Carolyn Bashlor penned her first book, “Getting It All Together,” back in 1980.
She sees no better time than the present to re-release it.
“I’ve never seen a time that so many marriages are having problems — even in the churches,” Bashlor said. “I get phone calls, and it breaks my heart. I feel like this book can help people.”
Bashlor will have a book signing for “Getting It All Together” Thursday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at New Life Flowers and Gifts in Rincon. Her daughter Stephanie Long runs the shop.
For a time Bashlor was a bit of a celebrity in the floral industry, winning several awards as a designer and traveling to numerous speaking engagements. She had a thriving business and was considered “the” florist in Savannah, she said.
But while her business was booming, her marriage was crumbling. She compares her life then to a flower arrangement by an unskilled designer — void, out of balance, “a complete mess.”
“My talent was God-given,” Bashlor said, “but everything I competed for, I won, so I got the big head. Even though I was a Christian, I didn’t realize what was happening.”
Her personal life deteriorated to the point, she said, that she had no intention of returning home from a speaking engagement in Austin, Texas. That trip was a turning point for Bashlor, whose talks included inspirational messages and many references to God.
“I went back to that motel room,” she recalled, “and I looked at the mirror and said, ‘You’re a fake. You’re not living what you’re saying.’ God began to show me really what I was.”
Bashlor said she went home from that trip “a new woman.” It worked wonders in her relationship with her husband Clarence, to whom she was married for 62 years before he succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease in November 2012.
“My house changed. We fell in love all over again,” she said.
The reissued “Getting It All Together” includes a new chapter about Clarence’s 10-year battle with Alzheimer’s. In the final chapter of the book, aptly titled “the biggest challenge of my life,” Bashlor describes the daily care she provided to her husband as Alzheimer’s took an increasing toll on him.
In time, he no longer recognized his own family. Though his wife would be sitting right beside him, he would say, “I know you are Carolyn, but I want my Carolyn.”
Despite his illness, one thing he never forgot was to pray daily.
“Even when he had Alzheimer’s, he would say, ‘Baby, we haven’t prayed,’” Bashlor said. “He would remember. And that was precious.”
With the latest printing of “Getting It All Together,” Bashlor hopes to resume her public speaking engagements. She said she will be available to churches, civic groups and other organizations to share her uplifting message.
Bashlor doesn’t yet have a set plan for where copies of the book will be available. She said the book will be sold online, and the company that printed it, Spectrum, will assist in marketing efforts.
But, first things first, the book signing will be Thursday at her daughter’s shop.
“I’m just gonna go from there,” she said.