Friday, December 1, 2023

Book Nook - It All Belongs: Love, Loss, & Learning to Live Again

 It All Belongs: Love, Loss, & Learning to Live Again is an exquisite juxtaposition of perspectives tracing Judy and Roy Smoot’s final four years together. Much more than a book, It All Belongs is an immersive experience that opens a rare window into uncommonly candid end-of-life realities through a soulful mosaic of expressive art, journal entries, poetry, and deeply personal writings. 

“This is a book to be used,” Roy Smoot explains. “It’s filled with ideas, tools, and examples to help guide individuals and groups in discussing and contemplating their own inevitable journeys of love and grief.”


When Judy, a spiritual director who used expressive arts to help others cope with chronic illness, receives the devastating diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme, she must put these spiritual practices to the ultimate test. Because she knew how making art sustained her, Judy continued to paint or draw up until the very end of her life. As Judy lives fully into her own mortality, she models her practices for others. But that’s only half the story.


Following Judy’s death, Roy, Judy’s husband and soulmate of nearly 40 years, enters a world he didn’t know existed, a world he didn’t want to know, a world of searing pain, grief, and grace beyond anything he could conceive. It All Belongs invites readers to follow Roy from the raw angst of navigating immediate day-to-day realities to his deep introspection. In constantly journaling through his travels, including a long road trip out west and a spiritual quest in Iona, Scotland, Roy mirrors Judy’s work to find his own path through his devastating grief.


This unique pairing of perspectives offers spiritual tools and healing practices to help readers face end-of-life realities by exploring the beauty, light — and even joy — tucked within even the most tragic of circumstances. It All Belongs encourages readers to listen deeply, explore purposefully, and fully embrace this sacred time.


“Hold nothing back in your questions, rantings, thoughts, emotions,” Roy Smoot writes in the book’s introduction. “As this book’s title affirms, everything you feel, think, ask, experience, live through, and release is a sacred part of your journey. It all belongs.”


About the Authors

JUDY and ROY SMOOT met in college at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio; were married following graduation; and for the next four decades lived and loved in Georgia, Florida, Ohio, and Maine.


Roy enjoyed a successful banking career; Judy served as a Wellstreams spiritual director, a Dominican Associate, and an Expressive Arts Florida Institute (EAFI) certified expressive arts therapist. Judy established Always We Begin Again (AWBA), a nonprofit organization to support people with chronic illnesses. Later in life, they made their home at “Sunrise Ridge,” their cottage and retreat center renovated and created in the breathtaking beauty of Ohio’s Hocking Hills.


MELINDA FOLSE is a writer, editor, and collaborator on a mission to tell stories that make a difference. She believes this story will strike a meaningful chord in every life it touches. It All Belongs is her eighth book, joining GrandmasterDream Catcher, and Lessons Well Learned as her favorite explorations of lives and passions well lived. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas.


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