My dear readers, I’m back!!
I don’t even know where to start. So much has changed since I last posted (August 2016!) that I almost feel like an entirely different person. With the birth of our daughter, Elanor, my life has been turned completely around. (Brownie points to anyone who recognizes where we got the inspiration for her name!) My life now revolves around a very tiny, very precious little human with my husband’s hair and my eyes, a heart-melting smile and a very strong set of lungs. I can hardly believe that it’s been nearly two months since she came into the world. It’s honestly hard to think what I used to do without her!
The latter part of pregnancy was quite difficult and stressful, involving several false-alarm-labor hospital trips and six weeks of bed rest, followed by Elanor’s birth and six more weeks of postpartum recovery, tons of trouble nursing, nasty colds for both me and baby and a round of pink eye to top it all off. Needless to say, for the past three months I have been in survival mode. Blogging, exercising, reading, knitting, writing – all previous hobbies were the furthest thing from my mind. Some days it’s all I can do to brush my teeth and remember to eat!
A couple of weeks ago I began to feel a deep desire to get out of survival mode, even if my circumstances were still nuts. I started to try to make little changes, like keeping the house tidy on a regular basis and doing a bit of exercise here and there. One thing led to another and I’m not sure if it was a delayed nesting instinct or a New Year’s “fresh start” kind of thing, but it seems like every aspect of my life has been examined, evaluated and revamped over the past month.
My husband and I recently had an awesome late-night discussion that resulted in us writing out our family purpose statement. With a daughter now in the picture, we’ve really re-examined what we want to be about as a family, where we want to head in the future and what we can do right now to align our lives with our purpose. From our closet to our relationships to our social media habits to our budget, everything has had an overhaul. We didn’t purposefully set out to do this at the beginning of the year (it’s sort of just happening) but boy am I enjoying the way that things are falling into place!
As you probably have noticed, one of the things I’ve overhauled is this blog! I’m loving the new look, but I’m even more excited about the new direction in which I’m going to be taking the Hope Writer blog. When I first started this blog nearly five years ago (not including a few years of blogging before that on the old Hope Writer blog) I focused almost exclusively on book and movie reviews, tips for writing and comments about reading in general. Now, though, in addition to posts about stories, I’d like to include some more posts about things that are forming my life’s story. That’s why I’ve changed the blog’s tagline from “Reading. Writing. Loving Stories.” to “Writing my life’s story, one day at a time.”.
It’s a cliche to say that life is a story, but it really is. Being a new mother is teaching me how easy it is to slip into survival mode and keep my head down, just going from diaper change to nap time to bath time to bed time. But I want to be intentional about my days and not just react to situations. N.D. Wilson’s Death By Living: Life is Meant to Be Spent explains how all of us are writing our life’s story whether we realize it or not.
The future flies at us and from that dark blur we shape the past. And the past is forever. We are authors and we are writing every second of every day. A child scissors a couch, and that action is forever and always. It cannot be undone. But now it is your turn. What you say and what you do in response will be done forever, never to be appealed, edited, or modified….
Living means decisions. Living means writing your every word and action and thought and drool spot down in forever. It means writing your story within The Story. It means being terrible at it. It means failing and knowing that, somehow, all of our messes will still contribute, that the creative God has merely given Himself a greater challenge—drawing glory from our clumsy botching of the past.
~N.D. Wilson, Death by Living
We are all characters in God’s play. As one of those characters, what I do every moment of every day (even if all I do is diapers and naps and baths) matters profoundly. It matters in my life’s story, and (even more importantly) it matters in my daughter’s story. I’m writing her childhood chapters in real-time with no chance to hit the backspace key. It can be really scary to think of sometimes, but mostly it’s incredibly exciting. It can be exciting because I’m not doing it alone. The Author of the universe is on my side, guiding and helping me.
These are new chapters in my life right now, and I hope to share some of what I’m learning and thinking and experiencing in these chapters with all of you in the coming months!