After Journey to Joy was first released, I went on book signing, lecturing and media tours which brought me into contact with thousands of people from all walks of life. I’ve been astounded by the number of people who have come forward to thank me for what they’ve got out of the book or the lectures based on the book. These people have what I can only describe as a glow, an unmistakable radiance about them. They smile and shake my hand vigorously and move with a kind of energy I can never fail to admire.
They are people whose circumstances vary widely. There was the woman who squeezed my arm warmly and said the book, a gift from her sister, came to her just when she needed it most — she had recently lost her job and her common-law partner of seven years.

There was the single mother who had been separated from her son by a cruel string of circumstances. “It was as if God was handing me a rope and said, ‘You have to hear what I need for you to hear right now through Celia to get through this week,’” she wrote.

After one lecture, a well-dressed, youthful-looking woman hugged me and thanked me for the courage the book gave her. “Next month, I’m to start cancer treatment,” she said. “I’ve been worried and afraid, but your book reminded me to rely more on prayer. Now I know it’s going to be alright.”

At one store, a woman read the title and then, as if a spark of recognition came to her, said emphatically, “Journey to Joy! My neighbor told me I have to read this book.” Her twice-married neighbor had bought a copy for each of her four adult children, two of whom had stopped speaking to her after she divorced their father. After reading the book, the children and their mother were reconciled, the woman said.

There was the woman in her sixties who upon reading the book became resolute about no longer enduring her husband’s extra-marital affairs and verbal abuse. She was happy to report that after months of separation, her husband begged for a reconciliation, and, for the first time, was willing to start counseling to save their marriage of forty years.

And there was the journalist in her late thirties who expressed what many have told me as well. With two girls she loved, in a career that satisfied her and in a good marriage, she smiled calmly and said, “You know, there’s no major challenge in my life now, but I read this book and I find so much I can relate to. I’m getting so much out of it.”

Perhaps the most astonishing thing for me has been the reaction of men to this book. During the first month of Journey to Joy’s release, I went to a political barbecue and the host, a well-established man of the community in his sixties, took me aside and thanked me for the book. I was amazed when he said he could see himself in it. I’ve had this feedback from so many male readers, I’m no longer surprised that someone of a different gender and different age could identify so closely with what I’ve written.

There was the young, smartly dressed Asian man who picked up a copy which he read as he walked about the store where I was doing a signing and then returned to say, “I love this sort of book and this one is great. Will you autograph my copy?”

There was a man in his seventies who thanked me for the book, after which his gray-haired wife of some 50 years, who clutched his arm, beamed and thanked me in turn. “He reads it to me,” she said.

In one town, a retired miner approached me and enthused about the book. “The last thing I do before I turn off the light is I open your book on any page and read it,” he said. “That way, I go to sleep with a good thought.”

With such an overwhelming response, it is tempting for me to become filled with pride about the book. But, as I’ve said in several media interviews, I can’t take credit for it.

As a journalist, I know when I write. I know when I’ve built a structure for a story and honed each sentence so the final product is the result of my thought process. This was not the case with Journey to Joy. It came by inspiration and not by craft. As the introduction explains more fully, this book came to me at a difficult time in my life when I needed divine guidance and opened myself up to it. As such, I receive congratulations on the book humbly, knowing that whatever glory there is belongs to God, whom I thank for being in my life and for using this book to bless the lives of others.

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Quotation marksCelia’s beautiful book is a reminder of the power of simplicity and the simplicity of power — both personal and universal.

— Mark Bryan, author and co-creator with Julia Cameron of "The Artist’s Way"

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