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Stepping Stones celebrates 20 years in business with author events

Stepping Stones celebrates 20 years in business with author events

T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW UBBEN — Author Laura Sohl-Cryer visits Stepping Stones Christian Bookstore in Marshalltown for a signing of her first book, “Remembering the Home Place: Sonnets and Stories From Our Family Farm.”

While Stepping Stones Christian Bookstore celebrated their 20th anniversary this past week at both the Grinnell and Marshalltown stores, author Laura Sohl-Cryer conducted a signing at the Marshalltown location on Friday to promote her debut, Remembering the Home Place: Sonnets and Stories From Our Family Farm.

Sohl-Cryer grew up in northwest Iowa on her family’s Century Farm established by her great grandfather between Boyden and Hull. For the past 24 years, she has lived in Cedar Falls, teaching at Hawkeye Community College and some online classes for DMACC. Sohl-Cryer has been writing intermittently since graduate school and is also a renowned member of the Iowa Poetry Association, from which she has won multiple awards of recognition.

The new book stems from a place of sadness as Sohl-Cryer’s mother passed away last October, leaving her to make the difficult decision to take the semester off from teaching and move back to the family farm to address estate matters and her grieving process. In the midst of handling paperwork regarding the estate, she had spare time to grieve, but given that she is a farm girl at heart, Sohl-Cryer did not want to just sit on her hands.

According to Sohl-Cryer, God started waking her up every morning around 4:45 a.m. when chores were typically started on the farm, reminding her of His presence growing up as a child. Recalling her childhood spent there, she wanted to be on the farm during this difficult time to ride the waves of grief and turn it into something productive and positive.

“Writing this, Remembering the Home Place, has helped me to just know that He has been present throughout my whole life,” Sohl-Cryer said. “It came out of grief and provided me with a lot of hope.”

Grief is not the only theme of the book, as there are humorous accounts of growing up on a farm and multiple stories of levity. The book also serves as a catalyst for people to share their own stories, and Sohl-Cryer encourages them to do so since, as she puts it, many of these small family farm stories are one or two generations from being long-forgotten unless they are shared.

In celebration of 20 years of business in Grinnell and 12 years in Marshalltown, Stepping Stones held a week-long sale giving customers 20% off of one regular price, in stock item of choice in Marshalltown along with daily door prizes and refreshments at both stores.

“It’s just our way of saying thank you to all of our loyal customers over the years. Especially thank you to all of our past and current team members and all the volunteers over the years,” said Mindy Uitermarkt, the owner of the bookstores. “We just want to say thank you to everyone.”

In addition to Sohl-Cryer, the bookstore also hosted book signings featuring Rosa Clark and Jocelyn Green throughout the week. Stepping Stones Christian Bookstore encourages everybody to check out the sidewalk sales this coming weekend for Ridiculous Day on Saturday, July 23 in Grinnell. For more information on Stepping Stones Christian Bookstores, follow them on Facebook at Stepping Stone Christain Bookstores or call store owner Mindy Uitermarkt at 641-990-1381.


Contact Andrew Ubben at 641-753-6611 or

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