Friday, November 6, 2009

Welcome Jean Reagan

Welcome to Jean Reagan, author of Always My Brother. Here is a post directly from her about grief and how writing became an important part of the healing. Please feel free to comment or share your own experiences with grief and writing.


When my 19-year old son John died of a drug overdose, I was emotionally paralyzed. All the layers of hope for his recovery instantly vanished, yet still lingered in my mind and heart. I knew I should journal, but the task seemed overwhelming. At the same time I worried I would forget critical thoughts and memories if I didn’t write them down.

I’m a list-maker by nature, so I came up with a strategy that worked for me. Initially, all I required of myself was to list headings on the top of journal pages. Then, when I had the emotional strength to write, I tackled the heading that seemed most manageable. I could dabble or dig deep. And, with these topics, I could always trigger memories I feared I would forget.

Here’re some of my topic headings:

Words and advice that haunt me.
The first time I held John.
Telling our daughter about John’s death.
Specific memories of his laughter, his gentleness.
Relief from worry—really?
Scanning crowds for his face.

Eventually many of these emotional truths made it into of my children’s book about sibling loss, ALWAYS MY BROTHER. (Tilbury House Publishers, June 2009)

One unexpected joy I experienced in writing this story was that I could “rewind” John’s life to a younger and healthy period before he was tortured by drug addiction. For more information about the story behind the book, visit www.jeanreagan.com.

Thanks Jean for this valuable inspiration. The book is beautiful and your words will touch many.
________________________________

Monday, November 2, 2009

Join me for a blog tour....right here NOV 7th

I am so happy to be able to participate in the virtual blog tour for


  • author Jean Reagan . She has written a beautiful picture book
  • about the grief children feel with the death of a sibling. She will
  • post about journaling and how important it is to write about how

you feel.

Always My Brother Tour


Nov. 1 — Welcome from Tilbury House - http://bit.ly/354orJ

Nov. 2 — Griefcase - http://griefcase.blogspot.com/

Nov. 3 — Author Jean Reagan's website — http://www.jeanreagan.com/Blog_tour.htm

Nov. 4 — Healing the Grieving Heart - http://www.voiceamericapd.com/health/010157/horsley081309.mp3

Nov. 5 — Grief Speaks - www.griefspeaks.com

Nov. 6 — Chronicles of an Infant Bibliophile - http://infantbibliophile.blogspot.com/

Nov. 7 — heartfeltwords4kids - http://heartfeltwords4kids.blogspot.com/

Nov. 8 — I Did Not Know What to Say - http://ididnotknowwhattosay.com/

Nov. 9 — Moziesme - http://moziesme.blogspot.com/

Nov. 10 — Anastasia Suen - http://asuen.wordpress.com/

Nov. 11 – Maw Books -http://blog.mawbooks.com/

Nov. 12 — Author Emily Wing Smith - http://www.emilywingsmith.com/

Nov. 13 — Bri Meets Books - http://www.brimeetsbooks.com


Blog Comment Prizes


We will draw 7 lucky winners from all of those who leave comments on the participating tour posts (Nov.1-13) to win one of the following prizes:


- A copy of Always My Brother signed by author Jean Reagan (5 available)*- A set of 10 winter notecards with art by illustrator Phyllis Pollema-Cahill (2 available)


* Winners are welcome to designate a grief center, school, or library to receive their signed copy in their place.All winners will be announced after the tour. US/Canada addresses only, please.


Twitter PrizeEveryone that tweets about the tour using the hashtag #AlwaysTour from

November 1-13 will be entered to win a set of three children's books from Tilbury House — your choice! Winners will be announced after the tour, US/Canada addresses only, please.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

H1N1 ....what is a mom to do?



Winter is coming. I have to say that although fall is a beautiful time of year, I feel this year it has been dampened with unseasonably cold and rainy weather and WORRIES about the flu.

What is a mom to do? Do we give our kids the vaccines and hope for the best, or don't and still hope for the best?

  • Follow these tips to make the right decision for your family.
  • Educate yourself. Read all that you can find from reliable sources. Utilize the Center for Disease control website at www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu
  • Practice good hand-washing, good oral hygiene, and cough into your sleeve.
  • Stay home when you are ill or if your children are ill to avoid exposing others
  • Eat healthy, drink plenty of water, and continue to exercise.
  • Take a daily vitamin and make sure your children take one as well.
  • Discuss the need for vaccinations with your family physician and get them when available

To Vaccinate or Not to vaccinate is a personal choice. The recommendations are for your safety and health but you alone must decide what is best for your family. Following the other tips to keep healthy will ensure that you have done your part in keeping your family well.

Happy Fall... Happy Flu season. May we all avoid it this season.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Book Review- A New Book On Grief



The Journey Through Grief and Loss

Helping Yourself and Your Child When Grief Is Shared

Author: Robert Zucker, M.A. L.C.S.W.

ISBN: 13:978-0-312-37414-3

St. Martin's Griffin- Publisher

  • I am always looking for a good resource for both adults and children on the subject of dealing with grief and The Journey Through Grief and Loss...Helping Yourself and Your Child When Grief Is Shared is just such a resource.

  • First, it clearly describes grief as a journey for both you and your child.

  • Second, it gives excellent examples of what occurs in the weeks and months after the death of a loved one.

  • Finally, it describes other aspects of what a family feels and realistic steps to deal with the losses in clear and meaningful ways.

This book is a great resource for families who are grieving. The best part of the book for me was the explanations regarding how children grieve and just how death affects children. I think sometimes we think kids are resilient and don't dwell on the pain, but it clearly can affect a child in many ways. Families dealing with the losses together make the pain much easier to experience.

Check out the book if you or someone you know is suffering the loss of a loved one. It offers the sensitivity and compassion necessary for those who are grieving. Visit the author's website at www.robertzucker.com for more information or www.amazon.com or your local book store to purchase your copy. It is one of those books that is timeless and all of us will need it someday.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The flu..oh no


Flu or Cold… What are the symptoms?


The flu season is upon us. Preparation and prevention go a long way to keeping the flu bug at bay but some of us will still come down with a bug. Here are a few differences to compare when deciding whether you or your child has the flu or a cold.

Flu symptoms include the following:


  • Fever on and off for 3-5 days

  • Sudden and severe headache

  • Aches and pains in joints and muscles

  • Extreme exhaustion

  • Sneezing only sometimes

  • Sore throat sometimes

  • Chest discomfort and cough are common

Cold symptoms include the following:



  • Fever is rare and usually low grade

  • Headaches are mild

  • Aching is mild

  • Extreme exhaustion- never

  • Stuffy nose-common

  • Sneezing –common

  • Sore throat-common

  • Chest discomfort and cough are common and usually the cough is a mild hacking type

Prevention is the single most helpful thing families can do to ward off the flu. Flu vaccines are available and should be considered. Hand washing and using hand sanitizer is a must for the prevention of illness of any kind and children should be taught at an early age how to wash hand properly. Staying home, resting, and drinking plenty of fluids will help ease the sypmtoms. Seek medical care immediately if your child has a change in mental status or suddenly appears more ill.


These tips won't keep the bug from hitting, but they may ease the pain. Cough into a tissue, cover your nose when you sneeze, and always, always wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer.


When all else fails, go to bed and rest. Staying home and getting the rest you need keeps those bugs from spreading and helps quicken your recovery time.


Here's to keeping to healthy.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Book Review.. A Guide to Children & Grief



I have found a wonderful guide for parents who are grieving and who have children who are grieving as well.

It is an inexpensive E-Book by Miri Rossitto and can be purchased at this website..... www.ValleyofLife.com

This small book is full of helpful tips for helping yourself and others, especially children, make the way through the sadness and back into the light of living. It is a great resource for parents, teachers, friends, relatives, and anyone needing a helping hand to find the words or actions to be there for someone you care about in this sad time.

The book includes things like What to do, What to say, and What not to do. Miri Rossitto speaks and writes from her own grief at loosing her mother. She offers insight and professional resources along with her own words to assist families in dealing with grief.

Children feel grief and may express it differently. That is why it is so important for others to recognize their need and to be there. This helpful resource will give you the tools necessary to begin the healing. A great resource.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Emergency Room or Urgent Care?

Emergency Room

or

Urgent Care........... Parents sometimes have difficulty deciding whether or not the symptoms their child or family member is experiencing should be treated now. It can be a dilemma as to whether to wait for the doctor's office to open, to go to an urgent care clinic, or to go to the emergency room. Here are a few tips to help you decide.


Life threatening issues should be seen in a hospital emergency room.

These include:

  • apparent heart attack or stroke
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding
  • loss of consciousness
  • seizures
  • severe multiple injuries
  • open fractures
  • chest pain
  • partial or total limb amputations
  • trauma or injury to the head
  • sudden onset of dizziness
  • severe abdominal pain

Things that may require medical attention but not immediately life threatening can be seen in an urgent care facility or ambulatory care clinic. Some issues may wait until the physician's office opens in the morning as well.

Illnesses that can be handled in an urgent care facility or clinic are:

  • skin rashes and itching
  • sunburn
  • runny nose, cough
  • sinus trouble
  • earache or sore throat
  • neck or back pain
  • fever
  • sprains
  • puncture wounds
  • tetanus shot
  • small cuts needing stitches
  • pain when urinating

Remember that any illness or symptom that affects the airway, breathing, or heart and circulation is an emergent issue and should be handled in an emergency room.

These tips should make it easier to decide where to take your child in the case of illness or pain. When in doubt, always error on the side of caution and seek treatment.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Another nurse blogging.... check it out.


I have discovered a blog by another nurse who specializes in children with emotional and behavioral issues. Sometimes kids with these problems are often misunderstood, and I found it refreshing to see someone with knowledge offering parents some advice.
  • The symptoms and behaviors of children with ADHD, depression, and other mental illnesses cause the same stress as a child with cancer or special need. The answers for parents are even more difficult to find and often support for parents and kids dealing with these issues is absent.
Check out the blog of Lori Kloc RN for posts on chicken pox, ADHD, and medications. Several of the posts I read were very helpful in understanding some of the medications and side-effects. The blog can be reached at http://parentinganursesobservation.blogspot.com Read her past posts for some great information or to make a comment. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Suggested websites for children with physical challenges



It can be daunting trying to find reliable resources for parents looking for services for their child when the child may have physical challenges or disabilities. Sometimes the hospitals and local resources are extremely helpful, but I have found that after the initial diagnosis and treatment, long term support may fade or disappear altogether.

Here are a couple of web sites for resources that have been recommended by an author friend.

Check out the sites and see if they might have any links you find helpful, then email me if you have found them useful. If you have other resources please feel free to share them.

1). National Library Service For the Blind & Physically Handicapped http://www.loc.gov/nls/ This is a free lending library for the disabled. Books for all ages in braille or on tape. It's incredible.

2) Joni & Friends is a Christian organization with offices all over. http://www.joniandfriends.org/

3) REACH of Dallas - might be able to point you to some resources. http://www.reachcils.org/home/dallas.php4

Anytime a resource is helpful to you in your situation, rest assured that it may help someone else too.

Check out author J Aday Kennedy and her website at www.jadaykennedy.com She is a published author with much success while living with physical challenges. She is an inspiration for all of us to be our best no matter what challenges life has thrown our way, and she is a blessing to all who read her work.

Monday, July 20, 2009

When an apple a day doesn't cut it......



  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away, or says the line from a well known children's poem.

The fact is, it is not the truth.

For many parents the reality is that no amount of medicine, apples or otherwise, will make their child better. Nothing stops the endless stream of doctors, appointments, medicines, treatments, nursing care, or pain of a critical illness or terminal disease state. So how do you help those parents?

First, lend a listening ear. Words from you will most likely not be of much comfort, yet just listening to their fears and angst will be of some support.

Second, offer your time. Make a meal, run an errand, clean their house, mow the lawn, or take the other kids out for a fun day away from the stress. Don't ask, because most parents will refuse not wanting to burden or impose. Just do it. Relieving parents under this type of stress of just one daily chore or concern is of monumental help even if they can't verbalize it at the time.

Finally, organize church members and neighbors to raise funds for the family or for the research associations related to the disease. Honor the family by donations of money to the medical cause or funds to pay the bills, or to help cover the costs of transportation and meals away from home. Brainstorm with others to find a tangible way to show you care, and believe me, even 25 dollars helps a family when a child has lengthy hospital stays and medical bills.

When a cure is not possible or when a special needs child is under a lengthy plan of treatment, small tangible efforts for the parents and child make a difference. The reward is how good it will make you feel to do for others. Try it and let me know what kinds of things you find to do and I will pass them along.

Together, we can make an impact in some small way.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Follow me here and check out my new author blog as well.



Graduation is a time for new beginnings. That doesn't mean you forget your old life or that you don't continue to do some of your favorite things from your past, but more that you start fresh doing other things you love. Your follow your passion.

  • I feel like I am graduating to a tiny step higher on the writing ladder. I have started another blog geared to my writing interests and to those who are as passionate about writing for kids as I am.

I will continue this wonderful blog and use it for what I designed it for .... to be of service to parents and kids dealing with loss, terminal illnesses, and long term disabilities. I will continue to give book reviews, offer resources, and insight into what might help a person deal with these tough issues.

However, I am graduating to a new place to follow my passion for writing for children. At this new blog at http://terri-forehand.blogspot.com I will be offering my journey in the writing arena. I hope to show insight into what it takes as a newbie in the world of writing and to connect new writers with resources and ideas, topics of interest, and an exposure to some of the ideas I have that I want to develop. It will be a learning experience for me and hopefully one for the reader. It will be a journey like none other... I have wanted to be a writer for more than thirty years, dabbling in it for at least that long.

Please read this blog for the health related topics you need and the encouragement and resources it takes to deal with tough issues. But follow the new blog for the fun and information I hope it will offer to those who dream of writing something important someday.

Parents looking for a pediatric skilled nursing agency to help with your special needs child, check out Loving Care Agency. It has several offices on the East coast, three in the Midwest, and have offices in Arizona as well. The website can give you more specific areas of location and an idea of the services they offer. Check it out at http://www.lovingcareagency.com/

Looking forward to serving the readers at both blogs. May we reach our dreams together, whatever they may be.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Special Needs Children....

Parenting Special Needs children is a challenge. As a nurse, some of those challenges I understand, but some of them I most likely cannot easily identify because I am not the parent of one of these kids.

As a Writer, I want to identify and define some of those challenges and clearly relate them to the reader.... so here is my plan. I will research and investigate, I will pull information from the many resources available to me as a clinical manager of pediatric special needs kids, and I will ask questions.....


But, who do I ask? Do I get the information from the professionals who have book smarts, clinical experience, and an objective view of how things should be for these kids? Do I find parents willing to share their stories so I can understand? How about I ask some of the kids what it is like to be thought of as special or different?

The more I want to help these kids and these parents, the more I realize I still need to learn. But most importantly, I have discovered that there is a need for more information for
  • parents
  • family members
  • neighbors
  • physicians
  • caregivers
  • children

So I will start on my journey of discovery. If anyone has information they would like to share with me, please feel free to help me to understand what parents need, what these kids need, what can be done to make life a little better. As a nurse, I want to do something to make a difference....anyone have thoughts on where to begin besides turning our heads the other way and pretending special needs kids don' t need us.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July......



Happy 4th of July.

I pray for a safe and happy holiday for you all. Whatever your circumstances, take a moment today to remember those fighting for our freedom, and for those who have served and now come home to deal with pain, injuries, and adjustment to civilian life.


We do appreciate you and we do value our freedom. Thank you for all you have done to protect us from harm. It is because of those who serve that we can cook out, celebrate with fireworks and enjoy family and friends.



Watch for a new blog for writers coming soon and more helpful information here for parents caring for special needs children. Until then, Have a peaceful and glorious holiday.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer time fun.....


Summer time is a time for fun, but with the economy and maybe the health of your child in question fun might have to be redefined. And that is okay.


Fun can be simple and cheap. I have fun just watching my grandchildren do the everyday things that I call chores.... things like planting the garden and feeding the alpacas. It is different for them and they are having fun too.


Find simple and cheap things to enjoy with your children and grandchildren. Mold the activities to match the physical abilities of the children and look for simple things like a walk in the woods, digging in the sand at the beach, or making things with paper, glitter, and glue in the shade of a tree.


Make homemade Popsicles or fruit smoothies with fresh fruit from the local market. Tell stories, you about your childhood and your children about the magic that runs in their imagination. My grand-daughter had the most fun this weekend telling me stories about fairies and the magic she thinks they have.... you know, the Tinkerbell kind of magic. It made me feel young to just listen to her dreams.


No matter what your circumstance... health, money, lack of one or both..... take time finding the less expensive things in life and maybe you will discover a little magic too.


Happy summer taking it one day at a time finding the magic of the moment.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kids are precious.....



  • Kids are precious and they have such happy spirits. Sometimes in this world when things are so scary with the violence, diseases, loss of jobs, and money worries we have as adults, we overlook those happy hearts our children have.

My grand-daughter's entry in the art fair reminded me of the absolute JOY that children have in their little hearts. To them, butterflies, bees, sunshine, and rainbows is all there is to their perfect world as long as they are loved.

Spend some time this week finding JOY and looking for the butterflies and rainbows in your little corner of the world. I will be spending some precious time with my grandchildren to find mine. Maybe we will see a butterfly or a rainbow in the process.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Always My Brother... a book review.





As a pediatric critical care nurse, I have seen all too often a sibling dealing with grief.

I also see first hand the lack of age appropriate reading resources that kids can relate to when coping with such a loss. I am happy to share with you a new picture book by author Jean Reagan titled Always My Brother.


  • Always My Brother

  • Author: Jean Reagan

  • Illustrated by Phyllis Pollema-Cahill

  • Suitable for ages 6-12 and reading level grade 3-6

  • ISBN 978-0-88448-313-7


This is a touching story of John and his sister who loved each other and shared many interests until his death. The pictures and the text together form a tender story of loss and the journey through grief for his sister, Becky including feelings of guilt when Becky began enjoying life again.

Parents can use this inspiring story to begin discussions with children dealing with such a tragic and sudden experience or as a start to the exploration of feelings before a child experiences death.


Kids will relate to the feelings of the character and find an understanding of their own emotions as they read this story over again. Get a copy today to use as a great resource for kids when helping them to sort through the grief process. It is an excellent read and a wonderful book to share as a family. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Tribute



Memorial Day is more than picnics and cookouts. It is a time for all Americans to pay tribute to those who have gone to war to fight for our freedom.

  • And today, more than ever before, we must thank those who give their lives to keep us safe and free.

Please take a moment today to remember those who have lost their lives for our country. And give some thought about how you can help those who have gone to war and come home injured from the violence of war. There are many ways to contribute to the organizations that help the veterans of our country. Time, money, and prayer are just a few.

I pray that each and everyone of you has a great Memorial Day with family and friends, keeping in mind the reason for this holiday. And a heartfelt thank you to all the women and men who have served to make me and others safe in this land that we love.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Caring for Kids with Disabilities and Serious Illness

  • As a clinical manager for children who deal daily with machines, alarms, and tubes I can tell you that it is stressful for the caregivers of these children no matter how much these kids are loved. Here are a couple of things I have discovered about life with these kids:

These kids are loved by parents, aunts, uncles, nurses, grandparents, and friends. These same parents, aunts, uncles, nurses, grandparents, and friends have lives outside the center of the care of these kids and that life gets put on hold spontaneously and frequently and at the worst possible moment.

This fact means that flexibility is your new best friend. Flexibility must be at the core of those who care for these kids because these kids get sick, equipment fails, nurses call off, home care works when kids aren't hospitalized and when the caregivers show up and the weather is sunny, and the list goes on..... NO Day is the same and routine takes on a whole new meaning.

As a clinical manager, flexibility must be my new best friend as well. I may need to make an unexpected visit to a home, make numerous phone calls, attend a case conference at the spur of the moment, or any number of activities that take me away from the paper work and physician calls I planned for the day. But these unexpected events happen because we put the care of the child first.

It takes a team and teamwork to care for these kids at home. It can be challenging and hard work for less pay than a traditional hospital setting. But you know what else I have learned? It is well worth it because these kids want to be a home, they do better at home, and I love to see kids smile.

So for those caregivers, parents, nurses, and family members who care for kids with challenges in their home setting, God bless you. The child in your life appreciates it, even if they may not be able to communicate it any other way but with that smile. You make a difference and it matters.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Book out by Susan Warren

It is time to pick a few good books for your summer reading. If you have a sick child who needs you at the bedside, grab a good book to read while they nap. Reading is one pastime that doesn't require a lot of physical energy and one where you can still be near the one you are caring for while disappearing into the pages of the story. Try the new Book by Susan Warren. ( Check the tab picture of book on the sidebar of this blog )

I know you will find the book a page turner. Check out her website as well if you are interested in writing or reading other books by this author.

Are you a writer? Or want to be? Get a daily dose of "how to write" and discover the writer in you - www.mybooktherapy.com!

Susan May Warren Soul-Stirring Fiction www.susanmaywarren.com

www.mybooktherapy.com

http://meetnick.susanmaywarren.com

http://whosrafe.susanmaywarren.com

readermail@susanmaywarren.com

This well known author has so much to offer both her readers and those who want to write. Check it out.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

You Want Me To Do What... by b.lynn goodwin



Some of you are caregivers for elderly parents, an ill spouse, or a disabled child. You take care of the most intimate details and activities of daily living for those you love along with working, taking care of your own home, and any number of other responsibilities. And most caregivers do it with a smile as they keep pent up feelings inside. Feelings of fear, depression, anger, frustration, love, sadness, and every other feeling imaginable.

  • Journaling may be an answer for you. Author b. lynn goodwin has written a book for caregivers called You Want Me To Do What?

In this book the author guides you as you find your voice and put the feelings you have about care giving on the page. Your story is unique and your situation is your story. This book helps you to validate what you feel and how much you care.

More about the book and other interesting articles and reviews can be found at http://www.writeradvice.com/ywmtdw.html

There is a wonderful review of the book by author Carolyn Howard- Johnson. This author/teacher has an informative website well worth checking into at

http://www.howtodoitfrugally.com/ You can also read more about her at http://www.authorsden.com/carolynhowardjohnson

Check it out. If you are a caregiver, you may benefit from reading goodwin's book. Let me know how you like it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

This information can be found at the leukemia and lymphoma site and in their most current newsletter. Consider making a donation in honour of your mother this mother's day. It is a great organization. Here is an exerpt from the current newsletter:




This Mother's Day Celebrate a Mother's LoveHonor Your Mother with a Tribute Gift to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society




For all the acts of kindness, large and small, that mothers perform on behalf of their children and other loved ones every day, now is the perfect time to do something special to pay tribute to mothers.



Consider the heroic gesture performed by Katy Moeller of Santa Monica, Calif. There is nothing more terrifying for a mother than to watch helplessly as her child suffers. Moeller watched in agony as her three-year-old daughter, Audrey, battled leukemia several years ago. To honor her daughter's battle, Moeller took on a physical challenge of her own.





She signed on with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training and ran in the Carlsbad Marathon in January 2008 while raising funds to support live-saving blood cancer research, education and patient services. Now five, Audrey has responded well to treatment and living a fairly normal life for a child her age.




"TNT enabled me to do something positive for Audrey and all others fighting blood cancers," Moeller says.


Moeller's act is a powerful example of a mother's love. Now you can do something special to show appreciation for all the ways that mothers such as Moeller do for others. You can pay homage to your own mother by going to www.lls.org/donate and making a donation, helping to ensure that every child stricken with a blood cancer can live a long and prosperous life. You can designate your gift in honor of your mother and a special card will be sent to her attention.




In order to have the acknowledgement card sent by Mother's Day your tribute donation must be made by May 4!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Giving Kids the World



In this world when it seems that nothing is going right and all news is bad news, I have found a website for you to check out.

Give Kids the World is made up of organizations and volunteers who provide safe accommodations for kids who are getting to see Disney World in Florida. This is a whole complex that provides rooms, entertainment, first aid, and anything else that makes a kid's wish come true.

Check out http://gktw.org for a view of one side of the Make a Wish foundation and other organizations that provide wishes for terminally ill children. Kids who want to see Disney can stay here as part of that wish.

Praises for all the volunteers and organizations who contribute to helping kid's wishes come true. Your efforts do not go unnoticed and they are appreciated. Thanks from me, the kids, and the parents. This place looks like a blast. Check it out.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Book Review


Lessons from a Bald Chick


Author: Mary Beth Hall


This is an insightful book for anyone going through a cancer diagnosis or for those who know a friend going through this painful journey.


The book is truthful and it shows just what a person encounters in the journey when cancer is the diagnosis. It makes you laugh, cry, and feel. It gives you guidance for what to do and say when it is someone you love. It is eye-opening in many ways including how faith plays such an important part in dealing with what life throws your way.


Check it out at www.amazon.com or at your local book store. Let me know what you think. I believe it is worth your time to read and it will change you in a positive way. Happy reading.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Book Review



I often write about illness and how painful that can be for children. There are other kinds of pain children go through and developing relationships can be one of those painful experiences.

Developing a relationship with a step-parent can be heart wrenching, difficult, and life changing. It can also be the best adult-child relationship some kids ever have. Author Kim Chatel has written a book describing just that... a girl and her relationship with her new step-father and what a wonderful experience that can be.
  • This story is heartwarming and shows that children can have wonderful relationships with good and kind step-parents. These relationships can help the child to develop new interests, hobbies, and self-confidence. This book has fabulous photos and will spark interest in photography for readers of all ages. There are even a few tips on starting photography as a new hobby.


A Talent for Quiet

By Kim Chatel

Www.kimchatel.com

Reading level: Ages 8-12Perfect

Paperback: 32 pages

Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc (February 5, 2009)

Paperback ISBN:ISBN-10: 1935137565

ISBN-13: 978-1935137566Ebook ISBN: ISBN-10: 1-935137-57-3

ISBN-13: 978-1-935137-57-3

Grab a copy at your local book store or visit her sites for more information. Check it out and let me know what you think. This book is the perfect gift for kids having a difficult time getting to know their new step-parent. Reading this book may be all it takes to help establish a new relationship.

www.kimmcdougall.com

www.kimchatel.com

www.elizacrowe.com

Purple Songs Can Fly....

I have posted before about this great group of kids and their music, kids with cancer or kids who love someone who has cancer. They write and perform music for a pleasure, to raise money, and to share their musical gifts to ease the pain for others. Here is their latest news by email. Thought you might like to see what others do with their talents and be inspired.

Dear Friends of Purple Songs Can Fly,


We've had many beautiful songs written & recorded recently. Just last week, a 12 year old boy wrote a song for his grandmother called, "I Call Her MaMa". So Beautiful!


We are eagerly following Astronaut Scott Parazynski's Mount Everest Climb. He is scheduled to reach the summit in mid to late May and is carrying a disc with all songs written with the project, and a prayer flag with the Purple Songs Can Fly & Texas Children's Cancer Center logos.He plans to leave the flag on the summit, and bring the CD back to us.Sending lots of purple vibes to Scott for a safe adventure!


This week an AP story about Purple Songs appeared on the Grammy website, Grammy.com


On the home page it is listed under Latest Industry News, Titled: The Healing StudioThe direct link is:http://www.grammy.com/Recording_Academy/News/Default.aspx?newsID=3286


On May 27th, Astronaut Heide will be coming up to the Cancer Center to meet with the children and return the CD of Purple Songs that flew with her on the Space Shuttle this past Fall.We are all looking forward to meeting her and hearing about her mission!


Reader's Digest did a story about Purple Songs Can Fly and it will be appearing in the June Edition. The children's songs will be flying this summer on the first undersea flying machine, DeepFlight.


I made a trip to Japan in March where we are planning a Japan outreach for Purple Songs. Thank you to everyone in Japan for your amazing hospitality and support of the project!


Many Thanks to all of you for your continued support of Purple Songs Can Fly!


Sincerely,Anita

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Check Out Margot Finke's site for your kids who are reluctant readers

This author knows just what kids like to read. Margot Finke is fabulous.

Please visit http://margotfinke.blogspot.com/ for so much fun and learning for your children who may be reluctant readers and your children who just love a good book.

This author offers some great picture books and readers for kids who hate to read or who have difficulty getting interested in reading.

There are also pictures and video's, Cd's, and read aloud stories by the author offered at her site. Your kids will love the rhyming and clever stories and adventures. Kids read these books over and over, so stop by her site and check it out.

For adults who would love to write for children, the site offers links to great mentors, writers, and informational sites as well. Visit now and tell her I sent you. Have fun.

Guest blog on exercise......


Welcome my guest blogger, Sarah Scrafford. She will give you tips for exercising when you have children and say you have no time. Thanks Sarah for the great advice.



Finding Time for Fitness, When You’re a Parent

I’m not going to lie and tell you that I love working out; I certainly don’t enjoy getting up early in the morning and sweating it out at the gym. What I do enjoy though is the feeling that comes over me after I’m done with my workout; what I love about exercising is the high it gives me throughout the day. And so I tried to get my sister to follow my lead and lose a few unwanted pounds. Her youngest is almost two now, and that’s a long time to be carrying the excess weight from pregnancy. Her excuse – I just don’t have the time.

It’s the standard line you hear from people who have kids; in fact, the younger the children are, the more vociferous this line is. But that’s really no excuse to ignore the most important thing in your life, and if you’re going to argue that your kids are what you value most, well, you need to focus on fitness if you want to be a good parent, because:

· You need to be able to keep up with them. Kids are boisterous and active by nature, so if you want to share in their games and activities, you need to have enough energy to do so.
· You need to be a good role model and set examples that they will want to follow when they become adults. If they see you leading an active lifestyle even though you’re really busy, they’re going to follow your lead as well.
· If you’re healthy, it naturally follows that you prevent illness and disease and that you get to be there for your kids all the time.

Ok, now that we’ve enumerated the reasons you need to exercise, let’s get on to discussing how to find, or rather make time for it.

· You need to get over the thought that rest and relaxation are important. They are, but not as important as the fact that you need to get back into shape and improve your fitness.
· If you don’t have time to go out and exercise, set up a routine at home. There are tons of Internet articles and videos that tell you how to work out even without equipment and in the short time spans that you have. You don’t have to exercise continuously for an hour to get the benefits; it’s enough to do five 10-minute workouts spaced throughout the day.
· Use the time when your baby is asleep to exercise. Or you could push the stroller around the park for a walk.
· If your children are older, play with them, preferably an active game that saps your energy and leaves you breathless with satisfaction. Take them on bike rides, hikes, skiing trips, swimming and ice skating.
· Increase your level of activeness – walk around more instead of sitting on the couch and watching TV; take the stairs instead of the elevator; walk to the store instead of driving your car. Or just put on some music and dance to your heart’s content.

I know it’s not the easiest thing in the world to focus on your fitness when you have crying babies to deal with and perpetual messes to clean up. But the sooner you get back to exercising, the better for you. If you give up without giving it your best shot, you’re never going to find the will power and determination to lose weight and get fit. It’s all up to you, so get started today.

By-line:
This article is contributed by Sarah Scrafford, who regularly writes on the topic of radiography tech schools. She invites your questions, comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address: sarah.scrafford25@gmail.com.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Skilled Home Health Care... have your considered the possibilities?



I am a new clinical manager for skilled pediatric nursing home health agency. The experience is eye opening.

  • I know how difficult critically ill children can be to take care of in the hospital setting, but unless you experience it first hand, no one can appreciate how difficult it is to care for these same children in the home setting.

At home, there are still monitors with alarms, ventilators, feeding tubes, suction machines, and an enormous amount of supplies, electrical cords, alarms, and equipment to meet the needs of these long term care kids.

The plus side of this is the children who are well cared for at home, stay healthier for longer and respond well to the love and contact of family.

The down side of home care is it is exhausting for parents and invasive too. The steady stream of new nurses and other staff in and out of the family home can be very disruptive to the family privacy and daily routine. It is an emotionally draining experience for the parents even for those excited to bring their child home. It can be added stress to family relationships and to the best marriages.

The trend is to do more care at home because it is less expensive than hospitalization. We will be seeing sicker kids and adults being maintained in the home environment. It may even be someone you know.

If you think your child or family member may qualify for skilled nursing health care at home, talk to your physician to discuss your options. If you are caring for a child or an adult in the home setting, utilize support groups and social services to get the emotional support it takes to cope with this huge responsibility.

Check out www.lovingcareagency.com for an example of a skilled home health agency. If you need more information, contact me and I will try to help you find what you need. There are many options available, so start researching today.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Taking care of the business of your health......



Times are tough right now and maybe spring fever hasn't hit you like it has in years past. Money, the economy, violence,and any number of other things may have gotten in the way of celebrating the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Here are a few tips to put life into perspective....

1. Take one day at a time. Sometimes, when you are dealing with a serious illness or caring for a child with a disability, an aging parent, or the death of a loved one the winter of your life may seem as if it will never end. During those times you may need to take life one hour at a time. That is okay.

2. Take time to really notice one beautiful thing each day. It may be a flower poking through the muddy mess left by winter or the sunset or the first spring birds. Make an effort to find something that is striking and enjoy it even for a moment. ( Try to notice more than the bird poop)

3. Smile. Smile at something funny, a happy memory, a sleeping child, a dog and his antics...whatever you can find for just one smile, and then another one and another one. Before you know it you may actually smile for more than a moment. Smiling is contagious and makes you feel better.

4. Choose your worries wisely. Life is short, too short to worry about what might happen. Instead, concentrate on what is happening now. If what is happening is tough, concentrate on getting through just this one thing. Worry about what comes next later.

5. Find a hobby or interest. Having an outside interest, even when things are going south will give your a few minutes everyday to think about something else. Read a chapter a day in a best seller. Write 10 minutes a day about your worries and then toss the page into a the trash along with the fear. Sew, quilt, paint, scrapbook, journal, do crossword puzzles, or any small activity that can take your thoughts away from the problem for just a few minutes a day. consider it a mini vacation.

6. Think spring.... winter only lasts so long and the sun is sure to shine again someday soon, no matter what is going on in your corner of the world. Just take it one day at a time.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Check out This blog.....


If you are running out of ideas to keep the kids entertained this winter, check out this blog for a few spring ideas.
http://jewelofabook.blogspot.com/ has some great books to check out, and a few craft ideas too. The site belongs to published author, Jewel Sample, and it is really cute. Let me know what you think about the site and some of the great guest bloggers' who have posted some really fun ideas.
And if it is you who needs something to do before it is warm enough for that garden work, grab a copy of DAISY CHAIN by author Mary DeMuth. It is a heart-wrenching story with characters you will love and some you won't. Check this good read and let me know how you like it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stress and protecting your baby



It is a fact that society does not want to believe and most do not want to hear, but as a pediatric critical care nurse I see the facts every day and can tell you that abuse is real.

  • Children are abused by the adults they love and trust. Again in the news, an Indiana baby has been allegedly beaten by the mom's boyfriend.

It is also common for parents who are dealing with the stresses of a poor economy, the serious illness of one of their children, or the loss of a job to take their anger out on a child or spouse.

It is unfair, it is against the law, and no one deserves to be beaten. Here are a few tips to keep anger under control.

  • Count to 10 before saying or doing anything
  • Walk away
  • Remove yourself if you are the brunt of anger from a spouse
  • Protect your children... report suspected abuse
  • Talk to someone if you are angry or over- stressed and caring for your child is too much.
  • Find a friend or family member to help you deal with childcare
  • Seek professional help... there are many resources out there. Don't be afraid to seek help
  • Call a church, hospital, or counseling service from the yellow pages if necessary to get a starting place for finding assistance.

Email me if you need more tips or have a question about what abuse means, what can be done, and prevention plans. Don't let yourself be hurt or don't let yourself hurt your child. There are people who care. Please, help to prevent adult and child abuse today. If we all work together, we can make a difference.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Don't forget to scroll down for the first chapter of Daisy Chain



Scroll down for the first chapter of Daisy Chain. I am more than half way through and I can tell you it is a great book with rich characters that you will want to read about.

Come find out what is happening in the little town of Defiance, Texas. Meet Jed and Daisy and the rest of the characters in town and read about their trials and failures, their triumphs and tragedies.

The characters will stay with you long after you finish the story. Author Mary DeMuth has again created characters with deep emotions and pain, undying love and heartfelt concern. Check it out and check out her website at www.marydemuth.com Let me know what you think.

Book Review



Title: Comfort from Beyond

Edited By: Evelyn Bence
Forward By: Don Piper


Just a quick mention of a great book that has short one or two page true stories about grief, loss, and inspiration.

There are stories about answers to prayer, comfort at Christmas, angels, reasons for hope, and a number of other inspirational and encouraging topics to ease the pain of grief and loss.

The book is published by Guidepost and I found most of the entries very well written. The book can be purchased through Guidepost, your local bookstore, or online at www.amazon.com
Check it out and let me know if you found it helpful.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Position, New Dreams

Exciting things can happen when you least expect them and that is how it is for me.


I will be taking a new position as a clinical manager for an excellent pediatric home health agency which is opening a new office in my area. I will be beginning a new chapter in my life where I will be able to use my writing skills in marketing materials and documentation as well as my nursing skills in assessing and getting these critically ill children home sooner.

We will be providing excellent nursing care for children who require ventilation, tracheotomies, and feeding tubes to survive, and providing it in their home where they can be held, loved, and stimulated by family.

The hours will allow me to be more diligent with my writing schedule and hopefully to be successful in both careers, one as the clinical manager and one as a children's author.

What new and exciting things will happen to you today, tomorrow, and the future? Are you reaching for your dreams? Even in the midst of loss and pain, I know from experience, that you can still dream and succeed. Give it a try. What will your dream today?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chapter one...The Daisy Chain

Chapter One Defiance, Texas


It had been thirty roller-coaster years since Daisy Marie Chance forced fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper to fall in love with her. He’d obliged her, dizzied at the thought ever since. It had been that long before Jed could walk through the ruins of Crooked Creek Church, a butterfly flitting a prophecy he never could believe, even today. It was Daisy’s singsong words that gave the butterfly its bewitching manner, those same words that strangled him with newfound love. For years, he wished he’d had an Instamatic camera to capture the moment he fell for Daisy, but then entropy would’ve had its way, fading and creasing Daisy’s face until she’d have looked like an overloved newspaper recipe, wrinkled and unreadable.


Thing was, he could always read Daisy's face. Even then. She’d looked at him square in the eyes that day in 1977, in the exact same spot he stood now, and declared, “Your family ain’t normal, Jed.” And because lies came easy to him, he’d thought, of course my family’s normal. Anyone with eyes could see that. Daisy said a lot of words, being a thirteen-year-old girl and all, but these didn’t make much sense.

Thirty years later they did. They screamed the truth through the empty field where the church used to creak in the wind.

For a hesitant moment, enshrined in the ruins of his childhood, Jed was fourteen again. Filled to the brim with testosterone and pestered by an orange and black tormenter and Daisy's oh-so-true words.

"Your family ain't normal, Jed.

"He watched the butterfly loop above the organ, never landing, like it had a thing against church music. Or maybe dust.
He sat on a rickety pew.
“Jed?”He clasped his hands around his ears, hoping Daisy’s words would run away. He hummed "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."

She put her nose right in front of his. He felt her breathing, smelled her Juicy Fruit breath. “You in there?”He swatted the air between them, hoping she’d disappear. “Yeah. Quit bothering me.” He looked at his watch. Six fifteen. Time to go.

“But your face.” Daisy sat down a Bible’s throw away.

Jed touched his swollen eye. “Yeah? So? What about it?”

“It looks like it hurts.” Daisy scooted closer. She reached her arm his direction.

He inched away.“The truth, Jed. How’d you get that shiner?”

He watched the butterfly. “I was stupid. Ran my face into a corner.” Thirty seconds had ticked. The watch clicked like a stopwatch, pestering him.

“Faces don’t mess with corners, Jed.”

“Mine did. Chasing Sissy around the house. She said it wasn’t fair because I was bigger. She tied a bandana around my head. I ran after her blind.” Another well-told lie, almost as good as Hap’s stories from the pulpit. Six sixteen. Time to go.

Daisy shook her head. Her long blonde braid whipped back and forth like a tire swing over a swimming hole. She hated bangs, something her mom, Miss Emory, knew, but hacked away at them a few weeks ago anyway, leaving them a crooked mess. Daisy still steamed about it, but her only protest was two yellow clips with smiling daisies pulling the jagged bangs away from her forehead.

“I love you, you know.”

Jed’s face warmed. “Would you quit that please? There’s no room for talk like that.”

“Why not? This is church, right? Aren’t you supposed to say love in church? Besides, you know what street I live on.”

Jed rolled his eyes. “Love Street.”

“That’s right.”
“I don’t see how that makes any difference”
“It makes every difference. It’s destiny, what street you live on.” Daisy turned away from Jed, pulled her braid to her mouth. She bit its stubbled end and groaned like she was gritting teeth. Her angry noise.

The monarch flew in circles in front of Daisy, as if it were trying to lift her mood by dancing on air. It lit upon the pew between the two of them, wings folded up toward the ceiling in prayer.

Daisy bent near the monarch, but the butterfly didn’t flinch. “It means something, sure enough,” she whispered.

“What’s gotten into you? It’s tired, that’s all. And it happened to sit down right there.” Jed pointed his finger at the motionless butterfly.

With one tentative hop, the monarch left the dusty pew for Jed’s dirt-stained fingernail. It seemed to study his face while the sun shone through its papery wings. It flapped once and then flew clear away, out one of the abandoned church’s broken stained glass.

They sat in pew four listening to doves calling each other.

Jed checked his watch. Nearly twenty after.

“It’s a sign. Jed Pepper, you’re going to change the world. You’ve been chosen.”

“You’re frustrating.” Jed stood.

“Am not.”
“Are too.” Jed scatted the air with a wave of his hand, as if doing that would erase the words Daisy spoke, an aerial Etch-a-Sketch.

He walked Crooked Creek Church’s middle aisle backwards, like a sinner unrepentant, while Daisy chattered away. Part of him wanted to leave her behind for good, but another part wanted to listen to her forever and a year. He’d welcome her words to fill the silence of his home.

“Hey Jed?”

“Now what?”

“You be careful.”

“I will.”

“Promise?”

“Did anyone ever tell you you’re a pest?”

“Mama does. Every single day. Should I add you to the list?” Her voice got that empty sound whenever she spoke of Miss Emory—a longing for something her mama couldn’t or wouldn’t give her.
He considered his answer.Daisy’s mama scatted her like she was an interrupting fruit fly half the time.He didn’t want to treat her the same. “No, never mind. Forget I said it.”

“I’m a good forgetter.” She smiled.

He couldn’t help but smile in return. “I gotta go.” If he ran, he’d make it.

Daisy stepped out into the aisle, hands on hips. “I’m going to marry you someday. You wait and see.”

Jed rolled his eyes. Girls.

“I’m going to put on a long white dress and you’re going to wear a fine suit. We’re going to tend birds. I can’t live without ‘em.”

A dove shot through an open window, looping frantically through the church, flying crazy-winged out where it came from in a flustering of wings against window pane. For a moment, everything was silent. Dead quiet.

“God’s been here,” Daisy whispered, looking haunted-eyed at Jed.

He looked away

.She tapped him on the shoulder. “And when we’re married, we’re going to have six kids—all girls. Want to know their names?” This time her eyes spelled mischief.

“Not hardly.”

“Petunia, Hollyhock, Primrose, Begonia, Dahlia, and Buttercup.”

Jed leaned against the back pew, eyeing the door of escape. “Sounds more like a garden than a batch of kids.” He knew he should leave, but Daisy held some sort of annoying girl spell over him.

“Very funny.”

“I need to head home.” Jed turned. He untied the back door, hitched closed with baling twine. He’d come in the side way, through a low window, and was going to leave proper this time. Besides, it was the closest way to escape Daisy’s sentences. Next thing, she’d be talking about perfume or how smooth babies’ skin was or going on about the butterfly’s hidden meaning. Anyone knew he wouldn’t change the world. Not today at least. He’d be happy to make it through one day.

Daisy followed him. “You going to leave me here alone? I traipsed all the way from town to come here.”

“It’s not like we don’t meet here every single day. You’ll be fine. How many times have you walked home from here? A thousand? Two?”

“It’s a long walk.”

“For crying out loud, Daisy, this is Defiance, Texas. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Besides, you’ve got God’s eye for protection.”

She looked away, didn’t say a word while seconds ticked away. She took a deep breath, then let it out. “You’ll regret it.” The western sun shone through the church’s broken-out windows brightening the left side of Daisy’s face. She looked almost like an angel, that is, if angels had braided hair and prattled on and on.

“See you later,” he called over his shoulder.

Jed shut the church’s back door, knowing Daisy preferred crawling out of the church like a fugitive. Ever since she read a book about Anne who holed up from Nazis, she’d taken to hiding and sneaking. He tied a rope around the doorknob and a piece of wood sticking out from the doorframe, securing the door.

He faced his world in that moment, let its significance and fury sink into his heart. Would he change the world? Hard to say.
at 8:06 AM

Newsletter coming out this week


If you have not signed up for my newsletter, consider signing up today on the link at the right.

I do not sell or share my email list, but I will be sending a new letter out this week with tips for staying healthy and links to a couple of great new blogs. One of the blogs I will highlight is a food and gardening blog by one of my fellow writers. What better way to get healthy and save money too.

I will also be sending out tips to keep your kids healthy and out of the hospital. This winter we have seen an abundance of kids with respiratory and infectious ailments which have landed them in the hospital. No fun for anyone.

So sign up and be looking for the next newsletter in you email box. I cover health, death, and writing. What a combination, but always something to take away for you and your family.
Check it out and sign up today.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Another Blog to Check Out



Some of my writer friends and I will be guest blogging at the blog of author Jewel Sample. Her book Flying Hugs and Kisses
is a children's book about siblings and grief and can be found at your local bookstore.

Check out her blog the next couple of weeks for posts on kids health, crafts, recipes, and other interesting things for kids and their parents from some of the best writer's in the business.

It can be found at http://jewelofabook.blogspot.com

Check it out. Let me know what you think.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Book Review



When Your Pet Dies
Author: Victoria Ryan and R.W. Alley
December 2003
Elf- Help Book for kids


What do you say when your family pet dies? How do you help your child to understand?

The loss of the family pet may be the first exposure a child has to death, pain, and loss. It may be your best opportunity to discuss your family values and beliefs regarding death and dying with your child.

When Your Pet Dies is a good place to start. It is an easy to understand text with cartoon type illustrations that can easily be read aloud with your child. Older children can read the text alone and ask questions or discuss feelings about loss with an adult later.

The book is part of the Elf-book Help Series for Kids. These books are written to assist parents and kids in dealing with serious issues of death, dying, and loss. They can be found at your local bookstores, online at www.Amazon.com or by clicking on the Primitive spirt resources link on this blog or at your local library.

Check it out.

Friday, February 20, 2009

New Magazine for Girls.....


Just wanted to let parents and girls know that a brand new Christian magazine for girls will be coming out in April 2009.
Check out the blog at http://susieshellenberger.blogspot.com for all the details. Make comments and get a chance to win prizes for the next few weeks before the magazine debut.
It promises to be exciting with articles on fashion, relationships, skin care, and above all else Jesus. What could be better than that? There is no better time than this to get the word out to girls of all ages on how to depend on God when things in this world seem so dismal.
Subscriptions are reasonable and you can get the details on the blog. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Book review



Gideon's Gift

author: Karen Kingsbury

ISBN0-446-53124-3

Publisher: Warner Books

I am reading a variety of books for a class I am taking and randomly chose a few Christian novels by authors I admire for my reading this week.

Gideon's Gift was by far the best surprise in my sack of books this week and many of you may have already read it. It is centered around a Christmas theme of a Christmas miracle but I think can be read any time of year for that all over good feeling we need to get through the year.

And although I didn't know it when I brought the book home, the child in the story has Leukemia and is in need of a bone marrow transplant. This one fits right in with my passions for kids who are ill and Christ's love for them, and everything else I want to share on this blog.

Karen Kingsbury is a fabulous fiction writer of Christian fiction, and many of her stories are about real life issues we all run into now and again. This book is no different, and lets the reader deep into the feelings of the parents of a child who is seriously ill and who have to entertain the thought of death.

The book is a quick read, I started last evening and finished this morning, and my eyes are still misty. The book is warm, loving, inspiring, and makes you want to do something for someone else right this minute.

Pick up a copy at your library or purchase one from the book store. It is a book that could be read over again, for sure. It is a positive remembrance of what one small deed can do for another. Check it out. And visit www.karenkingsbury.com to see what else this great author has in store.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Grandma's hands.....


I received this in an email from another close friend, however it had a picture of hands.... all ages of hands from baby hands to elderly hands and everything in between. Unfortunately the picture wouldn't copy but the story did, and it is worth the read. Happy Sunday.




Grandma's Hands- author unknown







Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands. When I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if she was OK




Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK. She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. 'Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking,' she said in a clear voice strong. 'I didn't mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK,' I explained to her.




'Have you ever looked at your hands,' she asked. 'I mean really looked at your hands?'I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making.





Grandma smiled and related this story: 'Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life. 'They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor.



They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child, my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war.




They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents. 'They have been dirty, scraped and raw , swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn daughter. Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special.'



They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand. They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer. '



These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of life. But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ.'



I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my grandma's hands and led her home. When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and husband I think of grandma. I know she has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God. I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.



When you receive this, say a prayer for the person who sent it to you, and watch God's answer to prayer work in your life. Let's continue praying for one another. Passing this on to anyone you consider a friend will bless you both. Passing this on to one not yet considered a friend is something Christ would do. -- Author Unknown









Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's day and love like there is no tomorrow



I think working in a pediatric intensive care unit warps my thinking sometimes, but for me Valentine's Day is a little over- rated.

  • It should be about love, loving, and loving again, and you don't need to spend money to do that.

This flower bouquet was sent to me by email by a writer friend whose work I admire, and whose encouraging words have helped me with my own writing. I share this bouquet with all of you and encourage you to reach out to love someone else.

I am thinking about the parents and families who have lost a loved one and whose loss is so deep that no amount of chocolate, diamonds, or flowers will make a difference to them, even on Valentine's Day. In our unit we have lost 5 children this week, and two have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. These families will always associate Valentine's Week with these sad times.

So love your family today, do random acts of kindness everyday, and for the next few holidays that are man-made and commercialized, take that money and donate it to a worthy cause with a heart full of love.

Love as if there is no tomorrow... and the world will feel like a better place.

Happy Valentine's Day to all.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

And the winner is.......



It was so much fun visiting other blogs. I am going to make it part of my writing day to visit one or two of these new "friends" until I have visited and commented on all who visited my blog.

  • I hope to have some of the same from all of the visitors during One World-One Heart. And feel free to pass the blog site on to those who may really need support during an illness or loss.

Now for the winner. I printed off all of the comments and cut them into strips for a blind drawing... and the winner is Joy at http://goingbeyondreading.blogspot.com

Visit Joy's blog to see what she has going on. Thanks to all who stopped by my blog as well. It was great to see so many visitors, now if we could just keep that up...wouldn't it be grand.

Happy Valentines Day to all. Have a great week end.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Types of Blood Cells



  • Blood draws are not pleasant and for kids the experience can be downright frightening.

When parents understand what the tests are for, it makes it somewhat easier to help your child through the procedure.

The first blood test most kids must have done for almost any illness is a complete blood count.

This is what the test will show.

First it will tell you how many Red Blood Cells your child has. Red blood cells make up the major part of your blood and these cells carry the oxygen to the organs and the carbon dioxide ( waste ) from organs. This tells doctors if you have enough red blood cells to keep a healthy supply of oxygen circulating. This also lets doctors know if the bone marrow is working properly.

The second most important thing the test shows is the White Blood Cell count. This is a complex set of information but the most important thing for parents to know initially is that the white blood cells show how well your child is protected from infection. White blood cells and their components are what fight bacteria. An elevated white blood cell count can indicate an infectious process going on or it can give doctors an indication of a need for more tests.

Red blood cells and White blood cells are the place to start when looking at overall health. Next, I will give you information on the components of the White blood cells and more.....

Check it out.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A site for information on pediatric health


The peanut butter scare is the newest worry for parents. After all, kids love peanut butter.


http://www.about.com/ is a site filled with tons of information and they have a section written by a pediatrician which addresses the newest information for parents regarding children and their health. The only thing I will warn you about is there sometimes are several clicks to get to the article you want to see. But the information is usually worth it.


Check out this site for the newest information. And if you have an interest, they offer an opportunity to be a guide as well. Those of you who want to write about a certain topic, they have many to choose from so apply and see what happens.


The pediatric site is found at http://www.about.com/pediatrics- you may need to type in pediatrics. The physician who writes the newsletter is Dr. Vincent Iannelli MD so type in his name and the news he writes about should come up.



Let me know what you think. As with any information regarding your child's health, always discuss concerns with your family physician. Check it out.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Interview with Author of Screwball- Keri Mikulski



Here is the interview you have been waiting for. Please welcome the author of Screwball and Changeup, Keri Mikulski.

1. My blog is for parents and kids who are dealing with a serious illness or loss, as you know, but a lot of my readers are also writers. Some are published with online business connections and some just beginning. I try to be a resource for both types of readers and I was so interested in you because you have done it all. All meaning teaching, nursing, wife, mother, and now successful published author. My question is as much for me as my readers and that is this. How does being a nurse and /or teacher influence your writing career, your story line and character development?


Terri, you write such a wonderful and necessary blog. Thanks so much for having me. Nursing is the toughest profession on the planet and I have the highest respect for nurses. I’m honored to participate in this interview.
Honestly, I never thought about if my earlier careers influence my writing, but I guess it does. SCREWBALL certainly deals with a heavy issue, parental death. And the sequel, CHANGE UP also continues to explore this issue.
The teacher in me is always interested in learning and teaching. And all my novels have little snippets of knowledge somewhere. Whether it’s facts, quotes, statistics, or something sprinkled in, I try to add some sort of teachable moment.
My newest novel, PINKED, is definitely influenced by both my personal and professional (nursing) career. I’m mum on PINKED because it’s with my agent right now and she’s about to shop it around. But, it’s high concept and I know you will love it Terri! J


2. My passion is kids and their parents dealing with real life issues, critical illnesses, divorce, relationships, and death and dying. I saw a lack of good stories for kids of all ages when I was teaching, and I see a lack when I deal with patients as well. Kids want to read about other kids in a fictional setting but with real problems. Any tips on developing characters around difficult themes like illness, death and dying,and loss? Do you work on the character first and the setting and theme later, or do you get the idea for the theme and flesh out the character later?


Great questions. I’m a pantster. I literally fly by the seat of my pants regarding plot. I think about what I want the story to be about. Then, I start to develop and flesh out the characters. From there, I begin to write the story, working on the setting as I write the first draft. After a ton of revising and hard work, the story eventually comes together.
My biggest goal when writing about difficult themes is to balance emotional writing with a light, energetic voice while maintaining respect for the sensitive subject matter. The best advice is to pull from your own experiences in regards to ‘real’ issues. During SCREWBALL, a character’s mom dies suddenly. I pulled from my own experiences in relation to death and dying to pull emotions into my writing. This is also true for the PINKED subject matter. (I wish I could spill. J)


3. Tell us about your books, especially your new book Screwball. And what readers can expect from you next?
The sequel to SCREWBALL, CHANGE UP will drop this spring. I’m so excited about the six-book YA sporty series contract with Blitz Publishing. The cover for CHANGE UP is almost complete and my publisher is finalizing the proof next week. J


Here’s the gist of SCREWBALL:
Things have been sweet for fourteen-year old freshman fastpitch fanatic Ashley Clarke. She's the starting pitcher for her stress-free fourteen and under ASA team. During her time away from the diamond, she’s sprinting down the soccer field, bouncing a basketball, or hanging at the beach with her BFF, Lizzy.
But one sizzling summer day, hottie junior jock Andrew spots her at a pizza shop and Ashley's life changes forever. Meanwhile, her friend, Kate, talks her into joining the Crush, an elite sixteen and under team loaded with tough competition. Shortly after playing in her first game, Ashley finds out new Crush teammate Christy not only hates her guts, but is also determined to ruin Ashley's future for good.
Join Ashley as she struggles juggling sports, school, and a social life. Will Christy and her cronies force Ashley to quit the Crush? Or will she give it all up to spend more time with Andrew? And who's the new guy in Ashley's life complicating things?



And here’s the gist of CHANGE UP:
As sophomore summer heats up at Sunray Beach, so does Jake Cole and Ashley Clarke’s long distance relationship. But, Ashley’s overprotective cop father forbids Ashley to see Jake, causing Ashley to sneak around while sinking deeper and deeper into a smudge of lies and deceit. She begins to wonder if her parents are right about Jake when he shows up at times bruised, beaten, and hanging out with shady people.

Back on the diamond, the Cape Town Crush Softball team is doing amazing, even earning a bid to Nationals, but fellow pitcher Christy Mayer’s up to her old tricks and snags a golden opportunity to ruin Ashley’s softball future for good. Ashley and Rachel Harris, a softball superstar who joins the Crush midseason, hit it off and hang out until Ashley discovers Rachel’s secret past. In the meantime, Ashley’s BFF Lizzy hits the Sunray party scene in a major way, leaving Ashley in the dust unless she decides to join in.

Like waves modify a beach, this summer promises to be a season of change for Ashley Clarke. Will Ashley and Jake’s relationship survive sophomore summer? Is this the end of a fifteen-year friendship between Lizzy and Ashley? And what’s the deal with Rachel?


Thanks, Keri. I really appreciate your time. I think nurses have so much care and concern in their hearts that writing is another way to express it. I only hope to be able to do it half as well as you do. Congratulations on your newest book, Screwball. I will encourage all my readers to go get a copy and enjoy.



Awe.. Thanks, Terri! J


Check out her blog at http://kerimikulski.blogspot.com/ and get your copies of her books for a great read.