I recently chose the word “release” as my word of the year but I’m wondering if I made a mistake. I think I should have picked: SURREAL because that is how 2023 has felt so far. Absolutely and entirely surreal.
On January 17th, Worth it and Wonderful, a book I have worked on for four years was traditionally published! A true dream come true.
That evening I was able to talk about the project live on the news, with a woman and friend I deeply admire, Melissa Gaona. Wow, that really happened.
Then, I was featured in a radio interview with Faith Radio that piped out to numerous radio stations in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Okay, so that happened too.
The support has been Incredible!
As the days evolved I couldn’t keep up with my notifications. Emails, tags, mentions, selfies with the book. It was glorious madness! If you sent any note or message of support – please know it was touching, appreciated and received with immense gratitude. I cherish each and everyone one!
Then, on January 22 I was flooded with love and support at my book launch party. My dear friend Paula Bolte hosted the event at her store, Annie Kays Main Street Market, in Blacksburg, VA. We had around 90 people but honestly lost count as folks came and went.
Paula shared the most beautiful words about our friendship and the journey to that exact moment. She also read her favorite excerpt from my book. I heard her reading the words I wrote and felt like I was watching someone else’s life unfold. But it actually was my life and this book actually is my book. By the grace of God, this is happening.
Then, I had an opportunity to speak.
Ya’ll know I am comfortable with public speaking and regularly on the news. However, I found myself sweating as I addressed the crowd. Was it my best speaking moment? I’m not sure because I can’t remember what happened. I read two of my favorite parts from the book and shared many words of thanks, too! There was a wonderful overwhelm to that experience in front of a room full of family and friends (new and old).
Surrounded by Special People
There were so many special people who came to show their support! The event started at 2:00 pm but my first tear fell at 1:59 when my friend Lindsay showed up. She has been so intentional in her support and to see her walk in holding my book was incredible!
I smiled so big as I saw ladies showing up in their very best red, black, and white outfits! Liann – I’m still thinking about your red boots and Jennifer – you absolutely nailed it! I love branding and was elated to see such lovely ladies rocking their best Worth it and Wonderful attire. Red is beautifully bold, just like these ladies!
My 7th grade English teacher, Ms. Matthews, arrived with a gorgeous bouquet of white flowers. We have recently emailed but I haven’t seen her since those middle school days. She is just as eloquent and fun as I remember. It felt important to have her there to affirm the impact and legacy educators create as they pour into students.
I was able to introduce Ms. Matthews to my daughter, who also has a passion for writing. That was a snapshot from the launch party I’ll never forget!
A Surprise Appearance
Then, there was the moment that wrecked me in the most beautiful way. I was busy signing, smiling, and chit chatting and then I turned to see one of my favorite people on the planet who I had not seen in a couple years, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth lives five hours away and I had no expectation of seeing her at the party. We go back – way back – to when I was an intern for the FBI and rented their basement apartment (remember, my career began in Law Enforcement). What started as a tenant relationship become a deep friendship (chosen family) and she has been part of my life ever since. Her daughter was my flower girl and she stood by my side in my wedding party. She has always shown up for me – so maybe I shouldn’t have been shocked to turn and see her standing there, but I was. Embracing her as we both cried was a profound moment of friendship, support, and love that has spanned more than 15 years.
I am Full of Gratitude!
There were and are so many of you who made me feel wrapped in an embrace of support.
People have asked how to continue their support – thanks for that! You can support by posting about the book on social media, talking about it with your friends, and leaving reviews! Also consider if it might work well for your book club or small group. I’m aware of three women’s groups who are all reading the book and that is fantastic!
Friends: I’m blown away. And to think – we are just getting started! Wow.
I’m blessed beyond measure as God does Immeasurably More than I ever hoped or dreamed for this book. He gets all the glory for making this happen in only a way He can.