Chicks Who Rock Kim's Blogs

Meeting My Favorite Author Thru Blogging

–Since my sister, Kay’s, murder, I’ve received numerous emails, books of poetry, and comforting cards from the most unexpected people. I find it

absolutely astounding that women I’ve never met face to face & skin to skin have reached out to me.


One such woman was author, Beryl Singleton Bissell, whose daughter, Francesca, was also murdered.


I was surprised she actually read my blogs, which I must confess, have opened up connections and relationships I never thought possible.


Here’s what she wrote:


Dearest Kim,
I just posted a comment on your blog post. I am writing personally to remind you that I am here for you and not that far away that we couldn’t meet at my home or in Duluth should you wish. Loss like yours needs a listening, compassionate, understanding heart. I hope you have many such listening, loving hearts to help hold and perhaps ease your sorrow. My phone number is ————-
Love, Beryl Singleton Bissell


My heart performed a somersault after reading Beryl’s email.


Immediately, I knew I wanted to meet her.


Our book club had already read her memoir, The Scent of God, which she had written with profound truthfulness about her life as a nun in Italy, her desire to become a Saint, and her passionate love affair with the beloved priest, Padre Vittorio.


Nun?    Did you say priest?    Affair?    Oh, My!


Utterly Thornbirdy, wouldn’t you say?


I knew this woman & I already adored her.


Continually, I find myself attracted to people who are authentic and beautifully flawed.


I arrived at Beryl’s home, which rested snuggly on the shores of Lake Superior on a sunny Saturday afternoon.


I was anxious & fidgety standing at her door-step. I mean, I wonder if she doesn’t like me?


There.  She.  Was.


Radiant.  Smiling.  Welcoming.


We hugged for a long time. The kind of hug where you understand the same kind of pain and shade and grief.


She led me into her lovely kitchen where she was preparing grilled salmon, string beans, small red tomatoes, warm (was is cardamom bread?) and homemade ice tea w/ limes.


And I thought,  ‘O’, sometimes the simple things in life are the greatest kind of healing.


We ate our lunch outdoors listening to the waves brush softly against the rocks.


We talked about Kay, Francesca, life, death, and God.  We talked about loneliness and love.


She told me about “centering prayer,” a practice she studied with the Benedictine nuns.


“I’ve found my home in this kind of prayer,” she softly said. “This kind of prayer has helped me move onward.”


We walked around her magnificent grounds and swung on her massive wooden swing.


She showed me Francesca’s grave site, which was blanketed with pink shells and several kinds daisies, petunias, and begonias.


I remember thinking, “I wonder if Francesca has met Kay yet?”


“Will you bring me to your writing studio,” I finally asked.


“Of course,” she smiled.


She worked from a small shed she had purchased from a writing retreat.


I was a rock-star groupie, a child in a candy store, the new student in the classroom.


So, this is what a real writing studio looks like.


So, this is what real manuscripts smell like.


I inhaled slowly, deeply.


Beryl told me her friend, Ann Patchett, loved ‘The Scent of God” so much that she passed it on to her own agent.


“Wow,” I said. “She really believed in you.”


“We all need somebody to believe in us,” she smiled again.


For a while,  joy seeped back to me in tiny fragments.


I had forgotten what it felt like… my old life, my carefree days before Kay’s heart stopped.


Before I made my way back to Duluth, we ate slices of rhubarb cake that my mother had baked for Beryl for this special meeting.


We hugged again at the door.


This time, a little tighter, more familiar.


This time, recognizing that if Beryl made it thru those darkest hours, those blackest days, perhaps I could.




Perhaps I could, too.


–Dear, Reader,  who would you love to meet that you haven’t met yet?  Somebody famous?  Another blogger?  Writer?    Who inspires you?


Kay’s Last Video:

Beryl’s  Book: The Scent of God


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  • Reply
    Tina Drakakis
    February 10, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    You. YOU inspire me. xoxo

  • Reply
    February 10, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    YOU!. I would so love to meet you <3

  • Reply
    February 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    What an amazing story, Kim. I will have to read her book! I just need to add a few more hours in the day to catch up with all the reading I need to do!

    I would love to set up a blogging conference/ retreat, sometime where all my fave writers/ bloggers, like you, could spend a little time together and share stories and tips and inspiration. That would be awesome!

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  • Reply
    Cheryl Lewis
    February 10, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    The beauty of your words, and your courage in writing them – oh not just the tough parts, but even the beautiful parts, because all writing takes courage – never fails to bring tears to my eyes. I am so, so, so very happy that you met and have a precious new connection. I love you, sweet Kim.

  • Reply
    ed p
    February 10, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    what a beautifully written account of your encounter and meeting with beryl. you are smelling like success more than ever, kim:)
    ed p recently posted..the skyMy Profile

  • Reply
    Jennifer Wolfe
    February 10, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    What a beautiful experience…life surprises us in the most astounding ways. I’d love to meet Maya Angelou; I imagine the wisdom that just oozes from her pores.
    Jennifer Wolfe recently posted..How Healthy Is Your Family?My Profile

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      February 14, 2014 at 9:38 am

      Love Angelou.

      Her voice is like maple syrup seeping into one’s earlobes. Xx

      I think I’d go back in time to meet Sylvia Plath. I’d give her Prozac and tell her to LIVE live live!

      My Inner Chick recently posted..Meeting My Favorite Author Thru BloggingMy Profile

  • Reply
    February 10, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    I’d love to meet you. 🙂 What a lovely story of you Beryl meeting. I’m intrigued and am ordering her book. Now. Thank you for sharing! Xx
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  • Reply
    lisa thomson
    February 10, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    What a beautiful union of two kindred souls, both healing. I can’t help but think Kay and Francesca both had something to do with you two finding each other. Beryl sounds like a special lady so it makes sense she would be drawn to you Kim.

    I’m not sure who I’m waiting to meet but women who have come through to the other side always inspire me! I guess that’s why I like to hang out here 🙂
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  • Reply
    February 10, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    What a wonderful experience for you. The Universe likes bringing kindred spirits together.
    I would have loved more than anything to have spent that kind of time with my Nora Ephron. That’s she’s gone now breaks my heart.
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  • Reply
    February 10, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    I continued to be blessed with amazing stories from my new world of blogging so this really resonated with me. I’m so thrilled you were able to meet Beryl! I loved the entire description of your visit and going to her shed and reading the manuscripts. Yes, Phoenix and I would love to meet some of my blogger friends in person. And right at the top of the list would be this beautiful friend of our’s in Duluth, Minnesota. Xxx’s and love to always from us, Kim! 🙂
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  • Reply
    February 10, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    I am blessed to know you, Kim…so, so proud of you! I know Kay is smiling down on you. I found some old cards from you and Kay the other day…what treasures they are. I love and miss you both!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    OK, you had me at nun! Now I must read this.

    I’m so glad you two got to meet, though I am sick about the great loss you each share and that likely brought you together. Perhaps you will help each other fill those voids with your friendship and shared passion.

    BTW, your complexion looks soooo lovely. You are truly a beautiful person, inside and out!
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    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      February 14, 2014 at 9:49 am

      you must read the book and tell me your thoughts. Okay?

      You will appreciate Beryl’s honesty and fall in love with her Priest, whom eventually became her husband.

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  • Reply
    Elephant's Child
    February 10, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Hugs and love to you my sweet, inspirational, damaged, and triumphantly surviving friend. And hero.
    Elephant’s Child recently posted..SurfacingMy Profile

  • Reply
    Alison at Diamond-Cut Life
    February 10, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    I love this story. . . .
    the way your souls recognized each other right away.
    The way all the boundaries
    that our culture teaches us to have
    can dissolve
    if we adopt a certain tilt of the will.

    I feel sure that Kay and Francesca have met each other.

    They probably did that lovely tilt of the will
    thing with each other, too,
    letting their boundaries come down
    so they could be close.

    Maybe their doing that with each other
    on the other side
    helped you and Beryl to then do it with each other
    on this side. . . .
    bridging the worlds.

    Love to you, Kim.
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  • Reply
    Chris Carter
    February 10, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Oh what a BEAUTIFUL and HEALING meeting indeed!! What a lovely soul Beryl must be… and that book sounds amazing!! WOW!

    I love that you met her. I love that a bit of a dream came true for you. I love that she took the time for YOU.

    I would LOVE to meet Lysa Terkeurst… she’s my hero.
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    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      February 14, 2014 at 9:52 am

      I know!
      I was like “Are you serious, somebody who doesn’t even know me has invited me into her home!!” WOWWw.
      I looked up Lysa. She sounds like my kind of girl. I love people who LOVE God.

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  • Reply
    LM Young
    February 10, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    I know this feeling. I know it, because this is how I felt when I read the excerpt of your book, about your beautiful Kay, on the radio show. Death always changes people…and when the life has been taken by another…the pain finds no words. My sister in law was savagely murdered…there are simply no words that can describe the great pain that causes.

    As always Kim, I wish you a lifetime of Light and Love

    LM Young
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    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      February 14, 2014 at 9:56 am

      I did not know this about your sister-in-law. Did your brother do this?

      I am deeply sorry.

      Nothing fills this void. Ever. No!

      We must learn to live w it…fit it into our new lives…and for me, I know I will be with Kay again in Paradise.

      LOVE to you, dearest! XXxx
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  • Reply
    Hotly Spiced
    February 10, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    What a beautiful woman and how lovely to have someone reach out for you like that. I’ve heard of many cases of nuns falling in love with priests or priests falling in love with a member of their congregation. I’m quite convinced that it’s totally wrong for the Catholic church to insist on priests and nuns having to be celebate and live such unnatural lives – it’s a recipe for disaster and aren’t we seeing a lot of that! Anyway…what a wonderful occasion and you must have come away feeling uplifted and greatly encouraged xx
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  • Reply
    Joan Peterson
    February 10, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Beryl sounds like just the kind of woman I would love to meet. I am so glad I have met you, Kim, and come to know you. Thanks for sharing this with us. What a lovely post.
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  • Reply
    February 10, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Oh, I love this story, Kim! And now I want to read Beryl’s book. I’m a memoir junkie. I’d love to meet Anne Lamott–and you, of course.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
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  • Reply
    February 10, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    That was a beautiful meeting – brought tears to my eyes.
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  • Reply
    nan @ lbddiaries
    February 10, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    “And I thought, ‘O’, sometimes the simple things in life are the greatest kind of healing.”

    So profound. How is it you take a few simple words and create a visual post that makes me feel as if I was sitting at your feet, listening to you share?

    Someday you are going to get all of us who love you together in one meeting hall so we can hug you, visit skin to skin, lips to cheek, meet one another, and be better for it. Please?
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  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    February 10, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    What a wonderful meeting! Beryl sounds like a loving and sweet friend.
    Have a great day, Kim!
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  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    February 10, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    How wonderful for you to meet each other! Nobody can understand what you’ve been through except someone who has been through the same. I can imagine that it’s quite an overwhelming but amazing feeling to meet someone like this. xxx
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  • Reply
    February 10, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Kim, Beryl sounds like an angel, one whose hospitality is graciously impeccable. I’m so glad she came into your life. I’m so glad she’s there to guide you, and you, her. We all need somebody to believe in us. Such a beautiful sentiment.
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  • Reply
    Amy Tong
    February 10, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Wow, that’s amazing someone open up to help others through tough times. Who say there’s no love in this world? We just have to open up, look around and listen, I guess. 🙂
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  • Reply
    Rita @ The Crafty Expat
    February 11, 2014 at 2:55 am

    Kim, I’m so happy for you that you met this amazing woman. Her story sounds really interesting and I will look out for her memoir. How beautiful is that she reached out to you and even more that you two had the chance to meet and share your stories.
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  • Reply
    Choc Chip Uru
    February 11, 2014 at 2:56 am

    To meet someone like Beryl is only a miracle sent by an angel my friend. You are very lucky in this sense.

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  • Reply
    Mandy - The Complete Book
    February 11, 2014 at 5:31 am

    My dear Kim, what a beautiful meeting. Beryl, like you is a remarkable woman! When you meet with her again, please give her a hug from me too!
    Love to you friend,
    🙂 Mandy xo
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  • Reply
    February 11, 2014 at 7:11 am

    What a wonderful experience for you, Kim.
    I am truly so happy that you had the opportunity to meet this woman.
    She sounds amazing.
    Just like you.

  • Reply
    Ellen M. Gregg
    February 11, 2014 at 7:34 am

    How absolutely lovely. Heartwarming and soul-lifting.

    I want to meet you, sweet Kim, and one day I will. xoox

  • Reply
    February 11, 2014 at 7:54 am

    What a lovely story about a lovely meeting. Couldn’t be more pleased that you two met
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  • Reply
    Valentine Logar
    February 11, 2014 at 8:23 am

    I am working my way through those I want to meet. I made my way to you, because you inspired me, continue to do so. Now, for now I am just looking for me.

    I love you.
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  • Reply
    February 11, 2014 at 8:35 am

    I love that you met Beryl. What a blessing you both are to each other. xo
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  • Reply
    karen sosnoski
    February 11, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Tried to respond on my iPhone, but don’t think my comment went through, so will try again. I’m so happy for you that you had this meeting of minds and hearts and talents. I felt warmed by the descriptions of good food, comforting hugs, and meaningful encouragement. I love the way you open doors with your writing and then have the guts to walk through them. You’re an inspiration in so many ways!!

  • Reply
    February 11, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Absolutely awesome, Kim. I’m so happy for you. And I must, absolutely MUST, get her book. You two are an inspiration for all of us, and I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Sending kisses to you…xxxx
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  • Reply
    February 11, 2014 at 9:40 am


    I smiled big & teared up at this post. What a wonderful meeting!!! What a lovely post to share with us!

    I gave my mother a copy of ‘The Scent of God’ for Christmas a few years ago. She loved it. My sister has borrowed it as well.

    Kim, that is so wonderful she reached out to you & is a fan alike of your writing. I like how you got to visit her writing studio – that is awesome. I loved your description of it, smelling the manuscripts, feeling joy.

    This whole post makes me smile, and tear up. : ) And that’s a good thing.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2014 at 9:46 am

    You know, God sends special people into our lives when we need them most. I think your visit with Beryl, and hers with you, was the beginning of a beautiful healing that you both needed. How fabulous that you got to dine with her, relax with her, and even visit her writing studio!
    Yes, I’d be willing to bet that Kay and Francesca were together, looking down from Heaven, pleased that they had a part in y’all’s meeting. After all, Earth might be the place for good-byes, but Heaven is the place for hello’s!!
    Who would I like to meet? My list is fabulously long (yes, dear, you’re on there!).
    This post warms me — literally. Your description of the flowers and such convinces me your meeting took place far away from this bitter cold season!
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  • Reply
    Tammi Pekkala Matthews
    February 11, 2014 at 10:54 am

    so glad you made it 🙂

  • Reply
    Deborah Batterman
    February 11, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Maybe even more often than sometimes, ‘the simple things in life are the greatest kind of healing.’ We just need to keep our hearts open to those moments.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Dear Kim- I know I know you almost as well as I know myself and I know one day we shall meet in the flesh and hug and drink red wine together.
    I would love to meet up with David again and meet John Lennon. And I would stop by to see how Kay and my family’s Kathie (who was also murdered) are doing
    love you.

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  • Reply
    February 11, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    YOU. Definitely you KIM.
    This woman wears kindness on her face. And your face transpires love.
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  • Reply
    February 11, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Amazing story about Beryl’s past and also about your meeting. True life really is stranger than fiction. You describe the day wonderfully well. I wanted to be there with you both! Kisses from MLB xx
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  • Reply
    February 11, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Beryl’s story is truly Thornbirdy! I haven’t thought of that movie in years. I’m so happy that you two had a chance to connect. I also hope that your spirit was uplifted and that you will find some much deserved peace. You’re awesome girl!

  • Reply
    February 11, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Inspiring and hopeful through the power of empathy you have both shared.

    Of course, you inspire Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar. And me, her mere human.

    Hugs, hope and peace,

    Gary x
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  • Reply
    February 11, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Everything about this post gave me chills. That Ms. Bissell reads your blog, that she reached out to you, that she invited you into her home and took the time to bond with you – on so many levels. this is the best of blogging if you ask me. The surprise connections we make and the events that they lead to – the ones we never would have predicted. I am so glad you made this new and special friend.
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  • Reply
    Blond Duck
    February 11, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    I hope we get to meet one day!
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  • Reply
    Pam Hogeweide
    February 11, 2014 at 11:04 pm


    I will have to take a number by the look of the comments!

    SO wonderful you could meet and comfort one another. The meal sounded DE-LISH and your mom’s cake and (swoon!) her writing studio. I would have just ORGASMED right there!

    Thanks for posting this. I love experiencing life through your humble, grateful gorgeous eyes.;….

  • Reply
    A Cuban In London
    February 12, 2014 at 9:11 am

    This is such a moving post. Blogging can build bridges and establish connections that we thought would never exist.

    Your post touched me. Stay strong.

    Greetings from London.
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  • Reply
    Tina @ Girl with a New Life
    February 13, 2014 at 8:52 am

    What a beautiful inspiring post. I read the first page of her book on Amazon, and I’m going to put it on my reading list this year. Gorgeous writing. What a talent.

    I was just thinking the other day that being an artist of any kind means being emotionally open and exposed. The way Beryl was so courageously open to reach out to you confirms that for me. (Think about all of the possible rejection she faced in just that single communication.)

    When people ask me who I would most like to meet, I always wish for a time machine so that I could meet my mother and father while they were young, before the burdens of life set in.
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  • Reply
    February 13, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    It was fate that brought you two together, to share, to comfort each other, to grieve. I love that blogging has made such things possible. Love it. xo
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  • Reply
    February 13, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    What a touching story Kim!

    I can honestly say; YOU inspire me Kim.
    As a person who has experienced considerable pain; most privately
    I adore your openness, your passion,
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  • Reply
    Jodi @ Heal Now and Forever
    February 14, 2014 at 3:33 am

    Someday you and I will meet my darling. I just know it! and it will be as splendid as that! xoxoxo
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  • Reply
    Lady Jennie
    February 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    This is really inspiring, especially as a memoirist. Is that a word? Her book sounds like something I would want to read. I’m really happy you could meet your hero/friend.
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  • Reply
    Totally Heavenly
    February 14, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    What a lovely story. I hate what you had to go through, but you have made so much good out of something so bad, the way you have reached out to so many people, and I have always loved your raw honesty.
    Happy Valentines day to a very special lady
    *kisses* H

  • Reply
    February 14, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Hug and feel the same kind of pain…babe, one of the most powerful hugs I’ve ever received was from my roommate on the psychiatric ward. There is something dehumanizing as I walked on the unit. The nurses inspecting my wounds on my arms and legs…taking my pen and spiral notepad (that had my inner thoughts) because I could kill myself with the spiral part…then I walked in my room and she came up to me and hugged me so hard. Kim, that feeling…there is just something about it. I’ll never forget it.
    I am so glad that she reached out to you and that you both met. How wonderful that is.


  • Reply
    Aussa Lorens
    February 15, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    I find myself wanting to meet everyone I meet via blogging. I’m hoping that a lot of you all go to BlogHer this summer because I’ll be there! It would be amazing.

    Her memoir sounds absolutely juicy and intriguing… nuns and love affairs? I must know more!
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  • Reply
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell
    February 16, 2014 at 11:00 am

    That is just the most perfect thing! I’m so, so glad the two of you connected and I know it’s another step in your moving forward process. What a gift that was!
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  • Reply
    Katie @ Pick Any Two
    February 16, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Wow, this is an amazing story! I am so glad you two were able to connect like this! I would love to meet Toni Morrison. Her novels absolutely changed my life, and I would love to express their impact to her in person.
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  • Reply
    Beth Teliho
    February 16, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    ohhh, how amazing you met her and spent time in her home! What a magical afternoon that must have been. I’m so happy you two found each other.

    The list of bloggers/authors I’d like to meet is ridiculously long. All of them. I want to meet all of them. Including you, sweet lady.
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  • Reply
    Glamorous Glutton
    February 17, 2014 at 3:32 am

    What a wonderful meeting, I really want to read her book, it sounds fascinating. GG

  • Reply
    February 17, 2014 at 9:55 am

    This made me so happy, I read it through glassy eyed tears grinning the whole way. What a gift she gave you, and I’m pretty sure you gave her a gift back. I’m glad you connected. And I know you’ll pass the support on when the perfect opportunity presents itself. I know what it’s like to hug another person who has experienced the same grief, it’s simply wonderful.

  • Reply
    Vidya Sury
    March 20, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Hugs, hugs, hugs. All I can say. My heart goes out to you.
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