Books & more that inspire!
I’m always looking for books, quotes, videos – ANYTHING – that inspires me! Two of the books noted below – The Gentle Art of Blessing and The Last Lecture – are two of my favorite inspiration books and the other – One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You – was recently recommended by a friend. I’ve ordered it TODAY and can’t wait to read it because I have a feeling it is exactly what I need to read and read soon! (I’ve included the book summaries published on Amazon and the book titles are links to their Amazon page.)
Who among us isn’t looking or longing for inspiration right where we are? The many details of our day-to-day life can become consumed and overwhelmed with trying to get by, get past, get done with whatever needs to be accomplished. But sometimes we need to take a little break – a time-out. It’s usually during these moments when I wish I could run away and escape, such as going to the beach – my favorite place to take a time-out. Since that isn’t always possible being that the ocean is about a thousand miles from my house, taking moments to look for and find inspiration in books, quotes and videos suffices. Of course, a trip to Starbucks can help, too!
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp
Just like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. ‘How,’ Ann wondered, ‘do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long–and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?’ In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts. It’s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted…a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved–by God. Let Ann’s beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive. Come live the best dare of all!
The Gentle Art of Blessing: A Simple Practice That Will Transform You and Your World by Pierre Pradervand
How can a blessing change the world? According to Pierre Pradervand, making the conscious choice to bless every person or being around you can truly make a world of difference in yourself and in others around you. In The Gentle Art of Blessing, Pradervand shows that the practice of blessing has the power to create more than just a renewed perspective. It unleashes tangible benefits throughout your entire life — through your daily interactions, your life-long relationships, and in the way your approach your place in the world.
Pradervand describes blessing as genuinely wishing the best for another person through seeing their individual worth and honoring them for it. By looking at several different perspectives — providing spiritual inspiration from Hinduism, Taoism, the Koran, the Bible, and other important spiritual sources — The Gentle Art of Blessing explores the potential in shifting one’s attitude from confrontation and negativity to acceptance and enthusiasm. A powerfully simple way of perceiving and shaping our surroundings, blessings can reflect the unconditional love and acceptance that is necessary for world — and inner — peace.
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture.” Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?
When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave–“Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”–wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.
In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.
May something or someone provide the inspiration YOU need today!
My nest emptied twelve years ago when my only child left for college. And I can sincerely tell y’all that it took me a long time to find something to cheer about again. I’d like to share ideas I’m pondering on, mulling over, or struggling with and as I reach some conclusions or have some grand epiphanies, I’ll share them with all of you women who might be considering the same mishmash of ideas or dilemmas. And if you feel inclined to share your own revelations back, that would be peachy!
Why can children laugh when their dreams fall part? I believe it’s because they’re visionaries!
If one dream doesn’t turn out like they hoped, they conjure up a new one. As I recall my own childhood fantasies, I don’t think a day went by without me imagining my rosy future. And that future was filled with endless possibilities, paths, and opportunities – at least some of which I’d like to think are still attainable.
Oh to be a child again! I don’t think children know any limitations, boundaries or obstacles. It seems to me that they’re quite certain that what they’re endeavoring to do is totally possible for them to accomplish. These little darlings are flexible, adaptable and buoyant. They don’t take matters so seriously. And they have the innate ability to lighten up absolutely everything they encounter. Consequently, these fortunate young ones are able to lessen the oppressiveness, trouble or severity of any situation and make the needed alterations, changes or modifications to reach their goal. I’ve actually just described my daughter!
Perhaps we should ask ourselves, “Where’s our childlike spirit with that unstoppable ambition and boundless curiosity?” I don’t think it’s lost. I think it’s just been covered up with the rigidity, and perhaps comfort, of routine.
May we all cast away our old age blinders and return to the vision, imagination and confidence of our youth. And may this expansive point of view lead us to our own infinite possibilities for success — today.
What inspires you?
Welcome to my “What inspires you?” blog! I would like to devote this blog to the people or places that inspire us. And if you’re like me, I’m sure there are many other ways you get inspiration, too – such as from songs, books, movies, your pets, and so on.
You’re invited to share about YOUR “special someone, somewhere or something” in the comment box below and tell me why you were inspired! Don’t feel you have to write several paragraphs to participate. Even a one-line explanation is most welcomed!
Let’s celebrate our inspirations together!
Many folks know that my mamma has been a huge inspiration in my life. So she must be the first person I honor in this blog. What inspires me most about my mamma? Her strength, stamina and ability to turn “bad” into “good” to name three!
But her life is also testament to how “a different outlook can change the course of one’s life.” Putting into practice this “mamma lesson” has rescued my own life more than a few times.
My mamma didn’t finish high school. She married and began a family too young, if you consider fifteen too young. She was a stay-at-mom with four children. But her marriage wasn’t destined for eternal bliss. Marital problems eventually led to a divorce and her departure from the only state she had ever lived.
She went on a westbound journey with her youngest child (me) with little money, few clothes, with no idea how she would support us or where we were going. She left everything behind her.
But I later understood that her leaving everything behind included leaving behind old perspectives and old ways of doing things. She had to! She could no longer be dependent on someone else. She began a working career at age forty-two and did whatever she had to do to obtain the skills she needed to be successful – which many times included taking classes at night after working all day. I saw her work her way out of poverty one day at a time and happy every step of the way. She loved learning and gaining new knowledge, skills and abilities.
She believed with all her heart that anything was possible. She had an invincible faith in a divine power. She was confident that our needs would be met – maybe not always the day we wanted, but eventually. She was patient, resolute, and determined.
Her story is not a rags-to-riches one, but I never felt without. My mamma made me feel and believe we had all we needed and wanted.
She has inspired me to also believe that anything is possible if I embrace that perspective and have the faith, patience and determination required to achieve my own dreams.
There are probably many people who have inspired me in some way, but I don’t think there is anyone who has inspired me more than my mamma!
Favorite Mamma Recipes
My mamma’s pound cake recipe
2 sticks of butter
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 cups flour – sifted
1 t. vanilla
Bake at 300° for 1 hour 10 minutes
Soften butter and set out eggs to room temperature. Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Add flour. Add vanilla last. Pour into a well greased bundt pan.
I’m starting a collection of favorite “mamma” recipes and will soon have a section on my website for these treasures from our mothers, grandmothers and also from sisters, daughters — all the chefs in your family including your own specialties!
Share your recipe in a comment to this blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And stay tuned for news about the recipe section on my website. I’ll let y’all know when it’s up and running!
Southern Women Authors
Perhaps I’m a wee bit biased, but I do enjoy reading what southern women authors have to say on just about anything! Born in Atlanta, Georgia and raised in the south makes me true “grits” – girl raised in the south. With my early southern upbringing being in the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, I was well endowed with the knowledge that southern women and especially our mammas always know best.
One of my favorite southern women authors is Ronda Rich. I met Ronda at a trade book show when her book, What Southern Women Know (That Every Woman Should) was making its debut. My daughter and I read this book aloud to each other while we sun bathed at Gulf Shores, Alabama – infamously known as the southern Riviera. I later bought dozens of copies to give to all my lady friends for Christmas. Needless to say, I highly recommend this book. But she has written others since then including What Southern Women Know About Faith and What Southern Women Know About Flirting – to name two.
My daughter, Jennifer, will soon complete her PhD in History with her major focus being women’s history. I asked her who some of her favorite southern women authors are. She said, “Kathryn Stockett’s The Help is fantastic and Emily Griffin’s books are adorable.” She also shared the link below saying: “This is a great little article that culminates some great southern female writers today. I haven’t read all of these women, but check it out!” Ronda Rich is not among this group and she, too, lives in the Atlanta area so the folks at Vanity Fair Magazine didn’t do their homework very well if you ask me. Still, if these southern literary belles were born and raised in the south, then my mamma would say I should read their books. And perhaps you should, too.
If you have your own favorite southern women authors, I would love to hear all about them for my next blog on the subject!