Friday, September 30, 2016

First and Second Kings: lessons from the lives of the kings

First and Second Kings is the story of the kings of Israel and Judah. It is the story of how David’s kingdom was split into two and the actions of the kings which followed him. Some of the kings did right in the eyes of the Lord and others did incredible evil. For the purpose of this post, I will profile three kings: Solomon, the wisest king, Ahab, the evil king and Hezekiah, the reformer king. There many important lessons to learn from the lives of these men. For each king, I will highlight one important lesson. The lesson of how your personal life can invalidate effective leadership. The lesson of how selfishness can lead to great evil. And the lesson of how reforms can be short-lived when plans aren’t made to preserve them for the future.

Everyone is familiar with Solomon. The wise king who discovered a way to determine who the mother was the surviving child was (1 Kings 3:18-28). The wise king who the Queen of Sheba traveled from afar to challenge him (1 Kings 10:1-13). The son of King David and his wife, Bathsheba, Solomon was God’s choice for David’s heir. Despite his wisdom, his effectiveness as a leadership was nullified by his ineffective leadership in his personal life. Solomon had the sense to recognize his need for wisdom; however, by the time he asked for wisdom, he already a habit that would make his wisdom ineffective in his own life. First, he sealed a pact with Egypt by marrying the daughter of the Pharaoh (1 Kings 3:1). Solomon would continue to marry foreign wives despite the Lord’s command not to intermarry with other nations (Exodus 34:16). Solomon would marry 700 women from Egypt, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidonia, and Hittites. His wives led him astray. As he grew old, his wives were able to turn his heart to other gods. The Lord tells Solomon that since his has not kept His commands, the Lord will tear apart the kingdom (1 Kings 11:11), which occurs after Solomon’s death, the kingdom is split in two: the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah. Due to Solomon’s lack of leadership in his personal life, it began to effective his leadership in the kingdom. To which the kingdom was split in two and would be at odds for generations. Even leading the people into exile because the wise king didn’t have the commitment to apply his wisdom in his personal life and resist the temptations which led him away from his devotion to the Lord.

King Ahab was ruler over the kingdom of Israel. If there were one word to describe Ahab, I would use selfish. He was so used to getting his way, he would pout and become depressed when he didn’t. The best example of this is when he desired a vineyard and when the owner, Naboth, refused, Ahab “went home, sullen and angry” (1 Kings 21:4). Jezebel, his wife, then sets Naboth, up to be killed leaving his land for the taking (1 Kings 21: 8-16). Sullen and angry would be used to describe Ahab in 1 Kings 20:43 after he fails to defeat the king of Aram. He also blamed the prophet, Elijah, for his troubles rather than his own actions. He surrounded himself with people who encouraged him to do what he wished, regardless of the consequences. He only listened to the prophets when they brought good news and his propensity to listen to the majority leads to his death. Ahab is an example of a childish man who only wanted to hear “yes” when making decisions. He took advice which should have been ignored when weighed against God’s commandments. Selfishness can lead to great evil, either by the person himself or by others in response. The best example of this would be Ahab’s wife, Jezebel. She did great evil in response to her husband’s selfishness. Not only did she set up Naboth to be killed but she also killed thousands of God’s prophets (1 Kings 18:4), when she threatened to kill Elijah after he killed her prophets of Baal and being a general thorn in their side for his prophecies against them (1 Kings 19:2). Jezebel ranks as the evilest woman in the Bible. Ahab is the selfish king who did not consider the consequences of his actions, only his own desires.

King Hezekiah is the reformer king. A king who had a close relationship with God when kings around him and before him did not. He removed anything that could be used as an idol and restored the temple as a place of worship. Passover was celebrated for the first time in generations and a revival swept the kingdom of Judah. After Hezekiah received a letter from Sennacherib, king of Assyria, who tried to discourage his faith that God will protect Jerusalem, Hezekiah does something other kings did not. He prayed. My favorite verse of his prayer is in 2 Kings 19:19, “Now O Lord, our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God.” Hezekiah’s prayer is an example of his faith in God. He was not afraid to approach God with his request for protection and deliverance. However, while he focused on the present problems, he did not take measures to ensure his reforms would be in place for the future. While he removed the images and practices of paganism from the kingdom, he did not think of the future, long after he was gone, for the kingdom to continue on their path with God. Due to his success and prosperity, Hezekiah became proud and failed to credit God’s blessings when envoys of Babylon came to the kingdom (2 Kings 20:12-13). He proudly showed off his wealth and treasures. Isaiah prophesied that the wealth of Judah would be carried off to Babylon and Hezekiah’s descendants would be carried off as well (2 Kings 20:16-18). This prophesy came to pass as Nebuchadnezzar laid waste to Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah was no more (2 Kings 25). While he restored God as the source of worship in Judah, Hezekiah soon became prideful which led him to ignore plans for the future to ensure that future generations would carry on his reforms.

First and Second Kings is filled with the stories of the good, bad and evil kings of Israel and Judah. King Solomon was known as the wisest king of all but he failed to put his wisdom to practice in his own life. This lack of attention to his personal life caused him to be led away by his pagan wives and caused his kingdom to be split into two. King Ahab was a selfish man who desired what he could not have and in order to please him, his wife did great evil. King Hezekiah failed to provide for the future because he was shortsighted by his present success. To apply the lesson of these three men would be: wisdom needs to be applied to all aspects of life, selfishness can have disastrous consequences and keep future generations in mind while working on the problems of today. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

America's Original Sin: a look into racism in America's history and today

America’s Original Sin Racism, White Privilege and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis is a no hold’s bar, in your face, look into racism in America’s origins, its history and today’s modern world. Mr. Wallis sets the goal of his book to talk about racism as America’s original sin and how it lingers in our society and our criminal justice system. As a white, Christian man, and Civil Rights advocate, Mr. Wallis offers perspective from his experiences in his own life as he has seen racism and has helped battle racism. He presents the tragic stories of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner. He talks about the increasing police shootings as Americans becomes more aware of the injustices in our society. He discusses the historical systemic racism from America’s colonial days to its foundation and its reconstruction. He also presents his ideas on how we can end racism and move forward as a united country with Christians leading the charge. As our churches need to be more colorblind and education begins at home with parents teaching and encouraging children in inclusiveness of everyone we come across in our lives.

America’s Original Sin is a powerful book which will open your eyes, challenge what you know about our country and even about yourself. While I agree with many of Mr. Wallis’ assertions and others I do not, he is encouraging an open and honest discussion about racism and race relations. We, as a country, as a society, need to honestly talk about racism, without anger and without violence. As I read, I evaluated my own prejudices as I try not to see someone for their skin color as Dr. King once dreamed. And I feel ashamed of the fear and uneasiness I feel when I walk alone and a black man is in my vicinity. I wasn’t taught to fear black men by my family. I grew in an area of diversity. I only assume where these feelings are coming from. Because of this, I encourage my daughter to interact with all the children in our neighborhood. I recommend America’s Original Sin. I warn you. It is not for the faint of heart. But if you are willing to open your heart and mind, you’ll realize your actions or inactions has kept racial lines drawn.

America’s Original Sin
is available on Amazon in hardcover and on the Kindle
as well as with Barnes and Noble

in hardcover, Nook book and audiobook

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The End of Protestantism: one man's plan to unite a divided church

The End of Protestantism Pursuing Unity in a Fragmented Church by Peter Leithart is a deep look into the history and origins of Protestantism in the world and in America. Mr. Leithart lays out a plan to reunite all churches and Christians in one church as Jesus prayed for in John 17:21. He suggests church reforms which are more biblically based than in tradition. His plan, Reformational Catholicism, had four movements or points. First, a vision for a reformational catholic church which expresses a biblical and a reformational paradigm for evangelical unity. Second, he argues the pros and cons of denominational Christianity. Third, he presents evidence that the divided church is dissolving. Finally, his plan for a united church and the demolishment of denominational identity. 

The End of Protestantism is an interesting historical and modern evaluation of the function of the Church. While I didn’t agree with all of Mr. Leithart’s assertions, he does present great insights into the church and how Christians can move forward in an ever-changing world. If you are interested in a brief history of the church, how it has functioned and a plan for its survival, I recommend The End of Protestantism.

The End of Protestantism
Will be available October 18, 2016

In hardcover at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Faithful: one woman's journey from the depths of despair

Faithful by Alice Hoffman is the story of one woman’s struggle to regain her life after a tragedy leaves her wishing the outcome was completely different. Shelby Richmond was in a terrible car accident during her senior year of high school, which left her friend, Helene in a coma. As Shelby struggles with survivor’s guilt, mental breakdown and a suicide attempt, she begins to receive a series of postcards with simple messages. Messages of encouragement and inspiration. She decides to start fresh, moves to New York City with her boyfriend, Ben Mink, and tries to discover what she wants in life. She gets a job at a local pet store, she befriends a coworker and all the while still receiving the postcard messages. She goes through a few breakups, twists and turns and begins to rebuild her life. Will Shelby be able to leave her guilt behind? Who is sending the postcards?

Faithful is a wonderful story of life after a tragedy. The struggle with survivor’s guilt is portrayed with very realistic details. As Shelby is pulled back into the land of the living, learning to love herself again and others as a result. I enjoyed the reveal of the mysterious postcard writer. I loved the “in your face” grittiness of Shelby’s story. It’s an excellent book and I highly, highly recommend it.

will be available November 1, 2016
on Amazon and Barnes and Noble
in all formats

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Everything we keep: one woman's search for the truth

Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale is a story of one woman’s belief that her fiance, James, wasn’t dead and her determination to figure out why everyone tries to convince her otherwise. The story opens in July on what was supposed to be Aimee Tierney’s wedding day. Now it’s a funeral. She struggles to move on with her life as sudden changes occur around her. Her parents sell their restaurant leaving her without a job. Her favorite café closes. She meets Ian, a handsome photographer. One day, she decides to open her own café as she always dream she would. As her friends, family and Ian help her realize her dream. But as she moves on, she still can’t shake the feeling that James was still alive. She goes on a mission to find out the truth surrounding James’ death. Is James alive? Will she find out the truth? Will she be able to move on with the new life she’s built?

Everything We Keep is an excellent story. I enjoyed Aimee’s story from grief to a new life. I felt her journey was very real and emotional. Readers will grieve with Aimee as she struggles with life after James. Readers will rejoice as she fulfills her dream and maybe even finds new love. Readers will cheer with Aimee as she is determined to find out the truth despite the opposition from others. Without giving too much away, it was highly suspenseful and it definitely had an ending I was not expecting. I highly, highly recommend Everything We Keep!

Everything We Keep
Is available at major booksellers
In paperback, audiobook and Kindle

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The symbolism of dragonflies

Recently, my husband and I suffered another miscarriage. We hadn’t made the announcement public yet so many of you didn’t know we were pregnant. I feel the need to share my loss with everyone so others know that they do not need to go through a loss alone. This loss was similar to our past losses as well as new. My pregnancy had warning signs that something was wrong and I couldn’t get anyone from my doctor’s office or the clinic to pay attention until it was too late. The strange thing is during the last month, my apartment complex has a swarm of dragonflies. I wasn’t sure where they were coming from and I’ve never seen them around our area in a very long time. Then suddenly they were gone!

Then one August night, I had a dream where I held a baby named Angel and I was in a place that I didn’t recognize. I woke up with a sense of foreboding that renewed my resolve to find out what was going on. When I finally was able to get someone to listen and set a doctor’s appointment for me, the doctor confirmed my worst fear, my baby was gone. He or she died at 8 weeks gestation (three weeks prior!). As my practice with my babies, I chose a name and an animal which I pick to associate with them. For this baby, I chose Angel as it was in my dream and the dragonfly because it was so prevalent in recent weeks. Then a good friend of mine informed me that she had a dream that included me being surrounded by dragonflies! I was curious about the symbolism of the dragonfly and what I found astonished me.

The myth surrounding dragonflies is that dragons of ancient days transformed themselves into today’s dragonflies. To the Japanese Samurai, the dragonfly symbolizes power, agility and victory. In Ancient China, they symbolize harmony, prosperity and a good luck charm. To the Native Americans of the Plains, the dragonflies symbolizes happiness, speed and purity. In some Native American cultures, the dragonfly symbolizes the flight of departed souls. To the Ancient Mayans, the dragonfly symbolizes creativity. Only the Europeans and Australians (via British colonization) have negative images of the dragonfly. They are called the witch’s tool and that Satan sent it to earth to cause chaos, confusion and punishment. I also looked into what others view the dragonfly as a spirit or totem animal. It helped me see more of the beautiful of this wonderful creature. There are three main themes of symbolism of the dragonfly as a totem animal: change and transformation, power and adaptability, and lightness and emotional flexibility.

First, dragonflies symbolize change and transformation. They symbolize the wisdom of when it’s time to change, to transform. Their transformations through their life cycles has come to symbolize the change in perspective. To symbolize a change in mental and emotional maturity and an understanding of a deeper meaning in life. I see the dragonflies as a reminder to appreciate every moment of the miracles in what we call life. I’ve learned not to take anything for granted. Life isn’t about the stuff you buy, the stuff you accumulate. It is about the people you surround yourself with. The husband who works hard for the home you build together. The daughter who loves to hug you and tell you she loves you. The mom who would give her last dollar if you truly needed it. The brother and sister who would drop everything to come to your aid at your most desperate times. And the friend who lends an ear when you need to vent, offers a new perspective when you can’t see the forest for the trees, and simply loves you for you. These are the true treasures of life.

Second, dragonflies symbolize power and adaptability. Since dragonflies can fly in any direction, they have come to symbolize the ability to adapt and tackle life situations from difference angles. The dragonfly has adapted to have amazing eyesight. Its eyes can see in 360 degrees and 80 percent of its brain power is devoted to its eyes. The power and adaptability of the dragonfly’s eyes have come to symbolize the opening of one’s eyes and to see beyond the mundane. I see myself in the symbolism of adaptability. I have gone through most of my life with plans not quite working out. I think of myself to be great when it comes to adapting when situations change quickly. Although, I will admit that I will resist at first and try to bring it back to the plan I had in place. However, I will quickly realize that it isn’t always possible. I see dragonflies as the symbol of the ability to stop on a dime and assess the situation, adjust if needed and continue on.

Third, dragonflies symbolize lightness and emotional flexibility. With the iridescence of their wings, dragonflies symbolize being a light in even the darkest moments. This lightness can be in the form of one’s thoughts and feelings. To keep a light and positive outlook no matter what. Even in my darkest moments, I find myself finding the silver lining so to speak. None of the doctors I saw during my miscarriage said my husband and I couldn’t try again. It gives me hope that I may still be able to bring another baby into the world. The only few negative comments about trying again were from people who never suffered a miscarriage and the emptiness that you feel. The desire for a child only grows more intense after pregnancy losses. I also learned that I am not one to easily give up. When my confidence has been low, I would quit and be filled with regret later that I didn’t keep trying. So I’m not going to quit until God or my body tells me enough’s enough.

As I researched dragonflies and saw myself in these symbols, I was curious about the other symbols I had chosen for my babies. For AJ, I chose a bumblebee simply because a playful bee is depicted on the last ultrasound I have of him/her. I was shocked and pleased to discover the symbolism of the bumblebee. Bumblebees are a symbol or reminder to trust in miracles! And I do, I believe in miracles. Even when logic and the world around you says “no way,” God will say yes. For Abby, my miracle and only surviving child (so far), I chose a butterfly. Butterflies symbolize playfulness, renewal and joy. She is certainly the joy in our lives. Although she has hit a resistance stage where she fights almost at every turn, she is still very sweet and gentle. I love her independence spirit. For Ziva, I chose a hummingbird simply because I’ve always loved hummingbirds. Hummingbirds symbolize resiliency, lightness of being and swiftness. Ziva was so tiny when she was born, I can see her as a hummingbird.

I realize now that the symbols I chose to represent my children are a reflection of me. The trust in miracles, the joy, resiliency, and ability to change are representative of me and my outlook on life. Despite the darkness in my life, I look to change and grow. I look to joy and renewal. I look to God as the source of all life. I believe these messages from my dreams, my friend’s dream and the presence of the dragonflies were God answering my prayers about Angel. Even though it wasn’t the answer I was hoping for, I feel at peace that God was talking to me in different ways. You may read this and think it’s crazy. A dragonfly is a dragonfly and that I’m searching for meaning in nothing. But there are many examples in the Bible in which animals have been messengers and helpers of God, so why couldn’t He do so today? And how is it wrong that I am filled with comfort and joy when I see a bumblebee or a butterfly or a hummingbird or a dragonfly? Do I believe it’s the spirit of my heavenly babies? No, I don’t; however, I can see these creatures, think of my babies and smile. And I see nothing wrong with that. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Fractured: a story of a seemingly perfect neighborhood

Fractured by Catherine McKenzie is a story of life in suburbia in which the neighbors are watching and a tragedy leaves it fractured. The story opens in the present day with John peering out the window at the house across the street. He is waiting for something. The story switches to Julie, twelve months ago, as she is new in the neighbor. She, her husband, Daniel, and kids moved in Mount Adams area of Cincinnati for Daniel’s new job. She slowly meets her neighbors as she tries to leave the memories what she left behind in Seattle. The story switches between the present as the past moves forward to current events. Tensions are building in the neighborhood as the perfect façade begins to crack. What tragedy finally broke the neighborhood apart? What role does John and Julie have in the events leading to it?

Fractured is an awesome story with great storytelling. It was suspenseful, keeping me on the edge of my seat as little details are revealed. The story keeps you guessing as what the mystery is until the great reveal and it won’t be what you’d expect. I loved the switch between past and present. I loved the reveal of the crime. I highly, highly recommend Fractured!

will be available October 4, 2016
on Amazon in paperback and KindleUnlimited

Barnes and Noble in hardcover, paperback and audiobook

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Promise Kitchen: a story of two women's drive to achieve their dreams

The Promise Kitchen by Peggy Lampman is the story of two women who comes from different areas, different lifestyles and must reinvent themselves for the best. Shelby Preston lives with her young daughter and her mother in a rural town in Georgia. She follows the food column of Mallory Lakes and dreams of becoming a chef. When the opportunity arises for her to follow her dream, she must leave her daughter with her mother and move to Atlanta. There she struggles with life in the city, missing her daughter and trying to pursue her dreams. Mallory Lakes learns that the newspaper she works for is folding. She has the idea to turn her food column into an online daily blog for the paper. She also struggles with the recent breakup with her longtime boyfriend and her best friend seems to be drifting from her life. Life in Atlanta brings the lives of Shelby and Mallory together until the two united after a life-altering incident. Will Shelby fulfill her dream of becoming a chef? Will Mallory be able to get her life back on track and do what she loves?

The Promise Kitchen is a very touching story. I enjoyed Shelby’s journey more than Mallory’s. A young mother who is willing to sacrifice and work hard for the benefit of herself and her daughter. Mallory’s journey is one of reinvention and personal crisis which causes her to confront a situation she never gave any thought to before. Overall, the book kept my attention. I wanted to see both women succeed and overcome the adversity they face. I also enjoyed that the author included every recipe that is mentioned in the book at the end of the story. So if you were interested in cooking these delicious meals, you could. I recommend The Promise Kitchen.

The Promise Kitchen
will be available September 27, 2016
on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

in paperback, audiobook and Kindle

Monday, September 12, 2016

Always and Forever: a story of the aftermath after an impossible choice

Always and Forever by Soraya Lane is the story of Lisa and Matt Collins who must make an impossible choice and struggle with the aftermath of that choice. The story opens as Lisa and Matt learn they are finally pregnant after years of trying to start their family. Things are going smoothly until Lisa gets a devastating diagnosis. Now the couple must an impossible choice: her life or the baby’s. As they make their choice, life as they knew it falls apart. Lisa falls into a deep depression and Matt struggles to return to the life they had before. They decide to go on a road trip, thinking that leaving home will help them leave everything behind. Will the road trip be the therapy they are looking for? Will they return to the life and love they had before? Or did the choice they made destroy everything they cared for?

Always and Forever is a wonderful story which features a topic and a choice which many couples never think they will face. A fast read which gets to the heart of the conflict between husband and wife. They both rationalize their choice in different ways. As I read, I kept asking myself what decision I would make. Which decision would my husband make? Would be able to live with the choice? I highly recommend Always and Forever!

Always and Forever

Is available at all major booksellers

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Another great addition to the Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant series

Ellie’s Fun Day at the Farm by Marci and Elle Fair is another addition to the Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant. The story follows Ellie and her friend, Pudgy the Penguin as they eat lunch and they wonder where their food comes from. So they decide the take a trip to a local farm. There they see many animals like goats, sheep and cows. They see a garden with tomatoes, onions and peppers. The book also includes fun puzzles and games for readers to enjoy.

I enjoyed Ellie’s Fun Day at the Farm. The mom-daughter writing team blends imagination and realistic photos to introduce children to the world around them. I loved the play on words when Ellie and Pudgy saw the different farm animals. For instance, when they saw the goat, the word “kidding” was used referring to a joke and a baby goat. The book encourages readers to take their own stuffed animals to visit a farm and snap pictures and shar them with the hashtag #elliesfriends. This book and others in the series are very unique which allowed engagement on the part of the readers. I highly recommend Ellie’s Fun Day at the Farm and other books in this wonderful series.

Ellie’s Fun Day at the Farm
is available at major booksellers

in paperback and on the Kindle

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Time and Regret: a granddaughter's mission to fulfill one last wish

Time and Regret by M.K. Tod is a story of one woman’s journey to follow in her beloved grandfather’s footsteps and discovers a terrible secret. A secret that she must rectify on his behalf. Grace is in the midst of a divorce. As her ex-husband removes his property from their home, she finds an old tackle box of her grandfather, Martin. Martin is a World War I veteran who left her his war diaries and a few mementos from his time in the European battlefield. In the box, she finds a mysterious note which simply says “I never should have taken them.” She decides to follow his movements through Europe in order to discover what this note meant. As Grace travels through France, she meets handsome Pierre Auffret, who joins her on her travels. She learns that someone is following her and believes that she has something of value. Will she be able to decipher his grandfather’s message? Will she be able to right the wrong her grandfather regretted until his death?

Time and Regret is a wonderful story filled with a great mystery which will leave the reader on the edge of his or her seat until the very end. This book held my attention, pulled me in from the very beginning and I was reluctant to put it down. I particularly liked the interjections of Martin’s war diaries as Grace visited the different battlefields. Reading the conditions and the events of the famous battles of World War I helped bring the war experiences alive in ways I’ve never read before. I highly recommend Time and Regret!

Time and Regret
Is available at major booksellers

In paperback, ebook and audiobook

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

In Twenty Years: five friends gather to honor one friend and confront the past

In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch is the story of five friends who reunite at the last request of a departed friend. They must confront past indiscretions, present issues and hope to build better futures. The story begins in 1998 with the six college friends and roommates on the eve of their graduation. Bea, the de facto leader, gathers everyone together and has them write a letter to their selves twenty years in the future. Annie is shy and reluctant to write such a letter. Lindy, the outgoing musician, is eager. Colin, the handsome future doctor and Owen and Catherine, the college sweethearts, are also eager to write this letter. Fast forward to 2016. Bea tragically died thirteen years earlier which fractured the friends cross the country, leaving the lines of communication and friendship tattered and frayed. Each friend receives a letter from the Bea’s estate, request each one to spend the weekend of what would have been Bea’s 40th birthday at their college home. As the friends arrive at the house, it is clear that the past is still a part of their lives. Will the friends be able to find the common thread which gathered them together in the first place? Will they be able to get their lives back on track? To the dreams they held eighteen years ago?

In Twenty Years is an excellent story filled with drama, excitement, tears and joy. The characters felt real with their past and current issues. The reader could be any or all of the characters. I also enjoyed how the story is told from each character’s perspective. You get to really see their motivations. You can related to their fears of failure, of rejection, of the past and of the future. You will cheer with them, cry with them, and cry foul when someone is being a jerk. I highly recommend In Twenty Years!

In Twenty Years
Is available at major booksellers
In paperback, ebook and audiobook

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Last Woman Standing: a story of a little known witness to life in Tombstone

The Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams is the story of a little known woman in the infamous town of Tombstone and the famous Gunfight at the OK Corral. Josephine Marcus came to Tombstone from San Francisco in the fall of 1880. She was meeting her fiancé, Johnny Behan. Behan was the sheriff of the mining town and there she begins her life with Johnny and his son, Albert. She soon meets the dashing and handsome Wyatt Earp. The attraction between the two heats up as the tensions between the Earps and the Clantons reach its breaking point. The famous gunfight is seen through Josephine’s eyes as she fears for Wyatt’s life. It is a story surrounding the infamous event which is shrouded in mysteries as witnesses shewed their stories to fit which side, the Earps or the Clantons, they favored.

Overall, The Last Woman Standing is the story of a young woman who wanted more in life than the one she grew up in. Josephine would remain with Wyatt until his death in 1929. She would die in 1944, the last woman standing. The last remaining witness to the famous gunfight. It is an excellent story told from a minor eyewitness to this famous event. The story covers the build up to the fight, the fight itself as well as the aftermath. I highly recommend The Last Woman Standing for a new take on a very famous story in the history of the American West.

The Last Woman Standing
Is available with major booksellers

In paperback, ebook and audiobook

Friday, September 2, 2016

Time for Bed, Sleepyhead: a psychological visualization to help children fall asleep

Time for Bed, Sleepyhead by Dr. Daniel G. Amen and illustrated by Gail Yerrill is a children’s book designed to help children fall asleep. In the preface, the book was designed as a “sophisticated psychological visualization” and a warning is given that the book is not to be read while in the car as it may have a drowsy effect of the driver. The story is a Mama Bear getting Little Bear ready for bed. She has him imagine a great, fund day at the beach with all his friends. When they get home, they have a nice soothing bath and a warm dinner. Little Bear cuddles up in bed and begins to drift off the dream.

Time for Bed, Sleepyhead is a wonderful story to help children relax in order to fall asleep. The story also has directions for the parents to yawn in order to elicit a yawn from the child. The pictures are beautifully illustrated with soft, muted colors. I read the book with my four year old daughter. She eagerly listened to the story and while the she didn’t fall asleep by the end, I can see that with time and multiple readings, she would. I recommend Time for Bed, Sleepyhead for any family’s bedtime routine.

Time for Bed, Sleepyhead
will be available
on September 6, 2016
in hardcover and Kindle/ebook

at major booksellers