Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Promise of a Pencil

"The Promise of a Pencil" by Adam Braun

This was a motivational and great book.  If you think you can't accomplish something or you're too young, you need to read this.  The author knew since he was very young that he wanted to work in finances and his whole life was a clear path in that direction.  Then he did a semester at sea and he began to wonder if thee was more to life than what he had been chasing.  He backbacked around the world and would ask a child in whichever country he was in if they could have one thing what would it be.  One little boy said he wanted a pencil.  Adam had a pencil and he gave it to the little boy and this is when he realized that something as small as a pencil could change a childs life.  Adam realized that giving was better than receiving and he decided that he wanted to fund a school in a third world country.  He quit his job at the prestigious finance company and started a non-profit.  He has now opened many schools and his non-profit has received numerous awards.  Truly when we mix our passion with determination it is amazing the impact we can make.  "I believe that where you start in life should not dictate where you finish."  Because not everyone gets a fair start but I think everyone deserves a fair shot.  "We fear leaving those familiar surroundings, which is natural, but through exploration of the unfamiliar we stop focusing on the labels that define what we are and discover who  we are."  "In moments of uncertainty, when you must choose between two paths, allowing yourself to be overcome by either the fear of failure or the dimly lit light of possibility, immerse yourself in the life you would be most proud to live."  So good, so, so good.  Live the life you would be most proud to live.  What a great statement.  The first school Adam built was dedicated to his grandma who was a concentration camp survivor.  When he told her why he was building these schools and helping others she responded, "It feels like this is why I survived.  I survived for this.  It feels like it's all coming back to me, everything I suffered for is coming back to me, but in good ways.  All the bad things I went through were for these good things to happen."  God sees the suffering and He always turns beauty for ashes. "...that the biggest opportunities for growth are not found in the midst of success, but in the methods through which we address failure."  Growth occurs when we fail and get back up again, willling to try again.  We can't reach success until we've failed.  "Here's my best advice: make the little decisions with your head and the big ones with your heart."  "Certain people help you see a future that you could never have envisioned without their influence.  They make you a better version of yourself."  Surround yourself with these people.  " can't keep saying, 'I'll get started tomorrow.'  The world has far too many problems, and you are way too smart and capable to not help tackle them.  Your time is now."  Take that first step towards what you've always wanted to do and start living the life you've always wanted to live.  "I'll tell them that the most direct route to happiness is through creating joy for someone else, and that change doesn't happen through hard work alone."  I highly recommend this book.  Read it and be inspired.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Now You See Me

"Now You See Me" by Kathy Sanders

This was a great and amazingly powerful book.  The author is the grandmother of two little boys who were killed in the Oklahoma bombing.  She was one of the very first on the scene and she became the spokeperson for the victims.  Kathy struggled to go on with life after her grandsons were killed.  She struggled with her faith and she was determined to find out why this happened.  In her search for answers she finds forgiveness towards those that committed the crime.  She even befriends the perpetrators and their family.  This is an amazing story of forgiveness that can only come from God.  No one would forgive and be friends with the person that killed their loved one unless God was at work.  And the healing that Kathy received from opening her heart and listening to God was a healing beyond what she expected.  "Clearly His blessings come with bonuses."  What a great statement, God really does desire to bless us beyond what we could ever imagine.  "Our uncommon pain became our common denominator."  When you suffer through something with others there is a bond that is unbreakable.  "His invisibility need not diminish His power to comfort."  Just because we can not see Him doesn't mean He isn't there and that He can't bring comfort.  'It's the constant push and pressure of everyday life that forms character ever so slowly-so slowly that we do not even notice it happening." when we look back on a year or a month we see the challenges we have faced and how we have grown.  "God has given each one of us a little chunk of eternity called time.  Each one of us is the steward of what time we are given.  These precious moments of opportunity are given to us for our benefit and God's glory."  

Friday, November 7, 2014

Special Heart

"Special Heart" by Bret Baier

The author Bret Baier is a big time Fox News correspondent and had a thriving carrer when his first son was born with multiple heart defects.  Bret realized what really mattered in life was family, love and faith.  His son underwent three life saving surgeries and Bret's faith was challenged.  This book is full of love for his son and all the strength it takes to believe all is going to turn out the way God has planned. "Like it or not, this was exactly what God had given us to deal with, so we were on the job."  When we find ourselves in circumstances we can't change instead of fighting it we need to rest in the fact that God is in the struggle with us.  "...and one day we'll look at the scar on his chest and consider it the most beautiful thing in the world."  All of our scars, physical of emotional, are beautiful, they make us who we are, they have made us stronger and they remind us that God has brought us through.  Celebrate those scars, they are beautiful.