Feature stories

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

My E Book

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Title: MacKenzie's Hope
Author: Terri Rimmer
Format(s): PDF (ebook)
Pages: 295

Ebook Price: $10.00 BUY The Ebook

Category: Family
About the Book

Free Excerpt From The Book (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

MacKenzie's Hope is the true story of one birth mom's experience placing her child in a semi-open adoption while living in a maternity home in Fort Worth, TX. The story takes place in the year 2000 and includes a childhood background of the author/birth mom detailing her many obstacles throughout life such as alcoholism, depression, sexual and physical abuse, sex addiction, and bipolar disorder. While the story is at times tragic it is also the portrait of a woman who will not and does not give up despite what others tell her throughout her life.

The story begins when Tara, the birth mom finds out she is pregnant for the first time at the age of 34. For 14 years she did not think she was physically capable of having children so this pregnancy news was a huge shock and not happy news given the birth mom's mental and physical conditions. The birth mom is in constant conflict, which she later resolves, between society's expectations of her as a mother preparing to have a child and her own resolve to give her child the home she deserves. Tara deals continuously with guilt, shame, remorse, and regret before, during, and after her decision to place her only child for adoption, however she does come to terms with her commitment eventually after a series of painful and intense self-discoveries on her path to peace and happiness.

The book gives the reader a rare look at what it is like to make an adoption decision from the birth mom's standpoint and also includes the experiences of the adoptive parents, the birth mom's siblings, adoptive parents - families, and other adoptive children, the birth father, biological grandparents, relatives, and house parents who work in the maternity home. The story is one of rich detail and imagery captured from the eyes of the birth mom and her emotions, experiences, and memories coupled with the communications from her significant others which include a close relationship with the adoptive parents she later chooses for her child.

About the Author
Terri Rimmer has 21 years of journalism experience, having worked for ten newspapers and some magazines. In 2003 her life story was published online at Adoption Week E-Magazine's website and in 2002 she received a grant from the PEN American Writer's Fund in New York City.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Copywriting for Search Engines


Would you like your "make a difference" article to inspire action from 10,000 readers? More?

To achieve high levels of readership and action, the key is to get your article ranked in the top 10 search results at Google and Yahoo. This guide shows you how.

Higher Ranking = More Acts of Kindness Inspired

In your article, strategic placement of keywords will directly impact your ranking in the search results at Google and Yahoo.

Simply put: Higher Ranking = More Readers = More Acts of Kindness Inspired

So, as you write your articles, please keep two kinds of audiences in mind:
1. humans
2. computer search engines

To be a good internet copywriter, you need to adjust your writing style to insert important keyword phrases where search engines will look for them.

Keyword-Phrase Targeting

Which keyword phrases should you insert? To answer that question, put yourself in the mind of the target audience of your article. Ask yourself: "To find my article via a Google search, which keyword phrases might an internet-surfer use?"

The goal is to include relevant keyword-phrases in your article that receive a moderate amount of searches at Google and Yahoo. Steer clear of the extremes:
• Avoid keyword phrases that generate < 1,000 monthly searches, because too few people will seek your article
• Avoid keyword phrases that generate > 100,000 monthly searches, because these keywords will attract intense, commercially-oriented competition. Against commercial competition, your article would be unlikely to get ranked highly enough on Google and Yahoo to break through the clutter.

Fortunately, Yahoo offers a free tool that writers can use to calculate searches per month through its search engine: http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/?mkt=us&lang=en_US

Using this search-traffic tool, type your possible keyword phrases into the search bar to determine which phrases generate the highest number of searches. For example, you'll find that "blood donation" generates more than twice as many potential readers as "donating blood". So, if you were writing an article on this topic, you would be wise to include both phrases in your article, but give more prominence to "blood donation."

* Note that the search volumes reported by this tool account for approximately 40% of the total search traffic at US websites.

The next targeting factor to consider is relevance. It's tempting to get excited about terms that get lots of searches, but sometimes these terms are too general to use. This is especially true for single words.

For example, the word "charities" receives a lot of searches each month, but the intent of such a general search term varies too widely. For instance, an internet surfer searching for "charities" might be seeking to donate money to a charity, or to volunteer for a charity, or to receive assistance from a charity, or to gather leads for sales of volunteer-management software to charities.

"Insert" Keyword Phrases in Your Article

To determine the ranking of your article, search engines won't literally "read" it. Instead, search engines will look at the patterns of your words, how often they appear, and where they appear.

So, it's critical to insert keyword phrases into your headline and into any subheadings. This is not only a good idea for search engines, but also helps readers quickly find what they are looking for on a webpage.

As well, use your keyword phrases very densely in the first paragraph. An ideal article will have 250-500 words of text, and your text should have a keyword density of 5% to 10%, meaning that your keyword phrase shows up 5 to 10 times for every 100 words of copy, with the highest density in the first paragraph. Here is an example:

Each blood donation saves three lives. While 60% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood -- only 5% do. When asked, the #1 reason for not giving blood is because "no one asked me." Unless you're a multi-millionaire or a medical professional, blood donation probably represents the easiest way for you to save the most lives, every 42 days.

Blood banks often run short of blood-types O and B, particularly during the summer months and winter holidays when regular blood donors are on vacation. Blood shortages cause cancellation of surgery -- or worse.

So, if you've got a few hours to help, rather than just donating blood yourself, how about saving even more lives by organizing a blood drive at your office, apartment, or dorm?

To give blood, or to organize a blood donation drive, you can contact The Red Cross at 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.

For articles with subheadlines, be sure to place keywords in the subheads and related keywords in the copy under each subhead. For example, your article might be on "blood donation" (included in your article heading), but you have one subhead and keyword rich section focused on where to go to "donate blood" and another subhead and keyword-rich section focused on organizing your own "blood drive".

Keyword Placement and Writing Quality

Even though you want to be mindful of keyword phrases and placement, avoid allowing readability of the article to suffer. Utilize your keywords naturally as you write rather than letting keywords drive your creativity, especially on a first draft. You can always go back and consider keyword placement more closely on subsequent edits.

Descriptive Words

Be as descriptive as possible when you write. Replacing generic words with descriptive words is a great way to use important keyword phrases in your copy. Words like "it" or "this" are not picked-up by search engines. Instead, replace "it" with descriptive phrases such as "blood donation center" or "blood drive posters."

It's especially important when working on the final draft of your article to focus on spotting generic words that could be replaced with keyword-rich phrases that will generate higher rankings at Google and Yahoo.

As well, look for places in your article where descriptive language can fill voids in your copy. For example, web pages often contain links that say "click here for more information," or "contact us." This is a great place to add your keyword-rich phases, such as: "click here for more information about blood donation" and "contact The Red Cross at 1-800-GIVE-LIFE to plan a blood drive."

Common Variations of Your Keyword Phrases

While the most popular keyword phrase for your topic might be "drunk driving", you'll want the search engines to also find common variations within your copy to ensure that you have covered all the ways in which people might search for your topic. In addition to "drunk driving", also include "driving drunk", "driving under the influence", "DUI", "driving while intoxicated", "DWI", etc.

Using common variations of your keyword phrases (plurals, -ings, and -ed) will also improve your search engine rankings as well as avoid repetition in your copy.

In addition to common variations, also consider differences in spelling. For instance, "volunteerism" is sometimes spelled "voluntarism". If your keywords have potential to be spelled in two or more ways, then include the different spellings in your copy.

Dedicate Your Final Draft to Keyword Optimization

Keyword optimization is important enough to dedicate an entire draft to it. If you've already done a first and second draft getting your copy and ideas just right, take the time in a final draft to focus your attention solely on keyword optimization.

As you look over your article, remember:
• Include keyword phrases in your article that receive a moderate amount of monthly traffic.
• Optimize for specific keyword-phrases that match your topic, and avoid using single-words.
• Place your most important keyword phrase in the headline and in subheadings.
• Use your keyword phrase very densely in the first paragraph.
• Replace generic words with descriptive, keyword-rich phrases.
• Include common variations of your keyword phrases (plurals, -ings, and –eds).
• If applicable, use possible spelling variations in your copy.


Taking the time to follow these guidelines will help your article to appeal both to search engines and potential volunteers. The end result will be more internet surfers finding your article and more acts of kindness inspired.

New Meaning To Last Man Standing

By Terri Rimmer

They call themselves Improv that squeals.

A sketch comedy group, Last Ham Standing, features line skits at various theatres throughout the U.S. and are based in Dallas, TX and Maryland.

They do public shows, private parties, corporate training, emceeing, and mime.

Evelyn “The Other White Meat” Mullins is the director for the Dallas troupe and Andy Mullins, her husband is part of the group. Evelyn, a resident of Plano, earned her bachelor of arts in radio/t.v./film from North Texas University and Andy is a native of Fort Worth and earned his associates degree from Tarrant County College. Kelly Fiore, also part of the troupe, is a resident of Carrollton and actress Pam Holcomb-McLain grew up in Lewisville where she took her first piano lesson at six followed by vocal training, dance lessons, and drama classes.

“Comedy is very hard and anxiety-producing but when success happens it is so, so sweet,” said comedy writer Dan Malachowski. “Booking gigs and trying to make a few dollars as a young comedian is not easy.”

Joe Pug, one of the actors in the Bethesda, MD troupe, has been jokingly referred to on the website as “born to circus people.”

According to comedy-zone.net for every comedian knocking them dead on late night t.v. there are thousands more who battle each week not for the national spotlight but for five minutes of stage time at some hole-in-the-wall diner, bar, or bookstore.

Julie Garner, also part of the MD group, is from Hershey, PA and John Slone has been performing regional theater in the metro area for the last several years.

In the corporate arena Last Ham offers workshops with an ensemble cast to bring fun to the workplace.

They also take company training information to custom write a fun seminar filled with skits and games that educates and trains guests as well as entertains them.

Attendees to live shows must be 17 years or older and all shows are rated “R.”

Last Ham is the newest product from Ingenious Interplay, Inc., an entertainment agency specializing in interactive games and events.

“People tell me it must be great being a comic because I don’t have a boss,” said comedian Vince Martin. “Everyone’s heard of hecklers but I’ve found that for all the discussion about them, they are exceedingly rare.”

For more information on Last Ham Standing, call 214-630-6301.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Texas Advance Directive Sample

Advance Directive
Planning for Important Healthcare Decisions
Caring Connections, 1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 625, Alexandria, VA 22314
www.caringinfo.org, 800/658-8898
Caring Connections, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
(NHPCO), is a national consumer engagement initiative to improve care at the end of life, supported
by a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The goal of Caring Connections is for consumers to hear a unified message promoting awareness
and action for improved end-of-life care. Through these efforts, NHPCO seeks to support those
working across the country to improve end-of-life care and conditions for all Americans.
Caring Connections tracks and monitors all state and federal legislation and significant court cases
related to end-of-life care to ensure that our advance directives are always up to date.
You can call our toll-free HelpLine, 800/658-8898, if you have any difficulty understanding your
state-specific advance directive, or if you are dealing with a difficult end-of-life situation and need
immediate information. We can help provide resources and information on questions like these:
• How do I communicate my end-of-life wishes to my family?
• What type of end-of-life care is available to me?
• What questions should I ask my mother’s doctors about her end-of-life care?
It’s About How You LIVE
It’s About How You LIVE is a national community engagement campaign encouraging individuals
to make informed decisions about end-of-life care and services. The campaign encourages people
Learn about options for end-of-life services and care
Implement plans to ensure wishes are honored
Voice decisions to family, friends and health care providers
Engage in personal or community efforts to improve end-of-life care
Please call the HelpLine at 800/658-8898 to learn more about the LIVE campaign, obtain free
resources, or to join the effort to improve community, state and national end-of-life care.
1. Check to be sure that you have the
materials for your state. You should complete
a form for the state in which you expect to
receive health care.
2. These materials include:
• Instructions for preparing your
advance directive.
• Your state-specific advance directive
forms, which are the pages with the
gray instruction bar on the left side.
3. Read the instructions in their entirety.
They give you specific information about the
requirements in your state.
4. You may want to photocopy these forms
before you start so you will have a clean copy
if you need to start over.
5. When you begin to complete the form,
refer to the gray instruction bars - they
indicate where you need to mark, insert your
personal instructions, or sign the form.
6. Talk with your family, friends, and
physicians about your decision to complete an
advance directive. Be sure the person you
appoint to make decision on your behalf
understands your wishes.
If you have questions or need guidance in
preparing your advance directive or about
what you should do with it after you have
completed it, you may call our toll free
number 800/ 658-8898 and a staff member
will be glad to assist you.
For more information contact:
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 625
Alexandria, VA 22314
Call our HelpLine: 800/658-8898
Visit our Web site: www.caringinfo.org
Formerly a publication of Last Acts Partnership.
Support for this program is provided by a grant from
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton,
New Jersey.
Copyright © 2005 National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. All rights reserved. Revised
May 2005. Reproduction and distribution by an organization or organized group without the written
permission of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is expressly forbidden.
This packet contains two legal documents that protect your right to refuse medical treatment you
do not want, or to request treatment you do want, in the event you lose the ability to make
decisions yourself:
1. The Texas Medical Power of Attorney lets you name someone to make decisions about your
medical care—including decisions about life support—if you can no longer speak for yourself.
Your attending physician must certify in writing that you are unable to make health care
decisions and file the certification in your medical record. The Medical Power of Attorney is
especially useful because it appoints someone to speak for you any time you are unable to make
your own medical decisions, not only at the end of life.
2. The Texas Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates is your state’s living will. It
lets you state your wishes about medical care in the event that you develop a terminal or
irreversible condition and can no longer make your own medical decisions. The Directive
becomes effective when your attending physician certifies in writing that you are in a terminal or
irreversible condition.
Caring Connections recommends that you complete both of these documents to best ensure that
you receive the medical care you want when you can no longer speak for yourself.
Note: These documents will be legally binding only if the person completing them is a competent
adult, 18 years or older or a person under 18 years of age who has had the disabilities of
minority removed.
Whom should I appoint as my agent?
Your agent is the person you appoint to
make decisions about your medical care if
you become unable to make those decisions
yourself. Your agent may be a family
member or a close friend whom you trust to
make serious decisions. The person you
name as your agent should clearly
understand your wishes and be willing to
accept the responsibility of making medical
decisions for you. (An agent may also be
called an “attorney-in-fact” or “proxy.”)
The person you appoint as your agent
cannot be:
• your doctor or other treating health care
• an employee of your treating health care
provider, unless he or she is related to
• your residential care provider, or
• an employee of your residential care
provider, unless he or she is related to
You can appoint a second and third person
as your alternate agent. The alternate will
step in if the first person you name as agent
is unable, unwilling or unavailable to act for
How do I make my Texas Medical Power
of Attorney legal?
The law requires that you sign your Medical
Power of Attorney, or direct another to sign
it, in the presence of two witnesses.
At least one witness cannot be:
• the person you name as your agent,
• related to you by blood or marriage,
• your doctor or an employee of your
• an employee of a health care facility in
which you are a patient (if he or she is
involved in your care),
• an officer, director, partner, or business
office employee of the health care
facility or of any parent organization of
the health care facility,
• a person entitled to any part of your
estate upon your death, or
• any other person who has a claim against
your estate at the time you sign the
Medical Power of Attorney.
Note: You do not need to notarize your
Texas Medical Power of Attorney.
Should I add personal instructions to my
Texas Medical Power of Attorney?
Caring Connections advises you not to add
instructions to this document. One of the
strongest reasons for naming an agent is to
have someone who can respond flexibly as
your medical condition changes and deal
with situations that you did not foresee. If
you add instructions to this document, you
might unintentionally restrict your agent’s
power to act in your best interest.
Instead, we urge you to talk with your agent
about your future medical care and describe
what you consider to be an acceptable
“quality of life.” If you want to record your
wishes about specific treatments or
conditions, you should use your Texas
Directive to Physicians and Family or
What if I change my mind?
You may revoke your Texas Medical Power
of Attorney at any time by:
• notifying your agent, doctor or
residential care provider of your
revocation (this may be done orally, in
writing or by any other act which
demonstrates your intent to revoke your
agent’s power); or
• executing another medical power of
If you appoint your spouse as your agent,
and your marriage is dissolved or annulled,
your agent’s authority is automatically
How do I make my Texas Directive legal?
In order to make your Directive legally
binding, you must sign it, or direct another
to sign it, in the presence of two witnesses
who must also sign the document. At least
one witness cannot be:
• designated by you to make a treatment
• related to you by blood or marriage,
• entitled to any part of your estate after
your death,
• your doctor or an employee of your
• an employee of a health care facility in
which you are a patient, if he or she is
directly involved in your care,
• an officer, director, partner, or business
office employee of the health care
facility or of any parent organization of
the health care facility, or
• a person who, at the time you sign the
Directive, has a claim against your estate
after your death.
Note: You do not need to notarize your
Texas Directive to Physicians.
Can I add personal instructions to my
Yes. You can add personal instructions in
the part of the document called “Additional
Requests.” You may want to refuse specific
treatments by a statement such as, “I
especially do not want cardiopulmonary
resuscitation, a respirator, artificial feeding
or antibiotics,” or to emphasize pain control
by adding instructions such as, “I want to
receive as much pain medication as
necessary to ensure my comfort, even if it
may hasten my death.”
If you have appointed an agent through a
medical power of attorney, it is a good idea
to write a statement such as, “Any questions
about how to interpret or when to apply my
Directive are to be decided by my agent.”
It is important to learn about the kinds of
life-sustaining treatment you might receive.
Consult your doctor or order the Caring
Connections booklet, “Advance Directives
and End-of-Life Decisions.”
What if I change my mind?
You may revoke your Texas Directive at
any time by:
• canceling, defacing, obliterating,
burning, tearing or otherwise destroying
the directive,
• signing and dating a written revocation,
• orally stating your intent to revoke the
You or someone acting on your behalf must
notify your doctor of the revocation.
What other important facts should I
A pregnant patient’s Texas Directive will
not be honored due to restrictions in the state
1. Your Texas Medical Power of Attorney
and Texas Directive are important legal
documents. Keep the original signed
documents in a secure but accessible
place. Do not put the original documents
in a safe deposit box or any other
security box that would keep others from
having access to them.
2. Give photocopies of the signed originals
to your agent and alternate agent(s),
doctor(s), family, close friends, clergy
and anyone else who might become
involved in your health care. If you enter
a nursing home or hospital, have
photocopies of your documents placed in
your medical records.
3. Be sure to talk to your agent and
alternate agent(s), doctor(s), clergy, and
family and friends about your wishes
concerning medical treatment. Discuss
your wishes with them often, particularly
if your medical condition changes.
4. If you want to make changes to your
documents after they have been signed
and witnessed, you must complete new
5. Remember, you can always revoke one
or both of your Texas documents.
6. Be aware that your Texas documents
will not be effective in the event of a
medical emergency. Ambulance
personnel are required to provide
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
unless they are given a separate order
that states otherwise. These orders,
commonly called “non-hospital do-notresuscitate
orders,” are designed for
people whose poor health gives them
little chance of benefiting from CPR.
These orders must be signed by your
physician and instruct ambulance
personnel not to attempt CPR if your
heart or breathing should stop. Currently
not all states have laws authorizing nonhospital
do-not-resuscitate orders.
Caring Connections does not distribute
these forms. We suggest you speak to
your physician.
If you would like more information about
this topic contact Caring Connections or
consult the Caring Connections booklet
“Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, Do-
Not-Resuscitate Orders and End-Of-Life
Except to the extent you state otherwise, this document gives the person you name as your agent
the authority to make any and all health care decisions for you in accordance with your wishes,
including your religious and moral beliefs, when you are no longer capable of making them
yourself. Because “health care” means any treatment, service, or procedure to maintain,
diagnose, or treat your physical or mental condition, your agent has the power to make a broad
range of health care decisions for you. Your agent may consent, refuse to consent, or withdraw
consent to medical treatment and may make decisions about withdrawing or withholding lifesustaining
treatment. Your agent may not consent to voluntary inpatient mental health services,
convulsive treatment, psychosurgery, or abortion. A physician must comply with your agent’s
instructions or allow you to be transferred to another physician.
Your agent’s authority begins when your doctor certifies that you lack the competence to make
health care decisions.
Your agent is obligated to follow your instructions when making decisions on your behalf.
Unless you state otherwise, your agent has the same authority to make decisions about your
health care as you would have had.
It is important that you discuss this document with your physician or other health care provider
before you sign it to make sure that you understand the nature and range of decisions that may be
made on your behalf. If you do not have a physician, you should talk with someone else who is
knowledgeable about these issues and can answer your questions. You do not need a lawyer’s
assistance to complete this document, but if there is anything in this document that you do not
understand, you should ask a lawyer to explain it to you.
The person you appoint as agent should be someone you know and trust. The person must be 18
years of age or older or a person under 18 years of age who has had the disabilities of minority
removed. If you appoint your health or residential care provider (e.g., your physician or an
employee of a home health agency, hospital, nursing home, or residential care home, other than a
relative), that person has to choose between acting as your agent or as your health or residential
care provider; the law does not permit a person to do both at the same time.
You should inform the person you appoint that you want the person to be your health care agent.
You should discuss this document with your agent and your physician and give each a signed
copy. You should indicate on the document itself the people and institutions who have signed
copies. Your agent is not liable for health care decisions made in good faith on your behalf.
Even after you have signed this document, you have the right to make health care decisions for
yourself as long as you are able to do so and treatment cannot be given to you or stopped over
your objection. You have the right to revoke the authority granted to your agent by informing
your agent or your health or residential care provider orally or in writing, or by your execution of
a subsequent medical power of attorney. Unless you state otherwise, your appointment of a
spouse dissolves on divorce.
This document may not be changed or modified. If you want to make changes in the document,
you must make an entirely new one.
You may wish to designate an alternate agent in the event that your agent is unwilling, unable, or
ineligible to act as your agent. Any alternate agent you designate has the same authority to make
health care decisions for you.
(1) the person you have designated as your agent;
(2) a person related to you by blood or marriage;
(3) a person entitled to any part of your estate after your death under a will or codicil executed
by you or by operation of law;
(4) your attending physician;
(5) an employee of your attending physician;
(6) an employee of your health care facility in which you are a patient if the employee is
providing direct patient care to you or is an officer, director, partner, or business office
employee of the health care facility or of any parent organization of the health care facility;
(7) a person who, at the time this power of attorney is executed, has a claim against any part of
your estate after your death.
I, ________________________________________________________, appoint:
(name of agent)
(work telephone number) (home telephone number)
as my agent to make any and all health care decisions for me, except to the extent
I state otherwise in this document. This medical power of attorney takes effect if I
become unable to make my own health care decisions and this fact is certified in
writing by my physician.
© 2005 National
Hospice and Palliative
Care Organization
(You are not required to designate an alternate agent but you may do so. An
alternate agent may make the same health care decisions as the designated
agent if the designated agent is unable or unwilling to act as your agent. If the
agent designated is your spouse, the designation is automatically revoked by
law if your marriage is dissolved.)
If the person designated as my agent is unable or unwilling to make health care
decisions for me, I designate the following persons to serve as my agent to
make health care decisions for me as authorized by this document, who serve in
the following order:
A. First Alternate Agent
(name of first alternate agent)
(home address)
(work telephone number) (home telephone number)
B. Second Alternate Agent
(name of second alternate agent)
(home address)
(work telephone number) (home telephone number)
The original of this document is kept at: _______________________________
© 2005 National
Hospice and Palliative
Care Organization
The following individuals or institutions have signed copies:
Name: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Address: ________________________________________________________
Name: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
I understand that this power of attorney exists indefinitely from the date I
execute this document unless I establish a shorter time or revoke the power of
attorney. If I am unable to make health care decisions for myself when this
power of attorney expires, the authority I have granted my agent continues to
exist until the time I become able to make health care decisions for myself.
(IF APPLICABLE) This power of attorney ends on the following date:
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
I revoke any prior medical power of attorney.
I have been provided with a disclosure statement explaining the effect of this
document. I have read and understood that information contained in the
disclosure statement.
I sign my name to this medical power of attorney on _____________________
day of ____________________ _______, at ___________________________.
(month) (year) (city and state)
(print name)
© 2005 National
Hospice and Palliative
Care Organization
I am not the person appointed as agent by this document. I am not related to the
principal by blood or marriage. I would not be entitled to any portion of the
principal’s estate on the principal’s death. I am not the attending physician of
the principal or an employee of the attending physician. I have no claim against
any portion of the principal’s estate on the principal’s death. Furthermore, if I
am an employee of a health care facility in which the principal is a patient, I am
not involved in providing direct patient care to the principal and am not an
officer, director, partner or business office employee of the health care facility
of any parent organization of the health care facility.
Signature: _______________________________________________________
Print Name: ____________________________________ Date: ____________
Address: ________________________________________________________
Witness Signature: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Print Name: ____________________________________ Date: ____________
Address: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Courtesy of Caring Connections
1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 625, Alexandria, VA 22314
www.caringinfo.org, 800/658-8898
© 2005 National
Hospice and Palliative
Care Organization
Instructions for completing this document:
This is an important legal document known as an Advance Directive. It is
designed to help you communicate your wishes about medical treatment at
some time in the future when you are unable to make your wishes known
because of illness or injury. These wishes are usually based on personal values.
In particular, you may want to consider what burdens or hardships of treatment
you would be willing to accept for a particular amount of benefit obtained if you
were seriously ill.
You are encouraged to discuss your values and wishes with your family or
chosen spokesperson, as well as your physician. Your physician, other health
care provider, or medical institution may provide you with various resources to
assist you in completing your advance directive. Brief definitions are listed
below and may aid you in your discussions and advance planning. Initial the
treatment choices that best reflect your personal preferences. Provide a copy of
your directive to your physician, usual hospital, and family or spokesperson.
Consider a periodic review of this document. By periodic review, you can best
assure that the directive reflects your preferences.
In addition to this advance directive, Texas law provides for two other types of
directives that can be important during a serious illness. These are the Medical
Power of Attorney and the Out-of-Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate Order. You may
wish to discuss these with your physician, family, hospital representative, or
other advisers. You may also wish to complete a directive related to the
donation of organs and tissues.
I, ______________________________, recognize that the best health care is
based upon a partnership of trust and communication with my physician. My
physician and I will make health care decisions together as long as I am of
sound mind and able to make my wishes known, If there comes a time that I am
unable to make medical decisions about myself because of illness or injury, I
direct that the following treatment preferences be honored:
© 2005 National
Hospice and Palliative
Care Organization
If, in the judgment of my physician, I am suffering with a terminal condition
from which I am expected to die within six months, even with available lifesustaining
treatment provided in accordance with prevailing standards of
medical care:
_______ I request that all treatments other than those needed to keep me
comfortable be discontinued or withheld and my physician allow me to die as
gently as possible; OR
_______ I request that I be kept alive in this terminal condition using available
life-sustaining treatment. (THIS SELECTION DOES NOT APPLY TO
If, in the judgment of my physician, I am suffering with an irreversible
condition so that I cannot care for myself or make decisions for myself and am
expected to die without life-sustaining treatment provided in accordance with
prevailing standards of care:
_______ I request that all treatments other than those needed to keep me
comfortable be discontinued or withheld and my physician allow me to die as
gently as possible; OR
_______ I request that I be kept alive in this irreversible condition using
available life-sustaining treatment. (THIS SELECTION DOES NOT APPLY
Additional requests: (After discussion with your physician, you may wish to
consider listing particular treatments in this space that you do or do not want in
specific circumstances, such as artificial nutrition and fluids, intravenous
antibiotics, etc. Be sure to state whether you do or do not want the particular
© 2005 National
Hospice and Palliative
Care Organization
After signing this directive, if my representative or I elect hospice care, I
understand and agree that only those treatments needed to keep me comfortable
would be provided and I would not be given available life-sustaining treatments.
If I do not have a Medical Power of Attorney, and I am unable to make my
wishes known, I designate the following person(s) to make treatment decisions
with my physician compatible with my personal values:
1. _______________________________________
(name of person)
2. _______________________________________
(name of second person)
If the above persons are not available, or if I have not designated a spokesperson, I
understand that the spokesperson will be chosen for me following standards
specified in the laws of Texas. If, in the judgment of my physician, my death is
imminent within minutes to hours, even with the use of all available medical
treatment provided within the prevailing standard of care, I acknowledge that all
treatments may be withheld or removed except those needed to maintain my
comfort. I understand that under Texas law this directive has no effect if I have
been diagnosed as pregnant. This directive will remain in effect until I revoke it. No
other person may do so.
SIGNED _______________________________________ DATE ___________
(your name) (date)
_________________________, _________________________, ____________
(city) (county) (State)
© 2005 National
Hospice and Palliative
Care Organization
Two competent adult witnesses must sign below, acknowledging the signature
of the declarant. The witness designated as Witness 1 may not be a person
designated to make a treatment decision for the patient and may not be related
to the patient by blood or marriage. This witness may not be entitled to any part
of the estate and may not have a claim against the estate of the patient. This
witness may not be the attending physician or an employee of the attending
physician. If this witness is an employee of a health care facility in which the
patient is being cared for, this witness may not be involved in providing direct
patient care to the patient. This witness may not be an officer, director, partner,
or business office employee of a health care facility in which the patient is being
cared for or of any parent organization of the health care facility.
WITNESS #1: ______________________________________________
WITNESS #2: ______________________________________________
nutrients or fluids by a tube inserted in a vein, under the skin in the
subcutaneous tissues, or in the stomach (gastrointestinal tract).
“IRREVERSIBLE CONDITION” means a condition, injury, or illness:
1. that may be treated, but is never cured or eliminated;
2. that leaves a person unable to care for or make decisions for the person’s
own self; and
3. that, without life-sustaining treatment provided in accordance with the
prevailing standard of medical care, is fatal.
© 2005 National
Hospice and Palliative
Care Organization
EXPLANATION: Many serious illnesses such as cancer, failure of major
organs (kidney, heart, liver or lung), and serious brain disease such as
Alzheimer’s dementia may be considered irreversible early on. There is no cure,
but the patient may be kept alive for prolonged periods of time if the patient
receives life-sustaining treatments. Late in the course of the same illness, the
disease may be considered terminal when, even with treatment, the patient is
expected to die. You may wish to consider which burdens of treatment you
would be willing to accept in an effort to achieve a particular outcome. This is a
very personal decision that you may wish to discuss with your physician,
family, or other important persons in your life.
“LIFE-SUSTAINING TREATMENT” means treatment that, based on
reasonable medical judgment, sustains the life of a patient and without which
the patient will die. The term includes both life-sustaining medications and
artificial life support such as mechanical breathing machines, kidney dialysis
treatment, and artificial hydration and nutrition. The term does not include the
administration of pain management medication, the performance of a medical
procedure necessary to provide comfort care, or any other medical care
provided to alleviate a patient’s pain.
“TERMINAL CONDITION” means an incurable condition caused by injury,
disease, or illness that according to reasonable medical judgment will produce
death within six months, even with available life-sustaining treatment provided
in accordance with the prevailing standard of medical care.
EXPLANATION: Many serious illnesses may be considered irreversible early
in the course of the illness, but they may not be considered terminal until the
disease is fairly advanced. In thinking about terminal illness and its treatment,
you again may wish to consider the relative benefits and burdens of treatment
and discuss your wishes with your physician, family, or other important persons
in your life.
Courtesy of Caring Connections
1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 625, Alexandria, VA 22314
www.caringinfo.org, 800/658-8898
© 2005 National
Hospice and Palliative
Care Organization

"When You Lose Me Forever, Read This"

If tomorrow starts without me Terri,
And I'm not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes all filled with tears for me;
I wish so much you wouldn't cry the way you did today,
While thinking of the many things we didn't get to say.
I know how much you love me
As much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me,
I know you'll miss me too.
But when tomorrow starts without me,
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name,
And took me by the hand,
And said my place was ready,
In heaven far above,
And that I'd have to leave behind;
All those I dearly love.
But as I turned to walk away,
A tear fell from my eye
For all my life I'd always thought,
I didn't want to die.
I had so much to live for, so much left to do,
It seemed almost impossible
That I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays,
The good ones and the bad,
I thought of all the love we shared,
And all the fun we had.
If i could relive yesterday,
Just even for awhile,
I'd say goodbye and kiss you
And maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realized
That this could never be,
For emptiness and memories
Would take the place of me.
And when I thought of worldly things
I might miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you and when I did,
My heart was filled with sorrow.
But when I walked through heaven's gates,
I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me
From his great golden throne,
He said, "This is eternity. And all I've promised you."
"Today your life on earth is past,
But here life starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow. But today will always last,
And since each day's the same way,
There's no longing for the past.
You have been so faithful, So trusting and so true.
Though there were times you did some things,
You knew you shouldn't do.
But you have been forgiven, And now at last you're free.
So won't you come and take my hand, And share my life with me?"
So when tomorrow starts without me, Don't think we're far apart,
For every time you think of me, I'm right here, in your

Ruben Perez

July 2004

Retirement Communities

By Terri Rimmer

Here are some of the best retirement communities in Fort Worth and Dallas, TX:

At Trinity Terrace the motto is “We celebrate life.” They tout themselves as the only continuing care retirement community. As a resident you receive unlimited stays at their health care center with no increase in the monthly fee. They offer spacious den and studio apartments and are located in the heart of downtown Fort Worth at 1600 Texas Street. The Trinity Terrace Foundation is the charitable arm of the company. The facility has a restaurant-style dining room with a trained chef. Residents plan their own days and live at their own pace. Trinity Terrace may be reached at 800-841-0561.

Hill Villa Retirement Community is located near the cultural district at 8000 Calmont Avenue. They have month-to-month rent with no long-term leases or buy-in fees. Meals are served daily and household maintenance is available. Weekly housekeeping and linen service and scheduled transportation are also available. All utilities are paid and emergency systems are installed in each apartment. There are a variety of floor plans to choose from. Monthly rent includes all basic services. There are exercise classes, music guests, ceramics, educational opportunities, movies, and scheduled outings among other activities. For more information call 817-560-0346.

Fairview Retirement Community is located in historic Fort Worth. They are a newly constructed, three-story building with modern features. This community housing was formed, according to their website, to ensure that all seniors enjoy a comfortable lifestyle regardless of income. Applicant or applicant’s spouse must be 62 years old or older. Rent and utilities are based on 30 percent of a person’s adjusted gross income. Average apartment size is 520 square feet and most facilities are equipped with a community room and laundry facilities. Interpretive services are available upon request. Located at 7832 Chapin Road they may be reached at 800-735-2989.

Broadway Plaza at Cityview is luxury retirement living. They are considered a full-service retirement community. There is no entrance fee but an all-inclusive monthly rent and one-time security deposit. Located at 5301 Bryant Irvin Road they may be reached at 817-294-2280.

Meadowstone Place was one of the first retirement communities to be built in Dallas. Built by Spectrum Properties, it is independent retirement living with delicious meals served daily and lunch tours are available. One and two-bedrooms are available. Services include a health care liaison, health care programs, covered parking, full-size apartment homes, fully-equipped kitchens, washer/dryer connections, door-to-door garbage pick-up, and other services. Optional services include beauty salon, housekeeping, guest suites, and other features. Located at 10410 Stone Canyon Road they may be contacted at 214-987-0943.

The Waterford At Fort Worth is located at 6799 Granbury Road near the local university. They describe themselves as elegant, affordable, and chore-free. There are privacy areas for visitors and a trained staff in this stress-free environment. They may be reached at 877-357-7432.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Ruben and I

Saturday, January 21, 2006

“How My Cat Taught Me About A Higher Power”

By Cindy Persico

Like most of us I struggle with the concept of “Higher Power” or H.P. and my understanding has grown thankfully over the years that on most days I can feel centered and well-cared for by this Higher Power thanks to Alanon.

That isn’t always the case.

In 2003 my brother-in-law was killed in a car accident. Watching my sister, Joy, struggle with her grief has been particularly painful and has called into question again how to make sense out of things that seem so senseless.

What good can come from this?

Hello, God, Are you still there?

Will you take care of Joy? She’s so scared and sure this isn’t what should be happening at all.

One day I had to take Eunice, my cat, to the vet.

She shivered, and shook, and cried, certain this couldn’t possibly be what should be happening at all. I reassured her as best I could; yet again had a flash that this is exactly how life feels sometimes. I’m sure that whatever is happening is all wrong and yet it’s the best thing for my growth, though it may hurt temporarily. I can even think ole H.P. is making a mistake or forget to care for me when that is exactly the opposite of what is happening.

Thanks, Eunice and H.P. for these simple ways to grasp the idea that maybe, just maybe, I can breathe easier knowing “God’s Gotcha,” Joy - - - - and me and Eunice, too.

One Day At A Time.

Area trade and professional organizations

Connections Bookstore - DONE
CareStaf - Magnolia
Trio Hair Concepts - Bluebonnet Circle
Brothers 2 Cleaners - Bluebonnet Circle
Denehy Architects - Bluebonnet Circle
Corporate Personnel Service Temps - Camp Bowie Blvd., W. - DONE
Heliotrope - DONE
Waits Avenue, 3205 House - DONE
Cowtown Massage - DONE
Carl Montgomery Real Estate - University - DONE
Hulen Hills Animal Hospital - DONE
Linda Eichelberger Realty - University - DONE
Michael L. de Die, CPA - University - DONE
Counseling Associates - University - DONE
Spiral Cafe & Bakery - Magnolia - DONE
Helen Painter & Company on Forest Park - DONE
Century 21 - Wedgemont Circle N. off Granbury Road - DONE
Mays Realty - Forest Park - DONE

American Institute of Architects Fort Worth
1425 8th Avenue Suite 100
927-2411, fax: 2444

American Subcontractors Association - N. TX
2715 Avenue E East #616
Arlington 76011
640-8275, fax: 695-7769

Apartment Association of Tarrant County
6350 Baker Blvd
284-1121, fax: 2054

Building Owners and Managers Association - BOMA
777 Main St #765
Fort Worth 76102
336-2662, fax: 338-1925

Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors
2650 Parkview Dr
336-5165, fax: 870-2863

National Association of Women in Construction
Box 162898
831-8801, fax: 8621

SCORE-Fort Worth (working with small businesses)
1150 S Fwy, James Guinn Complex
871-6002, fax: 820-0531

Third Novel

By Terri Rimmer

Today was the day she stopped taking it.

Stopped being kicked around, punched in the gut, and driven to the bottom of the barrel, settling for crumbs.

She treated her dog better than she let people treat her.

The phone had rang too early that morning. As she heard the machine pick up and the dreaded expectation and realization of her new publisher’s voice come across the tape she told herself she would not pick it up.

She did not want to deal with this woman today.

The Power of Friends

By Terri Rimmer

Monica looks normal.

Pretty, young, grandma (though she doesn’t look it), full-time employee, exotic looking she tempts the desires of her newfound friend Mark.

But as she tells her story you realize how deceiving looks can be.

“I had part of my liver removed because of liver cancer but that didn’t stop me from drinking,” she begins. “Not even going through chemo though I didn’t drink when I was pregnant with my two girls. But then I went back to drinking. Nothing stopped me from drinking.”

Until a week ago when she heard her 23-year-old daughter talking to her friend on the phone.

Her daughter told her friend, “I won’t ever drink because my mom is going to die from drinking. She’s going to wind up with cirrhosis of the liver.”

“She doesn’t know I heard her say that,” said Monica. “That’s when I made the decision to never drink again.”

At the Manhattan Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment Center, one of the first treatment centers in New York State that recognized the necessity of providing on-site child care in order to successfully treat women with alcohol and substance abuse problems.

Part of Women In Need (WIN); the center provides comprehensive services for clients.

They also have a Casa Rita Substance Abuse Treatment Program for Women, a family-focused treatment with on-site child care services and individual and group counseling, acupuncture, evening clinic services, and vocational assistance to help clients make the transition from welfare to work.

“Because the welfare of children is central to the success of the family unit, helping mothers help their children is the keystone of our efforts,” reads their website.

WIN provides specialized services for children including therapeutic child care for infants, pre-schoolers, and school-age children; a personal educational plan for each child; appropriate referrals to any other services needed; parenting workshops; and after school programs.

The structured Homework Helper’s Program, funded by the J. Jill Compassion Fund, provides young children of school age with homework assistance, tutoring, computer skills, and a range of literacy enhancing activities at the Monica Apartment Program Shelter.

Camp WIN is an eight-week summer day camp completely supported by private funds.

Children’s day care includes after school and full-time summer programs for 60 children, ages 6-12 form low income families on Manhattan’s West Side.

A broad scope of education and vocational services, from the most rudimentary to advanced is available. The Empowerment Project funded by L’Oreal Paris, specifically addresses issues of self-esteem as well as problem-solving and leadership skills.

Domestic violence is prevalent in the lives of many women and children who enter a Women In Need shelter. Women In Need’s SHINE (Safe Housing In a New Environment) is a support housing program with intensive supportive services for women who have been victims of domestic abuse.

The HIV Education program was born out of the realization that many of WIN’s clients are at high risk for HIV/AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

Aftercare services include support housing from the Women In Supported Housing (WISH) program.

The Family Friends program founded by the board of directors is a privately funded program providing up to two years of financial support to former clients who are living independently and are working or in school.

The Homelessness Intervention Project works with 150 families in 11 Brooklyn neighborhoods during the early months of independent living, this project helps with budget planning, tenancy advocacy, and other relevant concerns.

The WINner’s Circle is funded by the Robin Hood Foundation and the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation and offers networking, information sharing, and support among formerly homeless clients from two of WIN’s shelters.

Their website is women-in-need.org.

WIN is located at 115 West 31st Street in New York, NY and may be reached at 212-695-4758.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Once First Now Last

By Terri Rimmer

One club has taken a title of a movie and put their own spin on it.

First and Last Wives Club in Texas is full of women who were once married and vow never to be again, not because of bitterness or male bashing but for reasons ranging from “switching teams” (lesbianism) or for their own personal quests.

“The First Wives Club” was a 1996 movie about Hollywood trophy wives who take husbands away from the original wives.

But this organization doesn’t lament what went bad in their marriage, but instead celebrate their life now.

“We designed the name because in forming our group we all realized that we had at one time all been married to one loser or another,” said Owner “Miss Lace.” “We are predominantly lesbian, although some of my founding lifers, heterosexual persuasion.”

The club participates in activities all over the city like the recent Pride Parade and Dykes On Bikes.

Even the straight ones march in the gay pride parades.

The club’s motto is “If you’ve ever been a first wife, you know you’ll be the last” and they have a reunion every year to update each other on what everyone is doing in their lives.

The rest of the year there are parties and entertainment which are listed on firstandlastwivesclub.com. On the site you can also buy opinionated t-shirts.

The first show the club ever participated in was in 2001, an extravagant affair in Sydney, Australia.

Like a girl’s tree house, they even have their own terminology, like “lifer,” a member who intends to attend every event until she dies and “fence girl” – a straight girl who all the women in the club think will fall off the proverbial fence at any minute and cross over.

In the photos on the group’s website you can see a lot of “lipstick lesbians,” traditionally feminine gay women. In American films lesbians are often portrayed according to the lipstick lesbian stereotype like “The L Word” on Showtime.

As with gay men, lesbian culture includes elements both from the larger gay culture and ones that are more closely specific to the lesbian community.

“When you get a divorce you go through a crazy period,” says Jackie Joseph, one straight wives’ club president in Hollywood specifically for celebrity wives.

Following her divorce, Joseph became chair of the Screen Actors’ Guild, TV Actors Union, and was made director or a homeless shelter in Redondo Beach.

For more information on the First and Last Wives Club, call 972-939-9106.

Big Sister

We've ran through sprinklers carving our hearts on each other's souls.

We saw tears become smiles that our dreams make a reality. We’ve seen each other through the pain, crawled, walked, and then ran to visualizations beyond us.

My older sister Cindy held my hand till the trauma of a day became the peace of a new tomorrow. Hoping to grow old holding onto memories like fireflies we used to catch in jars releasing them later lovingly.

Our younger years yawned into spreading teenaged crushes, hopes, and vision into our 20s feeling our way through hopes and goals among the brighter stars. Before we could blink there was our 30s as we let go of a crumpled past. We talk like there's no tomorrow neither time nor distance or difficulties stop our hearts from being intertwined into the bond that yesterday's failures or success could break apart and sever our ties. She turned 40 two years ago and next there's me. When did we think this was so old? She spreads hope and even through the darkest hours makes the brightness even better. Through all the airport shuffles, drives, games, play, long talks spread out over phone lines, letters, cards, and scrapbooks, to emails, technology and still we are the strongest of sisters, the most resilient of siblings, the most courageous of friends. She is my model, what I aim to be and parts of her give life to me. Letters have yellowed; cards live in boxes, while our love's not contained so tidily.

As a child Cindy became my hero. She fluffed my pajamas in the dryer before bed, sewed my Girl Scout badges on my uniform, comforted me when the kids made fun of my glasses, skinniness, and shyness, and read me bedtime stories. She also became the surrogate mom in our newly formed mini-family. When I was 11 to my surprise and fear Cindy could take no more sexual abuse by our dad and told our mom about what had been going on for years, something my mom claimed to know nothing about at the time. I felt so alone as I went to live with my mom and Cindy requested to be sent to a foster home of her teacher’s.

Then, three years later, my first day in a mental institute at 14, my mom, step dad, and sister, Cindy brought me to the facility at the direction of the children’s' home I was in. Cindy, being such a great salesman she could sell ice cream to Eskimos, tried her best to make me feel good about the fact that at least I had my own concrete room and privacy. I called Cindy a lot but sometimes had to wait my turn. I wrote stories and poems, was quiet as a mouse, did all my chores, and worked my way up to all my levels, becoming the good little patient on the adolescent wing. It was what everyone wanted except my sister who just wanted me home.

The sad day came when Cindy left for college and came to see me, disappointed to see I was still living in this Decatur hospital. It was hard to say goodbye to her knowing she would write but with the knowledge that she would be in another state starting her collegiate years. She later became a successful therapist and though I could not sue a therapist who made my situation worse since she was only a behavioral therapist and there was no license to be yanked, I could look at my sister and marvel at her gifts. If it hadn't been for my sister I'm convinced I would've wound up in prison, a prostitute, or dead. She was my sanity, my saving grace, my reason to go on. She kept me alive and hoping and everyone needs that.

Despite my utter fear of him, I turned my dad in for sexual abuse for the first time at the age of 15. Holding my hand, Cindy, drove me to the AGAPE Church of Christ Agency which placed abused and/or neglected children with church members.

When I was in a juvenile home my saving grace was Cindy.

She visited, called, wrote letters, and got the staff to let me come visit her in Florida twice. Once during spring break on a visit to her dorm in college I attended some classes with her, one of which was a Psychology class. The professor brought up the topic of group homes and asked the class if anyone knew what those were. They all sat in silence and I looked at my sister. I wasn't about to raise my hand and say, "Yes, I'm quite familiar with them. I'm in one" so I just looked down at the floor, awkwardly. Cindy and I talked about it later and about how weird that experience was. She even went with me to acting lessons once when she was visiting for the summer. She also picked me up with her boyfriend when she visited from college and we'd all go out to eat and see a movie frequently.

I pushed the envelope later that year when my sister and I advocated with the staff for me to be able to work my first real job at Six Flags, riding with an employee. Then there was the counseling staff who managed the facility. Dale, the director of the home, later worked with my sister and told him, "I never could figure out Terri. She was an intellectual delinquent."

One day my fate was set through no control of my own. Sharon, one of the residents, on the way back from an outing in the van, sitting in the back, started whispering to me crazy stuff like setting the group home, a government facility, on fire. I thought she was just kidding, just high on drugs or something but then she pointed to some gasoline cans she had stolen and stashed behind the seats.

When we arrived home everyone filed out of the van only she lingered behind, mysteriously.

"What are you doing?" I questioned.

"It's the only way we'll get out of here," she said, gesturing to the gas cans.

"Are you crazy?" I asked, now scared of this girl.

I backed away as I watched her pour a bunch of gasoline in the basement.

"Yeah, that should do it," she said, smoothly.

She didn't light a match. She just moseyed her way upstairs inside the house, leaving me to smell the fumes.

I told a house parent they might want to check out the basement, but that was all I said and I went to my room.

When they discovered what she'd done and determined it was her she was arrested, of course but I was dragged to a counselor's office for questioning where my dad sat and demanded to know my part in this scheme. I told them I didn't know anything about it ahead of time, which was partly true. I didn't know she was serious, I didn't know she was going to pour gasoline in the basement but she had implicated me somehow and was determined to drag me down with her. Since the staff didn't believe me they kicked me out and I went to live with my dad who continued sexually abusing me for three weeks until I escaped his clutches once again with the help of Cindy. This was July 1983 and my dad was getting ready to buy me birth control pills so he could have sex with me finally. Once again, Cindy came to the rescue and after trying to move back to my mom’s and being turned down by my step dad, we went to the Department of Family & Children’s Services (DEFACS) and as the realization set in finally that my own parents didn’t want me, I was placed in an emergency shelter where I was to live for a year in between one other foster home. This time we sat in the lobby of the DEFACS awaiting our turn to speak with a social worker. She ushered us in professionally and told us about my soon to be new foster parent, Doris Strickland.

"They're on their way to come get you now," the social worker told me after a phone call. "You can just sit out in the lobby with your stuff and soon Mrs. Strickland will be here."

Surprised, my sister and I went back to the lobby and waited for the arrival of my latest foster mom. It wasn't long before the glass door opened and a heavyset woman with glasses and a ready smile pushed open the door.

"Are you Terri?" she asked me.

"Yes," I said, hesitantly, clutching my familiar bags.

"I'm Doris," she said as the social worker rounded the corner.

"Oh, Doris, you're always so prompt," the social worker said as Doris pushed her eyeglasses up on her nose.

"I'm Cindy, Terri's sister," my sister said, holding out her hand to Doris who took it, amused.

Before I knew it, we were off, me saying goodbye to Cindy once again, her promising to visit, call, and write, which I knew she would, and me getting into a car with my familiar blue, battered suitcase. I don't remember if Doris and I had much of a conversation on the way to her house. I know I was shy and intimidated by her stealth and the prospect of where we were going.

I didn't see my mom the day in July or Cindy when my parents signed me over to the state in court.

One day inside a box I received from my dad who I had turned in for sexual abuse were black and dead roses, shredded baby pictures of Cindy and I, ripped up stories and poems I'd written, and a big note addressed to me from my dad that read: "Thank you for ridding me of you at last."

Another day while living with Doris, she met Cindy and dropped me off at a meeting point for her to pick me up so we could visit. By this time Cindy had a different car, giving up her old "Rocky" yellow Nova and now driving a blue Chevette, a car my dad had bought her right before I escaped him this last time. We spent the day together, running around, eating, shopping, and going to the beach, whatever. I hated to say goodbye to her so as always she made it not only bearable but fun. As we waited in the parking lot for Doris to pick me up again, Cindy and I were cracking up about various inside jokes and stories from our past and present.

"Hey, remember that Fig Newton commercial?" she said, suddenly inspired to be silly, and proceeded to imitate it.

"Here's the tricky part - "The big, Fig NEW-TON!" she mimicked, dancing around.” What’s tricky about that?"

She had me belly laughing and soon she joined in as our laughter bounced off the black asphalt of the parking lot against the trees lining the school yard where we waited for Doris' familiar truck to round the corner.

When it did, Cindy hugged me tight.

"I'll call you tonight," she promised and I knew she would.

My sister Cindy called from college in Florida the first day I was in the hospital after I tried to kill myself in February 1984, upset and crying. She had called my mom immediately after talking to me and found out my mom, who lived about 20 minutes from the hospital, was too busy partying with friends to come see me. This infuriated Cindy and she vented to me, disbelieving my mom's behavior.

The next month I went to see Cindy again at college and met a guy, Danny who I had a crush on immediately. A few weeks after that I was back in Florida, this time with my mom and step dad, who traveled to see Cindy graduate from college. Cindy couldn't make it to my high school Baccalaureate but she, my mom, step dad, aunt, other sisters, and nieces attended my high school graduation. I graduated from the same school as Cindy only she graduated with honors and earned her Masters in 1986. Cindy and I spent a lot of time together the summer I graduated from high school and she worked in town while I took a job at the Parks and Recreation Department close by as a secretary.

Once years ago while I was pet sitting for my sister in Florida, her cat disappeared for five days only to be found by Cindy upon her return. The cat was sitting casually on a lady's porch, not a care in the world. The lady, who my sister likened to a witch, very creepy, said something along the lines of "I've got my husband buried in the backyard."

With that, my sister gingerly picked up her cat and said, "I'll just be taking her home now. Thank you."

That cat took a few days to get back to "normal" after that adventure.

In 2001 I got an email from Cindy about our grandma who was terminally ill. The email said nothing had changed:

She looks just terrible to put it bluntly,” Cindy wrote. “She was never conscious or anything like that - just had feeding tube and was chock full of Morphine. It’s pretty sad just waiting for her to go and now the forced feeding is probably prolonging the inevitable. I guess it’s hard to get a big family to agree, or even a small one for that matter. Just for the record, don’t do that to me; please if I can’t come back on my own with God’s help. I think we were a good distraction for Mom and Aunt Sybil if nothing else and I’m the closest distance-wise.”

When I think of my childhood I think of the safety of Cindy. The two of us would lie under the tree and look up at the lights as the twinkled and talk about things like what we wanted for Christmas. On Christmas Eve Cindy would read me the story in the Bible of how Jesus was born, and then tuck me into bed. We watched all the TV. specials together -‘ Rudolph, The Grinch, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, The Drummer Boy, Frosty The Snowman, A Charlie Brown Christmas; etc.’ Cindy, her best friend, Rhonda and I would rehearse Christmas carols two weeks before December then carol for about a week in the neighborhood. Every year we would have ‘The C, T & R Show’ (The Cindy, Terri, and Rhonda Show) made up of Christmas skits and songs and performed for our parents. The rest of the year Cindy and I did ‘The C & T Show’ of non-holiday skits. I’d always wake her up a bunch of times during the night before Christmas and finally in the morning she’d say, ‘Let’s go see what Santa brought.’

When I was 9, we had two Christmas celebrations - one with my step mom and her kids and one with my step dad and his kids, which became a tradition. We’d always entertain ourselves as kids by playing Sorry!, Trouble, Parcheesi, and Life during Christmas break - over and over. Cindy and I would always go ice skating and make creative gifts like collages and homemade coupons. My mom, step dad, and I always went together to pick Cindy up at the airport when she’d come home from college break for Christmas. Cindy and I saw “The Nutcracker” around Christmas once and would always go to a candlelight service at a church at 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve.’ Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’ is a favorite holiday film of Cindy’s and me. We saw it when it came out and still make jokes about scenes from it.

Later when Cindy had her own apartment, her cat Eunice would always like to bat the ornaments around. One time Cindy had a garage apartment once that opened onto the roof from the bedroom and at Christmas she had a gathering that year. It was small but beautiful with all the lights.

Cindy, a Virgo, was true to her sign - studious, neat, and responsible. As an adult she often kept various miniature stress-reliever toys on her desk at work. Cindy sent me a great card once with a picture of me on the carousel at age seven. I remembered those scared eyes yet fighting spirit.

When I was pregnant I wrote up a list of some good childhood memories to give my daughter one day like playing office/school/store with Cindy, her and her friend’s spook house in the basement, Cindy teaching neighborhood kids arts and crafts in the basement, going to Lake Lanier and Lake Alatoona, Camp Inaghei, Cindy sewing my Girl Scout badges on my uniform, selling cupcakes and cookies in the neighborhood with Cindy, sneaking in bed with her as a child, and playing hooky with my stepsisters and Cindy.

Sisters like her have been the best kind of therapy.

Style Guide For Charity Guide


Promoting Volunteerism
Thank you for your interest in writing for Charity Guide. Please join us as we create articles on "how to make a difference". Our goal is to inspire and facilitate over one million acts of kindness per year.
To help achieve that goal, Charity Guide seeks over 1,000 articles, which will be included in one of three directories:
• How to Make a Difference in 15 Minutes
• How to Make a Difference in a Few Hours (once, or each week)
• How to Make a Difference During a Volunteer Vacation
One "Voice" and Format
As many as 100-200 different journalists may be involved in contributing directory articles, which presents our challenge: To ensure the best possible experience for our readers,
100+ different journalists need to contribute their ideas and research to our directory in "one voice" and in one format.
This Writing Style Guide describes that "voice" and format.
Given the need for consistency, please familiarize yourself with the format of the current content published at http://CharityGuide.org.
For instance, articles already posted at CharityGuide.org such as Phishing: Reduce Identity Theft provide good examples of incorporating the concepts introduced in this Style Guide.
Our Audience
Our target audience is busy adults (70% female), 18-49 years old, with hectic lifestyles and unpredictable schedules. For them, traditional volunteering is impractical, because they cannot commit to showing up at a specific location, at a specific time, for a specific number of weeks. Instead, they seek opportunities to make a difference that are self-directed and flexible.
As web users, our audience tends to "scan" first before committing to "read". Given that tendency, each of the articles in our directory should be easy to scan, with a common format, short paragraphs, punchy sentences, and emphasized keywords. As you write, be direct and compelling, because you only have a few seconds to earn the reader's time.
The Storyline
Each article should have two sections:
1. The Challenge (200 to 350 words)
2. How to Make a Difference (50 – 300 words)
In "The Challenge" section:
1. Immediately grab the reader's attention by conveying a compelling problem, supported by facts from a reputable source
2. Then, expand on the unfortunate impact of that problem. (Use an example, or further explanation, to "pull at the reader's heart strings")
3. Then, raise hope that the issue can be solved, with the reader's help, to get the reader enthusiastic about making a difference
In the "How to Make a Difference" section, there are two acceptable approaches. You can:
• provide step-by-step instructions, or
• refer to other nonprofit websites that provide straightforward instructions (please link to their specific instruction pages, not to their general home pages)
Keyword Phrases
For your article to achieve the highest ranking in search results at Google and Yahoo, please adjust your writing style to insert important keyword phrases where search engines will look for them, particularly in the title of your article and throughout the first few paragraphs.
Which keyword phrases should you insert? To answer that question, put yourself in the mind of the target audience of your article. Ask yourself: "To find my article via a Google search, which keyword phrases might an internet-surfer use?"
Those keyword phrases should appear:
• in the title, preferably at, or near, the beginning
• at the beginning of the first sentence of the first paragraph
• several times in the first few paragraphs
• in bold or italics, at least once
• as a hyperlink, leading to a website ranked among the top 10 in Google for that keyword phrase
Before submitting your first article to Charity Guide, please review our tips on Copywriting for Search Engines.
Article Titles
Please construct your article title as an imperative command. Include your primary keyword phrase in the title, preferably at, or near, the beginning. Multiple variations of the keyword phrase are encouraged.

Fair Trade Coffee Before You Buy Your Next Frappuccino... Buy Fair Trade Coffee
Blood Donation Give the Gift of Life Donate Blood or Organize a Blood Donation Drive
Childproofing Hazards of Typical Household Windows Childproofing Tip: Childproof Your Windows
Endangered Sea Turtles Endangered Sea Turtles Save Endangered Sea Turtles
Phishing New Identity Theft Technique Phishing: Reduce Identity Theft
The "Litmus Test"
When a Charity Guide editor considers your article for publication, the "litmus test" will be: Could a reader really follow these instructions and make a positive difference in the allotted time?
As an investigative journalist for Charity Guide, it is your job to do "the heavy lifting" on the readers' behalf. For instance, to create instructions on How to Make a Difference in 15 Minutes, it might take you 4-8 hours of research to identify the options, vet the alternatives, and fine-tune the approach. However, with your 4-8 hours of effort, you enable thousands of other people to make a difference in just 15 minutes each.
There is a different litmus test for articles on How to Make a Difference During a Volunteer Vacation. In that case, your role is to recommend and link to descriptions of volunteer vacation opportunities, organized by reputable nonprofit agencies, which offer a wide range of duration and fee options.
Article Topics
You are welcome (actually encouraged) to identify and recommend your own topics. To help with topic brainstorming, please refer to the kinds of topics already covered at CharityGuide.org.
An appropriate topic for an article will be a specific activity, which is neither too broad nor too granular. For example:
Too Broad Save Endangered Animals
Just Right: Save Endangered Sea Turtles
Too Granular: Save Endangered Seat Turtles in Borneo

Too Broad Prevent Torture
Just Right: Prevent the Torture of a Human Rights Activist
Too Granular: Prevent the Torture of Brian Platnick

Too Broad Protect Children from Harm
Just Right: Childproof Your Home (good for a "make a difference in a few hours" article)

Just Right: Childproof Your Windows (good for a "make a difference in 15 minutes" article)

Too Granular: Use Ready-Locks on Your Windows
If you prefer to be assigned topics, please contact Kate Quigley at Quigley@CharityGuide.org.
Controversial Issues
Please avoid controversial issues.
Note: Attempting to influence legislation would cause Charity Guide to forfeit status as a tax-exempt public charity. (Lobbyists are not recognized by the IRS as charities.)
For instance, we cannot publish an article that attempts to overturn death-penalty legislation. On the other hand, we could publish an article about volunteering time to assist in the defense (or prosecution) of inmates on death row.
If you do decide to address a controversial issue, please faithfully present both sides of the argument and acknowledge that reasonable people can disagree. Charity Guide's goal is to encourage participation in making a difference, not to pick sides.
A few issues, however, are simply too distracting for us to handle. For instance, we will not publish articles related to abortion, pro or con.
Fortunately, most issues are not controversial. For instance, if you wish to promote techniques to reduce drunk driving, no one is going to ask you to present the opposing view.
Promote Volunteerism, Not Monetary Donations
Please do not write articles that seek to raise money on behalf of a particular nonprofit organization. Charity Guide's mission is to promote volunteerism and acts of kindness, but not to seek monetary donations.
As an example, we would be happy to publish an article about volunteering to teach English to recently-arrived refugees. However, we would not publish an article about staging a bake sale to raise money for a charity that arranges English lessons for recently-arrived refugees.
Promote a Cause, Not a Specific Charity
"The Challenge" section of your article should focus on a specific cause, but not on a specific charity. We cannot publish articles that read like a promotional brochure for one particular charity.
Editorial Selectivity
Note: This guideline is only relevant if the "How to Make a Difference" section of your article will refer readers to other organizations. If so, please read on...
As an investigative journalist, you are the "eyes and ears" of Charity Guide, for your topic. In that role, we rely on you to direct readers to only the most suitable recipient organizations.
Given that your article may be read and acted upon by tens of thousands of readers, many charities would like you to include them as beneficiaries, in the "How to Make a Difference" section of your article.
For instance, if you were writing about "How to Organize a Clothes Drive", how would you determine which organizations to list as the recipients of the collected clothes?
Generally, at least three different organizations should be listed in the "How to Make a Difference" section of your article.
To qualify, the selected organizations must be nationally relevant, either by:
• facilitating the "make a difference" activity via their website
• offering recipient locations throughout the country
• providing a mail-in address to receive collected items
When many alternatives are available, please recommend the organizations that make it easiest for the self-directed volunteer to successfully complete their make a difference activity.
Despite all these instructions, writing for Charity Guide is actually quite easy and rewarding, once you get the hang of it.
If you have any questions along the way, please feel free to contact Kate Quigley at Quigley@CharityGuide.org.

Organization Is Successful With Dallas Fundraiser

By Terri Rimmer

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) had a great turnout Nov. 17th at the Z Gallerie on Knox Street in Dallas, raising money for their cause.

On The Border Restaurant and Al James, the PanCAN public relations rep from national headquarters attended the event and many of his friends made purchases with a percentage going to PanCAN. James, a former Dallas resident, was part of the festive atmosphere.

Virginia Griffin, Fort Worth PanCAN’s Team Hope volunteer coordinator, set up a display of lives touched by pancreatic cancer, she said, to hopefully put a face to the disease. They also provided PanCAN informational material and PanCAN wristbands were given out.

“It was truly a night filled with heartwarming moments,” said Griffin. “And then there was the moment I was handed a Mason jar filled with change for Pennies for PanCAN! Then others seeing the jar dumped more change in it. Then there was the precious caring showed by so many to a new friend recently diagnosed and his wife; the sharing experiences and knowledge. They had only learned of PanCAN yesterday morning after a prayer for support. They now know they are not alone, whatever they face. They know we are there for them.”

Griffins said PanCAN will continue to brainstorm and “See what all ways we can come up with to increase awareness of pancreatic cancer, increase research for an early diagnostic test and more effective treatment and ultimately find the cure.”

Donations continued to be given through Nov. 20th at all 67 stores nationwide and the website zgallerie.com.

The Fourth Annual Ol’ Country’s Boot Scootin’ for PanCAN raised around $4,500 after expenses Oct. 22nd held at Dance Makers of Texas for pancreatic cancer research.

“The group that made it were a very enthusiastic bunch, who really stepped up to the plate,” said Griffin. “They really came through with buying raffle tickets and bidding on the silent auction items. The quilt my sister Cindy for made ended up bringing in over $700 and we got over $2,000 in the silent auction, with some on the phone participating in the bidding. It was a very lively participation.”

Griffin said the entertainment, Class Act, a group of women who volunteer dances as a community service, were a hit with the crowd. They did three sets with the last set getting the crowd to participate. Griffin said that was the first year of the event that the organization had that many people on the dance floor actually dancing.

“I was really proud of everyone,” she said. “And within a few weeks the pictures will be on the Fort Worth Team Hope website (pancan.org) so you can see for yourselves. It was so much fun to see everyone involved.”

Chris Hollis from the national PanCAN office attended the event which was named in memory of Griffin’s brother, Cecil E. Davis, who passed away from pancreatic cancer.

“I also very much appreciate Dr. Rolf Brekken for being out speaker as well as the research he does on pancreatic cancer,” said Griffin. “I appreciate the international exchange students and two host moms who really did a great job of decorating as well as serving the buffet. They also stayed around helped with the clean-up, along with the regular committee ‘family.’ And so, a huge thanks to all who made this event run as smoothly as it did.”

This year’s goal was to raise $5,000 at the October event.

You can still send in your donation by downloading the registration form and using it by clicking on the link: pancan.org/Volunteer/tx/fortw/BootScootin.

Or send a check or money order made payable to “PanCAN” or credit card donation by Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.

“I feel privileged to be able to do whatever I can as my brother Cecil asked, to make a difference for someone in the future,” said Griffin.

Overview of a Baby’s Development:

Month 1 – Baby is smaller than the size of a grain of rice and weighs less than 1 ounce. By the end of the first month her heart is beating and the brain, nervous system, arms, and legs are starting to form.
Month 2 - The baby is smaller than the size of a grape. She is now one inch long and her major organs (heart, lungs) are fully formed. Her arms, legs, and fingers can move and her ankles, ears, and wrists are formed.
Month 3 – The baby is as long as a pickle and is now 4 inches long and weighs a little more than an ounce. Her teeth start developing and the mom may hear her heartbeat for the first time.
Month 4 – The baby is as long as a carrot and 6-7 inches long, weighing 5 ounces. She has eyelashes and eyebrows and kicks, moves, and swallows.
Month 5 – The baby is as long as an eggplant and is 8-12 inches long, weighing ½ to 1 pound. She sleeps and wakes up and has fingernails now.
Month 6 – The baby is as long as a pineapple and is 11-14 inches long, weighing 1-1 ½ pounds. Her skin is red and wrinkled and covered with fine, soft hair. Her eyes are almost completely formed and soon they’ll start opening and closing.
Month 7 – The baby is as long as a whole piece of celery and is 15 inches long, weighing 3 pounds. She kicks and stretches and can suck her thumb and even open and close her eyes. She can hear mom’s voice.
Month 8 – The baby is as long as a watermelon and is about 18 inches long, weighing 5 pounds. Her brain is growing very fast and most organs are working well but the lungs are still not ready.
Month 9 – The baby is as long as a loaf of Italian bread and is 19-21 inches long, weighing between 6-9 pounds. Her lungs are mature now and ready to work on their own.


Once I found out I was pregnant for the first time on January 2, 2000, I began keeping a pregnancy journal, which soon became an adoption journal, which I kept for over a year.
The journal was to be a tribute to my unborn daughter and later to birth moms as well. It details from beginning to end what it's like to be a birth mom involved in a semi-open adoption and depicts the various attitudes prevalent today regarding adoption in our society.
My goal with the journal, which I've now turned into a novel, is to educate the general public about adoption and for the book to serve as a supportive tool for prospective birth moms and those who have already placed their child for adoption.
Since the adoption process has evolved so much from the 1920s when "orphan trains" were the norm to the 1960s when all adoptions were closed and birth moms weren't allowed to see or hold their newborn, I wanted to show first-hand what adoption is like today. Since there continues to be many myths and misconceptions regarding adoption, I think the book market is in great need of an updated and accurate portrayal of the adoption process.