For the past 18 months, we’ve been preparing our very first “Power of Moms” book for publication . . . and it is almost ready!
We’re still finishing up the details and final edits, but we wanted to share the excitement with this little sneak peek.
First, you can see a draft of our book cover above. (A huge thanks to our board member, Rebecca Walters, for designing this for us!)
The beautiful photo by Cary Brege, our photo contest winner, will wrap around from front to back (imagine this folded in half).
And our just-about-final title is,
12 Powers of Peace, Purpose, Order and Joy.”
Below, we’ve put together a few stories from the book for you to enjoy.
Keep watching your email, and you’ll be the first to know when it’s done. (Oh, we can’t wait!)
Here’s a great little story about patience:
When I was a young mother with three children under the age of two, we lived in a one-bedroom apartment. I had just cleaned the apartment when I walked out of the bathroom to find Cheerios strewn all over my newly-vacuumed carpet.
My two-year-old boy looked up at me, then deliberately reached his tiny hand into the Cheerios box, and proceeded to fling handfuls of Cheerios across the floor.
It had been a long day. I lost it. I started ranting and raving about having just cleaned and how they weren’t supposed to throw food onto the floor. I sat all three on chairs (they all seemed to be guilty) and let off steam for a good four minutes with them staring at me in amazement and confusion before I finally yelled, “Why? Why would you do this?”
Garrett, my two-year-old, answered, “I is feeding de ducks.”
“Why? We don’t even have any ducks!” Whereupon Garrett replied calmly, “They is ducks” and pointed at his little sisters. Cali pulled her thumb out of her mouth and echoed Garrett’s sentiments. “Uh-huh. I a duck and she a duck!”
Suddenly I could see how silly I looked to them. There was a perfectly logical explanation as to why they did what they did (in their minds at least) and I acted before asking them why. I assumed the worst instead of assuming the best. I’ve since learned to ask what’s happening before I proceed with my disciplining. Sometimes it gives me enough pause to calm down that extra bit so I teach instead of yell.
– Sharla Olsen
And this experience gives us hope about raising teenagers:
He shrugs a bit and twists slightly as I reach my arm around his shoulders. He is slightly taller than last week – his feet and arms growing faster than his torso, his thirteen-year-old body gangly. Still, I claim my goodnight hug and a kiss on the cheek before tucking the little ones in bed with storybooks and silly songs. In the morning, it’s a short prayer together and my hand brushing across his forehead as he flies out the door.
And these moments, these brief touches, hardly seem to matter until the afternoon I’m stuck downtown and worry fills the phone lines as he asks, “Where are you? You’re supposed to be home after school.” Or the morning I sleep in and he tiptoes into my room balancing carefully on the edge of my bed to pray with me before he leaves for the school. Or those evenings when I notice him standing quietly in the shadows at bedtime, watching with a slight smile while Mary screams with laughter and Gabriel demands ‘one thousand kisses.’
“You can scarcely imagine what it’s like, mom,” my nineteen-year-old son tells me, “to be thirteen and feel your body crackling with hormones. I couldn’t tell who I was from one day to the next.” But I do remember. I remember thirteen – an embrace, even from my parents, felt awkward as I grew uneasily into my body. I remember snapping at my mother and wondering why I was so impatient with my sister. That same look fills my younger son’s eyes when he spits out cruel words and a moment later, recovers, shakes off the mood and seems confused at his unbidden anger.
With little ones, even the most outrageous temper tantrum is quickly followed by an opportunity to reconnect – dinner, a tub, clean towels wrapped around a tense little body, and stories and kisses at bedtime. Most parents innately recognize that children can’t fully control their emotions and extend increased love after a necessary scolding.
Yet, teenagers, whose bodies and emotions are as much out of their control as a two-year-old, are rarely offered the same compassion. By necessity, I nurture my little ones, but my teenagers, who I’ve carefully taught to pack their own lunches and wash their own laundry, can become quickly estranged if I don’t make constant efforts to remain close.
And so, I unabashedly demand my hugs and kisses, the arm around the shoulder, the whispered prayer for their safety before school. Mood swings and fits of anger will come and go (or not) but my love for my children reaches deep, stretches wide, and like a mighty tree, offers protection through every storm.
– Michelle Lehnardt
You’ll love this perspective from a babysitter/young adult who wonders, “How do parents do it?”
I spent the past week babysitting my brother’s three small children. I am a seeker of all kinds of adventures, and this was one like no other. A glimpse into the trump-all adventure of parenthood.
Among other things, I kissed owies better, tried to sooth choruses of screams when I really felt like screaming myself, changed the world’s most epic stinky diaper (you are probably thinking, I have seen worse, but I honestly doubt it), drove to the elementary school in my nightgown, made a memory game and a chalkboard canvas out of the driveway, wiped up literally countless piles of spit-up, barely won the wrestling match in the pew during church, safely (but perhaps just barely) frequented the swimming pool and the school playground, sang lullabies, made pigtails, shook formula into bottles and desperately promised fruit snacks for good behavior.
Every night when the kids went to sleep at 7:30, I was exhausted. It was fun, but there were flashes when the thought “I really can’t do this!” ran through my head.
Here is the naive and amazed question of my childlessness – how do parents do it?
I found the answer in a tiny flake of split-second bliss where I felt what I’m sure is just a small taste of a certain brand of golden, liquid joy preserved for moms and dads. It was an emotion that would absolutely propel a parent to keep going, week in and week out, no matter how crazy things got. It was a simple moment, but miraculously and magnificently energizing, empowering, motivating and so, so, so beautiful.
I was sitting on the beach. The sun was saying goodnight with simple yellows and that lightest of blues. McKay was digging, silhouetted in front of the shimmering waves, Baby Cubby was sitting nuzzled to my left side, and Lyla stood in the sand holding my thumbs, her feet willowed into the beach as she giggled in the amber light. Her hair was wispy and golden. Cubby’s body was warm. McKay radiated the plain happiness of childhood. The hairs on my arms stood on end. The world stopped spinning. Just for a moment, just for that wildly beautiful moment, as if it was unable to contain the euphoria of such love.
Soon came the whines and the spit-up and the encroaching night. That beautiful moment didn’t last, but maybe it will last me until I have a similar but amplified experience with a child that is mine.
I thank heaven that God has put into us this extraordinary but so human ability to love.
– Charity Eyre
This story about emphasizing the “fun” in family will make you smile:
I will never forget the hot summer afternoon that my father hid in the bushes for nearly thirty minutes, garden hose in hand, waiting for my mother to arrive home from the store and walk into the house. As her car pulled into the drive, my heart began to race as I heard my father stifle a childlike giggle. As soon as she was within range, he roared from the bushes soaking her from head to toe! Soon, he turned on the children. Within moments, we all stood on the lawn, wet with water and tears of laughter.
Then, the challenge was issued. Someone had to get back at Dad!
It was a few weeks later when I saw my Mom dragging the garden hose inside the house. We followed her, curious as to what she could possibly be doing. She held her finger to her lips, begging our silence; she then tiptoed into the bathroom, hose in hand, where my father was taking a nice, warm shower. Oh, how he yelped when that icy water hit his shoulders! I don’t think I’ve ever heard my mother laugh so hard. Looking back, I realize how important it was for me, as a child, to see my parents having fun. Laughter makes us feel secure. It relieves tension. It relaxes our minds. It brings families closer. Nothing warms my heart quite as much as the sound of their sincere, unabashed laughter.
– Jenny Proctor
And here’s one final story to which we can all relate:
I once heard someone compare the way we manage our lives to spinning plates. I can relate to that. A man gets plates spinning, one at a time, atop thin poles, until he has multiple plates spinning and must run from plate to plate to keep each one going before the momentum slows and each plate falls, shattering to the ground. After hearing this analogy, I took a good look at my priorities. I chose several “plates” I thought were worth spinning and tended to them carefully.
And then…we had twins.
The news that we were expecting not just our fourth, but also our fifth child was met with delight and some trepidation. One mother of twins said to me, “Keep this in mind: if it doesn’t directly affect your children, it doesn’t matter.” I thought, “Everything I do directly affects my children! What could I possibly let go of that wouldn’t affect my children?” I started to panic. I looked again at my priorities, but I couldn’t let anything go…not yet, so I kept spinning those plates. Secretly believing I could keep them all going – even with twins.
The twins were born six weeks early and with mild complications. Within a few weeks, we welcomed them joyfully into our home. The plates began to slow. My husband brought home dinner and searched for clean socks. My nine-year-old daughter wondered if I’d ever be able to hug her with both arms again or if I’d always be holding a baby. Six-year-old Mack showed signs of insecurity, including compulsive hand-washing and a heart-breaking fear of germs. My arms ached to hold my three-year-old daughter. School started. We forgot homework and show-and-tell. I didn’t volunteer. The house was a mess. I braced myself and waited for the plates to shatter all around me.
Then I discovered a secret. Most of the plates I kept spinning were paper plates. When I stopped tending to them, they slowed and gradually stopped spinning. They fell to the ground, but quietly and almost uneventfully. And I realized they would wait there until I could pick them up and get them spinning again.
The panic subsided and I looked to the plates that were still spinning and they were precious. They represented each of my family members. “Dave” rather than “Dave’s laundry.” “Grace” not “Grace’s homework.” “Mack” and not even “Mack’s fears.” Now self-assured, I could assure each family member that I would not let them fall. This season would pass and we would be better for it.
The twins are now sixteen months. Many of those paper plates are spinning again. The laundry still piles up, but most of the homework gets done. I volunteer in the classrooms and go on field trips. We breathe a collective sigh of relief, and we know better how to love and lift each other. I even make dinner almost every night. But we still eat on — you guessed it — paper plates.
– Marcie Richards
There are lots more wonderful, inspiring stories–from more than 60 mothers–that you won’t want to miss. We can’t wait to share the whole book with you!
April and Saren