We’ve Moved!!!

Hello all,

We’d like to invite you over to our new home on blogspot! There are a couple of reasons for this move:

1) We like being able to draft posts in our email inbox, then just send them instead of having to log in and all that.

2) We can now offer YOU links to our favorite books via Amazon. Yes, we’ll make a few pennies off the transaction, but hey, we’ll take any *snowflakes* we can. :0)

See you there! http://seekoutwisdom.blogspot.com/

Oh yeah, I’ve already moved all our previous posts to the new site. They’re in a slightly different order, but they’re all there. PLUS there are new posts!

We also have a cool giveaway going to be taking place in May!

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Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God by Sheila Walsh

Title: Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God

Author: Sheila Walsh

Rating: Good

Reason for Reading: I received this as part of the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze program.

Summary: Beautiful Things is a book about Sheila Walsh’s personal journey from stardom, through her breakdown, and finding her faith again. Sheila profiles people in the Bible who have trusted God through various circumstances.

Review: Beautiful Things is not what I expected. I fully expected a book more like Sandi Patti’s Layers, where it chronicles a famous woman’s journey through a difficult period of her life. However, Beautiful Things…is more like a Bible study than an autobiography. Sheila profiles lives of Biblical characters who have learned how to trust God in very unique circumstances. She chronicles the (first) death of Lazarus and the following resurrection. Through it, I learned a host of new details…things I either forgot or didn’t pick up in Bible College. And while the book walks the reader through all these great little facts and details that aren’t always readily present within the context of the Bible passage, it doesn’t feel as if you’re reading a college text or sitting in a lecture hall. Sheila’s writing style is lively and engaging. Each chapter starts off with a personal anecdote, and then walks the reader through a historical account found in the Bible. Finally, each chapter ends with Sheila bringing her point home and explaining what the reader should learn from the passage, how the reader can apply the passage to his or her own life.

Be prepared to have your thinking and faith stretched. I was unable to sit and read the book cover to cover simply because it made me face my hidden faults and insecurities. If you’re looking for a book to help you grow your faith and at the same time make you feel as if you’re not alone in learning to trust God, then this book is for you.

Dawn

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Filed under Bible Study, Christian Growth, Christian Living

Everyone Communicates Few Connect

Title: Everyone Communicates Few Connect

Author: John C. Maxwell

Rating: Good

Reason for Reading: This book was provided by Thomas Nelson publishers through their BookSneeze program in exchange for a review.  The publisher has had no influence over the content of this review.  The thoughts are solely my own.

Summary: Maxwell is a well-known leadership expert and speaker.  He has prepared numerous books about leading an organization and the principles of personal success.  This book specifically focuses on one important aspect of communication, that being how to develop a connection between speaker and listener.

Maxwell divides the book into two parts.  The first describes the principles behind connection.  Maxwell defines a connection as the quality of communication that increases the impact of the speaker on the listener.  It operates at an emotional level between the persons involved.  These principles are not the practical steps of public speaking, the kind of things one learns from speech class or Toastmasters International.  Maxwell is describing the difference between those who speak, present, and write with little effect on their audience, and those who make a connection with the audience that makes their communication highly effective.  It is the difference between those boring presentations and unnecessary meetings everyone has endured, and those speakers or presenters that have hit you right in the gut.  Maxwell describes this ability to make a connection as a skill that can be learned, not just an inherent quality that some speakers naturally have.

The second part describes what connectors do, the preparations they make, the attitude they assume, and the focus they adopt.  This includes finding common ground with the audience, making the experience enjoyable, and choosing inspirational messages.

Review: Maxwell uses humorous and insightful stories about himself and his career as a pastor, speaker, and teacher.  He describes how he failed to connect early in his career, learned to connect, and is now teaching others to do so.  Just the anecdotes about him are well worth the cost of the book.  I found lots of situations to which I could relate, either as a speaker or a listener.  The lessons gave me a new appreciation for how a leader can use these principles to increase the success of their team.

If you are a leader, you have to communicate.  Whether you embrace this aspect of serving as a leader or cringe at it, this book will help you do it better.  It is personable, funny, brief, and easy to read.  You’ll feel like you sat down with Maxwell as he personally told you how he does what he does.  And that of course is the whole point!  He connects with the reader, providing an example of what he is espousing.

Devon

Other resources: www.johnmaxwell.com

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The Richest Man In Babylon

Title: The Richest Man In Babylon

Author: George S. Clason

Rating: Good

Reason for Reading: This is from our personal library.  I purchased this book for just 10 cents at a used book store.

Summary: The book is a compilation of separate writings the author prepared for banks and financial institutions in the early 20th Century.  Each chapter is a story all unto itself, but some of the characters appear in more than one or are referred to by other characters.

As the title indicates, the stories are set in ancient Babylon, which is described as a city of great wealth and knowledge.  Many of the chapters revolve around Arkad, who is described as the richest man in the community, as he shares his knowledge of money with others.

The language used is similar to what you might read from the King James Version of the Bible, or from Shakespeare.  Don’t let that worry you.  There isn’t anything here you can’t understand.  Money is often referred to as “coins”, banks as “moneylenders”, and those in debt are sometimes slaves.

The author is using a historical setting to teach simple truths about money and finances that have survived the test of time.  The parallels to modern life are not hard for the reader to draw.

Review: For me, this is a classic, a must read, and on my list of books to read at least once a year.  It is a quick and easy pick up to have in your pocket while you are heading out to a place where you might read for a few minutes here or there.  If you sit down to read it from front to back, it won’t take you long.  And because each chapter is a separate story, don’t worry about losing your place.

The truths contained within are simple and common sense, but you won’t be bored in reading it.  The setting, the phraseology, the characters are rich with colors and flavors that will make learning fun.  And the truths will help you with everything from day-to-day tasks like the importance of budgeting your expenses, to long term goals like purchasing a home or preparing for leaving your estate to your family.

I highly recommend The Richest Man in Babylon to everyone who wants to know how money works and how the decisions they make will affect their financial destiny.

Devon

Other resources: None

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Filed under Frugal Living, Money, Personal Finance

Upcoming Reviews

I’m so excited to be reading several excellent books at this moment. One is my latest from BookSneeze. It’s by Sheila Walsh and is titled Beautiful Things Happen when a Woman Trusts God.

I also just finished The Ultimate Guide for Stay-at-Home Parents by Robert Koger and will be posting a review of that book soon.

Last night one of my favorite book suppliers had a book I’ve been salivating over for $2.50! It’s a brand new hardback. Gotta love that! I’ll be posting a review of Never Say Diet by Chantel Hobbs soon.

Please make sure to vote at the right so that I can know what you want me to read next.

I know that Devon is busy reading (as always). He’s working on a couple of excellent books. I can’t wait to see his reviews.

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Mastering the Seven Decisions

Title: Mastering the Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success, an Owner’s Manual to the New York Times Bestseller The Traveler’s Gift

Author: Andy Andrews

Rating: Good

Reason for Reading: After reading and thoroughly enjoying The Traveler’s Gift (TTG), this book is the logical next step. Even a casual reader of TTG can tell Andrews has more to say than could be squeezed into the book. Mastering the Seven Decisions (Mt7D) provides the context and commentary to flesh out the lessons. This book was purchased and given to me as a gift, and no compensation was provided for this review.

Summary: While TTG is told as a narrative (in fact, some booksellers and reviewers categorized it as fiction!), this book is solidly in the non-fiction, self-help category. Andrews provides a chapter on each of the 7 Decisions, providing examples and insight. Each decision is also described in a letter to Andrews from a famous person, including General Norman Schwarzkopf and Amy Grant. Peppered throughout the book are exercises where Andrews prompts the reader to write down thoughts, feelings, fears, and affirmations. The exercises help the reader find the specific connection between the principles he describes and how work in their life.

Review: Andrews lives up to the promise in the books title that this is an owners manual to TTG. The expanded descriptions of the 7 Decisions help the reader understand how they have been at work in their life. And, perhaps most importantly, how the reader can use a greater understanding of them to be more successful in the future. The exercises are tough, but quite valuable. Have a notebook and pen nearby as you read the book. Completing the exercises will take time and lots of lined notebook paper, but the rewards are worth it. The reader will be facing their fears and failures, evaluating their past, dreaming about their future, and finding resources and actions to be more and do more. The reader’s past will become a wonderful education in the principles behind personal success. The reader’s looming challenges will become the ingredients in a successful life.

Unlike a lot of self-help books, reading Mt7D and completing the enclosed exercises will produce something personal and tangible. The reader will finish the book with specific steps they can take to make different choices, and consequently find the destiny of their dreams.

Devon

Other resources: www.andyandrews.com

Related book reviews: The Traveler’s Gift

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The Present

Title: The Present

Author: Spencer Johnson, MD

Rating: Good

Reason for Reading: This book is from our personal library, purchased many years ago.

Summary: The book is a practical parable.  Formatted as a story within a story, the prologue has Liz seeking advice from former co-worker Bill.  She notices that Bill is doing much better now than when they worked together, while Liz is struggling at work and home.  Bill says that his improved performance and greater enjoyment of life began when heard the story of The Present, and began applying its lessons.  He is at first hesitant to tell Liz the story, knowing her skeptical nature, but Liz confirms she will give the story a fair chance, no matter how simplistic is seems.

The story is that of a young man’s journey to maturity, guided by occasional visits to the old man who lives in his neighborhood.  The old man knows The Present and gives it to the young man in small segments at different moments in his life.  Not surprisingly, the segments are The Present, The Past, and The Future.

The epilogue has Liz meeting with Bill again after some time has passed.  She has learned and applied the lessons from the story.  She has shared the story with others, just has Bill shared it with her.  The skeptic is now a believer in the simple truths contained within the parable.

Review: This book contains such profound truth in such simple words, it is striking in value.  It is a quick read.  I can go through the whole book in about two hours.  This is a great book to keep in your library and read every year.  It won’t last through a New York to Los Angeles flight, probably not even between when you get through security and receive clearance to takeoff.

The story is compelling.  It is easy to relate to the young man as he learns about The Present from the old man.  His circumstances are easy to identify with for any reader.  The language is so simple that the lessons are easy to digest, surprisingly so given their great value.  If you are interested in simple truths to be found in a quick, easy read, find a copy of The Present.

Devon

Other resources: http://www.whomovedmycheese.com

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