Announcing the When We Were On Fire Synchroblog

NOTE: This synchroblog is now live. Check it out here!

Today is October 1st, which means that my extremely-vulnerable memoir (choked full of spiritual angst, personal details and four-letter words) comes out in exactly TWO WEEKS.

I have been preparing for the release in the following ways:

  • Junk food. Cookies for breakfast! Pasta for dinner! Eight thousand cans of Diet Coke a day!! I bought a bag of dark-chocolate Milky Way Minis last week and ate them all, I’m sorry to say, in three days. I’m not even going to tell you how many times we’ve been to McDonalds in the last couple of weeks, and I just polished off my second bag of cheese puffs this month.
  • Watching Nikita on Netflix…because there’s really nothing better for a mental breakdown than a really bad CWTV show. Particularly if said show has super-spies, cringe-worthy plot-twists, and a couple of drama-filled love triangles.
  • Naps.
  • A couple desperate, last minute web searches to find a new, local therapist. (Mine moved way to the other side of the city. Sarah, if you’re reading this PLEASE MOVE TO ANDOVER IMMEDIATELY!)
  • Spontaneous and completely unnecessary Target purchases. (Clearly I need to re-read Abby Norman’s One Small Change post on Putting Things Back. Sigh.)

I’m writing guest posts and articles and – here’s a new one – video scripts. (My kind, wise editor told me that I need to put my face on YouTube soon, and though I know he’s probably right, it didn’t stop me from going into a full ten-minute panic coma about it during the sermon this past Sunday.)

I have seventeen lists on my kitchen table, and I’m not really sure which one of them is the official “To Do” list.

My book is coming out. In TWO WEEKS. I think I’m getting an ulcer. This is, apparently, what Living The Dream looks like.


When I started thinking about what it might look like to “Promote My Book,” I knew that I wanted it to be about more than just me and my story. The title is, after all, When We Were On Fire, and, in one way or another, you were there too.

You were somewhere on the other side of that giant arena downtown, singing along to “Jesus Freak,” jumping up and down with your hands raised high.

(Or you were outside the concert, smoking surreptitiously by the dumpster with other youth-group bad-asses. I’m not here to judge.)

You were waking up at 6:00 in the morning, bleary-eyed and fuzzy, driving to your school’s Bible study. You were standing at your school’s flagpole. You were attending Wednesday night youth group. You were saying all the right things, believing it all…or not. You were singing loud and soulful, or you were doodling on your youth group handout in the back row, feeling indescribably lonely.

You were hiking through foreign countries in matching t-shirts, reciting your three-minute testimony in your head. You were signing a True Love Waits pledge card, promising purity before you understood what it meant.

Or maybe you weren’t in this world at all…but you knew people who were. You had barbed interactions with them…or beautiful ones. Or both.

Whatever it looked like for you, your life was touched by the 90s Christian Culture: this world where it was a kind of success to be “on fire for the Lord,” and you were measured – however inadvertently – by the power of your passion.

I want to hear your story.

On or before Tuesday, October 15th, write a blog post about your “on fire” days.

The good of it or the bad of it. The beauty or the pain or all of it wrapped up together somehow. Tell me about the time you broke the rules on a missions trip. Tell me that funny story from Bible camp…or that heartbreaking one. Did you wear the t-shirts, the one with messages like Life’s Hard, Pray Harder? Did you string WWJD bracelets, one-by-one, up your wrist?

Maybe it wasn’t you, exactly, but it was your daughter. Your son. Your niece or nephew or granddaughter. Tell what that was like, watching them sort out God under the fluorescent light of this strange subculture.

When you think about those days now, what comes back? What rises to the surface? Tell me. Write it all down.

Here’s How to Participate:

  1. Write your “When We Were On Fire” story on your blog on or before Tuesday, October 15. If you don’t have a blog, don’t worry! Send me your story in an email, and I’ll compile those somehow in a post called When We Were On Fire: The Non-Blogger Edition.
  2. If you’re a blogger, make sure you include this image and link in your post so that others can click back and see the roundup! (Link the image to this blog post:

when we were on fire synchroblog

3.   Come back here on Tuesday, October 15, and use the link-up tool to add your post here. Easy peasy.
4.   Click around to other people’s posts and feel way less crazy.
5.   If you want to share your post on Twitter, use the hashtag #WWWoF so that we can all keep track of what’s happening. (This is the hashtag for the book, by the way. I just invented it. You can use it for all of your nice comments about my memoir…but none of your mean ones. That will only drive me back to the cheese puffs.)

I’m looking so forward to hearing your stories.

Thank you for joining me to remember and to redefine. To celebrate, expose and to begin to understand those years when we were on fire, burning wild, burning out. Becoming the people we are today.

36 thoughts on “Announcing the When We Were On Fire Synchroblog

  1. What a great idea. I have no story to contribute (as an Jewish atheist, I’ve got a different set of stories, which I call Strange Atheist and write about here:, but I am excited to read your readers’ experiences. Congrats on the book!

  2. as many others have already alluded…. i think you somehow have lived my life. or i have lived yours. i had no idea there were so many of us “on fire” in the 90’s… when i read your first chapter, i had a simultaneous dramatic reaction of pure joy and jumping out of my skin with a loud “OMG that was ME!!!” and a deep stab of pain in my deepest parts with a resounding “omg…. that was me…” i can’t wait to read your book. i am still wrestling. still unlearning and relearning and its hard. i miss the ignorant bliss of simple faith that i had as that teenager on her first mission trip to africa where i came alive inside… i wish i could go back to that girl sometimes. i wish i could return to simple faith without the shit-load of baggage. but it will come.

    1. Thanks so much Chelsea. Yes. “i wish i could go back to that girl sometimes. i wish i could return to simple faith without the shit-load of baggage.” I feel that way too so often. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. What a delightful idea! I’m not sure how I’d ever decide on one story, but I am so excited to read the others.

  4. This makes me so happy! Just your intro brought up so many memories. My friend and I are eagerly awaiting your book publication! (We checked last week… still not out….) 🙂

  5. OK. I am so doing this. Even though I’m doing 31 Days of Birthday in October. Two posts in one day? You betcha. Because this topic is way more important that birthdays. And calorie free.

  6. I may have a post to contribute. We’ll see if I have time to stew on it and then write it up before the 15th.

    (As a minor quibble, it drives me nuts that pasta is now “junk food”. Who makes these definitions?)

  7. I can’t wait! I just wrote about being a “Jesus girl” yesterday.
    Love you, Addie. I’ll be praying for deep breaths and that you could think of Dory and “just keep swimming” xoxo.

  8. You just went and made me love you all the more. Proud of you for confessing your love of Nikita. And other stuff. 🙂

    I’ll be linking up for sure! Now to figure out which story to share…

  9. Addie, I so wish I was a big, influential blogger (or someone who just blogged more than once ever other month…) so I could have legitimately asked for an advanced copy of your book. I’m so excited it comes out soon.

    And I do want to do the synchroblog, but I don’t know at all what I’d write. It’s a good challenge. I shall begin mulling….

  10. Oh, Addie…I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry on this one, lol. Cheese puffs are good. I need to watch Nikita; it’s been on my Netflix list forever. I keep watching Doctor Who, though.

    Definitely trying to put my thoughts together for the synchroblog (I think you made up that word!).

    And, other side of the city? I have to drive to the other side of the city just to get to work, lol. A twenty minute drive is “normal” in Dallas!

    1. Thanks Don! Can’t wait to see what you write. And yes, I may have to suck it up and drive the hour to my favorite therapist. It’s just too much work to start over with someone new.

  11. Pingback: Redefining fire

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