I’m Writing a New Book! Diary of a Brainwashed Fundamentalist Teenager

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For years now, I have considered writing a book about my teen years, when I got swept up in a fundamentalist, almost cult-like religious environment for several years. Boy, was I a mixed up kid back then! I’m using my actual diary entries from that time to illustrate what I went through psychologically trying to be this perfect “Christian” that the church I was going to at the time said I had to be. Here is a sneak peak at the introduction to the book:

“This book is one I’ve thought about writing for a while now and finally decided to just do it. As the title suggests, this is indeed one of my own diaries from when I was a teenager and was being influenced by a fundamentalist Christian mentality that sought to isolate me from everyone around me, put fear and anxiety into my heart concerning every choice I had to make, and weighed down my conscience with constant guilt over every little real or imagined transgression.

I am using the first journal I happen to have, started when I was 14 and about to enter high school. The journal covers the time I was most influenced by fundamentalist, almost cult-like ideas.

This religion told me it was wrong to wear pants as a woman. They told me it was wrong to cut my hair or wear jewelry and makeup. They told me it was wrong to listen to secular music, go to the movies, or watch tv. The internet was evil as well. They told me it was wrong to have friends that weren’t “holy” believers. They tried to make me feel like women were simply made to be complements to men, not to have dreams, goals, or lives of their own.

This religion had me constantly fearing the presence and “possession” of demons and thinking that my future didn’t matter because Jesus was coming back soon anyway, so I wouldn’t live long enough to have much of an earthly life. They even discouraged use of “man-made” medicine because it supposedly showed a lack of faith in God’s healing powers.

I have lightly edited the journal entries to make them easier to read, but have otherwise left the content as is. I have inserted italic comments in parentheses when I felt I needed to clarify something. I did leave out parts I felt were uninteresting or just don’t matter overall. I hope you enjoy reading it and can see how fundamentalist religious environments can be extremely damaging to children and teens.”

Review of “Walk Softly, You’re Steppin’ On My Heart!” Poetry Collection

Walk Softly Book Cover As a poet myself, I am always happy to find great poetry collections by other authors. Unfortunately, in our fast-paced society, it seems that poetry has somewhat fallen by the wayside, but I feel that there is truly no more artistic, beautiful way to express true feelings than by putting them into verse. The poetry collection I am reviewing today, “Walk Softly, You’re Steppin’ On My Heart!”, written by Christian and children’s author Pat Brannon, is truly a heartfelt, touching collection of inspiring and thoughtful reflections.

The poems in this collection are undeniably Christian, full of faith and trust in a higher power, but at the same time, the poet does not ignore the rough side of life or the doubts that tend to creep in as we navigate the human life. The poems are by turns sad, philosophical, joyful, thought-provoking and always full of grace and forgiveness for a world that desperately needs a helping hand from above.

As I neared the end of this collection, I realized that it truly takes a special gift to be able to reach the human heart on as many levels as Ms. Brannon manages to do with this book. It also takes a special person to share their faith in such an open manner, without becoming overbearing or judgemental. This is a book I will definitely hold on to for those days when I need a little pick-me-up (which happens quite often in this crazy, mixed-up world).

This collection would make a great gift for someone in need of a little encouragement and inspiration. Of course, it would make a fine gift to give yourself as well! For more information about this book and how to order a copy for yourself, please visit the author’s website, www.patbrannon.com (for ordering information, just click on the “books” link on the left side of the screen).

Two Children’s Books Perfect for the Holiday Season

Since the holiday season is rapidly approaching, I am going to feature two holiday books geared for children today. Both books are written by Pat and Jason Brannon, a mother and son team who obviously have a great passion for telling children’s stories. So without further ado…on to the books!

 Our first featured book today is a storybook that is perfect for beginning readers. With large print and easy-to-read vocabulary, “Snowman War” (co-written by Jason and Pat Brannon) is a funny, enjoyable story for kids who are still learning to master the art of reading.

The theme of “Snowman War” is based around a long-standing feud going on between the Frost Family and the Winter Clan, both of which are families composed entirely of snowmen and snowwomen. When the fight gets serious, things get funny fast! I loved all the snowman banter and namecalling and am sure children will be giggling out loud as they read this tale.

However, this is not just a story full of fluff and humor. The ending makes a great point about the importance of seeing past our differences and learning to work together for the ultimate good of all. From beginning to end, this is a fun, rollicking tale full of action and humor, that still manages to impart some good old-fashioned values. A great pick for any family to share this holiday season!

 Our second featured book actually contains two stories, “The Year Santa Refused to Wear Red” (written by Pat Brannon) and “The Sound of Hope” (written by Jason Brannon).

The first story is summed up fairly well by the title. Santa gets tired of wearing red, so he decides to change his style and instead wear a fancy suit, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. I must admit the idea of Santa dressing in such an outlandish fashion had me laughing as I pictured this new cowboy/business man image that Santa had created for himself. Of course, such a huge change to Santa’s image creates a great deal of controversy. Soon, Santa has to make a choice to either go back to his traditional look that everyone loves or to stick with his new style. Luckily, he makes a good choice that brings joy to everyone. This is a story that independent readers could enjoy over and over again whenever the holiday mood strikes.

The second story, “The Sound of Hope” is a creative, uplifting retelling of the Nativity story, told from the viewpoint of one of the donkeys in the stable where Jesus was born. Although I have read the traditional story of Christ’s birth many, many times, I found that the unique angle of this story brought a fresh perspective to the beautiful story that we may start to take for granted after hearing it for so many years. This is the kind of story I would highly recommend that a family sit down and read together around the Christmas tree or in front of the fireplace. It will surely spark some interesting conversation as it tells the old, old story in a way that will bring it alive for everyone, regardless of their age.

As you could probably tell, I really enjoyed both of these holiday books and hope you will check them out for yourself, especially if you have elementary-aged children. If you would like to find out more about these books or purchase a copy for yourself, please visit the “Books” page on Pat Brannon’s website (these two books are toward the bottom of the “books” page, so you will need to scroll down a bit).