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Wednesday, 12 October 2016 13:21

Swift Current lawyer’s first book finds the extraordinary in daily life

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The defining and sometimes extraordinary moments in the lives of ordinary people have inspired Swift Current lawyer Carla Carlson to publish her first book.

Everyday Grace: Finding your Extraordinary in Ordinary Everyday Life is a reflection on various life challenges that people from different walks of life have to face.
“All the stories in the book are stories that have touched my life and have inspired me,” she said. “As I thought about those stories and as I shared those stories with other people that were struggling with similar issues, I realized that they were all stories that needed to be shared on a bigger level. The book talks about all kinds of challenges that we all face throughout our lifetime in different ways, and sharing those stories help people to find themselves within them and to find courage and to find strength and to find grace. I think it can be very powerful.”
The perspectives in her book have been influenced by her encounters with struggling families and abused children when she was a social worker and by her current work as an owner/partner with her father in an active law practice.
“Both of those career paths have shaped me into the person that I am today,” she said. “They’ve also exposed me to a whole wide variety of other people and different lives. I’ve worked with extremely wealthy people and seen some of the challenges that they face. I’ve also worked with the downtrodden and people who can barely make ends meet and are struggling to survive. So all of those have shaped me into the person that I am and it’s graced my life so that I can inspire others, and that’s where the book comes from.”
The book’s title refers to the constant efforts by people to come to terms with their own lives and to find their rightful place in society.
“The title to me reflects who we all are as people, because of our own internal struggles we’re constantly beating ourselves up,” she said. “We’re constantly analyzing ourselves; we’re constantly feeling like we don’t measure up. Everyday grace is a recognition that we all, universally, struggle in our lives and we can all learn from that process and through that process we develop grace.”
It took her about a year to write the book and the editing process took another five months or so.
“I have no background in writing, other than obviously in law,” she said. “We do lots of writing, but not this kind of writing, and the process for me was just very natural. It came very smooth, it was very relaxing and calming and fulfilling.”
She had an intense urge to share the stories and her insights with people. She has reached a situation in her life where she felt the time was right to write this book.
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“I think I’m just at a time in my life where I really feel I can help other people,” she said. “I’m feeling very strong, I feel very aware and these stories just kept coming to me. I was compelled to write the book. The book wrote itself. The process of writing the book was fascinating to me because I would lose myself in moments of writing where it would just go and it just came out of me and there was no stopping writing the book.”
The book is in a very readable format with chapters that deal with different themes and a set of questions for reflection at the end of each chapter.
“You can start anywhere in the book on any chapter and you can bounce around if you like,” she said. “Some of the chapters may speak to you at different times in your life, as you’re dealing with different things or experiencing different things. So the book is not written as a story from beginning to end. It’s a compilation of different themes.”
A chapter about learning to adapt to change and unpredictable circumstances refers to a time when she was working as a property manager, and her unexpected discovery when she went to an apartment to speak to a tenant. In a chapter about the courage of acceptance she receives a life lesson from a 12-year-old boy who has already experienced a lot of loss in his young life.
The book includes some personal experiences from her working and family life, including the birth of her first child in a chapter about facing fear and the death of her mother in a chapter about the new normal after a period of grief.
“I’ve learnt that this process makes you very vulnerable and humble and exposed, but every day I ask people to sit at this table and be vulnerable, or they are vulnerable, and through their stories I find wisdom and can help others,” she said. “So in some ways I owe that to my clients to put myself out there, to be brave and bold and courageous because they come in here and have to be brave and bold and courageous as they’re facing some of the most difficult and exciting moments of their lives.”
The book is dedicated to her mother. Carlson was inspired by her mother's life of dedication and kindness when she decided to write this book.
“My mom was grace,” she said. “She was an amazing lady who understood humans, she understood service, she understood kindness and giving in all ways, even in her death. ... My life was graced by my mom, my inspiration absolutely as a parent, as a caregiver, as a leader in the community, as a lawyer, it all comes from my roots, from my parents, and clearly from my mom.”
She held a private book launch for family and friends on Sept. 27. The book is available for sale at Pharmasave in Swift Current, at the Nimegeers Carlson Law Firm and on Amazon.
“I haven’t planned to do a public book launch, but maybe I should,” she said. “The other piece of the book is that I will be doing speaking tours and speaking engagements. I have a couple booked already in the province for provincial associations. I’m working at some national pieces as well. So for different people that are looking for motivational speaker, that will be something that will go along with this as well.”
She is working with her publisher on another project and she has ideas for future publications.
“I don’t have anything written yet, but I have a couple of other books that I’m thinking of,” she said. “I want to hear some of the reaction to this book to see what people find fascinating, what triggers things for people, what makes people emotional, because I think that if this book can be helpful then maybe I have more stories.”

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Matthew Liebenberg