Book Review: Who You Callin’ Silly? How a Silly Woman Becomes Virtuous

Title: Who You Callin’ Silly? How a Silly Woman Becomes Virtuous
Author: Kimberly R. Lock
Publisher: TriMark Press
Release Date: June 2012
Length: 148 pages
Series?: no
Genre: self-help
Format: e-book
Source: Smith Publicity

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

First time author Kimberly Lock challenges women to look into the spiritual mirror. A Christian book unlike any other, Lock has written an engaging and thought-provoking bible study about the nature of unconditional love, forgiveness, feminine strength, and power.

As Kimberly Lock states, “There’s no need to be ashamed of past mistakes…The beauty of it all is that Christ accepts us as we are and forgives us. The key is YOU have to be willing to forgive yourself.” By using her personal life and experiences as a prime example, Kimberly Lock encourages women to harness their feminine strength and have power over past silly experiences.

Kimberly Lock guides other women to the path of virtuousness through the three sections of her book titled: All my Single Ladies, “I’s Married Na!”, and Every Woman. Not only does Lock provide an in-depth and thoughtful analysis that can lead any silly woman back on the path to virtuousness, but also she provides interactive and introspective “Virtuous Assessments” for her readers to complete.

Review

I could not get through more than the second chapter of this book, and here’s why: this book is marketed for women of faith – women who shouldn’t necessarily need to read this self-help book. It’s divided into three parts: a section for single ladies, a section for married ladies, and a section for every woman. The book is accompanied with a forward by Eldress Rhonda Cotton.

I invite you to take this self-examination journey with me and experience a narrative so powerful through the Spirit of God that you will forever change the way you view yourself as a woman.

I gave up churches long ago. I do not believe in organized religion in any form any more, and I’ve been to many churches of various denominations. I am, however, spiritual. I do not call myself a Christian, because Christianity is a trumped up word that folks like to use as it pleases them. I have some relatives who claim to be Christians, but their actions are anything but Christ-like. I talk with my 6th graders all the time about what type of people they want to be associated with, and frankly, I do not want to be associated with Christians. I do not have to attend church to worship the Lord. I do not have to attend church to read the Bible. My mother taught me how to do both, and as long as I’ve been alive, she has never but once attended an actual class at the church I grew up in (and only as a last-ditch effort to get me to go back). I can live my life by example without the duality of Christians.

Jesus made me credible, so there you have it!

Now, with that said, Kim Lock’s book dripped religion. Yes, she has a strong base in religion, being a pastor’s wife and filling in as the church’s technical person (Unity Gospel House of Prayer, Milwaukee Wisconsin). She left her job of Project Manager/Systems Analyst for National Life Insurance Company to raise her children, which, given all the things happening in the world, I would do so as well. But this book seriously pushes the religious envelope. If you are like me, and you do not like having religion or politics pushed on you, this book is not for you.

When I TOTALLY submitted my life to the Lord, HE changed me. 

LockAfter contemplating some things, I went out to Goodreads and Amazon to see what others were saying. I was dumbfounded to find that Lock had submitted a “review” to Goodreads in which she gave her book five stars, and was pushing more book-related material. The Publicist, which I reviewed recently, touched on this very item of authors faking reviews for better looks and sales. It is a BAD thing in the publishing world, like a huge black mark against a writer…and here’s Lock, submitting her own review. This severely annoyed me.

I was also quite annoyed with what I had read, but after thinking about what I’d read, I realized this book isn’t for me. I’m not a woman who needs this book – I’m already there. I know my self worth and don’t need validation. Ever get annoyed with someone trying to tell you how to do something, and you already know? After brooding on this a while, I realized that’s kind of where I was at with what I had read.

Perhaps at a later date I will give this book a second shot at reading. Maybe I’m just not at the age where what Lock is speaking about can “sink in.”

About the Author

Kim-1Kimberly Rochelle Lock was born August 23, 1975, in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Being the only child of her mother and dad, she was preserved. She was so fascinated with learning, that at the age of 5 during a blizzard she walked to school only to find it closed. It was not uncommon for her to participate in State wide spelling Bee contests. Since she was so advanced academically for her age, she began taking pre-college courses at the University of Wisconsin at the age of 11. In her spare time she cheered, played basketball and musical instruments, such as the flute, baritone, harp, clarinet, and her favorite, the cello.

After graduating from Pulaski High School at the age of 16, the University of Wisconsin welcomed Kim as a student to pursue a Bachelors Degree in Management Information Systems. After taking a year off, she completed her Master’s Degree in Telecommunications at Keller Graduate School of Management.

In 2002, she married the love of her life Pastor Marlon Lock. They have four beautiful daughters and a baby boy. Kim has built a spiritual atmosphere in her home, where she balances the delicate tasks of nurturing and guiding her children. This dedicated mother resigned her position as Project Manager/Systems Analyst for National Life Insurance Company to raise her children.

Kim Lock assists her husband in the business aspects of their church, Unity Gospel House of Prayer, Milwaukee Wisconsin. She also manages and implements many of the technical designs within the church including the website, Facebook and Twitter. Many women are drawn and assigned to her for spiritual guidance as she sends out daily devotions to encourage many.

Her character is calm and meek. Her style is simply “classy.” She is a woman of very few and selected words with a smile that brightens the room. Clearly, Kim Lock has an unquestionable commitment to developing women spiritually.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Book Review: Inner Course by Rebecca Joy

innercourse

 

I was a bit hesitant on this book because of the nature of the stated cult that the author grew up in, but I went on another one of my tangents in my reading, this one being a “spiritual/meditation” type one, so I jumped right into this book.

There are no graphic descriptions of sexual abuse, and it really didn’t trigger me.

That being said, I did have to look up “The Family” after the first chapter they were mentioned just because I couldn’t believe that something this vile was still allowed to exist.  I’m all for religious freedom, but “religions” like these really give atheists ammunition for the banning of all religions.  As much curiosity as I had about their way of life, I am truly grateful that Ms. Joy didn’t focus her memoir on her life in the cult.  I feel serious rage on her behalf.

Here is the synopsis:

Rebecca Joy, a sensitive, emotional female was raised from birth in the sex cult called, “The Family” (aka The Children of God), leaving after 25 years. Now, hopeless and longing for love she searches for acceptance in this scary, new world––but to her “love stinks.” She never understood love, as in the cult her flesh was the only thing to offer in life, as she was a sex object to men. In her search for love outside the cult she experiences intense pain. She realizes she can no longer live life this way. The decision was made to either swallow a daily pill to subdue her roller coaster emotional ride, or open to the unknown to find who she really was and why she suffered. With desperation and a curious mind, she delves into the world of hypnosis, finding clues from hidden, ancient mysteries on how to heal her heart and mind. Her story is one of inspiration to all people who have experienced hopelessness, rejection, and failure in life only to rise again.

This book has the distinction of being the MOST HIGHLIGHTED by me, ever.  No fewer than 23 passages were highlighted.  And I’m usually not one that marks up a book, even if it is electronically.

The focus of this memoir is Ms. Joy’s all encompassing appears to be a quest for love.  Her struggles with relationships after she leaves “The Family” at age 25.  Like other survivors of sex abuse, regardless of their origin, she has difficulty with self-worth, boundaries, and expectations.  Time and time again in this work she captures these issues with a few phrases:

If I had boundaries, they were blurry.  A man that I did not know wanted to stay at my house.  One one hand, I was thrilled with the idea of love, romance, and excitement, but on the other palm, I felt uncomfortable with a stranger in my nest.

I am afraid to offend the offender.  What if he leaves me because I don’t give him what he wants?

My self-esteem was non-existent, deeply believing:  I am nothing, I am worthless, no one could truly love me, my body is all I am good for.  My needs were intense; my heart crushed.  I was vulnerable and heavily guarded.

The parts regarding the cult absolutely ripped my heart out.  With regards to religion, I have no allegiance.  I’m more “spiritual”.  I guess I’m starting on my journey much like Ms. Joy in this book.  But I never really grew up in a church.  I went to Catholic school, but my parents weren’t particularly strict about it.  I have always been free to make my own determination.  So these passages that feature her young teenage years in “The Family” hit me really hard.  I have no frame for it, and it was very emotional for me:

“I wonder what live would be if I were not born in The Family”, I questioned–but now ashamed of questioning my question. “I know–I know, I shouldn’t think this way!  The Lord is going to be angry with me.  I’m supposed to be a missionary and tell the world about Jesus”, as I try to change my thoughts, “But how much I wish I could have a like like other girls in the US, away from all this boring life–work, witness, make money, childcare, housekeeping and whatever the adults tell us to do and how to be.”

I remember the many years in The Family, men would approach me for sex.  David Berg taught his followers that women’s job were to please men.  Women were to take care of men’s needs.  It was well ingrained into the doctrine.  I followed as I was instructed, believing that if I were to do what we were told, that we would be happy, loved and fulfilled, but it didn’t work out that way.  I became confused and hurt.  I would cry when a man would use me and leave me, wishing that maybe one day I would be loved.  I longed for closeness and depth.  They would prey on my weakness.

As much as the passages of the doctrine of the cult haunted me, and Googling the actual cult itself, Ms. Joy’s personal growth and steps to finding her inner peace soothed me.  I have always had an interest in  hypnosis, and I infrequently meditate myself, but have never formally looked into it.  That may change.

The ending is perfect.  I think I would have felt cheated if it ended any other way.

Again, with most memoirs I read, and one of my favorite memoir writers can attest to this, I wanted to know more.  Mainly about her son and if she was able to keep him out of The Family, as I am assuming that he father was a member.  More of a mother type curiosity than anything else.

I still can’t believe that these types of cults are allowed to operate, but my husband pointed out, its “religious freedom”.  Which brings me to my final quote from this amazing book:

A religion is an organization in which the individual goes outside of oneself to find meaning.  Spirituality and/or mysticism encourage individuals to go within themselves to find meaning.  Religion requires structured, organized beliefs for people to follow along.  Spirituality and/or mysticism can break that belief system in order to find a greater freedom.

I love books that make me think.  This book did more than that.

Very well written, even with the back and forth between her journey into spirituality and her time in the cult.  Very deep and emotional.  Overall and excellent read.  Highly recommended.

Book Review: Master’s Journey and Master’s Return (The Mastery) by Simon Seth Reede

mastery1 mastery2

Ah yes. A bit different from the paranormal romance, but paranormal just the same. I do have an interest in meditation, and may have experienced a bit of out of body “travels” myself. I am immensely interested in lucid dreaming, past lives, etc, so this definitely tripped my trigger. Here is the synopsis for both books. And I hope there will be a third:

For the Master’s Journey:

Sid Solomon, Grand Master of the centuries-old organization of occult practitioners known as The Mastery, sets out on a journey to the far reaches of the astral plane to investigate signals from an unknown source that threaten to spark a devastating war with the Astral Powers. His journey derails in ways he cannot understand, leaving him terrified of astral travel. And although war has somehow been averted, Sid alone knows that his journey remains unfinished, that his time as Grand Master was a sham, and that one day, his destiny will catch up to him.

Dr. Bob Taylor, prominent psychiatrist and developer of a foolproof technique for treating multiple personality disorder, encounters a woman impervious to his procedure. His secretive attempt to salvage the case using an unconventional and unproven method backfires, and he begins to experience the same terrifying nightmares as his patient. Paralyzed by insomnia and teetering on the brink of insanity, he seeks out Sid Solomon’s help.

Tim Wake, a bright young research fellow on Taylor’s psychiatric unit, pursues a woman who insists he join her at a class in telepathic zenzing. But in the practice session, he’s paired up with Gwen, a temptress who seduces him telepathically and then, after becoming lovers, persuades him that the Mastery is responsible for the horrid dreams he’s been experiencing. Her true agenda remains hidden, and it could cost him his life—or worse.

All three are caught up in a web of inter-dimensional intrigue that will tie their fates together on the earth plane and the astral realms in ways they never could have imagined.

Master’s Journey is the first book of The Mastery, a trendsetting new series that trounces conventional genres of Sci-Fi and Fantasy in its fast-paced romp across the astral plane. Astral travel, demonic possession, brain-wave technology, dark tantric sex, power objects, the sculpting of thought-forms, and the after-death realms—all feature prominently in this unique and innovative metaphysical thriller.

And Master’s Return:

Master’s Return is the sequel to Master’s Journey and the second book of The Mastery, a trendsetting new series that trounces conventional genres of Sci-Fi and Fantasy in its fast-paced romp across the astral plane. Dream-shields, alternate realities, the origin of the gods, the nature of time, and the purpose of consciousness itself—all feature prominently in this unique and innovative metaphysical thriller.

Both are extremely well written.  It is hard for my brain to wrap around abstract ideas sometimes.  For me to envision other dimensions for which I have no frame of reference.  Like the author says in the beginning of Master’s Journey:

The human mind needed to impose its own familiar parameters onto the inherent formlessness of the astral.

Yep.  That’s me!! But this author makes it extremely vivid, his descriptions of the astral and astral travel, zenzing, and the like are absolutely amazing.  It is more than a physical description.  The reader can actually FEEL the words that are on the page.

The author uses the vehicle of the Mastery and their mission to seek out others with talents for astral travel as a way to more accurately explain this world.  They hold classes for the public, kind of like mindfulness classes or meditation classes to find recruits.  The teacher of the class explains zenzing in this way:

To understand zenzing you have to revise your beliefs about what it means to be human.  If you think of yourself as a physical body that moves through space and encounters things out there via the senses, then zenzing will never make sense to you.  Instead, try thinking of yourself as a field of elastic energy.  It surrounds your body, but can extend outward much farther than that.  Some call this the aura, or auric field.

Those types of explanations interspersed throughout both books, both from the perspective of someone just learning about this plane of existence, Bob and Tim, and those reviewing what they already know, Sid Solomon and Master Thomas, went very far, at least to this reader, to make the novels so real and tangible.  I think I honestly tried zenzing my husband a few times.

The story itself is a page turner.  Absolute thriller.  Excellent characters all around.  It was very difficult to get into at first, but once the story got rolling, it didn’t stop.  Two days to read both books.  Two days.

I also appreciated how the author wove two seemingly different threads of a story, Sid Solomon, Bob Taylor, Tim Wake, and finally made a cohesive tapestry.  It took awhile, but it all coalesced at the end.  It all made sense.  And it was fantastic.

At times, especially in book two, the entire “oceans of possibility” thing went a bit over my head, but I was able to at least grasp at the meaning to the story.

I also admire how the author was able to set a book 15 years in the future and make virtually no mention of future technology or society.  The focus was obviously on the story and the characters and not on the possibilities of the iPhone 15 or whatever incarnation Facebook would be in in 2029.  Excellent job!

I do want to mention that there is an element of hardcore sex to at least the first book and some in the second.  I do know as a nurse with some psych training that ritualistic sex is used in some cults, and the author does make use of this especially when discussing the brain wave work with Dr. Bob Taylor and his dissociative disorder patients.  It really didn’t trigger me, however, but I just wanted to make potential readers aware.

I love how the author used myths and gods from various religions and histories from around the world in this story.  His take on everything was fascinating.

Overall, a fascinating read.  Truly stoked my interest in this type of metaphysical teaching.  I always enjoy books that make me think.  This was definitely one of them.  I do hope there is another book in the works.

Book Review: The Alliance by Scott Klug

thealliance

I am a fan of Dan Brown.  I just finished “The Inferno” a few weeks ago.  I read it in a few days.  So when this book came across my desk (i.e. my gmail account) I had to give it a try:

For Father Pete Farrell, it begins with a horrifying phone call. The Archbishop of St. Petersburg is found hung upside down in the world-renowned Hermitage museum with his throat slit in what appears to be a ritual murder. Missing are priceless relics from an international exhibition. Left behind is a cryptic warning written in a mixture of ancient languages. 

The one-time Special Forces soldier turned Jesuit Priest knows he can’t solve the crime alone. He cobbles together an unlikely alliance including a Rabbi, Buddhist Monk and Sufi mystic. But what first appears to be a simple case of stolen antiquities is so much more. At the heart of the theft is the malevolent director of a mysterious Russian lab dedicated to harnessing the power of the occult, and his protégé, a demonic Tibetan monk. 

The four men of faith come face to face with an ancient evil, and uncover a sinister conspiracy whose tentacles stretch from Stockholm to Singapore. What they confront on a sacred Tibetan mountain shrouded in legend and myth will rattle all of them to their core. 

Put The DaVinci Code and Indiana Jones in a blender. The Alliance is a fast- paced page thriller certain to entertain students of world religions, archaeology and adventure. At its heart is a former Green Beret turned Jesuit Priest with an expertise in the black market trafficking of ancient treasures. When you stare down evil, a few prayers can help, but so can a well-aimed sniper rifle. 

Like the Dan Brown books, I am so happy I have a Kindle, so I can quickly look up places, people, events on wikipedia.  These types of books appeal to my historical/conspiracy theory side.

I love the spiritual aspect of this book.  It is way more spiritual or religious than the Dan Brown books.  And it involves more faiths than just the Christian/Catholic theme in the DaVinci Code and other books.

I loved reading about the Eastern faiths, particularly Buddhism.  I spent a great deal of time “going down the rabbit hole” of wikipedia, reading about the Dali Lama, and the different principles of that religion.  And I now want to go to that area of the world.

This is definitely darker than the Dan Brown books, but I wouldn’t put it in the “horror” genre.  Just be prepared for the occult as well as the other religions.

The characters are amazing.  It sounds like a joke, a priest, a monk, a rabbi and a Muslim walk into a bar…but it works very well.

But I really appreciated their relationships with each other, and how they were able to put their differences aside for the greater good.  You almost hope that other men of their ilk could do the same.  Then we might not have the problems we do now on the planet.

I didn’t expect the twists and turns that the book takes.  Very refreshing, very realistic.

Overall, a great read.  Well worth the $1.49 it is going for now on Amazon.  I love books that make me learn, that make me think, and this definitely did both.

Book review: The Gospel According to Chubby by Jeremy Rochford

jeremy

This is a first for the Eclectic Bookworm. Writing a review on an author I have known personally for over a decade and a half.

The Gospel According to Chubby is a book written by my friend Jeremy Rochford. We went to high school together. I knew him before he lost all the weight, and I was interested to know how he did it…without surgery, pills or a fancy Hollywood trainer.

He wrote this book to share his experiences with others. He’s not promoting a certain weight loss program, he isn’t endorsing a fast food chain (that thing with Jared still puzzles me). He did it the old fashioned way.

The book initially came out in 2010, but I recently re-read it due to my own issues with weight.

The book chronologically reviews his weight issues throughout his life. How it started in childhood, why he feels he overate, the struggles he had with his parents. It’s a funny read, he writes it like he was sitting down and having a conversation with you. And I can speak from experience that conversations with Jeremy are incredible. I think this format lends credibility to his stories.

My first signed book!!

My first signed book!!

He has several passages consisting of dialogue and has a very healthy subconscious that speaks to him frequently.

I particularly found interesting the lengths that he would go to just to eat what he wanted to eat. The sneaking, the elaborate money making schemes in order to buy candy and junk food. His intricate plans to get his parents to go along with some of his ideas are just ingenious. I knew he was smart, but I was amazed that at a very young age he knew what he was doing and intentionally planned out his deception.

I can honestly say that before reading his book, I never really thought about looking at overeating as an addiction…as a compulsion. To fill an emotional need. I now get “carb cravings” from the medication that I am forced to take every day, and it is probably a similar sensation.

I also did not know all that Jeremy went through leading up to his decision to lose weight. Like he discusses in the book, he always seemed like the jovial fat guy. He has always been quick to make fun of himself. I never realized that it was a defense mechanism until he spelled it out for me in this book.

I now go back and look at some of the conversations we had in the past and I cringe. I’m pretty sure I am quasi-mentioned in the book, mainly because I was one of his many female friends that always turned to him for advice about my horrible relationships, not realizing how it made him feel…to constantly hear about these d-bags and see me (and my friends) continually ask for more poor treatment.

Reading his book this time, however, has some sad parts. One of his girlfriends from high school has recently passed away. Reading the passages which feature her is very sobering.

The most amazing thing about his journey is that he lost over 200 pounds, and has kept it off for over a decade.

If someone would have told me back in 1996 (when I met him) that Jeremy Rochford would grow up to help people lose weight, I would have looked at them like their hair is on fire.

Which is hilarious because he’s a ginger.

Another aspect to his miraculous transformation is his faith. He isn’t overly preachy throughout the book, but it is mentioned and I know personally how his faith in Christ has impacted his life.

I really do recommend this book…pretty much to everyone. It’s a good story whether you are trying to lose weight or not, if you are a Christian or are like me and pretty much without a religion right now. It is very well written, although I think he sometimes goes overboard with the metaphors.

Check out his website here. There are plenty of before and after pics too.

–AA

The Zombie Bible

I love my zombie stories. I have posted about this series before, but the last book was just so incredible, I had to make another post.  You can read about my past posts on this series here.

Stant Litore is an amazing writer. The way he constructs sentences and weaves them into paragraphs is a true art form. I always appreciate great writing, and these books are incredible.

Some background info: although I grew up Catholic, I know next to nothing about the Old Testement. I have no clue who these main characters in his books are, other than “oh, I might have heard that name before”. The books take the supposition that zombies have always existed. They are a fact of life from the beginning of time.

The protagonists in his books are usually some know Biblical figure. In the first one, its the prophet Jerimiah (although he uses the Hebrew spelling). In the second its Polycarp. And in the third, its Devorah (Deborah).

The characters literally leap off of the page. They are so real and so textured that you *KNOW* these characters. You understand their struggles, understand their emotions. The reader can also watch them evolve throughout the book, as they struggle against the walking dead.

I love the relationships discussed and expounded upon in the books. The relationship between Regina and Polycarp, between Devorah and Hurriya. Jerimiah and his wife. You can literally feel their emotions. Their love for each other.

I appreciate the strong female characters, what they have endured and who they are by the end of the book. How they accomplish the impossible. How they can still move on after witnessing such gore and having those close to them devoured.

And the reader is treated to a history lesson as well. The settings for these books are so real, you can almost feel the stones in the streets of Rome on your feet. You can feel the oppressive environment in which Jerimiah finds himself. You can literally feel the heft of Devorah’s sword.

And in each is a deeper meaning to hunger and the walking dead.

There are heart pounding elements of a thriller as well. Page turning passages that you cannot put down because you cannot bear the ignorance of not knowing. The passage with Regina being carried through the streets of Rome with zombies in pursuit is so well written, the reader can feel the terror that she experiences. Tachycardia inducing, hyperventilating, abject terror.

The zombies are of the variety of the common zombie. Due to some failure, they are doomed to walk the earth in search of flesh to feed their insatiable hunger. The zombie scourge sweeps through cities, villages and settlements, nearly decimating the population. It usually falls to the main characters, who occasionally have a special gift or talent, and who understands the zombie hoard, to rid the land of the walking dead.

I wholeheartedly recommend this series to any lover of novels. Even if you have a particular aversion to this genre, try these books because they are so well written, the stories so artfully told, they deserve a wide distribution.

I can credit these books with sparking an interest of ancient characters from the Bible. In the course of writing this post, I googled some of the characters. And I spent hours just reading about about the real people on whom the characters are loosely based. That spark alone is worth the extremely reasonable price of these books (right now I think the most expensive one is $3.99 for the kindle edition).

I know Stant Litore is writing more, because he occasionally posts passages from the emerging book on his facebook page (look up “The Zombie Bible”). I can’t wait to see further works in this series. However, if you are deeply religious, you may not like Biblical figures in battle with the walking dead. I think that Litore is planning on mentioning Jesus in an upcoming novel.

Give it a shot, see if you like it. I most definitely did.

The (before and) Afterlife

I have posted previously about some of my favorite books dealing with spirituality.  I’ve mean meaning to write this for awhile, and I just read another book that has prompted me to write this post.

I grew up Catholic, but I am now nonpracticing.  I don’t go to any church, actually.  I have a difficult time conforming to the ideals espoused by some (read most) segments of organized religion.  I have firm, set views on things, and they aren’t too popular with the clergy.

For one, I believe strongly in reincarnation.  I believe in a spiritual dimension, and that our loved ones who have passed continue to watch over us.  I believe in “ghosts” and all of that stuff.  I believe in near-death experiences.

I have the unique experience of being a nurse.  I have worked in healthcare for the past ten years, and my first hand experiences with people who are gravely ill and dying feed into my beliefs.  I have countless personal accounts about patients “seeing dead people”, talking to family members who are not of this dimension, and specifically with the hospice population, people who are lucid enough near the end to tell others about it.

I have also been to Gettysburg several times and I have had vivid experiences on the battlefield.

Devil's Den at Gettysburg © Rkudasik | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Devil’s Den at Gettysburg © Rkudasik | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

No, I have never “seen” a ghost, but I have felt them, smelled them and heard them.

I also have the experience of watching my own family members die.  My grandpa was on hospice for six weeks and the experiences I have with him further cement my beliefs.

I guess my mom is responsible for forming my beliefs.  I may not agree with her politics, but we do agree on the fact that we have been here before, and we were probably related.  My mom is the one who told me about John Edward; Many Lives, Many Masters (Brian Weiss M.D.); and Journey of Souls (Michael Newton Ph.d).  Additionally, I have this core feeling of just “knowing” that I was here before.

Believe what you want to believe about John Edward, but I’m a big fan.  I have read most of his books too.  I have seen him in person, and I do believe in mediums and their ability to communicate with another dimension.  There are those that are frauds, but I genuinely believe that the majority of mediums are trying to help.

On to the books.  Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss M.D. is the one I would start with for someone new to this genre.  It features the personal experience of the author who used hypnotism to assist his patients with severe psychological issues.  As a technique, he would have his patients “go back in time” in their memories to find the source of a particular phobia.  One of his patients went back a little “too far” and began reporting memories from previous lives.  The book fascinated me and I moved on to read more of his books.  The one that stays with me the most is Only Love is Real.  It is basically the story of two of his patients who reincarnated in several different places all over the world and finally were together in this most recent incarnation.

I feel strongly that this is the case with myself and my husband.  I won’t get into details, but we found each other by chance when we were teenagers.  Many things got in the way (other marriages, kids) but we finally got together four years ago.  I know in my heart that I have been with him in the past.  I have had vivid dreams about him (even before we officially became a couple) complete with visions of places I have never been before.

The most recent book I have read on the subject is Life after Life: Children’s Memories of Previous Lives by Jim Tucker and Ian Stevenson.  I was particularly drawn to this book because my child (Sunshine) experienced the same phenomena.  When she was 2 1/2 year old, she began talking about being “big before”.  She told me she lived in Africa and took care of “big animals”.  She has also said time and time again that “I was big when you were little”.  Just knowing her and her personality, I truly feel that this is possible.  I have to remind her from time to time that I’m the mommy this time around.  Now, at age six, she has no memories of what she told me when she was younger.  She still professes a desire to be a “peternarian” and take care of animals.  I wish I would have specifically written down exactly what she said, but I never did.

The book Life after Life is a scientific study of sorts into the claims made by children all over the world that they have “been her before”.  The author spends a great deal of time presenting the evidence he and Ian Stevenson have compiled over years of research.  He comes at it from a “science” point of view, with a hypothesis, and systematically looks at the cases they have studied, taking into account the possible causes (i.e. a child’s imagination, fraud, etc).  Many of the cases presented feature children who have actually found the previous personality through research by family or a third party.

Many of the cases are from southern Asia where a belief in reincarnation is a part of the culture.  It is not taboo.  The children are encouraged to talk about their memories and often know information that no one could know about the previous personality.

The only thing I do not agree with is the discounting of past life memories that arise out of hypnosis.  I have never been hypnotized, but I do know the power of the human mind to block and retrieve memories.  In this life, I have experienced PTSD and the intense memories that come with it.  Current literature proves that when trauma is experienced (i.e. rape, warfare, natural disaster), the brain “records” these events in a faulty manner.  These faulty memories can later result in flashbacks, nightmares and depression/anxiety.  It does not make sense to me that these memories just die when the vehicle of our spirit dies.  And for some, these memories are so intense that the process of self-preservation prevents ready access of these memories in order to protect the psyche.

I will leave with some anecdotal evidence.  My husband is a pretty strong person.  He grew up in the asphalt jungle of a major northeastern city.  He has never been camping in his life, unless you count pitching a tent at music festivals, which I do not.  This man has never had an experience with bears, but he is terrified of them.  Polar bears, grizzly bears, the sad looking bear at the zoo.  He has this intense irrational fear.  Perhaps he was killed by one in a previous life?

My recommendations for starting this spiritual journey is to start with Many Lives, Many Masters and then progress to the Journey of Souls/Destiny of Souls books.  John Edward is fantastic for a perspective of being a medium and conveying the images and feelings he gets to those on this plane.

Please don’t attempt to post anything skeptical, I have my own, firm beliefs on this subject from my own personal experiences.

I look forward to reading more about this subject, and I do have several books by Raymond Moody that I just haven’t got to yet.

If your thoughts on this is respectful, I’d like to hear about them.

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