Books for Adults

Wheat Cover 34 font
Available on Amazon in print and Kindle versions and at Diane Pearl Colecciones and Sol Mexicana in Ajijc, MX

Reviews of Prairie Moths:

Just as moths rise from prairie grasses to fly away, so did the author yearn to be free from the very place that nurtured her. Judy Dykstra-Brown’s verse stories and accompanying photographs give a vivid portrayal of rural life in the fifties and sixties, evoking the colors and sounds of the prairie and the longing a child with an active imagination feels for faraway places. From a small child curled up on the couch listening to her father’s stories of homestead days to pubescent fantasies of young itinerant combiners to her first forays into romance in the front seat of a ’59 Chevy, her memories acquire a value in time that she did not acknowledge while living them. Lovers of good poetry and those who miss the magic of childhood will relish Prairie Moths.—Harriet Hart, for the Ojo Del Lago Book Review

A lengthy review  —Colleen Chesebro for Lit World Interviews


1 Master embossed -front onlycream big & little spinecopy copy

Now available on Amazon, in print and Kindle versions and in Bookstores, including Diane Pearl Colecciones, La Bella Vida, Jose Melendrez and Mi Mexico in Ajijic, MX.

Lessons from a Grief Diary: Rebuilding Your Life
after the Death of a Loved One

Judy Dykstra-Brown and Anthony Moriarty, Ph.D.

A widow’s grief diary chronicling the illness and death of her husband as well as the process of her recovery from grief over the next eight years is analyzed in alternating chapters by a psychologist. Includes methods of overcoming grief, suggested further reading and ending notes that summarize main points of the book.

Synopsis

When Judy let her husband Bob persuade her to buy a house in Mexico, little did she know that five months later, she would be moving into that house alone. Her diary takes us along through their initial adventures in Mexico, their return to California to sell off the contents of their home, her nursing Bob through his final illness and death and her move to Mexico. For eight years, she chronicles the triple challenge of dealing with the loss of her husband, learning to adjust to the culture of a foreign country where she knew no one and finding ways to find the positive in the most negative situations. Making use of his extensive research in the field of grief as well as experience gained through years of counseling others going through the grief process, Tony’s insightful comments on Judy’s thoughts and actions will serve as a guide for any reader suffering from the death of a family member or other loved one.

Readers’ Reviews and Comments

Having the courage to speak with unembellished honesty, Judy Dykstra-Brown begins by describing the move she and her husband Bob are planning to make to a more relaxed life in Mexico. As the van is being packed and plans finalized, Judy learns her husband is dying. In beautiful prose and poetry, she chronicles her grueling role of caretaker to Bob, their last days together and the death and rituals that follow. Knowing she will be leaving behind all of her support systems, Judy relocates to Mexico alone, sharing her intensely personal journey of grief, growth and finally the excitement of moving towards a different and full life. Uniquely, Anthony Moriarty follows each chapter with a psychological and/or mystical interpretation of the behaviors that accompany Bob’s processes of dying and Judy’s struggles with the loss of her husband. This is a must read for anyone who has experienced loss.Romaine Presnell, Clinical Social Worker, mental health therapist at John Hopkins and in private practice, Supervisor of Counseling Services as Associated Catholic Charities and group facilitator for The Wellness Community, providing free services for cancer patients and their families.

This book combines the personal account of a woman whose husband has unexpectedly become ill and died with the commentary of an experienced clinical psychologist. The story is compelling, the theme universal, and the dual viewpoints of the authors give us unique and valuable insight into the experience of loss, grief and life beyond.Amelia Stevens, M.D., Psychiatrist  

After suddenly losing my partner of 8 years, the combination of emotions that battered me day-to-day left me lost with no idea of how to find my way back to a relatively normal life. I ordered and read a number of the best-selling books on the subject of grief, but felt none of them applied to me until I discovered this brave and startling book. The combination of Judy’s honest personal journey and Tony’s objective observations make this a very important book with which I was able to easily identify. Had I read it earlier, I seriously think my journey would have been shorter and less debilitating.Linda Richards, Artist

With the hundreds of books available to help people navigate their way through the grief process, it is a rare find to discover one that approaches it from a whole new perspective. Lessons from a Grief Diary presents material from what I call Wise Mind, with an alternating blend of raw emotional disclosure combined with intellectual analysis and commentary. We get to travel along with Judy as she copes with the unexpected illness and untimely death of her husband and goes on to build a whole new kind of life on her own. Through her ‘real-time’ journal, she reveals nuances of thoughts and emotions that are rarely spoken aloud. Tony’s intermingled commentary adds a perceptive depth of understanding, providing the reader valuable balance and insights into this complicated evolving process we call grief. Anyone seeking to better understand and explore their own experience of grief will find this book to be an optimistic and eminently relatable companion on their journey.Joy Birnbach Dunstan, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor

Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. I loved the way Judy dealt with the death of her husband as well as the way in which she expressed her feelings. So many things she did and felt were the same as my feelings and actions when I lost my husband. Her sense of humor, her sadness, her guts to push on will make you feel like you are her best friend. Getting Tony’s perspective also gives another window into Judy’s heart. If you have lost someone close to you, everything she says will make sense. If you have not yet lost someone close to you, it will prepare you for when it happens.Audrey Zikmund, Widow for Two Years

Bereavement is a solitary, uphill climb. I watched my mother make the journey and to my child’s eyes, it took forever. Lessons from a Grief Diary is a candid account of the grieving process. It’s as if author Judy Dykstra-Brown is leading the bereaved individual into Dr. Tony Moriarty’s office where the three explore this complex emotional transitional state. I recommend this book to those who have suffered a loss, their families and friends, and to any of the professionals they turn to for help. Reading this book would have helped my mother and me.Harriet Hart, Social Worker and Past Director of Rehabilitation, Manitoba Paraplegic Association

This book is a great trail guide for exploring the pathway through grief.  We get to move between the powerful, surprising ways grief grabs us and the insights and understandings that give us something to hold on to as we pick our way through the boulders.Georgia King, County Mental Health Counselor

Reading Lessons from a Grief Diary is the surest way to go from grief to joy.Gloria Palazzo, Writer, Artist and Widow

“The  reading of this  book  took me to a place  where no other book has  ever  taken me and gave me a new appreciation of lakeside as a magical healing place.  Thank  you  for  that.  It’s a  big revelation  for me—and a big step in accepting this place that I have always  before thought of as just a place I was passing  through.  I actually read it in two nights—pretty  fast for me.  It was a privilege to  experience this book.”––Candace Spence, Lake Chapala Resident

 

Bios

After earning her Masters in Creative Writing and Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wyoming, Judy Dykstra-Brown taught English and writing for ten years in Australia, Ethiopia and Wyoming before moving to California to study film production and to work for a television production company. She studied writing at UCLA and in the Jack Grapes workshop, where she met her husband Bob, a poet and sculptor. After marrying, they moved to Northern California and exhibited their individual and collaborative work at galleries and art and crafts shows nationwide for thirteen years. She was curator of the Santa Cruz Mountains Art Center for three and a half years. After Bob’s death in 2001, she moved to Mexico, where she has continued to publish her work in English language print and online magazines, to read and speak for various lecture series and performance groups and to exhibit her retablos and mixed media sculptures at local galleries. This is her third book.

Tony Moriarty holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been a Licensed Clinical Psychologist since 1978, working both in private practice and community mental health, where his clinical specialties include grief management. As a police psychologist, he was involved in the post-incident counseling of officers whose use of force in the line of duty had resulted in a death or serious injury. He recently retired as the Principal of Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, Illinois, where he developed a number of programs involving non-punitive methods of managing student behavior as well as two high school police resource officer programs. He has published more than thirty articles in the professional literature and is the author of three books prior to this one.

35 thoughts on “Books for Adults

  1. Allenda Moriarty

    I am not grieving right now, but rejoicing the loss of five pounds as a result of Montezuma’s revenge. Some losses are easier to accept than others.

    Like

    Reply
  2. Tony Moriarty

    We all need to remember there is no one best path to recovery from the loss of a loved one. My path is not yours; yours is not mine. We know we’re doing OK so long as we have a path, no matter where it leads us. The point is the path.

    Like

    Reply
  3. Judy King

    I sure wish I could have found a book like this when I was grieving the loss of my fiance. There wasn’t a hospice group in the area, we had moved there not long before he became ill, so we hadn’t made friends yet, and I was so alone, with no one to talk to about what I was feeling. A few months after he did I thought I’d gone into early onset dementia — I couldn’t remember anything. Then I found a grief group and learned that everyone there had the same problem. What a great service you are providing with this double-faced look at grief.

    Judy King

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. grieflessons Post author

      Thanks, Judy. People have been going through the experience of grief for as long as there have been people–and I imagine it is just within our lifetimes that grief support groups and organizations have come to be. Good friends do a lot and perhaps are enough in some cases, but at other times–I think the most helpful and comforting support comes from someone who has been through what you are going through. We are lucky we’ve survived to live in an age when it is okay to talk about such things.

      Like

      Reply
  4. audrey

    If you have lost someone this book will open up your mind and your heart to deal with things you did not at the time. I can stuff things back about as good as any one but while reading Judy and Tony’s book it brought out feelings I had not dealt with. There were several crying jags and could not finish reading but to be picked up again later. I , too lost my husband then within a month moved to Mexico, it was the best thing I ever did especially since one of the first people I met was Judy. I would say for about the first year I was In Mexico I could not talk about my husband with out crying and I am sure making every one around me uncomfortable. There were so many similarities in Judy’s story and mine it was like going to therapy, also made me realize feelings that I had not allowed myself to feel. Judy has a way with words that will make you laugh and cry. I loved her book and will purchase one so I can read it again. Thank You Judy for having the fortitude to write this book.
    Audrey Zikmund

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  5. grieflessons Post author

    Audrey. You were so brave when you came down that no one would have guessed you had lost someone–even me, if I hadn’t been told about it by a mutual friend. It goes to show that we can’t always know what someone is feeling. I’m quite an observant person and I don’t think I ever saw you break down. You seemed determined to get the most out of life that you could and not to inflict your own pain on others. I guess the first time I knew what you were going through was in your response to my book. I am so glad to have struck a chord. I can’t guess what other people go through. I can just face up to how I felt and what I did and hope it can be of help to others–especially my friends. It’s a truth of life that we get closer through hard times and that once we reveal the things we fear most to reveal, that it usually brings people closer to us. oxoxoxo Judy

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  6. grieflessons Post author

    Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to study it. This is my 9th day of blogging and I have much to learn about navigating the blogs. So far I’m having trouble trying to find any way to comment on other people’s blogs…Something simple I’m missing, I’m sure. Glad I found this place to thank you!!! Hope to see your name again….

    Like

    Reply
    1. grieflessons Post author

      It is at the formatter’s. I’ll let you know. I’m in the process of choosing an illustrator for my “Sock Talk” book. Do you remember that I wrote that for you loooooong ago when I sent you that box of crazy socks? For years, people have been saying I should publish it as a children/adult picture book but I could never find an illustrator. Finally decided to bite the bullet. I’m negotiating with four different professional illustrators–all of whom have many books under their belt. It will be expensive, but I just want to get that goal accomplished. Three other rhymed children’s books–all completed but never published– will follow if I find the process is successful. This feels like the year to accomplish big goals.

      Like

      Reply
      1. Cintra L. Godfrey

        Okey dokey, I’ll check back! I’m delighted to hear that Sock talk is going to press. That was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. You gave me two pairs of shoes as well!

        Like

  7. Patti Dykstra Arnieri

    I’ve spent this morning reading your poems and the comments on them (isn’t Ann remarkably insightful? She’s another woman who has a way with words). As always, I love your writing and love seeing how others respond to it. I’m so proud of you. xxoo Patti

    Like

    Reply
    1. grieflessons Post author

      Yes, as I’ve told her, she captures every nuance. Makes a writer feel so appreciated to have someone look so closely at their work, internalize and experience it. Are you ready to proof my next book? It is only 14 pages long, luckily–finally, the much-shelved “Sock Talk” will come to bookstores and Kindles near you!!!!

      Like

      Reply
  8. mariaholm

    I would like to get your books too. I have battled with grief also in different ways; nearly losing teenage children to the consequences of addiction and emotional disturbances, still having to manage full time work as if nothing was wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. lifelessons Post author

      They are all available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, and I think there should be a link on my Books pages. I hope if you do read them that you’ll write to give your further thoughts on the themes…I love these comments almost as much as the writing…especially if they turn into dialogues. Thanks for reading and commenting, Maria. Judy

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. mariaholm

        I love to find people like you to exchange thoughts with. I will buy them via Amazon.uk as there is a lot of tax if we in Europe buy from .com
        We can’t get Kindle here, but a regular book in your hand is very nice

        Liked by 1 person

      2. lifelessons Post author

        I’m surprised you can’t get Kindle. Do you know why? Would you believe I’ve never read a book on Kindle? I do listen to books on audible while I’m driving, in the studio or falling asleep..Best way to do two things at once. Doubt my books will ever be on Audible, but you never know…Judy

        Like

      3. mariaholm

        In Denmark we have E-books, but I remember that I have tried to order some in the kindle form from Amazon, but could not. Ordinarily books are so good for me as I hear classical music nearly always

        Like

    2. lifelessons Post author

      Maria. I hope by now that if you have read my books that you will comment on whether they have been a help to you. This blogsite quickly evolved from one dealing primarily with grief to one celebrating the joys of life, but it is all part of one process. I’d love to hear how you are doing now and what you have found to be of help in your life. Best, Judy

      Like

      Reply
      1. mariaholm

        You should only know that I lost track of you and had to write a few days ago on the common blog roll #blogging201 if any body could help me to find you. I got the answer very quickly from an English blogger and then found that I was already following you. I had looked through nearly a hundred bloggers that I follow. So I have not yet ordered the books. But so happy to know where you are.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. lifelessons Post author

        What synchronicity that I should contact you out of the blue just as you were searching. I’ll look forward to your comments after you read the books. Thanks for being so diligent in your search, Maria…Judy

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Ronovan

    If I were not so backed up on LitWorldInterviews with Book Reviews and Interviews I would want an interview with you. Still do. If you could email me at ronovanwrites (a) gmail (dot) com I would like to keep in touch and have another proposal as well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  10. 49lilykatz

    Thanks for writing your book, I need this kind of support right now, The sudden loss of my husband hurts. I’m looking forward to a story from another survivor. Hope matters,

    Like

    Reply
    1. lifelessons Post author

      There have been so many deaths in my life and the lives of my friends lately. I hope the book is of some benefit.. Writing resolved so any issues for me and reminded me of so much I’d forgotten.

      Like

      Reply
    2. lifelessons Post author

      Have you written at all about you husband’s death, Lily? Even if you choose not to share it with anyone else, it can be so cathartic.. and a way to think about your husband in a positive vein. Even if you are writing about the most heartbreaking of details, when you finish you have made something out of your pain..There is a satisfaction in finding even the smallest amount of positive in the most negative situations. Don’t mean to lecture.. just remembering some things learned at a great cost.

      Like

      Reply
      1. 49lilykatz

        I actually blogged about it right here the morning after it happened. It’s called “A bit about my better half.” Not my most coherent post, but it did help to spew it all out. I keep writing about it here, because it seems to help.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s