Tag Archives: Booksneeze

Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham + my Tell Me Thursday answers

Scroll down for the review!

Yesterday, I asked some Tell Me Thursday questions, which have to do with my book review for today (if you’re a woman, you definitely want to hear about this book). But before I get into that, I promised to share my own answers:

1) My favorite toy when I was a kid: My Care Bear Wish Bear. I loved the Care Bears and I thought they were real. Whenever I was on a plane ride, I would sit by the window seat to look for Care-A-Lot.

2) My second home: Like Cyndi, I like to think of the church that I go to as my second home. More than anything, it’s because of the wonderful people that I see whenever I’m in the building. Oh, and I love the food they serve for merienda (ginataan and turon!) at the basement cafeteria, too!

3) My comfort food: Breakfast food! I love waffles, bacon, eggs, cereal, muffins, and I can go on and on and on…

4) What I want to do if I could take a break from what I needed to do: I would escape to one of my favorite secret spots to get some peace and quiet. And just stay there, without worrying about the time. I would stay there and just think…pray…maybe read, too.

5) What makes me smile: Downtime with my nephews. I love that moment when they’ve stopped running around and they’re just sitting still beside me. It usually only happens when we’re watching TV or when they’re busy playing video games. My 2-year old nephew loves to crawl into my lap with his bottle of milk and lean his head against me. Happy times.

* * *

Now the reason why I asked those questions was because thinking about what makes us happy–what makes us feel strong–is one of the key parts of living a strong life, according to the book Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently by strengths guru Marcus Buckingham.

Most women I know (myself included) grew up with the illusion that we need to live “balanced lives”. The question is, what does that look like? Have you ever really, truly, felt “balanced”?

Buckingham says, “So often you’re told to strive for balance. But balance is the wrong target. Balance is almost impossible to achieve and not fulfilling when you do.”

In the book, Buckingham addresses the common problems that women have, and offers some mindset-changing insights on how to live differently. Watch this video to know more:

My verdict: I love Buckingham’s idea of living an intentionally imbalanced life. It’s such a refreshing and freeing perspective that makes so much sense. After reading this book, I was able to rearrange my schedule in a way that opened up time for more “strong life” moments, like spending time with my nephews, taking road trips, and enrolling in classes that I knew I would enjoy. This book inspired me to take a photography class! Whenever I find myself feeling weary again, I go back to the principles I learned in this book. When I think about it, the book can be summed up in just a few paragraphs. If you don’t have the time to read it, you can just skim through the important parts and you’ll pretty much get the gist.

Give it a try: Take the free Strong Life Test and browse through the book preview here. (By the way, I wouldn’t take the test as gospel truth, though. I took the test twice and had different results each time, both of which could apply to me. I  just read both profiles in the book and took the recommendations with an open mind.)

Think about it: What makes you feel strong?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

* * *

If you want to receive updates when I publish new blog posts, you can subscribe via RSS or e-mail. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Plan B by Pete Wilson

One of the best books I read while I was on this trip is a book called Plan B. At the end of this post, I will tell you how you can have a chance to get a copy of this book for free (if you reside in Metro Manila)!

Here’s the gist of the book:

I love how God’s timing is always perfect. When I first got this book, I wasn’t in the mood to read it, but when I finally did, I’m glad I got around to it.

Suffering and pain are both inevitable. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33) Sometimes the trials and tribulations seem to turn my world upside down that I don’t know what to do, and I end up sinking into a dark and desolate emotional place. When I find myself in a place that I didn’t expect to be, a place I didn’t want to be, I search, plead, and beg God for answers. And when they don’t immediately come, I get frustrated and depressed. Does this sound familiar? Does this happen to you?

Pete Wilson does a great job capturing the emotions behind the so-called nightmares that we experience through his own stories, and other real-life stories of people who went through their own seasons of great difficulty–the ones they didn’t ask for and they didn’t expect. As I read them, I, too, wondered about the answers, explanations, solutions…

But what if we didn’t need answers? What if there was something better than getting easy answers and quick fixes? Jesus did say we will go through trouble in this world, but we often miss the second part of the verse: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The book goes into what that second part means for us and what it looks like and feels like in our lives. It isn’t one of those books that offers paint-by-numbers solutions to our problems, but it does go straight to the heart of who God is and what He has done and what He continues to do for us. It’s an easy read, and if I were you, I’d keep a highlighter within your reach. For many people, this book is an invitation to hope once again. I highly recommend it, and it’s one that I’ll be reading over and over again.

For more information on the book, go to http://www.planbbook.com. You can also download a sample chapter here.

* * *

I’ve got one copy of the book to give away! To get a chance to snag it, leave a comment below and either:

a) Tell me why you want the book
b) Give me a topic that you want me to write about (or a question you want me to answer) on this blog.

On Monday, July 12, I will select one person at random to get the free copy, and I’ll notify the winner through email. It’s really easy! Sorry, but it’s only open to those within Metro Manila. And that’s because…I’ll be back home in the Philippines next week. :) More on that in my next post!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

BOOK REVIEW: Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young

I haven’t read a devotional in a while, and I miss having one. One of the reasons why I was able to get into reading the Bible was because of reading devotionals. My first devotional gave me an introduction to God’s heart when my mind couldn’t quite process yet the words I was reading in the Bible. Ultimately, it led me to open up my Bible more and more until it became a habit I now can’t live without. :)

The devotional I’m reading now is called Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young. This devotional is unique because each entry is written as if Jesus himself was speaking to the reader. I can’t describe the devotional any better than what’s written in the Amazon product page: “After many years of writing in her prayer journal, missionary Sarah Young decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever she believed He was saying to her.  It was awkward at first, but gradually her journaling changed from monologue to dialogue.  She knew her writings were not inspired as Scripture is, but journaling helped her grow closer to God.  Others were blessed as she shared her writings, until people all over the world were using her messages.  They are written from Jesus’ point of view, thus the title Jesus Calling.”

God speaks, it’s just that some people don’t recognize His voice. Some think that He speaks like a killjoy of sorts, or someone who preaches haughtily to the world from a high seat of power. My experience of God speaking is completely different. I know Him to be warm, encouraging, passionate (especially if I’m drifting), but always truthful, and always loving. Of course, my ears weren’t always attuned to His voice. A combination of being still, desperate, eager, and expectant, coupled with times soaked in the Bible has helped me over the years to recognize the voice of God. And until this day, my ears still need fine tuning. Just like any relationship, there’s more to learn as time goes by. :)

This devotional is a great way to discover or rediscover what God sounds like, but just know that it can’t replace the Bible–the author says the same thing too. That being said, you can let the words from this devotional sprinkle your soul. To describe it one word, I’d say it’s refreshing. :)

If you’d like to preview the book, you can do so here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

2 + 2: Two Books, Two Blog Posts

I like reading. Whether it’s reading a book or reading a blog, I eat up words the way I drink coffee. I don’t really know what I meant by that, but it makes sense to me. I love coffee.

That being said, let me tell you about two books that I’ve read recently.

1) Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller

Donald Miller’s one of my favorite authors. He’s the New York Times bestselling author of Blue Like Jazz. Until this day, I still can’t decide which one of his books is my favorite (I’ve read Blue Like Jazz, Searching for God Knows What, and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years). So when I came across this book, getting it was a no-brainer for me. It’s a republished and retitled version of his first book, Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance.

It starts out a little slow for my taste, but then it’s a road trip memoir, so the pace ends up making sense, at least for me. In this book, Miller writes about a monumental interstate road trip that he takes with his friend Paul–a trip that takes them over mountains, down the Grand Canyon, and under their beat-up Volkswagen van (the latter, many times over).

I always wanted to go on an interstate road trip, and Miller does a great job of making the journey real to me. While it started out slow, I’m glad that I opted to keep reading as the story kept getting better and better. By the last couple of chapters, I was reading ever-so-slowly and taking down notes, as some lines went straight to my heart.

There are so many good parts and I’m not going to spoil it for you, but I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“I could not have known that everybody, every person, has to leave, has to change like seasons; they have to or they die. The seasons remind me that I must keep changing, and I want to change because it’s God’s way.” / “Everybody has to change or they expire. Everybody has to leave, everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons. I want to keep my soul fertile for the changes so things keep getting born in me, so things keep dying when it is time for things to die. I want to keep walking away from the person I was a moment ago, because a mind was made to figure things out, not read the same page recurrently.” – Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts

2) The Voice New Testament

Thanks to BookSneeze, I get to review books for free from time to time, and this was the latest one that I chose to review. The Voice is a new, contemporary translation of the New Testament. But more than just a translation, I consider it a repackaged version of the Bible. Instead of the usual paragraphs of text, the conversations are told in screenplay form. Innovative? Yes. Illuminating? Sometimes. Confusing? Unfortunately. The screenplay format and the commentaries within the text make my head spin.

I think that one of the best parts about reading the Word is you get to have a relationship with it. It becomes personal because you’ve invested time soaking in it, trying to understand it, reading between the lines, and even putting yourself in the shoes of the people in the stories. You get to use your imagination, you get to picture the scene and the emotions that are in the air. And sometimes I struggle with what I read, sometimes I wonder if I’m understanding it correctly and I wonder what it all really means. When that happens, I get to take the questions to God, and in my prayers I ask Him, “Why would that person do that?” or “Why would Jesus say that?” or “What do You mean?” And a conversation forms, and it’s a conversation that never ends.

That being said, when I hear too many voices (or read too many for that matter), I don’t get to truly hear what God is saying to me. So while this is a creative translation and effort, it won’t be taking the place of my Bible any time soon. Do I recommend it? Well, I like reading through several translations from time to time (I like the ESV, TNIV, NLT, and The Message translations), so having this one comes in handy. If you’re like me, go ahead and get yourself a copy, but I won’t suggest using it as your main source of scripture.

If you’re not into long blocks of text and would rather read some blogs, here are some blog posts that have touched me deeply this past week:



I don’t want to spoil these great reads, so you’ll just have to click on the links to read more. By the way, I just started reading Bianca’s blog a couple of weeks ago and it’s already one of my favorites.

So that’s it from me for now! How about you, what have you been reading lately? :)