Inspiration Kindled

Reading, Writing, Living. Inspire each day!

Month: April 2017 (page 1 of 2)

inspiring this week: science, dystopia, avocados, groceries, & writing

This week, I’ve been attempting all the things.  Expanding this blog (I also published this week’s post on Medium, to no acclaim,) chugging along at the 1000 Day MFA, sourcing for my FBA business, visiting family, trying my daughter + the potty for the first time (this was not a good equation,)  and of course keeping my house clean.

So how has it all gone?  Pretty well, actually, aside from the potty training.  I have a new productivity system I’ve been trying out.  You’ll probably be hearing about it soon ;=).

For now, here’s my inspiring picks for the week:

Can Bill Nye Save The World?

An honest and thorough critique of Bill Nye’s new Netflix show.  Michael Schulson discusses fairly both the good and the problematic.  If you’re still on the fence about whether to watch, this may be the article for you.

I Grew Up In a Fundamentalist Cult – ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Was My Reality

This is so much more than another cult story.  It’s a frightening analysis of the current state of America, and a history of how we got here.

Avocado Mayo

My love of avocados is relatively new, but strong!  I can’t wait to try this recipe.

I Cut My Food Budget by 80% For 30 Days

The title of this article immediately caught my eye.  Though our family has a much smaller grocery budget than most, I still actively seek new tips to cut back.  But 80%?  80%!  Kate Jones offers a fresh perspective on typical grocery and restaurant spending as well as a great reflection on life and minimalism.

Dear Writer,

Art vs. Content, and why you need both.  Refreshingly honest.  Check it out here.

Now you can subscribe!

Also, I have some great news!  I finally have an email list, and I’d love it if you subscribed.  Starting soon, I’m going to be transitioning inspiring this week into a newsletter that includes an inspirational quote plus links to any blog posts I’ve published in the past week, and I want to make sure you still have access!  You can sign up at the bottom of the post <3

Wishing you an inspiring week!

six inspirational children’s books every adult should read

reading children's books

Some of the best books I’ve ever read are children’s books.  This is attested by the worn copies that still sit on my bookshelf, in spite of the fact that I’ve sold the majority of my physical book collection over the last few years.

These titles vary in popularity, and they make my list for different reasons.  Some have irresistibly well-crafted plots.  Others are superior in world-building.  Most have valuable lessons to teach.  All are inspirational.

If you missed out on these as a child – and even if you didn’t – don’t be ashamed to read them now.  I promise it will be worth it!

1. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Who were these people, these specially selected tenants?  They were mothers and fathers and children.  A dressmaker, a secretary, an inventor, a doctor, a judge.  And, oh yes, one was a bookie, one was a burglar, one was a bomber, and one was a mistake.  Barney Northrup had rented one of the apartments to the wrong person.

This mystery is an easy read, but there’s nothing simple about it.  The cast of characters – and the plot – is interesting and complex, and there are plenty of twists to keep you going.  It’s the first book I recommend to teens and tweens I come across, boy and girl alike.

2. Whoever Heard of a Fird? by Othello Bach

Once there was a little fird – just an ordinary fird, part fish, part bird – and he wanted to find a herd of fird.  But nobody had ever heard of a fird.

This delightful story was out of print for a number of years, and my mom paid a pretty penny to replace the copy she lost.  It was released again in 2012 with new illustrations, but I firmly believe it’s worth it to pay for the original.  The pictures are fanciful and entertaining, and the story is heart-warming.  The world in which Fird lives is entirely unique.  You’ll be eager to join him as he journeys away from his home with the dickens in search of a herd of fird.

3. Searching For David’s Heart by Cherie Bennett

But now I knew that love was a poisonous thing. It had turned me into a murderer. I would die with my secret before I would tell.

I want to sob at the mere thought of this story.  It’s about a 12-year-old girl who loses her beloved older brother, David, and sets out on an epic journey with her best friend in search of the boy who received his heart.  It gets extra kudos for dealing with issues of class and racism in an honest but respectful way.  Also, you will cry.

4. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…

This is indubitably the most famous book on this list.  I fell in love with it as a child, having heard it read out loud year after year at otherwise boring graduation ceremonies (my dad plays the piano for the local college where he works.)  If you read only one book for the rest of your life, make it this one.  Better yet: read it first thing every day.

5. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

You never know the worth of water until the well is dry.

I remember when I was younger struggling to get through this book.  As a voracious reader, the story intrigued me, but several times I lost interest somewhere in the middle and bailed out.  And then came the day when I didn’t; I finally reached the end.

And it was beautiful.

Rarely since have I found a story as well-crafted as this one, nor an ending so satisfying if bittersweet.  Push your way through; you won’t regret it!

6. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Wild nights are my glory!

This story and its sequels are truly brilliant works of sci-fi/fantasy that include a taste of dystopia and, later in the series, biblical history.  Not only that, but the characters are easily lovable and some of the most unique and memorable of any series I have read.  If you really can’t make time to read the book, check out the movie.  There’s a new movie version debuting on the big screen in 2018, and I can’t wait!

I hope you enjoyed this list and that it brought back some memories.  I’d love to hear about the books you choose to read!

inspiring this week: thinking, saving, creating, reflecting

It’s 8:30 pm and I just signed on to give this post – already written – a quick read-through and hit publish.  But, surprise!  My post was gone.

So please forgive me for jumping straight to the point this week.  I promise to write again soon!

creating, reflecting, thinking

Be Like Steve Jobs: Think Differently

I love this article from Zat Rana for its celebration of what is unique in all of us.  I also like that it lists several models of thought that inspire fresh perspectives.  Here’s to thinking outside the box and acting beyond the predictable!

How to Become a Multi-Millionaire

This is a lengthy article; however, it’s so comprehensive as to encompass the entire message of many personal finance books.  No one could accuse Rohan Punamia of not knowing his stuff.  Take the time to read it for excellent and thorough financial advice.

13 Reasons Why

You’ve probably heard of this recent series from Netflix, if not watched it already.  It’s been reproached by numerous sources for its graphic content and intensity.  One article has even called it “dangerous”, accusing the drama of glorifying suicide.

I don’t disagree that this show should be handled with care, but I also feel that it delivers a powerful message in exploring the depths and realities of adolescent life.  In particular, I found that the unique experience of young adults – old enough to make pivotal decisions, but often too young to discern the far-reaching consequences – was impressively well-articulated throughout.

In short: watching this series will definitely be traumatic for some, and thus I would recommend caution, and, with teenagers, adult supervision.  But it also has an important message that may be helpful – and even necessary – to some teens.

Alternatively, you could read the book.  I haven’t done so yet, but someday I hope to pick it up.  This is a story best digested over time.

Your Next Month Can Be Better Than This One

A list of 30 questions for reflecting each month on where you’ve been and where you want to go.

Product Creation Masterclass

There’s only one day left to register, but if you’ve ever wanted to create something or teach something, or you simply have something you feel you need to give the world, now’s the time to sign up.  This is a 100% free course offered by ConvertKit

If you missed it, don’t forget to check out the post I published this week on  3 simple rules to encourage positivity every day.

Wishing you an inspiring week!

three simple rules to encourage positivity every day

beautiful, orderly desk

It’s easy these days to find advice on positivity and how to achieve it, and a lot of what’s out there is excellent.  Many sources, however, boil down to one key concept: willpower.  With the magic of willpower, you can decide to be happy and optimistic, or power through the steps to getting there!  The conundrum?  Recent research has revealed a few unfavorable facts about willpower: how much you’ve got appears to stay stable from childhood, and willpower regularly depletes.

Mood isn’t something that can easily be imposed.  We all want to be happy, but sometimes we’re simply not.  For me, the “off” days tend to yield little accomplishment, which only leads to further stress and unhappiness.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Allow me to now embrace a cliche: it doesn’t have to be that way!  Here are a few simple habits that will help you achieve a positive mindset – however you’re feeling today – and reap the rewards that follow.

Read (or watch or listen to) Something Inspirational

In my experience, the best way to switch off the glum is to seek inspiration.  Fortunately, it’s all around us. In our modern time, a pick-me-up is as close as the nearest Wifi or bookshelf.  Or, you know, you could go outside.

My high school psychology teacher once delivered a rant lecture I’ll never forget.  Here’s a summary: Depressed teenagers (basically the entire class) seek out depressing music when they’re depressed (basically all the time.)  And that’s stupid.  If depressed teenagers were smart enough to listen to upbeat music when depressed, they would be happier!

Harsh, but so true.

Note that you don’t need to wait until something bad happens to seek a dose of positivity.  I find it helpful to read something inspirational first thing every morning.  Some other options: turn on uplifting music while you get ready, have an inspirational quote delivered to your inbox, or start the day with scripture or a favorite devotional.  You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes!

Make 11 AM Your Most Important Deadline

This is one of my favorite tips from Tim Ferris’s book, The 4-Hour Workweek.  He recommends that to optimize productivity while decreasing work time, deadlines should not be at four or five in the afternoon but rather at eleven in the morning.  This is accompanied by advice to eliminate or delegate as many tasks as possible, leaving only what you yourself absolutely must do.

With this in mind, I personally only apply this deadline to my highest-priority task of the day.  To do the same, follow these steps:

  1. Determine your 3 highest-priority tasks for a given day.
  2. Rank these tasks in order of importance.
  3. If possible, assign an 11 AM deadline to your #1 task.

If you’re like me and your highest-priority task is something you’ve been putting off forever because you loathe doing it, this is remarkably similar to the popular adage “swallow the frog.”  The point is that once you’ve gotten it out of the way, the burden is no longer there.  No matter how you spend the rest of your day, you’ve already accomplished what’s most important (or dreadful).  How’s that for positivity?

Create and Maintain a Positive Environment

“We make the world we live in and shape our own environment.”

~ Orison Swett Marden

It’s no secret that environment has a huge impact on both mood and behavior.  Personally, I find a cluttered, chaotic space skyrockets my stress.  When my space is perfectly clean and ordered, I’m actually bored.  Believe me: bored is a novel feeling when you have a toddler!

The trouble is, maintaining a clean, organized space takes work.  Sure, there are fancy gadgets and boxes that can help, but there’s no shortcut for keeping things tidy.  The best method is often to tidy as you go along, whether that means putting things away and tackling messes as you work or doing a quick clean-up at the end of each day.  You’ll thank yourself when the massive clutter pile never comes, because who needs to deal with that before they can tackle their daily to-dos?

Aside from keeping things neat, I’m a big believer in designing space to suit its purpose.   Pay attention to colors and the moods they evoke.  Is there a certain kind of art that inspires you?  Hang it in your office.  Do you enjoy listening to soft music to lull you to sleep?  Make sure your bedroom is equipped.

I painted the office I share with my husband light green, a shade I find both uplifting and serene.   My side of the room also features several colorful butterflies on the wall, because I like them and they inspire me.  Do whatever you need to make your space work for you.

Finally, I’m also a big believer in simplicity and minimalism.  Figure out what you really need and love and toss the rest.  You’ll be surprised by how smoothly your life will function… and how much easier it is to keep the positivity alive!

inspiring this week: mantras, parables, confidence and more!

Hi there!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend!  My family has been very busy this past week- we took a long day trip (4 hours each way,) followed by visiting family, followed by Easter day itself, which was so much fun with my daughter this year.  I forgot to take a picture of her Easter basket (which we didn’t hide – she’s only 19 months!), but I did have my husband snap this one.  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out!

My Daughter and Me, Easter 2017

Now that the insanity has died down, it’s back to business as usual.  I promise I will have a new post for you this week, and I’m very excited for the weeks to come.  Expect more content and new features as Inspiration Kindled grows as quickly as I can learn and produce!

My inspiration picks this week:

9 Mantras That Changed My Life Forever

This medium post from Todd Brison really struck a cord with me.  I learned about positive affirmations while studying for my master’s degree, but the concept never stuck.  Lately, however, I’ve been reading a lot about the power of words – and their repetition – to impact a person’s life, and I’m starting to truly believe it.

 Conversation in the Womb

Our pastor told a really cool story as part of his Easter Sunday sermon.  Apparently, it’s been around for a long time – the famous “Parable of Twin Brothers” by a great Jewish rabbi, Rabbi Tukachinsky.  The story is about twin brothers conversing in the womb, discussing what might come next.  I could try to summarize, but it’s more powerful if you read it for yourself.  Or better yet, listen to this beautiful musical version.  I totally cried.

The 7 Differences Between Professionals and Amateurs

This list from writer Jeff Goins is a little long and wordy, I’ll admit.  But it’s sound advice for anyone willing to take it!

Do What You Are Meant To Do

This is a relatively short piece that reads like a little love letter of encouragement.  If you need a boost, it’s just the thing.

How to Replace Your Self-Doubt With Unshakable Confidence

Derived from a TED Talk by Amy Cuddy,  this short article offers great advice on how pretending can lead to being.  Or maybe I just like it because it proposes an upgrade to the famous adage, “fake it ’till you make it.”  I’ve been fond of that phrase – and mindset – since I first heard it at my former workplace.

Wishing you an inspiring week!

 

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