Let's Talk

Posts Categorized: Book Reviews

“Shoe Dog”

MP900202126

I believe in setting goals, hard work, and having a never give up attitude. I love to read stories about people who have applied these attributes to their life.

I was just finishing the new book, “Shoe Dog”, written by Phil Knight when the funeral of Mohammed Ali was held. People who spoke at his funeral, talked about Ali’s determination, persistence and never give up attitude. Despite setbacks and unfriendly circumstances he never gave up.

I was surprised at how similar the two men, Phil Knight and Ali were.

Neither man let obstacles and circumstances keep them from accomplishing their goals. They both fought with their last breath of energy, succeeded and then gave back to others.

21 Days of Joy – A book Review

Woman and young girl embracing outdoors smiling

Sunday is Mother’s Day and I couldn’t think of a better way to honor the Mother’s of this world than by sharing a book review I did for Kathy Ide entitled “21 Days of Joy”.

Kathy was one of those many wonderful people I met at the Mt Hermon Writer’s Conference, who were ready to assist and help us become better writers. They shared their talent and expertise with those of us who were still novices and struggling with the ins and outs of writing, publishing and marketing.

So when she extended the invitation to write a review for her latest book in her “21 Days” series in exchange for a free book, I was eager to do it. And I was not disappointed. Kathy has taken the genre of fiction to depict wonderful narratives about mothers that are as real as if were experiencing it.

“21 days of Joy” is a compilation of stories written by different authors about our journey through life around the theme “Celebrating Moms”.

Book Review: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

cover of The 7 Principles for making Marriage Work

There are a lot of books out there to help any marriage that might be in trouble, excellent books that describe how we form attachments, how we love and different love languages we use with our mates.

However, I am particularly biased toward Gottman’s books because of his extensive work with clients and research study on the habits of marriage couples through The Gottman Institute.

While he has written a number of books, two of my favorites are “Couples Communication” and “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”

Each chapter describes one of the principles and includes many user friendly exercises for better understanding and application to your own marriage. Here is his blueprint to make your marriage long-lasting.

The seven important principles according to Gottman

Book feature – Tales of Two Sisters

Tales of Two Sisters

As we reflect on the families we grew up in, we read stories and novels about siblings that perhaps remind us of our own experiences.

Sisters.

If you grew up with a sister you may remember the fights, the tears, the camaraderie, the secrets, and competition. You may have looked up to or felt inferior by the other. Perhaps you felt you were treated unfairly and when you left home, you took with you long-standing quarrels that were never resolved; both going their separate ways, hoping their paths would never cross.

Darlene Dubay is a first time Northwest author who has published her first novel about two sisters, their estrangement, setbacks and personal tragedies. Over the years, the sisters went their separate ways, married and had families. Separated geographically, they live two different lives that are full of tragedies, losses and re-discoveries.

Death, betrayal, troubled liaisons, and new loves and relationships are woven into this story of two sisters who are trying to find themselves amidst the fateful events that have touched their lives in different ways.

Book Feature: Anger – Deal with it, Heal with it, Stop it from Killing You

Anger book

I am a supporter of self-help. I am also an advocate of therapy. Both are needed. Even when we recognize that a good counselor may be needed to help sort through the tangles of emotions, behaviors, thoughts and experiences, there is a lot we can do both beforehand and during therapy such as reading credible literature available to us.

“Anger, Deal with It, Heal with It, Stop it from Killing You,” by Bill DeFoore, Ph.D., is one such book.

Whether you struggle with your own quick reaction to events with anger or know someone personally who continues to flash anger in your face, reading about a subject that we all come in contact with at some time, can give us both understanding and grace.

Bill DeFoore’s book is easy to read and gives us a good description of some of the many aspects of anger, such as:

Book Feature: “The Dance of Anger”

512wnAWyFKL__AA160_ - The Dance of Anger

Anger is an emotion and like all emotions, it has a purpose.

It helps us survive and motivates us to take action and make important changes. It protects us when life threatens us psychologically or physically.

Left unchecked, however, it becomes toxic and corrosive. And when we react without restraint to its powerful rush of energy or without identifying the problem connected to it, we not only inflict pain on others, but on ourselves.

It is up to us to seek out the meaning behind the anger we may be experiencing and discover its underlying issue or problem.

There are many books I have acquired over my career written by professionals in the field about major issues we all face. The authors of today’s two featured books help us understand a very difficult problem we see all around us today. They help clarify the underlying causes of anger and rage so we can apply constructive and positive solutions.

The first book featured today, “The Dance of Anger, A woman’s guide to changing the patterns of intimate relationships” by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D., is one of those books written many years ago, but is timeless in its understanding of a major problem we all face.

Book Feature: “The Shack”

The Shack

How do you see God?

Would you see Him as stern – unforgiving – waiting for you to screw up? How does your perception of God influence your relationship with Him? Does it bring you closer or keep you at a distance?

In “The Shack,” by Wm. Paul Young, the main character, Mack, receives a simple typewritten letter in the mail telling “Mackenzie” that he had been missed and if he wanted to get together, he “would be at the shack next weekend”. It was signed “Papa”.

On his quest to overcome the sadness Mack continued to experience after the death of his daughter, he decides to take a trip back to the scene of the crime where his daughter had been snatched by a predator during a family camping trip and was murdered. On the way he meets with an accident and Mack discovers himself at “the shack” where he comes face to face with God.

And the journey begins.

What would you do or say if you came face to face with God, especially if He was totally different than you had envisioned Him? What would you do if He greeted you with love, a hug, excited to see you and with an invitation to join Him for dinner? What if He laughed and saw His world with eyes of positive expectation? In fact, what if He was a She?

Featured book – “Man’s Search for Meaning”

Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

What does humor or laughter have to do with concentration camps?

Could laughter and humor have any place within conditions where people were being annihilated because of their faith and race? Wouldn’t that be sacrilegious to the sacredness of life to even suggest such a thing?

Only someone who had been there, and who by the grace of God survived, could speak to such things.

As I watched a documentary on the death and unfathomable horror of those Nazi concentration camps, and saw the recorded footage of the death and torture of thousands and thousands of Jews during WWII, as recorded by the British, American and even the Nazi’s themselves, it was unimaginable that it could be real. How could any man do that to another man? And how could anyone find meaning in such circumstances.

In his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Viktor Frankl wrote about how he and others were able to discover meaning for life – even here. I was profoundly impact by his book during my graduate work.

It’s All in How you Look at it!

Laying in the leaves

Stress is very subjective. Perception is both the creation of stress and what we will do with it. It is both personal and unique. What stresses you out may not stress me at all.

Any life event, major or minor, can become a cause of dis-stress. It can be an on-going source of irritation and even victimization. It can also be the beginning of an off-repeated humorous story. Can we take events and turn them into something we can laugh at for decades?

Years ago in a speech I gave on stress to a group of teachers in the U.K. I shared one of the stories my father-in-law told our kids about when he was a kid. Their much loved Grandpa Bert was an easy-going guy, with seemingly not a care in the world who drove my mother-in-law crazy. As a kid he attended a small, rural school.

Now Bert was not a student of academia – in fact he hated sitting in the classroom. During recess while other kids were busy jumping rope or throwing ball, he was busy exploring the tall grass around the little country school, looking for wonderful things such as bugs, worms, caterpillars, frogs – you name it.

Featured – The Healing Power of Laughter

51TmHrRZvjL__AA160_

Can you laugh when you are revisiting the trauma of your childhood – or when your only son dies? Can you laugh when your wife has just a few weeks left to live and she wants to put up a picture that both of you can laugh at so her passing will have a deeper meaning than just sorrow? Would you have the courage? Would you feel as though you were being insensitive and callous? Or could you, like the authors of the following books, see laughter as a way to help you get through an impossible time – a way to keep sane and keep from falling in the abyss.

The authors of the following books are testimony to not only our need to laugh but to find healing within its grasps.

“I’d Rather Laugh”, by Linda Richman tells a personal story of trauma and intense emotional pain and how learning to laugh through even the greatest of these pains, not only helped her survive but to heal. It is a moving story that all of us can identify with and know that there is hope and healing from any pain.

51HIxo3Z9fL__AA160_”The Healing Power of Humor” by Allen Klein, is an older book, but well worth the time to read. Not only does he share his own story, but tells us why it is so important that we learn to laugh and gives us tips on how to get through “loss, setbacks, upsets, disappointments, difficulties, trials, tribulations and all that not-so-funny stuff”.

I learned the subtle skill of humor from my husband who could find humor in all things while being sensitive to the space of another.