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mom&Jenny dancing1987My mother has Alzheimer’s.

She has eight daughters she doesn’t remember. I am the second born.

In a way, I have a mother, but I don’t. There are flickers of a second of recognition every now and then after almost fifteen years when we all first realized something was wrong. Subtle at first, which is one of the cruelties of this invasive and devastating disease, most families don’t catch onto the unraveling layers for years.

My mother’s eighty-seventh birthday is eleven days away. She doesn’t know who she is, where she is, what year it is, how old she is, or what country she is living in. All once very important facts to her. She was a list maker, organizer, perfectionist, and a hard working woman with a dedicated work ethic. She worked full time and raised seven of her eight daughters with our teacher father who died when they were turning fifty-four.

I miss the mother I knew when I was growing up, when I first married nearly forty years ago, when the grandchildren she so cherished were born, and when mile stone life events happen, like my daughter graduating from college this past December.

There is a hole in my heart that only God can fill with His grace when the loss seems unbearable.

I love the sound of my mother’s laughter, the jibber-jabber she speaks, now the only form of communication she can master, and I love that I can still kiss her, hug her, and tell her that I love her. I know these things even if she does not.

Last year we finally put our mother in a memory care home. Visiting her in a community facility is so different than seeing her in her own home. Something we were able to do for much, much longer than most families because my sister Shannon was mom’s care giver. That blessing took a physical and emotional toll on my sister. She has no regrets, only gratefulness.

Alzheimer’s steals vitality, personality, memory, and eventually mobility. It gives nothing and takes all. It can divide families, another causality most don’t see coming. Each family member deals differently with the onslaught and ravages of Alzheimer’s. Each heart is pierced and broken. Some can talk about it, others never share. But it is always there, ever-present, chipping  away a little more each day.

I find shelter in the shadow of my Savior’s wings. I pour my heart out to Him and he listens and stays as long as I need comfort. Could my mother speak to me, that is where she would tell me to go. She taught me, never knowing the blanks the future held for her, the most important truth. And I know she is not alone in her lullaby land. The God she loved still loves and values her. She has forgotten, but He remembers, cherishes, and calls her by name.

Mom on my chair and ottoman

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Baby Boomer Lake Tahoe series #6

June flowers from Tahoe City.
Today I am sharing the delicate beauty of God’s creation from the downtown hub at the Cobblestone across from Commons Beach.

What is your favorite flower?

Do you know the species of this bloom?

Thirty-eight years ago my July wedding bouquet was full of yellow and white roses. My bridesmaids and flower girl carried simple white and yellow daisies.

Ah, the sweet fragrance and abundance of summer blooms. What does the language of flowers mean to you?

I am so grateful for the beauty in God’s heart and mind that He gave the world such a vibrant sprinkling of what must wait for us in heaven in these unique blossoms, each with character and quality like no other.

Give a flower to someone today for no reason at all other than an act of kindness and see how a single unexpected gift brings joy.

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Betty Ruth Weatherby's Book Launch

Today I had the privilege to sit with a fellow author and friend during her book launch for the third book in her WWII historical trilogy ~ Shingi, The Wind Blows Free. It was a refreshing switch from our usual all work, writing meetings.
Betty Ruth Weatherby has been with Amador Fiction Writer’s Critique Group for four of our five years. In that time frame she has published five children’s books, and three adult novellas.
Betty Ruth joined AFWCG as she neared retirement of her elementary school teaching career. Though she’d never been in a critique group before, she caught on fast and started working on fellow group members’ manuscripts with commitment and passion. And she’s a stickler for research; checking library resources, and interviewing WWII veterans.
(We use the, Suggested Format for Critiquing, for fiction. Every two weeks we hand out a hard copy to take home and read, reread, and critique.)
Betty’s daughter, Colleen Nestroyl, is the illustrator for all her children’s books. Colleen writes and illustrates her own children’s books, and she is the illustrator for another AFWCG author, Jo Sarti.
From 11 am to 3 pm today Betty, Jo, and I sat together during the All Art’s Show at Clark’s Corner in Ione where we regularly meet for our critique sessions. The third Saturday of every month Clark’s hosts an arts & crafts, mercantile type of indoor faire that draws people all the way from the capital city of Sacramento, and beyond. Clark’s is the local community hub/coffee-house/cafe/weekly Story Time Hour for children/musician’s stage/entertainment events showplace, and literary home for our group.

Today Betty’s book table was set up on the platform corner stage so she could chat with any customers that wanted to sit with an author and ask questions, and of course buy books she personalized for them. Normally a book launch at Clark’s is a separate event unto itself, but Betty prefers the ambiance the All Arts Show offers and the variety of people it brings through Clark’s welcoming doors. Today’s visitors included out-of-towners lunching after the Ione Historic Preston Castle tours, and cyclist enthusiasts seeking nourishment and refueling on their ride through our quaint three-block town. They all found their way to Betty’s book table along with a regular following of her readers eager for the new book. I think the highlight today was a young mother who shared about her nine-year-old daughter who is already writing and illustrating stories. Betty gave her business card to the appreciative woman and offered to help the youngster in the writing process. Don’t you love teachers!

Shingi, The Wind Blows Free is a standalone book but if you’ve already read the first two stories set during World War II in Africa, this book  brings a finality to the story of three women united in faith, then divided  across two continents by the atrocities of war. Not wanting to give too much away to new fans, I’ll simply state the women struggle with illness, the murder of loved ones, fears and doubts testing their individual faith in God, and challenges to sail to America from war-torn Africa. For protagonist Shingi, a young African woman who accompanies widowed missionary Mary Lanover on the Mercy ship voyage, unexpected and unthinkable circumstances befall her every step in this strange new country.

Betty has woven a fictional take on Biblical scriptures about a remnant of the Hebrew people unable to follow Moses’ exodus from Egypt. They flee westward and after eluding treachery and enduring hardship, settle in West Africa. Among the treasured remembrances they carried with them was a star sapphire amulet, which becomes revered as a totem by later generations and eventually finds its way into the hands of the missionary’s daughter, Charlotte, and her friend, Shingi.

Betty weaves her own missionary experiences in Africa into her stories. She has a B. A. degree from California State University Stanislaus. She earned her Teacher’s Credential from Chapman University, and Cross Cultural Language and Academic Development Certificate from The California State University Sacramento. Betty continues serving on evangelical international missions and is an active member of her church in the Gold Country in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of California.

She constructively critiques my manuscript along with several others and has faithfully stayed through the growing pains of our flourishing rural county gathering of writers aspiring to become authors. Gifted with an imaginative mind and an avid love for reading and writing, Betty gives so much more than she receives. You will be blessed to read and share either her delightful children’s tales of Pepper the Yorkie’s travels here in rural America, or on vacations to national monuments and state parks, and these descriptive novellas rich in history with a hint of romance.

Betty’s faith guides her daily walk with the Lord, and with her fellow sojourners traveling the narrow road to home. There is room on the dusty path to join her along the way. She’d be happy to listen to your story and share her own.

Betty’s books are available online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CrossBooks Publishing ~a Division of Lifeway, Lulu Press, Inc. and Create Space. Shingi/ISBN: 978-1-6427-2555-7 (sc) and ebook/ISBN:978-1-4627-2556-4 (e)

You can find Betty Ruth Weatherby on Facebook

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Gentlemen visitors ~ Stoney, and retired USAF veteran Joe.

 

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