Thursday, January 30, 2020

Book Review: Reshaping It All

This book is about far more than reshaping your body. Candace Cameron Bure tells just how her life has changed physically and spiritually since she became serious about her faith.

Bure writes: “My body is a temple to be used by Him and for Him. He desires that we seek a spiritual transformation, not merely a moral one.” Her chapters cover everything from gaining victory over temptation to leaving a legacy, something she takes quite seriously with her own family.

Chapters are short, and I loved how each chapter ends with “The Pantry, Chocked-Full of Food For Thought.” This section includes “The Main Ingredient,” the gist of the chapter in a paragraph. Then there’s “A Slice of Advice,” a letter from a fan asking a question, which Bure answers. “A Pinch of Practicality” offers Bure’s suggestions on how to carry out your quest to transform, and “Food for Thought” offers related scriptures. Finally there’s “The Candy Dish” quote and an easy, practical and nutritious recipe. I plan to try some.

Bure inspires us to lead authentic Christian lives: “When the changes we make are anchored in the will of God and when our love for God becomes the driving force in our lives, we discover the ultimate trainer is with us, cheering us on.”

Fans will also enjoy the section of photos included on glossy pages. I appreciated how Bure spoke of her relationship with her husband Val and their children Natasha, Lev and Maksim. By the time you finish the book, they feel like the family next door.

This is a great book for both the new and mature Christians, since we all need encouragement to live for Christ in all areas of our lives. I plan to read two books that inspired her because I want to live the kind of faith she demonstrates.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Man Against Beast: Four Steps to Success

The squirrels live for birdseed. My husband lives to outwit the squirrels. Each perseveres against the other. When my husband hung a feeder with small holes on the ends just large enough to admit songbirds, squirrels simply chewed away the wood until the holes were large enough to admit them. Bill now replaced the wood and inserted staples around the hole. Squirrels surely won’t bite on staples. We’ll see. Life requires perseverance for both man and beast to survive.

Perseverance helps you recognize your potential and reach your destiny. Perseverance. The name of
the parent who can barely make ends meet. The name of the mom who spoon-feeds a seriously sick child. The name of the dad who cheers on a learning disabled son. The name of the kid who shows up for every practice, yet sits on the bench during every game. The name of the student who studies hard, gets C’s, yet earns a degree.

Do you need perseverance?

Maybe you get up in the morning, look in the mirror and dread going to work. Do you send out resumes week after week? Is there something you might do to make your current job more enjoyable?

Maybe you regret taking the first job you could get out of high school instead of going to college. Do you check out online courses? Do we take a course at a time, year after year, until you reach your goal?

Maybe you can’t talk to your husband about what’s on your heart, or maybe your teen is rebellious. Do you take time to read books such as Gary Smalley’s For Better or for Worse: A Valuable Guide to Knowing, Understanding and Loving Your Husband? Or The 5 Languages of Love by Gary Chapman. Those would surely lay a foundation for better communication.

Maybe you crave to understand the Bible or pray the way your friend does? Have you read God’s Word? Have you attended church?

Every success in life requires perseverance. Nothing much happens by accident. We get what we’re determined to attain. As a writer, I’ve received many more rejection than acceptance letters. I’ve spent many hours writing pieces that never saw the light of print. It’s all part of the journey. They say you have to write a million words before you’re worth anything as a writer. So I keep on writing.

In his book Ten Publishing Myths, Terry Whalin writes of Kobe Bryant, the winner of five NBA championships and two Olympic Gold Medals. Bryant started his day at 4:30 a.m., shooting baskets, conditioning, working on jump shots between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. Whalin writes, “His work showed because Bryant knew how to grind then grind some more.” According to journalist Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours to become skillful in any craft.

Since perseverance helps you recognize your potential and reach your destiny, consider these suggestions:

1.     Choose an area in which you want to persevere and set a short-term goal. How would you like to see this situation change within the next two weeks? What might you do to initiate change?
2.     Find someone who can remind you of your goal. Ask them to hold you accountable to take one daily step toward reaching that goal. Maybe you can even trade accountability statements.
3.     Each day, pray for energy and endurance. Think of Bible people who persevered in spite of opposition—the apostle Paul, all of the disciples, the bleeding woman. They didn’t give in or give up. They offer role models of perseverance.
4.     As you reach a goal, do something fun. Celebrate!

“Make every effort to add to your faith goodness, and to goodness, knowledge, and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance . . . for if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 2:5-8)

Do yourself a favor: identify what would make your life better, then take one step toward conquering that beast—even if the beast is only a squirrel.

And may God bless you as you persevere on your journey.