Remember when you were 14 years old? Remember how hard it was? Let me assure you, Grayce’s 14th year was worse. Here’s a shy, nice girl using all her energy just to keep it together when the school principle asks her a favour—carry co-student Peggy’s books to and from all her classes while she adjusts to her crutches. Grayce agrees to the task, not seeing much alternative, and is surprised when a friendship develops with the pretty, lively, now-one-legged girl.
Through 14 chapters we observe the birth, life, and death of a best friendship. We see how love can cover pain, and how prayer can make us strong. We see how telling the truth releases us from shame and takes power away from our secrets. We see how acting in kindness and obedience are scary but lead to good in the end.
Sustaining Grayce by Sandra Hare is a beautiful story you can read in an afternoon. It’s well-written and gripping. I did find it interesting how an unchurched 14-year-old had become such a master at biblical interpretation and correlation—that would be a miracle in itself—but most of the plot was engaging and believable.
If you’re looking for a sweet story about saying the important things and being vulnerable, I recommend this book.
Grayce is coping with as much stress as a fourteen-year-old can handle, and then she is asked to help Peggy, a fun-loving teen who happens to be fighting cancer. Share the laughter and heartache as Peggy and Grayce try to live normal lives amidst the craziness that swirls around them. Set in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the late 1960’s, Sustaining Grayce explores how two girls with totally opposite religious beliefs and very different families can learn to love each other and the broken people surrounding them. Their story is a miracle made possible only by God’s sustaining grace.
What would you say if I told you there’s a formula for happiness? What if I told you happiness is available to all but isn’t something you’re entitled to? Would you believe me if I told you happiness comes from inside and not from anything external—not stuff, not people, not circumstances?
What would you say if I told you the keys to unlocking happiness were available in paperback?
Are We Happy Yet? author Lisa Cypers Kamen says happiness comes from the transformative power of self-mastery, and that happiness isn’t the destination but a byproduct of the journey.
Curious? There’s more.
In her book, she confronts common objections for why we aren’t or can’t be happy. Trauma, genetic depression, real problems, etc. Not discounting the challenges we face, there are ample exercises and quizzes to help us gauge where we’re at happiness-wise and arm ourselves with the data we need to move forward, towards a happier life. She challenges us to deal with the mental horde of stuff packed away in our attic and take a more emotional minimalist approach—let it go!
Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life
Life is tough, but happiness is available to us all
Your inner child is your inner sage available to guide you
More is not always better
We cannot control life, only ourselves
Our happiness is our personal responsibility
Choose activities and people that foster happiness
Treat yourself the way you wish to be treated
Happiness is an inside job. Happiness is your inside job
Each of the eight keys is defined, explained, and unpacked using storytelling, clear language, and motivational exercises. If you’re wondering where your happiness roadblocks are, this book will help you define, deal with, and move past them.
Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life
Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life is an exciting fusion of science and heart, offering a guide in creating our own personal “happiness revolution.”
Lisa Cypers Kamen, an internationally known applied positive psychology coach, lifestyle management specialist and Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio show host, gives us the keys to her breakthrough system for cultivating sustainable wellbeing and happiness in our lives from the inside out— regardless of external circumstance. Lisa’s techniques combine mental, emotional and spiritual muscle-building training for greater resiliency, self-mastery and optimal living.
Her inspiring and practical tips, keys, and exercises will boost your “Happiness-Factor” to new levels and show you how to tap into the joy and peace you deserve.
You’ll learn how to:
Accept the past for what it is—a reference point, not a destination
Embrace the truth that while life is tough, you can be happy
Transform your relationship with yourself from enemy to ally
Appreciate why less is often more
Focus on what’s right with your life, not what’s wrong
Control the only person you can—yourself
Invest in yourself to become more mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually fit
Use your newly discovered joy to become a more positive and productive influence in the world—and much more
I love writers and publishers guides. They’re on my Christmas list every year. But this is the first one I’ve read cover to cover and come back for more. And that’s saying something.
Laid out like any other writers guide, there are essays and articles on writing advice, publishing information, and an introduction to planet literary agent before getting to the good stuff. The listings. Who’s buying, who’s selling, who’s looking for what and when. It’s all good stuff, and I can’t get enough.
Jeff Herman has a wonderful sense of humour, which helps make typical writing and publishing advice come alive and keeps the reader engaged. The listings follow an interesting format, with the agency or agent answering a series of questions. It gives you a good sense of who they are and what they do and each get equal space in the book.
Describe the kinds of works you want to represent
Describe what you definitely don’t want to represent
How do you want writers to pitch to you?
Describe your education and professional history
How did you become an agent?
Knowing what you do now, would you do it again? If not, what might you do instead?
Do you charge fees? If yes, please explain
When and where were you born, and where have you lived?
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
List some of the titles you have recently placed with publishers
Describe your personality
What do you like reading/watching/listening to on your own time?
Do you think the business has changed a lot over the past few years? If yes, please explain
What do the “Big 5” mean to you?
How do you feel about independent/small presses?
What are your feelings about self-publishing?
Do you think Amazon is good or bad—or both—for the book business?
What do you like and dislike about your job?
What are ways prospective clients can impress you, and what are ways they can turn you off?
How would you describe the “writer from hell”?
Describe a book you would like to write
Do you believe in a higher and/or lower “power”?
There’s also a section dedicated to Canadian publishers, which I heart.
Jeff Herman’s Guide To Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents
The Writer’s Best Friend and Bible!
Writers, agents, and editors all agree that Jeff Herman’s Guide is the must have, go-to reference for everyone who writes. This book will get you past the slush piles and into the hands of the people who have the power to publish.
With Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents you will learn the names and contact information for hundreds of agents and editors, and will be given the “code” for how to win them over. More comprehensive than ever, this 21st edition will give you all the insider information you need to get published, including how to write knockout pitch letters and proposals, as well as an expanded Canadian section.
On March 4, 2017 TEDxStanleyPark will bring ideas to action and you can be a part of the revolution!
As a blog ambassador I’m thrilled to promote this incredible event, which will bring ideas to action. And to sweeten the deal for every ticket sold using my affiliate link I’ll knit you a toque! I guarantee you won’t see this deal from anyone else (no really, who else would think of TEDx and toques?).
Learn more about the event from my writeup or you can jump right over to TEDxStanleyPark and get your ticket! Let me know you’re going and I’ll get your toque in the queue.
This year’s TEDxStanleyPark takes place in front of 2,640 live guests at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, BC.
TEDxStanleyPark is an annual conference that showcases a diverse range of humanity’s tough challenges and activates attendees to implement solutions to those challenges. Our perennial theme is Ideas to Action.
We use high-impact talks to cause actions to happen that move the needle toward a better world. These actions give legs to dreams of what could be.
TEDxStanleyPark is for thoughtful optimists with curious, fertile and open minds in search of practical ways to make the world a better place.
When I saw the Priceless movie come up in my review queue I wondered what an inspirational film “shining a light into the dark world of human trafficking” would reveal. I mean, how do you do that?
Dubbed a romantic drama, Priceless follows James Stevens (Grammy-award winning singer Joel Smallbone from For King and Country) on a red-eye delivery with a mysterious package. Sketchy. Stevens is troubled, complicated, and in over his head. He realises this once he hears crying coming from the back of his delivery truck. What are those girls doing back there? Now what does he do?
As Stevens bonds with his delivery he’s faced with an impossible choice: deliver the girls to their destination (where they’re expecting to work as domestics to pay off their father’s debt) or…or what? So he drops them off.
The problem is, in his heart he knows what’s going on and compassion compels him to do something. This is where things get gritty. Stevens, with the help of a new friend, dives in headfirst trying to save the girls. He doesn’t know what he’s doing, he doesn’t know what he’ll do next, but he is driven—to the point of risking relationships with his family.
There aren’t any surprises in this indie drama but it does pose important questions we might find easier to ignore.
What does love look like?
What is my responsibility when I see injustice?
What’s a life worth?
How far would I go to do what I believe is right?
Answer these questions and you may find yourself in James Stevens’ shoes. Because the truth is, it’s not somebody else’s job to fix the world’s problems, it’s your job and it’s my job. It’s our job to stand up for those with no voice. If you’re a Christian, you may find some motivation from 1 John 3:17. “If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.” Or how about Proverbs 25:26, “A good person who gives in to a bad person is a muddied spring, a polluted well.”
So, do I agree with Stevens’ methods to bring about change? In truth I feel conflicted, he used violence and I found it troubling. But was there another way? I don’t know. And if faced with the same situation, would I be brave enough to stand against oppression and do what I know in my heart is right? I hope so.
Priceless reminds us that human/sex trafficking is not something that only happens in other countries, but happens in our country and we all have a responsibility to do something.
Priceless is available today on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD from Amazon and Walmart and available on Digital HD from iTunes.
Inspired by true events, PRICELESS is a powerful drama/thriller about James Stevens who was, at one time, a good man with a great life—but that was then and this is now. After the tragic death of his wife and losing custody of his little girl, James is at the darkest crossroad of his life. Angry, desperate, and unable to hold down a steady job, he agrees to drive a box truck on a shady, one-time trip cross country for cash—no questions asked. But when he discovers what he is delivering is actually who, he is compelled to save two beautiful and frightened sisters who are unaware of the danger that awaits them.
Can love, strength, and faith redefine his past and change the course of his future? This unlikely hero risks it all to save these women, confront the forces that oppose him and ultimately discover the life he was meant to live.
From the creative minds behind the two-time Grammy Award-winning band for KING & COUNTRY, PRICELESS stars Joel Smallbone (for KING & COUNTRY), Bianca Santos (THE DUFF), Amber Midthunder (“Longmire”) with Jim Parrack (SUICIDE SQUAD, “True Blood”) and David Koechner (ANCHORMAN, “The Goldbergs”). PRICELESS is the first film from the Smallbone Brothers. Ben Smallbone directs from the script by Chris Dowling & Tyler Poelle. The film was produced by Steve Barnett (300). David Smallbone and Luke Smallbone serve as executive producers, and Jacob “Cubbie” Fink is co-producer.