Thursday, April 30, 2009

I'll be back Monday

My beloved Persian, Sonja, passed away today. I'm checking out of the blogosphere until Monday.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Winners of Book Giveaway

Congratulations to Lynn of Chicago, Illinois, and Christine of Bullock, Texas, who each won a free copy of Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe by Larry Osborne. Thanks to everyone who entered. Please check back often as there are a number of upcoming reviews and giveaways.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Book Reviews

A Flickering Light is a novel by Jane Kirkpatrick regarding a young woman’s desire to follow her passion to have a career in photography at the turn of the 20th century when (1) young women didn’t have careers and (2) photography was dangerous for a man with its use of chemicals and flashpowder and all but forbidden for a woman. The story’s protagonist, Jessie, also has to battle the attraction she feels for her employer, teacher and mentor, an unhappily married man. A Flickering Light is a coming of age story in a historical setting at a time when women were hardly main characters in their own lives! I thought this book was fascinating from the standpoint that we take photography for granted nowadays with 6 year olds publishing digital pictures on the worldwide web. It was interesting to see how the artform, industry and technology evolved and to see it from the point of a young "women’s libber" struggling to be a “good” daughter in early 1900s was fascinating.

Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of A Flickering Light to give away, but you can purchase it from your favorite booksellers and from Random House here:

Below is the summary from the publisher:


Returning to her Midwest roots, award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick draws a page from her grandmother’s photo album to capture the interplay between shadow and light, temptation and faith that marks a woman’s pursuit of her dreams.

She took exquisite photographs, but her heart was the true image exposed.
Fifteen-year-old Jessie Ann Gaebele loves nothing more than capturing a gorgeous Minnesota landscape when the sunlight casts its most mesmerizing shadows. So when F.J. Bauer hires her in 1907 to assist in his studio and darkroom, her dreams for a career in photography appear to find root in reality.

With the infamous hazards of the explosive powder used for lighting and the toxic darkroom chemicals, photography is considered a man’s profession. Yet Jessie shows remarkable talent in both the artistry and business of running a studio. She proves less skillful, however, at managing her growing attraction to the very married Mr. Bauer.

This luminous coming-of-age tale deftly exposes the intricate shadows that play across every dream worth pursuing—and the irresistible light that beckons the dreamer on.

Aurora by Jane Kirkpatrick recounts the true story of a utopian commune established in the 1800s. The pioneers left their homes in Missouri to the Pacific Northwest under the societal and religious leadership of Wilhelm Keil. Jane Kirkpatrick’s telling of the tale is supplemented with numerous historical pictures of the people and landscape – and their quilts that chronicled their history. If you love history, pioneer stories or quilting, this book is for you! Unfortunately, I don’t have any copies to give away, but you can buy it from your favorite bookseller or from Random House here:
Below is the summary from the publisher:

Wrap yourself in a fantastic journey, a remarkable commitment, and a spare and splendid story

Master storyteller Jane Kirkpatrick extols the beautiful treasures, unknown to a wider public, rediscovered in the Old Aurora Colony of Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley. The people and legacy of Aurora, a utopian community founded in the mid-1800s, will stir your imagination, hopes, and dreams; and remind you that every life matters—that our lives are the stories other people read first.

- Unique and treasured quilt pattern variations
- More than 100 photographs, many never-before published, from 1850 to today
- Cherished stories from Aurora descendants
- Rich images of fine crafts from the Aurora Colony and private collections
- An introduction by renowned American artist John Houser

Aurora is about the difference every ordinary life can make—and a beautiful celebration of a time and place in which people expressed their most cherished beliefs through the work of their imagination and hands.

Author Bio:
Jane Kirkpatrick is a best-selling, award-winning author whose previous historical novels include All Together in One Place and Christy Award finalist A Tendering in the Storm. An international keynote speaker, she has earned regional and national recognition for her stories based on the lives of actual people, including the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Hall of Fame. Jane is a Wisconsin native who since 1974 has lived in Eastern Oregon, where she and her husband, Jerry, ranch 160 rugged acres.

REMINDER: I do have two copies of Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe by Larry Osborne to give away. To enter the random drawing, e-mail me at The winners will be announced tomorrow, April 28, 2009.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Gardening Eden Book Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Harriett of Kansas City, KS, who has won a copy of Gardening Eden.

Remember, I have two copies of Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe to give away. To enter the random drawing, just send your name and mailing address to me at The winners will be announced on Tuesday, April 28, 2009.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Book Giveaways

I have two copies of Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe to give away. To enter the random drawing, just send your name and mailing address to me at The winners will be announced on Tuesday, April 28, 2009.

Also, remember I’m giving away one copy of Gardening Eden by Michael Abbate. The winner for that book will be announced Friday, April 24, 2009. You can enter one or both drawings, just please let me know which drawing(s) you would like to enter.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Search for (Easy) Answers

This Earth Day finds me . . . looking a bit like a big balloon that has had all the air let out of it. Still slightly puffy in spots, mostly wrinkled and worn, but with the potential, however slight, of being inflated again.

Why? Well, I've been reading Thomas L. Friedman's book Hot, Flat and Crowded (available here) and I'm really coming to grips with a few absolute truths:

1. Climate change is WAY, WAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY worse than we ever imagined and the prognosis for our Earth, without DRASTIC changes in the next three years is worse than grim. In fact, describing it as "grim" is like saying Disney World is "kind of fun".
2. Climage change and our energy crisis are linked to, and responsible for, far more societal ills than we realize -- global poverty, terrorism, you get the drift.

3. There are no easy answers. A "green" household cleaner in your cupboard and a celebrity doing an environmental public service announcement during the commercial break of House just isn't going to cut it.

The fourth truth is accompanied by my opinion, or rather my fear.

Truth: The American people as well as China, India, and the rest of the developed or devloping world have the ability (and largely the technolgy and knowledge, or the capability to discovery both before it's too late) to make the large scale changes needed in the immediate and long term future to fix the problem. Moreover, if we employed all the means necessary to fix climate change and the energy problem, we would cause our economy to grow and thrive, reduce unemployment, take a long step toward eliminating poverty, hunger, terrorism, illiteracy, biodiversity loss and a host of other problems. Opinion/Fear: Do we have the political leadership (I'm not just talking about the President, but also the Congress, state and local governments) courageous enough to do what needs to be done AND to educate and motivate the American people for the long, hard, all encompassing changes required? I fear the answer is no, we do not.

So I'm feeling a little down this Earth Day because it's not just a day and it's not just a slogan and it's not a personal choice to "do good things" as long as they don't require too much effort. Without a systems overhaul on the national and then global scale SOON, we are doomed. Doomed in a James Earl Jones voice. So this Earth Day finds me feeling like a deflated balloon, wanted to run under the covers screaming for my mommy, and literally BEGGING God that somehow our President, his energy advisor and enough others in politics will read Hot, Flat and Crowded or otherwise understand the problem of climate change and the energy crisis, its interconnectedness with other global problems, and have the COURAGE and EMPOWERMENT to face the problem head on. The political beast resists revolutionary change and the American people (who have grown metaphorically fatter and lazier than previous generations) want "100 Easy, Cheap Way to Save the Planet". We have what it takes to win this battle which is so much greater than The Great Depression and World War II, but WILL we?

Read the book, take action everywhere possible, spread the word, pray and write your government officials. I don't know what else to say or do within my small sphere of influence to effectuate a green REVOLUTION.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Popular Lies told in Church

Years ago I learned one of the most important spiritual lessons of my life. The title of the message was something along the line of “The Biggest Lies Told in the Church”. The debunked lie that stuck with me was, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” LIE! God routinely gives you more than you can handle. In fact, the Bible is replete with stories of God giving men and women more than they can handle. Why?! So they (and you and I) have to rely on God! Duh. The message was so simple, logical and obvious. And yet, I had told that spiritual lie in trying to “encourage” people. Instead of encouraging someone going through something God-sized, in fact, I was belittling them for not handling it and encouraging them to handle it themselves rather than rely on God. After all, if God said it’s not more than you can handle, you should be able to handle it all on your own, right?! Dumb. Lie.

Larry Osborne debunks ten more spiritual myths in his book, Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe. This is an excellent book every believer should read. I guarantee there’s at least one of the ten that you’ve been taught, believed and told others to their detriment. You owe it to your yourself and other believers to get a copy of this book and read it so you can stop the spread of well intentioned spiritual garbage.

You can purchase this book from your favorite bookseller including:,, and

I have two copies of Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe to give away. To enter the random drawing, just send your name and mailing address to me at The winners will be announced on Tuesday, April 28, 2009.

Also, remember I’m giving away one copy of Gardening Eden by Michael Abbate. The winner for that book will be announced Friday, April 24, 2009. You can enter one or both drawings, just please let me know which drawing(s) you would like to enter.

Good luck!

Below is the publisher's summary for Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe:


Just Because “Everyone Believes It” Doesn’t Make It True

People don’t set out to build their faith upon myths and spiritual urban legends. But somehow such falsehoods keep showing up in the way that many Christians think about life and God. These goofy ideas and beliefs are assumed by millions to be rock-solid truth . . . until life proves they’re not. The sad result is often a spiritual disaster—confusion, feelings of betrayal, a distrust of Scripture, loss of faith, anger toward both the church and God.

But it doesn’t have to be so. In this delightfully personal and practical book, respected Bible teacher Larry Osborne confronts ten widely held beliefs that are both dumb and dangerous. Beliefs like these:

• Faith can fix anything

• Christians shouldn’t judge

• Forgiving means forgetting

• Everything happens for a reason

• A godly home guarantees good kids

…and more.

Gardening Eden

Although environmentalists want to conserve the environment, political conservatives generally don’t. That is the problem Michael Abbate tackles in his book, Gardening Eden, How Creation Care Will Change Your Faith, Your Life and Our World. Abbate speaks to the political conservative, to the Christian, to the conservative Christian, with the argument that God intends and desires us to be good stewards of all He has given us, including the earth. As such, believers should be motivated to care for the environment. He discusses why we should care about environmental issues from a spiritual and practical standpoint, refutes “Christian” arguments against environmentalism and gives 50 practical suggestions on life choices that will make a difference.

Because Gardening Eden is targeted toward the environmental “skeptic”, I feel some of the positions he takes are weak. I feel like he’s giving more credence than is due to the “unbelievers” that our environment is in grave trouble. I don’t think Abbate actually believes the anti-eco arguments, but he softens his approach by arguing why, even if those arguments have some merit, one should still take care of the environment. However, I guess I can swallow his pandering to the skeptics if he’s able to convince them they need to take care of Planet Earth in spite of their reservations. The ends justify the means if, in the end, more people who didn’t care about environmental issues do after reading this book.

One of my favorite comments to come out of the book was this:

As Reverend Richard Cizik told Bill Moyers in the 2006 documentary, “Is God Green?”: “I happen to think that to be biblically consistent means you have to, at times, be politically inconsistent.”

Climate change, species extinction, pollution, destruction of our natural resources, etc., are NOT political statements; they are scientific facts. I thank Michael Abbate (and Reverend Cizik) for saying so!

Another favorite comment from the book was Abbate’s quote of a bumper sticker:

God’s original plan was to hang out in a garden with some naked vegetarians.

I have no doubt Michael Abbate cares about the environment and desperately wants to see the Christian community ban together to advance to cause of eco-stewardship as a group and as individuals. The religious right cares about unborn babies and has made a lot of political hay out of that issue. But in my opinion, if they don't care for the environment, ALL babies -- and adults -- aren't going to survive very long without a world in which to live! Since political conservatives are his target audience, he can’t very well sound like me, an unabashedly rabid environmentalist! For what it’s worth, as a believer I agree wholeheartedly that God didn’t intend for us to destroy His creation and is heartsick when He sees what we have done:

Because of this the land mourns and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying. Hosea 4:3

Overall, I would recommend Gardening Eden, especially for the political and religious conservative in your life. You can buy a copy from your favorite bookseller or here from Random House:

BOOK GIVEAWAY: I have one copy of Michael Abbate’s Gardening Eden to give away this week. To enter the random drawing, please e-mail me at The winner will be announced on Friday, April 24th. Good luck!

Below is the summary from the publisher:


Before the snake, the apple, and the Ten Commandments, God created a garden, placed humans in it, and told them to take care of it.

“Spiritual environmentalism” did not start out as an oxymoron—it was an invitation. Yet today, many believe God’s original job description for humankind has been replaced by other worthier pursuits. So when did this simple instruction become so controversial? How does one sort through all the mixed messages? Is making the world a healthier place for the next generation really a responsibility—or even possible?

Gardening Eden is a new understanding of how the spiritual dimensions of life can find expression and renewal through caring for our incredible planet. Empowering, simple, and never polemical, Michael AbbatĂ© outlines the Bible’s clear spiritual benefits of caring for creation, exploring new motivations and inspired ideas, and revealing the power of our basic connection to all people and living things through the growing interest in spiritual environmentalism.

Green living is no longer a fad—simple lifestyle solutions are now available to everyone. Gardening Eden shows readers how this shift transforms not only our world, but their very souls as they’re drawn into deeper harmony with the Creator. This book invites them to discover the powerful spiritual satisfaction of heeding the call to save our world.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

We All Need a Little Inspiration!

Below are some of my favorite quotes to inspire you!

Gandhi, “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”

According to the Dalai Lama, all the teachings of Buddhism can be distilled into two sentences, "If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them."

"If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men." St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

BYOB -- Bring Your Own Bag!

We all know how important it is to bring reusable cloth bags to the grocery store. I would add a bunch of statistics here for anyone not convinced of the truthfulness of this statement, but, quite frankly, I got depressed when researching it. If you're skeptical, google it yourself.

For quite a long time, I’ve been using cloth grocery bags. They were 99 cents each, are made from recycled materials and stay in the car for easy use. This is a wonderful process when you go to Whole Foods, Publix or our local co-op. They like when you bring your own bags; they praise and encourage you to do so; sometimes they even give small cash rebates for each bag you bring in. Unfortunately, there are a number of stores that may sell reusable cloth grocery bags (cha-ching for them), but discourage their actual use. A number of the clerks are less than pleasant – rolling their eyes, sighing and otherwise looking frustrated when you ask they forgo the cheap, but easy-because-they’re-familiar, plastic bags from Hell. Consequently, I bag my own at the stores with self checkout lines. Even this option is usually not user friendly. While I avoid crabby store clerks, I usually have to deal with a machine not designed for eco-friendly bags. I can't bag directly into my cloth bags because the scale senses "something" I haven't paid for when I put my bag there. So I have to scan the item, set it on the scale, and then transfer the item to my bag. Publix and Winn Dixie both have "use my own bag" options on their scanners so the scale accommodates the cloth bag, but other stores do not.

When I have to deal with the clerks because there are no self checkout lines, at the first sign of huffing and puffing and eye rolling, I offer to bag the groceries myself. Plus, clerks in stores are so fond of putting just three items in a bag and taking another because to actually pack a grocery bag well would require time, skill or, at the bare minimum, common sense. I don't have 20 cloth bags; I only have 8 which is more than enough for a month's worth of groceries if packed correctly. Further, even though the clerks complain about how hard it is to bag with cloth bags, when I do the work for them, they still are rude. So even though I am doing half their work by bagging my own groceries, and even though they admit it takes a little more time, they are unbelievably inconsiderate. They push the groceries off the belt as fast as possible. They don't care if the groceries go on the floor – and often they do. Obviously, they can't check out the next person until I'm done, so what good does it do to fling groceries as fast as possible, even when there's no room to stack them? Add to this the fact that I rarely shop after 7:30 a.m. so there’s usually not a line behind me anyway. I put my groceries on the belt in a logical order (all cold foods together, all canned goods, etc.) so it's not as though my lack of organization is a problem. Further, I usually have my mother with me so we can move “double time”.

I honestly don’t think many of the clerks are simply clueless -- I get the distinct impression they're deliberately trying to make it difficult to deter us. They have the attitude that says, “I don’t like this. I don’t want to do this. If you’re going to force me, I’m going to make it as miserable for you as possible.” Lest you think I’m paranoid, one time I encountered an associate at a big box store who supported my theory. She helped me with an error on the self-check out and commented how she hates the self checkout machines. I said, "Me, too, but I use them whenever I can because I have my own bags." She asked why and I told her I couldn't handle the attitude I get from the clerks. Her response was, "So what! We have a lot of people who bring their own bags. They have to learn to DEAL WITH IT. I know they don't want to, but they should and they will. Go through their lines and make them!" Further, when I’ve mentioned such problems to the staff at Whole Foods and our local co-op, I drew actual crowds of people agreeing their experience has been the same.

So, what’s a girl to do?! Well, I wrote a lengthy e-mail to corporate headquarters of the anti-eco-bag stores and told them of my problems. I stressed that education of their clerks is critical since (I pray) the reusable cloth bag revolution is here to stay and growing every day (please, please, please). I received telephone calls from the local managers of a number of the stores about whom I wrote. I’m going to give it some time, but so far, so good. I’ve only been shopping once since then (I grocery shop a month at a time) and my experience was wonderful! We’ll see if it was that particular clerk, a fluke, or if, indeed, the stores are educating their employees. Time will tell. I encourage you to write as well. Given the phone calls I received and the concern in the managers’ voices, they are listening. If enough of us complain, it’s bound to trickle down to the individual employees.

P.S. Please don’t write and yell at me about how hard store clerks work, how much abuse is heaped on them by unreasonable customers, etc. I know and I agree. Completely. But the point is, our environment is as stake and they need to do their jobs well, just as I do mine and you do yours.

Monday, April 13, 2009

One Final Vegan Passover Recipe

If I do say so myself, we make an amazing Vegan Lasagna. I always thought it was delicious, but then I sent it to Sassy Knudson, The Vegan Coach, who improved upon it with an additional white sauce on top. We also use this white sauce on top of pizza, quiche and wherever we want some cheesy goodness!

Anyway, last year I had the bright idea to make lasagna and replace the noodles with matzah bread. I looked on line and found others who had "marginal success" with the substituion. We didn't try it until this past Friday night, but our success was much better than marginal. In fact, it was mind blowing! The matzah took on the consistency of . . . noodles. I kid you not. Plus, it was a lot faster and easier to make since there were no noodles to cook and the square matzah layered so easily. Below is our recipe. Of course, the rest of year you can use noodles for a fabulous lasagna recipe.

Vegan (Passover) Lasagna

I make it in a huge 11 x 18" pan and I use 3 quarts homemade spag. sauce. Here's my modified recipe:

2 boxes frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed out or 32 oz fresh
1 lb sliced carrots
8 Tbs garlic from the jar
4 Tbs parsley
2-3 cups "chicken" or mushroom broth
2 lb tofu grated
2 8 oz Tofutti cream cheese
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 tsp Italian seasoning
2 lb lasagna noodles, cooked and drained -- or approximately 2 boxes of matzah bread
1/2 cup nutritional yeast -- omit for Passover

Boil carrots in water until done, allow to partially cool and mash them somewhat -- so they're easier to spread, but still have some chunks. In a separate pot, mix broth and stir in spinach, carrots and carrot water, tofu, cream cheese and all seasoning. Cook in pot until kind of thick. Add nutritional yeast (omit for Passover). Use this "cheese" mixture to layer as follows: Put spag. sauce on bottom of pan, noodles (I put 2 noodles thick for a layer) or matzah bread, cheese sauce, spag. sauce, noodles/matzah, cheese, etc., and make sure spag. sauce is top layer. Bake 375 degrees, covered for 45-50 minutes (approximate 40 minutes if using matzah).

Sassy's Tangy White Sauce For Lasagna

1 (10 oz.) package silken tofu, firm, drained
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1 Tablespoon umeboshi plum vinegar
1 Tablespoon mirin
2/3 cup vegan mayo
3 teaspoons onion granules
2 teaspoons garlic granules
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground dill seed

In a blender, process until completely smooth. Place into a squirty bottle of some sort and make zig-zag designs on the plate before topping with a slice of lasagna. Add more zig-zags to the top of the slice. This sauce really added just the right touch when mixed in with the lasagna flavors, which helped to provide balance.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Treasure Principle -- Book Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Carol of Sylmar, California, our winner of a copy of The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn. Thanks to everyone who entered.

I have a number of additional book reviews and giveaways coming up in the next several weeks so please check back often and, as always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Got Gas?

Yesterday I read a statistic that really freaked me out.

Each year, Americans use 800 million gallons of gas to mow their lawns -- and we spill more fuel while filling lawn equipment each year than the Exxon Valdez spilled in '89.
The solution? Electric mowers which cost approximately $5 a year to run.
This statistic came from You can sign up to have daily eco tips delivered to your e-mail inbox.

I'm getting rather used to being really freaked out these days. Why? I'm reading Thomas L. Friedman's new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution – and How It Can Renew America. I'm not even a quarter of the way through it and I want to run, screaming for my mommy, and hide under the covers until we humans, supposedly the "wisest" creatures, get a CLUE! I strongly recommend this book -- it is, quite possibly, the most important book of the century. Seriously. When I finish the book and get myself glued back together, I'll share some information from it. In the meantime, I can't stress this enough . . . GO GET THE BOOK -- READ IT -- TAKE ACTION!

REMINDER: I have one copy of The Treasure Principle to give away. To enter the random drawing, please send your name and mailing address to The winner will be announced tomorrow, April 10, 2009. Good luck.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The 7 Biggest Mistakes People Make When They Say No

I have blogged a lot about finding your authentic self and being true to it with your time, money and other limited resources. One problem we have in doing so is saying no to all the activities, causes and such that are not nearest and dearest to our authentic selves.

I recently read one of the best articles I've ever seen regarding how to say "No" in a respectful, decisive manner. Christine Kane is a singer and songwriter who blogs here: It is with her generous permission I reprint her article (and the photo to the left is her content as well). Enjoy and take her lessons to heart.

The 7 Biggest Mistakes People Make When They Say No
March 19th, 2009 by Christine Kane

Know what’s funny?

Many women will talk about anything when it comes to personal growth work. They aren’t afraid to “go there.”

But as soon as the topic of Saying No comes up, they’ll sit back in their seats.


“No can do.”

“I tried that. It didn’t work.”


In fact, it seems the only thing they’re willing to say no to is… Saying No!

But saying no is important as you move to the next level in your life. One of the items in the Tool Kit of my new Uplevel Your Life Mastery Program is called “The Natural No: Templates for Saying No Authentically, Clearly, and Graciously.” After all, it’s tough to uplevel if you don’t know how to eliminate and release!

Saying No isn’t hard. It’s just that many of us do it badly! Here are the seven biggest mistakes people make when they say no…

Saying No Mistake #1 – Waiting until they’re put on the spot

Most people never actually take time to ask themselves about their No’s. They wait until they’re put on the spot – and then they let their emotions (guilt, fear, anxiety) make their decisions for them!
While you can’t be prepared for every request that comes your way, you can get clear on your No’s in advance. I call this The Proactive No.

Write your list of Proactive No’s on a day off. “No volunteer positions on weekends.” “No more committees.” “No Sunday night dinner parties.” Get clear about how you want to honor your time and priorities. That way when you say no, it will be simple and authentic!

Saying No Mistake #2 – Over-explaining
Rather than saying a clear “No,” many people try to explain their way out of it. This only digs them deeper into the muck.

When you over-explain yourself, you embody uneasiness. Over-explaining says, “I don’t really mean this, so I’m trying to find proof.”

Saying No Mistake #3 – Using disempowered language
Language is a key element of effective “No-Saying.”

Empowered language is clear, firm, compassionate, and keeps the focus on the issue. Most people get so nervous and distracted that they ultimately do themselves a disservice by speaking at all. They ramble through the territory of the “sort of,” “kinda,” and “ya know.”

Empowered language stops the rambling. “I’m getting clear on my priorities so I’m cutting back on the extra activities in my life. In order to honor that intention, I need to say no. Thanks for understanding.”

Saying No Mistake #4 – Trying to get approval
Rather than simply turning something down, many people try to “campaign” for their No.
They want to say “No.” But that’s not enough.

They also want the parties involved to approve of their “No,” agree with their “No,” and not be mad at them for saying “No.”

Saying No means that some people might be disappointed in you. That’s their “stuff.” Accept that. Give them the gift of allowing their disappointment. Give yourself the gift of having preferences.

Saying No Mistake #5 – Hoping people will just ‘get it.’
Not responding at all. Putting the request off for a week. Avoiding eye-contact. These are the dances we do, hoping that people will just “get it.”

The problem with this approach is not that you’re not being “nice” to other people.

The problem is that you aren’t being complete with yourself. These little “Non-no’s” are actually draining your creative energy. Stop the leaks, and say no in the moment!

Saying No Mistake #6 – Promising something they don’t mean
There’s a “Friends” episode where Ross’s new girlfriend asks him where their relationship is “going.” Ross admits to his Friends that he doesn’t want the relationship to go anywhere. But rather than stating this to his girlfriend, Ross gives her the keys to his apartment and tells her he loves her.

It’s a funny episode because it shows how much energy and integrity we lose when we dishonor our own preferences and desires – all in an effort to avoid another person’s disappointment.

Saying No Mistake #7 – Giving in to guilt
When you say No, you might have to deal with some guilt.

At first, being on your own side is scary. This is why some people cave in as soon as the discomfort of guilt arises. Within a week, they change their mind and opt back into the thing they didn’t want to do in the first place.

Wavering and waffling sends shaky messages to everyone involved, including yourself. Allow the guilt, and just experience it. You’ll get more comfortable after a little practice!

Let’s face it. Saying No is uncomfortable sometimes. But once you experience the clarity and space that comes from saying No successfully, then you’ll never want to go back to the way you used to do it!

REMINDER: I have one copy of The Treasure Principle to give away. To enter the random drawing, please send your name and mailing address to The winner will be announced April 10, 2009. Good luck.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Book Reviews and Giveaway

Experiencing the Spirit by Henry and Melvin Blackaby is a wonderful book which will teach you how to experience the power of Pentecost every day. Believers are supposed to have the same power as Yeshua (Jesus) as a result of the Holy Spirit coming to Earth to empower us. First century belivers had such power, but modern day Believers don't . . . at least most of them don't. The Blackabys explain why not and what to do to change that.

One quote I loved from the book:
Christians are "theological belivers, but practical athiests."
HOW TRUE! Painfully, sadly true. The key to change is by focusing on your relationship with the Holy Spirit, not the gifts of the Spirit. Gifts only come from relationship -- and only if your motives are correct. God's spiritual gifts are not for your benefit, but for His benefit -- so He can accomplish His will on earth. Finally, you need to realize that although we have certain gifts and talents, a lot of times God will use your weaknesses -- He will use you in areas where you DON'T seem gifted -- in order to grow you and to show His glory. This is an excellent book and is available from by accessing the below link or from your favorite booksellers:

Below is the summary from the publisher:

Summary Experiencing the Spirit:

Serve God as never before

The first Christians “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) shaking the gates of hell even in the face of severe persecution. The result: People all around “were filled with wonder and amazement” (Acts 3:10).What can give Christians today the same impact?

God’s Holy Spirit is ready to answer that for us in an awesome way, as Henry Blackaby and his son Mel Blackaby make clear in Experiencing the Spirit. You’ll see how the proof of the Spirit’s presence is our awareness of God’s personal assignments for us, plus our supernatural enablement to carry out those assignments. You’ll find essential clarification on the difference between natural talents and spiritual gifts. You’ll explore the dynamics of being filled with the Spirit through intimate relationship with Him, committed obedience, and radical departure from sin.

Instead of considering what you can do for God with your abilities and talents, you’ll be encouraged here to seek what God wants to do through you supernaturally by His Spirit, empowering you beyond your personal competence and capacities. Release the Holy Spirit’s work at the very core of your experience of the Christian life.

The Lord loves a cheerful giver. But how can we be cheerful when we’re white knuckling it every month to pay the bills?! Randy Alcorn teaches us with 6 easy to apply principles in his book, The Treasure Principle. Randy relates that although 1/3 of Christians say they tithe, the accounting books show closer to 1/8 actually do. Yet Randy tells of numerous individuals and families that give away 50%, 75% or 90% of their incomes. The Treasure Principle explains what the Bible says about giving – why we are supposed to give, how we are supposed to give, and what we can expect from God in return. This is a valuable book if you want to be a good steward of God’s resources.

I have one copy of The Treasure Principle to give away. To enter the random drawing, please send your name and mailing address to The winner will be announced April 10, 2009. Good luck.

Below is the summary from the publisher. The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn can be purchased from various booksellers and from here

Summary The Treasure Principle

Flip-Flop Your Concept of Giving!

Bestselling author Randy Alcorn introduced readers to a revolution in material freedom and radical generosity with the release of the original The Treasure Principle in 2001. Now the revision to the compact, perennial bestseller includes a provocative new concluding chapter depicting God asking a believer questions about his stewardship over material resources. Readers are moved from the realms of thoughtful Bible exposition into the highly personal arena of everyday life. Because when Jesus told His followers to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” He intended that they discover an astounding secret: how joyful giving brings God maximum glory and His children maximum pleasure. Discover a joy more precious than gold!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Book Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Cyndi of Gaastra, Michigan, our winner of Robert Jeffress' book, Clutter-Free Chritianity. Please check back on Monday for another book review and giveaway contest!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself--Part 2

Most of you know I’m a big fan of Thomas L. Friedman, author and New York Times columnist. I strongly recommend his book, The World is Flat, for anyone who wants a clearer understanding of globalization. Lately, he’s been on a “green” soapbox. The other day I directed you to his column and advised, “I couldn’t have said it better myself.” Below is is another article I think is a must read.

Also, check out his new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution – and How It Can Renew America. I just got it from my library!

REMINDER: I have a copy of Clutter-Free Christianity by Robert Jeffress to give away to my readers! To enter the random drawing, just e-mail your name and address to me at Winners will be drawn on Friday, April 3, 2009. Good luck!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Buy More . . . Stress!

It's a fact that the more stuff we have, the more stress we experience. Our possessions own us instead of the other way around. In addition to stressing ourselves, the "buy buy buy" bug kills the environment -- placing undue stress on the earth from cradle to grave -- resources to make the items, resources to maintain the items, and landfills to dispose of items. On April Fool's Day, it seems we are all fools, some more than others!

I recently read about a PBS television show called Affluenza, a show about the "modern-day plague of materialism." Following are some scary statistics from the show:

Americans shop six hours a week while spending only forty minutes playing with their children.

By age 20, we've seen 1 million commercials.

Recently, more Americans declared bankruptcy than graduated from college.

To read more about the show, click here:

REMINDER: I have a copy of Clutter-Free Christianity by Robert Jeffress to give away to my readers! To enter the random drawing, just e-mail your name and address to me at Winners will be drawn on Friday, April 3, 2009. Good luck!