Pre-order by September 30 and get 30% Off

Hey folks, just a quick note to say that I’ve created a webpage dedicated to the book—it’s available here or in the menu on the right. The page includes the very kind endorsements I’ve received.

There’s also information about a 30% off deal, but here it is: order before September 30 through Chalice and use the code EPromo812 at checkout. For those who’ve already ordered after, sorry about the timing—I found out about the deal after my post from earlier in the week. What can I say, your reward will be great in heaven…

And thanks for your support!

More Link Love tomorrow! Have a great Thursday.


How You Can Get Involved, And Free Stuff

Last week on Facebook there was a discussion about how hard it is for many of us to negotiate when it comes to salaries, honoraria, etc. We want people to know what we’re worth without having to tell them, yes?

Doesn’t work that way… but knowing that doesn’t make it easier.

So this is the post I’ve been dreading, yet I know it’s really important. This is the “ask.”

If you read this blog, you care about… I don’t even know what to call it. The deeper things of life? Nuance? Weird connections between things? Random links? The subtitle of my blog is “beauty, ideas, creativity, and the life of the Spirit,” but I don’t know. Whatever brings you here, I believe that the themes in Sabbath in the Suburbs will resonate with you.

I could call all of this a movement if I wanted. A Sabbath movement! And yes, it is that. Life moves fast. People are anxious. Fewer folks take vacation and time for rest than they used to. Some people have forgotten how. Technology means our work week doesn’t ever begin or end. Our kids are as overloaded with activities as we are. My little book is part of a much bigger conversation.

But it’s also a book, and I hope you will buy it.

Here are some concrete ways you can support me and my book:

  1. Pre-order: The book comes out September 30, but pre-ordering helps build buzz for the book, so consider pre-ordering Sabbath in the Suburbs from Chalice Press or the online retailer of your choice. I know, Nameless Online Retailer gives you free shipping. But I get a smidge more money if you order from Chalice. I don’t know how book pricing works, but I do know if the price goes down, you’ll get the lower price, so no need to hold out.
  2. Mark it “to read”: If you’re a Goodreads user, put my book in your to-read pile. Again with the buzz.
  3. Host an event: Consider scheduling an event at your church or organization. I am still working out how to make such events happen while maintaining my congregational responsibilities at Tiny Church, but I am setting a goal of one event per month. Get in touch with me at maryannmcdana (at) gmail (dot) com and let’s talk.
  4. Be a Sabbath Ambassador: Reviews are hugely important in helping people decide whether to buy a book, so consider writing one for Amazon, Chalice, and/or Goodreads. Will you commit to writing a review? E-mail me or comment below and I might even be able to get you an advance copy.
  5. Be a carnival barker: OK, sort of. I’ll be planning some kind of blog carnival around a theme relating to Sabbath, so if you have a blog and would like to participate, leave a comment here or get in touch with me via e-mail. Again, maryannmcdana (at) gmail (dot) com.
  6. Connect: Of course there’s Facebook and Twitter, but I’m also compiling an e-mail list. See below for more.
  7. Network: Do you know anyone in media that might be interested in highlighting the book and/or Sabbath? I’d be honored and humbled if you’d put me in touch. I’ve done a couple of interviews already and was pleased to see that I did not die as a result, so…

And finally, some free stuff:

  • The YCW Sampler: Chalice put together an e-publication with one chapter from each of the five Young Clergy Women books thus far. It’s a free download here and features the November chapter of my book.
  • E-mail list: As I mentioned above, if you’d like to be on my e-mail list—no more than 2-3 e-mails a month and unsubscribe whenever you want—let me know in comments or at maryannmcdana (at) gmail (dot) com. Yes, those e-mails will have news about the book and speaking gigs, but it will also include content you won’t get on the blog.

Thank you. We preachers are humbled and honored by the gift of people’s attention, and I feel the same way here at The Blue Room. I know for sure that there would be no book without my blog readers cheering me on.

On Aurora, Sabbath, and Technology

The terrible events in Aurora, Colorado have felt a little remote. The news broke while I was in the bubble of the PW Gathering, and it didn’t seem real. It still doesn’t.

I’m not sure what I might contribute to the discussion about the murders. (I agree with Adam Gopnik: calling it a “tragedy” dignifies the act.) Here are two links that spoke to me: An Open Letter to All Who Suffer, and The Grief We Carry in Our Bodies. (The photo is from Dark Elegy, which is featured in the latter post.)

But I have been thinking about how we receive and process news about tragedies like this. I keep remembering a passage from my book. The shooting at Gabby Giffords’ town hall event in Tucson happened on a sabbath day during our year-long sabbath experiment; I remember it vividly. Here’s what I wrote then. Here’s what I have to say today:

It’s early evening on a Sabbath when I learn about Tucson. A congresswoman and several people have been shot, some fatally. I get the news through Facebook, which I’ve logged into at an idle moment. Through the tributes, links, laments, and predictable anti- and progun sentiments that get voiced during events like this, I piece together what has happened. As I click from article to article, I feel strange that while I was in my own little world, terrible events were transpiring.

I think back to the 9/11 attacks, which happened while I was in seminary in Atlanta. We were told about the planes hitting the Twin Towers in the middle of Hebrew class. Afterward, someone had wheeled a television into the hallway, and many of us saw the towers fall. These days, during the course of my life, I’m rarely very far from e-mail, the radio, or an Internet newsfeed. So to have a tragedy like Tucson unfold over several hours while I was blithely knitting a Harry Potter scarf for Caroline is bizarre.

It’s bizarre but also liberating. I’m heartbroken for the victims and their families, but after a while, I decide to turn off the computer. All year, Sabbath has been reminding me that I am not indispensable. I can do nothing to change what has happened. I cannot alter the trajectory of this story as it moves forward either, and sitting at my computer, combing news sites for additional bits of information about the shooter, does nobody any good.

The world has gotten a lot smaller, thanks in part to the 24-7 news cycle. I am grateful for many aspects of our hyperconnected world. But I’m feeling a little frayed around the edges from all this togetherness. Within hours, we know all kinds of details about the gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, and the theories spread like wildfire as to his motives and alleged political leanings. Many of these theories will turn out to be false, but by then it will be too late. These snatches of information, fed to a hungry public, will only confirm what people are already inclined to believe. We hear what we want to hear. We become more entrenched, stony, and immobile in our views. We become more polarized.

Time will tell us what we need to know. I believe this. Sabbath is so much deeper than a weekly rest and renewal. Sabbath fosters perspective and clarity. Through Sabbath, perhaps, we can learn the difference between urgent and important. We can learn that reading or commenting on news articles is not the same thing as working for the healing of the world—it only gives us the illusion of doing something useful.

As I watch my laptop screen flash into darkness, I feel a sense of relief. Yes, the world falls apart, even on the Sabbath. Tomorrow I will do my small part to put it back together again, whatever that might be. But today, taking this time to cherish family, self, and God is the most faithful way I can think of to begin.


To pre-order Sabbath in the Suburbs, click here or here.

I’m at SortaCrunchy

Happy Monday!

We are all back to normal after Friday night’s storms–we lost power for about 24 hours. I feel for those who are still in the dark and in the heat. At the same time, I must admit that every time I unthinkingly flicked a dead light switch or tried to get water from the fridge dispenser it became an occasion for gratitude for the things I take for granted.

I decided to postpone the beginning of my sermon series, Parables and Pop Culture, until next weekend since attendance was so light… also because I plan to use some media, and the power outage threw a wrench into that. This Sunday’s sermon is on the lure of the comic book superhero and is called “I am Iron Man.”

Instead, we had a casual worship service with the 16 or so people who came, including half a dozen who were still without power. I read a portion of my book, a chunk from the last chapter about the nature of freedom. Since that’s a buzzword in our national conversation this time of year, I thought it appropriate to consider what Christian freedom is.

Speaking of book, I have a post about Sabbath at SortaCrunchy today, including a link to pre-order Sabbath in the Suburbs at a 30% discount! Check it out.

It was also a weekend to partake of creativity and beauty. Saturday night, Mamala had arranged for us to see a show at Wooly Mammoth, a play called Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play. A group of survivors of an unspecified apocalypse reconstruct the Cape Feare episode of the Simpsons as a way to distract themselves from the devastation. Over time, the episode evolves into a way for them to make sense of what has happened. It was funny and weirdly poignant.

My niece and nephew were also in town this weekend, and after a few hours at the pool this afternoon, we watched Hugo. I liked the book better, probably because that’s what I experienced first, and the moment of reveal is so satisfying. But it was a very good movie.

Current books include The Hummingbird’s Daughter, the author of which I heard at Festival of Faith and Writing and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, which I’m reading with my mentee. I’ve given up on Everything Is Illuminated. Ah well. (BTW, are we friends on GoodReads?)

What are you reading? What are you seeing? And don’t forget to check out SortaCrunchy. Have a wonderful week.

I Need a Quote! Contest and Giveaway

“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” 

I love a good quote, and this one from E.B. White is one of my favorites. It’s the first of twelve epigraphs in my book, Sabbath in the Suburbs.

The trouble is, there are thirteen chapters.

A big publishing house that will remain nameless didn’t bother to answer my request for permission to use a verse of this wonderful poem. So, I need a new quote and I need it by tomorrow.

No sense in drawing these things out, eh?

Obviously the quote should have something to do with Sabbath, or time, or living gently in the midst of our days. It can also come from the other direction and highlight the frantic busyness that grips many of us. It must not require me to seek permission, which means it can be from a book but it can’t be more than one line of poetry, hymn, song, or prayer, unless it is in the public domain (generally pre-1923).

Comment here or on my Facebook author page or e-mail me at maryannmcdana (at) gmail (dot) com with your suggestion by 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday June 26. If your quote is chosen I’ll send you a copy of the book when it comes out, plus an added surprise bonus.

Image: bonus photo of my Meglet, who improves the world simply by enjoying it.

Happy New Year!

We’re having a great week in Florida with my siblings and their families. We had the best (also longest) day at Magic Kingdom EVER, and have had lots of awesome hanging-out time.

As many of you know, my birthday is right after New Year’s, which means that this time of year is heavy on introspection and taking stock.

In the past I have made resolutions, set intentions, established goals, and more. Last year, for example, was a big bucket list year: I climbed the mountain, ran the race, finished the book (two actually) and lost almost 25 pounds (and counting).

I have a number of big projects in 2012, including getting the book released, leading a few conferences, pastoring Tiny Church into ever newer directions, and probably running another race or two. But those are scheduled and will happen without setting a particular intention in that direction.

Sometimes I think too much, plan too much, manage too much. So this year, my one and only intention is to cultivate joy in my life. That means cultivating laughter. Music. Beauty.

To keep that focus in the midst of all that other stuff is a worthy goal, no?

Oh, and this isn’t a bad intention either:

Happy New Year!

The Boots Are Still Intact

He's so ugly he's cute. May I never see his real-life brethren infesting the crowns of my children. Especially on deadline.

I will be offering burnt sacrifices to the writing gods in thanksgiving for the fact that my child did NOT get head lice from the three children she was with last week who have it.

To carry last week’s mountain-climbing metaphor forward, having a kid with lice the week before a 70,000 word project is due would be something like having one’s boots fall apart on the climb.

Which happened to me.