Giving Voice to Gratitude

There is wisdom in Easter lasting for 50 days. It takes a long time for the good news to sink in, to penetrate our bones. Lent, in some ways, comes more naturally to me: to lament, to turn inwards to God, to sacrifice. Joy is more challenging. I need all 50 days to practice living into celebration.

Brené Brown speaks to this challenge in both her books and her new Netflix special, The Call to Courage. The show kept me company as I folded laundry last week. I was half-listening to Brené while I ran through a to-do list for promoting This Life That Is Ours in my mind. Promoting a book is new work to me, and I often feel anxious about what I could and should be doing. However, when Brené described the difference between people who live vulnerable, authentic, whole-hearted lives, and those who don’t, she had my complete attention.

“The number one difference,” she said, “is that whole-hearted people let themselves experience joy.” They don’t run from it and they don’t catastrophize it, she explained. Instead, “they practice gratitude.”

I realized that I had been so worried about all that I could be doing for the book that I hadn’t paused to experience the deep goodness that already existed. Today, one month after the release of This Life That Is Ours and two weeks into the Easter season, I am pausing to be grateful for all that I have received, to savor the graces, and to practice joy. I am writing this list to say thank you to YOU, for the part you’ve played in this journey, and to invite you to make your own litany of gratitude.

A Litany of Gratitude, an Incomplete List

I am grateful…

For each person who came to each event – nearly 150 in all! For the gift of time and open hearts.

For the venues I was in, for the way they so lovingly held the launching of this book.

For the food and the hands that prepared it, and the joy my dad and my husband found in working together to set up the events.

For my mom and my sister taking care of my children, so I didn’t have to.

For my children, generously celebrating and practicing patience at long events.

For the beautiful extra touches my mom provided, the flowers and tablecloths and custom cookies which matched the cover of the book. 

I am grateful…

For the gifts I’ve received: the wine and flowers and brownies, the handmade Celtic mug, the necklace, each a tangible marker of celebration.

For each person who has bought a book.

For the privilege of signing books for people I know and people I don’t.

For the ways the book has already been shared: as a gift, through word of mouth, through social media posts, and Amazon reviews.

For the ways I hear through each of these things that this work is important. 

I am grateful.

And I pray for the way this book is making through the world. I pray over the current of love that flows from its words to the hearts of its readers. I pray the pages will be a channel through which the Holy Spirit flows. May the book be a good companion to each mother it meets.


A Pause

What might appear on your list of gratitude? What gifts and graces in your life long to be named? How might you practice joy this Easter season?

A Favor

If you have read This Life That Is Ours, I have a favor to ask: could you take a few minutes to rate and review it on Amazon and/or Goodreads? Reader reviews are an easy way to share about the book and help others to find it. (You don’t have to have bought the book from Amazon to review it there.)

THANK YOU – for the gift of your time, for reading along with me, for joining the celebration.

May Easter continue to unfold for you. May this season be one of both deep gratitude and deep joy.

Podcast News and Book Save the Dates

Happy 2019! I hope that your holiday season and new year were full of rest and connection and joyful surprise.

As I settle into the new year, I’m trying something…well…new! I’ve never had a “word of the year” before, but I’ve been intrigued by the idea. I’ve wondered what it could be like to pick a theme and to see how God might speak through it. As I prayed over this coming year and what is on the horizon, I heard God whispering to me to lean into TRUST. There are changes coming this year for me and my family, and some exciting new risks, and I can already see how returning to the word TRUST has loosened some of the fear and anxiety I carry around change.

I’m curious if you have a word of the year, and how you’ve chosen it. Is this a practice you’ve tried in the past? Or maybe it’s a new concept for you too? I shared about this on social media last week, and I was encouraged by all the responses. People are carrying some beautiful words and postures into the new year.


Hard at work on sound editing.

Hard at work on sound editing.

One of the places of great risk for me this year is through the podcast, Life As Spiritual Practice. After placing this project on hold in the fall, I feel ready to share these stories of connection with the holy. I also feel scared and nervous, and leaning into that word TRUST! The first episode will launch later this week, with new episodes each week through the end of February. You will receive an email when each episode becomes available. It will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the episode, and invite you more deeply into the practice that is explored that week. I hope and pray that this podcast will be a source of warmth, connection, and inspiration in these cold winter months (for those of us in the northern hemisphere!).


Another place of risk and hope is the launch of This Life That Is Ours: Motherhood As Spiritual Practice! It’s hard to believe, after four years of work, that this book will soon be in the hands of readers! There are two events coming up in April to celebrate. You will receive separate invitations closer to the dates, but if you’re like me, you’re already planning your spring, so I wanted to share in advance!

In Pittsburgh, PA: You are invited to a launch party at White Whale Bookstore on April 6th, 7-9pm. There will be books available to purchase. I’ll give a brief reading, and then sign books. Come eat and drink and celebrate with me!

In Springfield, OH: On Saturday, April 13th, 1-3 pm, I’ll be giving an Author Program at the Clark County Public Library. I’ll give a talk on the writing process and the content of the book, and then have a book signing. There will be food and drink and books available to purchase. I hope you can join me for this celebration!

Thank you so much - for sharing this journey with me, for letting me hear a bit of your sacred story, and for the ways you bring light into the world. I am grateful for you.