It was only a few weeks ago that I had the chance to meet local mom, blogger and teacher Karen Pantuso-Swanson in person.
As we sat across the table from each other at Benino Gelato, I thought to myself “How amazing she is, taking such a huge chance on her life.”
It’s a rarity – someone who puts themselves out there and says “I see my life differently.” Getting to that place is a tough sell – both personally and often to the people around you.
No one understands why you’ve had this moment where you’ve decided to go another direction.
It takes even more guts to go do it.
That’s exactly what Karen did.
A school teacher by trade, motherhood changed her. It offered challenges, times when she threw up her hands and wondered what she could have possibly been thinking – and a unique opportunity to rediscover herself through the lens of childhood.
I rarely believe a woman who gushes about the beauty of motherhood – not because it isn’t an absolutely spectacular, life-altering, mind-blowing and heart expanding journey. But, motherhood is often a grind.
Karen took that grind, found the gratitude in every moment and – on Saturday, Sept. 26 – will launch the publication of her first book – The Grateful Mama .
This project is a long time in coming, as Karen has kept The Grateful Mama Blog and developed a following of moms looking for those special moments in the simplest of day-to-day living.
Her charm and honesty is mixed with trepidation and the craziness that comes up as part of raising two girls.
The stories in her book reflect strongly the style of her blog – with inspirational quotes and real-life stories that make you go through the whole range of emotions.
I found myself stepping outside of parenting and crossing back over into the simple looks my daughter and I share in a silly moment.
They were personal yet universal. They made sense, like I was reading a diary and could refer back to my own moments at any point
I truly loved her stories.
The book – which retails for $34 – is self-published and faces the challenges that come from that. The cover is absolute sweetness with a photo of her gorgeous baby in a bath. The book is bound absolutely beautifully.
The layout and photos inside occasionally struggle from the limitations of layout options that come with self-publishing set-ups.
I struggled a lot with the price point of the book until I took a look at it from a different perspective – the stories, which are just lovely.
Karen has taken day-to-day motherhood and made even the craziest and embarrassing moments into something full of joy.
She has also stuck it out there for all of us to find our own sense of joy through challenges and all – and I truly admire her for finding her voice and believing in it.
Join Karen for the launch and book signing of The Grateful Mama at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26 at Laughing Oyster Books, 286 Fifth St. in downtown Courtenay.
What are some of your ways of finding daily gratitude in motherhood?
One random commenter will receive a complimentary copy of The Grateful Mama.
This contest is closed. Michelle Honeysett won. Thanks to everyone who took part!
You can preview the book here…
Photos courtesy of Karen-Pantuso Swanson.