Saturday, December 27, 2008

Start the New Year Write....

I believe all of us have important things to put into words. Start the New Year off right by learning to put feelings and thoughts into words for others to enjoy or benefit from in an important way.

Ten reasons to join me at The Children's Writers' Coaching Club.
  1. It is easy to join... just click the matching icon on the right side of this blog
  2. It is fun
  3. You will make new and talented friends your very first day
  4. You will watch yourself grow as a writer reaching others with your words
  5. You will get encouragement and support
  6. You will learn new skills to market yourself as a writer
  7. You will learn new ways to produce informational products in your area of interest
  8. You have access to a professional coach and mentor
  9. You will expand on your abilities and hone your skills
  10. It is flexible and fits into your schedule easily

And one more reason.... from experience, this is more information and education regarding writing for children, query letters, fiction, non-fiction, book writing and writing for magazines and the business of writing then any other course for less money. A small monthly membership gets you weekly assignments, critiques, tele-classes, a writing coach, and so much more.

Whether you want to journal about an illness or you want to write travel logs, whether you want to write business brochures or children's stories... Coach Suzanne Lieurance offers several clubs and classes to meet your needs.

Check out the websites for coach Suzanne Lieurance and see what I mean.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas blessings.....hiding in sadness.....?

I don't know why death seems more painful during the holiday season, but anyone who has lost a loved one right before or after a holiday knows what I mean. But can a blessing be hiding in the pain? I wonder.

I want to share with you the blessing one of our favorite patients gave us on Christmas day. For some, the pain of his death may not be seen as a blessing, but for us who knew him it could be called no other.

I will call him Manny ( I have changed his name to protect his privacy). Manny was born with sick lungs and has been in and out of the hospital for his 10 or so years in critical condition and on a ventilator for much of his admissions. He was skinny but oh so smart, and he loved his mom with a passion you could feel just by the look in his eyes. When he couldn't talk because of the breathing machine, he would write notes and most of what he had to say were questions about his mom and how she was doing.

He has been in our unit for several weeks and on the breathing machine all of that time but he could still communicate with notes, mouthing words around the breathing tube, or by nodding his head. Manny wanted to give his mom a Christmas present. He had something special in mind but it took our saint of a social worker to figure it out. She purchased a cross necklace for Manny to give his mom this Christmas. On Monday she brought it in to show him and his approval was appreciated by the staff by the sparkle in his eye. You could feel his excitement.

Tuesday Manny was improving enough to get the breathing tube out and to use a high pressure oxygen mask instead. On Wednesday, Christmas Eve, he was getting tired but was still so excited to give his mom the Christmas gift.

Manny and his mom shared a wonderful Christmas Eve opening first his gifts from her and finally her gift from him. We were all thrilled that he was breathing okay and we hoped this would be a turn for the better and a happy New Year for this family.

In the early morning hours of Christmas day, Manny got worse. His breathing was labored and it was a struggle for him to stay awake. Manny made the brave decision to refuse to have the breathing tube put back in reassuring both his mom and the staff that this was God's plan. He passed away mid- morning on Christmas day with his mom proudly wearing his gift and holding his hand.

This special young man blessed us all with his grace, his bravery, and his smile. He helped us to let go and to be okay with it on the most special day of the year.

The nurses who cared for Manny on Christmas morning were blessed. The rest of us who have had the privileged of caring for him in the past are saddened, yet we all feel blessed as well. And his mom, in the midst of her sadness, left our unit knowing that we will remember Manny every Christmas from now on.... we will remember the brave young man with the big smile who thought more of others than himself. He will be missed.

Blessings for a happy 2009 even in the midst of sadness.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

How to tell kids they are sick.....

How do you tell your child he or she is very sick... sick with a serious disease which will require painful treatments, surgeries, and an uncertain outcome.

View the article at under the health topics for information on how to be honest and how children deal with the news when a parent must tell a child they are sick.

The article gives first hand information from parents of a 9 year old who must deal with bone cancer. Her parents, along with resources sited from the National Cancer Institute and The American society of Clinical Oncology stress the importance of honesty and truth telling.

View the article at

Check it out and let me know what you think. And thanks to a fellow writer for pointing out this valuable resource to me. Check out her blog at

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Honest Scrap Award.......

I was happy to be awarded The Honest Scrap award by children's author Donna McDine. It requires me to list 10 honest things I think or feel even if I have to dig deep to discover them.

  1. Visit Donna McDine at to read about this awesome children's author.

And here is my list of honest things: keep in mind I have a nurse's mind as well as a writer's way of thinking.

  1. The oldest sibling always feels responsible in the scheme of family, no matter what, but he or she would not change that God assigned rank for anything, including me.
  2. Christmas should be about the birth of Christ and it has turned into a huge over expectation of both behaviors, gifts, and commercialism, loosing the meaning at times.
  3. I still love Christmas.
  4. The truth is often painful, especially if the truth includes an ugly diagnosis, a poor prognosis, or when it involves end of life issues. No two people deal with these issues the same way. And there is no right or wrong, there is a healthy way and a not so healthy way.
  5. In my line of work, children die. It is sad, horrible, frightening, but real. Children get sick and die. The bright side to this are the resources and professionals out there who want to help families deal with the realities of life.
  6. I love what I do both in nursing and with my writing. I want to get better at both. And the truth is I want the writing to be lucrative as well as meaningful. And I do want to work from home. Is that so bad?
  7. I am blessed to be part of a writing group. These authors are extremely talented and offer honest critiques to improve each of us in our craft. It is honest, can be painfully honest, but we are improving. At least the others are improving, the jury is still out for me.
  8. Rejections hurt and the new author takes them personally. Rejections still hurt with the seasoned author, but the difference is the mature author just writes something else or sends the rejected manuscript out again. It is all part of the process. I still rank myself as new.
  9. Children are our most valued asset, and believe it or not, some adults don't realize that.
  10. Money is not everything, you can't take it with you, it doesn't buy friends, health, or family. The honest fact of the matter is though, we can not live without it. Happiness is finding a balance where money is not the center.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A New Blog ....On Hospice and Grief

I have another resource for those of you dealing with grief or have the burden of needing Hospice care for a loved one.
This blog is sponsored by The Hospice Foundation of America and has several links for good solid information for those in need.
I checked out several of the links, especially the one for children. It offers many articles regarding pediatric needs. It is worth a look.
Anytime you are dealing with a situation this devastating, it is always a blessing to find resources from reliable professionals and this site has several contributors who are qualified. The blog can be found at
You may also check out the website which is full of excellent information for families facing these dilemmas.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

After the Diagnosis...How to Look Out for Yourself or a Loved One

I was asked to be a judge for The Mom's Choice Awards and feel privileged to be part of this awesome responsibility. I was asked to look at several health related books and I will give a review of each of these from time to time on the blog.

After the Diagnosis...How to Look Out for Yourself or a Loved One

author - Donna L. Pikula, DDS, MS

ISBN -0-9768970-0-8
Publisher - Books 2 Help You, LLC

This book is especially helpful for adults when a diagnosis is made regardless of how serious the condition may be. It gives many terms, laboratory tests, x-rays, and expected outcomes for the adult. It gives good information on how to research the condition, on insurance details, and on questions to ask.

The book give ideas on keeping your medical information organized and on how to find the appropriate centers for the care you need or for the one you love.

All of the principles in the book are solid and informative. The book is a good resource as an initial source of information for the normally healthy adult who has been given an unexpected diagnosis and thrown into a spiral of terms and complex information. Most of what is in the book may be adapted to a parent with a child who has also been diagnosed, but other sources for pediatric care should be consulted.

The book provides some great insight and basic information useful to anyone with a medical issue. Check it out.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Christian resource for teens dealing with.......

I want to offer a Christian website for teens where they can read true life stories of other teens going through bad times.

The holiday is a time of family and happiness for most of us, but it can be a source of depression and heartache for others. Teens are also affected by the holidays, depression, and a sense of doom over the tough issues they face. Teens have a higher rate of suicide and cutting behaviors during what should be a joyous season.

Ignite you faith newsletter and website offers teens a positive solution and an abundance of resources for some of the tough issues that are facing them today. This month's newsletter has an article on a teen who did cutting and had some suicidal thoughts before she found Jesus and the difficult answers to the dilemmas being faced.

Check it and sign up for the free email newsletter.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Please read the following email which I received today.....

I am writing to ask if you would be willing in to include a link to our new website ( ) on your blog. This foundation was started in 2007 after my sister lost her eldest son, Ian, due to complications stemming from childhood leukemia. The purpose of the foundation is development of, and raising public awareness about, cutting-edge, targeted therapies for childhood cancer, so that the treatment of childhood cancer will be gentler and more tolerable Please feel free to contact me if you should have any questions about ICIC. Many thanks,

Laurie Beaty

I checked out the site and I was impressed. First, the facts about childhood cancer are accurate and frightening. It is appalling to me that so little money is going to funding research for childhood cancers in relation to adult cancers like breast cancer or lung cancer. Keep in mind that treatment is based on adult doses and adult results. Check out the site and click on the tabs for facts about childhood cancer and funding. Scroll through the site and see the pictures of Ian and others because it helps to put a face to the need for more research. We can all help.

Readers who have no experience with childhood cancer cannot fully realize what a child and a family go through when being treated for these diseases. When you read through the site, share it with others and the kids and teens you know. The idea that even one child or teen can help to change the way research is done for childhood cancers is huge. Maybe the readers here can get together and find ways to help.... Check it out and let me know what you think. Let's spread the word. What better way to share in the spirit of the holiday season.

Life is a jungle.....

Do you ever feel like life is a jungle and you can't find your way out? The roaring lion just keeps chasing you and you run, you plan your escape, you save your energies, and the lion just keeps chasing. You keep running and you feel like you get no where.

  1. I find that parents with a seriously ill child feel somewhat the same way. First they get side-swiped with a harsh diagnosis of which they were ill prepared. Then just when they feel that they have a handle on that and have some knowledge about how to deal with it, something else rears it's ugly head. Infection, another tumor, an organ rejection, a rare cancer from the long term organ rejection drugs, or something totally unrelated, like the fridge breaks down, or a flat tire.

Here are a few tips to get you back on track.

1. Take one step at a time. This may seem too simple, but you really can only deal with one thing or one minute or one task at a time. Pick the most important thing and deal with that first. Then the next and then the next.

2. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate. As the parent you must deal with the child first. Delegate anything else to others. Nothing else really matters. So let go of how clean the house is or if the laundry is done or if the garbage bill got paid. Give other tasks to those with the time and skills to handle the job. They want to help but don't know what to do, so ask them. It is a win win for everyone.

3. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst in any situation. If it is the fridge, hope it can be fixed, but prepare yourself for the need to buy a new one. If it is a more serious issue, like a diagnosis or treatment, hope and pray for the best, but be ready to face the not so best scenario. I don't mean to be doom and gloom here. But when parents face all possibilities, they seem to handle the stress much better than a parent who hides their head in the sand when a treatment doesn't work. Parents who are prepared for all possibilities, help to make the best of every moment and the child does better too.

4. Rest, eat, and drink plenty of water. When a child is ill, parents tend to take in too much caffeine, or smoke too much, and not rest or eat enough. If you become ill with exhaustion, you are not an effective support for your child. Rest when your child rests, and snack on fruits and fresh veggies. Drink ice water or flavored water rather than sodas or coffee from the machines. You will feel better and handle stress easier without the added stimulants.

Don't be the giraffe in the jungle unaware of the lion. Prepare yourself and take one step at a time to avoid the feeling of being chased into the black hole of no control. And know that with time, this too will pass.