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review 2017-10-15 15:04
Hospice Whispers: Stories of Life ★★★★★
Hospice Whispers: Stories of Life - Rev Dr. Carla Cheatham

A short book and quick read that uses brief vignettes to illustrate some key principles of providing hospice care. The principle audience is chaplains, but I feel it provides good, useful information for all professions, and probably even for lay people who may be looking for ways to support family or friends who are going through an end of life experience.

 

Thoughts:

  • Snippets of science-based knowledge regarding the patient experience and abilities at end of life and through the progression of dementia and how physical changes can impact a person’s ability to perceive and process information and to communicate. Using that knowledge, we can look for ways to help people find peace and contentment at end of life. The focus can shift from what they can no longer really do as they decline physically and cognitively, but to what they can still do.
  • Offers examples of practical tools and techniques to connect with patients and their families
  • Reinforced over and over – we cannot presume to know what the patient and family need. We are not the experts on knowing what their end of life experience should look like. We must be respectful to the ethic of autonomy and dignity that we are called to honor. For some people, it’s physical closeness and prayer. For some, it’s popcorn and games of dominoes. For some, it’s watching TV shows that may include violence and explicit sexual content.
  • Reminder that there may be family history and dynamics that we don’t know about, so do not make assumptions based on the information available to us. We cannot make judgements, determine who is right or wrong, make excuses, or take sides in conflicts. We can only use the information to “be more aware of how the grief process and medical care are being impacted by those patterns”.
  • Reminder that we are not there to “fix”, only to provide support at end of life. Must develop the ability to just “be with ourselves”, not filling up the silence with noise and distractions, so that we can just “be” with our patients, and to “sit with compassionate equanimity” in the midst of another’s spiritual, emotional, or physical pain.
  • Hospice workers must set boundaries and engage in self-care, and bring a healthy and full self to their work, not look to take self-fulfillment from the patients and families that they are there to help.

 

Quote: “Chaplain, if one more kind, loving, well-intentioned, good-hearted person tells me my momma is in a better place, I’m gonna slap the shit out of them!”… I took her hands and said, “On behalf of all the kind, loving, well-intentioned, good-hearted but misguided people who say stupid things, I am so sorry. And when you slap the shit out of them, tell them you have the chaplain’s permission to do so.”

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-15 03:14
Miss Whitter Makes A List
Miss Whittier Makes a List - Carla Kelly

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

The latest Carla Kelly that I read, Miss Whittier Makes A List, was one of those I was finishing up from her “Miss” series. Well, there’s no series titled like that but she’s got quite a few older Regency romances having titles with a “Miss this or that does this or that” (if this even makes any sense to anyone ;P). *facepalm* Sooo, I liked how it was, the storyline, the characters too. However, not as mind-blowing as I had hoped it would be after reading the first few chapters. As a result, it took me a while to finish it because I wasn’t sure what to write in my review or how to structure it; my feelings were that ambivalent. I don’t want anyone to dislike the story, but there are things that need to be mentioned.

Miss Whittier Makes A List isn’t a badly written novel. Not at all! I mean I keep saying this, and it’s true. I love Ms. Kelly’s writing and I loved most of her backlist thus far. This one begins with a h with a little different background. Hannah is a Quaker, a background not often explored in the arena of HR that I generally read. But even though she’s meant to be lived under strict rules of the ‘type’ of Christianity they followed, Hannah was anything but meek and biddable. Oh she gives that impression quite well, but inside Hannah something... different. Something preferably more exciting. Things that she won’t even acknowledge to herself, let alone to anyone else among her Quaker Friends. I mean, they don’t even call each-other anything but ‘thee’ and ‘thy’. :/

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review 2017-08-30 03:21
Book Review: Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats
Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats - Carla Rehse

This book is just what I needed to get me out of my reading slump. I joined bout of books last week in an attempt to motivate myself to get some reading done and I'm glad I picked this lovely gem to focus my efforts on.

 

First off, Gracie is awesome. She's a no nonsense and all nonsense girl all rolled in one. Sometimes the name dropping of all the different designers was a bit distracting from the story, but I understand it was necessary to build up Gracie's over the top, only child, rich kid connections. Despite her background, I think Gracie's character was well rounded and a lot of fun. 

 

Asher and Willow round out the trio of misfits and their interactions with Gracie made me laugh out loud. They have seen their share of tragedy and frustration at such a young age, but are empowered and stubborn enough to try to change the way things are. I would love to read a book from Willow's perspective because I think it would be full of sarcasm and wit. 

 

For keeping me entertained and turning pages, this book gets a glowing 5 stars from me. It was well written, fun and just the right amount of seriousness to bring it to a conclusion. I would highly recommend it. 

 
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review 2017-08-28 00:45
Pregnesia - Carla Cassidy

Ah... we're entering the Hall of Shame.

 

We have...a v. pregnant h, a H who a) behaves out of character for his background and b) is so determined to get rid of the h that he practically gift-wraps her for the people after her. Oh, he does get suspicious after the fact, and organizes a rescue but still...

 

So the first page or so starts off auspiciously. The H is repossessing a car (that's a new profession), he's relieved that it was left unlocked (I tilted my head at this), and he starts it up with the spare key the used car dealer gave him to collect it (say what? I can think of all sorts of reasons this thought would alarm people). Of course, a hand falls on his shoulder and he yelps. Later, he gasps audibly.

 

He's a curmudgeon who suspects the h is scamming him and his sister, and even after he figures out she really does have amnesia, and after she was almost kidnapped when he took her to walmart, he's in a rush to get rid of her.

 

After he turned up on one of the church members' doorstep, conveniently a missing persons report is filed. Does he get suspicious of this? Naw. Neither does he check to see if the h's former BIL and SIL are connected to said church.

 

The h...well, she was trying too hard I felt to convince him he was a good guy and she really liked him. Made me think the knock on the head affected more than her memory there.

 

Oh - why he behaved out of character? He and his buddies are ex-SEALs. We see signs of this exactly once - when he rescued her.

 

Niggles - supposedly the h intended to leave her husband just before she a) found out she was knocked up and b) he was murdered. This was only mentioned once near the end so we never find out why and only vague suspicions that his brother might have had him killed. His intent was to take the kid and raise it to be a new cult leader.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-08-10 00:55
Safe Passage
Safe Passage - Carla Kelly

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

A full review of Carla Kelly’s Safe Passage would be kinda difficult to do for me, not because it’s a badly written book (I finished it in 2 days, a record for me TBH!) but because the historical facts integrated in this story. It’s very difficult to comment on war or revolution or whatever and the loss of the absurd amount of human lives in the process, to justify the horrifying affects it has on humanity. I’ll do neither in my review.

Carla Kelly has done amazing books where she included tales of war and its aftermath. But she’s always careful to be as subtle as possible while incorporating it with the storyline. Safe Passage is no different, yet there were moments where I felt like putting down the book and take a deep breath. This has a little different setting and background—Mexican Revolution of 1910 (setting here is 1912). The prologue introduces our h, Addie, who has been reminiscing about her past, and her marriage, which seems to be a done thing at this point. Addie lives in Mexico and was married to Ammon for 2 yrs. One sad incident, which led Addie to say some horrible things, had led to their break up. Ammon returned home from his freighting business where injured himself, only to find his wife enraged. He already had a broken leg to deal with, a broken heart now added to the mix. Addie, though, had a reason behind it, and I could try to understand her mental state, still the whole incident was really heartbreaking. Ammon left, heartbroken and in tears, not knowing what he’d done wrong. He had tried to communicate with Addie the first year but she was determined to keep her silence. I have no idea why she treated him so badly, but in the year since then she’d come to regret her action. So much so that she often thinks of Ammon but she doesn’t know how she can do anything to change their circumstances.

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