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Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul: Stories to Inspire Caregivers in the Home, Community and the World

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A dose of inspiration for caregiving professionals and the millions of souls who help care for family and friends.

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Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul: Stories to Inspire Caregivers in the Home, Community and the World

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A dose of inspiration for caregiving professionals and the millions of souls who help care for family and friends.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781623610203
  • Publisher: Backlist, LLC - a unit of Chicken Soup of the Soul Publishing LLC
  • Publication date: 8/28/2012
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 171,868
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Canfield is cocreator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, which includes forty New York Times bestsellers, and coauthor of The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. He is a leader in the field of personal transformation and peak performance and is currently CEO of the Canfield Training Group and Founder and Chairman of the Board of The Foundation for Self-Esteem. An internationally renowned corporate trainer and keynote speaker, he lives in Santa Barbara, California.

Mark Victor Hansen is a co-founder of Chicken Soup for the Soul.


While Jack Canfield himself may not necessarily be a household name, it's very likely that you have heard of his famed Chicken Soup for the Soul series and nearly as likely that you have at least one of them sitting on your very own bookshelf! Having got his start as an inspirational speaker, Canfield's own story is nothing less than inspirational.

Jack Canfield had been traveling around delivering key note speeches and organizing workshops to help audiences build their self-esteem and maximize their potential when he had an in-flight brainstorm that changed his life. While flying home from a gig, Canfield realized that the very same advice he had been delivering during his in-person addresses could potentially form the basis of a book. Canfield used inspirational stories he'd gleaned over the years as the basis of his speeches, and he thought it would be a terrific idea to gather together 101 inspirational stories and anthologize them in a single volume. Upon returning home, Canfield approached friend and author Mark Victor Hansen about his concept. Hansen agreed it was a great idea, and the two men set about finding a publisher. Believe it or not, the mega-selling series was not an easy sell to publishers. "We were rejected by 123 publishers all told," Canfield told "The first time we went to New York, we visited with about a dozen publishers in a two day period with our agent, and nobody wanted it. They all said it was a stupid title, that nobody bought collections of short stories, that there was no edge -- no sex, no violence. Why would anyone read it?"

Canfield wisely practiced what he preached -- and persisted. Ultimately, he and Hansen sold the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book to a small press based in Deerfield Beach, Florida, called Health Communications. The rest, as they say, is history. There are currently 80 million copies of the Chicken Soup books in print, with subjects as varied as Chicken Soup For the Horse Lover's Soul and Chicken Soup For the Prisoner's Soul. Canfield and Hansen ranked as the top-selling authors of 1997 and are multiple New York Times bestsellers. Most important of all, the inspirational stories they have gathered in their many volumes have improved the lives of countless readers.

This year, expect to see Canfield's name gracing the covers of such titles as Chicken Soup For the Scrapbooker's Soul, Chicken Soup For the Mother and Son Soul, and Chicken Soup For the African American Woman's Soul. He and Hansen have also launched the all-new "Healthy Living" series and 8 titles in that series have already been released this year. There is also the fascinating You've GOT to Read This Book!, in which Canfield compiles personal accounts by 55 people each discussing a book that has changed his or her life. The most compelling of these may be the story of young entrepreneur Farrah Gray, who read Deepak Chopra's The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success at the age of 11 and made his first million dollars at the age of 14!

With no sign of slowing down, Canfield continues to be an inspiration to millions, who fortunately refused to give up when it seemed as though he would never even get his first book published. "Mark and I are big believers in perseverance," he said. "If you have a vision and a life purpose, and you believe in it, then you do not let external events tell you what is so. You follow your internal guidance and follow your bliss, as Joseph Campbell used to say."

Good To Know

Canfield is the founder of two California based self-esteem programs, "Self-Esteem Seminars" in Santa Barbara and "The Foundation For Self Esteem" in Culver City.

Writing the first Chicken Soup book was a lot more daunting than Canfield expected. After the first three years of research, he and Mark Victor Hansen had only compiled 68 stories -- 33 tales shy of their goal of 101 stories.

Along with co-writing dozens of full-length books, Canfield also publishes a free biweekly newsletter called Success Strategies.

Some fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Canfield:

"My inspiration for writing comes from my passion for teaching others how to live more effective lives. I started out as a history teacher in an all-black inner city high school in Chicago, graduated to a teacher trainer, then psychotherapist, then trainer of therapists, then large group transformational trainer and then a writer and keynote speaker. All along the way, my desire was to make a difference, to help people live more fulfilling lives. That is what I still do today. Most people don't know this but I was not a good writer in college. I got a C in composition. Nobody would have ever believed I would grow up to be a bestselling author."

"I play guitar, and I am learning to play the piano. I love movies and some TV shows. My favorites are Six Feet Under, Grey's Anatomy, House and Lost. I love to play Scrabble, poker and backgammon with my in-laws, nieces and nephews. We really get into it. I love to travel. I have been to 25 countries and try to add two or three new ones every year."

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    1. Hometown:
      Santa Barbara, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 19, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Fort Worth, Texas
    1. Education:
      B.A. in History, Harvard University, 1966; M.A.T. Program, University of Chicago, 1968; M.Ed., U. of Massachusetts, 1973
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul

Stories to Inspire Caregivers in the Home, Community and the World

By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, LeAnn Thieman

Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2004 John T. Canfield and Hansen and Hansen LLC
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4532-7912-0



I am one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I cannot refuse to do the something I can do.

Helen Keller

That's Why I Am Here

What gift has providence so bestowed on man that is so dear to him as his children.


My children have always been involved in 4-H. Heavily into the animal divisions with a few other projects, they took their county fair presentations very seriously. I was a professional dog trainer and handler, and one year my two youngest children entered our registered dogs in the Beginner Obedience class. My fourteen-year-old son, Jeremy, wanted to do something with the dogs too, but he was very independent and didn't want to do something that everyone else was doing. He came to me in the spring, several months before the fair, and said, "I've decided to make my dog project count." He proceeded to show me his detailed plan for his Citizenship project, which was to provide therapy-dog visits to local nursing homes.

In the north-central portion of Minnesota, where we lived, this was an unheard-of concept. Jeremy told me he had already done some of the legwork by asking his brother, sister and two members of the 4-H club to come along and assist. What he most needed from me was to choose the appropriate dogs and teach the handlers how to present a dog to an elderly, and perhaps bedridden, person. We contacted several nursing homes and finally found one that agreed to allow our therapy dogs to visit. Jeremy called his 4-H buddies and set up a training schedule. When all five kids were comfortable presenting the dogs, we made an appointment with the nursing home.

The first day we visited, I went along as driver, photographer and supervisor. We went from room to room, sharing our smaller trained therapy dogs and puppies with as many people as possible. Each child carried a dog and a towel to place on the bed in case someone wanted the dog there. We were a hit! The joy these folks exhibited was genuine and wonderful. They all asked us to visit again.

On our next outings, we left earlier so we could visit more residents. Jeremy enjoyed watching people's faces light up as we entered a room, but there seemed to be something disturbing him. I asked if he was having a problem with the project. He became solemn. "I love coming here, but I want to make an even bigger difference. I'm not sure how, but I know there is something more I can do."

Each time we visited, the residents anticipated it with greater enthusiasm. Some even had family members bring in photos of their own dogs to share with us. We listened to stories about their pets, their families and their lives when they were young. Each sat constantly petting one of the dogs, gaining the comfort and unconditional love only an animal can give so freely.

One day, we ventured into an area we hadn't been to before. As a nurse's aide led the way, we came upon several rooms that were quieter than most and not decorated. The aide motioned for us to continue following her to the residents down the hall who had requested visits. Jeremy stopped and peered into one of the rooms. The aide reprimanded, "There is no use going into that room; that lady hasn't moved or spoken in months. She is unresponsive and pretty much alone." Jeremy looked at her and then at the French bulldog he held in his arms. Calmly, he replied, "That's why I am here." He proceeded into the room and stood hesitantly. The woman was ghost-white and showed no signs of life. She lay prone and didn't move so much as her eyes when we entered. Jeremy took a deep breath and moved to the side of the bed. "My name is Jeremy, and I am here with my therapy dogs. I brought a dog to see you. Since you can't come to see the dog, I'd like to place it on your bed. I have a towel so no hair will get on your blankets."

The woman did not move. Jeremy looked to me for approval. I nodded. He moved to the side of the bed where her arm was exposed and placed the towel on the bedspread. While all this was happening, the aide left to get a nurse. By the time Jeremy was ready to put the dog beside the woman, two nurses and the aide were in the doorway. As one began to tell me we were wasting our time, I raised my hand to silence her. She huffed but was otherwise quiet.

Jeremy placed the dog against the woman's arm. He spoke softly. "She won't hurt you. She came here just to see you." As he spoke, the woman's head shifted slightly. The glaze in her eyes seemed to disappear. Jeremy allowed the dog to nestle close. The woman raised a weak arm and placed it on the dog's back. Although she had no words, she began to make sounds. Tears brimmed her eyes as she moved her hand along the hair. The nurses rushed to the bedside and began pressing the nurse-call button. More people rushed into the room. There was not a dry eye in the group. Jeremy looked at the aide and reiterated, "This is why I am here." Then he looked at me, tears flowing unashamedly down his face, and he said, "I made a difference." I hugged him and acknowledged that he certainly had. When it was time to leave, Jeremy gathered up the dog and the towel and said to the woman, "Thanks for letting us come into your room— and into your life." She smiled at him and touched his arm.

Jeremy received the highest award for his Citizenship project and went on to the state level, where he earned Grand Champion. But for Jeremy, the ribbons were nothing compared to his biggest award—the touch of a hand and the smile from a woman who was said to be a waste of time.

Loretta Emmons

The Day Wishes Came True

There is nothing more properly the language of the heart than a wish.

Robert South

My mother was very hard-of-hearing for almost all of her life. As a child, I became her hearing aid before the precious invention was made available to her. Even after she began wearing one, I spent a lot of time repeating myself or the words of others so she knew what was happening. In those days, the contraption buzzed and squealed so loudly it hurt our ears. No matter, the device was there to stay. She thought hearing aids were the greatest. Many times I wished for her to be able to hear me without speaking loudly, or having to stand where she could read my lips. I used to see other mothers and their little girls whispering secrets, and I would think, When Mother and I get to heaven, she will be able to hear me whisper secrets.

Daddy died when Mom was only forty-five, so I served as her caregiver her last years. Despite her near deafness, she kept up on current events from the newspaper, local news and the blaring television. But her favorite pastime was recalling the past.

One day, she recounted to my daughter, Debbie, "I married your grandpa two days before my seventeenth birthday. On July 19, 1928, we went into Lake City, Arkansas, to buy me a new dress for our wedding. He wanted me to have a pretty white dress, but we couldn't find one. So, he bought me a blue dress with white lace, new white shoes and a hat." She chuckled as she told how they were wed that day and then hurried back to their respective homes in time to milk the cows!

Mother always told her wedding day story with humor—especially that they had to split up and go back to their parents' homes to do their chores. However, she always admitted her regret that she didn't have a white dress for her special day. This time, she concluded, "I married in blue, but when Albert sees me, I want to be in white."

Mother and Debbie shared a love for catalogs. In between Debbie's visits, Mother created a stack and had them waiting for her. One day when Debbie came over to help me, as she often did, she said, "By the way, Mom, Grandma and I ordered her a long white dress." She went on to explain that she had ordered and paid for the gown of Mother's choice for her burial.

When the dress arrived, Mother loved it. She even asked for a new slip to go with it. She had wished for that dress for so many years; like a youthful bride, she looked forward to wearing what Albert had wanted for her long ago.

Mother suffered from congestive heart failure, and in her last days, her kidneys failed so her body was retaining water; she was a little woman and had put on close to twenty pounds within a few days. One day, she was in pain and couldn't eat, and we didn't place her hearing aid in her ear that morning. Losing her mobility made her angry, so she stood up from her chair without help and began trying to walk. Of course, she did not move far in her attempt to defy death. Later in the day, she absolutely could not pull herself to her feet, so she asked me to please help her stand. Just Mother and I were in the house. By then, she was quite heavy and I was sixty-four years old. I picked her up as if she were a child and had her stand on top of my feet. I laid her head on my shoulder while I walked her around.

Absentmindedly, I began to sing softly as we walked. When I was young and lived on a farm, I sang at the top of my voice as I pumped water by hand for our thirsty, hardworking farm animals. Some of our neighbors would say to me, "You have a beautiful, clear voice. You should be a singer." I had not sung in years except in the congregation of our church. I didn't even know a complete song. But while walking Mother, I began to sing some of those long-ago songs.

"Lula, where is that beautiful singing coming from?" she asked.

"Me," I said, almost surprising myself. Then, in a hushed tone, I started quoting scripture. I said, "You know, Mother, you will not always be trapped in this old, sick body, but you will walk on streets of gold, pure gold."

She said back to me, "Pure gold, Lula."

Then it dawned on me: She was hearing every word I said to her, without her hearing aid! God was giving Mother and me that precious day I had longed for since I was a kid. In spite of that miracle, it didn't dawn on me that my precious mother was only minutes from being on those streets of gold.

That evening, in her beautiful white dress, she walked down the eternal aisle to Albert.

Lula Smith as told to Kim Peterson

A Musical Eye-Opener

Music is the medicine of the breaking heart.

Alfred William Hunt

My father had been diagnosed with dementia and lived in a nursing home. He became ill enough to be admitted to the hospital, so I stayed with him. He was confused and rarely spoke, but that didn't keep me from chatting away, trying to communicate with him.

One day, I ran out of things to say, so I decided to sing. Unfortunately, I inherited my daddy's musical ability. Neither of us could carry a tune in a bucket. I crooned, "I love you. You love me. We're a great big family."

Daddy opened his eyes, turned and looked at me. For the first time in days, he spoke. "I love you too, honey," he said. "But you don't have to sing about it."

Nancy B. Gibbs

Christmas Eve Devotions

A song will outlive all sermons in the memory.

Henry Giles

It was Christmas Eve 1997, my first working at the Good Samaritan Home. It was the custom there for the supervisory and administrative staff to conduct Christmas Eve devotions for the residents. I was looking forward to participating, but I didn't know quite what to expect.

There was no set program, but all the supervisors came prepared to share something. Some read scripture; others shared special Christmas memories. I love to sing, so, naturally, that's what I decided to contribute.

Before we started the services on each unit, we greeted the residents, wishing them all a Merry Christmas. They welcomed us with smiles and even some tears as a feeling of warmth and love filled the air.

We arrived at the Special Care Center for those suffering from Alzheimer's disease. As we had done on all of the other floors, we spent time visiting with the residents prior to the devotions. Most of them, however, were very disoriented and confused.

I noticed one particular woman, Mary, sitting alone, and I went over to speak to her. She had a distant look in her eyes, a look you might find on the face of a small child lost from her parents—scared and utterly helpless.

When I reached for her hand, she said in a raspy voice, "Is Tom here yet? He should be here any minute."

I could tell that Tom was someone very special to her. I wondered, Who is he? Is he a relative coming to spend the holiday with her? I hoped so.

As I moved on to greet another resident, a nurse who had seen me talking with Mary walked past. "Who is Tom?" I asked.

The nurse pulled me aside and with sadness in her voice said, "Tom was her husband. He's been dead for at least five years now."

My heart just broke. It was all too sad. So many of the people here didn't even know it was Christmas Eve. Could they truly appreciate this service?

We began the devotions, reading scriptures and reciting poetry. Then it was my turn to sing. I began, "O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining ..." And then suddenly, I heard it—another voice singing with me. I turned my head and saw it belonged to Mary! With a radiant smile on her face, she sang strong and clear, as if she were performing as a soloist. The words just flowed from her lips, "It is the night of our dear Savior's birth ..."

I sang past the emotion welling up in my throat, and our voices blended together. This woman who had lost so much showed us that somewhere deep inside her, the flame of life still burned brightly. Although ravaged by Alzheimer's disease, her spirit had not been vanquished. She was alive with song.

Mary kept singing, and gradually, everyone in the room joined in. "Long lay the world, in sin and error pining ..."

As I wiped the tears from my eyes, I noticed that a nurse—our activity director—and a visiting family member did the same.

I'm sure the Lord was looking down and smiling on us all as we sang, "Fall on your knees, and hear the angel's voices ..." Because that's exactly what we were hearing.

Amy Ross Vaughn

Daddy's Dance

Dancing ... the body and the mind feel its gladdening influence.

William Ellery Channing

I loaded the last of my retreat supplies in the back of my minivan then kissed my husband and son good-bye. Not only was I excited about the overnight ladies' retreat where I would be speaking, but I had mapped out a driving route that took me right through the town in which my parents lived. I planned to stop and spend a few hours with them, welcoming any opportunity to visit my mother and father, now eighty-three and eighty-six years old. Often, though, these visits were difficult.

Daddy was in the throes of Alzheimer's disease, and his comprehension and communication were severely impaired. The progression of the illness was devastating, especially to my mother, his mate of sixty-six years. She was now more a caregiver than a wife, and Daddy was often unable to even recognize her face. I grieved for both of them as well as for myself. I wasn't ready to let go of the father I had known forever, the one who was so full of life—smiling, singing, joking, laughing. Where had he gone? How did those "tangles" in the brain rob him of words, faces and places?

Many times, Mama wanted to tell me of personal incidents, thinking I would understand, me being the mother and caregiver of an adult son with special needs. But I didn't want to hear humiliating details of Daddy's debilitating disease. This was still my father, the man who held me on his lap and rocked me as a child, who put me on my first horse to ride, and taught me to drive in an old 1948 Ford pickup truck. This was the daddy who used to show up unexpectedly at my college dormitory to bring me home on weekends when he thought I had stayed away too long. There was no way to divorce myself from those memories, nor did I want to. I held them close to my heart.

Once when I presented him with a framed picture of me, Mama asked, "Do you know who's in that picture?" He smiled and pointed directly at my face, and said, "That's my baby." Indeed, I would always be his baby girl.

But today, after arriving at my parents' home, Daddy gave me a quick hug then went to the bedroom to take a nap while I sat at the kitchen table with Mama. She spilled out her fears, resentment and pain. She had no idea how to cope with Daddy's anger when she didn't fulfill his requests. How could she possibly know what he wanted when she couldn't understand his words or gestures?


Excerpted from Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, LeAnn Thieman. Copyright © 2004 John T. Canfield and Hansen and Hansen LLC. Excerpted by permission of Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Rosalynn Carter xv

Introduction xvii

1 Special Moments in Caregmng

That's Why I Am Here Loretta Emmons 2

The Day Wishes Came True Lula Smith as told to Kim Peterson 6

A Musical Eye-Opener Nancy B. Gibbs 9

Christmas Eve Devotions Amy Ross Vaughn 10

Daddy's Dance Louise Tucker Jones 13

My Sunshine Suzanne Vaughan 18

Caregiver's Handbook Beverly Haley 22

When All Hope Is Lost Janet Lynn Mitchell 26

Daddy's Little Girl Ruth Hancock 28

Saving Him Roger Dean Kiser, Sr. 31

In the Sack Carol McAdoo Rehme 33

Lunch with Grandma Teri Batts 36

Too Late Esther Copeland 39

2 On Love

Love in the Land of Dementia Deborah Shouse 42

Love's Own Language Dorothy Snyder 46

Dear Precious Husband Holly Baker 48

Banishing Cancer from the Bedroom Peggy Eastman 50

Level the Playing Field Linda S. Lee 53

Kite Season B.R. Wright 55

A Hero for the Books Irene Budzynski 59

Traveling with Visitors Claire Luna-Pinsker 62

Lisa Christina Miranda-Walker 65

The Travelers Bobbie Wilkinson 71

3 Angels Among Us

A Relay of Control Flo LeClair 74

Lianna Lori Ulrich 77

God's Caregiver Lisa Rossi as told to Kerrie Flanagan 80

Sisters Isabel R. Marvin 84

An Act of Desperation Ramona Richards 87

Jesus Loves Me Alicia Hill 91

Songs of Love Mary Hjerleid 93

Mother Teresa's One Heart Full of Love Mother Teresa 96

The Church Lady Helen Colella 99

The Heaven-Sent Encourager Alfred H. "Skip" DeGraff 103

4 The True Meaning of Health Care

Gone Fishing Adam Gold, M.D 110

Project First Step Dale Berry 114

Strong Medicine Patricia Raymond, M.D 117

Earning Her Wings Sally Kelly-Engeman 120

The Killing Streak Debbie Gallagher 122

Waiting for Mother Sharon Love Cook 127

No Response Donna Parisi 131

Good Night, Harry as told to Daniel James Reust 133

Brothers Tom Williams 136

5 Acts of Kindness

The Little White Box Roger Dean Kiser, Sr. 142

On the Line Carol McAdoo Rehme 146

The Package Shirley Javernick as told to Ellen Javernick 149

I Can't Do a Thing Sandra Picklesimer Aldrich 152

Long-Distance Vitamins Emily Chase 155

Food for Thought Carol McAdoo Mime 157

Time Flies Dorothy Palmer Young 159

The Magic of Making a Difference Barbara Bartlein 164

Fostering Memories Janet Nicholson 168

The Eraser John Gaudet 172

May Day Carol McAdoo Rehme 176

In Over Their Heads Carol McAdoo Rehme 180

Lost & Found LindaCarol Cherken 182

6 Overcoming Obstacles

I Will Always Be Here for You Jacqueline Marcell 188

The Last Blooms Ruth Hancock 193

The Red Geranium Darlene Lawson 197

God Answers Prayers Denise Peebles 202

New Tasks and New Titles Mary Kerr Danielson 206

An Early Mourning Wendy Young 210

7 Insights and Lessons

Learning from a Teenager Alice Facente 216

Emily's House Sharon Armstrong 220

Broken Vow Beverly Houseman 224

The Miracle of Forgiveness Karen Davis Lees 228

This Space Pamela J. Gordon 232

What Mrs. Karcinski Taught Me Vera Huddleston 234

Wisdom Within the Walls Steve Manchester 237

Grandma's Quarters Melodie Lynn Tilander 240

Saying Good-Bye to a Village Sue Henley 245

8 A Matter of Perspective

Holding On to Hope J. A. Vanek 250

Gratitude Deborah Shouse 255

Switching Roles Julie Schneider 259

It's Late… Maryella Vause 262

Through My Mother's Eyes Martha Larche Lusk 266

That's Enough Carole M. Howey 270

Crossings Carol McAdoo Rehme 274

Send for Jane Amy Jenkins 277

The Reason I'm Back John Black 280

Raising Evan Elayne Robertson Demby 283

9 Unexpected Blessings

A Heart to Give John Patterson as told to Louise Tucker Jones 288

Just Me Janet Lynn Mitchell 292

The Image of Gramps Gary Barg 295

More Blessed Jeff Keplar 298

Sunrise Steven Beach 302

The Last Gift Janice Jackson O'Neal 306

Love from Beyond Candace Carteen 309

God's Answer to Prayer Susan Lugli 313

Two Grannies in the Kitchen Patricia Lorenz 316

A Ray of Sunshine Barbara Johnson 321

Hanging Up the Cape Carol Steward 325

Grandpa Harold Debra Oliver 329

A Time to Heal Sally Kelly-Engeman 334

Veterans Rhona Prescott 337

Grandma's Caregiver Ann Clarke 340

What God Would Say to Caregivers Paula Ezop 344

Who Is Jack Canfield? 346

Who Is Mark Victor Hansen? 347

Who Is LeAnn Thieman? 348

Contributors 349

Permissions 361

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