On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Marianne Sciucco is one of the founders of AlzAuthors, a site where caregivers can share information and experiences through books and more. She’s here today to tell my readers about a very special 5-day book sale that begins tomorrow. It’s a rather long post because it gives blurbs and links to all the books that are on sale. Please scroll all the way through – you don’t want to miss the perfect book for you. Mine might be one of them.

AlzAuthors 3rd Annual Caregiver Appreciation Month Book Sale & Giveaway is November 21-25

by Marianne Sciucco

AlzAuthors is built by caregivers for caregivers. Our mission is to provide carefully vetted books and blogs to help you find the answers and guidance you need. The majority of our authors have “walked the walk” with a parent, spouse, or other loved one, and have chosen to write their stories as balm for the soul, and to share with others the information they wished they’d had on their dementia journeys.

As November is National Caregiver Appreciation Month, we think it’s a wonderful time to recognize the long hours, sacrifice, and love caregivers bring to caring for a loved one with dementia or any long-term illness. In honor of their efforts, we are hosting a book sale and giveaway. It’s a terrific way for caregivers who are looking for knowledge, guidance, and support to build a library of carefully vetted books to help guide and inspire them every day.

Starting today through November 25th, you can take advantage of this excellent opportunity to check out some of our books for free and reduced prices. We offer a variety of genres, including fiction, memoir, non-fiction, and children’s literature. All are available in Kindle, and many are available in other digital formats, paperback, and audio.

Our books are written from a deep place of understanding, experience, knowledge, and love. May you find one – or two, or more! – to help guide you on your own dementia journey.

Click on the book covers to visit each book’s Amazon.com page. Please check all prices before purchasing. AlzAuthors is not responsible for ensuring price reductions. Please contact the individual authors with questions (contact information is provided in each author’s AlzAuthors blog post). All prices are in U.S. dollars. Note: AlzAuthors is an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

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anthology cover_ebookAlzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiving Stories: 47 Authors Share Their Inspiring Personal Experiences (An AlzAuthors Anthology, Book 2) by AlzAuthors, KINDLE COUNTDOWN DEAL – starts at $0.99 then rises each day to $4.99

Within these pages you will be immersed in a world of writing about Alzheimer’s and dementia gathered together by the team at AlzAuthors. The editors of this anthology have worked tirelessly to find and vet resources – memoir, novels, nonfiction, poetry, children’s books, and blogs – to provide those living with dementia a friendly place to find the support and knowledge they need. Includes stories for those caring for parents, a spouse, or living with the disease themselves. Stories featuring books for children and teens are also included.  May one of their stories speak to you.

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anthology biz cardAlzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiving Stories: 58 Authors Share Their Inspiring Personal Experiences (An AlzAuthors Anthology Book 1) by AlzAuthors, $0.99 (reg. $4.99); paperback $9.99 (reg. 14.99)

This poignant anthology grew out of the first year’s blog posts on AlzAuthors.com. Fifty-eight authors reveal the backstory of their books about Alzheimer’s and other dementias. It is a heartfelt compilation from those who have been deeply touched – whether they live with the disease, are caregivers, or simply care. They join together to offer compassionate support and courage for anyone traveling a similar path.

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flying fossilsFlying Fossils by Lynn Gentry, fiction; FREE (reg. $4.99)

The Slocum women never discuss the family secrets they buried in the Frio River. For twenty-five years, they’ve gone their separate ways and lived separate lives. But when Sara’s fall breaks her hip and leaves her unable to care for herself, her daughter is forced to return to Texas. Charlotte’s short-term care-giving plan is dashed when she realizes her difficult mother needs long-term care. While Sara struggles to regain her independence, Charlotte grapples with the impossible task of juggling a high-pressure job, a rebellious teenage daughter, and a slightly demented mother.

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blue hydrangeasBlue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story by Marianne Sciucco, fiction; KINDLE COUNTDOWN DEAL – starts at 0.99 then rises each day to $4.99; paperback $9.99 (reg. 14.99)

What if the person who knew you best and loved you most forgot your face, and couldn’t remember your name? A care facility is everyone’s solution for what to do about Sara, but her husband, Jack, can’t bear to live without her. He is committed to saving his marriage, his wife, and their life together from the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease. He and Sara retired years ago to the house of their dreams, and operated it as a Cape Cod bed and breakfast named Blue Hydrangeas. Jack has made an impossible promise: He and Sara will stay together in their beautiful home no matter what the disease brings. However, after nine years of selfless caregiving, complicated by her progressing Alzheimer’s and his own failing heart, he finally admits he can no longer care for her at home. With reluctance, he arranges to admit her to an assisted living facility. But, on the day of admission, Sara is having one of her few good days, and he is unable to follow through. Instead, he takes them on an impulsive journey to confront their past and reclaim their future. In the end, he realizes that staying together at any cost is what truly matters.

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Alzheimer's DaughterAlzheimer’s Daughter by Jean Lee, memoir; $0.99 (reg. $4.99)

What would you do if both parents were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s? At the time of their diagnosis, Ed Church struggles to his feet, yelling, “How dare you use the A. word with me,” while Ibby wags her finger at the doctor scolding, “Shame on you.” They protect each other, Ibby by asserting, “We’re not leaving our home,” and Ed reassuring, “We’re just fine.” About his driving Ed defends, “I’m an excellent driver, I’ve never had an accident.” When their daughter, Rosie, finds dings in Ed’s car, he dismisses, “Someone must have bumped into me.” After Rosie moves them to assisted living, convinced they are on a second honeymoon, they break the news, “We’ve decided not to have more children.” In the late stages, they politely shake Rosie’s hand, inquiring, “Now, who are you?” In Alzheimer’s Daughter readers journey with Rosie Church from her first suspicions that something is awry to nearly a decade later as she is honored to hold Ed and Ibby’s hands when they draw their final breaths. Kindle reg. price 3.99/sale price 0.99.

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requiem for the status quoRequiem for the Status Quo by Irene Frances Olson, fiction; $0.99 (reg. $4.99)

Family caregivers are oftentimes ruthlessly challenged by uninvolved family members who are quick to condemn, but reticent to offer assistance. Such is the case for Colleen Strand, a widow who recently found her own footing who takes on the task of caring for her father, Patrick Quinn, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Her older brother, Jonathan, criticizes Colleen at every turn and verbally abuses the father when he has the gall to exhibit symptoms of his disease. In short, Jonathan travels down the road of denial, leaving Colleen to deal with all matters regarding their father’s care. Connected tenuously to a father who barely remembers her and a brother who has become an enigma, Colleen faces the moving target that is Alzheimer’s disease, determined to clothe her father with the dignity he deserves, while capturing the far too fleeting moments of time with him. Kindle reg. price 4.99/sale price 0.99

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competing with the starCompeting with the Star by Krysten Lindsay Hager, $0.99 (reg. $3.99), Young Adult Fiction

Hadley Daniels’s life seems perfect… Before the beginning of sophomore year of high school, Hadley and her family move to a beautiful beach town, where she makes amazing new friends and lands the boyfriend of her dreams–Nick Jenkins. He’s the kind of guy every girl swoons over, and it isn’t long until Hadley discovers some are still swooning. A famous ex-girlfriend makes matters more complicated… After some time dating, Hadley and Nick form a deep bond. But insecurity sets in when Hadley discovers her boyfriend once had a huge crush on her friend–who just happens to be the beautiful former teen TV star, Simone Hendrickson. Hadley confronts Nick, who confesses about his history with Simone. Though he claims to only have eyes for Hadley now, it’s hard to believe–especially when she’s blindsided with the news that Nick and Simone kissed after school. Now Hadley must determine who is telling the truth. Love, betrayal, friendship…who needs soap opera drama when you’re busy competing with a star? This book has a sub-theme of Lewy Body Dementia.

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finding ruthFinding Ruth: A Daughter’s Quest to Discover Her Mother’s Past by Cynthia Hamilton, memoir; FREE (reg. $3.99)

A writer turns detective to learn what her mother’s life had been like before Alzheimer’s stole her memories. A true story of forgiveness and healing. As fiercely independent Ruth struggles to stay self-reliant at the age of 86, each day brings her closer to an event that will alter her life forever. While her author daughter shifts through Ruth’s possessions prior to her move into a skilled nursing facility, she discovers a previously unseen photo from 1949 and realizes how little she knows of her mother’s life. As Alzheimer’s continues to warp Ruth’s once sharp mind, she can no longer shed any light on the past. Yearning to know who her mother was as a person in her own right, the author painstakingly reconstructs Ruth’s life from photos, letters, public records and firsthand memories. What emerges is a portrait of a bright, beautiful woman who is propelled through decades of broken promises and heartache, bouncing from one ill-fated relationship to the next, but always staying strong, always surviving. Through a timeline going back sixty years, the author gleans a much better understanding of the woman she had known only as Mom.

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i'm your daughterI’m Your Daughter, Julie: Caring for a Parent with Dementia by Julie A. Gorges, memoir; FREE (reg. $2.99)

“I’m Your Daughter, Julie: Caring for a Parent with Dementia” is written by award-winning journalist and author, Julie A. Gorges, who was the primary caregiver for her mother suffering from Lewy Body dementia. Sharing her intimate story, Gorges provides a compassionate and supportive guidebook to help caregivers cope with the many difficult challenges they will face while caring for their own needs at the same time. With gut-wrenching honesty, Gorges shares her own roller coaster ride of emotions, mistakes she made along the way, and all the ups and downs of this life-changing experience that is fulfilling as well as difficult and painful. This book walks caregivers through the entire process to the end of the journey to help them cope and move forward after a loved one dies. Gorges wholeheartedly believes there are many things people can do to make life more dignified and enjoyable during this challenging time. “I’m Your Daughter Julie: Caring for a Parent with Dementia” is a must-read for those embarking on this difficult, but in the end worthwhile journey of caregiving.

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00071]Almost There by Laurel Garver, Young Adult fiction, $2.99 (reg. $ 3.99)

Paris, the City of Lights. To seventeen-year-old Dani Deane, it’s the Promised Land. There, her widowed mother’s depression will vanish and she will no longer fear losing her only parent, her arty New York life, or her devoted boyfriend. But shortly before their Paris getaway, Dani’s tyrannical grandfather falls ill, pulling them to rural Pennsylvania to deal with his hoarder horror of a house. Among the piles, Dani finds disturbing truths that could make Mum completely unravel. Desperate to protect her from pain and escape to Paris, Dani hatches a plan with the flirtatious neighbor boy that only threatens the relationships she most wants to save. Why would God block all paths to Paris? Could real hope for healing be as close as a box tucked in the rafters?

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trading placesTrading Places: Becoming My Mother’s Mother by Sandra Bullock Smith, memoir; FREE (reg. $2.99

Caring for an elderly parent can be extremely challenging. The role reversal involved is emotionally and intellectually demanding, and many caregivers find themselves unprepared to undertake such a difficult task. In Trading Places: Becoming My Mother’s Mother, author Sandra Bullock Smith shares her personal experiences spending ten years caring for her ailing mother. This heartfelt look at the trials and tribulations of that decade offers powerful insight and encouragement for anyone entering into a similar period of life. Smith’s touching stories share the heartbreaking, and sometimes comical, moments she experienced while providing assistance to her aging parent—and how they mirrored similar events from her own childhood. In a very real sense, the two women traded places. Smith found herself uttering phrases she heard all too often as a child, such as, “Don’t give your food to the dog,” and “You’ve had enough sugar today.” Smith began jotting down the things she said, and thus this charming book was born. Filled with respect, compassion, and love, this uplifting and amusing memoir is for anyone involved in elder care or who may face the role in the future.

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winding roadA Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos by Linda Brendle, memoir; $0.99 (reg. $3.99)

A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos is the story of the chaos that happens when four people, two of whom have Alzheimer’s, spend seven weeks touring the southeastern U.S. in a 40-foot motor home. Alzheimer’s is a family disease, and A Long and Winding Road is a love story–not a boy-meets-girl love story, but a family love story: The story of the love of a daughter for her parents and her willingness to take them into her home when they could no longer care for themselves; The story of a mother and father who loved their daughter but no longer remembered exactly where they were or why; The story of a husband who loved his wife so much that he stood beside her as they fought to survive the ravages of the brain-wasting disease that was stealing her loved ones away a piece at a time. It’s also the story of a seven-week trip for four across sixteen U.S. states in a forty-foot motor home–a trip that involved stopped up toilets, wet jeans, laughter, and headaches that were far from the easygoing retirement the Brendles had imagined for themselves. Linda Brendle takes you on a roller-coaster ride of emotional and spiritual challenges that many families are facing right now. Co-dependency, mental breakdowns, and finding love after divorce are just a few of the issues weaved into this journey of caregiving.

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Mom's Long GoodbyeMom’s Long Goodbye: A Caregiver’s Tale of Alzheimer’s, Grief, and Comfort by Linda Brendle, memoir; $0.99 (reg. 5.99)

“Mom’s goodbye began with a red photo album and ended fifteen years later in a hospital bed in the Alzheimer’s wing of Southridge Village. This is her story and mine.” Linda Brendle’s first memoir, A Long and Winding Road, told of the chaos that happens when four people, two of whom have Alzheimer’s, spend fifty-three days in a forty-foot motor home. It also told of the years and the life experiences that brought these four people together. After finishing it, many readers asked what happened next. Mom’s Long Goodbye is the rest of the story. Based on blog posts written as the events happened, this memoir takes the reader through grieving a continuous loss, some of the initial changes Alzheimer’s causes, the transition from caregiving to assisted living, Dad’s death, Mom’s last year, and the grief and closure of her final goodbye. Mom’s Long Goodbye strips away the façade of being the perfect caregiver and gives the reader a look at the denial, the anger, and the fear that come as a loved one loses herself a piece at a time to an insidious disease. Through sharing her own struggles, Brendle tries to assure other caregivers that they are not alone, that perfection is not required, and that comfort is real.

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somebody stole my ironSomebody Stole My Iron: a Family Memoir of Dementia by Vicki Tapia, $0.99 (reg. $3.99)

Navigating the waters of dementia can be frightening, unleashing a myriad of emotions for everyone involved. After Vicki Tapia’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, followed closely by her father with Parkinson’s disease-related dementia, she struggled to find practical, helpful information to light her way. Somebody Stole My Iron began as a diary to help her cope, but emerged as a road map for others. It offers a glimpse into her family’s  life as they rode the waves of dementia, sometimes sailing, other times capsizing. This engaging memoir offers useful information from experts within the field of Alzheimer’s research, personal lessons the author learned along the way, and ideas and tips for managing the day-to-day ups and downs of dementia.

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the reluctant caregiverThe Reluctant Caregiver, Missives from the Caregiving Minefield by Joy Johnston, memoir; $0.99 (reg. $1.99)

Untitled design (3)Not everyone is born a natural caregiver. One moment, digital journalist Joy Johnston is a cynical workaholic with an underwater mortgage. The next moment, she faces the responsibility of caring for her eccentric mother who’s battling colon cancer, just six months after her father’s death from Alzheimer’s. As an only child, she has no choice but to slap on the latex gloves, and get to know more about her mother — and herself — than she ever imagined possible. The road from reluctance to resilience is bumpy and splattered with bodily fluids, but it also offers unforgettable lessons. Who knew you could learn how to change a colostomy bag on YouTube, or that hospice nurses like telling dirty jokes? Peppered with snarky humor, vivid observations, and poignant honesty, this essay collection will resonate with anyone drafted into a family health crisis.

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to helen with loveTo Helen With Love by Linda Jenkins, memoir; $0.99 (reg. $7.99), paperback $7.00 (reg. $15.49)

It was a role she never expected to fill, but Linda Jenkins was soon thrust into a life of unpredictable days, lonely nights, and searing grief. For eighteen years she watches her mother give more and more of herself to Alzheimer’s disease from the seat of primary caregiver. Nothing could prepare her for what this new path would entail: navigating insurance issues, the healthcare system, financial concerns, hospice, and a panel of doctors, nurses, and caregivers. To Helen with Love is written with humility, faith, and love in the face of a dark and ravaging disease. She candidly addresses her fears, her doubts, and her grief as time ushers her through one obstacle after another. A practical and helpful memoir, the book is filled with resources, advice, encouragement, and hope; she finds humor and joy where it shines brightly through the fog and captures it all in her recollections of her mother’s last years. With insight on advocacy, best practice, and the emotional spectrum common among caregivers, Linda Jenkins offers information, support, and inspiration in her mother’s memory. Her faith was challenged in ways she could never have dreamed of, but with the love of God and her mother, she rose to the challenge and learned about herself, her family, and her faith.

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motherhoodMotherhood: Lost and Found by Ann Campanella, memoir; $0.99 (reg. $7.99)

Alzheimer’s disease, infertility and love of horses intersect in this memoir, which was named “One of the Best Alzheimer’s Books of All Time” by Book Authority. At age 33, author Ann Campanella returns to her home state of North Carolina ready to build a horse farm and start a family. Ann’s foundation is shaken when she experiences multiple miscarriages at the same time her mother spirals into Alzheimer’s. Ann’s connection to horses sustains her as she cares for her elderly parents and her window of motherhood begins to close. As her mother’s memory fades, Ann receives a final miracle. The voice in Ann’s memoir has been called constant and abiding, her imagery indelible. Her graceful, exacting language rises above the grief of infertility and the struggle to care for aging parents, connecting the reader ultimately to the heartbeat and resilience of the human experience.

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dear cluelessDear Clueless: A Daughter’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s Caregiving by Sandra Savell, memoir; $1.99 (reg. $3.99)

At the time this book was written, the youngest person recorded with Alzheimer’s Disease was 28 years old. Since I learned about Alzheimer’s with my maternal grandmother suffering from and succumbing to the disease in the 1980s, the ages of Alzheimer’s patients have been steadily becoming younger and younger. In my mother’s memory care unit was an educator who died of early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 53. There is a new diagnosis of Alzheimer’s every 67 seconds and it is estimated that one in every three people in the United States will have Alzheimer’s by the age of 85. This disease lasts from 2 – 25 years. If this trend continues then every family in this country will be visited by Alzheimer’s and the affects on caregivers will also affect this nation. This book is both a personal story of a decade-long journey of caregiving as well as a call to arms for funding and research of this terminal disease.

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save the bonesSave the Bones by Shannon O’Donnell, memoir; paperback $8.50 (reg. $15.00)

Maddening. Crazy-making. Frustrating. The dance that is Alzheimer’s is never quite mastered. The music changes often and the steps are irregular. This way? That way? Nothing is ever straightforward in the telling. This mother and daughter navigate the capricious ways of Alzheimer’s and discover new things along the way, including laughter that surprises and bonds them to shared history and memory. Second edition. Includes new material, the final chapter in the story of a mother and a daughter and Alzheimer’s.

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loving zeldaLoving Zelda: A Stepdaughter’s Caregiving Journal by Sue Anne W. Kirkham, memoir: $1.99 (reg. $3.99)

Caring for aging parents, it’s both a challenge and a blessing. In this engaging inspirational memoir, author Sue Anne W. Kirkham explores with honesty and humor every emotional and practical facet of the adult child’s experience when roles are reversed. Her father, Bill, a retired psychologist, and her stepmother, Zelda, had enjoyed absorbing hobbies and eagerly traveled the globe together for most of their 32-year marriage. Now Zelda–former organizer of Fourth of July kitchen-band marches–is fading away into the confusion of dementia. They need help. Through character studies and helpful insights, you will get to know this blended family intimately, and you’ll want to be there with them through every dramatic turn of events.

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is there any ice creamIs There Any Ice Cream?: Surviving the Challenges of Caregiving for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s, Anxiety, and COPD (Accepting the Gift of Caregiving) by Judith Allen Shone, memoir; paperback $19.99 US ($22.99), $25.00 Canada ($29.99)

In 2018, the Alzheimer Society of Canada website showed over half a million people in Canada were living with dementia. That same year, the Alzheimer Association website reported that over 5.7 million in the US were living with a form of memory loss. Unsuspecting family members had to jump into the role of caregiver without warning or training. Often, the caregiver was a spouse. Many caregivers became confused, challenged and eventually overwhelmed from the stress of caring for their loved one. Judith Allen Shone fell into that category. It never occurred to her to ask “what if” her love became ill and she, alone, had to become the one to take care of him. She never dreamed she would have to become a solo caregiver. But that is exactly what happened. It is from her experiences that Shone came to believe no caregiver should be walking their path afraid or all alone. Written for all caregivers and those who support caregivers, Shone juggles humor with insight, as she chronicles the story of an untrained and desperate caregiver who, in her memoir-story style, relates her formidable experiences accompanied by the emotional chaos of caregiving for her loved one with COPD, Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, cancer, and anxiety, with occasional mysteries arising. Includes one successful intervention….

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Alzheimer's TrippinAlzheimer’s Trippin’ with George: Diagnosis to Discovery in 10,000 Miles by Susan Straley, memoir; $1.99 (reg. $5.99)

What would you do if you learned that your spouse of 40 years had progressive dementia?
At sixty-two, Susan Straley was in a panic. She felt their fun retirement life was now over. Not only that, as an independent woman who loved her freedom, she didn’t want to be strapped with the caregiver role! And she worried about their retirement savings… what if George needed long-term-care? What she really wanted to do was run away. George tearfully begged her to wait until their 40th wedding anniversary, only a few months away. So Susan took off on a last-hurrah road trip with George and their recumbent trikes in tow. Their story is told in open and honest letters to family and friends, sprinkled with warmth, humor, angst and incontinence. Readers will find themselves traveling along with Susan and George, delighting in their experiences, cheering them on. Alzheimer’s Trippin’ powerfully captures the resistance, the joys, and the adjustments of one strong woman on the journey from diagnosis to discovery.

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weedsinnanasgardenWeeds in Nana’s Garden by Kathryn Harrison, illustrated children’s fiction; $0.99 (reg. $6.99)

A young girl and her Nana hold a special bond that blooms in the surroundings of Nana’s magical garden. Then one day, the girl finds many weeds in the garden. She soon discovers that her beloved Nana has Alzheimer’s Disease; an illness that affects an adult brain with tangles that get in the way of thoughts, kind of like how weeds get in the way of flowers. As time passes, the weeds grow thicker and her Nana declines, but the girl accepts the difficult changes with love, learning to take-over as the garden’s caregiver. Extending from the experience of caring for her mother, artist Kathryn Harrison has created this poignant children’s story with rich illustrations to candidly explore dementia diseases, while demonstrating the power of love. It is a journey that will cultivate understanding and touch your heart. After the story, a useful Question and Answer section is included. $1 from the purchase of this book will be donated to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. The Alzheimer Society is Canada’s leading health charity for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

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i smile for grandpaI Smile for Grandpa, by Jaclyn Guenette, author, and Kathryn Harrison, editor, illustrated children’s fiction; $0.99 (reg. $4.99)

Discover the heartwarming relationship between Grandpa and his Little Buddy in this touching book. When Grandpa is diagnosed with a dementia disease, Little Buddy realizes playing soccer together won’t quite be the same. But, while the activities that Grandpa can do are changing, there is still much fun to be had. In fact, spending time with each other is as special as ever! Using delightful and tender illustrations, dementia is compassionately explored through the innocent eyes of a child to create a greater understanding of the disease. Tips for speaking with your child as well as a useful Q&A are also included to enhance learning. Written by Registered Social Worker and Dementia Care Expert, Jaclyn Guenette / Edited and Illustrated by Award-winning Author & Illustrator, Kathryn Harrison. *A portion of profits from this book will be donated to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. The Alzheimer Society is Canada’s leading health charity for people living with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias. Thank you for making a difference.

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Thank you for visiting our sale!

For more carefully vetted books about Alzheimer’s and dementia, please visit our Bookstore.

Blessings,

Linda

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 19, 2019:

Pastor Appreciation 111919Pastor Appreciation Day was last month, and I pretty much let it slide by. I told myself that I let Pastor Jason know on a regular basis how much I appreciate him, but something happened on Sunday that I couldn’t let pass without notice.

Last weekend, Pastor Jason and his wife Stacy took some much deserved personal time. Believers’ Baptist is blessed with people who can step in to fill the pulpit and play the keyboard when the Rolens are gone, but it’s always nice to have the family back together. Sunday was extra special because we were celebrating the Lord’s Supper after the worship service.

After Stacy finished the prelude, Pastor Jason went through the announcements, read a passage of Scripture as a call to worship, and lead us in the opening prayer. Before he began, he mentioned how much he and Stacy had enjoyed their weekend, especially Sunday morning. The church they visited was celebrating the Lord’s Supper, and for the first time in their 20+ years of marriage, they were able to sit in the pew together and take Communion as a couple. That’s just one of many things they give up to minister to their church family. Read the rest of this entry »

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 12, 2019:

Theres nothing to doMany people don’t like the idea of small town life. “There’s nothing to do!” they cry. That might be true if they want first-run movies, Broadway-style stage performances, world class theme parks, or five-star dining. But if they can be content with fun, heart-warming events shared with warm-hearted, friendly people, Emory just might be the place.

David and I have always been happy to stay at home, working on small projects around the house, reading, or watching football or old movies. But after living in Emory almost nine years and making lots of friends, it’s hard not to get involved. The past few days have been really busy for a couple of less than social butterflies like us.

On Friday, we dropped in on the Women’s Service Club Reception and Open House at the Rose Community Center kitchenRose Community Center. The newly renovated building looks amazing, and even though we were a bit early, the women graciously took time from last minute preparations to show us around and answer my reporter-type questions. The trays of cheese, veggies, and cookies may not have been five-star, but they looked beautiful, and whatever was in the covered warming trays smelled even better.  We didn’t stay long, though, foregoing the refreshments and opting for lunch at the Senior Center.

Saturday morning we went to the American Legion breakfast, the place to be on the second Saturday of each month if you’re hungry for a delicious country-style breakfast. Apparently a lot of people decided to start their Veterans Day weekend celebration the same way, because we had trouble finding a place to park or a place to sit. We did, however, find one empty patch of grass and two empty seats at a table with some friends. We chatted with them, and I met a Navy Seabee who spent two tours of duty in Vietnam. There are some really interesting people in this little town.

David in Model ADavid had been invited by a friend to ride in his Model A in the Veterans Day parade, so after breakfast I dropped him off among a group of antique car enthusiasts and went in search of a good place to watch the parade and take a few pictures. I was early enough to snag a good spot in the Court House parking lot next to a couple of ladies I had met at the Senior Center. The weather was beautiful, the conversation was entertaining, and before I knew it, I heard the sound of drums as the Rains County High School Band led the parade down Highway 19. The Model As were close to the front, and David was in the second one, so I didn’t have long to wait. He was sitting in the rumble seat, so I got a great picture of him before he disappeared around the corner. The rest of the parade was fun with several floats, some marching groups, and a group of jump rope experts. It was over before the drivers who were stopped behind the barriers could become too restless, and all that was left was a few stray pieces of candy that would soon be flattened by oncoming traffic.

The festivities weren’t over, though. A canopy and folding chairs had been set up in preparation for a short ceremony honoring the veterans and dedicating several new personalized bricks that had been added to the memorial. Across the parking lot, several tables had been set up and filled with hot dogs, chips, cookies, cupcakes, and bottled water in preparation for the annual Veterans Day picnic. It had been several hours since breakfast, and parading raises an appetite, so David and I snagged some food and found an empty stretch of shaded curb. Several friends joined us, and I listened to one of them tell stories about her father’s years of service.

There was a chili cook-off and concert at Sidekicks later in the day, and maybe other David at Vet Day Program 2019events, but David and I had partied enough, so we went home. We’ll go to the high school on Monday for the annual Veterans Day program. There will be a nice Continental breakfast, and friends and family will applaud as each veteran is introduced. The color guard will present the flags, the band and chorus will perform several patriotic songs, and there will be ceremonies in remembrance of MIAs, POWs, and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Most of all, we’ll shake hands, hug, and chat with friends who have become extended family.

As the holidays approach, there are many other activities coming up. The 4th annual Jingle Mingle, the Women’s Service Club Thanksgiving Luncheon, the Community Thanksgiving Service, and Christmas around the Square just to name a few. These events may not have the “WOW” factor that appeals to the younger generations, but to those of us who’ve fought all the crowds and stood in line for all the hours we care to, they are just perfect. Regardless of how you feel about the activities that are offered, you can’t say there’s nothing to do in Emory.

Blessings,

Linda

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 5, 2019:

The earliest freeze on record in North Texas was on October 22, 1898. We missed that record by a few days, but the low temperatures last week still had lots of Rains County residents scrambling to move vulnerable plants indoors. I haven’t been part of the scramble in the past, because my indoor plants stayed in the house year round, and my outdoor plants were planted in the ground and were on their own when the temperatures dropped. This year was different.

hibiscusSince Kitty came to live with us over four years ago, her interest in all things green and leafy has caused me to limit our indoor plants to those that have been given to us for one reason or another. We have two peace lilies – one was a sympathy gift when Mom passed away, and one was a Christmas gift. I also have two Christmas cacti and an African violet that were give to me for one reason or another.

The lilies were confined to the small bathroom in the front of the house when Kitty decided they were particularly tasty and that the dirt in their pots was fun to dig in. The smaller plants have been relatively safe on the island in the kitchen except for the one time Kitty decided to dig up the violet. It must not have been as exciting as she had expected, because she hasn’t revisited it. The plant has recovered, but it hasn’t bloomed since its trauma.

Earlier this year, when our neighbor Ed built our new porch, he added a plant ledge to the front, and my friend Mary envisioned hanging baskets of red begonias. I didn’t find any affordable baskets, but I did find two hibiscus “trees” on sale. They looked beautiful on the ledge, and their continuous blooms added lots of summer color. My neighbor Connie later shared some basil with me, and I brought home a parlor palm I had received from Pastor Jason but had left at the church when I retired for fear that Kitty would eat it. Once we added furniture to the porch, I brought my indoor plants outside with the exception of the lilies. I thoroughly enjoyed my own little green space until last week when the cold fronts were predicted.

I crossed my fingers and set the cacti and the violet back in the kitchen, but I had no idea Small bathroom with plantswhat to do with the other plants. My previous experience with hibiscus plants was with two that were planted in my yard. My green-thumbed neighbor advised me to mow them down to the ground in the fall and expect them to pop back up in the spring. That worked, but I didn’t think my two would react the same way. In each of the pots, several plants had been intertwined and trimmed to form a tree shape, and I didn’t think I would get the same result if I whacked them off at the dirt.

So far, Kitty has ignored the greenery on the island, but I felt sure the larger plants on her level would be too much of a temptation for her to resist. I walked the house, looking for available space in any of her forbidden spaces. There’s the office, but she sneaks in there almost every time David opens the door, so I crossed that off the list. There’s also the middle bedroom, but between the stored furniture, the treadmill, and my inventory of books, there’s no floor space. That left the small bathroom – the really small bathroom. I have to leave space for the door to open and a little space in front of the toilet, so there’s no floor space in there either. But there is a bathtub – so that’s where the hibiscus and the palm ended up. The basil is on the counter by the sink. The plants seem to like their new home. All look healthy, and the hibiscus blooms are lasting three days instead of one, so I guess the sacrifice was worth it.

We also gave up the tub in the master bathroom several years ago when Kitty needed a second litter box. We never used the tub. It’s big and shallow, and it drains the hot water heater before the water is ankle deep. We have a separate shower, so it’s no big deal. But if someone gives us another plant or Kitty decides she needs the shower for some reason, we’re in trouble.

Blessings,

Linda

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

Published in the Rain County Leader on October 29, 2019:

David and Linda at Fay's 2018David has earned a reputation as the tech guru at the Senior Center because of his knowledge of all things electronic – computers, phones, tablets, and even high-tech watches. Many of our friends have asked him questions about how to fix or operate their devices, and when they didn’t understand the answer, they brought the contrary gadget to him for help. Problems range from a phone that won’t ring because the sound is turned off to a new computer that needs a complete setup.

Reactions differ, too. Some take his services for granted like the man who dropped a new phone in front of him with a curt, “Set that up for me,” as he headed over to another table to visit with friends. Others offer to pay him, which he usually refuses. My favorite though is the man who was having trouble getting his new TV up and running. David made a house call, and once the TV was set up, the man offered money. David wouldn’t take it, but he gave him several packages of home grown frozen purple hull peas and two packages of peaches. Later in the week, he brought us a pie. Now that’s gratitude!

People often ask how David knows what to do to fix whatever ails these mysterioustech guru machines that have become such a necessity to modern life. The answer is simple – he reads – a lot. He is the only person I know who reads the owner’s manuals of everything he owns. He also reads blogs, articles, and updates from the major communication companies. And although he may not remember what he had for breakfast, or if he had breakfast, he seems to remember most of what he reads.

Through our almost twenty years together, I have been the main beneficiary of his technical knowledge. When we met, I had a small desktop computer and a VCR, both of which I knew how to turn on but not much else. Since then I’ve been through several phones and a few laptops and all the problems that come with them. He has always been there to help, even when the problems were with company computers at my office.

Computer filesHowever, there is an old adage that says the doctor’s children are the last to be treated, the cobbler’s children have worn out shoes, and so forth. This past weekend I wondered if the same principal applied to the wives of tech gurus. I’m working on a new book and am trying to do the design and setup myself. In order to format the cover to suit the publisher, I had to download a new program to my laptop. In the process, my computer froze up, and all I had was a black screen with the silhouettes of a few ghostly boxes. I’ve learned enough from David to know what to try first. I hit the Escape key several times with no effect, and I tried to open the Task Manager with the same result. Finally, crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t lose anything vital, I rebooted. The same screen came up.

After going through this series of moves several more times, I told David about my troubles. He was watching the LSU football game, so I’m not sure he even heard me. At half time he announced he was going across the street for a cup of coffee with Charles, and I felt as if the doctor had left the building. But I had a few Saturday chores to do, so like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, I decided to worry about my computer later.

When David came home, he noticed that my laptop was closed, so he asked if I had everything taken care of. When I said no, he immediately sat down in my spot and went to work. I could tell he was going through the same routine I had with the same results. He said unsettling things like “I don’t know…” and “…bad hard drive.” I wracked my brain trying to remember if I had backed up my latest manuscript on my flash drive. Then, he went into the office. A few minutes later, he yelled for me to bring my laptop in there. He hooked it up to an external hard drive, and it started. In the next few hours, I was able to download the new program and finish my book cover. The next day, my laptop was back to normal, and I made sure to backup all my files.

Sometimes David thinks I understand more about technology than I do. I’ve learned a lot from him, as you can tell by some of the techie terms I throw around, but new devices are invented much more quickly than I can learn. Sure, I can download a program and use some pretty sophisticated software to create and share the things I write. But I still have no idea how to operate the DVD player we’ve had for almost a decade. And since we discontinued satellite TV and began streaming everything through the Internet, if my tech guru isn’t home, I read a book.

Blessings

Linda

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

Published in the Rains County Leader on October 22, 2019:

Fall color in texasAutumn arrived on the calendar several weeks ago, but the actual season is just now making its appearance in Texas. We’ve had a few cool nights that called for a blanket, and one night I woke up to find Kitty snuggled up against me. And a few mornings have called for a lightweight jacket, but we still have some days – like today – when the high temperature is near 90 degrees. Still, fall is definitely in the air, and here are a few ways to tell that Summer is on its way out.

Most of the many trees in our yard are oaks of one kind or another with a few elms sprinkled in for variety. Instead of giving us a nice display of fall colors, they usually go directly from green to brown – overnight. However, we have one black gum tree outside our dining room windows that puts on a bit of a show before dropping its foliage. This week I saw a number of yellow and reddish leaves, and Sunday morning when we drove in from church, I noticed that the riot of red has begun.

Last week I was driving down County Road 3200 fairly early in the morning when I sawBuck on the road something in the road ahead. It was an animal of some kind, but it was in the shadows, so I couldn’t tell what it was. It was a small buck, but he didn’t seem to be moving, so I slowed down to give him time to get out of the way. I stopped a few feet away from him before he finally tore his eyes away from whatever was holding his attention, turned around and ran back across the street in front of me, and disappeared into the woods. If you’re a city girl like me and don’t know what could have made him so careless of his own safety, go ask you mother about the facts of life. Apparently, in the Fall a young buck’s fancy turns to thoughts of love.

Another sign of Fall is that seasonal food events are in full swing and seasonal foods are making their appearance. Our annual church chili cook-off has come and gone, and the date of my family’s annual fish fry has been finalized after several changes. And every coffee shop, bakery, donut shop, and candle store offers something in a pumpkin spice flavor or fragrance.

pumpkin_spice_latteNeighbors are now coming outside to finish up projects that were set aside when the thermometer neared triple digits in an effort to complete their work before the first frost. Charles who lives across the street is painting his porch, Connie is working on her greenhouse, and David and I put a final coat of paint on the railing around our front porch. We still need to put one more coat on the floor and do some cover-up work on some spots of algae or mold that are bleeding through on some of the rafters before we call it done – unless David decides to add a heat source so we can continue to sit out when the blue northers come.

Last week I pulled out Kitty’s blanket, the one I got for Christmas last year that she immediately claimed as her own. She has ignored it so far, but I have a feeling she’ll rediscover it once the really cold weather hits. Maybe Santa will bring her a blanket of her own this year.

Speaking of Santa, one final sign that Fall is around the corner is David. He has begun counting down the weeks and days until Christmas. If I didn’t love him so much, I might have to kill him!

Blessings,

Linda

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

Published in the Rains County Leader on October 15, 2019:

YuckDavid had an endoscopic examination of his upper GI tract last week. The doctor was concerned because of some recent weight fluctuations. She ordered the test in spite of our explanations that he had stepped on the scale wearing a jacket with a cell phone, wallet, and other weighty items in the pockets during one visit and a T-shirt the next time. So, Friday morning we left the house in the driving rain and made the trek to the VA in Dallas. The traffic was backed up, the parking lot was full except in the very back, and the day surgery was the building where we weren’t, but we made it within minutes of our scheduled arrival time.

David checked in, and I was sent to the waiting room while he was prepped for his procedure. After he had changed into a pair of khaki scrub pants and some over-sized hospital socks and the nurse had put an IV into his hand, I was allowed to visit with him for a few minutes. It was a simple procedure, but it was still hard to go back to the waiting room, leaving him in the hands of strangers. Still, the waiting room provided some interesting diversions while I waited. Read the rest of this entry »

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