“Are you available for another writing project?” asked David Runk, president and publisher of CSS Publishing.
I’ve worked with David and his company on three previous collections of lectionary-based sermons: On the Way With Jesus, Ordinary Time With Jesus, and Led by the Spirit. I like his company’s focus on practical, field-tested sermons with pastors writing for pastors. I appreciate the freedom to write on the designated lectionary texts with minimal guidelines and a light touch in editing.
But when I received David’s email in January, I wasn’t sure how to respond. I already felt busy enough with other speaking and writing commitments. I already had a list of writing projects of my own that I kept postponing. And while my husband seemed to be doing well with his chemo, his care and schedule of medical appointments took a lot out of both of us.
Still I was tempted. Still I thought I should at least pray about this opportunity. Could this be a nudging of the Spirit to take on another new book?
When I shared this with my husband, he immediately said, “You should do it.”
Neither of us knew that just a few weeks later, his health would take a sudden turn for the worse and he would swiftly pass from this life to the next. By that time I had already signed the contract with CSS Publishing. By that time I already had a book deadline for October 1.
But I couldn’t work on it.
Instead, I set the book and everything else aside to grieve the death of my husband. I let myself go numb. I leaned on my family and friends, my church and my God. And I wondered too, whether subconsciously, my husband knew that he would be safely home with God instead of here with me. Perhaps that’s why he was so certain that I should say yes to another book—so it could help to ground me and move me forward even in the midst of grief.
Most days I still don’t feel ready to work on that book. But then I suppose no writer is ever really ready. So just as I’ve turned to readers before to help me choose a book title, I would love your help this time too.
I’ve already brainstormed pages of possible titles based on the designated lectionary texts, and I know the title could change several times before now and publication, but here are my top choices so far:
- Every Day a Miracle
- Ordinary Miracles for Every Day
- When Miracles Happen
- Living the Impossible Dream
- This Ordinary, Extraordinary Life
If this were the title of a sermon series, which one would engage you the most? I invite your feedback, and welcome any other suggestions in the comments below. Thank you!
Writing/Reflection Prompt: Which of the above titles engage you the most and why?
For more on writing and other acts of faith,