A Simple Gift of Comfort, Available to purchase now & 50% off this weekend only!

"This is my sympathy card," wrote a reader when she ordered three signed copies of A Simple Gift of Comfort.  "It's what I send to people to encourage them."

My sister once told me that when one is going through a hard time it's difficult to concentrate long enough to read an entire book.  That's why I often tell people dealing with medical challenges, relationship schisms, work/parenting tensions, or spiritual crisis to look for poetry, young adult works and children's stories. The essence of the story comes through without taking 300 pages like a lot of my novels take! Or I suggest books with short pieces easily consumed in a waiting room or waiting for a bus.

While my sister was dying, I gave her little things to think about to focus her days and she said that was helpful. Her comments became the impetus for a book I'm calling A Simple Gift of Comfort.

This past year Jerry and I decided to self-publish a new hardcover book using photographs that he and a good friend, Nancy Lloyd took to illustrate my words. It's name is A Simple Gift of Comfort and I've finally managed to make my way through the Amazon maze so it is available there as well as in bookstores and on my website. My niece in Florida helped us find the printer in Michigan so it feels a bit like a family affair and we're still extending my sister's wisdom of how reading a whole book is difficult but a few comforting words can bring light to an often dark world. It's a more personal book than previous editions because of the photographs. Each has special significance.

One of my favorite photos is of a portion of our collection of Acoma pots (pg. 15). I've always loved the story behind those pots, how when the Acoma Pueblo people mix new clay with the powder of old clay shards taken from fired pots. The resulting pottery is both beautiful and stronger. I think our lives are like that...it's when we've been fired and come through to the other side that we are made stronger.

Page 33 sports a photo of a very old oak tree growing at the Stafford Will Farm outside of Aurora, OR. Walking toward it is Jerry. I can tell by his posture. It's said that one can recognize a familiar friend by the way they walk long before their face is ever visible.  But it's the tree that inspired. "Even strong, deep-rooted trees must bend in the wind or be torn from the soil. Your world is buffeted by gale forces. Please don't think that strength cannot hold gentleness and rest. It can. Lean into me. Together we can weather this storm."

I capture the view we once had gazing out our great-room window on Starvation lane of snow-covered rimrocks along the John Day River on page 54. The rocks are eons old and always piqued my archaeological and anthropological genes. Margaret Mead once wrote that the true beginning of civilization is marked by the finding of healed bones. Here's how her words affected me. "The earliest signs of civilization are not the tools or bowls uncovered from the dust of time, but the discovery of healed bones found within the caves or graves of old ones. That a bone could break and heal meant someone had to carry water, bring in food, fend off enemies, encourage, and daily move the injured from their pallets when the morning pain forced them to call out the names of one who cared." I wrote that piece while my parents were caring for Jerry and me during our airplane accident recovery with our many broken bones. My dad and I speculated on how long it would take the neighbor's cows to wind their way down those rimrocks to drink at the river. The morning pain was always the worst for me...and I was eternally grateful that my mom and dad were there to hear us and help us heal.

People tell me they quote pieces from this book to write in notes to friends. Sometimes we don't even know what's going on in a friend or family member's life but we want to let them know we are walking beside them. Grief counselors find the book helpful; and I often read from it at the end of my presentations encouraging people that "your faith need not be strong enough to finish, only adequate to embark" (pg. 31).

The book is now available on Amazon and of course in independent bookstores especially in the Northwest.  The ISBN number is 978-0-578-1117-9. This weekend only (Feb 8 & 9) it is only $6.00, 50% off!  Place your order on Amazon for the special rate.  Visit here(For those who claimed their offer on Facebook, no need to use the "claim code" when purchasing.  The discount is automatically applied.)

Short pieces. Read while waiting for that chemo appointment.  Open it anywhere. It's a simple gift of comfort. For Valentine's Day, it can be a gift that says "I see you and care for you."  I hope you find it and pass it on. And if you like it, I'd love your review on Amazon. Thanks so much!

Coming later this year I will also be selling some of these photos as cards with quotes.  If you would like to be notified when they are available to purchase, be sure you are subscribed to my Story Sparks Monthly newsletter.  Here is a sample of what one of the cards will look like.