Emotional Eruptions at Barnes & Noble

I’ve finally got a minute to update the blog from our amazing trip home to Louisiana. Thanks for your patience.

The week proved to be equally exhausting and exhilarating. Exhausting in a good way — as it was the emotional journey (not the physical) that left me drained. I told a friend it was like experiencing an end-of-life flashback. I was carried back through all of the most meaningful moments of my childhood with each special friend I was blessed to see.

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Here’s a photo of me with my First Grade teacher, Mrs. Evelyn Crotwell. She was one of the many people in my life who have inspired me with her grace and her goodness. I nearly named my daughter after her, as she represented everything I ever aspired to be . I certainly never expected her to show up at my signing, and she was one of many who brought tears to my eyes when she walked in the door. What a fabulous surprise!

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I was overwhelmed by the amount of support and kindness my home state offered us throughout the week. The storytime reading proved to be quite chaotic — but that never bothers me. I love active, spunky kids. I just hope the parents weren’t disappointed that they all didn’t sit still and listen. I happen to prefer the ones who bounce off the walls. I relate well to them!

img_8785This signing was also special because my family members were able to attend. Here I am with my mother, who taught me to cherish both books and relationships. I am blessed to have plenty of both in my life.

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My sweet in-laws even joined in the fun. Here I am with my dear dad-in-law, the infamous Bobby Cantrell.  While I never expected them to come, it meant the world to me to have them all there for the big day.

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One of the funniest moments of the day happened before the reading. My Fourth Grade Sunday School teacher arrived, Mrs. Sarah Johnson. She brought a handmade Christmas ornament that I had made her when I was a kid, and she claimed she’s been hanging it on her tree ever since — how sweet is that?! When I asked if she was still teaching Sunday School, she said, “No. I loved it until the year I had a group of 7 boys. That Clint Cantrell (and the Hegwood boys — aka the preachers’ sons) did me in. They all but tied me up and killed me!” Little did she know that Clint Cantrell is now my much-adored brother-in-law! So loved, in fact, I inscribed his book with a special message: “To the one I should’ve married!” We never lack for laughter in our ridiculous family — that’s for sure! Thanks Mrs. Johnson for your kindness — and for remembering me after all these years. You were another bright light on my path!

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My only regret from the exciting week was that we were so busy, I had very little time to visit with each of you. I really do hope the reunions will inspire us all to keep in better touch with one another. 

I also felt guilty that we sold out of books! But, I figure that’s a good problem to have. The manager was very happy and asked me to come back for a signing the Saturday before Christmas. SO — I hope to see you all again in December!!

Thank you all very much!! Merci beaucoup!

julie

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