By Pam Mycoskie
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Jo Ann Carson, M.S., R.D., L.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical Nutrition
and Director of Clinical Dietetics Program
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
at Dallas, Texas
FOREWORD: G. Byron Kallam, M.D.
Photos of the Author: Madearis Studio, Arlington, Texas - February 1995
Wedding Photo: Rhea Engert, Ft. Worth, Texas - May 1970
Copyright © 1995 by Butter Busters Publishing, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Warner Books, Inc.
Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Visit our website at www.HachetteBookGroup.com
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher.
First eBook Edition: November 2009
TO MY EARTH ANGLES
Laura and James Reeves
Carolyn and Morris Kiker
Pam and Ken Hicks
TO MY EARTH ANGLES
You guide me along on Life's Bumpy Road,
You've loved me, not judged me
You're Worth than Gold!
You support me through the tough times
You listen, Oh So Well!
You have always been there waiting
And Caught Me When I Fell!
I can share my feelings with you
And you understand, I know!
I confide in you through trust
It's to You I bare my Soul!
I want to thank each one or you,
For your generous gifts of love!
I feel you all were sent to me
By God from up Above!
For you have been my patient friends,
You've never looked away
You led me down the Spiritual road,
I Travel on Today!
My Guardian Angels Right Here on Earth
Thanks For All You Do
I Speak Directly From My Heart,
I Love Each One Of You!!
I Honor and Thank Each of You for Your Special Friendship!
Nina Burgett, Carolyn and Morris Kiker, Laura and James Reeves, Jill Humbracht, Pam and Ken Hicks, Sharon Krassney, Sally Mycoskie, Janet Selders, Paula Owen, Edita Kaye, and my son, Blake, who TAUGHT ME how to "Really Listen" to God. A special thanks goes to Glenn Williams, who ministered to Blake, which in turn started the miraculous chain-of-events that ultimately influenced our whole family
Thank you ALL for "LISTENING" to me!!!
Madearis Studio ©
To Jennifer who cared enough to ask…
I'd like to tell you one of the main reasons I decided to write this book. Although there are several, one stands out above the rest. In December 1993, shortly before Christmas, I received a very special gift that meant a great deal to me. Jennifer Ellis, one of my best friend's 17 year old daughter, asked if she could interview me for a project that she was working on for school. Her name might sound familiar because it was her family (The Clay Ellis family) that I mentioned in the dedication of BUTTER BUSTERS THE COOKBOOK. They were the unbiased tasters that tried many of my recipes as I compiled the book. Her Mom, Dell called the next day to see if I had time and wouldn't mind answering Jennifer's questions. I said that I would be glad to help and it sounded like fun. At that time, I had no idea what the interview was about. When I received the long list of questions I realized that I had been "especially chosen" for this interview. The topic was "What Adult Do I Most Admire And Why?" I couldn't believe my eyes. What an honor to think that a 17 year old girl picked me out of all the adults she knew (and admired me) because of what I had done with my life. I'll never forget that day. Because of Jennifer, and her request, I decided there were a lot of questions that deserved answers. She was the push I needed to put together this book for you, my readers, so you might also receive the answers to your questions. I'M LISTENING! (because of your many kind letters) has been written by you and me—together!
…and by the way Jennifer, thanks for asking!!
JENNIFER'S INTERVIEW DECEMBER 1993
I'd like to share some of Jennifer's thought provoking questions along with my answers from the interview. It might help give you some insight as to why I wrote the book, how I wrote the book, and some of the ways it has affected my friends, family, and myself.
BUTTER BUSTERS THE COOKBOOK saved my heart (literally) and changed my life (dramatically)!! Learn more about how and why in BUTTER BUSTERS TOO! THE ULTIMATE COOKBOOK
Jennifer: Why did you decide to write BUTTER BUSTERS?
Pam: After many years of depriving myself of food, excessive exercise to stay slim, and always being on some kind of diet, I was really tired of living that way. In March 1990 my cholesterol was found to be 242. This is considered borderline high. Since my brother, Tom, had died at the age of 19 from a heart related illness, I was scared. It was suggested by my physician that I try cutting the fat in my diet initially and see if my cholesterol would come down. In six months my cholesterol dropped almost 100 points to 146. I was excited about this but still concerned with my erratic eating habits and excessive exercise. After attending Shape Magazine Camp in Malibu, California, I felt that I finally had the answer to my problem. It was August 1990. I had just been re-tested and had lowered my cholesterol to 146. After spending one week at the camp learning why dieting makes you fat, all about metabolic rate, and how you can eat a lot more food if you eat low-fat, my questions were answered. I had eaten 3–5 smaller meals a day, exercised aerobically, and came home from the trip about six pounds lighter. I had never consumed that much food in my life. It was also at this time that I felt the need to do something positive with my life. I had gained a better self-image while away at camp. I came home with a courage and belief in myself that I had never felt before. I was driven to do something to help other people that might just make a difference. It had taken me 25 years to discover something so simple. I wanted to teach others what I had learned so they might not have to go through what I did to find happiness. On September 1, 1990 I began writing the book. I published the book myself in March, 1992. Writing and publishing the book is quite a story in itself. As a matter of fact the whole story will be told in BUTTER BUSTERS TOO! THE ULTIMATE COOKBOOK.
Jennifer: What kind of training did you have that helped you in writing the book?
Pam: That is a funny question. I really didn't have any training to write a book at all. I must say that I have always enjoyed writing essays and short stories. Creative writing and poetry came easy for me in school. I was in Florida when I began the text of the book. I had started cooking and developing recipes in September, but it wasn't until March 1991, almost six months later, that I wrote my story and the beginning of the book. I guess you could say I wrote the book from my heart and some people say I write just like I talk. It's funny because a lot of people have told me that they have enjoyed that part of the book as much as the recipes. My readers have told me when they bought the book and started reading my story they couldn't put it down and go to sleep, because they found it so interesting. Many readers say they can identify with my story. That makes me feel really good. I think my book proves that you don't necessarily have to have a lot of credentials and training in writing to tell a story that people will enjoy reading.
Jennifer: How did you get started? Did you just sit down at a word processor and the words appear like magic?
Pam: I got started by cooking four hours a day about five days a week beginning in September 1990. I continued this schedule for about one year. I was cooking a lot. As far as writing the book, I began the text in Florida while on vacation. I had, of course, been recording my recipes as I developed them. I had also written the "Modifying Recipes" section and a lot of the cholesterol information. My research and reading began even before March 1990 when I first started changing my eating habits and learned through trial and error to modify my recipes to low-fat. I had been interested and involved in exercise and fitness most of my adult life as well. I have a dear friend, Dr. Byron Kallam, who happened to be in Florida while we were there in March 1991. After completing my cholesterol section, I gave it to Byron to read over and offer his suggestions. Dr. Kallam specializes in O.B.-GYN, but is an expert in cholesterol related disease. As a matter of fact he has received the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology-Mead Johnson "Patient Education Award for Cholesterol." He also has seven patient information publications in circulation. He was very helpful in critiquing my cholesterol section of the book. I really enjoyed learning more from such a gracious expert.
As a matter of fact, that is how I obtained a lot of information. Through reading, classes, workshops, and clinics I gathered all kinds of information that I put into easy-to-understand common language for my readers to enjoy Shape Camp was a major contributing factor to my education and experience that led to the book. As far as the words appearing like magic- they didn't really, but in a sense they almost did. I sat down in front of the word processor and basically told my story and how it affected my life. Once you start writing an experience that you have actually lived, it is really quite easy to come up with the words.
Jennifer: When did you realize that the book was a success?
Pam: We initially printed 5,000 copies. I can remember loading some of the books in the back of my suburban and transporting them to a mini warehouse in Arlington. The majority were stored at River Oaks Printing in Ft. Worth. I can remember thinking if I ever sell these 5,000 books to my friends and my family and their friends and their families, it will be a miracle. The most amazing thing was that they sold in three weeks, and we ran out of books. We next printed 10,000 books and they sold in three weeks. Next we printed 20,000, then 40,000, then 70,000, 120,000, 125,000, etc. We ended up printing and selling 450,000 in a year and four months. I felt the book was a success when we ran out three weeks after it was first printed. I kind of thought it was a fluke and would soon be over and my life would go back to the way it was before. When we continued to print more and more books, and still run out every time, I guess this was when it REALLY OCCURRED to me the book might actually be successful. But, when I started receiving letters from readers telling me how my book was changing their lives, was when I knew the book had done what I had set out to do- help other people! IT WAS AT THIS TIME, I FELT IN MY HEART, THE BOOK WAS (IN FACT) A SUCCESS!!
Jennifer: Has the book ever interfered with your family life and if so, how did you handle it?
Pam: I have to say, yes it has. After about the third printing, and newspaper, television, and radio exposure, people started recognizing me when I was out in public. When we were out eating as a family folks came up to our table asking me if I was the "Butter Busters Lady?" It also happened in the grocery store, movie theater, and even at the kid's schools. At first the kids thought it was really neat that people came up to us and recognized me in public. IT GOT OLD REALLY FAST! It was especially bad when I was at the kid's sporting events or their school and people asked me questions about the book when I was trying to watch their games or whatever they were doing that I was there to watch. They started to resent the attention I was getting because it was taking me away from watching them. Kids are kids and they were very used to me giving them my undivided attention. Before I wrote the book, my family was my whole life. This is kind of hard to say. I didn't have a lot of other interests. The book has given me a new identity. I'm no longer just my husband's wife and my kid's Mom. I realized after the book was published, for the first time in my life, people were actually interested in what I had to say. This has been great for my self-image, but the kids are having a little trouble understanding the new interest people have in their Mom. To them, I am just Mom. Don't get me wrong, that is the way I want it to be. I don't want them to think I am any different than I have ever been as far as my interest in them. I would just like them to try and understand I do have a life other than the role of chauffeur, cook, cheerleader, and housekeeper. I try to steer away from conversations about the book as much as I can when I am attending the kid's activities. This isn't easy to do at times, but I do the best that I can.
Jennifer: You have become quite a celebrity, especially in Arlington. How has it affected you personally?
Pam: I don't really think of myself as any kind of celebrity. In fact, it still surprises me when people come up and recognize me from the book, have seen me on T.V., or heard me on the radio. The most important thing to me is that my friends and family realize that I will never change on the inside no matter what happens with my career. I love my work, and feel that it has helped and influenced a great many people, but I will do my best to balance my priorities and never lose sight of the most important people in my life, my family!
I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of people I probably never would have, had it not been for the book. I've had the opportunity to meet a lot of celebrities because I have appeared on shows with them. It's always exciting to meet these people, but I would never include myself as "one of them." I will always consider myself A WIFE AND MOTHER WHO HAPPENED TO WRITE A BOOK that has helped people, and this is the way it will always be.
Jennifer: Young women today can look to you as an example of a woman who has it all, with success in your relationships AND success in the business world. How did you do it?
Pam: Thank you for the compliment, Jennifer. I feel my success in the business world is a direct result of my ability to deal with and get along well with people. I feel if you have a fairly good track record in getting along with people, it will help you in every aspect of your life. Another contributing factor to my business success (although it sometimes drives me and my family crazy) is my compulsive personality and perfectionism. I don't delegate well because I know if I do the job myself and it fails, I have no one to blame but myself. My husband thinks that I am too compulsive, and I have to agree with him to a certain extent. When I receive a letter from a reader with a question, I usually sit down that evening, answer it, and mail the next day. If I get ten letters in one day, I allow myself two days to answer them. My husband thinks it would be just fine to handle my correspondence once a week. I don't agree. I feel like a person writes because they are anxious for a reply before they can continue with what the question is about. For that reason, I feel the need to answer all questions as quickly as possible. As I said, this behavior can tend to drive everyone a little crazy. I honestly feel a little compulsive behavior can be found within the personality of most successful people. I have always enjoyed people and feel I relate well with others. Most people find me easy to talk to, and I get along with most everyone I meet. I have been told by my readers they can relate to me because of my honesty and straightforward personality. I consider this a great compliment. I am very conscious of other people's feelings, and have always tried to live my life by the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I feel consideration is the most important thing in any relationship, and I try to approach everyone I meet with this attitude.
My success in the business world has been what I consider, a fluke (so to speak). If you would have asked me when I was twenty, no, even if you would have asked me when I was thirty, "What are you going to do with your life?" my answer would have never been in one million years that I was going to have some kind of career in writing or have some kind of success in the business world. I just wasn't interested in that at all. I worked after college and up until I had my first child, but I was not interested in working once I become a fulltime mother with my three children. I was perfectly happy being a stay-at-home Mom.
Believe me, my intention in life was not to write a book or become any kind of business person with a career. I didn't plan any of this. I wrote the book because I felt the need to share the information I had learned with others. When I wrote the book, I never considered what might happen after they sold. I was so focused on writing and getting it finished, that the response or result of my work never entered my mind. The whole process kind of developed and evolved out of necessity. I learned a lot about the printing process because I took an active part by publishing the book myself. Once the books were printed I learned by trial and error how to market and distribute myself, because I had no role model and, as I mentioned before, I don't delegate responsibility very well. I used my own common sense and (luckily) good judgment regarding getting the book into the right people's hands. An example of this was the wonderful article Beverly Bundy, of the Ft. Worth Star Telegram, wrote about me when the book first came out. She wrote a very positive piece that was syndicated all over the country which stirred up a lot of interest and resulted in the sale of thousands of books. Most of all, I attribute my success in the business world to LUCK and even more than that, to GOD'S WILL. By luck, I mean the right people liked it enough to tell others, so the book sold by word of mouth. By God's Will, I mean in my heart I am sure this is what God wants me to do with my life. I feel very blessed that He has chosen me as a courier to deliver this message to help other people change their lives for the better. Believe me, I am not that smart. It's true that I study and read everything I can get my hands on regarding health and fitness, but when it comes to going out and speaking to the people, there is no doubt in my mind that He is there with me every step of the way. It really takes a lot of the pressure off of me. People ask me all the time if I get nervous when I do T.V. shows or interviews. I tell them no, because I never feel like I am alone.
I try to educate myself with the pertinent information so I have the tools necessary to provide me with the right answers, but I leave the way it's delivered up to God! He hasn't let me down with a loss for words yet. Sometimes what comes out of my mouth even surprises me. For this reason I feel very secure and confident in my work because of my faith and trust in God.
Jennifer: You started your career as an author at age 40, did this late start help or hinder you?
Pam: I have to say it definitely helped me. At 40 I finally grew up and matured enough to really be interested in learning. Before that, I attended school and classes as a duty, rather than a pleasure. At forty, I finally found a subject I was interested in (health and fitness) and now I can't get enough. I read constantly and I am genuinely interested in all the new information I can get my hands on. I could have never done something like this when my children were small (nor did I have the desire). I think this had a lot to do with it. I was ready (my kids were all in school) to do something that might make a difference and possibly help people. It took caring enough about myself to want to try and change. At forty I started liking myself for the first time, and felt I could make a positive contribution. I was forced to change my eating habits to lower my cholesterol at forty. Up until then I thought I was invincible. I thought heart disease and cholesterol problems were a result of bad hereditary luck or happened to the overweight out-of-shape couch potatoes that didn't take care of themselves. Boy, was I stupid. When my cholesterol turned up high, this was probably the best thing that ever happened to me for many reasons. My attitude changed dramatically because I was forced to change. I felt so lucky when I figured out that I could control my cholesterol through a low-fat diet, that I couldn't wait to spread the good news. When I finally figured out that diets didn't work and you can eat a lot of food and not gain weight (if you eat low-fat), I was even more anxious to share my new-found knowledge. I think forty was the perfect time to begin a career because I had spent most of my adult life taking care of everyone else (as a lot of mothers tend to do). This all came at a really good time in my life, a time that I needed to feel good about myself. I needed to do something.… How do I say this? I don't want to say it the wrong way.
I had to do something, kind of to prove to myself that I could do and be more than just a wife and mother. I don't mean to say that it isn't a very wonderful feeling to be a wife and mother. As a matter of fact, when people asked me what I did for a living, I was always quick and proud to reply, "I'm the best mother there is, and I'm proud of it!" I felt that I did a good job and I really was a great mother. I hope I'm still doing a good job, but I must admit it isn't as easy to get to every single activity in your children's lives when you have a full-time career, too. I have so much more respect for working mothers than I ever did before this all happened and I found myself in this most difficult situation!! However, I wanted an identity of my own and a sense that I could really do something that mattered outside of my own family situation. I wasn't out searching for something. It wasn't like, oh, here I am at this point in my life and I need something to do. It wasn't that at all. It just really evolved and grew. I had no idea anything like this would happen. It has helped me understand myself a little better. To tell you the truth, I feel like I really have a lot more to offer my children than before I worked. I don't mind asking for their help, even though I USED TO DO EVERYTHING FOR THEM myself. I think they appreciate the fact I NEED THEM just as much as they need me. This has made us all understand, respect and admire each other in a new exciting way!
Jennifer: I know physical fitness is a very important part of your life. How do you find the time in your busy schedule for regular workouts?
Pam: That's really easy, because it goes right up there on the top of my priority list. I feel that physical fitness has to be that way. You know, you can find every excuse in the world not to workout…you don't have time, you're too tired, you don't want to have to take another shower and clean up again, you don't look good in a leotard, you don't have a place to work out, you don't like to sweat, you don't have good shoes, the weather is bad, you have a luncheon date, you're having a bad day, you don't have anyone to watch the kids, you're sore from your last workout, you have a headache (or PMS)…OH PLEASE… I mean we can all find a million and one excuses not to work out. I know because I've used them, too!!! I have always needed my workout as a stress release.
Oh, I do it for my heart and health, weight control, and to help prevent osteoporosis, too, but the bottom line is that exercise for me is the best form of mental balance I've come across so far. I need that outlet. I need that physical and mental outlet. I feel better when I work out. I find when I don't workout that I am tired and sluggish. Besides that, I get VERY IRRITABLE when I don't get to workout. Just ask my children and husband if you don't believe me. It's amazing how a good workout energizes me. When I work out I feel refreshed and happy with myself. It may sound crazy to some of you, but it is a little gift I give myself. I really do think of it that way. This is MY TIME! I turn on the answering machine, read, meditate, pray, and generally plan my day. When I am in the middle of writing a column, letter, or even a book, great inspiration and ideas have come to me when I was on the Stairmaster climbing away. I think it's because I let my mind wander. I always keep a pen and paper handy next to my water bottle and cassette player (the other two necessities of my workout). If I have a choice, I workout early in the day I like to get it out of the way, otherwise things come up and I find myself struggling to work it in. It's not that I don't want to, there are just more demands on my time as the day progresses (especially once 3:30 rolls around and the kids are out of school). Sometimes you do have to rearrange your schedule. Life isn't perfect. I might have an early morning meeting or appointment and I have to workout at 5:00 or even late at night. The point is if you at least schedule it and try to stay halfway consistent, nine times out of ten, you will work it in and most likely it will become a habit you enjoy. It's obvious why you will find exercise high on my priority list. It makes me feel better inside and out, gives me the tools physically and mentally to deal with stress, and is the only undemanding time of the day that I give myself.
Jennifer: If you had two weeks left to live, what would you do and why?
Pam: Oh Jennifer, this is heavy!! I think, this might sound really strange, but I would take my family and go to Europe. I feel that is one thing in my life I really still want to do that I haven't done yet. I want to see Europe. Of course two weeks probably wouldn't give me much time.
- On Sale
- Nov 29, 2009
- Page Count
- 592 pages
- Grand Central Publishing