Ramonans bombarded with gift suggestions this Christmas season may want to consider an inspirational book by longtime area resident Judith Doxey as a special gift for a special person.
Doxey’s We Are the Branches was 24 years in the making, and initial reviews indicate it was time well spent. The 217-page book of “poems, prayers, and promises” can be picked up any time and opened to any page. Each page has a poem or two by Doxey followed by passages from the Bible.
“Judi Doxey has an incredible soul that shows through in her poetry and art,” Grace Community Church Youth Pastor Jimmy Higgins writes in the book’s forward. “Her words are refreshingly transparent as she honestly records her life experience in a manner that is both uplifting and challenging.
“I think that both youth and adults will be encouraged to grow spiritually and pursue an honest relationship with the Lord through her writings. Grab this book, a cup of good coffee, and find a quiet place to enjoy them both.”
While Doxey has been a Christian for the past 25 years, her book is not just for Christians.
“There are certain needs that people have that they can relate to in the book,” she said.
A friend who is a therapist bought 20 copies of the book that sells for $14.99 in Treasures Christian Store at 649-A Main St. in Ramona. The paperback book measures 7-1/2 by 9-1/3 inches and also is sold online at firstname.lastname@example.org, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, target.com, and borders.com and in the Promised Land Bookstore in Temecula and the Spring of Life Bookstore at the Calvary Chapel Bible College in Temecula. Book order may be placed by telephone, 24 hours a day, at 1-866-909-2665.
This is the second book that Doxey has written. Her first, No Turning Back, was published in 1982. An artist, Doxey designed the cover and the illustrations throughout We Are the Branches.
The book takes the reader on a 24-year journey with Doxey from the heartbreak of loss, resistance and unbelief to what she describes as the “surprising, healing, liberating experience of meeting Jesus.”
Doxey and her husband Gene lived in Ramona 16 years before moving to Mesa Grande, where they lived for another 16 years, and Warner Springs, where they have lived the past 5 years in a home she designed.
Published by Xulon Press, the book has a message Doxey wants to share.
“It isn’t a new message,” she said, “but a renewing message” — that the truth is still the truth, whether one believes it or not.
She wrote the autobiographical poems in the book on scraps of paper in all sorts of places over 24 years. When she was inspired to write, she wrote, whether it was in the car during a trip or in church.
“I hope believers will be touched, inspired, edified, encouraged, and challenged to grow closer to God and trust him in every situation,” she said. “I hope non-believers will be challenged to open their minds to Jesus and give him a chance, as I was once challenged to do. I want them to see how I felt just like them as an unbeliever, how wrong I was, that I’ve seen both sides now, and what it’s like to be truly free.”
Doxey has been through many out-of-the-ordinary experiences, including a baby daughter’s death, two failed infant adoptions, foster parenting troubled boys, adopting an extremely abused older child, caring for aging parents, and seeing her children become Christians and find Christian spouses.
Through it all, she said, “God was there.” She hopes that her book will encourage readers to open their minds to God and that it will “relate to everyone in our society and touch people’s hearts.”
She encourages non-believers “just to open their minds to exactly what they’re rejecting.”
“What I’d like to do is challenge them to open their minds,” she said.
Among comments she has received from people who have read the book are “they keep going back to it. They keep it on their coffee table,” she said.
Doxey’s husband, a teacher, retired from the Ramona Unified School District and occasionally substitutes at Ramona schools. He is known for the Contemporary Issues class he developed for students at Olive Peirce Middle School.
The Doxeys have two children and four grandchildren. Their daughter Gia Taber, 37, lives in Ramona and took the photo on the book’s back cover. Their son Jared, 32, lives in Colorado.
In the book’s acknowledgements, Doxey thanks, among others, former Ramona resident and neighbor Candy Fiddes, “for praying and persevering in your witness to me, 25 years ago. That one book out of many you gave me finally made the impact God wanted, and opened my mind to Jesus.”
The book was Hal Lindsey’s The Liberation of Planet Earth. When Fiddes gave her the book, Doxey recalls her saying, “Here, read this with an open mind, and that’s exactly how God got to me.”
In addition to being a special gift, We Are the Branches may be used by Bible study groups. The book’s title was inspired by a Bible passage: “I am the vine; you are the branches.”