April 2017



  1. THE THREE LUCYS by Hayan Charara

A powerful children’s book to be read with an adult.  Luli likes to sit in the shade of an olive tree with his beloved cats: Lucy the Fat, Lucy the Skinny, and Lucy Lucy. But when Luli and his parents go to the city to see his aunt and uncle one weekend, the cats must stay behind at home.  After a fun visit with family, Luli is looking forward to going home and seeing the Lucys. Home is Beirut.  When Luli’s hometown comes under attack the family must seek refuge at his aunt and uncle’s house. Luli doesn’t understand what is happening and worries about his pets. Who will keep the three Lucys safe? And when will he and his family be able to return home?

Recipient of Lee & Low’s New Voices Honor award, The Three Lucys is inspired by real events of the July War in Lebanon. This tender story of loss, rebuilding, and healing is a tribute to the sustaining love of family, and to the power of the human spirit to hope for a peaceful future.


From Facebook’s COO and Wharton’s top-rated professor, a powerful, inspiring, and practical book about building resilience and moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks.  After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. “I was in ‘the void,’” she writes, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.” Option B combines Sheryl’s personal insights with her therapist’s eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity. Beginning with the gut-wrenching moment when she finds her husband, Dave Goldberg, collapsed on a gym floor, Sheryl opens up her heart—and her journal—to describe her acute grief and isolation and beyond that she explores how a broad range of people have overcome hardships including illness, job loss, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the violence of war. Their stories reveal the capacity of the human spirit to persevere . . . and to rediscover joy.


After five years, Robert Worth is days away from making partner at a powerful Santa Monica law firm. When a client confides in him that senior partner Jack Pierce has sexually assaulted her.  Robert breaks two of his mentor’s cardinal rules: Never let yourself get emotional about clients. And never make an enemy of Jack Pierce.  Robert crosses Pierce and is fired on the spot, losing not only his job but also his reputation. Advised to go quietly, Robert vows revenge against the ruthless man who betrayed him.


Powerful page-turner Jimin Han deftly shows that revolutions—whether big or small, in the world or of the heart—can have an impact that lasts through time and spans the oceans.  On a beautiful Pennsylvania fall morning, a gunman holds a college freshman and three of her classmates hostage in the confines of their dorm room. The desperate man with his finger on the trigger—her onetime friend, Lloyd Kang—is unraveling after a mysterious accident in Korea killed his closest friend, who was also the love of her life.  As the tense standoff unfolds, our freshman is forced to revisit her past, from growing up in an abusive household to the upheaval in her ancestral homeland to unwittingly falling in love. She must also confront the truth about what happened to her murdered friend on that tragic day, even as her own fate hangs in the balance.

Dr. Vallerie Allen


We do not have total control of how we got to where we are in life, but we have the ability to set our own goals and determine the road we will take.

You can decide to give up at each hurdle, or work your way around them and keep going. You need to take charge of your life. Anticipate reality—things will go wrong, you may change your mind, and there will be delays in reaching your goals. This does not mean failure, it means an opportunity to grow. It is a chance to consider alternatives, make new choices, develop a plan of action, and and move on.

You determine your life’s agenda, based on your needs, values, and circumstances. You must understand yourself and know what you expect of others. Your decisions should be based on your emotional strengths and self-knowledge. You need to be proactive in identifying and meeting your own needs, not reactive to the behavior or needs of others. You cannot judge your value or worthiness by an external standard set by someone else.

You know your inner strengths. You know your values and moral code. You know where you draw the line in the sand in your relationships. You know what you can and are willing to tolerate. Only you know the commitment you are willing to make to change your life.

When you find yourself in the If only or the Wait until life style, you are putting off living based on some external event, over which you may have little or no control. Consider the What if life style. What if I don’t live that long? What if I wait until it’s too late? What if they won’t like me?

As you debate how to act or react, life moves on. It is better to make a decision, than to be lost to indecision. In essence, it is time to be proactive not reactive. It is time to get yourself together.  # # #  This is an edited excerpt from a book by Dr. Valerie Allen, Beyond the Inkblots: Confusion to Harmony.    Amazon.com/dp/1478146117   Dr. Valerie Allen is a licensed school psychologist and board certified rehabilitation counselor and case manager. She has taught students from elementary school through graduate studies in the fields of education and mental health. She is a popular author of children’s books, short stories, fiction, and non-fiction. Amazon.com/author/valerieallen


Based on numerous sources and 30 years of counseling experience, I’ve learned, and taught, a few ground rules about being in a conscious relationship.

  1. Commit.  You each must commit to exploring your relationship.  Where it is now, where each hopes it will eventually be.  Try it alone, but if it is too awkward get the help of a trained mediator.  Accept that it will take time to learn how to talk honestly with one another.  Usually we’ve been struggling for months or even years with mistrust or dissatisfaction.
  2. Time. Somewhere between the third and fifth consecutive session one or both of you will want to quit. Unconscious issues surface and anxiety sets in.  We don’t like anxiety, so we quit or finally speak the truth.  After this crisis session, everyone feels a calming sense of relief.  The truth is out and we can stop pretending. Since you have committed to 12 consecutive  sessions, you know you have a safe place to work out your decisions. You both need to stay long enough to work through the initial anxiety, fear and resistance.
  3. Stay. Now that you are not running away, you are going to commit wholeheartedly to the process.  Go regularly to sessions.  Complete a vision statement.  Make The No Exit Decision.  Do the exercises.
  4. Define Relationship Visions. Defining our visions turns energy away from the past and present disappointments toward a more hopeful future.  Talking about each other’s visions is the key to knowing when you actually have a shared vision and is the goal of this process.
  5. The No Exit Decision. As soon as the work on the vision statement is completed, make a second commitment to stay together for the initial 12 weeks of sessions.  Working on your relationship is not possible if there is no relationship to work on.  “For 3 months we agree not to separate or to end the relationship in a more catastrophic way (moving out, being unfaithful, violence).” Each of you might have opposite reactions to this decision.  Often one partner is a “fuser” – the person with a high need for attachment (fear of abandonment), the other partner is an “isolater” – the person with a high need for independence (fear of being absorbed).  When you make a no exit decision to stay together and honestly work on your relationship, your partner will feel less need to chase after you.   One person habitually advances, the other habitually retreats.  Some couples stay locked in this particular dance step for the duration of their relationship.  Others may experience a startling reversal. There appears to be a mutual need to maintain a static distance and thus avoid intimacy and living an “invisible divorce.”
  6. The Invisible Divorce & Power Struggles. Most couples who are involved in a power struggle follow a similar pattern:  they structure their lives in such a way that true intimacy is virtually impossible.  One or both partners learn how to distance from one another.  Why?  In the early stages of a relationship, it is relatively easy to be intimate because you are filled with the anticipation of wish fulfillment.  Your partner seems to be everything you need all rolled into one person.  Later, when you realize that your partner is committed to their own salvation, not yours, you feel angry and betrayed.  Now the emotional barricades start to go up.  “I am angry at you for not meeting my needs.”  “I am afraid of you because you can hurt me.”  Partners become enemies who retaliate back and forth until they destroy the relationship and all their worst fears come true.

A 19th century Barber’s chair, Montana, USA.


Steve and Danny are master barbers who grew up together in Tallahassee, Florida.  They work tirelessly at the shops managing onsite and providing barbering services to both men and women.  If you stop by, you will probably see these guys giving it their all at both the Midtown and Killearn locations.

COOL FOOD:  The Other Seineyard Tallahassee  http://www.theotherseineyard.com/

850-386-9191, 1660-6 North Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32303

Simple, clean, and comfortable restaurant tucked away in the Lake Ella Public Plaza – WITH FANTASTIC SEAFOOD!  So, we were hanging out in our favorite local bar and the subject of really good seafood arose – as it will often do after several libations.  I said “hey I miss Barnacle Bill’s – where should be go?”  From our left we heard a hearty youthful voice barking “the Seineyard … the OTHER Seineyard”.  Well, that got out attention.  When the owners decided they wanted to open a good food seafood restaurant, they had the good sense to go straight to the source, someone who worked in the seineyards.  Mr. T.I. Stokely and his wife LaVerne shared what they remembered about  life at the seineyard at Ochlocknee/Elmer Cover, Florida.  Mr. Stockley would move in the fall to the seineyard and didn’t go home until the end of December when all the fresh fish was properly caught, prepared, and sold.

Newberry      https://www.facebook.com/RedWok.NewberryFL/Hitchcock’s Plaza, 24204 W Newberry Road, SR 26, Newberry, Florida (352) 472-3288.   I  guess we really like  simple décor with excellent food and great service.  An inexpensive but fully stocked Chinese buffet.  At lunch, there is an array of standard Szechuan, Hunan, Can­tonese Cui­sine, and sushi to eat in or take out!  For dinner, they add delicacies like crab, sushi, and more.  We are both able to be on low carb diets.  We avoid the rice by making a bed of fresh green beans topped with a variety of unfried chicken, shrimp, or beef, load with mushrooms, broccoli, celery and other vegetables all simmering in tasty sauces.  My cheats:  Sometimes I get an egg roll other times a crab Rangoon.  I finish my meal with fresh fruit and …. a ….. scoop of ice cream or chocolate pudding!

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