Are you all a little tired of The Road Show yet? It's ok, you can be honest. I will admit I'm a little tired of it! I love it and am happy with it and hope it does very well. And, I'm sure I'll be blogging more about it in days to come. But how about we change the subject today?
I do apologize for being behind on my reading of all your blogs. It's been a youth trip to Palmyra, then a youth conference and work stuff and Road Show stuff, so I'm a bit behind. I'll get caught up, though.
For a few months now, I went back to reading the four gospels in the New Testament. I felt myself wanting to reconnect to the Savior. I wanted to refresh my understanding of His life and ministry. I want to be able to follow His example--and to do that, His example needs to be fresh and clear in my mind.
It has been a wonderful experience, a reminder of things I've learned before, and a chance to learn things I had not considered. I've decided all start blogging about some of the thoughts I've had because, well, because I want to and this is my blog. A lot of the things I've noticed this time have to do with discipleship--what it is and how it seems to work. I've noticed some patterns that seem common in the experiences of all that came to Christ then. I think they are still in place for those who come to Him today.
When I opened up to the first page of the Book of Matthew a few months ago, I was overwhelmed by a sweet and profound peace. The strength and comprehensiveness of this peace overwhelmed me. It was like I was returning to a special place, a safe place, a place I knew well. The Book of Mormon uses a phrase I like, "encircled...in the arms of his love." (2 Nephi 1:15). That was how I felt that night.
My spirit bathed in the warmth and love and peace that flowed from my reading that night and when I was finished, i went to sleep, feeling exactly like a small child wrapped in his father's loving embrace.
It's not that the scriptures in the opening of Matthew are so beautiful or powerful that they stirred my spirit. To the contrary--it's 17 verses of "begats". But that was when I felt this love and peace.
It is a little like passing through a very plain front porch and entryway into a home where your parents or grandparents live--a warm and cozy place you feel safe and loved.
But beyond that, I think it was the Holy Spirit saying, "Yes, this is where you should be tonight," validating my attempt to reconnect and renew my acquaintance with my Master.
Author Jewel Adams did an interview with me and review of The Road Show. Go check her out!
My brother, Ryan, has a very funny and perceptive post about road shows and LDS aesthetics in general. Go over and visit him at Don't Do Dumb Things.
Cedar Fort just released a list of their best-selling titles this month. The Road Show is #8. I'm pretty happy with that since the book was only released on June 8th!
Thanks, everyone, for your support!!!!!!
Well, the blog tour is done! I'll be posting links to additional reviews as they come, but for the most part it's over. Like everything else about writing/promoting this book, it was a lot of fun, but a lot of work. Far more work than I would have guessed.
Thank you to all who hosted me on the blog tour. I am deeply grateful for your kindness.
And, thanks to all of you who have ordered the book and sent me nice comments. Special thanks to everyone who has been kind enough to do a review on Amazon or Goodreads.
Tomorrow is a big huge youth conference I'm in charge of for our stake, so posting is probably going to be sparse for a few days (yeah, I know it's been sparse for a while now).
Let's end with some good news, shall we? I am told that Deseret Book and Seagull Book have both told potential customers that my book should be available within a month or so. And, Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Nashville sold out of their initial order of my book! Granted, they only ordered three copies. But still.
Thanks to everyone who has bought a copy. And thanks for the emails and notes, too. I've enjoyed hearing from old friends and meeting new ones.
I got a great review today by prolific LDS author, Michele Ashman Bell (no relation). She was also kind enough to interview me, which was fun! You can join all the fun on her blog Come over and say "hi" and read about her latest release, Summer in Paris (she has another book coming out in a few weeks, too!)
Also, another LDS author, Heather Justesen has a week of cool giveaways on her blog to celebrate the release of her new book, Rebound. Go stop by and sign in for a chance to win some great books. If you do stop by either of these blogs, would you mind letting them know you came from my blog?
One day, over at MMB, I was browsing through their "Post of the Week" feature. I saw a title that caught my eye, although I forget now what it was. I clicked on over to a new blog: Momza's House. I was intrigued and inspired. As I became a regular reader, I got to know Momza--a mature and wise mother of a large family. She is a convert to the Church and loves the gospel with the zeal and passion of someone who understands its full value. She is a thoughtful and evocative writer and I always enjoy her free-verse style as well. I was thrilled that she agreed to review "The Road Show". Go check her out!
Happy Father's Day!
Today, I am deeply grateful for the fathers and the good men who have shaped and blessed my life. I actually posted this last year, on MMB, but I have been so busy that I haven't had time to write anything new.
That's What Father's Do
When we were first married we were very poor and very pregnant.I remember one night how excited we were when we found thirty-three cents in our couch cushions.This allowed us to walk to McDonald's and buy an ice cream cone, an almost decadent extravagance.Poor Meredith was pregnant and craving a Subway sandwich in a way that only a pregnant woman can.But given the state of our finances, she might as well have wanted a twelve course meal flown in from Paris.
After fighting the craving for a week or two, she finally broke down and called her dad to ask if he could loan us a few dollars for Subway.A few days later the mail brought a check for $300.00.An attached note said “Meredith’s Subway cushion.” That’s what fathers do.
Years ago our toddler caught a ghastly stomach virus.He literally could not keep anything down.We were up around the clock taking care of him and doing laundry and cleaning up body fluids.It is not hyperbole to say that we did laundry 24 hours a day.After a few days of this, we were completely exhausted.We called to see if my mom could help us.She was sympathetic, but reluctant because after many years at his company, my dad was leaving and his firm was giving a formal farewell dinner.Obviously, this was not something that could be rescheduled or lightly missed.Although we would have loved the help, we understood the significance of the event.
Mom called back shortly after, and said Dad had insisted that she miss the dinner and come help us.That’s what fathers do.
One of my favorite scriptures is an obscure verse from the story of Helaman’s young warriors. Helaman’s account contains this almost incidental verse: “And now it came to pass in the second month of this year, there was brought unto us many provisions from the fathers of those my two thousand sons” (Alma 56:27).
Every time I read this I get a lump in my throat and my eyes get a little teary.
We hear most frequently about the mothers of these outstanding young men and rightly so. But, on Father’s Day, I like to reflect on this verse and think about the fathers of these warriors.
I can see these worn and weary men .Time and suffering have etched lines in their faces and refining fires have burned their hair to gray. But their eyes glow with the light of faith and they are moist as they see their sons. Their bodies are thin from the hard labor required to raise this food, the rigors of the journey, and the knowledge that whatever they eat leaves less for their sons. They may limp and stagger a bit. They’ve been pushing themselves to cover as much ground as possible so they haven’t had much sleep. Undoubtedly some of them have holes in their sandals so their sons could have a new pair.
They clutch sticks and staves tightly. They are carrying precious food through a war-torn land. But they don’t have swords or knives. They made a covenant that they will keep to the death.
That covenant meant that they were willing to be slaughtered before lifting up their swords again. When war broke out, their sons, who had not made this covenant, went to war so that they could keep their promises to God.
These men had to choose between their covenants with God and letting their sons go to war for them. In their place. Knowing how likely it was that their boys would ever come back.
This would be terrible for any father. A few lines in the scriptures cannot capture what must have been the gut-wrenching, Abrahamic test of a lifetime for them.
They couldn’t change the situation so they did what they could do, what all good fathers do. They provided for their boys. That’s what fathers do.
I wish I could describe the reunion when the fathers came into camp and found their sons. But an artist, not a writer, needs to paint this picture because very little was said and everything is so subtle that it defies description.
These fathers provided critical sustenance to their sons and gave them the physical strength to fight their battles, just as their mothers provided the spiritual strength they needed. It was a less obvious, less visible contribution perhaps. And in a strictly eternal sense, one could even argue that it was minimal. But in that moment, in time, not eternity, when an army was preparing to go to war, they needed that food. The contributions of father and mother compliment and cooperate, they don’t compete.
When we needed her, my mom was an angel to come and help us and I don’t know what we would have done without her. Her sacrifice was large and obvious. But it took me years to realize that there was another angel in the story. Dad also made a profound sacrifice, one that enabled Mom’s. A man wants his wife to be with him when he’s being honored for his life’s work. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing my Dad gave up. That’s what fathers do.
A mother’s sacrifices are often obvious and apparent. Her work is difficult but, with all the frustrations inherent in her work, she enjoys a preeminent place in her children’s hearts. Mothers are vital and their love warms our hearts and save our souls. We rightly honor them.
But in the background is the dad. Quietly making his own sacrifices to ensure that everything works out. Dad is the great facilitator, the provider and protector who does whatever it takes to get whatever his family needs. For his daughter to go to college. For his son to go on a mission. He provides the means for them in the here-and-now, sending money for Subway or provisions for young warriors. His solid, stable presence solves problems and fills gaps.
That’s what fathers do.
Amber, at Making the Moments Count is one of those bloggers who combines honesty with optimism in a way I really enjoy. She is quite open about the challenges of being a family, but it's never mean or negative. Personally, I find that to be a powerful punch. I think that those of us who believe in the family and want to see it succeed need to be realistic--and optimistic. Amber is an engaging and energetic writer. I look forward to her posts, whether they are about children being crazy or a love letter to her husband. I was so happy when she expressed an interest in reviewing my book. Go check her out. You'll enjoy it.
I am participating in a big giveaway at LDS Women's Book Review. They have some really great prizes--a number of books as well as a $25 gift card to Amazon. Go check them out! Today was my day so there's a little interview with me. Really deep stuff.
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