Holy Hot Mess -- Book Review & Mommy Life Update


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Life has been tough. The past 18 months have been tough on everyone with Covid. However the last month especially has had its own toughness for me. About nine years ago my parents sat Steve and I down at Christmas to let us know my father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. It was caught pretty early. He asked us not to tell Hazel. Fast forward to about six summers ago when my father was discussing his Alzheimer's Disease openly at the dinner table with Hazel there. It was the first time she was hearing he had it. He had forgotten we hadn't told her. He was still doing all right. Then about four years ago he started a slow decline. My parents moved from the house my grandparents (my dad's parents) built on Cape Cod to a 62 and over condo building. The house was becoming too much for them to handle. My sisters and I took over the care of the house and rent it out for much of the summer. We use it for holidays and off-season vacations mostly. We

watched as my father's brain got worse and worse. Last summer was the first time I realized he didn't recognize us. He was over the house during our week to use it in the summer. He took a nap on the sofa and when he woke up it became obvious that he had no idea who I or Steve were. He wanted to walk to the condo once he realized my mother was not there. It was painful to have my father not recognize me. After all, I was the only one of his daughters he got to see be born. (The rules around birth changed between me and my middle sister.) Yet here he was having no idea who we were. Covid was very hard on my parents. They are in their eighties. We didn't let them out of their condo much. My father's day program was closed down, so he was not getting the socialization that is so important when dealing with Alzheimer's. My mother struggled with my father's care and really stopped her self care. Once the numbers seemed to go down we started getting people to come in and help with my father's care. As time went on the level of care increased. This summer my mother announced she couldn't do it anymore.  She felt it was time to put him in a facility. My sisters were very upset but realized my mother truly couldn't be the point person for my dad's care. Ideas were thrown around for other options but in the end it was decided that the only thing that would work right now was placing him in a memory care facility. My mother called a few and made appointments for us to tour. We decided on one and were told he probably wouldn't be placed until September. Then almost two weeks ago my mother got a call that they would have a room for him the following week. We now had to furnish a room for him. The past few weeks I have been traveling to the Cape to help my mother with the paperwork, furniture shopping and decorating the room. All the while I have been grieving the loss of my father. I know I am still lucky to have my father where I can visit him but this step is so hard on all of us. It is a step to knowing he won't be with us at least mentally much longer. He has good times and bad times. We never know when they will happen, but my loving and caring father is more like a scared child now. The man who retired so he could take care of his mother and not put her in a facility is now in a facility himself. My emotions are all over the place with it. We will be going to see him this weekend. Steve and Hazel will get to see the facility for the first time. I will get to see him there for the first time and hopefully get some feed back on his room. 

Now add all of the things that have been happening in the world. New strains of Covid, the numbers going up due to people refusing the vaccine, Afghanistan, storms, floods, hurricanes, and of course the entire debacle about abortion and men making choices about women's bodies. Although I have been trying to tune out the news I do still hear it and know what is going on. This is where my life is right now. So it seems like the perfect time to share today's book: Holy Hot Mess by Mary Katherine Backstrom with forward by Kristina Kuzmic. 

From the Publisher:

In this National Bestseller, Mary Katherine Backstrom shares heartbreaking and hilarious stories of how God uses each "mess" in our lives to bring us closer to Him. She shows us that it's okay to celebrate exactly where we are right now—holy, hot mess and all.

A lot of people struggle with the concept of being holy. But the fact is, even the hottest of messes are being shaped—right now—into Jesus' likeness. In this book, Mary Katherine shares the sometimes-hidden evidence of God's work in her life and shows you that it's okay to embrace the hot messes.

Mary Katherine will share both hilarious and vulnerable stories about faith, friendships, motherhood, marriage, and depression. She will cover the topics that plague our hearts every day with raw, honest truth and a side of laughter. Mary Katherine invites you into her story as a friend, encouraging you to embrace the hot messes in your life. Because we are all a work in progress, and as long as we are alive, we are under construction—and construction sites tend to be messy.

From Me:

We live in a time when people truly portray the fake perfectness of their lives. Social media is full of people's happy moments and perfect meals, crafts, homes. Most people do not show the everyday moments of imperfection but they exist. We all have them. Mary Katherine admits this and shares with us how those moments are truly meant to be celebrated. The imperfect moments are the ones that are showing us that God is working in our lives. He is teaching us about life, about ourselves and about Him. The book is entertaining and full of fun stories and humor but also heart wrenching stories and so much more. She reminds us that we are not alone even at our hardest moments. It is truly the perfect book for this time. 

Whether you are facing a life trauma like a cancer diagnosis, or major loss or like me are just taking things day by day and trying to make it through this pandemic, this book has stories to which you will be able to relate. We see so much of the perfect side of people and often forget that they are going through trauma, depression and more like we are. As Mary Katherine reminds us God is working through us and with us so we learn what He wants us to be. Embrace the mistakes and misdirects! 

So if you are feeling like me, a little lost, a little overwhelmed, and/or a little depressed, pick up this book and do some self care! Another simple self care thing I do is subscribe to The Latest Kate emails. Every day I get one of her uplifting emails that remind me even at my worse I'm still of value! And please remember to be kind and stay safe!