The story behind the book...

Watch the video to learn how Notes from Susie began as informational updates on Susie's journey with cancer for a small network of family and friends and became a devotional book for everyone.

Susie Edwards – a prolific writer of personal notes – demonstrated to literally hundreds of people how to live and die at the hands of ovarian, colon, and liver cancer. Her profound gratitude and abiding sense of peace was evident in the frequent Facebook updates that she and Mark – her caregiver husband – posted during their two-year battle. Devotional books typically tie a scripture passage to daily entries, but in Notes from Susie they chose recent and timeless hymns to capture and express their gratitude, pain, joy, lament, peace, sadness, and worship. They fought the battle together but Susie set the tone and led the way.

The largest section of the book consists of a condensed version of the more than three hundred updates.  Ahead of that body of material, Mark sets the context by introducing Susie from the time they met in 1968 until her diagnosis March 1, 2013.  Behind the updates, the Epilogue offers a “this is what I make of it all,” “this is what we’re learning” and “where we go from here” chapter.  Daughter Weslee and son Nathan share how they navigated their own pain and loss to help their young children through their first major life tragedy.

Notes from Susie is an honest look into how one couple, completely devoted to each other and joyful together, meet head-on one of life’s low places drawing on the support and power of the large cloud of witnesses surrounding them. 

Mark Edwards, co-author

Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards served as Minister of Music at First Baptist Church, Nashville, Tennessee, for thirty years.  He “retired” in October 2007, and became the Vice President of Celebrating Grace, Inc. Mark shepherded the production of the Celebrating Grace Hymnal (released in March 2010) and led the committee of composers and arrangers that produced more than 1,500 choral, orchestral, and keyboard accompaniments for congregational singing.  In July 2013, Mark retired from Celebrating Grace, but remains as an advisor and consultant for many of the Celebrating Grace projects and products.

During his extended music ministry in Nashville, Mark was a frequent choral clinician, conference leader, adjunct college instructor, literary writer, and musical arranger. Much of the focus of his music ministry has been congregational singing.  His numerous published works include a textbook on congregational singing and dozens of hymn settings for congregation, choir, vocalists, piano, and organ. He has served on two hymnal committees, presided over the Baptist Church Music Conference, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s School of Music.  Mark is a south Texan, educated at Howard Payne University and Southwestern Seminary.

Mark has two children and five grandchildren (in whom he is well-pleased). He is a deacon at First Baptist Church, Nashville, and chair of the church’s Bicentennial Celebration (2020) Steering Committee, but he spends most of his time mentoring church musicians, wood-working, crop-harvesting, and grand-fathering.


Celebrating Grace, Inc., is a not-for-profit company dedicated to providing innovative and distinctive worship and church music resources. Beginning as a grassroots approach to developing and designing a hymnal, our goal was to be open to new ideas for meeting the diverse music needs of churches today. A distinguished team of more than fifty pastors, worship leaders, church music scholars, and laity worked for three years to complete the Hymnal project. Celebrating Grace Hymnal, released in March 2010, is now in its 10th printing.

Since the release of the Hymnal, Celebrating Grace has continued to develop creative, faith-based companion products that are receiving high marks from pastors, music directors, children’s choir leaders, and church members. In addition to the Hymnal, the Celebrating Grace Family now include: 


Celebrating Graces maintains close communication with the many churches, schools, and individuals that use various Celebrating Grace products. Diverse and informative communications from Celebrating Grace include: 

  • Gracenotes - News for the Celebrating Grace Family
  • The Greenhouse Newsletter - Tips and Tools for Growing in Grace Users
  • Accents Signature Music - Ideas and Products for Creative Worship

Celebrating Grace is also supported by a strong following on most major social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. 

With the expansion of Growing in Grace into 39 states and internationally, the wide use of Worship Matrix, and the extensive anthems and accompaniments catalog of Accents Signature Music, Celebrating Grace continues to fulfill its mission of providing worship resources that meet the needs of today’s church and glorify God.