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Author Cathy Gohlke Shares 5 Steps to Finding Belonging in Unlikely Places

Award-winning author Cathy Gohlke promotes her new historical fiction novel, Night Bird Calling, and discusses how you can find a sense of belonging in unlikely places.

We all long to belong, to become part of a community, of something greater than ourselves. But finding our niche in new circumstances, especially those unlikely places beyond our comfort zone, can challenge the most optimistic and determined among us.

Here are five steps that can help:

#1 Ask Questions

Ask questions to determine the vision or goal of the community in which you wish to participate. Brainstorm with others to identify what is needed, what might be missing, and ways to fulfill needs and accomplish steps toward reaching the group’s goal.

#2 Consider Your Own Gifts and Resources

Consider your own gifts and resources, what you can contribute to meeting the community’s needs. Participate personally while also helping others connect to meet needs or accomplish steps outside your expertise.

#3 Encourage

Encourage. Maintain an open heart, open hand, and listening ear but refrain from gossip. Endeavors in every community experience ups and downs, accomplishments and setbacks. Building the community inch by inch is key to moving forward. Cheerleading builds. Complaining, blaming, or gossiping undermines and destroys.

#4 Celebrate Achievements

Celebrate achievements. Mourn with those who mourn. Celebrating personal achievements, recognizing individuals and their accomplishments as well as those of the group as a whole validates everyone and helps pull a group together. Take time to sit with and grieve with those who are walking through hard things. Personally connecting, letting others know you care through words and actions helps build relationships. Celebrating achievements or grieving as a community comes naturally when we are personally invested in one another.

#5 Persist

Persist. Finding belonging and acceptance in new or unlikely circumstances does not happen overnight. There will be steps forward and steps backward in building personal relationships and the community as a whole, something like a dance. Dancing is not an innate skill. It requires focus and determination to learn the steps, follow or lead, and keep in time to the music with a partner or group. Once these things are learned, tedious lessons are forgotten and the joy of movement to music with others is uppermost.

Finding belonging in unlikely places requires stretching beyond our known comfort zones. It may mean we need to learn new skills, new ways of looking at life and the world around us, even at ourselves. But developing new relationships and broadening our horizons might be just the thing that brings us joy we’ve never known.

Official Synopsis of Night Bird Calling

Night Bird Calling Book Cover

From award-winning author Cathy Gohlke, whose novels have been called “haunting” (Library Journal on Saving Amelie) and “page-turning” (Francine Rivers on Secrets She Kept), comes a historical fiction story of courage and transformation set in rural Appalachia on the eve of WWII.
When Lilliana Swope’s beloved mother dies, Lilliana gathers her last ounce of courage and flees her abusive husband for the home of her only living relative in the foothills of No Creek, North Carolina. Though Hyacinth Belvidere hasn’t seen Lilliana since she was five, she offers her cherished great-niece a safe harbor. Their joyful reunion inspires plans to revive Aunt Hyacinth’s estate and open a public library where everyone is welcome, no matter the color of their skin.

Slowly Lilliana finds revival and friendship in No Creek—with precocious eleven-year-old Celia Percy, with kindhearted Reverend Jesse Willard, and with Ruby Lynne Wishon, a young woman whose secrets could destroy both them and the town. When the plans for the library also incite the wrath of the Klan, the dangers of Lilliana’s past and present threaten to topple her before she’s learned to stand.

With war brewing for the nation and for her newfound community, Lilliana must overcome a hard truth voiced by her young friend Celia: Wishing comes easy. Change don’t.

About the Author

Cathy Gohlke Author image

Four-time Christy and two-time Carol and INSPY Award-winning author Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons from history. Her stories reveal how people break the chains that bind them and triumph over adversity through faith. When not traveling to historic sites for research, she and her husband, Dan, divide their time between northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren.

Visit her website at cathygohlke.com and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks.

For more information on Night Bird Calling, and links to buy the book, go HERE.

Author Cathy Gohlke Shares 5 Steps to Finding Belonging in Unlikely Places; Pinterest image


By on January 5th, 2021

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