On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Archive for March, 2019

Living in community | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on March 26, 2019:

Christopher Knight's CampAt the most recent meeting of the East Texas Library Friends Book Club, we discussed the book “The Stranger in the Woods” by Michael Finkel. The subtitle is “The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit.” It’s the story of Christopher Knight who walked into the woods when he was 20 years old and lived there until he was captured 27 years later.

Our initial discussions centered around what a hermit actually is and whether Knight met those requirements. We couldn’t come to a consensus on that issue, so we moved on to the morality of how he supported himself – by stealing from vacation homes and a summer camp facility near his woodland home. Most of us agreed that theft is wrong regardless of the need and the self-imposed limitations on what is taken, although there was one dissenter who thought his actions were acceptable. The majority of our time, though, was spent on the subject of being alone. What was the longest period of time any of us had been alone with no contact or interaction with another person? Most of us had never spent more than 24-48 hours in solitude, much less 27 years – and most of us had no desire to do so. (more…)

Family, Football, and Chili Cook-Offs by Linda Brendle

We miss National Chili Month in February, but chili is always a popular topic, especially in Texas!

Anaiah Press

Photo by Zak Chapman on Pexels.com

I wrote this late on a Sunday evening in October of 2014. It had been a long day, but a good one. My church had held its Third Annual Chili Cook-Off after the morning service. It was lots of fun, and it was a lot like the family reunions I attended as a child.

Planning for the event began several weeks – or even months – in advance. People who didn’t normally consider themselves cooks pulled out their recipe folders, and if they didn’t have recipe folders of their own, they consulted Mom or Grandma or Uncle Joe who always made the best chili in the world. Discussions were heard in the hallways and parking lot about which cut of meat was best, which secret ingredient was sure to capture the taste buds of the judges, and of course, whether real chili should have…

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Book Review: Thorns of a Reformation Rose by Jeanne Messick Loidolt


About the Book:

Five years old, frightened, lonely and confused, Jeanne faces a bleak future. Childhood is abruptly snatched away and she is robbed of any sense of security. When exploring her new ‘home’ she discovers an appalling Great Hall full of implements of torture and torment. Desolate, the vulnerable little Princess is seized with a spirit of despair. Overwhelmed with loss and abandonment, she has awakened in a horrible place, cold, bare and immense; permeated with a dark, heavy, mood. How can she face the coming days in this abysmal castle?

A historical novel about the realities of The French Reformation on the lives of the people during the 16th Century, the story traces the political maneuverings, and intrigues surrounding a five-year-old innocent child snatched from the security of her parents. She is ordered to an abandoned castle to be isolated and hidden away for grooming and education in preparation to become a future queen for the use and benefit of political greed for the mighty King of France, Françoise I.

At such a tender age, Jeanne d’Albret is an uncommon child. God blesses her with an incredible intellect, a royal bloodline strong in wisdom, discernment and queenly qualities. Embedded in her deep subconscious is an imperial intuition gleaned during her short time at the castle of her regal parents. Jeanne is a strong-willed child, stubborn and consumed with discerning truth at the foundation of every decision she makes. Given opportunities to search broad educational horizons and to explore the pros and cons of her own experiences, her growing-up years result in molding a strong-willed, compassionate woman scarred by mistreatment from others; nevertheless, independent and unflinching in her concern for her family, her kingdom and her stand for truth and moral authority amid the chaos of one of the most singularly terrible times of history. She emerges as a leader and defender of the French Huguenots during a pivotal movement of the 1500’s toward true worship.

After Jeanne’s death, France collapses in a morass of evil acts, persecutions and appalling inhumanity. Wave after wave of French nobles and leading producers of all kinds of goods denied an opportunity to worship as they deem right are forced to leave their lush estates, abundant wealth, and lifetime friends to flee for their lives among sheltering countries of Europe and eventually to a new land of promise across the oceans to America.


My Review:

Princess Jeanne of Navarre isn’t a Disney princess who rides off into the sunset with her prince to live happily ever after. Jeanne d’Albret was born and bred to rule, and she ruled well, but at great cost. History is not my favorite subject, but Thorns of a Reformation Rose kept me turning pages from beginning to end. The author took the two-dimensional history from her extensive research and used her imagination to create a colorful, enthralling world where her characters lived, loved, cried, laughed, fought, won, and died. I recommend this novel to anyone who loves an epic tale of the drama of 16th century royalty that reveals all the flaws behind the pageantry.

About the Author:

Jean Loidolt Head ShotJeanne Loidolt lives in East Texas on a quiet, peaceful farm with her husband, Dick.  She is retired from a career as a legal administrative assistant in Dallas. Jeanne is a mother of three sons and a daughter. She enjoys staying in touch with ten grandchildren. She keeps busy in her church and her artistic passion is water color and oil painting, although her attention has been dedicated to writing “THORNS OF A REFORMATION ROSE.”  Of course, Jeanne has other ideas for more historical fiction stories.

Find the author at her website.

Buy the Book on Amazon



Linda Brendle visits and talks about Mom’s Long Goodbye

Visit the Anaiah Press blog where I answer a few questions about me and talk a bit about Mom’s Long Goodbye.

Anaiah Press

  • Tell us a little about yourself.

I first began to write during my years as a caregiver – Mom’s Long Good-Bye is my second caregiving memoir. In the last few years I have ventured into fiction writing, and I hope to have a second novel available for the public in the not too distant future. I recently gave up a part-time secretarial job at my church, so I am now retired except for an on-line position with BookPros Publishing – and my writing. I am an active blogger, and I write a column for the weekly newspaper in the tiny East Texas town where my husband David and I live with our feral cat Kitty.

  • How did you hear about Anaiah Press?

In July of 2013, one of the members of my author support group posted information about PitchMAS, a semi-annual blog contest and Twitter party put together by Jessa…

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Kitty keeps us straight | by Linda Brendle

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

Curious catsWhen I say that Kitty keeps us straight, I don’t mean that she keeps us on the straight and narrow. What I mean is that, because she is a curious cat, and she always wants to be where she’s not, we have learned to put things away and batten down the hatches.

Like most cats, Kitty enjoys batting small objects around the floor before knocking them under the grandfather clock or between the refrigerator and cabinet. Then, she stares mournfully after the lost toy until I put my laptop aside and retrieve the toy. She thanks me by either knocking it back into hiding or marching away with her nose and tail in the air. (more…)

Latest Review of Tatia’s Tattoo

kris morgan

March 12, 2019

Tatia’s Tattoo is one of the best books I have read this year. Ms. Brendle handles the horrors of human trafficking with honesty without being too graphic. Because of the subject matter I cannot say i enjoyed Tatia’s Tattoo, but I could not put it down, in fact at times I was moved to tears. If I had my way I would have all junior high students read this book to be aware of what dangers are out there. So grab a glass of mango iced tea, a box of tissues and settle in for an impressive read.
Final_Tatia's Tattoo Cover trim size
Available at Amazon

Alzheimer’s was… | by Linda Brendle

Alzheimer’s was the evil plaque in Dad’s brain that changed him from a hard-working, easy-going man into a cranky, ill-tempered couch potato.

Alzheimer’s was a thief. It stole Mom away a piece at a time and left me to grieve a loss that went on for years.

Alzheimer’s was a twisted comedian that made me laugh at the ridiculous things Mom did while I cried inside because of the reason behind her antics.

Alzheimer’s was the demon in my head that made me impatient with situations that were no one’s fault and angry at an opponent I couldn’t defeat.

Alzheimer’s was the monster in the closet or under the bed that changed our lives forever once the doctor spoke its name.

But Alzheimer’s was also the loser.

In spite of his difficult final years, Dad left a legacy of peace and love that lives on in the family he left behind.

While Mom’s past disappeared along with her memories, she also forgot the social anxieties and fears that had plagued her all her life and became a real party girl.

The wardrobe mishaps and other silly incidents often led to shared laughter and hugs that made life feel almost normal if only for a moment.

As the good days became fewer, I learned to cherish them when they came.

When Mom’s vocabulary was down to only a few words, one of those words was Jesus; and even to the end, she always responded to music.

Both Mom and Dad passed from this life without a struggle and with peaceful smiles on their faces as they looked into the face of the One who cares for the least of these.

I have found solace in knowing that my task of caregiving was completed not perfectly but well, and I have found comfort in sharing our story with others who are going through the same thing.

Read more about my family’s fight with Alzheimer’s in Mom’s Long Goodbye: A Caregiver’s Tale of Alzheimer’s, Grief, and Comfort released by Anaiah Press on March 12, 2019. Ebook now available at Amazon; print format available soon.




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Mom’s Long Goodbye: A Caregiver’s Tale of Alzheimer’s, Grief, and Comfort | by Linda Brendle


Released by Anaiah Press this week, Mom’s Long Goodbye is available as an ebook on Amazon. It will be available in print soon.

Mom’s good-bye 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.

My first memoir 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 Good-Bye 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 good-bye.

This book is for the millions who have experienced the heartache of witnessing the physical and mental deterioration of a loved family member or a dear friend. Mom’s Long Good-Bye 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. By sharing her own struggles, the author assures other caregivers that they are not alone, that perfection is not required, and that comfort is real.




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The Good Light | by Linda Brendle

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

Kitty in the Light 043016I’ve learned a lot about good and bad light from Connie, my photographer neighbor. Good light results in pictures that make me look like I want to look, and bad light makes me look like I do in a changing room mirror under the awful lighting the retail stores seem to favor.

It’s difficult to take good pictures inside our home, at least in the daytime. There are windows in every room, and I’ve learned that natural light pouring in from one of those windows results in washed out photos and lots of silhouettes. After several unsuccessful attempts to capture Kitty in her condo, which is in front of a large window, Connie advised me to change my position by ninety degrees so the light would illuminate my subject from the side. The result is one of my favorite pictures of Kitty. She is looking out through one of the round holes in the side of the condo with a regal look on her face and a halo of light bouncing off her shiny fur. (more…)

Cover Reveal! Mom’s Long GoodBye by Linda Brendle

Coming March 12! Mom’s Long GoodBye: A Caregiver’s Tale of Alzheimer’s, Grief, and Comfort. Thank you, Eden Plantz, for the perfect cover – and thank you Anaiah Press for giving me the chance to tell the rest of Mom’s story and mine.
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