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Surrendering Our Stories by Gail Kittleson

Posted by Julie on March 22, 2016 in ACFW, encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |


Glorify God and Enjoy Him Forever

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, written in 1647, asks, “What is the chief end of man? [Not politically correct, but we get the meaning.]

The answer certainly applies to our busy modern lives. “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”

Embracing this concept challenges us—what does it mean to glorify God, and enjoy him? Since our Creator made us in his own image, enjoying God implies finding pleasure in being alive. The question broadens: do I consistently delight in my life?

Enjoy Him forever—what a powerful statement. Made in His image—another one just as strong.

Though made in His image, we still struggle. Recollecting on what motivated my memoir writing, sometimes I marvel, because the struggle motivated me. The writing itself involved turmoil—the genre involves going down into our experiences—positive and negative—to garner meaning.


Surrendering Our Stories by Gail Kittleson, her book, In This Together.

More than two years have passed since the final editing with my publisher, yet I’m still hearing comments that tell me the process was worth all the effort. Of course, I already sense that internally, but hearing someone say, “Your book is motivating me to write down some of my memories,” or “I love how you find meaning in such mundane, inconsequential things,” reminds me.

Mundane, inconsequential things make up the bulk of our lives. And we’re to ENJOY those lives, right? This stops us right at the doors of surrender.

Realizing how grace carried us through “the worst of times,” how friendship supported us, and how we grew in character, informs us that our earthly experience has intrinsic value. We can embrace our experiences with joy, as we surrender the story.

But it’s our story, right? Yes, but maybe not so much. Our stories may be intended to help others glorify God more, and enjoy Him and their own lives to a deeper extent.

Women’s stories pepper my memoir—of course they do. Those stories, along with those Jesus told, encourage, inspire, reassure, and challenge us. We’re not alone, and treasuring others’ experiences is part of enjoying our lives.

In the process, we enjoy God’s wonderful works—in and through real, live people. From my present vantage point, it’s clear that memoir writing hinges on the difficult, lovely concept of surrender.
Contact Links:


gail_editedGail, a late but sincere bloomer, taught college expository writing and ESL. Now she focuses on women’s fiction and facilitates writing workshops and women’s retreats. She and her husband enjoy family in northern Iowa, and the Arizona Ponderosa forest in winter.

WhiteFire Publishing released Gail’s memoir, Catching Up With Daylight in 2013, and her debut women’s historical fiction, In This Together (Wild Rose Press/Vintage Imprint) released in 2015. She also contributed to the Little Cab Press 2015 Christmas Anthology, and has a World War II series on the way.

Meeting new reading and writing friends is the meringue on her pie, as her heroine Dottie would say.

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Thankful: Enough by Gail Kittleson (GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY)

Gail Kittleson


“If the only prayer you ever pray is thank you, it is enough.” Meister Eckhardt


Enough—such a multidimensional word. The meaning changes with the person, and within our own lives, this word transforms, sometimes moment-to-moment. Culture, upbringing, spirituality, and general outlook alter in our concept of enough.

Once, during a particularly down time, I wandered through an eclectic second hand consignment store, and one wooden sign grabbed me. “You are enough.” Me? I sure didn’t feel like enough.

But in this month of Thanksgiving, it’s good to connect gratitude with enough in our personal season of life. If the South Carolina floods devastated one’s home, gratitude may erupt at having a warm place to sleep and food to eat. For others suffering health challenges, a new day with the sun peeping through the window may cause thankfulness.

This year, I’m especially thankful for my vocation. For its steadfastness, even when I didn’t have confidence to pursue it. I’m grateful for second chances for my writing to bloom. Specifically, I celebrate my debut novel’s release, and inclusion in a Christmas anthology. And another contract!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, my heart whispers—for the tenacity not to give up, though sorely tempted, for my gradually-developing skills that led to publication and for my patient husband, through so many rejections and pitfalls. Thanks for my daughter, who always listens and encourages, and for writing friends far and wide who commiserate, rejoice together, and make honest manuscript suggestions.

The list goes on … reflecting on these gifts makes giving thanks a no-brainer, as they say. I may be a late-bloomer, but I’m blooming. Thanks, thanks, thanks!

Julie’s note:

Because Gail is thankful, she’d like to do some giving!

I’d like to give away a kindle copy and an apron like the one my heroine wore to TWO people who comment on my writers’ FB page or on my website.


Our stories are our best gifts, and blooming late has its advantages—the novel fodder never ends. Gail writes from northern Iowa, where she and her husband enjoy gardening and grandchildren. WhiteFire Publishing released Gail’s memoir, Catching Up With Daylight in 2013, and her debut women’s historical fiction, In This Together (Wild Rose Press/Vintage Line) greets the world on November 18, 2015. Please feel free to contact her—meeting new reading friends is the frosting on her cake!

Contact links:

Purchase link:InThisTogether_w9364_300_edited



Cover: see below

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