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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Book Feature: Room for Grace by Daniel and Maureen Kenner @alwysroom4grace


ROOM FOR GRACE by Daniel & Maureen Kenner, Memoir, 179 pp., $16.00 (paperback) $2.99 (Kindle)


Title: ROOM FOR GRACE
Author: Daniel Kenner & Maureen Kenner
Publisher: Silver Boot Imprints
Pages: 179
Genre: Memoir & Biography

Stage 4 cancer for her and a debilitating disease for her husband: life crashed down in an instant. Maureen Kenner found resilience, however, in the lessons she learned from her Special Ed students in Providence, RI. Her students lived with their hearts opened despite struggles of the highest magnitude. Through these students, Maureen gains courage, humor, and the strength of spirit to face her devastating realities, head on. Maureen’s oral history was captured by her son Daniel who tenderly wrought this book out of their recorded conversations. Through anecdotes and hard-earned lessons, Maureen tackles challenge after challenge and reframes daily struggles with a positive outlook allowing her to transcend and conquer mortal fears with dignity and room for grace.

PRAISE:

“Maureen Kenner was one of those people who brightened every room she entered. Thanks to Room for Grace, that light is not extinguished. Although her story shares great sadness, Room for Grace is a book of hope and a celebration of life that sheds Maureen’s light on us all.”
—Ann Hood, Author of The Obituary Writer and The Red Thread

“In these pages, you will find a story like no other. Maureen’s story is one of courage and love, a story that will move you to your core.”
—David Flink, Chief Empowerment Officer, Eye to Eye

“The piercing light of Maureen’s compassion, love and intelligence, will leave every reader wanting to reach out in the spirit of service and live life to the fullest.”
—Annie Lanzillotto, Author of Hard Candy: Caregiving, Mourning, and Stagelight

“Buddy Kenner was a big-hearted teacher, universally beloved by all, a warrior for the arts and their importance in the curriculum. Amazing and unique guy. Read this book.”
—Tom Chandler, Rhode Island Poet Laureate Emeritus

Room for Grace is available at Amazon.


STAGE 4

Mary Poppins was my nurse on Day 6. “Pretend you’re at summer camp,” she joked, encouraging every step I made toward healing and recovery. “We’ve got a whole bunch of activities for you to choose from.”
“But instead of Newcomb and color wars and collecting orange salamanders or dancing to Tommy James and the Shondells,” I said, “today’s activities at the hospital include pain med management, ice chip crunching, and Dammit! Doll whacking…”
“Don’t forget IV pole walking,” she teased. “I always know when you’re coming because your IV pole is the squeakiest.” She tenderly guided me back into bed.
“But instead of early morning skinny dipping,” I said, “someone signed me up for the johnny gown flash mob.”
That really made her laugh. “I wish all my patients worked like you.”
“Well, you help make it easy,” I admitted. “I loved sleepaway camp. I’d pack my trunk with stamped stationary and Razzles, pick-up sticks and jacks. And my Magic 8-Ball. My bunkmates and I thought we could predict the future. Go figure. I could never have predicted this.” She wrapped a warm blanket around my feet. “One year,” I continued, “I was the last camper to be picked up and, on the way home, my sisters teased me that my parents wanted to leave me there.”
“That’s one of the reasons I love my job here,” she smiled. “The staff is a family. We’re planning a barbecue together this weekend.”
It was August 2013. 
Dr. David Sanfred, our family practitioner, walked into my room at 6:45 a.m. and stood at the end of my hospital bed. “Maureen, we’re getting ready to send you home soon,” he said. And then, “It’s time to talk.”
It was time to face what I’d avoided all week.
“I’m sorry to tell you, but it’s very serious.” Though by our family’s side for many difficult situations, I’d never heard Dr. Sanfred’s tone this methodical. “We thought it was Stage 1 but the cancer metastasized from the colon to your umbilicus and has advanced to Stage 4.”
The hospital symphony went silent. I turned my head and watched the early morning sunlight peek through the window. “Is it curable?”
He gave my hand a soft pat. “No, it is not curable.”
I heard myself gasp.
I was in a panorama shot. I saw Mary Poppins outside the thin curtain share morning notes with the nurse coming on. They whispered, glanced sympathetically in my direction. I struggled for breath and gripped the Dammit! Doll.
“Will I be able to go back to my classroom?” 
“No,” he cautioned, “you will not be able to teach right now. But soon. We hope.”
The tears kept coming. Mary Poppins came back into the room. She reached out and hugged me gently, with so much affection I could feel her heart break.










Daniel Kenner rocked out to Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” while other infants sang “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” A proud member of Actor’s Equity, SAG-AFTRA, and National Players Tour 60, Daniel was a Presidential Arts Scholar at George Washington University and Scholarship recipient at The British American Drama Academy. Directed the Washington D.C. premier of Sarah Kane’s Crave. Author of the manuscript, Roux. Winner of the Rhode Island Playwriting Festival for his World War II letters home drama, Fields of Sacrifice. Adapted Les Misérables for high school stages.

Maureen Kenner’s heart was in the classroom. For thirty-five years she was a Special Education teacher in the Providence Public Schools. Born and raised in Dobbs Ferry, New York, Maureen graduated from Rhode Island College with a degree in education and later earned a Master’s Degree from Providence College. Maureen was a vital influence at the Vartan Gregorian Elementary School at Fox Point, working tirelessly as a mentor for the betterment of all children and their families. Honored with many accolades throughout her career, Maureen was awarded Providence Teacher of the Year in 2003. Living with cancer, as a model patient, Maureen exemplified integrity, courage, grace, and hope. For thirty-one years, through sickness and health, Maureen was the beloved soul mate to the late Jacob “Buddy” Kenner, her intense love recognized in 2016 as a Rhode Island Caregiver of the Year.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Going for Broke: How to Suffer Well by Shannon Medisky @shannonmedisky




Going for Broke: How to Suffer Well, Christian/Devotional/Nonfiction, 110 pp., $8.99 (paperback) $4.99 (kindle)


Title: GOING FOR BROKE: HOW TO SUFFER WELL
Author: Shannon Medisky
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 61
Genre: Christian Nonfiction/Devotional

Hardship hurts and suffering sucks.
But there’s very important work—and rewards—we need to be occupied with in the middle of it all.
Suffering has a way of stretching us beyond ourselves. It prompts us to stretch outside of our current comfort zones. But no matter how we feel, we don’t have to be buried by our challenges and circumstances. Instead, we can recognize that God has planted us right where we are for a reason: It’s time to get growing.
Here’s how.

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INTRODUCTION
 
Einstein once said, "God doesn't play dice." He also made it very clear that he didn't believe in a personal God, but rather he trusted that there were underlying laws of nature that made perfect sense of some of the science (mainly quantum mechanics) that even he couldn't wrap his brilliant mind around.
Einstein was an incredible man of science, but he also appreciated that he couldn't make sense of everything. Yet, even in the midst of this, Einstein professed that there still had to be a rhyme and reason to it all. Even if he or current science couldn't make sense of it, Einstein held the belief that there was still a structure, an order behind it all.
I believe the same is true for suffering. I believe this because I've seen evidence of it firsthand.
To put it bluntly, I watch my son die a slow, painful death daily. He suffers terribly, and my heart suffers, too. My heart breaks each time he cries out to me for comfort and relief, and there's nothing I can do.
My head is weary of keeping tabs of his daily intake of protein. Too little and he becomes catabolic, metabolizing his own muscle tissue. Too much, and ammonia levels rise in his blood stream causing debilitating headaches and irreversible cognitive loss. There's no cure, and that's just the tip of the medical and genetic iceberg.
There's also the GRIN2B genetic mutation that causes my son debilitating joint pain, short and long-term memory loss and yet more metabolic issues. His specific mutation causes his body to convert the amino acid called arginine to histidine. This poor kid can't seem to eat enough food to ever really feel full because he can't eat more than about 15 grams of protein per day.
Think about that for a moment.
Imagine being underweight with low muscle tone, experiencing constant headaches and joint pain and then never feeling fully satiated…and that's when he actually feels up to eating at all.
It's hard enough to watch Mark suffer, to walk through all of this with him. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to be him.
Mark’s physical suffering alone is staggering to imagine. Prior to joining our family through adoption, Mark was subject to severe abuse and neglect. Deprived of basic nutrition, physical touch and comfort as an infant, it's not surprising that he suffered cognitively, developmentally and behaviorally as a result.
I share all of this because I've heard it said that one should write about what one knows. The last ten years have taught me quite a bit about suffering: how it feels, the toll it takes, and just how unsettling it is when looking ahead holds no promise of relief or respite. I know how it feels to not be able to quite catch your breath, to feel completely and utterly helpless, to vacillate between wondering if you're (really) strong enough to keep going or when exactly you're going to fall apart.
It's from this place that I write about suffering, an open, raw place of complete transparency, because frankly I don't think there's enough out there about it. Everyone experiences hardship at some point. Christ even told us to expect it (John 16:33). Yet most every blog post, podcast and article I’ve come across covers how to get out of it, how to avoid it or—even worse—does a tremendous disservice by quickly trying to sugarcoat it. Suffering is rarely if ever a choice. It’s a natural part of the human experience. So, why isn’t there more help out there on how to do it well?
I believe in the power of prayer. I know God can—and still does—move mountains. I also know that God allows suffering, too. Suffering is a part of His plan. If it weren't, Noah would've never been stuck on that big boat after watching everything he’d ever known be engulfed in water. Joseph never would've been thrown into a pit, sold into slavery and imprisoned. Jesus Himself would never have been ridiculed, tortured and crucified.
During my prayers for Mark's relief and the easing of my own emotional burden, none of this escapes me.
We don't have to relish suffering. We don't have to run after it. It's completely natural to want to avoid it. Even Christ prayed to the Father and asked that suffering be taken from Him if it was within God's will (Mark 14:36). But sometimes suffering is a part of the plan, a piece of the story that God is weaving together in our lives. If we know this is true, that sometimes suffering is a part of the Lord’s greater plan, then doesn't it make sense to prepare for it as best we can?
It has been said that misery loves company, so I took the hint. I dove into Scripture and surrounded myself with what felt like old friends, but I visited with them in different ways. While their stories were nothing new, I connected with what their emotional experiences must have been in brand new and very personal ways. I noted what they did and how God responded to their thoughts, words and actions. I found patterns and parallels. In my searching, I discovered evidence time and time again that God truly does meet us in our mess.
Jesus said, "What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops" (Matthew 10:27 ESV).
Jesus will tell us things in the dark when we're unsure and insecure. It is in this darkness where He whispers to us, sharing things that are only accessible when we're willing, able and waiting to hear.
Suffering is often the place of this darkness.
During suffering we're broken enough to stop listening to ourselves, and instead tune in more carefully to His whispers. Ironically enough, it's usually in the middle of hardship where our relationship with Jesus can truly grow the most. Whether we like it or not, hardship often pushes us out of our comfort zones. Suffering enables us to grow through what we go through.
From this perspective, what a tremendous opportunity suffering can be!
Yes, hardship hurts.
Yes, suffering sucks.
But there's very important work—and rewards—we need to be occupied with in the middle of it all. That's exactly how this book is different. In the pages that follow, you won't discover how to pray your way out of challenges and pain. Quite the opposite, actually. You'll be encouraged to go for broke, to face suffering head on in anticipation of meeting God personally in brand new ways. Suffering has a way of stretching us beyond ourselves. It prompts us to reach outside of our current comfort zones.
This book has been designed to help you take full advantage of this, to essentially help you not waste your pain. If God allows us to suffer, then we can rest assured that it isn't and won't be for not (Romans 8:28).
Suffering isn't just an experience or state we're in. It's a skill, too.
We can squander our experiences and energy trying to spin our wheels to get out of suffering as soon as we can (and sometimes futilely so) or we can choose to suffer well. We can be intentional about how we respond to suffering. We can work on ourselves, actively seeking to grow into all that God wants us to be. We can work on our listening skills, discovering how to quiet ourselves and the chaos around us. We can practice and grow in patience as we wait on God, His will, and His timing. In short, we can recognize with our choices and our actions that, yes, suffering is in God's plan for us, too.
If you're suffering now, I hope this book serves as a tool to help you feel less helpless. I hope that it helps you discover new opportunities to grow closer to and experience God in ways you've never known before. I hope that it helps you realize that you are not buried by your current circumstance or hardship even if that's exactly how you feel, but rather God has planted you right where you are for a reason: It's just time to get growing.











 








“Shannon’s writing is infused with an abiding passion, a marked sensitivity to the needs of her readers and a tangible wisdom gleaned from real life experience,” Danielle D.
Shannon Medisky is a leading expert in struggling with stress, screwing up and seeking God in the midst of it all. Sometimes funny but always real, Shannon’s writing is infused with practical ideas designed to help others create positive, real change in their daily lives. In short, Shannon writes about how to intentional move from simply “going on” to growing on—by God’s grace.
Shannon’s articles, insights and ideas have been featured in Exceptional Parents, Adoptive Families, Hybrid Mom, Mothering and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family. For the past nine years, Shannon’s also worked as contributing writer and curriculum designer for OneHope, a global nonprofit ministry devoted to sharing the life-changing message of the Gospel with youth and children worldwide. To learn more, visit GraceToGrowOn.com.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK




 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Book Blast: Era Un Espia Americano de la OSS en Salonica by Helias Doundoulakis and Gabriella Gafni






Title: Era Un Espia Americano de la OSS en Salonica
Author: Helias Doundoulakis
Publisher: XLibris
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook

Imagine the horror: One day in May 1941 that did not presage anything special, a boy from a small town in Crete faces an unexpected threat - the invasion of the German troops. Run to take cover - your first meeting in a series of meetings with the destination. Imagine the adventure: The boy and his brother work on behalf of the SOE, a secret nucleus of British intelligence. When the patriotic organization enters the peephole with cross-focus of the Germans, they immediately turn to the mountains of Crete, where, even during the day, they hide from the enemy. The danger lurks at each step. Imagine the greatness: The child is trained to become a spy for the OSS or the Office of Strategic Services (Office of Strategic Services, the only one of the central US SOE: Executive of Special Operations (Special Operations Executive). Imagine the risk: During a secret mission in Thessaloniki, the spy soldier runs the risk of losing his life daily, operating a radio under the noses of the Nazis. Will the German police eventually find out? Imagine the value: If you are arrested, the soldier-spy will swallow a poison pill to avoid suffering horribly under torture. Many times your escape is a matter of seconds. Imagine the victory of living at 92 years old to tell your story. Everything is true! The imagination is overcome. You could say that it is a script made for a movie - a story starring the game of life that is necessary for all to read. The story of the author, along with the stories of other agents, was the theme of the documentary "Campo X:

PURCHASE HERE


Helias Doundoulakis was both an acclaimed Civil Engineer, an inventor, an author, a family man, and the patent holder of the world's largest radiotelephone "Arecibo Antena" is survived by his wife, Rita, their four children, and his ten grandchildren.


HELIAS IS GIVING AWAY A $25 GIFT CARD!

  
Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins September 24 and ends on October 5.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on October 6.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Monday, September 24
A Book Lover
My Bookish Pleasures

Tuesday, September 25
The Hype and the Hoopla
Write and Take Flight

Wednesday, September 26
Harmonious Publicity
Book Cover Junkie

Thursday, September 27
Fiction to Fruition
From Paperback to Leatherbound

Friday, September 28
She Writes
A Title Wave

Monday, October 1



Book Blast: It Came By Loss by Bill McCausland - Win a $25 Gift Card





Title: It Came by Loss
Author: Bill McCausland
Publisher: XLibris
Genre: Fiction
Format: Ebook
It Came by Loss is a tale about Pete Gordon at the hospital bed of his charismatic mother as he struggles with her demise from alcoholic liver failure. An attraction with a nurse draws Pete to reveal his vulnerabilities. Pete is haunted by the tragic death of his friend, Alf, when the men surfed monster waves. Pete’s position at a marine center involves a research trip with unstable Dr. Fields. Pete and his new girlfriend advise against diving after a violent squall. Fields is lost at night. Pete rescues him in the dramatic ferocity of the sea. Form his connection with Valerie, Pete rises from the tragedies of his past.


PURCHASE HERE
Bill McCausland has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is APA board certified in the treatment of alcohol and other psychoactive use disorders. He also has a master of fine arts in creative writing. Bill McCausland has also published In the Mouth of the Wolf that tells the story of three war veterans, their different levels of trauma, and the readjustment when they return home from war. The novel covers the adjustment of their wives to the veterans’ homecoming. In the Mouth of the Wolf is a powerful story.


BILL IS GIVING AWAY A $25 GIFT CARD!

  
Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins September 24 and ends on October 5.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on October 6.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 

ENTER TO WIN!


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Book Blast: Dying for a Drink by Amelia Baker - Win a $25 Gift Card






Title: Dying for a Drink
Author: Amelia Baker
Publisher: AuthorHouse UK
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook

Dying for a Drink is a true story of the chaos and hurt caused by an alcoholic. The author, telling her own story, writes of time spent in multiple rehabs, both in the United Kingdom and Sydney, Australia. She writes in the hope that her story will encourage other alcoholics and addicts (which can be anybody addicted to anything)—that they will see in their own stories the similarities rather than the differences. The memoir depicts her rapid decline after she crossed the ‘invisible line’ and shows how her loved ones were devastated by her behaviour—and how they lived in fear that this disease would lead to her death. It chronicles, too, her sense of freedom and surrender and hope amid the sobriety from which she is sharing her journey and the beginnings of relationships repaired, with both loved ones and self.

PURCHASE HERE


The author is a fifty-two-year-old woman suffering from a chronic, progressive, and often fatal disease. She’s battled alcoholism for twelve years and has been medically detoxed eleven times, eight in rehabs and three in hospital. Six of these detoxes happened since moving from Australia to a small village in South Wales, United Kingdom. Alcoholism has torn her family apart, and she was finally brought to her knees at the end of the year before she undertook the writing of this memoir—after leaving her third 28-day rehab in England. She had to surrender and is now free of alcohol and drugs. She’s been married twice. Her first husband was her soul mate. Together, they have two beautiful children—a son, twenty-three at the time of this writing, and a daughter, twenty. She lived in Australia for over twenty years and was a stay-at-home mum. Devastated by the breakdown of her first marriage, and on the rebound, she married a man she’d met in AA. This second marriage went horribly wrong. He picked up drink and drugs shortly after they were married and he abused her to the point of an AVO (apprehended violence order) being put in place following his arrest. She moved back to the United Kingdom twenty months before starting her memoir, as both her kids were studying in Edinburgh. She decided to write Dying for a Drink in the hope it would give other alcoholics and addicts hope. She wishes to remain anonymous, as she has bared her soul and shared in these pages all the ‘horrors’ of her drinking.




Amelia IS GIVING AWAY A $25 GIFT CARD!

  
Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins September 24 and ends on October 5.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on October 6.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Monday, September 24

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Wednesday, September 26

Thursday, September 27

Friday, September 28

Monday, October 1

Tuesday, October 2

Wednesday, October 3

Thursday, October 4

Friday, October 5