Thursday, August 29, 2019

Finally! Amazon now sells my e-book! (and other good news)

Whew! It has taken close to three months, but finally Amazon is selling the e-book version of my memoir, Please, God, Don’t Make Me Go: A Foot-Dragger’s Memoir.

A special thanks to Barnes and Noble for selling both the print book and e-book from the very beginning, June 4. Because of that, I’ve been referring everyone to them.

Amazon has sold my print book since day one, but I had to fight one battle after another after another to get Amazon to (1) sell my e-book and (2) install the “Look Inside” feature.

And if you missed it, I was pleasantly surprised and so grateful for the endorsement I received from Vicky Mixson, Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for Wycliffe Bible Translators USA. Take a minute to read Vicky’s kind words: Click on A special endorsement: Laughter and tears, cute stories and heartaches.

Also, many thanks to memoirist Kathleen Pooler who left a five-star review at Amazon and Goodreads. Check it out at this link.

Thank you to everyone
for the nice comments you’re making about

I hope you’ll think about
doing what Kathy Pooler did—
leave a review on Amazon,
Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, etc.

Reviews are like a much-needed
pat on the back for weary authors!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Whose idea was this? God’s? Or was it that of a dangerous dreamer of the day?

Since before I spoke my wedding vows, I knew Dave was a think-outside-the-box guy.

While in most ways he was a traditional husband, father, churchgoer, and American citizen, he also had an independent streak that sometimes sent him down a road less traveled, marching along to the beat of a different drummer.

So, perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised when he told me he wanted to move our young family to the middle of nowhere in South America so he could teach missionaries’ kids.

But let me back up.

We’d met when I was fourteen and he was sixteen. His charm and humor captured my heart. A witty guy, he entertained people with jokes, puns, songs, and stories. But there was more to him than that, much more. He had a sharp mind and a reputation for being honest and dependable. His quiet confidence and leadership skills impressed me. Tall and strong, he played football, basketball, baseball, tennis, and golf. He introduced me to good literature and classical music. Dave had a nice voice and accompanied himself on the guitar and, later, after high school, he sang in university choirs. He also introduced me to new ways of thinking. He looked at everything—life, faith, politics—from unique angles that often left me surprised and challenged.
Shy, I’d always lingered close to the sidelines and watched life from there, but Dave gave me glimpses into new ideas and worlds and opportunities. I couldn’t have found the words at the time but, looking back, I now realize I wanted to be like him.
A few years later, I married that think-outside-the-box guy. He posed questions few people would ask, and the answers gave him a holy discontent that led him to make choices most people avoided. I was proud of my husband, proud that he was a scholar and philosopher—until he also wanted to be a doer and his goals ran contrary to mine.
Dave couldn’t drift through life without wondering about his higher purposes. He shunned going along with the crowd, especially in spiritual matters, and grew impatient with the prevalent assumption that Christianity embraced the American dream. He resisted focusing his life on buying houses and cars, and then buying bigger houses and better cars. And yet, Dave sensed our young family heading toward just such a safe, suburban American Christianity, and he longed to direct us away from that.
Since before we married, I had known he opposed settling for a watered-down life. He wanted to keep growing and learning and stretching. He longed to chase after deeper, higher, wider dreams—to make a difference in God’s broader scheme. Dave thought big and dreamed big dreams. I thought small and dreamed lesser dreams.
“All men dream: but not equally,” said T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). “Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men,” he said, “for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.”
My husband, one of those dangerous daytime dreamers, planned to sign on the dotted line with Wycliffe, known as the world’s leader in Bible translation.

Let me say it again: 
I was proud of my husband, 
proud that he was a scholar and philosopher—
until he also wanted to be a doer 
and his goals ran contrary to mine.

Moving to rural South America was
the last thing I would ever want to do.

But what if the idea was not only Dave’s,
but God’s, too?

Had God given Dave that lightning-bolt of inspiration?
That longing in his heart?

To my way of thinking,
moving to Lomalinda was such a bizarre idea,
so outrageous,
that all I could do was pray,

“Please, God, don’t make me go!”

But if moving to Lomalinda was also God’s idea
—if He said, “Go”—
I knew I was in for a wild ride!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

A special endorsement: Laughter and tears, cute stories and heartaches

I just received this lovely endorsement from a special person:

I read [Please, God, Don’t Make Me Go: A Foot-Dragger’s Memoir] over the weekend and had a hard time putting it down. 
At times I found myself laughing out loud, especially at some of the cute stories you include about your children. 
Other times I read through tears, imagining some of the heartache the Lomalinda team endured. 
Your writing style is engaging and descriptive. I also enjoyed looking at the photographs you included. 
Thank you for your Wycliffe service and for saying “yes” to God’s call on your life. 
Vicky Mixson, Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, Wycliffe Bible Translators USA

I told you it was from someone special!

Now, on a related topic: If you’ve been hoping to buy the e-book version of Please, God, Don’t Make Me Go: A Foot-Dragger’s Memoir, you still won’t find it on Amazon. I’m not sure what the problem is.

However, you can buy the e-book from these wonderful booksellers:

P.S. Reviews are nice!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Part 2, Missionaries: hairy, dirty people who live in huts, wear outdated clothes, and eat things no one in his right mind would eat

As for missionaries being hairy and dirty (continuing from last week), well, once in a while some of the men let their hair and beards grow—my husband included. I’d forgotten about that until I recently saw a photo of him proving it.

And dirty? At times some of them, out of necessity, couldn’t bathe for a couple of days.

Take, for example, the time my friends Dottie and Fran, working down in the jungle, had to flee for their lives when rifle-toting guerrillas threatened to kill them. (You can read about it in Chapter 39, “We’re coming back later and if you’re here, we’ll kill you,” in Please, God, Don’t Make Me Go: A Foot-Dragger’s Memoir.)

It took a couple of days for them to reach a safe place. First, they hitched a ride in a canoe full of pigs. Next, to find a way to continue up the river, they had no choice but to seek help from a drunk man.

Dottie and Fran spent the night in a storeroom. The place was dangerous, but they barred the door with heavy boards. They didn’t get much sleep that night.

The next morning, they flew to safety in Lomalinda, thanks to one of our brave and talented pilots, George DeVoucalla, who had spotted them along the river.

You’ll read more details about Dottie and Fran’s escape but here’s my point: The ladies might have been “dirty” when they landed in Lomalinda—wouldn’t you and I have needed a shower and change of clothes?

Routinely my missionary friends were bathed and well-groomed even when their clothing might not have been the latest style.

And then there’s the notion that missionaries eat things no one in his right mind would eat. That impression can be correct.

Even I—the coward, the one who resists adventure—ate some curious stuff: piraña (piranha), boa constrictor, caiman, dove, plátanos, ajiaco, and cinnamon rolls seasoned with dead weevils.

A friend offered me grubs, but I passed on them.

I drank chicha (wait until you find out what that is!), and tinto, and warm bottled sodas, sometimes with bugs inside. At times I gagged or nearly fainted, wondering what I’d gotten myself into. (You’ll find that in Chapter 42 of Please, God, Don’t Make Me Go: AFoot-Dragger’s Memoir.)

Now, looking back, I admit those were FUN experiences!

But back in the very beginning of this whole adventure,
when my husband surprised me with
his wish to move the family to South America
so he could teach missionaries’ kids,

 it seemed that
both God and my husband
wanted to make my life terrible.

I wish so much I’d realized the truth

“God doesn’t call us to do things
in order to make our lives terrible.”

It took me a few months in Lomalinda 
to figure out that living and working there 
would be far from terrible—
in fact, it would turn out to be a highlight of my life.

Looking back now, I can say from experience
that Jeremiah 29:11 is true:

“For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”

Or, here’s the way The Message words that verse,

“I know what I’m doing.
I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you,
not abandon you. . . .”

And He did what He said. Oh, yes, He did!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Missionaries: hairy, dirty people who live in huts, wear outdated clothes, and eat things no one in his right mind would eat

What do you think of when you hear the word missionary?

“Twenty years ago,” writes Samantha Conners, “. . . in my mind, missionaries were hairy and dirty, wore clothes that were outdated and odd, ate things that made my stomach turn. . . .” (from “5 Lies People Believe About Missionaries”).

I, too, had a quirky view of missionaries. Never in a million years would I have guessed my husband would want to move our family to an outpost called Lomalinda (Spanish for “pretty hill”) and work among missionaries.

Back then, when I thought of missionaries, the first image that came to mind was that of a pudgy older woman with gray hair pulled up in a bun who told stories I couldn’t really grasp. Probably that was because I wasn’t interested in what missionaries had to say.

I figured they were just plain weird, and I didn’t like my husband’s idea. I mean, really—live in South America and hang out with weirdos??

I felt so different from missionaries—of course, I wasn’t a weirdo—and I just knew I wouldn’t fit in.

I wrote in my memoir:

“Missions work was too radical for the circles I ran in. Counter-cultural. Downright bizarre. My parents raised a non-daring, non-adventuresome girl—the wrong kind for the mission field. They prepared me to lead a conventional life and working in Lomalinda was the least traditional existence I could imagine” (from Chapter 1, Please, God, Don’t Make Me Go: A Foot-Dragger’s Memoir).

I was one of those people. Here’s another excerpt:

“What kind of house would we live in?” I asked [my husband]. I pictured a hut with a dirt floor. 
“I don’t know,” he admitted. 
“What if we had to build our own house? And with what? Bamboo and palm leaves? Besides,” I heard my voice getting shrieky, “we don’t even know how to build a house.” 
My mind went wild. “Would we have to grow our own vegetables and meat? What about eggs? And milk? The kids need milk, you know. Would we have to get a cow? I bet we wouldn’t even have electricity. And what about water? Would we have to haul our water?” (from Chapter 1, Please, God, Don’tMake Me Go: A Foot-Dragger’s Memoir).

Those were only two of the imaginings that worried me about moving to Lomalinda. The list went on and on.

For example, there was the notion that missionaries wear outdated clothes. I would learn that, yes, sometimes they did. But considering Lomalinda folks had no local clothing stores, and considering they returned to their home countries only every fifth year, it’s true that their wardrobes didn’t keep up with the latest trends.

But since we lived at the end of the road in the middle of nowhere, no one knew what the new fashions were anyway.

Come back next week and we’ll talk about whether missionaries are “hairy and dirty” and eat things no one in his right mind would eat. 

You’ll be surprised to learn what I—even I, 
the coward, the unadventurous—
ate and drank!

But in the beginning, when my husband first announced he wanted us to move to Lomalinda, I didn’t know all the good that awaited me there, and I rebelled.

I could do only one thing,
and that was to pray:

“Please, God, don’t make me go!”

Noticing the good stuff, finding the joy

I began to notice more good stuff going on in Lomalinda .     God was offeri ng me new opportunities. He was offering me a new perspectiv...