Tuesday, April 16, 2019

"The Biology of Belief" by Bruce H. Lipton, PhD

An instructor recommended this book to class after teaching a roomful of students about the heart-brain connection.  Lipton opens the book with a story from his own life, explaining how his unusual journey to reconcile science and spirituality began.  There is fascinating information detailed about cellular biology and whether or not matter is really all that matters (spoiler alert, it isn't!).  Energy, waves, vibrations, and more are discussed, as well as the placebo effect and religious miracles.  I loved the analogy of consciousness being like a TV station.  Even if a TV breaks, the station still exists.  It merely has to be played on another device.  In this sense, the window of opportunity exists for both reincarnation, as well as immorality.   Several fascinating studies are mentioned in this book, which has prompted me to order several others to learn more.  I will say this book spends more pages discussing the science of how cells work than going into case studies of the paranormal.  Still, I found it to be enlightening.  You are not destined to be whatever your DNA and genes are.  You can influence your future and change your cells today!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

"You are the PLACEBO" by Dr. Joe Dispenza

I listened to this audio book because an instructor of mine recommended it.  This was such a fascinating book that really got me thinking.  The placebo effect is when someone is tricked into thinking they have a cure when they don't and their body heals based on that belief.  The most common experiments are people who get a sugar pill (that they think is a medical pill) and reverse signs of their illness.  More interesting studies are those where people had knee "surgery" that essentially did nothing but knee problems went away after patients were told the "surgery" was a success (they were put to sleep during the surgery).  There were people who were blind or bleeding profusely who were healed based on the placebo effect.  There are also stories of people with nacebo effects whose bodies declined when they were told they had a hex placed on them by a witch.  Dr. Dispenza discusses stories like these and more with the ultimate goal of getting to where people do not need a magic pill or surgery.  The goal is to make your beliefs so strong that you quite literally heal yourself.  This is rather difficult and meditation for extended periods of time is encouraged.  This topic is sure to get you thinking.  If you believe in the miracles of the Bible, were those really miracles or simply placebos?  Who knows!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

"Jewish and Christian View on Bodily Pleasure" by Robert Cherry

This book focuses on the history of views on bodily pleasure from a Judeo-Christian perspective.  The history of Jews and Christians is chronicled and the author goes from BC to AD and back again.  The garden of Eden had "be fruitful and multiply".  The pagan societies had sex slaves, prostitution, and degradation of women / men / children.  Modern day Catholic priests and nuns must take a vow of abstinence while Protestant preachers and rabbis of all denominations are encouraged to marry.  Where did all of these differing perspectives come from?  Cherry traces the history of sexuality in time and space and religion.  Intimacy in marriage between a man and woman was God's design from the start, but what then do we make of the celibate Jesus and the fact that our bodies are the temple of God?  Can one hear from God at all times or only when abstaining from bodily pleasures?  The questions go on and on.  I personally think both extremes are harmful--that of never marrying and that of promiscuity.  This book was very interesting.  My only complaint is the images in the book are x-rated.  I wish these were not included.  I found the book interesting from a historical perspective, but I can not in good conscious recommend it to others with the images inside.

"Bedtime Blessings" by Bonnie Rickner Jensen and Illustrated by Julie Sawyer Phillips

This children's book is hardcover and full-color on wooden pages.  It is designed such that it can be read all at once or in segments.  Each left-and-right page is a segment.  These have one Bible verse, followed by a rhyming poem.  The illustrations all depict a lamb, bunny, and chick.  These spring-themed creatures are all the best of friends.  They play together, get ready for bed together, explore the world together, go camping together, and much more.  Each poem and Bible verse and illustration are linked so that it all makes sense and isn't just random.  I found this book to be incredibly cute and whimsical.  I wish I had a book like this when I was growing up.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

"Put on your PJs, Piggies!" by Laura Neutzling and Illustrated by Sydney Hanson

This wooden hardcover, full-color children's book is quite a delight for bedtime.  The short story follows a family of pigs that is in no hurry at all to go to bed.  The parent pig repeatedly tells the little piggies to put on their pajamas and GO TO BED.  However, the piggies are more ready for playtime and fun than they are for snoozing.  Through a colorful series of events that include counting nearby sheep friends, the piggies do eventually put on their pajamas and go to sleep.  This book was rather cute and comical.  It gave me a good laugh.  I'm sure this will help create bedtime memories with little ones for years to come.

"Placemaker" by Christie Purifoy

This book is all about the art of making a place a home.  Purifoy writes of her life experience as a married woman following her husband from town to town for his work.  There is deep internal conflict as she struggles to have children and must sacrifice her own career for her husband's career.  Much description is paid to trees and wildlife in the various places Purifoy visits.  She talks about the need to make each of her individual homes welcoming and hospitable--even if she knew she was only going to be there temporarily.  There are many existential paragraphs in this book when the author meditates on the cycle of death and rebirth in nature.  A tree may fall, but it gives new life the next season.  Are not people the same way?  There are some sad parts of the book when the author is vulnerable with her emotions, as well as when a death in the family is mentioned.  I wouldn't say this book is extraordinary in terms of telling a story, but there was some way in which Purifoy wrote that made me feel relaxed as if I was talking with a dear friend.  Read this book if you want to slow down and make your house a home, no matter how long you plan to stay there.

"Seven" by Jen Hatmaker

I listened to this audiobook while driving to and from work.  It is more of a diary / blog / journal of one woman's journey to simplify her life with radical giving / sacrifice.  There are various experiments she does around the number seven.  There is a time when she eats only seven foods.  There is another time when she wears only seven items of clothing.  There is another time where she pauses to pray seven times a day.  The aim of her trials is for her spiritual enlightenment.  Hatmaker is a Christian, so there are many references to Jesus throughout.  The author makes a claim that most people in America--even those who consider themselves poor--live like royalty when compared to third world countries.  Hatmaker even talks about adoption and her struggle to adopt Ethiopian children.  While I admire the author's drive for altruism, I do not see it as taking on widespread popularity anytime soon.  Yes, there are people starving and suffering in the world.  But does giving up one's possessions and living a lower quality lifestyle really help all that much?  Wouldn't it be far greater if the countries in need solved the root cause of poverty, abuse, and neglect?  Why should someone forego having their own children to take care of a child someone else had?  These are very deep ethical questions that the reader will have to answer.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

"Better Together" by Warren Photographic

Adorable and sweet, this hardcover full-color book is sure to bring your living room table to life.  What an excellent book to peruse while waiting for an appointment or just to add some cheer to one's day!  Each page has an inspirational quote on one side and a lively photograph on the other side.  The quotations are centered around themes of friendship, respect, diversity, love, kindness, and compassion.  The photos are of various animals--mostly dogs and cats less than one year old.  I liked the photos that paired different animals together that were colored the same.  It's fascinating how, say, a bunny and a dog can be so different but look so similar!  There are also images of very different looking creatures side-by-side.  Overall, this is a fun book that I'll enjoy for years to come.

"Getting past anxiety" by Melissa A. Woods

This book is of the inspirational fiction / recovery genre.  It is about a woman Stella who goes on her own personal journey of healing from anxiety.  Stella comes from a broken home, had a child out of wedlock, is a divorcee, lost her brother at a young age, has a distant mother, has an inappropriate father, and more.  Needless to say, Stella's life is not easy!  She has extreme anxiety that causes her to lose relationships and even prevents her from getting on airplanes.  Stella undergoes an alternative medicine form of therapy that is very shaman-like.  She heals her childhood wounds and learns why she does what she does.  While this book is very inspirational, I must warn readers that it is very sad and tough and raw.  This is not a book to be read before one goes to sleep.  Also, due to the nature of this book, I would not recommend it for children or young readers.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

"If I'm so Wonderful, Why am I Still Single?" by Susan Page

This book's cheeky title got my attention in the library, so I gave it a go.  This book is more full of practical advice than hard statistics.  The whole premise is getting to the root of why people are single.  The author distinguishes intentional singles from unintentional singles--after all, some people do NOT want to be in a relationship.  There is a lot of psychology covered about intimacy and those who do not commit.  A laundry list of excuses that most singles use to justify their single-hood is explained and debunked.  For the singles out there, some need to resolve their emotional issues through therapy, some need to regain their self-esteem, some just need to get out of the house, some need to join a singles group / website, and so on.  Page urges readers to use equal measures patience and persistence.  Patience without persistence yields no results.  Persistence without patience lends itself to desperation.  If you are single and you do not wish to be, give this book a read to see why you are single and what you can do about it.  

"Love your Body" by Louise L. Hay

I listened to this audio book CD while driving to and from work.  Hay is like a gentle grandmother figure that aims to make listeners feel better.  There are several guided meditations that emphasize how much we should all love our bodies.  The meditations can be for men or for women.  Specific parts of the body are covered, all the way from the top of one's head to the bottom of one's toes.  Even organs are cherished in this CD, from our hearts to our lungs to our digestive parts.  Hay uplifts listeners by reminding them that they are normal, beautiful, and natural.  Our bodies should be nourished and taken care of--not reprimanded and punished.  Listen to this CD today to get more appreciation for your own body.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

"Totality of Possibilities" by Louise Hay

This audio book CD is a live recording with a studio audience.  Louise Hay speaks to the audience about how there is so much potential in the world for living our dreams.  She encourages listeners to think positively and let go of the negative voices in one's head that say we don't deserve this, we aren't good enough, we can't do this, and so on.  Hay explains that there are billions of people in the world and thus billions of opportunities for business, friendship, and love.  Near the end of the recording, there is a fun question and answer session where Hay dives deep into real people's insecurities.  At the very end, Hay leads a very peaceful meditation to the sound of piano music playing in the background.

Monday, February 25, 2019

"Make it Work" by Tony A. Gaskins Jr.

I first found out about Tony Gaskins when I listened to his videos on youtube.  He has a lot of advice about relationships.  The main premise of his platform and message is for women (and men) to not sell themselves short.  No one should settle.  No one should be with someone who makes them sad, cry, cheats on them, abuses them, is mean, is controlling, and so on.  Gaskins notes that people make mistakes and not everything is worth breaking up over.  However, he also emphasizes the power of consistency.  It's one thing to mess up and make it work moving forward.  It's another thing to repeatedly hurt someone over and over.  If you are repeatedly being hurt, heal yourself and move on.  Gaskins also talks about the importance of marriage and saving oneself for marriage.  Men who string women along for years end up wasting the women's time by making her what Gaskins calls a "hold me down".  Gaskins goes so far to say that most men know within a year if they want to marry someone...if not sooner.  Don't be the woman waiting years for a ring.  If your man is slow on commitment, get out and meet other men who will better value and appreciate you for the jewel that you are.  Aside from what to avoid, much of Gaskins' book has advice for married couples on how to strengthen the relationship and keep the flame of love burning for years to come.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

"Jelly Bean Blessings" by Maddie Frost

This full-color, hardcover book is one to be treasured for years.  There are three animal friends that enjoy the blessings of spring together.  The fox, the pig, and the alligator (or crocodile, I'm not really sure which it is!) are the best of friends.  Despite the title, this book does not just focus on jelly beans.  The trio enjoys splashing in puddles, gardening, picking wild flowers, flying kites, riding bikes, hiking in the park, doing spring cleaning chores at home, feeding birds, having picnics, and more.  I really liked the fun outfits for the animals that changed from scene to scene.  Also, I'm not sure what the media is, but many of the pages are shiny and glittery, or at least they give that impression.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and hope you will, too!  Now if only springtime would come sooner! 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

"You are a Prize to be Won" by Wendy Griffith

I didn't know if when I first picked this book up, but the author is a famous news anchor for the Christian Broadcast Network (CBN).  This accomplished woman is beautiful, strong, and vibrant.  Her book starts off with her own story of love and heartbreak.  Never married, at age 40 (the book doesn't talk about Wendy's love interests pre-40) she meets Michael.  At first it is love at first sight and everything seems to be going well.  However, as time goes on, Wendy begins to realize that Michael is not ready for commitment and does not want to marry her.  Wendy shares her journey during this difficult time, how she handled her emotions, how she got over her grief, and how she deepened her relationship with God.  I think all women can learn something from this book.  You are a prize to be won.  Don't ever settle for less.  This isn't to say that couples can't have arguments or issues.  However, if the arguments or issues never go away and never get better, it's time to move on.  I wish Wendy and all women around the world much happiness and the knowledge that they are dearly loved.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

"Self-Compassion: Step by Step" by Kristin Neff, PhD

I listened to this audio book CD while driving to and from work.  The basic premise is to not be so hard on yourself.  Rather, be kind to yourself and show yourself the compassion that you would show to a dear friend.  The CD is full of meditations that are quite relaxing--maybe not the best for driving!  Neff has a very soothing and non-judgmental voice, which makes her an excellent narrator for her own book.  This is the type of CD that people can easily listen to over and over.  I think we all need a reminder to be kinder to ourselves from time to time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

"How to Get a Date Worth Keeping" by Dr. Henry Cloud

This book is all about how to get out into the dating world and do it successfully.  While there are not statistics on scientifically proven methods, the advice given in this book makes very much sense to me.  There is an emphasis on healing emotional wounds and negative self talk that prevents people from dating in a healthy manner.  There is discussion around people who attract poor partners or do not attract good partners because they have low self-esteem and self-limiting beliefs.  The author encourages readers to get out of the house (unless they want to marry the mailman!), get friends, get hobbies, and go out with anyone at least once.  The point of dating is go have fun, enhance one's social skills, and get to know what one wants vs not wants.  The point of dating isn't to find a marriage partner, and that sort of thinking leads to stress and anxiety.  Just be yourself, love yourself, and enjoy dating for the sake of dating itself.  Don't overthink things, stay positive, and you may just find your love!

Monday, February 11, 2019

"All the Good Ones Aren't Taken" by Debbie Magids, PhD and Nancy Peske

The combination of amusing title and cover caught my eye, and I decided to read this book.  It's all about finding lasting love and changing thoughts / behaviors that self-sabotage.  The authors go into detail on eight types of women.  They have clever titles like Runaway Bride, Uptown Girl, the Wanderer, the Old Faithful, and so on.  These characters mirror women who go after married men, are afraid to commit, can't get over an ex, are afraid to date, and more.  There is a huge emphasis on repressed emotions stemming from childhood as many of the examples in the book go back to one's home life growing up.  While I wouldn't say every dysfunctional relationship is due to someone's upset childhood, I would say that the ideas laid out in this book can help readers get to the heart of why they act the way they do and why they believe the thoughts they do--regardless of their origin.  There are also some psychological terms used, all of which are properly explained for the lay reader (thank goodness!).  Overall, I found this book very interesting.  I also really liked how at the end, there was a summary of what happened to the women in the book.  The examples given for each type of woman were not made up.  They were actual clients (last names omitted, of course).  It was cool to see what happened to those women after taking the advice from the authors.  It gives hope to the reader that people can change for the better.  Not every example woman landed a husband, but they all improved their outlook on life and made positive steps in the right direction towards finding love and, more importantly, learning to love themselves.

Friday, February 8, 2019

"Dog Flight" by Johanna Chambers

As someone who absolutely loves corgis, I was very excited to read this book.  It is soft-cover and full-color with amazingly beautiful illustrations.  Asia the corgi takes a nap outside, meets a butterfly, undergoes a very special transformation, and spends the night soaring the skies with other like-minded dog friends.  There is such a sense of cute mischievousness when Asia's owner asks where she's been and she just smiles with that look on her face like she knows what she did but will never admit it.  How many dog lovers have seen that face on a dog before?!  I know I have!  The illustrations are so lifelike yet imaginative.  I loved how other dogs and methods of flight were incorporated into the book.  There were dogs of all breeds, colors, shapes, and sizes.  As for method of flight, not every dog had butterfly wings like Asia.  Some had different style wings, some flew airplanes, some sat in hot air balloons, some were parasailing, and so much more.  This is a fun book that readers will cherish for years to come.  Fly high Asia!

"God, I Know You're There" by Bonnie Rickner Jensen and illustrated by Lucy GLeming

This hardcover full-color children's book is just darling.  The pages are thick and wooden--sure to last for years to come.  Short poems line every set of pages, explaining to readers how there are very real things in life that people can't quite touch or see.  Examples are the wind, the sky, stars, rainbows, and so on.  At the very end, readers know that they can sense God by love in their hearts and in the world, just like they can sense the sun by means of observing light.  The illustrations in this book are fantastic.  They are both extremely artistic / professional while remaining childishly pure and light.  This is a great book to keep by one's bedside whenever one begins to have late-night doubts about God.  I'd love to see what other books Lucy Fleming has illustrated since she sure is talented.