Thank You and a Give-Away!
Seven years ago, this month, I began writing on this blog having no idea where it would lead and it’s got me feeling tender and misty-eyed as I recollect the time. Seven years ago my youngest wasn’t quite two years old, and my oldest was twelve. Now my youngest is asking me for a briefcase for his upcoming birthday because he is a full-fledged-eight-year-old-entrepreneur and my oldest just got home for a visit from college. Seven years ago I had not written four books. Seven years is a long time.
Bookends say a lot about the middle and so little simultaneously. I’ve often thought I know so much from a cover, I thought I understood the beginnings and maybe even what appears to be endings, but it turns out I don’t. Plain and simple, we don’t. And those are the things I feel most tender about today, the myriad unknowns and how it’s okay.
(((deep breaths here)))
There was no way of knowing, twenty-one yeeears and eight months ago, when my husband and I got married what the middle could possibly be. We gathered and were gathered into a misty-night story and we began a journey we could not imagine we had just embarked upon. I don’t write about us much because it’s hard to know what to say about the story you’re in when you’re in it. This often reminds me of words author J.R.R. Tolkien wrote for Sam to say to Frodo,
“I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?” –The Two Towers
This whole passage gets me:
“We shouldn’t be here at all, if we’d known more about it before we started. But I suppose it’s often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually — their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on — and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same — like old Mr Bilbo. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
Jay and I have wondered a few more than a few times what kind of tale we’re in. I think when I write words and he draws pictures it’s often the very thing we’re wondering. It’s funny, in that way, I say an awful lot about us without saying much at all.
There’s a mild and sweet-tempered shower of rain falling in our corner of the wilds while I write to you all today, like so many days before in our now three + years of living here in the Pacific Northwest. It has become a sound of repose and responsibility—as the ground softens and we stay inside a little bit more—each month the rainy season persists. It has become a resting place for me to write to you on these indoor days, telling you my own tales, even as I wonder how the whole sound surrounding us is made by one drop at a time, and none of them by me.
Though I often have had to remind myself, I know it’s true; rain is a blessing.
So very often you’ve let me remind and wonder out loud how these drops in time, here in our corner of earth, and our backyard river would propel cascading memories, dirt, and rushing streams. Thank you—such miniature words for such a massive wave of feeling in my heart.
Thank you deeply for these seven years, because no matter how much I wrote here none of it would have mattered the way it has without you all being here to read those words. And, more than read, you’ve listened—and let me hear what you hear as well—which is actually a whole other experience! It’s its own bookend, that I could never have brought on my own, to the writings I begin here. Thank you.
You’ve given me wings, and I receive them. I’m not sure how often I’ll be writing here as I finish the next few books that are waiting for me to complete in the new year. I know that I sense new beginnings and that, in any case, you all will be among the first to hear what that looks like as I go. I also know that I want to end this seven-year cycle, that I am beyond grateful to find myself within, with some gifts for you!
First, one more short story… One night, a year and half ago, my husband and I gathered all of our children to listen to a story. And, as those of you fellow book-readers understand, so began another journey we could not imagine we had embarked upon, because this was a very significant story. This story has been a lifetime in the making, and somehow I feel it has always been meant to be here.
In the first chapter alone we were brought into a quiet, contemplative, wonder-filled space as a family imagining a teenaged Jesus coming-of-age beneath the care and through the lens of a father whose strength laid in his gentleness, and in whose gentleness bore His strength. For the next many months we received a new installment to this story, chapter by chapter and we’d savor it each time on a Friday night around the table, candles lit, attentions poised to be brought into wonder and, my friends, we were.
“Yes, artists need patrons, but patrons also need artists.” —Real Artists Don’t Starve
If any of you, my readers, are or want to be modern day patrons of a great artist I want you to know about this opportunity. The manuscript is complete but we need enough people to pledge to buy the book ($25) and if enough people make that pledge with us soon then it will get published next year! My family and I are so incredibly excited about this.
The author, C.T. Giles, is a long-time friend of our family and for nearly two-decades we have had the great privilege of watching him explore and study the historical portrait of the first century world Jesus was born into and grew up within. All of his hard work has paid off in a great reward through this book, among many other ways, as it is set in an authentically historical first-century Nazareth. When God Was a Boy is not only an informed companion to the reader in imagining those auspicious days, it is also a teacher. Yet, the ease of getting caught up in the story is so great you will not realize how much you are learning.
I could go on and on. But, I really want the story to speak for itself, because it does, and because I believe we need this book in the world. We have had no other time in history as have now, between scholarly and archaeological discoveries bringing breakthrough in understanding, we have the means to imagine and learn the ancient stories like never before. I am so proud of my brother and friend, whom I affectionately call Wailer, for doing his part in bringing this story, one that dwells at the center of my life, to dance within our imaginations in such radiant and warm colors.
Read the first chapter for free here: When God Was a Boy by C.T. Giles (Thank you to those of you who have already responded!)
And now, who doesn’t have their own copy of my new book, Grow Gently, yet? Send me a note with your address through the contact form here and I’ll send the first seven of you your own copy for the New Year 2021.
With so much love and thankfulness for you each, journeying with me between the beginnings and endings and the myriad unknowns. I’m with you too.
P.S. As always, thank you for sharing! You can subscribe here to stay in touch.