Before I start publishing weekly chapters of my book on here, I thought I'd give a little background on why and how I am writing this book...
I have always loved to write. When I was in 6th grade, I carried around a turquoise binder full of notebook paper that I was writing my book on! I would sit on the bus and brainstorm ideas for my captivating novel. It was a ridiculous little story about a group of friends, of the Babysitters Club genre and definitely lacking in profound truths or brilliant literary prose. But even back then writing my silly book, I loved to write and use my words to craft a story and paint a picture I had in my head.
When I was in high school, I wrote for the high school newspaper so I went from writing fiction to reporting on events> I wrote about everything from the major world news stories to fashion trends within my high school. I loved writing for the newspaper! It must be what athletic or musical people feel like when they discover they can belong somewhere with people with shared talents and interests! Being incredibly uncoordinated and lacking in pitch, I had never really felt good at something other than being a teacher's pet and getting good grades! But writing felt easy for me when it was hard for others and that felt rewarding. I won UIL competitions for my writing and even got a letter jacket for writing (yes, turns out you can letter in being a nerd!)
With my history of loving writing, the idea of blogging about Max and Addie ended up seeming like a great fit. It did take me a long time to be ready for it though. I did not start the blog until over a month after they came home from their 8 month NICU stay. Prior to that, I just wasn't ready to put everything we were going through into words, or at least not words for the whole word. Most of my journalling from that time is in the form of emails to my best friend Hannah in Australia. I would write these incredibly long emails all the time to her describing all the details of what was going on with a mixture of humor and distress most of the time. Writing was therapeutic in that form. But blogging is different. When I started blogging, I decided not to blog to vent or for my own therapy if you will. Although it does at times prove very helpful to me to blog, I blog usually either to update people on medical information or to reflect on what is happening and how we are feeling and dealing with it. Recently I definitely have been using it more as a post crisis reflection place. Sometimes that makes writing posts difficult because I don't always feel like I have any positive or wise words yet. There have been stretches where my blog has been neglected when I have not felt like I was ready to write something I wanted everyone to read. But usually I do love writing on my blog and having a way to share more of our experiences and my heart with people.
It was soon after Addie's transplant when I was getting lots of great feedback from my blog posts and I was feeling so excited about the difference transplant had made in her life that I decided I wanted to write a book. I knew it would be hard to live up to the greatness of my 6th grade Babysitters Club-esque novel but I realized that I had always wanted to write a book and now my life had a remarkable story to tell. I got pretty excited about the prospect and decided then that it would be a story of our quest to transplant so it would end with Max's transplant.
My enthusiasm took a bit of a dip when Max's transplant was so difficult and I stopped thinking about it for a while. And then over last summer, I got my groove back and started writing. I worked out my plan and style. The book is not intended to be focused on medical details or telling of the events specifically. I wanted my book to be a chronological story but focused on the emotions behind the events. It's about how our family has endured and embraced this journey and the ways in which we have grown through the trials. In that respect, it is as much MY story as Max and Addison's story. The events happened to them but really the only story I am equipped to really tell is how being their mom through this has changed and moved me.
Admittedly my desire to write my book is somewhat 'selfish' because I want to document this journey for myself and my children and for the challenge of writing a book about it. But there is also a side of it that is for more than that. I would love for our story to encourage others. I get a lot of great emails from people going through various things from having sick kids themselves to totally different trials who say that my blog posts have ministered to them in some way. So I hope that as well as doing this for me, God would use my words, my story, my book to encourage and bless others in the process. Or at least provide them with some enjoyment from reading it. I am putting it all on my public blog so feel free to pass it on or link to it or anything if you like. I always take it as a huge compliment if someone asks me if they can share a post I wrote and always smile if I see posts linked or shared!
I have decided to write lots of short chapters as it just felt like the best way to divide up all the ups and downs in the journey. I have 50 chapters intended (9 of which are already written) so if I publish one a week on my blog this will be a year long process. So hopefully a year from now I will have my book written. Whether I decide to then try and get it published or not, I'm not sure. I'll just be happy to have written it!!
I reformatted the home page on my blog and changed the title of my blog in preparation for this new project. I'm titling my book "Dancing in the Rain" after my favorite quote: Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain." What I hope more than anything to portray in my book is that although this journey has been difficult and at times painful, we have experienced great joy and happiness through it. And as you know if you've been reading this, our story has continued long past Max's transplant (although my book will stop there) and we are still Dancing in the Rain through each storm that continues to come!
I'll be posting the first part of my blog this weekend. Thank you in advance for reading along and encouraging me in this endeavor!!!