Friday, September 15, 2017

Tips for the Sandwich Generation

Stuck in the Sweet in the Middle
by Robin Steinweg

Do you ever feel you’re in that awkward, in-between stage? I sure do!

I recently spent years stuck in a crushing middle. Round and round I turned from the growing needs of aging parents to those of growing sons to those of work. I’d carve hours from sleepless nights to write, compose, or read. More often to pray. My husband accepted leftovers with grace and gratitude. Not just food, but time and energy. He was stuck in his own middle, caring for his dad and doing more for my parents than can be recorded.

Image result for sandwich cookie

Now our parents are gone. I’m living in the middle of grief, rediscovering who I am if no longer a caregiver. Looking to experience—and to pass on—the rich life Jesus came to give us (John 10:10). Know what? God shows me things I can do so He can help me move forward. I’m not stuck here. I get to be here, where it can be sweet in the middle!

If you’re in the midst of circumstances or even past them, it’s never too late to rediscover who you are. Try some of the following:
  • Develop friendships with people who will build you up.
  • Find ways to build others up.
  • Journal what you’re going through as a way to release feelings.
  •  Photo journal or doodle journal.
  •  Admit if you need help.
  • Get more color in your surroundings/clothing.
  •  List your blessings.
  • Express more gratitude.
  • Find ways to expand or share your hobbies.
  • Join a book club.
  • Volunteer to help others.
  • If you have grieving to do, do it whole-heartedly. But don’t stay there.
  •  Live fully. Enjoy what God gives you to enjoy.
  • Dream again. Don’t hold back—dream big. What does God have for you next?
These ideas have helped. Yes, I still pick up the phone to call my mom or find jigsaw puzzles for my dad. I still if wonder I could have, should have done more for them. Guilt and remorse creep in.

But I realize that’s the voice of our enemy, the accuser. So I intentionally turn to words of life in God’s Word. I leave my broken heart at Jesus’ feet. I embrace the blessings He sends my way.
I affirm this truth: It is Sweet in the Middle!

About the Author:

Robin Steinweg says life is like a sandwich-cookie. Whatever circumstances close in on us, it can be Sweet in the Middle. Her writings can be found in Today’s Christian Woman, Upper Room, Secret Place and The Christian Pulse. She also writes monthly for Music Teachers Helper blog.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Picking Daisy by Kimberly Miller

Picture


Daisy Parker isn’t the woman that rock star Robby Grant would have imagined himself falling for. She’s soft-spoken, sweet, and lives by a strange code the struggling musician is recognizing as Biblical. And he’s helpless against it. Even if Daisy is hard-pressed to believe that a man like Robby would see her—a woman long forgotten by the rest of the world—as anything more than a step back to his career. But Robby challenges Daisy in ways she’d long avoided. With their mutual love of music, it seems nothing can separate them—not Daisy’s wheelchair or Robby’s ego. As Robby grows into the man he’s long dreamed of being, Daisy dares to trust again. But will this sweet melody last?

$4.99 eBook
$15,99 Print
Buy on Amazon

An Interview with the Author

Kimberly, what do you love about this book?
I love that Daisy and Robby are interesting and (I hope) believable characters. I also love that I’m able to use this medium to stretch people in their perceptions of beauty and the way we often treat each other.

Share two or three things you learned either personally, publishing-wise, or about your topic while writing this book.
Although I already understood that research was so important to the success of a novel, I definitely saw that in practice with this piece. I interviewed a friend numerous times regarding her experience with being in a wheelchair—in terms of relationships and just day to day frustrations. It was beyond helpful. And the greatest compliment I got so far on the novel was when she read it and said ‘that’s what it’s like’ and pointed to a passage from the book.

Introduce us to your sweetest character.
Daisy is by far the sweetest character, but she isn’t a pushover either. While she sees the best in people and wants to help others, she also sees Robby as a human being rather than a celebrity. This is important for his growth as well as hers.

What are you reading now?
The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore (I am a huge fan of Wonder Woman and this book has been waiting on my stack of to-be-read books for some time.)

What’s next for you?
Right now I’m back to teaching for the year so my writing will likely have to slow down as I focus on that. But I do have a contract on my second novel, Forgiving Tess, and a novella I’ve submitted. I am working on editing another novel and have had several requests already for a sequel to Picking Daisy—so I’m thinking on that too. Even when I can’t write as much, I still find I’m writing anyway.

Short excerpt from Picking Daisy
“You’ve been in love, haven’t you?” Robby accused with a wicked grin.

Daisy willed herself not to blush. “We aren’t talking about me.”

Robby leaned back in his seat and put his feet up. “With me?”

Daisy laughed easily. “No.”

Robby grimaced. “Not even before we met? What about when I was on TV? Did you love me then? I’ll bet you thought I was hot. Probably told Nick you wanted my autograph.”

Daisy ignored him as best she could while she scanned the lyrics in his notebook, finding the word love scattered like bullet holes throughout. There was little worth saving in what he’d written.
She glanced up at him, still frustrated. “I think Nick wanted me to fall in love with you, but I wasn’t interested—your life isn’t…reality. Mine is.” She pointed to the notebook. “Now, for the real problem. You don’t give yourself enough credit. You’re forgetting the man under all those tattoos, the guy with a heart and feelings and…it’s common sense that I can’t possibly fall in love with someone I didn’t know until a few days ago.”

When Robby looked at her blankly, she continued. “Love is more than physical attraction. It’s understanding someone’s heart, it’s…” her voice drifted off and she paused. “I’m willing to help you if you want.” Daisy gestured to the notebook. “These lyrics are crap. Stop worrying whether or not I was in love with you—which I was not—and worry how to fix these.”

 Robby slowly sat up straight, placing his feet on the floor as he did. “Yes, ma’am,” he muttered. “What now?”

 Daisy had broken through. She drew a deep breath. It felt so good to be in control of something again she promised herself to stay focused and not let go. She drew a line over the entire page and smiled.

“Now we start over.”

About the Author
Kimberly M. MillerKimberly Miller is a writer of novels and screenplays. She also teaches college-level writing and film courses.


When she isn't writing, you can find Kimberly reading, making jewelry, watching movies, or spending time with her family camping.

Connect with her on
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Friday, September 8, 2017

National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer: A Word that Strikes Terror
by Joanie Shawhan


Are there certain words that trigger pressure in your chest or tightness in your throat?

For me, that word is cancer.

I am an ovarian cancer survivor.

My Story

During the summer of 2006, Every time I had another bout of nausea, I brushed thoughts of ovarian cancer from my mind. Surely these spells were too infrequent to be cancer.

But in September, I rolled over in bed and felt a grapefruit-size mass in my abdomen. I closed my eyes and dismissed the whispers of ovarian cancer.

Several weeks later, I almost shot off the table when my physical therapist palpated my spine to isolate the location of my back pain. It’s not in my back, it’s jabbing through my abdomen!

My gynecologist suspected a uterine fibroid and ordered an ultrasound. Even in the dark room, I saw the ultrasound tech lock her eyes on mine. Something is seriously wrong.

Gripping the ultrasound report in her hand, my doctor said, “You have ovarian cancer, the size of a cantaloupe.” She rattled off all that needed done—scheduling tests and surgery. I barely heard her words. Was she talking to me?

When I walked into the hospital on surgery day, I exchanged my scrubs and nurse shoes for tieback gowns and skid-free slipper socks. The surgeon removed a volleyball-size tumor—ovarian cancer.

Today, I am cancer-free. During my treatment, I lost myself to ovarian cancer, but in losing myself, I found a new purpose and calling. Today I have an encouragement ministry to women undergoing chemotherapy. I advocate for and educate women and healthcare professionals regarding ovarian cancer. I write articles so that other women won’t put off getting checked out if they have any signs or symptoms, like I did.

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Ovarian cancer is the most lethal of all female cancers. The symptoms women experience prior to diagnosis may be vague or similar to other diseases. This causes some doctors to rule out other causes before they discover ovarian cancer, which is why it is often not diagnosed until later stages.
  
 Contact your doctor if the following symptoms of ovarian cancer persist:

·         Gastrointestinal symptoms:
Bloating, indigestion, nausea, feeling full or loss of appetite
·         Pelvic or low back pressure or pain
·         Urinating more frequently
·         Changes in bowel patterns
·         Tired or low energy



             
           








Ovarian cancer used to be called the silent killer, but survival rates are high if discovered in the early stages. Learn from my story. Will you listen for the whispers of ovarian cancer?

About the Author

Joanie Shawhan is an ovarian cancer survivor and a registered nurse. She writes encouraging articles for women undergoing chemotherapy. Her publishing credits include Coping with Cancer magazine and God Still Meets Needs. She speaks to medical practitioners in the Survivors Teaching Students program. Check out her blog at www.joanieshawhan.com.