Nov 172014
 

We Meltons are generally not known for being AHEAD of the game. EXCEPT IN NOVEMBER. Our family rule is that all Holiday Gift Buying business is done by the end of November. Then we spend the month of December in peace, together, making memories instead of trips to the mall. Our minds are not full of to-do lists, so stress is low. And since we tell the kids that Santa stops taking gift requests at Thanksgiving, they are immune to the marketing onslaught in December. As a family, we have become able to spend the holidays focused on what we HAVE instead of what we WANT. And that, my friends, is the key to joy.

So last week I was doing some online shopping and started with books, books, books because one of my favorite things in the world is to share books I love with people I love. I am a book pusher. No one leaves my house without a book, whether she likes it or not. Can’t help it. Going to a bookstore and buying a beloved book for a beloved friend- it feels like making a sacred introduction. So, I buy books as gifts for my kids, Craig, my parents, sister, friends, the kids’ teachers, myself and everyone, everyone, everyone. Later that day I was telling Amy about my holiday book-buying spree and she said: “The book thing. You should make a Book Pusher’s Dream List for the Monkees so we can shop for our people.”

OKAY, I said. Let’s do it! So I put together a list of my family’s favorite books of the year. And then we added some ideas for other types of gifts as well- amazing products we love from businesses and organizations doing good, the incredible CWS Alternate gift guide, and even some new fun Momastery gear, including, for a limited time, signed copies of Carry On, Warrior.

In other words: HERE YOU GO, FRIENDS! Get your shopping done in your pajamas, and buy things that will widen your people’s minds and remind us that We Belong to Each Other. Scroll down to see our picks, or click here to see the Holiday Gift Guide in full screen and mobile version.

Then call it a year. Make December a time to step back and look at your life and your people and appreciate and marvel and soak it all up. Slooooooow everything down and snuggle up together and wait with great awe and trembling and joy and peace for God to come. In other words: make some room at the Inn.

LOVE YOU.

Some Great Book Picks For You and Your Friends

Great Books for the Guys in Your Life

Craig's Picks

Great Books for Kids & Tweens

Good Gifts

These businesses and organizations are helping people to give well this holiday season, offering products we adore through business models that do good.
Krochet Kids

Krochet Kids Intl. is a non-profit brand empowering women to rise above poverty through jobs, education, and mentorship. Each item they sell is hand-signed by the woman who made it in Uganda or Peru. #KnowWhoMadeIt

Do you guys know that Craig is obsessed with wearing knit hats?? And yes, we do live in Florida. Thanks, Krochet Kids, for the perfect gift for Husband.

Aloetree offers adorable, soft, organic cotton clothing with modern and fun characters for your little ones. 50% percent of Aloetree profits go to fund kids safety education programs in Cambodia.

LOOK AT THAT ZIG-ZAGGED PURPLE ONESIE. Sissssttteer…we know what Alice is getting for Christmas!

Purpose Jewelry

100% of the proceeds from Purpose Jewelry goes to benefit young women rescued from sex trafficking, and their jewelry is handcrafted by trafficking survivors.

Check out the gorgeous Dawn Drop earrings and the Unity bracelet. I die. They even have a key necklace. They are key-droppers. Now we know what I’M getting for Christmas.

Thistle Farms

Thistle Farms is a Nashville, TN non-profit that makes & sells beautiful home and body products from top-quality ingredients. They employ and empower women who have survived lives of addiction and life on the streets.

The Thistle Farms motto is Love Heals. I love this. And we know it is true. These are good gifts, my friends.

Green Kid Crafts

Okay, this one was Amy’s suggestion, so blame her. BUT IF one was going to craft with one’s children (or, more likely, to hoist amazing craft kits on eager nieces and nephews as gifts) these would be the kits to buy.

Green Kid Crafts are award winning, eco-friendly, educational, etc, etc, etc. Whateva. My kids don’t do crafts. But now Bobby does.

The CWS Alternative Best Gift Guide

Okay, we looooove this. CWS has a put together a catalogue of amazing, empowering gifts you can purchase as a new kind of way to recognize the people you love this year. From seeds and tools to blankets, educational toys to birthing kits, this remarkable catalogue lets you purchase life-changing items for people in need in the name of the ones you love. CWS then provides a card for you to give in recognition of each gift you purchase, letting your loved ones know of the amazing work being done in their name. Shop online now or request a catalogue by mail.

CWS Best Gift Guide
CWS Best Gift Guide

More Momastery!

We’ve rolled out MANY new Momastery products on our Zazzle store — check out the store by clicking here.

Shop Momastery

Signed copies of Carry On, Warrior


Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest


Nov 152014
 

I don’t watch the news. As Chase said last month: “We KNOW what happened today. People did bad stuff. People did good stuff. We should just keep doing good stuff.”  But yesterday I was in a store and the news was on and I saw that another college kid was found dead in a fraternity house in West Virginia and I got that sick scared feeling again. And I thought about this experience I had last year. And so I came back to read this essay and I just felt like I should share it again. I am very, very worried about people who don’t have nets and very, very grateful to be a part of this net-building community. I love you.

Hands

***************************************

My Tenderness Alert Level is at a Nine today. Level Ten requires my bed, but a Level Nine means that since I am close to skinless I must arrive at a blank page and write an unedited essay which will likely contain some profanity. Please, I’m sorry. It’s not me – it’s Level Nine. Whatever is said is out of my control from this point on. What IS in my control is that instead of landing inside my pantry – I came here, to write it out instead of eat it out. And so I’m already wildly proud of myself. For those offended by my unedited self- just imagine that this essay is a matter of life and death and that I’ve decided to use Any Means Necessary to save myself. Because that is absolutely 100% true. Grace, please.

Here’s what happened.

This past weekend I travelled to my alma mater, James Madison University, to talk to alumni and current students about, I don’t know- LIFE and Kindness and womanhood and things such as this. It was the first time in fifteen years that I’d been back to campus for something other than a court date. I arrived on campus with Sister, my head held high, guns blazing, TRIUMPHANT – ready to reclaim my non-existent school spirit and prove to myself and to JMU that I had actually made something of myself (whatever the hell that means) – something other than the drunk, bulimic, flailing, fighting, nasty mess I was during the (many, many) years that I was there.

My head was held high for about four minutes. Then, as I walked those familiar hallways and concrete paths and passed by bathroom after bathroom (I puked in that one. And that one. That one, too.) And parking lot after parking lot (I was arrested in that one. And that one.) And passed my sorority house- (where this announcement was made at a sorority meeting by the House manager: “You guys- If you’re going to puke, at least flush the toilets. It looks really bad when people visit our house and there’s puke everywhere” and also this one, directed to me: “You guys, if you’re going to court- don’t wear your sorority letters. It looks bad for us.”) And there’s the building where I told the Women’s Studies professor that no matter what I did, I couldn’t shake my bulimia, and there’s where I told an entire team of my education professors that I was losing everything to alcohol. I TOLD people. I told people. I fucking TOLD people. (Oh, there’s the townhouse where I sat in the basement and wondered if killing myself might just be tidier for everyone. I was so tired.)

And so as I passed the shiny stadium and all the beautiful buildings and grandeur and spirit I just felt myself getting more and more confused and afraid. This place is not safe for you, Glennon. And then I got angry. Angry to the point that I had to plaster a fake smile onto my face and not answer anyone’s questions directly because I knew if I opened my mouth I’d crumble and cry. Or maybe yell. I didn’t know, I just knew it was going to be a scene. And my job there was to create a scene- but it was supposed to be a scene of HOPE and TRIUMPH- not despair – but I just didn’t feel like performing all of that shit. I just wanted to say WAIT A MINUTE. STOP. EVERYOBODY JUST STOP. WHAT HAPPENED HERE? WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO ME HERE? Because I CAN FEEL the ghost of me here- and she’s wandering and lost and hurting herself and asking for help in a million different ways. Why didn’t anyone help her? I DON’T WANT TO INSPIRE YOU- I WANT TO DEFEND AND PROTECT HER.

And why was I sent here in the first place? I was still sick. I was really sick and this type of sickness doesn’t work itself out by a teenager girl. It just doesn’t. It gets worse. Of course it does. And so all of this is starting to feel like a bit of a set up because what the hell else was going to happen to me here?? I was young and sick and lost and addicted to food and so wasn’t it just inevitable that I’d find the booze and the drugs and the people who would make me feel like booze and drugs and bulimia and casual sex were OK? Cool, even?

Where were the GODDAMN ADULTS? WHERE WERE THE GODDAMN HEALTHY PEOPLE? WHY DIDN’T THEY NOTICE ME?

OH MY GOD. I am angry.

I am really angry. I am just angry I just want everyone to take better care of themselves and everyone else. I just really want to us to quit worrying about CRAP like straight As and status and cool and start worrying about folks dying around us in a million different ways. I just want ignoring pain to stop being so goddamn acceptable and normal.

And you guys- all of this was crashing down around me in waves- like beating me into the concrete- and then I had to go on stage to speak to the alumni. This crowd turned out to be mostly Monkees –and so I forced myself up front and I felt the Monkee Love and I was okay. I turned back into my adult self because I was talking to adults and it was good. It was okay up there.

But then I had to speak to 600 sorority women.

I had an hour between speeches. And you guys, my heart is beating so fast as I’m typing this right now. I just COULDN’T DO IT. I could NOT get on stage in front of 600 college girls and tell them…WHAT? Tell them WHAT? That all will be well, eventually? That puking and drugging and drinking yourself into a jail cell is actually not funny or normal and here’s how to fix it….I DON’T KNOW HOW TO FIX IT.

My sister could see that I was disappearing into myself and so she told our hosts that I needed a room of my own. That’s what we all need – thank you, Virginia. So I got my room with an hour left to go before the speech and I turned off all the lights and I curled up into a recliner until I was in the fetal position swaddled up in a soft blanket – shaking and crying. Like a freaking newborn baby. I felt like a baby. Completely powerless, utterly vulnerable, ultra- sensitive to light and sound and touch. I asked my sister to play my Ted Talk on the computer and I watched myself and listened to myself and tried to remember THAT’S YOU, TOO, GLENNON. YES, THIS LITTLE BABY GIRL CURLED UP ON THIS CHAIR IS YOU, BUT THAT WOMAN ON STAGE IS ALSO A VERSION OF YOU. YOU CAN DO THIS.

And my Sister sat outside of my door and prayed for me.

And then it was time, so I walked through the crowd of 20 year olds to the stage. And my friend, Paula, did my introduction and said things about New York Times Bestseller and blog and 100 thousand women non-profit and the Today show and I tried to mesh the woman she was describing with the mess of me in that chair. That didn’t work. But she finished her introduction and it was time.

And so IT ALL CAME TOGETHER AND I WAS AMAZING.

No, that is not what happened. That storyline is often bullshit. That is NOT how it always works. Sometimes you are not amazing. Sometimes just showing up is amazing enough.

And so I became this THIRD version of my stage self that I’ve never been before. I did not stand up on stage. I couldn’t stand because I was shaking. As a matter of fact- I couldn’t even CLIMB UP on stage because I couldn’t find the energy- so MY SISTER HAD TO LIFT ME ONTO THE STAGE. In front of 600 women. And I didn’t even care.

And when I got up there- I stayed on the floor with my knees pulled into my chest. Because that was just the best I could do. And I didn’t wear a power dress or a precious top. I wore a hoodie. I wore a hoodie and it was all I could do to keep the HOOD PART down and not over my head. Because a hoodie is what you wear when you feel very, very vulnerable and you have no other way to protect yourself except through your clothing. A hoodie is a way to contain your scowly self and keep people out who you rightfully or wrongly believe might hurt you. I realized all of that while I was on stage. And I was quiet up there for a solid minute while they all stared at me and I considered that all the folks who tend to wear hoodies – teens, minorities, addicts (go to an AA meeting and it’s all hoodies and Mountain Dews) are all the folks most vulnerable in our society. Then then I came back to the moment and remembered I was on stage – and I told my story without smiling much. It wasn’t a happy story. The poor crowd laughed a few times but nothing was that funny- we were just really desperate for some comic relief so we took it wherever we could.

Looking at their faces, I realized how afraid I am of folks in college. Because I can’t relate to them. I was never one of them. I wasn’t even THERE. One of them raised her hand and said “how did you deal with academic stress?” And I just stared, because: what??? I was fighting for my life here. I guarantee that in the six years I was here- I never even uttered the word: academics. There is a hierarchy of needs and when you can’t even feed yourself or take a deep breath- academics are not something you consider. I didn’t want my teachers to teach me. I just wanted them to HELP ME.

And with that realization- I understood that I was in front of the wrong audience.

Because these ladies were kids. They were still kids.

I needed to talk the folks in charge.

Because as I sat with my therapist yesterday and told her this story- told her about my confusion and anger about being so lost without any guidance – she said:

YES, ALL OF THAT IS TRUE. ALL OF THAT HAPPENED TO YOU, GLENNON. YOU GOT SICK REALLY YOUNG AND YOU WERE WELL LOVED BUT THERE WAS NEVER A PLAN FOR YOU TO GET BETTER. SO YOU GOT SICKER AND SICKER WHILE FOLKS STOOD LOVINGLY BUT HELPLESSLY BY. YOU HAD A LOT OF LOVE BUT NO PLAN FROM THE EXPERTS. ALL OF THAT IS A TRUE NARRATIVE. BUT AT THIS POINT- IT IS NOT THE MOST HELPFUL NARRATIVE FOR YOU.

LET’S WRITE ANOTHER ONE, GLENNON.

Okay, I said.

WHAT DID YOU GAIN THERE? WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM YOUR COLLEGE EXERIENCE?

I don’t know. I got some friends. A degree.

YES. WHAT ELSE?

I learned that people need help. And the people who need the most help are the ones too lost to ask for it.

YES. GLENNON. YOU LEARNED THE IMPORTANCE OF A NET.

What?

PEOPLE NEED A NET. SCHOOLS, CHURCHES, NEIGHBORHOODS – EVERY INSTITUTION NEEDS NETS. NETS ARE GROUPS OF PEOPLE WHO WATCH OUT CLOSELY FOR EACH OTHER. WHO NOTICE WHEN SOMEONE NEEDS HELP. WHO HAVE THE SKILLS TO REALLY HELP WHEN REAL HELP IS NEEDED.

Yes.

YES. YOUR LIFE HAS TAUGHT YOU THAT NETS ARE NEEDED, AND THAT IN THIS COUNTRY WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH OF THEM. AND THAT EVEN IN FAMILIES WHERE THERE IS A LOT OF LOVE, THERE STILL NEEDS TO BE A NET.

Yes. Yes. That’s why I loved the mental hospital. And my third grade classroom. And it’s why I love my my Sunday school class now. Because those places are Nothing But Net.

GLENNON, THAT’S YOUR LIFE’S WORK. YOU ARE CREATING A NET.

And then- from me- Tears and Silence and Holy shit. Yes. Momastery is a net. Together Rising  is a net. I spent the first half of my life desperately needing one and that’s why I’m spending the second half of my life desperately building one.

YES.

Well. That’s a helpful freaking narrative.

YES. GLENNON. IT’S REALLY HELPFUL. IT’S A REALLY BEAUTIFUL NARRATIVE.

It’s a brutiful narrative. There always has to be so much brutal to get the beautiful. It’s just exhausting.

YES IT IS. YES IT IS.

I have to go. I gotta go and put this week behind me. But you guys. WE HAVE TO CREATE NETS. In our schools and neighborhoods and our churches. The teachers need to teach and parents are overwhelmed and can’t do it alone. We need to recruit people – MONKEEISH PEOPLE – who will “overlook” particular groups of kids throughout the years and follow them and study them and meet to talk about what they need. We need to create nets because the NETS ARE MISSING. We can’t go around saying it takes a village- we have to BUILD THE DAMN VILLAGE.

Online is not enough. It’s just a great place to start.

I love you.

G (little g and BIG G- together.)

 

PS. I got an email from the counseling center at JMU recently. They said that they knew that JMU and I had a complicated relationship and they understood. They wanted me to know that they loved me, and that they had taken many of our mottos like “We Can Do Hard Things” and “We Belong To Each Other” and “Love Wins” and blown them up into posters and hung them all over the counseling center on the JMU campus. The fact of this touches a place inside of me that is even deeper- even more at my core – than all of this fear and rage. I suppose it’s the place that knows that the helpers are there. The helpers are trying so hard. There is such a fine line between the helpers and those who need the help. Like the line between the police and the prisoners/ the good guys and bad guys- we’re really the same people in different costumes. The helpers are the only ones as desperate for love and peace and connection and meaning as the lost ones. I love you- helpers.

One day  I will go back to JMU and hug the helpers and hug the lost ones and nod at the posters on the wall and say thank you. One day. Not today.  Today I will play with my kids and husband and dogs and whisper to all of them: I am your net.



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest








Nov 122014
 

It's Done!

I’m sitting next to Amy in my dining room. We do not dine in here. We work in here. We have the best work in the Universe.

I just got off the phone with Sister and emails are flying among Liz, Katherine, Nicol, Erin and Allison. These are the women making Holiday Hands happen- the all-volunteer Together Rising board. They have – quite literally – been up for nights and nights vetting requests and gathering information from friends in need. Today- they’ve taken the day off of work because it’s GO time. They are juggling babies at home. They are sweating and their typing fingers are flailing and they are occasionally cursing. There are a lot of tears. There are tears every time they open a new email like this one….

“Every year I spend December desperate and bitter and shameful and so sad, because the commercials are on and the Christmas cards come in, and we have nothing.  My husband left and I’m working so hard but I have just enough to feed them. I’m so grateful for that. My kids eat. But they don’t get gifts. So we avoid everything Christmas. My kids are strong about it, but we all dread the holidays, alone and together. But this year. This year I started reading this blog, Momastery. A friend sent it to me. I read it after work when I get lonely. It makes me laugh and cry and feel less lonely. And so I went on a limb and asked Together Rising for help. And somehow- now- it’s the morning of November 12 and my kids are getting Christmas. Somehow, each of them has a brand new toy on the way. One woman is sending wrapping paper. My babies’ gifts will be wrapped. And there will be tags on the top of each gift that say: Love, Mom. I’m not going to say they’re from Santa. I’m going to say they’re from me. Because they are. I feel brave that I asked for help. And because I want to see their faces when they see that their mom has provided them gifts.

I have ten dollars in my pocket right now and I’m going to the dollar store to buy some cards and some lights before I pick up my kids. We are going to decorate tonight. We are going to send out cards. I am so proud of my little family. We are a family and we deserve to celebrate. Strangers proved that to me today. I will never forget. Thank you.”

YOU MET THE HOLIDAY NEEDS OF FOUR HUNDRED FAMILIES. YOU MET THE NEEDS OF FOUR HUNDRED MAMAS LIKE THE ONE ABOVE. IN THREE AND A HALF HOURS. IN THREE AND A HALF HOURS.

YOU ARE GOING TO WANT TO SPEND SOME TIME READING THESE STORIES FROM  TODAY. TRUST ME.

I don’t know what to say. What’s happened today is a miracle. I feel so quiet, you guys. I just feel like my heart might crawl right out of my throat if I try to speak. My eyes keep filling and I think maybe awed is the word for how I feel? Like I should take off my shoes because this is holy ground we’ve got here. We’ve created holy ground on the internet. I have to go teach the kiddos at church in an hour so I am trying to walk around and be normal, but I don’t feel normal. I feel like Jerry Maguire when he announced to his entire office: “Don’t worry, I’m not gonna do what you all think I’m gonna do, which is, you know, FLIP OUT!!!!!!!!”

I just want to FLIP OUT. If ANYTHING is worth flipping out about, Today Is.

Four hundred families will breathe easier this holiday season. The holidays –  which are supposed to be about Love and Mercy and Grace will be about Love and Mercy and Grace for them this year. This year- these families will walk around feeling held. I’ve always felt held. Even when things were really hard- when I was so sick- even when I was behaving very, very badly- even when I was hurting people I loved every day- I felt held. Like the world wasn’t so big after all. Like even if the weather was really bad as far as I could see- my world was really a snow globe. A snow globe being carried around by somebody HUGE. Somebody who loved me and was watching over me and would make sure the weather settled soon. Even if it looked scary- in some bigger way – from some further perspective- All Was Well. I was held. I want everybody to feel held, because I really believe that’s the truth of things.

Anyway.

I know how it feels to be down and lost and empty and lonely and hurting and have a stranger offer a hand. Something shifts inside of you. I’ve felt that shift in hospitals and addiction meetings and in therapist’s offices and in churches and here at Momastery. Always here. It’s just everything- to be seen. To be loved when you’re DOWN – just for being a human being –without earning it. It’s everything. There is nothing else.

And for the givers- isn’t it crazy? We spend so much time looking at the world with our hearts broken- wishing it were different. Wishing people cared for each other. Wishing people would be kinder, live bigger, think beyond themselves. Wishing. And then one day we find ourselves jumping in and MAKING IT SO. We stop wishing and DO. We CREATE. I cannot handle the truth of this: that you MADE A BETTER WORLD for four hundred families today. Do you see that? That these four hundred families will go to bed tonight in a kinder, bigger, smaller, better world than the one they woke up in? That we all will?

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

Remember in A Streetcar Named Desire- when Blanche, right before she heads to the hospital says: “Whoever you are – I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”  Blanche had a rough time of things, for sure, but folks still repeat that line because it is true for all of us. It is so true for me. We all depend on the kindness of strangers. Thank you for being so damn dependable.

Today I feel like if tonight the Universe said – Okay! Glennon! It’s over. You’re done. No more writing for you!  I would say: “Okay. That makes sense and all is well. Because there is just no freaking way it could ever get better than today.”

Thank you. Thank you for being SO good. Thank you for not being perfect and for instead being GOOD. GOD, good is so much better, isn’t it?

This is too long. So sorry. Having all the feelings.

Thank you.

And also, it’s so not over. We’ve only just begun.

Love,
G, Amy, Liz, Katherine, Allison, Sister, Nicol, Erin, and the Whole Wild World

Important Things:

  1. If you are a lister- please contact the people who have matched themselves with you. You need to do this publicly (on your the listing page) and privately (via email) You can’t receive your gifts until you do both of these things.
  2. If you are a giver and commented on a listing that has been marked as TAKEN, you are being depended on with great joy and anticipation to send your gift.  But please wait to hear from the receiver before sending on your items. Due to busy schedules it sometimes takes a day or two to connect with the giver.
  3. If you found this program late and have a need, please feel free to email us at [email protected]. We cannot endorse any matches made here or on our social media pages.
  4. If you came to give but were too late: IT IS NOT TOO LATE. Please consider donating to Together Rising by CLICKING HERE. Requests for holiday help are still pouring in. Families in need are helped EVERYDAY by Togerher Rising through the funds that you donate.  We are an all-volunteer board.  Every tax-deductible penny you give goes straight to mamas and dads in need. This is unusual. A miracle, really. Made possible by those two unbeatable teammates: FAITH & SWEAT. As a board, we request you donate directly to Together Rising instead of matching yourself with people here or on the Facebook page.
  5. We are leaving open all the listings in which people asked for letters. We just found them so beautiful. If you have some encouragement and friendship to offer, head over to the Love LetHER section.

I AM EXHAUSTED FROM GOODNESS. Isn’t that just the best thing to be????? Love wins.

hh-day-pic-550



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest








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