Sunday, December 13, 2015

Holiday Bazaar and Book Signing

I had a wonderful day at the Sedona United Methodist Church.  I was invited to participate in their annual Christmas Bazaar and was happy to find that I had been given the prime table by the Christmas Tree.  It was a lovely day filled with seeing old friends, making new friends, selling some books and 2016 Jack McAfghan Wall Calendars.  

There was no charge for the event, but it did not take me long to agree to participate in singing the Christmas Cantata with the church choir this year.  What a wonderful way to spend the holidays, doing special things like this.  

Photo Credit: Sedona United Methodist Church

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I grieved heavily for six months after my dog Jack crossed Rainbow Bridge. One night I picked up my pen and pad and I wrote and wrote and wrote! I wrote his words, not mine. His words held the key to my own healing and I could not keep it to myself. I now share Jack with everyone who wants to heal from their grief. He will help you, like he helped me. Don't be afraid. He is with you every step of the way. (in the U.S. and available on Amazon worldwide)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


How did that stuff get into your head?
What makes you think you'd be better off dead?
Those thoughts can destroy
They can kill; They can maim.
Why not take them
And fan them with flame
Of more positive things.

Your intentions have wings
Which carry your life
To the very same things
That fill up your head.
You think you've no choice
Like you've been taken captive,
You obey the voice

Which over and over says things to you
It relentlessly chatters
Sometimes it will spew!
It's goal to disarm you of thoughts
Pure and true.
It makes you a victim
You get stuck in it's glue!

And it's all in your mind.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Looking for Jack? He's Here in Sedona.

"This is the one book that should be on every dog lover's shelf."  Marian Schmidt

A little at a time we are expanding the places where you can find Jack.  Here's an opportunity to support a local business that has survived despite many years of competitive EReaders and the Amazon giant. "Jack McAfghan: Reflections on Life with my Master" is now available locally at The Worm Bookstore in Sedona/VOC.  Please support them and stop by for a visit soon! As always, it is available through in most countries, on Amazon Kindle and through our website. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Happy Birthday Post Mortem

Today is your birthday Dad. You would have been 81. You never needed caregivers. You thought for yourself. You made your own decisions. You were never a burden to anyone at anytime. I have not posted much here because life goes on and I don't want this page to become my shrine to you because I know the day will come and I will stop grieving. I will stop posting. And I will then start feeling guilty because I am healing. It's the human condition, the guilt. So I want to minimize it if I can.

I want to start focusing on your life instead of your death. The last time I saw you, you said "I need to go back and visit Wilson one more time." That's how I know where I need to lay you to rest. This Fall I will drive back to NY and scatter your ashes at Sunset Island in Wilson...the place of our most happy young family memories.

Happy Birthday Dad. I miss you.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

My First Book Signing Event

It was 106 degrees in Cottonwood today but it didn't get in the way of having fun at the Farmer's Market at Olsen's Granary. I sold quite a few books, saw some old friends, made some new friends, and we were treated royally by the the Olsten's staff in a festive atmosphere. The photo's not the best, but today goes down in history as my first public appearance with my book, "Jack McAfghan: Reflections on Life with my Master".  It's exciting for me to see people so excited about our book! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dear Reader....

Dear Reader,

I don't profess to be something I'm not. I have not been an "author" for long. I have been a clinical social worker, geriatric care manager and hospice counselor for over 30 years. I grew up in the small town of Marcellus in Upstate New York. I went to Nazareth College of Rochester where I received a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work and later graduated from Syracuse University with my Master's Degree in Social Work. In 1995 I started a private geriatric care management business in Syracuse and in 2001 I opened a similar business in Sedona, Arizona. I have been writing creatively since I was old enough to hold a pencil in my hand.

With a few exceptions, those of us who have reached middle age would agree that SOMETHING HAPPENS in life that forces change in us. SOMETHING just doesn't work anymore. SOMETHING vital remains unsatisfied in our beings and as we move closer to the second half of life. If we are fortunate, SOMETHING rebellious inside of us can take hold and force us to change our lives.

Some people leave relationships that don't seem to satisfy. Some people get sick or just feel plain old(!) and are forced to change in order to survive and thrive. They alter the way they live through diet, exercise and environmental change. Some have been working excessively to finance their lives and to support the people in them. While we may be very good at what we do, something is still missing. When you get to be a certain age, an undeniable change takes place. It's time to shift gears. It's time to take a risk. It's time to take a chance on yourself.

I have a dozen books on the back burner waiting for me to finish them, but I have been so busy "living my life" that I never got around to getting it done. One day everything screeched to a halt when my beloved dog, Jack, went in for emergency surgery. Me, the woman who never had time for anything but work, spent a week caring for him in his demise. If you have ever been a caregiver, you know how intense life can be. If you have ever lost a loved one, you know that you can be overwhelmed by it for quite some time afterwards.

The day following Jack's death, my father also died, somewhat unexpectedly. It was a profound time of grief, of introspection, and of redefining what was important to me. When I finally began to heal from the loss, writing became my top priority. I spent many hours a day writing "Jack McAfghan."  It took the better part of six months, working almost constantly with words coming off the top of my head faster than I could write them down.

As I prepare for publication in the upcoming week, I find myself making other changes in my life. I created my domain name today. I was told I needed a 'branding plan' if I want to be an "author". I need a name for 'identity', so I spent all day building my personal blog. It is the site you are on right now. If you ever told me I would put my name Out There for the world to see I would have said you were crazy. I've always been a bit reserved. Until a few weeks ago I was planning on hiding behind "Jack McAfghan", crediting him for writing the book.

As I was creating the site you are looking at right now, I realized that what happens as we reach this age is that, if we're lucky, we will have the chance to discover who we are and what we love to do. If you don't already have a domain name of your own name, do me a favor and type Your Name Dot Com into Google and discover how it feels when you do it; when you see it. It's a unique feeling. It's you. It's the name you are known by on this planet.

In the six months since I lost Jack and my father and turned 54, my life has changed. My housing situation has changed. My budget has changed. Things have become much simpler. I tapered down my care management business and, while I didn't have many funds, what I did have was time. Time was the one thing I never had before and I've learned that it's the most precious commodity there is.

A shift has taken place, and now that Jack's book is officially written I am moving on to the other books and titles.  One, a story of the growth that comes with unrequited love. Another, a tale of a man with Alzheimer's who stays the course and proves that there is more going on in a "demented" brain than meets the eye. I have short stories galore from living life with people living life and loving them all. I am not sure what will happen with the stories -- if they will become books or if they will remain articles and short stories but I promise this: they will be put onto paper and into the public because all the people I write about have something to teach.

Please stay tuned and, by the way, if you have a story to tell and if you have time, put it onto paper and make it public. Join me in sharing the lessons you have learned to help others gain perspective in their lives.

Life is the school and love is the lesson and there's no point in living if you don't learn and if you don't love. I learned that from Jack.


Monday, May 18, 2015


You're gone.

Just another case of
Not getting what I thought I wanted.

Instead, I'll get what I'm supposed to have
Because the Powers That Be
Can make much better decisions for me
Than I can.

from the book, "One Heart's Journey" 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Book 1 is Published and There's a Lot More To Do

JACK McAFGHAN is now up and published. The night my beloved dog Jack died, it interrupted everything in my life. My father died the following day. As I learned to live with the losses, I put everything else in my life on hold, including a book that had taken many years to write. My grief took priority. It took hold of me and it wouldn't let go...until I did something with it.

Over five years ago I began writing a story of unrequited love. It is the true story of my life, exposed. I tried to learn as much as I could about the man I loved but in the long run, I really only learned about myself. In my upcoming book "It's All About You," I share glimpses into the innocent, and sometimes ignorant, woman I was as I tried to make him everything to me. I learned that we all do this to an extent, in our desperation to have the love we think we want. We can put a great deal of energy into it and creatively pull out all the stops, to make something happen. 

When something is meant to happen, it will happen easily. Love cannot be forced. Love cannot come at the wrong time. The right person cannot come into your life if you are in love with the wrong person. As I put the finishing touches on "Jack McAfghan", I pick up "It's All About You" and begin writing again. After all, I have also learned that an author cannot write or finish a book until it's the right time to do it.

My beloved Jack has been gone for less than a year but, as I return to the book I was writing before he left, I find that I am a different kind of author. I am a different person. I am much more authentic. I have learned that there is only one space after a sentence, not two! We grow through our losses and we become much more than we ever were before. 

Jack and Me

It almost makes it worth losing him to have gained this. Anyone who has ever loved an animal will love JACK McAFGHAN. Anyone who has ever pursued a man or a woman will identify with "It's All About You".  Life is the school and love is the lesson. It's all about all of us really. We are all here together and we are all learning the same lessons.  We are all learning to love. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Stop Looking "Out There". It's All Inside of You.

This is a story I heard when I was in undergraduate school. 

God was working with his angels to find the best place to put Truth. "Put it on the top of the highest mountain." one angel said.  "Man will never climb that high." "Place it deep in the deepest ocean." another said.  "Man will not dive so far into the depths." "Bury it deep inside the earth where man cannot reach it by digging." said the third angel.

God considered all the possibilities and then thoughtfully said "Let's plant it inside man himself.  He'll never think to look there."

God knows we need to possess truth but that we also need to continually be in search of it to lead the fullest and finest life.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Coming Out of the Shadows and Stepping into Myself

I was told I needed to "brand" myself if I wanted to be a serious author. No longer able to hide behind my dog Jack, I spent the past weekend putting together an author blog and website. 

Greetings from my new domain.

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