First Fridays–and heroes (abortion survivor Sarah Smith)

First Fridays of each month are celebrated in our part of Long Beach, California. A four-block stretch of shops on Atlantic Avenue stays open late. Restaurants are full. Salons and bookshops and tearooms offer free wine or Martinell’s, cheese, crackers, and fruit. Sidewalks are full of teens in T-shirts and shorts (in November! I have my jacket zipped to my chin), kids darting around legs, couples with strollers, dogs on leashes. Music–from reggae to oldies to big band–pours into the street and art for post-modern tastes is on display.

Last night, for the first time, Jerry and I got permission to do what we have seen other local authors do: put up a table outside “A Castle of Books” with a selection of some of my published work for sale and sit there like spiders in our web.

I haven’t done “the book thing” for years. I used to write them, teach others to write them, sign them, sell them, critique them, edit them. That was another life.

Last night I did not want to go back into that mindset, that obsession. I didn’t want to view passers-by as prospective buyers, didn’t want to let that color potential interaction with our neighbors. So I prayed God would bring to us just the ones He wanted to and keep the others away.

Between 6:30 and 10:00 we sold three books and made $28. Jerry says that means we made $8 per hour.

But we met some interesting people. One of them, with her husband and baby, was worth the whole long chilly evening. A woman’s voice said “I know her.” I looked up. A beautiful young blonde had her finger on my book Gianna: Aborted and Lived to Tell About It.

“I am an abortion survivor, too,” she said. “I was a twin.”

It was Sarah, a girl I had read about, had even mentioned in Gianna, but had never met. October Baby is very close to Sarah’s life story. Her mother aborted her brother Andrew, not knowing he was a twin, and realized weeks later she was still pregnant. This time she chose to keep the baby. Please read Sarah’s story at

The beautiful woman standing before us was Sarah, now grown and three-years-married to a man who obviously loves her greatly. With them was a bright baby boy with sparkling eyes and a winning smile. When Sarah picked him up, her son thrust his arm out, fist clenched, with a triumphant expression on his face, as if to say, “I’ll lead the charge!” It made us all laugh.

In 1996, Sarah spoke at “A Congress for Life” in Rome, calling herself “a representative of the dead. . . The only thing I can compare my life to is that of an innocent Jew being made to walk down the streets of Germany naked in front of many people and into a room he knows he will never come out of. In my case, unfortunately, the people leading me into that room are my mother and father. Yet the people looking on at the sidelines are people like you. And I ask you today, will you speak up or will you silently look away as another person who needs your help is led to their death?”

Sarah named her precious son Andrew James for the twin “who took a scalpel for me.”

In 1970 there were two babies in one womb, both alive. One was taken and the other left. Aborted, Andrew James Smith saved his sister’s life and the life of his namesake years later. Please let this sobering knowledge, that lives like Andrew’s are at stake, guide your hand as you go to the polls Tuesday.

Sarah and her mother:


About Jessica Renshaw
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2 Responses to First Fridays–and heroes (abortion survivor Sarah Smith)

  1. I shared your post on Facebook today. Touching in a powerful way. Thanks, Jessica.

  2. High K says:

    This is wonderful. I am so glad that you listened to the Holy Spirit and set up that book table. At this point in our life, we wait on the Lord and ask Him to being to us the people we are supposed to bless. It was surely not about selling books.


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