Sunday, September 9, 2018

February 5th BUY IT!



February 5th is available for purchase!

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[ Barnes and Noble COMING SOON!!}
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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Sincerely

To the Renaissance Nashville Hotel Family,

I was four years old when I walked into your hotel for the first time. The name outside read Stouffer’s and there were ashtrays in the lobby, filled with sand that had been stamped with the fancy “S” logo. My dad had come to help out, and I was privileged enough to create a home away from home inside its walls.

Mr. John Fleming was my father. A hotel manager by day and a goofy, grinning daddy by night – that’s how his closet was separated too; beautiful suits on one hand and then, on the other, hundreds of white tube socks, vacation shirts, and sweatpants that he wore on his morning trip to grab a newspaper and coffee on the weekends.

Nervous and always on my best behavior, I wanted to make him proud every chance I got to visit you all. I didn’t want to embarrass him. He loved the men and women he worked with, and I wanted to make sure that I made a good first impression, second impression, a lasting impression still to this day because that’s what he did. But now, mostly, I want to make an impression that says, “She is appreciative.”

Dad gave me so much at home. Together with my mom, they offered a life to me that so many people don’t get the opportunity to have. From the intangibles to a room full of everything I could have dreamt of, my siblings and I had it all. Now after sharing such an emotional experience together, I know how much he gave to all of you too.

At the funeral, everyone kept thanking us for sharing Dad with them. What’s amazing is I never felt like I was “sharing” him. He worked long hours, and he would occasionally travel, but he still made everyone in his life feel special. I was never gipped of time with my Dad while he was here. Instead, I gained better insight and advice from him because of the team he had built at the Renaissance – which was all of you. I must confess, though I’m terribly angry that I do feel my time was cut short with him for one reason that keeps swirling around in my head. In fact, it’s how I began the letter I wrote to him – the one I tucked under his sleeve on March 9th, 2018, hoping that he’s able to receive snail mail in heaven.

“I wasn’t done learning from you Daddy,” I printed out on paper from an old journal. I bet a lot of you feel the same way.

Dad, Mom, Nick, and Donna had already traveled and lived around the country before I was even a blip on the radar. I didn’t get to experience living in Mobile, hunkered down at the Riverview during the hurricane, or watching Dad make his mark on The Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. Instead, I was given the gift of making Nashville my hometown. I never felt like I missed out on anything that came before 1989 though, no matter how many times Nick or Donna wanted to remind me that I was late to the Fleming party. And that’s because of how Dad’s team made my family feel every time we stepped inside the lobby of the Renaissance, settled on 611 Commerce Street, Nashville, Tennessee.

The chocolate eggs and bunnies showcased near the elevators at Easter, the Kids’ CafĂ© parties that I tried really hard to be excellent at face-painting for (so many children asked me to give them a reindeer and they’d walk away with a very sad cat on their cheek instead), the renovations, the Mother’s Day brunches, there are so many of my childhood and milestone memories locked away in that hotel. I turned 21 there and had my first appletini. And most recently, my high school class and I celebrated our 10-year reunion there – with details so perfect and food so delicious.

As soon as we walked away from Austin and Bell on March 10th, 2018, I felt the need to do what I always do when I’m feeling things that I don’t quite understand. I write. That memory of those ashtrays kept coming to mind, and I knew that no matter how this letter or gobbledygook ran out on paper that I needed to get it to all of you. It’s the best way I know how to say, “Thank you.”

Thank you for being a part of my Dad’s life. Thank you for being a part of my family’s life. Thank you for being a part of my own life. But mostly, thank you for loving my father and thank you for providing a home away from home for him for the past 25 years. He wanted to get back to you. He was sad that he felt like the chance had been taken from him with the latest diagnosis but going back to work, in his words, “wasn’t being taken off the table just yet.” I need you all to know that he wanted to get back to it. He wanted to shake your hands and goof around and be your leader – if only for a little bit longer – and finish his career on his own accord.

Again, thank you for loving my father. And thank you for showing it in a way that he deserved because he deserved it all.

Sincerely and with so much love,

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Monday, May 21, 2018

A Divorcee's Playlist




365 days separated two drastically different lives. In 365 days I had my heartbroken, I got divorced, I became a single mother, I got my first STD test, I began wearing jeans again, I started spin class and tried kickboxing, I kissed other men, I got more tattoos, I put together new furniture and chucked an old sofa out the front door, I went to therapy, I got a job in the city. There were 365 days between the day my husband walked out the door and the day I was sipping on hot tea at the Royal Palace Tea Room in Sydney, Australia. A lot can change in a year. 

Here's the soundtrack that got me through that change. Each song also happens to coincide with every chapter of the book. 
 “Don’t Panic” by Ellie

 “Better Man” by Little Big Town

 “Let It Go” by James Bay

 “What If” by Adam Friedman

 “Your Guardian Angel” by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

 “Can I Be Him” by James Arthur

“I Could Not Ask For More” by Edwin McCain

 “Learning To Let Go” by Corey Crowder

 “Love Yourself” by Justin Beiber

 “In Fire” by The Workday Release

  “Everywhere” by Fly by Midnight

  “Obsessed” by Emblem3

 “Bird Set Free” by Sia

 “Autumn Leaves” by Ed Sheeran

  “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz

  “No Promises” by Cheat Codes ft. Demi Lovato

 "Future Looks Good” by OneRepublic

 “Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga

 “Cold” by Maroon 5

 “Best You Ever” by Michelle Branch

 “Wild Love” by Elle King

 “Follow You Down” by Matthew Mayfield

 “HAPPINESS” by NEEDTOBREATHE

 “Don’t Be A Fool” Shawn Mendes

 “Style” by Taylor Swift

 “Hold On” Chord Overstreet

 “Liability” by Lorde

 “Go” by Boys Like Girls 
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Monday, February 5, 2018

The "D" Word

If we’re being frank here, getting broken up with sucks. It sucks even more so when you’re married and the “d” word is mentioned. It sucks even more so if you have to actually get a “d.” It sucks even more when you have a child. It sucks at an obscene level when you have no idea why it’s happening. It sucks when you have to file for divorce and have to give the attorney a reason. It sucks that you have to settle on irreconcilable differences because “no fucking clue,” is not a viable option.
On February 5th, 2016, my husband walked out the front door with only a sigh of relief and one plastic, Walmart bag filled with clothes. But on February 5th, 2017 I was in Sydney, Australia, giving that day new meaning. Some may start reading what I have written and question it. Why is she sharing so many details about her marriage? Why would she want people to know any of this? The answers are simple.
          What happened to my family is relevant. It’s relevant because I’m just like everyone else in the world. One day my husband decided to walk out on me and our daughter. That very well could happen to you. It could happen to your best friend. It may have happened to your mother. It may be happening to your neighbor right now. My days are filled with dirty diapers and toddler tantrums. And I bet a lot of people know how it feels to have to yell at your son or daughter for sticking their hands in the toilet or licking the dog. The difference now is that I’m doing it on my own.
This book is an unfiltered look at my memories over the course of a decade. Not every great love story ends with a “happily ever after,” in fact, some of the best ones end in the worst ways. And that’s exactly what happened to mine.
At 17 I just wanted a boyfriend. At 23 I really wanted to marry that boyfriend. At 27 I just wanted him to be present in our daughter’s life. “He was a con artist and I was his muse,” is a great way to sum up my relationship with my ex-husband. And when I became single for the first time in my adult life, I had not a damn clue what to do.
February 5th is a catalogue of my memories; a decade’s worth of memories brought me to the breaking point and a year’s worth of experiences got me through it. But what’s special about this story is that it could be anyone’s story. I may not be a high-profile celebrity, but that’s the beauty of these memories. I’m the woman you see down the street carrying her groceries in one hand and her toddler in the other, while simultaneously trying to unlock the door without her cantaloupe rolling down the front steps.
There’s heartbreak, there’s humor, and there’s secrets that I didn’t realize were a secret until they spilled out over the keyboard. I tried to find the funny in the worst moments and I tried to erase the sting of those moments with brand new experiences. Whether it was booking a flight overseas to relive the day he walked out or having a 6’3, 21-year-old army soldier in my bed – the same bed I had once shared with my husband - the night before Christmas Eve, the pain subsided a bit while I fell in love with myself. I didn’t wallow in the hurt, I built a new life for me and my daughter. And I tried really hard to navigate what the term “single mom” was going to mean for me.

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