When I signed a contract with Ave Maria Press to write Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious, my friends and family warmly chuckled when they heard my publisher would be Ave Maria. A company with the Hail Mary as its name, that honors my favorite patroness? It’s just another part of the many ways that Mary’s ways have entered in my life.
When my editor first told me it takes about a year to bring a book to market, at first I didn’t really believe it. Yet, of course, she was right. So for me to imagine a date that this book might come out? Well, it was still just a crazy unknown a year ago. And that was, oh, so many rosaries ago, too.
Of course, now I am thrilled about its launch for so many reasons, both personally and professionally.
Personally, I believe in the value of faith-sharing and giving one’s own witness to the good God that has done in our lives. To that end, this book has some of my own story in it. It’s not a memoir, but some of its stories recap my own journey of how the these ideas of a woman’s dignity, gifts, and mission became real for me. Besides the stories, I also share the sources within Scripture and church teaching that helped me the most when it came to learning and living these ideas about the genius of womanhood.
But beyond the personal stories and the resources that shape the book, there is the Woman who helped shape my life in ways that are harder to explain without getting all spiritual and a bit mushy. The book recounts, in part, my journey with Mary. Of course, I love Jesus. Jesus comes first and foremost. Let’s not quibble on that, but in no uncertain terms, Mary helps me love him more.
I confess both here and in the book that for a long time in my life, I was a bit suspicious of Mary and had doubts that my faith had any need of a Marian dimension. I was so wrong, but it took me years to come to know her better.
Now I tell my friends that this is the book that Mary wrote in me.
Long before I could put it all on the page, Mary showed me that pondering leads to prayer, and prayer leads to peace… and possibilities. Sometimes the God of possibilities even asks you to do something that will surprise yourself, like write a book.
This little book with the catchy title is a thanksgiving for so many good things that Mary has brought to my life. So, it is very special for me that today’s date, according to the liturgical calendar is usually the feast of the Annunciation, a great day that honors the Incarnation of Jesus — the Word taking flesh in Mary — and it is one of those special Mary feast days too.
Today was the original release date for the book and I was thrilled about that. The date is also the annual anniversary of my own consecration to Jesus through Mary, and I was glad to renew that today and attend Mass. But in book-writing terms, this holy date gave me a goal to work toward — a date to honor Mary, and thank her all her inspirations.
So today was the original release date of the book, but then several weeks ago I was informed by the publisher that it got moved back to April 8. Delays happen and I was a little disappointed that we’d “miss” this special date, but the thing was out of my hands. No worries. It was still in Mary’s hands.
Then, less than a month ago, because of a change in the printing schedule, the book came in ahead of schedule! And that means the book was in stores even earlier than March 25! But who is counting, now, right? I’m just glad it’s finally here!
Along the way, here’s something I found humorous… I didn’t realize this months back, that when the release date got moved to April 8 — that today’s usual Solemnity of the Annunciation, was ALSO changed as well, due to Holy Week. It was being moved back to April 8! Even if the book arrived on the delayed date, my book would have been released on the feast of the Annunciation! Little things like this just remind me that Mary is with me. Many days I feel like I don’t deserve it, but it’s true. She’s a mother who loves us, and yes, delights in her children. And like a good mother, she is always aware of the calendar and what day and time it is… Mary’s timing is never late.
So what do I think of the book getting to the stores earlier than previously scheduled? I think that was Mary’s work, too, at Ave Maria Press. Why? Well I can’t be sure, but I think it was because I had a retreat earlier this month about the book, and women’s group event scheduled on the themes of the book. These events were scheduled long before the book was supposed to be available. With the books arriving “ahead” of schedule, I was able to bring the book to both of those events. How neat was that?
Mary’s done her part. She’s watched over this project, and me, day by day. Now I’ve got to do my part to share the book with the world. Nothing daunting about that now, is there? Not when my Momma’s minding my days.