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Speaking Words of Life

It was a short conversation over text, but it has stuck with me all week, so I asked for permission to share it with you!

Me – How do you know my friend Amy?

Michelle – She sat at my table at MOPS* like five years ago.

Michelle and I recently met at the school where I teach one day a week, and we just became Facebook friends a few days ago. I checked out her page to see who we have in common and was happy to see Amy’s name. After I explained my connection to Amy, Michelle had me teary with this story:

“She probably doesn’t know this, but she was instrumental for me dealing with a teen pregnancy – with my step-daughter. I had MOPS the day after we found out she was seven and a half months pregnant. Obviously, I was reeling. I shared my news with the other ladies at my table and Amy looked at me and said,

`God sent a baby to save the world. Maybe He’s sending this one to save your daughter.’

And it did…save her, and it saved our relationship. We adopted her baby, Harper Grace. Grace for God’s grace. Amy probably barely remembers me, but I’ll never forget her.”

THIS is what friends do for each other – speak words of kindness and love, especially when someone is hurting. Amy is one of those people you meet that always knows what to say to lighten someone else’s burden. She makes people feel seen and loved. She has spoken words of life to me too and inspired me to be a better friend, so I really connected with Michelle’s story.

My daughter’s middle name is also Grace, but there’s another piece of this story that tugged at my heart. Michelle and Amy met at MOPS!

You see, Amy struggled with infertility (and all the heartache that comes with it) for several years before she became a mom. I was witness to part of that difficult season of her life, and I know where she was at 5 years ago as an exhausted new mommy of triplets! I love that she was part of a MOPS group and I think it’s awesome how she made a difference in Michelle’s life. I love that my world continues to both shrink and expand through my friendships with amazing people.

And that little unplanned baby they were talking about?

She’s now a beautiful little girl.

 

Harper

Michelle and Harper

*MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. Headquartered in Denver, MOPS has been around since 1973. They partner with churches and organizations in over 60 countries to encourage moms. For more information or to find a MOPS group near you, visit their website: mops.org

Accountability…Ugh.

There is nothing fun about that word. You want to know how to nail the concept down? Promise a child you’ll do NaNoWriMo with them. 😉

NaNoWriMo Writer Badge

Kate, my niece, lives a few states away. I don’t know her nearly as well as I’d like to, but we have the BEST common interest…BOOKS! Reading them. Writing them. Smelling them. Well, I don’t know if she loves the smell of books like I do. That’s an assumption. I’ll have to ask her.

Back to NaNoWriMo. I’m a list person, and let me tell you, I could write a doozy of a list of reasons this is NOT the month to write a novel:

  1. We just moved to a new house in a new city. There are boxes everywhere.
  2. I’ve been fighting a head and chest cold for the past two weeks. *sniff*
  3. I have three jobs
  4. and two busy teenagers
  5. and an adult child who may never leave home
  6. and a husband who buys me mugs that say, “Write Epic Shit” on them. (Okay, that’s actually one for the “Pro” column.)
  7. and my novel has been shelved for several years
  8. and whinewhinewhinewhinewhinewhinewhine

But there is a twelve year old girl in Wisconsin counting on me to keep my word. I won’t let her down. I won’t let myself off the hook. And I really do love writing. Well, I love having written. If I’m going to reach my goals and dreams, I need to start somewhere.

Today is Day 1! It’s time to begin again! If you would like to join me in my quest to pound out a 50,000 word novel in thirty days, click on the link below to sign up for NaNoWriMo. If your list of reasons not to do it is anything like mine, ignore it. Find an accountability partner, and put your butt in a chair and your fingers on the keys. You can do it! I believe in you!

https://www.nanowrimo.org/

For the 17 and under crowd, join Kate in NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program: https://ywp.nanowrimo.org/ 

2-WriterWebBadge

Happy Writing! 🙂

 

Finding Your Voice

18 years ago today, my birthday twin posted on his blog for the first time. I know this because that’s what he posted on it today. You can read it here: http://wilwheaton.net/2019/08/6584-days/

“I enjoyed writing in my blog (powered by Greymatter!), and I felt like, for the first time in my life, I could speak for myself. My voice, which had only been heard through the filter of teen magazines, or vapid entertainment press, a voice which had been tightly controlled by the adults in my life, could finally have a chance to speak on its own truth.”

Holy crap! That resonates with me!

womanvoice

I started blogging the same year Merriam-Webster declared “Blog” their word of the year. YouTube was launched a year later. With three children under the age of five, I was desperate to find something that was just mine. As a youth minister’s wife, I longed for a place to express myself outside of the fishbowl I was living in. I was starving for connection with people I could be myself with – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Like Wil, I started blogging to stretch my wings a bit and find my voice, but I got to do that with a MUCH smaller audience because I’m not famous for anything, anywhere. Less pressure. The people in close proximity didn’t know what blogging was, so there was a sense of safety in the vague anonymity of the web. My how things have changed, huh?

I’m still struggling with my voice. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s sarcastic. Sometimes it’s irritated or angry and I want to scream, “Go ahead! I F***ing Dare You!” Sometimes it’s weighty and sorrowful, and sometimes it holds the giddy excitement of a first kiss. At least that’s how it seems to me.

Blogging has given me a place to practice my voice, and I’ve learned a lot in the past fifteen years. Here’s a quick top ten:

  1. I have a voice but I’m still nailing down what it sounds like, because like my speaking voice, I know its sounds different to me than it does to you.
  2. I have permission and the courage to use the voice I have, even though sometimes I have to dig pretty deep inside myself to reach my courage.
  3. WHO reads my words is more important to me than the size of my audience.
  4. I blog to connect, entertain, challenge, inspire, and to explore and process the world around me. I blog to give others the gift of going second and permission to speak freely. If I want others to do that, I’d better be doing it too.
  5. My goal isn’t making money. If you’re blogging to make money, good for you! I hope you’re wildly successful! That’s just not the point of this for me.
  6. I am not always right. I have apologized for the things I’ve written SO MANY times through the years. #eatinghumblepie #beingteachable
  7. It’s okay to only write here sometimes. As long as I keep paying for my domain name, this thing isn’t going anywhere. I write in other spaces too – some private, some public.
  8. We all grow as we go. I keep my old posts – even the ones I no longer agree with – to honor who I was then. That woman was trying to find her voice too.
  9. Not everything that floats through my head needs to be written down or spoken. WORDS! I love them. I have lots of them. The word-vomit temptation is real, friends. I fight it all the time. You’re welcome. 😉
  10. Words have the power to heal and mend, so sometimes I write. I hope when you meet me here you’ll choose to see the best parts of me even when I show you my unloveliness. Surely we can find some common ground to heal and mend together so we can help heal and mend the world.

Wil inspired me today. I appreciate his journey, and using his paragraph that I quoted above, I’ve created my own version:

I’ve enjoyed writing on my blog. It’s given me an outlet to speak for myself and share pieces of who I am. My blogging journey has felt a lot like puberty – the beauty of personal development contrasting with a voice that cracks during the moments that will cause the most embarrassment. My voice, which I have allowed to be tightly controlled by my fear of what the religious people in my life would think of me if I spoke freely, is finally getting a chance to speak its own truth. My voice is one of love and inclusion, but also authenticity, which means there will also be times when I say, “I f***ing dare you.”

Have you found your voice? What has your journey been like? How are you using your voice now? Permission to speak freely…

Find your voice. Change the world.

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