On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Posts tagged ‘RV Travel’

Two Memoirs about Alzheimer’s Caregiving by Linda Brendle

A Long and Winding Road by Linda Brendle         56161812_524092914662317_2745872214099230720_n

Buy A Long and Winding Road:      Ebook     Paperback

Buy Mom’s Long Goodbye:     Ebook     Paperback

A Long and Winding Road

Alzheimer’s is a family disease, and this is a love story – not a boy meets girls love story, but a family love story. It is the story of the love between a daughter and 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 a 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.

 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 fifty-three days in a 400-square-foot box on wheels.

 

   

Mom’s Long Goodbye

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.

 

Blessings,

Linda

All Roads Lead to Emory | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 30, 2019:

All roads lead to Rome“All roads lead to Rome” is a proverb of unknown origin that has come to mean that everything you do and everywhere you go will eventually lead you to the center of things. In the days of the Roman Empire, this was true because all the empire’s roads radiated out from the capital city.

In present day consumer-driven American society where trends come and go at the speed of teenage whimsy, it’s almost impossible to determine where the center of things lies from moment to moment. However, I believe I have verifiable evidence that, at least during this past week, this small town was that center and that, indeed, all roads did lead to Emory. (more…)

Retired! | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on January 21, 2019:

retired t-shirtThursday was my last day of work at Believers’ Baptist. Actually I hadn’t been doing much work since the week before when I began training my replacement Lissa Grady. On her first day it was obvious that she was highly qualified, and all I had to do was point her in the right direction and get out of the way. By last week, I was going into the office for only an hour or two each day to answer questions. After spending about thirty minutes with her on Thursday, I knew she didn’t need me anymore.

“My work here is done,” I announced dramatically. “I’ve taught you everything I know.” (more…)

Moving past the roadblocks | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on August 7, 2018:

Push button

Several of my readers have asked how the saga of the motor home is progressing. You’ll be happy to know that, although we’re still waiting for news on the generator, some good things have happened and we are moving forward. In case you missed the beginning of the story, I’ll just say that when you let a motor home sit unused for seven years, it begins to deteriorate. It may still look good, but flipping a switch or pushing a button doesn’t guarantee that something good will happen. (more…)

Buying the motor home | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 24, 2018:

IMG_1717Several times lately I’ve written about our motor home, and since this was one of those “I-got-nothin” weeks, I thought I’d share a short excerpt from my memoir about how we came to own it. If you don’t recognize some of the location references, that’s because this happened in 2007, and we were living in Florida at the time.

About two months ago, David and I bought our first RV. We tried not to buy it—we really did! We spent weeks shopping and developing an extensive wish list: diesel pusher, side radiator, light wood interior, double-door refrigerator, computer desk, and then some.

Then, our salesman called.

“I know you’re not ready to buy yet,” he said, “but I have a trade-in that sounds perfect. Another customer has first right of refusal, but I’d like to email you some pictures. Would that be okay?” (more…)

Roadblocks | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on Tuesday, July 19, 2018:

roadblocksLast week I wrote about our project to get the motor home road ready and about our less than successful beginning. Actually, we checked the first task off the list as a success when the new house batteries enabled us to turn on the lights. However, our first two attempts at finding LED bulbs to replace the halogens netted us two postage bills for returned items. This task was temporarily put on hold in favor of the generator.

You may remember that, although the new house batteries didn’t get the generator fired up, a new fuse did – but not for long. A magnet of some sort shattered into several pieces causing collateral damage in the process. When I left you last week, David was researching replacement parts.

He was not pleased when an RV dealer told him that parts for the almost twenty-year-old generator were no longer available. Since then, he has found that the dealer was either mistaken or dishonest. He has found the parts on-line, but as feared, they are not cheap. Now we have a decision to make: do we buy parts hoping we can find someone who will install them for us and hoping that fixes the problem; do we buy an entire new generator; or do we buy a portable generator. David doesn’t make decisions quickly, so he moved on to holding tanks. (more…)

On the road again? | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 3, 2018:

Campsite up closeIf you’ve read my memoir, or if you’ve driven through our neighborhood, you know that David and I have a 40-foot motor home. After we purchased it in 2007, we spent many happy weekends at Florida state parks and campgrounds. We went on several two-three month adventures, and after we sold our Florida house just before Christmas in 2010, we made our way slowly west, arriving in Emory in mid-February, 2011. In July of that year, we went back to Florida for a couple of months to visit friends and doctors.

By the time we returned to Emory that fall, the price of diesel had risen so high that we parked the Eagle in the back yard. For several months last year, she was moved a few miles east where she provided temporary living quarters to a friend who lost his home in the tornado. Aside from that, she has served as our guest room for the last several years. (more…)

Recent reviews of A Long and Winding Road | by Linda Brendle

CoverSome special marketing this year for A Long and Winding Road has resulted not only in lots of new readers but also in a number of new reviews. Here are some excerpts:

5 stars: Heartfelt by JaneReads * January 2, 2018 *  A Long and Winding Road takes you along on a heartfelt journey in a caregiver’s tale of love.

5 stars: Life as we will know it by Prairie House * January 14, 2018 * This is a very well-written book relating the humor, sadness, and inspiration of dealing with aging parents with memory problems. I also could relate to the relative simplicity of living in an RV and the joy of wanderlust. (more…)

FREE – This week only – A Long and Winding Road by Linda Brendle

WindingRoadFinal

Free! Monday thru Friday this week!

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.

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 fifty-three days in a 400-square-foot box on wheels.

Free! This week only!

Blessings,

Linda

Book Review: Bats and Bones (A Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mystery) by Karen Musser Nortman

Cover Bats and Bones

About the book:

Camping can be murder. Oh, sure, on the one hand there’s the stunning scenery, socializing with old friends and new acquaintances, amazing food cooked outside, and so on. But what if a dead body turns up on one of your hikes-for-fun-and fitness?

Frannie and Larry Shoemaker, retired baby boomers, are looking forward to a relaxing Fourth of July weekend with friends in beautiful Bat Cave State Park. They begin the weekend with a wonderful meal and some laughs over the antics of nearby novice campers. But when someone kills the campground host and Frannie’s group discovers the body, their favorite getaway becomes a quasi-prison, and the eccentricities often seen in a campground are viewed as suspicious behavior. A severe weather threat and the possibility that the murderer could be either a campground resident or an intruder from the outside compounds the danger. Frannie, while naturally curious, is warned off by her retired-cop husband, but still stumbles on information making her a target of the killer. At the same time, Frannie is working through the recent loss of her mother and an uncomfortable relationship with one of her own camping group.

My review:

I have been a mystery lover since I first discovered Agatha Christie in the Weekly Reader Book Club at school. After finishing the exploits of Mrs. Marple and Hercule Poirot, I moved on to tougher detectives like Parker’s Jesse Stone, Patterson’s Alex Cross, or Baldacci’s team of King and Maxwell. But after reading Bats and Bones by Karen Musser Nortman, I may become a cozy mystery fan all over again.

The first book in the Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mysteries Series immediately drew me in. My husband and I fell in love with the RV lifestyle shortly after we retired, and we have met many campers like the Shoemakers and their friends who are easy-going, fun-loving, gregarious, and all around nice people. The scenarios in Bats and Bones were reminiscent of many of our camping trips – minus the dead bodies, of course.

Karen Nortman’s writing style captures the laid back atmosphere of the campground while still building the tension as the plot thickens and Frannie becomes involved in spite of her best efforts to heed the warnings of her husband Larry and local law enforcement. Nortman’s characters are well developed and likeable – except for the bad guys. She offers a reading experience that’s fun, engaging, and flinch free, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

About the author:

Head Shot Karen Musser NortmanKaren Musser Nortman, after previous incarnations as a secondary social studies teacher (22 years) and a test developer (18 years), returned to her childhood dream of writing a novel. Bats and Bones, a cozy mystery, came out of numerous ’round the campfire’ discussions, making up answers to questions raised by the peephole glimpses one gets into the lives of fellow campers. Where did those people disappear to for the last two days? What kinds of bones are in this fire pit? Why is that woman wearing heels to the shower house?

Karen and her husband Butch originally tent camped when their children were young and switched to a travel trailer when sleeping on the ground lost its romantic adventure. They take frequent weekend jaunts with friends to parks in Iowa and surrounding states, plus occasional longer trips. Entertainment on these trips has ranged from geocaching and hiking/biking to barbecue contests, balloon fests, and buck skinners’ rendezvous. Frannie and Larry will no doubt check out some of these options on their future adventures.

Karen has three children and eight grandchildren. She also loves reading, gardening, and knitting, and can recite the 99 counties of Iowa in alphabetical order.

Visit her website at www.karenmussernortman.com
Buy the Bats and Bones HERE 

Or buy it with two other Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mysteries in the Camping Can Be Murder Boxed Set HERE 

Blessings,

Linda

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