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Episode 62: My Self Help Bookshelf

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Little Cabin Knits is a biweekly podcast all about knitting, mental health, advocacy, my new mama journey, and life happenings here in the wilds of Alaska with a little bit of Hygge sprinkled throughout. I’m your host Emily. I am a knitter, crafter, mental health therapist, and explorer of my home state of Alaska

This week’s episode contains:


’Raise a Cuppa

On the Couch

On the Shelf

Personal Skill Set

A Time for Hygge

Contemplation Corner


  • Andersmillknits on IG and Ravelry

  • Between Knits and Purls on YouTube

  • You can find all the show notes on our official website:

  • If you have a question, or comment you can email me at

  • I am now an amazon affiliate! When you click on one of the products, I recommend you will be directed to Amazon, and I will receive a small commission for any products purchased. Your support helps keep the podcast going.

  • Support the podcast development through donation on my Ko-Fi account!

  • Charming Ewe is now an official Sponsor of Little Cabin Knits! Link to CharmingEwe

’Raise a Cuppa

  • We got our new carpet!

  • Jimmy now weighs 19 pounds! He's now officially heavier than Watson lol

  • Jimmy is now eating some more solid foods such as baby oatmeal and some baby food

  • We celebrated Thanksgiving over at my parents' house which was so much fun!

  • We've decorated for Christmas

  • I think we caught the last mouse in the house- to make sure I made mouse deterrent packets and put them all over

  • We are now in the midst of advent calendar season! I am enjoying opening my daily Charming Ewe yarn (generously provided by Maureen) and my swap package from Celeste. My swap partner has literally knit up a little stocking for each day of the advent it is so exciting! (Honestly, I will admit I am more excited by these then the yarn she sent for each day - not that the yarn is bad it's just that the little stockings are THAT CUTE)!

On the Couch

  • Marshland Sweater by Tin Can Knits

Yarn: Knit Picks Provincial Tweed in the Grey, Carmel, Frozen Pond, and Salsa Verde colorways (all the same colors I used for Jeremy's wedding sweater)

Link to my Ravelry Project

Link to Tin Can Knits Website

  • Beneath the Pines (DK version) by Kalurah Hudson

Yarn: mystery white worsted weight- natural fibers

Link to my Raverly projecy page

Kalurah Hudson on IG

On the Shelf

  • Charming Musselburgh by Ysolde

Yarn: Charming Ewe in the Suki Base and the July Jingle Colorway

Link to my Ravelry project page

Link to Ysolda's Website

Personal Skill Set - My Self Help

Book List

Let's start off with perhaps the most well-known author, Brene Brown. Now I do enjoy Dr. Brown's work, but I also find that some of her books are repetitive in nature. So here are my top 3 books of hers that I always recommend to people. Brene Brown has studied the subject of shame in both men and women in the different roles we find ourselves in throughout our lives whether by virtue of the sex we are born into or that we may have been forced into by society norms.

  • Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

This is by far my favorite of her books. I actually led a book club with my coworkers and started off with this book because I find it so powerful. This work is greatly empowering whether you find yourself in a managerial role or you are seeking to take back your innate power in your life.

This book really looks at what it takes to be courageous in our lives. In other words, to "Dare Greatly." Courage is something that we all have, and, in my opinion, we exhibit everyday but that we perhaps are not recognizing it in ourselves. This book helps open the door to your own courage and abilities. It provides a lot of ah-ha moments.

Some of the most powerful quotes from this work are “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” and “Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”

Brené Brown

  • Rising Strong By Brene Brown

This is her follow up book to Daring Greatly. There are some repetitive aspects to her earlier book but at the same time I feel that there is enough additional knowledge in this work that it can both stand alone and build on the work established in Daring Greatly.

The main difference in this book is that in her research she wanted to find out what the commonalities are between those she researched that exhibited courage, vulnerability and the big one: Resilience.

What I find most powerful in this book, and all her works, is that she shares the stories of those she interviewed/researched so I am reading firsthand how people overcame challenges and adversities. Their stories are what really inspire me in this book.

  • Braving the Wilderness By Brene Brown

Personally, this is my favorite works of Dr. Brown. I don't know about you, but I have always had a longing to belong. I have looked for it through friendship, love, family, and religion. In my early life, teens through early 30's, I felt very alone, that no one really knew me, and I was frustrated and at the same time scared to be truly seen by those around me. My greatest fear was that if people really and truly knew me that I would not be accepted. It was not until I went through the biggest crisis or trauma of my life that I sort of came to this place of "I don't give a d*** anymore and that if people didn't like me that was their problem." Sort of a good place to be but not really in the end. You see at that point I let go of pretending to be something I was not and was just me, the good, the bad, the ugly and most importantly, the beautiful. But I did it from a place of anger which is, in essence a place of fear.

Then I got my hands on this book and I took a deep look at myself and my actions. It was eye opening. It was then that I started my journey of gentle and compassionate self-acceptance which led to my finally finding my belonging place. I found my love, I found my true worth, I found out why I was so afraid (something that I will not share here but I know you all know what I am talking about here).

This book speaks to being your true and authentic self to not just find a place of belonging in our community but within yourself.

In the book jacket Brene writes “True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture, that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.” - Brene Brown.

This quote is what grabbed me and what had me persevering through this work even when I became scared of the answers, I was discovering within myself.

This is probably the one book in all of this list that I would say "BUY NOW!"

  • True Refuge by Tara Brach, PH.D.

Tara Brach is my favorite author. I devour everything she writes, and this book was my first foray into her works. Her style of writing is both introspective (telling stories of her own journey) and with deep insights by Buddhist monks. While I am not Buddhist, I greatly respect their gentle and embracing of self-perspective.

I actually read this book right after I finished "Braving the Wilderness" and I found so much solace in this work. Dr. Brach champions gentle self-exploration and self-love. This work provided me with encouragement but also methods in which I could still my internal turmoil and self-doubt and really hone in on my true self-worth. I wonder, as I write this now, if, in the end, it wasn't so much WHAT dr. Brach wrote, but the WAY, she wrote it and the gentle invitations she provided.

  • Radical Compassion by Tara Brach, PH.D.

Her latest release this book lives on my nightstand and has well-worn pages already. This past year I have read passages from this work almost daily. I particularly like that this book both provides information but also activities and journal prompt around the various aspects of self.

  • The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk

This book first came out when I was finishing up my masters and to tell the truth I was too scared to read it at the time. All my classmates were devouring it, but I worried what it would lead to as far as newly gained awareness within me. I was right in a way. This book was essential to my healing journey after my divorce and rape. (To be clear I am still healing). Dr. Van Der Kolk is perhaps the world's leading expert on trauma and if there is ever a book, I would recommend to anyone who has experienced trauma in their lives this would be it. I have attended multiple conferences (virtually) led by Dr. Van Der Kolk on Trauma and the brain and each time I read or attend one of his lectures I am blown away at the knowledge I gain.

  • Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff, Ph.D.

Speaking of experts, Dr Neff is the world's expert on compassion. this is the first book she wrote on self-compassion and from this an entire movement has developed. Dr. Neff even developed and entire online class around self-compassion (my wish list to complete that course) To get you started on this topic here is one of my favorite videos of her speaking on self-compassion. This is one book I always recommend to my clients and the case managers I train.

  • Fierce Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff, Ph.D.

This is Dr Neff's latest book and was written in response to the "me too" movement. in this book Dr. Neff dives into women speaking up and out with self-compassion, acceptance and honesty. She explores the yin and yang of self-compassion (read the book to know what I am talking about). My favorite chapter is chapter 5 entitled "Holding Ourselves Tenderly." In this chapter Neff explores love, connection and presence. At the end of each chapter, she invites the reader to practice an activity of mindfulness.

  • Resilient by Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

Resiliency is a concept that took me a long time to understand and then once I understood it (this book was the key for me) took me even longer to recognize it in myself. But this book is my go to for when I teach or train on resilience. My favorite topics he dives into is resiliency in the family, the individual, and the community. a passage I particularly love is around the concept of Refuge. "A refuge is anything that protects, nurtures, or uplifts you. Life can be hard, and everyone has difficult, uncomfortable experiences. We all need refuges. What are your own?...Some refuges are intangible. Memories...."

  • Buddha's Brain by Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

After reading Resilient I went on a Rick Hanson kick and discovered Buddha's Brain. Again, I am not Buddhist, but I found the concept behind this book fascinating. Hanson combines neuroscience and some of the greatest teachers (including Buddha) to look at the power of thought and your mind to create a deeper connection with yourself, your loved ones, the world around you and honestly to empower you to make your deepest longings of acceptance a reality. I also enjoy this book because while not written at an academic level, Hanson writes for those who want to both learn academically and internally for the self. This book also provides an incredible number of activities and useful work.

  • How Emotions Are Made by Dr. Lisa Barrett

  • Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain By Dr. Lisa Barrett

Dr. Barrett explains that your brain cannot get out and experience the world itself. It learns what’s going on in the world only through scraps of information coming in from our senses. Your brain must figure out the meaning of all those scraps of information by comparing them to your past experiences and then it constructs a simulation. Your brain learns that a single cue from your senses can have different causes. It chooses which of these different causes is most relevant only by how often they happen in different contexts.

  • The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer

one of my favorite passages reads "What exactly does it mean "to stop"? It's something you do inside. It's called letting go. When you let go, you are falling behind the energy that is trying to pull you into it. Your energies inside have power."

  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

A classic. First published in 1997 this journey into the ego and the higher self is at once an intense and beautiful read. Luckily the book is organized in vignettes that make the bite sized insights easier to digest a snippet at a time.

A Time for Hygge

Reading is a beautifully simple way to incorporate Hygge into your life. Reading is indulgent, explorative, comforting, nostalgic, exciting, emotional, and evokes your imagination. What could be more Hygge?

Reading does not exact complex rituals from the reader. You can simply snuggle up on the couch or your bed with a good book and feel the comfort of Hygge immediately. Or you could include more to the time spent. You could light candles, bring a notebook to make notes and highlight passages in the book. You could make yourself a sweet dessert to nibble on or curl up under a fluffy blanket. You can read in the bath, the car, in the park, by the fireplace, anywhere your heart desires (just not while driving please).

As a new mom it can be hard to carve out the time to read, though you better believe I make the time! But I also have really become engrossed in my audio books like never before. I have even gone so far as to download some of my most cherished books in audio format so I can listen to them while I am caring for Jimmy.

Hygge is also a social activity. Book clubs are wonderful ways to bring people of various backgrounds and perspectives into the same space. In the last few months my nieces created a book club for our family. Each month we meet together at one of our houses and discuss the latest book. We also indulge in some absolutely delicious goodies! One thing I have been amazed at is that though we are all members of the same family we have varying viewpoints on the books we read.

For instance, last month we read "The hound of the Baskervilles" By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As I read the book, I was often overcome by the chauvinistic stance of the author especially in how the lone woman of the story was portrayed. I voiced my disgust of this at the book club and my sister and mother defended the points that it was written at a time, the Victorian Era, in which this was the norm and that we should not impose our modern viewpoint on the story. I could totally see what they were talking about, but it did not remove the metallic taste of disappointment from my mouth.

The night was full of lively debate but also full of love and laughter - all things Hygge.

Contemplation Corner

Let's end this episode with that quote from Brene Brown I quoted earlier. It is so good it bears repeating.

“True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture, that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.” - Brene Brown.