Chicken Soup for the Springfield Soul

Chicken Soup for the Soul Family Caregivers full book cover

Here is the story behind my story in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers – Kathleen H. Wheeler

Chicken Soup for the Soul inspirational book series responsible for bringing two Springfield, Illinois writers together as friends and contributing authors in new Family Caregivers release.

Ladle up a double bowl of chicken soup with a distinct Springfield flavor courtesy of local authors Kathleen H. Wheeler and Jean Ferratier. Both of these central Illinois writers have stories featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers to be released on March 13, 2012. The newest title in the inspirational book series includes 101 stories of love, sacrifice and bonding as support and encouragement to family members caring for loved ones with chronic and life-threatening illnesses.

It is more than just a coincidence that Wheeler and Ferratier are featured together in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers. The inspirational book series is actually responsible for bringing these two authors together in the first place. Wheeler introduced herself to Ferratier after learning about her publication in Think Positive through the local newspaper.

“Jean and I share common interests and life experiences, and I felt certain she was someone I needed to get to know better,” says Wheeler. “We were both caregivers for mothers afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, and we both felt it was necessary to write about the life-changing lessons we learned from that experience. I contacted Jean through LinkedIn, and our relationship progressed naturally from that point.”

After corresponding and sharing advice, the two stayed in touch, eventually met, and attended an author lecture together. When a call for entries in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers went out, Ferratier urged Wheeler to submit a story for consideration along with hers.

Fortunately, stories from both Ferratier and Wheeler were selected for inclusion in the book, and the two friends are thrilled to share the spotlight together as featured authors in the same publication.

Wheeler’s story is called “Changing My Expectations” and details a nursing home visit on her mother’s seventy-fifth birthday, providing an honest depiction of end-stage Alzheimer’s disease and the coping strategies required to deal with the reality of this heartbreaking illness. The account is an excerpt from her soon-to-be-published book about a family’s voyage of discovery towards reconciliation through the treacherous landscape of dementia caregiving with a musical twist.

“It is a special honor for this particular story to be featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul,” notes Wheeler. “As it turned out, my mother died only two short months after the real-life birthday visit that is described in my story. At the time, I had no idea the end was so near. I used to read Chicken Soup for the Soul to my mother when I visited her, so it seems appropriate for her story to be included in this book series.”

Written by Ferratier, “Dry Her Tears” describes the challenge of taking care of her adult daughter after a serious work injury and how the difficult experience brought her family closer together during a time of crisis. Another one of Ferratier’s stories, “Childhood Delights,” is included in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive and discusses a separate experience as an Alzheimer’s caregiver.

“My ex-husband Louis and I were brought closer together by the duties we shared taking care of our daughter,” explains Ferratier. “He was supportive of my efforts to tell our story and excited that others would get to read it. Unfortunately, Louis recently passed away before seeing our finished version in print. This narrative survives as a tribute to his life and devotion to our daughter.”

The public is invited to a book signing scheduled at the Springfield Barnes & Noble on Saturday, March 24, 2012 from 2 to 4 p.m. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers will be available for purchase at the store, and both authors will read excerpts and sign copies of their stories. Visitors to Barnes & Noble will also be able to register for a chance to win a Chicken Soup for the Family Soul game or a Chicken Soup for the Soul 2012 wall calendar during the book signing.

About Kathleen H. Wheeler: Wheeler lives in Springfield and works as a marketing communications coordinator for Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc. She is a freelance writer and blogger who has been published regionally in newspapers, trade journals, and academic publications. Currently she works toward the publication of her first book. Contact her through her website at

Jean FerratierAbout Jean Ferratier: Ferratier is a Springfield resident, Reiki practitioner, and Archetypal/ Spiritual Coach.  With more than 18 years experience as a kindergarten teacher, Jean’s passion is learning and sharing information through inspirational stories. Her most recent work, Reading Symbolic Signs: How to Connect the Dots of Your Spiritual Life, will soon be released as an E-book. Contact her through her blog, or email her at

Chicken Soup for the Soul logoAbout Chicken Soup for the Soul: Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC, publishes all the latest titles in the famous Chicken Soup for the Soul® book series, which are distributed through Simon & Schuster, Inc. Since 1993, books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series have sold over 112 million copies, with titles translated into over 40 languages. In 2007, “USA Today” named Chicken Soup for the Soul one of the five most memorable and impactful books in the last quarter century. For more information, visit

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