Sunday, Oct. 30th, Antioch Church, Bend, Oregon. How Fear Erodes Our Faith


Mr. Bone used to write me notes on the backs of his bank deposit slips. I still have the first bank receipt note he mailed me upon his reading of After the Flag has been Folded, the memoir I penned about my father’s death in Vietnam.

I am a Gold Star daughter, a former investigative reporter turned novelist, and a woman of faith. All of those experiences inform my writing.

Mr. Bone used to keep a photo of General Robert E. Lee on his fireplace mantel and several Bibles by his leather chair. Sometimes Mr. Bone would swap stories with me from his days running the fruit stand, or of his own Georgia childhood growing up in Butler County. Whenever I returned to my hometown of Columbus, Georgia to speak at nearby Fort Benning or the Downtown Rotary or the Bradley Library, I would make a point to stop in and see Mr. Bone.

My entire life, I’ve been surrounded by storytellers like him. People, as he himself liked to say, “who go all the way around their elbow to get to their mouths.”

That’s me. Destined by my Appalachian ancestry and encounters with dozens of good country people like Mr. Bone to meander my way through life, crafting story from the backs of bank receipts and crumpled up Starbucks napkins.

And as a girl raised in the Church, I have a deep abiding love for the Church. There is nothing I love more than sharing the stories I’ve collected and the wisdom I’ve gleaned from people like Mr. Bone at women’s groups, retreats and conferences.