The Smiling Chipmunks of Riding Mountain~

At the end of the day, I do enjoy sitting quietly and my preference is to have a beautiful view in front of me.. not always possible. However, you only have to pop over to Cindy Knoke’s blog to enjoy a wonderful collection of images, including these from Riding Mountain National Park.. with some adorable chipmunks. “Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba Canada has a ‘Red Chair Program,’ where two red Adirondack chairs are placed at random, often remote locations throughout the park, encouraging you sit for a spell and soak up the scenery” perfect

Cheeky little chippers,

stand their ground when you come close!

Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba Canada has a ‘Red Chair Program,’ where two red Adirondack chairs are placed at random, often remote locations throughout the park, encouraging you sit for a spell and soak up the scenery.

The park consists of 1,146mi² of mostly remote, scenic forest.

It is filled with pristine lakes,

and endless opportunities to soak up the solitary scenery.

Unfortunately we were a bit too early to see the birch leaves turn.

Cheers to you from Riding Mountain National Park~

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – New Bloggers on the Scene – Melanie M. Stewart – When The Money Runs Out (2019)

This series of Posts from Your Archives is exclusively for blogs that are under a year old. It is an opportunity to meet new readers and to show off your writing skills.. All the details are in this post along with some tips on how to make your blog more reader friendly.

This is the final post of Melanie Stewart who blogs at Leaving the Door Open: A Daughter’s stories about an aging parent. Sharing Tips and facts learned along the way.

When The Money Runs Out

When my mother Ginny moved south in 2000, she had the money from the sale of her condo, an inheritance from her stepmother, and her monthly Social Security check. These funds were placed into a brokerage account and she received a check every month for her expenses. Over 17 years, however, the money reached a tipping point where her costs outweighed her account income and it became clear that it would eventually run out. With less than a year remaining, we had to figure out alternate measures. Otherwise, our two families would be splitting about $1200 every month for her living expenses.

The initial thought we had was to research her valuables. She had told us through the years that certain items she owned may be worth a lot. So, I fell into an interesting research project. I started to photograph mom’s eclectic art objects she had collected over the years and I sent them to an auction house in Chicago.

I forwarded photos of figurines, a handful of paintings and large fashion prints given to Ginny as a gift in the 1940’s. They had been purchased in France. I sent along photos of jewelry pieces including necklaces, brooches and hat pins.

Unfortunately, there was just no market for the bulk of the items with the exception of a turquoise “blossom squash” necklace given to her in the 70’s. The auction house wanted that piece and included it in an auction held in Colorado that fall. It sold and Ginny received a few hundred dollars.

We worked on reducing her bills. Once we found a cable provider that would offer phone and cable (no internet required for Ginny) for less than half her current bill, we switched. We reduced her renter’s insurance policy. We researched cheaper Medicare supplement programs. (She fought this idea because she didn’t want anything to change and she wanted her same doctors.) We looked for anything that would stretch her remaining dollars.

I took a look at the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. It’s a needs-based program for the elderly, blind or disabled. If a person has limited income and assets, the program would pay approximately $770.00/month. But it’s tough to qualify for financially. Their cut-off for financial assets is less than $2000 ($3000.00 for a couple.) Although it does not include current Social Security benefits, Ginny still had approximately $7000.00 in her account, making her ineligible. We discussed “waiting it out” until she had the qualifying balance, but we had no idea how long it would take to get approved, if at all, and have the payments start. There could be a long time delay.

And then there’s Medicaid. She could save some money if they accepted her into a Medicare Savings Program (MSP). This is when Medicaid works with Medicare and pays the recipient’s monthly Medicare supplement (eligibility varies per state.) For now, this would be the extent of potential Medicaid coverage for her because she’s pretty healthy and wouldn’t qualify for other assistance. The MSP would be a savings, but not enough to close the gap.

We were also told that it might be helpful to meet with a law firm familiar with senior care law. We needed someone to lay-out any other available programs for seniors like mom. It didn’t matter whether the help came from the state or federal level. We were newbies. What was out there that we could legitimately tap into for Ginny?

Unfortunately, the attorney we met with was borderline polite. I’m not sure if the advance paperwork did us in. It showed that there were no assets to protect or even a need for a will. It’s also possible that it was just the bad cold he was nursing, but he seemed to have very little time for us.

“Why are you here?” was the exact question.

“Because you advertise advanced knowledge of senior care programs? We are here to figure out how to help our mother. She’s 86. She’s broke. Medicaid is not an option until something actually fails her. Do you have a list of programs we could investigate and see if she might qualify for one?” (OK, I was more thinking that response than actually saying it out loud, but we needed someone familiar with the workings of state and federal senior assistance programs to get us in a door. Any door.)

He offered one idea. It was a program I had previously heard about from someone in my community. It was the Veteran Administration’s Aid and Attendance Program.

My dad, David, was a Korean War veteran. He had passed away in 1978 a couple of months before I graduated from high school. Our family and friends helped my mother explore VA benefits at that time, but for whatever reason, she was ineligible. Maybe something had changed, and it could provide some financial relief.

My sister and our husbands held a round table on how to approach the VA. We knew that we would need to locate dad’s discharge papers and death certificate. Thankfully, Ginny had saved the discharge papers which was a huge help and I purchased a copy of the death certificate online through the State of Ohio’s website. In the meantime, Hailey decided to hire a facilitator from a local senior care business. She is familiar with this VA program and she agreed to join my sister and me when we met with the VA administration office in Clearwater to assist with any questions.

The Aid and Assistance Program basically assists in helping a veteran or spouse of one pay for another person to “aid and assist” them with a variety of daily needs. It is structured so that the payment goes directly to the recipient, but the recipient pays out the money to the person who supplies that monthly assistance. It can be paid to a professional healthcare provider or a family member. It is expected that there will be a pay-out every month to the assistance provider. The recipient can’t just keep the money.

The VA coordinator was extremely helpful. He explained that the amount given can vary per case. He used a formula and it appeared that mom might be eligible for some assistance. We didn’t know what to expect so we were pleased with even a small amount.

I know the Veteran’s Administration has been criticized in recent years, but personally, I have nothing but praise for the organization. It took two months to be processed. We happened to be together for my birthday when Hailey got an alert about a deposit in mom’s account. They had retroactively paid out the past month and the current one. And the amount was almost double what we had originally heard. It would almost cover her full monthly expenses.

We were grateful that they would consider her case at all and now they had given us more than we expected. It was probably the best birthday gift I had received in a long time. I got to unwrap some peace of mind. Neither Hailey or I have ever expected anything from anyone or any organization, so their help really touched me. And I also like to think that after 40 years, my dad is helping her too.

Thanks to Melanie for sharing her experiences as I am sure that it is not uncommon as parents age. These proactive steps are certainly worth bearing in mind as we also age.

@Melanie M. Stewart 2019

About Melanie M. Stewart.

Many years ago, I worked as a freelance writer for a local paper in suburban Chicago. I covered everything from cloning & measuring the risk of heart disease to my “Day in the Life” series where I spent the day with a veterinarian or watching “behind the scenes” at a popular restaurant.

Then I went to work for (online obituaries). I stayed there for almost nine years. I enjoyed helping customers navigate the site and at times, offer support during a highly emotional time.

This blog combines these two experiences. They are non-fiction stories pulled from my own experiences navigating the aging parent years. I also provide informational links and tips as well as the opportunity for you to share your story.

I have no professional background in psychology or senior healthcare. I’m just in it day-to-day. I’m married and a mom who enjoys a good laugh, a good mystery/thriller and watching the Chicago Cubs.

Connect to Melanie


It would be great if you would head over to Melanie’s blog and follow her there and on Twitter.. Thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday October 9th – Sue Vincent, Natalie Ducey and John W. Howell.

This series is an opportunity to showcase posts from around our community and the brilliant bloggers who share with us. It would be amazing if you would follow the links to the post I have highlighted and whilst visiting follow and support the blogger.

Many of us offer guest writing opportunities and it is a very useful way to not only showcase your writing skills but to also promote your books or blog. Here is a reminder from Sue Vincent that she welcomes guests and having been a recipient of her hospitality, I can highly recommend the experience.

Artists, Writers, Photographers… lend me your ears…

…and your words and pictures…

BmG logo

If you would like to be my guest, please read the guidelines and get in touch!

What drives you to do what you do? Why do you write? When did you take your first photograph… and why? Do you have a new book coming out? News of an exhibition? What have you learned that you can share? Do you have a story to tell… inspiration to offer… Or advice on writing, publishing, or promoting? Can you share tips on photography or art?

Head over and sign up:

Sue Vincent  Buy: –  Goodreads:

Please visit Amazon or Sue’s blog to view all her books and those written with Stuart France.

The next post is from Natalie Ducey and is all about making it easy for your readers to share your blog on social media.. you don’t write your blog to talk to yourself, and if someone enjoys it enough to share, you need to enable them to do that.

Cheers, fellow bloggers! ♥

Today’s post is all about sharing. Yup, because that’s what blogging is all about, isn’t it? Connecting and sharing lessons learned with tips and techniques to help make this blogging journey an awesome one. It’s why I started blogging and the very reason I remain so passionate about it.

Increase blog traffic and maximize reach by adding and customizing social media sharing options in WordPress!

Increase blog traffic and maximize reach by adding and customizing social media sharing options in WordPress!Increase blog traffic and maximize reach by adding and customizing social media sharing options in WordPress!

We all know how much time and effort goes into crafting an engaging blog post. It’s not a simple task.

But… sharing it is. And it’s a win-win for all. Yet it’s not always an option.

I’ll set the scene. 🙂

I arrive at the end of an amazing post, eager to share …. and facepalm. No share options!

Say it ain’t so. I know, right? Missed opportunities.

Head over to read the rest of this guide to sharing your blog:

Natalie Ducey, Buy:
Blog: Goodreads:

The final post today is from John Howell who does a wonderful series — Top Ten Things Not To Do.. and this week intriguingly …it is when at the first live radio broadcast of a football game in 1921…

Ten things not to do

This week marks the anniversary of the first live radio broadcast of a football game in 1921. The game was played at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. The announcer was Harold W. Arlin of radio station KDKA. The University of Pittsburgh Panthers beat the West Virginia University Mountaineers by a score of 21 to 13. (Not much has changed there. This rivalry began in 1895, and so far, the University of Pittsburgh has won the meeting more times than West Virginia University. It is called the Back Yard Brawl since the two schools are only 70 miles from each other.) I think we ought to go to the game rater than listen on the radio. Well, bring the radio along too. It might be fun to see how close the announcer describes the real action. As usual, there are rules to follow, so we don’t create a tear in the time continuum. Take this list with you.

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the First Live Radio Broadcast of a Football Game.

10. If you are at the game, do not think you can listen to the broadcast on streaming audio via iHeart Radio. If you do, at best those around you will be too interested in the game to notice your cell phone. At worst, the usher will spot your phone and ask you to follow him. (For heaven sakes, Jacquez don’t go. You really want to explain that you are from the year 2019? There will be a padded room reserved for you.)

Head over to find out the other nine things not to do :

John Howell, Buy: John Howell Goodreads Blog:

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over and enjoy these posts in full.. thanks Sally.



Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #Fiction – Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau

Many of you will have enjoyed Elizabeth Gauffreau’s recent archive posts and I am now delighted to add her novel Telling Sonny to the bookshelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

About Telling Sonny

Forty-six-year-old FABY GAUTHIER keeps an abandoned family photograph album in her bottom bureau drawer. Also abandoned is a composition book of vaudeville show reviews, which she wrote when she was nineteen and Slim White, America’s self-proclaimed Favorite Hoofer (given name, LOUIS KITTELL), decided to take her along when he played the Small Time before thinking better of it four months later and sending her back home to Vermont on the train.

Two weeks before the son she had with Louis is to be married, Faby learns that Louis has been killed in a single-car accident, an apparent suicide. Her first thought is that here is one more broken promise: Louis accepted SONNY’s invitation to the wedding readily, even enthusiastically, giving every assurance that he would be there, and now he wouldn’t be coming. An even greater indignity than the broken promise is that Louis’s family did not bother to notify Faby of his death until a week after the funeral took place. She doesn’t know how she can bring herself to tell Sonny he mattered so little in his father’s life he wasn’t even asked to his funeral…

One of the recent reviews for the book

Telling Sonny is a moving and poignant book about a young girl, Abby, growing up in the rural town of Enosburg Falls in Vermont, whose dreams and aspirations are altered forever though her choice of man.

Faby is fun loving and full of idealism about the life of entertainers who participate the the vaudeville shows in the early 1920’s. It all looks so exciting and different from her own staid life with her parents and sister. She aspires to more than becoming the wife of a farmer and continuing her rural existence. When the vaudeville show visits the theatre in her small town and one of the “hoofers” Slim White shows interest in her, it completely turns her head and she ends up disregarding the advice of her sister and her sensible and conservative family upbringing. Faby shows Slim White around town and, on his last evening in town, succumbs to his sly advances, losing her virginity in the back of a borrowed car.

Faby discovers that she is “in trouble” a while later and manages to contact Slim White who, after leaving her in limbo for a few weeks, decides to marry her and settle down. Faby believes she has no choice but to marry him, thereby averting bringing shame on her family through her unfortunate pregnancy. The author’s ability to convey Faby’s doubts about her husband due to his careless and insensitive behaviour towards her and her parent’s seeming ignorance of the reasons for her shotgun wedding is amazing and I am in awe of Elizabeth Gauffreau’s beautiful writing.

Ms Gauffreau’s characterisation is incredible and the reader fears for Faby’s future life in the hands of as selfish and self centred a man as Slim White from early on in the story. Slim, whose real name is Louis, is not deliberately unkind or negligent, he just has very limited sensitivity to Faby’s needs and situation and, while he is happy to have her accompany him on his nomadic jaunts around the country in pursuit of work, he will not allow her to restrict him in any way or interfere in his lifestyle and plans.

Faby is innocent and selfless, she wants the best for her baby and hopes that she and Slim will create a family together. She cannot see that a life on the road of a small time hoofer is total unsuited to this ideal, but she really does try to make the best of things.

I found this book utterly heart wrenching in how it portrays trust and innocence betrayed and also Faby’s parents own ignorance of the ways of the world and their inability to arm their daughter with the tools she needed to protect herself in the world of adults. Maman Aurore, Faby’s grandmother, while hard on her and quite a difficult nature, is the most sensible of them all. She knows up front that this situation is unlikely to end well for Faby and tries to give her good advice to act upon when the time comes.

Sonny is the result of Faby’s impetuous behavior and grows up to be an excellent young man, despite any bumps in his own personal road. When Louis dies unexpectedly, Faby is left with the unpleasant task of letting Sonny know.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And on Amazon UK:

Read the reviews and follow Elizabeth on Goodreads:

Amazon Author Page:

About Elizabeth Gauffreau

I have always been drawn to the inner lives of other people–what they care about, what they most desire, what causes them pain, what brings them joy. These inner lives become my characters. I write to tell their stories.

My fiction and poetry have been published in literary magazines, including Rio Grande Review, Serving House Journal, Soundings East, Hospital Drive, Blueline, Evening Street Review, and Adelaide Literary Magazine, as well as several themed anthologies. Telling Sonny is my first published book.

I hold a B.A. in English/Writing from Old Dominion University and an M.A. in English/Fiction Writing from the University of New Hampshire. Currently, I am the Assistant Dean of Curriculum and Assessment at Champlain College Online in Burlington, Vermont.

Connect to Elizabeth

Family History:

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that Elizabeth would love to receive your questions and comments.. thanks Sally

Just five minutes…

Two old friends capture the magical few minutes at the dawn of day.. you know where Sue and Ani are it will be magical..

The Silent Eye

Half-past six on a Monday and it was not the best of mornings. Grey, overcast and with just enough light creeping over the horizon to make the black dog visible against the shadows as she patrolled the boundary fence. We had both been reluctant to leave our beds and were stiff and struggling to get moving in the cold, pre-dawn air. The long walk through the fields the previous dusk had taken its toll and the prospect of the long day ahead was unappealing. Work and duty called and the clock was ticking.

Like a snowball, time gathers momentum and seems to rush by ever faster as the years pass. It seems only yesterday that a pup and her energetic human had risen in the dark to be out at first light every day. The walks had been playtime and we had bounded through fields and woods together. These days…

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Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Comedian in Residence D.G. Kaye and a joke from Sally’s Archives

First Debby Gies shares some of the funnies this week that she feels you should not miss.. ..D.G. Kaye Writer Blog is where you will find an archive full of wonderful posts across several subjects including writing tips, social issues and book reviews.

My thanks to Debby for spotting these.. and please give her a round of applause.

D. G. Kaye – Buy:
Blog: – Goodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

And now time for a joke from my archives…

Many a word spoken in jest!

Three old ladies are sitting around a table playing and boasting about their sons.

‘My Jack,’ said Lily, is such a wonderful boy, each week he visits me for two hours and brings me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates.  Once a month he takes me out to a restaurant for Sunday lunch and anything I need, I just have to mention it and it is there.

‘Well’, said Mary a little tartly. ‘My Angus lives with me and every morning brings up a tray to my room with a fully cooked breakfast and a pot of tea with a white rose in a bud vase. He comes home from work every day to make me soup and a sandwich and then in the evening we watch television with a wonderful supper he has prepared’.

Molly held up her hand and smiled smugly at her friends. ‘I don’t want to take away from your love for your sons and what they do for you but I think that my son Michael is the king of sons. Three times a week he pays someone £150 an hour just so he can lie on their couch and talk to them about me.. and only me!’

We hope that you are leaving with a smile on your face.. thanks for dropping in Debby and Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – The Female Reproductive System – Outshining Ovarian Cancer Guest Post author Karen Ingalls.

This guest post was first published in 2016 but it is a message that is very important and should be repeated regularly. My thanks to Karen Ingalls for sharing her story and also the symptoms all women should be aware of.

Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest forms of the reproductive system. Karen is an ovarian cancer survivor and therefore supremely qualified to write this article.. The post carries an important message about understanding how our bodies work and how we should be on the alert for anything that seems out of the ordinary.


photo-on-2-14-16-at-139-pm-crop-u6133I am a retired registered nurse and had very limited education about gynecological diseases and cancers. From working in hospice I only knew that ovarian cancer is the deadliest one of all gynecologic cancers. My journey and initial diagnosis with ovarian cancer is not an unusual one.

I had gained a few pounds and developed a protruding stomach, both of which were unusual for me since I had always bordered on being underweight. When my weight continued to increase, I began an aggressive exercise and weight-loss program. I never considered these changes to be anything more than normal postmenopausal aging.

I saw my gynecologist for my routine PAP smear, which only determines the presence of cancer cells in the cervix. She could not get the speculum into my vagina and when she palpated my abdomen she felt a mass. I was rushed to get a CT scan, which revealed a very large tumor in my left lower abdomen. Two days later I had an appointment with a gynecologic-oncology surgeon for an evaluation.

A week later I had a hysterectomy by the gynecologic-oncology surgeon from which I learned the tumor was malignant. It is critically important that such a specialist in this field of oncology perform the surgery. They are experts and know what to look for and how to safely remove any tumors.

My surgery involved removing the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, omentum, ten lymph glands for microscopic investigation, and ten inches of my colon where the tumor had grown into. I am blessed that there were no cancer cells in my lymph glands or other organs. Two weeks later I was then started on chemotherapy for six rounds.

The symptoms of ovarian cancer are subtle and common to many women so they are often ignored or attributed to something more benign. Most physicians do not consider the possibility of the presenting symptoms to be related to ovarian cancer. Often the woman is sent from one specialist to another, which I call the “Gilda Radner Syndrome.” With each passing day the cancer is growing and putting the woman at greater risk of being at a more terminal stage.

These are the most common symptoms:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Pain in abdomen
  • Low back pain
  • Frequency of urination
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Increased indigestion or change in appetite.
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Fatigue
  • Unusual vaginal discharges
  • Menstrual irregularities

If a woman experiences any of these symptoms for two weeks, it is recommended that she see her gynecologist and insist on an abdominal ultrasound and a CA125. The only laboratory-screening test currently available is a CA125 blood test, which unfortunately has a high incidence of false positives. We women need to be our own advocates and demand these inexpensive tests.

If the ultrasound and possibly a CT, MRI, or PET scans reveal a tumor, then in my opinion the woman must see a gynecologic oncologist. Typically the woman undergoes a debulking surgery, which is a complete hysterectomy and removal of any lymph nodes or any suspicious surrounding tissue or organs. The only way to accurately determine if cancer is present is through specimen testing of the tissue.

The risk factors are:

  • Family or self-history of breast, colon, ovarian, or prostate cancers
  • Eastern Jewish heritage (Ashkenazi)
  • History of infertility drugs
  • Never been pregnant
  • BRCA 1 & BRCA 2 positive mutation
  • Older than 60

I was staged at IIC and given a 50% chance of surviving 5 years. I had no family history of ovarian cancer and only one relative who had had breast cancer. I did not fit the typical criteria, and the BRCA1 and BRCA2 markers were negative for mutation. So the question, “Why did I get ovarian cancer?” remains unanswered and it is actually not an important one any longer.

The word cancer creates fear in everyone either mildly or extremely. Yet so often the things we fear are never as great as the fear itself. As a young person I had learned from my grandmother and adopted aunt that attitude, acceptance, and determination are the keys to facing a fear and to healing the body, mind, and spirit. Those women were, and still are today, w strong role models for me. They taught me about living a healthy lifestyle, which included a belief in God, exercise, good nutrition, positive thinking, healthy touch and meditation. These lifestyle choices had helped me face childhood abuse, divorce, alcoholic parents, and untimely deaths, and now they have helped me live with cancer.

I prefer to use the word challenge instead of problem, test, or trial. I like the word challenge because I envision positivity, learning, growing, and putting my best efforts forward. I did not think about being cured of the cancer, but more about how I can live my life with dignity, and what I am to learn from this new role as a woman with cancer. A family friend, Dr. LaJune Foster once said, “Look about for each bright ray of sunshine: cherish them, for in the days ahead they will light your path.” I deeply believe in this way of living.

I wrote about my journey with ovarian cancer to educate, support, and inspire women and their families. It is my own unique experience, but there are some common emotions, events, and experiences that all cancer survivors share. Like many others traveling this road, I have experienced valleys and mountaintops, darkness and rays of sunshine. I do not know what the future holds for me, but I have learned a lot about myself and met some incredibly courageous women.

The challenge of ovarian cancer was an opportunity for me to become a better person. My life is far richer and has the greater mission, which is to spread the word about this lesser known disease. I truly see each moment as a gift that is not to be taken for granted, but lived to its fullest with love.

An important lesson I learned with the challenge of ovarian cancer is that the beauty of the soul, the real me, and the real you, outshines the effects of cancer, chemotherapy, and radiation. It outshines any negative experience.

©Karen Ingalls 2016

About Karen Ingalls

I might be a retired RN, but I am an active and enthusiastic writer of non-fiction and fiction. It took a few years before I was willing to show that deeper part of myself. I love to get lost in the world of my novels and let the creative juices flow. I have written several articles for medical and nursing journals. I enjoy researching and discovering new information.

I enjoy writing for my two blogs ( and The first one is about health/wellness, relationships, spirituality, and cancer. My second blog is for authors and avid readers who wish to be interviewed, do a guest blog, and be promoted. I have “met” so many interesting and enchanting people, who have done guest posts for me; or those around the world who follow my blogs and leave comments.

I was thrilled and honored to be recognized as a runner-up at the Midwest Book Awards and then receiving first place in the category of “women’s health” at the National Indie Excellence Awards. The greatest reward is when a reader shares how my book(s) inspired them, taught them something, or brought a deeper awareness about life.

About Outshine

When Karen Ingalls was diagnosed with Stage II Ovarian Cancer, she realized how little she knew about what was once called ”the silent killer.” As Ingalls began to educate herself she felt overwhelmed by the prevalent negativity of cancer. Lost in the information about drugs, side effects, and statistics, Ingalls redirected her energy to focus on the equally overwhelming blessings of life, learning to rejoice in each day and find peace in spirituality.

In this memoir, Karen is a calming presence and positive companion, offering a refreshing perspective of hope with the knowledge that ”the beauty of the soul, the real me and the real you, outshines the effects of cancer, chemotherapy, and radiation.”

Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir is a story of survival, and reminds readers that disease is not an absolute, but a challenge to recover.

One of the recent excellent reviews for Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir

Ms Fiza Pathan 5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspirational Read! September 5, 2019

Outshine’ by Karen Ingalls is a memoir of strength, faith & resilience in the face of Cancer. She was diagnosed with stage 2 Ovarian Cancer & this book is about how she tackled the cancer or as Ingalls puts it ‘the big C word’. This is a memoir penned by a strong woman who did not buckle down in the face of ‘the big C word’. I admire her husband Jim who was a great support to her during this situation. I don’t think I would ever be as brave as Ingalls if I ever was detected with a fatal disease. Kudos to her for her perseverance & faith in the Almighty. Ingalls’ book is tender, inspirational & full of wonderful soul stirring quotes at the end of every chapter that can make your day brighter. She shows herself to be a woman of spirit & a woman who has taken the cancer she was a victim too as a life lesson or a test sent to her by the Almighty to make her a better human being. Kudos to her on that point. This book is interactive with a set of excellent questions at the end of the book which can be used for discussion purposes at any book club or any place where books about Cancer survival are discussed. I highly recommend this book to anyone & everyone who needs a bit of sunshine in their lives. I also highly recommend this book to Cancer patients, survivors & care givers. I hope to read more books by Ingalls in the near future, especially her novels which she wished to write after her chemotherapy was over. Do support this book & happy reading to you

Read all the reviews and and buy the book:

and on Amazon UK:

Also by Karen Ingalls.

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Connect with Karen on her websites and social media.

My thanks to Karen for her detailed and inspirational post and it would be great if you could share the message on your own networks.. thanks Sally

Welcome To “Mr. Bones” Pumpkin Patch! $15 Entrance Fee! Valet Parking! Only In LA Folks! And Worth Every Penny!

John Rieber with a Halloween Pumpkin Patch that you have never seen the like of… with valet parking.. brilliant..


Welcome To LA’s Most Iconic Pumpkin Patch – Mr. Bones!

Yes, Mr. Bones is one of the best things about Halloween in Los Angeles – because this is more than a pumpkin patch – it’s an entertainment venue!

Welcome To Pumpkin Village!

Yes, there is a legendary pumpkin patch in the Culver City area of Los Angeles that is so much more than just a pumpkin patch!

It sits in the shadow of LA’s oil pumps, which hover above us…

Here how the Mr. Bones website describes their mission:

“Founded in 1987, Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch is a family-owned and operated business that focuses on bringing the farm to the city and celebrating the magic of Halloween. Becky and David Campbell, drawing inspiration from their farm in Silverton, Oregon, originally opened the patch in Westwood when they realized how few opportunities there were for Los Angeles-area children to experience farm…

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – D.G. Kaye, Shehanne Moore, Darlene Foster and Coraline Grace.

Welcome to the first of the author updates with recent reviews for books on the shelves of the bookstore.

And the first author today with a recent review is D.G. Kaye for her memoir for Conflicted Hearts: A Daughter’s Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt

About Conflicted Hearts

A Lifetime of guilt — What does it take to finally break free?

Somehow I believed it was my obligation to try to do the right thing by her because she had given birth to me.

Burdened with constant worry for her father and the guilt caused by her mother’s narcissism, D.G. Kaye had a short childhood. When she moved away from home at age eighteen, she began to grow into herself, overcoming her lack of guidance and her insecurities. Her life experiences became her teachers, and she learned from the mistakes and choices she made along the way, plagued by the guilt she carried for her mother.

Conflicted Hearts is a heartfelt journey of self-discovery and acceptance, an exploration of the quest for solace from emotional guilt.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Sep 30, 2019 Lucinda Clarke rated it Five Stars

It’s not often I get to read a book by someone who understands what it is to be tethered to a mother with NPD. So often we are asked, “why did you not just walk away?” This author did leave home at 18, but that did not prevent her mother from interfering in her life and when she eventually went no contact she was overcome with guilt. It didn’t matter that her two brothers and a sister also shared in the abuse, rarely physical, but mental – which believe me is far worse. I could resonate with the words on every page, and if you have a mother who just does not seem to love you, then this is a must-read

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Also by D.G. Kaye

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Time to catch up with Shehanne Moore and her latest release O’Roarke’s Destiny (Cornish Rogues Book 1).

About the book

Once he’d have died to possess her, now he just might…

Beautiful, headstrong young widow Destiny Rhodes was every Cornish man’s dream. Until Divers O’Roarke cursed her with ruin and walked out of Cornwall without a backwards glance. Now he’s not only back, he’s just won the only thing that hasn’t fallen down about her head—her ancestral home. The home, pride demands she throw herself in with, safe in the knowledge of one thing. Everything she touches withers to dust.

He’d cursed her with ruin.

Now she’d have him live with the spoils of her misfortune.

Though well versed in his dealings with smugglers and dead men, handsome rogue Divers O’Roarke is far from sure of his standing with Destiny Rhodes. He had no desire to win her, doesn’t want her in his house, but while he’s bent on the future, is there one when a passionate and deadly game of bluff ensues with the woman he once cursed? A game where no-one and nothing are what they seem. Him most of all.

And when everything she touches turns to dust, what will be his fate as passion erupts? Will laying past ghosts come at the highest price of all?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Cornwall in 1801 rife with smugglers and excise men trying to catch them is the setting for this clever, passionate and witty novel. Destiny Rhodes is cursed, everything she touches turns to dust. All she has left is Doom Bar Hall, her ancestral home, and now even this is in jeopardy.

Divers O’Roarke is a man with an agenda and so many secrets. He left Cornwall in the wake of tragedy, but not before he’d cursed the young woman he thought responsible. Now he’s back, the victor, but what he finds is not what he expected. What he feels is not what he thought, but he has a mission, and being turned to ashes by a cursed woman is not part of it.

The setting for this story is atmospheric and authentic. The subtle use of historical detail, lets you visualise nineteenth-century Cornwall. The sinister smugglers, the close-knit community, the rugged beauty of the coast, and the ethos of danger and suspicion, Amidst the roaring sea and windswept coastline, the story of two people, both emotionally bereft, and driven unfolds.

The dialogue is sharp and amusing, and the internal musings even more so. You spend a lot of time in Destiny and O’Roake’s minds, and they are both full of confusion and conniving.

The plot is pacy and twisty. Just trying to work out who O’Roarke is, keeps you guessing. Then there’s the exciseman Lyons, who becomes increasingly sinister. This story is inclusive, you feel part of the deadly game Destiny and Divers are playing, experience their anger, bewilderment, fear, and the passion they cannot hide. The intriguing plot comes to an intense conclusion, revealing who Destiny and Divers O’Roake are in more ways than you can imagine.

‘O’Roarke’s Destiny’, is historical romance for the twenty-first century. Complex mind games, passionate, sensual romance, and a fast-paced riveting plot that rides the waves of time. I’m looking forward to meeting the next ‘Cornish Rogue.’

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Also by Shehanne Moore

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Another author enjoying recent reviews for her YA travel novels by Darlene Foster for Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action.

About Amanda in Holland

Amanda is in Holland to see the tulips with her best friend, Leah; as well as travelling the canals of Amsterdam, visiting Anne Frank House, checking out windmills and a wooden shoe factory, and taking pictures of the flowers of Keukenhof Gardens. She is keen to find out what happened to her great uncle who never returned from WWII and was declared missing in action. What she doesn’t expect to find and fall in love with is Joey, an abandoned puppy. While trying to find a home for him, she meets Jan, a Dutch boy who offers to help, a suspicious gardener, a strange woman on a bicycle, and an overprotective goose named Gerald. Follow Amanda around the charming country of Holland, filled with colourful tulips, windmills, and more bicycles than she could have imagined. Once again, intrepid traveller Amanda encounters danger and intrigue as she tries to solve more than one mystery in a foreign country.

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One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars A tour of Holland  September 25, 2019

This book was quite a bit of fun. Foster combines a middle-grade fiction plot with a colorful tour of Holland, including its famous sites, snippets of history, and its wonderful flowers and food. I had the great fortune of visiting my grandparents in Holland when I was Amanda’s age, and her experiences in the book mirror my memories in great detail. It was a blast to traipse along beside Amanda and enjoy the country once again.

The main plot focuses on the recovery of a lost puppy, but secondary plots weave through the story, and all come together nicely at the end. There’s a bit of mystery and some danger to keep the tension up. There are also some very moving scenes when Amanda visits Anne Frank’s home and a war memorial dedicated to the Canadians who helped liberate Holland during WWII. A lovely book for young readers and absolutely perfect for readers who plan to travel the world.

A selection of other  books by Darlene Foster

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And the final author today with a recent review is Coraline Grace for her most recent book Pixie And The Green Book Mystery (Ages 8-10)

About the book

Ages 8-10 | Early Chapter Book | Pixie And The Green Book Mystery is the first in the series: The Purple Mystery, and The Yellow Mystery up next.

Magic is alive at The Rocky Point Library. ~

It’s an apple disaster day for Pixie, a second grader at Rocky Point Elementary. However, a trip to her local library changes everything. When Pixie happens upon a mysterious green book, she discovers the fairy tales have come to life out of their books. But danger is lurking just around the corner. The usual librarian, Miss Rita Goode, is nowhere to be seen. And it doesn’t take long for Pixie to learn the man behind the counter is an imposter. He’s an evil Book Guardian trying to capture the fairy tale characters and rid their books forever.

But for a girl who loves reading, Pixie will do whatever it takes to save her new friends. Tick tock… time is running out! Can she get them safely back into their books before it’s too late? Or will the world of fairy tales come to an end?

This action-packed, nine-chapter, green illustrated story is perfect for early independent chapter readers. Pixie, our loveable hero will soon become your child’s favorite character.

Enjoy more fun at the end of the story: Words You May Not Know, Five Book Activities, & A Favorite Recipe of Pixie’s

One of the recent reviews for the book

Pixie is a unique little 2nd grader that likes to read and wear apples. It’s a bad day at school for poor Pixie. She races home so she can go to the library with her Mom (her favorite place). While she is there she sees a book that she hasn’t seen before, this book isn’t like any others. She soon meets Alice from Wonderland with that time crazed white rabbit and Cindi which is short for Cinderella. They quickly tell her that there is a book guardian and he is trying to get them stuck in this new green book so their stories are erased forever! Cindi and Alice decide to trust their fate to little Pixie, good thing she likes to read…but can she get them back to their books fast enough without getting herself caught by this mysterious book guardian?

I read this book with my twin 8 year old girls and they fully enjoyed it. They could relate to little Pixie and they loved the adventure she went on they can’t wait for the next book in the series. I enjoyed the book and having a book that I can read to them and watch the excitement on their face was awesome as a Mom. It was lively and cute and I myself can not wait for the next book in the series to continue this bonding time with the kids and see what happens to Pixie next. So from this family Coraline is getting 6 thumbs up!!

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Also by Coraline Grace (also writing as Caroline Grace and Robinson)

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Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books under your arm.. thanks Sally

MarySmith’sPlace – Travels in Afghanistan (3)

Another riveting episode of Mary Smith’s journey from Pakistan into Afghanistan on a bus, hidden beneath a stifling hot burqa and deprived of food, water and cigarette… oh and did I mention the fighting going on around them…thankfully Mary is made of sterner stuff but I personally would not trade places with her for all the tea in China.. what a warrior… Please head over to read the entire post.

Mary Smith's Place


A cheer from the passengers roused me from my reverie. Five hours after leaving Chirman we were finally stopping at a roadside chaikhana (tea house). Moh’dullah found us a secluded spot under a mulberry tree where we could drink our tea undisturbed, even allowing me to stretch my vocal chords a little although a cigarette was still out of the question. Apparently, so, too, was blowing my dust-clogged nose. As I raised a paper tissue Hussain hissed, ‘Not here, not in public! You must never blow your nose in public in Afghanistan.’ I sniffed and turned to watch what our fellow travellers were up to.

In a small, shallow stream running in front of the chaikhana, groups of men washed, preparing to pray. Women, their minds on more earthly concerns, washed their children, or rinsed out soiled baby clothes which they spread to dry on flat stones and branches…

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