Hope Finishes a Book

The idea began two years ago when I read “How to Blog a Book” by Nina Amir. Since that time, I have recommended Amir’s book to many of my writing clients.

The jist of her book is the process of using blog content – already written, edited and published online – to create a hard copy print book.

When I finished Amir’s book, I looked up and said, “Well, duh!

After blogging for five years, I had enough content for several books, but I wanted to focus on only one theme, one category and one idea.

The decision was easy. “Sometimes They Forget” – the collection of essays I have written about the caregiving journey through Alzheimer’s Disease.bookcoverimage-stf

This book, unlike the Reverend G trilogy, tugged at my desire for authenticity as the long-distance caregiver and forced me to dig deep – then deeper still – to reach those painful places in my soul.

I needed to record how the awful reality feels when Alzheimer’s invades a family.

From the cemetery wanderings when I visited my ancestors’ graves to the honesty of admitting how we must sometimes lie to Mom. The inclusion of holiday tips for caregivers, the seven stages of Alzheimer’s and caregiving tips I share when I speak at events – all these posts present some practical ideas for families dealing with this brutal disease.

I am hoping families just entering Stage One will feel encouraged to know others have gone before them and survived.

As I re-read my essay asking the why question, it caused me to review my faith values and underscore the truth that even if I cannot understand why God allowed this disease to enter my mother’s life, I will still trust his heart.

My goal was to finish the book before Christmas 2016, but then the Great Virus invaded. Illness interrupted my timeline.

The deadline changed with a new target date which I am pleased to announce – I WILL meet.

February 3rd is my mother’s birthday – 88 years. “Sometimes They Forget” will be released on that day and soon after – on Kindle. The book is an acknowledgement of her courage and a small way to honor her.

You, my blog followers, have encouraged me with your comments and with your appreciation of my words. I hope you will also consider this new book as a memorial to my mother and as a way to make it through your own Alzheimer’s journey – or share it with someone else.

The sub-title of “Sometimes They Forget” is “Finding Hope in the Alzheimer’s Journey.” My prayer is that hope will multiply and the ripple effect will bring some measure of peace to those families who live with the Long Good-bye.

Thank you for your support and for your prayers as this book is released on February 3rd.

©2017 RJ Thesman, Author of the Reverend G Trilogy http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh

 

 

 

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Seeking Hope After Christmas

Because I love Christmas, it is always a bittersweet challenge to pack up everything, tape the boxes closed and carry Christmas to the basement.mantel after Xmas

I simply cannot endure the thought of an entire year before I pull out the twinkle lights, caress my angel collection and replay memories associated with the ornaments.

This Christmas was especially difficult as my son had to work through the holidays. I missed being with him as I remembered Christmases past and the excitement of a little boy discovering his first drum set, a giant box of Legos and a package of plastic army men.

This Christmas also brought more confusion for my mother. Her Alzheimer’s side effects seem to peak during the holidays, when I long for her to remember the daughter she sewed for, the special box of books she placed under the tree with my name on the tag, my excitement when I opened that box and knew I would soon be transported into the mysterious world of Nancy Drew.

This year, Mom didn’t even remember that Dad now lives in heaven. Our quality time was nonexistent, and when I drove her back to assisted living – she argued about living there. She couldn’t even remember why someone had given her presents.

So to preserve some joy of the season, I rearranged my pearl lights on the mantel and merged winter accessories with pine cone candles. Just a touch of Christmas to lessen the loss.

But I needed more. I have learned the best way to preserve the joy of Christmas is to proactively use my Christmas cards. I keep them in a pile beside my Bible, then each morning throughout January and February, I choose one card and pray for that person or the family that sent the card.

I remember special friends and family members, clients and colleagues by reminding God of their importance in my life, lifting up their needs to the only one who can fulfill them.


It helps me tolerate the cold fingers of winter as I focus on the warm love of the God who transcends every season and time.


So as we move into 2016, let’s all try to find more tangible ways to seek hope.

Then next year during Christmas, we can celebrate with extra joy.

©2016 RJ Thesman – Author of the Reverend G books http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh

 

Finding Hope in the Grey

What is it about February? The shortest month seems to stretch into a cavernous calendar of grey days.winter scene

Grey isn’t my color. I don’t live well in February.

Occasional spits of snowy ice combine with frigid temperatures. We huddle tighter inside our coats, wishing for a warm blast from the Gulf rather than the icy breath of another polar vortex.

Winter is my least favorite season and it seems that February stretches my barely active tolerance for winter to the limits. Every year, I struggle through it, trying to find joy and praise even while I flex my cold fingers and fight depressing thoughts.

Seasonal Affective Disorder distracts me, especially during February, and I find myself sad emotionally as well as physically. Add to that a family history of several funerals during February that left emotional scars within my memory bank. I can still hear the scraping of frozen earth as cemetery maintenance tried to dig a hole for my great uncle’s casket.

So what do I do to somehow find hope during February?

I count off the weeks, reminding myself that somehow in March, even if we have a late snow storm – somehow the abundant life will return and the sun will shine. Grey skies will morph into blue once again.

I sit in my rocker and watch the sun set, reminding myself that it’s only three more weeks, then two, then one, then a few days until the dreaded month is over once again.

Every year I ask God to somehow provide me with enough money so that I can be one of those snow bird people and escape to Arizona to stay with my cousin during February. He and his wife would put me up in their spare bedroom. I know they would. If only I could get there.

What helps me the most is reciting Psalm 43:5 over and over. “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him.”

The “yet” will come with the next turn of the calendar. February will become March. Seed catalogs will arrive and gardening supplies will replace mittens and coats. The promise of spring will once more erupt with purple crocuses and yellow daffodils. Birds will sing and I will journal in the sunshine on my deck.

In the “yet.”

It is also in the “yet” that we wait for that eternal hope, when we leave the grey of this sinful earth and live in the warmth of God’s love for eternity. Surely there is no snow or ice in heaven – at least not in my corner of heaven.

For me, heaven will be completely devoid of death and cold, of grey blank skies that promise only icy storms. It will be a place of eternal spring, of joy and hope, of warmth and love, of life that continues forever and ever.

And I will never be cold again.

©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1