Monday, December 10, 2018

"Self Esteem: Your Fundamental Power" by Caroline Myss

I got this audiobook from the library and listened to all four CDs as I drove to and from work.  Caroline discusses the importance of self esteem, how to get self esteem, and what life looks like both with and without self esteem.  The audiobook reads like listening live at a talk show (the reader feels like they are in a studio audience).  Myss describes how those with low self esteem sabotage themselves and live in fear.  She also puts emphasis on practical baby steps.  Myss is emphatic about how she does not think one can meditate their way to healthy self esteem.  Topics like career, finances, health, and relationships are addressed.  Particularly interesting were the sections on how those in one's life may react negatively to healthy self esteem.  When someone finally gets healthy self esteem in their life, those with low self esteem or controlling personalities will not be happy.  Myss talked about the importance of exercise on self esteem--not to lose weight or get fit but to know that I'm tired and don't want to go to the gym, but I went anyway because I said I would and I deserve to put my health first.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

"Love Does for Kid" by Bob Goff and Lindsey Goff Viducich

This cute little full-color hardcover book is excellent for kids of all ages.  It tells the story of the Goff family.  From learning compassion to making friends to inviting world leaders over for dinner, this book has it all.  There are many references to Jesus and Christian undertones.  However, the central message of the book is to be kind and forgiving in life--to embody love to all people.  I enjoyed the stories of backyard adventures, candy store negotiations, freeing slaves in India, building schools in Uganda, and getting others presents on your own birthday.  The print is fairly large, which is nice, and the illustrations are cleverly arranged to flow with the short stories.  Each story is about 4 pages and easy to read before bedtime or after homework.  I think this book will inspire many young readers to be kind to others and make a different in the global community. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

"Uninvited" by Lysa TerKeurst

I listened to this audio book while driving to and from work.  The basic premise is that people must find their worth and value in God, not other people.  When someone casts a glance your way, doesn't invite you to a party, doesn't give you that job you want, and so on, you need to look on the bright side.  Don't imagine all these scenarios in your head where you are unworthy or worthless or everyone hates you.  Believe people have good intentions, center yourself on your spirituality, and get moving in life.  The author is very vulnerable in this book, sharing her lessons learned from romantic relationships, friendships, and social outings.  The book has many Christian undertones and references biblical figures, including Jesus.  I really liked how honest Lysa was with the idea of self talk.  She'd retell stories of things that happened to her, what she thought, and how she analyzed those thoughts.  No matter how sad one may be in the moment, berating oneself mentally does nothing to improve the situation.  This was an interesting read, and it appears the audience was geared a little more towards women.  Remember readers that when you are uninvited, you are still valuable.  Pass it on!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

"Beloved" a devotional for young women

This devotional is meant for young women and has 365 readings for each day of the year.  The readings are labeled 1 thru 365 and not by day so that readers can start this one year plan any time of the year.  Each page / devotion has a short Bible verse on top followed by a few paragraphs of commentary followed by some blank lines to journal in.  Quotations are taken from both the Old and New Testament, starting from Genesis and working thru the Bible.  The verses selected are centered around women in the Bible, women's issues, self-worth, and so on.  I like the pink and flowery design of this hardcover book both inside and out.  It's nice to read a devotion before bed or in the morning before I leave for work.  It starts my day or ends my day on a pleasant note.  I wonder how many women would smile if they were reminded how much God cares for them on a daily basis.

"Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)" by Mindy Kaling

As someone who drives to and from work, I decided to start listening to audio books.  Being one of the books I had seen in stores and airports, I decided to listen to Mindy Kaling's book.  Honestly, I have mixed sentiments about it.  One the one hand, yes, it is funny and witty.  On the other hand, at times, the book can come across as whiny and crass.  There are chapters on the author feeling overweight while also admitting she is too lazy to exercise.  There are chapters on sexuality that appear geared towards pre-teen girls, which I find inappropriate.  Then there are the random chapters about stories and sitcoms the author likes.  This book was not my favorite, and while it helped me pass time while driving, it is not one I recommend to others.

"How do you say goodnight" by Catalina Echeverri

This full color, wooden little book is adorable for bedtime reading.  Zoey the zebra roams around Africa asking other animals how they say goodnight.  Along the way, she encounters lions, warthogs, elephants, monkeys, hippos, and more.  The text rhymes and has lots of opportunity for aloud readers to make funny noises.  At the end of the book, Zoey goes back to her family in peace.  This book is great for diversity, showing kids that it's okay to be different.  Just as different animals all have their own way of saying goodnight, different people have their own way of living.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

"God Bless You & Good Night" by Hannah C. Hall and Steve Whitlow

This children's book is a wooden hardcover, full color, touch and feel story.  It is aimed at children going to bed at night and has various baby animals with their parents.   Readers can see animals eat bedtime snacks, read bedtime stories, get hugs, hear I love you, and so much more.  The best part are the pages where readers can touch and feel the scenes.  Most touch and feels are of animal fur / skin, but there are a few that are of the ground / background.  Some are soft, some are rough, some are shimmery, some are plain, etc.  Each set of two pages covers one animal with its guardian.  Since this book does not have an animal with two guardians, it is good for single parents.  While the entire book is great, my favorite part was the hedge hog hug!

Friday, October 26, 2018

"Am I Enough" by Grace Valentine

Written from a female's perspective towards other females, this book is all about how women should find their worth in God.  The author shares her experiences thru childhood and early adulthood.  Issues such as body shame, eating disorders, poor self esteem, boy troubles, and more are covered.  The overall message is that women are already enough.  They do not need to keep striving to be better, smarter, taller, prettier, thinner, etc.  And they certainly should not find their worth in a boyfriend.  Reading this felt like I was talking to a good friend over a cup of tea.  Ten lies young women believe are addressed and combatted thru short chapters.  This book does have Christian undertones and makes many references to Jesus.

Friday, October 19, 2018

"The Food Babe Way" by Vani Hari

As a food conscious person, I found Vani on the web when I read her blog.  She is an investigative person who looks into the ingredients in the American food system.  For those who have seen The Food Babe on TV, they may remember her expose on yoga mat rubber being used in breads, as well as beaver anal gland being used in ice cream, and wood chips being used in cheese.  Crazy, I know!  What Vani does in this book is summarize her work over the years.  While there is a little bit in the book about Vani and her life, the majority of the book is for the reader.  It explains how to read food labels, says what chemicals in food do to the body, highlights good vs bad food choices at restaurants, has a meal plan, lists recipes, and even has a guide on how to start a food petition.  I thoroughly enjoyed Vani's book because she sincerely wants to know what is in food and help Americans make healthy choices.  Did you know that, calories aside, chemicals can make you fat?  Did you know that chemicals can cause cancer?  Did you know that chemicals can age you?  Be your best self and get healthy today the Food Baby Way!

"Don't Forget Your Crown" by Derrick Jaxn

I first heard of Derrick Jaxn on youtube.  He has lots of relationship advice videos, and his straight-shooter attitude is very refreshing.  While this book has the subtitle of "self-love has everything to do with it", it is not a step-by-step guide on self love.  The book reads more like an autobiography or story where Derrick shares how he went from a player to a relationship-conscious husband.  He recounts his regret of cheating on his college girlfriend, who eventually became his wife.  What Derrick emphasizes in his book is that a woman can not change a man.  Yes, a woman can influence a man and push him to be better, but nothing she can do will make him love her or want to be good to her.  Derrick tells the story of when his girlfriend broke up with him because she was tired of the mistreatment.  Years later, Derrick came back.  This advice to women shows that even if a man is mean at one point in time, he may very well regret it later on.  Also, I'd say Derrick was lucky.  Not every man who has wronged a woman gets her back, much less so to marry him.  The book is not only a wake up call to women to start for what they deserve (even if that means walking away from a loser or standing alone) but also to men (they can lose a good woman and never get her back).  Due to the story-telling nature of this book, I'd say it is more anecdotal and less scientific.  Still, it was an entertaining read.

Monday, October 8, 2018

"Queenology" by R.C. Blakes, Jr.

This book was listed as a recommended read to me on Amazon.  Intrigued, I bought it and began reading, and was I impressed!  This book has tried and true advice for women.  There is a foreword by the author's wife, as well as a royal storyline to help readers imagine an actual kingdom where queens rule.  I loved the initial analogy of a damaged $100 bill.  Even if it is written on, stepped on, spit on, torn in half then taped back up, it is still worth $100.  Blakes explains that is how women are always valuable.  However, when women do not move past trauma or they listen to negative voices, they lose track of who they are and where they are going.  The advice is very real and covers a variety of topics from finances to dress to relationships and more.  Blakes also warns queens that they will not make everyone happy and that some will shy away from them.  A true queen has real friends and lets go of those who want to use her, abuse her, or get jealous of her.  This is an excellent read that I will keep for reference.  Ladies, get out of that gutter and back on your throne! 

"Riding Into the Heart of Patagonia" by Nancy Pfeiffer

I first heard about this book thru a local climbing gym that had Nancy come in for a presentation about her book.  I later purchased an autographed copy and read it on a flight to pass the time.  I really enjoyed Nancy's style of storytelling.  The way she makes the mountains, nature, and especially horses of Patagonia come to life is truly remarkable.  I felt as if I was right there with Nancy riding around in South America with her trope.  From the art of sitting still to accepting life as it is to Chilean hospitality to  traveling alone, there are many ways in which one woman's story is shared.  It was amazing to read about a woman who had come so far in life, someone who was brave enough to attempt such a colossal trip with little Spanish skills and little horse skills.  What Nancy ended up learning in Patagonia was what she ended up using to not only make her trip a reality but also to survive.  I personally loved he stories about interacting with the locals and the native horses.  While there is nothing graphic in the book, things do get a little scary when Nancy and her animals must cross a raging river or fall into a mud-like quicksand.  Towards the end of the story, readers learn about environmental protests in South America and how Nancy was involved in a peaceful protest against damming a river.

"Untouchable" by Brittany Rust

The subtitle to this book is "unraveling the myth that you're too faithful to fall."  The story starts off with Rust's childhood and past, as well as how she came to be a prominent woman in her Christian faith / community.  There came a point where Rust had a list of things she would never do, and therefore never considered making appropriate boundaries for.  One of those was that she would never have sex before marriage.  As readers learn, Rust fell into temptation when she was intimate with her boyfriend.  This caused her a breakup, as well as being fired from her church job.  Eventually Rust got back together with her boyfriend and later married him.  However, I think it is important to know that her story could have gone the other way.  She could have lost her virginity to a man who left her and never came back.  The book details how one can overcome what the author calls the "untouchable myth mindset".  This is paralleled with Bible verses, many of which are from the New Testament.  There is a thread of love, grace, and forgiveness throughout.  Whatever your list of untouchables, this book will make you think twice about what you never thought to guard yourself against.

Monday, September 24, 2018

"Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs" by Lisa Randall

This book is all about the connection between dark matter and the asteroid that impacted earth to kill off the dinosaurs.  It is written by a very successful and smart astrophysics PhD.  I am not a physicist, and I may even be using the wrong term asteroid (the book goes into the differences between comets, asteroids, meteors, and more, which I still have trouble differentiating).  This New York Times Bestseller is definitely interesting, but, to be completely honest, it was too dense for me.  I was having difficulty following along and keeping my eyes open.  This is no fault to the author.  I think it is just such a complex topic that is not easy to convey to the lay person.  While there are some photos every few chapters, it is still very hard to follow along with all the dark matter and universe explanations.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

"The Warrior Goddess Way" by Heatherash Amara

I purchased this book at the Warrior Goddess Summit in Seattle a few weeks ago (got it autographed, too!).  I enjoyed Amara's other book on the warrior goddess training, and this is no exception.  The author uses Toltec wisdom (also known as Native American wisdom) to teach women empowerment.  This is not about being better than others or surpassing men.  Rather, this is all about being an authentic, present, happy woman who shows up fully in her day to day life.  Say no when you want to say no, as opposed to saying yes out of obligation.  Say yes to yourself and relationships and behaviors that bring out the best in yourself.  Rewrite old stories in your brain that keep telling you you're unworthy, not good enough, a failure, too fat, too skinny, and so on.  Learn not to base your value on what others think of you.  Don't be afraid to lose anyone.  Embody unconditional love and be yourself.  I could go on and on but I encourage women to read this book for themselves.  I learned so much about how to be a better me.  I already feel a boost in my self-esteem ad am excited to conquer the world!

Monday, September 17, 2018

"Don't be a wife to a boyfriend" by Shonda Brown White

I saw this book recommended to me on Amazon and my interest was piqued.  I anticipated this book would be all about warning women against having intercourse or living with boyfriends.  While that is there, the majority of the book is the author's experiences.  Shonda goes into her father issues and lack of self esteem.  She writes about constantly wanting to win a man's approval, so much so that she settled for less in many ways.  Shonda writes of her past relationships where she was lied to, cheated on, dumped, abused, and so on.  One day, Shonda was tired of her life and changed her perspective and course.  She eventually met her now husband who treats her like gold.  For all the women out there, single or not, you are beautiful.  Never settle for a boy who neglects you.  It may take years to be found, but there is a man out there who will adore you.  Any time a guy treats you poorly, let him know and distance yourself.  Cooking meals, giving kisses, etc does not make a man love a woman more.  A man either loves a woman or he does not.  Far too many women are settling for boys who do not love them just to say they have someone. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

"Warrior Goddes Training" by Heatherash Amara

I had the pleasure of attending a Warrior Goddess boot camp in Seattle just a few weeks ago.  There, I purchased autographed copies of Heatherash's books.  The book and seminar have a lot of the same threads / topics covered.  The concept of women being warrior goddesses isn't some weird pagan thing.  We all know women did not create the heavens and the earth--the word is just used for inspiration.  To be a warrior goddess is to channel both power and femininity.  For millennium, women have been putting others first at the expense of their own well being.  For ages, women have been hating themselves and mentally repeating self-loathing stories about themselves.  Heatherash encourages women to let go of all thoughts, beliefs, patterns, actions, and stories that do not serve us.  Women are not destined to become what their parents said they will be, what their schoolmates called them, or even what they think they are supposed to be.  Women are destined to become the best versions of themselves, embodying love, speaking truth, living and wisdom, and not acquiescing their destiny to make others happy.  Shine on sisters!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

"Bella Figura" by Kamin Mohammadi

This book immediately caught my attention with the title and cover.  As an Italian woman, I wanted to read about another woman's Italian journey.  Looking at the author's last name, I initially thought this was an Italian woman who married a middle eastern man and got his last name.  However, I soon realized Kamin was indeed Iranian of her own birthright and moved from Iran to London to Italy.  As a fashion magazine editor who was overweight, depressed, and getting over a breakup, Kamin needed a change.  When the opportunity to live in Italy for a year came up, she jumped on it.  What follows is a 12-chapter, 12-month journey of Kamin discovering herself.  She learns how to cherish life, enjoy the little moments, walk the city, eat healthy, and find love.  After only a few short months in Italy, Kamin loses weight.  Her fad diets of London did nothing to her waistline, whereas carb and gelato in Italy melted the pounds off!  To add to the fun, each chapter ends with an Italian recipe or two.  I love the whole concept of Bella Figura, of showing up the best one can be all the time.  This means wearing your best dress to the market, setting a place at the dinner table by yourself, and smiling at strangers.  Making friends in a genuine fashion is what Kamin did, and I am proud of her for that.  In terms of romance, while not graphic, there are references to adult intimacies that make this book not suitable for children.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

"Candy Apple Blessings" by Maddie Frost

This full-color wood hardcover children's book is an utter delight.  It is all about the season of fall and all the fun that comes along with that.  Adorable animals play in leaves, eat candy apples, ride hay rides, go on the school bus, play at the fair, and so much more.  The story is very simple, and there is emphasis on sounds (leaves go CRUNCH, bus goes VROOM, and so on).  I love how the animals are all cozy in their little outfits.  Mice wear scarves, dogs wear hats, and cats wear bests.  Ducks drive buses and bears hand out candy apples.  It is all so silly and all so cute.  At the end, there is mention of God as the provider of all of fall's blessings.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

"Air Rage - Crisis in the Skies" by Anonymous and Andrew R. Thomas

When I got my Masters in Airplane Safety Systems, one of my projects was on the topic of air rage.  I've finally finished the book to write a review!  Air rage is a phenomenon where those onboard aircraft become enraged to the point of violence, belligerence, and oftentimes disrupting the flight crew.  Air rage can involve murder, extreme injury, plane crashes, and hijacking.  This is not to be confused with air terrorism.  Air terrorism is often premeditated and for political reasons.  On the other hand, air rage is often in the spur of the moment and for other reasons.  Reasons people go into air rage are oftentimes due to alcohol / drugs, mental illness, disgruntled emotions over the air travel experience, deportation, and inter-passenger conflict.  The stories in this book range from downright comical to horrendous.  The authors recommend increasing penalties for air rage and writing into law more strict guidelines for what constitutes air rage.