Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Random Randomness

April 26, 2011

1. I’ve been such a slacker as it relates to this blog. I don’t know if I’m just over it or if I just don’t have much to say. Either way, I’m feeling blah about the blog. Maybe I’ll snap out of it.

2. I booked TWO cruises for this summer yesterday. Yahoooo! I’m taking a Carnival cruise to Key West and Cozumel in July for Matt’s 30th birthday. And, I’m going to Nassau and Coco Cay on Royal Caribbean in September with three of the Chanda girls. Can’t wait! I’m ready to start packing NOW.

3. On Sunday, I was presented with the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Russia in October. I asked a few trusted people what they thought and almost all said, “why not?!” It really is a great opportunity, and one that I believe God calls us to do. It’s the kind of thing I think we should step out in faith and do when given the opportunity. At this point, I’m just waiting for the “ok” for the time off from work before committing to the trip.

4. Good thing I realized my passport was expired. I sent it off last week to be renewed–complete with a photo that makes me look 12. What’s new?

5. Last week I learned that “true southerners” (which I don’t claim to be), eat their chicken and dumplings with mashed potatoes. What?! We’ve always eaten ours with rice. I made chicken and dumplings for Easter…and I must say they were JUST AS GOOD as my Mom’s! Yum, yum, yum!

6. Kati and I debuted our newest onesie design (Florida Love) at last weekend’s Homespun Chic Marketplace in Winter Park. It’s an idea we’d had for quite some time, but we were finally able to make it a reality. And, we are, for lack of a better word, in love with it. It’s so stinkin’ cute and shows our love of all things Florida.

7. Speaking of Florida, our family has a least four generations of Floridians–my mom’s mom, my mom, Kati & me, Paul & Cadence. I kind of wonder if there’s more than that. I went on the other night, but got a little bored kind of quickly. I think it might be a project Mom, Dad and I should work on one night at the beach house. 🙂

8. If I want to keep this blog going, there are some things I should write about–Palm Beach Marathon Relay (from DECEMBER!!?!!!?!), Corporate 5K, my new money savings plan, my new cake ball trick. Just to name a few.

9. I NEED to finish reading Breaking Dawn. I mean, seriously. I need to. I need to get it off my nightstand and back to its rightful owner. Seriously. It’s time. I either need to finish it or give up. But I’m so close.

10. Why do magazines put in photos of super cute clothes and then not tell you where you can get them? I’m doing the Expedition Everest Challenge next week and my teammate found a really cute top in Fitness magazine. Too bad there’s no mention of the brand/where to get it. And too bad we’ve Googled soooo many variations of “yellow mesh workout tank top” and still haven’t been able to find it. Too bad I tweeted Fitness Magazine TWICE asking where it’s from and they haven’t responded. It’s kind of frustrating. It’s in our heads now and we WANT that tank top!


The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose

February 24, 2010

I read The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose after seeing a quick review of the book on The Prince’s blog. It’s a very interesting (and entertaining) read.

As a student at Brown University, Kevin decides he’d like to do a semester abroad. After considering his options, he instead opts to enroll for a semester at Liberty University. Being that Liberty University is so different from Brown University, he decides that his experience could be just as “foreign” as if he were studying in another country. Kevin entered his time at Liberty with a very open mind. It’s very interesting to read about Kevin’s experience and his perceptions of the Christian community.

It caused me to think about how the things we (those who identify ourselves as Christians) do and say can be perceived by others. A couple of things he wrote really struck me…as part of his time at Liberty, Kevin attended Thomas Road Baptist Church and even sang in the choir. Growing up in a Quaker home, the “religious” services he attended as a child were the opposite of what he’d experienced at TRBC. However, he did write something rather poignant that really made think. After describing the differences between his Quaker upbringing and Thomas Road, Kevin writes,

“As a kid groomed on cartoons and video games and Little League, an hour of motionless silence was excruciating. At Thomas Road, on the other hand, there’s almost too much stimulation. The stage lights, the one hundred-decibel praise songs, the bright purple choir robes, the tempestuous bellowing of Dr. Falwell–it’s an hour long assault on the senses. And all you have to do is sit back in your plush, reclining seat, latte and cranberry scone in hand, and take it all in. It’s Church Lite–entertaining but unsubstantial, the religious equivalent of a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. And once the novelty wears off, once the music becomes familiar and the motions of praise become pro forma and mechanized, you start to realize that all the technological glitz and material extravagance doesn’t necessarily add up to a spiritual experience.

“Today, from my perch in the Thomas Road choir loft, my mind wandered back to the little brown house with stone steps. I think I’d appreciate the minimalist Quaker worship more now than I did as a kid. It didn’t have Jumbotron screens or a five-thousand-watt sound system or a cafe in the lobby, and it wasn’t run by a world-famous televangelist with millions of followers. But at least it felt real.”

That last line got me.

It caused me to think if people who know me think my Christian faith is “real” and not just my attempt at living life by a list of rules (which is quite opposite from how I look at it). I hope that my life is not defined by going through familiar motions in an attempt to live the Christian life.

It also made me wonder how people feel coming into church environments similar to the one Kevin described. Do they see it as a show? Trust me…I don’t think there’s anything “wrong” with cafes in church lobbies or large screens in the sanctuary, but his impression as a relative outsider makes me wonder what others think. And it makes me wonder if that type of “assault on the senses” turns people away from the church?

I won’t give away the ending of the book, but there are some sections at the end that got me as well. I would highly recommend reading this book. It’s a quick and interesting read. I think it’s worth your time! 🙂

My Reading List

January 21, 2010

Well…my reading list was growing long before I got sucked into…

The Twilight Series.

Yes…it’s true. I gave it a shot, at the request/recommendation of several friends and I’ve now gotten sucked in. I am currently on the second book (New Moon), but once I’ve finished the series, there are several other books I’m looking forward to reading.

In no particular order, here’s what is in my reading queue…

  • Primal by Mark Batterson: I’m a fan of this pastor/author. His first two books were great and I’m looking forward to this one.
  • Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers: This was recommended to me years ago, but I never got around to reading the three-part series. It came up in conversation at work the other night, so I’m adding it back to the list.
  • Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall, Denver Moore and Lynn Vincent: This was recommended to me while I was still in grad school and when I saw Sarah’s review of the book on her blog, I was reminded that I’d like to read it. 🙂
  • The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose: Speaking of my sweet friend Sarah…her husband Casey wrote a review of this book on their blog and I am intrigued. I’d like to check it out.
  • The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs: My friend Katie reviewed this book on her blog last year and I was intrigued then. However, it came to my mind again last week when we had a group of very strict Jewish families staying at the Village. I’m interested in understanding their customs and thought this book might be a clue into their lifestyle.

So…looks like I should get a library card. After I complete the Edward and Bella saga, that is. 🙂

Cadence’s Book of Firsts

October 1, 2009

My sweet niece Cadence is due to join us any day. I made her a “Book of Firsts” similar to the one I made for Paul before he was born. Each page features a different “first” and space for my sister to include pictures. I used a 7×7 Pink Creative Memories album.

There are pages for Cadence’s First…

  • Pictures (for sonograms)
  • Breath
  • Kiss (from a boy…other than Daddy; My brother loves me!)
  • Gift from PJM (Paul is bringing her a special present)
  • Home
  • Bath
  • Full Night Sleep
  • Smile
  • Visit to the Doctor
  • Day at the Beach
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • Trip to the Fire Station
  • Friend
  • Trip to Disney
  • Time That I Rolled Over
  • Time That I Sat Up
  • Tooth
  • Pet
  • Easter
  • Ponytail or Pigtails
  • Haircut
  • Crawl
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Stood Up
  • Steps
  • Favorite Foods
  • Words
  • Birthday
  • Day of School

And pages for…

  • My Growth
  • Shot Record and Other Health Info
  • More Fun Memories

Just thought I’d share the fun! I think it turned out so cute. You should be able to click the pictures to see them larger.


Gift of Life

July 24, 2009

51ItZmaoYEL._SL500_AA240_A couple of months ago my friend Kasey began working at Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee. She was immediately head-over-heels in love with the place, so naturally my interest was piqued. I signed up to volunteer, went to orientation and was quickly enamored with The Village. I did a couple of random volunteer shifts–delivering pizzas, snapping pictures, decorating for Christmas–and landed on the weekly opportunity to work in Guest Services. I volunteer every Wednesday evening and help by greeting new families, checking them in and showing them to their home for the week. I LOVE it. Love, love love it. If you’ve never heard of Give Kids The World, you’ve got to check out their website. If you are local, or even in town visiting, you’ve got to get over there and see it for yourself.

So…after Kasey was offered a job there, a friend of hers recommended reading Gift of Life by Henri Landwirth. I’ve never seen her read a book so fast! I knew I had to read it for myself. Last week, I took a break from school reading and picked up Gift of Life. Once I picked it up, I could barely put it down. I think I read it in about two and a half days.

Henri Landwirth is the founder of Give Kids The World, and his book is a sort of autobiography chronicling his life and the beginnings of The Village. His story is absolutely incredible. I don’t want to give it all away, but he begins by recounting a horrific account of his survival of the Holocaust. While no one would dare describe this part of the book as “good,” I was absolutely glued to his story. I remember learning about the Holocaust in school (like every good high schooler), but reading a first hand account of his experience made it SO real. After reading it, I am convinced people have to continue telling the horrible stories of that time so that history does not repeat itself.

The second part of the book chronicles his trip to America and his time in the hotel industry. He formed amazing relationships with the early astronauts as well as people like Walter Cronkite. He recognizes God’s work in his life, and often refers to the “miracles” that God did. The final section of the book tells the story of Give Kids The World Village.

I would certainly recommend this book. Even if you care less about the beginnings of this great organization, it’s worth the read for the first hand account of the Holocaust. All proceeds from the book go straight to Give Kids The World, so your reading will also help a worthwhile organization. 🙂

My Soon-to-Be Reading List

July 10, 2009

The “End of Grad School Countdown” is on…6 weeks and counting. I’m sure that last Monday night will be bittersweet. Two years of school, hard work and learning. I’m not sure what I’ll do with myself when it’s over.

One thing I do know…I will pick my own reading list again. 🙂 It’s been a while since I’ve been able to read a book for the shear pleasure of reading it. Don’t get me wrong…I haven’t disliked all of my school books, but I am ready to read something that I pick out.

Here are some books I’m looking forward to reading sooooooon. In no particular order…

  • Gift of Life by Henri Landwirth — This book is the story of Give Kids the World, written by the man who founded the Village.
  • The Shack by William P. Young — I’ve heard mixed reviews, and I just want to read it for myself.
  • Less Clutter, Less Noise by Kem Meyer — This book is about church communications and comes highly recommended by my good friend Cindy Biernat.
  • The Principle of Path by Andy Stanley — I heard about this one during Louie Giglio’s interview on the Catalyst Podcast and I’m intrigued. It’s Andy’s newest book, I believe.
  • Leadership is an Art by Max DePree — I asked for this book after my first grad school class. I had studied a little about this guy and he intrigued me. The book’s been sitting on my shelf ever since.

I’m sure there are others I’m not thinking of right now.

But I’ll also take suggestions. Anybody have something to recommend?

Fiction? Nonfiction? Doesn’t matter…

Transition vs. Change :: the neutral zone…

June 9, 2009

Learning to make it through the neutral zone is one important aspect of transition. Bridges points out that this uncertain time could last months, or even years. In chapter four of Managing Transitions, the neutral zone is described by Bridges as “a nowhere between two somewheres…forward motion seems to stop while you hang suspended between what was and will be.” Feels like my life right now… 🙂

Some more thoughts from the book…again, direct quotes:

“It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear…It’s like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to.” -Marilyn Ferguson, American Futurist

“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” -Andre Gide, French Novelist

“One of the most difficult aspects of the neutral zone is that most people don’t understand it. They expect to be able to move straight from the old to the new. But this isn’t a trip from one side of the street to the other. It’s a journey from one identity to another, and that kind of journey takes time.”

“Moses took care of transition’s ending phase when he led his people out of Egypt, but it was the 40 years in the neutral zone wilderness that got Egypt out of his people.” 

“The neutral zone is not the wasted time of meaningless waiting and confusion it sometimes seems to be. It is a time when reorientation and redefinition must take place, and people need to understand that.”

“People need to recognize that it is natural to feel somewhat frightened and confused at such a time.”

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” -Henri Bergson, French Philosopher

“Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.” -Walter Lippman, American Journalist

“The key…is to look at the neutral zone as a chance to do something new and interesting–and to pursue that goal with energy and courage.”

“Neutral zone creativity is the key to turning transition from a time of breakdown to a time of breakthrough.”

Transition vs. Change :: more thoughts…

June 4, 2009

So, yes…I’m a fan of this book:


The author proposes that it’s not actually change that people resist, but rather the time of transition.

Here are some other thoughts from the book…all direct quotes:

“Before you can begin something new, you have to end what used to be.”

“Beginnings depend on endings.”

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another.” -Anatole France, French Writer

“Every exit is an entry somewhere else.” -Tom Stoppard, British Dramatist

Transition vs. Change

June 3, 2009

I am reading a very interesting book for my directed study class. My class is on Organizational Change and one of the books is about leading people through transitions. Because of my current state of transition, I have found William Bridges’ book Managing Transitions very interesting. Here’s part of a paper I wrote, that I have adapted for my blog:

In the first chapter of this book, the author makes a point that was new to me. He distinguishes between the action of change and the psychology of transition and suggests that there is a three-step process for successfully moving through transition.

First, he says you must learn to let go of the old. In a sense, you have to allow yourself  to grieve what you are leaving behind in order to embrace the new horizons ahead.

Next, you should expect to spend some amount of time in what Bridges refers to as the “neutral zone.” Many try to rush, skip or ignore this phase because it may seem painful or dangerous. However, because of the psychological nature of transition, allowing yourself adequate time in the “neutral zone” may be the most critical stage in the process. Bridges proposes that this time of limbo is “the time when innovation is most possible and when the organization [or person] can most easily be revitalized.”

Finally, you must begin to come out of the transition and embrace the new beginning (change). Moving into this phase gives you new purpose which provides the catalyst for solidifying change within an organization or your own life.

So…in case you haven’t been able to tell lately, I know that I’m in the “neutral zone.” Reading this book at this time, I’m sure, is no coincidence. I’ve really been able to relate to this book in a lot of ways, and even pass on some things I’ve learned to others. The funny thing about change and transition is that we’ve all be there, will be there, or are there now. However, I know for me, when you’re processing through it, it feels like you’re the only one. More on this book to come…

Thriving in 24/7 :: Strategies 4,5,6

April 23, 2009

Continued from my paper for school about Sally Helgesen’s book Thriving in 24/7.

Strategy Four: Weave a Strong Web of Inclusion

Creating a strong network is critical in today’s world of work. No organization or individual can expect to be successful in today’s global marketplace without a network of interconnected partnerships and relationships. “Networks are powerful in proportion to their size” (p. 171) and, whether via email, phone call or social networking sites, Helgesen recommends individuals work on increasing the size of their web every day.

Strategy Five: Build a Clear Brand

Just as companies and organizations strive to develop a distinguishing brand in their markets, Helgesen suggests that individuals create a personal brand. Personal branding is a way to “publicly express our core values” (p. 204). This comes through in the “day-to-day details of how you operate” and “being consistent is the most crucial aspect of establishing your brand” (p. 208). Delivering consistently excellent projects, results or products will increase the value of your personal brand, and therefore increase your value to organizations.

Strategy Six: Practice the Rhythm of Renewal

No one can function in the world of 24/7 work and thrive without taking necessary steps to rest. Helgesen recommends incorporating “acts of renewal into our daily lives” (p. 228). Something as simple as getting outdoors for thirty minutes a day helps to disrupt the routine of the day, allowing the mind to refresh. Multitasking should also be avoided.