- You don’t cry as much.
- You can tell your story without sobbing.
- Your laughter returns, although it’s a bit rusty.
- You have your first belly laugh.
- You are aware of the outside world again.
- You attend your first support group meeting.
- You want to help others.
- You think about establishing a memorial.
- You make a life change in honor of your loved one.
- You welcome quiet.
- You can be peacefully alone.
- You choose to live and enjoy the miracle of life.
- You remember your loved one and smile.
- Tuesday, June 12, 10: a.m. – 11:30 a.m. 125 Live Center for Active Adults, 125 Elton Hills Drive North, Rochester, MN, 55901. Refreshments will be served.
- Saturday, June 30, Noon – 3 p.m., Barnes & Noble, Apache Mall, 1201 12th St. SW, Rochester, MN, 55902. Attendees will receive helpful handouts.
After my husband’s aorta dissected in 2013 I built a wheelchair-accessible townhome for us. Living there hinged upon my health. If my health started to fail we would have to move, a worrisome thought. My husband and I hoped to stay in our townhome for years.
Then I started to have some odd symptoms and made an appointment with my doctor. Since she had a previous appointment, I was seen by a nurse practitioner, someone I knew and trusted. She ordered tests and they showed a dark smudge in my tummy. A surgical appointment was made for me in case I needed a hysterectomy.
Who would care for my husband while I was in the hospital?
Life answered this question. Days before my surgery, my husband developed pneumonia and pleurisy. He was in such pain I called 911 and he was transported to the hospital by ambulance. Four days later he was dismissed to my care. He did well the first day, but the second day my husband was so weak he couldn’t transfer to his shower chair and slid to the floor. I called 911and firemen came and lifted him up.
Clearly, my husband needed follow-up therapy. I called his physician and she contacted a social worker, who arranged for admittance to a rehab center. As it turned out, I had stage one uterine cancer and had a hysterectomy. I was hospitalized for two days, dismissed, and told not to lift anything that weighed more than 10 pounds for six weeks. These are my tips for family caregivers who have chronic illness or are facing surgery.
Start with the primary care physician. The primary care physician is key to health care and management. If your loved one doesn’t have a primary care physician, it’s time to get one.
Compile a list of contact names. Keep an ongoing list of names and contact information for the people who care for your loved one. Ask for business cards and keep them in a central place.
Visit assisted living communities. My husband and I toured the best assisted living communities in our town. We put a deposit down on one facility and added our name to a list at another.
Ask family to help. Long before my surgery, my daughter offered to come and stay with us. Contact your religious community if you don’t have family support. Social services is another source of information.
Continue to monitor care. One staff member yanked my husband’s leg and when my husband said, “Oh that hurt,” told him not to complain. I reported this to management and recommended additional training for staff.
Track and manage medications. To maintain normalcy, my husband came home every day for several hours, but he was so sleepy he could barely stay awake. I contacted his primary care physician and asked which meds caused sleepiness. One medication was eliminated and the dosage of another was reduced.
Be an advocate. Ask for more information if the documents are confusing. Laws change and your will, and your loved one’s will, may need to be updated. Keep documents in a safe place. Be a keen observer and note any misinformation or mistreatment you see.
Family caregivers are the backbone of American health care. We must care for ourselves to care for others.
Article originally written for The Caregiver Space website, www.thecaregiverspace.org/authors/hhodgson
For more than a year, I kept a caregiving happiness jar. At the end of my caregiving day, I wrote a note about something good that happened, and put it in a jar. Every so often, I withdrew random notes from the jar, and read them. The notes were revealing.
First, the notes proved that there were many positive things in my caregiving day, something I need to remember. If I added up the notes, I think they would outnumber my disappointments and challenges. Writing and reading the notes helped me see the caregiving big picture, and my wide-ranging tasks.
When arranged by date, the notes were a written graph of my husband’s health. My husband suffered a spinal cord injury during prolonged surgery--13 hours and four surgeons--for a dissected aorta. Recovering from spinal cord injury is rare, but my husband’s progress was truly amazing.
Recently my husband had a check-up with one of his physicians. “I visited you in the ICU,” she began. “I can’t believe you are the same person.”
With the help of dedicated physical and occupational therapists, my husband learned to stand, stand and pivot, take a few steps with a walker, and walking short distances in our townhome. His progress was documented in my Caregiving Happiness Jar, and some notes make me cry. Here are a few sample notes.
John says he is getting stronger. Horray!
Wonderful therapy session today. John is making progress!
John had an evaluation re/his general condition. The rehab supervisor gave him good advice and ordered a special mattress for him.
John exercised on the NuStep bike this morning and did very well.
Today John walked the width of our townhome twice with a walker.
As my caregiving days became busier, however, the notes in my jar dwindled, and finally stopped. While I’m ashamed of this, I understand how it happened. Whether it was extra doctors’ visits or learning a new procedure, my caregiving responsibilities kept increasing, and I was just trying to make it through a day. At night, when I climbed into my four-poster bed, sometimes I was exhausted I couldn’t sleep.
Months passed, and I forgot about the jar until this morning. A disabled woman posted about her kindness jar on a caregivers’ website. Reading the post made me think of my forgotten Caregiving Happiness Jar. It won’t be forgotten anymore.
One of my 2018 goals is to revive the practice of writing notes that document my caregiving. The notes will make me aware, yet again, of my husband’s unfailing courage. The notes will help me understand all the effort I put into caring for him. The notes will help me see the miracle of being married to a loving husband for 60 years, and the miracle of our shared lives.
Do you have down days? Do you wonder if you’re making a difference? Keeping a Caregiving Happiness Jar may answer these questions and more. Like me, at the end of the year, you will find your jar is filled with love. Find a large jar or box, and write a note today. You are making history.
I hadn’t heard of a cookie swap until I married and moved to Minnesota, my husband’s home state. Minnesota was settled by Scandinavians and Germans, cultures that have impressive baking skills. Recipes were passed down from one generation to the next. Sharing food was, and still is, a way to celebrate Christmas and make the holiday easier.
If you’re looking for fun and socialization, a cookie swap is the answer.
In a website article titled “Host a Cookie Swap Party,” Good Housekeeping magazine describes the party as “low-key, high-payoff.” The magazine published a book to ensure the success of your party, The Great Christmas Cookie Swap: 60 Large-Batch Recipes to Bake and Share.
Martha Stewart shares ideas in a website article, “8 Steps to Hosting a Cookie Swap.” As Stewart notes, “Everyone leaves with finished gifts—and plenty of new recipes.” Cookie swaps in Minnesota can be gifts or desserts for the family. To host a cookie swap you need to consider invitations, types of cookies, set-up, recipes, cookie containers, and refreshments.
Invitations. You can create one on the computer, buy invitations, or use an Internet template. The number of people you invite depends on how many can fit in your home. Computer invitations are inexpensive and easy to make. Ask guests to bring their recipes and print out one for each person. Send out invitations one month before your party.
Types of cookies. To ensure a variety of cookies, ask each person to make a specific kind—drop cookies, cut outs, bars/squares, refrigerator cookies (which are rolled into a log and cut into discs), cake mix cookies (really popular now), stamped cookies (shortbread) , rosettes (fried cookies), or biscotti (twice-baked cookies).
Set up. Put a tablecloth on the table and set several plates and platters on it. Each guest arranges their cookies on a plate or platter. Make signs to go with the cookies, such as “Beth’s Orange Drops” and “Grandmother’s Coconut Squares.” Food allergy signs, such as “contains peanuts,” are also a good idea. Use paper plates and napkins for easy clean-up.
Cookie containers. You have several options here. At holiday time, grocery and discount stores carry metal and plastic tins. “Cookies for Santa” plates are also available. Cookies may be packaged in Chinese take-out cartons, available at craft stores. If you use take-out cartons, cookies should be put in plastic bags to keep them fresh, and then put into food cartons.
Refreshments. Coffee, tea, punch or hot cider may be served. Add crunch with a homemade or store-bought vegetable dip tray. A fruit platter, again, homemade or store-bought, is always welcome. Soup and small sandwiches are another idea. No need to worry about dessert because you have dozens and dozens of cookies.
Pass out food preparation gloves, available at grocery stores, before guests swap their cookies. Each guest takes home a box or plate of assorted cookies and the recipes for them. Provide zipper plastic bags for the recipes to protect them from food spills or getting wet. Cookie swaps are really fun. Start planning your swap today!
- Find a comfortable place to sit and eliminate background noise, if possible.
- Slow your thoughts and clear the clutter from your mind.
- Think of something positive in your life. (It can be large or small.)
- Create an affirmation about your positive thought. If you can’t write a sentence, write one word, such as love or grateful.
- Use the present tense. Affirm the life you are living now.
- Check your affirmation for tone and word choices. Tweak the affirmation if you must, but resist the urge to overwork it.
- Stick with one-sentence affirmations. They are easier to write and remember.
- Keep writing affirmations and read them aloud from time to time.
- Watch for forward steps in your life journey.
- Find ways to apply affirmations to daily life.
This is one of the easiest cookie recipes ever. You don’t need a mixer. All you need is a large bowl, the ingredients, and a wooden spoon. Makes about 45 cookies.
- ¾ cup pre-sifted flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 ½ cups quick oats
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup water
- Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Tear off a long strip of wax paper and lay on counter.
- Using a wooden spoon, mix flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl.
- Add remaining ingredients and combine well. Chill for 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Drop teaspoon-size dough onto prepared baking sheet, leaving two inches between cookies.
- Set pan on middle oven rack and bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Let cookies rest 30 seconds before removing from pan. Set on wax paper.
- Store cooled cookies in container with a tight-fitting lid. Note: Coconut, walnuts, or dried cranberries may be substituted for chocolate chips. These cookies freeze well.
What should you say to a grieving friend? What shouldn’t you say? Finding the right words may be so hard that you decide to send a sympathy card. “Well, that’s done,” you mutter to yourself. Later, though, you may wish you had talked to your friend face-to-face. Of course, this isn’t always possible.
Instead of sending sympathy cards, I send bereaved friends a grief affirmation book that I wrote several years ago. The gift is always welcome. One friend wrote such a beautiful thank-you note that I cried. In addition to writing grief recovery books, I give talks about affirmation writing.
A few weeks from now I’m giving a webinar about affirmation writing as a grief healing step. The webinar closes with ideas for applying affirmations to daily life. When I wrote the script for my webinar, many ideas came to mind, including the idea of Hope in a Jar. Things in jars are popular right now. You can buy cookie mix in a jar, cake mix in a jar, or keep a Happiness Jar, an idea that comes from author Elizabeth Gilbert.
Why not Hope in a Jar? It is easy to make. Get a Mason or Ball jar with a lid. Write one-sentence affirmations, save them on your computer, and print out the file. (You may also hand-write affirmations.) Cut the affirmations into strips and put them in the jar, with the print facing inwards. Tie a bow around the top and affix a tag that says, “Hope in a Jar. Read one a day.”
You don’t have to be a writer to create the jar. Only a few things are needed—motivation, a computer keyboard, or paper and pen. I recommend one-sentence affirmations because they are easy to write and remember. Write affirmations that comfort you. To get you started, here are a dozen affirmations I have written.
- Every so often I call time out and take a break from grief.
- Instead of pain leading me, I lead the pain.
- Happy memories of my loved one are comforting.
- Slowly, surely, I’m a creating a new life for myself.
- Getting better! I can talk about my loved one without crying.
- Well-meant advice doesn’t always have to be followed.
- In defense, I’ve prepared answers to the question, “How are you?”
- With every breath I take, I’m thankful for the gift of life.
- Quiet time is part of each day, a time to rediscover myself.
- I keep my loved one close by living her (his) values.
- Sometimes I just want to be alone and that’s o.k.
- My life is what I make it.
You can fit 60 affirmations or more in a jar. When you create this gift for a bereaved relative or friend, in a sense, you’re creating a gift for yourself. Writing affirmations changes your thinking from negative to positive. What’s more, writing makes you aware of your own grief journey, and the progress you’ve made. Although your progress may be measured in baby steps, it is still progress.
Simple as the idea sounds, Hope in a Jar can have a significant impact on the recipient and you. It’s hope that keeps us going!
Written for the Open to Hope, www.opentohope.com
- I take prescription meds as directed and only as directed.
- For emotional wellbeing, I spend time with upbeat people.
- When I have negative thoughts I counter them with positive ones.
- Even though I have little to give, I still give to others.
- There is at least one plant in my home and I enjoy caring for it.
- To keep my mind active I read and attend social functions.
- I limit television news viewing to one program a day.
- I eat a balanced diet and drink water to stay hydrated.
- Thanks to a bedtime routine, I sleep well most nights.
- Because I’m a spiritual/religious person I’m grateful for each day.
After my father died, my mother moved to Florida to be near her older sister. Two years later her sister died, and Mom felt lost without her. To fill her days, Mom went on a variety of trips, often with a friend. One day she called to tell me she was “out West.”
“What state are you in?” I asked.
“I don’t know.”
What town are you in?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, where are you now?”
“I’m in a phone booth!” she replied in an angry voice. (Phone booths still existed then.)
Was my mother with a tour group? Did she have enough money? When would she be home? I didn’t have a chance to ask these questions because Mom blurted, “But I can’t talk to you now because the boat is going down the Colorado.” Then she hung up.
I stood in the kitchen, with the phone in my hand, and started laughing. Always interested in the world, I pictured Mom in a pith helmet, clad in waterproof gear, sitting in an inflatable boat with tourists, and shooting over rapids. Minutes later my laughter turned to tears. During our regular phone calls I realized the intelligent, dependable, funny mother of my childhood had become a different person—confused, impatient, and angry.
On the morning of my father’s funeral Mom had suffered a mini stroke. The strokes continued in Florida. When she was found wandering in a Sears store (Mom was looking for her car) I moved her to my hometown, Rochester, Minnesota. I found an apartment for her in an assisted living community. Mom was quite happy there but, as the years passed, her dementia worsened. According to her doctor, Mom’s mini strokes added up to Alzheimer’s.
He didn’t order cognitive tests for her because, as he noted, “We already know the results.” Cell-by-sell, my mother was dying right before my eyes. Witnessing her decline was heartbreaking. I felt like a black cloud followed me everywhere I went. A friend of mine, who is a certified grief counselor, asked how I was feeling. I told her I was stressed and exhausted. “You’re going through anticipatory grief and it’s very powerful,” she explained.
Her comment led research on anticipatory grief, and my research continues to this day. What is anticipatory grief?
Anticipatory grief is a feeling of loss before a death or dreaded event occurs. Everyone goes through anticipatory grief, yet many have never heard the term. I decided to write a book on the topic, and worked on it for a dozen years. I sent the outline, along with a cover letter, to my New York City publisher, and waited anxiously for a reply. Nothing. Finally, I called the acquisitions editor. Yes, she had read my letter and outline. “I don’t get it,” the editor said. “I just don’t get it.”
From the sound of her voice, I could tell the editor was young, and hadn’t experienced anticipatory grief yet. There was no way I could make her “get it.” Still, the editor gave me some smart advice: get a medical co-author. I followed her advice and contacted Dr. Lois Krahn, a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist who lived in my neighborhood. Dr. Krahn was willing to read the manuscript, vet the contents, and contribute to it.
With patience and skill, Dr. Krahn wove her points into the existing manuscript, and we tried to find a publisher. We struck out. The traditional publishers weren’t interested in grief, so we turned to CreateSpace, Amazon’s publishing company. After the book was released Dr. Krahn called me. She said she hadn’t thought about anticipatory grief before working on the book. “Now I realize it walks into my office very day.”
Anticipatory grief may have walked into your life. Smiling Through Your Tears may be just the help you need. It focuses on anticipatory grief’s uniqueness, grief of terrorism, anticipatory grief as a reaction to change, factors that shape this grief, symptoms and stages, responses to anticipatory grief, complications, coping tips, and how early grief may help you. Each chapter ends with Healing Steps you may take.
Amazon reviews of the book are rewarding:
- A life changing book.
- Anticipatory grief is very hard. Good guide to get through it.
- They have provided a guide for the emotional dynamic and healing path to wholeness.
- Very good book about a painful subject.
- If you are a long term caregiver, as I am, this book is a must.
You don’t have to go through anticipatory grief alone. Smiling Through Your Tears may serve as your guide and companion. Most important, it can lead you to the future. I give workshops about this form of grief. At the end of a workshop an audience member thanked me for doing it. “I didn’t know what was happening to me,” she admitted. “Now I know and can give it a name.”
Indie book authors need to be marketers. In fact, we need to consider marketing before we even start writing. I’ve studied book marketing for years and, while I’ve acquired new skills, the free books idea surprised me. Why should I buy books and give them away?
You may have the same question. Like me, you may have a limited marketing budget.
“Why Successful Authors are Giving Their Books Away for Free,” an article on the Huffington Post website, explains the free approach. Indie authors typically earn higher royalties, the article notes, and giving away free ebooks doesn’t cost them anything. “Many times, free ebooks actually boost sales of print copies,” the article explains. The article goes on to say that authors who give away free books or sell them at a low price gain the ability to develop a loyal following. And a loyal following can translate into future sales.
“Why You Should Give Away Free Copies of Your Book,” on The Nonfiction Authors Association website, says profits aren’t generated by book sales. “The real money is in the business you generate as a result of your book,” the article explains. In trade parlance, you are generating “buzz.”
I have other reasons for giving books away.
Everyone likes free stuff. People gravitate toward “freebies” and spread the word about them. When they spread the word, more people learn about your book. Word of mouth is excellent advertising.
You gain name recognition. People seem to remember authors who give books away. Your name, and book genre may become the topic of local conversation, and that’s more buzz for you.
Freebies spark interest. After a talk I often a gift bag to an audience member or members who are celebrating their birthdays. The bags contain an autographed book, the publisher’s information sheet, a book mark, and my business card.
Give-aways are low cost ads. Free books are cheaper than magazine, newspaper, and television ads. A small magazine ad can cost thousands of dollars. Free books can cost a few hundred or less.
Almost free books spark interest. An author who sells an ebook for 99 cents can get thousands of orders, which add up to thousands of dollars. According to my publisher, however, you need established online connections (NetGalley, BookBub, etc.) for this to work.
You save time. Instead of creating an ad, or paying a graphic designer to create one, you order books at a discount from your publisher. This takes minutes, whereas creating an ad in the correct format can take hours.
Recently I donated copies of my four-book series for family caregivers to the local Visiting Angels. I received an email from an agency nurse. Visiting Angels is using my books to start a library for its employees. What a marvelous use of my gift!
Radio gives an indie author like me the biggest bang for their bucks. At least, I think so. Whether it’s a national, local, or a blog program, I enjoy being on the radio. Several years ago I contracted with a marketing company to promote one of my books. The agreement included training in writing for radio, and appearing on the radio.
At the time, I didn’t realize how useful this training would be, and I’ve been grateful for it many times.
My 36th book is in production now and slated for release in the spring of 2018. Although the release date seems far away my publisher, WriteLife, says now is the time to generate interest. This includes contacting national organizations, local organizations, and talk radio hosts.
Over the years, I’ve appeared on dozens of talk radio programs. Here are some recent interviews.
I’ve been a freelancer for 37 years. During this time I wrote 36 books, thousands of print/electronic articles, and hundreds of posts for websites. Some of my books were published by traditional publishers, others by a Print on Demand Publisher, and others published by an Indie publisher.
Right now I’m with an Indie publisher. Working with the owner and CEO is a joy because I constantly learn from her. I think Indie authors need six things to be successful.
- You need the drive and will to write. Nobody is going to write books for you; the work is yours. An Indie author’s life is rife with twists, turns, detours, disappointments, obstacles, and successes. Disappointment can’t stop you from working toward your goal. If you fail, accept the fact, change course, and try again.
- You need to develop good work habits. Finding a schedule that suits your lifestyle is the first step. I write new copy in the morning, and keep up with the book publishing industry in the afternoon. This involves email and print correspondence, research, and posting on social media, an ongoing task.
- You need to be professional. To do this, you submit your work to suitable publishers, follow publishing guidelines, format manuscripts correctly, format business letters correctly, send courteous emails, and cooperate with editors. In my experience, Indie authors are kind and always willing to help each other.
- You need to believe in yourself and market our work. Whether traditional, Indie, or Hybrid, these days publishers ask authors to help with marketing. So you need to keep abreast of trends, market nationally, market locally, and use social media. I give free talks and workshops to get the word out about my books. Personally, I think marketing books is harder than writing them.
- You need to be willing to change. Because I have a graduate degree in art, my publisher is interested in my cover suggestions. I have a book in production now, and looked at thousands of royalty-free photos for the cover. I winnowed my choices, and sent them to the CEO. She sent them to the distributor, and he didn’t like any of the photos. However, he shared suggestions with us, and we heeded his input. The cover is done and it’s perfect.
- You need to begin again. After a book is published, you continue to market it month after month, year after year. This can be a challenge if you’ve written several books. You may feel like you’ve living a dual life—author and marketer. Well, you are, and when you add spouse and parent to the list, life becomes super-busy.
Just as Charles Schultz’s cartoon says, good writing is hard work. Being an Indie author is doubly hard. What’s more, the work never seems to get easier. Remember, Indie authors have tough bosses—themselves.
Blog Talk Radio is an inexpensive, efficient marketing conduit—free to listeners, free to members, and free for hosts. You reach people locally or on the other side of the world. Better yet, listeners may post comments and questions about your interview on Twitter. This adds new dimensions to your interview.
I like this format because it’s easy. Stephen C. Trevers lists the pluses of this format in his article, “Three Great Advantages of Blog Talk Radio.” Advantage number one: it’s a revenue friendly format. Advantage number two: Everything is for sale, including your book. Advantage number three: Every listener is a prospective buyer.
Although you may not make an instant sale, weeks from your on air appearance, a listener may remember the interview, and buy your book. I belonged to a radio interview service for a while. Since it yielded only a couple of interviews, I canceled my subscription, and started contacting program producers and hosts directly. You may do this too, and it’s best to contact only the programs that match your genre.If you write in several genres, your research will take more time. A basic umbrella genre may include several sub-categories. Nonfiction is my basic genre, but my books also fit under self-help, spirituality, and grief recovery. I contacted Open to Hope blog talk radio, and have appeared on Dr. Gloria Horsley’s and Dr. Heidi Horsley’s show several times. They’re wonderful interviewers and I’m grateful to be on their program.
Organizations you belong to may send out notices asking for blog talk radio guests. I’m a member of the Rave Reviews Book Club, for example, and was on its radio program. The show lasted a half hour and encouraging comments came in via Twitter. Prepare for your interview before it goes live. Here are a dozen tips from my radio experience.
1. Buy a headset, with an ear piece and microphone.
2. For clarity, use a land line phone. Some programs don’t allow cell phones.
3. Eliminate background noise.
4. Follow all instructions. You may be asked to submit questions prior to the broadcast.
5. If you wear a hearing aid or aids, put in new batteries beforehand.
6. Get a tall glass of water and drink some just before you’re on air.
7. Keep a copy of your book or books in front of you.
8. Put sticky notes on some selected pages so you can find them easily.
9. Make a list of the key points you want to make. The list should be short and help listeners.
10. Thank the interviewer for her or his effort.
11. Relax and have fun on the air. You want to sound natural and like a real person.
12. Email or call another radio host and set up another interview.
Developing a relationship with a new editor takes time and effort. Over the years, I’ve worked with many editors, and all of them had my interests at heart. One editor, however, asked me to make changes that didn’t mesh with the purpose of my book or the research I’d done. I refused to make the changes, and, after a phone discussion, the publisher respected my decision.
Before production begins, you may need an attitude adjustment. Years ago, when I was new to book publishing, I thought every word I wrote was cast in stone. If someone criticized my writing I was hurt. Deeply hurt. Thankfully, I’ve matured as a writer and know a sharp editor can improve my work.
Editors and authors have the same goal—to improve the product. It’s a worthy goal, and these tips will help you reach it.
- Get some info. An experienced editor will probably be more helpful than a brand new editor. What are the editor’s qualifications? Is she or he a published author? Has the editor worked on other books?
- Prepare yourself for rewrites. In addition to correcting mistakes, you may be asked to move copy from one chapter to another, revise a chapter, or add new copy. Being mentally prepared for these changes will make them easier.
- Make notes for the editor. I have a manuscript that is just about to start production. My list includes some questions and explains some of the writing decisions I made. There are nine points on my list.
- Always be courteous. In our fast-paced, high-tech world, courtesy still counts. Business letters, emails, and phone conversations should all be courteous. Respect the editor’s commitment to your book and the hours she or he is spending on it.
- Talk with the editor. Other than meeting face-to-face, the phone is the most personal form of communication. You could also arrange a Skype call. Make a list of comments or questions. Don’t rush the call and be open to suggestions.
- Try some suggestions. Do they improve the manuscript? Is the flow still good? Are the points clear? If the answer to any of these questions is negative, talk with the editor or send an email. Be careful about your word choices and tone. Don’t use caps because they are interpreted as shouting.
- Work out compromises together. Start gently. “I wonder if this might work . . . .” Be brief and state the reasons for your suggestion. Do everything you can to keep your book on schedule. You don’t want to accidentally change the release date.
- Thank the editor. Finishing a book is something to celebrate. You need to celebrate your editor too. Send an email thank you to your editor. Again, be brief and be sincere. You never know when you will work with this editor again.
- Replace eggs with a cholesterol-free egg substitute or whites. According to the American Heart Association, two egg whites may be substituted for a whole egg.
- Use fat-free (skim) milk. This one change saves you calories and lowers your cholesterol.
- Choose non-fat cheese. For better melting, Dr. Richard Collins, author of The Cooking Cardiologist, recommends soaking the cheese in milk for a few minutes before adding it to recipes.
- Add fiber—fresh fruit, dried fruit, vegetables, and grains—whenever possible.
- Cook with plant oils, such as olive, corn, and canola. If you’re sautéing food, add a dab of butter to the oil for flavor.
- Swap unsweetened applesauce for shortening in baking recipes. Cooking is chemistry and, for best results, you may have to add a teaspoon of oil.
- Hold the salt. Excess salt raises your blood pressure. Instead of salt, Mayo Clinic recommends citrus zest, fresh and dried herbs.
- Cut back on sugar. Recipes made with half the sugar may taste just as sweet.
- Go lean on protein. Buy lean cuts of beef, skinless chicken, chops, and fish. Some recipes, such as spaghetti sauce, may not need any protein.
- Eat normal (not supersize) servings. According to the University of Missouri Extension Service, large servings add up to 200-500 calories a day, which can add 20-50 extra pounds a year.
Grandparents, especially those who are raising their grandchildren, have the right to:
· Enjoy your grandkids.
· Feed them nutritious, balanced meals, and normal servings.
· Give your grandkids sandwiches if they reject dinner.
· Make play part of each day.
· Help with homework, but don’t provide answers.
· Teach grandkids basic manners.
· Ask grandkids to help around the house.
· Laugh at your own jokes even if they’re sappy.
· Ask permission to give grandkids hugs.
· Expect teens to provide who, what, when, where, why and how details.
· Set reasonable bedtimes and curfews.
· Use the word “no” when necessary.
· Teach grandkids how to budget and save money.
· Get grandkids to clean up their bedrooms and ignore the “moanie groanies.”
· Require drivers to fill the car gas tank when gauge reads one quarter full.
· Ask drivers to turn the car radio back to your favorite station.
· Stop loud music and phone calls after 9 p.m.
· Repeat stories even if your grandkids roll their eyes.
· Say “I love you” every day.
Copyright © 2017 by Harriet Hodgson
Last year, on impulse, I decided to keep a book marketing log. The idea came to me in February so the log is a month short. Despite 30 missing days, the log is a written record of a freelance writer’s life—my life—filled with facts and odd surprises.
On the first day I only wrote one sentence. By the end of the year, I was entering columns of information. A year later, when I read my log, I was amazed. It had been an amazing year and I had made marketing progress. These are some of the things I learned from my log.
Keeping a log sparks effort. When I started the log I vowed to take two marketing steps a day. I kept this promise. In fact, I exceeded it. Mid-year entries show that I doubled, and in some instances, tripled book marketing efforts. Reading my log makes me proud of myself.
I tapped Twitter’s power. Since I’ve never had any computer training, everything I know about computers and the Net I learned by trial and error. Several months into my log I hired Books Go Social to publicize books on Twitter. This step garnered many followers, and I cite their names/occupations in my log. As the months passed my list of followers grew from several hundred to 1,273 and it’s still growing.
Finally, I see the power of “likes.” I discovered that clicking the like icon shoots my name all over the Internet—good publicity for any author. Now that I know this I’m paying more attention to likes. Still, I’m careful and avoid strange ideas and people. I’m also careful about the comments I post.
A log is a reference document. My log contains information that I might need in the future, such as my Minnesota sales tax number. To be able to sell books at church bazaars and workshops I had to get this number, and it’s highlighted in my log. Organizations, email addresses, and Internet links are also listed.
Celebrations are cited in my log. The release date of my cookbook is written in caps because it’s something to celebrate. I also note when an organization asks me to speak, the date and time of my upcoming presentation. Media coverage is also something I list in my log.
I’m linked to the world. I list the name of every Twitter follower and where they live if this information is shared. My log shows followers in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Scotland, Australia, France, Singapore, Philippines, and other countries. Surprisingly, many followers are writers like me. But the biggest surprise was the extent of my book marketing progress.
Should you keep a log? I can’t answer this question for you, but I can allay your fears. A log isn’t a journal or diary, it’s a concise record, and therefore takes less time. Typing an entry takes only a minute or two. The benefits of keeping a log are listed above and they may lead you to a new path—a journey of self-discovery and progress.
Whether it’s a special holiday meal, or a casual summer picnic, food brings family members together. These gatherings also lead to family stories. “Do you remember when Aunt Ethel dropped the casserole?” “Those were the best steaks we’ve ever had!” “I love this. Would you give me the recipe?”
You may have shared recipes with family members, who prepare them as written, or “tweak” them a bit. Future generations can enjoy these recipes only if they are saved. Compiling a family cookbook gives you the chance to preserve recipes, document family lore, and share photos all at the same time. A family cookbook is an historical document.
When it comes to creating a cookbook you have three options. One, contact a cookbook company and have it do the work for you. While these companies produce professional-looking books, they tend to look the same. Another option is to self-publish via one of the many companies that do this. For more information look on the Internet using the words “self-publish.”
Or you may take the easy route, which I did, and put the recipes in a three-ring binder. Personally, I think this is the easiest route, one that allows you to add more recipes easily. To shield the recipes from drips, I put each page in a plastic protector. So how to you get started on a project like this?
Find the recipes. My sister-in-law and I sorted through our mother-in-law’s recipe boxes and chose the recipes that family members liked most. Gathering recipes can turn into a treasure hunt. You may find recipes tucked inside cookbooks, for example, or hand-written notes beside recipes. I wrote a one-page introduction to the cookbook.
Be accurate. The fun of a family cookbook is reading about family members. My mother-in-laws handwritten recipes contained notes such as, “Recipe from Tuttie.” Include any instructions that you may find. At the end of a fudge recipe my mother-in-law wrote, “Cut, enjoy. Save some for mother and dad. Be a good scout and clean up the kitchen afterwards.”
Be as consistent as possible. It’s best to list the ingredients in the order they are used. This helps the person gather ingredients and get an idea of the steps involved. These days many cookbooks number the recipe steps and I recommend this.
Include extra facts. Historical notes will add to the personal value of the cookbook and make it an enjoyable read. For example, you may add, “This recipe was served at the 10th family reunion at the farm.” You may also add notes about who is related to whom, such as “Louise is Aunt Ethel’s daughter.”
Add family photos. Photos are excellent documentation of heritage. Be sure to add names and dates if you have them. Other family members may be willing to contribute photos to the cookbook. Offer to reproduce photos for family members.
Think about your family tree. By all means, include your family tree if you have one. Before you do this, make sure names and relationships are accurate. Include a contact email or phone number for the family tree.
Although creating a family cookbook involves lots of detail work, family members will appreciate your efforts. Events—and recipes—bind family members together.
Holidays are a challenge for the bereaved. Memories tug you back in time and the thought of future without a loved one is even more painful. These tips may help you get through this difficult time. Start using your kit now!
- Spend time with people who understand my loss.
- Have one meaningful conversation each day.
- Promise to be kind to myself; the holidays don’t have to be perfect.
- Attend a few special events and note them on the calendar.
- Talk about my loved one and find comfort in happy memories.
- Use linking objects—a rolling pin, tools, jewelry, etc.
- Give to others in memory of my loved one.
- Write about my feelings and grief journey in a journal.
- Add physical activity to my daily routine.
- Remember that love lasts forever and is always with me.