Monday, March 23, 2020

Blooming with Books: Guest Post from Author Bonnie Leon with Book Spotl...

Blooming with Books: Guest Post from Author Bonnie Leon with Book Spotl...: Today Blooming with Books is hosting author Bonnie Leon. Enjoy this guest post from her: Do you ever feel as if you can’t do one mor...

Saturday, March 14, 2020

My Book Baby

In early 2017 I discovered I had an eye condition, MacTel 2, that would gradually steal my central vision. It took a while for the doctor's diagnosis to set in. When it did I realized the day was coming when I would no longer be able to see. That was a scary  moment. I struggled with fear and with the what if's of my life. Often, I was close to tears, wondering what I would do when I could no longer see. What did my future hold for me?

After much prayer and soul searching I decided I needed to move on from writing and in May 2017 I announced my retirement. As I unsuccessfully tried to release my love of story-telling, God spoke to me. "Not yet," he said. "Maybe not ever."

Really? But how could I write if I couldn't see? I set out to find the answer and discovered it was possible. And then I asked myself, "What if I can still see in five years?" Hmm. The answer - I might have written several more books. So, why was I in such a hurry to retire? 

Fear should never be the voice we listen to when making such decisions.

I went back to work.

With renewed enthusiasm I dove into a new historical romance that takes place in my part of the world, Southern Oregon. With poor eyesight it was more difficult to work, but not impossible. And after many months I'd written a new story.

I am so glad I didn't give up because today I am here announcing the birth of my book baby, One Hundred Valleys. 

I am still seeing ... not so well, but enough. Some of the things I feared have come to pass ... like not being able to drive, depending on others more, struggling to read. Sometimes grocery shopping can get interesting. But I'm  managing. And as much as I wish I weren't dealing with this inconvenience, I accept God's plan for my life. There is no better place to be than in the midst of His will.

Sometimes I complain and I am not fearless, but I have much to be thankful for. I still see the beauty in the world around me. I have many friends and family who love me and have come alongside to help. I have a wonderful husband who does all he can to make my life easier.



When I decided to return to writing, the words from a movie called Secretariat inspired me. Penny Chenery Tweedy stands up to people who tell her to sell Secretariat, thinking her foolish to keep the horse. She says, her father's legacy to her is not about money, then goes on to say, "You must have the will to win if you can and live with it if you can't. It's about life being ahead of you and you run at it because you never know how far you can go unless you run."

I don't know how far I can go, but I'm running and will keep on as long as I am able.

I am already in the midst of a new book. I hope you will give my novel, One Hundred Valleys  a try. And I pray it will be a blessing to you.

Grace and peace to you from God,


You can order One Hundred Valleys at ...

Friday, March 13, 2020

The Crushing Times

I opened my devotional this morning and when I began reading  I immediately knew I must share these thoughts with you. In these difficult times many of us likely need to hear this message. What follows is is from the book Embraced by Lysa TerKeust.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

    No one wants to have their heart crushed. But being wounded in deep places happens. Sometimes it just seems to be part of the rhythm of life.
    And when these hard times come we feel it all so very deeply. And we wonder if others have these hard, hard moments. After all, we don't snap pictures of the crushing times and post them on Instagram.
    We just wonder if we have what it takes to survive ...
    when the doctor calls and says he needs tot  talk to me in person about the test results.
    ... when the teacher sends one of "those" emails about my child.
    ... when I feel so utterly incapable and unable and afraid.
    I suspect you know the tear-filled place from which I speak.
    So, let's journey to the olive tree and learn.
    To get to the place I want to take you, we must cross the Kidron Valley in Israel.
    John 18:1-2 tells us, "When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it. Now Judas who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples."
    Jesus often met in the shadow and shade of the olive tree in the garden.
    This garden is the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus, just before his arrest, said to Peter, James and John, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death" (Mark 14:34).
    Jesus knew the crushing-heart feeling. He felt it. He wrestled with it. He carried it.
    And I don't think it was a coincidence that the olive tree was there in this moment of deep sorrow for Jesus.
    The olive tree is such a picture of why our hearts must go through the crushing times.

    The crushing times are necessary times.

    First, in order to be fruitful the olive tree has to have both the east wind and the west wind. The east wind is the dry hot wind from the desert. This wind is so harsh that it can blow over green grass and make it completely wither in one day. 
    The west wind, on the other hand, comes from the Mediterranean. It brings rain and life. 
    Thee olive tree needs both of these winds to produce fruit - and so do we. We need both winds of hardship and relief to sweep across our lives if we are to be truly fruitful.

    The crushing times are processing times.

    Another thing to consider about the olive tree is how naturally bitter the olive is and what it must go through to be useful. If you were to pick an olive from the tree and try to eat it, its bitterness would make you sick.
    For the olive to be edible, it has to go through a lengthy process that includes:
    sometimes salting,
    and waiting some more.

    It is a lengthy process to be cured of bitterness and prepared for usefulness. If we are to escape the natural bitterness of the human heart, we have to go through a long process as well ... the process of being cured.

    The crushing times are preservation times.

    The best way to preserve the olive for the long run is to crush it in order to extract the oil. The same is true for us. The Biblical way to be preserved is to be pressed. And being pressed can certainly feel like being crushed. 
    But what about 2 Corinthians 4:8, where it says we are "pressed ... but not crushed"? Let's read verses eight and nine in the King James version:
    "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed."
    This was one of the biggest "aha" moments for me standing in the shadow of the olive tree: crushing isn't the olive's end.
    Crushing is the way of preservation for the olive. It's also the way to get what's most valuable, the oil, out of the olive. Keeping this perspective is how we can be troubled on every side yet not distressed ... pressed to the point of being crushed but not crushed and destroyed.
    I need to revisit these truths often:
    When the sorrowful winds of the east blow I forgot they are necessary.
    When I'm being processed, I forget it's for the sake of ridding me of bitterness. 
    When I'm being crushed, I forget it's for the sake of my preservation.
    I forget all these things so easily. I wrestle and cry and honestly want to resist every bit of this. Oh, how I forget. 
    Maybe God knew we all would forget.
    And so, he created the olive tree." 

Lysa's words are heartening to me. I pray you will be encouraged.

Grace and peace to you from God,