3.16.2015

SO HEY, NATALIE JEAN


So.

Soooo I wrote a book, and now you can buy it. You can buy it! It's so weird! It's been in the top ten on Amazon in style + fashion for over a week now! SO weird. If you preordered it, it should be arriving on your doorstep some time tomorrow. You can buy it, and you can read it, and I now live in a bizarro reality universe where dummies like me can be called published authors and give Skype interviews to publications in South Africa and plan book tours to Europe and give presentations at conferences. There are 36 copies of a book with my photo on the cover staring at me from my living room floor as we speak, 36 copies of me, me, me, me times thirty-six, and when I walk past them I have to stifle a laugh and the urge to roll my eyes, because, COME ON. Who's idea was this, who came up with this one? How one earth did I manage dupe somebody into thinking this was a good idea? It's too weird. Is this real life? I think it is definitely too weird.

So I went into the Barnes & Noble in Park Slope yesterday. I also bought a green bagel yesterday, and saw Fifty Shades of Grey yesterday, and it was a really good bagel, and mostly a really stupid movie, and I enjoyed every stupid moment of it. The movie ended and I left the theatre and I checked my phone and I saw that a reader had just bought my book, like, in the person bought my book, in a store. And then my heart was pounding. And for the first time in this whole book-making experience I thought to myself, THIS MIGHT ACTUALLY WORK. This might be a thing, a real, real thing. And it might be okay to feel proud of myself? It might be okay to feel excited about this.

In the middle of the movie a part of the ceiling broke open, and then all this water started falling like a waterfall, everywhere. There were just three others with me in this theatre seeing this embarrassing movie, and it managed to open right above this really nice old lady who was probably in her 80s, and I thought to myself, what are the odds!? Of all the seats in this big empty theatre, and it falls on her. And what is she doing here anyway?? I tried to picture her reading the books on the subway, it was kind of a fantastic thought.

My phone in my hand, I made my way out the theatre doors and into the bookstore doors ten windy blocks later feeling distinctly outside of myself. All these parts of me scattered everywhere; hair in my eyes, hair in my mouth, fingers frozen solid, a little out of breath. I nervously bit my thumb as I wandered slowly from aisle to aisle, limbs gently thawing, face kind of buzzing. I eyed spines carefully as I passed, trying to guess where it was I'd finally find myself. We had a lot of discussion over how to categorize this thing; Is it parenting? Is it essays? Nonfiction? Style? Interiors? Marriage and Relationships? Self-help?? Is there a "Really Dumb" category? There should be, definitely I'd be in that one. I was not in self-help. Good. Not in marriage, kind of relieved. Not in essays either, that's too bad (maybe next time?). I passed the information desk and an employee there looked available, so I decided to cheat and ask him where I was. "Can you help me find a book?" "Sure, who's the author?" "Um, me?"

H-O-L, B-R, O-O-K. Yep, that's it. Yeah, it's a long title.  

He led me to the back of the store. A-ha! Parenting! Parenting??

And then there I was, just sitting there looking at myself, face out, like you could just buy me or something. Two copies left. It was weird. It was really weird. I have 36 of them staring at me from my living room floor, why should this be weird? "Would you sign them?" the guy asked, and I said back, "I'm allowed to do that??" My clueless was totally showing. He nodded to me kindly as he handed me his pen, and then off he went to get a few of those special "Signed By The Author" stickers that I've sometimes seen on books before, and then I was like, holy shit. If I could go back in time to Moscow and tap on my office door and peek around the corner and say, "Hey, get this," what would I have said back to myself? The whole thing is rather asinine.   

I knelt down on the floor. It was totally surreal. I looked around at the other shop patrons and felt so incredibly strange. My fingers were still pretty frozen and I kind of desperately wanted to disappear, which was not a feeling I was expecting to feel in that moment. A second employee rounded the corner while I sat there with my face scrunched up, pen hovering midair, contemplating what the heck to write. "I'm not vandalizing I promise," I said once she was standing right next to me. "It's mine. I mean, I wrote it." And then I thought about how funny it would be if I drew a mustache on one of the pictures of me.

Side note: It is probably going to be difficult for me to ever top that mix of simultaneous embarrassment + pride + complete stupidity that I was feeling in that moment.

She congratulated me on my accomplishment. I frowned at my poor penmanship. We talked for a minute. The other guy came back with the stickers. And then I ducked on outta there feeling sort of like I was naked.

When I got home, I cried.

Let's be real here. I am not anything special. I'm not the first blogger to publish a book, and I certainly won't be the last. My book is probably not going to change your life. It's not horribly profound or all that impressive; I'm unimpressive, in fact. I'm not the prettiest. My sense of style + home decor aren't terribly unique, my grasp on marriage and parenting are decent at best. I'm not an expert on anything, except for maybe what kinds of foods you should avoid while drinking a Diet Coke, like bananas, you shouldn't ever eat a banana with a side of Diet Coke unless you want your mouth to mimic a science fair volcano, but do you see what I mean here? Why on earth should anybody care what I think about anything? I'm fickle. I tend to change my mind about things almost constantly. I don't have an impressive education. Also, I'm a flake. I'm a total flake, and I have a hard time answering emails on time. I get hung up on very unimportant, terribly shallow things. I haven't called my mother in weeks. The laundry sits wet in the washing machine long enough sometimes that it starts to smell bad and I have to run it a second time before it hits the dryer. I'm sure I don't deserve these opportunities, and if I happen to read any negative reviews I will agree with every word of them and it will definitely make me cry. The nastier things people have written about me online are most likely true, let's be honest. Who the hell do I think I am, anyway?


Right? Total Luther Heggs moment here. Pages flying in the wind.

But this, I think, is what it comes down to:

Our stories are worth telling. Even the dumb, imperfect ones.

Our weaknesses, our humiliations, our struggles and insecurities. Our flaws. These are the beautiful bits. These are the parts we should be celebrating in each other. These are the parts I am proudest to be sharing.

This afternoon I had the weird honor of reading my very first book review online. Kerri Jarema wrote it for Lydia Mag, you can find it here. I read it with my heart in my throat, my breath in the air, and when I got to the end of it I felt a little lighter. She gets it, I thought. There are people that get it. Not everyone is going to get it, it's true, but I can't forget to remember that there are people who will get it.

It's small, but it's there. I'm starting to feel a little bit proud of this thing. I'm starting to feel a little bit excited. 

And to you that "get it," however few or however many you are, the book is for you. I wrote it for you. I wrote this for you because I've been so blessed by you + your strength + your companionship. Well, I wrote it because a publishing company asked me to and offered to pay me money, but mostly I wrote it for you. Because I like you. I like this little tribe of ours. I'm proud of us. I like to picture my book finding its way into your hands and into your homes. I do hope you enjoy it. I hope it cracks a little smile, and maybe half a chuckle. Half a chuckle and I've won the world.

It may not be much. I may not be much. But together we're a lot. I wrote it for us. 

88 comments :

  1. You are bold, you are intelligent, you are beloved, and you are published. Bam. Holbs + Huck are definitely way more proud of you than anyone else, but the rest of us appreciate your candor and your writing. Cheeeeers!

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  2. I'm so excited for you, Natalie! A PUBLISHED author. That is incredible! I'll be waiting with bated breath until a copy is in my hands!

    kelseyjbarnes

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  3. As I read this I kept thinking: "I lead a small life. Well, valuable but small." Kathleen, man. Kathleen would TOTALLY get it. All stories are worth telling and I am beyond stoked to be reading yours!

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  4. Oh my goodness. I got teary reading this! I'm SO happy for you and I cannot wait for mine to get here tomorrow!!! But I could have it now!?!?! What!? ;)

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  5. I love this so much. It's such a struggle to believe that we do have stories worth telling and things worth saying, but as one who gets it, I'm so glad you wrote this. Writing a book is so much HARDER than anyone admits and it makes you want to vomit, having your words and your soul out there, on pages, for anyone to see. You did it and that's the most incredible part.

    Can't wait to read it. You go, girl.

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  6. I can't wait to read it! Our stories are worth telling and we should continue to tell them.

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  7. YAY FRIEND! I am crying just reading about your experience, it's one of the more surreal things a person can do, see their face peering back from a book shelf. And there you are! And tomorrow, when the truck shows up with your book on it for my little house, I'll pour over it and love it and cry for you and with you and laugh with you (never at you!) and when I've devoured it for the first of what I am sure will be many times, I will place your face next to mine, and it'll be like we know each other in real life, and not just through these little boxes with screens.

    I'M SO PROUD OF YOU!!

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  8. Mine is coming to my kindle tomorrow and I'm stoked!! Congrats to you!

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  9. My GOD you should be so proud.

    I get it. And I get you <3 <3

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  10. So, I pre-ordered mine, and Amazon is saying that it's not going to arrive until at least March 23. March 23rd?! It's probably because of the nightmarish wintry things happening out there on the east coast (the same wintry things that made the solid gold love knot rings that I bought bridesmaids five days late!). Meanwhile, we Oregonians are basking in the 65 degree goodness of the early spring that's wandered our way (that possibly got lost on the way to California?), donning our shorts, and driving with our tops down. Anyway, I hope it gets here soon!

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  11. You are my favorite, this is all sorts of perfect, and I can't wait to pick up a copy.

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  12. I love reading what you write-- and being a part of your tribe. My copy should be arriving tomorrow!

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    1. Mrs. Kinne I love how you put it -- I am part of your tribe as well! It is so amazing and exciting and beautiful and tingly-feeling-inducing to hear about this whole crazy experience. Congratulations, Natalie!

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  13. YES TO THIS!!
    you did it! Yay Natalie! You are so right. Our stories are important. Thank you.

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  14. Can't wait to get my copy!

    I have loved reading your blog for years now. It's funny, I use a feed reader to subscribe to a bunch of other sites that I keep up with, but I've never added yours. I like coming to your actual site and not knowing whether there will be a new post to read - it's like getting a little present a few times per week. I get it. I love it. Thanks :)

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  15. Long time reader but first time commenting. I'm very excited to read and support your book, and I love your stories! Rock on!

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  16. Congratulations! You are a great writer, so I'm sure its wonderful!

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  17. Congratulations - this is amazing! I love it when bloggers write books...I really do, well done!
    your blog always makes me reflect...your writing flows and keeps me engaged!

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  18. CONGRATULATIONS on your accomplishment :)
    I love this post.

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  19. You know, I got in a disagreement with some of my friends about how great the movie "Boyhood" is about a month ago. They thought it was boring and common and I just felt like they didn't see. We think it's ordinary because it looks like our life- a regular life- with no fireworks or grand sexy conflicts. The reason that movie is so perfect is that you finish it and you're moved and you're not sure why, and then you realize it's because it's all of our lives and that the regular is a miracle. That growing is a miracle.

    That's why I love blogs like yours. We have to celebrate our own small growth and remember how miraculous it is.

    It's an honor to be on this journey with you, even in such a small way.

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  20. I've been working on writing my own book for this past year and it's been a serious struggle. "Our stories are worth telling. Even the dumb, imperfect ones." is exactly what I needed to hear today, thank you. xo

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  21. The universe (on Amazon's behalf) has just informed me of my copy being dispatched and making its way to my doorstep.
    I hope it hurries, I hope it knows it's expected. I hope you know I can't wait to read it. xx

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  22. I got my email at ridiculous o'clock this morning saying your book is on its way!!!

    I'm in Australia (like remote outback Australia) so it says it won't be here until the 1 April (which is frankly optimistic) but I wanted to have the real honest to goodness book in my hands rather than get it on kindle because you know - how great is it that you have a book - go you!

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  23. This put a dopey grin on my face. Good for you, man. Good for you.

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  24. yayy! a BOOK a REAL BOOK. you did that!

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  25. hi natalie, congratulations on your book!! you're officially an author..yeah! feeling happy for you too. will you be coming to singapore for autograph event? hope you say yes.

    xo joselovincolors
    www.joselovincolors.com

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    1. I'm also eagerly awaiting the announcement of tour stops!

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  26. Congrats Natalie Jean. :)

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  28. I think it's awesome that you have done this brave and impressive thing.. like writing a book for someone who claims to be unimpressive. Congratulations to you. Mine is coming toommorrow! Can't wait.

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  29. This honestly brought a tear to my eye, your sorry my story, everybody's story—it all matters. Cannot wait for my copy to arrive. Go you!

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  30. Yay! So exciting and scary! I just posted my review (http://www.evereadbooks.com/2015/03/hey-natalie-jean-book.html). Maybe I shouldn't tell you that. I once heard that authors should be put in a wolverine cage (meaning, no internet) for a month after their book comes out. It's just TOO MUCH. I think if I ever write a real book I'll hire someone (ok probably my mom or my husband) to read all the reviews for me and only let me see the nice ones. :D

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  31. can't wait to read my copy when it arrives this week. congrats :) <3 (Y)

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  32. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

    I can't wait to get my little fingers on that book tomorrow. Thank you for inspiring me to be me. You are woman, hear you ROAR!

    So many hugs and kisses!

    Erika from Utah

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  33. oh Natalie you just made my heart swoon. can't wait to read it.
    you should be so very proud of yourself!

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  34. I'm pacing myself with your book as we speak. I'm halfway through since I picked it up yesterday and I have felt all the feels. Let yourself feel the excitement, the pride, the greatness that comes with this kind of crazy achievement because you deserve it. You might feel ordinary, but thats the great thing about it all! these essays and bits are beautiful and tangible because of how real-life you seem, and are!
    CONGRATS!

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  35. I seriously almost started crying read that. I swear. And I am not a crier. YOU GO GLEN COCO.

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  36. You wrote a book! Congratulations! That's an amazing accomplishment and this must be one of the proudest moments of your life. Happy publication day. The last few sentences remind me of of something amazing Shonda Rhimes just said (see the last paragraph): http://www.vulture.com/2015/03/shonda-rhimes-writes-about-one-thing-loneliness.html

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  37. I hate to admit this... but I am horrible when it comes to reading books. I read blogs, not books. And I really can't wait to read yours. I enjoy your writing. I appreciate your vulnerability and honesty, and I connect to your stories - big and small. I feel like I "get it." Congratulations on your book! - Laura

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  38. 1,000,000 congratulations, Natalie, I totally get it, great review and you do deserve to be proud...you wrote a book!!
    <3

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  39. Congratulations!! I can't wait to get my copy! But hey, are you coming to California on a book tour? Because if you are I'm totally getting mine signed!

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  40. Girrrl, you SHOULD be proud! This is a BIG deal! You're a big deal! A BFD, to halfway quote Joe Biden. ;) Can't wait to read your book! :)

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  41. so so happy for you Natalie, really is something special to have a book published and whilst I haven't got it (just yet, give me a few days:)) I just know it is going to be so enjoyable. I remember first stumbling on your blog a long time ago and I have stumbled on many many blogs since, but never have I been so obsessed with a blog before, I read the whole blog in a few days (or was it a few hours:)) I think that says it all, well done Nataliexx

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  42. I think it is an amazing thing that you have done....you absolutely should be PROUD!!

    You are a great writer, you have a ton of fans out there.....ignore all the other stuff!

    Enjoy this moment....congratulations!! X

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  43. So well said, Natalie. What a weird, wonderful world we live in, and cheers to you for bringing something unique and lovely to it.

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  44. I love you no matter what negativity is out there towards you. Don't mind them. What matters is you, and the fact that someone asked you to publish a book says something about your character. You're a good person Natalie, and a fun mom. Don't ever let anybody tell you different!

    xo

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  45. Congratulations, it must be just the best feeling. I would love to have that feeling one day!!

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  46. You have been one of my favorite reads for years now. I've always connected with your writing, regardless of the subject. You do such a great job of keeping it real in a world full of people who find it hard to do so. I'm so happy for your success and I can't wait to get my copy of your book!

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  47. This is the sweetest post. I can only imagine how scary it must be to share your life and thoughts and send them out into the world online, but so much more permanent to do so in print. I love and look forward to reading all of your posts, both the day to day ramblings and the serious thought provoking essays (sometimes saved on my computer that I've re read more than a few times)
    I have been anxiously waiting to get the email saying that my book has shipped. I can not wait to read through it... Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment!

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  48. I've never commented on your blog though I've been reading it for a couple of years now and this is my favourite post so far. We are storytellers, that is what we do! As human beings we create, narrate, read and live stories and why shouldn't we feel proud of every story lived, every mistake made and every goal achieved. There will always be people who get it, who get that being average and humbly imperfect makes up for a perfect, less than average story.

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  49. i loved this post. and i have a question - is your book going to be at many barnes and nobles (say, provo?), or is it safest to just order off amazon?

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    1. i couldn't wait and just ordered off amaozn. ;) can't wait!

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  50. This was a nice read - big congrats on your book Natalie, long time reader here :)

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  51. Hi Nat, this might be your best post yet! Good luck with the book xx

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  52. What a wonderfully weird, self-effacing, modest, genuine post (and woman). It's typically easier for others to get excited and celebrate our accomplishments for us. Here's hoping that as the rest of us cheer you on, you start to feel more and more comfortable basking in your moment of glory! Congrats Ms. Natalie Jean!

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  53. Oh, you are so fantastic! Thank you for being you, being real, and willing to share your stories (as big or as little as they are.) Your vulnerabilities are what make your blog refreshing and the absolute BEST to read. I'm so excited for my book to come and I wish you all the light and love in the world lady!!

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  54. Brilliant. Mine should be arriving today and i can't wait. And this sums up why. Congrats, Natalie. Sincerely.

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  55. My copy of Hey Natalie Jean arrived earlier and I love it so far. I seriously cannot wait, and part of me wishes I had not pre-ordered it simply so I could walk into a bookstore and buy it off the shelf, old school style.

    As I read this post of total honesty, I feel the need to be totally honest back at ya. Your sense of style, interior design, and fashion is not why I read your blog or why I bought your book. And even more honestly - it works so well for you, but it's not me, that particular style/design/fashion etc...different strokes, different folks, and blah blah. The reason I bought your book and read your blog is because I love your writing and the way you always seem to be so refreshingly honest and real. You are an excellent story-teller, and I love your writing voice.

    So way to go! I think it's awesome that you have a book - and I can't wait to finish reading it!

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  56. This is why you're a published author. This right here: "Our stories are worth telling. Even the dumb, imperfect ones." Congratulations.

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  57. This post is awesome! Thank you for sharing it!
    Incredibly interesting! Great job!)

    Diana Cloudlet
    http://www.dianacloudlet.com/

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  58. Congratulations Natalie! Entirely deserved, entirely beautiful and entirely exciting!

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  59. Beautiful as always, you're the very best!! xo

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  60. Congrats!!! I cannot wait to read it!

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  61. Congratulations! Still waiting for my copy to arrive.

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  62. My copy is ordered and on its way. Can't wait to read it....because in you and all your imperfections that you have listed in this post, we see ourselves. And its nice, like you said, to have a tribe. We get you and just as importantly, you get us. Thank you for that. And congratulations!!!

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  63. My copy is ordered and on its way. Can't wait to read it....because in you and all your imperfections that you have listed in this post, we see ourselves. And its nice, like you said, to have a tribe. We get you and just as importantly, you get us. Thank you for that. And congratulations!!!

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  64. Well I was going to wait to buy your book but since you wrote it for us I'll have to get my copy today or as soon as possible!
    Congratulations on all of your blessing.

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  65. Ah! You know The Ghost and Mr Chicken??

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  66. Congrats Natalie! I can't wait to read your book!! I'm truly inspired by your success XO

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  67. I have been purposely waiting to buy your book in person. For months now I've imagined what it would be like to see your book in my local haunt, The Tattered Cover Bookstore (speak there if you tour Denver, you'd like it there!) When I walked in and about, my eyes were darting around for it. When I had no more patience to search, I asked an employee at the computer to help me find it. As he led the way, I was confused…. why is he heading towards the kids area? He is going the wrong freaking way! And then it clicked---- Parenting! Of course it's parenting! And I got tears in my eyes for you, because not only are you a parent- after a very long and emotional wait, which you so generously shared with us fans, but, you are an EXPERT parent with a book in the parenting section, ah! So neat! So well done! Since finding your blog one day after googling "Mormon Mommy Blogs" wondering what the heck THAT was, after reading it somewhere randomly, I've been hooked, probably like so many other fans (cult sisters (and brothers?) more like it!:)) Now I'm rambling…. anyway, I just want you to know that I'm so happy to have your book be out in the world, it's like a stamp for our generation. You are a fantastic example of our generation and what we can produce. I love that you exemplify a woman who is an awesome mother, dedicated wife, business woman and creative genius. You are wildly popular and I have a feeling it could be just the beginning. Congrats! Now, I have to get back to reading:)

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  68. Hey, I just wanted to say I finished reading your book this afternoon and I loved it. I bought it for myself as a treat on Mother's Day (I'm in the UK so it was on Sun 15th March here) and have spent 4 happy days just taking it all in and really enjoying it. I get it - yeah our blogs, our thoughts, our daily chores are not saving the planet, and yes there are definitely bigger issues going on in the world, but our own small worlds matter too - how we make ourselves feel by what we wear or how we set up our homes, how we challenge ourselves and build our relationships - our experiences are worth sharing and I just wanted to thank you for having the courage to put yourself out there and share your stories with us! x

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  69. "And what is she doing here anyway??" you ask. Oh my...you are so young. So very, very young. You might have thought to strike up a conversation with her. Could've learned something. Might have learned a lot.

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  70. I've been looking forward to this for so long! Tears of pride here in Oklahoma. I love you.

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  71. I have to disagree with your comment on not being special.
    You are!
    Why would I keep circleing back to your blog over years? Why would the attendees at The HIve want to be your best friend and bodyguard?
    Because you are witty, funny and man, you can write!

    Y.

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  72. I disagree with all of your negative thoughts about yourself. All of your readers here love reading your stories. I don't know about them, but reading your stories inspires me and you wrote me the best email in the middle of my infertility crisis, and I was just so happy to know that someone out there knew exactly what to say to make me feel okay about it all even though it can't ever really be okay. And I know this comment is all rambly and probably doesn't make sense, except to you because we don't make sense together, and it's nice to know there is another fickle imperfect person out there just telling their story.

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  73. I cannot wait to read your book! I love reading your blog. I loved this post. i cried just imagining you seeing your book in the store. ha you are awesome!

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  74. I am from South Africa! Which publication interviewed you? I would love to get my hands on the interview or rather organise my friends and family to get their hands on the interview for me. I live in China at the moment, have been for over a year now, and will still be here for some time to come. You might recognise me as the reader who keeps asking you on Facebook and Instagram how I can get a copy of your book in my grubby little paws. Amazon won't deliver to china unless I have a chinese ID number (which I don't) and it doesn't deliver to South Africa at all (I think its cos the postal service likes to keep packages for themselves instead of delivering them to where they should go).

    As a long time reader and an unabashed fangirl (I admit it, wholeheartedly) please, please, please let me know how I can get a copy of your boook?

    Thank you!!!!!

    PS How is it that you wrote a book? Too awesome!

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    1. I am going to make this happen for you!!! email me? heynataliejean at gmail!!

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    2. Oh my gosh, thank you! I will e-mail you straight away!

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  75. Oh dolly, you are most certainly something special. You shine through your writing like a white Christmas eve taper, small and significant. Can't wait to get my hands on your book. Way to go, mama!

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  76. Congrats! Love reading your blog and cant wait to read the book!
    www.southernfolly.com

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  77. oh daddy!! i've been reading your blog for yeeears and have never commented but today i feel compelled to tell you i think you're so REAL and WONDERFUL!! congratulations Natalie!! keep doing your thing and this thing!! you are so very deserving, beautiful woman! <3

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  78. Hey Natalie (Jean)! :) Should I be worried since I haven't gotten my donated-to-kokosnoot copy yet? I remembered that you mentioned in this post that they would be coming soon. Sorry to bother you but I am dying over here! And I love you. That is all.

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  79. Oh, I just commented twice cause I didn't see the first one show up. I am winning at this commenting thing. Sorry! :)

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