A Reflection of Who I Am

Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

Brazen Third Ager: Aging Well


Looking back on the last year, I know I am blessed. If you follow me on facebook and twitter you know 2015 was a challenge for my family and me. We are believing in 2016 opportunities to build a more stable foundation to live out the rest of our years.

I turned 65 in 2015, and I committed myself to not to do anything to age prematurely. And by premature aging I wasn’t concerned too much with the outward appearance such as wrinkles, sagging and gray hair. I was concerned with emotional and mental aging. I thank God I have fallen in love with reading, writing and arithmetic. Yes the three fundamental skills I struggled with as a child in elementary school.

Reading and Writing

Reading and writing are my passions. I don’t necessarily read alot of books, but I read and research information I need to help my author clients and myself write. I do a lot of reading for my Biblical Institute classes. Last year it was Old Testament Survey, Christ and Culture and The History of the New Testament.

I’ve read and edited manuscripts prior to their publication by Karen Foote -“Crossover – Death to Life”; Crystal Cambisaca -“Isaiah’s Gift of Hope”; Rev. Harold Sutton – “Do The Hard Thing Train Up A Child”; Andrea Gadson – “Released In Search of a King”; Diane Renee – Sacred Diaries – Vol 1: Reflection. I am currently reading and editing: “Yea, Thou I Walk Through the Valley” by Lois Dais-Kelley; “In Search of – MRL” by David Dutton; “Still I Stand – A Journey to Purpose” by Prophetess Minister Mary Height. I have a few more projects which I am working on, but the three I mentioned are ready for production this month (January 2016).

I’ve also added a service to convert print books to Digital format. Zee Browne at Soul Bites Studio took advance of my service. So if you have a book you self-published and would like to digitize it let me know.

Arithemetic 

I realized finally that I can only work on x number of projects at a time. Especially since I was not charging in a way which allowed me to keep up with my cost of living. So this year I have changed my business model. I am definitely not ready to retire. I have too many skills and gifts to use. I am emotionally and mentally sound and actively looking to help first time and aspiring writers get their writing projects off the ground.

So premature aging is not an option for me. God has blessed me with a mission to help his people write their testimonies in memoirs, non-fiction and fiction formats.

Deborah Wilson Smart is author of “Pearl the Little Light That Shines” a look back at a child’s life in the 50s and 60s told by Pearline Richardson. (Middle to Third Age Generation)
“Hadana and the Skating Club” a story of childhood confusion in dealing with an angry adult.
(Grade School -3rd grade plus)
“Joy Comes Through the Mourning” a compilation of letters, journal entries, poetry and short stories written to help get through the grieving process.
(Young, Middle and Third Age Generation)

 

 

Collectibles or Junk


2015-07-21 14.01.44A Repost from The Pearline Oyster – P. J. Richardson’s blog

My associate, Deborah Smart and I took up residence last month in The Village of Wilsondale just over the bridge in New Castle County, Delaware. While packing up our stuff, we decided to sell some of the items which were definitely collectible or antique. We found a wonderful location in Sicklerville called Carnival of Collectables and Antiques. Before you try to point out I misspelled Collectables, I did not. That is how they spelled it.

One of our prized possessions is a Bob Macke designed African Goddess Barbie doll (Watch him talk about it on You-Tube). We have wonderful pottery from McCoy and Haegar. We are still loading up our brass collection which includes bells, horse ornaments, lamps and a candle holder. We have a set of 4 vintage brass goblets; a complete Bewitch board game, and we are setting up more each week.

Working with collectibles fits in with our writing The String of Pearl series. Carnival has rows and rows of vendors who are selling memorabilia items from the past. It’s a wonderland of memories. I will be in and out of the store, so I hope to meet you. You will probably run into Deborah because she is also holding a Boomer’s Writer’s Group there every 3rd Wednesday of the month.

The world of collectibles is a new venture in stimulating writing down memories. If you are thinking about writing a memoir, biography or fictional stories from the past, I hope you come out and explore Carnival of Collectables and Antiques. To answer the question; Collectible or Junk…we are definitely selling Collectibles.

Unpacking Memories: Sifting and Retaining


Sifting through the research papers and notes.

Sifting through the research papers and notes.

The hardest thing for me to do is to trash my paper memories. I did a lot of research about building a publishing company. I originally wanted to specialize in children’s books…picture books and chapter books for elementary grades K-5. I’m not sure why I was drawn to that age group. It might be because a lot of my early life experience set the stage for my emotional intelligence. Alas, outside influences eventually turned me to working with adults whose life stories were so compelling I had to help them get them published. The outside influences were the people, places and things which exposed me to the Word of God.

Yesterday I began sifting through the research papers collected in the past 15 years; and taking notes of key points I need to retain. I’m not finished growing. I pray I never lose the desire to learn and grow as a publisher, writer and mentor.

Unpacking Memories – Emails, Emails, Emails


I found a folder with 50 or more emails from 1999 to 2000. I was not equipped to respond favorably to all of the submission and query letters. As I read through the emails again, I wondered if they ever found a publisher to take on their project. I even searched on Google for one.

Her name was Maria. No last name, just Maria. She was from Russia. She enclosed the title and identified 23 chapters. She was also seeking asylum. There were a number of books with similar sub-titles but not by an author named Maria.

I received an email from a poet in his seventies. I wondered if he lived a long and healthy life and if he was still waiting for his book of 100 poems to be published.

The following is an excerpt from that article. If you have read it before, just skip past it to the # # #.

Writer Gets Creative About Publishing
(Excerpted from a Philadelphia Inquirer column by Ewart Rouse, “In Business,” 12/21/99.) 

After too many rejections of her manuscripts by mainstream publishers, aspiring writer Deborah Karper of Voorhees, NJ was toying with the idea of self-publishing her fiction when she met Gary La Forest.

Jake Garrison, Garrison Printing with Deborah Karper 1999

Jake Garrison, Garrison Printing with Deborah Karper 1999

LaForest, a Philadelphia resident . . . had been managing the speaking tours of Dave Goerlitz, who was RJ Reynolds’ leading Winston Man between 1980 and 1986 and is now an anti-tobacco activist. He had been trying without success to get publishers interested in a book on Goerlitz, the “golden boy” in those ubiquitous billboard ads.

Karper found Goerlitz’ story so compelling that she promptly launched Gladstone Publishing. . . “My intention was to go off and write and publish my own stories, but it was an opportunity to help Gary and Dave get their book out,” Karper said.

Karper has not stopped there. . . . She was back at the printer, going over proofs of a second manuscript, NO NONSENSE, NATHAN!, a children’s book by a business associate, Paula Nolte. Like LaForest, Nolte had shopped around her book to publishers, but received no takers. Karper liked the story and the illustrations, and a first run of 2,000 copies is set. . .

. . .”I want to do about 10 books a year, all children’s books,” Karper said. “Where would I find my writers? In supermarkets, daycare centers, on the bus, the Web . . . I’ve gotten 5 manuscripts from people who have seen our website. . .”

. . . Future books will be edited by LaForest, who has helped a number of public figures, including the Winston Man, write and sell their stories, and Karper will hire other professional editors.

. . . She has the full backing of her husband Donald, who is an engineer. In fact, it was Donald who landed her next writer — Iris Calaci, formerly of Voorhees, now of Florida.

The book, MATTHEW MOUSE, is one of the 10 books she plans to publish next year. It is a “diversity story” about a church mouse who learns to get along with Christian, the cat. A sequel, in which Matthew and Christian take off for the big city, is planned.

Karper, who is African American, said she also hoped to team up with LaForest to nurture and publish young African American writers in this region. The market for books about African Americans is estimated at $320 million annually in retail sales.

This, LaForest said, is something he is looking forward to. “I know there is poetry out there,” he said, referring to the quality, not the type of writing. “They are trying to get stuff done, and they don’t have many outlets.”

Karper works full time at both Gladstone and Direct Konnections (her computer consulting firm she founded 15 years ago.) She said she hoped to get Gladstone to a point, conceivably in 2 years, where she would not need the income from Direct Konnections to support it.

At that time, Karper hopes, she will be able to go back to her postponed dream of becoming a published author.

# # #

I was surprised at the speed in which Gladstone Publishing Services became a public name. I won’t say household name, but for the individuals who sought my services, Gladstone was a beacon in the storm.

Some of what is not in this excerpt is the quote from a seasoned book reviewer. He called me a “California Dreamer”. He said I was the type of person who thought they could make something work just because they dreamed it. Well all I have to say is, fifteen years later, I am still dreaming and working to help others achieve their dream.

Animal Talk: An Illustrated Workbook of Animal Sayings

Animal Talk: An Illustrated Workbook of Animal Sayings

From this article, I met Dr. Donald Morse, a dentist and his associate Dr. Marvin Herring, a medical doctor who submitted a query for “It’s a Zoo Out There”. We ended up publishing “Animal Talk: An Illustrated Workbook of Animal Sayings”. It was Dr. Morse’s vision to bring this workbook to ESL teaching programs and Senior Living Facilities. The illustrations were deemed unprofessional by a reviewer; nevertheless the book is a jewel.

My time with Dr. Morse was life changing. I learned more about editing illustrated books from his project than any other project that came across my desk. I also learned about being youthful regardless of my chronological age. Here is a link to an article from Life Extension Magazine. He was a body building champion at the age of 74. Just another influence in who I am today. Not a body builder, but someone who is not on any prescription medicine and young in my mental and emotional outlook on life. I am so thankful for the people God has placed in my life along this journey.

Unpacking Memories – Sylvia’s Room


Reprint:crossroads

Ministry Offers a shoulder, and more, to the grieving
Courierpointonline.com
Kim Mulford – Keeping the Faith

I won’t rewrite this article in full because it touches on a lot of personal information about others who were involved and may not want their names put on social media at this time. I will quote from the article only specifics about “Sylvia’s Room”. The article begins telling the story of a woman who had just lost her husband. He passed away at home as was his wish.

“There were no tears from his wife, not yet. As her family members wondered who to call- 9-1-1? The police? An ambulance?— she was calm. As she had done during her husband’s illness, she called Deborah Karper, a friend and trained volunteer from her church’s new bereavement support ministry called Sylvia’s Room.

“She got everything in motion,” said (the widow), during a phone interview on what would have been her 27th wedding anniversary last week. “She called the pastor’s wife. We got a beautiful funeral home. I didn’t have to do anything. They picked me up and carried me through everything.”

Sylvia’s Room was launched in October as an outreach ministry of Green Grove Baptist Church, led by the Rev. George E. Holland, Sr., in West Berlin. Eight volunteers, called ‘roommates’ meet monthly with the Rev. Albert Griffin, an associate minister at Green Grove, who is also a certified hospice volunteer.

The volunteers are trained to recognize the states of the grieving process, the signs of severe grieving and how to help those in mourning.

The ministry is named for Sylvia Martin, a Green Grove congregant’s mother who died last year.

Volunteers are typically matched with families before the death of a loved one, and remain in frequent contact for 13 months after the death. The church also holds quarterly Sylvia’s Room seminars, inviting people to learn more about life insurance, hospice care, wills and other end-of-life concerns.

The ministry is open to assist anyone, not just church members, said Griffin.

“We believe that with this type of focus, we can help people transition through the grieving process in a more healthy way,” said Griffin.

Volunteering as a roommate is not an easy job, but it is rewarding, according to Karper.

The 57-year-old Atco woman is already familiar with grief. She lost her husband of 20 years to cancer four years ago. When she can, she shares what she has learned with the two women assigned to her.

“Basically, I have been mostly a shoulder to cry on,” said Karper. She reassures them they aren’t going crazy, that their feelings are natural. If a woman is having trouble sleeping at night, Karper tells her to start a journal and write down their thoughts. She is there to listen and to offer spiritual support.

“When they ask for prayer, I try to pray immediately,” said Karper.

Since her husband’s death, (the widow) and Karper talk even late at night. (The widow) is a mother of three—including a 13 year old who still lives at home— thinks God brought her to Green Grove because she would need its help after he husband’s passing.

“Deborah has gotten me through quite a few nights,” she said. “Shes been a blessing to me.”

Although Sylvia’s Room is now a ministry of individuals who take on the task willing and eager to be roommates to those who grieve the lost of a loved one. In 2003 I was widowed after almost twenty years of marriage, and in 2004 my current husband was widowed after 20 years of marriage. It is very hard to ask for comfort when your whole world shifts so dramatically. We both know what it is like to experience the lonely hours after the funeral or memorial service and everyone returns to their lives. A widowed individual is left to start life without their significant other; no matter how good or bad. The emptiness takes time to be refilled and with each person it is different. 

No matter how long time passes; no matter if remarried or not; a widowed person carries their departed loved one with them always. Don’t find it strange. Take my word for it, this is a memory that will always stay with you. 

Unpacking Memories – No Nonsense, Nathan!


Kids’ Reading Fun is “No-Nonsense” at Gladstone
MetroKids-Behind the Scenes
First Printed: July, 2000

No Nonsense, Nathan!

No Nonsense, Nathan!

No Nonsense Nathan is a charming new book from Gladstone Publishing that teaches kids all about the art of compromise and sharing. Two to seven year olds will be able to relate to Nathan, who spends his week not wanting to share or cooperate. When he discovers a magical way to turn everyone to stone and be free to do what he wants, he also discovers that isolating himself can be lonely, and compromise can be fun.

Paula Nolte, Author and Illustrator

Paula Nolte, Author and Illustrator

“This is the first in a series of books about Nathan and his friends,” explained author Paula Nolte. This book series is designed not only to teach life lessons in an engaging way, but also to open up a dialogs between child and parent.
Nolte, who’s been a teacher for 10 years, has seen first hand how challenging it is to raise a little one and work outside the home.
“I’ve taught in England, Canada, and the US,” she said. “After a while I began to observe that children were spending a lot more time in pre-school and daycare. I felt a need to create some stories that parents could share with their children to open up and discuss issues that I felt were important to their age group.”
Nolte is multi-talented. Not only is she a teacher and author, but she has also done the illustrations for the book. Nolte’s illustrations are delightful and rich with detail.
She recently began giving creative writing workshops at elementary schools around the Tri-State area. Children not only get to meet the author, but they learn all about what is takes to produce a book.
“What we’ve done is go into the classroom and give children an illustration from the book.” Nolte said. “Children are asked to observe the picture and then write their own tale of what they feel is happening.
“Then, I teach the kids all about the fine art of editing. In the end, we take the pages they have created and publish their book, which resides in the school’s library,” she said. “The children just love it!” She also autographs the student’s copies of Non Nonsense Nathan and delights in fielding questions from young future writers.

It all started with an interview in the Philadelphia Inquirer. I received over 30 emails from first-time writers looking to get published. But, one of these emails came from “Love Krissy”, a teacher in Harrison Township. It was her class the school program was launched. Somewhere in the many boxes is stored the contributions from her class as they described Nathan or wrote themselves into the story. Hmmm, how long will it take me to find them?

Unpacking Memories – Why I Save Stuff


Unpacking the Memories will document the stories behind the items being examined and judged. I must have given away over 40 bags of clothing (not all mine) deemed unnecessary. They were too small or too big. The wrong design or they just weren’t flattering enough to wear. Unfortunately, some of the clothing still had price tags on them. Going through this process has made me even more aware of my wants versus my needs.

Boxed Memories

Boxed Memories

The question which runs through my mind as I examine each item is, “Was I hoarding or collecting?”

Unpacked So Far

Manuscripts

I found original manuscripts from my first publishing projects.

A) David Goerlitz, Former Winston Man & Associates, Inc. came to me with “Smokescreen” which was titled “Before the Smokescreen” at the time of publication. The book was written for juveniles and young adults. It told Dave’s life experience with being addicted to cigarettes as a teen and rising to become one of Winston’s top models. I remember being nervous about accepting this project, because Dave’s life had been threatened because he testified in congress against the tobacco industry.

B) Paula Nolte – No Nonsense Nathan! Paula was the inside sales representative for the company I consulted from 1992-2002. I was an independent training consultant for Abra! Human Resource and Payroll Software. She had written and illustrated “Nathan” years before coming to work with us. We were away at a conference in Florida. She and I shared a room. She coily asked me if I would be interested in seeing her children’s book. I was delighted and said yes. From out of her suit case she introduced me to Nathan for the very first time.

C) Iris Calaci – Matthew Mouse Iris and my late husband Donald met in the supermarket. She and her husband somehow got into a conversation with Don. I wasn’t present so I don’t know exactly how it all came about. Iris told him about her children’s book and the rest is history. I published “Matthew Mouse” in 2001. I sold quite a few through advertising through the Philadelphia Inquirer.

D) Debra Pedrow – Aunt Debra and My Favorite Things Poster and Aunt Debra and the Snack’n String. What a wonderful project. I was able, along with Debra who lived in the Pittsburgh area, to bring her character to elementary schools and local bookstores for signings and programs. Even though my name is spelled Deborah, people thought the character looked like me because of her wonderful smile.

I am very proud of these projects. I became a publisher when I took on the dreams of these gifted people.I eagerly look forward to finding more wonderful treasures as I continue to Unpack the Memories.

Letters from My Sister Lisa

How precious it was to find these letters and hear my sister Lisa’s voice once again. I share with you my thoughts after my wonderful discovery.

This morning as I unpacked some bags, I came across an envelope sent to me by my mother dated March 21, 2012. When I opened it, I realized they contained letters from my late sister, Lisa to Mom. It was bittersweet to see her handwriting and to read her words. As I read, her face came into my mind’s eye. I could see her smile and her beautiful eyes. She and I were so different. I regret not knowing her better. I regret not having the patience to understand her illness. What she bi-polar or schizophrenic? I don’t remember. But in reading the short notes and letter, I realized despite of her condition, she was an intelligent woman who loved God and lived and died on her own terms.

She wrote, “The prophetic quote is every child arise on earth. They who have peace with themselves are righteous.” How profound. How ironic I found this letter as I have found peace finally with myself. Despite of the transitions were have been experiencing, the Holy Spirit has allowed me to find peace within the storm.

Lisa signed the card, “Rev. Lisa A. Davis”. Sometime ago…in my absence from her life, she dedicated her life to be a Shepherd of God. Did she have a church? Not to my knowledge; but she indeed had a ministry. Even though she moved to Washington homeless, she worked with women at the Woman’s Shelter. I have some paperwork of hers packed away somewhere with more information about the shelter.

In a second note she wrote”

Hi Mom.

Thanks for the blessing… It’s a great city I’m in. The statues are mesmerizing. People are as common as life is made. Snobs do not exist. I was sick now I’m saved…Some women work, some come in from the hospital or nursing homes, a girl was hit by a car. I have to wait some time for my SSI, soon I hope.

Your daughter,

Lisa Ann Wilson

A simple letter that told me, my sister found happiness in a simplistic and Godly life. She wrote phrases like, “Though I’m prayed upon by the wisdom of the spirit, my merciful soul (is) at grace”. “Through the process of life God has my mind at ease in great unwearied hopes that publishes itself, as the evening shade prevail it takes up wondrous tales of new.”

Oh if I could have spent more time with Lisa. Well, that chance is gone. I do have more of her writings and a copy of her published poetry book. Lisa’s memory will continue through my memories and reflections. She will also be a character in “String of Pearl” series.

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