The last time you heard from me in conjunction with the “Coping with a Diagnosis” section of IBSTakesGuts, I shared my final thoughts on the coping process (click here to read the post if you missed it). I mentioned in this post that, unless something major changed, you wouldn’t see any new posts in the “Coping” section of the blog. At the time I wrote that post, I felt like I was finally in a good place with my diagnosis, had said all I needed or wanted to say on the topic, and had documented a good “full circle” experience for my blog readers.
I’ll be honest with you, though.
I left that “unless something changes” opening for a reason. No one knew it then except Erin, but…
Something’s changed. And it’s pretty major.
Before you get ahead of yourself, the change is not with my diagnosis. I’m actually just three weeks away from my PI-IBS two-year mark, and things are steady but unchanged in regard to my health situation.
What has changed is this:
I’ve written a book!
A bonafide, hold-in-your-hands, real-life book!
And on February 8, 2020, exactly two years from the day I first got sick, that book will officially launch to the public! (I’ll explain the significance of that in a minute – hang with me!)
Findin’ Sunshine, my newest and most substantial brainchild to date, is in its final days of being published. I can’t believe I’m sharing this moment with you. It feels surreal. The English major in me is beyond excited.
To make this announcement even more exciting, I’m sharing the official cover art with you – right now!
Didn’t my publisher (BookBaby) do a fantastic job? They turned my vision into reality, and I am here for it. I wanted a simple yet striking cover that portrayed the idea of finding light – and joy – in the midst of darkness.
So now that we’ve gotten the “first look” out of the way, you may be wondering: what’s this book actually about?
Simply put, Findin’ Sunshine is an in-depth study of how to face difficult circumstances as a Christian. I took the wild ride I’ve lived over the past two years and turned my thoughts, studies, and actions into a story of how to survive (and even thrive!) in life’s hard moments. There are eleven chapters split into three different sections:
- The Storm,
- The Sunshine, and
- As the Storm Settles: Using Your Sunshine.
Each chapter focuses on a specific element of facing difficult circumstances. The chapters include scripture, personal stories, and an application of the chapter in daily life (called the “Chapter Challenge”).
In broader terms, Findin’ Sunshine is an offshoot of a ministry I established at our church in 2016 called Makin’ Sunshine. The Makin’ Sunshine program is an opportunity for the kids in our congregation to make Sunshine Boxes for people they/we know who are facing long-term difficult circumstances (i.e. chronic illness diagnoses, cancer, etc.). Each Sunshine Box contains a devotional book, handmade cards, and a letter of prayer and encouragement from our congregation. Long story short, I decided to write Findin’ Sunshine after never being able to find the perfect devotional book to go in those boxes. Since the program began in 2016, and especially after I received my own Sunshine Box in early spring 2018, it’s become extremely important for me to get the Sunshine Box message right. After all, the impact of a Sunshine Box is substantial. To date, we’ve given out around 120 Sunshine Boxes, and these boxes touch the lives of not only the recipient but the recipient’s family, friends, and the box-giver during moments that are most likely shaking, crushing, or growing their spirituality. In addition, one hard reality of this program is that about one-third of our box recipients pass away within a few months of receiving their boxes. The book we provide could be the recipient’s last chance at finding God’s sunshine – even more reason to get the message right. This program means the world to me, so I needed the book to be meaningful as well. Findin’ Sunshine has definitely fulfilled that need.
My ultimate hope for Findin’ Sunshine is that it will positively affect the lives of Christians and non-Christians during their hardest life moments. It is a tool readers can use to see their world with a more positive outlook – whether they get a copy in a Sunshine Box or order one from the bookstore.
As I mentioned earlier, Findin’ Sunshine will be available for purchase on February 8, 2020 – and since I also mentioned being able to order one from a bookstore, I want to let you know that you’ll be able to purchase your own copy of Findin’ Sunshine by visiting my online bookstore on or after February 8! I’ll add a link to IBSTakesGuts on launch day so you can find it easily.
At the end of this week (on Friday, January 18, at noon CST), you can also follow the Findin’ Sunshine story by liking and sharing the Findin’ Sunshine Facebook business page, where you’ll find announcements, events, coupon codes, a link to my online bookstore, and more. Be sure to check it out!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: thanks for your ongoing support as I travel this wild, weird journey called PI-IBS. I hope you’ve found inspiration and spiritual growth through IBSTakesGuts, and if you have, I encourage you to dig even deeper by purchasing a copy of Findin’ Sunshine in February!