Appointments With Heaven (Review of a Very Special Book)

Four Reasons this HAS to be the Next Book You Read

Appointments with Heaven by Dr. Reggie Anderson with Jennifer Schuchmann

I write a lot of book reviews on Self Help Daily. Generally, I’m sent books from publishers or even authors in exchange for writing and publishing a review. I’ve received some really amazing books and I always strive to “do right by them” in my reviews. The last book I read was Appointments with Heaven: The True Story of a Country Doctor, His Struggles with Faith and Doubt, and His Healing Encounters with the Hereafter.

Here’s the problem: There is absolutely, positively no way on earth I can possibly do right by this book or even come close to doing it justice.

Trying to convey the essence, the beauty, and the potentially life-changing power of this book would be like trying to describe…

  • … how amazing cheesecake tastes
  • … how seeing your grown children pull into your driveway makes you feel
  • … how your heart soars when the love of your life says I love you
  • … the peaceful feeling of a snowy winter morning

You can completely understand, yourself, that it feels like Christmas morning any time your children come to visit, but trying to put it in words? Nearly impossible.  Even someone like me, who works with words every day of the year, can find their brain overwhelmed by their emotions and realize that, in the end, the brain is no match for the heart.

Not even close.

 From the Back Cover:

 Meet the country doctor who visits the front porch of Heaven… and witnesses what awaits us there.

When a patient first asked Dr. Reggie Anderson to sit at her bedside as she passed from this life, something miraculous happened. As he held her hand, the veil between this world and the next parted… and he received an astonishing glimpse of what awaits us in Heaven.

Little did he know this was just a foretaste of what was to come – a lifetime of God-given “appointments with Heaven.”  Join Reggie as he shares remarkable stories from his life and practice, including the personal tragedy that nearly drove him away from faith forever. As he reveals what he’s seen, heard, and experienced of the afterlife, we’ll learn how we can face the passing of our loved ones with the courage and confidence that we’ll see them again; discover what might happen when we expect the miraculous; and prepare for our own appointment with Heaven.

Soul-stirring and hope-filled, Appointments with Heaven is a powerful journey into the questions at the very core of your being: Is there more to life than this? What is Heaven like? And, most important: Do I believe it enough to let it change me?

Reason Number 1 Why This Should Be the Next Book You Read: You’ll Love “Meeting” the Colorful People

I’m intrigued with this particular book possibly more than I’ve ever been intrigued by a book (not counting the Bible, which intrigues me every time I open it).  Appointments with Heaven reads in an exciting, I can’t turn the pages fast enough fashion similar to an Agatha Christie mystery or John Grisham novel.  Literally, each person author Dr. Reggie Anderson wrote about, I found myself longing for an entire book written about them and them, alone!  I could read a novel centered, exclusively, around the life of Dr. Anderson’s mother, father, wife, patients, or friends (Stephen Chapman and Mary Beth Chapman).

When he spoke of his childhood, I only wanted to hear more. His writing style made you feel as though you were there with the child version of him, and you could “feel” the love his family had for one another.

Every time Dr. Anderson wrote about one of his patients (particularly the ones in nursing homes), I’d find myself wondering what their personal histories were.  He made everyone and everything he wrote about beyond fascinating.  If Dr. Anderson had written textbooks, I’d have paid more attention in school!

I thought a lot as I read through this wonderful book, but I thought even more after I’d read the last page.  In fact, I’ve thought about it every day since…. which brings me to…

Reason Number 2 Why This Should Be the Next Book You Read: You’ll Love the Effect it Has on Your Life

If you’re familiar with me at all, you know I’m a baseball fanatic. Seriously, if the St. Louis Cardinals are on my tv and you have something to say to me, you might want to wait between innings – and approach me  then with caution if it’s a close game!  I once told someone, half kidding, that as far as I was concerned, there were two seasons: Baseball Season and Withdrawal.

One of the things I love about baseball SO MUCH is that you never know which pitch, which at bat, or which defensive play will change the momentum of the game. It usually comes when you aren’t watching for it and, even more fascinating, it often comes from a player who isn’t even re-mote-ly a “franchise player.”  These “game changers” are often the players most people overlook, but they’re usually my personal favorites. They’re often the difference between winning and losing.  This year, in fact, it was one of these “game changers” that (in my opinion) was the key to our successful season. The guy no one was talking about in April, everyone was talking about in October.

Game Changer.

If Appointments with Heaven were a baseball player, it would be this type of player.  There are books by more famous authors, such as Max Lucado (one of my personal favorite authors).  There are books with titles that are being tossed around for movies and television series.   These would be the “franchise”  players with names on the back of everybody’s jerseys!  And yet… sitting on another shelf, there’s a beautifully written book with an author’s name you’ve surely never heard of – a very humble “country doctor” in Tennessee who isn’t even re-mote-ly a household name.  A guy not even on the most avid inspirational book reader’s radar with a book the may never have heard of. An author no one has heard of is the very author everyone needs to read.

Life Changer.

As you’re reading Appointments with Heaven, you’ll only think about how wonderful the book, itself, is. You’ll kind of feel miffed anytime you have to set it down, whether it’s to cook, eat, or sleep. You’ll find yourself rushing back to it as fast as you possibly can.  I actually cooked supper one evening with the book in one hand while the other hand did all the work!

Agatha never made me do that…

As I said earlier, this book made me THINK a great deal. I have a lot of love for anything that makes me think. I have even more love for anything that makes me FEEL – which is the one thing Appointments with Heaven caused me to do even more than think.  The reader is reminded that the often trivial things we get bent out of shape about really don’t amount to a hill of beans. We each have our own “Appointment” one day and these trivial little matters are just that – trivial little matters.

It affected me another way, as well.  It caused me to realize something I already knew but needed to be reminded of – everyone else has their own appointment one day as well.  When you allow that fact to really sink in, it’s difficult to get annoyed with the “Sunday driver” in front of you or the “Baby Jeff Gordon” on your bumper.

This particular book and this particular author is exactly what this particular world needs right now.

Reason Number 3 Why This Should Be the Next Book You Read: You’ll Love the Peace of Mind It’ll Bring

Just about all of us have loved ones in Heaven. The longer God allows us to live on earth, the more loved ones move on before us, making Heaven sweeter and sweeter.  If we picture, in our minds, eating with our family around the dinner table as a child, a lot of us would realize that we’re the only one still here.  Some may have lost a father or a mother – then there are those, like myself, who lost both parents way too young.  Everyone has lost someone they love (parent, spouse, child, grandparent, friend..) and sadly it’s sure to happen again.

Appointments with Heaven brings much needed peace to the hearts and minds of those of us who are “left behind.”  I could easily… easily… see this book healing many open wounds.

There’s another way Appointments With Heaven will bring peace (and even forgiveness) to your heart.  You may just see yourself through Dr. Anderson’s struggle with faith and search for “answers.”  Maybe there’ve been times when you found yourself running on empty when it came to hope while the “Tank of Discouragement” was over-flowingly full.  There’ll be many ways that you’ll identify with different individuals in this book and this identification can help you realize that you aren’t alone – never have been, never will be.

Reason Number 4 Why This Should Be the Next Book You Read: It’s a Real Page-Turner!

While I read both Fiction (make believe) and Non Fiction (real life), I strongly favor Non Fiction. As an only child, my imagination has always been far wilder than anything novelists can come up with. However, “true life” is a whole different story, so to speak.  I think that’s the main reason I prefer Non Fiction – life catches me off guard.  That was certainly the case with Appointments with Heaven  – I kept thinking things like, “Oh! Didn’t see that coming!” and “Whoa, didn’t know that was going to happen…”

You come to care about the different people in Appointments with Heaven and riding the roller coaster of life with them will keep you glued to each page.

Before I end this book review that’s nearly turned into a book on its own (gift of gab… who, me?), allow me to simply say this: If I could recommend only one (besides the Bible!) book to each and every person in my life – whether online or offline – this would be the book.

Appointments with Heaven will touch you deeply and its imprints will last forever.

Click any of the links above for the paperback edition of this book on Amazon.  This book is also available on Kindle (Appointments with Heaven: The True Story of a Country Doctor’s Healing Encounters with the Hereafter on Kindle). There’s also a 30 Daily Appointments with Heaven: Devotions to Bring the Hope and Joy of Heaven to Your Every Day on Kindle which sounds extra special too.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Acid Reflux Diet

If Acid Reflux is a Problem for You, This Book Will Become Your New Best Friend

A few members of my family have had nightmarish experiences with acid reflux. After watching what they go through, I marked this condition as one I pray I never experience.

I do, however, have a great source of information, help, tips, and recipes for my loved ones as well as you. It’s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Acid Reflux Diet and it can help sufferers enjoy eating and life again!

This is another one of the excellent “The Complete Idiot’s Guides” that I was sent to review.  I love these books so much, I have an entire book shelf that’s orange. I pass them around for others to enjoy, then they come home to roost on the shelf. I pluck them off regularly to find information or recipes.

Seriously, you should begin your own collection of these outstanding books.

If you or someone you know has acid reflux, by all means you’ll want to start your collection with The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Acid Reflux Diet!

From the Back Cover:

If you live with acid reflux, you know how painful it can be – the burning, nausea, bloating, and sleepless nights.  But there’s good news! You can reduce and even eliminate your symptoms with a few healthy diet and lifestyle changes and enjoy eating again!

Packed with tips for treating and relieving your acid reflux- plus over 140 delicious recipes that won’t aggravate your symptoms – this helpful guide gives you everything you need to know to be free of acid reflux for good.  In it, you get:

  • A look at how your digestive system works, what causes acid reflux, and common symptoms you might experience.
  • Advice on keeping a food journal to help identify and eliminate your “trigger” foods.
  • Nutritional notes on the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats you need and how they can help – or hurt – in your battle against acid reflux.
  • Tips for preparing digestion-friendly foods quickly and easily at home, plus suggestions for avoiding reflux when dining out.
  • Over 140 mouthwatering recipes for acid reflux-free living, from breakfast to dessert.

Some of the chapters include:

  • What Causes Acid Reflux (a great education on the workings of the digestive system, who’s at risk for acid reflux, diagnosing acid reflux, when to seek help…)
  • Treating and Relieving Acid Reflux (includes herbal and plant-derived remedies, tips for sleep and managing stress, medications that help and medications that hurt…)
  • Weight Management with Acid Reflux (watching calories, the connection between acid reflux and weight, creating balance, healthy eating on a budget…)
  • Ensuring Your Success on the Acid Reflux Diet (protein and the Acid Reflux Diet, How much fat do you need?, good fat vs bad fat, carbohydrates, menu planning, exercise…)
  • Cooking and Dining Out Strategies (tasty flavor combinations, smart substitutions, “at the restaurant,” different cuisines, fast food, special occasions…)
  • Recipes for Reflux-Free Living (Breakfasts, breads, snacks, appetizers, sandwiches, salads, entrees, poultry, vegetarian main courses, pastas, grains, vegetables, desserts…)

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Acid Reflux Diet will set you up for success because the book, itself is set up for success.  Everything is spelled out beautifully and simplistically. Each chapter sums up what the reader has learned with a recap the author calls “The Least You Need to Know.”

Each time I read a Complete Idiot’s Guide, I think, “Why didn’t all those school books I read over the years use THESE authors and THIS approach?!”

If you or anyone you know experiences the evils of acid reflux, I strongly recommend this great book. I’ve used many of the recipes, myself, and I don’t even have acid reflux!  Click through one of the links for more information.

Check out the ridiculously impressive collection of The Complete Idiot’s Guides on Amazon. They cover just about everything you could possibly think of!

It’s Simple: Green Smoothies + A Healthier Diet = A Healthier YOU

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Smoothies Review

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green SmoothiesI fancy myself the inquisitive type. The type of person who, upon hearing a particular name mentioned or an interesting new subject broached, has to research the dickens out of it until she can carry on an intelligent conversation about said person, place, thing, or idea.  When teaching our three beautiful daughters in our home school, I always told them to latch onto anything that interested them and “study” it from all sides and angels until they could, literally, write an essay on the subject.

I wish I had a dollar for every essay they ever wrote over those years!

As a component of staying as mentally active as possible and as someone who writes (and reads) a great deal about brain fitness, I encourage everyone – in addition to my girls – to read and study as many subjects as you possibly can.  Don’t just latch onto one and don’t limit yourself to one source – dissect a subject like an earthworm on a board. Look at it from every possible angle, while keeping an open mind and always, always, always think for yourself.

Don’t worry, I won’t ask you to write an essay.

I’ve been reading a lot the past few months about a couple of different subjects. Like my brain, these subjects are all over the place:

  • Green Smoothies
  • Preservatives in Food
  • Squirrels
  • Joan of Arc
  • Yoga

Did you know that, although we’ve always seen paintings of her as a fearless fighter, riding into battle armed and dangerous – the heroine of the Hundred Years’ War (between France and England), Joan of Arc, never actually fought in a single battle? She certainly never killed an opponent.  (For 6 other cool facts about Joan of Arc, check out

Green Smoothies and Raw Food

My fascination with Green Smoothies came about a while back when I was sent The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Smoothies to review. I was mesmerized immediately.  The book is easy to read, simple to understand, and the first step you should take if you’re considering green smoothies.

From the Back Cover:

Blended from fresh, natural, whole foods and juices, green smoothies help burn fat, promote immune and digestive system health, and rid your body of toxins.

The next best thing to a personal smoothie chef, this superb guide gives you 150 taste-tempting recipes to amp up your nutrition, satisfy your cravings, and cleanse your body.

In it, you get:

  • Advice on combining ingredients and flavors into delicious green smoothies even kids will love.
  • Easy ideas for creating energizing green smoothies packed with protein to fuel the athlete in you.
  • Recipes for powerful superfood smoothies that increase your vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrient intake.
  • Tips for blending nutritionally dense, low-calorie weight loss smoothies that leave you feeling satisfied.
  • Healing green smoothie and tonic recipes that boost your immunity and purify your body from the inside out.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Smoothies is the perfect (ideal, ideal, ideal) introduction to Green Smoothies. The author, Bo Rinaldi, is a chef and co-owner of Blossoming Lotus Restaurant in Portland, Oregon. He’s also the co-owner of and He has written several great books for The Complete Idiot’s series.

What you eat empowers you. - Bo Rinaldi, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Smoothies

In addition to the 150 Green Smoothies recipes, this great guide includes the following informative chapters:

  • Why Green Smoothies?
  • The Bountiful Benefits of Green Smoothies (fiber, nutrients, vitamins, anti-oxidants…).
  • Making the Perfect Green Smoothie.
Recipes in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Smoothies include Everyday Smoothies, Powerful Superfood Smoothies, Smoothies for Weight Loss, Healing Smoothies, Green Smoothie Tonics, Smoothies for Athletes, Kid-Friendly Smoothies, Exotic Green Smoothies!

I’ll be writing more about nutrition, preventing diabetes. raw foods, and yoga in future posts but I wanted to share a few links with you.  I’ve loved smoothies for a long time now. Strawberry, Banana, Peach… Never met a smoothie I didn’t love.  I also am a huge fan of vegetables, so when the subject of Green Smoothies came up, how could I NOT be fascinated? Green Smoothies were, apparently “invented” by the late Dr. Ann Wigmore in 1988.

[Read more...]

Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Teachers…

A Wonderful Little Book for Children for Kindle

I Create My World

I’m in love with this little book – more to the point, I’m in love with the concept of providing children with positive affirmations, self confidence, and self worth. I Create My World; the Power of Thought to Shape Our Lives: a Book of Affirmations is a Kindle book for children that I wish I could put in every child in the world’s precious little hands.

I Create My World

I don’t have to tell you how important self worth is, nor do I need to remind you how important it is to our happiness and even health to realize that we are..

  • important
  • special
  • wonderful
  • worthy of love, happiness, and all things good!

What I might need to remind a lot of people of is this: People need to be grounded in these truths very, very, very early in life.  The first years of development are more important than most people realize.  A lot of the beliefs, feelings, and thoughts we develop as very young children stay with us throughout our lives.  That’s why the thought of a loving adult sitting down with a child and reading a book like this, together, fills my heart with warm hope.

I Create My World


Picture it: A parent, grandparent, older sibling, or other family member sitting with a precious little child reading a bright, beautiful book that’s all bout THEM!  Kids are their own favorite topic of conversation, after all – and this is a book reminding them.. reinforcing in them… that they are…

  • special
  • talented
  • loved
  • gifted
  • wonderful
  • the artist who’ll paint their life’s picture



I Create My World

I read to my daughters (Emily, Brittany, and Stephany) from the moment they were old enough to listen.  The time spent together was sweeter than any cupcake could ever hope to be. I found that it was often the words shared between us… between pages.. that were the most powerful.  The same would be true with this delightful and colorful book.  Think of the wonderful opportunities you’d have to instill positive life affirmations!  Having a book as a “tool” helps immensely.  The author’s words can guide your words, while the picture holds the child’s attention.

I’m reminded almost daily  just how strong children’s memories are.  My daughters often bring up things that happened so long ago that my mind had nearly misplaced the entire scenario! They remember books we checked out at the library and read as soon as we got home, they remember lessons from our home school – all the way back to when they were 5 and 6.  A few months ago, one of my girls brought up a story I’d made up when they were all younger than 8.  They remembered the “moral” and even the illustrations I drew to go along with it!

What a child experiences early in life helps mold and form them into the person they’ll become. It’s as though we provide them (when they’re very small) with the colors they’ll use to paint their life’s picture.

I Create My World; the Power of Thought to Shape Our Lives: a Book of Affirmations is a beautiful palette of colors you can use to your child’s advantage!

Click through any of the links or images to learn more.

A Quote of Biblical Proportions

Stop Circling the Mountain and Make a Move!

Pine Mountain, Kentucky

Ye have compassed this mountain long enough; turn you northward. - Deuteronomy 2:3 (KJV)

You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north. – Deuteronomy 2:3 (NASB)

The above verse (the bottom one) accompanied an edition of an  inspirational newsletter I subscribe to.  The newsletter was about an actual mountain and an actual situation of losing track of where the path was. Sounds like something I’d do, if we were to be honest. My sense of direction is akin to bat’s sense of sight.

The quote really resonated with me.  I grabbed my Bible, just out of curiosity to see how it was worded in the King James Version. It resonated just as strongly and, at least in my opinion, sounded even more lyrical.  Both versions of the verse are now written on a large index card and hang over my computer desk along with a few other quotes that I find to be exceptionally inspiring and motivational.  Another card nearby says, “Nothing will work unless you do. – Maya Angelou”

I can’t tell you how many times Dame Angelou has kicked my butt with those words.  I’ve been know to literally say, “Yes, Ma’am,” as I get back to work.

The beautiful mountain verse is also incredibly inspirational.  The words serve as powerful  reminders to know:

  • When it’s time to give up.
  • When it’s time to try a new approach.

When it’s Time to Give Up

I know it may be strange to see me, the queen of “Fight! Fight! Fight!” mention the words giving up in a positive light, but let’s face it. Sometimes it’s time to give up! For example, some people hang on so tightly to the PAST or to their Pre-conceived vision of the FUTURE that they waste today. There are few things in the world any sadder than wasted time or un-cherished moments.  I hear from people almost daily who are sad becuase…

  • Their marriage has ended.
  • Their “nest” is empty.
  • They lost their job.
  • They can’t have children.
  • The face they see in the mirror isn’t the one they saw 1o years ago (isn’t that a pip?)

The list goes on, because unfortunately none of us make it out of this world unscathed or unburdened.  The first thing I always tell people is that they have every right in the world to feel sad, disappointed, angry.. or any other emotions they feel.  We can’t help how we feel, after all. BUT, we can help how tightly we hang on to these feelings.

The spouse who’s marriage has ended who keeps looking at old photographs and listening to old songs, for example.  They hang on to the past so tightly, they’re squeezing the life out of the present – and nothing leads to a dead future faster than that.

How about the empty-nester who keeps wanting her children to be little again?

A. That’s not going to happen.

B. Why in the world would you want it to? They can change themselves now!

On a smaller scale, think about the baby boomers who are still trying to look just like they did when they were in their twenties?!  I’m the first one to say that a woman or man should wear whatever they darn well want to wear. All I hope for is that they aren’t tacky – and if they are, that they’ll stay out of my line of vision.  However, there’s a lot (a whole lot, actually) to be said for dressing in a manner that’s becoming to you.  If someone sends you a memo saying that the 70′s wants  its clothes back or the 80′s wants its mullet back… you might not be as becoming as you are just becoming a joke.

Relationships can also make people dig their feet in deeper when they should simply move on. Bad, dysfunctional relationships rob your life of positive energy, fun, and its very breath.  Some people waste years trying to make a lousy relationship un-lousy when lousy is all the relationship can be.

You have to know when it’s time to turn north. Going in circles doesn’t get you anywhere.  It just keeps bringing you right back to the starting point – the very definition of insanity and the picture of  wasting the life you’ve been given.

When it’s Time for a New Approach

Oh, geez. Time to tell on myself. I hate when that happens – but I get into so darn much stuff and make so many mistakes that I beg to be used as an example! Due to a thyroid that no longer exists (literally), I have to watch my weight like an obsessive hawk. Problem is, I’m not an obsessive hawk.  I’m more of a laid-back dove – and one that’s very, very fond of eating.

Imagine the trouble that gets me into.

The problem was under control for the most part until the past few years. Until recently, pounds would creep up and I’d simply walk further and more often until I was back in fighting form.  However, for some reason (it couldn’t be age, could it? Surely not.), the routine just isn’t working as beautifully as it once did.

This dilemma was in the forefront of my mind, actually, on the morning when I read the verse.  It jumped off of the computer screen, got in my face, and demanded, “So. Just how long are you going to keep doing the same thing, while expecting different results? How long are you going to keep dialing the same number and expecting a different answer each time? How long are you going to keep circling the same mountain?

After writing the verse down on an index card, I immediately began to go over every single thing I ate and drink.  I researched the number of calories I was actually burning during my 30 minute walk each day. Turns out, not nearly as many as my feet thought we were. They had me convinced we were “torching calories” when, in fact, we were just kind of slapping them on the wrist – and not very hard at that!

I’d been, literally, leisurely walking around a mountain – again and again.  It occurred to me that it was more than past time to turn northward.  Then, and only then, would things begin to look up.

Spend a little time with this verse and see if there’s an area of your life it wants to discuss. If it does, you’d be wise to listen.

Ye have compassed this mountain long enough; turn you northward. - Deuteronomy 2:3 (KJV)

You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north. – Deuteronomy 2:3 (NASB)

>>>> The picture at the top was taken on a recent trip to gorgeous (gorgeous!) Pine Mountain State Resort Park in Kentucky.

Ancestory, Genealogy, and Your Family Tree

The Best Guide for FIning Your Way to the Past

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Genealogy With my self help website, food blog, and other online publications, I have the opportunity to read and review a good number of books. I’ve been a bookworm since the great and varied adventures of “Spot, Dick, and Jane,” so you can imagine how delirious I am when a new book to review comes in the mail. My smile stretches from ear to ear and my feet kind of do this little happy dance.

I’ve got nothing but mad love for great books, the authors who pen them, the publishers who publish them – and nothing but crazy mad love for the publicists who add to my personal library.

A recent book is from one of my favorite series of books, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide To…” series.  I’m mad about these books!  They take a subject matter that you’d LIKE to be an expert in and MAKE you an expert.  Given the fact that these wonderful books cover just about any subject you can think of, that means you can become an expert in any field you want.

I’ve always been fascinated by genealogy, for example, but honestly had no idea where to start. When asked if I’d be interested in reviewing The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Genealogy, 3rd Edition, I jumped in with both dancing feet.

About the Authors

Christine Rose is a full-time professional genealogist. She was elected a fellow of the American society of Genealogists in 1988, an honor bestowed on only 50 living genealogists at any time.  Kay Germain Ingalls is a certified genealogist and is past president of the Association of Professional Genealogists and a trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

I’ve always wanted to dig around in my own family tree (as well as my husband’s).  I’ve been intrigued with my ancestors since I was about 17 years old.  A great, great uncle showed me a picture of someone in our family from YEARS ago.  She was dressed like Laura Ingalls Wilder if that gives you an idea of how old the picture was.  Her name was Annie, and her picture made me freeze in my tracks. She looked exactly like me.  My mom and other relatives in the room all looked back and forth between me and Annie’s picture and everyone agreed that we looked exactly alike.   My mom tried to get her hands on more pictures and information of Annie, but nothing really turned up.

To this day I’d just love to know more about her!  How many children did she have?  Who did she marry? Did she love animals? Did she have a cup of coffee by her side all day, too?  Things like this fascinate me.  I couldn’t help wondering, too, what her children looked like and what they did with their lives.  And their children, and their children, and…

From the Back Cover:
You’d love to learn more about your ancestors, but the wealth of information online, in family scrapbooks, in libraries, and at courthouses is so vast, you don’t know where to start your search.

The next best thing to a personal genealogist, this revised and updated guide gives you all the knowledge you need to trace your heritage.  In it, you get:

  • Guidance on sorting through census data, plus tips on widening your search with surname variations.
  • Tips for fact-finding in newspaper archives, military records, Social Security records, cemeteries, and more.
  • The latest information on using, GenWeb, and other online sources – plus hundreds of links to visit.
  • A new chapter devoted to researching African American lineage.
  • Expanded information on how to use DNA testing in your genealogical search.
  • Insightful ideas for breaking through the brick walls and seemingly dead ends all genealogists face.
  • A primer on organizing your work with charts, forms, and logs; citing sources; and establishing a numbering system.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Genealogy, 3rd Edition is like having a couple of genealogists siting on each side of you – telling you why you should research your family history, where to begin (with Mom and Dad!), how to proceed, and what to watch for. The advice and tips are priceless. I promise you, the book is filled with things you’d never have even thought of.

There are “Tree Tips” as well as “Lineage Lessons” and “Definitions” along the way. The definition prompt came in handy with Daguerreotypes, as you might imagine.

Who are You?
What’s the fascination? Curious as to why Grandpa never spoke about his family? Yearn to know your ethnic roots? Whatever it is, this part will get you going. Starting the search with your own family, you’ll learn how to spot the significance of all the papers and memorabilia you’re sure to find. If you’ve already started with the Internet, find out how to build on that.

You’ll also get the basics of recording what you find and an introduction to some of the charts, forms, and logs that will help you keep on track. You are laying the groundwork for a wonderful adventure. – From the Intro to Part 1

And that’s just Part 1!

I could give you a wonderfully flowery spiel about how “learning who your ancestors were will help you learn who you are.” I could point out how important it is to unearth family traits, illnesses, and whatnot to better understand and protect you and generations after you. I could also tell you how much your mind LOVES learning new things and the pursuit of new hobbies such as genealogy. And all that would be true. But, frankly, I’m just going to say this, “How freaking cool would it be if you found a face in the past that looked just like the one in the mirror?!”

Click through The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Genealogy, 3rd Edition to learn more. Trust me, this is a book you’ll want to add to your library because this is book that will serve you well.

A Great Summer Read: The Millionaire’s Handbook

How to Look and Act Like a Millionaire Even If You're Not

The Millionaire's Handbook

Sigh. I love The Millionaire’s Handbook: How to Look and Act like a Millionaire, Even if You’re Not. In fact, I want to be this book when I grow up.

I regularly do book reviews for Self Help Daily, as well as a few other websites. 7 out of 10 times the book I’m sent to review is a wonderful book that I’m delighted to share with my online friends (that’d be you). For the self help blog, most of the books are a little serious in nature – after all, self improvement, health, fitness, and self motivation are serious matters. Because of this fact, I think I got an extra kick out of The Millionaire’s Handbook: How to Look and Act like a Millionaire, Even if You’re Not. When I first opened the book, I thought it was going to be a straight-laced, straight-faced approach: “To look like a millionaire, one must first believe that they are a millionaire, for all good things begin with thought.” I thought it might urge the reader to purge negativity from their center…. to embrace their potential.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do read a lot of books, why do you ask?

I wasn’t even out of the Introduction before I realized that this book had much more FUN running through its veins than I thought. I wasn’t off the first page of the Introduction before I developed a literary crush on the book.

This book will show you how to wing it till you cha-ching it – by spending what little money you do have wisely and making a positive investment in yourself. It will help you gain the trappings of luxury – even if you’re six generations removed, not just from Kevin, but from anyone who brings home the Bacon. You’ll learn how to look, dress, speak, and behave like a millionaire so that you, too, can enjoy the same privileged lifestyle.

There are entire stores filled with chichi clothing. There are countless ways to pamper, party, and globetrot – all while sampling the world’s finest luxuries. But if you have to worry about how much it all costs, then this is the right book for you. It will help redistribute the perks that come with the power of money, so that we can all get more of what’s coming to us (for a great deal less).

If you can dream it you can look it. This book describes eighteen separate aspects of looking and acting like a millionaire, even if you aren’t one. Each chapter begins with a fictional scene, which sets the stage for the true-life advice and tips that follow.

As we travel together through these chapters, you will meet some friends and learn what to do (and, indeed, what not to do)….

The book is, obviously, written in a humorous, very fun to read fashion but the truly great thing is: There’s a lot of priceless advice in this book. You can look and behave as though you have more money than you actually do!

One of the first sections in the book includes Twenty Must-Have Items to Look Like a Millionaire. A few of these are:


  • One pair of sunglasses that hides majority of face for instant celebrity appeal.
  • One gadget (cell, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry) to prove your time is valuable.
  • One ticket stub to a cultural event within the last year.
  • An eye for art (Not confusing Jasper Johns with Jackson Pollock is a good start).

Some of the Chapters in The Millionaire’s Handbook:

  • The Ten Laws of Material Success (Or How to Dress the Part on a Pauper’s Salary)
  • Amass a $64 Million Vocabulary
  • Skimp on the Items No One Else Will Notice
  • Covet Thy Neighbor’s Catalogs
  • Develop an Obscure Hobby
  • Blend in to Stand Out
  • Millionaire Skin
  • Foster an Eccentricity
  • You, Only Richer
  • Show Some Class
  • Your Personal Brand

In the back of the 267 page book, there are a few pages dedicated to websites and books that’ll help you along your way to looking richer and a list of  20 Must-Have Catalogs…  I’m afraid to say I only subscribe to one.  I have so much work to do.

This wonderfully funny and enjoyable book actually gives you FACTS while it feels as though it’s just giving you FUN.  You LEARN while you think you’re just LAUGHING.   The Millionaire’s Handbook would make an ideal book any time of year – whether you’re sitting enjoying a cup of hot chocolate in the winter or lying in the sun in the summer.  It’s the sort of book you’ll devour quickly, then lend to everyone you know. With the promise that you get it back.

Take a closer look at The Millionaire’s Handbook: How to Look and Act like a Millionaire, Even if You’re Not.  I can’t recommend this book enough!


Cooking Healthy on a Budget?

It's Actually Possible

I recently read, then wrote a review for, a great book called Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn’t Cook from Scratch — Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods . Click the link for my review of this fun and informative book – the post includes a recipe from the book for Homemade Baked Beans!  OR, click the book and read more on Amazon.

Book Description

When Jennifer Reese lost her job, she was overcome by an impulse common among the recently unemployed: to economize by doing for herself what she had previously paid for. She had never before considered making her own peanut butter and pita bread, let alone curing her own prosciutto or raising turkeys. And though it sounded logical that “doing it yourself” would cost less, she had her doubts. So Reese began a series of kitchen-related experiments, taking into account the competing demands of everyday contemporary American family life as she answers some timely questions: When is homemade better? Cheaper? Are backyard eggs a more ethical choice than store-bought? Will grinding and stuffing your own sausage ruin your week? Is it possible to make an edible maraschino cherry? Some of Reese’s discoveries will surprise you: Although you should make your hot dog buns, guacamole, and yogurt, you should probably buy your hamburger buns, potato chips, and rice pudding. Tired? Buy your mayonnaise. Inspired? Make it.With its fresh voice and delightful humor, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter gives 120 recipes with eminently practical yet deliciously fun “Make or buy” recommendations. Reese is relentlessly entertaining as she relates her food and animal husbandry adventures, which amuse and perplex as well as nourish and sustain her family. Her tales include living with a backyard full of cheerful chickens, muttering ducks, and adorable baby goats; countertops laden with lacto-fermenting pickles; and closets full of mellowing cheeses. Here’s the full picture of what is involved in a truly homemade life—with the good news that you shouldn’t try to make everything yourself—and how to get the most out of your time in the kitchen.

The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life

How to Get Through Life's Holes Without Getting Stuck in Them!

The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life

The Swiss Cheese Theory of LIfe, by Judith A. Belmont, MS and Lora Shor, MSW, is such a fun, delightful, and thought-provoking book that I only wish I could put a copy into each one of my reader’s hands.  I was sent my own review copy a few weeks ago and I’ve really gotten a kick out of it.

Don’t get me wrong. Just because it’s fun, delightful, colorful, and has a killer personality doesn’t mean there isn’t a great deal of substance here, because there is.  The fact that it has a great deal of fun serving up the wonderful nuggets of self growth simply means that you’ll stay with them all the way to the end.  I can’t imagine anyone bailing on this book midway – you’d be too afraid of missing what might come next!

From the back cover:

Take The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life Challenge

  • Are you trying to make changes in your life, yet find yourself digging deeper into a hole?
  • Do you “know better” but still continue unhealthy patterns and habits?
  • Do you often have “why does this happen to me” thinking?
  • Are you looking for happiness in all the wrong places?
  • Are you ready to make healthy changes in your life…. physically, emotionally, spiritually?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions – this book is for you!

The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life is a book about resiliency. Using Swiss Cheese as a metaphor for life itself, you will explore ways to get through life’s holes without getting stuck in them.  Swill is not like any other cheese – and neither are you!

Top 10 Things I Love About The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life:

  1. The book has such a positive vibe it floats off of the pages.  There’s no negativity, scare tactics, or heavy handed advice.
  2. The authors treat important matters as important matters but don’t take things overly seriously. Life’s fun and this book doesn’t just “get” that, it celebrates it.
  3. I look at reading as sitting down and having a friendly visit with an author or authors. These authors are great company and I’m hoping for more collaborations.
  4. This book is highly interactive, inviting the reader to think, solve, and resolve.  We don’t grow when others do all the thinking for us!
  5. There are many fascinating quotes, illustrations, and examples. The lively writing is compelling.
  6. There are FUN illustrations and even comics. LOVE that!
  7. The book reads very fast, but doesn’t at all feel like “fast food.”  It’s fine dining quality but can be read by even the busiest person in no time at all.
  8. The authors show you how to take complete control of your life and bring the changes about that YOU want – not the changes someone else wants for you. Very important.
  9. The authors take good ole human emotions and short-comings into consideration. Very often they hit you with your excuses before they’ve even completely formed in your mind! Best of all, they offer solutions.
  10. Last, but certainly not least, this book shows that it is never, ever too late.  Lifelong mistakes or even even consistent shortcomings can be turned around.  The ship can be “righted” and.. guess what… we’re at the helm!

About the Authors:

Judith A. Belmont, MS, is a national speaker and corporate wellness trainer, with over 30 years of experience as a psychotherapist. From college teaching to working with Fortune 500 companies, Judy uses practical, action-oriented strategies to get people through life s obstacles. She is the author of two professional books, 86 Tips for the Therapeutic Toolbox and 103 Group Activities and TIPS.

Lora Shor, LSW, is a psychotherapist, work/life consultant, and national speaker. She has helped thousands learn and implement resiliency skills and transformation techniques for happier, healthier, balanced lifestyle. Lora is an international consultant to Fortune 500 companies, the federal government, and non-profits, and also maintains a private clinical practice in the Philadelphia area.

The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life is JUST the book I want each of my readers to have by their side when the new year rolls in.  When you’re sitting at the table with pen and paper, making your New Year’s Resolutions, I want this book to be there with the three of you!  It just may be the glue that’ll make those resolutions stick.

Take a closer look at this very special book: The Swiss Cheese Theory of LIfe

100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence

Believe in Yourself and Others Will Too!

100 Ways to Boost Your Self Confidence

The book lover in me delighted in the fact that I was sent a copy of 100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence: Believe In Yourself and Others Will Too to review on the self help blog. My inner self help diva rejoiced because it was about a favorite subject: Self Confidence.

We’ll only go as far as our self confidence will carry us – for better or worse.

Some people have an edge when it comes to self confidence. The people in their life (parents, spouse, children, etc) build them up to the point that they feel they can do anything. My parents always instilled this can-do attitude in me as a child. So much so that, right before a game, when my softball coach asked our team who could pitch, I raised my hand even though I’d never pitched a day in my life. I took the pitcher’s position, ball in hand, and never (even slightly) doubted that I could do it. My mom sat bug-eyed in the stands and my dad looked like he wanted to cry. I’d always been a catcher! Yet, there their daughter marched, like a boss, to the mound.

I struck out the first girl.

Then the next.

Third girl? She hit it back to me and I threw her out.

I wouldn’t have remembered these details, on my own but my dad repeated the story over the years so many times that it became ingrained in my memory – and probably everyone else’s for 6 counties! Proud dad.

Some people are at a complete disadvantage when it comes to self confidence. The people in their life never seem to say anything to them or about them unless it’s negative. How pathetic is that?! My heart breaks for these people and I understand why they struggle with confidence. However, if they realize that THEY aren’t the ones with the problem, they’ll be well on their way.

Most people fall somewhere in between. They don’t have cheerleaders on the sideline, but they also don’t have people hurling insults.

Irregardless of your supporting cast, your level of self-confidence can (and should) be built up and strengthened. We’ll only go as far as we think we can! Apparently a lot of people know that because one of the subject areas I hear from my readers the most about is Self Confidence. After reading 100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence: Believe In Yourself and Others Will Too, I’m delighted to say that I now have a wonderful book to recommend to anyone and everyone who wants to improve their self-confidence.

Book Description

When you don’’t believe in yourself, everything is more difficult. 100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence will literally help you change your life by changing the way you feel about yourself. Not only will you have faith in who you really are, but the people you love and work with will believe in you as well.

100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence will show you how to:

  • Discover the essence of your personal power and belief in yourself.
  • Create the life you want with practical “feel good” behaviors.
  • Reduce your doubts, increase your self-worth and make your world a better place.
  • Improve the quality of your relationships by changing the way you think about yourself and how others think about you.
  • Become your best self by employing these easy-to-use techniques
If you struggle with self-confidence, this wonderful, inspirational, and informative book will become your new best friend. The opening chapters point out the importance of having confidence in yourself and even include 10 Instant Confidence Builders.  The book proceeds to give the reader over 100 ways to boost their self confidence. I know the title says 100 ways, but there are actually more than just 100!
From the Introduction:
A person grows whenever he or she thinks, contemplates, and dreams.  Your ideas, reflections, and even random thoughts can build your self-confidence, but you have to be aware of them to get the full benefit.
Research tells us that the human brain can think of five to nine things at the same time, so it can be a bit challenging to isolate and identify the confidence-building thoughts from those that do you no good.
Realizing that you have confidence within you, even if it has been hiding for a while, is the first step in reinforcing it.  Deciding that you want to retain and focus on your self-confidence is the next one.  By first finding it, you then have the ability to harness it.
What follows is a beautiful education in both finding and harnessing this self-confidence.

I absolutely love this book from the front cover to the back and if I could be granted a wish right now, it’d be that anyone who struggles with self-confidence at all would buy a copy of 100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence: Believe In Yourself and Others Will Too right this minute. Don’t spend another day doubting yourself or your abilities. Let author Barton Goldsmith, PHD show you how to open yourself up to a whole new world.

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