Perfect: A Path to Love, Forgiveness and Transformation by Judi Miller is a combination of memoir and a spiritual and motivational self-help book. The main focus is learning how to actually feel your emotions in your body rather than creating negative stories in your head about the events that caused the emotion. The author tells of her personal journey to overcome fear and find her purpose and the path that led her to become the person she was meant to be. The book is divided in to three parts and at the end of each section, Judi provides exercises to put the principles she describes into practice to benefit the reader. Additional resources at the back of the book include a list of her mentors and their websites.
I liked reading about the different people that helped Judi on her journey, especially her healer, Diana, and Spencer the dog. A few of the names that were mentioned were ones that many readers will recognize, since they are well known persons. But most of the names were new to me. I was inspired by the way that Judi kept working to process her feelings despite obstacles and setbacks. One example is how she had to accept that she might never learn all the answers about the secrets she discovered in her family’s past. I liked how she acknowledged that she still struggles at times, but she does not allow that to make her give up.
Judi hid so much from her family and friends and she never mentioned sharing any these things with them in the end, which I would have liked to see. She felt so close with her healer that she could talk about all this to Diana even though it was sometimes delayed. It was mentioned multiple times that Judi did not feel as though she could share the things she was going through with her family because of the fear that she would not be believed or they would not understand.
Perfect: A Path to Love, Forgiveness and Transformation is an uplifting memoir detailing an inspirational personal testimony that affected me greatly. Judi Miller’s impassioned book will take readers on a compelling and contemplative journey that will stay with them long after they are done reading.
Pages: 207 | ASIN: B08CWTLH78
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The Unexpected Journey: Fire and Gold details the obstacles you faced trying to protect and provide for your daughter. Why was this an important book for you to write?
It was important for me to share our story because I encountered several parents over the past few years who’s children were victims of sexual assault and rampant bullying. Some of those parents did all that they could to protect their children only to lose them to suicide. Other parents followed a path similar to myself in going through all of the proper channels of authority only for the systems to fail them. Some of those children committed suicide too while others became addicted to drugs and alcohol in an effort to numb their pain. Another subset of parents simply didn’t know what to do and they desperately cried out for help. I helped as many of them as I could on a one to one basis but I found that it wasn’t effective enough. I truly needed to elevate my voice and expose Haelee and myself to help the most people.
Moving along, Haelee published a book entitled The Rules of a Big Boss: A book of self-love on June 25, 2020. That book is a self-help manual for young and adult women to maximize higher levels of self esteem. She was very transparent in it in recounting her issues with low self-esteem, sexual assault, etc and how she overcame it all. People that read it clamored for me to share the rest of the story from my perspective. I was reluctant to do so initially because I wanted to save everything for a future autobiography that she and I would write. COVID and being unemployed allowed a lot of free time hence I decided to share a portion of that future autobiography in the form of a memoir with hopes to help others in their journey particularly those that are struggling with anxiety and depression. I will be submitting that book for a Literary Titan Review within the coming weeks.
You wrote this book with your daughter. What was the writing collaboration process like?
The collaboration process involved a little bickering back and forth between us because I speak one way and she speaks another (Ref: Venus vs Mars). We resultantly had a few starts and stops so that cooler heads could prevail in our tug of war of strong wills. I’m happy that we went through it however because the entire writing experience actually bonded us closer than we were before.
What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?
The most important idea was that Fire has three purposes. It can be used to cook, burn, or give light. Cooking is obvious so I won’t get into that. The burning process is important to note however because we all go through trials and tribulations in life. Those trials and tribulations will burn us if we lose sight of God in the experience. Fire will purify us and light our path however if we keep our eyes focused on Him. In so doing He will allow us to walk out of the fire as he did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We will come out as purified Gold when it’s all over. Given those sentiments we should never give up on the journey. We should fight forward knowing that our pain has a purpose. The end result of that purpose will be precious to behold.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?
My daughter is the one true gift that I have short of my salvation in Christ. With that being said, I felt like I was going to lose her every day to either suicide or murder. I thought that I had moved past the trauma but some of it still lingers. I literally burst into tears with each keystroke as I recounted the horrors of that portion of the story. I got stuck there and almost gave up the writing process because it was so painful. My friends Kiescha Cherry, Genesis Amaris Kemp, and my editor, Shanique MJ Davis helped me push that pain point however in reminding me that our story needed to be told so that it could help others.
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Despite My Odds is a candid and heartfelt retelling of your tumultuous upbringing and the difficult path that led to love and success. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I have always been a helper and wanted to show others the power to move forward lies within. My life has always had purpose, but it took me a long time to really embrace that idea. In telling my story, I gained ownership of everything that happened to me. The transparency freed me in a way I had never felt before. Many have had similar challenges, yet struggle with the courage to tell their story-to define their worth and walk in power. These are the people I held in my heart as I wrote my story.
There were many points in my life that I could have ended up on the other side of the statistics. My grandma used to tell me she was so happy I wasn’t somewhere crouched in a corner after being raped. Despite My Odds proves that we can break the cycle of despair and live a better life.
What do you feel is a common misconception people have about abusive relationships?
Oftentimes, there is the misconception that there was something the victim/victor did to provoke the abuse. Some think it is easy to just leave, just pick up the pieces and go. Perhaps outsiders don’t understand the components and levels of abuse. Abusers teach you to abuse yourself. When you feel you are nothing, how do you leave? How do you get the strength to move on? A bird with a broken wing cannot fly.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What were some key ideas that you wanted to express in your book?
Thank you! I spent too many years trying to fit the mold others created for me. Just as the raw memories erupted, I wanted my readers to feel the sting of the details. It is important to truly love yourself, and no matter how bad your past seems, know that you can still shine.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from your memoir?
I hope readers feel empowered after reading my book.
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One Fine Day inspires readers to overcome adversity and embrace life by sharing candid but ultimately uplifting stories from your life. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I felt grateful and thankful that I had survived the massive and rare stroke and was fortunate to have this second lease on life. I had done so many treatments/therapies in Western and Eastern medicine to help me heal my mind, body, and spirit. I wanted to give back to society somehow by sharing my stories, experiences, lessons learned from my journey to help others going through any adversity or life changes. I also wrote it as a letter of gratitude to the hundreds of compassionate caregivers, family, friends, colleagues, and supporters in both my adopted country and my country of birth. As I wrote the memoir, I also realized that doing it was also helping my healing.
I appreciated the personal stories you shared in the book. What was the hardest part of yourself to share with readers?
I am a very private person by nature. As I was documenting very openly many personal things in my life, it definitely made me anxious and that was the hardest part. The other thing which was hard for me was to decide on whether to use real or fictitious names for family, friends, and the various health care providers and caretakers in India and the US to ensure their privacy. In the end I decided to use real names for some – first or last names only, but for others used full names when it was required. It just did not feel right using fictitious names. Also I wanted to thank the many people who aided in my recovery and saved my life.
What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?
There were many ideas,tips and suggestions I wanted to share based on my experience. So through out the book I included them in a grayed out text box.
Some ideas/tips were:
- The importance of enrolling in Long Term Disability Insurance (LTD) during Open enrollment. Many folks don’t do it or not aware of it.
Thank goodness I had signed up for it. It has kept me afloat.
- The importance of talking with a clinical psychologist to help you heal from whatever adversity or life changes you are facing.
- The importance of doing yoga and meditation to give you the best chance to heal your mind, body and spirit.
- The importance of being independent in your healing – ordering online groceries using Instacart, and using Uber to go about doing your business.
- The importance of contributing to Social Security from your paycheck and how the benefits you receive are not a handout by the government, but based on what you pay in to the system.
- The importance of periodically eating and finishing food from the fridge and pantry first and then only order new groceries.
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?
That we all are one fine day from a new normal and we have to be prepared to accept those life changes with positivity, grace and gratitude.
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In The Typhoon’s Eye is a memoir of your young life and shows you overcame many obstacles. Why was this an important book for you to write?
Initially, I considered the idea of writing this memoir because I felt it important for me to share my beginnings with my adult children and my siblings. Then this idea snowballed once friends and colleagues added their encouragement. I found it personally satisfying to capture in writing the culture of my hometown, especially since many of these aspects are now fading. Despite the unpleasant realities of my upbringing, I also wanted to offer tribute to my parents and present what they saw as sacrifices for our own good and a future better than their own. Years later as an adult, I understood that everything they did for me was an expression of a love only they knew.
What is one piece of advice that you wish someone had given you when you were younger?
One piece of advice that I wish someone had given me when I was a young adult was to never self-doubt myself as far as my intuitive ability was concerned, and to withhold trust in people until trustworthiness is proven. It’s a big part of my nature to easily trust people, in general, when I was younger. As an older adult, I realized that that attitude may have come from seeing the world through my own vision as an optimist, or relying too much on my unrelenting faith. I know now that that trait can be a double-edged sword.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?
The hardest thing for me to write about in my book was the scenarios when my father was drunk and violent towards my sisters and me, the worst of them was when he tied my 11 year old sister to a post while he whipped her with a leather belt until she passed out. I felt helpless because I was not there, and yet it was harrowing for me to hear it from my mother who told me how it happened. Rage and extreme sadness about that incident stayed with me for a long time. Writing In The Typhoon’s Eye has not only made me realize that I buried those emotions deep for many years but has also offered catharsis and healing.
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?
I believe that my story will benefit anyone facing a difficult change in life. Dilemmas related to generational and cultural expectations often conflict with personal goals and create needs for adjustment. I hope to offer relatable lessons in coping with and widening one’s extremely narrowed options. I want to reach out to my fellow nurses who have silent dreams and tell them that anything is possible. To everyone who sacrifices being away from loved ones, that it is okay to do it for a greater purpose. To anyone who finds himself trapped in an endless cycle of work to survive, that there is always a better option, if you open your heart and mind and conquer your fear of the unknown.
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Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Having a Bad Life is an emotional and engrossing memoir of your life. Why was this an important book for you to write?
My entire life I’ve been depressed and often referred to as a “sad sack.” I wanted to tell my story of two powerful addictions and recovering from them, but I wanted to follow the trail back to when the problems began. I didn’t expect to go back to age 4 as the first time I felt depressed and worthless. From there, the problems just snowballed through psychological abuse, self-esteem issues, broken relationships, and finally to sex and Crystal meth addiction.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to share in this memoir?
I was nervous about sharing the drug addiction as very few people knew I was going through that. As I state in the book, my employer, Disney, had no suspicions whatsoever. It was quite a feat to be a hardcore user and keep my job. I’m ashamed of myself for becoming an addict, but like the childhood abuse, I feel it was thrust upon me. And in the case with meth, it’s perhaps the most addictive drug and it truly only takes one hit to be hooked.
What do you hope is one thing that readers take away from your book?
I hope that readers will find hope in my story that recovery is possible. Yes, faith played a major role in my recovery, but as I tried to make clear, I was on a hit-or-miss basis with God my entire life. Some readers felt that my quitting meth cold turkey with God’s help made the book too “Jesus-y.” And that has been a turnoff for some LGBTQ readers. Conversely, Christian readers have been offended by the gay content. Apart from these two opposing camps, I just wanted to share hope.
What is a piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were younger?
I was given plenty of advice throughout my life like, “stop being depressed,” “just believe in yourself,” “have confidence,” “stop being so negative,” and so forth. What I wish I had been told was that none of the bad stuff in my childhood was my fault. Perhaps my story would not have included self-hatred, suicidal thoughts, and addiction.
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In the Typhoon’s Eye by Bles Chavez-Bernstein is an impassioned memoir delineating the author’s difficult childhood, and how she overcame her circumstances to fulfill her dreams. Throughout the book, we find images of physical and emotional trauma and relentless struggle with poverty, portrayed from the viewpoint of an immigrant. This story is immensely powerful and unique in its own way. We see the author stick to her faith and how, with determination and perseverance, she goes on to become a mental health and addiction nursing specialist.
This is an emotional coming-of-age story tracing the journey of the author from childhood to adulthood. The passage is tainted by alcohol abusing parent, post-war trauma, impoverished conditions at home, and numerous other adverse aspects. The pages are colored with the unique vibe of the author’s early days in Ocampo. The vivid description of these locations takes us through a mini tour of this distinct place and allows us to peek into the lives of a generation tarnished by the Second World War.
The characters of the memoir are as authentic as they could get. The perspective of the author is the most predominant here, and at every stage of life, we can see her growing into a strong personality who doesn’t let her circumstances limit her goals. The story teaches readers to stay headstrong when life hits hard, and shows how to rise above these situations with sheer grit. Readers are bound to be inspired by the author’s dedication to her dreams and passions. Stories like these instill faith in the power of hard work, even when the world tries to pull us down.
The language used throughout the book is simple but graceful, ensuring readers understand every bit of this observant memoir. The flow of ideas from one stage of the author’s life to another has been portrayed in a realistic manner. The passages are full of emotions and bear the sign of all the sacrifices the author had to make for having a troubled home and something as grave as the post-war depression engulfing her life. Her selfless love for family and commitment to her passion helped her move forward in life and ultimately led her to become successful on her own terms.
The skilled handling of the setting, the characters, the storyline, and most importantly the message of inspiration communicated throughout the book makes In the Typhoon’s Eye a must-read.
Pages: 228 | ASIN: B08KQLV4Q7
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A Turbulent Mind: My Journey to Ironman 70.3 shares your inspiring story that will encourage triathletes and motivate any reader. Why was this an important book for you to write?
When I visited India in September 2018, after finishing my first Ironman 70.3 race, I was asked numerous questions by people about open water swimming and what it takes to do a triathlon. Many expressed their fear towards water which prohibited them from even learning how to swim. There were others who were keen to participate in a triathlon someday. I could empathie with their concerns since I too had similar inhibitions. At that time, I decided to pen down my triathlon journey-how I overcame my fear of open water swimming and went on to do a grueling race like the Ironman 70.3 in a year’s time. Barring one or two, there weren’t too many books on triathlons written by Indians and that too by recreational athletes. My purpose of penning down this book was a way to reach out to other aspiring triathletes to inspire them to overcome their fears and reach their goal. Incidentally even non-runners or non-triathletes have managed to resonate with the book.
What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you before training for a triathlon?
For a triathlon and especially Ironman 70.3 race, you end up doing two workouts in a day. At one point, I felt I had no time for anything else. I wish someone had advised me on how to balance your time between training and your personal and professional life.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What were some moments that were important for you to share in this book?
Thank you. Yes, while writing memoir, it’s important to be honest and authentic. Only then will readers be able to relate and empathize with your journey. Some of the most important moments that I wanted to share in this book was the loneliness that I experienced in the Bay Area, particularly amidst the Business School community. The feelings of depression and loneliness was what steered me towards a triathlon in the first place. Another important moment was to write about my childhood fears, my first open water swim and my decision to almost give up my Ironman 70.3 dream. These were also hard to write as there was always this fear of what reads would think of me. Would I seem too whiny? At the end of the day, I am glad I wrote them as these were some of the important moments in my journey.
What are your future triathlon plans?
I will continue doing Olympic distances and Ironman 70.3 races. My ultimate goal is to do a full Ironman which is the 140.6 distance. Maybe in a couple of years down the line. My target race is Ironman California.
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