Commonsense Wisdom for Everyday Life Available Again

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Joe: Good morning Calliope

Calliope: Good morning Joe, What news?

Joe: I have been working hard on my book for teens which is nearing completion of this round of editing.

Calliope: Anything else.

Joe: How did you guess. I finally finished formatting Commonsense Wisdom for Everyday Life. Now all my books are available in paperback and e-book format on Amazon. Here is the info for Commonsense Wisdom:

Description of Commonsense Wisdom for Everyday Life 

Consider this! Whatever happens in our lives ripples out to affect everyone around us and sometimes people far away from us. We have an opportunity to touch the rest of the world on a daily basis. Commonsense Wisdom for Everyday Life offers reflection on the thoughts, actions and relationships we all experience on a daily basis. We seldom stop to consider what we think, do and share with others and how these affect our lives and the lives of those around us. This book gives you a chance to spend a little time thinking about where your life is going and whether you need to make any changes in the course your taking.

Topics include:

  •  Your personal perspective on life
  •  Agreements for Life
  • Social Relationships
  •  Family Relationships
  •  Commonsense spirituality
  •  Holiday reflections
  •  Approaching addictions
  •  Dealing with adversity
  •  Understanding Evil
  •  Personal reflections
  •  Suggested related readings

The Pastor’s Inferno Reissued

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Joe: Good afternoon Calliope.

Calliope: Good afternoon Joe. What’s happening with your writing?

Joe: I took a little break from working on my teen book to reissue my novel, The Pastor’s Inferno on Amazon. It is finally available again in paperback and ebook formats. Here’s what it’s about:

We first meet John Spador as he settles into an easy chair, musing about his aging body and reflecting on the duties he had completed that day, from Mass at 6 A.M. to a dinner with fellow priests. There are hints of his darker side when his thoughts are interrupted by a deputy sheriff and a social worker at his door.

What follows is Spador’s fall from grace over his recent abuse of a young parishioner. While he and the young man are spared the public humiliation of a trial, the circumstances cause Spador to lose his parish and his status, forcing him to admit his failings to his sister and her family on whom he now depends for the basic necessities of life. He must also face his accuser and the young man’s parents.

The fall from grace is an all too common story in the aftermath of the many abuse cases within the Catholic Church. The sordid headlines both fascinate and repulse us. However, once the perpetrator is convicted or perhaps given alternative punishment, the headlines go away.

Langen’s story goes further. How does Spador learn to confront his demons? How does he put his life back together? How does he reconcile God’s justice with God’s love? Spador is not necessarily a sympathetic character. He has become accustomed to the privilege that goes with his position. We have little indication that he was held in overly high regard by his parishioners.

We learn that he is estranged from his brother and that his relations with his fellow priests lack any real depth, except possibly with the priest who becomes his spiritual advisor, Father Samuels. Spador also lacks introspection, perhaps because it would force him to examine his sexuality. His counselor, Dr. Barbara Phelan, guides him through this self discovery. At times he seems to flounder in his attempts, but Phelan’s skills keep him on track. Solitary walks along the canal help Spador focus and give him a certain solace.

At the book’s conclusion, John is ready for his community service, helping ex-prisoners reintegrate into society. It is also John’s reintegration from his hellish experience to the light of a new dawn with the insight to make the best of the remaining days allotted him by God. — Beth Cahaney, Professor, Humanities Division, Elizabethtown Community and Technical College

For more about this book or to order it, visit Amazon.

Rising from Hibernation

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Joe: Good afternoon Calliope.

Calliope: Good Afternoon Joe. I thought you might hibernate a bit longer.

Joe: With the snow we have had, I wonder if it will ever melt. On with Life!

Calliope: What do you have on your agenda?

Joe: I am waiting for feedback on my teen book from me teen readers. Then I can complete Navigating Your 
Teen Years: Tips for the Voyage.

Calliope: Is that it?

Joe: No. I am working on publicity for Release Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life. I recently appeared on local radio and am planning a writing workshop for Mid April where I will talk about writing this book as well as my other writing.

Calliope: Sounds exciting.

Joe: It is. I am looking forward to it. I hosted a similar program for a poet several years ago, and now I am to be the featured guest. It’s quite a change.

I hope it goes well. Stay in touch.

I hope so too. I will try to be a little more regular in my posts.

A Break in the Action

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Joe: Good morning, Calliope.

Calliope: Good morning, Joe. Are you on extended vacation?

Joe: Not exactly. I am resting from my literary labors to catch my breath. is now published and available at Amazon. I have finished the draft of Navigating Your Teen Years: Tips for the Voyage. This book is based on interviews with teens and comments on what they had to say. I have a number of teens reading it and am waiting for their reactions before finalizing the book for publication. In the mean time I am working on marketing and ideas for my next couple books. Bulletins as they break.

Calliope: I will be waiting.

Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Stress and Peace


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Peace is the only battle worth waging.

 ~Albert Camus~

 The holiday season ahead of us, including Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa are meant to be times of peace and joy. Yet this is also a time of high stress for many people. It is also high season for depression and suicidal thoughts if not suicide itself. How did we get from a time of peace to a time of great stress?

In the first place, most people say “Happy Holidays” to each other without much thought to what the holidays mean. In an attempt not to offend anyone, we make our greetings so generic that they have lost most of their meaning. I think it is easy to lose sight of what we are celebrating.

We seem to be celebrating money. The focus is on sales, discounts and how much money you have available for the season. The success of the holiday season is measured in the bottom line for retailers. Personally, success is measured in whether we can find and afford the right gifts for everyone of importance.

So where does the stress come from. Many people spend more during this season than they can reasonably afford. In the back of their minds, they know a day of reckoning is coming with their next charge card bill.

This is also a time of year when we get together with others we do not often see. If you have lost someone important in your life, the idea of joy may seem distant as you remember the person you have lost whether through death, one of you having moved too far away to get together or through a conflict which has destroyed your relationship.

You might also not be on the best of terms with some of your relatives or people who used to be good friends, but whom you spend time with this season so as not to ruffle any feathers. They don’t bring you any joy either.

How can you get back to peace and joy in your life? First be grateful for what you have including whatever money you have, a good place to live and the people around you who bring you joy. Just because stores focus on sales does not mean you must too. If you can’t afford expensive gifts, think of what you can do for those you love to make them a little happier. Maybe just spending some special time with them would bring you both joy.

If you have strained relationships with some of the people you will see in the next few weeks, think about what you might have done to create part of the strain. Apologize for your part in the conflict. If you don’t know, a nice gift would be to tell him or her that you are troubled by the distance between you. Ask him or her to help you make a new start.

Life Lab Lessons

  • Rather than generic greetings, find out what holiday other people are celebrating.
  • Learn a little about their customs and what they mean.
  • Give the gift of yourself rather than things.
  • Thank those you can who bring joy to your life.
  • Apologize for offenses you might have committed and forgive others for theirs.
  • Use this season as a time to restore your troubled relationships.



Publication Frenzy

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Joe: Good afternoon Calliope.

Calliope: Good afternoon Joe. What’s happening in your little world?

Joe: Quite a bit. I am working on marketing my new book, Release Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life. I decided to republish my other books in paperback through Create Space. I have finished working on Navigating Life: Commonsense Reflections for the Journey which is now available again at Amazon. I plan to add my other three books, but for now am back to work on Commonsense Wisdom for Teens, which I put aside a while ago. Here is a little taste:

After writing my first book, Commonsense Wisdom for Everyday Life, I realized that what I had to say was directed toward adults. I wondered what teens would make of it, and came to the conclusion that most of their concerns were different from those of adults.

I also wondered whether I really knew what their concerns were. I decided that the best way to find out for sure was to ask teens what concerned them and how they dealt with their concerns. I went in search of teens who were willing to talk with me about their concerns.

I found a number of teens who were willing to fill out a questionnaire and meet with me to talk about what they had written. This book is an account of that process. The teens who participated were all from Western New York, some from rural Genesee County and the others from urban Monroe County.

Since I asked them to share such personal information, I asked them all to choose a fictional name to use in this book. They are Punkman, Nikki, Amy, Ellie, Paige, Kapow, Miss Mimi, Chuck, Abe, Ronnie, Anna, Amy, Lynn, Sean, Julie, Darla, Allie, Chuck, Zoe and Kylie Thanks so much for your honesty and courage in sharing part of your lives.

As you read on, you will find stories about teens, based on those I have met over the years I have been in practice, comments of teens I interviewed and my reflections on their comments. You will also find practical suggestions for things you can try to help you with life. (Excerpt from my forthcoming book, Commonsense Wisdom for Teens)

Calliope: You have been busy. Make sure you come up for air from time to time and keep me posted.

Joe: Will do.

Ready for Thanksgiving

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Engine 999

Engine 999

Joe: Good evening Calliope.

Calliope: Good evening Joe. How is your writing going?

Joe: I haven’t been this busy in a long time.

Calliope: What are you up to now?

Joe: As you know, my new book, Release Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life is in full swing.  The book even has its own blog on WordPress now. I feature articles on stress and excerpts from the book. I decided to reissue my book, Navigating Life: Commonsense Reflections for the Voyage which is now back in print. I also ran across an old manuscript of a book I was working on, Commonsense Wisdom for Teens. For some reason, that book never made it to publication, although I finished most of the work on it. I am reviewing the manuscript and with any luck will get it into print in the next few weeks. After coasting along for a while, I feel like I am now spending most of my energy writing and publishing. I have not been this excited about writing in some time. And so, back to work.

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