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lessons from a midlife exodus
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does a good God allow hard journeys?

All About "Gone for Good"

When Karen Sjoblom felt called to return to her Midwest birthplace after decades elsewhere, she anticipated exciting possibilities following her only child’s college departure. Instead, she found herself on an unexpected pilgrimage, slogging through past trauma, family fractures, and rigid expectations. Reaching the end of herself, she was no longer willing to run away from a broken past, nor able to perform her way into a perfect future. Working backward to go forward, she systematically revisited her story, realizing she’d have to trudge that desert of pain fully if she wanted to reach her own promised land.

Mirroring the biblical story of the Exodus in which the Israelites were delivered out of Egypt—a place familiar but enslaving—the reflections in Gone For Good illumine the unique losses, lies, and failings we can stumble on, especially at midlife. But the healing and wisdom gained from staying with the lessons until the lessons are learned allow us to walk in authentic freedom from what’s been into what might be.

Sjoblom poignantly captures the exhilaration of new beginnings, the longing for what’s left behind, the grief over our wandering years, and the truths and practice required to navigate out of our respective “Egypts.” With an ever-deepening faith and the banged-up joy that comes from second chances, she shares the remarkable redemption that awaits us on the other sides of our deserts: Trusting God’s character toward us, unchaining ourselves from our pasts, experiencing the peace that lies just past forgiveness, and knowing we’re never too old to experience a life-changing journey.

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It's been a long road since I called home from college, sobbing, about the very strong likelihood of having flunked the entrance exam to journalism school. But somehow I passed, got my start in medical and non-profit work, and continued to focus on writing about more technical topics. A life-changing encounter with a dear friend gave me the opportunity to try some "heart writing" and I was hooked: After years of hearing the echoes of my editing teacher chiding me to cut more words, I was pleasantly shocked to learn people actually wanted to hear some longer-winded thoughts. 


Over an award-winning, 38-year career, I've worked with clients like American Express, Air Life of Oregon, Blue Cross Blue Shield, channelBOOST, Dames & Moore Environmental, Les Turner ALS Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Providence Health Care, Scottsdale Institute, Standard Insurance, Thermo Fisher Scientific and many more. In addition to two full-length manuscripts, I've published two short books on parenting, part of New Leaf Press' Mom2Mom series, and one patient and family handbook on living with Lou Gehrig's disease as well as editing several books from multiple authors. Additionally, alongside a good friend I co-founded and ran for nine years Eve's Daughters, a non-profit for single moms and their kids outside of Portland, Oregon.

At this age and stage, I'm most interested in matters of faith, resilience, and re-creation while maintaining as much good humor as I can muster around this ridiculous aging process. Also: Trying to not take myself nearly as seriously for the last portion of my life. My heart's desire is to help others see the beauty of their scars and stories--to remind them where they came from, to point out the remarkable paradox that is the redemption of their wounds, and to get excited about where they're headed next. 

now available

Gone for Good

7 Reasons to Be Grateful You're the Mother of a Toddler


7 Reasons to Be Grateful You're a Single Mom

My Books
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what people are saying

The authenticity and relatability of Karen’s journey greet those of us wandering in this midlife wilderness like front-porch coffee with a favorite friend. In her transparency, we feel seen, and in her stories of struggle and grace, we find ourselves a little less alone. This book is a beautiful gift to all of us who have taken an unexpected detour in this pilgrimage toward home. There’s no substitute for the encouragement of honest laughter and the life-giving strength of wise words, and Karen’s story offers both in equal measure. 

—Dr. Amy Linnemann, Pastor, Ohio Chapel United Methodist Church, and Director, Beloved Bags, a nonprofit serving children, families and community professionals around foster care

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