Thursday, May 21, 2015

Fresh Courage Take






































Four years ago, my dear friend Jamie from BYU emailed me to ask if I would be interested in writing an essay for a little ebook she was thinking about putting together. She wanted to gather essays from eleven of her friends, all Mormon, all women, which talked about our experiences as a Mormon woman. No other prompt, just whatever we wanted to write about.

Fast forward four years, and our fun little project has turned into a bona fide book that you can buy on Amazon. There are book signings this summer and panelist discussions and all kinds of real grown-up things, but mostly I am so thrilled to be sharing my thoughts with the world! These are things that I've really pondered long and hard, and things that I realized in writing this essay have dramatically shaped my mothering and my life over the last four years. This is good, solid, real stuff, friends. This is the best I have to offer (and PEOPLE MY NAME IS ON AMAZON!). It's crazy to be sending galleys back and forth with the editors and to see cover designs and chapter headings and whatnot. (Can we say bucket list?!)

You can find the Amazon listing HERE or at Signature Books HERE.

And here's a little preview snippet from the section where I discuss the genesis of this blog:

"What I have learned, more than anything, is that happiness does not always come on its own—it, like career motherhood, is a choice. I cannot sit back and wait for bliss to wash over me. If I want to find joy in mothering, if I want to enjoy my career as a mother, I have to construct my life so that joyful moments are possible, likely, and frequent. Happiness takes work. This truth may seem paradoxical, but simply creating more time for walks in the woods and jettisoning the Play-Doh I loathe has brought me infinite satisfaction.
            Before my oldest child was two, I began blogging so I could chronicle the wonderful, miraculous moments of motherhood I was experiencing, the moments I wanted to pretend I was having all the time. A sidebar quote from Elizabeth and Her German Garden reminds me of the life I want to create: “What a happy woman I am living in a garden, with books, babies, birds, and flowers, and plenty of leisure to enjoy them!” My posts have been dotted with appreciation for the moments I would not have if I were not a career mother—the day I found my toddler in her crib without pants but still wearing her bulky slippers, which made me laugh until my stomach hurt; getting a hug from a pint-sized T-Rex with “some weewee sarp cwaws, Mama!”; spending reading aloud as we work our way through a stack of picture books; and finding leaves of baby spinach carefully stuck all over the fridge with alphabet magnets. These are snapshots of the life I am determinedly trying to create for my family—one that is full of museum trips, walks in the woods, bread fresh from the oven and slathered with homemade jam, and watercolors on the back porch."

And one more:

"There has been no transcendent realization for me, no one moment when I learned to reconcile my divergent desires and yearnings. It has been a gradual process. There are fewer dark days now of self-questioning than there were five years ago. Even so, some days are good and some are not; sometimes my heart swells with gratitude for my perfect little family, and sometimes I dissolve into tears and leave the dinner table. It has been a gradual process for me to make it this far, to be able to introduce myself as a mother of five children without immediately adding that I have a graduate degree and still teach.
 I have no wisdom to offer other than my own experience, hard-won and painful as it is . . ."

Guess you'll have to buy the book to find out what additional wisdom that experience has won me. :-)

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