Tag Archives: Brave books

My novel is the pick for this month’s GET ARTSY BOOK CLUB!

I am excited to announce that my novel One Brave Thing has been chosen as the next book for the ‘Get Artsy Book Club’

I have been a member of this book club as a reader for a few months now. I was drawn to the ‘Get Artsy Book Club’ because, well, I love books! More than that, the name of Allyson’s business, Determined to Shine, also resonated with me. I have been telling myself to ‘shine’ a lot recently, so the word caught my eye right away. I took it as a sign that this was something that would benefit me, and I am so glad that I did! I love the books we have read so far.

Reading the books and doing the projects as part of the ‘Get Artsy Book Club‘ have helped me gain new insight and inspiration in my own life.

I also have discovered a new art form – artist trading cards – and they are so much fun to make! Allyson gives clear, step by step video directions that make it easy to create these unique and fun art forms.

So again, I am very excited that my book, One Brave Thing, was chosen as the next book for the ‘Get Artsy Book Club‘ to read! If you have already read (or want to read!) my novel and would like to participate in this unique book club this month, click here to sign up. You can sign up for one month for $15, or multiple months for a discounted price. NOTE: This is Allyson’s book club and all the information about the club and pricing is on her website.

Included in the book club are questions for reflection based on the book, art projects (easy! you can do them!), and a live book chat together online.

So I hope you’ll sign up for the club this month and join me in reading the book, making some art and some new friends, and discussing the themes of One Brave Thing together!

Need to get the book? Click on the title to order your copy of One Brave Thing!

Thank you! Please share this post with anyone you think would be interested! I look forward to discussing the book and creating with you!

 

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BOOK REVIEW: Informed Consent: Critical Truths Essential to Your Health and to the Health of Future Generations by Michele Stanford, M.Ed., CHC

I began to read Michele’s story and as a woman, my heart was filled with compassion and empathy for her and the situation she was in. As an RN, my heart was filled with rage for how this patient was treated by her physician! Michele was not defined by her circumstances, however. Rather, she decided to educate herself and therein lay her power, and now she is offering to share her results with all of us.

One quote resonated with me very early in the book, as the author described her experience with “continual roller coaster ride courtesy of allopathic medicine,” perfectly capturing what can happen if you are not empowered with the information you need to evaluate medical information and make good, informed health care choices for yourself and your loved ones.

Many other sentences speak to my own beliefs. On page 92: “The pharmaceutical industry is not interested in your health.”  Truer words have never been spoken. Also, on page 108: “The corruption at the CDC runs deep and wide and the health of the American public is not the sole priority, or even a priority at all.”

The chapters dealing with the pharmaceutical industry and vaccines will provide you with especially valuable information.

I highly recommend this book. Buy it here: Informed Consent

Spoiler alert: Cheez-its lovers, you are about to have your heart broken. J

 

Michele Stanford, M.Ed., CHC#InformedConsentTheBook

Coming full circle (and announcing a free class!)

When I was in elementary school, I was in a new school every year.

Every. Single. Year.

No, my parents weren’t in the military. My father was disabled, and when money got tight, we got moving.

Kindergarten: The Hancock in Medford. First grade and half of second: The Emerson in Malden. Last half of second grade and third: The Parker in Billerica. Fourth: The Hajjar in Billerica. Fifth: The Davenport in Medford.

Maybe you noticed that Billerica is up there twice in a row. We actually didn’t move that year, but as luck would have it, the town built a new elementary school to accommodate its growing population and (you guess it) I was zoned to move to the new school.

Oh, happy day.

Moving can be hard for anyone at any age, and I was no exception. Every time I made a friend, we moved, and I had to begin all over again. As I got older, it seemed as if everyone was already paired up with a best friend, and had been forever. I always felt like the odd girl out. Like I didn’t belong.

And then something wonderful happened. I discovered my BFF’s in books!

Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking were among the first and are still my friends today.

Of course, Judy Blume’s books were part of my life back then, and the one that immediately comes to my mind when I think of that time is this one: Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how reading books can help us find meaning and insight into our lives. Even in fiction–maybe especially in fiction–it’s the story we connect with, and how it resonates for us in our real lives, and through which we can find comfort and clarity.

The phrase, “Go back to go forward” popped into my head not too long ago, and it kept popping in, over and over, so I thought, hey, I have to do something with this.

About the same time, Margaret was also intruding on my thoughts

Pretty much everyone I know that is past puberty has read the Margaret book. Maybe because I have been re-reading other books lately that impacted me, it occurred to me that it might be very interesting to re-read this particular book now. Maybe that’s why it was so persistently intruding in my thoughts. It wanted me to read it again!

And then I had another thought: maybe other women would also enjoy this.
And my free mini-course idea was born!

You can join the Facebook group now to get notified when the free course is available. As of now, I expect it to be ready on the Tuesday before Labor Day (August 29, 2017). Once it’s live, this link should work to sign up for my free mini-course, GO BACK TO GO FORWARD! 

Feel free to share this with anyone else who has read this book and might enjoy coming with me on my learning curve to take this free course!

BOOK REVIEW: This Life I Live by Rory Feek

I didn’t want to read this book.  I first heard about it when I came across an article in a magazine–some Woman’s Day-y type of publication, I think. I read some of the article, thought, “Oh, this is a sad story,” and put it down.

Well, it found me again.

Have you ever noticed how the books you are supposed to read have a way of doing that?

Joey and Rory are famous, but before that magazine article, I had never heard of them. I have since listened to some of their music and it’s beautiful (spoiler alert, this song is heartbreaking), in case you want to check it out.

Anyway, there is a lot of wisdom in this book. Parts of his story parallel my own, and probably your own as well. I relate to Rory talking about his childhood of being from “everywhere and nowhere” and about how “there are different levels of poor”. Moving so often in your growing up years isn’t easy. It certainly can begin to define who you are.

When Rory’s mom goes back to school in her 60’s, she ‘does the thing she thought she could not do’.  This resonated so strongly for me, recalling one of my favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quotes. It also speaks to one of the themes in this book, brave women, and the author’s respect for them.

My favorite quote from this book is:

“True joy and happiness have a way of attracting good things into your life.” (p 81)

So, I was right. It is a sad story, but it’s also a happy one. Rory tells it with raw honesty, but also with faith and hope. As anyone who has ever written (or tried to write) their life story can attest, this is no easy task. Rory has accomplished it with grace and love.

Read this book.

BOOK REVIEW: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

I read this book at the recommendation of a young lady, Angie, who visited my author table at the Kennebunk Community Market one Saturday.
everything-everythingShe told me that Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was her favorite book. This book says it’s recommended for readers aged 12-17, but I object to narrowing the audience for this book. Anyone of any age could enjoy reading this.

The main character, Maddy, is physically isolated in a way few teenagers are. She is a prisoner on so many levels. This book is not predictable, however. There are surprises to keep your interest.

I had a problem with the nurse, Carla, whom I loved, but she compromised her professional ethics, therefore (in my opinion as a nurse) she deserved what she got.

But it still made me sad. I also didn’t like how the author portrays the other nurse in the book. Don’t even get me started. People! Don’t believe most of the characterizations of nurses you read in books!

Maddy is very lovable until she starts lying to everyone (including herself?) which made me like her much less. Is it acceptable to lie when you believe you are running for your life? I’m not sure. Read it and make up your own mind.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“I am in the world and, too, the world is in me.” -Maddy

“Empty tummy, empty head.” -Carla.

“Be brave. Remember, life is a gift. Live it.” Carla the nurse to Maddy, Disc 3 track 13 on the audio book.

Bottom line: worth reading.

Book Review: Celebrating Death

When I discovered that one of my colleagues wrote a book, I celebrating deathcouldn’t wait to read it.  The book is Celebrating Death: A Guidebook for Dying Well by Esther Shapiro, R.N., Msc.D.

The author comes by her expertise regarding death both personally and professionally, and she generously shares her hard-won insights regarding her experiences from both.

Right from the start, I connected with the stories in this book. When the author describes her NDE (Near Death Experience), I was reminded of my own that occurred when I was four years old, when I almost drowned in the lake. The kids I was playing with kept pushing my head under the water, over and over, until I couldn’t figure out which way was up to get out of the water. And then I stopped trying. I saw a very bright light and felt filled with peace. I was not at all fearful. I was just floating and being…until my dad ran in, fully clothed and still wearing his shoes, and pulled me from the water (full disclosure: I don’t actually remember that part).

The author also shares her experience as a hospice nurse. My own two years as a hospice nurse were bookended by the deaths of first my mother and then my father from cancer, and I share Esther’s dissatisfaction with the allopathic medical model and how cancer patients are treated within it. “But to see the Doctors instilling false hope into both the patient and the family is more than I can handle. And, I am trained and expected to go along with it. It makes me sick inside.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

She also introduces the idea of one’s death experience being on a spectrum from good to bad…to very bad. My own parents’ deaths illustrated this. My mother had the worst death of any that I have ever witnessed, bar none. My father had one of the best.  They both had cancer and died at home with hospice within about two years of their diagnosis, but their outcomes were very different.

The idea of an individual choosing their moment of death is also explored in this book. I believe, as the author does, that we choose our time to go, and it doesn’t matter if there is a 24/7 vigil by the bedside. If the person wants to be alone when they pass, then they will. I further agree with her that children shouldn’t be shielded from death and dying. I practice what I preach; my son went to his first wake when he was about 3 weeks old.
One of the more powerful parts of Celebrating Death is when the author tells a story first from the point of view of the cancer patient, and then from the point of view of the patient’s significant other who, as is so often the case, was also his primary caregiver. I was moved to tears of heartbreak as well as outrage by what happened to them.

So, this sort of became ‘all about me’ here, but this is one of the gifts of this book: it will remind you of, and help you to work through, your own feelings and personal encounters with death. In this way, Celebrating Death can be transformational and healing for you, dear reader.

This belongs on your bookshelf next to your Elisabeth Kubler-Ross volumes. It was an honor and a privilege to read this book.

NOTE: Esther Shapiro’s book Celebrating Death is also available on Kindle.

After you read Esther’s book, read my book, One Brave Thing! On Amazon.com, at your local bookseller, and also on Kindle!

Book Review: The Box of Daughter

I wanted to read Katherine Mayfield‘s book ‘The Box of Daughter‘ for a long time before I finally did. This is one of The Box of Daughterthe few times I knew the author before I knew the book. I met Katherine through a Wells-Ogunquit Adult Education class I took several years ago when I was working on my own novel. If you have ever the opportunity to take a writing class with Katherine, do it. You will love her low pressure and motivating teaching style. She creates a wonderful, safe environment in her classes, such that even I, who was always terrified to share my writing with others, found myself reading aloud to the class an essay that I had just written.

Anyway, I was interested to see how she wrote. I immediately related to Katherine’s childhood and teenage years of family dysfunction, trying to please everyone, and chronic ‘I’m sorry-ing”. The feeling of walking on eggshells at home, trying to keep the peace at all costs is oh-so familiar. Katherine gives an honest account of her life with her brother and her parents which (be forewarned) may bring up some of your own difficult memories as you read.

The belt? Check. Bullying? Check. The shock of seeing your grandmother’s teeth in a glass for the first time? Check.

I love Katherine’s reference (p 98) to looking at life through ‘pain-colored glasses’…right? It wasn’t all bad, though. There was some card playing in the evening. The Youth Group in California. Finding her voice in environments that stifled it.

In the end, Katherine’s book reminded me that, most of the time, our parents were doing the best that they knew how to do.

If you like this book, maybe read my book next: One Brave Thing!