By now you’re most likely aware that Amy Matayo won the ACFW Genesis Award in the Contemporary Romance category (my category). Congratulations, Amy! While I was initially disappointed I didn’t win, that feeling didn’t last long. It really is an honor and a blessing being in the top three of the popular category.
I was also very glad that I didn’t have to give my Thank You speech, and that surprised me. I’d previously thought it wouldn’t be that big of deal, but when the day came I wasn’t nervous about winning, I was nervous about speaking. I even woke up early that morning of the banquet (4:30 a.m.) and my first thought was, I have to edit my speech! My mind kept me awake, ruminating on how I could cut the speech down to fit in the two minutes allotted to me.
But how could I cut it down? How could I eliminate a single name–a single friend, supporter, encourager from that list? Or how could I edit out my feelings? That would have cut out the heart.
But cut I did, and my roommate Shannon Vannatter was kind enough to sit through my test run. I even choked up at the end. If I, the ice queen, choked up on a dry run, how would I ever make it through in front of 700+ people?
Anyway, since I didn’t have the opportunity to muddle through my speech on stage, I figured I could publish it here on my virtual stage without cutting names or the heart. Without the support and prayers of so many, I would not have been up for such a prestigious award in the first place, and I want all of you to know how much I value you!
GENESIS THANK YOU SPEECH
Uffda! (That’s for the Minnesotans)
Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
Thank you, Lord, for giving me this gift and for surrounding me with so many friends and encouragers as I run this writing race. You’ve blessed me with a tremendous crowd of witnesses who are always cheering, and helping me throw off the doubts and discouragements so that I keep pressing on!
I’d like to thank all of you with ACFW for providing an encouraging home base for the Christian writer, a place for us to learn and grow. And thank you to the ACFW Minnesota NICE chapter for their unwavering support.
Thank you to my very first readers of that very first dreadful manuscript: Debbie Berglund, Lisa Laudenslager, Jill Alton, Pr. Steve Perkins, and Sandy Pippo. If not for your enthusiasm for that first novel, I never would have continued.
Thank you to the ladies at Inkspirational Messages. You all inspire me to be a better writer and a better person.
Thank you Nicole Petrino-Salter for being an encourager and prayer warrior and friend.
I’d like to thank my Sunday Night Book Club for your honesty, for having no trouble telling me when my stories get preachy.
Thank you Stephanie Prichard for being a diligent and hawk-eyed critique partner, for not letting me get away with anything, and for harping on creating scene goals. I’m learning!
Thank you to Beth Erdahl. We’ve been friends for forever, haven’t we? Thank you for reading through that first manuscript even though you don’t normally read books without pictures. 🙂
And a big thank you to the best critique partners ever: Shannon Vannatter, Lorna Seilstad, and Jerri Ledford. You continuously challenge me to be a better writer, but best of all, you’ve become lifelong friends.
Special thank you to my sister, Gayle Balster. You have bravely read each of my early manuscripts and keep asking for more! Now that’s love. 🙂
Big hugs and thank you to my children, Sarah, Bryan, and Brandon, who have all caught the writing bug in one form or another. You’ve never complained when I’ve hidden away in the office, forgetting about meals. Okay, maybe not never. There was that scorched spaghetti meal you won’t let me forget …
And finally, a huge thank you, hug, and kiss for my husband Marvin. You have always been my most vocal cheerleader. Seven years ago when I told Marvin I was writing instead of looking for a job, he told me, “It’s about time.”