I'm currently galavanting across the mainland in the heat of the summer to see our family! It's a busy season, so I'll make this quick, but I have so much to tell you!
First off, that pesky little book I've written is actually going to be printed! If you've signed up for my Monthly Mutterings (which you can do HERE) you know that I've spent the last year gettin' all rejected and stuff. But then, I met Renee. She calls herself a Dream Defender, which is basically the coolest title ever and I wish I was clever enough to have such a hip title for myself. But anyway, I digress.
Renee has published nine books (Bless her.) using both traditional methods and self-publishing. Now, in addition to her own writing, she helps newbies like me get published! This looks a lot like holding my hand and patting my head and swaddling me up and rocking me into a calm state of productivity. Sometimes isn't that all we need - a mother-like mentor who has paved the way for us?
With this beautifully painful kick in the butt from Renee, we are on schedule to see this little book in print by the end of the year! So to celebrate, I'm giving away some things that I'm loving this summer. All of the giveaways will be happening over on my Facebook page, and the first giveaway starts on Monday, so be on the lookout!
First off, BOOKS!
Do you know Sophie Hudson? She is the epitome of southern hospitality mixed with an appropriate amount of sass and a whole heck of a lot of FUNNY. She wrote this adorable little book with a ridiculous title called Giddy Up, Eunice. The book is a call to women of all ages encouraging them to do life together. Sophie is approachable and vulnerable, but will set you on the straight and narrow before you even know where you're headed. I want another woman to get their hands on this gem this summer so I'm giving a copy away!
For the Kids:
We are currently doing A LOT of traveling, but it was made a whole lot sweeter when my boys got their hands on the newest Lost My Name book. Do you remember in January when I gave one of these away? Well I think this new book might be even better than their first! The book is called The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home and it is filled with some magical personal touches. Not only is your child the main character of the story, but Lost My Name has partnered up with Bing Maps and they use YOUR actual address and an aerial view of YOUR actual house to take your child on a wild ride through the universe UNTIL...you guessed it...your kid finds his way back home. Britton almost lost his mind when he saw his actual house in the book.
I would also love to add that Lost My Name's customer service center is top-notch. My address wasn't registering in their automated system so their technical angels went above and beyond to make sure Britton's book was not only personalized, but accurate. So, if your kiddos need another book on their summer reading list, this one is a keeper! This giveaway is kicking off on Wednesday, so head on over to Facebook then to enter!
For Me or You or Mom or Friend or Daughter:
I met this girl at the beach. She is an adorable, blond, southern belle with a firecracker of a daughter. I obviously fell hard for both of them instantly. Come to find out she is an incredible jewelry artists and also designs BEA-U-TIFUL shirts. I mean, these shirts are ALL THE RAGE. With just 6 weeks left of summer weather, I want to get TWO of you into one of these beautifully designed shirts. You can follow Blair at Just B Creations on Facebook or take a look at her Etsy shop. This giveaway is kicking off on Friday (7/29) with a winner being chosen in time for church on Sunday morning. This one is going to be doubly sweet since I'm drawing two names to win shirts!
Welp...that's it for now, my friends! I've got packing to do as we are off to our next adventure, but make sure you're following me on Facebook to find out how you can get your hands on some goodies!
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.