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How To Eat A Shit Sandwich : and Keep Smiling

This bluntly honest memoir is both funny in its wit and terrifying in its candor. Annette demonstrates that while horrible things can happen to wonderful people, they don’t have to define us. You don’t have to have gone through things as Annette did to be able to identify with the themes of tenacity, fortitude, and moving forward in life, even when things don’t go exactly as you had intended.

It’s a tale of tragedy, happiness, heartbreak, lessons about life, love, relationships, and some things that will make you shake your head. This will be a trip down memory lane for some of us while a history lesson on what life was like at its darkest moments for others. Because of Annette’s skill with language, it was like she was narrating the scenes personally to me. I felt as though I had been miraculously transported to be present for each and every scene as I read about Annette’s life. This book could provide a way out of the dark for anyone who has ever had to encounter the misfortune to eat a shit sandwich. 

This book was a page-turner that I couldn’t put down. You will be able to relate to sections of Annette’s book as you read it, and it will bring you back to a time in your life when you felt like an outsider or that you were being bullied, exploited, insulted, or neglected in any way. Her work contains some upsetting tragic events, but she still manages to mask the agony with humor.

I couldn’t put this fantastic book down. I had to keep reading to see what else Annette had to say. I heartily endorse this it. I believe that we can work together to bring about the necessary reforms if more of these tales are told. We can make a difference by speaking out about issues like these.

How To Eat A Shit Sandwich: and Keep Smiling is a passionately told true story. Annette Densham’s memoir will leave readers with much to think about and better understand the importance of getting on with life despite bad things happening. Simply said, this book is a fantastic read! There will unavoidably be tears as well as loud laughter, shock, feelings of rage, and frustration.

Pages: 426 | ASIN : B09K3FCFS4

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Writing Notes From The Heart

Elizabeth Cottrell Author Interview

Heartspoken: How to Write Notes that Connect, Comfort, Encourage, and Inspire is an inspiring book that shares with readers the value of handwritten notes and the history behind written communication. Why was this an important book for you to write? 

While I have always believed in writing notes and considered that practice to be good manners, there was a moment in time when I realized suddenly that writing notes from the heart could have far more impact than just being good manners. It was when I received a letter from a stranger… A woman whose son had recently committed suicide. I did not know this woman or her son, but I knew her son‘s fiancé and had written her a sympathy note expressing my deep sadness over her loss. The young woman I had written to sent my letter to her fiancé‘s mother. The mother told me she had read it over 25 times and it had helped her get through the worst time of her life. I truly do not even remember what I said, but I realized at that time that writing a Heartspoken note can have a great impact as well as a ripple effect.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

Perhaps the most important idea I hoped to convey in this book was that every person has inside them their own voice for writing heartspoken messages. So many people expressed to me their lack of confidence in knowing what to say and their fear of saying the wrong thing, but I hope I made the case in my book for this being an on grounded concern. The irony is that people rarely remember exactly what you said. What they will remember is that you reached out to them with kindness and caring.

Did you find anything in your research of this book that surprised you?

I was fascinated to learn that the earliest known examples of note writing from thousands of years ago were primarily for the purposes of recordkeeping. It was not until about 500 BC that historians and archaeologists have found evidence of note writing as personal correspondence. The practice did not become very widespread beyond royalty and clergy until the 18th century when paper became more affordable.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will that be published?

I am focusing on getting this book in front of readers now, but I am working on a 40-day devotional and possibly a sequel to this book about note writing for corporate and nonprofit professionals. I write regularly for my blog Heartspoken.com.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | Website

In the hands of author Elizabeth H. Cottrell, the handwritten note is set free from old-fashioned irrelevance to become a superpower tool for connecting with others. Heartspoken: How to Write Notes that Connect, Comfort, Encourage, and Inspire will guide you to uncovering your own unique note-writing voice and give you the confidence to use it. Consider the flipping of a light switch. You can’t see the electricity. You may not even understand how it works. But when power starts flowing through the open wire, it is nothing short of miraculous. She will show you how to find and flip that switch in your own note writing. Grasp this beautiful process, and your writing will become alive, meaningful, and impactful in ways you never thought possible.

There Were No More Secrets

Phoebe Leona Author Interview

Dear Radiant One tells your emotional recovery story and provides readers with guidance they can use to transform their life. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

Generally, it was just being so raw and vulnerable. I knew I had to be authentic in order for the power of my story to be fully received. I also knew it could not be raw or unprocessed so that I could effectively communicate my message to be of service to the readers and not just for my own healing. It took me years to get to that place and I am really grateful I was patient with myself and the process. I think if it came out anytime before it did I would not have been grounded enough or emotionally ready to handle it. The day it was shared with others, I felt a huge weight of my past was lifted off my heart. There were no more secrets or playing roles I no longer wanted to play for others.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

The main idea is that we get to choose how we dance with life. All the roller coasters of obstacles that come our way, are opportunities to see how we choose to respond (or not respond) to them. The second idea is intimately wrapped up with the first idea being how we acknowledge (or don’t acknowledge) our emotions ultimately leads us to the choices we make to life’s challenges. If we don’t allow ourselves to sit with our emotions and process them in a healthy way, they lead to choices that create more obstacles for ourselves.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your story?

My hope for the reader is they receive whatever they need to receive. It might be that they need to receive a story about someone who came out on the other side of a traumatic childhood that inspires hope for themselves. It might be that they need to receive an understanding of their own emotional landscape that has hindered them in some way. It might also be that they receive tangible practices to befriend their emotions and make changes in how they relate to them. They might just need to simply receive a new perspective. My hope for the reader is they find whatever they need in this book is some kind of elixir for living the human experience.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Come along on a journey with Phoebe Leona as she dances through the twists and turns of her life. Do you get lost in the shadows of Fear, Anger, Grief, Shame, or Loneliness or do you choose to step into the light of Gratitude, Trust, Confidence, Joy, and Love? Phoebe’s journey from a child impacted by trauma to a radiant spiritual teacher is a reminder that we are all the authors of our own stories and we can rewrite them at any period of our lives.

This book shares vulnerable and honest interactions with emotion through letters that give you direct access to your own internal landscape. Phoebe provides specific practices that are an open invitation to explore your own vulnerability and the honest experiences of your emotional body. If you are ready to dance with your radiance—and you always have a choice—this book will be your best friend to guide you along the way.

Grief

Grief: The Beacon of Love is a collection of 12 notes which provide insight into how to cope with the loss of a loved one. The text relies heavily on personal experiences but strives to be universal. The author, Carolyn Begley Daley, mentions medical solutions such as seeking a therapist’s help or taking medication are valid and sometimes needed. That said, this inspirational book focus on the use of faith and religion in order to deal with grief.

The last few notes focus on the grieving process many felt during the COVID-19 pandemic and how much it has changed people’s coping mechanisms. The author believes love is the answer to finding a path through all kinds of grief. As long as one loves God and the little things in life, one can push through anything.

Grief contains some beautiful ideas and will have the reader highlighting or underlining many sentences that will accompany them in their journey. I believe even a reader who is not grieving could learn from this book. The two main takeaways are that community is essential to people’s healing and that ignoring one’s feelings will eventually lead to anxiety and depression.

The 12 notes that his book revolves around are centered around Christian beliefs. Even if it appears as though the book is meant to be universal, all the notes’ conclusions refer back to scriptures and one’s relationship with God and Jesus. Additionally, many of the arguments are repeated throughout the whole book. I felt that it could be more concise and still give out the message it wanted to give.

Grief: The Beacon of Love by Carolyn Begley Daley is an inspirational self-help book that focuses on the reader’s relationship with God and Jesus. This relationship is the foundation for overcoming grief. It is an excellent book for someone who needs to understand that they are not the only ones going through this pain or looking for what steps to take in order to go forward.

Pages: 78 | ASIN : B0B7M47WXZ

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Rebuilt Rebuilt Recovery Complete Series – A Journey with God

Rebuilt Recovery: A Journey with God by Heather L. Phipps is a Christian self-help book created with the intention of being used as “a tool to help people find recovery from their mental and emotional pain and suffering by dealing with the root causes of their issues.” Well written, this book lays out a foundation of what it looks like to journey with God, while also addressing life issues and how to cope and triumph over the trials we all go through. The author outlines what faith and doubt are and also takes a step-by-step approach in how to check what is the root cause of many of life’s issues.

This book would be a great resource for people who are dealing with anger, anxiety, shame, pride, idolatry, and unwanted thoughts. Not only does this book outline strategies for overcoming these battles, but it also celebrates how life and faith are intermingled, and what a beautiful journey lies ahead for the Christian believer. Rebuilt Recovery is as informative as it is engaging. Each section comes with illustrations, boxed text, and prompts to work through as your journey through the book into recovery.

Rebuilt Recovery is a wonderful resource for anyone that is struggling to find the light in their life. This book deals with many of life’s issues and illustrates how to overcome them in a constructive and healthy way. This is a comprehensive book that feels long, but also leaves nothing out. I would highly recommend this book to Christian believers as a way to work through struggles and trials that may arise in life. This book is a must have in your library and will provide great insight into the root causes of the challenges that life throws at you. Whether you are walking with God, or interested in starting your faith journey Rebuilt Recovery will not leave you disappointed.

Pages: 518 | ASIN: B0BCWDFM2Q

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This Is A Lesson To Us All

Matt Edwards Author Interview

Icarus Never Flew ‘Round Here follows a lonely rancher on a contemplative journey that explores our idea of God and how we can become servile to that idea. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story? 

The initial spark of this story came from driving through the same Oregon High Desert that’s depicted in the novel. It’s a lonely stretch of highway. The kind where significant chunks of time can pass without seeing another car. This produces an immense loneliness. But oddly it’s sort of a euphoric loneliness, especially if you’re the kind that can appreciate the beauty that a high desert has to offer, because it makes you feel like you’re the only one alive. And, if you’re inclined to believe in god, it makes you feel closer to him/her/it. It makes you feel special.  

So, the idea of putting a character out there on the edge of the horizon sat around in my mind for quite some time. Then, as I began to read and teach authors like Kafka, Sartre, Camus, and Dostoyevsky, I became fascinated by absurdism, existentialism, and the like. The specific idea that became the driving force behind Icarus Never Flew ‘Round Here is the clarification Jean-Paul Sartre provided for existentialism in a famous speech turned essay titled Existentialism Is a Humanism. It was there that he outlined that people traditionally believed that our essence precedes our existence, meaning that the idea and purpose of human beings was conceived in a creator’s mind before we were born. Existentialism posits that the order is reversed, that we exist and then it is us who determines our essence.  

I wanted to critique the traditional religious view of that debate by showing the dangers of thinking god has ordained all that you do. Historically, there has been a lot of pain caused by this idea, especially because it’s so difficult to rid yourself of once the idea takes root. I believe it to still be one of the biggest cancers in modern American culture. 

Dale Samuel is an interesting character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development? 

Toughness and self-sufficiency are probably Dale’s two defining characteristics. And although Dale is rather rough around the edges from the beginning, those characteristics give him a nobility that I think readers can respect. He is in some ways an ode to the kinds of hardworking, rural people that can be found in the wide-open spaces of Idaho and Oregon and, of course, the rest of “Middle America”.  

Eventually, Dale’s toughness and self-sufficiency work against him, as it does with many of us stereotypically stubborn Americans, because he thinks he can figure everything out by himself. Or, when rather humble and undecided, he tends to go with his gut instinct to break the tie. It’s through this type of thinking that I critique all of us who find the meaning in life’s events that we desire to exist. We create our own meaning but think that we’ve discovered god’s, which creates a sense of elation that few recover from.  

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

Demonstrating the flaws of thinking our essence precedes our existence is the central theme, which is why the novel is told non-linearly and why there is no real inciting incident. I attempted to marry content and form by having the reader witness events in Dale’s life without knowing why they were happening. The why, or the essence, comes after the event as you piece things together. So, that theme dictated not only what the novel is about but also how I constructed it and sequenced the final product. 

Another more subtle theme, that’s also prevalent in my first novel Ways and Truths and Lives, is the idea that everyone possesses little bits of relevant truths. If we pay attention to all of Dale’s encounters, all the people he comes into contact with dispense tiny fragments of wisdom. Wisdom that could have saved Dale a lot of trouble if he wasn’t so headstrong. This is a lesson to us all, and through it I try to celebrate the idea of democracy merged with the more Eastern idea of multisided truth. 

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available? 

I have a third novel idea that is now mostly in note form, although a few practice chapters have been drafted. It will center on a priest who has lost his faith and a whole host of characters that come to him for guidance. The book, as I see it now, will center on how the church (at large, not specifically Catholicism) represses our sexuality in unhealthy ways. That project is, however, probably several years away. 

What you’ll most likely see from me first is a book of poetry, which I hope to have fairly ready after I finish my master’s in creative writing (2024). The bulk of my poetry centers on the idea that absent and/or delinquent fathers are a perfect metaphor for a god, assuming one exists, that has abandoned us (i.e., the Christian god). 

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

Dale Samuel speaks to the horizon.

Years of living and ranching in the lonely and desolate Oregon High Desert has given Dale plenty of time to think. He specifically ruminates and wrestles with the idea of whether he and his wife Janice are cursed like all of humankind, or if somehow they are different—special even. Armed with only a thimble full of theological understanding, Dale must figure out whether he indeed has a preordained essence or if he simply exists, and what the consequences of either would be.

Dale’s inevitable descent into frustration and erratic behavior illustrates the irony that so many of us are guilty of: when we try to emulate the idea of god that we’ve developed in our mind based mostly on intuition, we end up becoming servile to an idea, the results of which often ripple and reverberate in disastrous ways.

The only question is, does the horizon say anything back?

The Big Picture

The Big Picture is a thought-provoking picture book that asks readers to reflect on their life. The book starts with The Big Bang. Because of the way the book started, I thought this was going to be an educational book about space, but with a few questions and the turn of one page, this short book turns into a contemplative journey that will inspire self-reflection and have readers wondering if they’ve lived their best life.

Every page in this colorful book is wonderfully illustrated; well, all pages except one black page that is surprisingly potent for being blank. The journey through the birth of the universe and the beginning of humanity does a fantastic job of setting the stage for the profound questions that will follow. The author helps readers see just how small we are in the universe, but also how lucky we are to be alive.

This is a picture book, so I had assumed this was going to be a children’s book. While you could read this to children, as I think they will be able to understand what’s happening and understand the questions as well, I think this book is just as powerful and moving for adults.

The Big Picture is a profound and intellectually-invigorating book that accomplishes so much in so few pages. It’s educational with its few science facts, it’s a meditative experience with the way it draws you in and makes you focus on an idea, and it’s a bit of a self-help book as well. This book is perfect for anyone that is struggling to find satisfaction or meaning in life.

Dread in the Dark

It is incredibly difficult to go from being an only child to having a new baby sister. With a new sibling, sometimes the older one has to move into a new room; this can be an exciting and scary time, especially when there is a dark monster hiding under the bed. In Dread in the Dark by Tuula Pere, Elliot finds himself in his brand-new room, which he absolutely adores playing in while it’s daytime, but when night falls, and it’s time to head to bed, the growls coming from under his bed causes the allure of a new room to be frightened right out of him.

The author takes us on an emotional journey of going through the jealousy of having to share the limelight with a new baby in the family to growing older and having a new bedroom further away from the safety of your parents’ room. With the baby needing lots of attention and care, Elliot worries that now being so far from his parent’s room, his pleas for help at night will go ignored. When his dad comes in to put an end to the mystery of this dark monster under Elliot’s bed, Elliot expresses his fears and concerns, and his dad solves the puzzle leaving Elliot feeling heard and cared for.

It is critical for children to know their worries and fears are heeded and understood, and even more imperative when a new baby is taking away any extra attention the child would have had before the baby. I love how the author was able to display the significance of that fact by using a very relatable situation of being a small child afraid of a new room with new sensory things happening.

Dread in the Dark is a wonderful picture book that helps children identify their feelings and shows them that their feelings are valid. It also teaches children how to work through the emotions they have in a productive and safe way that will help them build social skills and self-confidence.

Pages: 34 | ISBN : 9523254464

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