Bring a Book!

I’m delighted to be featured at All the Wonders this week talking about one of the most often heard phrases in our home – bring a book!

Summer has always been analogous with reading for me, as far back as I can remember. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the other summery things too—the swimming pools, the backyard barbecues, the roasted marshmallows, summer camp, the fireflies, the road trips, all of it. But for me, those things all had one thing in common—the book that was (and still is) always tucked safely in my bag. Just in case.

Now, as a mother of two young boys, these are the reminders as we get ready to leave the house:

Did you brush your teeth?
Yes, you have to wear shoes!
Bring a book!

And at least one member of our family takes that last reminder very seriously.

Reading at Six Flags…
and at Go! St. Louis marathon…
poolside…
in between customers…
and at the beach. Like mother, like son here.

 

 

Today, I’d like to share a few book recommendations for all the places you or your children might find yourselves this summer. They range in age from picture books to young adult. So, brush your teeth, grab your shoes, and above all, bring a book!

Please continue to All the Wonders to see my recommendations for books for the beach, summer camp, the pool and more …

Finding Courage in Raymie Nightingale

My very first post at All the Wonders is up today, and it’s been such a joy to work with this team of talented and creative people who love to talk about children’s literature as much as I do.  

Today, I’m on the site exploring the theme of courage in Kate DiCamillo’s newest book, Raymie Nightingale.  I adore Kate DiCamillo’s work.  For me, she is right up there with Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume when I think of authors who authentically capture the heart of children in their writing.  Her latest book is no exception, and I’d encourage you to pick up a copy to share with your kids.  It’s a perfect summer read.  


“Have you ever in your life come to realize that everything, 
absolutely everything, depends on you?”
Raymie didn’t even have to think about the answer to this question.

“Yes,” she said.

Raymie Clarke is certain that absolutely everything depends on her. Everything having to do with getting her dad to come back home where he belongs, that is. And she has a plan. She is going to win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, and when her dad sees her face in the newspapers, he will realize he has made a terrible mistake and come home.

Please visit All the Wonders to continue reading …

Eleven Books for Eleven-Year-Olds (Recommended by an Eleven-Year-Old)

Some of you may remember when my oldest son Ronan became my first guest-blogger last year with his Ten Books for Ten-Year-Olds (Recommended by a Ten-Year-Old).  I’m excited to welcome this voracious reader back again to share eleven books for eleven-year-olds, now that he’s a year older and hundreds of books deeper in his reading repertoire.   Ronan recently started his own (private) blog in which he writes about cats, books, D&D, video games, and as he puts it, “all things geek.”  I’m excited to have him here today!

Also, keep an eye out next week for my youngest son Liam’s first guest post – you guessed it – Nine Books for Nine-Year-Olds! 



Hi, I’m Ronan and I’m here with a post that introduces eleven books I recommend for eleven-year-olds, or anyone of any age willing to expand their literary palates.  Here they are, in no particular order. 





The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak 
by Brian Katcher

When an academic girl meets a fun-loving, nerdy boy at a comic con on a quest to find her lost brother, a series of strange events follows.  A great book that references a lot of geek culture, including Star Wars, RPGs, trading card games and other geek stuff. 



Eragon
by Christopher Paolini

If you do not read this book you are missing out on a good portion of life.  I named my cat after this book.  Also, here is my cat:





The Age of Miracles
by Karen Thompson Walker

The Age of Miracles is about a girl who faces the side effects of a world-wide catastrophe that effects the entire population.  An awesome, if sometimes confusing book that is a must read for anyone that watches Doctor Who.


See You at Harry’s
by Jo Knowles

A very sad book about a girl named Fern who feels alone in a busy family managing a struggling ice cream business.  When a family tragedy happens, Fern wonders if her family will ever find happiness again.  Don’t forget your tissues!


Magisterium Series
by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

There are only two books so far in this series and I’m waiting for the next book.  These are amazing books about a boy with an injured leg who is accepted into a school of magic.  But it’s NOT Harry Potter!  (Harry Potter is also awesome though).  The books have a powerful plot and a surprising twist.



Thing Explainer
by Randall Munroe

A hilarious book in which web comic author Randall Munroe explains complicated stuff in simple words, like cells (“tiny bags of water”) or ISS (“shared space house”). 


The Amazing Spider Man (the new version)
by Dan Slott (writer) and Humberto Ramos (illustrator)

Following an already dramatic story line, the Amazing Spider-Man learns new things about the spider that gave him his powers and the future of all of the Spider-Men in the world. 


Counting by 7s
by Holly Goldberg Sloan

A beautiful book where a girl genius named Willow faces emotional struggles when her parents die.  Again, with the tissues.


The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

A dystopian novel about an evil future in which the president has split the population into twelve districts.  Every year, two children from each district must face each other in a fight to the death as a punishment for an earlier rebellion against the wealthy Capitol.  When the main character Katniss learns that her sister has been chosen for the games, she volunteers to go in her place, setting off an unexpected series of events. 


The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

This book has an amazing author and story in which a boy raised by ghosts tries to understand the world outside of  the graveyard that is his home.


The Chronicles of Narnia
by C.S. Lewis

When a group of children find a wardrobe in a mansion where they are staying during the London Blitz, they are surprised that it leads to another world filled with magic and mystery.  The children become unlikely heroes aided by a mystical talking lion who travel to stop villains from corrupting the magical land of Narnia.

The Deal of the Year for Book Lovers


I’ve got THE BEST money-saving, freebie deal to share with you today.  This is the big one friends.  A completely legit, no coupon code required, money-saving deal that will blow your mind. 


What if I told you that by using this deal, my family has saved over $4,000 dollars in the last six months alone in free books?  Free books!  We don’t get to keep them of course, this deal is more like Netflix, where you pay a monthly subscription to get access to all of these books but you do have to give them back when you are done. Except unlike Netflix, this deal is absolutely free. 

It’s called….wait for it….the public library.  
You probably have one right in your hometown.  It’s this completely magical building where anyone can just walk in off the streets, and regardless of credit history or the size of  one’s bank account, can gain access to as much free reading material as he/she wants.  The library in our town is so magical that even if they don’t have the book we are looking for, they can use some kind of wizard summoning spell to make it appear in the library, sometimes as quickly as the NEXT DAY. 

Wait, there’s more.  If I can’t make it to the library, I can get on my computer and press a few buttons and then the next time I visit, all of the books I want will be waiting on a special shelf with my name on them.   For FREE! 

Did I mention how all of this is free? 

My youngest waiting for the library doors to open so he could begin his summer reading program.

Listen, in all seriousness, I can’t sing the praises of the public library loud enough.  Our local library has been a cornerstone to the experience of raising my children.  I started started bringing them to story time as babies, and by the time they were precocious preschoolers, they knew some of the librarians by name and these wonderful ladies knew them too.  They knew what books my boys would want to read, and before long, knew which children’s books I would want to read myself.  I met mamas and their kids at the library that are still friends today.  Our family has had the opportunity of meeting some of our favorite authors in this public space, and the privilege to be inspired by their stories.  These experiences are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what our local library offers.  If you want to start a business, the library offers myriad resources on how to go about doing that.  Want to know more about your family tree?  The library has people on staff that will help you sort out your genealogy (but they won’t help you sort out your family … there has to be a limit to what these wizards can accomplish).  Need to use a computer?  They have one for you, for free!  Test coming up?  The library offers practice exams for academic, civil service, military and many professional industries.  Need help with your taxes?  The library has accountants on hand during tax season to answer your questions.  Our local library even brings in adorable, furry dogs to snuggle up and read to if you just really love dogs.   

I feel like I forgot to mention that all of this is free.


In the last six months alone, our family has checked out over 300 books from our local library system.  I found this handy calculator on my library’s website, which is how I found out that we had, in fact, saved over $4,000 in materials and resources.  In six months.  While there are books I am so thrilled to own, and bookstores I love to support, our budget simply cannot keep up with our reading habit without our library.

 Our library habit is so intense it requires one of these really large rolling carts.  And that’s just the books for the kids.


There is substantial research illustrating the direct correlation between reading aloud to our babies and children and their academic success down the road.  If you are research-minded, I’d highly encourage you to check out this article or this one.

If you’ve already had the experience of raising a reader, you may already know this intrinsically.  You’ve felt the weight of your baby’s warm body snuggled into you while you read Goodnight Moon, or the wiggling, giggling toddler squirming on your lap while saying “No!” to the pigeon in Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus for the one hundredth time, or the wide-eyed, breathless anticipation of your young child desperate to know what happens to Harry Potter in the next chapter.  You’ve watched your child grow into a reader, and watched him disappear behind a book and discover the possibility of living so many kinds of lives.  You’ve seen your child reenact her favorite scenes with her dolls.  You’ve seen your teenager find empathy for someone whose experiences he can only imagine because of a book, and you yourself have left behind a busy day of work and diapers and bills and difficult relationships to sink beneath the sheets with a copy of your favorite author’s latest novel.  You don’t need to read the research to know the magic of books. 

So, today, if you are already a regular at your local library, take a minute to thank the men and women who make the magic happen.  Take a friend while you are at it.  And if you aren’t a library regular, get in your car and go now.  Sign up for a library card, ask for a book recommendation and see for yourself.  This really is the deal of a lifetime.  

***UPDATE – Giveaway has ended and the winner, Susan Harris, is in possession of her sweet tote.  Thanks for all of the entries!

Wait…if you’ve stuck with me this far, don’t leave yet!  I’ve got one more deal to offer you today.  I’d like to introduce you to Tammi Salas, writer, artist and fellow library enthusiast.  I first discovered Tammi last November when she took part in a “Rainbow Friday” event with other bloggers.   Rainbow Friday was offered as a kind of antidote to Black Friday, an opportunity to shop for handmade, meaningful gifts that also give back.  Tammi was selling her “Library Junkie” totes and donating 20% of her sales to fund a library in Pastures Preschool, a one-room schoolhouse in Bodega, California.  I did what anyone would do and immediately bought one as a gift and then kept it for myself.  Thankfully, there is still a chance for one of you to own this bag, as Tammi is graciously donating a bag to one lucky reader! 


 Here’s what you can do to increase your chances of getting your hands on this bag:

1.  Comment on this post below and tell me your favorite thing about the public library.
2.  Share this post and tag me (so I see it).
3.  Visit your library and share a picture (and let me know if I can share it too!)

I’ll enter your name into a drawing once for each of the above actions and choose one name at random on January 31st to receive this cute and handy tote.  In the meantime, please take a moment to visit Tammi on her blog where she shares beautiful stories on motherhood, community, art and more.  You can also visit her Etsy shop (which she’ll be re-stocking in the coming months with additional items) or follow her on Instagram (@tammisalas) for artistic inspiration.  Thank you so much Tammi for sharing your many gifts and sweet tote with us, and for your generous spirit.

Absolute Mayhem

Absolute Mayhem
Written and Illustrated by Kelly Suellentrop
Publisher: Striped Socks Publishing
IPN: 9780692311011
Category: Picture Book

Our culture is awash with declarations of love for weekends.  From the old TGIF catchphrase to the 80’s classic “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend” there is little doubt that those 48 hours hold a very special place in our collective hearts.  They represent a respite from work and school, a chance to engage in the things we want to do with the people we love most, or even just an opportunity to sleep in.  And for Lulu and Milo, they mean absolute mayhem.

In Absolute Mayhem, we meet Lulu and Milo, two siblings who work hard all week to follow the rules, complete their schoolwork and eat their vegetables all in an effort to arrive at Friday where the rules go out the window and absolute mayhem ensues.  If you can imagine what your home would look like if weekends were a free-for-all, that gives you some idea of what you will find in the pages of this book.  What starts as innocent, imaginative fun quickly gets out of control and much like many a family feels at the end of summer vacation, everyone seems a little ready for routine again come Monday.  The illustrations range from black and white during the weekdays to increasingly colorful as the mayhem starts to spin out of control and are a great complement to the story.  My kids spent quite a while going back through the book after our initial reading to “explore the drawings” in more detail.  They were delighted when they did because they discovered new things as well as a hidden friend on all of the pages we missed the first time around.  

I’m particularly excited to share this book because it is self-published by a  first-time local author Kelly Suellentrop.  She shared more about the process behind the writing of this book in the Idea Chasers series.  One of the things she shared was that the idea for Absolute Mayhem came from her own children, and that to this day, when the whole family is home on Friday, someone yells out “absolute mayhem” and the fun begins.  Not long after reading this book I heard an interview with Jamie Oliver on NPR about his new cookbook, Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food: The Ultimate Weekend Cookbook, in which he confesses to eating primarily comfort foods on the weekends after a week of clean eating and I immediately thought of Absolute Mayhem and wondered if both he and Kelly weren’t onto something that I am absolutely missing.  Now I’m counting the minutes to this weekend and dreaming up my own version of absolute mayhem.

On Courage and a New Year


We’re closing in on the end of 2014 and the internet is full of year-end reviews, best of 2014 lists, and ambitious resolutions for 2015.  I’m a sucker for new beginnings and reflection, so obviously, I want to play too.

I have a fairly terrible track record when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions (either they’ve been discarded by February or I fail to set them at all) so last year I decided to choose a word to focus on in the coming year, a theme I wanted to manifest in my life that year.  It felt less specific than a resolution and in some ways, like taking the easy way out because a word is subjective and without specific benchmarks or quantifiable ways to measure its impact on your life.  So, basically, I’m confessing that back in December of 2013 I thought I had stumbled upon the Lazy Woman’s Answer to a New Year.  Boy was I wrong.

I chose the word courage and wrote these words on Facebook on New Year’s Day:

“2014 and I keep coming back to the word courage.  It sums up my hopes for myself and those I love in the new year.

This quote from “We Bought a Zoo” is often repeated in our home… “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage.  Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery.  And I promise you, something great will come of it.”  

I have found this to be true and I hope that all of you can find that courage in the coming year when you most need it.  Whether it is the courage to try something new, create something, speak out, remain silent, forgive, trust, run a race, nap, wear appliqué sweaters with no irony…whatever it is, grab your twenty seconds.  There has never been a better time than now, because now is the time you have.”

I don’t consider myself a brave person.  I’mafraid of heights and tiny spaces and creepy dolls(which by the way includes most dolls).  But that  little word….courage….guided me through 2014 in ways I did not imagine in January when I typed out those words, and it continues to inspire my decisions.  It became the filter through which I asked questions and found answers.  I learned how different courage can look on different people, or even on the same person in different situations….like the way courage would nudge me to speak up and other times, remind me to just listen.  Focusing on courage encouraged me to ask questions about how to spend this one, precious life, and how to become comfortable living in the tension of those answers.  And the word kept popping up everywhere, though I’m sure that had more to do with my mental filter than reality, kind of like the way you see pregnant women everywhere when you are pregnant yourself.  It was in books, movies, and quotes on my Pinterest board like the following:

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin

Expansive life.  Those are bold words.  Bold, and if I’m honest, a little bit scary.  Our current culture is so consumed with the glorification of busy it is all too easy to read the word expansive and curl up in the fetal position.  Expand?  Where?  How?  Have you seen my calendar?  Or my laundry room?!?  I don’t have time to expand!

But here is the lie:  An expansive life is a busy life.

And here is the truth:  An expansive life is a life lived fully.  

This is a lesson that I have to learn over and over again, and no doubt will spend the rest of my life learning.  Each time I find myself staring at a calendar that is busy in a busy way, and not busy in a full way, I start making adjustments.  I start shrinking.  At first, it is a healthy shrinking, a sort of clutter removal to make room for the things I value.  It starts to feel really, really lovely.  All those beautiful white squares with NO PLANS and time for spontaneity and discovery.  I live in those days so well, loving the people I share them with and making room for interruptions.  But inevitably, I reach a point where I realize that I may have thrown away something useful in my decluttering process.  Similarly to the way that I donate my husband’s tools when I clean out the basement (he never uses them, right?) only to find that he needs them the very next week, I often find myself looking for something I cast aside.  Where did I put my knitting?  Theater?  Yoga?  

I am a person who loves to learn from her mistakes so much that she often repeats them.  

Just days into my newly courageous 2014, I tripped on some stairs, broke my ankle, and began to shrink.  At first, it was a healthy and necessary shrinking.  I couldn’t walk or drive, much of that winter was spent under ice, and it simply made more sense to stay home and hibernate through my healing.  I started to pick up a few of the things I rarely left time for … that children’s book I have been meaning to write, some watercolor paints, some time spent with my ukulele.  And as sure as winter turns to spring, so my ankle healed and my courage started to quietly roar and I was ready to enter a cycle of expansion again. 

 I’m not sure if courage is the right word for driving around Target in this fancy ride or humility.


I started playing music with other people (okay, so it was in the privacy of my home but other people were present so it counts as courageous) and I started writing regularly.  We dipped our toes into the foster care system, opening our home for short-term and respite foster children and explored ways to support families in crisis.  After several years away from musical theater, I auditioned for and was cast in November Theater Company’s production of Assassins in a role that stretched me as a performer, brought with it new and beautiful friendships, and offered me the privilege of watching an old friend achieve a long-held dream. We sent our oldest son to summer campOf the overnight varietyMy husband and I made the decision to home-school our children for this school year, a conversation that has been alive in our home since before our oldest started kindergarten.  I became an active participant in a faith-based community, a tension-filled choice that continues to surprise me in its impact.  I started this blog.  I’m not sure how many of these things I would have done without that little word, that guidepost of courage leading my way.  I fully realize that some of these things may not seem courageous to you, but all of them required me to become more vulnerable, to live out questions and live in tension, to leave behind the security of things known for things unknown, or to do something before I deemed myself ready.  My world expanded.

 It took super-human courage for me to leave this boy at camp.  Thank goodness real college is years away.
 Bravely staring down a storm to watch my youngest play baseball. 
As Sara Jane Moore in Assassins. 


And here’s what I found:  When we unearth the courage to try something new (and we usually know the things we are longing to try), our joy expands.  We wake anticipating our days rather than dreading our to-do lists, because our lists start to contain the very things that bring us joy or purpose.

When we unearth the courage to connect to the people we meet throughout our day, rather than going through the motions head down, buried in our phones, our to-do lists, or our own minds, our empathy and sense of shared humanity expands.  We begin to see opportunities to help others in big and small ways, and to let others in to help us when we need it.  

When we unearth the courage to listen to a viewpoint other than our own, and listen with the intent to understand rather than defend, our worldview expands.  Our patience expands. Our compassion expands.

Expansive life.  Those are bold words, but they are words worth embracing.     
               

So, here we are almost on the eve of a new year, and to be honest, I’m sad to leave my little word behind.  My “easy way out”  become something more than I ever intended and I know that I’ll still need courage in the coming year.  But I’m going to believe that I’m leaving this year a little braver than before, and that I’ll be able to find that reservoir of courage whenever I need it as I move forward into a new year.

In searching for a word for 2015 I got a little frustrated because the process wasn’t as tidy and no one word jumped out at me.  I have a list of words that are great words, worthy of hand-lettering onto a watercolor backdrop and tacking on my cork board, but none of them sum up exactly the theme I have in mind for the coming year.  So, even though I just spent several hundred words writing a testimonial for the one word concept, I’m tossing it out the window this year and instead choosing a phrase.  A quote, to be more precise:

“Because remember, the talking about the thing isn’t the thing.  The doing of the thing is the thing.” – Amy Poehler

Less talking, more doing. 

Those of you who know me well, feel free to laugh at the “less talking” part.  I know I am!

Here’s to 2015.

On Looking Before You Leap

Sitting down to write an inaugural blog post feels a little intimidating.   I’m not sure why that is.  Those of you who know me well (which, frankly, is all of you at this point) know that I’m rarely at a loss for words.  Ask me my opinion on something, and I’ll offer you my current perspective, as well as all of the other angles I’m considering.  Ask me for advice, and I’ll share what I currently know and point you in the direction of resources to answer the questions I can’t. 
But put a blank slate in front of me, and I may not know where exactly to begin.  The truth is, I know that starting a blog is not actually the very best idea I’ve ever had.  In fact, I’ve compiled a short list of reasons I should not start this blog:

1.  Everything I have to say has already been said by someone else, but more eloquently and with better punctuation.

Do you know how many blogs are on the internet?  I can’t find a precise answer to this, but most answers point to somewhere around 200 million.  200 million blogs.  That’s a fairly saturated market wouldn’t you say?  I think if you want to find a blog on, oh, ANY TOPIC IN THE WORLD, it probably exists.  Adding a voice to that feels a little like shouting into the void.  And that punctuation bit?  I’m not really exaggerating.  I love semi-colons and exclamation points and an ellipsis…

2.  Writing a blog feels a little self-involved.

It does though, doesn’t it?  Sure, I write all day long in my head and those words are collecting dust on brain shelves that are becoming so cluttered I can barely remember what day it is, but shouldn’t a journal suffice?   Why do I feel the need to publish these thoughts or ideas in a public forum? 

Those aren’t rhetorical questions so maybe I should try to answer them.  For one thing, I have found inspiration on blogs because someone else was brave enough to share her story or his perspective.  I have found like-minded individuals when I felt alone, and I’ve found writing that challenged my worldview and shifted my actions in meaningful ways.  So, while sharing my experiences as a first-time homeschooler, or a participant in/patron of local theater, or a passionate reader of children’s literature may feel self-indulgent at times, I want to stay open to the idea that one of you reading my words might find something meaningful in them.

3. Writing a blog will involve dealing with negative people who reside in internet-land.

Since the beginning of creative expression there have been critics, and criticism can be a very positive motivating force, shining light on areas for improvement and encouraging us to stretch our thinking or perspective.  However, while the internet has offered unencumbered space for creative freedom, it has also created a breeding ground for those who thrive on ridiculing the creative work of others.   Did you know there are entire websites dedicated to mocking the 200 million aforementioned blogs?   These negative internet people also like to leave charming comments on blogs like this one: http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/rainbow-cake-recipe-inspires-comment-apocalypse-1592575661

You know what?  Strike point 3.  Those comments are actually hilarious, and if negative internet people manage to find my obscure blog and leave that level of commentary, it might be time to sit back, pour myself a drink, and laugh until I cry. 

4.  I’m not a photographer. 

No, this is not a photography blog, but a picture is supposed to say a thousand words.  That could be really helpful on days that I don’t even have a hundred words to offer up.  Unfortunately, my photography skills are pretty basic.  I can slap a filter over a picture or even make it black and white (I know, I’m so fancy) but I don’t know how to to create that idyllic, light-strewn, “my house is a refurbished barn with modern fixtures” look.  Also, I usually forget that I’m supposed to move the dirty dishes out of the background of my shots.  So, I’m worried this blog won’t be very pretty. 

5.  I’m not sure I can keep up.
 

I’m new to this blogging thing (I’ve got about fifteen minutes of real-life experience to be exact) but I hear that you are supposed to create new content on a regular basis.  There are a lot of things I’m supposed to do on a regular basis that I’m currently failing at:  yoga, exercise of any type, changing all the bedsheets in my house, remembering to put the latest insurance card in my glove box, grocery shopping, trimming my dog’s nails, trimming my own nails, finishing that scarf/children’s book/tv show/cup of coffee from this morning….. the list goes on.  One time, a few years ago, I tried to write a blog for my long-distance friends and family.  It was a private blog, just a short and sweet synopsis of what my family was up to out here in Missouri.  I think I wrote 11 posts and then promptly forgot about it.  If I start this blog, that could happen again.  By the way, I kept the same name from that old blog….just to fan the flames of the likelihood of that happening again.

So, that’s my list.  So far.  I put all of those reasons in writing but if you are reading this that means I went ahead and published it anyway.  I’m not negating any of those points.  I’m recognizing up front that by hitting publish I’m adding one more voice into a large void, and that at times, my writing will be self-indulgent, that I may have to deal with some bitter voices who really hate my terrible photography and that at the end of the day, I may not be as consistent of a writer as I’d like.  But, in spite of all those reasons, I hit publish.  I’m already composing thoughts every day in my head, and I need a place to deposit them so that they don’t swirl around and around when I’m trying to sleep at night or so that I don’t keep trying to share them with uninterested parties (I’m looking at you cashier at Target who did not appear to be interested at all in my thoughts on alternative education and village schools).  At least here, you can self-select out and I’ll never be the wiser (unlike that poor cashier).

And really, this wise writer I dig put it well when she said, “The answer is YES. You should write. Even though everything’s already been said beautifully. Even though there’s nothing new under the sun. Even so. Because there may be nothing new to say, but if you haven’t spoken up yet – then there is a new VOICE to hear. That’s all we have – our voices. No two are the same. No one sees the world QUITE like you do, and no one else can tell us your story QUITE like you could. You are our only chance to know you. You’re it. If you yearn to use your voice and you don’t – we will all suffer for it. Be brave. Be audacious enough to consider that your story is worth telling and your voice is worth hearing. The secret it- it IS. Your story and your voice are worthy of occupying some space in this world. Take it, Sister. Take your space.” – Glennon Melton, Momastery

I’ve never been in the habit of not pursuing that thing that’s tugging at me.  Sometimes, I take the long way, collecting a lot of information or trying to negotiate the timing or predict the outcome, but at the end of the day, I usually leap and find out one way or another if that thing is for me.  So, here I go, taking my space.   The door to my space is open, so visit anytime.