Learn to Read

According to Pew Research Center, in 2013 25% of Americans didn’t read a single book.  Reading statistics from www.statisticbrain.com say that 33% of high school graduates will never read another book in their life!

Don’t be a statistic! Learn to read!

I’m not really going to tell you how to master the mechanics of reading.  I want to encourage you to learn to enjoy reading.  You don’t have to enjoy it for the sake of reading but enjoy it because it gives you an opportunity to learn something new.  Whether it is a self-help, cooking, biography or even fiction book, you can always learn something from a book.  Even if it is what you don’t like about this book.

Did you know that you can read one million words in a year just by committing to reading 15 minutes a day?

 

I am taking the 2017 Reading Challenge.  You can read more about it here. It has 4 different reading challenges from Light (13 books) to Obsessed (104 books!).  I am choosing the Light Reader so I am committing to reading 13 books from different genres.  Some of the genres are biography, classic novel, a book more that 100 years old.  I have some good ideas for some of these.  I am reading a book about Smith Wigglesworth for the biography.

This challenge is helping me expand my reading.  I read a lot of self-help and business books.  I love historical novels.  If they are well researched, you can learn a lot about a specific period of history from them.

I also have a stack of books I want to read this year that doesn’t fall into any of the reading challenge’s categories.  My personal goal this year is to read 48 books.  That’s meaty but I think I can do it!

Would you join me?

What books would you recommend?

Keep Looking Forward

This week my Dad celebrated his 75th birthday.  In honor of him, I would like to tell you a little bit about him.

My Dad is the coolest ever! Always ready with a listening ear and helpful advice.

Many times, when I would go visit him and Mom, we would stay up late into the night having deep theological discussions. Having problems with school?  Just ask Dad!  He was always there to help me.  Frequently, when I called and immediately asked for Dad, Mom knew something was wrong, whether it was my computer or a backed-up sink.

He’s been through several changes in his life; being laid off, moving several times to different states, changing jobs, retiring and changes in his health.

Change is as hard for him as it is anyone else, yet he embraces it with such grace.

How?  I’m sure it is because he has never lost his curiosity.

“I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.”
– Albert Einstein

Always curious about the world, my dad, Martin, is constantly learning, experiencing and growing.  As a young child he would read the encyclopedia just for fun!  He was always taking things apart and putting them back together again.

An engineer by trade, he has had many hobbies including woodworking, golfing, biking, photography, gem cutting, making stained glass windows, and reading. He even sewed himself a suit! He is most avid about woodworking.  He makes beautiful bowls and vases with his lathe. He also turns pens. You can check out some of his work here.

Never Stop Learning

After retirement, most people would rest, relax, take it easy.  Not Dad!  He threw himself into his wood turning.  He created a business and website.  He sold several pieces in galleries.  No naps for him in retirement!  Life was good.

As you can imagine, turning wood is a very physical endeavor.  He stands at the lathe for hours and then sands and polishes to create the final product.Mesquite Vase

Major Change

Two years ago he was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that affects his muscles. Sometimes his voice temporarily quits working, sometimes his legs quit working.  He is on medication to control the disease.  This has been a major change in his life.  No longer could he spend hours daily in his shop working on his passion.

But he doesn’t wallow in self-pity.  He is a voracious reader and a great story-teller. Just ask his grandkids about his exciting bedtime stories!  Now he is taking that story-telling ability and writing a series of short stories.

“Unless you do something beyond what you’ve already mastered, you will never grow.”
– Ronald E. Osborne

When life takes an unexpected turn, don’t just sit there!  Learn something new. Change is hard but don’t look back.  Keep looking forward!

You might try your hand at crossword puzzles or Sudoku.  Check out web courses on Udemy or Creative Live.  If you love to read, pick a different genre of book.  It could be a new hobby like sewing or pottery.  Find a class, in your area, of a hobby that interests or think might interest you.  You will learn something new and make a few friends in the process.  It might just be the thing that keeps you going.

What have you learned new lately?

 

Nevertheless

He was at the top of his game.

After defeating his greatest challenger, he was employed by the top man in the country; being groomed for a top position.  The people loved him!  He was the life of the party!  But in an instant, he lost it all!  He lost his job. No one was there to help him.  He was running for his life!  During all of this chaos, he never lost his faith.  Sounds like a great movie trailer but it’s actually from the Bible.  It’s part of David’s story.

David, the writer of most of the book of Psalms, tells God (and us) his feelings of despair, betrayal, being over-looked as he poured out these emotions in psalms or songs. He usually didn’t relish those dark emotions for long.  He always took time to praise God.

It’s too hot!!

During the hottest part past of this last summer, our air conditioner blower stopped working.  In my neck of the woods, you do NOT want to go with air conditioning even for a few hours.  The temperatures were in the high 90’s and we were sweltering.

The day after it went out, the heat and air worker came out and fixed it.

Two weeks later the air conditioner compressor went out.  This time they couldn’t fix it for a week. A week!!

Boy, was it hot.  We had every fan going, every window opened. No relief!  Tempers were flaring.  It’s hard to be gentle and caring when one is HOT!  It was no fun the Kamm household that week.

Nevertheless

As we look at some of David’s psalms, we see a pattern; a call for help, a complaint, and praise.  Usually, you will find a yet, but or nevertheless right before his praise.

Take Psalm 31 verses 9, 13-15 for example.

“Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief…For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life; But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands;” (emphasis mine)

Another is Psalm 27 verses 7, 10 and 13; “Hear my voice when I call, O Lord, be merciful to me and answer me…Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me…I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

What does this show us?

It’s ok to ask God for help.

It’s ok to complain a little especially to God since He already knows what we are dealing with.

It’s ok to be honest about our feelings.

 

But don’t stay there!  Find the nevertheless in your situation.

Our A/C went out; nevertheless, I thank God for electricity to run the fans and refrigerator.

I didn’t get that promotion at work; nevertheless, I praise God for His faithfulness to me.

I can’t ever seem to lose weight; nevertheless, I thank God for my healthy body.

I have so many bills; nevertheless, I know God will provide.

So when life throws us curveballs; when change is happening all around you, it’s okay to complain a little but then let’s find our nevertheless and keep our minds on the praise!

Success Has No Age Limit And That’s Finger Lickin’ Good!

Do you have a dream?  Something you enjoyed in your childhood but life and bills and other things got in the way? Do you think now you are too old, too washed up to live your dream, your passion? 

No matter your age, you can still accomplish great things!  You don’t have to give up any chance of success if you are past your 20’s or 30’s. You can realize your dreams at any age.  Don’t give up!  Keep that dream alive!  Someday, with a lot of work, it may come true just like it did for Harland Sanders, aka Col. Sanders.

You know who I’m talking about; the face of Kentucky Fried Chicken.  You still see his likeness on commercials today though he died over 35 years ago.  He’s an icon in the fast food business.

Harland Sanders was old by our standards today when he realized what his purpose was; cooking the best fried chicken.  He was older still before he saw major wealth from it.

I have always been fascinated by the story of Colonel Harland David Sanders. As I scoured the internet to find out who the real Col. Sanders was I noticed a few things.  First, in his early life, he was bumping around a lot, as a friend of mine likes to call it. He had so many jobs just to try to put food on the table as most people did in the early 20th century.  Second, he didn’t give up his passion but worked it continuously.  He finally made a way where his passion and livelihood could collide to be a prosperous living.

Don’t give up your dreams!

Always interested in cooking, he was forced to cook for his siblings when his father died and his mother had to work outside the home.  He held a plethora of jobs by the time he was 40 never really liking any of them enough to stick with it.   He was a street car conductor, served in the Army, worked as a fireman, studied by correspondence and practiced law, sold tires and ran a service station just to name a few.  But he always enjoyed cooking!  He served home cooked meals out of his gas station in Kentucky to road-weary travelers.   In his 50’s (his 50’s!) he closed the gas station and opened a restaurant.  This was when he perfected that ‘finger lickin’ good’ chicken with its secret recipe and pressure cooker.

You’re never too old to succeed!

He sold his restaurant in 1956 at the age of 56. He began franchising his fried chicken process by teaching other restaurants how to make his delicious chicken in exchange for getting a few cents for every piece of chicken sold.  In 1964, he sold the franchise for $2 million ($15.3 in today’s money).  That’s a big chunk of change.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  He worked very hard for that money.  He wasn’t an overnight success but he kept at it and it paid off in the end.

Don’t give up on your passion.  Continue to work it and you never know, you just might make it a reality whatever your might be!