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Book Review: The Art of Work

by Lisa Manning on March 23, 2015


About the Author:  Jeff Goins is a full-time writer who lives just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, son, and border collie. He has authored three other books: The In-Between, Wrecked, and You Are a Writer. His website, Goinswriter.com, has been visited by more than four million people from all over the world. He humbly considers himself the world’s foremost expert on guacamole.

What the Book Is About: “The Art of Work is about discovering your true calling, that one thing you were born to do.  Only when our interests connect with the needs of the world do we begin living for a larger purpose.  Those who experience this intersection experience something exceptional and enviable.  Though it is rare, such a life is attainable by anyone brave enough to try.”

Why Did I Read The Book?  Last year, I became a part of the author’s private Facebook group to inspire writers.  Within the group, he asked who wanted to be a part of launching this book.  In exchange for the book, we would be asked to give Jeff feedback, write reviews and help him with the launch.  Never one to turn down a free book…I was in!

What I Loved:  Have you ever read a book that encapsulates so many things you already know but says them perfectly, in a way you didn’t quite know how to say?  The Art of Work weaves a ribbon through your life and ties it together with motivation and purpose.  Jeff Goins has crafted the words in this book to inspire you to do better, to be better.  He reminds you to see the imperfections of your past as opportunities instead of failure.  Most importantly, he encourages you that it is never too late to find your calling or for those of you who have a notion of what your calling is, to take a leap of faith to make it happen.

Woven throughout the book are many fascinating stories of people who have found their calling and difficulties on their journeys.  I hope that Jeff will feature these people on his website so that we will have the chance to see their faces and connect even further. J You will be moved by the circumstances that brought many of these people to their own calling in life.

While this isn’t an overtly “Christian” book with lots of scriptures or references to God, it is obvious to the reader that Jeff believes in God and every word of the book fits in well with Biblical principles.  As you read, I implore you to ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of the happenings in your own life that relate to your own calling. 

I. Loved. This .Book!  It was easy to read (sort of…see my note under “Things You May Need to Know” below). Jeff is an excellent writer…not too wordy but presented concepts in an easy to understand format.  It was almost as if I was having a cup of tea across the table and he was talking to me. 

While I received this book for free, I can say it was worth every penny!  (Wink!)  Seriously, I have already asked Jeff if I can buy a case of these to give away.  There are so many people I see floundering and trying to figure out what they “want to be when they grow up.”  This book gives hope that while you may already be grown up, you can begin making a difference today. 

Quotes that Rocked:   I am not even sure how to pick these!  About half of my book is underlined or highlighted.  There are a zillion “A-HA” moments as you read, especially if you allow the Holy Spirit to bring to remembrance things about your own life that have brought you to your own calling.  But…here is my feeble attempt at trying to narrow it down to a few of my favorite. 

Introduction: “We can’t control what life throws our way, but we can control how we react to it. As we do, maybe we come closer to a meaningful life than any plan could ever take us.  To do this, though, we have to let go of what we think we deserve and embrace what is, which just might lead to something better than we ever could have imagined.”

Chapter 1: “As you avail yourself to how your life may be speaking, you too must decide. Will you wallow in regret, wondering why such a thing has befallen you, or will you choose to act, making the most of your obstacle, and allow it to evolve into an opportunity?”

Chapter 2: “Life is the classroom, and if you are paying attention, you can recoginize the daily lessons available.  Each day is a new page in a textbook you never complete, and as you sit in the student’s seat, you realize the apprenticeship has already begun.”

Chapter 3: “In an era of human history in which we prize comfort above nearly every other virtue, we have overlooked an important truth; comfort never leads to excellence.”

Chapter 4:  “Don’t stand still.  Don’t squander your time, holding out for someone else to give you permission to start…No one is going to give you a map. You will have to step out into the unknown, listening to direction as you go…You can always change directions once you get in the car.”

Chapter 5: “Pivoting isn’t plan B; it’s part of the process.  Unexpected things will happen. Setbacks do occur.  Whether or not you’re prepared to pivot will affect how well you weather those storms and find a way to survive.”

Chapter 7:  “Work, it seems, was never meant to be something we do just to make a living.  It was meant to be a means of making a difference—in our own lives and in the lives of others.”

Table of Contents:

  1. Listening to Your life: The Call to Something Old, Not New
  2. Accidental Apprecnticeships: The Teacher Appears When the Studen Least Expects
  3. Painful Practice: When Trying Isn’t Good Enough
  4. Building Bridges: The Leap That Wasn’t a Leap
  5. Pivot Points: Why Failure if Your Friend
  6. The Portfolio Life: A New Kind of Mastery
  7. Your Magnum Opus: What Legacy Looks Like

Conclusion: The Work is Never Done

Appendix: Your First Steps Down the Path

Things You May Need to Know:  This book was amazing…and yet hard to read.  I would read a few chapters, be totally enthralled with the content and yet, I would have to put it down.  I needed contemplate the words; let them permeate my brain.  I spent time evaluating my own life…the good, the bad and the ugly…all of the things that brought me to my own calling in life.  This book may cause you to reflect on some events in your own life that aren’t “pretty” so you can figure out what you learned and how they fit with where you are going.

Where Can You Buy It: The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do



Some Christians Shouldn’t Eat in Restaurants!

by Lisa Manning on October 30, 2014


(Beware.  This post is a rant.  You have been warned.)

The comment below just came through my Facebook newsfeed in response to this question:   What are your tipping rules for tip jars at the counter, carry out orders or quick service? (Ex. Tipping a barista at a coffee shop)

Waiters, etc, maybe 5%..
.. Not because I disrespect them. GOD only asks for 10% I’m not giving you something higher or even equal.

(See the original post here:  Tipping Question)

For those of you who know me well, you KNOW I had to comment back.  Are you kidding me?  Where does any restaurant ask for 10-15% of your income?  When I was a waitress, church people said this to me a few times.  It made my blood boil then…and now too.

During college, I was a restaurant manager of a very popular 24 hour restaurant.  My schedule rotated every other week.   The first week, I was scheduled to work nights from 5:00pm to 2:00 or 3:00am.  Those were the “happy hours” when the drunken patrons closed the bars and came in for munchies.  The restaurant was lively and filled with joy.  The second week, I worked during the day from 7:00am to 5:00pm.  It was this week I had the “pleasure” of working with the church crowd on Sunday afternoon.  Without exception, every staff member DREADED the church crowd and the tension they brought with them.  Not all, but the majority of the church people were demanding and impatient.  They complained about having to wait for a table or the restaurant being out of chocolate cake.  Instead of using their manners and politely asking for more coffee, they treated the servers like servants.  Then, they would hardly tip or, better yet, leave a tract or fake million dollar bill telling how life with Jesus was worth more than millions.

Every Sunday, those Christians broke my heart with their “testimony.” 

I wanted to stand up in the middle of the restaurant and give my own sermon.  I could have titled it with one of these topics:

  • How to REALLY exhibit the fruits of the Spirit as listed in Galations 5
  • How to let your face know you just attended church (Proverbs 15:13)
  • Doing unto others as you would have them do to you (Matt. 7:12)

With the exception of the times I was not in fellowship with God, I have attended church the majority of my life.  I know that many Christians have great hearts.  They truly want to help the others around them and be a light in the crazy world we live in.  Often, that is NOT the way they portray themselves in public. If you choose to be rude and are not able to treat others with respect, then do the rest of Christians a favor. Don’t admit you are a Christian. 

That reminds me of this sad joke:

Driving along a busy street, a man became aware of an impatient woman who was tailgating him. She was so close that when he had to brake to allow some children to use a pedestrian crossing, she almost crashed into him.  Furious at being delayed, she sounded her horn and began waving her fists in a disgraceful exhibition of a road rage.
      Before she could move off, she felt a tap on her window. It was a police officer who ordered her to step out of the car. He then asked her to come down to the station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and put in a cell. A couple of hours later, after vehicle checks had been carried out, she was told that she could collect her valuables and that she was being released without charge. The woman was extremely indignant at her arrest and demanded an apology.
      The officer responsible explained the reason for the mistake. “You see, madam, I pulled up behind your car while you’re sounding your horn and loudly cursing the driver in front of you. Then I noticed the ‘Follow Jesus, Not Me’ sticker on the rear window, the ‘God Is Love’ sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the boot. Naturally, I assumed that you had stolen the car…”

Everywhere you go, you have the opportunity to bless others around you and show them the love of God.  Whether it be tipping a server, encouraging a cashier who has had a bad day or even picking up trash in a parking lot, you can point others to Jesus through your actions. 

Are you exhibiting love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, self-control and gentleness when you are around others that you want to influence for Christ? Those are not only the characteristics that God wants to see in your life but also the ones will make others want to be to find out what being a Christian is all about.

Others are watching.  Let them see your BEST!



Saturday Night Runaway Mom

October 27, 2014

Random Thoughts on a Saturday Night: I have a secret.  Sometimes, I want to run away. I almost did it once 28 years ago.  I pulled into the parking lot of an airport and thought I might just use my empty credit card to take a vacation to a  warm spot the next flight was […]

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Wondering why you can’t hear God?

October 4, 2014

Some of you are wondering why God doesn’t talk to you anymore. You may need to examine what you are doing with the words He has already spoken to you. Luke 8:18 Therefore, carefully consider how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will […]

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Suicide of a Friend

August 12, 2014

The night the phone rang, my husband watched as I slid down the wall.  “No, No, NO!”  It was our pastor’s wife calling to tell me a beloved member of our worship team died.  She was one of the most beautiful women I knew, inside and out.  She loved Jesus with all of her heart.  […]

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T-Tapp 60 Day Challenge 2014

August 8, 2014

Last September,  I started a weight loss journey. The first part was mostly food related.  From September 27th to January, I lost 17 pounds. Certainly,  I  was happy about that but I still had more to lose and I needed to tone my body. Enter T-Tapp. January 24, I opened an email to learn that […]

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Freebie: Packing List

August 5, 2014

Once again, I am packing for a trip.  Our family travels somewhere at least once a month so I seem to always be packing or unpacking.  Many years ago, I made a packing list that has been a tremendous help to our family.  This morning, someone asked me to share it with her.  I thought […]

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Lessons in Attitude

June 26, 2014

I inadvertently stumbled upon a You Tube soundtrack yesterday that has me captivated.  The man who wrote/reads the book Lead the Field has some amazing insight into our Attitude.  We (myself at the top of the list!) can learn a lot!  Here are some of the point: 1) It is our attitude at the beginning of […]

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The Potentially Most Tragic Day of My Life

June 22, 2014

I have wanted to write this post for a week an yet, it has taken me this long to do so. Despite the passing of time, my emotions are still swirling. Perhaps that is by design as I never want to forget the events of that Sunday afternoon. When my husband and I had children, […]

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He Didn’t Have to Be

June 15, 2014

I was in first grade when my mom got a new boyfriend.  He was tall, dark and handsome!  Curiosity abounded, especially because he made me laugh.  Their relationship was a whirlwind and it wasn’t long before we were all together in one house and a new baby was on the way.  My mother had been […]

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