I want to welcome you to my blog. For those of you who don’t know me, let me introduce myself. My name is Danele, and I’m the author of The Time Counselor Chronicles. (The first book in the series, Time Tsunami, was released by Prism Book Group in January of 2016). My books are Christian romantic suspense with a time travel twist, and I wrote them during a seven-year period of time when I was in quarantine. I know that sounds strange, so let me explain. Several years ago, I started feeling ill and my doctors couldn’t figure out why. My illness progressed until I couldn’t talk without stuttering or walk without staggering. I also experienced partial amnesia and troubles with my short-term memory. Eventually, I had to quit my job and stop driving. Finally, it was discovered that I was suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty furnace in my home. The leak was a tiny one, and the gas had been slowly poisoning me over a long period of time. (Let me interrupt to say that it is VITALLY important for every house to have a carbon monoxide monitor with a digital readout that monitors low levels of the gas). You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, and it’s estimated that if the leak hadn’t been discovered I wouldn’t have survived much longer.
I thought that once the furnace was replaced, my health would improve, but the gas had triggered severe chemical sensitivity. In a nutshell, that means that anytime I was exposed to perfume, cleansers, car exhaust, or any of the other chemicals that surround our daily lives, I would become extremely ill. My health continued to worsen, and eventually, I was put into quarantine in my home. My house was a “chemical-free” zone, and for seven years I could only talk to friends and extended family through the glass of a window. The quarantine worked, and after the first couple of years most of my memories were restored, and each proceeding year brought me closer to renewed health. Quarantine was a very lonely time for me, and during it, I wrote my books. My characters were a window to the outside world, and they gave me something to focus on other than my health.
Now, why are dragonflies so special to me? That’s simple. I became a Christian when I was a little girl, but my illness made me question everything I knew about God. For months at a time, I would think about one certain question of faith and decide what I believed in light of my isolation and suffering. Eventually, I came to the following conclusions:
- God is real
- God is good
- God is intimately concerned with every moment of my life
- Jesus must be kept in the center of my faith
- God is trustworthy even when it seems that He is not
Even though I reconciled my faith, it was sometimes difficult to keep encouraged, and the thing that got me through was looking into the eye of a dragonfly. I know that sounds strange, so I’ll explain. By my second year of quarantine, I didn’t know how I was going to continue. I didn’t know why God had let me live if I was just going to be ill and isolated. My questions boiled up inside until I came to a breaking point. At that time, I was only able to go outside the house if there weren’t any running cars or lawnmowers or tractors around–and as long as no one was burning ditches or spraying crops. The conditions were right, so I cut across the fields and walked to an isolated lake behind the house. I sat down on the bank and watched the dragonflies darting over the water. When I was little, I used to try to catch dragonflies, but they were always too quick for me. As I sat and watched them that day, I felt desperation rising up in my soul. I cried out to God, “Is this all there is? Will things ever get better? Do you you even know what’s happening? Do you even care? Are you even there?”
As I watched the dragonflies, I prayed, “Lord, if you love me–if things are going to be okay–make a dragonfly land on my finger.” I sat and waited, but nothing happened. Eventually, I walked back to the house feeling foolish. I thought about the verses telling us not to put God to the test, and the verses about faith being the evidence of things not seen. I tried to convince myself that I was all right, but truthfully, I wasn’t. I had desperately needed that sign–and it hadn’t come.
The next day, conditions were right again (no running lawn mowers–etc) so I ventured out into the yard. As I walked by a bush, I saw something blue. I went closer and realized it was a giant dragonfly. I had never seen one so big. It’s wing span was at least 5 inches wide. I expected it to dart away when I approached, but it didn’t. It was hanging upside down, and it looked dead. I reached out to nudge it, and it climbed onto my finger. I’ve never been more shocked. I pulled my hand back with the dragonfly clinging to my finger, and I remembered my prayer from the day before. A wave of overwhelming gratitude washed over me. This was the sign I had prayed for–the sign I so desperately needed. I went over and sat on the steps and looked at the dragonfly. It was stunning. I studied it’s huge wings and bright blue body. I expected it to fly away any second, but it clung to my finger like it was glued in place. I brought the dragonfly up to my face and looked at its eyes. I’ve never seen anything more beautiful. A dragonfly’s eye isn’t dead-looking–it looks like swirling liquid. If you’ve ever seen a rainbow in a puddle of gasoline–that’s what a dragonfly’s eye looks like. It swirls and shimmers with purple and blue tints. It’s breathtaking. I sat there for several minutes looking at the dragonfly–enjoying its beauty–and then I said, “Lord, if you really sent this dragonfly to tell me that you love me and that everything’s going to be okay, you can let it go now.” Immediately, the dragonfly flew off my finger and zipped over the roof of the house.
After that day, I endured five more years of quarantine, but they weren’t as hard as the first two. You ask me how I got through my illness and quarantine, and the truth is that I looked into the eye of a dragonfly and knew that I was loved.
I hope that you enjoy my blog, and that through its posts you find encouragement and most of all–hope.
Thank you for reading!