This and that August 26, 2021

A little this, a little that, and a whole lot of not-much.

Have you ever noticed how sometimes recharging a device seems to take forever? I have and I was inclined to blame it on the device?
It was frustrating, especially since it was a new purchase and my expectations were high. It turns out I was experiencing misplaced blame. This afternoon my Kindle was taking forever and I couldn’t wait long enough for it to finish. Tonight, having to plug it in already, it charged in record time. I guess the fault lies with the power grid not the device or the power cords.

It could even be the fault of neighboring power hogs. I wonder who that could be? Hmmmm. I know it’s not me, a couple of lights and a laptop is all I’ve got going on.

I’m sad, as I sit here blogging and looking out the window at the darkness of night. A couple of months ago it would be getting dark just about now, not this full on night thing. Summer is on it’s way out. That’s why I’m sad. To think it has gone by so quickly.

It’s a good thing, I didn’t put my Christmas tree away. In another two or three months it will be time to put it up again, this way I don’t have to bother. Besides I like using it as a shield to hide behind. Privacy screen.

I’m excited, in a couple of weeks two of my young relatives will be moving back to Canada, specifically to the area where I live. I can hardly wait to see them. I’m sad that I didn’t meet the criteria for them to spend their two week self-isolation at my house.

This will be a great adventure for them. And an even bigger adjustment as they have never lived here, they left as babies. I think they have been dreaming of it for a long while though. Coupled with early onset adulthood I think they are ready for what comes next in their lives. Living with their same-age cousins won’t hurt either.

Overall, I’m happy with life.

Now I just have to figure out what book I wish to read next.

Maybe I will give this one a try. It looks to be filled with spies and intrigue.

The Captain’s Quest (The Leeward Islands Series Book 4) 

Innocent mistakes can have dire consequences. 

Pricilla Middleton only attended the Lemoore house party to keep her friend out of trouble. Now, her only chance to keep from becoming a gossip column headline is to sneak aboard her brother’s ship and pretend she’d been visiting him instead of taking part in the debacle. Before she can speak to her brother, the ship sets sail, and the man in charge is not at all who she expects.

Captain Tobias Prescott, son of an infamous war hero, has been assigned on a critical mission to deploy warships in St. Kitts for battle in New Orleans. Unfortunately, his orders require him to assume command of a friend’s ship, and he must weigh anchor the instant the former captain is escorted down the gangplank. When they reach open waters, the last thing he expects is to find a woman hiding in the captain’s cabin, yet his mission is too urgent to return her to England.

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I’ll let you now how it goes.

Bargain books July 19, 2021 Part two

I’m not sure how it happened. Despite seeing a number of tempting books we only ended up with two. I just had to go back for another look. I found two MORE.

I’m a little unsure about one of them but not enough to cut it from the lineup.

Since we started the day with Christmas, we will continue and start this post that way as well. I know and like some of the authors in this collection and it made the selection choice easy. This book is on pre-order and will be released in October.

Christmas in Mistletoe Square: Christmas Romance Novella

Amazon quote:

Christmas is in the air in Kedgewick Creek, North Carolina, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Will romance find four couples in the month of December or will the pressure to keep the festivities Mistletoe Square is known for keep these couples apart?

Find out in this collection of four novellas from inspirational authors Pepper Basham, Cara Putman, Janine Rosche, and Teresa Tysinger.

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This next book is a complete change of subject and will be a deep dive by the looks of it. I’m excited to see what this one is about.

Things Left Unsaid 

Amazon quote:

An emotional novel of family, friendship and forgiveness from Courtney Walsh, the New York Times bestselling author of Hometown Girl.

Lyndie St. James is thrilled that her best friend, Elle, is getting married but unprepared for the emotional storm of the wedding week and returning to her childhood summer home of Sweethaven. The idyllic cottage community harbors some of her best—and worst—memories. It’s not only the tragic death of her childhood friend Cassie that has haunted her for ten years, it’s the other secrets she’s buried that have kept her from moving on.

But Lyndie isn’t the only one with secrets.

Cassie’s mother, father and brother, still struggling with the loss, have been drifting further and further apart. And Elle herself, the last to see Cassie alive, carries an impossible burden of guilt. Now reunited, each of them has a choice: to reveal the truths of that night or continue to live in its shadow. That means embarking on a personal journey of the heart—to escape the darkness and all its regrets and to finally come to terms with the past and, especially, with each other.

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This next book is in a similar vein but I’m not sure if the dive is as deep.

When It’s All Said and Done

Amazon quote:

As sisters, they couldn’t be more different, but can they count on each other when it’s all said and done?

Ruth Webber’s only focus in life is saving the business her late father left behind and, since her capricious younger sister doesn’t care about family legacy, she must do it alone. When a long weekend trip presents an opportunity to advance the family interests, Ruth won’t let anything stand in her way, not even her sister’s drama or the smile of a handsome new friend.

Despite what Ruth thinks, family means a great deal to Angela, but the unexpected loss of her husband ended her dreams of having one of her own. Now, her only chance of building a new dream lies in her writing career, if she has the strength to act on it. All she needs is a weekend away to clear her thoughts.

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This one is a different flavor all together. Except, is it really? Maybe not.

Defending My Heart – Clean, Christian Football Romance: (A Texas Tornados Single Author Sports Romance Book 1)

Amazon quote:

The man who broke her heart. The second chance she’s not sure if she wants.

Emmitt Brown’s demons are even bigger than he is, and as a defensive lineman for a pro-football team, that’s something. When the team captain tasks his defensive line to go home for Christmas and get rid of their biggest past regret, Emmitt finds himself returning to the small town he grew up in to find the woman he never should have left. Too bad she hates him and tells him to go away.

Mia Carter can’t believe Emmitt Brown is back in town. She does not need this right now. Especially since he’s been the ghost who won’t leave her conscience alone for the past five years and especially since she recently lost her husband. But when the pro football player steps up and offers to help her son fight cancer, she finds herself reluctantly agreeing.

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OK. This is definitely It for today. Anything else will have to wait for tomorrow.

I will stay far far away, there will be no more looking and books.

Happy Reading!

Perfect timing

It’s amazing how it happens. Perfect timing.

Yesterday’s post shared the idea of counselling in a book. Check it out here if you missed it… Love is a Choice

This morning, waiting in my inbox, was the regular email notification for the weekly podcast I follow faithfully. The content is always interesting and helpful, on a variety of topics. Today’s topic was especially meaningful on the heels of yesterday’s book. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, the two books fit so well together.

The subject line of the email was an attention grabber.

A specific type of writing that will combat anxiety, depression, and symptoms from past trauma.

There was no way I could walk away from this podcast and leave it for another day. It had to be today. I watched it twice, it was packed that full. .

Today’s interviewee has written a book called The Power of Writing it Down.

Part of author/writing coach Allison Fallon’s target audience is the same crowd flocking to read Love is a Choice... Count me in.

The Power of Writing It Down: A Simple Habit to Unlock Your Brain and Reimagine Your Life

Partial Amazon synopsis:

For anyone who’s trying to make sense of their life, who wants to get unstuck from the patterns that hold them back, hear this incredible news: everything you need for the freedom you want is entirely within reach. This practice and pathway is free, it’s readily available every day of your life, it takes just minutes of your time, and anyone can do it. 

Author, writing coach, and speaker Allison Fallon’s life transformed when she discovered the power of a daily writing practice. As it turns out, using your words is one of the most powerful means you have for unlocking your life. The Power of Writing It Down is your guide to this transformative tool available to us all. In as little as five to twenty minutes a day, scientific research shows this daily practice can help you: 

  • Identify your ruts and create new neurological grooves toward better habits
  • Find fresh motivation and take ownership of your life
  • Heal from past pain and trauma
  • Relieve anxiety and depression
  • Contextualize life’s setbacks and minor frustrations
  • Live a more confident, balanced, and healthy life
  • …and so much more

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In the podcast interview she explains Expressive Writing well and mentioned that the writing talked about in her book is not regular writing and it’s not journaling. It makes a lot of sense.

The idea is to write down your deepest thought and feelings. I have experienced what she means when she says this type of writing accesses the subconscious part of the brain where the conscious is often not allowed.

This is basically what I do when I write my this and that posts. What comes out is often a surprise. With some of the posts, like I mentioned at the time of writing them, I was in the midst of angst and felt so much better when I was talked out. To really get into it, though, I expect most of it would not be something we’d want to share publicly.

I recommend listening to the interview before reading the book. I’m glad I did because hearing and seeing her will make the words on the page that much more real.

Practicing this form of writing will be helpful to everyone, not just the most broken among us.

Here is the link. Enjoy, and buy the book if it makes sense to you. I think you will be glad you did.

I haven’t been as intentional with this type of writing as is encouraged in her book. From ignorance, really. I want to try it her way, to see what the difference will be in my life.

I’m hoping you will discover this along with me.

Happy listening, reading, and writing.

Bargain books Part Two June 18, 2021

As promised, three more interesting looking books, all from the author featured in the previous post. I’m more excited about these three as I’ve not yet been exposed to the two series they are part of.

I’ll start with the one that attracted me the most. The story line seemed to promise a depth I find attractive.

A Family for Easter: A Fresh-Start Family Romance (Rescue River Book 6)

Amazon quote:

Too different to fall in love?In Rescue River, anything can happen…

When wealthy single mom Fiona Farmingham rents her carriage house to widowed Eduardo Delgado, it’s purely in friendship. Insecure over her late husband’s betrayal, Fiona hides her attraction to the humble landscaper.

Between them they have six children, two dogs—and a world of differences. But with half a dozen little matchmakers involved, can they find the courage to reach for happiness once more?

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The Soldier and the Single Mom: A Fresh-Start Family Romance (Rescue River Book 4)

Amazon quote:

When Buck Armstrong rescues Gina Patterson and her baby from a dark country road outside town, he intends to keep his distance. Gina and little Bobby remind the handsome veteran too much of all he’s lost. The vulnerable single mom seems equally wary of getting involved. But things change once Gina and her son settle into his sister’s boardinghouse.

Being with Gina and Bobby makes Buck question his plans to leave town for a fresh start. Suddenly he has dreams of forging a new family, even though it will mean risking his heart. But can he escape his past for a chance at a happy future?

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The Soldier’s Redemption: A Fresh-Start Family Romance (Redemption Ranch Book 2)

Amazon quote:

Blaming himself for the accident that claimed his wife and son, ranch manager Finn Gallagher vows he’ll never remarry. Yet he’s drawn to his new rescue-dog caretaker, Kayla White, and her little boy.

The single mother’s running from something in her past. And as he begins wishing the little family could be his, Finn must convince her to trust him with her secret.

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I haven’t decided how many of these I will go for but they are all under consideration.

If anything more wonderful shows up today I’ll let you know, for sure.

Happy Reading part two!

Read and enjoyed May 08, 2021

My favorite book so far this week is a parallel, modern and historical. The common denominator is a poignant painting with a checkered past and a complicated present.

I’m not always a fan of blending timelines but in this case it works. Probably the biggest reason, it allows for showing rather than telling. We need both time frames because they are intertwined and the present story only makes sense if we can understand the past.

There is an unforgettable painting with unknown origins. It appeared in the most terrible of circumstances and combining past and present stories adds the right amount of lightness to make the story relatable. The love stories play out in both time frames as the book moves along. The events are unpredictable and the resolution to the story is unexpected.

I would describe the unexpected but that would give away the ending which would never do.

I agree with the reviews quoted below. Unforgettable.

The Butterfly and the Violin (A Hidden Masterpiece Novel Book 1)

Fresh. Fascinating. Unforgettable. The Butterfly and the Violin is a masterpiece of a debut.” –Laura Frantz, author of Love’s Reckoning

“. . .impossible to put down.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 Stars, TOP PICK!

A Mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz–and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.
Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire fordistraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl–a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.
In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover–the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul–who maybe the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting’s subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

I will admit, I lost sleep over this difficult to put down book.

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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.

Read and enjoyed April 12, 2021

Lots of meat to chew on with this read. T.D. Jakes always has many thought provoking things to add to any story and this was no exception. He gives us an in-depth look at four woman types and the hardest one for me to read was the one most like me. All of the women were hurting in one way or another, that’s the way life is. Difficult patches in life are inevitable. It’s what we do with them that will make or break us.

T.D. Jakes doesn’t hold back, he tells it raw and real. He doesn’t expose us and then leave us hanging out to dry. He leaves us with answers (not always the ones we want to hear but answers nevertheless) and points us to hope. Some people will tear us all apart pointing out the broken places then walking away. He doesn’t ever tear us apart, rather he sheds a light in the dark places to help us see the important things we are missing. His goal is to help us choose a better way.

The broken among us have bought into lies we’ve been told over and over. His novel is one more tool in the arsenal to help us break out of our prison of lies.

He is a great story teller. Everything he is trying to share is woven into the fabric of the story making it strong. The best kind.

Cover Girls by T.D. Jakes

This compelling novel follows four women as they learn to balance children, estranged husbands, boyfriends, and problems at work through their faith in God.

Michelle, Tonya, Mrs. Judson, and Miz Ida. African-American, white, rich, poor — they seemingly have nothing in common. Yet every day they face the complex realities of twenty-first-century urban life as they try to balance their needs with their belief in God. Through the course of a year, these women must come to terms with the past, discover their true identities, and recognize the unexpected miracles that reveal God’s all-encompassing love.

These four women entertain us and invite us to join in their lives. As they welcome us, they also introduce us to the men in their lives. The men play supporting roles, adding color and zest to the lives of the Cover Girls.

Bishop Jakes knows the struggles real women encounter and the losses that make it difficult to face the future. He brings compassionate insight and deep wisdom to this novel and proves that he is not only a gifted preacher, but a born storyteller.

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Currently, I’m into a lighter read. It’s not fluffy by any means, just lighter by comparison.

Run With My Heart: Sweet, Christian Christmas Romance: (A Texas Tornadoes Single Author Sports Romance book 2) (Texas Tornados) 

A football player who’s lost. A woman in danger of losing all she loves. Could he be the Christmas Miracle she’s been praying for?

Pro football player Tucker Jackson has a chip on his shoulder. His mother died when he was young, his father threw himself into his work, and the team he now plays for is in danger of losing their season.

His anger drives him to a bar where an ensuing fight earns him service at a community center. Can he find a way to tame his ire before it destroys his dreams forever?

Shelby Doll has a heart for kids, but the community center she runs is short on funds. Tucker Jackson is her last hope to keep the doors open, but will he leave her in a lurch when it matters the most?

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Happy Reading!

Bargain books April 08, 2021

I’m reminded today of Charles Martin, the well loved author of deep and engaging stories. My sister-in-law introduced me to his books. and I have to agree, they are everything she said they would be. More than a read they are an experience. To be honest, they have spoiled us. It’s not easy finding other authors with stories that move us the way his do.

One of his books came up as a suggestion this morning. It doesn’t qualify as a bargain but I decided to mention it anyway. Then I noticed the two books included in this collection can be purchased individually at a combined price that is lower than the price of this book. A good deal indeed.

Down Where My Love Lives

USA TODAY bestseller from the author of The Mountain Between Us, now a major motion picture!

Collected together for the first timeDylan and Maggie’s love story.

Down Where My Love Lives is a bittersweet yet triumphant love story—a tale of one man’s spiritual journey through the darkness of despair into the light of hope.

The Dead Don’t Dance was New York Times best-selling author Charles Martin’s debut novel. Even then, the deep characters and emotional power for which he has become so well-known were apparent in his writing. Now, this story—and its sequel—are together in one volume.

The Dead Don’t Dance—A sleepy rural town in South Carolina. The end of summer and a baby about to be born. But in the midst of hope and celebration comes unexpected tragedy, and Dylan Styles must come to terms with both love and loss. Will the music of his heart be stilled forever—or will he choose to dance with life once more?

Maggie—Life began again for Dylan Styles when his beloved wife Maggie awoke from a coma. In this poignant love story that is redolent with Southern atmosphere, Dylan and Maggie must accept their past before they can embrace their future.

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Here they are

Enjoy

More later….maybe

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.

This resonates with me

A short interview on a timely topic, for me anyway. It feels to me like this should be shared.

Coffee break is awesome today. This video is part of an interview series I’ve been following and this man is very wise. The series is based on a book he’s written, so there you go, we still have books to think about.

This resonates with me because past buried, horrendous, memories still plague me in the form of triggers. I’ve come a long way in the last decade but there is still more to be done and I appreciate any resource crossing my path.

I share because it touches me but also because someone else may need to hear this as well.

Wishing you the very best in your healing journey.