The Caregiver Cup Podcast

Transforming Struggles into Success with Debbie Weiss

September 19, 2023 Cathy VandenHeuvel Episode 179
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
Transforming Struggles into Success with Debbie Weiss
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
Help us continue making great content for caregiver listeners everywhere.
Starting at $3/month
Support
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Are you ready to turn adversity into triumph? My guest today, Debbie Weiss, has done just that. A seasoned life strategist, author, entrepreneur, podcast host, and family caregiver, Debbie has turned her life's challenges into a journey of resilience and hope. Her powerful memoir, "On Second Thought, Maybe I Can...", serves as an inspiration to chase our dreams, no matter the hurdles we face.

Debbie and I explore the territories of overcoming fear and embarking on personal growth. Sharing her experience as a caregiver, Debbie opens up about the loneliness accompanied by the role and how she pushed past the fear of exploring new things. Boundaries and self-care come up as indispensable parts of the conversation, reflecting Debbie's own journey of writing her memoir amidst caregiving.

We delve deeper into the essence of the caregiver's identity and the oft-neglected aspect of self-care. Debbie’s candid narration of her own journey as a caregiver underscores the critical importance of self-care when caring for a loved one. Our discussion moves to her challenging times while leaving home for college when her father was ill, underlining the need to understand the physical, social, and emotional needs of a caregiver. Join us for this treasure trove of life lessons and inspirations – you wouldn't want to miss it!

You definitely want to purchase Debbie's book.   Check out more about Debbie by going to www.debbierweiss.com

Get my free resource:  17 SHIFTS TO TAKE CONTROL OF CAREGIVER STRESS that will take you to the best version of yourself.

Support the show

Thank you for listening. If you know of another caregiver who could benefit from this podcast, please copy and share this episode.

Follow me by clicking on the links below:

Cathy :

Well, welcome, my friend, to the caregiver cup podcast. It's another episode and I am so glad you're here. It's Kathy here Today. You are in for a real treat. I have the pleasure, and I had the pleasure, of interviewing Debbie Weiss. She is a remarkable woman who has gone through so many challenges in her life and she just as she amazes me on how she continues to thrive and take those pieces and inspire others. After doing this interview, I felt such a connection with her and her abilities to know the importance of self love and how she takes care of herself and she finds moments of joy which are absolutely amazing through those challenging times. Oh, my gosh, let me read her bio for you. So you kind of have a formal background Debbie a seasoned life strategist who, over five decades of experience, has faced some of the life's most daunting challenges head on and emerged as a beacon of hope and inspiration for others, as the author of a highly anticipated memoir on second thought, maybe I can and a contributing author in a collaborative book called Heart Whispers. Debbie's words have the power to uplift and motivate A tenacious entrepreneur. Debbie manages both a thriving insurance agency and her charming online store called A Sprinkle of Hearts. She's also the host of Maybe I Can podcast and an inspirational speaker, where she generously shares her wisdom and insights on overcoming limiting beliefs and fears. As a dedicated family caregiver and mother, debbie's resilience shines through in every aspect of her life. She's driven by her passions for helping others live their best lives. Debbie delights in laughter, dancing, reading and staying active during her leisure time. Her unwavering spirit and infectious enthusiasm inspires others to pursue their dreams, regardless of the obstacles they face. So in this interview you're going to hear me asking questions because I read her memoir and I had so many aha moments where I highlighted them, tagged them because I knew that they would help both you and I, and so then I went into the interview asking her questions based on pages of her book where and she gave us some great advice and some more inspiration and motivation to continue to pursue our passions and shift and change. As a caregiver, it is just. It warms my heart to go ahead and share this episode. If you want to get her book called again on second thought, maybe I Can you can grab it on Amazon, or I'm going to put the link to the bookshop which helps local book owners, and so either one I would really advise you to get the book, because it really does have some impactful pieces. So, without further ado, enjoy this interview and episode, and I can't wait to hear what you think. So don't forget to go ahead and give us a review, or drop me a tag and Instagram or an email. I would love to hear from you. Enjoy the episode again, my friend. Well, hello there, caregiver cup listeners, we are in for a real treat today. You know that I love to read books and I read 10 pages of inspiration every day. Well, over the last few weeks, and probably about six weeks, I've been reading a memoir and today I have Debbie Debbie. Now she told me her name Debbie Weiss, perfect, yeah, debbie Weiss, who has this unbelievable, beautiful book, her memoir, where she shares her story. And when I read her book, I was I would read a chapter and then process it because there were so many key takeaways in there her stories, her insights, her, her, her challenges and struggles and her positivity and how she grew. With each and every piece of her memoir and I just was inspired. And when the reason I read the book is, she reached out to me and I'm like, oh yes, I want her on the podcast, but how great would it be if I read her book and could go ahead and have the author on there. I don't need the author's signature, I need the author on the podcast, which is even more valuable. So welcome, debbie, to the caregiver cup podcast. I am so excited you're here today.

Debbie:

Oh, thank you so much for having me, and I can't tell you how much it means to me that you took the time to order the buy and read my book. It's just it. I can't tell you what it makes me overwhelmed.

Cathy :

And your book is called One Second Thought. Maybe I can and podcast on second thought. On second thought, I'm sorry, okay and well, and I've been reading it. One second thought the whole time. What am I like? Oh, my goodness, on second thought, and I think that podcast listeners I'll put this in the show notes. This is a great read and I was showing Debbie, before we hit record, that I have all of the tabs. I have posted notes and writing in it and it was just really great, and I asked Debbie if we could do the interview based on some of the key pieces that I found that were really inspirational for you as caregivers. Listening, that would do it because, debbie, you have tell us about your, your experience when it comes to caregiving first.

Debbie:

Absolutely so. I have been a caregiver to family members for over 45 years. It started as a teenager, about 17, 18 years old, after my dad who has just turned 46, had a massive stroke and survived and my parents divorced soon afterwards and he lived for 30 years, which was fantastic, but I was his person for 30 years. I was his person and if any of you have loved ones who've had a stroke, my dad's stroke was on the right side of his brain, which meant the left side of his body was affected, so his speech was barely affected, so that wasn't the issue. But he was paralyzed and then got partial use back, but his personality changed. It really did. And at the age of 18 to basically lose your parent in a way, and at such a young age to have that role reversal that so many of us have later in life when we're taking care of our parents, when we're, you know, in our 40s, 50s, 60s that's kind of expected. But to have it at such a young age that I feel like I lost my dad and then yet had to take on that parental role was, needless to say, very challenging. So he was my main carry. And then I have two sons, and my oldest son was diagnosed on the autistic spectrum at two and my husband had some mental and physical illness and maybe you'll go into that story or not, I don't know, but and then was diagnosed with blood cancer and six months later passed away.

Cathy :

I'm so sorry to hear that. Yeah, you definitely you lost. Either you lost your husband in December or at the very part of the year, so definitely sorry to that. That's the chapter I was reading yesterday and I was like bawling my eyes out because it was it was. It was such a traumatic piece. But I want to start out with the conclusion. I feel like a schoolgirl opening my little book up here, but I'm going to start out with on page 301. So I'm going to start out with your conclusion right away, because I think this is a perfect place to start, because you had said, to be honest, I almost didn't write this book because I felt my life was ordinary and my stories wouldn't be impactful and inspirational. And thankfully you did. And I'll paraphrase here because you talked about you have an experience like sexual traumas or abuse or kidnappings or left alone on mountaintops. I hope I never would ever do that too. And so I just I think that we, as caregivers, see that our life is ordinary and when I read the book, debbie, I thought, oh my gosh, the amount of struggles and challenges this woman is experiencing. I see this amazing, courageous, inspirational woman going through it all and when I got onto it. I'm sorry if I'm making you cry.

Debbie:

You are. You're making me cry. You deserve this In a good way.

Cathy :

You deserve this because she got onto the, we got onto Zoom here and you were smiling. So tell me a little bit more about I think we all feel that we're not enough. What would you have to say about that? I just think it's remarkable.

Debbie:

It's still a struggle, you know, I still. I talk about this all the time, but actually my book coach I'm not comfortable saying I'm an author and I say it in the beginning of the book is that I don't feel I compare myself and I don't know why I do this. Right, comparison is a killer and I know this and I tell other people this, and I think the good thing about it is I'm aware of it now when I'm doing it, so that I'm able to stop myself, but for the majority of my life that's what I was doing. Right, I'm always I'm not thin enough. That was a very big thing for me and still is. I'm not thin enough. I'm not pretty enough. I'm not for me. It was really never. I'm not smart enough, because that was the one thing that I felt that I did have. But then I would be in other rooms and I'd be like oh, those people are so much smarter I can't open my mouth, I'm gonna sound like an idiot, and that's how I feel. Like with the writing, I feel like I'm not really a writer. I'm not. I don't know how to construct beautiful sentences and flowery this and have all these meanings that are intertwined Like I don't know how to do any of that I'm a regular person who just basically spit out what I have, I talk and put it onto paper.

Cathy :

And that's what we wanna read. That's what we wanna read.

Debbie:

Yes, and honestly, that's why I wrote the book, because I thought what do I like to read? Yeah, I don't like to read what I just described, so there must be other people out there who wanna read what I wanna read. So that's what made me do it.

Cathy :

Yeah, yeah.

Debbie:

But talk about I didn't really answer your question is that this problem not feeling good enough? It does come from these limiting beliefs and things that we learn as children, and I think we all have them and they're all the same and different, but I think there are just there's a lot of similarities and it is a killer and we have to learn to overcome them and we have to realize that every single person out there has them, even those people that you're looking at, that you're comparing yourself to. You don't really know and you don't really know. Maybe they had them and they did work to overcome it.

Cathy :

Yeah.

Debbie:

I would think everybody is so lucky. Look, oh lucky. Look at their life. They're so much luckier than me. No, it's not about that. It's what you do to make your life quote unquote lucky.

Cathy :

Well, and I loved how you in the books talked about how you started and putting words on paper and then you just did that and kept convincing yourself and writing more until it became easier. Is that the advice that you would have? If somebody wants to pursue something and they feel they're not good enough, would you tell them just to keep going, or what would be your advice?

Debbie:

Keep going for sure, keep going the way that I did. It was I took purposeful action, yeah, so that, even if I was discouraged, I said okay, at a minimum every day or five days a week, let's say for 30 minutes. I am going to from this time to this time, and it could vary every day based on my schedule. Especially during the time that I was writing it, my schedule was kind of all over the place and I'm gonna sit there and you know what, I'm gonna type whatever comes to my head and I'm not gonna get distracted. I'm putting the phone away and all those things. And if it stinks, it stinks. And if I sit there and stare at the computer screen and it's blank, it's blank, but I'm sitting there.

Cathy :

Yeah.

Debbie:

And I remember when I first started writing and I knew absolutely nothing about it, and so I'm Googling and I'm listening to things and then, like I said, I did actually I didn't say, but I actually joined then a course for first time authors and I thought, okay, 20 minute writing sprints, that's what's something I read you do a 20 minute writing sprint and then you take a five minute rest oh, 20 minutes. Oh, my goodness. After, like the first time I look at my watch, two minutes had passed. I thought 20 minutes are they crazy? You're supposed to do it for 20 minutes straight? I'll never be able to do that right and think about anything. When we get good at something not that writing is what I'm good at yet yet but when you get good at something, you forget what you were like in the beginning, right, Like how much of a struggle it was. Holy, my God. You make it so that, yes, I'd say that's what you have to do. I made myself sit there, even if nothing good came out, and I did it the next day and the next day and the next day and the next thing. You know, sometimes I had times where I would never look at my watch and I couldn't believe that 20 minutes was up and then I progressed to an hour, never really went much further than an hour, but some days, even when I went for an hour one day, then the next day, you know, I had like 30 minutes in. I was like, yeah, I don't have anything anymore. You know, you just have to be patient with yourself and show up, show up for yourself and don't get discouraged.

Cathy :

Yeah, and what makes me just amazed at you? You did this through the hardest caregiving seasons of your life. So you definitely did. Oh, and then I loved I'm gonna pull out another piece here I'm going backwards so I'm like page 201, I'm sorry, 231, and it was your chapter on becoming the president. Oh, I love this because your dream was to be an inspirational speaker and, by the way, I love the way you speak and she's yet so much body language. And you said you see, for most of my life I had no control of my life. Who was in control? You ask fear, you said there. So I'm sure you're wondering how anyone who lives their life in fear would want to stand up on big stages and be seen and heard. Good question, because it amazes me too. And the reason I'm asking you this is because caregivers, we get this, we're in this caregiver world and we know that we're stuck, we know that we're afraid to go ahead and pursue anything. What advice would you have? You can elaborate on that speaking, but what advice would you have to step into that shift or improve your life, even if you're afraid?

Debbie:

Oh, my goodness, yeah, I learned that all the good stuff lies on the other side of your fear. It's so true. It really really does, because that's the only time that we really grow, because it's easy to play it safe. And we all have fear. We all have fears. It's a natural part of being a human. Yeah, and they're not gonna go away. No, so we have to learn how to deal with them. Sometimes it's maybe breaking them down into bite-sized pieces like okay, I want to learn to speak on big stages. Am I going to? I just actually said this in my own podcast, I think. Am I gonna call it a day? Am I gonna call up Madison Square Garden?

Cathy :

New York area.

Debbie:

Am I gonna call up Madison Square Garden and say guess what, here I am. Book me on your stage? Of course not, but I can get on a one-to-one podcast with you, right. And that's a start. And then maybe it's speaking in front of four people and 10 people and you work your way up. Whatever it is that you're afraid of, you find a partner to do it with. If you're afraid of, you know, I don't know something that you can do with somebody else, and it makes it feel more comfortable. Find those little pieces. But then you'll find, once you face your fear. If you look back on things in your life that you were scared to do, you see that's where that was the greatest growth, because if you're just staying in your comfort zone, you're not growing.

Cathy :

Yeah, because I hear so many times, debbie, that caregivers say I'm lonely. I'm lonely because their spouse is ill, or they're isolated with their parents and they feel guilty for not wanting to go out, or they're afraid to go out because of the fact that you know they're leaving their loved one and they've never, ever, ventured out without their significant other. And it's just taking those small steps to trying to find your own identity during this time. It's just, it's hard.

Debbie:

You know, you started by saying that I wrote the book during the most difficult time of my caregiving. And yes, I wrote it while my husband was dying. And I said to my therapist so, as I said earlier, it was through a course with a wonderful group of people, 12-week course. We were all first-time authors, all writing different types of books. And I said to my therapist this is crazy, how can I even be considering this? I mean one, I'm an, a student. So what happens if there's homework and I show up to the class each week on Zoom and I haven't completed the homework because I had to do something? You know, doing things with Gary? It was my husband with Gary and she said so what's going to happen? Who cares? Well, I'm so scared, I'm not really a writer. What if we have to read what we wrote in front of everybody else and they're going to judge me because I don't know if you remember, or you listening, remember the C Dick Run books, but that and I might have written it in the book. That was my fear. Like I'm going to write and people are going to be like this is this, is like what I read when I was in first grade C Dick Run, c Jane Run, you know. She said and if that happens, so, and what if I have to miss a week and all the things? And she said I think this is the best time for you to do this because in this difficult season of caregiving and the emotion of everything that's happening, you need something for yourself, removed from the situation. And she was so right and I have to tell you, I would tell Gary and I would do it around his schedule and whatnot. And sometimes it was six in the morning before I knew, or some days you never knew what time it was up, but that he would be up. And if it was the middle of the day, I'd say from 12 to one. I am going upstairs. Unless you have an emergency, do not contact me Awesome, that's awesome. And I had to set that boundary and I started learning to do that several years prior in caregiving because it took me so long, too long, to realize that I deserved, I needed to take care of myself and I'm sure as caregivers, we've all heard you have to fill your cup, you're not going to be able to do it, but it's true, yes, it is. It's true, and we have to realize it's not selfish. And when you are now feeling joy and pursuing something of your own that makes you happy or excited, gosh, your life just improved so much. And then you do show up better for your carry, for your loved one.

Cathy :

Amen, because I think that is the constant battle we have as caregivers. And yeah, my husband had a stem cell transplant a year and a half ago and so we had to be offsite for six weeks. And I started my podcast in the midst of caregiving too, and I took all my podcast gear with me and did my podcasting while he was having his transplant and his appointments. And then I'm like what else can I do? I have to have something else to do, or else you get into this down and jury mode and you just can't get out of it. So I taught myself how to knit and I did weird things like that. I trust you. Sorry, knitters, I don't like to knit. Sorry, I tried, I tried. Maybe crocheting might be better for me. But I think that we have to find a passion, and the beautiful thing about your story is your passion was a purpose that you share now, and it's just a remarkable piece. If you do have any advice on how caregivers can get rid of the guilt that they feel when they do pursue. When you said I'm going to take that time off and unless it's an emergency, don't call me how do you let that guilt go? Kind of like a duck, let the water roll off your back. How do you do that Do?

Debbie:

you have any. I think that's hard. I think it is a process, because I think we're so used to and we train our loved ones to be so used to us being accessible 24 seven.

Cathy :

So too.

Debbie:

And I think it might be a slow process. Like I said, years before I started tapping into that and slowly introducing that idea. For me it had always been about I needed exercise to get that stress relief that I was feeling from you know, and not just so a caregiver, I was the main breadwinner. I, you know there were so many other things besides caregiving that I still had to keep. You know, a whole money trauma situation that's in the book that I had to keep going, that I had to keep to myself. I had a lot of stress in there and so I needed that exercise. I think my family started to understand that. I came back a lot happier. So they let me go. I think once you start to see the benefits, the guilt will start to roll away.

Cathy :

Yeah.

Debbie:

Yeah, maybe you know I think it's, any change is small, bite side steps, but then once you see, start to see the positive, I think the guilt will leave.

Cathy :

Yeah, and I admire you because of the fact that I think when we we have to first recognize the guilt or the resentment or the anger and then we have to figure out a personalized way to release it and not everybody is not everybody processes that, processes that the same. Some people walk, some people do hard work out, some people just find meditation or relaxation. But what I admire about you is you added therapy onto that. Can you talk about the help that you? Did you open up to help? How open were you to getting help as an overall caregiver, because you've had so many challenges, from your dad to your husband, to your, you know, to your, your, your child. What did help look like for you?

Debbie:

It varied over time, I think at different stages of the game. I had been to therapists over the years I recognized, prior to my husband being diagnosed with terminal cancer, he was really suffering with mental illness as well as physical illness and it was really really challenging. For anyone who's dealt with the left one with mental illness it's it's a whole other world and I just knew I needed help. In addition to seeing the therapist, a couple years earlier I had started going on support groups for NAMI, which is National Alliance for Mental Illness, and being with other parents and spouses of loved ones that suffered from mental illness. You know, being able to talk to others who got it in that particular realm was very, very helpful and I've always found, for me in particular, that support groups have been helpful because it's never such a worthwhile thing. They're universal. It's so nice to have people who understand what you're going through specifically. So when my son was younger, he was initially, like I said, diagnosed on the autistic spectrum. You know I went to those type of support groups when he was younger and in school and I was very involved in that kind of thing and then I transitioned to NAMI and then, like I said, when my husband was really, really struggling and we were all struggling in my house. I, you know, decided that it was time to go back to one-on-one therapy, in addition to the support groups, and it really, really, really helps.

Cathy :

Yeah, and I think that's the biggest whole picture is you have to look at your physical, your social, your emotional. What you need from a health perspective you know as well as you know all of the other tactical things that your loved one needs. But that's the important piece. As caregivers, I think we're always looking at how can I help my loved one, what can I get for them, and we're advocating for them, and we have to be our own advocate when it comes to our own well-being. I mean, there's so many statistics about, you know, depression and health issues from a caregiving perspective. As a matter of fact, I've had clients that have had major health issues that during their caregiving journeys that it's so important to go ahead and recognize this as soon as you can. Me personally, too, I've had gut issues and digestive issues that developed in my six-plus years, weight gain and you know, and depression and all of that too. And then, until you accept that caregiving, the job of caregiving, isn't a healthy situation at all, you have to go ahead and figure out. I have to be first here. I have to go ahead and figure this out as well. It's just you know.

Debbie:

Why do we all understand the whole concept of the oxygen mask on the airplane? Like it makes so much sense when you think about it. Sure, if you're a child, they can't put the oxygen mask on, and if I can't breathe, how am I going to help them breathe? Like it's so logical, right? Like who would question that? Why can't we see that it's the same exact thing? Why don't we see that?

Cathy :

Well, and I'll just be, I'll admit for me. At first I thought and this is just maybe selfish or I'm a big people pleaser. And so my first year of caregiving, with my husband and my father both having cancer at the same time, I just put my badge of honor on and I'm like I'm the oldest sibling and I can handle the world and I'm superwoman and I want to be, you know, looked up as this strong, courageous woman. And within a few months I'm like well, how am I going to go ahead and maintain this title and keep this cape on? There's no way I can do it. Yeah, it's just. It's like I think it's funny.

Debbie:

I mean, I don't. I don't know if all caregivers are people pleasers, but me included, I certainly am, and I a lot of caregivers that I have tend to be that way. And when you talk about being that courageous woman, when I stepped up to be my father's caregiver, I didn't know I was doing it, but I think it was almost like this place of oh now, look at me. Kind of thing I'm the one who's helping. Everyone will think I'm the hero, or you know, I don't know. I'm thinking that now as I look back, trying to figure it out. What did it give me? Because I think in the book I discussed that I was a person who didn't want to be seen and I didn't speak up, and I was afraid to go into a store and ask for help or order a drink or anything like that. And then, when I became my father's caregiver, to have to speak up on his behalf was so different than speaking up for myself. Is it? Yeah, it is. It's so interesting, I don't know what that is. And so then I was able to find my voice and start to gain my own confidence after I started speaking up for him and I don't know in my mind if I did want to be the hero. I don't think I was thinking. I know I wasn't thinking that, but I just.

Cathy :

You're a good girl. You want it to be the, and that might be a bad word.

Debbie:

Yeah, yeah, no, you're right.

Cathy :

Yeah, that good girl dad. He's my dad and I'm going to take care of him and that's the right thing to do. But at what point do you that right becomes too much of a right? You know?

Debbie:

Yeah, so when I my dad had his stroke the day after I graduated from high school, Unbelievable. And back then. You know now there's a lot more technology if you catch a stroke early and all of that but then there wasn't, and so he was in the hospital for the whole entire summer and my parents' marriage was deteriorating and I did not. And I have one brother. He's four years younger and so he was very young, he was just turning 14. Yeah, and I felt that you know, I was always daddy's little girl who was going to be there for him if I wasn't going to be. And I was very nervous, since I was insecure about going away to college to a strange place, and you know all of that. So I was scared to begin with and I wanted to stay home and still go to school. I wasn't saying I didn't want to go to college, but I no longer wanted to go away. And my mother insisted because and now as a mom I understand, but she insisted because she didn't want my life to be ruined or changed or whatever because of my dad's situation. And I went and I was very unhappy and my father had this surgery while I was gone. She had major surgery and she wouldn't let me come home and it was a whole thing and what wound up happening was I was there for Into November, never got a credit. I finally dropped out. You know my mother was not happy, but it just kind of came to a head and I came home and I attended a university, local university that I just commuted to. So I really didn't have the college experience, I wasn't part of it. I drove, you know, I commuted and I worked part-time and then I stayed home and took care of my dad. And I have to say and I've got on a whole roll this had something to do with what you just said. I keep going, I love it, I realized. I realized after about a year what am I doing here? I watched my friends have these college experiences that I had chosen to give up for my dad and something hit me and I said this is it? Like I'm never gonna have this chance to have this college experience because I'm gonna get older and even if I go to college, it's the same as I'm doing now? And I did it. I said you know what, I'm gonna do it. And I so I stayed home for that almost two years taking care of him. He was obviously in a different place two years later and my mom found a place because they were getting divorced for him to live, and I transferred away to a different university for the last two years and had that experience.

Cathy :

That had to be the hardest decision that a young girl would have to make. I mean Talk about guilt, yeah Well, and that it's almost like you have ESPW because I think about, because on page 187, you talk about I forgot who I was as a person. I knew who I was as a mom, a wife, a caregiver and a boss, but not me as a woman. And when we go into this caregiver world, we kind of lose an identity and we have to reinvent the new identity. And I've had some people cut me off and saying I have the same identity and they're very defensive about this, but in reality your identity does change. Do you agree with me?

Debbie:

Oh, a thousand percent, yeah, a thousand percent. And I mean you read the words, that's exactly how I feel and that's exactly what had happened after, at that point, pretty much a lifetime of caregiving. And when you stop and realize it's fine and I wouldn't change a thing, I wouldn't change being a caregiver to all my family members. I'll continue that journey. I'm not saying that we shouldn't be caregivers, but there's no reason why we have to be only caregivers.

Cathy :

Yeah.

Debbie:

Yeah, you know, we deserve to have a life that we want.

Cathy :

I love that. Yeah, I love that and yeah, we do deserve that. And what a perfect way to kind of wrap up our discussion, because I think we all deserve a better caregiving experience. We deserve to show up better each and every day. I always say we deserve moments of joy, and it may be hard to get out of bed every day, but if you have something that you're pursuing or something that you like to do, it's a little bit easier. But tell us a little bit before we end the conversation. Tell us a little bit about what you do. I didn't. When I was listening to you, I didn't even know you had a podcast, Debbie, so why?

Debbie:

didn't. I know this, I don't know.

Cathy :

I. You're an author, so you're a podcaster. I want you to also share that. You do have an online store in a way, so I want you to share that. So tell us all about Debbie and what Debbie currently has going on.

Debbie:

Okay, well, I appreciate that. So, yeah, since you mentioned the online store, let me just tell you this little story about the online store, because to me, I love the story. So when I was in college, when I went away to college, I was in Washington DC and back then there used to be a place called the Old Post Office Pavilion and it used to have like these little stores and it had like a food court. And this is like in the mid-80s, when food courts weren't really invented yet in malls, and we used to think it was so amazing. And in this place they had a store that only sold items with hearts.

Cathy :

And.

Debbie:

I have always been obsessed with hearts and pink and red and I don't know why, but I'm just love it and I would go into that store and I never wanted to leave and I wanted to sleep in that store. And I would say to my friend, one friend in particular, someday I'm gonna have a heart store. I don't know if it's this heart store like I'm gonna buy this heart store right here or I'm gonna open one by home, but I'm gonna have a heart store and I beg to go back there every weekend. And then life happened right and no more heart store. Well, last November, it was the week before Thanksgiving, and I'm in my bed with my phone searching for something and I put in hearts, like I always do, whatever I'm searching for right, whether I'm buying a mug, a t-shirt, whatever, it is nothing new that I haven't done over the last 40 years. And all of a sudden I thought, oh my gosh, look at this, it's 2022. I don't need to have a brick and mortar business. I can have a heart store. I can have a virtual heart store.

Cathy :

Yeah.

Debbie:

And I don't know. It was just like why had I never thought about that before? I don't know, but I did that night and the next morning. I had made some connections over the past couple of years from my journey and I knew someone who set up online stores and I called her and I said Sarah, be honest with me, here's what I'm thinking, here's what I want. I don't have any time, I don't have any money, I can't ship, I can't. You know like. I gave her all the things like could I do this? And she said yes, and that was the week before Thanksgiving and January 14th. So two months later I had my store up and running. It's called a sprinkle of hearts. I'm obsessed, I just love it. And you know, it's just all I can say is it just makes me happy. I swear I think I opened it just for myself. Really, that's good. Yeah, it's so much fun, so much fun. So, yes, so I do have that. Thank you for mentioning that Just goes to show you, though I mean, I don't think it's funny when you open your mind, what is there?

Cathy :

Yeah.

Debbie:

I feel like when my mind started to shift all the things, all the possibilities I never saw before, because I guess I felt like my life was my caregiving, my life was my circumstances. This is what's laid before me, there is nothing else. This is what I was here to do, and when I just shifted that a little bit, it was like a whole Pandora's box showed up.

Cathy :

Yeah, we, as caregivers, need to hear that.

Debbie:

Yeah exactly.

Cathy :

It truly is in there, it's in us. And when we do go ahead and shift and saying, yeah, life threw us lemons and we're going to eat, are we going to make lemonade? But what you did as well is you took the lemon seeds and you planted them, so you did three things. So I mean I heard that as an analogy one day and I'm like I like it when life throws you lemons, make lemonade and plant the seed.

Debbie:

I never heard that seed part before. I love it.

Cathy :

That's what you're doing, yes, and so when did your book launch, too? When did your book launch?

Debbie:

So my book launched August 9th, okay, so it's pretty brand new, so pretty brand new, yes, and so, in addition to that, so now I'm in the process of doing some speaking. I just gave a workshop yesterday on unlocking your inner power, so that was very exciting and I love that. And in January I'm launching a group coaching program. So right now I have a waitlist that's out there and more information will be coming in November so you can get yourself on the waitlist. And what else am I doing? You set the podcast and, yeah, just thinking about writing another book, I don't know.

Cathy :

What's the name of your podcast, Debbie?

Debbie:

Maybe I can podcast.

Cathy :

It is Maybe I can I? Like it, I like it. I thought it was sprinkle of hearts, but maybe I can.

Debbie:

I'll tell you it's a hard. Whatever you can't see. I don't know if you can see my shirt. So yeah, it says maybe I can, but you know it does have some hard time.

Cathy :

Yes, and the hearts have the little strings on them, which is beautiful. So well, it has been a complete pleasure. There are so many key takeaways that us, as caregivers, can take away from this and I think, if anything, debbie, the piece that I took away from it is you definitely can go ahead and find joy in your journey and you can find self-care in your journey and no matter, I mean you are just. I mean you have had so many challenges in your life and you just keep going and you keep finding joy and you keep finding little pockets and you don't let it beat you up, which is just absolutely wonderful. So I appreciate you and thank you for being on the caregiver cup podcast. Everything that Debbie has talked about today, as far as her store and everything, I'll put the link in the show notes so you all can check it out, including buying her book. You can find her on Amazon that's where I bought mine or else I'll put a link on there as well. So

Caregiver
Overcoming Fear and Pursuing Personal Growth
The Caregiver's Identity and Self-Care
Debbie's Heart Store and New Ventures
Finding Joy and Self-Care in Caregiving