From the Author

Friday, March 30, 2018

Pat's Art Show and Book Signing Article

This local artist's work helps families through grief and loss. Now you can read her book.
·         Sarah Franks

Patricia Acker of Xenia has worn many hats over the years. 
At times, she was a T-ball coach. Or a PTA president, while attending graduate school at Wright State. She’s been a foster mother a few times. And most of the time, she was helping to comfort people as they passed away.
For 17 years, Acker worked as a hospice social worker in Dayton, helping families through the difficult process of losing a loved one, as well as assisting the person who is dying. Acker is now retired and has since compiled her experiences and wisdom about death into a book of short stories titled “The Dying Teach Us How to Live.” 
Watching as a lifetime of wrinkles seem to leave the face of a person who finally lets go is an example of the firsthand accounts that could only be told by a dedicated hospice worker. Hospice is a type of care -- and even philosophy -- that focuses on relieving the symptoms of the terminally ill while also attending to their emotional and spiritual needs. 

Sarah Franks
The book is illustrated with portraits created by Acker. As gifts for many of her patients’ families in hospice care, Acker would put on her artist’s hat and create an often emotional portrait for the family to take with them after their loved one died. 
It’s hard to pinpoint the self-taught artist’s style, as each piece’s method depends on what Acker wants to explore that day. Her most recent muse is oil on mirror— strategically wiping oil away in certain areas to let light shine through the portraits. 
When asked what inspires her before she begins each portrait, her only response is “love,” in a voice that’s more gentle than a whisper. 

Sarah Franks
As a young woman, Acker experienced loss and grief and found nowhere to turn for emotional and grief support, according to her website. She wanted others to have healing and grief options so chose Hospice as her life's work. 
“Because of death, it gives significance to life. None of us know when it’s going to happen, but it’s not a bad thing,” Acker said.
Countless encounters with death have made Acker unafraid of whatever comes after this life, she said.  
 “We’re all going to die sometime and we don’t know when that is,” Acker said. “So why not make a difference in the world while we’re here? ... There’s lots of opportunities in our life, and we have many choices to make. It’s because of death that we have to think carefully about those choices.”
Acker’s work will be on display in downtown Dayton at the Fifth Third Center Gallery, 1 S. Main St., in the grand lobby from April 2 to April 30 during regular bank hours. 
Every Friday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., you can meet the artist, get autographs, purchase prints and buy your copy of “The Dying Teach Us How To Live.” The book is also available for $20 plus tax on Amazon and at and X*Act Art Gallery and Theater 45 E 2nd St, Xenia, OH 45385
Want to go?
WHAT: Patricia Acker Exhibit
WHEN: April 2-30, during regular bank hours; every Friday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. you can meet the artist. 
ARTIST RECEPTION: Artist reception and book signing held from 7-8:30 p.m. April 17.
WHERE: Fifth Third Center Gallery, 1 S. Main St., Dayton

Sarah Franks

Happy Easter!

Easter is a celebration of faith, an opportunity to appreciate everything in our lives that is producing benefit to ourselves and others, and to enjoy visiting with family and friends.

"The fact that human beings all over planet Earth intuitively worship something is proof that God has written this in our hearts.  It's a part of our spiritual genetics."  Gary Schmidt, author and pastor

"Faith is like Wi-Fi: It's invisible, but it has the power to connect you to what you need."  message seen in Pinterest

"That's the beauty about God.  Logistics don't seem to matter.  God meets us right where we are."
Janell Rardon, from her book Overcoming Hurtful Words: Rewrite Your Own Story

"In my weaknesses, he made me strong, 2 Corinthians 12:9.  You know, whenever I was at my lowest, that's where my relationship with Christ grew."
Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, who was close to retiring before returning to win Super Bowl LII

My prayer for you is that this Easter will become an opportunity to celebrate your beautiful soul.

"Soul is about authenticity. Soul is about finding the things in your life that are real and pure."

Happy Easter! Check out my book, "The Dying Teach Us How to Live

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Failure or Risk Taker?

I have been involved with creating paintings, marketing my first book and writing a second book.  It has been very busy with all of the things I want to accomplish.  So much for an easy retirement! 

"I always thought that the "thriving" would come when everything was perfect, and what I learned is that it's actually down in the mess that things get good."  Johanna Gaines, HGTV host

I guess I'm down in the mess! I realize that the journey itself is the adventure. I am taking time to enjoy the process because otherwise I feel overwhelmed and insecure. 

"If you try and it doesn't work out, you're not a failure. You are a risk taker."  Ava Duvernay, director in People

I'm calling myself a risk taker.  I'm not sure what the future holds.  I am enjoying each day that I have and I am celebrating small victories and learning by my many mistakes.  Life is messy but inspiring and hopeful!

I am sharing with you a link to a news article that comes out on Sunday in our local newspaper.  I appreciate the support of everyone I know who continues to provide encouragement and assist as I need help. 

I hope that all of you grab a hold on your dreams and do not give up. Be a risk taker!

Friday, March 16, 2018

St Patrick's Day

Check out my book and E book, The Dying Teach Us How to LiveTomorrow is St. Patrick's Day.  It is a celebration borrowed from another country and modified for the United States.  The majority of Americans are descendants of immigrants who, like the Irish, were initially scorned, isolated and feared. They spoke another language, cooked different foods, had confusing customs, and were "different" until they were assimilated into their adopted country.

"Look for strengths in people, not weaknesses; for good, not evil. Most of us find what we search for."  J. Wilbur Chapman 

In other words, we need to look for the good in the immigrants who are searching for hope and acceptance in a world of war, famine, cruelty, pain and suffering.  As we grow to know each of them as individual persons, we begin to understand that we are all the same. We can share cultures, love, faith, and joy as we explore our common needs and wants.  

"In spite of everything, I still believe people are very good at heart." Anne Frank   

If Anne Frank can find that people are good at heart, as individuals and as a country we can find the good in the desperate people who want to find a safe place for their families. People put themselves in great danger to assist Anne Frank to have extra time to live.  There are many Anne Franks in this world who need and deserve our help.  

I hope you have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!

Check out my book and E book, The Dying Teach Us How to Live  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sometimes Life Hurts

"We cannot tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life.  But we can decide what happens in we can take it, what we can do with it....and that is really what counts in the end."  Joseph Fort Newton

I had spent several days taking apart my paintings with glass, taking photos of my art, photo-shopping it, and saving it to a flash drive.  I had about 350 photos on the flash drive when I asked someone to help me to save the last pictures as I am technically inept.  The person at first reported that the flash drive was full.  I was going to get another flash drive when he reported that it took the pictures and had extra storage space.  I didn't realize until several days later, after I had put all of the framed art back together, that the flash drive was defective and he just covered over the other photos and it was too late to rescue the over 200 deleted files. It was devastating to me for a couple of days but I realized that although it was a great loss of time and effort, it was not the end of the world!  I know that many others have experienced much greater losses than I had. I still have my original paintings and drawings and over time I can replace the missing photos.

Life can change in an instant with accidents, sudden illness, death of someone close to us, fires, environmental disasters, crime such as assaults or rape, lawsuits, loss of jobs, etc. In the scheme of this life, the loss of my photos was minor. Sometimes we have to take time to appreciate when things are going well because anything can happen. With faith, hope and love we can find the silver lining in all of life's surprises and remember that we can survive and conquer any obstacles. We have the power to change our focus and find peace.  We have the authority to appreciate what we do have and create a new plan and begin again.

"When you are blue, try painting yourself a different color."  Janet Stewart

Check out my E book or book, The Dying Teach Us How to Live

Friday, March 9, 2018

Crossroads of Life

"Courage doesn't mean you're not afraid.  It means you're afraid but you do it anyway."  Tony Robbins, motivational speaker

Things happen to us in our lives that are a crossroads in the direction we are taking. Someone dies who is close to us, we lose our job, have a house fire, experience serious illness or become a caregiver, we become childless as our children leave home, our pet dies, we grow older and experience loss of independence, have to move to a new state or country, retire, graduate, become parents, catastrophic weather causes devastation, traumatic injury occurs, we are victims of crime, etc. 

All of the above and worse can and will happen.  It is our job to let go of the feeling that we are in control of our lives and become open to new possibilities. Ask God to take the helm and help you find your way in the sea of life.  There is always something good that comes out of everything if we look hard enough and deep enough. Sometimes the answer God gives us is no or not now but when we look back on our lives we can see that God has wonderful timing and the answer we receive later is better than we can imagine!

"Instead of telling God how big your problems are, tell your problems how big your God is!"  Kerri Miller

Check out my book or E book, The Dying Teach Us How to Live

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Kids--Live and Let Live

The news has been filled with images of children and teens taking their own lives and/or killing others. This grievous carnage is so filled with horror because it is preventable and totally unnecessary. Usually guns are used.  I wonder about why a young person has access to or needs to own an assault or repeating rifle. I wonder what evil has happened to a young person to cause them to be filled with such anger and hatred against the world and their peers.

I worked at Children's Services for only a short time because I couldn't continue to "reunify" families by returning abused children home to continue to be at the mercy or their abuser.  How can trust occur when vulnerable children are not protected by the adults who are supposed to be nurturing them?  Children have no rights. There are "Parents" in name only do not accept responsibility to help shape the lives of these little morsels of humanity who can blossom with a protected, safe and loving environment.  Many are subjected to ridicule, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, starvation or use of food to control behavior with unhealthy diets and exposed to drugs.

Most of us function with a conscience that has been formed over our lifetime and the majority of us would never consider using a gun or torture against another human being.  However, with barrage of constant criticism, anger, deprivation; physical, emotional, mental, sexual and psychological abuse, it is no wonder that a child can become socially isolated, have a negative outlook on life and a warped sense of righteousness.

The adults in the lives of all children must report abuse, demand rights for children to be in a safe and loving environment and have their basic human needs met such as healthy food, clean and safe homes and loving supervision.  We have taken God and frequently counselors, nurses, and psychologists out of the school systems and replaced them with more "security".  External restraints are never as effective as internal, self-guiding decisions made by individuals supported and encouraged by adults and peers.  Children who are having problems with bullies, nutrition, sanitation, symptoms of abuse, health concerns and toxic home environments must be identified and assisted if we want to prevent further attacks of children with suicide or homicide. Kids need to learn how to live harmoniously and let others do the same. Kids learn what they live. Adults and peers are their teachers and examples.