Category Archives: The Book Cellar

What is the secret of the success of Jesus Calling?

 

What is the secret behind the runaway publishing success of Sarah Young’s devotional, Jesus Calling?

Could it be the power of prayer?

“Ever since the publication of Jesus Calling, I have prayed daily for people who are reading my books. Over the years, these prayers have become longer, covering a wide range of topics. Even when I’ve been hospitalized, I have not missed a day of praying for readers.”–Sarah Young from the introduction to Jesus Always.

“Before I begin writing, I spend time in prayer — including prayers for protection of my mind from distractions, distortions and deception. I ask God to guide my mind as I focus on Him and His Word. Then I simply pray, “Help me, Holy Spirit,” and I wait. I have been strongly influenced by the Bible verse, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).”  –Sarah Young, from an interview with Gloria Gaither and Phil Newman in HomecomingMagazine.com

Prayer is the heart of Sarah Young’s ministry.

The discipline of praying for her readers.

The discipline of listening prayer.

“GLORIA: Can you define “listening prayer” for those who may not be familiar with the term? What led you to begin the practice? What would you say to others who want to begin the practice?

SARAH: In the introductions to all my books, I state clearly that my writings are not inspired as Scripture is. When I began my practice of listening to Jesus and writing, it was solely for my personal benefit; in fact, it was years before I shared my writings with others. As my husband says, “This method of communicating could be compared to a pastor who prays, reads the passage he is working on, and then explains the text as he learns from the Holy Spirit what the text is saying.” I am not preaching — just sharing what I have gleaned from my times of waiting in God’s Presence.

I want to make it clear that I do not have audible conversation with Jesus. Rather, it’s a quiet and personal time of praying, pondering Scripture, and seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”–from HomecomingMagazine.com

(Note: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.)

Sarah and her husband were missionaries to Japan, then missionaries to the Japanese in Perth, Australia.  Now they live in Tennessee.

Sarah came to faith as an adult.

“When I majored in philosophy at Wellesley College, I was a non-Christian searching for truth. Each time I began studying a new philosophy I’d get excited, thinking this one might end my quest. However, further study always revealed flaws. Eventually, I became disillusioned and concluded there was no absolute truth. A few years later, though, when I read Francis Schaeffer’s Escape From Reason, my background in philosophy helped me understand his reasoning. I found in that book answers to questions I had previously considered unanswerable. This opened the way for me to study at L’Abri, a Christian community in Switzerland begun by the Schaeffers.
At L’Abri I found a wonderful combination of intellectual integrity and a caring Christian community. This was just what I needed. While living and studying at L’Abri, I became a Christian. Finally, I had a solid foundation on which to build my life! ”

As a bookseller,  I can see firsthand the impact her devotional writings have had on people. Time after time I’ve heard that the devotional of the day was just what they needed.

I’ve noticed it in my own life as well.  It doesn’t happen every day, but often a phrase or a thought will hit home with a current struggle.

There’s often no explaining why some books take off and become bestsellers, even though people try to figure it out.

I still have to wonder, though, if the power of prayer is the secret behind the success of Jesus Calling.

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What I’m reading, April 2018

Still waiting around here for some consistent warmer temps. The end of the school year is in sight and the end of an era for our family as our youngest graduates from high school.

Lots of great books this month.

My reading life has improved so much, thanks mostly to bloggers and podcasters.

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.)

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

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“Ignorant boys, killing each other,” is just about all Nathan Coulter would tell his wife, friends, and family about the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945. Life carried on for the community of Port William, Kentucky, as some boys returned from the war and the lives of others were mourned. In her seventies, Nathan’s wife, Hannah, has time now to tell of the years since the war. In Wendell Berry’s unforgettable prose, we learn of the Coulter’s children, of the Feltners and Branches, and how survivors “live right on.”—from GoodReads

Enthusiastic five stars from me.

Brilliantly written, wholesome story.

The story spans the decades of Hannah’s life, giving a panoramic look at her life.

Human drama at it’s literary best.

Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life  by Jeff Goins

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“Wrecked is about the life we are afraid to live. It’s about radical sacrifice and selfless service—how we find purpose in the midst of pain. It’s a look at how we discover fulfillment in the least likely of places. It’s about living like we mean it. It’s a guide to growing up and giving your life away, helping you live in the tension between the next adventure and the daily mundane.

This book is for us—a generation intent on pursuing our life’s work in a way that leaves us without regrets.

Author Jeff Goins shares his own experience of struggling as a missionary and twentysomething who understands the call to live radically while dealing with the everyday responsibilities of life. Wrecked is a manifesto for a generation dissatisfied with the status quo and wanting to make a difference.” — from Amazon

I loved the honest, transparent exposure of what ministry is really like. How there’s not a lot of happy endings. How there’s not a lot of neat bows. How your heart breaks and you try to help people, but mostly they want to stay in the pit that they’re in.

It gets discouraging.

And that is real life.

It takes a lot to change people. It takes a miracle, really.

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

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“When a blizzard strands them in Salt Lake City, two strangers agree to charter a plane together, hoping to return home; Ben Payne is a gifted surgeon returning from a conference, and Ashley Knox, a magazine writer, is en route to her wedding. But when unthinkable tragedy strikes, the pair find themselves stranded in Utah’s most remote wilderness in the dead of winter, badly injured and miles from civilization. Without food or shelter, and only Ben’s mountain climbing gear to protect themselves, Ashley and Ben’s chances for survival look bleak, but their reliance on each other sparks an immediate connection, which soon evolves into something more.

Days in the mountains become weeks, as their hope for rescue dwindles. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, how will this experience change them forever? Heart-wrenching and unputdownable, The Mountain Between Us will reaffirm your belief in the power of love to sustain us.” — from GoodReads

Another brilliantly written story with a commitment to traditional values.

The plot differs at critical points from the movie version.  Skip the movie.  Read the book instead.

Thrifty and Thriving:  More Life for Less Money by Victoria Huizinga

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I’ve followed Victoria’s blog for a couple of years, so I wasn’t sure I was going to learn anything new reading her book.

I was wrong.

First of all, even though she covers a lot of tips and practical suggestions that can be found on the blog, it is organized, compact and easy to find in the book.

Aside from practical ideas on how to save money (which I was expecting)  it unrolls a mindset, a foundational paradigm to the way you think about money and even life.

Money can be hard to manage.  Victoria shows, with a lot of personal stories, that so much is about attitude, strategic living and long-term victories. It starts with changing your thinking.

This book is an investment in your future. Implement just a few of the suggestions, and you will recoup the price of the book.

I’d say that’s a thrifty purchase.

Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

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“The Vanderbeekers have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. It’s practically another member of the family. So when their reclusive, curmudgeonly landlord decides not to renew their lease, the five siblings have eleven days to do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home and convince the dreaded Beiderman just how wonderful they are. And all is fair in love and war when it comes to keeping their home.”– from Amazon

A sweet story. A cute story.  A nice, fast read.

I agree that fans of the Penderwicks books will like it.

The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

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“The One Thing explains the success habit to overcome the six lies that block our success, beat the seven thieves that steal time, and leverage the laws of purpose, priority, and productivity.” –from Goodreads

I re-read The One Thing. It is such an incredible book. And, yet, it taunts me.

So many great things that I can’t implement into my life right now.

Specifically, the four hour plan.

There’s just no way I can do it right now. I’m working on so many other things, I just have to follow through with what I have going right now.

I will be coming back to it, though.

It’s just too good not to integrate it into my life.

 

Willpower Doesn’t Work: Discover the Hidden Key to Success by Benjamin Hardy

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“If you’re relying on willpower alone to help you lose weight, improve your relationships, or achieve more at work, you’re doomed to fail. The environment around us is far too powerful, stimulating, addicting, and stressful to overcome by white knuckling. The only way to stop just surviving and learn to truly thrive in today’s world is to proactively shape your environment.”–from GoodReads

I heard Ben speak at Tribe Conference last year.  It’s amazing the following he’s gained on Medium.  He writes good stuff, too. Helpful stuff.

Well-written. Great message.

Columbine by Dave Cullen

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“What really happened April 20, 1999? The horror left an indelible stamp on the American psyche, but most of what we “know” is wrong. It wasn’t about jocks, Goths, or the Trench Coat Mafia. Dave Cullen was one of the first reporters on scene, and spent ten years on this book-widely recognized as the definitive account. With a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen, he draws on mountains of evidence, insight from the world’s leading forensic psychologists, and the killers’ own words and drawings-several reproduced in a new appendix. Cullen paints raw portraits of two polar opposite killers. They contrast starkly with the flashes of resilience and redemption among the survivors.”– from GoodReads

How could something like this happen? Why did it happen? What could prevent it from happening again?

There’s some real lessons to be learned here.

One lesson was for the journalists.  A new trend in journalism gives criminals minimum press coverage and focuses on the victims’ stories.  This gives perpetrators less motivation to seek fame through their crimes.

There’s also the importance of follow through with high risk people.  Although, apparently psychopaths are masterfully deceptive.

The Read Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids by Sarah Mackenzie

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“Connecting deeply with our kids can be difficult in our busy, technology-driven lives. Reading aloud offers us a chance to be fully present with our children. It also increases our kids’ academic success, inspires compassion, and fortifies them with the inner strength they need to face life’s challenges. As Sarah Mackenzie has found with her own six children, reading aloud long after kids are able to read to themselves can deepen relationships in a powerful way.

Founder of the immensely popular Read-Aloud Revival podcast, Sarah knows first-hand how reading can change a child’s life. In The Read-Aloud Family, she offers the inspiration and age-appropriate book lists you need to start a read-aloud movement in your own home. From a toddler’s wonder to a teenager’s resistance, Sarah details practical strategies to make reading aloud a meaningful family ritual. Reading aloud not only has the power to change a family—it has the power to change the world.”–from Amazon

I’m a huge fan of Sarah Mackenzie’s blog, podcast and mission.

Of course she outlines the benefits of reading aloud to your kids.  Of course she includes a age graded book list of books she recommends.  This is what you expect.

She’s also pinpointed the hidden value of reading aloud to your kids: making meaningful and lasting connections.

And, she’s also a good writer. She’s a good thinker and master communicator.  What’s not to love?

Have you read any of these titles?  What did you think?

 

 

 

 

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3 Things I’ve Learned, Winter 2017

This has been a good winter.

I’m grateful  because  they haven’t all been good.

I’m grateful for opportunities to learn things that make life better.

Here’s to winter.

Linking up with Emily Freeman sharing what we’ve learned.

Run your own race.

Credit to Jeff Goins for this nugget.

I needed this reminder.

I’ve had a hard time finding my way on this blogging journey.

I’m having trouble finding my voice, my niche, my tribe and my compensation.

My daily appointment with the keyboard is driven by a need to figure things out for me. To make sense of life and come to peace. Because it doesn’t always make sense. You have to evaluate your experience with your beliefs and make adjustments when they don’t line up.

I’m driven by an inner compulsion to find answers for myself. Maybe the answers will help you as well.

Your journey is not the same as anyone else’s.

You have twists and turns that they don’t have.

You have hills to climb that they didn’t deal with.

Granted, they face different obstacles than you, as well.

But, the point of having this mantra echoing in your head is that you avoid the comparison trap and the discouragement that trips you up or sidelines you.

Run your own race.

 

I wrote 55 book reviews in 2017.

I found this surprising because I never stopped to count before.

Writing book reviews has been good for my reading life.

Reading book reviews has been good for my reading life.

I get it. You’re busy. I’m busy. You don’t want to waste your time on bad books.

That is why I read book reviews. That is why I write book reviews.

Out of the 55, one rose to the top as my favorite for the year.

Read about my favorite book of 2017.

I need the structure and accountability of the pillars in my week. 

Spontaneous and impulsive is hard for me.  Life tends to throw curve balls.  It helps to have weekly rhythms I can count on.

Writing for Five Minute Friday every week.

Wednesday night Family Night.

Tuesday morning moms’ prayer group.

Sunday morning worship.

It helps immensely to have those planned into my schedule. Without them, it’s easier to get sucked  into the pit of negative emotions.

The daily rhythms help, too.  Pausing for gratitude every day changes my outlook.

Here’s what else is saving my life right now.

What are you learning this winter?

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My favorite book of 2017

I wrote 55 book reviews in 2017.

That translates into quite a few hours reading.

I get it.  Your life is busy.  My life is busy.  We want to spend our time reading good books.

That is why I read book reviews.  That is why I write book reviews.

Out of the 55, one rose to the top.

I want more people to know about this book.

I want more people to read this book.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.)

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity by Nabeel Qureshi

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This is the raw, treacherous journey that Nabeel Qureshi took to find faith in Jesus. The sacrifices he made. The intellectual and emotional and relational barriers that kept him from finding faith in Jesus. And the story of overcoming those barriers.

Why do we need to know Nabeel’s story?

Because no man is an island. His pain is our pain. His victory is our victory. His story is our story.

There are millions of devout Muslims on the planet. If we understand Nabeel’s story, we come closer to understanding them.

There exists a great chasm of beliefs between us, but we share the same humanity. Our desires and dreams are common to the human experience.

To understand the Muslim mindset opens the door to greater compassion, to a better chance of building bridges to individuals who are seeking.

Statistics are one thing.

One person’s story is something else altogether. What difference can one person’s story make?

I can be inspired by their story. I can travel the road with them and return to my own life and take the courage with me. This is the power of story.

We are faced with the same choices Nabeel Qureshi faced.  Are we going to accept what we were taught growing up? Or are we going to search for something else?

We have no say about the situation we were born into. But the time comes when we accept or reject the life we were given. Do we perpetuate the values, attitudes and beliefs we were given or turn from it to something else?

These are the questions that individuals from every devout family faces. These are the issues that we wrestle with. These are the answers that we must find. This is the peace that we must come to.

It might be a life long journey. It might takes years to find that peace. Our foundational beliefs might be shaken to the core.

But, we must search. We must know if the values, attitudes and beliefs that we were handed without our knowledge or consent are truly ours. Every person must choose.

And that is why Nabeel’s journey is everyone’s. Coming of age has nothing on coming to faith.

We need to struggle deeply with these critical issues. We need to come to peace.

Irregardless of the belief system we choose, the struggle is universal. It’s the dragon we all must fight.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity by Nabeel Qureshi

Buy now from Amazon

 

 

 

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What I’m Reading, February 2018

Indiana weather is living up to it’s reputation this winter: unpredictable.

The past twenty-four hours have been foggy as snow from last week melts and evaporates.

I’m grateful to be feeling better physically than other winters, but I’ll be happy to see Spring.

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site. )

In Bloom: Trading Restless Insecurity for Abiding Confidence by Kayla Aimee

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Highly recommended!

Light-hearted stories that highlight deep truths.

I liked the way her faith was real and scripture informed her decisions and changed her life.

I loved her emphasis on grace. I loved her views on traditional values.

When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin

Buy now from Amazon

A doctor running from his past.  An endearing little girl fighting for her life.

Masterfully written.

Traditional values.

Unpredictable.

Just when you thought you had it figured out, you didn’t.

One of the best inspirational fiction I’ve read in years.

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

Buy now from Amazon

The orphans on the island follow the rules.  There’s a set way of doing things.  How and when they arrive, what they learn, how they live, how they live. Their survival depends on it.

I understand that this is a parable about childhood rather than a literary novel.

For me, it didn’t really accomplish either.

Maybe I’m missing the implications and parallels, but the story didn’t land for me.

A Spiritual Heritage: Connecting Kids and Grandkids to God and Family by Glen and Ellen Schunnecht

Buy now from Amazon

It has been a long time since I read a parenting book.  Even longer since I liked one.

I liked the multi-generational approach in this book.  I liked the stories.  Realistic approaches to the challenges of parenting from a Christian perspective.

The Green Ember by S.D. Smith

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I’ve had trouble getting my hands on a copy of this book.

The first book in a trilogy, The Green Ember tells the story of a kingdom of rabbits.

Heather and Picket, brother and sister rabbit, are the main characters.  Lots of intrigue. Lots of action.

I can see boys really liking this book.

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It’s been a good month for reading and for my first foray into fiction.  Check it out here.

 

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What I’m Reading, January 2018

Around here, January means crazy Indiana weather and basketball.

We had a good Christmas with our kids.  Pete got a puppy for Christmas.

The stress of December spills over into January, but good things are on the horizon.

Linking up again with Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit.

(Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will support this site.)

Buy now from Amazon

How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds by Alan Jacobs

I had trouble focusing on this book, but I think it’s indicative of stress in my life, not necessarily any fault of the book.

I liked the fact that he comes from the perspective of a Christian and an academic and even addresses biases people tend to have against those two groups.

Chapter one, Beginning to Think, has the subtitle “Why it wouldn’t be a good idea to think for yourself, even if you could.”

My favorite Chapter was The Age of Lumping and the very telling illustration of the author’s experience with Timothy. The point here is that we’re conditioned to categorize people, but sometimes it works against us.

Buy now from Amazon

The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results by Gary Keller

I’ve been wanting to read The  One Thing FOREVER. I think I’ve been on my library’s waitlist for over a year.

Now I know what all the rave reviews are about.  This is a GREAT book!

It addresses the problem of distracted focus and the importance of lasering in on your most important work in order to achieve excellence.

A huge light bulb moment for me reading The One Thing was the idea of chaos derailing you and distracting you from your one thing.

Chapter 17, The Four Thieves of Productivity hit me hard.

The Four Thieves are:

1. Inability to Say “No”
2. Fear of Chaos
3. Poor Health Habits
4. Environment Doesn’t Support Your Goals.

Wow. These were so good and right on the money.

Buy now from Amazon

Count to Ten by James Patterson

I picked up Count to Ten at the library because I know James Patterson is a super best selling author and I wanted to study his work.

The story is fast moving.

It has short chapters.

There were quite a few characters with strange names that were hard to keep track of.

That’s one thing that John Grisham does well– starts with only a few characters and adds them slowly.

Interesting plot. It’s a mystery, so the intrigue and unanswered questions moved the story forward.

In my mind, every great novel is a mystery answering the question, 
What happens next?

Another reason I picked up the book is that it is set in India. My parents live in India 8 months out of the year, so I was interested to learn more about life in that country.

Although there were a few tidbits here and there that reminded you of the setting, I didn’t feel like it really explored the culture. I felt like the characters could have been Americans. They didn’t seem to think and act like Indians.

Maybe I was expecting too much.

I just know that it’s possible to live in a country and not really understand the way of thinking of the people around you.

I won’t be picking up another James Patterson soon. Even though language and thematic elements colored only a small percentage of the book, it’s enough to put me off further reading.

Buy now from Amazon

In Bloom: Trading Restless Insecurity for Abiding Confidence by Kayla Aimee

Highly recommended!

Light-hearted stories that highlight deep truths.  Her daughter is a hoot and she’s got some pretty funny stories herself.

I liked the way scripture informed her decisions and changed her life.

I loved her emphasis on grace. I loved her views on traditional values.

I started following Kayla Aimee’s work after I took her Affiliate course as part of The Genius Bloggers Toolkit. Her course was packed with so much helpful information. I knew when she offered something it was going to be high value.

When I had the chance to be part of the launch team for the book, I jumped at it.

In Bloom is about overcoming insecurity and Kayla tells personal experiences.

 

I will definitely be hand-selling this one at the store.

What are you reading this month?

 

 

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Books for Intro to Missions Students

Book List for Intro to World Missions 

When Pete taught Intro to World Missions, I made a book list of recommended books for his class.  Most of these are life long favorites that I recommend repeatedly.

Missionary Biographies

Brucko by Bruce Olson

Nineteen year old Bruce Olson lives with a stone age tribe to bring them the gospel.

Don’t Let the Goats Eat the Loquat Trees by Thomas Hale

Medical missionaries in Nepal. Humorous, well-written stories about culture and personal growth.

On the Far Side of Liglig Mountatin by Thomas Hale

More stories of medical missions in Nepal.

Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliott

Five missionaries were martyred in Ecuador while trying to reach a savage tribe.  Written by the widow of one of the martyrs.

A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliott

The story of Amy Carmichal, missionary to India who rescued girls from the atrocities of the Hinduism.

And the Word Came with Power by Joann Shetler

Wycliffe Bible Translator in the Philippines explains about culture and spiritual lessons.

God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew

One man’s experiences getting God’s Word into Communist Russia.

Other Biographies

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

A Christian family in Holland hides Jews from the Nazis.  Stories of imprisonment and forgiveness.

Joni by Joni Eareckson

A diving accident at age 17 leaves Joni a quadriplegic.  Her spiritual journey.

The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway

A Christian pastor in China sees God work miracles in the midst of harsh persecution.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Quereshi

Nabeel’s spiritual journey growing up in a devout Muslim home and confronting the realities of Chrisitanity.

Gifted Hands by Ben Carson

A transparent look at the culture of poverty how a single mom paved a way out for her two sons.

Other Helpful Books

5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

The five top reasons why teams don’t work and what to do about them.

Reading Personality by Anne Bogel

Short summaries of some popular personality frameworks and how understanding yourself makes life better.

On Being a Missionary by Thomas Hale

Transparent, practical explanation of what missionaries face and common obstacles to overcome.

Margin by Richard Swenson

The importance of not using all your resources and leaving yourself bankrupt.  Includes money, time, emotional and other resources.

Love and Respect by Emerson Eggeriches

What men and women need from their spouses.  Foundational understanding for building a strong marriage.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

The five main ways people express love and how to understand which way communicates best to individuals.

Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make by Hans Finzel

Common pitfalls that leaders fall into.  Helpful as a cautionary tale.

Turn the Ship Around by L. David Marquet

Healthy, effective leadership principles learned and practiced by a sub commander.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Timeless principles for living life well with yourself and others.

Do Hard Things by Alex and Brent Harris

Aimed at teenagers as a challenge to confront the status quo and impact the world by taking the high road.

At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenrider

Tsh and her husband took their three children and circled the globe. The book traces their journey as well as Tsh’s reflections on travel, life and personal growth.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

A challenge to live gratefully by systematically noting what you’re thankful for. Written in poetic style.

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What I’m Reading, November 2017

On the home front, looking at the carnage of two rotten trees in our front yard makes me philosophical about loss.

I think it’s good to remember, to try to make sense of loss, to let yourself feel the sadness.

I also think it’s helpful to focus on what’s left, not necessarily on what’s gone.

Linking up on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

On to the books–

 Buy now from Amazon

The Secret of Story: Innovative Tools for Perfecting Your Fiction and Captivating Readers by Matt Bird

I am fascinated by story.  I believe with every fiber that story is one of the most powerful teaching tools, and probably the most underutilized.

I found Matt Bird’s observations to be insightful and helpful.  His field of expertise is TV and film, but I think a lot of the principles he’s discovered are universally applicable.

Here’s a few gems:

“You must write for an audience, not just yourself.”

“Audiences don’t really care about stories;  they care about characters.”

“Your story is not about your hero’s life; it’s about your hero’s problem.”

Good stuff.

 

 Buy now from Amazon

Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

Five stars for being a wholesome, well-written YA.

It’s interesting to stop and think about what it’s like to be blind from birth. How impossible it is to picture anything. What it means for your social interactions.

Add the fact that you’re sixteen years old and transferring from a blind school to a public school.

This is an engaging, feel good story. Satisfying.

 Buy now from Amazon

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Viktor was a prisoner in a concentration camp in Germany. But, he was also a psychartrist. So, he analyzed the fellow prisoners, the ones who had given up hope and died and the ones who had the will to live.

He concluded that everyone needs to find their own reason for being on the planet: their life’s work. He had a book he was working on before he was imprisoned and he was also married.

Focusing his thoughts on finishing his book and seeing his wife again sustained him during the horrific experience of the concentration camp.

  Buy now from Amazon

Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday

The main premise of this book is that traditional PR, marketing and advertising with it’s big budgets and campaigns are no longer necessary for success.

Ryan Holiday should know. That was his field.
But today the playing field is leveled with desktop publishing, everyone as a photographer and social media taking your message viral.

I believe in some ways it’s easier than ever to get your message out. In other ways, you have more competition because everyone has access to what used to be only available to a few.

The challenge now is to stand out and be noticed in an avalanche of everyone promoting their message.

What are you reading this month?

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The Biggest Danger in Having a Great Morning Routine

I do 7 things every morning that make a huge difference in my life.

I take selenium. I drink hot lemon juice sweetened with stevia.* I sort the mail for 2 minutes.

I write 500 words, I work on my blog for 15 minutes, I have devotions and I facebook my husband.

These habits have made a HUGE difference in my life, health and happiness. It’s been a long road of tweaking the habits and there’s more I can add, but these are the ones that help me now.

Because my morning routines are so helpful, they set the stage for the greatest danger.

I realized it when a line from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling** devotional flattened me:

Don’t make an idol of routine.

Here’s my problem. These routines are so helpful. They make such a difference in my life. I don’t want to mess them up or skip a day.

But, life happens.

There are demands on my time, energy and focus. Even at 7 am. Even at 5:30 or earlier.

So, how do I react?

It’s so tempting to get frustrated, to throw my whole day out of whack because my routines got interrupted.

I’ve gotten pretty good at plans B through G, but sometimes, I can’t pull that off, either.

And I have to let go and remember:

Don’t make an idol of routine.

 

 

 

*The selenium and lemon juice helps me deal with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

**More about Jesus Calling here.

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What I’m Reading, October 2017

Whew!  What a month.

Since September 15th, I went to Tribe Conference and my youngest turned 18.

Soccer season wrapped up with a heart break game.

We’ve had unusually warm weather, which is good for me.

On to the books:

  Buy now from Amazon

Fearless by Eric Blehm

I’m fascinated by the story of Adam Brown’s life.  He had some high highs and low lows.

The whole narrative around NAVY seals is interesting, but Adam Brown stood out, even it that elite group.

His journey to becoming a highly decorated SEAL is certainly not conventional.

What can I tell you that will let you know what a great book this is?  I don’t know how to describe it without spoilers.

I don’t know how to tell you what I was impressed with, what I was surprised by, how it all played out, because I want you to read it.

Okay, the interesting thing to me about Fearless is the addictive personality and the success as a Navy Seal.

He was a good kid. He did good when he was focused on the football team. But, when he got sucked into drugs he fell hard.

He got so many commendations for his work in the military.

He was able to deal pretty well with transitioning from his work to family life. He had lots of determination and drive.

He slipped up once after a few years of service and lots of commendations. He should have lost his job.

It was the recommendation of the father of one of his childhood friends that actually got him into the military service. Without that person sticking his neck out on the line, he couldn’t have done it.

 

  Buy now from Amazon

This Undeserved Life
by Natalie Brenner

It’s the pinnacle of compassion to see life through someone else’s eyes.

Natalie Brenner gives us a chance to do that: to walk her road with her, to feel her pain and know her sorrows.

She teaches us that everyone’s story matters, not just celebrities and newsmakers.

Transparency about our stories destroys the glittery facebook highlight reel that we imagine everyone else is living. Perceptions are not reality.

Her story isn’t just about fertility, adoption and parenthood. It’s also about relationships, calling and identity.

Natalie has given us the gift of her story.

 

 Buy now from Amazon

Reading People

by Anne Bogel

Reading People is a good way to get a quick overview of some of the personality frameworks. Some I was familiar with, some I wasn’t. I find personality fascinating.

It’s easy to see the practical applications and helpfulness of the different frameworks when Anne shares personal stories of how they have helped her.

I’m recommending this book to young people because it’s so important to know yourself. Having a vocabulary and reference points is so helpful for teams, co-workers, spouses and family members.

Highly recommended.

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Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday

Writers want to write best sellers.  Lots of books don’t sell well.  I’m a bookseller, I know.

The premise of this book is that it’s a better goal to write a book that will be enduring, that has good enough content to sell over a long period of time, not just spike to a best seller list and disappear.

He has a good point.

We often don’t look to the long view.

This is a challenge to consider what your body of work will be long term and not strive for long term wins.

Of course, the majority of the population can’t write a best seller or a perennial seller, but every author in the history of the world started unpublished, so there’s that.

 

 Buy now from Amazon

If I Perish by Esther Ahn Kim

Esther was a Korean imprisoned for her faith by the Japanese in the thirties and forties.

Quite a story. I learned history that I didn’t know before.

She endured quite a bit of physical hardship. Songs, scripture and prayer was the lifeline for the Christians in the prison.

God answered some prayers in miraculous ways, but other times the prisoners suffered a lot.

Many believers today are persecuted for their faith, but we’re not hearing their stories much.

What are you reading this month?

 

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