trouble ahead
But while there's music and moonlight and love and romance
Let's face the music and dance
~ Lyrics from “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” (Nat King Cole)
I’m done believing in Happily Ever After.
It’s not that I’m not happy, but I’m a goal person, and it always seems that Happily Ever After is a pocket of joy, and contentment, a place of love that I should reach some day, and then never leave.
After this year, seeing some of my friends and loved ones suffer, I’m wondering when we might get there. Friends who lost their jobs and houses, another who lost a husband. Two of my friends lost children, and then there are the ongoing financial struggles everyone seems to be facing.
When will they reach happily ever after?
I visited my son on his college campus recently. We walked around his beautiful campus, the willows dripping into a pristine lake, the wind tossing golden oak and red maple leaves into our path. I looked at his course schedule and wondered if they’d accept me back in. How I loved the freedom and excitement of college.
My sister-in-law is pregnant, and despite the aches of pregnancy, I remember relishing the anticipation and then the joy of a newborn, their creamy skin and tender smiles. And let’s not forget the toddler and grade school years when they climb into your lap for a story, unafraid of being hugged. Oh, I cherished those days.
And yet, teenagers are a blast. They’re funny and full of crazy wisdom, and make me remember my own teenage years, this time with fondness. Teenagers are the reward for all the years of wiping noses. I adore my teenagers.
As I look at it, perhaps happily ever after isn’t a destination. It’s a process. It’s those pockets of joy, contentment and love in every season of life. I don’t believe in Happily Ever After … I believe in Happily Ever Now. Of finding joy between the darkness, so much that it bubbles over into it, turning it to light. I believe in embracing what I have every day, knowing that today is my destination. Today I can find something of a Happily Ever After. And, yes, I believe in the Hope that my faith gives me, that at the end of the road there is more happy waiting for me. But today … as long as there is music, I will dance.
This Thanksgiving, may you dance.
Here’s some music to get you started.
Susan May Warren is the award-winning author of over thirty novels. A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you! She is also the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. Susan’s next book The Shadow of Your Smile comes out in 2012.
As someone who grew up in a very tiny town in Northern California, I never thought I would be able to travel the world. It didn't even cross my mind, really. I figured if I could make it to Disneyland once in my life I'd be doing good. Imagine my surprise that as a Christian author I travel the world to research my books. In the last year I've been to Glacier Bay, Alaska ... Berlin, Ohio ... Miami, Florida and a dozen places in between. (In fact I'm writing this on my return from a research trip in Oklahoma!)
I never expected this when I started writing. I never expected to meet amazing men and women and be able to hear their stories. Writing takes my readers to new places ... and me, too. In my search for story I'm thankful I've been able to see the world. I'm thankful that I get to experience God's good creation.
It makes me smile to think that God had a special story written for me, too.
Tricia Goyer is the award-winning author of 30 books. In her fiction novels, Tricia writes contemporary and historical stories that feature strong women overcoming great challenges. She recreates historic wartime eras with precise detail through perseverant and comprehensive research. Her most recent book is Remembering You.
We want to know what are you thankful for! Let us know in the comments below. And for more genre coverage be sure to check out RT's Everything Inspirational Page!