And now? I’m tired.

After all the build-up, it’s here. Past here, if you want to be technical. Praying Upside Down is officially available everywhere (or nearly so). And has been since May 1. In fact, my girls went to Indianapolis this weekend and decided to swing by the Carmel, IN, Barnes and Noble store to see if they had it.

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Not to be outdone, after my son Bobby’s soccer game on Sunday, my husband took me by another store, this one in Plainfield, and guess what we found there?

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I didn’t even have to turn the covers facing out. Some kind employee had already done that for me. I don’t know who it was, but he or she is my favorite person today.

No, actually I have lots of favorites today. I’m just oozing gratitude. Which doesn’t sound pretty, I have to admit. I read comments people had made on a couple of my recent guest posts, and I was struck by how vulnerable they were. Being willing to share their hearts with a stranger. Taking time to send encouraging words to someone they don’t know. Being moved enough by something I wrote that they reach out, wanting to share their experience, their weaknesses, their longings. Sometimes they’re hurt or lonely, sometimes in a place of comfortable companionship with God, and occasionally desperate to find Him.

In all cases, though, they’re hungry for more. I’m overwhelmed by the simple beauty of that. Because that is where we connect. It’s what we share. And it’s what will enable us to find Him. Together. More and more of Him, going ever deeper and deeper. Oh, Lord, continue to draw us to You. Keep our eyes wide open so that we might see You. Amen.

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The book launch party was one of the most fun nights of my life. Before the party even started, my daughter Anna presented us with shirts she had made to celebrate.

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So many surprises—friends from college, from my first real grown-up job, from book club and my prayer group and friends of my parents. So many of my mom’s close friends were there, and every one of them whispered, “Your mom would be so proud of you!”

We had something like 170 people stop by. The only thing that could have made it better was actually having time to talk to those of you I don’t get to see regularly.

book signing collage

Many of you have asked, did my book-signing hand get cramped? The answer is no. I could sign a million more. And I hope I get to.

The big surprise of the night, though, was when the Cool Kids, my phenomenal group of writer friends, walked in. Three of them drove from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Two from Muncie. And one from Greenfield. I did not know they were coming. I know how busy everyone is, and I knew it was a long way to come, so I believed them when messages started trickling in with apologies for having to miss the party.

Big fat liars.

I’m so glad they fibbed. Because that moment when I saw Terri, and Irene, and Joe, and then Sarah walking around the corner?

I may have squealed like a teenage girl spotting Adam Levine. (Actually, this 47-year-old woman might squeal if she spotted Adam Levine, too.) Let’s just say there were tears.

Because these lovely people were the only thing that had been missing from that perfect night.

11143159_852773624809691_7140311110286137327_nHaving them in my life is more than just good fortune or lucky coincidence. God knew how important they would be to me, and every single one of them is a gift to me. They “get” me. Know me. And love me anyway, without reservation.

I definitely hit the jackpot when it comes to friends. So many different groups of people, and all are so open and generous and fun. Not to get all corny and sentimental, but I feel that way about those of you reading this right now, too. I’m so thankful to have found you. You’ve read my words and heard some of my stories. I hope I’ll get the chance to learn your stories, too.


This post is sort of a hodge-podge. Tomorrow you’ll see another guest-post, and over the next couple weeks I’ll be sharing some more of those with you. But before I go, I want to share a link to a contest on Facebook to win a $25 Amazon gift card. All you have to do to enter is post a short review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads. Having a large number of good reviews is critical, and it’s one of the best things you can do to help. Even if you don’t do this for me, please, do it for another writer. I’ll even wait while you hop on over there and do it.


 

See? That was pretty painless. Thanks. One last request? Say some prayers for me over the next couple weeks. I have several podcast and radio interviews scheduled and I want to be able to gather my thoughts, be succinct and clear, and actually say something worth listening to. In other words, I want God to shine instead of me. Because as He knows all too well, when I’m left to my own devices, well, it’s not pretty.

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