Darling Patrons: An Open Letter To the People Who Read My Stuff. Otherwise known as a blog post.

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I have lovely news, but I keep getting interrupted by other stuff.

Other stuff:

  1. Children. Small children. They NEED things. Even when they don’t they really like to carry on conversations with you. Case in point: This morning Red was coming out of the bathroom, sauntered past me, and asked, “Mom, do you like sausages?” I had no idea how to respond, really. It was the whole juxtaposition of the bathroom*, the nonchalance, and my inability to talk without coffee. I was flummoxed. But, yes, actually, I DO like sausages. Italian and summer are my favorite.
  2. *Just don’t dwell on it too much and it won’t get icky.

3. A furry white cat that was on death’s door a week ago. But more on that later.

4. Laundry. See #1.

I know the other stuff is normal (except for Steve, the cat but more on that later) but the older I get the harder it is to multi-task. It’s like my synapses just freak out and say, “Hey! Everybody! She’s trying to do that multi-tasking thing again! Take COVER!”” And there’s general running about and firing of synapses all over the place and waving of synapsey arms and mayhem.

I was trying to get (shove) my two boys out the door this morning for VBS, hoping for an hour to work on the lovely news, when I noticed that Red’s bed looked like he had piled every single one of his stuffed animals on it. It looked like this because, as I asked him for verification, “Mom, I piled every one of my stuffed animals on it! I have a kaJILLION!”

And that’s when I started in on Mom Lecture #3445, Clean Up Your Stuff Or It Will Go Away And You Will Have to Play with Sticks. 

Me: Red, you KNOW you are to MAKE YOUR BED every morning, and this is a MESS and-

Red: But, Mom-

Me: Hold on dear, I’m not to the sub points of the lecture. And FIRST OF ALL-

Red: But, MOM-

Me: One minute. FIRST OF ALL, it’s important to be RESPONSIBLE-

Red: MOM. MOMMY.

Me: AND ANOTHER THING-

Red: MOM THEY ASKED US TO BUILD THE WALL OF JERICHO IN VBS. IT WAS OUR HOMEWORK. AND I DID. WITH MY STUFFED ANIMALS. STRAIGHT UP BIBLE ACTIVITY ALL UP IN THERE.

Me: Oh. That’s adorable. And, they gave you homework? This VBS is hardcore.

Jesus and Red = 1 Mom = 0

 

Anyhow. I am now writing my little fingers off to tell you about THIS:IMG_6550.png

I’m working on another book. The publishing company actually wanted me to write another book. ANOTHER ONE.

Which, as you  know, means I am really a big deal.

Also, it’s possible I have had the worst case of writer’s block known to all writers in the universe (no hyperbole here) because FOLLOW UP IS SO NOT MY THING.

I’ll keep you posted. But, in fact, I won’t keep you posted as much as I would like because every stray minute that dangles in front of me is utilized in eeking out another painful sentence on this second-book thing. I am serious. Last night I wrote a sentence. Then stared off into space. Then deleted the sentence. More staring. Wept a little. Repeat. This must be what snails feel like all the time.

Poor snails.

I tell you this, so you will feel sorry for me. Just a teensy weensy bit? I always did like sympathy. I’m so not like those people who are all, “I don’t want your sympathy!”

I DO. I REALLY DO WANT IT.

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See?! This writing thing? It’s really hard! (To be honest, I think George might want to consider counseling.)

But, if not sympathy, then your prayers. My family and me need to survive together until the manuscript is done, and this morning I asked Blonde to provide me with a synonym for “glass” and he answered “Um, donkey?” and I just nodded and carried on.

Never ask an eight year old with bad hearing for synonyms.

I’m gonna try and stick with the donkey-half-full ideology that a second book is wonderful and exciting and such a blessing. And, it is happening because of YOU guys. So, I thank you from the bottom of my synapse-misfiring little heart.
I do love you so.

I lift my donkey of grape juice to you.

This book is gonna be so good, can’t you tell?

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Women Who Move Mountains

I ask you, do you have any mountains you’d like moved?

I have a few.

Last month I kept a manila file in the office for far too long. It sat there and sat there, sullen and unopened, for far, far too long.

I’d really like to provide a gut-wrenching suspenseful scene here with something fascinating IN the folder, but well, it was our taxes. Receipts, forms, all sorts of paperwork, signifying money.

I let that file sit there because I was afraid of dealing with money. I cannot help but feel that as I file through all the papers and forms… that somewhere, a paper will flitter out, fall to the ground, and on it a statement:

“This is your bank statement. You are totally out of money. This means you will end up in a van down by the river and all is doomed.”

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Ok, I realize there are a few flaws in my thinking. Let me provide a short list:

  1. We have money.
  2. If we didn’t have as much money we’d still be okay.

This money thing is because money = stability. And, did you know? Stability means that

Everything Must Be All Right All of the Time No Matter What.

Catchy, right? I’m going to needlepoint that on a pillow.

Making sure that Everything Must Be All Right All of the Time No Matter What is rather tiring, did you know? Also? It’s impossible, so there’s that.

I recently had the honor of reviewing this book, and I would like to recommend it to you here:

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You guys. This book is super. There are so many things I like about it, but to be brief:

IT IS JUST WHAT I NEEDED.

Ok, the book addresses the issue of prayer – something I have always struggled with and for good reason. By this, I mean I tend to pray a lot like this:

Dear God – WHYYYYYYYYY CANNNNN’T YOUUUUUUUUU…. (fill in the blank) AND ANOTHERRR THING….

And so on.

Now, this is NOT bad. Praying + whining is acceptable to God. God knows. He made us after all, and if he made some of us, ahem, a bit more pessimistic and screechy than others? So be it. But when I whine/pray (Prine? Whray??) it just ends up with me feeling sad and twisty when I hang up with Him.

Detweiler’s book offers clear, practical advice on how to pray in solid, joyful FAITH. Yep. FAITH with BIG CAPITAL LETTERS. The kind of faith, that, well,  you know.

It moves mountains.

I highly recommend this book if your prayer life needs a little sprucing up. If you’re feeling like every prayer is uttered with all the verve of Eeyore. If maybe, just maybe, you have some mountains to attend to.

If you’d like to know more, or take a closer look at Sue Detweiler’s book click here, and get moving. 17903556_10155247020512206_6837944691568322308_n.jpg

 

 

THIS IS WHY I LOVE FLYING.

Since I am a fan of Top Ten lists (see my book, they’re in there) I thought I might give you the Top Ten Reasons Why Flying is Fun today. I have twenty minutes before I board, so here goes:

 

Top Ten Reasons Why Flying is Fun

  1. I basically sat on the lap of the dude next to me. So, it was a chance to really bond. Albeit, this man seemed a bit surly and not very talkative. Lotta tattoos. Not that’s there’s anything wrong with that. But, you know. It adds an ambiance.
  2. The guy in front me needed to have that extra INCH AND A HALF of space, so he seat backed me. He SEAT BACKED me. Who does that anymore? I know who. He does. And that inch and half? I WANTED IT BACK. IT WAS IMPORTANT TO ME. True, I was basically cuddling with Surly Tattoo guy, but I needed to get out of his lap at some point.
  3. I bought a 3.00 water and skipped the drinking part. Just watched the TSA lady take it out, wave it under my nose, and drop it, unopened, into the trash. She didn’t even recycle the thing. #wastefu
  4. Charging stations. We’re all huddled around the one charging station available in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport like those poor, plugged in Keanu in the The Matrix.
  5. The tram lady voice who kept telling me where my exit was? She spoke in a language I cannot quite understand. Like, I almost could understand, but not quite? Sorta? I think so? But I swear, she told me to get off at the “next stop where you will find Gate C and Dark Brown Gravy.”
  6. Now I just want some pot roast and mashed potatoes.Alas, this airport does not offer such fixins.
  7. However! This airport DOES a LOT of alcohol! At every corner! Big, huge, bars with backlit, glowing bottles all lined up! Day drinking! All up in my business!
  8. It’s ok. I’m not gonna snap.
  9. The man next to me on his cell phone loudly discussing something called Solid Waste Management. All the ins and outs. Lotta details. I know more about this subject than I ever thought possible. I will need to tell the boys. They will be fascinated. Evidently, he’s going to Florida for a conference about solid waste. I can’t help but wonder what kind of goodie bag you get at this kind of thing.
  10. The Intervention Project for Nurses. That’s why I’m going to Florida. I am the keynote speaker and I am so excited and honored. Life is really, really good.

 

11 They just started playing “MMM-Bop” on the sound system. My flying experience is complete.

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This is the post where I toot my own horn. Maybe back away?

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So, last weekend I got to do something most of us moms dream about:

I slept in a hotel room. And, I woke up WHEN MY EYES OPENED ON THEIR OWN.

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I don’t really know why I put that image above, but for some reason, this weekend made me channel my inner diva gymnast girl.

Anyhow, here is what else happened:

I met up with my two girlfriends, KATIE AND MELINDA* and we ate a lot of food. The hotel gave ups a free bottle of wine which both girls insisted we not drink so that was good. They have my back. They’re my posse.

Also: we shopped at Sephora. Considered having my eyebrows done, but decided not because you know:

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However, I found a lipstick that, I kid you not, LIFTS my lips. I did not know this was a thing that needed to happen to my lips, but it’s awesome. Also, the stuff makes me coffee in the morning and I think it speaks three languages. It’s that good.

Then: I went to Teavana. I spent a lot more money than I should have. On tea. Want to know why?

It’s because they waft it at you.

Here’s me in Teavana:

Me: Oooooo, pineapple tea?

Young, earnest, serious tea drinker salesguy: Why yes. That’s our Oolong Geisha Fly By Night With a Pineapple tea. Here, (pulls down canister)…

Me: (starts to bend forward and take a sniff) Uh, what is that beeping sound?

Tea Man: Ma’am. That’s the You’re Doing It Wrong Buzzer of Shame. You do not sniff at the tea. I WAFT it AT you. Now, back away.

Me: I do the whaaaaaat? Dude. Are you ok?

Pretentious Tea Man: Yes. This is my job. I open the canister. And then, (flourish), I WAFT it at you.

Me: You get paid to do this?

Sad Tea Guy: I applied at Nordstroms. They didn’t want me. So, here.

And that’s how I spent crackamillion bucks on tea that smells divine, but still tastes like hay.

And finally!

This:

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fuzzy picture. warm, fuzzy feelings.

Y’all. I wrote a book. Did you know, I wrote a book?

Anyhow, we go into the Barnes and The Nobles and start perusing all the books we want (a million), and then… I get this thought…

Maybe. Just maybe… MY book is in here?

And I go up to the desk and say, “I am looking for a book? It’s by Dana Bowman? It’s probably not here but I thought I’d ask?” (Uptalker = insecure.)

And the nice lady takes me over and there it is! On the shelf! And I grab the nice lady and say, “That’s ME!” And she thinks I am a little off. I can tell. But then I tell her I’m the author, and then grab the book and proceed TO SHOW HER MY PIC ON THE BACK FOR PROOF, AND I JUMP A LITTLE.

Clearly, I need more work on the coolness thing. Because jumping up and down at Barnes and Noble is not something people do.

So, the nice lady who is clearly not impressed says, “Well, IF you ARE the author, you can sign it.” I show her, again, the picture on the back and even consider taking out my driver’s license, and then I GRAB at her a little because I am just so excited.

At this point I think nice book lady just wants me out of the store. So she gets a pen and I get my girl friends, because they will be excited for me. They are my girlfriends. They know when to squeal and jump. The nice book lady is not reacting like I wanted her to – with jumping and squealing and all that. I really wanted to have a moment with her. Alas, it was not to be.

So, I had the moment with KATIE AND MELINDA*. The best girls ever.

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That’s Katie. She always has good hair. I would hate her for that but I can’t because I love her too much.

So, lookit. I found my book at a bookstore and I signed it. Signed two of them. And the book lady was patient and I teared up a little and hugged her. Afterwards she probably noticed the topic of my book and she said, “Ohhhhhh. It’s all very clear to me now. Why she was… that way.”  Whatevs, lady. I wrote a book. You just sell ’em.

 

Then we all sassy-walked, all authory and stuff, outta there. I did a few step-ball-kicks as we departed. It’s possible I waved and said, “Farewell booksellers! And buyers! I wrote one of the books that is IN THERE! Goodbye, my people!”

Anyhow.

And then we all went and had this for dinner:

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You know why? Because we WANTED to. We had three cookies and a brownie and copious amounts of coffee. For DINNER, y’all. I know.

Also: we ordered a pizza at ten o’clock and watched two and a half of the Matrix movies in our hotel room, and our convos went like this:

“Why is she wearing high heeled boots? She can’t run in those.”

“I know. And that coat. It’s all flappy. It’s gonna catch on something. See! It just flapped at that dreadlocked guy! He has good hair. But he could just grab the coat and then it would all be over.”

“It’s a fight scene. It needs to be over. We shoulda written this movie. Oh Lord have mercy. They’re fighting again. Why do they have to fight so much?”

“Why are there always weapons laying about? Clearly these people have no children.”

“Keanu does really well in movies where he doesn’t have to register any emotions.”

I’m telling you, it was off the hook.

So, back to the book. And, if you are interested, you can see more about it here.

Also (shameless plug?) if you have read it? Would you leave a review on the Amazons? I will send you a puppy in the mail if you do so.

Ok, just kidding.

Or maybe, that lipstuff that I bought at Sephora. I just read the packaging and it says it will also fold your laundry and walk the dog if you ask it to, real nice.

*MELINDA AND KATIE wanted to be included in this post. I used their REAL names. No subtle code names (Helga and Bertha were my first options) for these guys, oh noooo.

Melinda and Katie: They are all real, all the time. And I am so grateful.

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This post was sponsored by: Sephora, coffee, AMC movies, absolutely no wine, big fluffy pillows, and those cute little chocolates they put on the pillow for you at bedtime.

But not Teavana. I think this post will make that poor dude reconsider his path in life. Ones career path should not include “Wafter” as a job title.

Yes, dear.

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There is a man in my life, y’all. His name is Brian.

He has said ‘Yes’ to me from the beginning. From the beginning, when I saw him across a crowded room of older, single desperate Christian people at a single mingle that was fraught with so much desperation you could TASTE it. He said ‘yes,’ even then, when I made a bee line for him, fixed him in my target because I knew he was who I was going to marry, and so, we needed to talk.

He said ‘yes’ to meeting the next day. And then later he even said yes to spending the rest of his life with me. Actually, he DID ask me and I said yes. But it was all a part of my master plan.

He didn’t have much choice.

Anyhow. He said yes when I lost my mind. By going to get help, he said ‘Yes, I am here. I love you. I will help.” He said yes to letting me stay home and sit and try to write for a ‘living’ because I love it and it makes my heart sing. And he said ‘yes’ when 55% of the stuff i write is about him. Generally, poking FUN at him. But you know. my love language is snark. And he still says ‘Yes.”

He kisses me goodnight every night and kisses me goodbye every morning. And he said ‘Yes’ to all of the book. All of it. He wanted me to write it. Even though… his stuff is in there too.

He is my greatest coach and love. He says “Yes,” again and again and again. In fact, when we were two weeks married, he started saying, “Yes, dear,” to me, with a hint of snark (he can only do a hint of it. His heart is too labrador retriever-ish to be full snark. Poor thing.)

“Brian, can you bring home pizza? I am exhausted.”

“Yes, dear.”

“Brian, could I take a nap? I am exhausted.”

“Yes, dear.”

“Brian, could you give me a hug? I m exhausted.”

“Yes, dear.”

Brian. I just want to have a drink. Just one. I can’t do this anymore.”

“No. Nope. Not gonna happen. Not on my watch. And yes, you can do this.”

“Yes, you can dear.”

I love him so.

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My book, Bottled: How to Survive Early Recovery with Kids, published by Central Recovery Press, is now available!!!!!!! How exciting!! How awesome!!!

I got sober and the whole world became one big yes. I am so very grateful.

God is good. He tells me “Yes, dear.” so very often. And He tells me “No” or “Let’s wait,” just as often. And I am learning, finally, to listen. And, is that a miracle?

Yes. Yes, dear. It is.

To Spanx or not to Spanx. That’s the really dumb question.

Linking up with Free Write Fridayy today!

The theme is:

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Y’all. In this post I am going to somehow tie together elasticized undergarments to my relationship with Jesus.

If this doesn’t merit a Best Blogger Award I just dunno…

Anyhow.

Recently I was signing my book at a really Important Book Signing Event. And yes, I know I keep talking about this, like over and over, but to be honest this whole thing is totally consuming mah LIFE, I tell you. I am a Big Deal! I am super Excited! I am certainly too Famous for cleaning the cat box! If I keep posting about it perhaps the small counterparts in my family might agree!

So far, it’s not worked. I still have to feed them. Needy varmints.

And I know, with the Five Minute Friday theme and all, I should really go for a super spiritual post. But as you know… IF THERE IS A SPANX STORY, IT MUST BE TOLD. And, for reals, it was the first thing I thought of when I thought… “Freedom!”

Well, that and Braveheart. But then he kinda morphed into someone wearing Spanx and shouting in his Scottish accent and it got a bit weird from there.

So, the Spanx story:

As you might know, I purchased a dress for The Big Important Signing. A bit later, whilst journeying through the Cute Money Sucker known as Target, I spied these:

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Ok. It was a DIVINE moment, I thought. I mean, it says, RIGHT ON THE PACKAGING, “Super HIGHER POWER” !!

I grabbed a pack, and clutched it to my sagging body, the crinkly packaging told me sweetly that I could “Live the Dream.” I wasn’t quite sure what the context was – like if I wore them I could finally, finally be asked to sing back up for Gwen Stefani?

Perhaps. But it’s also possible they would just make me feel all confident and non-lumpy for the Very Important Signing.

I bought ’em.

And then, the morning of the signing, I put them on. This in itself is an amazing undertaking. It takes a lot of flexibility and upper body strength to get these suckers on, friends. Also, a lot of grunting and a few moments of claustrophobic panic, but I talked myself through it. Who needs yoga class? We could just put on Spanx every morning.

And BAMMO! They were ON!

I was LIVING THE DREAM!

Ok, let me interject here with one small red flag. The women on the cover of the packaging? They’re, like, CARTOON women. And thus, they are not actually REAL. And also, it seems to me, they are already pretty svelte and possibly, just maybe, THEIR CARTOON WORLDS DON’T REALLY NEED SPANXS IN THE FIRST PLACE BECAUSE THEY’RE LIKE TINY.

So all this living of the dream crap lasted until about twenty minutes later when the Spanx started to want some freeeeeeedom! (Insert Scottish voice for the Spanx from hereon. Makes it more dramatic.) And since the elastic fabric of these guys seem to be possessed with its own sentient abilities – the Spanx started on its master plan of escape. “Listen, you eejit!” said the Spanx. “It’s high time I’ll be takin my leave! Blar blar blar!!”

They started to travel south.

Here I am, all professional, calm and collected, signing books and being so very famous, and at the same time, my undergarments are duking it out, all Scottish style, with my stomach and lower-down lady-bits.

And by that I mean: the Spanx were sloooooooooooowwwwwwwly rolllllllllinnnnnnng down. By painful, strangling inches, the evil torture device headed south every time I moved.

My first thought was: Just don’t move. Just sit as still as a frightened bunny and maybe the Spanx will take pity on you. This plan didn’t really sit well (get it. GET IT. You see that, don’t you?) with trying to be convivial and chatty and, you know, NOT WEIRD, when signing books.

So for a bit, I just tried to accept the Spanx. I serenity prayed at them. I surrendered to the Spanx. “God, grant me the serenity,” I breathed with the last bit of squashed oxygen in me, “To accept that I cannot change out of these…”

But then, I took courage into my own hands, and excused myself from my table and sorta lurched to the bathroom.

It was there that I removed the Spanx. With a lot of grunting and a few choice adjectives, I de-suctioned them. Not an easy feat in a small stall with a lot of rather curious writer-types around. Writer-types have very vivid imaginations, so I dread to think what they were conjuring up in their fertile minds with all this thumping and cursing and “Just OFF! Get OFFA me!  You’re evil! EVIL!!” emanating from my stall.

And then, I did kinda a dumb thing.

(You might want to interject here with, “Just NOW?” which I will allow. I get it.)

The Spanx finally made it to the floor in a beige, defeated heap. I stood, gasping above them. Triumphant. “Demonic SPAWN,” I hissed. And then I kicked them.

Now, it seems Spanx are made out of VERY elastic material. Did you know this? Which also, it seems, makes them kinda boomerangey. Because it was the kicking thing that caught one part of them in my shoe and then they sorta twanged loose and SHOT RIGHT OUTTA THE STALL LIKE FORTY FEET ACROSS THE ROOM.

I then came out of the stall, picked up the Spanx (I SWEAR it kinda growled at me), dropped it in the trash, washed my hands, smoothed my hair, and did my best, so sophisticated walk out of there. So what if it was lunch time and the bathroom was packed with fifty women in shock and awe who had just witnessed a Spanx beat down?

I was free. FREE!!!!!

I could BREATHE, y’all. Breathing is so awesome. SO completely necessary for ones serenity!

So, I pranced it back to the signing table. No, I didn’t just prance, I did my best model STRUT back to the table, friends, to the soundtrack of “I’m Too Sexy for my Spanx”.

And spent the rest of the afternoon, saggy but happy, with my devoted fans. All four of them.

Jesus loves me, this I know. He loves me, even with the foldy bits and the endless neuroses. He loves me enough to say:

“You know? You are beautiful. And I have to tell you. Spanx are from the devil.”

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Red Fail Give

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Recently, I had a really, Really Good Idea.

At this point in my life, I have had to pare down my really, Really Good Ideas because having them, like, ALL the time is just so exhausting.  I needed to step down and give other people around me a chance to be brilliant once in a while. It’s my civic duty.

So, I aim for one Really Good Idea a week.

Anyhow: My idea was to start a Writers’ Group! Yes! A Writers’ Group, with people in it! And we write and stuff! It will be super cool! (Circa 1998, students… you know I’m breaking my ! here, dontcha? I’m trying to be ironic. Course, if you have to point out the irony, then, maybe, it’s not irony. Whatever.)

The Writers’ Group was my Really Good Idea!

Here’s why:

1. People actually CAME. This filled me with awe.

2. Also this: I was “in charge” and still, people asked to come BACK!

3. And finally: I gave out homework and they DID it. I KNOW.

So… here’s the assignment.

I had them write down a color. And then a place. And then, they selected a word from my Word Jar… and then… they wrote. And, since I realized I had left the group without my own three words, this morning I decided to grab two words from my handy dandy Jar and added my own color.

And oh… how God has a sense of humor on this one.

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Red.

Fail.

Give.

I am trying on my red shoes. They are a deep red, shiny, and pointy, and they make me stand up straight when I put them on. I have lipstick that is the same color, the color of a heavy velvet curtain at a theater, or of a pomegranate.

I decide to swipe on the lipstick too. It’s a mistake. Now, I am staring at my reflection in our hall mirror with the shoes, the bright slash of lipstick, and a new dress. My hair is all tangled in a braid that is two days old and a six-year-old is hiding behind the folds of the dress, pretending it is his curtain. He makes his debut with a foam sword and a shout of “Come and get me, Bucko!” and swashbuckles away, but his swordplay has me all out of balance.

I teeter.

It is also possible I don’t wear heels much anymore, so even standing still seems to be a challenge. I sigh and push the braid back. At this point, how will walking go?

I am going to fail.

I take a breath and contemplate the lipstick. It’s too much. And then stare down at the shoes in all their pointy audacity.

“Ok, it’s either you or the lipstick, ” I mutter. “One of you has to go. I look like I’m trying to be Taylor Swift.”

Nobody should try to look like Taylor Swift unless they are Taylor Swift. ESPECIALLY if that nobody is over, erm, forty years old.

At the end of this week, I am flying far away, to San Francisco, to a Really Big Event for The Book.

And all I keep thinking is:

I am going to fail. Somehow, I’ll forget how to get on a plane or how to drive to the airport or how to talk to people. Add the shoes with their pointyness to all of this and it’s just a recipe for disaster. People do not wear red shoes unless they’re in control of the red shoes. I don’t think I can do this.

I mean… WHO do I think I am?

Well. It seems… I am an author.

And I have something to give. And God asked me to give it.

So, I’m going. And I might fail. I might spill coffee on my dress or forget how to use the flight app on my phone or forget to tip the taxi guy…

But God won’t fail. Nor will He fail me.

He got me this far. He can get me to San Francisco.

Even in high heels. He can split oceans in two, after all.  He can help me walk in tippy shoes.

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Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD is the one who goes before you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:8

My book, Bottled: How to Survive Early Recovery with Kids, published by Central Recovery Press, comes out in September.
Yes, miracles never cease.