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5 Stepping Stones to Christlike Character

George Vasilca, Author
George Vasilca Author Interview

The Diamond Soul helps readers develop a Christlike moral character. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Since I was a young man I was fascinated by existential questions like, “Who am I?”; “Why am I on this earth?”, “Is life mere existence or there is more to it?”. Later on, I realized that my engineering education did not prepare me at all for how to deal with people. I knew quite well how to manage machinery, electrical circuits and projects, but had no idea on how to talk in a meaningful way to my next-cubicle fellow engineer. He, too, was as clueless as I was. Needless to say, the more I advanced in age and climbed up the ladder of professional responsibilities, the more I realized the need to train myself in the arts of verbal communications, management, and leadership. At the same time, I begun to understand the role faith plays in the lives of us humans. I started to realize that regardless how smart and hardworking we are, there is always a higher authority that decides the outcome of our endeavors.

So, here I was, in my early fifties, searching for answers to all these difficult questions. Then is occurred to me: the moral character of the man shapes his destiny; and his faith is the unshakable foundation of his character. These are very strong convictions that I have; they are part of my core value system. And they work. Just look at all great leaders around you, and you’ll notice common virtues and character strengths: industry, integrity, thoughtfulness, modesty, love and service. But the greatest model of all was Jesus Christ when he walked as a man on the earth. Why not emulate his character strengths like humility, firmness, strength, patience and courage? We can never become him, but we should aspire to be like him.

Writing this book has been the most important project of my after-retirement years. I simply wanted to share my finding with my fellow Christians, as well with people of other spiritual orientations, such as atheists, agnostics or followers of other religions. The reason I wrote this book was to challenge, inspire and guide my readers on the road of building a strong and beautiful character mimicking Christ’s own. This character I call The Diamond Soul Character, because it is as precious, strong, and beautiful as a cut natural diamond. But, in contrast to the natural diamond which needs outside light to reveal its beauty, the human Diamond Soul character carries its own light. It, therefore, shines from within. This light is also called moral authority, and is an essential goal of anyone aspiring to better themselves.

What were some themes that were important for you to focus on in this book?

Starting a writing project about human development, confronts the author with the impossible task of selecting a few overarching ideas from the endless number of possible themes. In my case, however, the task was less daunting because I had a clear picture in my mind about the purpose of the book and its intended audience. I wanted the book to help readers clarify who they were, where they maybe at this point in their lives, and where they may desire to be tomorrow. Since the intended audience was Christian, it was also clear that the importance of faith in one’s life must be one of the prime themes to be worked on.

I would hope the readers would benefit from the three broad themes I approach in my book. The first one is that the faith is the most solid foundation one can stand on when dealing with morality. By its nature, the faith consists of a set of truths that are timeless and unchangeable. If you are a believer, you must adopt them. It is much easier for a person of faith to see the dangers of “relative morality” and to stay away from it. It is much simpler for a believer to look at Jesus Christ as the epitome of morality, than for a secular person who may have no model for morality at all. It is less complicated for a believer to dedicate himself to charity, as the Christian teachings tell him, than for an individualistic person who whats everything for himself.

The second theme of the book is that one must take charge of his life to improve himself. And how does he do it? By embracing proactivity, the mentality that you are in charge and take responsibility for your actions. You are no longer a victim of your weaknesses, your circumstance or your upbringing. You chart the course of your life by selecting a righteous path aligned with God’s preordained plans for you. Proactivity as a mindset is the most powerful tool you can acquire to build your character and find your destiny.

The third theme of the book is that the process of self-improvement is a marathon, not a sprint. You better be armed with know-how, grit and patience. And above all, have a spiritual guide, the Holy Spirit that resides in you. Building a Diamond Soul character is a cooperative project between you and the Hoy Spirit. You provide the know-how, the sweat and the toil. He provides the support, guidance and encouragement. Where does the marathon of self-improvement take you? Well, on that never-ending spiral of personal and spiritual growth that takes you closer and closer to God. Or, on that road of leading others by serving others, in other words of becoming a servant leader based on the example of Jesus Christ himself.

What do you feel is a common misconception people have about faith in their life?

This is a tough question, but I’m going to give it a try to offer my best take on it. Perhaps the most common misconception is that the spiritual life and the secular world cannot coexist. Most believers either find total refuge in their Christian faith, or get engulfed in the stormy seas of the temporal world forgetting they are children of God. Their strategy is either one of separation or of surrender. But there is a better road. My book argues that believers are best equipped to bridge the gap between spirituality and materialism, between believers and atheists. And how could they do that? The only answer is, through engagement and using their moral authority. An act of charity, a decent behavior, a friendly attitude toward everybody, everywhere and all the time speak more than a thousand words. When secular people see Christians behaving in a godly way, they for sure ask themselves the questions, “why do they do it?” and “what’s inside them that make them be this way?”. Isn’t this the beginning of the opening of one’s heart to the beauty, security and mystery of the Christian faith? I believe it is!

This is book one in your Diamond Soul trilogy. What can readers expect in the next two books?

Books two and three will provide practical applications for the Diamond Soul Character. The second book will discuss leadership issues, while the third one will focus on interpersonal relationships. In them, I will argue that only men and women of character can lead people in a Christ-inspired manner, and build meaningful, pleasant and long-lasting relationships. It is, therefore, the Diamond Soul character we acquire by following the teachings in the first book, that will provide the moral foundation for our dealings with people around us.

Author Links: Website | BookBaby | GoodReads | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Ever wanted to learn more about how to improve your character to mimic Christ’s? Have you ever wondered about how to live a meaningful Christian life in today’s society? About the interplay between faith and reason and the importance of self-esteem in shaping one’s destiny?

Ever questioned why so many relationships between people living a Christian life are empty, unfulfilling, and end in disaster? Ever struggled to understand the mysterious connection between two human hearts, which beat in perfect harmony, yet maybe miles apart?

This newly released self-help book will give you a solid framework for self-improvement and personal growth. Besides, I will also show how to build a Christlike character, which I call the Diamond Soul, under the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
Why do we need divine guidance? First, we are believers living a Christian life, and second, we cannot do such a huge task alone. The Diamond Soul is the result of the cooperative yet mysterious work of the Holy Spirit residing in us, and ourselves. We supply in a positive manner the know-how, the sweat, and the perseverance. The Holy Spirit provides the guidance. The result? The growth of your persona from an ordinary believer into a highly moral mighty Warrior in Christ.

At the same time, I realize that science must provide the know-how, processes, and methods necessary to undertake such a massive personal growth project. For this reason, I draw on the fields of positive psychology, neuroscience, and human behavior. I use the latest findings regarding the undeniable bond between thoughts, self-esteem, and conduct. I add my personal observations about the role spirituality plays in this too complicated and volatile mix.

In The Diamond Soul, 5 Stepping Stones to Christlike Character, I use two metaphors. The first is the image of a beautifully cut, strong, and valuable diamond, to help people visualize their character crafted after Jesus’ own. The second depicts the arduous path up a mountain slope, using stepping stones found along the way, leading to the valuable diamond located on the peak. They cannot exist without another. You cannot reach the diamond on the summit unless you climb the mountain toward it. Conversely, if you climbed any other mountain, your efforts will have been in vain.

This book is based on my experience and struggle for personal growth, searching proactively for God, and developing moral character traits aspiring to be like Christ’s. The battle to change myself has transformed my life and made me a more positive person. The new moral authority and self-esteem, which the Diamond Soul character afforded me, had a tremendous impact on the people around me, be they family members, friends, employees, or business associates.

Lost in the Reflecting Pool: A Memoir

Lost in the Reflecting Pool: A Memoir by [Pomerantz, Diane]

I was truly touched by this memoir by Diane Pomerantz.  Her honesty and candor, as well as her shard recollection of her life’s experiences is truly inspiring and, as a person interested in human relationships, I found this book speaking to my soul. Diane Pomerantz writes as if in conversation. Perhaps this comes from her decades of work as a child psychologist. The writing has a conversational flow and is emotional without being overly flowery or expressive. She states later in the book that writing is very therapeutic for her and this is evident to the reader.

This is a memoir about a life full of challenging experiences to which many people can relate but also moments that are so unique to her story. The author takes us through her years as a married person and into her later years and up to the present. We experience her meeting her husband.  He is a physician and she is a child psychologist. They build a life together, including many issues with fertility and adoption. We experience their early years of marriage, including intense difficulties with fertility and adoption. There are many heartbreaking incidents like when the young couple adopts a baby, names him, and brings him home only to find out that the birth mother has changed her mind. It is inspiring how the author faces these challenges, she is rocked to the core but also finds a way to move forward. It’s beautiful how she got both of her children. I loved this part of the story. It made me laugh when she said her daughter liked her new brother for the first few weeks but was then ready to send him back! My son said similar things about his baby brother in the beginning, so this made me smile.

As the years go on, we watch her husband’s true personality come to forefront. It is truly disturbing to watch this unfold. She sees certain things in the beginning that are red flags but continues raising her children with him and even working together. There is a story about how she and Charles co-treat a young woman for anxiety and Pomerantz is alarmed by his dismissive response to the patient. Through the author’s struggles with illness she discovers more and more truths about her husband. It was alarming to read the breakdown of their partnership and his actions and state of mind. Her descriptions were so alarming at times, yet I believed every detail.

There is a lot of difficulty, trauma, and heartbreak in this book, but it all comes around to a positive ending and left me feeling like I was more aware in my own marriage and relationships. I like that she is able to move forward without anger, even though she doesn’t have to forgive. I really enjoyed this book. The writing style was so comfortable and easy to read. The authors candor about her life are refreshing in a world where people often only want to show the good.

Pages: 337 | ASIN: B07414L8B6

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The Troubling Designs of their Lives

Arnold Holtzman Author Interview

Arnold Holtzman Author Interview

Neurotic Children as Adults is a guide to help parents understand themselves and in effect become better parents. Why was this an important book for you to write?

After several decades of professional experience with clients who had been overtaken by serious neurotic disturbances in both their social and intimate partner relationships, along with damaging perceptions of self-worth, and with lives simply going nowhere, it was as clear as the noonday sun how maternal deficiencies and abject parental failures, often from day one, determined the troubling designs of their lives as adults. Inasmuch as I had written this book for young parents whose intentions were essentially very positive but whose own histories perhaps lacked bonding experiences, the experience of worthiness, and a recognition of their most fundamental security needs, it was also written for the adults who might identify with people described on these pages and grasp what had so mangled their own lives. True, genuinely absorbed awareness of what was responsible for the neurotic designs in their personalities offers, in effect, the only leverage permitting lasting therapeutic adjustments.

What do you feel is one common misconception people have about parenting?

Parents rarely grasp the degree to which a child is powerfully molded by just about everything that defines its earliest home environment. Up until about the age of eight the parents are seen as the life models with which they must identify and emulate. Later they may insist that the very opposite is true, but the patterns are effectively ingrained.The early experience of an unstable home environment, grievous emotional scarring, serious and prolonged parental discord produces children who, as adults, are without the capacity to experience true joy in any area of their lives.

I thought you showed a solid grasp of psychology and behaviorism. What background in education or experience do you have that helped you write this book?

A Ph.D. in the behavioral sciences, many decades of private clinical experience and almost as many decades lecturing on these experiences. The last decade included laboratory work in psychiatric hospitals and papers on biometric diagnostic procedures published in academic psychiatric journals.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

When therapy fails it is largely because the therapist has no idea what may be at the root of his, or her, client’s distress. The therapist is entirely without access to the history of the client’s earliest pre-conscious experiences – information that is almost always vital in grasping the very reasons why that person had been moved to invite professional intervention. What sets this book apart from every other in the genre of child development and parenting issues are the perfect links it presents between very specific infant/child stress experiences, and equally specific disturbing attitudes and behaviors in the adult. Nothing is ever lost to memory even such as transpired in the earliest development phases. This work is intended, in the main, as a guide for the genuinely devoted parents of infants and young children. At the same time it delivers clear answers to adults weighed under by lives going nowhere and suffering anxieties of an unforgiving nature.

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Neurotic Children as Adults

“It is easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men.”

This right here is an accurate summary of the purpose of this book. The kind of adults children grow into is entirely dependent on how they are brought upon. According to Arnold Holtzman, nothing is ever truly forgotten. There is always a subconscious memory of childhood comforts. For this reason, something as simple as interrupting the comfort and joy of suckling can have deeply etched effects on the child. Effects that run into adulthood.

The author introduces the idea of the mother from hell and the mother from heaven. The mother from heaven instinctively cares for her child. Her physical and emotional connection with her child is real and almost tangible. Even when she is chastising the child, he or she can still see the love and affection in her eyes. The mother from hell does not take the time to build this bond. They let their own demons color their interactions with their child.

Over the years, behavioral disorders have been defined differently. It seems that every few years a different disorder becomes the it-thing. A look at the root and basis of all these disorders reveals that they are all as a result of parenting from hell. They are all a result of some form of deficiency in childhood. It all comes down to the experience in formative years. All the way from infancy, not just when the child learns how to speak.

The author obviously has a good understanding of psychology and behaviorism. His understanding is obvious in the way he relays his message. He does not just regurgitate the information from textbooks but rather lays out his understanding in simpler terms. He does this in simple language. The prose flows freely. This is a subject requiring a strong voice. The author is unapologetic but not arrogant or offensive. This book has depth. It is not an overview. It is a breakdown of the subject matter. It is a contribution to a discussion. It is not a lecture.

This book has several examples of adults with behavioral issues deeply rooted in developmental deficiency. His description of each one of these cases is vivid and revealing. These cases are relatable. More often than not, the reader will recognize his or herself in Janice or Cheryl. If one is already a mother they will recognize how their childhood played a part into making them into this kind of adult. Hopefully, that will help their own relationship with their child so that they will not grow into such an adult.

Being a parent is often tinged with doubt. No one stops to tell a parent they are doing a good job. They only ever stop to make judgment when something looks wrong. This means that life as a parent is uncertain. One can never know if they are doing it right, they can only hope. This book is that much needed assurance and guidance. Children are the future. This book is one way of ensuring the adults of the future are emotionally and psychologically healthy. Five stars out of five for this book. It is incredibly helpful. It is not judgmental. It is apt and fitting. If there were more stars, Neurotic Children as Adults would be deserving.

Pages: 286 | ISBN: 198169692X

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You’re Not Alone, You’re Not Crazy

Elizabeth Onyeabor Author Interview

Elizabeth Onyeabor Author Interview

From The Shadows describes your personal journey through some very trying times. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I want people struggling with depression to know there’s hope. My message to them is: if you’re depressed, you’re not alone, you’re not crazy, and you can obtain lasting happiness.

The last thing I thought I’d share publicly was my journey into and out of despair. But writing this story uncovered a passion I buried forty-eight years earlier. By recounting and working through my most painful mistakes and memories, I discovered meaning and renewed purpose. I now experience joyfulness and self-love beyond my wildest dreams. I share all the steps I took so others can follow my path and find healing, too.

You were able to take a deep look at your depression, explaining its breadth and depth. What are some common misconceptions you feel people have about depression?

First, most articles focus on the sadness, but for me, depression also felt hostile. I remember constant self-loathing over the past, hopelessness about the future, and emptiness in the present.

Next, depression isn’t only about a person who’s stuck in bed. For years, I contended with high-functioning depression, or dysthymia. To the casual observer, I seemed healthy, but I wasn’t. Many times, I wanted to sleep and never wake up. But, I crawled out of bed every day and went to work pretending everything was peachy.

Last, depression is more common than many realize, surpassing all other disabilities. According to the World Health Organization, one in five people will suffer at some point. When I talk about my triumph, so many people privately tell me about their own or a loved one’s battle against depression that I wonder whether the one-in-five estimate is too low. Few admit to their condition because of the crushing stigma. Perhaps resources like my book can shift reader’s perceptions from judgment to empathy.

I felt like this emotional book was ultimately uplifting. What do you hope readers take away from this book?

If you’re combatting depression, I hope my insights from the trenches encourage your healing and self-love.

If you’re not, I hope by revealing the chaos my disorder caused, it furthers your understanding and compassion.

Either way, my wish is that sharing my intimate story serves as inspiration.

What is the next book you are writing and when will it be available?

Currently, I’m working on two books for release within the year. The first is Escaping the Shadows, a poetry collection. The second is Beyond the Shadows: The Light Within. It provides an even deeper dive into I how I healed my motherhood guilt. I share the ways I found forgiveness for myself and my molester to reclaim innocence lost and cement self-love.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

From The Shadows: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Renewal by [Onyeabor, Elizabeth]

Offering hope and healing, the author retraces her beautiful transformation from suicidal despair to habitual happiness, sprinkling each step with soul-stirring original poetry and journal excerpts.

For decades, she hid her chronic depression from everyone, including herself, until hitting a crisis point. She seemed successful and happy to all, except her closest confidantes; they knew the anguish she wished to end by killing herself. Through self-exploration, she found a pathway to conquer the pain.

In From the Shadows, she shares the questions she confronted, unearths her root causes, and presents a map out of the mire. Finally, she unlocks inner wealth by facing phantoms holding long forgotten keys to her past.

Joining in her journey, you may uncover a few treasures of your own.

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Lessons from a Difficult Person: How to Deal with People Like Us

Lessons from a Difficult Person: How to Deal with People Like Us by [Elliston M.A.T, Sarah H.]

Lessons from a Difficult Person: How to Deal with People Like Us by author Sarah H. Elliston is a guide for those who find themselves dealing with people they find difficult and want to know how they can better communicate and work with them. This book is told from the perspective of Elliston who discovered one day that she was a difficult person.

The tone of the book and the opening story regarding Elliston’s own experience being a difficult person invites the reader to take part in a personal story . This opening section helps the book feel like it is not condescending toward those who are difficult but paints the book as an effort to help those that are considered difficult and offers ways to help with communication in the workplace and in life.

The book opens with a summary of what the book covers, which is incredibly helpful in guides like this because not only does it let you know what you will learn but allows you to find what is most relevant to you. The first chapter was particularly interesting for me because it addresses how difficult people are clueless about what they are doing and who they are. This is important to realize, as it was for me, because a lot of the frustration comes from the thought that difficult people are doing it on purpose.

If you find that you are dealing with someone that is difficult, or have a nagging feeling that you may be that difficult person, I think this book is an important read. Even for students or readers interested in psychology or sociology. While reading this book I came to several realizations, the one stated earlier and I also realized how, when communicating, it is important to remember that we all come from different places and understanding the experience of others can improve the way we interact with those around us. And I think that is what this book is about, understanding the experience of others.

I enjoyed reading this book as it was well written and informative, but what I wasn’t ready for, and was pleasantly surprised by, was how much I was going to relate to the information in this book. This book is about an important topic, but it is written in a casual tone, so it is an easy read. Whether you are a difficult person, or know a difficult person, this book will help you understand each other better.

Pages: 178 | ASIN: B01NCJM76V

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A-C-T Like A Kid And T-H-I-N-K Like A Parent: What All Good Parents Need For Their Kids To Know, Learn And Understand

Just for kicks, have you ever wondered what your parents really want from you in life? Is it you, or do your parents want you to have no real fun? On any given day, do you want to make your parents proud of you and still do what makes you feel really happy within yourself? Of course you do! But the real question has always been, and still is…how? How can we actually get this done?

Well, with A-C-T like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K like a Parent, a.k.a “the child-part consoler”, you will get past common misunderstandings by learning how to truly talk, hear, and listen to your parents, guardians or caregivers instead of feeling like you have to run to friends to find some sense of acceptance, understanding, and real connection.

In this book, chock-full of questions and answers gotten directly from the source, you’ll learn what your parents, guardians or caregivers really expect of you—and maybe you’ll even find out how to explain to them what you really expect from them! Not that this book could ever replace a parent, because it can not. But when it comes to openly communicating certain key ideas, this book comes really close.

This tell-all guide contains lots of enlightening explanations and helpful answers to many common kid questions like:

What do my parents really want from me?
Why do my parents do what they do and say what they say?
What do I really need to know about my parents’ parenting skills?
How can I keep my parents happy with me?
How can I help my parents to help me?
How can I get what I want from my parents every time?

A-C-T like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K like a Parent is an intro to the secret knowledge of adults which is a set of informations that is mainly covered in the book entitled Surrogate Re-Parenting: A.K.A. Get Your Mind Right, and even more thoroughly covered in the book The Secret Knowledge Of Adults. While this book, A-C-T like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K like a Parent is intended for kids 10 and up, the info in this book is beneficial and useful to the intelligent kid parts in all of us. Yes, this means you too.

The information in this book will help you and yours to start to see your parents, not as the enemy, but as the caring human beings they really are, and take the first step toward family unity, understanding, growth, success, and happiness! Both you and your parents really deserve this, and with this book, A-C-T like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K like a Parent, you and your parents can actually achieve this.

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