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Sunday, September 15, 2019

"Living a Life you Love" by Joyce Meyer

I listened to this book as an audio book CD while driving around in my car.  It is both positive and uplifting.  While geared towards woman, the lessons taught in the book apply to everybody.  Meyer emphasizes how all people are created equal, regardless of age, weight, race, ethnicity, and so on.  She also notes that God loves all people.  Thus, all people deserve to be happy and love their life.  There are many examples in the book, from donating to charity to calling up a friend.  Meyer goes on about the delight found in helping others and fostering friendships.  This book is written from a Christian perspective, so be aware of that.  Religion aside, Meyer makes a very good case for not only why people should love their lives but also how to go about doing so.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

"Start Here: Master the Lifelong Habit of Well-Being" by Eric Langshur & Nate Klemp, PhD

I listened to this book as an audio book CD while driving to and from work.  Much to my surprise, this was not a book about nutrition, diet, and exercise, but rather a book about mindfulness, meditation, and tranquility.  The authors combat stress, anxiety, worry, anger, and other sour emotions by encouraging listeners to stop, notice, and rewire.  Stop the negative emotion and calm down.  Notice where one's thoughts are directed.  Rewire thoughts to align more closely with reality and peace.  A common phrase used in the book is the question "is it true?".  All too often, we make up stories in our heads about ourselves and others that are simply not true.  For instance, if a boss is moody at work, that doesn't mean the boss hates us.  Perhaps the boss has a stomach ache or didn't get enough sleep the night before or is having family troubles.  Who knows.  It does no good to jump to conclusions, especially if those conclusions do more harm than good for our well being.  

Monday, August 19, 2019

"Living Without Stress or Fear" by Thich Nhat Hanh

I listened to this book as an audio book CD in my vehicle.  The title really struck me as something I should investigate.  After all, who doesn't want to live without stress or fear?  I quickly learned that this book is written by a Zen monk.  It covers various monk philosophies ranging from friendship, respect, love, harmony, nature, exercise, and more.  At no point did I feel the author was trying to convert me to a new religion or to convince me to become a monk.  Rather, I felt like I was sitting in on an exclusive look into the life of a monk.  I learned how all life is connected and how people never truly die (in the same sense that clouds never truly die).  I learned about how matter is not created or destroyed but instead transformed from one form to another.  I learned about the Buddha and other historical figures.  I learned how one of the true paths to "enlightenment" is simply understanding.  This book was very relaxing and I recommend it to others.

Friday, August 9, 2019

"Understanding Investments - The Great Courses" by Professor Connel Fullenkamp from Duke University

This audio book CD is all about financial investments.  It covers the stock market, bonds, 401Ks, real estate, foreign currency, and so much more.  This course is 12 CDs and very academic.  Listeners will feel like they are back in school with a professor as they learn the theory behind economics.  I would not say this is a "get rich quick" course but rather a scholarly course of how economics work.  I learned a lot but would say some parts went over my head.  Luckily, the audio book comes with a small physical book that recaps terms and concepts.  You will even use equations and spreadsheets in this course, so come ready to learn!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

"Living the Savvy Life" by Melissa Tosetti and Kevin Gibbons

There are so many fun ways for women to improve their finances that are highlighted in this book.  The savvy life is centered not around being a tightwad but rather being selective in what one purchases.  The key is to live beneath one's means and know when to splurge, bargain shop, or save.  Many practical tips and tricks are given.  Readers are encouraged to coupon clip, shop at thrift stores, only buy clothes that fit / look great, make one's home an oasis, plan meals, cook at home, and stay true to oneself.  Being savvy doesn't mean deny oneself of joy.  For example, if a woman loves designer dresses, that is fine.  She just needs to adjust her budget and save in other areas of her life so she can afford what makes her happy while not breaking the bank.  There are countless examples in the book of those who do and do not lead a savvy life.  There are famous actors who rack up thousands of dollars in debt.  There are people who complain how they can't afford to go on vacation while they sip on their daily $4 latte.  There are people who save and budget for what is important to them.  I really enjoyed this book.  It is practical yet non-judgmental.  Like being physically fit, there is a clear roadmap to follow but no shortcuts or guarantees of success without work.  I encourage all women to read this book and think about how they could be more savvy with their own finances. 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

"Debt Free for Life" by David Bach

I listened to this book as an audio book CD while driving around in my car.  While I'm not in debt, I have some family members in debt and wanted to learn more.  If there is anything I've learned from this book, it is that I never want to be in debt!  While debt is temporary and people can get out, it is emotionally and [obviously] financially difficult.  Bach explains how credit cards work and what compounding interest does to people.  For instance, if someone borrows $10,000 on credit cards, over time with interest, they can really owe upwards of $20,000 or more.  I also learned about credit counselors, debt consolidators, bankruptcy, scam artists trying to help with debt, and more.  From a law perspective, it was interesting to know that some debts can be forgiven after a certain amount of years.  It also was fascinating to learn about unclaimed money that I can search for on government websites.  Bach is a compassionate soul that really aims to help people be financially free.  Whether you're in debt or just learning about finances, I recommend you read this book.  

Friday, July 26, 2019

"The Crash Detectives" by Christine Negroni

Half story, half journalism, this book explains complex aircraft accidents to the lay reader while staying true to what happened.  Scientific details are included in a way that is not drab and monotone but rather exciting and fascinating.  Negroni briefly goes over a whole slue of aircraft accidents from the 1950s thru modern times.  She sets the story of what happened, why it happened, how human factors were involved, and how the aviation industry changed for the better.  I like how Negroni does not place blame but also does not whitewash crashes.  There are several instances in the book where someone is described as warning others but who is ignored, dismissed, and sometimes even demoted.  Negroni calls these such people the "Jeremiah's" of the aviation industry.  While the book talks about accidents, it is not graphic or overly scary.  Still, I wouldn't recommend reading this on a flight!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

"Wealth Beyond Wall Stree" by Brett Kitchen & Ethan Kap

While listening to the radio, I heard an advertisement for a free finance book when I called a number.  So I called, and, as promised, the book was indeed free.  I did not have to give any credit card or bank information to receive the book.  Now, onto the contents.  The book starts out discussing financial independence and how risky the stock market is.  There are historical charts about how the stock market crashed in the past, which is not untrue.  In order to build wealth without risking money in the stock market, the authors recommend annuities and life insurance.  While the book was interesting, I have to say it wasn't the easiest to follow.  The acronym IUL was used multiple times and only defined once or twice.  After reading the book, I am still not sure how annuities and life insurance work.  At the end of the day, money has to come from somewhere.  I got the impression that annuities and life insurance is just a really fancy piggy bank.  It holds money that will be paid later.  Since the IULs are based off of index funds, I may consider researching more into just index funds on my own.  Annuities and life insurances are not without fees, which at least the authors are honest about.  I don't think this is a terrible book, I just don't think it is the best for finance either.  Making wealth involves no shortcuts or easy hacks.  People need to work hard, save, mind their business, and take risks.  There is no zero risk high return investment.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

"Dealing with People you Can't Stand" by Dr. Rick Brinkman & Dr. Rick Kirschner

Do you have any people in your life you can't stand?  Well then, join the club!  In this humorous book, the authors go over several archetypes of people with "difficult" personalities.  Readers will understand why people act the way they do, where they are coming from, and--most importantly--how to deal with them.  While the majority of examples in this book are related to the workplace, I would argue that the information can be applied to all sorts of relationships from family to friendship to romantic.  I personally enjoyed all the fun side stories and cartoons sprinkled throughout the book.  Difficult people are hard enough to deal with and read about, but this book lightens it up a bit.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

"Come Eat With Me" by Rob Douglas

This delightful little book is a collection of short stories written almost in a diary style.  They cover tales from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the author's own life.  In each story, the theme of eating together is woven in as hospitality is elevated.  Douglas postulates that God is the ultimate host and guest as He seeks to both serve and be served.  This book is such fun to read and really made me think.  It is a relaxing read for a bus, train, or other trip.  You can put it down for a few days and pick it up later without missing a beat.  When rewriting the Bible stories, I like how Douglas didn't just regurgitate what's already written in the scriptures.  Rather, he tells the stories thru the eyes of Bible character, adding in extra emotion and reliability.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it quite literally gave me some food for thought!

Friday, June 28, 2019

"Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kyosaki with Sharon Lechter CPA

This is such a fun book on finances.  Robert discuss how he had two dads growing up--a rich dad and a poor dad.  His poor dad was his biological father, while his rich dad was his childhood friend's father.  Robert's poor dad wasn't destitute...he just wasn't wealthy.  Robert's poor dad worked for money.  Robert's rich dad let money work for him.  There is much discussion about cash flow, taxes, assets, and liabilities.  A good portion of the book is also allocated to lifestyle and discussing how many people with high-paying jobs squander it all on "toys" that depreciate over time.  From reading this book, I've gotten a newfound inspiration to educate myself on finances.  I want to invest more in the stock market, the real estate market, and more.  Robert encourages readers to use their minds and learn financial literacy.  Most people are poor not because they are not smart.  Most people are poor because they are financially illiterate.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

"From Monk to Money Manager" by Doug Lynam

Knowing how many books I read and how fast I go thru literature, a friend of mine suggested I read a finance book.  He claimed I'd likely be able to get through it faster than the average person and absorb the information well enough to improve my own finances.  So, I got this book to review.  I liked the concept of a religious monk turn money manager.  This book was fascinating and taught me a lot about finances.  I learned the difference between rich people and wealthy people.  Rich people have lots of money but blow it on stuff.  Rich people often end up poor when they are older, their businesses hit hard times, or when they retire.  On the flip side, wealthy people may not have lots of money but they invest what they do have.  Wealthy people live below their means, save like monsters, and have some sort of stock options.  Another key takeaway from this book is that there are stocks called ESG stocks that are environmentally sustainable and governable.  Index funds in ESG stocks will invest in companies that recycle, help the environment, and do good in the world.  ESG stocks exclude companies that involve drugs, weapons, cigarettes, adult entertainment, etc.  Best of all, ESG stocks perform on par, if not better, than standard stocks.  These ESG companies aren't all environmental companies.  They can be mainstream companies that simply have sustainable practices and have no bad ethics.  I will take the lessons from this book and hopefully make myself a little more wealthy.  As Lynam points out throughout the book, money is not evil.  Love of money is evil.  If everyone became a little more wealthy, the world would be a better place.  Don't shun money.  Rather, use your money for good so you don't end up having to have someone else suffer by supporting you.    

Thursday, May 9, 2019

"Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl's Heart" by Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal

I am a fan of Kristen and Bethany of Girl Defined Ministries.  This is their third book and is all about sex / purity.  This book is all based on Christian theology and how sex was designed by God.  Sex within marriage is how the Creator designed it.  The authors illustrate how sex is a metaphor for a relationship with God.  Sex is meant to be intimate between two spouses who have made a covenant promise to each other...just like how God has a covenant relationship with humanity.  This does not mean God has physical relations with people--by no means.  It is all just symbolic and metaphorical.  Difficult issues such as porn, erotica, adultery, homosexuality, sexual abuse, and more are covered in a way that is transparent yet not graphic.  I should note that the book is aimed at women and can be read by young girls.  There is nothing explicit in the book and no images.  What I was surprised was how there was little to no emphasis on physical consequences for premarital sex.  There was no section on sexually transmitted disease or unplanned pregnancy.  Overall, I enjoyed the book.  No matter your past, you are loved by God and can walk in your worth as a daughter of God.  Sex is not scary or bad or cheap.  Rather, sex is meant to be cherished with the one person who has committed their life to you by putting a ring on your finger!

Friday, May 3, 2019

"Soul Survivor" by Bruce and Andrea Leininger with Ken Gross

I listened to this book as an audio book CD.  I heard about it when it was referenced in another book on cellular biology.  The story is about a young boy who has nightmares related to a past life.  As early as two years old, the boy James tells his mother about fighter aircraft, past relatives, knowledge of Japan, and so on.  James even has violent nightmares where he is trapped in a burning aircraft...the very same aircraft he died in during World War II.  James' parents are torn--his mother is a believer in reincarnation while his father is skeptical.  Through years of research and tracking down veterans, James' parents begin to be more and more convinced of their child's past life.  James even made reference to being in heaven and choosing his parents when they were honeymooning in Hawaii.  Some will say this book is a hoax or made up.  I honestly don't know if this is true or not but I choose to believe it is so.  There is so much about life after death that we do not know.  God can do anything, and if God lets people come back to life multiple times, what's the big deal?  On a side note, I would like to say that the narrator of the CD is excellent.  The voice, tone, and pacing are on point.

"Girl, Wash Your Face" by Rachel Hollis

Geared towards women, this book is all about being the best version of yourself.  Various lies are detailed and confronted with a loving reality.  Hollis shares many stories from her own life.  For example, when confronting the lie that women are defined by their weight, Hollis shares her own struggles with emotional eating.  When confronting the lie that women will be happy when they have a man, Hollis shares her own struggles with her husband.  The author is Christian and makes some religious references, but the book feels very authentic and not evangelical or otherwise pushy.  Readers turn each page and feel like they are chatting with the author over a drink.  I wouldn't say this book has any new information.  Most topics would be considered common sense, but I do think it is still a good book to read.  Far too many women let lies control their life, and it's always great to have a positive reminder that everything is going to be okay and you have the power to make it so.  Girl, wash your face!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

"Love, God" by Deborah J Simmons Roslak and Linda J Orber

This devotional is a must have for anyone who could use a good pick-me-up.  Each segment is two to three pages.  They start off with a quote, some food for thought, an inspirational message, and finish off with journal prompts.  This can be read one day at a time or readers can plow through it in a day or two (whatever the preference).  While the book itself is very short, I chose to take my time.  The words are short but the meaning is deep and intense.  The authors write from the perspective of God, so it feels as if God is speaking to the reader.  While there are some Bible verses, the book itself could be enjoyed by people of all faiths.  God is often referred to as the Creator and Love itself.  There are many references to putting more love in one's life, allowing oneself to be loved, remembering one is loved, remembering God is always there, and so on.  If more people thought like this, I do believe the world would be a better place.  Live in love for you were made in love.  Love, God.  

"Girl, Stop Apologizing" by Rachel Hollis

For all the women out there who have dreams they've not yet pursued, this book is for you.  Hollis goes into the lies and excuses that hold women back from being their best...most of which revolve around other people's perceptions.  If I chase my dream, I won' be a good mom, my husband will be mad, my friends will make fun of me, and so on.  These are awful reasons to live one's life in the backseat.  After the mental work is done, Hollis moves readers onto building skills and habits that will lead them to success.  These are all about consistency and hard work over time.  This book offers no quick fixes.  Hollis shares her own journey of success in this book, being candidly honest about what did and did not work for her.  She is also upfront about her own confidence in her image, especially about her extensions, hair coloring, eyelash extensions, and even plastic surgery.  Hollis' look isn't for everyone, but she does encourage women to find whatever look makes them happy and confident.  While I didn't agree with everything in this book, I found it to be overall motivating, inspiring, positive, and stock full of good intentions.  Girl, live your life, make your dreams come true, and stop apologizing for being who you are!

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.

"The Bare Naked Truth" by Bekah Hamrick Martin

I got this book from the library partly due to its scandalous cover / title but also partly due to its promise of covering difficult topics like purity from a spiritual perspective.  The way the book is outlined, there are ten chapters with each chapter covering a lie that most young women believe.  These are lies like: waiting is for wussies, boundaries don't matter, sex is okay as long as people are in love, sex is okay as long as it is safe, and so on.  While there are religious references, the bulk of this book relies on personal anecdotes from the author and multiple guest authors who share their own personal stories.  There are also statistics showing girls how saving oneself for marriage can actually lower their divorce rate.  Single, married, virgin or not, this book is a must for any woman looking to decipher the truth about dating, waiting, and God's plan for purity.  While purity is definitely pushed, this book is not judgmental or condemning for those who may have made mistakes in life.  It merely aims to reduce / prevent the physical, spiritual, and emotional pain that women get when they don't save everything for marriage.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

"Dealing with Meetings you Can't Stand" by Dr. Rick Brinkman

For all the working professionals out there, how many meetings have you gone to where you felt bored, left out, unheard, and just wasting time?  If you're like most of working America, the answer is "too many!".  Contrary to the title, Dr. Rick's book isn't just about dealing with meetings you can't stand--it's about fixing them by implementing what he calls the Meeting Jet Process.  I liked the Meeting Jet Process because I work in aviation and there are lots of fun terms that mimic my industry.  There is the flight recorder, the air traffic controller, and the pilot.  Each has their own separate and important responsibilities.  The book also describes different types of people in meetings win comical detail.  There are tanks, judges, snipers, and more, which I'll let you read about on your own.  From people who say too much to people who say too little to people who just make distractions, there is a section on them!  I totally agree with the philosophy that meetings need start times, end times, clear agendas, and a method by which people are involved in discussion.  While this may sound like common sense, it can be hard to implement.  That's where Dr. Rick's many examples come into play to help the reader.  Meetings are for interaction, not for information distribution or monologues.  If you want a more productive meeting at your workplace, read this book and give it to your boss, too! 

"Life by Design" by Dr. Rick Brinkman an Dr. Rick Kirschner

 Have you ever wanted to improve your life or life situation but didn't know where to start?  Dr. Rick's book takes you through all the necessary steps for cultivating a life that is meaningful for yourself and others.  Each chapter has inspirational quotes and illustrations, as well as detailed descriptions of why the lesson is important.  Then, there are guided activities / journal prompts for the reader to complete.  Beyond just accomplishing a goal, Dr. Rick gets to the heart of values and why a person wants a specific goal.  As stated in the book, many unpleasant emotions and even some physical ailments are the result of people living in conflict with their most cherished values (some of which they are not even consciously aware of!).  Topics such as attitude, friendship, marriage, and world politics are even touched on.  I could go on and on but encourage readers to find out for themselves how to bring out the best in themselves.  I like how un-daunting this book is.  The chapters are short and the text isn't full of jibber jabber.  This is a fun yet practical no-nonsense guide to self-improvement.

"Meditations for Personal Healing" by Louise L Hay

I listened to this audio book CD and really enjoyed it.  As I listened, I felt like Hay was the grandmother I never had (I had wonderful grandmothers, but they've since passed when I was too young to remember them much).  Hay talks about imagining yourself as a baby or child.  Think of how much that kid is loved, wanted, adored, cared for, and so on.  No one wishes harm or anxiety upon children, yet we place such huge burdens upon ourselves.  If you had a great childhood or a less than stellar one, it doesn't matter.  Listening to Hay will make you feel better about yourself and heal whatever needs healing.  She loves you and I love you.

"Stress-Free" by Louise L. Hay

I listened to this CD while driving to and from work.  It is on the shorter side of audio book CDs and can be completed in about an hour.  The first half is all about Hay's methods for combating stress.  The second half is relaxing music for one to listen to.  Hay explains that stress really just is a fear response and that once we let go of fear, we can let go of stress.  I really liked that idea.  What does stress do except make matters worse and lead to physical ailments?  If you are feeling stressed out, calm down by listening to Hay's CD on your way to work.

Friday, February 1, 2019

"Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell

I listened to this audio book CD while driving to and from work.  It centers around very successful people in history and getting to the heart of why they are so successful.  I was quite taken aback at this book and learned a lot.  I learned Bill Gates got his big break when he had unlimited access to a university computer in the 1960s, something which was quite rare back then.  I learned that major league hockey players who are born in January are older than their counterparts born in December and end up getting more opportunities for practice.  I learned that Asians who are good at math have cultural habits of hard work ingrained in them from centuries of arduous rice farming (rice farming is considerably more difficult than other forms of farming for various reasons that Gladwell explains).  There are so many examples of people who were in the right place at the right time.  What I did not like about this book were some crude references and swear words.

"Color me younger" by Pat Henshaw and Veronique Henderson

This book is all about how to look one's best.  While there is an emphasis on women over 40, I think women of all ages can benefit from this book.  There are examples of different hair / eye / skin combinations, as well as corresponding colors that go well with said persons.  I found my own palette and plenty of outfit ideas based on the colors suggested for me.  I found it funny that most of the colors suggested for me were colors that dominated my closet!  There is a black lady in this book, but, that aside, I'd say there aren't many examples for other nationalities.  As a white woman, I found my own color examples.  However, for women who are Asian, Indian, Hispanic, African, or other exotic nationalities, I'd suggest getting a more specific book that will work to your palette.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

"Ready to Wear" by Mary Lou Andre

I got this book for fifty cents in the library, and what a steal that was!  Centered around how to be fashionable and organize one's closet, this book has taught me so much.  I have already utilized many of the tips to dress better.  The most important takeaway I got was to organize clothes based on lifestyle--NOT color.  When I did this, I was finally able to dress better for work because my work clothes were front and center.  No longer were my work clothes mixed in with workout clothes, formalwear, lounge clothes, and pajamas.  Another helpful tip Andre gives is to shop in one's closet before making purchases.  I was about to buy a pink skirt when, after following Andre's advice, I found I already owned two!  Andre is a styling professional and will teach you how to dress better.

"You're My Little Sweet Pea" by Kit Chase

An adorably fun story is included in these full-color, hardcover pages.  From all over the animal kingdom, readers will see and understand how much guardians love their children.  There is story time, eating, playing together, cuddling, falling asleep, and so much more.  The main message for children is that they are loved, wanted, special, and adored.  Besides being all cute and fun, I think this is a message that everyone needs to hear from toddlers to seniors.  So many people in today's society have sadness because they feel unwanted.  If everyone read "You're My Little Sweet Pea" before bedtime, think of how happy the world would be and how much better of a place it would be to live in.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

"The Healing Self" by Deepak Chopra, MD and Rudolph E Tanzi, PhD

I listened to this book as an audio book CD while driving.  It is all about preventative medicine and how to avoid disease / improper aging.  The authors heavily emphasize having a good diet, exercise plan, way to manage stress, community support system, and so on.  It is presented on multiple occasions that many of the most common illnesses in the western world are lifestyle-induced.   As for aging, the authors talk about how that does not have to be a negative experience.  Many people who age poorly do not do so because "that's just how life is".  Rather, most people age poorly because their years of not taking care of themselves catch up to them.  Then there are many more seniors who stop exercising as they age, which makes matters worse.  The chapters on stress were really interesting, as it made me think of how worry, anxiety, fear, and other bad emotions can cause havoc on my physical body.  If you want to lead a better life now, listen to "The Healing Self".  You are not doomed to a fate of illness and sickness as you age.  You have the power to heal yourself!


 

Monday, January 21, 2019

"Staying Healthy with the Seasons" by Elson M Haas, MD

I checked this book out at my local library because I was interested in how my health could vary season to season.  Haas' book is all about holistic medicine and natural wellness.  There is a huge emphasis on diet, exercise, and nutrition.  Haas discusses how traditional Chinese medicine focuses on certain "elements", body parts, foods, colors, and emotions for each season.  I've heard of winter, fall, spring, and summer, but this book actually has a fifth season of late summer.  That was news to me.  I learned all about how to balance myself in each season, how to change my diet to what is growing at the time, how to manage my emotions when it is too cold to go outside, and much more.  I'll be honest.  Some parts of this book were a little out there for me in terms of natural wellness (sorry, but I'm not going on a 10 day juice cleanse!).  Still, I found the book to be well-researched, well-intentioned, and thought provoking.

"Mars and Venus on a Date" by John Gray, PhD

My local library was having a book sale, and I got this book for fifty cents.  What a steal!  Having heard of "men are from mars, women are from venus", I decided to give this book a go.  It was very interesting.  It's all about how men and women approach dating and goes into what the author refers to as the five stages of dating.  The stages are attraction, uncertainty, exclusivity, intimacy, and engagement.  Intimacy does not necessarily mean physical intimacy but rather emotional intimacy.  Gray notes that many women are unsuccessful in dating because they skip steps (e.g.- many women jump into intimacy before the man has even entered exclusivity).  Gray also emphasizes the traditional roles of the man being the provider and the woman being the receiver.  This means that when a man gives a woman a gift, the woman need not concern herself with "making it up" to the man but rather just by being happy and graciously receiving.  Gray says that making a woman happy is a gift in and of itself to a man.  This does not mean that the woman can't give the man gifts on occasion, but just that it should be the man doing the majority of the gift giving.  Gray says that a woman who gives too much and repeatedly rejects a man's gifts sends the message that she is self-sufficient, does not need a man, and that the man is useless.  It was also interesting how Gray says that breaking up does not mean that someone doesn't love the other person - it just means they are not compatible in the long run.  Gray also talks about embracing differences in dating prospects and getting out to various events to expand one's social circle.  There is so much more in this book, but I encourage readers to find out for themselves.  May you find your soul mate.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

"The Art of Seduction" by Robert Greene

This book is all about what types of seducers exist, what types of victims seducers prey upon, and the methods seducers use to lure their prey in.  While very interesting, this book was borderline creepy.  There were no graphic sections (for instance, it would be written that so-and-so had an affair but no physical details were given) but the way it was written appeared to be instructing readers in how to manipulate others.  That aside, like most of Greene's books, I did not read the whole thing.  His writing style is very thorough but often too lengthy for me.  I chose to read just the first half of the book that describes the types of seducers (examples from history were provided).  Since I have no interest in seducing others, I skipped the second half of the book with all the steps on how to seduce (sorry fellas!).  Anyway, what I found most interesting is how emotional seducers are.  While some seducers like sirens rely on their physical attraction, many other types of seducers have little to no physical appeal at all.  What they employ instead is poetry, flattery. extreme personal attention, and other forms of making someone feel desirable.  That's the key--making someone else feel something great--that oftentimes far outweighs physical attraction.  I'm not saying physical attraction isn't important; I'm just saying a smooth-tongued and flattering person is a better seducer than a bumbling supermodel.