Monday, December 20, 2010

Giveaway: Lastingness by Nicholas Delbanco

America grows older yet stays focused on its young. Whatever hill we try to climb, we're "over" it by fifty and should that hill involve entertainment or athletics we're finished long before. But if younger is better, it doesn't appear that youngest is best: we want our teachers, doctors, generals, and presidents to have reached a certain age. In context after context and contest after contest, we're more than a little conflicted about elders of the tribe; when is it right to honor them, and when to say "step aside"?

In LASTINGNESS, Nicholas Delbanco, one of America's most celebrated men of letters, profiles great geniuses in the fields of visual art, literature, and music-Monet, Verdi, O'Keeffe, Yeats, among others - searching for the answers to why some artists' work diminishes with age, while others' reaches its peak. Both an intellectual inquiry into the essence of aging and creativity and a personal journey of discovery, this is a brilliant exploration of what determines what one needs to do to keep the habits of creation and achievement alive.



Thanks to Hachette Book Group I have two copies to give away!


Contest ends 11:59 PM EST January 8, 2011. Open to residents of US and Canada only. No PO boxes.

To enter:

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Winners are subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if you win the same title in two or more contests, you will receive only one copy of the title (or one set in the case of grouped giveaways) in the mail.



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winner: Blackboard Books Boxed Set

The winner of the Blackboard Books Boxed Set from FSB Associates is:


nfmgirl

Congratulations!

Thank you to all who entered!



Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pre-Review: CSN Stores

After much deliberation I decided to review the Cuisinart CCP-10 Electric Cookie Press from CSN's Cookware.com.  I always bake a ton of cookies for the holidays and have always wanted a cookie press and to find an electric one is just a bonus!  I can't wait to receive it and put it to work!



Make more cookies in less time with the Electric Cookie Press from Cuisinart. This easy-to-use press turns out professional-looking cookies in minutes! There are 12 cookie discs to choose from, including special seasonal patterns, as well as 8 designer pastry tips for decorating cookies and desserts or filling pasta shells, deviled eggs or pastries. Automatic one-touch operation and an ergonomic handle make this press easy and comfortable to work with.









Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Release Update: Traction by Gino Wickman

You may remember that I reviewed Traction by Gino Wickman back in April and I just wanted to update you that it is being released as a trade paperback in January so its message will be available to a wider audience.  Here's my review again in case you missed it the first time.  :)



Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets four stars. While the book does have quite a bit of heft when holding it and the print is on the small side, it was packed with valuable information. This clearly, but not quite concisely, discussed each of the six components of the system (Vision, People, Data, Issues, Processes, and Traction) and then brings them all together in a final chapter. The Organizational Checkup quiz at the beginning was a nice tool to determine your starting point as well. This was certainly not a light read, but it would make for wise and informative, while not quite pleasurable, reading for any entrepreneur desiring to make his or her business all it can be.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review: GoD and DoG by Wendy Francisco

GOD AND DOG is a phenomenon. First appearing on YouTube, the video of Wendy Francisco's charming animated illustrations and moving song tells of the unconditional love of both God and Dog.

With over 2 million YouTube viewings to date, Francisco's story appeals to all ages, to animal enthusiasts, to people of religious persuasions, and especially to anyone who has been loved by a dog.

Now in book format, Wendy's touching narrative will be expanded on through additional lyrics, illustrations, photographs and some of the powerful mail that is continually being sent to Francisco.


Received from the publisher for review.

This one gets one star.  Frankly I was not impressed.  I was not "touched" or "moved", but simply annoyed.  I have no idea why this tiny little book that could be read in about 2 minutes was even made into a book, let alone a hardcover that is priced at $10.99.  Just say no.  Seriously, not even as a stocking stuffer.
 
☆☆ = Didn't Like It



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Giveaway: Blackboard Books Boxed Set

The first three titles in the Blackboard Books series are now available in an attractive box set! Test your knowledge on all subjects, from English Lit to Western Civ, from Grammar to Idioms, from Physics to Math and so much more. Inside you'll find:

i before e (except after c):
old-school ways to remember stuff In this clever-and often hilarious-collection, you'll find engaging mnemonics, arranged in easy to find categories that include geography, time and the calendar, numbers, and astronomy. Perfect for students of all ages!

My Grammar and I...Or Should That Be Me?: How to Speak and Write It Right Avoid grammatical minefields with this entertaining refresher course for anyone who has ever been stumped by spelling confusion, dangling modifiers, split infinitives, or for those who have no idea what these things even are.

I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot from School
Take a trip down memory lane with this light-hearted and informative reminder of the many things we learned in school that have been forgotten over time, from Shakespeare and diphthongs to quotients, phalanges, and protons. After all, as Stantayana reminds us, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."


Thanks to FSB Associates I have one set to give away!


Contest ends 11:59 PM EST December 18, 2010. Open to residents of US only. No PO boxes.

To enter:

Required Entry:
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review: Oogy by Larry Levin

In the bestselling tradition of Rescuing Sprite comes the story of a puppy brought back from the brink of death, and the family he adopted.

In 2002, Larry Levin and his twin sons, Dan and Noah, took their terminally ill cat to the Ardmore Animal Hospital outside Philadelphia to have the beloved pet put to sleep. What would begin as a terrible day suddenly got brighter as the ugliest dog they had ever seen—one who was missing an ear and had half his face covered in scar tissue—ran up to them and captured their hearts. The dog had been used as bait for fighting dogs when he was just a few months old. He had been thrown in a cage and left to die until the police rescued him and the staff at Ardmore Animal Hospital saved his life. The Levins, whose sons are themselves adopted, were unable to resist Oogy's charms, and decided to take him home. 

Heartwarming and redemptive, OOGY is the story of the people who were determined to rescue this dog against all odds, and of the family who took him home, named him "Oogy" (an affectionate derivative of ugly), and made him one of their own.


Received from the publisher for review.

My favorite quote from the book was:

Oogy simply had no idea that he was a being separate and apart from the boys. In his view, he shared his life with them, and therefore there was never a doubt that they shared their lives with him.


This one gets four stars. Yes, it does deal with some heartbreaking material that brings you to tears, but it is a simply beautiful story about the power of love. You could really tell that Oogy and his family loved each other completely. The adorable pictures of Oogy and the family at the end of each chapter just illustrated their love. This is highly recommended for any animal lover.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Monday, December 6, 2010

Review: Too Rich and Too Thin by Barbara DeShong

Pack your bags for Texas and prepare to meet the strangest family since that little Chainsaw Massacre incident. 

Psychologist Jessica LeFave will be your guide, but be forewarned, Dr. LeFave isn't your average shrink, and though her wisecracking lawyer buddy, will try to keep Jessica out of trouble, he might not be able to save you, or himself.

Your journey opens when Jessica is summoned to profile the killer who drove a spike through the heart of the notorious Bernice Jackson. Jessica is more than a little excited. Not because Bernice Jackson is dead, but because Bernice who'd soared to fame and wealth by shamelessly re-writing treasured historical events into wildly successful soft-porn novels and movies was a psychiatry patient of her husband's at the time of his death.

You see, Jessica is convinced her husband was murdered to bury a secret revealed in therapy. Since watching him dragged from the bottom of Lake Austin a Hilton receipt and another woman s wedding rings in his pocket Jessica has been a little crazy, obsessing over his files, even stalking patients with dodgy reputations.

The police dismiss her claims, leaving Jessica on her own to land your Texas tour smack in the middle of the bizarre movie-making family starring a doped up basket case son, a daughter on a death wish eating binge, and the ghost of Bernice Jackson who'd pushed her obsession with seeing herself as young and beautiful beyond any psychotic dream. 


Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets two stars. Unfortunately, the text was rather small and tightly packed which quickly translated to eyestrain. The story was well written with a good flow and had an interesting plot, but the sheer length of the book (over 300 pages) made it a bit wearying. I wanted to like this, I really did. It sounded so interesting, but it just wasn't for me. I didn't really connect with the characters so there was no emotional hold to the book for me which it made it much easier to dismiss the book than if the connection had been there. I just didn't care about what happened to the characters. Perhaps if you enjoy complex mysteries set in Texas this would be for you.

☆☆= Just Okay



Sunday, December 5, 2010

Review: Sex & Love at Midlife by Bernie Zilbergeld, Ph.D.

Is it really better than ever? Now that the children have grown and you have plenty of time on your hands, do you find that the love and intimacy is still as strong as ever or has it gone from your life?

In this honest, down-to-earth volume, Bernie Zilbergeld, well-known sex therapist and author of The New Male Sexuality (over 100,000 copies sold), draws on his many years of clinical experience to explain why we should be enjoying our love making and our intimacy even more as we mature. Replete with stories and anecdotes that present a variety of tools and techniques to help us develop the kind of openness we desire, he honestly tells us why age is no barrier to a better and more rewarding sex life.

It is a fact that as we mature, our sexual drives mature as well, but it is also a fact that while you may slow down and your lovemaking may be different, that doesn't mean that the quality has to be lower or your pleasure less. Meticulously researched, Dr. Zilbergeld presents evidence that a good number of men and women are having great sex in both their long and short-term relationships.


Received from the publisher for review.

This one gets three stars. It was no Laura Berman, but it was still good. Since it was written by a man it is perhaps a bit more for the male population. The rather lengthy interview excerpts were a bit tedious after a while, but informative. Overall, if you'd like to read about 40+ sex from a male perspective this is the book for you. Female readers may glean some insights but I'd really recommend a female author for them.

★★☆☆ = Liked It



Saturday, December 4, 2010

Review: Side Effects: Death by John Virapen

"Side Effects: Death" is the true story of corruption, bribery and fraud written by Dr. John Virapen, who has been called THE Big Pharma Insider. During his 35 years in the pharmaceutical industry internationally (most notably as general manager of Eli Lilly and Company in Sweden), Virapen was responsible for the marketing of several drugs, all of them with side effects.

Now, Virapen is coming clean and telling all of the little secrets you were never intended to know!

Received from the author for review.

Some of the most interesting tidbits I discovered in the book were:

Did you know that large pharmaceutical corporations spend about $35,000 - $40,000 per year and per practicing doctor to persuade them to prescribe their products?

Maybe you've already noticed, new illnesses appear in the media, that nobody has ever heard of before and nobody you know has ever had. Then, brand new drugs quickly appear, helping to relieve the symptoms of these very illnesses, which nobody ever had before.

This one gets four stars. It was extremely informative and well written. I knew that the pharmaceutical industry was dirty, but this detailed look into their practices frankly sickened me. The book clearly discusses many well known drugs such as Vioxx and Prozac which should be extremely interesting for the many people taking those drugs. I found it especially appalling that the side effects listed in the book for Prozac included "suicidal thoughts" and "suicide"! Seriously, how a pill with a side effect of suicide is even on the market just illustrates how corrupt the system is! This clear, concise book is a must read for anyone concerned about pharmaceutical corruption and repercussions in his or her own family.

★★★★ = Really Liked It 



Friday, December 3, 2010

Review: K 9 Heroes by Nicole Arbelo

K-9 Heroes presents stories of courage and duty, friendship and family, loss and love, as told by the men and women serving with Military Working Dogs, whose tasks include scouting, search and rescue, and the detection of explosives. Families and friends remember the servicemen and women, and their dogs, who gave their lives in their country's service, as well as presenting a vivid picture of the life and adventures of a K9 handler. The book is lavishly illustrated with over 100 photographs.


Received from the author for review.

As an animal lover I was extremely hesitant to read this. I have strong feelings about using domestic animals in so-called "work" situations. I was certainly pleasantly surprised though.

This one gets four stars. It was alternately sad and happy, yet always beautifully told. On every page you could feel the respect, and perhaps what they would call "love" the soldiers feel for their canine companions. The almost 100 photographs clearly show the bond between the dogs and humans. This is perhaps not the best choice for animal lovers as some situations are disturbing, but it is still a worthwhile read. It is certainly recommended for those interested in the K-9 Handler military program.

★★★★ = Really Liked It 



Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pre-Review: CSN Stores



You may remember that I have done a couple reviews form CSN Stores and loved the bookcase they sent me last August!  They offered me another great opportunity to review one of their awesome products!  Since they offer virtually everything (from bookcases and rugs and TV tables to bedroom furniture to cookware!) in their 200+ stores I'm still pondering my options.
 
I absolutely love this Paula Deen Snowman Mold which would be perfect for baking holiday cookies!






I also love this Tivlum-Scanbirk Spectrum 46" Bookcase and CD Tower which would perfectly match my other bookcase.


There are just so many choices!  I'm like a kid in a candy shop!  I'm definitely going to browsing for quite some time to select my item!  As soon as I make a decision and it arrives I'll be posting back about my experience!



Review: Boomergeddon by James A. Bacon

Driven by uncontrolled deficit spending, a mounting national debt and rising interest rates on that debt, the U.S. government will go into default within the next 20 to 30 years. The resulting crisis will change the political landscape beyond recognition. It will mean the end of American empire, and it will shred the retirement safety net for tens of millions of Boomers and the generations that follow. "Boomergeddon" details how runaway health care costs and a global shift from capital surplus to capital shortages will create a death spiral of mounting national debt, rising interest rates and soaring debt payments. The author also explains how partisan gridlock and the power of the entrenched political class in Washington, D.C., will thwart the painful changes needed to return the country to fiscal sustainability. The final chapters give Boomers a primer on how to survive Boomergeddon and, if they want to undertake the herculean task, how to avert it.


Received from the author for review.

The most enlightening tidbit I gleaned from this was that if the US only adopted the fair tax system they could increase revenue by $350 billion. Just from that single change.

This one gets four stars. Despite the incredibly depressing subject matter this was a fascinating dissection of the situation and what can be done to fix it. Of course, as we all know, none of the suggestions will ever be taken. We live in the only industrialized nation without national health care for goodness sake! Like so many before it, this is a lovely, coherent, perfectly applicable system but it will never be implemented. Just knowing the information and that the relatively simple fixes are available but are actively being ignored left me more depressed than when I started the book. Although the information is for Baby Boomers people of all ages should read this - especially if you're delusional enough to think that you'll ever get back a single cent of the money you've paid into Social Security.

★★★★ = Really Liked It 



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Author Q&A: Susie Fishbein author of Kosher by Design: Teens and 20-Somethings

Susie Fishbein, author of Kosher by Design:  Teens and 20-Somethings, stopped by for a Q&A.



You've produced six bestselling cookbooks in less than ten years. Was this what you had in mind when you started?

Not at all. But the response from the early adopters of Kosher by Design was so enthusiastic, I just kept going. My family and friends were very encouraging, as well. And the world of kosher food has shifted dramatically in the last decade. We have choices today that would have been unthinkable ten years ago, with world class kosher wines, kosher sausages, kosher gelatin, and many new kosher ingredients. Also, we have a proliferation of fine kosher restaurants which have influenced how people cook and entertain at home.


Your latest project focuses on teens and 20-somethings. Why this group?

There are really two groups in this demographic. There is the segment that subsists mostly on fast food, whose idea of home cooking is a store-bought entree warmed in the microwave. I want to widen their choices. Then there's another segment that is really into cooking, that has a more developed and health-conscious approach to eating. This group is more aware of ingredients, portions, nutrition, and actually reads packaging labels. I've observed firsthand that this is true of boys as well as girls. They are looking for new recipes and new approaches to eating. I also have in mind the college student cooking in a dorm or a first apartment. I considered the adventurous teen who wants to have friends over for something more substantial than pizza and pretzels. More personally, I have teens in the kitchen now. Their tastes have changed; they and their friends are more sophisticated. You should see what my kids can create in our kitchen! My recipe designs are crafted with all these in mind, as well as the adults who cook for them.


So this cook isn't just limited to the young, aspiring home chef?

Not at all. Over-30's will find great ideas in Teens and 2-Somethings. And if you are a parent who cooks for this age group, you'll be very happy because they'll love the diverse cuisine - not to mention that all the older adults I've surveyed said that they would use this cookbook for their regular meal planning as well.


From looking at your previous cookbooks, it seems you like an international mix of recipes. Does that carry through in Teens and 2-Somethings?

I simply write about what I like to eat. I like to keep things fresh and exciting in the kitchen. I look for inspiring ideas from countries that have interesting cuisine. I take an eclectic approach and end up with fun combinations. Imagine coming home to a dinner made by your college student, featuring Mexican Pizza Empanadas, Creamy Gnocchi Pesto Salad, Thai Chicken Burgers, Hoisin Vegetables, and finishing with a Chocolate Tart in Pretzel Crust. There are dozens of suggestions here to "eat your way around the world".


It's an odd question but how "Jewish" is this kosher cookbook?

As you'll notice with Kosher by Design Short on Time, Teens and 20-Somethings is not a thematically Jewish cookbook, though many of the recipes are great for Shabbat and holiday meals. Among the 100 new recipes, few are discernibly Jewish (OK - the Hot Pretzel Challah, perhaps - and there is a good recipe for traditional Chicken Soup). You'll find some pretty tantalizing American-style dishes such as Turkey Sliders, Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast, Tater Tot Casserole, and Tie-Dye Cookie. But they are all kosher.


How labor-intensive are these recipes?

They were designed for young people in minimally-equipped kitchens - like a dorm room or a first apartment. They are simple, quick, fun to prepare, and really delicious. While these reaps are really for anyone anywhere, we've prepared them with a specific demographic in mind that has shown a keen interest in eating and learning about cooking.


Is this the last installment in the Kosher by Design series?

Would you be surprised to know that I'm already thirty recipes into the next project?



About the book:

Susie Fishbein knows fun cooking; her best-selling Kosher by Design series has revolutionized kosher cuisine. Susie also listens; so when teens and young adults asked for a cookbook that fits their lifestyle - fun food that's delicious and quick to prepare - she responded. Kosher by Design: Teens and 20-Somethings is just for them - just for you.
Want to make amazing food at home instead of ordering another takeout meal? Thinking about surprising your mother with a superb full course dinner, but need help? Need creative ideas to plan a great party at home - even on short notice? Looking for simple-to-do recipes that don't require fancy kitchen gadgets? You're in luck! Here are 100 uncommonly delicious alternatives to common fast food!

Young people, newlyweds, students, and the ones who feed them - will all welcome Kosher by Design: Teens and 20-Somethings, the newest and most anticipated member of the KBD family.
• 100 easy-to-prepare new recipes
• Large full-color photo featured with every recipe
• Icons to indicate vegetarian, nut-free, dairy-free, & gluten-free recipes
• Unforgettable party ideas: a backyard bash, game night, and more
• Comprehensive cross-referenced index


About the author:


With the release of Kosher by Design Teens & 20-Somethings, we welcome the arrival of the seventh exciting cookbook by kosher cook and author Susie Fishbein. Her wildly successful Kosher by Design series has already sold over 400,000 copies worldwide and has led to hundreds of appearances by Susie from coast-to-coast and Canada. She has been the featured celebrity guest on cruise ships as well as at a week-long culinary adventure in the Galil in Israel. Profiled in the New York Times and on CNN, Susie has been named one of the 50 most influential Jews by the Forward. She has been a guest on dozens of network TV and radio shows. Susie was featured at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at Disneyworld, and taught at the Degustibus cooking school in NY. Recently, Susie was an honored guest at the White House in recognition of National Jewish Heritage Month. Susie resides in Livingston, New Jersey with her husband and four children.




Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review: When Strawberries Bloom by Linda Byler

New love and even more questions enter Lizzie Glick's life in When Strawberries Bloom, the second novel in this series written by an Amish writer and based on true life experiences. Lizzie's dream of teaching school has finally come true. She loves the brand-new school building, the sound of the children singing, and the independence she has in the classroom. Even the occasionally unruly boys can't ruin the excitement she feels each morning when she starts the school day.

But at home things are in turmoil again. What do Dat's sudden health problems mean for the future of their farm? And what about Lizzie's future? Emma and Mandy are so certain that Joshua and John are their perfect matches, but Lizzie doesn't know what to think about Stephen and how he might fit into her life.What will Lizzie decide? Will she continue to teach school? Or will she give up that dream so that her wish for marriage and a family can come true?


Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets four stars. It is obviously best if you've already read the first book in the series, Running Around (and Such), but it works equally well as a stand alone book. This was a lovely, happy read with the same sort of warm, fuzzy feel that Anne of Green Gables imparts. Each chapter has an adorable illustration of a strawberry plant beneath the chapter number which is just such a cute addition that it makes you smile as you're reading. The lovely section of recipes at the end of the book is wonderful. I can't wait to try the Sand Tarts! This is highly recommended if you're looking for a light, happy read. I'm certainly looking forward to the the third book in the series!

★★★★ = Really Liked It 



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Review: Infinite Quest by John Edward

Best-selling author John Edward has captivated audiences worldwide with his unique and powerful psychic skills. Now, in his long-awaited new book, he shows people how they too can tap into their psychic selves.

Infinite Quest will help readers to develop their intuition and renew their own latent powers, so they can confidently take chances and make choices. By following certain guidelines and intuition-building exercises, we can learn to get in touch with our Spirit Guides and identify the psychic energy around us on deeper levels. Edward also discusses how technology can work with our “sixth sense,” and explains how to use divination tools. Like his new eponymous website, Infinite Quest is truly a “portal to all things metaphysical.”


Received from the publicist for review.

I love, love, love John Edward! I used to watch his show all the time with my mom so I was thrilled to receive this for review!

This one gets four stars. It was wonderfully, clearly written with a great flow and truly a pleasure to read. To say that this is comprehensive is an understatement. This truly covers every possible aspect of developing your intuition and expanding it into psychic readings. I was incredibly impressed with the author's care for his readers which you can feel on every page. This psychic development course in book form is an absolute must for fans of the author as well as anyone who wants to develop his or her intuition. This would also make a perfect gift for friends and family who enjoy the author's work. It is highly recommended!

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Saturday, October 23, 2010

Guest Post: John Edward author of Infinite Quest

John Edward, author of the book Infinite Quest: Develop Your Psychic Intuition to Take Charge of Your Life, stopped by to share with us a piece he wrote.



Love vs. Fear: Motivators for Change

By John Edward,
Author of Infinite QuestDevelop Your Psychic Intuition to Take Charge of Your Life

During these turbulent times there appears to be a greater polarity than ever before between two major energetic forces. Although you might assume at first that I am talking about Good vs. Evil, but the two motivating forces that I believe drives us are much more complex: Fear and Love. In my new book, Infinite Quest, I discuss "The Fear Principle" and "The Love Principle" at length in the hope that I can assist those who want to grow spiritually how to change the fear factor into a love dynamic. Fear is powerful motivational tool exploited by just about anyone who thinks they can profit from it including politicians, advertisers, the media, and even religious leaders. We are relentlessly inundated with these negative messages, and it affects us energetically, especially when we are not paying close attention.

Thankfully, love is an extremely potent motivating force as well, but somehow similar to the way good news often takes a back seat to bad news, fear tends to be louder, spreads quicker, and sells more. So what happens to your energetic wiring as you pick up and absorb the energy around you? Are you approaching life from a fear perspective, frequently trapped in worry or doubt? Or are you adopting a more panoramic loving view that is rooted in living intuitively from your heart? As you might imagine, flipping from an outlook based on fear to one based on love is not always easy and takes awareness and practice. The process can get even more complicated as you apply it to your everyday life. A person can have the best of intentions that originate from a place of love and yet quickly assume a fearful posture when confronted with anything out of their comfort zone.

I realize that fear is sometimes a very useful motivator and during moments of survival and crisis it is an instinct that can literally save your life. But as a general rule when I think about all the clients I have seen over the years, it is clear that fear tends to paralyze more than empower. The fear of failure and the fear of rejection are extremely potent deterrents, and although there are times when it is wise to heed these fears, more often than not they just stop you from reaching for your dreams. It is normal and healthy to weigh all our options and explore every opportunity or potential, both negative and positive.

False Evidence Appearing Real
The glitch in the system occurs when fear gets in the way and creates a blockage of some sort. When we stop our energy from flowing we become stagnant, just like putting a car in park. Some of us sit idle, perhaps waiting for something to happen, and then eventually run out of gas. The obstacle of being caught up in self-doubts or endless questioning is a game that people play with themselves. They are allowing fear to keep them void of a direction. Just move. Move in a direction and stick with it. Center yourself and listen to your heart.

There is no one right way to go about switching over to the Love Principle; it's a shift of perspective that will take some practice and patience, but if you try it out for a couple of weeks you will begin to see an amazing ripple effect. Make a game out of it by thinking of ways to reframe your fear into love. For example, perhaps you are fearful about the future of the planet and find yourself worrying about global warming and dwindling resources. Fear immobilizes you and has you inaccurately believing that there really isn't anything you can do.

But, Love wouldn't say that. Love rolls up its sleeves and looks for a way to help. Next thing you know you are volunteering to clean up a local park and meeting like-minded people that are making a positive difference in your community. Not only do you feel better about your neighborhood, you feel more empowered and connected with your heart, no longer alone and feeling hopeless. Where love is concerned the possibilities are endless.

The Power of Love
Being in control and creating balance in your life is key for your personal growth. Developing into the best YOU possible, and utilizing your intuition can help you to understand the energetic flow of the Universe and how it impacts your life. If you disconnect from the restrictive powers of The Fear Principle and shift your thinking, The Love Principle will begin to immediately transform within and therefore evolve all around you. When you find yourself on the brink of fear remind yourself: "I am surrounded by the white light of love and divine protection."

© 2010 John Edward
author of Infinite QuestDevelop Your Psychic Intuition to Take Charge of Your Life
 


About the book:

 Best-selling author John Edward has captivated audiences worldwide with his unique and powerful psychic skills. Now, in his long-awaited new book, he shows people how they too can tap into their psychic selves.

Infinite Quest will help readers to develop their intuition and renew their own latent powers, so they can confidently take chances and make choices. By following certain guidelines and intuition-building exercises, we can learn to get in touch with our Spirit Guides and identify the psychic energy around us on deeper levels. Edward also discusses how technology can work with our “sixth sense,” and explains how to use divination tools. Like his new eponymous website, Infinite Quest is truly a “portal to all things metaphysical.”


About the author:


John Edward, author of Infinite Quest: Develop Your Psychic Intuition to Take Charge of Your Life, is an internationally acclaimed psychic medium, author, and lecturer. On his internationally syndicated talk shows, Crossing Over with John Edward and John Edward Cross Country, he captivated audiences worldwide with his unique abilities to connect people with loved ones who have crossed over to the Other Side. John has appeared on many other talk shows, including the Today ShowOprah!, and The View, and has been a frequent guest on CNN's Larry King Live. He is a regular guest on morning radio, including New York's WPLJ and Los Angeles' KROQ. John has been featured in articles in the New York Times, the Los Angeles TimesPeople, and Entertainment Weekly. John is the author of several New York Times best-sellers, including Crossing Over: The Stories Behind the Stories and What if God Were the Sun? He conducts workshops and seminars around the world, and is the founder of the metaphysical website InfiniteQuest.com. John lives in New York with his family.

Please follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.





Friday, October 22, 2010

Review: How to Mellify a Corpse by Vicki Leon

In How to Mellify a Corpse, Vicki León brings her particular hybrid of history and humor to the entwined subjects of science and superstition in the ancient world, from Athens and Rome to Mesopotamia, the Holy Land, Egypt, and Carthage. León covers subjects as diverse as astronomy and astrology, philosophy and practicalities of life and death (including the titular ancient method of embalming), and ancient mechanical engineering. How to Mellify a Corpse of course invokes legendary thinkers (Pythagoras and his discoveries in math and music, Aristotle's books on politics and philosophy, and Archimedes' "Eureka" moment), but it also delves deeply into the lives of everyday people, their understanding and beliefs.

A feast for the curious mind, How to Mellify a Corpse is not only for those with an interest in the experimental: it's for anyone who's inspired by the imagination and ingenuity humanity uses to understand our world.


Received from the publisher for review.

This was originally a four star review until the author's irreverent attitude became unbearable as evidenced in this rude gem:

Rome's first aqueduct was built by a guy nicknamed Appius the Blind. An attempt at Roman humor? Possibly.

This one gets three stars. There were some genuinely interesting stories and lots of great illustrations that help you visualize the text but the author's vaguely condescending tone of "look at what these silly people thought" is more than a bit off-putting. Overall this is interesting, but not comprehensive. This is certainly not for those who have done any amount of study on the societies covered. This would make a nice gift for those mildly interested in the subject, but the book is thin on academic value so pass on it for more serious friends.

★★☆☆ = Liked It



Thursday, October 21, 2010

Guest Post: Linda Byler author of Running Around (and Such)

Linda Byler, author of the book Running Around (and Such): Lizzie Searches for Love, Book 1, stopped by to share with us a yummy recipe.



Whoopie Pies
By Linda Byler,
Author of Running Around (and Such): Lizzie Searches for Love, Book 1

Makes about 4 dozen whoopie pies 
2 cups sugar 
1 cup oil 
2 eggs 
4½ cups flour 
1 cup dry cocoa powder 
½ tsp. salt 
1 cup sour milk 
2 tsp. vanilla 
1 cup hot water 
2 tsp. baking soda 
FILLING: 
4 cups confectioners sugar, divided
2 egg whites, beaten 
1 tsp. vanilla 
½ cups vegetable shortening 
1. To make pies, cream sugar, oil and eggs together thoroughly in a large mixing bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, and salt.

3. Add these dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with sour milk.

4. Stir in vanilla.

5. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.

6. Stir into batter until smooth.

7. Drop batter by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheets.

8. Bake 8-10 minutes at 400º

9. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

10. While pie tops/bottoms are cooling, make Filling.

11. In a medium bowl fold 2 cups confectioners sugar into beaten egg whites.

12. Stir in 1 tsp. vanilla.

13. Beat in shortening until smooth.

14. Beat in remaining 2 cups confectioners sugar until smooth.

15. Assemble pies by spreading a dab of filling over a cooled bottom and topping it with a second cookie.

The above is an excerpt from the book Running Around (and Such): Lizzie Searches for Love, Book 1
 by Linda Byler. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Reprinted from Running Around (and Such). Copyright © by Good Books (www.goodbooks.com). Used by permission. All rights reserved.  


About the author:

Linda Byler
 grew up Amish and is an active member of the Amish church today. Growing up, Linda loved to read and write. In fact, she still does. She is well known within the Amish community as a columnist for a weekly Amish newspaper. Linda and her husband, their children, and grandchildren live in central Pennsylvania.

For more information please visit www.goodbooks.com.




About the book:

A romance novel by an Amish writer, based on true experiences! It isn't that Lizzie doesn't want to stay Amish. There is just so much to figure out. What will become of Lizzie? Is she too spirited, too innocent and almost too uninhibited to be a young Amish woman?








Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: Rasputin's Legacy by Troy Matthew Carnes

What if the two most ruthless mass murderers in history wanted you dead?

Giorgi Lazarov is only a young boy, but he can predict the future. Until recently, only one person on earth knew that Giorgi's remarkable gift was passed down from his famous grandfather Grigori Rasputin. But now the two most dangerous men in the world know of his special power.Adolf Hitler learns of him through SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler's most gifted witch, and Joseph Stalin finds out when an insane prostitute languishing in an asylum claims to have borne Rasputin's child. She is in fact Giorgi's grandmother.

Now,as the Nazi war machine invades the Soviet Union, launching the bloodiest conflict in human history, both Hitler and Stalin want him desperately. They send their most capable assassins to find the boy and either claim his power for their cause or make certain that he does not live to be used against them.When the Germans capture his village, Giorgi is separated from his parents, and he finds himself in a world of madness and utter evil where it seems there are only killers and corpses.

The people of the Ukraine can see no hope for salvation, but Giorgi can see everything...


Received from the author for review.

I've always been fascinating by czarist Russia and I enjoy historical fiction so this immediately intrigued me and I was not disappointed!

This one gets four stars.  It was beautifully written and draws you right in and keeps you engrossed.  I kept thinking "Just one more chapter!" and looking up a hour and many chapters later as if no time had passed at all.  The entire story felt very real, with an almost non-fiction quality to it.  You could almost believe that it might have happened.   Although the text is incredibly densely packed in this 425 page tome - think Stephen King's The Stand - it is well worth the time investment.  The Russian names were a bit difficult and distracting at first, and the German names a bit more familiar, but you quickly adjust as you are drawn into the story.  I was surprised that this beautifully written, detail rich story was the author's first book.  It is a wonderful read and I am certainly looking forward to the author's future works.  This is definitely highly recommended!

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Review: The Key of Life by Randolph J. Rogers

"The Key of Life" is a true story about who we are, why we are here and how we are all connected. This thought-provoking book inspires readers to interpret the synchronicities in their own lives, as author Randy Rogers takes you along on his riveting journey investigating past lives, present events and reincarnation. Randy proves that "ordinary" people can experience the extraordinary when they open themselves to the possibilities.

What if you could clearly read the "signs" that are constantly surrounding us and in the process unlock the meaning of life - present, past and future? "The Key of Life" will open that door for you!


Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets four stars.  It was extremely well written and immediately draws you right in and keeps you engrossed throughout.  You definitely have to be open to reincarnation and general spirituality to read this and you simply must check your reservations at the door.  I found it quite fascinating and genuinely enjoyable.  It does purport to be a true story, which one can choose to believe or not.  Regardless of the fact or fiction of the story it is well worth a read for those even remotely interested in subjects such as reincarnation, energy fields, and synchronicity.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: Confessions of an Ex-Gun Dealer by Ludwig Sawicki

An entertaining look into both sides of the glass counter in a gun store, CONFESSIONS OF AN EX-GUN DEALER details the memoirs of Ludwig Sawicki who, in the 1980s owned one of the largest gun stores in the United States. Here you will meet memorable characters such as Uncle Al, Bull Frog Bob, Adolph the eccentric gunsmith, and Charlie of the blow-up doll fame. You will relive along with Ludwig and his friends the hunting trips in search of big game and the safari trips to Africa. You will learn the inner workings of a Chicago gun store what it takes to start one and how to keep it running the various guns that have passed over the counter and the people who bought and sold them. Here are the fascinating details of a gun store that was not only a place of business but also a "home away from home" for a number of interesting people-all of whom make for entertaining read. You will come away with a truer understanding of the inner workings of an institution that does not exist much anymore-the truly personal gun store, its proprietor, and its many patrons. As Ludwig says, "Long story. Short...."


Received from the publisher for review.

As I am quite obviously not a plaid wearing NRA member I wasn't sure if this was for me and I was right.  The world is simply completely foreign to me and actually quite repulsive.  The culture shock was on par with an episode of Wife Swap and the pictures of dead animals, shot not for food but for sport sickened me. 

This one gets three stars.  Despite the subject matter the presentation and quality of the narrative was good.  It was well written and the numerous photos were a nice addition to the text.  I cannot agree with the subject matter, but the quality of the book itself was good.  Unless you are a gun aficionado or a hunter this is simply not for you.

★★☆☆ = Liked It



Sunday, October 17, 2010

Guest Post: John Edward author of Infinite Quest

John Edward, author of Infinite Quest, stopped by with an article he wrote.



Five Ways to Create and Manifest Positive Change
By John Edward,
Author of Infinite QuestDevelop Your Psychic Intuition to Take Charge of Your Life

When I first started doing psychic readings for clients, my grandmother used to get so frustrated when she would hear me say to my clients that they didn't need to see me, because they could learn to pay attention to the signs and symbols all around them, instead. I often suggested that they study metaphysics, meditate, or just learn to listen to their own intuition. My grandmother would exclaim, "Why are you saying that? You are not going to have any business!" I always laughed because I believed that it was my responsibility to pass this message of self-empowerment on to my clients. I can't help but smile to think what she would say now [twenty-five years later] about my latest book, Infinite Quest, in which I share how to develop their own intuition. Bearing in mind I am only a teacher, I can't change your life. You must create and manifest that positive change. How? My guess is that you instinctively already know, but tapping into that knowledge is the key. Here are a few suggestions to get your intuition flowing.

1. Update Your Attitude

I know some of you are rolling your eyes right now, but even though it sounds so simple, changing your attitude can be tricky for everyone at some point in their lives. In fact, many people never seem to be able to break free from outdated or negative thought patterns. Observe your reactions and pay attention to the messages you give yourself and others. You might be surprised at how often you criticize yourself, or how much energy you waste worrying about what will go wrong. Decide to make a conscious change in attitude. and then practice, practice, practice. Look for the adventure out of every experience and encounter. Live passionately and be a force for the universe to use.

2. Take Back the Remote Control

What are you watching on your mind's TV? What songs are you singing internally? What old tapes are still playing from your childhood? It's critical to be aware of the ways you are programming your mind, consciously and unconsciously. Turn off the news if you find yourself getting upset, stop watching violent shows before you go to sleep, and kindly excuse yourself from the office gossip. Start programming in your mind's eye what you really enjoy and want for your life. You are the writer, director, and star of the show. Program your station with positive affirmations, songs of joy, visions of a fulfilling future, and things that make you laugh.

3. Law of Attraction: The Boomerang Effect


Think of it like this: Like attracts Like. For example you are stuck in a negative thought pattern then [unfortunately] until you change it, more negativity will follow. You will start to find that that there will be people in your life who are willing to confirm or exploit your fears. Raise your energetic vibration and attract more positive energy. Look for the best in the people you meet, your experiences, and maybe most importantly, yourself. Instead of listing all that is wrong with something or someone, name three things that are right. The more effort you put into this lifetime the more you will extrapolate from it. Don't ever forget, whatever you send out energetically will find its way back to you.

4. Honor What You Feel Not What You Fear


I am not saying to deny the feeling of fear and pretend it is not present; instead I am suggesting that you embrace it and then let the fear go and move forward. Choose to use The Love Principle as much as possible. Keep in mind that Fear paralyzes and Love empowers. You could worry that your spouse might cheat on you and then unintentionally, create an atmosphere of suspicion, or you can focus on building a marriage that is full of honesty and trust, giving the relationship the best possible chances for success. Remember, Fear is just False Evidence Appearing Real. Focus on the love you feel and not the fear.

5. The Power of Meditation and Prayer

Meditation is enormously important in the process of your psychic development and evolution. It is an essential tool to assist you in creating a life that is centered and balanced, which is the key to achieving your spiritual goals.

Practicing daily meditation can help you release stress and negativity on a conscious as well as an unconscious level. It relaxes the physical body and teaches the mind to focus for a specific period of time. When you can focus, then it is much easier to visualize--which is the basis for creating your own reality. Don't panic, it can be as simple as five minutes in the shower, a ten-minute walk in the woods, or even three minutes before you run out the door; just do it at least once a day. It helps you to build a strong foundation by raising your vibration and enabling you to be in the essence of your spirit. It allows you to quiet the physical body, work from your higher self, and open up to higher planes of energy and consciousness. The power and healing energy of prayer is something I believe in quite strongly and encourage you to include in your meditation time.

Keep in mind that you don't need to look outside yourself for what you already have within. The ultimate goal is to live a psychic life every day and to use that newfound recognition to take chances and make choices with confidence.

© 2010 John Edward
author of Infinite QuestDevelop Your Psychic Intuition to Take Charge of Your Life


 About the book:

 Best-selling author John Edward has captivated audiences worldwide with his unique and powerful psychic skills. Now, in his long-awaited new book, he shows people how they too can tap into their psychic selves.

Infinite Quest will help readers to develop their intuition and renew their own latent powers, so they can confidently take chances and make choices. By following certain guidelines and intuition-building exercises, we can learn to get in touch with our Spirit Guides and identify the psychic energy around us on deeper levels. Edward also discusses how technology can work with our “sixth sense,” and explains how to use divination tools. Like his new eponymous website, Infinite Quest is truly a “portal to all things metaphysical.”



About the author:

John Edward, author of Infinite Quest: Develop Your Psychic Intuition to Take Charge of Your Life, is an internationally acclaimed psychic medium, author, and lecturer. On his internationally syndicated talk shows, Crossing Over with John Edward and John Edward Cross Country, he captivated audiences worldwide with his unique abilities to connect people with loved ones who have crossed over to the Other Side. John has appeared on many other talk shows, including the Today ShowOprah!, and The View, and has been a frequent guest on CNN's Larry King Live. He is a regular guest on morning radio, including New York's WPLJ and Los Angeles' KROQ. John has been featured in articles in the New York Times, the Los Angeles TimesPeople, and Entertainment Weekly. John is the author of several New York Times best-sellers, including Crossing Over: The Stories Behind the Stories and What if God Were the Sun? He conducts workshops and seminars around the world, and is the founder of the metaphysical website InfiniteQuest.com. John lives in New York with his family.

Please follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.




Saturday, October 16, 2010

Review: Sustainability by Stuart W. Rose, Ph.D.

Sustainability, by Stuart W. Rose, Ph.D., describes the massive changes happening in the world, an example of a sustainable housing project, and a vision of what sustainable living will be. An architect and developer of what many consider the most sustainable housing development in the U.S., Rose introduces the exciting, ever-changing world of sustainability, a way of life that includes creating homes and communities with materials that do no harm to, and take nothing away from, the earth's resources. He reveals how sustainable living goes beyond being ecologically and financially friendly, while saving on utility bills, and leads to a different, yet more joyful quality of life. Also fascinating is the author's recounting of architectural developments leading to his innovations, such as Garden Atriums evolving from a design created 2,500 years ago. Rose has created a book that is as much an adventure as it is encouragement for everyone desiring to live a sustainable and more fulfilling life.


Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets four stars.  It was a genuinely educational discussion of the author's ideas.  While some of the statistics used were An Inconvenient Truth worthy scary, the overall message was one of hope and positivity.  While, of course, I didn't agree with all the author's suggestions there were a great deal of useful ideas that one could implement based on his or her own level of desire for living a sustainable lifestyle.  This is certainly recommended for those looking into living a more Earth-friendly lifestyle.


★★★★ = Really Liked It



FYI: Pending Posts

I'm doing some Fall cleaning of my post drafts and such today and noticed several posts that I were scheduled but never posted, so I'll be posting those today.  You may see a bunch of posts over the next day or so and then I'll be all caught up and the queue all cleaned out.

Thanks for your understanding!



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Blog Updates

I'm making a few minor changes around the blog just to streamline things.  One of which is a minor name change to Beth's Book Reviews.  It seemed sort of redundant to have the Blog bit in the name.  I will be updating the header in the next few days to reflect this name change.

Obviously this in no way should affect your enjoyment of the blog and I expect the changes should be made with minimal down time.

Thanks for your support!



Saturday, October 2, 2010

Review: Running Around (and Such) by Linda Byler

A romance novel by an Amish writer, based on true experiences! It isn't that Lizzie doesn't want to stay Amish. There is just so much to figure out. What will become of Lizzie? Is she too spirited, too innocent and almost too uninhibited to be a young Amish woman?


Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets four stars. It was a cute little book with a nice story that was well told and easy to read. Although I obviously couldn't identify with that world the author made it accessible. This lighter romance, on par with a Love Inspired book, leaves you with a warm fuzzy feel. I'm looking forward to future books from the author. It is certainly recommended for fans of Christian fiction.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Friday, October 1, 2010

Review: The Classics by Caroline Taggart

The thought of ancient civilizations is enough to make anyone groan. Between long hours of tedious mathematics and years of droning Latin classes, it's no wonder that the Greek and Roman societies are most often thought of as dull subjects from school. The Classics, however, flips this long-standing opinion on its head, revealing the clever humor and impressive technological and scientific advancements made by these societies. Between the ninth century B.C. and the seventh century A.D., these great civilizations thrived, leaving behind a legacy felt in every part of the world-from language to medicine, from art to architecture. 

The Classics lets you understand the importance of...
  • The Greek alphabet, from alpha to omega  
  • The history and characteristics that define Greek and Roman architecture and its influence on modern building 
  • Greek and Latin words, which make up more than 30 percent of the words in the English language, and how you can build your vocabulary by learning the roots  
  • The Greek and Roman gods, the mythology surrounding them, and the part these figures play in our culture  
  • Almost 1,000 years of Greek and Roman history, from the birth of democracy to Caesar's empire
  • The philosophies taught by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle and what their ideas have contributed to the world we live in today  
  • How the modern cultural staples such as the Olympics were formed by classical literature, written by authors such as Homer and Cicero-what happened, what does it mean, and why is it still being read and taught today  
  • And much more!
This concise and witty text makes both a fascinating introduction to the world that became the foundation for Western Civilization and the perfect refresher course for the individual looking to brush up on years of schooling. The Classics puts the same information available in volumes of stuffy textbooks at your fingertips in one entertaining read, guaranteed to inform and delight.


Received from the publicist for review.

I was thrilled to receive this for review since I just love these valuable books from the Reader's Digest series!

This was simply packed with genuinely useful information about the classics - things that you either never learned or forgot quickly because they weren't made interesting enough to retain past exam tine.

The section on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was especially fun to read. Just as an FYI, the only one still standing is the Great Pyramid in Egypt.

This one gets four stars. It was a genuinely educational book and I learned quite a bit. It was presented in clear, concise language which makes the subject accessible to all those interested. The chapters are broken into smaller sections which makes it incredibly easy to pick it up, read a bit, and not lose your file when you take a break. This would make a great gift for someone interested in the subject or for a student struggling with his or her classical studies.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Review: Cats 247 by Rick Smolan and David Elliot Cohen

Cats 24/7 each collects more than 500 intimate, funny, and charming photographs taken by professional and amateur photographers. Here are our four-legged companions at their best, up close and personal in small towns and big cities, farms and parks, kitchens and living rooms. Combining great pictures, compelling stories, and insightful essays, this lavish volume is a fitting tribute to our feline friends.




From the library.

I found this quote from the book especially interesting and it left me praising karma for the ignorant bastards dying after murdering innocent, defenseless animals!


During Europe's Middle Ages, the shoe was on the other paw.  No longer gods, cats became scapegoats, demons even, and were slaughtered by the thousands as witch's familiars.  Fewer cats meant more rats; with flea-bearing rodent populations unchecked, and estimated 20 million Europeans died of the Black Death in the 14th century.

This one gets three stars.  This was amusing at times, sad at others, and certainly not for real cat lovers.  These people may care for their cats but they don't really love them.  You can just tell.  The photographs were lovely, with my favorites being He's Naked!, Jarhead, Book Lover, Bunny Love, Eskimo Kisses, and Back-Door Buddies.  Really, this would have been four stars for the quality of the photographs, but for the anecdotes from the stupid, annoying owners.

★★☆☆ = Liked It



Thursday, September 30, 2010

Winner: 250 UPrinting.com Die Cut Business Cards

The winner of the 250 Die Cut Business Cards from UPrinting.com is #17 Stephanie!

Congratulations and I hope you enjoy them!

Thank you so much to UPrinting.com for providing the giveaway!

Thank you to all who entered!



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Author Q&A: Deborah Duda, author of Coming Home: A Practical and Compassionate Guide to Caring for a Dying Loved One

Deborah Duda, author of Coming Home stopped by for a Q&A.



1. What inspired you to write Coming Home?

The seed for writing Coming Home was a friend who was dying and whose husband forbade her friends to talk with her about it.  I was furious.  We go through the agony and ecstasy of being born, living our lives as best we can, and then are denied our dying and deaths, often by a conspiracy of silence.  The most important thing in my friend's life at that time was her dying and her friends couldn't share that with her.  She was isolated and alone as everyone pretended that she was not dying.  I buried this experience in the back of my mind until after meeting Mother Teresa.

2. Tell us about your experiences meeting Mother Teresa.

In the 1970s, as many did, I looked to Eastern philosophy and religions as a source of wisdom and set off on a spiritual pilgrimage.  At one point I was living in a tiny village in Nepal, where I lived happily until I began to have nightmares that I or my father was dying.  After weeks of nightmares, a Sherpa (the mountain guides) walked three hours up the mountain path to my village and brought me a copy of Newsweek with a photograph of Mother Teresa on the cover.

That night I had a dream about Mother Teresa instead of about dying.  I decided the way to get over my fear of dying was to put myself if the middle of it.  I would go to Calcutta and ask Mother Teresa if I could work in one of the homes she created for the dying.  The next day I packed my bag and made my way across Nepal and India, walking, taking buses and airplanes.  When I arrived in Calcutta, I was very sick but I dragged myself to the public telephone, dialed O for operator and said, "I want to speak to Mother Teresa." Miraculously, she was on the phone in a few minutes and said "How can I help you my child?"  I told her I'd had a dream about her and asked if I could come see her.  She said, "Yes. Come right over my child."

I took a rickshaw to the Sister of Charity Convent where she lived.  In her tiny office, seated across the desk from her, I had the feeling that I'd always known her and she knew me.  I told her my story and asked if I could work in one of her homes for the dying.  She said, "No my child.  There is suffering and sadness around you at home. Go home and work with that."

And I did. I returned to live in the US for the first time in my adult life, completed a master's degree in psychology, became a counselor with her terminally ill, and wrote Coming Home.

3. You cared for both your mother and father when they were ill. What are some of your happiest memories with them?

I am so grateful that I had the privilege of helping to care for them when they were dying and was left with so many beautiful memories.  Tender little moments come to mind. Sitting at my dying father's feet giving him a foot massage twice a day. Dad and his grandson playing with the dog we'd just brought home from the pound.  The night Dad died,  watching Mom peacefully holding him in her arms in the bed they had slept in together for 35 years and feeling that love had made their journey together worthwhile.  My mother's death fills me with smiles and even joy.  She chose where, when and how she would die and went out smiling and saying "bye".

4. Despite the hardship of caring for a terminally ill loved one, what can caregivers do to treasure the time spent with sick family or friends?

Take time to really be present for their loved one.   Let go of busyness. There is nothing to do, nowhere to go, no one to impress.  Probably the most important thing we can do for ill or dying loved ones is simply to be present for them with an open heart.  Listen not only with our ears, but also with our hearts.  Share family stories and memories, old photos, games, touch, music and silence.

Rumi, the 13th century Sufi poet and philosopher wrote "Step out of the circle of time into the circle of love."  In the midst of a home dying, if we step into the circle of love, we are uplifted by giving love and feeling loved.  Perhaps we can help the dying find meaning in their experience by suggesting that the most important thing a person can do is love. No matter what abilities or faculties they may have lost, they can still love.

5. How can people learn about joy while caring for a dying loved one? 

Joy is part of our essential identity.  We cover it up with fear, busyness, clinging to security, limiting beliefs about ourselves, and all our material and social concerns.  When we're caring for someone we love, all our pretenses tend to drop away.  Dying and death may strip us down to the core and at the core is joy. Dying loved ones remind us that love is the most important thing in the world, to live in the moment because we don't know how many moments we have and to be grateful for being alive.  Lives lived with those understandings tend to be joyful lives.

6. For those who have experienced the loss of a loved one, what are some good ways to honor their memories?  

We honor them best, I think, by living the positive things they have taught us in their lives and deaths, including the importance of loving, living in the moment and gratitude.  You might ask yourself, "What can I give to others to honor that life?"  A poem?  Garden? Tree?  Story?  Sculpture?  Donation?  Endowment?  It's important that we don't forget to honor them when they are still with us.

7. What do you hope readers will take away from Coming Home

I want them to feel empowered, to know that they can handle a home dying.  I want them to know that they are far more competent and loving than they perhaps imagined.  I want them to know that the ultimate human freedom is freedom of attitude.  That no matter what the circumstances of their lives, they can always choose their attitude and their attitude will determine the nature of their experience.


About the book:

Today, in increasing numbers, terminally ill people are choosing to spend their last days at home in the warmth of familiar surroundings, rather than in an impersonal hospital or nursing home. Coming Home will provide you with information, inspiration, and sensitive yet straightforward answers to questions such as:

Can I handle a home death?
How do I deal with my grief?
Can we afford to stay at home?
Can I give an injection?
Can pain be controlled at home?
How do I prevent bedsores?
How can I find meaning in the dying process?
What do I need to know about legal issues?

First published in 1981, this groundbreaking step-by-step guide has been used to train hospice staff and volunteers for over two decades. Like a supportive friend sitting with you at the kitchen table, Deborah Duda helps you to create an experience that makes your loved one's final weeks as comfortable and meaningful as possible.

About Deborah:

Deborah Duda earned a master’s degree in psychology from Goddard College and has traveled the country delivering lectures and workshops on caring for dying loved ones. In addition to working as a family therapist for the terminally ill and their families, Duda also helped found a hospice and served on the board of directors for Kauai Hospice and the Kauai AIDS Foundation. For more information about Duda and Coming Home, visit www.deborahduda.com.




Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: The Undaunted Life by Robert C. David

Don't let the outside world determine your destiny. Take control now with proven success strategies to become richer, smarter, healthier and happier in spite of it all. Here is a fresh, bold guide for your ultimate quest - to bravely and freely live your best life on your own terms starting right now. You will discover how to:

* Vanquish procrastination
* Purge self-limiting beliefs, thoughts and emotions
* Eliminate financial self-sabotage
* Save yourself from worry, stress and premature aging
* Boost energy, well being, personal and professional power
* Show resiliency during tough times
* Shield yourself against energy drainers and time wasters
* Unlock and nurture your natural talents, strengths and abilities
* Get Referral Rich with better, stronger, deeper relationships
* Achieve focus and gain insights to work smarter and live better
* Experience joy, meaning, purpose and passion in your life
* Become unstoppable
* And much more


Received from the author for review.

This one gets four stars.  It was packed with genuinely useful information on all sorts of life aspects.  The chapter on building your "assets" through maintaining a healthy body was especially good.  Although this is more geared for the upper middle class who have enough money to even worry about investing and such everyone who works in an office can find at least a couple things to take away.  The motivational information should be thoroughly enjoyed by sales reps and other commission based earners and is recommended for them in particular.

★★★★ = Really Liked It