By Edward Grinnan

Inspired by Your Words

Summer’s almost over! Crazy, right? And crazy is the word for this summer. A month or so ago I posted a blog telling you about all the projects the editorial team was handling: Mysterious Ways magazine, The Joys of Christmas, The Best of Guideposts, etc. And that was in addition to putting out Guideposts magazine and Angels on Earth plus all our web work. We didn’t need all this blistering weather to break a sweat.

The thing that most interested you, though, was our biannual Guideposts Writers Workshop contest, which we have been running since 1967 and has launched the careers of such inspirational writers as Marion Bond West, Sue Monk Kidd and Karen Barber, just to name a few. And like every Guideposts editor who’s hired on, I went through the workshop too, way back in 19... well, never mind.

We’ve had a lot of inquiries asking if we’ve picked our invitees yet. The answer is yes, and I will post their names below. But before we get to that, I want to thank all of you who entered for your stories.

Notice that I hesitate to use the word “winners” above. I prefer “invitees.” That’s because every single one of you who put yourself down on paper, who opened up your hearts to us, is a winner. It takes great courage to write honestly about your life, your struggles, your joy, your weakness and your strength, your dreams and your fears. We read every one of the several thousand entries we received, and we are richer and deeper for it. And maybe that’s the best thing about our work this summer: your stories.

This year the workshop is being held in Port Orchard, Washington, and generously hosted by my great friend Debbie Macomber. Without her we might not have a writers workshop. But she loves supporting struggling writers, and if you want to know why, read her amazing story from the November 2005 issue of Guideposts.

With no further ado, here’s who’s coming to Port Orchard in October: Paula Dyer, Joanna Featherstone, Carla Adair Hendricks, Sandi Olson, Molly Brown Pennington, Tammy Pfaff, Tracey R. Simmons, Janet Paige Smith, Caroline Updyke, Denise Valuk, Pauline Weaver and Sheri Zeck.

Teaching at this year’s workshop will be Jim Hinch, Amy Wong, Rick Hamlin and Colleen Hughes. And I think I can speak for Debbie when I say that we are really looking forward to meeting and greeting this exciting new class of workshoppers. Our next workshop contest will be in 2014, so get your story ready. Start now!

Again, thank you all for making our summer richer and more blessed.

Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of Guideposts Publications. Edward lives in New York City with two blondes—his wife, Julee, and Golden Retriever, Millie, who has been featured in his blog and popular videos. Edward loves cycling, hiking with Millie at his house in the Berkshire Hills and Wolverines that hail from Michigan.

If you need a little boost of inspiration, pick up a copy of Edward's book The Promise of Hope: How True Stories of Hope and Inspiration Saved My Life and How They Can Transform Yours.

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WHAT A TREAT THAT WOULD BE! To actually read those selected stories and meet the writers.

Congratuations to all! How I wish I was one of those selected and heading for Port Orchard, WA.

Please continue the contest in 2014.

Ruthie Chong

My most sincere CONGRATULATIONS to the Invitees to the Writer's Workshop this year! I hope and pray that I can be a member of that group in 2014. I have been very ill for several years and unable to write like I want to. I have journalled a lot but not been able to write the many life stories I have to share - the things I have survived even when the doctors have said I would never make it! I have lived not through not just illness and injuries but abuse of every kind, including spiritual abuse from the "CULT" I was raised in. I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and sexually abused and deceived by them and then thrown out as an adult after losing both of my parents in death. I knew too much and then was falsely accused as being an Apostate! I was 46 and in a Nursing Home recovering from a severe accident that broke both arms and both shoulders and fractured my neck and I could not even move from the neck down when someone said that I was posting bad things on Facebook which JWs don't go on but someone was watching FB and saw a FB page with my name but I didn't have anything to do with that OR anything posted on there cos I could not use a computer since I could not move AND the Nursing Home I was in did NOT have Internet anyway and IF JWs can't go on FB - then HOW could one of them (an Elder's wife) even know there was ANYTHING on FB about me unless she was wrongly on there her own self??? You have to have a FB account to see other people's FB pages!! So, isn't that the pot calling the kettle black, sotospeak? BUT, based on what she said she saw about me on "MY" FB page, I was tried, judged and executed and then told about it by HER without so much as being given a chance to even defend myself and overnight, I was "DEAD" to everyone I had known my entire life! NOW, I see it as a blessing because it literally "SAVED" me in Christ! But, back then, it terrified me because as a JW, I never had developed friendships with (worldly) people! It is a CULT, but I did not even realize THAT until I was thrown out! I had NEVER been to a Church other than a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses because that was considered EVIL! But, now I see them for the DECEPTIVE CULT they really are!! So many people have no idea what REALLY goes on behind those closed doors other than those of us who lived through it all! They hurt people and break up families and SHUN those who don't do exactly what they are TOLD they CAN do according to The Watchtower Society! THEY DECIDE the lives of their followers from what you say to what goes on in the bedroom between a husband and wife! But that was ALL I had ever known for my entire life and I did not know it was not NORMAL even though I knew I was DIFFERENT than everyone else since I NEVER had celebrated a Birthday or Christmas or taken Communion and even though I believed Jesus Christ was my Saviour - it turns out that JWs DON'T believe that Jesus died for EVERYONE but only for 144,000 that THEY believe are going to heaven!! I DID NOT even realize THAT til after I left them! What a REVELATION!!! LOL!
Now, I am FREE!!! PRAISE GOD!! I have a LOT to write about and I need to get to it asap!!! So, be watching for stories coming from me! Gotta get myself well from this last ICU hospitalization and get busy writing!
Christian Love, Debbie (Guy) Moore

Wow! How awesome and congratulations to all these authors. I think I know Tracey R. Simmons - she used to write for the Southington, CT newspaper of which I was editor and I also interviewed her about her mission work. Go, Tracey! And everyone!

Congratulations to all the invitees! It was exciting and encouraging to be a part of this contest, I hope the invitees get a lot out of the workshop.

Is there a chance that we'll get to read the chosen submissions? Perhaps a special edition of Guideposts? :)

Thank you, and God bless


Well, I was feeling a little embarrassed about entering the contest and not winning until I read the very kind, encouraging post from Ed. I love seeing his opening comments every month and I always read them first. Thanks Ed. You are truly a kind-hearted and thoughtful person.

And thank you, Patty, for being so gracious. Keep writing!

Mr Grinnan do you know a Gerald Grinnan? I was stationed with him in the late 60's while in the Air Force.

Sorry, no, no relation, except perhaps way back in Ireland in County Ofally.

To Debbie and Karen--your posts brought tears to my eyes!!! From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

I am very humbled and excited for the opportunity!


I applaud the invitees. God has something special in mind for you at this workshop. The rest of us will keep writing and telling our stories where and when God leads us. Love you Guideposts!

Thanks you, Karen. How gracious you are.

As one of the "not chosen", I would like to congratulate all the winners. Today on my morning drive, I prayed for all those chosen that they will be filled with inspiration and strength to do all the Lord has called them to do.
Thank you for reading my story this summer.

What a wonderful, generous comment, Debbie. -EG