I was introduced to Susan Strauss (now Susan Graves) in the spring of 2007 by a mutual friend we shared from Baylor (we are both proud Baylor Bears). Susan was an event planner and invitation designer in Dallas. I had just graduated from Baylor and was planning a wedding with Andrew. Our mutual friend from Baylor suggested I consider Susan as my wedding planner. We met at a hotel in Dallas and my mom and I hired her on the spot! She did an amazing job designing our Save-the-Dates and wedding invitations, helping to create a special wedding day I will always remember!
Fast forward five years, and Susan followed Andrew’s and my blogs as we shared our journey with his terminal cancer. She continually shared our blog posts and helped get the word out to raise support and prayers for our family. Being the incredible woman she is, she wanted to do something more to help us. Susan knew God had given her the gift of planning events, so immediately after Andrew’s passing, with my permission, she took charge to create the most beautiful and special memorial service. She even created a Viking Memorial Evening Service where we shot a flaming arrow into a canoe filled with hay (this was all at my husband’s request – he had a very creative imagination) and Andrew’s former boss threw in an amazing fireworks show. It was very special and very “Andrew.”
It was during Andrew’s memorial Susan met her future husband, Chase. Chase worked with Andrew and they spent a lot of time together during the final months of Andrew’s life. Chase went above and beyond to be by Andrew’s side and to do everything he could to make Andrew comfortable. He became a best friend to my husband, and for that I will always have the utmost respect and love for Chase. Before Andrew passed away, I made a suggestion to Andrew that Susan and Chase might just be a match made in Heaven. Andrew agreed. Together, they planned Andrew’s memorial services and made a very sad event extremely personal and special.
In September of 2014, Ellie and I had the honor of being in Susan and Chase’s wedding! Chase has had a massive role in helping me share A Gray Faith, and Susan has come with me to several speaking events to help me in many ways so I can focus on speaking and connecting with others. They’ve done all of this out of the kindness of their hearts, so when they came to me with this new business venture I knew they were the right ones to partner with. They get my vision for The Ellie Project and they have a personal connection with me, Andrew, and Ellie. I’m beyond thrilled to collaborate with them and I know they will take great care of you!
Susan founded Simply Personal in 2005 and her invitations are sold in over 85 stores across the country. Visit her website at www.simplypersonal.com.