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Book Review: “The Walk” series by Richard Paul Evans

Let’s say you’re one of those people who say you “don’t like to read”. The thought of getting through an entire novel is absolutely daunting to you. In fact, you might even stun yourself if you survive reading this blog post word-for-word. šŸ˜‰

I’m going to share a little secret with you: For a long time, I didn’t like to read either.

It’s true, LeFou. On my own time, I could never sit down for hours and read about dragons, buried treasurers, mysterious kidnappings, etc. And, I still can’t read those kinds of books to this day . . . and I honestly don’t believe I ever will. But, that’s okay.

That’s when it occurred to me that I don’t like reading things that everyone else seemed to enjoy. In order to be drawn towards a book, I needed an easy-to-read, emotionally and action-packed story that taught incredible life lessons, demonstrated personal growth, and made me a more empowered, inspired person. This is everything “The Walk” series has to offer.

Although this series is not based on a true story, it could certain take the form as one. There are five books that make up the series. I have already read three of them. Without giving away too much information about the plot, I’ll leave you with this. A very rich, successful ad-man goes from having all he could ever imagine to losing everything in one fell swoop. Imagine losing your closest relationships, dream job, possessions . . . everything. That’s what happened to Alan Christoffersen.

Feeling completely hopeless and not knowing what to do with the rest of his life, he takes it upon himself to sojourn from Seattle, Washington to Key West, Florida to leave behind his past and search for what opportunities lies ahead. He meets some awe-inspiring people and runs into nifty sights on his walk like Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore. You get to hear some crazy stories from stranger’s lives, see incredible friendships form, and gain a plethora of wisdom understanding the struggles and triumphs these individuals carry. You feel sad, distraught, determined, loved, excited, curious throughout the journey.

In a way, I’ve learned from this series that we all carry heavy baggage over our backs – our struggles, worries, problems, bad habits, broken relationships, heartache, etc. But, unless we learn to pick ourselves up and press forward in this crazy world, we will forever be zipped shut from enjoying what life has to offer. This is what this series is made of. I encourage you to be a part of the adventure.

Julia

Book Review: “Life Without Ed” by Jenni Schaefer

Earlier this April, I asked my school counselor if there were any books on overcoming eating disorders that she personally recommended. It only took her a couple seconds to share the title that I religiously scribbled out in the back of my planner.

When it comes to all recommendations or inspirational nuggets of wisdom, I write everything down someplace where I can see it and vow to read the text or complete the action as soon as possible. 90% of the time, I follow through with my promise. Book reading tends to be my only exception.

Fast-forward to two months later, I finally remembered that I didn’t pick up the book yet. Since maintaining a healthy well-being is extremely important to me, this was the motivating factor for me to stop by the library and actually start reading the text. Boy, I’m so glad my counselor recommended this title!

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Schaefer struggled with disordered eating beginning as young as elementary school. Each chapter is maybe a couple pages long and covers a different story she had with her eating disorder. Personal struggles like ordering food at a restaurant, seeing refreshments at the office, and reacting to the demanding requests from “Ed” don’t even scratch the surface of all the experiences and lessons within this book. Ā This book totally puts eating disorders in perspective by analyzing “Ed” as an outsider (or in this case, an “ex” boyfriend/spouse) that constanly taunts you–the victim and slave to Ed–into harming your body by restricting, binging, and purging food–a never ending cycle that ruins you physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I also couldn’t believe how incredibly similar her experiences, thoughts, and feelings were to my relationship with “Ed”. It made me realize that I’m not going through unknown waters and that there are people just like me dealing with the very same issues. It actually felt fantastic hearing my exact thoughts and feelings about “Ed” being told by another person. Even with Jenni’s serious stories, she maintains witty sense of humor that lightens up the mood several times throughout passages! Not only does Schaefer describe her stories and what she has learned from them, but she actually provides action steps and resources to offically break up with “Ed”. After reading the text cover to cover, I felt empowered and hopeful about my circumstances and determined to overcome my abusive relationship with “Ed”.

If you or a loved one are struggling with disordered eating, Jenni is your girl to read!

Julia

 

Book Review: “Life’s Greatest Lesson” by Allen R. Hunt

I just wrapped up another great summer read!Ā  Life’s Greatest Lesson by Allen R. Hunt is about encountering happiness in our lives through the acronym L.E.G.S. After finishing this book, I feel more complete as a person and have a totally different perspective on how I should be utilizing and viewing money.

Simply put, God gives us each special talents to use in this world – singing, leading, managing, public speaking, entertaining, etc. When we actively use our God-given skills at work, any money that is given to us is really the Lord’s. We should be generous with our money. Matthew 6:24 states”No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”Ā  This story really captures the message of giving.

To give a little background on the plot, a young boy is deeply saddened by the death of his grandmother. Right before she left the world, she gave her grandson Christopher her “L.E.G.S.” bracelet. As you move along the chapters, Christopher discovers through his grandfather’s stories why Grandma Lavish was so beloved by all people as well as the meaning behind that special bracelet. It’s truly a heartfelt, make-you-feel-happy-kind-of book. I was able to read it in a matter of days. L.E.G.S. (in case you are dying to know) stands for the following:

  • Love all you can.
  • Earn all you can.
  • Give all you can.
  • Save all you can.

If you want to be inspired, I would definitely check this book out!

Happy reading,

Julia

Book Review: “The Truth About Money Lies” by Russ Crosson

One Wednesday afternoon, the Accounting Club on my campus welcomed a certified financial planner to speakĀ  with us about different job opportunities in the areas of accounting, business, and finance. It’s always a pleasure to have professionals in the field share their advice with us aspiring businessmen and women.

One of the books that I’ve recently finished reading was actually a generous handout that the CFP gave to all the accounting club students concluding his talk. The title is called The Truth About Money Lies by Russ Crosson with Kelly Talamo. Dang, it’s a darn good read.

To give my personal summary, this personal finance book uses biblical roots and Scripture to back up how we should wisely spend, save, and invest our money. Each chapter gives a real-world financial scenario that focuses on a different money lieĀ  modern culture believes to be true. Of course, each falsity is disproved using God’s Word combined with some personal guidance from Crosson and Talamo. I highly recommend this book for college students who will be making hard-hitting financial decisions in their young adult lives. It’s a quick, captivating, and straightforward read…and that’s saying a lot from someone (me) who gets impatient with novels!

 

There are 15 chapters in under 250 pages. I don’t want to spoil too much information, but a few lies that are covered in detail include the following:

  • “I can’t afford to give.”
  • “I can get rich quick.”
  • “Retirement is the ultimate goal of working hard.”
  • “Money and the things it buys are a measure of my self-worth.”

Whether you are retired, working towards your first major job, or simply looking for ways to manage your finances better, this book touches on several monetary topics and addresses them from a well-educated, Christian viewpoint. It’s worth a read and a good reference to keep around. It costs between $4 – $15 depending where you look online.

Happy reading!

Julia

 

 

 

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