AMA presents: How one mom faced the impossible, wrote a blog and a memoir and lived to tell about it.

MiracleMom
Jun 27, 2018

As Seen On The Learning Channel, TLC

Evelyn Mann faced the impossible when she was told her son would be born with a lethal form of dwarfism. Not news a first time mom wants to hear. Little did she know, the trial she would face would test her patience, endurance and faith. In this edition of Ask Me Anything, Evelyn Mann will answer questions about her son's lethal form of dwarfism called Thanatophoric Dysplasia Dwarfism. She will share how little and big miracles happened to help her son be one of twelve survivors worldwide. Another key component to overcoming her unthinkable circumstances was a faith tested through many months and years. Evelyn will also take questions about her memoir, the process of writing, her blog and her current work in progress. 

Evelyn is the author of Miracle In My Living Room: The Story of a Little Mann. She shares her journey as a special needs mother in her blog on www.miraclemann.com. She has written for The Mighty and currently contributes to Tampa Bay Moms Blog (TBMB). Samuel's story has been seen on The Learning Channel TLC, Christian Television Network, FOX35 Orlando and News Channel8 Tampa. Special Books by Special Kids video interview has been viewed over 2 million times. 

Evelyn's desire is to share hope and miracles with those facing unthinkable circumstances through her memoir, blog and social media channels. 

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Regarding your goals of sharing Samuel's story, what else is left to do? What would be a dream come true for you in this aspect?
Jul 2, 4:10PM EDT0
When can people expect your second book? Will it be available in printed and digital formats?
Jul 2, 1:56PM EDT0
What have been some effective ways to promote your blog and your book?
Jul 2, 8:11AM EDT0
Do you have any advice to people that don't feel grateful for the blessings they have in their lives? How would you encourage them to feel gratitude?
Jul 2, 7:59AM EDT0
What was one of the best things that have happened because of your last book?
Jul 2, 5:38AM EDT0

I think the best thing is the memoir gave me a wider platform to share the story about my son's miracle. My interview on Christian Television Network was a direct result of publishing Miracle In My Living Room: The Story of a Little Mann. You can watch the interview here. I have also been interviewed on several podcasts. One of my all time favorites was when Samuel was interviewed by Chris of Special Books By Special Kids fame. His interview has been viewed in excess of 2 million times. You can view the interview here (#6). 

These opportunities help Samuel's story reach many more people sharing hope and miracles along the way. And who doesn't need more hope and miracles? 

Jul 5, 3:11PM EDT0
What has been the best, most memorable response to your work by a reader?
Jul 1, 3:21PM EDT0

One of my recent favorites is a mom who took my memoir to the doctor's office with her. The medical staff wasn't aware of survivors with Thanatophoric Dysplasia Dwarfism. She shared my memoir with them and they were surprised. 

Other responses I find touching and memorable are the reviews. "I don't say this too often but I would put this on a "must read" list. I honestly think it would touch the heart of anyone." Randomness with Rachel

"It is hard to put down..but, I have to:) I feel like I am there with you and at points my heart breaks... my heart smiles...Loving each word." Cecilia Marisett

The memoir offers hope, where often, no hope is being offered. And this is extremely rewarding as an author. 

My other joy is sharing how miracles happen and they can happen to you. Samuel's life is proof. My memoir offers Samuel as an example. This message comes across in the memoir, through the blog and via social media

Jul 4, 1:08AM EDT0
Since publication, is there anything that you would now add or delete from your book?
Jul 1, 3:02PM EDT0

There is a section in the back of Miracle In My Living Room called Samuel's Impact. Since the memoir has been published, Samuel has inspired many more people. So I would add those stories. I am contacted by moms who are pregnant with TD babies who don't know about survivors. They searched the internet, find my blog, and the memoir. Samuel's story gives them hope as do the other survivors of TD (also mentioned in Samuel's Impact section.)

I don't think I would delete anything. There were many little stories which didn't make it into the memoir. We wanted to keep the memoir to about 40K words, so cutting out those stories made sense. If another edition were published, I would consider adding stories of Samuel's life after the story ends in the memoir. 

Jul 4, 12:50AM EDT0
What is something that most people might be surprised to know about you?
Jul 1, 12:13PM EDT0

Almost 17 years ago, I met my husband on a christian dating site. Back then, I don't think meeting online was as popular as it is today. This is before social media became mainstream. Facebook wasn't even born (so to speak.) When we met new friends, they would ask how we found each other. When I told them, their reaction would be one of surprise. My only regret is I didn't search sooner.  The website is still connecting singles today. 

Jul 4, 12:27AM EDT0
Do you enjoy writing more on your blog than on your book?
Jul 1, 11:01AM EDT0

I enjoy writing my blog as it challenges me to keep practicing my craft on a consistent basis.  I write on my blog once a month but I am also a contributor for a writer's website and a moms blog. It also is a creative outlet for me. I am currently writing my second book, a devotional. It is in the editing phase. I also enjoy writing a book, but the process is much longer. 

My blog: https://miraclemann.com/blog

Other Websites: https://miraclemann.com/media

Last edited @ Jul 4, 12:03AM EDT.
Jul 4, 12:02AM EDT0
Do you have plans of writing more books about your son in the future?
Jul 1, 1:39AM EDT0

I am currently working on writing a devotional about faith, hope and prayer. I share about my son in the devotional, but I mostly write about my faith journey. My third book is in rough draft status and is one I'd love to see published. It is a fictional children's book story based on Samuel's dwarfism. My hope is to help children learn about little guys like my son. I love the curiosity kids have when they meet him. They never guess his age right because he is so little for his age. And they ask why he needs a trach. The children's book will show the differences of dwarfism to help create awareness.  

Jul 3, 11:48PM EDT0

Do you want to visit Oprah?

Jun 30, 10:28AM EDT0

I would welcome any media to share Samuel's story. I think people want to hear stories of hope and miracles. Before having Samuel, I used to think miracles happened to other people in far-away lands with faith much greater than my own. And now I have a miracle living in my living room. God blessed me with not only one miracle but two miracles. I'm awed by it all. 

Samuel's story is inspirational. It is being shared on The Learning Channel and has been seen on Christian Television Network, New Channel8 Tampa and the Catholic News Agency to name a few. I look forward to continue sharing our miracle. 

Last edited @ Jul 1, 1:15AM EDT.
Jul 1, 1:13AM EDT0
Did you always want to be a writer? Can you imagine yourself doing anything else?
Jun 30, 7:19AM EDT0

Yes, I wanted to write since I was a girl. I found writing in a journal was a creative outlet for me. That's how it started. Then I wrote travel articles as a teenager and worked on my high school newspaper. It wasn't until after my son was born that I felt I had a book-length story to tell. 

I love writing, blogging and being an author. But, my other love is teaching. I have taught classes on jewelry making, trained company employees and now I share my social media strategy online. I am owner/instructor of InstructingU. I teach how my website received 2 million hits to authors and entreprenuers. My Facebook page is here: https://facebook.com/InstructingU

Jul 1, 1:03AM EDT0
What words come to mind when you think back on being a working mom?
Jun 30, 4:29AM EDT0

Thankful and Grateful

When Samuel was in the hospital, I was thankful my office was so close to the NICU. I would visit Samuel before work, at lunch and after work until the NICU would close. And my boss was so supportive and she understood my circumstances. She even visited my son in the NICU. 

I was also so grateful to so many co-workers, even from other offices, who gave us gift cards and even donated their vacation time so I could stay by Samuel's side. 

I will be forever thankful to my company for so many blessings they gave me. 

Jul 1, 12:43AM EDT0
What’s the one thing you would have done differently as a working mom?
Jun 30, 1:36AM EDT0

I am a stay-at-home now, but when Samuel came home from the hospital, I worked full-time. And I worked away from home for many years. Looking back, I wish I would have come home earlier. 

I remember getting emotional and shedding a tear at the party my co-workers had for me on my last day. I didn't realize how much I needed to be home with my son. We had 24-hour nursing and he was being well cared for but my momma heart needed to be home loving on him all the time. 

I've been home for several years now and I'm so thankful. My iPhone camera is never far away from me so I can catch all those sweet, adorable moments I would otherwise miss. 

Jul 1, 12:35AM EDT0
Do you think of yourself as a memoirist or a novelist, or in those terms at all?
Jun 29, 9:18PM EDT0

I have always wanted to write. I wrote travel articles as a teenager and worked on my high school newspaper. It was not until after my son was born that I felt I had a book length story to tell. 

My first published book is a memoir. I am currently working on a devotional book for publication. Another desire is to write a children's book and I have other book ideas brewing as well. 

So I think I would define myself as a writer and author, rather than a memoirist or novelist. 

Jul 1, 12:25AM EDT0
Did writing "Miracle in my Living Room" opens you up to write fiction in a new way?
Jun 29, 3:06PM EDT0

I greatly admire authors who write fiction. It requires a creative imagination and special brand of storytelling. My published works are non-fiction. I am currently working on writing a devotional. Perhaps fiction writing is in my future, but for now I will continue in the non-fiction realm. 

Jul 1, 12:18AM EDT0
Why do you think blogging is an amazing venture for moms? Do you think it's important for every field?
Jun 29, 1:08PM EDT0

Blogging gives your message and your passion a platform. As a special-needs mom, I use blogging to share what it is like raising my son who has dwarfism. Some of my blog titles include, 3 Ways To Connect To A Special Needs Mom, Are You A Wonder Woman Mom, and Perspective Of A Forever Mom.  You can read my blog here.

I didn't start blogging until after I attended a Florida Christian Writer's Conference.  It was recommended I start blogging to gain an audience for the book launch of my memoir, Miracle In My Living Room: The Story of a Little Mann. I found writing weekly blogs did help me find an audience, but it also gave me a creative outlet. I could share what was on my heart or some experience I'd have with my son, Samuel. I still blog today; however, I post monthly now. I also am a monthly contributor to Tampa Bay Moms Blog and have a column called The Blogging Guide for Almost An Author

I believe blogging is benefitial for many fields. When I started out, I read Michael Hyatt's book, Platform, which I highly recommend. Michael Hyatt is one of the top business bloggers in the world. He teaches readers how to extend their influence. 

Another way to extend your audience is to microblog. Dictionary.com defines microblog a way "to post very short entries, as a brief update or a photo on a blog or social media website." For SEO reasons, I save my shorter posts for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter verses posting on my website. Edie Melson, author of Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques For Writers, defines a microblog as a post of 100 words or more.  My favorite place to microblog is on my Instagram. I post a meme and share the meaning or the reason behind the meme in 100 words or more. You can check out my Instagram here: https://instagram.com/miraclemann17

Jul 1, 12:11AM EDT0
Was it extra difficult for you physically while you were pregnant and when you gave birth to your son?
Jun 29, 1:09AM EDT0

By week 31, I was on bedrest. As the weeks progressed, so did my amniotic fluid. So much so, I could hardly walk without losing my balance.  It looked like I was pregnant with twins. This condition is called Polyhydramnios and it increases the chance of early delivery.

At 35 weeks, I delivered my son via c-section. It took me three days to fully recover and I was released from the hospital. Besides having to wait a few weeks to drive, there were no other complications physically. 

Jun 30, 11:22PM EDT0
What is your message to people who bully those with physical challenges?
Jun 29, 12:18AM EDT0

As I meet people and share Samuel's story, they will tell me of someone in their family with special needs. An uncle, a nephew or a cousin with some kind of physical challenge. Sometimes it is even a close family member.

Ultimately, you love your family and don't see their physical disabilities, but you see them as dear loved ones. Their disabilities don't define them, but their personalilites and character defines them.

So, in answer to your question, I would encourage people to think of someone they know, either a family member or friend, and ask them if they care and/or love their family member/friend. Do they think about their disability or their personality when talking about them. In the same way, I would challenge them to think of people with disabilities as people, just like their family/friends. 

Jun 30, 10:54PM EDT0
What is your prayer for your son? What do you wish for him to achieve in the future?
Jun 28, 9:22PM EDT0

My daily prayer for him is first and foremost for his health. Next is that he continues to be happy and full of joy. (He loves to laugh, giggle, wave and blow kisses.) 

My hope for his future is that he continues to touch lives all over the world. I wrote this article talking about the impact Samuel had on 3 strangers. Without a word and in one case with just one look, Samuel had a profound affect on others. 

Is that not what every mother wants for her child? That they would touch other peoples lives for good. That their child would bring joy and happiness to all who meet them.  His story gives strength and hope to others. Often, where no hope is found.  He will blow a kiss and weave his way into your heart. This is how Samuel impacts others. And that is priceless. 

Jun 28, 9:46PM EDT0
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