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The Great Blue Hills of God: A Story of Facing Loss, Finding Peace, and Learning the True Meaning of Home (Hardcover)
The creative force behind Blackberry Farm, Tennessee’s award-winning farm-to-table resort, reveals how she found herself only after losing everything in this powerful memoir of resilience.
“I couldn’t put down this wise, honest, beautifully written story.”—Shauna Niequist, New York Times bestselling author of Present Over Perfect and Bread & Wine
Born with the gift of hospitality, Kreis Beall helped create one of the nation’s most renowned resort destinations, Blackberry Farm, in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountain foothills. For decades, she was a fixture in the travel and entertaining world and frequently appeared in the pages of popular home and design magazines. But at the pinnacle of her success, Kreis faced a series of challenges that reframed her life, including a brain injury that permanently impaired her hearing and the conclusion of her thirty-six-year marriage to her best friend and business partner, Sandy Beall.
Alone and uncertain as her world shifts and marriage ends, Kreis begins a new journey to find her faith and find God. After spending years on her beautiful exterior life and work, she begins the hardest undertaking of all: reclaiming and redesigning her interior life and soul.
Kreis retreats to Blackberry Farm, moving into an unassuming, 300-square-foot shed with peeling paint on the exterior walls, “where I met myself for the first time.” She examines what it takes to redefine life after deep loss and acknowledges, for the first time, often unbearable truths that existed beneath the beauty she had created.
By turns fiercely honest, heartbreaking, and warm, Kreis Beall’s story will resonate with anyone who can benefit from her discovery that “All it takes is all you’ve got. And it is worth it.”
About the Author
Kreis Beall is the co-founder of Blackberry Farm, an award-winning Relais & Chateaux resort in East Tennessee and one of the nation’s premier destinations. Entrepreneurial and artistic, Kreis expresses her passion for life in a wide range of pursuits, from running an inn to designing beautiful spaces—many of which have been featured in leading home magazines for decades. Born in Tennessee, Kreis is the mother of two sons and a grandmother of seven, and a long-term survivor of traumatic brain injury. When she isn’t writing or speaking about her book, Kreis is working on design projects, traveling with friends, spending time with her grandchildren, or dancing in the kitchen as she cooks.
“A homeless friend once told me that ‘rock bottom’ was a solid foundation to build upon. Beall’s perfectly designed and beautiful Tennessee mountain top life was the envy of many. It was unimaginable that such an elegant, well- known Southern belle would one day be staring at rock bottom from the deep, dark valley of loss and unspeakable tragedy. With grit, atypical honesty, and God as her architect, Beall tells an epic Southern story of rebirth that soars to great heights.”—Ron Hall, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Same Kind of Different as Me
“Grounded in humility, this heartfelt memoir of love, loss, and healing is a joy to read. You will laugh and cry with Beall as she acknowledges her truth, finds God, and discovers the peace of home within.”—Jenny Sanford McKay, author of Staying True
“Follow this writer along a switchback path, through the foothills that skirt the Great Smoky Mountains. Here is what grace and faith make possible, here is what honesty in the face of tragedy yields.”—John T. Edge, author of The Potlikker Papers
“I’ve been fascinated and moved by Blackberry Farm’s signature hospitality for years, and to get to know the incredible woman behind it is a gift. I’m so moved by Kreis Beall’s willingness to open wide the door to her journey, her regrets, her learning, her enormous heart. She has invited us into her story in such a beautiful, life-giving way.”—Shauna Niequist, New York Times bestselling author of Present Over Perfect and Bread & Wine