Harvest House Honors Emilie Barnes
Christianne Debysingh, Harvest House Publishers
Beloved bestselling author Emilie Barnes graduated to heaven in her home in Newport Beach, California, at 4:15 pm on August 31, 2016.
The creator of the popular More Hours in My Day seminars, Barnes instilled in women countless home-organization secrets and words of wisdom throughout her speaking and writing career. Appreciated for her creative and practical insights on everything in and surrounding the home and beyond, she became the go-to source for lifting the spirits of Christian women all through the 1980s and 1990s.
In 1980, Harvest House founder and then-president Bob Hawkins, Sr. attempted to persuade Barnes to write what would go on to become her ministry namesake book, More Hours in My Day. Reluctant to do so, she was convinced by Bob to compile and organize her notes, then send them to Harvest House. In short order, her first book was released, and it is still in print today, with 250,000 copies sold.
After the release of dozens of highly successful books such as The Creative Home Organizer, Survival for Busy Women, and 15 Minutes Alone with God, Emilie and her husband and ministry partner, Bob, introduced Harvest House to the gift book market with the undeterred vision they had for creating a beautiful full-color book with the title If Teacups Could Talk.
“I remember the conversation well,” recounts Bob Hawkins, Jr., current president of Harvest House Publishers. “Bob and Emilie would not take no for an answer. Try as we might, we could not convince them to publish their innovative book with another house, and are we ever glad they didn’t give up on us. Their determination, in essence, opened the door for our company to enter a huge new market—that of high-quality, full-color gift books. And If Teacups Could Talk went on to sell more than 300,000 copies.”
In the mid-1990s, Emilie suddenly contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma—a life-threatening cancer that altered the course of her life. Within a short period of time, she underwent a complete bone marrow transplant that miraculously extended her life for another 19 years.
During the years of sickness and uncertainty that followed, Emilie and Bob, who were married for more than 60 years, continued to carry on a significant ministry, writing book after book. In all, 13 of Emilie’s books crested the 100,000-copy threshold, with total worldwide distribution of all titles in all languages now nearing seven million copies. Notably, all of the 80-plus books Emilie wrote were placed with Harvest House Publishers.
“The author-publisher relationship is incredibly special in the Christian book industry,” stresses Hawkins. “And yet the connection we had with Emilie and still have with Bob today has transcended that of a great business partnership and has long been what can only be described as a dear family relationship. The loyalty, love, and trust established between Emilie, Bob, and Harvest House has given us unspeakable joy, and we are most grateful to this giving couple for providing us and the Christian world with the example of their simple yet profound faith.”
It saddened me to learn of Emilie’s passing. She inspired me to be a better wife and mother as I delved into creating our home a haven. I would like to know how is Bob fairing these days, and if he continues to minister to others through the seminars and/or books? I own every single book the wrote together and published, and from time to time refer back to, just to receive a fresh reminder about stewardship, servanthood, family, friends, and church and ministry
I was working in a Christian book store in the late 90’s when I discovered Emilie Barnes….I fell in love with her books. When I want to encourage someone, I like to give them a book by Emilie. Sitting with a cup of tea and one of her books gives me such a relaxing feeling.
If Teacups Could Talk is in my lap as I look up the authors of some of my books. Always sad to learn of the passing of someone like Emilie whose writing illustrates a life well shared… like Suzette Haden Elgin’s Grandmother’s Principles. My niece gave Teacups to my mother in 1994 and in 2004 I placed it with my other Tea/Coffee books when mother passed away at 95. I read a page or two often… sharing quotes/recipe with friends to accompany a teabag in my letter. Nice to know there are many more of her books to read but wish there could be more…