Welcome to The Latest, a monthly(ish) newsletter from Shelly Wildman.
If I were to put the month of March into one word it would be “surreal.” In fact, my head is still spinning. On March 1, I received two pieces of . . . I’d have to say . . . unwanted news.
The first came in the morning when my oldest daughter announced that she had taken a new job and would be moving 2,400 miles away. I live in Chicago, so you do the math. Twenty-four hundred miles is just about as far away as one could get in the lower 48 states. Needless to say, I’m happy-sad all at the same time. Thrilled for the opportunity for my girl; not so thrilled about the hole she will be leaving here.
The second piece of March 1 news came later in the day when my mom called to tell me that she had been diagnosed with cancer. It’s been a full month of scans and meetings with doctors and surgeons for her. We’re walking down a very new road with all of this, so your prayers are much appreciated.
Next week, on Monday, my husband will begin the long drive to Seattle with Kate in her tiny little Honda Fit—an adventure that neither will forget to be sure. And on Tuesday I will travel to Arizona to be with my parents as my mom undergoes surgery on Wednesday, April 5. Another adventure of a different sort.
I’m reading Deuteronomy right now, and throughout the book Moses reminds the people of Israel of God’s faithfulness to them as they have wandered the desert for forty years. The wilderness is God’s way of preparing them for a new land into which they will soon enter. They don’t know what’s ahead, and they don’t particularly like what’s behind, so they stand at the edge of the promised land kind of in limbo. Yet, God keeps telling the people of Israel, “Do not fear. Do not be afraid. I am with you.”
Things may be in limbo for you right now, as they are for me, but what I know without a doubt is that God is with us in these big life moments. He will be with us through all of the transition and in whatever the future may hold. That’s not to say that I won’t stumble at times and ask God a question or two that I may have on my mind. But he can handle that too.
In other news . . .
I also turned in first edits on my book. What I’m learning is that book writing is a long and difficult process, full of many different stages. It’s so much fun, and I’m enjoying it, but everything seems to take longer than I expect it will.
Where I’ve Been
March wasn’t all “big news” around here. It was also spring break. I enjoyed several days with Julia in New York city (a first for her), then with the whole Wildfam bunch in Philadelphia, then a few extra days with Caroline for her spring break. It’s tough, I know, but somebody’s gotta do it! These days with my girls are precious, and I’m so grateful for them.
What I’m Reading
I did a little bit of reading this month. Love, love, LOVED Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air. A beautifully written book by a neurosurgeon who becomes a patient when he is diagnosed with cancer. So lovely. It’s one I’ll carry with me for a long time.
Also, I read I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. What a gripping and challenging story! My sweet third-grade friend who I’m tutoring is reading it along with me, so I read the young reader’s edition, but I was still drawn in by her story.
My dear friend and former colleague (our offices were right next door to each other and we’d often pop in to talk about writing and the challenges of college students), Ann Swindell, has a book coming out on April 4 called Still Waiting. It’s about trusting God even when it seems like our prayers aren’t being answered. You guys, it’s so good! Get it. Now. Today.
What I’m Watching
I did something last week that I’ve never done before. I went to a movie by myself! For me, that’s huge and brave and I wonder why I’ve waited so long to do it because I saw Beauty and the Beast . . . alone . . . and it was wonderful. Everyone I knew had already seen it, and, sadly, my husband didn’t want to see it (his loss), so I just decided I needed an outing by myself. I sat there smiling and singing along (in my head) the entire time. Absolutely loved every minute of it.
Finally, at the insistence of two of our girls who have watched it all the way through, I started watching “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” on Netflix. Oh. My. Word. I am completely hooked! I’m about halfway through and am amazed at how it all came back to me. And amazed even further about how so many details I didn’t know came together to produce the outcome. It’s given me a lot to think about.
What I Hope for April
Seems like every day in March I’d wake up and say to myself, “Write a blog post today, Shelly.” And every day would get rolling and stuff would happen and blog posts did not get written. My hope for April is to get back on track with blogging (now that the book is written) and put up a couple of new posts. I have some stories to tell and ideas that need fleshing out, so I’m itching to get back at it.
As Easter comes, my prayer for you is that you will know the grace of God that came in flesh and died so that you could be free. There is nothing better.
Blessings to you!