Certain things have always come easily to me. For one, I love writing. Words energize me and bring me joy in a way that almost nothing else does. I was also a good student and loved learning, to the point that I went to graduate school for not one, but two, degrees. A lot of people even claim I’m crazy because I’m not afraid of public speaking. I don’t know what’s better when it comes to stories—writing them or telling them out loud, especially to an audience.
Yet, many other things don’t come easily, or don’t happen for me at all. I have cerebral palsy, and mild as it is, it affects me. I have no peripheral vision or depth perception and very little hand-eye coordination, so where most kids find sports and rowdy games fun, I found them torturous. I lack some fine-motor skills, so I never learned to tie shoes or work jigsaw puzzles. What hurt most growing up, though, was that CP, coupled with a strong intellect, meant making friends was difficult if not impossible.
This improved in college and grad school, but even then, I often felt like others judged me, especially at church. If I declined to help with Bible school or go on a mission trip to the Third World, others assumed I was making excuses and acting spoiled. Worse, because CP meant I couldn’t drive, I was often isolated at home, except for weekly Bible studies.
It was at one of these studies that God blessed me twice. I met Bella, a young mom of two with her own struggles and a desire to invest in me and spend time together. I also got to know Bella’s best friend, a fun, sassy New Yorker named Veronique. They felt isolated and judged as well, so rather than getting bitter, we started meeting for coffee or “chat time.” We’re currently contemplating doing a Bible study together with a couple other women in need of friends we know, and since Bella and Veronique are both stay-at-home moms, I’ve become an “auntie” to their kids.
At one time, I thought having friends was impossible for me, even outside God’s will. I used books to fill that void and pretended being alone was okay. However, the Lord has proven me wrong, and I hope He continues to do so.
Book Blurb for Down Candy Cane Lane:
Christmas shop manager Emily Coleman longs for true love like the kind she finds in the fairytales she adores. Yet, sinful choices have made her life anything but a fairytale, and she now doubts any decent man would want her. When she meets Josh Anderson, Emily's perspective starts to change, but she tries to stay distant because he is the embodiment of all she fears. Real life hurts too much--it's better to hide in a world that's all candy canes and sugarplums. Isn't it?
Josh Anderson swore off women after giving his life to Jesus and promising to be more careful with relationships. Emily Coleman, in particular, is the last woman he needs. She's uptight, prissy, and hates dogs, whereas he owns a kennel full of canines he loves. Still, the couple's attraction only grows. When financial pitfalls and a shady veterinarian threaten to derail all Josh and Emily long for, they'll have to trust God to lead them down the right path, if it's not exactly Candy Cane Lane.
Stephanie McCall is a novelist and freelance writer living in North Carolina with her family. She enjoys reading, stationary biking, singing, and theater. She also loves languages and is currently tackling Spanish and French. Her most frequent writing companion is Clarice, the calico cat who adopted her family in 2013.