An Uplifting and Enjoyable Read

MagnoliaStoryThe Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines (Author: Mark Dagostino)

Summary:  The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today.

Recommended:  Yes

Review: The story is told primarily by Joanna Gaines with asides by Chip (her husband). It’s the story of how they met, dated, married, and had kids all the while building their various businesses.

The book reads like one of their “Behind the Scenes” episodes on HGTV. You can definitely hear their voices in the story telling. (Mark Dagostino did an excellent job in hiding his own voice to let the two stars of the book tell the story in their own words.)

I learned several interesting bits of personal facts about Chip and Jo that I had never read in any blog or Internet article, nor did it come up in any of their TV shows. Overall, I found the book interesting, warm-hearted, and rather uplifting.

Jo mentions her faith as carrying her through some of the troubled times that she and Chip ran into, but rather than being preachy, it was simply a statement of fact. Although, I am more spiritual than religious, I found her statements appealing, and I realized that her faith—in God, in Chip, and in herself—really are the back bone of why she and Chip have been able to do what they have.

So, if you enjoy an uplifting, “You Can Do it, Too,” type of story or if you are just a fan of Chip and Joanna Gaines, then this book is for you.

About the Authors:

Mark Dagostino:  He is a #1 New York Times Bestselling co-author, and a former Senior Writer at People Magazine.

For more information and to see more of his work, be sure to visit Mark’s website,; and Mark’s Author Page on Facebook (search @MarkDagostino.Author).

Chip and Joanna Gaines:  You can visit their shopping site About page ( for more information.


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Increasing Your Intuitiveness

An interesting (and fun) exercise to increase your intuitiveness.


Do you wish you could make more positive choices? Do you often make a choice in your life, and then wish you could undo it?

Increasing your intuition can help you identify which choices will lead you to that path in life that you really want to follow.

One of the easiest (and rather fun) ways to develop your intuitiveness is to very similar to some of the fun parlor tricks that people play at showers and birthday parties.

It requires at least 2 people (1 person to set things up, and the person working on developing their intuitiveness).

The set-up person gathers four distinctive images of easily identifiable objects or situations (such as a birthday cake on a table full of confetti, a picture of the Eiffel Tower, an image of a beach ball in a swimming pool, and a photo of kids playing jump rope). Out of sight…

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What Comes After Death?

Escorting the Dead

Cover Design by DL-Design and Digital Art

Having had a near-death experience (as described in my book, “Escorting the Dead”), I would say that what comes after death is more life. It may not be life in a physical form, but it is still life.

We are not the body we wear…or at least, we are not just the body we wear. We are also energy and spirit and that doesn’t die. That part of us continues on to have more and wonderful experiences. There is so much more to life than just the world we see. I’ve been there; it’s stupendous.

My experience started with a bike ride. A van ran a stop sign and sent me flying. I remember seeing the pavement approaching fast, causing me to think, “Oh boy, this is gonna hurt…” Moments later I landed with a hard whump. I slid across the tarmac, and the bits of gravel tore at me like teeth. There was a loud screeching sound (I think it was me), and then just grayness.

Vague shapes and colors faded in and out, and that horrendous caterwauling continued to fill the air making my head ache. A hand came out of the misty colors and touched me, but I felt nothing. Why, I wondered, can’t I feel anything?

As I pondered that, I realized that my point of view had changed. I seemed to be watching everything from the side of the road. I was standing up; yet, my body was still lying on the ground. I saw the driver of the van talking on his cell phone, and I realized that his passenger was the person leaning over me…or rather leaning over my body. What captured my attention, though, was the intensely bright column of white light shining out of the top of my body’s head. It was mesmerizing.

I was spellbound by the glow. I really needed to touch it. I was compelled to touch it. Before I realized what I was doing, I had drifted over to where my body was. I reached out toward the light, and whoosh! I was sucked up the column of light like an envelope in a pneumatic mail tube.

The feeling of being pulled upward lasted seconds. Then there was a gentle calmness. I was suspended in that light. It was like being in the womb—timeless, weightless, and endless.

I drifted this way for an indeterminate length of time before I became aware of a vastness around me. The light no longer encapsulated just me. It had spread into an immense space with no topography; nothing you could call landscape. It was just a featureless limitlessness of white light. The only thing memorable about it was the emotional quality of it.

There was nothing frightening about it, nothing that would cause me a moment’s hesitation about staying there. It might seem that an apparently sterile environment bathed in an intensely bright white light would be harsh or cold, but this was definitely not that. It was anything but hostile or austere; instead, it was serene and loving. As I stood there enjoying the wondrous joy of acceptance and love, the intensity of the love increased. Soon, I was swaddled in a blanket of tolerance, approval, and love.

There are no words for how I felt. I can try to explain how loving this place was, but words just can’t do it justice. It was a place so filled with acceptance and love that you would never want to leave. I felt as if I had finally come home; that I had finally found the one place where I fully belonged.

While I stood in awe, just relishing the marvelous kindness, acceptance, and love that surrounded me, I noticed a glow of golden light ahead of me in the distance. (Although, I speak of time and distance, there really was no sense of either of them while I was there. Things simply were as they were when they were. It is only now, as I try to find words to describe things that I find I try to fit my experience into acceptable terms of time elapsed and space covered, but while experiencing this event, I had no feelings or sensations of distances or time.)

The golden light seemed to create a second area, an area beyond where I was in my white light. I felt an intense need to move toward that second, more golden light. The musical undertone that I had originally noticed, appeared to emanate from that golden area, and I so wanted to get closer to it.

As I moved toward that music, the loving acceptance grew stronger and my need to immerse myself in that golden light intensified. I came within steps of that golden border, but was unable to advance any further.

In front of me hovered a being comprised of little more than golden light. It stood exactly on the border between sections blocking me from advancing any further. Although humanoid in outline, there were few features other than large dark eyes and fingered hand-like appendages. It shimmered and vibrated as if in sync with the music coming from the golden area.

As we studied each other, a ball of blue-white light bounced through the air and hovered near my right shoulder. I felt that it was sentient, though I’m not sure how or why I came by that conclusion. I somehow just knew by looking at it that it was a thinking, living, creature. I also knew simply by looking at it, that it did not want me to go beyond the line where the two lights (white and gold) met. And neither did the golden man-creature.

Looking at these creatures, I became convinced that they were some sort of guardian or guide for this sacred place.

The golden being touched my shoulder, and my mind filled with images, colors, music, and words. Some of the message I readily understood. However, other parts seemed to slide past my conscious mind before I could comprehend the ideas or concepts.

At first, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to comprehend and remember everything. The information came too fast and so many of the ideas were complex and would take time to process. But, the information flow paused, and I saw that none of the information was lost. It had simply slipped into my memory where I could recall it when I needed it. Only that which I would need in the immediate future was being held in my conscious mind.

The information flow continued for a few more moments, before changing. It went from a flow of more general knowing to a barrage of faces, of people I didn’t know. Some of the faces appeared happy, while others appeared to be ailing or in pain.

The images shifted again, turning into scenes of individuals dying in fearful and lonely situations with no one to give them comfort and reassurance. Some of these people never found their way to the afterlife; while others did. But, instead, of finding love and acceptance when they arrived, these people were surrounded by nightmares, anger, darkness, and sadness.

Confronted with all that hurt and sorrow, I started crying. The tears streamed down my face, while the message continued. I was told that I could help people like them. I could ensure that everyone crossed over with understanding instead of fear; that I could be one of those designated to help people transition from physical life to spiritual life…but only if I wanted to.

I think I opened my mouth to ask some of the thousands of questions that now filled my brain. However, before I said a word, I heard, “All the answers to any questions you might have regarding this task are now within your grasp. You need only look inside and the answers will be there.”

I’m not sure what my faced conveyed, but I felt confounded. I took a step forward, but was blocked by the glowing orb. The golden being stepped back, and the glowing orb hovered in front of me. The orb touched my forehead, and a flow of music and images formed a picture that said, “You need to go now; it’s not your time.”

Disappointment filled me. To make me leave this place of love was so cruel. I wanted more than anything to join them; to learn how to sing and create the music with which they communicated. Most of all though, I wanted to remain in that cocoon of loving acceptance forever.

Again, the orb touched my forehead, and I heard, “Later…later, we promise.”

Suddenly there was a horrible shrieking sound that pierced my head, and a man in a brown uniform was asking me questions—do I know what day of the week it is? Do I know my name? I stared at him uncomprehendingly. He asked again, and I answered slowly, unsure of where I was and what had happened. When I tried to sit up, the pain made me gasp, and the memory of the wild ride on the front of the van rushed back.

Other people in different uniforms surrounded me. I was poked, prodded, lifted, and strapped down. I couldn’t move even had I wanted to. The man in brown finally stopped asking me questions, and I closed my eyes in relief. My eyelid was lifted and a moment later a light pierced my eyes. This made my head ache abominably, and I closed my eyes again.

There were lights and noises; echoes and shouting; and when I opened my eyes the sight of the ceiling rushing by made me dizzy. Once more I closed my eyes and tried to focus on what had just happened, or what I thought had just happened.

I knew I’d been in an accident; I had the aches and pains to prove it. But what I wasn’t sure about was the whole other reality thing and the beings of light. Was that real or did I suffer some sort of hallucination?

As I tried to recall exactly what had happened in that fantastical other world, the more unreal it seemed. The most real aspect of it was the emotions that I had encountered and experienced. The emotions had been so real that I could feel my whole being light up just from the memories of the intensely positive and loving blanket of acceptance that had surrounded me there.

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Live Your Best Life…


…Through Energy Manipulations and Life Readings

  • Do you suffer from chronic, unexplained mental or emotional pain?
  • Are you depressed?
  • Do you repeat patterns of negative behavior?
  • Do you attract the same types of people into your life?
  • Do you feel blocked or stuck in your life?Are you having repeating dreams or nightmares?
  • Do you want to know what lessons you chose for this lifetime?
  • Do you want to know what past life issues are influencing your health and well-being today?
  • Are you ready to look at your health through different eyes?

If you answered “Yes,” to any of these questions, then it’s time to take the next step.

Book a session at Tas Readings to…

  • Feel revitalized
  • Understand your dreams so you can make informed choices in your life
  • Identify past life issues that may be affecting your mental, emotional, and spiritual life
  • Gain clarity of purpose
  • Relieve stress and anxiety
  • Experience what it feels like to be balanced and in tune with yourself

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Who Will Come for You?


All of us have an interest in what happens after we die. Even those who proclaim that nothing awaits us still secretly wonder if they’re right, or if there really is another world ‘out there’ somewhere.

As someone who has visited that other world, I know there is more to our reality than meets the physical eye. Jen Engevik wrote about her quest to find some answers when she questioned her dying mother as to what and who she saw awaiting her.
Escorting the DeadIf you have questions and you wonder just what is waiting for us on the other side, read Jen’s article and take a look at my book, Escorting the Dead.



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Tas Readings — Available Now by Invitation!

Tas-Readings Header 7c.pngFor over 40 years I’ve done life readings, dream interpretations, and auric healings and balancings for friends, relatives, and people recommended to me by my friends. Now, I’m finally going to offer those services to everyone.

At Tas Readings I will offer personal life readings, energy manipulations (aura healings and balancings), and dream interpretations. I also offer posts on general readings I’ve done (like those posted at my Insights and Awareness site), and other articles of interest to seekers of the light within.

Tas Readings will go public at the end of the month…for now if you visit, simply click the Ask for an Invite link to get access.

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Listening vs. Reading


To create audio-books or not to create audio-books, that’s the question. (And my apologies to Shakespeare.)

Audio-books, at least according to many publishers, authors, and book reviewers, are quite the rage lately, but they’re also quite costly to create (unless you went with a traditional publisher and gave them the rights to create an audio-book for you).

However, I’m wondering where the day-to-day, normal reader stands on the issue. Do they prefer written words or spoken words?

I know when I was a kid, even into the first few years of grade school, I loved hearing adults read to me. I would close my eyes and envision the world being described—the sights, sounds, and smells of it. I would see the characters come to life in my head. It was like watching a movie only I got to decide what the ‘actors’ would look like and dress like. However, somewhere around second or third grade, I found out that I could read faster on my own, and the faster I read, the more stories I could enjoy. That’s when reading out loud lost its fascination and appeal for me.

Even now, when I try to listen to a book, I find my attention wandering within fifteen minutes. The voice of the narrator becomes just some background noise, and the story is eventually forgotten as I shift that ‘noise’ to the back of my mind.

If I’m in the car, I will switch to a music station (but then, I don’t much like talk radio, either). If I’m at home, I will start playing solitaire, reach for a real book, or work on some home repair project. The next time I take note of the audio-story, five or more chapters have gone by and I have no idea what is happening in the book. And it doesn’t matter who the author or narrator are, what the story is about, or even the genre of the story. I have tried at least a dozen different audio-books and it always ends up the same:  me returning the audio-book to the library so that I can check the book out in a format I can actually read.

When I have brought up the topic of audio-books vs. reading real books with my various friends, they usually look at me as if I’m some alien life form. They simply can’t imagine driving to and from work, working out, or even doing their tasks at work without being plugged into an audio-book. To them, it’s tedious to have to decipher the words on the page when there is someone willing to read it out loud to them.

Having worked in corporate adult education-type settings, I understand that there are different ways to learn and absorb information. Some people are visual, some need auditory input, and others need some sort of participatory action or interaction to retain information. So, I have to wonder…has the population become more auditory-based? Maybe I’ve been so buried in my own little word-driven, physical book world that I failed to notice the switch. If so, does that mean I, as an author, need to focus more on creating audio-books and less on reader-based books? (But even reader-based books come with audio features—did you know that most e-reading applications have the ability to read the story to you?)

So, what is the truth? Is it better as an author to stick with the traditional formats of words only and publish our books as paperback and e-books, or are readers more inclined to listen to a book rather than actually read it?

I think I know the answer, but I would really love to hear from some readers out there:



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