May 12, 2021
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A Moving Experience

February 10th, 2014 by judytalks

A few weeks ago, I could look out my patio door and see beautiful, sweet, juicy oranges in abundance on my orange tree. Today I see tall evergreen trees and mounds of snow on the ground and piled on my balcony. A different view; a different part of the country.

I moved to Edina, MN on January 18, 2014. Yes, it’s cold. but the sun is shining, and the sky is a pale shade of blue. I’m adjusting to the changes while planning on buying more sweaters.

Leaving the Valley of the Sun was not without some pain. In eleven years, I made wonderful friends, participated in fun and informative trips all over Arizona and beyond, and devoted time and energy to worthwhile activities. AZ Blankets 4 Kids, the Choraliers, and my Flying Solo group leave memories that warm me from head to toe.

Coming back to the Midwest also has its perks. Family is here. The change of scenery is invigorating, and the city offers possibilities for personal and professional growth I’ve needed.

Plans for this move have been in the making for a couple of years. Thoughts and prayers have been abundant, as I considered how and exactly where I wanted to live. I must say that I’m happy and contented in my little apartment, even though I’ve been a little house bound because of the severe cold. Never mind. I had plenty to keep me busy. At eight o’clock the morning after I arrived, the moving van delivered 52 boxes, 1 plain chair, 2 tables, a card table and chairs, and my bicycle. Unpacking was my main occupation for over a week, and I’m still not completely settled. I did finally get the bicycle out of the dining room and down to the garage. Since I also sold my car before I moved, I’m learning the Metro Transit system, and working my way up to getting on a bus. Who says change is scary? I feel great!

Just Do It
Judy

Keeping Your Balance

April 25th, 2011 by judytalks

What a year this is proving to be! I’ve been busy since Jan. 1, sorting out writing projects, enjoying book fairs and awards (mine and fellow authors), and riding the roller coaster that is creative writing and publishing.

Balancing the inner self when all around you is whirling is a lifelong task. You probably have your favorite ways to calm the storm and I have mine. Quiet reading, a long walk, yoga, and enjoying friends and family top my list.

I’ve added a couple of very effective ways to keep my inner self relaxed, which, in turn, keeps me more focused and efficient.

Trying to control the universe just wasn’t working so I gave it up. The higher power I call God can do the job better, so I quit. It’s harder than I thought it would be.

Expressing gratitude has become a mainstay on my daily to-do list. Feeling grateful and expressing it are not the same. Saying it, writing it, extending yourself are ways to give back for gifts received. And they help maintain balance. As I count my blessings, I can only say Thank You to everyone who has supported me, listened to me, put up with me, and given encouragement. Here’s to both feet planted firmly on the ground.

Judy

The Creative Spark

March 31st, 2011 by judytalks

I recently had the privilege of speaking to a wonderful group of Girl Scouts who were getting their Writing Badge. Ranging in age from kindergarten to 4th grade, (the youngest were there for the experience), each girl had completed several writing exercises.

We talked about a variety of topics dealing with writing, including genres, author habits, and the benefits of just keeping a journal. All in all, I enjoyed the experience and learned much from them. They like to express themselves and they appreciate a chance to share ideas.

Whenever I have been encouraged, I work harder and devote more time and energy to the project. Support can make the difference between continuing or giving up.

I’ve said before that I love being around children; they’re honest, enthusiastic, and imaginative. However, adults also need to be encouraged. The creative spark can be applied to writing, music, art, sports, and to the task of creative problem solving. LIfe’s ups and downs require sweat and tears. Would that we will always get that extra push when we need it.

Judy

The Year of Magical Planning

March 12th, 2011 by judytalks

A Child’s Grief was published in January, 2010. Even before the manuscript was edited, I began putting together a marketing plan that would inform and encourage grievers and those who help them to become educated about death, grief and loss.

To date, I have reached many, many people. Groups, organizations, in-person discussions, and online social networking has spread the notion that death education doesn’t have to come after the fact in our society. We can learn how to help ourselves and others.

I am gratified to see more openness on this subject, more willingness to talk and listen, more groups and centers that address all the aspects of recovery and healing.

My recent 1st place book award from Reader Views 2010 Book Award contest has given me pleasure and encouragement that I am living my passion. Keeping you informed about bereavement is my heart’s desire, motivated first because I am a survivor, then, as an educator and writer. My most recent endeavor, to become a grief facilitator for grieving children and families strengthens my resolve to forge ahead.

Please avail yourself of the resources on these personal and important subjects on my website, www.survive-strong.com. When trauma strikes, the more you know before hand, the better you will emerge from the awfulness that is mourning. I wish you well.

Judy

Grief Support A Critical Need

February 19th, 2011 by judytalks

Saturday I completed a training program to become a grief facilitator at an excellent center for grieving children. All family members are included and program activties are specific for each age level, including adults. The center is for support, not therapy, and allows as many weeks/months as each family feels they need.

There are more centers, more grief groups, more books, and more programs today than were available ten or fifteen years ago. However, the grieving community remains a hugely underserved demographic in our society. Somehow, we fail to realize the fact of loss, which may include death, divorce, desertion, loss of homes, jobs, and financial security.

I write continually about this subject in books, articles, and my blog. My goal is to educate and inspire, and also to give practical information for dealing with the aspects of loss and bereavement.

The statistics surrounding incomplete healing from loss boggle the mind.

Physical illness
Mental illness
Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol
Incarceration
Abuse
Inability to form healthy relationships
Inability to hold a job
The devastation to individuals, families, and society in general is enormous.

Finding information to become more aware and to learn basic skills in helping yourself or others may take a bit of research. If your community education program doesn’t include grief and recovery, ask for such a class. Senior centers, retirement communities, faith based facilities, and libraries all have ideal locations and space for such programs. Ask for them.

I’m a firm believer that death education should come before-not after- the fact. Death knocks on every door. Each person, every family needs and deserves simple understanding and preparation in the event of a tragedy. It’s a starting point, certainly not complete, but is foundational to healthier mourning and a sense of healing.

As always, I wish you well.
Judy

Lifelong Learning

January 25th, 2011 by judytalks

I am experiencing a very busy week as a participant in an intensive learning program to become a grief facilitator.

The classes have been highly informative, yet relaxed and enjoyable. The anticipated opportunity to work with children and families in a supportive capacity as they grieve fills me with a little apprehension and lots of wonder.

My family experienced loss and mourning twenty years ago this month. There was far less available in the way of help and support. Today, individuals and families may receive the comfort and support they need to truly grieve and to heal.

Meanwhile, I continue to write and look for places to educate. Drop me a line on my website.

Have a wonderful day,

Judy

Wrapping up the Week

January 22nd, 2011 by judytalks

Friday has always been my “crash” day. It was date night in high school – movie and a pizza. In college the books were shoved in a corner and the evening devoted to unwinding.

It’s many years later, but I cling to the Friday night ritual of wrapping up the week. Grief concerns this week focused on writing a booklet for grappling with the immediate aftermath of death and loss. I’m in the editing stage now. I also entered my book, A Child’s Grief Surviving the Death of a Parent in a couple book award contests. We’ll see…..

As the week winds down, I have an all-day training session tomorrow. I’m excited to dig in. The new year is promising to be more focused and in-depth than last year. Better decisions means more contentment.

Hope your week was fruitful.

Judy

The Learning Curve

June 27th, 2009 by judytalks

I’ve been to book marketing school for many months now, and feel I may never graduate. Classes are right here in my tiny office, usually on my computer, but sometimes in books, and occasionally outside in the form of groups and classes sponsored by others. Since I am an author, I realized I needed to gather as much information as I could to market and sell my books. Most authors aren’t good at this part of the process. The one saving element is that I love to learn, and so I approached it with my usual gung ho attitude. Imagine my surprise when I actually began to see some patterns and threads and the whole thing started to make sense.
Here’s what I’m learning: media attention, branding, social networking, personal appearances, radio interviews, website presentation, business management, I could go on and on, but the learning curve has affirmed one thing I’ve always known about education: You’re better going out than when you started. I’m still not crazy about the subject matter, but I see its relevance.
My writing subjects, as you may know, are grief, loss, and recovery. My book, A Child’s Grief Surviving the Death of a Parent will be out sometime this fall. currently, I’m reading Joan Didion’s excellent book, The Year of Magical Thinking. Now that makes complete sense to me. My magical thinking often creeps up on me when I least expect it. As I’ve said many times, “Grief doesn’t go away. We come to terms with it.”
Happy end of June,
Judy

January Thaw

January 22nd, 2009 by judytalks

Winter is beginning to wind down in AZ. and the plants are getting ready for the desert bloom in early Spring.
In my professional life, I, too, am readying myself for new growth and life. My manuscript is almost finished, my website is nearly done, and my business should be up and running soon.
What a crazy year – 2008. The sense of loss permeated every aspect of daily living, and a deep feeling of struggle and recovery saturates this land.
How do people cope? What are the skill sets necessary to pick up the pieces and move forward?
I believe we are a resilient people, open to learning and discovery. I write and speak about grief and have been amazed at the strengths people exhibit in the face of adversity and pain.
I’m looking forward to cactus blossoms, a new published book, and a chance to connect with many more people on my new website. Take care. Judy

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