the next-newest book: The Blessings of Motherprayer
a little bit Motherprayer, a little bit Slowing Time, and a little bit altogether new, this sweet little book of essays, prayers, meditations, and recipes, all unfurled season by season, invites you to pay attention, savor the moment, see the sacred, and learn the lessons of loving from those you love with all your heart.
i admit to a particular fondness. soon as i held the sweet little thing in the palms of my hands, i felt a tug at my heart. i should have known it was coming, for i’d felt a rising affection, a weaving into the nooks and crannies of my heart, over the long slow summer.
soon as i spied the fat manila envelope on the front step the other evening, soon as i’d snipped the blades of the scissor through the envelope’s corner, and pulled back the padding, soon as i dumped it onto the counter, and lifted it ever so gently, i felt that rush of newborn awe that oddly might be something akin to the way willy wonka must have felt when the first everlasting gobstopper came spitting out of the chutes and the tubes and the silvery pipes of wonka’s crazy-candy-concocting machine. only i’d spooned in words, lots and lots of words, 219 pages of words, and with little more than 10 months wait, and a bit of hocus pocus, out came a little book. a little book with yet another nest and a robin’s blue egg.
it’s called the blessings of motherprayer: sacred whispers of mothering, and in the vernacular of the publishing world, it’s called “a gift book,” a word whose meaning i had little understanding of back in may when i first got the call from my editor, not long after the birthing of motherprayer: lessons in loving, that collection of motherly essays plucked from the front lines here on the homefront.
not knowing quite what a gift book might be — is it a book with a ribbon tied in a bow? — i did what any scrambling writer might do: i made it up as i noodled along.
what i knew mostly boiled down to this: it would be part-motherprayer, part-brand-new, and it would be pretty.
i gathered that the gist of this idea is to pull out a few glimmering threads, the parts that might jingle around in your brain or your heart for more than a few minutes or three after you turn to a page. i also gathered — because i’d heard so from plenty of most blessed readers — that a snippet here, a snippet there, is a marvelous way to read a particular sort of book (the sort that, so far, my books tend to be).
so i set out to make a patchwork of bits that i loved, bits that might nestle into those places of the heart that come alive with just the right care and attention. and because i realized there’d never been “a gift book” for slowing time, my first collection of see-the-sacred essays, i decided to do a good bit of plucking from its pages, too. and then, for good measure, i combed through a year or two of writing that hadn’t yet been pressed into anyone’s pages. essays and thoughts scribbled during the long aching months when two beloved friends were dying, when the words they spoke shook me through and through, and in which i was blessed to carry their words from their lips, or their texts and their emails, to the page, where now they will live on forever.
i’ve never been a quilt maker, though my great grandmama was a fine one, not so much for the art as for the pragmatics of keeping folks warm, and doing so with bits and scraps of old pretty-patterned cloth. i grew up with those patchwork triangles and squares pulled up to my nose every night as i dreamed. so maybe that’s why i find such joy — three generations later — making patchworks of words, sewing blocks of type into pages of books.
this was my third summer doing so, and with the screen door inviting in the breeze and the birdsong, i sat for hours and hours at the old kitchen table, thinking and snipping and stitching.
and somehow along the way, this little book — for it is a little thing, just big enough to tuck in your purse or your backpack, or perhaps the pocket of your snuggliest coat — wormed its way into my heart. i pulled out parts and pages and paragraphs i’d loved the first time around. i stuffed in ones that never fail to put a lump in my throat, or even to brush away a tear.
it’s tender and quiet and full of my heart.
and, by jove, it’s pretty (all thanks to the wizardry of the book-making wizards at abingdon press).
here’s a recipe page:
and here is a page with a wonderlist (left) and count-your-blessings calendar (right):
this sweet little book will be out in the world as of april 3, 2018. you can find it at — or request it from — your favorite indie bookseller. or let your fingers do the clicking over at amazon or directly from the publisher, abingdon press.
and with my whole heart, thank you!