I was thrilled! I texted my friend who I knew had also applied to see if she had received the email. Unfortunately she hadn't and it dampened my enthusiasm as I didn't want to feel like I was rubbing it in her face (it's a struggle to be happy about an experience when you know someone else might not be). I joined the Facebook page for the launch team and that's when the craziness began.
Everyone was so thrilled to be in it and sharing their information to see if they knew anyone else or lived close to another Launch Team Member. I found out there were a few other people in Georgia, a few in Atlanta and a few OTP. I didn't meet any of them until September (we'll get there).
As I'm an introvert who doesn't generally post a ton about life online (yet I have a blog, I know) I spent most of my time reading the posts but not contributing. People soon began sharing prayer requests and life events with the group and everything was met with love and grace and kindness. It is the most positive part of the internet I've ever experienced! I know that if I ever need some encouragement or support I could head there.
We all received electronic copies of the book, followed by an unedited paperback a few weeks later, to begin reading it so that we could post reviews and talk about it in our various social groups. I found that part to be pretty easy because I enjoyed the book so much.
Apparently most everyone else did as well. The creative members started making graphics to promote the book. Then it branched into coffee mugs and tshirts. I can't remember all of the neat things that were made as a result of this book. I got a little into the creative aspect and replicated someone else's idea of putting a quote on canvas. I made two, one for each of my kids' rooms.
Very early in the group's existence someone suggested we have a Launch Team Party at Jen Hatmaker's house after the book came out. Everyone loved the idea though many considered it a ridiculously impossible one. But the impossible can happen. Jen actually agreed to the idea (with the stipulation that she didn't have to do anything but show up) and a group of women volunteered to take on the task of making the party a reality. Yet another amazing surprise!
When I learned the date of the party I was both excited and apprehensive. The idea of getting to meet Jen and a bunch of the ladies I had been praying for and learning about seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event. But, of course, it was also a huge party filled with strangers (not my favorite) and the pesky detail of paying for flights, hotel and rental car. I waffled a bit until my husband said I should go for it. And I did. I ended up making a short trip, long enough for the party, a little exploring of Austin/Buda, and a visit to ANC (the Hatmakers' church I became familiar with through Interrupted).
|Made it to Texas!|
|Waiting on the shuttles to take us to the party|
|Anyone else watch My Big Family Renovation on HGTV? Just me? Okay.|
|Wish I could recall our conversation.|
|Obligatory photo op (she was so gracious to talk to each of us!)|
One of the cool things about the group is that there are so many women with passion to help with various social justice issues and causes and using their talents to support them. The shirts and coffee mugs had the profits donated to organizations such as Help One Now. Some make cuffs, jewelry and other goods and donate some proceeds to charities. When the party was announced there were women who wanted to go but could not financially afford it and the group created a scholarship program to get everyone there - and we all banded together and gave money to make sure everyone did! The group has raised money to buy a high school senior a car, supported adoption fundraisers, replaced a blogger's laptop, started writing groups and helped launch other books (I did a few others, though none of the experiences equaled this one).
I am so encouraged and inspired with how passionate everyone is and how so many people are doing what they can to make the world a better place for someone! I feel like they are all out of my league. But we all have different life seasons and different passions and I can cheer all of these ladies on as I focus on raising my kids with service and giving when I can (and remembering the widow's mite story that it's not really what we give, it's our heart behind the giving).
I am so amazed at everything that has come out of one little book launch group. It's also cool that many of the people not selected dubbed themselves #the4500 and are also doing many great things such as launching ministries together! I anticipate much more greatness to come from these two groups of people. And it's great having somewhere on the internet to go where I will always be greeted with kindness and acceptance.
If you haven't read For the Love yet, I still highly recommend it. If you have, let me know what you thought of it!