This is the only photo I have with Debbie, taken two years ago at the Huddleston Farmhouse in Cambridge City at a farmers market. I found myself with a free Saturday morning and asked about setting up with my first book. There wasn't much of a crowd but good things happened. Debbie was free and drove over from Ohio. We chatted away the morning and then went to lunch. Also, one of the shoppers was a writer for the Western Wayne newspaper and did a little interview, took some photos, and that led to another gig down the road. I wish I had thought to get our photo taken together last week. But I am grateful that Debbie is in my life and helped edit the new book. And, I am grateful for her friendship.
I’m excited to welcome Debbie McCray from the Buckeye state as today’s guest blogger. Debbie was one of three editors for That Sweet Place: At Home in the Heartland, and when I asked if she would be interested in making the hour-and-a-half drive to New Castle for last week’s book luncheon, she said yes! Debbie beat me to my own event. It was such a comfort to see her sitting there, smiling, waving. It was not our first book-signing adventure together. A couple summers ago, we met up at a small farmers market and chatted away the morning. Debbie welcomes you to visit her blog at www.snowdrops4faith.wordpress.com.
Connections that entangle the heart
By Debbie McCray
Connections are our sense of belonging. We have connections from our tight-knit circles to ever-expanding circles that eventually connect us with people throughout the world. This past week, I was invited to spend time with one of my Indiana connections: Donna Cronk.
Donna was launching the book tour for her sequel, That Sweet Place: At Home in the Heartland. The venue was a group at a local funeral home in New Castle, Indiana. Witnessing her connections prompted me to reflect on our connection through the years.
I trace ours to our boys growing up together in the same school district, the same sports teams, and on the same street. We were friendly neighbors busy with life. Donna likes to remind me that Carriage Lane was not the place where we first met. Over 26 years ago, we were in the same Sunday school class at the same local church.
In a way, our connection has also been a journey of faith where God kept putting us together for a reason. God eventually revealed the reason a couple of years ago, when we shared our mutual desire to self-publish a book. In practice, the enduring connection has been our shared love of writing.
Writing was natural for Donna as she went to college for journalism and has been a community journalist for 27 years in one Indiana town and county. Writing was never on my radar given my engineering background with its focus on numbers and logic. I was the stereotypical engineer. I never aspired to be a writer and I did not care about writing, other than what was necessary to complete an assignment.
Hence the surprise when shortly after I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in 1994, God prompted me to write. God was very specific. I was to write devotions for our church’s monthly newsletter. I often thank God for Pastor Dick Blose of Pendleton Christian Church. When I approached Pastor Dick, he said “Yes” and allowed God to use me. Pastor Dick’s encouragement enabled me to “blossom where I was planted!”
Donna’s recently published book was the day’s connection for the crowd that attended her new presentation. As I was introduced to people, I asked, “So how do you know Donna?” Some connections were common to all of us: work-related with both current and former co-workers. Other connections were more specific to the book: editors, reviewers, and fellow self-published authors. It was a friendly crowd with people Donna knew and friends of friends that Donna met for the first time.
Donna shared her new presentation, “Bloom Before You Are Planted!” Her message reminded us that God has good plans for each one of us. The deeper take-away involved self-reflection on my part. Am I paying attention to God’s nudges? Will I act on the seeds that God plants in my heart? Do I embrace God’s joy for my growth? Will I praise God for His beauty inside of me, waiting to bloom in the perfect season?
After Donna’s program, she and I enjoyed our unique connection by simply sitting and chatting for hours. We covered much territory, revisiting old connections and discovering new connections. Finally, it was time to walk out to our cars and say goodbye for the day. That’s when I remembered my family cookbook.
Over the previous six-and-a-half hours, I had completely forgotten about the cookbook I wanted to connect over with Donna. This is the nature of genuine connections. The time goes by too quickly and we are left with a longing for the next visit.
The best connections always explore the nuances of life and entangle hearts!
2 John 12
I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.