Friday, May 23, 2014

Guest blog from Katherine Perreth, author of Making Lemonade with Ben: The Audacity to Cope - Win a Kindle Paperwhite

Making Lemonade with Ben With deftly wielded humor and heart-wrenching candor, Katherine Perreth vividly recounts the myriad physical, mental, emotional and spiritual repercussions stemming from her son’s massive brain hemorrhage. Seven-year-old Ben suffers numerous disabilities and, later, mental health challenges. Yet, love wins. Making Lemonade With Ben is a compelling Cinderella story tracing sixteen years of Ben’s life. It begins with the night a University of Wisconsin Hospital neurosurgeon saved Ben, and follows Ben through young adulthood. Although he encounters years of substantial obstacles, in 2011 his never-say-die cheery attitude and uber-outgoing ways ultimately carry him to Washington D.C. There he represents the Madison Children’s Museum, his employer, at a national award ceremony. Wearing his ankle-foot-orthosis with a smiley face on the back, Ben juggles one-handed everywhere he goes, accomplishing his life goal: “Make humanity smile.” Universal themes of perseverance and compassion encourage readers to contemplate contemporary issues: mental illness treatment, recovery and stigma, the role of intentional employers in the lives of those with disabilities, and the success that can occur when a community values all of her citizens.

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I’m 53, and because of mental illness I didn’t think I was going to make it out of my forties. The glorious day I hit 50, I felt I’d really accomplished something – chosen to live long enough to gleefully exit that fifth decade.

At age 51, I reinvented myself by writing Making Lemonade With Ben: The Audacity to Cope (MLWB). At heart, it’s a love story with multiple threads. (The book also includes a cameo appearance by Johnny Depp. When Johnny hugs you at 4:00 in the morning, you know you have a story.)
I love new experiences, and MLWB has led to some oddities: having an Olympic-like medal placed around my neck for “Nonfiction: Inspirational,” and receiving a standing ovation. The latter occurred after Ben and I delivered the 2014 keynote speech for our local National Alliance on Mental Illness annual banquet. My uber-outgoing, cheerfully charming 25-year-old son, robbed of various abilities at age seven, including for a time, his speech, also juggled lemons one-handed on stage. (This had a great deal to do with that standing O I’m thinkin’.) You simply cannot stop Ben from communicating with humanity, pursuing his goal to make everyone smile.

People ask what my family thinks about MLWB. I gave my kids the three censorship options: Trust me, I’m your mother, read the entire manuscript, or read only the sections in which you feature. Ben read it all and offered insights, commentary, and clarifications, making MLWB so much richer. In fact, three of his essays are included, and I gave him the last word. My other two kids chose to read only their appearances, and approved them all – I threatened to stop cooking nightly dinners if they didn’t.
My husband read every draft, adding his voice while encouraging me to keep mine. Whenever I wanted to yank a section because I felt too vulnerable, he talked me out of it. I took his advice except for the chapter entitled “A Woman Is A Woman.” He asked if I could at least blow up some shoes. Ain’t gonna happen.
People often muse that writing the book must have been cathartic. Actually, all the writing I did for years before beginning MLWB was cathartic. Organizing the writing, weaving in black, white and gray humor and my Creative Cathartic Vignettes, putting all that together into one hefty rectangle, was healing. I often say MLWB is my heart and soul in 3D – it may be a broken heart, but it has been soldered.

In conclusion, I’m passionate about removing stigma from mental illness. The sooner we all understand that mental illness is just like physical illness, the better. Mental illness is nothing new, nothing to be ashamed about, is a global concern, and can be a killer – just like physical illness.

Powerful good can happen when a community values all of her citizens through intentional employers and proper mental illness treatment and support. Ben’s life bears witness to that.

Katherine PerrethKatherine holds UW-Madison Social Work and Sociology degrees, is a reporter for her hometown newspaper, the Middleton Times Tribune, and conducts a class on reminiscence writing. In addition, in her role as administrative staff with WESLI (an ESL school on Madison’s capitol square), she deals in chalk. And paper. Oodles of paper. She recently took an EmptyNester Victory Tour with her husband of 28 years, but hasn’t yet changed the locks on their home. Their three kids can still get in. Her latest books is Making Lemonade with Ben: The Audacity to Cope Drop by to pay her visit at: www.katherineperreth.com.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Guest blog by Donald G. Bartling, author of For Country


ABOUT FOR COUNTRY



Title: For Country
Genre: Military Memoir
Author: Donald G. Bartling
Publisher: Xlibris
Pages: 111
Language: English

 A study of history shows us that a Nation is only as strong as the will of its citizens to fight for it. America has been tested many times over in its relatively short history. From the Revolutionary War on down to the present conflicts in the Middle East, the majority of the American citizens were willing to place their lives and futures in danger to preserve and build the future of this Nation. Even when the requirements of the military required the use of conscription in order to meet the needs of the day, most citizens were willing to shoulder their responsibilities and deliver the results that were of benefit to all Americans. Many times they have assured a future for this Nation by rising to the occasion. This is especially true today as the burden is falling on an entirely “volunteer force”.  

Xlibris
VETERANS DAY AND MEMORIAL DAY

Our Nation's citizens have over the past century decided to remember and recognize citizens that have served this Nation in war and peace over the years of our history. MEMORIAL DAY which is celebrated the last of May is primarily in respect for those of this group that are deceased, and VETERANS DAY that is celebrated on the 11th of November recognizes those veterans that are living. Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day in regard to the cessation of hostilities in WWI.

Immanuel Lutheran has had many that have served in both categories over the time that this congregation has been in existence.  To my knowledge we did not have any members serving in the military in 1898, in the Spanish-American War.  However in WWI there were a number of men that served in various capacities.  I knew some of them in my earlier years, and they are now at rest in our Immanuel Cemetery  To my knowledge only one of those died while in the Service.  That was my Uncle Dietrich Bartling.  He was a Medical Doctor that was drafted in the early months of 1918. He was sent to Ft Sill  OK. The flu epidemic that plagued the entire world that year was also a problem in Ft Sill.  In treating the servicemen that were ill with the disease he contracted the disease and it took his life.  We learned in our History lessons that that War was a very brutal and bloody one.  In 1941 the United States became involved in WWII. This turned out to be one that lasted until August of 1945. This one took many of our younger members to many places throughout the world. North Africa, Italy, France, Great Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, in Europe.  Australia, New Zealand, many Islands of the South Pacific, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japanese Islands of Okinawa, and the Aleutian Islands. Five years after the close of WWII, war erupted in Korea.  This turned out to be a different type of struggle in several ways.  1. It was a war of ideology  (Communism vs, Capitalism)  2. It was conducted under the auspices of the UNITED NATIONS with the United States being the largest contributor in both men and materiel.  There also was the problem of the opposing sides being represented in the UN.  3. It was the first war that concluded in an ARMISTICE; there still is no peace treaty after over 60years.  Alaska became a "frontier"that needed to be defended as the "COLD WAR" with the Soviet Union was in full force.  This also called for a sizable Force in Europe, fortunately that
force was never needed.  In the 1960's, and continuing until  1975, we became involved in
the VIETNAM WAR.  Congress closed down that conflict by not appropriating the funds to continue the fighting. {A very good account of this was written by Leroy Eckhardt.  He was the person in charge of the BASE EXCHANGE  in Saigon when Saigon fell.  He should have published that account. This was the second war in which we had no VICTORY.  Since that time we have had a number of incidents in which AMERICAN CITIZENS have been attacked and killed.---Beirut Lebanon, The Gulf War, Kuwait, and then IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN.   Immanuel Members have been active in almost all of these events.  We are still involved in many areas in the world.  The American people can and should recognize the sacrifices and dedication that these people have made to give our citizens the standard ofliving that we enjoy here in the UNITED STATES. This especially includes the FREEDOMS that we enjoy as enumerated in the Constitution of the UNITED STATES.

Nobody hates war more that those individuals that have been in war or observed the death and devastation that is caused by war.  Many of my comrades and myself included were grateful that the wars that we were involved in were not being fought in their home country or hometown.

Inthe course of time that these people serve their Country, they also develop a comradeship that often lasts a lifetime.  Many that are living today will say that their lives were often saved  by a comrade, sometimes by someone that they do not even know.  I will  relate and incident that occurred to me several years ago.

I had gone to Arbor Manor to visit my cousin and noticed as I parked, a vehicle on the other side of the lot with a bumper sticker that said" IRAQ VETERAN". A young man came walking across the lot with a leg amputated above the knee.  I went over to him and said " I as an American Citizen want to thank you for your service and sacrifice"  He said "Thank You, but I should be thanking you for the time that you did the same thing for our U S."  I asked  "How did you know that I am a veteran?"  His answer " Veterans are the ones that talk to me, the others do not seem to care",  There was a lesson there.  It is estimated that at the present time only 1% of the families in this nation have a member or someone that they know in the military,  The effect ofthis is that their interests are focused in other areas i,e. travel, sports, gambling, or other forms of entertainment.

A personal experience that illustrates concern and dedication to your fellow soldiers was this occasion.  We were on a tank-mine removal detail at night near Porkchop Hill.  I was leading the patrol and my very dependable Squad leader ( S/Sgt Dale Moffitt) was second in command.  We located a Russian MK12 Mine.  Inorder not to disclose that we were very close to the enemy's line defenses we would defuse the mines in the dark.  I never asked anyone to do what I would not do myself, so I told SGT Moffitt to take the patrol back a safe distance and that if I made a mistake and the mine exploded that he should get the patrol out of the area immediately as there would be heavy fire from the enemy.  I successfully defused the mine and nothing more was said about it.  Dale and some of his family visited here in 1997.  We were recalling some of our experiences and he said.  " If that mine had exploded we would have tried to come back and help you" To me that is "loyalty."

Most of the publicity that surrounds these types of incidents portray the soldiers that are directly involved as being totally credited with the success. I have always felt that every serviceperson is of importance as those that are on the "frontlines" can not be successful without the support of the many in the supply lines.to deliver the necessary supplies when they are needed. Another area that is not really accurate is "commendations" . I take nothing away from those that have been awarded Medals for their personal actions, but I always think of the many that have done the same or more that did not get recognized for it.

Because of the foregoing discussion of veterans views on many issues concerning them and the Nation as a whole,the veterans themselves have organized organizations that represent those views.  I have been a member of the American Legion for almost 60 years. The Veterans of Foreign Wars is another strong veterans organization.  There are
many more; they usually concentrate on the welfare of the wounded and disabled veterans and their families.  With the advancement of fast evacuation of the wounded, many more wounded are surviving their wounds than was true in earlier wars.  These organizations are needed to represent their member's needs in the Legislature and the Congress.  Many seem to feel that election of a person to a legislative position automatically makes them experts in almost everything.  This is not true, they need assistance in arriving at good solutions to all problems.

From personal experience I can say that "Danger is a test of courage and faith."  It was in my first "firefight" that I realized that the solid religious training that I received here at Immanuel School and Church would stand me in good stead no matter the outcome of that battle or those that were to follow.  Once a determination that '"GOD ALMIGHTY IS IN CONTROL',  is made; a person can apply his abilities and knowledge to the job at hand.  Itbecame apparent to me as time wore on that there were others that had the same view that I had. Religious soldiers are more productive and more dependable.  Immanuel was blessed in that we have not had a seriously wounded or killed serviceperson.

Another area that deserves mention is the Chaplaincy.  I met a number of them over my time there. They add much to the quality of service life in that they give comfort and guidance to individuals that are in periods of stress.  Also they conduct the services that bring back a portion of the life that the servicepersons had prior to becoming a serviceperson.  My current observation is -----that it is more difficult to be a Chaplain today that it was 60 to 70 years ago.  The current high level of "suicides" both in the service and with retirees is very disturbing.  Certainly that is also an area of concern for the chaplains.

Inthis day and age---it seems that truth, honesty, and integrity, are not as important as they should be.  It has even become that "swearing under oath " does not get the honesty and truth that it once did.  When we as SERVICEPEOPLE took our oath on entering the

service it said " that we would protect the Constitution at all costs, even it that would be death". I have taken the "public service" oath several times over the years and it,too, has the same impact on me..  Finally, we should remember that we also took a more
important oath on our Confirmation Day.  We promised  to stay faithful to the Triune God and suffer death rather than fall away from Him. Even today there are many in this world that are being persecuted and killed for their Faith in the Triune God.

Veterans are interested in all areas of citizenship and they are active in those areas especially at this time in our history. They are interested in the application of the US Constitution, operation of the Court System, and the functioning of the Executive Department. .

My experience during that time made me appreciate the blessings that I have had in my lifetime, and I hope I can convey some of that attitude to those around me.  I recall that I was told by a father that had just lost his 16yr old son in a car accident that " the two times that you appreciate and value a person or property the most is JUST AFTER YOU GET IT AND JUST AFTER YOU LOSE IT."  This also true of nations.  Citizens value their FREEDOMS  in the same way.  Many people seem to feel that the UNITED
STATES is invulnerable; I contend that we are vulnerable to many dangers, both from the outside ---and the inside.  We should be grateful to the ALMIGHTY GOD every day that we still have the AMERICAN VALUES, and that we continue to have them for generations to come

As I referred to earlier, veterans are citizens too. As citizens we are interested in voting and as a group we vote in larger numbers than some other segments of our population . We weigh things with the added knowledge of National Defense that we have acquired through Service in the Military. We again appear to be on the way to repeating an error that we as a nation have done several times before in our history. That is of failing to keep our military properly maintained. I see a very marked similarity to the decade of the 1930's in the economic, social, and political spheres of influence in the Nation and the world. Inorder to solve the economic problem----we reduce our military capabilities to the point of inadequacy; then, when an emergency anywhere in the world presents it self We are unprepared to cope with it. We repeated that error in the 1946-1950's period and again in the 1990's. With the speed and devastation that can be delivered over long distances in today's high technology world, there is not a time window in which to build defenses after the beginning of hostilities. I recall the Spring of 1952 we were rationed ammunition because of a sympathetic strike by West Coast longshoremen in loading the supplies that we needed on the frontlines in Korea. They were backing a strike by the United Steel Workers. President Truman solved this problem by ordering the Army to load the ships. Our National Economic problem is very large today, and no real answer
seems to be in view at this time .This problem applies to all of us in some way, to some, it applies in more than one way.

Trust and commitment to GOD ALMIGHTY is the only answer that has any hope of success.  We should pray that our Nation realizes that soon enough.

ABOUT DONALD G. BARTLING

The author is farmer that took this time to serve in the US Army in 1951-52. He returned to his chosen occupation in October 1952.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

And Face the Unknown by CD Harper


ABOUT AND FACE THE UNKNOWN


Title: And Face the Unknown
Genre: Historical Fiction
Author: CD Harper
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 232
Language: English
ISBN - 978-1-47594-754-0

As Levy clings to a tree high above a river and tries to catch his breath, he doesn’t know what to do next. He has been a slave for Mr. Willoughby since he was little boy, and now things are changing. Unsure of what year it is, Levy escapes the jaws of slavery on the cotton plantation. He is a runaway slave without a plan. As soon as he sees a boat floating in the river, Levy knows what he must do. With Mr. Willoughby on his tail, Levy boards the boat and hides behind the big wheel. As he somehow eludes capture, he begins a journey with a colored captain at the helm who works for none other than Levy’s former owner. As the captain takes Levy under his wing and they travel down the river, Levy finally learns what it’s like to be a free man with choices and the ability to make decisions for himself. But danger lurks around every curve, and Levy soon finds that his journey to independence will not come without challenges. In the second installment of this historical tale, a Lincoln-freed Colored risks everything in order to realize the sweet taste of liberty and justice for all.

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ABOUT CD HARPER

CD Harper is a retired professor and arts administrator who holds degrees from the University of Illinois and St. Louis University. His first novel, Covenant, began the story that now continues in And Face the Unknown, the second installment of an intended trilogy. He and his wife reside in Gleneden Beach, Oregon.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The England Operation by Peter Swarbrick Book Blast - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

ABOUT THE ENGLAND OPERATION

Title: The England Operation
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Author: Peter Swarbrick
Publisher: iUniverse
EBook: 360 pages
Release Date: May 16, 2012

 In the year 1141, civil war rages in England. Robber barons pillage and loot, while rampaging armies terrorise the countryside. But never fear: the peacekeepers are coming. The Organisation of Nations of the World (known in Latin as ONO) launches the England Operation to sort everything out. In this world-turned-upside-down satirical take on the peacekeeping industry, rich and powerful African businesswomen and politicians collude with Norman overlords to steal England’s most valuable natural resource—sheep—as the hapless international troops who are supposed to stop the war sink ever deeper into the swamp of violence and corruption that is twelfth-century England.

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Senior Year by Judith Foard Book Blast - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

ABOUT SENIOR YEAR

   
Title: Senior Year
Genre: Romance
Author: Judith Foard
Publisher: iUniverse
EBook: 416 pages
Release Date: December 20, 2013

 Ruth Ainsworth is a happy, confident teen living in Massachusetts in 1947. She has a strong circle of friends and a secure family, and she excels at her studies. She is full of optimism for her senior year, mostly because she’s dating Rex Gardner, the star of the Hampden High School football team. They start their last school year, and everything is going well for Ruth—until Rex suddenly breaks up with her and begins dating a junior cheerleader. Ruth is heartbroken, but she fights off the pain by focusing on school and the girls’ basketball team. When Ruth meets Maurice Langlois, a French-speaking Canadian immigrant, he helps her forget about Rex. As their love grows, however, they realize they will soon be separated by hundreds of miles when they leave for college. Their attempt to resolve problems related to their separation gets even more complicated when Rex makes a surprising reappearance in Ruth’s life. Will Ruth and Maurice’s love for each other survive?  

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

A River of Tears, the River of Hope by Orit Rehany Book Blast - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

 

ABOUT A RIVER OF TEARS, THE RIVER OF HOPE

    A River of Tears
Title: A River of Tears, the River of Hope
Genre: School & Teaching/Inspirational
Author: Orit Rehany
Publisher: AuthorHouse
EBook: 151 pages
Release Date: December 17, 2013

 A River of Tears The River of Hope centers on the saga of the Two Torah Scrolls, and of an fluent and thriving community living peacefully for 2600 years until World War II and the events of Nazism, anti-Semitism and hatred took place in the ancient region known as the Cradle of Civilization, or modern days Iraq. The creation of Iraq by the British installed an unsuccessful attempt at Monarchy. The results were staggering and ultimately ended in the displacement of an entire community to Israel and the first settlement of the community in this newly created State. A River of Tears The River of Hope follows the enchanting and fascinating Murad family. The Murad family brought to Israel a proud heritage to share with the world including the two Torah Scrolls of their beloved father and grandfather, Rabbi Ezra Murad. Rabbi Murad’s two Torah Scrolls traveled with the family to Israel, where he was rightfully recognized as an important and impactful role models. His name shined within the community in Baghdad, and his memory and the valuable Two Torah Scrolls continued to stand out in Israel. While settling in Israel the Murad family showed us the most valuable elements of hope, drive, and determination as they continued to thrive in Israel and Canada. They continued to believe in their abilities to succeed. Indeed, as their lives changed and they relocated, the Murad family always maintained focus and the belief in their ability to survive and flourish. A River of Tears The River of Hope will welcome readers into the history of the Murad family and their amazing journey from a world filled with oppression and tyranny, to one supported by acceptance and support.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A River of Tears, the River of Hope by Orit Rehany Book Blast - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

 

ABOUT A RIVER OF TEARS, THE RIVER OF HOPE

    A River of Tears
Title: A River of Tears, the River of Hope
Genre: School & Teaching/Inspirational
Author: Orit Rehany
Publisher: AuthorHouse
EBook: 151 pages
Release Date: December 17, 2013

 A River of Tears The River of Hope centers on the saga of the Two Torah Scrolls, and of an fluent and thriving community living peacefully for 2600 years until World War II and the events of Nazism, anti-Semitism and hatred took place in the ancient region known as the Cradle of Civilization, or modern days Iraq. The creation of Iraq by the British installed an unsuccessful attempt at Monarchy. The results were staggering and ultimately ended in the displacement of an entire community to Israel and the first settlement of the community in this newly created State. A River of Tears The River of Hope follows the enchanting and fascinating Murad family. The Murad family brought to Israel a proud heritage to share with the world including the two Torah Scrolls of their beloved father and grandfather, Rabbi Ezra Murad. Rabbi Murad’s two Torah Scrolls traveled with the family to Israel, where he was rightfully recognized as an important and impactful role models. His name shined within the community in Baghdad, and his memory and the valuable Two Torah Scrolls continued to stand out in Israel. While settling in Israel the Murad family showed us the most valuable elements of hope, drive, and determination as they continued to thrive in Israel and Canada. They continued to believe in their abilities to succeed. Indeed, as their lives changed and they relocated, the Murad family always maintained focus and the belief in their ability to survive and flourish. A River of Tears The River of Hope will welcome readers into the history of the Murad family and their amazing journey from a world filled with oppression and tyranny, to one supported by acceptance and support.

AuthorHouse

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Baby to Senior Spiritual Life Years by Rev. Carol A Hale Book Blast - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

ABOUT BABY TO SENIOR SPIRITUAL LIFE YEARS

Baby to Senior Spiritual Life Years
Title: Baby to Senior Spiritual Life Years
Genre: Religion/Spirituality
Author: Rev. Carol A Hale
Publisher: AuthorHouse
EBook: 112 pages
Release Date: April 29, 2011

 The spirit guides our life. It opens our life as a child and always stays with us. After each prayer our spirit will speak to your mind about God's decision and we will hear about he best task for life. The spirit and prayers always gives us comfort relaxations to the mind. When the body has been or is in a accident, is sick, having surgery, financial problems, and life events. My life has had several perfect body safety and healings i was six or seven months old. The spirit with God guided my jobs and acceptance of my birth as a lesbian.  

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Xetonian Trades IV by J. Wayne Stillwell

ABOUT XETONIAN TRADES IV

Title: Xetonian Trades IV
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Author: J. Wayne Stillwell
Publisher: AuthorHouse
EBook: 250 pages
Release Date: January 21, 2014

 The Augerite invasion and the Reaper war convinced the United Galactic Treaty Organization (UGATO) leadership that the galaxy must be teeming with intelligent life that their descendants would eventually meet. Some would be hostile so they decided to use time travel for preemptive defense purposes. By knowing the future they might be able to take action in the present to enhance their security. UGATO had originally justified the time ship’s cost by promising to locate and visit God to discuss his real purpose, the meaning of life and the mysteries of the spiritual world. This was soon abandoned as fool hearty. UGATO traveled back in time 2,900 years to visit the Xetonian Messiah Graciana who convinced them that a precise understanding of God is not possible purely through the use of technology. God cannot be known in a physical sense and it would always require a measure of faith in order to achieve a state of grace. As the Unitarian survivors of the Big Bang and their alien allies continue their manifest destiny in the Milky Way Galaxy and beyond by traveling in time, their faith and courage would be tested. They were about to breech the zero time barrier or what the news media had dubbed ‘Infinities gate’.

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