A Birthday About Giving Back: The Gifts are for YOU

It’s the one part of the publishing process that I truly dread: sending my unedited, ink-just-barely-dry-on-the-page manuscript out into the world. Well, not quite into the world, but to a small handful of fellow writers, in the hope that a couple of them will agree not only to read it, but to also say something kind enough to be emblazoned across a book jacket.

Having been on both sides of the advance-blurb hustle, I know it can be just as awkward to be asked to read an unpublished manuscript as it is to be the hapless author down on one knee, apologizing in advance for having to make such a request.

So there I was two weeks ago, staring at a list of my dearest literary friends, steeling my myself to ask a few of them if they might be willing to set aside their own work in order to look at mine, when suddenly, a vaguely familiar name popped up in my e-mail box. I recognized Priscilla Warner as the author of Learning to Breathe, a best-selling memoir that, oh, at least five or six trustworthy people over the course of the last year had told me that I absolutely “must read.” “You two have so much in common,” one friend insisted. “You will really love this woman; you’re kindred spirits.”

I was definitely curious. But at the time I was also enmeshed in a daily struggle to write my own memoir. And the last thing I could afford to do was derail my halting, sporadic progress by taking a detour into someone else’s account of a midlife search for peace and equanimity. Now, out of the blue, here was Priscilla herself, writing a comment on my blog post about my son Henry’s college graduation. “Thank you for opening your heart,” she wrote, “and showing me what’s in mine.”

I read Priscilla’s beautiful words, immediately ordered her book at long last, and then wrote her back to let her know. It was a quiet early morning, and the two of us both happened to be sitting at our computers. Within moments the e-mails were flying back and forth. And it wasn’t long before we were hatching a plan to meet in person later this summer.

“But,” as Priscilla wrote, “our souls have already connected.” It was true. She was a perfect stranger, and yet within the space of an hour we had become fast friends. I felt as if I could tell her anything; no, I didn’t even have to. It was as if she already knew.

As we shared more of our stories – the challenges of children growing up and leaving home, the questions that haunt us both as old identities fall away and new ones are slow to take shape, the nostalgia we both feel for moments lived and the uncertainty about what lies ahead – it became clear that the universe had just handed both of us a pretty amazing gift: each other.

And suddenly, what had been an embarrassing chore on my to-do list an hour before was transformed into something else altogether – an opportunity to deepen our connection. It was the most natural thing in the world for me to ask Priscilla if she’d be willing to read my manuscript. And her swift response — “Yes, yes, yes. I need it immediately!” – swept away the queasy sense of dread I’d been feeling all morning.

Last week, my son Jack had surgery for a deviated septum. An emergency at the hospital meant that an out-patient procedure meant to take about four hours kept us there for over eight instead. It wasn’t all that comfortable for Jack, laid out in a narrow bed with an IV in his arm, waiting for the surgeon to show up. But I have to confess, I didn’t mind the wait at all. In fact, it felt like a luxury; I had Priscilla’s funny, courageous, exquisitely written book in my hands, and a whole day to sit in a chair and read it.

It wasn’t long before I found myself scribbling notes on the back cover, keeping a list of all the small yet truly remarkable coincidences that made me feel even more certain that destiny had caused our paths to cross at precisely the right moment. (“Shivers,” I texted her once, from my seat in the waiting room. “Shivers, indeed!” she typed back.)

A few years ago, after a lifetime of anxiety and panic attacks, Priscilla set out to meet her demons head on. Her year-long quest “to bring calm to my life,” as she says in her subtitle, led her far from her comfort zone and into experiences and encounters that changed not only her brain chemistry but her entire outlook on life. Slowly, her racing heart quieted. It grew lighter, more tender, buoyed by faith and enlarged by compassion. By the end of my long day of reading, I had wept and laughed and discovered much about our human capacity for change and growth, no matter how old we are or how complex our histories may be.

I put the book down every once in a while, but only to practice what I was learning in its pages: to breathe more deeply and with more awareness, to be grateful for what is, to honor the great luxury that is life itself.

By the time the doctor finally arrived to tell me Jack was coming out of anesthesia, I felt that my own heart had grown a bit, too. I went in and kissed my son’s dear, swollen face. When the nurses apologized for the long delay, I assured them that I’d had a wonderful day. And I had, thanks to an extraordinary book by an extraordinary woman. I couldn’t wait to get home and write her a proper note, to thank her for sharing her life with me, both on the page and through the ether.

Given the generosity of Priscilla’s spirit, it didn’t surprise me at all to receive an invitation to her Blog Birthday Party – a party she’s throwing right here online, and that is all about giving rather than receiving. That’s right, the gifts are from her to you!

To celebrate her 59th birthday, Priscilla is hosting a birthday giveaway on her blog, and the presents are some of her favorite things, talismans from her journey from panic to peace: one of her Buddha bracelets, a beautiful Tibetan singing bowl, her favorite candle, some Nirvana Belgian chocolate, and a CD by Belleruth Naparstek (her guided imagery guru).

And there are more gifts, too, from some of Priscilla’s blogging friends to all of our readers. (We really want you all to meet one another!). So, in the spirit of the day, and to celebrate this wonderful new friendship in my life, I am offering two signed copies of Learning to Breathe right here on my site, along with two signed copies of my book The Gift of an Ordinary Day.

Here’s what you do:
1. Leave a comment here, to be eligible to win Learning to Breathe along with The Gift of an Ordinary Day. (Two winners will be drawn at random after midnight on Sunday, July 1.)

2. Then click to Priscilla’s blog and wish her a happy birthday, to be eligible to win any of the lovely gifts described above.

3. And then pay a visit to all the other party guests (see the links over at Priscilla’s place), and leave comments in order to win gifts they are each offering as well.

Lots of new friends to be made here, special presents from a special person, wonderful books to read and to give, and a joyous celebration of another year of life and love.

Happy Birthday to you, Priscilla, and thank you my friend for hosting such a glorious event! May all your birthday wishes come true!

for my reflections & inspiration

your comments

  1. Wow, what a generous offer, who could resist!

    After sending home daily emails to family and friends while on a recent trip to Charlesron, Sc; my daughter who is in web design for the the company she works for, has offered to set up a blog for me. I can hardly wait!

    Always look forward to yours, Katrina. Like to save them for my morning coffee watching the sun rise over the lake before anyone else is up.

    • Katrina Kenison says:

      Wishing you luck on your own blogging adventure! It is a great community, as you already know. Love picturing you reading as the sun comes up. (That’s my time of day, too!)

  2. Jessica mercier says:

    To have a signed copy of “gift” would be such an honor- it is a book that I have read and retread, dog eared and highlighted. It was a book I happened upon by chance but changed my outlook on living and mothering. It turned me inward do I could summon the thoughtful part if myself in how I deal with life and my two young girls. I have a few friends who have had babies recently- their gift consisted of a baby sign language book and your book, “Gift of an Ordinary Day”. While not first time moms, is it ever too late to think differently?

    • Katrina Kenison says:

      I believe the books we need do come into our hands at the right moment. So glad mine found its way to you! Thanks for sharing it with your friends, too.

  3. Katrina…I love all your posts. Since I was the caregiver of my mom who passed away this past february at the age of 93 I have been trying to stay optimistic as to the next journey of my life. My 25 year old son is grown and its now just my husband and I once again. Im ordering Priscillas book…I already have yours!!…Ive written you before regarding the hobby I started when I was caring for mom…my little website and occasional talk radio show…it makes me happy to share the story. I turn 53 on wednesday and with all of the inspiration I read on your blogs and all the recommended reading something tells me this is going to be my year….we are all connected….thanks for this post…

    • Katrina Kenison says:

      So sorry to hear about your mom, Donna. I’ve been inspired by your radio show — proof that we CAN live our dreams. Happy birthday to you, too!

  4. Laurie Kiely says:

    To read this this morning is such a GIFT in itself! Thank you!

  5. I need to remember to breathe, in the midst of renos and tomorrow, my youngest son’s graduation from high school.

    • Katrina Kenison says:

      Yes, an intense time of year! Funny that we need to remind ourselves to breathe — but we do!

  6. Ashley Baisley says:

    I don’t even need the books. It was just a treat to see your name on MY birthday today – doubt that Mike will be able to top my 30th from last year -flying me to New England to have dinner with YOU and your dear husband! Sending you hugs from Tennessee, sticky, pancake syrup hugs, with Dunkin Donuts coffee on top – maybe Priscilla will be my book for the beach next month. Thanks for the introduction! Love and blessings to you, Ashley

    • Katrina Kenison says:

      I have such a fond memory of our visit! Love reading about your family and seeing the photos. These truly are the best years, and it’s clear that you guys are savoring them. Happy birthday, my dear!

  7. Glad your Jack is okay and that you had the words of a kindred spirit to keep you company!

    • Katrina Kenison says:

      He can breathe for the first time in years. (And he says the recovery, which was NOT fun, was worth it.)

  8. You are two of my favorite writers and, indeed, people. I am honored to know you both. xoxo (don’t put me in the giveaway as I’ve read and adored Priscilla’s book already and would rather someone else get that life-changing chance!)

  9. Your generous sharing and honesty are kind gifts already. Thank you.

    • Katrina Kenison says:

      I feel so grateful to be part of a community here, a place where we are all buoyed and supported by one another. Thank you.

  10. I always enjoy your blog posts, and if Priscilla is a kindred spirit I know I will enjoy hers as well. Thank you for sharing!

  11. Pretty much everything you write makes me cry! In a wonderfully good way. Reading your writing is like a breath of air. Oxygen for a mother’s soul.
    What a beautiful story and a wonderful example of how connected the internet makes us so that even if we can not find kindered spirits by us where we live, we can still find and connect with them in other ways.
    Glad that your son is okay, and will be off to check out this book!

    • Katrina Kenison says:

      Thank you Kristie. Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for these connections, my far-flung readers and friends, bound by words and the willingness to share our truths.

  12. Suzanne Roy says:

    Katrina, thank you for sharing your new friend with us! I already know I’ll love her writing just like yours.

  13. Your timeliness never ceases to amaze me! Years ago I read Mitten Strings for God when my children were young. I remember thinking, “someone understands me!” Years later I saw The Gift of an Ordinary Day and bought it simply because you had written it and I remembered being so touched by your words. For whatever reason, I didn’t read it right away and it sat on my shelf for a couple of years. In January of this year I picked it up, and oh how I needed it right then!! I was in the middle of my son’s senior year, applying for colleges, running to gazillions of extra-curricular activities for him and his sisters, travelling to potential colleges for music auditions all while working an intensely stressful and high pressure job in order to keep this single parent family afloat. Again, I no longer felt so alone in this world… I knew that others were dealing with the crazy uncertainties of raising teens and we were all doing okay. I felt very connected to you and always intended to write… but you know how things get away from us!

    Thank you so much for sharing your life with us Katrina!

    • Katrina Kenison says:

      Thank you for writing NOW. I am sure the books we need find their way to us when we need them. It’s uncanny. So glad mine found you, and that you are here!

  14. I am ever so happy when I can dive into a new post from you. I can’t wait to read
    learning to Breathe, having raised two children with anxiety and panic and at times experienced it myself. I am also at a crossroads, three kids in their twenties and I am still trying to figure out what to do when I grow up. Yikes!
    Thanks for always “hitting the nail on the head” with me.

    • Katrina Kenison says:

      Hmmm, stay tuned. My new book is all about these questions. I’m still figuring it out, but I’ve written about where that process has taken me. Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment will be out in January.

  15. I would LOVE to win a copy of Priscilla’s book; it’s been at the top of my “to-read” list for quite some time. (I already own two copies of “Gift,” a book that I continue to turn to time and again.) Happy Birthday, Priscilla! And, I’m glad that Jack pulled through his surgery aok.

    • Katrina Kenison says:

      Yes, I think you will love it. I really wanted to post some funny post-op photos of Jack, but he nixed that idea. Enjoy your photographic freedom while you can!

  16. Corinne says:

    Chance brought me here today for the first time. In a stack of papers that has been growing for a year at least, I came across a page from an alumnae magazine that I had torn out on one of my trips (the one to drop my youngest off at college, I think). My handwritten katerinakenison.com piqued my curiousity and I went straight to the computer to procrastinate. Now I remember why I made the note. I haven’t read anything of hers yet, but life is at a place now that I may follow this first step with a second.

    • Katrina Kenison says:

      Hope you do! Is your youngest going to Smith? (The only alumnae magazine I’ve been in, I think.) If so, hope she’s loving it. And thank you for keeping that note, and for writing here.

  17. Thanks for telling us of another great writer-can’t wait to learn more!

  18. I always get a tingle when I see a new post by you. And now this! Wonderful! Thank you.

  19. For all the fretting and fussing about how we have become unconnected in the modern cyber-world, it remains true that some of my most wonderful, treasured friendships are those that have sprung up and been nurtured through an online connection. A handful of people whose children share my son’s diagnosis have truly inspired me, encouraged me, and gave me courage and resilience when I could not find my own. I am so happy for you Katrina and Priscilla, to have found one another at last!

  20. Here’s to birthdays and gifts! My birthday is June 30th, what a nice
    surprise it would be to receive one of these!

  21. I was planning to post to Facebook later today to ask for book recommendations and today I see that you and Lindsey both recommend Learning to Breathe!

    Thanks so much for sharing and I wish a VERY happy birthday to Priscilla!

  22. Peg Gilham says:

    Dear Katrina,

    I contacted you a couple of years ago when I was having problems with a step
    mother, my daughters, Facebook, my grandaughters. You helped me so much into trying my best to let go, knowing that I had tried to make a difference in all of our wants and needs from each other and that the time comes where you are supportive of all but it is out of your hands and divided among all. Some has worked out, some has not, and some are yet to be decided.
    I thank you so very much.

  23. thank you for this generous and exquisite offering. i feel this post is a gift for my tender heart today, and my gratitude is deep and expansive. love to you.

  24. Katrina-ahh to breathe…it always sounds so easy but i seem to need so much practice. Thank you for sharing another good read for me, I cannot wait…and thank you for being who you were meant to be..it is truly a gift to us all.

  25. Katrina,,
    I adore you and already have a signed copy of The Gift of An Ordinary Day which I recommend to people constantly. Just wanted to write a quick note to say I believe the link above is to the wrong Learning to Breathe book. It’s linking to a book by the same name but by Alison Wright.
    Love your writing so much. Always get excited when I see a new post waiting in my email.

    • Katrina Kenison says:

      Thank you Lexie for your kind words and for the correction! I just read your note and got this fixed. Sorry for the mix-up.

  26. Happy Birthday to your new friend and what a glorious story of your meeting!

  27. The summer solstice always comes too soon to Dakota where we have over 15 hours of daylight nowadays. Seems to make us realize that time waits for no one. Days are already getting shorter when Summer has really not begun here. The beginning and the end are always the same but living is our choice.

  28. Lorraine says:

    I love your books and your blog, Katrina, thank you for sharing so much of yourself!

    I wanted to get a copy of Learning to Breathe right away, and I clicked on the link in your blog. It leads to a different book–still called Learning to Breathe, but by a different author. So I just wanted to point that out to you so you could fix it and avoid confusion.

    Thanks again!!

    • Katrina Kenison says:

      Thank YOU for letting me know. Not sure how that happened, but it’s fixed now. Maybe we sold some copies of another good book today, too.

  29. I always look forward to your blog posts — I open and read immediately! Thank you for the generous offer of a gift — reading your blog is a gift of itself.

  30. As I sit here after a long and tiring day. I am at peace reading your blog. It is like a gift itself in my inbox. When life just wears you out it is nice to read your beautiful words, and be reminded to slow down and smell all the beautiful flowers that surround me in this life. Thank you!

  31. Carolyn says:

    I am grateful for all of your inspirational thoughts. Your insight has encouraged me to treasure the past, be in the present, not to anticipate the future, and to breathe! Peace.

  32. I love the Gift of an Ordinary Day. It speaks to me, and it sounds as though Learning to Breath will do the same. Thank you!

  33. Susan F. says:

    Thank you for introducing me to Priscilla’s book and website. I look forward to having them in my life this summer.

  34. Judy from Kansas says:

    I enjoy your blog so much and your words speak directly to me so often, despite the fact that we are in such different places in our life. I remember so well the empty house when my four left home, but I am now facing a truly empty house as my beloved husband of 53 years passed away in January. But I face the same challenge of reinventing myself, making decisions about the direction I want my life to take, as you discuss.

  35. Colleen Fleming says:

    What a wonderful idea. Healing thoughts to your son. Blessings and namaste.

  36. Joni Peth says:

    Now I have another book on my endless to read list!

  37. I have been blessed in my life with a few kindred spirits, and ahhh, how the day glows with new light when I take a moment to think of these deep friendships. I wish us all lots of luck in winning a coveted treasures!!!

  38. Kay Mack says:

    In an inbox overflowing with emails from the many blogs I subscribe to, yours is the one I ALWAYS open and read immediately.
    While scanning the library shelves several months ago, I came across Learning to Breathe and knew I had to read it. For twelve years, I, like Priscilla, had suffered through panic attacks and wanted to know how she had managed her life while feeling death was imminent. Her story touched off a spark in me, and I found myself copying sentences from the book into my journal. Her humor shone through, proving what a skilled writer she is. Panic attacks are not often tinged with amusement. I envied her gift of a supportive spouse and her means to explore so many attractive avenues to healing.
    Thanks for bringing her book to your readers’ attention because her methods of self-exploration apply to every life challenge. And how cool to find a kindred spirit serendipitously!

  39. SBailey says:

    Katrina, thanks so much for sharing! A book I will definitely add to my reading list. If you are kindred spirits, I know it will be much enjoyed as your blogs and memoirs are always a pleasure to read.

  40. I can’t possibly wait to see if I win the book, I must press buy right away! It will be the perfect book to take to Italy next week when my husband and I celebrate 20 years together (since both boys are off exploring different parts of the world in teen programs . Thanks for the recommendation !

  41. One of my dear friends who is always a source of inspiration for me, gave me the idea of giving gifts on my birthday. We were celebrating her birthday and she told me that she had had great fun picking out gifts for each member of her family. It has become a joy to do. It does not surprise me for a moment that you would give gifts on your birthday. Gift of an Ordinary Day is a gift for each day for me. The lessons learned continue to shape my days and echo in my mind. I would cherish a signed copy. I will keep my fingers crossed. I look forward to finding Learning to Breathe as well. Happy day!

  42. Patrick J. Burke says:

    As someone nearing 50 and recently having completed my Masters in Education, I’ve begun the uncertain search to find a job teaching. Not the greatest time in the history of education, but I continue to press on. Part of the process has been to begin clearing my life of the unnecessary i.e.: the myriad of education and teaching lists, forums and sites I subscribed to while finishing my degree. However I’ve always found your e-mails a welcome reprieve, a way to reconnect with the sanity of a clarified moment, as was the case this morning @ 2 a.m. when the puppy heeded the urge to succumb to mother nature. It’s a skill to be able to slow down in this day and age and be able to re-connect with what is essential, you have a kind way of constantly, cajoling us, reminding us, that in itself is a most precious gift…Thank You.

  43. Jen Martin says:

    Thank you for this reflection. I love all your posts; they always resonate deeply with me. Aren’t beautiful new friendships the most wonderful blessing, especially when they are unexpected. And now I have even more books I MUST add to my to-read list!!

  44. How wonderful you two gals found each other, as I have read all of your beautiful books. The ability to share how extraordinary the daily moments can be, whether you’re in your own home or in exotic lands far away, is a beautiful gift. So glad that you two have become friends. The spirit unites us and the words show us the way.

  45. Good Morning Katrina, thank you so much for sharing such wonderful, inspiring thoughts. A friend of mine shared your blog with me not long ago, and it was a very timely gift. To remember to “practice…to breathe more deeply and with more awareness, to be grateful for what is…” is my goal for this week! Thank you.

  46. LeeAnne Baker says:

    I happened across your book at a local bookstore recently. A few pages into it I thought, ‘This woman is crazy. Who uproots teenagers? Especially without another house to move into.’ But by the end I was profoundly moved and now keep it front and center on a shelf in my office, where it reminds me every day that it’s not about being more, doing more and having more. It’s about enjoying what you already have.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    • Katrina Kenison says:

      Love your honesty; yes, I felt a little crazy. But thank goodness things do seem to work out, once we get out of our own way.

  47. Stephanie says:

    ….interesting that you were reading Learning to Breathe while Jack was having his surgery to better be able to breathe!
    The Universe is always talking to us.

    • Katrina Kenison says:

      Ha! You’re right! I didn’t even make that connection, but it is profound and true. He is breathing freely for the first time in over ten years. And Priscilla’s book has changed the way I breathe as well.

  48. It is always a pleasure to start the morning with a message from your site. Thank you for sharing the “new friend” and the new book. I am looking forward to enjoying both.

  49. CM Kearins says:

    What a novel approach! As I approach my 50 th birthday this year, I like the idea of doing something to celebrate my family and friends! You’ve got me thinking!

  50. Learning to Breath sounds like the perfect summer read for me. I also always start my summer with a quick re-read of Mitten Strings to God … this book puts me in the perfect head space to really relax and sink into summer with my girls. So happy I stopped by your blog this morning!

  51. So happy that you read Priscilla’s book. My two favorite books I read last year were hers and yours! So wonderful.
    I already have (well-annotated) copies of both books so if I win I would like to give the copies to a friend in honor of MY 44th birthday today (June 25).

  52. Katrina, I have never commented but took the leap today to do so- your words today ” as old identities fall away and new ones are slow to develop ” resonated with me . After 6 years of letting go of my boys leaving the house, I am still trying to find my new identity. As always, your books and blog posts help me express what’s in my heart. Thank you for writing for us.

  53. This post came at such an opportune time. I would love to read Priscilla’s book, because I need to be reminded constantly to breathe deeply. Your book is one of my favorites, and I’m sure, after reading this, that I will enjoy Priscilla’s as well. Thank you so much for sharing!

  54. I so look forward to your blogs that when, in my mind, too much time goes by without a “Katrina fix”, I become concerned for you and send out a prayer! Like others, we miss you like a close friend! I even included you in my Christmas card mailings this past year!

    You and I have corresponded in the past and you are so kind to respond to your readers’ correspondence. You are so loved from afar. I’ve read and reread your book so many times that it has become a point of reference for the times of my life. For example, I had never given the summer solstice more than a passing thought until I read about your rather impromtu summer solstice party. I’ve since researched this annual natural event and found that the summer solstice is celebrated in numerous ways all over the world. So now, on the summer solstice, I do something nice for myself to recognize the day. Last week, I bought flowers for myself, the sunniest ones I could find, and took them home for my bathroom. Then I crawled into bed and reread “Solstice” before going to sleep. Nearly a week later, the flowers are still quite beautiful. What a lovely way to start my very early days!

    I too have read Priscilla Warner’s, Learning to Breathe”, partly as I have begun to experience panic attacks from time to time. I so admire her tenacity, her outright courage to try somewhat intially dubious sounding solutions, and the humor she maintained along the way. I feel that when I read about the strength others find along life’s journey, I can draw some from that strength to continue on my own path. Many thanks to you all for being our classroom-of-life teachers!

    I, for one, would love to see you begin a reading list on your website of authors whose books you feel might resonate within our hearts and souls as yours continues to do. The blog reference is wonderful too but I am of the old school of book lovers for whom the feel and smell of paper still sings! Have an absolutely wonderful summer!

  55. Grace Lenz says:

    What a wonderful way to pass your time with the book of your new friend. I can’ wait to look for it in the store the next time I go!

  56. As I struggle to get my grandfather’s story in a completed state, one an editor won’t be horrified to read, I received this blog as birthday email from a good friend. How fortuitous to read such insightful words on your blog. I look forward to reading your book, but also to take heart in your inspirational thoughts on my upcoming birthday. Good friends are truly a treasure.

  57. Trish Hipolito says:

    A dear friend introduced me to your writing and I feel as if that was a wonderful gift. Thank you for letting us into your life. Now I am off to meet Priscilla through the written word.

  58. Wow! I do so believe in all things happening in the time and space in which they are meant…your story with Priscilla’s book is how your book came to me….a mom raising two boys of my own that, at that time, were just entering adolescence. I go back to the book time and time again…as well as enjoy your blog. Thank you for all you share and all you offer. Can’t wait for more! :)

  59. Martha G. Metropulos says:

    The Gift of an Ordinary Day has been a wonderful addition to my life as I struggle to be a good care-giver to my husband of 42 years who is going through an illness treatment protocol that has made him weak and weary. Both of us find this man to be a stranger in our lives; not the strong,hard-working,active man he has always been. We are both looking forward to “an ordinary day” when the treatment has been a success.

  60. Annette Tinnin says:

    How very blessed I am to have you as one of my many,many “life’s extras”!You’ve touched my life and the lives of many other!THANK YOU!

  61. beautiful post, as usual.
    and SO excited to have stumbled across Priscilla’s work.
    can’t wait to read it.:)

  62. It is no accident that your son was having surgery so he could “learn to breathe” better and you sat in the waiting room reading and also “Learning to Breathe.” And while it is a mother’s natural instinct to worry or work to make things right or better, it is always so miraculous when we learn that all turns out exactly as it is meant to be. My son just graduated from high school and while he will be closeby and commuting, it is still a new chapter and if I said any of us have plans of what this chapter will bring, I think I would “make God laugh at making plans.” Again, it will be as it is meant to be, and it will be just fine.
    Thanks for sharing on a day that wasn’t so “ordinary” but equally as magical.

  63. Katrina,
    A dear friend of mine started forwarding me your blog posts about a year ago, soon after my second child was born. Your words touched, moved and inspired me then as I was figuring out how to manage a toddler and a newborn, and they continue to do so as I endeavor to not be too hard on myself, enjoy the simple moments with my children, and be the best mom I can be. I have not read Gift yet, but have it on my to-read list. I would treasure a signed copy. Thank you so very much for sharing so much of yourself through your words. You are an inspiration.

  64. Melissa says:

    I wait to see the name “Katrina Kennison” in my inbox! I lived, breathed, cried and absolutely LOVED “The Gift of an Ordinary Day”. As a single Mom, you helped me so much to focus on today and appreciate those little moments that have become a part of my every day. When my children (twins 12 yrs old) go to their father’s, it is those moments in this house that make my heart smile and know I still have a part of them in me while they are away. Your words are strung together so beautifully and I feel like you appreciate and search for meanings in all things, as I do. And you taught me not to be afraid of showing that to the world.

  65. What a beautiful way to celebrate a birthday. Mine is coming up and I’m going to think of ways to give to make it a more meaningful day. :) thank you!

  66. Leslina says:

    I love the image of two kindred spirits connecting. It reminds me of Anne of Green Gables! :)

  67. Thanks for this great gift. I loved reading your books and continue to read your blog. Good luck with the new book!

  68. Thank you for this opportunity… i have read both your books and have enjoyed your writing so much. I am looking forward to this next one.

  69. Virginia says:

    I can’t wait to read both Katrina’s new book and Priscilla’s Learning to Breathe. Midlife brings fluctuations in hormones, feelings, dreams, sanity, and I feel myself evolving into someone who is kinder, gentler, yet unfinished at 50 something! Reading inspirational works helps my best friend and me make sense of what’s going on inside of us as we deal with what goes on outside.

    Thank God for authors like you two, who help us to feel okay about everything as we try to slow down and be aware of the wonder of it all.

    Thank you! I would love to read more!

  70. I’m going to order Priscilla’s book asap, but really hope to win one as well. I’d give it as a gift to my old principal, who climbs mountains and is a yoga instructor. He’s an amazing person.

    I’m a huge fan of your books, Katrina, and bought The Gifts of an Ordinary Day for all my female friends last Christmas.

    Glad to hear Jack is fine. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Priscilla!

    Best always,

  71. sheree diede says:

    Thank you for making me be calmer!


  72. Jeri Rilibg says:

    I love reading your journal pages. I look forward to it every month or so when it pops up in my e-mail

  73. Caroline says:

    Thanks for sharing your insights and reflections on navigating life. I’m on the brink of what seems drastic change as all my children are almost grown. Thanks too, for the reminder to enjoy today.

  74. Oh, what a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday – and with the best birthday present of all in a new friendship!

    I checked out “Gift” from the library a few months ago, read it straight through, and then immediately re-read it (I have only done this a few times in my life!) It was just what I’ve been needing to hear, about making choices and following your heart, but all the while keeping a clear focus on what’s really important in life.

    I would be so thrilled to receive a signed copy of your book, or “Learning to Breathe.” Thank you so much for your generosity.

  75. I look forward to reading a book by another author who shares insights on how to live more fully in the moment. My two boys are 10 and 7 years old right now and I have realized that one of the most important gifts I could give to them as a parent is the ability to be happy and content with there life in the present moment ..in one of Pema Chodrons book she noted that our ability to be content with who we are and what we have now is a “magical golden key ” to being happy in life… Oh how I wish I had known this to my core in my previous 48 years on this earth… But it seems true what they say – better late than never… Your books inspire and reinforce the rewards of appreciating life in all it’s forms.

  76. Anxiety and panic have been my frequent companions for….well, all of my adult life. My family and I are going through a great big awful wonderful transition right now. I’m so happy to hear of this book now, when there are some cracks for it to enter through.

    Like others, I so look forward to your posts, and often start my day with two boys by releasing an essay or two in Mitten Strings.



  77. I’m sorry – my autocorrect does not believe in re reading, it keeps changing it!

  78. Julie Muessel says:

    Oh my goodness. When I read “old identities fall away and new ones are slow to take shape” I discovered what this dull ache in my soul is. And to know others experience this gives me hope that my new identities are indeed coming. Thank you.

  79. Susan Hickey says:

    What a treat! I so enjoy your blog. I save them in my email box so I can read them in a quiet moment. You have such a gift ! After I read Gift of An Ordinary Day I recommended it to several friends who also found it as heartwarming, and touching as I did. Thank you for sharing your insights so beautifully with us!!!

  80. suzanne says:

    Your new post arrived in my in box on my birthday … life is truly amazing! Like Susan Hickey, I wait to read your posts in a quiet moment. I want to savor your thoughts. And so as I was reading about this new author, I knew I’d want to read her book. Thank you for sharing, over and over and over. You are a gift to all of us! Warmest wishes!

  81. After reading about Priscilla here and from Lindsey, it’s a done deal. I must get to know this woman and her words. I must get that book and read it. I have a profound hunch it will speak to me.

    I think you know this, but it bears repeating – I love your writing, the humanity of it, the reverence for uncertainty and at its core, all of it. And this was a wonderful post.

    A big fan indeed.

    Off to visit Priscilla!

  82. Always look forward to reading your posts, Katrina. I would love a signed copy of your book. I’m heading over to meet Priscilla now and find out more about her book. Thanks.

  83. Karen Erickson says:

    What a lovely post. I know I’d like to meet you, Katrina, and now I’d like to meet Priscilla. Her book will be the next I get at the library. Thank you for being such a wonderful writer!

  84. Sometimes the right flame merges with your own just when you (often don’t know) you need it the most :)

  85. Laurel Perry says:

    Dearest Katrina,
    A trip to the library a few years ago turned me on to the Gift of an Ordinary Day audio book. It’s easier to listen to books while I drive around town. To hear you tell the story of you and your family made the experience come to life Of course, I then bought the book so I could highlight my favorite sections but I still say the audio book was the best because it was you, sharing invaluable advise and wisdom. I love being a mom to two daughters. Thank you!

  86. Mary Ann says:

    I always look forward to reading your posts. I’m glad Jack has recovered from his surgery.

    I look forward to getting a copy of Priscilla’s book, and I so look forward to reading your next book.

    Happy Summer,
    Mary Ann

  87. Holly Miller says:

    Each morning God calls us to start anew… what a “gift” it would be to immerse myself in a book that stirs the soul~

    May your hand continue to write even when your mind is telling you otherwise!
    Love your work~

  88. allison says:

    your blog is my favorite…and i am an avid follower of many. i have shared ‘the gift of an ordinary day” with friends and family…and i cry every time i read it. i will be an “empty nester” when my son jacob graduates from high school next june. and my heart races at the thought. it is at that time that i will begin my journey to unfold some of the layers of myself…to find my hearts desire and follow a dream or two of my own. thank you for helping me along the way. love and light to you and your family <3

  89. oh, I wish I had seen this earlier. it’s BEAUTIFUL. And a belated happy birthing day, as well as healing thoughts for Jack.

  90. I would be delighted to win your book, as well as a copy of Priscilla’s book. It certainly would come in handy! I am on a personal mission to find peace and quiet myself these days!

    I hope you enjoyed your Birthday! I’ve seen your video of an Ordinary Day, and I truly have found it amazing!!!

  91. Helen Williams says:

    How is it that your words always seem to find me at just the right time? Our teenage daughter is going through a challening time and while Prescilla’s book may not speak to the teen, it sounds like the kind of book that will help her as she learns to find peace in her own life.

    I too am interested, as i feel a connection to you in so many ways. . Your praise for another author pushes me to find and read the book.


  92. There was a beautiful and old flowering cherry tree on the property where my grandparents and eventually my parents lived, when they retired. My brother-in-law gave some od us starts from this tree. Ours grew quickly–I loved it and the connection to my family. Part of the specialness of this tree is that eventually my family moved off of this land, and someone was developing the property into several things–the original tree was cut down. The tree in our yard that was started from the original, old tree did not survive during a very dry summer. We finally realized it was not coming back so my husband cut it down. It was a big loss to me. My husband surprised me one Christmas by making me a cherry jewelry holder, made from this tree! He also made two beautiful little wooden boxes from the cherry wood, for our daughter and her husband. I had no idea he had saved the wood from this special, meaningful tree.

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