Book Review: Live What You Love

Live What You Love: Notes from an unusual Life

by Bob and Melinda Blanchard

live-what-you-love-cover

My Rating: **** (4 out of 5 stars)

Why Did I Read?

I found this book on my bookshelf.  I must have bought it at a library book sale at some point.  I chose the book off my bookshelf because the title sounded interesting, and it looked like a very quick and easy read.

Summary (from Goodreads)

Bob and Melinda Blanchard’s first book, A Trip to the Beach, sold more than 85,000 copies and became inspiration for countless people who were ready to start living their dreams. Comprising stories, reflections, notes, insights, and a bit of advice, Live What You Love is the Blanchard’s warm, engaging, and personal response to the thousands of fans who’ve asked them, “How did you do it?”

“What happens if life falls outside the expected lines and inside others that are self-defined? Our experiences tell us that living this way is as wonderful as it is odd. We happen to believe that life really is about choices, and we love what happens when interesting ones get paired together.”–Bob and Melinda Blanchard

After the Blanchards’ published A Trip to the Beach, they found that readers responded personally and passionately, often buying multiple copies to give friends and family. They received countless invitations to lecture and requests for national television appearances, and have been asked to develop a series for PBS. Everyone, it seems, wanted to live their life: during the winter, the couple operate the most popular restaurant in Anguilla, the tiny Caribbean nation hideaway of celebrities, beautiful beaches and luxurious homes, and spend summers in the green hills of Northern Vermont.
Through delightful and moving stories, reflections, notes–and a soupcon of advice–the Blanchards have written a stunning, inspirational manifesto where truly living what you love becomes a revolutionary act, a rebellion against the common life. They show how, through self-trust, personal adjustment, and daily acts of commitment, each of us can live the life we love and make every day a personal treasure. Full of warmth, humor, wisdom, and charm, LWYL is the Blanchard’s love letter to life, a celebration of unusual choices, and a thank you gift to all of their fans.

What Did I Think/Recommendation

I enjoyed this book a lot!  It was a very quick and easy read, and it held my interest the entire way through.  It was also very inspiring.  The only reason I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 is because the story jumped around in time and that was confusing at times.  It was also difficult at times to tell which one of the authors was telling the story since they took turns writing the chapters.  I think the story would have been easier to follow if it had been written chronologically.  I have not read their first book, A Trip to the Beach, but I have added that to my list of books to read.

I would read Live What You Love again.  I would recommend this book to anyone who has dreams and just needs a little bit of motivation to take action on those dreams.

Check out more reviews on Live What You Love on Goodreads.

Favorite Quote

“Choose a rich life over an expensive lifestyle and curate your own memories as treasures you will share.” p. 182-183

 

 

Book Review: The Energy Bus

The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy

by Jon Gordon

the-energy-bus-cover

My Rating: ***** (5 stars out of 5 stars)

Why Did I Read:

I read this book because it was recommended to me by several friends who also enjoy books about personal growth and inspiration.

Summary (from Goodreads)

The Energy Bus, an international best seller by Jon Gordon, takes readers on an enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment – at work and at home.   Jon infuses this engaging story with keen insights as he provides a powerful road map to overcome adversity and bring out the best in yourself and your team.  When you get on The Energy Bus you’ll enjoy the ride of your life!

What Did I Think/Recommendation

I enjoyed this book a lot!  It was a very quick and easy read.  Although there wasn’t anything in there that I hadn’t already heard or read before, it never hurts to reinforce positivity and inspiring ideas.  I really enjoyed the way the information was presented.  It was presented as a story rather than just listing the 10 steps, and that held my interest more than typical self-help books do.  I would read this again, and I would definitely recommend this book to others who enjoy reading books about positivity and personal growth, especially those in a leadership position.

A few quotes I enjoyed:

“First decide what you want.  Then you can start creating it.  Don’t let the world create you.  You create your world.” – p.31

“If you build it in your mind, focus on seeing it, and take action, the success will come.” -p.44

“Invite people on your bus and share your vision for the road ahead.”

 

Find out more about the book at www.theenergybus.com, and read more reviews about the book at Goodreads.

Book Review: The Millionaire Messenger

The Millionaire Messenger:  Make a Difference and a Fortune Sharing Your Advice

by Brendon Burchard

The Millionaire Messenger cover

My Rating ***** (5 out of 5 stars)

Why Did I Read?

I am inspired by Brendon Burchard, and I would eventually like to read all of his books.  Until now, the only book I have read of his was The Charge (another 5 star book…see my review).  I have a long list of books I would love to read.  The Millionaire Messenger was on the list, but it was not one that I felt I needed to read right away.  Until a few weeks ago.  When I watched one of Brendon’s free videos promoting his program Experts Academy, he referenced The Millionaire Messenger often and I felt called to read it right away.  So, I got it from my library and began to read…

Summary (From Goodreads)

“In The Millionaire Messenger, Brendon Burchard pulls back the curtains on the once-secretive “expert industry” and shows how to become an influential and highly paid advice expert through websites, books, speeches, seminars, coaching, consulting, and online programs.

Blessed to receive life’s golden ticket – a second chance – after surviving a dramatic car accident, Burchard has dedicated his life to helping others find their voice, live more fully, and follow their dreams.

By following his 10-step program, average, ordinary people can learn to package their struggles, successes, research, or life’s story into advice for others and become experts on any given topic.  In the industry of people who share their advice and knowledge with the world and get paid for it, Burchard is the “guru’s guru.”
If you’ve ever wondered how the gurus spread their message, serve others, and build a real business, then this is a must-read.”

What Did I Think/Recommendation

I found this book to be both inspiring and motivating.  There is so much information in there, and it is difficult to take it all in at once.  It definitely is not a leisurely read.  To get the most out of it, you must do the work.  I found it helpful to have my journal nearby and answer the questions that were presented as I went through the book.  I especially enjoyed the questions he presented at the beginning.  He asks the reader to list 5 things they have learned about a variety of different topics.  I enjoyed answering those questions and learned a lot about myself through that exercise.

I feel like I need to read this book again because it is so packed with content and there are so many of his ideas I want to implement into my work.  If you have a message you want to share with the world, as I do, then I highly recommend reading this book and doing the work involved along the way.

Experts Millionaire Messenger

For more reviews on The Millionaire Messenger, visit Goodreads.

Movie Review: The Letter Writer

the letter writer cover

My Rating:  ********** (10/10 stars)

Why Did I Watch?

I am taking the February Acts of Kindness challenge, and this movie is a perfect demonstration of kindness.  I watched it last year for the first time, and I loved it!  I felt like I wanted some inspiration, so I decided to watch it again.  I’m glad I did! 🙂

Summary (from IMDb)

When a teenager receives a mysterious letter in the mail, she sets out to find the author. It’s a journey that will change her life forever.
Watch the trailer:

What Did I Think/Recommendation

I love this movie!  It is such a great example of kindness, love, and encouragement, and a lot of wisdom comes through in this movie.  Many life lessons are taught.    This movie touched me deeply…tears were rolling down my face at the end.   I got so much more out of this the 2nd time I watched it.  It is a perfect movie for the entire family, and I highly recommend it.   If you have Amazon Prime, it is currently streaming for free here.  Find out more about the movie on IMDb.

February Wellness Challenge – Acts of Kindness

February Acts of Kindness Challenge promo

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself what REALLY makes you happy?

When I asked myself that question last month while I was taking The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge, my answers surprised me.  But, what didn’t surprise me was that HELPING OTHERS was on the top of my list.

If helping others brings you joy and happiness as well, I would love to invite you to join us in the February Acts of Kindness Challenge. I promise you it will be a rewarding experience!!

How the Challenge Began

When I think of the month of February, the first thing that comes into my mind is Valentine’s Day.   And when I think of Valentine’s Day, I am reminded of love.  So, I thought it might be fun to challenge myself and my family to spread our love during the month by performing at least one act of kindness each day.

When I first suggested the idea to my family two years ago, they were all really excited. I’m sure their excitement probably had something to do with me mentioning a reward at the end if we were able to complete it, but the real reward turned out to be the experience in itself. We took the challenge again last year.  This will be our third year, and we are all on board and excited about doing it again!

I invite you to join us and many others in spreading love and kindness all month!  Feel free to make up your own rules, or follow our guidelines:

Act of Kindness Challenge Guidelines:

  1. Prepare.  Print out this February 2016 Acts of Kindness Log for each member of your family.  Use it to record your acts of kindness throughout the month.  Also keep track of the acts of kindness performed toward you each day.  You might be surprised to actually see how many nice things people do for each other each day. 🙂  We put ours on the refrigerator so it stays in view and is easy to remember.
  2. Identify a Reward to keep You Motivated.  If you are taking the challenge with others, take a vote to see how you want to reward yourselves once you have completed the challenge!  In the past, we have rewarded ourselves by going out to dinner together as a family (something we usually only reserve for birthdays or special occasions.)  Come up with something that works for you and your family and that will motivate you to complete the challenge.  Don’t skip this step.  This is the step that keeps my kids motivated to keep going throughout the challenge.
  3. Spread your love!  Each day in February, perform at least one act of kindness and write it down on the log.  Try to come up with something different each day.  My definition of an Act of Kindness is:  any action you take to brighten someone’s day without expecting anything in return.  Also, write down any acts of kindness others performed toward you.
  4. Encourage each other and keep each other accountable.  Each day, share your ideas with your family members or loved ones who are also participating in the challenge.  Talk about the acts of kindness you performed.  Also, feel free to share your ideas and inspiration in our February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook group so we can continue to support and encourage each other and keep each other accountable.
  5. When the month is over, share what you learned from the experience.  Feel free to share your stories with us as well in the February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook group.
  6. REWARD YOURSELF!!  Don’t skip this step, either.  For many of us, the real reward is the experience in itself, but make sure to recognize your accomplishment and follow through on the reward you set in step 2.

I invite you to join us in this challenge and spread your love. It only takes a small act to make a big impact. Let’s make a difference together! “Like” the Facebook page February Acts of Kindness Challenge for inspirational stories and quotes each day, or join the Facebook support group at February Acts of Kindness Challenge to share your ideas and inspiration. 🙂

Feel free to do more than one Act of Kindness a day.  Don’t be afraid to write them all down.  You may already do several acts of kindness each day without even realizing it.  The point here is to become aware of all the good things you already do and realize the impact it has on others.  You may also want to try to take it a step further and do some things you normally wouldn’t do.  When we make a small effort to brighten someone’s day out of love (not obligation), we are rewarded with happiness.  Anything done out of obligation is not an act of love and will only cause you to feel resentment.  It doesn’t matter whether your acts of kindness are random or intentional, but to honor your own self-care, please make sure they are performed out of love.

As you perform more acts of kindness, you may also notice yourself becoming the recipient of more acts of kindness.  Learn to accept these gifts with gratitude.  Many times it is more challenging for us to receive than it is to give.  We may resist acts of kindness toward us because we may feel like we will owe the other person, but when you let people do nice things for you, you are actually giving them a gift.  Learning how to let others help you might be just what you need to learn from this challenge…I know from previous years it was exactly what I needed to learn.Act of Kindness Aesop

RESOURCES

If you run out of ideas at any point during the challenge, this Random Acts of Kindness generator is fantastic!

Check out this link for some great Random Acts of Kindness ideas!

“Like” the Facebook Page The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

Check out the inspiring movie, The Letter Writer. It is a great reminder of the impact our actions have on others, and the difference one act of kindness can make.  If you have some suggestions for more inspiring movies about kindness, please let me know about them in the comments below.

Random Acts of Kindness week is a 7-day celebration of kindness.  This year it falls on February 14-20, 2016!

Check out this inspiring 5 minute video to see how one small act of kindness can make a big impact.  

Do YOU have any kindness ideas, quotes, videos, or inspiration you would like to share? Feel free to leave them in a comment below or share them on the February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook support group. Thank you! 🙂

kindness mark twain

 

Top 10 Inspirational Books I Read in 2015

top 10 inspirational books 2015 done

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~Dr. Seuss

Reading is something I am passionate about.  I never leave the house without a book.  You never know when you will have to wait, and I find that a book always comes in handy during those times.  There are so many interesting things to learn in life, and reading books is one of my favorite ways to keep life exciting and learn about those things I am interested in.  As 2015 comes to a close, I am reviewing the books I have read this year and reflecting on all the wonderful and exciting things I have learned.

I use Goodreads to keep a list of the books I would like to read as well as to rate, review, and keep track of books as I read them.  At the beginning of 2015, I had set a goal for myself to read 26 books.  I only finished 18 books this year, but I also wrote a book, The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge, so I’m not going to beat myself up for not reaching my goal.  Of the 18 books I read this year, here are my Top 10 Recommendations.  They are listed in no particular order.  Click on the hyperlink or the book image for my full review of each.

  1.  A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson shares her reflections on A Course in Miracles and her insights on the application of love in the search for inner peace.  I loved this book!  Marianne is filled with wisdom about life and love, and I truly enjoyed reading it.  There is so much information in here about every aspect of life!  I absolutely recommend it to anyone who is open to hearing the messages in it.  It is the type of book that will appear in your life when you are ready for it.

A Return to Love Marianne Williamson

 

 

 

 

 

2.  One Month to Live by Kerry & Chris Shook

What if you only had one month to live?  How would you make each day meaningful?  How would you relate to others differently?  What would you do to make the rest of your life really matter?  This book helped me to realize the importance of living intentionally so I may make the most of my time, fulfill my purpose on this earth, and make the difference I was sent here to make.  This book reinforces what really matters in life:  relationships.  Relationships are eternal, but everything else is temporary.

One Month to Live

 

 

 

 

 

3.  The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

“Creativity is God’s gift to us.  Using our creativity is our gift back to God.”  That was a very powerful quote from the book that spoke to me.  We are ALL artists.    We were created to create.  This book will help you to unleash your inner artist and reclaim that creativity that you may have hidden deep down.  This is the book that gave me the push and the tools to help me write my own book, The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge, which was published this year.

The Artists Way

4.  Rachel’s Tears by Beth Nimmo and Darrell Scott with Steve Rabey

“The Columbine tragedy in April 1999 pierced the heart of our country. We later learned that the teenage killers specifically targeted Rachel Scott and mocked her Christian faith on their chilling, homemade videotapes. Rachel Scott died for her faith. Now her parents talk about Rachel’s life and how they have found meaning in their daughter’s martyrdom in the aftermath of the school shooting.”  This book had a huge impact on my life.  Rachel’s spirituality inspired me greatly.  After my first reading of the book several years ago, I began writing letters to God in my journal just as she had.  My letters to God have brought me to a whole new level spiritually, and it is all because of the influence of this authentic 17-year-old girl who just wanted God to use her to make a difference in the world.  She sure made a difference in my life, and I’m sure she has inspired countless others as well.  Her parents also inspire me through their positive attitude, their willingness to forgive, and their belief that God used the Columbine tragedy for the good of the world.

To anyone who has any interest in deepening their spirituality, I certainly recommend this book.

Rachel's Tears

5.  The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

I loved this book!  I would highly recommend it to EVERYONE.  It may have initially been written to help improve marriages, but the concepts in the book can apply to any relationship.  Once we recognize the love language of our partner, friend, child, etc., we will be better able to show them we care and help to improve that relationship.

The Five Love Languages

6.  The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware

I loved this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in living a happy and authentic life and having no regrets when they get to the end of it.  Sadly, death is a subject many people fear and they do not want to think about it until it is too late and they are forced to.  We are all going to die someday.  The sooner we accept that truth, the sooner we will be able to set our own priorities and live a life focused on the things that are really important to us.

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying

7.  There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem by Wayne Dyer

I love the teachings of Wayne Dyer!  If I had to describe this book in one word, I would say it is about LOVE.  Wayne Dyer passed away this year, but he knew about love and being connected to everyone and everything, and I’m so grateful he is going to live on through his books and teachings so we can all learn to do the same.  I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is open to embracing their spirituality and connecting more with everyone and everything in the universe.

There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem

8.  Weekends with Daisy by Sharron Kahn Luttrell

I would recommend this book to readers of all ages!  It kept my interest the entire time, and it was a fairly quick and easy read at just over 300 pages.  Whether you are currently a dog-lover or not, you will finish this book with a new appreciation for dogs.

Weekends with Daisy

9.  What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles (Review not available)

After being a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, I went back to work for the first time this year, and I wish I had read this book before I tackled my resume and went on my first job interview in over 17 years.  I did get through it and found the perfect job for me (actually, two of them — both part time).  This book is filled with current resources and tips that can be helpful to anyone in search of a job.  This book goes further than general tips as it asks you to really get to know yourself and find out what you are really looking for in a job.  I especially enjoyed Appendix A: Finding Your Mission in Life.  A must read for those in search of a job.

What Color is Your Parachute 2015

10.  The Julian Chapter by RJ Palacio

Wonder and 365 Days of Wonder, both by R.J. Palacio, were both very inspiring to me.  They are some of my all-time favorite books.  The Julian Chapter is the final book that completes the story, and I love this one as well!

The Julian Chapter

For more inspiring books, here are the top 10 books I read in 2014.

Which books have inspired you this year?  Please let me know in the comments below.

Book Review: The Top Five Regrets of the Dying

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying:  A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing

by Bronnie Ware

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying Cover

My Rating:  ***** (5 out of 5 stars)

Why Did I Read?

I read this book because I have heard it recommended from several different sources and it sounded interesting to me.  I am always interested in learning about the wisdom people have acquired through their years.

Summary (from the back of the book)

“After too many years of unfulfilling work, Bronnie Ware began searching for a job with heart. Despite having no formal qualifications or experience, she found herself in palliative care.

Over the years she spent tending to the needs of those who were dying, Bronnie’s life was transformed. Later, she wrote an Internet blog about the most common regrets expressed to her by the people she had cared for. The article, also called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, gained so much momentum that it was read by more than three million people around the globe in its first year. At the requests of many, Bronnie now shares her own personal story.

Bronnie has had a colourful and diverse past, but by applying the lessons of those nearing their death to her own life, she developed an understanding that it is possible for people, if they make the right choices, to die with peace of mind. In this book, she expresses in a heartfelt retelling how significant these regrets are and how we can positively address these issues while we still have the time.

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying gives hope for a better world. It is a story told through sharing her inspiring and honest journey, which will leave you feeling kinder towards yourself and others, and more determined to live the life you are truly here to live. This delightful memoir is a courageous, life-changing book that will leave you feeling more compassionate and inspired to live the life you are truly here to live.”

What Did I Think/My Recommendation

I loved this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in living a happy and authentic life and having no regrets when they get to the end of it.  I think Bronnie Ware is an excellent writer, and I find her life to be fascinating!  The book is a memoir, so she takes us through many stages of her life.  In her earlier years, she was so carefree!  On several occasions throughout her life, she entered unknown lands with no possessions and no plan in place.  She enjoyed a life of freedom that many people would envy, but that freedom was only possible because of her deep faith and complete trust that God would provide all that she needed.  The following quote demonstrates the deep sense of faith she possessed during this time period and throughout her life: “As every move was done intuitively, I tried as best to always move forward with trust, knowing I would be looked after.” p.30  She allowed her life to flow naturally, trusting that she would be taken exactly where she needed to be to live the life meant for her.  This took her through some dark times throughout her life, but those times were necessary so she could ultimately live a life true to herself.

Sadly, death is a subject many people fear and they do not want to think about it until it is too late and they are forced to.  We are all going to die someday.  The sooner we accept that truth, the sooner we will be able to set our own priorities and live a life focused on the things that are really important to us.

In this book, Bronnie Ware reveals many of the regrets that her dying patients admitted to her.  The #1 regret her patients expressed was not living a life true to themselves.  Instead, they spent their life pleasing others and living the life that others expected of them.  Other patients expressed their regrets of working too hard, not keeping in touch with friends, not being able to express their true feelings, or not allowing themselves to be happy.  I am grateful to Bronnie Ware for sharing this wisdom with us in this book, and I believe we can all learn from it so we will not come to our own deathbed with these same regrets.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book are as follows:

“If we are able to face our own inevitable death with honest acceptance, before we have reached that time, then we shift our priorities well before it is too late.  Once we acknowledge that limited time is remaining, we are less driven by ego or by what other people think of us.  Instead, we are more driven by what our hearts truly want.”

“The only way to experience love is to accept people totally as who they are and have no expectations of them.” p.45

“The freedom to be you is the greatest freedom of all.” p. 193

And my favorite quote of all:

in the end bronnie ware

I think it’s all great advice!

For more reviews on this book or for more information about Bronnie Ware, visit Goodreads here.