Mind Power and Healthy Eating : The Art of Losing Weight and Staying HealthyMind Power and Healthy Eating : The Art of Losing Weight and Staying Healthy by Josephine Spire

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I like educational reads that aren’t preachy but are actually helpful. It reads almost like a thesis! “Mind Power and Healthy Eating: The Art of Losing Weight and Staying Healthy” by Josephine Spire is a very thorough guide that breaks down the facts on how and why we should maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s not for someone who is looking to get on a quick diet and lose weight. This book is for people who want to live a healthy life and stick with a certain type of healthy lifestyle. I like that it starts with mind centering techniques before getting into the physical improvement aspect. I can appreciate that aspect because our mind has to focus and be in the right place before we can move forward. That’s to get you more aware of what will and won’t work for you in choosing what healthy lifestyle work’s for you. In the next part of the book it breaks down foods, exercises and gives wisdom to the reader on practicing mindfulness. You have to be aware of what works for you because not everyone is the same. And I appreciate that Spire makes it clear that you must choose what will work for you so that you can stick to it and live your life healthily. All in all, it is a helpful and easy guide to read and offers great exercises, techniques and wisdom. I breezed right through it. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking to not only lose weight, but those who want to become more mindful of their bodies and chose a way to live a healthy life.

~~~Felicia Johnson author of “HER” and “OK Danny Boy”

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Mental Health Talk: Guest Blog Post Author Felicia Johnson

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Felicia Johnson guest blogs on Mental Health Talk and shares how she suffered from depression and child abuse while growing up. It was writing that helped her through those years; a catalyst for finding an invaluable form of therapy and her voice.

This has lead Felicia to write her first novel titled Her. Based on her own experiences and those with a close friend who she lost to mental illness, she has created a story about survival and the complexity of living with Borderline Personality Disorder.

To read Felicia’s guest post on Mental Health Talk, please visit: http://mentalhealthtalk.info/writing-mental-illness

Trish Hurtubise, Founder and Editor of Mental Health Talk

Once Upon A Bookshelf Book Review of Her by Felicia Johnson

Once Upon A Bookshelf

A Reader’s Blog

HER 
 
Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 8:08 am June 19, 2014.
Category: Young Adult
Book Author(s):
Publisher(s):      Her front cover
Author: Felicia Johnson
Originally Published: 2013
Publisher: 8th Street Publishing
Source: Received a copy from the author

When I did the interview with Felicia Johnson, I received a digital copy of her book. The topic really intrigued me. I’m a proponent for the end of the stigma surrounding mental illnesses, disorders, and all, so I was definitely interested. I was also however a little afraid to go into it, as sometimes reading about cutting makes a part of me long to start cutting again. I ended up reading this book within one day… and spent a very good portion of that day in tears.

With that in mind, it should be no surprise that this was a very difficult read. It was emotionally draining because of what the characters were going through. It deals with some hard subject matter – important, but hard. And I’m sure there are a lot of parents who wouldn’t want their children to read a book that starts with a failed suicide attempt… but there are going to be a lot of people who will relate in some way to this book. And for that reason alone, for the fact that there may be even just one person out there who has a mental illness who would read this and realize that what they are not alone and that other people have mental illnesses, well that makes this a wonderful book.

What I really like about Her is that even though the protagonist is working through BPD, that’s not all we get to see. We are introduced to people who were sexually abused as children, who are heroin addicts, who have eating disorders, who are schizophrenic. We see a lot, and I think that is really great for introducing readers to a large number of things that we may not necessarily come into contact with every day. It showcases mental issues that a lot of people have, and it does a really good job at making them more understandable, empathizable and accessible.

There was one thing that didn’t quite sit well with me about Her. There were characters that were obviously Christian, and they were the employees at the mental hospital. They spoke about their faith with Kristen, and Kristen automatically accepted what they told her without questioning or investigating on her own. On one hand, I know what it’s like to need something to hope for when suffering from depression and clinging to faith for that hope… but on the other hand, it would have felt a lot less like we were being witnessed to if there was even a character who was representative of another faith… or even who was an atheist.

The characters in this seemed thoroughly developed – especially Kristen, who shows the different aspects of BPD well. One thing I did find was that, because of the fact that Kristen has BPD and the story was being told from her perspective, I couldn’t always trust what seemed to be happening to actually be happening. Characters often seemed to go from calm to screaming in a matter of seconds with little to provoke them. Or seemed to be pushing Kristen to do or feel a certain way and not understanding that she couldn’t just hit a switch to make everything better. (This actually is how a lot of people react to mental illnesses, and so I’m really glad it was illustrated here how frustrating and agonizing it can be when someone tells a person with a mental illness to “just not be depressed” or whatever.)

The Bottom Line

I will definitely be looking forward to reading more by Johnson, and recommend this book to people who are living with a mental illness – whether in themselves, their family or a friend.

The Women’s Festival and Gutsy Gals Inspire Me Awards 2014

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Seated, Deborah Hutchison. From left to right, standing: Patty DeDominic, Dana Ochoa, Sally Smeed, Kim Castle, Sonia Marsh, Lee Langley, Dr. Jennifer Conrad, “Twinkle” Marie Manning, Deepa Willingham, Linda Newlin, Felicia Johnson, Razia Jan, Janet Ault.

Let me start off by saying thank you to all of you who helped me get to California for the Santa Barbara Women’s Festival 2014. Thanks to you, I was there to accept an honoree award for my nomination for the Gutsy Gals Inspire Me Award. My award is in recognition of overcoming childhood abuse and psychological adversity to become and author and inspirational role model as a Gutsy Gal. It truly meant the world to me to know that I have so many supporters among friends, family, and fans.

I’d like to recognize those family, friends, and fans who helped me with their love and support. Special thanks to: Writer and fellow nominee Sonia Marsh of Gutsy Living, Dr. Virginia Felder of Roots & Branches, Dustin Johnson, LPC, Jacqueline Lo’Leta Vick, Stand-up Comedian Darkim Marshall, Donzella Fibleuil, Joyce Savage of Make BPD Stigma Free, Writer and Humanitarian Perto Herrera, my wonderful publicist Lauren Stiles of PDAN.org, Barry Johnson, Singer/Songwriter Anon aka Barry Blackson, Fashionista and best sister in the whole world Laura Vick, and Highland Institute therapist Candice Osborn.

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Gutsy Gals Inspire Me Honoree Award

I had such a wonderful time at the Women’s Festivals Santa Barbara thanks to all of the inspiring and incredible women who were there. What I enjoyed most were the stories that everyone who participated shared. Wisdom, courage, bravery, and honor shined from each and every person who had a story to share.

It’s refreshing to know that there are strong, courageous, and beautiful women who are not afraid to be gutsy. It was a great pleasure and deep honor to share the stage with all of the nominees. The Gutsy Gals Inspire Me Awards were a huge success thanks to Deborah Hutchison, founder of Gutsy Gals Inspire Me® and Patty DeDominic, founder of the Santa Barbara Women’s Festival. They are the original Gutsy Gals!

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From left to right: Patty DeDominc, Fee Johnson and Deborah Hutchinson

The Women’s Festival was held at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara, California from March 7th to the March 8th. On Sunday, March 9th, I had the honorable privilege to attend a VIP brunch for sponsors and the Gutsy Gal Awards nominees and winners at the house of our host, Patty DeDominic.

I finally was able to meet one of my role models! Sonia Marsh of Gutsy Living. I came in 2nd place in her Gutsy Writing Contest earlier this year.

The nominees for the Gutsy Gals Inspire Me Awards 2014 were: Dana Ochoa, Sally Smeed, Kim Castle, Sonia Marsh, Lee Langley, Dr. Jennifer Conrad, “Twinkle” Marie Manning, Deepa Willingham, Linda Newlin, Felicia Johnson, Razia Jan, Janet Ault, Christina Aguirre-Kolb, Barbara Liss, and Maria Alyokhinam, Yekatrerina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, members of Pussy Riot.

The winners of the Gutsy Gals Inspire Me Awards 2014 are: Razia Jan for the International Award, Deepa Willingham for the National Domestic Award, and Lee Langley for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Actress Kelly LeBrock was The Gutsy Gals Inspire Me 2014 Celebrity Honoree. She gave a wonderful talk about her DUI Arrest and overcoming her problems.

Razia Jan won The International Gutsy Gals Inspire Me Award for starting a girls’ school in Afghanistan where education for girls is frowned upon.

Deepa Willingham won The National Domestic Gutsy Gals Inspire Me Awards because she has advocates to educate children and she fights against sex trafficking.

Lee Langley won the Lifetime Achievement Gutsy Gals Inspire Me Awards because she had the vision at 23 years of age to co-found a school for delinquent boys.

There is no doubt in my mind that these women are the gutsiest and most deserving of such a high honor. Every woman who I was blessed to share the honor of being nominated with are deserving of recognition for their hard work and courage. No one can be compared because we all are great and gutsy women!

Announcing the 2014 Gutsy Gals Inspire Me! Award Nominees

ImageI am so excited and honored to have been invited to Santa Barbara, California to attend the 7th Annual Women’s Festival from March 7th to 9th. I have been nominated as one of the 2014 Gutsy Gals Inspire Me! contestants.

I do the best that I can every day to inspire, uplift, teach, and share the power of courage, survival, and hope with everyone I come into contact with. I never thought that this work would lead me to nominated alongside such phenomenal women!

Please follow me on my journey to the West Coast! I’ll be Tweeting, Pinning, and blogging, and Facebooking all of the awesome people I meet on my trip!

Why Do I Write?

Everyone has a story to tell. We all have feelings, and we have the right to express ourselves.

When I was 2 years old, my mother bought me my very first book. I did not know how to read, but I was fascinated by the book.  The cover was colorful, and it had an illustration of a blue fish that smiled. I carried that book around with me everywhere I went. My mother had read the book to me whenever she had free time, but I wanted to be able to read the book anytime I wanted, with or without my mother. Whenever my mother had read the story to me, I had listened as carefully as I could so that I could try to memorize the story. As she had read the story aloud, my mother had held me in her arms and she’d pointed to each word as she read them. This had helped me to know exactly what the words were as I had tried to memorize the story. Eventually, I had learned every word to the story and I was able to memorize it. I pointed to each word as I remembered my mother had done. This is how I had learned to read, and how I fell in love with red and blue colored fish.

When I was 6 years old my 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Medley, gave me my first composition notebook. She told us that this notebook was going to be our best friend for the whole school year. I found it curious that a notebook could be someone’s best friend. I asked Ms. Medley what did she mean. She told me that I would find out soon enough. About a day later, Ms. Medley gave me my first writing assignment. I had to write my assignment down in the new composition notebook. It was my first interaction with my first assigned best friend.

The only rule of the assignment was to write one paragraph about something that I wanted. My first writing assignment was titled: I Want A Dog. It is interesting what happens when a person who was born to write, actually begins to write. Paragraph one started with how much I would have liked to have a dog (very much), why (because they are so cute and fluffy), and why I couldn’t have one (our home was too small to keep one). Then, when I finished with the reason as to why I couldn’t have a dog I began a second paragraph. Paragraph two stated why I should have dog despite having a small home (I’d take good care of the dog, and let it sleep in my bed). The second paragraph listed reasons why I should have a dog. It was only right that the third paragraph that followed list what kind of dogs I would have, and paragraph four listed different names I would have named my dog. By the time I’d ran out of pages in my composition notebook I hadn’t  realized that I had written 100 pages. Scared that I’d get in trouble, I showed my mother what I had written.

My mother laughed. She found it amusing that I had written 100 pages about wanting a dog. Instead of making me do my assignment again, and correctly, the way it had been assigned, my mother told me to turn it in. Monday morning came, and Ms. Medley collected all of our notebooks. As she flipped through our notebooks she smiled and read a few good paragraphs aloud. I was nervous and afraid of when she’d see my written assignment. When she finally did see what I had written, her smile did not disappear as I thought it would have. She held up my composition notebook to the class and said aloud, “Felicia has written a novel! It is called I Want A Dog.”

I was shocked. I didn’t know what a novel was or how to even make one, but I somehow did it. After school, Ms. Medley took the time to explain to me what a novel is. She said it is a prose narrative made up of characters, wishes, wants, emotions, feelings, and expression. She told me that the writers who produce these novels are called authors. Ms. Medley said that if I keep writing, filling up a hundred plus pages of notebooks, then one day I could be an author. I asked her if I was in trouble for doing the assignment incorrectly. Ms. Medley’s reply was  not what I had expected. She said, “Felicia, the assignment was completed correctly as long as it was written by you, and you feel that everything you want to express is in the story.”

My first book.

I told her I felt that everything was there. Then she replied, “Okay. You are a writer. Keep on writing.”

I’ll never forget Ms. Medley’s encouraging words. I took them very seriously. I love reading and collecting books, even the ones about fish and green eggs and ham. I am in love with writing. It doesn’t matter what I write. It could be poetry, short stories, a novel, fiction, non-fiction. I do not stop until I feel that it is all there. Everything I need to express will be there. I learned this when I first learned to read and write. I wrote my first novel at 6 years old, and I have not stopped.