Category Archives: Relationships

Mother’s Day Memories Past and Present

Roller Coaster Reflections on Mother’s Day

Screamin' Eagle Roller Coaster Six Flags“Hey, let’s go to Six Flags today,” my mother suggested one Saturday morning in early June of 1980 as she hovered over the shabby sofa on which I sprawled. “We shouldn’t waste such a gorgeous day, and you don’t have to work, right?”

“Huh?” I peered up from the juicy novel I’d planned to devour first over summer break.

“Come on, it’ll be fun!” In one swift move, Mom confiscated the paperback and hoisted me from my cozy nest. “You can read in the car on the way there and back, okay?”

“What about the twins?” I asked about my sisters. “They’ll be ticked to be left out.”

“Yeah, right, aren’t you funny! And besides, they’re working today. This is our special treat … on me.”

My older siblings had entered the “it’s-not-cool-to-hang-with-Mom” stage of adolescence. At fourteen, I was headed in that direction too, testing my independence with my first job at McDonald’s and spreading my wings with activities away from home. The mood-swing-inducing hormones that would distance me from my mother for the better part of the next decade were already running through my veins. Continue reading

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Small Great ThingsSmall Great Things by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this story. It was easy to read and shared all the main characters from a first person perspective, making it clear where they were coming from and why they behaved the way they did. Not that it made them all likable, because some were just so hateful and deplorable. Picoult was brave to tackle the divisive topic of racism head on. With one daughter in nursing school and another considering law school, I’ve recommended they both read this book. This novel shows we all could benefit by practicing more acceptance and love. What a wonderful takeaway!

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Brought To Our Senses family saga novel by Kathleen H. Wheeler

Happy birthday to my muse Sting!

Sting is my museSting’s birthday is today, October 2nd. Each year I take the time to offer my best wishes in thanks for the music he has shared with the world.

Happy birthday Sting!

Sting is my muse and has been since 1980 when I first heard his unique voice and music on a vinyl record (remember those?). His artistry and songwriting are the inspiration behind my own writing (since I can’t sing or play an instrument). If my novel included a soundtrack, it would play from Sting’s vast catalog of songs, and I’d like to share a special one in honor of his birthday.

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Gone Girl a tornado read

Gone Girl Gillian Flynn book reviewI just finished reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and I can’t believe this novel sucked me in like a tornado through a trailer park! How could I care enough about what happened to these despicable main characters – Amy and Nick – to finish reading this book? Oh how I grew to loathe them both as they were exposed to be self-absorbed, immoral, and foul-mouthed jerks. And yet I had to push on, hoping they’d both get what they deserved in the end.

I can’t remember another book where every character was so unlikable – not a good guy or girl in sight really. Regardless, I enjoyed the dueling first-person accounts between Nick and Amy along with the clever use of the diary as a decoy. Did I love the ending? Not so much. I admit I felt let down, although it did avoid predictable scenarios that way. I was already conjuring a few of them as the pages ran out.

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Great movies about family relationships

I’ve been so busy lately, but I made time to see two great movies about family relationships recently. I highly recommend them both as worthy of your time and money.

Nebraska, the movie about family relationshipsNebraska was my favorite of the two movies. I thought this was a fantastic portrayal of how adult children must face the difficulties of aging parents. It runs you through the full spectrum of emotions in two hours – it’s a comedy, a drama, a horror story – all wrapped up into one. And then there’s a sucker punch at the end that really got me all teared up-well done! The best thing about it was how real it seemed. Families do have these kinds of problems, families do talk to each other this way, families do drive each other crazy, aging parents lose their minds and a filter on what they say. But in the end love is what keeps them together. I’ve got my fingers crossed for both Bruce Dern and June Squibb to win Oscars for their performances, which were outstanding, believable, and oh so painfully real. Continue reading

Airing Dirty Dysfunctional Family Laundry on Survivor: Blood vs. Water

Survivor Blood vs. WaterI’m a big fan of the reality TV show Survivor, and I have developed a keen interest in this season’s Blood vs. Water twist pitting family members against each other. Specifically, I’m fascinated with Aras and Vytas Baskauskas, brothers whose thorny relationship practically screams dysfunctional family. These two have spilled enough backstory in the first three episodes to confirm my suspicions.

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Love in a time of Alzheimer’s

I wanted to share this video about a beautiful couple facing the final chapter of their 60-year love story. May God bless Verna and and Jerry through their Alzheimer’s journey.

I thought this video would be unbearably sad, but instead I am in awe of this couple and their devotion. It made me happy that Verna has someone she can depend on through her illness. How does this love story make you feel?

All parents and kids should watch the movie Bully

Bully, The MovieI finally got around to watching the movie Bully last night. I kept putting it off because I was bullied as a child. Over thirty years later, the memory is still painful, a wound that will never completely heal. I still remember the fear, the panic of not knowing what to do, not knowing who to turn to for help, and feeling trapped and helpless by such senseless victimization. I’m so glad I put that aside to watch this movie though. It was extremely well done, depicted the problem accurately, and showed the misery of kids who are subjected to bullying.

The magnitude of the bullying problem was best illustrated for me by a parent admitting through tears that going to the parents of the bullies didn’t help because those parents just didn’t care enough about what was going on to do anything about the situation. Two families documented in the film had children who committed suicide due to continued bullying. It was absolutely heartbreaking to hear these parents describe the hell that their children endured that forced them to end their lives. And the school administrators shown in this movie just didn’t have any answers about how to control the problem of bullying, they seemed to only acknowledge it existed without really doing much of anything about it.

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Happy 200th Anniversary Pride and Prejudice!

pride_and_prejudice_200th_anniversaryJanuary 28 marks the 200th anniversary for the publication of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen in 1813. This is not only one of the world’s most beloved novels, but also my favorite book of all time! Honestly, I never tire of reading it, and my well-worn copy holds a place of honor on a crowded bookshelf.

Even two centuries later, Pride and Prejudice remains a literary masterpiece for several reasons in my mind. First and foremost, it is a beautiful love story. I admit it, I’m a total sucker for that reason alone. Calling it a love story just doesn’t do it justice though, because to me it is more than a love story; it is so romantic with its dated customs of courtship that I can hardly stand it. The story makes me weak in the knees, butterfly in the stomach, school-girl crush giddy in its romanticism. Continue reading

Detours in 2013 and New Year’s Resolutions

thinking_about_breast_cancerA good friend just shared her recent breast cancer diagnosis, confirmed by her doctor four days before the New Year. Needless to say, the shocking news has called into question all her plans for 2013 and changed her priorities drastically, all in one fell swoop.  This life-altering diagnosis will change my friend’s outlook on life forever, and it’s a pretty crummy way to start the year. Weeks ago she was planning a fun vacation for 2013, and now instead she’s making decisions on how best to proceed so that she may live to see far beyond 2013. That’s quite a detour.

Her health crisis has me thinking too. I have been consumed by Alzheimer’s disease for so long, guided by a self-imposed duty to raise awareness and help those I run into along the way who have been adversely affected by dementia. For that reason, I just haven’t contemplated other equally devastating illnesses much, even though I know they are lurking out there and capable of causing widespread misery. I have seen a lot of it lately, especially with cancer.

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