After a fun Saturday of softball and baseball, I decided to try something new this beautiful Sunday morning. I uploaded the first chapter of The Chapel to the CreateSpace.com preview site. You can go there now to read it, rate it and make comments. So check it out --
I would like to thank all of you for your encouragement as I work away on The Chapel. I have connected with some new friends to make it the best it can be, and that takes time. More time than I'd like, but I know it's going to be worth it. (I even brought my computer to the doctor's office yesterday!) So hang in there - I hope to have an updated release date soon!
Memorial Day festivities including pool openings and bar-b-ques promise to be lots of fun this weekend. But a group of families from our town will be driving to Maryland for another big event:
Odyssey of the Mind WORLD FINALS!
What is Odyssey of the Mind? I wrote two articles about the program here and here. Here are a couple of articles about our season and our teams:
Every May, the residents of Upper St. Clair gather for a day of games, prizes, food and fun - our Community Day. My earliest memories of Community Day are when I marched as a Pantherette back in high school. Now, my kids are marching and representing the organizations they love as they smile and wave to their friends in the crowd - and throw candy. Gently, of course...
Community Day booths are another tradition that my kids love. Local organizations have games, food, activities and raffles. Some are raising money for good causes (like our two World Finals Odyssey of the Mind teams at booth #45!), and some are raising awareness. But it's a great way for me to see neighbors and friends that I haven't seen for a while.
So if you're around USC tomorrow, please stop by. There is something for everyone, and we're not going to talk about the weather - we're just going to be optimistic!
There's even a special treat for those of you interested in The Prophecy: please visit the Wise Women Booth (near the Girl Scouts) for chances to win one of two autographed copies or a Prophecy tote bag! I want to thank Kim for the opportunity to spread the word about my book tomorrow. (Her awesome article about me can be found in the April issue of her WiseWomen e-journal.)
My lack of recent posts disturbs me. From the outside, it probably looks like I'm not working or not focused. The truth is that I'm spending every spare moment working on The Chapel. I have been revising and revising and revising. I'm still in the middle of it, but I haven't reached the point where I think I'm doing more harm than good. So my point is - don't worry. Silence, in this case, is a good thing. It means The Chapel will be ready sometime soon.
To keep you entertained as you patiently await the release of Book Two, I have decided to share a video that I showed my kids a few weeks ago. They love to draw, and last year they both checked out Ed Emberley's books from the library multiple times to practice his techniques. Something about his drawings attracted them, and me, and I had to click the video when I saw this post by Austin Kleon.
What I love the most about his story is that he had an entirely different vision of success when he started. But as he learned, sometimes those visions must change, and you won't know how they should change unless you keep moving forward. Keep working. Keep producing. Keep trying. On that note, back to work I go...
We finished our Socks for Japan project yesterday, and it was such a great feeling to take those huge boxes to the post office. Our elementary school collected socks to send to those hit by the disasters in Japan, and my kids and I repackaged and counted the socks.
We knew the families at our school were generous with their time and donations for causes in the past, but we had no idea how many of them would bring in socks. The school staff worked hard to come up with a letter the students could insert in the baggie with each pair that would be a personal message with a drawing. As you can see, the results are simply adorable.
After counting and recounting, we came to our grand total:
1008 pairs of socks
81 pounds of socks
To save shipping costs, we put as many as we could into two large boxes, then had one smaller box for the overflow. Thanks to the helpful folks at the post office, we were able to mail the three boxes yesterday.
But the best part of the project was the perspective it brought to my children. They knew about the disasters from lessons in school, but I think it truly affected them when they saw photos of other sock donations and of the children in Japan smiling as they received new socks. My daughter in particular took this to heart, and she was the one who asked me to approach the school about doing the sock drive. She may not be able to grasp the magnitude of the damage, but she can relate to the sight of another child in need.
My favorite part of this experience happened yesterday afternoon. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw my daughter watch the post office go by as we drove away. With a very big smile on her face, she said, "Now the socks are on their way to making lots and lots of people happy." Simply wonderful.
The Socks for Japan project is winding down, but there is still time to send a shipment (the last day is 5/16/11). For more information, check out Jason Kelly's site at http://jasonkelly.com/helpjapan/. Here is an article from our local paper detailing our sock collection. And thanks to Makiko and Amy for telling us about the project.
First I must admit one thing: I haven't read the entire book. It is so full of stories from mothers who describe their struggles to find balance, but it also includes helpful suggestions for moms who are struggling right now. And if we're honest, I'd have to say we're all struggling right now, today and everyday. Just like laundry, there is no end to the balancing act we must perform. Each morning will present new challenges to our best-laid plans, and it is our ability to find ways to weave those challenges into our lives without giving in to the chaos that make us "Good Enough" moms.
My second confession: I'm not rushing to finish the book anytime soon. Rather, I see it as a permanent fixture on my nightstand, something to read carefully and completely, not skim through to the end so that I can check it off my to do list. It is that book that I will pick up at night after a particularly hard day when I need encouragement, support or just a good laugh. It will be the one I use when my children or family or friends or co-workers come up with a completely new way to frustrate or confuse me. And it will be the one I will turn to when I am on the verge of tears, desperately trying to keep my life in balance and feeling like a complete failure.
What I like the most about The New Perfect is how Hollee and Becky have woven personal stories of their own along with stories from a variety of women to provide us with the "how we got here" history of modern motherhood.