To Everything a Season by Danica Sorber Is Always In Season

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

I review many of the books I read, and I love reading everything from classic literature to Sue Grafton whodunnits to Stephen King horror. And I love reading good poetry.

But our own Mama Posse member, Danica Sorber, hasn’t written just good poetry but a fabulous, soul-searing tribute to the seasons of the earth and of our lives.

To Everything a Season is more than just pleasure reading. It harkens back to the days of classical antiquities, a blend of Blake and Shelley and Whitman and Bryant…it’s the kind of poetry our kids may be studying in school in a hundred years.

Sorber takes us on a journey through the seasons with poems attributed to Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Equinox and finishing with a section of Dialogs that reveals her dedication to her Christian spirit. Sorber, who studied at the Word of Life Bible Institute and Baptist Bible College, is a mother of three. In addition to her recently published book, she is also a copywriter and freelance writer whose works appear on MomsGetReal and

To Everything a Season was published by Tate Publishing and is available for purchase through the publisher’s house as well as on Amazon.

Reclaim Your Life with Help from The Barefoot Executive

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

My kids do not remember what it’s like to have daddy get up in the morning and leave for work every day. They barely remember my last atrocious boss, who convinced me that corporate servitude was highly overrated when he told me I could not use my sick leave to care for the kids when they were ill. He was wrong, HR agreed with me, and they financed the six or eight weeks of severance pay that helped me launch on my own, from home.

Like Carrie Wilkerson, the experience of working for myself, on my own schedule has made it impossible for me to ever even contemplate returning to a regular 9-5 job. And while my husband left his corporate job (when they ‘dissolved’ his department) and returned to school to become a school teacher, the recent implosion of the economy has made it unlikely that a regular teaching job will be as easy to come by as we once assumed it would be.

It’s a changed world, and while there are issues – health care, politics, unemployment, war – that prevent it from being Utopia, technology has leveled the playing field to a point where working for yourself is at least as promising as taking that 9-5 job in the cubicle jail cell.

When you need to know where to start, how to stay motivated, and how to determine your best course of action, The Barefoot Executive by Carrie Wilkerson is absolutely the best book to launch you on your way. In some ways, the book mirrors the same motivational rhetoric you’ll hear from any number of sources. It’s what makes it different that makes it such a worthwhile read. Wilkerson talks to you in a plain and simple, I’m not your mom or your boss, if I can do it so can you way that simply grabs hold.

I’ve been running my own business for the last 5 years full time. I’ve had enough success to support my family, allow my husband to finish his undergrad and complete his graduate education, and to experience an amazing sense of accomplishment. But more than that, I have been here for the moments that matter with my kids.

We are never going to return to the days when everyone happily heads off to work every Monday morning and spends the week filling the pockets of a corporate CEO. Those days are quickly receding into the past. If you’re ready to make a change (or your company has downsized you into needing a change) The Barefoot Executive is THE place to start.

In addition to a well-written, informative narrative, the book includes worksheet space, links to online videos, case studies, and action steps that will have you taking the steps necessary to be in control of your own life and financial future.

I received a copy of this book through Living Your Moment in order to provide my honest review. You can read by full FTC disclosure here.

Swine Not by Jimmy Buffet – Highly Recommended Reads for Dads and Daughters

Getting Real With Anika Bruce, age 9

I read a book called Swine Not by Jimmy Buffet. It is my dad’s book, and he read it too. He liked it a lot and so did I.

The book is about a pig who is trying to find her brother. It is hard because she lives in Tennessee and he lives in NYC. The pigs’ names are Rumpy and Lukie. Lukie lives in NYC. Rumpy’s owners are Barley, Maple and Ellie. Rumpy likes to play soccer with them, but they need money, so Ellie got a job in NYC.

That made Rumpy very happy, because she thought that she would have a chance to find her brother. But that did not work out. When the man at the Five Star Hotel found out that Rumpy was living in the hotel with her owners, he banned exotic pets, so B had to hide Rumpy.

That made her upset because she would not be able to find Lukie.

Then she found pigeons that new Lukie and said he looked just like her. Now, for me, it is funny because Barley and Maple are twins and Rumpy and Lukie are twins.

Well, the pigeons said they would look for him, and weeks later, they found him.

So she got into the dog suit that Maple made and she went to the zoo. When she got there it was hard to get through because there were a lot of people. But then it started to rain. So when Rumpy found shelter she waited for the rain to stop. When the rain did stop, Rumpy went back on her search. But bad things happened. The suit shrunk and she ran into the butcher. The butcher cut her on the nose but she went on. But first she went into hiding.

But then she smelled smoke.

Rumpy went to see what it was and she saw a fire! But she also saw an old woman who didn’t know about the fire and was close to it. So Rumpy went up   and tugged on her skirt to warn her about the fire. After that Rumpy went home. The next day,  Rumpy was better. But that afternoon did not go well.

The butcher came and said he was going to kill Rumpy   with her favorite food. Chicken fingers. But she was not going to give up. Rumpy pretended that the butcher’s plan worked. But then she sprung into attack.

…if you want to know the rest of the story, you should read the book. Jimmy Buffet makes great music, but he writes awesome books too!

No Excuse, Sit Stretch Smile Makes Yoga Accessible

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Yoga intimidates me. Snug, revealing clothing. On the floor in positions that I haven’t been able to do since I was 20. Ridiculous need for flexibility.

Yet Yoga draws me, too. The peace and tranquility that are associated with the practice. The increased flexibility and mental clarity that come from it.

But you won’t find me heading to a studio anytime soon to humiliate myself in front of the “skinny” girls. No way.

Thankfully, Dr. Howie Shareff came along and created Sit Stretch Smile.

Not only is it Yoga for true beginner, but it is Yoga that can be done from a chair – a much less intimidating prospect than the floor pretzel.

Sit Stretch Smile by Dr. Howie Shareff is a clearly written, easy to understand and follow book about learning Yoga exercises that improve your health and flexibility, help you manage pain, and achieve a less-stressed state – from a chair. All of the exercises are designed to be done from a chair, with a serious focus on breathing and slow, conscious movements.

The book is accompanied by a DVD in which many exercises are clearly demonstrated from a variety of views, making it easy to ensure that you’re maintaining the right posture and performing the exercises adequately.

No one disputes the value of Yoga as a form of meditative exercise that improves the mind, the body, and the spirit. Dr. Shareff simply makes Yoga accessible to those of us who, for whatever reason, have been less than willing to embrace the benefits Yoga offers. From the privacy of your own home, with the only prop being a chair that lets you put your feet flat on the ground, you can now experience the fabulous benefits of Yoga yourself.

Dr. Shareff achieved certification as a Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga Teacher in 2008. He’s advancing his studies under the mentorship of Cindy Bulka at Moving Mantra Yoga Studio in Raleigh, N.C. In 2010, Dr. Shareff re-established his business as the non-profit organization, You Call This Yoga, to facilitate public education of the benefits and practice of gentle Adaptive Yoga programs. In 2011, Howie received Level 1 certification as a Restorative Yoga Teacher from Judith Lasater RYT, PT. For more information about Dr. Shareff and to purchase his books and materials, please visit his website.

I was provided a copy of this book in order to offer my honest review. 

Dr. Shareff has generously offered to give a copy of his book and DVD to one of our lucky MomsGetReal fans as part of our New Year, New You Event.

FTC Disclosure.

Contest rules.

Entry form.

Planet Fassa Creates a Book that Engages Kids

I might be able to adequately evaluate a product or a book, providing my readers with some insights into why I like it, but when it comes to books for kids, the best way to find out whether or not the book is worth its salt is to hand it to my kids.

That’s just what I did with “Where In the World Am I? Fassa’s 52 Weeks of Fun!” from Planet Fassa.

Anika is participating in Book-It this year and is dedicated to reading not just 20 minutes 5 days a week but at least 20 minutes every single day of the month. Including holidays. With her reading time at hand, I asked her if she’d take a look at “Where In the World Am I?” and let me know what she thought.

20 minutes went by. Then 30. Then 45.

That alone makes the book worth it, because Dave and I rarely get 45 full minutes of uninterrupted evening time to enjoy a conversation or show together. Ever. Right there, the book would probably earn the endorsement of this desperate mom whose kids are at that awkward “we’re too old to need a sitter but young enough we’ll kill each other if you leave us alone” stage.

But then, when Anika DID come out, book in hand, to excitedly show me how, when you get to page 10 you have to flip to page 27 to see this great picture (that you can color yourself!) and read page 28 and THEN go back to page 10, I was sold.

The book is created to encourage kids to interact, pay attention, read, and think. It engages them to be thoughtful. Anika is 9 and loved it, but my 11-year old thought the weekly activities would be fun to do and younger kids would be just as enamored. When they say it is a book for kids from 3-93, I believe it.

“Where In the World Am I?” was so engaging for Anika that she read the entire book in one sitting and wanted to start again. When I explained to her that flip side of the book had weekly activities that she could do, her first remark was, “When will volume 2 be out? This is awesome!” Luckily, there are many volumes available from Planet Fassa. Visit their bookshelf to learn more.

That it comes from a company dedicated to helping parents raise healthy, happy kids and provides 52 weeks of fun for a very reasonable price, I’d highly recommend it. And, according to Amazon, if you request 2-day shipping (free for Prime members) it’s not too late to add this to your Christmas list.

Planet Fassa provided me with a copy of this book so that I could offer my honest review. You can read my full FTC disclosure here.

A Tool for Teens to Help End Bullying – A Life Changer

Getting Real With Shada Bruce

Jennie Withers and Phyllis Hendrickson teamed up to create an amazing resource for teens and their parents to help put a stop to teen bullying. With bullying affecting more than half of all teens, the problem has become an epidemic.

Withers is a graduate of Boise State University and taught high school for several years before focusing on writing full time. She is also the author of Hey, Get a Job! Phyllis Hendrickson has a master’s degree in education and more than 14 years of experience as a high school counselor. The two have created a book that will help teens and their parents:

  • Recognize harassment – bullying, sexual harassment, stalking, hazing and cyberbullying
  • Understand harassment laws and how they protect victims and punish harassers
  • Identify your passive, aggressive or assertive personality types
  • Discover what your personality type has to do with harassment prevention
  • Learn how to become assertive and how to maintain an assertive personality
  • Know strategies that work and those that won’t when dealing with harassers or bullies
  • Read stories and quotes from real peoples’ experiences
  • Complete activities designed to help you prevent harassment
  • Prepare to become a person who is confident, happy and successful!

The book is targeted to teens and includes workbook pages that allows teens an outlet for some of the things they’ve experienced as well as tools to handle bullying, report it, and make it stop.

Included in the book is an entire section for parents (and teachers and communities) that provides them with tools for recognizing bullying when it happens, intervention techniques, and methods for supporting bullying victims.

Withers and Hendrickson have put together an incredibly helpful resource that can truly have an impact.

This book was provided to MomsGetReal so that I could provide my honest review.



Need a New Book for the Nightstand? This Is It!

Getting Real With +Shadra Bruce, Owner of +MomsGetReal

English Idioms And Expressions For Everyone, Yes, Even You! by Reza Mashayekhi is a fabulous compilation of all the things about the English language that make it so difficult to learn, even for those born to it, which is why I recommend this book not just for those who are learning English as a second language, but for anyone who enjoys expanding their vocabulary.

Just because you can’t hear yourself think doesn’t mean you have to throw the baby out with the bathwater because you’ll probably be caught red-handed and end up spilling your guts.

As a sometimes French translator, it’s often these English idioms that make a good tranlation so difficult. Having this reference to quickly see another way to say the expression is useful. It’s also very helpful for my language-obsessed son who is always asking us what things mean. And, it makes great bathroom reading for those who indulge in that moment of quiet.

Every idiom you can think of, from “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” to “Zip it!” are included in the book, which explains the meaning and often provides a sample sentence in addition to the definition or other, related idioms. There is also an extensive index in the back so that you can look up the idioms you find most troubling.

English Idioms And Expressions For Everyone, Yes, Even You! retails is available at Amazon price or directly from for only $13.95 where 10% of proceeds are donated to Direct Relief International.

A copy of this book was provided to MomsGetReal so that I could provide my honest review.


The Original MBA by Sandy Weaver Carman – Good for Life and Business

You can win a copy of The Original MBA by Sandy Weaver Carman from MomsGetReal!

How many of us rely on the words of our own mothers rattling around in our heads to get us through every situation? Sandy Weaver Carman’s book, The Original MBA, (also available on Kindle) combines the pieces of advice she received from her mom over the years into a blueprint for successfully running a business – and a life.

Carman’s style is direct and straightforward, making the book a fabulous & delightful read that not only pays homage to her mother but will have you appreciating yours a little more as well. Whether or not you own a business, the advice and stories in the book are simply wonderful – it’s a curl up and feel good book.

Constructed in such a way that it links childhood lessons with real-life adult experiences, the book is set up to allow you to rely on it like a workbook to improve your own success in business and in life. Each section of the book is named after a room in a home, and the book includes a number of “chores” readers are assigned to help reach their own level of success.

The advice is down to earth but incredibly meaningful and useful, with tips about all kinds of things, including:

Making boring and dreary jobs more palatable (working your way up)

  • Managing your schedule (project management)
  • Being comfortable in our own skin (rising to the top)
  • Working less, but getting more done (efficiency)
  • Taking time for you (prioritizing)
  • Connecting with others (networking)
  • Communication skills

The Original MBA is the kind of book you’ll want to keep within reach so that you can refer to it when you’re having a rough moment – with your kids, your mom, or your boss.

Sandy Weaver Carman provided MomsGetReal with a copy of her book so that I could provide her with my honest review.

The Best Gift is One of Love, or a Good Book…or Both!

Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad happens to be from South Dakota – the Black Hills, where my mom and her family are from, so from the start I felt a strange connection to this woman and author who was born in a place that is so clearly defined in my childhood memories. The fact that her birthday is in October, like my mother’s, simply deepened my odd feeling of connection to this woman. She even likes purple lilacs, which are my favorite.

But what really makes her book “stick to my bones” as my old poetry prof would say, what makes me want to share this book with you so fervently, is that she writes how we try to here every day – she gets real.

When I created MomsGetReal, it was out of a sense of frustration that motherhood was somehow a role that was on a pedestal, that by virtue of being a mom, I couldn’t really be anything else, and that because I was a mom, I had to be a perfect mom all the time, and that somehow, being a woman got lost.

Well that’s just a bunch of hooey.

So what I love about Lois and This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage is that she talks about how wonderfully happily married she’s been to her husband of 60+ years without glossing it over into some kind of unattainable fairy tale. She talks about how she didn’t even believe in happily ever after or loving someone forever because World War II had just ended and it wasn’t certain in anyone’s mind that there would be a forever.

She talks about the rough spots, when the whisper of divorce echoed through their home:

“How did we get to this miserable place? Where was ‘happily ever after now?’” she writes.

She talks about how she pulled away from her husband after losing her left breast to cancer and needing to simply focus on her own life, priorities, and grieving process, and about how guilty they felt for laughing and celebrating their 60th anniversary as her sister lay in the hospital dying of pancreatic cancer.

This Path We Share is very much a story of love, but it’s not a love story. It’s real. It’s full of the real-life challenges and moments that many couples walk away from rather than work through and endure. And of course, it’s the working through and sticking together that strengthens a bond enough to allow it to last 60 years.

It’s a book in which I find comfort in re-reading passages just to connect with the deep love and respect of their relationship, and for reassurance that even when Dave and I are going 60 miles an hour in opposite directions and can’t do more than fall asleep together with a quick good night for nights on end,. I hope you’ll read it, and even more, I hope you will get an extra copy to share as a gift.

Lois provided me with a copy of her book so that I could provide my honest review.

Treat Yourself to Some Spooky Excitement for Halloween

Getting Real With +Shadra Bruce, Owner of +MomsGetReal

I live in an almost 200 year old house. With Halloween coming, the darkest recesses of our basement and other tucked away areas feed our imaginations more than normal. We’re split about 50/50 in our family on believing in ghosts. Dave and I started joking about our house being haunted when the TV would turn itself on and off in the middle of the night; more than once I would almost swear I’ve seen a shadow of someone moving quickly around the corner and out of view when I’m home. With as much history as there is connected to the home, including, we think, being a part of the Underground Railroad, it’s easy to get caught up in the fever of ghosts and hauntings.

Fueling that fever in the midwest is Beth Cooper, author, radio host, and historian. Not only has she written a fabulous  book, “Ghosts of Kansas,” in which you will read about the ghostly librarian who moves books in the state capitol, but added another spooky title to her repertoire with the release last month of “Wichita Haunts.”

Wichita Haunts” explores the haunted history of Wichita, introducing readers to Shadowman the friendly
ghost Belle. Weaving historic details with entertaining tales of ghosts and hauntings, Beth Cooper adds a real treat to the spooky season.

Offering additional spooky entertainment perfect for the Halloween season or any time of year, Beth owns Paranormal Adventures USA, offering tours of the most haunted places in Wichita and other communities in Kansas and Missouri.


Beth Cooper provided MomsGetReal with two $20 gift certificates in sponsorship of the All Treats, No Tricks Halloween Bash. No monetary compensation was provided.