Blowing Rock, NC

Four years ago last month, I saw the town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, for the first time.

North Carolina is my home state, and I’ve seen a lot of that state, including the Asheville area, where both my sister and I (and our dad) went to college. But my niece met her now husband in a different region of the mountains, Boone, and the pair chose nearby Blowing Rock for their wedding.

On that occasion, my family and I stayed at Ridgeway Inn, a short distance from a certain intersection near Knight’s On Main restaurant (which closed in 2014) and the Bob Timberlake Gallery. On the heels of this visit to a very charming town, where we spent happy moments walking and exploring and celebrating a marriage, I decided to use Blowing Rock as a rough pattern for the fictional Tennessee town of Crook Mountain in my novel.

I can’t tell you the exact date I started the novel, but it was in the works (obviously) in 2011 when we went to Blowing Rock. My niece and her husband celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary last month. Meanwhile, in Alabama, this writer was finishing the last chapter of said novel.

Two weeks ago, on June 19, this coincidence occurred to me. I texted my sister, Jane, asking, “Isn’t today Kristen and Dean’s anniversary?” Turns out I was off by one day, but I found it really interesting and sweet that the completion of my book fell that close to the anniversary date of my seeing the town of Blowing Rock..

I have drawn a map showing points of interest in “Crook Mountain” and have used the map multiple times to help me write the details of my plot. I’ll include the map when I submit book proposals. Hey – J.R.R. Tolkien included a map of Middle-earth. I’m in good company.

This anniversary coinciding with the completion of my manuscript is the fourth and “final” in a string of coincidences I’ve written about lately… that is, it was the last I’d planned to write about, until I went to church this past Sunday at Dawson Memorial and heard the guest preacher, Dr. Michael Hardin, new Provost of Samford University, refer in his sermon to a colleague who goes by the nickname “Dub.” Get this. Dub is the name of a crucial character in my novel. Just plain crazy that Dr. Hardin said that name – and he also quoted William Carey’s famous words, “Attempt great things for God; expect great things from God.”

In view of all this, can I not believe that God’s timing is at work in my having written this book and in being ready to market it just now? If the pipes, the name Lee, the June 11 prayer & scripture, my niece’s anniversary, and the name Dub aren’t enough “coincidences,” add this: I wasn’t even “supposed” to hear the June 28 sermon by Dr. Hardin (but, obviously, I was)! I was supposed to be serving in a children’s classroom at that hour. But, when I arrived there, the door was locked and the room was empty and dark, indicating that none of the children was present that morning.

Oh, my goodness!!!

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 King James Version

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