“The Unraveling of Reverend G” is not the first book I have published. Back in 1993, my first book came out in print: “The Plain Path,” my adventures as a missionary in Honduras. Throughout the next several years, I published three curricula for teaching English to international students. Then my work appeared in eleven anthologies including five Chicken Soup books and the best-selling Cup of Comfort books. It was an honor to be included with other writers I admired.
My dream shelf, which I started in 1983, is now filled with books I wrote and also books I edited for other writers. Sometimes I sit in my office and thank God that the words which spew out of me have found a venue in print.
But when I picked up my box of Reverend G books from UPS, something triggered a memory. I wanted to stop a moment, to savor the smell of cardboard and fresh ink. I longed to wrap the UPS man in a hug and ask him, “Do you have any idea what you just plopped into my car’s trunk?” But I did not bother him with my history. He hurried back inside the building, his dark brown shirt a depository for the Kansas heat.
From the age of eight, when we moved to the farm, I nested in the top branches of my favorite elm. The Oklahoma sunset spread out to the west in a mixture of salmon and turquoise as I dreamed about becoming a writer. Louisa Mae Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder were two of my heroines; their words about family and love nestled deep within my soul.
I practiced in that treetop – licked the end of my pencil and scribbled in my Red Chief tablet, knowing that someday – somehow I would follow in their steps. I would write something important that included family, love and God.
Although my life took a different tack than I imagined, and I traveled far from that comfortable tree – I kept writing, trying different genres and settling on nonfiction where I seemed to have the most success. But somewhere deep inside, the more creative genes stirred and longed to escape from soul whispers to fingertips to computer screen.
Then finally, in 2010, smack in the middle of long-term unemployment – I woke up with a story about a petite woman in her sixties who faced the battle of her life. Reverend G, a radical female who wore camel-colored leather pants and dared to become a minister in a male-dominated field. She successfully completed her MDIV and served as associate pastor for thirty some years, then one day heard the unjust diagnosis of “dementia with early-onset Alzheimer’s.”
This incredible woman dominated my days until her story took shape and eventually found its way into print form, lying in neat stacks in the UPS box. “The Unraveling of Reverend G” will soon enter the world of bookstores, internet sales and e-readers. Hopefully, some of you will turn the pages of this book and wonder what happens next.
But for me, this petite and brave woman who captured my heart, represents the dream of a lifetime – fulfilled at last during this particular decade and gloriously, miraculously including family, love and God.