The last few months have been full of uncertainty for my family. We’ve had to make some big decisions with limited information and insight, which is a nightmare for me. I am a careful decision maker and want to know how any possible choice is going to play out over one, five, ten, twenty years. Only when I’ve exhausted all the possibilities can I choose the best path. But of course this leads to anxiety — because really, how could I ever project and predict every possible scenario?
The weather this past weekend was perfect — cloudless blue skies, sunshine, just a hint of chill in the breeze. I opened all the windows and let the light and fresh air stream in. My mom played outside with Selah, collecting dandelions in a plastic bag. I made the easiest blueberry crisp in the history of dessert, and I could hear them laughing as I stirred together the oats and flour and syrup.
My life is rarely this idyllic. I felt tempted to write it off — a nice moment, but what are we actually going to do? What if tomorrow brings disaster?
This is going to sound like the most basic lesson of all, but I decided right there, over a pie plate filled with blueberries, that I would not let tomorrow’s uncertainty steal today’s peace. Even if everything were to come crashing down tomorrow, it would not change or negate the happiness I feel in this moment. These things I can see and hear and smell and touch — they are tethers to the here and now, touchstones of peace and goodness. For today, there is sunshine and laughter coming through the windows, the smell of blueberries bubbling in the oven, and my husband’s strong hand on mine.
Here’s a little more about what I learned, loved, and read in April.
What I Learned
- I’m not as good at vulnerability as I thought I was. I’ve mentioned before that I’m taking a yearlong course on creativity, and April’s theme is vulnerability. I genuinely thought I was already comfortable with vulnerability, but it turns out I was confusing vulnerability and authenticity. The writing prompts challenged me to write about my deepest sources of pain, and I fought for every single word. I probably won’t share these exact writings publicly, but I do hope they allow me to keep processing some tough moments and spur ideas for new essays.
- There is freedom in being willing to kill what I create. Again, this creativity course is teaching me so much about freedom. I used to churn out post after post, not really allowing myself to play or experiment or write something that would not be for the end game of publication. This year I’ve published only about 25% of what I’ve written, and the idea that I can learn and grow in the process of writing and not just in the publication has been liberating.
- When in doubt, ask myself, What would my mom do? I’ve been using this strategy since Selah was born, and it hasn’t failed me yet. Recently she came down with her first stomach flu, and, not wanting vomit all over myself, my couch, my floor, etc., I tried to remember how my mom used to handle it when I was sick. So we covered the couch with towels and sheets and laid there all day.
What I Loved
- Trading my boots for flats. Three cheers for flats, sandals, and bare feet!
- Voluntary kisses from Selah. She used to be super stingy with kisses, but now she loves to plant big ones right on my lips. And lucky for me, she’s learned to pucker her mouth, so no more slobber all over my face. Every voluntary show of affection feels like a tiny “thank you” for not losing my mind when she was a newborn.
- Easter brunch with my family. The last few Easters have not exactly been joyful for me, but this year was low-stress and so sweet. After church we hosted my family for brunch and spent much of the afternoon outside, drinking coffee and snacking on leftovers.
What I Read
- The Magic of Motherhood by Ashlee Gadd and the Coffee + Crumbs writers. I want to get this book into the hands of every mom I know. You know how when you’re having a tough day, unable to see the good in a hard season, and wondering if you’re all alone? And then a friend shares about the exact same thing that’s on your heart, and you melt into a puddle and say, “Yes, me too!” This is that moment, but in the form of dozens of essays that capture the hard parts, the mundane parts, and the beautiful parts of motherhood. From now on, I’ll be gifting this book at every single baby shower I attend (along with something off the registry, because I’m no fool). I cannot recommend this book enough. 5 big stars
- The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. It’s no secret that I love a good thriller, and the more surprising the twist, the better. In this Girl on the Train read-alike, we have an unreliable narrator who believes she witnessed a murder while on board a small cruise ship, but all passengers are accounted for when she reports the incident. While the writing and character development left something to be desired, I was genuinely surprised by each twist. I thought for sure I had figured it out halfway through, and I loved being wrong. Entertaining enough for an easy weekend read. 3 stars.
- The Girls by Emma Cline. This book has generated tons of buzz, and several readers I trust recommended this one. I quit halfway in. I feel weird about reviewing a book I didn’t finish, so I won’t actually give this a star rating. This book is a fictionalized account of how one young girl gets sucked into a Charles Manson–esque cult. I expected it to be more of an account of her inside the cult, but instead, it’s a painfully slow-moving tale of her growing obsession with a cult member while she’s still on the outside. I found the author’s writing style to be too drippy with metaphors and trying too hard to capture the teenage experience, so it all sounded unnatural.