On Being Unconventional

For this post, I promised a witty piece composed by my nephew commenting on the humble nature of my dad (his grandfather) and contrasting those traits with the values championed by almost all of us. I now have permission to publish his talk (the good news,) but he wasn’t able to locate it in writing. Soon I will transcribe it from the audio recording and publish it as promised.
Instead, I want to tell you about my unconventional book launch/yard sale. It involves yet another scheme of mine. Fair warning, my schemes can be fairly convoluted, but I do them in spite of the risk.
For a long time I had planned to have a yard sale where everything was offered free. My last blog mentioned that I was determined to be more present in my neighborhood. I haven’t done much about my intentions, but I have thought about it for months. What better way than to share things that I no longer want or need. (I realize from the start that no one else may want them either. I’ve had a little experience with yard sales!)
It gets more complicated. I believe in helping those beyond our neighborhood as we all do, and I value education as well. So, I folded in an attempt to bring awareness of the needs of a Caribbean country my son visits each spring as part of a missions trip. The fairly large group of women and men with whom he travels help with building projects and, upon their return home, leave almost every provision taken with them except the clothes on their backs. There was a picture display and a voluntary donation container. (The country must remain unnamed when information is in published form.)
That wasn’t enough. I had more to my scheme. My book, Season’s Stranger, arrived in physical form 10 days earlier. So, I folded in a book launch as well.
And, my son and daughter-in-law had many items from loved ones who had passed, so they had goods for which they planned to charge a reasonable sum.
I can’t evaluate whether it was a good plan. I can say it was viable but not sensible—at least given my many limitations!
I love the outcome, though. Specifically, the donations netted the best result! People walking by who had no use for the book or the available items dropped by to chat about the mission pictures and to make a donation. One group walked home because they had no money and returned with a donation. Some paid extra for the book and asked me to put some in the donation box. Several enjoyed the book launch refreshments (free to all) and then made donations based on the availability of the refreshments.
I studied human behavior much of my adult life, but I’m still a novice at predicting outcomes. As I said, I do love the response.
Probably it is clear that too many goals are competing for my attention. I do need to develop marketing plans for book sales. But what I want to be prevalent in my thoughts, goals and actions is a focus on what is my first love as referenced in my first blog and what originally was going to be the name of the blogsite (see the URL).
Recently a young man spoke at the church I attend. He had just graduated from college and was embarking on an overseas assignment in Germany working with Syrian refugees. The text he used for his talk that day was: “When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow . . . When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow.” Excerpted from Deuteronomy 24: 19-21 (NIV)
I haven’t raised crops recently, but I know the message should be extrapolated to whatever is my lifestyle. As I look for ways to honor these words, I find I need help. My silly “free” yard sale was an attempt. This theme will be visited often in this blog as I try to work this out in my life. This particular entry is too long, but for now, I’ll close with this thought.
This passage is personal and intended for each individual. It wasn’t presented as a casual suggestion.

Moa construction

Building demolished after hurricane Raymond. Only the door remains!

[Scripture quotations taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNTIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973,1978,1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires permission of the International Bible Society.]