Eden

Oh, happy day, callooh callay!

It’s May 21 and I’d be a big, fat liar if I said I haven’t been anticipating this day for a very long time. As I’m sure you already know (I may have talked about it a bit), it’s the pub day for Sleeping in Eden, the book that has been a part of my life for ten years. Wow. Big wow. Big sigh. Break out the champagne?

Hardly. I’m an optimist by nature, but I am also a realist, and the truth is pub days are always a little bittersweet. All this work — all this blood, sweat, and tears (literally, the sweat and tears part) — culminates in a day, and then a couple of days, a few weeks, and a month or two when the object of your obsession, a tiny slice of your heart offered up for public consumption, is tasted by an audience of strangers. Some will love it. Some will hate it. Some won’t give two hoots that you poured yourself into something and presented it to them as a gift. The conversation will be dropped. Or carried on in your absence. Or maybe you’ll be lucky enough to get an email from a reader who is wrestling or wondering or in some small way changed.

Honestly? It’s a deep, deep joy. The good stuff and the bad. And it’s a lot of fun to have a book release and dream about what it might do out in the big, wide world.

But it’s also just another day.

It’s my husband’s birthday today. The love of my life, the father of my children, the man who can always, no matter what, make me laugh, and who believes, heart and soul that I am beautiful, is celebrating 37 years on this planet. How can a book release compare to that? I want to celebrate Aaron today and that man that he is, the amazing husband, father, and pastor. Oh, how I love him.

And it’s another moving day. Did you know that we’re moving? The Baarts are in the midst of a major life overhaul, and part of that slow transformation has been selling our big, beautiful house and simplifying. Our new home is smaller, sweeter, and just right for us. We love it, and we love how it frees up our hearts to have less to clean and decorate and pay for. But moving sucks. I’m more creative than I am organized.

And it’s another waiting day. Our adoption is so close to being finalized. But it’s hard to be patient, and in the interim I read blog posts and articles about the ethics of adoption and somehow feel guilty that we’re taking our daughter out of her native country and culture. Never mind that she’s sick and will die without proper treatment. Never mind that she is a true orphan (both of her parents are gone) and that she longs for us just as much as we dream about her. It’s agonizing, the wait, and it stirs up so many emotions. There isn’t an hour that goes by that I don’t think about her and wish that I could wrap my arms around her. She has never known a mother and that breaks my heart in ways I can’t begin to describe.

And while we’re on the topic of brokenhearted mothers… Today is also a day of grief. For the families in Oklahoma who lost loved ones, and the rest of the country that mourns along with them. For the people affected by the factory collapse in Bangladesh. For the friends and family of Tim Bosma, a young man connected to me by six degrees of separation who was tragically and senselessly killed last week. And these stories, my friends, are just the tip of the iceberg.

Man. It’s enough to make me think it’s not such a happy day after all.

And yet, it is, isn’t it? Because either the sun is shining where you are or the clouds are a perfect dove gray. Or a dark, kohl-edged slate that casts fine shadows in all the places where light peeks through. And somewhere someone is baking a pie that will ease suffering by the slightest, honeyed degree, or reaching out with a tender, unexpected touch. We cry with each other and we share a smile when the time is right, laughter when we can. We rejoice that the tulips have finally broken the ground, bright cups against black soil that turn their faces toward the sun and splash color against a renewed landscape. And we lean toward each other, searching for moments when we can make sense of all that we face, the good and the bad and the hard and all the lovely, confusing things that piece together the patchwork of this achingly wonderful, precious life. Oh, I love it. The book, the birthday, the move, the little girl, the hands that hold when everything seems beyond redemption… Because nothing is ever beyond redemption.

And that’s exactly what I write about. That’s the story of Sleeping in Eden and the “one big thing” that I want everyone who reads it to walk away knowing: everything will be made new.

On second thought, I’m totally breaking out that champagne. I’ll drink it while I paint a second coat of Winter Gate on the walls of our new master bedroom. And while I wait for an email from our adoption agency and text my husband little love notes. Of course, I’ll be sure to toast you, for I am forever grateful for the love and support that you show me, both personally and professionally. Thank you doesn’t seem adequate, but it’s all that I have. Thank you.

Oh! And I suppose I could spare a sip or two of that champagne for the book events I have scheduled for today… I’m participating in a Goodreads Featured Author Group all day. Feel free to stop by and ask me a question (any question!). And I’ll be giving away a gift basket on my Facebook page as soon as I reach 1,000 likes. I’m at 999. 😉 There might be some other stuff going on, but frankly, I’ve been too busy to take much notice. I know, bad Nicole. But hey, if you see some buzz online I’d love it if you’d tell me about it! And, of course, in shameless self-promotion style I’d also love it if you’d take a minute today to spread the word about Eden. It’s a story I’ve been looking forward to sharing for a very long time. It’s the first book I ever started to write. For me, it is quite literally the story that changed everything.

But then, I’m all about transformation. 😉

 

 

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