ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County resident Lucy Allen moved from a home she was living in for 35 years to a property that has a pond. It was there that she was able to connect nature with spirituality and turn it into a devotional book.
“The Pond” is a project that Allen — along with friend, support system and coach Kathy Crouch — have been working on for the last year and a half. Starting off slow with roughly a dozen devotions, Allen used what she saw at her Dockery Road pond to relate to scripture.
“I would go over to check on progress at the house and sit out by the pond and see various things in nature occurring and very subtly an idea might pop into my head that, ‘Oh this is like God trying to teach this lesson,’” Allen said. “And I just began to put them on paper and I had maybe a dozen, took them to church and asked Kathy to read them.
“I said, ‘I’ve been doing these. Would you take a look at them and see what you think?’ Allen continued. “And she came back to me and said, ‘Oh my goodness, you’ve got to do something with this.’”
From there, a smaller 30-page softback book was produced — with Crouch making 75 herself — and shared with the ladies of their church after Thanksgiving last year. It was that book that was sent to Christian Faith Publishing. Allen said a representative called her back and loved the idea but wanted more. More than 90 days of devotions soon followed.
“When she let me read these devotions, that became my devotions everyday,” said Crouch. “I knew that she had a knack and something she needed to pursue. I was the proofreader. I just kind of proofread them and gave her some advice on different things. She was getting away from the pond a little bit, and I had to pull her back in. I was just kind of her coach. I just helped her do this, just her support system.”
Allen said she’s always thought she did a better job at putting her feelings on paper as opposed to saying them out loud. Up until writing “The Pond,” her only writing experience was cards and letters. Throughout the process, however, she could see her devotions becoming more profound.
“When I started this — over the course of that year and a half — we could see how those first dozen or so really changed,” Allen said. “They were simply written. But as the lessons got deeper, I felt like the Lord was really leading me in different directions, from a simple story to things that are really kind of deep.”
Crouch said it’s rare for a first-time author to be picked up by a publisher, but Allen said she just put it in the Lord’s hands.
“We prayed about finding the right publisher, and I did a Google search and that was the first on the list,” she said. “I clicked on it, looked at their website, requested some information. Within a day or two, one of their reps called me and from that point on it was just that one publisher.”
Allen will be at Simply Chic Boutique on East Washington Street in downtown Rockingham from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 29 for a book signing. The store will carry her book after the signing and it can also be purchased on Amazon or in e-book for Apple iTunes and Kindle products.
Reach reporter Matt Harrelson at 910-817-2674 and follow him on Twitter @mattyharrelson.