Monday, April 14, 2014

Because of Him

This short video is absolutely worth watching. Mormon.org (the go-to website for questions about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) posted it yesterday. This website is also a great resource for families, with a selection of short bible videos to view in preparation for Easter.



Feeling light after seeing this. Grateful for second chances, new days, and new beginnings.

Everything is possible, because of Him.



p.s. Palm Sunday thoughts in yesterday's post, as well as a link to our traditions for Holy Week. So begins my favorite week of the year.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Lines Written in Early Spring

It's a rainy Palm Sunday with dark clouds sweeping in from the west. And I am remembering this exchange from Lloyd C. Douglas' book, The Robe. 

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Demetrius, a Corinthian slave on assignment in Jerusalem, sees Jesus making his way into the city. For one instant, their eyes meet, and Jesus' gaze "communicated some sort of stabilizing power that swept away all such negations as slavery, poverty, or any other afflicting circumstance."

Knowing Demetrius had caught a glimpse of the Galilean, he is questioned by a visiting Athenian.

'[Is he] crazy?'
'No.'
'King?' 
'No,' muttered Demetrius, soberly - 'not a king.'
'What is he, then?' demanded the Athenian, piqued by the Corinthian's aloofness.
'I don't know,' mumbled Demetrius, in a puzzled voice, 'but - he is something more important than a king.'

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More important than a king. 

So we are making preparations for Holy Week. Pulling out our Easter lanterns, considering the last week of the Savior's life, planning our Easter walk, and finding the right branches for our Easter tree. (More on our traditions here.)

Hard to believe yesterday the sky was blue and I was thinking of WordsworthThe thousand blended notes he heard, the birds he saw hopping and playing, the budding twigs he noticed, spreading out their fans. 

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Reclined in a grove, he thought about what man had made of man.

What has man made of man? Such a question. And I have something to say on it. Thoughts I've been trying to find the courage to say for a long time. But now is not that time.

So I won't wax melancholy. There is too much leap-happiness in the air. Too much color and newness. Today, I want my lines to be about the goodness of man, and all the beauty Wordsworth saw in early spring.

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The same beauty I see here. 

In our yard.

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On the faces of my children as they burst out of doors. 

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In the trees, as they puff blossoms pink and white. 

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The daffodils are unfolding.

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Some still nodding like lemon drops.

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Martha's bartlett pears are glorious. An explosion of cloud-white petals.

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The yellow tulips are crowding, reaching, with so much anticipation.

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And this little guy zipped into his footies, with converse shoes on top, hoodie tied tight, and backpack with bunny dangling behind, has been cracking me up. His baseball cap reads, "I love Mommy."

"I'm adventuring," he says.

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And up he goes. To the top of the crabapple tree. Gordy's favorite perch of late.

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Friday Eliza and her friend Katherine (who sadly went home before I got out my camera), made a dozen mud pies. And mud shakes.

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Prettiest mud pies I've ever seen.

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At one point, all the girls were crowded into the corner, painting toe nails.

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Sami and Lilly sang Frozen songs and danced with Ana and Elsa.

I love Friday afternoons. No homework. Nowhere to go. Just an open window of time. To play with friends. To explore. To be.

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On April 1st (the week of our Spring Break), it rained and snowed, and rained some more. I woke with a fever that lasted 48 hours. (April Fools on me). But we made the best of it.

I told the kids after lunch, "I have to lie down. My body is shutting down. Just don't kill each other. Okay?" And then I crashed.

When I woke up they were donning rain gear and stomping out to the gutters, happy as could be.

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By Thursday I was starting to feel human again, and it was obvious from the bickering and complaining that we all needed an outing! So we went to Deseret Village for Baby Animal Days. It was love at first sight for Sami.

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The baby chicks were our favorite.

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Pony rides were a close second. 

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A shave at the old-fashioned barber was third. This is Spencer, being very brave.

And friends who studied in Jerusalem with me, do you recognize the barber? It's Brother Bawden! Sweetest man. Still taking tours for the LDS church, and still as kind as you and I remember him.

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Otis the duck came in fourth. But not by much. The kids were enamored by all the animals.

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And now for a bit of an update.

A few weeks ago my Dad decided to check himself into the ER for chest pain. Thankfully, he didn't wait. An angiogram and one stent later, he was lying in the recovery room, having dodged a whizbanger of a bullet. 95% blockage in one of his arteries. 

Good thing he's an ER doc and recognized his symptoms immediately. Funny enough, he has practiced emergency medicine for so many years now, everyone on staff (at a hospital where he doesn't practice) had worked with him at some point or another. The ER doc, the nurses, the cardiologist, the heart surgeon. All of them knew Dr. Bob.

So grateful he was in good hands. And so grateful he listened to that quiet voice that encouraged him to go in.

Can't even begin to think what we would do without him. 

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And last Thursday night, I read at our Motherhood Realized Launch event. We had over 70 women there. All devoted, good mothers with unique skill sets, circumstances, and challenges. Conversing with them was by far the highlight of the evening.

If you haven't heard yet, our book did not make the NYT bestseller list. We think it was fairly close as our goal was to sell 7000 copies by March 29th and we sold just over 6000.

This was a learning experience for all of us. No one really knows how to get on this prestigious list. But we did the best with what we knew. Only the really big publishers seem to know where the NYT will pull numbers from on a given week. It's not necessarily total sales they use, but how well stocked your book is in various brick and mortar stores. And our publisher was working tirelessly all week to do just that. We were up against some tough competition though, including What to Expect When You're Expecting and all the diet and how-to books. 

But we are thrilled with the success. Amazon.com and bn.com are becoming their own bestseller lists. And we topped the charts on Amazon: #1 in Motherhood, #1 in Parenting, and #27 in books overall. That's pretty fabulous. photo motherhoodrealizedquote_zps945ac5f5.jpg
One lovely lady who attended the event, made this poster for her blog. Read Taralyn's recap of the event here, including her thoughts on the book.

Kinda weird to put my own quote up there, but she was hoping others would repost it. Taralyn, thank you for this, and for your kind words.

Wishing you holy days this coming week. Days of insight, spirit, and light.

As I sat with my primary class in church today and listened to Martha teach about the Atonement, I thought again about the miracle of Christ's suffering for us. That he can literally take our sins from us and put them on himself, remove the disappointment and angst we feel when we've made a mistake. Free us, give us liberty to move on, gift us complete understanding.

Where else will we find such a champion? Yes, much more important than a king.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Conference Sunday

We are listening to General Conference today (and yesterday). Words from our church leaders who serve on a global level.

I look forward to conference. It gives me clarity in a world of increasing confusion as to who we are, what we ought to do in this life, and what is right. It offers messages of peace during a day when it is too easy for our mind to hijack our heart, leaving us unsure, discouraged, or forgotten.

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I've been watching these tulips slowly rise in the corner of our backyard. The first red petals of spring. Glistening in soft rain today. Outside it is quiet. Inside, our children are busy, loud, and in continual motion. But we are listening. And I am grateful.

These words from Dieter F. Uchtdorf today are an example of the light I always find during conference.

"Gratitude is a disposition, a way of life."

Anyone can listen @ lds.org. Anytime. Listen while you drive, while you fold, wash, or walk. Plug in. You'll be lifted. I promise.



p.s. Still waiting for the NYT list to go up. I'll let you know. By midnight March 29th we had moved up to #27 in books overall on Amazon, #1 in parenting books, and stayed #1 in mothering books. Your support has been humbling. Thank you again.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Countdown!

Today is the last day to buy Motherhood Realized and help us get it on the New York Times Bestseller list! The window closes at midnight!

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All week long the book has stayed in Amazon's #1 spot for motherhood books. It moved up to #3 in parenting books, right next to What to Expect When You're Expecting. And yesterday it jumped up 80 spots to #102 in books overall!

The momentum has been amazing. 

Yesterday, Christen Bensten ran a beautiful feature on her blog, Blue Egg Brown Nest. You'll love her angle on women helping women, and writers helping writers. I adore her for helping us so close to the deadline. And you'll be awed by the beautiful furniture she refinishes. She's a wife, mother, writer, and potter. Heather and Kir, thanks for introducing us!

Meridian's cover story yesterday was about our book, including some excerpts, if you want to take a gander.

And I wrote a blip for Segullah that ran Thursday.

These little people above have been very patient as I've spent way more time on the computer this week, than usual. Which has been kinda hard. But they too, are hopeful about getting our book on "the list." 

"Did it make it yet?" they asked me this morning.

Bless their hearts.

And bless your generous hearts. All you who ordered copies... and in same cases, stacks. Ah. I love you.

So in the last few hours, if you can think of anyone you haven't told about our book, please do! It really is more than a book. It's a movement. 


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

New York Times Bestseller List - Almost There!


Dear ones, Motherhood Realized, is selling SO well we have a DEFINITE chance at making the NY Times Bestseller list! But the close of that window is Saturday, March 29th. So if you haven't already, would you please consider buying the book for yourself, sisters, mothers, daughters, friends? Before Saturday?

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Books that rank on best-seller lists become topics that get attention in the larger world. So topping national book lists would open media discussions around the ideas in our book. Like redefining social media's concept of a "good mom," being more present in our mothering, identifying personal strengths, and encouraging each other, rather than comparing with each other. We think that conversation would be incredibly valuable.

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All five scootching along the wall, entertaining themselves while I cook dinner.

By the end of business day Monday, Motherhood Realized moved up to Amazon's #1 best seller spot for books on motherhood. And it's currently at #4 in parenting books!

Thanks so much for all the buzz and support.

Yesterday, I sat down to read a few chapters in the book and I found myself getting emotional over the words and ideas. That says to me, that this book is full of life-truths that will bless mothers everywhere. Wise, insightful women have written these essays. They're lovely. And even yesterday, I felt the inspiration of those pages.

Feel free to share this link, text friends, email your circles.

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I'm not on Facebook a whole lot, and Instagram I try to keep to mornings and evenings. But this week, I've had to be on both, more than usual. I've choked up everyone's feeds with updates and an overload of book talk. (Sorry, friends.) 

I'll be glad when I can crawl into a hole for a while, and move quietly through our daily life, without distraction. This big book push has been so exciting. But it has also felt like a balloon (still filling with air) in the corner of my head, occupying space. Book promotion takes a lot of time. 

However, with a launch team of 300 women and the crazy connection of social media, the word is officially out! And we're thrilled with the success. 

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Lastly, April Perry and I had a fun discussion last week about one of my essays in the book, Say Yes! Below is the link if you'd like to give a listen. (Listen kindly. I overused a few phrases and didn't connect the dots as well as I would have liked. But we had a good time!)

Listen to Say Yes!

I wrote Say Yes! four years ago, before our boys were even a year old. So my understanding of "saying yes" has definitely evolved. April and I talk about that in the podcast.

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Friends, thanks for all your generous support. You've created a community here of people I trust, love, and learn from. So many of you have encouraged me through difficult times and helped me mother better. I have watched you, read about you, observed you, and been inspired by you.

I appreciate you so very much.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Motherhood Realized - Today's the Day!

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Okay friends, TODAY's the day! It's the launch of our new book, Motherhood Realized! An inspiring anthology for the hardest job you'll ever love.

Those of us who co-authored the book believe family life is beautiful and motherhood is a privilege. We also know that some days it's hard to see that beauty. Especially when you feel you don't match up, or your heart wants to do more than your hands can manage.

This book redefines what it means to be a "good mom." It discusses topics like getting through hard times, shifting perspectives, identifying your strengths as a mother, and savoring moments. It will make the perfect mother's day gift. Because it resonates with mothers in any stage of parenting.



And... in case you missed the memo last Friday, here's the wild pie in the sky of it: Our publisher thinks we can land our book on the New York Times Bestseller list!! But we need your help!

If you buy the book between now and Saturday, you can receive some great prizes from Power of Moms (including an invitation to the Park City Retreat!). Just buy your book then fill out  the requested info on the website. HERE'S THE LINK, so you can view prizes and see author bios. 

And here's the AMAZON LINK for purchasing.

UPDATE 3/24 late afternoon: Amazon sold out earlier today but please go ahead with your purchase!! New books are already on their way to Amazon from the publisher. There will be a tiny delay, but if you go ahead and order, books will ship to you as soon as they arrive. Books also available at bn.com! }

Katrina Kenison, who wrote Mitten Strings From God, is one of our contributing authors. As well as Linda Eyre, Shawni Porthier, Saren Eyre Loosli, April Perry, Allyson Reynolds, and other wonderful, insightful women. 


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These lovely posters are quotes from the book.



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And for fun, a peek at our newest Keddington cousin. My little niece. Fresh from the other side. 


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Hana Holman. Born Friday, March 21st. 

6 lbs. 13 oz.

Welcome baby girl. Your Mom and Dad have been waiting oh so long for you. I can feel the warmth of your tiny flame, lit by divine parents and cradled into this world for us to breathe on, enlarge, surround, love. You're going to shine here. I just know it. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Mom Stuff

Back in February, my friend Melissa Bradford (you know her as Global Mom) came from the beautiful Swiss Alps for her two-week book tour. She started in Boston, where she spoke at the Harvard Business School (among other venues), and eventually made it to Michelle's home in Salt Lake City for her last speaking engagement. The next morning she flew back to Geneva.

Along the way she signed books, read excerpts from Global Mom, connected with old and new friends, and radiated genuine goodness. I listened to her at The King's English speak about the land of loss - that place you would never choose to go, but where you learn endless much. We laughed. We cried. We bent our ears and hearts toward hers.

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Katie, Melissa, me, Martha

At Michelle's home, she spoke about language, offering wonderful insights into her family's life abroad. Everywhere Melissa has lived she's made great effort to learn the language. Because all human beings, she said, need to be understood. And learning to speak to someone in their own language says you value them. Her perspective made me want to grab my family, leap on a plane, and barrel out of this place into the big wide world. 

Melissa managed a superhuman schedule of 17 events in 6 days while she was in Utah. She said the airport didn't lose her luggage; they lost her voice.

But she held up remarkably well. And I was grateful for the few minutes we had to talk. I was also happy to introduce her to some of my closest friends. Women who have visited the land of loss.

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Equally delightful, was the chance to meet her parents. 

See her mother with silver hair in the red love seat? Her father seated behind? Melissa's Dad, who is an excellent photographer, took photos. And her mother looked at her with such admiration, I tried to capture it here. They adore her. It's obvious they are proud of who she is. 

Melissa wrote this stunning post about her mother - evidence of how tightly they have held on to each other. 

As I grow older, I realize, the mother-child relationship is one you never stop needing. A need that goes both ways. Mother needing child. Child needing mother.

For those of you who told me you still have questions about Melissa, Michelle wrote an excellent post titled, What you probably don't know about MDB.

Melissa's second book, On Loss and Living Onward, will be out May 2014. And you can read her perspective on the book tour, here.

Melissa, you bless my life. Sending you love.

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So I've been thinking a lot about motherhood this week. Our second Power of Moms book launches next week. More below. I recorded a podcast today with April Perry about the book. There are motherhood retreats coming up, book launch events, book signings.

And yet, all of that is just a spin-off of motherhood.

In my home, in the chaotic mess of it all, is the real deal. 

As I plopped into bed last week, with Doug out of town and the house an epic disaster (which I figured the morning-me would handle better than the midnight-me), I opened a church magazine and read this quote by Rachel Jankovic: 

"Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling... it is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for."

Don't you love that gentle reminder?

Motherhood. Why we're here. Why we wake up every morning and try again. To do it better.

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A few weeks ago, Gordon had a rough day. After so many fits of yelling and frustration, he finally consented to sit on my lap. No song. No story. I just held him. And within minutes, he was sound asleep. I didn't have the heart to wake him. Because really, how many more times is this going to happen? He's almost five. Our snuggles are only snatches of what they used to be.

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my mom and my sisters

Also on my mind, is my little Sister Sarah, who is delivering her first baby as I type! A girl! 

We gathered last month to celebrate this long awaited miracle. 

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The sweetest gift of the day was this quilt my niece, Lizzie, made for her. All. By. Herself. Deb (her mom) guided her. But Lizzie did all the cutting, piecing, and sewing.

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Isn't that amazing? What a treasure.

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flowers from doug

And now some Power of Moms stuff to tell you about.

POWER OF MOMS RADIO

Power of Moms Radio launched last month and is taking off! Currently, the website is averaging 1500 downloads a day.
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Here's how it works. Go to this link and subscribe to the podcasts via iTunes (tutorial on the website) or click on the list of podcasts available on that page. If you listen and like what you hear, rate and review POMs radio on iTunes. That will help us spread the word about this great resource.

All kinds of mothering topics are being discussed. 

Recently, I listened to the "laundry" podcast, hoping for ideas. Because laundry and I are in this competition and laundry is schooling me. Every week. 

My latest tactic: folding while I sit here. Next to the piano as I help the girls practice.

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It's working. Some of the time.

I've also been listening while I do dishes or fold laundry at night. 

And here's why I love Power of Moms. They're not there to set an idealistic expectation of what kind of mother you should be. All the women participating are down-to-earth, real women, with real challenges, who simply want to help other mothers feel good about their mothering. So they offer resources that empower, ideas that get you thinking, and a feeling of camaraderie. This community has given me a real sense of support in my mothering.

MOTHERHOOD REALIZED - OUR NEW BOOK!

Especially exciting is the launch of our new book! Slated for April 8th. But I think we're bumping it up to March 24th! Because Amazon is already filling orders. 

But please don't purchase until March 24th.

Why? April, Saren, and the publishers had this grand idea... to get our book on the New York Times Bestseller list. I know, kinda pie in the sky. But with the enormous readership POMs has, we think it's a possibility.

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The book is beautiful. It really is. For so many reasons. The cover, the title, the subtitle, the content. Every essay is inspiring. It's an anthology that will speak to mothers of all ages and stages. 

I love the women who contributed to this. They are honest, imperfect, but striving. Just like you.

So will you help us?   

Spread the word on Monday (March 24th) and encourage friends to buy the book THAT week. I'll post a reminder on Monday.

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waiting for cakes to bake

EVENTS

Other events you might want to join us for:

Book Launch Event. Thursday April 3rd in downtown Salt Lake City. I'll be there, along with some of the other authors. We'll do some short readings and mingle. There will be refreshments, and an opportunity to buy the book at a discounted price. Sign up here.

Power of Moms Park City Retreat. Biggest Retreat of the year. May 3rd. I'd love to see you there. April and Saren do a fabulous job at these retreats. They give moms great tools, provide wonderful food, and discuss topics like progress, priorities, and joy, with an introduction to family systems. Register here.


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visiting daddy at work. leaving love notes on his white board. 'tis tax season.

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The publishers sent us this poster to use and I love it. 

Important. Crazy. Beautiful. Motherhood. All in one sentence. 

Exactly how it is.

Holler if you have any questions. And happy weekend!

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