Fan Friday with Guest Author Julie Saffrin – BlessBack®: Thank Those Who Shaped Your Life

This Fan Friday I’m delighted to have friend and author Julie Saffrin as my guest. I have enjoyed getting to know her through MN N.I.C.E. and the Great Lakes Get Away. I know you’ll love her, too. At the end leave a thank you to someone who has shaped your life to be entered in a drawing for a free copy of Julie’s book.


JULIE SAFFRIN is the author of numerous articles and essays. She received her bachelor’s degree in print journalism and English from the University of St. Thomas. She divides her time between her home in Minneapolis and her Adirondack chair at her cabin on a lake in Ottertail County with her husband Rick, sons Sam, Joe and Jake, and a golden retriever named Mick. She can be reached at

Readers can contact Julie at her website,, on BlessBack’s Facebook Fan page at To follow BlessBack (@blessback) on Twitter click here.


The Great BlessBack Give-Get

A BlessBack is an expression of gratitude given to a positive person in our past who made an impact on us. A BlessBack gives thanks in a pay-it-backward way.

These positive people are our illuminators, because they played an important role in our becoming who we are today. Our illuminators may have shown us some potential in ourselves that we could not see. Perhaps they reached out to us at a vulnerable time. Maybe they provided us counsel on a big decision we needed to make.

Some time ago, I looked back over my life and thought about the people who made a positive comment about my writing abilities. I did this at a time when I was struggling through obtaining my bachelor’s degree while in my forties. During a semester of challenging classes, I remembered my illuminators’ words, “Never give up,” and “You’re getting the only “A” I’ve ever given in this writing class” and waved them like pom-poms in my mind to cheer me on as I chased after my dreams.

I obtained my degree in 2008 and in February 2012, my first book, BlessBack: Thank Those Who Shaped Your Life was published. In July 2012, the Kindle e-book version released. I credit my illuminators for helping me achieve my dreams. You can read the stories of my thanking these people in the book as well as others’ stories and their giving and receiving BlessBacks. Let the stories inspire you to not only remember the people who left an indelible impression on you, but to also give you the courage to thank your life influencers too.

The powerful words of those who champion us on deserve our thanks. And when you do express your thanks? You will be amazed at the great give-get dynamic at play. For when you give a BlessBack, you will experience an altruistic afterglow that comes when a sincere heart genuinely expresses thanks. At the same time, the person receiving your BlessBack will experience the effects of being honored. That honoring will linger in that person’s heart long after the BlessBack has been given. That person will know that he or she matters.

The result of your giving gratitude to those special people in your life is what I call the Great Give-Get. Both parties will experience the reciprocal nature of altruism in the giving and receiving of BlessBacks. You’ll be amazed at how great you feel and how life-changing and powerful a BlessBack exchange is as you implement it in your life. All you need to do is to begin to change your life is start with, “Thank you for . . .”

Buy the paperback version of BlessBack®: Thank Those Who Shaped Your Life.

Buy the e-book version of BlessBack®: Thank Those Who Shaped Your Life.

Who would you like to thank for impacting your life? 


About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

12 thoughts on “Fan Friday with Guest Author Julie Saffrin – BlessBack®: Thank Those Who Shaped Your Life

  1. Naomi Musch says:

    It seems like something that should be so automatic in our thinking, but from Jesus’ story of the 10 lepers, we realize that expressing thanks or giving a blessback is apparently not in our human nature. I always wish I could find one of my high school journalism instructors who pressed on to see that I won a couple of scholarships and awards in H.S. It really told me that writing was something I was specifically created to pursue. Thanks for writing this insightful book, Julie! Definitely on my TBR list!

    • Thanks for leaving a comment, Naomi. You ARE an amazing writer.
      You know, I too, wanted to thank a teacher I had – and I did. Long story short, I called the school district where I last thought my teacher had worked and talked someone in the Pensions Department and told her the purpose for my calling. She couldn’t give me the teacher’s name, but she put me on hold and called my teacher – who contacted me! You can read about it here:

      Thanks for leaving a comment. I’ll be sure to enter your name in the free book drawing.

  2. Melissa Tagg says:

    BlessBack–love it!

    I would thank my mom and dad and grandparents–the four most encouraging people. If I could swirl their personalities all together into one person, that’s the person I’d want to be.

    • Melissa, – thank you so much for leaving a comment.

      Sounds like you have incredily encouraging people in your life. I can see you sending them a note telling them what a blessing they are to you in your life. If you do so, write me at julie at juliesaffrin dot com. I would love to hear their reaction and how amazed and uplifted you feel. I’m guessingyour mom and dad and grandparents will keep your letters as they will be tangible evidence that validates them as to their importance to the world – and your significance in it too.

  3. Michelle Lim says:

    I am thankful for so many who’ve given to me on my journey! My Mom, Susan May Warren, Rachel Huack, Lisa Jordan, Cynthia Ruchti, Colleen Coble, Beth K. Vogt, Pat Trainum, Amanda Stephens, and so many more.

    • Michelle,
      and I would thank – and do thank you for the honor you’ve given me to guest post on your blog. You are an inspiration and encourager to aspiring writers. Your leadership at the writer’s conference was filled with humility, compassion and encouragement to keep us all at work in our writing. Thanks for getting Colleen Coble to our conference. Besides her teaching, I found just a real person, without ego. I also loved hearing all the ways she shows gratitude to her publishing house. I wish you the best as your book launches soon.

  4. I love the whole idea of “BlessBack” and I would thank Sr. Kathryn, the editor of “My Friend” who told me to “keep writing” and to send her more stories even though she wasn’t able to use the first story I sent her. I did keep sending her my stories and she published them for many years!

    • Sandra,
      Thanks so much for leaving a comment. Sr. Kathryn sounds amazing. So glad she encouraged you and you listened and took her advice. I just looked you up on your Amazon page – seriously, do you live in Minnetonka? I’m in Excelsior, for Pete’s sake. What a small world. We should get together (the General Store?) for lunch sometime!

  5. I have so many people to thank, but I don’t think I would’ve started this journey if Nancy McCarthy, former editor of Woman’s World, had not encouraged me. She bought the very first story I ever wrote, cut it from 3500 words to 2000 and talked to me on the phone when this newbie called her (not knowing that was a no-no lol) Her advice: Write. Then write some more. And don’t give up. I would love to thank her, but don’t know where she is now.

    The others are the same people Michelle mentioned except it’s my mom.

    • P. T., Thank you so much for dropping by Michelle’s blog today. Your story is crazy – loved hearing that you just picked up the phone and gave the editor at Woman’s World a call. Wonder if you could do a search for the editor. One would think she’s still in publishing. Last week I went to this conference and heard the benefits of authors thanking those who publish their writing and how rare it is to receive thanks. Hope you can find Nancy and make the connection.

  6. Stacy Monson says:

    Love this post. Fabulous idea for a book, Julie – I think it will revolutionize the lives of everyone who reads it. My high school band director, Mr. T., was everyone’s favorite. There was absolutely nothing not to like about him. I think he was a favorite (of mine and all other band members) because he took the time to “see” each of us – and there were a lot of us. He knew us by name, by likes and dislikes, he took the time to encourage this extremely introverted, shy flute player. He was (and still is) the best!

    • Stacy,
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on this post and for liking the concept of BlessBack.

      I didn’t know you played the flute. I did too, all through high school. Do you still play? I hauled my flute out a couple of years ago – I’d forgotten some notes. Couldn’t believe it.

      Your entry reminded me of a fellow high school classmate of mine who had a get together of singers from high school ( I wasn’t in the group so wasn’t there.). He posted the gathering on his Facebook. Not only had he invited former singers in the group he was in, he invited the choir director. There they all were in my friend’s backyard – singing away – with the director directing them in song. I’m not sure who looked like they were having more fun – the former students or the director. Anyway, I thought that was a wonderful way to pay thanks backward to someone who had influenced my friend’s life.

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