In part 1 posted yesterday, I talked about the big breakthrough in my motherhood journey. How two years ago, God reached down and reminded me in a desperate moment that He would always be strong for me.
The next morning I discovered Lisa-Jo Baker.
At that point, she still went by The Gypsy Mama. I can’t remember which post I read first, but through the blurry haze of my first refreshing ugly cry on her behalf, I added her blog to my Google Reader (RIP) because she showed me that the messy equation of soaking soiled onesies, eating cold dinners, and feverishly typing work with one hand added up to something beautiful. Something I could be proud of. A purpose that requires a lot of bravery and comes with so many more honors than “just a mom” could ever do justice.
Two years later, when I found out Lisa-Jo was coming out with a book, I pre-ordered it immediately. Barnes and Noble sent it a few days before its April 1 release date, and I gobbled it up in a day. Surprised by Motherhood isn’t a story of an unexpected pregnancy like some may believe by the title. It reveals the hope and beauty of a role that gloriously can’t be predicted and requires always staying on your toes.
The book tells Lisa-Jo Baker’s story from a child growing up in South Africa to a motherless girl of 18 who swore she’d never have children to a fulfilling international career to the redemption she found in changing her mind about kids. She’s honestly one of the best writers I’ve ever come across, sometimes reading like a Toni Morrison novel but mostly like she’s translating sheet music directly from the deepest truths of the mama-heart in ways the mind couldn’t otherwise comprehend.
She reminds readers that, whether working mom, stay-at-home mom, work-from-home mom, blue mom, green mom, women have the tremendous capacity to love children intentionally and still have goals and dreams. That women whose dreams have always only been to have children are just as brilliant and brave.
I love her story for the same reason I loved literary realism in undergrad — her descriptions bring magic to my parallel life in an encouraging, inspiring way. Because buried in the dishes piling in the sink, staring at the grocery store tile with a fistful of 3T cotton, and brushing out tangles are the milk-drunk smiles, whispered “I love you, Mom”s, and creative expressions of a huge, individual personality packaged in a tiny body you helped to create.
It’s above all, a story of hope and encouragement. A glimpse of wholeness and holiness in the imperfection. I’d give it away to all of my friends if I could, but for now, I’m giving away one copy. It was snatched out of my mailbox less than a week ago, gently read by appreciative eyes, and you can find out if it’s yours on Friday! Here’s how:
Well I’m sold and adding this to my reading list. Thanks for the giveaway!
YAY! You won’t regret it!
Ok, I just bawled reading this post.
Try reading that book and ugly crying in a coffee shop! 🙂
I’m so glad I discovered your site! Your writing is beautiful! This might be my favorite >Because buried in the dishes piling in the sink, staring at the grocery store tile with a fistful of 3T cotton, and brushing out tangles are the milk-drunk smiles, whispered “I love you, Mom”s, and creative expressions of a huge, individual personality packaged in a tiny body you helped to create. < It captures just what you wrote earlier, "descriptions that bring magic" – yours too … yours too! I'm looking forward to visiting again and reading more of your lovely words. Thank you!
Thank you so much 🙂 Huge compliment! Glad we’re Twitter buddies. How did you get to be on her street team? Love that!
What a beautiful post, Laurie. Motherhood is such a letting go and getting a different grip on our lives process, isn’t it? It’s never what we expected yet more than we realized it could be.
Your description of Lisa-Jo’s book resonated with me… “It’s above all, a story of hope and encouragement. A glimpse of wholeness and holiness in the imperfection.” Sounds amazing!
Thanks for the chance to read Surprised by Motherhood, and for sharing your story and struggles. ~ Kerry
Yes! I love knowing motherhood is also a very special sisterhood. No matter how happy and shiny other moms make it out to be, everyone is trudging through it to some extent at times! Important to find the joy and intention in it!
I miss making pie with you! But I’m glad to see the great things happening in your life, even from afar. Thank you for your honest, lovely words.
I miss making pie, too! Next time you’re in town, we’ll have to go to Antoinette’s pie night on Brookside. I’m curious what you think of theirs 🙂
I want to read this! And eat pizza with you. (Not at the same time. That would be rude.)
Yes to reading and yes to pizza! And I’m a bookworm, so I totally wouldn’t mind if they happened at the same time 🙂
Oh please please count me in. It sounds amazing. I discovered her a month or so ago. I can’t wait to read it. Especially as my sweet girl nears 3.
It is! And my little is turning 3 in September!
I love what you’ve done with your website Laurie! Excited about this book and what Lisa-Jo has to say about Motherhood!
Thank you <3 You'll love it!
I want to read this now! Of course, I’m also loving YOUR thoughts on all of this, so I want to read YOUR book on motherhood too. =)
Haha! I am in no way qualified to write the book. But then again, is anyone ever really? 🙂
Love your description, Laurie. Makes me want to go grab a copy…and find the time to read it! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the book.
You bet! I didn’t think I had time either. But things just sort of got shoved aside 🙂
This book has perfect timing! As a chronic over-thinker/worrier, pregnancy has been a roller coaster ride so far. Looking forward to learning from the wisdom of ladies who have gone before me and stayed sane/alive!
You share your heart so well!
not a mom yet, but it does sound like a great read!
Wow, Laurie. This sounds incredible. I’m sad I didn’t know about her two years ago myself! As a mom of four and a surprise bundle on the way in two months (and writer/editor/mentor/tutor), I feel the chaos, and I’ve known the peace that comes from functioning anyway. His yoke, not others’. But OH! I could use a reminder. Thanks for the opportunity to win. If I don’t, I’ll be buying the book anyway.
I’m definitely adding this to my to-read list! Thanks!
You convinced me – this is definitely going to have to go on my reading list! 🙂