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.

NinkaStudio “Theme of the Year” Calendars

I Really Love the Idea Behind These Beautiful Calendars...


Well, guys 2016 is just about here. 2015 was a bumpy ride in my family, so we’re welcoming 2016 with arms wide open.

If you’re as into calendars as I am (I usually have about 4) or if you love positive affirmations and motivation even half as much as I do, you’re going to be blown away by these printable calendars from NinkaStudio.

The “Theme-of-the-Year”  printable calendars are available and each one is more than just a pretty face.  These special calendars allow you to keep a special theme or “word of the year” front and center in your life all year.


Themes (“Word of the Year”) Include:

  • Simplify
  • Awake
  • Balance
  • Laugh
  • Imagine
  • Breathe
  • Enthusiasm
  • Release
  • Sparkle
  • Rest
  • And many more!

From NinkaStudio:

A theme-of-the-year is a very simple concept that a lot of people use instead of New Year’s resolutions. It’s also called “One Word Resolution”, “Word of the year”, “Personal Mantra”, “Intention for the year” or simply “One Word”. Instead of focusing on lots of goals that often get abandoned within a few weeks, a simple word or phrase will be your guide. One word is easy to remember, simple to focus on and can gently guide your decisions, plans and actions in all areas of life.


For a VERY low price, here’s what you get:

2 printable files:

  • 2016 Year-at-a-glance Calendar (choose between US Letter with Sunday start or A4 with Monday start)
  • 8″x10″ printable theme (JPG or PDF) – print & frame or set it as your desktop background

I hope you’ll click through and find the word (or words!) that resonate with you. If you find several, consider buying each – after all, can we really have too much motivation?

Keep smiling! ~ Joi (“Joy”)


Stress: Even More Dangerous Than We Realized

Huge Contributor to Cognitive Decline

Never Pass Up a Chance to Smile
Stress does more than just make a person feel miserable, it increases their chances of getting heart disease AND Alzheimer’s Disease. I just posted an article on my mental fitness blog about this correlation and, more importantly, what we can do about it.

See: Why Stress is Something You Need to Deal With NOW

~ Joi

Christmas Joy: How to Make it Last All Year!

John Greenleaf Whittier on the Joy "Boomerang"

Quote About Christmas Spirit

The Joy You Give Others…

Ever since I was a “spoiled rotten” little girl, showered with doll babies from scads of adoring family members, I’ve always loved Christmas with every ounce of my being. Granted, the six year old me had a few different reasons for this than the adult version of me, but make no mistake about it, my excitement for the season today is every bit as strong as it was then.

I no longer associate Christmas solely with dolls, candy, Santa Claus, and Barbie doll furniture. Well, actually candy remains, because I never outgrew my sweet tooth, but you get the idea.

Somewhere along the way, Christmas became more about Joy, Happiness, Good Will, Excitement, and Love.  It’s a season where everyone seems happier and more eager to “give” than to “receive.”  Maybe the two go hand in hand.

In the quote above, that’s exactly what John Greenleaf Whittier is suggesting: “Somehow, not only for Christmas but all the long year through, the joy you give to others is the joy that comes back to you.”

What if this is the most magical, wonderful time of the year because we are more focused on giving joy to others than on bringing it to ourselves?  What if The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is actually more fact-based than we realize? If you’ll recall, the Grinch never found happiness until he stopped taking and started giving.

As a Self Help and Self Improvement blogger, my first thought is this: How do we take this extra special happiness and extend it from December to the rest of the year? How do we capture the joy of the Christmas season and make it shine brightly over every other season?

The answers actually lie within questions:

  1. Ask: What is our primary GOAL each Christmas? I can only speak personally, but mine is simple – to bring smiles to the faces I love the most. I want to see their faces light up when they open special gifts I’ve bought just for them. I want to see a return to childhood joy when they sort through their stockings. I want to blow them away with the Christmas meal, coconut cake, fudge, candy, and cookies. Told you, the sweet tooth is strong with this one. I also find myself more concerned with giving back during the holidays. Why is beyond me, but it’s more in the forefront of my thoughts this time of year more than any other.
  2. Ask: How often, during the rest of the year, do I focus most of my energy on making other people smile or bringing joy to others? Do I fall into a rut of focusing only on things that make me smile?
  3. Ask: What are special things I can do from January to November to bring smiles to others? What are ways I can go out of my way to show others how much I love them? What are things I can do to give back to others and help those who are unable to help themselves?

Making Christmas Joy last all year is as simple as asking the right questions.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

~ Joi (“Joy”)

The Health Benefits of Kefir

If You Have Any Digestive "Issues," Kefir Milk Could Be Your New Best Friend

Kefir Milk
The Health Benefits of Kefir Milk are M-A-N-Y

Before I get to the many health benefits of kefir (specifically kefir milk since that’s what I have the most experience with), I’ll briefly share my own digestive “issues.”  Not to brag, mind you, but rather to allow you to see if you recognize your own experiences in mine.

If kefir milk has provided relief for me, there’s every reason to believe it’ll do the same for you.

My Digestive Problems

First of all, I believe my digestive problems all stem from a gluten intolerance that went undiagnosed for years. And I do mean YEARS. Like most people who are gluten intolerant, have wheat/gluten allergies, or are celiac, the symptoms we experience (especially early on) are simply too easy to blame on a million and one other things.

  • seasonal allergies
  • “nervous stomach”
  • overeating
  • stress
  • age
  • etc..

Only recently are people beginning to realize that food intolerances are the first place they should look – not the last.

Unfortunately, like millions of other people, by the time I realized that, essentially, I was poisoning my body, the damage had been done.  My oldest daughter, Emily, is in the same boat I am. I’m just grateful that she didn’t “poison” her body for the number of years I did mine. Even still, she, too, has many digestive issues now that she could have avoided if we’d only knew what we didn’t know!

Basically, the damage has forced us to look at each bite and each drink we take with extreme caution. Things most people take for granted – like sitting down and enjoying a great meal – can never be taken for granted when it could mean pain, a life-threatening allergic reaction, or two weeks of what feels like a wicked bout of intestinal flu.

Emily has undergone tests and scopes in efforts to diagnose just how much damage has been done. She’s much braver than her mother, which is why I just typed, “Emily has undergone tests and scopes…” rather than “we have..”

I’m a chicken – there I said it.

They found that, in addition to chronic “silent reflux,” (don’t let the name fool you, silent doesn’t mean painless – it may actually be the worst named condition of all time) she now has Barrett’s Esophagus (a serious complication of GERD, which stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease). About 10% of people with GERD develop Barrett’s esophagus.  Left untreated, it can lead to cancer of the esophagus.

My own GERD/acid reflux is not “silent.” He’s many things but silent he is not.

Both Emily and I have to make certain not to eat anything for at least two hours before bedtime. Eating anything within that time frame will lead to food coming up into our mouths while we’re sleeping – causing choking, vomiting, burning, pain, and… well… a heckuva miserable night.

In addition to GERD, I have a hiatal hernia – which, if we’re being honest, here – is my least favorite thing in the world. Many individuals who have hiatal hernias never even know they have them.

Why can’t anything I have ever be silent?

On top of these lovelies, because I’m gluten intolerant, if I come in contact with so much as a crumb of bread, my stomach makes life miserable for me. Fortunately, I’ve become an expert at detecting gluten and that seldom happens anymore.

However, because of the other issues and the damage that has been done, my digestive track doesn’t exactly work on all cylinders. I have to eat much more slowly than most people and, when it comes to digesting what I’ve eaten, my body is the human equivalent of a sloth.  I’ve found, however, that Papaya digestive enzymes are a Godsend. They are amazing and if you have any digestive problems, I highly recommend Papaya Enzymes.

{Continued Below…}

Kefir Cream

Kefir Cream

Health Benefits of Kefir Milk

Okay, now on to what’s really important – how Kefir milk can help you, whether you recognize your symptoms in the ones mentioned above or not.

Almost weekly, people are discovering new benefits of kefir. As more and more of us drink it daily, we find different reasons to love it.  A quick Google search for “Health Benefits of Kefir” will blow your mind. I recently read that many women, as soon as they feel a yeast infection coming on, will drink kefir milk.

The infection goes away immediately – without the use of any medications.

Mind, blown.

I’ve also read that a lot of people who normally suffer from insomnia have found an evening glass of kefir milk to be the answer they’ve been looking for.

Health Benefits of Kefir:

  • As I said above in my riveting digestive health confessional, eating late at night (due to GERD) is a surefire path to agony for me. However, I’ve found that if I drink a glass of kefir milk at bedtime, I don’t have any reflux whatsoever. NONE. It’s as though the kefir milk stands guard between my stomach and my esophagus and flat out refuses to let any torch carrying demons pass.   Is there any wonder I love kefir milk so much? 
  • Kefir is a more powerful probiotic than yogurt. Research suggests kefir has three times more probiotics than yogurt. Probiotics help protect and strengthen the immune system and help keep harmful bacteria out. Probiotics have many digestive benefits as well.
  • Kefir has powerful antibacterial properties.
  • Kefir is a great way to get more protein – making it ideal for vegetarians or anyone who follows a restrictive diet.
  • Kefir helps protect your bones and lowers your risk of osteoporosis.
  • Kefir improves lactose intolerance. People with lactose intolerance can drink kefir milk without issue.
  • Researchers believe that kefir is actually protective against cancer.
  • Kefir is a good source of several B Vitamins.
  • Kefir may improve symptoms from allergies and asthma.
  • I experienced something with kefir milk that a lot of people have raved about – it improves your quality of sleep.  Many people, after they begin drinking kefir regularly, report sleeping deeper, waking less often, and waking up feeling more rested than before.

How to Get Kefir Milk

I make my own kefir milk, but you can find great kefir milk in your grocery store’s dairy section. Before I got my own kefir grains and began making my own, we drank Lifeway Kefir. We actually still buy it to enjoy the different flavors.

Some members of my family like to mix the homemade kefir milk with Lifeway’s flavored kefir milk to jazz things up. Their Blueberry and Strawberry Kefir Milk are both fantastic.

I’ll often blend my homemade kefir with a little of Lifeway’s flavored kefir for a great smoothie. The combination of Lifeway’s Strawberry Kefir Milk, my homemade kefir milk, and a banana makes a delicious smoothie.

Making your own kefir milk is something I highly recommend if you have the time and can commit to the daily process. It takes only about 5 minutes each day, but for people who work outside of the home, an extra 5 minutes can seem like 30 minutes to the rest of us.

Personally, I “feed” my kefir grains and make my kefir milk each morning.  You can  choose the time of day you want to do the process, but I don’t personally recommend the evening. I like getting it done first thing. Plus, then I’ve got the jar of kefir milk to enjoy during the day.

I bought my kefir grains and learned all I know from the Kefir Lady.  There are other people online, of course, where you can order your grains, and there are countless videos on YouTube about making kefir milk.  However, you just aren’t going to beat the kefir lady.

Besides, she loves goats. How can you not going to trust someone who loves goats?!

How Does Kefir Milk Taste?

Delicious! It seems that kefir milk is one of those things that some people enjoy the flavor of more so than others. It floats my boat – as in totally floats my boat. I think it’s creamy, delicious, and perfect. If you like yogurt, you’re probably going to agree with me.

Here’s what I’d do first, if I were you: Buy a carton of Lifeway Kefir Milk and see how it goes. The strawberry or blueberry are the ones I’d start with.

If you choose to try to make your own kefir milk, it’s something you’re going to enjoy immensely. It’s a fun, even relaxing, daily ritual and produces a delicious drink. I’ve also made kefir cheese (similar to cream cheese) and kefir cream (similar to sour cream – pictured above) with my kefir milk.

I hope you’ll give kefir milk a try – whether you have any digestive issues or not. The taste and health benefits make kefir milk a no-brainer. However, if you DO have GERD, acid reflux, frequent indigestion, or any other digestive issue or ailment, I’m all but begging you to give it a try.

It’s made a huge difference for me and I’d love to see it have a chance to do the same for you.

~ Joi

Read What Others Are Saying About Kefir:

How Learning Languages is GREAT for Your Brain (Infographic )

Why Not Make a New Year's Resolution Your Brain Will Love?!

Below is a great infographic that shows how learning a new language affects our brain.  We need to make mental fitness a huge part of our everyday routine. Learning new languages is both a fun and challenging way to give our brains the workout they crave.

If you’ve always wanted to learn a second language – you now have a wonderful reason to get started!

How Learning a New Language Benefits Your Brain Infographic
Credit: How Learning Languages Affects Our Brain [Infographic] by the team at Sunbelt Staffing