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Authors: Karen Kingsbury

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Thank you for the hours of music and song. As you finish up your sophomore year, I am mindful that time is rushing past, and
I make a point to stop and listen a little longer when I hear you singing. Your dad and I are proud of you, Ty, of the young
man you’ve become. We’re proud of your talent and your compassion for people and your place in our family. However your dreams
unfold, I’ll be in the front row to watch them happen. Hold on to Jesus, Ty. I love you.

To Sean, my happy sunshine …

What a scare we had this past year watching you go through encephalitis and mono. I’ll never forget the way your faith shone
in the emergency room that one terrible night. I told you that without a spinal tap, you might die. You only looked at me,
confused, and said, “Well, then I’d be home with Jesus, and that would be better!” The staff at the hospital was amazed, and
I stood in awe of your deep belief — even in the delirium of your sickness.

New things are just around the corner for you, Sean. I can hardly believe you start high school in the fall, taking on a host
of new adventures in the process. Always remember who you are and whose you are as you venture into that next step. One of
the things I love most about you, Sean, is your beautiful smile and the way your eyes light up when we’re together as a family.
Keep that always. You are a bright sunbeam, bringing warmth to everyone around you.

One thing that will stand out about this past year is your crazy ping-pong skills. I absolutely love playing against you,
Sean. You’re quick as lightning and it makes me a better player. Of course … I never really thought I’d be hoping for a win
against my little boy. But then, you’re not all that little anymore. I’m proud of you, Sean. I love you more than you know.
I pray God will use your positive spirit to always make a difference in the lives around you. You’re a precious gift, Son.
Keep smiling and keep seeking God’s best for your life.

To Josh, my tenderhearted perfectionist …

The weeks of this past school year have flown by, and you have grown right along with them, my precious son. So many memories
will remind me of your eighth-grade year, but some will always stand out. The week, for instance, when you scored five touchdowns
in your team’s city championship — three rushing, two on interception returns. Then that same week you turned around and scored
a total of eight goals in two intense soccer games against the top teams in our state. Amazing. No wonder I’m always seeking
to make our devotions about staying humble! Seriously, sweetheart, God has given you tremendous talent in sports. I have no
doubt that someday we will see your name in headlines and that — if God allows it — you’ll make it to the pros. You’re that
good, and everyone around you says so.

Now, flash back to that single moment in a broken-down Haitian orphanage. There I was meeting Sean and EJ for the first time
when you walked up, reached up with your small fingers and brushed back my bangs, and said, “Hi, Mommy. I love you.” It might’ve
taken six months, but I knew as you said those words that you belonged with us. The picture becomes clearer all the time.

Keep being a leader on the field and off. One day people will say, “Hmmm. Karen Kingsbury? Isn’t she Josh’s mom?” I can’t
wait for the day. You have an unlimited future ahead of you, Josh, and I’ll forever be cheering on the sidelines. Keep God
first in your life. I love you always.

To EJ, my chosen one …

Here you are in the last few months of seventh grade, and I can barely recognize the student athlete you’ve become. Those
two years of homeschooling with Dad continue to reap a harvest a hundred times bigger than what was sown, and we couldn’t
be prouder of you. But even beyond your grades, we are blessed to have you in our family for so many reasons. You are wonderful
with our pets — always the first to feed them and pet them and look out for them — and you are a willing worker when it comes
to chores.

Besides all that, you make us laugh — oftentimes right out loud. I’ve always believed that getting through life’s little difficulties
and challenges requires a lot of laughter — and I thank you for bringing that to our home. You’re a wonderful boy, Son, a
child with such potential. Clearly, that’s what you displayed the other day when you came out of nowhere in your soccer qualifiers
and scored three goals.

I’m amazed because you’re so talented in so many ways, but all of them pale in comparison to your desire to truly live for
the Lord. I’m so excited about the future, EJ, because God has great plans for you, and we want to be the first to congratulate
you as you work to discover those. Thanks for your giving heart, EJ. I love you so.

To Austin, my miracle boy …

Here it is, baseball season again, and once more I smile when I see you at bat. You take your sports so seriously, but even
more than that, you take your role as our son seriously. The other day we were driving somewhere and you said that your friend
Karter made an observation. “Austin,” he said, “I think you’re going to grow up to be just exactly like your dad.” You shared
that story proudly and beamed at us from the backseat. And up in the front seat, your dad had tears in his eyes.

Yes, Austin, you are growing up to be like your daddy. There could be no greater compliment, because your dad is the most
amazing man. The bittersweetness of knowing that every morning you stand a little taller is juxtaposed with the joy of knowing
Karter is right. You’re a little more like your dad every day. I love your tender heart, Austin, the times late at night when
you come to me, tears in your eyes, and tell me you’re missing Papa. The other kids miss him, too, but I don’t hear it from
them as often as I hear it from you. Papa’s still cheering for you, Son. As you soar toward your teenage years please don’t
forget that or him.

You’re my youngest, my last, Austin. I’m holding on to every moment, for sure. Thanks for giving me so many wonderful reasons
to treasure today. I thank God for you, for the miracle of your life. I love you, Austin.

And to God Almighty, the Author of Life, who has — for now — blessed me with these.

A
CKNOWLEDGMENTS

N
O BOOK COMES TOGETHER WITHOUT
a great and talented team of people making it happen. For that reason, a special thanks to my friends at Zondervan who combined
efforts to make
Above the Line: Take Two
all it could be. A special thanks to my dedicated editor, Sue Brower, and to my brilliant publicist Karen Campbell, and to
Karwyn Bursma, whose creative marketing is unrivaled in the publishing business.

Also, thanks to my amazing agent, Rick Christian, president of Alive Communications. Rick, you’ve always believed only the
best for me. When we talk about the highest possible goals, you see them as doable, reachable. You are a brilliant manager
of my career, and I thank God for you. But even with all you do for my ministry of writing, I am doubly grateful for your
encouragement and prayers. Every time I finish a book, you send me a letter that deserves to be framed, and when something
big happens, yours is the first call I receive. Thank you for that. But even more, the fact that you and Debbie are praying
for me and my family keeps me confident every morning that God will continue to breathe life into the stories in my heart.
Thank you for being so much more than a brilliant agent.

A special thank you to my husband, who puts up with me on deadline and doesn’t mind driving through Taco Bell after a basketball
game if I’ve been editing all day. This wild ride wouldn’t be possible without you, Donald. Your love keeps me writing; your
prayers keep me believing that God has a plan in this ministry of fiction. And thanks for the hours you put in working with
the guestbook entries on my website. It’s a full-time job, and I am grateful for your concern for my reader friends. I look
forward to that time every day when you read through them, sharing them with me and releasing them to the public, lifting
up the prayer requests. Thank you, honey. And thanks to all my kids, who pull together, bring me iced green tea, and understand
my sometimes crazy schedule. I love that you know you’re still first, before any deadline.

Thank you also to my mom, Anne Kingsbury, and to my sisters, Tricia, Sue, and Lynne. Mom, you are amazing as my assistant
— working day and night sorting through the mail from my readers. I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know.

Tricia, you are the best executive assistant I could ever hope to have. I treasure your loyalty and honesty, the way you include
me in every decision and the daily exciting website changes. My site has been a different place since you stepped in, and
the hits have grown tenfold. Along the way, the readers have so much more to help them in their faith, so much more than a
story with this Life-Changing Fiction™. Please know that I pray for God’s blessings on you always, for your dedication to
helping me in this season of writing, and for your wonderful son, Andrew. And aren’t we having such a good time too? God works
all things to the good!

Sue, I believe you should’ve been a counselor! From your home far from mine, you get batches of reader letters every day,
and you diligently answer them using God’s wisdom and His Word. When readers get a response from “Karen’s sister Susan,” I
hope they know how carefully you’ve prayed for them and for the responses you give. Thank you for truly loving what you do,
Sue. You’re gifted with people, and I’m blessed to have you aboard.

A special thanks also to Will Montgomery, my road manager. I was terrified to venture into the business of selling my books
at events for a couple of reasons. First, because I never wanted to profit from selling my books at speaking events, and second,
because I would never have the time to handle such details. Monty, you came in and made it all come together. With a mission
statement that reads, “To love and serve the readers,” you have helped me supply books and free gifts to tens of thousands
of readers at events across the country. More than that, you’ve become my friend, a very valuable part of the ministry of
Life-Changing Fiction™. You are loyal and kind and fiercely protective of me, my family, and the work God has me doing. Thank
you for everything you’re doing and will continue to do.

Thanks, too, to Olga Kalachik, my office assistant, who helps organize my supplies and storage area, and who prepares our
home for the marketing events and research gatherings that take place there on a regular basis. I appreciate all you’re doing
to make sure I have time to write. You’re wonderful, Olga, and I pray God continues to bless you and your precious family.

I also want to thank my friends with Extraordinary Women — Roy Morgan, Tim and Julie Clinton, Beth Cleveland, Charles Billingsley,
and so many others. Also my friends at Women of Joy, including Phil Waldrip. How wonderful to be a part of what God is doing
through all of you. Thank you for making me part of your family.

Thanks also to my forever friends and family, the ones who have been there and continue to be there. Your love has been a
tangible source of comfort, pulling us through the tough times and making us know how very blessed we are to have you in our
lives.

And the greatest thanks to God. The gift is Yours. I pray I might use it for years to come in a way that will bring You honor
and glory.

F
OREVER IN
F
ICTION

Whenever I receive the completed paperwork for a Forever in Fiction winner, I read through the details of the life being honored
in fiction — whether the person is alive or dead — and I am touched by the real-life stories that come my way.

That was especially true for Laurie Weeks, forty-five. I read the information sent in about Laurie, and I kept seeing all
we had in common, how Laurie and I would’ve certainly been friends if we would’ve met. Our love of family and healthy living,
board games and beaches … Even our shared joy at documenting our family’s activities in photographs. The similarities were
striking.

Laurie was one of four siblings — three sisters and a brother. She married when she was twenty-two and had three children
— Audrey, twenty-three; Lucas, nineteen; and Sam, seventeen. She loved the beach and the Bible and playing Apples to Apples
when her family was gathered together. Trips to Atlantic Beach in North Carolina were always accompanied by a trip to her
favorite Windmill Restaurant, walks on the beach, and fresh grilled salmon. She walked every day and never missed the sporting
events and musical performances of her children.

Laurie was 5’5{dec63} and slender, with brown hair, green eyes, and a contagious smile. She rooted for the underdog, and people
knew her as a peacemaker — confident and trustworthy. She played the handbells in her church bell choir and served as family
photographer for the many special moments she helped create for those she loved. A spiritual high for Laurie was 2001, when
she and Audrey took a mission trip to Nicaragua.

Laurie was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in June of 2005. Though she nearly died twice in the ensuing months, her family
prayed for a miracle. Laurie lived long enough to attend the funeral of her ninety-six-year-old grandmother and long enough
to share one last very beautiful Christmas with her family. She lived to see a final prom and her son’s confirmation, along
with one last season of football and musical performances. Throughout her illness, she endured much pain, but she never complained
or let others see how she suffered. Though her family prayed for more time, God had other plans for Laurie. She loved Jesus
very much and knew she would be well with her Savior — but she hated the thought of leaving her family. Laurie went home to
heaven in March 2006 — just nine months after her diagnosis. Those who love her miss her very much.

Laurie was placed Forever in Fiction by her sister — Cindy Jacks — who won the item at the Lafayette Christian School auction,
a year after Laurie died. A special thanks to Cindy for honoring her sister this way. I chose to make Laurie the friend of
my character Kelly Ryan — producer Chase Ryan’s wife. Much as I believe Laurie would’ve been a friend of mine, her character
will certainly be a friend to Kelly Ryan in this time of dramatic highs and uncertain lows. Cindy, I pray that your family
will be blessed by the placement of Laurie in the pages of
Above the Line: Take Two
and that when you read this book you will always see some of Laurie here, where she will be Forever in Fiction.

BOOK: Take Two
4.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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