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This book has been on my list for quite some time.  I guess I am finishing up this year and this blog with the wonderment of a child!  I kinda like it!

This is the 3rd book of Wayne Dyer’s that I am blogging about, and I have YET to read one he wrote for adults!  Too funny!

Who wouldn’t want their child to feel unstoppable..like the sky’s the limit?  This book gives “10 ways to soar through life”.  I love the rhyming and the rhythm in this book.  The pictures are beautiful and bright.  It’s just a fun book to read.  And at the end of this book are little discussion questions to ask your child (or maybe even for YOU) to think about.

One of my favorite quotes in this book is “Take a breath and slow it down a hair; it’s not just the goal that brings you joy–it’s the path you take to get there.”  It reminded me of this journey and this blog.  I had no idea what the journey would be like, but I did have a very specific goal: 52 books in 52 weeks.  Of course, I assumed, they would be grown up books with grown up messages.  In my intellectual mind, I figured they would be deep and profound and oh so very serious!  And yet, here I am finishing this journey with 4 children’s books all with very deep and profound messages, but with a FUN flair!  If there’s one thing I have learned this year it has been to let go and in joy NOW!

So what are the 10 ways to soar through life?????  I guess I will share that secret with you, but you really should pick up the book and read it for yourself….since I won’t be sharing with you all the fun stuff that comes along with it!

1) You’re Great–No Matter What!

2) Persistence Pays Off!

3) Welcome the Unknown

4) You Have a Choice

5) Farewell to Worry

6) Peace Begins with You

7) Enjoy the Here-and-Now

8 ) Healthy Me!

9) Creativity is the Key!

10) What can you Give?

There you have it..now rush out to the store and pick up your own personal copy and give yourself a warm hug and smile!

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It’s interesting how and why some of these book have been read this year.  This one I already owned and it was in  my library.  It is such a beautiful little book, but I haven’t read it in years, and I didn’t remember how it even came to me.  (Though I found out on Facebook after posting about it..my Sis in Law (Misty) told  me she gave it to me *laugh*).

Anyway, 2 nights ago, my 18-year-old son, Nate, broke up with his 15-year-old girl friend who has been emotional unstable for a while now.  He has only dated her for like a month.  Really not long at all.  We were afraid that when he broke up with her, she would try to kill herself.  Well a couple of hours after he broke up with  her, that is exactly what she did.  She took 45 pills (so she thinks)….a mixture of OTC’s and prescriptions.  When she told Nate that she was doing it, we called the police and they arrived just in time.  She had already stopped breathing.  But they were able to bring her back.  It was very scary..still is, truthfully.

So yesterday, she asked me to come visit her in the hospital.  She told me she could use the support.  As I was getting dressed in my bedroom, I felt the need to bring something to her.  I looked around, and I saw this stuffed frog holding onto a hear that said “hug me”.  It was given to me by a very dear friend of mine when I was sick.  I decided I would take that so she would have something to hold on to when she was feeling sad.  Then I heard this inner voice say I needed to take her a book. I thought it was a book that Tracy (my hubby) had given  me years ago when I was very sad and needed someone.  I thought I knew exactly where it was.  I went down to  my library and looked, but what jumped out of me was Cassandra’s Angel.  I took it off the shelf and read it.

A little girl who spent her life hearing other people tell her that she was a mess, she was different, she was incorrigible, that she didn’t matter.  She was sad and felt alone.  But these were all someone else’s stories they were projecting on to her.  The she met her angel who told her that she is a light in this world and she was beautiful and smart and not to listen to other people’s opinions but to only listen to her own heart and light.

Such a beautiful story with beautiful pictures!  And it was PERFECT to take to a teenager who had just tried to kill herself…who was feeling all of these things….

So I took the frog and the book to the hospital and read it to Katie.  I gave it to her and told her that whenever she is feeling lonely or sad or less than amazing, to pick up the book and remember she is loved and beautiful and amazing!  I just hope that one day she will really understand the meaning of the story and truly understand just how amazing she is in her own right!

My prayers continue to be with Katie………

You just never know when a book is going to jump out at you…when you least expect it, the PERFECT book will call out to you….  have you been listening?????

So there I was, walking through the book store  making a bee line to the children’s section when I saw this cute little puppy dog on the cover of a  book and it was on sale for $4.98.  Add that to my to my favorite word ever, “Bliss”, it was a MUST HAVE!!!!!

I was once told that the quickest way to feel happiness is to play with a pet.  I wasn’t sure if that was true or not.  I have never been a big animal person.  I have always had pets, but I have never really been attached to them so I really didn’t understand this.  Until I was really sad and my cat came up to me to love me and make me feel better.  Then my dog would ask me to play and I would laugh so hard at him.  And I fell in love with my animals.  They have taught me some big lessons.  So it was fun picking up this book and learning some lessons on happiness from Trixie the dog.

I also have to say that it was fun reading a book by Dean Koontz that was on the “light and fluffy” side :).

This book was written from Trixie’s point of view, and was a little odd to read at first.  But as soon as I fell into the rhythm of the writing, it all began to make sense, and I really enjoyed the book.

According to Trixie, “the road to bliss is paved with dog wisdom.” And there are 8 steps.  I will not tell you what those steps are; that is for you to read and find out!  But here are some lessons I learned while reading Trixie’s thoughts:

1) Sit still and be quiet.  Meditation is good.

2)  The rising moon at the bottom of a finger nail is beautiful.  I  never really noticed this before!

3) Life without a cookie is unthinkable!

4) “Pleasure without beauty is just empty thrill”…kinda like Sex without love…..hmmm….same thing, yes?

5) “The world is a gift to  make you happy.”

6) “Here is what real meaning is like.  Maybe you’re meant to give kindness to one special child.  Child grows up, is healer or wise leader.  then your purpose was as big as any king’s, maybe bigger.”  Being a stay at home mom….priceless and so very important!

7) “It is what it is.”  “No Kidding.  if it isn’t what it is, then what would it be?  And if it is what it isn’t, what the hell is going on here?”

8)  “Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor vexation.” ~ St. Francis

9)  If I want to remain young, I must play and laugh more!

10) Grief is cleansing.

Bonus reminder:  Be grateful!!!!!!!!

This book is filled with such heart warming and profound wisdom..straight from the dog’s mouth!  You will laugh and maybe even cry while reading this book.  One thing is for certain, you will smile!!!!!

“Though I didn’t know it, I was in a dangerous place now.  Having determined that this world was the only one I had–or would ever have–here I was, in conscious mistrust of its core.  And on the other hand, it had been confirmed that the outside world, the one that I had been trying to escape into since I could walk, was not my home either.  I was a misfit in both places.  The only true home I had was inside the notes of music, inside the all-consuming world of white ivory keys and their black flat and sharp companions.”………….

The passage above comes early in this book, thoughts from a 14-year-old Adelaide.  Being raised in an  ultra-conservative home where a girl/woman’s hair was a glory to God, where dancing was not allowed, public bathing (swimming) was not allowed, as well as so many other “thou shalt nots” (as I call them).  From such an early age she wanted to run away and explore, calling herself a gypsy; yet she was stuck in a home with an overbearing mother and father who was emotionally absent most of the time. What she knew to be HER truth and what she was being raised with conflicted on a daily basis, and she found solace and place of “belonging” in her music.  I too shared this kind of confusion in my childhood faith and struggle in my home and solace in my music…..  this was just many of the similarities between Addie and I that I found between the covers of this book!

This book is such a beautiful and heart-warming journey “Walking From Religion to Spirit” (as the cover of the book says).  Isn’t this what this blog is all about?  Well kind of anyway, right?  I, too, was raised in a conservative Christian home.  Though admittedly I was allowed to wear what I want, dance, swim and certainly didn’t have any rules in my house.  The only rules in MY house were that you were to be a God-fearing, tongues speaking, baptised Christian.  Scratch that, these rules weren’t the rules of my house, but they were certainly the rules for ME.  My brothers didn’t have to live by these same rules.  I’m not sure why, but as I read this book and even typed that last sentenced, it dawned on me that possibly the reason that I was the ONLY child out of 4 that was supposed to live by these rules is because I was closest to my mother and I was expected to be a shining light for her.  (Mother daughter issues…….this book is filled with them!)

Anyway, back to the book.  I LOVED it!  I love the history behind the words.  I love the visuals created by the words.  Every time I turned a page, I felt like Addie could have been telling my own story from Religion to Spirit.  I even learned a bit bout my own father and the way he must have been raised (though Addie is nearly 20  years older than my dad would have been today).  More than just her spiritual journey, there are a plethora of insights into being what I call a “sacrificial mom” (or even wife)…of being that care taker.  I found myself self saying out loud…”Hey, Addie!  That is what I am dealing with right now!!!!  Thank you!!!”

All the way through I kept thinking how incredibly blessed I am to have Addie as a member of my church.  This book was released on her 90th birthday…at my church.  Even though I have been attending this church since January, I had never met her until purchasing her book and having her sign it.  When I smiled and wished her a “Happy Birthday” I had no idea just how much this book would  mean to me and how it would touch my life!  Now all I can think about his how truly blessed I am to have such an amazing woman and possible friend in my church.  I can’t wait to send her a card and thank her personally!

Addie’s story is such a blessing and inspiration to all women out there searching for their spiritual path…for all moms out there who give so much to their families…for all the wives who just might  give too much of themselves to their husbands….to women who suddenly find themselves empty-nesters and wondering what the heck to do next!  For all the women out there who say, “I’m too old to do this…..”  you should read this book!

Have you heard the saying, “the only thing constant in life is change”?  Addie’s book is a perfect reminder of that.   As a matter of fact, one of my favorite quotes in the book says, “For me, the status quo, however appealing, never shone as brightly as the radiance of change.”  You get to follow her journey as she moves from parsonage (the home of a pastor) to parsonage and finally to her own homes.  You get to follow her journey that starts in New York and ends in Idaho and takes you places in between.  You get to cry at the unfairness of abuse, face fear in the face of disease, revel in the feeling of first love, feel the darkness of depression and the climb back out to light.  You get to sit with Addie at the bedside of her loved ones as she says goodbye, and you get to say goodbye too.  You get the thrill of not just becoming a mother..but of becoming a grandmother AND a great-grandmother!  This book is a fascinating and exciting read!

I find myself having a hard time sharing what I have learned from this book, but I will say that there are no coincidences in life…….and just as Addie mentions being led to our church (CSL) for a reason (this book), I feel as though I have been led to CSL for a reason…one of them being this book!

I will close with this thought.  Lately, I have been feeling “old”.  I’m only 41.  Yes, this is young.  I never felt old until I started in a sport where the women start retiring in their mid to late 30’s and I was just getting started!  Trying to get onto a Roller Derby team at the age of 41 seems kinda crazy.  And with my new schedule, I will be 42 by the time I can get drafted!  That is even crazier!  Then to add salt to the wound I was inflicting upon myself, I started to read a book on menopause.  The book is written by one of my favorite, entertaining local authors, but the idea of me going through menopause just made me feel even older!  I had to stop reading it.  The next book I picked up was this one, and towards the end of the book, there is this great quote from Addie reminding me that 41 is still very young!  “The new energy breathed into my home lifted my spirits and supported the feeling that, at the age of eighty-three, I was entering the best era of my life.”

Go, Addie, Go!!!!

THE BEST $7.95 I HAVE EVER SPENT ON A BOOK!!!!!!!

This is a short 122 page book that will have you using just about as many tissues to wipe away the tears!

Okay, to be fair, I have to say that I knew when I picked up a book with this title, that I was going to shed a tear or two.  I knew I was picking up a book that was going to be heart warming.  But seriously, I had no idea just how much this book would affect me!

Follow the story of a young journalist on a mission to have her story land on page 1A (above the fold) of her newspaper.  Like they say about every goal in life, it’s not about the destination in life, but the journey TO the destination.  So true for this book and the story of our young Heroine.

Life is filled with so many amazing lessons about being strong, following your dreams, being forgiving and forgiven, never letting go, letting go, and giving back.  This book just reiterates all of that!

More importantly, reading this book reminded me of so many lessons in my own life, and lessons that I hope I have passed on to my children.  Though, to be honest, it can be challenging to pass on some lessons to your children without the same life shattering experiences to provide the ground work.

I have shared my story with my children numerous times, and I hope they have really HEARD it.

Christmas Fire

 

Christmas in my home was always exciting!  In 1980, this statement was never more true.  I was 11 years old and I had three brothers: Matt age 21, Mark age 17, and Michael 10. With 4 children in our house, you can imagine the excitement around the Christmas tree!  The Christmas season always started the day after Thanksgiving.  Each year, my mom would take us kids out to pick out the best Christmas tree; then we would bring it home and decorate it.  Soon after the decorating was completed, the presents started appearing!  From the moment the presents started appearing under the tree, right up until the magic moment on Christmas Eve when we opened our presents, my little brother and I spent countless hours digging through the presents, reading the tags, shaking them, and counting.  One year, we counted over 120 presents under the Christmas tree!  It was absolutely magical!  In 1980, the presents were already starting to pile up and Michael and I were counting the days until we could open our gifts!  Life had different plans.

 

It was a typical busy day in my home.  My two older brothers,  were both working.  I had been invited to stay the night at my best friend Noelle’s house.  My little brother Michael was home watching TV and my parents had plans to go out for the evening.  Michael was left alone for most of the early evening.  He decided he was going to make popcorn, which back then had to be cooked over the stove.  He had done this plenty of times, so it was no big deal.  After eating his popcorn he headed out to his friend’s house to spend the night.  The house was empty, until my parents came home and went straight to bed.  Then Matt and Mark came home and went straight to their rooms to sleep.

 

The next morning Matt was gone as soon as the sun rose.  My parents were up pretty early as well.  They went into Mark’s room to get the car keys, and they left (leaving Mark’s bedroom door open behind them).  Mark was the only person left in the house, and he was sound asleep; that was until the smoke woke him up.  Coughing, Mark woke up dazed and confused as the smoke-filled his bedroom.  He jumped out of bed and threw the stereo through his bedroom window and then he got himself out  He called the fire department and then waited.

 

I had just spent a fun night at Noelle’s house and we were riding our roller skates back to my house when we heard sirens heading in our direction.  We turned around, “Look, Noelle!  A fire truck is heading this direction!  I think it’s going to my house!”  Noelle looked in the direction of the truck, “No it’s not, Martha.  Just watch.”  We watched the fire truck race past us and down the street.  We watched as it turned right on my street.  A sickening feeling rolled through my body.  We skated faster towards my street and reached the alley that ran behind my house.

 

I looked down the alley and saw the smoke.  “Look, Noelle, the smoke is right where my house is!”  I raced to take off my skates.  “Martha.  It’s not your house.  Everything is fine.”  “No,” I said, “It IS my house!  I have to run!”

 

I took off running down my street, racing towards my house.  I saw the 2 fire trucks, police cars, ambulance, and neighbors all around my house.  The black smoke was spiraling into the sky, and I KNEW it was my house long before I ever got there.  When I was 3 doors down from my house Mrs. Mac stopped me and held me tight.  “Mrs. Mac!  It’s my house isn’t it?  My house is on fire!”  Mrs. Mac held me tight as I sobbed in her arms, “Yes, sweetie, it is your house.  Mark was in the house, but he is safe. No one else is home now.  Everything will be alright.”

 

Right after that, my brother Mark came running up to me.  Together we stayed in each other’s arms as we watched the firemen dowse the flames out with their hoses.  After the fire was out, the firemen came up to me one by one giving me hugs.  “Excuse me, Mr. Fireman, can you  tell me what happened to my pets?”  He held my hands, “Your dogs were in the back yard, and they are fine.”  “But, Mr. Fireman, what about my bird that was in my bedroom?  What about our cat?”  The look in his face said it all, and I broke back down into tears.  He couldn’t save my bird, and there was no sign of our cat.

 

Eventually, my parents returned home.  My oldest brother was called home and my little brother, Michael had been retrieved.  The firemen told us that the fire had started in the kitchen at the stove.  “Someone left the stove on, and that’s what started the fire,” they said. The last person in the kitchen had been Michael as he cooked his popcorn over the stove.

 

Since our family was so big, we had to be separated.  Each of the kids went to a different friend’s home, and my parents went to yet another friend’s home.  We were separated for a week or so until my parents could find a house for us to rent until my childhood home was rebuilt

 

Finally my parents found a small, run down house for us to move into.  It was too small for our family, and my little brother had to sleep in the living room on the rented furniture we had until our home and our furniture was repaired.  We moved into our rental house on Christmas Eve.  When we moved in, all we had to bring to the house were a few articles of clothing, rental furniture, and a metal card table with folding chairs for a dining table.  That night, instead of making our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of Tamales and Chili, my mom and I went shopping.  Instead of buying toys and games, my mom and I shopped for plates, silverware, pots & pans, groceries and some more clothes for the family.

 

Instead of wrapping presents and putting them under the Christmas tree, my mom emptied the shopping bags and put the items we just purchased on the card table.  These necessities were our presents, and for the first time in my young life, I realized what Christmas was really about.  It had nothing to do with how many presents were under a Christmas tree.  It had nothing to do with toys and games.  It had everything to do with family and love!  And the best Christmas present I could ever receive is the gift of my family being together happy and healthy.

 

There are so many great lessons in this book and with less than 2 months till Christmas and the stores already playing Christmas carols, I high recommend reading this book to restore some sanity in your life in regards to the holidays.  And with the invention of a child’s gift registry, I highly recommend having your children read this book..or at least sharing the message with them!  It just might change yours and their lives!

“What would happen if you discovered the primary love language of your spouse and chose to speak it consistently?”  This is the question Dr. Chapman raises in his book The 5 Love Languages.

I will be honest.  I heard about The 5 Love Languages (the book and the concept) several years ago.  At the time, I did not read the book.  I thought it was a bunch of….ummm….nonsense.  However, I did take the quiz.  My husband took the quiz.  My  kids took the quiz.  But we did nothing with it.

Maybe if we had done something with it, my husband and I would not go through the same cycle of disappointments that we go through every  year.  This year, that cycle hit us hard…harder than it ever has before.  We sought out a marriage counselor..thinking we (I) needed sex therapy.  (Maybe this is too personal to talk about on  my blog….but it’s the truth..and very vital in possibly helping someone who is struggling.)  Every year, my husband and I would “get into it” because he felt like he wasn’t getting enough sex.  I would take it personally and feel like I was being pressured into having sex.  With my history of sexual abuse, this did not go over so well.  But something has to give!  Something has to be changed if our marriage is to survive!  The fact is, we have been together for 27  years, and we love each other.  We do not want to separate and we want to make this work.  So we went to therapy..a sex therapist.  The only one in town, it seems.  But he was old…..VERY OLD.  So old, in fact, he couldn’t hear, couldn’t see, barely walk, and couldn’t remember what we said 2 minutes before.  I’m sure he had great things to say…back when.  But now, well, it just wasn’t working for us.  AND…he made it sound like it was *me* that was the problem.  I just had to suck it up and give it up.  That wasn’t the answer.  So we never went back.

I continued searching for something to help.  We watched the movie Fireproof that was based on the book The Love Dare.  The movie was “okay”.  It had some valid points, but it was highly Christian which was a turn off to my husband and myself.  It seemed to be more about “becoming a Christian” than saving a marriage.  So I thought that maybe the book would be a bit different…… I am currently reading through it on a day by day basis as it is a 40 day Love Dare.  I’m over half way through and will blog about that book when I am done.  At the same time, I decided to read The 5 Love Languages, and I loved it!

I’m sure you have heard about the book “Men are from Mars Women are from Venus”.  I have never read that book, but as I remember what I have  heard about it, I believe it is about the different ways men and women communicate.  5 Love Languages is about the different ways we all communicate our love.  So what are the 5 Love Language?  Words of Affirmation.  Quality Time.  Receiving Gifts.  Acts of Service.  Physical Touch.   In the back of the book, there is a “quiz” for both the husband and the wife to take (individually) to see what their Love Language is.  However, Dr. Chapman says you can also figure out what your spouse’s Love Language is by listening to their complaints.  Are they complaining you never talk to them?  Then Quality Time may be their primary Love Language.  Are they constantly asking you to do things or complaining you never help around the house?  Then consider Acts of Service.  If we listen to the complaints of our spouses, we will likely hear their Love Language. Also, I was told once as a teenager (by my mother in  law) that people do for their loved ones what they would have done for them.  Dr. Chapman says the same thing…..  Does your spouse constantly praise you verbally?  Maybe Words of Affirmation is THEIR love language.

All the way through the book, Dr. Chapman allows you to sit in on his counseling sessions and learn the ways in which he helps his clients.  You get to see how their lives and marriages change!  It’s a fascinating and eye-opening read.  I learned more about myself the way I wish my “love tank” would be filled…and more importantly, how I can help my own husband feel more loved.

Dr. Chapman explains that the “in-love” feeling we all get at the beginning of our relationships can last up to 2 years, but then what?  It might not even last a complete 2 years, and by then, you may already be married!  Then what do you do with the rest of your lives?  “That is what this book is all about.  How do we meet each other’s deep, emotional need to feel loved?  if we can  learn that and choose to do it, then the love we share will be exciting beyond anything we ever felt when we were infatuated.”

Lest you think this book is all about theory and not practice, let me set you straight.  At the end of every chapter, there is a little part called “your turn” where he asks you questions and challenges you to be better.  Do them!  Be an active participant in your life and in healing your relationship (or maybe just making it better).  It certainly won’t get better if you do nothing!  I have to say that my favorite chapter was Chapter 12 “Loving the Unlovely”.  It follows the story of a woman who felt like her marriage was done for but struggled between her faith and morals saying divorce was wrong and the feeling that she just wasn’t loved and there was nothing she could do.  Dr. Chapman gave her a 6 month challenge, and at the end……she had the marriage she had always dreamed of.

Seriously?  Can it be that easy?  Not sure “easy” is the right word.  It can be difficult to feel like you are the only one working on your relationship..and sometimes its not just a feeling; it’s the God’s honest truth!   But I found that trusting the process helps.   As I have been working through The Love Dare, even though I found myself resentful that *I* was doing it and  not Tracy (long story), I have been telling myself to trust the process.  I did my dares, and as I did them, I saw Tracy respond.  (I don’t think Tracy knows I am doing them…..at least I have made a point of not telling him.)  So, now, having finished The 5 Love Languages, I have decided to take the 6 Month Challenge.

My marriage is sacred to me.  I love my husband with all of my heart.  I always have and expect to always feel this way.  I knew the minute I saw him that I was supposed to marry him.  It was that “knowing” that has kept me strong over the last 27 years.  THAT is what I remember when I am hurting most.  I believe that when we are struggling in our marriage, it just means that its time to learn to communicate and grow again…..so here we go… more growing!!!!  Isn’t that what this blog…”The God Project” …is all about??????

So how about you?  Want to take the challenge with me?

 

BTW…..Dr. Chapman has also written a book on The 5 Love Languages for children!  Check out his website http://www.5lovelanguages.com

Looking for a quick, inspirational, entertaining read?  Look no further!!!

Since I am trained in the art of oral storytelling, I am a total sucker for a good storyteller.  Let me just say that the title “author” does not mean you are a good storyteller!  However, Johnna Johnson has a true gift!  Many people can TELL a story, but getting it into writing with the same flare is completely different.  Her life stories will make you laugh, cry, and feel like they are happening to you!  You will be thoroughly entertained!

With that said, this isn’t just a book of excellent personal stories.  These stories are used as excellent examples of how to actually live your life and put the principles of living in excellence and courageously in action!  The whole time I was reading her book, I took notes and followed along.  Her book suggests you use a journal or buy the companion workbook to this book; I just wrote in the margins (since I printed out the ebook).  I like having the notes right beside the text, so I can go back and re-read what prompted my notes :).

The 2nd paragraph into the actual text of the book says this about the prospect of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane:

“If you are like 99 percent of the population, my guess is that you would not jump.  Yet,  it’s at that very moment of decision — when we chose to jump, in spite of our fears — that we build the confidence we need to take full advantage of our potential.  When we choose to  jump, in spite of the fear, we choose to live lives with more adventure, passion, challenge, excitement, meaning, appreciation, accomplishment, and excellence.”

This paragraph totally sums up the life I chose to live at the beginning of this year….I have totally chosen to live fearlessly!!!!  I even have a blog post about “Just Jump” (my own experience)….so this book is perfect for me!!!!

Johnna Johnson suggests that there are 4 types of Action Zones in life:  Zombie, Comfort, Panic and Jump.  She describes all 4 of these and challenges you to figure out which one you are in….and if you are not in that Jump Zone yet, she challenges you to get there!!!  She gives you the tools to get there..you are not doing it alone!

I did have a good laugh though.  While I was reading about the comfort zone, she said this, “Instead, you choose to put on your warm woolen slippers, pour a cup of hot tea, and cuddle up with a great book with your favorite comforter–all in front of a warm, crackling fire.”  Ummm..ya…..that is EXACTLY what I looked like while reading this..minus the fire place (it’s not cold enough in Boise for that yet!)  I am in no way sitting in a comfort zone, but resemblance to my current situation while reading this book just made me laugh!

Like I said, her storytelling is amazing.  She tells a story of her sky diving experience, and she shared an image that I just loved:  “Do you know what happens when you put your leg outside of a moving airplane?  It slams up against the plane, confirming your insanity.”  I LOVED THIS!!!!!  How many times have you done something that you KNEW was crazy, and had something confirm it, yet you found the courage to face the fear and do it anyway????  Maybe that is why I loved this story.  I haven’t jumped out of a perfectly good airplane…yet…but I certainly have had the “OH MY GOSH!  WHAT WAS I THINKING????” moments!

Once again, this is a very short book, and if I shared everything I loved about this book, there would be no reason for you to run out and buy it for yourself!  So I will just share a couple of quotes I loved from the book.

“When we jump out of our comfort zones, we very often find that what we feared most was truly nothing to fear after all.”

“When you know where you are going, you are much more likely to reach your destination.”

“Success is a process, always in progress, so you will never be ‘finished,’ but you can get started today.”

“A setback is just a set-up for a come back!” ~ Mary Kay Ash

“Ultimately, your thoughts create your beliefs.  your beliefs create your feelings.  Your feelings create your attitude.  Your attitude creates your actions and your actions create your results.”

“How can you afford NOT to be doing something you are passionate about?”

“Feel the fear, then the faith, and Just Jump!”

There was one passage that really gave me a feeling of “relief” when it comes to my son, Nate.  “When you are crystal clear on what you want and why you want it, the impossible becomes probable.”   So my husband and I always worry about our son, Nate.  He has had some challenges when it comes to school and understanding things.  He often says, “I don’t get it.”  When he is cleaning, he says he is done, when I can clearly see there is still work to be done.  Nate says he can’t see it.  Now, just in case you might think its a “guy” thing….even my hubby could see where Nate still needed to get the job done.   It’s not a “kid” thing either, cause Omi Girl can see it.  It’s just Nate.  (I won’t get into the whole long story about him.)  I will just say that we have reason to worry about him once he leaves the house.  Soooooooo…..the other day, he asked if he could clean the garage for some money.  He wanted to earn enough money to buy Halo Reach (the new game that came out this week).  He kept asking me how much I was going to pay him to clean the garage.  I told him I didn’t know; we would just see.  Now, in the past, we have told him that his payment would depend on how well he did the job…hoping this incentive would help him do a more thorough job of cleaning.  And Nate didn’t know how much the game would cost.  Knowing EXACTLY what he wanted the result to be..being very clear with himself…he went out to the garage and cleaned it out.  When he was done, he parked the car in the garage and didn’t ask us to check it out.  The next morning I went out to the garage and IT WAS GORGEOUS!!!  I had no idea he knew how to clean that way!  There is hope!  If he is clear about what he wants and why he has to do what he has to do get what he wants and keeps his eye on the prize and not the process, he CAN do it!!!!!  I feel so much better now!

There are so many great teachings in this book.  I loved it.  It is only 54 pages long…can be found in hard back…with a companion book.  Seriously, if you are stuck in a rut and/or have goals you want to accomplish, pick up the book and get to work!  You will love it!

The minute I picked up the book, I was already prospering! Regularly it sells for like $7. The price tag on the book said $3. And I bought it for $1.50…Quite the deal! Prospering already!!!

This is a very small 64 page book; yet it is packed with timeless information that will serve you the rest of your life, if you choose to let it! Normally when I read a book, I underline quotations or ideas that I love and I dog ear that page so I can remember to go back to it when I blog. I found it very difficult to underline quotations in this book because I found myself underlining almost everything! This book is packed with affirmations to help you live a prosperous life! It also has very definite instructions on how to live your life so that the result is prosperity! It is very clear and concise!

If you are like most Americans (I won’t dare speak for other countries), you probably live pay check to pay check and are over extended. You probably worry about how a bill is going to get paid, and your next paycheck is already spent before you even see the money in the bank! Are you tired of living that way? I know I am!

My best friend is a single mom with 3 children. I adore her! She totally impresses me with the way she lives her financial life! She manages to have a savings account and I never see her worrying about how she is going to pay a bill. I don’t know how much she gets paid, but I know how much WE here at this house get paid, and our story is MUCH different! I often find myself asking the question, “Why?????” Granted, the way I feel about money is ten times (maybe even more) better than it was back in 2006! I have done alot of healing around money since then. Back then, I had severe panic attacks and was constantly worried about money and stressing over money. Not so much anymore. But now it’s time to peel back another layer and make some more changes!!!!

While reading this book, none of it was new to me. I have read and/or heard these principles before. Nothing new, but as every day is a new day and we are constantly changing, sometimes even things we have heard before take on new meaning to us. Thus is the case with this book!

Here are the steps to Prosperous Thinking:
1) Create a vacuum to receive: clean out negative/old ways of thinking/beliefs that are no longer serving you. Clean out your house, garage, closets, cars of things that are cluttering your space.

2) Get definite about prosperity: “write down on paper what you feel you wnat to be, have, accomplish, and experience for the day, week, month or year….Dare to be definite about prosperity, if you want prosperity to be definite in manifesting for you.”

3) Mentally picture your good: “Psychologists declare that imagination is one of the mind’s strongest powers. the more you dare to image your desired good as a fulfilled result, and the more you dare to live your mental images, the faster the imaging power of the mind will begin producing almost magical results for you.”

4) Speaking daily affirmations: you are definite, you are imagining them, now DECLARE THEM!!! “My world is the perfect creation of divine substance. The finished results of divine substance now appear as peace, health, and plenty is my world.”

Here is a thought I loved about this: “In the beginning the world was created by definite, spoken affirmations, as God declared, ‘Let there be…’ You can and should create your world accordingly, becuase you are created in the image and likeness of God, and you, too, have the power to form substance through your definite, spoken decrees for good.”

5) Declaring prosperity yours NOW!: “Also, give yourself the thought of increased good by thinking of yourself as already looking, acting, and living as successfully adn prosperously as you truly desire to be.”

(This does not mean spend as if you have all the money you desire…this simply means to FEEL and walk as if. Be grateful for it NOW! This has been a big problem for some who have read or seen the movie The Secret..or for some who have followed James Arthur Ray who encouraged you to spend on credit cards and live as if the money was there now..when it wasn’t. I saw so many people go into bankruptcy because of this.)

The last thought in the 1st chapter of this book was on persistance….which is very important. I loved this quote:

“Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is QUIT. that is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this ountry has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.”

There is so much more to this book. If I continued writing, it would be longer than the actual book itself. Since it is sooo short, I seriously recommend you purchase it yourself. It will change your life!

Leave it to me to find a spiritual connection to Roller Derby.  *laugh*

Okay, Roller Derby itself may not have a spiritual connection but when I plug into and the circumstances surrounding me and the Derby are considered, then there is a spiritual connection.  And I just have to write about it!

Ever since I was a little girl living in a roller rink (a rink rat) doing figure skating, speed skating, and disco skating I knew I was meant to be on 8 wheels!  I watched the roller derby on TV and told my parents I wanted to do that.  Instead, I was put into soccer and softball.  Okay, I understand that there are no youth leagues for roller derby so joining at the age of 10 might have been a bit impossible.  It doesn’t change the fact that I don’t think my parents liked the idea.  Let’s face it, the outward appearance of a roller girl is a little rough around the edges and the sport itself (especially back in the 70’s) looked brutal!  What Southern Belle mom would want that for her little princess?

Fast forward a couple of decades..okay..almost 3 of them.  Boise started its own roller derby league, the Treasure Valley Rollergirls.  I remember when they started announcing this and looking for league members.  I thought, “Wow!  That sounds like fun!”  I’m pretty certain Tracy encouraged me to try out for it then.  But truthfully, I was scared.  Over weight….hadn’t been on skates in almost 10 years….and really knew nothing about it.  Then every year after that, when I heard they were training for a new season, I would say, “I really want to do that.  I have always wanted to do roller derby.!”  And every year Tracy would say, “You should do it.”  Scared.

Okay, so here is where the spiritual stuff comes in.  You know I have been reading tons of books, right?  I mean that is why this blog got started.  52 books in 52 weeks:  The God Project.   A blog about self-discovery and my spiritual path and finding my own answers for God in my life.  It was going to be about more than just the books; it was going to include my experiences too.  So I did a firewalk centered around breaking through fear; and my intention was about breaking through the fear of starting my own roller rink/community center for children. I read a couple of books and heard a couple of sermons/seminars about FEAR.  Fear is there to protect us, but it is also a false emotion.  It doesn’t just protect us it keeps us from taking risks that help us grow!    It keeps us from change.  “What if I fail?”  “What if I look like a fool?”  “What if I get physically hurt?”  “What if I die?”  Die?  Seriously?  I was once told by a teacher to first consider the worst (death) and then expect the best!  Deep down, our biggest fear is that whatever we are afraid to do is rooted in the fear of death.  I don’t think Death is high on the “injury lists” for roller derby!  I think my chances are death are higher just crossing the street!  So with the worst considered..its time to expect the best!  It’s time to face my fears and show them who is boss!

I went to my first “Fresh Meat” (that’s what they call newbies to roller derby) practice a week ago.  RaeZer (the coach) worked me hard.  She told me I would hate her at the end of practice. (I didn’t.)  She kept telling me that she was working me/us harder than she has all season, and for my first day I was doing really well.  I kept hearing from the other league members that were there hanging with the Fresh Meat that I was doing really well and I had natural skills that could be polished. (Boy am I glad I grew up on skates!)  It felt great.  Then at the end of practice I was told that I should be at 2 practices a week.  Fresh Meat practices are Wednesday 6:30-8:30 and Sundays 10:00-12:00.  Rut roh!!!  I can’t make Sundays; that is church day (and time).  RaeZer said, I could come to league practices on Tuesdays.  Great!  I will do that.  Then it dawned on me:  “I just signed up for my Science of Mind class at church and I am committed for the next 9 weeks!”  I was upset.  I just got my nerve up to do Roller Derby.  Mike bought all of my gear.  And now this…….

You know, life has a way of throwing curve balls at you.  When you are afraid of doing something, and you set out to do it, it doesn’t mean it’s going to come easy.  It doesn’t mean that all the obstacles will fall away.  However, if you follow your heart…if you listen to your intuition…and you do what is right and best for you, everything will fall into place.  The Universe does not give to you what you can not handle.  It will  not give you a challenge without an answer; you just have to be open to it and step out in faith!

I had this challenge in front of me. I had to make a decision.  My spiritual life is so important to me.  Obviously…look at my blog!  Yet at the same time, Roller Derby  has been my dream for my entire life!  There had to be a way!

So I made a decision.  I emailed the rollergirls and explained my situation.  I decided I would make every Wednesday practice and I would make every other Sunday.  I never did hear back from them.  So I went to practice last night.  RaeZer told me, “Church is very important.  I understand if you can’t make it.  Just show up when you can.”  I knew I had made the right decision, and by doing so, the Universe gave me the confirmation and life is great.  I can have my church and derby too!

Have you ever seen roller girls?  Alot of them are “thicker”, “stockier”, “bigger”, “solid” girls.  Yes, there are some thin and very fit girls, but I think this may be one of the only sports where a girl my size can play and even feel comfortable playing.  Last night as we practiced and I did my drills, I could hear the other girls in the line saying, “Look at Martha go!”  “She used to be a figure skater.”  I could hear them saying good things about me, and after one of the drills I got back in line to hear two of the league members trying to find a roller girl name for me.  I’m not gonna lie, that felt great.  AND…..I realize that I must not get cocky.  I do not say these things out of boastfulness, but out of a knowing that I found my spot in the sporting world.  It was just another confirmation that I am in the right place at the right time!  A girl can’t afford to get cocky in Derby, you will get your arse kicked…especially if you are Fresh Meat AND cocky!  Not a great combination.  A “tough humility” is a good thing :).

It feels amazing to be my size and living life to its fullest.  To find a sport that I love and seem to be a natural at.  I was never very good at soccer, softball, volleyball or even tae kwon do.  I’m not a great runner, even if I did finish a marathon (by walking of course).  But roller skating?? I am pretty sure I was born with 8 wheels on my feet!  So here I am 236 lbs and finding a sport accepts my size and doesn’t blink twice.  It encourages me to get out there regardless of my size or even skate ability.  They will train you.  They will get you in shape (not to get you in shape..but to help you become a better roller girl).  Losing weight, getting stronger, getting leaner will be a natural extension of a sport you love and practice.  This is the way life should be, in my opinion.  Instead of being called obese or fat, you care called “solid” and praised for having hips!  Jammers can’t knock you over or push you out of the way because you are “bigger” than they are.  I guess its kinda like the guys on the front line of a football line up…ya know those guys who want to be 300#….  No I am not looking to be 300# and I’m certainly not looking to stay my size, however, I am thrilled to death that there is a sport that I seem to be good at and I love…and I can do at my size!

Remember when I read the Geneen Roth book Women Food and God and there was another one that I can’t remember right now, and they talked about the “waiting game”.  I gotta lose weight before I can do that….and always putting your life off until “it” happened.  Well I am no longer waiting.  I don’t care how scared I am.  I don’t care how hard it may be to make those laps around the track.  I don’t care how silly I might look while trying to get my “derby legs” underneath me.  I am doing it NOW!!!!

I am taking the Science of Mind class, and we were just talking about Affirmations this week.  I was feeling a little down on myself about my fitness and health routine.  For whatever reason, I just have a hard time staying committed.  I went to therapy for this last year.  And here I am again.  I have gained alot of the weight I lost last year back.  This doesn’t make me happy. I am obviously missing something; I’m just not sure what it is.  So while we were working on affirmations Tuesday night, this was what I was working on.  Rev. Jackie said that everything we want has already been created and is already there, just waiting to be revealed to us.  My perfect health and perfect fitness are already there, I just have to first believe it and it will be revealed!  This I know to be true.  So I go forward with my derby practice and I hear them tell me how good I am.  More importantly, I FEEL how good it feels to be doing these things well.  The more physical things I do, and do well, the more I feel my body’s perfect health and fitness coming into being!  So my  new affirmation:  I am grateful, excited and KNOW that my perfect health and fitness already exists and are within me!

And how do I know this????  Because I am a roller girl!!!  I participate in a sport that uses and stretches my muscles and my stamina.  It uses and stretches my emotional well-being.  It uses and stretches my intellectual well-being.  It builds my self esteems and I KNOW I am in the right place!!!!

I love the fact that I can take seminary classes at church AND be a roller girl!!!!  My life is truly blessed!

I know I must say this after every book I read….this is an amazing book!  Okay, it’s more than that, really.  I bought this book because Rhonda was hosting her Fearless Revolution Workshop at my church.  I figured I should read her book before I attended her workshop.  I started reading the book, but did not get it finished in time before the workshop.  Why?  This is more than just a book that you read straight through.  This book is a work book inside of a book!

In this book, Rhonda not only shares her riveting personal story of watching her father kill her mother and then turn the gun on himself, but she tells us how she over came this tragedy in her life and shares with us how we can do the same things she did to over come the fear in our lives that keep us feeling “stuck”.

Like I said, it is not a book you can just sit down and read through.  When you decide to pick up this book, make a commitment to yourself to DO THE WORK!  It will honestly change your life!  Buy a journal and a pen and get ready to dig deep!  Do the exercises, take the notes, and make sure you have the tissues sitting beside you!

As usual I sat down to read with pen in hand ready to take notes and get to underlining.  The very first thing I underlined and took notes on was on page 29: the definition of fear:  “Fear is both the cause and effect of the feelings, thoughts, or actions that prohibit you from accepting yourself and realizing your full potential…..It’s number one fear is to guard you against any negative feelings that would confirm your worst fear–that you are not good enough….Fear is the gatekeeper of your comfort zone.”

Like Geneen Roth’s book Women Food and God, Rhonda talks about playing the waiting game.  “Waiting validates our negative self-image.  When we wait, we feel powerless.  When we passively wait, we are living in fear.”  So obviously our goals, dreams, or visions are not just going to appear instantaneously.  There is no genie in a lamp that will grant us our 3 wishes; sure our wishes may be granted, but they usually take time.  That time looks like waiting, right?  Well you can actively wait!  What does that mean? How do you do that?  Well Rhonda’s book gives you all kinds of tools and answers.  Grateful lists, Acknowledgment Lists, Affirmations, Forgiveness and so much more!  This is a MUST READ for anyone who has a dream they want to accomplish!  She will work you through it and give you the tools you need to see your dreams become reality!

Not only did I see alot in MY OWN life that can be changed and adjusted with her words, but I also saw where my own 10 year old daughter is starting to form some limiting beliefs that (if she continues to use) will keep her from being happy.  Her most recent belief is “Whenever I am happy and excited about something, I get physically hurt.”  Why does she believe this?  Because on the days when she is soooo very happy and excited about something (like on  my 41st birthday we were going roller skating with some of her friends and her uncle was in town and there were alot of things to be excited about) she fell while roller skating and hurt her wrist.  Before that, she was excited about something else at school, and she fell and skinned her knee.  She has created this belief…..if she keeps that up, she will believe that being happy hurts.  YIKES!  How scary is that?  She is only 10!  But how many of us share that same belief or something like that?  Do you remember the day you created that belief?  Rhonda will walk you through it and help you remember and then tell you how to work through it!

And, if you get the chance, check out her website on Fearless Living and find out when she will be near your city.  Her 2 hour workshop at my church was phenomenal!    She is such an inspiration and so genuine!  I was blessed to be able to hug her, get her to autograph my book and get a picture with her…I will always remember to live fearlessly!