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Fit For Off-Duty: A Manual for Firefighters

I love how Dr. Peter Salerno has tackled the subject of mental health in his book Fit for Off-Duty: A Manual for Firefighters: Healing from Work-Related Trauma, Restoring Personal Relationships, and Thriving at Home. The author goes above and beyond to discuss the various kinds of trauma, dealing with someone who has undergone traumatic experiences, post-traumatic stress disorder, how mental health affects our physical health, and much more. The author uses firefighting as an example to discuss the many traumas we face without knowing. While written as a book for firefighters and their families, this book can also help others who deal with trauma.

I like the statement that “Every firefighter is a trauma survivor.” Firefighters save lives every day while simultaneously battling other issues. The matters could be personal or work-related, yet they offer their services nobly. Dr. Peter Salerno digs deeper into the lives of firefighters, talking about their day-to-day life in the profession and appreciating the work they do. As a trauma specialist, Dr. Peter Salerno takes the reader through the definition of trauma, the different stages of trauma, and how we unknowingly enable trauma amongst ourselves. I like that the author uses real-life situations to expound on the topics he is talking about. Dr. Peter Salerno makes the reader understand that firefighting takes more than just physical strength. In his book, he extensively covers all the elements that good firefighters have and even extends grace to them as the selfless work they do is more than honorable.

What every reader will take from Fit For Off Duty is that we all need to be kind to each other. Dr. Salerno preaches kindness throughout the book. I appreciate the stories he shares in the book and his knowledge and advice about trauma, including things to look for in off-duty behavior that may be signs of trauma. As a trained trauma therapist, Dr. Salerno has pointers on handling individuals haunted by past trauma.

Fit for Off-Duty: A Manual for Firefighters: Healing from Work-Related Trauma, Restoring Personal Relationships, and Thriving at Home is a book for everyone concerned about their mental well-being, learning when to ask for help and how to improve personal relations. The author’s step-by-step approach when writing about a particular topic and how he gives practical solutions are invaluable.

Pages: 61 | ASIN : B09NCCD8VM

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Look Inside Yourself for Healing

Ashley Bernardi  Author Interview

Authentic Power: Give Yourself Permission to Feel offers science-based facts and solutions that help readers start their personal journey towards healing. Why was this an important book for you to write?

This is the book I wish I had when I was going through my health crisis of Lyme disease and postpartum depression. I also felt called to write this in the early days of the pandemic when I found myself faced with familiar feelings: Anxiety, grief, confusion, despair, and more. Yet this time around, I gave myself permission to feel all of those messy critters, and felt called to write about my healing journey in hopes to inspire others to move through and process their feelings in healthy ways. The pandemic was a collective trauma for our world, and we as humans need to give ourselves permission to feel all of the feelings from these past two years because that is where healing and transformation will happen.

I appreciated all the references and research that went into this book. Was there anything that surprised you during your own research?

I interviewed several experts about the science behind stress and how chronic stress takes a toll on the body. Dr. Marianne Teitelbaum, an ayurvedic practitioner, discussed that stress particularly takes a toll on the immune system. Stress was a constant element in my life as a journalist, and when I look back now, it’s no surprise that the stress on my body from my career and previous life circumstances such as witnessing my father’s death later continued to my impacting my immune system, leaving my body unable to fight Lyme disease.

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

There are so many important themes that the book explored, including grief, connection, feelings, spirituality, empathy, and more.

The theme of grief was a very important subject for me to explore because I had spent most of my life burying the loss from my father at the young age of eleven years old. In chapter 6, I interviewed renowned grief therapist Edy Nathan, discussed how we can lean into the power of grief. When Lyme disease hit me on the head and death felt near, I began to revisit losing my father in a way I never had before. Instead of ignoring my feelings of grief as I had done so for more than twenty years, this was the first time I allowed myself to feel, process, and move through my grief. What I discovered was profound healing, peace, and discovery of a way to have a relationship with my father, even in death.

Another theme I felt very important to address was the importance of the power of connection to heal our lives. When I was in the throes of my health crisis, I was isolated and alone, and preferred to stay that way. But something called me to reach out to my loved ones and friends and get vulnerable about what I was experiencing. What happened next will forever be with me: I was met with open arms of compassion, love, and understanding. My connections with people deepened. I found that when you get honest and vulnerable with what you are experiencing and how you are feeling in your life, you open yourself up to deeper and more powerful connections with others.

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

As a society and culture, we are taught to look outside of ourselves for answers, especially when it comes to healing. Yet my hope is that by reading Authentic Power, readers will feel empowered and inspired to discover that we already hold those answers inside of us. We are the experts of our own lives, and when we get quiet and still, and turn off the outside noise, therein lies our Authentic Power, which is the wisdom we have within each of us. We need to learn to trust that wisdom and once we do, profound healing and transformation happens. My story and journey is a testament to that.

Author Links: GoodReads | Instagram | Facebook | Website

WHAT IF YOU ALLOWED YOURSELF TO TRULY FEEL?

Whether it’s grief, despair, or anxiety, society will always find a way to label feelings as “messy.” But burying these reactions only leads to greater emotional turmoil. In the past, we have looked to self-help gurus like Gary Zukav, whose Seat of the Soul inspired Oprah Winfrey to help America process trauma. So why did that book resonate with her, and what does everyone still love about Oprah? It’s not that she’s rich or that she’s successful…it’s her authenticity. She taps into what she has described in her SuperSoul Sundays as Authentic Power: uniting all the pieces of herself so that she’s always bringing her whole self to everything she does. Oprah didn’t ignore her messy feelings: she shared them with America, and she processed and integrated them in order to tap into her own authentic power. She became her authentic self, which exudes from her in every second that you see her.

In Authentic Power: Give Yourself Permission to Feel, accomplished entrepreneur, journalist, publicist, and award-winning podcaster Ashley Bernardi continues the brave work of these great thought leaders by teaching you that your darkest hours are disguised opportunities to uncover and process, feel, heal, and grow.

Bernardi’s personal journey began when she witnessed her father’s sudden death at age eleven. Years later, a mysterious illness began a personal quest toward healing and taught her that trauma and adversity can be sources of strength and self-discovery. Through daily affirmations and writing prompts, you will discover Ashley Bernardi’s F.E.E.L. Framework:

Focus
Enter
Experience
Learn

You will explore chapters such as:

Embrace the Waves of Emotions

Lift the Emotional Fog

Make Space for the Brave Conversations

The F.E.E.L. Framework

Balanced Body, Balanced Heart

Discover Your Deeper, Powerful, Self

Exercise Your Empathy


As the founder of a national media relations and publicity firm, Ashley has the privilege of access to many of the world’s leading experts in health and wellness who offered healing and hope with her personal challenges—a rich collection of top doctors, neurologists, psychologists, nutritionists, coaches, spiritualists, and others. She shares their profound wisdom so that you can build hope during your times of struggle.

Bernardi searched for true healing and growth for more than twenty years; Authentic Power equips you with the tools to ignite your own journey now.

Authentic Power

Authentic Power: Give Yourself Permission to Feel, is a thought-provoking self-help book by author Ashley Bernardi. This inspirational collection of anecdotes and affirmations is compiled in a book that is part journal and part self-help, providing information on how to handle trauma and the overwhelming emotions that go with it.

The author draws on her hurtful past experiences of witnessing her father lose his life to a fulminating heart attack when she was nine years old. She also opens up about the long process of searching for a diagnosis for a mysterious chronic illness that left her severely debilitated. Bernardi offers readers different insights and strategies that they can use to navigate stress and trauma in their lives.

This helpful book is a unique work that is different from traditional self-help books. The layout is in the form of a journal, where each chapter begins with a small introductory text and includes a paragraph with a positive affirmation to be said aloud, a quote, and a blank space where the reader is encouraged to put into practice the proposed exercise. Some examples of the exercises included are to make a list of objects for a self-care kit or to express their thoughts after their first attempts at meditation. This organization and structure makes for a safe environment where anyone can express their emotions freely, away from third-party judgments.

It should be noted that the author’s strategies and tips are validated with evidence-based data, and she makes sure to cite the sources in between pages. This makes her work stand out from other self-help books that might rely more on religious doctrine and be as adamant about following scientific guidelines.

The book includes approaches to challenges that have arisen amidst COVID-19. This updated work is another differential that will lend a hand to those struggling with social distancing and losing loved ones during the pandemic.

Authentic Power: Give Yourself Permission to Feel is a secular, science-based self-help book for those that are looking for a fresh approach to dealing with grief and trauma. Readers will learn how to build emotional wellness through the steps set forth in this well-researched book.

Pages: 195 | ASIN : B09FTLLSLM

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NO ONE walks alone!

Author Interview
Nina Norstrom Author Interview

Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoeprints That Matters is a very personal story for you. How hard was it to put this story out in the world for people to read?

Firstly, you must know that I grew up in a house full of secrets. Whatever went on in the family, we were taught to keep it in the home. So, as an adult and a single parent, I was compelled to live a secretive and private life. I made a practice to rarely reveal what was happening in our lives. Even back then, those that knew of me had very little knowledge about me.

Secondly, for many decades, my journey with toxic relationships was deep seated, raw, and buried inside me. What you have to realize, I kept it all in a diary. Never realizing I was exactly telling a story about our life that would one day become an opened book to others. Unknowingly, this writing was a healing medium that many may have called writing therapy.

Initially, during the editing phases, all I could do was cry, cry, and cry while trying to relive those painful and hurtful events. There was an instance, I recall when the editor and I had bumped heads; since I could not break through those raw emotions to express my thoughts clearly and precisely. It was extremely bad that the publisher had to intervene. After the conversation with her, she had me to take four days off to recover from that ordeal.

Finally, once we’d gotten back to the writing, I still couldn’t break through those unsettling emotions. It was then I came up with a conclusion to take the portion out. Therefore, I wrote in its chapter titled, Finding Peace and Comfort.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

Truly, there were many challenging moments. The pain was just overly great and hurtful, I wanted to scream in an octave range; to the top of my lungs. But, I’ll share with you these crucial ones . . .

The challenges surfaced when writing about the guilt and steps taken into being someone’s mistress. Knowingly, the pain I had ‘cause another with the interference I’d made in their lives. And how horribly I’d abused myself by giving up my self-worth; self-dignity; and all those other self-dimensions one possesses. Through it all, I’ve come to realize we can be our worst abuser.

The most sharpening and piercing piece was writing the horrible news about my child. Being that parent and having to watch one so young go through a grown folk’s disease ─ can be the most devastating experience ever endured. It even breaks my heart (now) to write it here. You know, life can be so unfair? Yes, then again, whoever said life was fair?

You have to remember, I was reared in a Christian environment. So, once I let go of my religious and spiritual beliefs, there I was holding on to that poison of unforgiveness. It took decades to find my way through the darkness that kept me in a fixed space with an inability to move forward.

Finally, those years of experiencing losses took its toll traumatically, and overpowered me mentally. I had become a basket case. Surprisingly, I didn’t see that until it was on paper! To become housed living inside a world of trauma was not only terrorizing, but horrifying. Perhaps, that may be difficult for one to understand what it’s like − unless he or she has walked that journey.

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

Unfortunately, that’s a tough question, I can’t clearly say there is one thing but many . . .

It’s story speaks about the good, the bad, and the ugly stuff life throws at us. Not only that, it was raw and canned. Thinking about relationships, there’s no way to prevent an engagement with them. Every integral piece is a vital part of living, period.

Ultimately, it’s message will reveal the importance that life brings many challenges; with each there are lessons learned along the way. And with each relationship, one can learn to recognize whether it has a toxic or non-toxic impact. Flipping through those pages, it illuminates the beauty of love, compassion, courage, determination, and strength.

As an end result, I can only hope readers reach an enlightening height from the lessons learned while walking on the journey. And realize that the engagement of toxicity affects everyone in one form or another. But, know when walking, NO ONE walks alone!

What is a common misconception you feel people have about toxic relationships?

In many cases, it could be that some feel they’re making the wrong choices or poor decisions when it comes to unhealthy relationships. However, they fail to realize you don’t chose a toxic person, they chose you.

In another instance, some are failing to realize the dangerous effects their interactions play out. But first they must understand what is a toxic relationship? “A toxic relationship occurs when two or more people interact in a way that is detrimental to their life.” Or, “Anything that is poisonous and capable of causing sickness or death.” In either case, all one has to do is think about how deadly COVID-19 has impacted our lives, daily. With that in mind, it’s evidence that a toxic relationship becomes nothing to play.

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

Allowing us to learn lessons, let go of toxicity, and gain insight, relationship can play a powerful role in our lives. They are formed with people, alcohol, animals, battlefields, diseases, drugs, environments, and even our emotions. Whether toxic or nontoxic, relationships are an integral component of daily living. Author Nina Norstrom lost her child to a disease, but that wasn’t the only toxic relationship she endured. In this book, she explores the effects that her relationships with grief, pain, trauma, and forgiveness have had on her life. This tale exposes a mother’s struggle to escape her world of toxicity, her journey out of the clutches of diseased relationships, and the shoe prints the experiences have left on her family’s history. This story in its raw form projects a remarkable voice to the heroic fight, courage, and bravery gained when striking back to wipe out toxic relationships. Its message reveals that life brings many challenges and that each challenge provides lessons to be learned. This book is not intended to be a blueprint for dealing with diseased relationships. It’s about the shoe prints: those symbols of life’s journey that are left by our experiences. “Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoe Prints that Matter” is an insightful and inspiring personal story of one family’s journey through toxic relationships.

Not a Blueprint; It’s the Shoeprints That Matter

Relationships play a significant role in human experiences throughout life’s journey. Nina Norstrom, in her memoir Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoeprints That Matters refers to the toxic relationships she lives, endures, and learns through as a daughter, mate, mother, and working woman. The reader is taken on the author’s journey as they follow the shoeprints she leaves along her life path and those left behind by many others in her life. By going along with these shoeprints, the by-products of her life, readers learn about her battle against toxic relationships in various forms.

There are seventeen chapters in the memoir, which begin with an account of the author’s life. In the first nine chapters of the book, the author describes her experiences and struggles with domestic violence, both as a child witness it and in her own personal relationships. Throughout the remaining chapters, the author vividly recalls, her experiences while dealing with the toxic relationship with cancer that invades the life of her angel, her daughter.

In addition to expressing the author’s diverse emotions, the book pays homage to Nina Norstrom’s daughter, who tragically succumbed to a diseased toxic relationship in her life. My experience as a reader was emotional, and I commend the author for being open about her feelings while letting the readers inside the usually restricted area of a person’s psyche. The poems written for the departed soul of her daughter are beautifully expressed, seeping out the multitude of emotions of a parent. Moreover, the other feelings expressed in the book, whether it’s grief, anger, or resentment towards certain people, fate, or God, are raw and genuine.

This inspirational non-fiction story recounts Nina Norstrom’s journey of grief, guilt, and anger at God, to the path of finding peace with the will of God. Apart from providing solid shoes with which one can walk the hard paths of life, God also accompanies His children as they leave their shoeprints along the life journey. In the end, four appendices provide support resources, centers, and reading materials for those who are caught up in toxic relationships and would like support.

Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoeprints That Matter is a deeply personal memoir that is recommended for those who want motivation from a genuine account of a battle with toxicity and self-reflection in the aftermath of trauma.

Pages: 179 | ASIN : B016X198SO

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I Am and the Spirit Walks with Me – Trailer

Some time ago, I advanced to a new level of spiritual transformation consisting of awareness and consciousness. Many things transpired to enhance my level of consciousness and lead me to a new journey of refined cosmic consciousness. This is where spirit began to speak to me about the things I had encountered through my life’s journey. The sexual, physical, and emotional abuse traumas in my life became a way for me to help others in this world.

I had to heal myself first to help others, and it is through that healing that I became consciously aware that I was a natural healing vessel. All my traumas served to give me strength for my own spiritual journey. I now share my gift with the world to help other overcome their traumas and the negative experiences in their lives and to teach people how to thrive in this world instead rather than exist. To bring forth this information, I knew that I must speak truth, and fear could not play a part in this healing process.

In my book, I share a variety of examples that are real life-related events, and how each negative event created negative brain patterns. Negative experiences can be transformed into positive brain patterns which create a healthier way of living, and open spiritual pathways toward higher consciousness.

It feels great to be in a state of awareness, and consciousness to know where my life is heading. The things that impacted my life that kept me closed up for so many years no longer have a hold on me. It wasn’t always that way. I had taken on victim energy, and through my transformation, I learned how to release this energy and regain my power. Overcoming these traumas has opened my heart to sharing information as a healing tool for many other people.

My goal is to reach and transform as many lives as possible to awaken other people to this same level of consciousness, one soul at a time tarting with mine. I am inspired and motivated by the outer realms of my mind that which I see but may not yet be visible to others. I try to stay open at all times to receive new information to deliver to those who are open to new possibilities and want to receive healing for the body-mind-spirit.

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Angel Virus

Angel Virus: A Novella Trilogy by [Squire, Joshua]

Think of the worst scenario you could possibly imagine. Got one? Chances are Joshua Squire can think of something worse. Angel Virus, Squire’s inaugural novel, paints a nightmarish scenario: all of the world’s children suddenly, inexplicably die. And the rest of world might not be too far behind. The story follows the lives of four people (Dutch: a Wisconsin metal worker, Jin: a small business owner in Beijing, Aletta: a European pediatrician, and Aysi: a teacher at a church in Africa) all of whom are recovering from past demons when the world starts falling apart. The novel wastes little time detailing the titular epidemic that kills the world’s children before zeroing in on the lives of these four protagonists. Squire, a poet by nature, flexes his linguistic muscles best in these personal scenes. At one point I found myself wishing that Squire would show the exposition instead of telling it. But when the narration focuses in on the individual suffering, the scenes cut deep enough to make the reader yearn for the safety of the omniscient narrator.

It’s in these dark, visceral images where Angel Virus shines the brightest. Subtle details such as place names and character backstories invite close reading. But at other times the reader races forward at full speed as characters flee through the jungle, get entombed in the city, or suddenly discover that allies can become one’s worst enemies. In addition to great images, Squire successfully creates realistic characters who inspire empathy within the reader. The dialogue comes off as believable while still maintaining a poetic quality.

Unfortunately, Squire’s excellent descriptions and well written characters also work against him. Angel Virus takes place over a wide variety of settings and includes many secondary characters. All of this helps create a believable disaster on a world-scale. But trying to tackle this much material in a novella length story sometimes becomes disorienting. In addition, while each of the four protagonists add compelling drama to the story, they all follow a similar path. Since the story is relatively short, none of the protagonists are allowed to fully develop.

Overall, Angel Virus is an exciting first novel. While the scope of its story and lack of versatility in the heroes’ narratives threatens to hamper the novel, the writing is strong enough to keep the reader interested. The novel’s conclusion left me wanting more, and that’s exactly what this trilogy plans to offer. But even if you stop at its last page, Angel Virus compels you to consider the link between psychology and spirituality, the nature of good and evil, and why you should cherish your loved ones long after you finish reading it.

Pages: 96 | ASIN: B01JZXY0JY

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Destiny Revealed

Destiny Revealed by [Tremayne, Eleanor]

Gabby awakens in the ocean, frostbitten, alone and confused. As we get to know Gabriella Girard Blair we hear about her painful past and how it has propelled her life and lead her to this beach, washed up. Her most recent tragedy is losing her best friend and “female soulmate” and it seems that this is too much for her to handle. She has disappeared from her life, purposefully. She left behind a lifeless marriage and a life that seems haunted by her past. An old friend comes back in to her life and is determined to help. This is a love story, but it is also a story of self-discovery and the twists and turns in our lives, those moments that define us, changing feelings, and changing relationships and those that stay the same no matter how much time passes.

Eleanor Tremayne does a great job capturing the complexities of her characters’ relationships, which span over decades. She gives the reader an inside look into the mindset of her characters, so you can understand how their relationships and dynamics play out. The writing flows well and is not overly dense. She is a great storyteller. I love the poems that the author includes at the beginning of each chapter. They give you a little hint about what this chapter might include.

She wove the different characters and their pasts together seamlessly. If you are a fan of great character development, you will love this book. At times there were a lot of names to keep track of because she goes in to some details about their backstories and histories but once I was engaged with the characters it was fine.

There are some graphic scenes and graphic language, so this may not be appropriate for younger readers. The ending is intense and sad but has a great arch with all her characters. I loved how it ended and was hoping throughout that it would work out that way.

This was a romantic story without being over-the-top or cheesy. I also very much enjoyed how the main character was on a path of self-discovery and healing and how we got to experience how she processed this. A great original story with romance, heartache, trauma, friendship, and love. This was a fun and easy read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Pages: 372 | ASIN: B07D9YQ8BP

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