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A very special thank you is extended to the following people, whose contributions helped make the publication of this book possible.


Roy and Janice Orr
Brad and Anne Westmoreland
Wes and Pam O’Rear
Dalton and Deanie Taylor
Brian and April Little


Darin and Daena Shelton
“Phil the Great” and Elizabeth Donaldson
Larry and Paula Harms
Daniel and Lacy Hobbs, Grant and Reagan
Tricia Frost
Jerry and Shannon Young
Stephen and Brianne Grove
Troy and Amy Albers
Braxton McMurray


My precious wife Susan has always believed in me. She has been by my side “for better or for worse, for richer or poorer (so far it’s mostly been poorer!), in sickness and in health, until death do us part,” just like she promised all those years ago. She is my soul mate and my biggest cheerleader.

My son Justin is my pride and joy. He has kept me going so many times, without even realizing it, just by being an amazing son and by looking to me for counsel and advice. It is immeasurably good to be considered worthwhile and to be needed by someone so special. In so many ways, I want to be like my son.

My sweet mom, Bettie O’Rear, has always told me what a good writer I am, and has encouraged me to pursue my writing. Here goes, Mom!

Dean Kilmer is a good friend and colleague. He has persistently encouraged me to finish writing this book and get it published so that it can help people. It is due in large part to his incessant nagging that this book now exists. Thank you, Dean!

My brothers—Mark, Wes, David, and Clint—and their beautiful wives and spectacular children, are an integral part of who I am. They are eternally grafted into my soul. Family is everything, and my family can beat up your family any day of the week! Just kidding. They have, however, kept me going and kept me pursuing my writing just by their encouraging words.

I have always felt a special sense of connection and brotherhood with my uncle Tim Bennett. We are a lot alike. We are both loud and obnoxious—him more so than me—and we both find our greatest sense of fulfillment in ministering to others. I look to him as a role model, and have often been renewed in my zeal to be a writer because of my relationship with him.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV).

My great cloud of witnesses, my cheerleaders from heaven, include: my dad, Larry O’Rear, who was my mentor in life and who will always be my hero; my precious grandparents—Grandpa Horace, Mama Grace, Granddaddy and Grandmama—whose heritage of faith has inspired and blessed me throughout my life; and of course my princess, my Ashley, whose grace and courage continue to amaze and inspire me to be a better person, and whose hugs I miss terribly.

So many other people have lifted me up and cheered me on as I have pursued the sometimes elusive dream of finishing this book. Friends, family, Christian brothers and sisters, coworkers, and sometimes complete strangers to whom I am connected only through electronic relationships via social media, have believed in me and in the value of this project. To them I am indebted and grateful.

This book is for all of you, and for anyone who can be blessed by the message of Living with a Broken Heart.
Ashley O'Rear