Tag Archives: happiness

What’s the most important book you ever read?

What is the most important book you ever read?

off kilter library

I’m not talking about religious books like the Bible, the Quran or the Talmud; we all know those are important, so let’s leave them aside for the sake of this discussion.

What are the most useful books you have ever read? Which book was it that you read and actually put to work in your daily life? How did it influence you?

Was it something like the ‘7 habits of highly successful people’ or was it possibly Internet for Dummies? Did Hints from Heloise change the way you live?   How to win friends and influence people is a classic on the art of communication and has helped thousands in their daily lives.

So what has helped you to live your life? What made you change for the better?

For me these are a few of the most influential books I have ever read. I’m sure that someday I will add more to this list, but these are the ones that really hit me hard and made me think.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare. This play taught me at a very young age that you need to really think before taking drastic action. If Ol’ Mac had asked more questions when he met those three ladies, he may not have put a disaster into motion.

The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris. I went to a Catholic High School and found this in the restricted section of the library one day. A study of humans as biological entities, it made me really think about my place in the world. It had the added benefit of really upsetting my teachers. Hey, I was sixteen at the time.

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. This book made physics less mysterious and more accessible for me. I loved it.

The Joy of Sex by Alex Comfort. First, I found the pun of his name amusing, and the truly practical and un-embarrassed attitude was just what I needed at the time. I can’t say I’ve been able to put everything into practice, but the clear, rational tone was wonderful.

Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Women, Sexuality and the Catholic Church by Uta Ranke-Heineman and Peter Heinegg. Ranke-Heineman was a chair of theology and used Roman Catholic Canon Law as her source material. It made me angry that as a female I was being so devalued on so many levels. Yeah, this was a huge influence on the way I thought about the world.

Chess for beginners by Israel A. Horowitz and Sol Horowitz. Hours of fun!

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. It’s still the basic primer for the art of politics.

The Art of War by Sun-Tzu. The ultimate strategy guide, written by a man who lived it every day.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Yeah, this is a weird one to have in here, but as much as I dislike Scarlet O’Hara, she knew how to survive. She also wasn’t willing to hide her abilities behind a folded fan, even if she had no clue about how to manage her personal life.

These are not the only important books I have ever read, of course. My personal library has several hundred books in it, not counting the ones I have sold or donated when I was done with them. I have read books on everything from cooking to car repair (if only that one had taken root) and philosophy, religion and politics, fashion and art. I like science fiction and crafts, how-to books and fantasy fiction.

In the midst of all the millions of words I have read over the decades of my life, the books that have actually helped or hindered are few. I’d like to know what books you consider the most influential in your life. Take a moment to think about it, and use the comment box to let me know: what was your most important reading experience?

Find your peace, friends.

Rev. Zita.

(Image courtesy of free clip art office.microsoft.com)

Proofs of Love

Over the past few months and still now, I have been in the middle of my own health crisis. I have seen lots of doctors from the ones in the ER, my own family doc, and then the surgeon too. That also means that I have spent time in a lot of waiting rooms with a ton of magazines. I never really expected to find a basis for a blog while waiting to be seen by a doctor, but this month this article came back to me and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner and the theme of love in air, it seemed right to share it.

I picked up the waiting room copy of Good Housekeeping and found an article by Gretchen Rubin about her year long project on making herself and her life happier. The article is about how through giving love she found that she felt more loved. The idea that she had for one month was based on the saying that “There is no love. There are only proofs of love.” by the French poet Pierre Reverdy.  During this month of her Happiness Project she worked on making sure that the people in her life were shown proofs of love.

How many of us give proofs of love to those that really matter in our lives daily? I know that I am guilty of not always showing how much those around me matter. There always seems to be one more article that needs to be written, some one’s wedding to work on, cleaning to be done, a resume to fill out, a project for class, etc., etc., etc. To be honest, the excuses take longer to list than the time it would take to give all of those someones that proof of love that we all crave in our lives; those little things we want the people in our lives to do for us.

Giving someone you love a proof of how you feel is not expensive or time consuming. It can be a simple gesture: a hug, a phone call, a free e card that says “thinking of you.” You can always follow Rubin’s example and make silly phone calls to your loved ones as you go about your day. The truth about this is that we are considered the most connected society in the history of the world with our cell phones, laptops, netbooks, etc. but most of us still feel lonely and unloved. Let’s work to change that one person and one proof at a time. Spread those proofs of love in little, surprising ways.

If you have an idea how to show a proof of love that is inexpensive, or better yet free, please leave a comment and share your ideas. We love to see how varied and fun our readers are.

Loving Wastefully

Coming up with ideas to share here is sometimes hard and sometimes easy, as you can see by how often we actually post. We tend to look all over for inspiration, anything from the news, to other blogs, and even our friends. I have to thank my friend Rev Jeri Murphy for sharing the phrase “love wastefully.” The interpretation is that loving wastefully is without limits.

How many of us actually love wastefully? Unfortunately, I have to admit that I don’t always give my love away, but rather place limits on it. I know that many of you will say that is human nature, and maybe you are right. Yet again, what else do we have to give away that can be truly free in this life? As far as I can see nothing, but yet most of us, if not all of us, place limits on how we love one another.

This seems like the perfect topic considering that Valentine’s Day, the day we all think of love, is just around the corner. I challenge you to find 5 ways to love someone “wastefully” in your life each day. You don’t have to use your 5 ways on the same person all day, so feel free to spread it around. The point here is to try to create stronger connections to those that you love in your life in a world that sometimes seems bent on making us forget what is really important.

The one thought that I have is: can spreading love really ever be wasteful? It seems to me that the more love we spread the more we’ll get back, be it through a smile, laugh, hug, or some other way of showing that we matter and what we do for each other matters.

What we are thankful for….

Thanksgiving is less than a week from now, and it is that time of year that we all starting thinking about what we are thankful for. Of course we have the easy things, like friends, family, health, and so on… but what about those really difficult things to admit that we are thankful for them; you know those things that make us sound selfish and self centered….

Wait! Selfish and self-centered? Can we really be selfish and self-centered if we are being thankful? And why do we feel ashamed for being thankful for anything in our lives that is good?

My personal thankful list (starting with the easy ones):

  1. My husband who always seems to get the short end of the stick
  2. My kids who drive me nuts at times, but enrich my life so much
  3. My parents and step parents who taught me to at least be self sufficient.
  4. My friends who are always there, usually with a joke
  5. This blog, where I get to air my various opinions and thoughts
  6. Heartfelt Ministries as a whole because making money while helping someone is great
  7. Facebook for many entertaining hours of mindless dribble.
  8. Creativity, new ideas are always great.
  9. Romantic comedies, again entertainment
  10. Quiet time, keeps me sane.

What are you thankful for? Feel free to share your ideas too.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving my friends.

Rev. Kelly