What Would A Rational Person Do?

Let’s be real. The past few months have been a struggle for me. I have had some anxiety issues that I have been dealing with. Often I have found myself asking the question: “What would a rational person do?” during times of irrational amounts of stress and anxiety.

Naturally, the book How To Live In Fear caught my attention because of these moments in my life. I started this book not just to look into anxiety for myself, but also to see how I can help others cope with everyday struggles or panic attacks. I always felt so helpless not knowing how to help someone dealing with anxiety, and this book really addresses how to be more aware of anxiety symptoms and triggers.

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The first thing that struck my attention about this book  was that the author himself lives with anxiety. He is a pastor, father, and husband… and has dealt with anxiety his entire life. Most books I have read have been from people who have studied anxiety, or are popular “Self-Help” speakers, but have never personally dealt with such panic. Just having the author be an advocate and personally experience anxiety made this book all the more interesting to me.

Overall, this book is great for those dealing with mild to severe anxiety or people who know someone who is dealing with these issues. While I learned many new techniques, was encouraged, and gained a new understanding when dealing with anxiety, I did feel that the book was a bit long in page length.

I loved the personal stories and practical knowledge given by the author and other outside sources. He shared stories from his childhood, early-adulthood, and even his recent life that really allow the reader to understand anxiety triggers and his fears in general.

I would recommend this book to those interested in gaining a personal insight about anxiety but do wish there was more psychological and Biblical evidence throughout the book.

 

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Have you read this book by Lance Hahn? What did you think?

Much love. Much grace.

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What is the War You Want to Fight?

The recent events, in our country and around the globe, have caused me to want to know more about people’s lives.

It is always easy to make rash judgements about a person based on his or her religion, clothes, culture, or needs without actually seeing that person for who he or she actually is. While no one can truly know a person, we can come pretty close by reading about how that person feels, thinks, and makes decisions. Reading autobiographies can give us a glimpse into that person’s world and emotions.

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With the events of terror, death, and refugees needing homes; I find it has become a needed practice in my life to put faces and personal lives with the events and struggles. I refuse to take third person’s word about how another group of people is feeling without first seeking out the view of people from that people group.

If you seek to understand others in this way, have a desire for girls to be educated, or are curious about the Middle East as a region, I Am Malala is a great place to start.

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Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala, tells her story of strength and determination to not only be educated as a girl in Swat, but also speaking out against those taking away education from girls. She tells of her life as a Muslim and how radicalism changed her beloved homeland and her life.

Reading this perspective of the change in the Middle East and the dangers of her choices really spoke to me. I struggle often with allowing myself to be carried away with apathy rather than compassion. Her story not only reminded me of the plights of others but also that I need to take these stories and issues to heart. There is so much danger, hate, and fear throughout her story and it is so heartbreaking to know people are forced to live in this everyday. We, as American’s, complain about our individual freedoms being compromised, when in reality we have so much freedom and so many rights.

“I know the importance of education because my pens and books were taken from me by force, but the girls of Swat are not afraid of anyone.”

Malala’s story is not just important because of her plights, but because she chose to fight this war. Her family, peers, and community showed her that there are certain things that are worth the fight.

Reading this book is not just an eye opening experience about what goes on in other culture’s eyes, but also calls readers to answer many questions. The most urgent question being, What is something worth fighting for? What is something that no matter what people say or do, you refuse to back down?

“I would do everything in my power to help educate girls… This was the war I was going to fight.”

These are questions that may seem easy to answer at first, but after reading this book the answers now seem petty.  Looking at the media today with elections and American beliefs in question, what are the things that you feel are worth not just a Tweet or a Facebook rant, but your potential death and wrath of your own country?

How do you answer these questions?

I am still working out many of these for myself as I process this book. Honestly, this will take me time to work through, although I hope to write about this in the future. The one thing I know as of now is that my faith in God is what is unwavering, no matter the circumstances.

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The way Malala writes is very smooth and clear, making her writing very easy to understand. She also does a great job of explaining how her country changed over time into the society it is today. Malala talks about her family, how she was raised a bit differently, and loved her life in her beautiful home of Swat.

I Am Malala is such a wonderful story. It is so full of information, sadness, but also a great hope for the future; as well as important questions for people to answer.

What is the war you are going to fight?

Much love. Much grace.

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Are you interested in helping Malala?

The Malala Fund helps make education a reality for girls in the Middle East. Malala is fighting for education rights of women and supporting her fund is the easiest way to join the fight.

Schoola is supporting the Malala Foundation with certain pieces that are sold from their website.

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Book Love: Things Fall Apart

Compassion. Sadness. Open-Mindedness.

Those are the three things I got from finishing Chinua Acheb’s Things Fall Apart.

As a reader, I felt such compassion for people who seem a bit different from myself. The people in this book are different from me culturally, religiously, and linguistically. They live in tribes, have houses of mud, and beat their (multiple) wives. These people worship spirits of the Earth, fear evil spirits of the unborn, and believe that woman are worthless. The people in this book, and the man who writes it, use a language of which I cannot understand, and will probably never learn.

And yet.

We are so similar. We have loved ones who we try to protect or help. We have communities and rules that we each live by. We are all searching for the thing that will make our lives complete. For Okonkwo, he chases fame, titles, and respect. He follows his culture and is deeply rooted in their traditions, unwilling to change.

That is where  sadness overwhelmed me.

Are we not all like that at times? So comfortable in the ways things have been for decades, weeks, days?  Then, when a part changes, some of us lose ourselves, our faith, or our minds.

Time changes things. People change things.

That is the way life is; we know these changes are bound to happen.

This book is such a great example of what happens when a person is unyielding to change or unwilling to accept others. It helps bring a new opinion and point of view to those in the Western world. The book asks you to be more open-minded.

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This book is a quick read at a 9th grade reading level, but the wording is a bit hard to work through due to the author not having English as a first language.  With that being said, some parts of the book may be a bit dry and hard to get through, but the overall book is worth the read. If you have the time and want to see how other cultures view the Western world, be sure to check out Things Fall Apart.

Much love. Much grace.

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Book Love: Quiet

This past month* I have been reading a fantastic book that I have been wanting to read for about 2 years now.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking

When I first heard of this book I had just arrived back to the States after being in Eastern Europe for two months. The culture there was much  more quiet, intentional, and soft-spoken than my American culture, but it was an environment I enjoyed, and even thrived in. The quiet culture of thinking before speaking, not feeling the need to speak to random strangers, and even enjoying a pause during a conversation was a culture I loved.

So after enjoying my summer of gentle culture, coming back to the United States was a loud, brash, abrupt awakening. And honestly, I was struggling to adjust back to the loud colors, language, and voices of my home culture.

That was when someone referred me to the book Quiet. She said that this book would not only help me adjust, but possibly help me understand my louder, more extroverted counterparts.

I could not find this book anywhere. I searched for about six months before giving up and just decided that I couldn’t read a book that was nonexistent. Then (a year and a half later!!) in October, I was walking past the Psychology section in Books-A-Million when the red words caught my eye. To say I was excited is an understatement (ask Mr. Yell… haha!) so I grabbed the book checked it out and began to read one of the most well-constructed, non-fiction research based books I have ever read.

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The author, Susan Cain, does a brilliant job of researching and presenting her topic of Introversion in an Extroverted society. She brings up issues in our culture, how she believes they can be solved, and speaks with truth and authority. Her research is quite extensive, which sounds boring, but she presents her research with stories, examples, and interviews which makes the book much more of a fun read.

She brings to light the plight of introverts, not because they are introverted, but because American culture seems to have no room for those who are introverted.

Being an introvert, I felt so understood by reading this book. Introversion is an issue I see in our culture today, and introverts do have a tendency to try to hide introversion characteristics. This book made me understand myself, and extroverts much better than I had in the past.

Cain’s explanations and solutions are intriguing ideas to introduce to our loud society. Even if you believe that a society cannot have a preferred personality, reading this book will make you look a bit closer to friends, family, coworkers, and the media.

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I would rate her book highly on my personal reading list, and hope you enjoy it as well!

Be sure to check it out, take a read, and tell me what you think of the book!

Susan Cain’s TEDTalk is just a small portion of her book but is still worth the time to listen to, especially if you are unsure about buying her book. Listening to her speech will give an insight to her research and the book, Quiet.

Much love. Much grace.

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Interested to see your personality type? Take this fun quiz to find out!

*It took me a month to read this book due to school work and other life factors. Not because the book was disinteresting, hard to read, or  lengthy.

Book Love: Yoga Girl

I am a book nut. I love reading any genre of book… fantasy, adventure, autobiography, all kinds.

I waited over six months for Rachel Brathen’s first book Yoga Girl to come out in the United States, and it was so worth it.

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For those of you that don’t know, Rachel Brathen is a yogi who has taken social media by storm. She is on Instagram, has a blog, and a YouTube channel. She is inspirational to many, and lives by the mantra of love for all.

While her new book shares this life mission, it also has instructions for yoga poses, vegan/vegetarian recipes, as well as her life story.

Her book is in a different format, completely different than that of boring autobiographies we have seen before. She has colorful pictures of her home in Aruba and her travels across the globe, some even coming from her Instagram.

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(Photo Cred: rachelbrathen.com)

I think what I really loved about Rachel’s book wasn’t just what she said or her gorgeous pictures, but just how she took the time to write her story.

Honestly.

She took time aside to share her life struggles through all the avenues of information sharing available to her, and I just find that so refreshing and inspiring.

I have been coming across several women I have gone to school with, who work on my college campus, or that I am friends with, and they are all saying the same things. They all want to share what they have learned through personal experiences through writing. And guys, I am LOVING it.

Some people complain about my generation as being “too noisy”, “too vain”, and “wanting too many likes”, but I think that most of that comes from wanting to share stories. We all want to share about what we have learned and be loved in spite of our failures, and we do that the only way we know how. Writing. Social media. Pinterest. Message boards. Whatever.

Rachel’s book is such a great example of how being open with others can help, inspire, and encourage others. Even when we don’t agree on everything, we as people desire to tell stories and be loved. So if you have the time, read Yoga Girl’s story. And maybe write your own.

After all:

“If doing something new doesn’t scare you at least a little, it’s not worth doing.”
– Rachel Brathen, YogaGirl

Much love. Much grace.

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