Woodrow Wilson Graduate Researches Amazing life of her great Aunt, Publishes “The Rainwater Secret”
Monica Hartmann Shaw was born in Dallas and enjoyed a big family growing up: she was one of seven siblings, including a sister and five brothers, all proud Woodrow Wilson High School graduates.
Monica grew up wanting to be a mom like her mom, who travelled quite a bit. “She drilled it into my head to do everything I wanted to do before I got married and had kids,” Monica recalls. As for a career, she wasn’t sure what her path should be.
She ended up being a published author who is sharing the story of her great aunt’s life in Africa with the Medical Missionaries of Mary. Her book is dedicated to the Medical Missionaries of Mary, which is “Rooted and founded in Love.”
Monica attended UT Austin where she earned a Geology and Petroleum Engineering degree. She met her husband, Tony, on a blind date, and they have three kids. Katie, a Texas Tech graduate currently earning a master’s in hospital administration from UTA; Sam, who helps run City Park Cabinets, and Sarah, a UNT media arts major.
When she’s not writing or raising kids you might find Monica working on vacations for her clients at Hartmann Travel or helping run her husband’s business. She also teaches classes at the White Rock YMCA.
Her true passion is telling a story she knows is full of hope. The Rainwater Secret is based on the true story of her great aunt who went to Nigeria to teach the leper children. A portion of the book’s proceeds is going to The Medical Missionaries of Mary.
Monica feels that both her great aunt and her cousin Eileen, who passed away as she was writing the book, “have been instrumental in guiding me and leading me in the direction that will honor the missionaries and their story.” Even the launch party, held locally at the popular Times Ten Cellar, was inspired. As Monica went back and forth with the wine bar to pick just the right date where nothing local would conflict with it, she ended up with the perfect night: it also happened to be Eileen’s birthday. “Small deal, maybe—but it was cool,” Monica relates. One hundred people turned out.
When interviewed for an article in the Dallas Morning News when she was in Dallas, Lily, Monica recalls, “said it best. The reporter asked her about the missionary work, and Lily said that her work has been ‘rewarding to me mostly in that it was what I wanted to do…no thrill, you know, working just for oneself.’"
That attitude of working and living for one another is what Monica hopes will inspire readers.
It came in handy during the toughest time of her life, when Monica’s mother was diagnosed with, and died from, Alzheimer’s. Monica got through it by hugging her kids, a little counseling, and crying—a lot. She says of her mother, “She was my best friend.”
Her goal is to continue to tell the story of her great aunt and possibly see the book made into a movie. She also has an idea for a children’s book, and hopes to go to Africa with the Medical Missionaries of Mary one day soon to see where her great Aunt Lily worked and taught.
Her days, and many evenings, are now filled with visits to book clubs, speaking engagements, and book signings, bringing the true story of a late-in-life missionary in Africa alive for all of us back home in Texas who still have a chance to learn “to live and work for others.”
Monica Shaw has a schedule of events coming up where you can meet her, including the Lakewood Country Club, Lucky Dog Books in Casa Linda and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Rowlett. Contact her directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org for her schedule of readings and book signings or see er website: www.therainwatersecret.com, www.facebook.com/therainwatersecret
Judy Porter is a Dallas writer who focuses on stories of local heroes, small businesses, students and non profit agencies. Email her your story idea: email@example.com