As you face daily choices that require yes or no decisions, there are times when you feel paralyzed—either from fear of making the wrong choice or because of too many seemingly equal options. Social entrepreneur Jeff Shinabarger helps you break through these moments of tension and transition with proven ways to move toward good choices.
Discover opportunities to become a decision maker as you gain strength in saying no, develop your personal philosophy of choice, and start using a practical process for making good choices even in difficult situations.Jeff Shinabarger is a social entrepreneur and the author of More or Less. Jeff has a vision to make Atlanta a center for social innovation and has personally engaged in over 100 start-ups solving problems. His work has been featured by CNN, USA Weekend, Atlanta Journal Constitution,Huffington Post, Christianity Today, Coca-Cola, Relevant Magazine, and Chicago Sun Times. He is the co-founder of Q and creatively led Catalyst for eight years. Jeff and his wife, Andre, live in East Atlanta Village and have two children.
Although there aren’t any new revelations in Yes or No, I loved the personal examples he used throughout the book. I found his experience empowering as he walked readers through the decision making process. It’s easy to get excited reading Yes or No.
I’d say “yes” to reading this book.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
There are past events in the lives of almost all of us we wish we could change – especially if the event was tragic, resulting in the death of someone we loved. Such trauma leads to soul-searching, trying to find a reason that makes sense of something that strikes us as senseless. Portals, at its core, explores a simple question: If I could change the past, would I? It sounds like a simple question. As the novel reveals, it isn’t. Wrapped up in the eight small words encompassing this question is the sum of our personal world view, the lens through which we interpret the world around us. Key to our perspective is what we believe-or don’t believe-about God. If we believe we are a product of time and chance working the miracle of life upon the material universe unguided, then how we respond to the question might be quite different from someone who contends that a loving God is actively concerned with our personal welfare? in spite of any appearance to the contrary.
For Jesse, the question is no longer rhetorical. His wife, Ellen, drowned in Stillman’s Lake when the two were celebrating their sixth anniversary . Now, three years later, Jesse is given a chance to go back and change the events of that fateful day. As with our own, Jesse’s world is made up of other people, each with his or her personal world view. Each with his or her own perspective on the questions we all have about where we came from, why we’re here and what the future may hold. It is through the hearts, minds, experiences, words and actions of these other individuals – some close to Jesse and others of more casual acquaintance – that Portals gives an opportunity to explore the merits of the varied opinions.
This is the second book review where I actually know the author, and it’s fun to match the person I know in real life against their body of work. In the case of Portals by Michael Kimball, his work reflects his personality. He’s a master storyteller and I found that to be true of his writing in Portals. He paints a beautiful picture on page one full of imagery and emotion, and he doesn’t let up. There are a lot of emotions and thought-provoking issues to dwell on long past the last page of Portals, and Michael does a great job telling the story, painting the scene, and leaving the reader with a vivid emotional experience.
My writer’s eye picked up on minor dialogue and editing issues that a seasoned critique group would be helpful, but in no way as a reader do those items take away from the storytelling aspect of Portals that I enjoyed so much.
If you enjoy a haunting, thought-provoking novel that makes you think long after the last page, I definitely recommend Portals.
To purchase Portals, please click here.
I received a PDF from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Lately I’ve been looking at Christian/Biblical/Prophetic art. The images that make my heart stir the most are bride portraits where they either are also wearing part of the Armor of God (Ephesians 6, I believe) or are looking beyond, in a longing way, for what I interpret to be her Groom, Jesus.
Awhile ago a friend shared a story about being a wedding and thinking about the same thing as the bride looked ravishing in her white gown, veil, hair just so, a beautiful woman so excited to unite with her groom. But something happened between the altar and the reception that is one of those images you don’t want to think about—one of those pictures where one of these things doesn’t belong.
The woman in her gorgeous dress and perfect hair was taking a huge drag on her cigarette.
I’m not condemning smokers, it’s the image and teachable moment I personally extracted. Everything about her beauty changed to my friend when she saw the swirl of smoke and ash dripping off the bride onto her own gown.
I had a similar experience a couple days ago.
I was at the post office and saw a woman so put together on the outside I admired her. Her haircut was perfect for her. She wore a navy business suit that looked custom made to fit only her. Her heels would have been a straight shot to the ER for me, but she walked with elegance. I’m not in the habit of looking at women and being impressed by outside features, but she really was a sight to behold. I thought she was beautiful.
Then I saw her pivot just enough that I realized she wasn’t going inside the post office just yet, she needed to finish her smoke.
It was so much more than having a cigarette that ruined the image. The ash she had going on that thing was longer than the cigarette itself. The smell enveloped her like an invisible jail cell. When she entered the building shortly after me, the ash was gone, cigarette expired, but the aroma was anything but beautiful.
And in a flash, I couldn’t hold onto that beautiful image anymore.
It was more than a visual experience, it was a reminder about my choices. Earlier in the week things didn’t go my way and I reacted in a way that wasn’t holy, or even mature. No matter how great my pants fit that day or how perfect I thought my hair turned out, I spewed butt ugly everywhere I went while I was in my little snit.
I think we’re all guilty of that. And as a woman who would like to be identified as a woman in a deep relationship with Christ, I need to remember the way I conduct myself and treat others could very well come across as a beautiful bride dumping cigarette ash all over her dress.
There’s nothing beautiful in that.
The good news is God gets us. He knows we’re going to mess up, and although that doesn’t excuse my choices, His forgiveness is wrapped even tighter around us than the ring of smoke that surrounded the post office woman. In fact, that’s an aroma I want, His forgiveness and grace.
How about you?
Bride image courtesy of katya_alagich
It’s been almost a week and no doubt you’ve been as bombarded by news reports, interviews, Facebook updates, tweets, and YouTube clips regarding the life and death of Whitney Houston. Although I post ahead of schedule, I still waited to write about it because I wanted to process it. There is a lot in what I’m reading that rings true.
For instance, I’m a Gen X’er. I grew up singing How Will I Know picturing my crush of the week as I sang into my hairbrush. I had posters of Michael Jackson on my wall and to this day I can’t think of a piece of music that was an experience, that defined an era as Thriller did. Corey Haim and River Phoenix were part of my cinema experiences. And if I’m clocking in at 41 and holding, and these Gen X icons were close to my age, well, their deaths were just too soon.
Of all the press out there on Whitney’s death, there is one interview that stands out for me. I believe it’s the infamous “crack is whack” interview with Diane Sawyer ten years ago. Perhaps it’s Oprah. Whatever interview it was, the question was this—
What is your devil?
Her answer was transparent, very much so given the secrets and acting most celebrities are forced to hide behind.
“The devil is me.”
She went on to say she is her worst enemy and her best friend. Throughout the week I’ve talked to kids and read comments from adults who blame her ex-husband Bobby Brown for her decline. I’m well aware of his reputation before they married and by no means am I saying he played a part of a saint in their marriage.
But Whitney knew and spoke what we all need to own up to, myself included.
We have the free will in this life to make choices.
She knew that and admitted for her choices, she was responsible for the answer on who the devil in her life was. It was her. In my life, it is me. I might not have cocaine readily available, but I know how to get my hands on so much chocolate it was nothing for me to down a near bag of M&M’s for breakfast. That choice, as Lysa TerKeurst writes in Made to Crave, is more permissible than hard drugs, but is it beneficial? No. My health takes a hit when I make choices like that, and the option to dive into gluttony is always there.
That’s what I learned from her death—to be aware of the devil that is me. To make choices that are healthy and to own up and take responsibility when I mess up, and I will.
How about a lesson I learned from her life?
No matter where your faith is or isn’t, the same word regarding her life has been tossed around. Gift. She had a gift. My belief is God created her with purpose to sing. It’s not for me to say if she did so in a manner that advanced His Kingdom, but I know she made so many people happy and her voice was second to none. Her gift was music and she was active in that industry. I know so many people gifted in so many ways and they spend all hours of every day in every part of life but the area where they are gifted.
I refuse to let that be me.
This year is still pretty new and yet I feel frustrated with my writing life. There isn’t anything too tangible happening in 2012 beyond setbacks and delays. I understand writing is a process and there is a huge learning curve. Those who truly want it have to go after it day after day with little thanks. Only yesterday I wondered if I’m crazy to even try.
Then I remembered the gift. I’m not the best writer out there. I get that. But I know it is what God has called me to do. He has and will continue to equip me, and what a gift that is. I refuse to put that gift down.
I might not have a shelf full of trophies, but I’m going to use what I have while I have breath to do it.
And that, my friends, is what I’m taking away from the life and death of Whitney Houston.