Friday, July 28, 2006

Back for More!

One can never have too many pirates, I say. I'm curious to see if I like it as much the second time around.

Has anyone seen any good movies lately? I was thinking about seeing "The Devil Wears Prada" but it's already gone from the theater my town.

I've been catching up on some television shows on DVD this summer. I just finished season four of Smallville. I was disappointed to realize that season five isn't out on DVD yet. I was ready to keep going! That show does some serious season-ending cliffhangers, that's for sure.

I've moved from Smallville to "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr." on DVD. Bruce Campell is so funny he could make reading my car manual hilarious!

Does anyone have a favorite television series on DVD to recommend?

Are You a Modern Girl?


I read The Modern Girl's Guide to Bible Study in one day and decided I might just be a Modern Girl. I liked her fresh approach and easy style. As far as the book itself, it was an easy read packed with humor and stories that made it seem more personal than most books about Bible study. I think women who read this will be drawn to her methods in part because she seems so likeable and down to earth.

As for her Bible study method, it is remarkably simple. I confess that I put off studying the Bible at times because it seems such an effort and so much work. But her encouragement to merely read, ask questions and journal the answers made sense to me. It is easy to get caught up with the multitude of books, commentaries and reference books and lose sight off the Bible itself. And asking questions is so basic, yet so often not done when reading God's Word.

I've decided I like her method so much that I'm going to use this book for my Sunday School class this fall. I'm excited about it. I'm going to use it in a different way than we've done other book studies, with a more personal one-on-one feel. I think it should be a very effective study.

I was starting to stress out because what I wanted to do for Sunday School just wasn't coming together and it was getting time to start advertising. I'm happy that God provided just the right book at the right time!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Warning Signs

Today's reading in "A Minute of Margin" is about knowing when we've reach an unhealthy level of stress. I liked his approach because he talks about how it isn't any better to have too little stress in life. Now I know many wouldn't complain about that, but I've been in both places - over-stressed and under-stressed - and neither have been fun or all that healthy for different reasons.

He went on to encourage the reader to be aware of when they stress levels weren't healthy. Do you know what your warning signs are? I know mine!

I am facing too much stress when I get easily annoyed and crave snack foods. I also tend to sleep restlessly and make poor financial decisions.

I do not have enough stress in my life when I start to get bored, when I find myself eating for no reason ten minutes after I finish dinner and when I start to let old sins and bad habits back into my life.

I think his question is important so that we can be aware of problems with stress BEFORE they turn into a crisis. So.... do you know your warning signs?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Fast Talker

I read a quote from "A Minute of Margin" by Richard A. Swenson, M.D. that I thought was interesting.

"The brain is capable of thinking at a rate of eight hundred words per minute..."

I think anyone who's listened to me in Sunday School would say that my mouth does an admirable job of keeping up with the eight hundred words my brain can think each minute! (I'm a fast talker, it seems!)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Cute Sign

I was writing a bit today at my favorite coffee, The Pour House, and I noticed a new sign on the wall that read...

"Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy!"

That is a very clever way of being firm with humor. I loved it!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Service Suggestions DAY FIVE

Here's the last day of our Service Suggestions and I hope they have helped you think beyond the obvious. We can all be better at finding creative ways to serve others.

Todays Topic: Your Local Church

For Those with Limited Time: First of all, start encouraging. Think the music on Sunday was good? Tell the worship director? How about the coffee? Tell the coffee servers how great a job they are doing. A great number of thankless jobs are necessary each week to help the church function. Ask God to help you notice those who are at work at the Church, especially when your schedule makes it difficult for you to do the work they are carrying out. Another great way it the "killing two birds with one stone" option. You're already at church, what can you do while you are there? Did you notice the Sunday School teacher setting up chairs before church? Pop in and help her finish up the last row. Is someone in the kitchen, cutting vegetables for the snack tray after first service? Offer to help. Do what you can in small ways and ask God to show you where you can help.

For Those with Children at Home: Incorporating your children in service at church might seem more difficult, but there's many opportunities for those who want to serve. Ask another mom and her kids to meet with you and your children for a picnic lunch. Spend a few minutes before you eat asking God to bless the church. Pray for the pastor and your children's Sunday School teachers. Joining together in prayer lets children see it's value and they'll remember the lesson. How about getting involved in the "work days" held periodically at the Chapel. While the whole family makes the church look bright and clean, everybody is learning the joy of serving. Teaching your child's Sunday School or Junior Church class is also a great way for your children to see you serve. Or how about just volunteering once a month to bring in the snacks or craft activity. The teacher would probably love a break. The goal here is for your children to see you invested in the Church. Many women tell me how their children don't think church is important, now that they are adults. Most of them would tell you today that they never served in church when their children were at home. They won't know it's important to be involved unless they see it in your own life.

If You Have More Time: This is an easy one. Do something! Sing a song, teach a class, start a club, learn a lesson, run an event or hostess a party. Take over a ministry, or join something that looks interesting. Follow the steps in the purpose workbook and get your feet wet. Ask people if they enjoy what they are doing. Ask them if there's room for one more!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Service Suggestions DAY FOUR

I'm sorry this post is so late tonight. We didn't have internet access at the Chapel all day today and I just got home from the Purpose Evening Class. Happily, I did this entry yesterday and just needed to finish it up and post it. Enjoy!

Today's Topic: Encouraging Those who Serve in the Military

Today's suggestions are going to feature options with a great organization called "Adopt a Platoon." They have many programs that allow you to encourage a service member in a way that works for your schedule. Visit their website for more detailed information

For Those with Limited Time: Sign up to adopt a soldier for pen pal support. They ask you send one card a week which really isn't all that much. You send them some information and they will send you the name and mailing address of a soldier deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq. You can pick up a greeting card at the grocery story and put a personal message on the inside. Here's a tip to make it super easy - purchase a package of address labels that can be used in your inkjet printer. Type the address in the template in Microsoft Word and print out two or three sheets of the soldiers address. Purchase a months worth of cards at one time and a sheet of postage stamps and put the cards, labels and postage in a folder or large envelope. Keep the folder handy by storing it in your dayplanner, office desk, or where you sit down to pay bills. When you have an extra moment - such as sitting in rush hour traffic, waiting at the dentist office or standing in line at the grocery store - just pull out your card, write a few personal notes, stamp, address it and seal it up! You can sign up for this on the website.

For Those with Children at Home: You can sign up to adopt a soldier. This is different from pen pal support in that you add to card/letter duties a care package once a month. Children can have great fun with this. There are lists on their website that give you some ideas of what to send. Have the kids help you choose the items. Another great idea is to have the kids do chores around the house to earn some money to buy something to put into the box. The boxes have to be sent priority mail and you can get free priority mail supplies delivered to your house at no charge by ordering them from the post office website. One helpful thing you can order from this site is a flat-rate priority mail box as shown here. This box costs $8.10 and you pay for it upfront when you order it from the website. Then you fill the box and drop it off at the nearest post office. The postage is already prepaid. Or, for the really timed crunch, you can call and arrange for home pickup. The details about that are on the link where the box is shown.
Including pictures, handwritten letter or stories and handmade crafts from your children is a fun way for them to participate and a welcome gift from those serving far from family and friends. You can sign up to adopt a soldier on the website.

For Those with More Time: You can organize donations for one of Adopt A Platoon's campaigns. They have numerous donation campaigns such as Operation Crayon or Operation Underwear. These campaigns are ways for you to gather supplies from others such as friend at church, the office or your neighborhood and mail them to a chaplain serving with a deployed troop. The Chaplin will distribute the supplies to the soldiers. You can includes notes with each donation. This requires the time to find people willing to donate, collect the donations and oversee mailing them to the Chaplain.

I will have copies of the latest campaigns, suggested items to send in care packages, and more details on how to sign up with me in Sunday School on Sunday if you'd like to participate. This is one organization I have a lot of respect for and have been working with them for almost six years now. Feel free to ask away if you have any questions.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Best Kind of Friends

I was looking up the definition of stimulating today and it said "encourage development or increased activity." Do you have people in your life who are stimulating? I do. I have a friend who always makes me want to be a better person just by being around her. It's not an "oh, I wish I was more like her" kind of thing because she doesn't exactly stimulate me to do what she's doing. She just has a kind of positive energy that makes me want to do more and be better just because I was around her.

I was thinking about why this was and I realized that it's because she is mostly a positive person and our friendship is very easy. By easy, I mean it's not based on commiserating about our lives or complaining about things. We just get together and talk and enjoy life together. I love her for many reasons, but mostly because she doesn't complicate my life and encourages me to stretch my wings and grow. And I hope I do the same for her.

Now I've decided I need more of these kinds of people in my life. And I want to be most stimulating to my friends. Not in what I do but in the way I live and love. What a challenge to me!

Service Suggestions DAY THREE

Todays Topic: MINISTERING TO AUTHORITY FIGURES

It's often said that those in authority will hear ten negative comments to ever positive one. From various positions of authority I've held over the years, I'd say the ratio is a bit farther apart. And while many people are encouraging, there are times where it seems all you hear is bad news, bad attitudes, and bad feedback. So for all those out there who are serving you by leading, consider ministering to them as God leads. Here are some great ideas to stimulate your thinking...


For Those with Limited Time: How about saying "thank you" more often? Thank the Cub Scout leader for his time. Thank your boss for listening to you when you need to unload your frustrations. Thank your exercise coach or your fitness instructor. Anyone who tells you what to do would probably like to hear the words "thank you, I appreciate you." It's such a simple thing to do, but often overlooked when we get busy. We start to think we are entitled and they are doing their job anyway, so what's the big deal? These opportunities to show appreciation for leadership well done are all around you.

For Those with Children at Home: Here's a simple one for those with children. Write a note inside a nice greeting card thanking your child's Sunday School Teacher, Scout Leader, or Athletic Coach for the time they spend investing your child's life. Have the child color on the envelope or write their own letter. Then make ahttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.spell.gif batch of cookies or pick up some goodies from the bakery to include with the letter. Have the child give them to their teacher or coach. It will be a welcome encouragement and a quick way to serve others with appreciation for how well they serve you!

For Those with More Time: Think about all the Leaders that have helped shape you. There may be teachers from elementary school or junior church or you may remember your high school cheerleading coach or a professor at college. Maybe it's the pastor of the church you grew up in or a friend's mom who spent time helping you mature into a responsible adult. Take some time and write them a letter explaining how you are a better person because of them. Tell them some specific examples of how they impacted you and what you learned from them. This may take some time to do, but is well worth it. It will make you feel as joyful as they will when they receive it!

Once again, these are just creative ideas to start your thinking. Add your own suggestions into the comments or tell us your experiences thanking those in authority.

God and Technology

Found this article today at Relevant about how modern technology can easily interfere with our relationship with God. I have been where the author is coming from at times as all the gadgets we have make it easy to disconnect. Great article!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Ice Cream Pie

For those who want to make an ice cream pie, here are some recipes. This recipe is for an easy Banana Split Ice Cream Pie and this recipe is for a more involved Freezer Caramel Drizzle Pie. Enjoy! (And if you make one, report back to tell us how good it was!)

Service Suggestions Day TWO

TODAYS TOPIC: Ministering to the Neighbors

Today we move a bit closer to home and talk about how we can serve those who live next to us. If this is an area you feel God calling you to, here are a few ideas to stimulate your creativity:

For Those with Limited Time: How about having a "Neighbor Prayer Day"? As you go through your day, pray for your neighbors. This will work great even if you don't know their names. As you get up in the morning ask God to help them wake up refreshed and joyful. As you get ready for work pray that they will have a productive day. As you do your devotions pray that God will send people into their path who can share God's love with them. As you leave for work pray that they will have a safe journey wherever they need to travel through the day. Continue this throughout the day. One or two sentence prayers all through your day take little time, only the effort of remembering to pray.

For Those With children at Home: How about making summer treats for a neighbor. A cold ice-cream pie or brownie sundaes are simple and fun and perfect for summer. Have your kids help make the treats (and make some extra for your family to enjoy!) Have the children color a handmade card that says "A Summer Hello" or "Keep Cool" and have the entire family deliver the card and the treats. If you have some Seniors in your neighborhood, another good idea is to have your whole family drop by and offer your help. Do they need weeds pulled from the flowerbed, furniture dusted or a squeaky door oiled? They would probably love the company for an hour even more than the help you provide!

For Those with More Time: How about hosting a neighborhood ice cream social or ladies tea? You could invite a few neighbors over for ice cream and have each family bring a favorite topping. Or invite the ladies in your neighborhood over for tea. Tell them you want to pray for them regularly and ask if there's anything they want you to pray for. Another option if you have the time is to take a neighbor out for lunch or coffee.

As I close this entry, I just wanted to give another word of explanation for those who are reading this because of the Purpose class. I am not suggesting that you do these things each day. I am only doing this to show you that service can be done by anyone regardless of your financial or time situations. I am hoping only to help you see service in a different way and to help you think more creatively. Have fun with it and see what God stirs your heart to do for Him in the future!

Quotation Inspiration for July 18, 2006

"Make no mistake. God has no ego problem. He does not reveal his glory for his good. We need to witness it for ours." Max Lucado "It's Not About Me" pg. 31

Cellphone Addiction

Fox News has a great article right now about cell phone addiction. There was a woman at the Gershwin Theater on Saturday who text messaged people during the entire show and she's the first person I thought of when I read this article. She was one row in front of me so I know she paid $117.00 for her seat. She basically missed the entire show. Talk about interfering with your life! I wanted to ask her what was so important and it wasn't just because I was annoyed with the blue glare from her phone distracting me in the near darkness of the theater. It was because she was missing such a great show that she paid a lot of money for. I can't imagine anything that would be that important that you need to do that. If there's an emergency at home you don't go to the show. Besides, what could she do about it anyway? I guess I'm hopelessly out of touch because I don't understand it. I couldn't take my eyes of the stage and there's no one in my life that I'd want to text message for three hours. Does that make me a bad person?

Monday, July 17, 2006

How to Be A Good Passenger

During my few hours aboard the bus to New York City this past Saturday, I learned a few new ways to avoid being a bad neighbor on the bus. For those who wish to learn, remember the following:

- If you are bringing hot food along that smells good, bring enough for everyone. The group of ladies behind me on the bus brought a cooler full of hot breakfast along. They were passing out quiche, hot sandwiches, hash browns, etc. The smell was all over the bus and those of us eating Power Bars and dry granola weren't happy about it!

- If you must talk on the phone the entire trip, please do it at a decibel level somewhere below jet engine. Most people who know me well are aware that I think about 90 percent of cell phone use is unnecessary, but I'm willing to concede our culture is moving toward higher use at a fast rate. (Although why we should bow to following our culture is a rant for another time.) So at the very least if Junior can't manage to put milk in his cereal without you talking him through it, could you please talk to him in a normal speaking voice? Those of us without hearing problems would appreciate it. I had my ipod turned up so high to drown out the conversations I might just have hearing loss now!

- If you spill your beverage all over the floor and can't be bothered to clean it up, could you at least let the people around you know that a sticky liquid is headed to their bags/purses sitting on the floor? I can understand how in the age of "entitlement" we now live in it is highly rude of me to expect you to clean up your own mess. But I still fail to see why I should carry around a wet and sticky bag because of your entitlement. Thank you.

If you can just follow those simple requests, we'll all be much happier. Thank you from the bottom of my heart...

Service Suggestions Day ONE

In conjunction with the "Pathway to Purpose" Sunday school class I will be posting five days of service suggestions. In our class on Sunday I got up on my soapbox a bit and talked about the many reasons people think they are exempt from serving God. The two biggest ones I hear all the time are "I'm too busy" and "I have to take care of my family and don't have time." I am going to suggest an area of service each day this week and then break it down so that people with a lot of time, people with limited time, and people with children can participate in some way if this is an area they feel led to.

As I have become fond of saying, you can invent option "C." We need to stop thinking we serve God in some big, huge way or we don't serve him at all. There are a multitude of options between those two extremes and I hope this week will help you think beyond the obvious to what works for you.

TODAY'S AREA: Minister to Those in a Nursing Home

For Those with Limited Time: Did you know there are many Nursing Home residents who never receive cards or letters? If you're like me, you live for mail delivery because this time you might just receive a card instead of bills and junk mail. Contact a local nursing home and introduce yourself. Tell someone you want to send a card to someone who doesn't receive mail or frequent visitors. They'll tell you how to send the card in to them. Some will give you a resident's name or room number. Others will have you send it to the nurse in charge or the activities director. Then just purchase a thinking of you card when you are in Walmart or the grocery story. Write a personal sentence or two at the end and pop it in the mail.

For Those with Children at Home: You can take the above suggestion and go one step farther. Get your younger children to color or draw a picture to include in the card. Let the children help pick out the card and have each child sign it. Ask friend and extended family if they have loved ones in the nursing home that they could send mail to. I know of several women in the church who have family members living in assisted care/nursing homes who would probably welcome mail, especially with your child's artwork. As eyesight fails, words are difficult but the bright colors from crayons and markers can brighten the day! If you want to know someone specific you could send pictures to, see me on Sunday.

For Those with More Time: Those who have lots of time on their hands can make a difference in the lives of nursing home patients with a more hands-on approach. You can drop by and visit with those in the common rooms, watching television or playing games. You can bring along a deck of Uno cards and play with those who are able to follow the game. Some homes have people recovering from surgery or sickness. Many of them are more aware of life around them and would appreciate some normal "outside life" activities such as having their nails painted or their hair done. Even a warm lotion hand massage and prayer time would be helpful. Or read them a magazine article or short story. The best book ever to read someone in the nursing home is "In Grandma's Attic" by Arletta Richardson. This book features multiple short (just a few pages each) stories about a grandmother reminiscing about her life to her granddaughter. The stories are interesting and funny and my Grandmother Fair loved having these read to her during her last years on earth.

So - what do you think? Is there something here for you? If not, stay with us. Tomorrow we'll another topic and three more great ideas.

Quotation Inspiration for July 17, 2006

"When our deepest desire is not the things of God, or a favor from God, but God himself, we cross a threshold." - Max Lucado in the book "It's Not About Me" pg. 18

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I'm Feeling "Wicked"

I just returned from New York City where I did some shopping and caught a show. I'll blog more about the day at another time, but I wanted to write about the show while it was all still fresh in my mind.

I have been wanting to see "Wicked" for almost two years now since I first heard the soundtrack. I bought my tickets back in January and thought that July would never get here so I was very excited for the day to finally arrive.

Visually, the show is stunning and a feast of colors and design. The sets are intricate and the costumes are unique and, in some cases, beautiful. The lighting and colors were so perfect and overall it was very exciting to look at. The story was fun and pretty much what I remembered from the abriged version of the book I read online awhile ago. I won't give anything away but I thought the behind-the-scenes stuff with Dorothy was pretty funny.

There were quite a few good lessons to be learned from the show if you're the type to care about those things. I tend to see lessons of value in art and enjoy seeing deeper meanings so I always look for more than the surface. I saw themes of beauty (it's value/importance or lack of value in life) purpose, what is really important, living for something beyond yourself and where power comes from. There was a lot more that leaped out at me but I don't want to spoil it for future Flourish articles!

The music was amazing and the main characters had powerful voices. I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed the music. Words fail me.

I think there are so many things I could say about this play, but I just have no words. It was everything I hoped it would be and I can't wait to see it again!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Quotation Inspiration July 12, 2006

"How can you hesitate? Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinion of others...do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth." - Katherin Mansfield

New Tunes

I have been listening to some new music over the past few months and thought I'd share. I am going to set up an account and put music lists on my blog just like I do the book lists, but probably won't get to it until later this summer. So for now, here's what I've been listening to.

Aaron Shust Anything Worth Saying
Anna Laura Anna Laura
Jinny Kim Finding Ophelia
Phil Wickham Phil Wickham
Vicky Beeching Yesterday, Today and Forever
Starfield Beauty in the Broken
Martha Munizzi No Limits Live

The Jinny Kim has some great lyrics and is far different from anything I would usually purchase. Thanks to Infuze Magazine for the glowing review. I am glad I checked it out.

I also love the Aaron Shust cd but I've listened to it over and over for a week straight and that was a bit overkill.

Vicky Beeching is my current favorite and have enjoyed her lyrics as well as music. It's a worship album that doesn't rely too heavily on cliches and is mostly upbeat and happy.

New releases coming later this summer and fall that I'm looking forward to: Tammy Trent, Sarah Kelly, Leigh Nash and Mark Schultz.

On the popular music scene I took a listen to the new Goo Goo Dolls cd and wasn't too impressed. It wasn't horrible and had a few songs I liked, but nothing worth celebrating. I have the soundtrack from Cars on hold at the library but I'm sure it will be a bit too country overall for me to consider purchasing.

I also heard the new Mercy Me album and while there were a few songs I loved, overall the album wasn't a keeper. I won't be purchasing it anytime soon, if at all.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Changing Gears

I am currently reading through the book "A Minute of Margin" by Richard A. Swenson, M.D. and I cannot recommend this book enough. For the perennially busy, this book is a call to build some margin into every area of life. Today's reading was especially good and I'd like to pass it along.

"The healthiest lifestyle come equipped with four gears. The first is PARK, for the contemplative times. This gear is to be used for rest and renewal. It is our battery-charging gear. This is where we do much of our thinking about values and spirituality, as well as much of our Scripture study and prayer. It is the gear we plan to use as we pick up a novel and head to the hammock or as we sit on a stump and watch the wildlife.

"The second gear is LOW. This gear is for relationships, for family and friends. This is the gear we use when talking with someone. Low gear keeps us from being distracted and nervously moving on to the next activity even though we are still in the middle of a conversation. This is the gear we use when the children ask for a story or a back rub. OR when they ask about the death of pets, or sex, or God. No hurry here, just quality.

"The third gear is DRIVE. This is our usual gear for work and for much of our play. This gear uses lots of energy, and the faster speed feels good because it is productive. It gets us from place to place quickly and efficiently. This is the gear we mow the lawn in or exercise in.

"The fourth gear is OVERDRIVE. This gear is reserved for times that require extra effort and energy. If we have a deadline coming, we kick into this gear. If we are playing a basketball game, we call on overdrive to energize us. This is the gear I use during flue season when my schedule is double-booked. This is the gear most families use getting ready for church.

"Unfortunately, many in our society do not come down from overdrive. Our cars are not meant to race at high speeds continuously - the engines would burn up. Neither are our bodies or spirits mean to race continuously. Yet, for some, to slow down is unthinkable, and for others, impossible.

"Discover where you keep your clutch, and change gears often. Go fast and hard with God's blessing, but only for appropriate activities. If you lack LOW or PARK, expand your transmission. The slow lane in life is just as important as the fast lane - commit to spending more time there."

Amen!

Quotation Inspiration - July 11, 2006

"Real joy is found in living above one’s circumstances, for joy is not the absence of problems but the presence of God." – James Emory White

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Book Review: Need Career Help?

I recently read a small paperback book called "Radical Careering" by Sally Hogshead and while there are great tips for those looking to find a better career, it really covers some great life lessons that once learned will allow the reader to become better in all areas. Many of these chapters deal with the way we think about the things we do. Overall, it was a quick read and a fun little book.

The subtitle is 100 Truths to Jumpstart Your Job, Your Career and Your Life. Here are the truths that really jumped out at me as I read:

No. 2 Revolution is the new status quo.
No. 3 The axle on the gravy train is broken.
No. 8 Work is hard.
No. 12 Luck is for wimps.
No. 17 Chaos unlocks opportunity.
No. 18 Invent Option "C"
No. 19 Being in a crap job isn't your fault. Staying in a crap job is.
No. 20 Don't work for someone you don't respect.
No. 23 Your "job" is not your career.
No. 26 Circumstances can't cripple your career as much as doubt and passivity.
No. 28 The most risky decision is not making one.
No. 31 You can be comfortable or outstanding but not both.
No. 45 Options = Power
No. 51 Indecision generates anxiety.
No. 62 Ongoing panic kills innovation.
No. 68 The most powerful catalyst for success is failure.
No. 69 Work toward the positive not away from the negative.
No. 71 The antidote to fear is action.
No. 75 Protect hope at all costs.
No. 77 Expect people to say you can't do it.
No. 81 Buck routine.
No. 86 Balanced is not the same as half-assed.
No. 87 Your job description is not your self-description.
No. 91 Don't figure out your priorities while lying on your deathbed.
No. 93 Escape toxic.
No. 99 Expressing your truest self is the ultimate competitive advantage.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Cool Website of the Day

Want to find out how fast you type? Here is a fun test that only takes a minute and will give you your typing speed at the end.

By the way - I type 108 wpm with 0 mistakes.

(Thanks to Mike Janke for the link posted on his blog!)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

New Addition to the Blog

I'd like to give a big shout out to the new addition to my blog - just debuting today. If you scroll down and look along the right hand side of the page you'll see a list of the latest books I'm reading. Until I get all my books loaded into the system, that list won't be very accurate for awhile, but it should be up to date and accurate by the end of the weekend.

This new feature is curtesy of a great site that is new to me called LibraryThing.com. This site lets you enter the books you own into a fun database that catalogs them for you. You can tag them with a category and view only books from certain categories. It shows them to you in list format or in bookshelf format, showing only the covers. It is free for libraries under 200 books. Once you go over that you have to pay for the service. BUT the price is cheap - $10.00 for a year or a lifetime membership for $25.00. For now I am only entering my Bible Study, women's self-help type stuff but I might add more and get the paid service at a later date.

If you want to see my entire library, you can click on the words "My Library" in the heading "recent books in my library" and that should take you to my page so you can see all the books I have entered.

BTW - entering books is super easy. They utilize the Amazon.com database so you just type in the name of the book or author and you can see a list of what amazon has that matches. Once you click the book that matches, it imports all the database information Amazon has such as publisher, publication date, edition, price, etc. You don't have to really type much at all other than adding tags, ratings or comments if you so desire.

Another cool thing about the site is that you can see who else has the books you do and see what else they are reading. This helps you find things that are similar to what you are reading but might be new to you. The site has lots of other cool features, but my favorite has to be the blog widget which allows you to see what I'm reading! How cool is that?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Quotation Inspiration for July 4, 2006

"God isn't going to let you see the distant scene. So you might as well quit looking for it. He promises a lamp unto our feet, not a crystal ball into the future. We do not need to know what will happen tomorrow. We only need to know He leads." - Max Lucado from his book, Traveling Light

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Book Review: Need to Write a Card?

Title: On a Personal Note (A Guide to Writing Notes with Style)
Author: Angela Ensminger and Keely Chace

I picked this book up at Greetings and Readings a few weeks ago and it has come in handy several times since then. I recommend that anyone who wants to enhance their card and letter writing skills snag a copy of this book at their local Hallmark store.

Just let me start this review by saying that artistically, this book appealed to me because it's a very pretty book. The pages are bright and colorful, the fonts are fun and girly and the layout is clean and fresh. I also liked the use of different colors for each section.

Now for book's content. There are sections for eight different types of cards/letters: thank you, congratulations, important days, love & romance, apology & reconnection, comfort and cheer, sympathy and business. Each section follows a format that covers all you need to know. It starts with the parts that make up the note. Then it moves on to the writing itself. Each section gives you a list of questions that help you to decide what you want to include in the card. There are also words lists to help your writing really standout as well as phrases to get you thinking about what you want to say. Then there are writing samples that you can adapt for yourself, or just use to stimulate your creativity.

The last chapter gives some last minute thoughts and includes a list of common and not-so-common ending words and phrases so your letter ends with the same pizzaz as it had in the body of the letter. There are also comments on envelopes, stationary and more.

Overall the book is entertaining to read and immensely practical. I enjoy the word and phrase lists as it is easy to get into a rut and write the same things the exact same way every time. While they encourage you to use your own personal style, their lists and suggestions ensure that every note will be personable and unique.
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