It takes a village!

Like the saying goes…it takes a village, writing a book is no exception to this statement. And in my case, the village was committed, supportive and unbelievably encouraging as the book took shape.

On the eve of launch weekend, I’m thinking about these past few years and am eternally grateful for the many hands and the village that carried us through.

I dreamed of sharing my story to comfort and help others who find themselves widowed.  If Finding Norm gives hope and encouragement to those drowning in grief, then I will have accomplished my goal. But this project surprised me; I discovered that the process of putting words to my memories and emotions holds healing powers I never imagined.

As I reflect on the many months of writing, editing, rewriting—and praying for God’s guidance, I am eternally grateful to the many who stood by me along the way.

Where do you begin to thank those who propped you up, who lifted you? Those who patiently read, reread, and provided honest feedback? Who listened (even when they were tired)? Who encouraged when you needed it most? Who stood by you as friends in the truest sense?

Humbled by their actions, I still want to try. And so I offer my most sincere appreciation to this partial list of my incredible team:

My children, Tyler, Emily & Mitchell, and Matthew: for giving me the rewarding title of Mom and mother-in-law. Their love, support, and encouragement throughout the years and especially during the writing of this book, is a blessing I cannot put into words.

My parents, Gene and Marilyn Sipe: for raising me in a family to whom they taught the real meaning of love and commitment. They set the bar high for their Sipe descendants and led us by example—their enduring sixty-two-year marriage. They continue to be my rock.

The Lesnar’s, Kathy, Jim, Kate & Cory, and Annie: for bolstering us every step of the way and modeling a loving family. Weekends would have been unbearable if it hadn’t been for our Buck Saw Lodge outings.

Friends and family: for shouldering my late-night rants and early morning tears. They carried me through the darkest days of my life and still stand at my side.

My editor, Carol: for stretching me to my limits and pushing me to finish what I started. Her faith in the project and vision of what it could become was a God-send.

My early readers: for rallying behind me and urging me to take my manuscript to the next level. Dad corrected grammar and eliminated the commas I so badly use. Mom survived late-night hours through my first draft. My kids and sister offered advice and endless discussion about what should or should not be included. Friends read the earliest, roughest versions and courageously provided feedback and advice along the way.

People near and far: for sustaining me even when I wasn’t aware. Their prayers and love strengthened me.

This labor of love certainly “took a village” to get it to publication. And I am eternally grateful. 

F. Scott Fitzgerald summed it up best, “There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice.”  Writing about the once-in-a-lifetime love I shared with Randy has deepened my belief in God and His amazing plan that brought us together.

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