Review: Rise From Darkness – Paths Out of Depression Toward Happiness

Rise from Darkness: Paths Out of Depression Toward Happiness
Rise from Darkness
There are illnesses and particularly cruel “demons” that other people battle which just leave me speechless. Battles that take uncommon strength to endure, overcome, and rise from. Alcoholism, cancer, and depression are three such demons.

Most of us take our particular paths in life for granted.  We meander along, sometimes complaining if we’re short a little money, hungry, or (egad!) inconvenienced.

Yet, how fast would we run back to our own path if we were to get a sample of the seemingly steep and grinding path others face?! A path lined with demons which want nothing more than to make forward progress treacherous. I’ve talked to many titans who have battled these demons and, almost without fail, they say that the toughest part is when you think you’ve seen the last battle, inevitably another appears.

Basically, they find themselves walking down a path that’s finally clear of demons and, just as they exhale, another jumps out.


“In the USA, 17% of the population suffers from depression during the course of their lives, and it appears a though this may be an increasing problem… at the same time, more and more youths are becoming depressed…” – Rise from Darkness, Page 15

Personally, I believe Depression may be the most maddening of the three. With Cancer and Alcoholism, at least you know what you’re up against. People who suffer from depression often aren’t even sure what they’re battling. They feel as though they’re battling themselves, which must be an especially dark kind of hell.

BUT, the story doesn’t end there in the darkness – heck, it’s not even the middle of the story, let alone the end! The individual suffering from depression does however, have to want to escape the darkness. As author Kristian Hall says, “The very first step is to decide to start pulling yourself out of the pit. There is no one else who can do this for you; you must do it yourself.”

{Book Review Continued Below…}

Rise from Darkness: Paths Out of Depression Toward Happiness
Rise from Darkness: Paths Out of Depression Toward Happiness (Back Cover)

About the Author:

Kristian Hall went through eleven years of deep depression as a teenager and student. He overcame his depression by practicing techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy and positive psychology. His personal development did not stop there – he’s now living the life of his dreams. He lives in the deep forest around Oslo, together with his family and a very strange Maine Coon cat.

Let’s Get Back to the Path

Returning to the analogy of a dark path for a minute, I have to tell on myself. One especially hot summer day I was on a series of hiking trails here in Kentucky. I had gotten so busy (as is my style) admiring trees and birds that I looked around at one point and realized, “I have zero idea where I am and I have zero idea how I got here.”  Staying put certainly wasn’t an option, so I immediately set about finding my way out of the dark forest and back to the comfort of my vehicle.

It wouldn’t have made any sense to have sat right down where I was and bemoaned my plight and I’d have looked like a perfect, sweaty fool if I’d stood there looking around for someone to blame OR to come save me.

You get the analogy. When we find ourselves in a place we do not want to be, it’s our call to get ourselves the heck out of there.

Rise from Darkness is an IDEAL guide book for anyone on the path of darkness (depression).  People such as myself (who have never battled depression) cannot possibly offer guidance or advice. With only the best intentions, we may try, but… to be honest… what do we know?!?!

The only person who can truly navigate an individual through the dark forest of depression is one who has made the journey himself/herself.

When I was lost in the forest, someone who had never been in the forest could have tried to help me out but I don’t have to tell you how much more effective my journey would have been if someone who had also been lost before and had found their way out had galloped up on a white horse. Or brown. Or black… Or red… Lost hikers can’t be choosy.

If THEY have been there, THEY know what you’re going through. If THEY have made it out, THEY can show you how to get out.

Kristian Hall battled his depression for years and he wants, very much, to help you find your way out in far less time. I have read this wonderful, fast-reading, and downright fascinating book and want to see it make it to as many hands as possible.

I honestly believe this book is just the thing people battling depression need.  What’s more, I believe it could be equally useful to those battling anxiety – a pretty dark forest in its own right.

{Book Review Concluded Below…}

Rise from Darkness: Paths Out of Depression Toward Happiness
Rise from Darkness

If you are battling depression, this book review is (and I don’t say this lightly) a lifeline.  Someone who cares about you (that would be me) is pointing you to an author (Kristian Hall) who will guide you to the happiness and light you deserve. Please click through and learn more about Rise from Darkness. It is available on Amazon for less than the cost of a trip to McDonald’s.

The book is divided into 5 “Parts” –

  1. How to Be Happy
  2. Get Better Right Now
  3. Depression’s Companions
  4. Long-Term Self-Improvement
  5. Meditation and Self-Hypnosis

As you can see, this book isn’t about having a brighter, happier tomorrow, it’s about RISING and having a brighter, happier life.

I want to conclude the book review with one of my favorite passages from Rise from Darkness. It’ll give you a feel for the author’s great writing style and the clarity of his message.  This is from one of the Part 2 (“Get Better Right Now”) of the book:

Live Here and Now

“Live here and now” is a cliche’, you might say. I am not afraid of using cliche’s. Cliche’s are life wisdom that has been passed down through the generations, mantras that are repeated so often that sometimes they lose their power. We often take cliche’s for granted and do not always reflect on their meaning.

“Live here and now” is maybe the most valuable cliche’ of all. But this can be difficult for many of us to do in practice. We are so used to rolling along the highway of life that we rarely really live in the now.

Put down this book and lean back. Listen to the sounds around you. Try to feel how your body actually feels. Feel where in your body you have tension, and which parts of the body are relaxed. Notice your breathing, how quickly you breathe, how evenly you can breathe in and out. Breathe slowly and deeply. Look at the space around you; notice the color nuances and textures on the walls, the details in all the objects present.  Are there people around you. Observe them without doing anything yourself. Are there smells in the room? Try to describe them. Take a few minutes using all of your senses to register the details of your surroundings and inside you.

Did you notice that plaguing thoughts, plans, and worries disappeared for a moment?  That for a moment they ceased to exist. That was quite pleasant, was it not?  – Rise from Darkness by Kristian Hall

See Rise from Darkness on Amazon.

Hiking Trail

Adult Coloring Books: Because Creativity Isn’t Just for Kids!

"Whatever is Lovely" and a Box of Colored Pencils Spell RELAX

Whatever is Lovely

Whatever Is Lovely: A Coloring Book for Reflection and Worship is, without a doubt, one of my favorite books. It’s a creative, mentally stimulating, visually appealing, and Spiritually refreshing breath of fresh air.

Who’s not going to love everything about that?!

I just wrote a Whatever is Lovely Review on Out of Bounds (my brain health/mental fitness blog) – click the link to check it out. OR.. you could simply go straight to Amazon and order your own copy – that, too would be a brilliant move.

Just be sure you have some colorful crayons or colored pencils on hand because your creativity is about to run amok as it chases stress and anxiety right out of your life.

I kid you not.. you’re going to LOVE this book.

~ Joi

Whatever is Lovely Adult Coloring Book

Review: Better Eyesight for Busy People

12 Easy and Effective Eye Exercises

Better Eyesight for Busy People
Better Eyesight for Busy People (Eye Exercises)
Something I regularly do on Self Help Daily is set aside a particular frame of time to focus on particular subjects. I’ll gear my research, reading, writing, and reviews toward a subject I think my readers will benefit from. Empty Nest Syndrome, Overcoming Bad Habits, Developing More Confidence, Happiness, and Building Stronger Families are just a few of these special focus subjects.

While I’m sure we’ll revisit the subjects above – over the course of 2016, I’m going to show a great deal of attention to the following subjects:

  • aging well and staying healthy
  • mental fitness and brain health

I’m kicking off the series with a book review that fits both categories. Sometimes fate seems to like me. When I was asked if I’d like to review Better Eyesight for Busy People, I thought, “This couldn’t be more perfect if it were paid to.”

One of the KEY components of aging well is to, obviously, maintain and properly care for each of your senses. Our hearing and eyesight are two things we tend to take for granted, until it’s too late. When we’re being fitted for hearing aids or picking out a snazzy pair of eyeglasses, we often wish we’d listened to all that rock music a little more quietly and wish we’d done our part to keep our eyes healthy and strong.

While we can’t possibly prevent every single thing that could go wrong as years pass, doesn’t it make sense to do everything in our power to put the odds firmly in our favor?

Better Eyesight for Busy People is a small booklet of 12 EASY eye exercises that you can do regularly. I love that it’s such a convenient size (a little smaller than a iPad mini) and is as light as a feather. You can take it with you anywhere and review the exercises you have performed that day and the ones you need to do.

{Review Continued Below..}

Better Eyesight for Busy People
Better Eyesight for Busy People (Eye Exercises)

You may wonder why I said this book was tied to mental fitness. After all, it’s pretty obvious how it’s connected to aging well, right? But, mental fitness and brain health…… not so obvious.

Here’s the thing, in order to stay mentally fit, prevent dementia, and continue to strengthen our brains, we need to be on top of everything around us. We need to be able to read, observe, and see the world as it deserves to be seen. When an individual’s eyesight begins to weaken, they tend to withdraw from life. They often adapt the attitude of, “There’s nothing worth reading, anyway” or “I  have better things to do than going to that museum…”

They disengage and withdraw from life and I don’t have to tell you how disastrous (and sad!) that  is.

Help for Tired Eyes

See the exercise pictured in the photo above? Not only is this exercise apparently great for strengthening your eyes, I’ve found it to be AWESOME for tired eyes. After staring at the computer for hours or after reading a few can’t miss chapters from an Agatha Christie mystery, my eyes usually feel as tired as I would if I ran a few miles (not much chance of that happening unless I’m being chased by a snake, but that’s beside the point).  This exercise revives them and makes them feel like they’re ready to get back to work. Or, better yet, on to the next chapter in my mystery.

For less than $6, this booklet gives you (and those you love) 12 great eye-strengthening exercises – allowing you to take a proactive part in how well your eyes age.

See Better Eyesight for Busy People for more information. The book is also available to download onto your iPad, iPhone, or Kindle ( Click Better Eyesight for Busy People
for the Kindle version.).

~ Joi

*** I’m going to begin three Focal Subjects on my Mental Fitness Blog, Out of Bounds, this week: Relaxation, Overcoming Stress, and Silencing Anxiety.

Bawb's Raven Feathers Books

Coming to Self Help Daily: Bigger Focus on Inspirational and Motivational Books

More than ever, I’m putting a HUGE emphasis on “Creating the World of  Your Dreams”  on Self Help Daily. I’ll write more about what this will entail in an upcoming post – but I will go ahead and say this, you’ll be seeing a lot more books and book reviews on SHD.

Books are a wonderful gateway to the world you’re looking to create and it’s my honor to help you find the ones that are… well.. gateways worth walking through!

I’ve been fortunate enough to have many books sent my way for reviewing and have many more reviews headed your way.

If you have a book you’d like reviewed on Self Help Daily, I have a few guidelines and preferences:

  • I realize there are many “kickstart” books that are in the process of being written or published. I’ve heard about a few that sound amazing and I’m hoping these books one day see the light of day. However, with a high volume of books to review and write about, I have decided that I’ll be able to help my readers most by dealing with books that are immediately available. I wish each of you nothing but the best, of course, and PLEASE let me know when your book is good to go!
  • I prefer physical books to e-books when it comes to reviews. For personal reading, I like the two evenly – but if I’m going to be writing a review, I love the luxury of highlighting and making notations in a physical book. I also like to flip through readily if I need to extract a quote.
  • If a book is, in any way, disrespectful to God or believers – please don’t bother suggesting it.

Types of Books I Review on Self Help Daily:

  • Self Help
  • Self Improvement
  • Spiritual
  • Motivational
  • Health-Related
  • Family Oriented
  • Inspiring Biographies/Auto-Biographies

If you have a book that doesn’t fall into one of the categories above, I might still be able to help you. I have a variety of blogs and, therefore, am able to write reviews for a wide variety of books. My other subjects include: Cooking/Recipes, Tea, Coffee, the Civil War, Dreams, Kentucky, Cats, the Golden Age of Hollywood, and Mental Fitness/Alzheimer’s Prevention.

For those who read my book reviews, recommendations, and book news:

  • If I have read a book and highly recommend it, I will clearly say so. If I have not read a book, but am simply telling you about it, you’ll know that too. I will clearly say so.

While we’re on the subject of books, I’d like to tell you about an e-book today that is both free and ambitious – How to Become Your Best Self.  I have not had the chance to read this e-book yet (I learned about it right between Thanksgiving and Christmas… a period of time when the only things I read are recipes and wish lists!).  You can learn more about the e-book by visiting The Mind Optimizer.

BawB’s Raven Feathers: Reflections on the Simple Things in Life

Beautiful Inspirational Books Make Perfect Gift Ideas

Bawb's Raven Feathers Books

BawB’s Raven Feathers Volumes I-V Set

I was sent an absolutely beautiful BawB’s Raven Feathers Box Set a while back to review on Self Help Daily. While I told everyone I knew about it right away, I actually put off blogging about it for awhile simply because I wanted to get a little closer to Christmas shopping. These books – whether you buy them as a set or individually for stocking stuffers or for filling in gift baskets – would make perfect gifts. They’re beautiful, timeless, inspiring, and would be cherished for years to come.

One of the things I love most about giving books for gifts is the fact they can be used and enjoyed and re-used and re-enjoyed for years and years. Want to know a beautiful little bonus? They’ll think of you each time they pick the book up!

The BawB’s Raven Feathers Box Set I was sent includes Volume I – V – the first five volumes of BawB’s Raven Feathers.  Each beautiful little hard-cover book is filled with inspirational poetry that will surround you with peace and contentment as you read the words. Truth be told, they’re more like beautiful lyrics than words.

Everything about these books is perfect – from the beautiful illustrations to the equally beautiful words.  The author does more than inspire readers, he causes them to reflect on their lives, their choices, and the world around them.

His words then prompt the reader to cherish the past and relish the present, while looking forward to a future that’s filled with hope.

Yes, the books are that wonderful.

From the Inside Cover of Each Volume:

Bawb’s Raven Feathers is pure and simple. It kick-starts moments of self-reflection and inner peace by drawing on nostalgia and pushing the reader to live in the present and dream of tomorrow. Alternating brief chapters of prose with perfectly rhythmic adult rhymes, and room to write down your own thoughts and inspiring ideas, this book holds appeal for the masses.

Bawb's Raven Feathers

BawB’s Beautifully Inspiring Raven Feathers

Whether you buy the volumes individually or as a set and whether you buy them for yourself or as a gift – you’re going to love each moment spent with BawB and his Raven Feathers.

The clouds will always be up in the sky,

with nothing to portray.

How you choose to look at them

is what determines your day. – BawB’s Raven Feathers Volume II, Page 31

About the Author:

Robert (BawB) Chomany is the author of the BawB’s Raven Feathers series, pure and simple inspirational books. He was born in Calgary, Alberta, with a clear view of the mountains to the west. These mountains eventually drew Bob in, and he spent many years living in the company of nature, exploring his spiritual side. Bob pursues his many interests with passion. You are just as likely to find him twisting a wrench, or riding his motorcycle, as you are to find him holding a pen, writing. Bob still lives in Calgary, where he finds happiness by simply living with a smile and sharing his words of wisdom with others.

The books are available individually, as well. Below is a link to each volume for more information.

There’s also a BawB’s Raven Feathers Volume VI which I don’t have yet… but plan on getting.

Everywhere you walk today,

every step and every mile,

choose to see something that stays with you

and attach it to a smile.   – BawB’s Raven Feathers Volume V, Page 36

Bawb's Raven Feathers Books

A Book of Miracles by Dr. Bernie S. Siegel

Inspirational Book FULL of Uplifting Moments

A Book of Miracles

A Book of Miracles by Dr. Bernie S. Siegel

I was sent a copy of  A Book of Miracles: Inspiring True Stories of Healing, Gratitude, and Love a while back to review on Self Help Daily. I receive a lot of books to review on my different blogs and websites, so it takes a pretty unique and special book to really stand out.

This one did.

Allow me to say that you may not agree with every single word from every single individual’s story. That’s okay! I, personally, give only One individual credit for miracle, and that’s God, Himself. In this book (as well as in daily life), you’ll find individuals who credit their “higher self.”

But here’s the thing, even though I automatically think, “God is higher than any of us could even pretend to be and He is the only One who is in the Miracle business,” I am still inspired by their stories. The difficulties they overcome and the “happy ending” they find themselves within is inspiring and uplifting.

That’s the point of the book and that’s the reason I recommend it.

From the Back Cover:

Bernie Siegel first wrote about miracles when he was a practicing surgeon and founded Exceptional Cancer Patients, a groundbreaking synthesis of group, individual, dream, and art therapy that provided patients with a “carefrontation.” Compiled during his more than thirty years of practice, speaking, and teaching, the stories in these pages are riveting, warm, and belief expanding. Their subjects include a girl whose baby brother helped her overcome anorexia, a woman whose cancer helped her heal by teaching her to stand up for herself, and a family that was saved from a burning house by bats. Without diminishing the reality of pain and hardship, the stories show real people turning crisis into blessing by responding to adversity in ways that empower and heal. They demonstrate what we are capable of and show us that we can achieve miracles as we confront life’s difficulties.

A Book of Miracles is a very entertaining, uplifting, and inspiring book.


Book Review: The Complete Thyroid Health & Diet Guide

Understanding and Managing Thyroid Disease

The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide
I have had Thyroid Disease for more years than I was Thyroid Disease free. My Grave’s Disease flat out refused to let any medication control it, so they had to destroy it with radiation.

Since then, I’ve had to take thyroid medicine every morning.

Like allergies, asthma, diabetes, hypertension or a host of other diseases – thyroid disease will sometimes award its owner with good days and will other times make leaving the house seem like a chore.

Also like other diseases, a lot… make that A LOT.. of these days can be controlled with our own actions and diet as much as it can with a pill.

The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide
For a lot of years, I craved more information about what things I SHOULD be eating and what things I SHOULD NOT be eating. I wanted an expert in the field to tell me what I could do to control my own health and prevent thyroid disease from causing any more harm than it already has AND to help heal the damage it may have done.

I wanted an all-in-one guide to lay it all out for me… “This is what you should be eating more of… this is what you should be eating less of… and here’s why.”  Unfortunately a guide never existed.

Now it does.

When I was contacted a while back about reviewing The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide: Understanding and Managing Thyroid Disease, the first thing I thought was, “Could this be what I’ve been looking for for SO many years?” I said it would be my pleasure to both read and use the guide as well as tell others all about it.

I only hoped that it would live up to what I wanted and needed it to live up to.

It actually exceeded everything I could have ever hoped for. The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide is easy to read, easy to follow, easy to comprehend, and easy to implement into your daily life.  I lost track of the number of times I thought, “I didn’t know that!” as I read along.

It wasn’t long before I grabbed a highlighter to highlight the information and a pen and notebook to record the knowledge.

About the Author

Dr. Nikolas R. Hedberg, DC, DABCI, DACBN, BCNP, is a board-certified naturopathic physician and a chiropractic physician. In addition, he is board-certifed in nutrition by the American Clinical Board of Nutrition. He is the founder of the Immune Restoration Center, located in Asheville, North Carolina.

Danielle Cook, MS, RD, CDE, has a master’s degree in nutrition and food science. She has worked as an inpatient clinical dietitian a nutrition support specialist and a diabetes/educator/dietitian in an outpatient setting.

{Review Continued Below…}

The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide

The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide looks at each system in the body and how they are affected by thyroid disease. The disease reaches further than most people realize. That’s why it “feels” like it touches us head to toe… because it DOES touch us head to toe!

As someone who recently had to stop eating gluten and wheat, I was especially fascinated by the connection between gluten and thyroid disease. I also thoroughly enjoy the recipes and excellent nutritional advice.

A Few Nutritional Tips from this Guide:

  • Increase your fiber intake. Add 1 to 3 tbsp of ground flax seeds or chia seeds to smoothies, oatmeal, and baked goods.
  • Choose healthy fats. The best fats for thyroid disease include avocados, avocado oil, coconut oil, macadamia nuts, macadamia nut butter, macadamia nut oil, organic butter, organic ghee (clarified butter), and olive oil.
  • Use unrefined Celtic sea salt. Processed table salt has many added chemicals and is deficient in nutrients. Unrefined Celtic sea salt contains over 50 different minerals that are important for health and thyroid function.
  • Asparagus is an excellent source of folate and a good source of vitamin C, thiamine, and vitamin B6. It is high in rutin (a flavanoid that helps lower inflammation, strengthen blood vessels, and protect cells from damage) and glutathione (a potent antioxidant, critical for detoxification).  It contains protodioscin which has been shown to reduce bone loss, improve libido, and help defend against cancer. (two recipes in the guide for asparagus: Roasted Asparagus and Asparagus with Lemon and Garlic)
  • Cilantro is a powerful antioxidant and a source of iron, magnesium, and manganese.  It helps remove heavy metals, such as mercury, from the body. Cilantro is also antibacterial and can aid in digestion by enhancing pancreatic enzyme activity and stimulating bile flow and secretions.

The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide is the type of all-in-one guide I’ve been looking for for years. If you have thyroid disease, I hope you’ll check this book out for yourself. It’s a winner!

~ Joi


People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys (Review)

Get Your Hands, Eyes, and/or Ears On This Book

People Can't Drive You Crazy if You Don't Give them the Keys

Continuing the Focus of 2015: Building a Happier Family!

A while back,  I downloaded an interesting sounding e-book, People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys (Kindle edition link) by Mike Bechtle.  I fell in love with the cover image Come on, who wouldn’t be? It’s a duck. In a snazzy jacket with a whackadoodle hat.

And can we talk about the fact that he has green hair?

The title is, to be honest, what initially caught my eye. Even before the duck. The title reminds me of a something I always said to my three daughters while they were growing up. I don’t know about where you live, but in Kentucky we have a popular saying, “He’s getting my goat…” or “That really gets my goat..”

With three little girls, I often heard, “She just gets my goat…” In one of our infamous, “table talks,” I told my girls, “People can only get your goat if you put it out in the open. If they know where your goat is, it’s easy pickings.”

The title of this book just kind of reminded me of homespun wisdom and it had me at “crazy.”

When doing book reviews, as I often point out, I want to give a great “feel” for the book without giving the entire premise away. If I were to lay out all the brilliance of a particular book right here, why would you need to read it for yourself?

Since I VERY much want everyone to read People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys (paperback link) as soon as they humanly can, I’m going to tread lightly.  I hope you’ll stick with this book review, even if it gets lengthy – this book is extra special.

As we continue the focus of 2015 on Self Help Daily, Building a Happier Family, I have to strongly suggest everyone read this book. If you are a really, really busy individual, and simply don’t have time to devote 30 minutes to an hour reading each day, I have a few solutions…

A reaction is how we feel; a response is what we do. Reactions are automatic, but we choose our responses. – Mike Bechtle, People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys

Like most books, this particular WINNER is available in a variety of formats, so there’s simply no reason NOT to make this the next book you read… even if you read it with your ears.

The beauty of People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys (as it relates to building a happier family) is that it gives you the motivation, information, and inspiration you need to do your part to make your family the happiest family in town.  This book is, also, ideal reading for anyone who’s looking to improve their relationships at work or school (or anywhere for that matter) – but since our focus is on families… we’ll just stay seated around the dining room table rather than a board room table.

The food’s better anyway.

As I said, I read People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys on my iPad – so I couldn’t highlight or underline extra-insightful and/or humorous quotes and paragraphs. I could, however, write them down – and I did just that. You never saw so many notes and notations!

…. Your emotions got the best of you, and your crazy person has you dangling in her grip like a bungee jump gone bad….  Mike Bechtle, People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys

True story: One night a History Channel show that my husband and I wouldn’t miss for a million dollars had just gone off.  I knew I had about 15 minutes to read a little something before bedtime, so I grabbed my iPad to read from one of my e-books. I flew past PCDYCIFDGTTK (looks like a cat just walked across the keyboard, doesn’t it?) and chose an Agatha Christie mystery I was in the middle of. Why? I didn’t have my pen and notebook with me and I knew that even just 15 minutes with PCDYCIFDGTTK would have produced more than a few note-worthy points.

It’s that good.

For one thing, People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys is a very enjoyable and entertaining read. The author is absolutely hilarious. I’ve read that he’s a popular speaker and I can absolutely see why. GREAT sense of humor.  The sense of humor and warm stories about his own family and friends (including precious granddaughters) make for a very, very special book.

A certain passage about the author’s oldest granddaughter reminded me so much of my oldest daughter (Emily) that it’s beyond uncanny.  I was delighted –  the world can never have too many colorful, detail-oriented, little girls who march to the beat of their own drum. They grow up to be colorful, detail-oriented young women who just keep on marching.

People Can’t.. is also a really “fast reading” book.  When you aren’t taking notes, that is.

A lot of self help or self improvement books are good, while you’re reading them, but fail to “stick.”  This is not one of those books. It’s fantastic while you’re in the middle of it, and it sticks like super glue.

History brings us to where we are right now, but it doesn’t have to dictate how we respond in the future. – Mike Bechtle, People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys

I will, in the foreseeable future often quote or refer back to this wonderful book. However, I have to give you one of the most profound messages or points from the author and his wonderful book.

Ever read a quote or a passage that is so profound and packs such a wallop that you go back and re-read it… allowing it to wallop you from the other side? Early in the book, Mike Bechtle hits the nail on the head when he says, “Never allow yourself to become a victim of anyone else’s shortcomings or weaknesses.

I read a lot.  A LOT. But it has been ages since a single cluster of words had such an impact on me. When we allow others to impact our peacefulness or happiness, we become their victim. This could be anyone..

  • rude servers
  • inefficient store clerks
  • family members
  • co-workers
  • friends
  • toxic people online…. I’m looking at you social media

…. anyone, anywhere, anytime. If we allow them to remove us from where we want to be —- content, peaceful, happy —- and place us anywhere else, we are at their mercy. Worse, we are their victim.

I guess I’d just never thought of it that way before. Since reading (and re-reading) the words, however, I’ve thought about it plenty!  There are a lot of jackals in this world, after all.  Not one has victimized me since.

Not even vile online toxicity rattles my cage anymore.  If I see someone being a complete jackal, I just thank God that it isn’t my jackal and go about my business.

Book Synopsis: Strange as it may seem, other people are not nearly as committed to our happiness as we are. In fact, sometimes they seem like they’re on a mission to make us miserable! There’s always that one person. The one who hijacks your emotions and makes you crazy. The one who seems to thrive on drama. If you could just FIX that person, everything would be better. But we can’t fix other people – we can only make choices about ourselves. In this cut-to-the-chase book, communication expert Mike Bechtle shows readers that they don’t have to be victims of other people’s craziness.

With commonsense wisdom and practical advice that can be implemented immediately, Bechtle gives readers a proven strategy to handle crazy people.

More than just offering a set of techniques, Bechtle offers a new perspective that will change readers’ lives as they deal with those difficult people who just won’t go away.

How Can People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys help You?

Let’s get right down to it, want to? Why should you get your hands, eyes, and possibly ears on this book as soon as possible?

Because you deserve to be happy. Simple as that.

Yes, reading this book can help you keep peace within your family. Yes, the author’s wonderful advice can help you get along with even the craziest of the crazies, at work or home.  Yes, if you read this book and allow it to sink in, you can have the kind of peaceful, happy family holidays you see in tv commercials.

But, just for a minute, don’t think about any of that. Just for a minute, put everyone and everything else out of your mind and only think about yourself. It isn’t easy to live in a world of crazies – they’re everywhere, after all.  They can, and will, leave their footprints on your psyche. You’ll find yourself coming unglued, sighing deeply, whining, crying, and arguing with people over the silliest things. If it continues, you may even find yourself unable to sleep or unwind as well as you once did and your health can (and will) pay for the turmoil.

A lack of harmony in your life and an inability to “deal” with the handiwork of a crazy person can affect every corner of your life.

This book will help you clean out those corners. You’ll be happier and, as a result, everyone around you will be happier.

Think about it – if you feel tension in your family or at work, everyone feels it.  A tense individual in a room is like a caged tiger. Everyone focuses on the show, holding their breath waiting for the roar.

If you aren’t handling your crazy person (or crazy people, if you’re an over-achiever) well, you’re making everyone around you tense, unhappy, and downright miserable. Whether you encounter your crazies at work or home, you will be happier when you know how to cope with them.

You know I always level with my readers – and I’m telling you right now, this is a book you have to read.  This one’s a life-changer. ~ Joi

 “Never allow yourself to become a victim of anyone else’s shortcomings or weaknesses.” – Mike Bechtle

Review: Clean Slate, A Cookbook and Guide from the Editors of Martha Stewart Living

Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your Best

Clean Slate Cookbook and Guide

Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide: Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your Best

Almost everyone is TALKING these days about “clean eating,” cutting out empty calories, cutting back on red meat, and forgetting that fried food even exists. Yet hardly anyone is actually FOLLOWING through.

Why? It’s a whole lot easier to say you’re going to changer your way of eating than to actually do it.

The talk? Easy. The follow thorough? Not so much.

Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide: Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your Best, from the editors of Martha Stewart Living, might just be the book to help you nail the “follow through” once and for all.

As the back cover states, Clean Slate is more than just a cookbook:

More than just a cookbook, CLEAN SLATE, from the editors of Martha Stewart Living, provides you with the nutritionally sound information you need to shop for and prepare food that nourishes body and mind. You’ll find guidelines for restocking your pantry with whole grains, beans and legumes, lean proteins, and healthy fats; glossaries of the best sources of detoxifiers, antioxidants, and other health-boosting nutrients; and menus for a simple 3-day cleanse and a 21-day whole-body detox, with easy to follow tips and strategies for staying on track.

If you’re at all familiar with computers, you now that sometimes your desktop computer needs to be “reset.”  Hitting reset gives your computer a chance to gather itself and clear its thoughts!

I had an old Gateway once that would (every so often) get “hung up.” It’d freeze, usually when I was right in the middle of something. It just really knew how to pick its moments. I’d hit “reset” and it’d come back as good as new.  Oddly enough, it’d actually perform 10 times better after I afforded it the opportunity to start fresh.

Clean Slate offers readers a chance to do just that – to reset their approach to food and get a whole new fresh start on the health of their body by being smarter about what they put into their mouth.

This beautiful book emphasizes eating clean, whole, unprocessed foods as part of a primarily plant-based diet. There are more than 160 great looking, “doable” recipes to help you along the way. Juices, smoothies, main dishes, snacks, and even desserts!

One of the things I love most about Clean Slate is the fact that each recipe clearly and plainly states whether it is vegan, dairy free, nut-free, and/or gluten free.

While I lvoe the recipes like any self-respecting foodie would, my favorite part of the book is the KNOW YOUR NUTRIENTS section. Within these pages are listed the superheroes of the food world – along with colorful photographs:

  • Super Detoxifiers: Foods that support the liver, the “Main Guy” in charge of detoxification. Avocado, citrus fruits, flaxseed….
  • Antioxidant Powerhouses: The vitamins in these foods help neutralize free radicals that contribute to the onset of aging and disease. Carrots, dark beans, cloves, plums….
  • Inflammation Fighters: The foods with Omega-3s, Vitamin E and other compounds that help prevent inflammations. This, in turn, reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease while soothing the aches and pains from arthritis.  Walnuts, herbs, papaya…. 
  • Digestive Aids: Foods that are particularly loaded with beneficial bacteria and fiber. They keep the digestive system running smoothly. Honey, mint, turmeric, coconut, ginger…

While there were some foods listed within each of the above groups I expected, there were far more I didn’t expect. It makes smart meal planning easier when you know what each ingredient brings to the Clean Slate Party.

Other subjects covered in Clean Slate:

  • Golden Rules for Eating Clean
  • Restocking Your Pantry
  • Action Plans for Detoxing Your Mind and Body
  • MANY recipes along with gorgeous photographs.

Clean Slate is a beautiful guide/cookbook that’ll help you sort through the maze of healthy eating. You’ll come away from this book armed with all the information you need to begin a fresh new approach to food…. An approach that’ll lead you and your family down the path to better health.

Click through any of the links to take a closer look at Clean Slate on Amazon.

~ Joi

Note: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. The opinions are entirely my own.

How to Think Like a Millionaire

How to Think Like a Millionaire (Available in Paperback or Kindle)

The belief that dreams are impossible to achieve prevents most people from getting what they want. Their experience certainly seems to support this belief. They get exactly what they expect from life: boredom, frustration, obstacles, and small incomes. People are what they believe themselves to be, no more, no less. – How to Think Like a Millionaire Page 75

I first read How to Think Like a Millionaire years ago. I loved it then and I love it now. Great books never truly go out of style or lose their magic and this is really and truly a great book.

While you may think of it, initially, as a “business-minded” book, it’s actually much more than that. I think of it as a self help and self improvement book in every sense of the word.

Click the following link to read my review of How to Think Like a Millionaire or grab a copy for yourself today on Amazon: