So much wisdom, so much empathy

This is a deeply touching interview filled with wisdom, understanding and empathy. And hope. So much hope. I have to share.

I hope you find it as comforting as I did. In these difficult days we need to hear voices filled with wisdom and hope.

Rick Warren has experienced unbelievable pain. Toward the end of the video he shares what it was like to live through it. He puts heavy emphasis on living through it.

This interview is posted by a gifted podcaster Carey Nieuwhof. He knows how to ask questions that will mine the depths and bring out the best in his guests. Always a blessing to the listener.

May you feel as blessed as I do right now.

More helpful resources

There can never be too much helpful information. Although it’s good to be thoughtful in deciding which topic, and when.

I like to chose authors carefully, not everyone sells us good information. Misguided ideas or misinformed authors can do more harm than good.

I find it’s also helpful if I pay attention to my needs when it comes to the topic of the book. I’m not always emotionally ready for some topics and it ends up being harmful. Timing is everything sometimes.

Reading slowly enough to allow meditation time has been helpful too. It’s a great way to increase the impact of the information on my life. The trouble with this though, I can’t plough my way through these books the way I normally like to. What’s the point of reading it if I can’t absorb enough to make a difference, so I slow down and enjoy the journey.

Anyway, tonight’s book was suggested by a friend who is aware of my current place on the road to wellness. She’s heard Grant Mullen speak and respects his authority to handle the subject. She thinks this is a book I will find helpful so I’m going to give it a shot. I don’t think I currently have any of his books in my library, this will be a new voice for me.

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Emotionally Free: A Prescription for Healing Body, Soul, and Spirit

Amazon quote:

Are you struggling to control your thoughts, moods, and emotions?
Are you tired of always living with a sense of spiritual defeat?

God wants us to be more than saved. He wants us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

Emotionally Free will show you how you can be transformed in body, soul, and spirit. You will discover a freedom you never knew was possible and reach a better understanding of how to resolve depression, anxiety, and mood swings. As a Christian mental health physician, Dr. Grant Mullen has observed the constant struggle that so many Christians live with every day. Many churches rarely acknowledge this struggle. Through patient interviews and his own journey, Dr. Mullen found three links in the chain of emotional bondage that keep Christians bound spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Emotionally Free describes those three links and how with God’s help we can be set free to live a transformed and victorious life.

Learn how to assess your thoughts, personality, and spirit. Emotionally Free puts an end to the unnecessary competition that has existed among psychiatry, counselors, and deliverance ministers. These are important complimentary ministries that we all need. This book explains the role of each and how to know when you need them. You will also learn how depression, anxiety, and mood swings affect Christians in a unique way, and you will be able to assess your own moods and determine if you need medical treatment. Reach a greater understanding of where your spiritual authority comes from and how to use it to set yourself and others free. No matter how suffocating your bondage is now, God is waiting and willing to set you free. Dr. Mullen clearly outlines steps to invite the Holy Spirit into the problem to heal and restore you. Discover a new freedom in your mind, attitudes, reactions, and relationships as you become Emotionally Free.

Dr. Grant Mullen is a mental health physician in Ontario, Canada. He writes and lectures internationally on how medical treatment, deliverance and the healing of our emotional wounds all work together to break the chains of emotional bondage. Dr. Mullen has a special interest in how depression, anxiety and mood disorders affect Christians. Grant is married to Kathy and they have two children.

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That’s it for tonight. Not much else happening.

Wishing you a peaceful, restful night.

One thing led to another and here we are.

Podcasts. They have captured my attention and it would be safe to say I have been binge-watching often lately. Tonight was no exception and this is where the one-thing-lead-to-another comes in. And, in the end it led to books. I think that is quite awesome.

It’s no secret that there is abuse in my background. I’ve talked about it sparingly along the way and by the looks of it, will be sharing again.

As is often the case, the interviewee on the podcast has recently come out with a new book. Out of the six excellent videos watched tonight, the one to capture my interest the most was a story similar to mine. The ending in relation to her marriage was better than mine, aside from that though, the content was definitely helpful. Spoiler alert… the issue in the marriage was pornography, highly addictive and destructive. At the end of this post I’ll share the link for the podcast. Here is the book…

Choosing a Way Out: When the Bottom Isn’t the Bottom

Amazon quote:

Was it all a lie?

When the author heard her husband’s confession, it took her breath away. Looking back she realized her husband’s sin exposed the deception in her own life. This uninvited crisis proved to be the impetus for her ultimate healing.

Kirsten writes that for most of her adult life she believed:

• She wasn’t good enough, or pretty enough, or smart enough, or rich enough, or talented enough, or whatever enough.

She wasn’t a good person. She was too stubborn, opinionated, and direct.

She was a failure because she’d tried something bold and audacious and didn’t succeed like planned.

• She was invisible and forgettable.

In these pages, you’ll experience raw honesty and a clear path through the pain. You’ll realize that no depression is too dark and no lie too strong. Discover a powerful process where you exchange isolation for accountability and deception for deliverance. Today you can experience a way out, even in the bleakest of circumstances where the bottom doesn’t feel like the bottom. The truth is that God is greater than your pain.

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There’s more.

In the suggestion strip at the bottom of the screen there was a book that appears to apply to me. The longer I looked at it, the more familiar it felt. I checked. I have two copies of it, gifted years ago by a concerned friend. I have read it and taken copious notes, it was that helpful. I have it but will tell you about it again anyway.

The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Amazon quote:

For those who have experienced childhood sexual abuse and those who love and care for them, The Wounded Heart offers a tender, compassionate window into the psychological effects of abuse and the theological foundations for healing.

Thirty years ago, with great courage and vision, Dan Allender brought Christians to the table to acknowledge, understand, and help victims heal from their experience of the evil of sexual abuse. His work continues to help victims and those who love them to honestly acknowledge their abuse, understand the unique challenge of repentance for victims of abuse, and learn to love boldly in defiance of their trauma. Ultimately Dan offers the bold assurance to sexual abuse victims that even they can find their way to joy and hope in the comforting embrace of a good God.

The Wounded Heart has sold over 400,000 copies and has been the first book family, friends, counselors, pastors, and victims have turned to in search of Christian answers to the calamity of sexual abuse. With a new introduction reflecting on the ongoing importance of the book, and a companion workbook for personal and group recovery, The Wounded Heart continues to offer an urgently needed word of grace in a world ravaged by sexual abuse.

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So, further investigation led me to a newer book that I think is an updated version of The Wounded Heart. I think I need to read this one too.

Healing the Wounded Heart: The Heartache of Sexual Abuse and the Hope of Transformation 

Amazon quote:

First published in 1989, Dan Allender’s The Wounded Heart has helped hundreds of thousands of people come to terms with sexual abuse in their past. Now, more than twenty-five years later, Allender has written a brand-new book on the subject that takes into account recent discoveries about the lasting physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual ramifications of sexual abuse.

With great compassion Allender offers hope for victims of rape, date rape, incest, molestation, sexting, sexual bullying, unwanted advances, pornography, and more, exposing the raw wounds that are left behind and clearing the path toward wholeness and healing. Never minimizing victims’ pain or offering pat spiritual answers that don’t truly address the problem, he instead calls evil evil and lights the way to renewed joy.

Counselors, pastors, and friends of those who have suffered sexual harm will find in this book the deep spiritual guidance they need to effectively minister to the sexually broken around them. Victims themselves will find here a sympathetic friend to walk alongside them on the road to healing.

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One more for me from the suggestion strip.

For years I have been working on telling my story, looking for ways to express it more effectively. It’s important for several reasons. It’s therapeutic for me and affirming to those who hear it.

The percentages listed for those suffering as victims of abuse is high.

It looks like the numbers involved in addictions is even higher. Addicts leave victims, adding even more to the number of casualties. The importance of sharing our story is even greater now than it was when I started on this healing journey many years ago.

To Be Told: Know Your Story, Shape Your Future

Amazon quote:

God wants to reveal himself through your story. Discover how he has written your life so far, and how he is leading you into the rest of your story.

“This is a book worth reading. To make sense of your life. To discover the role God is giving you in his story.”—John Eldredge, bestselling author of Wild at Heart and Get Your Life Back

Everyone wants clearer guidance from God on what to do with their future. In this insightful book, therapist and professor Dan Allender shows you how to listen to the stories of your life and identify the themes that God has written there. As you begin to understand both the hope and the heartache, you will gain a clearer sense of the meaning that God has written into every detail of who you are. You’ll also see how he invites you to join him in coauthoring the rest of your story. God is your Author, and he is showing you how to follow him into the future.

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In the above blurb the book Wild at Heart is mentioned. Excellent book. I have read my copy and highly recommend it. It’s written for men but gives helpful insight to the women in their lives.

Wild at Heart Expanded Edition: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul

Amazon quote:

God did not create men to be nice boys. He created us to live a life of passion, freedom and adventure. To be dangerous men living in a really big story.

God designed men to be powerful. Simply look at the dreams and desires written in the heart of every boy: to be a hero, a warrior, to love a beauty, to live a life of adventure.

But sometime between boyhood and the struggles of yesterday, most men lose heart. All those passions, dreams, and desires get buried under deadlines, pressures, and disappointments. Christianity feels irrelevant to the recovery of their heart. No wonder most men leads lives of quiet resignation, meanwhile looking for a little “life” on the side. In this provocative book, Eldredge invites men to wholeheartedness by

  • recovering their true masculine hearts;
  • healing the wounds and trauma in their stories; and
  • delighting in the strength and wildness they were created to offer the world.

In this updated and expanded edition of the timeless, bestselling classic, John Eldredge calls men—and the women who love them—to discover the true secret of a man’s soul and embrace the danger, passion, and freedom God intended for every man.

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I didn’t plan for this post to go so long but it’s all good stuff.

As promised, here is the link for the podcast that started this ball rolling for me. The interview was in two parts and it was the second that impacted me the most. They were both good though.

It would probably be a good idea to watch part one first to give you context. Due to the length of this post I won’t include the link but it will show up for you when this one is opened.

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I hope this will be as helpful to you on your journey as it has been to me on mine.

All the best to you,

a fellow traveler.

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.

Another this-and-that kind of day.

Another day already, when I have nothing much on my mind. No book suggestions or read books to share. Not a whole lot has been going on in my head either, although I will admit to a few persistent half thoughts. There are some sad parts to my musings but I promise this won’t be a downer conversation. At least I hope not.

I don’t know about you, but I find it takes me years sometimes (most times, actually) to realize I need to change some things. That’s kind of where I’m at right now. I’m gradually waking up to the need for action.

I know I’ve mentioned some of this thinking before but it’s all part of the lead-up to where I’m at today. Ready to make a New Years resolution. Something I rarely do. I hope it sticks and I follow through on it.

When I take an honest look back, I’ve been a loner my whole life. Most memories that come to mind easily are solo activities. Even the years when I had friends and boy friends. My role was always passive, never taking initiative in planning a get together or outing. As an adult I planned things now and then but they were usually group activities.

I’ve always accepted invitations if they were issued and spent time with people when we were thrown together in public gatherings. Through the years I’ve been a lot of places and seen a lot of faces (that’s from a song running through my head right now) and have a large number of people I can call friend, although you wouldn’t know that by the 91 friends I’ve allowed on Face Book.

Probably the underlying thought behind my hermit behavior is if you really knew me you wouldn’t like me. I will even admit, because of this mindset, I have been guilty of sabotaging friendships. Not that I was aware of it at the time. Hindsight sees things more clearly.

I’ve been on my own for a lot of years and I’ve been okay with it. At least I had convinced myself I was happy with it. Covid has changed so much of that thinking. Restrictions have caused pressure, kind of like turning up the heat until it’s unbearable. All of a sudden, emotionally, I’m not okay with it. I’m being forced to take a hard look at the way I do life.

There is an honest evaluation driving my resolution. I need to start taking a responsible role in maintaining friendships, instead of just letting life happen.

In a way this idea has already begun rolling, starting with Zoom type communication with family. Out of casual conversation I took pictures of my puzzle collection, that way my daughter and her friend can borrow what they like. My neighbor popped over, (can’t remember why now) saw the puzzles spread all over the floor and went home with an armful.

It’s Christmas. I’ve responded to some today but there are more neglected emails to answer, cards to send, and phone calls to make.

None of this will take place unless I care. Covid has turned up the heat with all it’s restrictions and now I care. I hope it lasts.

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A lengthy telephone conversation with an elderly relative yesterday showed we are struggling with similar emotions. It was fun laughing together, it brightened both of our days. Must call her more often.

Bargain books December 06, 2020

I needed a distraction after an emotional morning so I went book browsing. It paid off this time. I found a bargain pre-order on a new release for an enjoyed author and I’m excited. It will be out in February. Here I was hoping for sooner.

Tides of Duplicity (Coventry Saga)

Amazon quote:

A jewelry heist, a kidnapping, and a choice. When Fitz’s sister disappears, he’ll do anything to get her back, even if it means betraying the woman he’s come to love. 

Private investigator Fitz McCaffrey went to Belize on a case, bringing his teenage sister Shelby along with him. They have no good reason to leave the resort and hurry back to the harsh New England winter. They lost their parents, he lost his job as a cop, and they both need time to heal. Besides, when Fitz meets and spends time with the beautiful and charming Tabitha Eaton, he falls hard.  

But minutes after Tabby’s flight leaves, Fitz is summoned by a mobster who believes Tabby broke into the hotel safe the night before and made off with half a million dollars’ worth of jewels—and he has the video evidence to prove it. As Shelby’s guardian, Fitz has to focus on caring for his sister, whether Tabby is innocent or guilty. He refuses to help the man—until he learns the mobster has abducted his sister.  

The clock is ticking as Fitz scrambles to recover the jewels. If he succeeds, it’ll cost the woman he’s come to care for. If he fails, it’ll cost his sister’s life. 

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Next, I found a couple of bargain novellas by another favorite author. One is Historical while the other isn’t.

On the Wings of a Whisper: A serialized historical Christian romance. (Sonnets of the Spice Isle Book 1)

Amazon quote:

Stone Town, Zanzibar, Early 1866

RyAnne Hunter is determined to stop her father from leaving for the continent of Africa, where he plans to start a mission station. And she only has until morning. Tonight at the Harcourts’ Annual Ball will be her last chance to change his mind. She must succeed! Papa’s health, and her future, depend on her success. But, as if her task isn’t difficult enough, now the insufferable Captain Dawson has agreed to guide Papa’s expedition!

After spending six months at sea, Captain Trent Dawson only wants to think about rest and relaxation. However, when he’s recruited by a British naval officer to help put an end to a slave smuggling ring, the perfect opportunity presents itself in Dr. Hunter, who needs a guide to the Interior. Now if he can just help the doctor without spending too much time with the man’s troublesome and flighty youngest daughter.

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My Blue Havyn (Heart’s of Hollywood series Book 1)

Amazon quote:

When Havyn Jessup agreed to join her church’s building trip, she had no idea the man who broke her heart was coming as well. The last thing she wants is to spend time with the now internationally famous actor, Levi Carter. Even if it is in Africa, where he might, if God had any sense of justice, be eaten, one tiny bite at a time, by a pride of hungry lions. Two whole weeks. She’d never survive that long.

Levi is elated to learn that Havyn will be joining the building team. He had planned to look her up just as soon as he got home to tell her what a fool he’d been. But there is no time like the present. And what better place to ensure she would hear him than when she was strapped in at thirty thousand feet above sea level? Two short weeks. Could he convince her he was a changed man in that amount of time?

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Usually, I prefer regular length books but the attractive thing about shorter right now is I can plow through them so much faster. It will help clear up some backlog… maybe. One can hope.

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Currently I’m reading a story fraught with misery. Sort of like my story prompt post today. There is enough hope in it to keep me reading, though. I can relate to this story.

The Fragrance of Geraniums (A Time of Grace Book 1)

Amazon quote:

The Fragrance of Geraniums (A Time of Grace Trilogy, Book 1)

Told from multiple perspectives, this is a powerful story of three women – of the threads of mercy that connect them – and of heart-wrenching sorrows alchemized by the Heavenly Father’s overwhelming redeeming grace.

Rhode Island – 1934

A GIRL
Grace Picoletti has nothing going for her – but she’s determined to succeed in life, nonetheless. Born to severe destitution, she claws her way up from the pit of family shame and secrets. She avoids close friendships – even with the likable, persistent Paulie Giorgi…

A WOMAN
Despite her own agonizing emotional pain, childless Emmeline Kinner reaches out to a young woman so far beneath her. She could never have known whom else God would set in her path through her friendship with Grace…

A MOTHER
Long ago, Sarah Picoletti resigned herself to a loveless, abusive life – and she believes that her daughter Grace must inherit the same fate. Yet Sarah’s own soul cries out for the blessed peace and hope of which the radio minister speaks…

A multi-generational Christian women’s novel set during the U.S. Great Depression of the 1930s. (Also appropriate for older teens.)

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Happy Reading …

… on the tail end of this cheerful sunny day.

I can tell it’s chilly out there by the way people are dressed but that hasn’t seemed to stopped them any. Many are still walking past my window as I sit here typing this up for you. My window on the world.

Story prompt – Misery

Story Prompt is hosted by Confusing Middle’s – Sunday Scribblings

Misery

I wanted to be sure I understood the definition of this word at the beginning of the process so I looked it up. I had some preconceived ideas happening and was headed in a certain direction with this story but with the proper definition in mind I’ve had to rethink some things. I will still end up in the same place though, because it’s a good place.

The general consensus seems to be that misery is an emotion stemming from overly wanting what you don’t have or overly NOT wanting what you DO have.

I don’t know that I would describe myself as miserable. My thinking was – it is what it is. Count your blessings, it could be worse.

I wasn’t happy for the above reasons. Wanting and not wanting. Life was complicated. At least my life was. There was nothing I could do to change any of it. The hopelessness of that reality made things harder to handle.

After a few decades of emotional decline (hopelessness will do that to you) it occurred to me that I needed to take a stand. Life could not go on as it was, changes were needed. I wasn’t sure how this conversation would go. Let’s just say things moved rather quickly and before I knew what was happening I was free of the situation.

One of the most difficult things, in those early years, was the passive aggressive nature behind the misery. I felt all alone, like no one noticed what was (or wasn’t) happening and I felt that if I talked no one would believe me anyway.

I still feel the same way, actually. I haven’t managed to clear the belief hurdle enough to talk about those years to any great extent. I’m working on it but it’s a slow process.

The good news is that there are small victories along the way and they are always a surprise.

The positive thing coming out of today’s exercise is encouraging and validating.

Back in the early days I thought no one noticed.

Today I realize I was wrong.

As I was putting this piece together in my head I was thinking about three nice gifts offered over the course of several years. Back then I looked at surface reasons for the gifts and while I was grateful, I can now see that I was missing the point.

Looking at the memory of those gifts (experiences) from today’s perspective I can see that they were designed to be helpful. Someone was paying attention and wanted to make a difference.

Here I thought no one noticed.

One emotion I am not feeling with this realization … misery.

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Further reflection (by the light of day) has me realizing many people could have known and yet no one said a word.

Embarrassment comes crashing in to replace relief that at least one someone knew.

Misery follows hard on the heels of embarrassment.

Denial won’t work, saying you are assuming too much, people didn’t know. A dozen or more years ago in a drug store, I ran into a man visiting in my new town. In the midst of catching up he admitted he knew, way back then.

I’ve come too far now in the healing process to let misery win. I can’t and I won’t.

Every hard thing faced has led me to a better place. Facing this new revelation will only help things along.

Besides, I don’t like misery well enough to wallow in it! So, there.

Free and bargain books October 19, 2020

1531 Entertainment has an interesting offer for us.

I look forward to this is collection every year at this time, it’s becoming a tradition. And it’s always at a bargain price too. The stories are stand alone but connected in small ways. The final book ties them all together.

Five Gold Rings (Crossroads Collection Book 7)

Amazon quote:

Some of today’s best-selling Christian authors weave five completely new, unique, interconnected stories where once jilted lovers find worth more precious than gold.

Christmas Mercy by Jaycee Weaver
As the web of lies that kept Rob away from Vera and their daughter unravels, the months following his return test their capacity for mercy, forgiveness, and a second chance at love.

The Seven Year Glitch by Hallee Bridgeman
Seven years earlier, Timothy left Leanne at the altar stealing years of happiness. Leanne rescues him from a rooftop in a floodplain and it is clear there is much more to the story. Can their love redeem the hurts of the past to rescue their future?

Laughing All the Way by Lesley Ann McDaniel
When Jessica’s friends put her up to “fixing” their commitment phobic co-worker, Conner, she doesn’t take them very seriously. Conner doesn’t know whether to laugh at Jessica or tell her to mind her own business.

Ghosted at the Altar by Chautona Havig
After his fiancée, Brenna, abandons Mitchell on their wedding day, she insists she loves him and still wants to marry him. As truths come to light, her little sister, Lauren, turns sleuth to solve the mystery of why Brenna ghosted Mitchell at the altar.

Five Gold Rings by Amanda Tru
When three relationship-challenged couples wish for Christmas weddings, commitment coach, Oliver, teams up with a wedding planner, TeraLyn, to help make their marriage dreams come true.

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LPC Books has a few FREE and one bargain suggestion for us. I enjoy the first author and I’m looking forward to this. And the others … except for the two I’ve read.

Things We Once Held Dear 

Amazon quote:

New Yorker Neil Sadler returns to his hometown of Mason, Ohio, where the small-town was rocked by the suspicious death of Helen Syfert, the mother of Neil’s friend, Mary.

As the pair reconnects, Neil learns their once-close relationship hasn’t survived the tragedy of Mary’s loss. In time, though, the couple finds that what pushed them apart years ago now seems to be pulling them together. Still, Neil finds himself struggling to recover from a more recent loss, one he keeps tucked in his heart.

While the mystery of Helen’s death remains unsolved, finding closure will require opening old wounds, mending broken relationships, and facing new fears.

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Devil in the Dust 

Amazon quote:

June 1933: — Their small Oklahoma town is dying. Lillian remembers how acres and acres of wheat once waved under jewel-blue skies. Now the dirt stretches across the flat land as far as she can see.

Though Emma’s husband is missing, she keeps house — and keeps her five children fed as best as she can — even as her hopes fade. But when the days stretch to weeks, she considers the possibility that he will never come home. Left with the likelihood of losing their farm, and the ever-present pangs of hunger, she is forced to consider opportunities that, under normal circumstances, no woman should ever have to contemplate.

Jessie, Emma’s oldest daughter, completes her daily chores with tired repetition. Forced to wear her mother’s shoes to avoid the humiliation of bare feet, she watches the dead, dirt road for signs of life.

And then he arrives in his new car and shiny shoes and generous way with gifts and money. Much to the dismay of her mother he catches Jessie’s eye.

Lillian knows he’s too smooth, too willing to help, and much too eager to spend time with a girl less than half his age. But what’s to say he is not the miracle they all prayed for? In times of desperation the wind carries more than one kind of evil.

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The Last Summer

Amazon quote:

For twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways, wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.

Sara’s longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara’s forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.

While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends’ relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.

But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.

Does growing older mean growing apart?

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This Quiet Sky

Amazon quote:

There is nothing extraordinary about Tucker O’Shay’s dreams.
Go to college. Become president. Fall in love.
And pretend like he has enough time to get it all done.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Miller doesn’t expect anything out of the ordinary when she begins her first day at the one-room-school house in her new hometown of Rocky Knob. But when she meets seventeen-year-old Tucker O’Shay—the boy with the fatal illness who volunteers to tutor her in algebra—she finds herself swept up in a friendship that changes the way she sees the world and a love that changes her life.

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I know what I’m reading next. This Quiet Sky

That is, if I remember.

I’m currently reading an eight book collection but I’m only on book 2. That’s a lot of water under the bridge before I get to the next book.

Maybe when I finish book 2 I’ll have to take a little detour through the new book before going back to the collection. A little break could be a good thing.

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It’s been another awesome book day. I hope you are feeling as happy as I am over this new selection of good reads.

I haven’t had much reading time today so I’m off to see what’s happening in the world of murder and mayhem.

Happy Reading y’all

This is a blog about books but …

This blog is about books, fiction books mostly, regular stories, nothing too heavy. Except for every now and then. Today’s featured book is a heavy topic and is to be read with caution. The authors stress this in the interview.

I’ve read many heavy topic books but don’t always share them, or if I do I do it quietly. This one I think should be shared a little more openly. I’m sure there is someone out there who needs to read it.

I’m including the link to an hour long interview podcast introducing you to this book and it’s authors. I found it very helpful to have background information before I read the book.

Mark Lowry has a way of asking insightful questions, keeping the interview moving along. The hour doesn’t drag or feel like it’s too long.

Brad Jersak pastored a small community church, meeting in the gym of my teenagers school a few decades ago when we lived in Abbotsford BC. I’ve never met him in person but knew of him. Over the years I’ve seen other interviews with him as he’s written a number of books.

Paul Young is author of one of my favorite books The Shack. I’ve followed him through the years as well.

Brad and Paul are friends and collaborated to produce The Pastor: A Crisis

This story is purely fiction and it’s been written to bring hope and healing to a desperate place where there’s little hope. With this type of subject it would be wrong to tell true stories.

The Pastor: A Crisis 

A weary fundamentalist pastor is stuck in a psychiatric ward, staring into the abyss of his own secret shame. Before he can be free, he must confront his demons and find Grace. But will he let go? Will he allow himself to be healed?

The Pastor explores the perilous human journey from self-will and striving through defeat and despair to hope and the redemption found only through surrender.

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This book resonates with me, the adult child of an alcoholic sex addict.

I have my own personal journey with denial and triggers. Recognizing and acknowledging the event behind my trigger and facing it head on has taken the steam out. It’s been a healing experience though not an easy one.

I can relate to this book in a limited way because it was written for men. To me it feels like reading a foreign language where I only know a few words. It doesn’t matter if I get it as long as men do.

If you feel drawn to this book I hope you will read it and begin a journey to find healing.

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I’ve forgiven my father and I’m working on forgiving you too. I can’t honestly ask you to read this book and heal if I’m unwilling to forgive.

More importantly: There’s nothing God can’t forgive if you truly want it.

It seems we have to soundly hit bottom before we are ready for surrender.

I’m praying that if you need to read this book you will.

God’s forgiveness and healing is amazing.

Recently Read & Enjoyed.

The books on my reading list lately have been a joy. They were interesting stories with captivating characters. My only complaint with some of them was an over abundance of detail. There were several with a few too many characters. Aside from that it’s been a memorable week of time spent with strong stories. There were more but I just want to share these three.

This was my favorite. An amazing woman with an equally amazing life. It was not easy but she rose to the challenge every time.

This is a book I would like to read again.

The Awakening of Miss Adelaide (The Women of Rock Creek Book 3)

The Awakening of Miss Adelaide

Orphaned as an infant, Oklahoma heiress Adelaide Fitzgerald has enjoyed every advantage. She possesses a unique gift for music and has excelled on the opera stage in Italy. As a philanthropist, she’s adored from America to Europe.

But Miss Adelaide is about to awaken in a 1918 nightmare.

When the “Great War” and the “Great Influenza” knock, Adelaide finds her uninvited guests more than unwelcome. They threaten her life and alter her identity and purpose.

Snatched from a quiet life in an Italian villa, Miss Adelaide is thrust into conflicts others have created. What battle scars will she sustain? And where will love lead her?

In The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, war and peace, laughter and heartache, love and loss come together to ignite a fresh fire that reveals one woman’s hidden needs and potentials.

What will gaining a fresh understanding of herself require of the Angel of the Opera?

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This next one was not an easy read for me. It wasn’t, but it was life changing on a deep level. It took me a long time to find the courage to read it and when I finally did I was glad. It was a story of deep despair but it didn’t end that way.

A Place Called Morning 

A Place Called Morning

“Another incisive look at family life and secrets.” – Library Journal.

Mae Demaray retreats from life after her young grandson dies accidentally while under her care. What was once a quiet life in an old clapboard house on a quiet Minneapolis street, rich with the hues of security and love, is now shattered. But a decades-old family secret, based on an unlikely friendship over the years, brings redemption and restoration once it is revealed.

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One more.

This last story was special too. Life hasn’t been as dramatic for me as it was for these two characters but I can relate to listening to the still small voice. An amazing experience. I think Lorana Hoopes has done an excellent job in developing this complex story.

The Still Small Voice: Christian Speculative Fiction (Are You Listening Book 1)

The Still Small Voice

Would you give up everything to follow God?

Jordan Wright’s life was thrown upside down when she ended up pregnant in college. After giving up her son for adoption, she sought to find meaning in her life. As she gave her life to God, she began to receive visions and words to tell others. But can she trust God enough to take on the hardest mission of her life?

Kat Jameson had been a lukewarm Christian for years, but when her best friend died, her world was thrown into turmoil. Dreams haunt her evenings and a strange light began appearing around people. Kat believed she was going crazy until she met someone with a special message for her. Will she let go and finally let God use her?

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There is more to share next time.

Happy Reading