Friday, February 12, 2010

Has the Road to Your Dream Taken a Detour?

by Jennifer AlLee
Dreams are tricky things. Not only do we all have dreams for our future, we usually have it set in our minds exactly how these dreams will come to pass. But as I've learned, the route we plan to take to our dreams is often quite different than the road we end up traveling to get there.

My dream of being a published author included the certain knowledge that after I finished writing my book, I would send it to Harlequin and they would snap it up, thrilled that I chose them as my publisher. Ah, the silly innocence of youth! I was nineteen when I sent off my circus romance, The First of May. It was the best piece of writing I'd ever done, and I was sure I'd hit a home run with it.

Not so much.

The manuscript was rejected and I learned my first, hard lesson about the publishing business. Now, twenty-five years later, following a road more twisty than anything I could have anticipated, I'm celebrating the release of my second novel. God is good and He's made my dream a reality, but His plan was much different than mine.

Sometimes, in our enthusiasm to grab the prize, we get ahead of God. Take Joseph, the world's most famous dreamer. God gave him dreams about his future. He showed Joseph that he'd have a position of power and his family would bow before him. But God never told Joseph to run out and brag about to his brothers... his eleven older, stronger, already ticked-off brothers.

Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Joseph had kept quiet about his dreams? The brothers were already mad that their father loved Joseph the most, so it's possible they would have sold him to those Ishmaelites anyway. But what if they hadn't? God still would have fulfilled the dream He gave Joseph, but maybe without the slavery, imprisonment and sexual harassment. We'll never know for sure, but it's an interesting point to ponder.

In The Pastor's Wife, Maura and Nick fall in love, but the dream of their union as man and wife turns out to be quite different than reality. Maura can't find her footing, can't live up to the expectations imposed by her new role. Meanwhile, Nick is so busy trying to be the perfect pastor that he doesn't see his wife's pain. Their problems begin when their dreams take a detour.

I would tell you how it all turns out, but then there'd be no reason for you to read the book. Suffice it to say, God is bigger than any mistake or expectation we have. So dream, dream big, and then hold on for the ride of your life!
As a child, Jennifer AlLee lived above a mortuary and had to be very quiet when services were going on downstairs, which solidified her life-long love of books and writing. Jennifer now resides in the grace-filled city of Las Vegas with her husband and teenage son. Her next novel, The Pastor’s Wife, releases in February 2010 from Abingdon Press.
Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a copy of The Pastor's Wife

Buy The Pastor's Wife HERE


  1. Goodest of Mornings, Ms. Jennifer!!!

    I love a good pastor's wife story. Lucy Maude Montgomery's Rainbow Valley, the kids trying to find a wife for their widowed pastor father????

    Wonderful premise, great writing, and I STILL love it as a grownup.

    And there's something so delightfully different about being a pastor's wife, those expectations, having to behave 99% of the time. Missy, you reading this, lamb chop????

    NOTE: Ruthy did not marry a pastor. Way too much pressure.

    Hey, it's Friday, there's coffee on and I brought a basket of delicious end-of-the-week Valentine goodness. Heart danish, filled with cheese and strawberry glace...

    Heart omelettes. (They're not in the basket, silly, they're in the warming pan on the back table.)

    Heart sausage. (Don't you just love Mr. Bob Evans... Who knew he was a romantic?)

    Heart-shaped French toast.

    And heart-shaped coffee mugs. I dragged 'em out and cleaned and dusted them for the occasion. And note the pretty heart-patterned tablecloths.




  2. First- a shameless plug for Jen's book - has it listed in it's MOST TALKED ABOUT section this month! Congrats, Jennifer. By the way, that's good talk...

    I think the cool thing about our AWAKE dreams is that God always has a better ending than we can imagine.

    Heart shaped omelettes, hmm? I'm so hungry this morning. Too bad we don't lose weight from the calories we burn dreaming. I do more running there than I ever do awake!

  3. Oh, I so have to read the Pastor's Wife. I am a wife of a pastor of a very small church and so many times I feel like more is expected of me then what I have to give. That's when I reach out to God to stretch me. The wonderful thing is He is always there to do just that.

    I would love to win a copy of your book The Pastor's Wife.

    God bless you,
    Cindy Woolard

    -- or --

  4. Good morning, Jennifer. So wonderful to have you in Seekerville.

    Congratulations on your release. And what a GORGEOUS COVER!!!

    I look forward to reading it.

    Funny how we plan for a life that goes A to B and end up with one that is A to B via Z.

    But I personally wouldn't have it any different.

    I know you also do other writing (The Examiner). Tell us about your writing schedule and what you have planned next.

  5. Morning Jennifer, Welcome to Seekerville, We love our visitors and hearing the different paths to publication that re laid out for us.

    Tina, you're so right on about A to B via Z.

    But thank you Jennifer for reminding us that God does have a plan and it is ALWAYS better than what we expect.

    Thanks for the goodies Ruthy, Must be feeling better. smile

  6. Welcome to Seekerville, Jennifer!
    Congratulations on The Pastor's Wife!!! Great premise!

    Your determination to hang onto your dream is a lesson for those starting on that road and confirmation to the rest of us that we aren't the only ones to suffer. Kidding. Kind of. LOL

    If Joseph hadn't been such a mouth, I wonder what plan God would've used to get the Isrealites to Egypt during the famine. But alas, He knew Joseph and what he would do and brought good from a bad situation. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is one of my favorite musicals!

    Ruthy, you outdid yourself with the lovely table and the heart shaped breakfast all guaranteed to ruin our hearts, but delicious!


  7. Jennifer,

    It's always nice to her other authors publication stories and how it didn't go as they'd planned. It lets us know that we aren't alone when our dreams get re-adjusted.

    Your book sounds great!


    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

  8. JENNIFER!!! How fun to have you here today, my friend -- WONDERFULLY INSPIRATIONAL blog! Our thanks to Mary for bringing you here.

    And as someone lucky enough to have read BOTH The Pastor's Wife AND Jennifer's first book, The Love of His Brother, I can attest to the fact that Jennifer is a force to be reckoned with on the literary scene. Beautiful books, both, making this author a must-read for me every time.

    And, Cindy, OH YES, as a pastor's wife you REALLY need to get this book. You will LOVE it!!

    Gosh, Deb, if only dreaming DID burn calories!! But then I guess we'd all be anorexic, right?



  9. Love your post, Jen. It is so true. Even after a ms is accepted the road doesn't necessarily run straight. But by heavens, God's got it under control.


  10. Thank you Jennifer.

    Congratulations on your overnight success!!!!

    You give us all hope.

    Might you share a couple of things the Lord laid on you during the overnight - related to writing (or otherwise)?

    It's encouraging to hear for one... and two, it's easier learning from others so we can make different turns down that twisting path.

    ksf895 [at] citlink [dot] net

    Ruthy, I brought paper lace doilies if that's alright. We HAVE to have paper lace doilies for Valentine's Day. What would we decorate our construction paper Valentines with if we don't have paper lace doilies?! These are a nice crisp white and there are several sizes. :)

  11. Hey, Jen!!! Fancy seeing you here!

    And thanks for the reminder to dream big! We never know what God has in store for us, but it's usually better than what we imagined! Congrats on your new release!

  12. Hi, everyone! Thanks for the reminder about dreams and staying on God's path, Jennifer. Like the verse says, we can make our own plans but God knows all and is the one in control. Thank goodness!

    I love your book cover and the story sounds great. Enjoy celebrating its release!

    Breakfast is scrumptious, Ruthy. And since I've already been at the computer for way too many hours this morning, it seems like it should be at least lunchtime by now. So I brought chocolate. :-) Wonderful little heart shaped, melt-in-your-mouth Dove chocolates in all the varieties. Help yourself!

    leigh at leighdelozier dot com

  13. Jennifer, what a great thought!

    How many times do we botch up God's plans b/c we couldn't wait? AND THEN, in His infinite mercy, He says of course I still give it to you, but OBVIOUSLY you have some lessons to learn.

    Oh, how I can relate!!

    But doggoneit! I get so excited about great things ( any maybe not so great things ) they just blurt out of me.

    Ah well, we all have crosses to bear.

    Thanks for joining us in Seekerville today, Jennifer! Great thoughts for the weekend!

  14. That was a really good post for me, as I work hard to be ever patient on the road to publication. It will come with God desires. Thank you!

    I would love to read your new book, I have heard good things about it. :) Thanks.


  15. i have read so many rave reviews of your fabulous book
    s on the top of my 'wish list.'

    have a fabulous weekend.


  16. Jen, thanks so much for being here and for sharing your story with us! Amazing that you started at 19! It shows how persistent and faithful you are.

    Congrats on your new release! It sounds wonderful.

    And yes, Ruthy. I'm listening. Oh, and about that 99%?? I have to behave THAT much????


  17. Jen, congrats on the new release! Love the cover.

    I can't wait to hear about your writing day!

  18. Jennifer,
    Thanks for being with us in Seekerville today. My hubby was stationed at Fort Irwin, CA, think the middle of the Mojave Desert. LV was only 3 hours away so we'd head there when we needed to see civilization. We'd stay off the strip and enjoy a quiet weekend. Great folks in LV. The Seekers may not know that the university there offers the best degree in hotel management. Stands to reason, doesn't it? The students can intern in all the big, posh casino hotels.

    Your book sounds great, Jennifer! Congrats!!!

  19. Oh yes my dreams have allwent astray. Life is nothing like I expected, but God has been good to me with a great loving husband of almost 49 years, 3 sons, 1 daughter, 10 grands and 4 great grands, yes He has been good to me even though I don't a brick home as I wanted but I have a home and it is paid for. That is more that a lot of people can say.


  20. Welcome Jennifer,

    I lived a pastor's wife story. My mother was a pastor's wife. Oh that means I was PK.oooh.

    Story sounds interesting.

    As for detours in writing. My story is similar to your own. I sent out my first stories long long time ago. Went to my first writer's conference in early 1980.
    People liked my writing. I'd published some poetry and won an award for a song. I thought certain I'd get the stories out there. Yeah

    I dabbled in self publishing which didn't got too far.

    But this year I'm finally getting a couple books epubbed.

    To fully see the accomplishment of the dream, I'd love to see a book or more in paper print but we'll see. Until then I'll keep dreaming

  21. Hey All!

    Not only am I on the West Coast, I'm getting a late start today. Glad to see you all started the party without me!

    I'm going to read through the comments now... just didn't want y'all to think I was AWOL :+}

  22. Ruthy... heart shaped French toast... now you're speaking my language! Thanks for the lavish spread.

    Deb, thanks for the plug. I just about fell out of my chair when I saw my book cover in the CBD email!

    Cindy, God bless you! It takes a special person to be a pastoral spouse. I love your attitude of God "stretching" you. That's something we all need to get ahold of!

  23. Tina, I agree... the cover IS gorgeous! The art team did a fabulous job. Far above anything I envisioned.

    As for my writing schedule... I've got another women's fiction proposal being considered now which I hope to hear about next week-ish. And I have a complete manuscript that's a departure for me... Vinnie's Diner, paranormal women's fiction... which is looking for a home.

    As for my Examiner writing, I fit it in where I can. I'm currently the Las Vegas Christian Fiction and Pop Culture Examiners. I enjoy doing it, but my novel writing has to come first.

  24. Janet, that's what I find so fascinating about Joseph. God absolutely used everything he went through to train him for the position God had for him. But if Joseph had pondered the dreams in his heart (like Mary did) rather than bragging about them to his family, what would God have done then? There's no doubt the dreams would have been fulfilled, but maybe in a less painful way. The point is, God knows the plans He has for us, and He's going to get us to the end, whether we get in the way or not. Such a cool thought!

  25. Rose, you're so right. Publishing is such a subjective business, there's really no way to know how your journey will go. Flexibility is one of the most important (and often-used) items you can have in your writer's tool box.

    Julie, my dear, thank you for the warm welcome! You always make me smile :+}

  26. Lisa, you're more familiar with my detours than most! For those who don't know, Lisa is my crit buddy and best friend. We met at the same conference where I had my mini-meltdown. Looking back, I truly believe that God wanted me to focus on relationships that weekend, not my writing career. What an awesome blessing that has been!

  27. KC, yes, there were many nights involved in my "overnight" success!

    You want to know what the Lord put on my heart during those times... one of the biggest things was to see myself as a unique, special individual. I had a tendancy to read about other writers' good news (be they signing with agents or book deals) and I would get so depressed. I'd think, Why can't that happen for me? But God showed me that my journey is unique to me. It's not going to be like anybody else's. So it makes no sense to measure my success against the success of others. There was a lot of freedom in that realization.

  28. Melanie, Leigh, Audra, Casey and Karen... So good to see you all! I know just how you ladies feel. Waiting is sooooo hard! For the record, patience is NOT my strongest character straight. Maybe that's why I've had to wait so long. God is growing it in me :+}

  29. Missy, you should see that first manuscript from high school. It's all written on notebook filler paper. Some is hand written, some is typed, it's edited with all different marker colors, and it's held together with yarn that I tied through the holes. Truly a homespun effort!

    Pam, thanks for the welcome and the support.

    Debby, Vegas does have great courses in hotel management. And I've been so pleased with the programs available to my son. He's in a community college/high school program that gives him dual credit, so by the time he graduates, he'll have not only his HS diploma, but his AA degree as well. Pretty cool stuff!

  30. Hi Edna! You're so right about wants vs. needs. You may not have the exact house you want, but your needs are met. And that doesn't mean you won't get your dream house somewhere down the road.

    Tina, congrats on your ebooks! You've taken another step on the road to your dream. Hold on to it and watch for the doors God opens for you. He'll get you there!

  31. Hi Jennifer:

    I’m very curious about your new book. I checked Amazon and got 664 results for just “Pastor’s Wife”, while “Minister’s Wife” produced 364 results, and “Rector’s Wife” got 89 results. This theme may be large enough to be a subgenre all its own. (One title was “Desperate Pastors’ Wives”. Sounds like a TV series :).

    So my question is: did you research the other romances on this topic before you wrote your book or did you write it as if no other book on the topic had ever been written?

    BTW, I believe that God has an infinite number of dreams planned for each of us. The dream we ultimately live depends on our faith and the exercise of our ‘freewill’.

    Just a thought.


  32. Hi, Jenn. I'm sorry to be slow checking in today. Thanks so much for being on Seekerville, girl.

    Great post.

  33. Yes, Vince, there are a lot of books titled with some variation of Pastor's Wife (preacher, minister, etc.) When I wrote my book, I did not research the others first. I just let mine ooze from my mind and out my fingers. When it comes down to it, there are only so many basic plots in the world. What we do with them, how we make them original, that's where our unique voice comes in.

    Freewill is indeed a game changer. God knows everything any of us will ever do, but that doesn't mean we always do things according to His perfect plan. If we did, Adam and Eve would never have gotten themselves kicked out of the Garden. But there is never anyone so bad or so lost that God cannot redeem them :+}

  34. Hey Mary, good to see you! If you hurry, you might still be able to grab a danish... my heavens, the cream cheese and strawberry is good!

  35. Mmmmm...I love heart shaped food..especially heart-shaped Reeses. I did have a heart-shaped cherry scone yesterday...with lots of icing. Mmmmm...

    I loved this post and think dreaming big is a must. It's amazing when God gives you dreams, then lets those dreams simmer until...20+ years later, they materialize right before your very eyes. Congratulations on your new release! It sounds amazing!!!!

    p.s. So preacher's wives are supposed to behave 99% of the time? Noboday told me that!!! Though I must say I've been on my best behavior at our new church! At the church super bowl party, I did do a little dance with some mardi gras beads and heard one of the members gasp and declare, "Now we are getting so see the real Sherrinda!" Yep. I've got some fun in me, even though I'm a preacher's wife!!!

  36. Swore I wouldn't marry a pastor. Not after being best friends with a PK. She wouldn't either.

    So what did we do? Marry brothers who later became pastors.

    We were tricked! :)

  37. Please dont enter me I read the book and LOVED it. Love the story.

    Ok heres the aussie coming out whats heart sausage it sounds interesting!

    Im up now but its Saturday!
    Jennifer I did send you a message at facebook to tell you how much I love your book.
    Your book gives insight to issues the wife of a Pastor can face.

    I hate saying pastors wife as a previous wife here who is a very good friend said she hates to be introduced to people by others as This is the pastors wife sometimes they give her name but shes always introduced as the pastors wife as if she doesn't have her own identity. Our Current wife of the pastor said when she goes out and people dont know her she hates the question what does your husband do as it kills the conversation quite often or they start to treat her different. They both said they are there own people not a label.
    With my friend I will introduce her by her name now.

  38. Ausjenny, I have had that same problem! Sometimes when people introduce me as the pastor's wife, people will say they have to watch what they say, or now they have to be on their best behaviour. I hate that. I don't want to be people's "morality police". That's not who I am. :)

  39. Hello Sherrinda, Jenny and Patricia! I hear you about being introduced as "the pastor's wife." My family moved to Ohio when my son was three. It was so hard being in a new place where I knew absolutely no one. For the longest time, I was known only as "Billy's mom." This doesn't carry the expectations of the title "pastor's wife" but it's still hard to have your whole identity based on your relationship to someone else. I think that's something a lot of women deal with, regardless of their husband's career. Blessings to all of you incredible, individual women!

  40. Sherrinda, I understand what you mean.
    I guess alot of us dont think about how we label people until someone points it out hopefully this book will help people think about that.

  41. Jennifer I use to be introduced to people as Kens little sister (hes just over 4 years older and had gone to uni) it was always so your kens sister etc. even in high school cos he was so smart and a teachers favourite I got oh your kens sister and then was expected to be like him.
    I loved the new pastor who knows my brother but then one of them members introduced me as this is Jenny Ken's sister he said Oh your poor thing. Loved him after that! for once I wasn't compared (as far as many in the congregation were concerned my brother was perfect where as mum and I were treated like we were from a lower class family)

    Its so good to be your own identity which is why online is good at times you can be yourself and not judged by family

  42. Loved the book, Jen! Really well written. Congratulations!! :D

  43. Hi Jennifer:

    Being Catholic, I never had a problem with using the term, ‘the priest’s wife’.

    Nevertheless, I always thought of “Pastor’s Wife” as being a kind of honorary title. I thought it was respectful to use the term ‘the Pastor’s Wife”. Given these posts today, I’m not so sure.

    I consider a priest or minister to be a representative of God on earth. As such they are deserving of a higher order of respect than those in other professions. Not necessarily because of who they are but because of the position they hold.

    I feel a wife should share in that respect because of the higher standards she and her children are expected to follow.

    Do we say “Pastor’s husband” when the pastor is female? Would he object?

    “This is John Brown, the Pastor’s husband,” does not seem unusual or in any way diminishing of Mr. Brown. However, just saying, “This is the Pastor’s husband” without giving his name might seem diminishing of Mr. Brown.

    What is the right thing to say and when should you say it?

    Now I’m really going to have to read your book.

    Very interesting post. Thanks.


  44. You bring up some great points, Vince.

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with introducing someone in the manner you mentioned: "This is Sue Smith, the pastor's wife." Or, if the pastor is female, "This is Joe Smith, the pastor's husband." It helps to identify who the person is in the context of the situation.

    To me, the problem occurs when we don't take time to get to know the person and assume certain things about him or her simply because they're a pastoral spouse. Not all women who are married to pastors want to (or are graced to) teach Sunday School, lead the women's ministry, or be part of the worship team or choir. Unfortunately, a lot of people expect them to do these things simply because of who they're married to.

    As for being held to a higher standard, that's true. A pastor's family lives in a glass house, so to speak. Whether it's right or wrong, people expect them to live the most Christ-like of lives. But shouldn't we all try to live that way? Aren't we all ministers of the Gospel?

    One of the things Maura comes to terms with in my book is the fact that, like it or not, her personal life is open to scrutiny...up to a point. And the congregation comes to see Maura as an individual and embraces the gifts God gave her.

  45. Oh Jennifer,
    Being a pastor's wife myself, I'm reading with rapt attention. And I'm a relatively new pastor's wife. 3 1/2 years.

    I was determined NEVER to married to a pastor. Definitely not in my 'dreams', actually turned down dating two guys in high school because I knew they were attending seminary. Nope. Not me.

    And then my 'dreams' took a detour. My high school music director-turned-husband got called into the ministry. And God laughed. Because I'd made MY plans without consulting His plans.
    I can laugh about it now ;-) Especially since I"m not very good at fitting in the 'mold', oh wait, actually I'm not very good at fitting into any type of mold. Poor members of our church. I think they've gotten past the basic 'shock' of me by now. Maybe. But then again...they are a quiet bunch ;-)

    The cover of your book looks lovely. Sometimes it's hard to find what dreams God is dreaming for us because we get lost in the fog of our disappointment. Whew...and continually have to hold out our prayers to him as a guide back to His way.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Jennifer - and so sorry to be late. I have a houseful of nine boys 10-12 (sleepover party), my 4 year old, and my 3 year old.

    Someone just yelled from the next room: "Hey, I shot the Mule Deer." life ;-)

  46. Oh NO!!! RUthy? Missy? There's some sort of rule about behavior?


    No wonder people looked at me funny when I flew around the front yard with my pillow-case cape along with my two youngest. A poor old woman nearly drove right into our tree from the fright.

    Not to mention the fact that my kids were just in their diapers at the time. Hmm....

    Do you think they'd be upset with my oldest shooting his BB gun at barbies in the backyard too?

    What about my 10 year old burning Barbie coloring pages that say "School Rocks"?

    I'm starting to get a bit nervous now ;-)

  47. Hi Pepper! God does have a sense of humor, doesn't He? You know, my husband said to me once "What would you do if God called me into the ministry?" My initial response was "run screaming." But running from what God wants never really works. (And I'm pretty sure my hubby only asked that question to get a rise out of me.)

    I had to laugh at the cry of "Hey, I shot the Mule Deer!" My son is 16 and plays these computer games where he can connect to friends via the internet and they voice chat at the same time. Taken out of context, some of the things I hear screamed in my house would make your spine tingle!

  48. Jennifer:

    Don't know if I should read this for some pointers, or if it might highlight my deficiencies.


    99% ?????

    Maybe that's why over the years I've occasionally been called a maverick.


  49. Hi Jennifer,
    Future...boy of boy is that all I hear about lately!

    Hi! My name is Hannah and I'm a high school senior : ) Everyone is talking to me about plans for my future, what I want to do with my life, etc. and so forth.

    I think it's tough to try and stay on only ONE track. There are several roads that are tempting and some roads are rocky! Some roads even lead you astray... So, to not take that detour from your dreams, not an easy task.

    Thank you so much for stopping by and posting. Even though I'm really late, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post! Your book sounds wonderful and the cover is lovely and welcoming, just like what I think of when I think of church *wink*

    Thanks again!

  50. Ah, Vegas. I remember my first trip. I went with my wife and in-laws and our son, who was less than 2.

    Guess who ended up baysitting. :-)

    Luckily, there is a McDonald's in the Luxor. It was open until 1:00. I got the little guy some french fries. The gift shop had a camel puzzle that we spent a lot of time on.

    Congrats on your book! I shudder to think about that particular publishing journey. You must have great faith to hold on to the dream as long as you did.

  51. Hi Jennifer

    I've just returned home after a short break and enjoyed reading about your journey to publication. I'm glad your dream came true. Congratulations on the release of The Pastor's Wife.

    Thank you for the encouragement to keep dreaming!

    Please enter me in the drawing if I'm not too late

    Best wishes

    Ruth Ann Dell
    ruthanndell (at) mweb (dot) co (dot) za

  52. Great post. Interesting thoughts on Joseph's story! :) Thanks for the encouragement.