They say writing a book is only half the job, that the real work actually starts when the last word is written. While not entirely inaccurate, I guess I’d just call this season Phase Two of the whole adventure. Not necessarily more or less work than the writing. Just a new phase.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been visiting different places around town, celebrating the release, talking about the book, and just generally getting a sense of where people find themselves in the story. I’ve never done this before, so I’m trying to learn, breathe it all in, and not take it too personally when people fall asleep at readings.

A couple weeks ago, I sat down with a group of women from my church and we talked through the book, specifically what it means to find yourself in a foreign place, how you look at yourself when you are disoriented and in the middle of change, and how all that gets attached to God.

Through tears, I acknowledged my gratitude to these women for taking care of my family in very practical and humbling ways while I was writing the final draft of the book and the babies were so very itsy bitsy. Things were deeply intense then (I wrote the last draft of the book between the time the babies were 3 weeks and 3 months old), but somehow the work got itself done — no small thanks to many of these women. I was able to thank them for delivering meals, answering emails about naptime and nursing, helping when I didn’t even know what help I needed, and for all the many ways they said, “You’re doing great” and “We’re with you.” All while juggling their own phases.

This theme of gratitude continued as we commemorated the release a couple Saturdays ago (at the INCREDIBLE, oooh la la Electra Conservatory — thanks upon thanks to the Wasmuths) with glasses of Prosecco and a reading and lots and lots of laughing and loving. I was, yet again, surrounded and supported by many of the most amazing people I know.

And then on Sunday, I was able to speak at my home church, Flood, and say thank you, one more time, for the distinct privilege of being part of this put-your-arms-around-my-neck-and-won’t-let-go community. I loved getting to talk about Exodus 16 and the manna — the soul nourishment — God is still providing for us when we choose his provision and portion in our seasons of wilderness wandering.

And this Saturday, I will be at an art show downtown, Illumination, for a reading. The whole show benefits the children of Africa. It is going to be super. Dr. Seahorse . . . that’s all you need to know. Come one. Come all! (www.illuminationsd.com)

So, in my own way, while I miss the hibernating hermitting that categorizes the intense writing phase, I am on the steep learning curve of Phase Two, learning my way around as best I can, and discovering that this phase has its own gifts. Putting legs and arms and eyes and hands and feet and ears to the book. That’s really what I’m doing.

Oh, and changing diapers. I’m still doing that too.

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