I shared with one of my friend how I do my planning. She loved it so much that I decided to share it with you all. At the end of the year 2017 I had written to her:
Concerning the future one of my favorite ways of thinking about the future is to plan from the future backwards…Right now I do my annual Look Back 2018. No spelling mistake.
Step I: I dream with God what at the end of the next season I long to look back to
I have not finished my 2018 evaluation but these are some milestones. By the end of 2018
I did become more receptive
that is a big one. I was more of a do-er kind of person. But in this year I developed the skills to receive and enjoy things on a deeper level emotionally. This is on all levels – spiritually, emotionally and interpersonally. This also included enjoying and creating beauty more and “catching” it.. I might get myself a good camera…
I discovered new places and had real holidays
The years before there were hardly any real holidays. 2018 I did make room for an spend money on discovering new places and I did it with great people I love (Han, you are on the top of my list for people I would like to explore with — we need to do some serious planning on this).
I streamlined processes and trained my team
I defined values, goals and processes so well that my team knows exactly what to do. Using the formula eliminate – simplify – automate – delegate I reduced the organizational part of my business by 80%. This freed me to be less of a worker or manager, much more of a leader and developer.
I reduced financial burdens
I sold 30% of my existing stock and transferred it to cheaper warehouses, thus reducing storage cost. I also finished the solar panels on my ship – reducing electricity costs.
I developed and sold more digital products
I transformed and developed great digital products and the marketing strategies that go with them.
I strengthened people
Both paid and unpaid I invested in the lives of many people and made them stronger and happier
Step 2: In my spirit I look at what I was given, what I received and what I achieved
And I sense what it feels like. Yes, I am totally happy with what this year has brought – what a great year
Step 3: I pray and plan and work into it
Based on what I want to look back at at the end of the year I plan the specific steps.
That is my year 2018 – what is yours?”
I would love to hear your feedback on this method. So please drop a line and let me know what you think and what tools you use for planning and dreaming.
When I cry out to God he often answers – through books.
In the last days as I was thinking and praying about what I most wish for 2017 there was one thing I longed for most.
Less stuff in my head.
2016 was hard
Hackers attacked my German blog, my English blog, the websites for my 5 training courses and the blog of down to earth publishing – several times!!! Having Hack as a family name it may sound funny when I say I was hacked. But it was not. It took my team and me several months to clear up the mess. And it cost tons of money.
Moving. Moving house is never easy. But moving after 20 years in one place (4th floor without elevator) is a challenge. Especially if it means moving home and office and you move to an office 1/3 of the previous place. Tons of sorting. Lots of organizing.
Building. Although I already live on the ship we still need to finish some building i.e. putting up ceilings, floor surfaces, doors, new heaters…
Finances: Hackers, German tax department charging me for income I had not made (and I did not have the strength for a legal battle), drastic increase in the storage costs for books, and other stuff that unexpectedly drained finances – and had me struggle for financial survival.
1000 other problems – like an author cancelling a book project that we had worked on – 4 weeks before it was meant to go in print. And lots of the other stuff like a flood in the ship or the British Border control taking my identity card from me (it had once been stolen, but returned and I had reported both the theft and the return to the German government, but the Brits did not care and it cost me one day plus 300 Pounds to travel to the embassy, get a passport that is only valid for one day and book a new flight). You know – all the kind of stuff hat just happens, because it happens. Yikes.
Just thinking about 2016 makes me tired. Understandably.
But there was more to that. There was an incredible tiredness in my brain. Just the thought of thinking about something made me feel exhausted. And I felt that somehow I was doing something wrong that took my energy. And creativity. And to some extend the joy in life.
I found the answer – or at least a big part of it in an interview of the Bergman Leadership Podcast (20 Min Interviews with interesting people, often authors) The Interview mit Christine Carter inspired me and on her page she had a link to an Ebook, that promises strategies that would free up to one day per week.
In a nutshell she sais that our brain is craving for novelty as much as it is craving for food. If there is no outside stimulus it starts to search inside for new connections, processes things and comes up with new ideas.
However if we constantly give the brain outside stimulus (email, Facebook etc.) it has the short moment of “happiness” that satisfying an addiction gives (not the same emotion as true happiness that satisfies you deeply, whereas the act of fulfilling an addiction only leaves you hungry for more).
I would like to add: Because this habit of constantly looking for outside inspiration the brain has no real time to process. And thus the brain gets exhausted, deeply exhausted. So exhausted it does not even have energy for things that are true fun and inspiration (She did not say that in the interview, I just describe my experience).
Shorty before that I had read that German employees check their emails every five minutes, but believe they do it far less often. Yikes. Ouch. I will not confirm that my email checking habits contributed to the statistics nor deny that I checked my emails every … minutes. Yikes. Ideas to free your time
She recommends (among other things)
Reducing checking Emails to set times (1 – 3 times a day). And setting up different accounts for work, newsletters and private mail (I have work and newsletter, am thinking about a private mail account). I will have to experiment with this, but plan to reserve mornings for writing and answer mails before lunch. And maybe another time in the afternoon before I finish.
Reducing internet / social media time and being “off” at least one day per week. And making it impossible to get access. I will try to work on an 11 – 6 pm internet-time. And take Saturdays off. And put my laptop in my office in the evenings. At night it gets so cold there that the laptop “freezes”. It needs several minutes to warm up enough to respond to commands. And keeping my phone out of reach, so I can hear it ring, but am not tempted to play with it.
Reducing to-dos. o not fit into any of these categories, but need to be done).Kick out stuff that does not fit with your five priorities in life. There is lots of stuff that you think you might be doing sometime or should be doing, but you never will. Just decide to NOT do them. Or delegate. And sort the rest of the to-dos into the five priorities (and ok, one pile for the 5% that d
So I went through all the notes I had written to myself what I should do and ki
cked things out. And sorted the rest into the five priorities for 2017 – that part was easy as I do sort things by category anyhow. All in all deeply satisfying feelings
Going through this stuff I also realized that I had a ton of things in the back of my mind that never made it on one of my to do lists, but are still there as a “you should”: i.e. I should go through my jewelry and decide what I no longer wear and would like to give away and through the books that did not fit into the shelves and the towels and pots and … I pulled all of these out of the back of my brain and started a new category.
Potential Happiness boosters: I know it makes me totally happy and relieved, when I sort things and put them in order. So I wrote all of these ideas what I do want to do to make my ship and my life more ordered and beautiful on little filing cards, put them in a beautiful box and decided that even day after work I would takle ONE of them. I know I can do this, because all through summer every day I took 20 – 30 minutes after work to reduces the content of two folders into one. So once I made the commitment I know I can keep it. I also marked those of the happiness boosters that others can help me with (i.e. sorting linen, wood…) as sometimes people who stay on the ship would like to do something for me. So it is good to have ideas.
I know it will be challenging – especially the detox from Internet and Social Media. But rewarding. Weeding out my to-dos, resisting “quickly checking what is happening in my life (i.e. did I get new messages or book orders) or in the lives of others is a challenge, but I can sense how much it will strengthen and ease my life.
Last night, while brushing my teeth I had a moment of enlightenment and I finally understood what is going on in the present elections in America.
Or let´s say a glimpse of enlightenment that suddenly gave me a perspective of how I could at least bring some sense to this bizarre spectacle.
It came with the word …
I suddenly realized that I see both candidates as dinosaurs – remains from an age long passed that somehow made it into our world.
Clinton seems old to me
I am not young any more (turning 50 next year), but I am a generation younger than her. And am more sensitive to internet security than she is – however sending sensitive email through a private server, because it is less complicated than using government servers could have happened to me as well.
And I was in my diapers when she was protesting against Vietnam and for women´s rights (at least I guess she did). Most of this had to do with being able to make your own choices as a woman – without the dominance of men or the government. As a woman I am thankful for many of the good freedoms the women who were before us helped to achieve. But still a lot of the women´s rights language seems outdated. It sounds as if we still need to fight – whereas many younger women still see the need to discuss and explain and sometimes negotiate. But not fight. Rather find ways how WE men and women can work together.
And yes, the bizarre idea to define it as freedom or right of a woman to take the life of another human being – even if it is before birth – to me seems totally wrong.
Trump seems even older
With his High Noon – I am alone on main street – is there anyone I can shoot – style of communication and action this man seems to have jumped out of a time machine from the early days of the Wild West (as portrayed in movies, in reality it probably was slightly different). Movies where it is clear cut: The good, the bad , the ugly. Also he seems to be playing all roles in the movie himself… thinking he is good, while he talks and behaves bad…and ugly…well…there were some comments on his hair…and his communication style… he seems centuries old.
It all seems like reality TV, but the weird thing about it is that it seems to be real reality.
Why did two parties choose dinosaur candidates?
So why on earth would two established parties select two candidates that are old or even vintage? How can people lead a nation when their views and manners seem outdated and older than the nation itself and most of the people they represent.
I guess the answer is the same as usual: When we face too much new, too many changes we withdraw to the old.
I see the same in my country. When Angela Merkel at the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees courageously said “We can do this!” she was dreaming of a flexible, welcoming, modern, integrative Germany. It inspired many – 10% of all Germans actively help refugees in one way or another. And it frightened more.
I guess in the same way as some Germans were frightened , the Brits were frightened about the new and changing world – slightly less British then before I would say, Mortime – and voted exit. And maybe Americans got frightened by the new world their president wanted to embrace.
And – like Angela Merkel he did not have the personal or communicative or political power to keep the dream of a flexible, integrative society alive in his nation.
The frightened ones go back to old patterns of us vs. them. Fear and rejection. The same game everywhere. Nothing new under the sun.
That is not only a problem of the right. It also is a problem of the left. I sometimes cannot believe the slogans I hear at left-wing demonstrations. They are half a century old. The us vs. them patterns haven´t change.
The WE-world does not exist in their heads either.
So what now?
I guess in a few weeks the Americans will vote one of the dinosaurs for president. I hope and pray that it will still be good – somehow. Not just words. I seriously do. I promised to myself that I will spend more time praying for the candidates than discussing what they do or say. A hard promise to keep with all the noise…
And for you in America
In those four years stretch yourself. Talk to strangers. Invite them into your home. Learn new stuff. Open to a world that is new to you. And gets newer every day. Revisit your values – how do you think life can be lived in the best way – and see how you can live them in this world.
And then – in 2020 nominate and elect someone who is at home in this modern – ever changing world and can be a good leader in a WE world.
Grief comes in waves. Moments of sadness and pain interwoven with moments of sweetness and even joy and laughter as precious memories surface. One person once said: “Grief is sorting – the things that are gone forever and the things that remain!”
In the last days since I heard of the sudden death of Debbie she and her family were in my mind constantly. I was not super close to her, but we saw one another about every other year, spent time with one another, in spite of the infrequency I felt close to all of them.
Many friends posted on Facebook what she meant to them and what was lost and what a person she was. I felt almost unable to write. How can you “summarize” a life like hers – that is like a huge tapestry of many, many colors.
So I spent time thinking about what remains of her – in her kids.
Sam, Elizabeth, Abigail, Hannah, Tamara:
I have seen you grow up from little children to the Teens and adults you now are. And while each one of you is unique I see some strands of how your mum lives on in you. And would like to share.
When I first met you, you were in your early teens and fairly withdrawn. I do not remember you speaking a word with me for the first three years or so of knowing you. And I almost never managed to get you on a picture!
But then – one time while visiting in Berlin – you gave me your own copy of the Lord of the Rings as a gift. I knew it was really, really special. I did feel like a queen.
Although I was quite different in lifestyle from you and your family I felt deeply accepted. And that is probably one of the biggest gift we can give to each other. And you carry that, too.
For me Debbie also was a very hands on person. She found practical solutions for problems when she saw them and she was just doing it, leading the way. And you carry that, too!
One of your mums gifts was to make people feel special – using little things to express that.
One time when I visited and the house in Prague was crammed full with artists, she made my own “room” on the balcony… with a czech salt candle.
And you did join the “German team” in the GoKart race… and of course we managed to push your dad into the tyres…
I feel that in your heart for baking and making really special food you inherited some of that gift from her – in a very tender and precious way that is just right for you. You are wonderful and will bless many people with this gift. Your mum cared about you a lot. I remember that once when you were in your late teenage years she once invited me for a walk to have a long time to talk – one hour of uninterrupted talking was a lot for her. She was concerned for you – longing for ways how she could best support and strengthen you. She loved you a lot.
On the window sill of my ship there are three pieces of pottery. One sturdy feminine figure with long curly hair that you once made for me. And two pieces of pottery from your mum.
It was one of her first pieces – a little mug with a painting of grapes. And one really fine mug. I think it is one of twelve pieces. The other ones she gave to other members of the tribe like Derek and Amy – building community with her art.
I believe you are more of an artist than you think right now. There is “stuff” in you that is waiting to come out and to be expressed. And I guess what you will create – may it be material pieces of art or spaces to meet – will bring people together and connect them. To me you also are a person that provides strength to others and is a safe haven – like your mum.
One of the things that I loved about your mum was here unique style. And I loved how she encouraged you to develop your own way of dressing and expressing who you are. I think you do that well – expressing to the outside who you are in the inside – with all the diverse parts of your personality.
I really like that about you.
The biggest gift you once gave to me was a painting. When I was full of pain in a hard time in my life you wanted to paint something for me. I then asked you to paint a picture of hope. You asked me “How do I paint hope?” I encouraged you to think of something yourself.
Then you painted a flower in all four seasons: budding, blooming with the sun shining on it in full force, then withering and gone.
In the winter part of your painting there was only white – with two musical notes. And You explained to me “In winter you have to sing!” And that is my hope for you right now.
I do not know you so well, but I remember that your mum told me that when she was pregnant with you and felt God told her that she should call you Tamara, she was surprised, as Tamar had gone through a lot of pain and she did not want you to be named after a woman who suffered so much.
But then she realized that in spite of all the pain – and to some extend even because – she was a woman who wrote history. And that was her hope for you. And it is my hope as well – as you experience loss so early…that in spite of it or maybe even because – you will shape your destiny.
And you are sturdy. One of the first memories of you is of your brother and sisters putting a hat on your face – while you were only two or three months old. You looked cool – and took it with a smile.
I guess you also carry your mums heart to let people feel they are loved. One of my sweetest memories was when you were staying with Maggie in Berlin.
We were playing run and catch and had a lot of fun. When I wanted to leave i could not find my shoes. You had hidden them – because you wanted me to stay. Your 4 year old way to say “I love you!”
No clue how to express how much Debbie shaped your life – every since you put your eyes on this red haired amazing woman who could beat you in the 1980s version of computer games… She seemed like the haven from which you could launch out in the world and at the same time being the closed travel companion.
It will be hard, more than hard to develop and find a way on your own. But there is so much of her in you, so much that shaped both of you together that this will provide some of the strength that you need to find your own way into the future – carrying the many precious seeds that she put in your life and sowing them into the world – together with your own unique tall skinny Kiwi seeds.
Well of course – meeting Debbie shaped me. Stretching my horizon. Introducing me to people i never met before. And helping me to expand acceptance. One time when you were all visiting me I told your parents to have a day off without kids and took you to the children Museum. What I had not expected was that TJ was in the mood of wearing her ladybug outfit and your mum said “ok!”
Well…it was me walking around with her all day through the city of Berlin – her wearing a ladybug costume. Now I laugh about it -but at that time it was quite a big stretch for me. Not caring about what people think.
Or at least not enough about others peoples opinion to forbid a child to express her heart. It taught me a lot. I guess that I would not have been able to create a space like the ship without having met and been shaped by Debbie and all of you. God using you to expand and open my heart and make it a bit more relaxed…
Later that day after a lot of big adventures TJ fell asleep in my arms. And slept for three solid hours in my arms as we took the underground, walked to Potsdamer Platz, had a huge ice-cream (sorry, TJ, you missed something) and sat and talked with Andrew and Debbie as they joined us.
It touched me that Debbies last Facebook entry was about sleeping. And your family ability to sleep just anywhere. I wish you that in this rough time of saying good bye and do all of the sorting of the things that remain and the things that you have to let you – there will be moments of rest, refreshment.
If you want you are always welcome on my boat – for a time of rest, joy and fellowship and to enjoy the pieces of art your mum made – both in clay and within my life.
I am touched by seeing the pictures of men, women, families, children going on tiny boats on the sea. Risking their lives to be in safety from war, terror, persecution. Looking at those tiny boats trying to face the waves the wind and the storm, my heart breaks. I just feel with them. Feel helpless for and with them. Wishing there would be ways to stop all this tragedy and bring them to safety.
It is so risky. So many died. I recently read two stories of tow different brave young women Sarah and Yusra . Both knew how to swim and jumped into the cold water and swam for hours when the engine failed to bring the people on the boat safely to the land. I am proud that both of them are now in my country, building a new future.
Then, recently for the first time I remembered that there were other men an women on boats centuries ago changed the face of Europe. In the early middle ages, when all of Europe was deeply bound by superstition, fear of spirits, heathen practices and fear of making the Gods angry and the constant need to appease them – there were men an women in Ireland who went into boats.
They risked their lives. However their reason to go on the journey was not out of fear. They did not flee from terror or war. They left their nice homes, families and friends and took the risk of a journey across the – because of love. They had heard and believed the message that God so loved the world that he came to safe and redeem. And that he wanted his followers to share his love in word and deed.
They did not want to live without sharing this love. And so they went. All over Europe. Starting little communities that cared for the sick, taught people how to read and write. They founded villages and towns. A lot of Europes education and knowlege came from them.
It was not easy. Leaving your home never is. Even if you choose to do it. Many did not return. They died in the sea or under the hands of the religious extremists of their days. Or simply got sick and lost their strength.
One of the travelers, Brendan the Navigator, wrote a prayer expressing his heart.
Shall I abandon, O King of mysteries, the soft comforts of home?
Shall I turn my back on my native land, and turn my face towards the sea?
Shall I put myself wholly at your mercy,
without silver, without a horse,
without fame, without honor?
Shall I throw myself wholly upon You,
without sword and shield, without food and drink,
without a bed to lie on?
Shall I say farewell to my beautiful land, placing myself under Your yoke?
Shall I pour out my heart to You, confessing my manifold sins and begging forgiveness,
tears streaming down my cheeks?
Shall I leave the prints of my knees on the sandy beach,
a record of my final prayer in my native land?
Shall I then suffer every kind of wound that the sea can inflict?
Shall I take my tiny boat across the wide sparkling ocean?
O King of the Glorious Heaven, shall I go of my own choice upon the sea?
O Christ, will You help me on the wild waves?
These men and women risked their lives. My life, our culture, the whole of Europe would not be the same if they had not taken the risk. I am deeply thankful for them.
I hope that now in gratitude we will not harden our hearts to those who are now traveling the sea, desperate to save their lives.
I hope that in gratitude we live according to the things they taught us: There is a God who is loving and merciful beyond measure. And he calls us to learn from Him and be like him.
There are more prayers these people of old prayed that are deeply touching.
And I pray them for all those who are out there on the waves… trusting the mercy of God.
God bless the path on which you go
God bless the earth beneath your feet
God bless your destination.
God be a smooth way before you
A guiding star above you
A keen eye behind you
This day, this night, and forever.
God be with you whatever you pass
Jesus be with you whatever you climb
Spirit be with you wherever you stay.
God be with you at each stop and each sea
At each lying down and each rising up
In the trough of the waves, on the crest of the billows.
Each step of the journey you take.
And this century old blessing is one of my favorites:
Deep peace of the running waves to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the smiling stars to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the watching shepherds to you,
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.
My friend Matthias Beyer who is a brilliant coach, who suffered a huge aneurism in his brain in lte march. He loved to coach people and strengthen them in life. As I thought how I could honor him and help the family I came up with the following idea.
FREE OF CHARGE online coaching course to support Matthias and Kim Beyer .
I developped an online Coaching course called LEA – traininig people in LIFE, ENERGY AND ACTION. The course teaches the skills ot live well, develop more physical and emotional energy i.e. by reducing weight and getting rid of emotional burdens and take action in some areas of life – i.e. learning to set boundaries. And it asks a lot of questions – like the kind of questions Matthias would have asked when coaching you. http://lea-training.com/
For all who want to honor Matthias by being learners offer the next course – starting April 10 – for FREE OF CHARGE.
Simply register here and we will put you on the course. It starts April 10 and runs for 3 months (2 coaching mails per week).
However I ask participants to donate to the Matthias Beyer Family fund to support his family, who not only struggle with the tragedy, but also with huge hospital costs. http://lea-training.com/sign-up
Enjoying some quiet moments while my elderly parents whom I visit for Christmas watch TV or rest – I take some time to look back on this year – rich in challenges and blessings.
4000 hrs of work from volunteers and professionals to remove rust, paint, put up insulation, drill holes…and lots of other stuff. Thankful for each one and all of them… the picture shows Isaac – painting the inside of a water tank!
6 new titles written by me – sorry all in German, but we are working on translations: Coco Chanel, Johannes Gutenberg, Non-violent Communication, Sensitivity, Questions of sucess, removing Blockages (co-authored with my Collegue Christoph Schalk). All of them in German so far…but we are working on English translations…
2 new part-time staff in Publishing – for orders and organization
Lowlights – the difficult times
Discovering that we had painted a huge part of the ship with a color that would not dry – we had forgotten to add the hardener. Yikes. Improvisation is king.
Being falsely accused and sued to have violated the rights of a fotographer – I won the court case, but lost Hundreds of Euro for Research and more that 40 hours of work – for nothing … that was / is frustrating. I learned a lot, but it cost me a lot, too.
Slipping on the ship and falling on a sharp metal edge – damaging muscles on my leg – I had to watch the world cup finals in bed with my leg on ice.. and the muscles have not recovered completely.
Spending time with a lot of different people on board of my ship – working together, sharing, laughing, crying… and seeing the ship being transformed from an empty metal shell to a homely place: We removed rust and added insulation, paint, Floors, walls, a toilet, Watertanks… and we now even have a dishwasher… and it works…
Miracle after Miracle in terms of helpers and finance
Seeing Germany beat Brasil 7:1 – the most unbelievable Soccer game of my life. Ok and becoming World Champion was not too bad either – although I had to watch the game in bed – with my injured leg wrapped in ice.
Celebrating the birthday of a dear friend in Sweden.
Launching my online-course LEA: Life, Energy, Action in English for the first time – I hope it will provide inspiration for many people.
Coaching many different people – in business issues or personal questions – and seeing them find solutions. Being part of this is simply wonderful.
Being part oft he „wall of lights“ fort he 25th anniversary oft he fall oft he Berlin wall. A day to remember.
I especially enjoyed learning more about Wingwave. That is a short-term coaching approach that helps remove blockages very quickly and effectivly. One woman who had suffered from fear of dark hallways after having been a victim of a bank robbery lost her fear after only one hour of coaching. Seeing things like that happen right in front of my eyes just makes me cry for joy.
Down to Earth, my publishing house over the years has grown from a one – woman business to a team of 10 part-time staff. It is important to lay new structures. And I have found a great coach who is helping me to master this time of transition.
2014 was quite a challenging year for me – it challenged me to grow in trust, leadership, coping… just sticking with the challenges, week after week. I am thankful that all in all it was a good year. And I am thankful for all the wonderful people who encouraged me, prayed for me, supported me and the ship project – a huge thank you to everyone who stood with me in this past year…
This course is amazing. In 2011 I met a woman who was seriously overweight and unhappy with some aspects of her life. Some days later I sat on a beach and thought how I could help her and others who wanted to be stronger in life and more happy.
As I am a professional life coach and passionate about passing on skills I decided to develop an online training course to strengthen people in 3 areas:
LIFE: How to live live more strongly. And to remove what hindres you.
ENERGY: How to gain more emotional and physical energy. And get rid of unneccessary physical and emotional burdens.
ACTION: How to find the strength to act on what you know. And how instead of hoping your life would change you would actually live the change you want to see.
Because change takes time the course runs for 3 months – with two mails per week and a Facebook page to share experiences. And it is a mixture of inspiration, teaching about life skills questions to think about and suggestions for immediate action.
Since I implemented the course in German it has helped houndreds of people to
It almost makes me cry that now – after several years !!! of translation work, dozens of checks, setting up the hompeage etc. the course is now available in English for the first time. It is my hope and my dream that it will inspire and assist numerous people around the world to live their lives stronger and more happily. I guess the LEA course is one of the biggest gifts that I can give to the world.
During the last few weeks, I’ve been preoccupied with the question of how I can deepen my inner connection to Jesus. On the search for answers, I pulled a book out of my “To-Read” pile: Gestillt (Satisfied) by David Zindel from Neufeld Publishing. The subtitle “Night conversations with David” explains what it’s about.
At first, I was irritated. As a publisher, it is important to me to have a good framework for a storyline, and this was missing. A stressed-out and unhappily married man writes letters to King David, and the author barely even makes the effort to create a framework for it other than an introductory letter that communicates to the reader how the publication of the letters in Heaven is contentiously discussed. I think there should have been a little more creativity. I would have described, perhaps, how the good man reads Psalm 23 “I shall not want” in the evening and then writes a rather angry retort to the author, lays it in his Bible, and is astounded the next evening to find an answer on the back of his letter… actually from David.
After the framework, I was further irritated about the stupidity of Reinhard, the writer. At the beginning, he is presented as someone who blames all of his marital problems exclusively on his wife. I know contemporaries, men as well as women, who primarily see the cause of problems in the other person. Yet, I don’t think anyone could be so dumb as to have zero self-awareness like Reinhard at the beginning of the book – at least I hope not!!!
Once I was over the first hump, the book began to fascinate me. King David writes from the perspective of eternity looking back on his life, and he’s learned a few things. I liked how he encouraged Reinhard again and again not to seek fulfillment/satisfaction in things, rather in interacting with God. He wrote and explained this over and over in various ways and nuances… it was very good for me.
A few of the most beautiful thoughts from the book (quoted from memory):
The quality of satisfaction can be known by its aftertaste (A very wise thought, I think. It goes for food as well as events and interactions).
Pouring your heart out and allowing it to be refilled again belong together. One without the other makes no sense. (I thought this really good!)
Spiritually dry times are gifts from God. He is attempting to release us from our own not-really-rewarding attempts at satisfaction.
Obedience has to do with hearing. Obedience is the ability to hear.
God wants to wash our dirty laundry white, not to discuss the gray parts with us.
When we draw back from things, we can then receive and enjoy them anew as gifts from God – in a free way – as satisfied people, not as longing, insatiable, unsatisfied people who imbibe everything and, because they remain unsatisfied, must continually increase the doses.
David, when looking back from Heaven on his revenge acts: “Only now do I know that a happy life is made of settling the balance immediately, in emergencies from your own pocket.”
Thankful, I lay a good book aside… the valuable thoughts from it will accompany me for a while still.
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What is the difference between a successful person and a less successful one? Successful people stumble strategically. When they fall down, which is unavoidable, they look to see if there’s perhaps a dust particle or seed on the floor. One of my goals in life is to become a person who stumbles strategically. Or in other words, I would like to be a person who makes fertilizer out of the crap that sometimes happens in life.
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