My Reluctant Foray Into Audiobooks

I’m a slow learner.

It’s true.  I often need to hear something over and over, try it over and over, have it nailed into my head repeatedly before it sticks.

It took me a long time before I started checking out ebooks from the library.  That crazy learning curve, ya know?

I needed help setting up an instagram account.

I also needed help installing the app that allowed me to listen to podcasts on my phone (don’t get me started on my phone– I can barely work it).

So, while I’ve been intrigued with the idea of audiobooks, I’ve procrastinated on checking into them.

Partly fear of the unknown, partly one more thing to figure out, partly an intense love for silence.

But, today I did it.

I borrowed an audiobook from the library.

Credit belongs where credit is due.  I owe a lot to Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs Darcy for paving the way, generating interest and the recommendation for the first audiobook I borrowed.

Check out her post The beginner’s great big guide to audiobooks

The book I’m listening to (recommended by Anne Bogel) is Dolly Parton’s Dream More.  I admire Dolly Parton and I’m a huge fan of her Imagination Library concept.  If you’re not familiar with this project, it’s where she sends books every month to kids age 0 to 5.  It started out in her home county, but it’s grown across her home state, and across the country.

Anyway, hearing the book read by Dolly herself in her one-of-a-kind accent and enthusiasm and even some crooning, is a real treat.

I’m also thinking with graduation right around the corner, this is going to be a good book to have on the shelves to give as a graduation gift.

 So, it looks like, similar to ebooks and podcasts, before long I will be hooked on audiobooks.

I haven’t downloaded the overdrive app.  I’m just listening to this one on the computer.

Probably that’s the next step.

Which means I need to move the pictures on my phone to free up space.

But, I’m glad I took the first step.

Sometimes we’re resistant to dip our toes in, even when we think it will be a good experience.

Do you listen to audiobooks?  Any tips or helpful advice?

Are you interested in starting audiobooks?  Jump in with me!

P.S. Did you miss these posts?

True stories that will inspire you

5 Fascinating Tales About Women Who Made History



 

 

 

 

 

Closing the gap:  connecting across the miles

There’s a box in my closet that’s been virtually untouched for ten years.

It holds framed pictures of my kids’ grandparents and aunts and uncles.  They used to hang on the wall of our house in Mexico when we lived far away from our blood relatives.

Since we moved back to our home state and we see family on a regular basis (and our kids have grown) there’s no reason to have them displayed.

But there was a time when I wanted my kids to know and remember their family.

Long distance family relationships are a constant in my life.  Good-byes are normal.  Homesickness is, generally, a non-issue.

But keeping up with long distance relationships is a challenge.  There’s time differences.  There’s time pressure of the here and now and juggling schedules.  There’s also more options than there used to be.  Skype.  Internet phones.  FaceTime.

There are more ways than ever to stay connected and more distractions than ever to keep us from connecting.

Here’s a few ideas for keeping in touch with faraway family:

Send pictures via email.

Post pictures on social media of special events or everyday life.

Set up a private facebook group to share with the select what you don’t want to share with the world.

Make a recording of you reading a favorite book and send it with the book as a gift.

Send book recommendations including links to library ebooks that can be checked out.

Go for a visit.

Start the rhythm of writing weekly family news.

Send gifts for special occasions.

What have you done to keep in touch with far away family?

Against All Odds: True Stories That Will Inspire You

If necessity is the mother of invention, then adversity is the mother of survival.

Do you ever wonder how you would fare in the most adverse circumstances?  Most of us will never know.

But, a few souls demonstrate incredible courage, ingenuity and triumph in the most dire circumstances.

Their stories can bolster our courage in the face of adversity.

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

 

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption

by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken tells the story of Louis Zamperini, Olympic runner and World War II soldier.

The perseverance and resilience Zamperini displayed in the face the multiple titanic challenges is an inspiration.

Knowing his background and family intensifies the story.

The final resolution is satisfying and heart warming.

Aside from the story, the writing is a work of art.

Buy now from Amazon

We Were the Lucky Ones

 by Georgia Hunter

“Inspired by the incredible true story of one Jewish family separated at the start of World War II, determined to survive—and to reunite—We Were the Lucky Ones is a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds.” —Amazon

The Kurcs were from Radom, Poland, but in the course of the war, three generations are spread throughout Europe and beyond, fleeing the Nazi regime.

I am in awe of this story. It is a light in a dark time and highlights the triumph of love, family and the will to survive.

Buy now from Amazon

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

A Christian family in Holland hides Jews from the Nazis during World War II.  Corrie’s incredible story of espionage, imprisonment and forgiveness.

The Ten Boom family takes their faith seriously.  They believe the Jews are God’s Chosen People.  They risk their lives to protect them.

They continue to trust God in spite of horrific circumstances and they see His hand at work.

Buy now from Amazon

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl was a prisoner in a concentration camp in Germany. As a psychiartrist, 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.

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

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

The story of a college rowing team going for the gold hardly seems the stuff of adverse circumstances. But, the pathos of the story draws you in.  Joe Rantz is an almost Dickensonian hero.

Tracing the background of Rantz and others on the champion rowing team puts you in the boat with the rowers and has you cheering with the crowds on the shore.

The up close and behind the scenes glimpses of history are instructive and sobering.  I love the real life lessons of leadership and teamwork.

Buy now from Amazon

 

What are your favorite stories of people beating the odds?

Did you miss these posts?

Love stories you can feel good recommending

8 Stand out novels that will rekindle your love for reading



 

Better planning equals better days equals better life

Annie Dillard said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

How do you spend your days?

I find managing my schedule is like trying to wrangle hippos.

In my ongoing quest to manage my life, here’s what I’ve learned:

Better planning makes better days. Better days makes a better life.

How can you plan your days better? Identify your true priorities. When you say yes to something, that means saying no to other things. Decide ahead of time what you can’t accomplish. This eliminates the frustration of beating yourself up for unrealistic expectations that weren’t accomplished.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by work and not prioritize relationships. It’s easy to be tyrannized by the to do list and not rest and refresh.

It’s easy to think that you have so much to do that you don’t have time to plan your days.

The investment you put into planning pays off.

One thing I like about really planning your day is deciding ahead of time that you can’t get something done. Like clean the fridge yesterday. I just moved it off my list. That helps you avoid the disappointment of getting to the end of the day and not accomplishing it.

You already knew you weren’t going to be able to get it done.

After a few days, you become more realistic about what you can accomplish in a day. The lists become manageable.

Prioritizing your to do list is a critical element in planning better days.

There’s always too much to do, isn’t there?  So every day there are decisions about what to do, but, also, what not do.

I’ve worked harder lately to prioritize my to do list.  It isn’t easy.  For one thing, we don’t always know which is the most important.  Sometimes a little, insignificant task results in a chance encounter that changes our lives.  But, we can’t predict that or prioritize that.

So, here’s what helps:  Choosing from the to do list which items are the most important.  Focus on getting those done first.  Let the rest go.

Also, you know if you don’t get very far down your list at least you did the most important things. You’ve spent some time thinking about what was most important. It gives you more focus.

It helps with that feeling of being overwhelmed. Of having too much to do and never being able to get to all of it.

Determining prioritities isn’t easy. It isn’t always easy to know which is more important. And when something unexpected comes up in your day, you have to make a judgment call about your list of things to do.

It comes back to juggling the glass balls and the rubber balls. Thinking through what are the consequences if I drop this ball?  Will it bounce back?  Or will it shatter?

Be willing to flex as circumstances change.

You have to plan some flexibility into your days. You have to have some margin to handle the unexpected.

That’s part of the planning. To be able to recognize when you need to flex and when to stick to the plan.

Here’s the other thing: Life is full of people.

People are unpredictable and impossible to schedule.

And, yet, we have to have some order in our lives.

So, we need a life management plan with enough flexibility to handle life’s unexpected turns.

Having unrealistic expectations is disappointing. Not following through on something you said you were going to do is an integrity problem, unless you make the decision to make something else priority instead. There has to be some flexibility for that.

You also have to have down time planned, so you don’t feel guilty when you need to rest and you are able to stay productive on the other days.

Prioritizing your to do list is the critical element in planning better days, with the caveat that you’re willing to flex when you need to. 

What have you learned lately that helps you manage life better?

When a Tumbleweed Grows Roots: What I Learned Winter 2019

“I grew up transient, with change as my constant. I lived a privileged life in many ways, and benefited from a plethora of experiences denied many of my more settled peers. In fact, I felt competent to handle most of what my spinning world threw my way. It was when the world stopped spinning that I got dizzy.” Dr. Rachel Cason

I resonate with Rachel’s words, because her experience mirrors mine.

I’ve lived on the East Coast, the West Coast and the Mid-West.

I’ve lived in the Middle-East, the Far East and Mexico.

My nomadic life began before I was old enough to decide and continued when it  was my turn to choose.  I developed coping skills for transition, not for rootedness.

And now, my world has stopped spinning.

The first four decades of my life were transitory.

The past ten years I’ve lived in the same state, most of those years in the same house.

Occasionally, I wonder what would happen if we uprooted again.  Occasionally I want to.

Some call it itchy feet, some call it wander lust.

But, it appears this tumbleweed is finally putting down deep roots and coming to terms with it.

I wonder if a case of itchy feet comes from a desire to escape all the pressures and stresses of the life we lead.

I’ve written before about finding and creating community as a survival strategy for nomads.

Two other things help me.

Focus on gratitude.  Sure there’s things you wish were different.  Of course there are stresses, conflicts, tensions, pressures, fears and worries you want to escape.

But, it’s always a mixed bag. There are always blessings, too.

Contentment is the by-product of gratitude when I realize I don’t have to move an inch to be happy.

Escape into Fiction.  Reading has always been my go-to survival strategy.  That applies to transition as well as rootedness.  A great movie can do it, too.  Or even an engaging TV series.  But, my top choice is an uplifting, brilliantly written novel.  A based-on-real-events book can do it, too.

When I’m yearning for a change of scenery, it’s often just the desire to get out from under whatever’s pressing down at the moment.

A good two or three hour stint into the world of fiction takes me away from the pressures of life and provides stress relief.

Parmesan Cheese Lids fit on Canning Jars

This life hack popped up on the internet and inexplicably brings me joy.

I use canning jars a lot, especially for homemade kefir.  I have a couple of white plastic lids that fit on them.  I’m always wishing I had more, but it’s never priority to go looking for them.

Parmesan cheese lids, on the other hand, wander into the house every week or so without any extra hassle.

Take that, Marie Kondo.

 

Sarah Mackenzie                                                     Kate DiCamillo

Emotional connection to a story transcends literary analysis.

Authors don’t write stories for literary analysis. At least, Kate DiCamillo doesn’t.  Sarah MacKensie interviewed the author of Because of Winn Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux on the Read Aloud Revival podcast.

Kate DiCamillo tells of reading a story in elementary school that touched her emotionally and then turning the page to find fifteen questions about the story.  And her heart sunk.  She didn’t want to dissect the story and analyze it.  She just wanted to enjoy it.

Sarah talks about making meaningful and lasting connections with your kids through books.  The memory of a shared experience when you read a book out loud together.

The emotional experience of reading a book that touches you.

That’s what literary analysis ruins.

The emotional connection between the reader and the story.

That sacred magic that happens when you become part of a story.  Tearing it apart and studying it from all sides ruins that magic.

That’s what Kate was trying to avoid.

I’ve never heard anyone articulate this before, but I LOVE it.  Listen to the whole interview here.

So that’s what I’ve learned this winter. Some authors are writing for emotional connection, not literary analysis.  Parmesan cheese lids fit on canning jars.  Tumbleweeds who grow roots thrive when they focus on gratitude and consciously escape into fiction.

What have you learned this season?



8 Stand Out Novels to Rekindle Your Love for Reading

I reached a point in my life when I wondered if there were any good books left.

You know, masterfully written page turners that sucked you into the story and left you feeling satisfied at the end.  Books that you weren’t embarrassed to be seen reading and could recommend wholesale.

I wondered if there were any of those left.  Because I couldn’t find them.

Enter the internet.  Enter book bloggers.  Enter bookish podcasts.

Open a new world of books.  Not all of them are to my taste to be sure.  But, there were enough winners in the bunch to spark my hope.

Yes, Virginia, there are some good books left.

Here’s some of my top picks.

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

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

Based of the life of the first female lawyer in India.

Not only does this fictional account weave a riveting tale, it highlights the culture and customs of 1920’s India.

Limited educational opportunities, arranged marriages, gender segregation and inequalities.  These were real obstacles.

Navigating that world and winning is a real feat.                                           Buy now from Amazon

 

 Jewell by Bret Lott

It is 1943 in the backwoods of Mississippi. In the land of honeysuckle and wild grapevine, Jewel Hilburn and her husband Leston – whose love for his wife is the surest comfort she’s ever known – are truly blessed. They have five fine children who embrace the world as though it were a sumptuous table set for a feast; and when Brenda Kay is born, Jewel gives thanks for yet another healthy baby, last-born and most welcome.

JEWEL is the story of how quickly a life can change; how, like lightning, an unforseen event can illuminate our lives and set us on a course without reason or compass.”– Goodreads

Buy now from Amazon

Jewel fights the odds of prejudice and ignorance with a mother’s fierce love.

“Bret Lott has created on of the finest and most indomitable heroines of contemporary American fiction.”

Beautifully crafted. A pleasure to read.

 

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

“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.                                                                          Buy now from Amazon

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.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I can’t remember the last time a novel made me cry.  This one did

Ove is near the end of his life, but this novel takes us back to his family, his first love and his losses. It is a bittersweet exploration of what really matters in relationships and what gets in the way.

Love, friendship, community and social awkwardness.  It’s the recipe for a great novel.

It demonstrates in brilliant colors that no man is an island.

Buy now from Amazon

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

“The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience. “–Goodreads

Buy now from Amazon

Rightly labeled a literary work of art.  Francie Nolan develops the grit and humanity she needs to survive her tumultuous life.

Masterfully written.  A joy to read.

Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown

“Sharon Garlough Brown tells the moving story of four strangers as they embark together on a journey of spiritual formation: Hannah, a pastor who doesn’t realize how exhausted she is. Meg, a widow and recent empty-nester who is haunted by her past. Mara, a woman who has experienced a lifetime of rejection and is now trying to navigate a difficult marriage. Charissa, a hard-working graduate student who wants to get things right. You’re invited to join these four women as they reluctantly arrive at a

 

Buy now from Amazon          retreat center and find themselves drawn out of their separate

stories of isolation and struggle and into a collective journey of spiritual practice, mutual support and personal revelation. Along the way, readers will be taken into a new understanding of key spiritual practices and find tangible support for the deeper life with God.” –Goodreads

I found these characters to be well-rounded and relatable.  I also liked an inside look at spiritual disciplines outside of my experience.

These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

“A moving, exciting, and heartfelt American saga inspired by the author’s own family memoirs, these words belong to Sarah Prine, a woman of spirit and fire who forges a full and remarkable existence in a harsh, unfamiliar frontier. Scrupulously recording her steps down the path Providence has set her upon–from child to determined young adult to loving mother–she shares the turbulent events, both joyous and tragic, that molded her and recalls the enduring love with cavalry officer Captain Jack Elliot that gave her strength and purpose.

                                                                                                                                Buy now from Amazon

Rich in authentic everyday details and alive with truly unforgettable characters, These Is My Words brilliantly brings a vanished world to breathtaking life again.”–Goodreads

Unpredictable.  Well-written.

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

“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.

Buy now from Amazon

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.

Which novels have rekindled your love for reading? 

P.S.  Looking for more great books?   Try Awesome Middle Grade Novels Adults Will Love

and Love Stories You Can Feel Good Recommending.

 



What’s Saving My Life 2019

As I type this, the outside temperature is -17 degrees F and wind chill is -42.

That’s insane.

Schools and businesses are closed.  Even mail delivery is suspended.

I’m hunkered down at home, thankful for a reliable furnace.

Overall, we’ve had a mild winter.  Today is an unusual extreme.

But winter in northern Indiana is no joke.

I scour all the winter survival strategies I can find to add to my bag of tricks. Modern Mrs Darcy makes it easy, by collecting lots of great advice in one place.

Here’s what’s working for me this year:

Email letters to my mom and dad

From August through April every year, my parents live and work in India.  For four months of the year, they live close by.

Long-distance relationships are an accepted part of my life.  Maybe too accepted.

In the natural rhythm of life, there’s no obvious time gaps to invest in long distance relationships.  For me, I found I had to be intentional.

My mom and dad both like to read, but their tastes in reading material differs. Fortunately, a lot of what they like overlaps with I like.

I decided every month I’d send them links to books I thought they’d enjoy.  Since they have a membership to our local library, I can send them the link to the ebook and they can check it out.

Game changer.

I like sharing books.  I love sharing free books.  And, twice a month I have an easy excuse to catch them up on family news.  It’s been so fun.

Who knew such a little tweak to my monthly rhythms could bring such joy?

Protein smoothies in the morning

I started drinking protein smoothies in the morning on the advice of Izabella Wentz, the thyroid pharmacist.   Her nutrition advice impacts my health in huge ways since I found out I have Hashimoto’s.

I still eat breakfast, but after a protein smoothie, morning cravings disappear.

I always put homemade kefir in my smoothies– until the day we accidentally ate the grain and couldn’t make more.

Then I stumbled onto my favorite smoothie hack.  Pour boiling water on frozen strawberries so they blend easily.  Now I do half boiling water and half homemade kefir for the liquid.

I buy my Pea Protein from Thrive Market, which seems to have the best price. I’m new to Thrive Market, but I’m pretty excited about the automatic shipments. I still need to work out a few bugs and get it tweaked to work for

Another favorite is adding Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder.  Chocolate strawberry smoothies for breakfast?  Yes, please.

Note:  Frozen fruit, boiling water and glass could be a hazardous combination.  Use caution. 

 

 

Jesus Always and 20 minutes a day focusing on a loving God

 

Non-religious studies have found that decision making is positively impacted when you spend 20 minutes a day focusing on a loving God.

It’s easy to believe that there’s so much to do you can’t spare 20 minutes, especially on rushed mornings.

But think for a minute about the returns on investing in eternity.  Taking time to Be still and know that I am God helps the rest of the day to fall in place.  There’s enough time for everything.  At least everything God has planned.

This winter, I’m reading both Jesus Calling and Jesus Always large print editions and I don’t limit myself to the daily selections.

Intentional Gratitude

Maybe because I’m  glass-half-empty sorta girl, I have a hard time seeing the positives.

I have to regularly remind myself of the blessings.

Top of the list these days is our first grandchild, Caroline.  I might be biased, but I think she’s the sweetest baby ever.

 

 

 

What’s saving your life this winter?

PS Just for fun, I’m adding links to past posts.

What’s saving my life 2018

What’s saving my life 2017

What’s saving my life 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I’m Reading January 2019

There is snow on the ground and it feels like winter.

January is the best month for reading, because so many “best of 18” book lists have been published.

I’ve read several newly published books that are worth the hype.

In other news, I started babysitting my 3 month old grand daughter.  Maybe I’ll have to start reviewing board books.

Joining Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit for January.

(Note:  Links included are affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will support this site.)

   Buy now from Amazon

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding unexpected strength when disappointments leave you shattered by Lysa TerKuerst

Everyone has pain.  Everyone needs help dealing with it.  Lysa’s story shows the way.

Lysa deals with sensitive issues without belaboring the messy details.

The pain is real, but she focuses on hope, biblical principles and helping the reader apply truths to a range of challenges.

Her story bears testimony that there is hope and faith even in the most excruciating circumstances.  She throws a life ring to her readers even while her own vessel is in upheaval.

  Buy now from Amazon

Everyday Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth and How You Can Too by Chris Hogan

Chris Hogan works with Dave Ramsey.  His area of expertise is preparing for retirement.

Hogan and Ramsey Solutions studied 10,000 millionaires to find out what their lives were like, what their financial strategies were like.

Everyday Millionaires draws stories, stats and inspiration from the lives of  those 10,000 millionaires.

There are recurring themes: wealth building takes a long-term focus, discipline and a conscious decision to live below your means.

What it doesn’t take is  an outrageously large annual incomes.

One caveat:  a long-term focus means 25 years or more.

Turns out the path to becoming a millionaire is fairly simple.  Not easy, not quick.  But fairly simple.

   Buy now from Amazon

Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie Perry Hill

Jackie tells the story of her spiritual journey, which includes leaving a lesbian lifestyle, getting married and becoming a mother.

I love the way she writes about her sexuality as only one piece of the puzzle and how it fits into the larger context of becoming a Christ-follower.

It’s a story more people need to hear.

Did you miss these posts?

9 Stand Out Memoirs That Will Inspire You

5 Fascinating Tales About Women Who Made History

 

 

Why you need that reunion and the reunion needs you

I used to think community was one network that served as a safety net.

But, community isn’t just one circle. Your network is actually multiple circles where you belong. Sometimes they overlap and sometimes a it’s a group that you were part of in the past.

Like your nuclear family.

Or a class that you were part of.

Or a church or small group that you used to attend.

The fact is that past communities helped shape who we are as humans.

Reunions are communities of the past that we re-connect with in the present.

Reuniting with that community is important to understand ourselves. Who we were then and who we are now.

When that community gets together again, the shared memories are the glue that cements the community.

It is the communities of the past that have shaped who we are. And, we in turn have shaped them.

Some communities we have chosen and some we haven’t.

But the communities of our present and future we choose. We choose to identify with them. We choose to be a part of them. We choose to influence them. We shape those communities, to a greater or lesser extent. And they shape us.

All the communities of our past have influenced who we are today.

To re-connect with those people means to touch our former selves.

Emotional and relational health involves coming to terms with past communities. Being at peace with yourself in relation to them.

Accepting the good, bad and ugly and redeeming the negative.

Extending forgiveness when necessary. Accepting forgiveness when necessary.

Expressing gratitude for the impact the people in those circles have made.

 

 

 

Why I bought an overpriced planner and why it’s not changing my life

I spent my birthday money on an overpriced planner.

It hasn’t changed my life for two simple reasons:

  1. My life changed before I bought it.  That’s why I bought it.

2.  I let go of an unrealistic expectation that one purchase would be the magic bullet that made my life uber amazing.

Life is messy.

There’s no way a planner is going to clean all that up.

Even if your schedule and your budget and your home organization is on target, you will still have other problems. That’s the way life is.

There is no magic bullet that is going to solve all your problems.

We buy things hoping they can do more than they can do.

Tools are only as good as the people using them. But, in the right hands, they can be powerful.

In order for a planner to work, the first step is a desperation to change.

A second step is a commitment to do things differently.

The fact of the matter is that we can’t see the future. We don’t know what’s coming down the pike.

We can plan for an uncertain future.

We can also trust in the one who holds the future.

What I love about the Living Well planner

It’s undated.  Affix the included stickers to the tabs to begin whichever month you want.

Having a separate spot for meal planning.

Even though I haven’t been able to keep up with the budget pages, I’m glad they’re there.

I love the Ruth Soukup’s goal crushing system and the breakdown on how to accomplish big goals.

Her online videos come with the planner purchase.

It’s so easy for me to dream big and want to skip to the end, without the messy middle.  It’s great to think through all the steps and obstacles to really accomplish the big goals.

What I don’t love about the Living Well Planner

I wish there were some place to work on quarterly goals. I see a lot of value in looking at the future 90 days at a time.

The budget pages feel a little restrictive. In the three months that I’ve been using the planner, I haven’t been consistent with the budget pages, so I still might be able to tweak them to make them work for me.

An overpriced planner isn’t going to change your life . . . unless it does.

I had low expectations for this planner. Because it’s not really a system or strategy or program that changes you: it takes a determination and motivation and “want to”.

No planner is going to work without that.

The truth is, there’s a long, hard road to success. You have to be willing to pay the price.

The other truth is, you have to wait for God’s vision. It is not ready and accessible on demand. It is ready when He reveals it to you, maybe only one step at a time.

There will be obstacles. There will be setbacks.

It will take dedication, determination and grit.

A system, program or strategy is not enough.

You need to do the work.

You have to have the motivation to see it through. You have to have the “want to”.

You also have to be paired up with the right system, program or strategy.

What you put in is just as important or more so than what you’re using.

That is why buying a planner isn’t going to change your life.

But that is why buying a planner could change your life.

If you are ready.

If you have the fire in your belly and you’re ready to change.

Then it could.

But, putting your hope in the program, system or strategy will never work if you’re not ready to do the work.