Tag Archives: Empathy

It’s Not Fair – A Book Review and Giveaway

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It’s Not Fair – A Book Review and Giveaway

For the past couple of summers, I’ve been getting together with a group of young moms for book club. We agree on a book by a contemporary Christian author and spend most Wednesday nights discussing sections of the book around a table outside our favorite local coffee shop.

2016 Book CLub

A few of the beauties from Summer Book Club 2016

 

This past spring when Women Are Scary was suggested, I was not familiar with Melanie Dale but I was intrigued by the title (because, well…they can be) and the premise of the book. In it, Melanie compares “momlationships” to dating, complete with analogies of rounding the bases. I fell in love with her writing style.

Melanie’s sarcasm is totally relatable for me; I grew up surrounded by it and it might be one of my love languages. And yet, she has a kindness about her that draws you in close and makes you want to spend time with her words. (And her, but there’s only so much of her to go around, so we can be thankful she wrote this stuff down!)

When I learned she had written another book, I managed to worm my way right into the inner circle of awesomeness that is her launch team.

 

I’ve been privileged to settle into It’s Not Fair over the past few weeks. While our stories are radically different in detail, we share the inevitable reality that life has not been fair to us. And if we stopped there, the book would be nothing more than a reminder that some seasons of life just blow and we are not alone in our angst.

Melanie is authentic; she shares her journey through infertility and adoption with candor. She said herself that she can’t solve your stuff, so if you’re looking for a self-help book, move along…nothing to see here.

But if you are looking for someone to “sit next to you in your stuff” (or if you want to learn how to be a BOSS at sitting next to someone in their stuff) this is a must read.

Have you ever wanted to help but didn’t know how? There is an entire section titled “100 Things You Can Do to Help” but while you are at it, be sure to check out “Things You Should Say If You Want a Good Face Punch”. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there.

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Are you wallowing in the middle of something unimaginable right now? You will want to speed read over to the chapter on coping mechanisms but take your time because there is some really good stuff before you get there, some validation and empathy and I bet you could use that right about now.

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I have a list of favorite quotes. I laughed and I cried; I folded corners on pages so I wouldn’t lose them and I highlighted with fury. I drew smiley faces and sad faces and mad faces and I might have created some emojis of my very own. I felt validated and understood. Did you hear that? Validated. Understood. Seriously. Life. Changing.

Here are some of my personal favorites that:

  • “The words inside are like family. They’re raw and awkward and offensive and loving and encouraging and hopeful.” – (regarding the Bible)
  • “Safe people can let you lead the conversation and talk about what you need to talk about, not what they need to know.”
  • “Sometimes we need to stop trying to make each other feel better and just be together. Just join our friends in their ashes and sit quietly by their side.”
  • “Find the grace-bearers in your life. These are the people with whom you can be disgusting and they offer you grace and forgiveness.”
  • “But we need each other. We don’t need hordes of people, but we need a few to tether us to reality and remind us why our altered life might still be worth living.”

I loved all of it, including the rudimentary stick figure drawings and the chapter of recipes, because, well…food.

At the conclusion she didn’t wrap it all up with a nice bow and suggest we follow her step by step program to heal all of our pain and live happily ever after.

Rather, we display our scars, and when we pass each other and notice them, see the beauty in them, we nod. Solidarity.

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It’s not fair; we know it and we own it. For ourselves, yes, and for each other.

 

Wouldn’t you love to read this book? I suggest you run on over to one of the sites below and preorder it today! And if you comment below, right here on the blog page, I will enter you in a random drawing for a copy of the book! That’s right…I’m going to give a copy to one of my readers. I am so excited to bless you with this, but go ahead and order one, because you will want to give a copy to a friend!

By his grace, because Life’s not fair,

lorraine
The contest is closed. Congratulations Miranda! 

Thanks to everyone who participated! Now, order yourself a copy – you won’t regret it!

Pre-Order It’s Not Fair Today

FREE “Sur-Thrival Kit: Coping Strategies Activity Book” and “It’s Not Fair Discussion Guide” with pre-order.  Just email your receipt to unexpectedmel@unexpected.org to receive recipes, coloring sheets, group discussion questions, and Mel’s undying gratitude.

 

 

 

Familiarity Breeds Compassion

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a little bit swirly

It’s been an interesting week in blogging world. My post on dating resulted in lots of comments online and some moments of uncomfortable silence face to face. Apparently, everyone now thinks that I’m opposed to married couples dating. When they rolled the announcement video for the next dating night in our church yesterday I could feel the tension. After all, I had shared my opinion that dating is not “the” key to marital bliss with the entire World Wide Web.

It may be true that I am occasionally melodramatic and perhaps only a few people among the hundred had actually read my post. Nevertheless, I felt it.

It also was my most viewed post ever. And by ever, I mean the last seven months that I’ve been at this. Today an edited version appeared on foreverymom.com (check it out here)!! If you don’t follow that one, you should. It’s a great compilation of posts related to moms. Twice. Twice now, Jenny Rapson, the editor, has chosen my stuff to share. I’m amazed and grateful and I might have thought I was doing pretty well at this blogging thing until…

I got my first rejection last week. Already this blogging journey is teaching me that I have a lot to learn. And I’ve got some things to learn about writing, too.

I might have been devastated for a while if not for my honest blogger friend who shared her history of rejections, even as one of her wildly popular posts about….wait for it…vomit, was going viral. If you missed it, do yourself a favor and head over here to read it. Over 90K readers can’t be wrong about that one.

Last week I also started a Facebook fan page. It was one of the things that I knew I needed to do to grow my blog, but I had been wrestling with indecision. I needed a push. And a graphic for the banner page. Again, a nudge and an assist by Jami and the page is up and beautiful!  Please check it out and “like” it. There’s a link at the bottom if this post.

At the end of a very eventful and exciting week, I looked back and realized that I made new friends in this journey simply by reaching out to people with shared passion and they have joined hands with me. It is through these friendships that I’ve been encouraged to take the next step or to just keep writing in spite of setbacks.

There are times that most every heart waxes pitiful or sad and feels like the world is unaware or indifferent to it. It’s tempting to look around and wonder if anyone cares to share or even knows about our current struggle or even success.

A momma in the trenches wearily faces the day after a sleepless night, knowing there isn’t enough coffee in Brazil to ward off the fatigue that threatens to overcome her best intentions to do better today. She might have been nursing a baby or waiting for a teenager who missed curfew, but she’s tired and her patience is thin.

The parents of a newborn wait anxiously outside the NICU for an opportunity to just standbebe-616418_1280 next to the bassinet where their newborn son lies half-naked, connected to wires and tubes, alarms beeping.

A widow, living alone, misses physical contact…a hug or a lingering touch on her hand. It seems that the world has gone back to normal, but normal eludes her.

A daughter is separated from her aged parents by fifteen hundred miles, her father’s health precarious and mother caring from him as best she can on an island that’s barely five miles wide. Good health care is a prop plane trip across an ocean. Helpless to lend a hand and worried, she carries on with her toddler, preparing for the birth of a daughter who may never meet her grandparents.

seniorhandsA grandmother, missing her grandchildren, longs to snuggle with a baby or play Go Fish with a toddler. She’s so desperate she would welcome a mini lecture from an eight year old on the fine points of playing Minecraft!

 

 

I work full time and when not working, I alternate between cleaning frenzies and wandering aimlessly around Hobby Lobby. And yet, I witnessed every one of the scenarios in the last few days among people in my circle of influence.

I might have missed them; I often do because I’m lost in the details of my life. Listening is way less fun than talking, and I am a woman of many words.

Experience has taught me that the fault I see in another is often noticeable because of my familiarity with it. Without fail, it’s something that is also a struggle for me. I’m also learning that when I begin to listen to others with compassion, I recognize familiar fears, anxieties and passions.

We are never alone in our thing, whatever it may be. Finding a fellow sojourner may require revealing that vulnerable spot, the place that is most tender, but I promise that you will make a friend and your burden will be lighter even as you take up the weight of another. Familiarity will breed compassion.

I’m aware of the things I can’t do, but every day, I long to do what I can to make a difference and I’m so grateful for those who are making a difference for me.

When you do the things that you can do, you will find a way.” ― A.A. Milne

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