WHAT A RIDE!
This has been the ride of a lifetime! I am so honored and awed at the response since launching my book on October 10, 2016!
THANK YOU to all of my friends and family for spreading the word, sharing posts, liking my Facebook author page, and BUYING the e-book and print version of Tragedy’s Treasures, A Mom’s Journey Through Grief. (You may click on these links to go the FB author page and Amazon Sales Page.
THANKS TO YOU:
My book reached #1 Newest Bestseller ranking in FOUR categories! It even received the Amazon ribbon in the Love and Loss category. (I don’t know much about it, but I am told that it is a big deal:))
A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO…
LAURA COLE GONZALEZ for the countless hours she spent before and during the launch to make banners, take screen shots, and make it so easy for others to share the book on social media. (Click on her name to go to her website and find out how talented she is in so many areas!)
JAN GRANGER for enthusiastically rallying the troops in Fort Worth, Texas on launch day. Her experience with book launches and outreach was invaluable and still is!
BILL UNGERER AND PAM SCHOFIELD for reading and editing my copy after it had been professionally edited. They found many ways for me to make my words clearer and more meaningful!
JOEY UNGERER for making Bart’s photo come alive for my designer to use in the book cover
ALLISON WOFFORD for taking incredible photos of me to use for my author picture
ALBERT ALMENDAREZ for lovingly pushing me to finish the book and for giving me space and time I needed to focus on completing my goal
AMY GRANGER MALONEY for pre-reading the book and helping me see how to make the introduction better, and for loving me and patiently waiting for me to finish this book
Please continue to pray that God can use this book to encourage, comfort, and give hope to the grieving; but also, that all who read it will draw closer to Him and His Son through faith in what He can provide.
Please continue to share the Facebook posts and blog posts (you may use the sharing buttons at the end of this post)
Please encourage others who read the book to leave a review on Amazon. (you can click on the red to go to the review page)
Yay! If you purchase the print book, you get the ebook for FREE on Amazon! (Once you purchase the print copy, you will see that you can order the ebook for free.)
Tragedy’s Treasures, A Mom’s Journey Through Grief
I am nervous and excited that this book is going on sale on Monday, October 10, 2016!
Six years…blood,sweat, and tears…
Why October 10th? For the last nineteen years, this day has cast a shadow over my heart. Bart died on this day nineteen years ago.
For the first time since that tragic day, I am excited for October 10th to get here. I am still sad that Bart is no longer with us, but I believe he knows that this book is a labor of love dedicated to him, his family, and his friends.
My daughter, Amy, and my grandchildren watched the emotional video of me opening my proof copy of the print version. In case you have not seen it on Facebook , I am including it in this post. She let me know that my grandsons think I am a celebrity. I was quick to tell her that they are a huge part of why I wrote the book.
I chose to self-publish to have control over the content, marketing, and pricing. Print on Demand is different in that I don’t stock books and mail them out. Anyone may go to Amazon.com and order the print copy. Create Space is Amazon’s print on demand company. They print it and mail it directly to your door.
On Monday, the e-book will also be available. You do not need a Kindle to read it. You can download a Kindle Reader App on your desktop, phone, or iPad. https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200783640
For 24 hours, the e-book will be on sale for $.99. This is my way of thanking all of you who have helped edit the book (Bill Ungerer and Pam Schofield), create and perfect the cover(https://www.fiverr.com/pro_ebookcovers and Joey Ungerer), photograph me for the cover (Allison Wofford), format the book (Amit Dey, and help me market the book on social media and on this website (Laura Cole Gonzalez and Jan Granger).
I also want to make the book available at a discount for anyone who has lost a child or loved one or who knows someone who is grieving.
The more people who buy the book on Monday, October 10, the higher up in the Amazon rankings the book climbs so that it is visible when anyone searches a book on grieving the loss of a child.
I would be SOOO grateful if you would leave a review (hopefully favorable 🙂 ) on Amazon. A five-star rating does not mean the book is perfect, only that is worthy of others buying and reading it.
I could not have written and published this book without my husband, Albert, encouraging me, spurring me on, and giving me the “kick” to get this baby birthed!
WHAT IS MOURNING?
WHAT DOES GOD PROMISE?
WHY DO WE HAVE TO MOURN?
SETTING THE STAGE
In Luke 4:13-19, the Bible says that soon after Jesus was tempted by Satan, he began His ministry in Galilee. He went into a synagogue in Nazareth, boldly stood up, and quoted scripture from the Old Testament book of Isaiah.
16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
EVEN more amazing and reassuring is the fact that Isaiah (in the Old Testament) had spoken these same words about the Lord to his discouraged and heartbroken people:
3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
4 And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.
This is OUTSTANDING NEWS!
Jesus of the Old and New Testaments, and the Jesus of today and tomorrow consoles and comforts us anytime we are grieving or mourning.
WHAT IS MOURNING?
Does this just apply to death? I don’t think so…
Perhaps it also refers to the “ashes” left from sadness or mourning after the loss of:
- a job
- financial security
- a relationship
- a pet
- our health, etc.
WHAT DOES GOD PROMISE?
In the painful, lonely, and debilitating process of mourning, God promises to give us:
“beauty for ashes”
Christ comforts us and sustains our most pressing needs. He knows we cannot stay in the “pit” of our sadness, isolation, anger, depression, and desire to give up.
- believing in Him
- staying connected to Him through honest prayer (telling Him how we really feel)
- learning more of His limitless grace by reading and studying His Word (Bible)
1. “the oil of joy for mourning” We are eventually able to feel joy and sadness again, instead of building a thick, “feel nothing” wall around ourselves.
In trusting that God is in control and knows what is best for us, we draw on our faith in Him. This provides the power to keep thanking Him and praising His Son until we receive:
2.“the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”
WHY DO WE HAVE TO MOURN?
Then comes the hardest part for me to take…
The Reason For Our Suffering:
3.“That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
When we suffer and continue to trust the GRACE God supplies through faith in His Son, God uses us as trees planted and rooted in the Lord to glorify God. WOW!
This brings me to tears!
Not only because I have to wait to see my son, Bart, in Heaven.
Not only because I still cry remembering his death and how much I miss him!
When I accepted Christ as my Savior, mentor, and provider, I signed up to be a tree planted anywhere God chooses, so that He may be glorified.
Just as the high wind makes a tree’s roots grow deeper and stronger to support the tree, my grief and mourning have made me stronger.
MOURNING HAS FORCED ME TO DEPEND ON HIM MORE.
It hurts, it is painful, I didn’t want it, and I don’t understand it.
But, I TRUST God to continue to give me:
“beauty for ashes.”
“the oil of joy for mourning.”
“the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”
This blog post was inspired by the July 14, 2016, daily devotional on the website, Our Daily Bread.
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Wow! What a movie!
Have you ever seen a movie you could not get out of your head (for good reasons)?
OK, I admit this movie is hard to watch. Miracles from Heaven is a gut-wrencher! Just about the time the terminally ill Annabel wants to give up and die, the movie does a 180.
In the last minutes of the movie, all the pain and torment she and her family have endured begin to evolve into a tapestry of hope, healing, and forgiveness.
This movie is based on a true story, and the family lives not far from where I grew up in Cleburne, Texas.
In the movie version, Annabel Beam’s illness only lasted one year, when it really lasted four and a half years. Pseudo Obstruction Motility Disorder is a rare condition that kept Anna from digesting her food and absorbing nutrients.
Her mom, Christy Beam, says that in the movie, Annabel’s mom loses faith that God hears her.
Christy explains how she felt when her faith was tested, but she hung on hoping for healing for her suffering daughter. At the end of the movie, she realizes how many miracles were happening all through the family’s pain and suffering.
In case you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t give away too many details of the powerful ending. Anna and her family experience a miracle (several of them), and this little girl goes to heaven. She is told that it is not her time and she has to go back because there are plans for her that cannot be fulfilled in heaven.
Why do I believe in miracles?
One reason I believe in miracles is because shortly before my father died, he told me that his mom “died” when he was born. She told him (and probably many others) that she went to heaven. Remembering how peaceful and warm she felt, she asked to stay there. She was told she must go back.
Maw, as I called her, was my favorite person to be with on weekends. I begged to spend the night with her and her two spinster sisters. My weekend getaway always included attending church with her on Sunday.
I share more about her unwavering faith and how it affected me in my book, Tragedy’s Treasures. I believe that many “chosen” people have seen heaven firsthand and have been sent back to tell, encourage, and inspire us.
WHAT A MIRACLE!
25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
I encourage you to see this movie! It reminded me how many miracles come out of our daily struggles. We just need to hope for what we do not see…
Please share your thoughts about miracles in the comments!
Here is a link where you can read the family’s real story. It includes pictures and a video interview with Anna’s mom.
A View From The Top
About thirty years ago, I fell in love with snow skiing. I remember the first time John and I took Amy and Bart with us to a friend’s house in Breckenridge, Colorado. Our children took advantage of ski school the first day, as did John and I. The kids wanted to get up the mountain, so the next day we all skied together. The next morning I could not get out of bed! Even moving my legs was excruciating. John’s least favorite part was putting on all the clothing and gear. In spite of a rough beginning, each year we would take our kids at least two times, usually to Snowmass or Steamboat, Colorado.
Thirteen years ago, we bought a Private Residence at the Snowmass Club in Snowmass, Colorado. It is similar to a time share where you get four weeks a year (two in summer and two in winter) to stay in a luxurious two bedroom hotel type condominium.
When John and I divorced, I kept the condominium. When Albert and I married we continued to go there.
This April I drove away from there for the last time, as Albert and I have sold it to a young couple who are very excited to have it. Now that Albert and I live in Colorado, and can see the San Juan mountains from our deck, we do not feel the need to spend the money to keep it.
I thought my biggest regret would be not getting to ski a specific ski run called Gunner’s View. It sits on an area of the mountain called Elk Camp. Amy and Bart enjoyed skiing there many times because it was a long run for blue skiers (moderate ability).
After Bart died, Gunner’s View continued to become even more special. It is called Gunner’s View because if you stay to the left side of the run and pick up speed, you can ski to the top of a crest where you find a flattened out place for a picnic bench to sit on and a beautifully serene view. This used to be a place where “guns” were fired across to a “wall” of snow and trees to prevent avalanches. That same wall is now an area where very talented skiers come straight down a very steep slope through trees and a few rocks.
The top of that crest became a reverent spot where I could feel Bart’s presence–my Bart Connection.
The first time it happened, I began to feel a radiant warmth from the inside out, tears welled up in my eyes, and I knew this was a surreal connection to the son I had lost. I could hear my heart beating, and after about sixty seconds, the feelings would begin to fade.
Incredibly, this happened several times on different trips to Snowmass. Selling our condo meant that I would not be skiing that run. Would I ever feel my Bart Connection again?
Two weeks ago Albert and I skied at Powderhorn ski resort in Colorado. Albert was on a different slope, and as I was skiing down a run I liked called Maverick. I paused to take a picture of the scene ahead of me. Getting my iPhone out of my ski jacket pocket, I began to find it difficult to breathe. The familiar warmth I had felt on Gunner’s View started radiating through my body and I started crying. Could I be feeling a Bart Connection here also?
My Last Run Down Gunner’s View
Knowing that Albert and I would not be skiing at Snowmass, the first run I took was Gunner’s View. As I built up speed to get to the landing at the top of the crest, my heart sank when I saw a family of eight enjoying the view and feeding the birds from nearby trees. As they held up food in their hands, the birds would swoop down to snatch it. I was happy for them but decided I would come back when it was more private.
After skiing other runs, I returned to Gunner’s View to find silence and solace. Removing my skis, I sat down at the picnic table that is surrounded by a fence made of timbers. Pulling out a pack of walnuts and almonds, I broke off small pieces and laid them on the table. One particular bird would sit on the railing until I refilled his lunch, fly to the table, and eat right in front of me. The bird and I had the place to ourselves for at least fifteen minutes…but NO BART CONNECTION.
THEN IT HIT ME! Through the power of love, God had allowed me to feel the divine connection to my son in another place. He had already “moved”, and that is why I did not feel him at Gunner’s View.
A friend recently posted a Facebook link to Corrie ten Boom quotes, and this one jumped out at me!
“Love is larger than the walls which shut it in.” Corrie ten Boom
After seeing the movie, Miracles From Heaven, especially the scene where the girl falls down the trunk of a tree, leaves her body, goes to Heaven, and returns to tell her parents the story, It comforted me when she told her Mom that words are not necessary in Heaven. God communicated to her that she would return and be healed. When her parents asked her if she spoke with God, she smiled and said, “Yes”, He spoke without using words.
I believe there can be a love connection transcending the fine line between Heaven and Earth. Through faith, I testify to that connection.
The Greatest News
If there is such a strong connection to those we love on earth…
how much stronger is our connection to Christ’s love?
“and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 Bible NKJV
Have you ever felt a connection to a loved one who has died? Please share your story in the comments below, or email me!
Picture courtesy of Pixabay
Watching a friend and teaching partner get the sudden news of her mother-in-law’s death reminded me how severe this blow can be.
Nothing can prepare us for the shock, denial, and the “kick in the gut” we feel when we first hear the news that a loved one who we saw weeks before, is really gone. Death is a separation that we have had… or will all have experience with. We can’t escape its suffocating effects.
When grief strikes, could it be a pure, raw, and pliable opportunity for us to draw others closer to Christ through our faith?
Do other believers watch to see if we walk the walk of faith, actively believing in God’s provision for us? Specifically, can we highlight our hope of eternity and the peace that only comes through the Holy Spirit?
Do non-believers watch to see if our relationship with Christ is…
real… worth it… life changing… something they can’t live without?
The pain of losing a loved one never goes away. Only through God’s grace, peace, and comfort can we continue to live one day at a time. [bctt tweet=”Time doesn’t heal; it only reveals God’s mercy and his plan for us to keep living. “]
We can find comfort that God knows our every emotion. He gave up his Son and allowed Him to die the most painful and lonely death ever recorded.
Jesus wept when his close friend, Lazarus died, even though He knew that He would bring him back to life.
John 11:34-36 NIV “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
When my son died, I prayed that I would not waste one precious second of his life. That was my motivation for “proving”my belief in God, His Son, and Eternity in Heaven.
A Bible verse I clung to for dear life is John 14:1,2
John 14:1 NIV “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”
John 14:2 NIV “In My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”
I am thankful that my friend, Nikki, can draw on her faith to sustain her through the upcoming days and weeks. I pray she will be lifted and carried by God’s mercy and by our prayers.