Excerpt from Chapter 3: MARRY A MENNONITE BOY AND MAKE PIE, 3 Weeks to Release Date!

This is a partial excerpt, set in Costa Rica, from the title segment of Chapter 3, called “Chino’s Moon”…

If I were the child of my host parents, the man called Chino would be my uncle. All day he sits outside his little store where the men and children congregate, selling soda pop, single cigarettes and mint candies. He laboriously reads the sports and human interest stories in the newspaper he pays for every day from his till. At night he sleeps on a fold-up cot in the back of the store to discourage thieves and ambitious coons from helping themselves to his wares.

He has an impish grin on his face when he says to me, “Quiero hacerle una pregunta.”

“Okay,” I agree.

“¿Usted cree que un hombre fue a la luna?”

“¿Cómo?”

He repeats the question, asking if I believe that a real man went to the moon, and then adds, “Un americano.”

“Sí,” I say, perplexed, thinking, doesn’t everybody know that?

Then Chino does something I have not imagined. He throws back his head and laughs a deep belly laugh, not of mockery, but of genuine mirth, as if I have performed an amusing and clever trick. It’s one of those contagious laughs that makes you giggle even when you don’t know what’s funny.

“¿Usted no lo cree?” I ask. I have never heard of anyone who flatly disbelieves what we all know to be true.

“No, no, no,” Chino shakes his head. “Yo, no.”

“¿No?” I ask, a burst of laughter escaping me, too.

“¿Cómo puede ir un hombre a la luna?” he asks, looking at me as if I have told him I am certain elephants can fly.

But didn’t you see the pictures? I start to say. Then I stop. But they showed it on TV, flashes through my mind. Sweet Lord. Listen to me. These are the stupidest reasons on earth to believe anything…

A live link on Amazon.com on September 17 will bring this book to you.  For residents of Tamarindo, Costa Rica, a book signing (date to be announced when books arrive) will be held shortly after at Bookstore of the Waves.

 

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4 weeks to Release Date

I’ve got it!  The first ever hard copy of MARRY A MENNONITE BOY AND MAKE PIE arrived in my hands this week for a final proofread.

This is what it looks like, and yes that is my Happy Face.

Marry a Mennonite Boy and Make Pie

It’s about to get real, peeps.  All the cards are going on the table.  I’m all in.

 

 

What the Improv Instructor Said

Rewind about 28 years It’s my first year of college.
Where are we?  We’re in Fort Wayne, Indiana at a small college theatre convention.
What am I doing?  I’m sitting in an auditorium with the other Goshen College theatre students, and we are listening to a woman discuss Improvisation.

Improv always terrified me and I was never any good at it, but this woman is about to say something that I will never forget. It’s not particularly deep, and it didn’t make me any better at improv, but I will not ever forget it—ever.

It’s a statement about God, and it came to me at the dawn of my awareness that you can talk about God without necessarily making religious statements. Not God as in Yahweh or some such grouchy guy with a thing for blood, but God as in Everything. That in itself was memorable for Little Diana and maybe what the improv instructor said stayed with me simply because of what it revealed to me about ways to think about God. I don’t know. It was a long time ago.

Context:  You’re standing on stage doing improv. You don’t know what is going to happen next and you’re going to have to come up with something to make it work. (O yes. Life lesson in the making is written all over this one!)

The woman’s words were simply this: “God will visit you.”

When you don’t know what to say? God will visit you.
When you don’t know what to do? God will visit you.
When everything is wrong but you still need to do something right?  God will visit you.
When you’ve made a mess of it and now you have to find your way out? God will visit you.
Open your heart. Begin to speak. God will visit you.

Somehow or other that sunk straight into the core of that 19 year old girl who had heard SO MUCH about God all her life. Heard so much about saying and doing the right thing so that God would be pleased—not that we should leap and that while in the air God would visit us.

I have come back to that seat in that auditorium to listen to that woman’s comforting words over and over and over in my life. I am there now.

What’s going to become of me in my life? God will visit you.
Am I doing this right? God will visit you.
How will I know if I am supposed to do something different? God will visit you.
Help. God will visit you.
What should I say? God will visit you.
What should I do? God will visit you.
What if I can’t stand it anymore? God will visit you.
What if I make an ass of myself? God will visit you.
How will I live my life? God will visit you.
What if I want to be left alone? God will visit you.
What if I don’t want to be left alone? God will visit you.

But you won’t know what will happen until it happens.
You won’t know what to do until you do it.
You won’t know what to say until you hear yourself say it.
That’s improv.
That’s life.
God can only visit you when you have leapt off the edge and are in the air, when you have opened your mouth to speak.

It’s terrifying. I hate improve. I hate life.
I don’t hate life, but life is cruel. Fear is cruel. Fear of the unknown is paralyzing.
Do not be paralyzed. God will visit you.

God has visited me. Often. Look where I am. Could I be anything other than living proof that God will visit you? I promise myself God will visit me, still.  My God, I hope I am right.

I would like God to visit me before I get on stage, before I have to stand there, take a deep breath, and open my mouth.  I would like a script–to know what will happen and what my lines will be. But that isn’t improv and that isn’t life.  Or, it isn’t my life.  It isn’t anyone’s life.

Take heart.
I say this to me.
I say this to you.
The story is written as it unfolds.
Take a breath and the words will come.

God will visit you.