Let's Talk

Posts Categorized: Featured

Book Review: Clara’s War – One Girl’s Story of Survival

“And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit at home and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9

So begins the book, “Clara’s War, One Girl’s Story of Survival”, a memoir of a 81 year old survivor of the Second World War during the invasion and occupation of Poland, first by the Russians and then by the Nazi’s.

It is a riveting true story of a teenage Polish Jewish girl who with her family and two other families was forced to live in an underground basement bunker in the home of the Beck family who hid them for 18 months. Clara (Schwarz) Kramer’s original diary of this time period is on display at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, written with the stub of a pencil on bits of paper.

So What is Stress Anyway?

We hear a lot about stress and how to avoid it.

But wait! What if we could eliminate it? Would that be a good thing?

NO! Because we can’t live without stress.

“Stress is the body’s nonspecific response to the demands placed upon it”, says Hans Selye, MD, professor, and research scientist who spent a lifetime researching and explaining the body’s physiological response to stress. (See his book, “Stress Without Distress”)

Our body is constantly adapting to changes. If we couldn’t adapt, we would be unable to go to work, make plans and keep ourselves safe. It is stress that allows us to respond to whatever is happening. It enables us to adapt to any new situation, whether it is cheering at a football game or responding to a threat. It is how we are able to respond to life: mentally, emotionally, socially and physically.

We can’t eliminate stress, nor do we want to. It is normal and natural.

Replacing Bad Habits

Replacing old habits

Habits are resistant to change. Replacing them takes time, commitment and dedication.

A lifestyle becomes a habit. When we are no longer satisfied with how we live, it’s time to question what we are doing. We not only need to know what isn’t working, we need to know why and what new habits can replace them that will give us a greater reward.

We resist change because there is both a comfort level and a payoff to remain where we are. Putting a new habit in place takes hard work and courage and we’ll often rationalize why it is just too difficult to change.

Make that commitment

When you have identified the areas that require new habits pick one and put together a plan of action. A plan of action will address the following:

Book Review – Forgive For Good

Forgive for Good, by Frederick Luskin, PhD

As a therapist, I have recommended many books for clients to read. One of those books has been “Forgive for Good”, by Frederick Luskin, PhD.

I have used the well-written and easy to follow guidelines in this book in many workshops and retreats that I have given. Whether you are dealing with grief and loss, adversity, or healing the wounded child within, it is a book that touches each of us.

As a licensed mental health counselor, I was privileged to attend a day-long professional training seminar facilitated by Dr. Luskin himself. The book was an outcome of his doctoral thesis and designed to help wounded, angry and blaming clients recognize the benefit of forgiveness. He also developed course material for classes to be used by churches.

We tend to think of forgiveness as a command made by Christ – forgiving not once, but seventy times seventy. It is not only a spiritual necessity but a clinical one as well.

Find That Balance

Find that Balance

We organize, establish routines and schedules so that we can maximize our time and achieve our goals. You may think that routines are boring and stifling, but they actually give us the freedom to become decisive and productive. They also allow us freedom to be spontaneous when we want to.

Time is relative and schedules and routines are for our benefit. They are there to serve us – not dictate our life. If they are too rigid or unrealistic, we will become frustrated and tired.

Remember to schedule “down” times, when we turn off the hassles of the day and allow ourselves time to spend doing pleasant, relaxing and fun things.

Once in place productive routines become unconscious daily habits that streamline our days. Our routines and schedule do not rule us – they are tools that allow us to live life to the fullest.

The Clock is Ticking

We have 24 hours every day. How you organize your time and activities within those twenty-four hours is for your benefit!

The Benefits of a Time Log

Years ago, when I was just starting out in life, I moved from my small town to the city after high school and shared an apartment with my brother and sister.

My first job paid a minimum salary and I had enrolled in night school to continue my education. I was taught the importance of putting 10% of whatever was earned into a savings account.

But I struggled just to survive, let alone save money. I felt I was prudent with my spending, but there was little money left over from each paycheck. Where was I spending my money? I wasn’t making any large purchases.

Book Review – Accidental Pharisees

“Accidental Pharisees: – AVOIDING PRIDE, EXCLUSIVITY AND the other dangers of overzealous faith”, by Larry Osborne

Accidental Pharisees are people like you and me who really have a desire to honor God, want to share the good news of Christ with the world, but run the risk of becoming overzealous in their faith putting a guilt trip on people.

In our desire to follow God and live a holy life, we can become so zealous that we run the risk of elevating ourselves, looking down on those who aren’t following as diligently a path as we are.

We tend to equate the Pharisees in the bible with being the bad guys who are puffed up with their own righteousness and are arrogant and contemptuous of others. Larry Osborne suggests that we too can become so zealous that we can become a full-fledged Pharisee.

We tend to equate the Pharisees in the bible with being the bad guys who are puffed up with their own righteousness and are arrogant and contemptuous of others. Larry Osborne suggests that we too can become so zealous that we can become a full-fledged Pharisee.

I Want to do it all!

I want to do it all! I want to travel, sing and dance, write and give workshops, teach, have time for friends, read a book every day, entertain, have long conversations with good friends, etc, etc, etc.

However, I soon find myself at odds with time. There are only so many hours in a day after all and unless I can somehow come to terms with what I am able to do each day, I will soon become dis-stressed.

Since I had made the decision long ago to avoid harmful stress, the choices I make are important. While I can’t control events, I am the one who chooses to be in charge of my life. That includes how I choose to respond to events and circumstances.

So then – how do we choose between all the things we want to do?

Shadow Remnant

Imagine a future where we have survived a third world war. In the process, our country not only bears the scars of war, but our governing body is no longer the same. The government we knew built on the principles of freedom and individual rights has now been replaced with a single head of state and government rule that dictates what we are allowed to believe, what we can and cannot do, what we are allowed to read and learn. Churches have been destroyed and religions replaced by a secular government who now takes care of you. Any rebellion against this new ideology is squashed with re-training and indoctrination programs. All communication sources are governed by one source and we only receive the information our government wants us to have.

Shadow Remnant tells the tale of a boy who escaped from a re-training and indoctrination school, is hunted down by government police, shot and presumed dead. But a member of the Shadow Remnant, living in the wild rescues him and nurses him back to health.

I know what I can’t do – But what can I do?

We had just built and moved into our new home and were in various stages of unpacking and trying to find a place to put things.

A vertebra in my lower back had been gradually deteriorating putting pressure on a sciatic nerve. Without warning, it could trigger a spasm in my left leg, culminating in a leg cramp that locked my entire leg in a rigid position. Once locked, I was unable to move it until it had run its course.

However, if given enough warning, I could alter the outcome of the spasm. If caught early enough, I