Friday, October 22, 2010

LETS CHAT FRIDAY with Bonnie Leon

I am so honored to have  Bonnie Leon here at the Nest! What do I think about when I read her words? Hope. I always try to walk away from an interview with one nugget of wisdom. I cannot choose just one with Bonnie. Each answer is from her heart, honest and pure. Each word she shares is powerful and from life experience. I am excited to share this interview with you. I was blessed to read, "Touching the Clouds". After the first few pages I was hooked completely. Who knew this girl who wanted to fly could teach me such valuable lessons in life? It was filled with faith and encouragement just like Bonnie. If you haven't grabbed it yet, you are missing out my friend. Sit back, grab yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy. You might just have to grab a tissue or two.

(Robin) Bonnie, tell me a little about yourself.

(Bonnie) I’m a what you see is what you get kind of gal. I try to live without pretense. I’m not always successful, but for the most part people who know me, know the real me.

I’ve lived most of my life in the country and although the idea of sidewalks, tidy yards and city water is sometimes appealing, I’m happiest living in a wilder environment. My husband (of 39 years) and I live on a five acre piece of land. We have dogs, cats, and chickens and in the spring hope to add a couple of calves and goats.

I have three grown children and four grandchildren and feel extremely blessed to live close to them all. My daughters and their children are presently living here in our dual purpose home and my son lives in Central Oregon, only three hours away.

Our life is busy, but very down to earth. We work hard, but the work is broken up by school activities with our grandchildren, dirt bike riding, fishing and winter sports. My family loves almost any kind of outdoor fun. I live with a back injury so my contribution is usually cheerleader and cook. We’re all readers as well, all except for my husband. I read to him and he seems to like that.

(Robin) Since you have walked with the Lord has there been a time you struggled in your faith? If so, would you please share?
(Bonnie) Where do I begin? Life has been good to me, but there have been some deep valleys. My children, though they are all walking with the Lord now, have at times, put me on my knees. And some of their life choices made me wonder what I did wrong as a mother. But even during the worst of times, we’ve been close and knew that in the end God would have his way.

I guess my greatest struggle began in 1991 when the van I was driving was hit by a log truck that overturned. Life as I’d known it came to an end. I’d been active, working alongside my husband, gardening and loving my full time role as a mother. After the accident I lived on a pile of pillows on my sofa most of the time. In the months following the log truck encounter I waited for healing or a change of heart. I prayed for strength and growing faith. Instead, I was depressed, scared and angry. I wanted the old me back. The new life was too difficult and filled with pain.

I felt like a failure as a Christian. I’d always believed that whatever came my way I’d stand strong because of my faith in God. But that’s not how it was. And yet, God did not give up on me. He was faithful and full of mercy. In time, he lifted me up out of my pit of despair and set me on a new path. Even now, I have rough days but I know I’m blessed and thankful for all of God’s gifts.

(Robin) Has there been an "aha" moment in your life that has changed your perspective?
(Bonnie) There have been many. But the one that probably changed my life most came early in my Christian walk. I was a babe, bubbling over with love and gratitude for what God had done for me. However, I was afraid to offer him my whole self. I remember thinking, “What if he wants me to go to Africa or something?” So I held part of me back.

One day while talking things over with God I realized that no matter where he wanted me or what he wanted from me it was his best. How can I do better than the best? It was then that I realized I could trust him with everything in my life and I offered myself to him and whatever he desired for me. My life has not always been easy, but it’s never been boring. And I’ve been blessed beyond what I could have imagined for myself. I advise anyone who is reading this, please do not hold back—trust God. He’s got a perfect plan for each of us.

(Robin) Do you have a favorite bible story, verse, song or hymn that gives encouragement when struggles come?
(Bonnie) How does one choose? The Bible is filled with richness, courage, wisdom, love and the Lord. But time and time again I return to Isaiah 40:26 – 31. I’ve often stepped outside on a clear dark, night and stared up at the canopy of stars and have been filled with wonderment over God’s creation. To intimately know the God who created the universe is beyond comprehension. And to understand that he cares for me and gives me the strength to run the race he set out for me gives me courage. And as I envision soaring on wings like eagles I know I can do anything because it is God who lifts me and he will never let me down.

(Robin) What is one thing you look for in a close friend and what is one quality you hope others see in you?
(Bonnie) My closest friend needs to accept the real me . . . no matter what, but she must also care enough to tell me what I need to hear, not necessarily what I want to hear. And I pray they will see my deep devotion to God and to His Word and that what I do and say is motivated by that love.

(Robin) What are a few of your favorite books you have in your collection you would share with a friend?
(Bonnie) Over the years I’ve shared many books and sadly many have not found their way home. The most important books, I replace.

I love books and some of my favorites novels are Redeeming Love, Hinds Feet On High Places, In the Land of Empty Houses, The Secret Life of Bees, The Shape of Mercy, The Thorn Birds, Home Another Way, The Last Sin Eater, and The edge of Light. And my favorites also include non-fiction-- In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day, Reborn to be Wild, You Gotta Keep on Dancing, The Hiding Place . . . just to name a few.

(Robin) When life seems to go crazy, what is one thing you do to bring comfort and peace?
(Bonnie) There isn’t “one” thing. What I do depends upon what I’m struggling with. Every day I spend time in God’s Word. I couldn’t make it without him. Sometimes I’ve just got to get out into nature, take a walk in the forest, drive a country road, or go to the coast. The Oregon coastline is wild and free and almost always windy. It strengthens and rejuvenates me. I also like to just sit on my porch and gaze at the lush forest around my home and breathe in the aroma of evergreens and fresh cut grass or hay. I love to listen to crickets in late summer and although I’ve seen hundreds of deer over the years, I still love to watch them graze on wild plants. They’re graceful, exquisite creatures. Nature is God’s creation and it reminds me of Him, which always settles me down.

And last but not least, getting together with someone who makes me laugh is exactly what I need. Laughter is great for erasing stress and worry.

(Robin) What is one thing about yourself you admire?
(Bonnie) I’d have to say the way I love my grandchildren. They’re easy to love, but I think I’m doing a good job of grandmothering. We spend lots of time together and it’s fun to teach them simple things like how to crack an egg or set a table. We pray together and color pictures and make up stories. We discover outdoor critters like lizards and snakes and pick wild flowers and berries. And being together provides opportunities for teachable moments. We’re creating memories and that’s a gift for them and for me.

(Robin) What are a few of the things you love surrounding you?
(Bonnie) I’ve already mentioned a few. I live on the edge of the wilderness and love country living—wild creatures, plants and spectacular views especially now that fall has arrived. I adore hearing the creative and sometimes quirky thoughts and ideas of my grandchildren and my children. I love my house. Actually my husband and I live in an addition he built onto the home where we raised our children. It’s not large, but it’s just right for us. And God gave me a wonderful husband. We’ve been married 39 years and are still in love. The highlight of every day is his coming home.

(Robin) What are your deepest passions?
(Bonnie) I would have to say, God’s Word and Godly living. I want to soak in every bit of Him that I can. I want to live my life for the Lord. His Word promises me that fully being His will help me display love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, which is the way I want to live.

(Robin) What is the best advice ever given to you?
(Bonnie) “Stand up and be who God created you to be.” These words were spoken to me by a woman who didn’t know me. While she was speaking to a large group of women, she stopped and pointed at me. She told me things about myself that she couldn’t have known, then quoted I Corinthians 1:25 “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” And then she gave me my marching orders. I’ve never forgotten the moment. I was a young Christian with very little confidence, but her words have spurred me on many times since.

(Robin) In the legacy you leave, what is one thing you hope out shines before all others?
(Bonnie) That I loved others and served God well.

(Robin) What are you currently working on?
(Bonnie) I’m in the early stages of book three in the Alaskan Skies series—still trying to find my way. I know the beginning, the middle and the end, but I’m still rummaging around in my brain for everything in between.

(Robin) How do you define success?
(Bonnie) Living content.

Bonnie Leon dabbled in writing for many years but never set it in a place of priority until an accident in 1991 left her unable to work at her job. She is now the author of several historical fiction series, including the Sydney Cove series, Queensland Chronicles, the Matanuska series, the Sowers Trilogy, and the Northern Lights series. She also stays busy teaching women’s Bible studies, speaking, and teaching at writing seminars and women’s gatherings. Bonnie and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and four grandchildren.

If you would like to know more about Bonnie and contact her click onto this link below:

Bonnie, you give every mother hope and all new grandmothers (like me) wise words. You show us we can have joy and we can make a difference in each day. You show us we will struggle, but we can find our way out by turning to the Lord. I like those, what you see is what you get kind of girls. I too live in the country and love each moment. The words that just stick out to me are The highlight of every day is his coming home. What a blessing your family must find every time you walk through the door with an attitude like that. I would love to just sit with you out on the deck and have us a cup of coffee while we just share about life. You are my kind of girl Bonnie! Thank you for stopping by. Your honesty blesses me. Your joy is contagious. And your words are nuggets to live by each day. Blessings to you sweet lady. I pray you continue to recover and heal from your pain. Your journey is one we can all learn from as we see Christ alive in your life.

My friends, please leave your thoughts, questions and prayers with Bonnie. I know she would be blessed to hear from you.


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