(Review) Healing the Scars of Childhood Abuse: Moving beyond the Past into a Healthy Future by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD, with Ann McMurray

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Publisher and Publication Date: Fleming H. Revell Company. August 2017.
Genre: Christian nonfiction. Child abuse. Recovery.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Excellent. Recommend.
Audience: Readers who are an abuse survivor or want to help understand an abuse survivor.

Amazon

Gregory L. Jantz is on Facebook if you want to follow his page for helpful posts.
Website for Gregory L. Jantz PhD

 

Early in the book, pages 20-21, defines child abuse. Jantz defines the “behaviors” and “also the effects of those behaviors.” What I found interesting is Jantz asks: what was our normal as a child? This question was enlightening given the fact I’ve heard people remark, “the only normal is the setting on a washing machine.” Is it possible that many people do not know what normal is? A normal behavior. A normal healthy functioning home life. A normal work environment. I bet many people would scratch their heads. The question Jantz asked is a perfect starter question for a small group studying this book!
One of the big things I look for in a book about psychology or recovery is am I learning something new? Does the book prick my mind about something I’ve not yet learned?
In Healing the Scars of Childhood Abuse, I respond with a big yes to the above questions.
A few of the things I learned are childhood abuse survivors feel like they are constantly preparing for war. And, survivors are quick to believe they are at fault. Survivors also assume “the worst” in situations. This is a form of protection. What I didn’t like reading is some of these patterns of survivors is essentially trying to control a situation by the response. For example: if I accept blame for something then it is an, “attempt to have some measure of control over the situation.” Page 43.
Chapter 6 is the “Emotional Cost of Childhood Abuse.” Some examples are “anxiety, flashbacks, dissociation, fear of failure, anger, and sexual avoidance.” Jantz ends this chapter with clarifying his intention is to help the survivor understand overcoming these behavior patterns are possible.
Chapter 7 examines additional patterns like “co-dependency and relationship addiction.”
An important factor in healing is to begin to really feel-do not live in numbness anymore. This is something I learned a few years ago. Live a life of mindfulness! Living in the moment and not in the past or in a fantasy world. Do not check out. Enjoy and be thankful for the present.
Chapter 9 is on “cognitive healing.” This is an important chapter in changing the ugly thought patterns of past words used against us that were lies.
Chapter 11 holds one of my favorite parts in the book: “Twelve Steps to Healthy Communication.”

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(Review) Absolute Surrender: Read and Reflect With The Classics by Andrew Murray

absolute surrender

Publisher and Publication Date: B&H Publishing Group. 2017.
Genre: Christian nonfiction.
Pages: 160.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Okay. I recommend another book by Murray, Humility. The kindle edition is .99 cents.
Audience: Readers of Andrew Murray.

Amazon

Summary:
Absolute Surrender was originally published in 1897. The book has been published in different formats and by different publishers. It is considered a classic Christian book. Andrew Murray was a South African pastor and writer who was born in 1828 and died in 1917. The following link from Christianity Today has a biography.
My book republished by B&H Publishing Group is a dark blue cloth over board book. The book does not have a biography of Murray. A brief two-page, “Letter to the Reader” is included. The book does not include an index, about the author, or notes section.

My Thoughts:
One of my favorite Christian books is Humility by Andrew Murray. I’ve heard other authors remark about this book. I believe Humility is a gem in Christian books!

I was disappointed in Absolute Surrender. It’s not that it is a bad book. It just didn’t hold my interest like I’d hoped. I take notes when reading, and this book has one page of notes.

Chapter 1: Absolute Surrender
Chapter 2: The Fruit of the Spirit Is Love
Chapter 3: Separated unto the Holy Ghost
Chapter 4: Peter’s Repentance
Chapter 5: Impossible with Man, Possible with God
Chapter 6: O Wretched Man That I am!
Chapter 7: Having Begun in the Spirit
Chapter 8: Kept by the Power of God
Chapter 9: Ye Are the Branches

Chapter five was my favorite: “Impossible with Man, Possible with God.” In this chapter, the stages in a Christian life are explained. A Christian is to be humble and surrender to God’s power in the Christian life. A Christian can not try and live it solely in our own strength. Peter is a Bible character who is given as an illustration.
All the chapters in the book end with three sections: “Bible Study Questions” and  “Personal Reflection Questions” and “Prayer.”

(Review) Space of Love: Understanding The Power Of Thoughts And Wisdom In Living With Autism by Gayle Nobel

Space of Love

Publisher and Publication Date: Night Owl Books. August 10, 2018.
Genre: Nonfiction. Autism.
Pages: 148.
Source: I received a complimentary paperback copy from the author, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Very good. Recommended.
Audience: Readers interested in mental health conditions, autism, and reading memoirs.

Amazon

Gale Noble’s website

Summary:
Gayle Nobel’s son was born in 1983. He has autism. Nobel has written Space of Love to share her life story of raising a son who has autism. Nobel hopes the memoir will help other parents who are in a similar situation.
A primary element of the book is Nobel shares the struggles and insights of a son who has autism.
The book has several poems written by Nobel.

My Thoughts:
The main reason I like this book is it is written from the strong perspective of a mom who has raised a child who has autism. And, she shares insights from how her other children have viewed and responded to their brother. I believe this helps other parents who have an autistic child to know about autism and feel a kindred spirit in Nobel.
Space of Love is a brief look at Nobel’s life. The book is written from her thoughts, and ways of dealing with situations. She is more relaxed than other parents I know personally. I believe it’s because this has been a lengthy process of 35 years.
She stated on page 27, in response to dealing with the hard times, “Allow intuition to show me what to do next and next and next.” I believe intuition is stronger in some individuals than others. Intuition is a gift, some have this gift and some do not. I believe that in caring for a person who has autism or other special needs, a comfortableness about caregiving evolves.
Nuggets of truth are sprinkled throughout the book. For example: “It looks to me like we overthink the possibilities, creating worry and fear, until we’re emotionally exhausted.” Page 102.
On page 115, Nobel addresses her belief with the enlightment experience through, “The Three Principles.” This is more of an off topic addressed in the “Acknowledgements” section. Nobel believes this helped her in her spiritual understanding of life.
At the tale end of the book is a couple of additional chapters, “Serendipity” and “Connections.” These last two chapters spoke to me the most, because they are deeply heart-felt and wise.

On a personal note, my twelve year old grandson, Dawson, has ADHD, Tourette’s syndrome, and moderate level autism. Reading Space of Love was a strong interest to me, because of Dawson. I feel this book helped me to understand that life really does go on, and all of us in this family are going to be just wonderful.

(Review) The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

The Invention of Wings

Publisher and Publication Date: Penguin Books. 2014.
Genre: Fiction.
Pages: 384.
Source: Little Free Library in Fayetteville, Texas.
Rating: Recommend. Excellent.

Amazon

Summary:
The Invention of Wings is a story based on Sarah Grimke. She was a abolitionist during the early 19th century.
After reading several of the websites with information on Sarah Grimke, The Invention of Wings shows correct information in regards to her family of origin, the handmaid she taught to read and was then whipped, the Episcopal upbringing and conversion to Quaker, the letter that was published without permission and thrust her into the abolitionist movement, public speaking tour, and the close relationship with her sister who worked alongside her in the movement.
The book is correct in many factors. The story of the character Hetty “Handful” Grimke, who was a slave and handmaid to Sarah, this story is fictionalized. In the Author’s Note, Kidd wrote she tried to be true to the character of Sarah Grimke. I believe she did.

Links for more information on Sarah Grimke:
Britannica
PBS
Women History-blog

Sarah_Moore_Grimke

Sarah Grimke 1792-1873

My Thoughts:
I love this story!
•Two women from vastly different worlds, even thought they lived in the same home. Both were restrained by the culture and standards of being a female in the 19th century; and by the belief of a people group that human bondage was justified.
I cannot imagine the courage it took for Sarah Grimke to leave her home in South Carolina and relocate to Philadelphia. It took grit to change religions. It took grit to speak out publicly against slavery. It took grit to remain single and without a husband in a male dominated culture.
I enjoyed reading about Sarah Grimke, and this is the first reason I love this story.
•The voice of Handful shifted away from the refinement of the plantation owners, and even away from Sarah. Handful is a strong character. She is a person who is intelligent and wanting so much to speak for herself. She has spirit. And I loved her all the more for it!
•Sarah’s mother is the real nemesis. The father is the plantation owner, but it is the mother who is in charge of the household servants. She is despicable. I feel that all the hate she has for her life and situation is taken out on the slaves. She looks for creative ways to punish.
•Kidd breathed life into both Sarah and Handful. I easily pictured their lives in my mind. This is the main reason the book was difficult to lay down. I became immersed in the story from the first page.

 

(Review) The German Girl by Lucas Correa

The German Girl

Publisher and Publication Date: Washington Square Press. August 8, 2017.
Genre: Historical Fiction. Holocaust. World War II.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Recommend. Very good.

Amazon

Summary:
Two young girls. Two time periods. Two lives who have been shattered by tragedy. Both girls are related. Their lives will intersect.
Hannah lives in Berlin in 1939. She is the only child of a wealthy Jewish family.
Anna lives in New York City post 9/11. The year is 2014. She is the only child of a widow. Anna’s father died before she was born.

My Thoughts:
•A clincher of an opening line. The narrator, Hannah, is talking about killing her parents. It is obvious from the start of the story she is a person under deep stress and anguish. Berlin is a powder keg. The fuse has been lit by Nazi Germany. The Jews are the target of the fuse.
•The setting of both stories, and the emotion of the stories, is the biggest aspect of the book. Both girls are pushed from a young age to become adults. They are heavily burdened by their circumstances. They are at times alone in their minds. They scramble for an answer to their plight.  The German Girl is heart-wrenching at times, because I felt strongly about the outcome of the two young girls.
•Both of the mothers of the two girls are lost in their own “place.” Anna’s mother is lost in the past, and in her grief and depression. Hannah’s mother is lost in the refinement and wealth of her material possessions.
•Anna is a compassionate person. She often looks away from her own situation and is focused on others-their sadness is a heavy weight in her heart. It is so “different” to read about a person who is not selfish and self-entitled. I read about and see so many people focused on their selves that Anna stands in stark contrast.
The German Girl gave me a riveting view of living under the grim conditions as a Jew in Berlin in 1939.
•I’d heard about the ship carrying Jews headed to Cuba. This is the first (fictional) story I’ve read about this history.
•Several photographs are in the back of the book of passengers on the ship, St. Louis. In addition, eight pages of signatures from the passengers.