On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on January 13, 2020:

storm cellar doorStrong storms covered Rains County with torrential rains accompanied by lots of thunder and lightning Friday night. The winds were not as strong as predicted, but the forecasts had many residents talking about the weather all week. At the Senior Center on Wednesday, I heard a woman at the table behind me ask if anyone had a storm cellar. Only one of her lunch companions had one, but she said that, in the nine years she had lived in her home, she had never been into the dark hole in the ground with its rotting, shutter-style doors. I wasn’t surprised that no one else had a cellar. The shallow Texas bedrock makes the cost of digging prohibitive. But the conversation brought back memories of my very early days in west Texas.

I was born in a tiny town about twenty miles west of Abilene called Merkel. We moved

Merkel_Street_in_Merkel_Texas_3-15-2014

A picture of Merkel’s downtown we took around 2002.

from there to Snyder, about fifty miles further west, just shy of my fourth birthday, so my memories of Merkel are limited. I’m sure some of them are things I’ve been told rather than things I actually remember. I know that we lived in a rented house behind Miss Johnnie’s house, our landlady, but I don’t remember much about her. I remember eating pinto beans at her house once – they needed salt. I remember learning to brush my teeth with tooth powder. And I remember the storm cellar. Read the rest of this entry »

Well, would you look at that! I made the Anaiah Press Top Ten Blog Posts List. Click on the link and check out #3!
Thanks to Anaiah Press for providing a forum for new and unknown authors!
Blessings,
Linda

Anaiah Press

As a year comes to an end, and a new one begins, we always like to look at what went well in the past. Now, after a decade, there’s some deep reflection being made. After scouring our blog and social media posts, we’ve come to find trends and popular posts.

Here’s a run down for 2019: We had 118 posts, incorporating a total of 65,157 words (Wow! That’s a whole book!). We’ve had the most likes on our posts more this year than any other year! (Yay!) Our comments are down, so we’d love to have a chat with you! Please comment away!

Overall, we have so many great posts between 2014 (opening year of our blog) – 2019 that we wanted to reshare our most popular writing tips blog posts from the last decade. If there’s something good, why not revisit it? We will share daily on social media…

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Published in the Rains County Leader on January 6, 2020:

Happy-New-Year-2020-768x535Happy 2020 – a new year, a leap year, and the beginning of a new decade. One hundred years ago marked the beginning of the Roaring Twenties, a decade of economic growth and widespread prosperity, driven by postwar spending, a construction boom, and the rapid growth of consumer goods. The few forecasters I saw didn’t really commit on whether the 20’s will roar this time around, but apparently advertisers are jumping on the band wagon. One article showed a dozen or so Art Deco logos touting the Roaring 2020’s in upcoming ad campaigns. It remains to be seen whether the next ten years roar or whimper.

Chinese New Year is on January 25 and will begin the Year of the Rat. That sounds ratherHappy Chinese New Year Rat unpleasant if not downright disgusting to those of us with a Western mindset, but the Chinese characterize this zodiac animal as having spirit, wit, alertness, delicacy, flexibility, and vitality. Nice traits but not ones that seem likely to produce much of a roar. On the other hand, there was quite an uproar (pun intended) in the 1950s when Leonard Wibberley wrote a novel called A Mouse that Roared. Read the rest of this entry »

Published by the Rains County Leader on December 24, 2019:

Kid counting sheepAs a kid, December 24th and not the 21st seemed like the longest night of the year. The day was busy with running to the store for some forgotten item, wrapping just one more package, and cooking. The house was filled with holiday smells as Mom prepared her offerings for the Christmas Eve party at Aunt Fay’s house and Christmas dinner the next day.

Later on, when Aunt Fay’s five children were older and another sister and her family moved to town, the party rotated among the three homes. But in the early days, the number of presents for their large family required opening them on Christmas Eve to make room for Santa Claus, so we always gathered there. It was almost as exciting watching the chaos at their house as it was opening our presents the next morning. By the time we made it to bed, I was so revved up with cookies, candy, and excitement that I couldn’t sleep. In looking back, and knowing how sensitive a mother’s ears are, I wonder if my restlessness kept Mom awake. Read the rest of this entry »

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 17, 2019:

Ralph and Alva HaganWhen I was a kid, December 26 was Granny Hagan’s birthday. Later on it became the day to return those what-were-you-thinking gifts and to stock up on Christmas supplies for next year. More recently I’ve heard it referred to by a specific name, especially on Facebook when greetings of “Happy Boxing Day” appear on the day after Christmas.

It turns out that Boxing Day began in Britain as a time when the rich boxed up gifts for the poor. I’m thinking it might have been a charitable way to get rid of boxing-day-1901the leftover turkey and those unsuitable gifts. It also became a day when servants were given the day off after receiving a Christmas box or gift from their employers. The servants in turn would go home and give Christmas boxes to their families.

Boxing Day isn’t widely celebrated in the U.S., but boxes certainly play a big part in the American Christmas season. Even though gift bags are probably more popular now than gift boxes, online shopping has resulted in an over-abundance of shipping cartons. And some traditionalists still like to wrap and tie bows on containers with square corners. Read the rest of this entry »

If you’re down to those hard-to-buy-for people on your gift list, or if you’re looking for stocking stuffers, books are a great idea. Here are five suggestions:

CoverA Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos: This memoir is the story of the hilarity and chaos that happen when four people, two of whom have Alzheimer’s, spend seven weeks traveling through sixteen states in a forty-foot motor home. It is also the story of the lives and experiences that led these four people to this particular place and time in their lives. https://www.amazon.com/Long-Winding-Road-Caregivers-Chaos/dp/1947327054

Cover MLGMom’s Long Goodbye: A Caregiver’s Tale of Alzheimer’s, Grief, and Comfort: After finishing Winding Road, many readers asked what happened next. Mom’s Long Goodbye is the rest of the story. 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. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1947327453

 

Final_Tatia's Tattoo Cover trim sizeTatia’s Tattoo: As a successful D.C. lawyer, Tatia’s mission in life is to destroy the sex trafficking trade in small-town America. She knows where to find it. She’s been there. Filled with tragedy, crime, redemption, and love, Tatia’s Tattoo is a story that exposes the sordid underbelly of small towns and shines a light of hope on how the evil might be defeated. https://www.amazon.com/Tatias-Tattoo-Linda-Brendle/dp/1945455829

 

Fallen Angel Final Cover FrontFallen Angel Salvage (Tatia’s Story, Book #2): Tatia and Jesse have a perfect life in Chicago. Her testimony put Eric in prison in Texas twenty years ago. How could anything go wrong? An old black van. A missing child. Tatia and Jesse race through the city streets with a band of bikers while Johnny and Jade dig through the dark web and Detectives Nelson and Martin pound on doors. Will it be enough? Or will their daughter become another statistic? https://www.amazon.com/Fallen-Angel-Salvage-Tatias-Story/dp/1945455985

KITTY'S STORY SmallerKitty’s Story: From Feral Kitten to Reigning House Cat: A four-ounce ball of black and white fur walked out from under the porch of an unsuspecting couple who had no intention of having any pets, much less a house cat. Four years later, she has grown into a beautiful, thirteen-pound semi-longhair tuxedo cat who reigns supreme over the Brendle household. https://www.amazon.com/Kittys-Story-Kitten-Reigning-Housecat/dp/173421080X

 

Merry Christmas Blessings,

Linda

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 10, 2019:

Unpredictable weatherAt the end of last week’s column I mentioned that I was planning to be one of the vendors at the Christmas Around the Square event on Saturday. It took a bit more planning than some of the events I’ve done because it was my first outdoor one.

First of all, I had to plan for the weather. I know that everyone thinks the weather where they live is the most unpredictable, but if you’ve ever experienced a Texas Blue Norther and felt the temperature drop thirty or forty degrees in as many minutes, you know that Texas ranks pretty high on the volatile weather list.

I watched the long range forecast for several weeks, and the predicted temperature was consistently in a forty to sixty degree range. Of course, allowing for a ten to twenty degree variance along with wind chill, that could mean anything from a snowsuit in the morning to short sleeves in the afternoon. I settled on multiple layers and moved on to precipitation. Read the rest of this entry »

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