In Search of the Superfluous

I love the word superfluous. It is an adjective and according to dictionary.com, it means being more than is sufficient or required; excessive. It also means unnecessary or needless. But wait, there is more! Obsolete, possessing or spending more than enough or necessary; extravagant.

When I grabbed onto this word, I began to use it in many ways. I walked around my home opening every cabinet, cupboard, drawer, closet and box. I evaluated the contents of every nook and cranny in my house in search of the superfluous. It was everywhere. How many office supplies do I need? How many duplicate kitchen items do I have? How many spare linens and towels do I require? [Read more…]

Lessons to Learn from a Tragedy

In the Summit Daily News on December 29, 2018, I read the story entitled, Family remembers Arvada man who died following cardiac event at Keystone. The picture shows a smiling man on the ski slopes, Daniel Mares, age 52. He was three years younger than I am, which caught me eye. His first cardiac event killed him without warning on December 22, 2018.

The article provided Daniel’s background and a glimpse of his personality and passions.  It stated that he was “characterized largely by his effortless intellectualism, a carefree and joyful disposition, and the love he shared with his children.” He had two kids age 23 and 21, who are now struggling to deal with his loss on many levels.

I enjoyed reading about Mare’s life until I got to the point where it was revealed that he had not done any planning for the inevitable, his ultimate death. I then felt heartsick for his kids, who are just a bit younger than mine. The article quoted his daughter, “This was his first cardiac event, so I don’t think even he was prepared for it. There’s no will, no life insurance and no financial records…so we have nothing, and were the only people our dad had.” [Read more…]

Favorite books of 2018

This year I read or listened to an average of a book a week. So I had over 50 books to choose from as my favorites for 2018. The following recommendations are the cream of the crop from my perspective.

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment by Martin E.P. Seligman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was filled with tests. I found it valuable to think about my level of happiness and signature strengths. I thought about what virtues I have and which ones I might want to place more focus upon in the future. I wish I had read the chapter on raising children when my kids were little. I understand more about how I can achieve more lasting happiness. And what I like most about the book is its hopeful and optimistic nature. It was very inspiring and I have recommended it many people.

 
Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Outstanding! I have been recommending this book right and left to young and older people alike. I found the power posture concept invaluable. The imposter syndrome rang true for me at times in my life. The book is filled with gems and I know I will read it again and soak in even more of its valuable content.

 

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Being a Daughter of the “Greatest Generation”

Tom Brokaw wrote the book The Greatest Generation in 1998. These men and women grew up in the US and experienced the Great Depression. During and after World War II, this generation stepped up to do amazing things. In the book, Brokaw wrote, “it is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced”. He argued that these men and women fought not for fame and recognition, but because it was the “right thing to do”.

My dad, Robert Shultz, fought in World War II, serving in the navy on the USS Missouri battleship. When he returned from the war, he utilized the GI bill to get a university education. He then went on to become a successful businessman. Men returning from the war threw themselves into rebuilding their lives and the economy with a zest of working hard.

Baby Boomers like myself were born roughly between 1946-1966 following the war. (I was born in 1963.) The “Greatest Generation” bar was set high for us boomer kids. In some respects, that was a good thing. I learned to value hard work, education and strong morals. Sons born to this generation may have been more affected by the high bar of standards than daughters. What if the sons could not achieve the level of success of their fathers under ordinary circumstances? Is it possible that dads might look down upon their sons or boys might find it difficult to match or surpass their father’s bar of success? [Read more…]

Meaningful End-of-Life Books

I never thought I would enjoy reading books about death. I participate in a virtual book group entitled A Year of Reading Dangerously-Exploring Death and The Afterlife Through Books (we do not meet in person). Each month we read a book that has something to do with dying, death, the afterlife, grief and other related aspects of the end-of-life. At the end of the month, the moderator interviews the author and listeners have a chance to ask questions. Recordings of the interview remain accessible to those who missed the call. There is also a Facebook group associated with the book club. [Read more…]

Tips for Writing Book Reviews

It is a gift to authors when you write positive, honest book reviews. A bad review stings as well. Be thoughtful in what you say in your review. If you only slam the book, that does not help the author improve. If there is one thing you can praise even if you did not like the book, be sure to mention it.

In writing a positive review, here are some tips:

Think about and then write some stand out points you gleaned from the book. What section was most valuable to you and why? Did you become inspired to take some type of action as a result of what you read? Did the book provoke emotion in you? Why might someone else enjoy or benefit from the book? Be specific; vague statements of praise are rarely helpful to discerning, prospective readers.

Make sure you review more than one author or Amazon will think you are biased. I know two people who were banned for life from writing future reviews on Amazon because they had not written reviews for more than one particular person. Share the love!

Most reviews can be kept to 2-5 sentences, which does not take much time. You can write a much longer review, but it may not be necessary and be considered a rant. [Read more…]

Favorite Books of 2017

On Goodreads, I read and reviewed 52 books in 2017. Many friends have asked if I would share my favorites of the year. This is a challenging task, but I will attempt to narrow it down to my 2017 best reads for you. To see all my reviews, be sure and see my Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge and connect with me there for ongoing reviews.

Favorites in Fiction:

A Gentleman in Moscow

What a treasure! I was enchanted from the beginning and fully engaged all the way through. The reader on Audible is delightful and brought the character to life. It made driving a pleasure even in heavy traffic to hear the voice of the narrator and the story unfold. [Read more…]

How to Write a Book Review

Authors, including myself, appreciate honest and positive reviews for their books. You have probably told a friend about a movie that you enjoyed or a restaurant you just discovered. If you take the time to write a review on a book you liked, you are providing a gift to the writer.

Here are some ideas and ways to write a review. I will use my latest book, A Chance to Say Goodbye: Reflections on Losing a Parent as an example, but the principles can be applied to any book.

First, draft on paper or type on your computer your review. Give it a short title that captures the essence of the book.

Think about and then write some stand out points you gleaned from the book. What section was most valuable to you and why? Did you become inspired to take some type of action as a result of what you read? Did the book provoke emotion in you? Why might someone else enjoy or benefit from the book?

You will be asked to give it a star rating, 5 being the best on most platforms. Choose that rating when on the review site.

If possible, post the review on two or more sites/platforms in case it is lost, hidden or rejected on one for some reason.

Here are a few choices for my book as examples:

If you have never written a review on one of those platforms, you may have to establish a brief profile.

You do not have purchase on that platform to write a review. However, the platform might reject your review if they think it is overly biased from a friend. You can state that you bought the book at a live event, book signing, etc. Posting the review in more than one place might also ensure it gets posted to at least one. You may want to check back on the site to see if it appears.

Be sure to write reviews for more than one author. Spread the love! You will definitely be considered biased if you only write reviews for one person.

On Amazon, you will see need to scroll down the page until you see the other reviews. You should find a button that says, “Write a customer review”. Click on that and proceed to the end being sure you “submit” or save when finished.

Other ways you can support the author: [Read more…]

Spirited Woman Book List

A Chance to Say Goodbye: Reflections on Losing a Parent is now featured on Spirited Woman Top 12 Book Pick List.

Check out the many quality books featured on the list!

Spirited Woman connects spirited women everywhere. [Read more…]

A Chance to Say Goodbye: Reflections on Losing a Parent

My latest book is available on Amazon! Also Barnes and Noble!

Gold Winner in “Aging Family” and Honorable Mention in “Life Journey” Human Relations Indie Book Awards, 2017. Bronze Winner in “Mature Living/Aging” Living Now Book Awards, 2017. Finalist in “Health: Aging/50+” Best Book Awards, 2017. Finalist in “Death and Dying” National Indie Excellence Awards, 2017.

~

Throughout the years, Lisa and her dad had a tenuous relationship. In her youth, she was disappointed and angered by his behavior, distancing herself from him and blaming him for the sudden end to their intact comfortable family life. As a young adult and after her father’s sudden heart attack, Lisa was given a second chance to heal their relationship. Over the next three decades they became closer, enjoying time together, including travel. When her dad entered his eighties, and while still raising her own children, Lisa found herself unprepared for his steady health decline. Suddenly, she was thrust into the role of overseeing his care as he began to experience increasing disability and the beginnings of dementia.

Not having prepared for or anticipated such a role, Lisa floundered as she attempted to address his ever-changing situation. The closeness and healing they had achieved was challenged as her father resisted conversations about his failing health and his care, exacerbated by a western medical system that fell short to prepare them for the end of his life.

A moving tribute to a remarkable man and a daughter’s experience of losing her dad, A Chance to Say Goodbye gives rise to reflections about what is important in living and dying.

Purchase online Amazon

Purchase online Barnes and Noble

Praise for A Chance to Say Goodbye:

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