Jun 042013
 

So, Friends. The book tour was amazing.  Right smack in the middle of it, I changed its name from the Love Wins tour to the BRAVE AND KIND tour.

So many people showed up at these signings by themselves (SO BRAVE!) and upon arrival, found themselves in the midst of the KINDest group of folks they could’ve imagined.

People made friends and found a little peace and inspiration. I know I did. Success.

It was scary, too – I’m not gonna lie. Before each and every signing, I was very, very scared. I had to use SURVIVAL STRATEGIES like visualization and deep breathing. I’ll tell you all about that soon. But as life always reminds me – scared and sacred are very close cousins.

When I was learning about what a book tour was, I was told that usually a handful of folks show up and the author stays for two hours. Well, our first night on tour, 500-plus Monkees showed up and the bookstore staff was FREAKING OUT because of the size and passion of the crowd and even when the sweet, panicked bookstore staff tried to move the line along faster- we didn’t move faster. We were slow.

I got to hug each and every person in line and offer everybody Twizzlers and hear folks’ stories. Many, many folks cried with me and others laughed with me and every once in a while someone got all the way to the front of the line, leaned into my ear and said,  “Listen, I don’t even know who you are. I just really needed to get out of the house.” I ended up staying past midnight at every signing.

Remember how I was SO worried that there would be no Kairos at the signings? It’s ALL KAIROS. All of it. It’s my favorite thing now. Terrifying, totally overwhelming, unbelievably exhausting -but favorite.

GUESS WHAT?

The tour was such a magical ride and amazing success that our publisher has added SIX MORE STOPS! I’m coming to you!!! ON THE ROAD AGAIN, MONKEES!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 18:  Wilton, Connecticut [Elm Street Books & Wilton Library]

Wednesday, June 19:  Baltimore, Maryland [The Ivy Bookshp]

Friday, June 21:  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania [Penguin Bookshop]

Monday, June 24:  Nashville, Tennessee [Parnassus Books]

Tuesday, June 25:  Atlanta, Georgia [A Cappella Books & The Carter Library at Carter Center’s Day Chapel]

Wednesday, June 26:  Fort Myers, Florida [Books-A-Million]

See more details here.  Also, Facebook events pages will be up this afternoon, please click on the event page to tell us you’ll come.

Please come. Show up. Be brave. Be kind. Rest. Try Again. This rhythm ALWAYS works.

Important note – if you decide to come (yes please!) – you are going to need to buy a copy of Carry On, Warrior at the bookstore where the signing is being held. This is not my rule – it’s the rule of the bookstores – but I support it fully. Let me explain why.

The bookstores I choose to sign at are small, independent stores and times are not easy for them. The bigger places are taking them under. As a matter of fact, one of the stores on the first half of our tour closed down a week after we were there.  This makes me extremely sad. Bookstores are like doctors’ offices to me. They are where I go to heal.  And I don’t want them to go away. I want to help them stay open so that my kids will have an actual PLACE to go with actual BOOKS to hold. One of the ways we can support our local independent bookstore is through book signings.

This is how my book tour works:

Bookstores contact the publisher and say I’ll OPEN MY DOORS TO THAT AUTHOR! – and my publisher pays for my flight and lodging. It is assumed that the tour will pay for itself through book sales at the signings. But this isn’t happening – because folks are bringing books from other places to be signed. I get it, I get it! But moving forward – I think it would be helpful to think of a book signing as an artist’s event, like a concert. We don’t get into concerts free just because we already bought the CD. We have to buy a ticket. So decide to come, call your bookstore, pre-purchase a book, and that counts as your ticket. COME HUG ME!

If you already bought a book and don’t have someone in mind to pass it on to, leave her in our custody – we promise to find her a worthy home in the hands of folks who will be grateful.

And, as always – I want to help folks who really want to come but absolutely cannot afford to buy a book. If this is the case- please send me an email using the address on our contact page. We’ll work something out- we always do.

I’LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD!! For lots more laughing and crying; and mischief and merriment; and courage and kindness.  And Kairos.

Monkees who’ve already been to signings- if you have an extra minute- would you leave a comment about your experience at the signing? LOVE!

Jun 052013
 

The world doesn’t need more “strong” superheroes hiding the truth of who they really are beneath capes of perfection, shame, cruelty, snark, addiction, or apathy. We need more plain old “weak” people who are brave enough to come out of hiding. We need more messy, honest, fully human beings who will volunteer to tell the truth about who they are – who will live shamelessly out in the scary, messy world.

It’s braver to be Clark Kent than it is to be Superman.

Jun 072013
 

Yesterday morning, Chase and I went for a bike ride before the girls woke up. We parked our bikes near a pond, sat quietly near the water, and watched the world wake up. About five minutes into the delicious silence, Chase said, “Mom? I think we’re Carpe Diem-ing.”

I laughed and said, “Yep, I think we are, too.”

Chase looked up at the sky and said, “Don’t worry mom. We don’t have to keep doing it all day.”

That’s my BOY. Love that little man. He knows- everything in moderation. Including living in the moment.

Since I’m still recovering (hiding) from the Ted Talk hoopla – I thought maybe you’d like reading Don’t Carpe Diem today. It always reminds me that the way things are is just FINE.

So much love-

G

Don’t Carpe Diem 

Every time I’m out with my kids – this seems to happen:

An older woman stops us, puts her hand over her heart and says something like, “Oh- Enjoy every moment. This time goes by so fast.”

Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy everysecond, etc, etc, etc.

know that this message is right and good. But as 2011 closes, I have finally allowed myself to admit thatit just doesn’t work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life – while I’m raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I’m not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I’m doing something wrong.

I think parenting young children (and old ones, I’ve heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they’ve heard there’s magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it’s hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that  most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.

And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers – “ARE YOU ENJOYING YOURSELF!? IF NOT, YOU SHOULD BE! ONE DAY YOU’LL BE SORRY YOU DIDN’T!” TRUST US!! IT’LL BE OVER TOO SOON! CARPE DIEM!”  – those well-meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain.

Now. I’m not suggesting that the sweet old ladies who tell me to ENJOY MYSELF be thrown from a mountain. These are wonderful ladies. Monkees, probably. But last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: “Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by so fast.”

At that particular moment, Amma had swiped a bra from the cart and arranged  it over her sweater, while sucking a lollipop undoubtedly found on the ground. She also had three shop-lifted clip-on neon feathers stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. A losing contestant. I couldn’t find Chase anywhere, and Tish was sucking the pen from the credit card machine  WHILE the woman in front of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled and said, “Thank you. Yes. Me too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you.”

That’s not exactly what I wanted to say, though.

There was a famous writer who, when asked if she loved writing, replied, “No. but I love having written.” What I wanted to say to this sweet woman was, “Are you sure? Are you sure you don’t mean you love having parented?”

I love having written. And I love having parented. My favorite part of each day is when the kids are put to sleep (to bed) and Craig and I sink into the couch to watch some quality TV, like Celebrity Wife Swap, and congratulate each other on a job well done. Or a job done, at least.

Every time I write a post like this, I get emails suggesting that I’m being negative. I have received this particular message four or five times – G, if you can’t handle the three you have, why do you want a fourth?

That one always stings, and I don’t think it’s quite fair. Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it’s hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she’s not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn’t add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it’s so hard means she IS doing it right…in her own way…and she happens to be honest.

Craig is a software salesman. It’s a hard job in this economy. And he comes home each day and talks a little bit about how hard it is. And I don’t ever feel the need to suggest that he’s not doing it right, or that he’s negative for noticing that it’s hard, or that maybe he shouldn’t even consider taking on more responsibility. And I doubt anybody comes by his office to make sure he’s ENJOYING HIMSELF. I doubt his boss peeks in his office and says: “This career stuff…it goes  so fast…ARE YOU ENJOYING EVERY MOMENT IN THERE, CRAIG???? THE FISCAL YEAR FLIES BY!! CARPE DIEM, CRAIG!”

My point is this. I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn’t enjoying it enough. Double failure.  I felt guilty because I wasn’t in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn’t MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I’d wake up and the kids would be gone, and I’dbe the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No.

But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. And here’s what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:

 “It’s helluva hard, isn’t it? You’re a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She’s my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime.” And hopefully, every once in a while, I’ll add- “Let me pick up that grocery bill for ya, sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up- I’ll have them bring your groceries out.”

Anyway. Clearly, Carpe Diem doesn’t work for me. I can’t even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question.

Here’s what does work for me:

There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It’s regular time, it’s one minute at a time, it’s staring down the clock till bedtime time, it’s ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it’s four screaming minutes in time out time, it’s two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.

Then there’s Kairos time. Kairos is God’s time. It’s time outside of time. It’s metaphysical time. Kairos is those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day, and I cherish them.

Like when I actually stop what I’m doing and really look at Tish. I notice how perfectly smooth and brownish her skin is.  I notice the perfect curves of her teeny elf mouth and her asianish brown eyes, and I breathe in her soft Tishy smell. In these moments, I see that her mouth is moving but I can’t hear her because all I can think is – This is the first time I’ve really seen Tish all day, and my God – she is so beautiful. Kairos.

Like when I’m stuck in chronos time in the grocery line and I’m haggard and annoyed and angry at the slow check-out clerk. And then I look at my cart and I’m transported out of chronos. And suddenly I notice the piles of healthy food I’ll feed my children to grow their bodies and minds and I remember that most of the world’s mamas would kill for this opportunity. This chance to stand in a grocery line with enough money to pay. And I just stare at my cart. At the abundance. The bounty. Thank you, God. Kairos.

Or when I curl up in my cozy bed with Theo asleep at my feet and Craig asleep by my side and I listen to  them both breathing. And for a moment, I think- how did a girl like me get so lucky? To go to bed each night surrounded by this breath, this love, this peace, this warmth? Kairos.

These kairos moments leave as fast as they come- but I mark them. I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos. And at the end of the day, I don’t remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it.

If I had a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success.

Carpe a couple of Kairoses a day.

Good enough for me.