A new book chronicling the journeys of single parents as they overcome struggles and successfully raise their children soon will be available for all to read and use for encouragement in their own lives.
“Wingspan: Rising Above the Challenges of Single Parenting” is a collection of 45 inspiring stories told through authors Micah Leydorf and Christy Stewart. Story contributors include national figures such as Dr. Yvonne Pennington, mother of Extreme Home Makeover's Ty Pennington; and Mary Miller, mother of best-selling author Donald Miller; as well as several notable Oklahomans, including Gov. Mary Fallin and Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid.
Rhonda Thomas, executive director of the Single Parent Support Network, said she has long dreamed of compiling these compelling stories to motivate single parents.
“It's not an easy road,” Thomas said. “It's very doable and possible, and some of the stories in the book will show you.”
The Oklahoma City book signing and launch will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway. In addition to both authors, several of the people who contributed stories will be in attendance.
All proceeds from the book will benefit the programs of the Single Parent Support Network such as the Mother & Sons Conference, the Legacy Awards and the Queen for a Day event.
Not just singles
The Single Parent Support Network was founded in Oklahoma City in 2002 and has been working to empower single parents around the state since. Following the book launch, “Wingspan” will be sold at Full Circle Bookstore and through the Single Parent Support Network's website, Thomas said. The organization also is working with other bookstore chains and some local churches to get the book well-circulated in the community.
Thomas said the book has something for everyone, not just single parents.
“It's going to be an inspiration to anybody that's raising children,” she said.
‘Journey of faith'
Co-author Leydorf has been writing journalistically for more than 10 years, but this was her first time writing a book, she said. In the past year, she felt called to pursue creative writing and when this opportunity presented itself, she felt as though the timing was perfect.
“The timeline has been amazing to be able to accomplish all that we've accomplished,” Leydorf said. “It's a huge journey of faith for me to see how it all came together and just a huge blessing.”
In meeting and interviewing the various contributors, she began noticing just how many single parents there were around her.
According to 2005 statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau in August 2007, there are approximately 13.6 million single parents in the United States today, and they are responsible for raising 21.2 million children.
Leydorf said was inspired through her writing and feels certain readers will feel the same way.
“I know that their faith will be strengthened from hearing these stories of how people's faith has carried them through these hardships, and the growth and the joy and the blessing that is on the other side,” she said.