I Believe and the Story of the Seed – Virtual Book Tour

I Believe:  When What You Believe Matters!

I Believe: When What You Believe Matters!

Today I am taking part in a ‘blog tour’ – an event where bloggers post a book review of a particular author on a particular day, sort-of-a virtual book tour.

Today that author is Eldon Taylor and he has just released the paperback version of his book, I Believe:  When What You Believe Matters.   Now, admittedly some days I just don’t feel like believing but I wanted to give Eldon the benefit of the doubt.  If you click on this link, you’ll find information about the book and can register for some bonus gifts. The book is a compilation of stories and statistics about the mind’s powerful influence in living a successful life.  If you don’t believe in the power of your thoughts, this book can help you understand why you should – and if you do believe, then you’ll find it a sweet refresher.

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him.
. . . If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness
follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.”
B u d d h a

One of my favorite parts of the book is the Story of the Seeds, a little something uplifting and inspiration that highlights the importance of integrity.  It will give you a flavor for Eldon’s book and hopefully make you want to read more.  It’s a little long but worth the read:

The Story o f the Seeds
Author Unknown 
A successful businessman was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. But instead of choosing one of his directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called together all the young executives in his company.  He said, “It’s time for me to step down and choose the next CEO.  I’ve decided to choose one of you.”

The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. “I’m going to give each one of you a seed today— one very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what  you’ve grown from the seed I’ve just given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.”

A man named Jim was there that day; and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil, and compost; and he planted the seed. Everyday, he watered it and watched to see if it had grown.

After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to sprout. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, then five weeks went by, but still nothing grew. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim still didn’t have anything, and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by—still there was nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he’d killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil. He so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally had passed, and all the young executives of the company took their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot, but she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach. It was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the boardroom.

When Jim arrived, he was amazed by the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful, in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor, and many of his colleagues laughed, although a few felt sorry for him. When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives, while Jim just tried to hide in the back.

“My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you’ve grown,” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!” All of a sudden, the boss spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the financial director to bring Jim to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he’ll have me fired!

When Jim got to the front, the boss asked what had happened to his seed, so Jim told him the story. The CEO then asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at the young man and then announced to the other executives, “Behold your next chief executive officer. His name is Jim!”

Jim couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t even grow a seed. “How could he be the one?” the others asked. Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds—they were dead. It wasn’t possible
for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seeds wouldn’t grow, you substituted new ones. Jim was the only person with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he’s the one who will be the new CEO ”

If you plant honesty, you’ll reap trust.
If you plant goodness, you’ll reap friends.
If you plant humility, you’ll reap greatness.
If you plant perseverance, you’ll reap contentment.
If you plant consideration, you’ll reap perspective.
If you plant hard work, you’ll reap success.
If you plant forgiveness, you’ll reap reconciliation.
So, be careful what you plant now—it will determine what you’ll reap later.

Eldon Taylor has spent over 25 years researching the power of the mind and developing scientifically proven methods to use this power to enhance the quality of your life. I Believe is a book that will not only inspire you, but will highlight the kinds of beliefs you hold that may be causing you to fail. In the process, it will provide you with the opportunity to choose the beliefs for your life.

Book Review: The Boy Who Met Jesus- Segatashya of Kibeho

Boy Who Met Jesus photoThe mysticism of Biblical days seems often dismissed or forgotten.  You know, transfigurations, prophecy, angel appearances, holy directives in dreams and of course, direct appearances from saints, the Virgin Mary and others.  It simply never made sense to me that these events would occur only in one period of time and then forever stop.  So, when stories of supernatural spiritual phenomena occur, I like exploring them, which lead me to The Boy Who Met Jesus.

Author Immaculee Ilibagiza is perhaps best known for her book, Left to Tell, the story of her survival from the Rwandan holocaust.  But in The Boy Who Met Jesus – Segatashya of Kibeho, she writes about her lifelong spiritual quest to meet an illiterate peasant boy from a remote region of Rwanda who purportedly met Jesus Christ under a shade tree in 1982.  The story combines not only the facts of the phenomena but the equally interesting journey of pursuing a personal an in this case, spiritual, quest.

As a young girl in Rwanda, Immaculee heard the story of Segatashya and his visits from both Jesus and Mary, and their various messages to prepare ourselves for the end of days.  She longed to go see the boy and hear him talk publicly about his experiences, but her father told her she was too young and would not take her.  As time passed, her fascination with Segatashya persisted.

Then, years later in 1992, as a college student at the National University of Rwanda, she learned by chance that Segatashya worked on campus at the university chapel and library as a handyman.  No longer the shepard boy, Segatashya was a man, humble in every respect, who talked with Immaculee about his experiences, and fulfilled her quest.

Sadly, less than two years later Rwanda was in ruins and Segatashya was killed in the violence.

English: Rwandan Genocide survivor, Immaculeé ...

Author and Rwandan Genocide survivor Immaculeé Ilibagiza

Her story is both sweet and strong, punctuated by deep faith and a decade of longing to see a man touched by God for herself.  It also includes fascinating outtakes of questions Segatashya posed to both Jesus and Mary, and their responses.  A sample:

Q:  Why will the religions fight when they’re all working for you?

Jesus’ Answer:  It is because in all religions, there are too many who claim to believe in God’s love but do not truly believe.  War will come because too many say they love, but they have no love in their hearts for God or man.

Her story is both sweet and strong, punctuated by deep faith and a longing to see a man touched by God for herself.

The book is available for purchase at www.hayhouse.com, www.immaculee.bizwww.barnesandnoble.com and www.amazon.com.  More information on Immaculee Ilibagiza n is available on her website at www.immaculee.com.

This is another book review in my partnership with Hay House. I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Book Review: My Father’s Writings


For as long as I’ve known Jim Durham, he’s been a man who’s scribbled his writings and presentations on cocktail napkins.  In every conversation, you see his mind running a million miles a minute and you just know he’s inspired to think about something new, explore a different direction and somehow find a way to put it all together for you.

That’s what he’s done in My Father’s Writings:  An Inspiring Journey through Life, Love and a Lifetime of Memories (Balboa Press, 2012).  He’s collected and compiled years of his Holiday Letters, musings, poems and heart-felt stories into a single book.  While the writings are pure Jim, he uses a third-person literary device wherein a “son” compiles the “father’s” writings after the father’s untimely death in an air plane crash.  As Jim describes in the epilogue, “I think I needed to write about my writings in the third person to be comfortable with the inevitable, deeply personal revelations that flow from these words.”

Knowing an author personally changes the way you read the book.  In My Father’s Writings, I remembered some of the same stories Jim shared with me when we met at industry conferences or client meetings.  Sometimes, the “son” and the “father”  roles confused me — I knew in fact both were Jim’s alter egos.  Mostly though I was impressed with the time it must have taken to organize his various writings and then string them together in a story line.

The more I read, the more I confirmed that Jim and I are kindred spirits — seeking meaning in everyday actions and trying to find places for heart-rendering life events.  He tells the stories of his broken heart and joy in finding new love, in losing a child and adapting to life with a special-needs son.  We read about his professional success and fears of being good enough.  Through it all, Jim writes and these writings fill the book and punctuate his stories. He’s written a Holiday Letter for years (and I’m usually on the distribution list) that tries to make sense of life events and share connections between friends.  He shares the voice he’s found in making motivational speeches.  And he shares his hopes and dreams for how his writings might touch people.

“Have you ever thought about what your message would be to your family if you knew you were going to die,” Jim writes.  “Am I the only one who thinks about these things?”  No, Jim, there are lots of us like you — who wonder if we make a difference, who question our path and who appreciate how connected we all are.

It’s a lovely read.

My Father’s Writings is available at amazon.com


Book Review: Shift Happens

It’s holiday time 2011 but I wasn’t expecting Shift Happens:  How to Live an Inspired Life…Starting Right Now by Robert Holden, Ph.D. to bring me so many gifts.  Packed within its 300 pages is the kind of simple wisdom that makes you say to yourself, “Have I been making things too complicated?”  Of course, I probably have and in upbeat, happy ways Shift Happens came at the perfect end-of-year time to refresh my perspective and provide a little inspiration for entering 2012.

“The whole world gains when one person has the courage to heal, to love, and to be happy.  No one is healed alone,” writes Holden in the last chapter, appropriately titled, “Your Happiness is a Gift.”  “You are a gift bearer.  You are the “light of the world,” and so is the person next to you.  Do not forget your purpose.  Do not be distracted with “getting” and “having” and “to-ing” and “fro-ing.”  Do not give in to fear, and do not let old wounds blow you off course.  Your healing is a gift.  Your happiness is a gift.  Your loving touch is a gift,” he writes in what is my favorite passage from the book.

Holden is a “happiness” author who has written Happiness NOW! and Be Happy as well as undertaken a ‘Happiness Project‘ focused on the how and why people are (or are not) happy.  There is something affirming about a person who has dedicated his life to the study of happiness — something that makes me think twice (and without cynicism) about his statement, “Happiness is an inner light switch with no off light.”

There are all sorts of uplifting and motivational books out there and that requires some discernment for us readers.  This one is a gem — an excellent compilation of what-you-already-may-know, supplemented with any number of what-you-may-not-have-thought-of ways to see the world.  Some of my favorite examples marked on dog-eared pages:

*  “I have found that whenever you clear your stuff about God, your life shifts.  Life gets easier.  To be happy you do not have to be religious about God but you do have to be unafraid about God….What a pity it is that we made a religion out of God.”

*  “The world changes when you do…..being willing to show up differently is what makes something different happen.”

* “The meaning of life is made, not found,”

* “Any pain or struggle is a signal to relax and let go.”

* “Think less, live more.”

* “Anger always hides a gift.”

These are of course, just snippets — the book elaborates fills out each one with anecdotes, research and other thought-provoking tales.

The book is available for purchase at www.hayhouse.comwww.barnesandnoble.com and www.amazon.com.  More information on Robert Holden is available on his website at www.robertholden.org.

This is another book review in my partnership with Hay House. I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Saved by an Angel: Book Review

18th century rendition of a guardian angel.

Image via Wikipedia

The light in the bedroom flickered and roused me from sleep.  It must have been 3:00 a.m.  I closed my eyes, hoping to fall back sleep.  Zzzzt.  The lights flickered on again but I defiantly kept my eyes closed.  Annoying, I thought and rolled over, confident I could find sleep and avoid the flickering lights for the rest of the night.  And then, the thought that completely woke me up flitted through my weary noggin:  “As you read Saved by an Angel, you’ll likely notice more of the interactions you have with your own guardian angels,” author Doreen Virtue (www.angeltherapy.com) wrote in the book’s preface.

Just a week earlier I started reading Saved by an Angel, somewhat sure it would be a quick read.  I was wrong.  Fourteen chapters are packed with individual, real life stories of people who, explains Virtue, have been saved or changed by angelic intervention.  Although I’d heard a great deal about Doreen Virtue and knew she was as much as of an “angel expert”  as any one could be — with a trove of angel-centered books to her credit — I had yet to personally read any of her material.  Although I consider myself a student of metaphysical books, angels had really not been my thing.

But there was beauty in starting my angel reading with more than a hundred stories from “real” people.  These first-person accounts span the gamut — from healing messages to help from mysterious strangers, from visions of deceased loved ones to answered prayers — and are tend short (a page or so in most cases) and simply written.  For example, in a story called Illumination, a young woman sees an ongoing car headed straight at her and then sees the car illuminate in a “glorious light” and knows her life will be spared.  It is.  As she tells her story, she relays, “Not that I don’t believe in angels, but nothing like that had ever happened to me!  I know now that my vision helped me more than I can understand…..” Sincere stories like this are not easy reads.  After I’d read a story or two, I put the book down to think about them.  What was the author’s motivation?  Why would they submit the story for publication?  In nearly every case, a single angel intervention changed someone’s life.  The compiled stories are compelling and inspirational, not at all what I expected when I considered reading the book.

Following the many stories, Part II of the book includes Virtue’s plan for readers to see their own angels.  At just 32 pages (of 253), it is the smallest section of the book and provides strategies for angel-viewing enhancement — Virtue says many of the same techniques she teaches in her popular seminars and programs.  Her seven-day plan includes stocking up on “earthly supplies and shop for foods that will enhance your psychic ability” including fruits and vegetables as well as specific meditations, journal writing, chanting and the like.  As someone who’s life was saved by an angel during an armed carjacking in 1995, Virtue has dedicated her life to researching and teaching about these sorts of experiences.  As she notes, when Baylor University conducted a survey of 1,700 American adults (many of whom didn’t consider themselves religious) in 2008, 55% reported that they have been “protected from harm by a guardian angel.”

Statistics aside, I enjoyed reading the real-life stories and felt a connection to each of them.

And so there I lay watching lights flicker in the middle of the night, half-wondering if an angel was going to appear or some other strange hijinx might ensue.  Slowly I folded the comforter back and crept over to the light switch.  Here I discovered that someone had left the dimmer switch on just a tad, which more than likely create the electrical charges from the lights.  Or had it?

When you read a book about angels, it’s important to keep your mind open.

Saved by an Angel by Doreen Virtue is available for purchase via Hay House (http://www.hayhouse.com/details.php?id=5614) and at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.

 From time to time, I review books from Hay House authors.  www.hayhouse.com   I received the book from Hay House for review purposes and was not financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Book Review — Maps, Frogs, Artists: What’s Right for You?

As a new feature on Anne on Fire, I am now reviewing books from Hay House authors.  www.hayhouse.com   I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

The Map: Finding the Magic and Meaning in the Story of our Life
Colette Baron-Reid

 The Map: Finding the Magic and Meaning in the Story of Your Life

“We change the world from the inside out, and that’s why I’ve written this book,” explains Colette Baron-Reid in the introduction to her book, The Map:  Finding the Magic and Meaning in the Story of Your Life.  It’s a theme that has resonated with me since the early 1980s when my sister Susie gave me a copy of Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming by Richard Bandler (Paperback – June 1979).  The theme reappeared in the 1990s when I began reading Sonia Choquette’s (www.soniachoquette.com) work about spirit and the way we can consciously raise our vibrations. The theme returned to my desk again a couple of years ago when I finally read and followed the daily writing instructions in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way (www.theartistsway.com). 

That the confluence of all the thoughts and theories from these other books flowed forward while reading The Map made it a truly integrated and enjoyable experience, even if I doubt I’ll follow the exercises to the letter of the law like I did with The Artist’s Way.  The beauty of books like Baron-Reid’s for me is partly in gaining a peek inside someone else’s creativity and ways of coping.

In The Map, Baron-Reid suggests we become our own oracles and traverse through a metaphorical map of life’s archetypical characters and situations to find personal peace and meaning.  Her magic lands, wands and companions remind me that there is no one best way to do anything; but that finding a talisman that works to put life in context at the different points of our lives is something valuable.  

Neuro-linguistic programming co-founders, Richard Bandler and linguist John Grinder, believed that NLP would be useful in “finding ways to help people have better, fuller and richer lives.  They advocated the potential for self-determination through overcoming learned limitations and emphasized well-being and healthy functioning. Artist’s Way author Julia Camera challenged the label of being a called creativity expert, explaining, “My books are not creative theory,” she explains. “They spring straight out of my own creative practice. In a sense, I am the floor sample of my own tool kit. When we are unblocked we can have remarkable and diverse adventures.”

In the same way, Baron-Reid is her own magic wand, sharing how the techniques in the book brought together the threads of her own story and gave them meaning.  An addict, the daughter of a closet Holocaust survivor, a bulimic and an intuitive, she says she sought out her own way to heal her life.  Her hybrid approach to doing so is The Map and by her own words, it was a process that transformed her.

Both Cameron and Baron-Reid are alcoholics and I was struck by how they both have created worlds of somewhat strict context for themselves and for the price of the books, for others.  Cameron’s The Artist’s Way has sold more than 2 million copies so certainly her disciplined approach to bringing out the artist within can work.  While I agree that creating a framework is useful, I personally like to hop between approaches and try out any number of them, not getting too fixed on any one for too long.  I prefer being more of a self-awareness dabbler and that is why I liked Baron-Reid’s book.  It seemed that she too has dabbled and in The Map, brings together her favored outcomes to guide her life.

For any student of self-awareness, that is the challenge:  How to find the kernels of both structure and meaning so that you feel good in your own skin and confident on your journey.  To my way of thinking, it doesn’t matter whether you follow a map or NLP or an artist’s way – and they may actually be the same things just packaged in different ways.  What matters is the self-awareness and for that, The Map may just be your key.

The Map is available for purchase on the Hay House website http://www.hayhouse.com/details.php?id=5286 as well as at www.amazon.com  and www.barnesandnoble.com.