Read to Live

 

READ to

I’ve always been a reader. As a result, I am a big believer in the lasting effects of reading on a person’s life. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the knowledge I’ve gained through books.

So many people claim they are not the reading kind and I just sort of chuckle and then change the subject. Because I don’t believe that being a reader is optional. If you want to grow, lead, succeed, and dream, then reading has to become a part of your life.

Take growth, for instance. I’m not the same timid, unaware, insecure girl I was even ten years ago. And I have countless books to thank for that. The Bible tops the list, though, as being the most influential in my maturity as a confident woman. I now know who I am because of what the Word of God says about me. He calls me His beloved one, His chosen daughter, and His beautiful masterpiece.

What about leadership skills? Surely the proof is seen in the fact that so many great leaders of our time are self-proclaimed hearty learners. John Maxwell is one of my favorite authors on leadership and this is what he has to say about being a lifelong student:

“Live to learn and you will really learn to live.”

Without reading, we limit ourselves to what other people have to say. If you really want to learn, discover it for yourself by picking up a book.

Success is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot in accordance with the much sought after American Dream. Whether we are looking for external success through dollar bills or internal success through peace in our souls, we have to take into account the important words of those who have gone before us. Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States and human rights activist, said,

“One thing I believe profoundly: We make our own history. The course of history is directed by the choices we make and our choices grow out of the ideas, the beliefs, the values, the dreams of the people.”

We cannot succeed without gaining wisdom from the voices of influential men and women of yesterday. Our future depends on our remembrance of those that have paved the way. Read a biography about someone you admire. You just might learn that you share some of their passions and therefore be inspired to go after a greater purpose than you could have ever imagined on your own.

Dreaming is a lost art these days. Many times we get used to going and doing that we forget to stop and dream for a minute. But if we aren’t dreaming then we are living a pretty dull existence. So many books have brought the dreamer out in me. From fairy tales to poetry, reading has a way of opening our hearts and minds to a world beyond what our eyes can see. I loved getting lost in the Nancy Drew books as a young girl. I would pretend I was brave like she was and imagine going on mysterious adventures to rescue the wounded neighborhood cat or spy on the mischievous shop owner. Don’t knock the value that comes from lying down in the grass and letting your imagination take you beyond the printed page. I am now finishing up my degree in criminal justice all these years later. It looks like those Nancy Drew books paid off after all…

One of my highest goals in life is to add something of value to this world. I want to make a deposit of outlandish proportions into the futures of generations to come. This may seem like a daunting task to some, but to me, it’s why I’m alive. Where does reading fit into this picture? Well, let’s just put it this way: If I don’t stay presently aware of the needs in my society by picking up a newspaper or clicking on that online article, then I sure as heck won’t know what to do to make the world a better place for the children of tomorrow.

Reading is not only about personal growth and development but also about staying educated so that we can raise up future leaders that wisely take responsibility for their own growth, success, and dreams.

Read to live. One day you will look back at how far you’ve come and be so glad you picked up that book.

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Link up on #writingwednesdays through Write Tribe
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What does it really mean to be Wild and Free?

From self doubt to God- confidence

It’s June already. I can’t even believe it. Summer is practically here! As you may recall, I have been reading one book a month as a personal growth challenge of sorts.

My book for May was called “Wild and Free” by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan. First of all, let me just say this to start:

EVERY WOMAN, YOUNG or OLD, NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK. 

Here’s why:

It deals with two of the biggest issues women of all ages have dealt with since the dawn of time. Never being enough or Always being too much. We are either one or the other. Sometimes both!

It takes the reader through the lives of two women, one introvert and one extrovert. Both women talk about their journey from self-doubt to God-confidence. They are real, raw, and relate-able.

Lastly, included is an anthem for women everywhere that raises our eyes upward from our circumstances and fills us with everlasting hope. It goes like this:

“The world may tell us we’re too much and never enough.

But we can walk wildly in who God created us to be and rest freely in the work Jesus did for us.

We do not have to be confined or conformed by cultural expectations.

We are unchained from our past and unafraid of our future.

We choose compassion over comparison.

We love without condition, without reserve.

Our eyes are on God; we hold nothing back; we run fast and strong; we do not hide our light.

We aren’t wild and free for our sake alone; rather we sing life, hope, and truth over the world with abandon- just as our God sings over us.

We are wild and free.

And we are poised to do mighty things, in Christ alone.”

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Check this amazing book out! You’ll be motivated and encouraged to live out your God-given purpose with joy and confidence.

Weekend Health Journal and Tips!

Hey everyone! I promised you that every weekend I would update you on my health journey as I make some better choices. (Here’s the first post in #healthyover30 with that info.)

First of all, I want to share a life-changing video with you! It’s only eight minutes long and is so motivating towards reaching daily goals. The woman speaking is Terri Savelle Foy and she wrote a book that I read a few years ago called “Imagine Big.”

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This book helped me see the importance in writing down my dreams and goals and living my life with a purposeful mindset. I highly recommend it!

Here’s the video from Terri:

I have started doing most of the things she talks about in this video and I seriously have never been so productive in my life. I have more energy and get more done!

Now, let’s talk about my vegetarian diet progression. I have become hooked on the recipes from Happy Herbivore. Take a look at some of the yummy things I have made!

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These are called Dragon Rolls and they are so simple and full of clean ingredients. I made my own sriracha hummus to drizzle on top! Seriously, good stuff.

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See that burger? It’s an illusion…there is no meat in that thing. I made it out of black beans and it was TASTY!!! I am feeling a difference, people. Whole foods really do make you feel whole. (I just came up with that right now! lol)

Lastly, I wanted to share a great resource with you. I just finished the book called, “The Brave Body Method.” It’s got so many practical and spiritual tips in it for losing weight and getting on track with eating and fitness. Not only is the book amazing, but the author, Eileen Wilder, has a website with free videos and printables as well. Check it out here!   She will motivate you and help you discover your own unique kind of beauty.

Thank you all for following me on this journey! If you aren’t already, come find me on twitter (@Nspiritandtruth) or instagram (HVheartsong). That way you can see what I’m eating throughout the week.

OH, and one more thing:

BBM15-Zigler

 

How to Lead Well

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My March book choice from my 2016 Book Challenge was “Live Love Lead” by Brian Houston. This book was an interesting look at Pastor Brian’s life story from childhood to adulthood. If you do not know, he is the pastor to Australia’s largest church, Hillsong Church. I am a huge fan of their worship music!

Anyways, here are the main points I took from this gem of a read:

  1. God has called us to live a BIG life. He wants you to “follow your heart, stay true to the gift that is on your life, go forth in the strength that you have, be comfortable in your grace zone, be confident in your call- and watch as God exceeds your every expectation and leads you into a wide-open and spacious life.” (p. 41)
  2. We are meant to carry a pioneering spirit. Houston says, “Pioneering takes courage, ingenuity, and a sense of adventure. With a pioneer spirit must come willingness to fail and falter, but with an unwavering belief in the long-term future vision.” (p. 58)
  3. Stay committed to the process even when it’s painful. Jesus never said our life on earth would be easy. Dark days do come and we have to be steadfast in pursuing the God-given vision for our life despite opposition and trials. I love this quote: “Each of us must cling to our own revelation of Jesus whenever bleak days try to obscure our faithful path.” (p. 78)

I encourage you to soak this book up if you are in a leadership role of any type. It will motivate you to keep going, to expand your vision and to love relentlessly!

 

How to Find Your Life’s Purpose

 

I made a list of twelve books that I want to read this year here. The January selection was “Chazown” by Craig Groeschel.

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Why YOU should read it:

Ever wonder what your purpose is? Do you question what you’re supposed to be doing with your life? Feel like you’re not really living up to your God-given potential? Then this book is definitely for you! “Chazown” will teach you how to discover your passion through a series of personalized activities that take you on a journey of self-discovery. Chazown literally means “vision.”

My Take:  

I couldn’t put this book down. First of all, the chapters are super short. Second of all, Craig Groeschel is a very witty writer who uses a ton of personal stories alongside humor to keep the reader interested. Lastly, the exercises that he encourages you to do really open your eyes to what you’ve overlooked about yourself or your experiences.

He breaks it down into three categories: Core Values, Spiritual Gifts, and Past Experiences. From these categories, you discover your giftings, beliefs, and personal timeline. Next, Groeschel leads you through the five spokes of your Chazown, which basically give you a plan of action. The five spokes are 1) Your relationship with God, 2) Your relationship with people, 3) Your financial health, 4) Your physical health, and 5) Your life’s work.

After you’ve completed these steps, you are guided through a process of writing your own purpose statement. Goals are outlined and resources are highlighted.

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Did this book help me refine my focus and get me on the track to fulfilling my dreams? YES! I have a list of things that I can clearly say I feel called to do with my life now because of this amazing book.

I couldn’t recommend this book more! It’s great for small groups and if you go to this link, there are video teachings and online tests that you can take to help you on your Chazown journey as well!

Proverbs 29:18 – ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

 

 

Want to Read With Me in 2016?

photo credit: Baddesley Clinton Library via photopin (license)

I LOVE to read. Almost as much as I love to write. And sing. I think the three habits/obsessions are tied, actually. Don’t make me pick just one! (Way to make me panic!)

Anyways, I thought I’d compile a list of twelve books that I want to read this year. Realistically, I will read WAY more than twelve books. That’s a given. But I’ve never really mapped out my reading in terms of a monthly schedule and review. This year, since I’m actively blogging now, I thought I’d do just that. Why not keep things interesting?

So, here’s the list. Mind you, these are not necessarily new books. Just ones that I’m interested in adding to my collection. 🙂 Some are fun, some are serious, some are controversial. My purpose is to learn something new about God, myself, and the world around me. Let’s see where this year of purposeful reading takes me!

January- Chazown by Craig Groeschel 

February- Love Does by Bob Goff

March- Live Love Lead by Brian Houston

April- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah 

May- Wild and Free by Jess Connolly & Hayley Morgan   

June- Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me? by Mindy Kaling 

July- Savor by Shauna Niequist 

August- Girls Like Us by Rachel Lloyd

September- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert 

October- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown 

November- Wherever the River Runs by Kelly Minter 

December- Powerful and Free by Danny Silk 

Feel free to join me! Just comment below my monthly reviews with a link to your own post about the book! I look forward to hearing from you!

10 Creative Quirks About Me

 

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/91345457@N07/9496376163">Plants Stand</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>

  1. I sing all songs. Pop, rock, disco, country, christian, alternative, funk, folk, and the list goes on and on… It doesn’t matter what’s playing. If it’s playing, I’m singing along with it.
  2. I love to color. I even have a system where I outline the image or drawing first with a darker shade of crayon before filling it in with a lighter color.
  3. I can’t draw from just an image or idea in my head but I can look at a picture and duplicate it by hand almost exactly. I think it’s the details of shapes and angles that I have a hard time remembering.
  4. I bop my head to music and don’t even know I’m doing it. If I’m not bopping then I’m tapping my foot or patting my hand on my knee. It’s seriously a subconscious reaction to any funky beat. I don’t think I could stop even if I wanted to.
  5. Every movie has the potential to be quoted and inserted into my life at the appropriate time. I have entire conversations in movie quotes with my sisters, mom, and husband.
  6. Every cliche, bible verse, commercial slogan, math fact, to-do list, etc…can be sung. And my kids crack up at me for putting music to literally anything in order to remember it.
  7. I have so many thoughts and ideas in my head that if I don’t get them out on paper in the form of a blog post, a poem, a letter, or a song, I think I just might explode.
  8. I am a speed reader. I have been since I was in the 2nd grade. Spelling and grammar are two of my best friends. I have always loved the way words fit together on a page and can transport the reader to a brand new place or time.
  9. I love movies, songs, and books that highlight women as the heroine or leader. Jane Austen, Harriet Tubman, Ella Fitzgerald, Katherine Hepburn, Anne Frank. These are women who stood for something and gave the rest of us an example to follow as we live out lives of strong and graceful womanhood.
  10. Music is timeless.  I can listen to songs from the 70’s and feel such a love for the wordsmiths that crafted the lyrics as well as listen to Mozart and get carried away on the wings of the melody. A true musician appreciates the past, honors the integrity of the present sound, and embraces a hope for what the music of the future might be.