It's a small "do-it-yourself" booklet. Printed on a copy machine and stapled together by hand, and yet, it offers the comfort and style of a professionally bound classic.
"Paper Flowers" is a collection of short verses, deep thoughts, funny sayings and poetry, written by a cousin of mine, Laura Nell Harrison.
Laura Nell was actually married to my father's first cousin, Kenneth, so she would be a cousin by marriage. She always seemed like an aunt because she and my mother were close in age and loved visiting one another.
Verses written with great thought, and some, probably scribbled in the margin of the church bulletin, were collected for years and finally printed in 1995. Laura Nell was tickled when her sister threw a book signing party for her and they sold out! No problem, since they were easily replenished on a nearby copy machine. My mother recalls each sold for only $10. Just enough to cover the cost of paper, ink and gas to her sister's house.
I never heard her discuss it, but these verses reveal that Laura Nell's mother died when she was a baby and she was raised by an alcoholic father. Such a rough childhood for a little girl, yet she grew to be a gentle mother, pastor's wife and wonderful school teacher. Laura Nell loved children dearly and loved life itself without any bitterness.
Many of my readers ask how they can publish a book. They want to leave their story or collection of thoughts for their children. Laura Nell found the simple solution. Just write it down. There's no need for a fancy publisher (they'll irritate the life out of you anyway). There's no need for a designer cover (hire a teenager to draw something). There's no need for any of those things.
As this little booklet goes to show, there's a lovely connection between someone's thoughts and our hearts. It doesn't have to be a perfect professional book . . .It just has to be your voice.
I love this photo of Laura Nell because it looks like her daughter, Lona.
What a gift she left us, and what an inspiration she continues to be, to take a moment (perhaps a summertime project?) to write our thoughts down for those we love.
Copies of the booklet were available to guests at Laura Nell's funeral. What a beautiful gesture and a great way to remember a sweet lady.
Do you want to write your story, or perhaps random thoughts? There's no time like the present.
Someday, someone will cherish it.