Jean awakens a little earlier than usual.
It is the morning after her ordination. She really is a minister, a dream, a goal she has had for several years.
She sits down in her favorite rocking chair with her morning cup of coffee. This has been a ritual for some time, coffee,
contemplation and meditation.
During this contemplation, Jean goes over the beautiful ceremony and the joyous
celebration afterward. Her daughters, grandchildren, old friends, new friends, and most of the congregation were there. She
was still in a state of bliss.
While preparing for meditation, lighting a candle on her alter, placing the cushion
on the floor; Her thoughts were on her granddaughter's question. "Grandma, how did you ever decide to be a minister?
Did you want to be a minister when you were my age?"
Jean had answered, "You know, I don't even
remember what I wanted to be at your age."
Jean began her meditation. As thoughts began to fade away something
was very different. Usually there were beautiful gaps of no thought - only the unexplainable feeling, the moments of knowing
a connection to Our Loving Creator.
This day Jean heard a familiar voice. Not really a voice, more like a musical
sound, but this time words she could understand.....
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My Journey with Cala: A Spiritual Awakening - by: Carol A. Hanson
By: Brenda K. Gibson
I just finished reading My Journey with Cala.
I was reminded from the beginning of the novel to the end of how our childhood can influence our lives throughout. Child molestation
was probably more common than known, but either swept under the carpet, or possibly hidden in this instance. When Jean's
mother was asked to leave the hotel/apartment because of the owner, she thought him crazy and there was no connection between
what really occurred and her perception of the owner, but then, why should there have been. Had she known about Jean what
would she have done?
Jean's journey into alcoholism began just because drinking was what everyone did. But
then later, she drank to hide her hurtful feelings, and feelings that she didn't understand. Throughout it all, she managed
to raise her children, although like most of us, there were times she was shocked at her actions. But, like most of us, the
children lived and flourished regardless of our actions, intended or unintended.
How she went through all the
things she did, and still managed to survive was astonishing! I was so glad to get to the end of the book and read how she
finally was able shed all the secrets she had been hiding all her life. Once she was guided to AA, and the other groups that
were there just waiting to help her; to be able to listen to her inner self (or soul as she describes it) she was able to
I loved your book. I was really drawn into
your story; the characters and the history of your childhood (or lack of childhood) in North Dakota. The background was so
different from mine and yet there was a similarity in the story ... loneliness, betrayal and especially the feeling of abandonment.
Still being raised in London, I envied those who lived in the countryside: those wide open meadows and hills, finding hiding
places in the brush, I always thought that was the perfect life. Yet, no matter where you are raised, there's always the
hunger for something more or different; especially, if you were abused by those you trusted ... nothing can make that okay!
Still, eventually we grow up and we face more challenges than those that a "so-called normal family" go through.
Anyway, you said it beautifully in your story! In the telling of your story, you were speaking up for all those
in our generation that had no voice. You give myself and others a voice and the impetus to tell their stories ... even if
only their grandchildren read them. Perhaps, one of my grandchildren will be the keeper of the family memories and life in
the 1940s might interest them. Either way, just writing it all down will enable me to "purge the memories that live in
the background of my mind and surface in my dreams".
We all will make the journey.
As Carol Hanson's first book, she has a success on her hands. I might have been stingy with my stars, but that does not
take away from her achievment. There is a fierce honesty about the life told in "My Journey with Cala."
When you read a line like, "A chill ran down my back, I was feeling that awful feeling of being different than I wanted
to be. From somewhere I managed to find the words to convince him that..." well, that is when you want to find out -
and turn the page.
Hanson writes in a clear and readable style. I enjoyed the read. The journey in the book could
not go much higher, nor reach much deeper. After reading the book, I think you will agree with me: some lives should come
with a seat belt.
I couldn't quit reading
this book once I started! The story grabbed me and kept me interested enough to stay up into the wee hours of the morning
so I could find out what happens in the end. I ended up feeling really grateful that I didn't have to endure as many struggles
as Jean. And relieved that she found her true path in the end.
I could relate to this book on so many levels;
being brought up on a farm, and in a small town, a gal that likes to be the life of the party, being a mother, a wife and
also having similar spiritual beliefs to the author. This book took me back through memories of my life as a child, and as
a woman, that I totally forgot about. Thank you for the memories and the inspiration to find my own path (not a path that
is all about what others think "should be").
I also appreciated the hindsight that Cala had by stating
what was real versus Jean's perception at the time. I'm now more aware that we see one side of the story and that
is simply one view. What we think may be a story that we made up and told ourselves until it became real to us.