Saturday, November 23, 2013

Knowing God by Name

Three generations of women work together to bring us an eight week study on different names of God.

I am convinced that the more we get to know the character of God, the more we will understand Him. Our lives and decisions are effected by how we view God. That makes this book, and studying God's names and character, one of the most important things in our journey with God.

My favorite week was week three based on the names that were in those chapters: All Present, The God Who Sees, My Hope, The Lord Who Heals, The Lord is There

I don't like the cover. It really bothers me that her feet are dangling, one splashing while the other is not within reach of the water. Did she lower herself and hoist herself up? No, she has a coffee cup in her hand. Minor detail, but it annoys me.

This is great for women's groups to study, since there are five days and questions and time to reflect for day six.

I reviewed this book for Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers Blogging for Books. I received this book for free in exchange for a review of the book.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Under the Tuscan Sun: Book

When I started reading the book, I imagined the story line would match up with this:

It did not. Other than it had the same name, set in Italy, and about a woman revamping a home. The details are not at all the same. In the book, she is married and comes to Italy with her husband. While they do end up hiring people to help them with the work, she and her husband do a lot of the labor alongside the workers. It was not at all what I expected. Don't get me wrong.... I love the movie -- Diane Lane is one of my favorite actresses. The book was great as well. I don't normally like books that include foreign languages stuck throughout the book, but Mayes does a great job of explaining what each word in Italian means rather than assuming you know the language or want to check Google translate every time a new word shows up.

I love and miss Italy. I could understand a lot of what she was saying in the book based on my own experiences in this fascinating country. "I have known him two summers and this is the first personal information we have exchanged" (65). It takes time to get to know the people of Italy.

I appreciate Mayes' style of writing, and I'm pretty sure we could be great friends. "I spread my books, cards, and notepaper around me and indulge in the rare art of writing letters to friends. A second indulgence goes straight back to high-school days - consuming a plate of brownies and a Coke while copying paragraphs and verses I like into my notebook.... Hours go by without the need to speak" (76).

"The house protects the dreamer; the houses that are important to us are the ones that allow us to dream in peace" (86).

Mayes points out three things that are essential to know if you plan to go to Italy: ferragosto (186), which is the fact that almost everything is closed for a month long vacation for Italians in August, passegiata hour, where you will find "hoards of people mingling, visiting, strolling, running errands" (234-235) and siesta (275), that beautiful part of the afternoon when stores close so people can rest, watch TV, or just enjoy being together.

She spent Christmas in Italy and described it as follows: "Is this much happiness allowed? I secretly asked myself.... Many Christmases in my adult life have been exquisite, especially when my daughter was a child. A few have been lonely. One was very rocky. Either way, the season of joy comes with a primitive urge that runs deep into the psyche" (214).

You can check out her website.

Start with Why

Simon Sinek's purpose in life is to inspire others to do what inspire them. He has challenged me to change my way of thinking about life. Oh, this book... The following are some of my favorite quotes:

"WHY does your company[, church, organization] exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care" (39)?

"People don't buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. A failure to communicate WHY creates nothing but stress and doubt" (58).

"We do better in cultures in which we are good fits. WE do better in places that reflect our own values and beliefs.... It is beneficial to live and work in a place where you will naturally thrive because your values and beliefs align with the values and beliefs of that culture" (90).

Chapter eight, Start with Why, But Know How, was my favorite, probably because I am more of a HOW person than a WHY person. I did a TED Talk style presentation based on this book and specifically chapter eight. The main point of that is that people who know WHY need people who know HOW (140).

You can check out Simon's START WITH WHY site.
You can check out Simon's new book due out in January, Leaders Eat Last.
You can check out Simon's own TED Talk. The link for the video is on the right column.