Monday, November 28, 2011

An Exciting New Way to Read Books Online

A few weeks ago I was contacted about an exciting new website, something called, Big World Network. This online reading service is provided at no cost. Anyone interested can read or listen to books that will be posted as a weekly series. Each week another episode or chapter from the book of your choice will be featured. This is similar to how popular series are followed on television, but in book form.

Books are rated based on content, which is a handy way to know if a certain book is one you would be interested in reading, or listening to, compliments of the audio form that is also available. Currently, fifteen books are listed for perusal. E-mail subscriptions are also being offered, which is a handy way to be notified when the next installment of the book you've selected is available. This way you will have immediate access when the next chapter or episode is released.

For writers, this is another way to expose your newest work to online readers, increasing the readership for your books. Submissions can be sent to this website for possible inclusion on their website.

I think this is a great way for new writers and established writers alike to secure online exposure, and an exciting new twist to online reading. Be sure to check out the website on this link: Click here and see what you think about this new online venue.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Review: "Bitter Blessings"

The clock in the kitchen pounded out the seconds, and the neighbor's wind chimes clanged their chaotic melody until I thought my brain would explode, and then, finally, Gram said, "There was an accident on the highway this afternoon. Your mother was in it." And the world collapsed around me
. . . again.

This except from the new book, Bitter Blessings, caught my attention immediately. Found on the back cover, it left me feeling intrigued and despite my busy schedule the day this book arrived, I found time to read the first couple of chapters. Then the storyline managed to nag at me continuously until I finished the rest of the book.

Filled with twists and turns, this first time novel by Christine Mehring, provokes empathy and deep-seated emotions. Your heart will go out to the main characters who appear very real. I suspect we all know people who resemble the grandmother, and the three sisters. Their neighbor and friend, Adam, is the sort of kid we all long to meet: down-to-earth and helpful without being pushy.

This book appealed to me on many levels: as a young adult, my entire world was turned upside down by the actions of a family member. (My father died in a tragic manner when I was 22.) I related so much to what these three siblings were enduring with the loss of another parent. I understood how difficult it is to sort through the emotions that at times, tear you apart. Each sister grieved in a different way as they tried to make sense of a trial that made no sense at all. And on top of everything else, a mystery regarding their father, someone they thought was deceased, is thrown into the mix.

If you are looking for a good read, a novel that will keep you turning pages, then this is a book you will want to snatch up and savor. It's one I plan to reread in the near future--and that should tell you something. (I don't often read the same book twice unless it really impresses me.) 

Bitter Blessings will appeal to all ages, with an emphasis toward the youth. I think it's good for young people to read books that focus on the challenges that sometimes go with life. Not only will this novel inspire gratitude for their own home situations, but for those who are enduring similar trials, it can touch tender hearts in a good and positive way with messages like the importance of forgiveness when bad choices are made, and perseverance when heartache descends.

You can purchase Bitter Blessings by clicking on this link: CLICK ON ME

Monday, November 14, 2011

Walking the Tightrope of Diabetes

Lately I've been trying to get all of my proverbial ducks in a row, with regard to health. I am a Type 1 diabetic--a challenging condition I've endured for 31 years. Some would say that I've beaten the odds to live this long with diabetes and not have any major complications. To them I would have to say: "Attitude is everything!" ;)

I do not have perfect control of my blood sugar levels--the closest I ever came to that goal was during three pregnancies that produced three healthy sons. During that era, I kept a food diary, recording everything I ate, what time I ate, how much insulin I gave, how much I exercised, and what all of the food counts were. In short, I gave each pregnancy full attention and did amazingly well, all things considered.

Most days I simply do the best that I can. I try to balance carb counts with insulin and mix in exercise to counter fluctuating levels. The challenge for most of us who deal with this disease is the fact that everything affects our blood sugar levels. If I have a cold, my level runs rock bottom low, no matter what I do. If I have the stomach flu--that level runs high, even though I can't usually eat anything. If I'm in severe pain, the level runs low. If I have inflammation anywhere, it runs high. During the summer months, my levels run lower because of the heat. And as you might guess, during the winter months, those levels soar, so on and so forth. I was also told that there will days when "insulin bubbles" (Insulin the body stores for some strange unknown reason) can randomly burst, causing an insulin reaction from hades without warning.In short: this is a challenging disease and there are days when you feel like throwing your hands in the air and walking away.

For numerous years, I ran a diabetic support group for the diabetics in our county. I did this with the help of a very good friend who was also a Type 1 diabetic like me. The support group was actually Denise's idea. Once we both started seeing the same specialist who gave us "HOPE" for a brighter future--more so than we had ever received from any other doctor, she wanted us to share that positive message with other diabetics who were also struggling.

We met during monthly meetings at the nearby city hall, and later in a special room at the local hospital. We provided special inservice meetings with doctors, nurses, etc. We ran booths at the two health fairs held annually in our community, and met with newly diagnosed diabetics to help them realize they could live a full and productive life despite this illness.

You can imagine how Denise's death earlier this year affected us all. (She was 49) I've heard from a few of the younger Type 1's that we tried to help. Some are in panic mode. "But you two said we could live a long, normal life!" Etc. & so forth. After Denise's death, my blood pressure soared for a time, something it has never done before. (My blood pressure has always been good: most days it clocks in at 110 over 70.) And I've experienced a couple of other health glitches that have made me realize I need to slow down . . . a lot . . . at least for now.

Dealing with Type 1 diabetes is like walking a tightrope. One slip can mean a painful consequence, and unfortunately, complications, and sometimes death. We keep trying to move ahead on that thin wire, knowing that each step we make is crucial. Our balancing tools include: checking our blood sugar level often, counting carbs, and working in a bit of exercise. We all try to do the best that we can, and not allow ourselves to get overwhelmed in the process.

I've found that regardless of the challenge, attitude is everything, as stated above. Stress of any kind causes my blood sugar level to run high. So I have to keep stress to a minimum. Maintaining a positive outlook aids this process greatly. And I've started something new the past couple of months--I meditate each morning for about ten minutes. My version of meditation probably varies from the world's, but it works for me. I spend ten minutes listening to soothing music (usually "Calm-Meditation" from Pandora) and watch a computerized slideshow of nature shots that I've taken through the years with my trusty camera. I focus on my breathing and attempt to relax my entire body. I can't believe how much better I feel each day. The best news: my blood pressure level has returned to normal. My blood work was in the normal range last month. Now I have to tackle getting my blood sugar levels back under better control.

I am determined to continue walking this tightrope called diabetes. =D It's rather lonely, carrying that baton by myself now (someday Denise and I will talk about how she bailed on me in an untimely manner) but I have to think that it was simply her time to leave this mortal sphere. We've both endured too many near misses in the past to ever think otherwise.

My new goal: To live another 30 years with this challenging condition--thus proving to our younger Type 1's that this can be done. For a while, I may be cutting out other things to bring my life into better focus. (My entire family has been trying to teach me a handy two-letter word for years, something I'm finally starting to use.) I'm no longer trying to be "Wonder Woman," as I simply strive to be "Tight-Rope Girl." And in the end, perhaps the two titles will combine as I work harder than ever to stifle the effects of this disease.