Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Strange Afflictions & a Launch Day Giveaway

A little over a year ago my heart started doing strange things. Per my usual, which is hardly ever normal-usual, it was difficult to explain. The symptoms didn't fit neatly on a diagnostic checklist. I made an appointment and sat awkwardly on the little table while a cranky doctor squinted at me a bit sideways, unable to hide his confusion. (If you've been around here for a while, you'll recall this isn't really anything new.) He asked questions, I answered. "No, it doesn't hurt." "It's not skipping beats." "It's sort of...vibrating. And I can hear it. With my ears."

He was skeptical. But he hooked me up to the monitor and told me again, "You are fine. Everything is okay. Is it possible that you're under stress of some kind? Let's have a look again in a year, just to check in."

I wandered out to the front desk and they scheduled me for September something-or-other, 2016. All I could think was, "The next time I'm here, my book will be out."

The same book I was neck-deep in writing at the time. The one that made it hard to sleep. The one that made me believe my ears could hear my heart buzzing.

I recently canceled that follow-up appointment. It seemed like the least awkward response and honestly, though my doctor is nicer than I originally thought and would happily take my cash, I'm not sure I can bear his questions, which he (rightly so) forgets he has already asked me several times over the past six years. I know what's happening now when it happens, this collision of excess energy.

I am fine. Everything is okay.

But it's September 20th, and my book was born early this morning. I've never given birth to a human, much less a paperback.

I don't know exactly how I feel right now, and it's much too early in the day/week/month to anticipate how I'll feel overall.

As I told Jamie Ivey on the Happy Half Hour podcast that aired earlier this week, "It's like standing in my underwear." (I listened to this one with my family because it's SO MUCH FUN and you cannot imagine how happy this line made Silas.)

Just know that I'm here, alive and kicking, a little nervous but not too nervous to eat. Cory surprised me by taking a vacation day and we have big plans to keep ourselves distracted.

But mostly, I'm just grateful to be living this dream I never could have anticipated. The book is written, people will respond like they do, whatever that happens to mean. Some will love it. Some will not. But God will use it to wake us up and shake us up, I believe that with my whole heart. I cannot wait to see what happens next.

Throughout this post I'm sharing quotes from some of you who have already finished the book and so sweetly wrote and shared reviews. (Click on their links to read more and to check out their blogs. There are some talented writers on my launch team!) It is so much fun to watch Falling Free find a home in the hearts of other fumbling humans longing for home and willing to get banged up and messy while they wait.

If you haven't ordered your copy, you can do that at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, christianbook.com, Books-A-Million, or iBooks, to name a few. You can also go crazy-analog, drive to a bookstore, and bring home a physical copy...today! It's so weird. It's so amazing!

I would love you forever (on top of the forever-way I already love you,) if you would be willing to share Falling Free with your people. I simply cannot pretend to be the girl who "doesn't care" if people buy the book. I care. I believe in the message of the Gospel, to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves, to care for overlooked and forgotten people, to make kin of lost souls, to identify with broken humans. I believe from my graying roots down to my size 9 Converse tennis shoes that freedom comes after surrender, and that one of the best things we can do for the kingdom is hop off the ladder, relinquish our DIY plans, and fall down to the low places around us, where God is already very much at work, waiting for us to join him.

Here's where it gets even more interesting: I have been collecting plates. Long after our famed Plate Auction. I have no explanation. It is an affliction which is impossible to diagnose (I see a theme!) and one for which I hope to never find a cure.

(If you feel a giveaway brewing, it means you're perceptive and should be rewarded with a generous slab of pumpkin cake or whatever else you happen to have lying around.)

All you have to do to enter is share Falling Free: Rescued From the Life I Always Wanted. Share it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, your personal blog. Share it with your pastor, your lady's ministry, your book club. Share it with your neighbor. Get all Dr. Seuss if you want and share it here and there and everywhere. You can find shareable images on the book website, search the Instagram hashtag #fallingfreebook, or just go rogue and do your own thing.

In the comments below, tell me where/how you shared. That's it. You don't have to include a link and I'm not going to check up on you, because I'll be busy looking for sea glass up on Lake Michigan or stress-watching episodes of American Crime or praying haphazardly and out loud, or baking, or folding laundry. Or all of the above.

I trust you. Of course I do! You are my actual people, and if you don't believe me, then why did I thank you in my acknowledgements in the back of the book? I simply could not have done any of this without you, my tribe. So allow me to call in every favor in two little words, "Please Help".

This giveaway will run through Friday at 11:59 Eastern time, in which I will close comments and choose two random Plate Collection winners. (Disclaimer: I'm traveling this week, so I won't announce winners until next week.)

We did it. We're doing it. Let's never quit.

Please keep falling with me,

* I can ship plates only in the Continental USA
**Amazon affiliate link used