Archive | Good Books RSS feed for this section

Spoon Fed

15 Jun

I love that I now have the time and desire to read more.    I just fnished reading the book, Spoon Fed, written by Kim Severson, Food Editor at the NY Times.

It’s a great book for a number of reasons.  I admire Kim for telling her story and not worrying about what the world thinks.  I love how she weaves her life lessons around the kitchen table and the every day ritual of cooking and eating.    I have some things in common with Kim, in addition to sharing her name.  I love family, food, and cooking (and in that order).

Prior to reading Kim’s book I really didn’t give much thought about the importance of cooking together and eating together as a family.

The cooking and the sharing of a meal together promotes family unity.  It brings us back to those long-ago, far away days of The Cleavers in the TV show Leave It To Beaver.  Granted I don’t bring out the white linen table cloth or even eat at our formal dining room table, but we do sit together (outside this time of year) and talk.  Food brings people together and gives them the opportunity to interact.  Of course, even if a meal is made it doesn’t necessarily mean the family will eat it together – but it does provide an opportunity to do so.

After reading Kim’s book, I couldn’t help but think back on some of the wonderful meals that I have had the good fortune to be a part of over the years.  One particular  memory came to mind that I hadn’t thought about for quite some time.

Thanksgiving has always provided me and my family with a wealth of abundant and wonderful food and cooking that also lead to special time together.

Those of you regular readers here know that my oldest daughter Elizabeth died in a fire in September, 2003.

I will always remember the last Thanksgiving that we shared with her in November of 2002.  We shared a wonderful meal of turkey and dressing and all of the wonderful dishes that go along with it.  After a long while of sitting around the table and talking, we did the dishes and decided once they were done a game of some sort was in order.

I don’t remember the name of this particular game, but it was charades of some sort.  I don’t even remember if I actually played or who did play other than Liz.  She was given the word thimble and she had to get the rest of the game participants to say it.

The only problem was, Liz didn’t know what it was, or even what it was used for.

So she described it as only Liz could – as a “finger condom.”  Huh?  Where in the heck did she come up with that?  I remember being a tad horrified with my mom and my aunt sitting nearby.  What on earth would they think hearing my daughter call a thimble a finger condom?

Time ran out and Liz had to reveal the word.  That’s a thimble we all cried out?  What’s a thimble Liz asked looking perplexed.  It’s used when sewing we all said.  We laughed and laughed – where on earth did she come up with the phrase “finger condom.”  Only Liz.

Little did we know on that day just how important that “finger condom” would become for all of us.

Every year when we once again gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, missing the physical presence of our beloved Liz, we all laugh and celebrate and ask if we can play a game … how about charades?  Remember, the finger condom we all say.  We laugh and remember and think of Liz in joy … which is just the way she would want it … her time with us was way too short and sometimes rocky …  but it’s those finger condom moments that we now remember and it gives us the opportunity to laugh and remember Liz  in JOY instead of sadness.

Here is a link to Kim Severson’s website and further information on Spoon Fed.



We Have All Knelt At Different Graves

28 Apr

Sometimes you strive to say something, but you cannot articulate it in words as you would like, so you say nothing.

Sometimes, however, you come across other blogs that say it perfectly.  Such is the case for me today.

So I’m re-printing Phil Bolsta’s blog post for today.  If you haven’t yet found Phil’s blog, I highly recommend it.  It can be found at

Phil’s post quotes Deepak Chopra as well.  So thanks Phil and thanks Deepak!

While reading Deepak Chopra‘s insightful book, The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, this excerpt on page 183 spoke to me. In this passage lies the reason why one religion or spiritual path is not right for everybody.

We are all born to travel our own path; when we find the right one, it feels like we have come home. What works for me may not necessarily work for you and vice versa. Understanding this removes judgment from the equation. How can we judge another’s destiny? The answer, of course, is that we cannot. All we can do is focus on our own journey.

Intention springs from our deepest desires, and those desires are shaped by karma. You and I don’t have the same karma; therefore we dont have exactly the same desires. We have loved different people, knelt at different graves, prayed at different altars. The specifics of desire are unique to each of us.

Yet if you follow the chain of desire, in the end we are all the same. We want to be happy. We want to be fulfilled. We want meaning and purpose in our lives. We want a sense of connection with God or spirit. We want other people to respect us and love us. And we want to feel safe. These desires are universal. But the route each of us takes to satisfy them is uniquely our own, based on our individual experiences and memories, or karma. Were all heading for the same destination, but we take different roads. We arrive together, having traveled our different paths.

This is quite a wonderful book. It explains in great detail how and why the universe lives in each of us and works through each of us. This knowledge is the key to realizing our full potential as human and spiritual beings. I highly recommend it!


SiSe_fullcover_final.inddPhil is the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.

 Click here to buy Sixty Seconds. Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.

Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.

Books N Beyond

28 Feb

There is a new book club starting up in town.  The first book selection is True Stories of Messages From Beyond by Julie Aydlott and Friends.

I have been asked to be the kick-off speaker this Thursday night at 7:00 pm at the Hy-Vee Club room.

Our paper did a story about it yesterday.

Dr. Louis LaGrand

30 Mar

Dr. Louis LaGrand is a world-renowned grief educator and author of eight books as well as numerous articles on the phenomenon of “extraordinary experiences of the bereaved” also known as after death communication.

I first learned of Dr. LaGrand’s work when he was a guest on Carolyn Carlson’s radio program, Life After Loss.

Since that time, I have had the opportunity to share  many of my own personal extraordinary grief experiences with Dr. LaGrand, and it has been a real blessing.

Dr. LaGrand also publishes monthly ezine articles that deal with the various aspects of grief, mourning, death, and dying – but most importantly he focuses on how to heal and live life in joy.

The topic of this month’s ezine was “What To Do If You Uncover A Secret About Your Deceased Loved One.”

Reading this article reminded me of an anonymous letter we received shortly after Liz’s death.

Dear Family of Elizabeth Wencl,

I know you must be feeling incredible amounts of grief right now, and I am so sorry about your loss.  But I never got a chance to sincerely thank Liz, so I want to thank the people who brought her into this world.

When I was in high school, Liz was a senior.  Liz didn’t know me, but I guess she knew my older sister a little.  I had a crush on one of Liz’s friends.  One night at a party he decided to take advantage of that.    I was very scared and very sad, and I was crying hysterically.

I knew nobody because they were all two years older, and the guy was too busy making fun of me to care.  Your daughter saved me.  Liz asked me if I was ok.  She sat and held me and talked to me and told me that it would be ok.   The next morning she took me out to breakfast and gave me her phone number and told me if I needed anything I could call her.

To some people this may not seem like a big deal, but it was to me.  Your daughter, without knowing me, took me in under her wing.

Liz was an amazing girl.  Maybe someone in heaven needed her, like I needed her that night.  But like I said, I never got a chance to truly thank her, so I want to thank you for bringing her into this world and for bringing her up to be such a wonderful and caring girl.

The world will truly miss her.

To this day I have no idea who this girl is.  And although I am so sorry she had such a traumatic experience, I am so thankful that she was brave enough to send us such a wonderful letter.

Everyone who knew Liz, knew she loved to party … way too much.  But the fact that she was able to help someone else as she did, says alot about her true character.   As her family we are so blessed to have had her in our lives.

To learn more about Dr. LaGrand, his work and his books check out:

Make Your Day Great!

It’s Amazing

9 Jan

I use the word amazing alot in my life … but so many things are amazing and wonderful.  This blog link is no exception.

I’ve come to know Phil Bolsta a little over the past few months, even though we have yet to meet in person.  He is a fellow traveler on the spiritual path we each find ourselves on.

He’s written a very wonderful book entitled, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything.

 It is a collection of 45 different life changing stories from a variety of prominent people.

There was an event last October … six of the storytellers are featured in the link below.  I believe you will find them as fascinating, interesting, amazing and just plain joyful as I have!

A Great New Book!

25 Aug

I just finished reading a really good book!  60 Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything by Phil Bolsta.  It’s an easy read … if you have 5 minutes or 5 hours.  It is a compilation of 45 different stories from many different people.

It really speaks to the fact that everyone has a story and when we share our stories it is a win-win situation.  The teller benefits just as much as the reader.  And we can all put ourselves in these different situations and contemplate how we would have handled it … it may perhaps make us think about things in a new, different way … and that’s always good.

I’ve added the website to my list of favorites on the right.  You can order it right from this website or through