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Upstate resident Brittany Murray and her son, Ja’Kobe Ryant created something special together. Their book, “Nicky Brainstorm,” is designed to encourage children to face their fears and believe in themselves. It was born of a child’s imagination and a mother’s perseverance.

“We started this in September of 2017, Murray said. “I was actually working on a novel.”

Ja’Kobe, now age 6, soon wanted to write his own book, just like mom.

“He’s one that believes he can do anything,” Murray said.

That confidence extends to assuming he can do things like swim and skateboard – without lessons – but Murray tries to encourage all five of her children, ages 1 – 8, to do and be their best. It’s no surprise that she never discouraged her son’s dream.

“The entire story of Nicky Brainstorm came from the mind of my son,” Murray said. “I just put legs on it. I don’t think he understands the extent of what we’ve done together. I’ve been trying to instill in him that he has the ability to be anything he wants – not just saying that.”

But the journey from encouraging her son’s imagination last fall to self-publishing a book months later had detours that Murray could not have predicted. Last November, she became seriously ill.

“I started having stroke-like symptoms,” she said. “I was having such intense symptoms that it was becoming difficult to parent.”

Murray was diagnosed with chiari malformation, a condition in which the cerebellum is protruding into the spinal column. It meant that she and Ja’Kobe had to stop work on the book and that she needed brain surgery in February.

Murray’s recovery was marked by complications, including the need for a second surgery. She suffered severe headaches and was diagnosed with meningitis. She was faced with the possibility of the worst outcome.

“I literally felt like I was leaving,” she said.

By April, Murray had recovered and was able to pick up the project again, strengthened by her faith and her family. It was something she wanted to see come to fruition.

“What I’ve been learning is that we all have purpose and destiny,” she said. “I understand now my role as a mother is to bring out the best in my children so when they leave the nest, they don’t have to relearn life. What I’m noticing in this generation is the lack of confidence and the lack of hope. Sometimes it’s hard to believe in myself.”

Murray said she is open with her children, even as she guides them.

“The conversations that we have are that mommy is not perfect,” she said. “I’m having to undo learned behaviors.”

“Nicky Brainstorm” is the result of Murray’s commitment. She said she wanted the story to help children understand that they have the power to do great things.

“Not only are we building up children, but the parents are reading this to them and it is opening up conversation,” she said.

Learn more and order the book at https://www.nickybrainstorm.rocks.

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