Essentialism by Greg McKeown – Book Review

Book Description:

Have you ever found yourself struggling with information overload? 

Have you ever felt both overworked and underutilised? 

Do you ever feel busy but not productive? 

If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is to become an Essentialist. 

In Essentialism, Greg McKeown, CEO of a Leadership and Strategy agency in Silicon Valley who has run courses at Apple, Google and Facebook, shows you how to achieve what he calls the disciplined pursuit of less. Being an Essentialist is about a disciplined way of thinking. It means challenging the core assumption of ‘We can have it all’ and ‘I have to do everything’ and replacing it with the pursuit of ‘the right thing, in the right way, at the right time’.

By applying a more selective criteria for what is essential, the pursuit of less allows us to regain control of our own choices so we can channel our time, energy and effort into making the highest possible contribution toward the goals and activities that matter. 

Using the experience and insight of working with the leaders of the most innovative companies and organisations in the world, McKeown shows you how to put Essentialism into practice in your own life, so you too can achieve something great.

Book Review:

I liked reading this and even though there was a lot of business/ceo stories some were quite inspiring. I did feel towards the end more ideas that I could relate to and think the book did drag the main message out.

I like at the end there is a 21 day challenge to put it all into practise.

There are some tiny nuggets to try but other than that it was a quick read and a good introduction to how to minimise your life to the things that matter. More helpful if you run a business or have a lot on in your life.

Learning to how to say No and to create buffer chapters were good. The chapters are short and simple with some practical tips at the end of each section. Also at the end it gives you a comparison of what a non essentialist and an essentialist think about and how they are different in their thinking.

The big message- in this busy world what are we truly focusing on? What’s the most important thing you can do today/now? With society becoming busy for busy sake or to try how about we don’t? Remove activity’s that you won’t miss and identify obstacles that slow your purpose down.

Posted in Book review | Leave a comment

Life and Work of a Priest by John Pritchard- Book Review

Book Description:

Based loosely on Robert Martineau’s The Office and Work of a Priest which was written in the 1970s, this new practical guide is for those considering whether they have a call to the priesthood, and those newly ordained who are tackling a new job and want wise advice on how best to set about the many different aspects of parish life.

Book Review:

I found this book easy to read and I really enjoyed it. I liked the structure of the book in how each chapter was a category of what defines a priest and each section had in-depth knowledge of each role. It was a refreshing eye opener into the many roles- not just the typical Sunday’s, weddings, baptisms and funerals! Some of the notes that stood out to me for each role were:

 

Leader of worship

 

They have the responsibility of helping worship to represent and express the life of the congregation- needs to be competent and aware of many factors when preparing worship and designing it for everyone. They need to be attentive and great at multitasking!

 

Person of prayer

 

To be Visible and to do prayer privately so they can demonstrate that it’s comfortable and natural in a rage of situations.

 

Preacher

 

That they are in charge to proclaim the Word and engage in Gods wisdom. The sermons are co-written by the Holy Spirit (I love that line). Also to help people grow and to be prepared for hard questions- handle with sensitivity, judge responses and defend the faith.

 

That priests need to read and listen to the culture of the world and adapt to it.

 

Theologian

 

To help make connections between the Word and the world

 

Intercessor

 

To bear the pain with others  and move it on- difficult but rewarding. To help the community stay on its feet which can be overwhelming but your not alone. I love the quote “keeping vigil with a damaged world until God comes to put it right” speaks volumes.

 

The pastoral side of it is such a huge blessing and responsibility as they are given access to people’s lives and struggles at their most vulnerable points in life. They get to see each encounter as unique.

 

But need to know own limitations – refer those and know a range of services available.  To “steward my enthusiasm” felt that line spoke to me.

 

As an apostle

 

The whole identity as a representative of Christ- big one!  As an icon of the church and open for conversations (Like the Operation Insasmch idea of helping the community for a weekend page 96))

 

I liked the Jewish sabbath example on page 157.

 

Team leader

 

That they will have many distractions so never loose sight of the big picture! Everything is important so delegate if can. Focus on people and thank them- it will go along way.

 

Teacher

 

Don’t need to know all the answers! Help connect faith to everyday issues by asking connecting questions such as “where do you think God might be in all that” and “what would be the Christian like thing to do?) abit like What Would Jesus Do. Christian maturity is a life long task and That they are Christ teaching assistants! It’s how they help people to learn and

 

Be the church but stay human! Page 151 liked “ vocation is what’s left over when the thrill of being called vicar has gone” I have to say I’m still thrilled and excited and not sure if that will ever go anytime in the future (unless he meant once you’re a vicar it might go?)

 

All in all a practical guide and a great introduction to starting the process. I can see myself re reading it and keeping it close by as references.  It has highlighted my calling even more. This book has many low and high moments (personal stories added that extra nice touch) and spoke  all truth not skipping over the nitty gritty (such as the future of the world chapter 14 and the future of the church chapter 15)) but included everything. Some bits such as p159 where it said it’s mentally and physically draining worried me slightly as to how will I be fit for the job and could I do it but the last chapter was uplifting (just like the calling)

 

The book is all what a priest IS and not just a job. I also enjoyed the images and prayers given to help make this book fun and entertaining. I liked the advice of the family to let them be them, to have their freedom to choose and that they are the first church , especially the question at ordination snippets (the book gives a few out) that I need to take it as it’s richest meaning.

Posted in Book review | Leave a comment

Living His Story by Hannah Steele- Book Review

Book Description:

How can we convey the love of God to our neighbours in a post-Christian world that has largely forgotten the gospel of Jesus Christ?

In Living His Story, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2021, Hannah Steele uncovers liberating and practical ways of sharing the gospel story afresh. With warmth and encouragement, She shows us how we can live Jesus’ story in our own lives simply by being the people God made us and allowing people to be drawn to him through our natural gifts.

Living His Story is a Lent devotional that will change the way you think about evangelism, show how ideally suited it is for the world we live in and fill you with confidence in sharing God’s love with the people around you.

Set out in six sessions to take you through Lent, each chapter of the 2021 Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book can be used as a single study for individuals or small groups to prepare for Easter. It will help you find space to see evangelism from a new practical perspective.

Book Review:

I really enjoyed this book and found it extremely engaging throughout. Easy read.  I like the further for discussion topics after each chapter. It had the same feel of The Life and Work of the Priest and also had at the start of each chapter little verses.

It talks about how evangelism works and how to re image it that it should be the most natural thing in the world. She adds about COVID into a few parts and into the relevance of the gospel and that we do not need to fear death.

She tells of all the misconceptions of evangelism in chapter 1 and how she turns them around into truths. That it is for all of us and not experts.

Chapter 2 Is how we can respond to God and she shares her stories on how she shared the good news- even a random chat at a hairdressers lead to the conversation. That we are all storytellers. Jesus told 35!

Chapter 3 was how personal stories can authenticate  the gospel and I loved the story of Lara on page 55 (grew up a Roman Catholic but when she got to uni she hit the party scene hard- one day she went to the beach that was empty as she suffered from insomnia and regularly walked the beach- she cried out to god of what she was living for and then heard a voice in her head to tell her to look around and saw a homeless man and the voice told her that was what she was living for and that the realisation was that she focused on herself. She then went back home and made the man a cuppa and went back to him feeling a sense of change.  Afterwards she dug out bible verses her mum gave to her during her hard times. A week later an old friend randomly asked if she wants to attend her church and since going it changed her and is now training for ordination. What a dramatic turn of events!

Chapter 3 also tells us how we can share our stories as we all have a story to share “like a thumbprint which is unique to us, so is the story of our faith journey”

Chapter 4 is learning how to have life transforming chats and how Jesus related to all different kinds of people. He prioritised people and gave them all time individually. As a church we need to be thinking of how we spend time outside church the 110 waking hours we are not there then the 2 or three that we are. Also who we spend time with and not confined to – get out the safety zone. He allowed himself to be interrupted and listened plus he knew how to ask good questions. That’s what we need to do.

Chapter 5 is how the Spirit guides us when we speak and that it is an integral part of evangelism. God does not have Favourites! She talks about the pandemic and how people stepped outside comfort zones for instance a lady called Laura who had Covid done videos on YouTube on the experience of the virus and how faith was helping her- and found non Christians engaging with her-she also found a blackboard and a basket and filled them with booklets as many people walk past her house and so she wrote verses everyday with the booklets and noticed how some took i. It just shows that we don’t have to start huge.

Chapter 6 was all about building bridges of the gospel to books and film, to notice what’s going on around us and to understand what other people cherish as most important in life. I like how it talked about the Netflix  show The Good Place 🙂 I liked that series (didn’t mention The Chosen but I feel that’s the best Christian series)

The last chapter is understanding different ways people come to faith. She compares the two roads- Damascus and Emmaus (I think I’m the Emmaus road). That we need to move forward from the negative or preconceptions of Christianity as most when to talk to someone/starting point of faith they already have some idea and it already be a reason why they have discounted it as being relevant to them. It guides us on how we can do this by developing an open mind to asking questions.

Overall it was a great straight forward introduction to evangelism and how to approach it with fresh ways. There are so many little more nuggets but it’s definitely book I will re-read many times.

Posted in Book review | Leave a comment

Finally Submitted

Hello all!

Big news to share 😉

So for ages (more like a year) I have been saying I want to send off a story for a magazine- well today I hit the submit button!!!!

Feeling the usual excitement and nerves but finally crossed it off the to do list! Whatever happens at least I tried 🙂

So yes now I have finished editing and sending the story I can focus on other writing related things 😉

Woop

I’m going to also start prep for July Camp Nano as missed this months one.

Maybe not huge news but it’s progress in breaking the writers block! (Also wrote some words a few weeks ago for a new children/YA story)

X

Posted in writing | Leave a comment

Book Review- The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide by Jen Gale

Book Description

Easy, do-able, down to earth ideas and suggestions for everyone to help save the planet.

If you want to save the planet, but your to-do list is already pretty long and remembering your re-usable coffee cup feels like a Herculean task, then this is the book for you. Covering every aspect of our lives from the stuff we buy and the food we eat, to how we travel, work, and celebrate. This book provides stacks of practical, down to earth ideas to slot into your daily life, alongside a gentle kick up the butt to put your newfound knowledge into action.

Practical tips include unsubscribing from all the tempting emails that drop into your inbox with details of the newest clothing range or the latest sale, and keeping a mug next to your kettle to work out how much water you actually need to boil each time, as over filling kettles costs British households £68 million on energy bills each year.

Find out how to fit “sustainable living” into your life, in a way that works for you. Change your impact without radically changing your life and figure out the small steps you can make that will add up to make a big difference (halo not included).

Book Review

I love how easy to read this book is! I love how it is in sections and at the end of each 12 sections are to try lists, more suggestions and checklists to help you on your way to change 🙂

There are many facts that are eye opening (and quite scary) and it is a user freindly practical guide for everyone – from total beginner to the more advanced this book is inspiring and much needed in this ever changing world. Many simple techniques that if many others try it can make such a difference.

Definitely recommend this guide.

Posted in Book review, Eco | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Update :)

So it’s been a while and to be fair I’m not sure where this direction of the blog will go but for now it will be where I post my crafts.

I have done no writing at all as nothing has come to me. Maybe because I have been focusing on me and my family. I’m decluttering and starting the minimaliish slow living approach. I’m more eco focused and wanting to do more for living a eco friendly lifestyle (maybe I might blog about what I have learnt etc) I have started a list for this month of all things I have decluttered so far so it will be interesting to see how much stuff will be out of the house!

I have the past year been more aware of what plastics to recycle after watching Drowning in Plastic and Jess and I have gone on various litterpicking sessions. Once lockdown has finished we hope to help out with a beach clean. Another good documentary on YouTube is called 50 minutes to save the world- all about the decline in coral reefs and it was a massive eye opener! We have started saving crisp packets too so I can deliver them to our nearest terracycle centre (take a look to see your nearest one) every little bit is better than nothing.

I have also setup a Facebook page called Just one square where the me and the community knit or crochet squares for me to sew into a blanket for either the homeless or for animal charity’s (also twiddle muffs for dementia patients) which has also kept me busy! As well as baby cardi s for friends! If you want to join in the project please head over to the page 🙂

I have also (told you I have been busy) started my discernment process as I felt a calling to become a vicar- a lot of soul searching and reading. So what with that and halfway through my course in Christian studies taking time I have not had much brain power for writing. There is ALOT of things to do and will take upto 18months to get to a stage where the BAP (Bishops Advisory Panel) will either recommend you for training or not (then 2 years training at a college) maybe a blog updates on this?

I have restarted yoga and colouring in to wind down or relax in these stressful times.

But I feel complete and myself- for ages I have been trying to find my identity (apart from the important one -a mummy!) and slowing down on social media has helped me have more time to do the things I enjoy.

Love gardening – such an anxiety relief

So I’m not sure of where this blog will be heading but for now that’s a quick update from me.

Posted in Monthly Focus, random | Leave a comment

Book Review- The Wish List by Ruby Hummingbird

Book Description


Sometimes you have to hit the bottom before you can float to the top.

Maria Birch is seventy years old and, for her, every week is the same.

On Monday, she does her weekly shop. On Tuesday, she goes for a blow-dry. On Wednesday, she visits the laundrette. But Thursday is her favourite day of all – everything hurts less on a Thursday.

Every Thursday Maria walks to her local café. Waiting for her at one of the red gingham-topped tables is Albie Young, a charming man with a twinkle in his eye and an impressive collection of tweed flat caps. Every week, the pair share a slice of marble cake and a pot of tea.

Except, one week, Albie doesn’t turn up.

When Maria finds out what has happened, her perfectly ordered life is ripped apart at the seams. Suddenly, she is very lonely. Without her Thursday friend – her only friend – she no longer has the energy to circle the weekly TV listings, she has no reason to leave her apartment, no reason to laugh.

Then she discovers that Albie isn’t who she thought he was, and she’s left wondering if she knew her friend at all. But Albie has left behind a legacy – a handwritten list of wishes he never got the chance to complete.

Maria is resigned to facing the rest of her days heartbroken and alone. But fulfilling Albie’s wishes could hold the key to her happiness – if only she’s able to look past his secret…

Book Review

It took me a little while to get into this and the main character (who at the start just wanted to give her big hugs) It made me think of how lonely it could get when older and that life just keeps going. But as the story grew, so did the plot and the idea of her blooming was heartfelt. It was lovely seeing what she got up to and how she found friendships- that she was living her life again. The flashbacks were a nice touch and again shows you how life moves forward with or without you. It shows us that we must make the most of it and second chances are always available.

Really want to know what happened at the end!!!

Lovely slow read.

Posted in Book review | Tagged | Leave a comment

Basil DIY Toner

Hello everyone welcome back to my blog!

So many things/shifts have been happening while I took a long break from the blog (many posts to follow on all these things) but first I want to share with you a quick and refreshing toner using basil leaves!

I have been more conscious using eco friendly cleaners (made my own and again post on this soon) but I had a few basil leaves from pruning the plant and thought about skin care as recently getting spots from stress and mask wearing… so thought how about make my own? So first up a toner! What was there to loose? I have been growing the same plant for over two years now 🙂

Basil has always been known for its detoxifying properties. It is full of mild antibacterial compounds and following are its skin benefits.

1)Helps battle acne-prone skin

2)Fades dark spots

3) Soothes skin

4) Brightens complexion

5) Unclogs pores

So after a few times trying this -it actually is making my spots go down and my skin feel so fresh!

Basil toner recipe

Few fresh basil leaves

1 cup boiling water

I only had a few so used a small bowl

That’s it! Add basil to the cup or small bowl and press lightly to release the oils. Leave to cool down and transfer into a bottle (I use a spray bottle from an old face mist) then pop in fridge. Will last for 7 days and spray onto a cotton cloth when need.

Next up will try basil and cucumber scrub that I found the recipe for.

Let me know if you try this. Do you have any eco friendly recipes either cleaning or skin care?

Posted in Eco | Tagged | 2 Comments

Author Interview- Lauren Gehringer

Hello and welcome back to my blog- and my 1st author interview for a long while!!

Today we have Lauren chatting to us about her book “From Chewing to Pooing: Food’s Journey Through Your Body to the Potty”. I found Lauren through Instagram and instantly loved her work and posts 🙂

Tell us a bit about your book

From Chewing to Pooing: Food’s Journey Through Your Body to the Potty follows the path of our digestive system. Simple rhymes are paired with illustrations by artist Maile McCarthy to make this complex, internal process accessible for little ones. It was important the book was as helpful as possible, so there’s also a back section for caregivers by my pediatrician mother in law, Dr. Natalie Gehringer, with tips for healthy digestion, along with a high-fiber food chart showing which foods offer the most fiber per serving.

What would say is the genre for your book (Age range)

It’s a non-fiction children’s picture book. The target audience is 3 – 6 year olds, but it’s received positive feedback from both older and even younger kids.

Where did the inspiration come from?

On the heels of potty training, one of my children got into a terrible cycle of anxiety, leading to withholding, leading to constipation. Trying to help reduce the anxiety, I explained, in very simple terms, what exactly happens inside (and comes out) of our body. It wasn’t an immediate fix, but there was an undeniable improvement.

Digestion’s an extremely impactful, unseen process that can be easy to take for granted. From the perspective of a young child with emerging body awareness, I think there’s a lot of room for misconceptions or fears to arise. Seeing the positive impact it had on my own child, I was eager to help others understand digestion as well.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

I wish I had a better answer, but it seemed to just surface within the process of writing the book.

How long did it take you to finish writing the book before the first edit? How many drafts were there in total?

The first draft took only a few hours, but I lost count of how many drafts followed over the course of several months.

How did you celebrate being published? Did you have a launch party?

Being a first-time self-publisher, I struggled with imposter syndrome, and feeling like the investment in creating a picture book was self-indulgent. At launch I was hopeful but unsure if the book would resonate with other children, so my mindset wasn’t particularly celebratory. The dominant feeling was more ‘uh-oh,  how do I get this on anyone’s radar now?’. In retrospect, I wish I’d taken the time to celebrate the accomplishment of producing a book I was proud of, regardless of what happened next.

Would you care to give us an extract?

Sure! The book starts off with a question:

“What happens to food when you’re done chewing? Though you can’t see it, digestion’s been brewing. Digestion is what your body must do, to get fuel from food. The rest becomes poo. It’s started by chewing your very first bite, teeth grinding it down to a size that’s just right. With help from saliva (wet stuff in your mouth), food’s sent down your throat and keeps sliding south. Into your stomach is where it goes next. Here, your tummy’s juices are put to the test. Food’s turned into liquid at this stage of digestion, then moves from the stomach to your small intestine…” and on it goes, till the process is (ahem) complete.

How do you beat writers block? Any tips?

I have a lot of luck in the shower. There’s often a very wet sprint to jot stuff down before it’s forgotten.

Do you have any hobbies apart from writing?

Zoom school with the kids has drained me of all energy. Does Netflix count?

When you write, do you consider yourself to be a plotter or a pantser?

Total pantser, but to be fair, the “plot” in “From Chewing to Pooing” was predetermined.

Do you have any advice for fellow writers?

Nothing as far as the writing process goes, but I would strongly advise any aspiring self-publisher to take the time to research best practices including professional formatting, editing, and detailed pre-launch and post-launch marketing plans. Coming from  someone who wishes she had.

I see you have new work in progress- care to tell us about it?

I’m really excited about this one! Powerful You! The Wonderful Healing Your Body Can Do celebrates the body’s resilience. Playful, expository rhymes explain its inherent strength, so young readers can feel confidence and pride in their bodies despite global focus on our vulnerability. I think it’s really important to value the inner-workings of our bodies beyond the parts we can see; the earlier in life the better.

Lastly, where can readers find you and your book on the internet? 

I’m most active on Instagram, @From_Chewing_To_Pooing; flailing on Twitter, @LaurenEFG; neglected website, www.chewingtopooing.com; full reading at, https://youtu.be/MahPBPujWdA , and available to buy on Amazon at, https://www.amazon.com/dp/1092184724/

Lauren Gehringer lives in Northern California with her husband, two kids and dog, Lola. Prior to being a primary caregiver, she was an entrepreneur. Highlights since launching “From Chrwing to Pooing” include festival readings, tv appearances and an opportunity to host an event at Children’s Museum of Sonoma County. Her favorite thing (pre-COVID) was visiting classrooms throughout the Bay Area for author readings.

Thankyou so much for sharing your answers! Looking forward to seeing your new book- and excited for our copy of chewing to pooing to arrive next week 😉

Posted in Author Interview | Tagged | Leave a comment

Dimensions of Paranormal Anthologies – Cover Reveal

Here it is!!!

Eek look how lovely this cover is!!! Writers Unite have done it again with their cover designs.

Excited and thankful that my story is included 🙂

Paranormal. Does the word bring a shiver to your spine or cause you to think of ectoplasmic slime? You favorite group of authors from Writers Unite! invite you to experience their version of shivers and slime.

Pre-order kindle versions now from either amazon.com or amazon.co.uk (paperbacks available from release date)

Grab yourself a spooky read for Halloween!

Posted in Cover reveal | Leave a comment

Book Review- Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

Book Description (Amazon)

Spark Joy is an in-depth, line illustrated, room-by-room guide to decluttering and organising your home, from bedrooms and kitchens to bathrooms and living rooms as well as a wide range of items in different categories, including clothes, photographs, paperwork, books, cutlery, cosmetics, shoes, bags, wallets and valuables. Charming line drawings explain how to properly organise drawers, wardrobes, cupboards and cabinets. The illustrations also show Ms Kondo’s unique folding method, clearly showing how to fold anything from shirts, trousers and jackets to skirts, socks and bras.

The secret to Marie Kondo’s unique and simple KonMari tidying method is to focus on what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of. Ask yourself if something ‘sparks joy’ and suddenly it becomes so much easier to understand if you really need it in your home and your life. When you surround yourself with things you love you will find that your whole life begins to change. 

Marie Kondo’s first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, presents her unique tidying philosophy and introduces readers to the basics of her KonMari method. It has already transformed the homes and lives of millions of people around the world. Spark Joy is Marie Kondo’s in-depth tidying masterclass, focusing on the detail of how to declutter and organise your home.

Book Review

Having watched all episodes on Netflix I instantly brought this book – and many new tips I found hidden inside!! Plus it was a good reminder of the other things from the show.

I love how easy this book was to read. I enjoyed how she puts her past experiences in and her previous client history. The images are clear for folding (have tried but unfortunately cannot keep up with this one)

She was the starting point for my decluttering and making my home better. This book taught me to surround myself with possessions that bring me joy and happiness and I’m finally starting to see the effort! Marie teaches you many practical strategies that work (for me at least).

I downsized my clothes and books due to Spark Joy and will continue (am onto photos at the moment)

If it doesn’t bring you joy then get rid of it!! Simple and effective 🙂 Thank the items you don’t want to give it life to someone else. A must have for any tidying fans or want somewhere to start on the decluttering journey.

Posted in Book review | Tagged | Leave a comment

Garden Diary- September 2020

Hello everyone! End of September already!!

This month we had blackberries after 3 years!!

The ceanothus has now got some buds!

The Cornus I cut has rooted! Just left it in water for a week and it grew roots! I then repotted.

Autumn feel from the tree spinach
William wanted this in the fairy garden 🙂 chilli plant 😉

The clematis has bloomed!

I then made two little flower arrangements from the garden and two big ones (the first was 40p bunches I rescued from the reduced pile) for the table to bring extra joy to mealtimes.

Made my mum a hand tied bouquet for her birthday 🙂 First time making one and really enjoyed it!

September collection
Deweeded the hedge at the front

Harvested some seeds! These are from lychnis coronaria.

And these from sunflowers!

So September has been a busy one! Deweeding/deadheading and preparation of what cut flowers I want to grow next year 🙂 The tomato’s are starting to flower but not much crop this year veg wise 😦

The basil is still growing and producing so every few weeks I pick the top leaves and put them in the oven to make dried herbs.

I also tidied up the back and moved some of the containers 🙂

That’s all for this month 🙂 Thanks for reading.

Posted in Garden Diary | Leave a comment