Emancipated Love Junkie

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Thank you to author Rachel Wilshusen for sending me her book, Emancipated Love Junkie, for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

 

As a blogger, I get many requests to read and review books. I love to read, however I do not have the time currently to enjoy many books, necessitating the turning down of most requests.

Occasionally, though, an author and book comes along that captivates me or touches me, even before I hold the book in my hands. Rachel Wilshusen is such an author who has written such a book.

The subject of eating disorders is not unfamiliar to me. I understand the importance of offering help to those who feel trapped by their thoughts about and perceptions of food. Rachel’s charming email, writing style and her travels intrigued me. Over the last month I have indeed held her book in my hands and carried it around with me as I read her moving memoir and followed her healing journey. I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Check out this book review for Emancipated Love Junkie.

Emancipated Love Junkie title meme

Meet Rachel Wilshusen

Rachel is a vibrant writer with liberal arts degrees from not one but three universities: University of Pennsylvania, University College London and University of Cambridge.

She’s lived on both the east and west coasts of the United States and also in the midwestern state of Oklahoma. As a young adult she traveled, living and working in Canada, England and China.

During her travels, this talented woman worked as an executive assistant, rock musician, teacher, playwright, and cookie company owner.

However, Rachel hid a secret.

For 20 years, she struggled with eating disorders, including bingeing and anorexia. Emancipated Love Junkie is a beautiful, humorous and oft times painfully honest memoir of the journey that ultimately led to her recovery.

Emancipated Love Junkie rachel
Rachel Wilshusen, author of Emancipated Love Junkie. Photo from her website.

Rachel’s Story

From her early childhood in Arizona to her travels around the world, Rachel details her shifting relationship with food. And beyond that, she shares her deteriorating relationship with herself.

Raised with an appreciation for family, homecooked meals and baked goods, Rachel felt she was a star ascending…if only others could see her the way she envisioned herself. She clung to the bright hope for her future that children instinctively possess, until life began to tarnish her vision.

The family moved frequently, due to her father’s work as an Army doctor. Rachel often felt like an outsider in new schools as she tried desperately to fit in. And yet, she experienced the warmth of a close knit family. She found pleasure in running. Beyond a doubt, she knew she was meant for so much more than standing on the fringes.

By high school, Rachel’s love/hate relationship with food began. If she could just control what she ate, and when she ate, things would change. She could be one of the popular girls, one of the “Sylvias” that seemed to have it all together.

The struggles with eating deepened. Times of starvation followed bouts of bingeing. The negative self talk began. That inner critic, which Rachel nicknamed Mal, became a constant companion.

High Highs and Low Lows

As she bounced around the US and the world, Rachel drove herself to achieve, to present herself as the best teacher, executive assistant or cookie maker. And she succeeded. Additionally, the long days and hard work helped silence her inner critic. However, those perfectionist tendencies took a toll on her physically, emotionally and mentally.

After binge eating a whole pizza one night, and feeling the agony of an overly full stomach after a day of starvation, she made a vow. No more bingeing. Ever.

Thereafter, Rachel attempted to maintain what she considered her ideal weight and size by severely limiting food intake. She appeared successful and thin and brilliant…and she was all of those things. Beneath the shiny exterior though lurked dark thoughts of failing, of not being enough, of not being worthy.

This is a healing journey, thankfully. To get to the recovery part, Rachel had to get to the face-pressed-against-the-floorboards, “I can’t do this anymore” part. She did. And when she reached out, she found help available.

Emancipated Love Junkie collect beautiful moments
Emancipated Love Junkie – collect beautiful moments

My Thoughts About Emancipated Love Junkie

Rachel’s book powerfully captures her journey to recovery and healing. I found her transparency incredibly honest and authentic. Coupled with her conversational and charming writing style, Rachel’s story is easy to read while difficult to put down. She includes Self Love Gems throughout the book that offer helpful suggestions and positive actions.

I hurt for her, as I read about her struggles with food and self worth.  I literally became aware of pressing my hand over my heart as I felt compassion for her.

And although I did not dealt with bingeing or anorexia, I had complicated relationships with food and with myself. I understand Rachel’s journey. My health shifted, for the better, when my relationship with food shifted. For most of my life, I ate foods that I knew created discomfort and inflammation in my body. Gluten and dairy products made me sick. I consumed them anyway. When I felt happy, I ate. When I felt sad, I ate. Loneliness? Boredom? The solution was always food.

I’m grateful for a healthy relationship now with food and with myself.

And I’m grateful as well for Rachel and her changed relationships with food and herself.

She has much to offer to the world. To those struggling secretly or openly with eating disorders, Rachel offers hope.

Emancipated Love Junkie book
Emancipated Love Junkie book

Purchasing Rachel’s Book

You can order Emancipated Love Junkie via Rachel’s website HERE. Or by clicking this Amazon LINK.

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

The Story Behind Little Golden Books

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

As one of my celebration activities, during the 63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday, I drew this slip of paper: Write about a topic I’ve never written about before.

I had just boxed up children’s books in my home and delivered them to my daughter, for her baby girl, Finley. Delivering the books, I wondered, When did Little Golden Books come into existence? I remembered reading them as a child. And I read them to my children and grandchildren.

That question led to research and a blog topic I’ve never written about before.

Here’s the story behind Little Golden Books.

The Story Behind Little Golden Books title meme

The Beginning of Little Golden Books

When Little Golden Books first published, in 1942, high quality books for children were expensive, averaging $2 to $3 each. Most parents couldn’t afford such books. Little Golden Books changed that, launching 12 titles in their first series.

Sold in stores where people shopped weekly, and at an extremely reasonable 25 cents each, the books gained instant popularity. Hundreds of thousands of books sold, drawing the attention of talented writers such as Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight Moon, and new author Richard Scarry. Millions of children developed a love for reading, thanks to these affordable books.

The first three titles published in 1942 included Three Little Kittens, The Little Red Hen and The Alphabet from A to Z. Each book featured brightly colored illustrations and a sturdy cardboard cover with a shiny, golden spine.

The Story Behind Little Golden Books red hen
The Story Behind Little Golden Books – The Little Red Hen

 

Little Golden Books Timeline

1940s

Just four months after their initial launch, most Little Golden Book titles are in their third printing. More than 1.5 million copies sell during that time.

In 1944, Disney publishes their first Little Golden Book, Through the Picture Frame.

1950s

In the 1950s the company celebrates its 10th anniversary with 183 million books sold. The cost is still 25 cents. Except for Russia, the books are available throughout the world.

1960s

Prices raise slightly in the 60s, to 29 cents. Due to the popularity of Saturday morning cartoons, titles include favorites such as The Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound and Tom and Jerry.

1970s

Sesame Street titles join Little Golden Books in the 1970s. And the first Barbie title is published in 1974. The price per book is now 59 cents.

1980s

In 1982, Little Golden Books celebrates its 40th anniversary, with more than 800 million books sold. Cost per book rises to 89 cents. On November 20, 1986, the one billionth Little Golden Book is printed. The Poky Little Puppy becomes the best selling children’s book of all time.

Click photo to order this title from Amazon.

2000s

By the 2000s, the company relaunches its most popular vintage books, due to consumer demand. Little Golden Books offers 1200 unique titles, priced at $2.99 each.

2010s

July 2013 sees the release of Star Wars Little Golden Books, with a Star Wars theme on the golden spines. Books are now $3.99 each. Random House publishes the New York Times bestseller, Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow.

Little Golden Books celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2017. There are 644 titles in print. Books sell for $4.99. The company continues to release new titles for today’s child. Penguin Random House is the current publisher.

A recent release, available from Amazon. Click photo to order.

A Childhood Tradition that Continues

I grew up reading Little Golden Books. My favorite titles were fairy tales and classics such as The Little Red Hen. When my family moved from Oklahoma to Missouri, in 1970, we sold our collection of books at a garage sale. Oh, how I wish I still had my childhood books!

My children grew up reading Little Golden Books as well. Their favorites included stories about animals, tie ins to television shows such Sesame Street and Pano the Train. I read The Boy with a Drum so many times that I memorized it. That book continued as an often requested read from my grandchildren. I can still quote most of the book from memory.

The Story Behind Little Golden Books vintage
The Story Behind Little Golden Books – these are vintage now and well worn from years of reading

A New Home for My Little Golden Books

With the birth of my newest granddaughter, Finley Grace, it felt like time for the collection of books to go to a new home. I boxed up the Little Golden Books along with Dr. Seuss classics and paperback favorites such as The Berenstain Bears series.

My daughter Adriel graciously accepted those books and gave them a new home in the baby’s nursery. I’m so thrilled that Adriel and her husband Nate read to Finley daily and indeed began reading to her while she was still in the womb. At almost three months old, she loves books already.

My oldest child, daughter Elissa, recently showed me the copy of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Little Golden Book that she had just purchased. I admired it and asked if the book was for Finley. “Oh no,” she told me. “This is my book.”

That’s my girl. And that’s the continuing power of Little Golden Books.

Do you have a favorite title?

The Story Behind Little Golden Books bookcase
The Story Behind Little Golden Books – a new home for the books

Check out more Little Golden Books from Amazon:

 


 

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Book Review Live Life Colorfully

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Thank you to wunderkind pr for sending Live Life Colorfully for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

 

In the midst of an ongoing, world wide pandemic and the accompanying changes we all continue to experience, it’s refreshing to dive into a book that encourages creativity and seeing life differently.

Jason Naylor’s beautiful book, Live Life Colorfully, offers respite, uplifts the spirit and fires up the creativity nestled within us all. I can’t help but smile over the bold, colorful pages as I slowly and thoughtfully thumb through the book. Each page is an invitation to bring more color, more positivity, into my life. It’s an invitation I happily accept.

Allow me to introduce you to Jason Naylor and his colorful life.

Live Life Colorfully title meme

Meet Jason Naylor

Jason is an award winning artist and designer based in NYC. He is known for his bright colors and even brighter messages of hope. Originally from Salt Lake City, he traveled to New York as a teen and felt drawn to the color, the art and the culture there.

Jason’s work has received global recognition, including the Golden Novum Design award, and he has been featured on HGTV and the Discovery Channel. In 2018, Jason was named by BUMBLE as one of the 100 Most Inspiring New Yorkers, and his colorful creations have found partnership with brands like Coach, Guess, Pepsi, and Maybelline.

Jason’s mission is to spread color and positivity around the world. His brightly colored designs and insightful words reflect his zeal for life, his quest for joy, and his love of LOVE.  His art ranges from videos to illustrations to typography to murals. And now he’s created his first book, Live Life Colorfully.

“I like to describe my color palette as electric. My art is very reliant upon messaging, often about kindness or love, but I don’t see these as something passive. I think they should be treated with passion and energy, and my palette supports that.” Jason Naylor

Those words perfectly capture Jason’s book. It’s full of that passion and energy.

Live Life Colorfully Jason Naylor
Live Life Colorfully – artist Jason Naylor

Live Life Colorfully Book

One of Jason’s strongest messages is to “live life colorfully” so it’s no surprise to discover those words as the title and theme of his new release.

The square hardcover book features rich, bold colors on pages with black  or brilliantly hued backgrounds. However, this isn’t just a book to read cover to cover or a “coffee table” book. No. This beautiful book offers insights, tips, quotes and activities…99 of them…to add joy, positivity and creativity to life.

Did you know that looking at or using strong vibrant colors lifts the spirits, stimulates the brain and boosts creativity?

Live Life Colorfully offers all of that within its pages with a mix of inspiration, tips and fun activities.  It’s the perfect gift for self help, motivation, and happiness seekers, as well as lovers of pop art and bright colors.

Live Life Colorfully page 54
Live Life Colorfully – #54 Albert Einstein quote

Sample of Pages

Take a look at some of the bright, fun pages within Live Life Colorfully.

#24 Color Your Sidewalk

How long has it been since YOU colored on the sidewalk? It’s an activity children enjoy however as adults, we either don’t take the time to play in this way or we feel foolish for coloring madly on the sidewalk.

Jason encourages the reconnection with the inner child, something I’ve been consciously doing for several years. It’s amazing how doing so fires up creativity.

Live Life Colorfully page 24
Live Life Colorfully – #24 Color Your Sidewalk

#2 Stick it to the (Hu)Man

I love the reminder on this page to leave encouraging notes around the home or office. I have a stack of colorful sticky notes, which is perfect! Often we crave words of praise from someone…anyone. We can encourage ourselves with funny sayings, words of praise or inspiring quotes.

And what a great idea for brightening a child’s room or surprising a co-worker.

Live Life Colorfully page 2
Live Life Colorfully – #2 Leave sticky notes around the house or office

#77 Four Letter Words

I love this activity. Jason writes that four letter words, also called colorful language, often refer to profane or vulgar words. However he says we get it wrong. There are many four letter words that inspire, encourage, uplift or possess deeper meanings.

Jason shares some of his favorite four letter words and invites the reader to come up with more.

Live Life Colorfully 77
Live Life Colorfully – #77 Four Letter Words

My Thoughts About Live Life Colorfully

Simply stated, I love this book. I feel energized, joyful and creative as I work through it. The quotes inspire me. And some of the pages elicit a laugh while others lead me to deeper thoughts and realizations.

There are pages on cutting out fear, making a paper airplane, growing succulents and shining as your absolute self. One activity encourages the reader to give things away. Another one discusses hugs.  There’s a helpful tip on organizing your phone apps by color and one to colorize your closet.

Jason lives life boldly, compassionately, confidently and yes, colorfully and I appreciate the gifts he offers to the world.

In the forward to the book, Jason shares these words:

“Live life colorfully is a succinct way to say ‘Be yourself, be brave, be proud of who you are, be kind, be loving and be happy!’ I hope that exploring this book will help you do just that.”

That’s exactly what the book is doing as I explore it. I randomly open to a page and read the text. If an activity is present, then I do that. During a year when my intention is to be my most authentic, creative “wild woman” self, Jason’s book serves as a powerful reminder of what that means.

Live Life Colorfully 53
Live Life Colorfully – #53 Use Colored Pens

Get Your Book

Are you ready to bring more color, creativity and joy into your life?

You can order your copy of Live Life Colorfully at Chronicle Books or through Bookshop. It’s also available at Amazon.

I believe you’ll enjoy colorizing your life!

Book Cover

 

 

 

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Miracle Minded Manager Book Review

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Thank you to SMITH PUBLICITY for sending me a copy of the book Miracle Minded Manager for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

When Smith Publicity contacted me about reviewing Miracle Minded Manager, my interest peaked immediately. Written by John J. Murphy, the book carries the subtitle, A Modern-Day Parable about How to Apply A Course in Miracles in Business.

I’ve owned a copy of A Course in Miracles for many years, and I’ve yet to work my way through it. This felt like a Divine tap on the shoulder, an invitation to learn more and go deeper.

Check out this sincere review of Miracle Minded Manager…and discover the connection between the two books.

Miracle Minded Manager Title Meme

Miracle Minded Manager Author John J. Murphy

John J. Murphy is a global business consultant, speaker, spiritual teacher and author. He is founder and CEO of Venture Management Consultants, Inc., a firm that specializes in creating high performance work environments.

As a business consultant John provides services to some of the world’s leading organizations including BMW, Chase, GM, Hilton, Target Stores and the US Navy. John’s trained thousands of people from 50+ countries and mentored dozens of project teams. He delivers keynotes and leads seminars world wide. He is the author of 19 books and he’s featured frequently on radio and television shows and in newspapers nationwide. Learn more about John at his website, johnjmurphy.org.

Miracle Minded Manager is the sequel to Murphy’s Agent of Change: Leading a Cultural Revolution, although it is not necessary to read that book before reading this one.

Miracle Minded Manager Book

Miracle Minded Manager Synopsis

We are all familiar with stress and anxiety, unfortunately, as a part of life and business. However, what if those feelings are self-imposed states of mind? And what if we’ve all accepted the ego-thought system as the normal way of seeing, thinking and believing? How important is mindset and our belief systems, to creating the lives that we live and the work that we do?

John answers those questions in Miracle Minded Manager. He teaches us how to get out of our own way by shifting thinking and seeing life, ourselves and others, differently. John does this by integrating the teachings of A Course in Miracles, a spiritual self-study program, with other life lessons in Miracle Minded Manager. We are given tools to eliminate stress and live in deep peace.

John accomplishes this by presenting truths through a unique modern-day parable. In the story, Jack MacDonald, the CEO of a struggling company, feels trapped. Jack, the company and the employees are all stuck in old ways of doing things and old ways of thinking.

Jack turns to business consultant Jordan McKay, who uses spiritual practices to help him work through the challenges, from the past and the present. The parable offers valuable lessons on how to overcome fear and eliminate stress at work and at home, resulting in a “peace that passes all understanding”.

Miracle Minded Manager Stack of Books
My journal and A Course in Miracles became my companions to Miracle Minded Manager.

My Thoughts on Miracle Minded Manager

What a beautiful, thought provoking read. A couple of chapters in and I appreciated the way truths are presented via a fictionalized account. I typically read novels…or  “how-to” books. Miracle Minded Manager combines the two styles to create a story that is easy to read and yet deeply insightful. The book is rich with tips and techniques for alleviating stress and moving away from ego driven thoughts.

I quickly found myself caught up in Jack’s story of growth and transformation as he shifts his thinking and his beliefs. The beauty of this book is that it reads like a novel and yet the teachings are anything but fictional. I’m well aware of the difference that shifting mindset makes. Jack’s journey away from stress and ego-based thinking exemplifies everyone’s journeys. It’s been mine for the last 12 years.

Reading Miracle Minded Manager stirred within me the desire to delve into A Course in Miracles. I pulled my copy of the book from the shelf, grabbed a journal and began working through the lessons. Although I do not complete a lesson daily, I am steadily working my way through the 365 sections. The impact of reading John’s parable and working through the lessons in A Course in Miracles is profound and life changing.

Miracle Minded Manager and A Course in Miracles

Let Go of the Stress

I highly recommend John’s book, whether you manage a company or not. Miracle Minded Manager is a book for living a better life, period. You do not have to work through A Course in Miracles at the same time, although I suspect you will want to at least check this book out.

A few times in the last decade I’ve picked up a book that transferred to me an intense feeling of quiet peace and joy, just from the act of reading it. Miracle Minded Manager is such a book. I finished it and immediately decided to read it again, slowly, allowing the truths to settle deeply.

John shares,

“We all get in our own way from time to time by doubting ourselves and thinking inside a box…a paradigm…that doesn’t exist. It could be a ‘rule’ we follow, like we have to work 40 hours per week, eat three meals a day or wear certain clothing styles. We spend countless hours trying to find ways to improve performance and results inside these ‘boxes’. Entire industries are being disrupted by innovations challenging old paradigms.

The same is true in our personal lives. If we can find innovative ways to work four hours a day, or three days a week, why not? In healthcare, if we can find ways to prevent illness and disease, rather than treat it, what might that look like? This is what miracle minded management is all about. It is about challenging old paradigms with a truly open and fearless mind.”

What does such a life look like, indeed? Let’s find out.

Miracle Minded Manager Journal
I’m writing my own story…

Check out John’s books and these journals from Amazon:

 


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

Epic Continent Book Review

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Thank you to Smith Publicity for sending me the book Epic Continent for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Although I frequently receive offers of books to read, for review purposes, I rarely accept. Honestly, I just don’t have the time to read that I once had, as I build a business around my blogs.

Occasionally, however, a book catches my attention and my keen interest. Such is the case with Epic Continent, by Nicholas Jubber.

These words intrigued me:

What can the classics tell us about today’s turbulent Europe? Award winning travel writer Nicholas Jubber presents a fascinating modern day travelogue through the epic poems of Europe.

Epic Continent documents Nicholas’ journey across Europe, from Greece to Iceland, tracing the enduring poems of old to discover the connection to Europe’s roots. That beautiful combination of travel, discovery and literature drew me in.

This is my review of Epic Continent.

Epic Continent Book Review Title Meme

Travel Writer Nicholas Jubber

Nicholas Jubber is a writer and traveler, with a passion for history. By his own admission, he is  fascinated by storytelling, nomadism, exploration and the connections…or misconnections…between past and present. He is a graduate of Oxford University and the author of four books. (See his books at the end of this post.)

Epic Continent presented itself as an idea during a family road trip across Europe. Jubber’s three year old son pointed out a mural of the hero Siegfried slaying the dragon, from the medieval tale Nibelungenlied.

Jubber kept thinking about that epic story, and others like it, and the influence they had on future tales and authors such as JRR Tolkien. He shares that what drew him into his own epic journey was the symmetry of the motifs and plot strands in those stories, that “stitched the continent together in a patchwork quilt of storytelling”.

A few months after his family trip, Nicholas headed out again on a solo trip. He selected six epic poems, all composed during or after times of great change in Europe. He desired to follow the stories, and their characters, across the continent.

Nicholas Jubber
Nicholas Jubber, author of Epic Continent.

Epic Means “To Say”

Nicholas was especially drawn to stories with an oral background.

Epic derives from the Greek word epein, which means “to say”. To be truly epic, says Jubber, a story must be sayable. Words spoken aloud have great power. The ancient Greeks used the word kelethmos, which translates to “enchantment”. I immediately connected with this, as enchantment is my word for the year.

The six chosen tales weave that powerful and far-reaching enchantment. They sunk deep roots in Europe, becoming part of the culture of the continent while at the same time, helping to form it.

Nicholas set out on his journey, seeking answers to three questions:

  1.  What did the stories do to create Europe?
  2. Are they still worth reading?
  3.  And can they help us to understand Europe today?

Epic Continent

These are the epic stories and the regions that Jubber journeyed through:

Odyssey – Greece and Turkey – One of two ancient Greek poems by Homer, about the hero Odysseus and his journey home after the fall of Troy.

Kosovo Cycle – The Balkans – Serb poetry about the events before the Battle of Kosovo in 1389.

Song of Roland – Western Europe – Poem based on the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in 788, during the reign of Charlemagne.

Nibelungenlied – Central Europe – This German poem tells the story of dragon slayer Siegfried at the court of the Burgundians, and the revenge of his wife, Kriemheld.

Beowulf – Britain & Scandinavia – Heroic poem about Beowulf, who comes to the aid of the king of the Danes, who is under attack from the monster Grendel.

Njal’s Saga – Iceland – Thirteen century saga that tells of the events between two friends, Njal and Gunnar, from 960 to 1020.

The book is divided into sections that match the epic stories and regions. A summary of each story is written at the beginning of the corresponding chapter. Jubber traveled through 18 countries as he followed these tales, tracing the plotlines of the stories.

Epic Continent Map
Map of Nicholas’ journey.

My Thoughts About Epic Continent

Nicholas Jubber writes in such an engaging way. He honestly shares his journey and the impact the tales have on him and on the people in each region. For these aren’t outdated stories. We discover, with Jubber, that the stories are alive throughout Europe, celebrated and expanded upon.

From a refugee camp in Chios to a puppeteer in Sicily to medieval churches in marshy East Anglia, Jubber trekked across Europe, ending his long quest in Iceland. As he explored the influence the stories had on European culture, he talked to people, asked questions, listened, walked everywhere, and slept where he could find a spot to claim for the night. He experienced Europe, country by country, as viewed through the lens of these epic poems.

Savor Epic Continent

The book created in me the desire to revisit those ancient stories. And it cultivated appreciation for the influence they’ve had on other authors, such as JRR Tolkien and Michael Crichton, and the countless retelling of the tales in other books and movies.

Epic Continent is a book to savor with a cup of hot tea. It is one to enjoy, while pondering the continuing enchantment of ancient tales. Nicholas is himself a gifted bard, a wandering storyteller, weaving his own magical tale with the epics as a backdrop. And it is a tale worth reading.

Did Nicholas get answers to his questions? He did. I’ll let you discover them in the book.

Epic Continent with Tea

Pick up your copy of Epic Continent below, along with Jubber’s other books:

 


Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Wreck this Journal

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Have you heard of the Wreck this Journal book?

Me either, until my granddaughter Aubrey introduced me to it. This creative kid ordered the book for herself and couldn’t wait to show me this unique twist on journaling.

Not only did Aubrey want to share her journal-in-progress with me, she felt sure I’d enjoy owning such a book myself. I loved the idea of working through our journals together. To encourage our Yaya/grandchild adventure, Greg purchased the book for me!

Aubrey is right. This is not your typical journal. It breaks the rules and pushes us beyond our comfort zones in the process. And, it is extraordinarily fun!

Wreck This Journal Title Meme

About Wreck this Journal

Created by conceptual artist and author Keri Smith, this paperback book is part journal, part sketch pad and part scrapbook. On each page a suggestion offers ideas on how to use the book.

“Document your dinner. Rub, smear, splatter your food. Use this page as a napkin.”

“Poke holes in this page, using a pencil.”

“Write or draw with your left hand.”

“Hide this page in your neighbor’s yard.”

“Tear this page out. Put it in your pocket. Put it through the wash. Stick it back in.”

The idea is to free up creativity by doing things that may at first induce a bit of discomfort, especially for adults. As children, we are not taught to wreck books, and of course this journal is not teaching disrespect. Instead, it encourages free thinking, expressiveness and outside the box activities.

Wreck This Journal Dinner Page

Wreck This Journal Dirt Page

Wreck This Journal, Express Creativity

There are pages in the Wreck This Journal book for doodling and drawing. Colored pencils, markers, crayons and watercolor paints are perfect for completing these pages. One page encourages the use of lots of tape. Many pages come with instructions to tear out the page or rip or poke or cut through the paper. Others urge the owner to get messy….with food, liquids or dirt.

Beyond the simple instructions on each page, the book owner is free to carry out the mission in any way that she or he chooses. Part of the fun of this journal is letting the imagination run wild and being clever in completing the activities.

If you need inspiration there are a ton of YouTube videos and photos online in which journal owners share their own creative ideas. Aubrey and I enjoy doing some pages together and having FaceTime chats on our phones where we show each other what pages we’ve completed that day. We discuss ideas too or come up with some outrageous way to accomplish a wacky activity.

Wreck This Journal Stickers

Wrecfk This Journal Pressed Page

Wreck This Journal and Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone

I love that Wreck This Journal teaches the idea of going beyond, on several levels.

It encourages creativity, trying new experiences and getting out of our comfort zones. I know, from personal experience, that doing those three things opens up perspectives and broadens the mind. Expressing creativity is an invitation for inspiration to show up, with a continual stream of fresh ideas.

This journal delights me because as one who has always treated books with the upmost care, it’s very freeing to toss this one around and deliberately mess it up. I welcome activities that shake up old beliefs and ways of doing things. I’m enjoying the process of messy creation.

My intention is to carry Wreck This Journal to Scotland with me next week…and see what adventures I can have with it there.

My favorite thing about the journal, however, is that my granddaughter knows me so well that she knew I’d be intrigued with this book. Although I’m sure the author had kids and pre-teens in mind when she created the book, the journal is actually suitable for all creatives of all ages. I love the cleverness of it, and Aubrey knew that I would.

Wreck this Journal Aubreys Page 1

 Aubreys Page 2

Pick Up a Copy of Wreck This Journal

I’m grateful for my granddaughter’s recommendation and for the fun we’ve already had, sharing this experience of wrecking a journal, together. Looking for a unique gift for a creative child, teen or adult? Or are you feeling the urge to express creativity in fresh new ways? Aubrey and I highly recommend Wreck This Journal.


Order your copy of Wreck This Journal by clicking on photo above. And enjoy!

Looking for a great inspirational read for this summer? Check out We Carry Kevan.

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

More fun books by Keri Smith:


We Carry Kevan Book Review

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details

Thank you to SMITH PUBLICITY, INC for sending me this book, We Carry Kevan, for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

 

Image developing, at age 29,  the intense desire to travel and explore the world with close friends.

And imagine, after a year of planning, fund raising and making arrangements in France, England and Ireland, seeing that dream become reality.

A group of seven friends parked their van at the airport and gathered up their gear, ready to depart on the adventure of a lifetime. One item they deliberately left behind…a wheelchair belonging to Kevan Chandler.

We Carry Kevan Book Review

 

Kevan Chandler

Born with a degenerative neuromuscular disease, Kevan is the youngest of three children born to Peter and Diana Chandler. And, he’s the second in his family with spinal muscular atrophy, a rare form of muscular dystrophy.

His muscles grow weaker, as he ages, and he has very limited use of his arms and legs. However, Kevan is not limited in the way he lives his life. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in counseling and he is an avid writer and storyteller.

Kevan’s compassionate  heart and big personality draw people to him.  He  often joins friends for dinners, road trips or spur of the moment parties.

And Kevan dreams big dreams. One wistful idea, of traveling in Europe, met with encouragement and enthusiasm from his friends. In the summer of 2016 Kevan spent three weeks fulfilling his dream by vising three countries with six friends, without the aid of his motorized wheelchair.

Riding in a custom made backpack, Kevan’s friends carried him everywhere they went, including to the peak of an island mountain in Ireland. We Carry Kevan is the story of a shared adventure, yes. However, it is primarily a story of faith, trust and incredible friendship.

We Carry Kevan Book ReviewParis, France. Photo from We Carry Kevan book.

We Carry Kevan in Paris France

The friends arrived in Paris, France on June 20, 2016 in time for summer solstice celebrations the next night. They quickly discovered that the people of Paris go all out when they celebrate, with music and singing and dancing in the streets.

And music is what drew Kevan to Paris in the first place. His desire to visit the home of jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt became reality when the group attended a festival honoring the musician.

Kevan feels a connection to the guitarist, who lost the use of his ring and pinky fingers on his left hand after an accident. And yet that didn’t stop the musical genius from adapting. He emerged stronger and better, becoming one of the greatest known guitarists.

We Carry Kevan Book ReviewLondon, England. Photo from We Carry Kevan book.

We Carry Kevan in London

London offered the opportunity for Kevan and his friends, Ben, Tom, Phillip, Luke, Robbie and Mr. Hill, to meet up with online friends.

As the group planned their trip, people from the countries they intended to visit provided places to stay and acted as tour guides. From the small town of Oxted, the friends returned to London to mark Kensington Gardens off the “must visit” list.

While in London, Kevan seized the opportunity to stop by the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and view the Peter Pan statue in Kensington. Author J.M. Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan and made contributions to the children’s hospital, inspires the storyteller within Kevan. Standing where the author once stood, as he perched on the back of a friend, Kevan considered the great legacy Barrie left behind, and pondered what his own might be.

We Carry Kevan Book ReviewSkellig Michael, Ireland. Photo from We Carry Kevan book.

We Carry Kevan in Ireland

Finally the friends explored Ireland. Although they traveled throughout the country, their ultimate destination was Skellig Michael, a craggy island in County Kerry. Known for its rugged and stark beauty, Skellig Michael is the tip of a mountain jutting up from the ocean. An ancient monastery rests at the peak, which is accessible by climbing 600 stone steps.

Scaling the island mountain marked the pinnacle, literally, of the trip and presented the greatest challenge for those carrying Kevan on their backs. And yet, the men trained and prepared themselves, physically and mentally, for this very challenge. Up the mountain they went, to the very top. Taking turns carrying Kevan as they climbed, they ascended and descended, to the applause of others visiting the site.

Here is where the love of his traveling companions shone so brilliantly. About the unconditional love of friends, Kevan wrote:

“They were driven unexplainably to carry me, literally, through the impossible. Not because I’m cool or because I’m an inspiration to them, but because of a true love beyond themselves, beyond any of us. And this put us on a wonderful adventure across the known world.”

Be Inspired

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Authored by Kevan, the story moves expertly through the grand adventure shared by this amazing group of friends. He writes honesty and openly about his disabilities, with a style that is imaginative and compelling.

I felt humbled by all that these young men accomplished and deeply moved by the compassion and trust that the group shares. Kevan requires assistance for everything…bathing, brushing his teeth, using the bathroom, getting dressed. And yet, he is definitely not a burden. Kevan is a courageous and bright adventurer with extraordinary friends who care for him and offer their very best…and their backs…to make his dreams come true.

Together they saw the world, says Kevan, as we all are meant to see it…big and beautiful and full of life. After their first trip, Kevan  started a nonprofit organization to redefine accessibility and to assist other disabled people in fulfilling their adventures. Check it out HERE.

I’m inspired to continue my travels, and see the world the way Kevan sees it. I feel renewed gratitude for my left knee. Although it sometimes falters, my knee does the very best that it can, to take me where I desire to go. And, I see what Kevan does, moving beyond his comfort zone, on so many levels, to manifest his dreams.  I know I can do the same.

Grab this book and settle into your favorite chair, with a cup of herbal tea. And prepare to be inspired as well.

We Carry Kevan Book Review

Order your copy of We Carry Kevan by clicking on photo link below:

 


 

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Family Secrets Storytelling Art Book

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Family secrets…we all have them. Within even the healthiest and most stable of families there are a few dark tales or stories that no one talks about.

What about dysfunctional families or those that endure soul wrenching challenges or those riddled with abuse and addiction? The secrets buried within those families go far beyond a few skeletons in the closet. They carry with them deep shame and soul numbing detachment.

I met local artist Steve Head several years ago. You can read about our first encounter here. Standing in a coffee shop in downtown Joplin, studying Steve’s incredibly moving art upon the walls, a long buried piece of my heart shifted and opened. His unique depictions, full of symbolism and old photos, tell powerful stories.

More than imaginative works, these pieces are snapshots from Steve’s life, lived within a large family whose history includes poverty, alcoholism and mental illness. It’s a natural progression, to bring some of Steve’s art together in book form. Rather than strolling through a gallery, one can sit with the book,  which offers narrative to accompany the art pieces…and time to study each work, so that its story can be properly shared.

This is Family Secrets, the Storytelling Art of Steve Head.

Family Secrets Storytelling Art Book

Why Share These Stories?

Steve answers this question at the beginning of this oversized, coffee table style book.

Several family members suffered with mental illnesses and alcoholism. Physical, sexual, mental, emotional and even spiritual abuse threads its way throughout the fabric of his family’s history. Add in poverty and dysfunction, and the enormity of it all took an emotional and spiritual toll on nearly everyone connected to this family.

As a result, Steve carried a huge void in his heart, where love and nurturing should have been. He also carried shame for who he thought he was and for all that happened to him during his childhood. Later in life he learned that redemption and healing can only come when that shame is acknowledged and overcome.

Steve’s art brings the pain and dysfunction into the light, exposing it while boldly proclaiming:

“None of what happened in my family was MY fault. And I don’t need to carry this SHAME any longer.”

By sharing his art work, Steve offers an invitation to others to talk about their own shame and secrets and begin to heal.

Family Secrets Storytelling Art BookSteve’s first mixed media piece, “Coke Dealers”, from Family Secrets the Storytelling Art of Steve Head.

A Visual Tour with Compelling Stories

Family Secrets showcases Steve’s art while sharing the family stories behind each piece. He uses mixed media and collage to create one of a kind works of art.

In “Lost and Found, The Redemption of Mary Louisa McBroom”, we learn the sad story about Steve’s grandmother, who spent ten years in the Central Oklahoma State Hospital, and died there. No one in the family spoke of this woman who lived during the Great Depression and birthed twelve children. However, her 50 year old hospital records provided horrific details about the final decade of her life. Steve created art that moved Mary Louisa from obscurity to being known. Her life has value and meaning, even if we can’t fully comprehend all that she bore.

Family Secrets is full of page after page of beautiful, haunting art…and the stories that inspired each piece. I love knowing the process behind the works. Studying each work of art I can interpret some symbols. Steve fills in the deeper truths. Abandoned buildings represent emptiness. A bicycle tossed into a murky pond symbolizes lost childhood opportunities and stolen joy.

Family Secrets Storytelling Art Book

The Essence of the Human Spirit

This is a book that one can spend time with and learn from. And on some level, all of us can relate to the stories told by Steve’s art. We’ve all been hurt. Most of us carry scars from painful encounters with life, with family, with those who should have loved us.

Steve’s art cracks open a door in any heart that is willing to let go of old pain. As sorrowful as many of his stories are, he does not leave us without hope. His is a life that healed. His is a heart that became whole. He’s allowed the secrets and the shame to burn away and transform into a source of compassion and strength.

I love Steve’s Artist Statement, included in the book:

“The essence of every human being is his or her inward spirit. I believe that who we are as a person is the compilation of every thought, memory and human interaction we have ever experienced. My goal, as an artist, is to create visual expressions of those unseen places of the heart, of the child within, and of those shared experiences that connect our hearts to those around us.”

The boy who thought he lacked artistic talent, the boy who endured hardships that no child should have to experience, the young man who struggled with his own addictions, became the artist who now touches other hearts and sets them free.

Sitting with Family Secrets, you may shed hot tears. Old memories may surface from the shadows. And healing may begin, if you will allow it to. As Steve says, we all have untold stories. It’s time to tell yours.

Order Your Copy of Family Secrets

Order Family Secrets The Storytelling Art of Steve Head HERE. And check out The Art and Photography of Steve & Cindy Head Facebook Page HERE.

Family Secrets Storytelling Art Book

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you