• Books,  What Happens Next

    Jumping Back into the 1980s

    One of my favorite parts of writing What Happens Next was jumping back into the 1980s while in Heather’s point of view.

    Here are a few of my own memories that came back to me during the writing process:

    1. Candy low on the shelf of our local grocery store that could be purchased for small coins
    2. Bikes with banana seats
    3. Banana clips
    4. Phone booths
    5. Frogger
    6. All the hairspray
    7. Phones with very long cords
    8. Recording music off the radio
    9. Drinking pop from bottles
    10. Scratch and Sniff stickers

    What fun memories do you have from the 80s? Share in the comments.

  • Shaped by the Waves,  writing

    Season of Caregiving: Life’s Influence on Fiction

    One of my favorite picture with my dad

    For most of us, there will be a season of caregiving in which we put aside our typical days, weeks, months, or even years to attend to the needs of a loved one. Years ago, when my oldest four children were small, my grandmother moved onto our farm. She was in her nineties and experiencing failing health. That time with her is something I treasure, an honor to have been able to give a little something back to the woman who gave her all for me. But the aging process is not always so beautiful. My father passed away a few years ago after a battle with Parkinson’s, especially struggling with Lewy Body Dementia. The time I was able to spend with him was sometimes sweet and other times, devastating.

    When I put a story together, I often think about the struggles you may be facing in your life. I want my words to speak to you in your hard times, to encourage you in your joy, and to help you better understand the trials faced by those around you. It’s because of this, I felt it was important to share a story that evolves around a season of caregiving.

    In writing Shaped by the Waves, I drew from my experiences with both my father and my grandmother, then added a mystery for fun. I wanted to share some of the deep blessings that are possible during end-of-life care, while never shying away from the heartbreak and need for support. I chose Parkinson’s Disease because there are so many aspects of this terrible illness I hadn’t expected, the top of those being Lewy Body Dementia.

    For my dad, this sometimes meant he was back in the horrifying experience of Vietnam. On other occasions, he suffered from paranoia and hallucinations. It was heartbreaking and I felt like there was nothing I could do to ease the pain. There are so many ways our loved ones can slip away, but when the mind goes before the body, it can feel like you are losing them not once, but twice.

    It’s too much to do alone. In Shaped by the Waves, Cassie must learn how to share her burden. For some of us, this is a powerful challenge. And yet, we are not meant to live life alone. We are blessed with community through our friends, churches, and support groups.

    Sitting on the other side of my losses, I see the beauty brought into my life by my grandmother and my father, as well as those who stepped up with support during those seasons. And though I still miss them both, I am grateful for the blessings they left with me. We can get stuck worrying about the end, but let’s not forget to celebrate the now with love and laughter.