Sweet Bellas (and Bros).... THIS is my 100th post!!!!!!
Now I know that many serious bloggers achieve their 100th post quite early in the game,
often within their first year, some within their first 6 months, and some even sooner.
But considering I was birthing babies the same time I was birthing this blog,
this feels like a huge milestone in my corner of universe!!!
Who would have thought that 5 years ago when I first began Mangiabella,
with no real clear idea on where this all was going,
that my 100th post would be dedicated to announcing the release of my first children's book,
brilliantly illustrated by the immensely talented, internationally collected artist Shelbee Mares?!?!
The timing is uncanny!
It's been quite a journey,
filled with twists and turns,
mountains and valleys,
and all the suspense my heart could desire...
And so, here we are....
a handful of babies
5 years later...
*cue trumpet blasts & confetti*
It is with great pleasure that I announce the release of:
An inspirational children's book about a little girl who talks to the moon each night.
She asks deep questions, the moon answers profoundly using spiritual metaphors.
Poignant illustrations undoubtedly bring this tale to life with sweeping, dreamy, whimsical elegance.
Available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble
and Westbow Press (A Division of Thomas Nelson/Zondervan)
click HERE to purchase
I've been asked several times about how this story came about...
You know, I always thought the first book I'd have published would be Mangiabella related,
a compilation of my favorite inspirational writings
with some recipes in some sort of gift book/coffee table style book...and I do hope to still do that.
But as Providence would have it, this is the story that was meant to emerge first,
and this is "the story" behind the story:
Inception began one quiet November day in 2010,
when my husband sought to take a few days alone in the mountains
to fast and pray in search of some clarity and direction.
He had just been laid off from his job, and we were still in the midst of trying to recover
from a series of financial blows onset by the shifting economy,
so it seemed like an opportune time to take a step back, re-evaluate,
and make a plan for how to proceed in the days to come.
While he was gone, I was overcome with the strangest feeling
that I was supposed to return to Taos, NM, the place of our former residence,
for 3 days, and visit with 3 specific women, for reasons unbeknown to me at the time.
This wouldn't be an easy task to accomplish, considering I had a 2 year old and a 9 month old,
but it consumed my thoughts in such a way that it's difficult to describe.
Deep in my spirit I truly couldn't shake the feeling
that I was supposed to do this, even though I had absolutely no idea why.
My husband returned from his excursion brimming over with refreshment and enthusiasm,
eager to share the details of the alchemy regarding all of the things that transpired in his time away.
When I explained to him the mysterious, yet relentless, feelings I had about visiting with these women,
he exhorted me to make arrangements and go immediately without hesitation.
To detail all of the remarkable events that unfolded that weekend
would be another post in itself, but what I will share is that:
1) The first woman I met with handed me a gift for my daughter,
a whimsical children's book, and said, "I could see you writing books like this."
I smiled and chuckled, but didn't thing anything more of it,
after all, that wasn't my genre,
and I had no experience writing for children.
2) The second woman I met with was incidentally
the very woman who would 2 1/2 years later
illustrate the book that I hadn't written yet.
3) The third woman I met with was in her 70's.
She lived in this really cool earthship out in the mesa.
She had prepared a lavish feast of treats and spoils for me,
and spent the entirety of our time together
speaking bold encouragement to me with such authority
about unexpected and exciting things that would be unfolding in my life
that my head was spinning trying to process it all.
A few months later, I was giving my then 2 year old daughter Sophia a bath
when she began singing the words "Jacq & The Moon" over and over again.
There were no other words, but she sang them over and over
with different inflections in her voice.
When I asked her what she was singing, she replied
"oh, just a song I made up about a little girl, who's nickname is Jacq,
who visits the moon, so she can think some thoughts with God."
It was so profound to me that such a small child would ponder so deeply.
TWO AND A HALF YEARS LATER,
my husband and I were visiting a church that some old friends attended for the very first time.
A complete stranger walked up to me after the service
and delivered a powerful and encouraging "word" to me,
and that evening, I awoke in the middle of the night with the complete words to this story.
As I stared with bewilderment at the words on the bright screen,
all I could think was, "What is this? A song? A poem?
A story? What do I do with it?"
The next morning I awoke with the notion that this was a children's book,
and it was time to seek out the next step.
A few weeks later, I emailed my artist friend a few prayer requests, among which,
was for some clarity in what to do with this children's story...
Do I illustrate it myself? Do I look for an illustrator?
Do I look for a literary agent and pursue publishing?
Do I consider self publishing? What are my next steps?
A week later she replied and asked if I might consider allowing her illustrate it,
and oh by the way did I know that she illustrated another children's book,
and to go on Amazon and type in her name to check it out....
I had NO idea that she had illustrated a children's book!!!!
When I looked it up, it hit me right in my spirit.
I wanted the story of Jacq & The Moon"
to have a fantasy-like, dreamy whimsical feeling to it,
and her illustration style was a perfect fit...and so began the collaboration in August 2013.
The publishing process was a learning experience,
and there were plenty of obstacles to overcome.
But we told those mountains to "get out of our way" at each step,
and today we are celebrating the finished product of this inspirational tale.
The target age group is ages 0-8, but likely most endeared by the kindergarten age.
It's words are uncomplicated, and the cadence is pleasing
with rhymes and simplicity that children usually ingest at that age.
That being said, it is just as easily impactive for an older audience.
Jacq's story is my story. It's your story.
It's anyone's story who wakes up every day and has to find
the courage to chase away fears and overcome obstacles...
for anyone who longs to be reminded that they have their own
unique gifts and talents that they can tap into at any time...
May you discover the power and mystery behind the words and illustrations,
and be inspired to walk out your destiny with confidence knowing that
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!!!
KEEP SHINING SWEET BELLAS!!!!