Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Soul Sustenance: Mindfulness with Grace the Dog

]Grace, a loving, wise, and fluffy Finnish Lapphund, is the central character in an illustrated children’s book series aimed at giving kids hope and courage as they face life’s many challenges. The series is “Everybody Loves Grace,” authored by leadership consultant and former CIA member Katy McQuaid.

The second book in the series – “Everybody Loves Grace: An Amazing True Story of Grace’s Adventure to the Grand Canyon” – comes out on June 17, 2019.

To celebrate the book launch, I have a chance to share mindfulness tips and an interview with Katy.

Kids and Parents Enjoy Grace’s 5 Mindfulness Tips
1) When you eat, really enjoy your food. (And know it's okay if you don't want to share.)
2) When you walk outside, lift your head and breathe through your nose. That's the best way to smell all the sniffs in the air. REALLY breathe it in, all the way into your belly.
3) Notice EVERYTHING. Be present where you are and take in everything there is to see.
4) When you're free to dig, dig deep and wide. Enjoy the dirt on your paws!
5) When the person you love speaks, perk up your ears and smile!

Why did you decide to write books?
I was encouraged to write a book for many years by a close friend. I just couldn't figure out what the book was supposed to be about. One day while Grace and I were walking, the captain of the Emergency Response Teams at Denver Health stopped dead in his tracks to meet Grace. His comment after petting her was, “I wish I could start my day like this every day.”

It occurred to me when I got home from that walk that I was supposed to write a book about Grace and the positive impact she had on people's daily lives. Grace had a story of love and courage to share with children and parents.

I remember standing in my kitchen after that walk thinking, “Am I really supposed to write a children’s book about Grace?” and hearing, “Yes, the book you are supposed to write is about Grace.”  I can honestly say that the idea for the book came from a divine inspiration, and I was willing to give it a try.

What can people learn from dogs? Grace’s top 10 lessons:
1. Every day is an adventure.
2. A simple smile can make someone's day.
3. Meet people right where they are.
4. Just be with people; don't try to change them.
5. I can listen, even if my ears hurt.
6. People are willing to support me; it's up to me to say "yes" and receive.
7. Being outside is one of life's simple pleasures.
8. It's okay to go in the direction I choose.
9. Sometimes saying "no" is the greatest gift I can give.
10. Road trips are the best!

What are your favorite activities to do with Grace?
I like to be outside in nature, either hiking or going on road trips with Grace to explore new places. In addition, we have fun on our everyday walks in the neighborhood or walking on trails in parks and nearby mountains. Our walks are a great time to connect with each other and the people we meet along the way.

What benefits do pets bring a family?
Pets bring so many things to a family. Pets teach the true meaning of unconditional love and they help family members become close through sharing of responsibility and caring for them. Pets can be a great source of joy for families and the companionship of a pet helps reduce anxiety, stress and loneliness.

For more information, visit www.EverybodyLovesGrace.com.

See author Katy and dog Grace live at one of their upcoming events:

Everybody Loves Grace-Story Time in the Garden
Majestic View Nature Center | Arvada, CO
June 15, 2019, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
All ages, FREE
Come meet Grace the dog as she and her mom share their story from the hit children’s book “Everybody Loves Grace.” It’s an amazing true story of how Grace brings love to everyone she meets. Get cozy with this and other stories in the garden, and even get a copy of Grace’s story signed.

Hands Dirty, Feet Wet – Outdoor Nature Play Date and Book Reading
Majestic View Nature Center | Arvada, CO
June 21, 2019, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
All ages, FREE
Hands Dirty, Feet Wet is a time for kids to do just that, with hands-on activities outdoors. Grace is coming to read her story and meet new friends.

About: Author and leadership consultant Katy McQuaid spent more than three decades in the CIA, including 12 years living abroad. Her work in communities all over the world and the endearing, unconditional love of her four-legged muse Grace inspired her to write the “Everybody Loves Grace” series of illustrated books. Parents, kids of all ages, executives, and organizational leaders hail the series as a beacon of hope and inspiration for anyone navigating change or challenging circumstances.

Katy is the founder of McQuaid Corporate Performance, LLC and a graduate of Penn State University where she attended on a full scholarship, lettered all four years as a swimmer, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in finance. She is also a graduate of the Vanguard Executive Development Program at Duke University, the Pinnacle Executive Leader Program at Kellogg’s School of Management, and is currently finalizing her studies to become a certified trainer for Conscious Transformation. Katy’s goal is to support people and organizations in experiencing successful, meaningful, and empowered transformations.

Katy was the first female Senior Executive in the CIA’s Logistics Career Service as well as the first Senior Executive Support Officer in the South Asia War Theater (and the first and only female to date in the position). She also held a key Support Officer position during the transition of US intelligence activities from one city to another in one of the largest European offices. Katy served as an Elder at Pathways Church in Denver, Colorado and currently serves as Chair of the Dorcas Aid America Board of Directors. Learn more at www.EverybodyLovesGrace.com.

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