Category Archives: Family

A place to call home.

Living with Dad’s Dementia

The light bulb has gone out in Dad’s eyes. Last week we carried on a conversation and played Rook. Tonight, he responds “yeah” and can’t seem to figure out the different colors in Uno.

We were at this place five years ago. The doctors said he would have plateaus where he would level out. But Dad completely returned. He not only balanced out but was dreaming about getting a job again.

A few days ago, we said goodbye to my brother-in-law. Did the funeral trigger memories of Mom’s death? Has he retreated to the recesses of his mind to keep from the pain of Larry’s death?

At first the Uno game was cute. But he got stuck there and wouldn’t even rise from the table without me taking his elbow. Now I feel my own panic rise like bile in the back of my throat.

What is it about pain that shuts down the brain? Here I am, needing You again, Lord. The very breath I breathe needs Your infusion of hope and mountain-moving faith. Help me to take one step at a time, as we navigate these muddy waters with Dad.

Mom gave me a book by Anne Graham Lotz called “Why?” It has become my go-to resource when life throws another curve ball. Anne says, “The kind of trust God wants us to have cannot be learned in comfort and ease. Mary and Martha could not learn it immediately or quickly. It required time. And patience. And suffering. And the pressure of desperation.” (p. 55)

Are you desperate for God to intervene in your life? Reach out to Him to hold your hand and to walk the dusty road with you. And whatever you do, don’t give up. He promised He would go with you, no matter what.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” –Isaiah 43:2 NIV

Sally


Book Review: The Day Is Waiting, Illustrations by Don Freeman, Words by Linda Zuckerman

The Day is Waiting

The Day Is Waiting is a book for children but tickles the fancy of adults:

A bear rides a unicycle,

Crickets host a concert,

And clothed mice scurry through the market.

But it’s all part of the fun…

In the game of pretend.

Preschoolers would have a grand time with this book. The pictures and text, together, create a sense of expectancy – an anticipation that there are wonderful things to experience in the world, and then there’s safety, in the return back home. The underlying theme is one of awe, as the explorer sees treasures in God’s world.

I was intrigued by the creation of the book. Don Freeman was the creator of Corduroy, “one of the most beloved and popular author/illustrators of picture books for children.” The notes say the illustrations were provided after his death. The author then compiled them into a storyline that provided adventure.

With splashes of humor, Zuckerman ties Freeman’s artwork into a whimsical narrative. There are surprises around every page turn, as penguins and skyscrapers intermingle to pull the escapade onward. I chuckled as I imagined the author sifting through piles of artwork, in search of a tale. The whimsy that surfaced seems perfectly in sync with the illustrator’s style… colorful and imaginative!

Get a copy for the child in you!

Sally

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 < http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I review for BookLook Bloggers


Book Review: Your Family in Pictures

Your Family in Pictures

Me Ra Koh has successfully documented a way to equip moms to capture timeless moments. Photography was a catalyst for healing in her own life, and she advocates it as a way to empower women as they carry camera in hand. Me Ra says, “To impact a mom’s life is to impact the whole family.” (p. ix)

Not only does Me Ra Koh bring in tips for setting up photo ops with active kids, she cultivates family connections. She says to avoid a photo pose, (“Refuse to say cheese.”) and instead, look for a moment to capture. Her examples are so personal and practical, the reader takeaway is immediate. The author answers the question of “What’s in it for me?” with tips for individual shots, lighting recipes and aperture settings. Me Ra Koh gives hands-on advice for setting up a photo and locking in the emotion of the moment.

As a writing mom, I appreciate the journaling prompts provided. They jumpstart memories that later translate into scrapbooking slogans, adding to the legacy of that family moment captured in time. Koh also spins a tale, as in capturing the magic of bedtime: “…day’s adventures finally come to an end and dreaming begins.” (p. 46)

Wonderful book. Visually appealing. And great life applications found within!

Sally

 Disclaimer: “I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”
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The Best Gift. Ever.

Christmas week provided an opportunity for my family to reconnect. As we played a game in front of the fireplace, my adult kids began to reminisce about their antics with babysitters in years gone by. It was amusing to hear their side of the “story,” and to see their reaction to our version. What a soothing balm it was for this mom’s heart to hear the laughter that has been so absent between them in recent years. I glanced at the lights on the Christmas tree and relished our Christmas miracle.
There was another Christmas week that changed our story. It was the Christmas when God’s Son was born in a manger. Jesus came to our world to remind us that we were made for relationship with Him. He is the true ambassador of God’s love, and our Christmas miracle.

Yesterday, our daughter-in-law slid off the snowy road and down an embankment. As a precaution in her seventh month of pregnancy, the ambulance took her to the ER to check on the baby. Our lives came to a standstill as we anxiously awaited news. We are all inexplicably linked, as we were made for relationship with each other. We received a Christmas miracle in knowing the affirmation of that love.

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It is God’s desire for us to be in relationship with Him and with each other. How else could He show us, than to come, Himself? It reminds me of a Christmas carol that says, “He taught us to love one another.” Jesus modeled that sacrificial love.
What gift are you thankful for? Have you experienced a Christmas miracle in the call to love one another?
Sally


Book Review: “Why Dogs Are…”

why dogs are
“Why Dogs Are…” is the name of a delightful children’s book about compassion expressed through a canine friend. Author, Tana Thompson, and illustrator, Marita Gentry, have paired up to compose a compelling look at the ways dogs help people experience unconditional love as they comfort, give aid and serve as guides.

In a through-the-back-door style, the book brings a deeper message, that of the sanctity of human life. It teaches the value of every human and the need to help those who are different than ourselves. It is an important tool for families to use as they learn to display character traits of respect, compassion and forgiveness.
“Why Dogs Are…” is a make believe story about the origins of dogs, but a true to life story of the impact of a dog’s love. It uses appealing colors to draw the observer into the story, and the cheerful colors create a drawing board of illustrations. The pictures provide opportunity for parents to talk about the needs of those who suffer from illness, loneliness or the inability to perform day to day functions. And in talking about those needs, brainstorm ways to make a difference in other people’s lives.

Through the storyline, it’s easy to envision a dog’s enthusiastic beginnings in heaven: “wagging his tail, ran through clouds, jumped over rainbow, goofy smile, hiding bones in big fluffy clouds.” The book says dogs came from heaven as ambassadors from God, and were sent on a mission to communicate His love. Anyone who has had a dog will tell you they become members of the family, and this book illustrates beautifully the lessons we learn from pets of unconditional loyalty, love and forgiveness. It is also a good reminder that we all have the responsibility to care for others with love and compassion.

“Why Dogs Are…” has a refreshing take on life and the beauty of God’s world. Share a copy with the little people in your life!

Disclosure of Material: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sally


Christmas Eve

presents

The 24th is my favorite date in December. We’ve arrived home from the 11 pm Christmas Eve Service. The frenzy of the month is over. The kids have received their first present (new pajamas) and everyone has gone to bed. I have the moment to hold in my hands as I put the last of the bows on the packages and place them under the tree. There’s a serenity that fills the night. Another author captured it by saying, “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

Funny, how the two stories have become so intertwined in American folklore; Santa and The Christ seem to get equal billing in our media. Only, Santa is portrayed as a living, breathing, jolly old soul.

And Jesus? He’s a lawn ornament, a plastic figurine with peeling paint.

When did Santa and The Savior reverse roles? Now, we’re saving the North Pole, and Christmas magic, and telling kids, if we only believe, Santa will rescue our Christmas dreams. How do we help the world discover the One who really came to rescue us at Christmas?

A few weeks ago, Hubby and I attended a Steven Curtis Chapman Concert in Elmira, NY. As Steven Curtis Chapman shared a video about their program, Show Hope, he told us, “Some children do not want presents this Christmas. They want someone who will become their own forever family.”

These children have unfulfilled Christmas dreams. And here I am, with an abundance of presents under my Christmas tree. It’s difficult to reconcile the two worlds. We clash by what we do and don’t have. And it’s a stark reminder of our need for a Savior.

So, here I am, beneath my tree, remembering the carols sung less than an hour ago, of a baby in a manger. And angels bringing news of peace on earth. And wise men who recognize the Hope of the world.

Will you kneel before Him?

Will I?

Sally

Luke 2:1-20

Welcome to my New Site!

Hi! Welcome to my workroom! Here, you’ll find out what I’ve been up to and what’s coming next.

I began writing in high school. I became editor for our youth group’s newspaper and found out I loved connecting with people through words. I wrote features about our activities as well as made assignments to my peers for their input. Who knew it would lead to something more?

I began submitting articles in 1996, when Nathanael was 5 and Anna was 2. My hubby is a pastor and we chose for me to stay-at-home while the kids were growing up. Now, both kids are in their twenties and I am caring for my father. The writing is an outlet that enables me to be available to my family.

So, what brings you here? Are you looking for speaker tips?  Are you a writer? Possibly you’re looking for encouragement on a rough day? Maybe you’re a mom looking for resources for your family?

Isn’t it awesome that we can bridge the miles through the click of a keyboard? I will be posting twice a week, and transferring files over from my previous blog, http://sallyswords.braveblog.com. I’m looking forward to a format that is more readily available to connect with readers. Thank you for joining me on the adventure!

Sally Ferguson

Retreat Solutions for Planners

My ebook is now available for Kindle! Click to check out How to Plan a Women’s Retreat!