The Secrets of Living a Fantastic Life

The Secrets of Living a Fantastic Life: Two Survivors Reveal the Thirteen Golden Pearls They Discovered by Dr. Allen Lycka and Harriet Tinka

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

The Secrets to Living a Fantastic Life by Dr. Allen Lycka and Harriet Tinka is a very inspirational and thought-provoking book written by two people who lived through extremely traumatic and trying experiences. The authors learned from those experiences and grew to understand that they did not have to allow what happened to them to influence the rest of their lives negatively. Instead, they both chose to move on and have successful careers and happy lives, and decided to collaborate and write a book to help others also live “fantastic lives.” Purchase Here.

The Secrets to Living a Fantastic Life is subtitled “Two Survivors Reveal the 13 Golden Pearls They’ve Discovered.” Those “golden pearls,” or life lessons, aided them to get past the traumatic events in their lives and to move on. The self-help book that they wrote, detailing what those 13 golden pearls are, is full of revelations that the authors hope will inspire readers of the book. The negative things that everybody experiences in their lives, to one extent or the other, do not have to define who we are as people.

I really liked it that Dr. Allen Lycka and Harriet Tinka opened up in The Secrets to Living a Fantastic Life and revealed the nature of the traumatic experiences they went through. Dr. Lycka was diagnosed as having Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and he was told he only had six months to live. Harriet Tinka was a fashion model and a Woman of Distinction who lived through the terror of being kidnapped by someone she knew, stabbed by the man, and left for dead. Dr. Lycka and Harriet Tinka could have let these things embitter them and alter the course of their lives and careers for the worse. Instead, they moved on, grew, and didn’t let the negative things they went through define them.

What are the 13 golden pearls that the authors discovered and relate to their readers in The Secrets to Living a Fantastic Life? Being an author myself, I don’t want to reveal too many “spoilers.” I’d rather that potential readers of the book get the pleasure of checking out what the pearls are on their own, by reading Dr. Lycka and Harriet Tinka’s book. They reveal what the pearls are in a captivating and entertaining manner by both telling stories from their own lives and also by utilizing a myriad of quotes from famous authors like Ralph Waldo Emerson and celebrities like Sir Paul McCartney, Christopher Reeve, and Bruce Lee.

I will mention a couple of the pearls that I loved reading about the most, though, and those are the importance of forgiveness and laughter. I will talk more about a few of the other pearls with Dr. Lycka and Harriet Tinka in an interview that they graciously agreed to do with me, which can be read elsewhere at this same site.

The ability to forgive somebody who has hurt and wronged you can be very difficult to do, but doing so is an important step if one wants to live what the authors refer to as “a fantastic life.” The authors write about this in the book’s seventh chapter, “Forgiveness.” They relate a story called “My Uncle” told by a contributor to the book, Lauren Magliaro. Lauren begins the chapter by telling about the reconciliation that took place between her uncle and her father, when her father was in the hospital due to suffering a brain aneurysm. Her uncle was there with Lauren and the rest of her family there at the hospital by their side, supporting them and his brother during a time Harriet describes as “the hardest days of our lives.”

After Lauren’s dad recovered, whatever the rift was between him and his brother was like a “slate – wiped clean.” From then on, both sides of Lauren’s family were back together, and she writes that “Family gatherings no longer had a dividing line.” Forgiveness is definitely a very powerful pearl we should all treasure in our hearts. Indeed, Lauren describes forgiveness as being “the essence of love.”

Laughter is such an important part of our lives that it has been sometimes called “the best medicine.” In the eleventh chapter of The Secrets to Living a Fantastic Life, aptly titled “Laughter,” Dr. Lycka begins the chapter writing about a run-in he had with an obstinate camel he was trying to ride in Egypt. The camel driver, playing a joke on Dr. Lycka, tells him the camel he’s picked out is his “gentlest” one, but the stubborn animal refuses to obey the camel driver’s commands and cajoling.

The camel repeatedly attempts to throw Dr. Lycka, who by now regrets his decision to try riding the animal, off his back. It is only after the ordeal is over, and the camel driver buys a Coke for Dr. Lycka, that the author can see the humor in the situation and have a laugh about it. Both authors relate various ways that laughter, including being able to laugh at oneself, is important. Dr. Lycka writes that: “Laughter, especially at oneself, tempers ego, interrupts narcissism and improves your happiness in the moment.” It is one of the thirteen pearls the two authors write about that can really make a big difference in our lives, make the problems and worries we all have seem a bit less significant, and help people achieve a “fantastic life.”

The Secrets to Living a Fantastic Life is a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It is a valuable sand appealing self-help book that will have readers engrossed and entertained while also informing and teaching them about the thirteen secrets, or “pearls,” that authors Dr. Allen Lycka and Harriet Tinka discovered. The knowledge about these pearls might not make us have fantastic lives overnight, but when put into practice on a daily basis, the nuggets of wisdom that the authors write about will definitely improve readers’ overall outlooks on life and will put them on the road to becoming better versions of themselves. This is a book I highly recommend you check out and add to your reading lists!

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Maximise Your Child's Performance

Maximise Your Child’s Performance: A Concise Guide to Unlocking their Potential by Jennie Segar

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Maximise Your Child’s Performance: A Concise Guide to Unlocking their Potential is a marvelous book of information. Jennie Segar discusses ways to make a difference in children’s development and benefit them academically, professionally, and socially. The book is an invaluable resource not only for parents but also for anyone involved in the caregiving role of children. Segar is well-qualified in the book’s subject matter, as she has years of experience as a parent and in different jobs working with children. Purchase Here.

The book is divided into ten chapters with sub-headings and the corresponding page numbers, making it easy for readers to explore chapters that focus on issues of interest. The introduction is a wonderful overview of the specific topics discussed in the book. Readers will gain helpful insight into many topics important to a child’s healthy growth and development. Segar shares meaningful experiences from her own life, offering readers a personal perspective on everything the book addresses.

Some of the discussed topics pertain to positive and constructive approaches to guiding children’s behavior and how playing games can help build cognitive skills. The author also includes the advantageous effects of exercise and healthy eating on a child’s physical and mental development, the educational benefits of learning to play an instrument, the importance of shared reading from an early age, the value of a family-owned pet, and the impact of technology on children.

All the material covered in the book is supported not only by the author’s personal experiences as a parent, child-care worker, and teacher, but also by the results of research and case studies. Segar shares her own opinions on ways to encourage and support children in their journey to adulthood. The author provides helpful information that clearly and accurately describes different types of age-appropriate toys, exercises, sports activities, musical instruments, and online games. Segar also talks about the nutritional needs of children and the effects on their health from chemical additives added to food.

At the end of the book, the author includes an addendum with samples of sentences used in teaching students. Segar believes that acquiring the skill of telling and writing down stories is an essential component in the all-round development of children. The author’s insights and experiences, along with a detailed reference list, add to the credible level of authority for Segar to write on a range of topics related to child development. Readers will find the methods advocated by Segar for promoting positive child development extremely useful. Maximise Your Child’s Performance is an inspiring book that provides a thorough overview of ways to motivate children to achieve their best and reach their full potential.

Black, White and Gray All Over

Black, White, and Gray All Over by Frederick Douglass Reynolds

Book Reviewed by Timea Barabas

If you are looking for an exploratory journey into the many dimensions of gray, look no further than “Black, White, and Gray All Over:  A Black Man’s Odyssey in Life and Law Enforcement” by Frederick Douglass Reynolds. The author goes beyond the dichotomy of good and evil – from within an individual, institution, or community – to investigate this precarious and uncomfortable in-between state. Purchase Here.

This memoir is not a comfortable read. It is a daring tale that bravely exposes the inner workings of an individual. The book goes even further, piecing together a puzzle of the many faces of humanity painted in blood and gore, but also acceptance, kindness, and love.

Frederick Douglass Reynolds took a circular approach to his life story, starting from his childhood and closing with his golden age, and this embracing fleeting decades of the life of a community. The opening pages provide a closely intimate look into the upbringing of the main protagonist inviting the readers to observe his family life and the community in which he grew up.

While circumstances seem to be pulling a young Reynolds into a life of crime, deeper down into the underbelly of society, counter-acting forces – a fortunate combination of willpower and helping interventions – have led him to a path of serving others and the community. Despite being exposed to gangs at an early age and committing minor crimes, Reynolds successfully defeats a predestined fate looming over him.

It is a difficult battle; one that involves family struggles, several failed relationships, periods of unemployment, and homelessness – all followed by a deep sense of lack of purpose. However, Reynolds relies on resourcefulness and deep determination to find and walk on his life path.

We are invited to follow his professional evolution from recruit to detective. During his vast career with the police department, he uncovers the many faces of evil and crime in Compton. The author shares his in-depth knowledge of the history of local gangs and organized crime. However, he proves to also be somewhat of a rebel scholar in the psychology of human behavior and crime.

From chasing down thugs, solving elusive crimes as a detective, and exposing police and political corruption, Reynolds’ career is filled with vivid depictions of heroics. Yet, the lesson that resonated with me the most was the value of small good deeds. Regardless of the role we play in society, micro-good deeds are within our reach and these often have macro reverberations.

“Black, White, and Gray All Over” is a beautifully weaved narrative of a police officer’s memoir interwoven with raw introspection. As the title suggests, it is the memoir of a black police officer. This is all the more relevant considering the socio-historical background for the book, mainly 1960s’ Detroit and the volatile 1980s’ Compton, California. Yet, as the author underlines, as well, while the story touches on issues of racism, it is about so much more than that.

An Antidote to Violence

An Antidote to Violence by Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

An Antidote to Violence: Evaluating the Evidence” is not your casual mid-afternoon read. It is a thought-provoking and in-depth presentation of a still-controversial topic, Transcendental Meditation (TM). The authors, Barry Spivack MA and Patricia Saunders Ph.D. have created a monumental piece by critically analyzing decades worth of scientific research on the social effects of the practice. After a careful evaluation of evidence, the authors conclude that there is indeed an antidote to violence. Purchase Here.

This universal antidote is accessible to all and completely free. While this might sound like oversimplifying a vastly complex and far reaching issue, that is not necessarily so. While researchers have linked group meditation to measurable growth in social welfare (under different forms), they do not consider the TM effect the sole cause of these measures. Rather, they view it as part of a complex web of forces which govern the world and life as we know it, yet, often fall beyond our regular conscious grasp.

To those less familiar with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his teachings, there is ample opportunity to acquaint yourself throughout the pages of the book. Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders take a peek behind appearances and explore the science behind this elusive phenomenon. They gradually walk the reader through different scientific experiments and statistical analyses of growing complexity to answer a set of questions and consequently ask new ones.

By bringing to the forefront a series of socio-psychological experiments that offer perceivable proof of decrease in violence and increase of social welfare, “An Antidote to Violence: Evaluating the Evidence” aims to attract the attention of both individuals and governments to this feasible antidote. Organized groups have ventured into volatile war zones to bring outer peace through their inner tranquility. And they seemingly succeeded time and time again.

The authors discuss in-depth the implication of paradigms in the history of ideas, mainly paradigm shifts. Discoveries and systems of thought that did not conform to the mainstream view of the time were often first ostracized before being accepted as groundbreaking leaps. The historical contextualization outlined by the authors acts as a possible explanation of why the TM continues to be met with resistance by so many. It simply does not comply with our modern Occidental view on reality and the self.

An Antidote to Violence: Evaluating the Evidence” is somewhat similar to a meta-analysis, in that it collects a vast body of academic literature and analyzes the data and results presented. However, it is far from being a sterile statistical account, as it is deeply infused with the passion of the authors. Although starting from different fields (Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and Music respectively), both Barry Spivack’s and Patricia Saunders’ life journeys merge in the blossoming universe of Transcendental Meditation.

BLU Talks - Business, Life and the Universe

bLU Talks – Business, Life and the Universe Compiled by Corey Poirier

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

More than just an assortment of self-help lectures, BLU Talks Presents: Business Life and the Universe offers a thoughtfully produced collection of unpretentious, coaching soul-help discourses. Compiled by Corey Poirier, this is the first book in the series, which contains an expansive variety of lectures and intimate anecdotes which together culminate into an overall varietal hosting of meaty subjects created to guide, edify and inspire. Purchase Here.

Brimming with sparks of cogent knowledge, each “talk” primarily focuses on a different element, situation, or practice in life. The inspiring lessons come across powerfully but are related in such a warm and welcoming style that allows for easy and authentic resonance between the author and reader.

Additionally, the expertise involved is vast, your instructors come from all walks of life, including mothers, authors, business owners, advisors, leaders, spiritualists, Reiki masters, overall intelligent thinkers, and go-getters, with many of them wielding expertise in multiple disciplines. Some narratives are based on life experiences that touch the heart as well as expand the self, such as Alli Mackenzie’s A Day We Will Remember Forever or Carey Lowe’s chapter which presents character flaw identification titled, Self – Improvement. Others sharpen the business acumen from a very different perspective like The Secrets They don’t Teach You at Business School by Dr. Allen Lycka. Similarly, the Universal element emanates from the enlightened perspective in Aurora Light’s Intention, Synchronicity, and Love Co-Creation with the Universe, which is absolutely one of my favorites. Likewise with lectures like Grow by Jennifer Eckel which discusses stopping negative attachments or Caroline Stewart’s Radical Honesty as well as Cultivating Resilience Through Trauma by Gary Benoit.

Altogether I enjoyed the multi-perspective deep dive into the elements of Business, Life, and the Universe, presented through the Blu Talks Presents Business Life and the Universe compilation which is also offered through podcasts and branded talks as well. Each chapter was a mind-expanding, often motivating burst of deeply insightful knowledge, arranged in relatable, literate, lucid guideposts that aid the reader in facing forward in a chaotic, overstressed sometimes overwhelming world. Ultimately bearing the message … you can be a happier, healthier, more successful you, especially when taking action by following the sage counsel of other experienced successful people, if they can do it you can too.

Moreover, in actuality, more positive works like this presentation are sorely needed, as the chapters in it endeavor to promote self-healing. I recommend this series wholeheartedly. It made for a polished start to a potent, empowering series and I look forward to more.

Pillars of Success

Pillars of Success by Jack Canfield, Harriet Tinka, and Dr. Allen Lycka

Book Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Pillars of Success is a fantastic resource for people who are interested in learning about beneficial ways to enjoy success and happiness in both their professional and personal lives. The book is penned by Jack Canfield, Harriet Tinka, and Dr. Allen Lycka, along with a number of highly respected individuals. Each of the nineteen chapters focuses on different writers and their individual perspectives on how to live one’s life to the fullest potential every day. The individuals who contributed to this book are encouraging but do not sugar coat the challenges people will face and need to overcome in order to reach the major goals they have set for themselves. Readers not only can pick and choose which chapters appeal to them the most for incorporating the changes suggested by a particular co-author, but they will also gain an inside perspective on how the contributors to this book made changes in their lives. The writers share stories that are related to both their personal and professional lives of how they overcame adversity and how the actions they put in place made a difference in a life of positivity versus one of negativity. The book addresses the importance of positive thinking in all aspects of a person’s life; albeit career and financial stability, family and social relationships, physical and emotional health, and spiritual/religious beliefs. Purchase Here.

This awe-inspiring book will resonate with readers and provide them with powerful ways to make a difference in how they approach their everyday lives. Each contributor is well-qualified, and the added personal aspects to the subject matter being discussed is an invaluable technique for connecting with readers. Every chapter is short, but enough information is provided that readers can confidently apply the suggested techniques. The footnotes of resources provide compelling evidence to back up the views that are written about in an easy to understand format. At the end of each chapter, there is a short bio that is relevant to each one of the contributors in regard to their own professional beginnings and successes as well as the positive influence they have had on other people’s lives and their willingness to provide motivation and inspiration to anyone who desires to bring and/or increase positive energy into their lives. After each bio, there is a listing with Internet information for how to contact each contributor’s personal and professional websites.

No matter what stage of life a person is experiencing, this book will touch the lives of those who read it with tips ranging from succeeding as an entrepreneur, believing in yourself when life gets difficult, financial planning for retirement, and setting attainable goals in the major areas of your life that will help one achieve maximum potential for lasting happiness and personal fulfillment. This book is a treasure for those who want to experience positive and long-lasting changes in their lifestyle.

Money please come back

Money Please Come Back: Changing Your Relationship with Money and Growing It by Jeremy Kho

Categories: Business, Education, Finance, How To, Inspiration, LIfestyle, Non-Fiction, Real Estate, Writing

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Jeremy Kho came back with another significant book about how to manage your finances. Following The Journey from Poor Procrastinator to Invested Millennia, which encouraged the reader to take charge of his or her finances and become an active economic agent, Money Please Come Back takes things to the next level. This book works as an easy to read step by step guide toward reaching not just financial independence but freedom. Purchase here.

It is easy to get drawn in by the friendly and informal writing style of Jeremy Kho which is more reminiscent of a leisurely but informative conversation than a written text. Also, the financial terminology, which might scare away some, is used in a considerate manner followed by ample explanation and exemplification. The complexity of the economic system is presented in a structured and simplified way so that it can be easily assimilated by those who do not have a background in this domain. However, the most valuable part of the book is its practicality. While relying on a solid theoretical framework, the author put forward a series of steps to follow. The reader can easily act upon the advice presented in the book if he/she desires so. Needless to say, this does not imply that the road will necessarily be easy or risk-free, only that financial freedom is within reach for anyone.

Jeremy Kho encourages the reader to treat finances like any relationship. And as we all know, not all types of relationships are beneficial. The first step is to analyze and define it in order to gain an accurate image of the situation. Once you have a clear vision of where you currently are, you need to do the same with the future. Of course, there is a colorful variety of goals one can have, but the endgame should always be to break free of the shackles of financial strain and reach freedom.

Money Please Come Back was written by Jeremy Kho with the intention of passing on his academic and empirical knowledge. It will certainly prove a useful read for anyone who struggles with money-related issues. The main aim of the book is to help build a healthy relationship with one’s finances and what is more to reach freedom.

 

The File

The File: A Mother and Child’s Life Changing Reunion by Anita Keagy

Book Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

It is very frightening for a teenage girl to find out she is pregnant but just imagine if this pregnant girl is the daughter of a pastor.

Anita had a loving family; they were close and supportive. Her father was the pastor and her mother was the church musician. Being the child of the pastor had advantages and disadvantages; Anita could sleep a little later because the church was right next-door but on the other hand if her father caught Anita talking during the sermon, he would call her to the front of the church and make her sit by herself.
Purchase Here.

Anita was friends with Allison and Brent. Brent was in love with Allison but she wanted to keep their relationship as friends only. Anita and Brent had a class together during their senior year and they went out on a date. They became bored at a party and left to be alone so they could talk more. They ended up in a place where a lot of the kids went to make-out. They also ended up doing more than talking and things went a little too far.

Anita soon discovered that she was pregnant. There was a difficult decision to be made. She could keep the baby, have an abortion or give the baby up for adoption. Her first thought was to have an abortion because it seemed the easiest. No one would know. Her parents wanted her to make the decision but offered some advice. They told her that an abortion would be hard for her to live with since she would be taking a life.

Anita went into her closet and began to cry. After a lot of praying and crying, she decided to give the baby up for adoption. Little by little she started to tell her siblings and her best friend of her pregnancy. They were all supportive. Her father was the pastor of a new church and he asked the bishop if he should step down. The news was given to the congregation and Anita asked if she could speak. She told them how truly sorry she was for bringing this upon the church.

As time went on, Anita began to feel her baby kicking. She was starting to have second thoughts as she was feeling emotionally attached to the baby. She signed up for a couple of college courses to take her mind off things.

The day had finally arrived. Anita went into labor. She had to make another difficult decision. Did she want to see the baby after it was born? Would it be easier to give the baby up if she did not see the child? She decided it would be easier to not see the child. She heard the doctor say it is a little girl. They did tell her how much the baby weighed. They moved Anita to a room away from other mothers who would be taking their child home.

After Anita returned home from the hospital, she had to make arrangements to sign more paperwork. The adoption was not final yet. She, again, began to have second thoughts. Her parents, once again, offered their support if she wanted to keep the baby. This only made it more difficult.

Once everything was finalized, Anita began to feel a little better. The judge assured her that the adoptive parents had the same spiritual beliefs as her and that they would provide a good home.

As Anita tried to get her life back to normal, she received a call from a young man she had met before. He asked her out. She soon realized that he was the one for her and it did not take long for them to get married.

Even though she seemed happy, she hardly had a day go by without thinking of her daughter. Anita knew she could not have any contact with her daughter until she reached the age of 18.

Anita and her husband had four children but she still wondered about the daughter she gave up for adoption.

The one thing Anita could do for her adopted daughter was to place items in “the file” at the agency. When her daughter turned 18, she could ask to see the file.

Will Anita’s adopted daughter ask to see the file?

I am not going to say anything more because this would be giving away “spoilers”. I want readers to find out for themselves what happens.

The File is a book that shows the heartbreak a mother has when she makes the decision to do what is best for her child. You could feel the pain in every decision that Anita had to make. On the other hand, this book also shows how happy an adoptive family can be when they have the opportunity to bring a baby into their loving home.

The author has done a wonderful job in weaving every piece of this story together. From sad emotions to joyous ones, the reader will feel like Anita is sitting right beside them as she tells her story. The File also shows how important spiritual beliefs can help in the process of making very difficult decisions.

On a personal note, I attended a workshop where Anita Keagy was the speaker. She spoke about giving her baby up for adoption. Her emotion and tears told the audience everything they needed to know. If you ever have the opportunity to hear Anita Keagy speak, please do yourself a favor and sign-up.

 

The Four Hats of Leadership

The Four Hats of Leadership by Drake E. Taylor

Book Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Drake E. Taylor, an officer in the United States Air Force, advocates four types of hats that will help individuals become effective and successful leaders. The Preface is an excellent tool for drawing readers into The Four Hats of Leadership: Be Who Your People Need You to Be. The four types of hats are The Farmer’s Hat, The Drill Instructor’s Hat, The Psychologist’s Hat, and The Self-Care Hat. Taylor does an excellent job of providing an analogy between a farmer’s job and that of leading a team of people, describing the role of when it is appropriate to use the drill instructor’s hat in a civilian environment, the value of the psychologist hat and ways to help people with their emotional well-being, and the importance of the self-care hat for a leader’s mental health. Purchase Here.

The book focuses not only on the viability of utilizing the four hats in the military but also in the civilian environment. Black and white photographs and quotes from well-known individuals tie in beautifully with the subject matter in each hat section. Taylor explains how each hat serves a purpose in leadership and the benefits of incorporating them into a work environment. He provides many ideas and goes into detail about key principles needed to become an outstanding leader and the challenges facing anyone in a leadership position. Taylor interweaves his own personal experiences throughout the book, which reflect both his achievements and his missteps in his career path. These examples are invaluable for making the information more compelling and relatable. Unambiguous sentences lead to easy understandability for the reader. Words on a few pages are missing letters. However, readers can still easily decipher the words.

At the end of the book is a beneficial section titled “Leadership Library.” It includes a worksheet questionnaire that will enable organizations to learn pertinent information about individual employees. Also, there are several quotes that are applicable to leadership and self-care that can be used to motivate not only people in management positions but also their workers. This book is a useful tool for individuals either pursuing a leadership position or interested in incorporating these hats into their leadership job.

A Tempered Faith

A Tempered Faith: Rediscovering Hope in the Ashes of Loss by Jennifer Sands

Book reviewed by Nancy Eaton

There are so many stories regarding the events of September 11, 2001. Some are told by the family members who lost loved ones on this day and others are told by the survivors. The stories are very sad; but, at the same time, they are all unique and very intriguing. It’s difficult to imagine what the relatives and friends of people who were killed on September 11 went through at the time and for the years that followed this terrible assault on America. Purchase Here.

Jennifer Sands tells us her personal story. She met her soul mate, Jim, through a dating service. The two were surprised that they went to the same school, lived in the same town, etc. but never met each other. They got married. Jennifer worked as a pharmacist and Jim worked for Cantor Fitzgerald at the World Trade Center. They enjoyed a few short, wonderful years together. They both had a love for Scuba diving in the Cayman Islands.

On the night of September 10, 2001, Jim and Jennifer watched their favorite team, the New York Giants, play on Monday Night Football. Their dinner turned out to be a disaster (pasta made with a jar of sauce.) Since Jennifer was Italian this was really a no-no. Jim decided to make some popcorn. The popcorn burned but Jim ate it anyway. As a result, Jim’s stomach did not feel well during the night. As I was reading this section of the book, I wondered – if only Jim had called in sick the next morning…Jennifer also had the same thought.

Jennifer, a Catholic, always prayed for Jim’s safety. He had a long commute to work between the drive and the ferry. She thought that praying is all she needed to do because she had a contract with God. However, after losing Jim in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center she grew more and more angry with God. She wondered how God could let something like this happen.

Jennifer’s nephew, Kevin, gave her a special Christmas gift, a journal called Grace for the Moment Journal, Max Lucado’s daily devotional prayer journal. On each page there was scripture and a writing prompt. Jennifer wrote daily in the journal during 2002. This journal played a major role in helping Jennifer to heal.

Jennifer writes this story with honesty and raw emotion. You can feel her anger toward God. As time passed, you can see how she started to accept what had happened and the changes that took place in her feelings toward God. As readers go through the journal, they will clearly see how God was there for Jennifer and how he helped to answer many of her questions.

A Tempered Faith is an emotional, gripping and spiritual story of a young widow who questions God and heals in the process. I would recommend this book to everyone but especially to someone who has lost a loved one.

I had the opportunity to meet Jennifer Sands. She was a speaker at an event I attended at America’s Keswick in Whiting, NJ. After listening to her speech, I had to purchase a copy of her book, Tempered Faith, to read more details about the loss of her husband.

Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your story with us.

On a personal note, one of the items on my “list of things to do” is to visit the 9/11 Memorial. I know this will be a very emotional and difficult trip to make but I just feel it is the least I can do to pay respect to the people who lost their lives that day. After all, these were innocent people who happened to go to work that day to earn a living. My cousin’s wife was working at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 but she was one of the lucky ones who made it safely out of the building.

Note Update: I did visit the 9/11 Memorial and as expected, it was a very somber day. Just to look at all of the photos of the people who lost their lives that day is heartbreaking. I did see the photo of Jennifer Sands’ husband. The one thing that did give me some joy that day was to see the Survivor Tree. If you are not familiar with the Survivor Tree, you can Google it and read the amazing story about this tree and what it means to the 9/11 Memorial.