Deborah Anderson

In 2000, Deborah Anderson left the medical field to care for her elderly mother. Soon after, she began writing. She has written for Focus on the Family, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and numerous other publications. She is a member of TWV, ACFW, CWG, and FCW. Married 30 years, Deborah and her husband enjoy country living in the Midwest. She also spends her time rescuing cats, reading novels, and taking nature walks. Deborah recently completed her first novel. You can contact Deborah at:

Diary of A Crazy Writer

Words in Blue

Whoever said novels don’t affect readers lied. Whoever thinks God won’t use fiction to speak to us is wrong.

Four years ago I pored over every Amish book I could get my hands on. The stories reminded me of simpler times, good people, and, especially, wholesome food.

A few months later my husband approached me. “I want to see the ocean again before I die.”

I gulped. “Are you trying to tell me something?”

“No, why?”

My stomach pulled into a knot. God, are you getting ready to take him home? You know I can’t live without him. Wait, I’m sorry. You’re the most important person in my life, but You know what I mean, don’t You? Of course You do. You’re God.

My mind shifted gears. “Hey, can we drive through Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on the way?”


Enough said.

The morning of our trip, after only three hours of sleep, my alarm clock nearly jolted me off the mattress.

I rolled out of bed, my stomach churning. Even though we were going to Amish country, I still had issues. I don’t like to travel far away from home, but because of my husband’s desire, I had to. What if something terrible were to happen? I couldn’t rob the man of his last request.

Besides, I had this feeling that the Big Guy wanted me to travel halfway across the country, that He had something to say to me once I reached our final destination.

A few hours later, we tooled down the highway. I felt like a cranky bobble head doll.

“Why don’t you take a nap, honey?” my beloved said.

I forced my eyes open. “I’m fine.”

Reaching into the backseat, I retrieved a notebook.

My husband glanced at me. “What are you doing?”

“Well, others get ideas for writing while traveling, so maybe the same thing will happen to me.” I watched passing cars, road signs, and more, jotting down anything out of the ordinary.

Hours later, and many miles down the interstate, acid crept up the back of my throat. Did I mention that my stomach assaults me when I don’t get enough sleep?

I sighed. “Can’t we just stop at a motel?”

“We’re on the downhill side now.”

Partially obliging me, he took the next exit and pulled into a Hardees’s. I got a vanilla shake, and he ordered dinner to go. We climbed back into the car. He wolfed down a hamburger and fries as we cruised. I sipped my shake.

“Are you sure we can’t stop now?” Burp.

“We’re almost there, Deb.”

Burp. “Try telling that to my stomach.”

“Isn’t the shake helping? Sure sounds like it from over here.”

A few hours before we reached Lancaster, when I honestly thought I couldn’t take anymore, I caught sight of a viaduct. The words Jesus Loves You were painted in blue across the side. Lucky for my husband, calm swept over me. Thank you, Lord.

We finally pulled into the parking lot at the hotel. Visions of a soft bed with plump pillows floated across my mind.

When we entered the lobby, an offensive aroma invaded my senses. Body odor filled the small area.

I whispered to my husband. “Do you smell that?”

He gave me one of those be-quiet-it’s-almost-over looks.

After walking into the room, my visions of a good night’s sleep vanished. Dirt stained the maroon carpet, as well as the creamy bathroom tile. And the bed? Well, I was afraid to crawl under the covers, worried something would crawl on me. “I’m not sleeping there.”

“Look, Deb, I’ve been driving for hours, and I’m tired. We’ll never get another room at this time of night.” He rubbed his belly. Burp. “I don’t think the hamburger agreed with me.”


We slept in our clothes, on top of the bedspread, and survived till the following morning. I couldn’t wait to find another hotel.

After we had settled in at our new place, we toured Amish country. I saw horses and buggies, young Amish boys and girls sitting inside, just like in the novels. “How awesome is this?”

We later stopped at a place called Zooks. Handmade quilts lined a far wall. I fingered the fabric, wanting to purchase them all. After seeing the price tags, though, I settled on one. I think my husband got indigestion.

A few days later, we made our way to Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. I liked the strange name for the city. Who wouldn’t want to kill old Slewfoot?

When I walked in our room, relief washed over me. A clean patchwork bedspread lay over the bed. Plump pillows adorned the top. A table and chairs sat nestled in the corner, where we could sit and eat the shoofly pie I toted from Lancaster. We viewed the ocean right outside our window.

We strolled along the beach, looked for seashells, and ate the best food. It was heaven, I tell you. Only one thing bothered me. The Big Guy had been silent the whole time. I felt His presence, especially when the waves slapped against the shore, but I still sensed something missing.

After turning in for bed one evening, some harsh realizations hit me. I’d taken care of others for years, including my elderly mother, but didn’t realize how angry I’d become in the process. I prayed, repenting of my testy old self. Pardon my sins, Lord, for I know they are many.

On our last night there, we sat on the beach after dinner. I still wondered why God had been silent. I eyed the distant shore, wondering what kind of shells I could find down there. “I’ll be back in a few, honey.”

I walked down the shoreline and spotted a mound in the sand. A piece of a blonde-colored shell peeked out, about the size of a nickel, and I pulled it free, brushing the granules away to reveal my treasure.

When I flipped the shell over, my jaw went slack. Written on the inside, were two little words in blue. “Jesus Pardons.”

Whirling around, I combed the area, wondering if someone had played a trick on me, but nobody else was there, just my husband, who still sat at the other end of the beach. Gooseflesh peppered my arms.

Deb's shell

I sprinted up to him, tears in my eyes. “Look what I found.”


“I know.”

Guarding my prized possession, I brought it home and put it in my desk. It’s been there ever since. I look at my seashell often. Who would have thought?

Like I said, whoever said novels don’t affect us lied. Whoever thinks God won’t use fiction to speak to us is wrong.


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