On Wednesday’s I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.
Some bloggers love them and others think they are a useless waste of time. 4-years- ago, when I was a brand new blogger I thought it would be a good idea to try one. The A-Z April Blogging Challenge was started in 2010 by Los Angeles Blogger, Arlee Bird. http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/
I’m so happy to introduce you to Ruth Curran. Of the bloggers I look forward to meeting in real life she is definitely in my top five. Ruth and I have a few things in common, one of which is we both shared a traumatic brain injury in an automobile accident.
Wait till you see the view from her writing space…
Please join me in congratulating Ruth on the release of her book, Being Brain Healthy.
Ruth drew on her experience successfully overcoming a traumatic brain injury suffered in an automobile accident to become an expert on maximizing brain health and function through lifestyle modification and “turning up the noise on life.” Curran is passionate about the connection between the brain and daily functioning and believes everyone—regardless of age or stage of life—has the ability to use neuroplasticity to live a richer, deeper, more fully engaged life. She has created a series of photo-based thinking puzzles, games, and apps that help players work on cognitive abilities such as attention, memory, and executive functioning. Curran has a master’s degree in cognitive psychology as well as more than 28 years of experience as a strategist, business development executive, and organizational behaviorist.
Back of the book:
The journey to wellness when coming back from a brain injury can be a long one. It is one author Ruth Curran knows well. Faced with myriad cognitive challenges after her own traumatic brain injury resulting from an automobile accident, Curran decided to “turn up the volume” on the things that she loved in order to expedite the healing of her brain. She found ways to work through the discomfort and discouragement that can plague those suffering from traumatic brain injury as well as other conditions, chronic illnesses, and age-related changes that affect cognition and brain health.
In Being Brain Healthy, Curran shares her 18-month path to recovery along with the techniques she used—and continues to use—to amplify her everyday experiences with the goal of maximizing brain health and function. Her book is one of hope, not only for those whose brains have been compromised through injury or illness, but also for anyone who wants to think better and improve their cognitive abilities.
Curran has the unique ability to share her insights on brain health and healing in a manner that makes complex neuroscience matters make sense to even those taking their first frustrating steps toward recovery. Convinced that everyone can build better thinking skills and work their way out of what she calls “the fog” regardless of its cause, Curran shares how she did exactly that and made her entire life more fulfilling.
Being Brain Healthy combines the most cutting-edge research with what works in practice and fits in daily life. Curran helps readers understand how the brain and body work together and how the partnership between the two can be utilized to create a more healthy brain. Curran outlines how the newest science, activities, and exercises can help those with thinking challenges make the most of every day. Her “being” brain healthy methods—and book sections—include Be Active, Be Social, Be Engaged, Be Purposeful, and Be Complicated.
Also included in the book are personal stories from individuals on their process recovering from brain challenges. Their accounts along with insight and information from Curran will inspire readers to amplify their experiences and take their own brain functionality to the next level.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Hammond, IN, one block away from the IN / IL state line – a short train ride from Downtown Chicago.
Did you grow up in a home that promoted reading or writing?
My mom was a teacher and preached the value of books, good grammar, and an ample vocabulary. She shared her love of reading with my brother (a recently retired English teacher) and me. It seemed as if my mom always had at least three books on her night stand, a newspaper in her lap, and a stack of New Yorkers waiting for her. As I got older, books were my escape. When I was a teenager my aunt got me into reading mysteries. We picked authors (and their detectives) and followed them from start to finish. I waded my way through bogs, pubs and smoke filled interrogation rooms, and strolled along the streets of so many foreign cities courtesy of amazing mystery writers – ones that took me somewhere I had never been and seamlessly planted me right in the middle of daily life. I am always reading something, listening to at least one audio book, and have a stack of publications calling me.
Do you have a dedicated writing space?
Have you always wanted to write a book or were you compelled to write this one for personal reasons?
I remember the day that my freshman English teacher, Mrs. Chang, told me I was good writer. I was shocked. My handwriting and spelling were (and still are) horrendous so I was used to pages filled with red marks and comments about the benefits of taking my time and neatness – nothing beyond the surface and certainly nothing about the quality of my writing. Enter Watergate and Woodward and Bernstein and my passion for writing took another turn. I was going to be a great investigative reporter. Life, as it does, eventually led me in a different direction but every job I had involved some kind of writing. I don’t think I ever saw myself writing a book until recently. This book got in my head a couple years ago and it was not letting go. I started out writing a much expanded version of my blog on brain health, brain healthy lifestyles, and that connection between how we act and how we think. It was good information with great practical, everyday application but it was not relevant. With great prompting from a dear friend, I saw that I had to tell the story of how I got here and to own the fact that the value of my journey was being lost – especially if I just kept it locked up in a safe in my head.
Other than physical damage to the brain due to injury or illness, what psychological or sociological factors might affect one’s brain health?
The two biggest issues are stress and social isolation. Prolonged stress or periods of isolation – physical, psychological, or sociological –can change how your brain works and how well you adapt to future situations. Both of these conditions can re-wire your brain in the long run.
What is the number one thing people should do daily to boost their brain health?
Smile. Your brain and your body are programmed to reward those things that make you feel good. Smiling is the fastest route to feeling good.
What are some common misconceptions people have about brain health?
There are two misconceptions about the brain that make me absolutely crazy. First, we are born with a certain number of brain cells and there is nothing we can do to make more. That is so wrong. We can absolutely encourage our bodies to grow new neurons and, beyond that, we can encourage our neurons to form new connections. Second, older brains don’t perform as well as younger brains. That too is untrue. Older brains may perform differently but definitely not worse.
Ruth shares her insights and proven techniques for amplifying everyday experiences at
To buy the book:
Having something to look forward to is the key for me when it comes to forward momentum. I am certainly blessed to have more than enough to look forward to in my immediate future it just looks like I may need a couple of bucketfuls of salt for traction.
I will post an entry in the Keep Moving Forward Challenge every Thursday from now through March 2015. To join in on the journey, use the comment section to tell us about how you “kept moving forward” that week. Write about it on your own blog site (and include the link in the comments), make a video, and/or use the hashtag #KeepMovingForwardChallenge on social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).
The Challenge creator and host is Kelly Deeny:
Please make sure to use #KeepMovingForwardChallenge on social media so that we can comment, like, share, favorite, or re-tweet!
This past week has been so busy I feel like I am spinning in circles and when I try to get out of the spin I slide right back in. Actually I did a lot of actual sliding this week. Tuesday night when I left the nursing facility where I’ve been working I had to sit on my butt and slide to my car. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. There was no way to walk safely. If only there was a video of me trying to scrape the inch of ice off of my car with a travel mug because my scraper shattered. The ride home was slow but what really matters is I made it home with all of my bones and my car intact.
This morning’s drive to the nursing facility was just as slippery but it is the prettiest snow of the season. I am hoping it is all clear tomorrow because I have a morning flight to Nashville for a blogging conference. I am looking forward to learning and being inspired to move my blog and my writing career to the next level. I am also beyond excited to be finally meeting so many blogging and Facebook friends in real life. #BAMC15
I am so grateful that Saturday’s weather was cold, but dry and people including my friends from Lower Bucks Creative Explorers were able to make it safely to our Press Club Professional Development Workshop. This one was one of our best, so far. Our presenters were Philadelphia News ‘royalty,’ Jim Donovan, Susan Barnett and Debra Wallace. They were engaging, fun and so informative.
I still haven’t received my production schedule for The Stranger In My Recliner. I am so ready to see Sophie’s story in print.
My big writing accomplishment for the week was outlining my post titles for the A-to-Z Challenge. I still need to write the posts but it is a baby step forward. I am looking forward to the theme reveal later this month. If you need a challenge I highly recommend the A-to-Z. For more information and to sign up:
What keeps you moving forward when you feel like you are stuck in a spin?
Photo: Kelly, Me, Camille, Jim Donovan, Maria and Toni.
Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments post and link back to our host Mrs. 4444 at Half-Past Kissin’ Time.
It’s not too late to join in on the fun and we would love to have you!
It has been a month since I last participated so I am full of fragments.
I had another jaw surgery the first week of January. This was the 7th surgery on my jaw/mouth in 2 ½ years. This one was rough. I am SO glad that one is done. It feels so good to be eating real food again!
One month from today I will be in Nashville for the very first BAM blogging conference. I am so excited that I will be meeting in person, some of the most supportive blogging friends. Did I say I was excited?
Those of you, fragmenters that know me know that the first week of March my husband and I always attend bike week in Daytona Beach.
Because of the BAM conference we will be leaving 3 days late. It’s a good thing bike week is actually 10 days long. My plane from Nashville will land in Philly Sunday afternoon and I will hop in the truck and head south. I’m sure this song will be playing because John has been singing it to me for a month now.
While I was recovering from surgery we binge watched the first four seasons of Downton Abbey. I had seen a few episodes and I couldn’t wait to catch up. It is so hard to wait till Sunday now.
The sign-up list is open for the April A-Z Challenge! I will be helping out with the challenge again this year and I would love to see your blog on the list! You can find all of the details here:
This time last year I was in North Carolina helping to care for my dear friend Joelle. I cannot believe it has been almost a year since we lost her. #ihatecancer
My long time elderly client has taken a turn. My day job is awfully sad sometimes.
My other job is going very well. The Stranger In My Recliner is about to go into production and I cannot wait to share Sophie’s story with you.
I am going to go watch a mindless, stupid reality show because my head is about to explode from the news.
How did your week go? Seen any movies? Have you had snow?
Have a blessed weekend!
Caregiving and Stress
Nearly ten-million adult children over the age of fifty are caring for their aging parents. With ten-thousand people turning 65 every day and with the trend expected to continue through the year 2020 the numbers are expected to skyrocket and so will the stress.
More and more women are willing to take a financial hit to care for their aging parents. I left my job for eighteen-months to care for my mother-in- law and most recently have been caring for my father long distance. Leaving my job and family in Philadelphia and traveling to Florida to help my mother care for my father is stressful, it takes a lot of planning and I couldn’t do it without a lot of help and good information.
“I’m pleased to partner with Midlife Boulevard to bring you this important public service information about National Family Caregivers Month.”
My friends at Midlife Boulevard have been an online lifeline, full of inspiration as well as valuable information throughout my father’s illness.
It is important to build a network when you are caring for a family member, especially long distance. Enlist neighbors, church members and friends. They may be willing to pick up groceries, do home repairs or provide meals. Ask friends and family members that are not in the area to make scheduled calls, send cards and handwritten notes and care packages. Many people want to help and if you are like me, when someone offers it is so hard to say yes and then tell them what you need. You need to accept whatever help, is offered.
If you are considering hiring outside help, ask everyone in your network online and in real life for recommendations. Even if you can only hire someone for a few hours a week, those few hours will give you peace of mind.
Another way to alleviate stress before it happens is to create a list of where things are in the house in case of an emergency. You want to list the location of the electric panel, the water shut- off valve, have an emergency contact list that includes family to be called (in order) doctors, plumber, electrician, preferred hospital, medications, location of extra keys, pets names and schedules etc… It is a lot of work but in an emergency this information will be priceless.
The most important thing you can do for your loved one as their caregiver is to take care of yourself. Accept or ask for help so you can rest, get out for a walk or just to get out and have lunch with a friend.
While caregiving it is easy to get lost in the business. Remember to sit with your loved one and just be. Watch an old movie, listen to their favorite music with them and reminisce. These are the memories that will matter most to you.
Another valuable resource for me has been the community of caregivers and experts put together by AARP aarp.org/caregiving.
http://youtu.be/Ggjc8u_1ccc Spoon feeding caregiving video
Yesterday I played along with a group of other bloggers in a game of 5 truths and a lie.
Today is the day to fess up and reveal the lie.
I cannot wait to see if I guessed any of the other bloggers lies correctly.
1. My husband and I were married and had our reception at the Jersey Shore, illegally. We did not have a marriage license. The last day it was possible to pick up our license I was stuck in the worst traffic in Philadelphia and then a guy ran into the back of my car. I didn’t make it to the clerks office in time.
We went ahead with the fake wedding and made it official eight-days later with some very special witnesses. These little munchkin’s kept our secret, until now.
2. I had my first child when I was seventeen. This is true. I got married when I was sixteen because my older boyfriend was going in the service and I wanted to go with him. Exactly nine-months after our wedding my daughter was born. I loved being a mom then and I still do. Being a grandmother is amazing.
3. One of my best friends is one of the Jersey Housewives.
A few of you guessed correctly. This one is the lie. I did meet one of the Jersey housewives, we exchanged books and follow each other on social media. She is not one of my best friends, yet:)
4. I have thirteen grandchildren. Oh yes I do! I have been over-blessed and still have a son that isn’t married yet and another son that wants more. Their ages range from 19-4. My oldest daughter, the one I had at seventeen, made me a grandmother when she was twenty-one and I was thirty-eight. When Allyson was three-years-old my younger brother was murdered. A few months later two of my daughters and my daughter-in-law were expecting. Sitting on the porch with Allyson I asked her how I got so lucky to be having three new grandbabies at once. She smiled and told me Uncle David was going to keep sending me babies from Heaven until I wasn’t sad anymore. Oh how I love that girl and she was right. Our family had a population explosion and it only recently slowed down.
5. I ride a Harley.
I do. I prefer to just ride with my husband because Philly isn’t motorcycle friendly. Florida is more my speed because I am not a fan of being cold. I am thinking about getting a cute trike to ride around on when we are in Florida.
6. My husband brought home a homeless woman one night and she lived with us for nearly three years. This is true. Sophie was eighty-years-old and homeless. I tell her story in my next book The Stranger in My Recliner. It will be out next year.
Now you know more about me than you did yesterday. What surprised you the most?
5 Truths and a Lie
One of my favorite things about blogging is getting to know so many fabulous people. Today we are writing 5 truths about ourselves and one lie. How well do you know me? Can you guess the lie?
1. My husband and I were married and had our reception at the Jersey Shore, illegally. We did not have a marriage license.
2. I had my first child when I was seventeen.
3. One of my best friends is one of the Jersey Housewives.
4 I have thirteen grandchildren.
5. I ride a Harley.
6. My husband brought home a homeless woman one night and she lived with us for nearly three years.