It all began last summer at our 4th annual Creative Retreat.
Well, my goodness, that doesn't make a lick of sense... How can something begin four years in? Or fourteen years into a friendship for that matter. I guess to tell the story right I need to go back to the beginning, just after we'd both married and moved to Dallas, Texas.
I met Kelli in a Sunday School class for young couples. Well, sort of. It was a big class and our husbands actually met first. But eventually we met and took to one another like soul-sisters. I still remember our first time visiting their little condo. She made grilled chicken on their itty-bitty balcony grill and dressed the salad with a white vinaigrette I thought was other-worldly. Over their tiny 36 inch bistro table our husbands battled for the last piece of garlic bread. And then we watched White Christmas together, all four of us on their two and a half person couch.
Truly, I could go on at this rate, but getting to the big announcement would take forever. So let me cut to the chase:
The long and the short of it was and remains this: Kelli and I are both Creatives. Deep down to the core, before creativity was all the rage, we were simply two women actively pursuing our dreams. She was a writer who sang on Sundays, and I was an actress who dabbled in words. We'd meet up at the Starbucks in our local Barnes and Noble and share our dreams over tall cups of tea and maple scones. Nearly a decade and a half later, living on different coasts now, co-hosting an annual creative retreat for writers and photographers, Kelli and I are finally working together on an exciting new project...
A real book!
A real book written for women...
Written for creative women like us...
Creative women who are wondering if their creativity still has a place during the intense season of motherhood.
Yesterday we signed our first ever book contract with Kregel Publishing. Together, though she penned her signature from Florida, and I swept the letters that formed my name here in California, we made our first literary promise. Then I took my children to the post office to overnight my half of the pledge.
That's when I did something I wasn't at all expecting - I called my boys out of the car and asked them to lay their hands on that Priority Express envelope and pray for their Mama and Ms. Kelli.
Of course they did. Then we dropped it together into the postbox and drove to the beach with the windows down.
And this all leads me back to the beginning of this post, how it all began last summer at our 4th Annual Creative Retreat. Or really, once the ladies had gone home and Kelli stayed an extra day to brain-storm with me this book idea we'd been kicking around. But with my children jumping up and down, begging for their mom's attention, I was distracted and kept getting up from our little session scribbling down chapter ideas to pour another glass of lemonade or answer another question. That's when Kelli said these words to me:
"Wendy, it is good for your children to see you working on something you're passionate about outside of them, and it's okay for you to tell them that they need to give you 30 minutes to finish what you're doing. Our children must understand that Mom has interests and thoughts and conversations beyond them."
I will not lie... this was a revolutionary concept for me. And my chidren looked at me sideways when I repeated Kelli's words to them this way:
"All right boys, I'm doing something right now with Ms. Kelli that I am so excited about. I will tell you all about it tonight. However, right now, I need you to find somewhere else to play so I can finish the really cool thing I'm doing. Okay?"
Not only was it okay, my kids were thrilled to hear about my dream, when I unveiled it to them that night over dinner. Just like they were out-of-their-mind excited to celebrate the sending of that contract!
So this is my big announcement, friends, Kelli Stuart and I are writing a book! An honest to goodness book with pages, a cover and a binding. We have three months to finish the manuscript and then a whole year until it is released in a store near you. But even bigger than those 50,000 confined to 12 chapters, is the blessing this has been to me and my family.
[Tweet "Children need to learn that their mom is a three-dimensional, loving and serving entity with dreams and passions all her own. "]
I guess it is safe to say that I am the walking-talking poster-child for the book we're writing... ever-so-slowly learning to live this life in the glory-crash of motherhood, creativity and faith. Discovering along that way that when mom has a dream beyond motherhood, everyone in the family plays an important part.
And my children hopped out of the car, laid hands on that contract, and sent it off with their blessings.
Creative Moms, don't miss the release in fall 2016, sign up for email updates here at wendyspeake.com, or over at kellistuart.com, and we promise to joyfully prime the pump in the next 15 long months with posts purposed to bless your creative heart. We are really excited about the community of creative moms that God is going to knit together in the coming days!