Thursday, January 29, 2009

Words Matter

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Remember that little ditty from your childhood? Of course, by now you've learned it's not true. Words can be very hurtful. Hence, the politically correct movement which sought to find non-offensive terms and make them standard in common speech. Lately, there's been a counter-pc movement; it seems cool to make fun of the effort to be a "kinder, gentler" people. Personally, I support the politically correct movement because I know what a difference words can make.

Lately, I've been noticing a change in "environmental terminology" that I like very much. The word I've been seeing pop up everywhere: Repurpose. When I first came to the green movement, the 3 Rs were the theme song: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. First, you should make every effort to reduce your consumption of resources; buy less, use less. If you absolutely had to have something, rather than buying new, you were to reuse: make repairs to broken items instead of replacing them, use something you already own to serve the purpose instead of buying something new. Finally, if you had an item you really, truly couldn't use -- and no one else could either -- then you recycled it. Only after you had exhausted the 3 Rs did you buy something or throw something away in the landfill.

Nowadays, the word "reuse" has been replaced by "repurpose". How can I repurpose an item? For instance, I can use margarine containers as desk organizers so (1) I don't have to recycle the containers just yet, and (2) I don't have to buy a desk organizer which used costly resources to make. Voila! I have repurposed margarine containers.

Repurpose sounds better, doesn't it? It sounds more deliberate. It's sounds like a choice. It sounds like something I want to do versus something I have to do. It sounds good to me!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


This weekend I read my latest copy of National Wildlife, the magazine published by National Wildlife Federation. There was an article inside entitled, The Maiming of the Shrew by Alexander Badlaev, which discussed the world's smallest mammals, different varieties of shrews and the effect of global warming on them. Not only is the shrew adorable, but it is fascinating as well. Here is a quote:

They have the fastest hearbeat (1,200 per minute) and one of the shortest life spans (11 to 13 months) of any mammal. They don't sleep fore more than a few minutes at a time, and they never go into torpor or hibernate. . . . [T]heir brief life is spend in nonstop foraging.

They have to eat every 15 to 30 minutes day and night to stay alive; a full hour without food means death. They can survive temperatures of -37 degrees F because they build tunnels under the snow, but they cannot survive temperatures higher than 77 degrees F. They live in moist, boggy areas which are being devastated by global warming, as well as habitat destruction.

This was one of the most interesting articles I've read about animals in a long time. Please take 10 mintues and check out the article for yourself online. Pay special attention to the picture of the pygmy shrew (eating the yellow spider). Pictures are extremely rare and, in fact, I couldn't find any others on the internet to share. The pygmy shrew is the smallest mammal in the world. It weighs barely 0.07 ounces and fits comfortably on a thumbnail. Its babies weigh in at 0.009 ounces (that's nine one thousandths of an ounce!) Below is the link for the article.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Only Resource You Need to become a PUBLISHED Christian Writer

Are you interested in becoming a writer? Have you written a manuscript for a book and you need to find an agent or a publisher? Do you have articles you’d like to have published in Christian magazines? If so, the Christian Writers’ Market Guide 2009 by Sally E. Stuart is a must have resource.

This resource tool for Christian writers has an extensive list of book publishers organized by topic such as: apologetics, church traditions, divorce, fiction (broken down into about 30 subtopics), humor, personal growth, prayer, spiritual gifts, world issues, and several hundred more. The same is true for periodicals and other markets (greeting cards, games, videos, etc.) Each listing tells you essential information in addition to contact information such as whether the publisher requires manuscripts be submitted through agents or refuses manuscripts through agents; whether your submission should be made by hard copy, on disk, or by e-mail; how many new books are published each year and how many are by new writers; whether monetary advances are given to writers, whether royalties are paid or if remuneration is by flat fee and the average amounts paid; the average number of books printed in the first printing; preferred length of manuscripts; deadlines for submitting seasonal writings (for instance, articles regarding Christmas, Passover, etc.) and so very much more. Each entry for a publisher or periodical has a wealth of information. There also is a section entitled “Resources for Writers” which includes two new sections from previous editions, “Writers’ Helps” and “Writing Communities”. There is information regarding agents and numerous tips for getting established as a writer (for instance, you may want to concentrate on getting published before you worry about being paid for your writing). A CD-Rom is included with the book with contacts for 1,000 markets. If you don’t know the first thing about how to get published, this is the one and only book you need. It’s well organized and I was amazed at how many issues it brought up I wouldn’t have even thought to ask. One additional tidbit. There is information in the book about how to receive automatic updates of this book and lock in the price for future editions.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any copies of this book to give away, but you can purchase the Christian Writers’ Market Guide 2009 by Sally E. Stuart on,, and other booksellers.

Below is the summary I received from the publisher. If you are or know a writer of Christian materials (including Messianic Judaism), this is an essential reference tool!


The Resource Guide to Getting Published

For 24 years running, the Christian Writers’ Market Guide has remained the most comprehensive, complete, essential, and highly-recommended resource for beginning and veteran Christian writers, agents, editors, publishers, publicists, and those teaching writing classes.

This year’s Guide is even handier with a CD-Rom included that features the full text of the book for easy searches of topics, publishers, and markets, as well as 100 pages of exclusive content including indexes and writing resource listings.

This is the resource you need to get noticed—and published.

Completely updated and revised to feature the latest on…

more than 1,200 markets for the written word
416 book publishers (32 new)
654 periodicals (52 new)
96 literary agents
100 new listings in Resources for Writers
226 poetry markets
316 photography markets
25 African-American markets
and 166 contests (29 new)

Author Bio:

Sally E. Stuart is the author of thirty-six books and has sold more than one thousand articles and columns. Her long-term involvement with the Christian Writers’ Market Guide as well as her marketing columns for the Christian Communicator, Oregon Christian Writers, and The Advanced Christian Writer, make her a sought-after speaker and a leading authority on Christian markets and the business of writing. Stuart is the mother of three and grandmother of eight and lives near Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

No One Knows What's Around the Corner

The New Yorker recently ran an interview with the Obamas from 10 years ago. Michelle Obama commented that her husband "may" have a future in politics, but she went on to discuss the reasons she hoped he might avoid it. Basically, she thought he was too nice and was fearful he'd be chewed up and spit out by the political machine. I guess it's a good thing we don't know what's down the road for us or we would shriek and hide under the bed covers and refuse to come out! If you want to read the article, you can find it here:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Mary Hunt writes in her daily newsletter, The Everyday Cheapskate, "You can't have it all, but you can have enough."

So, is your glass half full or half empty?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Three Percent?!

Only three percent of people recycle their cell phones. This statistic amazes me since it's EASY and FREE to recycle your cell phone and accessories. There are drop boxes at places like Lowes and Home Depot. You can type "recycle cell phone free postage" into your internet browser and find dozens of places which will send you postage paid envelopes so you can pop your cell phones and accessories in the mail. You can also check online or with your favorite charity to see if they can benefit from recycling your cell phone (as well as printer cartridges). and are two options. Please collect all your old cell phones, chargers and other accessories and recycle them today!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Book Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Carolyn of Sylva, North Carolina, winner of Never Say Diet and Personal Fitness Trainer by Chantel Hobbs.

Please check back often for other book giveaways and, as always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mark Your Calendars for March 28th to Make a Global Difference

Do you want to make a difference for our environment? Turn Out. Take Action.

Join millions of people worldwide who are turning off their lights for one hour, Earth Hour, on March 28th at 8:30 p.m.

With just a flip of your light switch, you can demonstrate concern for our living planet and send a strong message to our leaders that you support action on climage change. Turbo charge your support by visiting for samples of letters you can send to members of Congress and other ways you can take action.

Earth Hour is aiming to reach one billion people, more than 1000 cities, all joining together in a global effort to show that it's possible to take action on global warming.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia with 2.2 million homes and businesses turning their lights off for one hour. Only a year later and this event had become a global sustainability movement with up to 50 million people across 35 countries participating. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour.

Earth Hour 2009 is a global call to action to every individual, every business and every community. A call to stand up, to take responsibility and to get involved in working towards a sustainable future. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Europe to The Americas will stand in darkness. People across the world will turn off their lights and join together in creating the vital conversation about the future of our precious planet.

Over 64 countries and territories are participating in Earth Hour 2009. This number grows every day as people realise how such a simple act, can have such a profound result in affecting change.

Earth Hour is a message of hope and a message of action. Everyone can make a difference.

Visit the Earth Hour website to declare your intention to participate.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

In Favor of High Gas Prices

When I was in college many moons ago, I took an Environmental Studies course. One thing my professor told us was if the price of gasoline actually reflected the true cost, including environmental costs, we would be paying about $8.00 a gallon (and remember, that was "many moons ago" dollars). The price really wasn't that outrageous considering gas prices in Europe and elsewhere, but Americans would never stand for it.

It drives me crazy that the Energy Crisis of the 1970s became a forgotten PSA about turning down your thermostats in the winter as soon as the greed of the 1980s rolled around. It drives me crazy that as soon as gasoline prices recently dropped below $2.00, people stopped caring about "green" transportation. I'm glad I'm not the only one. Read the below article by someone far more intelligent than I.

GIVEAWAY: I have one copy of the Never Say Diet book by Chantel Hobbs and her Personal Fitness Trainer journal to give away. Please e-mail your name and mailing address to to be entered in the random drawing this Friday, January 16th. Good luck!

How Selfish Can We Be?

I just read a really scary statistic:
If everyone in the world lived like an American, we'd need five Earths to support our highly consumptive habits.

GIVEAWAY: I have one copy of the Never Say Diet book and Personal Fitness Trainer journal to give away. Please e-mail your name and mailing address to to be entered in the random drawing this Friday, January 16th. Good luck!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Book Review and Giveaway

Never Say Diet by Chantel Hobbs is an inspiring book with sensible nutrition and exercise tips. Chantel lost 200 pounds and kept it off. Her secret? Change your brain by committing to five decisions, change your eating habits for life and exercise regularly. In other words, there is no secret – just sensible decisions and habits that will result in lasting weight loss.

Chantel has you commit to exercise first – 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Once you get that habit under your belt, she has you start to modify your diet. Each week brings one or two changes so you can build lasting habits. The meal plan is very reasonable: 1,500 calories spread out over 5 meals a day. I especially like the fact that for awhile, she has you take charge of your food by making it “boring”. This eliminates the what-do-I-feel-like, food-is-entertainment, food-is-my-life routine. Once you have mastered all the habits over approximately 16 weeks, you then can begin to introduce “fun” food into your life again. This is not a diet, but a rest of your life eating plan so that you eat healthfully at least 80 percent of the time.

While Chantel doesn’t tell us anything new (reduce calories in, increase calories out, in a reasonable manner for sensible, long lasting weight loss), she will motivate you to get moving. Chantel focuses on the excuses we all fall back on to skip exercise and she will have none of it. Her story is so inspiring, it really is hard to come up with an excuse that sounds reasonable. I mean, if a 350 pound mother of three small kids can exercise every day even when her husband loses his job and her mother’s leukemia returns, how can I say, “I’m too busy” or “I’m too stressed” to exercise?! If she can progress from being breathless after 5 minutes on a recumbent bicycle to running marathons, how can I not commit to 30 minutes of exercise a day?

Chantel gives plenty of ideas for meals and snacks to eat, but stresses you take personal responsibility for your own meal planning. She also gives a number of exercises to do, including cardio and strength training, with a focus on exercises you can do with a stability ball, medicine ball, and a few light weights. The book includes a number of exercises with photos showing and describing every step. Usually, the “how to” exercise photos are hard to follow, but the ones in Chantel’s book are particularly good; I think this is because they’re real life photographs, not illustrations.

Chantel also stresses relying on God to help you when you can’t rely on your own strength – excellent advice!!! In addition to the book, Never Say Diet, there’s a 16 week Personal Fitness Trainer journal. Although the journal isn’t necessary, it certainly would be helpful in tracking your progress.

These books are available at and other booksellers. Below is the summary from the publisher and information on the author.

GIVEAWAY: I have one copy of the Never Say Diet book and Personal Fitness Trainer journal to give away. Please e-mail your name and mailing address to to be entered in the random drawing this Friday, January 16th. Good luck!

Summary: After years of failed diet attempts, Chantel Hobbs discovered the missing ingredient to permanent weight loss: to change your life, you first have to change the way you think.

She developed a balanced plan for exercise and nutrition and lost two hundred pounds. Now, through writing, speaking, and her work as a personal trainer, she inspires others to achieve far more than they thought possible.
In Never Say Diet, now available in trade paperback, Chantel provides everything readers need to lose weight for good, including:

Simple, step-by-step workout routines that fit into a normal weekday schedule

A realistic approach to nutrition that helps people break their bondage to food
Strategies for staying motivated when life takes unexpected turns

Keys to dealing with discouragement by relying on God’s strength

The secret to moving beyond past failures and getting over old excuses

Chantel helps readers make the five commitments that are necessary for changing their lives. Her high-energy, no-nonsense approach inspires readers to achieve results that last in body, mind, and spirit.

Personal Trainer: Her newest book, The Never Say Diet Personal Fitness Coach, now allows readers to have Chantel show up each week to inspire, encourage, and energize them on the journey to a healthy life that centers on body, mind, and spirit.

This fitness guide helps readers set new weight-loss goals and create an exercise schedule that works in the midst of life’s constant demands. Readers will be inspired with Scripture, and they will welcome Chantel’s healthy eating plan with simple, energy-and-nutrition-packed recipes. Weekly checklists and personal evaluations direct readers in reaching their goals. Plus, Chantel’s personal and entertaining stories provide the motivation needed to get through even the most frustrating days.

With Never Say Diet and The Never Say Diet Personal Fitness Coach readers will establish new fitness habits that burn off excess weight, increase strength, and establish a new, healthy way of living.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Maybe Adversity Isn't So Bad After All

I’m reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s an excellent book about what really makes people successful (it isn’t what you think).

He tells the story of Jewish lawyers in New York in the 1950s.

Basically, if you were a graduate from a law school and you weren’t a WASP (white Anglo Saxon Protestant), you weren’t going to get hired by the exclusive New York firms. It didn’t matter how smart you were or where you went to law school, a Jew would NOT get hired.

So what was a Jewish lawyer to do? They started their own firms and did the work that was beneath the “white shoe” law firms — namely litigation and hostile corporate takeovers. These two types of law were far too adversarial for the genteel white shoe law firms.

Gladwell tells the story of one lawyer in particular, Joe Flom, who graduated at the top of his Harvard Law School class, practically without studying. He was interviewed by the most exclusive law firm in New York which told him, honestly, they were just meeting him on a lark. There was no way someone with his “antecedents” would be hired at their firm. Seriously, “antecedents” was the word they used.

Joe met up with four other Jewish lawyers who were starting their own firm. It was a huge risk because they had nary a client among them.

Joe joined them and became an expert in hostile takeovers. If you wanted to take over a corporation and you had the money for the best in the business, you hired Flom. He didn’t care if such adversarial work was “beneath him”. He had drive and desire and didn’t care what it took to succeed.

Fast forward 20 years. Suddenly, attorneys who did hostile takeovers were no longer looked down upon. In fact, they were in high demand. The white shoe law firms tried to jump on the bandwagon, but it was too late. Flom, and attorneys like him, alread had the experience and the reputation for being the best. The old school attorneys couldn’t catch up. Nowadays, Flom’s firm employs almost 2,000 attorneys in 23 offices around the world and earns well over $1 billion a year.

Gladwell writes, “[Flom] didn’t triumph over adversity. Instead, what started out as adversity ended up being an opportunity.”
Those words resonated in my head and heart and spirit last night. I’ve been discouraged and depressed because of my seemingly intolerable circumstances. What I needed to remember is that God often disguises our greatest opportunities as insurmountable problems. Of course, I knew that, but knowing something in your head and knowing in your spirit are two different things. I guess my spirit needed to be reminded!

Have a great weekend. Another book giveaway starts next week. If one of your New Year’s Resolutions has anything to do with diet, exercise and weight loss, you won’t want to miss Monday’s review.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

You Do Not Have Because You Do Not Ask

I mentioned yesterday I was feeling lost and forlorn, but that I had a "glimmer" of hope and motivation when I awoke yesterday. I must admit I had a little voice inside me saying, "God, is that you?" and my big, booming psyche saying, "Probably not."

Imagine my surprise when I awoke (or was awakened) early again this morning and, try as I might, was unable to go back to sleep. The feelings of hope and motivation burned a tiny bit brighter. So, again, I got some exercise, spent some time praying and am beginning to wonder if this hopeless-for-so-long feeling might not lift after all.

You do not have because you do not ask. Yep, that would be me!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2009 Resolutions

I hope the New Year finds my readers healthy, happy and progressing merrily on keeping their resolutions. Check out It’s a site where you can post your resolutions and get encouragement from other readers.

I promised I would let you in on my “areas for change”. I didn’t actually make “resolutions” and haven’t attempted any improvements, so I guess at this point, I’d call them “hopeful intentions for future change”.

One is physical, one is emotional and one is spiritual.

The physical change is, not surprising, to eat healthier and get back into an exercise routine. I thought when I became a vegan it would be difficult to keep eating junk food and abusing my body. Not so! The abusive foods are different, but it’s still quite easy to be malnourished as a vegan! At least I’m only hurting myself and not the beautiful four legged creatures in the world who deserve so much better than they get.

The spiritual change I need to make is to rededicate my time to prayer. I have been feeling forsaken and alone lately. This is not surprising since my prayer life has been all but nonexistent. God never goes anywhere. We humans, on the other hand, move close to Him and far away depending on our moods, discipline and circumstances. I have walked away and then wonder why He doesn’t care. How screwed up is that?!

The emotional change I need is to shake this feeling of depression and despair. To be honest, I could easily sleep 18 hours a day just so I wouldn’t have to face life. There are real reasons for this — none of which I can change — so I have no choice but to change my reactions to my circumstances. This is really all any of us can do in most instances anyway!

I realize all three areas for change are interconnected. Research shows that exercise is as effective at treating depression as medications and I know if I spent more time talking with God, my funk would lift as well. I also realize that I need God’s help to make physical and emotional changes which is an incentive to work on the spiritual changes I need to make. I know if I were eating healthier and exercising more, I wouldn’t be so tired when it comes to praying.

Now, what I don’t know is what it will take for me to get beyond the knowledge of what needs to be done and actually make a commitment to DO IT. I can’t seem to psych myself up to break out of a paper bag and I know I need a lot more “oomph” to make these changes. Although I desire the results such changes would bring, I honestly don’t care enough to lift a finger to change any of it. But I’m not content by any means, so accepting the status quo isn’t a workable solution either.

If anyone knows of a motivational technique to shake me out of my apathy, I’d be grateful to hear it. By the way, I did wake up this morning with the tiniest bit of hope and motivation. I got a little exercise and re-introduced myself to God. Hopefully one baby step will build on another.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Book Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to Trudi of Foley, Alabama, and Karin of Tenstrike, Minnesota, the winners of the Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight book giveaway.

Only two people told me their New Year's resolutions:

Physical exercise!! Spiritual - write in my prayer journal at least a couple of times a week. Emotional- Stay in contact with my extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins).

Looking for an opportunity in every difficulty!

Thanks to everyone who entered. Keep watching over the next couple of weeks for more book reviews and giveaways.

I'll share with you my resolutions/areas for improvement next week!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Book Giveaway Reminder

Reminder: I have two copies of Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight by Karen Scalf Linamen to give away. To enter the random drawing, please e-mail your name and mailing address to I’ll double your chances to win if you tell me your #1 New Year’s Resolution — the one thing you really WANT to change; I’ll post the answers I receive anonymously. The drawing will take place tomorrow, Friday, January 2, 2009. Good luck.