Balancing Diabetes: Kerri @SixUntilMe’s first book

** Full disclosure (and something I am very proud of): I am a good friend of Kerri… Having said that, every last word I am about to share with you about her book is nothing but the truth, the whole truth, so help me God! 😉

If you haven’t read and you or a loved one live with diabetes, you should… because it will provide you with a window into the soul of one of the kindest and most fun humans with diabetes you are going to run into: Kerri Sparling. So, when I heard about her book, and when she kindly interviewed me as part of one of the chapters, I was beyond ecstatic!

In “Balancing Diabetes“, Kerri’s voice and personality shine through loud and clear. Chapter after chapter, she continues to open up her story to us, inviting many of her d-friends along, in a book that feels more like a warm and candid chat between buddies than a paperback title. Her selflessness also is central to the book: she always gives and and seeks to shine the spotlight on others. The net effect is a book that empowers you with tons more information than an individual experience: it feels as if a whole tribe (the DOC – Diabetes Online Community) is joining in on this one through the experience of dozens of people with diabetes.

Then again, it’s not only about the content that Kerri exposes us to, but about her style… she is an extremely accomplished writer (and I don’t say this because she kicked my butt as my editor during the years I wrote for dLife)! The imagery she employs, her impeccable and brilliant use of humor (example, how she portrays wearing an insulin pump as “cyborg badassery” – p. 112)… all of it makes for a delighting and highly entertaining book, aside from the fact that you are absorbing tons of precious insights from her and many others who add up a good few hundred collective years of life with diabetes.

Unlike Kerri, I was diagnosed with diabetes as an adult, but reading her book as a parent (though I am the one with diabetes and not my child), her mom’s stories about Kerri’s diabetes touched me deeply. For example, when she says “you don’t punish for diabetes, you punish for irresponsibility. Diabetes just happens to be an example of something to be irresponsible with.” A participar chapter that rocked for me as well was “Walking the Bloodsugar Tightrope”. In it she captures amazing insights from Dr. Shara Bialo (pediatric endocrinologist with type 1 diabetes) and Dr. Jill Weissberg-Benchell, one of the world’s most amazing psychologists as it relates to diabetes.

She brings it all home in the final chapter… one that I anticipate giving you goosebumps. If it doesn’t, well… you may want to check the endocrine gland in charge of goosebumps! 😉

Reading Kerri’s book I rediscovered why I admire her so much. Like her I too have found diabetes to give me a reason to stand up for myself and others. Thanks Kerri for reminding us that diabetes doesn’t define us but it helps understand us!

Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal: stay-at-home parent wisdom!

I had a chance to meet Scott in person for the first time in the summer of 2012. Previously, I had only read some of his posts on his blog Arden’s Day about the life of Arden, his daughter who lives with type 1 diabetes. When I met him, I felt an immediate connection to him, as if I had known him for a very long time. And having just finished his book “Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad” I can see why.

Scott’s first book (being such a great writer, I sure hope it’s only his first!) is so chock full of moments you cannot avoid but smile at, think through, and cry to, as he describes the innermost details of his life as a stay-at-home dad. He exhibits the courage to bare his soul every bit as much as he makes you crack up with his brilliant humor. When you think you’ve read the best of the book, he hits a home run taking a powerful stance on the role of men in families today, and how we can sometimes take a position towards certain chores in family life (from sports to laundry), that unknowingly perpetuates a cycle that we really need to be contributing to break.

Scott’s wisdom shines even more as he dives into the moments leading up to Arden’s diagnosis, through their first few years with her living with diabetes, and how it fundamentally changed everything they believed to be ready for in their lives as parents. He writes:

“I don’t need more than four, maybe five, hours of sleep a night and the hours don’t have to be consecutive. The only thing that matters is that Arden’s blood glucose doesn’t drop so low overnight that she dies in her sleep.”

What Scott leaves you with in the end is a contagious sense that, in spite of all odds (having your adoptive father leave you, working through crappy jobs, receiving the terrible news about one of your children having a serious chronic condition)… you really can be happy anywhere. As Scott says:

“you can choose to stand in [a sad state of mind] or walk forward and leave it behind.”

So, run (don’t walk) and order (or pre-order, if it’s not April 2, 2013 -when it becomes available) “Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad.” You will be glad you did!

101 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits

A big highlight of my one-day at the 2012 Nonprofit Technology Conference was getting a chance to meet and chat at length with Chad Norman (@chadnorman) and Melanie Mathos (@melmatho), Blackbaud’s Internet Marketing dude and PR gal, respectively and authors of “101 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits“.

Here’s a snippet of the wisdom this team had to offer at the conference today: