In 1947 Lily Sanders moved with her family to a homestead at the edge of an Athabaskan village in the Alaskan Territory. It was an ideal location for her father, a mountain man and hunting guide. It also provided a place where the world could not see his brutality.
Seeking her father’s love and approval, Lily traipses the mountain trails at his side, learning to bring down big game and to work as a hunting guide. She runs her own trap-lines, faces down wolves and mushes her dog team in local races.
A heartless act by her father, leaves Lily brokenhearted and strips away any thread of hope that one day he might love her. She vows to never forgive him and turns to the powerful bond of love she shares with her sweet-spirited mother and her many sisters. Together they share the adventure, beauty and heartache of their wilderness life.
Even a mother’s love is not great enough to overcome a deeply rooted bitterness like Lily’s. Only the love of God can set her free.
My people are story tellers. My dad was a story teller. And I’m a story teller too. But more than that, I am a truth teller. I know about life and death, hope and desperation, riches and bankruptcy. A bankruptcy of the soul, and the beauty of God and His truth—how it shines when it is held up alongside the twisted, ugly lies of the Evil One.
Sometimes the way we begin our life has little to do with where we end up or who we become along the way.
And sometimes it has everything to do with it.
There are people in this world who walk around all scarred up inside—angry and never able to find their way. But for some, scars make them stronger and show them a better way to live.
I’m one of those. And I want to tell you my story.
Most of my life, I lived in a muddle of love and brutality, raging inside. Mama was good and kind and her life was one of sacrifice. Daddy didn’t know how to love. He only knew how to get what he wanted. And no one had better ever get in his way, not even family.
Living with ruthlessness can turn a person sour, like milk left out in the heat too long. That was me. I learned I could be better, only it took a great God, a lot of years, and a miracle to show me the way.
I discovered that a wounded heart does not mean an end to goodness, but can be like the rocks that sit in a river-bed. Week upon week, month upon month, year upon year water washes over those stones, so hard, so fast, and for so long that the jagged edges are gradually and steadily chipped away until the stones become smooth. Some even turn shiny and one day become a treasure to someone who sees them glittering in a creek bed and picks them up.
About The Author
Bonnie Leon is the author of twenty novels, including the recently released Where Eagles Soar and the popular Alaskan Skies series.
She enjoys speaking for women’s groups and teaching at writing seminars and conventions. These days, her time is filled with writing, being a grandmother and relishing precious time with her aged mother.
Bonnie and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and eight grandchildren.
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