Book News, Launch Events, & A Story

This is a big week: This Life That Is Ours: Motherhood As Spiritual Practice is now available wherever books are sold!

Four years after starting work on it, eighteen months after signing the contract, five months after finishing edits, it’s HERE! I am celebrating with two events:

  • Pittsburgh, PA - Launch Party at White Whale Bookstore, April 6th, 7-9 pm.

  • Springfield, OH - Author Program at Clark County Public Library Main, April 13th, 1-3 pm.

There will be books for sale and food and drink at each event. In Springfield, I’ll also be giving a talk on the writing process and the spiritual life of parenting. Please join me to celebrate (and buy a book and get it signed!).

If you can’t make it to an event, you can also get the book at your favorite bookstore or online retailer.

A Launch Day Story

This Monday was the official publication day, a day I have dreamed of since I was a kid: to have actually written a real book! I wanted to relax and savor the special day. The kids had a dentist appointment, but then we were going to go to a favorite coffee shop and take it easy the rest of the day.

Except Healy woke up with a fever, an earache, and a bad attitude. The dentist was followed by an emergency trip to the doctor. Which was then followed by the pharmacist. We finally returned home four hours later, after multiple meltdowns from everyone (including me). We were exhausted, and hungry, and disappointed.

I then spent fifteen minutes pinning Healy down in my arms, begging her to take the antibiotic while she screamed and cried. She finally took it, and was howling, “It’s not over! I can still taste it! Make it go away!” when someone knocked on the door.

It was my dear friend Lisa, bringing me flowers to celebrate the big day.

I burst into tears.

She gave me a hug, and then she took over. She asked my boys if they’d eaten lunch yet, and then made them food. She listened to them share their version of the day’s events while I rocked Healy on the couch. She made sure there was nothing else we needed. And then she left.

Lisa's Flowers

It was not the launch of my dreams.

It was, instead, a powerful reminder of why I wrote this book: because sometimes mothering takes us to the end of ourselves. Because it can shatter our expectations. Because sometimes we don’t know how we’re going to care for the sick child and feed the healthy children and care for our own souls. Because sometimes the Holy Spirit knocks on your door and gives you exactly what you need. Because we need companions. Because this work of mothering matters. Because it is all holy.

I hope you will share the good news of this book with the moms in your life. I am praying for all the hearts these words will companion.

The Discover Brothers

My sons love The Wild Kratts. The PBS kids’ show features the real-life brothers, Chris and Martin Kratts, who start each episode introducing the kids at home to wild animals in different parts of the world. As they describe the amazing features of these animals – their ability to leap high, run fast, or fly far – they begin to imagine what it would be like to have these “creature powers” for themselves. They become more and more excited, and finally turn to each other, shout, “What if?” and become cartoons.

Declan and Ronan are so inspired by The Wild Kratts that they’ve developed their own imaginary show, The Discover Brothers. The Discover Brothers explore the outdoors, and when they get excited, they turn to each other and shout, “I wonder!” And then they, too, become cartoons. As Declan will tell you, “It’s animazing! Get it? Animated and amazing?”

Their playful sense of imagination is animazing. My Discover Brothers are silly, and funny, and wise. They have discovered the wisdom of curiosity, the way it creates life and frees us and opens us up to new possibilities. I’ve been contemplating the wisdom of an “animating phrase” this week, the power of words that can animate us, that can shake up our expectations, help us to relax our grip, and open us up to surprise. “What if” and “I wonder” are good phrases to invite into areas of resistance and pain. When you notice negative emotions rising, when you are frustrated or annoyed or bored, try inviting curiosity in as well, exploring what is beneath the emotions, and what the invitation within them might be.

My own animating phrase is, “What are you up to, God?” This playfully worded question reminds me that I don’t have everything figured it out. When I am feeling angry or just annoyed, remembering to wonder about God’s presence and God’s invitation is freeing, and helps me to harbor curiosity and an openness to surprise. These animating phrases aren’t magical, and they don’t make the hard things disappear. They simply loosen our grip, and create a little space for wonder.

I invite you to play with this idea of animating phrases this week. What words might breathe life and openness into your days?