Something New and Beautiful

 All photos are the kindness of  Allison McGinley .

All photos are the kindness of Allison McGinley.

Judging by the dates before this post, it looks like I've pretty much stopped blogging.

But if you asked my family, I'm sure they'd tell you I've been blogging 24/7 for about two months now. They'd tell you I've been obsessed with blogging. They'd tell you that I--who is nothing if not an inconsistent blogger--has 42 straight days of blogging all written and queued up. 

Just not here.

You see, the thing is, I wrote a book with some friends of mine, and then I had to give the book a home. So, I did a thing way outside my comfort zone: I created a website. I know, right? Me, the person who really detests the tech side of blogging. Me, the person who wants nothing more than less time in front of screen. Me, who was finally going to get around to achieving my sewing goals, set three summers ago. I began the summer completely invested in piecing together a website instead of a quilt. Then I strategically designed a plan for myself that required talking to a lot of people for a lot of time about the site and the book. How in the world did I wander so far outside my comfort zone? 

Honestly, the book came first. I’ve had it on my heart for probably a decade that I wanted to share with Catholic women the fruitful time that I’ve enjoyed every day in the word of God. I don’t even really remember where my habit of daily digging deep started, but it’s been the sustaining source of grace for my entire adulthood. I really do love to read the Bible. Maybe it’s because I’m a word person and I understand the world through language. I don’t know. 

I just know that I'm my best version of myself when I've spent a good chunk of time listening to God in scripture first thing in the morning. And I have enjoyed Protestant resources geared to making that happen for the last several years. But I've wished that I didn't have to read with a filter to be sure it was in accordance with my faith persuasion. And I've always felt a little like an outsider in every online scripture conversation.

At first, I wanted to write about Bible study—like why to have quiet time every morning and how much fruit it bears in my life. And I’ve done some of that. But then, I wanted to actually write the studies. I had a chance to do that with Blessed is She for Advent last year and Lent this year. Both times, the writing was a joy. I love this kind of writing. 

With Blessed is She, I discovered that having people read it was pretty cool too. And with a small group of women in the Restore group last Lent, I learned what a blessing community reading the same scripture together can be for me personally. They wanted more. I wanted more.

So, I wrote another book--this time with a small collective a other writers—and we needed a home for it. 

This is where I’d always gotten stuck in the past. Every time I've dreamed the dream of continuous Catholic scripture study journals, I'd stop when I got to the part where they'd need a website and a marketing plan and "network." I'm not tech savvy.  I didn’t want to create “a thing” on the web. I don’t enjoy web design or platform strategizing. But God truly propelled me out of that stuck place this time ,and we created Take Up and Read because the study needed a home.

Y'all, I sat at my dining room table for hours and hours and made a thing with links that work. I'd look up and say, "OK, God, here's this thing. But it really needs good pictures. What about that?"

Ginny.

Ginny is one of my best friends in the world and we've wanted to do something together for a long time. She'd already written essays for the book and the book is called Consider the Lilies. Ginny has flower pictures! Lots of them. And she has shared them with us.

I didn't want to ask people to read and promote the book. God gave me Mary. Mary has a gift for connecting. And boy has she worked to connect this book to the people God wants to have it!

Over the next few weeks, in different venues and at different times, I hope to tell you about all the other people who brought this grand experiment to life in a way I could have never imagined.

But right, in this space--which has always been all about them--let me tell you that there is no member of my family who hasn't touched this book in a really important way. Even the littlest, Sarah, contributed creative efforts. Turns out she's a really good photographer with a camera that weighs almost as much as she does. Sarah was also responsible for the first draft of the Take Up and Read logo, sketched out on scrap paper in a hotel bed and sent to Kristin. Karoline can edit (yes, she can), and she has drafted the first version of the children's companion to go with the next book. Katie created photo graphic of quotes from 42 different essays. They're beautiful and I can't wait for you to see them.

Stephen and Nick proofread every last comma and dot in all the scripture passages--3 times. And if my books intended for reviewers ever arrive from the printer, they will become my shipping department.

Mary Beth has talked through concepts, proofread copy, and proofread design. Her opinion has weighed heavily in nearly every decision from mugs to font colors. And she casted the video. She's also done an awful lot of driving people here and there so that I could sit at the dining room table and learn more than I ever wanted to know about code and servers.

Patrick is Patrick. He's been insisting I do this for well over a year. He's a big picture guy and he keeps on keeping the dream big. Patrick has a knack for making me think I can do things--whether it's running or writing. He also suggested Lexi to take over the social media component. Good call, dude. Very good call.

Christian has listened--he's good at that. Beside me every single step, he's heard about every hurdle, every disappointment, every small victory. And then, he shot and produced this amazing video. He understands the emotional toll this much extroversion takes on me, and he has insight for which I am very grateful.

Michael is a continent away, but Michael speaks into this project in two ways. He's here if I want to bounce a thought. And he's there (in California) making incredible sacrifices so that I can have Kristin as a partner in this venture. He's actually kind of between here and there because he's moving back east this week, but that crazy story is for a different time. (Watch for it. It's a good one.)

For now, though, when it became apparent that the books would need a home (and covers and designs and logos and pretty much everything except the words), the first thing my sweet husband did was make it so Kristin and her girls could come to Virginia for ten days to focus on launching this project. Kristin created a logo and painted the cover before she ever got on a plane. They have two toddlers y'all. I know that doesn't happen without my big boy, who understands the unique needs of creative mamas with babies better than anyone I know. He's lived this equation his entire life. I could not have made this happen without Kristin. And Kristin couldn't have done it well without Michael. 

So, that's my kids. 

There are a lot of ways God has surprised me with this project. I've never "felt" His guidance and provision the way I have in the last two months. At every turn, every time I have questioned or wondered or wavered, He's said, "No, not that way, this way." And I'm really good with that. But one thing in particular makes me know this is His: my husband has been 100% onboard and has been the answer to absolutely everything I've needed to fill in the gaps where I've come up short. He's the perfect provision. 

I have so much more to tell you. 

About the book.

About our plans.

But you all are my peeps. I know you. You've journeyed with me to here. I trust you'll click and read at the new site.

But this site isn't going away. Heck, I got so carried away with web design that I started de-cluttering and re-painting around here. I've learned a thing or two, and I hope to polish and shine some more. Also, I have a renewed energy for blogging. I suspect I'll be here more than recently, not less. 

Thanks for hanging with me during these hard seasons. Truly, they gave birth to a book. Go see what that's all about. 

The beautiful Bible pictured above was painted by Lindsay at Just Love Prints.