Showing posts with label Inspirational. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Inspirational. Show all posts

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Think Smart Not Hard: 52 Principles to Success and Happiness by Roy Huff



Genre: Self-help, Inspirational
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Heads up! This is probably one of the longest posts I've written in a long time.

This isn’t a book you can read through like a novel. I will even say that some parts may be difficult for you to read.  I grew up when I was younger thinking  that most everyone around me was much more talented than I was. That is unless you talked about teaching. I wanted to be a teacher from fourth grade on.  I was positive I would be a teacher, even when my family and friends told me all the reasons I didn’t want to be a teacher. The way we see and react to life shapes us.  The principles in this book were not new to me. I grew up from my teens on reading self-help and positive thinking books.  However, I never applied all the things I learned.  In Roy’s book, the first principle he mentions is forgiving those who don’t deserve it.   After reading that section I realized that I and my husband were both letting a situation hold us back. Instead of forgiving those involved we felt didn’t deserve it, we actually used it as an excuse.  That was the hardest principle to work on.

For years I let the fear of failure hold me back.  Then I learned about Thomas Edison and how many times he failed in his attempts to make a working lightbulb. His attitude was he wasn’t a failure, he just learned that many ways that it wouldn’t work.  As a teacher I am familiar with creating action plans. Since I am a National Board Certified Teacher and I teach at an IB school reflection has been a part of my life. We teach our students to reflect on their work daily, weekly, etc.  I and my fellow co-workers do the same. This is probably the most important part of my job.  However, I’ve also moved it into my personal life as well.   Principle # 13 was important to me for a multitude of reasons. Compartmentalizing teaches you to be fully present when attending a task. I have learned how to do that. But something Roy said rang so true in so many ways. He talked about how watching a TV program when someone keeps talking to you makes it harder for you to focus. I have an elderly mother who lives with me and this happens quite often when I am sitting in the same room with her trying to work or watch the news.  But it took reading this book for me to realize that I do this to my students. I give them a task, check for clarification, set them to work and the every once in a while I say something to them that pulls them right out of their work. This is something I am definitely working on correcting.

I laughed when I read that Principle #12 was “Make a Calendar”. My family and co-workers tease me about my calendars. Yes, I have one for my job, and one for my life. I even keep both together on an online calendar. But, at the beginning of my summer break I discovered something on my online calendar that changed my life. It was a simple button called “Tasks”. I had always ignored it. It combined several things into one. It  allowed me to get rid of my plethora of lists that I kept with each calendar. Now I can schedule it on my online calendar and prioritize things by creating a “Tasks” list.  Those who tease me about having two physical calendars don’t understand that if I have no access to my online calendar, I at least have the safety net of my physical ones.  We each must find what works for us.  Roy’s book is a list of great principals. What makes his book stand out from so many others are the personal stories and lessons that go along with them.  Those will resonate with you in so many ways.

 Other principles that I found of value was # 15 “Learn to Say No” and # 49 “Identify your weaknesses. These two have  always been my problem, and then I would get overwhelmed. We got a new assistant principal last year.  It was a particularly rough year for me. As department chair I took on all the tasks of my entirely new department.  It actually backfired because I was not able to do everyone else’s job and mine and do them adequately.  My AP is the one who helped me learn to say No.  He literally would step in and tell people no on my behalf until I became strong enough to do it on my own. It was him who pointed out that this was the only weakness he saw in me.  I take everything he says and truly think about it. Then I work on those areas that I know to be weaknesses.
Another principle was to choose to be happy.  I have always tried to be happy.  One of the reasons I allowed myself to feel like I was less talented than others in my family was because of something that happened in my family when I was a young teen. Some in my family belittled me because of the way I chose to handle the situation. It was a very depressing and devastating situation and I chose to move beyond it and be happy. For others in my family it became all consuming and created anger and bitterness. I learned a long time ago to choose happy. That doesn’t mean I am never sad.

Finally #’50 and 51 meant a lot to me. Number 50 says to do something small, but do it daily. For me that is writing. I don’t care if it is a poem. I couple of lines in my work in progress. I continually add to it each and every day. The other important one was # 51 which was Don’t give up when you get off track. Life will pull you off track. The trick is to work to get back on.  This has probably been the most beneficial of all of his principles. People fail in life because they get off track and give up. I choose not to give up. I have a student who was involved in a terrible accident last year. He missed most of the school year. Then had to be homeschooled for the rest of the year. He was comparing himself to other students in the classroom. I reminded him that after his accident we didn’t know if he would survive. He had to learn to walk and talk all over again. He can’t process things the way he used to. However, he has learned to break things down into little pieces and continue to move forward. I reminded him of the tortoise and the hare. He smiled and said, “the tortoise won because he kept moving forward.”  We have a right to not only read and learn from these principles but we have an obligation through our words and actions to share these principles with those around us.


I highly recommend this book.  It is a book I will refer back to often because there is so much to be learned and reminded of with this book.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Signs in Life: Finding Direction in Our Travels with God by Deanna Nowadnick



Genre: Christian, Inspirational
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:

SIGNS IN LIFE begins with a late night encounter with law enforcement. In the harsh glare of a flashlight, author DEANNA NOWADNICK learns the consequences of speeding through a stop sign. Other incidents follow. All are linked to the divine signs she's encountered in that bigger journey through life.

Join Deanna as she shares humorous anecdotes and inspirational lessons from her travels with God. See the signs in life. She might be speeding through a stop sign--yet again!--while you're carefully navigating a busy street, but together we're all part of a bigger journey, a greater purpose. We're all part of God's great story.

My Thoughts:

What an inspirational book.  I found myself reading along thinking, Yeah, I’ve missed that sign.  Deanna’s look at her life direction through the use of signs she’s missed in her life will have anyone reading her book wondering what signs they have missed.  I found myself identifying with her situations in so many ways.  I often find myself asking God to help me, only to say to him, “here let me show you how.”  At the end of each chapter she has a set of simple questions to ask yourself.  I can guarantee you that if you read this book there is no way you will not be changed. If forces you to take a good hard look at your life  and to look at those sign we often speed through trying to do things our way.  This is a book that I think will benefit anyone and one I highly recommend.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Believe and Know by Cathy Bryant



Genre: Christian Devotional
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Whether you are looking for a Bible study to help you guide others, or a Bible study to help you seek answers you may have, Cathy Bryant has provided that in this Bible study guide. She states that this book is for Truth-seekers and so it is.  She also speaks to the two types of people who will read this book. The first is the type who believes first and just wants confirmation and the second is those who feel a need to understand before they can believe.  Both will get out of this book what they put into it. It is my prayer that you spend time with this book and the scriptures. You may not yet know what you want out of this book. Read and pray and be assured God will open your eyes and show you what you need.

Cathy has stated as has the scriptures that unbelief keeps us from a right relationship with God.  In Mark chapter 9 verses 14-29 we read about Jesus’ disciples trying to cast the demon out of a young boy. When they could not the father was very frustrated.  He came to Jesus who witnessed the demon possession of the boy and removed the demon. The father was confused by why his disciples could not deliver his son.  It was because of their unbelief.  When Jesus told him that belief was needed the father responded that he believed and then asked the most important thing ever, “help my unbelief.”  We who are Christians are quick to say we believe, until hardships arise.  Then we are quick to criticize and accuse God of ignoring us.  Maybe the real issue is we are having difficulty believing and need to ask God to help us with our unbelief.  After all we are human.

Another thing that came out was in this quote found in the Kindle version section 15.3/82: “It is the same for our non-believing friends and loved ones. We must lay aside the holier-than-thou attitude that demands they believe like we do Instead we must love them unconditionally, pray for them persistently, and treat them with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15)”.  How often do we act or talk down to non-Christians or those who have fallen away as if we are so much better and holier than they are? If you say, ‘I never have’ then you are lying to yourself.  We’ve all done this.  It is a big turn off and will push people away instead of bring them in.

I recognize this in myself when recently I learned a very good friend of mine, with whom I’d shared a strong Christian friendship, had married.  The problem for me with this was that she married another woman. I wanted to pray for her because I knew that this relationship was wrong.  I could not simply because at that point I had the attitude that I didn’t understand (and I don’t) how this could have happened to a Christian.  That wasn’t where my problem with prayer was.  What came next was an issue with pride. I assumed it happened because I was a better Christian.  Oh how God will slap us down when we become so holier-than-thou. 

Cathy also asks us to look for evidence of God’s supreme existence and more.  Cathy talked about those who don’t believe in God. She made a valid point that if she is wrong then she’s no worse off for believing is something that didn’t exist whereas, the other way around, the non-believer proven wrong is doomed to spiritual death.
I asked a very good Mormon friend who was raised Southern Baptist a question one day. She was talking with me about not believing in the rapture. She told me her parents prayed for her constantly because they felt she was wrong.  I asked her what would happen if the rapture I believe in happened and she was left behind. Her response was that she would pray that she would live long enough to repent.  I’ve heard the same thing from a Jewish friend whose daughter became a Christian. She believes we Christians have set up a very nice religion.  I asked her the same question I’d asked my Mormon friend and her response was the same.

I would encourage you to get and read this book.  Study it.  Use it to help you reach out to those who don’t know the Lord.  If you are one of my followers who don’t believe in Christ then get and read this book to prove me wrong.  This is what one of my Messianic Jewish friends did. He studied the Christian Bible to prove a friend wrong and found God in doing so.

.  I have recently added an “Inspirational” Genre to my classroom and will place a copy of this on my school shelves for those who wish to delve deeper into their beliefs. I will highly recommend this book to everyone I meet







Monday, March 2, 2015

Faith & the Parable of the Blindfold: A fun Biblical Adventure to Find, Keep, and Test your Faith through Symbolism


Genre: Christian, Inspiration
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
Mystery-laced 'Wordplay,' in More Ways than One!
Thomas tip-toes out of a land controlled by Lady Luck, hoping he's unseen. And with only the gift of a map from a friend (named Christian), Thomas begins this biblical adventure to a second opinion and a new place found in the deepest yet highest of levels: Faith. Within a mystery blindfold, Thomas soon discovers his other "senses" to learn why "patience" and "patients" sound the same only in his hometown!

Join Thomas Walker and other symbolizing characters in this mystery-laced symbolic tale! Juggle 17 scriptures and a new imagination all at once inside his short journey. And you'll learn all about faith and how it works from its Story Symbolism, Fun Facts, Discussion Questions, and a bonus Family Skit version. From the better bible memory method of Christian Parables ® which "scripts your scripture without the versus of verses," enjoy!
 

My Thoughts:  
This was a unique way to teach about faith. It was also a unique way to get people to study and memorize scripture.  The symbolism in this book was fabulous.  The book is set up so you can click on the scripture and read it right then and there or you can read it all before or after reading the story.  I myself clicked on it as I read. Then I went back and reread the story.  This is a different way to get people into the scriptures.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fruit of My Spirit - Deanna Nowadnick


Publisher:  Rhododendron Books
Pages:  114
Source:  Review copy from author
Genre:  Christian Inspirational Memoir

From Goodreads:
Fruit of My Spirit is a memoir of missteps and misdeeds in which Deanna Nowadnick writes of the hugeness of God’s love and faithfulness. Reframing life in God’s grace, she discovers an indescribable, indefinable, inexplicable love that has encircled her without fail throughout life.  Fruit of My Spirit is for anyone who’s ever questioned God’s ability to love and forgive, who’s ever wondered about their place in God’s family or God’s place in theirs. Deanna offers hope for those who dare to question, who secretly wonder, and who fear to ask. Through stories of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, you will experience the enormity of god, too.

My Thoughts:
Deanna has written a book that gives us a lot to think about.  Through her stories of how God has walked with her and develop her spiritual gifts, we get to look at our own lives and see how God has helped us. 
She shows us that God doesn’t promise us we will have no struggles. She shows us that God can use any situation or struggle we have to help us grow.  Her life lessons learned through raising her children show us how God often uses our own children. 

As I have gone through several financial and physical challenges this year I have had that rebellious side of me that complained often and questioned God, asking “why me”?  After reading this book I have to ask, “why not me”?  This book is both a lesson and inspiring.  I hope Deanna continues to write.  I feel that God will use her to inspire and bless those of us who read her books.