The Whiny Voices of Anti-Adventure

Today I’m guest posting over at Ed Cyzewski’s blog about “Five Things That 10,000 Miles Taught Me About Being a Father”:

I’ve been trying and failing and trying again at this “Dad” thing for the last ten years, through four children, two continents, seven houses, and a big blue bus. I’ve changed thousands of diapers, denied or fulfilled thousands of late-night water requests, and fell asleep countless times while reading bedtime stories.

Yet none of those things properly prepared me for being a parent during our recent 10,000-mile trip. Here are five things I learned about parenting while we were on the road:

1. Be willing to stop. At more than a few points on our trip, we changed the entire itinerary just so that we could push pause and add some margin to what occasionally became a rather hectic schedule. Many times this was because we could tell our kids needed some quality time with us. Is your life overheating? Pull over and set up camp some place peaceful.

You can read the rest of the story HERE.

What Kind of a God

An excerpt from How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp (this section was written by Maile):

So tonight, we begin the final leg of our journey.  Two nights ago, Shawn and I sat across from each other (he on the couch, me in the booth) and decided that his grandma’s failing health was the call beckoning us back a week earlier than we had intended. 

It seems like such a small alteration to the plans: one week. But as I took a walk at our campground in rural Indiana after our decision, I felt so strange.  By the end of the existing week, our trip would be over.  My heart was fragmented with feeling:

Excitement (anticipating the tight hugs and grinning faces of so many folks that we love and miss.)

Regret (were there things left undone on this trip, moments I missed or didn’t hold quite long enough?)

Sadness (when anything great ends, sadness is always an appropriate response.)

Celebration (when anything great ends, celebration is always an appropriate response.)

Fear (that our great adventure has come to an end; that a humdrum existence is all we can expect from here on out.)

I shared that last feeling with a friend over email yesterday.  But as I wrote it, my fear dissipated; fear has gotten more feeble on this journey. So I wrote this to my friend: “But I also know that God is far more wild than that.”

In the past 4 months, I’ve seen more beauty than in my entire life up to this point. It was holy yet tangled, majestic yet terrifying, serene yet treacherous. And I found myself often asking this question: “What kind of a God makes a creation like this?” 

A wild one.

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Thanks to the following bloggers for reviewing or announcing our book (check these folks out if you get a chance):

Scott Bennett
Pilar Arsenec
Kelly Chripczuk
The Messy Middle

In an Airport, Seeking Clarity

I’m eating a breakfast sandwich in a chain restaurant watching airplanes take off into a stretched, blue sky. I’m flying to Springfield, Missouri to meet with a few people and talk about some potential book projects. I don’t know if anything will come of it, but it’s another day I get to write for a living, another day I get to talk to people about stories, so it’s a good day.

Maile and Lucy returned last night from New York City where they spent the weekend walking around the city, shopping, and eating good food. I was sad to leave them so soon after they got home, but such is life. And it’s just for a few days.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of my writing. I feel a change of direction coming. A focusing. And perhaps a letting go of some things about writing that I really enjoy so that I can go even further in the areas that I love. I’m not sure. I’m waiting for clarity.

I think this trip to Springfield has come at a good time for me. A few quiet flights to think about where I’m at and where I’d like to be. A few quiet days with my uncle and aunt. Silence and solitude and space so often lead me to clarity.

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Release week for How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp continues. Here are some of the places you can find out more about the book today:

Amy Weldon (excerpt and review)
Beautiful Collision (excerpt and review)
Deucology (review)
Naal (with links to a video interview with me about the book, plus a chance to win a free copy)

(If you’ve posted a review of my book and I haven’t listed you yet, let me know.)

You can buy our newest book HERE.

Win a Free Copy of “How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp”

Today marks the release of the book that Maile and I put together, How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp. We’ve got a lot of great reviews and endorsements so far, and this is one of my favorites:

“Like all epic road trips, Shawn & Maile’s story covers as much interior mileage, from one state of mind to another, as their big, blue bus does the physical miles across the United States. This book is many things: a travelogue, a parenting manual, a spiritual narrative. But most of all, it’s an engrossing tale told by two wise and thoughtful writers. Don’t read it if you’re not prepared for the oncoming wanderlust.” – Jason Boyett, author of O Me of Little Faith and Pocket Guide to the Afterlife.

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To celebrate the book’s release, I’m giving away three paperback copies today. I’ll have a drawing for the winners tonight and announce them here at 7pm. You can get up to three entries in the contest – here’s how:

1 – Share the following on your Facebook page (including the link): Check out Shawn and Maile’s new book, “How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp”!

2 – Tweet this: Check out @shawnsmucker’s new book, “How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp”! #RunawayTruckRamp

3 – Leave a comment here telling me a place you’d love to visit in the US, somewhere you’ve never been before (and in your comment let me know if you’ve shared on Facebook or Twitter so I can mark you down for the correct number of entries)

You can also order the paperback through Amazon or here at my website (where there’s a special price if you order two copies). A Kindle version is in the works and should be ready by the end of the week.

Help spread the word and check back tonight to see if you’ve won!

***UPDATE*** The winners have been chosen. Find out if you won HERE.