Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Over spring break Cortney and I took Eddie to Chicago. We went to some of the typical fun tourist things like Shedd Aquarium and the Lincoln Park Zoo. While Eddie was swimming in the hotel pool (on the top floor), Cortney noticed a little new/used bookstore a couple blocks downs from our hotel. The next night, after dinner–and a few beers–Cortney suggested we walk to the bookstore. And then he bought us each one book.

ONE BOOK!

How do you decide on just one book when you are standing in an old, creaky building filled with words?

So I scoured the shelves.

I picked things up. At some point I had 10 books in my arms.

In the end, I chose Where’d You Go, Bernadette? I really didn’t know anything about the book other than I saw on Facebook that a group of friends had read it and discussed it and they liked it.

And the cover looked interesting.  Sometimes it’s just that simple.

Continue Reading…

We Are Water

I love Wally Lamb.  I fell in love with his writing in She’s Come Undone. In fact, I absolutely couldn’t believe it was a man writing that well for a female character.  Then I read I Know This Much Is True. More fabulous writing.  This is also when I realized that Lamb could weave a pretty messed up tale and talk about some truly difficult subjects, but do it so well that you want to keep reading. A about four years ago ago I picked up The Hour I First Believed.

And now I’ve picked up his latest, We Are Water.

The reviews on this one were mixed, but I knew I had to read it. While I really loved The Hour I First Believed, I felt like it was super long and maybe could have ended before it did, so I guess I expected to enjoy the book, but maybe not LOVE it.

continue reading…

We’re On Each Other’s Team

Cortney and I have a really great relationship and strong marriage. It’s one of the things I am most proud of in this world and feel so grateful that such a wonderful friend ended up as my life partner.

We get asked a lot what they secret to our marriage is and if it’s really as awesome as we make it look online.

As someone who as dated her fair share of turds (and nice guys, but mostly turds), I wasn’t sure if there really was a guy out there who could make me feel like we were a true team.  Then Cortney and I found ourselves together.

I guess our secret is our teamwork.

There are other factors like that we are true friends, we have our own interests as well as shared interests, etc, but the big thing is teamwork.

And most of the time it’s as awesome as we make it look on social media.

Anyway, I am writing about that teamwork over at Mommy Miracles today. I’d be honored if you would give it a read.

Orange is the New Black

I’m not sure if you noticed, but there is always a story as to how I came to reading each book that I decide on. I had Orange is the New Black on my To Read List for some time, and because I am a book nerd, I wanted to read the book before I started watching the series on Netflix.

Then I found out I get to meet Piper Kerman this summer when I go to San Jose for BlogHer.  Let’s just say the book moved right up my To Read list onto my READING list!

Continue Reading…

My Other Ex

When I was a kid, I used to lie on my bed on Sunday afternoons and plow through one, maybe two books in an afternoon. Once I had read all the craptacular YA lit that our local library had to offer back in the late 80′s, my mom started bringing home Agatha Christie mysteries for me to read.  I was hooked. Before I even made it to high school I was a voracious reader.

I didn’t do a lot of my own writing back then, but I did fantasize about being a famous author.  Not so much that I would be a celebrity, but that I could think of stories like that.

Well, fiction has never been my thing, but at some point all this writing that I have done on my blog since 2007 started to be something. Something I didn’t know I had in me.

It started to be good.

Maybe I couldn’t make up stories, but I could definitely tell my own.

This year my dream of becoming a published author came true when Three Minus One came out.  In September more of my writing will be published.

I am one of the author’s in the HerStories Project anthology called My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friendships.

The book is due out in September, but you can pre-order here (which also means you’ll get your book early!  WOOT!), and get a $1 off by ordering early. Aw yeah.


Buy this on Selz
Sell digital downloads on Selz

Carrie

When I was a senior in high school, I went to a youth group conference called Genesis. It was a big weekend conference where we all got to stay in a hotel and attend fun session and do singing and stuff.

My roommates were two of my best friends, and since there were three of us, they gave us a room with one king-sized bed. To be honest, I don’t think any of us had ever seen a king-sized bed before because we kept giggling that this hotel was so weird; it had rooms with a three-person bed in them!  SO WEIRD!

Anyway, I remember one of the nights–probably the first night–my friends fell asleep first while we were watching TV. I suck at falling asleep in a new place with people around me, so I was wide awake watching whatever was on TV. I was not in the middle of the bed (nowhere to turn away from a person…eek!), so I kept the remote on the floor and just kept flipping channels. That is when I found Carrie. I watched it from beginning to end wishing I wasn’t watching it at all.

I hate horror films, but this wasn’t a horror film like I was used to. It didn’t have some freak like Freddy Kruger or Jason ripping up all the people and having no plot line to speak of.  This movie screwed with my mind. It was troubling and awful and just so good.

But I was horrified and I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t even kick a foot out of the sheets like I normally do. I was too afraid of that hand coming to grab me.

I was seventeen then. I’m thirty-six now.  I just read the book this winter.

Continue Reading…

The Paris Wife

This summer I am all about reading. I say that every summer, but I let other things get in my way. This summer I have almost no other projects on tap which means if there is down time, I am reading!

The first book I read this summer is The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. I happened upon it when I was browsing the tables at Barnes and Noble. I’m sort of a nut for the 1920′s and the ex pat writers, so a fictional novel told from the point of view of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley, about their time in Paris as ex pats when Hemingway was just getting his footing as a writer hooked me immediately.

Continue Reading…

How I Survive The Summer

For nine months of the year, my daily routine is pretty set. Since I teach high school, I would say it’s even more structured than most people since a bell drives my deadlines and tells me when I can npee each hour. But in the summer, I am suddenly thrown into the unstructured world of the Stay (and Work) at Home Mom.

While I don’t have grading and lesson plans during the summer, I still have writing deadlines, social media work, and various school-related items that need to be done. Lots of people like to say, “You must have so much more time now that school is out!”

Actually, I have less.  I don’t have in between classes, an hour-long planning period, a 30-minute duty-free lunch, or after school work time anymore. There are small kids with me all of the time–there is one hanging on my arm right at this second, actually–but I have a few things that makes working from home a little less anxiety-ridden.

Continue Reading this at Today’s Work at Home Mom…

front row support

Saturday I did something that I never thought I would: I stood up in front of a crowd in a bookstore and read a piece of my own published work.

When the other contributors were arranging the readings across the country, I volunteered to join the one in Goshen, Indiana. I figured I would drive the two hours alone, do the reading, grab some food, and come home just in time to help with bedtime.  As the date got closer, Cortney suggested we make it a family event. He knew I was sort of nervous and he wanted to be there for me.

So a couple days before the event, we decided to all go.

While Charlie acted like a typical two-year old who had been in the car for two hours and was now strapped in a stroller, Eddie was amazing for someone who is not yet five.

Apparently, Cortney took him aside that morning and talked to him about what we were going to be doing. He asked Eddie if he knew what it meant to “support” someone. He explained that mommy would be nervous and would do a better job if they were there to tell her she was going to be great, give her thumbs up, and listen to her. This entire conversation happened without my knowledge.

What I saw was a cranky two-year old, a husband who wanted to keep him quiet, but still see his wife, and an almost-five-year old sitting by himself, front and center waiting to hear his momma read her story. Charlie was being a bit beastly, so Cortney took him for a walk, but Eddie stayed with me. He told me that it was Ok if I messed up because I would still be his best mommy.

While Cortney pushed the stroller around outside and in the back of the book store, Eddie sat quietly through the first two readers. Every now and then he would make eye contact with me and flash me a huge smile, give me a thumbs up, or mouth “I love you” to me.

When it was my turn to read, he smiled and intently watched me. I introduced myself, my piece, and explained that after all the heartache of losing pregnancies, my biggest fan was born, and that he was in the front row. He beamed.

I read my piece (and Cortney was able to hear 3/4 of it regardless of Charlie’s antics), and Eddie clapped the loudest.

When all was said and done and we were driving home, I thought about my Eddie. He took the idea of supporting those we love to his heart and really applied it. He acted years older than his almost five years.

I wonder often what my children will remember when they are this young.

Will he remember sitting and listening to his mommy tell the story about losing her pregnancy? Did he understand any of the stories he heard that day? I saw him paying attention. I wonder what was going through his mind.

Is this just the first time he will listen to his mother tell her stories, or was it a one shot?

For all the questions and thoughts I have about Eddie being there on Saturday, I know that he learned an important lesson about being there for those you love. He learned that lifting them up helps them accomplish what they want to do.

When I think about Saturday, the thing I am most proud of is not my published writing, not that I stood up and read something that was hard to write, but that my boy stuck by me and loved me through it all.

2014-06-07 17.18.10

We are always talking about our marriage and family as being a team effort. I think Eddie is really starting to learn that he is a very important member of that team.

The HerStories Project: celebrating female friendships

This spring I read a collection of stories about women and friendship called The HerStories Project. I’ve admitted my lack of awesomeness at female relationships here before.

Even when they are at their best, I feel like the weakest link in all of my female friendships. I feel unsure, inadequate, and anxious.  And that is when things are going WELL.

I thought maybe this anthology of essays could give me a clue to the elusive female friendship. What I found out was that I am not alone in my pain and questioning in friendships.

female friendships

I read this book  of female friendships while sitting in my bag chair in the shade of our tree during spring break while my kids played in the yard and rode bikes and trikes. Like any collection, there were stories I skimmed over because they didn’t reach me, but for each of those there were stories that deeply connected with something in my heart.

Vicky Willenberg had me nodding along to her piece, “Big Girl Friendships” as I related to how my friendships have changed now that I am an adult.

Pam Moore’s piece “Pen Pals” reminded me of my best friend who lives almost three hours away. We send notes and texts to each other randomly, yet we rarely speak on the phone. However when we see each other it’s like no time has passed.

Alexa Bigwarfe’s piece “Birds of a Feather Flock Together” encouraged me to get to know the women in my real life better–the moms in my subdivision, the ladies in my church, the teachers who I work with.

I cried through Allison Slater Tate’s piece “To My Best Friend on the Occasion of Her First Pregnancy.” My best friend married five years before I did, but had her first baby four years after I had my first. I had two kids by the time she had her first and my excitement for this new journey was summed up by Allison.

And it was like Alexandra Rosas was writing my life in her piece “On Feeling Lonely.”  We both suffered severe loneliness and depression after the birth of our first sons. Her words are exactly perfect.

Story after story I was reminded that I am not alone in my messy feelings about female friendships.  I thought this stuff was supposed to get easier as we get older, but no. Not so much.

This is why I am so excited to announce that HerStories is coming out with a second anthology in September called My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends and I am a contributor! That’s right, I’m going to be published in print…again! I am sharing my story about how I am in the season of losing friends right now.

Can’t wait until September to read stories of friendship? The first anthology is still available and I highly recommend it.

*************

In other fun news, I am taking over the Bonbon Break Instagram Feed today! Come follow along!

Bonbon Break
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...