From short stories written in first grade using my grandmother’s old copy paper and some crayons, blog posts about adventures in college, and songs performed in tiny Nashville cafés, writing is a huge part of my life. I am so often inspired by incredible writers who have the power to share pieces of their lives through the words they craft into stories of the world around them.
Today, I am proud to share with you a part of my own story. It is with great joy that I announce the release of my first book, and then she wrote, a collection of poetry and prose that I have written since starting college in 2012. Some of it has been written about my own life, some about the stories of others, everything from thoughts while flossing teeth to the moments of crying out to God in dark times. This summer, my goal was to compile all of these works and I am so, so excited to share them with you.
Writing has always been a form of catharsis for me, a way to heal and process. In the hopes of making this writing extend its reach beyond my own small circle, all proceeds from the sales of and then she wrote will be donated to Children’s Miracle Network, a charity that has meant so much to my family and I. When my brother John was hospitalized for four months in 2010, CMN assisted in helping to fund the facilities where he received treatment.I had the privilege to represent CMN during my year as Miss America’s Outstanding Teen that same year and have been a passionate advocate for the work that they do ever since. In this small way, I am hoping that together, we can also bring healing to over 17 million children like my brother who are fighting their own brave battles.
On August 15th, and then she wrote will be available for instant download via e-book for a donation of your choice, or a paperback copy for $10. If you’d like one, fill out this pre-order form here or send me an email at email@example.com.
Today I’ll share one of the poems from the collection, “brave,” dedicated to my brother and all the kids out there who are staying strong even when it’s tough.
a lot of people think that being
having it all together, so strong that you’re
but i think that being brave is being
not knowing what tomorrow will look like
not knowing if you’ll make it through today
when white walls and the smell of disinfectant
replaced the walls of our home
when you were in so much pain
and the doctors didn’t know what to do
i didn’t think that you could ever be
you kept being strong
even when life demanded that you be weak.
you kept saying “thank you”
even when there was nothing to be thankful for.
you kept being a light
even when threatened to be crushed by darkness.
as i face my own darkness
i remember those days,
and you remind me that
you don’t have to be invincible to
Thank you to everybody who has made this possible, and to you, my wonderful readers, for always encouraging me to keep writing. This one is for you.