I have no shame in confessing: I love New Year’s.
It’s a holiday that many love to hate, artificial or over-hyped. But I adore looking back and looking forward, pondering what was and planning for what might be.
(I also love champagne, resolutions, countdowns, goofy party hats, and cheesy crowd songs at midnight. So this time of year is my JAM.)
As part of my New Year’s affection, I will read any top-10 round-up. Movies I didn’t see, books I didn’t read, sports I didn’t follow? Who cares. I love a good best-of.
So for my own amusement, I pulled together a review of the most-read posts on Mothering Spirit in 2019.
But first: a preview of what’s new for 2020
Big changes are on the horizon. A new baby due in March, and lots of shifting our lives around to make room for him.
As our family grows, I’ve been deep in discernment. How can I keep making time for the writing I love while still caring for the family that also calls me?
That’s where you come in.
In addition to writing for Catholic News Service, Grotto Network, and Blessed Is She, I do a lot of writing online that never earns a cent.
Here on the blog, but also on Instagram and Facebook where more people read these days. The honest truth is that I can’t keep writing at this pace for free, while still tending to the bigger projects that are calling to be written.
(And if you knew the number of books I’m itching to finish writing right now, you’d laugh.)
One delightful surprise of 2019 was how many readers loved the “Pray Both Sides” experiment I did on Instagram. To jump-start my own prayer life earlier this year, I started sharing petitions each morning on Stories – but with a twist. Every time we prayed together, we prayed both sides.
I love stretching my imagination in prayer. So I figured this was a common practice. Turns out instead – from the DMs that flooded my inbox every day – that this was a revolutionary approach for many.
Then I started praying both sides with diverse images of God. Every day I’d offer two Scripture passages that showed different sides of God.
God as ancient and new. God as tender and powerful. God as rock and water. God as sower and harvester. God as parent and child.
That’s when things really got cooking.
Over the past year, I’ve been collecting images of God from Scripture that help us to pray both sides. My dream is to turn them into a devotional for you in 2020 – both in print and e-book. But in order to hire a designer for this project, I’ve decided to use my Patreon page to offer you a sneak preview of the book before it’s available for purchase.
Starting on January 6th, I’ll post each Monday on Patreon for those who are patrons. (You can subscribe here for as low as $1/month.) You’ll get an email directly to your inbox with one pairing to pray with that week: two images of God from Scripture that invite you to reflect on your own life.
We’ll have a special space on Patreon to dialogue together about what you’re discovering as you pray with these images of God. What’s delightful? What’s challenging? How is God meeting you as you pray both sides?
Many of you have asked me to start turning my social media posts into devotionals that you can sit with away from the screen. I want to bring this dream to reality in 2020. Now you can help.
Click here to sign up for my Patreon and get exclusive content that won’t be shared anywhere else. If you’ve enjoyed my words in this space or elsewhere, I’d love your support.
With all the changes that lie ahead, your patronage is the best way I can continue writing here and elsewhere, while still supporting my family. I hope that Pray Both Sides will be as fruitful for your prayer life as it’s been for mine over the past year. I can’t wait to see what we can create together.
Now for that top 10 list: A Year in Review
10. The Day Before Christmas – imagining Mary and Joseph before everything changed.
9. Waiting in Womb Time – what pregnancy teaches about Advent.
8. The Power of Poetry (When Words Pale) – on the essay I wrote for Bearings Online about Mary Oliver after she died.
7. Beloved. Be Loved. – a new way to pray with favorite Scripture.
6. A Prayer for Mother’s Day – a litany to widen our prayers.
5. How Do Children Worship Best? – sharing from my presentation at the Calvin Symposium on Worship.
4. The Pitter-Patter – witnessing the growth of children.
4. Look, Mama, Look – Do You See? – how my children teach me to pay attention.
3. The Wonder of Wrong – my delightful discovery that the memoir I’d started was good enough to pick up again.
2. In An Instant – meditating on the mystery of loss.
1. Another, Again, Anew – the announcement of our new baby!
A few of my favorite writings from elsewhere in 2019:
Catholic News Service – From my monthly column that’s syndicated in Catholic newspapers across the U.S.: 10 Pockets of Prayer for the New Year; The Women Who Stayed; and Attention in An Age of Distraction
Blessed Is She – I wrote the book Risen: 50 Ways to Celebrate Easter (which can be used every Easter). A little bird might tell you to stay tuned for Lent 2020, too…
Thank you again for reading along and for all your support in the past year. This calling and community have changed my life.
I can’t wait to see where it goes next.