What Women Fear

Hello friends!

You know that awkward eighth grade thing where you want to dance with someone but you know you might be rejected so you don’t ask?

Well, that’s kind of how it feels when you have a new book coming out.

So, the next month or so is going to be kind of like me looking at you across the gymnasium and hoping my nerve holds out.

:)

With that said, here’s the promo video for my new book, and below it you will find a handy-dandy little button that you can use in the event that you would like to pre-order it.

I can honestly say I poured my heart and soul into it and I am praying it blesses you richly. There will be lots more talk about it coming up soon, but for now….wanna dance?

or click HERE to order from Barnes & Noble:)

(Thank you for your support, friends!)

Angie

These Happy Summer Days

I am at a place of contentment with my life that I can’t say I have felt in ages. I don’t know exactly what it is, and Todd and I are constantly talking about how we feel like there is so much on our plates and our calendars but we feel peace about it. We have been shifting things as we feel led to make sure we are keeping our priorities in check, but we feel like the Lord has given us extraordinary favor in being able to do what we love. I have noticed that so many times I read (and write) prayer requests and feel like I overwhelm you all with the things that are just hard. That’s definitely a part of being in community, but also, there is a time for praise to the Father who has given us all these good things. This is my public thank you to Him for allowing me to be a writer, which has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. To imagine that He saw me even then, sitting on my bed and trying to think of things that rhymed so that I could run in and show my dad my latest masterpiece….and He knew that even now I would be smiling the same way.

I don’t take it for granted, Lord. None of it. Thank you so much for allowing me to be a steward of this great treasure…I pray I always bring Your name honor with my words.

To that end, today is a day of celebration!!!!!

A few hours ago I signed a new contract with Broadman & Holman Publishing for another 3 book deal!!! I cried and cried and cried because it was such a blessing. More than that I cried because Jennifer (my editor) told me that she was so proud of me and honored to work with me, but that she knew the truth and that she understood that my name on that paper was bittersweet. She wanted me to know she would rather have Audrey back too, and that all of this celebration has a pain that will never disappear. It’s okay. I don’t want it too. She is woven into every message I will ever be called to give. But to hear that the publisher who you are working with wants to be sensitive and aware of it? That is a gift of unspeakable honor.

I have a lot of writer friends here in Nashville, and we spend time at the pool, at coffee houses, at parties, and we talk about what is going on in the fickle world of all things music/creativity/writing etc where the market is so sketchy. But here’s what I love, and what spurred me on to write this post.

Several weeks ago we found out that our dear friend and neighbor Jon Acuff’s book Quitter had made it onto the Wall Street Journal’s Bestseller List. His amazing wife Jenny (who I go to the pool with every day and never ever get sick of. This is saying a lot). put up signs all over their yard for him for people to honk for a bestselling author and so all day long you could just hear this honking and it was so fabulous. We bought him a cake and had a twilight cake party poolside while telling him how proud we were of him. Then he and Todd posed for a picture with the very pink-looking cake and it didn’t turn out with the manly vibe they were going for so we didn’t post it. But I have it in the event I should need it.

Well, fast-forward a few weeks. Jon and Jenny know I am negotiating a book deal and know the details of it and all the concerns I have etc. They are praying with us and asking if we have heard anything. So one day we grab some whole foods for dinner and have too much so they swing by and eat with us (and then we go to the pool-sensing a pattern?). While we are eating I tell them I am about to sign the deal and they both screamed at the top of their lungs as if I had told them that they had won the lottery. They don’t know this but later that night I cried because it was so sincere, and I knew what it felt like to have someone genuinely celebrate you and have no sense of competition or insecurity…just LOVE.

Well, I had no idea that they were just starting. The next day they got a plan together and at 10:30 at night I saw a tweet with a picture of my front yard….they had pulled the ultimate summer caper. I waited to take pictures until the next morning, and this is what my lawn looked like…

 

Seriously.

So all day long there was honking and screaming and it just make me so happy. I think I was more excited about the feeling of community and what love really looks like than I was about the actual book deal (sorry B&H, you know what I mean :) ) It was just so special.

At Easter the Whittaker’s had kicked it off with a 11pm adventure by planting Easter eggs in all of our yards and having all the kids come out and find them.

It’s the coolest thing-to be a part of a community that lives life together in their jammies and with the kind of love that spends time showing the world how we are called to love one another.

It’s been a summer of redemption and healing for me in some difficult areas. I wasn’t expecting the radiant love that was waiting for me here, and I thank the Lord for it. Here is a picture of a group of us from last night…celebrating sweet Heather’s birthday.

That’s Jenny Acuff on the left, then Chris Alexander, Jacinda (Heather’s bff from CA), Heather Whittaker, Me, Ally Bergstrom, Marla Parker, Keely Scott and in front Jackie Brewster, Laura Morris, and Brandi Wilson.

May God bless you all with friends who celebrate with you, weep with you, and remind you of the sweetness of fellowship.

With so much love and fullness of heart,

Ang

Sweet Baby James

I know there are stories all around us that make us hit the floor weeping for strangers, but this was one that wrapped my heart up inside it. Some of you may have seen a tweet I sent out asking for prayer for a sweet little 8 month old boy named James.  A few weeks ago he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and just yesterday he went to be with the Lord.

There are times where I look at a little face, a little dimple, or, in his case a WHOLE lot of gorgeous hair and I am stripped bare with grief. Why, Lord? Why?

In many of his newborn photos he reminds me of my nephew Luke, who also had a head of hair that made women swoon as they reached for him.

And as this family grieves, I find myself grieving as well. A stranger, yes, but not in spirit. And I know all of the beautiful, perfect things I am supposed to say to a “stranger” in this position, but at the end of the day I am weeping and all I want is for it to be different. I want them to have the rest of their summer with him, and then fall and winter for years to come. I want them to hide his toes in the sand and listen to him giggle and learn what his favorite games were.

And all of us baby-loss mothers, we just have these darned pieces. Some are jagged, others soft enough to cradle until we realize they are not the real thing.

I’m broken tonight for them, and I am asking the Lord to let me bear a little of their burden. Will you join me please?

I am not going to attach any photos or anything else personal here because I have not requested to do so and I don’t want to impinge upon their processing, but they do have a blog set up and if you would like to offer prayer on their behalf I can imagine they would appreciate it.

Here is the link: http://jamescamdensikes.blogspot.com/

May God sustain them as they walk this road….it will certainly never be the same but I pray they feel the light of His face shining on them as they go.

With so much love, disappointment, and urging to the throne of God…

Angie

I’m Strange That Way…

Ok, so this is one of those posts that I always think about writing and then decide that there are important things going on in the world and it just seems silly. That voice in my head is always like, “think DEEP, Angie. Make it matter…”

So, anyway, if you came here for that you will be disappointed tonight :)

Most of you don’t know any of these things, because they are quirky and I try very hard to hide my neurotic side on this blog, but I’m gonna let you in on this little secret of mine…

I have a LOT (a lot, lot, lot) of pet peeves.

Like, for example:

I have to have my sheets perfectly straight when I go to bed. I can’t stand when they are all wrinkly. I will get out of bed and yank on all the corners until they are straight. Quirk to the quirktastic, I know. In addition, I can’t go to bed unless my legs are smooth, and I have been known to try, only to hop out of bed, shave, and then get back in (right after the straightening I have to re-do). And if Todd’s toe touches me, I FREAK out. I’m all for snuggling, but if the foot brushes me, I lose it.

The category that includes the most intense of my bizarre pet peeves is this:

Mouth noises. 

We will include any of the following in this category: smacking gum (a gum-smacker ruined my trip to Target the other day. I could hear her three aisles over and I felt ill, ILL with the sound), chomping food like apples, nuts etc…I swear Todd has hollow teeth because the boy can chew louder than any person I know. It is a constant source of *fellowship* for us). I have super-sonic hearing, and everything is totally magnified. I’m still bitter about the gum-smacker. And how do they even do that thing where it snaps in the mouth but the lips don’t open? It’s perplexing, really. Sorry. I need to move on.

True story. I failed a ninth grade math test because the girl next to me was clicking a mint around her mouth (the horror). It was hitting her teeth and I literally couldn’t sit next to her anymore so I turned it in with only half completed. And in the event that you think it might be funny to try and do this as a prank if you meet me, know that I am not responsible for my reactions, which tend to be somewhat violent and completely involuntary).

I almost ALWAYS have the T.V. on when I go to sleep. I don’t watch it because I’m pretty much blind without my glasses or contacts, but I like the noise. Also, it’s on Food Network, because nothing ever happens that’s scary on the F.N.

I cannot physically read a book without a pen in my hand. Like, for real. If I get to the pool with a stack of books and no pen, I will track one down or mope and not pick a single book up.

I HATE talking on the phone. It doesn’t matter who it is. I would rather sit down with someone face to face or text. I don’t know what the deal is with that, I just feel like it’s weird and you can’t always gauge the other person, you know? Say yes.

I love to buy new notebooks but if I decide I have a new idea/topic, it has to be in a new notebook. I can’t combine them all. I have one that says “Women of Faith” on the cover and I had to make a quick to-do list before running out and I couldn’t. Do. It. Had to find another one and rip out a page. I have one kind of pen that I use (Papermate Profile in blue…hello, love).

It bugs me when people stop in weird places. Like, for example, the BOTTOM OF AN ESCALATOR. I’m starting to sweat and also thinking therapy is going to be my Birthday present this year.

I struggle with really bad customer service (I’m not sure if that counts as a pet peeve). When someone is being NASTY and it is totally unnecessary. I almost lost my salvation over a flight attendant. Actually, several. Also, the woman at the library who despises me and apparently doesn’t know that my late fines alone could keep that place afloat.

I get weirded out when people talk loudly about business/family/private stuff in places where nobody else wants to hear it. Think crowded airplane before takeoff.

I do have many grammar pet peeves, or when people say words a certain way and it is not the actual way to say them. I will not mention any of these specifically because I will be tormented by all of you smart-alecks, but let’s just say certain mis-pronunciations make my arm hair stand on end. Kelsey, do not even think about releasing this information or you will be CANNED. :)

I have about a million more, but I’m feeling like this is a little one-sided so far, so I’m going to ask you to contribute.

What are your pet peeves?????

Annnnnd, GO.

His name

Ellie and I were on our way out for a cake date. As I started my car, I looked up and there he was. I had to run back in the house and grab my camera to capture it so you all could experience him the way I get to…

And because it might seem a little stalker-ish to be hiding behind a tree and taking pictures of your neighbor and then posting them to a public blog without permission, I went over an introduced myself to him.

I met his dad and explained about the blog and how I loved to watch his son (who, I found out, is actually 32) play out in the common area and told him I was not really a creepy stalker who photographed strangers. He was as kind and supportive as any dad could be, and as he and his son goofed around and teased each other I just laughed because he was everything I had pictured him to be. Sweet, kind, and the kind of guy who you would root for at a baseball game :)

I am overjoyed to be able to introduce you all to my new friend Norris.

I received a very sweet email from Norris’ sister telling me that I had summed up his outlook on life with my post. I can’t tell you what that meant to me. This is a guy who has brought a lot of joy, not just to his family, but to a lot of others as well. I hope you’ll join his fan club, and I’ll keep you posted as the days go on….

To the “A” family…thank you for letting me share your Norris with all my online friends. He is an inspiration and a blessing to all of us.

Angie

He Loves You

I wanted to be there, no question.In fact I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Three years ago I was a few months on the other side of losing my Audrey and it was time. Time to head to the hospital.Time to watch life start again.Time to rejoice for others while allowing my heart to mend in the process.

I found the room where he would be born, and little did I know that this room held a beautiful reminder of a promise.

I am always good, love.

Hours, agony, and exhaustion gave way to the moment we had all been preparing ourselves for. It’s time.

Oh. It’s time.

The doctors reached, the momma cried out, and I felt my fingers tighten on my shirt as I watched him being born.

A baby. Just a sweet little 8 pound reason to keep believing that God was still on the throne.When just weeks ago I had stood in a cemetary and said goodbye to the red hair and the tomorrows that yesterday swallowed up.

I wanted to be there, no question.  In fact I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

It’s been three years, almost. And my eyes start to burn and my jaw wants to tighten because it means that time keeps moving on without her…and why? Why does it insist on doing so?

But here I am again. The same hospital. The same momma that says “Happy Birthday” when her babe is born and loves and loves because she doesn’t know any other way. I came to support her, and to see what it looks like when hope comes bursting through the seams of life.

It won’t be long now. Her body is saying it and the doctors are agreeing. She is ready to start life all over again, and as her face flushes and her heart pounds, she screams out just as the doctor pulls her new daughter from her.

And there, on a bright morning in Nashville, I watched them lay the sweet, waxy, pink baby on her chest and there was no more screaming and no more fear or pain. It was all gone away, and in its place was this child. This promise that everything that hurts that way will be redeemed, and it feels possible here.

The baby doesn’t scream at all, and what might be nerves give way to the recognition that it seems to be her newborn nature to simply be still. The doctors smile and laugh and bundle and then Jess holds her perfect Adeline for the first time. All eyes are wet with love and relief, and I do a good job of celebrating. It’s so easy to celebrate when you’re with people you love and rejoice easily over. And the room reminds me that it doesn’t always go the way it has gone.

Sometimes the babies get to go home with their lullabye-singing mommas and their head-over-heels smitten daddies.

Sometimes, often really, they get to watch her sleep in her cradle and have whispered conversations about whose nose she got and why her hair makes those sweet little circle shapes and oh, how they want to devour her.

I know it happens, because it has happened to me.

What right do we have to a love like this? A love that says “yes,” before it knows anything other than “mine.”

And yet, I also know the other.

And as the nurses left and the baby rested and all lights were dimmed and peaceful, I wanted to hold her just for a moment. Not long enough to remind me of everything but long enough to feel Him.

I needed to feel Him.

She was, I thought, about this size. But no, of course she wasn’t. She wasn’t anything like this, and she never would be.

But who am I; this tender-hearted witness to the love that came down?

Not just here, and not just in life.But also in death.

We have no say in the matter, really.

We love as deeply as we are carved, and when the day is done we rise to see another.

I didn’t get to see the life I wanted with her.

I brush my face against Adeline’s and a part of me wants to whisper, “Do you know?”

Of course she doesn’t.But one day I pray she will.

That she will know me as the one who found the right hospital room despite all of the wrong turns I could have made between Audrey and her.

That she will know that I will love her the way I love her brother and that she will always remind me of the day love made sorrow stand still and rest in the truth.

But oh, how I miss her.

My tiny, pink-flesh and damp-haired baby girl. I never got to see your eyes, but I will. And I will know every part of who you are and what mattered more than everything I could see.

Because I have a God in whom I trust, in spite of the two very different rooms.One that rejoices, and the other that mourns.

How could this God be so?

Are you wondering why? Why would a good God let this baby have this and that baby have that?

I am here, friend.

And instead of asking why, might I offer a simple solution that I believe will answer the true question. I’m not sure it ever was “why” in the first place, but maybe “Who.”

He is my most intimate friend, my most respected Father. He is the One who carries the sun to it’s place and remains as faithful as rain falling down, down, down

Into the place where you thought nobody would remember.

He does.

Not only that but He loves you. He loves you. HE LOVES YOU.

I lost her. I cannot see her again in this life, but I am not tormented as I was because of those three words that tell me I have nothing to fear.

He loves me, loves me, loves me. Over and over and upside down and in every way I can’t get my arms around.

And this new little love shows me breath and smile and tears. I have lights of my own, this house full of blessings.

I have enough to know that what I don’t know is safe.

One day I will meet He who says it is so. I don’t know that I will ask the questions I think I will. What’s the point of why when you have the Who?

I might just bow down, down, down…And before the King I will whisper with the stillness of heaven’s peace-if I can stammer the words. Sweet, sweet girl…how I have wanted to hold you again.

I wanted to be there, no question.

I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.


*To read Adeline’s entire birth story and see pictures of her, please click here*