The Gifts of Perspective and Purpose

Lately, I’ve been feeling low.  The past seven months have been a journey to heal myself, and I hit a crossroads recently where the skills I’ve learned were tested and found wanting.  I’m still on a journey to heal myself.

My first setback was being excluded from a book award selection process.  In the scheme of things that seems petty, but I convinced myself that if Heart Warriors earned a book award it would legitimize my writing, deliver me from the “mommy” or “cause” labels, and justify all the money I spent to promote the book.  Then it didn’t happen.  I felt like I just wasn’t good enough.  I also got my first three star (instead of five) Amazon review which stung my pride.   Then I got the whole cancer thing on top of it all, so I went on a good long pout.

Two days ago my publisher did her ebook giveaway.  That made me feel both special and empowered to help other people since they could get the book for free for a limited time.  I went to the Hypoplastic Right Hearts support page on Facebook to let people know the book was available for free, when entirely out of coincidence, I saw the picture below posted by Kimberly Bunal.  Look at it!

Copyright 2013, Kimberly Bunal, used with permission
Copyright 2013, Kimberly Bunal, used with permission

Kimberly is holding her son Zachariah in the hospital, and they are both holding Heart Warriors.  They are both Heart Warriors.  You can follow Zachariah’s amazing journey on his Facebook page  Kimberly has been through so very much both before and since Zachariah’s birth, and she was so gracious to let me share her photo. I don’t want to steal her story, she can tell it herself on the Facebook page, but it is riveting.  Please visit her there to offer some support and pray for Kimberly and Zachariah and her other children too.

Yes, I was feeling low, and rather than magically rising above my feelings of being slighted and unappreciated, I was laid lower. I was humbled by this woman and her precious baby who sit where I sat and reminded me exactly why I wrote this book.  If the picture wasn’t enough, in my conversations with Kimberly she has demonstrated the most astonishing grace.  She thanked me for writing the book because it helped her both before and after her pregnancy.  This is what she told me:

When I had no where to look for information I found your book. I tell everyone about your book. I show the hospital so they can tell other parents about it. I bring it with me all the time. Your son and your family helped me.

I am double humbled.  I wrote this book for Kimberly to find. I wrote this book for every woman like her (and me) to find because it wasn’t there for me when I needed it.  My publisher emailed me and told me how the messages in the ebook requests moved her as mother after mother recounted her journey through the dark places I know so well.

In my darkest hours inside cardiac ICUs in two states, I had passing thoughts, “This should be in a book.” Now it is.  I didn’t live through these experiences to write a book; I lived through them to save my child’s life.  But along the way I felt so alone, like no one outside the hospital knew what was going on inside.  I didn’t write this book to get an award or to make money, I wrote it to make a difference.  I wrote it from my heart.  I thank Kimberly and Zachariah with all my heart for reminding me of that, for finding me when I was lost in my head, and for bringing me back to my own heart.

While shopping at Barnes & Noble on Saturday night, I offered to sign the store’s copies of my book. When I opened the last book to sign it, I found a note.  I took a picture of it.  Then I kept it, because just like I wrote my book for Kimberly to find, I believe someone wrote this note for me to find.  Here is a picture, sorry it’s blurry.


Sometimes humility is the most appropriate cure for a particular ailment.  I’m still on a journey to heal myself, but I’m feeling so much better today.


  1. Amanda, I hear and read moms talking about your book all the time. It is making a difference. You are making a difference. I need to get better about forwarding things on when I see them. Sometimes we don’t realize the effect our work has had. I’m glad you saw that picture and were able to get a glimpse of your true impact. ❤ And awards, schmwards. I'm sure the entire process is rigged. As for the 3 star review. Could be someone jealous you wrote a book. Could be someone that doesn't even know how to read. Could be someone who just doesn't get good writing and storytelling! ❤ ❤

  2. Amanda, we ended up giving away about 160 free e-books, and I have to say that many people wrote small bits about their personal stories. It humbled me and made my blackened editor’s heart swell. I have never encountered a more wonderful, kind, and grateful group such as Heart Warriors. It’s been an honor to have published your book. You’re a terrific writer, so never doubt yourself. Ever.

  3. Amanda,
    I am the mother and grandmother of a baby that has HLHS she is due May 7th. I would like a copy of your book, but due to my own autoimmune disease I cannot afford it. Every penny I have is going to medication so I can be down at Magee Women’s Hospital and Children’s of Pittsburgh. It would really help me if you could send me a copy and tell me anything that can help me to support my daughter Kimberly her husband Jay and baby BamBam (It was Boom Boom I thot after a boxer from Youngstown) Thank you, I really appreciated just the excerpt out of your book on what to say. Please, keep our family in your prayers oh and also Julian the baby’s big sis, she turns two on Jume 3. May God richly bless you. I really appreciate your straighforwardness and honesty. Sincerely, With My Father’s Precious ove, Darlene Marie

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