Tag Archives: caregiving

Picture Book Idea Month (aka PiBoIdMo) began today!

Today is a great day for picture book authors and illustrators.

Today is the first day of Picture Book Idea Month 2014, also known as PiBoIdMo. (Learn more HERE.) Thanks to Tara Lazar who is the creator of this inspiring challenge, November 1-30 is brainstorming month for those of us who appreciate the push, nudge, encouragement to capture our ideas. (Read my interview with Tara HERE.) This morning before I was out of bed I was thinking about this being Day One of PiBoIdMo and how I just didn’t want to get out of my bed yet … and an idea came to me for a picture book! Yay! I still haven’t written it down but that’s next on my to-do list. Maybe in the next couple of brainstorming days I can add to that story by coming up with my character’s name and a great title for the book. Or maybe I will settle on those today – now the imagination wheels have begun to turn again. Either way, I will try to keep track on my blog as I progress with this year’s PiBoIdMo challenge.

piboidmo2014wordpressbannerIt is not too late if you are interested take part in Picture Book Idea Month; you have until midnight of November 7 to read about it and register HERE.

Each November since 2010 I have worked on a YA fiction novel, last year being the least I added to it. With a little regret, this year I decided to not participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This means I may not even finish my novel, but I surely want to! My problems are tiredness, trying to beat back depression, too much going on in my brain as it is – including all I feel I have to do or should be doing but not wanting to overextend myself further. I care about my own health, and if I get sick I am of little help to anyone else. My dad needs me, my sister needs my contributed half in caring for Dad, my husband and daughters even need me sometimes. And, of course, little Meyya needs me.  Okay, there. Does that sound convincing enough?

Even though this month I’m not officially adding to my novel through NaNoWriMo, my fiction story stays on the back burner of my mind. I’m not sure how to bring it to its natural end yet, but the characters won’t go away. It seems they’re telling me this is a novel that needs to be completed, which I plan to do. In fact, I’m kind of excited to see how it turns out!

What it comes down to is I believe my biggest problem may be lack of adequate organization of my time. Well, that and I get distracted easily. And I’m tired. And I have so many ideas and things I want to do.  hmm  Yeah, I’ll go back to the first point – lack of adequate organization of my time.  (Can anybody relate to this?)

Share with me your thoughts on this.

What do you find to be the main thing that prevents you from moving forward, and how do you conquer it? Any tips for me on how to better divide and manage my time?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

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Hillsong music, and Helping one another

A rambling post …

Here it is Sunday again. Weather-wise it has been like a late summer day – but it is supposed to warm again this coming week. I appreciate the summer so much; it’s far too short for me.

My spirit longs for particular music sometimes, right now being one of those times. Here is a link to Hillsong so you can enjoy the music I’m listening to as I’m writing this post.

Life continues on with its caregiving challenges (almost 3 1/2 years now!) – some days make me appreciate the good ones so much more. If it weren’t for the help we are getting my sister and I could not have managed all this as long as we have.

As you know, one of my goals is to write children’s books, or even any writing for myself would be good right now! Last month a friend and I were discussing our mutual desire to write, and I suggested a challenge. From that conversation we are now both writing – actually, we are writing together although long distance – one writes, the other adds to it and sends it back … and so on and so on. This effort is challenging us and helping to release our creative (writing) energy. Have you tried anything like that?

Now for the burning question:
How are you enjoying my blog; is it helpful to you?

I’ve been looking into ways I can help you more. Since I’m interested in helping promote your books (the ones I agree to read and review) and others I think you might like or should know about, you know I have a new page for that purpose: BUY THE BOOK!  On that page I’m in the process of adding a few more things – both for writers and for readers.

As you can imagine, I spend a lot of my available time reading books, updating my blog and writing posts. (and I enjoy it all!) When I upgraded my blog to better suit my needs it meant I’d have to pay for its hosting. (WordPress is very reasonable or I wouldn’t have done it.) After much consideration, I recently decided to look into affiliation which will bring in a very small percentage for any sales made through your clicks from the links I have here on my site. It will help me pay for my blog as it is, so is a way you can help me, too, if you want to.

The affiliations I chose are ones I think are of the most benefit to you as writers and readers. Once all the techie stuff is worked out you will be able to click to great things not only at Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and WritersDigestShop, but also at Christianbook, Chapters.indigo, CafePress, and Vista Print. When I get them all set up you will find them through BUY THE BOOK! and on my Writers’ Helps page. Exciting!

Now I must grab some time to read more of the book I am going to review soon. So many books — so little time!  :)

Please tell me what you think of what I’m doing here on my blog. I appreciate hearing from you.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

 

Book Review: Adventures in Mother-Sitting – by Doreen Cox

Adventures in Mother-Sitting by Doreen CoxBook: Adventures in Mother Sitting
Author: Doreen Cox
Publisher: Olmstead Publishing
Date: January 1, 2010
Genre: Memoir (adult reading)
Pages: 266
Price: $18.00; Kindle under $6.00
My Rating:  A good book for anyone caring for a loved one with dementia

* from the book blurb: ADVENTURES IN MOTHER-SITTING is a memoir that speaks to a journey through grief, through losses of many kinds.

I read this book with the intention of reviewing it, especially since I also am a caregiver of a loved one.

Adventures in Mother Sitting is a book written by the daughter of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease. Doreen Cox wrote from raw and real emotions and experiences. She took the reader through her journey, preserved in journals, in a way that draws the reader into her life, and into her home which she shared with her mother for whom she became a “care bear”.

Three things that stood out to me in a less positive way are:  1. I have never read anything where the author used quotation marks as freely as in this book.  2. It felt as if chapters 11 and 12 yanked me right out of the story and were not necessary.  3. Some repetition seemed unneeded as the reader can understand what was said and will likely remember most of it from before when encountering things that relate back.

Now, that out of the way, the great things about this book are the honesty with which the author wrote and her willingness to share it all. She told in great detail, some parts difficult to read because of the exposed reality of the disease, about how Alzheimer’s (dementia) steals from its victim. Not only are memories stolen, but the memory of how to do even the simplest things disappears. The brain is confused and damaged by the disease, affected in such a way so as to make it stop relaying the usual messages we all take for granted, such as how to eat, dress, carry on a conversation. There is so much to learn about Alzheimer’s, so much to understand in caring for someone afflicted. Doreen opens a window into seeing what it is like living with that horrible disease, and how acutely needed are love, compassion, patience, understanding.  She also bravely shared how it sometimes became too much for her when she was sleep deprived and exhausted, and how she coped – or failed to cope – with the demands on her.

Adventures in Mother Sitting is told with humour, love, and tenderness, but also with a sometimes shocking truth. It is raw, revealing, and perhaps awkward for some people to read, but it should be read anyway.

Two years ago I wrote a review of Still Alice  – a fiction novel about a woman who learned she had Alzheimer’s, and covers two years of her life as the disease gradually takes over her brain’s ability to function. It is a book highly recommended among caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients, and during our Alzheimer Caregiver Support Group meeting this month I recommended Adventures in Mother Sitting by Doreen Cox.

If you are facing dementia in any way, particularly as a caregiver of someone so afflicted, I suggest you read this book. It will help you to understand more from the viewpoint of the caregiver, enabling you to see from the author’s experience how the disease changes a person’s abilities and mind to that of total dependence.

You can find Adventures in Mother Sitting listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

Challenge updates: NaNoWriMo and PiBoIdMo

My writing challenges update:

NaNoWriMo: I am not doing well when you look at my link (at top of page), but I am thinking about it. That’s a start, isn’t it? :)  So far … zero words written.

PiBoIdMo: It’s day four and I have 9 ideas so far. Tara Lazar has fabulous guests again who have fabulous suggestions to help us with our picture book idea writing. I feel good about it this year.

NaBloPoMo: As you may have noticed, so far I am keeping up with daily blog posts.

Health: The first part of this week is busy for me in other ways, so my writing time is chopped up. Monday – an information education session called Understanding Dementia. It was very helpful, some of it new info for me. Tuesday – a Caregiver Stress Management workshop, which I expect to be more of what I need to hear. Wednesday I have three appointments for myself, including with my naturopath and my reflexologist. They have helped me with health issues, and aided me in regaining and maintaining my health – very important to me. I have to be well in order to better take care of others. It looks as if I will have Thursday and Friday for writing. All this takes place when I have someone present for my respite time. It probably won’t be uninterrupted, though.

Writing: I went through a blah spell with my writing, low on inspiration and energy for it. In early Spring one of my daughters got me into a game to play on my iPhone and it has turned into a vehicle of inspiration for my writing. Each day when I ‘visit’ my ‘neighbours’ I leave a little blurb of 120 characters or less. The response has been generally good, and that has served to keep me going. I found it has even released my creative thinking so that now I’m into these writing challenges it could be of help. My wheels didn’t rust or seize up during the slow time. :)  In fact, I am seriously thinking about a story book I can write from what I have been posting there. One never knows from where will come the next inspiration.

That’s all for now. I will post something tomorrow.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

 

A B C’s: Alzheimer’s, Blogging, Cancer?

I have been missing in action again. Well, not really missing, but absent from blogging. It was not intentional. I just need sleep, I think.

Since NaNoWriMo ended I have been trying to do a little catch up on other things. This is my week home from caregiving (Alzheimer’s) and even though I have had some time, I’m finding it hard to accomplish much extra. My blogging has suffered (again!), and for that I apologize to you, my readers.  My stress level is climbing and I’m quite tired, but Christmas is coming and I have to get busy!

2160578-tired-santa-claus

The added stress is that recently my dear husband was diagnosed with level 2 melanoma, skin cancer. (I had to pause before typing out that hated word.) My husband told me he doesn’t care if I talk about it here; he says many people know anyway, and it is what it is and will likely become obvious. I am sharing this information in the hope that Believers will pray for him. He has had one minor surgery, and on December 18 he will be undergoing a more involved one. After that one and before doing reconstructive surgery the surgeon will be searching for lymph nodes in order to remove some for testing. This all will happen within six hours on the same day. Test results are to come back four weeks later.

That happens to be my week at Dad’s, so I am working out details to have someone there in my place while I am with my husband for two days. Once he is doing okay then I’m back to Dad’s for the rest of the week. Plus, it’s going to be crazy trying to get everything ready for Christmas during all this. We have been attempting to get our shopping completed in preparation, and I got my ‘away’ gifts all mailed yesterday.

A fun thing for me is that on Saturday I met a new author who is a bit of a celebrity. She signed her book for me and after I finish reading it I will be doing a review here .. after the others I have lined up.

** If I told you I would read and review your book, please send me a quick email and remind me. I must have misplaced my list (can’t imagine how!) and really have to get a better system together. I hope you understand it’s been difficult to get into reading and reviewing lately. There are some exciting books lined up for me to review, though, and a couple of giveaways are included. Please stay tuned! :)

I cannot end this post without saying that in the long line of people waiting for the signing of books on Saturday, three people behind me was none other than the lovely and talented author Laura Best! Remember my review of her book Bitter, Sweet and our interview? We had a chance to chat a little which was enjoyable for me, with comedy added since her husband was her “professional photographer” and quite a kidder.

I suppose most of this reads like a “woe is me” post. Admittedly, I’m feeling rather blue right now, but after a good sleep things should look a little better. Truly, I rely on the Lord although it may not seem like it right now. My human nature is to look at the situation and then have to remind myself to look to the One who knows all. One of my life verses is Romans 2:28: And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

I hope you are not stressing, but if you find life to be overwhelming … look to the One who knows all. :)

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

 

 

When is a writer not a writer? (pity party alert)

My apologies right off the top for a dreary post.

My question is: When is a writer not a writer?  No, this is not a riddle. Then maybe again it is … but I have no real answer for it. Maybe you do?

I’m tired. No, let me say that again … I’m so tired.

And I don’t feel particularly creative. My well is low – on motivation, energy, inspiration, ideas, stamina. Maybe it’s because I’m tired. And a little discouraged. And feeling a bit forgotten. Now, is that a great menu for a pity party, or what!

My creative well is rather plugged up with stuff, such as – lack of quality sleep (aware all the time while “on duty”, then at home it’s hard to relax from that), caregiving concerns (situation is getting more involved as Alzheimer’s gets worse), always trying to balance two households (but not knowing enough about my own anymore)

physical pain (more since I had a fall a week ago, so add to the list an x-ray tomorrow AM), seeming to be invisible when it comes to the fellowship I was part of (probably “out of sight out of mind” because I seldom get there now), not having much interaction with writers (really need an ‘anytime chat’ place), needing a vacation (every second week at my own home is not a vacation), missing the ocean (my healing place), I have books to read and reviews to write (love doing both, time is a factor), I’m WAY behind in my emails and blog (many other demands and concerns),

and –

I hate that I sound like such a whiner!

Of course, my sister also has her own set of life stuff going on along with our caregiving commitment. It’s always interesting!

Okay, I need a hug. Where is my grandson when I need him?

There must be an up side to all this. Yes, of course there is.

  • 1. Our loved one gets to stay in his own home for as long as we can help him.
  • 2. We get the privilege of honouring him through giving of our time for him.
  • 3. My sister and I are learning as we go while also learning to work together to make a stressful situation workable.
  • 4.  We have fibre optics here! ;)
  • 5. …  hmm     5. … ?

I’m sure there’s more to add but right now I can’t think of it. (Was that you I heard say, “Good!”) This has been a writing exercise for me if nothing else, and hopefully my next post will be more upbeat after the tropical storm and hurricane pass tonight and tomorrow.

By the way, I don’t believe it’s writer’s block that’s got me in this place, it’s weariness and life stuff. Otherwise I could take some tips from my own Writer’s Helps page. :)

In the meantime, can you answer my question? When is a writer not a writer? What do you do when you not only can’t come up with ideas but you hardly are interested in trying?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

Book Review: Still Alice – by Lisa Genova

Book: Still Alice
Author: Lisa Genova
Publisher: Gallery Books
Date: January 6, 2009
Genre: fiction novel; mental health
Pages: 337; paperback
Price: $15.00 US; also available from Simon & Schuster Audio & as an e-Book
My Rating: A ‘must-read’ for anyone dealing with Alzheimer’s in any way, or wanting to know more about what it’s like – from the inside of it.
 

This is a book I discovered at a meeting of our local Alzheimer’s Support Group. I was urged to read it, so months later – when I felt I was ready – I borrowed it. [As an aside: We meet once a month, and I highly recommend that you join a support group if you are a caregiver of anyone with dementia.]

At first I put off reading this book. I lent it to my sister to read, she said, “Read it!” I lent it to one of our respite workers, he said, “Read it!” Finally, yesterday .. I read it.

This book will open your eyes to, and broaden your understanding of, some of the inner workings of Alzheimer’s disease and what it is like to be its victim. Even though this is a work of fiction, the author did extensive research and study to get it right. It is so very believable. To me, it felt as if I were reading the memoir of an actual person, I felt the frustration and pain of her family, and I laughed out loud at one incident which was both funny because of what happened and sad because of why it happened, and in another place I had tears in my eyes because of the truth of it.

This is a painful and terrifying disease. Even as I write this review I feel the emotion of it. Alzheimer’s steals its victim away, a little at a time. Lisa Genova so aptly described the disease through her characters and helped me better understand the cruel reality of what I (and my sister) deal with every day in some capacity.

Lisa’s main character, Alice, is a very intelligent, highly regarded and respected professor of cognitive psychology at Harvard University. She and her  husband (also a Harvard professor) had brought up their three children and now, at only fifty years of age, Alice knows something is seriously wrong with her memory. She puts off telling anyone and sets out on her own, at first, to find out what is going on. What she learns changes her whole world, and that of her family.

The author draws the reader into the lives of Alice and her family in a very smooth and captivating way. I wanted to know, I needed to know, and Lisa does not disappoint as she covers two years in Alice’s life.

At the end of the book, there is a section of Discussion Questions for a group, or for personal study of the novel. There is also an interview conversation with Lisa Genova.

Lisa Genova, holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard University and Still Alice is her first novel.

Now, to you I say, READ IT!

You can find Still Alice listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)