06. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Claudia, Inspirational, NonFiction

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Voscamp, Ann, read by Claudia, on 09/02/2014

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You AreJust like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. “How,” Ann wondered, “do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long—and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?”

In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts. It’s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted … a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved—by God.

Let Ann’s beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive.

 

 

foxSimply put, this is an inspirational book on how to roll with the punches and come on top.

 

01. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Inspirational, Marsha, NonFiction

Mixed Media Self-Portraits: Inspiration and Techniques by Cate Coulacos Prato, read by Marsha, on 09/30/2014

self-portraitsThis is a wonderful book for anyone who works in mixed-media.  The idea of doing a self-portrait may make many people put the book down before they even crack it.  This book is something you should at least flip through as it gives you clues of what to look for when trying to define yourself and how you are unique.  This is useful study for any type of portraiture as it makes the artist pay attention to things like eye placement and lip shape in comparison to other portraits.  The portrait does not have to be an exact image of the artist.  It can also be a representation or it can be a portrait of the person the artist wants to be.  The main thing for artists to keep in mind when creating a portrait of the self is to be introspective.  The book walks the artist through the importance of a self-portrait, knowing yourself, and revealing yourself.  A lot of the things talked about in the book are good for artists regardless of the medium they choose.  I highly recommend this book to anyone more curious about discovering what makes them unique.

indeximg-thing 6a00e54efdd2b38834015393b5f173970b A delightful set of guidelines on how to live your life, especially if you live within fairy tales.  Some of the wisdom applies to our reality on this earth as well.

31. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Inspirational, Kira, NonFiction

A House for Hope: The Promise of Progressive Religion for the Twenty-first Century by Rebecca Ann Parker and John Buehrens , read by Kira, on 08/30/2014

download  download (1) Rebecca Parker West President of the Star King Ministry, as well as a Methodist Minister co-writes this with John Buehrens (co-author of A Chosen Faith).  They examine the commonalities of liberal Christian theology, exploring what is fruitful among various interpretations.

Progressive Protestants are committed primarily to the healing and creative transformation of themselves, their neighbors, and their world. They often experience ‘theology’ primarily as ideas and teachings that are authoritatively presented and hamper more than they help the work of the followers of Jesus. Their lack of a positive theology is one reason for their marginalization in today’s religious scene. Buehrens and Parker begin with the life of service and work for justice and deepen it to show the implicit beliefs that it assumes and that are implicit in it. They show that progressive Protestants can be proud and articulate about their beliefs

One of the themes woven throughout this book, is that we are called to build Heaven on Earth.  The structure of the book did Not work for me, they assigned different aspect of liberal Christian religion to various structures of a house.  The foundation or the floor makes sense, but I just wished they had defined their terms (I’ve encountered eschatology, but don’t remember what it means), and Not attempted the metaphorical bridge.  However, I really enjoyed this book, Christian-Leftwanting to incorporatedownload (2) it into my life.

31. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Claudia, Inspirational, NonFiction

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff, read by Claudia, on 07/01/2014

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World

As a college student he spent 16 days in the Pacific Ocean with five guys and a crate of canned meat. As a father he took his kids on a world tour to eat ice cream with heads of state. He made friends in Uganda, and they liked him so much he became the Ugandan consul. He pursued his wife for three years before she agreed to date him. His grades weren’t good enough to get into law school, so he sat on a bench outside the Dean’s office for seven days until they finally let him enroll.

Bob Goff has become something of a legend, and his friends consider him the world’s best-kept secret. Those same friends have long insisted he write a book. What follows are paradigm shifts, musings, and stories from one of the world’s most delightfully engaging and winsome people. What fuels his impact? Love. But it’s not the kind of love that stops at thoughts and feelings. Bob’s love takes action. Bob believes Love Does.

When Love Does, life gets interesting. Each day turns into a hilarious, whimsical, meaningful chance that makes faith simple and real. Each chapter is a story that forms a book, a life. And this is one life you don’t want to miss.

Light and fun, unique and profound, the lessons drawn from Bob’s life and attitude just might inspire you to be secretly incredible, too.

Review provided by publisher Thomas Nelson

17. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Inspirational, Kira, NonFiction

Unitarian Universalism: a Narrative History by David E. Bumbaugh, read by Kira, on 07/14/2014

rainbowchalice index       I read this for a class I took at my church this summer [we called it Summinary :) ].  It gives a history of liberal religion and the quest for tolerance for religious freedom.  I was amazed at how often, religious change came about due to other power struggles.  The Germans were chafing under Roman authority.  So when Luther  made his religious objections, the powers of state used the theological dispute to their advantage.

A repeatmichael-servetuseEmersond theme was reformers in one decade turning into the old guard against whom the newer thinkers rebelled in the next generation.  I was Ariussurprised at how enriching I found thisHosea_Ballou read.francisdavid

Muller’s book is divided into four sections framed by the following four questions:

1. Who am I? what is my identity.

2. What do I love?

3. How Shall I live, knowing that I shall die?

4. What gifts shall I leave behind to the Earth?

 

Muller then took these meaningmaking questions and explored the questions.  I particularly liked question number three.  howlive ua2020-final-report-cover-shothow-then-should-we-live 10-truths-before-happiness how-to-stay-on-track-to-a-meaningful-life-L-Yzz2TS images Though, love-my-way-out-lI didn’t agree with all of his statements/thoughts, for example, he said that EVERY single moment is a gift, I found these food for thought.  I highly recommend this title!

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Autobiographies, Graphic Book, Inspirational, NonFiction, Tammy

Cancer Vixen by Marisa Acocella Marchetto, read by Tammy, on 05/03/2014

cancer vixenOne woman’s personal story of learning she has cancer, fighting it and surviving while trying to still have a normal life and work and plan her wedding. Everyone’s experience with cancer is unique but if you’re looking for a book to let you know what a friend with breast cancer may be going through both physically and emotionally this book should be helpful.

 

28. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Humor, Inspirational, Marsha, Memoirs, NonFiction · Tags: ,

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott, read by Marsha, on 05/27/2014

birdLamott gives us an inside peek at her writing processes and the advice she gives to her workshop students.  Hilariously written, as one reviewer notes, the book is “a warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its treacherous swamps.”  Lamott is not shy about telling her students and readers that writing is hard work and what we think of as reward, publication, may not ever happen.  And yet, we should keep on writing about ourselves, our lives, our very ups and downs.  She encourages us all to just keep writing day by day.  A good dose of humor is thrown in to keep us from getting too despondent.  Lamott tackles libel, beginning writing, taking classes, and finding writing partners with a good dose of reality and fun in her text.  I highly recommend it for any creative person who needs a good laugh.

 

showThis book, a follow-up to Steal Like an Artist, continues Kleon’s advice on creativity by encouraging artists everywhere to show their work.  This particular volume discusses the value of sharing work in online communities through blogs and other social media.  Not only does the artist make work public in this way, but he or she also shares with others a bit about process and how the work is made.  I found this book to be just as valuable a resource as the first and have already read it twice.  It is inspirational and will have artists everywhere wanting to get up and share what they do with others.  As Kleon notes, the world owes us nothing.  We have to give selflessly in order to get and this book will show the reader how.  I highly recommend Kleon’s work to artists of all kinds.  Create–share.  What a fun cycle to be in!

10. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Informational Book, Inspirational, NonFiction

Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers by Penny Kittle, read by Angie, on 05/09/2014

I had the pleasure of listening to Penny Kittle talk about Book Love at a conference recently. Her passion and dedication to introducing books to teenagers was inspiring. This book just continues that inspiration. If I had a teacher like Mrs. Kittle in high school I think I would have had a blast. Kittle discusses how most high school students are not readers and do not read at the level to prepare them for their future. Instead of cramming classics and class reads down their throats (which they don’t read any way), Kittle advocates finding the right books for the right kids and building their stamina for reading. She intersperses her philosophy and teachings with stories of her students. These stories are amazing. The fact that she gets so many non-readers to become readers is a testament to her love and resilience. I am not a teacher, but a librarian, and I found all kinds of ideas for books to connect with reluctant readers. Of course, most reluctant readers don’t find their way to the public library, but when they do I might be better prepared. I wish this book was required reading for all high school teachers. I would recommend it to all those interested in getting kids to read.

30. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, History, Inspirational, Memoirs, NonFiction, Rachel

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, read by Rachel, on 03/29/2014

This was a fantastic autobiography! Reminiscent of Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, The Hiding Place provided the perspective of a Christian family in Holland hiding those who were fleeing Nazi persecution. I was amazed by the organization of the resistance and the positivity of Corrie ten Boom during one of the darkest times of history.

This is the true story of how Corrie ten Boom and her family became leaders in the Dutch underground when the Nazis invaded Holland, hiding Jewish people in their home in a specially built room.

late bloomer  Clarissa Pinkola Estes examines archetypal themes in fairy tales relevant to unleashing creativity and letting your unique talents blossom. Estes uses a combination of Jungian psychology together with family wisdom to explain the significance of various tales.  I learned that she had been held at gunpoint down in Guatemala, during a period of civil unrest, listening to her inner voice/angel, she eventually started singing to her kidnappers, who let her go, saying the singing was driving them nuts. She finishes each chapter with a blessing.  I really liked this title, As it was so deep & rich, I wouldn’t want to read several back to back.  I really clientImg_estesenjoyed this book, & feel cactslike I benefited from her wisdom.

26. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Inspirational, NonFiction, Pamela

The Four Doors by Richard Paul Evans, read by Pamela, on 02/24/2014

4 doorsThe Four Doors is Evans’s message to those who seek inspiration in their lives. It began as a talk he gave on the spur of the moment, and over the course of ten years, it has evolved into a message he has shared with successful business people, students, and even addicts and prisoners. It includes stories his readers have told him, stories about great achievers who overcame hardships, and stories about his own struggle growing up in a large family with financial difficulties and a suicidal mother, and about his diagnosis of Tourette’s Syndrome later in life. These inspiring stories are woven through his identification and careful explanation of the four doors to a more fulfilling life:

BELIEVE THERE’ S A REASON YOU WERE BORN

FREE YOURSELF FROM LIMITATION

MAGNIF Y YOUR LIFE

DEVELOP A LOVE-CENTERED MAP

Evans believes that we all want to know the meaning of our lives. In The Four Doors, he shows how even the most quiet life can be full of purpose and joy, if we choose to take that first step over the threshold.

If you’re a Richard Paul Evans fan, I think you’ll like this book. It’s a quick read, short and concise.

07. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Inspirational, Kristy, NonFiction, Self Help

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz, read by Kristy, on 01/01/2014

In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, the Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love. The Four Agreements are: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don’t Take Anything Personally, Don’t Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best.

30. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Inspirational, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags:

For Everything a Season: Simple Musings on Living Well (Porch Talk series #4) by Philip Gulley, read by Tammy, on 01/12/2014

for everythingAuthor Philip Gulley started writing by doing newsletter essays for his twelve member Quaker congregation in Indiana. Much to his surprise one found its way to radio commentator Paul Harvey Jr., and was read on the air to 24 million listeners. Now he has fourteen books in print including this collection of his newsletter essays.

09. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Inspirational, NonFiction, Sarah

Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman, read by Sarah, on 12/07/2013

This book is a challenge to Christians to stop being “fans” of Jesus and start becoming a completely devoted follower. Mr. Idleman is a pastor at a megachurch in Louisville who believes a majority of us are just fans of Jesus who do not fully give over our lives to him.  It is very insightful making you want to further your own relationship with God.

29. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Inspirational, Noelle, NonFiction, Self Help · Tags: ,

The Lost Art of Compassion by Lorne Ladner, read by Noelle, on 11/27/2013

Western culture has long sidelined compassion as the province of the saintly or the overly naive. To our great detriment, we have overlooked one of our most powerful inner resources for creating a life of happiness and contentment. In The Lost Art of Compassion, clinical psychologist and longtime Tibetan Buddhist practitioner Lorne Ladner rescues compassion from the margins, and demonstrates its direct and powerful benefits for our day-to-day lives. Until recently Western psychology focused almost exclusively on working with unhealthy emotions and relationships, turning very little of its research or expertise toward understanding positive emotional states. While interest in positive psychology is just dawning in the West, the cultivation of compassion has been a cornerstone of Tibetan Buddhism, studied and developed for over a thousand years. The Lost Art of Compassion is the first book to incorporate the Tibetan Buddhist teachings most suited to Westerners and provides a crucial perspective that is sorely lacking in Western psychology. Bringing together the best contributions of psychology and Buddhism, Dr. Ladner bridges the gap between East and West, theory and practice, in this user-friendly guide for getting through each day with greater contentment and ease. The Lost Art of Compassion offers ten methods for cultivating joy and contentment, bringing directly applicable wisdom to everyday situations. The result is a highly practical, engaging guide that weaves together these two disciplines and encourages readers to reclaim this neglected path to happiness.

01. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Christian, History, Inspirational, Kira, NonFiction, Reviewer · Tags:

The heart of Christianity: rediscovering a life of faith by Marcus J. Borg., read by Kira, on 07/31/2013

Renowned Jesus SeminarBorg_Heart_of_Chrty mborg_arms_raised scholar, Marcus Borg, distinguishes between “Earlier Christianity” and “Emerging Christianity”.  He discusses how Christianity limited its focus in reaction to Enlightenment Science challenging aspects of the Bible.  Christianity narrowed its focus to a set of beliefs (atonement theology) focused around sin and the afterlife.  Borg shows how much deeper and richer Christianity is than merely believing certain doctrines or the literalness of certain biblical passages.

I was impressed.

If you’re interested and want to see a video-clip of him go to: