Between the Pages (Books & Stuff)

These are my thoughts, opinions, and wisdom from recent and old reads that I have learned from. I read for myself and for my job, so I’ll only share what I believe are truly good reads for both children and adults.

MANY LIVES, MANY MASTERS BY BRIAN L. WEISS. M.D.

I have read this book no less than three times and each time, I find myself amazed at the wisdom it shares with the reader. For many years I pondered the idea of reincarnation, out of body experiences, and recurring dreams. This book delves into those topics but in a way that isn’t too “woowoo” and a lot more realistic to understand. Dr. Weiss shares his own beliefs and insights throughout the book and he shares the wisdom he is imparted via one of his patients. Now I understand more about the topic of parapsychology.

The crux of the story reminds us that we are all here for a purpose and part of our life’s journey is to discover our purpose and use our gifts. Often times, our souls come back in another time to make things right and hopefully, learn the lessons we missed before. The idea or thought of death and dying do not have to be something we fear. It can be something that we accept and prepare for, but also; rest in the knowledge that our souls are eternal and may have many opportunities to live. I consider myself blessed to have had the death experience with my maternal grandparents. Each time, the death experience was peaceful and will always be one of the most treasured memories I will ever have. I am more at peace knowing their soul lives on and that maybe they will be present to me in another way someday. This is one of those books that you can read in just one sitting or on a weekend. If you’re open-minded and want to learn more about the topic of parapsychology, it’s a good read that not only imparts wisdom on the topic, but just makes you feel good and want to be a better person.

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

There were so many things I absolutely loved about this book and I will do my best to contain myself but I caution you–there are spoilers!

Let me begin with one of the many things I enjoyed about this book–the love of reading and the characters’ acknowledgement of the privilege it is to own a free library card. The fact that Elsa gifted her daughter a library card emphasizes this in a beautiful way. This is something that has been lost in the past few generations. I am hoping the tide turns. 

Some people are born into heartache and suffer their entire lives. I believe oftentimes these are the people who have the most capacity to love and not because it’s been so openly given to them, but because they’ve suffered so long for not having it. 

Elsa’s character is proof of this. The time period of her story is during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression. At first, you may see Elsa as a weak woman who makes foolish mistakes. Her beginnings and family life were far from idealistic. In fact, it was downright cruel and emotionally abusive in my opinion. One of the special people that Elsa lovingly remembers from her early childhood was her grandfather. He instilled courage and love in Elsa at a very young age and she often reflects back to his words of wisdom. I love this part of her family story partly because I can relate to it. The abandonment wound is a wound few children can ever recover from. If you’re lucky, you will have a hero to help remind you that the world is still good and your old hurts will be forgotten as you begin to heal.

Elsa’s idea of home changed when she got married. For the very first time, she had a family that loved her and accepted her. She was finally part of something that gave her the sense of belonging she never received in her own family. Sometimes, some of us that are born into dysfunctional families spend a lifetime seeking that sense of “home” or belonging. I am guilty. I’m still searching….. 

Elsa’s story is one of so many people who have lived a life of suffering and hardship; but mostly, perseverance. 

By the end of her story, you learn that “a warrior believes in an end she can’t see and fights for it. A warrior never gives up. A warrior fights for those weaker than herself.” This is who Elsa is–a warrior. 

Children’s books about worry/anxiety:

WEMBERLY WORRIED BY KEVIN HENKES

Wimberly Worried is just the book to share with your little worrier. Wemberly worries about every little thing—from a crack in the wall right down to her first day of nursery school. Wemberly’s parents are at a loss for how to help Wemberly. Soon, Wemberley makes a friend at school who is just as worried as her and together, they become just a little less worried.

THE WORRY BOX BY SUZANNE CHIEW

The Worry Box introduces children to the concept of not allowing your fears to prevent you from having fun. This adorable story is about two siblings–Molly and Murray. These two bears are off on an adventure to meet their friend at the waterfall. Among other worries, Murray is worried about the waterfall being too loud and too big, but with his sister’s help; he soon learns that worrying doesn’t have to stop him. Murray soon learns that his worry box isn’t just for his worries, he can share it with his new friend too! “Besides, sharing worries always makes them feel smaller.”

Extending the stories on anxiety and worries……

As an extension of The Worry Box, I made this so we could put our “worries” or “anxieties” into this box and move forward in courage! It’s a good project to work on together and simple to create.

THE GREAT ALONE BY KRISTIN HANNAH

This was the first ‘adult’ novel I read in 2019. I work with children and my extra reading time is typically spent reading children’s books. I saw this title on an Instagram account that I follow and I thought it worthy of trying it out. WOW! I was sucked in immediately. It takes place in a critical time period during the 1970’s and follows the coming of age of Leni, the 13 year old main character.

Leni’s childhood (if you can call it that) consists of being caught in the middle of the toxic relationship between her parents. She uses books and her Polaroid camera to find an escape from the dysfunctional life she’s living with her parents. Her transformation takes place when they move to Alaska. She not only learns the crucial Alaskan survival skills needed to make it through the dark winters; she befriends a classmate, Matthew. For the first time in Leni’s young life, she has a real best friend. Leni clings to this budding friendship while enduring Alaska’s harsh winters and her father’s escalating domestic violence towards her mother. I truly connected with Leni’s character for several reasons; the most important being that I grew up in this time period. My mom had me when she was barely 18 and in many ways, we “grew up” together just as Leni and her mom did. Leni’s story is one of survival, perseverance, and hope.

EDUCATED: A MEMOIR BY TARA WESTOVER

I feel as if I have unconsciously been selecting books that are “coming of age” stories. Educated, a memoir by Tara Westover; was inspiring, soulful, and resonates with so many, I am sure. She was brave and full of courage to follow her own path in the midst of so many obstacles. Tara was born into a devout Mormon family in Idaho. The dysfunction, psychological and physical abuse she endured at the hands of one of her brother’s was hard to read at times, but with hope and a few special people who came into her life, she was able to accomplish what she believed almost impossible. I found so many bits of wisdom, memorable quotes, and new reading topics I want to research in this book. When I come across books like this, it’s a reminder to me of exactly why books have always been such a big part of my life.

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