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Inspiration all around the table

I get my writing and life inspiration from such a randomly wide variety of places…something that’s pretty darn obvious if you read my blog on a regular basis.

A recent and ongoing dose of inspiration for me has been Carol McManus. She’s the Queen of Reinvention…having gone through so many life transitions including marriage, 5 kids, divorce, bankruptcy, owning very successful childcare centers, opening a very successful restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard, Espresso Love…and now writing a book.

Total transparency here, I’m working with Carol as a consultant, creating an online presence and her blog to help her spread the word about her book, Table Talk Cookbook: Food, Family, Love – which is a beautiful (seriously) cookbook with a mission: to get families back to the table, and to get them there with real food. But, I wanted to write this post because: 1) I love the book, we cook from it all the time, 2) My work with her is a case study example of the topics I discuss on this blog, and 3) I’m a sucker for Teresa Morrow’s blog book tours – of which this post is part.

In our process of creating Carol’s blog and Twitter presence (among other things), my admiration for her has gone way beyond the facts of her reinvention – and she’s been handed some hard, sour, lemons – she’ll be the first to tell you. What really stirs me up? Her attitude, her ability to try new things and her passion for helping others, for sharing.


They tell you it’s everything and it is. I’m not trying to say that Carol doesn’t get in bad moods…one of her posts documents a yearlong, bedridden depression. But, even when things get hard and I’m asking her to do something out of her element, she says things like, “I can do this, right? It’s just going to take me some time.” And then, a day or a week or months later, she laughs, “Remember when I didn’t know how to cut and paste on the computer? Now I’m blogging!” She gets a kick out of it. She amazes and delights herself. When randomly fantastic things happen to her, she asks me, “I’m lucky, aren’t I?” I always say yes…but know that her attitude (and hard work) is contagious and plays a big role.

New things

Carol is not old – I’m quite sure that she has more energy than me. But, she is a grandma and of the generation that cringes at computers. That’s what she did the first time we met. But she believed in the process and so she jumped in – well, it was more like she did a cannonball. Now she’s addicted to blogging and Twitter – she tells everyone about them. And it’s paying off. She was recently featured in the Boston Globe, on NPR and CBN (where she might become a regular, so add TV personality to the list).

Helping others & sharing

You’ve heard me say a jillion times how important it is that you be yourself when you blog and engage in social media. Carol understood right away that to reach her goal of getting people back to the dining table, she had to reveal her own story – the struggles and the highlights. She wanted to connect with people so that they could have someone real to relate to, to talk to, to laugh with. (Yes, Deb, I know those are dangling prepositions.)

She told me that the other night, as she was working, she had this urge to tweet, “Never, ever give up.” Instantly, someone tweeted back, ‘Thank you. You have no idea how much I needed to hear that right now.” When she told me the story, she said, “I don’t even know why I wrote that, I just felt this urge – in my gut…and look what happened, I actually helped someone…isn’t that amazing?”

Yes, Carol…and so are you. Keep it up!

I strongly recommend that you buy Carol’s cookbook – and no, she is not paying me to say that! We honestly love it…and it’s a stunning slice of the Vineyard.

If you want to read some other posts that folks are dishing up about Carol and the Table Talk Cook book, check out this one from Tuesday, Jan. 13 and this one due to post Thursday, Jan. 15.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • How could I know that you get me. What a wonderful post!
    Everything you said is true, but when you write about my life, it even sounds better.

    Thank you for being my mentor.

  • --Deb says:

    You may end sentences with prepositions as much as you like, so long as it’s obvious to what they are referring (grin).

    I totally agree about the Table Talk cookbook. Mom and I picked up a copy last October when Carol was signing copies here in NJ ( So far, everything we’ve tried has been delicious.

    And, of course, my mother has been a fan of Carol’s Blueberry Scones for years. She–meaning my mother–is famous for loving them. (Really, ask Carol if she remembers when I placed an order for Mom’s Valentine’s Day birthday.) I had a copy of the recipe already from some MV magazine or other, years ago, but it’s in this book and is alone worth the price of admission. One of these days I’ll manage to have berries and cream cheese in the house at the same time so I can make those Presidential Muffins, too …

    Come to think of it, wouldn’t that be appropriate this weekend?? What with, you know, the new President on Tuesday?

  • Julie Roads says:

    Do it Deb…go for it! Thanks for being such an incredible contributor…you have no idea how much it means to me!

  • --Deb says:

    Well, I WOULD, but do you know how expensive fresh berries are this time of year?? (Although, probably less here in NJ than they are on Martha’s Vineyard …) Frozen berries just aren’t the same.

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