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December's IWSG - Do I have Writing Goals?

2016-12-07 03:04:53 gwynn-rogers

IWSG Badge

Many Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for starting the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and to my friend, Patricia Garcia, for inviting me to join this supportive group.  I also thank this month’s IWSG co-hosts: Jennifer Hawes, Jen Chandler, Nick Wilford, Juneta Key, JH Moncrieff, Diane Burton, and MJ Fifield.

In regards to December’s IWSG question: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

Sadly, my writing “career,” if that is what you want to call it is haphazard at best.  Initially, I wanted to write a book about my brother’s sad life, but I realized I had too few facts to create a book.  Then after taking writing classes for various aspects of writing I realized that I am happier writing short stories.  I especially loved Erma Bombeck’s style and wanted to follow in her footsteps.  Sad, but true, in attempting to publish my stories, I realized that the stories that magazines now publish are extremely different than in the “old days,” the stories I used to read.  Despite obstacles, I have managed to publish a few short stories though.

I have a thought about producing a book on Caregiving since I have been caregiving for my husband for a year.  Caregiving is NOT what I thought it would be like!  I suspect other people were surprised about how exhausting and maddening caregiving can be… who would know?

Recently, I received a book, DON’T WRITE YOUR BOOK WITHOUT ME, by Viga Boland.  The opening pages have hooked me right in to thinking about writing about my brother’s and my life again.  Viga’s book is a “page turner” for me as her comments are not the standard… she wants me to “Free fall” —starting with random thoughts rather than using a specific outline.  I like her thinking.

So my goal is to inspire my writing again… to actually accomplish more rather than shoving my writing in the garbage can.

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Welcome to a Caregiver's World

2016-11-22 02:46:06 gwynn-rogers

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“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the things which you think you cannot do.”                    — Eleanor Roosevelt

“If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.”     ― Amy Tan

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Walking into the Best Western’s conference room, as I looked around, I noticed approximately ten tables decorated in fall colors that were set for eight to ten male and female caregivers expectantly waiting for answers to their problems.  Questions and comments I heard at the Family Support Caregiving Conference included statements like: One tired and tense, young woman spoke with tears in her eyes, “How do I care for my parents, go to work, and care for my kids too?”

Another woman said, “I was so angry that my husband had Alzheimer’s that I finally realized it was more important to take care of me, and then I stopped being angry.”

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The leader of the support group mentioned, “Dealing with my parents’ finances, while they were sick, simply was not a matter of paying bills, there was way more to it as my sisters and I could not agree on what needed to be done for our parents’ financial security. I was heart-broken.”

“One wife said, “When I called ER and they showed up, I told them my husband passed out and nearly killed himself hitting his head on the tile floor in the bathroom.”  The Emergency Medic turned to her and replied, “Your husband is drunk.”  Her shocked response was “What do you mean he is drunk?”

Women in my group predominantly are caring for husbands and parents with Alzheimer’s, but there were a few exceptions as the woman who is dealing with caring for an alcoholic husband and attempting to get him straightened out.  Then my husband has extraordinarily low blood pressure, so he stands up and passes out, adding to his other health issues.

What shocked me was the amount of anger that these loving women dealt with in caring for their family members.  I thought I would be the only angry person in the group, and I felt there was something wrong with me for feeling so bad.  Then I learned that you “need to give yourself oxygen before you can care for a loved one,” as it seemed to be the quote of the day for our group.

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The Family Caregiver Support Conference included subjects like: Don’t Let Your Back Pain Slow You Down, Meditation and Self-Care Exercises, Assistive Technology, Safe Physical Transfer Assistance and Use of Equipment, and finally small break-out group discussions.

The Meditation exercise relaxed several of us so much that I noticed heads drooping as it nearly put us to sleep. Yes, we were stressed out.  Then the conference leader had us doing stretches, and showed us some exercises to help keep us strong. The exercise would relax us too. After teaching us to relax, a list was handed out of agencies from around the county that we could turn to for emotional support.

The amazing part of this conference showed us equipment that helped severely disabled people function more normally on their own.  Heck, I was shocked to see what looked like eye glasses designed to help people manipulate their computers through head and eye movements alone.

For those people with difficulty operating various machines, there are special handles that look like gardening tools designed so that you can attach it to the disabled person and then to the piece of equipment.  Thus these handles make life easier for handicapped people so they can function more on their own.  So not only caregivers gained support but we learned where to find equipment that would help incapacitated family members too.

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For me, the best part of the conference was learning of the variety of support agencies that I can turn to if I need help.  As well, I enjoyed meeting the other caregivers out there who needed support, as I do.  We shared stories and tears.  None of us expected to end up in this position but now all we can do is the best we can do, and know that we aren’t alone.  Turning to others and helping one another out is important.  I think when we all left the conference we felt that the load on our shoulders had lightened.

Posted in: CaregivingUncategorized Read more... 12 comments

IWSG - November - Did You Hear That?

2016-11-02 01:03:23 gwynn-rogers

IWSG Badge

Many Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for starting the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and to my friend, Patricia Garcia, for inviting me to join this supportive group.  Sadly, due to life, I missed posting for October so I will post two posts this month.

November’s question for the writers is “What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?”  Actually, to be honest, I had never thought in terms of being a writer.  What I like is creativity, and writing gives me the opportunity to express my feelings around family events that in some cases deserve to be told.  My belief is that we learn from others’ life experiences… I hope people are listening.  Thanks for stopping by.

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So many people take our senses of hearing, seeing, taste, and touch for granted.  Boy did I ever learn a good lesson when I picked up new hearing aids as I have lost 50% or more of my hearing in both ears.

Suddenly, driving, as the rain slams against my car, it assaults me as it sounds like machine gun fire interspersed with firework like pops as the cars passing me splash the puddles at my car.  My keys in the ignition clanked as they seemingly slammed against my CRV’s dashboard like a sledgehammer. The car seat sounds like the leather is cracking with my every move.

Normally, I turn the volume of my radio up quite high, but it nearly blasts me from the car.  My God, I can hear!  Now my car won’t bounce down the street with the beat of the music.

On my walks along the waterfront, I hear the waves lap against the shore as the seagulls scream their lungs out while laughing at me as they fly overhead.  I even hear the conversations of people walking in the park.  Children laugh and babies cry.  I can hear it all.  I jump as a jogger runs by me.  In the past, I could not hear someone coming up from behind me.

The other day down at the public restroom down at the Marina Park there was a mother with her three year old daughter.  We managed to leave the building at approximately the same time with me a few steps ahead of them.  Earlier that day the rain had drenched the earth and there were humungous mud puddles along the walk way leading from the restroom.  As we left, the mother mentioned that she needed some water.  The little girl pointed to the enormous mud puddle they passed and said, “Mom, there is your water back there.”  I absolutely chuckled, as without hearing I could not hear these fun conversations.

As I type, I hear the clatter of the keys on my computer’s keyboard.  Heck, I thought they were silent all this time.  The best sound in the world is my children’s and grandchildren’s voices without my saying “WHAT?” all the time.  However, I feel sorry for them as my new hearing aids screech every time I put my cellular phone near my ear.

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In the kitchen, I hear the crinkle of the aluminum foil as I unroll it to wrap around my salmon.  The foil screams as I tear it off.  I used to complain that the timer on the oven was so soft it whispered at me.  NOW, I realize it sounded like a fog horn all this time.  I hear the clank of the silverware as I put it away in the drawer or pull out knives and forks when I set the table for dinner.

Yes, my family has a history of bad hearing, as I had lost over 50% of my hearing in both ears by the time I was 40.  However, ego and lack of money kept me from purchasing hearing aids.  I finally made the decision to wear hearing aids, several years ago, so now my old hearing aids were no longer receiving sounds, or my ears were filled with wax… YUP… BOTH.  After the audiologist drilled for gold in my ears and replaced my antique aides with new aides, the shock of hearing nearly gave me a headache!

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Now, I hear the creak of the floor boards and the thuds of the people walking around in the apartment above us.  Oh yes, now I don’t have to leave my cellular phone’s volume on high.  I can HEAR again!  It’s a GREAT new world out there!

And now, don’t talk behind my back, as I CAN HEAR YOU!

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IWSG October- Halloween- The Scary Part of Caregiving

2016-11-02 00:50:36 gwynn-rogers

IWSG Badge

 

“’Tis an old saying, That an Ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure.”     Benjamin Franklin

“He that eats till he is sick must fast till he is well.”            Thomas Fuller

“Desperate cases need the most desperate remedies.”  Hippocrates

“The wish for healing has ever been the half of health.”    Seneca, The Younger

OK, I have been Caregiving for nearly one year.  What a year this has been and certainly not as I planned or expected.  No one forewarned me about the calamities and crisis’ that could occur.  Somehow I didn’t expect caregiving to be so exhausting and emotionally draining.

In January, my husband had surgery for an extremely large and unusual Hiatal Hernia.  One the doctor had never seen before.  My line of thinking was, “OK, we’ll deal with this, but my husband will get better, and life will become easier for us.”  WRONG!

My husband also deals with extremely low blood pressure that is not related to his heart… but what?  His blood pressure is so low that literally if he goes from sitting down to standing up he passes out.  So now he is on medication to raise his blood pressure.  One problem —the medication’s side effect makes it difficult to urinate.  Now this issue creates scary complications.

I recently read some Caregiving Blogs that talked about the crazy situations that caregivers run into.  This is my latest ‘wake-up’ call.  First, for people with extremely low blood pressure, when they first wake up and attempt to get up, the blood doesn’t make it to their brain for quite a while.  Until the blood does hit their brain… they are clueless as to what they are doing.  It is like working with a large but very young child sometimes.

To prevent my husband from falling on the way to the bathroom at night, the doctor gave my husband a long jug with a cap (a urinal jug) so that he could sit on the side of the bed and relieve himself into the jug.  Fortunately … or unfortunately my husband’s jug does not become very full, but it is quite difficult for him to use if sitting down so he stands up… or tries!

Suddenly he starts to feel weak, so he catches his balance by falling forward while leaning against the bedroom wall, but then life suddenly goes south for him and he collapses on the side of the bed in a deep bouncing motion while swinging his jug around.  Like a kid bouncing on the bed he falls further and further backwards swinging the jug at me. I awake to a sloshing sound with the open jug aimed at me.  Luckily he missed anointing me with his pee.  When my husband attempts to stabilize himself he lays the jug on its side on top of the bed without capping it off, consequently the contents of the jug are now spilling all over the bed and the floor. Visualize drunk pirates staggering around with their beer steins swishing. They collapse and spill the beer all over themselves and others around them… now you can visualize my experiences with my husband’s jug.

When you become a caregiver for your spouse, the doctors forget to warn you of the fun you may experience.  I have offered to have my husband’s doctor come caregive for my husband to learn about low blood pressure issues, but for some reason the doctor politely declined.  We can either laugh about life or cry.  I choose to laugh.

Life reminds me of the lyrics to Frank Sinatra’s song, THAT’S LIFE!

That’s Life

Frank Sinatra

That’s life (that’s life) that’s what people say You’re riding high in April Shot down in May But I know I’m gonna change that tune When I’m back on top, back on top in June

I said, that’s life (that’s life) and as funny as it may seem Some people get their kicks Stompin’ on a dream But I don’t let it, let it get me down ‘Cause this fine old world it keeps spinnin’ around

I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate A poet, a pawn and a king I’ve been up and down and over and out And I know one thing Each time I find myself flat on my face I pick myself up and get back in the race

That’s life (that’s life) I tell ya, I can’t deny it I thought of quitting, baby But my heart just ain’t gonna buy it And if I didn’t think it was worth one single try I’d jump right on a big bird and then I’d fly

I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate A poet, a pawn and a king I’ve been up and down and over and out And I know one thing Each time I find myself layin’ flat on my face I just pick myself up and get back in the race

That’s life (that’s life) that’s life And I can’t deny it Many times I thought of cuttin’ out but my heart won’t buy it But if there’s nothing shakin’ come here this July I’m gonna roll myself up in a big ball and die My, my

Songwriters: VERNON DUKE, E. Y. HARBURG

© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group, IMAGEM MUSIC INC, SHAPIRO BERNSTEIN & CO. INC.

 

 

 

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Liebster Award 2016 - Gwynn's Grit and Grin

2016-10-11 01:15:45 gwynn-rogers

IVersion 2 I share Samantha Mozart’s words when I say I am pleased to announce that I have been given the Liebster Award for 2016. This marks the second year I have received the award; the first was for 2014. The Liebster Award is peer nominated, normally given by bloggers to other bloggers, and offers the opportunity to develop relationships with fellow bloggers and new readers. I accept this award and am honored to be part of this tradition. Thank you, Samantha Mozart, for nominating me.

Samantha is a gifted journalist and writer of non-fiction and fiction stories.  She is a dedicated historian.  In addition, Samantha wrote two expressive books about her experiences as a caregiver for her mother, who had Dementia.  Her books, BEGINS THE NIGHT MUSIC, A Dementia Caregiver’s Journal and TO WHAT GREEN ALTAR, A Dementia Caregiver’s Journal talk about her involvement as an unpaid caregiver for her mother.  Additionally, you will find Samantha’s blog, The Scheherazade Chronicles at http://thescheherazadechronicles.org.  Again, Samantha, Thank You for being a wonderful and supportive friend.

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The Rules

  1. Write a post about yourself, displaying an image of the Liebster Award.
  2. Link back and thank the blogger who nominated you in your post.
  3. Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  4. Pick 5 – 10 new bloggers (must have less than 300 followers) to nominate and ask them 11 new questions. Do not re-nominate the blogger that nominated you.
  5. Go to each new blogger’s site and inform them of their nomination.

Questions Samantha asked of me:

  • When did you begin writing and what or who inspired you to dedicate yourself to writing professionally?

 

My writing career is quite confusing.  Years ago I was extremely involved with organizations that helped children.  I was so extensively interested in the Lake Washington School District, where my young children were schooled, that I nudged the district into creating a brochure listing their various programs and the details about the these programs.  I interviewed the head of each program and wrote a detailed outline about it.  Since I worked closely with the district’s Public Information Officer during this time, I asked if I could become her Intern.  Her response was that she would love to have me as her Intern provided I take writing classes.  Due to life, after my Internship I stopped writing.

Then many years later my mother experienced five years of traumatic strokes.  Finally between the ugly dynamics in my family, and after my mother’s death I needed a creative outlet so I took writing courses.  My teachers encouraged me to continue my writing.  Due to the dysfunction in my family I wanted to write stories about my family, hoping that others would learn from our mistakes.

 

  • Do you have a writing routine? Please tell us about it.

 

I wish I could say I have a writing routine, but I don’t.  I write when the urge hits me.  However, this year I have been caregiving for my ill husband.  Additionally, the quiet, soothing writing area that I had for writing is gone as we had to move because of my husband’s illness.  So at the moment, I feel like I have crashed head-first into a brick wall as my brain is numb and I’m physically tired.

In fact, this month I missed my submittal for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.  I can only hope that this submittal will double as a response to both the IWSG and Liebster?

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  • Do you write at a computer, a typewriter or in longhand, or a combination of these?

 

I definitely write at my computer.  This way I can actually read what I write.  My hand can’t keep up with my brain and I have so many crossed out sentences and arrows redirecting me that I get confused as to what I have written when I use longhand.

  • Do you have a designated space for writing? Where?

 

Prior to our move to this apartment, my desk was in the back of the kitchen looking out over a gully into Miller Bay.  I could play the music on my computer or sit and daydream.  Now, in this apartment, my desk is against the back wall of the living room.  Today, if I had tried to write I would have had the football games playing constantly in my ear.  The TV distracts me.

  • Do you write to music? If so, what kind?

 

I love music, but what music I listen to while I write depends on my mood.  Usually, I prefer peace, quiet, and solitude.  I don’t have that here in this apartment.

  • What types of works do you read?

 

I read a wide variety of genre.  It depends on what book jumps into my arms there in the book store.  I do like memoire as this is what I’m attempting to write, but I read mystery, romance, non-fiction, history, biographies, and as I mentioned memoires.

  • Who is your favorite author and how has this author influenced you?

 

I don’t have a favorite author.  I truly love a wide variety of books.  I grew up with a literal library in our house, so books have always been special to me.  However, I think I especially love Sherlock Holmes as a ten year old child I read all 1,056 pages.

  • What is your writing process from inception to completion and publication?

 

I will have to say that my writing process regarding my stories can be similar to a ping-pong game.  I bounce back and forth between my computer and my duties during the day.  Often I write and re-write before I let my story settle.  Then I go back to edit it.  My biggest issue is that I tend toward telling stories rather than showing them, so I definitely need to work at that aspect of my writing.

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  • Are you published? Through a publisher or indie? E-books or print or both?

 

I write short stories for magazines, so far.  I have published four short stories for I LOVE CATS and LA JOIE magazines.

 

  • Please share a paragraph or two of a work in progress.

 

    1. At the moment, my only work in progress is answering the questions for this questionnaire.  With luck, this will stimulate my thinking so that I begin working on another story.  However, right now my brain is stuck in the mud!
  • Do you have an agent? If so, how did you get your agent? Otherwise, how do you market and promote your work?

 

No, I don’t have an agent as I have not worked with the idea of writing a book, to this point.  My thinking may change, though.

My Liebster Nominations:

I sincerely hope you will enjoy these bloggers as much as I do.

https://www.gularavincent.com/

https://silviatomasvillalobos.wordpress.com/

https://courseofmirrors.wordpress.com/

https://breathofgreenair.com/

http://laborsvoices.org/

My Questions to Nominees

  1. When did you begin writing and what or who inspired you to dedicate yourself to writing professionally?
  2. Do you have a writing routine? Please tell us about it.
  3. Do you write at a computer, a typewriter or in longhand, or a combination of these?
  4. Do you have a designated space for writing? Where?
  5. Do you write to music? If so, what kind?
  6. What types of works do you read?
  7. Who is your favorite author and how has this author influenced you?
  8. What is your writing process from inception to completion and publication?
  9. Are you published? Through a publisher or indie? E-books or print or both?
  10. Please share a paragraph or two of a work in progress.
  11. Do you have an agent? If so, how did you get your agent? Otherwise, how do you market and promote your work?

 

 

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6 Responses to Blog

  1. I am enjoying your musings”very much Gwynn! I am so impressed at your writing and rich life. You believe in yourself. Yes! You are perfect person to find mentors for young people. High quality guidance and encouragement can make or break a child IMHO. what a worthy pursuit. Now. Where oh where is that sophomore social studies paper on the decline of America!! What a treasure it must be. Was that Mr. Stannard? Were you In Honors English, and did you know Shelley Bigelow?

    GREAT idea to post your blog link on Facebook for those of us who need all the help we can get

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Somehow your reply snuck in on my blog and it didn’t tell me. Sorry for the late response. As for finding mentors, because of the economy most of the mentoring programs have gone POOF… sadly. So I’m struggling to find some new mischief to get into! As to that sophomore social studies paper, I had good old Mr. Douthwright! Remember him? Now, I nearly fell over laughing… ME in Honors English????? NOOOOOOO, I don’t think so!! I’m a slow bloomer!!! 😉

      Thank you for your kind comments about my writing. It helps being invisible. Plus, I’m in a couple of writing groups and I learn from others.

  2. Solveig says:

    What a great post! I am glad that the tree did not cause any major problems and led to a good friendship. There is something good in everything!

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Hi Solveig, It is lovely to see you here. That tree was scary and I’m so glad no one was hurt. It is strange introducing one’s self to your neighbors and asking to remove your tree from their roof. The best part is that due to the structural damage taking place in their roof, before the tree hit, the insurance company got to pay for it. I have been friends with them for about 38 years now.

  3. Nathan Kirby says:

    Excellent essay, Gwynn! I can say from personal experience: you are a natural caregiver. One of the best! You took me right in and what DIDN’T you do to help me out? You were my foster mom. I think you do that with everyone! And you NEVER ask for anything in return, except that people do well.

    You are one of the strongest, most compassionate, empathetic, nurturing people I’ve EVER known! It’s not in your blood: it IS your blood! I’m really surprised you weren’t a doctor or nurse or someone who ran/runs a shelter for abused or wayward people and-or animals. Sometimes such a life has its little rewards. Here I am 22 years later singing your praises to the heavens and thanking you for all you did for me from the bottom of my heart! Hell, I’m upset I can’t get up there to help you move!!

    You’re doing great, Gwynn! No one cares more or better than you! Please keep blazing that ever-growing trail of aided, helped, saved, and eternally grateful people!

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Nathan, you are such a wonderful young man. I enjoyed having you around the house. I think you helped us all at the same time. The funny part is that my Numerology all dictates that I AM a caregiver. I guess I was born that way. I LOVE helping people who I care about… you were fun to have around. I truly missed you when you signed up for the Air Force.

      Now you are grown and a caregiver for your father. You and I know how hard this job is and I take my hat off to you. You are doing a ‘stand-up’ job of keeping your father well. Remember to take care of yourself too, as you have one HECK of a job to handle. I’m sending you HUGS!

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About Gwynn

smaller picMy friends pushed me right out of my safe hiding spot, and assured me that my writing and stories deserved to be heard. These stories include fun times and sad times, as I grew up.  They paint a picture of me – define me.

After 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the fields of real estate, high tech, and corporate travel, I have moved on to the career of “Grandma.” When not teaching my granddaughters an extensive vocabulary of “alley-oop-boop, ups-a-daisy, cowabunga or bummer,” I can be found hunting for mentors for the Kitsap Youth Mentoring Consortium, or chasing my fantasies on my treadmill. I currently freelance for magazines.

Also, I wish to thank my friend, William Kahlo Jones, photographer, for the use of his picture for my cover page.  To see more of Bill’s photos go to:  http://fineart.redhillsmedia.com/

 

Bill Jones, Photographer

Bill Jones, Photographer

 

Copyright Gwynn Rogers 2012.  All rights reserved.

 

6 Responses to About Gwynn

  1. Penni Marvel says:

    Gwynn
    These were WONDERFUL and heartwarming to read. You are a blogger! And a writer. GOOD FOR YOU!

    Penni : )

  2. Carol says:

    Immensely grateful for your insight and support—you are an enormous impetus to me–encouragement to face my limitations, real or imagined.

  3. Mary Jo Doig says:

    After hitting and missing you on FB, I finally decided to Follow your blog, Gwynn. Thanks for having me here. I hope your husband is on the other side of his health challenge and look forward to reading your blogs!

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Hi Mary Jo, I have been without a computer for over a week. Plus, as you may have noticed I have been remiss in posting as I have a great deal on my plate at the moment. I will attempt to keep up with the 2016 A to Z Blogger’s Challenge. My theme will be caregiving. However, we may be moving in April too so heaven’s knows whether I will finish the Challenge this year. I do have my fingers crossed.

      I DO enjoy reading your notes, but I haven’t seen too many lately. Thanks for connecting with me! I look forward to further chats with you.

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