Wednesday, May 31, 2017

That Thing I Was Never Going to Do (A crazy, exciting, slightly terrifying announcement!)

How’s that for a teaser?

First, happy feast of the Visitation! It's one of my favorite little feast days of the year and it's the perfectly appropriate day for the news that I’ve been waiting and waiting to share here. (And no, I’m not pregnant though it does kind of feel extremely similar sometimes!)

For about a year now I’ve been working on something – something I never ever thought I’d do or was even capable of doing. It’s a project that I’ve thought for years someone needed to do but it sure as heck wasn’t going to be me. I didn't think I was qualified and I definitely didn’t have the time. And then someone else put it realistically in front of me and asked me to do it. After a lot of discernment and “well, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to just try to see if it’s possible,” you guys, all through Him, I did it.

I wrote a book. 

And someone wants to PUBLISH it.

Slowly and steadily every Saturday morning, I’ve slipped away from the house for a few hours at the crack of dawn to write my passion. Every Saturday morning before writing I sat before Him in Adoration giving the time to Him and asking that it be used however He wanted. I told Him over and over that if He wanted this done He was going to have to be the one to do it and make it abundantly clear to me that it was His will. And then I would spend the next hours writing and researching and writing some more. It was crazy. It’s been probably the hardest thing intellectually that I have ever done but at the same time He so clearly blessed that time. There’s no way I could have done it otherwise.

Sooo, what's it about? In short, it's a Catholic book on - what else? - birth. It will explain why birth matters so much to us as women and even as Catholics and how our own personal births can be infused with our Faith, from the way we prepare, to the choices we make, to the way we live out our own feminine genius in our unique birth experience. It's a book on birth that talks about women as whole persons - body, mind, heart, and soul. It’s meant to help women see how God wants to work in their birth no matter what kind of birth He calls them to have. It’s not a “Catholics must birth this way” book. While I think it will be especially helpful for first time mothers, my hope is that it will help every mother, whether this is her first or twelfth baby, respond to the invitation that God wants to work in and through her birth in her own unique circumstances. Included are stories and experiences throughout from dozens of real life women (many of whom you might recognize!) sharing from their personal experience of birth.

Several months ago after a proposal process and approval, I signed my name on a contract and got a legit fancy book deal. Our Sunday Visitor, the largest English Catholic publishing company in the world, loved what I had submitted and they want to publish it. What?!? I am now working with them to finish the book that’s been stirring in my head and heart for almost a decade. It’s slated to be released in early spring of 2018 which feels really far away right now but I'm told it's pretty standard timing. 

The great thing is that it’s already mostly done. While some people are totally confident getting a contract and sharing that they are working on a huge project right from the beginning, that is not at all me! I work way better without the pressure of people knowing about it and I needed the freedom to be able to see if I could even do it before sharing with people. In fact, almost no one but my husband knew I was working on it for nearly a year. A few weeks ago I submitted my whole complete manuscript to my editor and very soon we will begin the editing process. I anticipate that it’s going to be fairly tedious and very challenging but if God’s shown me anything through all of this it’s to trust that if it’s His will, He will be there every step of the way and give me the grace to do the work. 

I would absolutely love love love your prayers and support on this project. It’s in so many ways overwhelming, intimidating, and there are moments I lie awake at night wondering if I’m absolutely insane to be doing this. It still all feels surreal and it's kind of terrifying putting myself out there like this. I mean, it's one thing to tap away on my little blog but it's a whole other world to publish a legit book, especially one on a topic like this! But I know if it’s His will, and He’s been so good to me showing me that it is, that it will happen despite my fears and shortcomings. It's a huge invitation for me to step out of the boat and onto the water. Please pray that it is everything He wants it to be. That's truly all I want. Thank you so much to those of you who have been reading with me here for so many years. I’m so grateful and excited to share this news with you and hope that I can count on your support and prayers in this crazy new journey...I'm going to need them!

(You know you've picked a great publisher when this is the first thing at the top of the new author packet. I have been so incredibly impressed with every interaction and communication with them.)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

My Children Aren't the Enemy to My Marriage (even when it feels like it)

After I read those words a few months ago I was simultaneously relieved and convicted. It can be a challenge indeed (and thank you to the great saint for recognizing that!) to remember that our children are the fruit and sign of our love not, as the culture, pop psychology, and sometimes even ourselves believe, a threat to it.

We know this, of course, during the beautiful moments, those moments when life is happy and seems to make sense. It’s a littler harder to believe when the sick toddler cancels the date night…when the cry of the baby again interrupts the intimate moment…when the daily grind of family life makes us extra prone to snapping at our spouse…when our cup feels empty and we’re desperately thirsty for a refill. It’s those times when it becomes more challenging and all the more necessary to believe with our thoughts and our actions that at the root of family life, it is not us against them. Our children are not the enemy...

Monday, May 29, 2017

Our Ben Turns Two?!?

Somehow or other, that baby that I was sure had been born just a few months ago actually turned TWO this week. The last few weeks were so crazy that we weren't able to really celebrate until yesterday. Thankfully, he's 2 (I hear) and doesn't really know what a birthday is or why everyone is suddenly staring at him and singing so the proper date doesn't really matter to him even when I'm feeling bad about it! 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

David's First Communion and the Story of a Little Providential Book

This past Sunday our David had the incomparable gift of making his First Holy Communion! I have pictures to remember the day but first I need to share a story, if only so that this fickle heart of mine doesn't forget how He moves.

It was just a few weeks before he was set to make his First Holy Communion and I wasn't quite sure his heart was ready. We had been doing some of the things we try to do to help our kids prepare for such a special day. Adoration time, Confession, teaching, and more. But it just didn't seem like enough and I wondered whether we were failing, whether there was more he needed. On one of those mornings around that time I needed to make a quick stop to pick something up at the Carmelite monastery nearby. I bravely ventured out with all the boys, mostly because I needed to get it done and had no choice. But also because while it definitely makes the experience at one of my favorite places a bit less meditative, I really want them to visit there once in a while and soak in the palpable grace of that place (if only for a few minutes before the toddler has had enough of this ridiculous silence business). So I brought them. We hustled inside on yet another windy, frigid, and disappointingly chilly morning like so many before it, the ones that had been progressively dulling my energy and motivation for months. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Feminine Genius of the Mother's Day Backlash

In the last few years, something strange has begun to happen on and before the second Sunday of May. In blog posts and status updates, conversations and commercials, we're suddenly seeing a whole lot of light shed on the hidden and hard side of Mother's Day. There has been a steadily growing and unprecedented response of compassion to those for whom Mother's Day is nothing but a sharp reminder of loss. 

And it is absolutely beautiful.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Junior Geologist's Birthday

We have new eight year old around here as of yesterday! 
He has a huge interest in dinosaurs (that was last year's birthday) and now he's added a penchant for geology into his hobbies. There is something about unearthing treasures that speaks to this boy! He loves fossils and stones and gems and almost every day he can get outside finds him running back in at some point with mud splattered pants and a treasure to show me...a new flower blooming, a cool rock from the field, a robin's egg shell. I love his enthusiasm and joy over nature! Eight is a fun age (even when this choleric makes it just a bit more than challenging sometimes!).

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

When I'm hurting, draw me closer.

It all started with the oatmeal.

It was supposed to be cereal - after all, it was Sunday - but lack of grocery prep and no milk in the house left us with the only breakfast option being the disappointment of the standard weekday fare.

The result was dealing with fits of epic proportions as we tried to get the whole family ready and out to Sunday Mass. It was brutal and unprecedented, at least on this level. We were frustrated, uncertain, angry, stressed, and at a loss for what to do. We did manage to get there and as the tear stained little boy sardined next to me in the crowded pew (the other one still recovering in the back with dad), I was thankful for the chance to breathe and pray before we decided what, if anything, needed to happen as a result of the morning behavior and struggle. 

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