Girls Write Out
Sunday, December 15, 2013

Girls Signing Smitten

We girls have been mourning the loss of our much loved Diann Hunt. Honestly, though I knew it would be hard to lose her, I didn’t know just HOW hard it would be until we were faced with it. This has hit me as hard as the loss of my brother Randy and as badly as the loss of my grandparents. She truly was a sister to me in every way imaginable.

This picture is of us signing the contract for Secretly Smitten and Smitten Book Club (due out in a couple of weeks.)

I thought I would post the eulogy I did at her funeral. There were some differences if you were actually AT her funeral since I ad libbed some. :) But here it is:

Sometimes a soul comes along who shines Jesus’ love so brightly that everyone is drawn into her orbit. The first moment I met her, I knew she was someone very special. She was the sister I never had, and she impacted my life in so many ways—just as she has all of you gathered here to honor her. 

Diann would be so embarrassed at all this attention. ☺ She was never one to want to be in the limelight. She’d be hiding a bathroom stall or sitting way back there. 

I met Di when I attended a talk given by my editor at Barbour at the time. Di had been taking a writing class and had just gotten her first book contract for a novella. I really liked her, then saw her again a few days later at a Robin Lee Hatcher booksigning. We were standing in line and I heard this laugh. You couldn’t hear her laugh and not want to be with her. I said, “is that MY Diann Hunt?” She turned around and her face lit up (her face could light up like no one else’s) and we gabbed all evening. From that moment on, we were like sisters. It was almost miraculous. I kept telling my other two besties, Denise Hunter and Kristin Billerbeck, they would love her too. When she came to a writers conference with me for the first time and they met her, the four of us were a special unit, each complimenting the whole. 

But how could anyone not love her? We were like moths fluttering around her light, drawn by her spirit and her love.
When I think back of the years of our friendship, one memory stands out because it was so prophetic though we didn’t know it. We were at an early ACFW conference and several other authors were gathering in our room to chat. She was talking to Jim on the phone, and her eyes went wide when she saw Robin Lee Hatcher and Francine Rivers. She whispered, “I have to go, Jim. There are famous people in the room.”

How true that was, except that the famous person was Di. God had plans to use her for his great glory. Her books touched many people, and her new Hallmark movie For Better or For Worse will reach even more. But it was her spirit shining through everything she did that touched so many. The hardships of life never dimmed her spirit or her belief in other people and her trust in God. Everyone who met her along her writing journey were stuck by her sweet spirit and contagious laughter. We joked about the Proverbs 31 woman. She strove to follow the example there, but the one thing she didn’t even try for was the whole dignity thing. And we all loved her for the way she loved us and made us laugh.

Thousands of people have watched her journey through this valley and been encouraged to hold fast to faith in spite of whatever circumstances befall. We’ve seen the way she praised God in spite of pain and sickness. We’ve noticed how she pointed to her savior when most of us would have whined and complained about our terrible lot in life. Di has blazed a trail for us, showing us how to face adversity with grace. Her courage sustained us when our hearts quailed at what she was enduring. I’m sure Satan thought he could quell her spirit and her love for God, but he never succeeded. 

The book that really launched her was Hot Flashes and Cold Cream because she allowed so much of herself into that book. There’s a quote at the very end of the novel that sums up Di’s philosophy. “I will live this life that God has given me with gusto, not wasting a single moment but using it as He intended. And when my journey here is over, I plan to skid into Glory with a smile on my face, a Bible in one hand, a chocolate truffle in the other, and I will yell at the top of my lungs: ‘Daddy, I’m home.’”

So I will close with Di’s own words about how to live. She posted this recently on Facebook in a week when I knew she was having a real struggle.

Stop! Right where you are. What do you see? Taste? Feel? Smell? Hear? Root yourself in this very moment. Memorize it. Life is made up of these. Don't be so consumed by the past or with the future that you are blinded to your moment. Right now. The one you're given by Almighty God to make a difference. Go out and live for Jesus today, my friends! I mean REALLY live!! You can do it! Start now. Ready. Set. Go!

I don’t know what you intend to do with her challenge, but I’m going to follow her example. Paul said Follow me as I follow Christ. Di would never be so presumptuous as to suggest that, but I’m going to follow the trail she’s laid out. She clutched every day with zeal for Jesus and squeezed more joy out of the mundane than anyone I’ve ever met. 

And I’m going to do the same. 

Colleen Coble  
posted at 1:42 PM  
  Comments (14)
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At 1:54 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

Diann has been such an example for me. I think of how the Apostle Paul told others to follow his example as he followed Christ's. I'm going to follow Di's example to the best of my ability and with the help of Jesus. Then just maybe, I'll make my friend proud. :)

At 3:02 PM, Blogger Jaime Wright said...

I love you all!!

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

Thanks, Jaime. She was just so special. After her funeral my husband said it made him wish he'd known her better. She was just that awesome.

At 3:34 PM, Blogger Lena Nelson Dooley said...

I knew your post would be very poignant, Colleen. And tears flooded my eyes as I read it.

I have added more of the links to my blog today when I got home from church and having lunch with one daughter, one granddaughter, and our newest great grandson, who is a month and a half old.

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Pamela S. Meyers said...

I watched the video of your eulogy at the funeral, Colleen, but reading the words made it even more meaningful. My pastor's sermon this morning expressed much of what Di was about. God has laid out our earthly lives according to his plan. In Ps. 139 it states that every day of our lives is written in God's book before any of them have come to be. We need to live each day to the utmost because we have no idea when God say's "Time to come home."

A high school classmate of mine died this month. I have no idea where she was at with God, but her death was not expected. Apparently, one day she was fine and living her life, and the next day she died.

Di did have knowledge of the approximate time she would likely end her earthly life, but many do not.

Her example has made me live each day as though it may be my last. I don't always achieve that, but it's one to aspire to. What an example she's been. A proverbs 31 woman at least as much as it's possible. There's only one person who ever walked this earth who was perfect and Di is sitting at His feet right now!

At 3:54 PM, Blogger Pam S. said...

Thanks for posting this, Colleen. It means a lot. When I lived in Turkey, Diann wrote me several times to encourage me. She also made sure that I "won" her latest book a couple of times when we had to send our names in. I'm sure she rigged it because I was far away - but it meant the world to me! What I miss is how she had the ability to exude love and concern - and her sense of humor just cracked me up both in her books and on this blog.

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

I loved reading this, Colleen. You shared such a special friendship and I thank you for allowing us a peek inside. Love you, sweet friend.

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Susie said...

Thank you so much for posting this Colleen ! I never was able to view the video online, so am grateful to be able to read and get the gist of what you had said at her Celebration of Life service. I'm so glad I have saved the emails/messages she had sent me over the last couple years. =) Can't wait until I can meet her personally ..... and check out the skid marks she made as she flew through Heaven's Gates. =D Hugs and love to you !!!

At 8:28 PM, Blogger Rebecca DeMarino said...

thank you, Colleen, for sharing a tender and touching glimpse into the special woman Diann was and the special friendship you shared. Tears of joy and sadness here. Wanting to live in her example, for each day, each moment.

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Julie Arduini said...

Beautiful tribute. All of you have been on my heart to remember in prayer as much as the Hunt family. May He continue to give each of you comfort and peace as you grieve.

At 7:50 AM, Blogger Sandie said...

What a lovely, lovely tribute for such a very special person. I did not know there was a video but I have poor hearing anyway so the written word is always good for me. Nice job.

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Robin Caroll said...

C and the rest of the girls...I know how much y'all love Di and how you each must grieve...She was special and I feel blessed for having known her.

At 12:05 PM, OpenID mommamindy said...

Reading about Diann made me wish I'd had the blessing of knowing her on earth. Then I was hit with that amazing reality, I will get to meet her in Heaven. May the Lord comfort all that are missing her with His infinite love.

At 9:19 PM, Blogger C Nank said...

I admire the beautiful friendship that all you women share. Like Colleen I never had a sister but rely on God to place those special women in my life.


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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