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Posts Categorized: Book Reviews

Signs that Your Marriage is in Serious Trouble

When we get married, we believe that life will be good from now on.

And then we find ourselves disagreeing, having passionate arguments, and spending less pleasant time together.

When things go wrong, couples need to have a strategy in place to repair their relationship. Strengthening a marriage requires respect and honor and a willingness to create a sense of purpose together.

Today on my blog and podcast, we’ll examine six warning signs that often predict potential divorce, from Dr. John Gottman’s book, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.”

Anger – what it reveals to us

Anger, like all our emotions, has a purpose. It helps us survive and motivates us to take action and make important changes.  It protects us when life threatens us psychologically or physically.

Left unchecked, however, it becomes toxic and explosive.  When we react without restraint to its powerful surge of energy, we not only inflict pain on others but ourselves.  It is up to each of us to examine the reasons associated with our anger, discover the underlying issues that perpetuate it on an ongoing basis and set up a plan to become responsible for our behaviors when angry.

Over my career as a teacher and therapist, I have acquired and read many books written by psychology professionals who have taken major issues, clarified their underlying causes and provided strategies for constructive and positive solutions. I share three books that I feel touched on the core of anger, why we get caught up in its passion often to the detriment of its outcome.

Losses at Christmas

Christmas – a time of presents, giving, receiving, concerts and singing. Most of us slip into the season without giving it a second thought.

But for those who have suffered a loss, it can be a time of renewed pain and sadness as we greet the season without our loved one. Sometimes it is disease that is slowly taking away a person we love.

Those losses include our pets, as well, as anyone who is a pet owner can attest to. They are a part of our families too.

Earlier this year I invited Deb Kalmbach, a writer friend, author and speaker if she would be a guest blogger. She had written a book about the escapades of her Jack Russell Terrier, entitled “Kosmo’s Christmas Delivery” (available on Amazon.com) and I had asked if she would write a guest blog for my website about what we can learn from our pets.

She shared the following blog which was posted on her website and she asked if I could re-post it on my website.She recently lost her beloved dog and her blog speaks to love of her pet and the pain felt of his death.

Freedom to be You

As a therapist, life coach and author/speaker, I help individuals confront their past, challenge irrational thinking patterns and replace negative beliefs with possibilities. In the process, they are able to let go of the pain, heal and take personal charge of their life.

Therapy is a tiny microcosm of freedom. When we feel there are no options, we strike out, hang on to resentments and anger and blame others for our problems. Remaining in that mindset, however, takes away our personal power.

It is so easy to buy into the idea that we are entitled to a happy life and that somehow others are responsible for that. But when we buy into that belief system, we relinquish our freedom. We are no longer In charge of our lives – someone else is.

In December 2012 I wrote a review of a new book written by Michael Duncan entitled, Shadow Remnant, available on Amazon.com. (See below for links). It is a captivating and riveting novel that takes us a hundred years into the future. This is a copy of that review.

“Shoe Dog”

I believe in setting goals, hard work, and having a never give up attitude. I love to read stories about people who have applied these attributes to their life.

I was just finishing the new book, “Shoe Dog”, written by Phil Knight when the funeral of Mohammed Ali was held. People who spoke at his funeral, talked about Ali’s determination, persistence and never give up attitude. Despite setbacks and unfriendly circumstances he never gave up.

I was surprised at how similar the two men, Phil Knight and Ali were.

Neither man let obstacles and circumstances keep them from accomplishing their goals. They both fought with their last breath of energy, succeeded and then gave back to others.

21 Days of Joy – A book Review

Sunday is Mother’s Day and I couldn’t think of a better way to honor the Mother’s of this world than by sharing a book review I did for Kathy Ide entitled “21 Days of Joy”.

Kathy was one of those many wonderful people I met at the Mt Hermon Writer’s Conference, who were ready to assist and help us become better writers. They shared their talent and expertise with those of us who were still novices and struggling with the ins and outs of writing, publishing and marketing.

So when she extended the invitation to write a review for her latest book in her “21 Days” series in exchange for a free book, I was eager to do it. And I was not disappointed. Kathy has taken the genre of fiction to depict wonderful narratives about mothers that are as real as if were experiencing it.

“21 days of Joy” is a compilation of stories written by different authors about our journey through life around the theme “Celebrating Moms”.

Book Review: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

There are a lot of books out there to help any marriage that might be in trouble, excellent books that describe how we form attachments, how we love and different love languages we use with our mates.

However, I am particularly biased toward Gottman’s books because of his extensive work with clients and research study on the habits of marriage couples through The Gottman Institute.

While he has written a number of books, two of my favorites are “Couples Communication” and “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”

Each chapter describes one of the principles and includes many user friendly exercises for better understanding and application to your own marriage. Here is his blueprint to make your marriage long-lasting.

The seven important principles according to Gottman

Book feature – Tales of Two Sisters

As we reflect on the families we grew up in, we read stories and novels about siblings that perhaps remind us of our own experiences.


If you grew up with a sister you may remember the fights, the tears, the camaraderie, the secrets, and competition. You may have looked up to or felt inferior by the other. Perhaps you felt you were treated unfairly and when you left home, you took with you long-standing quarrels that were never resolved; both going their separate ways, hoping their paths would never cross.

Darlene Dubay is a first time Northwest author who has published her first novel about two sisters, their estrangement, setbacks and personal tragedies. Over the years, the sisters went their separate ways, married and had families. Separated geographically, they live two different lives that are full of tragedies, losses and re-discoveries.

Death, betrayal, troubled liaisons, and new loves and relationships are woven into this story of two sisters who are trying to find themselves amidst the fateful events that have touched their lives in different ways.

Book Feature: Anger – Deal with it, Heal with it, Stop it from Killing You

I am a supporter of self-help. I am also an advocate of therapy. Both are needed. Even when we recognize that a good counselor may be needed to help sort through the tangles of emotions, behaviors, thoughts and experiences, there is a lot we can do both beforehand and during therapy such as reading credible literature available to us.

“Anger, Deal with It, Heal with It, Stop it from Killing You,” by Bill DeFoore, Ph.D., is one such book.

Whether you struggle with your own quick reaction to events with anger or know someone personally who continues to flash anger in your face, reading about a subject that we all come in contact with at some time, can give us both understanding and grace.

Bill DeFoore’s book is easy to read and gives us a good description of some of the many aspects of anger, such as:

Book Feature: “The Dance of Anger”

The Dance of Anger

Anger is an emotion and like all emotions, it has a purpose.

It helps us survive and motivates us to take action and make important changes. It protects us when life threatens us psychologically or physically.

Left unchecked, however, it becomes toxic and corrosive. And when we react without restraint to its powerful rush of energy or without identifying the problem connected to it, we not only inflict pain on others, but on ourselves.

It is up to us to seek out the meaning behind the anger we may be experiencing and discover its underlying issue or problem.

There are many books I have acquired over my career written by professionals in the field about major issues we all face. The authors of today’s two featured books help us understand a very difficult problem we see all around us today. They help clarify the underlying causes of anger and rage so we can apply constructive and positive solutions.

The first book featured today, “The Dance of Anger, A woman’s guide to changing the patterns of intimate relationships” by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D., is one of those books written many years ago, but is timeless in its understanding of a major problem we all face.