If you enjoyed the classic novel Christy and the bestselling Mitford series, then you’ll love Beautiful on the Mountain, a real-life tale about serving God in unlikely circumstances. In 1977, Jeannie Light left her fine plantation home amid heartbreak and came to Graves Mill, a tiny hamlet in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Alone in an utterly new kind of life, Jeannie was determined to find the courage to make a fresh start.To Jeannie’s surprise, she found herself called upon by her new neighbors to open the old, deteriorated country church, a place that had once united the fractured community of mountain folk. With no training, and no small amount of trepidation, she undertook the task. And as she embarked on an unforeseen series of adventures, from heartbreaking to hilarious, Jeannie would learn more than she ever expected about faith, loving your neighbor, and doing the work that God sets in front of you. Because sometimes, God calls us to go where there is no path . . . and leave a trail.
|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
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Beautiful On The Mountain
When there was trouble in Graves Mill, God sent the most unlikely answer
By Jeannie Light, Bonne Steffen
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2014 Jeannie Light
All rights reserved.
HEADWATERS: ROME, JULY 4, 1976
It cannot be stated definitely what the call of God is to, because His call is to be in comradeship with Himself for His own purposes, and the test is to believe that God knows what He is after. OSWALD CHAMBERS
Someone said that obedience is a long walk in the same direction. It is one step at a time, one day at a time. We take wrong turns; we lose our way. There are no maps, but we follow a Voice—the Word—and love propels us onward.
For me, it all began in Rome.
My godparents had advised me to take a trip to Europe in the summer of 1976 because my ten-year marriage into a well-known Midwestern family was in serious trouble. At breakfast several months earlier, my husband, Harvey, had announced that he was very unhappy.
"Perhaps you should see a counselor," I said, feeling helpless.
"Maybe," he replied, looking woebegone.
"I can go and stay with Mama-san for a few days," I suggested, hoping that might help.
Frances Lee Lull, known to all her close friends as Mama-san, had taken me under her wing years before. I was certain she would be a wise counselor and that her kindness would bring some comfort to my fear and hurt.
"Don't do that!" Harvey exclaimed. "Think of the gossip! I don't want rumors on the county grapevine that we're having any trouble!"
"If I am away, you'll have time to think," I replied, pushing my breakfast aside. Food was the last thing I wanted at the moment.
I did pack an overnight case and drove to Springhill, Mama-san's farm, to see her. She took one look at me and showed me to the guest room. Harvey did call a counselor, a man reputed to be the best Charlottesville, Virginia, offered. In a few days he was enrolled in a transactional analysis group. When I told our pastor about the type of counseling my husband was receiving, he wasn't happy. In fact, he told me that being a part of those groups almost always led to divorce. After talking with Pastor Hall, I returned home and shared his warning with Harvey, then asked him to go with me to see our pastor.
He politely refused. He was delighted with the analysis program and was sure it was exactly what he needed.
"What is it?" I wanted to know.
He rubbed his temple. "Families have 'hot potatoes,'" he explained carefully. "These are issues they can't resolve so they pass them on to the next generation. Our marriage is a 'hot potato.'"
I stared at him in shock and disbelief. "Well, can I join that group?" I refrained from observing that it seemed to me that divorce, rather than marriage, might be the "hot potato."
"I need to do this alone," Harvey replied.
I was more than a little afraid of whatever transactional analysis might be and didn't push the issue, but when I told him my plans to move back home from Mama-san's, he was not pleased.
Soon, according to neighborhood gossip, he was involved with a member of the analysis circle, a local girl who also happened to be one of my friends. I knew her well; I trusted my husband's integrity and could not believe there was any substance to the rumors. However, the two were working together on a committee planning the county's celebration for the US Bicentennial, so it was awkward. My godparents thought the trip to Europe would spare me the embarrassment of the occasion, grant me a clearer perspective, and provide my husband space for reflection and a change of heart.
I didn't have any better ideas for what to do about my failing marriage, so I took their advice. And since I'd never visited Italy, I planned to spend two weeks in Rome after visiting old friends in Sweden. The itinerary for the summer also included time at L'Abri (the Christian retreat in Switzerland founded by Francis and Edith Schaeffer), the Salzburg International Arts Festival in Austria, and a few days in Germany with a friend from college days. In all, I would spend just over two months abroad.
* * *
Like most tourists in Italy, I tried to take in as much as possible in a short amount of time. I saw Michelangelo's Pietà, stood transfixed before Raphael's magnificent works, and trekked through the basilicas of St. Peter's and St. John Lateran. I walked and walked the ancient cobbled streets and city squares. Whenever I found a church, I would stop to pray. The most comfortable and comforting places were the small parish churches where no American tourists ever ventured, where elderly local matrons knelt in silence, heads covered with black veils. I was silent too. I had no specific petitions except a heart's cry for peace and direction. Sometimes despite my best efforts, I'd visualize my three-story Southern plantation house sitting behind its clipped boxwood hedges and Mary Helen, my beloved housekeeper and friend, standing in the doorway, smiling broadly.
On the Fourth of July, Pope Paul VI had promised a 1:00 p.m. audience for Americans abroad. The summer sun was almost directly overhead when I joined the motley lot congregated in St. Peter's Square. There were some turned collars and habits here and there scattered in the crowd, but the majority of those gathered were American tourists or businesspeople who happened to be in Rome that day. Most, like me, wore sandals and bright permanent-press shirts. Some held small American flags.
Although I wasn't a Roman Catholic, I had decided to join the faithful. I admired this pope's efforts to reach multitudes professing no religion at all, as well as those adhering to non-Christian faiths. I'd read of his efforts to internationalize the Roman Curia (the governing body of the Catholic church) and of his untiring work for peace. I recalled his visit to the United Nations in New York in 1965—the first papal visit to the Western Hemisphere—and his often-controversial efforts to implement the work of the Second Vatican Council. The truth was, though, that I was alone in the city, homesick, and scared, and I wanted to do something to celebrate the Bicentennial. An audience with the pope seemed the best available choice. At least I'd be with other Americans on this special day.
I arrived early. To my surprise, several hundred people had already gathered. I worked my way through the crowd until I was fairly close to the balcony where the pope was supposed to address us. I searched the faces of those around me; they showed no trace of the usual Independence Day exuberance. Even the small children seemed subdued. A towheaded boy who looked to be about eight years old carried his little American flag as proudly as if he were leading a regiment. His two sisters, perhaps five and three years of age, giggled and whispered in the parents' shadows, but even they were surprisingly still for such small children.
I wonder what Joe and Mary Temple are doing this morning? Joe and Mary Temple Fray were my godparents and the linchpins of my life back home in Madison County, Virginia. I was certain they would be celebrating with their family today. Remembering the time difference, I realized it was much too early for festivities yet. Perhaps Joe was just waking up. No, he's probably outside feeding his chickens or checking his big garden for bugs or late peas. And Mary Temple's in her sunny kitchen preparing breakfast.
The Frays were prominent members of my church and leaders in the county's social life and politics as well as personal friends. They traced their history back to Madison's original German settlers who built the historic Lutheran church in 1740. Through the centuries, their descendants had been known for honesty and for their contributions to the good of the community.
As a boy, Joe's ambition was to be a dairy farmer, but when the county elected him treasurer, it was the beginning of a lifelong adventure serving the country people he loved. An old-timer once told me Joe was the only honest politician he'd ever seen on two legs, and I believed him. Joe was a young treasurer when the Great Depression devastated the country in the thirties, hard years when Virginia struggled with drought as well as the Depression. Terrible fires roared across the desiccated mountain forestlands. Wells and springs ran dry. Cash was as scarce as hen's teeth, but when a man couldn't find the change to pay his taxes, Joe would travel out to see him and his wife. They'd talk over the situation, and Joe would find some way through the crisis so the family could keep their home. Needless to say, he was well loved and respected in the community, and I was proud to be his and Mary Temple's godchild.
The way that happened was quite unconventional. I had attended the Episcopal church since college and never expected to be part of a Lutheran church. However, the Episcopal church was planning to issue a new prayer book and I, like many others, disliked the changes. The revisions sounded flat and awkward compared to the old prayer book's melodious King James English. One of my friends recommended that my husband and I visit Hebron Lutheran Church, situated several miles outside Madison, Virginia, sitting like a small gem in its lush green valley. Harvey liked the hitching rails, the frescoed ceiling, and the friendly congregation, so we continued to attend Sunday services, and eventually we met Joe and Mary Temple.
A few months later my mother was diagnosed with liver cancer, and after a brief struggle with the malignancy, she asked if she could come live with me in Virginia. Harvey was working at the naval hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, and had an apartment in the city. I lived in a rented country cottage with little electric wiring and no telephone. With the owner's permission, I set about making improvements so that the house would be comfortable for my mother and hired Mary Helen to help me care for her. Mary Helen was with me the morning that Mother died, peacefully, just a few days after arriving from Michigan. Joe and Mary Temple heard of Mother's passing and came to comfort me. After that, I was firmly committed to the Lutheran parish, though I missed the liturgy of my former church and still used the 1928 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer at home.
I became Joe and Mary Temple's godchild for the simple reason that I never was baptized as a child. My father's rather Victorian reasoning was, "Never mind baptizing the girls. When they get married, they'll just take their husband's denomination anyway." My parents insisted on plenty of religious education—I memorized Scripture, went to Sunday school, and joined the youth group—but baptism wasn't part of the program. Once I began attending Hebron, I became active in the church's life, even teaching catechism to thirteen-year-olds.
That is, I did until Pastor Hall discovered I wasn't baptized. He was horrified. He tried to explain the theology, and though I didn't completely understand what he said, I agreed to have water poured over my head. Joe and Mary Temple were delighted to "present me" for baptism. They proudly took their places beside me and promised "to bring up this child to lead a godly life." Ever after, Joe said the one thing wrong with the ceremony was that he couldn't hold the "baby." They did, however, take their promises seriously and from that day forward made me part of the family.
As I stood in St. Peter's Square and thought about them, I was tempted to weep, but I could almost hear Mary Temple's words of encouragement, "Now you just buck up. Things are never as bad as we think they're going to be." She would be looking at me with those kindly eyes behind the spectacles and ever so slightly incline her queenly head of snow-white hair. She was always erect, always a Southern lady. I straightened my shoulders. I wouldn't let her down, not if I could help it.
* * *
The pope hadn't appeared yet. I turned around slowly, admiring St. Peter's Square and marveling that I was there. What a long way I'd traveled since my childhood! My father, a third-generation Michigan farmer who had worked the land his family cleared early in the 1800s, died when I was twelve. My mother, a professional violinist, had a nervous breakdown, so my only sibling, a younger sister, and I went to live with an aunt and uncle. That is, I lived with them during the school year; summers, I worked for local families as a live-in housekeeper and mother's helper.
By strict self-discipline and intense study, I managed to finish high school in three years, doing well enough to earn multiple scholarships that covered my entire tuition to Kalamazoo College. Once there, I worked for room and board, books, and life's little necessities. I earned a bachelor's degree in English literature, a Phi Beta Kappa key, and a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, allowing me to attend the graduate school of my choice.
I chose the University of Virginia not only because it was an excellent school but because my mother's family had been southern and some of my earliest memories were of the family gathered in my grandmother's parlor on Sunday afternoons, telling stories of the South and the Blue Ridge Mountains. In nine months, I finished my master's degree in nineteenth-century English literature with honors, and one success capping another, I "married well," as my little Victorian grandmother would have put it.
Feet shuffled on the cobblestones. I looked around at the crowd, but the pope still hadn't appeared. I longed for a distraction from the thoughts floating up unbidden. I'm sure Doctor isn't pleased with the mess his son and I are making of our lives. I shuddered. I had come to know and love my husband's family while I was a student at Kalamazoo. In fact, the family had endowed the college's scholarships for study abroad and I had received one, spending the summer between my sophomore and junior years in France. The following summer I came to work for the family as a live-in cook. Soon they were my very dear friends, and to my surprise, father, mother, and sons treated me as if I belonged among them. Because I missed my own father and mother and the stability of the old home farm, I snuggled into their kindness like a cat on a warm hearth.
Harvey was the youngest of the four boys. During the time I lived with the family, we met only briefly because he was either traveling or studying at Yale. When I returned to Michigan on my first Christmas break from graduate study in Virginia, the two oldest brothers were married and the third busy with his own life, leaving the "little brother" at a loss for something to do. I was idle, too, so Harvey and I took long walks through the snow and flirted over a desultory chess game. I returned to Virginia and my classes; he went back to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he'd transferred from Yale. To my surprise, he wrote fairly often. The letters were friendly, and I was flattered with the attention.
Then came the telephone call from his mother. I don't remember the words, but the news shook my world to its very core. She and Doctor, as we called him, had separated and were getting a divorce. After I hung up the phone, I began sobbing so loudly that a friend across the hall rushed to see what had happened. Somehow the divorce was worse than a death in the family. The safe harbor I had cherished against the unknowns of the years ahead was utterly demolished.
June came and my graduation was only days away. My family was proud of my accomplishments, but none of them planned to celebrate the occasion with me. I understood; it was summer and harvesttime at the farm, and Virginia was a long way from Michigan, but I was deeply disappointed. Then I received a letter from Harvey. He was coming! I was nearly overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement.
Once I had my diploma in hand, he asked if we could spend a day or two hiking the Appalachian Trail in the Blue Ridge Mountains just west of Charlottesville. I hesitated. A little voice in the back of my mind whispered that this wasn't wise, but after all, this was my "brother," so I finally said yes. I knew parts of the trail in that section quite well since it was my usual escape from study and the fevers of the academic world, and I was happy to share my familiar haunts with "family." Besides, he had come from Michigan to Virginia for my graduation.
Harvey came well prepared with camping gear; I had quilts. He slept in his sleeping bag. I slept in my quilts. However, when he kissed me good-night I realized that this relationship wasn't likely to remain exactly fraternal, though it did remain chaste during those days in the wilderness. We both loved the out-of-doors and the adventure of exploring wild places, but I suspect that during those two days on the trail we paid more attention to one another than to the flora and fauna around us. I know that was true of me. I remember his blond hair blowing in the wind more vividly than I recall the campsite.
When Harvey left for summer school in Oregon, absence made our hearts grow fonder and the friendship became a whirlwind courtship. I had a summer job as a hostess in one of the mountain lodges in Shenandoah National Park, but at the last minute the oldest brother in the family asked me to work with him as a reporter and writer for the Kalamazoo city magazine he owned and edited. I loved the family, I loved writing, and if the truth were known, I was a little homesick. After some debate and several telephone calls from the family, I agreed to come.
Excerpted from Beautiful On The Mountain by Jeannie Light, Bonne Steffen. Copyright © 2014 Jeannie Light. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword David Aikman ix
Chapter 1 Headwaters: Rome, July 4, 1976 1
Chapter 2 Charles's Proposal 19
Chapter 3 An Unexpected Development 35
Chapter 4 Saved by a Diaper 51
Chapter 5 "They Done Lied't' Me!" 67
Chapter 6 Dinner with Mama-san 87
Chapter 7 Off to Seminary 103
Chapter 8 A Death in the Family 117
Chapter 9 "He Will Carry the Lambs" 131
Chapter 10 "A Woman Can't …" 143
Chapter 11 Tutored at Truro 155
Chapter 12 Where Is Your Treasure? 165
Chapter 13 Thunder on the Mountain 179
Chapter 14 "Blessed Are You Poor…" 185
Chapter 15 "I Want That Chandelier!" 199
Chapter 16 Growing Together 215
Chapter 17 Clearing the Way 231
Chapter 18 "O Little Town of Bethlehem" 247
Afterword: Miracles Do Happen 259
About the Author 279
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Good Book! I was intrigued by the description of the book which said if you loved the book Christy you would love Beautiful on the Mountain. Beautiful on the Mountain tells one woman's story to find her purpose in life after her divorce. The author inherited a chunk of land on the side of the mountain without any type of housing structure. Some locals thought they had the perfect solution-stay in the parsonage and open the Church back up. After wrestling with the idea she discovered it wasn't as easy as it sounds but she gave it her best effort and reached out to the local community, a group of people living a simpler life away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Life wasn't easy once she agreed to the calling but God placed just the right person in her path when she needed it or she was placed in a person's path when they needed it. While this book was very different from Christy it was also similar in that both Christy and the author, Ms. Light sought to make a difference to the mountain people no matter how unlovable others might think that they are.
My - this book leaves me truly speechless-recommend it-love it !
I was inspired by how passionate Jeanie was about her walk with God, and she shows it in her story of her life in Graves Mills. However, I was a little bored with the style of writing. I give this book 3 stars.
This is a true story of Jeannie Light where she becomes divorced, looking for a new place to live and finds that God has a new calling for her life. I would give it 3.5 stars and I did enjoy the bio's of Jeannie's life while she was on the mountain.
A beautiful story about the lives of people who live in the mountains and their way of life. A slower pace, a time where they care about those around them but also have the struggles and disputes that arise as time passes. Rich characters abound in this story of transition from a carefree and worldly life to one of starting over with little resources. I enjoyed getting to know all of the characters and was sad when I finished the book!
What a wonderfully written story! I really enjoyed reading this woman’s story. She was very real and honest. I felt like I was there with her in the mountains, meeting all of these interesting people. I just wished the story was a bit longer. I felt like it ended too quickly. There was so much more I wanted to know like did she stay in the mountains? Did the church thrive? What happened to some of the other characters in the story? Over all, it was a pleasure to read and really God honoring.
I have mixed feelings about Beautiful on the Mountain. I had high expectations when I first started this book. After all, it is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, my home. The story was inspiring. The descriptions of the area was accurate. But I was quite bored with the bored. 3 stars.
Church and Community, two things that are really one, and every human being craves the substance of them. Community: the care and help and camaraderie of other people. Church: the Word and sacraments to remind us of the Love and Presence of God. This is Jeannie Light's story of getting deeply involved in a Church and community in the Virginia hills. When you decide to invest yourself in a small town, there is no end of big issues and complexities to deal with, any bucolic appearances aside. Thats how it was for Jeannie in Graves Mill. She found her self involved in everything from community Thanksgiving to logging operations to local Bible study and a family's loss of a child. She met friends there, some who came and ministered and departed like Heaven's angels, and some who stayed on and became kindred spirits. All gave of themselves to make communion out of isolation. The descriptions of these hills- the great trees, the blackberries, the rough roads, the rushing streams- are so well drawn that I can almost breathe the clear air. There's danger there too, and adventure, rattlesnakes and timber rustlers and hunters and poachers. It was the 1970's, and the back-to-nature movement was in full swing. There were people trying to find peace through lives of self sufficiency and people trying to make a profit, all on the same Good Earth. Jeannie writes with an eye for the little incidents, the scraps of conversation, the first meetings with new friends. All those things that we call small, but they make up our dearest memories and when we look back we see their significance in shaping us. Thank you Tyndale for my review copy of Beautiful on the Mountains.
Reviewed by Karen Pirnot for Readers' Favorite In Beautiful on the Mountain, author Jeannie Light gives readers a glimpse into the life of a purposeless woman who is educated and recently divorced. As part of the divorce settlement, Ms. Light receives a mountain acreage and she visualizes raising sheep and living a simple life while God begins to give her meaning and motivation. The village of Graves Mill in the Virginia mountains is filled with diverse characters and, at one time, they were a cohesive group who helped one another in times of stress and then went to their small mountain church on Sundays. But, a rift had formed in the community before the arrival of Ms. Light and immediately some of the village folks got the idea that the new stranger might restore a common sense of community if she could just get the small, neglected church back in operation. Light had not really planned ahead for her survival but, one by one, the mountain people begin to give her ideas and direction. Although author Light believed she was to become the shepherd leading the flock, in actuality, it was the mountain people who began to lead her. They found her a house and they believed she could become a lay reader in church. When she was stymied in trying to revive the church, it was the mountain people who began the process of renovation and revival. When Light alienated the mountain people by refusing to allow lumbering and then worked with the Shenandoah National Park to allow an easement on the mountain, the villagers remained loyal and ready to help. Their loyalty seemed to spur Light to begin to break her own lethargy, enroll in school and begin to think of ways in which the church could again become the center of Graves Mill. This is a touching story of unique mountain people with a purpose and will give readers many hours of good thoughts and happy feelings.
A very enjoyable story! What fascinated me the most was the author’s ties with Truro Church in Fairfax, Virginia since I know that church. I was also fascinated with how rural Virginia was even in the late seventies. When Jeannie Light went to Graves Mountain so many there still used outhouses and although the church had been wired for electricity years earlier, they didn’t bother to turn it on for months! Anyway this is a heartwarming story of how one woman’s willingness to reopen a country church brought the community back together.
eannie Light left her life and came to a small location in Virginia. Having left her home and life, she came upon a church in Graves Mill. When she asked why the church was never completed, one lady informed that they couldn't agree on a color. Thus the church was left to sit. That began the process by which Light started to interact with the locals and finish the church. As she came to know the people better, she faced many challenges such as: snakes, old customs, finding materials, and religious beliefs. Yet through it all she placed her faith that God knew what He was doing placing her in Graves Mill. That faith proved itself when the church was completed and the locals began to attend. While not my style of narrative, the book was easy to follow and understand. I did find the development of the story a bit rough but then again it read more like a journal than a story. That said, for those who are wondering why God has placed them where He has, this might be the book for you.
It took me a long time to get through this book. I read it for a week and it is only about 250 pages long. I just couldn't get into it and I never experienced that feeling of "I can't go to sleep until I find out what happens". Jeannie presents an intriguing, sympathetic character, as a woman reeling from a divorce and forced to make a new life for herself. The setting is obviously beautiful, on the mountains in Virginia. In my opinion, what held this book back from being great was the lack of depth in relationships. I don't mean to say that the author didn't have deep, meaningful relationships with her neighbors. It just didn't seem to translate into the book. I would have liked to have read a lot more interactions and stories about the mountain folk, and less about the authors trips back to the city for her classes and such. Perhaps my expectations were too high, because I adored the Mitford series. However, I can imagine that this book would appeal to some readers, but it wasn't great for me. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Who here has a plan for their life? A dream, a goal, a desire to reach a long-mapped out destination of your own choosing? It is a way of life for us to spend years planning and preparing and envisioning the way life will be. And it rarely turns out exactly as we had imagined. So what do you do with a life that doesn’t go as planned? Do you rail against the unforeseen twists of fate? Or do you look for where God is working in the unseen and trust the outcome in the life you can see? These are the questions facing Jeannie Light as her book Beautiful on the Mountain opens. Facing divorce and having to move from the home she loves, Jeannie cautiously steps out into a life she never imagined. Her story takes her to a piece of farmland in the mountains of Virginia where God offers healing for her heart and a calling on her life. Her new hometown (if one could even call it a town) is comprised of a small, loosely-knit group of people who are just determined enough to stay in a place forgotten by time and a better economy. Some of them are there by heritage, some by choice, and some because they have no place else to go at the moment. Enter Jeannie, who has come to this community for many of the same reasons. Then enter God who has a plan even in the desperate places we find ourselves. As Jeannie learns to listen to God and to see His answers in such an unlikely place, she is led to the life God asked her to live. And along the way she makes friends, pastors a people, and helps to revive the spirit…and the Spirit…in this place. It turns out that Jeannie and these people were a mutual answer to prayers. Funny how God works sometimes. The truth is that we all have a life to live. The challenge comes when life doesn’t turn out the way we had expected…or hoped… or dreamed. Like Jeannie, we all have to look for how God is working as He unfolds what is next. It’s not easy to do, but the outcome is often more than we asked or imagined. This is exactly what Jeannie’s story has inspired me to do. For whatever God’s plan or purposes are, He often brings us to this very mountain. It doesn’t matter if your mountain is a figurative one, or as literal as Jeannie’s was. Whenever we get there, we get to choose. We can choose to ignore Him, His plan, His words, His working. Or we can choose to live the life we’re given. Reading Jeannie's inspiring journey will help you make the right choice! (Tyndale House provided me a free copy of this book to review. All opinions expressed are my own.)
Mountain Blessing This is the true story of Jeannie Light’s experience of living in an economically deprived area of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the late 1970′s. She had formerly lived an opulent lifestyle, but a divorce changed the course of her life. As part of the divorce settlement, she received some undeveloped acreage in a very remote area. That is where she planned on making her new home. She was just beginning her transition to living there, when she was approached by one of the local men who begged her to reopen the local church–which had closed ten years earlier. Although she was well-educated, Jeannie was not trained in the ministry. She was stunned by the request because she had no idea how to do that. But the author had encountered God in a life changing experience during her marital problems. So Jeannie decided to seek God for direction. However, she did not see how a woman, such as herself, that was not trained as a pastor, could reopen a church in a scantly populated area in the middle of nowhere. She got to know much of the populace, including some local characters, very well. Jeannie discovered that she had a different spot in the pecking order of the community than she had held when married to the rich landowner. She learned the community’s way of looking at things, and, at times, found herself on the other side of the fence. In fact, some of her viewpoints and actions put her in possible danger. Living in the mountains, she discovered the beauty of the simple life. She also discovered the many hardships that awaited those who tried to eke out a living in that area. In some ways, living there was like stepping back in time. On the other hand, the country was sparsely populated because it was a victim of modern life. While living there, she had to depend on God, and saw how He provided at every turn. Ms. Light is a fabulous writer, who brings the reader into the world she is describing. I love books about people’s life, they are my very favorite kinds, and I have read a lot of them. This 5-star book is one of the most interesting true stories I have had the pleasure to review. The only down side to this book is that I want a sequel. Hopefully, that will come in the future. In the meantime, I highly recommend this wonderful book. The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner. Despite my receiving the book free, it has not influenced my judgment, and I have given an honest opinion.