Have you ever wondered what it feels like to write a book?
Authors are like marathon runners. They both display extreme amounts of perseverance and endurance. Both find joy in monotony. Both spend an extremely large amount of time perfecting their craft. And, if we are being honest, both are more than a little CRAZY.
I have as much desire to write a book as I do to run a marathon, which equates to exactly ZERO desire. But, as I've recently discovered, our desires in life are not always our callings and vice versa.
About twelve years ago in an AP Calculus class, I fell in love with math. From that point on, my deepest desire was to become a high school math teacher. This passion lined up extremely well with my love for all things linear (and quadratic, if we are getting particular) and my love for children. Deciding to be a high school math teacher was a no-brainer because it was simply an extension of my current passions.
After graduating from college, I pursued my calling to teach in the same way I pursue things I love: fervently, incessantly and with great enthusiasm. I studied hard, sought advice from successful teachers and woke up every day excited to DO THE WORK. It was my dream job.
After teaching for 3 years, Uncle Sam called my husband to a new job in a different state – as Uncle Sam so graciously does to military families. With the impending move came a big shake up to my career calling. Not only were we moving, but I was eight months pregnant. Not wanting to play the interview game of “Guess who will be taking off the first three months of school for maternity leave?” (this girl), my husband and I agreed that I would stay at home with our son.
This decision served as a Band-aid at first – a simple cover-up to the trauma under the surface. But, over time, this temporary healing solution took on a life of its own.
In the next three years of staying at home, I found myself fulfilling a calling my heart didn’t desire. I always wanted children, but for the first time, there was no amount of studying, interning or advice-seeking that could prepare me to be the best parent possible. Sure, I can wade my way through a pile of diapers, sift through the “must have” lists for babies and I can keep a kid alive, but oh my goodness, how do I raise a child? How do I make millions of tiny decisions each day that successfully add up to produce a competent and compassionate adult? This, dear friends, is Just. So. Hard.
This parenting journey is one filled with the deepest valleys and the highest mountains. It is living in a state of simultaneous elation and frustration. And for many, especially those who stay at home, it is ever so lonely.
While there is so much gray area in parenting, I have come to believe this one absolute truth: It takes a village to raise a mom. My greatest successes have been found when I surround myself with mamas who are simply doing the work. The work of loving their children. The work of disciplining. The work of cooking and cleaning and chauffeuring. The work of tireless nighttime feedings. The work of teaching their kiddos about Jesus. The work of trying to care for oneself while selflessly caring for littles. These people make up my village. These are the moms I want to throw a big party for and swap ridiculous stories with. These are the ones who don’t look at me strange when my son loses his mind and calls me “poopy” to my face. These are the ones who RAISE ME.
As it is, my calling to stay at home with my boys has created a new desire in my heart. A desire to encourage fellow moms in the trenches –not as someone who has been there, but as someone who is there. No rose-colored glasses or 20/20 hindsight, just the ever-so-vulnerable here and now.
And so, despite my strong aversion to becoming an author, God called me to write. Being the obedient child that I am (wink, wink) I wrote a book. (To be clear, when I say "I wrote a book,” I simply mean that I have strung enough words together to qualify as a book.) In it, I share my most flaw-filled moments to lift other moms up because, dear reader, we are wading through these trenches together.
But alas, the road to publishing is a long one, and so while you wait on pins and needles to read my book (just play along), you can find other encouraging words here on my blog. There are so many words I want to share with you. Words about parenting and military life and marriage and Jesus. So many words, so little naptimes. (To be clear, you will NOT be getting any words about marathons because God knows I can only handle one crazy calling at a time. HALLELUJAH. Amen.)
Will you be my very own Village People? All are welcome here, so please come back and walk alongside me as I navigate this messy world of parenting, and military life and book publishing.
And don’t worry, if all else fails, I’m just going to run off a few hundred copies of the alleged “book” at Office Depot, put a big fat staple in the top left corner and mail it to my friends. Publishing, shmublishing, if you hang out in my village long enough, you will get the words.
I am a lover of people, a child of God, and a laugher at jokes. I write words, cry tears and smile at strangers.