Monday, August 31, 2015

Father and Daughter Collaborate On Story of War

Some of the richest stories come to us through family. In A Portrait of Love and Honor, ideals, the meaning of the Vietnam War and a man's belief that honor should never be compromised are explored. That story was based on memoirs left behind by my late husband, John M. Cavalieri.

In this guest post, I’m featuring author Charlene Briggs whose book, Letters to Lida, represents a unique collaboration with her father, David J. Lemal, who served as a tail-gunner in a B-29 during World War II. His letters sent home to his mother, Lida, and his reflections on those letters, form the book's narrative. 

Although our books are quite different, both are testament to how preserving letters, memoirs and personal history often pave the way to tell a deeply human story.

I first met Charlene when our children attended elementary school and I was a journalist. We got reacquainted when she came to the Women's Writing Circle. Now, she and I will be teaming up in our local community on a book talk: A Tale of Two Wars.

Please welcome Charlene to the Women's Writing Circle as she shares the 'story behind the story' of Letters to Lida. ~ Susan

It was a hot August day at Springton Manor Estate in 1996 when World War II showed up uninvited at my garden wedding. Three hours into the reception, Dad collapsed from a heat stroke and layer after layer of combat trauma bubbled up to the surface.

Dad was a B-29 tail-gunner and was stationed in the Pacific where he flew 22 missions over Japan. In the fifty years since his discharge, he never spoke of the war. Now, WWII permeated the air. Kneeling on the ground in my wedding dress, I held the hand of a 23 year-old young man and had the privilege of peering into the world of hell etched on the pages of his heart.

Through his dialogue I saw dead bodies washing up on the beaches of Iwo Jima, I saw his plane in a nosedive falling toward the Sea of Japan with engines on fire and him pinned in the tail of the plane facing his last moments of life, I saw him feeling for his legs that went numb when flak tore off the plane on both sides of him, scene after horrific scene…. He pleaded, “Please, I can’t kill anymore” and I felt the torment I never knew existed.

Dad did not return from the war until the next day when he recovered in the hospital. It was then, I realized that war is never over. The resonance of conflict takes up residence in the heart and lives of those who serve. It was then that I began to grasp the depth of gratitude we owe our service people. The daily privileges of freedom we enjoy exist by virtue of their sacrifices. And how little we know of those sacrifices of service.

Several years after my wedding, Dad’s WWII letters surfaced in the attic. Dad wrote 150 letters to his mother, Lida, from the first day of basic training to his long ocean voyage home from the Pacific. Lida kept every letter. I asked Dad to read them to me and share his war experience.

So Letters to Lida was born and is the product of 5 years of collaboration with my father. It is the story of a war hero. It is the story of everyone who serves. Letters to Lida demonstrates, through my father’s story, why war is never over. It also demonstrates the very significant role his mother played in his ability to keep his heart open in the midst of conflict and return home with his great capacity for compassion intact.

Letters to Lida contains all 150 letters Dad wrote to Lida, the transcriptions of those letters and Dad’s reflections on the real story as he read the letters to me. It highlights the silent costs of conflict, when secrets cannot be shared.

At the beginning of our journey into his war story, I asked Dad if he ever thought about the War. He looked at me with his gentle eyes and calmly said, “There hasn't been a day that I haven’t thought about the war." No one would ever know it. He kept his concerns to himself and never let on in any way that WWII still lived on inside of him. Seventy years later, Dad still has nightmares.

Letters to Lida is a war story, told with a feminine twist by a father and his daughter. Readers will catch a glimpse of a bold generation. At 94, Dad has a fully-intact memory and is pleased to answer questions and share his war experiences at book signings. Please visit for information on book orders and upcoming book signings by S/Sgt. David J. Lemal.

CHARLENE BRIGGS is an environmental scientist and educator. She teaches Environmental Science at Temple University as an adjunct professor. To promote ecological literacy, she facilitates the development of outdoor classrooms, local food networks and sustainable landscapes.

Charlene is one of 110 Internationally Registered Bach Flower Essence Practitioners. In her Flower Essence Therapy practice, she uses integrative plant medicine to help individuals and families relieve stress, heal trauma and restore emotional balance and vitality.She lives in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

How many of our service personnel suffer in silence? What are the costs to them and to society? Your comments and thoughts are welcomed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Writing Memoir With Family Members - Denis Ledoux

Please welcome memoir writer and teacher Denis Ledoux to the Women's Writing Circle. In this guest post, Denis offers his own experience writing a memoir about his mother, along with tips and insights for those interested in family history memoir projects.

In the fall of 2009, my mother was 88 years old. I decided that it was time for her to have a memoir. Of course, I knew she wasn’t going to write one herself and so I simply began to write those memories of her that I knew well. Then I told her that I was writing her memoir. Since I had been writing other people's memoirs for many years, she was not surprised that I should be writing a memoir—only surprised that I should be writing hers. Like many people, she thought of a memoir as something that belonged to the rich and the famous—to someone else who was not her.

But, I was not interested in a life of the rich and the famous. I was interested in this woman whose life had spanned most of the 20th century. I felt that I could do an “every woman” memoir—a memoir that could be of interest to readers who did not know her. Perhaps not to readers who wanted titillation certainly, but to the many readers who wanted insight and history

What I learned:

I have written many memoirs of people who have approached me. Writing a memoir is of utmost importance to them. My mother, on the other hand, had not approached me to write her memoir. While she was not averse to having her memoir written, it was not a priority for her.

Certain types of people have an inherent interest in stories. Myers-Brigg Type Indictor categories vary greatly in their interest. An Intuitor is generally interested while a Sensor wants to know why anyone could possibly be interested. My mother was a Sensor. My brother who is a Sensor once disparaged the idea of hiring someone to help write a story. "Who's got that much money to throw around?" The interest is in the genes!

(BTW, if "Sensor" and Intuitor" seems mumbo jumbo and makes a person think "everyone is an individual," then s/he is a Sensor. If the concept is hugely exciting, s/he is an Intuitor.)

This difference in priorities — of my usual clients for whom I am doing an enormous favor in taking them on and of my mother who considered she was doing me a favor by allowing me to write her story — is a major factor to take into consideration when writing someone else's memoir.

The two kinds of memoir subjects:

As you undertake to write the memoir of a family member, keep in mind that there are two kinds of people you can be writing about:

1) Some of your subjects will think that you are offering them an exciting project. They will be as enthusiastic as you are about writing this memoir. They will cooperate with you and be very agreeable to meeting with you and to gathering information to expand on their memoir.

2) Another sort of relative will perhaps shrug her shoulders and say, "What in the world do you want to write about me?” She may use the time you have set aside to sit with her to answer a phone call or two or to do another task which "needs doing." This can be frustrating as you try to move the project along and your subject is, in fact, not cooperating

The second sort of person is not “owning” the project. Sometimes this sort of person can become enthused after you have written a bit more on the project and have shown him what you have gathered. But, it is just as likely that this person will never get enthused.

What to do?

This is your project—yours not theirs

Here’s how I would proceed with a reluctant interviewee:

1) I would continue gathering information from my subject. A memoir requires detail, documentation, and development. I would continue to interview informally—in chitchat, in one surprise focus question, in an observation that calls for a response. Accept that the concept of a formal interview with this person is probably impossible. Use your social time together to gather as much information as possible. In your own subtle way, be directing the conversation to information gathering. Sometimes your subject will find this amusing or she may find it annoying. You will have to play it by ear.

2) The person who is not finding your project to be immensely interesting is likely to be a person who does not provide much detail. This person, while not antagonistic to what you are doing, is not particularly cooperative. Her statements are often in generalities: “In those days everyone did…” “It was really nice to…”

You cannot write a memoir with generalities. Mirror back to the speaker a statement that takes the generality and makes it particular by way of an extension of the thought. “In what year did YOU do…” “When you say ‘nice,’ do you mean you were good at skating?

A conclusion:

In my mother’s case, I kept telling her how much her grandchildren would appreciate knowing more about her life. This kept her “in line” as an interviewee. Even so, she would reach a point when she would insist, “Let’s not do this any more right now.”

Yes, that was the end for that day. While I had hoped to bring my mother’s memoir to a much later date, I had to wrap it up in 1951.

Good luck with writing the memoir of a family member. It’s worth the effort.

Did I succeed with my mother’s memoir? Is We Were Not Spoiled an “every woman” story? You can receive a free PDF version of the book for your perusal. The PDF has many photos, but if you prefer the e-reader version, I can send that. The e-reader version has no photos. If you would like a copy, email The hard copy is also available, but for purchase.

DENIS LEDOUX has ghostwritten dozens of books. He started off writing autobiographical fiction and that morphed easily into memoir. His books are both legacy memoirs which he defines as aimed for family and friends and as literary memoirs which are aimed at a larger public. He is a prolific memoir writer, coach and editor and will be leading the Write Your First Memoir Draft Course for which registrations are being accepted until September 11.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Reflections As a Book Blog Tour Concludes

Have you debated whether or not to invest in a book blog tour?

As the author of three books in five years, I went back and forth on it. I listened to authors who urged “invest in your book" and said, “I want to give my 'baby' every chance to succeed." Others admitted it was a lot of work, but in the end, it helped them hone their marketing message.

My decision was based on how best to try and get the word out to a targeted audience about my novel, A Portrait of Love and Honor, as well as promote my memoirs. All three books comprise a trilogy.

So I took the plunge on a virtual tour, assuming, too, that many who had read my memoirs would be interested in the novel.

The first question I asked the blog tour organization: Can you provide me with any statistics on whether book sales increase due to a tour?

Their answer: ‘no’. The 'perk'; they said: they took over marketing the book, “freeing up the writer to write or spend time with her family.”

I hired Women on Writing (WOW!) a blogging tour service I had become familiar with after hosting authors of memoir and fiction who used them for their tours.

I chose the $350 package, which I felt offered the most "bang for the buck". This bought me 12 to 15 guest blog spots over four weeks, including a lengthy interview and review on the Muffin. I also got shout-outs on Twitter from WOW!  One week after the book review is posted on The Muffin, the same review was supposed to be posted to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.(For some reason, the review of A Portrait of Love and Honor was never posted on Barnes and Noble.)

My targeted audience  - widowed people between the ages of 40 and 65; and people who served in the military. One blog stop was on a site written by a widow. And while I was assured they could find blogger/book reviewers in the service, I suggested the stop where military members might read about my novel. No other stops targeting that audience materialized.

My tour began July 20 and ended last week. Here are my reflections:

My main criticism: Blog tour managers need to vet bloggers before they schedule your tour.

It tends to be a very small circle of people who are blogging and hosting bloggers through this tour service. Like any small circle, some are very professional, some not so much, One blogger who actually does PR for WOW! let us know at the 11th hour that she had “criticisms” about my novel. My blog tour manager was “puzzled” by her reaction. I had my theory on what happened. We let it go and found another stop. 

Another blogger agreed to be part of my tour. Despite several emails trying to firm things up, she never got back to us with a date to run my post. Since I had already written the post, we quickly found another stop.

Despite those "hiccups", most of the bloggers were fabulous: their sites are appealing. They showcase your interview or guest post making it readable and eye-catching. I thank all of them. And I hope to return the favor when their books come out. 

Other Tips and Insights:

Be creative. Offer readers more than a 'buy my book'' tour. My goal: to offer writing tips and other information that complements my work with the Women's Writing Circle and women finding voice through writing.

Repurpose some of your blog posts. You don’t have to invent the wheel all over again. I added to, enhanced, or offered new information on each of my repurposed posts, which on average ran 500 words.

Write about the 'story behind the story' which is what I did with this post, “a romance not in standard form". I also discussed that in my Muffin interview.

Some bloggers offered space for excerpts from the novel. This is an added plus.

Provide your own photographs tailored to each site. I began doing this mid-way through the tour. For a post on writing groups I sent my own photo of a candle holder we use in the Women’s Writing Circle.

I received one review of my book from this blogger.
And this one from another.  Fantastic!

We offered one giveaway through the Rafflecopter on the Muffin interview. I agreed to offer ebooks or PDFs for review to each blogger, but no takers.

Would I do it again? The exposure resulted in more followers on Twitter and the Women’s Writing Circle Facebook page.

The time supposedly freed up for writing was spent in writing the blog posts, not on new creative writing.

It's a luxury having a marketing professional pitch your work.

($350 may not sound like much to some; for others, it can pay groceries for a month. In other words, you have to do it because it feels right.)

The blog tour was an experiment . . . an adventure. I owed it to myself to invest in my books. It would have been more "fun" had sales been less disappointing. Who knows? Perhaps,someone will run across a post on the Internet and take a chance on my books.

In the end, each author has to decide whether sales, reviews, or exposure is most important.  I'm giving the whole book blog tour experience a little more time to percolate . . .was the tour 'worth' it? The jury's still out.

Love to hear your thoughts or comments about book blog tours. Have you tried one, or are you considering it?

Monday, August 17, 2015

If You're Taking Social Media Personally . . . and Other Tips

Whoever said social media – Facebook was designed to support us emotionally? Are we ever supported 100 percent or even close to that in our real lives, even by friends and family? Of course not. Why should social media be any different?

Here’s the bottom line: As an author entrepreneur, don't take Facebook or social media personally.

Lately, I’ve run across blog posts by writers and authors who worry how many 'likes' their comments, posts or photos generate - or don't. They compare themselves to others who they believe luxuriate in dozens of 'likes' and kudos about their books, their blogs, their photos of bees, butterflies, and sunsets  . . . while they go unnoticed and unsupported.

They seem to think the purpose of social media is to win a popularity contest.

Most authors I know are aware that Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ are free vehicles to get the word out about their books and events. It represents an opportunity as an indie author to stay ahead of the way traditional publishers have largely marketed in the past. It's not just about 'buy my book' but establishing your credentials as a writer and reinforcing your platform and giving fans and friends a small window into who you are and, hopefully, gaining contacts and followers.

A person who writes historical fiction may post pictures of flowers, fields, and homemade soups. An author who writes love stories shares photos of lovers. Photos of family and friends are often favored by memoir writers, as are blog posts about writing as a way of healing. It's all very nice. But it doesn't mean we have to 'like' every single photo, comment or blog post.
If you want  personal “relationships”, then the best way to achieve that is in person, in your real life . . .  not on Facebook or Twitter.

Remember high school when girls cut other girls out of their cliques?  Guess what? It's still happening! So what? We're not in high school (or Kansas) anymore.

Both my sons are Millennials. Their take on Facebook:  "Don’t take it seriously. Most of it is b***s *** anyway."

Still . . . it's not hard to understand why some women, especially, are feeling wounded. From recent studies we know that women are significantly more likely to engage in social media than men. We also know through studies that the majority of “the negative feedback given to women include some kind of personality criticism, such as comments that the woman was ‘abrasive,’ ‘judgmental’ or ‘strident.’ Only 2 percent of men’s critical reviews included negative personality comments.” (Salon, Sept. 2014)

The same may be said of social media. Women are often judged and shunned. Remember how mean-spirited and personal the comments directed at EL James on Twitter were when she put herself "out there" for Fifty Shades?

Tips on Social Media Etiquette:

If you post about yourself or your work, don’t beat yourself up for feeling ‘narcissistic’. It’s natural to use a free and easy medium to generate awareness about your work, your goals, your future projects . . . your interests. Just don't do the 'buy my book' mantra to the detriment of everything else.

Don’t be hurt if no one comments or ‘likes’ your post. That doesn’t mean they haven’t read it. They might have nothing to say, are pondering, or are just disinterested.

And PLEASE don’t ask your Facebook “friends” to leave a couple words on “how you met”. Who cares if people unfollowed you? Why do you need to know? Answer: you don’t.
Be gracious and express gratitude for the support you do receive from fans and friends. Respond and/or ‘like’ their comments.

If you feel a reluctance to “engage”, then don't.

If you’re feeling angst and “what’s it all about?”, take a break from social media. Use the time to rejuvenate yourself and your business. Come back with a renewed purpose and enjoyment and understanding of social media's limitations.

As a business person/author, don't  ever, ever become emotionally invested in Facebook or other social media outlets.

Love to hear your comments, thoughts, observations. And if you don't feel like responding to this blog post, I swear I won't be offended!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Breaking News! The Aniston/Jolie Saga Comes To a Close

This is the silly season. The season of farce. From Donald Trump's outrageous antics to the unending 24/7 news cycle and cable television shows, all  clawing for our attention and limited free time, who has energy to read or focus on much of anything?

It's mind-boggling.  I remember I dedicated an entire evening for three straight weeks two years ago to watching Breaking Bad!

So in that spirit . . . I’m so happy Jennifer Aniston FINALLY got remarried . . . has escaped the quintessential girlfriend role, who even at 40 plus was still trying to figure out her relationships with boys. (Break Up with Vince Vaughn.)

More than that, has the Jolie/Aniston saga finally come to a close? If you believe the media - who loves to play up the competition and adversarial relationship between women - Jen was frozen in time, forever lamenting her one true love – Brad Pitt, a larger-than-life man stolen away by the wicked temptress. Such drama, such tragedy!

How draining and taxing that image of the perfect All-American girl must have been for Jen . . . streaked blond, shoulder-length tresses coiffed to perfection . . . size four figure perfectly poured into molded jeans. Forever the middle-aged "girlfriend" (never wife)  on the cover of every supermarket magazine and tabloid for the whole world to gawk.

A publicist's dream fueled by unending gossip and rumors and readers living vicariously! 

For years we watched Jen running around with the latest "friend" – in oversized sunglasses and undersized bikini. Jen with yet another new rock star boyfriend . . . the seemingly endless parade of men, who eventually dumped the honey-haired "hottie" because she was "too needy," "too grief-stricken" over losing Brad, too . . . whatever.

While  we read accounts (even in the New York Times) of how the Jolie/Pitts traveled the world and made a difference, there was poor Jen, struggling to keep up a brave front, always smiling, wearing the same sophisticated black sheath, simple but elegant black watchband, understated jewelry, if any . . .
How long did Jen try and establish herself as more than the dull, uninspiring woman who could hardly compete with a feminist force like Angelina?  The Jolie/ Aniston arena consisted of two women vying in a never-ending catfight over a man – only, for Jen, it always ended with once again being treated as an airhead.

(Who can write a novel or memoir to compete with this?)

Even her attempt at serious moviemaking, sans make-up and scarred face – her role in Cake - captured our heartstrings and attention.  Jen earned grudging admiration – albeit derision from “important” critics who wondered how she could possibly play a drug-addicted, grieving mother in chronic pain since her own life was so dazzlingly financially successful and we all knew it was about the money, anyway, right? (Personally, my favorite actresses are Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock, and Helen Mirren. But I digress.) I have to give Jen credit. She tried . . .

Maybe this is why Jennifer finally remarried; hopefully, she loves Justin Theroux, or maybe she felt that need to be called ‘wife’ again . . . to move beyond the girlfriend stage of pubescent love. Sooner or later it’s time to grow up – put the past behind us even when we’re  struggling to stay relevant. At least the Jolie/Pitt/Aniston saga seems to have finally ground to its inevitable end. Our Jen is happily married. She's all grown up. And that's good news for women.

Monday, August 3, 2015

A Writer Waits . . . Is Another Book Just Over the Horizon?

My summer has been filled with writing –  crafting a dozen guest blog posts for my new book’s blog tour, writing a monthly newsletter . . . weekly blogging for the Women’s Writing Circle. But what about my next project? Is there another book in me?  

I’ve spent some of the summer pondering – what do I write next?  As the cicadas’ cacophonous chatter signals . . . summer is drawing to a close. I think how I’ve always worked best in the fall – it’s a time of new beginnings, a new start.

I'll be teaching memoir in the fall, I have gained several new editing clients in recent weeks . . . and the Women's Writing Circle . . .  teaching workshops and facilitating read around and workshopping sessions continue to energize me.

But ... is another book just over the horizon? I’m convinced of one thing – a writer  - this writer - cannot move forward with another book unless she believes in it and its message.  Writing is about passion, feeling energized by your story and the message you hope to impart to your readers. Writers are activists, they want to make a difference, leave their readers with something of value . . . hopefully, something lasting. Writers care about the truth.

I’ve begun making a checklist of what is important as I hone in on and ponder a possible new book project.
  • What kind of story energizes me in the morning to get up and write?
  • What message do I wish to impart to my readers?
  • Which story is one that only I can tell?
  • Am I emotionally ready to dig deep – yet again?

In writing downtimes, it helps to read. I’m reading several books right now . . . Joe McGinnis’ Heroes (a memoir about the author’s quest for the vanished American hero) and Jenna Blum’s Those Who Save Us (a novel about Nazi Germany, the mother/daughter relationship and family secrets). 

Reading helps take the edge off the intellectual need to be penning my own book. It is relaxing and a learning process. What do I like about this writer’s style?  What are the takeaways? What message resonates?

I’ve written a few “scenes” for a possible next novel, which I suspect I will throw away.

I admit that it has not been easy to decide where to go from here.  As a person who has been writing and crafting stories since I was 16 years old, I always knew I would be a writer. It came as naturally and as necessary as breathing. But for now, I wait.

I particularly love this quote I found by Australian short story writer and novelist Tim Winton.
“Writing a book is a bit like surfing . . . Most of the time you’re waiting. And it’s quite pleasant, sitting in the water waiting. But you are expecting that the result of a storm over the horizon, in another time zone, usually, days old, will radiate out in the form of waves. And eventually, when they show up, you turn around and ride that energy to the shore. It’s a lovely thing, feeling that momentum. If you’re lucky, it’s also about grace. As a writer, you roll up to the desk every day, and then you sit there, waiting, in the hope that something will come over the horizon. And then you turn around and ride it, in the form of a story.”

How about you? How do you decide  - or find - the stories you want to write? 

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Widow's Memoir Moment By Kathleen M. Rehl

It's my pleasure to welcome Kathleen M. Rehl to the Women's Writing Circle. An author and highly-respected financial planner for widows, Kathleen shares a widow's "memoir moment" in her guest post. 

I met Kathleen last month at the Women's Voices Women's Visions symposium in Saratoga Springs, NY. We immediately connected and shared stories. ~ Susan

Tom died of liver cancer on February 12, 2007. (We widows always remember the death date.) He and I were married for 19 years. We had a blended family, including my son from my prior marriage and Tom's two sons. We didn't have kids of our own together.

When Tom died, I was devastated initially. That's because he was my everything—husband, playmate, business partner, best friend, a loving stepfather of my child, and a wonderful cheerleader for my success as a financial planner. He was truly my soul mate. 

I had to find a new passion and purpose after Tom's death. That's what led to my writing Moving Forward on Your Own: A Financial Guidebook for Widows and to helping teach professionals how to work effectively with widows. This work  is my calling, my personal ministry. Assisting others has helped to heal my own grief after Tom's death. I am blessed.


I saw it immediately as I drove into my garage after returning from an enjoyable evening out with friends. There it was — rusty red water, slowly snaking across the sloping concrete floor.

My eyes followed the meandering mess back to its source. My hot water heater was hemorrhaging a nasty fluid from a top valve. The stuff slithered down the side of the tank, leaving a rusty streak before hitting the floor and spreading out. YUCK!  

My first thought was, “Am I jinxed or what?” That’s because just a few days before, at 2 AM in the morning my home security system malfunctioned. This set off an ear-splitting alarm and simultaneously sent a “panic” code to the Sheriff. Within minutes a law enforcement officer was at my front door . . . with me explaining that I was OK. Just a false alarm, which necessitated a service call the following day.  And the week before, my computer went on the blink. That resulted in a repair technician’s visit.

So, as I watched that red rusty water flowing, I immediately thought about contacting yet another fix-it guy. Before going to bed I looked for a plumber on Craig’s list and checked the yellow pages. Too many choices and too late at night, so I finally just went to sleep.

Next morning I woke up hoping that maybe I had imagined the problem or that the water heater had miraculously healed itself overnight. No such luck. Peeking into the garage, I saw that the rusty water was oozing even faster from the water heater. Better make a decision soon, I decided, before the tank might blow like a geyser.

But just as I was about to select a plumber at random from the yellow pages, I heard a guardian angel whisper in my year, “Check the warranty. There’s a file in the green cabinet.”  So I did just that and miraculously found the water heater manual, including a phone number to call! I contacted the manufacturer and to my delight learned that my warranty had four months to go before expiration. The helpful service rep put me in touch with a local plumber, who came to my house that same afternoon. He efficiently replaced my water heater with a brand new unit for free, with only a small service call fee.  Within a short time beautiful clean, hot water was flowing from the house faucets again.

This is what life is. Stuff breaks. And it’s not just the stuff of life that changes. It might be a broken relationship . . . a job lost . . . a dream unfulfilled . . . a debilitating physical challenge . . . death of a loved one . . .  or  ______________________ (you fill in the blank).  Life is full of imperfections. Sometimes we can fix these things with the help of good repair guy or gal, or friends who care, or family members who love and support us. Sometimes a guardian angel intervenes. But there are times when we can’t fix the situation, and we learn to adapt and go on because that’s part of life, too.

I’ve been blessed with many good “repair folks,” in my life and I’m grateful for them. I hope you have these resources to lean on when you need them, too. And I’ll bet there are even times when you’ve been a repair person for somebody else and have helped them, also.

Now . . . if I can just keep things working right for the next few weeks I’ll be very happy! ~ 'Rusty Red Water' Moving Forward on Your Own: A Financial Guidebook for Widows
Kathleen M. Rehl, Ph.D., CFP®, CFT™ is a leading authority on widows and their financial issues. She shares insightful experience and expertise through her speaking, writing and mentoring. A widow herself, Kathleen is passionate about inspiring her “widowed sisters” in transition and their advisors. She wrote the multi-award winning book, “Moving Forward on Your Own: A Financial Guidebook for Widows.” Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Kiplinger’s, and many other publications. The U.S. Army also uses her guidebook in their Survivor Outreach Services centers worldwide.