Posts Tagged Religion

Maybe Adversity Isn’t So Bad After All

I’m reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s an excellent book about what really makes people successful (it isn’t what you think).

He tells the story of Jewish lawyers in New York in the 1950s.

Basically, if you were a graduate from a law school and you weren’t a WASP (white Anglo Saxon Protestant), you weren’t going to get hired by the exclusive New York firms. It didn’t matter how smart you were or where you went to law school, a Jew would NOT get hired.

So what was a Jewish lawyer to do? They started their own firms and did the work that was beneath the “white shoe” law firms — namely litigation and hostile corporate takeovers. These two types of law were far too adversarial for the genteel white shoe law firms.

Gladwell tells the story of one lawyer in particular, Joe Flom, who graduated at the top of his Harvard Law School class, practically without studying. He was interviewed by the most exclusive law firm in New York which told him, honestly, they were just meeting him on a lark. There was no way someone with his “antecedents” would be hired at their firm. Seriously, “antecedents” was the word they used.

Joe met up with four other Jewish lawyers who were starting their own firm. It was a huge risk because they had nary a client among them.

Joe joined them and became an expert in hostile takeovers. If you wanted to take over a corporation and you had the money for the best in the business, you hired Flom.   He didn’t care if such adversarial work was “beneath him”.  He had drive and desire and didn’t care what it took to succeed.

Fast forward 20 years. Suddenly, attorneys who did hostile takeovers were no longer looked down upon. In fact, they were in high demand. The white shoe law firms tried to jump on the bandwagon, but it was too late. Flom, and attorneys like him, alread had the experience and the reputation for being the best. The old school attorneys couldn’t catch up. Nowadays, Flom’s firm employs almost 2,000 attorneys in 23 offices around the world and earns well over $1 billion a year.

Gladwell writes, “[Flom] didn’t triumph over adversity. Instead, what started out as adversity ended up being an opportunity.”

Those words resonated in my head and heart and spirit last night. I’ve been discouraged and depressed because of my seemingly intolerable circumstances. What I needed to remember is that God often disguises our greatest opportunities as insurmountable problems. Of course, I knew that, but knowing something in your head and knowing in your spirit are two different things. I guess my spirit needed to be reminded!

Have a great weekend. Another book giveaway starts next week. If one of your New Year’s Resolutions has anything to do with diet, exercise and weight loss, you won’t want to miss Monday’s review.


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You Do Not Have Because You Do Not Ask

I mentioned yesterday I was feeling lost and forlorn, but that I had a “glimmer” of hope and motivation when I awoke yesterday. I must admit I had a little voice inside me saying, “God, is that you?” and my big, booming psyche saying, “Probably not.”

Imagine my surprise when I awoke (or was awakened) early again this morning and, try as I might, was unable to go back to sleep. The feelings of hope and motivation burned a tiny bit brighter. So, again, I got some exercise, spent some time praying and am beginning to wonder if this hopeless-for-so-long feeling might not lift after all.

You do not have because you do not ask. Yep, that would be me!

P.S. Don’t forget to check out and give me feedback on the new blog format. Unless I hear a major outcry, this blog address will be defunct by the end of this week.

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Resolutions for 2009


I hope the New Year finds my readers healthy, happy and progressing merrily on keeping their resolutions.  Check out .  It’s a site where you can post your resolutions and get encouragement from other readers.

I promised I would let you in on my “areas for change”. I didn’t actually make “resolutions” and haven’t attempted any improvements, so I guess at this point, I’d call them “hopeful intentions for future change”.

One is physical, one is emotional and one is spiritual.

The physical change is, not surprising, to eat healthier and get back into an exercise routine. I thought when I became a vegan it would be difficult to keep eating junk food and abusing my body. Not so! The abusive foods are different, but it’s still quite easy to be malnourished as a vegan! At least I’m only hurting myself and not the beautiful four legged creatures in the world who deserve so much better than they get.

The spiritual change I need to make is to rededicate my time to prayer. I have been feeling forsaken and alone lately. This is not surprising since my prayer life has been all but nonexistent. God never goes anywhere. We humans, on the other hand, move close to Him and far away depending on our moods, discipline and circumstances. I have walked away and then wonder why He doesn’t care. How screwed up is that?!

The emotional change I need is to shake this feeling of depression and despair. To be honest, I could easily sleep 18 hours a day just so I wouldn’t have to face life.  There are real reasons for this — none of which I can change — so I have no choice but to change my reactions to my circumstances.  This is really all any of us can do in most instances anyway!

I realize all three areas for change are interconnected. Research shows that exercise is as effective at treating depression as medications and I know if I spent more time talking with God, my funk would lift as well. I also realize that I need God’s help to make physical and emotional changes which is an incentive to work on the spiritual changes I need to make. I know if I were eating healthier and exercising more, I wouldn’t be so tired when it comes to praying.

Now, what I don’t know is what it will take for me to get beyond the knowledge of what needs to be done and actually make a commitment to DO IT. I can’t seem to psych myself up to break out of a paper bag and I know I need a lot more “oomph” to make these changes. Although I desire the results such changes would bring, I honestly don’t care enough to lift a finger to change any of it. But I’m not content by any means, so accepting the status quo isn’t a workable solution either.

If anyone knows of a motivational technique to shake me out of my apathy, I’d be grateful to hear it.   By the way, I did wake up this morning with the tiniest bit of hope and motivation.  I got a little exercise and re-introduced myself to God.  Hopefully one baby step will build on another.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out and give me feedback on the new blog format. Unless I hear a major outcry, this blog address will be defunct in another week or so.

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Book Review and Giveaway: Real Help for Your New Year’s Resolutions

only-nuns-coverKaren Scalf Linamen says she writes humor and self-help – together, not separately. To really understand that description, you have to read one of her books. Luckily, I recently got the chance to do just that.

In light of the quickly approaching New Year and our propensity for resolutions, this week’s book review features Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight by Karen Scalf Linamen. Her advice is sound, but her delivery is hilarious. Check out some of these chapter titles:

Does the Name Pavlov Ring a Bell?

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Skydiving Is Not for You.

The Next Time You Come to the End of Your Rope, Start Flapping Your Arms

Very Funny, Scotty. Now Beam Up My Clothes

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins at the Fuel Pump

Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight will give you advice on how to make ANY change you desire. It doesn’t matter if your desired change is simple (stop losing my car keys) or difficult (learn how to manage my temper), short term (organize my spice cabinet) or long term (lose 75 pounds). This book will help you identify the areas of your life you want to improve, set specific goals, motivate you to get started and encourage you to persist until you’re successful. Karen gives the reader 52 tips, detailed instructions, examples, and anecdotal stories funny enough to make you wet yourself as you nod and think, “Yep, I’ve done that!” Of course, just as many times you’ll say to yourself, “At least I’m not that bad!”

If you desire to make any lasting change in your life, Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight is the book you need to truly believe, “Yes, I can!”

GIVEAWAY: I have two copies of this book to give away. To enter the random drawing for a free copy of Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight by Karen Scalf Linamen, please e-mail your name and mailing address to  I’ll double your chances to win if you tell me your #1 New Year’s Resolution — the one thing you really WANT to change; I’ll post the answers I receive anonymously.  The drawing will take place this Friday, January 2, 2009. Good luck!

If you don’t win, you can purchase this book on and other favorite booksellers.

Here is the book summary from the publisher and information about the author:

Every woman longs for change in some area of her life. Unfortunately, fear, fatigue, adversity, heartbreak, past failures, and even the choices of other people get in the way and make lasting change seem out of reach. Having been there herself, Karen Linamen knows exactly how to take readers from where they are to where they want to be.
In Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight, she examines 52 powerful actions readers can apply to any change they long to embrace. Her insights apply to career, finances, personal health and fitness, relationships, faith—in fact, every facet of a woman’s life.
Blending laugh-out-loud humor and sage advice, Linamen shows readers the link between dissatisfaction and transformation, how to remodel habits, the little-known truth about procrastination, how to generate the energy they need to pursue the life they desire, how to benefit from options and resources they never dreamed they had, and much, much more!
only-nuns-authorAuthor Bio: Karen Scalf Linamen is a popular speaker and the celebrated author of ten books for women, including Due to Rising Energy Costs the Light at the End of the Tunnel Has Been Turned Off and Just Hand Over the Chocolate and No One Will Get Hurt. She has been featured on more than one hundred radio programs, including FamilyLife Today. Publishers Weekly describes her as “funny, forthright and unforgettable.” Linamen lives with her family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Visit her website at

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Enlist God’s Help

There are three areas of my life that need drastic change. One area is physical, one is emotional and one is spiritual.

The other day I was putting these goals in writing and brainstorming ways to help me achieve them. Of course, I needed God’s help in achieving my spiritual goal; enlisting God’s help in meeting my spiritual need was one of the first ideas I jotted down under that category. Awhile later I wrote down “learn to depend on God to help” under my physical need. Quite awhile later, I wrote down “need the Holy Spirit to guide me” under the emotional need.

Funny, isn’t it, how much easier it is to accomplish ANYTHING with His help?! So why doesn’t that idea doesn’t readily and immediately come to mind?! At least that’s the case for me. First I think about all the things I can do and after I’ve tried everything else, then God pops into my head as the solution (or a “helper” for me).

Recently I was reading Francis Frangipane’s weekly message and these words stood out for me:

“In reality, grace if God’s promise to do for us what we cannot do ourselves.”

Hmmm.  That gave me pause. 

You can read the whole article below.  I’m going to take a few days off and will be back again on Monday. Grace!

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Winners of This Week’s Book Giveaway

living_rich1 Congratulations to our three winners of Ellie Kay’s new book, Living Rich for Less: Stephanie from West Allis, Wisconsin; Elaine from Orange Beach, Alabama; and Kelly Blackwell from Prescott, Arizona.

I have several more book giveaways in the next couple of weeks so please check back often. Book reviews are on Mondays and drawings are on Fridays. My rambling thoughts are on days in between. My next book giveaway starts December 29th and will be a great book to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions.

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Living Rich for Less, Ellie Kay

living_richMoney is always tight during the holidays, but never more so than now with the economy spiraling downward so rapidly and no upswing in sight.  So I can’t think of a more timely book than Living Rich for Less by Ellie Kay. 

Ellie has “been there, done that.”  She is a saver; her husband is a spender.  Early in their marriage, she quit working outside the home because they moved 11 times in 13 years.  She and her husband had to live on 23% of her husband’s income since the rest went to pay taxes, child support, and their tithe.  From the remaining 23%, they had to support 7 kids (2 from her husband’s previous marriage and 5 kids they had in 7 years) and pay off $40,000 in consumer debt.  Not only did they survive, they thrived.  They paid off the debt and eventually were able to pay cash for big ticket items such as vehicles and their kids’ college educations. 

In Living Rich for Less, Ellie will explain in easy-to-understand and funny terms how to do the same thing with your own finances.  She will show you how to GIVE 10%, SAVE 10% and WISELY SPEND the remaining 80% (the key word here is wisely).  She discusses the ins and outs of mortgages, a step-by-step process for paying off consumer debt, how to finance your children’s college education, and how to take a vacation for less.  Her tips are practical and not overly burdensome — she will not tell you add water to the milk jug to stretch it longer or give you 10 money-saving uses for lint from the clothes dryer.   

Living Rich for Less is a painless way to learn the money lessons we all need to understand and fully embrace if we are to weather today’s (and tomorrow’s) financial storms. 

I’ll even start saving you money right now by giving you a chance to win the book instead of buying it (although it’s worth the investment —   Please e-mail your name and mailing address to me at to be entered in the drawing.  Winners will be announced on Friday, December 19th. 

Below is the summary from the publisher:

You really can be rich in every way, every day.

So you want to own the home you love, make memories on wonderful vacations with family or friends, finance college educations, and help others too?


You can—starting here and now.


With lively humor, proven know-how, and practical principles for financial health, Living Rich for Less helps you stretch your dollars to realize the lifestyle of your dreams. Ellie Kay’s entertaining and enlightening examples show you simple steps to save, spend, and give smart, and her three main principles are undergirded by dozens of effective rules and hundreds of Cha-Ching Factor™ tips that keep or put money in your pocket.


Ellie knows what it’s like to be financially-strapped or struggling, wanting to be the Joneses but feeling as poor in spirit as in pocketbook. She went, within two and a half years, from being a new wife and mom with $40,000 in consumer debt and seven children (and college educations) to support, to being completely debt-free and within fifteen years able to pay cash for eleven different cars, give away three of those cars, buy two five-bedroom houses (moving from one to the other) and nicely furnish each, take wonderful vacations, dress her family in fine fashion; and support more than thirty non-profit organizations in more than a dozen different countries, giving away more than $100,000.


Isn’t that the kind of transformation to a rich life that you want?

Living Rich for Less helps anyone get there in our taxed-out, maxed-out times. Because financial security doesn’t mean just genuine prosperity, but being able to live luxuriously, give generously, and care for yourself as well as the others around you.

Why keep up with the Joneses when you can be them?


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