my kind of crazy!

Holy cow. So, my friend Leigh posted a link on her Facebook wall Friday about this free Kindle book. I LOVE FREE KINDLE BOOKS.

And do you know what I love even more? Free kindle books that are also family travel memoirs about crazy people who take their children across the country in a big, blue bus for who-knows-what outrageous reason.

In my head, this new free e-book just took a flying leap over the 413 waiting-to-be-read library books piled all over the bookshelf by my desk. I had some other important stuff to do Friday, but when nighttime rolled around, I was all over it.

How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp: And Other Tales From Our 10,000-Mile Adventure

RunawayI loved it from the very first page (screen).

And it’s a good thing it was on my Kindle (where I refuse to try to figure out the note-taking, highlighting features) or I would’ve been scribbling and scrawling and asterisking all over the thing (which can sometimes be annoying when I would like to read interrupted).

I laughed and nodded and smiled and nodded and thought, “Oh my word, ME TOO!” And nodded and nodded, so much nodding.

SO MUCH of it reminded me of our Zoo Trip. Taking our family on an adventure that really didn’t make much sense AT ALL. Staying with strangers, trying to explain ourselves, having no idea on earth where our next five dollars were going to come from.

These were my people, these Shawn and Maile Smucker characters.

And this is going to be so much TMI (and yes, I realize that’s as redundant as an ATM machine), but before I started the book, I was suffering from some pretty intense stomach cramps. And they were getting worse as I read and moving up my body which can only mean one thing: that my greatest fear was most probably about to be realized.


The pain got worse. I knew I couldn’t go to sleep, so I just kept reading. Midnight, 12:30, 1:00. And I prayed as I read, “Please, God, let it come out the other end. Please, God. Pleeeeeeeeease, God! I don’t want to throw up!!!!!”

And then I felt it. The urge to go sit on the toilet, not hug it, and I ran to the bathroom, Kindle in hand.

And just after 1:00 a.m., as God lavished his mercy on me in the form of the opposite-of-throwing up, I read these words on my Kindle screen, “I sat on the bathroom floor. It was 1am, and the worst stomach pains I had ever felt came and went like contractions… I stared at the toilet, held my stomach, and moaned.”

I KNOW. Isn’t that NUTS?!?

I don’t want to give the whole book away, so I won’t tell you everything that happens. The bottom line: Shawn and Maile and their 4 small children (right around the same ages our kids were when we did our Zoo Thing) head out for a 10,000-mile adventure in a borrowed blue bus. And they learn stuff. And they live stuff. And they love and change and grow.

It’s beautiful.

And also a little bit messy. And frightening. Like all good stories are.

And the minute I finished, I ran to my computer and wrote Maile this gushing, rambling Facebook message about how much I loved her. And if I scared her, she didn’t let on, because she wrote me the sweetest message back. And now we’re the best of internet friends.

And I would totally write out some sweet quotes from the book that just moved and inspired me, but I want to get this post out before it’s too late for you to get the book free.

Two things I need you to do. GO GET THIS FREE BOOK. And HURRY! (It’s only free until midnight tonight!)

Then I need you to tell me something:

In one sentence, tell me about a CRAZY ADVENTURE you’d love to go on someday. 

(you don’t have to do this, of course, but I would LOVE to hear what gets your motor running)

And if you’d like another FREE e-book–Once Upon the Internet, the tale of our family’s crazy journey around the country–shoot me an e-mail, and it’s yours.

Happy Free Day to You!!

26 thoughts on “my kind of crazy!

  1. Pingback: your writer-friends really do need you | Marla Taviano

  2. Laura

    I hope you’re feeling better today! (I am DEATHLY afraid of vomit too – my mom told me it would get better once I became a mother. Yeah, so didn’t happen!)

  3. Sharon

    I got a good laugh about your not wanting to learn how to use the highlight etc features on the Kindle. My husband kept trying to show me how to use our new Tablet, but for some reason I fought it. Now? I love that thing! And he taught me how to use the highlight feature and showed me how to get a list of pages that I’d highlighted things on (though I honestly can’t remember how to do that part now, but would be happy to learn again and share w/you). So bummed that I didn’t get the free book in time. Sounds like a great read.

    Hmm, a crazy adventure I’d like to go on? Instead of writing it, I’ll show you: (it doesn’t really start until about a minute in). I’d also like to try sky diving and zip lining. Though I’m honestly afraid I’d die of fright during either activity. I’ve also always wanted to write a book ever since I can remember, but it turns out that I am not disciplined enough to do so!

  4. valerie

    Boo. I get your blog by email – a day AFTER you post – so totally missed the free-ness of the book. 🙁 Will have to catch it at the library, too!

    Oh, and my crazy dream-adventure? Taking my whole crazy family to visit the people I’ve come to love in Uganda! We’re working on it now, actually….saving and saving and praying like mad! 😉

  5. Danielle

    When I was in middle school my family went on a road trip that covered more than 30 states in a month. My dad planned our route based on where National Parks were and we stopped to get our Parks Passport stamped as often as possible. My brother and I both received our own passports for a Christmas presents on our first year of marriage. JJ and I have done on trip north and hit Mount Rushmore and Devil’s Tower, now we’re dreaming of heading west and seeing the Grand Canyon together. For now I settle for day trips with my dad to see the Parks in New Mexico.

  6. Addie

    I really want to sell almost everything we have, pick up our family and move to China to take care of orphans – maybe go help Bill and Lindsey at Morning Star…. talk about crazy! But yeah….. God hasnt made that happen though… yet!

    1. Marla Taviano

      In my experience, God doesn’t “make” things happen. He plants dreams in our heart, and we take a big ol’ leap of faith. And then another one. And another one. And a whole bunch more.

      1. Addie

        Well, when I meant that He hasnt made that happen, it means that He has us doing stuff here for right now, and is saying “wait” very clearly… so maybe He is letting me dream for now to prepare me for the future… 🙂

  7. Krysten T

    I would like to explore the western part of the country in an RV with my extended family (17 people).

      1. Krysten T

        I should have clarified one trip but multiple RVs. Even so it might make a good story considering the characters involved.

  8. Shannon

    Free ebooks got me SO addicted to my Kindle. I started out tolerating it but now looooove it! Can’t wait to read this one.

    My crazy adventure would be for Selden and I to take my 3 kiddos to Ukraine with us and to be able to go back with the kids from the orphanage we visited in 2011 who are here now as refugees, living 3 houses away from me in our teeny Maine town. Knowing them has given my kids a different heart for the orphan and the fatherless – they know names and faces of a whole orphanage of kids now, and they are bff’s with several now in real-life. I’m humbled – like fall-on-my-face humbled – to think of what God’s let us witness Him doing. I’d love to take my kids to Kiev, and although I think they may drive me out of my full mind during an overseas flight… I’d love them to meet our Sasha, the boy we hoped to adopt, whose best friend is the refugee boy who is now like our second son.

    I don’t understand how God works…. I don’t. I think often of Sasha and wonder what God’s plans are – why He didn’t let him be adopted but let him watch his friend move away to live down the street from the family who wanted to adopt HIM. I know God’s plans are good and He’s faithful. I would love my kids to see Sasha and to know this young man who was the start of so much cool stuff Jesus is doing. That would be my dream-adventure.

    1. Marla Taviano

      GIRL. I’m head-over-heels in love with your dream adventure!!! And I see NO reason why it shouldn’t happen. Start dreaming, praying, planning!! And your kids will be fine on the flight. It’s closer than Cambodia. 🙂 xoxoxoxoxo

  9. Elizabeth

    I want to read it! But I don’t have a kindle, so I’ll wait for it from the library. I have to have an actual book-electonic ones scare me:)

    An adventure I’d love to take? I want to come to Ohio.

  10. Kaye

    Great review!
    Our crazy adventure is that one year ago this week we moved out of our house of 40 years to hit the road. We don’t know where all we’ll head, but we just want to explore for a while.

    The timing of Shawn & Maile’s adventure was crazy for me, too. When they were on their trip was when we were moving out of our house and into a teeny, tiny dry cabin. (Translated: no plumbing – so we had to step outside to our camper for a shower.) Then the book came out & arrived in time to throw it in my suitcase to read while we lived on the beach in a little fishing village in the Caribbean.

    Our next major destination is Alaska…
    I didn’t know I could enjoy adventure this much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *