Work-Life Balance Brilliance by Denise R. Green: book summary

Have you ever thought of hiring a life coach? Have you ever wondered what you could achieve if you had an accountability partner? Maybe you’ve tried the novel approach to creating different results than the trajectory you are on right now. If you are self-motivated at all, this book could be the recipe for positive momentum in finding what works for you. One glance at the book cover should clue you in to what the author thinks of work-life balance. In fact, the title of the book is, Work-Life Balance Brilliance and isn’t that really what we want from our lives and from our work?

I usually don’t copy chapter titles into a book summary, but in this case, the chapter titles are like opening the doors and giving you a full spectrum view of why this book functions like a personal coach. Burnout versus Brilliance, Tame Your Thoughts, Reinvent Your Outer Self, Nurture Brilliant Relationships, Manage Your Relationship with “Stuff”, Brilliant Sleep., How Not to Change, How to Choose the Right Goal, How to Change for Good, How to Say No with Grace, Not Guilt. Now you can see why I wanted to reveal the chapter titles before mentioning what is so fascinating and magnetic about this book.  From the outset, I had a feeling there was a meaningful purpose behind the writing of this book that I could identify with and Denise Green described it. “I’m on a mission to help people light the spark within them that may feel like it’s been nearly snuffed out due to the demands of life.” Does that sound anything like your dilemma? Here’s your next book.    Work-Life Balance Brilliance  

This book, with the chapters listed above, can best be described as a tool for knowing yourself and understanding inspirations and aspirations within and how your relationships and interactions are key in creating brilliance. The author identifies the four realms of Whole Life Integrations which she calls Brillance. Then through stories and instructive dialog, she coaches you through the steps to create that work-like brilliance.

I am a huge advocate of being careful with thoughts because thoughts drive actions. I was impressed with the content of the chapter, Tame Your Thoughts. Green doesn’t just rely on dialog to teach the methods of controlling thought. She offers a 6-step upgrade tool that I would call guided self-reflection. Then she offers advice on how to make your release from negative thoughts really stick.

Some strong points of this book are in the toolkits integrated with each chapter. Story is interesting, and case studies are evidence that somewhere along the line the principles taught in the book worked for someone. All you have to do is read through some of the action items to know that, if put into practice, many of your niggling aspirations could become your reality. By implementing some of the basic ideas suggested could bolster your confidence and give you an edge toward balance which you will redefine as brilliance. You don’t have to change everything. The changes will be dictated by what you discover about yourself and about relationships as you work through the pages of the book and guidance received by using the focus-inciting questions.

When I read a book like this one, I have a tendency to choose a favorite chapter. Manage Your Relationship With “Stuff” was a surprise. It is a powerful game-changer. Rarely have I read a book like this one that so aptly presents the tethers that hold us back like our ‘stuff’. Denise Green points out that we have two limitations that are huge. Time – we get 24 hours every day. Period. Physical – we operate with imperfect bodies that need to be taken care of – sleep is one thing most of us need more of. Note: we get 24 hours every day. Period. The author remarks that “This Brilliance realm (relationship with stuff) includes our relationship to our spaces, possessions, technology, and time.”  Certainly, every reader can identify with the components we all deal with every day and how we allow them to affect our world makes this book invaluable to creating a brilliant life. Do you need ideas for managing your time, designing a winning pattern for your day, working productively in your environment, managing technology? How about reducing your exposure to toxic energy? The toolkit consists of worksheets to help you replace those components that are not serving you.

Remember sleep? Some of us are more familiar with the lack of it. The chapter titled Brilliant Sleep is – well – brilliant. Whether you suffer from legitimate insomnia or sleep deprivation brought on by environmental or physical or activity conditions, the best practices for sleep hygiene in this chapter are priceless. Yes, we all know the trick of going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every day. We know to restrict caffeine in the afternoon. We might, on the advice of a physician, take melatonin. We might invest in a book that sends us to sleep because it provides absolutely no spark of interest. If you want to sleep and have forgotten what it feels like to get adequate sleep, you aren’t alone. The tips in this book are plentiful.

The final chapters of the book are based on putting legs on what you learned in the first part of the book. What do you want to change? What goals do you have? Are they the right goals for how you envision your work-life brilliance future? I remember hearing someone say that we invest ten months planning a two-week vacation and about ten minutes planning our future existence. That’s probably not truly accurate, but isn’t it true that we have goals, but may not know if they are the right goals until we get there and realize they aren’t?

This book, like a life coach, walks through the realms of life and helps you create a vision for your best life, set the right goals, determine how you will get there, and make wise choices of what you will do and what you will not. The author concludes with what I think of as the magic three. I mean if there was a bit of magic in all this.  Green says in her final address to readers, “If I were forced to describe achieving work-life brilliance in a few steps, those steps would include Assess, Choose, Change.”

There is no magic, but if you’re looking for help in reinventing your life, this book can bring magical results.

This book summary was first published at 


What do you need to forget?

What kind of memory do you have? You know – when you have to remember an appointment or to pick up some obscure item at the store. Do you have to write everything out in detail? Or is your mind like Velcro and things just stick to it? I have a good memory, but it’s short. At least that’s what I tell people when they say, “Remember to . . .” then they proceed with instructions that will never return to memory unless written ‘legibly’ on paper. The answer to your question is yes. Forgetting is a source of frustration and downright irritating most of the time. I recently read an article where the writer said that forgetting is a sign that the thing to be remembered is not important. You know what? That’s not true, at least not all the time. Sure, we have selective memory and conveniently forget “that thing we don’t want to do”, but I think there are multiple reasons our memories don’t hold onto things.
I’m thankful for memory – but I’m also thankful we can forget. I thought of this as I woke up this morning. It hasn’t been long since we had the gift of snow blowing around and piled high every place we looked. The sun came out, the wind blew from the south, grass peeked through and just a few days later, we were looking forward to spring and forgetting the days of winter. Now here we are. Today it really is spring. In fact, it’s been spring for about 8 hours. Paul’s message in Philippians 3 held more significance than the passing of seasons, but he has a lesson for us in things that matter. “Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I press on toward the prize.” Forgetting
It’s important for us to remember things like the date and time of appointments, to put gas in the car, pay bills, buy groceries, and a million other little things that would be painful if we forgot about them. These are things we write down, keep track of, and stay consciously aware of.
We treasure relationships buoyed with memories from our past and when we invest time with family, friends, and people we care about, we inspire more memories that are woven into the tapestry of our life. We want to remember. We want to hang onto those occasions and repeat them in the future. Do you often revisit special times in your day dreams? I do.
What happens when events of the past have brought pain or caused emotional trauma? What if a small offense grew out of control and now it’s become a fence blocking out relationships that were once treasures. That mind like a steel trap holds grudges solid as though charged by a strong magnet. Nothing is more inhibiting, demoralizing, troubling, or unproductive than remembering wrongs, and keeping track of offenses. “Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do.” 1Corinthians13:5 But what if you’re long past the ‘love’ factor? The magnetic pull of the offense and unforgiveness repels anything remotely resembling acceptance, and surely the love is gone.
Did you know Peter asked Jesus in Matthew 18, “How many times should I forgive someone who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?” Jesus answered: Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times!” and in some translations, it says seventy times seven. How miserable we would be if we counted out offenses as they were committed. Yet, holding onto offenses and remembering them over and over makes us just as miserable.
Not just because it’s spring, not just because it’s a new day, but because it’s what God would want, is there a fence cluttered with grudges, irritations, fractured memories that need to be forgiven?
Today, is there something you should forget? Psalm 34:14 encourages us to turn away from evil and do what is right! Strive for peace and promote it! Maybe you’re waiting for ‘the offender’ to make the first move. Why would you want to miss out on your joy just because ‘they’ don’t want any for themselves? You can have joy – just ask for it. “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” John 16:24
What can you forget today that will create the tomorrow you want to remember?
“When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, I will make myself available to you,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 29:13

Lessons in Uncertainty

Do you remember Corrie ten Boom, Holocaust survivor and best-selling author of the book, The Hiding Place? She lived through one of the most painful and traumatic experiences in history and out of her heart grew an encyclopedia of wisdom. I guess today, we would go to Wikipedia to learn about her life, but I’m in awe of her courage and stamina in facing her trials with audacious faith – then later revealing them with such passion and sincerity.  Corrie said “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”never be afraid to trust an unknown future

I was talking to a friend of mine about a tragedy in her family. Instantly their lives were altered by an unexpected event. Why would this happen? We ask how can this be good? I never like to write about sadness.  In fact, I’m uncomfortable writing about experiences that rip at the emotions of people because I want to portray life as happy or at least comfortable. But real life is tough and real stories leave us questioning where do we go from here? How can this be good? We have no human answer. I’m reminded of another thing Corrie ten Boom asked in one her talks “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” I ask myself, is prayer my steering wheel? If life takes a 180 degree turn from what I expect, will I pray through with God holding the wheel or will I drive through paying little attention to the one who guides the future?

Do I really believe if I get the inside right, the rest will take care of itself? That means my heart has to be right. If I look for joy in my circumstances will I find it? That means I have to be thankful and as James said, “Count it all joy”. Will circumstances of the day make me bitter, or make me better? To be better, my faith has to be bigger than my fear. The answer is embedded at the core of who I am, a reflection of my character at heart level. Psalm 19:14 says, “May my words and thoughts please you. Lord, you are my Rock, my shelter, the one who saves me.” My first priority is to remember that my attitude is a choice. What I do with it affects every facet of my life. When I choose faith first, I choose to trust this unknown future to a known God.

In Luke 17, the apostles who were personal friends of Jesus found their faith failing. They came right out and asked for what they wanted. “Lord, give us more faith.” Will I pray for more faith or just allow the enemy of my soul to suffocate my faith and rob me of my joy? It’s a choice I will have to make moment by moment.  When it seems that nothing good can come from what we see in front of us, when the future seems uncertain, it is then that our reliance is on the One who gives us wisdom and strong faith. Solomon was a pretty wise man and has a whole textbook for life in Proverbs. In the 22nd chapter he stops and says, “Pay attention and listen to what wise people say. Remember what I am teaching you. It will be good to keep these things in mind. Be prepared to repeat them. I am teaching them to you now so that you will put your trust in the Lord.”

God knew that in this life there would be times when faith would falter and we would need to be reminded to go back to what we learned in the past, to put our trust in the Lord. We can plan our steps from the first to the last, but life can change in a heartbeat and the landscape of our plans dissolve. Surprised we ask, how can this be good? Then we remember. Nothing catches God by surprise. In Isaiah 48:17 The Lord says— “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” And in case you wonder where is God in all this,  2 Timothy 4:17 fills you in. “The Lord stood by me and gave me strength ….”

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. – Corrie ten Boom

Pathway to Peace

I’m working on a pathway to peace. I wish I could say it’s already perfected, but it is not.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this. Today is all I’ve got; tomorrow is the result of how I live it.  Considering what I want most tomorrow has led me to design a pathway to get there. Daily disciplines toward PEACE tomorrow.

  • Prayer
  • Exercise
  • Accountability
  • Character
  • Encourage

Each discipline has defined characteristics which I’ll be sharing in a future post.  Why am I talking about this now?  Why am I talking about it at all?  Do you see the A for Accountability? Could it be that this is a serious step in living a life of peace tomorrow?

In a future post I may expand on how this daily discipline works, the plan, the factors, the benefits, the action items.  It’s not rocket science. It’s vision. It’s personal responsibility.

Aiming for Purpose

What happens if I don’t get it right? Have you ever asked yourself that question? There are so many choices to be made in a day; decisions ranging from the minor to the major. What if I get it wrong? Sometimes don’t you wish you could hand God a blank piece of paper and say, “Could you just fill it out for me, so I can see what you want me to do?” That would be so much easier, wouldn’t it? God could have created the dynamics of our interactions to be like that, but in his sovereignty – well – this is what we’ve got.  God was the first to go paperless.  He created the Earth and all that is in it, but left no instruction manual; that came later.  Psalm 89:11 “The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it.”  It was years in production, but God did hire some talented writers to pen His own words on parchment over a couple thousand years. The Bible, the book with the highest record sales ever, is the instruction manual we have to live by. The issue is, it’s written for every type of make and model without regard to specific names.

Here are a few excerpts from Psalm 139:13-16  “You formed me in my mother’s womb. Thank you, High God for making me body and soul …what a creation! You know me inside and out – exactly how I was sculpted from nothing into something. You watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”

God didn’t meet us in the delivery room and hand our parents a piece of paper with step by step instructions on it.  He did meet us before we were born though and already made plans for us.  Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Each of us has a purpose; each of us has a free will to make decisions and the intelligence to reason things out. Intelligence though and wisdom are part of the package, but play a different role.  Intelligence gathers the facts, wisdom is the part that we get from God – and it’s the most important part of decision making.  James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

The decision process isn’t failsafe though, is it? Many of us are impetuous and think we are helping God out by making a choice too early – only to realize it was the wrong answer.  Or we decide not to decide – and did you know that even a decision not to make a decision is a decision?  Mull that over for a few minutes. Sometimes we wait too long and while God is outside lighting up the sky, and practically playing charades, we don’t look up to Him and ‘get the message’.  We are so accustomed to having instructions written in ink, on a page, that’s unmistakable – so we know what to do next.  We wonder “ What if I make a mistake?  What if I make a wrong choice? What if I get to the end of my life and realize my whole life has been off course?”  Well if you’re reading this, your life hasn’t ended yet. What can you do today to get back on course?  God will honor you for coming back to him and his way for you.  Isaiah 30:21 says “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

God wants you to ask for guidance, and look to him first. We are not perfect; but we can try.  I’m way out of time today and I’m going to now try really hard to live each day connected to God’s will and infused with His  ways…. Because that is one thing I know God expects of me.


I was reading a post by a young woman of 17 who I consider wise beyond her years, when she asked a valid question.  Although very young she was through high school and had already taken college classes.  She was contemplating very honestly:  What will I do with my life?  That struck me because as I approach the twilight of my career, I look back to the days many years ago when I first began to question my destiny.  I still sometimes wonder, what will I do with the remaining years of my life.  How can I make a difference?  I’m only one person.  Ah – but this is the key.  What God wants from me is to just show up even if the path isn’t clearly marked, even though I’m dragging my feet and am confused about what’s out there.  God requires only that I seek Him and just show up for the next 60 seconds, 1 hour, 1 day, in a week, a month …. and put my complete trust in Him.

We fret, especially when we’re full of anticipation and throw open the gate to possibility we are overwhelmed by what we should do with our future. Really? We’ve all had these ‘what-if’ fears.  What if I make a mistake, what happens to my future then? We all have to remember that we have this one moment, this one day.  It’s all anyone has. If we seek God on a day by day basis and walk with him just that day – then the next – then the next, that becomes our future and it takes care of itself….  We need to seek God ask His wisdom in every decision and then follow it.  God will lead us and enable us to do and be exactly what He wants us to be. He created each of us and gave us purpose.  He knows our strengths, our ambitions, and what our interests are. Choices will always be difficult and overwhelming.  That’s why it’s so important to invite God into the cafeteria of our lives and let Him point out the best for each of us.  I have made some pretty dumb decisions in my life and when I look back at where I took a wrong turn, I can see that it was when I said, “Look God.  I’ve got this one”.

I pray the blessing of God in your life and that we all realize we all have what we need to thrive and be what we were intended to be.  First we have to just show up!–GtojoyYQ&feature=g-all-u

Future faith

Tyler’s recruiter spent some time with us last night explaining what’s going to happen for the next 13 weeks. I knew something was up when my brother (former Marine) and nephew (lifer Marine) told me, in separate conversations, Tyler will come back a changed man. Sergeant Keifer to us: This isn’t the boy scouts. Tyler will come back a changed man.  My thought: I didn’t expect the Boy Scouts, but that part about changed?  What if I like him the way he is right now?. A kid whose laundry never has an even number of socks, whose diet consists of Taco Bell and Mountain Dew, a guy with phantom characteristics – now you see him, but mostly you don’t. I wonder what this new guy is going to be like. Sunday evening at 7:00 – that’s it then; the beginning of a journey; the first steps of a life walk; the forming of an adult; an act of faith.

What do we know about faith? Here’s what the message translation says about it in Hebrews 11:1 “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.” That verse sets the stage for a life lived by faith.  How many times in a week or a day do we laughingly admit our crystal ball is hazy or our magic wand is broken? We can’t foresee the future, but we can commit to holding fast to that firm foundation of faith. Psalm 37:23 tells us “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.”  For 13 weeks the Marine Corp has a grid of challenge and opportunity. The sergeant pulled out a chart with a picture representing each day for 13 weeks. There were no pictures of baseball, pizza, video games, or beach volleyball. At the very end of each week though was the image of a Marine fully outfitted in camouflage, kneeling with his head bowed. Marines have 4 hours available every Sunday to renew their fading strength.  There are services for all faiths – but it encourages me that ‘religious’ services are a priority on the Lord’s day. Remember what it says in Isaiah 40: 31 “they who put their hope in the Lord  will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Sundays are the days for mail call too. In the ‘How to support your Marine’ packet, we are told to send mail …. every day! Your recruit needs positive messages, unending support, and uplifting letters from home. From week 3 to week 6 or maybe longer your recruit is going to wonder why they joined the Marines. They are going to wish they had never done this. They are not on a Boy Scout campout, this is grueling, devastating, gut wrenching training. It’s how they learn to work together in perfect synchronization as a military squad.  I get that.  I will be writing because I want to remind him that he can do this, he is on a faith journey as well as a strength journey.  I think we forget that the road we travel is never straight and level. It’s straight up, twisted left, twisted right, with a cascading descent, before the smooth ride that’s marginal at best before the upward climb begins its repeat performance.  This is why I am already on my knees praying for Tyler and every Marine in training.  I am praying for protection in all its many tentacles of need: physical, mental, spiritual   Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” And I pray that Tyler has this foundation for his journey.  Proverbs 4:11 “I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.  Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.”  Guard is well – for this is your life.”