Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink

The Book

Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink explores a thirty-year friendship between two women: one who had never learned to cultivate female friendships, and the other who had managed to gather and maintain a large group of friends throughout her adult life. The fact that thousands of handwritten letters between them tethered these two together is just part of the intriguing story.


The Authors

Mary Potter Kenyon graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a BA in Psychology and is widely published in magazines, newspapers, and anthologies. She is a popular speaker and workshop presenter for women’s groups, libraries, community colleges and writer’s conferences. Her public speaking repertoire includes the topics of caregiving, couponing, writing, utilizing your creativity in your everyday life, and finding hope and healing in grief.

This prolific author with Familius has written several other books: Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America’s Extreme Obsession, Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage, Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace, Expressive Writing for Healing: Journal Your Way from Grief to Hope, and Called to be Creative: A Guide to Reigniting Your Creativity.

She and her husband Nick Portzen, Sr. live in Dubuque, Iowa. They are codirectors of this summer’s Cedar Falls Christian Writers Conference. Check out her website. Please visit her Amazon Author Page.

Mary Jedlicka Humston, a former high school teacher, graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a BA in English Education. She has had over 150 poems and essays published at the local and national level in newspapers, magazines, books, and online. One of her poems was chosen to be projected on the Krakow City of Literature UNESCO Poems on the Wall in 2014. Mary has presented programs on cancer, dealing with chronic illness, prayer, writing, and the Little Free Library movement. She is a member of National League of American Pen Women and The University Club Writers of Iowa City. She lives in Iowa City with her husband Jim. Mary will be one of the presenters at the Cedar Falls Christian Writers Conference.

My Thoughts

This lovely book is the memoir of a compelling decades-long friendship between two women and the hundreds of letters they wrote each other as lifelines, journaling to share with another kindred spirit.

Both Marys shares their stories for each chapter–on friendships, mothers, mean girls, babies, serious writing, illnesses, worry, losses, faith, and personal questions. Each chapter also includes a related guest essay. This delightful memoir includes the added bonuses of resources and discussion questions.

I met “the Marys” at the 2014 Cedar Falls conference, and look forward to seeing them there this June. Both have been so supportive and encouraging, during my early years of the first manuscript and through all three “Leora books.”

Here’s more about winsome encouragement from Mary Jedlicka Humston, while sitting in what she calls her “queen chair.”

You might like to check out the speakers and topics for this year’s Cedar Falls Christian Writers Conference.



  1. That’s a compelling story.
    I also looked at the conference…A conference like that is on my bucket list. A 9 hour drive for me is very doable if I can shuffle a whole lot of big things.

    • I live two hours away and cannot drive it myself. My favorite chauffeur (who has developed Parkinson’s) will take me, come home, then pick me up to drive back home! This will be his fifth year of making sure I can do this. I’ve got fibromyalgia and need 2-3 naps during the day to calm symptoms again, so I’ve rented a nearby cabin so I can even work those in. Several in the group gave input for my first book, and now there are three! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! (Working on a solid first draft of book four. lump in throat)

  2. You are saying this is a very worthwhile conference, even with all the things you are battling. Sigh…lots of mountains to move to get there.

    • It’s not a large conference, but that’s also a plus for me. The biggest thing this year is to reconnect with folks whose fingerprints are on my first book. I haven’t been there since 2019, which is when it was published. I didn’t make it last year. They were so encouraging. This year I’ll get to be among the encouragers!

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