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.

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!

Read and enjoyed January 24, 2021

My very favorite read this week had depth and layers. Many layers. New discoveries appeared throughout the course of the book with the biggest one at the very end.

Reading this story was an emotional but enriching journey, with many tears along the way. Tears for both of us, the reader and the character. The thing I love most about these stories? There will be a line, a scene, an emotional event, that resonates with me and my life and sheds light on needs I may or may not realize I have. I’m grateful. I’ve not lived though cancer but I can relate to broken families and the effect it can have throughout a lifetime.

Aside from the value of whatever portion speaks to me, I loved this book for itself alone.

The Faded Photo

Some things should be kept private.” Frances Snyder can never quite get her mother’s voice out of her headhow to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother. Frances’s home life is demanding, and while she’s busy seeing to everyone else’s needs, Frances doesn’t have the luxury of spare time.

So when she is diagnosed with breast cancer, she thinks that she can handle it on her own. Dealing with endless tests, brutal chemotherapy, and the looming specter of surgery, Frances chooses to face cancer on her own terms: alone. That is, until she finally understands that unexpected friendship—and unconditional love—can offer hope in the darkest hours.

With tenderness, grace, and flashes of humor, bestselling author Sarah Price draws upon her own experience as a breast cancer survivor to create a story about one woman’s determined and solitary journey into the unknown—in hopes that she’ll find her way back home.

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The next books were all awesome reads as well and I can highly recommend any of them,

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It has been the best. This reading week.

My current read is a major favorite too. It’s deep, with many layers. A struggle, a romance, a mystery, all rolled into one.

Stay with Me (Misty River Romance, A Book #1)

A mysterious letter alluding to a secret in her parents’ past brings Genevieve Woodward back to her Blue Ridge Mountains hometown, but she’s also in need of a break from a high-profile career that has left her dangerously burned out and concealing a powerful secret of her own. When she wakes inside an unfamiliar cottage to find the confused owner staring down at her, she can no longer ignore the fact that she needs help.  

Sam Turner has embraced his sorrow and his identity as an outsider. The solitary, disciplined life he lives on his historic farm is the life he’s chosen for himself. The last thing he wants is to rent his cottage to a woman as troubled as she is talkative. Yet, he can’t force himself to turn her away right when she needs him most. 

As Genevieve researches her family’s history and her and Sam’s emotions deepen, they will have to let go of the facades and loneliness they’ve clung to and allow light to illuminate every hidden truth.  

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This is story prompt day, I will have to shift gears to come up with something for Compliment.

Happy Reading!

Bargain book January 19, 2021

1531 Entertainment has an interesting but serious bargain suggestion for us.

The Faded Photo

Amazon quote:

Some things should be kept private. Frances Snyder can never quite get her mother’s voice out of her head—how to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother. Frances’s home life is demanding, and while she’s busy seeing to everyone else’s needs, Frances doesn’t have the luxury of spare time.

So when she is diagnosed with breast cancer, she thinks that she can handle it on her own. Dealing with endless tests, brutal chemotherapy, and the looming specter of surgery, Frances chooses to face cancer on her own terms: alone. That is, until she finally understands that unexpected friendship—and unconditional love—can offer hope in the darkest hours.

With tenderness, grace, and flashes of humor, bestselling author Sarah Price draws upon her own experience as a breast cancer survivor to create a story about one woman’s determined and solitary journey into the unknown—in hopes that she’ll find her way back home.

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This is all I have. There is nothing else interesting on the horizon at the moment. I did spend time browsing but most of the good suggestions are books we’ve seen before and that really isn’t very helpful.

My current read is a book that I’m reluctant to recommend, I’ll think on it some more before deciding what to do about it.

I’m having trouble staying awake or even thinking straight. It’s time to call it a night. Maybe tomorrow will be better, especially if there are books we can get excited about.

In the meantime …

Happy reading, and a restful night.

Connection – what is it?

Two things are on my mind today.

It’s story prompt day and the word is Time. My last post talked about a New Years resolution which basically acknowledged it was Time for change. The definition for connection (in relation to my friendship resolution) has been on my mind recently so I’m going to combine the two thoughts. To quote a blogger friend ” it’s my blog and I can do what I like” so I guess he won’t complain about my unusual treatment of his prompt.

The whole concept of connection has been percolating in my mind and heart for decades. Through the years many marriage related books found their way into our home but the first solid memory of a discussion centered on connection was a radio program called Love, Sex, and Relationships, with pastors John and Helen Burns. They had many good, practical things to say but one phrase standing out above all the rest was into-me-see. Connection requires intimacy and intimacy in practical terms is defined as into-me-see. Eyes without shutters are crucial.

Our first thought of intimacy is physical in relation to a significant other. In reality it is not physical and applies to every type of relationship. If we’ve built walls of protection, generally speaking, they will apply to all of our relationships to one degree or another.

By John and Helen Burns (and many other’s) definition into-me-see only happens through the eyes, the windows of our souls, the keeper of our secrets. Without the eyes there is no connection. I do know this. I wish I didn’t. (with a good relationship I would also have known this and been glad I did.) Physical intimacy becomes intimate on a whole new level when the eyes meet and hold.

The good news is that varying degrees of connection can be found in varying types of relationships. This is encouraging since we are made for connection. We shrivel without having it on some level and since many of us remain single it’s nice to know friends and acquaintances can fill the void. That will be the challenge.

Friends is where we most often encounter walls still firmly in place. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately in my quest to leave my hermitage behind. Connection is difficult to find. Friendships on a superficial level are easy. I have a number of friends who are willing and even eager to hear the details of my broken life but, it’s a one way street with little-to-no reciprocation. There is a lack of satisfaction in these friendships and I’ve been mediating on why that is. I recognize deep hurts they aren’t willing to share. Is it the not sharing that bothers me most?

No. It seems I’m good with people not telling me their story. It’s the walls that are the problem. Up or down, there is a different vibe. Walls-down there is a softness with approachability, walls-up there is a harshness with keep out signs. It’s harshness I find myself most often responding to.

I can remember how hard it was to let people in. I can also remember what a freeing experience it was and continues to be. I’ve learned that lowering my walls doesn’t mean I have to tell all to everyone. I can use discretion. The important thing is, it may only be one person I tell but I’ve stopped keeping secrets.

I don’t think I’m all that different from anyone else. We all need connection. Many of us have walls we struggle to bring down. It is not easy to find a good friend.

My New Years resolution: it’s time to be proactive with maintaining neglected friendships and make myself available for new ones. It’s time to stop hiding. Covid and it’s restrictions have caused a deeper need for connection. It takes more work under these conditions to find it.

Only time will tell how well I do with my resolution and whether or not I’m successful at finding connection.

A little this, a little that, at Christmas

This is story prompt Sunday. The word was Jolly. I feel happy and jolly, but totally pulled a blank when it came to anything jolly worth writing about. It’s not a great day for book suggestions either so it will be a this and that kind of a blog day.

I’m good with it. Many thoughts are busily floating through my mind at the moment. As usual, I don’t have any of this planned out. It will be another lets see where we end up post. I’m currently feeling upbeat and I’m pretty sure the post will sound that way too. I don’t want to take a chance with the good vibes I’ve got going on.

I will admit, briefly, that the lead up to this week was anything but jolly. There were a number of emotionally charged things going on and it all brought me to a place where, for days, I just wanted to cry. I couldn’t figure out why. I thought maybe if I gave in to the need the pressure would ease. There were no tears, so that idea was of no value. One thing did help, I counted up all the stresses over the previous week. That explained a lot. Once you get past a certain number a melt down is inevitable.

I worried that a lock-down covid Christmas would only make things worse. Thankfully the opposite happened.

It all began on the 21st when things started out sideways. My daughter-in-law talked about a video call at 4 pm, my eldest and his family. When it didn’t come at four as suggested I thought it wasn’t happening after all. Part way through a piece of blueberry pie my cell phone rang with a video call. No time for primping. I can laugh about it now.

Our whole family gets along well and has a lot of fun together but, scattered all over the country we don’t see each other very often. None of us are good with phone calls either. When we do talk though, it goes on for hours. After three hours I’d seen most of the house and talked with everyone in the house. It was just what I needed.

The next night we had scheduled a full family Zoom call. The first one we’ve ever had as a group and it was four hours of awesome. Nothing fancy or spectacular just the simple joy of being together and seeing each other. I think a few grandkids and a spouse or two may have checked out after awhile and left us to it.

I think part of the reason we were all fully in the moment was the recent loss of an extended family member. It reminded us of the fragility of life. Some of us are not getting any younger and the sudden, unexpected passing could have been any one of us. It sounds like we are going to commit to regular monthly visits while we still can. Just not four hours long. I’m couldn’t be happier about the promise of more visits.

Christmas Eve I delivered gifts to my daughter’s family in the city. I didn’t plan to stay long with covid restrictions in place but I was there long enough to see most of another family Zoom call with the extended side of the family. They enjoy each other immensely too and it was a treat to experience their interactions.

I enjoy all of the families my kids have married into. I feel very blessed. Most, if not all of us, find it easy to allow others into our family circles and it’s awesome.

So, aside from conversations I had fun with gifts this year.

I usually just give the teen-aged boys money. I’m a lousy shopper and I want them to be happy. I fully intended to use that method again this year but at the last minute changed my mind and ordered something. It wasn’t a new thought, I’ve been wanting to do it for awhile now but waffled.

I gave them a family Christmas card explaining that I decided to spend their money for them, the gift would be arriving before the 31st and it is a secret. I know they will love the gift. In the meantime curiosity is driving them crazy. It’s a good thing I’m not with them or they would be dragging it out of me. Anticipation is a good thing sometimes.

Included in the bag with the card was a couple of big bags of variety junk food, flavored chips, and three books. Big books.

Several years ago when their cousins (my other grandkids) were visiting I gifted them with a couple of full bags of books. My goal was to find stories they could get hooked on and from there develop a love of reading. I had selection help from a nerdy, teen-age book-lover sales clerk so I knew the options offered were good.

I held back three books (all part of a series with stand alone books) waiting for them to be in need of more reading material. Middle boy is the book lover, boys one and three – not so much… not yet anyway. The distress over the thought of such long books was hilarious. Their dad said he would give oldest boy fifty dollars if he read the whole 600 pages. (If dad was serious about the reward I think I will make a contribution to the incentive. Must check it out.)

Their reaction was no surprise and I didn’t take it personally. Reading is such an important skill, I wanted to do my part to provide tempting reading material. One day they will find a book they love. Aside from that, it gets easier with practice so any book they read will take them in the right direction.

I know they will be happy with the gift when it arrives, It will have them forgetting all about books, I’m sure.

I was unsure how I would feel about coming home to an empty house at this time of year. Usually I would stay with them for a few days to make the most of the season.

Once in a while, when I return from a family visit, grief at being alone will hit me like an unexpected tidal wave. It didn’t happen this time. I think there were several reasons. My emotional tank was refilled with the many hours spent with my family. (virtual works for me.) At the same time someone was praying for me. A friend mentioned I have been on her mind lately and she’s been praying for me even though she had no idea what the need was. I can still feel the comfort of her prayers wrapped all around me. I am grateful beyond words.

It was in answer to my prayers too. Earlier in the week I had cried out to God in my despair and he answered me. (there is a bible verse that says it like that). The change was so dramatic it feels like a miracle.

So, that’s my story. It has been an unexpectedly good Christmas and I still feel good.

(I hope the same for you)

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.

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

Free today Oct 3, 2019

Only one today. Pretty skinny after the last two days but, hey, we have time to read only so many, right?

Free, courtesy of BookBub’s Thursday email

Refuge at Pine Lake

“When God burns down your house, you know it’s time to move.”  What a great opening line. It had me hooked. 🙂

The characters are single, writer’s, dealing with grief, reservations at a B & B, on the beach.

It’s like walking into someone’s house saying … hey, this house is just like ________, except for ______ , and _____, and _____, …. oh, and ______ .  It’s the same –  only different.  That’s the way of this story, at first it sounds familiar  but you get into it, and then it’s not.

I’ve read the first fifty pages and I’m having trouble putting it down. Another day of good intentions down the drain.

Hope you are having a reading day as good as mine! lol