Dolores, Like the River — Laura Padgett

Today I’m thrilled to welcome author Laura Padgett as she shares some insights into her latest book, Dolores, Like a River. And read all the way through. Not only does she include the first page of the book, but she’s also offering a giveaway.

I never set out to write a book. When a friend suggested I consider that, I told her it was out of the question. She encouraged me to pray about it.

The idea stayed with me for months. Finally, when I asked God if He really thought there was merit in this idea, He assured me this was in fact his idea. He told me if I would sit to the keyboards, He would supply the words and guide the writing.

Twelve months later, “Dolores, Like the River,” was published by Westbow Press. I thought I was obeying God by telling the story of a woman who answered His call to mentor and mother an angry, rebellious, spiritual refugee who not only didn’t trust people but could not begin to believe in God. That little gal was me, at twenty-six years old.

It was my intention to tell of the beauty in God’s plan through mentorship. So, I began to unpack the story of this extraordinary woman and her unique role in my life. I soon discovered I could not tell Dolores’ story without revealing my own.

Day after day I recalled and chronicled events from my life as the child of abusive, alcoholic parents who never sought recovery from their addiction before their deaths. As the words flowed out of me many nights, I fell on my knees and screamed, “I can’t go back there, Lord. Why, why would you ask me to go back there? I’m better now. You sent Dolores. Let’s just tell about her, okay?”

The words coming from my heart and onto the paper took the shape of my own recovery through the power of love of the Father and the woman He sent to grow me into the woman He desired me to be. Each page brought new opportunities to understand my parents’ illness, to forgive them and to recover from the wounds created in their little girl. God was very clear this was not to be a book that elicited sympathy for a lost and broken child. Instead He wanted it to be written through the lens of a woman coming from victim to victor and from tears to triumph because of His healing grace and his servant, Dolores, who modeled that grace in our relationship for over thirty-five years.

Since this publication, I have been all over the country and into Canada speaking about redemption, recovery, and the hope of healing no matter where we have been or what we have inherited. I believe God’s purpose for me to write is to reach others who are hurting, feeling unloved or unlovable and need to know the power of His healing grace through His words and the touch and words of His people.

Three questions for Laura Padgett

Three fun things about me:

  1. In my late forties I decided to learn various dance forms. In my fifties and sixties, I became a competitive dancer and have won several silver and gold medals as well as a team national championship for clogging.
  2. I inherited a radio show 1-1/2 years ago from a friend. Since then, God has given me a world-wide stage to bring authors and other artists forward for His Glory and to teach the healing power of the arts.
  3. I am a big fan of the BBC (movies, TV shows) and I rarely, if ever, watch any American TV or movies.

About Laura:

Laura has an MA in Storytelling from Regis University. She is an award-winning author and dancer, living in Lakewood with her husband, Keith. She is author of “Dolores, Like the River” and has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul books and other short story anthologies.


Blog: Livin’ What You’re Given on


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Radio show:  The Artist’s Nook on every first and third Friday of the month at 2 p.m. MT.

“Dolores, Like the River” Westbow Press, December 2013

Available at in e-book, Kindle, Hardcover and Softcover

Question for readers:

If you have a special mentor or teacher in your life have you thanked them and told them what they have done for you?

We will make a random drawing from those who leave a comment, and you win a free copy of the book, Dolores Like The River.


When I was twenty-five years old, I moved from Denver to a town in western Colorado called Montrose. I supposed that, like many my age, I was “finding myself” by running from home. In reality, the motivation for my move was a belief that I could find the internal peace I craved by manipulating my life’s external elements.

While in Montrose, I found a relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. I began a personal faith journey that challenged and eventually dismissed my belief that if there was a God, the chances were slim He would ever find a place in my world or I in His. On my spiritual voyage, I came to understand that I was loved for just who I am. I learned that God wanted a relationship with me. Coming from a family destroyed by alcoholism and abuse, this was not a message imprinted on my sense of self.

The Bible tells us that God loves and accepts us unconditionally. I soon found He does not just talk a good game. He supplies people, here on earth, who live and give His kind of love. He brought a woman named Dolores into my life. Over the next thirty-five years, she extended that unconditional love along with unwavering patience and understanding as I struggled to find my spiritual feet. She endlessly supplied wise instruction for growth in the Lord and provided an example of unflappable integrity. We met when she was sixty-five and I was twenty-six. It was through Dolores that God taught me about self-acceptance, forgiveness, dealing with loss, exposing the lies I believed about myself and others, living in joy, finding my gifts, and using them for His glory.

We were two completely different women, Dolores and I. Our age difference of forty years was only one area of dissimilarity. Dolores had had a privileged upbringing and education. I was a kid with little education beyond high school, and I’d been raised by parents who barely scraped by financially and spent most of their extra time and energy on drinking and fighting. She was soft-spoken, even-tempered, and refined in manners. I was a rough and tough, beer-swilling, cigarette-smoking, hard-playing, hotheaded young woman who was more at home in a biker bar than a sitting room. She was a staunch conservative with 1940s values. I represented the liberal girls from the 1970s, with values dependent upon my whims and perceived needs at any given time. Dolores was a woman of faith matured through a lifetime. I had more than a small challenge in trusting a stranger on a cross for something I really didn’t believe in: eternal salvation.

From a human lens, this relationship would be considered unlikely to form let alone last for well over a quarter of a century. It had to be ordained by heaven. This was a master plan by the master planner to teach me about love—the one element that above all will sustain us through time, age, and life’s various predicaments.

It is my prayer that as you follow this story, you will (if you don’t now) appreciate the Master and His great plans, as well as the teachers and mentors He sends to bring those glorious plans to fruition in your life. And when your turn comes to assume the role of teacher/mentor, I pray you will be willing to flow as a quenching, healing, and nurturing river in the life of another.