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Archive for the ‘books’ Category

Well, it seems as though a hobby of mine and some friends has turned into a labor of love.  We started making some gifts and accessories at the sewing machine for an upcoming craft show and it has turned into something over and above; as people have been viewing our crafts and then…requesting things of their own.  To continue reading: Write Where You Are

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Wow!  Can I just tell you what a joy it was to read, Man Shoes-The Journey To Becoming A Better Man, Husband & Father?  It is my privilege to review this book; I believe that the author, Tom Watson, has some real valuable wisdom to offer his readers.   Tom  was born to parents ill prepared to raise a child in a healthy & life affirming way.  He was placed into 13 different foster homes…some of which were little more than a systemic form of a physical & psychological torture chamber. 

Tom was placed into foster care because his Aunt Donna & Uncle Roy found the courage to report the erratic parental care that infant Tom was experiencing.  His parents would drop him off here and there and neglect to pick him up at the times that they agreed to.  At one year of age, he became a foster child because his aunt and uncle found the strength of character to endure family censure by reporting the situation to the proper authorities.  Tom expresses his gratefulness to them for doing so…even though he suffered greatly in multiple foster homes until he came to the place where his body and soul were nurtured.  His life story actually proceeds with joy and gratefulness.  To read the rest of this review go to:  Book In Review

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       Actor Willie Ames is famous for his roles on Eight Is Enough (1970’s) and in the show Charles in Charge (1980’s), he has had a large fan following over the years.   Willie also starred  in video’s from 1995-2004 as a superhero named Bibleman; winning a whole new generation of young fans.  He became a Christian and an ordained minister after struggling for years with drug/alcohol addictions.  He appeared to have things together in his life.

        Just this past November Willie, and his second wife Maylo McCaslin Ames, wrote a book together called Grace is Enough.  Shortly after this book was published, on Thanksgiving 2008, Willie Ames allgedly tried to take his own life.  This is why God tells us to keep our eyes on him and not on man ( or woman).  We are vulnerable to attacks by the enemy (Satan) and we can fail one another as role models from time to time.  It is unfair to put someone on a pedestal as an example to follow because they are; for all intents and purposes, human just like us.  Only Jesus is the perfect example to follow.

         It seems that Willie found himself in the position of having to declare bankruptsy, having his vehicle repossesed and having his wife of 22 years ask him for a divorce.  I am sure the fear of failure, rejection, the possibility of an upcoming divorce, slipping back to the pull of his addictions, and the financial difficulties all contributed to his suicide attempt.  When people are overloaded with difficulties that come all at once…that is when escape starts to sound good…it is an illusion that a Christian is tempted with by his spiritual adversary, Satan.  Suicide is not a solution…it is an really just another way to self-destruct; it an attack on that person’s physical and spiritual being.  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  It is important to seek help when depression and despair overwhelms a person. 

        Willie is a Christian yes, but he is a human being also.  One who has struggled with these issues of addiction and self-destruction.  He has tried to live in a place of leadership; which is admirable.  From reading excerpts of their book….it sounds as though both Willie and Maylo have allegedly come from previous places of dysfunction.  No one lives a perfect life…Christians are a work in progress; and, some of the same negative circumstances and forces that affect non-Christians, affect Christians as well. 

         I hope that through this time of difficulty, that Willie and his family can receive proper spiritual counseling and emotional counseling to help them sort things out.  Certainly, we wish him well in his healing path.  As anyone who had had to struggle with these kinds of issues…it is important to know that support is very important from family, friends and, health care professionals; when it is needed.

          For those who would condemn or look askance at Willie’s actions and ask incrediously, how a Christian could do such a thing; I would counter that by asking that person to think compassionately.  When people are in despair and going through some of the worst situations that life has to offer …faith is a lifeline… but, faith is a fragile thing sometimes.  We are to encourage one another and lift each other up.  While Willie played a superhero….he is not superhuman…he is a man who has to find his way back to a place of prominence, by putting faith into action once again,. 

          Do you think Christians are immune from depression and confusion; or should they be?  Do you know any other Christian who has struggled with addictions and depression and then been able to build their life back up from that desperate place?  Have you yourself been there?  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

National suicide prevention lifeline: Suicide hotline, 24/7 free and confidential, 132 crisis centers nationwide               1-800-273-TALK       .
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Update:  you may also want to read:  http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20268391,00.html

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       Yes Oprah is rich and powerful, yes, people hang on her every word…but, with the recent memoir, “Angel at the Fence” written by Herman Rosenblat; some people are looking to point blame at Oprah after finding out that the memoir was based on a falsehood.   Come on, don’t blame Oprah!

        Look the thing is…Oprah gives her endorsement to books that move her.  So what, if this book was written as a work of fiction the story would still be good.  The alleged falsehood of how the couple in the book met; upon which the premise of the book was based, is not any reflection on Oprah.  Herman was a survivor of a concentration camp.  He told a version of meeting his wife as having taken place when the “angel” would bring him apples and bread to the fence of the concentration camp…virtually keeping him alive and helping him to survive the experience.  

         In truth,what was promoted as a love story extraordinare was a lie; they actually met on a blind date many years after his experiences in the concentration camp.  It is a terrible thing to tell everyone a lie about the roots of his marriage; expecting others to perpetuate the myth…just to sell a book.  The Rosenblat’s son did not agree with the falsehood and says he didn’t want anything to do with it. But think about this, when people that his family knew learned of the the writing of the book…and were complimentary….how did his parents expect him to act?  Was he supposed to swallow the truth and pretend that the story being told was the truth?  Or was he to contradict his parents whom I am sure he loves?  What a predictament to put your child in!

         Even though the beginning of the Rosenblat’s relationship is said to be untrue…Herman’s experiences of survival in the concentration camp would have been a very good memoir; one which would have stood up well enough on it’s own, without the lie.  But, the lie is on the author…not on someone who read the book and recommended the book to others not knowing the truth.

          So, again I say…don’t blame Oprah for something in which she had no way of knowing was untrue.  If anything, it should reflect back on the publishing industry.  They are responsible for how they publish and package a book.  If they are going to put a description of the book as a memoir…then they have the responsibility of determining whether or not it is in fact a memoir.  Still, a memoir is a recollection of how one remembers events from their past…and unless the person in charge of publishing the book was there in the past…there has to be some free benefit of doubt that the author is telling the truth.  Ultimately, it is the author of the book that is responsible for whether or not the truth is being published.  In this case, no one else carries the weight of the falsehood more than the person who KNOWS IT IS A FALSEHOOD! 

        The sad thing is that this experience and others like it…only make it tougher for writers to break into an industry that is already famous for being difficult to get published in.   Who deserves to lose the loss of respect over this book for an abuse of trust…the publishers, the author, Oprah or the agents , or the publicity people?

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Hello Readers…today you are in for a very special treat; my very good friend and fellow blogger, Connie Baum, has agreed to guest blog for me today.  I think you will be blessed by hearing what she has to say on a very important topic it is:  What is the toughest choice you ever had to make?

For me, it was the decision to place my own son into a nursing facility. It was incredibly painful for me and for him. I was sure at the time I would never be able to forgive myself for making the choice I did.

He, on the other hand, thought he had done something wrong and he was being punished by not being allowed to live at home any more.

It was an unbearably miserable time for our whole family.

You’ll be pleased to know that there is a happy ending to this drama. Even though he was not expected to live much longer after his admission to the nursing home, he stayed in that facility for ten years, thriving as the years unfolded. At the end of a decade he was able to live successfully in a group home, work in a sheltered workshop, and create a whole new life for himself at the tender age of 39!

Here’s hoping your family never has to make those kinds of choices. The chances are good, however, that you will be faced with not only WHETHER to place your loved one in a professional setting but WHICH facility to choose.

I have discovered a wonderful resource for dealing with this issue. It is a handbook of ‘How To’ prepared by a former Nursing Home Administrator and legal guardian of two nursing home residents. She knows what’s really going on and can help you navigate and negotiate the process of choosing the right facility for the right reasons! The name of this book: “Nursing Home Secrets Revealed“, authored by Aileen Avinedo, RN, BSN

I’m not the only one who thinks this woman has good advice. Look what this man had to say:

“This is the most comprehensive book on nursing homes I have ever read. As a physician who has visited many facilities (nursing, assisted living, and independent living) I found the information to be thorough and accurate. Aileen correctly identifies the important issues one faces when considering a long term care facility for their family member or themselves. This book is an asset for this type of search.”
–Dr. Bryan F. Walther
Loveland, Ohio

Aileen Avinedo is making a difference in Senior Care. Please look carefully at the sage advice she offers. It can make a difference for you and your loved ones, too!

Thank you Connie…you are a blessing.  Check out Connie here: http://www.motherconniesez.blogspot.com/ or www.foodstampscookingclub.com, www.foodstampcookingclub.com/blog, or www.thehealthyandwealthyyou.com, www.motherconnie.com.

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      I have been thinking about leadership alot lately and it’s direct connection to success or failure.  Leadership whether it is in government, business, organizations, religions, education or, in personal relationships is very important.  Not everyone can be an effective leader.  There are more followers than leaders; so it is extremely important to follow the right person. 

       Whether a leader is skilled in certain areas determines how successful his/her leadership is.  Leading is not for the fainthearted; you can’t please everyone or, be their friend.  Some of the decisions a good leader has to make are extremely unpopular.  You can have productive relationships though, that are built out of respect, authority, compassion and hard work.  Those who are under your leadership have to know that you are informed and that you respect & understand their sacrifice to get the job done. 

        A good leader knows how to inspire, how to instruct, how to encourage, and how to redirect someone who is misguided, ill informed, has a poor work ethic or is saturated in a poor attitude.  A good leader knows when to use incentives and when praise or recognition will be more effective. 

        I know our country is in the midst of some deep and difficult issues.  Positive and productive leadership has never been more important.  A good leader also recognizes when they are out of their league and seeks a higher counsel…someone who is an expert in the area of concern.  I hope that those who are taking the reins of government leadership in our country are willing to lead with proper education and guidance… it is not a failure to admit that you don’t know all of the answers; it is a failure to not be willing to be educated in those areas.  We have much to accomplish and overcome in a short period of time.

        There is a great new book out by Lee Iacocca on leadership called, Where Have All Of The Leaders Gone?  I recommend reading this one.  This book gives some great advice on leading.  It also gives a bit of background information on the automotive business. 

         With the financial crisis hitting our country and the obviously failing auto industry…Lee’s book is timely.  I suggest that the new President elect Barack Obama consult with Mr. Iacocca on any proposed government bailout loan of the auto industry.  There has been some criticism about President Bush’s alleged lack of response to the auto industry’s struggles.  Now, if the American auto industry fails to succeed…we all will suffer the consequences.  I think that we already have been …but, it is only going to get worse without addressing the issue in a real purposeful way.  They are many businesses and employees who will be affected in a trickle down kind of action if and when the auto industry hits the roadblocks. 

        It would be wise to remember that whenever one major industry fails it generally has a domino effect on those sub-supportive businesses that supply the chain of industry.  We need to figure out some answers before we are all out of jobs.  We must demand competent leadership and hold them to a higher moral & ethical standard of conduct.  We are tired of those in business and industry who are content to take the money at the top and move on when they get their rewards…not caring about the outcome for those under their leadership.  Enough of the high salary CEO’s (or politicians) who don’t look long-term at the consequences of their decisions and their actions.  Americans must demand success in our leaders because the potential impact of failure is unacceptable!

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        There is a new biography coming out, called:  Here’s the story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice.  It is being released for sale tomorrow.  Over the years, it appears that Maureen McCormick, the actress who played Marcia Brady on the Brady Bunch television show in the 70’s lost her identity to the character that she played on that show.

         Having grown up during those Brady Bunch years…i know that Maureen was a television icon during that time because of the character that she played.  She was a trend setter.   Many young girls wanted to be Marcia.  The Brady Bunch was a huge part of the culture in the 70’s…even though the show was only on for about five years; it influenced a whole generation of young people and their families.

        As we now know, many childhood actors have gone on to have troubled lives because of the unique set of circumstances growing up with such an unhealthy balance of power, between the lifestyle of a child actor and normal growing up circumstances.  When a child actor makes the kind of money they do, has all kinds of adults jumping to their whims, has masses of people hanging on their every word and action…the balance of power in raising a child from youth to adulthood can get warped a bit in the entertainment business.  Many of the actors/actresses don’t listen to positive advice or instruction…they surround themselves with yes people and hangers on.  Too often we hear of young people in the industry who get into legal trouble or trouble with drugs/alcohol addictions because they don’t have an authority figure to keep them from making such mistakes.  Their relationships enter into difficulties because they don’t know if they are being liked for who they are or for who they play on television.

           I am looking forward to reading Maureen’s memoir; as i have heard bits and pieces over the years about her struggles after the Brady Bunch years.  I can’t imagine that it was an ideal way to grow up.  However, Maureen McCormick is now 52 years old.  I hope that by reading the story…that it instills in others some kind of wisdom in helping others not to repeat the mistakes that so many have made in similar journeys.

           Often times in these types of memoirs…much of the time and attention is focussed on the misdeeds, as opposed to the lessons learned; i hope that is not the case in this book.  It would be nice to have some success stories in the media on overcoming the odds of loosing yourself to your television character’s image.   In any case, there is a whole generation of people who will be interested in finding out how things progressed for the actress who gave so much enjoyment through her nemesis. 

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      Comedian Bill Maher appears to have made it a footnote of his career to openly show his contempt for religion; his comedy routines have had a biting edge to many topics pertaining to faith.  He has now made a movie about that very subject… it is a movie that expresses his thoughts that religious beliefs are dangerous and ridiculous.  The movie which is opening in theaters on Friday is called, Religulous.  Bill Maher hopes to open up conversations where others feel comfortable expressing their disbelief, as well as making the viewers laugh.  I am sure he wouldn’t mind making a buck or two off of the whole enterprise either!

       In my mind, religion is not a laughing matter.  Whenever i have watched Bill Maher perform on television, in years past…i was stunned to hear the barely controlled contempt, whenever he would subject the viewers to his views on religion.  I don’t think anything is so terrible about people having differing viewpoints on the subject of religion…but, i do think it is wrong for someone to mock another for their personal religious beliefs.  I think it comes down to a matter of respect.  At the very least, you can agree to disagree without turning to put downs or insults.

       Out of fairness, Bill Maher did allegedly make an attempt to be an equal opportunity offender to all religions in the movie.  He mocks Christianity, Judaism, and Islam allegedly in the movie.  Other religions would have presumably gotten the same treatment if it had not cost so much to do the additional traveling.  After all, there are many different religions around the world and the world is a very big place.

         I will agree with Bill Maher on one thing…religion can be dangerous for those who mock; or are in some way, regarded as a threat to those who hold radical religious viewpoints.  Religions are made up of many different people.   Those people are a microcosm of all areas of society; and, in each of those areas of humanity, there are people who will brook no difference of viewpoint from their personal value system. 

          Respectful individuals will try to discuss their beliefs with one another when there is a difference of opinion trying to persuade the other person with theological discourse on the subject.    Serious repercussions begin to take shape when you think about someone with a mental illness who feels the need to defend their religion.  In that situation, you could potentially have a recipe for disaster.  There are other individuals who will go to any extreme, including terrorism, to make their religious views known to others.  There are elements in any society, of religious extremism.  One must take care to respect each other’s right to believe differently if that person has hope of being treated with respect themselves…even, their right to not believe at all.

        Quite a few years ago, there was a huge threat directed towards a man named Salman Rushdie.   He is an author that wrote a book that offended some Muslims, called The Satanic Verses in 1988.  Some  protested his book, and there were many threats upon his life because of the content in the book.  He was forced to live in hiding for quite a period of time. 

         In making a film on the subject of mocking multiple religions, i think that Bill Maher has provided an irresponsible and inflammatory situation which could draw radical attention towards his movie.  If and when it causes conflict, then he can stand back as a witness to the “crazy and dangerous” effect of religion upon society.  I wish that Mr. Maher had found a different way to express himself and his viewpoint on religion; instead of, filming a movie which could negatively impact so many people.  It is quite an easy thing to incite people when they feel that their core values are under attack.  It will surprise me greatly if you dont see protests regarding this movie, all over the news.

         I’ve noticed that there are other comedians who often take hostile swipes at things pertaining to religious subjects.  I remember hearing about Kathy Griffen at some awards ceremony or another, saying something to the effect that, Jesus had nothing to do with her success.  Another comedian who comes across as offensive, to me at least, on the subject is Jimmy Kimmel.  I think there is a fine line between love and hate…and religion brings that line into focus.  Part of the dual edged sword of celebrity is that you have a platform to sway public opinion…but you also bear a personal responsibility in what you put out there when you do espouse a certain opinion.

         One has to wonder, where all of the anger and hostility comes from.  I have heard that anger issues are the opposite side of the coin when it comes to comedians…they take their anger and use humor as a tool to get their message across to the audience.  Humor can often take a sour slant on a subject and make it more palatable to the masses because it is put in a way that people find a little easier to listen to.  But, just because something can be made into a punch line, doesn’t mean that it should be.   Anger seems like such a waste of energy.   When you have a talent for making people laugh, it seems that it could be better used for something more positive than spreading hostile rhetoric used to offend others. 

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          Do you remember in the old days when someone won gold in the Olympics; they maybe made the cover of a cereal box or got a television commercial?  These days, with all of the open access to micro media (social networking)…a savy person, or someone with the bucks to hire a  skilled publicist, has the whole world at their feet if they so choose.

           Michael Phelps must be either very savy with the micro media, or he has the bucks for the publicist :).  News came right away that he was going to be working on writing a book.   Keeping his name in the forefront of the media is a wise thing; it will help him to sell his book in large numbers; which publishers love!   He has done the traditional celebratory thing and went to Walt Disney World for a colorful photo op.  He has even been making the rounds in the traditional media mags like People who try to dig into his personal life…like the romance department. 

          Evidently, he has been in training for more than the Olympics as he learned somewhere how to evade direct responses to requests for said information on his love life, haha.  I say go for it Michael…it’s is no-ones business unless you choose to make it public knowledge.  Of course, that doesn’t stop the speculators who suggest that he is involved with a former beauty queen from California, by the name of Nicole Johnson.

           Michael Phelps is also keeping busy by expanding his skill set.  He is going to be on Saturday Night Live on Sept 13th.  It appears that Michael is going to avoid that typical emotional let down, that many feel after competing in the Olympics, when all of the attention shifts from the competitors and their accomplishments to other news of the day.  Smart move…it is never a pretty thing to see a role model who is accomplished, wither on the vine, not knowing what goals to set their sights on next.  Good luck Michael Phelps with your exploration of the world; you seem to be enjoying the experiences as you go, as you should!

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What Are You Going to Accomplish Today?

        Are you living your life fully or are you going through the motions just waiting for something to happen to change the way things are?  Do you have long term and short term goals in place?  Are you focussed on enjoying today while planning for tomorrow?  Life is an interesting mix of failures, accomplishments, goals; each has their place in your life to enable you to be successful in your personal and professional life.

         Have you ever heard how people answer questions about their life?  Anyone ever said to you…it is just another day?  That my friend, is a life that is un-fulfilled.  That is a person who isn’t engaged with their purpose in life.  Maybe they don’t know that they live and breathe for a reason.  Every person has gifts, ideas, experiences, talents, and knowledge that is meant to move them and others through life in a positive way.  Sitting on those  qualities and hoarding them without using them to improve life is a one way trip to no-where.

          Do you know anyone who has to learn life the hard way?  Are they condemned to experience life through failure?  Or , are they equipped to live and learn from the mistakes and the successes of others…saving themselves time and enabling them to succeed more quickly and efficiently?

           I want to tell you about an opportunity to experience something that has never been done before.  There is going to be a life changing seminar in Long Beach, California Sept 26-28th put on by Brendon Burchard, author, life coach, businessman and motivational speaker.   Brendon wrote the book, Life’s Golden Ticket last year and made a huge impact on those who have read it.  It was published by Harper Collins.  He has put together a program that is going to address personal and professional growth as well as wealth building.  Can you use any help in those areas?

           This is an affordable event.  It is not going to be held in a traditional hotel environment where they present you with recycled information and then grab your money.  This experience is going to include, music, business advice, life changing information on gathering business partners, personal growth experts, the power of impact, and learning how to build upon what you have and the contacts in your life.  If any of this interests you…you may want to click on this link to find out how you can be there to see this extra-ordinary event unfold.  It will make history as it takes place under a big top tent.  Nothing boring here 🙂  Here is your link to more information…and some free audio snippets of an interview:  http://www.lifesgoldenticket.com/preview 

            Also at this event, you will see the results of Ken McArthur’s Boot Camp Impact Action Team and what they were able to accomplish in their teamwork by joining together to make a positive impact in an area of life that touches so many.  It is important to support the Impact Action Team and the work that they are doing!  Check out the person that was chosen to receive the benefit of their impact here:  http://speakupsavelives.org/  Meet Deremiah CPE…see how you can help impact the world.

             Find a way to get there…and discover what your purpose in life is; and, how you can nurture that purpose, and allow it to blossom.  You will understand how to take the promise of the seeds in your life and turn them into the amazing life that they were meant to be!  Are you up to the challenge, are you willing to enjoy each day to the fullest, living your life with purpose and clarity, achieving all that you are meant to achieve; and, spreading the message that we are all here to encourage and lift each other up?  Life is too short to spend it wishing for more, accepting less and resenting those who understand how to make things happen in a positive way, Don’t you think so too?  Come on, check it out:  http://www.lifesgoldenticket.com/preview  If you don’t listen to anything else, listen to the last audio…where he talks about his amazing un-precedented money back guarantee!  He sounds pretty confident to me that you will not leave the event un-changed or un-happy!

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