What Are You Even Writing About: A Book Update and Excerpt

It dawned on me that although I’ve been tossing out this declaration, “I’m working on a book.” I haven’t actually let my readers know what that book is about. Yikes! So I wanted to take a few minutes and let you know more about the project, give you an excerpt, and also ask for major prayers for this project!

For years and years, I’ve had a book idea in my mind. It was to be a memoir about my childhood, which was full of all sorts of challenges, including losing my dad when I was eight, and living with a mother who has a very severe case of bipolar disorder, among other things. While that book is still in my heart, I’m just not in a place right now to write that story. My life is so consumed with my current season of motherhood, and that’s what I feel led to write about at this moment in time. I’ve also always loved to encourage others and have a heart to help other moms know that we are in this together and that we do not only need to “survive” this season, but that, together, we can thrive and do so while keeping our confidence and sanity in tact.

So, my current book is called Laughter Without Fear: Maintaining Confidence, Sanity, and a Sense of Humor Today and in the Days Ahead. It is a combination of my own personal stories of motherhood (the good, the bad, and the ugly), Biblical truths, and inspiring words of encouragement. If you follow me on my facebook page, where I post my weekly vlog series, that gives you a good idea of the type of material I will include in the book. I want to help other moms who feel overwhelmed or discouraged. I want to lift up women who feel like just just can’t keep up. I want to make moms laugh and see the humor and joy in the chaos. I want to remind mothers that they are not alone.

I am going the route of traditional publishing versus self-publication at this point, in case anyone is interested. With traditional publication, you have to seek out an agent to represent you. That agent then does the work of finding a publisher who is interested and wants to produce your book. With self-publishing, it’s all on you. There are companies that will partner with you in this, but you have to pay them, and you are responsible for the marketing, the sales, the promotion, etc. etc. Have you ever sold a house before? If you have a real estate agent, they list it, promote it, show it to buyers, then handle all of the paperwork to complete the sale. If you list it yourself, you’re doing the promotion, you’re doing the showings, and you’re figuring out the paperwork yourself. Some people like that and are really adept in that area. I’d just rather go the agent route if at all possible. Unlike real estate agents, who are almost always vying for more clients, it’s much more difficult to get a literary agent, from what I understand. They have so many manuscripts that come through their inboxes each year, and they can only select a few. Although there are no guarantees, here’s hoping that mine catches the eye of an agent who believes in this project as much as I do. Prayers are MUCH appreciated! Later today, I will be emailing out my query letters (basically your sales pitch letter) and book proposal to several different agencies, and then probably go eat some ice cream. And try to be patient for the 4 to 12 weeks it takes to generally hear back...unless they aren’t interested at all, in which I’ll hear silence and probably need lots more ice cream...but let’s stay positive here, right?!

Also, I wanted to provide you with a little excerpt from the book, so you can get an idea of what it’s like! This is from a chapter titled On Yelling and Other Things We Don’t Like to Admit:

Feeling Like You Can’t Keep Up

When my middle son was still an infant and not regularly sleeping through the night, I had experienced a particularly rough day. It started out well enough. In an effort to make our evening run more smoothly, I put a roast and potatoes in the Crock Pot before I left for work in the morning. That in and of itself felt like a big deal, amen? But as some challenging events arose in my classroom that day, I headed home feeling mentally and emotionally drained. I couldn’t wait to just eat, snuggle with my boys during our bedtime routine, and then get them to bed so I could crash. I walked into the house, expecting to be hit by the aroma of the dinner which by now had been simmering in the slow cooker for about nine glorious hours. Hmm...that's odd. I don't smell anything. I walked into the kitchen and realized that I had FORGOTTEN to plug in the Crock Pot in the morning! Horror of horrors! I wish I could say I was slow to get angry then. But I wasn’t. This time, however, my anger was directed at myself. I am a crier by nature; I’m the sappy friend who cries at diaper commercials and a line of ducks crossing the road. I cry when I’m happy and when I’m upset. So naturally, I became a blubbering mess.

“Wh-wh-whhyyyy would I forget to turn it on? It requires one step! ONE! And I...I...I...messed it up!” I wailed.

My words and actions manifested as more sadness than anger. My thoughts, however, were full of fury.

Christina, can't you do anything right?

You say you want to be more proactive and then you mess up this, the simplest of tasks?

Now you completely wasted the money you spent on that meal. And you're supposed to be the queen of thriftiness? Ha!

Great Christina, just great! 

Ouch. My internal monologue was being a nasty bully. I wish I could go back in time, give myself a hug, and tell myself, “Christina! Pull yourself together woman! It’s just meat. You’re still awesome!” I really could have used that pep talk, especially since after I threw out the room temperature roast and put a frozen pizza in the oven, my infant had a poo-explosion in his diaper and then peed all over me. Hand to heart, that is what happened. In the moment, none of this was funny. None of it was uplifting. But you know what? God can use every moment of our story for something greater, even if we can’t see it right there in the moment. Now I get to share it with you, and maybe you too have forgotten to plug in the Crock Pot. Or maybe you feel like you just cannot keep up with those messy floors, or the dog hair all over the furniture, or balancing the demands of home and a job outside the home, or the much-loathed, never ending  chore known as laundry, or a multitude of other things.

God doesn’t guarantee us perfection just because we commit to a life of following Him. There will still be battles to face. Sometimes those battles are against external forces, but many times, the toughest ones are the ones we wage against ourselves. And does it get us anywhere? You are doing the best you can with the tools and time that you have. If you constantly crtisize yourself, whether outloud or in your head, then I want you to stop for a minute, and think about how you would feel if your children were saying those same things about themselves?

I can't do anything right! 

'm not good at this one particular thing, so I must be failing at life!

I'm screwing it all up! 

Imagine that. You walk into the living room, and there is your child, berating himself for making his block tower fall down. Or your school age child is sitting at the kitchen table, calling herself stupid because she’s having trouble with one math concept. Wouldn’t your heart break? Wouldn’t you be grieving? Wouldn’t you want to tell them, “No, no, far from it? You are precious and capable and strong. Don’t feel this way about yourself. I love you too much to let you say those things.”

My friends, that’s exactly what God is saying to you.

“...the one who formed you says, ‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine.’” -Isaiah 43:1

He has called us by name and we are His. How beautiful is that? Much like we want our own children to be confident in their abilities, to not let the little things bring us down, and to not feel like they have to be perfect at everything in order to be loved, so too does God feel the same way about us. Whether we plug in the Crock Pot or not. Remember that, my friends.