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Back To School: Extraordinary Teens August 19, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Book Reviews, Books, Feelings, learning, life, School, School Supplies, thoughts.
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With everyone going back to school, it’s so much easier to remember the clothes, school supplies, and even money set out for lunch. But one thing that parents tend to forget: motivation. Since teens are often boggled down with school and extra-curricular activities, it’s quite normal to think “What am I doing this for?”. Believe me- I’ve been there.

But thanks to Chicken Soup for the Soul, your teens can have the motivation they need to go out into the world and do something- if even not everyone agrees with it. If your teen wants to start a business helping people decorate for the Holidays, then this book is for this. Chicken Soup for the Extraordinary Teen is chock full of stories from teens that had no idea what they were doing but succeeded in doing it anyways. There are even stories from some of the most famous teen celebs- Ryan Cabrera, Julie Marie Carrier, and even Mythbuster Kari Byron. All of the stories are heartfelt (which Chicken Soup for the Soul is known for) and so inspirational that no teen will close the book untouched by the stories from these amazing teenagers.

chicken-soup-for-the-soulWhat I loved is that I could remember what it was like at that stage- awkward, uninspired, and just tired of school and nothing to go along with that. I wish I was as creative as the teens in this book. Each story is unique and each story has several sentences bold- true words of wisdom. This guarantees that each and every person that reads it will leave with a little something in their heart that says “I may not be a teen. But I still have plenty of time to do what I want- even if that means starting a business to help people decorate for the Holidays!”. I will warn you about something though. These kids achievements by themselves are staggering so if there are any teens or Moms who are sensitive about their academics, this may not be the book for you. While it it amazing some of the achievements mentioned, sometimes it can get a little overbearing.  But also with that, you can just skip over that box if you wish to read it.

Did I learn anything from it? I may be turning 25 this Winter, but I still learned a lot. I’m not too old to do this or accomplish that. If I can dream it, it can happen. Same goes for everyone who reads this- You’re not too old to do this or accomplish that. If you can dream it, it can happen.

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Book Review: Jansten’s Gift July 20, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Book Reviews, Books, Charities, family, Feelings, learning, life, thoughts.
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Author: Pam Cope

Published: April 2009

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Genre: Non-Fiction

ISBN-10: 0446199699

ISBN-13: 978-0446199698

Nine years ago, Pam Cope owned a cozy hair salon in the tiny town of Neosho, Missouri, and her life revolved around her son’s baseball games, her daughter’s dance lessons, and family trips to places like Disney World. She had never been out of the country, nor had she any desire to travel far from home.

Then, on June 16th, 1999, her life changed forever with the death of her 15-year-old son from an undiagnosed heart ailment.

Needing to get as far away as possible from everything that reminded her of her loss, she accepted a friend’s invitation to travel to Vietnam, and, from the moment she stepped off the plane, everything she had been feeling since her son’s death began to shift. By the time she returned home, she had a new mission: to use her pain to change the world, one small step at a time, one child at a time. Today, she is the mother of two children adopted from Vietnam. More than that, she and her husband have created a foundation called “Touch A Life,” dedicated to helping desperate children in countries as far-flung as Vietnam, Cambodia and Ghana.

Now MY take it on:

I really don’t know where to start. Some would tell me to start from the beginning, but it’s so much more than that. When I started reading it, I didn’t expect my emotions to run away with every page. You wanted to be there to comfort her. You wanted to be there so you can help. You wanted to experience everything she was experiencing while in Vietnam or Ghana. As I read, I could feel sympathy and compassion rising inside of me. It is so heartfelt, heartwarming, and in some places, heartbreaking. I never imagined that all of this was really happening and it opened my eyes up to countries I thought were beautiful. They never show this on TV or even slightly mention it. So without books or the Internet, we would have never know all of this was going on. You can’t imagine what it must feel like. But thanks to Touch A Life Foundation, many children will never know what it feels like to be a child slave. They’ll be able to have friends, play, go to school, and even sing.

For more information on Touch A Life Foundation, visit www.touchalifekids.org.