Monday, April 24, 2017

It's Worth the Sacrifice by Mary Manners

It’s Worth the Sacrifice

By Mary Manners
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
~Hebrews 12:1~
What do the three M’s…Marathons, Manuscripts and Motherhood have in common? Well, as a former marathon runner, I’m convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the countless hours of running and training during my marathon days prepared me for the other two.
Marathon running is an endeavor that requires dedication, commitment, follow-through and sacrifice. Runners have to train when they don’t feel like it…when their legs ache and they haven’t slept well. When the weather is hot, humid, cold, rainy, or the ground is blanketed in snow. Runners train before the sun rises, after dark, and as a strong north wind tries to blow them right off the path. Distance runners maintain focus and stay true to the goal. There’s no turning back, only looking forward and always striving for the next great challenge.

The same can be said of writing. It’s a path that requires dedication, commitment, follow-through and sacrifice. After all, what reader would enjoy a book that lacks a satisfying ending…devoid of plot, direction, or character arc? What publisher would pay for such a book? So writers plot even when they don’t feel like it…when their friends are going to the movies or out to dinner, when they’d rather read than revise, when warm rays of sunshine beckon from an office window and their heart longs to run and play. Writers pound the keyboard early in the morning when the rest of the world has yet to rise and late at night when the rest of the world has gone to bed. They write when the refrigerator lures with just one more soda or a piece of chocolate pie. When writer’s block strikes they take a sledgehammer to it instead of pushing away from the desk, no matter how painful the sacrifice.
Being a mother is an endeavor that requires dedication, commitment, follow-through and sacrifice. Saying no to a child has never made any mother popular. Moms overlook their own needs to care for a child. They mother early in the morning, late at night, and every moment in between. They remain strong as a century-old oak when the storms of terrible two’s and the teenage years rage, while teaching their teen to drive or when their toddler throws a tantrum in the grocery store check-out line.
My life’s journey has been a blend of the three M’s. My daughter will graduate from college in May. The child I once shuttled to basketball practice and choir rehearsal now chauffeurs me. I have learned, depending on the day (sometimes even the hour), that I know nothing…and everything. Recently, a college friend of mine sent a photo that was snapped our sophomore year (1982). Looking at the photo, I thought I saw my daughter staring back at me. Was I ever that young, thin and…unwrinkled? My daughter took one glance at the picture and gasped, “Mama, is that really you?” as if I could have never—possibly—been that vivacious young woman in the snapshot. After a good laugh, I thought about the fleeting passage of time and how happy and truly blessed I am to have experienced the three M’s…Marathons, Manuscripts and, most especially, Motherhood.
Jessica Marlin comes to Honeysuckle Cove carrying a secret–she’s pregnant. Shamed by her indiscretion and the circumstances of a former way of life, she’s determined to make a home for her child in the quaint community—even if it means going it alone forever. But when her secret becomes too big to keep, she fears she’ll be forced to abandon her new role as kitchen manager at Honeysuckle Cove Inn. Will friendship—and God’s grace—prevail, or will Jessica be forced to uproot and move on once again?

Rogan Brooks has convinced both himself and his hometown of Honeysuckle Cove that he’ll never settle down long enough to embrace marriage, let alone fatherhood…until he sees the glow of pregnancy, along with the promise of a future, radiate from Jessica Marlin’s eyes. Can Rogan assure Jessica that his heart is true and he’s committed to being a daddy—complete with a happily ever after—for keeps?
Mary Manners is a country girl at heart who has spent a lifetime exploring her joy of writing. She has two sons, a daughter, and three beautiful grandchildren. She currently lives along the sunny shores of Jacksonville Beach with her husband Tim.
A former teacher as well an intermediate school principal, Mary spent three decades sharing her love of learning with students from kindergarten through middle grades. While growing up in Chicago, Mary worked her way through a variety of jobs including paper girl, hot dog vendor, grocery store cashier, lifeguard, swim instructor, pizza chef, and nanny. Many of these experiences led to adventures that bring humor and insight to her stories. Mary loves long sunrise runs, ocean sunsets, and flavored coffee.
Connect with Mary at her website: “Like” her author page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.