SBG daily ~ The Ripple Effect of Greatness

SBG coverThis week I’ll be posting about topics inspired by reading Something Beyond Greatness by Judy Rodgers and Gayatri Naraine.  Today, I’d like to focus on how we get inspired to acts of kindness by watching others giving of themselves.

In chapter 9, “The Ripple Effect of Greatness,” the authors discuss how acts of kindness are contagious to those who observe them.  It makes sense, of course, when a child grows up with domestic abuse, that child is more likely to grow up to be an abuser or victim. 

 

Witnessing a good deed creates emotions of warmth, positivity, optimism, compassion and a desire to act.  In the book, these feelings are called “elevation.”

However, one doesn’t have to see the act first hand to get the effects.  You can read an inspirational book or news item, or watch a movie of people going above and beyond to help.  Even a TV commercial can inspire us to act.

Some of the most inspirational books and movies I’ve read that got me off my butt and helping were:

  • We Are Marshall~ How can you gripe about the little irritations and wanna give up after watching this movie (and Matthew McConaughey is a cutie).
  • The Bible ~ Yes, definitely The Bible, lookit… Esther, Jesus, Paul and so many more who put their life on the line, literally DIED to help others.  Regardless of your religious beliefs, how can you NOT be inspired by them?
  • The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer ~ Bonhoeffer’s life in general, and this book especially, forces me to step up and get real, not to just whine about it.  I think he’s one of the under-appreciated heroes of WWII.

What movies or books have you seen or read that inspired you?

Don’t forget to enter to win a copy of Something Beyond Greatness, and comment here for an extra entry ;-)

Something Beyond Greatness by Judy Rodgers and Gayatri Naraine

SBG coverTitle:  Something Beyond Greatness:  Conversations With a Man of Science and a Woman of God

Authors:  Judy Rodgers and Gayatri Naraine

Paperback:  122 pages

ISBN:  9780757307812

Pull up a chair and prepare to be inspired as the Something Beyond Greatness TLC Book Tour pulls in for a stop In the Shadow of Mt. TBR :-)

First off, I have to say that when I first read about this book, I was expecting something different.  I had understood it to be a book of tales of heroism in the face of danger, stories of people who stood up for what’s right without thought for the consequences, stories of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ghandi and everyday people.  While it did have a few stories in it, it was more a book about the recipe for such people.

[Great acts have] three elements: (1)seeing with love, (2) acting from the heart, and (3) the mystery of destiny -right place, right time. -page 20

At first, I didn’t think this book was much.  At times it was difficult for me to retain what was being said, which may have to do with the fact it’s been hot and I had walked to the library in the heat to read it there.  But the crazy thing about it is that the info pops out and says boo! now as I’m watching the news, movies, or reading.  There’s this little voice in the back of my mind that analyzes events I encounter through what I’ve read.  AND the whole time reading it, every heroic act I’ve seen or heard or done popped up for application or proof of what I was reading.

The person who will step into greatness must see the others with love, compassion, and concern.  He or she will have a sense of “mine” towards them.  Then he or she must be able to sense or see the way through to help.  Third, this person must have the will to step out and do it.  Usually, this will is recalled by the person afterwards as more of a compulsion, “I just did what anyone else would do.”

Every human being writes a small page in history; every human being -irrespective of how big or how small- writes a small page.  That is real human history. -page 19

My first impulse was to give this book three stars, but after watching it ooze and stew and bubble, I’m thinking it’s much more effective than I first thought and I’m going to give Something Beyond Greatnessby Judy Rodgers and Gayatri Naraine 4 out of 5 stars.

Additional resources for this book are:

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And now, because I think this book is very much a worthwhile read… and, because I somehow got a second book :-)We’re gonna have  a giveaway for a new copy!

This giveaway will be open until 11:59 pm, Saturday July 4th, 2009 with the winner to be announced on next week’s Sunday Salon post (July 5th).  Contest is open worldwide :-D , as long as you’ve got an address for me to slap on the packaging, you’re welcome to enter!

  1. To enter, leave a comment here letting me know you’d like to win a copy.  This will count as your official entry.
  2. Each day this coming week I will be posting something pertaining to the book, one day will be about stories you’ve heard that inspired you, inspirational movies, acts of greatness you yourself have done or witnessed, etc.  When you comment on the daily posts, you’ll earn a bonus entry!
  3. Post this contest on your blog and leave the link here for an extra entry
  4. Tweet about it, make sure to use @koolaidmom so it’ll show up on my TweetDeck, or leave the link of your update, for an aditional bonus entry.
  5. If you do all the above, commenting everyday, blogging it and tweeting, that’ll be 8 entries and I’ll add 2 more as a bonus, giving you 10 chances to win :-) (This post is technically a Monday post for June 29th)

Good Luck!

TSS ~ Birthdays are Challenging for a Jane Austen Spaz!

The Sunday Salon.com

K, so I started doing a Jane-a-thon last year, fully intent on reading all Jane Austen’s books, straight through, in order of publication.  I made it through Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice, and Mansfield Park with no trouble…. then came Emma, and I hit a wall.  She was so dense and droning and hard to read… even harder to like any of the characters except Mr. Knightly and Miss Taylor… and I lost steam.  I did finally finish Emma a couple weeks ago, but I’m thinking I need a shot of something to get back on track with it all.

So….

I’ve joined 65 other people in joining Stephanie’s Written Word‘s Everything Austen ChallengeIt’s my first book challenge, other than LibraryThing’s 50 and 75 book challenges, and I’m excited to be doing it :-)

The challenge runs from July 1st, 2009 to January 1st, 2010, and in that six months, I need to do at least six Austen related things, either reading books by her, books about her, books about the characters she wrote or watching movies of the same ilk.  Six Austen-related things will be easy for me…  the hard part will be not doing them all in July out of excitement. :-D

 So my six Austen-themed things are:

  1. Read Northanger Abbey, it’s up next on the Jane-a-thon anyway.
  2. Read Persuasion, which will complete my Jane-a-thon.
  3. Read Lady Susan, The Watsons, and Sanditon, which are all by Jane Austen.
  4. Read The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler, which has been on my TBR list for awhile, but I’ve been waiting to finish the novels first.
  5. Read Austenland by Shannon Hale, also a long waiter on Mt. TBR.
  6. Read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which I spazzed out about when I saw it on the shelf at Walmart.

Bonus points will be:

  1. Watching Northanger Abbey
  2. Watching Persuasion
  3. Watching The Jane Austen Book Club
  4. and any other Austen-themed thing I come across :-D

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And since I’m being such a joiner, I think I’ll go ahead and join the War Through the Generations World War II Reading Challenge.  Since it’s running from January 1st, 2009 to December 31st, 2009, I can count books I’ve read since the challenge began.  Pretty easy, really… only 5 books and I’ve read two already.

My list for the WWII Reading Challenge:

  1. The Zookeeper’s Wifeby Diane Ackerman
  2. The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies
  3. The True Story of Hansel & Gretel by Louise Murphy
  4. Stones From the Riverby Ursula Hegi
  5. The Secret Holocaust Diaries:  The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister by Nonna Bannister, Denise George, Carolyn Tomlin
  6. Sarah’s Keyby Tatiana de Rosnay
  7. The Readerby Bernhard Schlink
  8. The Pianist:  The Extraordinary True Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945by Wladyslaw Szpilman
  9. Number the Starsby Lois Lowry
  10. Night by Elie Wiesel
  11. Guernica by Dave Boling
  12. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  13. The Boy in the Striped Pajamasby John Boyne

These are the WWII-related books on the WWII Reading Challenge list that I have on Mt. TBR.  I’ve already read The Book Thiefby Markus Zusak and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, so I only have 3 to go for the 5 book challenge, and I’ll probably do more. 

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2009 ARC Reading Challenge

2009 ARC Reading Challenge

As they say, “In for a penny, in for a pound,” so I’m going to add one more challenge to my book-challenge-lovefestI’ve got going.  So Many Books, So Little Time is hosting an ARC Reading Challenge.  I know I need to get it in gear with my ARC-alanche pile threatening to cave in… and poor Missy’s bed is just below the stacks, she’ll be crushed!

So, to save my dog and get motivated to get on the stick with these, I’m joining the 2009 ARC Reading Challenge.  For this challenge I am suppose to list all my ARCs and review books (done that on the ARC-alanche pageof Mt. TBR’s inventory), and read 12 of them.  Coolness :-)

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And other tidbits of info….

  • Tomorrow, June 29th, is my birthday, so yay me!  LOL… 
  • In the Shadow of Mt. TBR is a little over a year old, June 16, 2008 was my first post. 
  • Monday is my stop for the Something Beyond Greatness blog tour, and I’ve got an extra copy to give away, so make sure to sign up for a chance to win.  I’ll have a daily post for you to comment on for an extra entry, too.

Have a great Sunday, everyone! :-)

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Title:  Water for Elephants

Author:  Sara Gruen

Paperback:  335 pages

ISBN:  9781565125605

…[Camel] comes to a stop in front of a stock car.  “Joe!  Hey, Joe!”

A head appears in the doorway.

“I got a First of May here.  Fresh from the crate.  Think you can use him?”

The figure steps forward onto the ramp.  He pushes up the brim of a battered hat with a hand missing three of its fingers.  He scrutinizes me, shoots an oyster of dark brown tobacco juice out the side of his mouth, and goes back inside.

Camel pats my arm in a congratulatory fashion.  “You’re in, kid.”

“I am?”

“Yep.  Now go shovel some shit.  I’ll catch up with you later.”

-Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, page 33

Jacob Jankowski was one week and his final exams away from being a vet.  Then tragedy hits, claiming the lives of his parents, and revealing that they’d mortgaged everything to keep their only child enrolled in Cornell University.  The weight and guilt of this bears down on young Jacob, and he just walks off from school… and keeps on walking.  When he finally stops for the night, he decides to jump aboard a passing train, only to find he’s just joined the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. 

Vividly imaginitive and well-researched, Water for Elephantsby Sara Gruenis a compelling, character-driven tale with the feel of magic and wonder we feel as children going to the circus for the first time.  It has a gritty realism to it and exposes the behind-the-scenes working and stratification of classes of the travelling circus.  Bosses, freaks, an exotic menagerie, performers, clowns and dwarfs, working men and roustabouts… in that order.  Everyone has a history, and a pervasive loneliness binds them all together.

I was enrapt by both the writing and the story in Water for Elephants.  Gruen, a female writer, captures the male perspective amazingly well.  The story takes place in two timelines:  Young Jacob at 23 and joining the circus, and the elderly Jacob, who is either 91 or 93 (he can’t remember anymore), in an assisted living facility, dealing with the emotions of being left behind -by his kids and his deceased wife- in a place where there’s baby food to eat, your neighbor poops his pants, and your desires and opinions are discounted and ignored.  I was carried along through the story, and it was over before I even knew it.

I loved Water for Elephantsby Sara Gruen and give it 5 out of 5 stars :-)

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Ladies and Gentlemen, children of all ages!  Presenting a video clip of Ringling Brothers Greatest Show on Earth!

:-)

Friday Fill-Ins ~ If We Get Dee-vorced, Is We Still Cousins?

Serendipity
Graphic courtesy of Tonya!

And…here we go!

1. She had a great uncle who was married to his half-cousin who was the daughter of her uncle who was the brother of her mother until they were divorced, and now the entrance to the family reunions are guarded by a metal detector.

2. My left hip is by my side, always.

3. I know this: Shellacked moose turds are NOT my idea earring and necklace pendants (They really sell them in Alaska, my sister showed me some).

4. I got up to go to the bathroom, stopped to check if the Friday Fill-Ins were up yet, and I have to pee still.

5. These words apply to me: inca, dinka, doo and nee… but I turn down their application because they make absolutely no sense.

6. The sun was shining on the sea, shining with all his might: He did his very best to make the billows smooth and bright– and this was odd, because it was the middle of the night.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to going to the library and watching Inkheart, Sammi getting leaving to spend July with her dad, me going to Maggie’s VBS program, finishing Water for Elephants and writing the review, tomorrow my plans include taking Mags and Gwen out to lunch and finishing reading Something Beyond Greatness and Sunday, I want to go to church (we missed last week) and vegging out in front of the TV… or doing what our Pastor always says, “Fellowshipin’ with Pastor Pillow and Sister Sheets… can I get an ‘Amen!’ :-D!

Joining the Bloggie World to Congratulate Devourer Of Books!

  

 
Daniel Alexander Karsbaek

After much anticipation… Daniel Alexander Karsbaek has finally arrived!!! He was born at 5:20AM this morning, weighed in at 7lbs 8oz, is 21.5 inches long… and he’s absolutely beautiful, as you can see above! Everything went smoothly and mother and baby are both doing wonderfully. Please join me in congratulating Jen and Brian and welcoming Daniel Alexander to the world! -Auntie Jill

Congratulations to Jen of Devourer of Books on her joyous new arrival.  Daniel Alexander is a strong and great name :-) 

A Blessing to Welcome Daniel Alexander

May you always walk in sunshine.
May you never want for more.
May loving angels rest their wings
beside your nursery door.

And for the proud parents:
May God grant you
a wee bit of heaven
to cradle in your arms -
a sweet bonny baby
to hold close to your heart
A newborn babe
brings light to the house
warmth to the hearth
and joy to the soul
for wealth is family
family is wealth.
-Old irish proverb

Congrats to all young Daniel’s family! And may joy follow you throughout your life!

BTT ~ The Best Place After the Womb!

btt button

Now that summer is here (in the northern hemisphere, anyway), what is the most “Summery” book you can think of? The one that captures the essence of summer for you?

(I’m not asking for you to list your ideal “beach reading,” you understand, but the book that you can read at any time of year but that evokes “summer.”)

Oddly, when I think of “summer reading” I think of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  When I first really started reading books in earnest, I was in high school and part of an Honors Reading program.  The summer before my junior year, I was a camp counselor and took my copy of The Scarlet Letter with me.  I found this little hidden clearing that was just off a secondary trail, and I would slip into it and park my butt under a tree and read through my free time. 

To this day, this memory is my “happy place” that I go to in my mind whenever I’m stressed out.  It was such a relaxing place.  Quiet but for a gentle breeze blowing through the trees and the birds singing cheerfully.  Safe… no one ever found me in there, even when they were walking by on the trail and calling for me, they never saw the opening to the clearing.  The cheerful sunshine radiating down and warming me, while the shade of the tree kept me from being too hot or getting too much sun.  The book in my hand transporting me to another time and place.

What’s your best summer memory of reading?

Viral Video Wednesday and 19th Wife Winner!

Happy hump day everyone :-)  First thing’s first:  As promised, today’s the day I announced the winner of The 19th Wife giveaway.  Despite her misgivings at being the first entrant, because Mr. Random Number doesn’t like the number 1, rhapsodyinbooks is our winner!  Congrats to ya!  If you’ll send me your address, I’ll be happy to forward it to David Ebershoff so he can get that in the mail to ya ;-)

And now on for Viral Video Wednesday :-)

This week’s topic is DINOSAURS.  You can post any vid that deals in any way, shape or form with Dinosaurs, whether they be extinct reptiles or crotchety old men, or even obsolete technology.  And you know me, mine will be weird and wacky or funny.  So, on with the vids!

 

This first video is one of our absolute favorite at our house.  To give you a glimpse of our family dynamics, I’ll just tell you that, after the first time we watched it, we identified who each of them were.  The T-rex in here is Sam (my oldest, who is 16), then the middle character is Maggie (my youngest, age 10), and the non-dinosaur character is  Gwen (who is 15 today, Happy Birthday to her!). 

Maggie, btw, is physically incapable of belching… seriously, you can imagine the colic as a baby… so all gas is converted to the outboard motor, if ya knowwhaddamean.  She is proud of the fact she can fart on command, and actually takes the stance this little dino does… which is why that is her character.

And now, the real reason dinosaurs are extinct!

One of the first video game-to-movies was Super Mario Brothers.  We have the VHS of it, and watch it on a regular basis.  It’s one of our favorite movies, especially since John Leguizamo is in it and the Princess is played by Samantha  Mathis (my oldest daughter’s name is Sam, remember?).  I love the song Walk the Dinosaur originally by Was (Not Was), which was used in the movie. 

Here’s the music video from the Super Mario Brothers movie, with scenes from the movie and performed by George Clinton and the Goombas.

While watching the Walk the Dinosaur video, Sam came home from summer school and started going on about the movie, which always leads back to the best scene in the movie:  Mario and Luigi’s escape from the elevator-full of goombas. 

Dancing and music are primal, and Luigi takes advantage of that fact in this next vid clip:(the song, btw, is Somewhere My Love)

And one of my favorite TV from when I was a teen was The Dinosaurs. The Sinclairs was your typical 80′s family… 60,000,080s BC, that is.  The dad, Earl, worked for the Wesayso Corporation pushing down trees, while Fran, his wife, stayed home and took care of the baby.  Robbie and Charlene, the Sinclair teens, went to school and had typical teen concerns and attitudes.  It was a wonderfully fun show that ran from 1991 to 1994 (not long enough, IMHO)… Next stop for me is Netflix.  I’ve gotta put this one in my queue!

By request, Maggie wants next week’s VVW topic to be:  Mash-ups!  For those of you who don’t know, mash-ups are videos made with parts of two or more movies and are made to seem like one show.  Like Harry Potter video with South Park audio track, or like Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?‘s recent post of Buffy vs. Edward (which is what made Mags ask me to do mash-ups next week.)

So now it’s your turn… Share your favorite Dinosaur vids!

LibraryThing’s Full of Beans…

Okay, I love LibraryThing.  It was my inspiration to start blogging in the first place.  Well, not technically, since I had already been blogging for a year or so before that, but it was the inspiration for THIS blog, which is the only one I do now and I enjoy it much more than what I was doing before.

But sometimes… LibraryThing is full of beans!  Check it…

On every LT works page (that’s the page for a specific book, if you don’t LT) there’s a bar right under “recommendations” and above the first review.  This bar is titled “Will you like it?”  and when you click the “Will I like it?” link, it tells you whether you LibraryThing thinks you will enjoy a book or not.

Let’s try an experiment.  I just recently read and reviewed The Last Lectureby Randy Pausch and it’s one of my new favorite books, but does LT think I like it?

I won't like it

Not only does LibraryThing think I won’t like it, but they’re certainty of this fact is very high.

Okay, then… Maybe that’s a fluke…  How ’bout Dune, then…. I loved the award-winning sci-fi/fantasy classic and think about the book every time I thirstily guzzle a bottle of water.  I wouldn’t have this luxury on Arakis, I tell myself.  I’ve got the next book in the series, Dune Messiah, on my Books on Deck Pile, even.  Surely LT will say, with a very high certainty, that I’ll LOVE Frank Herbert’s masterpiece Dune.

wtf?  I won't like DUNE?

Even with my all-time favorite book, The Book Thief, LT says I’l probably like it. “Probably like” is the middle of the graph, and the majority of books I check are “probably likes.” Occasionally I get a “You’ll love it!” but that’s a rare event, and I can’t think of the last book I got one on. Oddly enough, about half the books I give 4+ stars on gets the “probably WON’T like it” result.

I love to play with the graph and see if LT thinks I’ll love or hate books I’ve read, but I avoid checking it before I read a book because, even though I have such great proof it’s unreliable, I’ll actually give weight to the thing and NOT get a book if it says I won’t like it. Dumb, I know… and think of the books I would have missed if I had checked to see if I’d like it first.

By the way… LT thinks I’ll love The Gun Runner’s Daughter.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

landing_LLTitle:  The Last Lecture

Author:  Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow

Hardcover:  207 pages

ISBN:  9781401323257

Brick walls are there for a reason.  They give us a chance to show how badly we want something.

Grab your box of Kleenex because you’re gonna cry, most of the time they’ll be tears of laughter, but some of them will be from heart ache.  OH! and  Don’t forget the pen and paper, because you’ll want to take notes.  Professor Pausch is taking the stage for The Last Lecture.

Pausch covers the elephant in the room in his opening paragraphs:

I have an engineering problem.  While for the most part I’m in terrific physical shape, I have ten tumors in my liver and I  have only a few months left to live.

I am a father of three young children, and married to the woman of my dreams.  While I could easily feel sorry for myself, that wouldn’t do them, or me, any good.

So many things in this book are deeply inspirational, and that’s no surprise; he’s dying from cancer and that’s given him a chance to step back and say, “What legacy am I leaving?”  Much of them are simple concepts like, “Tell the truth, it’s not only morally right but efficient.”  Some are more profound like, “one customer-service decision over a ten-dollar salt and pepper shaker [ended] up earning Disney more than $100,000.”  But all of them are worth saving, writing down, reciting, and implementing, because Randy Pausch lived a life that saw almost all of his childhood dreams come true.

My Childhood Dreams

  • Being in zero gravity
  • Playing in the NFL
  • Authoring an article in the World Book encyclopedia
  • Being Captain Kirk
  • Winning stuffed animals
  • Being a Disney Imagineer

My mom turned me onto this book a couple weeks ago when I was telling her about whatever book I was reading, and she told me she’d just read a really great book.  Now, my mom doesn’t say a book is great very often… in fact, a lot of the time, they barely make much of a blip on her radar.  I’m not saying she’s a picky reader or critical, but when she ONE remembers a book and talks about it and TWO applies the “great” stamp to it, it’s a book guaranteed worth reading.

And I was definitely NOT disappointed.  The copy I have came from the library, but I will be buying my own copy.  I wish I could keep this one though… it smells lovely, reminiscent of the Viewfinder we played with when we were kids :-)

Send Out Thin Mints

As part of my responsibilities, I used to be an academic reviewer.  That meant I’d have to ask other professors to read densely written research papers and review them.  It could be tedious, sleep inducing work.  So I came up with an idea.  I’d send a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints with every paper that needed reviewed.  “Thank you for agreeing to do this,” I’d write.  “The enclosed Thin Mints are your reward.  But no fair eating them until you review the paper.”

… I’ve found Thin Mints are a great communication tool.  THey’re also a sweet reward for a job well done.

Okay, so… Publishers and authors:  I now expect Thin Mints with each book you’re wanting reviewed :-D  It was worth a try!  Chapter 55 says, “Sometimes, all you have to do is ask.

Long and short of it:  The Last Lecture is full of common sense, community sense, wisdom that is worth reading and re-reading.  It’d make a great belated Father’s Day present, or a gift to anyone, including yourself.  I give The Last Lecture  by Randy Pausch 5 out of 5 stars.

You can watch Randy’s Last Lecture, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” which was the genesis of this book, it’s an hour and 16 minutes long and worth it :-)

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