From the time the book was published and throughout the year of 2011, I was able to speak monthly at different places. I stayed so busy & I had my very first book signing at Bay Books in Bay St. Louis in May! That was so awesome! Loved being in the Bay where I grew up seeing old friends & meeting some new ones! It was Second Saturday in BSL, so the atmosphere was just as beautiful as the day was!
My Mom & Me!
God is awesome like that~
I had the incredible privilege to speak to small groups, ladies ministry groups, and even had the honor of speaking to a few churches on Sunday mornings. The 10 year anniversary of 9-11, I was so honored to speak at Talley's Chapel for their Sunday morning service. Talk about emotional... What a day, a tragic day, that would change so many lives & 10 years later I was sharing our tragedy, and our hope... There in the congregation was a member of our military in uniform... chills thinking about that moment, as I thanked him and the all of the men & women that sacrifice so much for us to live, sometimes giving the ultimate sacrifice, their lives. In the midst of it all, life changes... we change... things happen... daily. Tragedy comes... loved ones leave us... and we are here with the remnants left behind gathering the hope, sometimes scraping it with our hands wherever we can find it to survive moment by moment after such loss. I will never forget that time spent with those precious people in Sun, Louisiana~ Or the amazing men and women who serve our country! God bless you & your families!
June would bring sadness for our community as 2 of my friend's children lost their lives, tragically. And I would begin to understand the need for Facets of Life, not just for the world I didn't know, but for those that I held dear to me, my friends. We had tragedy after tragedy that would rock our county, community, neighbors & friends ~ And just as God had divine intentions for this book, he was putting it in place to be a resource of hope for those around us.. He knew what was to come...
My dear friend & family photographer would suffer the loss of her 11 year old son in June... she did the cover of my book, as well as my author photo on the back, she also named my book "Facets of Life." And since the book was hush hush for a while, she was one of the few that knew about it, because she was doing the front cover... And every time I got a new chapter finished, I would send it to her for her to read... She read chapter by chapter... named my book, and did the photo on the front/ back cover... Literally from cover to cover, chapter by chapter, she was involved in this book... Do you think God knew that He was preparing her heart for the day that would change her life forever? God's love for her & her family are all over this book... Her son, Christian Blue, will live on forever through Facets of Life... His life, his story, and the love of God for his family are cherished & deeply noticed.
I left Chris' funeral service, went home & changed & went to my 1st book signing at Barnes & Noble... how difficult that was to do... I wanted to cancel it, but knew in my heart, this was not just Matthew's mission anymore, but would be Chris' mission too... I would sit there & share the stories of these precious boys to many that day... & a sweet lady was listening to me tell of Chris' life & passing, she begin to tell me her friend had just lost her 11 year old son 3 weeks prior & she was buying the book to bring to his mama... Thank you Jesus for giving me the courage that day to be what you called me to be... even if it was for that one mama! Thank you!
I would leave Barnes & Noble & go crawl into the hospital bed with my mama... the hospital where my sweet Matthew passed away...
July would bring me to a road block of emotions... my mom was still sick, very sick & hospitalized again... she would be back in the very hospital that Matthew passed away in... the memories as I visited her haunted me, but of course, I would have to see my mama, so I did. And you know what I kept hearing? Yes, that lullaby! ugh! (if you don't know what I am talking about read my blog 'stupid lullaby & death certificate) I found myself wanting to run away, but needing to stay, not just for my mom, but for me. July 2nd came... and you guessed it, she was STILL in the hospital. No one expected me to visit her that day... it was kind of silent, unspoken, but no one thought I would even enter the doors... We visited the cemetery & released our balloons & then With EVERY ounce of courage,strength & faith that I could muster up, I told RW, 'let's go!' When we pulled into the parking garage, my heart began to regret my decision. I couldn't do it. I got out of the car & had a mission to make it to my mama... & that was all I wanted to do. And I did. I will not lie, it was difficult. But in the midst of it, I knew that if I could do this, it was a step closer to healing of that place... & I desperately needed & wanted that. When the lullaby played on July 2nd, 2011, that day I was sitting in the room with my mom & family... everyone started talking loud.... it didn't help... I heard it all, every note. But God helped me through it... & I was so grateful for that victory of being able to walk into the very place on the anniversary of Matthew's life / death that stands as a beacon of tragedy for my family, yet had to be a place of healing for my heart that day. I was sad.. very sad. But I did it. God will sometimes take you to the very place of your heartache for healing because it takes FAITH in HIM that you can do it! I couldn't have done that on my own strength... and I couldn't have done it without FAITH!
This photo was taken on July 2, 2011 ~ Matthew's 6th birthday... just 3 floors above where he took his first & last breath... This in itself is a miracle.
Wow, I am going to have to go into a Part 3! Much more to come! Stay tuned!
Love to all!