Category Archives: Books

Needs Improvement

This week I’m taking an online workship by Franklin Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I just read/listened to the book so it’s been quite interesting to see the examples in the workshop offering more insight. One of the habits, Sharpening the Saw, is all about improving yourself (your circle of influence) in four key areas: Body, Mind, Heart, and Soul.

Body: This is basically making sure you get plenty of sleep, exercise, and healthy food.

Mind: Yep, anything having to do with improving your mental capacity, such as reading, writing, thinking, and discussing.

Heart: Making consistent deposits in people’s emotional bank account. In other words, doing something the other person deems as positive (you may not necessarily get it) as a way to improve your relationship.

Soul: Regardless of whether you’re a religious person, this about improving your spiritual side. Reading spiritual literature, meditating, and praying.

They had a questionnaire to fill out to see how you stack up right now (prior to including the 7 habits in your life). I found it quite interesting!

Key Areas

I wasn’t all that surprised by my Soul score (sounds like a song!) because I knew I had work to do here. What I was surprised by was my Body and Heart scores. I workout 4-5 times a week, but my food is not as good as it should be. I’m also guessing that my Heart score is low because I can tend to get negative. Again, these are things I’ve constantly been struggling with!

Right now I’m reading Erin McHugh’s One Good Deed, which is a book about her choice to do one good deed a day for a year. The subtitle says it all: 365 days of trying to be just a little bit better. In December, I challenged myself to do one random act of kindness a day. I truly enjoyed doing most of these but was starting to run out of ideas. I think Erin is on to something…it should be just about trying to be a better person each day. It doesn’t have to be random, although it will usually work out that way, or anonymous. From what I’ve learned in Stephen Covey’s book and by using the outlook that Erin used in her’s, I think I’m finally figuring out how to turn myself in to the person I want to be. I’m not saying I’ll do one good deed a day for a year, but really…why shouldn’t I strive to? How difficult can it be to just be a little bit nicer and more compassionate?! I think it may be a struggle at first since I typically have “dark storm clouds” following me as my husband says but it’s a struggle I’m ready to take if it means replacing the dark clouds with sunshine and blue birds (a little over the top, huh? Yeah, I agree…but you get my point!).

So, with that in mind…it’s off to finish my workshop and figure out some goals for the day!

Spring is Coming

For the past month or so, I’ve been trying to work on my spiritual health as well as my physical. Mike and I have been attending church regularly and feel that this is the church for us. I tried to sign up for some group meetings on Saturday’s but the woman who was trying to set it up for me never called me back! I’m sure she’s been busy and I’ve slipped through the cracks. However, I’ve not let that stop my growth. It would be nice to have a group of people further along in their Spiritual lives than I am to talk to and bounce questions off of, but right now that’s not in the cards. Maybe some other time.

I just finished reading Mary Beth Chapman’s “Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope.”

What an incredible story. I’ve always enjoyed Steven Curtis Chapman’s music, and I knew of their tragedy (losing a 5 year old daughter in a horrible accident) but to be able to see how they made it through that time and what good deeds came from such a horrible incident is very moving. Their faith is what I want for myself, for my family.

This may be more of my “dark clouds” than anything else, but I have this overwhelming feeling that God is preparing me for a moment of profound sadness and heartbreak. Why? I’ve had three deaths in my family this year, two of which were unexpected. My cousin was buried on Saturday. She was 50 years old and was killed from her husband running over her with his truck (yes, there is more to the story but I don’t feel this is the place to go in to that). Her death was completely preventable and while I want to say pointless, I think there is a reason for everything although we can’t see it just yet.

I’ve also been led to read a couple of books that are centered around dealing with sorrow and loss. Maybe I’ve been drawn to them because of the losses we’ve had this year, but I can’t help but feel there’s a reason why God wants me to build up my defenses. And…this terrifies me to no end. I know some people would say it’s all just a coincidence. However, I don’t believe in coincidences, I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Just like I believe people come into our lives for a purpose and eventually leave when that purpose has been served, as difficult as that can be. I hope I’m wrong about this, goodness knows I’ve been wrong plenty of times in the past, but I just had to “talk it out”.

On that pleasant note, Happy Monday everyone! 😀

E-Book Pricing

Let’s talk a little bit about e-book pricing. It’s starting to get a little ridiculous and apparently I’m not the only one thinking this way. There appears to be a conspiracy lawsuit involving Apple and the big publishers. As you may, or may not remember, Amazon was pricing e-books at $9.99 or less prior to 2010 and held most of the e-book market thanks to their Kindle. The claim is, because Apple wanted to join the e-book market with iBooks and squash Amazon and their little Kindle too in the process, they worked with publishers to set the prices of their e-books to a price comparable to a physical book.

A personal petpeeve of mine, Apple made all competitive e-reader apps remove their stores. So, if you’re using the Nook, Kindle, or Kobo apps you can’t buy a book from within the app anymore. You have to go to their website. However, in Apple’s iBook app you can access their store with no problems. For that reason alone I refuse to spend my money at iBooks and continue to purchase from Amazon.

I’m also forming my own protest by not buying any e-book that’s the same price as the hardback. Really? There are less resources being used for e-books yet you want to charge me the same price? So, I play the waiting game and if they lower the price then I’ll buy it.

Just a quick update, it looks as though some publishers will be settling but Macmillan is set to go to court.

What about you? Do you think e-books are worth what the publishers are charging?

Butterfly In The Sky

The past week has consisted of me going through my normal routine and a lot of reading. While I’m not a fast reader, I definitely think my reading is getting faster. It may be because I’m reading more, or maybe I just think I’m getting faster! This past week I read a couple of books that don’t fit in my normal reading repertoire.

First, I picked up Holly Gerth’s latest book:

This book is one I would normally pass up because it appears to be one of those “touchy feely” books which may be great, but just aren’t that exciting for me. So, what made this one different? Honestly, it was the cover. Yep, I judged a book by its cover and I do it all the time! The simple elegance made me pick the book up, but after reading the first few pages I decided to give it a try. Holly’s writing style is very conversational and witty. It took me roughly 2-3 days to read this book. There are multiple tools you can use to examine your place in God’s journey and whether you’re headed in the right direction.

Sure, I hear all the time that God has a plan for us, blah blah blah. I mean no disrespect in saying that, but that’s all it has felt like for the most part. Someone saying it because every one else does and it’s what we tell people who are going through a hard time so they can cope better. However, Holly brings that to a different level. She helps you to see what that path may be for you. I found it inspiring and thought provoking. When I have some quiet time, I still ruminate over my LIFE plan (AKA mission plan). If you’re floundering a little bit and feel your life doesn’t really seem to have much purpose at the moment, I’d recommend giving this a read.

The second book I finished this week was Nancy Makin’s 703:

It’s important to note the “A Memoir” part of the title. That’s exactly what this book is. It chronicles Nancy life from early on through when she lost her weight. If you’re looking for a book that describes how she lost the weight, what she ate, what exercises she did, this is NOT the book for you. You will hear her story and be moved by many of the hardships she faced. To date, she’s lost 500lbs without the aid of gastric bypass, strict diets, or any other lose weight quick tools. She conquered her battle of the bulge my finding her self worth and moving more.

While I enjoyed her story, I do wish she would have focused more on how she was able to lose the weight as opposed to what lead to her gaining the weight. How was she able to pull herself out of the merck? Yes, the internet’s anonymity helped, but there was a lot more going on inside of her than she put on paper. Nancy injects her humor throughout the book which lightens up some of the more serious moments. I was shocked by some of the snide comments people would make about her with her being right there, like she didn’t even matter. It’s truly upsetting to think people can have such a lack of consideration. Yes, she was large, but she was still a person. There is no doubt that Nancy is a fighter and I wish her luck for the rest of her speaking career.

While we’re speaking of books, I got my first library card in over a decade this weekend! Previously, I’d been buying the books and donating them when I was finished. Now, I can go and reserve books that I’d like to read but not necessarily own.

Plus, there’s a library right by the park and waterway where I can sit back and enjoy the lovely Spring weather!

All in all, I enjoyed both books even though they aren’t my norm. However, I think it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and explore new territory!

What’s the most recent book you’ve read to date?

Supplements for Body and Spirit

Heidi Ho Good Neighbors!

This path month has seen a lot of changes for me, diet wise. First, I managed to kick the sugar habit (so far at least, 38 days and counting). This was one of the hardest things I’ve done since giving up cokes. I can honestly say I think I’m a sugar addict. With that realization, I’ve changed the “Well, I can one piece of candy” outlook to completely abstaining from the white powdery substance. As soon as it hits my blood stream my body screams for more more more.

Secondly, I called Nutritional Weight and Wellness and had a phone consultation with Darlene Kvist to try and get my nutrition in hand. I was hoping to be able to “cure” my tracheal stenosis, but my main concern is just getting healthy and staying healthy so I don’t have to rely on my husband to bathe and feed me when I’m older.  The consultation went about as I had expected. She asked a lot of questions and went over the paperwork I had filed with them. In the end, we decided to approach my diet as though I have an autoimmune disease and see if we can get the inflammation down. After All, if the inflammation is down then I should be able to breathe better right?

She recommended I get tested for Hashimoto’s, which thankfully came back negative! In fact, my thyroid levels were pretty good. T4 levels were 1.1 (normal range .8-1.8) and my TSH levels were 2.1 (normal range .4-4.5). What do all of those numbers mean? Basically, my thyroid is functioning at a normal level instead of being sluggish and my hormones are level.  

Some expected changes (if you’ve listened to their podcasts you know what’s coming too!) were the elimination of gluten and MSG from my diet. What I didn’t expect was having to get rid of diary. I can honestly say I miss my cheese too. Love me some cheese. I also had to start eating more. I KNOW….eat more?! Instead of just breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we should be eating breakfast, an AM snack, lunch, a PM snack, and dinner to keep our blood sugar levels balanced. Since I’m not hungry too often, this has been a little challenging. We’ll discuss the diet in detail in a later post as I’m already getting long winded here!

Last, she told me to start taking some supplements. This is just until we get my body back in shape, but it’s still a lot:

Yeah, I know…and that’s only for breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday. Doesn’t count dinner, bedtime, or the weekend allotment. I feel a bit like a druggy! However, I am going to give them a month and see if I have any noticeable changes. So, what exactly is in my bag of goodies and what do they do?

GLA – or Gamma-Linolenic Acid. This is an Omega 6 that’s supposed to help lower inflammation and help with autoimmune diseases. Supposedly, it may also help slow the growth of cancer cells, but more testing is needed.

Fish Oil – I do not like fish…period, so this is a no brainer for me. I take fish oils 3 times a day and don’t seem to have a problem with “fishy burps” like some people. A good grade fish oil will help prevent those. Fish oils help lessen inflammation in the system and acts as a natural blood thinner, so be sure to stop taking them before surgery or talk to your doctor if you have concerns or are on a blood thinner already.

Vitamin D – of course, we hear how difficult it is to get enough vitamin D. Interestingly, many people in my tracheal stenosis group have been very vitamin D deficient. I’m not sure if there’s a correlation there or not. Plus, vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and lessens inflammation.

Glutamine – if you have GI issues (IBS) or have intense workouts Glutamine helps your body rebuild itself. This is found naturally occurring in beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, and dairy products so it’s believed most people get enough throughout the day but for those people who have taxed their system for a while (does being 100lbs overweight for years count?) it would be beneficial to supplement for a bit to build it back up.

Probiotics (especially, bifidobacteria) – I just started taking these this past weekend, so I don’t have much to offer here other than they have a somewhat nasty taste if you leave it on your tongue for too long. It’s supposed to help with GI issues (again, IBS) and get your gut back to a healthy natural state.

It all sounds so glamorous, doesn’t it?! Did I mention I hate taking pills? Well, I’m almost 30 days in to taking all of these and I honestly can’t say whether they’re helping me feel better or not. I’m definitely dropping weight and that in itself will make a person feel better.

Previously, I also mentioned working on other slices of my wheel of life as well. While I am concentrating on my Physical slice, I’m also starting to work on my Spiritual slice. I lost two Uncles within a week of each other, and if that doesn’t make you start thinking (especially when the last time you saw one of them was sitting next to him at the previous Uncle’s funeral service) then maybe you need to stop and take a look around. Not everyone believes what I do, and that’s ok. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and need to come to their own conclusions.

I went to Lifeway Christian Store on Saturday to look around. It’s one of my favorite places to just go and mill around. You never know what you might find there! I came across a book by Holley Gerth, You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be.

I’m only a couple of chapters in, but I have to say this book is great. It’s well written and hits home. This book will be one of those that change my perspective on life. When I’m done, I will pass it along to an important woman in my life (Mom, Aunts, Cousins, Friends…not sure who just yet) and hope that it touches her as well. Sorry guys, but this book is written toward women. You’re welcome to read it and will probably gain a lot of insight, but don’t be offended if you see “sister”, “woman”, “she” throughout!

What are some changes you’ve made in your diet/life that have had positive outcomes so far?