We interrupt this blog to bring you exciting news!
Hello, book-loving friends!
I have some exciting news to share with you. I feel shy to share it because it is so overwhelming to me. I’ll tell you why in a minute.
I have a friend who chooses to remain anonymous. She has read my books and decided they needed to be in the schools. She made an appointment with the heads of the Washoe County School Libraries, and we met with them. She said she would like to donate a set (of five hardback books) of the Finding Home Series to each elementary school. That’s sixty schools! And, she wanted to buy a classroom set (of thirty books) for each middle school of Snapped and Cracker!
As you can imagine, I was overwhelmed. I do not benefit financially as we bought the books at cost, but I benefit in a much greater way! The hardest part of being an author is trying to figure out how to get your books into the hands of the actual readers they were written for. In my case, writing middle grade fiction and young adult fiction, it’s hard to market to those age groups. The gatekeepers for these books are Librarians, Teachers, and Parents. The fact that three thousand of my books will now be available to students is entirely unreal.
The Librarians have invited me to speak to all the school librarians when they meet in late August and present them with the books at that time. Because Snapped tackles the issue of cyber sexual bullying and Cracker tackles racism, the librarians are also hopeful that I can speak to the social studies teachers, as these issues are part of their curriculum.
In the meantime, boxes of books are stacked all over my little house, reminding me daily how incredibly blessed I am with good friends. Thank you for your love and support. I couldn’t wait to share this news with all of you.
Okay, here’s my rant about politics and religion. I remember a day when people could agree to disagree without being mean spirited or villainizing each other. This has changed in recent years. In the past, I was proud to put a bumper sticker on my car during an election. During the last election, I was afraid to do so. I was afraid of having my tires slashed. Especially at church. Something shifted in our culture that has made us intolerant of each other. It’s like when politics or hot button religious issues come up, all Jesus said about loving your neighbor and turning the other cheek goes out the window.
I’ve decided the difference is that we have lost our sense of humor. We have lost our ability to laugh at ourselves. We take ourselves too seriously. We begin to think we are too important and that our opinions matter too much.
We need a global perspective. We need God’s perspective. We are a wisp of smoke, here today and gone tomorrow. We are fragile, fleeting creatures and need to treat each other with kindness. The verse from Psalms should put us in our place: For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. Ps. 103:14
I blew this one the other day. A friend of a friend posted a link to a blog I didn’t agree with and I said something mean. I hurt someone’s feelings because I disagreed with her. This is easy to do on-line because we don’t have to know that person. We don’t have to look in their eye, we can just anonymously jab the knife. I felt badly, immediately deleted my post, and apologized. Now we are Facebook friends!
But, who am I to treat a neighbor that way? If I’d been sitting down across from her I would have seen it in her eyes: here is a fragile soul, a wisp of smoke, a holy creation. Treat her with gentleness and respect. But I didn’t. I have broken the second greatest commandment.
I am Butt dust.
So, I’ve resolved to weather this election with humor — by laughing at myself. And with grace for those I disagree with and who disagree with me. It will be hard and I may have to grit my teeth and bite my tongue but I want to remember that I am butt dust.
Say it with me now, “We are BUTT dust!” There, don’t you feel better?
In my last blog, I talked about terror and shared the story of my recent car wreck. I hinted that my children had the ability to take me to a place of fear 100X greater than the wreck. And so, part two.
The reason I was trying to get home over the mountain at night was because I wanted to maximize my time with my son Micah who would be coming back from Burning Man. He had only two days in Reno before heading back to Fort Bragg. We had a good last two days, and then David put him on a plane back to his base. The next morning I received a call that Micah didn’t show up for work.
At first, we thought, “Oh, it’s just like Micah to get home late and not realize he has to be at work right away. He probably thinks he starts tomorrow.” But, just in case we decided to check with the airline and look at his bank account. He had made it all the way to Fayetteville, North Carolina where Ft. Bragg is located. Then, he’d gone on base, filled up his car and then emptied his bank account. So, he had either been robbed (beaten, lying on the side of the road dead?) or gone AWOL. Panic set in.
Two hours later, after a conversation with my daughter, we found that he’d talked about going AWOL at Burning Man. In fact, they’d had a big fight about it. She was sure he’d changed his mind by the end of the week, so she didn’t mention it.
The next four days were sheer torture. We’d had no word from Micah. I spent most days alternating between trust and despair. I had no words to pray so I turned to the Psalms:
“I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.” Psalm 6:6
Our friends and family stood with us and sustained us. And there were glimpses of God. One morning I was so despondent I prayed, “I just want to know that you are with me. It would help if someone I didn’t even really know was praying for me right now. I need to know you see me.” After that, I took a shower and when I came out my husband had put the mail on the dresser. In it was an envelope addressed to me from a woman I hardly know – I met her two years ago at a women’s retreat. On the outside of the envelope was a picture of birds. Under it she had written, “He is watching over you.” Inside was her assurance that I was not alone and she was praying for me! It was so unexpected, so needed. I cried tears of thanksgiving.
Two days later, again despondent I took the dog up in the hills for a walk. It was a warm, dry Reno evening, but when I turned and looked up, there was a big fat rainbow. Not the kind that arches across the sky, but a straight fat one that looked like an exclamation point, slamming into the earth. I sat on a rock and starred at it in wonder. All the promises of the rainbow came back to me and I felt God say, “This will not end in destruction.”
Micah has called us every Sunday for the five years that he’s been in the Army. On Sunday we received a Facebook message, “Alive and Safe, I love you.”
We were so relieved, he was alive and safe!
Our worry for him continues. We know he needs to go back to the base ASAP. We held on to the hope that he would contact us again this Sunday. When he did not, we again sunk into despair. We held each other in bed that night and cried.
Monday morning my husband had an inkling: It was the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. He went to a Flickr and put in Occupy Wall Street into the search engine. After two hours of searching, he was rewarded with the above picture of our boy.
Another glimpse from God. We are not alone. We stand with so many who are praying with us, and God continues to sustain us.
Many of you are going through equally difficult times right now. Let me know what they are so we can hold each other up. These things are too much to bear alone.