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BENEATH STILL WATERS: A Novel ~Cynthia A. Graham

Monday, March 7th, 2016

About the Author:

“As a child, Cynthia A. Graham spent every weekend and vacation in the cotton belt of Missouri where she grew to love the mystery and beauty of the stark, delta plane.  Today, Cynthia lives in St. Louis where she graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Missouri – St. Louis with a B.A. in English.  She has won several awards for her short stories and has been published in both university and national literary publication.  She is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the St. Louis Writer’s Guild. ~BENEATH STILL WATERS is her first novel.” (Cover)

Hick Blackburn has returned from World War II and has been elected Sheriff of Cherokee Crossing, Arkansas.  He is having a difficult time returning to his hometown and letting go of the war.  At 22 he is doing his very best, although he is missing his father very much.  His father the Principal of the local school was someone who Hick admired and learned from; his father died while he was off fighting.

In this small town there are lots of stories and as we mature we have to learn to let go of what we learned as a child and see the moments of reality.  This is quite a study of the good and evil within people and how they use their lives to make decisions.

Two young boys fishing at the slough find a headless baby, Sheriff Blackburn has to put all his skills into play to solve this mystery. He does not have computers or databases or even DNA testing.  Who is this child and what is the story behind her death?  This event raises the spectrum of atrocities, which he witnessed during the war and causes grief and nightmares.

There is not much work in this town and the secondary characters are not as detailed as Blackburn.  Their stories begin to fall into place during the twists as the end of the story unfolds.  The author has certainly caught the small town, southern mentality and the mythology, which can often hold a place together.  The ignorance of the community and the smallness of thinking is well exerted in the story and I found it hardly different years and years later when I was living in the area.  Beautiful part of the country and the author shares the story well

A good read and a good escape into another time period and human interaction.  Although a mystery is solved, the book is a bigger look at human behavior and the trauma of war.

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of this book for review and I enjoyed the read very much.

Cynthia A. Graham Webpage

Related:
My Sweet Vidalia
Flight Behavior
Supreme Justice

FREEDOM FROM GUILT AND BLAME ~Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Freedom from Guilt and Blame is a small book of only 46 pages, and it is a valuable tool to have on your shelf or reader.  Lots of gems are found in this self-help text and they are well explained and defined.

If I were still working as a counselor, I would have a number of copies of this book to share with clients and students.    Lancer, a lawyer turned Family Therapist has a way with words that is helpful and easy to understand.  Her definitions of guilt, blame, shame, anger and self-esteem are worth the price of ownership.  Then she takes her precise definitions and uses anecdotal evidence to show their outcome and manifestations.   One does not need to guess how guilt plays out in their own relationships and actions because of her precise explanations.

The definitions and examples are accompanied by exercises that allow the reader to fully participate in their own understanding and in changing behaviors that are not leading to healthy outcomes.   The exercises on self-forgiveness are most helpful in removing sticking points and letting go.

When I was working with teens, I would have shared copies of this book also.  I found it very valuable to give young people the facts and the coping skills to use those facts to their advantage as they grew.  Such as, most teens will experience depression as they learn deeper emotions.  They do not understand that everyone needs to learn to deal with depression and learn skills for changing those emotions and making them useful.  I would teach a session on depression with young people and then we would recognize and learn new mechanisms for behaviors and develop resilience.

Young people would learn and understand FREEDOM FROM GUILT AND BLAME; would find it useful to have on their shelf for future reference when they were caught in an emotional loop of behaviors.  When people of all ages know and understand they can make different choices.

A very helpful book to read, reference and keep handy.  Good ideas and exercises for starting a successful New Year and making changes in one’s life and behaviors.

From the book:

This is the second book I have reviewed from Darlene Lancer. “Darlene Lancer is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has helped individuals and couples improve their lives, their self-esteem, and relationships for over 27 years.  She maintains a private practice and coaches internationally.  She is an expert in the area of codependency, addiction, and relationships.  Ms. Lancer is a quoted authority and sought after speaker and lecturer at colleges, universities, and on radio.  One can read many of her articles at http://whatiscodependency.com or follow her work on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/CodependencyRecover .”

Related:
Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You
If You Leave Me Can I Come With You?

DARING GREATLY: How The Courage To Be Vulnerable Transforms The Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead ~Brene’ Brown

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013


I am a reader and life practitioner who just wants the best for people and I feel DARING GREATLY is one of the best reads and guides I could possible share with you.   I believe Brene’ Brown is defiantly on to something great and good for humankind’s best interests and outcomes.

I have reviewed Brown’s other major work The Gifts of Imperfection and was drawn into her research modes and interpretations.  Yes, I could find my own self and struggles in her words. I was not ashamed to look at my own feelings of shame, those times when I block my feelings of vulnerability, and I was challenged to evaluate my words and actions improving my outcomes and resilience.  I liked her fine-tuned definitions of words and responses; I could certainly understand how they made a difference in our conversations.  I have watched her TED TALKS numerous times, and listened to her full interview on the radio program ON BEING at least 3 times.  I have great praise for Brown’s ability to explain her data and what she understands in such incredibly human terms, so that all of us can comprehend and find useful her lessons.

In DARING GREATLY, the author has taken her research further by adding men to the studies and more interviews and by teaching and leading numerous workshops which have honed her vast knowledge into even more expository and useful words.  DARING GREATLY is a useable workbook not only for social workers but for anyone who looks to be a parent, a teacher, a human in a loving relationship and/or a leader.  This book pinpoints our control issues and politics – actually, it covers just about every way we as a people keep our actions from matching our values.

“Blaming, gossiping, favoritism, name-calling, and harassment are all behavior cues that shame has permeated a culture.”

I found myself releasing old feelings about my childhood and forgiving myself for my imperfect parenting skills when reading DARING GREATLY.   I firmly believe that children are hardwired for struggle and adversity and those are the tools which assist us in learning to be shame resilient and wholehearted people. (Author’s terminology)

This book can change lives and has changed lives and I recommend this book to everyone.  DARING GREATLY is a gift of change and an innovative approach to being the best that one can be – INSPIRING.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site, I will receive a few blooms for my bouquet.  Thank you.

This book is from my own library and I thought it was worth sharing with you.  I have already created a workshop using the information gained from Brene’ Brown’s work.

“I am Enough!”  

From Powell’s review page:
”Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. An award-winning teacher and speaker, she is also the author of The Gifts of Imperfection and I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t). Her groundbreaking work has been featured widely in the media, including a PBS special.”

TED TALK on Vulnerability
FACEBOOK

Related Reading:
The Gifts of Imperfection
The Wisdom to Know the Difference
When Women Were Birds
Search Inside Yourself