Book Review: Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick

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We may not always realize it, but a continuous loop of negative self-talk often runs through our minds. These insistent negative thoughts can dictate our choices and make us feel defeated before we even get started. In his book Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God’s Voice Above All Others, Pastor Steven Furtick helps us distinguish the “chatterbox” from that “still, small voice” of God’s truth for our lives.

Pastor Furtick shares his personal experiences dealing with the chatterbox. He explains that there are four areas that make us vulnerable to lies about ourselves: fear, condemnation, insecurity and discouragement. Negative self-talk, Furtick writes, makes us miserable and prevents us from living the lives God has planned for us. But the good news is, we can short-circuit the lies from the enemy with three key truths: God says I am, God says He will, God says He has, and God says I can. Each chapter of Crash the Chatterbox takes us to a deeper understanding of God’s love for us and purpose for our lives.

I don’t think I’m overstating when I say that reading this book can be a life-changing experience. The author’s willingness to be transparent and share his own story helped me to recognize the chatterbox that plays in my own mind. In fact, I learned so much from reading this book that I plan to read it again.  I highly recommend this book for anyone who struggles with that stream of negative self-talk (and who hasn’t?).

To learn more about Crash the Chatterbox and Steven Furtick, you can read the first chapter of the book or visit the author’s website.

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. I was not required to write a positive review; all opinions in this review are my own.

Book Review: Pathways to Illumination, by Christy Birmingham

Are you in the middle of a healing journey and wonder if you’ll ever find your way through your depression? Maybe, like most of us at times, you just feel stuck in a pattern, grieving from an old but still-raw wound. A well-written poem has a way of providing a fresh perspective on familiar circumstances. Written after the end of a toxic relationship, Christy Birmingham’s Pathways to Illumination is a poetry collection that in many ways tells every woman’s healing story.

Ms. Birmingham’s poetry turns everyday images into rich, soul-baring verse — such as these lines from “Lint in Your Pocket”:

 You used me like lint in your pocket

And sent me to the trash, for the hour that

You took her to our bed.

In “Self-Publish,” the author — like many of us — bumps into daunting challenges as she celebrates a fresh start:

I had hoped the plot was fiction, but the

Characters are real,

As real as the ink on medical bills

That rest for a moment at my writing desk.

I highly recommend Pathways to Illumination to any woman — or man — searching for an inspiring, encouraging read.  As Ms. Birmingham reminds us in “What If,” we can choose to “fill a blank page with positive words.” These poems convey a contagious determination to embrace the future in spite of the past. Whether it’s appreciating nature’s beauty or reflecting on lessons learned, Pathways to Illumination is a welcome companion on the healing journey.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Pathways of Illumination in exchange for writing a review. I was not required to write a positive review; all opinions in this review are my own.

Book Review: Greater, by Steven Furtick

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What are you waiting for? What is holding you back? You were created for greater things than you can imagine — greater than money, popularity or fame. We’ve probably all been there — feeling stuck in mediocrity, unfulfilled, wondering if this is all there is. In his book Greater, Pastor Steven Furtick tells the story of Elisha as an illustration of how we can start where we are and begin a new life in faith.

Pastor Furtick points out that just as Elisha did when Elijah called him, we can “burn our plow” and break away from things that are holding us back. The key, according to the author, is to develop a trusting relationship with God for the journey. Pastor Furtick also offers encouragement for the times of grief or disappointment, when we wonder if perhaps we’ve “wasted our faith.”

I understand those fears about “wasted faith” all too well. Greater has helped me develop a new perspective about those bitter times. The lessons from this book give me confidence to I work with what I have, and to believe that God can work through me in His infinite power. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to take a step away from self-criticism and start living for something “greater.”

You can learn more about this book at the Greater website, or catch up with Pastor Steven Furtick on his website.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. All opinions in this review are my own; I was not required to write a positive review.

Multitude Monday: 141-147

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Been blessed in so many ways this week. Hope you’ll join us with  your gratitude list at A Holy Experience!

141. Working on a new blog with my husband John. I love the fact that we enjoy working on creative endeavors together!

142. Connecting with my Flagstaff, AZ friends. Looking forward to visiting soon, we hope!

143. Recognizing new ways to serve and encourage, ways to reach out with my faith.

144. John’s recovery from surgery…he felt well enough to do some cooking this morning!

145. Getting back to my fitness routine after about a month off. Ouch!

146. Unexpectedly ran across Beethoven’s 9th on the radio. That was a pleasant surprise…love Beethoven!

147. Chai latte…I especially love the flavors of cloves and cinnamon. Enjoying a cup as I write!

Multitude Monday: 109-116






It has been too long, and there is so much to say. When life and its worries became overwhelming, I tightened my grip, choosing to white-knuckle my way through challenges. How much better it is to turn worries into worship! This week, I continue my list for Multitudes on Mondays at A Holy Experience after a long absence, choosing gratitude over gritting my teeth. Here it is:

109.) This week’s invitation to a prayer circle. This invitation began my turnaround from worry toward gratitude. I thank the ladies at Ruby for Women for that email invitation, and for a wonderful community.

110.) Fourth wedding anniversary today! Thankful for my husband John, and for many more years of friendship and love. When we first met, I knew that God had his fingerprints all over this relationship!

111.) The many guest speakers at Saddleback Church the past couple of months. Their inspired words have helped the church community heal, and have helped me discern callings I hadn’t previously recognized. Even though I am part of the online campus, I feel a strong connection to Saddleback as the church heals from loss.

112.) Refreshing, cooler than normal May weather. In Texas, this only comes after thunder and hail.

113.) Writing opportunities that line up with my certificate in fitness. Now I can fill in that writer portfolio!

114.) Healthy but yummy foods…like these quinoa cakes! They taste extra good because the quinoa is toasted first.

quinoa cakes

115.) Watching the NBA playoffs with my husband and my mom. Go Spurs!

116.) Pizza that arrived late.  Amazing how God can use late pizza to teach me and lift my spirits! I wanted to treat my mom to pizza and a movie this Mother’s Day, so I ordered online. We waited an hour and a half, and I was beating myself up because I couldn’t make things turn out “right”…silly, but true! My husband arrived home from a visit with his mom, and still no pizza. Well, the pizza arrived after I called and asked about the order…and we got an extra free pizza because it was late! Things were not as they seemed, and turned out better than originally expected! Hmm, could be some wisdom to that 🙂

That’s my list for this week. Hope you’ll link up with your list!

 

Letter to 16-Year-Old Me — Day 10 of HAWMC

You can join us at the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge here http://blog.wegohealth.com/2012/04/10/hawmc-day-10-2/

Day 10

Dear 16-year-old-me. Write a letter to yourself at age 16. What would you tell yourself? What would you make your younger self aware of?

Dear me,

You already know everything, but it doesn’t hurt to have a glimpse into your future self, does it? There are many wonderful days ahead of you — and some not so wonderful. But look, you’re still here at age — gulp — fifty, and going strong!You know what, you’re married! Yes, you who never had a date in high school — you are married to a fellow writer and artist who is also your best friend. That should keep you going!

Those allergies will get better. In fact, you’ll be free of the wheezing in another year or two. College will be a happier experience than high school, but don’t let the difficult years after that discourage you. No matter what happens, take time to do the things that give you joy — sing, draw, plant your garden, and write, write, write. You’ll need the practice, because after you’ve lived through the challenging years, you’re going to be a professional writer. Just like you always wanted! But please, honor your commitments to yourself…for your heart’s sake.

Can I tell you something? Promise you’ll stay positive, because everything will turn out beautifully.

Here goes. Your worst fear, I remember, is that you will become homeless, right? Wait, come back! Listen to me: it will be a blessing beyond your wildest imagination. While recovering from your homeless adventure, you will travel, find the deepest friendships you’ve ever had, and you will be led into the arms of the man you are going to marry.

You will have joys and heartaches in the years to come, but you will discover a deep faith that will sustain you and nourish you. You will have to discover that for yourself, but let me tell you, yo will come to know a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Now tuck this letter into your memory, and take it out and read it whenever you need to. You’re gonna be alright, trust me!

Love,

Me

 

Happiness Sneaks In — HAWMC Day 2

Day 2:

Quotation Inspiration. Find a quote that inspires you (either positively or negatively) and free write about it for 15 minutes.

“Happiness sneaks in through a door you did not know you left open.” John Barrymore

I first read this John Barrymore quote in a book given to me as a gift. This quotation has saved my day many times. It reminds me that a situation “looks” hopeless because joy will find us in unexpected ways. It’s that door that we unwittingly leave open — perhaps a song we haven’t heard in a while, or the aroma of a favorite food cooking. My mother has another approach that she learned after decades of caregiving for her parents: brief moment that give us a fleeting vacation from long-term stress. These “little happinesses”, as my mother calls them, are usually unexpected, and can be anything from a glimpse of a tiny flower emerging from the snow to a few minutes reading a favorite fashion magazine. It is a moment that refreshes, gives energy, and unclenches tense muscles…maybe even slows the heart rate!

Joy can surprise us at times when it seems far away. The knowledge that it can sneak up on me reminds me that the more I look for happiness in expected places, the less likely I am to see joy when it is right in front of me.

Join us and share a quotation that inspires you! http://blog.wegohealth.com/2012/04/02/hawmc-day-2-2/