NEW: REDEMPTION STORY
JEREMY WALTNER – PUBLISHER
A “hopelessly hopeful person” — that’s how Jeanette Ulmer describes herself. Anotherway might be fiercely faithful to a God of love who offers forgiveness, encouragement and redemption that the Menno native has experienced firsthand.
It is those two foundations on which Ulmer lives her life that has ultimately led to a significant milestone: The writing of her first published novel, Jim River Boy, which she describes as “an encouraging message for anyone who has struggled with regrets and wondered if they are beyond hope.”
The 223-page self-published novel was released on March 23 and is available for purchase as a paperback or Kindle at amazon.com and as a paperback and NOOK Book at barnesandnoble.com. Hard copies are also available at Crossroads in Sioux Falls and at Vintage Vault Floral in Freeman, where a book signing is planned for next Wednesday, April 20 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Jim River Boy was born from a creative side that Ulmer began nurturing as a student in Menno, from where she graduated in 1993. She says growing up on a farm gave her ample opportunity to explore the outdoors and let “her imagination grow along with her ever expanding horizons.”
Ulmer, who today lives in the Lennox/Chancellor area with her family, says she began writing poems in middle school as a way to express herself before branching out into photography and floral design in college. It wasn’t until she reached her 40s, however, that she “answered the call” to write Jim River Boy.
She committed to the process in 2019.
“I felt determined to write a really good book about hardships that lead to blessings, as I have experienced that several times in my own life, so I started praying about it and imagining the type of story I’d like to read,” Ulmer says. “The ideas started flowing from there and, little by little, it all fell into place.”
Jim River Boy is not a true story, although the Jim River and The Stone Church that are referenced in the book are real-life places. And Ulmer notes that she did use the names of friends, family and acquaintances for some of the characters, although that doesn’t mean that character is representative of that individual. Any similarity to events, names or places — with the exception of the river and the church — is strictly coincidental.
Ulmer’s story centers around the conflict cause by an unwanted pregnancy and the unexpected road that ultimately leads to healing.
“The main premise of the book is relationships — specifically reconciliation and forgiveness between each other and between us and God,” says the author. “The book touches on the consequences of our actions, oftentimes leading to our demise and ultimately — hopefully — redemption as we seek to do what is right.”
Ulmer says she wrote the book because of a deep calling she felt to reach people regardless of situation or location, age or gender.
“God is a God of love and forgiveness and hope,” she says. “This story is just one of hundreds of scenarios we can encounter in life that can trip us up and make us wonder if God cares about us. He does, and longs to have a relationship with us. He seeks us out, knocking on the door to our heart, waiting for us to respond to mercy and grace.
“There is never a lost cause God can’t remedy if we approach Him with a sincere heart.”
From the book’s back cover
An unrepentant heart is heavy. Peace and innocence are lost when Claire chooses vanity over doing what is right in the eyes of God. Then the boy appears, taking her by the hand and leading her down a path of self-reflection and healing, in a world unlike anything she’s ever seen.
As she struggles to survive the river, can she find forgiveness from her Creator, her child and herself?
A novel about true forgiveness from a God who loves us unconditionally. Who celebrates with us in times of joy and agonizes with us in times of difficulty.
An encouraging journey showcasing the power of love to overcome even the highest hurdles, to find restored relationships and peace beyond our sufferings.
“God is a God of love, not hate. He’s always ready to hear us when we pray and He promised never to leave us. He’s always been with you. You see, He didn’t go anywhere, you did.” – Jim River Boy