Monday, December 13, 2010

When Your Child is Sick During the Holiday- tips to lessen the stress

When your child is sick, especially over the holidays, it seems to just add stress upon stress for parents. Here are a couple of tips to lessen the stress and enjoy the holiday more.

1. Forget about a to-do list. You can only do so much and when your child is ill, that is the top of the list. Give yourself permission to decorate less, bake less, go fewer places, accept fewer invitations, volunteer less, give fewer gifts, and simplify your holiday this year.

2. Stay in the moment. If that means a Cat Scan, blood tests, or holding a puke bag so be it. If you are blessed to have healthy kids over the holidays, be grateful and enjoy each moment. Still follow the tips listed above, and enjoy the tasks you do have time and energy for. Make those activities the ones that mean the most to you and your children.

3. Shop less. Shopping less doesn't mean you necessarily give less, but hopefully it means you spend less. Choose one meaningful gift rather than several especially if you have a child who is ill. Parents seem to think that buying more for the child or the siblings may make up for the fact there is an illness hanging over everyone. It doesn't work that way and after the holiday, the debt will only add to your stress.  Have your kids make a list with 1-3 things on it that are really important to them. Go from there.

4. Store bought cookies and fudge don't taste the same as homemade, however, most are quite edible. Have fruit, cheese, and crackers on hand for an easy snack or unexpected guests. And take advantage of friends who want to do something by asking them to bake a batch of your kids favorite cookies if you are tied up with a sick child. Most friends would be thrilled to be asked. And don't forget the grandparents... we always want to help in an important way. Providing meals or baked goods during the holidays while a child is ill can be very meaningful to the person being asked.

5. Take time for rest. Resting, showering, watching a good holiday movie with the family, even taking time to read a good book can lessen your stress during the holiday. Soak up as much family time as you can without running errands, going to parties, or attending events that really are not important.

6. Take one day at a time. Don't waste time worrying about what you can't do or what doesn't get done. Enjoying a simple holiday celebration can be much more meaningful during the time of a child's illness and will lessen the stress.

When a child is terminally ill during the holiday it is even more stressful.  As a nurse, I have seen all too often that a child actually gets worse during the holiday and everyone questions why this is happening. I can't answer the whys and why nots. I can only say that families that choose to make the time important with simple celebrations and  will let go of what they may have always done, do seem to have less stress and less regrets after the holiday.

Please let me know of any prayer needs you or someone you know may need during this time of year. I would be glad to pray, offer encouragement, and help to find resources if I can. Blessings to all as the season approaches and remember to take care of yourself.  

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Meet Marsha Cook- Author and Agent

Here is a great site with some good books to consider for gifts for those kids who may not be feeling well this season. Parents can find several good books to choose from with this post and past posts on this site.

Enjoy some stress free browsing and learn a thing or two about some great authors for books for kids.

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Meet Marsha Cook- Author and Agent: "Meet Marsha Cook. Her three published books for kids are fun. Great gift ideas for the kids on your list. Here is more information about th..."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Looking for Kids who Help Kids

Thanksgiving and the upcoming Holiday season always makes me want to do more for others. It also makes me want to write about those that do for others, particularly kids helping kids. But I need your help.

If you know of a child or teen who is dealing with a serious illness but goes above and beyond to help other kids who have an illness or other need, please let me know who those special kids are. I want to write a book about just those kind of children.

Kindness and giving seems to make a difference in the healing and the pain for those who give. And I know there are kids in every state that have their own foundations, have their own charity projects, or in some way help other children. Can you share those with me? I have a vision for what could be a great book project to encourage, promote, and even raise awareness and funds for these kids. I want to interview each child or teen and get their perspective on giving and how that makes them feel. What great stories are out there and need to be told.

Let me hear from you about those kids you know who have made a difference beyond their own illness. I can't wait to get started, how about you?

Friday, November 26, 2010

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Happy Thanksgiving

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Happy Thanksgiving: "Thanksgiving is the time to express gratitude for the blessings of the past year. How do you go about helping children to understand that..."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Books for Kids on Grief or Loss

Parents may not think talking to a child about death and dying is a top priority when all is well with the world. I think the topic might be introduced by reading a good picture book dealing with the subject with your child well before the child has their first experience with loss. However you choose to deal with the subject, meaning now or not until the time comes, here are a few good books to read with your child to help you with the discussion.

Teachers, parents, and grandparents may choose to  use one or more of the following books  when helping a child deal with grief. Check with your pastor, librarian, or physician for other suggestions.

1. When Your Grandparent Dies: A Child's Guide to Good Grief  by Victoria Ryan and R.W. Alley

2. Water Bugs and Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Young Children by Doris Stickney

3. I Miss You: A First Look at Death by Pat Thomas and Leslie Harker

4. What On Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies? by Trevor Romain

5. Sad Isn't Bad- A Good -Grief Guidebook for Kids Dealing With Loss by Michaelene Mundy

6. When Someone Very Special Dies by Marge Heegaard

7. Always my Brother by Jean Reagan

8. Punk Wig by Lori Ries

This list is a start. I think it is helpful when parents are able to review books and open a discussion in an age appropriate way long before a child experiences their first loss. Grief and loss are painful for both the parent and the child. A basic understanding about family values regarding death and dying and an introduction to the reality of life and death may ease the situation when death comes as an unexpected crisis, as it most often does. Let me know what you think or share in the comment section how your family handles this topic. Blessings to those dealing with a loss today.

Friday, November 12, 2010

C. Hope Clark: Writing for the Christian Children's Market - Gues...

I can't wait to read Kathleen's new book. I am hoping it will help me with my prayer book for kids with cancer. The Cancer Prayer Book for adults that I have written is due out in Jan 2011. But I fully believe that Kids need one too. What do you think?

C. Hope Clark: Writing for the Christian Children's Market - Gues...: "Kathleen Muldoon is a retired journalist and current instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature and also for local continuing edu..."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Things to Consider This Holiday.....

It's a fact, the holidays are already upon us and some of you may be feeling the pressure of what foods to make, what gifts to buy, and where you will find the time and money to do all the things that YOU think you need to do for the holidays. If you have a sick family member especially a child, it is time consuming and only adds to your stressed out feelings this time of year. Consider this....

It takes from 5 hours to 25 hours to prepare a Thanksgiving meal that is eaten in less than 7 minutes.

Baking, wrapping, shopping, and cooking take up the better part of two months and the gifts are unwrapped in less than 60 seconds, and the percentage that are returned in the 24 hours after the holiday is staggering.

Those facts alone make you want to reconsider how you spend your time and money. Remember that time spent with a loved one can more than make up for a store bought gift. Several small  gatherings over finger foods and cookies can be more relaxing than one big bash that exhausts the hostess.

What works for your family and your situation is what your holiday should entail. Don't let the media or well intended relatives dictate how you spend the holidays this year especially if you are dealing with a sick loved one during this time. And don't feel pressured to spend more than you have just because it is the holiday.

1. Make your holiday meaningful by giving smaller token gifts to family and friends . It is less expensive and will show how much you care. A special ornament, your prize homemade fudge, a bottle of wine, or unique picture frame make wonderful small gifts.

2. Be prepared for the kinks in the month that are sure to come. The unexpected fever, a hospitalization, or any number of health related incidents can come up when you have a sick child. Don't let those ruin your holiday spirit, instead roll with it. The holidays are the holiday when you can be with family and enjoy... if it doesn't happen on the scheduled day don't fret.

3. Homemade gifts are wonderful and thoughtful. Spending time with the kids making cookie mixes and layering them in jars is one way to get the gifts done, involve the kids, and spend quality time at home. There are many good recipes online and in cookbooks for layer cookie mixes, soup mixes, and dips.

4. Books make great gifts as hostess gifts, thank you gifts, or teacher gifts and gifts for family members too. Check out the discount sections of your local book store for great bargins for both adults and children.

5. Family first... keeping that motto during the holiday can be the best advice you ever get. What is best for your child's health and the well being of your family should be the most important item on your holiday list. Don't feel guilty if you need to say no to events or parties that will just put too much pressure on you at this time.

6. Allow others to offer to help and then allow yourself to accept it graciously. If a neighbor or grandparent offers to sit with your sick child for a few hours to give you some time to attend to holiday things with the other members of your family, do it and don't feel the guilt.

Most of all, parents of a child who is seriously ill during the holiday season already feel the pressure. Keep things simple. Quality time together may mean a holiday in the hospital, but that's what works this year. Let go of past expectations and grab the golden ring of this holiday. Be grateful, spend time in conversation, and love each other. Isn' that what really makes the holidays so special in the end?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Cold and Flu Tips for Moms and the Kids they Love

Here is a great post about cold and flu symptoms. Check it out.

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Cold and Flu Tips for Moms and the Kids they Love: "Cold and Flu season is upon us and it will be one of the most trying times in family life....when the little ones get sick. Here are a few t..."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Tips from Stanley and Tyke on Gratitude

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Tips from Stanley and Tyke on Gratitude: "Fall is upon us. The air is crisper. The wind is cooler. And around the world, people everywhere are bundling up to face the elements. Here ..."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Gentle Is the Night-Book Review

Sometimes you just need a good nighttime story for your child. Here is a great suggestion.

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Gentle Is the Night-Book Review: " Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE ..."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stanley Bookman

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Try This Reading and Writing Activity with Your Ch...

If you have a sick child and have run out of ideas for an easy and fun activity, give this one a try. Let me know how it worked.

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Try This Reading and Writing Activity with Your Ch...: "Do you want to include a fun reading activity with a twist during family night this week? Here is an idea. Take this easy reader story and c..."

SFC Blog: Families Matter: ClickN Kids Online Learning Program Review

SFC Blog: Families Matter: ClickN Kids Online Learning Program Review: "ClickN Kids Review by VS Grenier I love when companies contact us for a review. Why? Because we have the best testers around . . . our k..."

Halloween Safety

Happy Halloween. Be safe and help your kids to be safe too. Here are a few tips:

1. Use flashlights and flameless candles for light and atmosphere this Halloween
2. Check for loose or hanging strings, belts, or ties on your child's costume that may cause a fall or could be a choking hazzard.
3. Check all treats before the kids get a hold of them. Discard open packages or anything that may look tampered with and all small plastic parts that may cause choking.
4. Watch for pedestrian traffic as well as bikes, wagons, and moving vehicles. Know where your kids are at all times.

And remember to have fun..... the safety tips aren't meant to discourage you and your kids from having a great time. They are created from the injuries and accidents I have seen as a nurse from several years of emergency nursing. So really, it is okay to have fun. Just be careful and put some thought into the evening of disguises.  Let me know how it turns out. I will be waiting.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kids and Illness, Serious Illness.

Kids get sick and kids get better. But what do parents do when a child doesn't seem to recover as quickly as mom and dad might think?

 Follow your gut. If your child doesn't recover from an illness such as the flu or upper respiratory illness within a reasonable length of time revisit your physician. There can be a variety of reasons including becoming reinfected with different strains of the same illness that can make a child ill. However, it can also mean there is an underlying reason for the child to be ill.

Recently I have learned of a couple children who had an underlying serious illness that kept them from recovering from a simple illness.

Don't panic if your child doesn't seem to be getting better, but also don't hesitate to follow your gut and recheck with your physician. If you don't get the answers that make sense to you, also don't hesitate to ask for a second opinion.

Give yourself permission to question and to seek answers. It is your job as a parent to do that. Remember for 98 percent of children suffering from flu and respiratory illness, recovery comes in a timely manner and usually within 10-14 days. But in those rare cases where after a month or two and your child still isn't himself, follow your gut and seek a second medical opinion. That's my two cents worth of advice. Let me know what you think.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Prayer chains, Do they work?

Do you believe in one creator? When I see the beauty around us I believe. But what about when we are not surrounded by such beauty and instead  are surrounded by bad news, critical diagnoses, and sickness and poor health. Can we believe in one creator then?

Regardless of our personal religious beliefs, we all look for some comfort and direction when things go south. Illness, pain, financial difficulties, divorce, death, and job concerns can be overwhelming. My personal belief is that prayer works.

I pray in the car, while making dinner or doing laundry, when caring for my little patients, and basically every minute of every day. It works for me, even in bad times. What about you?
Dreamwords Publishing has a new site where you can ask for prayer requests and a prayer chain can be started. It is non-denominational and for people of all faiths. If you have something you need prayer for stop by the site or leave me a comment here and we will get the ball rolling. Everyone at some time needs alittle prayer. Dreamwords Publishing is the publisher who is publishing my book for those dealing with cancer. It is run by a compassionate and caring team who have committed themselves to praying for others. Give it some thought and let us pray for you.

Visit  Let me know what you find.  

Photo is of Alaska and was posted by my friend Amy. She is a wonderful example of a nurse with compassion and caring. She travels all over the world doing hospital mission work. Love you Amy.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Here is a Fun Fall Activity

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Here is a Fun Fall Activity: "Bobbing for Apples by Tash Hughes of Save Time Online Bobbing for apples is an old party game that can still be a lot of fun at parties or..."

my blog: Letter to my daughter ( in the wake of senseless t...

my blog: Letter to my daughter ( in the wake of senseless t...: "Hello my girl, I wanted to say hi and tell you how much I miss you and that I hope your classes are going well and that you are having fun ..."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Look for My New Ebook... Tips for Parents when a Child has Cancer... need your input

I am working furiously on my Ebook for parents who have a child with cancer. Although the tips I give would be beneficial to parents with a seriously ill child, I have a passion for those kids I have cared for who battle cancer.

Before the final edition, I am opening up the comments to any other suggestions from family or friends who have tips that may benefit a parent going through this trial. I will use those tips and comments to help me finalize the content of the book. I want to offer a free shorter version here at the blog for those who sign up for the mailing list and the longer version with more resources will be available here and on my website stores.

Feel free to suggest future titles for parents who are dealing with these types of issues outside of the normal child raising routine. There are tons of books available on how to raise healthy normal children, but I find that resources can be limited on just what a parent needs when their child is diagnosed with a critical ailment.

I am open to any and all comments and suggestions. I have many years as a nurse watching and caring for children with cancer, sickle cell anemia, arthritis, asthma, cerebral palsy, and other metabolic disorders that change the way a parent imagined their life would be. My goal is to offer what resources and support I can to help them feel confident and fulfilled parenting a child who is ill.

Looking forward to hearing from you. Please leave comments by Sept 30th so I can move forward with this project ASAP. In the mean time, Blessings for a great day.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Healthy Tips for Flu Season

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Healthy Tips for Flu Season: "Autumn is one of the best times of the year. Cooler weather, beautiful fall colors, less humidity, and time to get outside to walk and enjoy..."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What to do when things don't go as planned?

What happens to the family when things don't go as planned. I work in a neonatal intensive care unit so I see first hand how the best laid plans take a downward swirl in a moments notice.

A perfect planned pregnancy and delivery takes on a different level of stress when baby needs oxygen, antibiotics, or has a defect not detected in utero.

The same can happen when a routine doctor visit detects a lump or a routine blood count detects a blood cancer. We are all just a moment away from having something stressful change the way we have our lives planned. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when life throws a wrench in all the best laid plans:

1. Take a deep breath. Give yourself a few minutes to grasp what it is you have just been told. Taking those first few deep breaths helps to avoid panic and allows your body to gather the hormones and the energy needed to move forward.

2. Make note of the three most immediate tasks that need to be addressed before moving on. Nurses are trained to check for airway, breathing , and circulation before addressing any other need for a patient. Deal with what you have to in the same way. Make a list of the three most immediate tasks to complete before dealing with anything else. It may be child care, transportation, financial, or it may be make an appointment, get another diagnostic test, talk about your options. No matter what has just happened, it can be handled in a systematic way if you take it a step at a time.

3. Call on your family and friends for support and for assistance. Don't let pride get in the way of asking for help with your needs. Friends want to do what they can, so give them ideas and accept it when they take it upon themselves to cook, clean, or offer services.

4. Communicate. Keep the communication open between your immediate family especially a spouse or significant other and your children. Don't make this a time to close out those that love you. Often spouses will get left in the dust when a child becomes ill. Don't let that happen, and rely on each other for strength.

5. Keep your faith and don't push your religion away. Let your inborn beliefs and family values help to keep you strong no matter how tragic a situation may appear or no matter how angry you are with God.

6. Be grateful and look for the hidden blessings in any serious situation. Whether it is a friend, the timing of the incident, a staff member, the weather, what could have happened.... there is always some little blessing to be grateful for. Practicing gratitude helps to keep a balance in a stressful or unhappy situation. Try it.

7. Continue to eat healthy snacks for energy, rest when you can, and stay hydrated. Keeping the body strong keeps the emotional and mental side of a person strong and able to cope with stress in a more effectual manner.

When things don't go as planned, try to avoid panic, hasty actions, and reacting to the anger. Take a deep breath so taking one step at a time becomes easier to do. Email comments or other suggestions so I can share them with the readers. Life will throw a wrench when ever it can, so having an idea about how others deal with life's zingers may just be what you need when your wrench comes down.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Guest post for parents: Back to school colds and flu

I have a guest post today for parents who have kids going back to school. Here is some expert advice about colds, flu, and fever. Take advantage this great info: feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Back-to-School Blues - Is School Making My Child Sick?

A new fall wardrobe, school supply shopping, new teachers and reuniting with friends all contribute to the excitement of heading back-to-school. But all too often that excitement can be dampened by the dreaded common cold or flu that can leave your child feeling miserable.

Young children, more than adults, are particularly susceptible to colds, especially in the fall and winter when they are back in school. Children usually get colds from other children. When a cold virus is introduced into a school or day care, it can quickly travel through the class. In the early school years, your child's immune system is put to the test daily. Large groups of young children are breeding grounds for the organisms that cause illness. In fact: The common cold is one of the top five reasons children miss school.

· Children ages 12 and under can get up to 12 colds per year. · The common cold usually lasts 7 to 10 days, but some symptoms can last for up to three weeks, which can make it seem like your child has one
cold after another. Many parents are often confused about how best to treat their child's cold or flu. This confusion may also include the differences between ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Adding to that confusion this year are the recent recalls of several over-the-counter children's pain relievers and fever
reducers over the past few months.

The good news is that Children's Advil® is NOT part of the recent recalls and is currently available nationwide. In fact, ibuprofen, the medicine in Children's Advil® is the #1 pediatrician recommended pain reliever. In addition, Children's Advil®:

· Reduces fever faster* and lasts longer than the medicine in Children's Tylenol® (acetaminophen).

· Lasts up to eight hours and relieves the minor aches and pains caused by the common cold and flu, as well as sore throat and headache in children ages 2 to 11 years.

· Is safe when used as directed

  •  Tips on how to help prevent colds and flu
  •  The difference between a cold and flu, and how to treat the symptoms of each
  •  When you should treat a fever
  •  The most effective ways to treat a fever 
  • The differences between ibuprofen and acetaminophen

Additional Background on Spokespeople:

· Dr. Alexander serves as medical director of the Madison

County/London (Ohio) City Health Department.

· As a school nurse, Ms. Shamberger advises and counsels parents and

school staff on childhood illnesses and the management and control of

infections and communicable diseases.

· Dr. Alexander and Ms. Shamberger are partnering with Pfizer and

Children's Advil® on this initiative. However, they are independent

spokespeople and are not being compensated for their time.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

August and New Beginnings...

  • As July comes to a close, the dog days of summer are also ending. August can be a new beginning for so many things...
  • It is the beginning of a new school year, football season, fall soccer, the upcoming holidays, and a fresh start on the final 5 months of 2010.

For some of you August may mean doctors appointments, chemotherapy treatments, surgery, or unexpected hospitalizations. How do you prepare for the next chapter in life? Follow these tips to be able to cope with new beginnings.

1. Review the goals you set for the first six months and make changes to reflect what you need today.

2. Be flexible with expectations but keep your standards high. If you expect good outcomes, you will attract blessings.

3. Look at what you cannot change and learn to accept it without guilt.

4. Look at what you CAN change and make a list of small steps to take towards changing.

5. Take one step at a time. If you are undergoing a series of medical treatments that will take weeks or months, rest in knowing that is all you can do now. Sometimes being in a holding pattern is just exactly where we are supposed to be.

6. Find a moment of joy sometime throughout your day. Recognizing a joyful moment and being grateful are important to keeping a good attitude with new beginnings.

7. Do your best. It doesn't matter if it is a new job, new school year, or new medical treatment, practice doing your best at the task at hand.

8. Encourage others who might be starting out in a new situation. That feeling of encouragement will be returned sometime when you need it most. We reap what we sow as the old saying goes and I have found it to be true.

I encourage all of you to do your best with the start of a new month. A new job, a budget, classes, treatments, a relationship, or simply working on the status quo are all situations each of us can use to encourage someone else.

My new beginning includes more posts here and at for those of you who are dealing with health issues. I also will be writing articles on a regular basis at and continuing to write my ABC books for kids with various illnesses. I have a new job in a wonderful Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and I am blessed to be back in the critical care arena. I have a prayer book coming out in the fall for people going through a cancer diagnosis or treatment and will be writing another book for the same publisher for 2011.

New beginnings... Here is to all of the new beginnings that will start with the new month. Feel free to share what your new beginning or your new goal is for the rest of 2010. Let me encourage you as you make this journey.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

New blog, site for children and teens, New blog for parents

Curious like this bear..... check out the website I just put up for kids and teens.

My goal is to have a safe place for kids and teens to ask questions, vent, and find inspiration and encouragement when they are dealing with an illness or serious situation in their lives. Check it out at and see what you think.

  • A safe place with free arcade games

  • A blog

  • A comment section for teens to vent

  • Short articles on information important to kids and teens dealing with an illness or treatment unlike what their peers have going on in life.

  • A place to be real.

  • Parents will benefit too.

Then also cruise on over to for a new look and some great information for parents who are dealing with a serious illness in their child.

My goal has always been to provide inspiration, education, and encouragement for those going through a serious illness, it is just the nurse in me. Check it out but I will continue to post here as well. Looking forward to gaining new readers in the process.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Kids with Cancer and other serious illnessess... moving the blog soon

Update for parents and kids with cancer and other serious illnesses:

I am in the process of updating the blog and writing new and more useful information for parents and kids who are dealing with cancer and serious illnesses. I will soon have an e-book on tips for parents to cope with the situation. Look for that hopefully by the end of June. I want the information to be meaty and full of helpful tips to decrease your stress while maintaining some normalcy during trying times.

  • I am also in the process of working with children with behavioral and emotional/ mental conditions that are challenging for me so I am sure can be challenging for parents, things like addictions, substance abuse, anger issues, etc. These can be as devastating to a family as cancer and can lead to an untimely death as well. Information for parents and kids may also be posted on the new blog.

  • I will continue to offer support for those children and parents with cancer.... I have a prayer book for adults coming out in the fall for those being diagnosed and treated for cancer. My goal is to also get one published for children. I am currently waiting on responses from publishers when it comes to my picture book about my fictional character who has leukemia. Maybe you remember meeting her here.... Lilly? She has a lot to say about what it is like to deal with leukemia and I think she offers not only information but a real connection for children who are dealing with the same thing. I hope a publisher feels the same way. I will keep you posted.

  • If you have information about resources for parents and kids who are dealing with these serious issues, email them to me so we can share them with others. It never hurts to offer more information, even if you assume that others are aware of the sources. Some parents really do not know where to turn.

Keep visiting here for the updates and feel free to offer your personal input. No one can know exactly how it feels to have your child be seriously ill unless you have cared for or experienced it first hand, so I appreciate the input.

Tip for the day: Plan a little fun into everyday.... even on chemo days, blood draw days, MRI days, scary days, and painful days. Fifteen minutes of silliness and laughing can ease pain, decrease stress levels, increase the hormones in the body that promote healing, and break the tension that most parents are feeling and trying to hide. Silly hats, face painting, a red rubber nose or a silly pair of glasses can evoke a smile and a deep sigh. Give it a try and live your best life.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Leukemia and Lymphoma newsletter

Although my logo copy still says 1949-2009, rest assured that the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has a current logo for 2010 and has the most current information available for parents.

Log onto their website at and read about new studies, current treatments, and awesome rates for remission and cures for children with blood cancers. Look for the free web tele-classes and phone conferences offered and sign up for one today.

I am registered for the phone conference on May 4th for the newest updates on the treatments of childhood leukemia. I will post information as I find it regarding this class.

Check out the site often. There is a vast amount of information for parents there. Here are just a few tips I found on how to help your child cope.

1. Give them age appropriate information as they need it.

2. Let them digest the information and ask questions at their own pace.

3. Share with them that the caregivers that are treating them may also have to cause them pain, but that they will also treat the pain. It is all to make them better and tests and treatments should be explained in a way that the child can understand.

4. Take a deep breath, and take one day at a time. Spend as much time as you can with your child, but explain to the child if there are times that you must be away to tend to business.

Check back often here and at for more tips on helping your child cope.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Working on a fresh look....... coming soon.

Spring is here and it is time for a fresh look to my blog for parents and kids dealing with a serious illness so I will be working on getting new and improved information to share with you.

  • More importantly to me, is the children's book that I am working on for children who are dealing with cancer. You have met my character here, Lilly Isabella Lane, but she needs her story finished. So while I am working on freshening up this blog, I will also be getting her story polished and off to a publisher, so for a time, the posts here may be less frequent.

I am passionate about providing stories for kids about characters doing and feeling the same things that real kids do and feel. So I am committed to getting her story out there for those readers who need to get to know her.

While I know that writing about uncomfortable subjects like kids dealing with cancer may not be popular for everyone, as a nurse, I know it needs to get done. Look for more about Lilly here. Comments and suggestions are always welcome here or by email at if you have something to add to the topic. Parents who have been dealing with a sick child may have important information to share, and I would be glad to include it with the book. Email if you have suggestions.

In the mean time, Happy Spring and Health and Blessings to all.

PS: I have a prayer book for adults dealing with cancer at the publisher now and will include links as soon as it is printed. I also am working on a children's version of prayers for kids with cancer. Keep checking.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

beautiful boy... a book review

beautiful boy- A father's journey through his son's addiction

Author: David Sheff

IBSN 13-978-0-618-68335-2

Houghton Mifflin-2006

  • As a nurse and writer of this blog, sometimes I neglect to write about and offer resouces for parents who have a child suffering from addictions.

And let me tell you, any parent who has a child going through an addiction problem whether it is drugs or alcohol, sex or pornography, feels that their child has a terminal illness. Parents will discover that the same feelings and emotions a parent experiences when their child is diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness also experiences those same emotions when they find their child afflicted with substance abuse.

Substance abuse destroys families, it underminds trust, and changes family relationships. It is financially and emotionally devastating.

beautiful boy- a fathers journey through his son's addiction is a great resource for parents because it is a real life account of what a family has felt. It validates the emotional roller coaster that a family experiences and offers a guide to how one family coped. The book offers resource sites at the end of the book as well, however, the impact from the book is the validation of a parent's feelings.

If you or someone you know has a child dealing with addictions, suggest this book as another source of real life information. It does not offer a cure, but does offer hope and a real life account of how you keep going. Check it out and let me know what you think. This can be purchased at your local book store, found at your local library, or at I think you will find it eye opening and honest.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A great resource for leukemia and lymphoma research

Another great resource for parents and children diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma, is the Leukemia Research Foundation.

Someone is diagnosed with Leukemia or lymphoma every 5 minutes....EVERY 5 MINUTES. That is an astounding statistic. And where do those parents go when they have been handed this blow.

I have many times suggested and now I am pleased to add this new site as well.

Check out and find out more valuable information. LRF donates over 1 million dollars a year to research for a cure for leukemia. They also offer over 200,000 dollars in financial help for families. Check out there site to see what they offer. I think you will find information, fundraising sites, and more tips for dealing with this disease. Let me know what you find so we can share it with other parents and kids fighting this fight.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tips to Help Your Child With Bad News

  • Parents often feel like they need to have all the right answers for their children. That theory is blown away when the parent must share information that is heart wrenching. When the news is about the child, the parent remains in some control and may choose to share the information about a diagnosis or treatment plan in small snippets.

But what if the information is bad and it is about the parent rather than the child? How does a parent go about telling a child about an illness or other bad news when the parent knows it will break a child's heart? Here are a couple of tips to consider when sharing information with your child about your own health.

1. Be honest and age appropriate. A teen can digest more information at one time than a 5 year old. Information given on a need to know basis must be honest and timely. For instance,don't wait to the last minute to tell a child you are in a terminal state. A child should be part of the diagnosis and treatment process as their age allows and as your treatment plan changes.

2. Be frank about what your treatments will involve, what the child can expect from you, and what they can do to help. Do not make your child responsible for your care, but let them know what symptoms you may experience during treatment so the child is not so frightened. Suggest things the child might do to help you, like keeping their room clean, making a snack, or playing quietly from time to time when you are not feeling your best.

3. Understand that your illness will be heartbreaking for your child, but that children may not show their true feelings the same way you do. Children will go on and play, be with friends, and often act out in anger and or other behaviors because they do not feel in control of what is happening. Avoid reacting in anger towards your child, but attempt to have open and honest conversations. Let your child know that no matter what the future holds, your love for them will never change.

4. Allow your child or teen some choices about what directly involves them. Maybe they can choose whether to spend the night at a friend's home or a grandparent's home for one of the nights if you are hospitalized. Maybe they can decide if they want to miss a practice or game rather than you telling them what to do. Allow them to set the tone for hospital visits as well, and avoid being hurt if your child chooses to stay away for a time. Remember children process things differently than an adult, and may not always be able to handle the hospital atmosphere.

5. Never lie to a child if the diagnosis is serious. You can have honest conversations about outcomes without being morbid. Always point out the brighter side of things as well as the more serious side, but never promise that everything will be fine especially if you don't know. It is better to help the child or teen work on coping skills for the time when things might get tough.

It is always always difficult to tell your child you have been diagnosed with a serious illness. When my husband was diagnosed with cancer, our children were 5, 10, and 12. It was a very tearful and heart wrenching time but we were honest and gave them the information in small amounts. The children knew when we had doctor's appointments, they knew the day of surgery and they attended school with a grandparent waiting for them after school, and they knew when radiation treatments started. We talked about the side effects of the treatment that they would visually be seeing and we talked about the prognosis with a hopeful spin.

Above all, the children knew that they were loved and that as a family we would handle what came next with the faith and strength God would give us. It was a very hard time, but we made it through. With these tips, you take things one day at a time and love, always love.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Expert in Arthritis Author Irene Roth

Welcome Author Irene Roth to the blog today. She is a known author, expert in arthritis, and has recently published articles on arthritis in a national newspaper.

Children suffer from arthritis too, and Juvenile Arthritis is one of the number one illnesses for children under the age of 18.

Here Irene gives you some very basic information and links to more information for those of you who have or think you may have arthritis.

About the article: Title: Are you too young to be achy and sore?

In this article, I examine how kids can cope when they feel different because they have arthritis. They may feel slower than their siblings because of stiff and sore joints. They may be slower getting out of bed because of the pain in their joints. I then list a few things that kids could do if they have arthritis to cope with the disease.

Some of the things that I suggest are as follows:

1. Realize that you're not alone;

2. Tell your teachers about your diagnosis;

3. Accept your disabilities by using a few self-management techniques such as pacing yourself and to listening to your body.

About my experience with arthritis: I have been leading arthritis self-management workshops for almost ten years. It is a six week workshop on how to manage arthritis. It includes a book and a lot of reading material on the different types of arthritis. P

articipants are given a lot of valuable information during the six weeks and feel much more able to live with the least amount of pain.

I was first diagnosed with arthritis in 2000, and I took this very same workshop myself. I felt so alone and out of control. I was 40 at the time and felt that life has somehow cheated me.

The workshop so changed my life and my confidence level that I just knew that I had to help others have the very same feeling that I had at that moment.

So, I got trained through the Arthritis Society to run the workshop and have been running them ever since then here in Perth county and London, Ontario.

I also run some workshops in Kitchener, Ontario.

Visit these links for more information, for copies of the original article, and for links to Irene's sites. Let me know what you find.

The name of the publication that the article appeared in was: The Beacon Herald. It appeared in the Saturday edition of the paper. The web address for the Beacon Herald is:

Writer's Blog: blog for girls: Blog: of: of: Children's Writers Coaching ClubMember of Children's Writers NetworkICL Member Member of CBI Clubhouse

Friday, March 12, 2010

Arthritis and Children, New Cancer Site, and More from Lilly

We have seen signs of spring this week, birds, sunshine, and the scent of spring rains. Spring brings a sense of adventure and new beginnings.

Here at Heartfelt4kids we are feeling the same sense of adventure. We will be honoured to host author Irene Roth next week. Irene is an expert in arthritis in adults and children. She is a published author with articles about the subject and we will share her information early next week with links for parents who need more information.

Lilly, my fictional character who is teaching us about Leukemia will also give us another sneak peak into her book The ABC's of Cancer According to Lilly Isabella Lane. Stay tuned for that snippet.

Finally, I will be linking you to information about another fantastic agency that funds Leukemia research and assists families who are dealing with this and other blood cancers.

I am always looking for more sites for information for parents and kids with serious or terminal illnesses, and I will be gathering more information on other illnesses besides cancer.

Check back often next week for all of this current info and updates on things you may want to know. In the mean time, enjoy whatever signs of spring are sprouting up in your area. Keep a look out for the robin. I have seen robins, blue birds, a cardinal, and two raccoons so far this week. Can spring be far behind?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Leukemia and Lymphoma newsletter

I have posted about various organizations that help families dealing with cancer but I cannot post enough information about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

This organization offers so much to families who are dealing with these blood cancers. They offer clinical information, financial assistance in some cases, and more importantly they offer hope for a cure for these diseases.

Visit the site and sign up for their newsletter. Here you can find so much factual information and good places to contribute time and funds for research.

When my fictional book about my character Lilly gets published, this will be the first place I contribute a portion of any profit the book makes. As a nurse, I have seen first hand how this agency helps families deal with these blood cancers. I give it an A+ as a service agency and highly recommend it as a resource for parents with a child newly diagnosed with leukemia.

Check it out at

Monday, February 22, 2010

Another piece of my children's story about kids with cancer.....

I have a passion for kids going through serious illnesses especially cancer. The attitude that these kids have is one that every adult on the planet should adopt. Their attitude for the most part is positive, realistic, and these kids know what is important long before the average adult figures it out.

That attitude in the kids I have cared for over my nursing career is what inspired me to write a children's book where the main character has leukemia. I want kids to read about fictional characters with great attitudes and positive outlooks on life. Kids see joy where most adults don't see anything. Kids see awe in the average day things like the antenae on a butterfly and the guts of a squished worm. Kids watch ants work like a well trained army and we adults just grab a spray can of bug stuff.

So, my fictional character, Lilly, will show the reader about attitude and a bunch of other realistic kid like things in my childen's book tenatively titled The ABC's of Cancer According to Lilly Isabella Lane. And here is a snippet of what she has to say:

I have a childhood form of cancer called Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. Some kids might say it stinks. This is what I have to say about it in my own words.

A is for Attitude. It is all about attitude, a spunky, silly stubborn attitude, which my parents say I have. They also say that is a good thing if you have cancer. I don't think my teacher agrees, at least not during Math, but my new middle name is Spunky.

Parents: Please feel free to comment and give me your thoughts on your child reading about a fictional character that is going through a real life illness. Would it be helpful? Would it be too realistic and make you uncomfortable for your child to read this? Let me know. Check back soon to see what else Lilly has to say.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I am a nurse, but I am also a freelance writer. In the years that I have taken care of sick children, I have noted a lack in realistic yet hopeful children's books for kids who are dealing with real life diseases like cancer, stories with characters that let kids be kids even if they are very ill. It seems there is a limited number out there and that adults may be squeamish when it comes to reading books aloud to their children who are also sick, especially if the book includes a child who is ill.

I want to create fictional characters for children that they can read about and relate to but who are most definitely fictional. If a child has a friend who may be ill or if the child is sick, it can be comforting to read about characters who deal with these same issues in the safe pages of a book.

My hope and prayer is that as I create these books and get them in the hands of children, that they may also help to open the line of communication between parent and child when scarey health situations occur.

I am going to introduce some of these fictional characters to parents and friends on this blog. They are based on children that I may have cared for or observed over the course of 34 years of nursing and are not meant to be true accounts of any one child. They are the products of my imagination and are given admirable characteristics of the children I have seen who have dealt with their illness with dignity and bravery. You may see the bright blue eyes of a toddler, or the heart of a teen. You may watch the chubby cheeks and curls of a first grader, or you may hear the tears of a child in pain. As I write these stories from my heart to the heart of the reader, may you feel and understand what these parents and kids go through.

I hope you will love them like I do. Please feel free to email me or make comments and let me know how I can address the needs of someone you may know or love.

Meet my first new character, Lilly Isabella Lane. She is nine years old and she loves silly hats, cats, friends, and soup. Lilly has a disease called Leukemia and she is going to tell a story about what it is like to have cancer in my new book, The ABC's of Cancer According to Lilly Isabella Lane. This is what Lilly has to say about cancer.
Look for another post soon about what Lilly has to say.
PS. The picture is of my writing partner and grand-daughter who gives me much insight into the hearts of first graders. Love you K.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gut Wrenching Emotions:

  • As a nurse I have seen families go through gut wrenching emotions as they watch their child be diagnosed.

Other parents go through these same emotions as their son or daughter serves the military, hoping against all hope that they come home safe.

I know this and I can say I feel this. Our own son is in the process of seeing physicians for nodules he found in his back. He called me this week, told me he has had them a few weeks, and that he just doesn't feel right. He is scared.

My heart sank at his words. The words of faith and hope that I believe seemed more like words at that moment, empty and false. Hours later when my husband and I arranged our schedules to be with him at his doctor's appointment ( He lives 120 miles from us and is an adult child- none the less he wanted us there.) and we had gone from diagnosing him ourselves to saying okay God, give us strength to handle what ever this is, we are told he has benign lipomas. The doctor thinks they are benign but he referred us to a surgeon anyway, so we wait for that appointment. He diagnoses this without feeling our son's neck, without having him get undressed, and without so much as a drop of blood or urine to test. Do I believe him?

The bottom line, faith and hope is all you really have when life seems as if it is falling apart. The diagnosis will be what it will be... and we as parents will gather the strength to deal with it. We as parents who are both nurses, must trust that the physicians are right and wait patiently for the appointment with the surgeon. And we pray. Pray for strength, for good health, and for our son.

For all you parents who have children that are dealing with an illness or are in harms way as they serve our country, I feel for you and what you are going through. There is no greater love than that of a parent for a child. May God give each of us the strength to be the parents we need to be for the situation. May God sooth our gut wrenching pain, and make us whole.

Monday, February 8, 2010

We all have a past and some of it isn't pretty. We feel loss, grief, anger, hurts, and any number of incidents in our lives that could bring us down or make us less. But there is hope for all of us. Author Mary DeMuth's new book THIN PLACES shows just how a negative can bring a positive to our lives and the choices we make can change us. Here is her story. Please get a copy of her book soon. It is life changing.

My True Story

By Mary DeMuth

When I started my writing journey toward publication, I thought I’d always be a novelist. My agent at the time suggested I write parenting books, something I balked at for quite some time. I was a storyteller after all. And because of my upbringing, I suffered from deep wells of insecurity in my parenting. And yet, I sold three parenting books. I wrote them from a position of weakness, and I prayed other parents with struggles similar to mine would be encouraged that they’re not alone. One facet strung its way through all my books: story.

I can’t help but tell stories, whether they be fiction or nonfiction. As I brainstormed with my next agent and my editor about who I wanted to be when I grew up, we all came back to story. I am a storyteller. We decided it would be best for me to place my primary focus on novel writing, but keep the storytelling alive in nonfiction.

Two years ago, I sensed the need, urge, and desire to write a memoir. I’d come a long way in my healing journey, enough that I could write it without bitterness, with a view toward God’s intervention. Thankfully, my vision for a memoir fit well within the story idea, and Zondervan took a risk and bought the book.

I wrote the book much like I’d write a novel, with an inciting incident, some flashbacks, a rising action and a late climax. Of course, as memoirs go, I had more freedom to explore and meander through the story, but I kept the book mostly in scenes, written in first person present tense to create intimacy and immediacy with the reader.

It was difficult to create me as the main character, to place the potential reader into my own head, to play it out in a way that would woo the reader to turn the page. In doing that, I learned even more about myself, how I viewed the world (sometimes in a warped way!), and what possible impact my journey might have on fellow strugglers.

Though I knew well the landscape, setting, and characters of my life, it proved difficult to give myself permission to truly delve in deeper, to re-feel my pain, angst, joy, frustration, anticipation, and worry. Once I let myself go there, the memoir progressed. And my editor helped me shape the book more chronologically, something for which I’m deeply thankful.

The end result is story: mine. It’s the story of a little girl who faced sexual abuse, neglect, drug-using parents, fear, death of a parent, and a host of other malevolence. And yet it’s a hope-filled story, where the bright light of God’s climactic redemption outshines the dark places. It’s a story of God’s nearness when I thought I’d nearly lose my mind and will to live. How grateful I am for the beautiful love of Jesus, how dearly He chose frail me to shame the wise. It’s really His story after all.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Author-Alice J Wisler

I have found an author who has experienced the same grief that many of our readers have felt and she has taken that sadness and turned it into books and journaling programs to help others.

Alice J Wisler has a blog at where she shares her loss and the feelings of grief she has felt since her son passed away from cancer. Those of you who are parents may relate well to what she has to say and benefit from signing up for her newsletter.

It is easier to relate to a parent who has experienced the same kind of grief you have experienced and it is important to reach out to someone when you are going through the pain. Online contact can be encouraging even if all you do is read her posts and know that you are not alone in your feelings.

Alice also has a website to promote her books and her workshops on journaling through the grief. Check out her site at for more information.

Grief is a tangible pain. Seek sources to aid you through the process. Check it out.

Alice has written several books including Rain Song and How Sweet It Is. Get your copies of one of these books for your reading time. I am sure you will find something at her site or in her books that will touch your heart.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Suicide... Another kind of family crisis.

I am currently working with teens who are depressed and have been at one time suicidal. It is an illness just as devastating as cancer or muscular dystrophy. It is a true family crisis when a teen has a behavior the parent cannot see or cannot change. It makes the family feel helpless and at a loss.

Consider this book for another point of view for parents who wonder what teen depression means to a family, especially if the end result is suicide.

A Parent's Guide for Suicidal and Depressed Teens: Help for Recognizing if a Child is in Crisis and What to Do About It By Kate Williams
Here is a review from :

Drawing from personal experience, Kate Williams provides support for parents seeking help for their teen . Williams helps parents recognize the signs of a child in crisis, how to find immediate and effective help, and how to deal with ongoing adolescent issues.

  • Customer Reviews
    Needed addition in suicide literature This is the first book I've seen that looks at a suicide attempt from the family's perspective. In so doing, it acknowledges the family's terror, the stigma issues the family faces, and the family's love for their child as they struggle to try to understand and help.

  • Williams helps parents explore their own feelings about suicide, encourages parents to overcome their reluctance to reach out for help and support, then discusses suicide issues and therapeutic approaches.

  • On one hand, the book seems too simplistic. It doesn't discuss the impact of the suicidal person's moods and behaviours on the family; the terrifying roller coaster of therapists and medication before the right combination is found; the families torn as they try to help their precious child.

  • But the author's calm, compassionate presentation may be the more useful and helpful approach, particularly for parents who have never been to any kind of mental health professional and are afraid of being blamed for their child's behaviour.

Visit to order your copy or to check on their list of other titles with similar topics. Teens can be challenging, but as parents we are responsible for their well being. Read what you can and seek professional assistance if your teen has symptoms of depression, a change in behavior, or you are concerned for their safety. You may save a life.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Book of Prayers coming soon

  • We are now almost one month into the New Year. Not a one of us wants to have to deal with a serious health related issue in 2010 but the reality of life is that some of us will.

I believe in being positive and proactive with our health. Make time to get your yearly health exams done. Visit your physician if you feel a lump, a mass, or experience pain that cannot be explained. And monitor your children for the same. Life is unfair, and children do become seriously ill. It is important for early diagnosis for both adults and children for many diseases seen today.

But when you do have to face the fear of diagnosis and treatments, where do you go for support? I think most of us regardless of our religious beliefs will turn to some form of prayer to help us with the crisis. I don't attempt to be an expert on religion and I don't want to mistake my faith for yours, however, I think we all seek comfort from a higher power than ourselves.

I have partnered with another writing friend to offer comfort and support for those who need it during an illness or health crisis. We will soon be offering books written from our hearts to yours to help you through specific diagnoses and treatments. Look for these to be published in 2010.

2010 will bring us closer and I will continue to supply you with resources and inspiration through whatever trials come your way. As you know, I have a passion for helping you and your child deal with childhood illnesses. Visit the blog often for encouragement, book reviews, and health related information for you and your children. Here is to a better 2010 no matter what life throws our way.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Year... New Goals...More resources and support for parents and kids dealing with illness.

Welcome 2010.. bring on the New Year with gusto even for those of us dealing with loss, illness, and pain. Everyday is a new day, a lesson in living, and in some cases a lesson in how to die with love and dignity.

I have been lax in posting the past few months, not from lack of desire to provide but more from a lack of time. I have been working with special needs children who are ventilator dependent or who have extensive special needs and I have been helping to bring them home.

As a nurse in a pediatric home care agency, you see first hand what families deal with and how they cope. Not all coping is healthy. I have learned wonderful lessons and seen total dysfunction, but every day I have learned.

From my lessons as a nurse, I will again post as often as possible offering resources for parents and kids who are dealing with illness and special needs on a daily basis. I will also be offering pieces of a couple of children's books that I am working on.

I have seen a huge lack in books and resources for children, written for their level and addressing the fears and facts that children dealing with illness are asking for and deserve. I hope to be able to provide a series of books for children dealing with things like cancer, muscular dystrophy, and other childhood diseases based on facts woven with fictional characters that kids can relate to.

Parents may have a difficult time speaking to the emotional aspect of what children feel, largely because parents are dealing with their own emotions. I hope to help kids relate to fictional characters who have the illnesses or problems their friends or siblings may be experiencing and offer a link to helping them cope.

I will keep you posted here with excerpts and progress. I will also keep you updated on as much new medical material as I can find, books, resources, websites, and anything else I can find to help.

Looking forward to reaching you and expanding to more readers with heartfelt words to help.

P.S. The bears and future pictures may depict Alaska because I have dreams of going there in 2011 for some writing and researching. The pictures help me to focus on my goal and encourage me to work towards it especially when times get tough. What can you use to help you focus and look ahead to a better time?