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BETTER, TOGETHER “From the first real date when we went out to dinner, and Bill brought me to the door and shook my hand like a gentleman would, I went in and called one of my dearest friends and said, ‘I have just met the man of my prayers, but if he never calls me again, I am OK,’ ” Liz recalls. These seem like strange words coming from a single, older woman who would go on to write several romances, but for Liz, they were true because of her faith. “Though the thought of having Bill Higgs in my life was amazing; bottom line was that I was already loved, already protected, cherished—all the things that a woman wants to be. If I also got to spend my days with Bill, well, that would be amazing,” she says. “I just knew I was content. I already had that relationship [with Jesus] so central to my life. It was a lovely place to be.” Bill echoes that sentiment, comfortably picking up the narrative of confident living where each finds his or her worth in God, without a hint of boastfulness. “I’ve always maintained that a marriage should create an entity that is bigger than the two individual participants,” he says. “In other words, Bill and Liz ought to be something more than Bill by himself or Liz by herself. I think we’ve managed to accomplish that on some level.” It’s a feat they have achieved since 1995, when Bill began working with Liz at their Laughing Heart Farm. Liz set up her writing loft in the office building directly behind their house. Bill managed Liz’s schedule, keeping her speaking engagements confined to the weekends, so they could take turns caring for their children, Matthew and Lillian. Liz’s fiction and nonfiction generally focus on relationships—the relationships between people, and the relationship between people and God. While managing schedules and children and the general duties of life, Bill penned his own narrative concerning relationships in his literary debut: Eden Hill. The story, set in the early 1960s, is

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one of generational and social division and unity. The fictional community faces sorrows and joys and is confronted by one of the most famous Biblical parables: The Good Samaritan and what to do with the challenge of being neighborly. “There is a little bit of an ideal about the town, but I think there is some grit as well. It reflects who we are, and I think we are going to strive to be better than we are now,” Bill says. “This has been something of the character of Kentucky. Kentuckians have been known to be there for each other, and we have lost a little of that over the years. If we can recover a little bit of that, well, so much the better.” Even though they are better together, Liz put distance between herself and Bill’s literary endeavor. “I did not fling open one door, name one connection. I did not read the book until it was entirely done and edited, and just about ready to go to typeset,” Liz says. “I knew the joy of watching that gift from God. To be published is a gift, and in Bill’s place, I really wanted him to have that joy, satisfaction and sense of calling. and to have it happen without me touching anything. It’s so important.”

SIMPLY TOGETHER Until the sequel to Eden Hill comes out, or until Liz’s next book or speaking engagement, the couple focuses on being a living story of faith, love and growth. “You write a book, first of all, to explore your own heart. God always wants to show you something,” Liz says. “There is something you need to learn, a way you need to grow, a new experience that you need to make first. God is always showing me things—not always pretty things, sometimes very hard things, but that is how we grow. We don’t grow on the mountains; we grow in the valleys.” For this writing Kentucky couple, no matter the terrain or the adventure set before them, they will finish the story strong and sure, writing every single word as if it were their best. Q

February 2018 | Kentucky Monthly Magazine  

Kentucky Monthly magazine February 2018

February 2018 | Kentucky Monthly Magazine  

Kentucky Monthly magazine February 2018