January’s Book To Live By

In getting 2018 off on the right foot, I followed some advice from a new book. It said: “Seek direction from wisdom figures.”

The wise author, Joan Chittister, has been a role model of mine for more than a decade. As always, I found comfort and hope in her words.

Joan is a Benedictine nun and one of our most beloved humanitarians and social activists. You may have seen her on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday or read some of her more than 50 books.

To help you jump-start your year, I am honored to introduce you to our January Book to Live By:

Radical Spirit: 12 Ways to Live a Free and Authentic Life by Joan Chittister

Radical Spirit: 12 Ways to Live a Free and Authentic Life by Joan Chittister

As the subtitle suggests, this is a guide to breaking the chains of what Sister Joan calls “the nagging hungers of the self” — such spiritual assailants as fear, anger and addiction.

The book is based on the teachings of Saint Benedict, a sixth-century Italian known as the founder of Western monasticism. The key to freedom, we learn, is humility.

Saint Benedict’s 12 steps of humility include such simple but savvy lessons as “Endure the pains of development and do not give up,” “Acknowledge faults and strip away the masks,” “Listen” and “Speak kindly.”

Sister Joan takes tales and events from around the world and weaves them with her own life stories to illustrate each step. She mixes her insights with a large dose of humor.

Radical Spirit offers a peaceful, practical remedy to the stresses of modern life while acknowledging its daily challenges.

I love this book and will reflect on its many inspirations over and over throughout the year.

Wishing you a radically spirited 2018!

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November’s Book To Live By

Are you looking for a tantalizing, titillating, totally bewitching book to warm your winter nights?

I have a special recommendation this month that will fit the bill.

And you could expect nothing less from one of our most inspired and inspiring Women on Fire.

For the November Book To Live By, I am thrilled to present the new book by our dear friend:

Unforgivable Love by Sophfronia Scott

Unforgivable Love by Sophfronia Scott

Unforgivable Love offers a stunning retelling of the 1782 French novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The book was scandalous in its time, yet so irresistibly provocative and universal in its subject matter that in the two centuries since it has seen numerous adaptations in every imaginable format and setting.

Given this rich history, it is remarkable to find such a fresh and alluring twist on the themes and a deeper exploration of the characters. But Sophfronia gives us a portrayal that is utterly original and surprising.

Unforgivable Love is set in 1947 Harlem among the crème de la crème of African American society.

The beautifully written and elegantly plotted tale is told from four viewpoints, each drawn with depth and texture. You may not like all of the characters, but you won’t be able to resist or forget them.

Treachery, revenge and seduction abound. The tension will at times leave you gasping and heartsore. And you will want to luxuriate in the luscious scenery.

Unforgivable Love is brilliant and beguiling, and I am so proud to share Sophfronia’s achievement with all of her Women on Fire sisters. It is available from Amazon and wherever books are sold.

Here’s to warm winter nights ahead,

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July’s Book To Live By

Do you believe to be healthy you have to give up everything you love?

Not so, says this inspiring author and expert.

In this month’s Women on Fire membership interview, I talked with Phoebe Lapine, a private chef, culinary instructor, cookbook author and award-winning blogger (FeedMePhoebe.com).

For the July Book To Live By, it is my pleasure to introduce you to her empowering and engaging new book:

The Wellness Project: How I Learned to Do Right by My Body, Without Giving Up My Life by Phoebe Lapine

The Wellness Project chronicles Phoebe’s yearlong search for answers to a common question: Why don’t I feel well?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer.

In a witty but deeply personal way, Phoebe shares her trial-and-error strategies and tips for dealing with 12 major health categories, including sleep, skin care, exercise, de-stressing, and detoxing her liver and her environment.

She uses her struggles with chronic conditions (an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s thyroidism and a gluten sensitivity) to illustrate how to personalize the research and solutions to your own health dilemmas.

But Phoebe hasn’t forgotten the other side of the story — the desire to indulge in life’s many pleasures. She knows that feeling deprived is a pitfall for making permanent lifestyle changes. Her philosophy of “healthy hedonism” balances healthy choices with ease, comfort and preference.

Of course, food is essential for Chef Phoebe, and I know you will eat up her savvy and savory advice! Each chapter — even those not specifically about diet or nutrition — includes two scrumptious, healthy, gluten-free recipes.

She also summarizes each chapter with a list of tips to make it super easy to review key points. This is a book you’ll want to go back to again and again.

Phoebe is also a longtime friend and an early and enthusiastic supporter of Women on Fire. She is member No. 99! We are very proud to share her extraordinary work with the world.

The Wellness Project is available from Amazon and at bookstores everywhere.

Here’s to feeling your very best today and always,

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June’s Book To Live By

Do you use the term “dropping the ball” to describe a calamity?

If so, you may want to update your vocabulary — and your to-do list.

In this month’s Women on Fire membership interview, I spoke with leadership expert Tiffany Dufu, who considers dropping the ball to be an excellent life- and time-management strategy.

Tiffany is a longtime advocate for women and a highly sought-after speaker. She currently serves as chief leadership officer at Levo League, an organization that supports young women in pursuing lives of purpose and passion.

Now she adds author to her credentials.

For the June Book To Live By, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to her enriching and practical book:

Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less

Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less by Tiffany Dufu

Drop the Ball is a memoir and a how-to guide for having it all by letting go.

Like so many women, Tiffany kept accumulating responsibilities in her life, unable — or unwilling — to ask for help or simply to release feelings of perfectionism for even trivial tasks (housework!).

She brings a clarity and insight to her own experiences of frustration, overwhelm and guilt that will have many nodding along in recognition.

Tiffany also explores the underlying gender biases that have been handed down through generations — with the help of the media — and how harmful they are to men as well as women.

Then she goes further and offers sensible solutions. She helps you to decide which balls to drop and which ones to pass off. And she clearly spells out how to do it.

Drop the Ball leaves no one out. Tiffany’s life-balancing advice applies to those just starting out or with limited resources, to wives and mothers, and to career women at all levels.

The book begins with a foreword that adds historical context from one of Women on Fire’s favorite and most respected sources: Gloria Steinem.

Could you ask for a better endorsement?

Drop the Ball is available from Amazon and at bookstores everywhere.

Grab a copy and see what a bounce it gives you!

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May’s Songs To Live By

What do you do when the worst happens?

It happened for the woman I interviewed this month. Singer/songwriter Kellie Haddock found grace and gratitude during a time of unimaginable sorrow and pain.

You may already know Kellie from the uplifting video of her efforts to find and thank the medical professionals who saved her infant son’s life after a horrific car accident that killed her husband.

That video – The Thank You Project – has been viewed more than 100 million times, and Kellie has become an “ambassador of gratitude.”

Like her Thank You Project, Kellie’s music will bolster your faith in human connection and open your heart.

I am so proud to announce that our May 2017 Songs To Live By selection is Kellie’s newest album: Wild Love

Wild Love CD cover

In this lovely album, you’ll discover a voice of such sweet clarity — hopscotching from sunny to sultry — above the buoyant, captivating melodies.

Kellie’s lyrics of innocence and inspiration are a pure channeling of emotion.

And watch for Kellie’s Wild Love & Mending Hearts Tour in your area. Her performances have been called “a tsunami of hope.”

You can check out tour dates and even book a show from her website at kelliehaddock.com.

While you are there, you can sample the songs from all three of her albums: Wild Love, Leave the Light On and Mandarin Lights.

I know you will be as enchanted by Kellie’s music as I am.

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April’s Book To Live By

The longer days and awakening nature have inspired me to bring that spirit of renewal indoors. And I found a perfect way to do it — with feng shui.

Feng shui is a method of organizing your home to support all areas of your life. By harmonizing with your surroundings, you open space that allows energy to flow more easily and create the best outcomes for prosperity, creativity, relationships and more.

My guest expert for the April membership interview is Karen Rauch Carter, a brilliant feng shui consultant. In our conversation, she offered fun tips for arranging your environment so it aligns with your dreams and goals.

I am so pleased to announce that the April Book to Live By selection is Karen’s best-seller Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life: How to Use Feng Shui to Get Love, Money, Respect and Happiness.

Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life

The book introduces this traditional Chinese philosophy in an entertaining, well organized and inspiring way. Her advice is easy to understand, and you can begin applying the laws and cures of feng shui without complex calculations.

In the process, you become more aware of key areas of your life you may be neglecting, including your health, love life and career.

If you are already spring-cleaning, you’re halfway there! Why not try some easy feng shui ideas and see what happens?

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March’s Book To Live By

I have never received as many requests from Women on Fire to cover a topic as I did with the Impostor Syndrome.

This phenomenon reflects how a shockingly high number — estimates range to 70 percent — of accomplished women feel as though they are faking it in their careers and are doomed to being discovered.

Our March Book To Live By selection looks at this sneaky form of self-sabotage that can show itself in many forms. It causes so much suffering by undercutting confidence and stirring feelings of shame.

It is my pleasure to introduce you to a book from a leading expert on the topic:

The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It, by Valerie Young, Ed.D.

Dr. Young has spent more than 30 years researching this phenomenon and helping to find life-changing solutions.

Key offerings in the book include:

  • Subtle ways society puts down women that affect how they perceive themselves
  • Surprising traits that reflect feelings of being a fraud
  • Scenarios commonly faced by women that lower their self-esteem and expose vulnerabilities
  • Defense mechanisms the Impostor Syndrome elicits, such as overworking, never finishing a project and procrastination
  • End-of-chapter activities to help you change your thoughts and actions

It is my fondest hope that all of you conquer any feelings of self-doubt and see how amazing you really are!

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February’s Book To Live By

February is celebrated as the month of love.

We are honoring that spirit with a book recommendation to help you focus on the most important love of your life: YOU!

The author is a dear friend — to me and to our Women on Fire community. Agapi Stassinopoulos has been a key supporter since she was the guest of honor at the very first Women on Fire Tea in 2004.

It is my pleasure to announce as our February Book To Live By:

Wake Up cover

Wake Up to the Joy of You: 52 Meditations and Practices for a Calmer, Happier Life by Agapi Stassinopoulos.

In this beautiful book, Agapi offers a roadmap for a yearlong journey to joy, using such guideposts as gratitude, kindness and grace to navigate the way.

There are 52 chapters presenting practical advice and wise insights on universal goals and challenges that cover self-care, finances, relationships, self-esteem, creativity, spiritual growth and more. Each chapter ends with an encouraging action plan or a peaceful guided meditation.

Agapi’s generosity of spirit is contagious and inspiring. She will touch your heart.

What else would we expect from a woman whose name literally means love?

Wake Up to the Joy of You is available from Amazon and bookstores everywhere.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

P.S. To receive Agapi’s powerful wisdom in audio, please go to: www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com/book/540616/wake-up-to-the-joy-of-you/

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December’s Book To Live By

If you are using the changing of calendars to consider your own potential transformations, have I got a book for you.

In the December Book To Live By, Women on Fire member Kelley Black invites us to share in her journey into spiritual discovery. Stopovers include lovely detours into travel, self-care, goddess energy, courage, fashion and so very much more.

It is my pleasure to introduce you to a unique and uplifting book from a dear friend and co-author in Women on Fire: 20 Inspiring Women Share Their Life Secrets (and Save You Years of Struggle!):

Luscious Life Cover

This Luscious Life by Kelley Black.

Kelley combines memoir, a guidebook for life and philosophical meanderings to speak to the hearts of women. She offers empowerment to follow your spirit and find success and enchantment.

With an openhearted sharing of her darkest moments, she also illuminates the brightest ones.

In doing so, she teaches us to embrace all of life’s lessons as the gifts they truly are.

Kelley believes in the magic. After reading This Luscious Life, you will too.

This Luscious Life is available from Amazon.

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September’s Book To Live By

Is depression a medical issue? Or is it a crisis of the soul?

The Women on Fire Book To Live By selection for September takes a unique perspective on society’s epidemic of emotional suffering and the way it is treated.

It is my pleasure to announce our choice is the latest book from my friend and mentor Marianne Williamson:

Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment

Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment by Marianne Williamson.

This groundbreaking offering by one of our best-selling authors and most profound thinkers changes the conversation.

With the compassion and wisdom expected of one of our great spiritual teachers, Marianne challenges the way we understand depression.

Life comes with heartbreaking losses, difficult relationships, and crushing failures.

Rather than accepting grief as a natural part of the human experience, we often treat it like a disease. We numb it with medication.

Marianne shines a light on our spiritual ills, showing us how to embrace the pain and learn its lessons. In doing so, we can experience growth and find deeper inner peace.

Using insights from A Course in Miracles, Marianne helps us to see the miraculous universe around and within us. She offers hope and comfort, including prayers that are life-changing.

Tears to Triumph is available from Amazon and in bookstores everywhere. I highly recommend it – and all books by Marianne Williamson.

Lots of love,

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