Located alongside the Sacramento River is a modest town with a grandiose heart; a town that once brought positive affirmations to a little girl is now bringing affirmations to the world.
For Trish Gustafson-Ayala, life in Grimes was enchanting and with the recent release of her children’s book, that childhood can live on.
“I had a great childhood, and I didn’t realize that I used the words and statements in my book because I was always smiling and happy as a child,” said Gustafson-Ayala. “But don’t get me wrong. I have had struggles and still use these words every single day.”
The book, I am, What I am, is 48 pages of affirmations that connect with the beautiful soul that lives within us all, whether an infant or an adult, said Gustafson-Ayala.
Gustafson-Ayala hopes that children will read the book and have the affirmations engrained in their lives, leaving them to realize they can overcome other things later in life a lot more easily.
“There aren’t many affirmation books out there for children,” said Gustafson-Ayala. “Most of the books give affirmations in indirect ways. It was something I saw was a need.”
Gustafson-Ayala believes that if you start with the younger children, it becomes a philosophy.
“When we are children we don’t know any different; we already believe that we can do anything. A child doesn’t know that they cannot walk yet; they fall and get right back up. This book is written with that same kind of philosophy,” said Gustafson-Ayala.
When life gets hard, Gustafson-Ayala stated that the power to recognize your situation and realize you can get through it is priceless.
“When self-doubt kicks in, just remember ‘I am’ and don’t use words ‘I want’ or ‘I wish,’ but see it as already happening and believe it. If you believe it enough, you can do anything,” said Gustafson-Ayala. “In the midst of a storm, you’ll go to the eye and just breathe. You can then find the good in the situation. Surrender. Know that ‘I am where I am supposed to be.’ If there a reason it doesn’t look that good, there is a reason I am here.”
The inspiration for the book came from her children.
“I used to tell my kids affirmations on their way to school. One day I thought, a children’s affirmation book would be cool to have. So they could always look to, and refer to it, and know that’s who they were,” said Gustafson-Ayala.
Three years ago, Gustafson-Ayala sat down and decided to make her book dream come true, but only one line appeared. Then one day she sat down and completed the book.
“Everything came together in two and a half hours. I thought, Okay, this is a God thing, it was supposed to happen,” Gustafson-Ayala said with enthusiasm. “It came to be because I believe that people need to remember and affirm of who we are and what we are made. We also need to know that we are capable and equipped to do everything as long as we look from within — and to remember that God is always there.”
Gustafson-Ayala added that her book has a simple, easy-to-follow approach.
“I started with ‘I am’ and then choose things that I thought were important,” she said.
Gustafson-Ayala said her book could be read from a mother’s perspective, or any caregiver’s perspective, as well as from the child’s.
The artwork for the book was created by “678 Art Street,” an after school art program in Esparto, California.
“I presented my draft book to them, and they wanted to create the artwork for it,” said Gustafson-Ayala. “The students selected the pages they wanted to illustrate and helped put the finishing touches on my book.”
The self-published author used the publishing site blurb.com.
“The process was pretty easy,” said Gustafson-Ayala, who is already working on a second book.
As for the students who’ve created the art, Gustafson-Ayala commented that she has set up a special account to include a portion of the proceeds of the book to be distributed to the students at a later date.
Following the release of her book, Caffeinated owner Carolee Ornbaun was delighted to host a book signing event Saturday, Sept. 10 at 8:00 AM. Caffeinated is located at 538 Market Street in Downtown Colusa.
Books will be available for purchase during the Sept. 10 event, and can be found on Amazon.com or blurb.com. ■