Archive for the ‘Special Edition’ Category

BLOGWORDS – Wednesday 12 July 2017 – SPECIAL EDITION – LOOKING GLASS LIES and SHAMING – PART III – the great clean up… continues


Parts one and two are posted here:





It’s still a work in progress, and last week this author was down…



First a new med that knocked me for a loop, then my knee—NOT the new one—ballooned like a cantaloupe! I was down for the count more days than not…


Still, progress is progress, it’s just slower than normal. The previously mentioned little green bins now have a nice sealer coat of ModPodge, and three of the four are in use.












And drumroll please…


The State of the Shredables


from this…


to this!


I think I filled eight shredder baskets!!!


Doesn’t feel like I got so much done, and I really didn’t. But it’s still progress no matter how it creeps along. (I am writing, though, too, so there is that… )




#Blogwords, Special Edition, Looking Glass Lies and Shaming, The Great Clean Up… Continues, #vulnerable, #4Nina, #ShameonShanty, #BEYOUChallenge, #IMATTER, #IAMWORTHIT, #dreamhouse, #ONLYGOD, A Work in Progress



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070416 - special edition - banner






I haven’t always been a history buff. Don’t really know that I qualify as a full-fledged history buff now. I do know I love history—and wish I had enjoyed it half as much when I was in school…..


That said, I do know the basics of major historical events. Like the American Revolutionary War. Britain was being mean and we the people (see? I do know some good bits!) were fed up!




In reading / reviewing articles, it occurs to me that King George III was getting complacent with Britain’s world dominance. I mean they had territories all over the place, right? Besides North America, including Canada, they had Australia, India, parts of Africa, the Far East AND Antarctica! That’s a lot of real estate!



Some interesting highlights I came across:


  • The French (on the heels of the French and Indian War, remember) became allies of the Patriots (that’s us.) Spain and the Dutch later joined French forces.
  • We all know about the Boston Tea Party, but the Townshend Acts placed taxes and duties on things like paper and glass, and moved to regulate trade to the minutest detail.
  • Us peons were called revolutionaries, Patriots, Whigs, or Congress-men. And of course, Americans.
  • One thing I had not realized was even in question at the time, was slavery. In the years following the war, some states abolished slavery.


The Declaration of Independence



  • Thomas Jefferson is credited with authoring the document but was actually part of a committee of five, appointed by the Continental Congress. The others on the committee were Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman.
  • Robert Livingston declined to sign the Declaration, stating that we as a foundling nation were not ready to take such action.
  • A total of 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence. Eight of those men were born in Britain. None were Americans at the time, as America did not yet exist.
  • When a copy of the document reached New York City, a riot broke out, ending with a mob destroying the statue of George III.
  • The oldest member to sign was Benjamin Franklin, who was 70 years old at the time. The youngest, aged 26, was Edward Rutledge.
  • The Declaration of Independence is housed at the National Archives in Washington D.C. along with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.


South Carolina’s role in the American Revolution



  • The British apparently didn’t give much credit to Patriot forces in our state. Savannah (Georgia) and Charleston fell to British troops, with the British hoping to gain followers as they marched north to engage in the heart of the battle—the northern colonies. The British, however, were unprepared for the fierce patriotism encountered in South Carolina, and found themselves battling the war on two fronts.
  • Francis Marion, Andrew Pickens, and Thomas Sumter are heroes of the Palmetto state, leading “modern guerilla warfare” throughout the state.
  • One of the “turning points of the Revolution” took place at the Battle of Kings Mountain in Blacksburg, SC. South Carolina backwoodsmen rallied and banded together against the British, diverting the British army from their intended destination.
  • The Battle of Cowpens followed on the heels of Kings Mountain, costing the British both lives and supplies, and ultimately leading to Cornwallis’ defeat at Yorktown.
  • Nathanael Greene led a new Continental army in battles at Hobkirk’s Hill, Ninety Six, and Eutaw Springs.


“The war may have begun and ended in Charleston, but it was won in the forests and swamps of the back country,” historian Walter Edgar wrote in The South Carolina Encyclopedia. 1




America, we’ve stood strong for 240 years, I say here’s to another 240!!! Happy Birthday America!!



070416 - happy birthday







1 – http://www.statehousereport.com/2016/07/01/brack-south-carolina-played-critical-role-in-american-independence/








Blogwords, Special Report, Celebrating Our Nation, American Revolutionary War, King George III, South Carolina Battles, Declaration of Independence, Happy Birthday America


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BLOGWORDS – Wednesday 28 June 2017 – SPECIAL EDITION – LOOKING GLASS LIES and SHAMING – PART II – the great clean up… continues





It’s a work in progress, and here’s the latest.


If it looks like a “spot the difference” puzzle, maybe it is. Blankets and sheets got folded from first pic to second. Box on the left in top pic was sorted through, the majority of which went in the trash, a few to the shredable, and the remaining in the smaller box in the second pic. The detritus on the floor is paper scraps from said large box, some by aging, some from cats who love to claw the corrugated box. (another reason i’m getting rid of all corrugation!)


The piles of boxes have come from the spare / guest room, the smaller ones of which are for shipping copies of my books. (anyone wanna copy???) the laundry basket was sorted and moved back in the bedroom. (that’s kinda perpetual) Oh, and the string n stuff??  Kitty toys of course!!


From this:


to this:

forgot to get the pic earlier…


The green and yellow trays will get a coat of ModPodge and find a home in my office-nest.


I also got some sorting done in the kitchen. I have four 16” wooden cubes that I use as my microwave stand, and food cupboard. I rearranged and organized that and now it’s much easier access (cans were on the bottom, very hard to get to.)

Not sure why I have so many cake mixes…  One, though, is brownie mix—might need to make those as my reward!!!  nom nom nommy nom  #chocolate




#Blogwords, Special Edition, Looking Glass Lies and Shaming, The Great Clean Up, #vulnerable, #4Nina, #ShameonShanty, #BEYOUChallenge, #IMATTER, #IAMWORTHIT, #dreamhouse, #ONLYGOD, A Work in Progress




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Does Shanty’s BE YOU Challenge Really Make a Difference?


I suffer from depression, but fortunately, it only hits me every few years. And usually it’s triggered by something that happens in my real world: the birth of each of my babies, a move to a new town, marriage troubles, etc. I don’t typically spiral into the dark places unless I have something that triggers the initial rotating vortex. But then? Wow, do I go into an out of control tornado!


It’s been more than ten years since I was in my worst “episode.” But I remember the feels like it was yesterday. Overwhelmed. Hopeless. Desperate. And oh, so negative. I felt like I was worthless, and because of that, I developed a horrible habit of negative self-talk. Let me tell you, a bad case of depression doesn’t need negativity on top of it. Whatever miracle cure I tried was thwarted by my internal thoughts. Eventually, I was able to overcome, but it took much longer than was necessary because my brain was adding fuel to the problem.


Of course, there is no miracle cure for depression. It just takes a LOT of work and possibly some medication. In my case, I was in therapy, I was reading lots of self-help books, I was talking to friends who had been there, and I was medicated. The combination worked, but it took a long time. Years, in fact.


And to tell you the truth, each of the tiny parts of my recovery seemed miniscule when I was doing them. I wanted a quick fix to make it all go away, so I would be back to my normal self. My therapist would give me assignments to do at home, but they seemed incredibly shallow, like a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. Little did I know that even Band-Aids will eventually staunch the flow of blood if you use enough of them.


One assignment was for me to write down all the things I’m thankful for. When I received this assignment, I’m sure I thought it was pointless. What difference could it possible make? But I did the exercise regardless. I’m a rule follower and a good student, so there’s no way I could leave a task incomplete.


I grudgingly snatched my spiral notebook and scribbled down each of my children’s names. So there. Assignment done. But even in my shadowy state, I knew my therapist wouldn’t want me to stop there. I added my husband, my parents, and in-laws. Then I added numerous other family members and friends. But still. Probably not what he had in mind. I looked around the room and jotted down my soft bed and pillows, then the antique furniture that had been a gift from my parents, then the kids’ artwork on the walls. I looked out the window, and realized I was appreciative, not only of the sunshine and blue skies, but also the rain the day before.


Next, I wrote down our back yard where the kids were playing on their playfort, and I jotted down our house which—even though it had its problems—was spectacularly snug and comfortable. We struggled with finances, but our refrigerator and pantry were always full, and we had two cars in the driveway.


But those were just things and stuff.


My family loved me. A lot. So did my friends. So I wrote down love. And once I started thinking about intangible things, I got on a roll. Forgiveness. Tolerance. Grace. Mercy. Kindness. Health (even though my mental health was in question, my and my family’s physical health was good). Spirituality. I had God in my life. I was leaning on Him … no, clinging to Him like a lifeline, and even though I couldn’t always feel His presence, I knew without a doubt, that He was there with me, holding me, and leading me back to safety.


I glanced down at the now full page in my spiral. The first few items had been written with a hard hand, denting the paper. Not that I was angry at my children, but I was angry at the assignment, and the depression, at the need for writing things down when I just wanted my quick fix. But after the first few items, my hand had lightened, and the writing was softer, hesitant, almost questioning whether or not the list could be real. And by the time I had reached the bottom of the page, the words were messy and scribbled, because I had been writing so quickly. There were so many things for which I could be thankful.


I leaned back and inhaled deeply. That’s what my therapist had been planning all along. To show me that my world was larger than my current problems, and that I would eventually dig my way out of the hole I was in, and find myself back in the sunshine. And my world of happy blessings would be waiting there for me.


It’s been over ten years since I wrote that list. Probably I still have it in the bottom of a closet somewhere. I’m not sure, but no matter. I remember it. Even now while I’m walking in sunshine, I think back to that exercise and many others. All the lists I made, all the miniscule exercises I completed, all the Band-Aids I stuck on my wound … they all made a difference in my recovery, and each of them healed a tiny part of me, and helped me to be less critical of myself, less negative, and far more gracious to myself and to others. And I thank God for those little assignments.


Varina Denman writes stories about the unique struggles women face. Her award-winning Mended Hearts series, which revolves around church hurt, is a compelling blend of women’s fiction and inspirational romance. Her latest novel, Looking Glass Lies, released in May. A native Texan, Varina lives near Fort Worth with her husband and five mostly grown children. Connect with Varina on her website or one of the social media hangouts.


LGL book trailer: https://youtu.be/L4K-bolCE2k











#Blogwords, Special Feature, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Varina Denman, Looking Glass Lies, #forNina, Shanty’s BE YOU Challenge

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I’ve been doing a week long feature on the topic of shaming—and overcoming that shame. Varina Denman’s novel, Looking Glass Lies, is a profound look at shaming, specifically body image. This book impacted me more than perhaps any other work I’ve ever read.


And today, I go to the Source of our image, our identity, and our recovery from all the world’s affliction—the Word of God.



Let that sink in. We are created in the image of God Almighty. He made us like Himself. I am not God, we are not gods, but we are like Him.



That’s a line from my new novel, The Long Shadows of Summer. God sees us as royalty. The world tells us otherwise.


I remember vividly a counseling session with a pastor friend. The lies were so embedded in my mind, in every fiber of my being. Lies spoken through my mother’s voice. Mother. The one who is supposed to nurture us. The one voice we instinctively trust.



I posted that last week. Lies embedded in me for years, decades. But God. His Word, and only His Word uprooted and unseeded those lies.


And have replaced them with Truth.



I.am.wonderfully.made. Father didn’t just throw some old scraps together and say, “Yeah, that’s good enough. It’s just Robin. It doesn’t really matter…”

No, He made me with excellence and consideration, intention and purpose.



I am the work of Father’s hand, his handiwork, His masterpiece. Or as a tagline from years past, God don’t make no junk. Everything He creates is a masterpiece, done in excellence and perfection.


I can walk tall and proud because that’s who He made me to be. That’s who He created each one of us to be. The enemy will never quit trying to pull us away from Father, out of His hands. But the good news is, neither with our heavenly Father quit holding tight to us, even when we turn away from him. Even—perhaps especially—when we believe the lies.


Truth prevails. God’s Word prevails and triumphs. It always has, and it always will.


I leave you with this, which is part of my daily devotions and confessions.




#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Special Edition, In His Image, Looking Glass Lies, Varina Denman, #4Nina, #vulnerable, Genesis 1:26-28, Psalm 139:14, Ephesians 2:10

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1 – Make a list of things you like about yourself. Name at least five.

1 – My (warped) sense of humour. I love to bring a smile to someone when they’re having a rough day. Or when they’re not. Any time, basically.

2 – Piggy-backed on that is encouragement. I spent so many years depressed and in despair I can’t stand to see someone else there, even for a moment. I offer a kind word or a smile, or God’s Word when the opportunity is there. (by the way, bashing someone with Scripture is not encouragement.)

3 – I am tenacious and resilient. Watching a movie years ago, I thought if I found myself in the situation the character was in I’d give up. Even then, Holy Spirit whispered to me, “No you wouldn’t.” Okay then!

4 – I am kind and generous. I share what I have when I can. Funny thing about that, though. Father always gives more back to me.

5 – I am an empath. I’ve known this longer than I even knew what empath means—a person with the paranormal (I prefer supernatural as in Holy Spirit) ability to comprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual. I’ve said for years I can “read” other people, I “get” what others feel and why they think or feel as they do.

6 – I am talented. Wasn’t long ago I couldn’t have said that publicly. Of course I’m biased, but I love my writing. My design projects in college received recognition and accolades. (one is on the college website still) I’m a hella actress, and have the accents to prove it. (also the empath bit) I’m aces with the memes.

7 – Maybe my favourite—I am confident. I didn’t used to be. I didn’t used to like me, but I can say without conceit, I’m pretty cool.




2 – Write and tell yourself you are beautiful and amazing. Then tell yourself why.



3 – Write about a mistake you made and how it impacted your life in a positive way.

There is a plethora I could choose from but I’ll take the biggest and most notable: I got married. That in itself was not the mistake; the mistake was (at least) two-fold: I was too young and I married the wrong person. If that sounds simplistic, it’s not.

It wasn’t my age so much as my need to be liked—I thought it was love but didn’t have a clue what love truly is. And if I thought my self-esteem was low… let’s just say I married down, meaning my husband’s self-esteem was lower than mine. However veiled my vision, I did have faith and I did have some knowledge of God’s Word in my head if not my heart.

I ended my marriage after six and a half short years. But not before Father gave me the three most precious and priceless gifts I could ever have—my kids.


Do you remember the show, Fantasy Island? Visitors to the island were granted a visit to an alternate reality and at the end of the show, they had the option to keep the life they had, or step into the alternate. Of all the episodes, only one stuck with me. A young woman had married one of her two best guy friends, and was now a widow. Her fantasy was to see what life would have been like if she had chosen the other guy. (it had not been a love triangle, the three had all been friends) At the end, she was walking through the jungle from her cottage to tell Mr. Roarke she wanted to have the alternate life, in which her husband didn’t die, in which they had an exciting and exotic life together. As she walked along the path, she reached to idly fidget with the locket she always wore. But it wasn’t there. It wasn’t there because it held a photo of her daughter. A child she didn’t have, wouldn’t have had, if she had married the “other” guy. Her decision took on a new weight, and she chose to live with her grief as a widow because to do otherwise meant choosing not to have her daughter. (I’m weeping as I write this)

I have felt much the same way. For all the times I’ve wished I had been wiser, had waited—had been more mature, had been a different person entirely, not to mention my husband—all those wishes wished away my children. (and now my two beautiful granddaughters.) For all the hell I’ve lived with and been through, nothing—nothing—could make me wish my kids away. Nothing could make me regret being their mother. And nothing will make me give up fighting for them. (and no I don’t mean custody, they’re grown. I mean spiritually)

See, the insecurities I dealt with (or failed to deal with) transferred to my kids. I didn’t know communication, therefore I couldn’t teach communication. I didn’t have healthy self-image, therefore I couldn’t teach them to have a healthy self-image. I had no confidence, therefore I could not pass long any degree of confidence. Nor did I have the confidence to talk to them about things that matters: sex, drugs, faith, God. I didn’t have confidence to face conflict.

But God. He is and has always been by my side. And as I have come into identity in Him, not only has faith taken off to soaring heights, but so has confidence. And so, too, is my family being restored. Broken foundations beget broken, well, everything. For all the years I “patched” the brokenness, the dam finally broke and my family fell apart.

But God. Again. I am witnessing restoration, things I could never manufacture. Things that aren’t my job to manipulate. But God. He can and will and does. And I know that what He is knitting together, the patches and broken pieces renewed, is more beautiful than what I tried so hard to preserve under the guise and pretense of “I’m okay.”

See, now I am okay. And now I can let go and let God. And now, I know without a trace of doubt that the three most precious and priceless gifts I could ever have, are still mine. And nothing can take them away from me.




4 – Make a list of people who have committed offenses against you. Then forgive them.

NOTE: The first Scripture that spoke to me way back when I was 12 years old was Matthew 5:43-48, You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?  Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

That’s kind of the epitome of forgiveness, and I have chosen to forgive each of these. Guess which one is the hardest?


My mother

My father

My ex husband



the guy who raped me


My second grade art teacher (see below)





5 – Write about a time in your childhood when you didn’t feel good about yourself.

A time in my childhood? How ‘bout all the time in my childhood? The first episode I remember was in second grade art class. It must have been December because we were making snowflakes, you know where you fold the paper then fold it again, and snip out bits. I was so excited I jumped up (raised my left hand) and told the teacher I knew how to make them. Her response cut me deeply and left a scar that took years to mend—she said, “Fine, do you want to come teach the class?” And it wasn’t an invitation. It was a “Sit down and be quiet, you’re bothering me.” So I sat, and be’d quiet… for years. I felt no one wanted to hear what I had to say. I felt that nothing I had to say was of value to anyone else.

Holy Spirit has healed that wound, and as I mentioned above, I now have confidence in who I am and what I do.


There’s this Cinderella moment—I was about 12 years old and it was my job to wash dishes after supper. Not so unusual, I was the oldest. And I’m a girl. But while I was in the kitchen up to my elbows in dishwater, my brother and sister were in the living room being silly with our parents. By the time the dishes were done it was time for our TV shows (in the days before cable) and then it was time to get ready for bed. One night, I had a hang nail and I deliberately cut my finger with a knife to get out of doing [the rest of] the dishes. Funny thing, now I like myself I’m okay doing the dishes!



6 – Close your eyes and think about self-esteem for a while. Write whatever comes to mind.

Confidence. It’s the first thing that comes to mind. Knowing my own worth sounds like a clinical definition, but it’s true. And for me that is wrapped up in knowing my identity which is only found in Christ. I can only explain self-esteem by sharing how I have come to love myself and that is in learning who He created me to be (a writer by the way.) As I grew in my identity as a writer, I have grown in confidence. And that goes beyond “just” my writing. I am not intimidated to speak to a stranger when I need to, I’m good to offer random words of kindness to people I don’t know. And I’m astoundingly comfortable talking about my stories—to complete strangers!

You see, as I grow in my spirit, my soul and flesh follow suit.

As Holy Spirit pours into me, all trace of self-doubt, self-recrimination, self-hatred dissipates and vanishes. It’s like the dark—it can’t exist in the Light.




7 – List things for which you are thankful. Keep going until you can’t think of any more.

My kids.

My grandgirls.

My friends

My kitties

Seafood, ‘specially scallops

Pasta, rice, bread, potatoes – my four basic food groups


My health, even with the RA and struggles

My new knee (February 2016)

My writing

My faith and my journey

My church

Irises, Shasta daisies, poppies

Trees and rivers and mountains

My dream house (that I designed)

The promises of God

The Word of God (which is basically the same thing)



Indoor plumbing!


Rain #amapluviophile



Also green



Basically all modern conveniences and technology

Long hot soaky baths

Grab bars so I can take long hot soaky baths (technically so I can get out of a long hot soaky bath… )

Essential oils and bath salts for the long hot soaky baths

Chocolate, did I mention chocolate

This list is infinitesimal…

8 – Jot down the names of three people who could use a hug today.

Maggie (my daughter)


Donna (BFF)


9 – Draw a picture of YOU, being as kind to yourself as you would to your best friend. (although I am an artist, words are my best “brush” and I chose to draw a word picture, like describing a character in one of my stories)

Joy radiates from her, and her smile lights up a room. It’s the first thing you see when you see Robin. Unless it’s her crazy purple-red hair. She says her hair is psycho, has a mind of its own, but it’s so cute. Short little bob that curls one way then the next, maybe it is a little psycho. She’s tall and while not skinny, she is not a cow as she sometimes claims. She has curves that are well earned with years and childbirth and no small bit of hell thrown at her. Her hands are crooked and bent (she says they’re ugly) but she doesn’t let that stop her from doing what she wants to do. She finds or makes a way—or something entirely new to Robin, she asks for help. Time was, she couldn’t do that. She stands tall and walks tall because she had learned, is learning, who she is; she walks with confidence. Also because she has a new knee—total knee replacement last year—and she can walk tall and not hunched over. (or in pain)

Confidence looks good on her, best dress ever!

10 – Write about something that made you happy in the past year.

Another from a long list—Father has just opened up those windows of heaven. But the most precious moment in the past year was when my son came to see me. As I mentioned above, my family has been broken; my sons have not spoken to me in over three years. #1 big guy has conceded some via Facebook, and primarily significant events, like when he moved and his new job. He doesn’t live far from me, maybe 20, 25 miles. So when he was out my way with a friend several weeks ago and #1 son mentioned how close they were to my house, said friend asked how to get here. I didn’t know until I saw the truck pull up outside. They didn’t stay long, but it was IS one of the most precious, priceless moments of my life.

Oh, and yes, I got a great bear hug from the man child.


I challenge each of you to take Shanty’s BE YOU Challenge. Share with me if you’d like, let me know you did it, and share any part of it you feel comfortable sharing.


My friend, Amber, gets pretty transparent over on her blog as well. Stop by and give her a shout out.




#Blogwords, Special Edition, Looking Glass Lies and Shaming, #BEYOUChallenge, #vulnerable, #4Nina, #ShameonShanty





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For most of her adult life, Cecily Ross has compared herself to other women—and come up short. After a painful divorce from her emotionally abusive husband, Cecily returns to her hometown of Canyon, Texas, looking to heal.

But coming home isn’t what she expects. In a town as small as Canyon, her pain is difficult to escape—especially with her model-perfect ex–sister-in-law working at the town’s popular coffee-shop hangout. With help from her father, a support group, and an old friend who guides her to see her own strengths, Cecily may have a shot at overcoming her insecurities and learning to love again.

The true test comes when tragedy strikes, opening Cecily’s eyes to the harmfulness of her distorted views on beauty—and giving her the perfect opportunity to find peace at last.


I woke up in the middle of the night in our cavernous walk-in closet. Again. For a moment, I enjoyed the wispy memory of a not-yet-forgotten dream, but then I realized the plush carpet had become solid rock while I slept, its gritty fibers pressing against me as though I were wedged into a sandstone crevice instead of willingly tucked against the back wall beneath my hanging clothes.

Pressing my palm against the ivory carpet, I dragged myself out of the corner, sat in front of the mirror, and squared my shoulders as though I no longer needed to hide from reality. As though I’d be all right without Brett. As though his divorce papers fit neatly into my fairy tale.

“You can handle this,” I said to my reflection. In a few short hours, I could start a new day, build a new life, create a new me.

I could go back home and start over. People in my hometown wouldn’t be surprised things hadn’t worked out between Brett and me—they had said as much when we’d started dating in high school. After a while I could settle into the complacent solace of small-town life, lick my wounds, and become invisible among the laid-back community that Brett had always deemed unsophisticated.

“You go, girl.” I lifted my chin, but the girl in the mirror didn’t seem convincing.

No matter. That’s what I would do tomorrow . . . or next week . . . or maybe next month. Okay, so it might take a while, but at least it was a plan. And it was a heck of a lot better than crying in a closet. Like a baby.


rem:   Hullo Varina, congratulations on your new book! What a powerful story! If you could live anywhere in any time period, where would you go?

VARINA:   I’d love to visit Europe around 1800, but only for a day or so. Actually, I’d like to step directly into Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Wouldn’t that be fun? But not for long … no indoor plumbing or central air. 😊

rem:   Right, for all the romance portrayed, some bits were not so lovely… (can I go with you?) Where did you find this story idea?

VARINA:   I’ve struggled with low self-esteem for years, so the idea for Looking Glass Lies came from my own journey. However, the specific details of Cecily’s life are nothing like my own. Instead, her plot is a combination of sad twists that I’ve heard about over the years.

rem:   Then you know why this resonates so with me. Who was the easiest character to write and why? The most difficult?

VARINA:   Cecily was the easiest because I totally “get” the whole self-esteem thing. Marinda was the most difficult, probably because of my insecurities when I’m around strikingly beautiful people. It took me a while to relate to her.

rem:   See above response… It took me years of progress to reach “low” self-esteem… What do you munch on while you’re writing / researching / editing?

VARINA:   Granola bars, apples and peanut butter, nuts, sugar-free chocolate

rem:   Oh such discipline! Oh so healthy! What do you do to recover once you’ve typed “THE END?”

VARINA:   I sleep late, catch-up on house cleaning, and redirect my creative energy toward all the Pinterest projects I’ve been putting off while on deadline.

rem:   What lovely recovery treatment! Thank you again, Varina, for visiting my blog—and for writing your wonderful stories.


Varina Denman writes stories about the unique struggles women face. Her award-winning Mended Hearts series, which revolves around church hurt, is a compelling blend of women’s fiction and inspirational romance. Her latest novel, Looking Glass Lies, releases in May. A native Texan, Varina lives near Fort Worth with her husband and five mostly grown children. Connect with Varina on her website or one of the social media hangouts.


LGL book trailer: https://youtu.be/L4K-bolCE2k









  • Not only did I still believe the lies … they consume me, heart and soul. – Cecily Ross
  • The barbed wire tattoo, coiling and circling my arm, was just like his vibrant personality that had tightened around my heart until it drew blood. – Cecily Ross
  • I woke up in the middle of the night in our cavernous walk-in closet again, while my husband slept soundly in our pillow-top king, just on the other side of the closet door. Good grief, I had to stop doing this. – Cecily Ross
  • He pressed his cheek against my forehead. “Your heart is full of love for Nina, and disgust for the people who hurt her, but still … you need to pay attention to what’s happening in there.” He tapped my chest. “Respect your feelings.” – Cecily Ross and Graham Harper
  • I wanted to tell him I was sorry, that I had been a silly fool, that I understood now. But none of that mattered, and for the first time, I could truly say, This is not about me. – Cecily Ross
  • Shanty looked the same, but different. Her creamy brown skin (a mixture she got from her African American father and Asian American mother) was set off by frosted makeup. I had forgotten how pretty she was, but surprisingly, I didn’t find her intimidating. – Cecily Ross
  • I hated that phone. Despised it. It was full of videos Brett didn’t want me to see, websites he claimed he hadn’t visited, pictures he made certain I never had access to. I couldn’t compete with all that. Evidently. – Cecily Ross


A poignant and relatable novel, Looking Glass Lies captures the war women wage against themselves, and the struggle to see beauty reflected in a mirror not distorted by society’s unrelenting expectations.


Few books have impacted me as deeply as this one. What woman, at some time in her life, has not looked in the mirror and questioned something, everything? And what woman has not believed those lies, at least once…


Cecily Ross believed those lies. Not only when she looked in the mirror, but every time her husband looked through her. Every time he looked at “perfect” images online. The scars on her body were not at his hand, but her own.

Through the strength of desperation, Cecily flees her marriage and returns to her home town. But solace eludes her—the lies have followed her and her battle continues.


Will the encouragement of her father and an old friend be enough to pull Cecily from the mire of self-hate? Will the support group help her see past the lies to the truth? The truth that all women are beautiful?


The story and characters on the pages are fictional but the reality of it is not. Cecily—and Shanty and Nina—could be any woman. The depth of the wounds is very real and this reviewer knows the devastation of self-hate. Ms. Denman has portrayed Cecily’s story in a very real light, the struggle she faces with every thought, the determination to get better—and the hopelessness of the seeming impossible effort.

This reviewer—I have overcome this battle but at random moments those thoughts creep up, trying to take me down again. I am armed with the Word of God—I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and I am His masterpiece, created in His image—in my arsenal. And I take that stand for every woman who has ever looked in the mirror and believed the lies.



I received a free copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.


#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, New Release Event, Looking Glass Lies, Varina Denman, #forNina, Shame on Shanty


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