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.

 

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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.

For When You Feel Like Quitting

Are you feeling under-appreciated?

Over-worked?

Feeling okay about your life, but tired of folks around you not getting along?

Are you feeling stripped to the core and like your vulnerability is visible to the world?

Have a I got a book for you to read!

It’s all about those feelings and stepping outside the box and saying how you feel–communicating what you need from those around you for you to feel better and more like yourself again.  To feel like you have value and are appreciated.

I just finished reading it yesterday.  Actually I started and finished it yesterday.  In about ten minutes total.  With my two littles.

Confused?

Sorry.  Back in December Amazon had these lightning specials where they put different things on big time sale, and some pretty incredible bargains could be had.  One night I saw that this book I had been interested in was going to be given away (well practically) at 9:00 a.m. the next morning.  They only have a certain number of these special bargains and once they are gone, they’re gone.  I had a talk with Santa, who picked me up a copy of this book I’d been wishing for, and he brought it to me for Christmas.

Santa brought me this great book.  It is really delightful.  http://www.amazon.com/The-Crayons-Quit-Drew-Daywalt/dp/0399255370/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389153580&sr=8-1&keywords=the+day+the+crayons+quit

Santa brought me this great book.  “The Day the Crayons Quit” by Drew Daywalt.  It is really delightful. http://www.amazon.com/The-Crayons-Quit-Drew-Daywalt/dp/0399255370/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389153580&sr=8-1&keywords=the+day+the+crayons+quit

And yes, we just got around to reading it yesterday.  “Star Wars and Playmobil Folks Save the World” has been more pressing.  You understand, I’m sure.  So yesterday, when we were easing ourselves back into school (no cancelling school for cold here–for A cold maybe, but not for THE cold), I pulled it out and we read it.  It might have taken us fifteen minutes to finish because Cooter wanted me to re-read the letter from the Peach crayon, who has had all of its paper peeled off.  Peach was feeling quite vulnerable and had reached the point where it didn’t care who knew it.

Yes, that’s right.  A letter from the Peach crayon.  Each crayon in Duncan’s box has QUIT.  Each one has written a letter sharing its gripes, complaints, and general concerns.  Imagine being a Red crayon with a little person–all those “red holidays” not to mention big fire trucks.  Purple is tired of never staying in the lines.  And poor Pink in Duncan’s crayon box–you can see it coming, can’t you?  Yep.  Feeling rather unappreciated.

Yes, this is marketed as a children’s book, but quite honestly, it would be a close call to decide who loved this book the most.  I read it aloud to my two youngest, and we all giggled at different parts.  Later I found our Princess curled up reading it to herself.  When her big sister came in, she read Peach’s letter aloud, and Cooter laughed as hard as he did the first time he heard it.  It was delightful.  To hear the story…..and the laughter.

This will be one of our family favorites for a long time.  I just thought y’all should know that.  In the midst of my worrying about people suffering in the cold, sick wee ones, hurting hearts, and my girl heading back to college, it was really nice to read a story that hit home with me. (I dare you to read it and tell me not one of those crayons was speaking for you or to you.)  And it was even better to laugh with my children and spend time sharing the joy of a good book.  My Mama, Queen of the children’s books, would have loved this story.  And for a few minutes, as we were piled up in the recliner together, heads touching as we giggled at page after page, it was as though she were right there with us.  And that was the best feeling of all.

The Liebster Award–The Fun of Paying it Forward

Image from hopehonorandhappiness.com

Image from hopehonorandhappiness.com

Thanks for stopping in.  I am excited and honored to share that I have been nominated for the Liebster Award, an award that recognizes and welcomes new bloggers.  A big thank you to Ariffa of Hope, Honor, and Happiness for nominating me.  She has published a novella, “Kingdom of the Sun,” and blogs “to light flames of inspiration in your minds and hearts.”  Thank you, Ariffa, for this honor!

This is a “pay it forward” honor.  I answer the questions that Ariffa wrote for me to answer, and then I recognize ten bloggers who are absolutely awesome.  This is so much fun!

So without further ado, a little more about me:

1) Why did you feel the need to start a blog?

I started writing to work through my grief.  Sharing the stories of my family, writing them down to remember–it hasn’t lessened the pain of my parents’ passing, but it has brought back memories that have made me smile and reminded me of things I thought I had forgotten.

2) Sunsets or Sunrises?

Sunsets.  Definitely.  Sunrises require the getting up out of bed way too early.  Sunrises back home at Blackberry Flats in the fall always reminded me of the introduction to Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights.  Beautiful “Technicolor” and darkness.  I miss that view at the back door.

3) What is the last good movie that you have seen?

Oh my.  I haven’t seen a movie in its entirety in quite some time.  The last ones I saw were the Disney and Pixar sequels over the summer.  Good but not my favorites.  Can I count the play I saw last Friday night?  “To Kill a Mockingbird.”  If not, then I’d have to say the last Harry Potter movie.  That one touched my heart and made me rethink the things I thought I believed.  Yes, Harry Potter.

4) How would you describe compassion?

Hugh Hollowell, the director of Love Wins Ministry in NC, talks about sitting with people in the dark, that he thinks that is what Jesus does.  To me, that is what compassion is.  Sitting with someone right where they are.

5) What is your favorite animal and why?

Growing up horses were my very favorites.  Everything horses.  I collected a few of the Breyer horses.  Mama made me a bookbag with a horse head appliqued on it.  When Daddy brought home a horse, I thought I was the luckiest girl on earth.  I had a sheep for 4-H at one time too.  Really though I love most animals.  We have a puppy and four cats right now, but I wouldn’t mind having a horse or two again one day.

6) What is your favorite movie quote?

I have many favorites for someone who hasn’t seen a movie in a while.  But I think this one speaks to my heart the most in this moment:

20131101-225058.jpgA quote from Kingsley Shacklebolt in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.

7) What is your ideal vacation?

At this point, I would say a stay-cation of sorts.  I think if I could go over to my Mama’s house and just be–with my books, my writing stuff, and yarn and needles of different types–that would be my most favorite thing to do.  Low pressure, time to do whatever my heart and mind wanted.  THAT would be the best!  Too often vacations are Mama preparing, Mama packing, Mama planning snacks for the trip, and then Mama coming home and doing laundry, putting it away, and getting things settled back in.  I’m all for daytrips, but if I can’t have a stay-cation, it’s just not in me to make it happen right now.

8) What was your childhood dream?

At one point, I had figured out what year I could first run for President.  I don’t want that so much anymore.  I wanted to be a veterinarian, until a heart to heart conversation with Daddy, in which he shared that he had once wanted to be one too.  And we talked about the heartbreaking side of being a vet.  So no, I don’t want that anymore either.  I also wanted to write and publish a book.  Maybe one day…..

9) If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

If I could have only one (and several come to mind), it would be to have x-ray ingredient vision.  To be able to look at something and know if it had things in it that could harm my child with food allergies–THAT would reduce so much stress in my life, you just don’t know.  Yes, that is the ONE.

10) What and when was the last book you read?

I just finished “Silver Sparrow” by Tayari Jones last Saturday.  I read it as did my daughter as part of the Pioneer Book Club of Wesleyan College.  I shared my thoughts about it here. It was a hard but good read.

Here are some pretty special bloggers I nominate for the Liebster Award.  Some I have been following for a while, and others I have just discovered.  They are all excellent writers and shining light in our world.  I am thankful that they share their time and talents with us all.

Centering Down  Dena is a wonderful writer, who writes with refreshing honesty about tears and joy in this life.  She just published an Advent Devotional as well, which will make your preparation for Christmas more meaningful.  A talented woman who is making her dreams happen.

Tales of a Wesleyanne  Written by Auburn, my oldest.  No nepotism here, I really believe she is a great writer.  And she’s writing as she navigates her first semester of college.  Pop in and say hello.  Tell her Mama sent you!

Bloggin’ Billy’s  This is written by author Renea Winchester.  Her books are as comforting as sitting on my Granny’s front porch after running around chasing fireflies in the front yard.  I’ve never met her but I hope to one day.  She is telling the stories of her people, and they are wonderful to hear.

Baddest Mother Ever   You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel like you just had a long conversation with your dear friend from college.  She writes about everything from feral underwear to the craziness of exes to the heartbreak in saying goodbye to the one you love.  You won’t regret clicking on this link.

FromMetoMissionary  The Kiehl family moved to Mexico a little over a year ago to serve and love in a small community there.  This is the story of their adventures there.  Sometimes Jonathan writes, sometimes Teresa does, and as a special treat, sometimes one of the boys shares his story.  They share pictures of their adventures as well.  They are touching lives and sharing light.

Artist in the Woods  “Without a home but not without a soul.” Rocky is an artist whose pictures are amazing.  He has a gift, and I am thankful he shares it with everyone.

Sheologian  Written by Sarah, who describes herself as “Feminist (and) theologian, liberation theologian, bibliophile, novice photographer, wonder-seeker, saucy little minx.”  When she wrote a post a month ago called, “Oh Knit!” she had me hooked.

Tools To Live an Inspired Life  Licensed therapist Stuart Cline writes to share ideas for better living.  HIs blog is a recent discovery for me, and I found some neat art ideas to use in my Sister Circle.  In addition to writing and being a therapist, Mr. Cline served as a Consultant for one of the Breaking Bad characters.

THE ADOPTED LIFE  Angie writes and shares from the adoptee’s point of view.  She was adopted into a diverse family and writes beautifully and honestly, and she shares a voice that needs to be heard.  She too quotes from Khalil Gibran.

Gotta Say Thanks!  This blogger takes time to say thanks in the midst of adversity.  This blog is a new find for me, but I am now following her.  She’s been nominated before, but she deserves it.  I am inspired by her focus on the positive despite all that is going on in her life and in the world.

Thank you all for sharing great thoughts and laughs and making me feel and think.  To pay it forward to other great writers if you’d like to, here are the guidelines: (but as my Mama would say, “No pressure–it’s all for the funofit” and she’d say it just like that–like it was one word)

Rules to follow:

  1. Link back and recognize the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Answer the ten questions given to you by your nominator
  3. Nominate ten other bloggers for the award
  4. Create ten questions for your nominees to answer
  5. Notify your nominees

And here are your questions:

1) What are you favorite kind of shoes to wear?  Why?

2) Soup and…..sandwich or salad?

3) You’ve found the pot at the end of the rainbow.  You are thrilled by what is in it, but it’s not gold or money. What is it?

4) What’s a word that you always have to double-check the spelling on–no matter how many times you try to remember?

5) Your favorite place to write.  And is it on a keyboard or with pen and paper?

6) Someone is writing the story of your life.  Best title ever would be?

7) Breakfast for supper–yes or no?

8) What makes you laugh?

9) What about you would surprise other people?

10) If you could take a class from anyone in the world, living or dead, what would the class be and whom would you want to would teach it?

Thank you all for reading over these many months and years.  Thank you again to Hope, Honor, and Happiness for the honor and for the fun in putting this together this evening.

Here’s to reading and writing and sharing our stories!  Love to all.