Friendship Is One Of Life’s Sweet Places by Guest Blogger Donna Cronk


Although I am the taller of the two of us, I look up to my friend Donna Cronk. She repeatedly has said, “Yes!” to God and stepped out in bold faith. God has given me the special gift to be a small part of those adventures and to experience the excitement of God doing something new in Donna’s life. Donna slows down enough to write this guest post. 

Friendship Is One Of Life’s Sweet Places By Donna Cronk

Are you ever amazed at how God works? I sure am.

For years, Debbie McCray was a friendly neighbor down my street. She was Andy and Ben’s mom, and their home was one of those lovely “safe places” where I knew my son was safe and happy when there to play with her sons. When life moved the family from Indiana, I never expected to hear from, let alone see them again.

This is apparently where God chuckled.

Many years later, ten perhaps, and I’m not even sure quite how (hear Him laugh?) Debbie and I started emailing each other. It wasn’t so much, or even at all, about rehashing life on our familiar lane, or detailing about what our sons were now up to. No, our cyber chats were about writing.

Debbie listened and commented with helpful prompts and good sense when I shared that I was writing my first women’s Christian fiction novel, “Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast.” And when Amazon put it up on its website, she even saw it –and bought a copy – before I knew it had gone “live.”

But a year or so ago, our friendship took an advanced turn. Debbie allowed me the privilege of editing a project of hers. As a writer of newspaper and magazine articles, and now two novels, I know firsthand that it is a big deal to entrust my labored-over words with an editor. It’s also a risk because an editor’s job is to question, find flaws, attempt sharpening and tightening copy. It can be a painful process for both writer and editor. Usually it’s not something friends should probably tackle together.

Yet I knew that I would treasure Debbie returning the favor and editing my new book’s manuscript. My book, the newly published “That Sweet Place: At Home in the Heartland,” went through three editors, each assigned with specific tasks in the project. Debbie’s was to react and provide general suggestions, point out any problem areas, but most specifically, to look at it with spiritual eyes and recommend scriptures that might inform each of the chapters.

She did a beautiful job. There was one area of the story, a turning point, really, where the lead character, Samantha, experienced a meeting of the minds with her boarder after they started out with a tense relationship. Debbie gently pointed out that she wasn’t quite feeling the specifics of that turning point.

Her nudge sent me back to the manuscript where I added a more direct change in their relationship. It greatly helped move the story forward. In fact, it was an essential edit.

As readers of Debbie’s blog, you might enjoy seeing this other side of your friend: that of editor. I asked Debbie if I could write this piece. I’d be less than honest if I didn’t admit this up front: I’m hoping you might consider having a look at my book. You can read all about it on Amazon … as well as Debbie’s comments about it in the book description there.

But I also wanted to thank Debbie publicly for her role in this book. Thank you, Debbie.

And Lord, I am amazed. Even when Debbie and her family lived on the same lane and then moved away, You were not done with our overlapping stories. You even knew that mine would be called “That Sweet Place: At Home in the Heartland.”

Donna Cronk still lives in Pendleton, Indiana. She blogs at Contact her on her Facebook author page at Donna Cronk. And if you read her new book, please share with her what you think.




Guest Blogger: Donna Cronk / God’s Mysterious Appointments

Guest Blogger Donna Cronk

Guest Blogger Donna Cronk with our “connection”: God’s Word & her first Christian novel.

Introduction: I believe that we all have a story to share. Oftentimes, our stories are intertwined in God’s mysterious ways.  That is the case with my guest blogger, Donna Cronk, of Pendleton, Indiana. She writes even more than me and is the first-time author of a Christian novel: Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast. (You can check out her book and more writing at her Facebook page: Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast by Donna Cronk. The book is available on Amazon and has great reviews.  I know because I have read her book and wrote one of the five star reviews!)

God’s Mysterious Appointments

By Guest Blogger Donna Cronk

There was no reason, frankly, to think that I’d ever hear from, or maybe even about, Debbie McCray again. About a decade ago, Debbie and her family moved from our subdivision in Indiana, to the southwest corner of Ohio, a few hours away. Debbie and I had been friendly, and sometimes sat next to each other in church. Our sons played together and two of them were even very good friends as well as childhood playmates. Other than place on the map and our boys, however, Debbie and I didn’t on the surface have a whole lot in common.  We enjoyed passing the time as neighbors. But close? We weren’t.

I guess that’s why it surprised me when Debbie included us on her Christmas card list. Still, it was nice to catch up with a few lines around the holidays. This went on for a decade and honestly, it was all her doing. Every year I half expected for the cards to stop. They never did. Then, about a year ago, an email arrived, out of the blue, from Debbie. She told me about some devotions she wrote that her church published. She told me about some other writing she was doing and about her dream to write a book. I was stopped in my tracks. At the very same time, I was working feverishly on my own book. In fact, my husband and I had established 2013 as The Year that I get my novel out there. What are the odds that Debbie would contact me, one, and two, what are the odds that she would mention a dream of her own book, randomly, at the very same time that I was pounding daily into the computer on chapters of mine?

I wrote back to her about what I was up to and Debbie said we should be accountability partners. This threw me. I told her it sounded too “AA” for me. And maybe, I just didn’t want to be accountable. What if my book did not happen? What if hers sailed through on a breeze and here I am, a 30-year journalist, who couldn’t complete one small novel in the year designated for that purpose even though I’d been plucking away at it for four years? Best to keep such dreams to oneself, I thought. Debbie told me that she meant being accountable in a “fun” way. OK, we’d try it. Before I knew it, we were exchanging great information that we learned at writing conferences. We discussed the merits of professional editing, of selecting publishing houses, of how to handle sticky situations. We were becoming colleagues.

For me, it really was the year to publish. My Christian women’s fiction novel, Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast was published in January.  Soon after, Debbie was blogging.  And here we are. Email buddies. A writing support group of two.  And even though I’m not fond of the term, yes, we became accountability partners.

God chooses whom he chooses for his purposes. There is no other explanation than to recognize that God decided that Debbie and I needed to be friends and to encourage one another at this particular place and time in our lives. God knew before we did and watched as we discovered his special gift to us.  We are sisters in Christ with the same heart to honor the Lord in our writing.


 Romans 15:4 (New Living Translation)

Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.