About five years ago, I got a call from my longtime friend Doug Daugherty who asked me to finish a writing project he’d started 25 years earlier. He actually didn’t remember it, but apparently a lady had hired him to work on the idea of helping her write a book. Doug had written a couple chapters, but it sat there because the lady wasn’t sure what to do next.
This lady, Zella Dixon, didn’t have a lot to write about at that point, and she told God that fact when she felt this overpowering call to write a book. Add to this the fact that she is dislexic andit seemed like the entire idea was odd. Twenty years later, however, she did have some powerful stories to tell. By that time, both of her sons had died tragically.
Zella continues to stand strong in Christ despite such terrible setbacks and has a beautiful and warm life to offer to others. We hit if off immediately after Doug’s call brought us together. Her book ended up becoming a devotional: “A Warm Blanket for Rainy Days.” It contrasts her early, idealistic, iconic upbringing with the trials and difficulties she encountered later in life. People love this book. It is impossible not to be encouraged by it. God knew exactly what he was doing when he called her to write a book. It just took a while to make sense.
Zella and her husband Sherwin Dixon have adopted Dottie and I. We continue to see each other regularly. This ghostwriting book project is one of my favorites.
When I wrote a devotional book for Zella Dixon, we also produced a documentary video about her extraordinary story. Both of Zella’s sons died early, but she continues to profess her love for the Lord and her gratitude for His care.
I am particularly proud of the soundtrack for this video. I spent a lot of time browsing various versions of hymns and southern gospel recordings, and the result seems to flow really well with the theme.
In hindsight, I would make the introduction and bit shorter. It takes a while to get to the first spoken words, and it takes several more minutes to reach the “inciting incident.” Nevertheless, all in all it’s a good piece. The message is certainly powerful and ageless.