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Official Website of Author, Conference Speaker &

Co-founder of Strong Cross Ministries


Tonya enjoys speaking and sharing her life with women at retreats and events.  She thinks that women are amazing, and appreciates that the female gender is multifaceted yet fragile creations of God. In her personal life and as a speaker, Tonya believes that God’s Word is powerful, and needs to be read and written on her heart and on the hearts of women everywhere.


Tonya Jewel Blessing


Most Recent Book - The Melody of the Mulberries

Melody of the Mulberries




The term “wild wonderful West Virginia” was used as early as 1969 before being adapted in the 1970’s as the state slogan. The Melody of the Mulberries is Book Two in the Big Creek Series. Both books are set during the late 1920’s in the wild and wonderful state of West Virginia. The Appalachian mountains were untamed in the 1920’s and remain so in part today. The wonder of the hills is breathtaking , magnificent, and glorious. The morning mist hanging in the lowlands, the dew on the ground, along with the green of spring and the deep red, sparkling gold, and brilliant oranges of fall draw me visually, emotionally, and on some level spiritually to its feral fascination. John Denver recorded in his tribute song to West Virginia, “Take me home country roads to the place I belong…” There are seasons in my life where I long for the steep curvy country roads of my youth. Out of the longing was birthed my two novels. 



Soothing Rain

Soothing Rain:

Living Water to

Refresh Your Soul

with Sue Summers

The Whispering of the Willows

We need water to survive. Water is not an option for us. Our lives depend on it. Think about how easily a human dehydrates.

Jesus said to the woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water..."  John 4:13-14 (ESV)

Here is a delightfully probing individual or group study for spiritually interested, and globally-minded, women. The Word of God lives! Delivered by two highly regarded Christian mentors and communicators, the personal reflection or group discussions lead to spiritual answers related to women's issues. Each devotional subject flows from God's word.

Soothing Rain: Living Water to Refresh Your Soul, 118 pages, is available to libraries, through Baker & Taylor and Identifiers:

  • ISBN-10: 0997897635

  • ISBN-13: 978-0997897630

Faith-the-Appalachian-way is draped in the camouflage of a small West Virginia community. There, a blossoming young woman has been traded into marriage by her superstitious parents who are desperately poor. When key individuals begin carving out a rescue plan, Emerald Ashby grows strong despite grievous wrongs committed against her.


Everything seems twisted when a community preacher connives with evil to trade a farmer's young daughters in marriage for financial gain. Not all is lost when a brother, an aunt, a doctor and a sheriff decide to play a little game of poker on sacred ground. There, a handful of true believers work smartly to correct the scandals brought to light in the ailing town. Cleverly suspenseful and sweetly spoken, the storyteller's unassuming voice creates an Appalachian trail of tears to holy terror against an evil that stalks the innocent.


The Whispering of the Willows, 394 pages, is available to libraries, through Baker & Taylor and Identifiers: LCCN 2016931550 | ISBN 978-0-9971625-4-7 (print) | ISBN 0-9971625-4-6 (print) | ISBN 9780997162554 (ebook)


Soothing Rain is a delightful devotional that cleverly draws in the reader and offers a jewel of understanding about our relationship with our God, ourselves or others, sometimes all three. It is perfect for personal devotions or for group Bible study. I highly recommend Capture Book’s latest release, Soothing Rain.

Marilyn Bay Wentz


Soothing Rain is like sitting down for coffee with a good friend, it leaves you challenged, uplifted, and wanting more.  Tonya and Susan do a wonderful job creating a devotional that uses the most common of life stories to demonstrate the depth in which we are called to live our lives for Jesus.

Brittany Culver

The Whispering of the Willows is an inspiring story full of twists and turns, freedom and redemption, the expected and unexpected. This book brings to light the struggles of young women past and present. God's goodnes and provision flow from each page.

Linda Bottoms

Rocky Mountain Ministry Network

Melody of the Mulberries. "Amazing and creative writer!  Another Masterpiece! Well done, I am amazed by the author's gift to create such a story..."

Diane Andrews

Paster & Founder/Director of

R&R Retreats

"The encouragement that Tonya shares in her devotions is important and her authenticity is appreciated!"  

Mischelle Saunders-Gottsch 

Altered Stories - Interview with Mischelle Saunders-Gottsch
00:00 / 00:00
In The Press



Most of Tonya’s adult life has been spent in full time ministry with a focus on helping women.  She has traveled nationally and internationally as a conference speaker.  For a number of years, Tonya and her husband operated a retreat facility in Colorado for pastors and missionaries.

Tonya and her husband, Chris, recently celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary. The couple currently lives in South Africa. They are the founders and directors of Strong Cross Ministries, a U.S. non-profit organization that has been in existence for close to 20 years. Strong Cross operates as a support system for churches, ministries, and schools. The organization also sponsors feeding programs for children, the elderly, and disabled; provides educational and medical assistance; works with local leaders in the Limpopo region; and hosts numerous faith based events for South Africans.

Tonya is a well-known speaker on women’s issues and leadership principles. She is the author of the Appalachian book The Whispering of the Willows and co-author of the devotional Soothing Rain. Both books are available on Amazon.


1.     Did you grow up in a family that shared significant chores?  Do you believe that hard work is good for children?

2.     The names of the Ashby girls were precious names.  How do you think that Alma Ashby’s character developed into the split qualities of light and dark that she exhibited?

3.     What importance did church and music play in the working culture of Big Creek?

4.     What can be done for families today who have a family member with a disability? How does that assistance look different from the 1920's?

5.     Do you think you would be capable of caring for a child at the end of your eighth grade year? What aid did Emie have?

6.     Describe why it’s important to help others?

7.     Does helping others create any benefit for the one who helps?

8.     What part does poverty play in the morale of family members, such as choices they make involving their children?

9.     Do you think that Charlie was destined for a life of crime? Were there opportunities along the way for him to put his life on the right path?

10.   How would it have made Charlie’s life different had he experienced a positive mentor?



Whispering of the Willows : Book Club Questions
The Whispering of the Willows was featured on Book Daily!


For any media inquiries, please contact my publisher, CAPTURE BOOKS:

Web: | Tel:720-210-7107

2270 Jolly Oak Rd. Suite 2, Okemos, MI, 48864

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