I Dare You to Read this Blogpost!

In this book, William Danforth seeks to change your problem-solving tactics, from the way you stand or sit in a chair to the way you look at the world. Originally published in 1931, this book is still very relevant and powerful.  Danforth as a counselor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and co-founder of the American Youth Foundation sought to ignite generation after generation with the idea that nothing was impossible until you deemed it as such.  I found this book very refreshing.  It did not put up with the usual excuses we give ourselves when we decide we can’t do something or other.

If you don’t feel strong, Danforth says, “DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!”  You feel bad about yourself? DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!  You don’t like your love-life? DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!  You don’t feel at peace in your soul?  DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Danforth separates our lives into four parts.  According to him, unless you address these four areas you can’t even imagine progress or happiness in your life.

1. Physical 

2. Mental

3. Social

4. Spiritual

When you think, or even say out loud in a joking fashion, “I’m weak.  I’ve never been strong.”  In that moment, instead of doing what you’ve always done, dare to be the strongest person you know.  Decide then and there to change that belief.  Go to a class, ask a friend for help, read books, find out how to change yourself into the strongest person you know.  It’s that simple.  Decide, and do it.  The truth is the only thing that stops us from doing anything is our belief that we can’t do it.

For example, I doubt myself all the time.  I say to myself, “You’ll never finish that project.  You’ll never come through.  You won’t make it on time.  You can’t be depended upon.  No one can trust you because you aren’t trustworthy.  You still can’t grow up.  You haven’t before, what makes this time different?  Yeah right.  You’ll never change.”  Mean, I know.  But don’t you do that sometimes too? Do you think those awful things in the face of adversity?  It’s hard to drown out those voices when you don’t replace them with something else.  Something that tells you the outcome is inconsequential.  It doesn’t matter how well you do.  What matters is you did it.  That’s it.  You faced your demons.  You got in the game.  Here’s what I’m daring to do:

Physical — I’m daring to give up ice-cream.  I have previously believed I can’t say no to myself.  Well, that stops here.  

Mental — I’m daring to stop doubting myself.  I have always thought that I can’t stop the doubts from stopping me, but the truth is I choose to listen to those voices when they say I can’t. 

Social — I’m daring to be brave and put myself out there.  I have always thought that prince charming either didn’t exist, or he wouldn’t want me, or (when I was in a good mood) he would just show up at my door someday. Lol, right.  This goes for friends too.  I have to think the best of others because that’s how I meet the good people that I now know and love with all my heart.  

Spiritual — I’m daring to believe that I really do matter to a merciful God who has never given up on me even at my worst.  I’m daring to believe that I don’t have to meet any expectation to deserve the love He gave willingly and freely to me.  I’m daring to believe He knows what He’s doing and that I don’t know better. (that last part is the hardest. I’m a bit of a know-it-all if you didn’t notice, lol.)
Here are some things Danforth said I think you should hear in my own interpretation:

!!! SPOILERS, SPOILERS!!!

Easy has already been done.  Quit looking for easy and look for the impossible.  Emulate those that inspire you and you’ll learn by osmosis.  Your personality is something you develop, not inherit.  Learn, grow, change.

Don’t judge someone as useless or a stick-in-the-mud.  You can still learn something from them.  Even if it’s learning what NOT to do.  Keep looking for the good in people.

In addition, learn from everyone you meet.  Whether you spend five minutes or five decades with someone, learn from them.  The world is your classroom.

This one I can’t do it justice so I’m simply going to quote Danforth: “Unfortunately, there are many people in the world so constituted that they are always licking the boots of those over them and lording it over those under them.  That’s a sure way to destroy personality.  On the other hand, really great men and women are those who are natural, frank and honest with everyone with whom they come into contact.”

Here’s one moment where I questioned Danforth.  He quotes an idea that you learn nothing when you win.  “We learn practically nothing from victory.  All our information comes from a defeat.  A winner forgets most of his mistakes.”  It was in an effort to encourage the reader to not give up when they fail, but it seems to be a bit of a lop-sided thought.  We learn nothing from victory?  Really, are you sure?  I’m not.  You learn what you are capable of when you win.  Perhaps, you learn that the process wasn’t what you thought it would be.  But you don’t learn nothing!  However, you do learn a lot when you fail…and when you are stubborn (like me) it’s possible to learn quite a lot.

One of my favorite metaphors by Danforth:  Some people are like the sea of Galilee; it makes beauty of what it is given because it has an outlet.  Other people are like the Dead Sea, it lets everything it is given die because it keeps everything it receives.  No outlet, no life.  You don’t get much out of what you receive unless you give it away.

Danforth says some fun and inspiring things toward the end of the book that makes you want to soar out of your chair, like, “Make a masterpiece of your life.”  Which makes me think of the Jessie J song lol.  I wanted to cry and sign when I read, “Measure your powers, not your problems…Don’t count the multitude. Count the loaves.”  I feel like I have so much to give the world when I read this book.

Another quote.  I can’t do better than this: A few men build cities — the rest live in them.  A few men project subways — the rest ride in them.  A few men erect skyscrapers and factories — and the rest toil in them.”  Danforth wrote to the few.  He wrote to those who truly want to change the world.  You have to really want it, to be willing to fight, sweat, and bleed for it.  Nothing worth getting is easy to get.  It takes hard work and lots of it.  People admire hard work.  Respect comes from hard work.  Accomplishments come from not giving up.  And the only thing standing in your way…is you.  Say this with me.  “I am one of the few.  I have a leader’s opportunity.  I have a shepherd’s responsibility.  The rest are dependent upon me.  I Dare You!”


I dare you to make something of yourself.  I dare you to try again.  I dare you to start over.  I dare you to give it your all when you don’t feel like it.  I dare you to do the things you’ve never done.  I dare you to do the things you think you can’t do.  I dare you to be the person you’ve always wanted to be.

What do you say?  Do you dare?

-Sarah

What I’ve Read So Far/One Month Update!

So, you may be wondering how my reading challenge is going (for those of you who don’t know I’m trying to finish 40 books in one year)…drumroll, please…

Can you believe it guys!  Only 21 books to go!  6 books in a month!  If I could do that every month that’s like 72 books in a year!!! I don’t see that happening but a girl can dream can’t she?!

So here is a quick summary of the books I’ve finished in the last month:

(((SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!!! BEWARE BEWARE)))

The Tao of Pooh – This book was so simple and beautiful.  It really taught me about the way I look at the world.  How you look at your world, or your problems, or your life, matters…it really does.  Favorite quote: “Within each of us there is an Owl, a Rabbit, an Eeyore, and a Pooh. For too long, we have chosen the way of Owl and Rabbit. Now, like Eeyore, we complain about the results. But that accomplishes nothing. If we are smart, we will choose the way of Pooh. As if from far away, it calls to us with the voice of a child’s mind. It may be hard to hear at times, but it is important just the same because, without it, we will never find our way through the forest.”

 

Winnie the Pooh – I had to read it, after the last book!

 

 

 

 

 

 
Anne of Avonlea #2 – This series is really killing me.  In a good way, with all the feels!  I mean how can you not feel for poor Gilbert who can’t get scared, set-in-her-ways Anne to notice how much he cares.  *sigh*  And I just relate to Anne so much!  I’m Sarah with an H.  With my rosy-apple-like cheeks and the freckles across my nose, I have a soft spot in my heart for this girl!  I wish to be more like her.  To hold myself to a higher standard.  To put others before myself with kindness.  To do my best in the face of adversity and keep my precious imagination to entertain me along the way. 😍  Favorite quote(s): “Gilbert stretched himself out on the ferns beside the Bubble and looked approvingly at Anne.  If Gilbert had been asked to describe his ideal woman the description would have answered point for point to Anne, even to those seven tiny freckles whose obnoxious presence still continued to vex her soul.” (Doesn’t that just make your heart melt!)
Anne speaking: “Now, my name just smacks of bread and butter, patchwork, and chores.”  Diane responds: “Oh, I don’t think so…Anne seems to me real stately and like a queen.  But I’d like Kerrenhappuch if it happened to be your name.  I think people make their names nice or ugly just by what they are themselves.  I can’t bear Josie or Gertie for names now but before I knew the Pye girls I thought them real pretty.”
“That’s a lovely idea, Diana,” said Anne enthusiastically.  “Living so that you beautify your name, even if it wasn’t beautiful, to begin with…making it stand in people’s thoughts for something so lovely and pleasant that they never think of it by itself. Thank you, Diana.”
The Old Man and the Sea – This is the first book I’ve ever read by Ernest Hemingway.  I was extremely disappointed.  I’ve heard so much fanfare about how great, insightful, and genius, that is Hemingway the author.  I cannot tell you how terrible this book was.  If it had an underlying message or metaphor it was way too hidden and minuscule.  It’s just the story of an older fisherman who fights for days with an 18-foot fish.  Once he finally kills it, he has gone so far out to sea that he gets followed by sharks the whole way home.  By the time he reaches his village, there is nothing left but the bones.  I looked for a moral of strength through difficulty or that age is just a number, but NOPE.  Nothing!  It was so pointless.  I hate to talk about a legend like this but how in the world did this book (the last book he ever published) EVER get a Pulitzer Prize!?

Obviously, I have no favorite quote. 😝

 

Julie and Julia – Well you know how I feel about this treasure 😊 If you haven’t read my blog post yet you can find it here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuck Everlasting – This was the most beautiful book I have read in a long, long time.  The idea that you could live forever is a fun thought but this book takes that childish dream and extends it until you see what immortality would really mean.  Winnie is a young 10-year-old girl who feels trapped but once she meets the Tucks she is introduced to a different, messier, complicated world.  She absentmindedly wishes, “It’d be nice…if nothing ever had to die.”  But the Tucks show her that living forever could be just as fatal as death.  Mortality is a gift.  It makes life precious.  Abundance is great but it usually diminishes everything into endless nothingness.

 

Favorite quote (Bear with me for, yet another utterly long quote: “Winnie tried very hard not to think of it, but sometimes, as now, it would be forced upon her.  She raged against it, helpless and insulted, and blurted at last, “I don’t want to die.”

“No,” said Tuck calmly.  “Not now.  Your time’s not now.  But dying’s part of the wheel, right there next to being born.  You can’t pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest.  Being part of the whole thing, that’s the blessing….You can’t have living without dying.  So you can’t call it living, what we got.  We just are, we just be, like rocks beside the road.”

Every second we have is precious when we view them as such.  Forever only sounds good in theory, but a moment is worth everything when you make it count.

-Sarah

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell/Blogger Inspiration/17 books down

Ok, so this is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while.  I mean come on, after watching the movie with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, I think everyone wanted to: A. create a blog,  B. learn to cook  C. read the book!  For me, I was less interested in venturing into the kitchen and more intrigued by the story behind this quirky little woman from Texas.  And since I just started this blog I need all the inspiration I can get!

Ok, here comes the inevitable warning:

 

 HERE IS WHERE YOU STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SPOIL THIS BOOK!

*SPOILER ALERT*

I WASH MY HANDS OF ALL RESPONSIBILITY

During the first portion of the book, I found myself relating to Julie in a crazy way!  She married her high-school sweetheart (I’m not married, but stay with me) and her friends make fun or patronize her about being so inexperienced.  I relate to that so much!!!  I have not experienced much in the relationship area.  My first crushes and relationships were fictional, with fictional characters.  *thinking to myself that I could have kept that thought to myself* Moving on…anyway.  Julie is quirky, cute, and unmotivated.  I also can relate to this.  She’s melodramatic.  Been there!  She sets boundaries on herself and then when she can’t meet them she has a meltdown.  Sounds like my twin.  #relatable

So, yeah.  Julie is super relatable.  Then she takes a bit of a left in the first third of the book where she describes a friend of hers (acquaintance that gets on her nerves) who shares too much.  Not until after I finished this unnecessarily long section did I realize that Julie was internally questioning how much of her personal life she should share in her blog.  It was tied in a neat bow, but I felt the ribbon was too long. (You should know, we tell dad jokes around here! Get used to it.)

One of the weird quirks about this book is the way Julie relates the directions in MtAoFC (Mastering the Art of French Cooking) to the way a smut novel reads. 😳 🙈  It’s a weird thought but when you think about it the number of times words like “hindquarters” and “braised” get used in recipes, it does give it that naughty tone. 😂

Anywho, something else I like about Julie is how she took a philosophical tone while trying to figure out her life during the story.  When a friend of hers decided to break up with her husband to be with a man she hardly knew halfway across the world, Julie judged her at first.  Her friend said she “had to be cruel in order to rescue her life.”  Then Julie thought what the hell if it makes her friend happy, why not live your life to the fullest!?  In fact, she thought for a moment if her friends were right.  Was she too inexperienced?  Did she get married too early?  Was she missing out?  Or was she just losing her mind because her rice wouldn’t cook in the Juiliaesque way and she hadn’t had hot water in her shower for almost a week?!  Julie wondered if, “rescuing our lives was really what we were doing.”  I question my life and my decisions in this way all the time.  I’m sure you do too.  It’s difficult to not wonder if your life would be better if you’d taken an alternative route.  In a moment of weakness, and stress, Julie thought maybe she wanted to cross over to the other side with her friend, but in her own words, “Then morning came, the water came on, I made love to my husband who is also my partner, and the curtain closed, with Isabel (her friend) forever on the other side…”  I interpret this thought to mean that eventually, you remember who you are and forget being lost, confused and angry at the world.  And after all, isn’t that what truly counts, for you to feel at home in your own skin.  If you can figure that part out, nothing else matters.

Something I didn’t like about this book or the author, she is EXTREMELY CLOSE-MINDED.  She apparently worked for a company that had a lot to do with the aftermath of 9-11.  Interestingly enough a lot of them were Republicans.  You could hardly get through one page without her making some stereotypical remark that displayed her fantastic hypocrisy and ignorance.  She painted every Republican as heartless, mindless, knuckle-dragging idiots/monsters.  I know very well there are some Republicans that fit this description to a T.  However, I could name a few Democrats who could wear that shoe because it fits just fine.  This is not a political blog but if there is anything I can’t stand it’s stereotyping and close-minded assumptions.  I should know, I have a bad habit of doing this.  Perhaps that’s why Julie gets on my nerves when she does this.  She reminds me of me.  When you lump an entire group of people together based on one factor you miss SO MUCH!  There are amazing and shi**y people everywhere.  I know, I wish there was a manual that told us who was worth spending time with and who wasn’t but that’s just not how it works.  You have to go out there and meet people and make a decision on an individual basis.  I know, it sucks.  You’re going to love it! (Random Friends quote)

I would give this book about 4.5 stars because at the end of the day she was a scared little girl who took the leap and did something crazy on a whim.  It was something she always wanted to do.  She dreamed, she tried, she failed, she got up, she tried again, and she remembered she was more than that scared little girl.  She was more, she could do more.  Now she could dream again.

Love y’all,

– Sarah

Newest Gadget/It’s a Nerd Thang/Handmade Leather Camera Strap

I am beyond excited about this new goodie!! Eep!

This is my newest treasure.  If you know anything about me you know how I love taking photos.  Just recently I found a simply beautiful accessory to add to my creative process of capturing moments in little capsules we call photographs

This delicate leather camera strap was handmade by Sam Glinsmann, the son of a good artist friend of mine, Connie Glinsmann. (Find her work here.)

Sam’s Website:

www.samglinsmann.com

 

Follow Sam on Instagram: @sglinsmann for all his amazing adventures with his four-legged furry little friend, Fin. Needless to say, his sidekick is adorable!

 

 

This camera strap has a lot of great features:

It easily attaches to any camera.

I can seamlessly switch the strap from my film camera to my digital camera with ease!

 

 

 

 

The detail is absolutely exquisite!

I mean just look at it!

In addition to its utility and beauty, this strap is SUPER comfortable.  I’ve always tolerated straps for safety sake, but this one feels like butter!  It also doesn’t get hot on your neck in spite of being made of leather. Sam doesn’t have these amazing handmade leather straps all the time so I would pay close attention to his social media so you can get one of your own! Thank you so much, Sam! This beautiful camera accessory makes me feel like Annie Leibovitz and Wonder Woman at the same time!

Keep scrolling for more photos!  I couldn’t help myself 😍

Thanks for stopping by!

-Sarah