I published my first book this year. Hands-down, I enjoyed writing it more than publishing it. Writing is deeply satisfying for me. I’m always pleased to have done it. Publishing is like public speaking: nerve-wracking and scary. If there’s contentment somewhere in this realm, I haven’t found it yet.
To keep on, I have to choose gratitude. Thanksgiving is the only way to drive away the question of enough and the doubt of insufficiency. When I give thanks, I actually acknowledge both. I haven’t done enough, and I am insufficient. This reality takes me by surprise, but never God. He knew this when He called me to this work, and He called me anyway. God gets the first thanks.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
Psalm 16:5-6 (ESV)
You get the second. I have been more in tune with the generosity of people this past year than at any other point in my life.
My husband, who has never once complained about the odd hours I keep and who keeps me on the up-and-up with the government. Paying sales tax never once entered my mind when I was planning my book release party in June, but it didn’t have to because Matt took care of it. He takes care of so.many.things to free me up.
And I didn’t plan that book release party. Maggie Wolff did that and did it beautifully. Women from my church baked a spread because I couldn’t afford to feed everyone who came, and so many women came – my roommates from college came! – and bought Lu and shared it.
Michelle C, you took on Iowa. Michelle P, you’ve got Wisconsin. The only reason people know Lu exists in Seattle is because of Brittany. Arizona, I’m sorry that whenever my sister is in town she’s bugging your people about what book they should be reading. Brenda, Leah, Mika, Joy, Megan – I lost track of how many books you’ve bought a long time ago. Lu is in the Yellow Springs library thanks to Maggie and in the Johnston library thanks to a woman I’ve never met.
My parents will get kicked off the golf course at one point for peddling my business cards to people in their leagues and scrambles. They went on a European river cruise this fall and sold books.
Thanksgiving is a snowball and so many minds are filling my mind right now – Gail, Laura, Norma, Sue, Sara, Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, Sarah … (I know a crazy number of Sarahs), Stacy, Pati, Mariana, Nancy, Joani, Bunny, Pam, Jeane, Sam, Heather, Linda, Kelli, Kelly, Kristin, Laura, Amber, Anna, Cassie, Summer, Diane, Katie, Stacey, Liz, Lindsay, Ruth, Carol, Yvonne, Barb, Katrina, Bev, Kasey, Maren, Joanna, Alison, Christy, Heidi, Jeanne, Terry, Anne Lynn, Emily, Ashley, Debbie, Deanna, Juliana, Cate, Olivia, Joelah, Jim, Clay, Steve, Mick, Jed, Jeremy, Chris …
… I’m leaving names out. This is the problem when you start naming names. This is the problem when you have such a memory that can barely remember your own boys’ birthdays.
But don’t you see?
There is no such thing as “small” generosity.
Our stories don’t land in a void. They land in a world of people who need them for reasons that aren’t ours to know (though sometimes we get to find out).
I wouldn’t know any of this if I hadn’t published Lu. My life is better for knowing this. Knowing this has changed me and changed my course.
Thank you God for calling me out of my comfort zone. Thank you family, friends, and readers for making this scary place palatable. I pray you all have a happy Thanksgiving.