By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
On April 5, local author Carissa Lovvorn released her second children’s book which is about the adventures of two charming girls known as the Sharing Sisters. The name of the book is Lemons for Blessings, and it is the second in a series that Carissa created to bring some much-needed positivity to the COVID Era. Last year, Carissa wrote Seeds for Sharing, which was a true tale about the Sharing Sisters growing a garden the first summer of the pandemic. At first, its purpose was to give the girls something to do during what seemed like an endless summer, and then, their garden was so prolific and therapeutic that the girls were able to share what they had grown with neighbors and church members. The true story of giving back during an era of uncertainty was met with a robust and positive response, and it hadn’t been out long when Carissa started working on Lemons.
The purpose of Lemons for Blessings is to express gratitude to medical personnel, first responders, teachers, cashiers, preachers, any and all who helped in our community and for all they did to take care of us during the worst of the pandemic. Again, it is loosely based on the true story of Carissa and Garth’s daughters, Isabelle and Ella (who refer to Lemons as “our book”), and this time it is Daddy Garth that first empowered the girls by building a lemonade stand with them back in 2019 for the Home & Garden Show. Moving forward to the time closer to the end of the pandemic, the Sharing Sisters then made lemonade both to sell and to give away, and I watched them shine like stars at last year’s Earth Day celebration held in Athens. It was at Earth Day that the girls made $220.50 to give back to the non-profit of their choice, and last year they chose the Learn-to-Read Foundation here in Athens.
What is so enjoyable about this whole series is that first of all, it is based on true incidents and events, and secondly, it has the potential to create a brand and track the girls and their mission for several years to come. Now let’s talk about the illustrations. When Carissa was working on Seeds, she scoured the work of more than 200 illustrators until she found a young man by the name of Joshua Wichterich that she felt could capture the “vibe” of the Sisters. Carissa sent Joshua pictures of the girls, and he created the images that completed the project beautifully.
For Lemons for Blessing, the role of the father in the life of the daughters is explored and celebrated, and the back cover reads:
With a little help from Daddy and some scrap wood and lemons, the Sharing Sisters learn about the wonders of God’s Spiritual gifts while thanking those who served our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Giving in this way is something that was part of Carissa’s upbringing, especially during the holidays. Her parents organized their own version of Toys for Tots by getting a list from the local school of kids who may not have any presents at Christmas time. “The house would be filled with presents for children,” Carissa told me, “and there were toiletries for the adults. We would deliver in the middle of the night, and they never knew it was us. It was the best part of Christmas.” For his part, Garth spent years deeply involved with Habitat for Humanity, and the Lovvorns are wanting their daughters to continue the legacy of giving back to their community, as well as to inspire the community to give, too. In addition, Carissa, who has a beautiful singing voice, has written a song she sings for children that is based on the book. The scripture that ties it all together is I Cor 12: 4-6, which says:
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. (New King James Version)
Ideas for future books are in the works, and hopefully the COVID dust will settle to the point that the whole family will be able to go on foreign mission trips. At some point Carissa may do some projects that target grown-ups exclusively.
On Tuesday, April 19, there will be a book signing to be held at Frame Gallery of Athens, located at 125 North Marion from 5 to 7 p.m. You can come and meet the whole family, and everyone will autograph the book if you wish. As mentioned above, the girls refer to Lemons for Blessings as “our book,” and will carefully add their signature for autographs, as will Daddy. Come and experience the joy of gratitude that can powerfully build community. You might even get to taste some lemonade that will bless you!
Books can be ordered at www.carissalovvorn.com and on amazon.com, and purchased locally at CEI bookstore.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner