Who am I? Well, nobody if you try to Google my name. To my friends, I’m just Carolyn. To former students in California and Washington, I’m Mrs. Smith (formerly Miss Benson). To those who remember me from mission days in Thailand, I’m Khun Kru, the English and music teacher who volunteered at the mission school and tagged along with Phuket Mission Hospital’s hard-working surgeon. To my husband Eden, the aforementioned hard-working surgeon, I’m Babe. To my four grown kids, I’m Mom. To three of my five grandchildren, I’m Grandma (one still babbles something unrecognizable and the other…well, he is only a month old). To the distraught when I’m on call as a crisis line volunteer at the Center for a Non-Violent Community, I’m a comforting voice in the night. And to my two dogs and two cats, I’m the source of regular meals, way too many treats, lots of petting, and occasional walks out into the wilderness surrounding our mountaintop home in the beautiful Sierra Nevada foothills.
Even though I love to talk, teach, and share my testimony about the goodness of God in my life, I’m not a public speaker. Although I’ve composed songs when working through tough times and have been singing my heart out for church congregations for more than fifty years, I’m not a gospel singing star. I never recorded a single one of those songs. Although I specialized in teaching my students how to make their stories, poems and essays sparkle with imagery, creative metaphor, and colorful words, I’m not a writer. And although I love stories, I never dreamed of being an author. At least not until now.
I didn’t choose to write this story. It chose me. A number of years ago while I was reading the books of Joshua and Judges, Othniel caught my attention and then his future wife, Acsah. They’re only mentioned in a few short verses, but there were a lot of possibilities embedded in those verses. They lived through an exciting era peppered with some other fascinating minor characters of the Bible. The more I thought about them, the more it seemed that they were begging me to tell their story. Well, Acsah was. Othniel didn’t say much. He’s pretty quiet. But they convinced me that their impressive and important story had been buried too long among the spectacular events of the time of Joshua and it was about time someone told it. Balaam’s Curse, Book One of The Stones of Gilgal, is the first episode of a novel that grew into a series. I think you will love it as much as I do.