to wake up, interview ND Wilson and giveaway his new book

Sitting on the old couch in my therapist's unbelievably bright office, a shoegazing sixteen year old,
the year before I surrendered myself to the Author who breathes life,
I nonchalantly confessed that nothing mattered.
"This is all a dream, my life, you, all of it.  It's a dream.
It doesn't matter what I do, one day I'll wake up and start fresh."
Peering over his horn-rimmed glasses, he asked me to explain myself.

"I was five years old.  It was at an afterschool daycare.  There I was,
playing by myself when I lay down and fell asleep behind the bookshelf.
My mom came to pick me up and life continued but
I never woke up.  I'm dreaming.  I'm still five years old, sleeping behind the shelf."

He scribbled words most likely declaring my insanity,
looked up and asked me,
"So that's why you don't care about the consequences of your actions?
That's why you don't care what you do to yourself?  You think you're dreaming?"

Chewing on the sleeves of my tattered, punk rock sweatshirt I whispered,
"I'm just trying to get through it.  I'm so desperate to reach the end, so tired of this dream.
If I could finish it all, wake up and start over, I'd be free to really live."

I don't remember the outcome of that session, but I do know that within a month
I was in an adolescent psychiatric hospital and soon after,
I woke to truth and began again, free to live, to love.
I began to live, not wanting to just make it through,
but to live, to embrace, to hold fast,
to dance, to laugh.
And so I did.

I've been dancing for fourteen years now,
a beautiful fourteen years.
And in that time I have read books that talk of dancing,
joy, gratitude and
they speak truth and encourage me along my way.

Death by Living by N.D. Wilson speaks life.
His poetic voice whispers truth through stories of his life
and the lives of those whose own stories unknowingly shaped his.
Glimpses into the lives of his grandparents,
and those who sacrificed and gave to help them be,
to help N.D. Wilson be,
radiate love, loyalty and the joy of living.
He is a master at weaving pictures through his words and
encouraging us to embrace our one life,
to make our part of this story beautiful.
I knew I loved N.D. Wilson's writing based on his youth fiction,
but Death by Living was a whole new level.
A breathtaking book.
One that has caused my eyes to open a bit wider.
One that makes me want to breathe in each and every moment,
to move slowly towards the finish line,
one that makes you realize that it all matters,
every laugh, cry, smile, hug, choice. There is no waking up and
starting over.  There is a finish line.
Death by Living helps you slow down and enjoy the ride.
Eyes. Wide. Open.


So, when I was asked to review this new book by N.D. Wilson, I jumped at the chance.  Not only did I love his 100 Cupboards series but Layla, my 11 year old daughter, {despite how cliché it sounds} is his biggest fan.  She even wrote a novel and sent it to him when she finished, just to get his oh so respected opinion.  With this review came the ability to interview N.D. Wilson and I knew Layla would love to do it.  So I asked her to write some questions.  And this is what I received…

{Layla, age 11, interviewing Death by Living author N.D. Wilson}:

L.H.    I have this saying which I made up because I was infuriated when my brother was accepted into college.  The saying is, “college is for the uneducated.”  But, if I were to attend college (which is a very far-fetched possibility) I would only want to attend the one where you teach.  Do you think you will still be there in 7 years?

N.W. I think so... I know that I want to be there in seven years, but I can't make any promises!

L.H.     What is your favorite book/book series?

N.W. The Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis. I lurv it lots and lots! Especially the third book. I think it has influenced my writing and imagination in ways that I can't even begin to self-diagnose.

L.H.       My mom really likes reading spiritual books like this one she is reviewing for you.  I, on the other hand, LOVE reading fiction such as your amazing and wonderful 100 Cupboards series and The Ashtown Burials (which I am very impatiently awaiting number 3, I think you should send me an advance copy like right now). I call the spiritual books BORING BOOKS. Why do you write boring books, um, I mean spiritual books too?

N.W. Ha! Well, I write the boring books to help me (and others) try to lead lives that would make awesome books. A boring life would be so much worse than a boring book. How's that?

L.H. Do you intend on writing a prequel to the 100 Cupboards series?  Hint, hint.

N.W.  You know, I've thought about it. I've even had a conversation with my publisher about it. But I'm afraid that if that does happen (big IF), it's still years away...

L.H.     Did you ever have to do your mom’s grammar book in school?  We have it.  I did it when I was six.  My older brother did it when he was 14.

N.W.  I didn't! But I had to get all the instruction from my mom that became the grammar book later. I think that makes me extra special.

L.H.    If you could live in one fictional land (not of your own creation) what would it be?

N.W.  I'd only want to visit, but I actually think that this one is still the coolest one there is. So I'd really just want to be able to visit different lands from long ago in our very own world. That might seem silly, but imagine watching Moses have his duel with Pharaoh's wizards, or the Red Sea parting, or watching Samson (one of the only superheroes to really live), or the flood, or getting to chat with someone more than nine hundred years old. And that's not even dabbling in New Testament times. Yeah...this world. For sure.

L.H.     Who are some modern authors that you enjoy, if there actually are any? 

N.W.  Well, Lewis and even Chesterton are modern. Do they count? If want this author to still be alive, and assuming that you are talking about fiction, and fiction written to your age level, then I would say Megan Whalen Turner. Fun stuff.

L.H.    Was any chocolate maliciously *sigh* or innocently consumed in the writing of Death by Living?

N.W.  Absolutely! Mostly dark chocolate at the end of a long day with my feet up (I just let it melt on my tongue). But also some chocolate stuffed with peanut butter...

{When we received our answers from N.D. Wilson, Layla didn't stop smiling all day}

Giveaway*** as part of the blog tour I am able to offer a book to giveaway.  Now that you know how awesome this book is, and you know {thanks to Layla}, that there was chocolate eaten during it's creation, you should be itching to get yourself a copy.  So leave a comment saying something nice and telling me your favorite chocolate.  Then, you're entered in the giveaway.  It ends Saturday night, Aug. 31. 

***UPDATED***** Giveaway winner is.....

#7, JULIE who loves dark chocolate just like me ;)  email me your address Julie and I will get you your copy of Death by Living!


to become a young mama

i knew we would be married
from the moment i
saw him,
standing in line at the deli,
and i was afraid
so i made fun of him to
my friend,
and tried to forget about him
until he appeared
everywhere i was,
and i told my friends
this crazy guy was
stalking me and would most likely
kill me.

then one day he called me out
and told me
i was standoffish and
and i couldn't let him think that
so i said,
"no i'm not.  let's hang out."
and we did.

and a week later he wanted to know
what God was telling me,
and as casually as if i were revealing
what type of ice cream i wanted
i said,
"we're going to
get married."
and he simply responded,

four months after we met,
we were married.
i was 19,
he 21 and
along with him came
six year old boy
with cutest smile ever
hiding a broken heart.
that means i am
only 12 years older
than him)
born when my husband
biological mother signed over
custody and he became
single father,
dropped out of school,
working full time,
doing all he could but
little boy was

and now here i was,
a mother to the motherless,
trying desperately to love him
not knowing how to heal his hurt,
and he loved me,
and hated me,
and hugged me,
and yelled at me,
and ran to me,
and ran away,
and i tried,
and cried out,
"Lord help me love him
and time went by
He healed...

eighteen years old now,
three years older than husband was when
he was born,
eighteen years old now,
he calls me mom,
and His beauty resonates in
his young life,
ready for whatever the Lord
gives him
and i sit back and watch,
in awe of him,
of all He has done in him,
and so in love...

*an edited repost.  as ian embarks on his new journey this post has a whole new meaning.*


to read a really good book, almost finish a vest and ramble {yarn along}

hello there.
it's a tad bit late tonight and i really should be in bed.
but here i am typing up this here yarn along post
there's really no good reason.
i just am.

i have paused all current reading because i just received
death by living in the mail
which i am reading for a review in two weeks.
*review spoiler: {what? is that even possible}...
so far, and i'm only in chapter three, i heart it.*

and of course,
i am still working on the plain vests for the twins.
almost done with the first,
pretty sure i'll have it completed by next week,
{and, my birthday is next week.  double bonus}

on a side note,
not related in the least to what i am knitting or reading,
if you were wondering,
i did host that first group on monday and yes,
i lived through it.
i really did have a wonderful time,
met some beautiful like minded mamas and
a dear friend of mine came to help me along and
i am so very grateful for her and her thoughtfulness.

the next month will probably be a bit busy.
next week is the awesome birthday which i have spoken of way too much,
and then we only have a couple of weeks to get ian all packed and
head up to oregon to drop him off at college.
i have some amazing friends to visit while i am there andso it will be a bittersweet trip.

back to the whole point of this post.
reading: death by living
knitting: plain vests

maybe i just should have done that :)

to simplify and hoard books {or to find music without poetry}

i've been a really lazy blogger lately,
i apologize.
i'm just kind of drinking up this last bit of summer,
this last month before ian leaves for college.
it's really a beautiful time.

this past weekend was spent cleaning, organizing and
something i do bi-seasonally.
i typically change/add things at the beginning of each season and
then do it a bit again in the middle.
and when i do i use the time to sift through things,
purge, simplify.
it's quite refreshing.

we try and minimize our accumulation of things.
and i think we are pretty successful, usually.
the one area where i am a complete failure though is books.
our home is bursting with that life on paper which has no equal,
and we are constantly adding to our library.
i really would like to try and put a cap on the book buying for awhile but...
thrift stores, garage sales, library book sales and
then there's the whole we homeschool thing and having our own library is
pretty much an education in itself.
i'd like to have a room where we can store all of our books and
some nice big comfy couches,
a library room.  then the book clutter could be contained,
easily accessible and inviting and
the rest of the house could be free.
that's not the case here.
and so,
book hoarding it is.

this post has no flow,
definitely not a river of beauty.
in fact,
there has been quite a lack of poetry here lately,
it's kind of just the season of my life.
beautiful, simple, free.
and i'm totally okay with that.

so, back to the kids, the free days,
the music of life.
back to the books, the cooking, the cleaning,
the daily holy beauty.
and maybe one day my lips will flow in rhythm again but
for now,
it's good.


to tell things

So here are some things...

Thing #1: we survived San Francisco, my daddy got married, I gained a new brother, my kids were freaked out and overwhelmed by the city but became totally obsessed with taxis.

Thing #2: remember a little post a while ago where I bragged about how I would never have an iphone? Well, im eating my words because I just got an iphone. The two main reasons? One, I needed a new phone and wouldn't you know the only affordable phone is a stinking iphone. Seriously. To get a basic flip phone I would have had to pay $60 out of pocket. The iphone? 99 cents. And then there's the whole camera thing. I pretty much gave my camera to layla since she has such a strong passion for photography. But I am so used to having a camera strapped to me to document life that I needed something. The iphone serves that purpose. So, yeah. I'm on instagram now if you want to follow me.

Thing #3: we are not moving. This, of course, is bittersweet because I would love to move to a place where it snows, in the forest. And i have this forever dream that the most amazing place is just going to fall into our laps. But anyway. Why would you have even thought we were moving? Well you probably wouldn't unless you are friends with my husband on facebook. He really likes to mess with people and these are his posts from the past week: first there was "new things ahead. Shhhh." Then came, "I hate moving. Especially when it is out of state." And then, "Packing sucks. 990 boxes to go," and finally, "new places are exciting and kind of intimidating." So you see? I have been getting messages asking where we are moving so I just have to say we are not moving. Even though I would like to be.

 a snowy day years ago... look how cute ian and the twins were!

Thing #4: i'm hosting this holistic/crunchy mom/kid group at my house and this freaks me out so much.  because a} i'm an introvert and have the most difficult time engaging in conversations and meeting new people and b}i have seven kids and sometimes they have bad days and sometimes they have good days. and c} see a again.  so i'm hosting this.  it starts next monday.  and it may never happen again.  and i'm totally scared.

Thing #4: It's August. Which is my birthday month. Yes, I have a birthday month. Always have. I really, really like my birthday.

Thing #5: as usual, I'm counting down the days until autumn; to fires crackling and pumpkin bread, dark, cold candlelit mornings. Oh I can't wait.

 Thing #6: there is no thing six.  so this is the end.