Free and Bargain books February 23, 2021

Before I get into book suggestions I want to introduce you to a first time blogger, I hope you will encourage her as much as I have been trying to. She is no stranger to the writing world but blogging is all new for her. I’ve been pushing her on this because I know she has lots to say and that’s what blogging is all about. Having something to say. Her post will show up right after this one goes live.

I’m not sure how many book suggestions I’ll be able to find but I can start with an interesting historical story I found while browsing. It goes way back, to the days of the early Roman Empire. I’ve not read this author before and I’m looking forward to it.

A Still Small Voice 

Amazon quote:

A TIMELESS BIBLICAL TRUTH

Jerusalem, an ancient city, is a land cloaked in mystery, legend, and intrigue. Within the heart of this age-old city dwells a lovely young woman – Julia, as whimsical and restless as the great city itself, her head filled with dreams of adventure and romance, her vision clouded by a daring young man of striking countenance, flashing eyes, and broad shoulders.

Residing in a magnificent villa nestled comfortably within the imperial Upper City, Julia knows no other life than the plush, comfortable one she shares with her mother, her wealthy merchant father, and a vast array of household staff to meet her every need.

Will her perfect world be shattered if she insists upon wedding the handsome guard who protects her father’s wares? Will her parents approve of the reckless man with whom she has fallen hopelessly in love?

she has fallen hopelessly in love?

A Still Small Voice weaves an entrancing tapestry of the masterfully crafted, God-ordained events that forever changed the course of history.

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This one is an LPCBooks FREE suggestion that wouldn’t show up for me yesterday on Amazon.

Hope’s Gentle Touch

Amazon quote:

After her abusive husband’s death, Misty Stephens returns to her job as a nurse and volunteer at a women’s shelter. She intends to put her life back together and has no intention of ever being vulnerable to a man again. But when an abuse victim dies in her care, Misty finds herself consoling the girl’s brother … and fighting attraction.

Adam Jenkins sees Misty’s heart for the oppressed and implores her to help build Hope House, a women’s shelter, in honor of his sister. Though grieving, Adam is drawn to Misty. But he approaches romance the way he does ranching—quick and decisive—an almost disastrous mistake. While dealing with family fallout and troubles at work, this new project and Misty become a light shining into Adam’s grief.

A common purpose binds them together, and Misty’s heart starts to open to Adam. But she finds it much harder to lower her defenses than she imagined. Can any man be fully trusted—especially a powerful, wealthy rancher? When the past rears its ugly head and her reality starts to crumble, Misty’s trust in God and hope for a bright future are put to the test. Will hope’s gentle touch finally bring the love Misty’s heart needs to heal?

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Well, we have two but they are both long. That’s easily the equivalent of many more and should keep us gong for a while.

Be sure and check out my friends post coming up next.

Happy Reading

It isn’t that I can’t, it’s that I can’t.

This is one of those just say something kind of days. You know, those days when it’s time to write a post and you have nothing.

So, this title is the thought that’s been rolling around in my head all day. It’s entirely true, and to my mind, it’s hilarious. I love a good play on words.

Probably the reason why this idea is lodged securely in my mind, like a silly song that stays with you all day, is because I lived it over the weekend.

Saturday afternoon was the time for our regular monthly writer’s group. We take turns chairing the meeting and February was supposed to be my turn. It’s bad enough when we meet in person and I can look around the table to see everyone; make it a Zoom meeting and it is confusing and worse. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do a good job and decided to look for a fill-in. I felt the group deserved to have a better experience than I could give them.

Some time after arranging my replacement I read and enjoyed a book featured in a previous blog post here. This added a new element to the meeting as I shared my enjoyment with the rest of the executive. With the help of several of our group members who knew her personally, I was able to contact the author. She would love to read an excerpt for us from her short story. Once this was all settled the agenda came out for the meeting and I was surprised to find I was still on it. In a smaller capacity but still. No one said a word, they just snuck it in there.

It all worked out ok. I was ready with my part mapped out in my head and it went smoothly. Probably because concern for my newly assigned task overshadowed every other worry.

In the end, I had the ability. It wasn’t like I couldn’t do it before but now I could.

The best way to describe why I couldn’t do it would be disability. Something crippling my ability

At this point I can hear one of our best writers saying “when you make statements like that I want to hear details”

I can tell you that I have complex PTSD from ongoing childhood abuse. It started before I was born and ended when I was twelve. I can’t give you details because I don’t have memories. They talk about abuse victims compartmentalizing as a coping mechanism. That’s what my mind did. Ninety-eight percent of my childhood memories are locked in a sealed vault and even though I’ve given myself permission to bring some of them out, for the most part, it’s not happening. I was describing it to my daughter the other day, It’s like watching a room with small windows… every now and then a shadow goes past. That’s the extent of it.

I’ve been in heavy denial about all of this for most of my life. Up until about fifteen years ago when one of my brothers insisted that I own it and admit the truth. This admission was the beginning of a new dimension in my healing journey

One discovery along the way was this: My disability comes not from memories but from triggers rising out of memories buried deep inside me. The deep place that will never forget.

In the past I refused to even think about the shadowy memories I did have.

It turned out there was a better way. I could stop and examine the shadows. Ask questions. Try to understand family dynamics and recognize what was behind abusive actions. There were many well-that-explains-a-lot moments once I allowed myself to question, to take a honest look.

So, I guess the question is, how does this affect my ability to do or not to do? It’s this way… my survival response is to shut down.

Freeze. Panic attacks.

I’ve had many theories about why this is.

A break through moment tells me it’s all about feeling safe.

Why don’t I feel safe? Honestly, aside from rooted in old memories, I have no idea.

I think it will take more than my lifetime to heal from this.

Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. At least I’m making progress.

Maybe can’t could even turn into can someday.

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One thing I know for sure, I’m not alone on this journey. Many others walk a similar path.

Sharing our stories is an effective way to add support to our fellow travelers.

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I will admit this started with a light heart but didn’t end that way. That’s not a bad thing. Honesty is the good thing.

Story prompt – Valentine

Today’s story prompt … Valentine

What’s the first thing to pop into your head?

Bah-Humbug!

Just call me Ms Scrooge.

It’s true. I read romance novels, lots of them. I read them, enjoy them, and don’t believe a word they say.

Fairy tales, I tell you.

Ok. So I will admit, there are some people out there who truly do know how to love honestly and well. I will admit there are some but my head says they are few and far between.

I still say – Bah Humbug! And no ghost is going to be changing my mind!

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Story Prompt is hosted by Sunday Scribblings

Thoughts running through my mind.

There is one thought running through my mind at this moment. It’s not new, I’ve been visiting variations of this thought off and on for awhile now. This morning it took a different turn and I feel like I need to explore it.

I’ve been judiciously watching many news type podcasts lately. Judiciously, because my mental and emotional health is in trouble if I don’t.

With limited exposure I can’t be quoted on who thinks what or what they plan to do about it if they think it. I am no expert on any of it.

I hear snippets. That’s kind of what started my thinking this morning. Putting two and two together, forming an idea. My idea.

The world is a complicated place, always has been. We think a certain action will gain a certain result but it never holds true with humans. For every expected reaction it is possible there will be an unexpected reaction. Maybe not in equal number as, hopefully, good reactions will outweigh the not-so-good ones. Besides, in the course of your lifetime have you ever seen unanimous agreement happen more than once or twice? Never is more likely.

I’m saying all this to acknowledge the exceptions. What makes one person strong destroys another and it hurts when things go badly.

So, getting back to my original train of thought.

The last few days I’ve heard news people using the term Reset. A Global Reset. I didn’t stick around long enough to hear much but I can imagine what they were thinking and planning. My whole life, I have been hearing about one world government and it is a scary thought. It always sounded like the forces wanting to form this government did not have our best interests at heart. It was all about need for power.

At the beginning of the covid pandemic, watching the way life was changing for all of us, I was thinking reset too. I wasn’t alone with this observation, I’ve heard many others express the same idea.

As a society, life has been easy for us in so many ways and we have become used to taking it for granted, that’s one part.

The other part is disconnectedness. Electronic devices, and all facets of them, have consumed us and our time. We have become isolated from one another in real time. We share physical spaces, yet we are like ships passing in the night. Each living a life in solitary.

Covid has changed all of this. Isolation of a different sort has forced us together for prolonged periods of time. We are discovering in-person relationships, some for the first time. Most, but not all, are thriving and life is enriched with good experiences, making new memories and connections to last a lifetime.

Then there is the hardship of restrictions and the downturn on the economic side. We’ve lost many of the things we took for granted. It’s been a year and life does not look like it will be going back to normal anytime soon. In fact whatever it goes back to is guaranteed to look quite different after all this time. Necessity with all it’s changes will have made going back impossible.

Considering all of this, I view reset as involving our priorities, values, and connections. And it would be a good thing. I think we will be a stronger people for having survived this storm. We will develop a protective awareness we didn’t have before. We were caught by surprise with covid but we won’t be as unaware as we would have been, if it happened again.

If it turns out the World Reset attempt is a reality we will be better equipped to survive, having lived through the personal reset. And if the World Reset never comes, we will still be in a better position to thrive and survive life in general.

In the end, I think the most important reset will be personal. There is no denying … we are already a much stronger people because of it. It’s not over yet, just think of where we will be, strength-wise, a year from now.

This is what I’m thinking today.

As I reach this point in the discussion I find this thought pattern gives me hope.

I’m also pretty sure this won’t be the last time I think about all this.

Story prompt – Compliment

I must compliment you both. It’s inspiring the way you complement one another.

Compliments are amazing things, often underestimated, I think.

It seems, if some of the stories I’ve read are to be believed, there are segments of society reluctant to give compliments because they are thought to encourage pride. Then there are other segments who are just plain mean and abusive. Not only do they not give compliments, they pile on the insults.

I love stories where a kind heart recognizes worth and goes to great lengths to promote healthy self-esteem in the down trodden.

There is a popular old story I’ve never forgotten. A young farmer was looking for a wife. He picked a young woman, shy and insecure, with literally no marriage prospects. The village people could not understand his choice, in their estimation she had nothing to offer as a farmer’s wife.

The going bride price was two cows. He chose to pay double that. Four cows was unheard of, never mind for a wife with so few talents to recommend her.

He took her home, treated her like a precious treasure and over time she blossomed to became all he knew she could be.

Compliments are powerful and for us to blossom we need them as much as we need food and water. At least that’s what I think.

Then there is complement. (to make complete)

How many stories have I read lately where the author pairs characters because they complement each other. The restaurant owner who is an awesome chef and a hopeless bookkeeper. The female ranch owner struggling with endless heavy chores requiring a man’s strength. Or even the one tasked with jobs requiring two or more people to meet deadlines. How many of us would kill ourselves trying before we would ever reach out.

It’s not easy admitting we need help. I know I struggle with that. Last summer I chose to fight to prune small trees myself rather than ask. My neighbor who is taller, heavier, stronger, (never mind younger) would have gladly helped.

In stories there is often a stubborn character who will not ask or even allow someone to help. Of course, one of the requirements of a good novel is tension and stubborn provides that in spades. By the end, though, they are working together and life is rosy.

It happens that way in real life too if we let it. We’re better together. Especially when our talents complement one another.

I like these two words.

The same only different.

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Story Prompt is hosted by Sunday Scribblings

What to say…

I’m at a loss for words. After missing several days in my daily blog I need to find something to say. I’m feeling emotionally wrung out, maybe that’s why my mind is empty. I’ll just have to start and see what happens. It will surprise me as much as it will you, guaranteed. It’s funny how one thing leads to another and rabbit holes appear out of nowhere…

Today was the day for our monthly writers group Zoom call. Since I’m part of the executive there is always a feeling of self inflicted pressure to be a good participant not just a passive observer. As an introvert, fly-on-the-wall is where I would rather be. I was trying to be rested and relaxed ready for the camera but it wasn’t working out all that well for me. I started out stressed, like it or not.

Going into the week, I didn’t have an active part in the meeting. That all changed when the agenda came out and I found I was down for a book review. In the end we had more than enough readers (to share stories that would be critiqued) and there was no time for the my contribution. It didn’t get used but it was good writing practice, working on the review was not a total waste.

It’s funny how things happen sometimes. I had been thinking several days ago about my style of writing and the type of critique I would like to have. The thing is, I’m often not sure if what I have to say makes sense. Feedback would be helpful. I think I assume people know certain things already and tend to write in note form with little detail. My first clue I do this is when, days later, I read what I’ve written. Sometimes I have no idea what exactly I was getting at. So, going back to the most recent review I’d posted I found myself with a chance to work on making sense.

The review definitely needed to be reworked and expanded. It was a good exercise in figuring out how much extra detail needed to be included. I’ll try to do better the next time I write something like a review or thoughts (like now maybe.)

So, getting back to today’s Zoom meeting. It did the heart good to see everyone again even though we couldn’t be in the same room together. Five members read their stories, each one personal and unique.

They were all good but the one I appreciated most tore us all apart. It was a very raw and real sharing of a lengthy journey with parkinsons. What she has been through, and will continue to go through, is heartbreaking. Yet she has such a positive outlook on life. We could see it cost her dearly to be honest with us. We felt honored to be trusted enough for the privilege of hearing her story.

Today was a day we will not soon forget.

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I’m going to pick up a fast food hamburger and then the mail (it’s been several weeks and I need to get out.) When I come back I’ll see if this still makes sense to me.

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Well, I’ve made changes. I’m not sure it’s enough but time’s getting away on me. At least I’ve finished supper, washed the pile of dishes waiting for me and played a few games on the computer while I was thinking.

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Tomorrow is story prompt day. The word is Resolution. Guess I’m not done thinking for the night quite yet.

A favorite episode from a favorite podcaster

I just have to share this podcast episode. I love it, it makes so much sense.

Patrick Lencioni on How to Discover Your Working Genius

There are two reasons:

Carey Nieuwhof has a gift for asking insightful questions and then listening intently with great follow-up questions. It seems every interview ends with him saying this has been so good. And it has been, every time.

Today’s topic is about giftings in relation to work life. This is one of my favorite topics in the world and it has been for decades. Not just for work but life in general. The more I understand about myself and others the better life goes for me. Today focuses on work life and it makes so much sense.

If you want to know more, Patrick Lencioni has a website with testing material available and he is even offering a discounted price on orders resulting from this podcast. I’ll let him give you the details at the end of the podcast.

So here it is: I hope you find it as helpful and I did.

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Story Prompt – Houseplants

Houseplants

Many of my best memories are attached to houseplants. I can’t say that I am a plant lover but I loved the ones I had because of where they came from.

Growing up we had outside plants. Flower beds and vegetable gardens. We probably would have had houseplants if there was a place to put them. I was ok with no houseplants. We had cats and dogs, that was enough.

Living on my own with my first job, I didn’t have plants or animals. I was ok with it.

Things changed with the addition of a father-in-law.

Most of Dad’s life his family was in the nursery business, he loved plants. The climate was mild where they lived and they were able to grow things in their greenhouses year round. Eventually they became florists as well. They had the flowers so why not. By the time I met him he had scaled back on greenhouses and was buying plants for the flower shop from other growers.

He had this idea that everyone needed plants and he took pleasure in providing them. Whenever he came our way on a buying trip, well, we became the proud owners of new plants. There was no question in his mind that we needed and wanted them, which was pretty funny really, and very sweet.

He would even bring cut flowers occasionally, freesias were my favorite.

We moved many times over the course of the years and the plants always went with us. That is, if they were still alive and able to be moved. Our Fiscus fig tree eventually became too big and needed a new home. We had mixed emotions because Dad had given us the tree as a small plant and it had a lot of miles on it.

Looking at the plants spread through the house was always a reminder of the giver and the time and place. I think that was my favorite part about having plants. The memories.

Over the years, other people would bless us with cuttings from plants we admired. It was nice to have reminders. It seemed we were forever leaving friends behind with our many moves.

Eventually life happened and the plants all went by the wayside, for one reason or another. And then there were none, I was ok with it for a lot of years.

As happens sometimes, all good things must come to an end.

My neighbor had two large plants needing to be farmed out while she had long term house guests. Long term seems to have turned into forever. (I have tried to give them back, numerous times, I can’t argue with the fact I have more room than she does.)

A couple of summers ago I was on a long road trip where I visited with family friends. They have a menagerie of African violets and Spider plants and decided I needed to have some too. I wasn’t sure they would survive the long trip home but they did.

Since then I’ve gained several more plants from local family members.

Things have come full circle and once again I have a house full of reminders of folks who love to give me houseplants.

I love the reminders.

Story prompt was courtesy of Sunday Scribbling hosted by Peckapaloosa: The Confusing Middle