Free books May 02, 2022

LPC Free books has two suggestions for us, both read and enjoyed several years ago. Stories with substance.

All The Way Home – Ann Tatlock

“Tatlock’s rich descriptions and characterizations are unusually fresh and inventive.”~Publishers Weekly

From a rough section of Los Angeles during the late Depression years, to the civil rights struggles of the 1960s in the South, this novel is a searing portrayal of one family trapped by alcoholism and another living the typical middle class life. A true American story told through the eyes of two girls, best friends, separated by the internment camps of World War II.

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Somewhere a Rainbow (Finding Love in the Low Country Book 4)

Brooke Haddon’s future looks gray… After her unfaithful husband is killed in an auto accident, she faces the challenge of rebuilding her life. With most of her money gone, she takes her five-year-old son to the honeymoon cottage on Hilton Head Island where her marriage began. As a single parent, she wonders how she will manage, and once she arrives on the island, she can’t imagine how she’ll be able to repair a cottage as broken down as her life.

When local carpenter Jake Randolph offers to help, Brooke immediately distrusts him. But as the months pass, she begins to think he may be different from the other men she has known. He begins to melt the emotional ice around her heart. Then Jake admits he’s concealing a secret past. Are Brooke’s hopes of a brighter future about to be destroyed. Or is there a rainbow beyond the storms of heartbreak?

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Two worthwhile reads. Awesome.

Happy Reading!

Bargain books April 08, 2022

1531 Entertainment has interesting bargain suggestions for us. Several authors are new to this site and that’s always something to celebrate. It’s lovely meeting new people.

Woman in Shadow

Award-winning author Carrie Stuart Parks combines her expertise as a forensic artist with her talent for crafting a gripping story in this page-turning web of light and shadow.

A woman off the grid.

Darby Graham thinks she’s on a much-needed vacation in remote Idaho to relax. But before she even arrives at the ranch, an earthquake strikes. Then a barn on the edge of town is engulfed in flames and strange problems at the ranch begin to escalate, and Darby finds herself immersed in a chilling mystery.

A town on fire.

More fires erupt around town, and a serial arsonist sends taunting letters to the press after each. As a forensic linguist, this is Darby’s area of expertise . . . but the scars her work has caused her are also the reason she’s trying to escape her life.

A growing darkness.

As the shadows continue moving in, pieces of the town around her come into sharper focus. To make it out alive, Darby must decide if she can trust the one man who sees her clearly.

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Beyond Justice 

Hayden McCarthy is on track to become the youngest partner in her prestigious D.C. law firm . . . if the case she’s just been handed doesn’t destroy her first.

Hayden McCarthy knows firsthand the pain when justice is not served. It’s why she became an attorney and why she’s so driven in her career. When she’s assigned a wrongful death case against the government, she isn’t sure if it’s the lucky break she needs to secure a partnership—or an attempt to make sure she never gets there.

Further complicating matters is Andrew, her roommate’s distractingly attractive cousin. But Andrew’s father is a Congressman, and Hayden’s currently taking on the government. Could the timing be any worse?

The longer she keeps the case active, the higher the stakes become. Unknown enemies seem determined to kill the case—or her. Logic and self-preservation would indicate she should close the case. But how can she, when justice is still just beyond her reach?

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Divine: A Novel (A Clean, Contemporary Christian Fiction Story of Life, Loss, Love, Faith, and the Miracle of Resurrection) 

With hallmark tenderness and power, #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury weaves a tapestry of life, loss, love, faith—and the miracle of resurrection.

Mary Madison is educated and redeemed, a powerful voice in Washington, D.C. But she also has a past that shamed polite society. A survivor of unspeakable horror, Mary has battled paralyzing fear, faithlessness, addiction, and promiscuity. Yet even in her darkest valley, Mary was sustained from afar, prayed over by a grandmother who clung to the belief that God had special plans for Mary. Now a divine power has set Mary free to bring life-changing hope and love to battered women living in the shadow of the nation’s capital—women like Emma Johnson. A single mother fleeing an abusive relationship, Emma wonders whether there is hope for her and her young daughters. She is desperate, broken, and unloved . . . and tempted to commit the unthinkable. Then Mary introduces Emma to the greatest love of all, greater than any either of them has ever imagined.

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I’m going for the first two, only because I have to hold the line, it’s running away on me.

The author of the third book has been a favorite for a very long time and I’m sad to leave her behind.

I hope you find something here appealing to you too.

Happy Reading y’all!

PTSD Conversation January 29, 2022

“Do you wanna be well, really wanna be well?” The Gaither Vocal Band has a song asking this question.

I’m just now realizing it’s a question I have to ask myself, again.

I’ve loved this song since it first came out and I honestly thought my answer to this question was a resounding YES!

I’m having to rethink this position, based on my actions, or rather, lack of them.

My conversation with the dermatologist on Tuesday is the catalyst.

His question “how long have you had this rash on your legs?” started this train of thought. Looking at my answer “12 years,” from his perspective was upsetting. Added to that, my comment regarding much scratching “pain is addictive,” tipped me over the edge. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

I’ve never sought help in regard to this current, and worst, version of the rash. Why is that?

I can get into the weeds pretty quickly if I follow this train of thought too intensely so I won’t go there.

It is true that for many years I have been working on healing from my childhood trauma and the damage it caused. Honestly though, it’s not as simple as I thought.

I think it’s more like a mirrored disco ball. There are many facets and I’ve been honest about some but not others. My behavior shows the truth. No doctor visits in a decade. Never (rarely) leaving my house. Avoiding any gatherings with certain types of people in attendance. (it’s probably more honest to say avoiding gatherings with people in attendance, never mind types.)

Where do I go from here?

I don’t know. For now I think my acknowledgement of the truth is enough. My behavior often changes when my perspective changes.

Baby steps.

The song is based on a bible story found in the New Testament, the book of John, chapter 5, verses 1 – 15

I do want to be well, I’m just not so sure about making changes in some areas.

I like interacting with people in this arena. Maybe, along with honesty, interaction here is all that’s needed. I could live with that.

A little This and That, January 26, 2022

I’m feeling the need to talk. Not sure what about, though.

I had an appointment with a dermatologist yesterday. A few weeks ago I shared about large and longstanding rash on both shins. When my doctor saw it many months ago he referred me to a specialist. When I asked if it would be helpful, he didn’t hold out much hope for clearing it up.

Many times over the course of the year I was tempted to cancel the appointment. My thinking was… what’s the point if all they can do is give me something to keep it manageable.

Yesterday, I was pleased to discover there is hope for getting rid of it. The dermatologist prescribed a cream that should kill the active agent behind the rash. Suddenly I was happy I hadn’t given in to my negative thinking and cancelled the appointment.

There was a downside to the appointment as well, though. As he examined the worst area the dermatologist made the observation that I scratch a lot. It’s true, I do. Unfortunately, this keeps it alive and spreading. The new areas are the itchiest. Then I admitted I scratched sometimes when it wasn’t even itchy. I commented that the pain inflicted is addictive and the doctor nodded his agreement.

That revealing admission has been both haunting and upsetting. The worst of it is that I’m not really sure why. There must be a deep seated wound underneath the need to feel such pain. Admitting it has triggered a large emotional response in me that I don’t understand.

I’m hoping that, like with every other thought eventually making it’s way to the surface of my mind, with reflection some understanding will break through. The needed knowledge is down there somewhere, it just isn’t able to get through to me until I relax enough to give it permission.

Many years were spent with fingers in my ears. I would say that I was yelling lalalalalalala I can’t hear you, but I don’t think I was. I am pretty sure my feet were planted, my arms were crossed and I refused to listen to one word.

Now after many decades I’m finally listening. It has been a freeing experience and I’m loving life more and more all the time. It doesn’t mean I will ever be healthy or normal. The wounds go too deep for that, but I’m embracing every bit of emotional healing that comes my way.

And now I’m looking forward, hopefully, to rash-less legs with no more itch.

Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery on Pexels.com

PTSD and abuse. How do you know for sure? January 09, 2022

Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.com

If you can’t remember how do you know it happened? You could be wrong.

I can see how, lacking memories, skeptics might question my claims of child abuse.

I’ve been thinking about this more intensely this weekend. It’s not that I haven’t spent time with it before. I have… decades in fact. Just not intensely.

This is the first time I’ve managed to lay it all out in order.

Just because my mind has refused to remember extreme pain, that doesn’t mean I have no memories of the rest of my life.

As a child, I remember poverty, insecurity and instability with a self-employed father full of brilliant ideas that didn’t always pan out. Highly sociable parents who loved to party and run with the fast crowd. An alcoholic father who was not always a nice, or faithful man. Dad was never alone much either.

Once the line has been crossed from inactive to active it can never be uncrossed. My conscious mind may refuse to remember the painful violations but my body remembers. Going forward, my unconscious thought patterns, reactions, and expectations were shaped by childhood experiences. As a teen, looking back, I recognize thought patterns that could only come from experience. With nothing to compare to, how could I know an inexperienced teen wouldn’t know what I knew. My naivete was in thinking I went in to marriage as a novice.

The most compelling indicator of abuse, though, was triggers.

For many decades, involuntarily, I refused to question anything. Thought patterns, reactions, hints, not even consideration of the to-question-or-not-to question dilemma, none of it. Subconsciously I knew I wouldn’t like the answers inspection would bring and my mind steadfastly refused to go there.

It was many decades before I gave triggers much thought. They were just a normal part of life. That is how it often is for the abused. Only when we see how others live do we recognize that what we live with is abnormal.

In the beginning most triggers seemed to be related to men. They range from a quick shut down, to knee-jerk reactions, to panic attacks. After years of examining root causes and then dealing with them, there were changes. Or, maybe it was whatever was next-in-line showing up.

The most recent episodes have taken me by surprise. With dysfunctional family dynamics there were multiple levels of abuse, much of it emotional. These lessor? triggers are taking their turn at gaining attention.

Reactions provide compelling evidence of abuse but the final nail in solidifying the idea was my brother insisting I admit it happened.

If there is any lingering doubt acesaware.org (Adverse Childhood Experiences) has extensive questionnaires offering insight. They name the minimum number of boxes it takes to assess probability. I passed the exam with flying colors. More than the required number of boxes checked off.

One of their areas of discussion is health issues. Aggravated by unaddressed abuse trauma. Two areas show up for me. Digestive and autoimmune. They have become more pronounced with each passing year.

A selfie standing on the kitchen floor.

This has been going on for more than ten years. I have a specialist appointment in a few weeks but it doesn’t look like there is any cure. This doesn’t surprise me. I’ve had skin issues most of my life, if it leaves one area it pops up in another. Why fight it?

There is no room left for doubt about what happened to me.

One more note: the As a child, .. paragraph above provided ample reasons for the checked off boxes on one of the questionnaire pages.

If you suspect you may be a victim check out acesaware.org , it is sponsored by California health and has a wealth of information and helpful tools available to everyone.

I hope this made sense.

C-PTSD conversation December 12, 2021

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

Trigger alert. Don’t read this if you are easily triggered or distressed with abuse stories. For sure don’t read this if my story distresses you. (family, friends.) I do promise there will be no explicit details. Generalities are bad enough.

Why now? you ask… It’s time.

If you are a praying person, I would appreciate your prayers. This is going to cost me, big time. It has to happen sometime and it feels like the time is now so I’ll carry on.

Why even do this?… It will be cathartic.

Advance warning – I do plan to end on a positive note. Something healing happened this week and I will share what that was.

Most of my life has been intentionally lived as if my past never happened. Parts of my adult life have been lived as a public figure, no one connected with me knew my background. It was all a secret.

There are two reasons for not speaking up sooner. One was that I had deeply repressed memories (still do) and wouldn’t admit to my suspicions without proof. My brother made me admit the abuse about 15 years ago when I was no longer a young woman.

The second reason (excuse) was tied up in protecting the reputation of the abuser. My outlook on that aspect has changed and protecting him no longer seems as important. I guess I was reluctant for family reasons too. None of that seems as important now either..

The reason for the abuse and the form it took is complex. I’m fairly certain there was abuse in Dad’s background which would explain why his alcoholism was firmly established by mid teens. It would also explain the sex addiction which probably started in early to mid teens as well.

An unplanned pregnancy (me) with unwanted responsibilities and lifestyle changes added rage to the mix.

Double addictions along with rage brought variety to the abuse. Selfish, immature, vindictive traits, didn’t help either.

So, all of that to say the abuse started early and took different forms depending on mood and availability. As the years went by access became more readily available. Mom had a job and also spent significant time in hospital fighting cancer. The last two years with him were the worst.

Dad was an extrovert and there were always visitors on the property. He was not adverse to sharing with his friends. As the abuse progressed I was groomed and trafficked. Money was a big draw. He was always in need of another bottle of whiskey. He was proud of his grooming.

My brothers and I were rescued as I turned twelve. Mom had to spend another stint in hospital and we were sent to stay with my grandmother. She insisted.

The door in my mind was slammed shut on all of the repressed memories. The experiences endured were unpleasant and as a teen there was not a speck of me wanting to be sexually active with boys. I’m grateful.

There were little clues in some of my irrational responses and thought patterns back then that might have been a tip-off if I had been willing to examine them.

Over the years prayer has been a very important part of my healing journey. I keep asking God to heal the exposed broken places that I have no idea how to fix or move past. He has been healing me incrementally for years, and friends and family are noticing the difference.

The positive note to end this post is about one of those healing times.

One of the aspects of intimacy, the experts say, is the connection formed in that moment. Casual or serious makes no difference.

I know it’s true. The relationship changes once that bridge has been crossed. The connection with your first is probably the strongest. Dad was my first and there were many more after him.

The last while I have been allowing myself to relax and let memories resurface if they want to. Sometimes it’s been emotions, sometimes bits of memories. There has been a heavy sense of connection to Dad.

This week in answer to prayer that connection with him has been broken. It’s gone, for him and all the other men he allowed in my life. I felt the emotion drain out of me and now I feel nothing for him.

I’ve let go of anger, I’ve forgiven him, the connection has been broken, and now the secret has been revealed.

There will still be triggers, more healing needed, and more issues to be faced. In the aftermath there will be a price to pay for sharing this story. It’s part of the deal.

Despite all of that I’m celebrating, in a numb kind of way. The secret is out. Another hurdle in the healing journey has been crossed.

If you made it this far, thank you for listening.

The sun is peeking from behind the dark clouds.

Enjoyed, current, and possible next, November 28, 2021

Enjoyed and current read are both in the same series.

Not Until Forever: A Christian Romance (Hope Springs Book 1)

As she focuses on her career, Sophie doesn’t let herself think about what she gave up when she declined Spencer’s proposal five years ago. So when she’s called home to say goodbye to her dying grandmother, she goes out of her way to avoid seeing him. Of course, that means he’s the first person she runs into. Much as she fights against it, being near him stirs up old feelings and makes her question old decisions.

Leaving college to help on the family orchard cost Spencer the woman he loved. But he couldn’t turn his back on his family. Now that Sophie’s back in town, Spencer’s determined to protect his heart. Only he senses something new in Sophie—something that makes him think maybe they could have a second chance. But when his family needs him again, he feels like he’s repeating the past. Only this time, he’s not sure what choice he should make.

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Book one was a pleasurable read and I am looking forward to more enjoyment as I finish Book 5. Those in between these two have been previously read and enjoyed.

Not Until Christmas Morning: A Christian Romance (Hope Springs Book 5)

Leah has always been a fixer. That’s why she decided to foster a troubled teen. And it’s why she’s determined to give him the perfect Christmas. It might also be why she feels compelled to reach out to her grinchy, reclusive neighbor Austin. But she’ll have to be careful that reaching out doesn’t turn into something more—she’s been hurt by crossing the line from friendship to romance once, and she’s not willing to let it happen again.

After losing his leg, his friend, and his faith in Afghanistan, Austin figures he’s about as broken as they come. Hope Springs is simply a stopping point—a place to rehabilitate his leg, get over the burden of his PTSD, and get back into shape to redeploy. He has no desire to get to know anyone while he’s here, least of all the meddlesome—if sweet—woman next door. But when she calls on him to help her make Christmas special for her foster son, something compels him to relent. Soon, his heart belongs to both of them.

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Under consideration for next in line, there are two.

Non fiction – Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition.

Fiction – The Bridge

Notes on Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt Nov 21, 2021

Last time we ended just before the topic… Changing the channel on our invasive words and thoughts.

Page 92:

There are a number of components and I will highlight a few that stand out to me. There is so much more to be said, reading the book would be helpful.

...how you can start: Change what you tell yourself. … Talk back to your inner critic.

The most important battles we fight, many times, happen internally.

The past can be healed in only one way: Forgive it. That is the one thing you can do for yourself that can change all of your tomorrows.

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Page 93 – 96

I’m going to deviate from the book here. The author is dealing with shame in this section and uses the example of the Prodigal Son in the Bible. He tells how the father, with love, received his son back home. Despite his “bad boy” lifestyle, wasting his inheritance, and returning home in disgrace.

The father is a picture of the way God loves us and receives us no matter what we’ve done or what has been done to us.

I’m deviating from the book, though, because I think it’s important for us to understand the difference between shame and guilt. The information I’m about to share I’ve seen expressed in many places over the years, but for today’s purpose I found it laid out on verywellmind.com under living with BPD.

I’m paraphrasing here for space sake.

Guilt is the feeling you have related to things you have done. With guilt you can take steps to make things right and move on.

Shame is the feeling you have related to you are, or who you’ve been led to believe you are, your whole self not just an event. Shame it is not as easily dealt with because there is nothing you can do to make restitution. It’s about who you are, not something you’ve done.

There is an excellent ten minute podcast on their website discussing the shame we have been hiding and the link is posted below.

https://www.verywellmind.com/the-verywell-mind-podcast-5113058

The important take away from the podcast was this: there are two things shame cannot survive. One is exposure, tell someone. The second is empathy, tell someone who understands and is supportive.

It’s very important to find the right person to confide your secrets.

If shame is an issue for you, and it is for those of us who have survived an abusive life, this is highly helpful information.

So, back to the book. Check it out for the larger conversation.

I’m not sure what’s next but we will find out.

Notes on Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt Nov 20, 2021

Continuing on from where we left off last time. A few more relevant quotes.

Self condemnation: page 84

When we let lies overrule love, it affects those around us. We tend to take out our frustrations, lack of self-worth, shame or guilt on those we love. We cannot possibly love like we’ve never been hurt if we do not love ourselves.

another very important quote, same page:

If you struggle with shame, you may have trouble extending grace to others. If you struggle with finding self-worth, you may find it difficult to trust those around you.

Page 88:

We wear all sorts of things that keep us in bondage. Shame. Condemnation. Brokenness. Fear. Anxiety. Anger. Unforgiveness.

We are living in a mental cage. Page 89

Imprisoned with painful memories, with failures from the past, with self-sabotaging thoughts, with fear of an uncertain future.

Page 90:

When you start believing the lies about who you are, you begin to destroy your destiny.

How to change the channel?

That will be tomorrow’s topic.

These quotes are not the whole story, we need to read the book to see the full picture.

Well, I’m reading the book. I’m sure you will find it helpful too.

Current Read “How can I ever really forgive?” November 15, 2021

Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt, now that’s something many of us can relate to. Having been hurt.

This book has been out in the open on a shelf for a number of years. Tonight I decided I need to read one of the many non fiction books I’ve been stock piling the last few years. The name of this one popped into my mind before I could even cross the room.

It’s something, because as I read the first two pages I found a conversation pretty much like the one I’ve been having with a friend recently. Hurt, betrayal, pain, a universal problem.

This book talks about all of that and it includes the author’s personal story of pain. Lending credibility because he has walked this road himself.

Jentezen Franklin is a well known public figure and his story is out there but this time it is his telling.

I learned of him in an interview on a popular podcast. I was impressed and bought his book the first chance I got. In paperback so I could mark it up and take better notes.

I’m looking forward to this read. I think it will answer a lot of questions and probably raise a few more.

Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt: Hope, Healing and the Power of an Open Heart

The human heart was created with a great capacity to love. But along with that comes a great capacity to feel pain. There is no denying that those who love us, who are closest to us, can wound us the most profoundly. That kind of pain can be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. And it can feel even more impossible to continue loving in the face of it. Yet that is exactly what we are called to do.

Sharing his own story of personal pain, pastor and New York Times bestselling author Jentezen Franklin shows us how to find the strength, courage, and motivation to set aside the hurt, see others as God sees them, and reach out in love. Through biblical and modern-day stories, he discusses different types of relational disappointment and heartache, and answers questions such as Why should I trust again? and How can I ever really forgive?

The walls we build around our hearts to cut us off from pain are the very walls that block us from seeing hope, receiving healing, and feeling love. Here are the tools and inspiration you need to tear down those walls, work through your wounds, repair damaged relationships, and learn to love like you’ve never been hurt.