Wanna Hear a Secret?

So it’s not really a secret exactly…lots of you will read this and think, “Uh, yeah, already knew that.” I just haven’t written about it here, probably because it makes it feel so official, and I wasn’t ready for that yet. Vulnerability and all that jazz.

I blogged a couple of times earlier this year about being brave and making some decisions about finding a job, but I left one little thing out, and it’s this: I wrote a book.

Like a whole entire book.

>>>>>

For a long, long time I’ve thought about writing a book. However, I was never very sure what I wanted to write about. And clearly, that is a problem when you want to write a book.

The one idea I always kind of thought of writing about was my mom, and how cancer impacted her and how she still chose to be grateful despite her circumstances, etc. However, there were a lot of factors surrounding this idea that I wasn’t sure about:

Is it entirely my story to tell?

Do I want to go there, and relive all of this myself? I mean, that sounds kind of painful, and in general, I like to avoid pain.

Is there enough story to write an entire book?

The more I thought about it late last fall, the more the idea grew in my head. {Cue the insomnia I’ve mentioned before.} It started to feel like there was no way I could NOT write this. I finally got brave enough to talk to my siblings and dad about this idea, and since no one objected – I feel so much like it’s our story – by around the beginning of January, I started writing.

I committed myself to writing regularly – several mornings a week, and sometimes, late at night, when I couldn’t sleep. The whole book concept was still a complete mess; I wasn’t exactly sure what to make of it yet, but I just kept writing. The one thing I knew I wanted to do was excerpt relevant blog posts from around the time of my mom’s illness and death; those posts were written in the moment, and they were far more emotionally-charged than what I could write (or details I could remember) at this point. So I was also reading my own blog posts from years ago, and making lists of what I could use. It was totally, beautifully, horribly, consuming.

Remember that time I went on that blissful overnight retreat by myself? Yeah. That was so I could write.

Also…psst…um, I got another tattoo that day of my retreat. It’s the word courage, in my mom’s handwriting, on my ribcage. Kelli went with me and held my hand because mercy, this one hurt a little more than my wrist.

 But I digress.

Back to the book stuff: I had written quite a bit, and checked the word count. It was somewhere near 15,000. A quick google search told me that most memoirs are around 50,000 at least.

Ooohhhkay. So then I was thinking maybe I’m writing a bookLET. Or a pamplet. Because I didn’t know if there was that much more story left in me. But, after asking a couple of dear friends to read what I had so far, and taking their feedback to heart, I knew what else I could write about.

I decided to go back and add chapters to the beginning, telling about my mom and who she was as she grew up, and then about my own little family. Then, the cancer story, and its impact: grief, legacy, all of that. I’m currently rewriting the ending and editing it from a hard copy (which is totally different than editing on the computer screen, I’m finding, and absolutely exhilarating to see all of my words printed out!).

I honestly don’t know what will come of this yet. Obviously, I would LOVE to have it published, and I’m researching and exploring my options for this.

Here’s what I know, though: I LOVE WRITING. I feel like a writer now. I would love to somehow make this my job. While on vacation in Siesta Key (I swear, I’m still going to blog about our amazing trip), I came up with a second book idea, which I’ll talk about in an another post because a) this post is getting super long and b) I’m going to need your help, dear readers, with this next idea I have.

So there you have it! My last several months in a nutshell. More on this to come, I’m sure.

For the Love

You guys. I got invited to Jen Hatmaker‘s house for a huge party. HER HOUSE. This is not a dream I had, it’s real life. Unfortunately, I can’t go and meet 200 of my newest friends, who will be there for the party.

Are you confused yet?

Five-ish months ago, I was chosen to be part of a group of 496 women+4 men (we call them the #bandoffour) who got the privilege of helping Jen launch her newest book, For the Love. The launch team has its own Facebook page, and the craziest thing has happened, far beyond what I ever imagined (and from what Jen has said, far beyond what she could have imagined, either)…this absolutely incredible community has formed. I mean, true, amazing friendships have developed, and the idea of a launch party at Jen’s house came about. So literally, she invited the whole launch team to her house, and around 200 are attending. Isn’t that just so cool?

And how much do I wish I lived closer to Austin, TX, so I could go???

So here’s where I tell you about this book. And why you absolutely must read it. I feel like I won’t be able to do it justice in this one post, but I’m going to try. Some of my favorite quotes have been turned into cute graphics, so I’m going to just stick them in here between paragraphs so you get an extra little sampling of this gem.

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(Here’s where I’m totally struggling and have restarted this paragraph several times. I don’t even know where to begin.) This book is for anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed by life and what you think is expected of you. It’s for someone who has lived in church and community well, and for those who have been burned by their church and community. It’s for people who want to love others better, parent more effectively, and live out what it means to show Jesus (not religion – and to that end, this quote: “If it isn’t also true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true.” Curious? You need to read this.) to the world and our families.

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There are sections that have been a huge inspiration to me as I figure out this tricky transition from SAHM to wife-and-mom-with-some-kind-of-a-job. (More on that here and here if you’re new here.) It’s been an interesting year for me, and I’ll be writing more about that soon, but in the meantime, know that this quote from the book lodged itself very deeply in my brain:

I don’t like when people minimize their gifts. There is a difference between humility and insecurity, and self-effacement does no one any favors. We teach our watching children to doubt and excuse and diminish themselves. Do we want our kids to reflect on their mothers and have absolutely no idea what we loved? What we were good at? What got our pulses racing and minds spinning? Don’t we want them to see us doing what we do best?

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Oh, and it is FREAKING HILARIOUS. If you follow Jen on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you already know how funny she is. This book will make you laugh until you cry several times. She’s invented new words (horsecrappery) and phrases (you’ll be saying “that’s off the beam!” after reading this). There is an entire chapter on fashion concerns (tights are not pants, the whole underwear-with-workout pants debacle, high-waisted jeans…).

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And several short Jimmy-Fallon-style Thank You Note chapters.

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Have I convinced you yet? Buy this book. You’ll love it and want to share with your friends. Promise.

School. Day 2. 

#fightingoverthebathroom #punchesthrown #areyouserious
#morefightingoverbreakfast #noteven7am #whereismycoffee
#parentingissuchadelight #somedaythiswillbefunny #butreallyonthecoffee

First Day 2015

Somehow, summer is already over. The boys started school today!


Jack Henry is in 2nd, Bennett is in 5th, and Luke is in 7th. Which is utter craziness, because I’m pretty sure I was a 7th grader not all that long ago. And I know what kinds of things I did in 7th grade, so I hope he makes better choices. Ugh…freaks me out a little. Anyway. Aren’t they cute? Let’s just focus on that.


The boys don’t even know how fortunate they are to go to such amazing schools, even though I tell them all the time.

It’s going to be a great year!

He Scares Me a Little. 

I called all three boys into the kitchen to help me make supper tonight. I don’t know why, because that generally sounds like torture, but it seemed like a good idea.

I immediately assigned Luke to the sauté pan for fajita vegetables, and had Jack Henry and Bennett help me chop and mash ingredients for guacamole. For once, everyone was actually really helpful.

We finished making the guacamole, and Bennett asked if I was going to use the rest of the lime for anything. I said no, and turned around to the sink to find him doing this:

he juiced almost half a lime straight into his mouth

Um. I feel like he’s the kind of kid who’s going to have good party tricks in college. And I. Am. Terrified.

In related news, the University of Illinois was ranked the top party school in the nation last week, which means I’m no longer excited about the fact that all of the boys want to go there. We have seriously put so much effort into making these little Missouri residents Illini fans, and now this…

:)

Confessions.

Ok. Time to just be transparent about a couple of things:

1.  I absolutely will not get political here, but I feel like you all should know that if Trump manages to win the election somehow, you can find me on an island far away. I am so not joking.

2a. So I used to have this schedule for summer mornings, where the boys would do some reading or math work and some housework, too. Yeah. I let that go this summer, and we have been so. chill. around here. They have done some reading and they do chores as requested by me but it’s not like before. Boy, have we enjoyed our lazy downtime. They’re just at an age where the schedule isn’t needed anymore to keep me from going crazy. And I’m apparently at the age where I don’t care enough because…

2b. They have played an embarrassing number of hours of Mario Kart this week. They haven’t cared about Mario Kart for years, and somehow their interest resurfaced. Here’s why I’m cool with it: they’re all playing together and not fighting. SO PLEASE KEEP PLAYING THE MARIO KART.

School starts Wednesday and I’m celebrating with a massage on Thursday. 

Happy weekend!

Three Solutions

I’m going to try to ease myself back into writing here, hopefully regularly after the boys are back in school (which is in 9 days. I can’t even believe it.). I have two trips to recap, but here’s a little story from our last weekend trip that illustrates the boys’ different personalities.

We spent the weekend at Lake Delavan in Wisconsin with Matt’s entire family. The old lake cottage was lifted off its foundation last fall, a basement poured, and the house put back. It’s still under construction, but all 16 of us were able to stay there! The boys stayed in the basement in a bunk room, and there’s a bathroom down there now, too.

And since they’re old enough to just take care of themselves, I didn’t interfere with the showering process at all.

We all bring our own towels when we stay at the cottage, and it occurred to me on the drive back to STL yesterday that I had never given the boys their bath towels after we got there. (Of course, no one asked if there were any. Typical.)

I knew that they had all showered at least once, so I asked, “Uh, what did you do to dry off?”

Luke: “I just dripped dry.”

Bennett: “I used my beach towel. There was some sand, but I didn’t care.”

Jack Henry: “I just used the towel hanging closest to the shower.” (My apologies to whomever else was drying off with that towel.)

I won’t over-analyze this, but honestly, their solutions fit their personalities so perfectly it’s hilarious.