On Sacred Ground

Today I walked on sacred ground.

I do that more often than one might think, but I find sacred ground in some of the oddest places–once I stop and really consider where I am.

A writerfriend, whose first book I was introduced to by Karen Spears Zacharias, released her new book yesterday.  It’s been exciting watching her share the process on Facebook and on her blog.  (Social media does have its upsides, doesn’t it?)  And yesterday was the day.  I was out running errands with crew in tow yesterday afternoon, so we stopped at the big box bookstore, just in case.

Sure enough, they shook their heads and did their standard, “But we can order it for you” dance.

Umm, no thank you.

When it comes to books I want, I got skills.  I got this.

I had an appointment in Macon this afternoon that would put me within fifteen minutes of Mercer University Press, the company that published my friend’s new book.  On a whim (and hearing my Mama in my head–“What’s the worst that can happen?  They say no?  Well you’re no worse off then, are you?”) I called up to Macon, and a very sweet person told me that sure, she had four copies not spoken for and she’d be happy to set one aside for me.

And that’s how we get things done around here.  If you don’t ask, you just don’t know.  They might even say yes.

After my appointment, I followed the directions given to me over the phone and stored in my head.  I only had to turn around once.  Turns out I was right around the corner from my Great Great Aunt’s old house on Coleman Hill. I just love old historic neighborhoods, y’all.  I was in my element.  I walked up on the front porch of this old home with a humble sign informing me that I was indeed at “Mercer University Press.”

As I’d been told, I rang the bell.  It was an old-fashioned twist kind.  I was enchanted.  And also, I want one.  (As if the whole “old-fashioned” bit hadn’t already told you that.)  Another nice woman came to the door and let me in.

Oh y’all.

I caught a glimpse of stacks of books in the adjoining room.  I didn’t want to gape and stare but in the few moments I was there, it gave me the impression of a very old and dignified old gent, sitting in his leather chair with dark wood everywhere and beautiful carpets at his feet.  I don’t know if that’s what was actually there, but that was the impression I left with.  I’d been in the presence of greatness.  I mean these people choose other people’s words to immortalize in print.  I am amazed and enamored with it all, and I stood in. that. place.  That place that makes writers’ dreams come true.

It was a sacred moment in a sacred space.

As I handed over the exact amount I had scraped together when sitting in the gomobile in the parking lot (if you believe in “signs” surely that would have to be one, right–I didn’t know what they would charge), the person who had welcomed me in handed me the book that had been set aside for me on the chair by the door.  Oh y’all.  The feel of a new book.  The anticipation.  The excitement.  And to know about the excitement that the person who wrote it is going through–priceless.

I think I remembered to say thank you–I was that distracted–and I took my leave.  I walked back down the steps and turned.  What a neat little adventure I’d had, all because I took Mama’s advice and asked.  I wanted to mark the adventure somehow, so I did what most of us do in such a case.

Pulled out my phone and took a picture.  And then came home to write about it.

My thumb showing off my new book written by someone I've grown to love, posing in front of Mercer University Press in Macon.

My thumb, showing off my new book written by someone I’ve grown to love, posing in front of Mercer University Press in Macon.

And now you know why it’s a must read.  That title alone, right?  The really good things in life.  I cannot wait to sit down and curl up with it.

Tonight I’m thankful for Karen, whose book “Will Jesus Buy Me a Doublewide? ‘Cause I Need More Room for My Plasma TV” rocked my world and introduced me to ideas and challenged my beliefs and priorities six ways to Sunday.  She is a great writer, and I love her dearly.  I’m also thankful for the people she has introduced me to, one of whom is Renea Winchester, the reason for my adventure today.

I don’t know if I would have gone on such a trek if it hadn’t mattered to me that my friend had released her new book, an effort of love and much hard work. She has shared her journey and done a great job of making all who followed feel a part of it.  That is why, after I have read her stories and shared it with my Aunt, this new gem will go on this shelf in my library–

My library shelf with books written by my writerfriends--talented women who work hard to share their gifts with all of us--all of them now Mercer University Press authors.

My library shelf with books written by my writerfriends–talented women who work hard to share their gifts with all of us–all of them currently Mercer University Press authors. (I was going to retake, but my thumb is enjoying its moments of fame, so…..)

As I was toting my book back out to my gomobile, ready to head out on the next errand, I crossed paths with students–probably from the law school there at Mercer.  I stopped for a moment.  As dear as Wesleyan College is to me, Mercer also holds a place in my heart.  That is where I did my postgraduate studies.  And my own Wesleyanne is considering doing her postgraduate work there too.  I imagined her walking amongst this group of young people, and it warmed my heart.  If it is right for her, may it be so.

I took one more look back at the old home that houses Mercer University Press.  Sacred ground.  And maybe more sacred because one day, good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, maybe one day I will find my way back there.  Only maybe, just maybe, I will have my own stack of papers in hand.  And a dream in my heart.

If it is right, may it be so.

Here’s hoping you can find yourself walking on sacred ground and the place of your dreams too.

Love to all.



If any of you want to have your own copy of this wonderful book, go here and order directly from the old house on Orange Street in Macon.  You don’t have to ring the doorbell or anything.  They make it really easy for you.  Y’all take care.

Dream a Little Dream With Me

Today is Epiphany.

Yes, the twelve days of Christmas are over.  We spent much of the afternoon putting away our Christmas and tidying up.  And I made it through it.  Only this year, I made no promises to myself about where we would be when the boxes were opened again.

So on with Epiphany, the day marked to honor the theophany of the infant Jesus to the Magi, the Wise Men.  (theophany–my new word for today–it means “the appearance of a deity to a human”)

I love the story.  The Magi set out looking for the one born to be King of the Jews.  They had seen a star indicating that he had been born.  They went to Jerusalem and started asking how to find him.  When King Herod, a rather jealous king, heard about this, he became worried.  He told them to go find this newborn king and then come back and tell him where the baby was so he could go and worship him too.

Yeah, right, Herod.  I see what you did there.

The Magi continued on their journey, and then…..

11 They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.

12 In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country.   –Matthew 2:11-12, The Message

Here’s what I love most about the story.  They were there for the right reasons.  They were there to worship the newborn King, not serve Herod and his priorities.

But then there’s this–“In a dream, they…..”

When have you ever dreamed with another person?  Never, right?  So these Magi–some say scholars, others say kings–each of them had a dream…..individually.  I’d love to have been a fly on the wall the next morning.

“Ummm,” one of them takes a big gulp of his coffee, looking for some way to put his thoughts into words.  “I know we all were on board with this plan to go back to Herod and tell him so he can come worship as he said, but…..” Another gulp of coffee.  “Oh never mind.”

Another one, slightly stooped as he rolls up his knapsack, speaks with his slow and deep voice, a voice that makes you listen for the wisdom therein.  “No brother, what were you going to say?  I want to hear it.”

The first one shakes his head.  “No the lack of sleep and the excitement of the past few days, all of that has my mind a little mixed up.  It’s nothing.  Let’s head on out.”

Still another one, the youngest of the travelers, speaks up.  “Well I don’t know about any of you but I didn’t sleep very well.  I dreamt all night.  And such vivid dreams.  They gave me no rest or peace.”

The second man, finished with his journey preparations, leans against his pack and says,  “Dreams?  Really?  Tell us about them.”

The dreamer shakes his head.  “Man, I’m telling you, it was so real.  But still nothing for us to base any decisions on.  I guess I’m just worried about the trip back.  That’s probably all it is.”  He pauses.  Then he slaps his thigh with his right hand and looks at the others rather sheepishly.  “Okay, all right, y’all are never going to believe this, but I dreamed we shouldn’t go back to Herod….we should go back another way and head home without even stopping back by like we said we would.  Is that crazy or what?!”

Eyes pop and mouths open with disbelief.

“I had that dream too!” “I can’t believe it, that was my dream too!”  “But what can this mean?”  “So should we follow what we were all told in our dreams or are we heading back to Herod?”

I love it.  I don’t know that this is how it played out–all we are given is one verse for what I think is a very important part of the story…..they were told in a dream, they went back another way.  The End.

But it’s not.  As we listened to this story at Evening Prayer last night, I thought again about how this might have happened.  Thank goodness they were obedient, yes, but I am really thankful that the first one spoke up about the dream.  Can you imagine the tension inside each one (much like the tension inside of me when a dream is rambling around looking for a way out), fearing that he would have to be the one to share what his dream was–to the disbelief and scowling looks of his fellow travelers?  That he would have to be the one to look crazy? And yet, share it he must.  Did any one of them understand the real importance of the dream?  The importance of obedience?  Thank goodness at least one did.  And it was a very good thing.

But here’s the lesson that sticks with me, in my mind and my heart, from this story.

Never be afraid to share your dreams.

Who know who else has also been given that dream to make it happen….with you?

And that’s what I know.  In this year of “with,” in this life of with, I know that nothing I am to do is me and me alone.  Our dreams can only come to fruition if shared with others, and if we all work together toward reaching that star…..it is there we will find the Gift it shines to honor.

Share your dreams, even if they seem crazy; who knows what good and right things can come from it?

For the fun of it, from a show we watched every Christmas.  I seem to particularly remember Daddy loving this show–

Finally, a great song about dreaming from one of my favorite musicals–and yes that is Mr. Donny Osmond…..