Book Reviews

 

Into The Mist, Journey Into Dementia by Kathleen Beard, WestBow Press, 2011

April 30, 2011 by Betty Wells, Abiding Life Ministries International www.abidinglife.com.
This book allows us to journey along with the author as her husband deteriorated through four years of dementia. Taking selected journal entries as a springboard, the author writes each chapter, each snippet of a part of her life, as though painting the events with love, awe, horror, joy, fear, or whatever the occasion warranted, but mostly Ms. Beard communicates well the wonder and majesty of walking with such a GREAT GOD.  With a mixture of Scriptural or other quotes and stream-of-consciousness understanding, we get to participate in a Christian pilgrim’s walk through new territory, the backdrop of which was her husband’s condition, and be reminded of how greatly God uses such things in our growth. The beauty of the book is that the truths she confronted and absorbed are the ones taught to everyone who lumbers through these going-deeper-into-Christ trials, the death-to-self experiences, things we already knew but had to learn on a whole new level.  In other words, people who have already learned some spiritual truths the hard way (dare we say it is the only way? I think so) will rejoice in and relate to what she wrote; it is not just a book for people whose loved ones have (or had) dementia; it is for every believer who knows that deep and lasting spiritual growth occurs in the crucibles, no matter in what form they come to us.
The book can be ordered at www.intothemistbook.com
Quote: Page 44, last paragraph:
“All of these things—my need for peace and then the surrendering of that peace to situations, the ‘rest’ of God—were teachings I had always believed but were now being made real in my experience. I never for a minute suspected that I was so filled with unbelief, even while I had taught these things to others for many years. It surprised me to learn how many times I succumbed to unbelief instead of rest. Worry is unbelief. Fear is unbelief. But I had a right to worry, didn’t I? My life was coming undone, my husband was fading away, everything I had believed and trusted was being tested to the limit. So, didn’t I have a right to times of worry and fear? Apparently not, according to God’s economy. Again and again, the questions were raised in my mind: Is it true, or is it not? Do I really believe it, or do I not? I had to choose again and again to believe—to trust—no matter my circumstances, no matter my emotions. I must choose to trust and to rest, even when there is no reason left to do so.”
Pros: A very interesting and easy read, almost always engaging. Toward the end I found myself hoping for a sequel about how the Lord had led her to minister the truths now carved in her heart to ladies in Honduras and elsewhere, just because she is likable and a fairly good narrator. She does not fail to communicate all the gratitude she felt to God and others as she navigated the course through her ordeal.
Cons: Some of the book is so detailed it is more of a personal tribute and family memoir, but that is neither the overall tone of the book nor the part of the book that will last in the memory of other readers. It seems like whenever I started thinking we got to know her family or surroundings a little too well in this book, all of a sudden a spiritual nugget unfolded that would’ve been easier to ignore had not the buildup of the hardships she was going through been so delineated. In other words, when we have to plod through the mundane details of life with her, we are nearly as thrilled as she when a spiritual truth rocks her world!

Westbow Press
A Division of Thomas Nelson
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
EDITORS: For review copies or interview requests, contact:
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Tel: 866-928-1240
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Dementia Leaves Caregiver with Questions for God
Candid new account addresses the struggles one woman faced and shares wisdom gained
PRESCOTT, AZ – Readers are invited on a journey of coping with the stresses and obstacles of losing a loved one to the haze and confusion of dementia and how one woman’s faith in God plays a crucial role in keeping her grounded in Into The Mist: Journey Into Dementia (published by WestBow Press), the inspirational new nonfiction by Kathleen Beard.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia accounts for an estimated 50 to 60 percent of the approximately 5.4 million cases of Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. About five to eight percent of all Americans over age of 65 have some form of dementia, and this number doubles every five years. It is estimated that as many as half of people in their 80s suffer from dementia. With statistics like these, it’s evident that most of us will be affected by dementia in some form at some point in life, and millions of spouses and family members will become caregivers to loved ones afflicted with the disease.
Into The Mist is Beard’s intimate, personal account of watching her husband of 23 years lose his health, vibrancy and personality to dementia and how she struggled to cope with not just the physical challenges his condition presented externally, but the internal emotional and spiritual battles she fought. A devout Christian, Beard found herself questioning God and wavering in her faith. By fearlessly sharing her conflicts, her ultimate path to a stronger, more fulfilling relationship with Jesus Christ is revealed.
Ideal for caregivers struggling with their own commitment to God in the face of such a devastating illness, Into The Mist is culled from four year’s worth of Beard’s journals and emerges as a practical guide to spiritual and emotional healing. Rather than follow a strict beginning, middle and end approach, Beard’s philosophy is instead one of looking at life and faith as a continuous walk that always offers new insight. With its conversational style, candid detail and uplifting affirmations, Into The Mist sets itself apart and presents a much-needed approach to coping with dementia.
About the Author
Kathleen Beard has been leading Bible studies for women and young people for nearly 20 years and has spoken at retreats and conferences in the United States and Honduras. In 1992, she founded the Intercessors for Prescott prayer group and has been active in numerous ministries throughout the years, helping many women through her mentoring work in the US, Honduras and Israel. Beard is currently available for speaking engagements at women’s conferences and ministries. Into The Mist is her first book.
WestBow Press is a strategic self-publishing alliance of Thomas Nelson, the world’s premier Christian publisher, and Author Solutions, Inc. (ASI)—the world leader in the fastest-growing segment of publishing. For more information, visit www.westbowpress.com.
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19th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

Author: Kathleen Beard

Title: Into the Mist: Journey Into Dementia

Category: Inspirational

Judge: 26

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “poor” and 5 meaning “excellent,” please evaluate the following:

Structure and organization:  5

Grammar:  5

Production quality and cover design:  5

Judge’s commentary:

What did you like best about this book?

The writing is rich with this author’s insights and her understanding of the concepts of collective and individual spirituality, and with her compassion for the human experience with all of its inevitable ups and downs as lived by everyday people. The author conveys practical advice and suggestions while always keeping at the forefront the wonder of making oneself vulnerable through the act of opening the heart and the mind. An inspiring work in showing how to develop strength of character by presenting knowledge in a readable fashion. The selections of fables that illustrate her points engage the reader with a heartfelt message.

How can the author improve this book?

The parts of the book that involves memories or stories involving people or specific incidents would benefit here from the addition of some description of the people involved in the series of incidents being presented by the author. This intro description can give the reader a sense of the appearance of the person so that the written reference to the person resonates more clearly with the reader, allowing readers to “see” these people and better understand what is happening to them, imbuing their appearance in the book with more dimension, so as to best fix them in the reader’s mind.


Nikki Hahn, Book Reviewer
“Such a simple truth; such a profound thing I was learning: Jesus in me will do it all. He will take the insults and the pain. I need only to turn to Him immediately, and release it to Him. How often He would prove this to me from then on. Jesus will field it; He will run interference between the dark place of my thoughts and me. This is all new to me. One step at a time, Lord, one step at a time.” – Kathleen Beard, Into The Mist: Journey Into Dementia, Pg. 22
Notably, this book review has a bias. Kathleen Beard has become a good friend. There’s a strong sense of God’s presence when one is around her, and recently she’s become quite an influence in my life. When I agreed to review the book I hoped the writing would sustain itself because I don’t give bad reviews to friends. It is well written. Into The Mist: Journey Into Dementia brought me to the brink of tears.
I didn’t know what to expect as I sat down to read a book that I couldn’t relate to on a personal level (none of my family members ever had Dementia or Alzheimer’s). Instead, I discovered a book that becomes a love story between Kathy and Jesus. It’s a story about struggling to hold onto faith in the storm of intense trial. She writes transparently of her struggles with her husband, John. She takes pieces of her personal journal written during the time of John’s onset with Dementia and fills in the blanks. Kathleen weaves world events into some chapters to help create a sense of time and place. Her love of Israel becomes apparent, and the deeper you get into the book the more you see how God has been working a plan in her life all along.
Throughout history, many great servants of God ended up feeling they failed in their calling; they are despondent, because they haven’t experienced the promise God made to them. All they can see is failure. And now they’re crushed, wounded in spirit. They think, Lord, has all this been in vain? Did I hear the wrong voice? Have I been deceived? Has my mission ended up in ruins? Capturing what my own heart was crying, Wilkerson goes on to encourage the saints who find themselves in this precipice of faltering faith, reminding us that it is the devil lying to us, telling us that all we’ve done is in vain, that we’ll never see the fulfillment of expectations.” (Pg. 40)
God kept sending encouragement to Kathy in the form of Bible verses, during prayer and other truly amazing events that will help bring God out of the box that we put Him in into a reality that we can embrace. Her faith grows through each challenge as she slowly learns to trust Jesus even when she doesn’t understand all the whys. Scripture liberally laces each chapter. Each chapter becomes a Bible Study all it’s own with references from Oswald Chambers, David Wilkerson, and Mike Wells. She refers to Dementia as a second person indwelling a person.
Jesus, you have brought down this house of cards. It is all lying here in a rubble. You have begun a good work here, a work the enemy would dearly love to destroy before it ever gets off the ground. You allowed me to see how much I still need you to do it all. There is yet more to tear down of all these things. Please finish what You have begun for Your names sake. Amen.” (Journal Entry 10/05; pg. 27)
In walking in her footsteps, I couldn’t help but wonder how I would feel should I ever have to experience this and I can’t imagine it. I can’t even think about it. In reading of her experiences, it brings to mind how awful and wonderful it is to pray to die to self. To the poignant end, she lifts us up and through her actions shows God’s glory. I put the book aside and thought about how amazing this woman is and how lucky our church is to have her in its congregation to disciple and minister to others.
Nicole Hahn, Nicole Hahn’s Journal; www.thehuntinglodge.com; www.thewritelife2.wordpress.com

Hi Kathy! I’m so excited to have your book! I didn’t even open it unitl I could spend some time reading it and before I knew it I had read 35 pages! I love your genuineness as you narrate how you were processing the changes in John. I’m so sorry I didn’t really meet him until the disease had made it’s appearance! Can’t wait to read more!
Lorri C.

Kathy,
Your book arrived 2 days ago – I’m halfway through already!! dogearing pages that were ‘meant’ for me….for other issues than dementia….although the insight from the Lord that Alzheimers only affects the mind, it doesn’t affect the SPIRIT….that really encouraged me as I reflect on my mom’s situation. (She died on Thanksgiving … approximately 15 years of dementia/alzheimers …just like her mother before her… and her grandmother too !) I learned alot more about enjoying my mom even with her dementia after we moved back here 5 years ago …. wish I had known more to help you…. but it’s a struggle no matter how much you know…. hard not to take personally the hurful things they say and do…. and hard to feel like somehow it’s your own fault. LOVING YOUR BOOK – (I’ve been reading my favorite parts to Dennis :-) …… you have become an excellent writer – not the same kind of writing as the long emails you used to send me. This is very literary – great stuff, full of emotion, and phrases that create scenes in the mind. You’ve obviously had some great tutors, and of course the Lord (duh!).God is going to use your book as an encourgement to many, if not hundreds of thousands for years and years to come. You’re an amazing woman, (but then I’ve been telling you that for years) ….I knew it from the first time we had coffee together – seems like a bazillion years ago.
Love you
Gwyn

Hi, Kathy.  Splendid, transparent, upbeat writing of your journey of abiding with the Lord.  Couldn’t put it down Wed. night.  Since then, I’ve made myself do my Beth Moore homework prior to picking up The Book.  I need to obtain another copy–so many walking that journey need to walk the spiritual growth journey with you & your book.
Katy S.

Kathy,
When your book arrived, I wanted to start reading it immediately but forced myself to wait until I had finished two other books I had already started.  When I was finally able to pick up your book, I was immediately transported back in time to 1981 when my “journey into the mist”  began with the onset of my husband’s mysterious illness and symptoms.  I read your book slowly, a few chapters each night before going to sleep, accompanying you on your rollercoaster pathway through the dark unknown course of dementia…reflecting, comparing, and reminiscing each step of the way.  So many times, I found myself saying almost audibly, “Yes, I know, Kathy, I know.”   Although the underlying disease process was different, as were the circumstances of our lives, the journey process and residual emotions were eerily similar.  And, though painful and even sad at times to relive some of the darkest days of my life through memories evoked from reading your book, I was also reminded once again of God’s overwhelming mercy and grace as He became our faithful Provider and Protector, an adoring Father to my two very small daughters, and my loving Husband during our twenty-two year journey with Gray’s illness.  The spiritual insights, scriptures, and nuggets of Truth woven throughout your beautifully told personal story were such a blessing to me, and, I am sure, will be to many other caretakers, family members, and friends who have walked or are currently walking through the uncharted waters of dementia with a loved one. Kathy, congratulations on your outstanding book.  You are a gifted writer and storyteller. I will cherish my copy of your book with the personal inscription and will recommend your book to others who might benefit from reading your story.
In His love,
Kathy J.

INTO THE MIST provides emotional and spiritual help for caregivers and families of dementia victims because it provides the insight of one who has “been there.” Having experienced the devastating mental deterioration of her middle-aged husband, Ms. Beard is well equipped to explain the emotional ‘ups and downs’ of family life with dementia. This book journals her experiences during the progression of her husband’s mental deterioration. The reader experiences her struggles along with her. Ms. Beard shows us how to find things to enjoy in our ever-changing relationship with our dementia afflicted loved one. She reveals her daily hopes and fears, letting us observe her very personal faith in Jesus Christ and how HE led her and loved her through this dark time. This true story is stark reality; there is no sugar coating. We join her in all her emotions: anger and acceptance, fear and faith, devastation and devotion, helplessness and hope, exhaustion and exhilaration, guilt and glory. I wish INTO THE MIST had been available to me during my journey INTO THE MIST with my mother’s dementia.
Book Lady (Amazon.com)

Dear Kathy,
I am slowly reading through your book.  I have to take it slow so I can digest it.  I have to re-read it often, so I can try and grasp the truths you are sharing.  At times, I am so sad, sometimes I
am crying, but all the time I am picturing you and John and remembering some of
the things that I am reading, as you shared them in person with me/us. The spiritual truths are so good.  It takes lots of re-reading to try and plant them in my heart and mind.  Your book is such a blessing…I feel that in some small way, I am back in your Bible study classes and just soaking up your teachings. I am so grateful to God that you had so many family and good friends surrounding you all through this time of trial.  God was and is so good to have blessed you in that way.
I love reading (your book) and seeing the people and the places in my mind.  But it also makes me sad, as I/we miss you all there so much.  My prayer is always – for His glory and our good.
Much love, Millie

Hello, Kathy!
I woke the other morning, very early, just worried and restless….and went to the living room sofa to read while it was still dark. I opened your book, and was…so uplifted. I know that is an odd word choice, as you write so movingly and honestly of this most difficult and painful time. But
your honesty, your voice, your faith journey…truly spoke to a place in my heart that morning.
Today I was able to watch the DVD (of your talk at Decorah Covenant Talk), at Eunice’s. I had her pause the DVD several times, and hand me paper and pencil, so that I could jot notes that I want to consider further and reflect upon. While your journey and challenge speak to me — I have several close friends, and my mother who is 90, who live at quite a distance from me. Their heart for their journeys will also be impacted by your teaching and sharing. I would like to have a copy of the DVD, if I might. Again ~ I appreciate so very much your response to God’s direction, to share the spoils
– the nuggets — with us,
God’s blessings and rest and respite this summer!
Kris, Decorah IA 52101

Nickie,
Thank you so much for sharing Into The Mist with me. At first, I wasn’t sure I was ready to read it but what a blessing! Kathleen Beards’ journey and mine are so parallel it is like looking into a mirror. The revelation that the Spirit does not get dementia was truly a God sent. Like, Kathleen, God has sent many beautiful people inot my life as my earthly support team and you, my friend, are among them.
Nataleen

 

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