Transforming Memories: Sharing Spontaneous Writing Using Loaded Words – Book Summary

 

I must be honest here, this book both challenged me and encouraged me. The aha moments I identified with were tempered by flagrant emotional tension of those stories that left me shocked. The book begins at the title with a badge of courage, “Transforming Memories: Sharing Spontaneous Writing Using Loaded Words”. To understand the title is to understand the environments these three authors grew from; all of them children of alcoholics.

Read the full book review here: BizCatalyst360 – Transforming Memories
There are no pages bleeding out poor me, feel sorry for me, sympathy-seeking, parent-slamming, passive aggressive, co-dependency. Instead the book is predicated on what it was like to grow up in a family dysfunctional due to alcoholism. The first part of the book by Liz Crocker, Polly Bennell, and Holly Book describes their discovery of writing as a healing mechanism for their souls. Through their practice of writing and seeing its advantages, they agreed that they needed to share this form of therapeutic benefits with others. This book, Transforming Memories: Sharing Spontaneous Writing Using Loaded Words, is the result.

When the Wait is Long

Have you ever read something, maybe a hundred times, but it made the impression of invisible ink? In my quiet time yesterday I read Luke 22:32 “I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” I couldn’t believe it! Jesus spoke those words to Simon Peter moments before he warned that Peter would deny him in public. Did you get that? Jesus said ‘I prayed for you …’ Jesus prayed for Peter to stand firm in his faith, and to strengthen his brothers. There was no invisible ink this time; the impression was HD clarity.

As I was contemplating that verse, its significance was unmistakable. Peter was a Christ follower and strong leader in the community, yet he was vulnerable, even positioned to fail when attacked at his weakest link. Deny Jesus? Impossible … until he snapped under pressure. When Peter realized what he had done, verse 62 of Luke 22 says he was devastated and wept bitterly. But that wasn’t the end, Peter kept his faith and went on to greater purpose.

Maybe my preoccupation with that verse comes from knowing that friends are praying for me; that friends pray for friends; that people who have never met, pray for each other. When we pray, we believe God for what he promises. Notice Philippians 4:6 “Do not worry about anything, pray through every situation, be thankful as you present your requests to God. He will give you peace beyond understanding and will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Sometimes we ask God over and over for something that is never within our grasp. Sometimes God says no; sometimes we have to wait …. Wait. a. very. long. time. In those times what does God promise? Peace that we don’t understand – if we give up the worry cycle and pray with thanks-living.i have prayed for you that you faith might not fail

When Jesus said “I prayed for you, Simon…” did he then, when Simon Peter denied him, say “Well forget it then!” and detach from him and all others? Of course not! Look what we can learn from Romans 8:26-27 “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us. He searches our hearts, and intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” God is not a magician, performing some hocus pocus sleight of hand to bring about His purpose. He is sovereign Lord just like it says in Isaiah 48:17 “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”

When I’m in the decision making process about anything this is my common prayer. “Lord God, you know me, you know my needs and wants,  my interests, and my personality. You know how my navigation can get pretty messed up and sometimes my choices are barely on the edge of your purpose for my life. Please, Lord, open doors that only you can open and close doors only you can close, so there is no mistake when this decision has to be made.”

A few  years ago I had been looking for a new job for several months and wasn’t sure which areas of interest I should pursue, but anything that included writing is like a magnet to me.  I had a deficiency in both education and experience, but I applied anyway. In my search I was approached by a recruiter as a possible match for one of their clients. I was enthusiastic about the opportunity and excited to be invited to not one, but three telephone interviews. This seemed to be just what I prayed for. Was this that open door I asked God to open? Optimism was at peak – at peak! Then my hopes plummeted back to Earth. “You have a lot of experience and varied background.  You would do great as one of our writers. We need you to beef up your bio though and put these things in there so you sound – well more …. ” That sounded like deception to me. Ah, so tempting. It’s just a resume and I’ve been told that what I lack in experience I make up for in sheer determination. Then I remembered 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” I stopped thinking about it and I’m sure I heard the squawking of the door as it slowly closed on the opportunity.

Ephesians 2:10 “”For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I am God’s handiwork – created to do good. Embellishing my history is not doing good.  The indelible ink of Luke 22:32 came back to me “I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”  This sounds like the door sliding closed while Jesus intercedes for me because I’m not sure how pray. Not long after, I got a job offer at a company I had wanted to work for since 1973. “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.”

In any way can you relate? Do you struggle with doors that open and close leaving you perplexed? Psalm 33:4 convinces me that worry is futile; trust is the prescription. “For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.”

The More I Seek You – by Kari Jobe

Outsmart Your Instincts – book summary

You really have to respect a book that covers topics as modern as tomorrow with a Foreword that starts out. “I was born in Minnesota in 1928 …”. My curiosity was revved and I had to read this book. Besides, when there are three authors creating content for ten chapters in one book, most of them with the word ‘bias’ in the title, what would you do? Read it, of course. To give you just a little insight here, these are partial titles of each chapter. Negativity Bias, Availability Bias, The Curse of Knowledge, Status Quo Bias, Conformity Bias, Confirmation Bias, Framing – Like a Fish in Water, then my favorite chapter is titled, Confabulation – Of Course That’s Why I Did That! I guess it could be the word itself, confabulation, but more likely it’s the hint that there is an explanation for how stories from our history grow imaginary facts when processed through our memories. Are you curious yet?outsmart-your-instincts-book-cover

Since there are only 10 chapters with pretty cool titles, you, as the reader, could dive into the chapters that interest you most, or you could start at page one and systematically read through the entire book. You could – but I bet you won’t. I didn’t because some of the chapters were just too interesting to wait to read.

Outsmart Your Instincts. That’s how you move from what is into the potential of what can be. To sum up, you will be able to apply what you learn in this book as a tool for using the Behavioral Innovation™ approach to drive your company forward. In it there is a solid instruction like this statement straight out of the book. “Combat the tenacity of Cognitive Biases. Stay humble, keep curious, and never lose the sense of play.”

Read more about this lively, penetrating, and resourceful book here on the Biz Catalyst 360 network: https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/outsmart-your-instincts-how-the-behavioral-innovation-approach-drives-your-company-forward/ 

Crunch Time: How to Be Your Best When It Matters Most

One of the hooks that attracted me to this book is knowing that one of the authors, Rick, is a coach and the other, Judd, is a vice president at the Ken Blanchard Companies. Expecting to learn something valuable, I wasn’t, for a moment disappointed.  Read the full book summary here

The book is organized for easy learning with quick refer backs to practice the principles for yourself. Each chapter ends with a page highlighting what the authors hope you learned followed by a Try-it section to guide the self-motivated reader to make improvements, beginning now. Peering through the book, I noticed that each chapter title contained the word Reframing. Curiously, I looked for how that term was defined – you know. Just in case my interpretation was far distant from what was intended. I think you’ll like this Reframing approach to getting past hurdles that might be holding you back.    crunchtime

Reframing – The skill of consciously thinking about a situation in a new or different way to change how you interpret the situation, and actions you take, and the results you achieve.
Reframing can be learned by anyone. It’s a cognitive skill you can use to quickly and effectively equip your mind and body to perform well under pressure, anytime, anywhere.

I am a firm believer in how powerful our minds are and how they affect our lives from the smallest moments to the most extensive outcomes. As proven throughout the book, “Thinking differently is the starting point. Change how you act, and change your results.” Put your thoughts into a new frame of reference, new frame of mind, and therein lies the power of Reframing. Each of the chapters tells stories that are totally true, have teachable moments, and are so entertaining you will not be able to choose favorites from those the authors have used to illustrate their points.

Full book summary is published on the BizCatalyst360 network website under BizBooks & Beyond.  Here’s the direct link. https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/crunch-time-how-to-be-your-best-when-it-matters-most/

 

Wake up to the light!

When I woke up this morning it was dark. In fact, as I write this at 9:30 am, it seems like the sun has forgotten how to shine today. I know what many of you are thinking right now. Like “why would the sun shine? This is just a dark day all over – and it started in Washington!” Whoa! I’m not joining any political debate and I’m not taking sides except to say that I am not placing my faith in this administration. I didn’t place my faith in the past administrations either. The political gods of this world are defective humans, they like 100% of the people on planet Earth are flawed, deficient, and no matter how hard they try they will never be perfect. The only faith I have is totally in the true God of the universe who is in complete control and completely capable. (Job 37)

Do you feel like this is a dark day for America? Maybe you think it’s a dark day for the world. The world is a dark place, even on the best of days. What are you going to do about it?

Just for a moment – not even a full minute, ok? Look around you and drink in the things that surround your life. Are you warm? Do you have a home? Is there transportation outside your door? Do you have an income? Are your kids in a good school? Are you safe? Can you receive medical attention when you need it? If you’re watching TV or if you’re reading this, you have electricity and technology that’s convenient and always on, right? Have you a collection of friends available by phone, email, social media, or close enough to visit in person? How about family? You can start the day with lightness of heart if you start with a thankful spirit. Or you can stay in your dark world and wish things were different and worry about things that may never happen. We have this moment; this one moment. Don’t waste it in resentment and rage.

Do you feel like this is a dark day for America? Maybe you think it’s a dark day for the world. The world is a dark place, even on the best of days. There’s a reason for that. The enemy of your soul masquerades as an angel of light, (2 Corinthians 11:14) but there is no light there. It’s all gloom and doom. Your enemy wants you to be sad, depressed, debilitated and ineffective. You know that depression comes from anger turned inward, don’t you? We get fighting mad and war against ourselves (if only … I wish…) until we feel helpless and hopeless. It doesn’t have to be that way. When you get fighting mad, first – Know your enemy. There’s a verse in Ephesians that describes the real enemy, and it is not the president. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 The enemy of your soul wants you to be miserable.

Now you might make all kinds of assumptions about our politicians and yes, they are living in the dark just like the whole world population. Our political system has always been broken. But we don’t give up, throw a tarp over our heads and let the darkness overtake us. Nothing good ever came from inertia. Inertia is complete resistance to change and obstinacy to movement. In other words – no life, no action, no movement toward something better. Look for the good, the joy, the light.    be-the-lignt

There is one remedy for darkness that pervades the Earth. There is one forever light. Jesus spoke in John 8:12 saying, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” It takes a lot of courage to let go of that which we can’t control. We can’t control the events of today, but we can control our attitudes toward them. We can vow to get involved and effect change (respectfully, honorably, peacefully, knowledgably, wisely) without anger, hate, and hostility. The world is dark, but we can walk in the light. We can follow Jesus who is the light of the world. We can act with love, compassion, and forgiveness while our eyes adjust to the light and we see things in a new way.

There’s enough darkness in the world. Be different. Reflect the light of the world. Be a light where it is dark.

Let’s all be brave – Do not fear

do-not-fear-for-i-am-with-you-isaiah-41-10A friend of mine took one of those Facebook tests to see what scripture verse was suggested for her. Seeing that verse posted on her timeline, I wondered, hmmm…..what would this app choose for me? It chose well because, of my few absolute favorite life verses, this ranks in the top three. Be not dismayed – this world is not my God, nor is it a substitute for God. Nothing can match the power, the love, the joy, the peace, the contentment that only comes from the God who is righteous and holy and keeps the universe from falling apart. Are you curious about God’s power to hold the universe in place? You will love what you read in Isaiah 40. It’s 31 verses and you can read them all in under three minutes.
Do not fear. Do not be dismayed. The world gives us many reasons to fear and even more reasons to be dismayed. Conditions may not change. Circumstances might stay the same. But letting fear and anxiety eat your soul is not helping, in fact it’s hurting you more. What good are those incessant thoughts rooted in fear that become anger that become depression then become life altering? Nothing good comes out of dwelling in the land where fear changes you and makes you weak and unable to fight back.
Do not fear. God is with you.
Do not be dismayed. God made you. He wants you to trust him.
Be strong. God will strengthen you. He will hold you up so you don’t fall away from the person you want to be. Nobody wants to be a fearful, timid, tired out weakling.
Here is a confirmation from Isaiah 40, “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.”
If you know God, if you trust God, He says in Isaiah 40:31, “those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.” And he says in Isaiah 41:10 “I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Let’s all be brave. Have a fearless, peaceful, contented, joyful day.

46 Years & Worth It

When I was a teenager who knew everything, adults who seemed ancient to me at age 55 or 60 (I know. Crazy, huh?) kept talking about how marriage was. When I knew everything I wondered why these people stayed married then. After all – if it’s so hard, just make it easy and don’t stay married. Go get a life that’s easy. That’s what I thought when I knew everything.       anniversary-post-46th-year-composite

After 46 years of marriage, and well over the age of 60, and now that I don’t know everything, there are a few things I know for sure.

Marriage is hard work. It’s the hardest relationship you will ever have and it’s the most valuable and most rewarding. I can tell you after 46 years there were many exit ramps that looked pretty enticing. They were all lit up and looked like a lot more fun than the ordinary highway I was on with Tim Anderson – the stable, sensible, solid adult. I can’t prove it, but on Tim’s route, he probably saw some amazing exit ramps himself that would have taken him in the opposite direction from me – the one who could never make up her mind, had a new job for every season, and was always, and I do mean always late. “But I use all my minutes,” I complained. “Where is the good in getting any place early?”

If you are married or thinking of getting married, expect hard work. Expect more compromise than you ever imagined. Expect to be more flexible than the most agile yoga instructor. Expect to disagree and expect that sometimes your disagreements will break the sound barrier. Stay – stay the course – because it’s worth it. When I was in my early 20s Ruth Graham, Billy Graham’s wife, was asked if she had ever considered divorce. “No, no I never did,” she said. “Murder a few times, but never divorce.” I know. I laughed too. But they were lovingly married into their 90s. Marriage is hard work.

There is nothing better now than spending an absolutely boring night at home or going out with friends we’ve had for nearly a lifetime. One of us brings up a thought that just moments before the other had in their mind. How does that happen? We share the same faith and love the same God. When our family comes to visit, we get to enjoy time together as one collective family. We wanted this for our family from the moment we said, I do. I know this luxury is one that many of my friends don’t have. Life is never perfect. We have been through deep sadness, near death illnesses, and financial hardship. We got through them, not because of who we are, but because God planted love in our hearts and we worked hard, still work hard, to cultivate forgiveness, acceptance, empathy, and understanding. The joy outweighs everything else and it’s cumulative.

I love you, Tim. Thank you for loving me and sharing this adventure called marriage with me for 46 years (and counting). The 46 gorgeous flowers are truly touching, but even if I had none of them and all of you, it would be worth it.