A Great Book For The New Year

For me, happiness is watching friends reach a goal they’ve worked hard to attain. So, I asked Colleen Kavanaugh of The Longest Dance to share the inside scoop on an inspiring new workbook she has recently written with co-author, Deb Kelsey-Davis, of the Nourish for Caregivers community.

Colleen, I know this has been a labor of love. Can you share an overview of what the book is about? Thanks for spreading the word, Judith! My Grit, Grace + Gratitude is a 192-page journaling workbook bursting with color and fun and designed to bring more strength, worth, energy, joy, meaning, growth, blessings, grace, abundance, freedom, perspective, and awareness into our lives. You can work through the prompts monthly, weekly, or whenever the spirit moves you; go it solo, or grab a friend and use the book as a catalyst for connection and conversation.

I like the idea of an option to work alone or with a friend, knowing the prompts will be there whenever you have a few moments. Can you tell us how the book actually come about? It was created out of our personal experiences as family caregivers after we realized the common traits of Grit, Grace + Gratitude that exist in each of us when we are faced with challenging times. By bringing our attention to these three characteristics, we can quickly tap into whichever element we need at any given moment.

While the book was inspired by and for family caregivers, it is not specifically designed for any group in particular. We are more than one thing at a time, and definitions that define us often confine us. This is a book that you can pop into at any moment and reflect on what’s working (and not working) in your life, take notice of the people who are helping (or hurting) you, create boundaries that will save your sanity, and bring more awareness and presence to your daily life whatever the circumstances.

Sounds like this book can help readers get more in touch with their thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to do without a supportive community, but you have a solution!

Yes, what’s unique about the workbook is that we host quarterly virtual meet-ups to go over the content and connect with other like-minded individuals. The first one will be on January 9, 2019. When you sign up on My Grit Grace and Gratitude you’ll receive the details to join the call.

That’s a great reassurance – knowing you’re not alone out there. So, now that we understand the foundation of the book, I want to thank you for sending a few sample pages to give readers an idea of the treat in store for them.  Below are two that resonated with me.

This first one is “grab some grit and give yourself a badge.” I particularly appreciated the one that says, “I said NO to something.” That is so hard to do sometimes!  

The second sample is reassuring, because when we’re tapped out and need to replenish, it sometimes feels like too big a task. You’ve offered the possibility of a 5 minute refresher. That definitely seems doable. 

I think this book is a great gift to start the new year with. For more information or to purchase, check out the Resource page on Colleen’s website, The Longest Dance  where she’s offering free shipping on her book right now, or you can order through the My Grit Grace and Gratitude site as print-on-demand, and also sign up for the first quarterly meet-up. Happy writing, everyone, and Colleen – you go girl!

Family Caregiver’s Month

cactus

November is National Family Caregiver’s Month. So, why the picture of cactus? Well, I’m a little prickly about the fact that the contributions of caregivers are officially recognized only one month out of twelve. With almost 66 million people in the United States providing care to an ill, disabled or aging family member, it should be year-round.

Since releasing my book a few short months ago, I’ve been privileged to hear the stories of so many people who are caring for moms and dads, children, siblings, spouses and life partners. And regardless of our differences, the common thread that runs through every experience is the capacity for resilience, that ability to cope with stress and adversity that sometimes seems in short supply.

It’s a word I recently asked my caregiver’s writing group to consider. What did the term mean to them? What strengthened their resiliency? What weakened it? How did they find it in themselves or others?

As always, everyone wrote from a different perspective. One person described how resilience is a living, changing thing, and that helping others to be strong enhances your own ability to cope. Another takes her lead from the weeping willow – a tree that survives the years through its ability to bend and move with the wind. For me, it could be found by looking at my tiny sparrow of a mom, 90 years old, and realizing that her body told a tale of resilience more eloquently than words ever could. Despite surgeries, disease, and heartache, she practiced gratitude every single day.

So, my question to you, dear readers, is, “What helps you deal with the difficult challenges of caregiving? Is it the support of other people? Is it strong faith? Is it a beloved family pet you can pour your heart out to? Or maybe its releasing your stress and anxiety on paper.

Leave a comment here, and you’ll be entered into a drawing on November 30th to win an autographed copy of The Dutiful Daughter’s Guide to Caregiving: A Practical Memoir.*

Take good care. You are all, quite simply, amazing.

*Sorry. U.S. deliveries only.