Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"How to STOP Negative Thoughts" by Barbara Ireland

I received this book after attending a live seminar with the author.  After being blown away at the class material, I devoured the book.  Even though this book is not very lengthy, there is a ton of excellent advice and tips packed into the chapters.  The whole concept of this book is to stop negative thinking, particularly what the author calls Mind Loops.  Mind Loops are where someone repeatedly thinks of the same negative thought over and over.  It could be rehashing a traumatizing event, playing an abusive self-talk tape, or someone else.  Regardless of what the negative mind loop thoughts are, one thing is for certain—they are unpleasant and harmful to one’s health.  The author suggests that readers detect, detour, and detach.  Realize you are having a negative mind loop, change your thoughts to something else, and MOVE ON.  This is an oversimplified summary; interested parties should read the book to learn more in-depth.  I personally have had my own negative mind loops and negative self-talk.  With the author’s tips, I have been able to stop myself, redirect my own thoughts, and be more kind to myself.  Life is a journey, and correcting mind loops is a lifestyle choice just like any other lifestyle choice.  If one wants to be healthy, they must diet and exercise every day.  If one wants to have positive thoughts, they need to combat negative mind loops every day.  You are great.  Don’t let anyone else—your mind included—tell you otherwise!

"Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women" by Zondervan

This black and blue hardcover book has a devotional for every day of the year.  Each day has a Bible quote—either from the New or Old Testament—followed by commentary and then space to journal.  When the author comments on the Bible verses, there is effort to try and apply it to common day issues.  The journal prompts also have this goal in mind.  Aimed at young women, topics range from friendship to body image to confidence to dating.  There are even larger topics covered such as refugees, recycling, and charity.  This book is a great gift for a young woman who may use it to read and journal before bedtime or perhaps in the morning before work / school.  Due to the Christian undertones, I would say the devotionals would sit best with those of a Christian audience.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"Sacred Slow" by Alicia Britt Chole

When I first saw the words on the cover, "a holy departure from fast faith", I was intrigued to say the least.  Honestly, I expected some advice about meditating and putting down smartphones.  However, what I learned was so much more.  The book is divided into twelve chunks with mini-chapters.  Each bit goes over a lesson and then has activities / homework.  Readers learn about the importance of resting from the biblical Sabbath year.  They also learn how the Israelites were reprimanded for not resting.  Then Chole goes into detail on the impacts on people for not resting in the twenty-first century, as well as tips for how to slow down.  Faith is not a fast-food commodity that can be bought or gobbled down in 5 minutes.  Rather, it must be cultivated.  Chole talks in great detail about the silence of God and how people need to stop measuring their spirituality in terms of what they did.  People need to measure their spirituality in terms of how they are in relationship with God.  There are even practical sections on comparing negative thoughts and on viewing oneself as the beautiful child of God that we are.  With brutal honesty, the author also prompts the reader to journal about how one views God, both positively and negatively.  There are copious references to Jesus and the New Testament, so there are Christian undertones.  There is a great discussion guide in the back and even tips for how to lead retreats, which makes this book excellent not only for personal study but also for leading groups.