Iraq is grateful   9 comments

Latest news: President Trump has issued a new executive order limiting entry into the U.S. from six Muslim-majority countries. This time Iraq wasn’t included, and those with Visas and Green Cards are protected.

Clearly this is a relief after the broad sweep of the first order. So Iraq is grateful, as are the others with legitimate entry documents.

Is this an example of the little finger principle?


There are those who like what the President is doing, and those who don’t. But whichever side one takes, arguing about his character or sanity is of only limited use. The problem is, such attacks on the person serve to lead us away from the issues.

Seeing behavior as the acting out of a crazy person diverts us from the behavior itself. Just one example. Wise manipulators know how to lead us into thinking something is acceptable by exposing us first to the unacceptable. So, the first executive order banning immigration led to chaos and – fortunately from my point of view – active resistance. The next one will seem calm and well considered – much “saner” by comparison — moving us in the direction of seeing the idea of the ban itself as closer to normal and acceptable.

And there you have an effective strategy. Like the fictional college letter home, the manipulator starts by exposing a series of terrible events so the request for more money – or whatever – at the end – seems like a minor issue.

Or there’s the horrible image that occurred to me halfway between sleep and waking this morning. The wielder of the knife aims for the wrist, ready to cut off the whole hand. Then changes course and cuts off the little finger instead. Now he’s not so evil as he seems – maybe even generous. Only a finger instead of the hand.

And little by little, the non-normal begins to seem normal.

Posted February 22, 2017 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized


The following is a conversation I just had via Twitter with a person who reviewed “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses.”  The end result is permission to include the review here on my blog.


Mona: I’ve been reviewed on American Amazon and on British Amazon. I think this is the first time I’ve been reviewed on Indian (?) Amazon. Would it be OK with you if I posted your review on my blog where more people would see it? And am I right that it’s Indian? Thanks

Shraesta: You are right I’m an Indian. I’m honored if you post my review on your blog. Happy to have such an author. Loads and tonnes of love to you and your book.


This review is from: Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses: A Love Story (Kindle Edition)

Main protagonist of the book Dara,just grabs my heart with her innocence, love,and attitude.This story captivates your hand and heart not allowing you to keep down your device.Every women must read story which plots about family,friendship,husband,children’s,in laws,society, maids who plays a vital role in one’s life.I just wanna thank the author M.G.Affinito for her style of writing and vivid descriptions.I could feel and see them in my mind’s eyes and appreciate the beauty.The banter between characters were neatly penned down. Just go grab the story and enjoy into the world of Figs&pomegranates&Special cheeses.Pure candid love story of a girl.”


Aside from being pleased with this review and permission to repeat it here, I can’t help commenting on my admiration for people of different native languages who can read and enjoy in one not their own. Would that we Americans were so able.

And feel free to check out other reviews of “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses.”

American Reviews

British Reviews

Posted February 21, 2017 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized


I hear the tune of that title in my head as I write it. Anyone else out there so old that you remember it?

Anyway, I’m just so wrapped up in writing “My Father’s House” every chance I get that I haven’t been good at keeping in touch with you, my blog-reading friends. In fact, I haven’t even finished getting my Egypt photos in order.

And now I’m being blatantly self serving, but I want to share some recent praise Mrs. Job has been receiving re “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses.”

Amazon seems to be doing something new with the reviews, listing the most recent on the right hand side. I like that. I don’t have to ask you to go searching.

So, if you have the time, please take a look at a couple of them copied here. Or, you could read all 38 reviews by going directly to amazon.


on January 18, 2017
I absolutely loved this book and it was a true pleasure to read. The language and style of the writing are so warm and descriptive that the reader feels as if they are there along with Dar and Job and the other inviting characters. I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to lose themselves in a beautiful, atmospheric and thought provoking work of historical fiction.
on January 12, 2017
Gustafson has taken the biblical story of Job from the old testament and retold through the point of his wife Dara. I love this the perspective shift and that the story is told through the point of view of A WOMAN NOT A MAN. The unique point of view is worth reading, as is experiencing every stage of the story of Job from beginning to end.

Posted January 23, 2017 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

LATEST REVIEW OF “FIGS … “   8 comments

I’ve been having so many delays since my monitor went back on me and I had problems getting, installing, and working my new one. My writing – even my e-mailing and my walking a half-hour each day–  is way behind.

But I do have time to share this latest review of “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses” posted on amazon on December 4.

“Wow! What a great book! From the title, I was a little apprehensive because it didn’t seem to describe a book I’d like to read. The title came together later and was very appropriate. I was captivated from the beginning, I loved the main character Dar. She was strong and aware and thoughtful and faithful as well as a good friend, wife and mother. I love the story of Job and this story was a nice addition to the things about Job I already knew. I would have liked to know more about Job and Dar’s children, their personalities and interests.
I think Mona did a great job in capturing the historical element of the time period, keeping the reader wanting more and building relationships with characters. I would read more from this author!
*Note: I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.”


First off: I hope you find things to be thankful for every day, and enjoy a special celebration today.

I’m still catching up after my time away, hoping that a short restful stay here on the shores of Lake Superior will help me in that project.

Just for the fun of it, I’m attaching three photos, one of a refreshment stop we enjoyed in the desert, and two photos of the scene inside.

Stretch stop — off the bus for a bit of refreshment in the desert.


This really is a photograph of the inside. Life can be colorful in the desert


Yes, I asked his permission


Posted November 24, 2016 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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I, along with almost everyone I know, was horrified by the campaign rhetoric of fear, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and hate. I physically feel the pain caused by world-wide cruelty, and fight despair over the violent hostility that’s emerged in my own United States. Yes, I was shocked at Trump’s election.

But long experience with psychology helps me see the positives in today’s turmoil. It’s all about The Shadow.

During psychotherapy, the movement to good health begins with the emergence of our Shadow side, that hidden cauldron of hatred, fear, anger, hostility, hurt, desire for vengeance, or maybe even fear of some of our own good but challenging qualities. Its forces cannot be integrated in healing ways as long as they secretly and energetically chew away at our inner selves,

So, what does that have to do with the situation now that Trump has been elected? Let’s be clear, the campaign didn’t cause the racism, sexism, xenophobia, rage, and violence, i.e. the Collective Shadow. It helped unleash it. And as a therapist I can see that as a good thing.

Good thing? Yes. When all those Collective Shadow toxins are operating outside our awareness they cause their damage without control. Now they’ve been released. It’s awful to see the monster side of our humanity being displayed, but we know what we are dealing with and we can get to work healing our country. Processing it won’t be a matter of short-term therapy. The work of change will be long and terribly painful. But as individuals we can reduce our own stress and strive toward solutions.

How? By focusing on the present and action for the future. By taking whatever personal control is most appropriate for each of us. No one of us can solve everything, but we can avoid despair (lack of hope). The lesson from successful therapy is to choose a few things on which to focus and take action based on our own capabilities. Keep informed; maybe join protest marches if that’s our thing, or perhaps subsidize others; sign petitions; donate money; write letters; make phone calls; discuss with friends and neighbors; perhaps just meditate or pray. Do something to prevent, promote, or protect the issues that concern us.

Remember, the Shadow gets hidden because all that’s good in us doesn’t want to see it. And that “good” side is pretty darn powerful. Right now the Shadow side is making a scene, but its counterforce is quietly and powerfully active.

There are more good psychology lessons to be shared as we enter this historic period. Today’s theme is The Shadow, and taking personal control.




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