Dreaming

Fairy tale woods

Fairy tale woods

life is a garden,
not a road

we enter and exit
through the same gate

wandering,
where we go matters less
than what we notice.

~ Bokonon

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Routine

Winter colors

Winter colors

As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of living, new dimensions of the soul will not emerge.

~ Henry Van Dyke

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Courage

The story we tell ourselves about ourselves and our lives either empowers or disempowers us; it either opens us to new possibilities or shuts us down.  Many of us create fairy tales about our lives that become the stories that limit our access to a better life.  At its highest, our story exists to teach us, to help us grow, to allow our souls to evolve.  But we make the mistake of allowing our story to define us and dictate the course of our lives.  The stories we choose to tell ourselves about ourselves and our lives dictate who we are and what we’re capable of.

~ Debbie Ford, Courage

During the last part of April, I received an email from Trish at TLC Book Tours asking if I’d be interested in reading the book Courage by Debbie Ford to review as part of one of their book tours.  My first thought was, “Oh no, I can’t do that.  I am TERRIBLE at book reviews, at reviews of any kind!”  When I mentioned it to my husband, he wondered why I would think I was terrible at book reviews given all the reading I do.  He asked one simple question that changed my mind:  Have you ever tried it?

To be honest, no.  I hadn’t really tried it.  Halfheartedly, once or twice.  But no, not really.  So I decided that with a name like Courage, this book might be a good place for me to step outside of the “I can’t” and at least give it a try.  I am so glad I did as this book has made a profound difference in my life as it came at a time when I needed to tap into my inner warrior, and find the self-confidence and courage to step outside of the box I had created for myself, not just in terms of writing a book review but in several other aspects of my life.

The book starts with A Letter to the Reader outlining a pivotal event in Debbie Ford’s life, and her own healing and awakening.  Ms. Ford courageously and openly shares a lot about her own life throughout the book.  Her writing is straightforward and honest, almost like hearing from a friend.

In the Introduction to the book, we are asked:

How many times have you felt yourself shrink?

How many times have you made yourself small enough to fit into some role that you wanted no part of?

How many times have you kept your mouth shut when you wanted to scream loudly, or handed over your power to someone who didn’t have your best interests at heart?

How many times have you succumbed to an impulsive or addictive behavior rather than making a clear-minded choice?

How many times have you told yourself, “I can’t.  I’m not strong enough.  I’m not courageous or confident enough to be all that I desire to be?”

Debbie Ford

Some of these are questions I had already been asking myself before reading Courage.  I wasn’t sure I would find any answers inside of this book, and you know what?  I was right.  The answers are not inside of the book.  They were inside of me.  However, Ms. Ford’s book gave me the tools to find those answers.  An added bonus, parts of Courage fit in well with my theme for the year of Letting Go.

In the first part of the book, Ms. Ford lays out an overview of fear, confidence, and courage, showing how they hold you back, affecting your everyday life.  In Part Two, she asks you to move from that knowledge (your head) to your heart, outlining a series of codes with exercises to help guide you through healing old hurts, forgiveness, and changing old thought patterns.

Due to time constraints, I have not had the time to truly work my way through all the exercises.  There are some I know I will go back and explore. There are others that are not new to me, just presented in a new way, and by doing them in a new way, I may end up with different results.

My favorite part of the book was the last code, and I almost wish she had started with that one in the second part of the book as I believe if I can master that one, the rest might easily fall into line.  I also like The Courageous Warrior’s Mandate at the end of the book where Ms. Ford sums up the chapters on fear, self-confidence, courage, and love.  It’s a great quick reference to all that I learned throughout the book.

All in all, I would recommend Courage: Overcoming Fear and Igniting Self-Confidence, especially if you’re a woman floundering a bit in life, fearful or hesitant, and lacking in the self-confidence or even love of self necessary to move forward and experience life in a strong, bold, and confident manner.

You can find out more about the book and author at Debbie Ford’s website:  www.debbieford.com.  Or you can read a variety of reviews by following the links to TLC’s tour of Courage found here.

Robin is a photographer and avid (voracious!) book reader who was thrilled to have the opportunity to step outside of her comfort zone and do a book review.  She is currently on vacation, exploring the Eastern Canadian Provinces (probably somewhere in Nova Scotia when this scheduled post goes out).  Regular photo blogging will resume soon if there is time, an internet connection, and the inclination.


Salmagundi

Peace Arising from the Flames of War. Also known as the Fountain of Eternal Life and the War Memorial Fountain. Cleveland, Ohio.

Today I have a medley of scenes from Cleveland, starting with the War Memorial Fountain designed by Cleveland Institute of Art graduate Marshall Fredericks.  It is located on Memorial Plaza which is part of the Cleveland Mall, and was originally dedicated in 1964.  Surrounding the fountain are bronze plates engraved with the names of Clevelanders who died in World World II and the Korean War.

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Where to start…

Walking from the hotel to Tower City (where the CIFF is held).

What an amazing weekend it has been.  There are so many things to tell you about that I think it will take at least a week.  I feel so saturated with life and art and the city of Cleveland that I don’t know where to begin.

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An entertainment adventure

This morning's view of the pond

I am off on an entertainment adventure, another artist’s date.  I am not sure I’ll have time for blogging over the next couple of days so I’ve scheduled a couple of short posts to fill in for me.

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Ten thousand flowers

Ten thousand flowers in the spring, the moon
in autumn,
A cool breeze in summer, snow in winter —
If your mind is not clouded by unnecessary
things,
this is the best season of your life.

~ Chinese poem

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