It was a night like none other.

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A few weeks ago in the heart of downtown, at this fabulous home store in Medford, Oregon, a celebration took place.

A few weeks prior, if you happened to drive by this window on East Main Street, you would have seen this display in the front window. (Thank you to the creative and talented KJ!)

Yes, my husband and children planned a wonderful, intimate celebration for my new book, The Reluctant Entertainer. But as I walked through the front doors of this beautiful store, my eyes caught an amazing flower arrangement on the book signing table …

They were from my St. Louis cousins, and if you read the post about this party you’ll already know all about my Auntie Ellen. (Also, my book is dedicated to my late Auntie Ellen.) So I read the card carefully. And then on the back it read …

My Aunt Ellen had style and pizazz. She knew how to throw some of the best parties in St. Louis. And many learned from her as she passed the art of hospitality down to her children and family members. So in a way I felt like Auntie was with us on this night of celebration.

My husband gave a heartfelt talk about the RE message and how it is helping people today, and Auntie was mentioned (along with my late Mother).

A book party? I struggled with the idea–for some reason I went back and forth in my mind about whether I even wanted to have this celebration. At one point, I even canceled it and said, “No.” But the very next day 2 things happened. I ran into my good friend, Carrie, who owns Goodness Gracious Catering in Grants Pass, OR – and said she wanted to cater my party for me!

So many supportive friends.

I signed book after book.

Gave a lot of hugs and received a lot of hugs.

Two very special ladies – my sisters.

Exactly one year ago, my friend Dee and I met to begin the recipe reviews, chapter order, etc. in my book. She had promised to help me. My kitchen was in the middle of its remodel, and I remember how overwhelmed I felt. I asked Dee, “Will anyone really buy my book?” Dee reminded me just this week that God had a plan for me, and for others, by sharing the RE message. (Dee with her husband Bill, and a post about Dee and I reading through the RE galleys, here.)

The food was amazing – Thank you Goodness Gracious Catering!

Music and relaxation in a beautiful setting.

A time of joy and celebration over a long, hard project completed. I really wish my editor, Natasha, could have come! She (and Melinda, who did layout and design) deserved so much credit for this beautiful book, that is for sure.

I was indebted to the owners of Terra Firma Home, Mark and Krissy, for their love, warmth, and generosity. (There’s no way we could have fit 100 friends into our home.)

And once again, especially Auntie Ellen, whom I felt her love from afar.

Wouldn’t it be fun if we could all celebrate RE together?

I’d love to spend time with my readers. In a few weeks I’ll be attending BlogHer Food ’10 conference and hope to meet some of my blogging friends there. I’m also excited because they will be carrying my book in their on-site store!

(Thank you to my daughter who took the pictures at the party. Even though we missed pictures with many friends, I still think she did a fantastic job capturing the moment. Love you, Abby! And Garrett, Elliot, Paul, and Krissy.)