Sheryl Andersen, (left), was right there with me the whole time as cashier during the Book Signing.
It’s amazing what can happen on Aisle 12 Women’s Wear in Walmart on a busy Saturday morning pre-Christmas. That’s where I was this past weekend for my book signing when it all started. First I had a couple come by and wish me well with my book. The husband and wife looked directly at me and said quietly they too understood about trauma becasue they had been held hostage in their home by a miltary extemist in 1989 in Atlanta, GA. The wife remarked, “It took us a very long time to speak of the incident.” They thanked me for my courage and moved into the crowd. Later, a whisp of a lady stopped at the table and asked me the essence of my book. The grief of her life was once being homeless and now being estranged from her grandchildren. As she was talking about how much she missed her grandchild, she indicated she would like to buy the book, but did not have the money. At that time, another woman who was waiting to purchase Room 939 offered to buy her a book. “I know how you feel,” the caring woman offered softly, touching the lady on her arm. “My child will not allow me to see my grandchildren either.” The two women hugged as hteir hurt temporarily subsided.
Isn’t that what sharing does to our hearts? It brings on healing, allowing us to become open to other people’s love. As I sat and watched these two once upon strangers united as if they had known each other a lifetime, I was humbled and grateful I had opened my heart as well by reaching out through Room 939.
My teenage daughters love their TOMS shoes. CEO of TOMS, Blake Mycoskie, was inspired in 2006, when on a trip to Argentina, he starting wearing the national shoe: the alpargata. It was casual and comfy and when he returned to the United States, he founded the company TOMS with a simple promise: for every pair of shoes he sold, he would provide a free pair to a child in need. Thanks to his efforts, TOMS gave the One Millionth pair of new shoes to a child in need in September 2010. In his book, “Start Something that Matters,” he shares, “When you have a memorable story about who you are and what your missioin is, your success no longer depends on how experienced you are or how many degrees you have or who you know. A good story transcends boundaries, breaks barriers, and opens doors. It is a key not only to starting a business but also to clarifying your own personal identity and choices.” That’s what I feel I have done by writing “Room 939.” In releasing my story, I want to allow barriers to come down for people who may have pain and suffering in their lives. Can my story evoke emotion which leads to healing? I sincerely hope my book starts something that matters.
Can a cup of coffee with a colleague at Starbucks become the inspirational moment to decide to write a book? Yes! It happened to me. A year ago, Nov. 10, 2010, I met with Ric Mandes, retired Director of Institional Development at Georgia Southern University to talk about my future. He knew of my background and the assault I had lived through in 1990. At the end of our meeting at Starbucks, he said simply, “Jenny Lynn, I always thought you had a greater story to tell.”
With that kernel of truth and the Holy Spirit prompting me to share my story, I am now the author of Room 939 and Ric is the editor. We celebrated with our favorite baristas and showed them the prototype of the book yesterday. It’s less than a week from the launch and I am thankful the idea for the book perculated that cold morning last November.
I recently attended the International Public Relations Society Conference and heard Joe Rohde, Sr. VP and Creative Executive of Walt Disney Imagineering speak about how Imagineers create interactive experiences for Disney World guests. He is currently responsible for the creative design and content of Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Hawaii. His job was to make it a “unique” destination, more than just another hotel on the beach. In the same way, I have tried to make “Room 939: 15 Minutes of Horror, 20 Years of Healing” a unique experience — not simply a book, but a multi-dimensional product that can make you “feel and heal” through QR codes. Just like Disney’s Imagineers crafted a thematic message of what Hawaii truly is, I chose the theme of “Triumph of the Human Spirt” to guide the creation of my QR codes. Artists, singers, actors, composers and film producers bring magic to the world of Disney every day. It is my hope the QR codes in “939” bring my book to life as well.
Many of you have already heard the news, but I wanted to share it with the whole 939 group. Dr. Weber called from Emory this week to tell me my growths on the thyroid are benign. God is good!
This whole week has been SO GOOD…
·My scar on my neck continues to heal at a miraculous pace.
·Associate Editor Pat Murphey put his masterful touch on Chapters 20-25.
·The totally killer QR Code content for the book is complete! Some teasers:
1.Award Winning music composer Jud Cranehas finished the instrumental track for the theme music of Room 939
2.Award Winning film producer James Kicklighterand Artist Greg Carter have completed the charcoal drawing video for QR code.
·Ric and I met with Philip Myhand, store manager of Statesboro Wal-Martand Tina Alexander of Anderson Distribution Merchandisers and it looks promising to get books into our Walmart store(s). A major shout out to Philip and Tina for believing in this book!
·Photographer Frank Fortune, whose creativity goes beyond anyone’s imagination, completed our photo shoot for the http://twitpic.com/6w92icStatesboro Magazine feature on local authors. Thanks to Jone Bremer for finding the dress and Lynda Williamson for the vintage jewelry. See me in all my fabulosity below!
·On behalf of The Day for Southern, I spoke to the Kiwanis Group on Thursday…lots of laughter and good feedback on the message
·Web Creator Rebecca Williams finished the www.jennylynnanderson.com design and placed it into the capable hands of Lewis Color Owner Tommy Lewis and his team to make it function.
·Atlanta Attorney Beth Brannen Chandler has offered to host a lunch in Atlanta and several pastors to her home to introduce my book.
In all this excitement and frantic pace though, I sort of lost my focus on God during the last few days. Many of you know I love my “Jesus Calling” devotional book. I typically read it every morning for a few minutes and really enjoy reflecting on the message. However, this week I couldn’t find my “Jesus Calling” book. The little book was somewhere buried under the clutter that had accumulated in my office. I hate to admit I had allowed Jesus to be buried again. I would look for it to no avail and then get so busy I wouldn’t look for it again until the next morning. Jesus kept calling, but the line was busy…….”Jenny Lynn…..I’m over here in the den…..if you’ll just stop long enough to listen to me……Jenny Lynn, slow your pace. Be still……..and you’ll find Me.”
When I finally found the “Jesus Calling” book, and read the message God had for me on Sept. 3 it was perfect. See an excerpt below:
Let the dew of My presence refresh your mind and heart. So many, many things vie for your attention in this complex world of instant communication. The world has changed enormously since I first gave the command to be still and know that I am God.
Blessings to you all being on this journey with me. Continue to pray for me that I don’t lose Jesus in the journey.
As I sit here, we are just a few weeks away from the book launch on November 17.
This journey has been profound. In only 9months, I realize the manuscript is almost finished, the book jacket designed, the website www.jennylynnanderson.com has launched, and most importantly, I am closer to God because of writing the book. I began 939 last November with nothing but a man named Ric Mandes by my side encouraging me day by day to continue writing and a story about to explode from my heart. Now, I have all of you as my cheerleaders…people who believe in me and the purpose of this book. I am humbled beyond words to have such special friends/colleagues in my life…
Many of you know I traveled to Atlanta this week to meet my medical team at Emory Hospital who will perform my thyroid surgery on Tuesday. Editor Ric made the trek with me so he could introduce me to some of his favorite people on Earth.Through those meetings with them, I picked up a few more best friends in life…Joe and Cynthia McDaniel in Macon, Durwood Fincherand Margot Morris Dawkins in Atlanta. Likewise, Ric became famous friends with two of my beloved childhood girlfriends Beth Brannen Chandler and Sandra Thackston Paris.
As I approached the next week with the knowledge the nodule on my thyroid and half of my thyroid would be removed, what I needed more than anything else was prayer. Seriously, many of you have already been my prayer warriors during the last months and I have felt your prayers. Time and again you have stopped the business of this crazy world in which we live and go to our Creator and ask Him to watch over me. I must get well so I can go tell this story to people and help them heal as well. There is so much hurt out there and I only want them to know you can find triumph through all the tears.