Tag Archives: challenges

Feelings

This is another entry about the feelings my husband who is weighed down with dementia feels. He’s not alone, for this is a two-person journey from beginning to end. What I’ve seen in Bill is the sadness of losing each skill, each thought, each piece of him to oblivion. I’m not morose, or a negative person, but this is a sad condition of the mind. Dementia is a condition of the mind that two people have to deal with. Each must adjust and help one another cope with the stages that must take place.

My mother had Alzheimer’s and I watched her go downhill for 16 years. I took care of her every need for those years. She did not have to be alone going through the process of memory loss alone either. When she was sick and dying, Bill was diagnosed with Dementia. Sometimes I forget what really is happening to the person within. When you are with a person with such a condition, perhaps every day, you don’t see the gradual change. Others do see the larger picture and see the downhill slide.

To those who take care of these ones, it seems as if all of a sudden that ugly monster has shown its’ face and this decline appears so sudden that it takes your breath away. To me it feels as if it has been sudden that his thoughts and speech have trouble coming together, if at all. I remember the thoughts of his heart wanting to come out, but they were stuck. The thoughts were there, the memories are there, but the words are not.  

He struggles to get the thoughts out and it hurts me to the point of my heart breaking in two. As he tries to form the words or remember his thought, the look of desire in his eyes I know that he has something important to say to me. The unwillingness of his mouth to form the words that have already gone into obscurity and as the thought itself entered the doors of extinction, we look at each other helplessly. I can only hug him, tell Bill that I love him, and it’s not his fault it’s the monster attacking again. Then nothingness fills the void of silence.

 Sometime in Jan or Feb of this year, his son called us. I do not remember what the objection was, but JR was mad at me and he told me that he was very angry with me. He thinks that his dad should be down there with him where he could care for him properly and he could see his grandchildren. I started to cry, and I told him that he has a right to be angry and it was OK to be angry with me. His dad found his voice, grabbed the phone and let him know a few things that his son was not aware of. Bill reminded him that I was his wife and JR had no business getting me upset.

That was only one small thing that we have to work with. Bill has to remember that his son has not had to deal with older people and never with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. It is a shock for him to see his dad like this, and he doesn’t see it as bad as it really is at this time. 

Thankfully, there is no one else on bill’s side of the family that we have to hold their hand and deal with this too. When you look at this, it comes down to the importance of the relationship that Bill and I have built over the years that is getting us through this. My sister said it all when she said that when you get old, all you have is your family to take care of you.

That’s the truth isn’t it? As for us, we’re just plugging along like everyone else is and taking it one day at a time.

 

There also was a sparkle, and I loved it. That’s for another blog,

 

Remember

The word “Remember” can invoke many thoughts to each of us. You may even wonder where to begin. I’m sure that each of us could write a book on our own memories. I’m only thinking of the first thing that this precious word makes me want to write.

I remember the reason I fell in love with my husband. We lived in Colorado at the time and I remember the first conversation I heard him have with his mother. (His end of course.) The gentle tone in which he spoke to his mother reminded me how children are supposed to obey their parents. It made me remember that the reason we obey is because we love and respect them. He’d laugh each time she spoke of what “Muffin” (her dog and only companion) did that amused her that week. She talked about any visitors she had that week.

He spoke with deep concern about how she was doing and what needed to be done to her house. It was older and was in need of much attention. Bill’s two brothers helped as much as they could. They talked for about an hour and sometimes longer. This impressed me as them having a close relationship. This might spark a flavor of “mama’s boy” to some, but he was no “mama’s boy.”

One brother lived in Germany at this time. He was in the army. He and his wife lived on the base for a while, and then moved off base. They flew home at least couple of times each year. At those times, they visited each of their parents and took care of the needs that were a little more expensive.

The other brother lived about an hour and a half away from her and visited as much as he could. He also did what he could to visit and if she needed shopping done, he would do it for her. He visited her on a regular basis. He was a policeman in that town he lived. From Fairbury to Grand Island was the shortest distance of the three brothers to their mother’s.

We lived in Denver, about a six hour drive, but Bill made that drive when he could, and did physical work on the house and the yard. When I began to go with him I would make meals for her. I’d put them in containers, and then in the freezer so she could just take out one for her, and heat it in the microwave. I also did housework for her that she was unable to do for herself. Their mom had arthritis, and was pretty well crippled with the disease.

For a year I listened to him call her every week without fail. He spoke to her in that same mild and caring tone each and every week. How could you not fall in love with a man such as this? He treated me with the same caring tone and respectful manner. The sincerity in his voice and mannerisms spoke volumes as to what kind of man Bill was.

As the year went along, I heard conversations with his two boys in California also. This was the same manner as he spoke with his mom. Those conversations didn’t last quite as long, but the attitude, love, and respect was shown to them as well.

What can I say? After a year, he asked me to marry him. We got married and here it is 28 years later. He still takes care of me in the way only a husband can take care of a wife; loving, caring, and sometimes even crying together. I still care for him as only a wife can; listening, laughing together, sharing a sunset, or even a simple meal are still pleasurable to us. We tolerate his dementia, and we tolerate my physical and emotional problems. We try to keep them in their place and go on enjoying the love and respect we have always had for each other.

Not much difference

This will be a shorter post because I have been tending to Bill. I let this go a long time because of that, but I will be catching up soon I hope.

Let’s see, I left him at the memory ward, which was not necessary for Bill to be there, but I needed a break from the frenzied life we had been living. With all the doors slamming shut, and only small windows opening, I needed the break. Therefore, when I left him there, I went to NE, then Denver. I visited with old friends, but by the time I got home ten days later, I needed to rest up.

After a while Bill was spending more time at home than he was at the nursing home. We decided that he might as well come back home. Before he moved back in, I went to FL to see a dear friend. The days are getting shorter for all of us and I wanted to see her one more time.

I wanted to move to another town, so we moved into a place that I thought was like assisted living where I would get some help with Bill. We had two rooms, and the services were supposed to be room cleaning and laundry. We never got any room cleaning done, I had to do that and there was no help with Bill. What was the point of being there where they take all of your money and only give you three meals a day. There was very little nutrition in them and consisted of little taste either.

We decided that we would be better off going back to the town we came from and get our own apartment again. At least we will be eating decent meals and have someone coming in two or three days a week to clean, cook, and run errands for us. While we were there I became blind as to the continual decline in Bill’s judgement.

Someone told me that he had gone outside and wandered into the woods. Not thinking too much about that as he was in the room with me again. When night fell, I almost had a heart attack when Bill got undressed. His legs were covered with chigger bites on both legs from his feet to his thighs. I asked him how he got them clear up there and he said that he wasn’t sure, and I spent the next three hours scraping the bites open and dabbing each one with alcohol. He did remark that he learned a lesson that day.

When I look back at the few months that we spent there, I was aware of him getting a little worse and when one of the resident’s boss came in, Bill didn’t like him, he stood up at the table, and was telling me to get out of the way. I was sitting between the two of them. When I asked him why he couldn’t go around the table he held up his fist and said that he wanted to punch him in the face. This was the first sign of any violence I had seen in all of our years together. Never would I have guessed that he would threaten anyone. This guy was twice the size of Bill.

There were a few other things that he did that were not acceptable, but he wasn’t aware that he was doing anything wrong. We did have two rooms, but we had to go out into the hallway to get to the other room. Then he got lost and opened the wrong doors a few times which I was not aware of until later on. I was glad to go back to apartment living. I was having to be with him all the time and with him in whichever room he was in.

Back now to our own apartment.

Lurch

Ever played dodgeball? Well, we played it a lot at lunchtime break in elementary school. That was grades one through six for you youngsters. Now mind you, I was a shy child and always got picked last for any team but I did play and I was good at most sports. Still, my school years were not my best years.

It was me that was usually chosen first in dodgeball. Believe me; it was worse than being picked last on team sports. Chosen first in this game meant being the first one everybody threw the ball at. Oh come on, this meant low man on the totem pole and the boys threw hard enough, but the girls matched and sometimes beat the velocity of the ball.

Here I am in my hand me down dress that I hadn’t grown into yet, and bubble gum still stuck in my hair from the night before. I closed my eyes and just knew that this was going to hurt. The first throw made me lurch forward and I fell in the dirt. The second throw hit me before I got up and somehow landed under my dress. Of course, that made my dress fly up and show my panties which made everyone laugh. Therefore, with a heart full of indignity I took my rightful place in the circle.

I got to throw the ball first and I missed. Even though I was able to regain my dignity, I caught the ball again. When I did anything, I really put all my energy into it and play my best. I guess that can be expected growing up in a family of tomboys, and being raised in a neighborhood of all boys. I had to play tough. The trouble was that while I was a tomboy and could climb trees with the best of them, I still threw like a girl. My turn to throw again landed smack dab in the middle of a girl’s stomach. Noticing that she didn’t even move when I threw the ball, I knew that I was being set up.

Back in the circle again, I lurched to one side and then the other trying not to get hit. The next thing I knew, I was eating dirt again. Of course, that is when the bell rang and playtime was over. I stood up, brushed the dirt off me and once again tried to regain my composure. Once inside I breathed a sigh of relief. Another day of indignity put behind me. I shuddered to think of what tomorrow might bring.

Of course, I wasn’t raised in a good environment growing up. The five of us would have been removed by social services if raised in today’s society. I was picked on a lot by the boys in the neighborhood and always felt as if my heart lurched backward every time I would get a cruel comment. I’d head home each time but stopped crying as I neared house. Unfortunately, I would end up crying before bedtime got there, and even more when I went to bed.

Occasionally I remember those school days. I don’t look at them as being too terrible. I survived into adulthood. When I got into my 30’s, I got five years of therapy. Believe me, once I understood that when a person becomes an adult, they do so by letting go of the past and taking responsibility for the adult you want to be. If we don’t do that, then our childhood continues to rule our lives and we never mature.

 

 

Shimmer

There was a time I was shy and it was in the childhood years. The feelings within me were too much for me to bear alone, but alone I did bear them. I was only five or six years old. It’s truly strange that they were so severe that I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up. I wanted to die but I didn’t know how to do that. If I could just disappear, I would have been happy. I never could do that either.

Therefore, I grew up despite my inadequacies. Along the way, there were far too many bumps, I thought. When I grew up and look back at my child hood there were some good times, and there were a few times that I did shine in my own right. Remembering an assignment that we had to do on the spur of the moment, the teacher asked us all how we would act if we found a mouse in our slipper when we got out of bed. The teacher called on each of us in no particular order. She usually called on me last and this time was no different. Each student did nothing but yawned, stretched, put their slippers on, ran and screamed. I am so glad that I was last because I thought the way they were all doing the same thing was stupid.

When finally my turn came around I yawned too, but I also wiped the sleep from my eyes, stretched, and yawned again. I then picked up one slipper put it on and put my foot back on the floor. I then slipped my other foot into the other slipper made a puzzled face wiggled my foot, and then I picked up my slipper, looked in it shook it then screamed and threw it on the floor. My teacher applauded me and said that what I did would happen in a real situation. You had to look to see what it was first. She praised me in front of the class. I did shine inside and out.

This class was on public speaking and I loved it. Another time I shimmered was on an assignment of comedy. We were all to write on a funny way something was invented. I told my dad I was stuck and didn’t know what to write about. My dad said he had an idea. I could write on how the twist was invented. I asked what he meant he said maybe an ice cube had somehow fallen down into a ladies dress. I thought about that and since it was freezing cold while it was melting, she turned one way and then other just trying to get the ice cube out of her dress. It finally fell out but not before the kids started doing this new dance. They started calling it the twist and from now on, the twist has been a big hit.

The other kids in the class loved it and the teacher was howling. Of course, I acted like what she might be doing. All were laughing so much. I walked to my seat and had to pass the teacher. I remember her asking me if I had thought of that myself. I had to admit that my dad came up with the idea, but I wrote the story. She had an A in her book, but she marked it down to a B-. I still gleamed that day, so there was another shimmer in my life. I’m sure there were other times I sparkled too. I just can’t think of them right now.

Somehow as time went on, I grew from a shy child that could hardly speak above a whisper, to a woman who could voice her opinion in a loving way. It was time, circumstances, and effort that brought me out of my shell and blossom into a writer that is able, as are many others, to put down thoughts that are understood and heartfelt.

Difficult Apology

There’s a program here that gives a prompt. That is to help writers get their thoughts running again. Now, you may use these single words for that purpose,  just for practice, or you may do them  for fun.

I wrote a daily prompt a while ago that was on the word apology. I began by saying that an apology that consists of a short statement such as “Oh, sorry ’bout that” is an unacceptable apology. When an offense is committed against a person it becomes a personal offense. A personal offense deserves a personal apology. Sometimes an offender doesn’t realize that they have offended or hurt someone.

After 20 years, my personal offense against my family has become a painful realization of just how deeply that one act hurt them. I never dreamed that my actions would hurt anyone but myself. Seeing that it does, apologies are long over due. After I wrote and posted my apologies online, thoughts of my own attempt ran through my mind again. Slow motion flashbacks kept me awake night after night. This was a very sensitive subject to me and to my family. Once believing that my children, my stepson(s), our granddaughter, and my parents would not suffer any pangs from that act, but now I knew that it did. I removed the post. Unfortunately, I hastily destroyed it and wish I hadn’t.

A comment on one of my posts was a cry for help so, I had to write this post. I have to do this for my family because it has taken me more than 20 years to realize the unimaginable agony I caused the ones closest to me. Unexpectedly, I found myself needing to apologize to a number of people. That one comment made me imagine what happens to each family member when someone commits suicide. Jess, there was a day you revealed to me you remember the day of musical chairs. Then you asked where that was. I had to tell you that it was at the hospital for people who needed help.

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This act would have hurt you in a way different from all the others. If you had known that when it happened, you would have realized by the time you were in grade school that your grandma would have been there in your life to watch you grow up. Had I succeeded, you would have realized this was my fault that I wasn’t there.

Your years of growing up were some of the happiest years of grandma and grandpa’s lives. The visits, the overnights, the talks, and the vacations we took together, we always tried to do things that your parents didn’t do with you. I would have missed all those things.

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When someone commits suicide they don’t really want to die, they want to stop the pain. I remember wanting to die way back when I was a child, but I didn’t know why or how to do it.

He never saw any of the promises the recruiters made. He was in Afghanistan but a couple of months and they sent him home. He was in Bethesda Hospital for a while and as soon as he got out, he waited for a train on the deck and threw himself onto the tracks in front of the train.

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To everyone that felt the sting of my actions, I truly believed at that time, I was only hurting myself. I truly believed that it would affect no one but me. Anyone who thinks that way needs help right now. I knew I was in trouble and headed for more, but I didn’t know how to stop it. Owing everyone in the family an apology, I am going to try to do that now.

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My husband and I had a long talk along with my apology to him. This was the most difficult person I have ever had to apology to. When I realized how deeply my husband loved me, how much he depended on me to care for the family and all that had to be carried out. If he had me no longer, and had to take care of all the affairs, and how much this would have devastated Bill. I could see it then. He would not have been able to bear this happening to him. He had already lost so much in his life; this would have deadened his emotions to the point of physical and emotional paralysis.

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JR, although you are grown now, you were young at that time. If I am correct, I believe you were 13. Words will never be enough and there are not enough words to apologize to you. I know that this did hurt you in ways I don’t know how, still to this day. You saw what was happening to me and I sincerely apologize for the unhappiness and uncertainty I caused in your life at that time. It was more difficult for you than any of the kids. You were at the age that you needed a mother figure in your life, and I let you down. In the younger years of yours and Jason’s lives we did have many good memories, but I am aware of the bad ones too. There were too many and I feel badly about those days too. Sometimes I still cry about those days, and I cry even more over the selfish act of suicide. We’ve never talked about it, so I don’t know exactly how you felt, how much you knew, or what damage I did to you.

Jason is not here for me to apologize to. It’s too bad that he was hurting so badly that he needed to make the pain go away the only way he knew how. (His girls were loved so much by him and they loved him too. He might have been able to put the brakes on and she would not be so wild.) I know that this hurt him at that time in ways I don’t know either. My attempt affected him somehow but I won’t know until the resurrection. He was a difficult child to get to know what he was thinking. It may not seem like it, but at times I felt as if he were my own too. He tried to reach out for help, but I was not able to cope with him at that time. Many times you saw me help him when he needed it no matter what. I know that your father didn’t know what to do to help either of you. He’s a good man and loves both of you. I do look forward to seeing him again. We both did the best we could at that time.

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Now I turn to my own 2 daughters. Tammie, I know you were and still are very upset with me and there isn’t anything I can do about that. You only stayed with us a couple of months. When your father changed the lock on the door without your knowledge and you didn’t want to come back to us, I just figured that you didn’t love me, so I let you go. I didn’t order the police to put you on a plane back to us.

I don’t know how my actions affected you, if it did at all. You are further away from me than words. All I can do is apologize. I truly am sorry for my act of selfishness.

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Lauralee, You were around when this happened and I’m so sorry that it hurt you; some day I would like to sit down and talk about that. I hate now what I did years ago. Our relationship has always been rocky at best. I know we laughed about that before, but it isn’t really funny. I am sorry that I don’t recognize how this affected you since we are not very close. I would like to talk to you about it someday soon. My deep apologies for not being there. Thank you for the amount of time that you let Jess visit us and spend so much time with us while she was growing up. I feel bad that we didn’t have time to have lunch when I was in Denver. I’m sure Jess told you I got pretty sick in Laramie. I won’t be back to CO again. The altitude I can no longer tolerate. The doctor said that once you leave, you can’t go back if you have lung issues.

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This is for my parents who were thankfully busy with their own lives. My dad was sick and my mother was trying to take care of him and work at the same time. Now they are both gone, so I cannot apologize to either.

End of phase

End of retirement phase

 

Along with dementia comes a loss of many things in our lives. When one party is sick, and the other has dementia, the medial bills stack up fast on the credit cards. With medical and bills piled up, something has to give.

Therefore, another phase of our lives ends after retirement. We had to sell our beautiful four-bedroom home on five acres. One reason was the medical bills that stacked up leading us to bankruptcy which put an end to our good credit we had at the time. Alzheimer’s had resided with my mother for 15 years by now. Dementia had been diagnosed in my husband Bill’s life. No more trips, no more dropping everything and going somewhere. Yes, the carefree phase of our lives had slammed the door quickly.

We had entered a new phase. It was one of high medical debt, and maxed out credit cards. There was no end in sight to this new phase either, especially after I fell and broke my shoulder. Necessity left me with five surgeries in the first year alone. My mother had to be moved to a nursing center and I still needed to be with my mom often. My mom needed me in these last of her days, even if she didn’t recognize me. I had to be sure that she still was taken care of properly. I had to take her laundry home and wash it because her clothes disappeared when they went to the laundry there. Dementia in the first stage was waiting at home for me.

It does sound like I’m whining, but I’m not. My mom died a few years ago. My husband’s dementia is in the second stages, but I don’t mind. Our bills are under control and we now live in a one-bedroom apartment. I wouldn’t say that life is good, but for me it is. I still have my husband home with me. I rejoice each day that we are able to communicate and be understood by each other. That is a joy in my life.

In the early years of our marriage, he had to care for me. He did it so lovingly and never complained. He was there for each medical emergency, and each surgery. Now it is my privilege to care for him. I hope that I can do that with the same love and gentleness that he has done for me all these years. So now begins the final phase of our lives and I will still thank our heavenly father for the Kingdom we pray for, the Kingdom that will rule over the entire earth, (Rev 21:4) and tells of no more death or tears.

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Retirement ends

End of retirement phase

 

Therefore, another phase of our lives ends after retirement. We had to sell our beautiful four-bedroom home on five acres. One reason was the medical bills that stacked up leading us to bankruptcy which put an end to our good credit we had at the time. Alzheimer’s had resided with my mother for 15 years by now. Dementia had been diagnosed in my husband Bill’s life. No more trips, no more dropping everything and going somewhere. Yes, the carefree phase of our lives had slammed the door quickly.

We had entered a new phase. It was one of high medical debt, and maxed out credit cards. There was no end in sight to this new phase either, especially after I fell and broke my shoulder. Necessity left me with five surgeries in the first year alone. My mother had to be moved to a nursing center and I still needed to be with my mom often. My mom needed me in these last of her days, even if she didn’t recognize me. I had to be sure that she still was taken care of properly. I had to take her laundry home and wash it because her clothes disappeared when they went to the laundry there. Dementia in the first stage was waiting at home for me.

It does sound like I’m whining, but I’m not. My mom died a few years ago. My husband’s dementia is in the second stages, but I don’t mind. Our bills are under control and we now live in a one-bedroom apartment. I wouldn’t say that life is good, but for me it is. I still have my husband home with me. I rejoice each day that we are able to communicate and be understood by each other. That is a joy in my life.

In the early years of our marriage, he had to care for me. He did it so lovingly and never complained. He was there for each medical emergency, and each surgery. Now it is my privilege to care for him. I hope that I can do that with the same love and gentleness that he has done for me all these years. So now begins the final phase of our lives and I will still thank our heavenly father for the Kingdom we pray for, the Kingdom that will rule over the entire earth, (Rev 21:4) and tells of no more death or tears.

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Twinkle

Twinkle

Even though it has only been a couple of weeks, it seems as if it has been a year since I have added anything new to my blog, in fact, I have added nothing at all to the words that meander down the road to insignificance. At the thought of those words, you can tell that I’m feeling a little melancholy today as I have the past days. Otherwise, had I not been in this state of mind, I might put on a smile as I forge onward to begin again on my blog.

I used to see a twinkle in his eye

And I knew that his smile was nigh.

My expectations left me high

Just waiting for that twinkle in his eye.

 

Yesterday I knew this was to be true

And now I’m not sure what to do

That smile has lingered like the dew

Oh for the eyes to twinkle a new.

 

Now his eyes just always look blank

My eyes saw nothing and my heart sank.

I looked around and I began to feel dank

But I wanted to be back into the rank

 

Of that beautiful and precious smile in his eyes

It’s called a twinkle and follows his guise

I’ve been waiting oh please give me that surprise

First a twinkle and then that smile I idolize.

 

My heart is broken but still I wait

Because I know it is there, I am his mate

For a while now it is usually late

But it’s there, just look, it’s beautiful, and I don’t have to wait.

Is There an Art to Gift Giving?

Is there an art to gift giving

 

My thoughts on gift giving are not very impressive. Many of today’s kids are thankless and no matter what you give to them they are going to return anyway. My first question is; What kind of gift is it going to take for them to treasure instead of return it? You’ve probably already asked yourself this question. What are their likes and dislikes? They are not going to be satisfied with something ordinary. If it is ordinary, they can exchange it and buy something for themselves. How about something they have asked you to get for them? Where is the real pleasure in giving something that someone asked you to    buy? That sounds routine; as if they’re asking you to pick up a loaf of bread on your way home. Where’s the surprise?


 
Do you honestly want to buy them something they really don’t need or want another of the same thing? Give cash? You do that every week anyway, what would make that special? Besides, if you give them cash again what are they going to want to do? They are going to want to go right out with their friends and spend it, leaving you alone and feeling used and empty.

 
I was thinking of these things when it was getting near our granddaughter’s graduation from high school. I was at a loss as to what to get her. I thought maybe a book or a piece of jewelry.  No, that is not good enough nor is it personal. I had to give her something special because she graduated high school against some tough odds. So I decided that I needed to think about this for a while, and I deliberated on this for weeks before I decided what I would give her.

 

 

Her grandpa and I began to remember the good times she spent with us and all the fun things we did together. She just ate it up when we would tell her stories of her mom, or when she herself was growing up and she was thoroughly in the moment herself. Laughing about those things together sure would be fun especially now that she was at the age when she would be getting out on her own soon. Her Grandpa and I always wanted to give her something and do things with her that her parents never did. We spent much of our time with her as often as her parents would let her, and they were very generous about that.  Here I had thought that a book would not be a good enough gift for her, but what if I wrote the book myself? There were two things I knew for sure; she hadn’t read it yet, and she could not return the book. 

 


 
We had a lot of pictures since she spent so much time with us while she was little. There it was … a book of memories and surprises. The memories were obviously while she was growing up along with stories about the people she knew.  The surprises would be family history included in this book. After all, we were important to and she told us that a lot. Yes, that’s what we would give her, a book about her growing up. I was sure that no one else would be giving her this type of gift.

 

I got to work on this right away. First I had to find a way to go about writing a book, and how would I get it into a book with real pages. Then there was the question of how could I design this book. Would it be the way I wanted? Or would it be a design I’d have to fit the book into? In other words, how much of this book would I really be designing? I did some research on the internet and found that there were several companies that did this for you. You could design the book yourself and then have them publish it. I looked at several websites and what they had to offer in the way of design, the amount of pages I could have in this book and the quality of the material itself. I chose one company and started to write my book. The freedom of arrangement was not bad, but I did have to use their predefined themes. I spent hour upon hour working on this book. I carefully arranged all the pictures, and wrote tons of memories, and put in stories of relatives on my side of the family that she had known.

                                                                                                                                                                                             I kept on writing and put a little family history in there too. I put the order in to have it printed and I waited excitedly to get the book and inspect it. When it finally came, I was so disappointed. The pages were thin, the type was very small, and the binder was already loose. I checked their website again, and saw that they refunded your money if you weren’t satisfied. I was not happy at all with the job. I returned it for a refund. So, the hunt began again. I found another company whose ad sounded as familiar as the company I just rejected. They were a little more expensive than the last, but I would give it a try anyway.

 



 

 

So I started all over again. Mixbook did allow complete freedom to design the book exactly the way a person wanted it. If I wanted to add 20 or more pages over the limit I could do that too. It was a little more expensive, but I wanted this as our granddaughter’s graduation gift and by golly I was going to write this book the way I wanted. Control of design was completely my decision all the way from the book cover, background design, size and placement of photos, words, and stickers is given to the writer of the book.

 

I have had several people pick up this coffee table book and begin to read it. One of my friends picked up the book and didn’t put it back down until she had read every page. She thought this was the best gift idea ever. She thought she will do that for both her boys.


 
Even if your photos aren’t the best, you can always edit them. The instructions are on the editing pages which I will soon have in the blog. I know there is only one lesson so far that is on this site, but I am working on some edits that are amazing. You can fix your photos, or put them in as is. The photos I really had to work on were the ones from the early 1800’s. Most of those were faded black and whites with chunks gone from the photos and scratches all over. Check out my editing pages.

Check out what I did with PicMonkey There is a free trial going on now. Check it out.pic monkey

As soon as I got started I knew this was going to be fun. I really put my heart and soul into the project. I didn’t put anything in the book that might embarrass her in front of her friends. I wanted her to love this book and be proud to show it to anyone. As I began to write, I found that I hadn’t put nearly enough memories in the first book and this book turned out to be almost twice the size of the first one. So many memories we had. Her grandpa and I put our heads together for this project.

 
We reminded her of the trip to Colorado Springs and the hotel we stayed at when she was only about five or six years old. There was a pool, but you had to go outside and over to the next building. We thought that would be fun so we did just that. It was cold and windy going over.


We got into the pool and got wet first and then climbed up the steps to the top of the slide. We went down with her for the first couple of times. Then she said that she wanted to go down the slide and into the water by herself so one went up the ladder, and the other at the end of the slide to catch her. I put her in the chute and she gave herself a little push. When she got to the other end, she was turned around and came out backwards. We were laughing so hard we could hardly talk.

 

Well, that kept happening and I told her she shouldn’t do that because she might hit her head. She was laughing and saying that she wasn’t doing that, the water just was turning her around backwards by itself. When we went back to the hotel it was almost dark, and the wind was biting us until we got inside the other building. We ordered pizza. She promptly ate four pieces of pizza and fell sound asleep.

 

Another one was about her GG. Her GG was her great-grandmother on my side. We used to go visit her in the assisted living home she was in. One of the residents would come play the piano in the large living room on her way to the dining room. When Jess began to dance to the music, all the other residents would sit down and watch her instead of going in to lunch. Jess ate it up and danced her little heart out for them. Then when the resident at the piano was done playing, all the residents in the room applauded her, she truly did love that she entertained them.

 

Many times we had dinner with her GG and I told her stories of the interactions she had with her. By the time the book was written, I had quite a few pages and thought that it would be better if I just wrote a separate book of family history and present it to her in a couple of years.

 

This is how the book came out. I was very pleased with this book. The pictures were bright and clear, the words were big enough, and the stickers were right where I put them, the binder was strong, and the pages were heavy enough so they wouldn’t easily rip. I was very happy with the book and was sure that Jess would be too. I got it off in the mail and just waited impatiently for the book to arrive.

 


 

The book is designed by the writer. The tools are fantastic. Take a look at the butterfly in the second picture down. It looks as if it is floating above the page. This is all done within the program. Notice that each page has a

different background color and that is because the design lies in the hand of the writer. The blue arrow at the bottom of the middle section was within the program, the frame around Branson Vacation 2008 – within the program. The quality of paper and binding are fantastic. I was so impressed with this book that I wrote the “Surprises” book the same way. (Family history)

 


 

 

I knew almost the minute she got it because she called us and excitedly told us about the book. She raved and went on and on about the book. She loved it and said that it was the best gift she has ever gotten in her life. I was relieved. I knew she would like it, but her reactions to it were totally unexpected. It made us feel good about the book and I knew for sure that I was going to do the family history book.


 

Even though this book was more expensive than the other one that was made very cheaply I guess the old adage is true. “You get what you pay for.”
Once I got started on the new one,  (family history book) I knew that this book would take a lot longer for her to read since I had so much information already, but I also knew that this book and the story of one of the most important families in this book of history contained another history mystery. She would have to go to the library to look this one up. I also knew that after she read the book “The Elephant Voyage,” she would have more questions than before. Isn’t that the way things are?


The book is about the “Sarah W Hunt” and Captain Minor who left thirteen men to die when he abandoned them when they did not return to the ship after being put in two boats to go ashore to hunt for seals. This story is one I know that she will read. All of the six men that were rescued later, were in bad shape and one of them was my great grandmother’s twin brother. The story is intriguing, and especially since all six of these men got put on a ship bound for San Francisco, CA from Sydney, Australia. They could not be traced after that.  We have done a lot of research and nothing has turned up for all that work. There were pictures of history in our family from the early 1800’s.

 

Anyway, I looked up information on His Majesty’s Service ships and what went on when they were stationed patrolling the African slave routes near Africa. When a slave ship was captured, the crew received a reward for that from the government. There were many things that were interesting pertaining to our family, and I’m sure that all families have similar experiences as to the position and duties of their ancestors. We had a relative that was on one of those ships and served in H.M.S. for a number of years.

 

These are just a few ideas of things that can be written about. I will almost guarantee that the receiver of such a gift of this caliber gift will not already have one. Remember, they cannot return it either. Imagine how special this type of gift will become to the receiver.  There are family vacations, a graduation from high school, marriage, albums for families and all the kids growing up. There are many things that can be written for a unique gift giving experience. 

 

Give it some thought. Think about how it could work out for you. It’s so much better than looking at the family album, or old home videos.

 

 

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