Recreational activities

Stories that make a difference

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As an author of a novel whose mission it is to make a difference in the lives of those faced with a horrendous terminal disease, I feel my stories-that-make-a-difference-detector is quite keen.

Ariel & Shya Kane’s new storybook, Being Here…Too, is one of those, and deserves 5 out of 5 stars. (Preorders now being taken for the Kindle version; both eBook and paperback will be released November 12, 2018.)

I was gifted with the opportunity to read the Kane’s latest book before its release, an opportunity I could not pass up given how impactful their books’ messages have been to me over the years. There is no woo-woo involved in what they offer a world conflicted and torn apart not by just political or global issues, but also those internal how do I live the best life I can live? struggles each of us face.

On page xviii, the following statement sets the tone for the direction readers can expect to go later in the book:

“life will support you if you let it”

The format of the book is such that each brief chapter contains a story of individuals who were not afraid to be honest/transparent about their failed efforts to make the best of their lives. In Chapter 8, co-author, Shya Kane, states, “…everyone has a terminal illness – it’s called life.” So very true. Many are those who have lost a loved one and/or prior to receiving their own terminal illness diagnosis had the mistaken notion that there’s always tomorrow, or I’ll live my life to the fullest another day when erroneously convinced another day, and another, will actually be granted us.

Living in the moment – “bypassing the mind to find the moment” – is where Ariel & Shya Kane suggest true fulfillment lies. We can either live life as a victim or as its author and my friends, after sixty-five years of life, I can declare that for me, fulfillment exists in the here and now, not in the past or the future. The stories presented within the pages of Being Here…Too will paint a clear picture of what it is like to be buried in thoughts that wipe out any chance of the present taking center stage in one’s life. Been there…done that…doesn’t work for me..at all.

The authors conclude the book by describing how dissatisfaction with life gets in the way of being fulfilled.

Over the years…we have come to realize that the only time life dominates you is when you are not living in the moment. When you are not being here, your hopes for the future create an illusion, a dream of how it will someday be better than it is now…

True freedom happens when the illusion dissolves and you live life directly in each moment – not as you would prefer it, but as it is.

The present is all we have, so why live elsewhere?

I hope you’ll not let another moment go by before securing your own copy of Being Here…Too.

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Kindness Fridays

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Hiking always makes me feel good to be alive, even though my joints and muscles complain more often than not at the completion of each hike.

There’s so much goodness found in the mountains, streams, lakes, and forests of the Pacific Northwest. Along with that goodness is the kindness that oozes out of every beautiful sight we behold:

  • the sweet and varied songs of the birds that are hidden from sight, but not by hearing;
  • the welcome shade provided by trees that have been around longer than my timespan on this earth and that will remain long after I’m gone;
  • the flowers and berries, both common and unique, that serve to add color to the landscape, thus softening the feel of the dirt, rocks, and rooty trails that receive our eager feet;
  • the top of the mountain vistas – what my husband and I call the payoff – that await our sweaty, achy, bodies, making us forget the out of breath effort it took to get there; and
  • the people we meet along the way who love hiking as much as we do.

At yesterday’s vista view, we met a young man who with his wife, moved to Seattle from Utah. Just three weeks into his Washington State experience Matt is in love with what our state has to offer. His wife’s job is what prompted their move: she is in her medical residency at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She has the overnight shift so Matt is taking advantage of her daytime sleep schedule to explore the new place in which he lives.

Matt is a microbiologist who is putting off looking for a job for a few weeks while he acquaints himself with his new home. We recommended he enjoy the best weather the Seattle area has to offer before getting anywhere near a laboratory. We also told him we felt certain he would have no problem finding work in his field given the renowned medical community in the area. We had a simply delightful conversation with this man who, after I mentioned my family’s history with Alzheimer’s, offered the promising breakthrough just discovered regarding a virus that might contribute to the disease.

Whether Baby Boomers like ourselves, young children, or everyone in between, the hiking community just seems to give off kindness vibes – a kindness that provides lasting benefits for these late-in-life hike enthusiasts. I know this has been a far different Kindness Fridays to which you may be accustomed, but I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless.

One day at a time

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Living one day at a time is a good philosophy to uphold regardless of what’s going on in one’s life. I would extend that sentiment to say, “Live each day one moment at a time.” It’s good to plan, set goals, even write a bucket list, but doing so addresses the future, not the present.

When I was admitted to a local hospital for hip replacement surgery, I knew that would be one step toward many that I would accomplish to attain complete recovery. I had no idea what accomplishments I would be able to celebrate or in what order they would appear, I simply knew I would eventually be able to move beyond my physical restrictions.

I was right.

Walker. Yep, I held onto this piece of durable medical equipment (DME) like it was my lifeline…because it was. I learned how to use it while still in the hospital and once I got home I outfitted my own walker with a multi-pocketed pouch wherein I stored necessary items: water bottle, iPhone, iPad, tissues, snacks, so that wherever I landed, I was set. Two weeks post surgery I was able to retire the walker. What a lovely step in the right direction.

Cane. Using my Hurrycane is liberating – I say is, not was, because it’s still attached to my person as a means of transportation. Today, November 6th, marks one month since my surgery and I am still nowhere near ready to retire this piece of equipment because I still need the support it provides. I’ve even learned how to use it as a pick-up-something-I-dropped-aid, as long as the dropped item is thicker than a piece of paper or bigger than the Vitamin D3 capsules I take every day but sometimes end up on the floor. I drop things often enough that my husband simply follows my trail of items to discern where I’ve been lately.

Raised toilet seat. I know, there’s a visual all of you would prefer not to have, but early on in my recovery, it was a requirement that meant the difference between responding successfully to my most base urges, or…not, and that visual would have been far worse to contemplate. Fortunately, it served me well and I retired it three weeks post-surgery.

Medications. Okay, this is a tricky one. I abhor having to take medications, whether over-the-counter or prescribed, but when your leg is sliced into, requiring major manipulations by the surgeon and his jolly helpers – not to mention sawing off sections of a bone that I would no longer need – a person is going to have lingering pain issues that need to be addressed, and this person sure does. I am a very slow healer; an 80-year old can have the same surgery as me and return to yoga or square dancing classes a mere two weeks after receiving their bionic hip. Not so, I.

So here I am, wishing I was further along in my rehabilitation but refusing to compare myself to others who appear to be better off post-surgery than I am. I can smile throughout my day and sleep well at night knowing I have one of the most effective rehabilitation tools a person could hope for: my husband. Jerry supports me physically and he supports me emotionally, the latter of which has been almost more important than the former. He recently held me in his arms on the couch while I bawled into his neck, saturating it and his t-shirt with my tears. On that particular day, I was tired of hurting. To be sure, pain is very taxing on one’s body and emotions – there is no separation between the two – so if my body is having a hard time, so is my psyche.

Is that a lose/lose situation? It can be, but if I remember to live one day or one moment at a time, I’ll be less inclined to allow fear and frustration to take root. Fear is based on the future: what if I never get better? what if the surgery didn’t work? what if I am never able to be as active as I want to be? what if I never stop hurting? All future-based.

When living in the moment I can celebrate my ability to:

  • climb the stairs in my house two at a time instead of one;
  • walk to the end of my driveway to retrieve the mail;
  • get in and out of bed without assistance;
  • bathe with very little assistance;
  • dress myself;
  • do more tasks in the kitchen than I was able to do four weeks ago; and
  • hold my grandson and give him a multitude of smooches while he sits on my lap.

Regardless of how long it takes for me to get back to “normal” that time will come and when it does it’ll be right on time. In the interim, I’m going to acknowledge each moment as precious and not concern myself with that which has yet to occur.

 

 

 

 

 

“How to have Fun with your Aging Parents”

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I am reblogging the attached article about Christina Britton Conroy’s book that truly appears to be one all of us Baby Boomers need to add to our bookshelves. Personally, it has been a delight to be one of the AlzAuthors’ newest members. I am in such good company. Coming December 20th, you’ll be able to view my introduction as a member of this enriching group of authors.

Source: Meet Christina Britton Conroy, author of “How to have Fun with your Aging Parents”

Community discussion on Alzheimer’s disease

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Saturday, August 26th, 3 pm

I am excited about my next author event which will take place at Book Tree in Kirkland, Washington.

Book Tree is a fabulous, quaint, neighborhood bookstore that truly excels at bringing the community together.

Here’s the content of their website’s About section:

BookTree is a vibrant gathering place for the exchange of ideas, and discussion of books and the literary arts.  It is a place where all are welcome to continue their journey, expand their knowledge, feed their interests and further their education through books and literature.  It is a place for families to find and enjoy the best of current literature.  A place where our customers can hear local and traveling writers, authors and poets present their work.

BookTree is one of the few remaining independent bookstores on the Eastside that will be an important part of our city’s identity.   It will be successful because of the generous support of our community who values a stand-alone retail bookstore.

BookTree is owned by 2 people who are passionate about the inherent value of books, reading, writing, listening and sharing diverse ideas, and viewpoints.

I hope to see you on the 26th!

Interview of fellow BRW author: Matthew Brockmeyer

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I’m always thrilled to promote fellow authors, especially those who have the same publisher as myself: Black Rose Writing.

Another author, Rebecca Howie, who interviewed me on July 16th, provides this wonderful peek into the world that Matthew Brockmeyer has created in his novel. I hope you’ll investigate what he’s up to!

Source: Indie Interview: Matthew Brockmeyer

Lighten up Mondays

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Earth Day was Saturday, April 22nd, but we should always be focused on the place on which we live.

My nieces and nephews will get a kick out of this one: 17 trees are saved by every ton of existing paper that is recycled. That means if we pulped every Harry Potter book we wouldn’t be able to see the sky for foliage.

*****

And here’s a comic sure to bring a chuckle:

  • Credit Crunch Chicken