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 


From Crisis to Calling: Finding Your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions – Book Summary

As I sat down to write about this book, From Crisis to Calling: Finding your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions by Sasha Chanoff and David Chanoff, an online article in the Huff Post grabbed my attention proclaiming Afghan Refugee Crisis Worsens. It seems the news is dominated by more and more crises related to refugees who are suffering greatly in violence–torn regions. This book would have been much more uncomfortable to read had it not been for the authors’ presentation of the storyline through the moral compass of each person involved in the refugee evacuation. In the second half of the book, the five principles of moral decision making are conveyed through stories about corporate heroes of today.

Here are the 5-steps to moral decision making which are in the book called The Five Principles – building blocks to making moral decisions.

  1. Be prepared
  2. Open your eyes
  3. Confront yourself
  4. Know yourself
  5. Take courage

The subject of this book, From Crisis to Calling is about developing authentic leaders who make decisions based on deep personal values that positively affect their lives and the lives of their organizations. Leaders of this deep moral character will build cultures of trust, fairness, equitability, and ethical leadership. One final thought from the authors, “Empathy is the essential need of great leaders who are intentional about building their organizations and communities.” Whether leaders or lay people, life’s tough choices need to be infused with moral sense – empathy, compassion, altruism.

CSLews - Book Cover - From Crisis to Calling



Read the full book summary published on the BizCatalyst360 network.

Seeking stillness – finding your quiet place

In the secret, in the quiet place. In the stillness you are there …. That song was playing in my mind as I woke up this morning. “In the secret in the quite hour I wait, only for you because I want to know you more.”

Do you have a place where you can be alone with God, just you and him to talk about your day? At one time, it was the front seat of my car, in the parking lot at work. I opened my YouVersion Bible App and there, just before entering the mission field, I read things like Hebrews 4:16 “Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” And 2Corinthians 1:4 “God of all comfort, comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” Know God, know comfort, then pass it on.

When I was a young mom with kids around all the time I craved alone time. I had heard the story of Susanna Wesley, John Wesley’s mother, who had 19 children. Imagine her need to be alone! She solved it by throwing her apron up over her face, signaling that it was her time to be alone. That wouldn’t make it for me, but it worked for her. It’s been a long time since that season of my life when days were a circus of activities from sun-up to sundown, but I still remember the secret room. We had this plywood room attached to the side of our aging house that was originally built to cover the well pit. Our freezer was tucked into one corner and the remaining room was shelves constructed out of scrap wood that held jars of home canned food, the result of an acre of garden. In that room there was just enough space to fit an old ragged armchair and lamp. It was the poster child of ugliness but it was my corner of quietness.

My husband looked at it skeptically, but you know? This is one thing guys just don’t understand. I think when God used one of Adam’s ribs to create woman, Adam didn’t grasp the reality that it was a rib, not part of his brain and women think differently than men. Genesis 2:23 “The Man said, “Finally! Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh! Name her Woman for she was made from Man.” There is no mention of brain in that passage.

Every morning at 5:00 am you could find me in that little room unraveling the complicated and getting centered for the day. In that room is where I made my plans, wrote lists, read scripture, read books, and poured out my heart to the Lord. I learned, just as you have learned, that life is a contact sport and sometimes it can beat us up. That tiny hollow in side of our house was a place to be silent before the uproar of the day began. Psalm 46:10 says “Be still, and know that I am God.” We rarely have silence, our ears and eyes are constantly bombarded with noise or images. Quiet solitude is an anomaly. “In the secret, in the quiet place …”

Today, I have a designated place in one small area of my office. It’s where I connect with God and pray for everyone I have promised to pray for – and some who don’t even know are being prayed over. If we every sell our home, the wall will have to be painted to patch over the scars left behind by all the messages taped to it.

We need stillness, time to quiet the clamor of our lives, as much as we need water. When my heart is desperate for quiet, I often turn to Psalms. Don’t you picture David lounging around out in an open field with nothing bothering him but a few nuzzling lambs. That’s the wrong concept, because we know David’s life from the grueling work of a shepherd to the victim of Saul’s vengeance, was anything but carefree and easy. David turned his relentless problems into creative sonnets. He said in Psalm 119:49 “I hang on to our words for dear life! Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.”

The song that was on my mind this morning is by Chris Tomlin. You can listen here.




Plan A … B … or Plan H – Life is about how you handle the setbacks

I recently read this inscription on a card created by Blue Mountain Arts.  “Life is all about how you handle Plan B”  How many times in a week do we say “Well that didn’t work!” and have to move on to the next idea – Plan B or maybe Plan C or H.  I’m thinking the fact that there are so many versions of a plan is biblical.  Psalm 94:11 “The Lord knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile.” So what do you think?

How do we handle things that get in our way of ‘the plan’.  Remember Job?  He was a wealthy man.  He must have had a Plan A, then that didn’t work out so he moved on. Who knows how many letters he passed B, C, D.  Notice his voice in Job 17: 11-12. He was deep in his loss and still he says “My days have passed, my plans are shattered.  Yet the desires of my heart turn night into day; in the face of the darkness light is near.” Do you think Job had a positive attitude?

If you read Psalms you will notice the many laments of David over choices he made – Plan A, Plan B, Plan C … but still he was called a man after God’s own heart.  1Chronicles 29:19-20 is a comforting passage about how David acknowledged God’s leading. ““All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the Lord’s hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.” David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”Breathe it all in Love It all out

How many plans did it take for David to realize the “Lord’s hand”? A lifetime. During a time of battle, David comes through with his prayer for his people in Psalm 20.  Psalm 20:1-5 “May the Lord answer you when you are in distress… May he give you the desire of your heart and allow you to fulfill your purpose. May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.” Do you think David needed to be flexible and refuse to become defeated? In fact, David had to be the leader and the cheerleader.

There are days when attitude is everything.  It makes a difference in how we progress through our day.  Do you ever wonder why the Bible covers so many topics and do you ever wonder how we get so many practical snippets of wisdom from a few passages strung together? I’m going to take a wild guess that part of that answer is found in Romans 15:4-6 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

What do you think?  Could today be your day to find that extra incentive, a slice of encouragement to move on? You might find that sliver of hope in Plan H?  Here’s a beautiful passage I came across this morning.  I comes from my heart, and wraps around yours. Romans 5:5 “Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” The verses prior to that talk about suffering and perseverance. Perseverance produces character and character produces hope.
Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

Every strand makes a difference

A few days ago, I asked, “Ever have a day when everything went right?” And of course we all agreed, that hardly ever happens. So we get infatuated with the days when things settle down to a productive hum. I was in that zone awhile back, a feeling all sorts of confident, I tackled some long overdue reorganizing and detailing. I should have listened to that tiny voice in my ear, but I didn’t. I decided it was time to move the little TV Tyler used to have his video game Heart burned deeply into treesystem hooked up to. If moving it, dust it too.  Right? Seemed good at the time, but 45 minutes later I was once again wishing for a do-over.  The red prong to the right audio component busted off in the receptacle.  This means there is left-side sound but nothing coming from the right. ERGH! If this ever happens to you, let me just say that tweezers are not your tool of choice.

Could there be a lesson here? No, not about how often the back of a TV should be dusted; it’s not even about a place for everything, and everything in its place.  Let’s go take a trip through 1Corinthians 12.  It starts out with the truth about Spiritual gifts …. “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” Do you see the parallel here?  The cord on the gaming system has three colors, three components, and intended for three very unique purposes. Yellow is the video strand, exhibiting the picture and action on the screen.  White presents sound from the left speaker while red is responsible for the sound coming from the right.

Think about how those pieces fit together. I’m not an electronics genius, but from miniscule experience I know that plugging the red prong into the yellow receptacle doesn’t work.  The prong fits, but produces nothing.  Let’s go back to 1Corinthians 12:18.  “God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  There are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”  On the contrary …”  There’s a verse back in the Old Testament that fits in here.  Ecclesiastes 4:12 “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” We talk about strength in numbers, we know the value of friendships and relationships, but do we understand our value in each of them? Do we realize we make a difference? Do we value each strand in our relationships?  Not unlike the three cords of red, white, and yellow.  Think about it. When one part of a gaming system or one part of a family or one part of a team or one part of a relationship is busted, the whole of that unit suffers.  I don’t mean to compare our human, living relationships with inanimate objects that don’t matter much past their resale value.  That’s not a fair comparison.  But here’s the thing.  We are all part of a whole of something.  1Corinthians 12:26 points out that “ If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”  Did you get that? One part suffers or one part is honored, the whole is right there with it.

We are often absent and separated from the whole of us, but we are still part of that whole. Here’s a way to stay connected, even when far away. It’s a challenge, it’s an exercise, it will take 3 seconds, and it will make strengthen your faith; it will bring you joy.  Pray.  That’s it. When someone comes to your mind pray for that person.  “Dear Lord, s/he is on my mind. Protect and bless him/her.” That’s it.  1Corinthians 12:26 if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”  Pray it forward, dear friends.  Pray it forward.

(p.s. My fix-it guy, Tim was able to pick the prong out of the receptacle of the TV, but the cord will never be the same.)

What? Enjoy work?!?! TGIF Right?

Just on the off chance you haven’t noticed, it’s Friday everyone.  OK! Everybody UP! Rise and Shine!

Have you heard someone say something like this? I have. Just recently, in fact.  “What do you mean, enjoy my job? Work isn’t supposed to be fun.  That’s why they call it work. Work is what you endure so you can enjoy the times when you’re not working,”  Well that’s just crazy. God created the world and all that is in it and I’m pretty sure work is part of creation.  While I admit some jobs are more fun than others, there is something to enjoy about every job.  Sometimes we have to turn over a lot of sod and throw out a bunch of rocks to find the hidden treasure, but there’s where the toil comes in.

I believe it’s Abraham Lincoln who said, “People are just about as happy as they make up their mind to be.” I’m certain he was advising on how we adjust our attitudes as we encounter our days, and we all work. If you’re headed out to work or if you work from home, whether you stay at home as a mom or are retired, maybe you’re an entrepreneur or in commissioned sales, there is something to like about what you do. If you can’t think of anything, think of it as buried treasure and start digging. If you’re struggling with that idea, go take a peek at your bank statement – ah.  There it is.  You get paid for what you do. Deuteronomy 33:11 says ”Bless all his skills, Lord, and be pleased with the work of his hands.” I know that’s my prayer every day.  “Lord, let me do my job like I’m doing it all for you.”  Is it fun like going to a circus? Bad analogy.  Depending on the day we could all claim to work at the circus.  The point though, is that work is a necessary part of living. Regardless of chosen vocation or the path we’re on, we all do work. And we all have attitude.

Here’s a challenge for all of us.  When you begin your day – today or tomorrow or the next day – search for the good in it.  Some will have to turn over a lot of rocks before the good parts are discovered. Trust me on this.  If you search, you will find slivers of enjoyment, but remember they might be deeply hidden under a bunch of rocks and weeds.

Ready for today? Here’s a buried treasure straight out of Ecclesiastes 5: 18-20 (Contemporary English Version) “ What is the best thing to do in the short life that God has given us? I think we should enjoy eating, drinking, and working hard. This is what God intends for us to do. Suppose you are very rich and able to enjoy everything you own. Then go ahead and enjoy working hard—this is God’s gift to you. God will keep you so happy that you won’t have time to worry about each day.

Don’t you love that? At the time it was written work was hard, it was toilsome. The people couldn’t call the nearest contractor with heavy lifting equipment. They couldn’t get out their cell phone and order dinner to go. You know those co-workers in the next cubes over from yours? In the days of Ecclesiastes people worked in teams – I mean really worked side by side, without walls to accomplish what needed to be done. Think about that and let it sink in for a minute.  That was then. This is now. Now is better, but the words spoken way back thousands iof years ago, still apply today. We can be happy (is we choose to be happy) in our toil because it is a gift from God.

Ready now?  Let’s do this!

You are now entering the mission field!

Can we start over at the gateway to summer?  In June, didn’t we all feel like we were on a mission to enjoy the days of summer?  How successfully did that mission progress? The countdown has begun. Mom’s everywhere are on the fence with this one.  On one side, the return to structure, a time to wake and a time to sleep. On the other side, the return to structure, a time to wake and a time to sleep. See the dilemma?  These days preceding the start of school are evaporating.  When entering a store I want to wrap a tarp around the displays of schools supplies to hold back the reality that summer is nearly over. How can it be that August is so quickly slipping away when there are so many activities still waiting to transpire? ERGH! Can we go back to June, please, when we were just embarking on our mission?  I know what the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” but can’t we stretch this season out a lot longer?

What do you love most about summer? Is it vacation? Catching a few extra minutes (or maybe hours) of deck time? A chance to be outside till God turns the stars on? Running errands that have no obligated set time to be done? Downshifting a little, instead of feeling like every gear is programmed to shift on command? Opportunities to gather with friends for a few hours without wondering if you’ll be plowing snow all the way home? Sounds like a mission of a different variety, doesn’t it?

I love every season. In fact I love every day of the week. Some are more fun than others – like summer, like vacations. But then back to work and back to reality and back to ‘that’ mission field.  For some of us it’s a job, for others it’s schools, and for everyone it’s a place to be.  That place to be, no matter who we are is our mission field.  It’s that place where just by being in it we can make a difference. I read a lot, listen to podcasts and watch countless videos. The number of social media evangelists telling me what I have to do to be successful is overwhelming. Their mission field is vast compared to mine. But this one thing is true for me and it’s true for you, we all have a mission. We have a place to serve – a place to make a difference – a place to shine. Some of us take the scenic route, a crooked path, a mountainous trail, while others seem to know their mission like an internal compass stuck on true north.  For those who lack that pinpoint precision, we gain unparalleled experience from all the ups and downs, twists and turns while wandering.  The key is building a strong foundation of experience as we cross boundaries, then use what we’ve learned to help others and help ourselves too.  Our mission field might be small and familial or it might be diverse and seem foreign.  Most of us are not called to acts of prominence or fame but each of us is called to be a light right where we are.

My mission field at home and at work is my opportunity to make a difference.  It’s yours too. We don’t know the impact one small act of kindness will make.  Philippians 2:1-4 says: “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”

What is your mission field? Does it feel like unknown territory?  The entire landscape of my day will be different from yours.  We know different people, we live in different places, what we do every day is different. We have a kaleidoscope of opportunities on our mission fields all needing just one thing to be effective.  Light!  The places where light makes the most difference is where there is no light.  Proverbs 13:9 says “The light of the righteous shines brightly.” We look toward the Light of the World to receive energy, contentment, and an unlimited supply of joy.  Colossians 3:23 reminds us that “Whatever we do, we are to work at it with all our heart, just like we are working for the Lord.” No matter where we live, work, go to school, or play, whatever gifts God has given each of us, we are responsible to Him to work at it with all our heart and be faithful.  1 Thessalonians 5:24 tells me if God calls me to do something he will be alongside me helping me do it. “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

Leaving the gateway of the summer camp I attended, there was a sign that read “You are now entering the mission field.”  Back then I didn’t think about the significance of that simple statement. Now I recognize its truth. I could spend years looking for my mission, when all along I have been on my mission field, the place where every day I make a difference.  The question is, what kind of difference am I making?

Ready?  You are now entering the mission field. Let’s get out there.