Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Book Review: Out from the Shadows

Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver by Pam Thorson. 5 Stars

Out from the Shadows is a devotional with thirty-one inspirational segments. Each chapter includes a verse at the beginning, a short life lesson, a personalized prayer, and a section for private reflections. Written by author Pam Thorson, she offers Caregivers a peaceful reprise from their weary-laden days.

Released through Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, Out from the Shadows serves to bring devoted Caregivers out from the darkness and into the light of hope.

{My Thoughts}

I know that in writing this review, I will be a bit biased in favor of my Mom’s book. I would say that you’re probably right, but I wanted to give her one, anyways. Since I’m a book reviewer, I couldn’t possibly say no to adding my own thoughts to her two titles (her first book is Song in the Night). Putting that all aside, I wanted to pen an honest and detailed analysis of Out from the Shadows.

While Out from the Shadows is geared towards Caregivers, it is not exclusive to that niche. Anyone can pick up a copy of this title and find the same encouragement from within. What I liked most about this devotional, is the secluded area for my own personal reflections. There’s a set of five questions arranged at the end of every chapter with extra lines for written notes. Love it when a devo has this! I am inadvertently a notetaker, so I need lots and lots of space for my writing.

I like to list my favorite devotionals/chapters and book quotes into my book reviews. Here’s mine for Out from the Shadows - Chapter One: Jimmy’s Hunger. This chapter is dear to my heart because it’s a true tidbit from the childhood of my Grandpa – an amazing man of God. I don’t want to reveal why, exactly. You will need to read it and find out for yourself. Favorite book quote is, “My dad’s hunger for God inspired my own search for life’s meaning. His determination to break free has challenged me to wear my heavenly Father’s name with integrity and leave a legacy my family can be proud to claim.”

The book cover is perfect for the theme surrounding Out from the Shadows. I’m reviewing the paperback copy, so I can really see the transition from black to white on the image. It portrays a beautiful message to Caregivers that we can walk out from beneath our burdens and into a state of joy.

I am honored to be a part of my Mom’s authorship. Being her Office Assistant has been a blessing, and I wanted to honor her hard work with my acknowledgment in this book review.  Normally, I mention if I received a book in exchange for my honest review. In this case, I bought a copy of Out from the Shadows for my own use without the agreement of writing a book review. In other words, I did not receive a copy from the author or publishing house in exchange for a review – still honest, however! Hehe.

There is obviously no area on Amazon for any autographed copies of my Mom’s books. If you’d like a signed paperback edition of Out from the Shadows, please send me an e-mail here. Be sure to also read Pam Thorson’s first self-published book, Song in the Night: One Family’s Journey from Darkness to Dawn – a true life chronicle on our family’s response to a tragic accident.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

15 Inexpensive Ways To De-Stress As A Caregiver: Part 3

11. Need some serious quiet time? Pull out your Bible (or Bible Study), grab a favorite drink (tea or coffee), and find a comfortable chair. In case you like to write down your thoughts, be sure to include a notebook and pen for any spiritual revelations. Finding the time to read God's Word is not only relaxing for the body, but it's also refreshing to the soul. When you can combine both physical and spiritual rest, this is the key to a full and complete de-stress.

12. Take the time to catch up with old friends or close family members. Put aside a little free space from your schedule to talk on the phone with a loved one. Don't just call up anyone, call that one person that makes every day brighter - the one that listens - the one that makes you laugh - the one that understands you. Are you more of a writer? Find someone who would like to be your pen pal, and start writing some letters back an forth. It says in the Bible that "a cheerful heart is good medicine." What better way to de-stress than to laugh away the problems with a good and faithful friend/family member?

13. If you own a pet (whether it be a cat, dog, bird, etc.), buy it a new toy to play with. You can find pet toys anywhere - at a grocery store, pet store, online at Amazon.com. You don't have to spend much on the gift - just get one that you and your pet will really enjoy. This is a fun and effective way to alleviate stress. Not to mention, your furry friend will love it too!

14. Do you feel better when tasks are completed? Don't be afraid to ask someone for a little help with your home. If there's a certain individual that you know would be happy to offer assistance (and has mentioned it to you before), go ahead and call them up. Set up a day and time that works best for the both of you. You and your friend can clean, laugh, and catch up on life. Be hospitable. Provide a delicious snack and tea/coffee for a well-deserved break.

15. Put on some of your favorite music (a playlist is best) and light up an airy-scented candle. Set the mood for peace and tranquility in a secluded space in your home. Following the music, do a line of easy aerobics and stretches (don't over do it!). Remember, take it slow with each solid movement. Doing this every day will not only make you feel happier, but your physical body should feel more at ease.

As a young Caregiver, I hope this 3-part series benefited everyone in some way. Through the process of brainstorming ideas for this article, I learned new stuff myself. Curious... do you have any tips for Caregiver stress? I'd love to hear them! Leave a comment on this post with your suggestions. *Thanks*

Thursday, August 6, 2015

15 Inexpensive Ways To De-Stress As A Caregiver: Part 2

6. Are you a music lover? CMADDICT.com (a Christian music website) offers free downloadable songs from their website (legal and 100% free). There's also online radio stations that offer a streaming of popular Christian tracks (all free): K-Love, Effect Radio (Christian Rock), Positive Life Radio, NRT Radio One - this is a selective list only, there's many more available online (especially, if you search for it on the web).

Looking for more? YouTube is the perfect way to discover new music. Type your criteria in the search field for what you want, and listen to your heart's content. There's music videos from artists themselves, lyric videos, instrumental music, and so much more!

7. Do you enjoy playing games? Bigfishgames.com offers a variable string of games (for PC and mobile devices, alike). Prices for games vary between $6.99 and up (this depends on if you buy the standard edition or collector's edition). Be sure to check their website regularly - they offer great deals on titles. You can also join a monthly membership for $6.99 - this provides one game of your choice for each month plus special offers/discounts.

Amazon.com includes a wide range of games for purchase - downloadable PC games, platform titles, and gaming apps. Don't want to spend the money? Big Fish Games allows a downloadable free trial play on most of their titles (you will need to download their game manager app to play). *Note* If you search "free games" online (Big Fish Games should be safe - I've used it), always be careful about downloading them - you could unknowingly add a malicious bug to your computer.

8. If you like to cook, Pinterest is your place. Unfamiliar with this site? Pinterest is an online community with "pins" from all sources imaginable (online or uploaded from users). You can find photos, videos, self-help articles, art, and etc. - this includes a number of recipes! Take the time to search for a meal that makes your mouth water, and save the recipe to your board (if you have one) or write it down on a piece of paper. Gather the needed ingredients, and cook yourself/family a delicious new serving of food. Want to save money? No problem. Pinterest also offers pins with meals on a tight budget.

9. Are you a sociable type, but can't leave the house? Blogs are a constructive avenue to connect with others like yourself. You can start your own blog with blogger.com or wordpress.com (both free), and share your ideas, life, and adventures. Without creating your own blog, another way to connect is to search the internet for like-minded bloggers/writers. Narrow your search down with what interests you (motherhood, photography, books...), and spend some time within that community. You can do so much on a blog - enter a giveaway, read articles, and chat with people.

10. Take up a hobby or pursue one of your favorites pastimes. You can scrapbook, piece a puzzle together, take photographs, sketch, read a book - do what brings you joy! You'll find that these are some of the best ways to de-stress from any situation.

Next week: Part 3 of 15 Inexpensive Ways To De-Stress As A Caregiver