We’re official!

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We are officially registered as a not-for-profit corporation in the state of Kansas!  Big milestone!  We are on our way!

I think we are on facebook

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One of the biggest challenges for me starting this charity is understanding all of the technology that goes along with this type of undertaking.  I know we need to have a facebook page in order to promote us.  So, today, I signed up for a facebook account.  I’ve spent an hour going around in circles trying to understand what the heck I’m supposed to do.  I’m just not getting it, I guess.  I tried to search for friends, and it won’t let me. 

I’ve decided to move on to something else for today and I’ll be reaching out to some of you that use facebook to see if you can help me make progress on this front.

Book 7 – Time warp

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Title: Outlander
Date Completed: 10/20/09
Author(s): Diana Gabaldon
Copyright: 1991, Delta Books
# pages: 896
Genre: Fiction

Well, this one was a whopper at 896 pages! This is the first book by Diana Gabaldon that I’ve read. She has written a bunch of books (16 according to Wikipedia), and Outlander was her first.

This is a book about a woman, Claire, who was born in the early 1900s. In 1945, after just reuniting with her husband who has returned from war, she inadvertently sends herself back in time to the 1740s. The book takes place in the Highlands of Scotland, and is a love story, historical fiction, and a little bit of sci-fi all thrown together.

There are a lot of interesting plot twists and sub-plots throughout the book. For example, the great-great-great-great-great grandfather of her 1940s husband is the arch-nemesis of her 1740s husband. At different points in the book she is thought to be an English spy and a witch. Of course, coming from the 1940s, she has a lot of knowledge that those in the 1740s don’t have. For example, she is a nurse in WWII, so in the 1740s, she has more medical knowledge then all of the doctors – all men – of the time. The only possible answer is that she is a witch! Another favorite moment for me was when she told her 1740s husband to stop acting like John Wayne.

I enjoyed the book and have learned that it is part of a series that follows Claire through her life. I’ll be adding the Outlander series to my ‘to read’ list, and look forward to checking in on Claire again in the future.

Book Radio – Wait, what?

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Yes, there is such thing as book radio. I’ve got it as a preset in my car. And yes, I know I’m a total geek. If you have Sirius satellite radio, check out station 117, Book Radio. Essentially, it is like listening to books on tape. They also have programs where they interview authors, etc. There is also a Sci-Fi show where they mostly talk about tv shows like Warehouse 13, Heros, etc.

Book 6 –Death and Lessons from a Baby

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Title: The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life
Date Completed: 10/10/09
Author(s): Deepak Chopra
Copyright: 2004, Harmony Books
# pages: 262
Genre: Spirituality/Self Improvement

Deepak Chopra is a well-known and prolific author who has written extensively on spirituality and self improvement. He has written well over 20 books. This is the first I’ve read. And, I’ve read a lot of these types of books. I figured it was finally time for me to read one of his.

I’ll be honest. I started this book in August and it took me until October to finish it. I had to renew it from the library 3 times. This book is pretty ‘deep’ and has a lot of abstract concepts, which meant I couldn’t just pick it up and breeze through it. Because of the number of self improvement books I’ve read, there are a lot of things in the book that were not new to me. However, the sections on death and potential I found quite interesting.

Secret # 10 is ‘death makes life possible.’ The example that he used that has stuck with me is a comparison of death to tv. If you are watching Letterman, it doesn’t mean that the Tonight Show doesn’t exist. The Tonight Show still exists, and is still streaming through the airwaves – you just aren’t tuned into it. When you turn the channel from Letterman to the Tonight Show, Letterman also does not cease to exist. You know it is out there – you just aren’t accessing it. This is how he explains death. When you die, it is like changing the channel. You still exist, you just aren’t tuned into this channel. Interesting thought, huh?

Secret # 14 is ‘the meaning of life is everything.’ This is a big chapter with a lot of information, but the section on babies is something that really hit home for me. Most of us don’t accomplish all we could because we hold back for one reason or another. Most of these reasons can be traced back to the fear of failure. We may each define failure differently, but it all traces back to the same essence. Chopra brings the stupidity of human fear of failure to the forefront by asking you to imagine a baby who wants to walk, but has these reservations (p. 239):
1. I don’t want to look bad.
2. I don’t want to fall down.
3. I don’t want anyone else to watch me fail.
4. I don’t want to live with the burden of failure.
5. I don’t want to expend all of my energy.
6. I don’t want any pain.

Now, can you imagine looking at a baby who starts to shift from crawling to walking and calling it a failure because it didn’t succeed on the first try? Ridiculous! So, what is different about a baby trying to learn to walk (doing something it has no experience with), and an adult trying something that he has never done before? Why would we consider the adult any more of a failure than the baby? Both are moving forward in the face of the unknown.

Deep stuff, folks!

Book 5 – Building Confidence

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Title: The Confidence Plan: Mastering the Practical Skills of Winning
Date Completed: 10/6/09
Author(s): Tim Ursiny, PhD
Copyright: 2005, Sourcebooks
# pages: 490
Genre: Self Improvement

The title gives away the topic of this book – increasing your confidence. It is really more like a workbook because it contains a lot of activities that the author wants you to complete.

I like the approach that he took. His theory is that every person is different, so there isn’t one specific way to increase your confidence that works for everyone. He walks through five different approaches to improving confidence:
• Mental strategies
• Emotional strategies
• Behavioral strategies
• Relational strategies
• Spiritual/life purpose strategies

I found that there were several strategies that I could relate to and others that I didn’t really find very helpful. Which means that his theory is right. What resonates with me might not resonate with you.

The book contains a good combination of research to support the strategies, examples of people who have put the strategies into place, and then activities to walk you through the process yourself.

The thing that resonated the most with me wasn’t even really about confidence. It was in the section on relational factors about how we judge others. This is something that I’ve been intuitively aware of for a long time, and something that I have lived as a core belief. I just never saw it in black and white before, so when I did, it was a light bulb moment.

We tend to attribute our own behavior to situational or external factors. We tend to attribute other people’s behavior to internal factors. So, if I do something bad, it is because of something bad that happened at work today, but if somebody else does something bad, it is because they are a bad person. (Giblert & Malone research, 1995, pages 383-384).

This is something that I see in everyday life. My favorite example is being cut-off on the highway. Do you get upset when you are cut-off on the highway by someone? Have you every yelled at the driver about what an idiot he is? Come on, you know you have. Now, have you ever cut someone off? I guarantee that you have, even if you aren’t aware of it. Did you cut them off because you are an idiot, or because you made a mistake?

Cookbook 2 – The Sneaky Chef

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Title: The Sneaky Chef How to Cheat on Your Man (In the Kitchen)

Date Completed: 9/20/09

Author(s): Missy Chase Lapine

Copyright: 2008, Running Press Book Publishers

# pages: 337

Genre: Cookbook

This is one of my favorite cookbooks to come along in a while.  The premise of the book is that you can hide vegetables in a meal without your husband (or kids) knowing that they are in there. 

In reality, I did it for myself also.  There are a couple of key vegetables that I don’t really like.  I’ll eat them because I know I should, but I don’t enjoy them.  So, I was thinking that if I can hide these vegetables in a recipe and not really know they are in there, I’ll be increasing my veggie intake without any sacrifice.

I have already made several of the recipes and can report back that they are very successful.  If I were to offer you a chocolate blueberry spinach cookie, what would you say?  I’m guessing it would not be very positive.

However, I made these and fed them to my husband without telling him what they were, and I can honestly tell you that he had no idea that there was anything healthy in the recipe.  He thought they were chocolate cookies. 

My favorite recipe so far is a sweet and sour chicken that has sweet potatoes as the ‘secret’ ingredient.  I will be honest; I didn’t use the exact recipe from the book, so I’m not sure that I’ll be able to recreate it.  But, I’ll try to post it for you in a future post.

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