Informative and Emotional PTSD Talk by Pamela Foster

Most of the time, the content of my blog posts reflect subjects found in my fiction: family issues, romantic themes, mysterious elements, etc. Every now and then, however, I share a post regarding a conference I attended, a book I read recently, or something more writing specific. Wounded Warrior WifeToday’s post is kind of a combination. Part “here’s info about a speech I heard” and part “I’ve read books by this author and I highly recommend her.” Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a local speaking engagement given by Pamela Foster at the Farmington Public Library. If you ever have the opportunity to listen to Pamela speak on any topic, I encourage you to do so. She is a wonderful presenter. This particular talk was on PTSD in our combat veterans. I do not live with a combat veteran. I’m proud to say my father and father-in-law served in the US Navy, and my niece currently serves. But has anyone under my roof faced the horrors of war and returned to live with me, trying to make the transition from a life of constant vigilance, adrenaline, and fear to one where we expect them to be relaxed, adjusted, and happy? No. I can’t say that I’ve lived through that. That doesn’t excuse me from understanding the situation of returning combat veterans. Nor does it excuse anyone else. I thought I understood the concept of PTSD. I thought I got that it affected the family as well as the person dealing with it. I didn’t truly understand the number of symptoms, how they could manifest, and the degree to which they impacted daily life, until I listened to Pamela talk about her life with Jack. I learned a lot about the condition, the treatments available to veterans, and even about PTSD service dogs. (The stories Pamela tells about Chesty—Jack’s service dog—are so entertaining. I recommend her talks and her essays for those alone.) This talk could have been a lecture, a sermon, a clinical discussion. Instead, it was warm, touching, funny, informative… I laughed and I cried, and I left with more knowledge of PTSD and with resources where people go to get help—or possibly offer it. Everyone needs this knowledge. Everyone. Pamela Foster has published novels as well as non-fiction, many of which deal with PTSD. Her voice is expressive and inspirational, really unparalleled in today’s market. I highly recommend you check out her work. Click here to visit her Wounded Warrior Wife website, here to visit her speaker and author page, and here to visit her Amazon page. And Pamela (and Jack), if you happen to read this… thank you.

Five Tips for Keeping Pets Safe in the Summer

summer pet safetyWe’re in the middle of a glorious summer. But time moves so fast, and I’m in the middle of a lot of changes. I know I’ll blink and I’ll be writing about leaves changing or snow falling before I know it. Now, though, other than my new (and exciting) job and the new releases I’m preparing for, my mind is on summer fun. Bocce games, tennis matches, lounging by the pool or splashing in it. But we can’t forget about summer safety. Especially for our pets. In Type and Cross, the new novel I’m releasing this fall, one of the characters is an animal rights advocate. She would be the first one to remind us that animals need special care in the heat. So here are 5 tips for caring for our pets in the “dog days” of summer. Continue reading

The 238th Great Anniversary Festival

2nd US President

Official Presidential Portrait of John Adams (by John Trumbull, circa 1792)  via wiki commons http://www.whitehouseresearch.org/assetbank-whha/action/viewHome

Here in the United States of America, many of us are coming back to work after a three day weekend. We just celebrated our country’s 238th birthday. The day before the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Second Continental Congress, John Adams wrote his wife a letter in which he said about that day, “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

It is of little matter today that Adams was referring to July 2, the day the declaration was signed, and we celebrate on July 4, the day the declaration was made public to the masses. What is important is that 238 years later, we do celebrate as he envisioned: with parades and picnics, games and fireworks. Continue reading

Laci and Del: Fireworks

It’s the first Friday of the month. Time for another installment of short fiction. You can, at any time, find this work or any of the First Friday Fiction Features (#FFFF), by going to the My Work tab, clicking on Freebies, and selecting the story you wish to read.

Remember that 2014 is the year I’m trying serial work. This is part 7 of 12.

Laci and Del: Fireworks

Fourth of JulyAs Del pushed off the dock, Laci listened to the chirping crickets and croaking frogs, their cheerful melody a mockery when juxtaposed against her occasional sighs and Del’s sporadic mutterings. A bunch of them were spending the three-day weekend at Del’s cousin’s lake house, and so far, despite everyone’s determination to have a great Independence Day holiday, she felt the tension between her and Del as solid and tangible as if an actual wall had been erected between them.

A wall she could walk around or climb over.

The tension? She didn’t know how to overcome.

Continue reading

Avoiding That Sleazy “Car Salesperson” Feeling

I want to start by saying if you work in car sales and don’t employ any of the tactics I’m about to discuss, I both apologize in advance and I commend you. I’d also like to ask you to contact me; my husband and I will consider working with you in the future if at all possible.

I had a different post planned for today, but after my experience this weekend, I thought I’d discuss this instead.

really big vehicleMy daughter is about to start driving. And she’s nervous about it. She’s already put it off for a year. We decided there’s a line between not rushing her and making her face her fears—and she had crossed it, so we’re kind of “forcing” her to test for her permit. The problem is, or was, before Saturday, I had a big vehicle. A really big vehicle. Wide, long, three rows of seats plus cargo room in the back and engine space in the front. It was like driving a miniature movie theater. It was really comfortable to ride in, and we all loved it (well, maybe not my husband, but the rest of us), but there was no way a terrified driver was going to drive it in a straight line down the street, let alone navigate turns. Continue reading

Are You Superstitious? Cross Your Fingers And Read On

June moon

Full Moon over Washington Monument || Bill Ingalls/NASA

If you’re a superstitious person, this must have been quite an exciting ten days for you. Last Friday was not only the thirteenth, but was also a full moon. (The last time we experienced a Friday the 13th full moon was October 2000 and we won’t see it again until August 20491. We won’t see another June Friday 13 full moon again until 2098; the last one was in 1919.2) This Saturday (if you live in the northern hemisphere) was the Summer Solstice (winter if you live in the southern hemisphere). These two events occurring so closely together hold a great deal of significance for some people. But what does it really mean? Continue reading

Happy Father’s Day

family

Hubby and Our Babies — 15 Wonderful Years Ago

Monday’s post is a day early because it’s Father’s Day. I want to send a shout out to all the handsome, intelligent, funny, supportive men I know who are celebrating today. Many I’m related to. Many more are my in-laws. I’m married to one.

I happen to have a fabulous dad. If you want to read all about him, check out my post from last year here.

But Father’s Day isn’t just about my dad. It’s about all types of “dads.” The father-figures in people’s lives.

There are our dads. (Mine is amazing. See last year’s post for details.)

And our fathers-in-law. (I hit the jackpot. My father-in-law is the best.)

Our grandfathers (I miss mine terribly).

Our brothers. (I don’t see mine often enough.) Continue reading

Birthdays and the Passage of Time

frosted hairSo today is my daughter’s birthday. I can hardly believe that a mere fifteen years ago I held her tiny newborn form in my arms. She had a full head of frosted hair—dark brown waves with blonde tips. She was awake and alert, more alert than I was, and was doing more advanced things than the nurses thought possible.

She never stopped amazing me, then or now.

Sure, she was particularly clingy when she was a baby, preferring to be in my arms rather than anywhere else (not that I minded—usually). And now she’s fiercely independent and I don’t see her often enough.

I suppose all parents find themselves in this very position. When their children are babies, they feel complete exhaustion—and complete joy—and see years of their future stretched out in front of them. Then, before they know what’s happened, those years are gone.

Where did they go? When did crawling and toddling turn into gymnastics and dance? Loose teeth and pigtails become makeup and curls? Learning to read become learning to drive?

I blinked, and she was grown. Continue reading

Laci and Del: Hide and Go Hear

It’s the first Friday of the month. Time for another installment of short fiction. You can, at any time, find this work or any of the First Friday Fiction Features (#FFFF), by going to the My Work tab, clicking on Freebies, and selecting the story you wish to read.

Remember that 2014 is the year I’m trying serial work. This is part 6 of 12.

Laci and Del: Hide and Go Hear

purple calla lilliesLaci had been distant with Del since she’d spent Mother’s Day with his family. Well, she could hardly call it spending the holiday with them. She’d stormed out, taking Del’s car and leaving him to find his own way home, well before dinner was even served.

She never told him why.

He assumed it was the usual girlfriend-and-mother-don’t-get-along stuff. Cliché, but not too far from the mark. She and Nora hadn’t been the best of friends the first time she and Del had dated. But that wasn’t why she’d cut and run.

What set her off was learning Del had told his family that when their relationship had imploded the first time, it was her fault. More to the point, that she had left him without reason or way to contact her. Continue reading

Wisdom in the Darndest Places

graduation

Photo via wiki commons || Chris Moncus || http://flickr.com/photos/chrismoncus/867789886/

My nephew graduated this week. We were, unfortunately, too far away and had too many local obligations to make the ten hour trip to see him receive his diploma and celebrate with him. We miss a lot of family milestones living so far away. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t take the opportunity to send him our love (and a little something else) and talk to him that day to congratulate him.

We kept the conversation lighthearted, but we tried to impart some wisdom to him in the card.

This is the start of summer, but it’s the end of his high school career. It’s the end of an era, but the beginning of a new life for him. Continue reading