found, part I (micha, micha!)

Friends, it’s Micha Week here on be, mama. be, as my good friend, Micha Boyett, just released her FIRST BOOK yesterday.  We are so, so excited for her.  So, visit the blog today and tomorrow, leave a comment of love, pure love on today’s post, and win yourself a copy of Found.  I’ll be giving away two copies. Contest ends Sunday at 6 pm PST.  

After a highly technical drawing of eeny-miney-moe, the winner is SARAH KERNER!!  Sarah, email me your address, and I’ll get it shipped out this week! 

And although it’s not terribly fun, per say, in case you’d rather read the dialogue, here it is below. Ignore and forgive all typos, thankyouverymuch.  

C: Hello! This is Cara Meredith, and I’ve got beside me not only Pioneer Lady, in the blue back behind us. Yes

M: …hi there.

C: But I also have world-renowned author. Her book comes out tomorrow she is a friend of mine, she’s coming to my birthday party tonight. Micha, tell us about your book in 30 seconds or less.

M: Yes …hi everybody, um, yeah I have a book coming out, tomorrow…. You wanted to sing, didn’t you?

C: Yes, I wanted to sing Annie, but I’m going to refrain.

M: Okay, it’s called FOUND: A Story of Questions, Grace and Everyday Prayer. Look for the foggy trees.

C: Oo-oh!

M: Yeah, it’s about a book, a journey of losing prayer and working really hard to find it again.

C: Hmmm.

M: Discovering along the way that it’s not and has never been about me finding prayer, but it’s about God finding me.

C: Mmm! I love that – just repeat your last sentence again.

M: It’s …do you remember?

C: It is not about me finding God or finding prayer, but it’s about God finding me. And I think that is the heart of Christianity.

M: Mmm hmmm.

C: Mmmm – I love that, so book comes out in less than 24 hours. This has been a process over the past 5, 6 years, of writing the book, of editing, of sifting through, and all of the sudden, wham bam, thank you ma’am, it’s here, tomorrow. Tell me every emotion that you’re feeling.

M: Well, I was, I was just cleaning the kitchen with Cara. Well, Cara was sitting, and I was feeling anxious about the mess.

C: I was watching, I was not doing a thing.

M: And I found the napkin that I cried all over last night – it was a pretty cloth one. But it was …I’m just feeling, I’m anxious, I’m excited, I’m worried. And I’m, I’m kind of scared in every direction. What if it crashes and burns? What if it does really great, and then somebody expects me to -write another book and I don’t know what to write? You know, like all of those things, and it’s wonderful. And I’m just kind of trying to figure out how to feel all of that at once. And, and, I’ve known other people who have published books in the past couple years, and have heard from each of them, all my life I’ve worked for this and it’s been my dream to publish a book. And then, what do you, here it is! Is my life supposed to be changed now …now that my dreams have been met? And you know, I think that’s how it is with every dream.   You dream of getting married, and then you’re married, and you’re like, oh, I’m still the person who’s not perfect, and my life is not perfect. Or you dream of having a kid, and you’re not the ideal mother you thought you’d be. So I think it’s the same kind of thing, it’s a gift, and I’m learning to hold it lightly and have gratitude.

C: Mmm hmm. You …uh, we were just talking about this and we were just talking about this, but you are a four on the Enneagram, and you right now are feeling the feels.

M: I’m feeling all feels everywhere.

C: Here there and everywhere. Wow. You don’t have to answer this question, but how do you sit in the middle, uh, without getting too much into the what if’s, no …this is who I am, this is the present gift.

M: You know, I talk in the book about my spiritual director, Debby;

C: That’s one of my questions!

M: She actually doesn’t live in San Francisco anymore, but we still have a relationship. I’d emailed her a couple months ago. Debby, I think I might die I might not …what if I can’t handle the criticisms, what if I can’t handle the praise. What if I am crushed either way, and my ego explodes, and she gave me this prayer practice that I’ve been trying to sit with, and it’s just this imaginative prayer at of looking at who beloved Micha is, and what really meets the needs in my life, and what does it mean that I’m completely loved by God, and that I can find my fulfillment in that. And that I can go over to insecure Micha, and what is trying to use to fill her heart, what is she looking to for fulfillment, and going over to vain Micha, and letting myself look at her too. And then, Debby explained this, let beloved Micha hold the hand of insecure Micha, and vain Micha, and go to the cross. And let them all sit before the cross. And I mean, that’s so powerful and beautiful, and it’s given me a language for looking at this day. When I wake up tomorrow morning, and my book is released, will beloved Micha be the leader, will the beloved Micha be leading the rest of me – because the other Michas are going to be there, but the process of healing is that daily moment by moment, am I gonna let the Micha who’s loved by Jesus be the one in charge around here.

C: Uh, spiritual directors have a special spot in heaven. I am in the midst of that. You answered my, uh, question I had written down. Let’s turn to writing a little bit more. You are a poet by nature; that, from what I understand, is a lot of what you originally went into getting your Masters for. So, I have read the book um, but how do you find your poetry in the midst of writing? How do you still fulfill that part of you even if this is not a book of poetry? Do you think someday you’re going to bust out with a poetry book, with the Micha Boyett book of poems?

M: I would love to. And I kind of had …I’ve been surprised in the past few years how I’ve gone over to prose. I don’t see myself as a fiction writer, I don’t feel like I have a brain for that. But I do want to pursue poetry more, and I have been thinking, once the book stuff calms down, I just want to read poems and write poems for a while.

C: Can you say poems one more time?

M: Poems, poems.

C: I love it. I feel like this is the difference between Texas and Oregon. Poems.

M: Poems.

C: Poems, y’all! Sorry. You want to write poems…

M: I do, and I’m gonna make it into two syllables. butI think when I write prose too, I love beautiful sentences. And so, I just kind of want to be… It’s hard for me when I have to write a sentence that is just there to serve a purpose of getting to the next sentence, that I just want the sentence to be a little , to be a little gemstone. I just want it to be so pretty.

C: Open up this gift!

M: So That is the challenge and the fun of prose for me is that I can try and do that. Sometimes I go overboard and I make the gemstone too intense and I have to tone it down.

C: A little too shiny. A little too shiny, friends. Uh, we were talking about this earlier, but also along the lines of writing; one of my favorite analogies from Barbara Kingsolver is the difference between fiction and nonfiction writing. And you said, yes, you are not a fictional writer, that is not what you write. But what she says in this metaphor is that she describes both aspects of writing as a garden. In fictional writing, you are out in the middle of the desert, and you just create, you create your garden, you create this story of a garden. With nonfiction writing, you are stepping into this overgrown forest of gardening weeds, and your job then is to sift down. So tell me, what then was the sifting process for you? Were there parts of the book that you mourned over losing, or was it one of those, no, this is the best, is arriving at this spot. What was that like for you?…

M: I love that image of like, yeah, you gotta get in there and just start weeding, and just see what’s there. I knew I wanted to write about this process in my life, this motherhood and what prayer had …thanks honey, and the struggle of prayer after I’d had a child. But I do think there’s something in the spiritual life that teaches us to look at what’s happened and see the story, and I think that is part of we serve a god of stories, a god who, you know the story of Christ is the story of God in the world, from the beginning. And we are part of that story. And I think the process of learning to look for God in my life has also led me to look back and say, oh, this is where God was working. You know, we all know, people of faith, we all know how to look back and say, yeah, that’s what was happening there. So in some ways writing this, or writing in general is a spiritual practice of looking for the story. And that is getting in there and wedding it out. But also, in terms of practical writing stuff, I’m an over-writer, so this book was a really long process because especially I cut about half of the book to make the book. So I probably wrote about 14,000 words in there, 6500 and two of my preciousness ended up in there, um, and a lot of what I cut was easy to cut, and then there was plenty that hurt a little bit. But thankfully I’ve had a lot of …when I was in graduate school for poetry, one of the main things I learned was revision. And learning how to, my professor would quote somebody else – I can’t remember who said it – but how to kill your darlings.

C: Mmm!

M: And so, that was a really good thing for me to belike, you know what? This stuff I wrote is not, it may seem beautiful, but I can just kkkkkkk ….I can just beat that thing out.

C: Beat that darling to a bloody pulp!

M: So, it is weird to write a book about your life, when it is a real life and you’re kind of, there’s that struggle, am I remembering this correctly, is this the truth? And how to make that, cause once you put it down on paper, like is this going to be how my kids remember this moment, …or will they have to remember it this moment this way because I wrote it this way? And it’s just complicated because it’s a real life, it’s not just a story I’m making up.

C: Oh, friendly. Friendlies – singular, plural. It has been so great being here before our decaf English Breakfast tea, with each other, with the pioneer lady, um, but we must let you go. Micha, we are delighted that this is being written. Two days from now, I’ll be posting some of my favorite quotes and passages from the book, along with giving away a couple of books. And otherwise we look forward to you diving into your poy-yems, and um, look forward to the next book, if and when that arises (which I’m sure it will). But we just think you are a gift and a delight, so thank you. Have a great day. Talk to you guys later.

M: Bye people.

You made it!  Leave a comment on today’s post, and win a copy of Micha’s new book – or, better yet, support the author yourself, and head to your favorite bookstore locale and Found buy a copy!  Winner will be drawn Sunday evening – contest closes at 6 pm.  

celebrity dopplegangers (Vlog).

Well, friends, it’s happened again: Micha and Cara have joined forces to bring you an incredibly important, super duper serious video log.  So, what do Reese Witherspoon, DJ Tanner, Jessi Spanno and Elizabeth Shue from Adventures in Babysitting have in common?  Just about as much as Alyssa Milano, Sarah McLaughlin and Maya Rudolph.  So, pull up a chair, fix your eyes accordingly on the screen for the next five minutes and get ready to laugh – because we think you just might.

xo.

What about you?  Who’s your celebrity doppleganger, or who would you LIKE to be your celebrity doppleganger?  And, more importantly, do you think Maya Rudolph wants to be movie star besties with me?  Cross the fingers, cross the fingers…

from the mouth of babes (vlog)

Happy Friday, Friendlies!

I’ve got to warn you: This little bit of vloggy goodness just happened with the Magnificent Mama Monk Micha – and I’m pretty sure we’re funnier together than we would be apart.  (I used to use that phrase solely for marriage alone, substituting “stronger” for “funnier,” but hereby bequeath this into the realm of friendship as well).  So, do nothing but sit back and enjoy this woeful tale of a cussing toddler and the burden of not using the words “butt” and “fart” – for, who knows, our humor just might be the slice of spectacular you’re looking for today.

xo. c.

What about you?  What woeful language disaster is your child or friend of small human stature into these days?  And more importantly, what’s the best song you’ve ever made up?  Sing it, please.

If you’re making it to be, mama. be for the first time today, welcome!  Cheer Cara on by liking the Facebook page, or clicking “follow” to receive emails directly in your inbox.  Grazi.  Otherwise, have you checked out Micha’s page yet?  Do it, do it, do it…

the beautiful & cranky (vlog).

Hello friends!

Ugh: the book that I’ve got for you today is just delicious.  It’s our first spiritual memoir here on be, mama. be, but I’ve got to warn you: it’s offensive and beautiful and authentically raw and gruesomely lovely, all at the same time. The book?  Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber.  So beware, and embrace, and enjoy!

xo, c.

What about you?  Have you read Bolz-Weber’s book?  How is your faith an interweaving mix of both the cranky and the beautiful? 

This post contains a link to Amazon, so if you click on the aforementioned link and buy the book, you inadvertently support my reading habits, and therefore this blog.  Thank you!

5 that just might change your life.

We interrupt the normal flow of heart-rendering, faith-pumping, absolutely, positively hilarious creative Cara-writing to bring you be, mama. be’s 5 that just might change your life.  Without further adieu, might I present…

1. This book: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  

I love the expression captured on this week’s vlog; it’s rather Whatchu talkin’ ’bout Willis? meets Oh really now meets Wahhh-wahhhhh.  

2. Coconut chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.  You’re welcome.  Original recipe here.

Minus: rice syrup, barley malt and orange extract.

Plus: applesauce (in lieu of above syrup & malt), and solely for health purposes, chocolate chips.

3.  These pants that I just bought on a whim from a private CAbi event – actually, let me clarify: I showed up to the CAbi-fllled house 12 hours after the party actually happened, so I didn’t exactly get an invitation.   Instead, I intended to enter into a day with my Lectio Divina girls, but instead found retail therapy a necessary distraction from the week’s break-in festivities.  Friends, they fit like buttah, just sayin’.  And I suppose they kind of look like it, too.

CAbi Gold Ruby Jean
CAbi Gold Ruby Jean

4.  Grout scrubber.  I know, first a CAbi party, and now grout scrubber.  I really am old.  But when you’ve wondered how many renters the grime in between the cracks of the bathroom floor have represented, and after you’ve chosen to hire a babysitter instead of a housekeeper, these things happen.  And the best part about said grout scrub?  It was passed down to me by a little old lady from church, only after she’d come to our house for lunch.  No further comment, your honor.

5.  This video, in its brilliant and brave embrace of sadness in the age of our can’t-live-without smartphones:

I couldn’t agree more.  Louis C.K., I know I’m just now now meeting you, but I’m a fan.

That’s it! So, don’t be a lurker: what’s changing your life?  Which of these five might you grab and hold onto for dear life?