Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Hope Quotient by Ray Johnston (Book Spotlight and GIVEAWAY!!!!)

About the Book:



Every once in a while a book comes along that changes the way everyone thinks. That’s what
happened in 1996 when Daniel Goleman wrote Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ. “EQ” is
now a part of daily vocabulary. But author and communicator Ray Johnston has discovered that measuring one’s
EQ may not be as important as measuring another factor: hope.
As a pastor, leader and founder of the Thrive Conference, an annual meeting for leaders in
communication, Johnston has spent years dealing with all sorts of people. In his observations, he has
noted a direct correlation between someone’s hopefulness and their success in all areas of life. Johnston
explains this connection and its importance in The Hope Quotient: Measure It. Raise It. You’ll Never Be the Same

“Unlike IQ and EQ, which are largely inherited,” says Johnston, “your degree of hope, your Hope Quotient or HQ
can be developed to any level.” In The Hope Quotient, Johnston will offer an online diagnostic test that becomes
the reader’s personal roadmap to measuring and increasing their HQ. Understanding the assessment determines
which of the seven essentials they need to improve in order to raise their score:
1. Recharge your batteries
2. Raise your expectations
3. Refocus on the future
4. Play to your strengths
5. Refuse to go it alone
6. Replace burnout with balance
7. Play great defense
The test was developed at Regent University under the supervision of Dr. William Brown, professor and research
fellow in the Department of Strategic Communication & Journalism. Upon purchase of the book, readers will be
given access to the test and can start raising their HQ immediately.
Johnston believes anyone can have hope and everyone needs it: “Regardless of your background, regardless of
your job, regardless of your personal make up of life history, the priority of staying encouraged by learning how to
increase your Hope Quotient can change everything.”

About the Author:

Ray Johnston is the founding pastor of Bayside Church in Sacramento, one of the largest churches in the nation.
Ray is the founder of Thriving Churches International and Thrive Communications, Inc. He is a veteran of both
youth and adult ministry through Youth Specialties, Ray serves on the Board of Directors at Azusa Pacific where
he graduated. Ray and his wife, Carol, have four children.

Purchase Link:

The Hope Quotient: Measure It. Raise It. You'll Never Be the Same.

My Note and GIVEAWAY:

I accepted this book purely as a "book spotlight", but they sweetly sent me a copy anyway. I have NOT read the book the whole way through. I have had the chance to flip through and do a bit of "cheese platter" reading. To be honest, I'm always a little skeptical when it comes to books like this. BUT, I like what I've seen of it *so far*. I battle fiercely with depression sometimes, and I know I'm not alone with that. I haven't came across anything so far that would make me not recommend it to you. If you're like me with depression or just "down" times, definitely put your name in the giveaway hat!

To Enter:

-Leave me a comment with a spam free e-mail address or some way to contact you.
-Must be 13 years or older to enter.
-Ends August 6, 2014
-Winner will be chosen by Random.org

For an extra entry:

-Advertise this giveaway in any way(twitter, facebook, blog, etc) and leave me a 2nd comment telling me you did so.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Family, Community, and a Free Episode of Adventures in Odyssey

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 4.54.28 PM 
 For a limited time, you can listen to a new episode of Adventures in Odyssey for FREE! Album 58, The Ties that Bind, will be available this fall for digital download and CD purchase, but if you join the Odyssey Adventures Club, you can listen to the full album now! Guess what? The $5 special held last month was extended through the end of July, too, so you can join in the fun for only $5!

Here's what part one is about (which you can listen to for free HERE):

It’s a time of surprises as Wooton becomes the celebrity guest at Comic-Connellsville and Whit finds himself in conflict over the upcoming “Let’s Get Together Festival” in Odyssey. Plus, hear an interview with writer-director Paul McCusker about the entire 14-part series.
Album 58 was inspired by Focus on the Family’s The Family Project, a 12-session small group experience that explores the theological, philosophical, and cultural underpinnings of the traditional family, and combines that information with inspiring stories and practical tools to help 21st-century families thrive.

One way families can carry out God's design for families is by serving their community—right where God has planted them, being His hands and feet together. Want to serve your community with your family, maybe make a day of out it?

Here are some fantastic ideas from some Adventures in Odyssey bloggers and club members:

  • Make scarves through the year and deliver them to your local homeless shelter at the start of winter, or regularly donate food to your local food bank. —Shirley 
  • Our family likes to help with Meals on Wheels. We also do reenactments of the Civil War and WWII to help educate people on history. I like to show my kids that we should be servers and givers by taking meals to people who need them (i.e. baby just born, someone died, someone had surgery, etc.). —Erin 
  • We have been visiting a nursing home with friends once a month. The kids just sing and then we fellowship, but the ladies love it! —Lisa 
  • We make lap blankets for nursing home residents and take the time to visit with them. We also collect food for the local food pantry. —Donna 
  • We make blessing bags to give to the homeless when we encounter them. We also donate clothes and food to a local shelter. —Amy 
  • Our MOPs (Mothers of Prechoolers) group supports our local Pregnancy Support Services with donations, gifts, and notes. We also supports the Durham Rescue Mission, which helps people break free from addictions and restore families. —Melissa 
  • We live in a very rural area. Our church serves two of the poorest zip codes in the state, and about a decade ago, they started operating a food pantry out of a closet. It has expanded since then, so we now use the closet for storage, but the pantry is basically a classroom. The kids and I serve over there a lot. My 17-year-old and I go to Care & Share (50 miles away) to get food to bring back to the pantry. All of us help unload and stock shelves. On pantry days, everyone can get involved with helping people go through the line, playing with the kids, carrying boxes out to cars, etc. There are so many hungry folks, especially in the summer when school breakfasts and lunches aren't available, and helping a bit to put food on some tables is such a blessing for us all. —Debra 
  • We pack food bags each month for the homeless and needy through a thrift store that offers an outreach to the community. We also help clean our church and our Sunday school. —Michele 
  • We work through our AHG troop to do several service activities a year. My girls just recently made bracelets they are selling, which 100% of the profits goes to Hope House in Africa to help young girls. —Sarah 
  • Our church works with a homeless shelter in downtown Atlanta. We cook food ahead of time, and when our schedules allow we ride down with the group to serve the food. My son always reminds me when we haven't been for awhile, so it's something he looks forward to. —Maria 
  • We do lots of random acts of kindnesses within our community: pay for others' meals, leave change at a vending machine, hand out Gatorade/granola bars to people on the side of the road asking for food. We also love to support Mobile Loaves and Fishes. —Kathryn
Did that provide some ideas to give your family service activity the kick-start it needs? What other ideas do you have for serving your community? Share in the comments!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What's on my Nightstand for August

What's On Your Nightstand

Last month, I read: (though I haven't posted my thoughts on most of these yet)

The Dyerville Tales by M.P. Kozlowsky(Giveaway)

The Body in the Library (Miss Marple Mysteries) by Agatha Christie

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint

It seems like I read so much more than that! I have to be forgetting something.

August Reading Plans:

I'm challenging myself to read better, and for me, that takes some planning.


The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien(This will be a reread from high school.)

Emma by Jane Austen

This is my challenge for myself as part of Annette's Summer Reading Challenge. I also just learned about Austen in August, and realized even more how perfect of a time it is to read some Austen!

A Blunt Instrument by Georgette Heyer


I read a good bit of non-fiction, but when it's not for review, I tend to do a whole lot of "cheese platter reading". Really, there's nothing wrong with that, but I want to challenge myself to read these non-fiction books the whole way through this month:

I need to finish Raising Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boysby Hal and Melanie Young. A very sweet friend gave me this book, and it's FULL of wonderful advice concerning the world of raising boys.

Parenting is Rocket Science by Beth Brown

I've already done a bit of "cheese platter reading" in this book, and it looks to be packed full of great advice, too.

When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Mason's Philosophy for Today by Elaine Cooper

We officially enter the world of homeschooling this school year, as Grasshopper becomes a kindergartener. I plan on mostly using the Charlotte Mason approach, and this just looks like a helpful book!

Fiction for Fun:

As far as other fiction, I'm really enjoying getting to grab whatever my mood asks me to read, so I don't want to do too much planning in that area.

I do want to finish Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters. I'm enjoying it so far!

I'd also like to read Just Jane by Nancy Moser, as part of Austen in August. I've had it on my kindle for awhile, waiting patiently.

These are a few that are especially calling my name right now, so extra reading will most likely be picked from this stack:

A Wizard of Earthsea (The Earthsea Cycle) by Ursula K. Le Guin

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle and The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlawby Christopher Healy. I read and loved the 1st book, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, and I'd like to finish up the series soon. It's fun and humorous!

What kind of reading do you have planned?

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Little Jane Austen This Summer!

This summer, as part of Annette's Summer Reading Challenge at This Simple Home, I decided to challenge myself with some Jane Austen. (Charles Dickens was next in line, but I think I'll save him for Fall reading.) I've mentioned here before that I've tried to read Pride And Prejudice a few times, but I've never finished. I really DO want to finish it, and all of Austen's works! For this challenge, I'm choosing to read Emma. I've watched most of the movies based on Austen's books, and I believe Emma could end up being my favorite of the actual books. We'll see, though.

Since it's already well into summer, I better get on it! ;)


On the Jane Austen note, Miss Laurie at Old-Fashioned Charm is having a Big Jane Austen Book Giveaway, so make sure you check it out, along with her blog. It's filled with all kinds of Jane Austen-y things.

From her blog:

"This blog is dedicated to sharing my love of Jane Austen, period costume dramas, classic literature and everything old-fashioned."

And, it really is!


Which classic out there do you want to challenge yourself with?

Friday, July 18, 2014

A to Z Bookish Questionnaire

This little quiz has been going around a great deal, and since I can't find motivation to write up reviews for the books I've already finished just yet, I finally decided to throw my answers into the world. (Check out others’ answers...Michelle @New Horizons, Amy @Hope is the Word, Carrie @Reading to Know, and Barbara @ Stray Thoughts)

Author you've read the most books from: In truth, that would be Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley High Series, but I’m going to ignore that! In my adult years, Jan Karon gets that award.

Best sequel ever: I'll have to go with Cybele's Secret by Marillier, because my mind is blank, otherwise.

Currently reading: I’ve almost always got 3 books going on.

“Real” copy: The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton(which is way overdue!)
Non-Fiction: Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys by Hal and Melanie Young
Kindle: Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

Drink of choice while reading: Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could say water, and claim healthy drinking, or tea, and look sophisticated? Yes, it really would :P I love some cherry Dr. Pepper, though! (which is really a new discovery for me)

E-reader or physical book: Outdoors, I prefer a physical book. Indoors, where it’s darker, a kindle is easier on my eyes. Plus, I love that I can read it at night when I can’t sleep. (The caffeine from that Dr. Pepper doesn't help. I'm sick right now, so water isn't cutting it, though. :P)

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school? I think my first date was after high school, which means I didn’t date in high school, so none.

Glad you gave this book a chance: How to Catch a Bogle by Catherine Jinks

Hidden gem book: Hospitality: In the Spirit of Love by Peggy Simpson

Just finished: The Body in the Library (Miss Marple Mysteries) by Agatha Christie

Kind of books you won't read: Horror is out of the question, because I don’t enjoy the nightmares! I also don’t tolerate profanity that surpasses the “mild” label, or sex within a story. I don’t care for violence that reaches the disturbing level.

Longest book you've read: I'm not sure, sadly.

Major book hangover because of: If this means it stayed with me long after reading it, then The Girl Who Sang to the Buffalo: A Child, an Elder, and the Light from an Ancient Sky by Kent Nerburn gets that award. (**Profanity Warning**)

Number of bookcases you own: 6, if I don’t count the little nooks/shelves here and there that I put books, but do count the china cabinet I turned into a bookshelf for a large part of my non-fiction.

One book you read multiple times: Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Preferred place to read: On my porch. There’s nothing like nature reading, if the weather is remotely tolerable.

Quote you like from a book you read:

From Chasing God by Angie Smith:

"We try to fill in the gray instead of living in the black and white. We shape our theology to suit our taste, our times, our situations, and our desires. It's the mess we've made by desiring to understand Him more than we want to know Him."

It's a reminder for me to never let man turn my mind from what is plainly and simply wrote in God's Word.

Reading regret: Lots. I haven’t always made the best reading choices. Before I realized that I don’t have to tolerate profanity in books, and realized there are lots of authors that refrain from that nonsense, I read it. I read the first 3 or 4 Sookie books, y’all! (and loved them, minus the “extras”) I even collected every last book in the series(at that time, anyway) before choosing to bypass that extra “stuff”. Now, I hate starting a book, especially one I’m loving, only to have to put it down due to profanity or sex scenes. I’ve wasted my time! I also regret not reading more classics through the years, because despite my strong desire and effort now, I struggle through them.

Series you started and need to finish: The Giver series by Lois Lowry. I just finished re-reading The Giver, and now I'm on the hold list for the next 3. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase Series by Joan Aiken is another series I want to finish.

Three of your all time favorite books: (To make this easier on me, I'm going to *exclude non-fiction*, and pick the first 3 of my "favorites" in the fiction realm that pop in my mind.)

1. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
2. Entwined by Heather Dixon
3. Christy by Catherine Marshall

Unapologetic fangirl for: Anne Elisabeth Stengl(author) and Walden Pond Press(publishing company)

Very excited for this release more than all the others: *happy dance* Heather Dixon is FINALLY releasing a new book, Illusionarium!!! :D Seriously, I’ve kept a close eye, searching regularly, hoping for another one. (I'm really looking forward to seeing its cover AND reading it!)

Worst bookish habit: Sometimes I lay my book down flat on its pages, when I’m hoping to come right back to it.:S (I know, I know!)

X marks the spot: I typically use bookmarks, especially for copies that are in great condition. That’s an upgrade from the little torn pieces of paper I used to use. I sometimes dog ear pages if it’s a ratty copy. I highlight and dog ear places I want to come back to usually. It's not uncommon to pull a non-fiction book off my shelf, though, and see about 30 little pieces of torn paper marking spots.

Your latest book purchase: Do you remember my book buying ban? FAIL! I'd already bought a kindle book here and there when they went super cheap, or if it was an author I wanted to support. I went to a little thrift store a few days ago, though, and someone had apparently cleaned off their non-fiction bookshelves and young reader books. I didn’t even try, to be honest, y’all, and came home with lots of treasures. Grasshopper is SUPER excited to get into The Rescuers! My favorite finds? TWO Roald Dahl books! :D So, yep....fail! I HAVE passed up a great deal more than I would have without the challenge, though!

Zzzz snatcher book: I started Top Ten Clues You're Clueless one night just to test it out. Before I realized it, I was well into the story, and lost some sleep. Too bad I had to put it aside the next day due to the f-bomb. :P

Have you done this questionnaire, or want to? Come back and leave me a link, so I can see your answers! :)