June 24, 2011

Inside the Shining City…

Category: News — admin @ 6:30 pm

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Always I grasped, with tenacious grip, at the anticipation
of something rare, something great and grand and fine.
Something beyond.

I grasped for tomorrow, with its visions of splendor and a
shining city…..a brighter future of happiness and contentment
that always seemed to be just beyond the tip of my out-
stretched hand.

I would find it tomorrow. Always tomorrow.

—Ira Wagler: Growing Up Amish
___________________________

Well, I’m almost there. Almost. One more week. Seven days until I walk through that final gateway into a world I have always longed for, but never known.

It seems like words will fail me. Almost, I stand mute. But, nah, I can’t. The day words fail me will be the day I die, most likely. But still, it’s that huge, this moment. I could just leave this blog post blank. Like a moment of silence, or something.

It’s been a long tough slog, as those of you know who have been with me for any length of time. I feel like a weary warrior. Not wounded, not anymore. I’m not saying there aren’t a bunch of scars. Of course there are, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Scars are signs of survival. From wounds that have healed.

I’m just drained from all the battles along this last stretch of road. The dragons did not flee as I approached them, the dragons of fear and doubt. There were a lot of them, especially during the early stages of writing the book. Each one in turn had to be confronted and faced down. They will rise again in the future. They always do. But for this phase of the journey, at least, they are defeated.

And now this phase of the journey ends. Another phase officially begins next Friday, July 1st.

The book is a beautiful thing. Kind of velvety, to hold and feel. The cover grabs you. The picture is pure genius. And what it contains inside, well, it’s the best writing I’ve ever done. Ever.

I owe it all to the folks at Tyndale. And here, I thank those folks at Tyndale. At least those with whom I worked.

Carol Traver, of course, needs no introduction on this blog. The senior nonfiction acquisition editor at Tyndale, she’s the one who made the decision to take my raw stuff, my “jumbled mass of words,” and run with it. There is no way for me to express adequate graditude and appreciation to her for making that decision, for taking that risk, for giving me a real shot at my dream.

Carol and her supervisor, Lisa Jackson, were the ones who took that mass of words and sliced and diced and fused them. From 115,000 words down to 72,000. (I knew I’d submitted way too many words. Better that way, I figured, than having the Tyndale people hollering at me for more.) They cut right at 40% of my original draft. And yet, even as they did so, they made the story fit and flow. I marveled at the result.

Susan Taylor was my editor. The person who worked closely with me. She took the first fused version and edited it, and then sent those edits to me with queries. Questions. Suggestions. And scenes that needed further elaboration. I couldn’t have been paired with a more qualified, no, gifted, editor. From the start, Susan was pretty much tuned in to my voice. And by the end, she was totally tuned in.

It was an outstanding experience, start to finish. Even though I fussed and grumbled a bit, here and there, during the editing process. I threw a few minor temper tantrums, even. (Who’s butchering my stuff? That colon doesn’t belong there. You’re messing with my voice. Gaaah!) Through it all, Susan remained calm and professional. And by the time we worked our way through the galley in a two-plus hour marathon phone conference, Susan had my full trust. She cheerfully accepted and inserted my final edits. Mostly tiny changes to better reflect my voice. And a few tweaks she suggested, from an editorial perspective. I was almost exhausted by the time we finished. But it was all good.

And then suddenly, abruptly, it was over. What was done was done. And out of my control. Since then, it’s been quite surreal, the daily grind of time.

The Tyndale marketing department is just flat out amazing. I can’t be thankful enough that my book was published by a powerhouse company where they know what they’re doing, period. We’ve had a conference call or two. The marketing people tell me they are “very pleased” with the sales so far. However, they rather obstinately refuse to define what they mean by “very pleased.” I guess they have to wait until the book actually reaches the end reader. Sure, the dealers are loading up. But if the public passes, all those orders will be returned. Boxes and boxes and cartons of books. What a nightmare that would be. I’d be persona non grata overnight. So they are cautious about real numbers, the marketing people, and understandably so.

Right now, the marketing department has scheduled a radio interview on WORD-FM 101.5 in Pittsburgh. From 4:15 to 4:30 PM on July 5th.

I am also scheduled as the only guest on my friend and bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher’s internet talk show, Amish Wisdom, on Thursday, June 30 at 5 PM eastern time. I’ve been on Suzanne’s show a time or two before, and it’s always a lot of fun. If you can’t listen live, check it out later. Suzanne always posts a link to her latest show within a few hours, so you can listen at your leisure.

So far, I’ve got a few dates set for book signings. I will be at the following sites on the following dates:

First, the local events. Tyndale will run THREE quarter-page ads in the local papers during the week leading up to the day.

SATURDAY, JULY 9TH

11:00 AM – 12 NOON
Berean Christian Store
898 Plaza Boulevard
Lancaster, PA 17601-2756
(717) 397-3517

2:00 PM – 3 PM
Costco (Members Only)
1875 Hempstead Road
Lancaster, PA 17601-5671
(717) 396-8460

So if you are in the area, stop by and buy my book. I won’t charge you extra to sign it.

Then, on the following Saturday, I will be in Holmes County, Ohio, thanks to my good friend John Schmid, who lined this up for me:

SATURDAY, JULY 16TH

9 AM – NOON
The Gospel Book Store at German Village in Berlin, Ohio.

2 PM – 4 PM
I’ll be at the Holmes County Flea Market on Rt. 39 on the east edge of Berlin. John Schmid will sing, and I’ll sign books. It most definitely should be a loud, large time. So if you’re in that area that day, stop by.

Finally, on Friday afternoon and on Saturday morning, August 5th and 6th, I will have two book signing sessions in my ancestral area of Daviess County, Indiana. Not sure of all the details there, yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

The few book signings I’ve ever witnessed didn’t look all that exciting. A little table with a lonely, forlorn author sitting there. Generally being ignored. Smiling hopefully at anyone who passes within twenty feet. Don’t let that happen to me. It’ll scar me worse for life.

Back in late January, when I posted those first two chapters, I made my first ever request of you, my readers. I asked you to go online and pre-order my book. A great many of you did, and I thank you. Well, now I’m making one more request. After this, I promise to quit nagging you.

If you read the book and like it, please tell your world. Tell your friends. If you’re on Facebook, link the cover pic and post it with your honest recommendation. Ask your friends to do the same. With social media today, there’s no reason the message can’t get out there, to a host of potential readers who are now far beyond the reach of my voice.

If you read the book and don’t like it, keep that obviously flawed literary opinion to yourself. Don’t say nothin’ to nobody. Just kidding. I hope you will like it. Inevitably, though, some of you won’t. I’ve seen some grumbling on the private blog reviews about how the book is this or that, how it didn’t meet certain expectations. And that’s fair enough. Not everyone will like the book, or enjoy it. And if you’re one of those, well, then so be it. Do what you have to.

And so I am where I am. Less than a week away from the release of my book. The journey has been long. Arduous. Fraught with all kinds of unknowns. And yet, I’ve pushed forward into magical realms that were inconceivable even a few short years ago.

I stand here, in the courtyard of that shining city of my dreams. The outer gates opened to me some time back, and I entered. I absorbed, breathed deep the rarefied air, and drank of a view that very few ever get to see. And now I approach what seems like the final golden door, the symbol of one of the deepest longings of my heart.

But even at this threshold, I pause to reflect. The golden door will open, and I will enter. But I won’t abide for long in this place. Another tomorrow comes, and soon I will be off to the next destination. And then the one after that. I will go where my Commander sends me. And do what He requires of me. Not always in good cheer, I’m sure. I’ll grumble a bit, and fuss, here and there, as I tend to do. (Aw, come on, Lord. You really want me to go there, down that steep and rocky trail? I could get hurt. Why can’t I just stay here, on this smooth, safe highway?)

But one thing I know, one thing I have learned on the long and often troubled journey from my roots to where I am today. A road that many have traveled. But, of those, very few have told the tale of how it was, not outside the boundaries of their social circles. But I’m getting sidetracked here, on a little bunny trail. The thing I have learned is this: My Commander will always have my back. And He’ll always provide the necessary logistical support from those around me, to get me to where I need to go.

There will be hard battles ahead, sure there will be. And more treacherous, difficult roads. The dragons of fear and doubt will lurk, as they always do, patiently waiting for the tiniest opening to swoop in and attack. That’s just part of life as it has been, and life as it will be. But tomorrow’s combat can wait until tomorrow. Sufficient unto the day is what that day may bring.

On this day, at this place, in this brief and blazing moment of gratitude and triumph, as a weary, battle-hardened warrior approaching at last the inner sanctum of my shining city, I turn my face to the heavens and simply exult.


(Photo by Mary June Miller)

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(42 Comments) »

  1. Whoa… what a weapon! From henceforth I shall think of you as the dragon slayer. See you at the signing!

    Comment by Rhoda — June 24, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

  2. I can only imagine the rawness of the emotions you went thru…can’t wait to get the book in my hands…prob won’t put it down til I’ve read it thru! Will miss the blogs in a great way tho!

    Comment by Gloria Knieriem — June 24, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

  3. Hey, I got a note about my pre-order from Amazon that it will be released EARLIER and the estimated delivery date was moved up a week. Could be delivered by June 30th, they said.

    I have to give this plug. I have now read two books on my computer screen (not a separate expensive device), and I actually like it. You can highlight it, and even add notes (both are kept in a side panel you can toggle on/off). So, your readers can have it electronically to read the day it is released. There is a link under the book cover picture that makes it easy to install the self-extracting software. And here is the page for that and to order the “Kindle edition” of your excellent first book: http://www.amazon.com/Growing-Up-Amish-Memoir-ebook/dp/B0051CC7LC/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1308961497&sr=8-1

    Comment by LeRoy — June 24, 2011 @ 8:30 pm

  4. Oops. Here’s the direct link to download the free reading app for whatever device you want to read Ira’s book on: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_ipad_mkt_lnd?docId=1000493771

    But I still want a copy I can handle, too, and have autographed.

    Comment by LeRoy — June 24, 2011 @ 8:33 pm

  5. I got an email early this morning telling me that my
    books have already been shipped. Can’t wait.
    LLJ

    Comment by LLJ — June 24, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

  6. If you think it has been hard for you up to this point, imagine how the masses of people who pre-ordered your book have suffered during this long grueling wait. We have been forced to grind our teeth while reading all the latest junky Amish novels. But – victory over our own personal dragons awaits! I also got my note from Amazon that it will be shipping earlier than expected!

    Looking forward to a good read.

    :)

    Comment by Mike — June 24, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

  7. Hello. I found your blog, strangely enough, doing research for a friend, who happens to be rather old order Amish. Two of my very dearest friends are Amish, one family encouraged me to look into the Caneyville community, the other family are English-gone-Amish who just moved up to Smyrna Maine to be a part of the community there. Wow. Small world, eh?

    And me? I am a 22 year old, very English, girl who loves her Lord and Savior, loves His word, and lives, churchless, in the mountains, doing internet research for my Amish friends. I got saved three years ago and I still don’t understand all the hows and whys, I don’t understand why people insist on trying to rip apart the Church – over beards and caps and gasoline powered engines. It’s so simple in the Bible, you know? Why do they feel they need to make it so impossible? Have they read the word of God? Do they care? Forgive me, I don’t mean to sound angry! I am not angry, it’s just that my heart is rather broken. I believe like the Anabaptists of history,the ones who went to the flames because they believed the Word of God and nothing else, but I will ever be separate from them in the present due to all of their man-made, unbiblical laws. I haven’t read enough on your site to understand where you are coming from, so excuse my random rants.

    I am going to read your book when I can.

    My prayers are for the Church, the Body of my precious Savior, who deserves so much better than to have a world able to deride His people due to their schismatic tendencies.

    Anna

    Comment by Anna — June 24, 2011 @ 9:32 pm

  8. Amazon informed today the book has shipped and I am looking forward to reading what will surely be an excellent book. See you at the signing in our area.

    Comment by John Yoder — June 24, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

  9. Well, if I manage to make a book signing I will definitely not ignore you! Really, I laughed out loud- although I know what you mean. My problem is going to be actually getting there. Anyway- I ordered for my kindle and will save it to read on the flight home since time before that will be limited. Looking forward to it!

    Comment by Anita B — June 25, 2011 @ 3:33 am

  10. Speaking as one who has already had the pleasure of reading the book – I finished it last night – it is worth the wait!!

    Comment by Rosita Martin — June 25, 2011 @ 4:02 am

  11. Dragon Slayer…I like that. Thank you for giving us all courage. And you may not have intended it, but your book is quite evangelistic. Well buried of course, but that is how the great writers do it.

    Comment by Jerry Eicher — June 25, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

  12. WOW!!!!! CONGRATS!!!! As one of the few ‘early’ recipients of this classic Amish/ex-Amish story, I will say”BRAVO!” It will do great!!!! …. A possible sequel or movie follow-up in the near future??!?…

    Comment by Nate Wagler — June 25, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

  13. Hey Ira! My book came! It was waiting for me yesterday when I got home from Lancaster. I have already read the pre release copy- and it is a well written book! A great read. I would have read it in one night, but it got late, and then I went to Indiana and FOGOT THE BOOK! I couldn’t wait to get home to finish it.

    I, too, am waiting now for the sequel. I hope it sells a half million or so. Maybe in the sequel I’ll find out if you ever got your life straightened out :-).

    See you at the Holmes Co signing!

    Oh, and you are booked for the 2012 Benton Homecoming!

    Comment by John Schmid — June 25, 2011 @ 11:06 pm

  14. Hey Ira, I didn’t pre-order the book but will pick one up ASAP when they hit the shelves. And I find it very hard to imagine you being the lonely looking author sitting at a table waiting for someone to pick up your copy. People will be lined up “around the corner”!

    Comment by Angie — June 25, 2011 @ 11:07 pm

  15. I couldn’t be more prouder of you and excited. I wish I could be at your signing. I sure hope you aren’t sitting there pitifully alone. I trust you won’t be.

    CONGRATS!! :)

    Comment by Lauri S. — June 27, 2011 @ 11:52 pm

  16. As one who has confronted my own share of “dragons”, I can relate. I have observed your ascent to the pinnacle you so obviously enjoy today… I totally and gratefully applaud your journey. That is cause for real celebration…

    Comment by R. Graber — June 28, 2011 @ 5:39 pm

  17. I got mine yesterday! So excited for you, what a dream come true. Now, if I can just find it….my daughter snatched it away with a promise to bring it right back. That was yesterday. Congratulations!

    Comment by Rose — June 29, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

  18. Reading your book now, I find it amusing, honest, and I am able to relate to most of it. Hey come for supper sometime; we’ll have bread soup with peaches. Yum!

    Comment by Simeon Stoltzfus — June 29, 2011 @ 11:21 pm

  19. Congratulations, Ira! The world is richer for your book being in it. Sweet…

    Comment by vera — July 1, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

  20. Ira,

    Congratulations on the new book–Bravo!

    I received my copy on 6-29 and read it through that night. Your memoir is filled with real family life, human emotion and drama. The story could not be made up and is a compelling page turner. May the book sell well among all circles because it teaches many valuable lessons.

    We mere mortals are so flawed and fallen, that left to ourselves no one is righteous. But at God’s appointed time, He sends His creative power to give His children new spiritual eyes to see a glimpse of the truth of the Lord’s sovereign grace and mercy. And that same Truth will set the captives free!

    Comment by e. s. gingerich — July 2, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

  21. I just found your blog. Your book was an Amazon.com suggestion. I’ve read the first four chapters and I have laughed out loud. I’m not the “laugh out loud” kind. Truly, I am there – it takes an artist to do that. I am committed to reading more slowly.

    Comment by Tammy — July 3, 2011 @ 11:36 pm

  22. Congratulations Ira, You have a way to take your readers with you on the journey. The emotions have at least in part been felt, the realities of life, joys, sorrows, the list goes on. Thank you for using the talents God has given you. It has been an inspiration in our house and many more I am sure. Looking forward to reading the book and many more writings to come. God Bless!

    Comment by Steve — July 7, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

  23. Hi Ira! Today I stopped in to my local bookstore to browse through a few titles as a means of rest for the afternoon. I saw your book and picked it up with a pile of a few others. As I started to read your book, I found myself wrapped up in the stories since either from personal experience, or from my parents experience, I recognized many of the towns/communities/ families/names.

    My father, Linnford Otto, was born Amish in Arthur, IL but his family moved to a farm in a Beachy Amish community near Kokomo, IN where I was eventually born. My mother, Marietta (Hochstetler) Otto grew up Mennonite in Middlebury, IN. I was born and in the Mennonite Church for most of my elementary years which I’ve cherished.

    All this aside, I found myself turning page after page of your book until I hit the end – 270 some pages of great storytelling and Christian testimony – before I left the store! I’m really looking forward to reading more of your material!

    Comment by Adam — July 10, 2011 @ 11:05 am

  24. I love the book. I read it in 2 days. I love Amish books. I love reading about Amish. I’ve been to Lancaster County twice on vacation. Took a couple of tours. Ate in couple of places in Bird in Hand. Love Amish people. I live in New England, in Mass. Thank you for writing a book about yourself. Please write some more, I’ll buy it. Your friend in Christ, Susan Ballard.

    Comment by Susan Ballard — July 11, 2011 @ 7:22 am

  25. Hi. I never heard of you until I saw your book this weekend at Walmart. I was there for groceries but passed by the books b/c I always need something else to read. Saw yours & was immediately interested. I cannot put it down! So good! I am just now to the point where your buddies have joined you in Nebraska. LOVING your book! Excited to find your blog. :)

    Hope lots of people show up for your book signings. I would come, but, well, I’m in Louisiana & that’s a bit too far! :)

    Comment by Melissa — July 11, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

  26. We received your book through Amazon’s Kindle for PC (electronic edition) the Friday before July 4th weekend. Began reading it that evening, and finished it the next day; my wife read it that day and the next afternoon. Wow. I wrote very positive reviews on both the Amazon and Tyndale sites. I am hopeful word is getting out.

    I was checking to see if you are blogging again. Hopefully the reason you cannot is because of book signings!

    Comment by LeRoy — July 16, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

  27. Ira, I completed your book in less than two days – could not put it down. It was informative, tragic (in a sense), funny, and extremely well-written. It holds so many points for one to do their own self-examination. I applaud you for the times you did return to the faith of your family – tried it and found you just could not stay. I praise God that you did find Jesus Christ as your Savior and “Solid Rock.”

    I do believe that if more of our young people would read your book in their indecisive years, they would find some of your examples, whether they were good or bad, a guide as to what their decisions should be for themselves. I surely hope and trust you will continue your writing – in book form especially. Your talent is too wonderful to keep within yourself.

    Comment by Mildred Winters — July 17, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

  28. I read your book this past week while on vacation. I found it very interesting! Laughed at times, and wanted to cry at other times. PTL, you did find the Truth that saves us!

    Being from Goshen, and having Amish relatives in the Topeka area, I found it interesting that you had lived in this area at one time! :) (hmm, I think I might know who “Sam J” is.)

    Comment by Mary Miller — July 17, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

  29. Hello Ira!

    I went to bed reading your book, and woke up this morning to finish it. A wonderful book. The Amish moved here about 2 years ago…..maybe 20 families by now. I like seeing their buggies on the road…makes me feel like I’m on a bit of a ‘journey back in time’ but I’ve been very curious. I was excited to see your book and couldn’t put it down. Your book has sparked even more curiousity….I wonder how many feel as you do and harbor those feelings while living a life they are secretly unhappy with.

    I didn’t want your book to end…and am curious about the ‘rest of the story’ of your life. I hope there will be another book – writing is what you were meant to do.

    Comment by Sherri — July 18, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

  30. Hello from Largo, Florida! I’ve never left a comment on a website before but I feel compelled to tell you I’m reading your book (on chapter 20) and am quite intrigued by your experiences. I have always been drawn to anything Amish as my paternal grandfather (Elmer H. Yoder) was the youngest of eleven children in an Amish family near Toledo, Ohio. Like you he left the Order as a young man and pursued the “Englisher” lifestyle. Sadly, he passed away 15 years ago at the ripe old age of 98.

    Anyway, I just want to tell you I am very much enjoying your book and will visit your website often. You keep writing and I’ll keep reading! Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Kim (Yoder) DeCunto — July 18, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

  31. I just found your site. Can’t wait to read your book, Ira.

    Lissa.

    Comment by Lissa Holder — July 18, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

  32. I am truly amazed at your book. It is a wonderful hearfelt story. So honest and compelling. It was something I enjoyed from beginning to end. There are so many struggles in our lives. I have always felt blessed that the Lord walks with me and encourages me along the way. I make so many mistakes and yet, I know that I am loved.

    Ira, you did a good job recounting your story and sharing experiences that show there can be struggles anywhere with anyone at any time. Thank you. I hope many others find your book and pass it along too. Joan

    Comment by sachka — July 20, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

  33. Just got your book yesterday in the mail from Amazon. I’m already on chapter 6 – – – and I had to leave it at home this morning (darn it) to come to work. I can tell already that it’s going to be one of the best Amish biographies that I’ve read. We live in Indiana, not too far from the northern Indiana Amish groups. Thanks so much for sharing your story!!

    Comment by Cindy — July 21, 2011 @ 9:11 am

  34. Saw the book at Costco. Picked it up and couldn’t put it down. After finishing, gave it to my wife. She couldn’t put it down. Now we’re recommending it to friends.

    Comment by David — July 21, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

  35. Wow! I found this book hard to put down because I thought about how hard that would have been to relive those situations…it is refreshing to read a book that shows a person’s raw feelings … what a wonderful walk you are on now! Blessings to you!

    Comment by ginger — July 22, 2011 @ 1:07 am

  36. Ira,

    You have lived my life story to the tee. Couldn’t believe the emotions that you went through were so similar to mine, although I only left home twice (2nd time for good). Had a lot of people ask me if David Wagler from Iowa was my dad..I always tell them no but my dad’s name is David Wagler and we were originally from Hartville, Ohio. Anyway.. would love to chat with you sometime.

    Comment by David Wagler Jr. — July 24, 2011 @ 2:08 am

  37. I liked your book. It reminded me of my own journey. I too am glad to have talked to God. Phew! What a relief.

    Comment by Elizabeth Hodges — July 26, 2011 @ 8:47 am

  38. I was in the store to buy a special cup for my coffee; yum coffee! As I was walking along past the book section in the store, sitting there was the last, lone, copy of the book “Growing Up Amish”. Truly the truth, it was like some message from God- “pickup the book, purchase it, and go home and read the book”. I did just that, I walked over and picked up the book, brought it to the check out counter and paid for it, and brought the book home and read it.

    I really did appreciate your book Mr. Ira Wagler, about your life and your personal struggles, all which you told about in your book. Your book held my interest and thought through the whole book. You know it sure is funny how I can read a book about a person’s family and friends (just like in your book), and there is that part of me which starts feeling like I’m some distant cousin, with a want to as good as drive over there and see the whole family in person.

    I was born in 61, I believe it’s the same year that you were born Ira; if I’m right that is.

    Yeah- Coincidental!

    And here’s to Stud… (Who has gone to Council)
    Amen.

    Comment by Wolfwolveswolf — July 30, 2011 @ 3:39 am

  39. I first saw your book on 7-15-11 in Walnut Creek in Holmes County. I had no idea it was a brand-new book, and when I saw it again a few days ago in Sam’s Club I bought it. I read it all and loved it. I go to Holmes County often and wondered if you plan any more book signings there. I have already recommended the book to my friends, some of whom go with me often on my treks to Amish country.

    Comment by Karen Kurak — July 31, 2011 @ 10:06 am

  40. Found your book August 4 and was absolutely caught up in it until I finished it. I couldn’t wait to get back to reading it whenever I could. Finished it in about 3 days! Your writing is spectacular…it held me captivated until the end and was sad when it was done – I didn’t want it to be the end. Hoping to find more of your writing someday. I put it on my facebook page too.

    Comment by Carol — August 9, 2011 @ 10:59 am

  41. Just finished your book after not being able to put it down. I felt as though I was with you while reading about your journey. What a difficult time to relive, but so well written I am glad you did. I too came and went from a very strict religion and the loneliness and feeling that you belong to neither ‘worldly’ people or to your former religious community can be quite painful. Thank you for sharing your history and please keep writing!

    Comment by Tracy Friedo — March 9, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

  42. What a great picture!

    Comment by Francine — December 5, 2012 @ 11:32 pm

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