Friday, October 19, 2018


Honesty has always been important to me. A classroom motto I had on a sign and repeated over and over with my students was, “Tell the truth, all the time.” When I told my editor there would be a chapter on this, he said that honesty was important to him too.

As one husband said at a brain-tumor support group about his wife, who had a brain tumor after I did, “the tumor removed her filters. She has truth serum now.” That is exactly true about me also.

As I was gathering examples for this chapter to point out how honest I really can be, I remembered a recent story about when I pulled up to an ATM at my bank. The person who departed as I arrived, inadvertently left his account open, and the screen asked me if “I” needed another withdrawal. I closed his account by pushing a “no” button. Instead of just then beginning my own withdrawal, I drove out and followed him to a place where he had pulled over.

I told him what had just happened by saying, “Sir, you’re lucky I’m the one who pulled in after you or possibly your account could have less money in it.” He thanked me over and over and told me he’ll be more careful next time.

I know a lot of people would have closed his account like I did. Sadly, I know there’s a lot of people who would not have.

I also know that if someone at a register gives me too much change, I return the money that is not mine.

When I visit my doctors regularly, I tell them the honest, true stories about my behavior. When I’ve taken too much of my controlled-substance meds due to stress, I’m complimented for telling the truth.

One doctor said, “You’re so honest.”

I pray for the day that I don’t need to turn to meds to deal with the stress everyday life brings.

A movie that I went to see with Aiden that covers this very topic was War Room. It’s a Christian-based film on the trials and tribulations in relationships due to dishonesty. Since viewing this film occurred when we were working diligently on our own relationship, I thought we got a lot out of viewing it together. [Unfortunately, our relationship failed anyway.]

I know we all tell “little white lies” from time to time, but the huge lies, like ones about theft, infidelity, adultery, drugs, alcohol, or pornography addiction, and so on, can tear a family apart. God wants us to confess our sins, so we can be forgiven. I ask God to forgive me, each night when I pray at bedtime, for anything I did or said that day that hurt someone else.

But, to be perfectly honest, I’m not that patient with others nowadays. As a special ed. teacher for so long, I was very patient with my students. Sometimes, I lost my patience with my co-workers who didn’t do as good a job as others could or did. I know lots of staff that I used to work with liked me, but there are some who did not. I’m okay with that.

I truly believe in that old saying, “Honesty is the best policy.” It hurts to hear the truth sometimes, but at least it means something is not being covered up or changed just to keep you content.

Another example I have of my own truth-serum behavior is the picture taken for this book’s cover. In February 2015, I was sitting at a diner and saw an old boyfriend who didn’t even recognize me, and I’m sure that’s because I weighed 70 pounds more than when he last saw me in the year 2000. I ran out of the diner and began a diet so I would look better for my book’s picture.

I lost 40 pounds by the holidays, but, unfortunately put 10 back on from Halloween candy, my birthday celebrations, Christmas parties, and New Year’s fun times. Then, my dog’s surgery caused so much fear, I ate 5 pounds of comfort food in those two weeks.

Then my editor commented that it looked like I gained back some weight, and that caused more upset, so another 5 pounds went on. So, I lost 40, but gained 50 back! The diet “roller coaster” happened once more, and it probably will again….

Someone said I could get my picture “Photoshopped” for the book cover. I laughed because I knew there was going to be a chapter about honesty, and so how would that make me believable? I’m actually one weight in real life and another in that picture, but believe me anyway? So, when the picture is taken, whatever weight I am, I am. I’m doing the best I can and exercising, too; we’ll see….

Now – as to how I look on this book's cover as compared to real life: I look better on the cover because, to be honest, I was “prepped” by many others (my hair, makeup, outfit, and so on). Photoshopping probably ended up helping also.

     I usually look sloppy because I just don't put the effort in that I once did. I look at pictures of myself from my 20s, 30s, and even some of my 40s, and I really looked “put together.” Now, I only apply mascara (still too much, right, Mom?), blush, and run a brush through my hair. That's all I do to appear presentable.

     I had to be honest, since that's what this chapter is all about.

[And – to add a bit of wisdom at the very end of writing this book…. If someone lies to you about their age, their marital status, their “hobbies,” know that they will lie about other stuff, too. Dishonesty destroys relationships. Leave before your heart is broken.]

For the coming year, I (Douglas Winslow Cooper) will be 
excerpting, weekly, material from this almost-final version of the fine book by Janet Johnson Schliff, M.S. Ed., which she wrote over a three-year period with some coaching and editing help from me, through my business, Write Your Book with Me.

Her memoir is now available in paperback and ebook formats from Outskirts Press  and

What Ever Happened to My White Picket Fence? My Brain Injury from My Massive Brain Tumor



Janet Johnson Schliff spoke at the Oblong Books Bookstore in Rhinebeck, NY, on Tuesday, February 6 at 6 p.m.

Janet was on WKNY Radio 1490 in Kingston, NY, on Thursday, March 1 at 9:10 a.m. 

Janet spoke at Barnes & Noble in Kingston, NY, on Saturday, March 3 at 1 p.m. 

Janet spoke at the Starr Library in Rhinebeck, NY, on March 6 
at 7 p.m. 

Janet spoke at the Golden Notebook Bookstore in Woodstock, NY, on March 17 at 2 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Morton Library in Rhinecliff, NY, on March 28 at 6:30 p.m. 

Janet spoke at RCAL in Kingston, NY, on April 3 at 4 p.m. [They gave her an impromptu book-launch party.]

Janet spoke at the Parkinson's Support Group at the Starr Library in Rhinebeck, NY, on April 4 at 2:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Stone Ridge Library in Stone Ridge, NY, on April 27 at 5:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Hurley Library in Hurley, NY, on May 4 at 6 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Kingston Library in Kingston, NY, on May 9 at 6 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Staatsburg Library in Staatsburg, NY, on May 14 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Clinton Community Library in Rhinebeck, NY, on May 31 at 6:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Mountain Top Library in Tannersville, NY, on June 9 at noon.

Janet spoke at the Gardiner Library in Gardiner, NY, on June 11 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Marbletown Community Center in Stone Ridge, NY, on June 20 at 6 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Esopus Library in Port Ewen, NY, on July 13 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Pine Plains Library in Pine Plains, NY, on July 20 at 6 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Ulster Library in Kingston, NY, on July 23 at 5:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Northern Dutchess Bible Church in Red Hook, NY, on August 11 at 1 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Inquiring Minds Bookstore in New Paltz, NY, on September 6 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Adriance Library in Poughkeepsie, NY, on September 15 at 2:30 p.m.

Janet was interviewed on radio station WRIP-FM (97.9) on September 21 at 8 a.m.

Janet again spoke at the Mountain Top Library in Tannersville, NY, on September 22 at noon.

Janet spoke at the Enchanted Cafe in Red Hook, NY, on September 28 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Hyde Park Library in Hyde Park, NY, on October 4 at 7 p.m.

Janet participated in an Author Weekend at the Barnes & Noble in Poughkeepsie, NY, on October 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Janet will be speaking at the Tivoli Library in Tivoli, NY, on October 22 at 5:30 p.m.

Janet will be speaking at the Westchester Medical Center for a "Lunch and Learn" on November 2.

Janet will be speaking at the Germantown Library in Germantown, NY, on November 7 at 6:00 p.m.

More signings will be coming up. A fine feature about Janet by John DeSantos [845 LIFE] appeared in the Middletown Times Herald-Record on Monday, March 12, as part of Brain Injury Awareness Month. An article about her book was just published in the May 2018 Living Rhinebeck Magazine. An article about her book appeared in the May 14 Daily Freeman of Kingston, NY. and another in the Family Life section of the Poughkeepsie Journal on June 8th. The Millerton News published an article on Thursday, August 2, about her talk at the Pine Plains Library. Also, a national TV interview is being planned.

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