Day #5 and Day #8 – Author Life Month –

Inspiration for my novel’s cover and an Awesome Moment

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I took this picture on my first trip to see Cana Island Lighthouse.

I decided to combine a couple of days, since they are very much related.

The inspiration for the lighthouse picture on the front of my book came from visiting Cana Island itself. I actually took the picture the first time I visited the lighthouse. The cover designer from my publishing company had contacted me about the lighthouse pictures she had found on the Internet, saying that she would be seeking the permission needed to use the pictures. I mentioned to her that I had taken some when we were in Bailey’s Harbor. After showing her the pictures I took, we decided on the current one below.

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Cana Island Lighthouse, Bailey’s Harbor, WI

These pictures were taken the very first time I stepped onto Cana Island. It was just the most beautiful day.

The next few pictures are what I’m attributing to my Day #8 – Awesome Moments. After my husband, Chad, and I were first married, we went on a vacation back to Bailey’s Harbor with our best friends, Alicia and Ryan Estes, and Alicia’s parents and mine. This was just a dream to me–visiting this place with my husband and my loved ones.

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My husband will kill me for including this, but I couldn’t resist!

I must share just a little background with you.

From the time they were little, my parents and Alicia’s parents grew up together in a little town village (my grandmother always reminded me that it was a village, not a town) in Ohio. They became life-friends. When they married and had us, of course we also became life-friends (or as Anne of Green Gables put it) bosom friends. We did everything together–camping, went to church and school together, had sock fights together (don’t underestimate the sock fights–they were brutal). We were more together then we were apart.

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Alicia is on the left, and I’m on the right.

But one day the Lord decided we’d had enough sock fights, and Alicia’s dad was transferred to Wisconsin for his job.

My little 9 year old world suddenly came to a screeching halt. And even though it was 26 years ago, I still remember my first day back to third grade, after Alicia left. It was recess time and the other kids had just left the room. I was supposed to join them, but I remember just laying my head down on my desk and crying. I missed my bosom friend.

You would think that would have been the end of our friendship. What would keep two little girls’ friendship so strong, especially when they’re 400 miles apart?

It could have only been the Lord.

Well, he also used our parents to help out with the foot work. They encouraged us to write to each other, and they also took their vacations to take us to visit each other, helping us continue to create lasting memories. And it was on one of these vacations that I was introduced, for the very first time, to the lighthouse on Cana Island.

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This was in one of my scrapbooks. It’s one of my favorite pictures with my friend, Alicia.

Truly, the Lord was in control all along. I know he created us with the intelligence to make wise choices, but I also believe He orchestrates our paths, leading us to the ones that will spread His message the farthest. The message I hope to convey to all who read A Light in Bailey’s Harbor is that no matter where God takes you, whether it’s a physical distance or whether it’s spiritual, He can always give enough grace to get you through it and enough peace to keep you moving on.

And we did move on.

At each move, God kept our friendship strong. He knew I would need a life-friend, and He sure did choose her well. Here’s one example of our special friendship. I had just finished my senior year of high school, and we were getting ready for my graduation. My Mom had me go up to my room to get something, and when I flipped on my light, there was Alicia!  She had just had her wisdom teeth out a couple of days before, but she’d still come all the way from Wisconsin to be at my graduation.

Over the years, we were always able to find a way to be together and share the moments that bind friends together, despite the distances. And boy did we test out this distance thing.

I lived in Ohio. Alicia lived in Wisconsin. She went to college in South Carolina, and then got married and moved to Indiana. It was then that we thought we could kind of pick up where we had left off those 15 years earlier, since she was now only a couple hours away.

This lasted for about 3 years, and then my husband and I moved to Tennessee for his job.

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The cheese head who separated us again (just kidding, darling😏)

 

But even then, we remained best friends–taking trips to the beach, celebrating the births of our children, and hosting each other in our homes.

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Going golfing

And now, to watch our children play as friends, it’s almost too much for my sentimental heart to take.

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In all honesty, what choice do they have? Life-friends only produce more of their own kind, at least that’s what we’ve decided. God definitely had, and still has, a plan to foster this friendship that he began in our families nearly 60 years ago.

I think of the friendship of David and Jonathan and the moment that they had to part ways for David’s safety, running from Jonathan’s father, King Saul. Secretly warning David, Jonathan called out to his runner the heart breaking phrase, “Is not the arrow beyond thee? Make speed, haste, stay not…” (I Sam. 20: 37-38)

Even though it broke their hearts to leave each other, God had a plan. Because of their friendship, David befriended the family of Jonathan, despite all his father did to utterly destroy David. Because of this, others saw David’s forgiveness and loyalty and followed him. Because others followed him, he was able to accomplish God’s will in battle, conquering many nations for Israel. With these men who respected and followed him, he also paved the way for his son, Solomon, to one day build the most holy dwelling place of the Lord–the temple.

How exciting to think what he’ll do in our futures, in our children’s and what he can do in yours. I realize now how wise it is to choose good friends. They don’t just affect a moment in your past or your present, life-friends affect your life forever.

As Jonathan said, “Go in peace, for…we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever.'”

Cherish your life-friends. They will change your life.

 

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