Possessions
DriverWorks Ink / 22 June 2018

Possessions: Their Role in Anger, Greed, Envy, Jealousy, and Death by Boris W. Kishchuk Published by DriverWorks Ink Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $19.95 ISBN 978-1-927570-42-5 I love games: card, word, trivia, etc., and I’ve usually been fortunate to have someone in my circle who also enjoys a friendly but spirited competition. Why share that in a review of Saskatoon writer Boris W. Kishchuk’s latest nonfiction title, Possessions: Their Role in Anger, Greed, Envy, Jealousy, and Death? Read on. In the preface to this exquisitely-researched book Kishchuk writes that he’s wondered “why people kill each other,” and he wins my attention. This text examines “the psychology of possession”. The author investigates our desire to possess from myriad angles, including religious and economic reasons, and presents numerous diverse examples of how the human penchant for possessing has led to crime, brutality, murder and war. At the end of this page-turner Kishchuk reveals that his original title idea was The Curse of Possessions. He could have called it Read This and Never Lose at “Jeopardy” Again! Kishchuk’s previous titles demonstrate his eclectic range of interests: Long Term Care in Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Crown Corporations, and Connecting with Ukraine. Possessions is “more reflective in…

Journey to Joy

Journey to Joy by Christalee Froese Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Keith Foster $24.95 ISBN 978-1-988783-12-3 “I’ve always wanted to keep everything, do everything and be everything,” Christalee Froese explains in her book, Journey to Joy: The Transformation of a Life . . . 21 Days at a Time. This excessive weight of taking on too much lands her in a psych ward where, as she puts it, she models hospital gowns – the ones that don’t fasten up in the back. While there, she has an epiphany. Upon her release, Froese spends twenty-one consecutive days focusing on one goal, to find joy in what she does. She then spends twenty-one days of each succeeding month focusing on a new goal, like peace, faith, relaxation, travel. She tries her own versions of yoga poses, such as the Wobbly Flamingo and the Awkward Elephant. When her goal focuses on pets, she cares for five fluffy newborn kittens which she repeatedly assures readers she’s not getting attached to. Froese is supported in her recovery by her husband Lewis and young son Logan, as well as by neighbours and professionals. After a miscarriage and unable to conceive another child, she…

Dear Me: The Widow Letters
DriverWorks Ink / 13 June 2018

Dear Me: The Widow Letters Compiled by Dianne Young Published by DriverWorks Ink Review by Keith Foster $14.95            ISBN 978-1-927570-43-2 Only those who’ve experienced the loss of a spouse can know the intense emotional feelings of that bereavement. In Dear Me: The Widow Letters, Dianne Young compiles the feelings of twenty widows, including herself, in a series of letters written several years after the death of their spouse. Each widow writes a letter addressed to herself as she was in the immediate aftermath of her loss. It’s as if each is going back in time to give the advice and consolation she wishes she’d had. These widows of varying ages live across Canada and one in the United States; thirteen are from Saskatchewan. Some marriages were long-term – sixty-four years for one couple – others short, barely beyond the honeymoon stage for another couple. Each widow explores her feelings as she goes through the various phases of the grieving process. Everyone experiences grief differently, yet all share some of the same traits. Feelings of guilt and anger are normal. So is crying, even at the most unexpected times, like at a checkout line or going through the car wash. Others…

Born Resilient

Born Resilient: True Stories of Life’s Greatest Challenges by Allan Kehler Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $17.95 ISBN 978-1-988783-02-4 Born Resilient: True Stories of Life’s Greatest Challenges is the third book I’ve reviewed by Saskatoon writer, counsellor, and motivational speaker Allan Kehler, and it’s my favourite. In this non-fiction book about suffering, hope, and resilience, Kehler introduces each chapter then allows some of the people he’s met on his own journey to take the stage. We hear from men and women who’ve each hit rock bottom in some way, and learn how, in their own words, they climbed out of their individual valleys. Perhaps nothing’s more powerful than candid personal testimonies. In sharing theirs, the writers lend others hope that they, too, can turn their lives around. The book opens with a foreward from an ex-NHL goalie who, like the author, confesses that he’s “seen the dark side” (addiction, mental illness) and has “risen above”. In his usual clear writing style, Kehler explains that his motivation for writing this book came from a young woman who’d suffered an abusive childhood. She silently revealed the scars on her forearms, and Kehler’s response was “Scars are…

Leap!
DriverWorks Ink / 12 April 2017

Leap! How To Overcome Doubt, Fear, And Grief and Choose the Path of Joy by Lisa Driver Published by DriverWorks Ink Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $19.95 ISBN 978-192757033-3 When I review a self-help book, I’m interested in knowing the author’s story. Is he or she writing based on personal experience? If so, I’m immediately more invested. The combination of practical advice and personal revelation is precisely what writer Lisa Driver delivers in her second book, and the long subtitle of Leap! provides a summary of what readers are in for: advice on ways to “Overcome Doubt, Fear, And Grief [And] Choose The Path of Joy.” Driver wears multiple hats. The Regina-born writer is a “certified Angel Therapist, Advanced Angel Tarot and oracle card reader, Medium, and Reiki Practitioner,” and in 2016 she became a new mother. In this ninety-six page softcover she conversationally discusses her decision to leave the financial security of traditional employment and follow her dream to focus exclusively on her business, Above 540, which serves to inspire others “to the joy and wonder that exists around them, and [help] them step into their power” via readings and spiritually-based teaching and healing. Setting intentions, meditating, creating awareness,…

Goodbye Stress, Hello Life!
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 20 January 2017

Goodbye Stress, Hello Life! by Allan Kehler Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $15.95 ISBN 978-1-927756-53-9 Stress: every person deals with some amount of it. Some turn to vices (drugs, alcoholism, over-eating); some become angry, fearful, or depressed; many become physically ill; and fortunate others view stress as a challenge to be dealt with in positive ways (ie: changing routines, practicing mindfulness, exercising). If stress is threatening to sink you, reading Saskatonian Allan Kehler’s latest book, Goodbye Stress, Hello Life!, could be a swell start to swimming out of it. Kehler is a public presenter with a wealth of experience, both professional (addictions counsellor, clinical case manager, and college instructor) and personal (mental health and addiction issues) that fuel his authority on stress and living a healthier life. The blurb on Goodbye Stress, Hello Life! is a strong motivator for any potential readers: [Kehler] empowers you to take an honest look at what lies beneath your stressors, and provides the tools to heal through a holistic approach. You will be inspired to stop existing and start living …” What I appreciate most about this book is the great and diverse analogies Kehler employs, ie: he…

Goodbye Stress, Hello Life!

Goodbye Stress, Hello Life! by Allan Kehler Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Leslie Vermeer $15.95 978-1-927756-53-9 Allan Kehler wants you to find your joy. At a more down-to-earth level Kehler — a Saskatoon-based counsellor and speaker — wants to help people manage their stress. But more than that, he wants us to start really living. To that end, his timely new book Goodbye Stress, Hello Life! succeeds in delivering insights and strategies anyone can use to make changes in their lives and embrace their full humanity. Almost everyone can use some help dealing with stress. So many of us feel an excess of tension or anxiety in our lives, whether from workplace conflict, relationship troubles, money problems, or some other source. Kehler starts his book by explaining what stress is and unpacking some myths surrounding stress. Turns out humans actually need some stress to thrive. But too much stress hurts us at physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual levels, and we don’t always recognize our own pain. Kehler then introduces a variety of tools with which to manage stress and offers stress-management tips that are easy to use — easy but surprisingly effective. Some of the topics Kehler…

Am I the Only One?

Am I the Only One? Struggling Being a Teen by Treena Wynes Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Jessica Bickford $16.95     978-1-927756-37-9 Navigating our modern world is tough enough as an adult, let alone as a teenager.  In Am I the Only One? Treena Wynes, a social worker with fifteen years experience working with teens, sets out to create a quick and honest guide to the challenges, and possible solutions to the many, many problems teens these days face.  This is a book written directly for teens, and even though a couple sections focus on giving advice to caregivers, the bulk of it is straightforward, simple, and perfect for anyone in the 13-18 bracket. Wynes focuses primarily on healthy bodies and minds – discussing puberty, eating disorders, mental wellness, and emerging sexuality in a non-judgmental way.  She encourages open communication, but also recognizes that many teens may not be able to talk to their parents, or that their parents might be the root of much of their stress, what with high expectations and pressure to conform. Wynes also touches on social media and how it can be a very positive source for friendship and belonging, but the dangers…

Love and Laughter: A Healing Journey
C. Fenwick Consulting / 19 August 2009

Love and Laughter: A Healing Journey by Catherine Ripplinger Fenwick Printed by St. Peter’s Press Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $21.95 ISBN 1-896971-34-2 The last time I was in McNally Robinson in Saskatoon, I happened past the self-help section and was amazed at its size. I was thinking about this as I read “Crises are part of the human condition …” in the introduction to Catherine Ripplinger Fenwick’s Love and Laughter: A Healing Journey. The book, an expansion on her popular 2004 title, “Healing With Humour,” is in part “a psychological and spiritual first aid kit.” Inside it the Regina author, therapist, and educator offers anecdotes, quotations, poetry, prayers, jokes, affirmations, activities, cartoons, strategies, and information on making humour and hope part of daily life, which results in a healthier and more joyful existence. It is both a “work-book and a play-book,” and for those who need a lift, it could be just what the doctor ordered. After a breast cancer diagnosis in 1990, Ripplinger Fenwick set out on her lifelong goal to write a book, recognizing the importance “healthy humour and hope” would play in her healing journey. She maintains that laughter is important because it “enriches all aspects…