“You’re Made For A God-Sized Dream” by Holley Gerth (CL/PG Series)

Are you “looking for” more purpose and “listening for” God’s plan in your life? Are there God-sized dreams that are buried in your heart and you don’t know how to realize them?

In “You’re Made For A God-Sized Dream” (a follow-up book to “You’re Already Amazing”) by Holley Gerth, she walks you through a series of chapters to help you examine your deepest desires–the dreams you had for yourself but in living your day-to-day life, you have buried them and forgotten they existed.

In her e-book companion available on Barnes and Noble Nook and Amazon Kindle books, “The Do What You Can Plan”, Holley takes you further in realizing your God-sized dream(s) by guiding you in taking all the necessary steps to overcome and solve the obstacles that have been getting in your way. There are numerous personal stories and scriptures in both books to give you the courage to take the step of faith to “opening the door” to all that God has for you.

Although I found that these books were mainly written with “the women” in mind, I truly believe anyone can read them and realize his or her dreams by following Holley’s thoughtful suggestions.

Blessings on you and happy reading,
Yvonne

20 Writing Resource Books

Since the 1990’s, I have been journaling short stories and day-to-day events in my life. Not all of the stories in my life have been happy, but they have definitely taught me some valuable lessons. Over the past two years, I have sought out and read a variety of writing resource books to help me to ascertain how to “write from my heart” and to impart valuable insights and lessons that I have learned during the past 30+ years. I want to share the following books that I believe, as a writer, could be helpful to read in order for one to take the necessary steps to become a prolific writer.

1. The Book of Doing – Allison Arden
2. Query Letters That Rock – Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell
3. The Power to Write – Caroline Joy Adams
4. Take Ten for Writers – Bonnie Neubauer
5. The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron
6. For the Write Reason – Mary Beth Whalen
7. Life Writing – Fred D. White, PhD
8. The Right to Write – Julia Cameron
9. Unless It Moves the Human Heart – Roger Rosenblatt
10. The Renegade Writer – Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell
11. How to Publish Your Own E-book – Nik Rawlinson
12. The Vein of Gold – Julia Cameron
13. Walking In This World – Julia Cameron
14. Writing From Within – Bernard Selling
15. You Should Write A Book – Regina Brooks and Brenda Lane Richardson
16. How to Blog A Book – Nina Amir
17. Living Legacies – Duane Elgin and Colleen LeDrew
18. On Writing Well – Willian Zinsser
19. The Elements of Style – William Strunk and E.B. White
20. Thinking Like Your Editor – Susan Rabinor and Alfred Fortunato

The above list is not conclusive but just my suggestions to get you started if you are serious about becoming a writer. Check out your local library and/or book stores for a more exhaustive list.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His will in what He would have you write.

Blessings on you and happy reading,
Yvonne

20 Weight Loss Resource Books for the New Year

The other day while visiting Barnes and Noble, I couldn’t help but notice a “huge” display of diet books in the front of the store. As I glanced over all the books, an elderly gentleman stood next to me and commented that “his wife was on a diet” and pointed to the plan she had begun. He also stated that since she started the diet plan that she cooks all the time and does not have time for anything else. I noted the frustration in his voice so I asked if she had lost any weight with her plan and he just smiled and said “nope.” I smiled as I left the store but noticed that two more women had began browsing at the same display table.

With so many diet plans available, I decided to compile a list and share some of the books that I have “collected” over the years for my own resource library. Keep in mind that these books only skim the surface of what else is available at either your local book store or library, and that I am not advocating any one plan. The list is made available to help you in your research if you are looking for a weight-loss resource book(s).

1. The Fat Flush Diet – Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS
2. The Dash Diet Action Plan – Marla Heller, MS, RD
3. The New Atkins For A New You Diet – Collette Heimowitz
4. The Pound A Day Diet – Rocco Dispirito
5. The 90/10 Weight Loss Plan – Joy Bauer, MS, RD, CDN
6. The Shred Diet – Ian Smith, MD
7. The Super Shred Diet – Ian Smith,MD
8. The Daniel Plan – Rick Warren, Pastor
9. The Portion Control Diet – Linda Gassenheimer
10. The Full-Plate Diet – Seale Sherard Fleming
11. This, Not That No-Diet Diet – David Zinczenko
12. The Mediterranean Diet – Kimberly A. Tessmer, RD
13. The Lean Belly Prescription – Travis Stork, MD
14. Drop Five Pounds Diet – Heather K. Jones, RD
15. Now Eat This Diet – Rocco Dispirito
16. The Drop 10 Diet – Lucy Danziger
17. The Eating Well Diet – Dr. Jean Harvey-Berino, PhD, RD
18. The Good Carb Diet Plan – Helen Foster
19. The Fast Metabolism Diet – Haylie Pomroy
20. The 100 Diet – Jorge Cruise (author of the “Belly Fat Cure”)

There are 100’s of weight-loss books available; and if you have decided to “go on a diet” and get healthy in 2014, I’m sure you will find one that fits your lifestyle.

Happy reading,
Yvonne

Week 3: “The Traveler’s Gift” by Andy Andrews (FI Series)

Have you ever dreamed of meeting famous people in history in order to gain their knowledge, words of wisdom, and insights? Would you be able to identify with their strengths in your present life or would you feel this would be an impossible task?

In “The Traveler’s Gift” by Andy Andrews, he chronicles the life of one man’s success and failures at losing his job and his loss of purpose by taking him on a soul-searching journey, traveling through time, as he meets famous people in history. Each person he meets imparts on him their words of wisdom to live by. He is given seven decisions that determines personal success.

From President Truman to the Archangel Gabriel, he learns that the seven decisions consist of:

1. The buck stops here. I will accept responsibility for my past and for my success and my future. (President Truman)

2. Seek wisdom and be a servant to others. (King Solomon)

3. Be a person of action, inspiring others with your activities and be a leader. (Colonel Joshua Chamberlain)

4. Have a decided heart. Be passionate about your vision for the future. (Christopher Columbus)

5. Choose to be happy today. Be a possessor of a grateful heart. (Anne Frank)

6. Greet each day with a forgiving heart and forgive those who criticize you unjustly. (Abraham Lincoln)

7. Persist without exception and continue without exhaustion. (Archangel Gabriel)

In summary, the author states that “there comes a time in every person’s life when a decision is required and that decision will have a far-reaching effect on future generations–your actions can literally change the world.” Your actions, behavior–both good and bad–and your relationships can change the world for the better when you accept responsibility, seek wisdom, inspire others, choose to be happy, forgive one another, and persist without exception.

Happy reading,
Yvonne

“Becoming Myself” by Stasi Eldredge (CL/PG Series)

Do you ever feel like your life is completely out of control and you try to control your circumstances as well of those around you? Are you filled with feelings of abandonment, anxiety, sorrow, grief, rejection, etc.? Have you forgotten your dreams and most importantly, who you are in Christ?

In “Becoming Myself” by Stasi Eldredge, she covers how we are shaped by our childhood but not by our past. You can change your life by changing your negative thought processes and become the woman whom God created you to be: a woman of faith, a woman of worship, and becoming our “true name” through His unconditional love.

Stasi tells us how God desires to restore us by healing our inner lives through His love. She explains that the more of God you become, the more of yourself you become–you will finally see yourself as God sees you and realize His dreams for you.

An 8-week session and study guide is also available as a companion to “Becoming Myself” for a more in-depth study to help you embrace God’s dream for you.

A wonderful personal growth book to read in 2014.

Happy reading,
Yvonne

Week 2: “The First Phone Call From Heaven” by Mitch Albom (FI Series)

What would you do if you were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to receive a phone call from a loved one who had passed away perhaps six months to over two years’ ago? Would your reaction be one of excitement, fear, acceptance, or denial? Would you keep it to yourself or tell others?

In “The First Phone Call From Heaven” by Mitch Albom, a small town in Michigan is given such an opportunity when one of its residents receives a phone call from her dead sister. Several calls follow but always on a Friday. A “few chosen” individuals also begin receiving phone calls as well from their loved ones. A minister’s faith will be tested after one of his congregants tells about her experience during a Sunday morning service. Some of the individuals in attendance that morning will become “new believers”; while others will choose to deny and react by protesting the events that begin happening in their small town, calling it a well thought-out, executed hoax. As news travels about the phone calls, hundreds flock to the town where they begin purchasing all of the cell phones in the electronics store to see if they will begin receiving calls as well.

With extensive dialog between the residents and flashbacks into the past of one non-believing man, the author weaves this superb, faith-inspiring story. Through a series of events in the lives of just a few chosen people, and of one man’s struggle to disprove both the existence of the phone calls and of heaven itself, lives are and will be changed forever.

The equally surprising and uplifting conclusion will leave you examining your own heart and challenging your own beliefs. This book is definitely a must-read for 2014.

Happy reading,
Yvonne

“You’re Already Amazing” by Holley Gerth (CL/PG Series)

“For you are fearfully and wonderfully made” from Psalm 139:14 appears to be the theme of “You’re Already Amazing” by Christian writer Holley Gerth, cofounder of (in)courage, an online women’s site to encourage and support women of all ages and walks of life into a deeper relationship with God.

In her book, Holley encourages women to “embrace who they are and become whom God created and intends for them to be” by sharing a number of important topics such as: who am I, why is it so hard to believe you are amazing, where are you going, taking the next step(s), etc.

Holley provides encouragement and hope to all women who are searching to make changes within their lives by connecting and trusting in the Creator who has “fully given them all things.” She also provides a “Go Deeper Guide” in the back of the book for individuals and groups alike to explore each chapter of the book more fully.

If you are searching for answers to questions you might have about your own personal life, struggles, and fulfillment, then pick up a copy of this truly practical book as a resource for personal growth.

Blessings on you,
Yvonne

Week 1: “The Christmas Sweater” by Glenn Beck (FI Series)

“The Christmas Sweater”, written by Glenn Beck, tells the story of a 12-year old boy who desires only one gift for Christmas: a bike. Instead, he receives a hand-made sweater from his mom. His expectations of what he wants and what he receives makes him realize that “children and adults alike don’t always get what they want for Christmas.”

Through a series of events that take place in his (Eddie’s) life, he comes to grips with the real reason for the season–the story of redemption, and he learns that the greatest gift of all comes from the Father in Heaven: Love. Even though he resents receiving “just a sweater”, he quickly learns the significance of that “simple” gift that his mother had created with so much love in her heart.

Through the guidance of a mysterious stranger, Eddie finds his path through the storm clouds and finds his way back to his family, faith, and forgiveness.

Your heart will be touched as you read this novel based on a “personally true story” and you won’t want to miss the concluding, surprise ending to this heart-warming “feel-good” read that Glenn Beck does so well.

If you haven’t already read “The Christmas Sweater”, I would recommend you put it on your “must read list” for 2014. You won’t be disappointed.

Storage and Organization Month: January, 2014

Last year, I made a list of things that I wanted to accomplish during 2013. Since January is considered the “storage and organization month”, I felt my list was warranted. “Making a list and checking it twice” is generally a must for those in the workforce who need to be an organizer and/or planner. It is supposed to keep the sanity in an office. I know because I have been there, done that, and surprisingly the lists always kept me in the time frame allotted to get out the reports.

Now that I am retired (yes, that’s right) I am supposed to have more time on my hands. But really I have to ask myself “where does all the time go?” Up until the end of December, I had been babysitting (thoroughly enjoyed it) for my daughter’s friend who is a teacher in our local school system. But now that I am not doing that, what is left in my day? I should have all the time in the world to do whatever I want to do, right? As a pastor’s wife, do I even need to ask such a question of myself? Flexibility and being open to the day seems to be the challenge laid before me.

Since January is duly noted as the month to get organized, I went to my favorite store (TJMaxx) to check out their storage containers and to my surprise, they had an over-abundance of all types and sizes of containers–even those with chalkboard labels–baskets, boxes, trays, bins, folders, wall dividers, chalkboards, and desk accessories. A quick in and out turned into a two-hour venture. I did purchase a few things to help get me started, especially in organizing my painting supplies. I even got a couple of new toys for our black lab (he is 9-months and needs lots of play things).

This morning in my devotions, I read several passages of scriptures that the Lord spoke to my heart about in beginning my day anew each morning because that is where it all begins. Taking one day at a time and asking for the Lord’s help and direction for each new day will keep our hearts in tune with whatever may come our way. I may not have to keep extensive to-do lists, but my desire is to wait on the Lord and allow Him to guide me throughout the day whether I am painting, cleaning, washing clothes, choosing songs for the Sunday service, practicing piano, grocery shopping, catching up with a friend by listening and sharing news, etc. This is the day that the Lord has made so let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Scriptures that blessed my day are all taken from the NIV Bible as follows:

Psalm 42:1-2: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”

Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me; and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalm 19:14: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Psalm 51:10-12: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.”

Psalm 139:14: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Praise the Lord for his enduring love in our hearts today.

Blessings,
Yvonne

January reading: “The First Phone Call from Heaven” by Mitch Albom