Tag Archives: happy ending

Taking a Leap of Faith

3 Mar

I occasionally hear the phrase, “taking a leap of faith,” and that leap can come in many different forms.  However, on this January day of 2005, this leap of faith actually required that Bryant, after falling 180 feet off of this very spot, leap (with a repelling rope) off of the same cliff eight months later.

This story is chronicled in Catie Hartsfield’s book, The Year of the Cicadas. After facing an unbelievable battle to relearn how to walk, eat, and communicate, Bryant now wanted to face his adversary square in the face. He felt that he needed this to overcome the traumatic life-altering event that fractured his neck, cut his carotid causing temporary paralysis on his left side, and a traumatic brain injury. Bryant wanted to conquer this huge obstacle to get his self-esteem and future back.

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Going over the edge

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At first, Steve and I, as his parents were not behind his repelling, or even returning to the spot. Our own fear of him being injured once again was too much for us to face. Once we realized he was set on doing it with or without us, Steve and a friend of Bryant’s, accompanied him back to the very spot where this traumatic life-altering trauma happened.

It was a quiet event, no fanfare, just the three of them. Bryant faced his fear and went over the edge, changing the course of his life forever. The man that arrived at the bottom of the cliff this time was not the same young man that had been at the top a few moments before.

Bryant, victorious after finishing his repel down the cliff

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Steve is physically and emotionally wiped after watching Bryant’s repel.

Facing your fears is not without risk, not without fear, and not without faith.  What is holding you back?

You can hear Bryant and Catie talking to Scott Sloan from 700 WLW about this here.

Catie

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or our website www.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen Show, Oprah, The View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

From the trunk of my car to bookstores…

28 Feb

In the matter of a few short months I have gone from selling my book, The Year of the Cicadas, out of the trunk of my car, to book signings in friends homes and business’s, to having my book stocked in the largest independent local book store around and just heard that Barnes & Noble has sent a letter of intent to a large distributor to perhaps stock my books.  As an independant writer, self publisher, and self promoter this is a really big deal to me. Pinch me, am I dreaming? 

This has been quite the journey, and although you can order our book through Barnes & Noble it is not stocked there yet.

inspirational true story, tbi, brain injury

This photo says it all.  When I did the interview with Erin Campbell Ministries, Erin put it so well.  “Without the grace of God, Bryant and his entire generation to follow, would have been dust.”  This photo of Bryant with his son, and the book, my testimony to those miracles says it all.

I could not be prouder at this moment.  All of those hours of writing, editing, rewriting, editing again….  All of those moments of self-doubt, all of the months spent on my computer and standing in line at the post-office promoting The Year of the Cicadas, are all summed up in this photo. Here it is: The Year of the Cicadas, being prominently displayed at a book store while Bryant and his son stand behind our story.  I wrote this book for my grandchildren, and for their children to come.  I could have never done it without the backing of my family.

Our Most Excellent  Book Tour adventure continues…….

Catie

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or our website www.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen Show, Oprah, The View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

Facing Your Fears…

27 Feb

Sometimes book signings are a huge event, lots of people showing up, lots of books being sold.  Sometimes they are small intimate gatherings instead.  We recently had our third book signing in Cincinnati, on a rare sunny/warm late February Sunday afternoon, in the middle of flu season and during the Daytona 500. So, needless to say, unlike our other events, not that many people actually made it to this book signing.  It is a little like your worse nightmare, that dream that you are naked, and now have to walk around in public!!!

the year of the cicadas

I got to face what I thought was my worse book signing nightmare, an event where hardly anyone shows up, and it was actually okay.  It was better than okay, it was great!  Michelle and Tracy put so much effort, thought and time into prepping for this event.  Steve and I brought food and drinks, everything looked lovely, and the time for the event came and went with only one extra person showing up.  Yes I know, my worse book signing nightmare.  If only one person shows, I have to go on. Like my daughter-in-law Amanda reminds me, if our story helps just one person, it will make it all worth while.

Slowly over the course of two hours, a couple of other people drifted in, and we really have a lovely afternoon.  Sitting closely together, sharing our story with others, answering questions, and then eventually others sharing their stories with us.  We ate, hugged, talked and communed. What a gift! Now I know that no matter what happens at any event, I am prepared. I will have that lovely afternoon tucked away in my mind and now know that “your worse nightmare” is really only your mind trying to convince you that you are not worthy, but the reality is really what you make of it.  Thank you Tracy and Michelle for a very important lesson as our most excellent book tour adventure continues.  It turned out to be one of my most favorite events.

Catie

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or our website www.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen Show, Oprah, The View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

Becoming an Indie Writer – A journey Through Self-Publishing

26 Feb

As an author of a book, you think that you are going to write your book, hopefully find a publisher and then be done. Maybe, but certainly not if you self-publish your own book, and become what is known as an “Indie Writer.” Promoting my book The Year of the Cicadas has taught me so much about the business, and about my own drive and tenacity, and even more about the power of prayer.

I work each day hopefully for a full 8 hours, some days only 4 or 5, but generally 30 to 40 hours a week learning how to promote my book The Year of the Cicadas.  I accomplished a real coup a few weeks ago by having a top 250 reviewer on Amazon review my book and give it five stars, this week I accomplished an even bigger coup by a Amazon Top Fifty Reviewer reading “The Year of the Cicadas” and giving it a five star review.  This is virtually unheard of with an Indie Writer, and I know it is an answer to a prayer, backed up by a lot of hard work, and sprinkled in with some dumb luck. To view our review from a Amazon Top 50 Reviewer click here. To view our review from a Amazon Top 250 Reviewer click here.

When I wrote this story down, I knew that God had given our family a miracle and I felt that he was asking me to record these miracles for people who may be struggling, to give them hope. I felt that this was my life’s purpose, something I needed to accomplish before I leave this earth.  After writing this story down, I prayed and asked him to open the doors if it was His will that the book see the light of day…well here we are, three months after printing our books.  The people keep coming forth to open the doors, and I believe the miracles keep happening with our story, via the book.  These top reviewers are bombarded daily with large publishing houses wanting them to review their books, and to have them take the time to accept our book, read our story and write such wonderful heart felt reviews about it, is truly the power of prayer.

I pray over our book each day and ask God to open the hearts and minds of the people who this book is intended for.  If  you are feeling moved by our story and want to help, there are many ways you can do this.  Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or our website www.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen Show, Oprah, The View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

I hope you enjoyed the reviews from Amazon and thank you all so much!  Without you, the readers of our book, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing, thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

Catie

Tell a friend, buy a book, post a review.

It was the men who ruled the night…

25 Feb

The questions were insightful and the answers were beautifully articulated… I was so proud as a mother to watch and listen as Bryant and James responded so warmly and truthfully to the questions that were asked of them. The healing of our story continues. I found myself tearing up as both of these men (my sons) answered questions about their continuing journey. They shared how they both had to forgive each other but just as important to forgive themselves for each having placed the other in an impossible situation.

Everyone in the room knew that we were sharing a special moment. I watched as the eyes were glued to my sons, the audience wasn’t moving, people were leaning forward in their chairs expectantly. Men and women both were equally moved by our story, however it was the men who ruled the night. It was the husbands, fathers, and sons that were asking these questions of my sons and my husband. It was, for me, the moment that I realized that our book really isn’t just about a mother, wife, sister, and daughter. It is a story about fathers, sons, brothers, and husbands as well.

The once a month meeting of this “small group” of married couples that break bread, and talk about something Christ centered was a turning point for me. They had picked our book The Year of the Cicadas to read together, not just the wives, but everyone. The men were engaged in the struggles of our sons, and the patience and strength of my husband, Steve. Realizing that it was he, who had negotiated and navigated some incredible family dynamics to help me bring our story to the public and still have us all speaking with each other. Not only speaking but, there as a family to teach and guide others.

Yes, the questions were insightful and the answers were beautiful…our healing as a family continues as we walk this journey. Thank you to my family for allowing me to share this incredibly personal story.

Catie

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Radio Interview with Erin Campbell Ministries

24 Feb

I did my radio interview with Erin Campbell in January 2013 and it aired on February 17, 2013. The book was so new to me at the time that I was not blogging regularly then, but I wanted to share this incredible adventure with you now.

When I first met Erin I went to a speaking engagement at a church, a friend told me about her and I decided to “check her out.” I sat through the day, listening to a topic that I felt really didn’t pertain a lot to me. At the time I was lost, I was unsure. I was in the middle of writing The Year of the Cicadas and was not sure if I should finish it or not. At a break I spoke to Erin, well anyway I said “hello.” I was intimidated by her presence but she appeared to be kind and approachable. I went back in and finished the service, went home and back to writing. I had gotten what I needed from that experience.

After my book was finished, out of the blue I approached Erin via Facebook with my book, she was on vacation and happened to be in between books! She asked me to email her a copy and later asked for an actual copy, so I mailed it to her. I then invited her to a book signing, never expecting her to actually show up, and then she did! We talked about the book for what seemed like an eternity, she was so warm, loving and kind.

Then the invitation came to be a guest on her 1150 Sirius XM radio show, “Water through the Word.” I was so excited! Steve went with me for moral support and waited outside in the lobby while I went back.

I actually had on ear-phones, it was an official looking booth with a microphone and everything. We prayed before we started the interview, just looking across the desk at her, I was completely calm. She explained to me that I had no need to be nervous, that God had already prepared the hearts and minds of the people that were suppose to hear the broadcast. That is was in His hands and all I had to do was tell our story.

She prompted me with great questions, and the story poured out of me, you can hear the emotion in this interview. It was as raw as the actual writing of our story, The Year of the Cicadas. It took a month for the interview to be aired and I assume that God was waiting, for “the hearts and minds of the people who were suppose to hear it to be prepared.” I was sure that the interview would air at exactly the right day and at the right time for whomever it was to be ready.

If the day and time are now right for you, click here to listen to the interview….

Catie

Listen to our interview with Brian Thomas of 55KRC here

Watch our television interview with Frank Marzullo of Fox19 here

Radio interview with Victoria Babu on The Big 550 KTRS in St. Louis MO.  Listen to the Podcast here.

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Radio Interview with Brian Thomas | 55KRC

21 Feb

I had a radio interview last Friday morning with Brian Thomas on 55KRC in Cincinnati, Ohio about my book, The Year of the Cicadas. I was really nervous about this interview even though it was my third radio interview about the book.

The journey of the book has been unbelievable to me. Who am “I” to be doing radio and television interviews? It still rocks my world!

Steve even went with me for moral support. We actually sat in the “green room” and yes, it was actually green. When I did the television interview for The Year of the Cicadas on Fox 19 Morning Xtra with Frank Marzullo, they also had a green room, but it was not painted green. Ha ha, the things I am learning. I was not that nervous before, but this time I was really nervous. I knew that this interview was not going to be about “why” I wrote the book, but about traumatic brain injuries.

I find it hard to believe that I am becoming a spokesperson for families recovering from a traumatic brain injury.

This is the part that makes me nervous. I take this responsibility very serious. I do not want to misrepresent the importance of this huge undertaking. It is an area of great variances, and my child has recovered. “Who am I, to be talking about this?” I wonder to myself. When actually, what I should be asking myself is “who am I not to be talking about this?”

We all have a “story” and each of us has a right to tell our story to the best of our ability.

The moment I sat down next to Brian Thomas, and put my mouth next to the “mike”, I was calm. His easy going manner, and energy immediately pulled me up to his level. The interview was fun, light hearted and a piece of cake. I hope you will enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed doing the interview. Our journey continues, and remember the only way out is through.

Catie

Listen to our interview with Brian Thomas of 55KRC here

Watch our television interview with Frank Marzullo of Fox19 here

Tell a friend, buy a book, post a review.

Visit to Texas

21 Feb

Our most incredible book tour adventure continues. We have just returned home from another road trip, this time to Dallas, Texas. James hit the road with Steve and I and we were able to mix promoting the book with a family adventure, making it the best of both worlds. Long car rides, lots of talk, twizzlers and junk food.

My daughter Elizabeth is now married with two children and lives in Dallas, Texas. She has not been able to be at any of our book signings or book clubs in person, but has been such a part of our story in spirit and is in charge of our website and blog. It was great to include her in a piece of our adventure as we visited her in Texas. Elizabeth and her family are a very important piece of our continued journey.

It is hard to separate the two, the book and family, because the book is about family, and was written for our grandchildren.

This week we drove to Dallas to promote The Year of the Cicadas but to also dedicate my grandson at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. Knowing that I have dedicated this story to my grandchildren it was all mixed together. Holding her two children in my arms, watching her and her husband put so much effort and love into their family was such a testimony to the generations to come.

Our book signing in Dallas/Frisco was our most intimate so far, but perhaps that’s the way it was meant to be. It was such an intimate weekend mixed with family, blessings, and God. Our journey continues………

Catie

The Year Of The Cicadas

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Finding My Voice

11 Feb

One question that always comes up is why did I put such a personal story out there? Deep breath here for me, this is a big question and one that deserves an answer.

While in the E.R. with Bryant, I heard a voice in my head, or an angel whispering in my ear, whatever you want to name it say, “This is the story you have been waiting to write.” I shook it off, I kept hearing the voice over and over throughout our time in the E.R. “This is the story you have been waiting to write.” I thought to myself, “if you want me to write this story, it better have a happy ending.” Then I heard the same “voice” say, “I gave you the gift to write, pay attention because this is the story you have been waiting to write.”

When I was a child I wrote all of the time, stories flew out of me, I made them up in my head, I fell asleep every night writing stories in my mind, but I turned into a teenager, started dating and put the writing away, along with my other childhood things. I married had children and a life, and my husband and children had no idea I could write.

I knew I had a unique gift, a gift to remember conversations, the way a room looked, smelled, all of those little details. I may not remember your name, but I would remember with clarity what you said, and how you made me feel. I had always watched and listened as a child so that I could use these snippets of information in my writing. As an adult I continued to store this information away, but no longer using my gift. I had lost my voice somewhere between teenage girl and woman.

God gave me my “happy ending” and I knew I had to write what he asked, someday… The years passed and I was unable to let go and move forward because I was holding this story inside of me. The rest of the family moved on with their lives, but I was stuck. I tried several different times to find a job, I was blocked at every turn. I tried volunteering and was told consistently that all of the “jobs” were taken. I built gardens, finished my house, helped out at the family business, and tried to talk to my family about our journey. No one wanted to talk about it, they were all putting it behind. I couldn’t progress, this story was still balled up inside me.

I ate my way through my frustration, and became unhealthy. My blood pressure soared, my sugar level blew up, my knees were shot, and suddenly I was having trouble breathing. I went to the E.R. twice only to be told that my oxygen level was fine and that whatever was wrong, was wrong in my head and not in my lungs. I knew that it was not my head, it was in my throat. I had a story to tell and it was blocking my throat!

I went to my pastor and he told me that I could not tell Bryant’s and James’s story, not without their permission and they certainly weren’t ready to give that to me. He told me to tell him my story, to tell him how my marriage had survived. I was frustrated and scared about my health and knew that if I passed away from this life the story would pass away with me. I had been told to write the story and I had “tried” several times. It was difficult to go back to those dark days, so I busied myself with my life and didn’t write.

My husband Steve, was offered an additional temporary job in Maine, it would require him to live there every other week and the commute was long. We decided that I would go with him once a month, separating us only one week a month. I knew that if we were heading to Maine, that God must have a plan and that Steve would make a difference in someones life there. So off we went on this new adventure.

Steve worked long hours and I was alone in a small apartment with nothing to do and nowhere to go. I did not know anyone and most days Steve needed the car. I walked the beautiful coastline, drank tea at the local coffee houses, until finally I sat down to write the story God asked me to write. I wrote it for my grandchildren. I felt the story come through me and not from me. It poured out of me like lava from a volcano. I wrote what I wanted to write and put myself at the center. I told the story of my marriage, the story of a mother, sister, daughter, and wife facing a tragedy, facing life. The story of a woman finally rediscovering her voice and her value. It was the re-writes that brought about my healing. With each re-write my voice became stronger and stronger. Suddenly the book was finished, my family blessed it and pushed me to publish it. People came forth to help me, and the same week the book was ready to go to print, the job in Maine ended for Steve.

Now I am discovering that to write a true story and to promote your book, you must speak. Ha ha, I am now speaking at events and using my voice more than I ever imagined. My family and I continue to heal in ways we never thought possible, because I finally did what I was asked to do, which was to use my gift and tell the story.

Catie

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