Reflections of a Peacemaker.  

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

I wanted to tell you about a truly inspirational book that I read a couple of years ago. And have read several times since.
My sister-in-law bought me this book the same year Aaron passed away. Mainly because Mattie had the same condition as Aaron.
It is an incredible and inspiring book, the wisdom this little boy shows is heartwarming. You actually sense him growing up in the book as you get further in and it is an incredible journey.

The strength of spirit that both he and his family show is nothing short of courageous.

I really loved this book, so did my children; and we recommend it to anyone, I can’t imagine anyone reading this book and not being moved or humbled by this amazing little boy….but I warn you, have a box of tissues handy.

Reflections of a Peacemaker: A Portrait Through Heartsongs

by Mattie J.T. Stepanek With Reflections by Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, Maya Angelou, and Jimmy Carter

Mattie J.T. Stepanek lived and died a child, but he had the spirit of a giant. Affected by a rare and fatal neuromuscular disease, Mattie died in June 2004; however, during his almost 14 years of life, Mattie spread a message of peace, love, and optimism in the face of disability through his Heartsongs poetry series—spanning five New York Times best-selling volumes and selling more than one million copies worldwide.
Reflection of a Peacemaker is Mattie's final collection of Heartsongs, which he was working on prior to his death. It includes the last poem Mattie wrote, titled "Final Thoughts," and a special collection of 250 new poems, along with unpublished photographs and artwork spanning the decade from when he began writing Heartsongs at age three. Edited by Jennifer Smith Stepanek, Mattie's mother, with a Foreword by Oprah Winfrey, Reflections of a Peacemaker is arranged in themes such as Festive, Stormy, Sacred and Final Heartsongs, with each section beginning with a personal tribute to Mattie written by the likes of Larry King, Maya Angelou, former President Jimmy Carter, Jerry Lewis, Jann Carl, and other notable public figures.
The book's publication is slated to coincide with the Muscular Dystrophy Association's national telethon over Labor Day weekend. A portion of proceeds from Reflections of a Peacemaker: A Portrait Through Heartsongs will be donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association Mattie Fund for medical research to help find treatments and cures for childhood neuromuscular diseases.

As Mattie's mother explains, "Before he died, Mattie asked me if I would continue spreading and nurturing his message of hope and peace for him, including the publication of his final two manuscripts. Through this book we are given more than a new collection of poetry—we are offered a window into Mattie's life and spirit. I believe this to be Mattie's most important work yet."

A second book by Mattie titled Just Peace: A Message of Hope was published in February 2006 and contains essays and e-mail communications between Mattie and Jimmy Carter on the subject of Peace. Mattie prided himself on being "a poet, a peacemaker, and a philosopher who played." In speeches, he reflected, "I write about anything that touches the essence of my existence. What I witness, what I feel, what I think, what I fear, what I treasure. I write about life, which is our greatest gift."

About Mattie J.T. Stepanek

Mattie J.T. Stepanek was a poet, peace activist, and a prominent voice for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He authored five volumes of New York Times best-selling poetry, and he appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, and many other national media programs. He died in June 2004 at age 13 of dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy, the same disease that his three older siblings died from and his mother lives with as an adult.
Eternal Echoes
Our life is an echo
Of our spirit today.
Of our essence
As it is.
Caught between
Our yesterday
And our tomorrow.
It is the resounding
Reality of who we are,
As a result of
Where we have been,
And where we will be
For eternity.
By Mattie Stepanek 2000

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