Most of you know I worked in the industry of Thoroughbred horse racing for over 30 years. Those of you who know that also know my first novel Hope Of Glory was written about the sport. What you don’t know is much of the history behind “the story”.
So, let me fill you in on a little personal history of myself and my first book . . .
When I got my first job at the track, it was like a dream come true. Working seven days a week was a gift, fulfilling the desire to be with horses since I was born and bred a city girl who loved horses since I could first identify one. The story about how I got that first job is amusing in itself but for another day.
At that time in my life, having decided college was not for me after returning from a three month trip to Europe and taking one more quarter of insignificant classes, I was beginning the downhill slide in my moral convictions. Once I was employed at the track, the lifestyle of my associates was a little wild and crazy, and I gradually followed suit.
After 10 years at the track produced one marriage, one child, one divorce, and a decision to remarry after spending four years with my current spouse, I fell into the pit of utter emptiness. My husband and I moved into a rental home near the track. The previous tenants apparently left a framed painting in the closet of a rather brutal headshot of Christ wearing the crown of thorns. When I was alone, I’d take it out of the closet and look at it. And talk to it.
You have to understand my life was now “in order”. The wild times of drink and drug were over, and normalcy was settling upon our life together. If ever I should’ve felt some relief or contentment, now was certainly the time. But those feelings were not there. Those of you who’ve experienced the void that often comes before salvation will know what I’m talking about.
Enter football. What?! Yes, the young quarterback for the fledgling Seahawks was an unabashed Christian who proclaimed his faith in Jesus Christ boldly—but humbly—in front of the cameras at every opportunity. The local stations covered his initiating Bible studies, his enthusiasm for Jesus, his freestyle left-handed flinging of the football to future Hall of Famer Steve Largent, and his overall zest for his faith and football. My testimony always gives credit to now Quarterbacks’ Coach of the Seahawks Jim Zorn for sharing his faith and thereby helping me to give my heart and life to Jesus. The Lord used an abandoned, strange painting and the witness of a faithful football player to lead me to Christ.
Okay, skip ahead two years to when my husband got saved. His was a terrible battle—the devil fought extra hard for him. However, the set of circumstances that got him saved and set us up with our first pastor who discipled us in a way seldom seen nowadays, also put us directly into “ministry” at the racetrack with another Christian couple and our close friend, also a new convert. The group we started was named “Racetrackers for Christ” by my husband and after that first year, unbeknownst to us, had garnered national attention behind the scenes. Following that year, we received a chaplain at the track, but that’s a story for another time, too.
The novel Hope Of Glory is loosely based on our experiences during the inaugural season of Racetrackers for Christ.
Just a few more items about my first book. Yes, it is every bit a first effort that took 8 and ½ years to complete with long 6 to 9 month no writing periods because life overtook both the available time and occasionally the desire to write. Yes, it could be better, shorter, perhaps less ambitious. No doubt. But the thing I want to say is, because of the nature of the story, the book is “preachy”. No holds barred preachy with preachers preaching, testimonies given, people praying, and every other aspect of Christianity happens in the book. The reason for this is obvious—it’s the story. Set in one of the most unlikely places, written in the language, lifestyle, and culture of the sport at a middle echelon American racetrack, it is as real as it gets—a comprehensive account of the microcosm of horse racing at the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels of people involved in the sport.
So . . . now you know a little bit more about me and my first book Hope Of Glory.
Father, I would have preferred my choices to have been in line with yours in those early years and forward, but you never gave up on me and rescued me when I finally saw who you really were. Thank you for your love, mercy, and forgiveness. And thank you for instructing me to write that novel, for not allowing me to give up on it, for making a way to tell the story of those who love horses and racing and who need you just as desperately as anyone else. I know you’re not done with it. It’s all yours. Thank you, Jesus.
* How is Kristy? [11/28/07]
She dressed yesterday in regular clothes for the first time at home. Turquoise blouse and black pants. Dolled up hair and make up. Ear rings... The works. No "break out" pain. Her eyesight is not as good and she has word displacement and confusion, but God is so good.
Keep praying for Kristy....for us.
Her Husband, Milton*