10 Ways to Thank Veterans for their Service

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Veteran’s Day is November 11th. What better time is there to honor our veterans. Here are the ten ways to thank veterans for their service.

10. Visit a national park  that commemorates veterans.

9. Fly the American flag.

8. Volunteer at a VA hospital.

7. Honor veterans in your church with special services.

6. Take a veteran or soldier to lunch.

5. Thank a veteran or soldier for his or her service.

4. Carry banners thanking the troops during parades and special events.

3. Find a family of a soldier who is deployed and help however you can.

2. Donate to Honor Flight Network  or another charity helping veterans.

1. Pray for active military and for our veterans.

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8 Steps to Taking Care of Elderly Parents.

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Ephesians 6:2  Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise.

My Mom’s HS Picture

When we are young, our parents do everything for us. As we get older, their role of taking care of us lessens and eventually goes away. Usually somewhere in our 20s or early 30s, parents become more like friends and confidants.

Then the time comes when we notice our parents can’t do what they once did. They start to slow down and have health problems. At some point, we begin to realize that our parents have started to need our help occasionally. The longer our parent live, the more help they need.

Then the day comes when our parents are no longer there. If we have honored and taken care of them, we share memories about them and miss them, but we don’t live in regret. This is the goal. Here are a 7 things to consider about taking care of elderly parents.

Visit your parents regularly. As our children get older, we sometimes have such busy lives that we don’t take time to visit with our parents. Make a special point of scheduling a time to visit you parents every week, or if you live far away, at least every three months. This will mean a lot to them, but it will also help you live without regrets. We used to visit my husband’s mom every Sunday after church. Now that she is gone, we treasure those visits.

Go to doctor’s visits with them. Sometimes elderly parents get confused and don’t remember everything their doctor says during the visits. Other times, parents downplay the doctor’s advice because they have a hard time accepting they can’t live the way they used to or because they don’t want to be a burden. If you are with them, you can help them make the decisions they need to make.

Protect Your Parents from Scams. Scam artists prey on the elderly. There are many reasons for this. Sometimes the elderly are confused easily or don’t understand the complexities of security in our technical age. The main reason is because as people get older, the part of their brains that warn of danger decrease. Have hard conversations with your parents about what to look for. Put safe guards in place. Do whatever you have to to keep your parents safe form these evil people. Your parents might be angry about you interfering in their lives, but it’s worth it if they aren’t scammed out of their life savings. Here’s an AARP article that might help. Keep Your Parents Safe from Scams.

My mother-in-law, Charlotte Kraft (1924-2013)

My mother-in-law, Charlotte Kraft (1924-2013)

Talk to siblings about who does what before the conversation is needed. There may be one sibling who lives closet to the parents and takes on more responsibility of hands on care, but that doesn’t mean other siblings should be out of the loop. They can help in other ways even if they live a distance away. They can help by providing financial support or investigating information like Medicare or care facilities. One sibling could take care of the elderly parents’ finances while another looks into funeral plans. It is important to discuss this ahead of time.

Take care of documents. Make sure your parents make living wills to let you and health care facilities know how they want to be cared for. Encourage them to place your name on their accounts. Discuss with them about when they would want to give you power of attorney over medical and financial matters. Make sure their wills are up to date and they have decided which sibling gets what – in writing. Ask them what they would like done at their funerals and if they would like to preplan them. These are morbid topics most people avoid until an emergency comes along.

Decide on long-term care. It is possible your parents can stay in their house until they die, but they might want to go to an assisted living facility when they get too old to care for themselves. Ask which they prefer.

Home Care: If you decide on home care, start looking into assistance you can bring into the home. This is what my mother-in-law decided, and she was able to stay at home until her last illness when she died in the hospital. At first, you will need someone to take care of the yard and clean the house. You’ll also want to set up a medic alert system so they can get emergency assistance if they need it. Later you might need someone to prepare meals. At some point, you might need someone to stay with them part-time or give around the clock care. Home health care workers and elderly sitters are cheaper than you might think and provide a way for the elderly to stay in their homes.

Assisted Living: If you decide to go this route, check into it early. There is usually a waiting list, and you’ll want your parents moved in before they need a lot of help. Assisted living facilities provide most services as needed for additional costs. So if they move in sooner, they can become comfortable in their new homes before they need to pay for the service available.

Nursing Homes: The day may come when you can no longer care for your parents, and a nursing home becomes the only option. When this happens, don’t feel guilty. The important thing is to your homework and find the right facility. Once you do, make sure to communicate with the staff often and visit regularly. Elderly patients with family advocates do much better in these facilities.

Hospice: If it ever comes time for hospice, decide ahead of time whether you will have home hospice of use a hospice facility. If you decide to use a facility, check them out and decide your top three choices before you need to make that decision. Not all hospice facilities are equal.

Be willing to sacrifice. You may have to sacrifice your plans at times, but God will reward you for every sacrifice you make. Remember how your parents sacrificed for you. It also might help you to thing about how you would like to be treated by your children in the same circumstances.

Set boundaries. Sometimes the elderly become demanding because they don’t feel good or because they become confused. In these cases, you may need to set boundaries. Remember that God wants you to consider the needs of your spouse and children first. Ask God to help you know when and where to set limits.

6 Reasons Why Reading is Good for Your Health

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

There are many benefits of reading, but did you know many of these include improving health. Including reading into your daily or weekly routine is a good idea for many reasons. Here’s a list of a few reasons you should read.

It stimulates the brain. Reading books has been proven to stimulate the brain. I can even decrease your chances of having Alzheimer and dementia. The brain is like every other muscle in your body. It needs exercise. The more you use it, the better it becomes. Reading is a great way to exercise your brain and keep it healthy.

37-1013-A0039It increases knowledge. Whatever you find interesting, you can learn more about in books. Reading can teach you all kinds of things. President Abe Lincoln only had one year of schooling, but he learned everything he needed to know to become a lawyer, a businessman, and the president of the United States by being an avid reader.

It improves your vocabulary. The more you read, the more you will pick up vocabulary words’ meanings. After a while, you’ll start to use them in every day sentences without even realizing it.

It reduces stress and encourages tranquility. Reading can actually help you relax. It has been scientifically proven that reading religious texts such as the Bible or a Christian book can lower your blood pressure.

It helps you achieve your goals. People who consistently read are more likely to have goals and achieve them throughout their lives.

Stack of vintage books isolated on white

It enhances the ability to focus. People who read are able to focus easier and are better at making decisions. Readers also, over time, learn easier by hearing information as well as by reading.

So the conclusion is that reading can make you smarter, and fiction reading can make you kinder and more creative. The best thing about reading is it is great entertainment and so much better than anything on television or playing social media games.

Ideas for Marketing 2

by Carole Brown

Today, I’d like to share a fewdiscouraged2 free places, some of which might seem obvious, but are well worth looking into. Don’t overlook avenues you think aren’t worth your time. You might be surprised! 

Quote:

 “You can’t expect to just write and have visitors come to you – that’s too passive.”            –Anita Campbell

 

  • Pinterest:  They say the eyes are a good way to catch attention of others. One way to use pinterest is to create boards for your books such as memes. Be creative: add your pet to one meme with your book in the picture and a cute saying. What is the setting of your book? Add a board with probable images of places that “could be” the locale of your book. Character pictures, including minor characters, are “wow” items for a board. What about hair styles? Do make sure they all include your book’s title/cover.  (CAUTION: you can become addicted to this site! Lol)
  • Twitter:  I love this marketing avenue! Short, to the point (and you learn how to promote in brief 🙂 ) and they also offer promotional options. To gain attention, add a pic too. It’s a fantastic way to market. Remember, you can also use Hootsuite, or similar, to schedule tweets ahead of time which is especially useful during sales, etc. 
  • Interviews:  If you’re in any writer groups, you’ll usually find people who are offering invitations for author to do interviews/posts/promotion spots on their sites. Take advantage of these! You’ll not only gain marketable visibility but gain readers too. Even one or two good, faithful readers if well worth your time and effort.

Take action–today!

Successful Writing Efforts wished for you! 

4 Steps to Enhance Your Relationships

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Many times, people try to show love, but they don’t show it in a way others accept. This happens because we don’t understand the differences in love languages. When we try to love their family member using our love language, but our loved one has a different love language, miscommunication can happen. That’s why it is important to understand love languages. There are 5 love languages.

Words of Affirmation: You feel loved when people affirm you with their words.

Acts of Service: You feel loved when people do things for you.

Receiving Gifts: You feel loved when people give you gifts.

Attention: You feel loved when people give you their undivided attention.

Affection or Physical Touch: You feel loved when you are touched appropriately.

Now that you know a little about love languages, your challenge for today is to do these four steps to enhance your relationships.

Step One: Take this test online at this link to find out what your love language is.

Step Two: Tell your spouse or a close loved one what your love language is.

Step Three: Find out your spouse’s, children’s, and close loved one’s love languages. If they are willing to take the test, have them do so.

Step Four: Because it is more important to give than to receive, plan to do something special for your loved ones using their love language.

 

God’s Wonderful World, Scenes and Imagination

by Carole Brown

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. –the Bible

As an author, I marvel at the sights of this beautiful planet. My imagination soars with the heights and floats with the breeze and waves. I imagine my established characters, and sometimes new ones, in these scenes.

Pictures and scenes are one of the greatest ways to foster ideas. I take LOTS of pictures in our travels. Some of them have made it into videos of my books. Others serve to keep my mind agile and brisk with ideas. 

Tell me, what kind of story ideas do these pictures give you?

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Do you see a young couple hiking in the northwest? What troubles do they stumble into? A dead body? A raging fire? Kidnapping? Finding themselves with new purpose? Do you imagine a family camping here and encountering wild creatures? Fishing? Hunting? Or can you see something entirely different?

For this one: I imagine one that I’ve begun and have yet to finish: 

Set in Mexico, in a missionary setting, a young girl meets two very different impressive men, but which one is the right one–for her? Then, she must also figure out which one is the drug lord… Can she do both–and survive?

 

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What do you imagine here happening?

An Amish story? an 1800s novel? A wagon train passing through? Or perhaps a country farm setting with a wife who dabbles in mystery problems in the nearby town?

To me, I can see another story,  I’ve begun and hope to finish soon, set during the late 1800s, Destiny and Michael riding their horses through one of the fields he owns, arguing, both strong people who must decipher whose father was the gold thief and find love in the midst of their suspicions.

 

Forest for Cara2

In this one, what does this scene depict in your mind?

A scary situation? Mystery? A lost child? Can you feel the terror? Do crazy thoughts of someone jumping out at you lurk in your imagination? Can you see children in an adventure book strolling this path?

To me, I can see in my Alex and Denton Davies series, the two of them walking this semi-dark woodland pathway, searching for clues or chasing after a suspect.

 

entry way free

And one last one to stir your creative juices…

Does this bring to mind a warm, cozy feeling? Can you see an abominable snowmen lurking close by? Or can you see a couple meeting on the ski slopes? A family adventure? A lonely older person meeting his soul mate? 

I see a mountain lodge where a female detective looks for a psycho suspect and runs smack dab into a love she hadn’t planned on. But can she find the bad person…and keep the love?

 

 

Can you see how we can use pictures and images to further our writing, to increase our creative juices, to spur us to keep writing, and to give us the encouragement we need when we’re stumped?

Take advantage of everything and all things that keep you writing.

Tell me, what do YOU see in these pictures? What do you use to sit down at your writing desk and add a few more pages to your document?

10 Things to Do When Life Overwhelms You

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Everyone is busy these days, but there are times in our lives a major event happens that completely overwhelms and swallows our lives for a season. Whether it be an injury or illness, a major family event, a emotional crisis, a move or major life change, or a crisis at work, these changes can swallow up our lives and leave us feeling drained.

I am currently going through one of these seasons. My elderly mom has moved to another state, and I’m helping with the move. At the same time, my husband and I are building a new house in that state. My daughter is going through a major life event. If that’s not enough, I also have a summer children’s revival schedule going on and have a deadline with my publisher. My next book is due October 1st. So, I understand what you are going through.

Here are ten things to help you, and me, when life becomes overwhelming.

Remember this is a season. Sometimes taking a breath and regaining our perspective can help immensely. This major crisis is not the new normal for your life. You will get through it.

Keep your eyes on Jesus. Peter was walking on water when he kept his eyes on Jesus, but when he focused on the waves and the storm, he sank. The larger the waves, the greater our focus needs to be on the One who commands the wind and the waves. One way to do this is to print out copies of a verse you’re holding onto and put in visible places everywhere.

Exercise: Before you say you don’t have time, I’m not telling you to spend hours at the gym, but even some exercise, like a brisk walk around the block, is beneficial. Exercise has been proven to defeat depression, offer mental clarity, and increase your energy. These are benefits you need during overwhelming times in your life.

Make a To Do List. Write down EVERYTHING you need to do. Then decide what you have to do now and what can wait. You are in crisis mode right now. You can’t do the things that can wait. You’ll get to those things after the crisis is over. For now, do only what you have to do.

Ask for help. This is hard to do, but it is essential to survive this season of your life. Friends, adult children, and your church may be able to help you with certain tasks. Also, if you can hire some temporary extra help to do daily tasks, do so. Housekeeping, laundry services, and delivery services are well worth the cost during overwhelming seasons.

Don’t take on any new projects. Even if its a project you want to do, say no. You’re no doesn’t have to be permanent, but for now, you can’t agree to do anything.

Take time for Self Care. Self care is what you do to make yourself feel better. You might enjoy reading a book, watching a movies, or doing a fun event. Whatever makes you feel good inside is something you need to take time to do. If you don’t have self care no matter how busy you are, you will end up burning out.

Get away from the situation. Sometimes getting away from a situation, even for a couple of hours, can help you feel refreshed.

Talk to a Friend. Venting to someone who will listen is vital during these overwhelming times. A good friend will let you vent when you need to, but when you are going into self-pity, she will encourage you out of it.

Be filled with the Spirit of God. The joy of the Lord is your strength, so go to the source of your strength to help you through this. Pray constantly asking God for strength, peace, and joy and allowing Him to fill you with His Spirit. Put you hand on your head and pray for yourself. This is last on the list, but it is the most important step to take.