COMING SOON IN 2024

Now Available . . .

MY MOTHER’S KEEPER: ONE FAMILY’S JOURNEY THROUGH DEMENTIA

My Mother’s Keeper: One Family’s Journey through Dementia is a memoir that follows the last three years of my mother’s life. I kept a journal throughout the experience and afterward, I realized that it was a story worth sharing. 

Orders for “My Mother’s Keeper” are now available through Amazon!

Most people, at some point in their lives, confront issues with aging parents. Whether the problems are medical, financial, logistical, or emotional—or some combination—it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless.

When my journey through parental dementia began, I didn’t know how much I didn’t know. I should have sought information about Alzheimer’s disease earlier. At first, I didn’t even recognize it as an illness. Once I found myself up to my neck in a nightmare, I had no time for research. I spent every waking moment coping, reacting, and scrambling. I was simply too exhausted to do more than try to put out each fire as it flared.

Later, once the crisis subsided, I found several books, articles, and websites that contained helpful information about dementia, its associated behaviors, and care suggestions for patients. What I didn’t find were stories of how families coped with it. By sharing my experience, I aim to help fill that gap. This book tells my family’s story of rapidly accelerating personality changes, aggression, violence, fear, mistakes, hopelessness, helplessness, and eventual closure. I hope it will help readers who find themselves embarking on a similar journey understand that they are not alone.

ORDER HERE

(Note to bookstores and libraries: This title can also be ordered through Ingram Spark, ISBN 978-1-7370206-0-8)

May 2024

A Hole in the Canopy

We had quite a storm here over Memorial Day weekend. I’m grateful we fared better than those poor souls in other parts of the country, where a tornado outbreak wreaked terrible damage that cost lives and destroyed homes. My heart goes out to those families.

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Featured Author: Six-Minute Stories Podcast

One of my short stories is featured in the Six-Minute Stories podcast on the Personal Stories Publishing Project website. Fit To Be Tied is the true story of an adventure that befell me while working on assignment as a newspaper reporter. The story also appears in Now or Never, the tenth anthology in the collection, released in March 2024. (Publisher Randell Jones did a great job reading my story. I neglected to tell him how to pronounce "Niobrara," so for those unfamiliar with the river, it is pronounced "NIGH-oh-BRER-ah" with the "BRER" rhyming with “chair.")

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An Unforgettable Anniversary

Where were YOU on May 18, 1980? I was at home in Hauser Lake, Idaho, building a pig pen. I noticed what appeared to be a big thunderstorm moving in from the west. But by midday, it got dark enough that the street light on the road by my house turned on. I remembered hearing daily news briefs about Mt. St. Helens' recent stirrings.

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In Appreciation: National Nurses Day and Public Transportation

Today is National Nurses Day. A flash across my screen this morning reminded me of the many people for whom I am grateful. I’ve recently had several medical appointments and encountered many more health professionals than I normally do. Their knowledge, efficiency, and patience continually amaze me. They even broke through my unreasonable fear of needles to extract blood without me passing out.

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April 2024

Oklahoma City Elm Tree

Today's blog is a guest post from my friend, Pam Bergstrom, National Technical Assistance Agroforester who works for the Nebraska Forest Service  and the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Lincoln, Nebraska. She shared these thoughts in one of her newsletters, and granted me permission to share it.

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Gold and Silver!

Lucky me! Two of my three entries in the Cherokee/Clay Senior Games Literary Arts competition medaled. Mad Max won gold in the short story category, and Honoring and Honored at the Rosebud Wacipi took silver. My third entry, Alone, Invisible, and Forgotten, didn’t medal, but placed fourth in the essay category. Thanks to my fellow Ridgeline Writers members for your constructive critiques!

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Happy 100th Birthday to Dad!

Today would have been my dad's one-hundredth birthday. In his honor, later this month I will launch his book: Dear Folks—Letters Home 1943-1946, World War II.

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National Library Week was “Eclipsed” today

Clouds rolled in just as the partial eclipse began in North Carolina. But they held a silver lining. I sat in the yard, felt the temperature drop, and listened to the birds (and a few crickets) as they reacted to the diminished daylight. The cloud cover waxed and waned, obscuring the sun to varying degrees. At a certain point between blinding and invisible, I stole a few quick glances and observed the phenomenon without safety glasses. Foolish, I know, but at my age I take a few risks. It was amazing. Still, I’m glad I witnessed totality during the 2017 eclipse, shown here in my picture as it passed over Nebraska.

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Epic Poetry Isn’t My Bag . . .

I’ve been trying to round out my reading list with several of the “classics” that I somehow passed over during my school years. Most of the books have been wonderful reads, but this one was tough. I checked out Homer’s Iliad from the library, and it took me two full weeks to wade through it.

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March 2024

Now or Never: Hot Off the Press and on Podcast

One of my stories about my adventures as a newspaper correspondent appears in Now or Never, Randell Jones’ latest Personal Story Publishing Project anthology. Fit To Be Tied chronicles a reporter’s escapade involving frigid temperatures, ice climbers on a sheer cliff high above wickedly sharp rocks, and a patient park ranger.

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Has print journalism’s decline contributed to a drop in civic engagement?

Over the past couple of decades, I’ve noticed that citizen participation in everyday local government affairs appears to have declined. This seems to have intensified in recent years as partisanship and political posturing have increased. I find this both sad and alarming because I think now, more than ever, it is important for regular citizens to keep abreast of current events in our communities. “Knowledge is power” may be a cliché, but I believe it is true.

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Spring is Springing

The strawberries arrived this week, yum! Every year the local elementary school sells them as a fundraiser. It’s my unofficial start of spring. They bring me cheer—and endless possibilities. Those red jewels liven up the dreariest of breakfasts, add sweetness and color to salads and desserts, and generally just make me a happy camper. I even sliced some and flash-froze them for out-of-season enjoyment.

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February 2024

Influencers, Part 3: Teachers

Teachers, both traditional and non-traditional, rank just after family and elders on my list of people who have most influenced me. These folks opened up new horizons and introduced me to the wider world beyond my home.

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January 2024

Influencers, Part 2: Kindred—But Not Kin

Some family members aren’t related by blood, but they’ve had a tremendous influence on my life. These elders were mentors who lifted me, steadied me, pointed me in the right direction, and stuck with me for the long haul.

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Paper, Ink, and Letterpress

I just finished watching a great documentary about the amazing survival of ancient letterpress printing into the 21st century. Pressing On (Bayonet Media 2017) blends the incredible history of the technological revolution that in the mid-1400s catapulted printing from laborious hand transcriptions to the first mass production of the printed word.

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