I just have to make a post about my friend Kevin Vost. He is one of the most selfless, generous people I know - and no one is a bigger encouragement to me as a writer. I actually met Kevin through this very blog. I had just read his book Fit For Eternal Life and wrote a blog saying how much it had opened my eyes to the need for the virtue of temperance and encouraged me to begin high-intensity weight training and climb back on the cardio bandwagon. (I ended up taking off about 40 pounds over a seven month period, as well as doubling my bench press in a year's time. . .although in the two years that followed I started making excuses to be gluttonous and lazy, and put the weight back! Pathetic, I know. I've since dusted myself off and am making another go of it.) Anyway - Kevin came across my blog post shortly after it was posted and wrote to tell me how happy he was that the book had been of use. I couldn't believe that I was actually corresponding with an author I had just read. I don't think I told him at the time, but I was also in the midst of his Memorize the Faith! as well.
A few months later I made the decision to make a go of publishing The God Who is Love through some friends with a small Catholic CD and book company here in St. Louis, Out of the Box Records. I contacted Kevin to describe the book and ask if he would mind taking a look at it, and if he felt it was warranted, offer an endorsement. Within two hours of my sending the email he had written back to say that he would be honored. Within ten days the manuscript was read and a ringing endorsement was in my in-box, along with the offer to help me make interview contacts in Catholic radio! Now again, this was all from a gentleman who only knew me through correspondence. His generosity inspired me to contact other Catholic authors and ask if they too would be willing to take a look. (I discovered that Catholic authors are a good bunch too!) When The God Who is Love was released in March, 2009, Kevin was the first to bring it to people's attention by publishing a review on Catholic Exchange. Because of him I found myself speaking with EWTN Radio and Al Kresta a few short months later - and also because of him, many others since.
I was honored in the months that followed as he shared advance peaks at portions of Unearthing Your Ten Talents and From Atheism to Catholicism. It was obvious to me that both books were destined to be of great help to myself and the Church at large. And let me say, you folks are in for a treat when his biography of St. Albert the Great is released in the spring!
Over the past year we've actually been able to enjoy face-to-face time as well. I'm quite fortunate that St. Louis brings in such great speakers and that Kevin makes the trek down from Springfield, IL, to hear them. He and his wife Kathy and their two boys also opened their home to me and the kids this summer. (They introduced us to something called a "horseshoe sandwich" along the way - that's some good eatin'.)
When the thought came to me for a book about Jesus' earthly prayer, Kevin was the first person with whom I shared it (no lie - within the hour). Again, he was total encouragement and generosity - he was happy to help in any way possible. Although he doesn't talk about, Kevin and I now share a few acquaintances; and I know he is like this with all of them. Kevin doesn't just write about the virtue of being magnanimous; he practices it daily - exactly like weight training and cardio. Oh yeah, and even though he is at the pinnacle of "being in shape," he has never once made me feel like a schlep when I take a flying leap off the bandwagon. I know I haven't done anything to deserve a friend like this - as with all of God's great gifts, it's pure grace. If you have yet to meet Kevin through his writing, I highly recommend you do so. God bless.