now browsing by author


Let’s Talk Podcasting…

Let’s talk about podcasts…

“Podcasting is a free service that allows Internet users to pull audio files (typically MP3s) from a podcasting Web site to listen to on their computers or personal digital audio players. The term comes from a combination of the words iPod (a personal digital audio player made by Apple) and broadcasting.”

Free is a questionable word because there is a cost to put a podcast together beginning with a computer or High-End Smart Phone.  However, to record it and get the listener or viewership to build your audience, you will pay for a service where you will upload your file for anyone to listen to.

Here at, we take all the guesswork out of the equipment, recording, or posting software/sites.  We do not charge a subscription fee however, our podcasters pay a modest fee to share their platforms.  As the producer and office manager, I am here to help you become the voice of your podcast (email me at

Our promotion platform is based on networking. can create and place the social media to distribute your show, but you must network and get your message out too.  We set up webpages for each client and it is up to each one to share their links and encourage their friends, family, and business acquaintances to share their voice too.

from Kristi Horner Founder and Executive Director – Courage to Caregivers

In lieu of yesterday’s distressing events in our Nation’s capital, we’re finding it hard to focus on this month’s theme – Dream BIG, and our weekly topic – creating our personal timeline.

None of us will forget where we were, who we were with, and how we (continue to) process these tragic events for our country – much like we won’t forget where we were as 9/11 unfolded. Perhaps this is how it fits with our personal timeline? THIS – these events – yesterday/today are now a part of all our timelines.

We’ve never shied away from hard conversations or hard topics, yet, after what feels like some of our hardest days – weeks – months and almost a year – here we are – more HARD.

It strikes me how much pain there is in the world. We were never promised a life without pain. Yet, so much pain? I know as caregivers, we often ask ourselves the same question.

I’m doing my best NOT to turn on the news. It’s almost too much to bear witness to. Trust me, I’m not living in a fantasy world where I believe we are or should be all the same, sharing the same values and beliefs and understanding. I actually believe all of our differences are what makes life’s journey – our stories – so much richer.

I’m also doing my best to not judge. I have witnessed so much judgment – self-judgment and judgment of others.

Let’s for just this moment, first, take a long, deep, cleansing breath together. Then, let’s not judge – let’s pray or offer our hearts and thoughts – and pray for more kindness and love and less hate. Let’s also send up our hearts and souls that those living with so much pain can find a way to let go of that pain, find a way to heal and move forward in peace.

I also know that offering thoughts and prayers feel small right now, and often does. When things feel out of control, I am reminded to focus on what is in my control.

Right now, what IS in my control are my values – including kindness, compassion, love – and how I live my values. How I choose to tell my story – and I choose hope. I am only one person, yet, history has shown that one person CAN make a difference. It starts with us.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” – Karen Mass

We all have a story. Your story is your journey, with all the bumps and stops and detours.

As we look at our personal timelines, our stories – how can we bring and find HOPE from our own stories – and those of others?

Having a personal VISION for yourself – how you see your life unfolding – how you navigate the twists and turns of your life – begins with your values.

What is important to you? What is on your moral compass that guides your decision-making?

Having clarity – 20/20 vision – of what you hope to achieve and accomplish in your lifetime is essential to navigating the ups and downs that life throws at us.

When you have a clear vision – you are able to …

… tackle hard decisions more easily

… maintain a healthy perspective when things get hard

… stay focused on where you are going – keeping your eye on the prize – your ability to dream BIG!

“Make your vision so clear that your fears become irrelevant.” – Unknown

Remember … COURAGE is the antidote to fear.

SO, muster up ALL the courage you can – and create that VISION for your life where your fears are irrelevant.

Amidst all the complicated emotions we have these hard days … don’t forget it all starts with you, so don’t forget to take care of YOU, too.

Sent in peace with love,

Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers


Have you ever felt like your age hindered you?  Maybe you were too young, too old, or looked too young or too old!  As children we can’t wait to grow up but even as children we never seem to be the right age at the right time for whatever is we are trying to achieve.  We can’t wait to be teens, being a teenager comes with some grown-up rights of passage, including driving and often dating!  And of course, other events attempt to identify us with a number, called age.

I remember being in my mid-twenties and yet not “old enough” to have the experience that I needed to move onward and upward, yet I now know that was my inadequacies speaking.  I owe this realization to the strong women in my life beginning with my mother (who I never acknowledged as being my SHeroe.)  But most recently Barbara Rose Brooker has become my mentor, friend, sister, and SHeroe teaching me that I, like you, are enough.

On March 20, 2021, I will celebrate AGEMARCH with Barbara and the following she has created to AGE MAGNIFICENTLY, to be the person I am and intend to be.  I will not make excuses for who I was and the path I followed to get to where I am today.  My birthday is a day to celebrate my being and to continue the path to living magnificently.  Do not judge me for my age, the color of my skin, whether I am tall or short, rich or poor, but take a moment to see me as a reflection of yourself as we come together and celebrate the opportunities for all of us.

Go to and join today!


BE Happy!
BE You!
Don’t BE ME, I’m Already Taken!
Find Your Inner Glow and let it Flow…

Make Choices!
Follow the fork in the Road and Challenge Yourself
Learn from Mistakes
Turn Mistakes into opportunities…

Forgive yourself and accept others for their uniqueness
Remember being the SAME can BE Boring but BEING SIMILAR – well that is another story…

Find purpose!
Do not let others diminish your dreams!
Your success belongs only to you and you are the one that identifies it…

Who said you CAN’T?
STOP listening to that inner voice that pushes you off the ledge,
You can make decisions… (don’t be told differently.)

Be kind to others even when they are not kind to you,
Meanness is ugly and you are not,
You are the sunshine, and your rays are warm embraces…

Life is not predictable!

We do not enter this life with any guarantees, we must create the footsteps that will take us from birth to death,

Do not waste your time, live it!

When obstacles show up on your path, approach them, and turn them into positive energy.
No one is obstacle-free – when necessary ask for help,
Asking for help will make you STRONGER, HEALTHIER, and EMOTIONALLY HAPPY!

Take that first step, age is not a barrier, you can change your thoughts from sad to pleasing to JOYFUL! 

We all have an expiration date, so find yourself before…


transforming darkness into light Kristi Horner 12_23_20

With this being the week of the winter solstice, it’s fitting that our topic is transforming darkness into light. The solstice means there’s nothing but longer days ahead, and the darkest days are behind us. We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but I think we may be getting that metaphor wrong. I think WE are the light.

We’ve all survived a lot this year. We’ve faced fears and found courage. We’ve experienced pain and found ways to cope. We’ve fallen down and gotten right back up, perhaps many times. In other words, we’ve faced the darkest times, and we’ve been able to turn them into light. This is also called resilience, and it’s something to CELEBRATE.

So, congratulations! Not only have you survived the winter solstice and 2020, but you’ve also done many hard things throughout the year to make your own light. Many of those things were probably unexpected, and you may not have even known you were capable of doing them. Perhaps you found your “why” this year – your motivation for your healing journey and personal growth.

Yet, I know that during difficult times, it can be hard to keep the darkness from overwhelming our thoughts. For me, it literally feels like I’m drowning and can’t get enough air sometimes. I know it’s OK to not be OK, but still, it’s not a place where I want to set up camp, so I try to recognize when I need help. I don’t want to spend days, weeks, or months without seeing a way out of the darkness.

If you feel overwhelmed by the darkness, don’t try to “get over it” alone. Reach out to friends, family, or anyone in your support group. Is there someone in your life who truly inspires you, who brings light to you, who always seems to know just what you need? Or, there are many 24/7 crisis hotlines that are always available – such as, in Cleveland, the Crisis Hotline at 216-623-6888 or United Way Cleveland’s 211 Help Center – or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Remember, you’re NEVER alone. The holiday season is time to celebrate, and at Courage to Caregivers, we’re celebrating YOUR resilience … your ability to turn darkness into light and to do hard things every day. And we know we can do the next hard thing, too. We’ve got this!

Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers

This Holiday Season Kristi Horner

This holiday season certainly is different in many ways. Due to the pandemic, many of us are doing things differently by minimalizing our activities, staying home, and celebrating with smaller groups of people.

But as families and caregivers supporting those we love living with mental illness, we’re no strangers to “different.” And we know that “different” doesn’t mean “bad.” It can also mean opportunities and possibilities.

Much of my inspiration for this week’s commentary came from this article on planning for success in the pandemic version of the holidays. I think it hits the mark on how many of us are feeling about this holiday season:

“The social isolation, uncertainty about employment, income, health and the health of Covid vulnerable people you love has posed a unique challenge for us all. It is completely understandable for you to have some apprehension about the upcoming holidays.”

“So, instead of talking about the typical mental health messages to use self-care and recalibrate expectations, I recommend that you take a different approach. You need to assume that things will be difficult and that there will be some casualties, kind of like a battle between the Holidays as we used to know them and the Pandemic version of the holidays. You need to learn from the approach the Navy Seals and successful survivors of difficult, painful and dangerous events employ. In short, you need to be prepared to deal with difficult things, knowing that it will be difficult, and make the measure of success your ability to get through with your mental health and physical health intact.”

The article lists five ways to be resilient and thrive during difficult times:

  • View the current pandemic (and any difficult situation) as a challenge to be mastered and an opportunity for something to be gained.
  • Reframe stress as something that is inevitable, that occurs every day, and is desirable.
  • Set your goal on living your life with moral integrity, and assume that it will take effort.
  • Analyze what went well and why, instead of focusing on what was disappointing or upsetting.
  • Focus on service to others.

The article also says, “Start telling yourself that the 2020 Holidays are a time to clarify what really matters about the holidays and to figure out how to honor those important values of family, worship, community or charity. These do not require holiday parties, lots of gifts or large gatherings to fulfill. You will need to get creative to express the holiday spirit pandemic-style.”

In other words, this “different” holiday season is no different from other challenges we face during our lives. It’s also an opportunity, full of possibility and HOPE, to be creative, to honor our values, and to celebrate those we love.

Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers

Memories fill my mind and inspire me…

It’s the first Day of Chanukah- although last evening was the first Night

It’s hard to explain but it’s how we celebrate as Jews

TRADITION is the word of the Day to make this weird system, OK!

So on the first NIGHT we lit candle #1 but we actually lit two

Confusing at it may all seems there is a rhythm to this scene!

As my mother would sing, “Oh Chanukah, Oh Chanukah, come light the Menorah…”

We three kids, Gary, Joel, and I, gathered around for the potato latkes and gifts!

A latke is a potato pancake fried until it’s golden crisp and yet mine never gets that crispy like my momma’s or Baube’s.

Latkes with applesauce or sour cream were such a delight (still is) and waiting with bated breath for a wrapped gift was supreme.

I don’t remember what my brothers used to get but I knew if I got a new coloring book on Night #1 – crayons or colored pencils would be on Night #2.

The gifts we received were modest at best, do you remember getting a magic slate?

We played dreidel for fun spinning it to see who would win, and often getting a history lesson on Nes, Gadol, Hayah, Sham – “a great miracle happened there,” referring to the miracle of the holiday.

It was a time for family, and each night another miracle would occur as my parent’s always found a way to get us gifts that would make us smile and enjoy.

Even when we unwrapped a package with underwear, we would smile and say thank you, it’s just what I wanted!

The simplicity of this holiday in our home are memories I will hold on to forever.  And the reason we had two lit candles last night, and tonight we will have three is because one is called the Shamash, you light this candle, and this candle lights the others each night for 8 nights.

Oh Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah
Come light the menorah
Let’s have a party
We’ll all dance the hora
Gather ’round the table
We’ll give you a treat
Sivivon to play with and latkes to eat

And while we are playing
The candles are burning low
One for each night, they shed a sweet light
to remind us of days long ago
One for each night, they shed a sweet light
to remind us of days long ago.

Also published on Medium

Check out My Blogs on Medium – We ARE NOT JUST CLEVELAND


**Check out other blogs at





Courage to Caregivers_Kristi Horner

As we begin a new month, our new theme is spirituality, and this week, our focus is on a Higher Power.

I consider myself a woman of strong faith, and I use my faith and spirituality in my caregiving journey every day. I rely on my Higher Power to love and support me through anything … whether it’s a traumatic accident, a disaster, the challenges of being a good caregiver, or just life. And when I “let go” of all the things that I think I am supposed to be – the outside expectations of perfection, other people’s definitions of success, and the notion that I’m not good enough – I am able to recognize that I DO MATTER, and my God loves me just as I am.

Yet, at Courage to Caregivers, we realize that everyone’s journey to find and connect with their Higher Power is an intensely personal one. That’s why we don’t focus on one definition of a Higher Power in our work. We invite our participants, who come from ALL faith experiences, to find, rely on, and connect with THEIR Higher Power. We understand that a Higher Power can be different things to different people. It can be a religious deity, a spiritual power that guides your choices and decisions, the power of nature and the cycle of life and survival, or the power of a like-minded group that supplies support and guidance.

For me, connecting to my Higher Power has been part of my quest for greater meaning, understanding, and clarity of purpose. I’m continually reframing my relationship with my Higher Power, and it starts with the belief that there is something at work in my life that is far greater than just me. I believe that sometimes you have to allow yourself to be guided by something bigger than you. I also believe that we meet every person for a reason. I do not believe in coincidence.

And when I think of connecting with a Higher Power, I know it can happen in all kinds of ways, including prayer, mindfulness, connecting with nature, journaling, exercising, meditating, helping others, or therapy. If you’re still searching, just be open-minded, listen to your own internal voice, and keep searching.

The concept of a Higher Power really starts with YOU.

Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers

PS: Interested in pre-ordering our NEW custom 2021 journal? Email Kristi to get on the list – so we don’t run out!

Courage to Caregivers_Kristi Horner 11/23/20

The second year of Courage to Caregivers’ programming has been one of the most challenging and most fulfilling I can remember.

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis can’t be understated, not only for our caregivers but for our staff as well. Without hesitation, I can say that the uncertainty and fear amidst COVID-19 have increased the request for services to support mental illness caregivers exponentially. 

Now, more than ever, it is essential to connect and support caregivers. Before the pandemic, one in five Americans were living with mental illness. Now, the cases have increased by anywhere from two to four times. More than 34% of Americans say they now live with anxiety or depression. How does that impact caregivers? The stress of caregiving is literally taking an average of a decade off life expectancy.

Courage to Caregivers is here to help. 

Our goal is always to be in the caregiver burnout prevention business. How have we responded to COVID?

  • In March 2020, we moved all of our programs to a virtual platform. We are now serving more caregivers than ever!
  • We’ve added a third day to our service offerings, supporting caregivers no matter where they live, including Pennsylvania, New York, South Carolina, New Jersey, Utah, Colorado, Texas, California and Delaware.
  • We saw a decrease in the stress of caregiving in our one-year pilot of our Breathing Meditation program by 48% on average, and a 36% reduction of stress in our Support Groups.

As we push toward the end of the year, we have a few organizational milestones we are excited to report. Earlier this month, we had a Summit for professional and family caregivers, called “Caring for the Caregiver: Illuminating HOPE in Uncertain Times with a Focus on Connectedness, Self-Care and Empowerment.” Also this month, we kicked off our first fundraiser, called “Illumination! 2020,” encouraging everyone who is involved with Courage to Caregivers — volunteers, staff, and donors — to be Illuminators in their communities. If you’re interested in joining us, please contact us via our website.

Why have we gone to such lengths to continue our programs? Because we KNOW they work:

Stephanie, who lives in South Carolina and is launching her own business, talks to her peer support volunteer on Mondays, attends breathing meditation and a support group on Wednesdays, and then looks forward to receiving her weekly email on Thursdays. “I have more than one avenue for support. While these programs are all new, it’s nice to know others have similar struggles.”

Our programs also help people like Sally every single day:

“COVID has been a challenge — there’s more to fuel my loved one’s anxiety that was already there… My direct caregiving has increased. It’s been hard to find any programs for my loved ones or at-home caregivers during this time. The burden falls on me. I work full-time and am a full-time caregiver, therapist, cook and maid.

I look forward to the Courage to Caregivers programs every week. Getting together with others with similar stories to mine helps with my ability to cope. We’re all in this together! We share ideas. There’s not a single time I don’t take away something that I use later.”

Our goal is to empower caregivers with the tools they need so they can provide support without burnout. Our solutions include One-to-One Caregiver Peer Support, Breathing Meditation classes and Support Groups.

But we can’t continue to do this critical work without you. 

Help me celebrate the important role that caregivers play, during National Caregivers Month in November, by committing to support Courage to Caregivers now!

Supporting our programs is easy. All you need to do is visit our website and donate there (no fees).

And, if you have more questions about Courage to Caregivers, I’d be more than happy to discuss our programs, program sponsorships or the services that we offer at your convenience. You can email me. I will respond to you personally.

Thanks again for the way YOU illuminate HOPE for caregivers everywhere!


Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers