The Noticer by Andy Andrews (review).

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I received an email for a special offer to review The Noticer by Thomas Nelson as part of the Book Review Blogger program. It sounded interesting and I love to read so I signed up. I am so glad I did. This book is worth a read!

This book sheds light on the importance of perspective. Jones is a noticer, he goes about his life and pays attention to what goes on around him. He knows people, their names and habits and needs and pleasures, just because he really sees them. Then once in awhile he steps in to talk to them, ask them questions and tell them stories, to help them gain some perspective.

The story is needed. The concept of perspective has always fascinated me. One of my favorite lines is Ben Kenobi’s statement “So what I told you was true … from a certain point of view.” This book brings up a number of situations where people are struggling with issues or living a life made tough by poor choices where they need to stop and change course. The problem is we often don’t know how to stop or how to change. We feel this is how I am and I can’t change it. I thought the book did a great job of showing how change is always possible, choice is always available to us, and there is hope for our future.

I have not read anything else by Andy Andrews so I was not aware of his story before reading this book. I am interested in The Traveler’s Gift and other books now and will look them up. The story is told in the first person, which is not my favorite, but it works  well in this book, especially since chapters where the author isn’t present are told in the omniscient third person style. The writing style is clear, easy, and enjoyable.

Now, the official information about the book.

A moving story of common wisdom from the bestselling author of The Traveler’s Gift.

Orange Beach, Alabama is a simple town filled with simple people. But they all have their share of problems – marriages teetering on the brink of divorce, young adults giving up on life, business people on the verge of bankruptcy, and many of the other obstacles that life seems to dish out to the masses.

Fortunately, when things look the darkest – a mysterious old man named Jones has a miraculous way of showing up. Communicating what he calls “a little perspective,” Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things that others miss. In his simple interactions, Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what they can do about it.

Based on a remarkable true story, The Noticer beautifully blends fiction, allegory, and inspiration.

Check out these videos featuring Andy Andrews and The Noticer:

And there is a project to encourage people to tell others how much they appreciate them. Visit http://www.thenoticerproject.com for more information about “The Noticer Project.”

Here is the Andy Andrews website with some downloads and other information.

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Weekly status for 4-24

This week we were reading Ezra and Nehemiah. Here is Nehemiah 9:5 (just the middle part)

Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting.

Prayer and study

Time in Ezra and Nehemiah preparing for Tree to Tree on Wednesday. Judah had sinned, but God preserved a remnant and they repented and turned back to him. I also spent time reading the book The Immigration Crisis and thinking through the way the preacher was portrayed in Higher Hope.

Outplacement Agency

I actually didn’t do a thing with them this week. I got my business cards and printed out a copy of my resume for a friend to review one more time. But I didn’t take any classes or review any of the information I have received so far.

Job Search

I have rejuvenated my twitter presence and changed my user name from imperfectln to lauranavarro. I am following some career assist types and some job posting types. I have retweeted a few things. I have picked up a list of useful web sites with information.

I need to set an appointment with a local placement agency to see what might work out there. I did get my new laptop and IDs for the contractor position that I start next week. I have everything set up and in place so I can start right in on Tuesday.

Work

I’m really done here. My replacement has all the information she needs, I have just about convinced everyone to stop listing me as reviewer or coming to me for help.

I have an exit interview Monday and then I’ll mail back my old laptop and other documents. I have a VoIP router from AT&T and they said not to return it. I just need to call and cancel the number on Monday.

I need to get used to having the home line for my main phone line.

Physical

Wednesday night I accepted that I’m not going to get up early this week to work out. I did my Powerstrike routine Wednesday night and then did some yoga Thursday night. Saturday morning (today) we went out on the bicycles for about 30 minutes. Then I cleaned the entire house so I’m beat.

Speaking of cleaning the house – I rearranged the living room and we boxed up and labeled two boxes with 70 pounds of books to mail to Christian Resources International. That’s just books from us and one other family. I’m sure we can gather more to get mailed off soon.

Diet wasn’t perfect this week – Ladies’ Night out Tuesday, chicken quesadilla with sour cream and cheese on Wednesday, pizza on Friday. But in general I’m still doing a good job of keeping the sat fat and cholesterol down.

Other

I had my physical for the life insurance policy. I also had an initial call with a financial agency that will help me walk through where I am and where I need to be. This is a benefit of the outplacement agency, so maybe it fits up there.

Since I have a job to start on Tuesday it is easy to get content again. But I believe this happened for a greater reason and I am still searching for any guidance for the direction we whould go in. I am open to wherever He wants me to go. I’m not sitting still doing nothing while waiting because there are opportunities. I just keep praying that I walk in His will, and not try to take over and create my own solution. We have certainly had more discussions about changes we need to make and how to prepare ourselves for whatever may come next.

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The Immigration Crisis

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This was an Early Reviewer selection through Library Thing. It is a pre-publication version of a book looking at what the Old Testament has to say about the role of the alien in society and how we can use that to think about the problem of illegal and illegal immigrants.

The introduction shows why the author has some interest and authority in the topic of immigration. Then the author establishes the foundation for the issues. Next he shows how resident aliens and foreigners are differentiated and treated in the Old Testament history and law. He also provides suggestions and conclusions about how these factors should guide our thinking about immigration issues.

I found the book very interesting. The distinction between resident aliens and foreigners was helpful, as was the description of the many benefits afforded resident aliens in Israel. I have recently read the Pentateuch but was surprised to see how often the aliens were included in the laws, including social benefits like gleaning and receiving part of the tithe, as well as participating in the feasts and offerings. He  discusses Matthew 25:31-46 so well that it caused me to go reread it and rethink how I have applied it. I also agree with his discussion on the practice of sanctuary.

I recommend the book as a study of the topic and how it addresses the treatment of legal immigrants and gives some good thought toward how we should treat the concept and the reality of illegal immigrants.

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Emily Climbs

This was a fun book. Emily is growing up and her relatives seem to be growing some as well.

Aunt Elizabeth still takes her role as caretaker very seriously and I think she is very wise in how she handles the opportunities and boundaries for Emily.

Cousin Jimmy is still wonderful. He has such unwavering love and faith in Emily. He is also wise, saving a few of them from their own pride. He helps Emily see why common sense and taking consequences into account are important.

Aunt Ruth is a terror, and she gets some comeuppance from Cousin Jimmy. But she is also family and she stands up for Emily when it really counts.

Ilse is still a mess, but such a wonderful friend. It is nice to see her receiving love from her father now.

Very interesting watching Perry, Teddy, Dean, and Andrew. They all have good taste, even if not always good sense.

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Higher Hope by Robert Whitlow (review)

We read the first book, Deeper Water, as part of our book club earlier this year. So, when the second book, Higher Hope, came available for Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers I picked it. It is nice to see how some of the stories progress.

The Tides of Truth series follows law student Tammy Lynn Taylor, known as Tami at the law firm where she is a clerk for the summer. She has a strong Christian faith and very conservative background. We are watching Tami come of age, and learn how to walk by faith in a world that doesn’t support or always accept her beliefs. This time around, the case she is working on involves an abrasive, outspoken preacher who tells people what God shows her, and they don’t always like what she says.

The story was interesting and plausible. The best part may have been seeing how the preacher self-censors herself, knowing that sometimes what she knows isn’t complete enough or the other person isn’t ready for it. Plus seeing how the people she does talk to react to what she says. Some repent, some work to reconcile with family and friends, and some deny that it’s the truth. Her deposition by the lawyer is a great scene. The books are thoughtful and well done.

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Status for the week 4-17

Scripture for this week found while reading Chronicles for Tree to Tree on Wednesday.

For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever

2 Chron 5:13 and 7:3

Prayer and study:

Read 1 and 2 Chronicles and journaled some about what I was reading. Prayed for my friends who have concerns and needs. This is good since it takes my focus off of me, but I hurt for my friends with these struggles.

Outplacement agency:

This week I:

  • Did the Net Search for Job Search elearning and webinar.
  • Did the Networking elearning and webinar. The point being to have informational meetings/discussions with people instead of just desperately asking everyone for a job. This reminds me of how DH got his last job – visiting the company just to talk about audio/visual options for our church and suddenly the guy he’s talking to redirects the conversation and brings in the owner and they ended by asking DH to provide a proposal for a position they were trying to fill.
  • Met with my career coach, she had a lot of great suggestions for next steps.
  • Ordered business cards – can order card stock to print my own, can have Staples print them (200 for $29.95) or can get 250 from Vistaprint.com for as cheap as $5.45 (if I can wait 21 days). I went with Vista Print this time.
  • Reviewed the formatted resume from the outplacement agency and compared it to the one I adjusted based on the Resume Development webinar. I like mine better. Formatted it for txt version for those places where I need to copy/paste it in. I am sending the pdf to most people in email.
  • Continued to edit the resume to remove duties and add accomplishments and results.

Job Search:

I bought a suit in case I have to interview. None of my old suits fit, so I’ll be giving them to Goodwill soon. I found an article on WSJ about the power look coming back. I love this line. “But people’s sense of job entitlement has evaporated as unemployment figures rise.”

I loaded my resume onto the World Vision site. The agent found several jobs that fit my resume, but most want more experience than I have. All are in WA state or Washington, DC. We both need a much stronger sign if it’s time for us to move. We’d be convinced if someone walked up to us and offered to buy our house with the furnishings in it. (No, we haven’t listed the house for sale.)

Did a web course on using Social Media for your job search. This was offered by VisualCV and was a great webinar. It is available here for anyone interested. Here is mine, in progress.

I updated my twitter page to have a custom background. DH helped a lot with that. Now I know how to do it again if I want to.

I created an account at JibberJobber.com where I can track my contacts, connections, companies, job postings, etc. It has a place to put multiple 30-second commercials. Doing it again helped me make more progress on identifying my strengths and accomplishments from my career so far.

Work:

Daily meetings with my replacement to review the areas and gather the data she needed, or review the spreadsheet where I had gathered it. Redirecting most traffic to her and reminding people I am leaving. I did the monthly data gathering and then provided it for my replacement so she can create the final presentation.

Physical:

Other than a horrendous food day on Sunday, I have done well with what I eat. Exercise hasn’t happened as I would like. I was still tired for a few days after the Sunrise service and weekend spent with all 3 nephews. I did walk up/down the stairs several times as I did more cleaning in Connor’s room and handled 3 loads of laundry.

Other:

I applied for life insurance since I’ll stop having that through my employer. Trying to think of anything else like this that I should get started on.

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Telecommuting – do you have what it takes to work from home?

I found another linkable item on Career Adventure. This post is about telecommuting and how to tell if you are the right type to do it. This one rings so true. I have worked from my home for a large technology firm for about four years. It works very well for me, as I am self-directed and fairly disciplined in my work routine. Most of the time, I have enough deadlines and conference calls that even if I wanted to slack I can’t. I have done my share of laundry and getting the dishes cleaned, but the hours tend to be a little longer and there is more flexibility if necessary. I don’t have to drive home and set up the laptop to be ready for any after-hours work, it’s already set up and ready to go.

The department I worked with was always remote, so even if I drove to the local site I wouldn’t be with any of the people I actually interact with. That means I had to learn how to lead and manage remotely as a way of life. There are times it has been convenient to have those one-on-one calls with my employees without worrying about the cleaning crew wanting to vacuum or someone else poking their head in the door.

I have watched almost the complete cycle with my company. When I first began there was a resistance to working from home even at night or one day a week. Then real estate concerns got involved, and there was a push to move more employees to work from home. I think it was successful for the most part. Granted, some people don’t work well in the distracting environment of their home, and some tasks are just too collaborative to do with a remote team. But most of us were happy to lose the commute and traffic, and we have thrived working in our home.

We have learned to build and maintain relationships through phone calls, small talk at the beginning of conference calls, instant messaging, and emails. We certainly know who the workers are, the reliable ones we can go to for information or help. We all agree that it is sometimes lonely and maybe we miss something by not being face to face with someone from our company, even if they aren’t in our area. I don’t think that has affected productivity or morale, though. The benefits still outweigh the concerns.

Yet, I see strong signs that the company is shifting to get people back on centralized worksites, with cubicle farms and war-rooms, even relocations but without the financial assistance to move. It will be interesting to see how this works after so many of us have experienced the flexibility of working from home.

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Why do we succeed?

I found this over at Career Adventure.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45mMioJ5szc[/youtube]

This is a great reminder. This is why I posted the girls doing the jump-rope routine. Watching it I realized one thing all of those girls had to learn was how to handle failure. If they tripped or skipped or the rope didn’t go where it was supposed to, they just had to get right back into the routine and keep going! That is a secret that shouldn’t be kept secret.

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Jumprope fun!

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Mother’s Day Giveaways

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Just passing the word about a great giveaway over at 5 Minutes For Books. They are giving a book away every day between 4/15 and 4/25, plus a grand prize of a copy of all the books.

As you can tell from my blog, I love watching and participating in the events and book reviews they have at 5 Minutes For Books. This is a great time to check them out!

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