Rally: Litanies for the Lovers of God and Neighbor
Parenting a child with invisible disabilities can be hard. Because my middle son looks “normal,” as we’ve been repeatedly told, when he fails to act “normal,” people don’t necessarily see that he is not a typically-developing child. Suffice it to say, my husband and I have been on the receiving end of a lot of assumptions that we are just bad parents.
Too many rounds of being judged for behaviors I cannot control have rendered me hyper-vigilant about how my son acts, particularly in church. Having been a member of my congregation for over three decades, I long for my son to feel the same love and sense of belonging that I do among our community of believers. And I often feel, if only I could normalize his behavior, that love and acceptance would be his.
“One Body and One Spirit: A Litany for Celebrating a Spectrum of Abilities,” Appearing in Rally: Litanies for Lovers of God and Neighbor, edited by Britney Winn Lee, Upper Room Books.
“This is the book we needed when we entered graduate school and the academic job market. We wanted to know that blending family life with life in the ivory tower might be possible; we needed to know that others were attempting this tricky balancing act.”
“All those sleepless nights and dirty diapers and baby food in your hair—where’s the discursive construction of motherhood when you need it? It’s here, in these smart, funny, poignant essays that struggle to balance mind and body, to balance body and soul.” ~Catherine Newman, author of Waiting for Birdy: A Year of Frantic Tedium, Neurotic Angst, and the Wild Magic of Growing a Family
“This is a charming, heartfelt book that expresses the difficulties and the joys of combining a life in academia with motherhood. Each story is different, but the experiences and challenges are widely shared.”
~Mary Ann Mason, author of Mothers on the Fast Track: How a New Generation Can Balance Families and Careers
Mama, PhD: Women Write About Motherhood and Academic Life, co-edited with Caroline Grant,
Rutgers University Press, 2008
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An unknown name, a faraway place, a forgotten voice. The stories of the women in the New Testament are barely fragments, yet once they were as rich and full as the lives of the women who lived them.
Although their voices have been stilled for millennia, their stories are still our stories, their hopes and dreams and fears our own. Love, lust, frustration and anger, fear and shame and faith…all play out against the backdrop of a world where women’s voices, women’s lives, were constantly denigrated.
A cripple who fears her sins have brought about her paralysis. A teenage girl living on the streets. A mother who only has eyes for her son, a woman whose lover is not her husband. Their stories and others show us the world of these women through their own eyes, as each one ultimately has her life changed—for better or worse—through an encounter with Christ.
“I’m always looking for ways to read the scriptures—its narratives and people—with clearer, wider eyes and ears. Elrena Evans’s book does this beautifully, bringing ancient but real people and events to vivid, enfleshed, believable life. Words are made flesh—and God comes near in these stories.”
~Leslie Leyland Fields, author of Crossing the Waters: Following Jesus through the Storms, the Fish, the Doubt, and the Seas
This Crowded Night, DreamSeeker Books, an imprint of Cascadia Publishing House.
“I drive in slow circles around open fields where George Washington’s men once camped. No battles were ever fought here: The place is significant simply because Washington’s men survived the winter. I think about my own battles with food, and now my daughter’s. I wonder if she will survive her own winter.”
“Wildly diverse voices with two things on common: a love of good food, and a love of family, even if both of those loves sometimes show themselves in unexpected ways. It’s as hard to stop at one essay as it is to stop at one French fry, and each one will have you thinking about how you feed, and are fed by, the ones you love.”
~KJ Dell’Antonia, lead writer and editor of the Motherlode blog at the New York Times
“One Bite at a Time,” anthologized in The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage, Roost Books, 2013
“Over the span of a four-hour car trip, my husband can sing the so-called “ABCB Spider” song exactly 488 times. Figuring it takes twenty three seconds to sing one round of the Spider, approximately one and a half seconds for a two-year-old to say ‘ABCB Spider again?’ and four seconds for my husband to sigh, roll his eyes, and resume singing, that works out to four hundred and eighty eight times over the span of two hundred and forty minutes. I should know. I did the math. I also took the trip.”
“I loved this book—it made me realize that a woman can be a mother and still maintain her sense of humor. The situations these women find themselves in are sometimes unfortunate, always embarrassing and never planned. But they all manage to survive it with a chuckle or two to share with the rest of us. It gives me hope. Definitely required reading if you are like me and trying to read everything possible to prepare for motherhood.”
“Traveling Songs,” anthologized in How to Fit a Car Seat on a Camel, Seal Press, 2008
“My life has become a series of moments, an odd amalgamation of dirty dishes and thesis research, dirty laundry and comprehensive bibliographies. Added in to this already complicated mix, my daughter now serves as the connective tissue linking fragments together as my time is separated and divided, measured and spaced, by her constant needs.”
“Delightful…Whether admitting they are only just beginning to see their own parents as people or struggling to balance graduate study and parenthood, the essayists blend morbid irony and idealism…This highly readable collection of voices is more assured and memorable than one might have expected from such a venture.”
“My Little Comma,” anthologized in Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers, Random House, 2006