Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Leadership Lessons

Leadership Lessons: Avoiding the Pitfalls of King Saul by Ralph K. Hawkins and Richard Leslie Parrott is a book that discusses the principles for leadership and personal success. The authors point out that leadership is not just about being a good or kind person; it is not about wanting to do the right thing or about having the right knowledge. Leadership encompasses many traits. And sometimes knowing what NOT to do can be just as helpful as advice for the right things. After all, we have all learned from our own experiences and gained wisdom from our mistakes of the past. This book demonstrates that leaders can learn from mistakes as well, and it is to a leader's benefit to learn from the mistakes of others. King Saul was a failed leader. He started with good intentions and did not set out to be a flawed leader. However, his own flesh got in the way. As he gained power, he also became more arrogant and off track. He stopped following God's plan and tried to become his own god. This book offers valuable lessons for those in leadership based off these mistakes. Saul failed in many areas: he wasn't humble in his authority, he isolated himself, he spoke without thinking, he failed to love people, and he failed to consult God. By looking at these and other areas of failure, the authors are able to show where Saul went wrong and how leaders can choose better. Sometimes it helps to see the pitfalls of another leader and how they affect others and the leader. This book does just that. While I found it interesting and a different way of looking at leadership, I would have liked to see more practical suggestions within the chapters to help leaders avoid these pitfalls. I did like that there were additional reading suggestions and questions for discussion and personal reflection. This would be a good book to read through in a small group. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, September 19, 2014


I received a copy of the book Never Ever Give Up: The Inspiring Story of Jessie and her Joy Jars by Erik Rees from Handlebar Publishing. After finishing the book, all I can say is Wow! Jessica Joy Rees was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor at age eleven. However, she did not let that stop her from her mission on this earth. She was determined to do as much as she could for others in her short time on earth. Jessie was a kind-hearted, warm soul who focused her love on others and was determined to be a light for God. She was diagnosed with DIPG, a rare cancer that usually does not allow children to survive even a full year after diagnosis. Jessie made the most of her time, and even when she was in pain herself, she was never selfish. Jessie's story demonstrates love and grace. She helped her family deal with the situation. She showed courage beyond her years. As I read this book, I was at times crying over the unfairness of it all, and at other times smiling and laughing at the wonder that was Jessie. She created her Joy Jars to distribute to kids who were in the hospital because she wanted them to have something to smile about and to know they weren't alone. Although she did not get a chance to grow up, she impacted many more people than she could have imagined. The book takes the reader on a journey of one family to try to help their daughter and themselves cope with a tragic situation. You see the positive outcomes of the situation, and you feel the frustrations and hurts of the family throughout this process. Erik Rees (Jessie's father) is honest in his struggle to find peace within the situation, and he shares many of his thoughts and fears throughout the book. It is an inspirational story, and one I think needs to be shared. Jessie's attitude throughout the book gives us hope that there are good people in the world, who want to make a positive difference and show God's love to others. Because of Jessie and her Joy Jars, many families and children have been given joy and courage. Jessie's motto was Never Ever Give Up, and her prayer warriors became known as the NEGU Nation. NEGU lives on, even after Jessie's short life ended. NEGU reminds all of us daily to never give up and never take one another for granted. This book was truly inspiring. #NEGUBook.