All talented musician Ian O’Malley wants is to come home to the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. But is it too late? How does a broken man reclaim the only woman he’s ever loved, the bitter son who sent him away, and the daughter of his heart?
When her father calls Missy, a successful interior decorator, after twenty years to proclaim he is free from the curse of alcohol that destroyed their family, she is afraid to hope. The memories of betrayal run too deep. But her husband, Tim, knows more than he’s telling about his mother-in-law’s desperate prayers for her long-lost husband. Could they together embrace Ian’s recovery and restore him to their family? But will Missy dare to trust the one who has broken so many promises? Whose lack of involvement in her life cost her more dearly than even he knows?
His heartfelt song on the radio continues to draw her. Yet will her own love for music, and her deep love for her one-magical-in-her-eyes father be able to overcome the trauma of her fatherless teenage years, when she needed him so much?
Okay, I’ve been convicted of examining my priorities, but the doing of it, the sorting of them, is the hard part. What do I give up? To whom do I say no? So we pray, my husband and I, and I cannot get angry when he points out where they (my priorities) lie. Such a good man, who knows me so well, who has validated me all my life. He has seen me move from wife and graduate student to mother, from mother to pro-life activist, from grandmother to mentor, and he’s been my champion and faithful supporter all the way–as a dear friend says: how cool is that?
God has given me a passion for writing and an amazing connection with a publisher at Oak Tara that has enabled me to publish my first book at 69 and two more at 71. For this, I can only thank God and walk through the open door. Three more books in the “Singing over Me” series about the musical O’Malley family are under contract and another series (Hope House Girls) is commissioned.
All other priorities must fall behind this, my primary one. Today I attend to the blog, answering comments, and a bit of other social media. That’s all part of marketing, building my audience, so people will read these books. But it is still family (my children and grandchildren) church (which includes mentoring Mothers of Preschoolers), and my vocation (writing). Every day I write.
Please encourage your friends to check me out!
We all have them, and the mantra of our churches is: God, family, church. Sounds simple, but it isn’t. We have choruses in our heads: this is what God wants us to do, and this, and that, and our family need this and that, and our church, God knows 20% of the people do 80% of the work.
What to do? Yesterday I attended an emergency meeting of the Board of the Center for Pregnancy Care I founded in 1985. I have a heart for this ministry, but when we moved 11 miles north, the Center was offered a rent-free location 20 miles east. We hired a director, and I stepped back from the day-to-day operations I had handled for over a decade. I remained on the Board of Directors and continued as a large donor, because I believe in this ministry. Seeing women choose life for their babies, placing babies who would have been aborted into the hands of loving parents–no words can express the joy!
But now the ministry is facing a crisis of funding and volunteers, and we must address that. My church has spent months organizing connect groups to provide small group fellowship, and I lead one and attend another. My daughter and grandson–and their two cats and a dog–live with us and I must live in that community.
God has led me into writing, and I have three published books available, three more under contract, and six more commissioned. A recent mentor is encouraging me to get on the speakers circuit to increase my audience.
What to do? Priorities. God help me!
Daily I read the Christian Blog TGIF (Today God is First) by Os Hillman, who heads a ministry for Market Place Believers. It is a mix of inspiration, exhortation, and challenge. Recently he quoted Samuel Morse, who picked himself up after moderate success as a painter, and the loss of his wife and his parents, to apply himself to the study of the new field of electronic communication.
“Samuel Morse later commented, “The only gleam of hope, and I cannot underrate it, is from confidence in God. When I look upward it calms any apprehension for the future, and I seem to hear a voice saying: ‘If I clothe the lilies of the field, shall I not also clothe you?’ Here is my strong confidence, and I will wait patiently for the direction of Providence.” Morse went on to create several other inventions and can be recognized today as the father of faxes, modems, email, the internet and other electronic communication.” ["Glimpses," Issue #99 (Worcester, Pennsylvania: Christian History Institute, 1998.]“
Did you try a vocation that didn’t work out? I was a switchboard operator (told you I was old!), a caseworker, a mother (far and away my favorite job!), founder of a ministry to help women facing unplanned pregnancy (also a super, albeit non-remunerative job), a state pro-life leader, and a Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) mentor.
Seeing the need for entertaining but edifying fiction about marriage, I turned to writing. This new challenge required study and discipline, but I published my first book in 2012 (“His Brother’s Wife.”) and I have two more published in 2014, plus another one upcoming.
Follow God. He will take you places you never dreamed!
If you follow me on Facebook, you know I went to the greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference the last weekend of July. Good writers attend these conferences to learn, grow and develop their craft. This conference is one of my absolute favorites! Joe is welcome in the general sessions, and the worship and speakers are inspiring. When I sent a thank you to the director, Marlene Bagnull, I said it was more than a place to study and network, it was a time of spiritual renewal for me.
As a Christian writer, I constantly seek God for my stories. This morning I asked him once again if I was in his will, telling my little stories, because our pastor challenged us to be gathering in the harvest because the hour may be short before the Jesus returns. Have you ever had those times when you felt God smile? In my mind, I heard the Master say, “I told little stories to teach spiritual truth.” May I follow in his footsteps and make his ways come alive in my books!
At the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, I took a workshop on blogging, and I resolved to write a post every Monday. Be dependable. That’s me. I even put it down on my work calendar beside my writing computer in the Salt Mines.* Done. Accomplished.
But . . . I got an email from the young man who has asked me to help him write his story about recovering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when he was a kid. I wanted to take his son out to lunch before school started. School starts Wednesday. Plans abandoned, I scooted off to fetch him, and we had a lovely few hours together.
Ian O’Malley, leading figure in the “Singing Over Me” series, says you can’t be led by the Holy Spirit, if you aren’t flexible. That’s me. Flexible. Sometimes I look like a pretzel!
A classmate’s husband gave Joe a copy of “The Ragamuffin Gospel” when we went to his class reunion several months ago. The book assures us God will hang with us because Jesus hung out with ragamuffins– sinners, prostitutes, despised tax collectors, lepers, the unclean–us! He reminds us of something Paul Tillich said: God accepts us as we are, not as we should be, and that’s a good thing, because we will never be what we should be. Reminds me of my dad, right? What a good God we serve.
So, if you want to hang out with one of God’s ragamuffins, I’m your gal!
* My beloved built me a room in our basement, he tiled the floor, bought a desk and computer designated solely for writing, and a comfy desk chair. What a great guy! Because I want my writing to be salt and light, I refer to going downstairs to work as heading to the salt mines. Continue reading
Though the vision tarry, wait for it. I have two more books in print–you can go to my charlottesreaders page on Facebook to see the covers. Invisible Wounds follows up His Brother’s Wife, published in 2012. Angie Carter’s friend and OB from Walter Reed, Lisa Newcomb, moves near the farm and rehab center to be close. She is greeted by a stranger, retired Marine chaplain, widower William Robinson, who has just joined the Center staff, and the sparks fly! Young Max, now almost five, is precocious and much like his late father, David. Jon and Angie’s twin girls are as different as David and Jonathan. Bill Robinson doesn’t let Lisa’s invisible wounds,a woman betrayed by her father and her husband, stop him from loving her.
The first of the Singing Over Me series was also published in July, 2014. Recovered and Free, Song of a Prodigal Father, traces musician Ian O’Malley’s recovery from alcoholism and his restoration to the family he abandoned: his beloved wife, Alice, his son, Jimmy, and the daughter of his heart, the musical Missy. As the musician confronts the pain he caused, he finds healing in the arms of his family, and they carry on his musical talent.
Stories of redemption, healing, and new life to inspire and touch the hearts of this generation. The most economical way to order is through my publisher. Go to Oaktara.com or Oaktara on Facebook and order through their bookstore. You may also order on Amazon. Let me know what you think!