I didn’t really intend for my recent blogging fast to last as long as it did, but life just sort of swallowed me up and there was little free time to do much of anything, including blog. The break was good for me, but I’m not sure I reaped much spiritually, which was the point. Take away one form of “noise,” and it seems like there’s another kind of distraction just waiting to fill the silence.
I feel like I’ve had no good writing material lately (not even gifts of crunchy boogers, although I have been blessed to receive one of those before in the palm of my hand). So for lack of anything better to write about, I’ll share some bits and pieces from our life around here lately.
1. My book is finished. (Yea! Woo-hoo! Wish-I-could-chug-down-some-champagne-right-about-now! Yippie!!!!!!!) Not only that, but I have an official title and publication. Look for Weightless: Making Peace with Your Body to hit stands on August 1st, 2011. Given the baby is due a few weeks after that, there will be no big book tours for me. Ah well. There’s a season for everything, right? (Speaking of books, Sarah Reinhard’s Advent book for children and their families is available on Amazon for pre-order. I had the honor to read a draft of it and look forward to using it with my daughters this Advent season.)
2. My mom and I threw a shower for my little brother’s future bride this past Sunday (my little brother is 30 years old, but he’ll always be my baby brother to me). We had an afternoon tea complete with scones (I’m always looking for excuses to make my scones), pimento cheese, cucumber, and chicken salad sandwiches, deviled eggs, old-fashioned wedding cookies, fruit salad, truffles (I don’t even need an excuse to make these they’re so divine; I substitute dark chocolate for milk), raspberry sorbet punch (pour a bottle of raspberry ginger ale into a punch bowl and add a gallon of raspberry sorbet and frozen raspberries for a delicious treat), crumbly coffee cake my Aunt Louise made, coffee, and of course, tea. It was a lovely afternoon and my brother and his future wife (whom I adore and so do my girls) acquired quite a stash of gifts. It made me want to have a shower since our new-ish house is still in need of a lot of finishing touches.
I also prayed a version of the bridal shower prayer I wrote a long time ago for my sister-in-law when I threw her a shower. I shared it on my blog, and that post remains the number one way people randomly stumble across this blog. It seems bridal shower prayers are hard to come by yet in great demand. Thus, I’ll share the new version below. Please feel free to edit and use if and when you find yourself celebrating a friend or loved one’s upcoming marriage.
I’m so excited for my brother. I’ll be a (large, pregnant) bridesmaid on his big day, and my two oldest daughters will be flower girls.
We thank you Lord for this food prepared today. We ask that you give us all grateful hearts, especially during the spring, a season of new beginnings. Please make us mindful of the needs of others – in particular those who are lonely and without the love we are celebrating today – through Jesus Christ our Lord.
|Mary Elizabeth enjoying a pre-party snack.|
|Gaba (my mom) and my big girl Madeline|
|Towers of treats! My apologies to those of you who gave up sweets for Lent.|
|More food because I don’t need its permission to post candid shots of it on my blog.|
|The shower was held at my parents’ house. My mom was in charge of the decorating and outdid herself as she always does!|
|I’ll throw in one more photo of food because it was that good. Many thanks to my little sous chefs as well as to my Aunt Louise who helped out a ton.|
|The bride-to-be and one of her flower girls.|
3. I had another ultrasound yesterday just to make sure everything was okay given fears of a placental tear and then suspicion of an extra gestational sac. The ultrasound tech confirmed it had been a gestational sack that my body has absorbed because now they’re no longer any big, white space. Even my untrained eyes could see this much. She told me I had a vanishing twin. The girls were there with me, and dear Madeline asked hopefully, “You’re having twins?” I wasn’t sure how to explain a “vanishing twin” to a child. I’m not sure how to explain it to myself. Nor am I quite sure how to feel or what to think other than to be grateful for the one jumpy, little life force I saw dancing within me.
4. The tech asked me if I wanted to know the sex. Everyone keep asking me. We’re not finding out, which blows a lot of people’s minds since we have three girls and many people assume we’re only pregnant again because we really want that boy. I’ve already had a few people ask me if we’re going to keep trying to for a boy. For the record, we weren’t really trying to have anything when this baby was conceived. My husband and I also both have laughed together at the thought of what we’d do with a penis. I’m so used to girl parts – girl everything – that I think I’d be completely shocked if my midwife calls out, “It’s a boy!” on delivery day.
However, I will say that when I was getting the girls ready for the bridal shower and having to brush and style three heads of hair (four if you count my own), I was thinking it would be awfully nice to just be able to buzz cut a boy’s hair and be done with it. My girls get these amazing nests in the back of their heads that require lots of patient, slow brushing to untangle. I tease them and say there are lots of birdies making their homes in thicket of their hair.
Later on I’ll be taking guesses on the baby’s gender but if you have a feeling now, feel free to share. The only clues I have at all is that I’m gaining more weight with this pregnancy than I have with my three others (I actually gained the least with my youngest child). Now I could say I feel humongous and am afraid my feet are about to disappear in the shadow of my cliff belly any day now, but no author of a book on positive body image would ever think or say that. By the way, Madeline thinks we’re having a girl while Rachel is betting on a boy. Although Rachel also said, “Now if it’s not a boy, then it’s probably a girl.” Probably.
5. I’ve had a new website designed for a few weeks now by the exceedingly talented John of Kickstart Media. (I highly recommend his services. He was quick, professional, and patient with all of my concerns and questions. He transcended the role of web designer and really acted as a media consultant giving me advice on branding, etc.) I hope I can get my act together and unveil new site some time in April, but we’ll see. It looks great. I just have to figure out the new platform.
6. I’m counting the days until the Faith & Family Mom’s Day Away. There’s still time to register. I’m looking forward to everything but the cold weather. We’ve had some beautiful days here in Georgia lately. The high for today is 83!
7. My Lent has been going pretty well. I’m actually really enjoying writing a letter for every day of the 40-day journey, but I could do better with my prayer life. I’ve been struggling in the prayer department for a long time now, but I really just need to stop obsessing over the quality (or lack thereof) of my praying and just do it already. Yesterday I was in the bathroom when I noticed the book Beginning Contemplative Prayer in the magazine/book basket by the toilet. That might be part of my problem. Trying to squeeze in contemplative prayer while nature calls probably isn’t the best strategy.
8. During my blogging fast, I did learn one really valuable lesson. It’s been a long time since I’ve received a negative comment, but I should have known that writing about breastfeeding a toddler would elicit at least one biting remark. When I was away from blogging and even from the rest of the online world with the exception of my email for a few days, I made the mistake of still looking at the comments that landed in my inbox. I’d been receiving tons of support for my Top 10 Reasons for Nursing a Toddler, but all it took was one negative comment for me to get all agitated. I had to exert every ounce of will power to not immediately respond to the comment, but I resisted. I did, however, write a lengthy response in my word processor, so I suppose I kind of cheated. At the time, I was so fired up that someone would misunderstand me saying that breastfeeding is a maternal act of love and to make the astounding logical jump that therefore if you didn’t nurse or your baby (or toddler) or no longer do, you have no love for your child.
Anyway, I rambled on and on and so badly wanted to post this lengthy response either in the combox or as an entire separate post on my blog. But my fast forced me to wait and the longer I waited, the more I realized it was not necessary for me to become so defensive. Nor is it necessary for me to please everyone or to worry about people who might connect imaginary dots or read between lines that don’t exist. I eventually did write an abbreviated comment in the combox after my official fast was over. I’m still toying with the idea of writing a follow-up post and based on this lengthy explanation of it all, the fruit of detachment still has not fully ripened within me. And, yet, I no longer have the irresistible urge to delete the comment, to defend my words or what I meant by them, or to focus on the one drop of negativity in a pool of kindness. Sometimes silence really does speak louder than words. Likewise, sometimes it’s okay to be misunderstood. We don’t have to prove ourselves to everyone or to clarify everything we say.
Through this experience, I remembered that the last negative comment I received also happened to be during a blogging fast around this time last year. Think God is trying to tell me something? I’ll really be free once I can read a naysayer’s words, smile (or at least not feel my blood pressure rise to frightening levels), let it go, and allow them to have no power over me.
Well, this turned into an epically long post about not much of anything.