There are many kinds of friends. There are people with whom you share a special season (college besties!) and pals with common interests (mom friends who like to hike). There are friends you grew up with or buddies that help you get through the work day.
But my favorite kind friend is a heart friend - someone who just gets you, all the parts you. Someone who makes you laugh and is safe to cry with. Someone who you don't need to see or talk to for months, or even years, and the moment you reconnect all the best parts of your friendship come back to life.
Sue is a heart friend.
We met when we attended the same small church in Palo Alto. Her now-teenagers were babies and I was very single and we bonded over our love of chocolate, decorating in ocean colors and watching So You Think You Can Dance. (Seriously. I loved that show. Chelsea and Mark dancing to Bleeding Love remains one of my all-time favorite moments of television.)
When Sue and I first started meeting for coffee and taking turns leading the music at church, she was just beginning to pursue her dream of being a writer. It wasn't easy, she had three small kids at home, a husband who was working and planting a church and plenty to keep her busy. But in the midst of that crazy season, she carved out space to write and work on getting published. It was such a joy to watch her make her dream a reality and it's been so much fun to cheer her on during her writing journey over the last dozen or so years.
Whether is encouraging words for women like All I Need is Jesus and a Good Pair of Jeans or My Bangs Look Good and Other Lies I Tell Myself or important storytelling projects like One Dress. One Year. and Need You Now, Sue's writing is funny and fun while offering important reminders about what really matters.
Her new book is no exception. Expectant Blessings is a darling collection of poems, prayers, and devotional type reflections for pregnant women and new moms. The chapters are short and filled with stories and musings that are truly laugh-out-loud hilarious, while speaking to the fears, questions and uncertainties that fill the nine months of pregnancy.
Like this one, which ends with a sweet reminder about our connectedness to God but begins, wonderfully, with some real talk about belly buttons:
Pregnancy does crazy things to belly buttons. Mine flattened out over my round stomach, stretching in a taut line pointing east to west. Some of my friends' belly buttons turned inside out. By the end of their pregnancies they had popped straight out into a small, round bubble. Everyone's belly button reacts differently. Post-pregnancy, my navel is now shaped more like a frownie face. It has turned down at the corners and folded over on top of itself, as if to say "I don't care for what you just did to me... three times. And now I will show my disdain for you for the rest of your life."
Right? So fun - and, in my case, so true.
What I loved most about Expectant Blessings was how different it is from the the usual pregnancy books. Instead of reading up on the causes of various childhood disorders caused by eating deli meat or why you should be kegel-ing 48 times a day, it's an opportunity to make the most of the spiritual side of pregnancy, a chance to see God in new ways and prepare for all of the changes that are ahead.
Since I enjoyed this sweet little book so much, I'm giving away a copy here on the blog. To enter, just leave a comment telling me why you'd love to have this book for yourself (Are you expecting? Want to share the love with your daughter, sister, or heart friend from way back?) I'll choose the winner in a totally scientific way like asking my two-year-old to pick a random number.
I'll keep the comments open until next Tuesday, March 14 at noon MST when I'll use the very important aforementioned winner picking process. (Note: Due to budget constraints, I'm only able to ship to readers in the United States.)
In the meantime, in case you need more great words from Sue (more formally known as author Susanna Foth Aughtmon), check our her Facebook page or her fabulous blog, Confessions of a Tired Supergirl. I especially love her take on choosing a family Christmas card photo and her recounting of her son's take on her fashion choices.