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In which I launch Field Notes, my e-newsletter – and a free ebook!

Field Notes

A bit of fun news tonight: I’m starting a free e-newsletter for subscribers!

It’s called Field Notes, and it will feature exclusive content not found on the blog or anywhere else. My goal is to send it out every three months or so. In fact, announcements or big news will hit Field Notes first from now on.

For instance, I’m already working on my second book and when it’s time to announce it, subscribers to Field Notes will be the first to know. (And that may be happening sooner rather than later….) It will also include contests, giveaways, book recommendations, freebies, the best-of my work over the past month, and other fun features of bloggers, writers, news, and more that you won’t find anywhere else from me.

And to celebrate Field Notes,  in the first edition you will receive a free copy of my  new e-book, “The Practices of Mothering.” It’s the e-book version of a series I wrote a few years ago about the stuff I actually DO to enjoy mothering tinies – everything from the practical to the emotional. It remains one of the most popular series I’ve ever done here and this will make it easy for you to read it, keep it, print it, and pass it along.

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Isn’t the cover pretty? My thanks to Andrea Levendusky for her artwork and Dan King  of Fistbump Media for his tech help.

The first edition of Field Notes will be headed your way on May 5 so sign up below.

(If you are already receiving my posts through email, you’re already subscribed. I wanted to make sure you got the free e-book, too!)

EDITED TO ADD: If the “SUBMIT” button isn’t showing up for you, try clicking here and signing up. Or enter your email address and press “Enter.”



Continue Reading · blogging, Field Notes · 7

In which the moments are now ours alone :: on (not) blogging about my tinies

Sarah and Anne

photo by Tina Francis Mutungu

In the fading of the day, Anne was curled up against me in our beat-up old leather chair. I was reading, and she was just resting, watching me. We were rather quiet because the other two were watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood together. I had my hand in her blonde hair, slowly running my fingers through, she was precariously balanced, a noodle of a girl. Then we had a lovely conversation.

Maybe you’ve noticed or maybe you haven’t, I don’t know, but Anne and Joe have steadily been disappearing from my blog for a while now. I used to tell a lot more stories about them – their spirituality, their daily lives, their quirks, their new experiences, their wisdom, their frustrations – but the “mum-blog” aspect of my writing has wound down.

(It’s likely I’m the only one who misses it – the world hardly needs another over-sharing mother with a blog.)

I made a conscious decision to stop blogging about the tinies when they started kindergarten. I figured at that point – when they had friends at school, a presence in our community, a life of their own beginning to emerge – that they needed to know that their life was their own. So when they headed off to school, they headed away from my blog, too.

It’s been hard sometimes because, well, I’m a writer. It’s hard not to write about the most precious part of my life, the most inspiring, most rich and challenging part of my days. But I don’t write about the intricacies of their lives anymore – at least not publicly. (Babies and toddlers are fair game, so Evelynn still shows up a lot, particularly on Instagram since we’re together all day while the older tinies are at school. I tend to treat that medium as a her baby book (poor little third baby). But even with her young age, I try to be respectful with an eye on her future life.)

The tinies all know about my blog, of course. Before I post a picture of the older tinies, I ask if it’s okay with them. “Is it okay if I share this on Facebook? on my blog?” Most of the time they say yes, they get a kick out of it. Sometimes they say no, and then it’s just our moment. Sometimes I don’t even ask, I just know: it’s not for anyone else but us.

I do write about motherhood still, of course but now it’s more about Me As A Mother, my own journey. Details are obscured. No one is named if a particular situation warrants a mention. A couple of years ago, right about the time I was having these realizations about “war photographers” that I eventually wrote about for D.L Mayfield, I was having very similar thoughts about my own tinies.

And I’ll be honest with you: there are a few posts back in my archives that I wish now that I had not written about the tinies - I feel sad that I took a private moment and made it public, let other people weigh in on their lives. I was learning, and I get that, but still I have regrets. I have deleted them. I will make apologies when they are older: “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have written about that. Will you forgive me?” I’m trying to figure out a way to keep writing about mothering without using my children as fodder – and until I do, I’ll just keep erring on the side of silence and protection.

So that moment on the chair earlier today with Anne, it was ours alone. Even though the Writer-Me wants to capture the narrative and make some art, some connection, out of it, the Mama-Me is holding it close to the heart, protecting them. The days are moving too quickly sometimes. Anne is seven and a half, Joe is five and a half, Evelynn is nearly three. We have a lot of laughter, a lot of mess, a lot of frustrations, challenges, victories, and sacred moments. We have conversations that end well and other ones that end in eyes-rolling or yelling. There are things about the tinies and about this new season of our lives that are so incredible. But most of those moments will go unblogged. Those moments, those conversations, they’re ours alone now. I’ll jot them down in a journal, maybe someday they’ll show up in my writing but that day won’t come for a while – if ever.

I need my children to know that they aren’t blog fodder. I need them to know that they can grow up without an audience being privy to their sacred moments.

I need them to know that when they curl up around me in that old leather chair that their secrets are safe with me.

 

 

Continue Reading · blogging, family, parenting, writing · 83

In which my best posts of 2013 are…

In an effort to convince myself that the year has actually passed, I decided to put together a little retrospective of my year in blogging. (Is anyone else absolutely shocked that we’re nearly in 2014?)

2013 was the year of “Jesus Feminist” and Damaged Goods, the year of having feelings about conferences and thank you notes to Kate Middleton, meditations on motherhood and marriage, and a lot of talk about reading and church, my continuing spiritual journey and some GIFs now and again.

Stat worth noting (for me anyway): Topped 1.3 million page views in just 2013 alone!

Top referrers for 2013 (thanks, guys!):

Most page viewsIn which I share 10 books for older tinies (that post is actually from 2012 but it’s still my number one post. It’s also my most-pinned post at over 114,000 pins.)

Most commentsIn which I have All The Feelings About Conferences (technically the one for the most comments was a poll about choosing a headshot but in terms of a “real” post, it was this one)

Most tweetedIn which this is also about the men (223 tweets)

Most Facebook sharesIn which I thank the Duchess of Cambridge (6.6K) then In which Advent is for the ones who know longing (1.4K) then In which I beg Barbie’s pardon at 1.1K

Best community (you guys made this spectacular):

 

At SheLoves MagazineIn which I wrote a book about us

At A Deeper Story (without a doubt, my most viral post of 2013): I am Damaged Goods

On my own journey:

Best personal metaphor for the yearIn which I climb a metaphor

On parenting:

On marriage: In which [love looks like] an empty parking lot

On Jesus FeministIn which I’m a feminist, sure, but first I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ

Unapologetically dorkiest Instagram:

On women: In which Jezebel gives way to Deborah

On blogging: In which I think I’m losing my blogging mojo

On writing: In which art is like manna

On learning to handle critics (post in reference to Damaged Goods): In which I will not be silenced

On faith: In which you’re a pioneer

On church: In which I am still hopeful because…

On fearlessIn which we’re not afraid of you

Most likely to be misunderstoodIn which God does not want to use you 

Favourite guest postIn which I think I feel the Holy Spirit but… by Brenna D’Ambrosio

Most likely to make my husband roll his eyes: In which I geek out over Doctor Who

 

And just for fun, my top tweets of the year:

Coming up later this week: my favourite television shows, books, movies, and more of 2013…

Continue Reading · 2013 in review, blogging · 10

In which I think I’m losing my blogging mojo

10 Ways I’m Losing My Blogging Mojo

1. I’m not easily outraged. (I often feel more sad and grieved than furious these days.)

2. I can’t drop everything to write madly and coherently about timely and hot button issues. (But I’m really thankful for the people who can and do.)

3. Something happens and I think, “oh, I should write about that!” and then I see that other people are already saying it so much better than me and I figure, well, I don’t need to write it now. So I don’t and instead I point people in their direction.

4. Most of what I write doesn’t fit into tidy lists and bullet points or bold tweetable quotes anymore. (I can’t figure out if I’m being sarcastic or ironic by putting this post into a list format….)

5.  I’m not too interested in telling anyone else how to live their lives anymore, let alone in six steps with a pinnable graphic.

6.  I write whenever I feel like it. I’m undisciplined and sporadic and all-over-the-map.

7. I’ve changed my mind before and I know I’ll change it again. I’m less inclined to plant my opinion flags all over the place.

8. I think people should be more polite to each other. #SaidTheCanadian

9. I feel gross about self-promotion and strategizing and branding. I like the language of friendship and conversation and community better.

10. What’s good for stats isn’t always good for my soul. And I’m selfish enough to pick my own soul health first.

11. I’m terrible at conflict and confrontation, arguing and “calling people out.” Seriously. Terrible. Ask my poor husband. Besides, I’m too aware of all the ways I fail and fall short to be too hard on people anymore.

12. Anyways, most of my arguments can be summed up in one sentence: hey, how about you use some common sense, be kind, love everyone, and don’t be such an ass?

13. I want to be a better listener and sometimes that means I need to shut up now and again.

14. I want to tell a better story – a story of the Kingdom of God and the ways that we are loved and we are free – instead of listing out all the ways someone else is doing it wrong.

15. I am too wordy. I turn lists of 10-things into 15 and then I say, well, whatever, screw editing, and publish it anyway.

 

Continue Reading · blogging, Uncategorized, writing · 89