Sunday, August 30, 2009

Olivia Bliss, Happy Birthday ~ August 25

Here is a video I made for Bliss on her 9th birthday. It's 22 minutes long so I more than understand if time does not allow for viewing...

http://www.vimeo.com/6351973

If you need a password: Katie

Audrey Elizabeth, Happy Birthday ~ July 13

video

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Glow

I have a new client. I am not sure I have ever been more energized or honored to represent such a client. You see, this one appears like a gift. A precious one that I believe has come to teach me lessons. Big ones. The biggest ones. About loss. And trust. And love. And faith. Deep faith. Genuine faith. Faith that can move mountains. Faith when you need it most.

Let me be honest, my "worry brain" makes me wonder why I am part of this chapter in the story. Is there something lurking around the corner that willl rattle me and mine so God wants me to learn from their story? Maybe. Probably. One day at least. And then I remind myself once again (as I do daily) "it's not all about me" and I will not lean on my own understanding. While I do believe their is a purpose for my life and many, many lessons to learn at each turn I also think sitting about searching for them causes me to miss the scenery along the way. So I am jumping onboard and enjoying this ride no matter where it takes me.

For now I am hoping it lands my client in a seat next to Oprah. Seriously. This is powerful stuff.

How I came to be a part of this wonderful mix of people is pretty cool in it's own right.

Seattle Times sports journalist, Jerry Brewer*, won a coin toss to cover a story of a Seattle area basketball coach on a winning streak. What he wound up covering was a story about a child’s deadly disease, a family’s faith, a community changed, a journalist's salvation, and a miracle. Gloria’s Miracle.

11 year old Gloria Strauss was the coach's daughter. When Jerry met Doug Strauss, Gloria had just been given a few weeks to live. She was battling neuroblastoma, a deadly form of childhood cancer. She'd been fighting it since she was seven.

For the next five months, Jerry covered the story of Gloria and the family of seven children in his series of newspaper columns, “A Prayer for Gloria". Like many Seattleites I was familiar with her story.

Meantime, Gloria's family's van was broken in to and the video tapes documenting Gloria and her family's lives were stolen (the mother had loaded the videos in the car to bring them to a friend who was compiling a DVD for them). KING 5 TV got a hold of the story and my Eric interviewed the family. Including Gloria. Gloria~who looked like a child actor. Blond, bright eyed (big, blue ones full of life), with soft hair and an easy bright smile. She sparkled. Her voice sounded so sweet. She spoke well beyond her years as she pleaded for whomever stole the family's tapes to return them. Eric told the girls and me about Gloria that night at dinner. He came to speak of her often. He said she had something "other worldly" about her. Angelic even. (Trust me, Eric does not normally speak in such a manner and with all the news and tragedies he covers day in and day out he does not speak often of one particular person or story.) It was different with Gloria.

A month or so later Gloria died. The community was shaken. The world lost some of it's light. But the family believes the miracle of her life and legacy will continue to inspire all who hear of her.

Back in May, more than a year and a half after she passed Eric covered a story with her parents. They'd created Gloria's Angels (http://www.gloriasangels.com/), a non-profit organization designed to lift burdens and build communities so people can focus on caring for a family member with a life-threatening condition. Doug gave Eric a mass card of Gloria that day. It remains on his desk and he told me just last week he looks at it often. He says it calms and comforts him to do so.

After covering the Gloria's Angels story Eric said to me that night across the kitchen island, "You'd love to help represent the cause, Kate. You'd be such a good fit. It's everything you believe in."

The busyness of life resumed.

Surfing Facebook one day recently, Jerry's new wife, Karen, (whom I know and respect professionally as she was one of my key press contacts at The Seattle Times and I have thankfully gotten to know her personally due to Facebook, email exchanges and her generous client referrals) posted a video of Gloria. The video showed that Jerry was releasing a book about her.

Through tears I commented on her status update and wished them well. Then I got an email. Karen explained one of the missing links for the book project was they had not settled on a publicist.

After a two hour lively meeting at Starbucks with Jerry, the publisher, Mike, and Doug Strauss--k PR was on the team.

Armed with a draft of the book and a beaming heart, I was off. I read the book in a matter of hours. I sobbed. I admired. I was inspired.

One of Gloria's nicknames was Glow. It suited her beautifully. The book details a visit from a South American celebrity and very Godly woman who met Gloria's parents and within moments told them she saw glitter around them. She explained this was a sign of holiness.

Glitter has become synonymous with those that know Gloria. Children spot glitter and sparkles on their school books, parents find it in their living rooms, teachers see it on office walls--all believing these are greetings and signs from Gloria.

Finishing the book in the crowded tub last night with Olivia and Audrey around me, Liv said to Audrey, "You can meet Gloria, ya' know?"

"How? Papa said she is in Heaven." Audrey replied.

"Not right now--when you get to Heaven. She'd like us, I know." said Liv and then she promptly dunked her head under water continuing her attempt to break her under water breath holding record.

I completed the book, we brushed teeth and I sat down to fold laundry in the play room as the kids chose their books for bedtime.

I plopped down in a pile of pink and white heart sparkles. Seriously. Yes, we have sparkly powder, sparkly perfume, sparkly nail polish, and when Charlotte and Tabitha (the girl’s tooth fairies) visit they sprinkle sparkles over them as they slumber so all those sparkles could be attributed to those many things for sure.

Audrey approached with her book selection--"I'd Be Your Princess"~ a royal tale of Godly character. It's a story of a little girl imagining life as a princess and she is telling her father how their lives would play out together.

Audrey read from this page~
"We would wear matching crowns with shiny jewels and long red capes that touch the ground."

"Yes," said her father, "and you would smile and wave to all the people in our kingdom. And the people would smile and wave back because you are so very beautiful."

And then there is a bible verse at the end of the page~ Audrey read it aloud.
Let your beauty be that of your inner self. I Peter 3:4

"This is just like Gloria, don't you think?" Audrey asked.

Yes, I do. And as for those sparkles scattered around me? I think that was Glow, too.

Jerry's book will be available at www.GloriasMiracle.com shortly as well as at local booksellers starting September 8th. It is available for pre-order now on Amazon.com.

*Jerry is donating more than half of his royalties from this book to Gloria's family to use for the foundation or for their growing family.