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BOOK REVIEW: MASTER CLASS


Master Class

In Master Class, author Peter Spiers shows the 78 million Baby Boomers in the United States how to “live longer, stronger and happier.”

Spiers is the Senior Vice President of Road Scholar, and interviewed many members of that organization as part of his research for this book. Comments from interviewees are included throughout the book.

The premise of the entire book is based on four simple ideas as the elements of the “Master Life:” “socializing, moving, thinking and creating.” 

In the first part of the book, Spiers explains the “master life” theory and expounds on the four elements as mentioned above. The remaining four sections helps the reader create their own Master Life. The reader completes assignments for each of the four elements. At the end of each section, the reader takes a final exam.

The ideas in this book are inspiring and exciting and I’m ready to embark on a journey to “live longer, stronger and happier.” Every baby boomer should read this book, keep it close at hand for reference, and implement this program in their life.    

Master Class: Living Longer, Stronger and Happierwill publish on June 26, 2012.  

PETER SPIERS is Senior Vice President at Boston-based not-for-profit Road Scholar where he is responsible for strategic planning, marketing and communications, and research. Prior to joining Road Scholar, he worked for 17 years at Rodale, Inc. as publisher, group publisher, and vice president for strategic planning.

He is a graduate of Harvard College, the London School of Economics, and the Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth. He is the co-author of “The Group House Handbook” (Acropolis, 1982) and editor of “The Elderhostel Odyssey” (Elderhostel, 2005).

 

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    Fishers of Men

    My Bishop, who has been my pastor/priest since 1987, can get a sermon illustration out of anything and everything. I must be careful here –me and the 10-foot snake in the church office years ago when I worked for him could be this Sunday’s example. Of what, I’m not sure. But I am positive he could produce an illustration from that afternoon’s adventures.

    Over the years he has preached hundreds of sermons each with its own individual illustration. Many of these illustrations were so good, they remain with me today. “My dog’s not in this fight,” “Will this really matter in five years?” and my all-time favorite “Right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot.” To this day, I remind myself frequently—step out with the right foot, then the left foot, right foot, then left foot.” In other words, don’t step ahead of God. Don’t look too far in the future. Just take one step at a time, trusting God to guide your steps.

    A few weeks ago his sermon’s illustration ranks as one of the most unusual. It seems that the Bishop watched a documentary on noodling. For those of you who are unfamiliar with noodling—simply put—it is a way to catch catfish. ( For a more in-depth explanation, Google noodling.)  Bishop gave a detailed explanation but the point of the example was this:  The fishermen had to go where the fish were.  Simple, profound.  He likened that statement to the one found in Matthew 4:19 “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out ofyou. I’ll show you how to catch menand women instead of perch and bass. They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.” (The Message)

    If we are to “catch men and women” for God—if we are to win people to God—we have to go to where the people are.

    Almost immediately upon hearing this verse, I thought of an organization I’ve become somewhat familiar with over the last year. “Victoria’s Friends is a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to provide spiritual support, physical restoration, and training to women working in the sex industry.” Dancers—in strip clubs—in  downtown Atlanta.  Victoria Teague is the founder of Victoria’s Friends. She knows what these girls and women face every night. The dangers. Drugs. Alcohol. For over four years, she was one of them. But God…(there’s that beautiful phrase) but God had other plans for Victoria. He came into her life with the gift of salvation and all that comes with that – healing, peace, unconditional love. He blessed her with a beautiful family and a ministry in the very places she left—the strip clubs. Victoria and her team of volunteers take Baskets of Love into the strip clubs of downtown Atlanta with permission from the club’s management. They minister the unconditional love of God to the women. They show them that there is a better way—a better life. Women who want to leave that industry are given assistance in getting out. They’re given clothes and training for a new job. To date, over 300 women have been helped out of that lifestyle and into a lifestyle with Jesus. (For more information about Victoria’s Friends and to hear Victoria’s testimony in her own words, go to http://www.victoriasfriends.com/ ).

    In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus tells us, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” These words of Jesus were not just for Biblical times. He is instructing us to go “fishing” for men and women. Where is your pond? Victoria’s is in the strip clubs of downtown Atlanta. Perhaps your pond is where you work, or your neighborhood.  Maybe it’s the local soup kitchen. Or the local country club. Maybe God’s pond for you is even bigger – Uganda, Haiti, foreign waters. The point is each of us has a pond and it’s time to go fishing.  Selah.

    © 2012 Edwina E. Cowgill

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    Book Review: God Loves Broken People

    In God Loves Broken People, Sheila Walsh brings a message of hope to all of us. Because at one time or another, all of us have been broken and in need of that message.

    From the introduction, titled “It’s Okay Not to be Okay” to chapters such as “I’m Not Waving, I’m Drowning,” “Fierce Love and Halloween Grace” and “Only the Wounded Can Serve” we are bombarded with the fact of God’s boundless, extravagant love for us and we are comforted with reminders of His grace and mercy.

    From the back cover: “…Sheila Walsh shows how personal brokenness can open doors of intimacy with Jesus Christ that might never open in any other way. It’s not that God loves broken people more than those who imagine themselves to be whole—it’s simply that they know they are loved. They dare to believe it…and through such trust, a new wholeness emerges from yesterday’s broken pieces.”

    This book is an excellent resource for pastors and counselors and should hold a prominent place on their bookshelves. More importantly, it is a must-read for the broken. Its message of healing will bring comfort and hope.                                                                                                              

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    Just Do It

    There is probably no one who doesn’t recognize the title of this blog. “Just Do It” is the logo for Nike. I don’t think the creators of this slogan/logo realized just how popular it would be. They developed the slogan thinking, of course, of sports, exercise. “Just do it” – get out there and exercise – walk, run, whatever works for you.

    It’s that simple when it comes to walking by faith – not by sight or feelings. Just Trust God. But trusting God isn’t always that simple, is it?

    If we’ve lived life at all, we’ve probably been hurt, rejected, offended. And when that happens a few times, we find it hard to trust the person who hurt and/or rejected us. That lack of trust will affect our relationships with others and if we allow it, it will affect our relationship with God. And eventually, we find ourselves in a place where we don’t trust God. Yet, that is what we are commanded to do.

    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
     in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

    This verse plainly states “trust.” It doesn’t say, “If you feel like it,” or “If you think it’s the best choice,” – no – it says “trust.”  “Just Do It” – trust.

    But it’s not as easy as it sounds, is it? It means giving up our hurts, our anger, our rejection. That position can become quite comfortable over time, and we don’t want to give it up because we realize that by coming out of that place, we are back in a position of vulnerability. Open to hurt and rejection again. There’s the issue of trust again. We must trust God to protect us. And He will. Will people still wound us? Probably. But in trusting God, we can be assured He will carry our hurts and heal our hearts.

    Sometimes our lack of trust causes us to question God. This is what happened in my case. I questioned God about several issues over several months and did not receive an answer, in my opinion. It seemed as if the more I questioned God, the quieter He got. The quieter He got, the more I questioned. It became a vicious cycle until the day I said, “That’s it. I’m done.” But, thankfully, God is never done.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
    Repentance.  Forgiveness. Trust.

    Just Do It. Just Trust.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

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    We Walk By Faith, Not By Feelings

    For almost a year, I wondered in a spiritual desert. A wasteland of my own making and of my own choice. Choosing this desert proved to be one of the biggest mistakes of my life–certainly my spiritual life.  My choice damaged the most important relationship in my life – my relationship with God. In actuality, the choice wasn’t to walk through the desert. The choice I made was to be angry at God – to refuse to let go of my anger and ultimately turn my back against God and severe that relationship.

    A few months ago, I “came to my senses” and realized I needed to repent and ask God to forgive me. I repented. I felt nothing. I repented again. I felt nothing–again. And so began a continual confession of sin and plea for forgiveness until I could “feel” something. There’s the catch.
    The Bible says we “walk by faith and not by sight.” I would like to submit that we also “walk by faith” and not by feelings. In fact, our feelings will negate our faith in a heartbeat. We allow our feelings to control what we do, how we act, what we think.
    We allow the feelings of the people who we are around most often to affect how we feel. If they are “down,” we are “down.” If they are “happy,” we are “happy.” We even allow people we don’t know to influence–even change–our moods. Let some crazy driver cut us off in traffic and before we can blink, we need to go to confession for the names we just called that driver. (Oh, come on. You now you’ve called those drivers names before.)
    We allow our circumstances to affect how we feel. If our house is clean, we feel good. If our family is well, children behaving and life is grand, we are satisfied. But let one thing go wrong and we go ballistic and throw the world’s biggest pity party known to mankind.
    I realize that some of these examples are greatly exaggerated. However, you get my point.
    So what do we do? How do we stop walking by our feelings and move into walking by faith? Stay tuned for the next blog post! 

     

     

    We allow the feelings of the people who we are around most often to affect our feelings. If they are “down,” we are “down.” If they are “happy,” we are “happy.” We even allow people we don’t know to influence—even change—our moods. Let some crazy driver cut us off in traffic and before we can blink, we need to go to confession for what we just called that driver. (Oh, come on. You know you’ve called those crazy drivers names before.)
    We allow our circumstances to affect how we feel. If our house is clean, we feel good. If our family is well, children behaving and life is grand, we are satisfied. But let one thing go wrong and we go ballistic and throw the world’s biggest pity party.
    I realize that some of these examples are greatly exaggerated. However, you get my point.
    So what do we do? How do we get out of walking by feelings and move into walking by faith? Stay tuned for next blog post!
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    I Remember My Mother

              

    I wrote the below post on April 25, 2009. Today is May 12, 2012, the day before Mother’s Day. And I am, once again, sitting in the emergency room of our local hospital. It is almost unreal how much my mother’s health has failed in the last three years, how quickly it has failed in the last six months. She can no longer walk with a cane or walker. She is in a wheelchair all the time.  Different systems in her body have begun to fail.  It is very difficult to watch. But still, she is here and God willing, will celebrate Mother’s Day – perhaps at home or perhaps in a hospital room. But she will be here and for that, I am extremely grateful.

    Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms who are reading this. And if your mom is still living, enjoy spending time with her today!

    I am sitting in the emergency room of our local hospital – again.  My mother fell this morning.  Although she uses a walker or walking cane all the time, she often falls because of problems with one of her knees.  She has seizures, which occasionally cause her to fall.  She has congestive heart failure and degenerative disc disease.  My mother will be 80 in one week and her health has been failing for a number of years. 

    This is not how I want to see or remember my mother.  I want to remember her the way she was when I was a child, a teenager and a young married woman with a child of my own.

    When I was a child my mother was constantly busy.  Even though she worked full time, she would come home every day and cook “supper” as we called it then –meat, vegetables, bread and tea.  My sister and I always had clean and ironed clothes to wear to school.  On Saturdays, my mother would get up very early, and by the time I was up, she would have made-from-scratch cake layers cooling on racks, waiting for the sweet, sugary icing to be spread on top of each layer and all around the sides.  Then later in the morning, she would leave for her weekly appointment at the “beauty shop.”  (In those days, we had not heard of hair salons.) Sundays found her teaching an elementary Sunday school class and singing in the choir.

    My mother taught me to respect my elders.  I still say “Yes, m ‘am and No, sir.” She taught me how to act in church and showed me what would happen if I didn’t behave!

    During the summer months, my mother would come home from work and stand on her feet for hours blanching and then freezing beans, peas, corn, and squash so that we could have fresh vegetables in the winter.

    My mother continued to be active in my teenage years; however the degenerative disc disease had begun to slowly ravage her spine.  Over the years, she lost several inches in height.  But this did not slow her down – at least not then.  She and my dad attended every chorus concert, every play that I was in, everything I did, they were there.  

    I became engaged my sophomore year of college and as I planned my wedding, my mother was there to help and advise me.  I still remember her teary eyes as I dressed to leave the church for my honeymoon.

    When my first child was born, my mother and father were at the hospital almost before I arrived!  I can see, even now, my mother holding my daughter, Kim, in her arms.  When I came home from the hospital, my mother stayed with us for a week, taking care of all the household chores so that I could bond with Kim and learn how to be a mother. (Why don’t babies come with an instruction manual??)  My mother also stayed for a week when my son, Kyle, was born, again taking care of everything.

    Shortly after Kyle’s birth, my father became gravely ill and was hospitalized for several weeks, having two surgeries during that time.  My mother was an absolute rock.  She stayed, day and night, with my dad until he came home.  Once home, she waited on him hand and foot and watched over him vigilantly until he regained his strength and health.

    When my daughter became pregnant at 16, my mother (and father) became a rock of support.  They surrounded my daughter with love and prayers.  When Kim went into labor, they made a mad dash to the hospital to be there when their first great grandchild was born.  I have a photograph of mother holding my grandson.  The love in her face was as intense and as deep as the love had been when she held her grandchildren and children.

    Although my mother and I have not always seen “eye-to-eye” on some issues, and there have been times when she has driven me crazy (what mother doesn’t drive her daughter crazy sometimes?), she has always loved me, always supported me and always been there for me.

    I don’t want to see her growing frailer with each passing day.  But this is life.  The least I can do is to be here for her.  Sitting in the waiting room of the ER.  Waiting.
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    In my last post, I announced that I would be serving on a panel of writers at a writers’ symposium in May. Because of that, the panel of writers will be interviewed that evening (Wednesday, April 25) between 8:30 PM – 10:00 PM on 92.5 The Bear.

    For those of you who listened in, it was obvious I wasn’t there. Unfortunately, my mother was rushed to the hospital earlier that day and my dad, sister and I were at the hospital until almost 9PM. My mother is doing much better and is at home now.

    The writers’ symposium is scheduled for Tuesday, May 15 from 2:30 – 4:00 PM at the Carnegie Library in downtown Newnan. For those of you living in the Newnan/Coweta County/Southern Crescent area, I would love for you to come.

    I am honored to be on the panel with several excellent authors as well as dear friends. Facilitating the symposium will be Swanee Ballman (hopefully she will have recovered from surgery by then!) Swanee has written several books, including Exodus From America and Tamarind. She is the owner of Jawbone Publishing located in Newnan.

    Linda Jennings is a co-host on the cable show “Tea with Linda and Maggie” and owner of InDePub Books.com. She is the author of  Life within the Veil and Forty Days of Healing Devotions. She is currently writing a book on miracles in Coweta County.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  lso  Holly Moulder is a retired school teacher, having taught for 21 years in the Coweta County School System. She is the author of several children’s books including A Cord of Three Strands and Eyes of the Calusa.

    Carla Cook Smith, marketing expert and publisher with Perspectives Books has written a number of books on the histories of surrounding cities, including Fayetteville Perspectives and Holiday Perspectives in Senoia, Senoia Perspectives, Turin Perspectives and Peachtree City, a 50 Year Perspective.

    Then there’s me. I’ve yet to figure out why I was invited except I was told I am the blogging “expert.” I don’t consider myself an expert by any stretch of the imagination. But I love to blog and am willing to share what I know.  

    This symposium will be a fun and informative meeting! I hope to see you there!