I am so happy to have Mary on my blog today. She was one of the very first authors to help with my stories when I started writing again about ten years ago. I appreciate her mentoring me, and I love her stories.
The Longer I Live
“The Longer I Live” serves as a title for some new popular songs. Country singers perform a version; a man with an operatic voice performs another one on Broadway. Since I’ve reached the age of eighty, this phrase runs through my mind every day. I know my purpose is to honor God and love Him forever.
Yet, as the days go by and I enjoy youthful vitality, I realize the specific goals of my life at this time—my calling. I feel a strong compulsion to be about the tasks assigned to me.
My thoughts go to the story of Caleb, one of the most inspiring characters in the Bible. His name means “whole-hearted.” He was faithful, bold, and brave. When Caleb was forty, he went with Joshua and some more strong men to spy on the living conditions in the Promised Land. When they returned to the desert, only Joshua and Caleb reported words of encouragement, saying that the Israelites could take the land. Forty-five years passed, and Joshua had the job of dividing the land among the tribes. Caleb, who was eighty-five, spoke up and reminded Joshua to give him a promised mountain. Caleb could have chosen flat land, which would have served his family well for farming, but Moses (instructed by God) had promised Caleb the mountain.
Caleb had the strength to climb it, and he led his family to drive out the giants, who called Hebron their home. Caleb’s descendants spread through the hill country known as Hebron.
Here’s an excerpt of the account from the Bible:
And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's forever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God.
And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.
As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.
Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims [giants] there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.
And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance.
Joshua 14:9-13 (KJV)
What do I get from this passage?
When I was a ten-year-old girl, I felt a strong calling to write novels. As my life progressed, other callings filled my time and heart. I became a wife, teacher, mother, and nurse. Then when I reached sixty, the day came to return to the desire of my childhood.
Over the years I’ve written novels. It has been my goal to entertain readers and challenge them to examine their relationships with the Lord. God has led me to friends, such as Kathy McKinsey, who have helped me develop essential skills along the way.
Now, as I begin my ninth decade, I must conquer my mountain. Every day on earth has a purpose. I’m as strong as I ever was, but the forms of my strength have changed. The biggest challenge I face—the steepest mountain—is to place my books in the hands of those who need to read them, as I pray that their eyes and hearts will be open.
My most recent novel is All Her Dreams of Love. You can find it on Amazon. Lately, I’ve been placing reels and posts on Instagram and Facebook.
In rural post-Civil War Mississippi, the virgin woods offer cover for bands of outlaws. Underdeveloped roads provide limited transportation for the settlers. Most farmhouses stand miles apart. All Her Dreams of Love weaves tension into an inspirational romance set in a harrowing struggle to survive.
When Nancy O’Reilly lies in bed at night, the cries of bobcats, panthers, and owls in the nearby Cohay Swamp remind her how lonely her life is. She doesn’t know how she can manage their remote farm while she takes care of her little son. Because she has a baby on the way, she experiences tender feelings, and she needs the gentle touch that her husband has provided.
Without the man she loves, Nancy doesn’t know how she can carry on. Where will she find the strength?