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Andrea Sims bookGuest post
Andrea Lyn Sims Ph.D.


From my research on the impostor phenomenon, I have gained insight into how identity is shaped or misshaped during the early years, and how personalities come forth from identity. As I began to better understand the inner workings of internalizing what we see and hear, I looked back on my life’s journey and realized that who I was created to be . . . was not who I had become.

The process of internalization

My own process of internalization informs me. As an adult, when I view something, I interpret what I’m seeing into words that are in agreement with what I know at the time. My understanding of what I’m viewing then passes through the filter I have created within my intellect, and I store these words or I discard them. My mind’s filter is composed of facts and ideas and feelings and is ever changing. Everything I take in passes through my filter. When I hear something, I translate it into words that are in agreement with what I know (or think I know). My filter is activated, and if I store the words, I also store the feelings that are attached to them.

But as a child, the internalization process is embryonic. The sorting out of what to keep and what to discard is non-functioning. Innocence is a beautiful thing, but guidance in erecting a schema and constructing a filter is essential if we are to become who we were created to be.

I fear this happens too rarely. For some it is mostly lacking. It was for me. And the result was a growing incongruence between how I saw myself and how the outside world saw me, which inflicted upon my inner self a silent and hidden suffering, resulting in a misshapen life and a misdirected path. It left me feeling like a fraud . . . an impostor.

Allow me to capture the essence of someone who suffers from the impostor phenomenon by taking an “external selfie.” People would describe her like this:

  • She works extra hard, starting early and consistently over-preparing.
  • She’s intelligent, gifted, and high achieving—successful.
  • She gives a great first impression, too.
  • But if you compliment her, she blushes and turns away.
  • She has chosen to remain as a big fish in a small pond.
  • She sets goals much below her actual capabilities.

Now let me give you an “internal selfie.” Here’s what’s going on inside her:

  • She does not acknowledge her personal or professional successes, even in the face of tangible proof.
  • She only briefly enjoys experiences that showcase her competence, intelligence, or talents and then rejects any idea of repeating them.
  • She is full of secret fears hidden behind a great smile.
  • She fears new things: projects, jobs, relationships, and experiences.
  • She fears failure as well as success.
  • She often goes above and beyond and does much more than is expected, like she is trying to prove something.
  • She carries around the superwoman complex – a heavy burden – thinking she should be able to do anything asked of her.

The bottom line is that over the course of my life, I have believed lies about myself. So I began to list them, ending up with several pages. As I have worked through the process of replacing those lies with the truth, I wondered how many others have been living with a distorted sense of who they are because of the lies they have believed about themselves.

Just as there are universal truths, are there “universal lies” as well? Are the lies I have believed about myself similar to the lies you have believed about yourself?

Maybe many of you are just like me—living with a distorted understanding of who you are and wondering why you feel like a fraud—outwardly successful but inwardly suffering.

Maybe sharing the journey I have taken to get back my true identity will help you. That’s my hope.

* ~ * ~ *

Andrea Lyn Sims Ph.D. is the author of The Impostor Affect: A Closer Look by a Classic Case (currently being used as a text for university level classes). She is also an educator and publisher of 3rd Chapter Press, First Page Press, and TerraCotta Publishing. At the May 15-18 Colorado Christian Writers Conference she will teach the workshop “The Imposter Syndrome.” www.andrealynsims.com. 

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I confess! I hate research. As a result, almost all of my 1,000 plus sales to Christian periodicals are based on personal experience. You’ll rarely find me including statistics or quoting a bunch of “experts.”

Well, I hate most kinds of research, but I love digging deep into God’s Word to “write His answer.”

Study GOD and his strength, seek his presence day and night.

1 Chronicles 16:11 MSG

Early on in the 46 years I’ve written for publication I discovered the importance of studying (researching) the markets. I took seriously what an editor said at one of the first writers’ conferences I attended. I don’t remember her name, but I’ve never forgotten what she said: “An incorrectly targeted article is nothing but a source of irritation to a busy editor.”

Each edition of the Christian Writers Market Guide that Sally Stuart compiled for 24  years was well-worn and much appreciated. From it, and the guidelines for writers that I always requested from publishers, I developed Market Analysis Charts. As part of my Ministry/Marketing Packet that I sold for many years they were used by well over 1,000 writers.

Barb Haley apr 2016 croppedToday I’m so grateful for my dear friend, Barb Haley, who serves as the registrar and appointment coordinator for both the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

The charts of agent interests, editorial needs, and areas of expertise that she prepares for both conferences are an incredibly valuable research tool and a huge amount of work.

Below  is the chart of nonfiction editorial needs for the 22 editors at the May 15-18, 2019, Colorado Christian Writers Conference. There are also charts for fiction, children/YA & Other for our editors, 5 agents, 7 other professionals, and 19 authors.


In addition, with the bio for each of our 53 faculty members you’ll find the chart they completed (see sample below). Click on Editors, Agents & Other Professionals, and Authors.


Father, thank You for Barbie and for Steve Laube who is continuing the work Sally Stuart began with the Christian Writers Market Guide. Thank You for the Internet that puts information at our fingertips. Help us not to be lazy when it comes to obtaining info we need. And especially, Father, remind us daily to study Your Word. Help us to do in-depth research so that we can effectively share Your answer.

Know what his Word says and means.

2 Timothy 2:15

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Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him to help you do it,
and he will.

Psalm 37:5 TLB

Almost fifty years ago I worked as a secretary in the editorial offices of the American Baptist Board of Education and Publication. Little did I know then that Father had me in training to direct not one but two Christian writers’ conferences.

I loved the work of getting Sunday school curriculum in print – even the never-ending and ever-pressing deadlines. Truthfully, I found them exciting. Yes, everyone thought I was strange!

Underwood tpewriter
I learned to type on a manual typewriter. Well, not one this old although my grandpa did have one in the basement that I loved to play with when I was little. It wasn’t until high school, however, that I learned the qwerky keyboard.


SelectricOn my first job, I was thrilled when my electric typewriter was replaced with an IBM Selectric. No more key jams as my fingers danced over the keyboard at well over 100 WPM and that little ball spun.

By the time our second child was born in 1972, I left the job I loved in the editorial offices to be a stay-at-home mom. My typewriter proudly sat in a corner of the dining room and was used to supplement our income through typing jobs and occasional small checks for manuscripts I began submitting to various periodicals.

Possible And Impossible Keys Show Optimism And Positivity

I resisted getting my first computer – a PC Jr. In fact, I cried when I took it out of the box, convinced that I was not be smart enough to learn how to use it.

Well there are still days I cry, still days I know I’m not smart enough. I’m intimidated by the learning curve of new software and never would have believed I could use a program called Quark to produce complex 16-page conference brochures.


Indeed, all the things I do today are beyond me. Without God, they really are impossible! But the 16-page brochure for the May 15-18 Colorado Christian Writers Conference that is now at the printer is proof that He makes possible what would be impossible without Him.

If you’re on our mailing list, you will receive the brochure in about 10 days. Email me your USPS address if I don’t have it. But why wait? You can view the brochure online by clicking here.

What about you? Are you learning to commit your work to Him and to trust Him to help you do it? He really will.

Page 16 coverPage 1 Dir msg and markets

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Commit everything you do
to the Lord.
Trust him to help you do it,
and he will.
Psalm 37:5 (TLB)

You did, You do, and You will! Thank You, Father.


When I began planning the May 15-18 Colorado Christian Writers Conference just four weeks ago,  the to-do list seemed insurmountable. Even though it’s my 23rd year directing, it doesn’t get any easier. Because my files got scrambled in the transition to a new laptop last spring and emails in my conference folders disappeared, the task of rebuilding the spreadsheet of prospective faculty was daunting. It now has over 470 names and is still growing!

Bill MyersIt would be so much easier just to invite last year’s faculty to return. Some do because they also serve in needed staff positions and they have become like family. But I know I need to add new faces and I have. This year 25 of our 50 faculty members are new to CCWC or were not with us last year or for a number of years like keynoter Bill Myers who is also teaching the continuing session, “Fiction Writing: Keys for Unforgettable Storytelling.” Beatrice Bruno, the Drill Sergeant for Life, is a new face. She made a huge beatrice brunoimpact at the Writers on the Rock Conference. Beatrice is also giving a keynote plus teaching an exciting 3-hour learning lab on Wednesday, “Writer, Thou Art Loosed!”

My to-do list is still overwhelming. I haven’t started on our 16-page brochure, and there’s tons of work to be done on the website. You will find descriptions of 7 of our 8 continuing sessions, 3 of our 4 clinics, and the names of the 50 agents, editors, authors, and other professionals on faculty. Still to come are their photos and bios plus descriptions of  our 5 keynotes, 42 workshops, Saturday’s Teens Write, and Wednesday’s learning labs and early bird workshops. Whew! I’m grateful I type well over 100 wpm.

Online registration opens at 9:00 pm tonight, February 1. The first 50 to register for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will receive an additional free 15-minute appointment – a total of SIX!

Please pray about joining us on the mountain May 15-18 for what I know will be a life-changing conference.

2019 CO 7 web banner

P.S. Be among the first ten to register and I’ll send you a free copy of my latest book, #MyFamilyToo! – How Our Family Coped with Childhood Sexual Abuse. It’s the story of  God’s faithfulness during the five years we sought to help my half sister overcome her father’s sexual abuse. (She came to live with us when she was not quite fourteen and thought she was pregnant with her father’s child.) #MyFamilyToo! is also our testimony of how God helped us to Live His Answer in the midst of other challenges that could have destroyed our faith. (Available on Amazon or through my website.)

MyFamilyToo final cover.jpg

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Moose in area RS from Eric Sprinkle

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for
will actually happen;
it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
Hebrews 11:1 NLT

This is my 23rd year directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference at the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park Center. Each year after the conference I spend hours in Rocky Mountain National Park hoping to see a moose. It hasn’t happened yet, but I haven’t given up hoping. Maybe this year!

But I do have faith and I am confident that God will again meet us on the mountain at the May 15-18 conference. We will see Him in the magnificence of His creation. He will speak to us through the editors, agents, and authors He is calling to serve on faculty and through new and renewed friendships with others who desire to “write His answer.”

2019 CO 7 web banner

Five of our eight continuing sessions (click here) are confirmed along with about half (presently 28) faculty members. Visit http://colorado.writehisanswer.com frequently for updates and save May 15-18 for CCWC 2019 – a conference that will change your life!

I’ve been to many “Christian” Writers Conferences around the country. None have helped build my faith, provided clear direction, strengthened my convictions, and encouraged me to write Jesus’ messages more than CCWC. For the record, I’ve attended CCWC 13 years in a row. I would not miss it. – Charles J. Patricoff

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manger cross
When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion. ~ Philippians 2:7-8 MSG


You chose to come
even though You knew
You’d be born in a smelly stable
and forced to flee to Egypt.

Returning home to Nazareth,
You knew people still whispered
that You had been conceived
before your mother and father married.

“Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
people asked as You began Your ministry.
Even though huge crowds followed You
You knew their hearts were fickle.

Of the twelve men who were closest to You
You knew one would betray You, another deny You.
All would flee when You were arrested,
and only John would watch you die on a cross.

Yes, You knew it would not be easy.
You knew Satan would taunt You–
would tell You we are not worth
the pain You’d endure.
But You love us so much
You chose to come!

Marlene Bagnull, Christmas 2018


This is how much God loved the world:
He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why:
so that no one need be destroyed;
by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son
merely to point an accusing finger,
telling the world how bad it was.
He came to help, to put the world right again.  
John 3:16-17 MSG

If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? ~ Romans 8:32 MSG

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Answers to Prayer

Pray much for others;
plead for God’s mercy upon them;
give thanks for all he is going to do for them.
1  Timothy 2:1 (TLB)

Thank You, Father, for everyone who has been praying for Paul and for how You are restoring his health. I am so, so grateful.

Yesterday, Paul saw Dr. Tony, the oncologist. When Paul was in the hospital the end of October Dr. Tony told us he thought the white spots would resolve along with the blood clots. An oncologist he works with and a lung doctor disagreed. Thank you so much for your prayers that helped me get through the last six weeks. I felt your prayers and so appreciated the encouragement I received through countless Facebook comments and more than 1,000 emails. And I am praising God that Dr. Tony was right. The blood clots and spots are gone. There is NO cancer!

Last night Paul saw the ortho doc who continues to be amazed with the progress Paul is making. Although it will take 4-6 months for complete recovery and another 2 months before Paul can drive, the doc said Paul no longer needs to see him.

Today Paul saw the GI doctor for his tummy problems and weight loss that has had me so concerned. I am confident that this doctor is going to find the needed answers. He has scheduled Paul for an endoscopy December 26. If the blood test Dr. Tony ordered shows Paul no longer needs to be on the blood thinner, the GI doctor will also stretch Paul’s Schatzki Ring that he thinks may be a big part of  the problems Paul is having. I don’t think there’s going to be a quick fix, but I am confident that Father is going to use this doctor. And again, I am praising God that the CT scan of Paul’s tummy and pelvis showed no evidence of cancer.

Father’s hand in all this is so evident. Monday evening I called the salon where I get my hair done. The stylist I had about two months ago (the new manager) is pretty much booked through the end of the year but was available Monday night. She’s a Christian and was very reassuring when I saw her the first time when Paul was in rehab. To my amazement, I learned as she colored my hair Monday night (no more grey – temporarily) that the GI doctor Paul saw today is her doctor. She’s been with him seven years and says he is the best. Her encouragement and hug Monday night helped me get through the last two days.

But still, the waiting has been so hard! I needed to re-read the article I wrote over 30 years ago that was originally published in Decision. Forgive me, Father, for not trusting You more as I waited. Thank You for Your patience, Your unfailing love, and the gift of friends.

How Much Longer Lord



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Nativity 1

Lift Up Your Eyes and See

To the tune: O Little Town of Bethlehem

All those beneath life’s crushing load
Lift up your eyes and see
The Son of God has come to earth
His words will set you free
From doubt and fear and worry
Of what the future holds
Look up and put your trust in Him
His peace will fill your soul.

The baby born to Mary
The Word made flesh He came
That all who will believe in Him
Will never be the same
O’er evil He did triumph
When on the cross He hung
Our sin He took upon Himself
Salvation for us won.

So we can live in victory
And know His joy and peace
No matter what the headlines say
We only need to reach
To Him who holds the future
Our lives are in His hands
Rejoice, give thanks and praise His name
In near and distant lands.

Marlene Bagnull

Father, thank You for reminding me of these words I wrote eight years ago. Thank You that they are as true today as they were then.

Please help me give you my fears and worries as I wait for the results of the CT scan and Echo Paul will have tomorrow. I’ve been trying so hard to trust You these past nine weeks since Paul fell. And You have been healing his broken knee and elbow, but it’s those blood clots in his lungs and spots throughout his chest that have me feeling so anxious.

Dr. Tony, the oncologist who spent about half an hour with us when Paul was in the hospital the end of October, told us he thinks the spots will resolve along with the blood clots. But the oncologist he works with (the most arrogant doctor I’ve ever met) told me he does not agree. The lung doctor says they are “very suspicious.”  He thinks Paul has cancer and, if he does, that it’s advanced. The internist says “stage 4.” (Paul does not know he may be facing cancer.)

We see the cardiologist this Wednesday and Dr. Tony September 11. Oh Father, I’m not ready to face what I may learn these next two weeks. I’m trying to trust You and to believe Dr. Tony. But maybe there is something seriously wrong somewhere else? Please, Father, please place Your healing hand on Paul.

Since the accident Paul has not been eating much. His tummy pain has been getting worse. I’m only getting about 400-500 calories a day in him – mostly protein powder mixed into strawberry and chocolate milk. He’s lost more than 30 pounds since August 27. Update: I reached a nurse at the GI doctor’s office today. She got approval for a CT scan of Paul’s lower abdomen and pelvis and an appointment with the doc for a week from this Wednesday. (There was a cancellation.) Father is at work! Turns out Paul could not have gotten a CT scan of his chest tomorrow because he doesn’t have recent enough blood work or the contrast prep he needs to drink before the test. All a surprise to me but not to the Lord. They were able to reschedule Paul for both CT scans this Saturday.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on #MyFamilyToo!  It’s been good to remember God’s faithfulness and Paul’s support during the five years my half-sister lived with us. I really believe Father can use this book to encourage many and not just those who have been sexually abused and family/friends who try to help. It’s about so much more. It is our testimony of how God helped us to “Live His Answer” in the midst of other challenges that could have destroyed our faith.

One of the more than a dozen endorsements I’ve received reads:

“Marlene Bagnull has written a powerful, yet vulnerable, account of what it means to trust God in the darkest moments. MyFamilyToo! is the story of a caregiver who relied on God for the equipping she needed. It’s also the story of forgiveness and healing in the life of a young girl who experienced sexual abuse. Each chapter ends with prompts to help readers apply biblical truth to their own situation, whatever that situation is.

“As Marlene notes, ‘There is no quick and simple cure for…any of life’s problems.’ Whether you carry the wounds of betrayal or you are caring for one who does, you will be encouraged to look to the One who is able to strengthen you minute by minute and day by day.”   Ava Pennington ~ Bible teacher and author

I plan to upload the book to KDP by the end of the week and have it available before Christmas through my website or Amazon. It will sell for $11.95 plus shipping. As I said in my last blog, I’m happy to give a copy to anyone who feels led to help us with the financial needs we’re facing right now. You can mail a check to 951 Anders Road, Lansdale, PA 19446 or use this link (https://paypal.me/MarlenePaulgift).

Please know we deeply appreciate your gifts and especially your prayers. And please pray for the May 15-18 Colorado and August 8-10 Philly conference. PTL I finally have a date for Philly. I must begin planning.

Cover My Family with logo Dec 3


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My hubby is home!

Oh, how grateful and thankful I am
to the Lord because he is so good.
I will sing praise to the name of the Lord
who is above all lords.
Psalm 7:17 TLB

Paul in chair
Yes, I know his hand should not be down, but I didn’t want to wake him. There is so much to think about and do!

Thank You, Father, that Paul is home! And thank You for family that helped get him in the van and then the house. And for Laura who spent the night and helped me get him in bed.
She’s only 14, but I asked her last night “When did you grow up?” Much as I hate that Paul is going through all this, I think this will be an incredible learning experience for her since she is interested in a PT, OT, or PA career.
I confess to feeling really overwhelmed when Laura had to leave today for a party. For the first time I transferred Paul from the lift chair to the commode without someone for backup. And then I got him up again from his chair so I could put a gel pad that had just been delivered on his chair. (His bottom gets so sore from sitting.)
The home care nurse was here for an hour this morning. I’m very impressed with her. She’s knowledgable, thorough, and good at explaining medical terminology. And the PT who came several hours later is great. Both will continue to be the people who will work with us I trust for as long as needed. Father, please give us favor with the insurance.
For the first time I got someone from our insurance who was really helpful, supportive, and encouraging. She gave me needed info on his blood thinner that was a huge relief. Good RX priced a one month supply at over $400, but after today’s purchase (for one week) of $195, he will be only $5 away from meeting his $200 deductible. Then one month via mail order will be $47 or $98 for three months. She checked about reimbursement for the wheelchair since their suppliers didn’t have what we need, but sadly they will not reimburse anything not purchased in network. She agreed with me that “it’s not fair.” The same as the PA at the hospital and the cardiologist, she said “You’re doing a good job!”
I’ve created a spreadsheet for all the stuff I’ve got to be certain we do each day. Hopefully it won’t seem so overwhelming once we get into a routine.
Father, You are good. While you have not promised to save us from life’s challenges, You have promised to be with us in them. Thank You for Your faithfulness.
Yes, I know his hand should not be down, but I didn’t want to wake him. There is so much to think about and do!

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Prayer Needed

I really intended to regularly blog after the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference the end of July but first it was the needed conference mop-up and then the four books I edited including Michael Gantt’s Cry Mercy based on his keynote in Philly. (Yikes, that was a long sentence and I still want to tell you about Michael’s book, but I’ll save that for another post.)

Paul & MarleneI’m blogging today to ask for prayer for my husband, Paul. He tripped over the curb going into church September 30 and fell – hard. He broke his knee cap and tibia and severely sprained his wrist. After two days in the hospital, he went to a rehab and now, since this Monday, he has been back in the hospital and we discovered he also broke his elbow. Paul wasn’t eating or drinking in rehab and was getting weaker to the point where we could barely get him to stand with the walker for more than 15-20 seconds Monday morning. And I was supposed to take him home on Tuesday.

I’m so grateful I made the decision to send him back to the hospital. Turns out he has blood clots in both lungs and has been going in and out of afib. And there are some other possible complications. I’ve been on a roller coaster all week dealing with six different doctors.

We hope Paul will be released today with a heart monitor. His 76th birthday is October 28 and our 55th anniversary is November 9.

Your prayers will be deeply appreciated as he recovers and I take care of him. I definitely need to depend on the strength God promises for my weakness since nursing skills are way outside my comfort zone.

I’m putting planning for the May 15-18 Colorado and summer August 1-3 (tentative date)Cover Oct 26 new TOL Greater Philly conference  on hold until I finish typesetting and republishing the first book I wrote. It’s the one that took 5 years and 42 rejection slips until it was finally accepted.  It was not good timing back in 1983 when we didn’t want to address the issue of incest. We raised my half-sister for five years because her father, my step-father, sexually abused her. How Our Family Coped with Incest has a new title, #MeToo – Too! and a new cover. I hope to have it back in print in the next several weeks. It’s a good thing for me to work on right now because it’s a reminder of how God carried me and what He taught me during those difficult five years.

Thank You, Father, that I know You will carry Paul and I through this latest challenge. Thank You for Your promises.

But I have trusted in thy mercy;
my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
I will sing unto the LORD,
because he hath dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 13:5-6 KJV


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