A Book Launch Helps Tell a Deeper Story

So one of my super cool, online friends has written a book. Yep. She's a PUBLISHED author, and I'm totally in awe of that. Courtney Walsh recently released her book "A Sweethaven Summer." While I have not yet had the awesome opportunity of reading the book (can you say Amazon Wish List), I am looking forward to reading it after reading the description from Amazon . . .

A faded scrapbook reveals secrets that reconnect old friends in a place called Sweethaven.

Campbell Carter has come to Sweethaven in search of answers about her mother's history. Just before losing a battle with cancer, Suzanne Carter sent letters to childhood friends from her hometown of Sweethaven, Michigan. Suzanne's three friends -- Lila, Jane, and Meghan -- haven't spoken in years, yet each has pieces of a scrapbook they made together as girls. Suzanne's letters have lured them all back to the idyllic lakeside town, where they meet Campbell and begin to remember what was so special about their long Sweethaven summers. As the scrapbook reveals secrets from the past, old wounds are mended, lives are changed, and friendships are restored -- just as Suzanne intended.

I know Courtney through the scrapbooking world. She is talented, professional, and totally real. To help launch her book, Courtney is having a special launch party on her blog. Be sure to check it out for all the fun giveaways!

Courtney asked a few of her scrapbooking friends (me included) to create a layout on subjects similar to the themes found within her book. There is one particular subject within the book, to which I unfortunately do relate. I lost a loved one to cancer.

Six years ago, my son Joseph was diagnosed with colon cancer. Just a few short months later, he passed away. While talking about losing a family member can be excruciatingly painful, it can also be cathartic and healing. When I'm in a place where I need to tell my story, I'll create a layout about my son, or record my feelings about his illness, or simply browse through photographs I have taken of him.

This particular layout was created on a reflective day. I think about my son EVERY SINGLE DAY. There isn't a day when I don't miss him or reflect on times past. While it can be painful to relive some of those memories, others are happy. We try to dwell on those more than the fact that, for now, we are separated:

As Courtney discusses in her book, scrapbooking creates a safe haven for those triumphant AND painful memories. The important thing is to make the time to record those thoughts, feelings, and memories before they fade away.

(Products used to create this project were purchased from the 2Peas Digital Store here.)


  1. Jen, your layout and your story are both so beautiful. Thank you for being a part of this, for sharing something painful to encourage other people they can do that too.

    It means so much!!

  2. oh jen , I have no words to tell you how strong I think you are. the way you handle this painful experience is so brave. Your layout is very touching.

  3. Oh, Jen. Words can't explain how my heart hurts for you when I read this. I had no idea. A couple I went to school with lost their 16 yr. old son this week in an accident, and the thought of losing a child so young just breaks my heart. Thank you for sharing this, and reminding me again how important it is to cherish those who are with us now, and make sure our memories are preserved.

  4. I just think the world of you Jen. Sending you a love.

  5. Love that LO and how you use it to remember. I lost my youngest sister just couple years ago and I miss her & think of her every single day too.

    I shall do that when I'm on my reflective days. Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. I feel like I should leave a comment, but have no words! I Can only imagine the pain of losing a child and my heart aches from reading this. Thank you for sharing. You are so strong and this is such a great reminder of how powerful scrapbooking is when used in relation to healing and/or recording painful memories: It brings out the positive and happy memories too - and smiling thru the tears is fantastic to accomplish. Thanks

  7. Beautiful photographs and words. You have amazing strength.


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