Thanks to the East Oregonian for a lovely review!

Was so pleased to see the review this morning in our local newspaper, The East Oregonian.  Here’s the link:

My book is available on and locally at Armchair Books here in Pendleton, Oregon.  If you read it and like it, I will appreciate a review posted on on my book’s page.

My first book reading and signing will be hosted by Raphael Hoffman at Sundown Grill & Bar-B-Q in Pendleton on Thursday, July 9th, at 5:30 p.m.  After the event, I encourage you to stay for dinner — Raphael and her husband have superb food!

Also, if you read my book, you may post comments here.  I welcome your thoughts and feedback!


My first book is now available on, and locally from Armchair Books in Pendleton, OR.  By the end of July, you will be able to order it from most bookstores.

This book combines knowledge of the grief and aging fields with illustrative vignettes, both my own and those of others.  I describe the various categories of grief that people can experience, and how those griefs can accumulate by the time a person is elderly.  Caregivers can learn how to interpret behaviors and help patients learn to cope more effectively with their grief.

Readers will learn about caring for patients’ physical, mental, and emotional health; conducting enjoyable activities to help patients (and caregivers!) engage in life; dealing with the stress of caregiving; caring for patients with dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease); and dealing with the process that indicates death is near.  The book gives caregivers, both professionals and family members, practical tools to make caregiving a rewarding experience.

Only two things left on my bucket list — seeing Mt. Rushmore, and  moving to Albuquerque, NM.  Of course, I have more books to write, too…

If you read my book and like it, a nice review on will be appreciated!

Until next time, make a place for play and joy in your life!

One Thing Off My Bucket List!

My first book, A Caregiver’s Guide: Insights into the Later Years, will be available soon on, as well as by order through your local bookstore.  It deals with the effects of cumulative grief on persons in their later years and some engaging activities to help deal with it.  There are chapters on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, caring for the client’s physical and emotional health, and caring for the caregiver.  A chapter on the dying process is helpful for those attending someone at the end of life.

Be watching for my announcement that the book is available!  I will post on this site, as well as my counseling website,, and my new publishing site,  There will also be notices on my facebook page, so be watching!  I’m excited!

Yes, I am…

…an addict.  I confess that genealogy has me hooked.  I knew back in the 70s when I first got into it that it was dangerous for me to get involved — my housework suffered, my family’s meals suffered, and I wanted to do little else except delve into my past.

Well, my husband gave me a subscription to last Christmas, and I have relapsed.  This husband did not know me when I was into it in the 70s, so how could he have known?

Why is it that searching for my cousins, once and twice removed, third and fourth great grandparents, distant aunts and uncles can be so addicting?  Well, I reached out to three cousins on one of my recent forays into the past, and lo and behold, I hit pay dirt!  Even spoke with one for about 15 minutes on the phone!  Now I’m facebook friends with two of them — cousins I didn’t even know I had!  For whatever reason, that makes it all worthwhile.

If any of you readers have this love of searching through old records — census lists, birth and death certificates, old wills, etc. — to the point that regular daily duties take second place, I’d love to hear from you!  We might even be distant cousins!

Okay, it’s time to get back to it…

Going to the Book Sale

I belong to the Pendleton Friends of the Library, and as a member, I helped at the recent book sale at the convention center.  A huge room, filled with tables and tables of books of all kinds — donated, stored at the library, sorted by volunteers, then arranged by genre and topic on square, round, and rectangular tables, with the abundance of books spilling over onto the benches along the sides of the room!  A veritable treasure trove of tomes for the attendees of the book sale to peruse, ponder, and possibly decide to take home.

After I worked at the sale, I took a turn around the room.  So many titles — hardback and paperback, fiction and non-fiction, humor and drama, mystery and travel.  Many books were those I had donated.  One was a book I donated “by mistake,” so I bought it back!  I also bought a copy of one I already had, discovered that when I got home, and the next day I brought it back and put it back on the table where I had found it.

As I was about to leave the second time around, I thought, “Once more around this table…”  There, two paperback books popped out at me, both relatively new and in excellent shape.  Those two books cost me $1.00 each, one of the most valuable buys I’ve ever made.

One was Exploring the Old Testament.  I’m leery of religious books unless I know something about the author.  One author, Samuel J. Schultz, had taught at Wheaton College in Illinois, so that told me the book was solid.  The other book was The Autobiographer’s Handbook, edited by Jennifer Traig.  It consists of famous memoirists giving advice to those who want to write memoir.  It happened that I have a memoir about half written, so I immediately tucked that book under my arm.

I couldn’t wait to get home and get into those books.  I haven’t been disappointed.  I read a chapter a day in the Old Testament book, and I’m reliving the journeys of the Israelites under Abraham, and the lives of Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.  The author makes it clear and chronological, while showing that God can use even flawed people to bring about His will.  I’m loving that book!

The book on writing memoir is difficult for me to put down.  I learn from each writer, and right now my head is swimming with ideas — not only for the memoir I’m currently writing, but for all the others that lie buried in my memories.

I leave you with the book on memoir lying here beside my computer, waiting for me to go to my comfy rocker and open its pages again — but wait — before I leave you…

Aren’t books wonderful?  Have any of you had similar “coincidental” finds at book sales or used book shops?  Have any titles or topics seemed to reach out and grab you?  Share your great finds with me and the others who follow this blog.  And happy reading!!

Liebster Award


Thank you to rachsthoughts, who nominated me for the Liebster award.  The link to her blog:

My answers to her questions:

1.  What personal goal do you have for the next year?

To see my first book published and finish two more books I’ve started.

2.  What is your favorite food and why?

I love Mexican food, more especially New Mexican food. Red enchiladas, green enchiladas, chile rellenos, tacos, burritos, tamales — hmm, making my mouth water just to write this!

3.  What is your favorite color?

Blue, but I also am very fond of turquoise.

4.  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I have been fortunate to be able to travel a lot in my life so far — Canada; Mexico; France; Spain; Morocco; 45 of the U.S. states, including Hawaii and Alaska; Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao; St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John — so I have only one more sight-seeing trip in mind that I really want to take, to Mt. Rushmore.

5.  Favorite past time?

Reading and writing — my stack of books to be read never seems to go down, and I never seem to have as much time to write as I’d like!

6.  What is your favorite book?

The Bible, and I still really like the King James version.  I grew up on it, and although there are many newer translations, I like the old familiar words.

7.  If you could ask God one question, what would it be?

If humans have to die, why can’t it be peaceful?  In other words, why do many have to suffer on their way to death?

8.  What is your favorite holiday?

That’s a hard one.  I like both Thanksgiving and Christmas a lot. I love preparing holiday meals. Thanksgiving is a simple holiday in which we think of all the things for which we are thankful.  Christmas is special, with the pretty decorations and the age-old story.  I’d hate to have to pick just one of those holidays.

9.  What person has had the most influence in your life?

That’s also a hard one, but  I will say my first husband, because we kind of “grew up” together, marrying young, and staying married until his death a few months after our 50th anniversary.  We learned a lot of the give and take of life from each other, from raising our children together and caring for our parents as they got older.

10.  Favorite Bible verse?

The 23rd Psalm — actually it is several verses, but a lovely passage.

11.  What bothers you most while shopping?

Having a clerk answer the phone while I’m paying for my purchase.

Eleven random facts about myself:

1. I love to fly and always wanted to take lessons to pilot a small plane.

2. I met another wonderful man after my first husband died, and we have been happily married five years this month.

3. I love books.

4. My favorite TV shows are CBS This Morning, 60 Minutes, and The Big Bang Theory. As a therapist, I believe TBBT is written by geniuses.

5. I have been baptized three times — once as an infant, once as an adult by sprinkling, and once as an adult by immersion.

6. I have a colorful toy on my desk, because I’m a kid at heart.

7. I like to play penny slots about once every two years, but set a $20 limit on myself and call it recreation.

8. I have three grown children and nine grandchildren of my own, and I have two grown children and three grandchildren by marriage.

9. I like football, especially the Oregon Ducks.

10. I buy Halloween candy my husband likes, in case we have some left over!

11. I am looking forward to moving to Albuquerque, NM, when our house sells.

Nominate 11 blogs.

I have a difficult time with this one, because I’m new to blogging and don’t know about many yet, but two I enjoy are:

OPEN BOOK, the rare books blog from The University of Utah — always interesting facts and stories about interesting books.

Alison Nancy does a great blog for runners (I’m not one, but enjoy reading about it) on her website at

The Rules for the Liebster Award

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2. Display the award on your blog

3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself

5. Nominate 11 blogs

6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

7. List these rules in your post.

8. Inform the people that you nominated them for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it.

Recipes for Life History

Thumbing through some old recipes today, I was struck with their place in the history of my life – recipes and the name of the one who gave it to me, written in his or her own hand. Some of the contributors are no longer living – a casserole dish from a friend in Michigan who died at a young age in a car crash in Florida; a cookie recipe from a friend in Albuquerque who died of the flu; recipes of varied kinds from my mother, who died after brain surgery; recipes given to me by my mother-in-law, who died from a stroke; an apple cake recipe from my aunt Elizabeth, who died of breast cancer; and the list goes on and on. Each card rife with memories of the person – delightful foods that are forever connected in my mind and heart with each loved person.

Then there are the ones from friends and relatives still living – cookie recipes from my long-time friend in El Paso; cake and casserole recipes from my cousin in Texas; an oriental salad recipe from my youngest daughter in Michigan; many cookie and salad recipes from my first-born daughter in Illinois; recipes from fellow students when I was in college; and that list goes on and on, as well. Each time I prepare one of these recipes, the one who gave it to me is remembered fondly. Some of the recipes are written on cards, some on scraps of paper, some on the backs of envelopes, and some even on napkins. What a collection – what varied pieces of history!

Our life stories are composed of so many pieces; besides the memories, there are letters, photos, mementos, and then there are the recipes.  I’ve often thought of making a scrapbook of all these pieces of paper with good food ideas on them — so much of my life story could be told about the meeting and connection with the people involved.

How many of you have a collection of favorite recipes from some of your favorite people?  Please send me a few words about your favorite recipe that was given to you by someone special in your life and tell me a little bit about that person. You may even share the recipe if you wish. Why is it a favorite? What is your best memory of the person who gave it to you?

Practicing Mindfulness

One of my colleagues, Dr. Storme Lynn, in Albuquerque, NM, has a thriving practice in both teaching mindfulness and using it as a powerful therapeutic technique.  Mindfulness is the practice of being in the moment and being aware of one’s environment.  It is intended as a peaceful, relaxing exercise. The technique I will talk about today is only one of many — Dr. Lynn could write a book on the subject!

A basic tool of mindfulness is your breath — something that is always with you —  and it can be used to calm anxiety, focusing on the breath coming into your lungs and then being expelled from your lungs.  Not a faster breathing, just a normal breathing, lest you become hyperventilated!

I tell clients to think about serenity coming in with each incoming breath, and anxiety going out with each outward breath.  Just a minute or two of focusing on breathing, perhaps with eyes closed to cut out distractions, can do a great deal toward helping with anxiety attacks.  It is also a way to prepare yourself to go to sleep at night.

There are many other tools and techniques of mindfulness, but this is the most basic one I teach.  Thoughts will come into your mind as you try to focus on your breath, and that is okay.  You let the thoughts come and go, without feeling that you have to attend to any of them — just let them float through your mind.  You can acknowledge them, but let them drift across your mind without feeling you have to do anything about them.

Some studies have shown that practicing focusing on your breath only five minutes twice a day for eight weeks can cause physical changes in the brain structure, making it easier to let go of stress.

Choose a time to try it — get into a comfortable position, eyes closed or open, as you prefer, set a timer for a minute at first, and consciously focus on your gift of breath.  Gradually work up to five minutes, and you will begin to look forward to your mindfulness time.  You will enjoy saying goodbye to anxiety and welcoming serenity into your life!

Let me know how you feel about mindfulness.  Perhaps we will talk about other methods of mindfulness in a later post.

The Benefits of Laughter

Laughter brightens dispositions.  Journalist Norman Cousins used laughter as an experiment in self-healing in 1979, when he was diagnosed with arthritis.  His book, Anatomy of an Illness, described his experiment.  While there was some controversy concerning his claims, some physicians have since promoted the effect of laughter as medicine, and research has supported many of their claims about the effects of laughter on people’s physical heath as well as mental health.  It is difficult to remain depressed very long when you laugh heartily.

Humor and laughter are gaining wide attention these days, resulting in movements such as Laughter Yoga International, a world-wide organization to promote laughter.  There are laughter clubs, or gatherings of people who sit around and laugh (check out their website if this sounds unbelievable).  At first forcing laughter can seem odd but as soon as one person begins laughing, the laughter becomes contagious, and soon a whole roomful of people can be laughing.

The short-term physical benefits of laughter, according to a group of doctors at Mayo Clinic, can be many, including stimulating your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increasing calming endorphins, as well as stimulating circulation and aiding muscle relaxation.  Longer-term physical benefits can include improving your immune system and helping to relieve pain.  Emotional benefits include helping one to connect with other people and lessening depression and anxiety.

I’m laughing as I write this blog post, which I’ve taken from my upcoming book. Whatever you have planned for this weekend, include some laughter and reap its benefits!

Waves — Commonalities and Differences in Experience

An article in the the September, 2014, issue of Smithsonian was food for thought for me one evening recently.  The article (or series of articles with the same theme) described different kinds of waves — the patterns of flocks of birds in flight and schools of fish as they dart about in tandem; waves of photographic fluid; heat waves; ocean waves; waves on a hydrocarbon sea on the moon Titan; new wave music; and even the migration wave of unaccompanied minors at the southwest border of the United States.  Some waves seem to be relatively predictable and possibly eventually controllable, some seem to be random.

Because my counseling specialty is grief, I immediately began to think about the waves of grief that come to every grieving person — waves of emotion that are unpredictable, unbidden, and sometimes uncontrollable.  This is a normal part of grief, sometimes causing sudden outbursts of tears in public places, embarrassing the griever.

The onslaught of various kinds of waves may continue long after the loss — waves of tears, waves of silence in which the person chooses not to interact with others for a while, waves of relief (sometimes unrecognized as such by the griever, and if recognized, usually hidden from others), waves of memories, waves of fatigue, or waves of wondering about the wisdom of God in allowing the loss (even wondering about the existence of God, in some cases).

Triggers for these waves can be as varied as the waves themselves.  I can remember having to abandon a grocery cart full of groceries and leaving the store, because shortly after his death, I happened to see one of my first husband’s favorite foods on the shelf.  One client told of being in a greeting card store and spying a sympathy card and losing her composure.  Hearing a familiar song, even in a shopping mall, is enough to trigger emotional waves.

Gradually some of the wave turbulence subsides as time goes on, but it does not ever go away completely, and it is unrealistic to expect that it will.  Gradually the griever is able to withstand the tossing and turning of emotions and exert some control, but there will still be times that control is not possible.

If you are grieving, be patient with yourself — grieving takes a lot of energy, so get plenty of rest and eat nutritious foods and get at least some exercise, even just a walk around the block.  If you know a grieving person, be patient with that person’s waves of emotion as he or she travels the road of grief.

So, we add to the list of waves that Smithsonian explored.  We add the waves of grief, common to every person who has lost someone who was loved.  We expand our knowledge and awareness of waves — we grow.