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Bonnie Leon Standing in Defiance of Chronic Illness #LadiesInDefiance

One moment we’re gliding along, satisfied with the present and certain of our future. And then, wham! We’re in a ditch.

In 1990 I was gripped by a compulsion to write and had given myself over to the adventure. When a much needed typewriter (in perfect condition) was found in a dumpster, and I received an invitation to a writing seminar where I was told I was gifted and must keep writing, I got more serious about my “hobby.”

I happily glided along and then on June 11, 1991 was thrown into a ditch.

I was driving along a winding river with my daughter when a truck loaded with huge logs barreled around a curve. Its outside back tires lifted off the pavement—it was going to tip over!

I slammed my feet on the brake pedal, my mind searching for a way to survive. Steering toward the edge of the road I prayed the truck wouldn’t hit us head on or knock us off the embankment.

My daughter screamed, “Mama, help me!” Then we hit. Sounds of tires squealing, the rasp of metal against metal and breaking glass enveloped us. We hurtled toward the edge of the cliff, then abruptly stopped, as if we’d run head long into a wall. It took only seconds, but those seconds changed my life forever.

The van teetered on a cliff above the river, but my daughter and I were alive. We escaped through broken windows and then took a ride to the hospital by ambulance.

My daughter was unhurt, but I began a round of doctor visits, invasive procedures and therapy. There was no repair for the damage to my body, and I was left disabled and in chronic pain.

I couldn’t return to work and was unable to care for my family or my home. I became mired in hopelessness—afraid, depressed and angry. Guilt ranted at me. Where had my faith gone? What had become of my strength? Where was God?

One day, at the end of myself, I cried out to God and asked him to give me something to do with my life.

the journey of eleven moons

Soon after, I received a flyer for a summer writing conference. I tossed it in the trash. I couldn’t go. I wasn’t physically able and I didn’t have the money.

Two weeks later a scholarship was offered. God provided a way. I needed to trust him. And so I accepted.

Frightened and certain I didn’t belong, I attended the conference where I received love and encouragement from other authors and was saturated in their instruction. I left ready to dive into my first book.

One year later, I returned to the conference, manuscript in hand. Terrified, I sat across from an acquisitions editor. She read and read, then looked at me and said, “I love it. Is it finished?” I nearly squealed. She asked me to send three chapters. I did. A request followed for the rest of the book. And then a telephone call came with an offer for a contract.

That book was The Journey of Eleven Moons, a CBA bestselling novel and the first of many yet to come. The journey has not been easy. I live with chronic pain and some days wonder how I’ll make it through. Then I remember I’m not alone—God stands with me. He is my strength, and each day belongs to him.

With God all things are possible.

to dance with dolphins

Twenty-two-year-old Claire Murray has suffered from a mysterious disease for years. Her social circle has shrunk to a small support group for people with chronic illness and disability. But what if life could be about more than doctors, pain, and medications?

Claire and three others—old grouch Tom, hippy-holdout Willow, and moody Taylor—hatch plans for a cross-country trip to swim with the dolphins in Florida. Only a day into the trip, they unexpectedly need help. And who happens to be hitchhiking along the highway but a young, good-looking loner named Sean Sullivan? However, the last thing he wants is to be harnessed to a bunch of ailing travelers.

Though the journey proves difficult, following God’s plan might be even harder. Will they find the courage to follow their dreams and dare to live again?


Bonnie Leon is the author of twenty-one novels, including the recently released To Dance With Dolphins, the popular Alaskan Skies and bestselling The Journey of Eleven Moons. Bonnie’s books are being read internationally and she hears from readers in Australia, Europe, and even Africa. She enjoys speaking for women’s groups and teaching at writing seminars and conventions. These days, her time is filled with writing, being a grandmother and relishing precious time with her aged mother. Bonnie and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and eight grandchildren.

You can find Bonnie at:

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