Several years ago a dear friend of mine from the early blogging days invited me to attend an intimate event hosted by MORE magazine. It involved a train ride to the city, a couple of nights in a hotel, and things like make-overs, head shots and peeking in the magazine’s photoshoot closet. It was unlike anything I’d ever done before and I am not ashamed to say that I loved every minute of it.
One thing that was a little odd for me is that in the realm of bloggers who get invited to be pampered and wooed, I don’t belong. I know big names, I get read by some of the most popular bloggers, but I am off the radar of the brands. This is all to say that I was a tiny bit intimidated by the women that I’d be seeing. What would I say when they asked, “What’s your blog?” It would be one thing if I still called my blog “The Wink,” but it’s my name.
“Amandamagee.com,” I’d say.
“Never heard of it. Um, you.” <—– didn’t happen, except for the fantastically acted scenario that I played in my head on the train as I alternated between euphoric anticipation and desperate anxiety.
It was all for naught. The women at the MORE offices were kind and bubbly. Amy, my host, hugged me warmly and never made me feel like I was anything less than a beloved voice worthy of the company I was in.
Where is all this going? you may be wondering.
It was that trip when I finally met Jessica Chenevey Shyba of Momma’s Gone City. She had the tiniest baby bump and her smile was unwavering and utterly sincere. I’d read her blog which seemed to be chock full of gorgeous fashion, beautiful photos, and written by an impossibly beautiful mom. Hardly seemed real it was all so wonderful.
“Hi, I’m Jessica,” she said. I smiled shyly, “Amanda, I’m Amanda. I write at Amandamagee.com.” I felt horribly awkward and silly. We talked for several minutes during which time she said that she was so glad to meet me and loved my writing. I thanked her and beamed. I didn’t doubt myself for the rest of the time, even though Jessica ended up having to leave early. The small exchange we had stayed with me.
I have met so many people that I’ve discovered online and I can say that only some of them are who and what you’d expect. Jessica is everything she portrays in her writing and photographs—a tender, generous, and light-filled person. Knowing that changes how you feel as you read an author; it matters when you know that they are kind.
When Jessica began sharing her pictures of #TheoandBeau it made perfect sense. The peacefulness and love that radiate from those nap time snaps are exactly the sort of thing you feel around Jessica. It’s hard to believe, I’m sure. The fact remains, Jessica is the real deal.
Did you happen to see the word mudita floating around the internet the other day?
Mudita is a pure joy unadulterated by self interest. When we can be happy of the joys other beings feel, it is called mudita; the opposite word is envy or schadenfreude.
I have this emotion related to the launch of her book Naptime with Theo and Beau. I am sure there is some sort of scientific explanation for what happens to us chemically as we look at these images of a rescued pup and his person, for me it is like a breathing in and out the purest, spring morning air. These two are sunshine and bedhead and I wish every one of us could spend a little bit of time each day soaking in the undeniable love between these two.
You can order your copy of the book, and a few to give as gifts, from this link. I am not writing this in exchange for anything, I genuinely believe you’ll love this sweet book filled with beautiful photos that remind you that at the end of the day (and the beginning and the middle) what matters most is having someone who you love and who loves you back without condition. And naps, naps are good.
Here are a couple of the images that helped lead to #TheoandBeau from Jessica’s Instagram account. Enjoy!