Category: Reading

Book Release: The Art of Work


“A calling is more than a career; it’s the purpose and direction of your life.” Jeff Goins


What have I learned from reading the book “The Art of Work?”


  • It’s never too late to follow your calling.

No matter where you are in life, you still have a chance to do what matters most, what you were called to do.

  • Don’t discard the time of apprenticeship. 

Be grateful for times when you have a chance to learn something new. But also don’t think the times are wasted when you think what you’re doing is so mundane and useless. It isn’t. These times prepare you for what’s ahead.

Be grateful for the people in your life that have come alongside to train you, to help you succeed.

“True practice is not just about learning a skill; it’s about investing the time and energy necessary to discern if this is what you are meant to do. It’s about using difficulty to discover what resonates and what does not. And as you see what does, you will take one more step in the right direction.” Jeff Goins

  • Embrace failure.

“Failure isn’t what prevents us from success, it’s what leads us there.” Jeff Goins

If you’re not doing it, you’re not failing. That’s true. But you’re also not moving forward, especially not toward your calling.

  • Your/my life is a portfolio.

This was probably the most cherished chapter for me in this book. It has been hard to nail down one thing that I’m good at. The idea of my life being a portfolio has released me from the pressure to always narrow down my activities. I can be good at more than just one thing!

“Having a portfolio mindset toward work will make you a more well-rounded person and set you up for success in this new economy.” Jeff Goins

“Who knows how your past experiences and current interests might dance together to create something unique and wonderful?” Jeff Goins

I could write a blog post on every chapter! I highly recommend it!

Jeff Goins’ book The Art of Life releases tomorrow. However, today is your last chance to get a copy of this book for FREE, you only pay for shipping. This deal is about to end tonight at midnight (CT).

In addition to Jeff’s new book you’ll also get $250 in bonuses. If you get Jeff’s book soon, he’ll also give you a four-week video series, a workbook, the PDF of the book, and access to an exclusive community.

Check it out here:



Heal Me!

Day Thirty-Eight. -2.17.08. xobellefemme via Compfight

Reading through Max Lucado’s book “Before Amen” I came to chapter Five: Heal Me.

This one is very close to my heart. I’ve read it many times since.

“Heal me,” is a prayer I have prayed more than any other.

“Adam and Eve had a falling out with God and a falling out with each other. Nature fell out of whack, and the human body out of balance. The Fall was exactly that: a fall from wholeness. Sin opened the door, and sickness walked in.”  (page 49, “Before Amen”)


Heal me! Is that an unreasonable prayer? Read more

Does Your Past Matter for Your Future?

This post is part of Tracie Miles’ Your Life Still Counts blog tour and I am excited to be a part of spreading this powerful message that God can use all things to His glory and turn our past into our purpose. I’m just one of many awesome bloggers participating in this tour, so if you want to join in on the blog tour, CLICK HERE  for all the info!

YLSC cover page

This book gripped me from page one to the end. The further I read the more I highlighted and marked down.

It’s an encouraging story of God’s love and redemption and His perfect plan for Tracie’s life. The book also includes 20 stories of women who experienced God’s powerful healing and restoration from a past that God now uses for His glory.

Tracie writes, “We can’t change the past but we can allow God’s truths to change our hearts, and in turn, change our future by embracing God’s promise that He will never waste our pain.”

I often wondered what it would be like to have no past. No memories of things gone wrong, or mistakes made. No memories of the hurt others inflicted on me.

I know I can’t dwell on that too much because it’s not realistic. My past has some ugly components in it, and I can’t erase them. They will always be there – part of my past.

However, my past does not have to control my present or my future. That’s where God comes in with His redeeming love: He offers hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). He creates beauty out of ashes (Isaiah 61).

My past has shaped me into the person I am today. It hasn’t been an easy road to travel, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt: My God is faithful! He was there all along, every step of the way. He saw the pain of a failed marriage. He saw my meltdowns when the burden of raising three small children seemed too heavy to carry. He saw the tears, heard the cries, knew every thought that was whirling in my spaghetti-like brain.

It’s not been easy to come to a place of gratitude for all the hard stuff in my past. Today I see how God uses every bit of my past in the ministry to women in my local church.

Only God could redeem something so ugly and create something beautiful.

Allow me to encourage you today: Do not grant bitterness and anger control over the rest of your life. Go to our Heavenly Father and allow Him to heal your wounds, tend to your pain and strengthen and prepare you for a future He has planned for you.

“Blessed is the man/woman who keeps on going when times are hard. After he/she has come through them, he/she will receive a crown. The crown is life itself. God has promised it to those who love Him.” James 1:12 NIrV




“When Quitting Is Not An Option”

Today I’m holding the book of Arvid Loewen’s life story in my hands that’s been co-written with his son, Paul Loewen.

When Quitting is not an Option
When Quitting is not an Option


“When Quitting is not an Option” is the title of the book and a documentary that will be released on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 as part of this year’s Winnipeg Real to Reel Film Festival.

It goes without saying: I do admire Read more

"When All You Have is Hope"

Now here is a book I would like to recommend.

It is the story of Frank O’Dea, the co-founder of Second Cup. I only heard of Frank O’Dea this past winter. He was the keynote speaker at the fundraising gala for the Joy Smith Foundation in April 2013.

When I decided to attend the fundraising gala I thought I better read the book he wrote before I hear him speak. The first half of the book is not an easy read. Sexual abuse by a priest and a police officer drove him to alcohol. He wasn’t able to keep a job, and his family couldn’t handle his drunken presence any more. After losing everything, he landed on the streets of Toronto.

“That was me, the guy begging money for a bottle of wine and a fifty-cent bed in a flophouse. I was thirty years away from being named an Officer of the Order of Canada, twenty years away from marriage and fatherhood, ten years away from earning my first million dollars, and a week away from deciding that I must change or die.” Frank O’Dea

When he spoke at the gala in April, he told this story:

While living on the streets he had met a store owner that was kind to him. This store owner would give him 5 dollars whenever Frank O’Dea would come in and clean up in the store. The radio was playing all day long. And while Frank O’Dea was working he would hear one phone number mentioned repeatedly, a hotline number if someone needed help.

One day Frank O’Dea had had enough of his life on the streets and he was determined to change. He wanted to call this number, but he had no money for the phone call. So he begged for a dime. All he needed and wanted was a dime. When he got the dime, he made the phone call.

In his speech, Frank O’Dea pointed out that we don’t always know what will happen to the money we give to a person in need. We don’t know if this person that is approaching us will use the money for alcohol, drugs or if he/she will use it to make that life-changing call and turn their life around.

This definitely taught me a lesson not to judge but to give. And to give without attitude. Just give. Leave it up the person to decide what they will do with the money. When I hand over the money it is their responsibility, not mine.

Frank O’Dea’s advice?

“When confused in life, simply do the next right thing in front of you. I always knew what the next right thing to do was, but there were times when I chose not to do it, and I did something else instead. That was always a mistake.”

What is the next right thing in front of me and you that we need to do?


by Lisa Whittle

I read this book in December of 2011 when it first was published.

I often look at the subtitle of a book to make a decision on whether to buy the book or not. In this case the subtitle reads:

An honest look at the holes in your life –
and how to let God fill them
Lisa Whittle’s “world was rocked to the core in a very public way, her faith and whole reason for living were challenged like never before.” During that time Whittle had to acknowledge the holes in her spiritual life. She writes from this raw place of having been there, of having lived through it…
And she goes much further than just talking about her own holes… Lisa Whittle calls the reader “to take an honest look at your own holes, discover how to fill them with God’s presence, and get to a real and vibrant place of wholeness instead.”

Just recently I mentioned to a friend that some years ago I had this feeling of having holes in my own life. At that time I was asking myself constantly: Is this all there is? Isn’t there more out there for me? Isn’t there more to life than this?

My life had many holes. I craved more from life that what it offered me. I was not in a place where I lived in the “Now”. And these thoughts, these cravings just bred more discontent, more unhappiness.

How did I ever get whole?

The day I signed up for the first Beth Moore Bible study was the first step towards wholeness. Lisa Whittle writes,

“When we ourselves are devoid of a thriving, authentic relationship with God, we lose the ability to represent Jesus well. Only Jesus can replace synthetic religious hearts with spiritual vibrancy…
Our holes prevent us from being believable. Our influence loses its viability, and Jesus becomes merely a legendary figurehead instead of the living, powerful rescuer He truly is.”

This was my story as well. I did not have an authentic relationship with Jesus. I did not take time to spend in God’s Word and to pray. And so more and more holes developed in my life.

Looking back, I can see how God is using everything, absolutely everything that I’ve been through to make me whole. Sometimes it felt like the storm would never end. The rains were pouring down on me…

“The rains, even the most torrential, cleanse our hearts of the muck that makes us think we need something besides Him to complete us. Truly, it is an act of grace.” (Lisa Whittle)

Every difficult experience is now part of my wholeness. Isn’t that amazing? Only God – in His infinite love and grace – could do such a miracle!

How about you? Any holes in your life that need attention?

"How to be Perfect"

Two years ago I picked up a book because of its title: “How to be Perfect” by Daniel M. Harrell

The title intrigued me and when I read that it was on the Bible book of Leviticus, I just couldn’t wait to read it. A few months prior to buying this book I had read through the book of Leviticus as part of the chronological Bible reading. So this book of the Bible was still fresh in my mind.

Harrell says, “For Jews, and thus for Jesus, Leviticus is the pivotal book of the Hebrew Bible. It’s impossible to fully comprehend such key New Testament terms as sacrifice, atonement, or blood without some understanding of Leviticus. To obey Jesus is to obey Leviticus.”

Now that’s a statement! But Harrell, a longtime pastor, didn’t just want to teach to his congregation out of the book of Leviticus. He also wanted to obey it. He wanted to know what it would look like today to obey the book of Leviticus. He “recruited 19 church members to join him in a commitment to spend 30 days living Levitically. Holiness was their ultimate goal, but so was experiencing the overwhelming need for God’s grace.”

“How to be Perfect” describes this group’s 30-day journey to obey Leviticus. They also shared their experiences online (Facebook, in blogs posts etc). There are chapters such as “Bad Skin is Sin” and “Does Getting Worked Up About the Sabbath Count as Work?” Or what about the chapter on “Loving Your Neighbor with an Unshaven Face” or “Levitical Side Effects (aka Guilt Trips)”. Or wouldn’t you want to know what the chapter called “Loading the Goat” is all about?

Harrell’s writing style is witty and refreshing. Honestly, I loved reading this book! It gave me a whole new perspective on a book in the Bible that most of us dread to read.

How to Raise Girls

If you are raising a girl or a few girls – this book is for you! It’s a must-have book. The 5 conversations (chapters) are as follows:

1. You are more than the sum of your parts
2. Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up
3. Sex is great and worth the wait.
4. It’s OK to dream about marriage and motherhood
5. Girls gone wild are a dime a dozen – dare to be virtouos

Vicki Courtney backs up these conversations with a lot of research and statistics you will want to know. There were many eye-openers among the statistics! Times have changed. Times are still changing…

I just wish I had read something like this book a lot earlier. By the time I came across this book, it was too late for so many of the conversations with my girls… But I still like to peek in and refresh some of the chapters I have read.  Conversations are still happening in this house, and so, in a way, it’s never too late to pass on some wisdom to your daughters.

From Tragedy to Purpose

This blog title came to me as I thought about the tragedy Mary Beth Chapman writes about in her book “Choosing to See.”

It’s a heart-wrenching account of the tragedy they had to face a few years ago when one of their sons accidentally hit his little sister with the car. Their little girl died. This book journals Mary Beth’s journey through this tragedy, through the months of grief following her daughter’s death. The title of the book “Choosing to See” describes the decision Mary Beth and the Chapman family had to make: they had to choose to see God in this tragedy. And they had to choose to trust God in the midst of this tragedy. Not only had they lost their little girl, but there was also the tragedy that it was their son who hit his sister with the car.

As I write this blog post another tragedy comes to mind. A wife and mother killed in a car accident three days before her daughter’s wedding. How do you wrap your mind around this? How do you try to understand it? The joy and anticipation of a wedding were crushed by this one phone call you received…

If you believe in a sovereign God, the God who created heaven and earth, the God who created each one of us, the God who loves us and the God who is good, how do you respond to such a tragedy?

How do I go about this verse in the Bible, Romans 8:28, when I think about this recent tragedy?

“And we know that God causes everything
to work together for the good of those who love God
and are called according to His purpose for them.”

Here are two quotes from two commentaries on this Bible verse:

“God purposes good for believers. Paul did not say that everything happening is good in itself. Rather he recognized that even problems and crises cannot derail a sovereign God. Because God is omnipotent and omniscient and omnipresent, He is faithful to bring ultimate good even from the most tragic happenings.” (Women’s Evangelical Commentary, New Testament)

“Suffering will still bring pain, loss, and sorrow, and sin will bring shame. But under God’s control, the eventual outcome will be for our good. God works behind the scenes, ensuring that even in the middle of mistakes and tragedies, good will result for those who love him. At times this will happen quickly… But there will also be events whose results for good we will not know until eternity. Our ultimate destiny is to be like Christ. God’s design is more than just an invitation; God summons us with a purpose in mind: we are to be like Christ and share His glory.” (Life Application New Testament Commentary)

I have not faced the tragedy of sudden loss. But I have faced the tragedy of divorce. It was not a surprise to me, no, I had seen it coming for some time. At that time I did not think anything good would ever come out of it. I could not see how anything good would ever happen to me. But looking back I know without a shadow of a doubt that God was there during those dark days. I even remember God’s presence on that dark, starless night in the country, when I saw the truck leave the driveway with my husband and his “stuff”. I remember standing at the living room window and screaming my heart out to God because I did not know how I would ever survive this, how would I go on with three little kids to raise on my own. And I physically felt God’s presence in the room. I felt His assurance and His presence. I felt peace about this decision.

Unfortunately there is suffering and tragedy all around us. Once the “dust” settles, we have to make a decision, we have to choose… My biggest concern was that I did not want to become bitter. It was not an easy process. There were many crossroads, many times where I had to choose… No, I didn’t always choose right. It is God who has redeemed even those poor decisions and choices.

God’s way is perfect.
All the LORD’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
For who is God except the LORD?
Who but our God is a solid rock?
God arms me with strength,
and he makes my way perfect.
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
He trains my hands for battle;
he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
You have given me your shield of victory.
Your right hand supports me;
your help has made me great.
You have made a wide path for my feet
to keep them from slipping.
Psalm 18:30-36 (New Living Translation)