Tag Archives: Adult Non-Fiction

A Midlife Voyage to Transformation by Donna Roe Daniell (Book Review and Author Interview)

A MIDLIFE VOYAGE TO TRANSFORMATION by Donna Roe Daniell

 
Can You Step into Your Power and Birth a New You at Midlife?

YES! Midlife, and the major events that encompass the ages of 35-65, can be devastating or powerful for women. But we can choose to be awakened at this powerful time of life. This memoir is the story of Donna Daniell’s healing journey through the five stages of the midlife voyage-Lost at Sea; Finding a Mooring; Deep Diving; Rebirthing; and the New You-to find self-love, resilience, and feminine wisdom. It is also a roadmap for other women on the midlife journey, charting a course that transmutes challenges into inner rebirth and stepping into the power of the Wisewoman.

​FIND YOUR OWN INNER STRENGTH – TAKE THE VOYAGE TO TRANSFORMATION!

 
BUY THE BOOK:
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
A Midlife Voyage to Transformation touches upon many aspects of Donna Roe Daniell’s life: postpartum depression, divorces, ADHD, career, and family heartache.
 
First, as a mother with two ADD children, I can attest to their brightness. Some teachers see these children as destructive, but their brains are working at max speed and need continuous stimuli. Like Julian, my son picked up music. My daughter loves art. 
 
Donna was overwhelmed often, and who could blame her—she had a lot on her plate. Peter, her first husband, checked out on her (physically and emotionally). He wasn’t an active parent or spouse. How and when he told Donna the marriage was over was cold. 


When Donna married Brett, I thought she’d finally found her one true love. I was shocked at the completion of their marriage. He appeared to be the dad Julian needed and the spouse Donna deserved. 


Donna, through all her emotional turmoil, discovered how to love herself. She found strength in mind and body. Heck, she climbed Kilimanjaro, and that is no easy feat. 


I hope that Donna and Julian’s relationship continues to be close. I wish her luck in her yoga teachings and the next chapter of her life. She seems ready, willing, and able to tackle any obstacle (mentally and physically). 


In summation, A Midlife Voyage to Transformation will inspire women to find their true happiness, regardless of relationship status. It might motivate some people to test their strength and try a task they’ve only dreamed of.


 Believe in yourself. Love yourself. And remember, you control your fate.

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

 

BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon
add to goodreads

 

 

Meet the Author:

Author Donna Roe Daniell

Donna Roe Daniell is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Colorado and has had a private practice in the Boulder/Longmont area since 2005 called Balance Your Life Coaching & Psychotherapy. She has offered family therapy and individual trauma treatment using mind/body trauma tools such as mindfulness, yoga and IFS through her psychotherapy practice. Since 2015, she has focused her coaching practice for women in midlife on unique programs to specifically empower women going through major midlife challenges to grieve and rebirth themselves through the 5 stages of her Midlife Voyage to Transformation. Today, through her website, Donna offers on-line courses, Talks and live workshops, mp3 guided practices to support this book, and adventure and mindfulness retreats in nature for women wanting support to wake up, become unstuck, and find a transformative healing path through life’s challenges.

 

 

What was the most difficult part about writing your memoir?

Figuring out how and where to end it.   I wasn’t sure how to show my “transformation” other than in showing how I lead women’s retreats for women in transitions.  But, in the process of showing and creating that, I was continuing to develop new tools for continuing my developmental process as a “Sixties Woman” which I also felt was another chapter and an important part of my rebirth into my fuller wisdom and power.  I left this out, ultimately and just showed the power of “nature practices” in the Afterward. 

 

How did you choose which stories in your life to write about?

I let my heart guide what I wrote about.  First, I wrote those first stories about my ancestors (my Great Aunt Bob and my Aunt Pat) who had influenced me to be more adventurous and find who I was as a young girl, teen and young adult.  Then I wrote about my special sister Marjorie’s death and how that impacted me. That led me to my wonderful leap-experience of moving to Colorado at 24 and meeting my Aunt Bob’s best friend Eleanor Bliss who still lived in Steamboat Springs where I moved.  Eleanor invited me totally into her life and I’ll never forget the impact that had on me.  Then, I wrote about my first marriage, the joy of raising Julian, and the divorce.  Then I had the perspective of what was missing in my childhood and how I found it in my move to Colorado.  The rest of the stories and learning flowed from this. 

 

Why did you decide to write a memoir instead of a guidebook for midlife? You say this is a guidebook and a memoir.  Why? 

I wanted to use more coaching terminology and make it more of a self-help book for women in midlife.  My editor suggested that might be my second book, but it would be too distracting to the stories as I had lain them out so far. I took her advice, but I still feel there’s so much more I want to say about midlife and what I have learned from riding the waves and learning from each painful loss.  Now, looking back, I think I portrayed more in “showing” rather than “telling.”  What do you think?

 

How did your Therapist Part come out in the writing of your memoir?  Other parts of you?

She guided me when I was writing the IFS chapter(Chap. 6) and shared her experience of learning the model and how it liberated my work as a psychotherapist.  But I wrote most of this book from my Self-Leader who compassionately was holding and tenderly inviting all my other parts to come out and share their truths.  This is the outcome of deep IFS work: To learn how to lovingly embrace, invite, negotiate with, and compassionately witness your parts daily from a deeply loving parental place (SELF LEADERSHIP) so they are free to be alive fully in your life.

 

 

How did you deal with the deeply emotional conflicts & feelings of your relationships over and over again in order to write about these events for others?  Was it healing or re-traumatizing?

It was sometimes healing and sometimes re-traumatizing.  It depended on what Part was coming forward when I was writing and how I worked with her.  In trauma therapy we learn that talking and relating the same painful story over and over again actually re-traumatizes you and drops the trauma deeper into your nervous system.  It’s better to tell your story from the actual parts who experienced the traumatic experience and now hold the pain. For example, when I was writing about my divorces, I tried to let my “angry wife”  and “mother” parts speak a bit, and then show how I worked with, comforted them or dialogued with them, from my Self-Leader.  In the first 6 chapters, I really dropped into speaking from many of my parts knowing I was choosing to give them room and attention that they needed to tell their stories.

 

 

I hear writers often say that the book wrote itself in some way, that the writing process took on a life of its own.   Did that happen for you in writing this memoir?

Yes, as I spoke about this earlier, the second half of the book wrote itself because I realized it was leading me to something I needed to learn about  my relationship with my mom.  I had to relive and re-feel my mom’s death and her experience with bringing in compassion to herself, through Melissa, her powerfully loving caregiver, so that I could find some sense of letting go or forgiveness to flow.  This process helped my own self-compassion to grow enough so I could face and allow the paradoxical grief and joy that I was feeling about so many things: choosing to end my second marriage, my son’s distance from me, and being released by my mother finally.  Each time I got stuck, I just went back to my heart and what it was showing me about how to keep loving, allowing grief to flow, and staying open to it all. 

 

What is your next project?

I think I want to tell the stories of women on the self-compassionate healing path through grief. Their stories of how grief works in and through them and how they come out on the other side.

I want to talk about how we Crones or Wise Women of this moment are called to do this grief work and how to find our wholeness through deep eco-dharma practice:  Inner and outer work.

 

connect with the author:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Heart-Dreamer: Stepping into Life, Love, Creativity and Dreams-No Matter What (SECOND EDITION) by Cheryl Melody Baskin (Book Review)

 
HEART DREAMER: Stepping into Life, Love, Creativity and Dreams-No Matter What (SECOND EDITION)
 
 
Nurture your body, mind and spirit and gain insight about your unlimited potential.

User-friendly and inspirational, it is designed for anyone who has always been a dreamer, forgot their dreams along the way, or never knew how to dream. It is also dedicated to readers who want to heal and grow from inside-out and live life with more lightness, balance and joy.

By sharing my struggles and vulnerabilities, you will see that you’re not alone with your own doubts, fears and insecurities … and the abundance of self-healing and self-discovery activities sprinkled throughout each chapter will serve to guide and transform your personal journey.

Heart-Dreamer also contains the voices of wisdom from people all over the world who share their life lessons with you in one inspiring community of love.

Buy the Book:
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Heart-Dreamer: Stepping into Life, Love, Creativity and Dreams-No Matter What (SECOND EDITION) by Cheryl Melody Baskin is an enlightening self-help book that I think many people will find helpful in their everyday lives. It contains mental exercises that you can do alone or with a group. She states that when you complete specific activities, don’t seek perfection. “Just allow your creative spirit to flow out of you without self-judgment, overthinking, and overanalyzing.”  
 
Cheryl Melody Baskin includes ways to cope with anxiety, which she admits to having when it comes to public speaking.


She encourages starting each day with an open mind and open heart. 


Be patient. Be compassionate. Be optimistic. I agree with her completely! Each day is a new chapter in your life. Enter it with your eyes and heart wide open. 


As with Peace Dreamer: A Journey of Hope in Bad Times and Good, Cheryl included testimonials from the “Shift of Heart” community. Mary-Jane and Karen’s story touched my heart the most. Thank you for sharing a piece of yourself, your life, with me (us, the readers). 


Once again, Cheryl shared lyrics with her readers. Lovely! 


There were also several quotes, but one stood out more than the others. “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world.” I agree that without using our imagination, there would be no art, no music, no theatre, and much more. These mediums can heal, soothe and bring joy to themselves and those around them. 


Journaling and positive-driven relationships can help someone live a more peaceful life. But Cheryl does state a truth…No matter how nice you express your feelings – someone might not be receptive. It is like what my mom always told me and what I tell my kids all the time, “You can’t please everyone. Stay away from those who make you feel bad about yourself. Surround yourself with good people.” 


Cheryl spoke about using sounds to heal ourselves. I also believe in the power of sound. I use music to clear my mind and to lift my spirits. 


I agree that nature walks, mediation, being grateful, and getting lost in another world help achieve inner peace. Books are my mental sanctuary! 


To Cheryl, I’m sorry that you dealt with childhood bullying. I did, too, and so have my children. No one deserves to be bullied. Ever. Thank you for sharing your story, tips, exercises, and everything else I didn’t mention. <3
 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤
 
Buy the Book:
Amazon
add to goodreads
 
 
 
Meet the Author:

 
Cheryl Melody Baskin is an award-winning author. Her motivational self-help books include “Peace Dreamer: A Journey of Hope in Bad Times and Good,” “Heart-Dreamer: Stepping into Life, Love, Creativity and Dreams – No Matter What” (an International Silver Medal Winner from Readers Favorite), and “Shift of Heart: Paths to Healing and Love.” She is also a recording artist, performing artist, spirituality and peace educator, sound healer, intuitive life coach, and facilitator and founder of the FB community, Shift of Heart. She recently received a Life Achievement Award from The Visioneers International Network.
 
 
connect with the author: website ~ facebook goodreads
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Peace Dreamer: A Journey of Hope in Bad Times and Good by Cheryl Melody Baskin (Book Review)

Discovering yourself is part of life’s journey and honors the saying, “peace begins with me.” Peace Dreamer offers inspiring wisdom, life coaching, healing techniques, self-discovery tools and soul searching meaning. It helps you answer, “Who am I? What are my dreams for myself? What are my dreams for the world?”

Feed your inner spirit with hope, happiness, love, dreams, idealism and optimism even as you struggle with everyday challenges.

Peace Dreamer encourages you to never give up on yourself or the world, no matter how messy life becomes. True activism begins in our core. Our soul of souls. It begins from inside-out.

Let it begin now for you.

Buy the Book:
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
Peace Dreamer: A Journey of Hope in Bad Times and Good contained many beautiful quotes by famous historical or pop culture figures. It also housed several inspirational quotes by Cheryl Melody Baskin. I want to share one with you. 
 
“Every positive action that shines love and stands for love is all that is needed to create a compassionate and inclusive world. The time is now to elevate humanity to a new awakening.”


Cheryl is correct; this world needs more acts of love and kindness. We need to stand together. Be united. Embrace inclusiveness.


Cheryl talks about many subjects in the book: Covid-19, George Floyd, and the last presidential election, to name a few. Each of these events caused a rift in society. Hate was the emotion filling up many souls. We judged each other. She admitted to judging others when it came to the masks. Her journal entries were honest and reflected a person’s true feelings regarding turbulent times. Cheryl encourages peace and healing of the world through love. We need more peace in the streets, in our government, and behind closed doors (schools, businesses, grocery stores, etc.) 


Cheryl Melody Baskin spoke about chakras in-depth. I admit I knew of the word, but I couldn’t tell you which charka went to what body parts, color, purpose, etc. Therefore, the sections dedicated to this topic intrigued me incredibly. I learned much from her. Thank you, Cheryl, for educating me. 


Cheryl also surprised me with the song lyrics. She is a talented songwriter. BTW: I did find a couple of her songs on Youtube. I couldn’t sing in front of a crowd, so I applaud anyone who can. 


Cheryl listed several questions for you to answer if you decide to start a journal. If you’re not a journal-keeping person, maybe consider mentally answering them instead. I did. 


There is so much inside the book, too much for me to cover in one review: examples of positive affirmations, self-care reminders, and stories from the “Shift of Heart” Facebook community. I could’ve read their contributions for hours. <3


I highly recommend those reading this review to read Peace Dreamer: A Journey of Hope in Bad Times and Good. 


Let’s all work together to live a more peaceful life—internally and externally. 
 

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤
 
 
 
Meet the Author:

Cheryl Melody Baskin is an award-winning author. Her motivational self-help books include “Peace Dreamer: A Journey of Hope in Bad Times and Good,” “Heart-Dreamer: Stepping into Life, Love, Creativity and Dreams – No Matter What” (an International Silver Medal Winner from Readers Favorite), and “Shift of Heart: Paths to Healing and Love.” She is also a recording artist, performing artist, spirituality and peace educator, sound healer, intuitive life coach, and facilitator and founder of the FB community, Shift of Heart. She recently received a Life Achievement Award from The Visioneers International Network.

 
connect with the author: website ~ facebook goodreads
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Unseen Arms: A Story about Cancer, Crisis, and Being Carried by Faith by Evelyn & Wayne Hausknecht (Book Spotlight)

 
Patient and Caregiver: the main characters in a drama that started in 2007 and is still unfolding for Evelyn and Wayne Hausknecht. In 2007, Evelyn was diagnosed with an aggressive, recurrent type of non-Hodgkin’s T-cell lymphoma. Although in Unseen Arms Evelyn and Wayne are as medically accurate as their memories and blog allow, the greatest purpose here is to tell the story from a patient’s and caregiver’s perspectives.

Recently, while having an in-depth conversation with a lung doctor when Evelyn was in the hospital with pneumonia, Evelyn was thanked by the doctor for what she and Wayne were doing. She was in awe of his excitement for the book. The doctor saw the need for future patients to learn from experienced patients. Evelyn and Wayne were peer volunteers for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for years. The goal of that program was the same: an experienced caregiver and patient walk beside a person entering the transplant program to make their path smoother. Even though each diagnosis and circumstance is different, every patient has the same questions, fears, and needs. The greatest need is for someone understanding to talk to. When Evelyn was diagnosed, it was easy to find medical information, but caregiver and patient perspectives were limited.

​Evelyn and Wayne had three purposes for writing this book. One was to give God the Glory for His faithfulness during this process. The second was to give hope to the patients and caregivers of today and the future. The third was to give some limited insights into the stem cell transplant process. The medical part of this process is rapidly changing, but the patients and caregivers still have the same needs.

 
Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ B&N​
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author: 
Evelyn and Wayne Hausknecht

 
Evelyn and Wayne Hausknecht have spent most of their careers in education. Evelyn has taught different subjects and ages in public and Christian schools. Wayne, a wood engineer, helped build the largest sawmill in Brazil and has managed mills in Michigan and North Carolina. They both enjoy motorcycle riding and rode their Harley Davidson Road King to Glacier National Park in 2006. Recently, they traded their motorcycle for a Model A truck and now enjoy going to car shows. They have two married children and six grandchildren and reside in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
 
connect with the author:  facebook instagram 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Thrive: The Facilitator’s Guide to Radically Inclusive Meetings by Dr. Mark Smutny (Book Spotlight / Author Interview)

THRIVE: The Facilitator's Guide to Radically Inclusive Meetings by Dr. Mark Smutny
 
 
Imagine meetings where everyone is heard and all people matter.

Picture organizations that embrace all voices and are committed to justice, equity and opportunity. Imagine businesses, nonprofits and the public sector creatively engaging people in thousands of ways—seeking their best ideas, empowering the silenced, and building communities where all are treated with dignity and respect.

That’s what Thrive seeks to create.

Each chapter contains practical insights and accessible stories that transform meetings from dull to dynamic.

You will learn how to:

  • capitalize on diversity’s strengths.
  • keep meetings task-oriented and collegial.
  • facilitate effectively in polarized or conflicted settings.

Thrive includes chapters on privilege and power, multilingual and virtual meetings, and full inclusion of people with disabilities.

Whether you are a skilled practitioner or new to leadership, Thrive will teach you techniques for facilitating more effective, inclusive and energizing meetings.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Dr. Mark Smutny

 
Dr. Mark Smutny is a professional facilitator, consultant, speaker, author and founder of Civic Reinventions, Inc. He is known for helping organizations uncover the wisdom hidden in their diversity, build cohesion, and achieve their goals.

He draws upon decades of work planning and leading retreats, facilitating meetings, and working with nonprofits and businesses. He teaches and writes on the arts of inclusive facilitation and inclusive leadership skills. He has worked in the fields of homeless services, affordable housing, transportation services for special needs populations, business and resident associations, faith-based groups, and public/private partnerships dedicated to strengthening civic engagement.

Mark received his Master of Divinity degree from the Harvard Divinity School, one of the most religiously diverse theological institutions in the world. His doctorate focused on organizational revitalization in multicultural settings. He is a Program Associate with the Kaleidoscope Institute, an agency that equips leaders to communicate effectively across cultures, ethnicities and race.

When not working, Mark and his wife, Barbara Anderson, enjoy the Cascades, cooking, gardening, exercising their dogs, and playing with their granddaughters.

You can learn more about Mark Smutny and Civic Reinventions, Inc., professional facilitation services, consulting, coaching and training at civicreinventions.com or by sending Mark an email.

 
 
 
 
 
What made you write about inclusive meetings?

I wrote Thrive because I’ve sat in zillions of meetings and in many of them been bored out of my mind. A few people dominated while most remained silent. I wanted to share insights accumulated over a lifetime about how to facilitate meetings marked by energy, creativity, and the engagement of everyone.

 

 

There are many books out there about diversity and inclusion, what makes yours different?

Books on diversity, equity and inclusion have mushroomed in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and other racial justice initiatives. Most address topics such as how to recognize unconscious bias, stereotypes and system racism. Others describe how to have honest conversations about difficult topics in polarized times. My unique focus is on inclusive meetings—the landscape in which we live a good portion of our organizational lives.

 

 

You are a White, straight, privileged man. What makes you think you can be an expert on diversity and inclusion?

I am not an expert on diversity and inclusion, especially when it concerns race. I am still learning be more empathic. I do have a passionate commitment to social justice. I am an expert on how to design an lead meetings that are fun, productive and inclusive.

 

 

Who are you writing for?

I want to help young and midcareer nonprofit leaders who spend a huge portion of their lives in meetings. My hope is to introduce them to principles and practices that transform meetings from dull to  dynamic and inclusive.

 

 

Do you have another profession besides writing?

I am an Independent Professional Consultant. My consulting business, Civic Reinventions, helps nonprofit by facilitating their strategic plans with an emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion. I also facilitate annual planning retreats. I am developing a series of webinars on inclusive meeting practices that will launch in 2022. I am also a Presbyterian minister.

 
 
What is your next wring project?

I am hip deep in researching and writing a book on inclusive leadership practices for nonprofit leaders. 

 
 
How do you recharge?

I have two, high energy Brittany Spaniel dogs that must get aggressive, off-leash exercise every day. I tether then to my mountain bike and off we go like Huskies pulling a sled in Alaska. The neighborhood children see us tootling along at 15 miles per hour and call out “I love your dogs!” The exercise clears my brain and I get a big dose of joy in my heart.

 
connect with the author: website ~ email ~ goodreads
 
 
 
 
 
Disclaimer: All questions and answers were constructed by the author and/or their representative. 
 

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