Monday night was huge for me — an evening I will never forget as long as I live. This eve of the launch of our book, “Redeemed by Grace,” became something of an online launch party, if you will. I am in awe of how technology can bring North Dakota, Texas and all the states in between and on either side together like this. And in awe that our book was given this beautiful introduction.
Truly, Ramona and I, and our glue, Lauren, were completely humbled by the experience. For several years we worked quietly on this book. Stepping into the moment when it was time to not only share it with the world, but hear what the project had meant to a group of high-profile pro-life people who had read and embraced the story, had to have transcended the experience of most authors.
But there’s more to this story. As the day of our webcast drew near, along with two preparatory conference calls that preceded it, I began to grow stressed. Anyone who has been to my house knows that 1) it can be loud because of either spontaneous vocal emissions from the children or pets and 2) there really isn’t a place to hide. With no basement for me to hole away into, the variables left me worried.
Sometimes I take my writing on the road for this purpose, hunkering down at coffee shops or other public places that accommodate such situations. But it wouldn’t work this time given the time of day and possible extraneous noise. I would be making a public presentation each time, and I needed quiet.
Eventually, a friend came to mind. Mary Kay had been praying for this project for a long while with us, and happens to be the godmother of one of our kids. Not only that, she lives on the same side of the tracks, and her youngest child just left the nest this past summer. Might she have a spare room to offer me for hiding purposes?
Indeed, she did, she said. The only issue to work around would be that she and her sweet husband Don would be dog-sitting for their oldest son and his new wife, on honeymoon in Greece. Would I mind just calling first so they could quiet the dogs, and come in through the garage to sneak downstairs? No problem, I said, grateful for a solution.
So for three evenings — two last week and then again on Monday — I left home for the oasis of a currently abandoned bedroom, and was ushered toward a comfortable chair, where I could set up shop, quiet my mind, connect to the Internet, pray, and focus on the others who would be talking, as well as prepare for my public piece.
The first night, my nerves sprang into action. But when I looked up and saw this…
…everything felt right again. It was so calming. Only later did I learn it had been acquired in Rome by the youngest child in the family and has a special story behind it. It’s called the San Damiano cross. Go here for more.
This place of safe harbor in the middle of winter in preparation for our book’s birth blessed me so much. It was in this spot where I listened, for the first time, to the very inspiring reactions to our hard work, and heard how the story had already begun blessing others. What a powerful, humbling experience!
One of my favorite moments Monday night was when David Bereit, the host, asked callers to state where they were calling in from, and people began chiming in from all over the United States and even Canada. What an awesome feeling to hear those voices and realize they’d come to hear about our project!
When it was over each of the three nights, I would pack up my laptop, grab my coat, and head out into the family room, where I would be greeted by this adorable motley crew – Deacon, Tucker and Rosie!
What a way to be welcomed back into the real world — with unconditional love. It was the best.
These small touches — a quiet, warm room, the generosity of a friend, a cross on the wall — reminded me that God is with me, always. I thank him for that and for this work he helped Ramona and I bring to fruition. I think we can breathe a sigh of relief now and just enjoy what’s coming from here.
And of course, today, a shift for those of us who observe Lent. Last night’s Fat Tuesday did have me craving a few indulgent treats. So after his hard-played basketball game, my middle son and I enjoyed our favorite pizza in the world. Behold the “Skinny Vinny” from Spicy Pie. Yes, on Fat Tuesday!
We followed that up with a baker’s dozen of donuts from Sandy’s a few doors down, which we of course brought home to share.
And where, pray tell, is 13th donut? Well, it may not have made it quite all the way home.
Now, to buckle down and get serious about the fasting thing. Here we go!
And by the way, if you missed the webcast, no worries. Here it is again for you to enjoy at your leisure. I think you’ll find it interesting, informative, and, hopefully, inspiring.
I have two more very sweet surprises to share Friday and Monday, so stay near!
Happy Ash Wednesday. May your time in the desert bring you future desserts, into a deeper relationship with God, and much peace.
Q4U: Have you ordered your copy of “Redeemed” yet? Here’s your chance (click here)! And thanks in advance! We’ve been hearing it’s perfect Lenten reading!