That Missing Something…

The last six months have been a blur. I’m not sure if I should blame sleep deprivation for that or not, but I think I blinked and my tiny newborn turned into a hefty, almost-crawling 20 pounder. I’m truly stumped about how that happened so fast.IMG_5615

But in this blur of motherhood, which is equal parts wonderful, exhausting and magical, I felt like I was missing something. But I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

At first I thought it might have to do with books and reading. I used to consume around 7-10 books a WEEK pre-kids. Now I’m lucky to get through one or two, most of which is done via audiobooks. (God bless audiobooks. Amen.)

So I increased my efforts to read more, assuming that it was this part of my identity that made me feel like a puzzle missing a  key piece.

It didn’t help.

Books weren’t the missing puzzle piece.

For a little while I wondered if it was just a part of life, that when I assumed this role of “mom” I had to give up a little of what used to be “Laura” in order to squish everything in.

But this too, was false.

It wasn’t until I stumbled upon podcasts that I finally realized what that missing puzzle piece was.

Learning.

I became a teacher in part because I LOVE learning things. School was one of my favorite places to be as a kid because I enjoyed listening to my teachers explain this complex and wonderful world we live in.

When I was a teacher myself, I often learned right along side my students as we forayed into different topics. Learning was as natural and daily as breathing.

However, ever since having kids I have essentially stopped learning.  Instead of studying and generating lesson plans, I recite the ABC’s and count to ten over and over again until my eyes cross.

Enter

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Seriously, where have these been all my life? They are like the perfect blend of audiobook and lessons all packed into bite size chunks that stream directly to my phone. And they make me so happy.

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I can listen to them while I fold laundry, clean up the kitchen at night after the kids are in bed, shower…you name it. And I am LEARNING again. I have things to talk about with my husband and friends besides what Elmo recently did on Sesame Street or how many blocks I helped make into a tower that day.

I guess in some ways it gave a little bit of “adult” life back to me.

So the first podcast I got brave enough to check out was this one.

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John and Sherry  had a blog called Young House Love that I followed devotedly for years. And then, just like that, they stopped blogging. And it almost felt like losing a friend. So when they started a podcast,  I ventured into unknown territory.

To be honest, podcasts had always kind of confused me. What were they exactly? Some kind of talk-radio hybrid? Where did one find a podcast? Google? (Twitter still confuses me in this way.)

Thankfully John and Sherry put up a step-by-step idiot-proof guide for how to get started. Bless them.

I then ventured over to my cousin Kristen Sanders’ podcast, This Inspired Life. Something I’d been meaning to do FOREVER. Again loved it.

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She suggested that I check out The Read-Aloud Revival Podcast…and guys…I fell in love. Hard.

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I’d had this experience a few other times in my life, both in my teaching career. And that was when I discovered the work of Nancy Atwell.

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And Donolyn Miller.

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Both of these ladies were TEACHING HOW I HAD ALWAYS WANTED TO TEACH. HOW I KNEW I SHOULD BE TEACHING! I bought every book they’d ever written, read them multiple times and applied it all right into my own classroom.

That’s how this felt. I’ve been binge listening to this podcast ever since. I’ve texted multiple friends and family members letting them know that YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO THIS. I’m like the best unpaid advertising there ever was when I find something I like.

I went directly to Itunes and wrote a review. I made my mom listen to it on the way to a bridal shower this weekend. I filled my Amazon cart FULL of books they talked about, and I even sent Sarah Mackenzie (the mastermind behind this little chunk of brilliance) a copy of Edge of Extinction in case, my some minor miracle, she’s looking for an author for the podcast. (Fingers crossed!)

Go listen to it. Right now.

My favorite episodes so far are…

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But that’s only because I haven’t had a chance to listen to them all yet and have been jumping around picking and choosing topics at random.

So if you haven’t checked out podcasts yet. Do it. I’ve learned so so much, and that piece of my life, the learning piece, is no longer missing. I feel a bit more like myself again, and it’s a relief.

Because while I am enjoying being “mom”, I also really like just being Laura sometimes. IMG_6030

 

 

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How cool is this?

Have you heard of the website Imagination Soup yet?

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It’s fabulous. Whether you’re a teacher or a parent, Melissa Taylor has her hand on the pulse of everything from book suggestions to the latest educational study or tip.  So imagine my excitement when a few weeks back I stumbled across this post on the best Adventure/Mystery books for kids and saw MY BOOK front and center. I could have probably died happy right there.

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Instead, I wrote Melissa an email thanking her for featuring my book so prominently. As a new (relatively unknown) author, this kind of publicity is HUGE.

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I mentioned in the email that I’d love to collaborate with her if she was ever interested.

And she was!

The following guest post was born!  Head on over to check it out!

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Another REALLY exiting thing happened recently as well. The AMAZING Brock Eastman contacted me.

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I’ll pause here to explain why this was such a big hairy deal.

Brock is not only a fellow author, but he is also affiliated with Focus on the Family, a institution I grew up with and still follow and admire, and get this…he helped produce the Adventures In Odyssey series once upon a time.

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If you haven’t discovered Adventures in Odyssey…you are missing out. Odyssey was a BIG part of my childhood, and I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Whittaker.

Okay…nostalgic gush over…moving on.

Brock has his own series of middle grade books out, so it was REALLY amazing that he contacted me full of praise for mine.

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I re-read his kind email a few times before it all sunk in. He wanted to know if I would be interested in being interviewed for his website.

Yes.

Yes I would.

(Insert absurd little happy dance here.)

If you want to check it out, the interview can be found HERE.  I share a few never before revealed tidbits about Sky, Shawn, and Todd, but there are also some fun off the cuff questions about writing.

I didn’t think this could get much better.

I was wrong.

Brock also pulled some strings and Edge of Extinction is going to be featured in the September issue of Family Fiction Edge.

EDGE_AUG16-125x188(Many happy dances were danced when I heard this. The two year old joined in, as did the bulldogs…it was epic.)

So check back in soon, and I’ll link up to that as well!