40 Days to Wholeness – Body, Soul, and Spirit By Beni Johnson – A Book Review

40 Days to Wholeness – Body, Soul, and Spirit, By Beni Johnson


Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Devotional Guide Leading to a Healthy and Free Lifestyle

In her book “40 Days to Wholeness – Body, Soul and Spirit” Beni Johnson masterfully presents a progressive positive approach to attain and maintain a lifestyle of health and wholeness from the starting point to a natural sense of relationship of physical health, mental acuity, and spiritual power.

Each of the 40 days open with a carefully selected passage from the scriptures, a word of practical instruction, encouragement or motivation drawn from Beni’s own pursuit healthy living and wholeness. A unique feature of the book is the thematic continuity and consistency by putting an emphasis on “Body, Soul, and “Spirit.” The instructions, words of encouragement, and prayers with declarations of thanksgiving strengthen the reader for their journey.

I found the chapters addressing: the importance of a support circle, practicing self-control, and pressing toward the goal to be especially helpful and motivating.  The suggestions for being intentional about keeping an exercise journal resonated with me.

Christians who have struggled with basic discipline in exercise, diet, and devotional consistency will find Beni Johnson’s “40 Days to Wholeness – Body, Soul and Spirit” practical, easy to implement, and motivating. Highly recommended.

The book is a part of the Healthy and Free video curriculum. A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257. 97807687410846, $16.99, 2017, 184 pages



Dr. Huntley’s Recipe for Optimum Health – A Nutritional Approach to Overall Wellness and Detoxification of the Body by Elizat Huntley, PhD – A Book Review

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Dr.  Huntley’s Recipe for Optimum Health – A Nutritional Approach to Overall Wellness and Detoxification of the Body

By: Elizabeth Huntley, PhD.

Taking Charge of Your Health – Dietary Guidelines for Optimal Health

In her book “Dr.  Huntley’s Recipe for Optimum Health – A Nutritional Approach to Overall Wellness and Detoxification of the Body,” nutritionist, Dr. Elizabeth Huntley introduces the reader to a dietary plan that includes underlying principles and dietary guidelines designed to produce optimum results for preserving all possible nutrients from the foods we eat.

Huntley includes tools and tips that will enable the reader to better understand the truth about their body and the cause and relationship of our heavily polluted environment; she highlights the electromagnetic and radiant pollutants in the atmosphere as a contributor to the many chronic diseases prevalent today.

High on the list of important steps we can take to reduce and minimize the adverse impact and danger of these threats to health include: recognize and adopt the practice of using pure water, eat high quality food with a balance of natural nutritional supplements, take responsibility for your environment, and for those in highly populated areas, install an air filtration system.

Dr. Huntley has included a full section of recipes with tips for preparation. These recipes include foods in several categories: basic foods, salads and dressing, seasonings, and sweets. She also offers suggestions for substituting ingredients that will turn grandma’s mouthwatering sweets into “lick smacking good” healthy desserts.

“Dr.  Huntley’s Recipe for Optimum Health – A Nutritional Approach to Overall Wellness and Detoxification of the Body” is an important addition to every homemaker’s personal library.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Robert D. Reed Publishers, PO Box 1992, Bandon, Oregon 97411



Lessons from Zachary – A Book Review

Lessons from Zachary – Turning Disability into Possibility

By Sandy Scott

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake, richard330@yahoo.com

Engaging and Releasing Hidden Powers Within – Standing Strong Through the Storm

Just twelve days after his birth Zachary Scott was diagnosed as severely physically and intellectually disabled. This news began a journey into the uncharted territory of the unknown for Sandy and Jonathan Scott; a heart-rending journey plagued by unexpected disappointments and uncertainties. The daily stresses of hectic schedules, social pressures, and the demands created by Zachary’s disabilities became overwhelming.

Sandy was devastated and frustrated by an unexpected and unusual combination of strained relationships and in desperation was forced to look within herself and to choose a new perspective – one that unleashed in her the power of love.

Sandy reached into the resources of unexplored potential to become a leader in coaching leaders in healthcare, to parents of children with disabilities, and to train professionals in the healthcare and educational fields.

Sandy’s writing is authentic, genuine, realistic and relevant. Her premises are well thought out, her choice of words stir the imagination of the reader and enable them to relate personally to her journey through a complex set of circumstances. As the reader becomes deeply involved in Sandy’s story; her insights and the lessons she learned become personal and identifiable and provide a new understanding into the complications, experiences and unknown potential of their own lives. Dozens of well-chosen pictures and good photography add a whole extra dimension to the heart felt emotions of love, pathos, and positive impact of Zachary’s life.

“Lessons from Zachary” will resonate with readers who have been touched by the challenge of disappointment in broken relationships and other personal tragedy; readers in need of a message of hope, and a strategy for tapping into their unknown potential.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

International Publishing Works, P. O. Box 415, Bellevue, Colorado 50512-0415, 978-097759205, 1995, 2017, 264 Pages






The Physically Fit Messiah, Wellness Wisdom Past and Present by Cal Samra – A Book Review

The Physically Fit Messiah – Wellness Wisdom Past and Present

By Cal Samra

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Fresh Look at Jesus’ Exhortation to His Disciples to “Be of Good Cheer,” With Sage Wisdom from Wellness Advocates Past and Present

Award winning humorist, editor and publisher, Cal Samra’s “The Physically Fit Messiah – Wellness Wisdom Past and Present” is a refreshing approach to the relationship of faith, humor, and health. Pastors and church editors subscribed to Samra’s “Noiseletter” for over 30 years. The newsletters provided reproducible cartoons and humorous illustrations for church publications and for introducing humor into sermon applications.

“The Physically Fit Messiah”  is packed with fast moving facts, wellness principles to live by, real life stories that illustrate and confirm the healing power of exercise, the healing power of prayer, and  the healing power of pets.  He reinforces the healing power of humor with tongue in cheek cartoons, jokes, and stories that help the reader experience personally the benefits of laughter. He highlights the work of Patch Adams, and the impact Chloe the clown on the healing process.

Readers from all faiths will find encouragement from the history of the early Greek Christian physicians, the Franciscans, John Wesley, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ellen White, Mary Baker Eddy, the Quakers, and modern health reformers.

Samra is highly recognized for his reputation as a health and humor historian, for his strong Christian faith, and as an advocate for physical fitness and nutrition, and health care reform.  He demonstrates his keen sense of wit and subtle humor in his writing as well as his passion for historical research and for his skill as a newspaper writer and editor.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Robert D. Reed Publishers, P. O. Box 1992, Bandon, Oregon 97411

978-1934759998, $ 14.95, 2015, 216 Pages






Sunrises and Sunsets, By Holley Kelley – A Book Review

Sunrises and Sunsets, Final Affairs Forged with Flair, Finesse, and Functionality
By: Holley Kelley, M.S, C.P.G.
Robert D. Reed Publishers, P. O. Box 1992, Bandon, OR 97411
978-1934759974, $ 19.95, 2016, 212 pages
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Template for a Life Long Planning Guide – Preparing Your Own Personal Living Legacy

In her book “Sunrises and Sunsets” gerontologist and journalist Holley Kelley helps the reader’s perception of end of life issues from a taboo subject into a non-threatening road map or planning guide; leading the reader into an exciting exercise in finding a life of fullness and a legacy for experiencing a new richness in family relations, and a unique sense of peace through simplicity.

The book is divided into three sections. The first section is devoted to a discussion of life and death, and your thoughts on these. I enjoyed her insights into the origin of the term “bucket list and of the benefits of having one.

Section two covers the importance of having: Advance directive, a will, preparing a written record of your finances, insurance policy. This section also includes important insights into making your final wishes and funeral preferences known.. Valuable sample forms, templates, with important commentary help the reader think through and record each of these issues. Interesting illustrations and stories reinforce the need for advance planning.

I especially liked section three. Forms are provided that will helped me create a summary of special dates, events, family traditions, early memories, core values, family history, and some parting “words of wisdom.” A sample chart is provided for tracing your family tree, final planning checklists, and much, much more.

I enjoyed Kelley’s writing style, appreciated her expertise, and plan to incorporate her suggestions in my advance care planning, with the intent of deepening family relationships and continuing a memorable and honorable family heritage. The importance of the content, reader friendly format, and universality of the subject make this a “must” addition to the family of every household at whatever stage of life being entered. Highly recommended.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

From my Caregiver’s Journal – A Tribute to Caregivers – Friends, Family, and Community

From my Caregiver’s Journal

November 9, 2015

I am blessed and I speak for Thelma too.

We rely on a group of individuals, caregivers, whom I have come to think of as friends. These friends provide Thelma’s physical needs with a tender touch, a warm smile, and a genuine sense of sacrificial service and love.

Twenty-four hours, seven days each week, they help Thelma through her confusion, comfort her when she is lonely, and tenderly encourage her through her times of edginess, as well as her stubborn moments. They demonstrate compassionate care while monitoring her meals, bathing her, dressing her, making sure her colors don’t clash, brushing her hair, applying makeup, and attending to those inevitable “messy” unmentionables. They show their affectionate concern for Thelma’s comfort.

These acts of thoughtfulness and kindness do not go unnoticed. These friends specifically refer to the faithful team of caregivers on the Woodland Terrace – Magnolia staff.

There are others we think of as friends of Thelma, and friends of Magnolia Court. These are the other residents; some who hover over Thelma in a motherly way, comforting, touching, and affirming; others, as sisters, chatting, laughing, or exasperated, but always loving. There are also the family members of other residents, who, while visiting their loved ones, shower Thelma with smiles, love, and warm acts of kindness.

A core of healthcare professionals, therapists, hospice caregivers, and Woodland Terrace Administrative staff, while regularly serving other residents, offer Thelma, a smile a touch, or a word of encouragement.

I treasure each of these deeds of thoughtfulness as acts of love and friendship beyond what I can extend to Thelma by myself.

I also benefit from many of these same “friends” as they extend, to me, words of encouragement, as they express concern for my welfare, my physical health, and emotional needs.

I am blessed. I am also blessed with a community of friends who demonstrate concern and care. These include our church family, my Alzheimer’s support group, the Bridgman “Writer’s Group” and the many acquaintances who greet us with smiles and conversation while shopping, or eating with friends at nearby restaurants, and many others.

And lastly, my family, my four sons, Rick, Ken, Jim and Rob and their precious families; our extended family, those of my brothers and sisters, and their offspring, Thelma’s aunts, uncles, and cousins and their offspring.

And there is a friend that is closer than a brother; that friend is Jesus. We are truly blessed.

Just Show Up, the Dance of Walking through Suffering Together, By Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn – A Book Review

Just Show Up – the Dance of Walking through Suffering Together

By: Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn

David C.  Cook, 4050 Lee Vance View, Colorado Springs, CO 80918

978-1434709530, $ 15.99, 190 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Parallel Stories of Friendship throughout a Difficult Journey of Suffering and Uncertainty

“Just Show Up – the Dance of Walking through Suffering Together” is packed with concrete, suggestions, supportive ideas, and meaningful information for reciprocal friendship during hard times and suffering. Authors Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn team up to share their story of a deep meaningful friendship throughout Karen’s life and death battle with cancer.

Kara and Jill explore the concepts of the long good-bye, the ministry of silence, and the gift of presence. They express them from two viewpoints, that of the giver and that of the receiver. Theirs is a story of nurturing friendship through pain and tiredness, insecurity and doubt, of unfathomly hard days, and the beauty and of being surprised by joy on a good day.

Careful consideration of the discussion prompts, are included for opening honest dialog in a group setting or for individual contemplation and will add to the personal impact and value of the book for individual readers; and immense help for anyone experiencing the process of anticipatory grief.

Anyone who had or is going through the suffering of a friend or loved one will find solace, comfort and support throughout the pages of “Just Show Up – the Dance of Walking through Suffering Together.”

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Releasing the Divine Power Within, by Dennis and Dr. Jen Clark – A Book Review

Releasing the Divine Healer Within – The Biology of Belief and Healing

By: Dennis and Jen Clark

Destiny Image Publishers, P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257

978-04768407488, $ 14.99, 2015, 176 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

An Integrated Look at the Physical Body, Emotions, and the Spiritual Being

In “Releasing the Divine Healer Within” Dennis and Dr. Jen Clark present a fresh new approach to understanding how Biblical truth and medical science interact in physical and emotional healing.

Chapters one through four become the foundation for grasping the concept of the biology of belief and healing. Chapter five introduces actual stories of healing experiences that illustrate the principles presented. Other testimonies also appear throughout the book. The final chapters deal with insight into how God’s creative power is integrated with the heart, the body’s cells, our emotions, genetics, and stress in the process toward health and Biblical healing.

The Clark’s write with clarity; the book’s format is reader friendly.  There is a natural progression of instruction for understanding, followed with examples for assimilation, with suggestions for action steps to personal application. The features “Practice” and “Troubleshooting” provide step by step ideas for entering into prayer, receiving results, and recognizing barriers. I appreciated the well documented chapter endnotes which provide the reader with a rich resource for future reading and study.

“Releasing the Divine Healer Within – The Biology of Belief and Healing” is an important reminder to every believer of the indwelling power the divine healer within each of us.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Living With Autism Day-by-Day by Pamela Bryson-Weaver – A Book Review

Living Autism Day by Day – Daily Reflections and Strategies to Give You Hope and Courage

By: Pamela Bryson-Weaver

Freedom Abound, Inc., 978-09936429906, $ 23.99, 2015, 448 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Daily Musings for Contemplation which Inspire Hope and Encouragement with Practical Strategies for Living Each Day with the Challenge of Autism

“Living Autism Day by Day” is a resource for parents and caregivers of a child living with autism. As a mother of a child with autism Pamela Bryson-Weaver understands what it means to be a caregiver of an autistic child.  As with any debilitating disease, loved ones and caregivers face each new day with the uncertainty of the unfamiliar, often mysterious twists and turns the day will take.

The book is made up of a reading for each day of the year. The daily readings include, a thought provoking quote offering inspiration, motivation, or affirmation with a message of hope and encouragement.

The author follows the reflection with a fresh thought to approach the new day. This may be in the form of a practical tip, an inspiring story, a humorous antidote, a community, national, or educational resource, or a strategy for the care of an autistic child. Space is provided for the reader to record an action to take in areas of: Autism awareness, self-awareness, or an insight into one of life’s blessings. Colorful photos of children accompanying the true stories and anecdotes add a dimension of reality and warmth to their story.

Pamela Bryson-Weaver is a parent of an autistic child, and an advocate and activist for children with special needs.

“Living Autism Day by Day” is an important resource for parents, family and professional caregivers. Highly endorsed by readers who are living with the daily challenge of raising a special needs child.

A complimentary Review copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

The Fight of Your Life – Manning Up to the Challenge of Sexual Purity By Tim Clinton and Mark Laaser A Book Review

The Fight of Your Life – Manning Up to the Challenge of Sexual Purity

By Tim Clinton and Mark Laaser

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257

978-0768406993, $ 15.99, 2015, 240 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Conquering the Bondage of Sexual Addiction – Finding Freedom, Integrity, and Purity

Tim Clinton, Ed. D. and Mark Laaser, M.Div., Ph.D. alert the reader to the sobering reality of the devastating role of pornography on the breakdown of Christian marriages, families, churches, and friendships in the book “The Fight of Your Life – Manning Up to the Challenge of Sexual Purity.”

The book discusses strategies for conquering the strongholds that lead to the bondage of sexual addiction; the biological, emotional, and spiritual consequences of these strongholds, the principles of accountability, healing, and restoring broken relationships.

Story and metaphor used for illustrations help the reader identify with cycle of addiction, the things that accompany the feelings of guilt, shame, emptiness, and loneliness. The central message of God’s love, grace, and forgiveness give the reader hope for the future.

The book contains shocking statistics on the impact of the internet over the last 15 to 20 years. Thorough research and careful documentation add to the credibility of the book. Extensive resource lists are provided for additional reinforcement, reading, and study.  “Strategy” or “Action” exercises and thought provoking questions for reflection and practical application are included throughout the book for added emphasis.

Dr. Clinton and Dr. Laaser are highly recognized as men of faith and for their work in Christian counseling, mental health issues, sexual health and addiction.  “The Fight of Your Life – Manning Up to the Challenge of Sexual Purity” is a timely and important wake up call for men of all ages. Must reading for pastors, counselors, and youth leaders.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.