WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT AIN’T
If ‘figgy pudding’ isn’t made of figs,
And jingle bells don’t jingle, only clang,
And Christmas candles have to burn by batt’ries,
And mistletoe is poison that we hang,
If Santa’s just a fat guy we’ve invented,
Based on the life of some medieval saint,
It seems to me the Christmas some folks cherish
Is mostly made of stuff that really ain’t.
So what’s the deal; what are we celebrating?
Is there a reason all the world should hear?
A true event or one we can depend on?
A person worthy of such joy and cheer?
Ah, yes, the man called Jesus: He’s the one
Who came in lowly birth the world to save.
He gave Himself for all in grievous death,
But then ascended right up from the grave.
He offers every man a brand new birth,
And with His blood redemption for us seals.
He’s pure and kind and true and rich in love.
Celebrating Him makes Christmas real.
Find this poem and more in my newest book: KEEPING CHRISTMAS. Available at special Christmas price of $3.75. order from Amazon now.
Special sale on all my digital novels through the 4th of July weekend.
EVERY DIGITAL NOVEL WILL BE ONLY $0.99.
Sale does not include anthologies, non-fiction, or poetry (unless the item was priced that low to begin with).
Prices good now through Monday, July 5, 2021 — Midnight CDT
13 Novels to choose from.
You can make your selections from my author’s page on Amazon at THIS LINK.
Whenever I’m holding healing schools, I generally put my healing book on a special sale so that any students who would like to have a copy can get it at a reduced price. I hand out a lot of material that is covered in the book during classes, but many students want a copy of the whole book for their own use after the classes are over.
So I also like to let my website viewers know about the sale period in case they’d like to take advantage of the special prices as well.
The paperback is on sale for $6.99.
The E-book is on sale for $1.99
These prices will be good through March, 2021.
You can find the book here.
Over 100 pages of encouraging, comforting, challenging devotional studies from God’s Word. A straight-forward and down-to-earth presentation of solid truths from Scripture that can be applied to every situation and every problem we face in our lives. Short and easy to read, each of these devotional studies will help build your faith and lift your heart as they focus you on the Lord and His way of doing things.
Available from Amazon.
E-Book is on a special sale from now through Christmas: $0.99
Paperback is $6.00
Find it HERE.
Yes, it’s official. Book # 5 of the Smoky Mountain Series of inspirational novels is on the market. THIS FIRE IN MY HEART, which continues the story of many of the original characters from the earlier books while introducing us to new ones as well, is finally ready for readers.
Many of my readers who have followed my website for a few years know that when I lost my best friend (who had also been my best book editor) a little over three years ago, the grief and the loss were such that I was not able to return to any of the novels I had been working on, or to start any new works. I was able to write poetry during those years, which provided a healing process for me, but after writing and publishing 11 novels, I was suddenly at a complete standstill when it came to fiction writing. It was a terribly unhappy time for me, not only because of my personal loss, but because of the creative loss as well.
Many of you prayed for me, and the Lord did a wonderful work, particularly during the past year. Earlier this year, I was able to pick up the second novella in another series that had been about half done when my friend and editor died. And I was able to finish that short work and get it into the marketplace. But taking up the task of writing a completely new novel again — and one that fit into the series which has been the most popular of my works — was still quite daunting.
But during the past few months, I’ve experienced a fresh flow of creativity, and I am thrilled with the results. Not only did I write book 5 and get it into publication, but book 6 began to push its way into my psyche so strongly that it almost interrupted my completing book 5 just because I had to keep stopping to write down notes for book 6 that I didn’t want to forget. It’s a very happy problem for an author to have. 🙂
Anyway, folks, that’s a long way of saying that I’m celebrating. So I’ve launched both the E-Book and the Paperback versions of THIS FIRE IN MY HEART at special sale prices through the end of the month.
E-Book — $0.99
Paperback — $6.99
I’ll include a brief description of the story below, and if you’re interested in your own copy, you can find the book HERE.
What’s it about????
He was Cherokee, she Scottish-American. But the moment they met in the airport coffee shop, they were connected. Waiting out the fog, they talked like old friends. When her plane was called, he carried her bag to her boarding gate.
With disappointment in her voice, she said, “Wow, Chicago and Dallas – talk about two people going in opposite directions.”
Light flared in his eyes as he realized she didn’t want their connection to end any more than he did. Her pull on him was so strong that he reached out, thinking to touch her cheek, but caught himself just in time. Such an intimate touch with someone he hardly knew wasn’t like him, He quickly bent and picked up her bag and handed it to her, smiling.
“Opposite directions today,” he said, “but not always, I think. I will see you again, Joy.”
How do you know when you’ve met the right person to spend the rest of your life with? For a Christian believer, the Lord has guidelines. Even so, Joy McDaniels struggles with her heart and mind in conflict. But determined to focus on God’s Word and His way of doing things, she finally allows her heart to take the lead.
Most of my friends know that I have a great love for lighthouses, and several years ago, two of my best friends, Roy and Donna Manasco, came across a small print of a painting by Steven Sundram, “Sureal Moments,” which focused on a lighthouse standing as sentry over a vast expanse of beach during a storm, and a beautiful solid white horse approaching the lighthouse. They bought the print for me and presented it to me as a gift on a Sunday morning at church. I was delighted with the scene immediately, and after arriving home with it, I sat and looked at it for some time before setting it aside to concentrate on my work. I was in the middle of writing two novels at the time, and they needed all my attention. So I had intended to work on one of them most of the rest of the day.
However, I placed Steve Sundram’s picture against the music rack of my keyboard, and sat down on the sofa across from it to eat some lunch. As I ate, I kept looking at the picture, and it literally drew me into it until my imagination began to build to the point that I felt I knew the place personally. Words began flowing through me, as if I were describing it in detail for someone else. I felt that I knew the people who lived there, who walked that beach and shared their lives on it. (Although they are not visible in the painting, they are there.) I even felt as if I knew the horse. I knew his name was Moondancer.
But I also recognized what was happening inside me: I was on the verge of birthing a brand new novel based on that picture. Now, at that time, I had already written six inspirational novels, three of which had been published and were currently on the market. However, every novel I had written previously had been born out of a specific story in my own mind — based on a particular character, problem, or theme. I had never written a novel that focused on a setting of any kind, and even my five-book series The Smoky Mountain Series, keeps the focus on the setting at a minimum.
So starting a book based solely on a physical setting was completely out of character for me. Furthermore, I scolded myself for even thinking about starting a new novel when the current books were still not finished. Immediately, I jumped up, walked over to the picture, turned it around backwards so that I could not see it anymore, and tried to finish my lunch.
But by the time I had finished eating, the descriptive passages flowing through my mind had grown into paragraphs. I fought off the temptation to sit down to the computer and pull up a blank page. I told myself that I absolutely had to finish the other work, one part of which was facing a specific deadline. But those words kept pressing through me. I managed to leave the room and do something else for several minutes, but before I knew it, I was back in the living room, turning the picture back around and looking at it again. I put it down and picked it up multiple times.
Eventually I began to get a handle on the main character — a man who had suffered serious emotional trauma and needed healing. A man who had made his way to this ocean, this beach, this place – in order to find peace and quiet, time and solitude, a touch of eternity — so that he could heal. At that point I didn’t know what he had suffered or what he was running from. Nor did I have any insight into what form and process his healing would take. I just knew that the story would be his story; he would be living there temporarily, and that the other people who lived there were going to have a significant part to play in his healing.
I fought the temptation and the draw of that painting until 3:00 in the afternoon, at which time, I sat down at my computer, pulled up a blank page, and began writing the novel Racing Toward the Light. Of course, it didn’t have the title at that point. But I wrote everything I saw and felt in that painting, and I didn’t stop writing until I had the lighthouse inhabited and the main character named Noah Bennet. I still didn’t know what his terrible past was or what would happen to him in the story, but I was determined to find out. And I can say, without any reservation, that I virtually lived in that painting for the entire three months it took to write the story.
Over the next two weeks, I realized two things: this story would take the bold step of dealing with the subject of the supernatural, which had been experiencing a resurgence in literature and movies at the time. Several conversations that I had with other people concerning the surge of interest in supernatural subjects, especially witchcraft and its effects, led me to realize that I had the rest of the story in that subject matter.
I’ve learned that when an author lets a story begin to tell itself on paper, he finds that it has within itself much more than he ever thought about when he wrote the first word. This story, conceived out of a picture of an unnamed place, built itself into a masterpiece that takes an intimate look into the world of the supernatural while, at the same time, allowing readers to follow the earthly characters as their lives relate to and are impacted by the supernatural realm. The story of spiritual warfare in both realms is sure to inspire and encourage faith in the readers.
Racing Toward The Light also gradually eased its way into a powerful love story. That’s the second thing I realized: that in every book, whether the author planned it or not, there is a love story just waiting to be told.
But now, to the second leg of this author adventure: When the book was finished, I wanted, with all my heart to be able to use Steven Sundram’s painting for the cover. I contacted him to find out what terms he could offer for the use of his work, and I must say that he offered me a very generous proposal. That fact, in itself, was a blessing. Nevertheless, I did not feel that I could afford to accept. I knew that even if I got my hands on that amount of money, I would feel obligated to apply it to a number of other necessities. In fact, even before I contacted Steve Sundram, I had worked diligently to try to create a “second-best” cover, using a friend’s picture of another lighthouse. It was not very satisfying, of course, but I knew it would serve the purpose if necessary.
However, unknown to me, a very dear friend, who had read and been intrigued by Racing Toward The Light — and who had done a thorough job of editing it for me — had been meditating on the fact that this painting had been so powerful that it had ignited the spark that became this bold and brave story. He felt in his heart that it was wrong for the book to use a “second-best” cover. His words were, “It would be an injustice for this book to have any cover other than the painting that inspired it in the first place — the painting you lived in all the time you wrote the story.”
He insisted that I stay in touch with Steve Sundram and not refuse his offer. I couldn’t figure out why he was so adamant that I continue to plan on using the picture that inspired the book, and I felt a little uneasy about continuing to communicate with the artist, knowing I did not actually have the money in my hands.
Then one day, about two weeks after I had begun to confer with Steve Sundram concerning the use of his painting, this friend, who insists on remaining anonymous, simply handed me the money necessary to purchase the rights to use the painting. Now this individual does not consider himself a Christian, but he was so touched by this Christian-themed novel that he wanted to be a part of sharing it with others.
Because most of the novels I write focus on truths from God’s Word as they apply to our every-day lives, I do believe that the Lord inspires most of what I write. And He has had to work out some problems along the way with the writing, publishing, and marketing of several of those novels. But Racing Toward The Light seems to me to be the recipient of an extra amount of the Lord’s intervention. I consider the original gift of a painting that captured my heart so completely — and the outright gift of all the finances necessary to purchase rights to the painting for the cover — to be proof that the Lord has taken a hand in bringing this book to the reading world. The book was first published in paperback in 2009, and it has been available on Amazon in paperback and digital for the past four years.
Writing Racing Toward The Light was truly one of my greatest adventures as an author, and, personally, I believe it offers an adventure and a great blessing for everyone who reads it.
I’m offering the E-Book version of Racing Toward The Light at a special discount price of $0.99 for the rest of the month of October. The price is good from now until midnight October 31, 2020 (U. S. Central Standard Time). If you don’t own a Kindle, Amazon offers a free Kindle app for any device when you order the book.
You can find your copy HERE and start your own adventure with Racing Toward The Light.
What happens when twenty-first century technology comes face to face with the most powerful force the human race has ever known? Find out in this story of intrigue, romance, courage, and faith: QUENTON’S HONOR.
A man’s love for his country; a man’s love for a woman.
Securing a nation; capturing a heart.
It’s a story of patriotism. It’s a love story. It’s a story of one man’s journey to God.
American industrial magnate Quenton Sutherland’s efforts at humanitarian aid carry him on a fact-finding tour into the Middle-Eastern hotbed of war-torn Pakistan. While there, he uncovers a terrorist plot involving three cells already poised for attack back in the U.S. Before he can foil their plan, he is taken hostage to prevent his exposing their plot.
In the days that follow, Quenton comes face-to-face with his need for the God he abandoned decades before — while he, along with investigative journalist Honor Fairfield, and the Department of Homeland Security, begin an ever-twisting adventure and discover life-changing connections that none of them could have foreseen.
I wrote this book years ago, and it was first published in 2004. But this is the first time its been offered in paperback through Amazon. I still love the story. Even though I’m the author, the story still makes me cry in all the right places, makes my heart beat faster with each embrace of the lovers, and thrills my soul when the characters encounter a God whose love is focused on blessing them every step of the way on this journey.
The story has been called a cross between ‘You’ve Got Mail’ and ‘Song of Solomon.’ I don’t know about that, but I do know amazing things — even spiritual things — can happen through the wonders of computer technology and in the world of cyberspace. You’ll just have to see for yourself.
Get your copy in paperback or digital here.
The E-book is on sale for $1.99 through June.
You can read a short sample at this link, but bear in mind that Amazon’s samples on the product page are sometimes a little screwed up. Hopefully, you’ll at least get enough of the text to make a decision on whether the story’s for you or not.
My short story anthology Stories That Leave You Thinking is on sale during the whole month of June.
A collection of diverse and slightly unconventional short short stories
Have you ever come to the words “The End” when reading and just couldn’t seem to turn off your own imagination? Did your mind keep working on the plot and planning out possible ways in which the story could continue? Did you enjoy the process? Then you’ve come to the right book. The stories included here, on a wide variety of subjects and themes, offer the reader the opportunity to keep thinking past “The End.” Each story comes to a stop, to be sure, but most of them will tempt the reader to let his own imagination get involved and do some thinking about what would happen next – if the story continued. A refreshing approach to short story telling.
Paperback only — $5.00
Find it here:
Novellas are back in style. After decades with almost no “short novels” on the bookshelves, we’ve come back to the place where we want stories that require shorter time spans, but that still offer the true-to-life actions and emotions that satisfy. Novellas are, once again, taking their place as the genre of choice for busy readers. On target, quick-read stories that still bring long-lasting satisfaction after we’ve turned the last page:
My contribution to this genre is a series based on one of my favorite characters: Detective Simon Stone. Book # 1 in that series — INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY — is a suspenseful romance that will keep you guessing right up until the last couple pages. And it’s on a whopping sale this whole week:
(Prices good through midnight 2/29/20, CST)
Deanna Forbes is a suspect in a murder investigation, but that fact doesn’t interfere with her desires. And, as a woman, she finds herself attracted to Detective Simon Stone, who conducts the two interviews with her before she is taken off the ‘official’ suspect list. She surprises Stone, and herself, when she invites him to have dinner with her so she can get to know him better.
Simon is a detective with a heart, and, so far, that heart has never been broken. So falling in love with a woman he still suspects of murder doesn’t seem like a smart thing to do. But sometimes the heart has a mind of its own. He may be the sharpest detective on the force, but love is not a subject covered in the standard law enforcement manuals.
Read it fast; enjoy it long. And look for book # 2 — The Deadliest Venom — to be available in April.
Don’t forget about the big sale on JONAH’S SONG.
This 4th book in The Smoky Mountain Series is a beautiful, memorable love story. Although it’s book # 4 in the series, it also stands alone as a complete and inspiring story. In fact, all the novels in this series are equally capable of standing alone without the other stories.
Special prices through Valentine’s Day!
E-Book —- $1.99
Paperback — $7.99
To read some excerpts from the story, you can visit this post.
Find the book in both formats on Amazon.
What do the Biblical story of Ruth and the 21st-century novel, Jonah’s Song, have in common? Well you’ll have to read both stories to find out. Of course most people know the basic story of Ruth, so that leaves just one story left to read.
I’ll give you a hint: Ruth’s story has an important lesson that Jonah McDaniels and Valentina Rosswell (the novel’s hero and heroine) need to study and take to heart if their own love story has a chance at a happy ending.
Actually, even the Lord has His hands full trying to work things out for these two lovers. That’s why He had to take advantage of Ruth and Boaz along the way. If we stretched our imagination just a little, we might even say that by making sure the story of Ruth was included in the Bible, the Lord sort of “planned ahead” for when He’d need it as a teaching tool.
If you’re a true romantic – and enjoy the tingle of a touch – and a tear now and then – and catching your breath at the passion of a kiss – and using God’s Word to work out life’s problems – this story is definitely for you.
Although Jonah’s Song is the 4th book in the Smoky Mountain Series, it — like all the books in that series — can stand alone as a complete story. Although many of the characters progress from story to story, readers will not be confused or disappointed in any way by reading one book before the other.
This book makes a great Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetie.
I’ll include some brief excerpts below, and here’s the link to find JONAH’S SONG and place your order – for yourself – or for the one you love.
EXCERPT: JONAH’S SONG, pp. 1-4
Valentina’s aquamarine eyes popped wide open. She sat bolt upright, her heart beating erratically, as she looked around her at her bedroom, realization dawning on her. She let out a gusty sigh. “Oh! … I knew it was too good to be true!” She sighed once more. She’d been dreaming — again — about Professor Jonah McDaniels — again!
She fell back against her pillows once more, running her hands through her long, loosely curled hair. As she felt it flow between her fingers, she recalled the scene from her dream where Jonah had buried his hand in her hair. She closed her eyes, wanting to relive the whole dream and hold onto it as long as possible.
Jonah had been standing a couple feet away from her, his conductor’s baton in his hand, his eyes burning with his feelings. Finally, he laid down the baton closed the gap between them and took her, somewhat roughly, into his arms.
Valentina swallowed, trying to get back the breath his sudden embrace had stolen. Her heart beat wildly as his eyes moved to her lips. Without conscious thought, she glanced down to his mouth, his full, sculptured lips – one of the first two things she had noticed about him the day she’d met him – the other being his deep violet eyes . . .
The exhilarating scent of his cologne sent her senses whirling, and the warmth of his breath as he brought his face close to hers was so sweet she couldn’t resist closing her eyes. Her lips were parted slightly, her breath almost suspended, and as his mouth reached hers, his lips were bold and strong as they molded hers to his own. Everything in her melted as she gave herself up to this kiss she’d wanted for so long, but had never dared hope for.
He deepened the kiss, and she clung to him. When he finally pulled back for a moment, she uttered his name, once, breathlessly. “Jonah.”
“Hey, Vallie!” That shout came from Katey, one of the two girls Valentina shared the apartment with, and it was coupled with a pounding on Valentina’s bedroom door. So much for wallowing in her dream. “You’d better get a move on if you don’t want to be late for rehearsal. You know what Dr. McDaniels will say if you walk in late.”
“Oh, no!” Vallie had forgotten about the string ensemble’s rehearsal this morning. Just the thing she didn’t need: facing Dr. McDaniels right after that dream. . . .
She stood in front of her mirror in her pajamas. It was time for the lecture again. She looked at her reflection sternly, and pointed her finger at the mirror. “This is just your junior year, Valentina Rosswell. You still have three months left of this year and your whole senior year to go. And next year is going to be full of performances, a good many of them with Dr. Jonah McDaniels conducting. Do you want to end up making a total fool of yourself? … Now, you go out there and act like the musician that you are! You treat this Dr. McDaniels like any other stuffy, old college professor.”
Suddenly she was picturing him dressed in a baggy sweater, the lower part of his face covered with a beard, his hair gray and in total disarray. She shook her head and sighed loudly. Even like that he looked good enough to melt her bones.
EXCERPT: JONAH’S SONG, pp. 213-215
She let out a long sigh, looking toward the windows herself. “It’s a gorgeous evening out, isn’t it?”
He glanced back to the windows now, noticing that night was making rapid advances, twice as many stars showing up now as when he had been standing there looking out. “Yes, one of the loveliest we’ve had.” He turned back to face Vallie. The light in the room was dim, but he could see Vallie’s face quite well since they were standing so close. Her eyes were luminous, and he couldn’t resist the magnetism in them.
He stepped closer and spoke in barely more than a whisper. “But not even such an evening can compare with your loveliness, Valentina.” As he spoke, he slowly lifted his hand and touched the tips of his fingers to her cheek, gently gliding them along her skin. He felt her tremble slightly at his touch. “You’re so very beautiful, you know.”
She shook her head, a barely perceptible move, as if to say that she hadn’t known.
“Oh … yes,” he replied, still in that quiet voice. “Indeed you are … and not just beautiful to look at … but equally as beautiful to know.” Not actually conscious of what he was doing, he moved his forefinger gently to her mouth and began to trace the outline of her sensuous lips, his own beautifully sculptured mouth opening slightly as if in anticipation of what he wanted to do next.
Valentina held her breath. She could hardly believe what she was experiencing and wondered fleetingly if she were dreaming again, because she knew that Jonah McDaniels wanted to kiss her — was moving toward her even now to do so. His face was only inches away from hers now, and she could feel the sweet warmth of his breath against her skin. Oh, this was exactly the way she’d dreamed it again and again. Oh, please, don’t let me wake up yet, she thought, as her eyelids drifted closed of their own volition.
Suddenly, she felt space between them and without opening her eyes, knew that he had drawn away and even taken a step back. She did open her eyes then, looking at him with the confusion she felt showing plainly on her face. But she hurried to camouflage it, embarrassed enough that he obviously knew she had expected to be kissed, and he, evidently, had changed his mind. This was no dream, but it had ended just as unhappily as all of those dreams had. She dipped her head slightly, focusing on the floor for a moment to try to collect her thoughts. All she knew at this moment was that she wanted to get away from him as quickly as possible.
“Well,” she said, needing to clear her throat to go on. “I guess I’d better be getting back.” She looked right at him for just a moment and somehow mustered up a small smile. “I hope you get all your problems worked out.”
He shoved both of his hands in his pants pockets and glanced down at the floor momentarily. Then he looked back at her with a rather grim smile that she could barely see in the gathering darkness of the room. “I’m afraid that isn’t too likely, Valentina. Not every problem has a solution, you know. … Some of them just have to be endured with as much grace as possible.”
“I … I’m sorry, Jonah. … I wish … I wish I could help somehow.”
He laughed out loud then, but it was a bitter laugh, and he choked it off quickly and looked into her eyes. When he spoke, it was so quietly she had to strain to hear the words clearly. “Go home, Valentina.”
EXCERPT: JONAH’S SONG, pp. 237-239
Cameron paused, looking at his brother, who walked back to his chair, but only leaned on the back of it. “I think Vallie loves you, and personally, I think your love is exactly what she needs … and wants.”
“Then why don’t I feel that way about it too?”
“Because you’re letting your head rule instead of your heart. You know, God uses our hearts to lead us into His will much more often that He does our heads, Jonah.”
Jonah stood there with his elbows resting on the back of the chair, looking at his hands clasped in front of him. “It’s interesting you should say that. A few nights ago, when I was really wrestling with all this, I picked up my Bible and just opened to wherever, and the first passage I read was from Proverbs three. The fifth verse says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
“That’s it, Jonah. You’ve been leaning heavily on your own reasoning about this thing and not on your heart at all from what I can see. You’ve served God faithfully all of your life. Surely you can trust that He has a strong enough hold on you by now to lead you where He wants you. And to keep you from taking wrong turns. If something – the same something – keeps showing up strongly and consistently in your heart, and it’s something that doesn’t go against God’s Word, then it’s most likely the Lord Who planted it in your heart in the first place.” . . .
. . . Jonah took his seat in the chair again as Cameron continued: “What you have to offer may be the very things that Valentina needs most in a husband. You need to at least give the Lord … and Valentina … the opportunity to put in their two cents worth, rather than just deciding everything in your own finite mind.”
Jonah grinned at his brother’s bluntness, but then he sighed and leaned his head back against the chair, closing his eyes. After several minutes, he spoke softly. “I composed a song to her, did I tell you?”
“No. When was this?”
“A couple of weeks ago. I was so close to drowning in all that I was feeling for her … and wanting from her… that I just picked up the violin and began to play it out. After I’d played it several times, I decided I needed to get it written down so I wouldn’t lose it.” He laughed lightly. “As if I could lose it. … It‘s as much a part of me as my breath.”
Cameron looked at his brother, whose eyes were still closed. His heart swelled with pride in this older brother who was able to create such beauty with his gifts. How like Jonah to release the love he felt in the creation of a beautiful piece of music that millions of people could one day share and enjoy.
“Have you played it for her?” he asked now.
Jonah opened his eyes and looked at Cameron. “No, I haven’t. … And I don’t think I ever intended to.”
“Then you’re an idiot.”
Jonah’s eyes widened. His brother had never spoken to him that way before, and he wasn’t sure what to make of it. “You sound pretty convinced.”
“I am. …
EXCERPT: JONAH’S SONG, pp.275-279
On the night of October 20th, which was supposed to have been her wedding night, Vallie couldn’t get to sleep, so she finally got up and went into her parents’ living room and sat down on the sofa, curling up into the corner, trying to think of some way to get her mind off Jonah and how she ached for him. She huddled there, hurting, but trying not to cry anymore. But all her efforts were in vain, because the tears slipped out anyway, and as the pain insisted on pulsing through her, the sobs started again. She had tried to be as quiet as possible, but her father had heard her go downstairs, and then he heard her sobbing again, and decided it was time his little girl’s daddy did something to change things … somehow.
He slipped out of bed and put on his robe as quietly as possible so as not to wake his wife. He knew she was hurting almost as much as Valentina herself — just because mothers who really loved their daughters did that — and he slipped downstairs. He turned on one of the table lamps before he sat down beside Valentina and put his arm around her, calling her by his pet name for her.
“Hey, now, Valentine, it’s time you listened to your daddy and listened good,” he said, handing her a handful of tissues and giving her a little shake with the arm he had around her.
Vallie took the tissues and began to blow her nose and wipe her eyes, even though a river of tears still streamed down her face. “I … I’m sorry I woke you, Daddy. Did I wake Mom too?”
He shook his head. “No, she’s still asleep. And you don’t have anything to be sorry about, Valentine. You’re hurting … hurting badly … and that’s what family’s for … to help ease the hurt. Or if we can’t ease it … then we can at least be there to hurt with you until the Lord eases it.”
Vallie gave him a watery smile at those words and leaned her head on his shoulder for a minute. “Oh, Daddy, I don’t think there is any way to ease this hurt. It just goes so deep … and it seems so final.”
He pulled back a little so that she raised her head and looked at him. “Now you listen to me, little girl, there’s nothing final about any of this,” he said sternly, pointing his finger at her. “This whole thing isn’t over by any means, and I don’t want you giving up and believing it is.”
“What do you mean,” she asked, still wiping every other minute at her nose and eyes.
“I mean just what I say. So your man went back to Chicago saying he wasn’t going to let you be tied to him when he’d just be a burden to you. Does that mean everything’s over?” He shook his head, and continued. “You’ve got to understand that a man just feels like he has to do that … he has to protect the woman he loves from suffering if at all possible, and that’s what Jonah thinks he’s doing. Plus the fact that his stubborn male ego can’t stand to think that he might have to be really dependent on you for something he feels he has to do for himself. All of that’s just part of a man’s make-up, Valentine.
“But, little girl, that’s just the first phase of what Jonah’s going through. He’s going to come to a time when that ego isn’t going to be as strong … or as stubborn. It’s not going to be enough to pull him through the loneliness and the terrible need he’ll be feeling without you. Now, if he’d never allowed himself to open up to the truth that he loves you and wants a future with you, he might have been able to go on for the rest of his life at least halfway satisfied with his life without you in it. But not anymore. Now that he’s admitted to himself that he loves you and needs you to make his life complete, there’s no going back.”
“Do you really believe that?”
“Oh, I don’t just believe it, Valentine. I know it. I’m a man myself, you know,” he said, grinning at her now.
Vallie grinned back.
“Now … here’s the thing, Valentine. When your man finally comes to the place that pride and ego aren’t enough to keep him going forward in this decision he’s made, the only thing left will be his feeling that he still has to protect you. And that’s where you have a chance to turn this thing around. When that time comes, he’ll be vulnerable enough that you’ll have a chance to convince him that instead of protecting you, he’s only hurting you, and that you’d rather be with him in his handicap than to be without him the rest of your life … that is,” he said, pausing to look right into her eyes … “if that is the way you feel about it.”
“That’s exactly the way I feel about it. I couldn’t have put my feelings into better words myself.”
“Well, then, I’d say you’ve got your work cut out for you.”
“Exactly what are you trying to say, Daddy?”
“Well … I don’t think it’s for me to tell you exactly what you ought to do, but I’ll tell you this. Yesterday, in my quiet time with the Lord, I opened my Bible up to the book of Ruth and began to read. I hadn’t read that book in a long time, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. And as I read through those chapters, I couldn’t help thinking about you from time to time … I guess because it’s kind of a love story, you know, and Boaz is considerably older than Ruth, and so on. But … anyway … I noticed one thing in particular that stood out to me more than it ever had before.” . . .
All excerpts from Jonah’s Song. Copyright © 2005 by Sandra Pavloff Conner
RACING TOWARD THE LIGHT