Category Archives: Biography

Finding Serenity and Sanity with Leslie Raddatz

In FLASHBACKS in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Surviving the Flood–a healing and inspiring memoirImage, Leslie Raddatz has written a book vital to the medical community and medical schools, to students of psychology, psychiatry and social work as well as to fellow victims of abuse and military veterans suffering with PTSD. For someone who has never experienced abuse, it is a revelation to see what victims endure and suffer through. Many social workers, for instance, don’t understand why women who have been abused by their husbands keep returning because it is not logical, but Leslie explains how the victim feels along with what is happening inside her mind–the flashbacks that bring the past into the present and make it feel just as dangerous as it did originally. Personally I can’t imagine having such things replayed over and over again in my mind. Leslie’s courage to take back her life and her renewed faith in God combines to rebuild her life and her family’s life with healthy positive skills replacing self-destructive behavior. This “road map” back to sanity is a must read for everyone. What’s more, told as a personal story, “Flashbacks…” has far more value than dry scientific text books that fail to empathize with the horror and trauma victims experience. Instead it draws you in and keeps you glued to each episode to find out what happens next. How will she overcome this living hell? It’s not a sob story though. Leslie does not want you to pity her. She wants you to understand what it is like to live in her shoes. It also helps readers see that anyone can suffer from PTSD if placed under “breaking-point” conditions. Kudos, Leslie! In time, Leslie’s journey and advocacy may become the hallmark of fellow suffers’ healing and recovery.
Leslie has lived in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, most of her life. She has three children, two daughters and a son, and is happily married to a supportive man. She has had many traumas and abuse in her life but she also has had many mentors who helped her along the way. She started working for a fast food restaurant at 16 years old and today she works for an administrative office as an office manager. When she was 18 years old, she became pregnant while still in high school. She was on welfare and received WIC (Women, Infants, Children), Federal help which gave food stamps and a monthly check. She experienced first-hand how people judge and mistreat others in need of help. She dedicated herself to working hard to earn society’s respect and to beat the odds again. Her education includes four degrees: Office Assistant Degree and Administrative Assistant Associate Degree -specializing in software support from a Technical College. She also graduated from the E-Seed program to help her start up her own business.
She received The Achievement Against the Odds Award in 2002 because three of her instructors nominated her. She also has a Bachelor in Business Administration and Bachelor in Marketing. She accomplished all these degrees while battling with her Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, conversion and somatization disorders while also raising a family, working and going to night classes full-time. She has beaten all the odds that were stacked up against her. She is proud to be a Survivor. Her mission in life now is to help others like her with mental illness and to give them hope, encouragement and inspiration that if she can heal so can they.


Flashbacks in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Surviving the Flood

Childhood for Leslie Raddatz is one continuing nightmare. To survive, she represses her memories until one day, when she is a 34-year-old woman, a wife and mother, her past erupts into the present with a full blown flashback. It is the onset of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and it threatens to destroy what mental and physical endurance she has salvaged through the years. But, her child within cries out for recognition and mercy. More psychological disorders emerge — somatization and conversion. Is she to lose everything and everyone she loves to the madness of her past?

She agrees to relive her childhood under the protection of a professional counselor and comes to understand how her parents’ neglect made her an easy target for predators who sexually, physically and emotionally abuse her over and over again. She graduates from victim to survivor while detailing today’s sophisticated techniques that help her heal: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), attachment and ego state therapy, Brainspotting, positive imagery, resource building, coping skills, art therapy, task therapy, and counseling.

Once you read Leslie’s story, you can take comfort in the hope she offers and follow her example on your own healing journey.

GO TO: Book is available on Kindle and as a paperback.

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God Does Have A Sense of Humor by Rob Ballister

At the Crossroads of Humanity is found many challenges and conflicts. Author Rob Ballister has focused on those times in his life when his belief in God and his sense of humor have saved his life. In this special book, he delivers a touching and entertaining portrait of his journey through dating, growing up in New Jersey, and surviving cancer. Along the way, he learns that God Does Have a Sense of Humor. Follow him: 

Through surgeryMy understanding was that the doctor, while hopping up and down on one foot and singing the national anthem, was going to remove my lymph nodes using a butter knife, a hacksaw, and some 10W-30 motor oil.

Into the confessionalThere sat Father Riener, who was technically old enough to have been one of the original apostles. As I began reciting my list, Father began falling asleep. Being only in the fourth grade, I did exactly what I did at home when my younger sister fell asleep. I kicked him.


Image of Rob Ballister

A native of Martinsville, NJ, Rob graduated the United States Naval Academy in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering, and served on the Joint Staff for six months before heading for flight school in January 1995. He was redesignated as a Civil Engineer Corps officer in December of that year, and his first CEC duty station was at Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA, as deputy head of the planning section. Following that tour, he moved to California for duty with the Navy Seabees. While with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FORTY, he served as Charlie company commander, Air Detachment officer-in-charge (during two separate deployment cycles), and Civic Action Team Pohnpei officer-in-charge. His experience as company commander earned him the Pohnpei OIC billet during his second deployment, where he led a team of Seabees on humanitarian missions in a third world country. He also deployed to operations in support of the US Support Group East Timor. After his battalion tour, LCDR Ballister transferred to Engineering Field Activity Chesapeake, where he worked in the construction office at Andrews Air Force Base. During this tour he was also assigned temporarily to the White House Military Special Programs Office.

Rob has also done extensive work with community youth, beginning well before his military career when he coached little league baseball for three seasons while still in high school. At Quantico, he coached three sports over five MWR seasons, and recently resumed his coaching “career” in San Diego with the local MWR organization as a basketball coach. In addition, he has been a volunteer religious education teacher for four years, and has taught math, english, military drill, religious doctrine, morality, and a variety of sports to children ranging in age from 6 to 17.

In addition to his undergraduate degree, he holds a Masters of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland, and is a registered professional engineer in the state of Maryland. He is also a member of the Society of American Military Engineers.

The publishing of “God Does Have a Sense of Humor” was the culmination of over ten years of writing and re-writing Rob’s experiences from his life, including his military experience and his surviving cancer. Rob is married to his beautiful wife, Ivy, and they reside in Maryland with their daughter Kyla and their dog Toby.

Book is available at the Military Writers Society of Amerca.


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Best selling novelist VICKI HINZE created the Fiction Blog Alliance as a way to connect readers and authors through their blogs. Many of the topics explored in these blogs qualify for our “crossroads” criteria for they cover everything from writing to history, to surgery, to politics, to war, religion and romance. There is no subject that escapes our criteria for the crossroads of humanity. Everything depends on the eye of the beholder, whether from our characters’ points of view or from our own, and ultimately how we act stems from what we believe.


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