Friday Book Musings (Week 1)

I figured the best way to start off my blog–and start off actually sticking to my blog–was to let randomness seep in. It’s been an incredibly stressful time for me and my family over the past few months, so there are a lot of thoughts swirling through my head. It’s hard to balance, you know?

However, through the waves of instability crashing on the shore of my life lately (like that one?) I have remembered where I need to find salvation, in books. This time, it has been Rebecca Ethington’s Imdalind series of YA novels. I’ve always been a sucker for a good YA romance and though the first book of the series, Kiss of Fire (free for a limited time) was a bit slow to start, once I got swept up into 16-year-old Joclyn Despain’s world, I have been reluctant to come out. I read books 2-4 over the course of 5 days. Sick, I know.

This isn’t a review so I won’t go into any more detail than that–check out my Goodreads page for those deets–what I really want to talk about is why this escape was so important for me and how, I hope, it helps me to Redesign Normal as this blog is so aptly called.

Finding Salvation in the Pages of Books

Since I was young, books have been my constant companion. Though I have by no means lived a “rough” life, like most children I was lonely a lot and finding friends, adventure, and, yes, escape, in books cured me of that loneliness, if only for a few precious hours. Now, as a mother, a wife, and so much more, my life is anything but lonely. It is filled–to the brim. My cup runneth over with people and obligations pulling at me, demanding my attention.

With the recent purchase of our new home and renovations in full swing, these forces pulling me have only increased. Compound that with my illness (Celiac disease and nutrient malabsorption) and the incredibly restricted diet and exercise plan (or lack thereof) I am on for the foreseeable future, it’s no wonder I feel like I’ve detached. Then, I remembered my oldest friend. Almost unconsciously, I picked up my Kindle and got to work.

Letting Go in Order to Stay Present

My husband likes to tell our friends that he married a creative and, by doing so, signed up for all the quirks and eccentricities that go along with it. He and the wives/husbands of our other creative friends affectionately call this “artist’s brain.” Basically, he loses me sometimes as I am pulled inward, designing new worlds and characters, living in those designed by others like me. When we were younger, this was a bit of a chaotic, random event in our lives. I would get lost, not knowing how to control my intense need to escape and he would tread water by himself, frantically searching for me below the surface. My three day Hunger Games binge of 2012 is the best example I have of this in recent history. It was far worse early on in our marriage, though, while I was still in school.

This time was different. Maybe it’s the looming birthday I have just two short months away. Maybe it’s the calm and confidence that having children has brought me. Maybe it’s something different altogether. What I know is that this time, my descent into myself was “controlled chaos.” I may have been reading for five days straight, but I kept myself present, using my escape at night or during nap time as the balm I needed to sooth my aching, over-worked soul. With Soul of Flame (the fourth book from Ethington) tucked neatly to bed last night and the final book of the series still months away from release, I, too, have been let go, at least for the present, soothed and ready to focus.

You want to know the best part though? I never really left. While the relationship of Joclyn and Ilyan still races through my mind, soothing the anxieties created by responsibilities and obligations, allowing my empathetic soul to retreat into another world that engulfed my heart as well, I maintained my sanity and my presence. I still got that confused “I’ve lost you” look from my husband, but I got the feeling that, this time, instead of treading frantically he was lounging on a nearby raft, ready to pull me up when I finally surfaced for air. I love him for that.

I tweeted this earlier this week, but I’ll say it again. Thank you, Rebecca Ethington, from the bottom of my heart, even though a simple thanks cannot even begin to describe what you’ve given me this week.

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