Mother of Many, As Fast As Words Could Fly

Hi everyone,

I’d like to introduce you to an award-winning children’s author that I met on a social media channel and was impressed at her book and wanted to share her and her book with all of you. Here to introduce herself is Pamela…

Pamela M. Tuck is an award-winning author and mother of 11 children. She has been writing poems and stories since she was a child growing up in Greenville, North Carolina. She is the author of Mother of Many, As Fast As Words Could Fly, the 2007 Lee & Low Books New Voices Award winner, Color Struck and The Adventures of Sheldon, the Mushroom. Pamela credits her writing to her upbringing surrounded by southern storytellers. Her family inspires many of her stories. Although Pamela grew up as an only child, she enjoys the excitement of having a large family.

As a mother of 11 children, I’ve often been asked, “How do you do it?” and told, “You should write a book.” The thought was amusing, but I honestly didn’t think a story about my family would be very interesting. At least not until I joined a 30-day picture book idea challenge in November 2013. I sat in the high school parking lot, waiting for one of my sons (just one of my many tasks for that day). I told my husband, Joel, that I felt like the old woman who lived in a shoe. He replied, “Why don’t you write about the young woman who lives in a shoe.” I really think he was being sarcastic, but I jotted the idea down for day #12 in my journal. At the end of my challenge, I had 30 story ideas, but not 1 single story written. As another attempt to spark my writing inspiration, I joined a rhyming picture book group on April 1, 2014. What a challenge! Not only did I have to come up with a story, but now it had to rhyme. As I skimmed through the story ideas in my journal, entry #12 was the best choice. I’d simply have to write a spin-off to the nursery rhyme. Easy, right? Wrong! The first draft I submitted to my group was a sweet little rhyme, displaying a perfect little family. It was ripped apart by one of my critique group members. It hurt, but it certainly sparked my writing fire. I read over the comments and said to myself, “You want reality? I’ll give you reality.” My next draft held the raw truths of a day in the life of the Tuck family, and Mother of Many was born. Little did I know that I would lose my dear husband and friend on November 11, 2014, only 1 day from being exactly 1 year from the day he suggested to write the story. I’m so glad I listened to the questions of “How do you do it?” and answered the requests for me to write a book about my family . . . in doing so, this story of our simple daily activities and antics preserves the wonderful memories we shared as a happy family of 13.

To find out more about Pamela and her books online at

Purchase her books at

You can also find Pamela on Twitter

or LinkedIn:

Thank you, Pamela, for joining us today.

Please connect with Pamela and pre-order her book. I know you’re going to love it!


Five Old Fashion Values for New Age Kids

Dr. Valerie Allen

Licensed School Psychologist ~ Certified Case Manager

Five Old Fashion Values for New Age Kids

Remember the good old days when honesty was the best policy? When idle hands were the devil’s workshop? When air was clean and sex was dirty? Surely, you have found yourself wondering aloud “What’s wrong with kids today?”

            In these modern times values have changed, parenting styles have changed, and youngsters change rapidly from one developmental stage to another. It is critical to understand your core values and worldview, in order to establish fair and firm expectations for your children.

            To aid in positive parenting, here are five good old-fashioned values for today’s new age kids to help them find success and satisfaction as they interact in positive social ways. Our children will soon mature and bring their morals and core values into their adult lives.

Integrity:  The strength to act on one’s convictions; to be your own person. The ability to stand up for what you believe in; doing the right thing and to be morally sound. Dependability, to follow through on one’s responsibilities. How do you demonstrate integrity and acknowledge this value in your children?

Excellence:  Hold high standards for one’s self. Strive for the highest quality performance in all one does. Have a passionate commitment to goals and beliefs that go beyond the average or expected. Do you show and discuss with your children the satisfaction of going over and above what is required at home, work, school, and in the community?

Community:  A sense of belonging; working for the common good of self and others. Participating in a joint effort, contributing to a mutual goal. Being diverse and adaptable, to fit in and work with others, taking joint ownership and responsibility for the outcome. Do you encourage the team spirit aspect of working with others? Do you make the effort to make others look good?

Respect:  Conduct one’s self in a manner worthy of esteem. To honor others with respect. To have consideration for the environment in which we live. To honor diversity in others and accept social responsibility.  You are the best role model your child has. Do you display respectful behavior in your attitude, speech, and actions?

Tradition:  Know, understand, and abide by the body of beliefs handed down from generation to generation. To carry on your family history, culture, and symbolism. To make known for posterity your family and community customs, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs. This is especially meaningful today when families are not concentrated in one community. Your children may have never met some of their relatives. Children establish a sense of belonging when they come to understand their family history and their place  within it. Have you written down your family history as far back as you can remember?

There are two simple ways to instill these values in the younger generation. First, be a role model; live by these values day to day. Children learn from how they live. Second, have the expectation that children will do as they see others doing. Dwell on and admire others for the positive aspects of their behavior. Your family will benefit from the calm and assurance that comes with engaging in a moral life style.

# # #

Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice. She presents seminars for parents and professionals in the field of child development. She has published two children’s books: “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends.” Oh yes, she has also raised six children!

My Name is Curly

Andi, the author, pictured in blue jean jacket, black shirt, necklace, and blue jeans with her two doberman pincher dogs on either side of her with green grass in the background
Pictured above is the author, Andi, with her two dogs, Curly (right) and Luna (left)

Hi everyone,

I’m bringing to you a very special children’s book today because while it’s fictional, it’s a story about the author’s real life dog and proceeds go to support a wonderful foundation.

Here’s Andi telling us about her book, My Name is Curly….

Curly had a rough life before we saved him.

The life I envisioned for him inmy children’s picture book, My Name isCurly, is truly fictional. There is no way I could put whatI know of his real-life story into a children’s book – even if, perhaps, itwould show the true nature of what some animals go through before beingrescued.

This is the real, raw story of howI met Curly, and what we know of his life before we gave him a loving foreverhome.

We first learned of Curly andTater Tot through a friend of mine who does rescue work. She knew my husbandand I were looking for a dog after our other one, Allie, a Doberman Pinscherlike Curly, had passed away. We were very adamant that we should rescue an animalinstead of buying one from a breeder.

Curly and Tater Tot were both being held with a county dog warden. My friend said she found them running around the local landfill! They were in bad shape.

Curly when he was first found

We asked her to please take them to a local veterinarian, as her office was about an hour and half away from our home. We had always wanted two dogs and were so excited to be able to save them, together!

Tater Tot

The veterinarian examined them.

Curly was extremely underweightand emaciated, while Tater Tot, on the other hand, was overweight. They bothhad worms, terrible skin issues, cuts and abrasions all over their bodies. Thevet said Curly may have had a broken leg at one point. Tater Tot had milk,which means she must have had a litter of puppies at some point, but we had noidea what happened to them.

Curly’s ear is permanentlydeformed. We were told it was likely his previous owner had tried to crop hisears, which is a cruel and disfiguring surgery that is usually performed for“cosmetic” reasons, or to give certain breeds “desirable” traits and to makethem look a certain way. It causes dogs incredible pain and suffering, and isbanned in many countries.

On top of that, because Curly hasVon Willebrand’s disease, which is a bleeding disorder similar to hemophilia inthat his blood does not clot, the cropping had failed terribly. Therefore, hisright ear is all curled up, and he has a lot of trouble with it.

We had the dogs neutered andspayed and groomed, and patched them up as well as we could before taking themhome to rest.

It turns out the two dogs were notas bonded as we had thought. They did not get along at all! We think Tater Totkept Curly from eating any of the food they found when they were out in thewild. It was very obvious that she did not like Curly in the slightest. Shewould growl every time he walked by. Most of her mean behavior was completelyunprovoked. Because she had milk, we wondered if Curly had fathered her puppiesand what had happened to them.

We decided that we could not keepthem both. It’s a shame because she was very sweet and loving toward us. Weknew she would be the perfect dog for someone if she was the only dog. We founda local Doberman rescue group to help us place her in a forever home.

The night before she left us, shelunged for Curly’s throat. I put my leg out to protect him, which stopped her,but that was my sign from above that we could not keep them both and take thechance that one day, if they were by themselves, something terrible mighthappen.

I know she is in a good home todaygetting lots of love from her new family.

Life after TaterTot

Curly adjusted just fine to being the only dog. He likes attention – lots of it – and having all of the toys and treats to himself!

Curly’s First Christmas!

A little later on, however, afriend of mine rescued another Doberman Pinscher named Luna. She is a beautifulblue Doberman with long legs and big floppy ears. She has freckles all overbelly and feet. We think she had previously been cooped up a lot as everythingseemed new and exciting to her. We brought her over to play with Curly, andthey got along great! The two of them had a blast running around on our landand playing chase.

I remarked to my husband that Ihad a feeling one day Luna would be ours.

And that is exactly what happened!One day, my friend called me and asked me if we would want to take Luna. Ofcourse, we said yes! I picked her up that day and brought her home.

We are so happy that Curly has a sister and playmate. He still likes to hog attention and toys, but I think he would be lost without her. They are so much fun to watch, and they love to “put on a show,” as we call it, with their wrestling moves and funny noises.

Stay tuned for more adventures with Curly and Luna!

Author Andi and her dog, Curly

More about Andi with a Q&A interview…

Q: What do you do for a living? And have you always wanted to be a writer?
A: Actually, I wanted to be an FBI agent! I went to Buffalo State College and obtained my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. I was fortunate to have been hired by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service before I graduated, and I was offered full-time employment when I graduated. From there, I worked in Buffalo, NY; Toronto, Canada; and Cleveland, OH, working first as an immigration inspector and then as a district adjudications officer. When I turned thirty, I decided to take the law school admission test to see what would happen. I passed, went to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University for three years, and fifteen years later here I am! I own my own law practice and run two offices. I have five employees, and I assist clients with estate planning, estate and trust administration, and real estate law issues.
In my free time, I started jotting down silly things our rescue dog, Curly, would do. I thought of writing a book, but I felt like I could not move forward without an illustrator. One day in the spring of 2018, I was talking with a client and she mentioned that she knew someone who might be able to help. That is how I came to meet my awesome illustrator, Grace Schlea.
So, while I love to read and play Scrabble, I had never really thought about being a writer until last year.
Q: We know My Name is Curly is based off your own silly pup. Can you tell us a little about him and how you came to adopt him?
A: We lost our first dog, another Doberman Pinscher, named Allie, in November of 2013.We were heartbroken and felt another dog would help us heal. I reached out to my friend Lorie, who is very involved in the local rescue community, because we really wanted to stay with the same breed, but did not want to buy from a breeder. We wanted to adopt ! Lorie did some investigating and put me in contact with a dog warden in another county who had just rescued two Dobermans! They were found running around the county landfill. We were thrilled because we had always wanted two dogs, so we decided to adopt them together. But it turned out that they did not get along, and so we decided to find another loving home for Tater Tot. It was a difficult decision, but ultimately, after learning Curly has hemophilia, we thought it best that we keep him safe from harm.
Q: How did you come up with the name Curly?
A: My husband named Curly! Whoever had Curly first tried to crop his ears. Because of he has a bleeding disorder, one of his ears is now deformed and curled up. That is one reason why he was named Curly. The other reason is because he loves to cuddle and lean into you and curl his body in the shape of C. He is a snugglebug!
Q: When/where did you get the idea to write Curly’s story?
A: I was inspired to write Curly’s story after accumulating notes I had written of all the funny things he does. I started typing notes into my phone. I wasn’t planning on writing a book initially, but after meeting the illustrator, Grace Schlea, I decided to put my notes to good use and see what would happen! One funny story: Curly has a red and green spiky rubber ball that he loves to carry with him wherever he goes. He is always trying to sneak it outside by hiding it in his
mouth (which is really hard to do because it is not a small ball). We try to prevent that so it doesn’t get dirty, but it probably tastes better to him that way! “Ball ball,” as we call it, is his security blanket and it calms him when he is anxious. It has an air hole, so
when he has it in his mouth, he makes sounds like Darth Vadar.
Q: Do you plan to write more books featuring Curly’s crazy adventures?
A: Yes! I have a second book written, but not yet illustrated, about Curly’s life at his new home and meeting his new sister Luna. The two of them get into trouble together! And Rocky the Raccoon may be back with some new friends! I would love for his story to be a series.
Q: How did you get the idea of creating Curly’s Kids Animal Education Fund?
A: I’ve always believed that one way to make life purposeful is give back to the community any way you can. Being involved with animal rescue and helping children are two of my top priorities. I wanted to fund a program similar to one I learned about
in Missouri, where children are brought to local shelters to read to the animals. Not only does this help children with their reading skills, it helps socialize the shelter dogs, which makes them more adoptable. There is no such program like this in our county, but I am currently working on it with our county commissioners and the county dog
warden. Because of my busy life as an attorney, and now as a writer, I thought creating an endowment fund with the Community Foundation of Lorain County was the best way to fund this program, and also to help local rescue organizations in need. I became
familiar with the Community Foundation years ago when I was on their Women’s Committee. They are a terrific organization!
Q: Have you always been an animal advocate?
A: My parents surprised me with our first dog, Jake, when I was 10 years old. I have loved dogs ever since! I became involved with the rescue world through my friend, Karin. She trained our first Doberman, Allie, and has rescued countless dogs. It was
after I met her and heard her story that I began helping with transporting dogs to their new homes via the Rescue Railroad! Since then, my lawyer life has become busier so I am unable to do this anymore, but I find the best way to help is through making
monetary donations, which is another reason why I created Curly’s Kids.
Q: What impact do you hope this book has on the children and parents who read it?
A: My hope is that children and their parents will consider rescuing a pet before buying one. There is something very special about a rescue animal – I really think they appreciate what you have done for them, and they do not forget. Both of our rescues, Curly and Luna, are so loving and sweet, and I think every animal deserves the
opportunity to be rescued.
Q: How can people get involved in their own local communities?
A: There are so many ways to get involved! From transporting dogs to their new homes, to walking or taking care of dogs at your local animal shelters, to donating money or supplies to rescue organizations, to sharing dogs that need homes on social
media – every little bit helps!
Q: Where can we learn more about Curly’s Kids Animal Education Fund?
A: You can learn more by contacting the Community Foundation of Lorain County at
(440) 984-7390, or by visiting their website at And
donations can be made by following this link:

More about Andi’s Community Foundation…

The Curly’s Kids Animal Education Fund was created by Andrea C. Kryszak to support children’s reading programs to animals; programs that bring children and rescue animals together in a meaningful way; and to support Lorain County animal rescue organizations. Research has shown that when
children read to animals, it not only helps with reading skills, but it also helps to socialize, bring comfort to and reduce the anxiety of shelter pets. It also nurtures empathy in children and allows children who may not have a pet of their own, to spend time with an animal in need of love and affection. Grant money from the Fund will also be distributed to local animal rescue organizations that work tirelessly to help animals in need.

My Name is Curly was published by Wisdom House Books

And here is my review of the book

Curly finds a forever home
 I was very pleased to assist this publishing house and author in getting the word out about this book because it tells a wonderful story of a dog being rescued off the streets and also because proceeds assist a fantastic rescue foundation named after Curly.
My Name is Curly is a picture book with very cute illustrations throughout. One can’t help but fall in love with curious Curly as he wanders away from home. The rhymes are fun and move along at a nice clip. I think children would enjoy hearing the story read to them and parents would enjoy reading it.
I highly recommend this book because it is a very well written quality book and has a good story to tell young ones about rescuing a pet. Maybe if children are wanting to get a pet, parents can chose this book to read to them to encourage a conversation about adopting of a rescue instead of purchasing a dog from a store.
Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this book! I wish the author and publishing house and foundation every success.

St. Paddy’s Day Crafts For The Kids

close up of clover growing on the side of a dead piece of wood

Hey, everyone!

Here’s some fun crafts to do with the kiddos this St. Paddy’s Day.

Check it out at the following link….

And another fun thing to make…Pot O’ Gold Slime

Hope you all have a great day next Sunday, March 17th!!

And She’s Married…

wooden letters painted white with pink roses spelling out the word Love

So my daughter got married last weekend, Saturday, February 23rd!!!

She chose a beautiful place–Sunken Gardens in St. Pete Beach, Florida. I hadn’t seen the place ahead of time. Her and her fiancee’ had chosen it.

She had always envisioned a beautiful garden setting and this was truly it.

At first, she was going to get married in April because that was their dating anniversary but when family members weren’t going to be able to attend, they chose to move it to February.

The garden contact had told her the bougainvillea would be in bloom in April but there was no guarantee what would be in bloom in February.

Well, I’ll let the pictures tell you what was in bloom!

bright red bouganveilia in bloom with a variety of green plants surrounding it

It was hot, no doubt, which isn’t always the case in February, but hey, what’s a little sweat in your fancy clothes?!

And she had chosen a beautiful dress. I cried when she first walked out in it at the store. Not another one that she tried on brought the same reaction. She tried it on again, one more time, to be sure, and it brought tears again. It was the one!

my daughter in her wedding dress at the store holding a sign that says,

And her fiancee looked handsome in his black suit and tie.

And then, if you have been following any of what’s been going on in my life, my husband is currently battling brain cancer. He has had two surgeries and three hospitalizations since October last year.

He had a lot to overcome but he and my daughter worked every day to gain strength walking.

Then, he said he wanted to walk without his walker, so they practiced with just a cane.

I’m telling you, we had many conversations about the fact that he would just be happy to be AT her wedding, even if he was in a wheelchair.

But, then for him to actually be working to walk her down the aisle and with a cane to boot, well, that was truly amazing and a miracle happening: an answer to prayers.

He indeed did walk her down the aisle with just a cane and he had a dapper hat on too! The radiation doctor had said he would have patches of hair loss by then, so he chose a hat that would look good for the occasion. And he did look good.

my husband sitting in his wheelchair with his black suit and tie on and white panama hat with black band holding his cane

It was awesome to see and yes, definitely, I cried! In fact, there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd. It’s absolutely amazing what love can do!

The reception was fabulous at Texas de Brazil which has an amazing salad bar and unending meat. And they chose a delicious ice cream cake to top it all off. It was the perfect light ending to a heavy meal.

And then, they were off!

I always think of the Carpenter’s song where the words say, “a kiss for luck and we’re on our way.”

my daughter and her husband sitting on a bench in the garden with their foreheads touching and holding hands in black and white
This is my favorite picture that the photographer took!

Of course, any of you that have had children get married will understand the bittersweet feelings of happiness for them because their life is just beginning and sadness for yourself because a piece of you has just flown out of the nest.

(I apologize for the day late in posting but I needed to get the website of the photographer to give him credit for the beautiful wedding picture. We couldn’t be more thrilled with the job he did and we would highly recommend him!)

How Much Salt is Too Much Salt?

clear salt shaker 3/4 full of salt with silver lid sitting on a table top with glass cups in the background

So to add insult to injury, my husband was diagnosed with Level 1 Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) in January which apparently happens when you have long term high blood pressure.

He had been taking medication for high blood pressure but it still ran high after his brain surgery in October to remove the Stage 4 Cancerous Glioblastoma tumor.

One night he was having difficulty breathing. I rushed him to the ER where he was admitted and they ran some tests and that’s how they decided he had CHF.

When he was discharged, he was put on a low sodium diet which means between 1500 and 2000 mg of sodium per day AND a liquid restriction diet which means no more than 2 L of liquid (mainly water) per day.

You wouldn’t really know that you should limit your water intake when you are also limiting your sodium intake. We’ve always heard drink water, it will flush the toxins out of your body; Your body needs water, etc. Those things are true, but if you drink too much fluid with CHF, your body cannot process it all.

Have you ever tried to track your sodium intake?

Me neither.

Sure, we stopped adding salt to our meals back when my husband had a mild heart attack in 2016 which led to a stint being placed in his heart, but we didn’t really look at packages. We didn’t actually track our salt intake in a day.

Well, let me tell you. It’s harder than you can imagine to avoid salt!

There is salt in meat. I’m not talking about lunch meat, we all know there’s loads of salt in there. I’m talking about raw meat from the butcher in your local grocery store. I don’t know if it’s naturally occurring salt or if salt has been added to preserve it in its’ travels to the grocery store. But, nonetheless, there is salt in your meats

And there is salt in milk! Can you imagine? Milk!! Again, I guess it’s used to preserve it, but who knew?

Even carrots, fresh carrots in a bag have salt!

Of course, anything packaged in a box has salt. We know this. It’s on the label.

But, breads, whew doggies, do they have salt!!

And cheese! I didn’t realize they use salt to actually make cheese, so there you go.

But, to try and cook fresh meat and vegetables, you’re still going to run into salt. Not a lot of salt, but still salt.

I have found some frozen vegetables that have no salt and pasta and rice that have no salt and butter that has no salt. Fresh fruit has no salt. We have found apple sauce with no salt and Dove dark chocolates.

I have found very low sodium bbq sauce (like 5 mg in 1 Tbsp) and No Salt Added Ketchup and tomato sauce (which has a little but not bad).

I had to purchase Organic Creamer to have low salt (30 mg in 2 Tbsp) for coffee.

There are actually No Salt potato chips which have 0 mg!! They are kinda bland (haha!) but crunchy anyway.

He likes Chessman Cookies which only have 80 mg per serving size package.

And he loves Dots candy which have 1 mg per dot and there are approximately 46 in a box (yes, I counted them!)

Oh and salad dressing–forget about it! Of course, he doesn’t like oil and vinegar, but I found a recipe for low sodium ranch dressing which I’m going to make him. He can use it for dipping his unsalted chips in too! 🙂

I have to purchase the lowest fat milk to have the lowest salt (it still has 105 mg in 1 cup). We’ve decided upon Pepperidge Farm thin bread for sandwiches (of course, I’m fine without bread for a sandwich, I just roll up the meat and eat it). There are a few cheeses with less salt, like fresh mozzarella, which I love but hubby doesn’t.

We make everything from scratch (and to think just a few months ago, I wasn’t the cook. My husband was the cook. I hadn’t cooked since we got married 23 years ago) and now I’m cooking from scratch!

I have a cabinet full of spices. We have a salt substitute (which we had used previously after the stint) which is actually potassium. It’s very tasty.

And hubby is hungry the minute I get home from work (thank you steroids!).

Google has become my friend for low sodium recipes. We have found pot roast, meatloaf, tacos, steaks on the grill, baked chicken, and spaghetti recipes that are all very good.

So, if anyone has any low sodium recipes they’d like to share, or better yet, low sodium crock pot recipes, I’d really love them!!

Infinity, The Secret of the Diamonds

young boy sitting amonst trees wearing a dark shirt and glasses looking off into the distance

Hi everyone,

I have something new for you today that I think you’re really going to like.

I not only have an author of a YA science fiction book to introduce today, but the author is an 8th grader!!

Isn’t that awesome!!

Please meet Tejas…

Tejas Mathai

I was born in Turlock, California in 2005 and currently live with my younger brother Mihir and parents in Modesto, California. Currently, I am in 8th grade at Prescott Middle School. Some of my extracurricular activities include karate, playing the piano, swimming, and riding horses. My passion for writing started when I was in second grade. When we were younger, my brother and I would use toys and Lego minifigures to act out and enhance the stories from movies and books we enjoyed. These stories made an impression on me and I wanted to capture and save them in written form, thus I began to write. My initial writings were short stories made up of two chapters, about a paragraph each with illustrations. After I had continued to write more and gained a better grasp of vocabulary, I made the first draft of my debut book, Infinity: The Secret of the Diamonds.

Book cover for Infinity, The Secret of the Diamonds, in which a spaceship is flying above a night city view with a moon and sun in the distance and a male with his back to us looking at the scene

It took me four years to perfect the final draft of this book. This book is about an 18-year-old adolescent named Jack who lives in New York City with his father and uncle. His father and uncle are inventors and astronomers. When his father invents an interdimensional rift machine, Jack notices that his dad starts exhibiting strange behaviors. A set of circumstances lead Jack to meet the Infinity Corps, a galactic special ops team which protects the five Infinity diamonds that created the galaxy. Conflict arises when an evil warlord comes to the city in search for the diamonds, and Jack, his family, and the Corps must protect the diamonds and the city. I drew inspiration for this book from Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Pirates of the Caribbean, and astronomy concepts. This is the first of a 6 book series under the Infinity title. I hope to inspire others to follow their dreams and passions, for they may never know where it will lead to. All proceeds from the book sales will go to a children’s hospital. I wish all future authors the best of luck!

If you’d like to purchase this book, see the below links for either Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Purchase Links           


Barnes & Noble

Social Media Links


Linked In

Amazon Author Page

To Read a Review of this book

Thank you, Tejas, for joining us today!

And thank you, everyone, for taking the time to read this blog.

Please leave a comment for Tejas to encourage him in his author journey.

And of course, share with your friends, family members, and fellow bloggers so everyone has an opportunity to read about Tejas.

New and Improved Parenting for the New Year

two parents standing holding the hand of a child between them and Dad holding the other child facing a body of water while the sun is setting

Dr. Valerie Allen

Licensed School Psychologist ~ Certified Case Manager

New and Improved Parenting for the New Year

The New Year brings added attention to the fact that children are in a constant state of growth and development. One day your daughter is interested in dolls and tea parties and the next she is experimenting with make-up and high heals. What happened to that lovable little boy who played so nicely with the puppy? This is the same boy who now thinks you are his private taxi service. In a matter of weeks or months, children’s needs and behaviors change and so must our style of parenting. What worked at three may not work as well at 13.

The goal of parenting is to raise children who are independent of us. The job of a parent is to instill values and morals, so the child understands right from wrong and makes appropriate choices when on his own. When we are not there with reminders about being on time, keeping safe, and hand washing will our child be in a position to know what to do, how to do it, and motivated to do it well?

What can parents do to help raise positive children, who enjoy life and are pleasant to be with? Impossible you say! All is not lost. Research has identified four basic parenting styles: Authoritative, Authoritarian, Permissive and Uninvolved. One has proved to have a more successful outcome when raising children.

  1. The Authoritative Parent:  provides a loving, supportive, home environment. These parents hold high expectations and standards for their children’s behavior. They enforce household rules consistently and explain why some behaviors are acceptable and others are not. Children are included in family decision making.
  • The Authoritarian Parent:  holds high expectations and standards for their children’s behavior, however, they convey less emotional warmth directly toward their children. They establish rules of behavior, but they may not take the child’s needs into account. They tend to expect immediate obedience, without question by the children. Parents make “family decisions” without input from the children.
  • The Permissive Parent:  may provide a loving, supportive, home environment, however,  hold few expectations or standards for their children’s behavior. They rarely discipline the child for inappropriate behavior and tend to make excuses for their child’s offenses. Children are allowed to make their own decisions about their life style without guidance or standards set by the parents.
  • The Uninvolved Parent:  provides little, if any, emotional support; even when they are home, they tend to be uninvolved with their children and family activities. They hold few expectations or standards for their children’s behavior. They have little interest in their children’s lives and seem overwhelmed or over involved in their own work or problems.

The Authoritative parenting proved to be the most effective style to develop positive social skills in children. Authoritative parents tend to raise children who are happy, self confident, independent, and respectful of others.

Resolve this new year to tell your child every day “I love you” with your words and by your actions. Take time to be involved in your child’s life at home, at school, and with friends. Your efforts will help create open communication, mutual respect, and a loving relationship with your child throughout the year ahead.

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Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice. She is the author of two children’s books, “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends.” Oh yes, she has also raised six children!

Life Throws Us A Curveball

baseball pitcher in full stride throwing a baseball

Occasionally life throws you a curveball. I have been sharing with you about my husband and his sister’s walk in Spain and then how they had to comeback early do to health issues that arose. Once home, my husband started complaining of headaches and feeling wobbly on his legs. I thought it might be his electrolytes were off or that he had a vitamin deficiency. So he went to the doctor and well, he was diagnosed with brain cancer last Wednesday. We met with the neurosurgeon this Wednesday and it’s stage 4 glioblastoma, cancer. He is having surgery on Monday followed by chemo and radiation.

What a kick in the gut!

We have cried many tears and had talks that you never want to have but must. We love each other very much and have such happy things happening–His oldest son in his 40’s has finally found the love of his life and is getting married November 1st. Our daughter is getting married in February and all he wants to do is to be able to walk her down the aisle. And his other daughter is having a baby boy in January.

So damn much to live for!

We were just bopping through life, looking forward to our future together. My husband was healthy and active. And then bam!

We do have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ to walk us through this trial though and we are praying for a miracle even though the neurosurgeon said prognosis is 1-2 years.

We invite you to pray with us.

I will try to post my thoughts and experiences here as we go because it will help me process and to gain more prayer warriors in this fight.

I believe God loves us and wants the best for us. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe in miracles. Recently, I wrote that “I believe in Magic, it shows up in the form of love.” Never have those words been more true. My husband’s friends and family have reached out and shown us how much they love him and us. We’ve had the most precious of conversations. Love surrounds us. I’m so very grateful for that.

Our daughter came home and we had wonderful conversations along with tears. His son from Utah came in Thursday and we had a great visit with him and his girlfriend. Another one of his sons drove down tonight with his wife for the weekend. His sister that he went to Spain with lives nearby and she’s came Friday to be with him while I went to work. His childhood friend lives an hour south of us. They discovered that fact awhile back but hadn’t actually gotten together. He drove up to visit and they talked for 4 hours reliving childhood memories together.

My husband went on this walk, this spiritual walk, for healing and he found it. He made peace with everyone in his life that he had been hanging onto the hurt. What a blessing!

The other night when I couldn’t sleep, a dear longtime friend was online and she spent an hour with me, encouraging me with  scripture. She felt words come to her that she was not intending to say but they were spot onto me. She quoted my favorite scripture that she had no idea was my favorite scripture. I felt GOD’s presence in a very real way. Tonight, when I couldn’t sleep, I opened my Bible app and the scripture for the day was that exact one. I know God is with me, loving me, and that I am not alone.

In my view, God is showing up all around us in the form of love.

I intend to lean in, let Him support me, and develop an even deeper, more real relationship with God. He is my greatest source of comfort. I need Him now more than ever.

That is not to say that I’m not scared out of my mind and that I’m not incredibly sad because I am. I’m human. I feel overwhelmed and in shock. There will be many trials ahead, I may need to be reminded of how good God is. Wait make that there’s no “may” I will need to be reminded. I ask for your support in this journey, hopefully non-judgmental support. I do not consider myself some sort of spiritual guru nor do I think high and mighty things of myself, I’m just a person trying to make it in this world and now with this trial before the two of us.

P.S.–I wrote this back in October right after the diagnosis and thought I had posted it, but it went into my drafts. I want to go ahead and share it though for those of you who may not have the full story of what is going on in our lives.