What to Do about Mama?- Book Review

Advocacy, Book Reviews, Death, Dying, and End of Life Information

Book Review- What to Do about Mama? By Barbara G. Mathews and Barbara Trainin Blank

What I like about this book is the different perspectives on caregiving as there are many contributors. This provides any individual or professional reading the book with different scenarios, which include common situations and feelings.

The authors also describe their own care giving experiences. For Barbara Matthews, she became a caregiver for her mother-in-law. Ten years after her father-in-law died, her mother-in-law came to live in her hometown. At first, the response was no, but as health problems began to appear, the move happened. A family meeting with all helped “seal the deal” for her to relocate and be closer to family to have assistance as needed.

Another health crisis occurred creating a cycle of hospitalizations and rehabilitations. She then moved in with Barbara and her husband on the first floor of their house. Increasing…

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Poor Will’s Almanack is a traditional guide to living in harmony with the Earth

YELLOW SPRINGS, OhioSunbury Press has released Bill Felker’s 2015 edition of Poor Will’s Almanack, since 1984, a traditional guide to living in harmony with the Earth.

pw2015_fcAbout the Book:
Contents of the 2015 Edition:
Using the Floating Calendar for the Twelve Moveable Seasons
A Note on the Beginning of the Natural Year
The Weather in Poor Will’s Almanack
The Almanack as a Fishing, Hunting and Dieting Guide
About the S.A.D. Index
Farming and Gardening with the Almanack
A Note about Almanack Literature
Contents of the Monthly Chapters
Time of Day in Poor Will’s Almanack
Index of Seasonal Essays by Bill Felker
Index of Almanac Literature
A Floating Calendar of Bloom for Selected Wildflowers, Weeds, Garden Perennials, Shrubs and Trees
Markers for the Progress of Spring at Average Elevations along the 40th Parallel
An Incomplete Chronology of Leafturn Along the 40th Parallel During Early and Middle Fall in an Average Year

Monthly Almanack Chapters:
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015

Excerpt:
Throughout the continental United States and Canada, the seasons follow the standard calendar less than they do the dictates of elevation and latitude. Although almost all deciduous trees between Maine and Florida have lost their leaves by January 1, the variation in temperature between the northern and southern states at the beginning of the year can be more than fifty degrees. Within that broad geographical context, the advance of the seasons is highly varied; nevertheless, certain patterns are visible that are applicable to much of the country.

One way to delineate these patterns is to characterize them by what is going on in nature. Under this kind of organization, a season such as early spring has certain traits, may occur in Louisiana in January but take place in northern Minnesota as late as the beginning of May. A floating calendar, one that is generally applicable to events rather than to specific dates, allows the observer to identify the season by what is actually going on in the local habitat rather than by the standard Gregorian calendar.

Under such a floating system, the seasons truly are moveable in that they advance at different rates in different parts of the country. And within the broad guidelines sketched here, the Almanack traveler can watch not only the landscape change with the passage of the miles, but the time of year and seasons, too.

In Poor Will’s Almanack for 2015, I have divided the year into twelve seasons and have noted how they take place in different ways and at different times in the different parts of the country. Although I have kept the basic monthly sequence in the organization of information, I have noted the months during which a specific season might be likely to occur in different regions. These are broad strokes of the phenological pen, but they allow Almanack readers to not only see what is going on in their area but in other areas, as well.

FelkerAbout the Author:
Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.

Exploring everything from animal husbandry to phenology, Felker has become well known to farmers as well as urban readers throughout the country.  He is an occasional speaker on the environment at nature centers, churches and universities, and he has presented papers related to almanacking at academic conferences, as well. Felker has received three awards for his almanac writing from the Ohio Newspaper Association. “Better writing cannot be found in America’s biggest papers,” stated the judge on the occasion of Felker’s award in 2000.

Currently, Bill Felker lives with his wife in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He has two daughters, Jeni, who is a psychologist in Portland, Oregon, and Neysa, a photographer in Spoleto, Italy.

Poor Will’s Almanack 2015: Since 1984, a Traditional Guide to Living in Harmony with the Earth
Authored by Bill Felker
List Price: $14.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
148 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064924
ISBN-10: 1620064928
BISAC: Reference / Almanacs

For more information, please see: http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Poor-Wills-Almanack-2015…

Yoga instructor’s memoir is a “cup of New Age angst”

MECHANICSBURG, Pa.Sunbury Press has released Susan Kiskis’ visionary memoir Born Fire Dragon.

BFD_fcAbout the Book:
Susan always knew her family was different. Whether it stemmed from an unusual and often complicated childhood, or from her experiences with the “other side,” Susan lived on the outskirts of a normal life. As a young mother, she naively navigated the dating world, while stretching the boundaries of her ability to find her calling. Through trial and error, she found love in all the wrong places until, one day, she discovered where true love originated from.

You’d think that being a child of a conservative family living in New York, with a Yugoslavian immigrant mother and World War II veteran father would make Susan’s life interesting enough. However, add a dash of coffee cup readings, a tablespoon of past life memories, and stir in a grown intuitive woman who survived the dating world, and you have a cup of New Age angst.

Born on a full moon, under the Chinese year of the Fire Dragon,Born Fire Dragon follows Susan on the marvelous ride of life.

Excerpt:
It’s Nathan Lane. He’s looking at me. I mean I know it’s really not Nathan Lane, but my brain can’t interpret infinite power and knowledge, so it’s giving me Nathan Lane.

I’m in a dream of sorts and here is the Tony award-winning actor from The Bird Cage, and Carrie’s good friend from Sex in the Citywho was gay, but decided to marry a straight woman. Nathan Lane, dressed up in a white suit that shimmers in the light surrounding him, is what my brain has decided God looks like. He stands there patiently waiting for me, flashing that bright Broadway smile. Where are we? Standing on clouds that don’t really look all together like puffs of condensed air and water? Instead, I realize we are in the place between heaven and earth—the place where sometimes, during deep meditations, I meet those from the other side. It’s like a popular coffee house where there is no limit to slices of zen and good company. He’s waiting for me.

Nathan Lane (aka God) asks, “So, do you want to stay or do you want to go?”

I knew this moment was coming for about a year now. I could feel it in my bones. I had hoped to be awake for this moment, to make a conscious choice, but here I was, my soul standing before him while my body was nestled under an abundance of covers and pushed up against my husband Charlie.

“I need time to think,” I said. Stupid. Stupid. This is what happens when you allow your soul to do the talking. Time. Time for what?

I used to be painfully afraid of death. Even though I had these experiences that all added up to me knowing there was more aside from this so-called-life on Earth, I had no need to go. Been there, done that, many times I was sure. However, in the past year I started to make peace with the concept of death. I allowed it to creep up on me like a good story, wiggle its way into my mind and settle comfortably there. Now I was deciding whether I was fine with death, right here in this moment. Was I ready to go?

I read somewhere once, perhaps in a Sylvia Brown book, that we have a certain number of “outs” in our lives. “Outs” are choices as to whether we wanted to stay or go. I guess here was another “out” option for me. I didn’t want to take this option. I want to grow old well into my nineties and squeeze the nectar out of life. Left up to my soul now, would I make the same decision my mind would make?

I know death well. I’ve seen its face three times in my personal life and many times with others. Death and I, we’re old buddies.

Headshot 2About the Author:
Susan Kiskis is a yoga instructor, energy worker, and intuitive guide. While Susan’s path started as a child in New York City, her quest for the answers to life’s biggest questions took a turn when she was twenty. She studied Buddhism, Hinduism, and other religions before starting on a path to learning the healing arts and yoga. She has been certified in over fifteen areas of holistic healing and has taught at conferences, classes, and workshops on the East Coast. Susan’s community activism has led to the creation of events celebrating Earth Day and International Women’s Day. A freelance writer and former politician, Susan owns a yoga studio in Mechanicsburg, PA, where she lives with her husband, daughter and lots of pups and kitties.

Kiskis is available for interviews and appearances. For booking presentations, media appearances, interviews, and/or book signings, contact hello@barefootwellnessstudio.com.

Born Fire Dragon
Authored by Susan Kiskis
List Price: $14.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on White paper
190 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620065051
ISBN-10: 1620065053
BISAC: Body, Mind & Spirit / Inspiration & Personal Growth

Also available on Kindle
For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Born-Fire-Dragon-9781620…

Pastor finds meaning in his beloved old oak chair

BEULAH, Colo.Sunbury Press has released Rev. James A. Campbell’s visionary memoir The Chair. Road trip photographs were provided by Vernon J. LaBau.

tc_fcAbout the Book:
Sometimes, one needs a special mentor to find life and its wonder. Sometimes, that mentor is a chair.

The Chair is Pastor James Campbell’s spiritual odyssey that leads us through the night of emptiness and then emerges into the light of compassion, intervention, and redemption.  Through his renovation of a simple chair, reverence for worn out sewing needles in the Japanese celebration of Hari-Kuyo, and reflection upon how stress to the Diamond Willows of Alaska produces works of art, this parable describes Campbell’s own epiphanies during the course of his life travels ministering to the forgotten and broken.

“For members of the helping profession, caregivers, or those looking for meaning in meaningless times, Campbell is a valuable read.   He will guide you, literally and figuratively, out of the ruins of the great dust bowl to a peaceful Colorado valley.  And he will show you how all these things remain part of your soul.” — Steve Schoenmakers, M.S., Superintendent, Retired, Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo.

With warmth and wit, James Campbell explores one of life’s mysteries:  the way ordinary objects acquire meaning in our lives.  In literal and symbolic journeys with him across the country and through the years, his old oak chair becomes a catalyst for new discoveries, comic revelations, daydreams, and finally, of blessing.   He shares his wisdom, borne of rich experience, and leads us to think about what the things we treasure and what they might mean to us. — Margaret M. Barber, Ph.D.  Professor Emeritus of English, Colorado State University-Pueblo.

The Chair is a metaphor, at first puzzling, then intriguing and then a reference to “life.” The book hooked me into experiences of my own life. This was enjoyable, enlightening. I ended the book wanting to know more, unwilling to have to say, “the end.” — Taylor McConnell, Professor Emeritus,  Garrett-Evangelical Seminary

Vernon J. LaBau (left) and Rev. James A. Campbell (right).

Vernon J. LaBau (left) and Rev. James A. Campbell (right).

Excerpt:
A life by that one thing.

How many funerals through the years were planned around that thought? Show me something that is your father, his spirit, distilled into that one thing: a coffee cup, a favorite chair, a fishing rod, a photograph.

Life in that one thing.

For me, that one thing is the old oak chair and that one thing is this story. I wish I had one picture, just one, of when it all began. I doubt the chair, a captain’s chair, would be the center of any photo. Most likely the chair would be in the picture’s corner, out of focus, perhaps cut off in partial disclosure. Still, hopefully, there would be enough of the chair in the photo to witness to its original humbled condition and its overlooked place in the backyard. Overlooked is a good word for forgotten. That is what the old chair was, forgotten in plain sight, overlooked. Its once caned seat was missing the caning and the seat was now a piece of makeshift plywood. Its weathered layers of green, beige, orange, and turquoise paint were peeling like diseased skin.

In fairness, the chair had some utility. The family cat claimed it as a lounge. By knotting the garden hose around its arm, the chair could be posed to point the hose nozzle across the lawn or garden. Looking back, I wish I had had the wisdom to capture such mundane moments with a camera. Photography was my one art. I earned money selling photos of my valley. I knew what was appealing. Yet, I missed what would become a centerpiece of my life.
When that revelation came, it was not a dramatic epiphany, but rather quiet bemusement. It was a joke. Joke can be another word for “dismissed”, as “dismissed” is another word for forgotten.

A joke was how I remember first seeing it through the kitchen window, really seeing it. Even then it was a subtle joke… not a funny grab-the-camera joke, only a reason to pause as pause turns to passing wonder and passing wonder to “what if?” Wouldn’t it be something if, under all that paint, there was still enough integrity of wood to both bear a luster and, if reinforced, to even serve its purpose as a chair?

Christmas was two months off. With no money for gifts, I wondered if, with considerable effort, I might give the old chair a new face, well, as much a new face as the chair would allow. Certainly, I had no idea that the joke of that old chair before me was sacred, as ironic humor sometimes is. That chair was the essence of my calling, my door to the kingdom of God. It was to be the parable of hope with which I would relate and come to bless others. Eventually, the chair became a mentor, as it inspired taking the camera into the sacredness of forgotten places. If only I had thought to take just one picture through the kitchen window.

One October day, 1971, with no one watching, I removed the old chair to the garage of Hugh Reed down in the village. In the two months of the chair’s renovation, not one mention was made in the family that the old chair was gone from the backyard, a true test of the meaning of forgotten.

jcampbellAbout the Author:
Rev. James A. Campbell, D. Min. is a retired clergy living in Beulah Valley, Colorado.  His writings and paintings culminate thirty-nine years of ministry in Iowa and Alaska. Much of the emphasis of his work in Alaska was as Director of Humanitarian Aid to the Russian Far East during the desperate years from 1995-2003. Rev. Campbell is the author of seven books. He spends these years discovering multiple ways of knowing, the wonder unto beauty of each venue of discovery, and the doors that then open to the sacred.

The Chair
Authored by James A. Campbell, Photographs by Vernon J. LaBau
List Price: $19.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Full Color on White paper
82 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064955
ISBN-10: 1620064952
BISAC: Biography & Autobiography / Religious

Coming soon on Kindle
For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Chair-9781620064955.htm