Current read and two new interesting books January 09, 2022

Last week I mentioned a book written by a psychotherapist interviewed on a podcast I came across. I think I shared it here, I need to check that out to be sure. Anyway, I’m reading her book and it is like taking medicine mixed with delicious honey. The authors aim was to provide help to those of us who might not be inclined (for whatever reason) to visit a therapist but dish it up as a story to make sure we would read it. I have to say she is doing a masterful job. I’m almost finished the first third of the book and it is not easy to put down.

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

Now being developed as a television series with Eva Longoria and ABC!

“Rarely have I read a book that challenged me to see myself in an entirely new light, and was at the same time laugh-out-loud funny and utterly absorbing.”—Katie Couric

“This is a daring, delightful, and transformative book.”—Arianna Huffington, Founder, Huffington Post and Founder & CEO, Thrive Global

“Wise, warm, smart, and funny. You must read this book.”—Susan Cain, New York Times best-selling author of Quiet

From a New York Times best-selling author, psychotherapist, and national advice columnist, a hilarious, thought-provoking, and surprising new book that takes us behind the scenes of a therapist’s world—where her patients are looking for answers (and so is she).

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Last week I shared a new book written by a member of our monthly writer’s group. I’m going to share it again along with the new book of a second member of our group. I do own both books and haven’t gotten to them yet but I’m excited about the prospect. We have been exposed regularly to the excellent writings of these gentlemen and they are well worth reading.

They have different styles, unique imaginations and they leave us wanting more.

Fire and Iron: Stories of Fidelity, Infidelity and Daring Commitment

Broken promises, ulterior motives, revenge and deceit; Ten stories detailing relationships some broken, and some redemptive, all recognizing human frailty.

Short stories for adults with stories for men, women, and youth including short love stories that make you cry.

Each story is followed by book club discussion questions to prompt reflection of the story and personal experiences. This short story collection is both suitable for the Christian book club and general adult book clubs.

Inspirational short stories of relationships.
Excerpts from the stories:
She attempted to grasp his hand, their fingers touched, but then his hand was gone. (Fire and Iron)

Emma reached out to collect her books. She hesitated when she saw Keara crouching in front as if to help. To her dismay, Keara only whispered, “You know you’re not my friend anymore.” (The River)

Rand Gavell’s moral fiber is put to the test. His injured wife lies comatose in a care home while an attractive, single real-estate agent suggests an alternative lifestyle. (A Touch of Salt)

The title, Fire and Iron, suggests the stories are of individuals tempered by the fires of hurt, strengthened by the pain and helped by the kindness of another.

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Stealth by Robert Stermscheg

1944. American bomber pilot, Jack Swaggart, has led his squadron countless times into hostile German territory, hit the assigned target, and returned to base none the worse for wear.

Eventually, Jack’s luck runs out. With his B-26 Marauder heavily damaged by flak, Jack is forced to ditch his crippled airplane in the German countryside.

Separated from his crew, Jack trusts an unlikely ally, Hilde Augsburg, a plucky young woman, a decision with icy catapults them into an adventure neither could have envisioned. Coincidentally, they spot a new type of German warplane in flight–a design unlike anything they’ve ever seen before.

In that moment, Jack realizes that the Nazis have developed a formidable new bomber, one that could dramatically alter the course of the war. In the blink of an eye, Jack’s mission shifts from survival to thwarting the Germans, just when the Allies are on the verge of triumph.

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All three of these authors are well worth the read. I think you will enjoy them as much as I do.

Happy Reading!

Why relationships fail and what to do about it. January 04, 2022

Do you ever wonder if as a traumatized person you could break the dysfunctional cycle and connect with a healthy person. I’ve wondered, many times.

I found this podcast had so much hope and inspiration to share. There was a wealth of helpful information and advice on how to become a healthier person, equipped to recognize old patterns and ways to avoid them.

Pitfalls in partnering with a healthy person were also addressed. We gravitate to the familiar. To the abused and traumatized, dysfunctional is familiar. Healthy is not. It would be easy to reject the unfamiliar to our own detriment.

Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb has written a popular book called Maybe You Should Talk to Someone.

I am teetering on the brink of buying her book.

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed

One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose of­fice she suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come straight from Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but.
 
As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients’ lives — a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can’t stop hooking up with the wrong guys — she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell.
 
With startling wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change.
 
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is rev­olutionary in its candor, offering a deeply per­sonal yet universal tour of our hearts and minds and providing the rarest of gifts: a boldly reveal­ing portrait of what it means to be human, and a disarmingly funny and illuminating account of our own mysterious lives and our power to transform them.

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For me, another take-away from the podcast was an unexpected point of view on narcissism.

I’ve decided on the book. I’m going to enjoy it if it’s anything like the podcast and I think it will be.

Happy Viewing and Reading

Have you experienced trauma? January 03, 2022

How can you know? One in four women and one in six men have experienced trauma/abuse with many of them not recognizing that they have. Even more recognize the abuse but have not acknowledged or shared it.

Unaddressed trauma is often the root cause beneath many health issues. Heart disease, auto immune disorders being the most common.

Yesterday I discovered a popular podcast dedicated to helping people live better lives and I enjoyed it enough to subscribe. Today’s interview is with an experienced psychiatrist and author of a new book on the subject of trauma, and it deals with today’s question.

I’m sharing this because helpful resources are so important in our healing journey.

I hope you find this as helpful as I did.

We can never see too many of these podcasts. We need to hear this information over and over again. Partly because we are in a different place with each step forward and we are able to take it in in a way we couldn’t on an earlier step.

And, we need to hear the information again because it reinforces earlier hearings and eventually is able to take dominance over the negative narrative we’ve lived with forever.

Happy Viewing!

Follow up to Dreams December 18, 2021

You think I’m crazy. I’m sitting here watching (listening) to podcasts and playing a game and now I’m thinking about my Dreams post of a little earlier.

Looking at it from another perspective (maybe your’s) I’m sure you all think I’ve lost it. How in the world can a simple decision to sleep on a different side of the bed lead a person to see it as a life changing experience?

Here is the thing. Sometimes life changing has nothing to do with the size of the decision. Sometimes the decisions we wrestle with the most are inconsequential. In fact many of the ideas we hold on to with a death grip mean very little in the grand scheme of things.

The major shake up comes from the fact we made the change at all.

I had my little routine going on. The placement of all things important to me. Clock, hand lotion, tissues, position of the light switch. My dresser with drawers full of things belonging to me. Orientation to the room.

As I’m trying to find words to describe all of this in a sensible fashion an unwelcome but true thought is barging it’s way in.

I’ve always explained my reluctance away as a move that would deprive me of the conveniences I’ve enjoyed where I was.

Further thought has me realizing that it is about so much more than that and I haven’t been allowing the thought to materialize, never mind be honest about it.

I don’t need all the drawer space that comes with the furniture and from the beginning I’ve set the room up as a him and hers. This parts mine, this parts yours. I did make use of the space, mostly for craft supplies and such. Things that could be moved elsewhere if there ever was a “him.”

It all seems a little weird now because I didn’t expect there ever would be a reason to share this space. Although, there may be a subconscious part of me that wishes otherwise. Who knows.

Moving from my side to “his” side feels a little like moving into enemy territory.

The decision to change sides seemed to come from a different place this time.

A week or so ago there was a pivotal moment where I was able to let go and break free of the hold my childhood abuser had over me. It was a major break through. It looks like that event has affected me in ways I have yet to discover.

It seems I’m not (emotionally) sharing this house with anyone anymore. Finally I have accepted full ownership and view the house as all mine.

Reality is, it has always been mine. No one else has ever lived here, or has a history with the furniture or anything else. Something broken inside me couldn’t believe it.

The decision to change to the other side of the room seemed easy and inconsequential this time and yet there was a deep sense of excitement over possible life change and adventure. Having the conversation steer into this sober emotional place is unexpected. I’m not celebrating but I’m quietly happy about this new information.

So, back to the original intent of the post.

Sometimes it’s not the weight of the decision that’s important, it’s the fact that we made it at all.

In the end my decision seems simple but carries far more significance than I could have guessed.

Have you changed your crazy assessment of me yet?!?

Photo by Quang Anh Ha Nguyen on Pexels.com

Free and bargain books December 16, 2021

This looks interesting. BookBub has a FREE suggestion from an author I’ve not read. Judging by the first chapter it will be fun and I’m looking forward to it.

Manchester Christmas: A Novel (Paraclete Fiction).

“Sweet, romantic, and suspenseful, Manchester Christmas is an unexpected gift.”
—Richard Paul Evans
#1 New York Times Bestselling Author of The Christmas Box

A young writer is drawn to a small New England town in search of meaning for her life. Soon, she encounters kindness, romance, and is pulled into a mystery centered on an old, abandoned church and the death of a special girl. Are the images that only she can see in the church’s stained-glass windows a warning, or is someone trying to reach her, to help heal this broken community? Manchester Christmas illustrates how God often uses the most unlikely among us to spread grace and healing in a wounded world. Full of love, hope, and forgiveness, this debut novel from an Emmy-winning writer will touch your heart and have you longing for Christmas in Manchester.

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1531 Entertainment has a FREE suggestion I remember from a year ago.

Hope for Christmas (Hope Ranch Book 1)

An independent single mom who doesn’t believe in love at first sight collides with a man who does.


Cyan Hewitt drifts onto his estranged grandparents’ New Mexico ranch in time for Thanksgiving… and stays. As a cyber security consultant, he can telecommute, so why not from here, where his restless soul is soothed and his heart is awakened by the attractive ranch housekeeper?


Maria Sanchez works at Rancho de Esperanza to provide a stable life for her son. She’s content—mostly—in her roles as housekeeper, part-time student, and mom, but when her precocious seven-year-old is diagnosed with diabetes, her world shatters. There’s no time for distractions from the long-term visitor who’s stirring a longing in her for more.


Cyan may think her faith and courage are inspiring, but Maria feels vulnerable. Relying on others has only ever resulted in broken dreams. Christmas might be a season of hope, but does she dare risk everything for love?

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I’m in between books. There was a author enjoyed for the first time last week and I downloaded more wanting to verify my opinion of her writing. I’m planning to start on one of those next. The short blurb with this book doesn’t give anything away. No question, it will be a surprise, I’m hoping for a good one.

Fragments of a Melody: A Clean and Wholesome Woman’s Fiction New Adult Romance

Olivia St. Claire’s story doesn’t begin with Prelude and Fugue. It begins in Aberdeen, Colorado.
Once upon a time Olivia made a choice.

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I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime…

Happy Reading!

A little this and that December 10, 2021

Short and sweet. That’s what this is going to be. One hour until the midnight deadline.

Have you ever wondered if there are any positive values in reading romance stories? Aside from the entertainment value?

I can’t say that I’ve ever considered it but the question unexpectedly popped into my head this week. I am still surprised at the answer that slipped in along with it.

Before I let you in on the answer, it will make more sense if I remind you of my abusive history with men. Rather an understatement but we won’t go into details. Too depressing.

Often I’ve considered my situation compared to the things I’m reading. There are no men in my life, I don’t expect there ever will be. Why would I bother with romance. Truthfully, as I consider all the thought patterns I’ve had in relation to this consideration in the last while– I am over thinking, again. Quit it.

The new question, though, about value in these stories has introduced a good reason to keep reading them.

Spending time with positive role model characters has had a positive effect on my attitude toward men. The upbeat reads keep reminding me there are good men out there. They are not all selfish and abusive.

I’m realizing a regular diet of such stories has had a big part to play in keeping my heart soft and open.

It would be easy to become hard and bitter, especially if most of my time was spent living in my own negative thought patterns.

I think these books have also contributed to an upbeat and hopeful outlook.

It’s true what they say. Stories can impact and influence our lives in more ways than we can imagine.

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A quick close.

This a has been a good week, reading wise. I’ve been able to stick with it and work my way through a number of collections. Several of them started out with tales I loved and could not drag myself away from.

I’ll leave you will several of them (not all collections but still, read and enjoyed).

Happy Reading

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

Enjoyed and current read are both in the same series.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Under consideration for next in line, there are two.

Non fiction – Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition.

Fiction – The Bridge

Final notes on Love Like You`ve Never Been Hurt November 28, 2021

Chapter Six is about Loving-Kindness.

To catch the full impact of the chapter you need to read the book. My notes are never comprehensive, they are short quotes that capture the essence of a thought standing out to me. Something that grabs my heart.

Page 102

If you want to love like you`ve never been hurt, get rid of bitterness and start being kind.

Being kind means treating people with respect, apologizing sincerely, and stop criticizing. Doing this all the time.

Page 162

Forgiveness is important in loving but the other side of it is “I`m sorry.“

If you want to reconcile a relationship, you must be willing to say “I`m sorry.“

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This book has many good things to say to us, they are just not always on topic. That`s why skimming to the end for the sake of the topic seems like a good idea for now.

I`ll share a few of the relevant thoughts outlined on Page 226

Key Principles Designed to Help You Love.

  • Love never fails. Choose love over hurt.
  • It`s never wrong to love people who have messed up.
  • It`s unforgivable to not forgive.
  • We can begin to love others when we love ourselves.
  • We are called to be kind.
  • Instead of fanning the flames of discord become a peacemaker.

And a little more.

Page 228

Offenses are inevitable. No one is exempt.

Some of us look at opposition as a bad thing.

Opposition can cause you to face things and do things you could not have done, had you not had the opposition.

Bottom line.

Never give up.

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That is the end of this book.

As mentioned earlier, many helpful things were shared in this book and it has been a good read even though it strayed off topic a fair bit. It was written by a pastor with real life experiences not a psychologist so that explains why the perspective is different.

I enjoyed this exercise of sharing a non-fiction book with you.

There are still a number of unread books similar to this on my shelf and I`m planning to choose another one to continue on with this experiment.

It gives me the extra incentive needed to get with it and read instead of allowing them to sit and pile up.

My hope is that you will also find these books helpful as you travel on your personal healing journey.

P.S. as I read back over this post I`m reminded of a book I read years ago.

The flavor of this post is all about changes within us. This thought is reminding me of a book called Lord Change Me.

Really, in the end the only person we can change is ourselves. I know it sounds unfair but it is reality. Changes have to come from inside us, external pressures accomplish little most of the time. We cannot force someone else to want to change

Changing ourselves, especially in the areas of forgiving and loving, has a positive effect on the atmosphere of a relationship. Change begets change.

It pays to embrace change for ourselves.

Current read November 26,2021

Not much of a book day today, not when it comes to new suggestions.

It is not much of a happy day when it comes to sports either. At least not from my point of view.

Our Winnipeg Jets hockey team is playing the Minnesota Wild and it is not looking good. The Wilds are up 5 – 0 in the second period. It’s a home game for them so I’m sure that helps.

The Jets need to get fired up while there is still time to balance the score.

Meanwhile: this is my current read.

Book 1 was a favorite. Book 2 – I’m liking the story, the writing is not as pleasing to read though.

Run: Christian mystery and romantic suspense

The first book Hallowed Ground by Mary Alford was an excellent read.

The setting is Afghanistan where a CIA team is ambushed and one of the team members is dead.

The challenge: to discover how things could go so terribly wrong, and who is behind it. It may or may not be the enemy.

I need to get through book 2 quickly so I can see if I like book 3 any better.

They are both still worth the read.

It sounds like the play is heating up but I’m guessing it’s all Minnesota, the crowd is loud. It would be quiet if Winnipeg was a threat.

I’m listening on radio.

I can never keep up with the play, where it is going, so radio works for me.

Besides I can still blog if I don’t have to watch.

I like hockey but I can usually never sit still long enough to watch a whole game.

I used to crochet or cross stitch while watching but that’s still listening, if I’m facing reality.

Well, second period is over…

I may or may not admit later to how it ended.

Happy reading anyway.

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

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

Page 92:

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

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

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

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

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Page 93 – 96

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

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

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

I’m paraphrasing here for space sake.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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