Monday, December 10, 2012


"Mrs. Lisa pulled a big Jesus on you."  This was my son's response when I described my first meeting Lisa Smartt, live and in person.

I first became acquainted with Lisa through her weekly newspaper column, "The Smartt View."  Every Wednesday evening after church, I'd come home, flip open the paper, and read her column out loud to Steve and the kids.  We'd laugh.  We'd wince.  We'd sigh in sympathy.  But mostly, we laughed.

After a couple years of following Lisa in The Messenger, I found her on-line.  Would she accept a friend request from a nobody like me?  Yes!!!  Our "relationship" had moved to a new level.

Then, finally, I had an opportunity to meet Lisa Smartt face-to-face, to see and hear and talk to her in person.  She was speaking at a Faculty Women's Club luncheon at the University of Tennessee at Martin, and the event was open to the public.  I arrived forty minutes early.  They hadn't even set up the registration table yet.  As the room filled with women professors and professionals, I began to feel very small.

"What do you teach here at the University?"

"Um, I'm a mom."

No matter if I was nobody.  Even if I was only a dandelion among a bouquet of hot-house flowers, I'd paid for my ticket and I had a seat and, by golly, I was going to hear Lisa Smartt.

Lisa describes herself as a "big woman."  Yes, she's very tall.  And, yes, she covers the ground she stands on.  But she's not just "big" in stature.  Lisa is big in joy, big in energy, big in Life.  When she walked into the room that day, it was like a joyful, sunshiny, life-giving force burst through the door.  And when she saw this insecure mom standing among a roomful of well-dressed, highly-educated, successful businesswomen, Lisa strode over and swallowed me up in a huge hug.  "Camille, I am so excited to finally meet you!"  I felt like Cinderella at the ball, like the Prince had just asked me to dance.  (Well, maybe that's not the best analogy, but you get the idea.)

Lisa has that affect on people.  Spend five minutes with her and you feel like you've found a new sister.  Someone who understands your weaknesses, who relates to your struggles and insecurities, who lays it all out on the table and then makes you laugh in spite of everything.  She is a tall woman who radiates a big joy and the love of a big Jesus to everyone she meets.

Okay, so why am I telling you all about Lisa Smartt today?  Because I want you to check out her latest book, Doug and Carlie.  You WANT to read this book.  How could you not want to read a book that begins,   "I ate a whole lemon meringue pie on May 12..."  Me, I burned the biscuits I was baking for breakfast Saturday morning because I was so excited that Carlie had managed to cram herself into a blue sequin dress at a formal wear store at the mall.  Trust me, you are going to fall in love with Carlie Davidson.

The official blurb for Lisa's book reads:  Carlie Ann Davidson only has $167.29 in the bank. She's 10 years late on college and 37 lbs. over the ideal weight chart. When she's not in her college classes, she's stocking shelves at the Dollar General Store in Commerce, Georgia, and wondering why SO many people eat pork n beans. But Carlie has dreams, dreams of love and literary success. With the humorous and engaging backdrop of small town characters and culture, Carlie realizes she's not a loser at all. Just a late bloomer. The good news? Sometimes there are rewards for late bloomers.

You can purchase your own copy of Doug and Carlie here, or you can download the Kindle version here.  You might as well go ahead and get two copies, because you're going to want an extra to pass along to a friend.  I did.      

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