December 30, 2011

The Year of Harvest…

Category: News — Ira @ 6:00 pm

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All things proceeding from the earth to seasons, all things
that lapse and change and come again upon the earth —
these things will always be the same…

—Thomas Wolfe
______________

An ordinary morning at the office a few weeks back. I was working at my desk when my cell phone rang. I glanced at the number. Unfamiliar, but local. I answered. Ira here.

The caller stated his name, and briefly, his reason for calling. He had just picked up a copy of my book yesterday. A mutual friend had recommended it. Last night he had sat up way late. Read all the way to the end. He just now called to tell me.

And with barely a pause, he launched. Unleashed a torrent of words. His story. From way back. He had left the Amish decades ago. Been excommunicated. All his life, he carried the frustrations of that choice. The deep wounds of being cut off from his family. Of the bitterness he battled again and again, all through the long years. He nearly wept as he thanked me over and over. Thanks for telling your story. It was time someone did. And still the words spilled from him as he talked, on and on.

I listened. Silently, sympathetically. Not that I could have gotten much in edgewise, anyway. The guy had obviously been deeply touched. And he was calling to tell me. Finally, someone he knew would understand. After five minutes or so, I gently interrupted him. I’m at work. I really appreciate your call. I really do. But I have to get back to work. Stop by sometime, and we’ll go have lunch. We’ll talk. Sure, he said. He thanked me and hung up.

At the book signing in Bloomfield last month, a stubble-faced guy walked in a few minutes early. I’d never seen him before, don’t know where he came from. He wasn’t one of my old West Grove buddies or anything. He stood in line, then approached me with his book and spoke his name. He had already read it, several times, he said. I thanked him and signed his copy. But he had come to tell me something more.

“This is an important book,” he declared solemnly. “It will be read for a long, long time. It’s an important book.”

“Thank you,” I said. “I’m very grateful that I had the chance to tell my story. And that my book was published by a major company like Tyndale.”

He seemed to think I hadn’t heard him. So he repeated. “It’s an important book. It will be read for a very long time.” The crowd behind pressed in on him then, so I didn’t have much of a chance to discuss why he thought my book was important. I thanked him again, and he moved on and out.

But I thought about his words later. A lot. Is Growing Up Amish an important book? Maybe. Maybe not. Readers will decide that. The market. And time, I suppose. It’s certainly not why I wrote it, to be important. Start out with a goal like that, and it’s a sure-fire way to never reach it. I write to write, to tell my story. Others can decide whether the book is worth reading, and whether it reaches the status of being “important.”

And those were two of the more memorable reactions to the book. I’ve seen and heard just about everything between. Along with some pretty strident criticism, too. Everyone has an opinion, one way or another. And I’m fine with that.

It’s been a good year. And I mean good. A year of harvest. When so many things fell into place. When so much came to pass, the stuff dreams are made of. When dreams come true, though, it’s not necessarily a relaxing time.

I’ve experienced just about every type of stress there is. Intense freaky stress. And the more reserved, silent stress, the type that really wears you down. I’ve gained twenty pounds, simply from not taking care of myself. A New Year’s resolution might be in order. Get back in shape.

I’ve recorded a lot of book-related experiences on this blog, as they happened. So I won’t go through all that again. Right now, I feel grateful and deeply thankful for all my blessings. I have to pinch myself sometimes, just to make sure I’m awake, that it’s all real. The Lord’s promises have never failed, but still, until you walk through that long, dark place where you desperately need them to be true, you don’t know what it is to really see those promises unfold. At least, that’s how it was for me.

Some numbers on the book. People are always asking. How many have sold? Are you quitting your “real” job? Are you rich? No. And no. I happen to like my “real” job a lot. The book has certainly achieved for me some degree of fame. But the fortune one instinctively associates with a bestseller in one’s mind, well, I’m still waiting on that. Sure, I’ll make a few bucks. And that’s great. I’ve already had replacement windows installed in my house, upstairs and down. And rebuilt my very tiny bathroom. All with the money from the book. It was way past time for both those little projects. And, of course, the evil, greedy tax man lurks out there, waiting to grab his share. So there won’t be any fortune, not unless the book sells a LOT more copies than it has to date.

As of now, there have been five printings. A total of around 50,000 hard copies. And around 15,000 eBook units have sold. Of the hard copies, around 10,000 remain out there in the market place, and Tyndale has about 5,000 stored in their warehouse. So a total of around 50,000 units, hard copy and eBook, have actually sold.

That’s more copies sold than most books ever dream of seeing. A respectable number. Very respectable, for a first-time unknown author. But it’s not huge. Plenty of other books out there have made a far larger splash, sold tens and hundreds of times more copies. My book has been a medium success, I’d say. Kind of like my blog. It gets a medium flow of traffic.

Probably another 10,000 copies would have sold, were the Amish and Mennonites not so maddeningly frugal. “Oh yes,” they write me cheerfully. Or even tell me to my face. “I bought a copy of your book and loved it so much that I’m passing it around to all my extended family.”

Which means anywhere from 10 to 50 people will read that one copy. That’s very nice, of course. The more people that read the book, the better. But it would be far nicer if some people in those extended families bought their own copies as well. Nothing anyone’s gonna do about it, though. That book-sharing habit is so ingrained into Amish and Mennonite culture that it’s useless to even grumble about it. All I can do is smile and nod.

I don’t know if the numbers out there represent the harvest of sales that have peaked and now will slow down. Or if the numbers represent the seed to be harvested. I hope it’s the seed, of course. That the book will keep selling and spreading. Wherever it goes, whatever happens, I’ve had my real shot at the real deal. And I’ve done OK. It’s just that, well, from an author’s perspective, it’s never enough. You always want more.

Whatever the case, I have to remain who I am. Can’t let it go to my head, that my book was moderately successful. My writing voice, silent for so long that I despaired of ever finding it, is one of my most treasured possessions. I don’t ever want to lose it. Which will happen, if I try to be something other than what I am.

The book has made its waves inside the Amish culture. It will continue to do so, I think, this coming year. It will be interesting to see what kind of structured response might emerge from those communities that are hostile to the book. I think that response might be forthcoming in 2012. Or maybe not.

Bloomfield, of course, has its problems with my work. And Aylmer, too, I’m sure. The official response has been muted. At some point, someone is going to say something. If not publicly, then privately. I’ll hear about it.

And in northern Indiana, too, I hear the book is not being well received among the Amish. Including my old friends, the people I knew there. I haven’t heard any specifics, just that they have recoiled from the book and are pretty hostile toward me. I’m not sure how many Amish people there have actually read it. Probably a few scanned it, and spread the word that the story is scandalous. I regret those reactions. I really do. I had hoped for at least an honest response. Tell me where I’m wrong. Show me what I wrote that wasn’t true.

And strangely, some few intellectuals (Certainly not all, or even many. Could be a tiny handful.), from certain slivers of the more progressive, mostly western Beachy-Amish and Mennonites, have been quite resistant to the book. In subtle ways, sometimes. And sometimes openly.

I’m not sure why. I guess they figured they were the gatekeepers. The ones who speak authoritatively about plain cultures, including the Amish. Their views are delicately nuanced, of course. And they recoil in horror at the raw, unvarnished details of my story. Their distaste shivers from their words and actions. They are stunned, pretty much in denial that a hick who graduated from Bob Jones University could get his story out there like that. Through Tyndale House yet, one of the largest and most respected Christian publishers in the world.

To them, to those stunned intellectuals, I say, relax. I’m as amazed as you are that my book got published.

That point of amazement, though, is pretty much all we have in common. You would have wished my book to be stillborn. To die before it could live. I wanted my book to hit the stratosphere. Which it hasn’t. So we both have to give a little, seems like, from what we would have wanted. One more thing, though. Stop reading my book through the skewed lenses of what you consider “literary criticism.” Which usually degenerates into just plain old criticism. I simply wrote my story. How it all came down. Sometimes, a story is just a story. And sometimes, a story honestly told reflects a lot of deeper things in life.

But apart from all the noise, I want to speak to you, my readers. The ones who have faithfully traveled with me, this past year. And before. You are the ones who made it happen. The ones who bought my book, and told your friends about it. You are quite a force, and I salute you all. Thank you so much for making this one of the best years of my life. Thank you. So much. I’m humbled and grateful.

The next year, 2012, will be a year of great challenges. And, always, opportunities as well. The future seems frightening, in so many ways. The world reels, from all the unrest and upheaval unleashed by the oppressive policies of increasingly tyrannical governments. The savage fruits of brutal and corrupt political power. Everywhere, we see and smell the fear. The uncertainty.

How it all will play out, no one knows. I’m not looking for anything pretty. In fact, I’m very pessimistic in the short term. Our 2012 presidential election will be the most vicious, scorched-earth political contest in our country’s history. There will be a lot of blood and fire and death across the world in the next twelve months. More so than usual, I think. It’s just shaping up that way. Some of that unrest, that blood and fire, will crash uncomfortably close to our communities, and our homes. I’m convinced it will.

And as those times, those events, invade our consciousness and encroach upon our lives, we will have to decide who we really are. All of us. Where we stand, and how we will choose to live. Where we place our trust. Both in each other, and in God. And as it all unfolds, we will be called to make our choices, to use or not to use the talents that we were given.

Whatever happens, I will write. Not because of any particular message. And not because I have anything particularly important to say. But just to speak. Of what I see from where I am. If no one hears what I’m saying, then it is what it is. I’ll write anyway. It doesn’t matter if no one’s listening. What matters is that I will have expressed myself.

A new year dawns. The old is gone. Never will there be another quite like it. It was a year of good things, a year heavy with the harvest of great blessings.

I look for great blessings in the coming year, too. Whatever happens, 2012 will bring new goals, new destinations. I’m tired, who isn’t? But eager. Eager to leave behind the safe walls of this shining city. Eager to strike out across the vast unknown one more time. I’m ready to battle the old dragons again. They’re still lurking out there. I’ll face and confront them. As I did before. Whack them back. And keep pushing on.

There will be times when I won’t quite know what’s going on. At least, if the past is prologue, that’s how it will be. But that’s where faith kicks in. Whatever the obstacles, they can be overcome. Will be overcome. In time, one at a time.

The new year, the future beckons. I’m thankful to be who I am, where I am. I walk forward with confidence. Calmness. And a little fear, along with a whole lot of other emotions. But mostly, I walk with a grateful heart.

Happy New Year to all my readers.

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(37 Comments) »

  1. …sometimes there is no choice but to put everything in God’s hands….especially when it is out of our control. Your book is good and that’s that; even if most of the Amish don’t buy it. I am sure it is not done selling yet.

    Comment by Carol Ellmore — December 30, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

  2. Thank you for your thoughts, Ira. I am also thankful to the people, who have made the effort to get your words out there. Thank you, dear friends of Ira.

    May you have continued success with your book. May this year bring you Peace and most importantly Happiness!

    Don’t sweat the “small stuff” and for Heaven’s Sake, who cares about the 20 lbs. No woman wants a man, unless he has something to offer other than bones. It can always come off!!!

    God Bless You, dear one!

    Comment by Deborah A Cataldi Barnhardt — December 30, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

  3. Happy New Year to you, my friend. My wish for you…all your hopes and dreams to come to you. Thanks again for your book. It was great and now I want to read it again. God Bless

    Comment by Connie French — December 30, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  4. Congratulations on your wonderful year of harvest. You not only deserve it, you earned it! You told your story and you told it well.

    The 50,000 copies sold since June speaks to how well you write. I’m impressed and happy for you. (ok, I’m also slightly jealous because I’m miles from your league)

    Though my background was strict Mennonite, not Amish, there are similarities and I’m happy to hear how your story is helping others that struggle with their past.

    I think anyone should be free to follow any religious traditions they want to … as long as those traditions don’t hurt anyone, but unfortunately certain traditions within the Amish and Mennonites have been placed ahead of loving others.

    Cheers to 2012 for you!

    Comment by Janet Oberholtzer' — December 30, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

  5. Proud of you and all you got accomplished this year.

    Comment by Rosita Martin — December 30, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

  6. I liked this part: “Stop reading my book through the skewed lenses of what you consider ‘literary criticism.’ Which usually degenerates into just plain old criticism.”

    Comment by Rhonda — December 30, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

  7. This blog is filled with truth about God, truth about life and is unapologetically forthright!! That is what I love about you and your writing, Ira!

    My favourite quote is: “The Lord’s promises have never failed, but still, until you walk through that long, dark place where you desperately need them to be true, you don’t know what it is to really see those promises unfold. At least, that’s how it was for me.”

    Totally agree! Until we walk through that ‘need’, it is easy to quote the promises with religious piety, but, once experienced in a place of darkness, we embrace them with gentle reverence–the quiet ‘knowing’ that God is for real!

    Comment by Trudy Metzger — December 30, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

  8. I just finished reading your book and it isn’t a great literary piece, but you certainly got your point across. While in college, I had to study other cultures, Amish included. I always found the Amish interesting, but I didn’t realize how judgmental and hard they could be. Thank you for the learning experience and enlightening me on this unique culture! Good luck on you future projects.

    Comment by Susan Boyd — December 30, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

  9. Congratulations on a great year, Ira! I pray that next year will be even greater! Just don’t forget that June 22 is Benton Days here in Holmes County and we want to advertise a book signing!

    Comment by John Schmid — December 30, 2011 @ 8:33 pm

  10. Ira, I think the book might have more impact on the Bloomfield Amish than you think. I’ve overheard a few younger Amish men and women (in their 20s) who want to read the book. They are interested.

    Comment by Duane — December 30, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

  11. Yes, your book finally shatters the silent secrecy surrounding our people, something that needed to be done if they will emerge out of their shell. In spite of their reluctance to read it, they will eventually come around.

    Comment by Ben Girod — December 31, 2011 @ 1:25 am

  12. Congratulations on the success with the book. There are many people who can relate to your experiences, some more deeply than others and do not have the gift of writing. Keep on writing!

    Comment by John Yoder — December 31, 2011 @ 8:46 am

  13. It has been inspiring to quietly follow you through the process of writing your book. I am trying to absorb all I can to inspire myself to get started in that direction, from you and other writers I have “met” online. Thanks for so openly sharing yourself with us. I particularly liked how openly you acknowledge your Lord in this particular post. I read years ago that the more you acknowledge God’s favor, the more you receive. I have found it to be true. May you be greatly favored in the coming years.

    Comment by Carol — December 31, 2011 @ 9:40 am

  14. “The world reels, from all the unrest and upheaval unleashed by the oppressive policies of increasingly tyrannical governments. The savage fruits of brutal and corrupt political power.” Very true statement. Good writing Ira. I’m glad to hear you say that you will continue to write. You have a God-given gift.

    Comment by Mark Stoltzfus — December 31, 2011 @ 11:00 am

  15. It is certainly an important book and I am glad I picked one up. You will probably never really understand how important a book it will become. Living on the Daviess-Greene border, we have had many questions and now understand things better. It was not accidental that the book was published. Wishing you a great 2012!

    Comment by Linda Ault — December 31, 2011 @ 11:14 am

  16. Thank You Ira for another great blog.

    Though Your Story in the book is far different from my story, its amazing how it resembles the feelings and turmoil that me and probably a lot of other former Amish went through. Thank You for the encouraging story and I look forward to many more.

    I wish I could have spent more time chatting with you and the family at the book signing in Bloomfield, but duty calls and other things need to be done as well.

    Comment by Eli Mast — December 31, 2011 @ 7:25 pm

  17. Why are people so deathly scared about a true story?

    Comment by Katie Troyer — January 1, 2012 @ 10:15 am

  18. Ira, yes your book is important. It is a rare occurrence that a book written about or by a plain person achieves true authenticity. I’m not sure exactly how to describe ‘authenticity’ in regards to Amish books, but I think those of us who grew up in that culture instinctively know when a book doesn’t feel right. Real books make us think yes, this is exactly what it was like. Other ‘Amish’ books out there that I consider authentic would be Linda Byler’s ‘Lizzie’ books and certain portions, but not all, of ‘The Happening’ by Harvey Yoder.

    Oh, and about your critics, even one of those freely admits your book is one of the best out there regarding the Amish. And I think you know who I’m talking about.

    -Rachel

    Comment by Rachel — January 1, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

  19. Living as I do very close to the Aylmer community, I determined to not lend my book to anyone Amish. Still it seemed all people who have dealings with the Aylmer community wanted to “borrow” it. Frugality is common among the English population as well. Six people and I this far have read it. I never promoted its lending at all. The only feedback was that one Amish person had said “you can’t believe everything you read”. Not too surprised at that. Just keep writing, we’ll keep you honest!

    Comment by Eli Stutzman — January 2, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

  20. Greetings from New Zealand.
    I purchased your ebook the other day and thoroughly enjoyed the insight it gave. All the very best for 2012.

    Comment by Susie — January 3, 2012 @ 3:36 am

  21. Ok, you caught me. I just sent my 83 year old Mennonite mother my copy of your book. I didn’t buy one for her, she’d have had a fit at my “wasteful” ways. I did tell her she had to send it back so I could read it again, and I’m buying my brother his own copy, if that helps….

    And, as I think I’ve commented before, I really enjoyed your book. I don’t know what there is to criticize, it’s well written and it’s YOUR story, everyone, even in the same community, will have a different one. I’ve had a lifelong fascination with the Amish and loved your insights. I hope you write another book someday!

    Comment by Deb Keller — January 3, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

  22. Ira,
    Saw you on the PA Cable Network discussing your book. Enjoyed the discussion and bought the Kindle version. I thought the book was a real and true depiction of life in the Amish community. I can only imagine how torn you were between leaving and staying in the community. Thank you for painting a picture of your life during such trying times. I was left wanting to hear more about your life after leaving the Amish. I admire you for what you appear to have accomplished since then. Perhaps a follow-up book is in order. Thanks for a great read and please consider a follow-up book. I believe readers would be interested.

    Comment by Jack W. Sharbaugh — January 4, 2012 @ 12:56 am

  23. Ira,
    My brother, a minister, gave me your book for Christmas. I couldn’t put it down. It made me crazy every time you left your family….then went back, left again, went back …oh my, 4 times already….and then finally, finally pg. 257-259!!! All you needed to do was pray. Sam was your guardian angel!!

    Comment by Cheryl — January 4, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

  24. First of all, I think you’re experiencing every single emotion I would expect with such an achievement – the most important of which is gratefulness. If nothing else, this post tells me I need to re-read the book. I don’t remember anything harsh about the Amish in general, or you doing anything but desperately trying to be what you thought they wanted. Maybe if you put a recipe for scrapple on every other page, they’d be a bit more accepting but I really don’t understand the animosity.

    As Katie (Troyer) put it (in her succinct, honest, and ever-humorous way), “Why ARE people so deathly scared about a true story?” This isn’t War & Peace for crying out loud – we don’t need literary criticism. It’s the story of YOU, good & bad, happy & sad, like it or not. It’s a story that’s easy to relate to for anyone struggling with head vs. heart.

    We’re all ready for book number two – you’ve shown Tyndale you can hold your own. As far as this going to your head – well, you can try. I’m from a big family, too, and I hardly think that’s possible with that many around keeping you grounded. Many read it for enjoyment, many for juicy tidbits, many out of pure curiosity, but I’m happiest for those that now know they’re not alone. As you know, sometimes you can feel most alone when you’re among a large group of people. It’s strange how closely the opposites of fear & faith intermingle. Great post – and oh yeah, the part I agree with the most is you’ve got the greatest readers!!

    Comment by Bethrusso — January 4, 2012 @ 11:29 pm

  25. Ira, I have enjoyed your book. I had not before known much about the Amish other than that they seem to be gentle, wonderful, God fearing people. Having now read your book I believe I understand their feelings about ‘the world.’ I relate to that strongly because that also is my own understanding of scripture. ‘Don’t cling to the world…’ Don’t be ‘like it.’ I’m sure the beliefs they have and mine divert in certain ways, but of the main message of Christ, we agree.

    Anyway, I wanted to let you know I have enjoyed reading your book. May the Lord keep you in His care.

    Julie

    Comment by julie — January 5, 2012 @ 6:16 pm

  26. been following your blog for several months…still haven’t bought & read your book but have had a relative (OO Menn.) ask if I have & if I’ll be writing my story……I’m in the position of being the first of 100 grandchildren of an OO minister to leave ‘the church’ these almost 20 yrs. ago. Easy to identify w/ much of your thinking…….

    Comment by pauline martin — January 6, 2012 @ 9:44 pm

  27. Ira, My husband bought a whole case of your books…. I think he might have a few left yet. I encourage my children to read it saying it is my story. Just written better then I could have. Although I didn’t go back to the Amish after I first left them; just the empty search and longing for meaning in my life until I found Jesus. Keep writing.

    Comment by Iva — January 9, 2012 @ 10:56 pm

  28. There will be a lot of blood and fire and death across the world in the next twelve months. More so than usual, I think. It’s just shaping up that way. Some of that unrest, that blood and fire, will crash uncomfortably close to our communities, and our homes. I’m convinced it will.

    And as those times, those events, invade our consciousness and encroach upon our lives, we will have to decide who we really are. All of us. Where we stand, and how we will choose to live. Where we place our trust. Both in each other, and in God. And as it all unfolds, we will be called to make our choices, to use or not to use the talents that we were given.

    Jesus gave some pointed instructions to his generation so they would know what to do in a similar (but much worse, even) situation in their day (Luke 21:20-23). Unfortunately, it is hard to know where “the mountains” are now.

    I can only hope that your readers are paying attention to what you write, and who you link. And may God guide your steps, too, in these days!

    Comment by Jay — January 10, 2012 @ 12:16 am

  29. Enjoyed your blog. It isn’t just the Amish/Mennonite that are thrifty and share books, silly. I got my book at the library…GUILTY! Now I feel bad.

    I’m thrifty, frugal, cheap…Scottish!

    Excellent read though and I will recommend it to everyone!~ Maybe a few will purchase? : )

    Comment by Andrea Boring — January 10, 2012 @ 11:44 am

  30. Your book made it to our household borrowed from a family member. I’m sorry about the borrowed part. Well, not really. I really enjoyed the book though. There were some parts that were depressing. Taking me back to the yester-years of life. The darkness that lived within it. Chapters that I thought had been tucked away deep into the past. Thankfully life goes on and we write new chapters. Hopefully for the better. Very well written book. Looking forward to the sequel. Just saying.

    Comment by Carol — January 10, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

  31. Happy New Year to you, too… if a bit late.
    I had a chat with my Grandpa about the book the last time I saw him. He’s an Amish man that probably would read the book… but I’d likely have to loan him my copy!

    Comment by ann — January 19, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

  32. Hi, Ira. I just finished reading your book and found it completely fascinating. For reasons unknown to me, I’ve been drawn into reading Amish novels of late, so I was familiar with much of your former culture. I can’t imagine the courage and internal fortitude it required to walk away from not only your roots, but sadly your family of origin. As a mother, that is terribly sad to me that any people group could ascribe to such behavior. I was glad to learn that despite all your trials and tribulations, you truly found faith. The last page was the most poignant,in my opinion, particularly the part where you reminded readers that God is there even when it doesn’t feel that way. So true. May God richly bless your future endeavors as only He can! Keep writing! You have an excellent, articulate talent!

    Comment by Amber — January 19, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

  33. Ira:

    I purchased your book on a whim yesterday, at a rest-stop on our roadtrip through PA. I finished reading it that same day, before our 12 hours of driving was over.

    Thank you so much for telling your story. I grew up in Singapore, in a strict independent Baptist Church that practiced a lot of the same (Church control leaders, etc). I have experienced firsthand the pain from leaving, and being ex-communicated from my church, parents and siblings, and could identify with the emotional journey and doubts you went through. . . so much.

    It’s been 6 years since I’ve seen, or talked to members of my immediate family, when I left home at 21. Thank you, thank you so much for putting into words what others like me needed to read.

    Blessings,
    ~ Johanna

    Comment by Johanna Hsu — January 30, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  34. Ira:

    Your book was fascinating! I couldn’t put it down. My sister in Australia got it for Christmas, loaned it to me (I live in Singapore) and now I’ve posted it to my daughter living in Holland! Guilty! (1 copy-many readers) But if I see it again I will buy another to loan to others. Such an inspiration. Look forward to the next one.

    Comment by Glenda — February 21, 2012 @ 9:00 am

  35. Lucy Maud Montgomery, a Canadian writer you may have heard of once had the ambition to “write a book that will live.” Books are funny things that way. They take on a life of their own apart from their authors. Your book presents a slant on Amish life that has the strong ring of truth. It is an “important work” that will be referenced in future years by anybody interested in the Amish.

    Comment by Phillip Sherwood — March 1, 2012 @ 11:53 am

  36. Ira,
    I am the stubble-faced guy who pronounced your book important. I’m sure the next one will be, too.

    Comment by Mark Warren — March 3, 2012 @ 8:44 am

  37. The issue of importance. My son and I were driving through the cemetary the other week and he said, when he saw a very large tomb stone, “He must have been important.” I reminded him that all people are important, it’s just some have more money than others. Does the same hold true for books? Heck no! But, Ira, your book is very important.

    Have you ever been drawn into a cemetary-just greatly desired to be there? Well, I haven’t. But this particular day it was an answer to prayer. I had had it with this day! A resistant child that I’m trying to homeschool who struggles in every way with anything academic, a slim wallet, an aching 46-year-old body that’s trying to get the age issue relayed to the 25-year-old brain, a long list on the “to do” notepad. And other things that I can’t quite remember now. Sitting behind the wheel of my 2010 silver Charger- a mid-life crisis purchase in 2012, which I’m crazy about!- I gave up. “I can’t do this anymore, God. I can’t do this anymore! You do it! You run the show! I’m done!” I drove a mile or so and as I approached the cemetary, which I have passed a million times and never entered, the thought hit like a 2X4, “Pull in.” Screech, I pulled in, ran into a tombstone and knocked it over! Just kidding. I drove through the most beautiful place I had been to in a very long time. And I realized that all the anxiety, the stress, the “what ifs” were all going to end one day. And I asked myself, “How important is ________, anyway?” You know, the age old question that comes around every now and again. I thought about all those who would be laying in this very cemetary who never knew Jesus. d I said to my son that the all time most important thing in this life is telling people about Jesus. My priorities get wicky-wacky sometimes.

    Comment by Francine — November 14, 2012 @ 12:36 am

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