Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Story Unfinished: 99 Days With Eliot (Review)

Since I have been devouring books on my social media break, I am thrilled for the opportunity to review titles for Beacon Hill Press--that's the cute new little button you see on the right. Although I probably wouldn't have chosen this title on my own, I am grateful for any opportunity to strengthen my faith and compassion.

A Story Unfinished: 99 days with Eliot, details one family's journey through pregnancy, a heartbreaking diagnosis, and the unexpected opportunity to love a baby who wasn't supposed to live. At 30 weeks pregnant, the Mooneys were told their son, Eliot, had a genetic disorder that would likely end his life before it even got started.  However, God had a different plan, and Eliot's parents got to spend 99 days with him.

This family finds their faith stretched, tested, and strengthened beyond what many people could imagine, and they learn the lessons, apply them and bless others with their knowledge. This story gives a fresh perspective on life's blessings a sweet reminder to be grateful for grace in every moment.

Although Matt Mooney's writing style is stilted, unnatural, and almost condescending at times, the story is so genuinely engaging that I persevered, despite occasional irritation at his abuse of the thesaurus. By the end, I began to like him despite his lofty language and genuinely admired his honest and unapologetic style. 

A Story Unfinished is an an honest and heart-wrenching story of grief, sadness, and loss, but it is also an encouraging and uplifting tale of love, faith and devotion. To learn more about the Mooneys, their story, Eliot, and their organization 99 Balloons, visit: http://theatypicallife.com/blog/


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Heart Hiccups

So, I've had a whole bunch of time on my hands the last few weeks fasting Facebook and being unemployed. I've spent a great deal of it writing, reading and doing yoga, so I'll be smarter and more flexible by the time I "see" most of you again.

Well, I may not be smarter, but I can hold crow for about 5 breaths, and I have an increased sense calmness and peace. Evidently, just reading other people's drama profoundly affected my peace of mind.

And I am still not an intellectual, but I've learned that I can dust, sweep, mop, clean toilets, the whole housecleaning shebang in about two hours when I don't stop to read notifications every five minutes.

I have watched some really good moves. You know, actually watched them--not the whole listen as you scroll and occasionally look up, and:
"Hahaha, did you see that?"
"No, I missed it."
Is that just our house?

Although it all ready annoyed me, it's been reinforced how irritating it is to hang out with someone who looks at their phone constantly. At Christmas, I took a picture of my family seated around the kitchen table talking while everyone stared at their phones (Lily was looking at an ipod) and then had a big-time tantrum about it. IS EYE CONTACT TOO MUCH TO HOPE FOR? I think they put their phones down for about 30 seconds.

While, all of this is pretty minor and stuff I mostly knew (except crow, I couldn't do that before without falling on my head) and I'm sorry for missed opportunities to share love, prayer, and encouraging words--I do pray for my FB people every day. Here's my main lesson: Sometimes by sharing, we divide our blessings. There have been so many cute things Lily said or did. So many funny P'isms. Chloe accomplishments. Witty Brad comments. So many missed tweets and Facebook posts. But every one I didn't share stayed in my heart much longer.

Sunday, I was talking to one of my little mamas-to-be at church and sharing how I felt a little sense of sadness when my kids were born that I had to share them with the world. Their little kicks and movements were no longer mine alone. Everyone got to hold them and love them and feel their stretches and hiccups, and yes that is wonderful and amazing. But for nine months that had been just mine.

That's kind of how I've felt about all the cute pictures, funny sayings, and sweet comments the past few weeks. Because I haven't shared them, they've blessed me so much more--they're just hiccuping in my heart.

I haven't become some incredibly self-absorbed person. Not at all. I feel like I went to the eye doctor and when the lens flipped my life came into sharper focus. I've missed a lot by being so plugged in, and I don't intend to miss any more. I'll be happy to see my FB friends again, since most of them I don't get to see in every day life, but I will cherish the parts of my life that are just mine.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fast On. Again.

Evidently, lots of people are giving up Facebook for Lent. There's even some cute little profile pictures you can use and 415,782 (at least 3) blogs all ready written advocating why people are, aren't or think it's a great/stupid/beneficial/lame idea.

Now, I'm not a particularly opinionated person. I'm not a fixer. I'm no good at giving advice because of the whole, "If I were you..." thing that I kind of wrote about here. In fact, I'm pretty terrible at lots of things, but I'm actually really good at listening, hugging, snuggling, and getting sidetracked. I'm awesome at getting sidetracked. If there were an Olympic event called sidetracking, I'd be a contender. Is there? It seems like spell-check should have redlined sidetracking, but it didn't, but it did redline "redlined..."

Back to this fast: Giving up social media for me is an opportunity to spend more time reading (I just got 4 new books), writing, creating, listening, hugging, snuggling, and getting sidetracked. The last few weeks I watched how much time I spent on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and thought, man, I could get a lot of stuff done with that time.
For instance, I could pin WAYYYYY more stuff! I'm kidding. Kind of. I'm not giving up Pinterest. That is where my family's dinner comes from every day. Do you want them to starve? Have you seen my son? That kid can't afford to miss a meal.

Also, before the SM cops (social media--I went there so I figure you did too) arrest me, this blog is linked to Networked Blogs, so when I post something here, NB shares it on Facebook and Twitter. I am going to write here (see above), but I won't see or respond to comments on Facebook. I'm fully prepared for the backlash when this goes on FB, and people say, "Oh, wow, you all ready broke your fast?!" or "Knew you wouldn't make it!" Anyone who's ever fasted anything knows how that goes.

That in itself is puzzling. The joy some people feel when they perceive someone has failed at something. I don't get that. However, as a part-time vegan for 5 1/2 years, I've experienced all sorts of self-appointed food cops waiting for me to "mess up" so they could say, "AHA! You can't eat that!" or some other criticism. Except here's the deal: I didn't join a club with a bunch of strict rules, I just decided not to eat certain things. So while there probably are vegan cops, I'm not even on their radar.

So, if anyone feels compelled to point out my own or anyone else's failings, I'm not going to take that personally. And despite my distaste for giving advice (goodness, I'm such a contradiction; no wonder my poor husband is losing his hair) I'm going to suggest you might want to check your own motivations for celebrating another's failure.

I am 2.5 waking hours into this fast and missing my Facebook friends and wondering what witty tweets and adorable pictures I've missed. Also, I wonder if my brother has posted anything horrific on my wall. Did he? Would one of you please contact me in the real world if he does?

Peace out. xoxo