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“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!!!!


I have read hundreds of books in my life, and there are very few (thus far) that I believe can totally change your life..or at least have changed mine!  This book has done that!  It explains so much!

It is written by the founder of the Religious Science faith, Ernest Holmes.  His writing is definitely old-fashioned, which simply means it is written for college level reading.  Now a days, books are written for a 3rd-8th grade reading level.  Getting used to reading his books takes some time.  Once you do, you are in for a pleasurable and life-changing read!!!

I believe thoughts are things and they create our life.  That is a very simplistic way to describe what I feel and believe.  Based on this, I can tell you with absolute certainty that I have created the knee pain that I am feeling in my left knee.  How do I know this?  Well, as soon as I felt the slightest “negative difference” in my knee, I started to focus on it.  Then when I felt a pain, I focused even more on that pain.  Soon enough it was bad enough and not going away; I had to stop skating and see a physical therapist and a sports medicine doctor.  Surgery has even been brought up.  Great!   So, I have been wondering, “If my thoughts create my life, then how the heck do I *change* my thinking and reverse this seemingly physical imperfection?”

I found the answer in this book!  Seriously, I did!  I wasn’t even looking for it!  Let’s keep in mind, though, that once you ask the Universe/God/Creator/Source a question, It has to answer.  And it did!

You might be wondering why I picked up this book in the first place?  No; it has nothing to do with the title of the book, though I do love the title!  I am taking Science of Mind II class at church.  It is a required class to become a lay minister/practitioner in the Religious Science faith.  This is one of my dreams/goals :).  This book is one of my text books for the class.

I have only taken one week of the 10 week course, and we were only required to read 2 chapters of the book so far.  However, like all other books, once I start reading, I need to read all the way through so I can blog.  Besides the fact, it was a fascinating read!!!!

In Religious Science our prayer is called Spiritual Mind Treatment.  In Science of Mind II, we are focusing on daily spiritual practices which include prayer and meditation.  This book is all about that!  Prayer!!!!!!!!!  Ever since I was a little girl, I have prayed daily.  The difference between then and now is I no longer pray to a God up in the sky and ask him to do something for me.  I now pray an affirmative prayer realizing that God is not up in the sky somewhere, but right here and everywhere and I am part of God.  My prayers are realizations of the perfection in my (and others’) life that has been covered up by some limited belief I have held on to or created….usually brought on by some sort of fear.

Once again, I have gone through and underlined passages that spoke to me, and I found myself dog-earring most of the pages.  (Not helpful for blogging.)  I will tell you that chapter 2 is my favorite chapter in this book!  I kept underlining passages and writing notes beside them like “This is a great passage for Nick!” (Nick is my 21-year-old son.)  Here is an example of that, “Science of Mind and Spirit bears the same relation to religion that natural science bears to the laws of nature.  It is a science of mental and spiritual phenomena, and, as such, it appeals to adherents of all religious beliefs, as well as to those who have no particular religions conviction; it appeals to all students of life.”  My son, Nick, loves to study the different religious beliefs out there; he believes in science and questions the reality of a god.  This particular chapter discusses the marriage of religious faith and science :).  Here is another great quote from this chapter:  “The birth of spiritual ides into the human consciousness meets with three distinct reactions:  the orthodox say that God never intended such things to be, else He would have revealed them through His prophets; the materialist laughs at them; the child-like are receptive.”  This simply reminds us that Christ said in Luke 18:16, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.”

There really are some great thoughts in this book, and I have sooooooo many notes referring to some of my marriage challenges, my knee challenges, prayer, how your thoughts create your life…so much more.  So I will leave you with two more thoughts from this book…one is from the very beginning of the book and the next from close to the end…..

This particular thought was very appropriate to the title of this blog “The God Project”…

“But we must not go searching after God.  God is in you and in me.  therefore we each must penetrate more deeply into our own nature, and just so surely as we do, we will have a very marvelous experience.  We will find a dept to ourself that we have never realized.”     This has certainly been true of this blog and what I have experienced through this deep soul-searching through pages and pages of books and the opportunities I have experienced!

“If God is in every place there can be no place where God is not.  So in the midst of the storm there is a calm; in the center of every person’s life is pure Spirit.”  This was pure bliss to me!

Peace and blessings, My Dear Readers.  Peace and blessings!

Last weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of directing/leading the Idaho Women’s Retreat for women living with HIV/AIDS for the 2nd year. I may be the director of the retreat, but these women give me so much!  I learn so much from them each year…about strength, forgiveness, and so much more!

I had such a great time with them last weekend, and we even ended it in time for me to head to church.  Last week’s message was on Joy being the a quality of God.  I love “Joy”.  I feel it  every day, and after hearing about it at the end of the Women’s Retreat, I just cried…big ol’ crocodile tears from joy over flowing!

Rev. Jackie showed us the difference between Happiness and Joy.  Happiness is a reactionary emotion (something you feel because something good is happening) and Joy is a causative emotion (we act FROM joy not because of joy).  This is what I feel in my every day life. I feel joy in everything, even when some things just don’t look “joyous”.  Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)  Joy is INSIDE us already; we carry it with us at all times.  It just needs to be revealed to surrendering our worries and cares.

I have been told lately that I glow.  I believe I glow because it is the joy radiating from inside of me.  I live a life that is truly blessed, and I believe it is blessed in every area!  That doesn’t mean I don’t have my hiccups in life, it just means that I recognize the perfection in every part of  my life.  It also means that I listen to the GUIDance of God…my divine discernment.

Have you ever looked at the word “guidance”? Rev. Jackie, reminded me about the word’s significance in the message yesterday.  The word DANCE is the majority of the word.  Who doesn’t feel joy when they just dance?  Whether they just let go on a dance floor or find themselves dancing through life.  I tend to do both.  But the first part of the word is GUI (God U (you) and I).  God, U (you) and I DANCE.  When we ask for guidance from god and we let go and trust, then we will find oursevles dancing with God.  When we fight it..that is when we struggle and we lose our joy.

So how does this all work with the Women’s Retreat?  Well…here it is.

This year, no matter how hard I tried, I could not find presenters to present at the Women’s Retreat.  I asked everyone I knew.  Even the ones from last year who said they wanted to participate this year wouldn’t return  my emails or phone calls.  It was crazy.  So I asked God for discernment and GUIDance.  What I was told was that it was all perfect and that it was time for me to present my own workshop…one that I had prepared years ago.  The Hero’s Journey.  I was to present this to the women to help them find their own Hero inside their HIV journey.  Once I realized this, I was completely at ease.

And of course, it WAS perfect.  During the workshop, one of the women said that her boyfriend had been studying alot of Joseph Campbell’s work and now she has a better understanding of what he has been looking at.  It has really helped her understand.  Not to mention, the original intention was to help the women find their own Hero within, and that is exactly what we did.  There were some “a-ha moments” over the weekend.  We had a great time!  The weekend was relaxing and done perfectly…time to learn..time to reflect…time to laugh..time to share stories with each other.  It was beautiful and easy.  We “danced” through the weekend.

These women are beautiful and powerful.  I have learned so much from them, and it is my pleasure to be of service to them.  One of them kept saying how good I am for giving so much for no monetary value.  I don’t know how “good” I am, but I do know how “blessed” I am.  This is my calling, and when you follow your calling, all things fall into place.

As I prepared for the weekend, and I surrendered to the will of God and what was supposed to be, I watched everything unfold.  And I remembered the very moment in which I was called to be a retreat director.  The vision I had for the women’s retreats was completely different than what I do now, and there is no question in my mind that what I do now is EXACTLY what I am suppose to be doing!

Psalms 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  I have listened to the divine discernment and GUIDance given to me and I experience the fullness of joy at every turn!  I am so very grateful!

When was the last time, you just let go and Danced with God and felt the Joy that is within you already? Just try it, you won’t regret it!

Let me just say that I think I am in love with Christopher Moore’s writing!  When a friend of mine first suggested I read some of his books, I had my doubts.  Can a writer really be THAT good?  I have since discovered, that “Yes, Virginia, a writer can be that good!”  He can be serious and witty all at the same time.  His writing sucks you in and will make you want to sit in one place until you are done reading the book.  THEN…you will want to rush out and buy another one of his books!

I seriously think that if you are in a bummer of a mood, then you should just pick up one of his books and settle in for a good laugh.  They will certainly lift your mood :).

So…Lamb, The Gospel According To Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal.  Really?  Christ had a childhood pal?  Who’dathunk?  In all of my Bible school classes, I never even thought about Jesus having a regular childhood filled with the joys, pranks, and heart breaks of a regular child.  But why not?  I  mean, in church we were told that Jesus was sent here to earth to live a regular life and be the example of what a perfect sinless life would look like, right?  So in order to do that, wouldn’t he need to have friends/relationships that would tempt him?  Maybe that was Moore’s inspiration when he wrote this book.  I have no idea, but I do know that this book was amazingly funny and insightful.

At the very back of the book, there is a section that is almost a disclaimer i.e. “The names and identifications of the people in this story are fictional but the story is based on truth.”  Okay, that is not what this says, but you get the idea.  Moore does say that he didn’t write this to change your mind on what you believe, but if you do..well then…that’s up to you.  He does say that no one really knows what happened to Jesus  when he disappeared at the age of 10 or so, and that is what Moore says happened is his story.  He did borrow from other religious beliefs and from some of the stories of the Bible.  And from what I know from my studies, he did a great job!  In my opinion, this book while not meant to change our thinking or to prove a point did have some very profound statements and quotes and did make me think a bit about things.

On page 10 of the book, I found one of my most favorite quotes, “Children see magic because they look for it.”  From my studies in Wicca and just from my observations from raising 3 children, I know this to be true.  Children believe in the impossible and are fearless because that is the way we are inherently created.  It isn’t until an adult tells them otherwise, that they stop believing in magic and start becoming afraid of things!  Now think about the Miracles Jesus is said to have done and think about him as a child learning to perform these miracles.  What do you think his friends thought about that?  Then think about the way the ADULTS in the Bible stories reacted to these things….”IMPOSSIBLE!”  If we could only live and see life through the eyes of children!

On a personal level, one of the funniest thoughts/arguments in this book was whether or not Jews should eat Bacon.  When I was younger, I belonged to the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and they ate much like the Jewish people (minus the Kosher part).  We ate only “clean” foods which meant no pork.  So I gave up eating pork  for a couple of decades.  In Lamb, there is a conversation about different types of sin where Joshua (Jesus) basically said that God had a change of heart and we are allowed to eat pork but all other sins like adultery, stealing, lying, killing…..those were all still wrong.  I just thought this was funny.  This subject is mentioned a couple of times in the book, and each time I just got a huge chuckle out of it!  If you were one of those  people raised to believe this way, I’m sure you will get a chuckle too :).

Then there is the serious side of this book.  A big chunk of this book tells the story of what happened when Joshua disappeared between the ages of 10-30.  I don’t know about you, but I have heard different things, like he went to Egypt to learn the Mysteries there.  I guess Moore heard these stories too, because he takes Joshua on a journey to learn how to become the Messiah, and on this journey he studies with different people.  And this is where some of the seriousness takes place.

“The three jewels of the Tao:  compassion, moderation, and humility.  Balthasar said compassion leads to courage, moderation leads to generosity, and humility leads to leadership.”  This isn’t the first time I have heard that to be a good leader you must be humble.  Actually, I had just heard a speaker during a leadership meeting for Junior League say the exact same thing!

Here is another one of the passages I loved:

“What does the Tao value above all else?”….”inaction.  Contemplation.  Steadiness.  Conservatism.  A wall is the defense of a country that values inaction.  But a wall imprisons the people of a country as much as it protects them.  That’s why Balthasar had us go this way.  He wanted me to see the error in the Tao.  ‘One can’t be free without action.'”…”The compassion, humility, and moderation of the Tao, these are the qualities of a righteous man, but not inaction.”……

“Confucius is like the Torah, rules to follow.  And Lao-tzu is even more conservative, saying that if you do nothing you won’t break any rules.  You have to let tradition fall sometime, you have to take action, you have to eat bacon.”……

“Change,” Joshua said.  “A Messiah has to bring change.  Change comes through action.  Balthasar once said to me, ‘There’s no such thing as a conservative hero.’ ”

He’s right.  I can’t think of one Hero that was conservative.  To be a Hero you must take radical change.  Go against the grain.  Take chances.  Takes risks.  Break the mold!  Even let traditions fall….You have to realize that sometimes rules or agreements or whatever are created for a good reason BACK THEN, but that doesn’t mean that those reasons still stand.  Once we realize that something is “wrong” or not sitting well, it’s time to take a good look at why we do those things and really consider whether those decisions are still serving us.  If they are not, then make the change…even if it means ruffling a few feathers.  For that matter, on a very personal level, be your own Hero!  What in your life isn’t serving you?  Where are you just coasting by doing the same old things living the same old way and know that it’s not serving you?  Take a risk today to do something different and make your life better!  Stop being “conservative” and live your life OUT LOUD!!!!  EAT SOME BACON!!!!

Here’s another great thought and passage:

How many times have you heard this from someone in your life…..”If you already know everything, then how will I be able to teach you?  You must empty your cup before I can give you tea.”  LOL.  Right now I am taking a class called Science of Mind at my church.  And Rev. Jackie (our teacher) told us to take everything we ever learned in Sunday school or in other churches or other religious beliefs and forget about it for the next 10 weeks.  You can’t learn something, if you already know everything.  Then once you have gone through this class and have completed it, forget about it and get out there and start living!

“When you sit, sit.  When you breathe, breathe.  When you eat, eat.”….”Without the past, where is guilt?  And without the future, where is the dread?  And without guilt and dread, who am I?”  So many of my own spiritual teachers and even the books I have blogged about in this blog have said the same thing……..

Here is another thought that mirrored what I think and what I have been learning in my Science of Mind class:

“Love they neighbor as thou lovest thyself”….”for he is thee, and thou art he, and everything that is ever worth loving is everything.”  In other words, God is everything!

This thought just made me laugh:  “It’s very difficult to stay angry when a room full of bald guys in orange robes start giggling.  Buddhism”

A thought on compassion, and it describes the way I feel most of the time, “He loved constantly, instantly, spontaneously, without thought or words.  That’s what he taught me.  Love is not something you think about, it is a state in which you dwell.”  I  just thought that was a beautiful sentiment and description of the way we should all live our lives.  I know so many people who live their lives this way, and let me tell you from personal experience…..It is bliss.

There are so many great laughs and profound statements between the covers of this book.  But I will leave you with one last one, “What I am, is in you all.  the Divine Spark, The Holy Ghost, it unites you all.  It is the God that is in you all.”

One more thing before I end this blog.  There are alot of great nuggets of wisdom in this book.  These nuggets come from a few different spiritual traditions.  If you decide to pick up this book and read it, please realize that this is not supposed to be a true story and it is not supposed to be taken seriously!  It is satire, people!  With all of the wonderful insights I found in this book, you will find even more sex, scandal and plain silliness!  If you are easily offended, this may not be the book for you.  And if you don’t take yourself or your spiritual beliefs too seriously and you have a sense of humor about life, then by all  means, pick up this book and get ready for a great time!!!

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!

I picked up this easy to read 135 page book when I went to see His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar while he was here in Boise.  Until recently, I had never even heard of him but all of a sudden, I have seen him twice in 2 days (1st a major public appearance and 2nd at a private gathering at my church) and now I have read just one of his books.  When I went to the resource table at the big event, I looked around at all the books and all the cd’s that were there.  The title of this book is why I ultimately chose the book.  I can always use a little more fun in my life.

This book touches on the topics of fun, true intimacy, the four approaches to practical and spiritual life, real laughter, dealing with feelings, the nature of God and being a fool.  When I picked up the book to check it out, I noticed these topics and thought, “Wow!  This should be a fun read…, laughter, being a fool!  That’s right up my alley!”

I have to say that when I started reading the book, I kept hearing Sri Sri’s voice as if he was saying it to me instead of me reading it.  It made reading this book so much more fun.  I saw his gentle smile and heard his laughter in the words he wrote.  I saw the mischievous look in his eyes when he cracked the jokes.  It really did make this book that much more enjoyable.  But even without that first hand experience with Sri Sri, the book is a very easy and enjoyable read.  It does get into some very deep thinking, and I did have to re-read things on several occasions.  This is definitely a book that will need to be read a couple of times.  Good thing it only takes a couple of hours to read to begin with!

So what did I learn?  It is more about what I re-learned.  I take things too seriously.  Reading this book just reminds me of that.

  • I learned that God loves fools and that being foolish is really being more like God than being this serious person is.  The chapter on being a fool was very enlightening!
  • I learned more about laughter!  I have taken laughter yoga classes, and this just reiterated what I learned from those classes.
  • He also talked about observing our feelings; this is something I was working on in therapy.  This is also something I read about in Geneen Roth’s book.  So here I go again, re-learning it in this book.  Being mindful of my feelings, allowing myself to feel them, and then let go.  Sri Sri suggests taking the feeling to its height (which may mean feeling at your lowest) and once you have done that, you have  felt and experienced all there is to feel with that feeling and it will just disappear.  How cool is that?  He says to feel it, but not to act on it.
  • Stop paying attention to happenings.  When we are attached to happenings, we create opinions, then we are stuck and attached to them.  We are living in the past and we will never remain open to new experiences and live in NOW.
  • “An enlightened person may not say, “I love you so much.”  In the very presence, you can feel the love.  In the very breath, you can experience love.  In the very look, you can experience love.  In any word spoken, you will hear that it is full of love.  The very existence is love.  That is enlightened love.”
  • “True intimacy is not in a hurry; it’s not anxious.  It relaxes, it knows.”
  • I am you.  You are me.  We are God.  We are all one creation/mind manifesting itself in different bodies.  This brings a whole new depth to the belief that we are One.  The book explains it so beautifully :).
  • In most of our problems, the biggest issue we have is the fight we have with our mind.  This is so true.  When I am miserable or depressed or stressed, it is because of an issue/conflict I am having within my mind.  It is MY experience, my THINKING that is causing me so much distress.  Sri Sri talks about letting go and surrendering.  and Forgiving myself.
  • This is one of my favorite paragraphs in the book:  “Thinking is like chewing gum.  It doesn’t produce anything.  You can think about only those things which you know.  and once you know, what is the need to  think about it?  And you can’t think something which you don’t know.  How can you?  It is not possible.  Ultimately, thinking is useless!!!”
  • Here is a great strategy for life:  “See life as a game, as a play.  You are God, you know it.  I am God, I know it.  So let us play. And when you come from that level of consciousness, there is nothing to teach.  Only being.  Come and sit, be with me for a while.  That is enough, for you and I are one.  This is love,  isn’t it?  That is what God is telling you every day, ‘I am doing everything.  You come and sit with me.  Whatever needs to be done, I will get it done through you.  You simply stop existing.'”  I know I am guilty of taking life too seriously..always looking for a connection to God..always learning..always searching.  It’s what I do.  Yet, I have found recently that all I want to do is do things that make me smile, feel joy and live.  I find myself wanting to PLAY and be joyful.  Not only am I WANTING to do this but I AM DOING this.  It’s pretty darn cool!

I will close with this last quote found in the chapter about being a fool.  “George Bernard Shaw said somewhere, ‘Cricket is a game where eleven fools play and eleven thousand watch.’  It is true.  All games are foolish acts.  A game is a game because it is foolish.  If you find meaning, purpose, aim and competition, you destroy the whole game.”  How about we just stop looking for the meaning of life, and just in-joy it!  Have fun!  Play!  Laugh!  And just BE!

“Your well-being is reachable, for its maximal potentiality has never left you.  You have simply forgotten where it lay.”  This quote can be found toward the end of Hanle’s book, but it states very simply what can be found in the pages of her book.

Last summer when I started on my weight loss journey (for the umpteenth time) I decided that I really needed to see a therapist.  I have done the yo-yo dieting since my teenage years.  I have done so much spiritual studying.  I knew that this wasn’t just a matter of the scientific method of eat fewer calories than I am expending.  My up and down weight issues are the result of something deeper.  Therapy worked to a degree.  I learned alot.  But there is still so much more to learn.  It was a great starting point.  This Blog project picks up where it left off.  And then this book comes my way.  This book talks exactly about what I have been feeling.  It takes the reader on a journey of awareness to the realization that our thoughts create our reality.  Yes, that means that our thoughts have created our obesity!  MY THOUGHTS HAVE CREATED MY OBESITY!  In the very last chapter she actually states that “obesity is a choice”.  It  may be an unconscious choice, but it is a choice I have chosen none the less.  Once we have this awareness, we can now begin to get to the root of the issue and change our perceptions!  Fantastic!

Hanle admits “this book will surely challenge everything you  have heard or read about weight loss.”  Well isn’t it about time that something/somebody does that?  Look around, America, obesity rates in adults and children are on the rise.  With all the diets, all the gyms, all the resources in this free country, we are STILL getting bigger and bigger.  What’s the definition of insanity?  Well it’s about time we start doing and thinking things differently!

Beyond Fitness contends that to really start changing our lives and living healthier lifestyles, we must first understand 4 Universal Principles.

  • The Core Thought Principle:  the beliefs on which we make our choices.  There are only 2: Love or Fear.  If all of our choices are coming from a Self belief of Love, then our choices will be healthy (physically and emotionally).  If our choices come from a Self belief of Fear, then the result will likely manifest in health issues such as being over weight.
  • The Cause and Effect Principle:  “Choices create actions.  Actions create reactions.  Actions and reactions are consequences.  Desiring another consequence implies choosing differently.  choosing differently implies creating new possibilities of thinking.”  This section also talks about how addictions are created and you really start to see how the yo-yo dieting is perpetuated by your thoughts (or at least I did).  I also started to see that I have to really take responsibility for my own actions.  I can’t blame my parents for this.  I can’t blame anything or anyone for this.  What I do and what I see are direct effects to the actions to make based on my beliefs.
  • The Common Denominator law:  Many of us tend to live our lives in victimhood.  Why do I always end up with a broken heart?  Why do I always get involved with the “bad boy”?  Why is it that these diets just never work?  So take a look at your failed relationships (whether romantic or platonic) and take a look at your diets.  What has been the “common denominator” in all of them.  YOU.  Or when I look at myself…”ME”.  It’s not the relationships that fail me or the diets that fail me.  Its ME that fails me.    “What happens to you belong to you.  You are either the unconscious or the conscious creator of your perceptual reality.  Nobody can claim this ownership and no one can undo what you  have done.  So, embrace your creative power and start to make the changes in your Life that will make each of your days a blessing……Be the one who makes the difference in your life the one who makes the difference in other people’s lives.  Let your example of courage inspire others on the same path.  Be this someone who experiences a Life that is free of the burden of misery.  this existence that we all deserve is success, and peace will lie within.”
  • The Impermanency Law:  Life is fluid and always changing.  NOTHING stays the same.  We can choose to follow the flow of the current evolution.  We can decide that we like what we see right now and continue to make the same choices every single day that perpetuate the state of living that we are living now…OR..we can decide to make a difference choice that completely changes the path of our own evolution.  Which would you rather?  “Life, in some ways, repeats itself, as long as the need for understanding remains.  but a wider consciousness can lead our hope for happiness to a great level, by opening doors to a multitude of possibilities we previously feared.”  When I read this section of the book, I thought about the cycle of physical, emotional, sexual abuse in my family.  I decided when I found out that I was pregnant with my first child that I would break this cycle of abuse.  Well my family also has a cycle of obesity; and I have decided to break that as well.  Plain and simple.  What kind of life do you choose to live?  What in your life needs to change in order for you to live the life of your dreams?

This book also comes with a practical guide to help change your beliefs.  This process is called the F.A.C.T. Factor Strategy:  Forgiveness, Attitude, Courage, Time.  Hanle suggests that you read through the book before doing the exercises she gives you…so that is what I have done.   In this section of the book, there are numerous deep thoughts and amazing quotes, and I will leave you on your own to discover them for yourself.  They will mean more to you that way :).

“The energy we use to create our Life can not be destroyed, but its movement can be redirected.” In her chapter called “The Modus Operandi of Empowerment” she shares with her readers all of the things/beliefs she felt were important for her own weight loss journey:  Faith, Visualization, Affirmations, Repetitions, Prayers, Synchronicity/Coincidence, Curiosity, Meditation, Finding a Mentor, Relaxation, Discipline, Water Intake, Breathing, Muscles, Flexibility, Food Intake, and Books.  (BTW…I LOVE her list of suggested reading :))

Hanle also talked about the power of your words.  This is the same kind of concept as discussed in The 4 Agreements.  Your words are how you create your world.  Be careful with them.  Mean what you say and say what you mean.

When she talks about the differences between creation and limitation, her words created a beautiful vision for me, and I would like to share that with you.  “Fully express your self by being free of limited paradigms and limited perceptions.  the beauty of our reality lies in its impermanency and its endless possibilities.  reveal the limitless resources within by setting its boundaries out of sight.  Empower your very center and build your body like a cathedral.  Be your own architect and design the temple you foresee.  Enjoy the journey.”

She ends her book by talking about our future…..our children.  Let us not pass on our own fears and insecurities to our children.  Let’s leave them a legacy of  physical and emotional health.  Let’s break the cycle of Obesity in America!  It starts NOW.  It starts with you and me!

There are so many great quotes and thoughts in this book.  I swear Hanle was writing my life story in her book!  It truly spoke to my heart.  (Is it  just me, or do I say that about all the books I blog about. *laugh*)  She continuously says that this book is filled with Truths, not THE truth by A truth. You get to decide if it’s Truth for you. As for me, it is absolutely Truth.

It’s funny how names of books and authors come to me along this journey I am taking.  One of my friends on Facebook (whom I’ve never met) and I got into a conversation about books, and she said her favorite all time author is Christopher Moore.  I had no idea who he was or what kind of books he wrote.  She told me he was a satirical writer and if I was in the mood for a laugh, I should check out his books.

It was time for a new book, so I headed to the book store.  I looked up Christopher Moore and saw lots of books about vampires and death; not really my thing.  I kept looking, and I found this book.  I will be honest, I was looking at the numbers of pages too.  *laugh*  Having never read any of his books, I wanted to  make sure it was a small enough/doable enough of a book to be read in a week’s time.  If it was gonna be a slow and long read for me, I wanted as few pages as possible.  Is that bad?  It’s the truth.  However, this book spoke to me the minute I picked it up.  Any book that talks about mysticism and Native American Spirituality is right up my alley!  SOLD!  I thought, “There might actually be some teachable moments in this book!”  And to my delight, there was!

As promised, Christopher Moore is a very funny and talented writer!  The read was quick and fun (always a good thing when you are doing 52 books in 52 weeks!)  The storyline was captivating, and you couldn’t help but be drawn in to the drama, humor, and journey!  I even told my hubby that he would like the book (we don’t often like the same books).

Coyote Blue takes Samson Hunts Alone (Sam Hunter) on a true hero’s journey as outlined by Joseph Campbell (mythographer) and throws in the trickster archetype for some humor and adventure!  It’s a love story, but not just boy meets girl, but a love story with Self!  It actually went well with last weeks Celebration Message at the Treasure Valley Center for Spiritual Living.  (Didn’t see that one coming at all!)  This is what I wrote at the end of one of the chapters: “When we stop struggling and start dancing with God (accepting who we are and acknowledge the Divine within) and we live the way we are supposed to, everything falls into place.  We don’t have to DO we just have to BE.”

This book is about courage, self-acceptance, love, overcoming fears, family, community, hopes and dreams!  This book has such depth, it is actually kind of hard to write about it in a cohesive way.  I guess I will just encourage you to read the book and enjoy it!  In the mean time, here are some quotes from the book that I found interesting:

  • Why understand when you can believe?  For Calliope, every event was mystical and every moment magical; a flat tire could be a manifestation of karma, or a lizard might be Jimi Hendrix.  If she fell in love too easily and got hurt too often it wasn’t bad judgment, it was just faith.
  • Now you quit being afraid of things that ain’t happened yet.
  • To be safe is to be afraid.  Is that what you want: to be afraid?
  • Anger is the spirits tell you that you are alive.
  • If you are going to learn, you need to forget what you know.
  • That’s the scary thing about hope.  If you let it go too long it becomes faith.
  • Action based on hope just felt better than the paralysis of certainty.

At the end of the book, there are some great discussion questions.  I didn’t even see those when I bought the book.  *laugh*  This book is obviously marked for a book club; and it would be a fantastic read!  It has some great thoughts to sit and meditate on.  It has some great laughs.  It has some steamy love scenes.  It pretty much has it all :).

As a mom, a voracious reader, and a mentor to young women I like to find books for my children that teach the same kinds of things I’m reading in my adult literature.    Some of the young women I mentor are behind in their reading, and let’s face it, some of the books I have read and blogged about are going to be over alot of elementary school kid’s heads.  So finding Wayne Dyer’s books is a true blessing!  And YES!  I’m counting each one of them towards the 52 books in 52 weeks.  Sure they are children’s books, but the lessons are just as profound…and fun to read!  So if you have children in your life, this blog is for you!!!!

I loved this book.  It reminded me of when I was a kid and I told my mom that I wanted to be a puppeteer when I grew up.  We were going to church that had a very active children’s choir that was constantly performing something.  During a couple of those performances, I got to do a huge puppet production. I loved it!  I also loved to act.  And there was a Christian college in town that actually had a degree in puppeteering!  It was perfect for me!  But my mom blessed me with her stories regarding this dream of mine.  “That won’t make you any money.  That is not a real job!”  So I dropped it.

As adults, we mean well.  All we want for our children is that they grow up and be productive citizens working in a job they love, and maybe even make alot of money doing it.  For some that means college.  For others, well it means getting a job at McDonald’s.  Any job that is legal and makes money is a good job, as long as when you are working at it, you like it :).  Liking/loving what you do is the  most important thing.  Yet, as adults, we tend to hear our children’s dreams and then give them “reasons” that it will be hard, won’t work, not acceptable.  Those really aren’t reasons, those are excuses!  And it’s just not fair to do that to a child!  I know I have been guilty of that, but I also know that I have told my children that I will support them in whatever career choice they make.

In this book, we follow a little boy on his dream to become a marine biologist.  We see most of the adults in his life discourage him with their own stories, but one adult in particular helps him overcome those excuses.  The pictures are beautiful and bright, and the story is inspirational!  There is even a quiz for the reader to take to see if the lessons sunk in!  If you have a child that says “I can’t”, then this is the book for him/her!!!!

First of all, the cover on this book just makes me want to smile!!!!!  It’s bright yellow with smiling children on it!  How can you NOT pick this book up?????  Then add the title to it, and it’s a winner in my book!  That is before I even open the book to read its pages!

As you may know I teach self-esteem classes to young women through one of my volunteer organizations.  I am constantly telling these girls how amazing and incredible they are.  We work on ways for them to feel how special they are.  This book is a natural extension of what I teach.  It gives “10 ways to let your Greatness shine through”

It talks about dealing with bullies and hurt feelings. It talks about realizing how special and different each and every person is.  It talks about visualizing what you want.  It discusses changing your perspective and your thoughts, and that you are never alone…God is always there.  It talks about so much more.  The message is beautiful, and made me smile while I read it.  The little verses are created in rhyme which makes it fun to read, and the pictures are amazing! Here is just a sample….

“There is good in you and in everyone.  sharing this good with others is fun.  You have so many ideas inside your mind.  Set them free; you are one of a kind.”

I can’t tell you how many times I have told my children that money doesn’t make you happy.  Have you lost track of how many times you have said this..not only to your children, but even adults???  That’s what I thought.

When I work with at-risk youth, often times these kids come from poverty striken homes.  Heck, even the ones who are not at-risk but come from single mom homes have this same issue.  And then they see the other kids in their schools with more money, more toys, bigger homes, and going on vacations.  Sometimes the underprivileged kids start to get down.

In today’s economy with moms and dads losing their jobs and money getting tighter, this book becomes even more relevent.  We need to teach our children, that money & possessions do not make you happy and they do not define who you are!  Dyer does just that in this book.  He helps them learn that WHO they are is about their own talents, skills, and attitudes.  He helps them realize that any job is a good job, as long as they are happy doing it.  He helps them learn to dream and reach their goals, and even shows the children using a vision board (without going into detail about that).

This book talks about what matters the most, and it certainly isn’t money and possessions!  In my humble opinion, this is a must read for every child….and adult :).

Keith Cook is a friend of mine on Facebook.  I am not entirely certain how we connected; though I think we connected first via twitter.  We share mutual interests like The Law of Attraction and Empowering others.  So when he posted a link letting his friends know that his ebook was available, I decided I must read it as part of my 52 in 52.  It was a VERY EASY read.  It is only 51 pages printed out.  You can read it in an hour or two, and since I was behind by 5 books; this was perfect!  *laugh*

The cover page of his book warns of adult language and content and some material may not be suitable for children.  Do not take this “warning” lightly :).  He was very serious.  However; I do not think it was gratuitous.  You needed to know this stuff to know where he came from and what his challenges were.  I will admit that sometimes I had a hard time reading the book, because like it alludes to on the front cover, it has some editing issues.  However, once you get past that, you find a great story!  Mostly you become a witness to Keith’s life: his struggles, his challenges, his heart breaks, and his successes!  For myself, I believe part of the reason I am here is to be just that..a witness for other people’s lives.

More importantly, I found that his story was actually mine.  He talks about being molested.  He talks about his promiscuity and looking for love in all the wrong places.  He talks about enabling his granddad financially and learning to let go.  He talks about his coach/mentor being found guilty for 2 life sentences for molestation (not of him).  I have walked similar paths.  I know what these things feel like.  I know what it feels like to walk through this and be grateful for all of this.  And in some ways, I am still growing and healing from these things.

Reading his book you take a journey with him as he finds out what his purpose is and how to use his talents.  You walk with him as he finds the love of his life.  And you celebrate with him when it all comes to a beautiful, successful “end”.  Then when his story ends, he shares with you the steps to take so that YOUR life can be just as successful.  He shares with you steps on how to follow The Law of Attraction.

Because this 51 page book was more about Keith telling his story than it was a teaching tool, there were not alot of great teaching quotes.  Yet, I did find a couple that were very profound for my own life……..

In regards to my relationship with James Arthur Ray (my mentor/coach/friend) who is awaiting the trial of 3 charges of manslaughter, I found this quote very useful:  “It was now time for me to become a guiding light for myself.  We had shared 16 years together.  I could do it.  Pull from  my experience and make it happen.”  “I’m thankful for the experiences and time we spent together.  It made life easier and more manageable to know what to expect and do when certain situations came up.”

In regards to the challenges of my life:  “Life was preparing me to become a leader.  I decided what I wanted to have, do, and be in life.  I developed a clear picture of my goals and wrote about them everyday. I took time to meditate in order to help me gain clarity awareness, and become more sensitive to my emotions.”  I do believe that my challenges happened to prepare me to be an inspirational leader, and the rest of that quote is a great reminder of what I NEED to do now to move forward to reach my dreams and goals :).

He talks about an Hour of Power every day:  20 minutes of physical exercise, 20  minutes of reading a good book, and 20 minutes of daydreaming on the pictures of his vision board.      I MUST make a new vision board!!!

Here is another great quote:  “It has been my experience that those who speak most of health have it, those who speak most of love have it, those who speak most of sickness have it, and those who speak most of loneliness have it.”    So…what do YOU think and speak about?

As a people pleaser and someone who is constantly wanting to help people out of THEIR problems, I found this quote very helpful:  “I freed myself of the responsibility of trying to make other people happy.  I respected and loved them enough to allow them to take care of their own happiness.”  I continually believe that I know what is best for those who are struggling and instead of waiting on THEM to as for help, I enable them.  I recognized this a couple of weeks ago with a situation with our “bonus child”.  It was very empowering to know that I don’t have to do anything or offer anything.  It is NOT my responsibility to offer  help before it is asked of me.  I learned this lesson from reading The Four Agreements and the Fifth Agreement, and it was reiterated here in H.E.L.P.  Do you think I need another knock on the head?  Ya, I don’t think so either :).

So you can purchase this ebook on Keith’s website:    It is $9.95 with some powerful lessons for 2 hours of reading.  Check it out :).