Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’
A Refreshing Approach to a Direct Engagement with the Scriptures
In “Beyond the Quiet Time:presents a refreshing approach to finding a direct engagement with the scriptures. McGrath helps the reader develop a plan which offers a new approach to as it relates to personal .
The book includes both a devotional and a theological importance on reading, studying, and applying the Scriptures to daily life. The book brings a new flavor to the “Quiet Time”, presenting a plan for receiving spiritual nourishment, encouragement, and motivation for living out the Christian life.
The format of the book integrates possibilities for use in a study group or for individual study. The chapters include: a theme, a passage from the Bible relating to the theme, commentary with questions for consideration, thoughts for reflection, discussion points, a “Study Panel,” and recommended exercises for meaningful application to daily life.
Alister writes with clarity as he models this devotional approach to the Scriptures. He defines, addresses the question as to why it is important, what we can learn from the past, and how the Scripture gives guidance relative to everyday life.
The five chapters of the book provide the groundwork for future devotional study. They cover the foundational essentials of the Gospel message setting the scene with contemporary illustrations which provide a relevant setting for application. McGrath includes the concept of being lost, the need and provision of rescue, involvement in the world, faith, and living life to the fullest.
“Beyond the Quiet Time” provides the reader with a resourceful, creative process for adding freshness tothough direct engagement with the Scripture.
Regent College Publishing, 978-1573832656
As Reviewed for Midwest Book Review
Cynicism is hip and it’s trendy to be jaded. I’m not immune to it. I learned recently, however, that I’m also not immune to. There are things that don’t make me roll my eyes. Events that give me perspective. I wouldn’t call The Last Lecture a book. I would call it an event. So many people say that a book has changed their life. They never change. Me either. But this is something very different.
The Last Lecture makes me want to be a better person
Randy Pausch taught computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. As a husband and father of three young children, his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in 2006 was a devastating blow to him and his family. There is no cure-Randy was told he could expect another three to six months.
Randy Pausch lived until July of 2008, exceeding the doctor’s expectations. Before he passed, he gave his own version of “The Last Lecture.” The Last Lecture is a university tradition in which a professor who is retiring distills his teaching and life experience into one final lesson. It is the last chance to say “You were my students, this is exactly what I wish for you to remember me by.”
Pausch’s lecture was called “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” The body of the lecture comprises stories from Randy’s life which illustrate different ways in which he achieved his childhood dreams.
Few things are indescribable. The Last Lecture is really, really, really hard to describe, and I’m pretty good with words. Just typing this out brings the book back to me and I’m sitting here with goosebumps trying not to let my eyes tear up. I have never been this affected by a book. I doubt I ever will be again, unless one of his children decides to write a book about their dad. Actually, I hope I am never more affected a book: I’m not sure I could survive it.
Cynicism and pessimism are overrated
Going into more detail would cheat readers of the joy and heartbreak of letting this book unfold for them. I’ve been forcing it on anyone who will listen, especially my loved ones. How nice it is to realize that people can still be scientific, brilliant, educated, kind, compassionate, and optimistic. How wonderful that Randy Pausch left us all with such an exquisite gift.
I believe everybody should own The Last Lecture. If you never buy it, please check it out at the library. You’ll be doing yourself a favor. Then give it to someone you love.
Reader Views is happy to be talking with Kieran, author of the al book “Voyage to Destiny: Sailing to Success.” Kieran is being interviewed by Juanita Watson, Assistant Editor for Reader Views.
Juanita: Thanks for talking with us today Kieran. Please tell us about theand birth of your book “Voyage to Destiny: Sailing to Success.”
Kieran: Hi Juanita, it is a pleasure to talk with you. The inspiration for my book began as I was sailing into the open Pacific in my small sailboat, after graduating from university. I was living my dream and wanted to share the exhilaration I felt with as many people as I could. It occurred to me that sailing itself was the ideal metaphor for the journey to success, happiness and the realization of dreams. Just like sailing, if you want to be successful in life, you must choose a destination (know where you want to go), chart a course (create a plan of how you are going to get there), and then weigh anchor and set sail (take action on your plan).
The more I thought about the metaphor, the more I liked it. It is a simple and accessible theme we can all relate to. You can be a potato farmer plowing his fields near Boise, Idaho, and still want to stay on an even keel in the eye of a storm, come hell or high water. We all know what it’s like to weather life’s storms, to have the wind taken out of our sails, to go with the flow or be on the right tack because we experience these feelings in our everyday family, work and social lives. The metaphor also works for the inner journey towards peace, happiness and spiritual well-being. With-in us all is an infinite sea of potential. When we connect with this Source, we suddenly find ourselves in the flow of the moment, on the right tack and living life to its fullest.
Juanita: What type of guidance and information will your book provide to readers?
Kieran: Voyage to Destiny, Sailing to Success provides a simple methodology to achieve the potential we are all born with. There are simple, practical steps anyone can take to live life to its potential. I just mentioned some basic steps are to choose a destination, chart a course and to set sail. I go into these steps in detail and answer the all important question, “What is your purpose and ultimate destination in life and how do you get there?” The book also discusses concrete techniques such as visualization, treasure maps, positive thinking and affirmations that are designed to manifest the prosperity and well-being you deserve in your life. Voyage to Destiny teaches the reader how to become an explorer: To set a new course into the seas of success by breaking down limiting beliefs replacing them with fresh pathways in their minds to prosperity, health and happiness.
Juanita: Do you really feel that we can truly realize any of our dreams?
Kieran: Certainly! If you can think it, if you can keep that thought in your mind, believe in it, and persistently and consistently take action towards it, then your dream will come true.
Juanita: Tell us a little more about the metaphor of the sailing voyage and how you’ve applied it to the realization of one’s dreams.
Kieran: Life is like a voyage at sea. At birth your soul is put to sea in the vessel of the body. You can be on the right tack, going with the flow and sailing to success. Or you can be in the eye of a storm, beating to weather and even lost at sea.
When I left on my sailing voyage that lasted seven years, I was living my dreams. I keep meeting sailors who were much older than I (in much larger sailboats) looking at me in envy. I understood that although these successful men and women were realizing their dreams they wished they had realized them earlier in life. I decided to analyze what I had done to make my dream come true so that I could model the methodology for future endeavors and share my discoveries with others. First, I had the insight. A friend took me out on his boat, I felt the swell come in off the Pacific, and I instantly knew that I was going to sail off on an adventure. That I didn’t know how to sail did not deter me in the least. Then, I just kept the image of my dream (buying a sailboat and sailing it into the Pacific) emblazoned on the canvass of my mind. Although there were many obstacles, I seemed to sail through them. There is something that happens once you find your passion that makes you unstoppable.
Of course, I had a plan. I knew that I needed a sailboat and would have to learn to sail it. For that I needed money. I was a very good treeplanter and knew that with two years hard work I would have enough to buy a sailboat. Those were two wonderful years, because I had direction and I knew where I was going. Even though it was hard work, I was already living my dream. I planted mountains and valleys of good karma on my way to the coast where I bought my beautiful boat. So, to use the metaphor, I distill it into three basic steps.
First, you must know where you want to go (choose your destination). Second, you figure out how you are going to get there (chart a course). And third, you take action on your dream (weigh anchor and set sail). You take responsibility for where you are now, understanding that you, and no one else, is the captain of your ship. The trick is to be passionate about it. Have a big dream that will get you up out of bed each morning greeting the day and saying, “I’m so grateful for this day. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to take steps that will bring me closer to my dreams. I’m so grateful be living my dream!” Once you begin living a purpose-driven life with the wind of grace filling the sails of your mission, everything you do will be imbued with intention and passion.
Juanita: Why do so many people struggle with reaching their own potential?
Kieran: Most people struggle with reaching their own potential because of a lack of vision and focus. Once you know the purpose of your life and once you are passionate about it, there is little that can stop you from realizing your dreams. Life becomes a breeze and you cannot help but sail to success.
This is not to say there is magic pill for success. Sailing takes time. My sailboat averaged about 4 knots as I moved down the coast of North America, about the same speed as walking. This is not a quick-fix solution, but an organic process that works. The good news is once you decide that what is important to you and you decide to get it, you are on the course to success. The voyage itself is the reward.
Juanita: You mention “choice” frequently in your book – Choose a destination, choose success…etc. What are your thoughts on choice and how it affects all aspects of one’s life?
Kieran: Choice is of integral importance. Not only does Jean-Paul Sartre say that at every moment that we are free, but also that we are chained to that freedom. At every single moment during the day you are free to do anything that you want. You can, at this moment, follow your dream, or you can deny your freedom, power and responsibility for your life. Most people decide to abnegate the power and freedom in their lives. This in itself is a choice. They do this because to accept the power and freedom that they have is to accept responsibility for where they are in life. They cannot blame their parents or their teachers or their genetics or their environment anything else for where they are at this moment. This can be difficult to accept for people who have blamed, complained, judged and justified all their life.
Taking control of your life is like coming out of the musty dark hold of a ship that has been battered at sea. You open the hatch and pull yourself on deck only to discover there are no sailors or captain on deck. To your utter amazement you understand that you are the captain of this ship, because it is the vessel of your life. You stagger to the bridge and take hold of the helm in your shaking hands as you turn the ship in the direction of your dreams.
Choice equals creation. Once you realize you can do anything at this moment, the world becomes an incredibly beautiful place full of potential and flow. Oh sure, there will be times when you need to vacuum the house, wash the dishes and change diapers, but when you do these task under your own volition, fully in the moment, knowing that they are in alignment with the big dreams you are passionate about, day-to-day work become exhilarating.
Juanita: How important is spirituality in the achievement of success?
Kieran: Spirituality is a major component of success. Everything is imbued with spirit and energy. There is a life force that flows through us and all things in the universe. The chair you are sitting at, your computer and your body are made up of electrons and energy which flows from one object to another. Another word for this life force, this flow, this energy is spirit. Success is when life force flows through you in such a way that you have abundance in your life, material prosperity, balanced relationships, health, happiness, peace and presence. As you give freely of yourself serving others and as you follow your life purpose, you will find abundance flow into your life. You are in the flow, on a ship in the sea of life, and every moment counts. You can see people who have accumulated billions of dollars and yet they are unhappy. Better first to be happy, to be living life on your own terms, living your dream to your potential, connected in the Now – a spiritual being. The money, the health will follow once you begin to live your dreams.
Juanita: What significance do you give to meditation and journaling?
Kieran: The Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn said, “It is not an option not to meditate,” and I agree. Meditation is the best way I know to become free of the mind and the ego. Our mind is constantly active throughout the day with thousands upon thousands of thoughts. The thoughts we have today are the same thoughts we had yesterday and the day before. Our thoughts can imprison us because we identify with them. In a sense, we are possessed by our thoughts. So to become free, to become a discoverer on the seas of success, to break our limiting beliefs and thought patterns, we must first become conscious. Consciousness is awareness of what we are thinking and feeling in the present moment. It is to become Present. It is an awareness of the “I” that is doing the thinking. Meditation is the best way to become aware of the constant flow of thoughts and to learn how to turn them off. We are not the thinker. We are not the emotion. We are something much deeper, much more peaceful and full of grace. To experience that greatness, that internal power, that deep peacefulness and secret that dwells within behind the static of the thinking mind, is the key to the universe.
I believe in journaling also. Perhaps if I was a painter, the canvass would be my medium. In Voyage to Destiny: Sailing to Success, I recommend buying a Ship’s Log (a journal) to record your dreams, goals, successes and life lessons. A study at Yale University showed that the three percent of people who had written goals were worth more than the other 97% combined. Catherine Cox studied the habits of 300 geniuses and discovered that all of them were compulsive diary keepers. Studies have also shown that retention of information is greater when the listener takes notes. Retention becomes much more effective when the listener reviews the notes between 2 hours and 12 hours after the lecture. All these notes can go into your Ship’s Log. When I am reading, attending a seminar, or listening to an audio book, I have my Ship’s Log handy where I can jot down great ideas that will propel me to my dreams.
Juanita: How do our thoughts – positive and negative – tangibly influence our lives?
Kieran: As you think so shall you be. Think positive, abundant, peaceful and loving thoughts and your life will be filled with wealth, abundance, peace and love. This is tangible. This is reality. You literally create your reality with your thoughts. A theory as to how this works is that all things are energy. That red Lamborghini that you’ve always wanted is nothing more than a pile of atoms. Atoms are made up of electrons, neutron and space. Look more closely at the neutrons and electrons and they too are mostly space – space and energy. Your thoughts, too, are energy and energy attracts like energy. So if you hold an image of that red Lamborghini in your mind, you can literally manifest that car into your life. How it works concerns me less than that it works. You don’t need to know how engine works in that Lamborghini for you to get in and drive. Likewise, even through we may not be sure how thinking positively brings positive change in our lives, this should not deter us from thinking positively.
Juanita: Have you always had your positive outlook on life?
Kieran: I think I was born a positive, happy-go-lucky soul. I was also fortunate to come from a loving home and receive an excellent elementary education in a private Catholic school. However, with the onset of adolescence, a combination of arguments at home, a hard time in the public high school system and escape into drugs almost knocked that optimism and confidence out of me. It took me almost losing my life and two months in the hospital for me to realize how precious life is. I had to rebuild myself from the ground up and discovered meditation along the way. There is no looking back. I feel I learn something new every day. Through the light of consciousness I dissipate limiting belief systems that used to hold me back. I feel like a child again, with times of peace, wonder and extreme gratitude for the present moment.
Juanita: Who has inspired and influenced you throughout your life?
Kieran: In grade 4 or 5 I remember I was inspired by the life of St. Don Bosco. When Don Bosco was a very young man, he dreamed of a regal man and woman who dressed him for a great battle. The battle was on behalf of a multitude of poor, unruly and neglected children. He was told he had the character and traits to help these poor children, to conquer their unruliness and make them his friends. This dream was so powerful and vivid that it lasted for the rest of his life which he dedicated helping the throngs of abandoned young people living on the street in hopelessness. I love the stories of men and woman who where inspired by powerful dreams – from Joseph and his dream coat to Martin Luther King.
My two mentors right now are Eckhart Tolle and Dr. Wayne Dyer. Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now has put words and context to what I have experienced meditating. Every word of his books is pure gold. Dr. Wayne Dyer is a classic. His books have inspired me to higher levels of greatness and understanding of the human spirit. Like a lighthouse pointing a way through a channel in the rocks to new seas of human potential, his voice has guided me on my personal voyage to my destiny.
Juanita: Kieran, what would you say to someone that is struggling with finding their own personal power?
Kieran: Personal power can be generated by taking action on your dream. Procrastination is the opposite of personal power. Once you know your heart-felt purpose in life, you must take action. Every time you take a step on the path of your purpose, you generate personal power. For someone who is struggling with this process and is waiting for motivation I say, “Take action first and motivation will follow.” You must take action or you, the part of you that is most important, will be missing in action. At first your actions may be small (say buying a journal for your Ship’s Log), but notice how that small action makes you feel. That positive feeling will inspires you to take more action and generate more personal power. That first action has begun a perpetually expanding wheel of action to personal power to action to personal power. Soon you become unstoppable.
Juanita: Please tell us about Target Success Enterprises and your drive to help others achieve success in their lives.
Kieran: Target Success Enterprises is dedicated to help people and organizations realize their dreams. Working for a tier one companies I’m surprised to see the employees have no idea where the corporation is going. People and organizations need to follow the same process as a ship at sea. The first step is to ask the questions, “Where are we going?” and “How will we get there?” Then you must take action on your plan. In the case of an organization, the goal and the plan must be communicated to all the employees in person. If the organization is too large for the CEO to deliver the information at each location, then he or she has to delegate the message (in person) to someone who will. As with the individual, in a company of any size, understanding and communicating the goals and strategies of the company cannot be understated. Again the goal must inspire the employees to new heights of engagement, greatness and potential.
Juanita: How can your readers find out more about you and “Voyage to Destiny?”
Kieran: I encourage readers to visit my website at and send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Juanita: Kieran, thank you for this in-depth and inspiring interview. We appreciate that you had the time to talk with us today, and have given us much to think about. Do you have any last thoughts for your readers?
Kieran: Thank you so much, Juanita. I appreciate the opportunity to answer your thoughtful questions.
We have only one life to live. Seize the moment and make it yours. The world is at your feet. Simply set sail into the seas of your passions and desires and make your dreams come true.
American Dream – Myth and Reality
“Liberty’s Quest” is an amazingwritten by . She writes of her family roots which go back to the Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea of Greece. She openly shares stories of her early family life, which was centered on the customs and beliefs of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Liberty writes about her paternal and maternal roots, her parent’s marriage, her birth, and recollections of her siblings. She tells of family feuds, memories of school, her love for reading and of the impact of WWII on her family.
Liberty talks about her marriage to Poetry Pulitzer Prize winner James Wright. She describes her multi-faceted education in nursing, Jim’s family background, his teaching job in Texas, and of their sojourn in Philadelphia. Jim then enrolled for a year at the University of Vienna. With amazing insight and openness Liberty explains the psychological difficulties of their marriage. While in Vienna their first son Franz was born. Franz Wright later went on to become a Pulitzer Prize winner for his 2003 poetry collection, “Walking to Martha’s Vineyard.”
Influenced by a friend in Vienna, Jim enrolled in the graduate program in English at the University of Washington in Seattle. Jim excelled in his studies. Liberty found consolation in her work as a nurse and in caring for her new son. Their young Marshall did not eliminate the alienation of the broken relationship between Liberty and Jim. It was doomed from the start.
In an effort to find a new start as a single Mom Liberty moves from Minnesota to California and to create a whole new world for herself and her two sons. Her position in San Francisco provided advanced training in medical, public heath and psychiatric nursing.
In 1965 Liberty married Miklos M. Kovacs. Liberty gave birth to her third son, Michael Kovacs in 1966. The intervening years held more unhappiness and despair for Liberty.
Kovac’s attention to detail in the historical and cultural perspectives of her family is both fascinating and engaging. She has keen insights into relationships and the psychological needs of the individual.. Her writing is profound, strong, open, and well organized.
“Liberty’s Quest” is a courageous and triumphant story of making the most of unhappiness and despair. This is amazing epic of one person’s search for personal freedom.
9781931741965, Robert D. Reed Publishers
As Reviewed for Midwest Book Review
Losing one’s hair is probably high on the “disaster” list for most people, and I would imagine even higher for women than for men. That is why I found it so surprising – in the best possible way – that the cover of Leslie Ann’s ” If Your Hair Falls Out, Keep Dancing!” is so cheerful looking and so attractive. Looking at the cover illustration one cannot help but feel joyful and uplifted; having said that, I need to add that the author’s artwork, included throughout the book, lends a similar upbeat, positive tone to the entire book and makes it visually extremely appealing.
Leslie Annwrote a tremendously important and impactful book for people suffering from the auto-immune disorder called alopecia areata, which affects nearly five million people in USA. Having been affected herself – and with the most severe form of it, leading her to lose all of her hair everywhere – she is in the position to be not only highly informative, but also highly personal and compassionate in her writing. The book stays upbeat, giving hope – but not false hope! She offers advice for just about any “sticky” situation a person with alopecia areata might find her- or himself in.
The opening chapters deal with the facts about this immune disorder – what it is, what could possibly cause it (noreally knows…) and what could help alleviate it. Later chapters deal with the day-to-day living with alopecia areata – when and whom to tell about it, how to deal with your hair loss in different “extreme” situations (think sports and sex…), how to travel with wigs, how to choose the right wig and how to deal with loss of eyebrows and eyelashes as well as what your options are in such situations.
The last few chapters, while still practical, really deal with this condition from the psychological perspective, helping one accept the hair loss and coping with it in a positive fashion, as well as even finding some positive aspects in it. No more bad hair days, any? How about not having to pluck those pesky stray facial hairs ever again?
The Resources section at the very end of the book should prove to be an invaluable selection of contact information for both the general information about the disorder and sources for wigs and other items the alopecia areata sufferers might need or want.
Warm, upbeat, but first and foremost realistic and informative, “If Your Hair Falls Out, Keep Dancing!” by Leslie Ann Butler, would benefit anywith alopecia areata or anybody who in any way cares for or about somebody with it. Gorgeous illustrations turn it into a work of art and the written part turns it into a very valuable resource and a deeply wise work.