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THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF YOUR LIFE: Are You Ready? ~Maria Dancing Heart Hoaglund

importantThe Reverend Maria Dancing Heart Hoagland and I were ordained into the United Church of Christ ministry in the Pacific Northwest Conference at about the same time.  Maria was Martha then and married with a new baby. Her first church work was in the Northwestern part of the state and after several years of hoping I was called to the Southwestern part of the state and only occasionally would our paths cross.  Oh but it was a good experience when we met at retreats and conference functions.  Maria began working with Hospice in her part of the state and spent numerous years as a counselor and chaplain for that program.

It is through her work in the Hospice program that Maria began to change and find new directions to her calling.  Her work has grown as has her understanding of death and the transitions and stages which families discover when someone is dying.   Maria has made it her mission to assist us in understanding our role, our emotions and our planning for this important life transition.  She has developed strength and knowledge in her work of healing and recovery through energy work.

Often Maria has a refreshing perspective on the experience surrounding her and families involved in this transition.  Her first book THE LAST ADVENTURE OF LIFE is a workbook of stories, suggestions, poetry, readings and exercises that folks can read and do to understand the situation and the passage ahead.  I purchased the book at a men’s retreat I was participating in where we were exploring creativity in forgiveness, life’s adventures and transitions.  Maria shared a number of “pearls” and insights with the whole community.  It was a blessing, because just weeks later my Mother fell and fractured her spine at age 91 and I became the 24 hour caregiver for the next 3 years of her life.   I referred to THE LAST ADVENTURES OF LIFE so many times my book is wrinkled and worn.

Death is a difficult subject matter and yet the dying most often want to talk about this transition.  Children want to know more about death not only when a family member is gone, but also when they hear about accidents or a pet dies.  Children want to know about making choices, what to say or not to say to others and they want to know about the cycles of life and how autumn works.  They have lots of questions and lots to think about, which can open up a number of conversations within the community and individuals.  Maria’s books open the dialog and do not shut down the conversation rather they expand the communication possibilities.

I would like to see THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF YOUR LIFE and THE LAST ADVENTURE OF LIFE in every library within the community.   We live life by the narrative of our stories; we can end this journey with wonderful stories also.   I recommend Maria’s work to you and your community – what a special resource.

Maria Dancing Heart Hoagland was born in Japan to Lutheran American Missionaries. She lived in Washington State for a number of years and now practices her healing and energy work in Sedona, Arizona.

Maria sent me a copy of THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF YOUR LIFE for review.

Change With Courage Website
To Purchase The Last Adventure of Life
For more information about the books and healing workshops and sessions:
info@changewithcourage.com  or (928)284-4192 or (425) 367-9788

Related Reading:
The Long Goodbye
All Gone 
So Far Away
Son of a Gun 

12 Responses to “THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF YOUR LIFE: Are You Ready? ~Maria Dancing Heart Hoaglund”

  1. Talon Says:

    Both books sound like amazing reads, Patricia. Yes, death is a subject we only broach at funerals and, as it’s linked completely to each and every one of us, it needs to see the light of day.

    Patricia Reply:

    I believe these books will open up some good conversations – things that need to be said.

    Dr. Christianne Northrup says she picked a theme for her memorial service, planned it, funded it, and let everyone know. Another good recommendation.

  2. Terrill Welch Says:

    I agree with Talon – both books do sound amazing! What an outstanding resource to humanity. I am so glad these came to you and they are now shared with your readers. Now, I think I just might slip over to the website. All the best of the week ahead Patricia :)
    Terrill Welch recently posted..New Release – August Morning Reef Bay landscape paintingMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    I used her first book a great deal and the suggestions are wonderful, the stories helpful.

    Using aroma therapy was so helpful for the painful moments for my own mother. So many things allowed her to release and not worry or try to control her dying process – it did become more joyful.

  3. Terrill Welch Says:

    P.S. full set of 3 books ordered. Your recommendation Patricia is just to good to let this slip away. Now, I have mail coming… la, la, la

    Patricia Reply:

    Yay! for mail….and do let me know how you feel about what the books say to you after their arrival!

  4. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    I agree with both Talon and Terrill – both of these books sounds like treasures and I’ve added them to my nonfiction reading list. I’ve always said:

    “It’s not until we are fully ready to die that we are ready to fully live.” — Laurie Buchanan
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted..Stonehenge MushroomsMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Before we had the first book, my mother and I planned her 90th birthday party and almost everyone she wanted to came to that event. – Her siblings for sure!

    When she knew she was leaving, she decided that she wanted her memorial service to be just as her birthday party had been – she loved that she knew what others would say and the poems that they would write and read – ah that was just right!

    Letting go is a freedom to live fully

  5. Sara Says:


    While dealing with death a difficult subject, these books sound very helpful. It’s important to have a dialogue about death and not make it some hidden away, secret, dark subject. It sounds your friend is putting light on the subject of death while also serving as a guide for preparing.

    Thanks for sharing this book with us:~)
    Sara recently posted..Visiting the SickMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    You are welcome Sara,
    A local friend told be about what her 4 sister accomplished when their parents were getting very senior and needing care. They went on retreat together with a mediator and worked out what they would do and how they would talk to their parents and how they would divide up the caring and post death responsibilities. It was a hard conversation, but it allowed them not to fight and to switch to talking to eat other and thus opening up their parents to let them have their own dying experience that made them feel strong and loved.

    I was so impressed with the outcome and as a result they are extremely close as sisters that one can imagine and they risked deeply with each other and their love just shines through.

  6. Sam Juliano Says:

    Wow! An up-close personal connection with this author and her work! This is one of the most appealing (and vital) of all the books you have showcased Patricia, and I am most interested in it for a number of reasons. It is of course so true that this is one of the most difficult of subjects, and it is always tough to discuss it with children. The author’s work in hospice no doubt brought her to special insights and the ability to understand and convey to others how to deal with the final chapter.

    Patricia Reply:

    Maria is a very special person and having grown up in Japan I believe also gave her some special insights.
    I have appreciated her books during the years of my mother’s dying process and I was amazed that at 94 my mother was asking me questions that I needed help with finding answers. I have always been impressed by how freely people are dying talk about things – and how vitally important listening to what they say is important.
    So many people keep children away and do not discuss death and dying with the kids at the present moment. It is truly an important event/moment for all involved and the conversation need not be so hidden
    Thank you for the shout out
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