Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Book Review: There is No Good Card for This by Kelsey Crowe, Ph.D. and Emily McDowell

Wow.  I only blogged three times last year, and one of those was to share our hummus recipe.  It was a rough year for many reasons, and I've been shaking it off little by little and getting back into doing the things I want to do, which includes writing blog posts.  I think I've picked a good topic to get me back into the groove.

Sometime before Christmas I saw a Facebook ad for Emily McDowell's "Everyday Bravery" pins, and I loved her style.  I headed over to her website and looked at just about everything.  Her items (especially her Empathy cards) are based in reality and are funny, blunt, and touching - sometimes all at once!  I placed an order for a few pins and a magnet (although I could have ordered tons more) and saw a notification about a book that was about to be released:

I read the description and was hooked.  Who among us doesn't feel lost when someone near us is experiencing loss, hardship, and pain?  What do we do?  What should we say?  Is "I'm sorry" okay?  I pre-ordered the book on Amazon and couldn't wait for it to arrive.

When the book came, I was impressed with the quality of it.  Not just the stuff inside - the actual book.  It's sturdy and will withstand many readings, and the pages... the pages are so thick that I always checked the page number to make sure I only turned one page!  The paper is a little glossy, so if you're going to make notes in the margins, you'll want to choose something that won't smudge.  Slick Writers are my go-to pens for slippery papers.

Now for the content.  It reads like you're sitting around the kitchen table (probably with a glass of wine) talking to two good friends who just happen to know an awful lot about empathy.  The authors, Kelsey Crowe, Ph.D. and Emily McDowell, have been through some really rough times, and they've used their experiences (and the experiences of many others) to come up with ways to help folks feel useful when their loved ones, friends, and acquaintances are going through their own rough times.  They discuss what empathy is (and how it differs from sympathy), how we can deal with some of our baggage before reaching out to someone else, how crucial listening is (and how to do it properly), what to say and not say, different methods of saying those things, and so much more.

One of the chapters is called "Small Gestures Make a Big Difference," and this concept touched me the most.  Did you know that we don't have to be everything for everyone all the time?  We can do little things here and there, and they might just be enough to help someone over a rough patch.  Recently a friend posted on my Facebook wall saying she was thinking about me because she knew that day would be difficult.  It was so sweet of her to do that, and her message really did help.  This book has loads of examples of things like that, which should get your mind going on how you can inject a little happiness and kindness into others' lives.

There are illustrations, bright colors, Emily's fun handwriting, and sample conversations to help drive the points home and to make the material not feel like a textbook.  It's interesting as well as being incredibly useful, and I plan on referring to it often as I work toward fixing my tendency to try to fix things.

If you'd like to get the book, click here for the item's Amazon page.  I hope you'll love it as much as I do and that it helps you as much as it's helping me.

Go forth and be kind!

I know my blog is supposed to be about jewelry making, knitting, and other crafty things.  I'll get back to that with my next post, hopefully next week.  I have lots of tools to review and new designs to show you!  If you'd like to know where I'll be when and what I'll be doing there, please check out my website.


  1. Hi! I saw your shrink art charms on Pinterest and that brought me here. I can empathize with your situation. I was very involved in papercrafting until a health issue really hit hard. I came back after more than a year with one blog entry and again didn't do more for over another year. Recently, I got back into the blogging and this time it seems like I'm really ready to keep on going. Your time will come, too. God bless and best wishes.

  2. So nice article, glad to read this post, thanks so much!