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FAMILY TREE: A Relationship Story ~Susan Wiggs

Monday, August 15th, 2016

“Susan Wiggs is the #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of more than fifty novels, with her books in print in thirty countries.  A native of a small town in upstate New York, she now lives with her husband at the water’s edge on an island in Puget Sound, and in good weather can commute to her writers’ group in a twenty-one-foot motorboat.  A former teacher and graduate of the University of Texas and Harvard, Susan is also an avid hiker, an amateur photographer, a good skier, and cautious mountain biker – yet her favorite form of exercise is curling up with a good book. (From the book jacket)

FAMILY TREE is just a lovely read and it was such a pleasure to curl up and enjoy each page on a rainy summers day.  The story unfolds in a small rural community in Vermont, on a farm dedicated to Maple Syrup and healthy lifestyles.  Annie is the girl who drives herself to do everything well and is determined to follow her passion into a big career in the media.  She has learned under the careful tutelage of her Grandmother the ‘Art of Baking’ and she has an innate skill for the craft.

FAMILY TREE is a generational story, which includes the art of creating Maple Syrup to the art of building family relationships that grow and do not consume.  There is considerable wisdom shared in the gentle writing style through the school years, college years and into career building.  Will family patterns repeat and continue into future problems?   What will be success for the family, each character and for the community?

I learned a great deal about the small family farmer, the maple sugar industry, distilling and cooking.  The book came complete with recipe cards for some of the amazing meals served up between the pages.  The book is also about persevering and adapting to change happening to and around each of the characters. A very nice study and I am sure many readers will want this story to come true for them selves.

When I leave the movies it takes a minute or two to come back into the present tense.  It is the same with FAMILY TREE.  The story suspends time and relaxes the reader; taking them away from their own life and problems delightfully.  I am sure it is another bestseller in the making and I can recommend it.  I have not made any of the recipes but I did enjoy FAMILY TREE with several cozy cups of tea.

TLC Book Tours sent me a print copy of this book for review.

Related:
The Restaurant Critic’s Wife
Language Arts
Animal Dreams

THE LIGHT OF GRACE: Journeys of an Angel ~Kasey Claytor

Monday, July 18th, 2016

“The Light of Grace is an amazing journey through space and time and the most incredible journey of all – the one within.” – Mark Anthony, The Psychic Lawyer

THE LIGHT OF GRACE produces a number of hopeful feelings as one reads through each story.  The book is long and I needed to have set aside more time for reading as the stories held a denseness of ideas and lots of details.  Switching through various time periods gave a progression of history and as I always have a problem with time in metaphysical/ spiritual writings there was some confusion for me.  Mixing up the different stories seemed to decrease the concern.

Grace is becoming an angel and she is “assigned” 4 humans to mentor in 4 different time zones.  I believe this paragraph from the cover explains it with more clarity:

“THE LIGHT OF GRACE takes readers on an epic spiritual adventure as Grace, a newly-assigned angel, is given four humans to guide: Mumbi, an innovative prehistoric girl guided to break through limitations; Garth, a devout 14th century Christian who questions his faith; Arnina, a sensitive woman in the 21st century who seeks to rid herself of anxiety and fear; and Alistair, an extraordinary man living in the 26th century who explores the planes of consciousness.”

I would have liked this story better if there had been a chapter of explanation or introduction to the book before I began.  It was too much to just dive in and I did not find it similar to Dr. Wayne Dyer’s or Deepak Chopra’s work.  I did appreciate the story and yet it did take me a long time to get connected.  The reviews on Amazon are nearly all 5 stars and extremely positive.

Larissa Ackerman of the Claire McKinney PR firm sent me a copy of this book for review.    I have enjoyed all the books they have sent but I am not sure I was the right reviewer for this particular book.  I only dabble in metaphysics.  Very good storytelling and interpretations, the individuals were well explored and expressed. There was simplicity in each story, which provided several interpretations and clarity.  I was happy to read the book and for the opportunity.

Kasey Claytor is a metaphysical teacher, certified meditation instruction, money manager, and inspirational speaker.  She loves to teach others ways to find happiness and has penned several books on prosperity and spirituality, including THE 7 LAWS OF RAISING FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT KIDS and THE GOD OF ANNA. Claytor lives with her husband and dog on a lagoon in Florida.

Kasey Claytor Facebook

Related:
The Secrets of Your Immortal Self
The Courage to Be Free
A Pocket Guide to Manifesting
A Short Path To Change

Repost: How We Make Decisions and Changes

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Decision DiagramsThe book for today, because of a typo was delivered to someone else’s address – twice.  So I have moved that review to another day and thought I would repost this workshop lecture I gave in 2008, as I have used this model about 20 times in 2015 and know that others might also find useful another look. Here Goes!

Early in my years of education, I had a Social Work Professor who taught a whole week of classes on how people make change and decisions in their lives. This teacher had sociology studies, psychological studies, historic studies, and abnormal behavioral science studies all included in her efforts. My classmates and I were to write a 5 page paper summarizing her work and adding our own research and thoughts about how people make decisions and changes in their lives.

I love to write and yet still found myself floundering in figuring out what I was going to say about this subject. I spent 2 pages summarizing all the things I learned in the lecture series and then another 2 pages summarizing my research and still had no thoughts about what to say about my own conclusions.

I started to draw a picture of all the words that were included in the summaries and I noticed that if I gave the words different sizes that a form was taking place. A triangle balanced on point was the first shape. I then took the shape and added another shape of words on top of the widest part of the triangle and a Diamond shape emerged. I had put 2 forms to indicate 2 kinds of processes that are used to make a decision or change… hmmm! Let’s look at those words and forms:

Now I had created two forms which summarized all the information I had learned about change and decision making and put them into a simple step by step format for moving forward. Except that I was missing out on one kind of decision making change process that is either a joy or a problem. I wanted to pass this paper so I needed to figure out how to symbolize the process for little decisions and ideas. First I called it the $10 decision: If you did not need your $10 in your pocket to pay some other bill, then you could jump in and make a spontaneous decision on something you found to enjoy for $10. I decided I would call that the JUMP decision.

The hard part about the JUMP decision is that it is only good for those little choices that you can cover easily. If you don’t have $10 extra and spend the $10 in your pocket in a jump decision it throws all your bigger decision off balance – you lose the point of sharpness of your other decisions. It is the type of decision that ruins the best laid plans, the New Year’s resolution and family budgets in just a split second. It can cause a halt to a whole lifetime of future decisions too.

I have used these three models over the past 40 years of practice and work endeavors. I have used these models to set up budgets and help institutions make change. The only time they fail me is when I throw a JUMP decision into the Triangle or Diamond at the wrong place and throw the whole plan off balance.

The first week of May I went to a workshop on how Institutions make change and progress. Guess What! Though the language/words used were in the context of the institutions needs, after two hours, I came away with the Diamond, the Triangle and the JUMP decision/ change process.

Here is an example of a 17 year old boy working on the Diamond Decision Making Model

  1. Idea – what will I do with the rest of my life or life after High School?
  2. Creating Possibilities:
    I could: become a mechanic
    go to college
    be a Doctor
    become Peter Pan and never grow up
    join the military
    travel
    hang out with friends
    drink beer – as soon as I turn 21
    get married
    perform in a rock band
    be an actor
    take a career interest survey
    work at fishing
    become a millionaire
    become a parent
    invent video games
    just be a gamer
    (the possibilities might just be endless)
  3. Researching possibilities
    take a career planning survey
    take an interest survey
    lists your strengths and weaknesses
    ask your friends what you should do
    visualize you in 5 years in 10 years
    how will you pay your way? include health ins./ living expenses/ food/ shelter/ clothing
    I will take a class on how to make decisions
    I will look at trade school and colleges
    Go to the military recruiters but not until the last minute and if that is my choice
  4. Interviewing People
    an important step: will his parents be able to help with college expenses? or help write grants
    will he find his personality is not compatible with his interest – vocation choice vs hobby choice
    can he do a work experience or Internship in that area and see if that is what he likes
    do other people have good ideas about fund raising for this kind of training
    suggestions for training programs
    many business will pay for your education if you prove to be a good employee
    give other suggestions and encouragement for the process
    what have they found to be true in living out their life or career
    information interviews with people living life in the path you would like to take or on a specific job
  5. Sorting and Gleaning the Ideas
    very hard process and often takes some alone time or journal writing time
    very often some little magic will happen at this point in your life
    the answer will just come to you when it is right and many things will just fall into place.
  6. The Decision and the Changes will take place
    Then you start the process and go through the Triangle or Diamond model again to get launched.

This is just one example but just think what might happen if people made a jump decision at 17 and discovered they were now going to be a parent? or they just bought a car they can not make payments on? or they bought a house without figuring out that the promises were not real? (A lot of folks just did this – the current mortgage crisis) Got to watch out for those Jump Decisions!

Related:
Shiny Objects

The Antigone Poems ~Marie Slaight (Illustrated by Terrence Tasker)

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

“I deem this a holy book – written in ecstasy and the madness of genius.” – Grace Cavalieri

I am in the grip of a striking pain in my spine and I think I can’t make one more minute of breath. Then I remember the story of Antigone, a Greek tragedy, and I am reminded I need to read a new book of poems.

THE ANTIGONE POEMS is a stunning book of art and words based on the Antigone tragedies. We are right there with the King, losing his entire family, and yet gaining wisdom. My pain breaths in and out with the concise brutality of the drama written in the words. Slaight has a mastery in writing of rebellion and anger and confusion, a revolution into incredible words. Each section is illustrated by Terrence Tasker’s drawings, masks really. So a Greek tragedy comes to life in new form. My pain is divided with each stanza into small molecules. Now appealing, I open and close the book to drop into the reading and the release of my physical pain.

This book is a keeper. I don’t imagine it as a gift and yet, for anyone working through pain or hard decisions, it certainly is a guide. I thank TLC book tours for having the authors send this beautiful tome in a timely manner. As I heal, I am keeping it by my side as reference – the breath heals, the words ameliorate the incision.

MARIE SLAIGHT (1954 – ) has worked in Montreal, New Orleans, and Buenos Aires as a writer, producer and performer for film, theatre and music. Her poetry has appeared in American Writing, Pittsburgh Quarterly, Poetry Salzburg, The Abiko Quarterly, New Orleans Review and elsewhere. Slaight is currently the director of Altaire Productions & Publications, a Sydney-based arts production company.

Terrence Tasker (1947 – 1992) was raised in rural western Canada and went on to become a self-taught artist and filmmaker. He co-founded and built the original Studio Altaire, a 90-seat theater and visual art gallery in 1980’s Montreal. He made a series of short films, worked as a set builder in theater and film and held various jobs in construction, mining, finance and industrial installations.

Related Reading:
The Robot Scientists Daughter
I Regret Everything
Doll God