Classic Christianity,

I’d like you to meet my good friend, Patti Ediger who, with her sister embarked on an amazing adventure:

 Hi everyone! I'm Patti, the very slightly older sister (only 17 years). I'm a little nervous since this is my first blog encounter. My little sis, Cara, is the techie and lives in the world of cyberspace so she will feel very comfortable in this wonderful invisible universe, while I, on the other hand, would love to meet you face to face, give you a big hug, and chatter the day away about books.( Sorry, all you technophiles.)

 I started my love affair with writing in second grade with an assignment to write a story. It was typed by the teacher and placed into a red construction-paper cover along with all my other classmates' stories. Seeing my imaginings printed on paper for others to share opened doors in my mind and heart that were never again to close.  Since then I've worked as an R.N., gone on more than twenty medical missions, married, raised a son and daughter, gained three grand-daughters, and worked continually in my church. But writing has always had a favorite place in my life.

For the last ten years or so I've written three articles a month for the Global Prayer Digest which is translated into 29 languages. I attended Marilyn's writing class for many years where she taught me about writing and I completed a medical mystery Marilyn is still trying to goad me into publishing. (I tried, the publishers said it was "too exciting.")

Now that I've retired it's such a tremendous treat to have the time to lavish hours and days on some favorite things including hosting a weekly Bible study, organizing and planning anything and everything, (don't you just love to make lists?) and writing the first of what we hope will be an unending series of inspirational books to the glory of God.

Cara is an absolute hurricane of productive activity. The girl never stops! - She works three jobs: Creative writing teacher, tutor, and Facilities Director for her church. She has homeschooled two children who have gone on to university with an outstanding education and is in the process of homeschooling her third. She keeps her very busy husband organized and gives her time and love generously to family, friends, and
any total stranger who stumbles across her path. But most of all, she is a fantastic sister. I laugh with her more than anyone I know, and here's an amazing thing: I can dream up an idea and by the time I finish telling her it has run out of her fingers and into the computer and can be seen in a visible, tangible, and beautiful way.

 What gave us the idea for a book of devotions?

We were helping our elderly Mom move and ran across a big box of our grandfather's writings in the rafters of her garage. They were bundled so tightly together in packets and tied with string that it preserved them perfectly for about 50 years. He had written down his sermons from 1915 to about 1960, and had kept this selection of hundreds of his favorite messages.

When we sat down to read them we were pretty shocked. They were not only eloquently written, but spiritually deep. They were much too precious to be discarded. I remembered our Dad saying "someone should do something with Pop's old sermons." But when we actually read them we saw why Dad thought so.  We decided to trim the twenty-some page sermons into two-page devotionals. We called it "picking pearls."

When did you start working on them?

We actually started about 10 years ago. We had some intermissions while we figured out our next steps. This was new territory for us. The editing, revising, and writing was an enormous task, but the "besides that" things were the most difficult because we had to learn things like forms, fonts, cover letters, queries, and put everything Marilyn taught us in to actual action.

How hard was it to work together? How did you do it?

I hope my sister isn't rolling her eyes, but I found it so easy to work with Cara. For one thing the vision for the work was the same. We both had a clear view of what it should be like when it was finished. Also, and actually this was primary, we're both felt that the project was the Lord's and we were simply privileged to be a part of it. We prayed, He directed, we followed.

There was also a lot of mutual submission. We checked each other's portion of the writing and if we felt strongly about something we'd say it and each talk about it until we came to an agreement. I felt that we were both happy and excited about the progress we were making at every turn.

What was your journey to find a publisher?

Well, that was an experience all right. We were told explicitly to only send out proposals to one publisher at a time. If we had done that it would have taken100 years instead of 10. We ended up making a list of about 100 prospects. Needless to say, the postage would have killed us off if we had tried to mail our beautiful presentation packet to all of them. After much thought, we ended up making CD's of our proposal and book (not right for everyone, we just did a poor-man's copyright first,) then we designed CD labels with the editor's name on it, beautiful case covers and sent them out in batches.

We received 100 of the most beautiful, enthusiastic, encouraging rejection letters you've ever seen.  They told us they loved the work but unless we were already published, famous, or had a speaking ministry they couldn't take the risk of trying to publish us. During this time we also sent out letters to everyone we could think of
who was published, famous or had a well-known ministry. We included a CD of the work, and asked for recommendations for the book.

We hit the jackpot with that one as we obtained terrific recommendations which we eventually placed on the book cover for all to see. We finally accepted that if these wonderful words of our grandfather were ever to see the inside of a printing press we would have to publish it ourselves. After a lot of searching we discovered Crossbooks,
a division of Lifeway. We liked them because they worked in partnership with us. We paid a nominal fee, but that allowed us to retain the copyright. They did a great job of working with us on the production of the books. We ended up with the book in two volumes instead of four seasonal books, but their experience helped us out a great deal. We also liked the idea that they require a theological review before the work is accepted to maintain their high standards.

What are your hopes for these devotionals?

Our grandfather's life's mission was to see souls saved, lives mended, and Christians find their purpose in God. That is the purpose for these books. We've already heard wonderful stories of how these writings have blessed the readers. That's what makes everything so worthwhile. My dream is for these volumes to be timeless companions to the Bible alongside  My Utmost For His Highest, and Streams in the Desert, cherished for generations.

What are your plans for promotion?

We would love to give presentations in churches about our grandfather's life, ministry and writings. We plan to do as many book signings as we can line up and have
newspaper articles, radio interviews, posters, church bulletin inserts, in the area of the signings. We've already done this with good success in church, bookstore, and boutique settings. Cara's made a book trailer and is building our website which when it is completed will be (Jesus hung around with fishermen, thus "net") She will be doing a blog there too!

What are some memories of your grandfather?

I remember sitting in his office watching him write his sermons with a fountain pen in his three-ringed black notebook with his bible at his side, probably some of the
same sermons we wrote about in the book. I remember him preaching with authority, and singing in a booming voice. I lived in the parsonage so I saw him pray with my grandmother over people's illnesses and problems. I saw him minister to men riding the trains looking for work in the depression, giving spiritual help and lots of good food.
He didn't care much for financial things. When a realtor came to the door asking if he wanted to buy his last two lots in Las Posas Estates for $200 he replied "what do I
want a lot on that old windy hill for?" The lots are now some of the most expensive property in Southern California.

But, most of all, when I think of Papa, I remember the day he called me in from playing outside when I was eight years old. He had me sit on his knee and he asked me if I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart. I said that I did and he helped me pray and ask Jesus to be the Lord of my life. It was the start of the greatest imaginable adventure of joy, fulfillment, testing, and victory. I still have the office chair he sat in that day. It's a wonderful reminder of all he meant to my life.

Patti and her husband, Eldon

And now, Cara Shelton:
 When I was a little girl, I shocked my mother by telling her I wanted to be a Baptist nun. That probably confused her, but to me it meant that I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to serving God, but thought I would prefer to remain protestant! That is still the goal- serving God. My name is Cara. My husband, Steve, and I have been married 32 years and are the parents of three. My family is my joy, and they are my best friends. In college, I changed my major annually because I just loved to study everything, and so now I teach classes for homeschooled students in Composition, Journalism, Literature, and anything else I find intriguing at the moment, and work as the facilities director at my local church, Camarillo Evangelical Free, to keep my hands busy!
 What gave you the idea for these books of devotions?
            I honestly think it took two years from the moment we found the original manuscripts to the time we knew what we were going to do with them! As we read through the study notes, the sermons, the outlines, that Papa had written, we knew they were blessed. We knew the Holy Spirit was speaking to us through the Scripture expounded on their pages, so how could we let that go to waste, how could we just lose that for time and eternity? We honestly prayed about how these writings could be used by God to further His kingdom. Two years down the road, we knew we had to write these books!
 When did your first start working on them?
            It was the winter of 2002-3, and we nearly froze in that old aluminum patio room I had on the back of the house! In the first years, Patti traveled down to me much more than I visited her, because our mom was living with me, and she loved to read over what we were doing as we wrote. Our mom was our biggest cheerleader! Every time we would get together to work on the devotions, mom would say, “Oh! I am just so glad you girls are doing this! Finally!”
 How hard was it to work together? How did you do it?
            Oh, it was easy to work together. It was hard to get together to work, however! Both of us have always been busy in our churches and families, and Cara has two part time jobs – so just the time element was a struggle. We are so different in some ways, I suppose it might have been easy to see that as a negative, but truly it was God providing a great team. Patti loves beauty and grace in the words and a simple elegance of presentation. Everything beautiful about the books is her doing! I am very practical, and I love the great ideas of theology, the history and wisdom from those who have gone before and see the truth in such a different way than we do today. The depth of concepts and ideas, and the literary impact of words – that’s what I love.
            We just split up the days and the notes, and each basically edited 10-15 days down into devotions, and then we would get together, exchange work, and critique each other’s presentations. I took out extra-flowery passages in her work, she sanded off the rough edges in mine!
 What was your journey to find a publisher?
            Oh, the journey to our publisher felt like an infinite stretch of lonely desert highway! We got dozens of the most sensitive, beautiful, appreciative rejection letters than you can imagine! Publishers from all across the country praised the content and presentation of this book, but they were united in refusing to publish a devotional unless the author had an active speaking ministry. Publishers insisted that the Christian public only wants to read the writings of active preachers or speakers. There were long periods of inactivity, but we always came back to the fact that God had laid it on our hearts to see this published for the furtherance of His kingdom.  We just could not stop, could not give up, until it was accomplished! To tell you the truth, it had taken so long, and we had so many false starts, that I didn’t really believe it until I saw it “live” on!
 What are you hopes for these books of devotionals?
            Our prayer has always been that of giving over – we totally dedicate these books to God’s use. I guess my dearest hope is that they will be a vessel through which God speaks to many, to challenge, bless, teach, and deliver them. I am so humbled to be a part of this, thrilled to hear those who have already told us how God is using the devotions in their lives to draw them nearer to Jesus – that is really what it has always been about! 
What are your plans for promotion?
            We are just beginning to speak at churches as we are asked – you know this is really a story of God’s leading in our lives, and His preparation before us. We love to tell folks how it came about, and what we hope to see as a result – souls saved, lives mended, and people finding their place in God’s plan! We plan to continue to follow God’s leading in getting this book into the hands of people all over the world, whatever that means and wherever it takes us.
 And tell me, what are some of your memories of your grandfather?
            Oh – Papa! How can I explain who he was in a few memories? He was not a tall man, only about 5’8”, but somehow he filled up a room with his booming baritone voice and his big personality. He was so honestly sold out for the Lord, so truly His man through and through – friendly and winsome for the gospel. There was a sense of urgency about him, urgency to help people in the name of Jesus. I have never known anyone so able to make friends with everyone, to live his walk boldly yet humbly. I remember sitting on the organ bench next to Nana on Sunday afternoons with Papa behind me, all of us singing through the hymnal. I remember how he loved to go shopping with Nana. She went in to the stores, he went to talk with people, listen to them, and be with the crowd, – and he loved the crowds! He could talk with anyone, and in just the space of a few minutes he won their confidence. As I very little girl, I remember hearing people tell him their worries, their problems…while sitting on the edge of a fountain, or on a bench outside the store. The contrast of him in his customary three-piece suit with his arm around the husband of a young hippie couple, barefoot and desperate, is forever etched in my mind. 

Cara Shelton and family

About Classic Christianity:
With gentle humor, the Reverend Meade broaches topics throughout Scripture with an evangelist's heart, a scholar's insight,
and a grandfather's tender touch. His heart ached to see souls saved and lives mended. But, even further, his passion was to
see Christians fulfilling their place in God's plan.

Lawrence A. Meade was our "Papa."  His life spanned the changes of both world wars and Vietnam, yet he shook the hands of
Civil War veterans. In the days when the Rev. Meade preached, people were worried about impending war, financial problems,
cultural changes, and the uncertain future. The same things concern people today. Yet because he stood fast on the timeless
truths of Scripture, his words are as much for today as they were for yesterday, and they will be as much for tomorrow as they
are for today.

Gleaned from a lifetime of Christian service, these daily devotions will challenge and encourage, uplift and promote real spiritual
growth. Each day's devotion is conveniently laid out in a two page format with a key verse, an expanded suggested reading, a meditation,
and a prayer. The meditations provide profound insight deep enough for long-time Christians, plain enough for new believers and
challenging for everyone.

Classic Christianity is suitable not only for personal or family devotions, but also for teachers, bible study leaders, and pastors.
An exceptional resource, Classic Christianity, A Year of Timeless Devotions Vol. I and II  provides a foundation for spiritual growth
for all who are searching to walk closely with the Lord.

Links to the book:  

Volume I

Volume II

To contact for interviews, speaking engagements or book signings:
  559 359-0221


Patti said…
Thank you Marilyn, for the delightful interview. It's amazing to see so many like-minded book lovers. I'd love to answer questions or see what others have to say.
Cara Shelton said…
Marilyn, thank you so much for our very first interview! I was pleased to read that my sister enjoyed working with me as much as I enjoyed working with her. :) I agree with Patti - we would really love to answer any questions that anyone might have!
Gloria Getman said…
Congratulations, Patti & Cara. I'm so happy to hear your success story. Your faith and determination has paid off.
Kushuka Lee said…
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adult chat said…
great) liked everything very much) keep it up and dont stop)
Excellent article, I will recommend my friends to read it.

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