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Announcing 40 Days of Hope for Healthcare Heroes

 

My beloved grandmother, Mary Jane, in what was likely her graduation photo in 1944.

Announcing my brand new book, releasing early June, 2021 from Tyndale House Publishers: 40 Days of Hope for Healthcare Heroes! 

I can hardly type without my eyes filling with tears about this one, friends. If you didn’t know, in addition to being a writer I have been a nurse for over 25 years. In addition, my grandmother was a nurse beginning in the 1940’s, and my son is a newly graduated nurse!

My son and I hard at work–together!

As you know, health care puts a very high priority on patient privacy, and so I have always been reluctant to talk about my nursing career publicly. But around April and the height of the COVID-19 crisis, words began to flow from my heart to paper. I began to glean stories from my best friends and co-workers that might be used to bring hope to a community of professionals who were and still are hurting, and emotionally and physically exhausted. 

The results are this beautiful little book. 

But it’s not just for nurses!

Just like the team that we are, nurses and physicians, EMTs and hospital security officers, MAs and pharmacists, and everyone in between are represented within these pages. The devotionals within cover traumatic, heartbreaking scenarios, as well as humorous ones. Each story is paired with a “Breakroom Boost” that provides encouragement, and a brief “Handwashing Prayer” that caregivers can tuck in their hearts to recite during the hundreds of times we perform that task every day. 

I told my editors that I literally wept through writing every one of these stories. While edited and rearranged to ensure patient privacy, these represent over 25 years of not only my heart for healthcare heroes, but more importantly the adoration I feel toward every single one of the healthcare heroes I’ve worked alongside–and there have been hundreds. 

If you or someone you know is a healthcare hero, this book is just what the doctor ordered for their weary soul, and it’s available for pre-order at your favorite bookseller now!

Here’s the official synopsis:

Renew your faith and focus, and rededicate yourself to the profession you love with 40 Days of Hope for Healthcare Heroes!

There’s hope for your weary feet and exhausted soul! Healthcare workers are suffering from their own epidemic of burnout and moral injury as a result of dwindling resources and being overworked. To care for patients, you need to find ways to take care of yourself. In 40 Days of Hope for Healthcare Heroes you’ll find inspirational readings and prayers to help renew your faith and focus, center your heart, and inspire you to rededicate yourself to the medical career you love. This beautiful giftbook combines short stories from the front lines, “Breakroom Boosts” to encourage and energize, space to journal, and prayers that are quick enough to recite during handwashing—something that occurs multiple times a day. Healthcare workers across all continuums of care will want to read this book to rediscover the joy of their calling and as a balm of relief for their caregiver’s soul.

Click the image below to pre-order now!

Announcing Morning by Morning: Finding Peace in All Seasons. A visual devotional from the heartland.

Friends, I am THRILLED to introduce to you a brand new project I’ve been working on with my incredible photographer cousin, Ross T. Waitt:

Morning by Morning: Finding Peace in All Seasons. A visual devotional from the heartland.

Available now exclusively at amazon.com in 184 full-color pages, this promises to be a keepsake and treasure of a book to record thoughts, prayers, poetry, or prose inspired by bucolic, rural beauty.

Here’s a synopsis:

Seldom are the opportunities we can be still and recognize the goodness of God in the midst of our busy lives. Morning by Morning: Finding Peace in All Seasons offers individuals and small groups the opportunity to do just that in a unique and inspiring, photographic journaling devotional from the heartland.

Over 75 breathtaking images from debut photographer Ross T. Waitt are paired with Bible verses and writing prompts which cover topics like anxiety and doubt, joy and restoration. Waitt’s bucolic images from his small, family-run dairy farm, The Dandy Breeze Dairy in central Indiana, capture brilliantly what few of us have the opportunity to slow down and see firsthand: that there truly is a season for everything and that God is right there with us in the midst.

Other features include plenty of space for journaling, and a section to record prayer requests and answers throughout the year. Morning by Morning: Finding Peace in All Seasons is for readers, writers, and photography lovers of all ages searching for more of God’s presence in the big and little things in life, and everything in between.

I hope you’ll consider ordering today!

Ross T. Waitt is a lifelong resident of rural Indiana. A graduate of Herron School of Art and Design, he has been interested in photography for most of his life, particularly in capturing the quiet moments that happen around us every day. Designer and editor Amy K. Sorrells is the author of Before I Saw You, Lead Me Home, and other highly acclaimed novels, and a contributing author in multiple non-fiction collaborations.

A tale of two cities: a nurse in the midst of COVID

It was the best of times…

…buds on trees and people walking their dogs and riding their bikes and setting groceries on the stoops of shut ins and dads playing with their kids on front lawns on sunny spring days and seamstresses sewing masks and the camaraderie of nurses and doctors and RTs and PTs and OTs and techs and social workers, best of friends bracing for all we trained and live for. 

It was the worst of times…

…numbers tripling, front lines failing, ventilator rationing, health care workers dying, jobs disappearing, shelves emptying, spirits falling, and ice rinks converting to morgues.

It was the age of wisdom…

…people listening to experts, families staying at home and washing hands and honoring others and nodding at each other from across the street in the name of humaneness and humanity as scientists hunch over lab tables and doctors trial hope and administrators shuffle beds and recycle masks and try to do no harm to their very own.

It was the age of foolishness…

…sacrificing loved ones in the name of beaches and bikinis and sex and selfishness and helplessness and saying efforts are exaggerated and overblown and it’s all a farce and all partisan and parties like 1999 with utter disregard for life.

It was the epoch of belief…

…that a Sovereign is bigger than a disease, that a Savior is in the midst of our feverish terror, that waters recede and oceans part and stones eventually roll away.

It was the epoch of incredulity…

…that our invincible selves and invincible lives and invincible stocks and bank accounts and high falutin’ stuff means absolutely nothing after all in the face of an invisible monster.

It was the season of Light…

…candles still burning on birthday cakes, stars all the brighter in still, cool nights, porch lights beacons testifying to resilience surviving behind closed doors.

It was the season of Darkness…

…masks unable to hide the wide-eyed dread health care workers feel facing patient after patient gasping for air, lungs filling with fluid, kidneys failing, hearts clinging to life, praying for miracles, all the while praying they aren’t the next ones to get the virus and end up being the ones who are turned and cleaned and suctioned and assessed and treated in vain.

It was the spring of hope…

…daffodils blooming and hyacinths cheering on the arrival of green and growing life, nature blissful in ignorance and all the while eager in its pursuit of tomorrow. 

It was the winter of despair…

…nurses wearing trash bags and patients draped and dying and families watching from screens, only watching, via (face)time as their mothers and brothers and fathers and daughters lives slip away, alone, behind impermeable (im)personal protective equipment, no one to touch them, no one to hold them, no one to tell them it’s okay to go, the rest of us will carry on. Alone. But for the nurses. Who help them leave. 

We had everything before us…

…weddings and tournaments, graduations and bar mitzvahs, play dates and class projects and concerts, baptisms and golden anniversaries and last trips to the beach, and new jobs and new homes and all the reasons to live as though the world would never end.

We had nothing before us…

…no end in sight, no cures, no answers, no end to the rising numbers of patients, no slowing of fibrillating Wall Street and rising unemployment, no toilet paper, no rice, no bread, no break.

We were all going direct to Heaven…

…at least we hoped so, the ones who lay in ICUs with unwanted tubes breathing for them, and unwanted machines replacing their kidneys, and nurses and doctors and aides and hospital workers not quitting because we don’t quit and won’t quit and we never, ever quit.

We were all going direct the other way…

…the ones who blame and shame and hoard and elbow through restrictions because they deserve to and don’t care and don’t try to understand this is not a hoax even though it feels like a great big huge one, and even though we want more than anything, in the middle of the night, to wake up and be able to laugh at what a ridiculous nightmare, what a strange and ludicrous joke the brain is playing on us because this can’t possibly be real. 

Can it?

 

*Lines in bold from the first paragraph of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities