Archive for June, 2021

Retreats, Events, Graduation, Oh My!

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

First author copy! Thanks for chasing the UPS guy for me, ladies!

First author visit – via ZOOM to about 500 kids

We got a #1 New Release on the first week!

Speaking at Cedar Lake Camp

During the week, we had the game room all to ourselves!

Jacksonville Baptist on Mother’s Day

Rinnah with her piece “I Am Also American” featuring a younger picture of Noah – this won first place and was purchased by the university.

Rinnah with a few more of her paintings at her senior show

Rinnah’s illustration table at the senior show

Graduation – she made it!

If 2021 started out very slowly, it’s sure taken off like a rocket lately!

Our new children’s book, “Dumplings Mean Family” ended up being a number one best seller on Amazon within a week of its release! This was so fantastically fun, especially for our younger kids who are the “stars” of the book. I was also able to do three author visits at schools, some in person and some over zoom, which has been so helpful as I shape and edit those visits – hoping to do so many more of those in the fall! Additionally I’ve had a number of radio interviews about the book including across the entire Pilgrim Radio Network and on several platforms for John Clemmons syndicated shows.

We also had the wonderful opportunity as a family to spend 9 days at Cedar Lake Camp near Chicago where I was speaking for women’s retreats on the weekends. Since the kids are in online school, they were able to do it there, and the camp so kindly offered us the option to stay since I was speaking both weeks! Firstly, the camp staff was amazing, and our only regret was that we couldn’t spend more time with them just due to Covid distancing. But even so, they felt like true friends by the time we left, and I sure hope we get to be with them again! And secondly, it was so nice to be together as a family, but in a different location – we were all getting so tired of our own four walls!!

One funny story – right in the middle of my last talk for that weekend, my author copies for “Dumplings” showed up. Camps are notorious for things getting lost as delivery people can never seem to find which building they need or whatever and they give up and you have to get your boxes later. But this was the last chance for this group to get them, and I had told them I’d hoped they would show up on time. The camp staff even announced that if anyone saw a UPS truck, they should chase them down because they never delivered on the first try! Well, right in the middle of the talk, someone at the back saw the UPS truck through the window, yelled, “Your dumplings are here! Your dumplings are here!” and ran outside followed by about 20 other people all yelling and waving their arms at the truck. Absolutely hilarious, and the poor driver looked like he had no idea what he’d gotten himself into with these crazy people in the woods! But they definitely got their copies!

On Mother’s Day, I had a lovely event at Jacksonville Baptist, and that was the first time I’d flown since Covid started. It was also the worst travel experience maybe ever (well, except for that time I got stuck homeless for a night in Bratislava and almost got arrested in the airport because I couldn’t speak the language, but that’s another story…). I had two flights, and people were arrested on both of them! It was crazy! I sincerely think people have forgotten how to interact with others. But the event was great, and it was so fun to be back at that church.

And of course, a huge thing this month was that our daughter, Rinnah, graduated, summa cum laude, double major, from Taylor. We couldn’t be more proud! This has been one of the most challenging situations she could ever have lived through, and there were additional challenges due to Covid that we could never have foreseen, but she persevered, and she finished! Her senior show was amazing, she was named “Artist of the Year,” the university bought one of her paintings, and it was just overall a big deal. We are so excited to have her home for a bit, and honestly, to give her some time to rest and heal from a really, really challenging and tough time. We think this calls for some black raspberry chip ice cream, a really long nap, and some well-deserved downtime.