Friday, May 25, 2012

Mary's Blessing

During one of the coldest days this year I sat by the fire reading this heartwarming book by author Lena Nelson Dooley. The cover itself is touching.

As we look back we think of these early days as gentler times, but the author has captured the essence of the characters and the hardships they accepted as the norm. We see the young heroine, who virtually becomes the mother of her siblings, grow into a spiritually mature woman.

But like us she also battles her doubts and fears when things go from bad to worse. How could God allow these troubles to happen when we're trusting Him? This age-old question is answered beautifully in Mary's life, in that of her father, and especially her sweetheart.

I'm not going into the details of the story except to say it begins on the historical Oregon Trail when settlers longing for a better life faced odds we can barely comprehend today.

I confess many times this true-to-life story brought tears to my eyes, besides its touches of natural humour. It also made me thankful for the modern conveniences we take for granted every day of our lives. Just imagine no corner store. No fridge or freezer. No washing machine. No local pharmacy. And no telephones! Oh yes, Lena reminds us just how strong her characters really are despite their human failings!

This book is the second in the McKenna's Daughters series.  See
Maggie's Journey, Charisma House/Realms, October 2011
Mary's Blessing, Charisma House/Realms, May 2012
Catherine's Pursuit - Charisma House/Realms, January 2013

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Inspirational Romance Writer Extraordinaire

Lena Nelson Dooley is a woman who writes the kind of books we love reading. She once worked as a rural mail carrier in Texas, and while driving she'd create a story from what she describes as a "motion picture" in her head. OK, I'll let her tell her own story.

I went to a Christian bookstore to get a record they had ordered for me. While I was there, I picked up the new romances. When I went to pay, the manager of the store asked me to go to his office with him. What have I done now? I didn't shoplift or anything ran through my mind.

He told me that he wanted to ask me about the romance novels. He had been watching what else I bought, so he was sure he could trust my judgment. I told him how I felt about inspirational romances. We talked about forty-five minutes, and we had a good visit. He had been an English teacher, and his brother was a pastor. We even shared about our churches. I was charismatic; he was not. But we had a wonderful time together. Before I left, I told him I had been thinking about writing an inspirational romance. He looked right at me a minute, then said, "If God has given you this talent, you are to develop it."

Wow! I was stunned. Before I left, he told me he would help me get in touch with publishers. He later took me to a Christian Booksellers Association regional conference.

The next day, our church was having a church-wide spiritual life retreat at a camp in Glen Rose, Texas. Our family went. And I can tell you what the speaker talked about on Saturday morning. He started by reading Psalm 37:4. The scripture says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."  Early in my walk with the Lord, I understood that scripture to mean that if you delighted in the Lord, He would give you things you had always desired. And that is one meaning of the verse. As I matured, the Lord showed me another meaning. If I delight in Him, He will put into my heart the desires He wants me to have.

Many times, you'll think it is your desire. He'll let it stay there often times for years. Then when it is His timing, He'll bring it forth. He'll confirm it through others." The Lord spoke into my heart, Do you see what I have been doing this week? I put that desire in your heart. Now I am calling it forth, and I have confirmed it through people you didn't expect. Of course, I still had a fear. Every time I had to write anything, be it a program or script or something else, it was hard to start. And the book was like a motion story in my mind, so I said, "But Lord what if the words don't come?"

The speaker went on to say, "God places His storehouses of provision along the road of obedience." When he said that, the Lord said to me, You write, I will cause the words to flow. What a promise! And it has been true. I have never to this day had writer's block. I am not saying I never will, I am just saying that so far, I have not had it.

Later I shared with my husband what had happened. And I often got big ideas. I figured he would just say, "There she goes off on another tangent." But he also recognized that it is a call and a gift from God. He has really supported me through all I have done.

So, yes, I know I have a call to write, and the Lord has been my partner. He has opened doors to me. I have done a lot of writing for him--curriculum for Sunday school, children's church, public school, private schools, and alternative centers; international business reports for companies; comedy for a Christian comedian; and much more. God is fulfilling his promise in my life.
Thanks Lena for that great testimony: Look up her website to find her catalog of books at

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Aussie American Couple

I invited fellow author, Crystal Mary Lindsey to share her story.

I was working as an Emergency Room Sister at Caloundra Hospital, Queensland, when one of the doctors told me I needed to get a life. I was ten years out of my first marriage, busy working, completing another degree and spending time with my children and grandchildren, so his words puzzled me. Two days later he again broached the subject while we were eating our lunch together. This time I really took note. I told a close friend, one of our triage secretaries and was stunned when she agreed. 'Hey,' I thought, 'I believe God is trying to get my attention.' My email gave me the next clue, 'Join American Singles.'

Well, for one thing I wasn't sure I liked the idea of a Singles Club or Americans, yet all I knew about them was what I'd gleaned from the media. Some of the members were on-line as I looked in and one stood out, his eyes were so sad.
I flicked through a few pages of men leaning against gorgeous cars, boats or whatever they wanted to impress with. Yet I always returned to the man with the good face. I could see this man had gone through much, and his eyes told the sadness. His photo was a simple mug shot, nothing more. Clicking onto him I said "hello."  My heart was pounding like a school girl caught out doing the wrong thing, I didn't believe in women making the first move, yet now I had committed that terrible act!

We conversed, seeing each other via video for about four months. During this time I spoke about my faith many times. He always agreed and added something to what I'd said, so I knew he was a true believer.
I traveled to Chicago for a conference and he traveled up from Tennessee, to meet me in person. Prior to leaving for the U.S. my daughter and niece had prayed over me, and prayed about my encounter with Ray. If it was of the Lord, he would call me a name, Sweetheart. Yes he did, and we married before my three months in the States were ended.

That was almost eight years ago. We lived in his home state for     three years and I worked there also. Ray loved Australia so
 much after our first that he retired early and we came back
 here to live.

Our church in Tennessee is very dear to us, and talk about
singing and wonderful voices, this church hooked me in many
 ways, and that was one of them. I had been a Christian from
 a young age, and here I felt like I was at home.Due to a bad
 fall and knee damage on our return to Australia, I also retired
earlier than  expected
Then God opened another door, one of creative writing. While
 living in the U.S. it came to my attention how little was known
 about Australia. I decided there and then I would write a book
 and include some understanding about our great land. I began
 a Blog using my love for God in every day life. From there a
 Health Blog was born as I saw the vital need to educate the public on simple health knowledge.

I held off publishing my book for some time. After attending a Christian Writers Conference at Brisbane I changed my book name and some of the content. God led me, yes led me,(it was extraordinary) to a retired lay Pastor who was also a published author of a few books. We didn't meet in a church, but rather in a coffee shop in a strange town. Through her, I then published with an American publisher. It has been a learning process, and as with anything that is important, I have grown and been molded in the procedure.   

The attractive girl on her book cover is Crystal's own daughter.  You can find it on Amazon.