Jolt by Phil Cooke


Jolt by Phil Cooke is the latest book I’ve received from Thomas Nelson for reviewing it. But I think it may not have been the best choice.

The information on the book sounded good, with all of the changes happening learning to harness it to my benefit could only be helpful.

But this just wasn’t really up my alley in styles. To me it came off with the entire first chapter seeming as hyped as an infomercial… complete with crazy distractions including text being set at odd angles, random tire mark looking decorations behind headlines, and random quotes being set in at random places without ever being connected with the other content around them.

From there it mellowed out on the hype and gimmicky style and basically flipped into motivational speaker fodder. If you are one of those people who likes motivational speakers and those inspirational trait posters, this might be just what you are looking for.

Especially if you are into business. The information about the book barely mentioned anything about business, instead saying it applied to “your life”, but there’s a lot of sections that go off into business applications but then only briefly mention “oh and this could apply to your life too” without ever going into exactly how, or why they didn’t just focus on that part in the first place. Well, unless you are hosting regular, hour long, off-site, brainstorming sessions with a team of people small enough to be fed with 2 pizzas for managing your daily life?

For the rest of us, well, honestly I think I learned and remembered more just re-reading the table of contents titles and subtitles and flipping through glancing at the bold and headlines to refresh my memory before writing this than I did actually reading through it.

It sounded good from the initial descriptions… but just really was not what I was looking for.

Thomas Nelson page


Max on Life by Max Lucado

Max on Life by Max Lucado is the latest book I’ve received from Thomas Nelson for reviewing, and it’s not your typical book by Max.

This book has a completely different format… it’s entirely question and answer. He does group these into chapter-like sections of similar topics, but it’s not any sort of storyline or plot here.

Each page starts with a particular question, and the rest of the page is spent on the answer. A handful in each section will overlap onto the next page by maybe a paragraph, but these are the exception.

Sometimes some of the answers seem a little bit of a pat answer, but I think that’s mostly due to this format… I mean, these are topics that people regularly spend books explaining, and he’s trying to answer it in a single page.

But he does really well overall. Most of the answers are a mix of his thoughts and scripture, though some lean a bit heavier one direction or the other… but they all give a good overview on what direction to explore further, sort of a direction to approach the question from.

I think this is actually one of my favorite books from Max. The answers are solid even as short as they are, and the questions aren’t all just fluffy easy-answer ones that have no challenge to them.

I think this would be a really good gift book to a new believer, or to someone starting a new ministry position involving a lot of personal contact and finding themselves fielding questions that they may not have had much experience answering before. It’s a good read in general, but I think it’s use as a reference book for those sorts of situations could be really well matched.

Thomas Nelson page

Amazon page

One more add

So. Back to the facebook adding experiments with my church.

I got an add today from one of the people from the first round.

Yes.. this many months later. And yes, looking at her wall, she’s been active on facebook between the two times.

Not entirely sure how to respond.

So that gives me 3 out of 14 for the round of people that actually knew who I was.

Plus 7/7 total (6/7 remaining) for the people who I told that we go to the same church, but knew they didn’t know me.

Plus 1/1 for people who asked me, but with another long delay before following through.

The girl who asked to add me does comment back and forth a bit sometimes, especially if one of my other friends is also posting a lot on that particular item.

But, not much has come of the people who have added me at my requests.1 of the leaders and 2 of the second group will respond to comments I make on their status messages, but none have said anything on anything I’ve posted, and the other leader and the rest of that 7 pretty much ignore anything I happen to respond on their stuff. Nobody else has deleted me yet, but I’m semi-surprised.

I’ve since done a third group of 7… people that don’t know me, I didn’t say anything about the church, BUT I picked the ones that had at least 3 mutual friends from the people who had added me earlier so they could have figured that.

And got 0/7.

So… unless I’m dealing with a leader, my best bet is to neither know them well nor to be totally unannounced stranger…. but to be a casual acquaintance not known enough to know me by name.

Actually…. that sounds about the level most things tend to stay, at a lot of churches. So maybe it shouldn’t surprise me much on the results.

Thunder on the plains

Where we live, we get lots of severe weather in spring into summer and sometimes even fall.

Maybe everywhere does to some extent, but we seem to get a lot. Tornado alley as the nickname goes.

These aren’t just the days that it’s kind of overcast and rainy all day, we get those too but these are different.

These are the days where it’s nice and warm or even hot during the afternoon and mostly sunny… but then cool air moves in.

You can physically feel a big difference in the temp.

But as the hot air is still around the ground, and the cold air is above, and that’s not their natural places, all of nature breaks loose. Tornados, massive winds, hail, rains so heavy it floods.

All this where just hours before was warm temps and sunshine.

But, soon before it starts, you can tell. No matter how far you are from the nearest weatherman.

There’s a certain feel to the air, a certain weight to it, a certain smell.

The sky will get dark, but only in one direction. The clouds with start moving in, and start to tint different colors… greenish, reddish, dark blues…. clouds that bring tornados often look almost black when they are still in the distance, often with a very obvious line where they start.

At this point… for most sane people, the thing to do is to prepare for the storm that’s soon to come.. to try to minimize any harm.

If you have a garage, you put your car in it to protect it from hail. If not, you make sure your windows are up.

You clear anything that could fly away easily out of your yard, or stack it in a well blocked area, or tie it down. Especially plastic lawn furniture, empty trash cans, and kids toys.

You make sure all of the windows are closed in your house, because even in a house with awnings, rain will get in when propelled by horizontal wind.

You make sure that the pets are in. If you are cautious, you unplug anything particularly expensive rather than trust the surge protectors. You make sure flashlights have batteries or candles are nearby.

And, having gotten anything taken care of that needed taken care of, you wait.

Sometimes ignoring the storm, trying to go on about your regular tasks. Sometimes glued to the tv or radio, which will usually change to lots of storm coverage even blacking out prime time shows as the storm nears. Sometimes sitting and watching the storm roll in from a place close to shelter when it gets strong.

Always with a bit of a ear listening for tornado sirens to signal the need to move to the most secure place you can find… usually a basement.

And then the storm comes.

Except when it doesn’t.

Because sometimes places that are very near will have completely different experiences. No hail here, golf ball sized there. Tornados are especially precise on wiping out a rows of houses completely while 50 yards away another row stands undamaged at all.

Usually when the storms come seemingly out of nowhere, they get huge fast. The whole radar screen is nearly covered in green to orange to red.

But still, even in a big storm, there are pockets.

A few weeks ago, we had one of these pockets. We barely got rain, other people in town had quarter sized hail. We were in the area within the storm… but apparently in a weak spot.

Then early last week, there was a day we were positive it was about to storm. Sky got dark, lightning near, some beginning sprinkles… and then… nothing. The area east of us got hit with a lot of rain, but nothing but sprinkles here.

So today I had the windows open, and I’d been reading for a while, when about 7pm when I felt the abrupt temp drop. And the wind started flipping curtains around where it’d been still earlier. Looking out the window, the dark sky was already moving in. Rain would be soon.

I went outside to check the car windows, and the yard for toys, and tell my daughter to be ready to come in… and sprinkles started. My mom yelled out her door about a town 10 minutes drive away where a cop had a windshield broken by the hail.

And then the sprinkles stopped.

And then started. And stopped.

And 2 hours later, the sky was still dark, the lightning was still there, thunder could still be heard, wind was still blowing, air was still ready… but the ground was still dry.

And so I sat on the porch (on the wrought iron furniture that rarely budges from storms lol)… and I watched the lightning a bit.

And I thought about how scary looking life is sometimes.

And the response is to prepare for the worst.

But sometimes… sometimes it only sprinkles.

And sometimes… everything will be ok. Most of the time actually. When everything is all said and done… and the storm has moved on… even if there is some damage, everything is generally ok.

But that’s so hard to remember when you feel surrounded by dark scary clouds.

Fears and self acceptance.

So. I got an envelope from the college today. The one I’m hoping to get into for the remaining two programs that I have a shot at for next year.

Nothing too out of the ordinary… I’ve gotten quite a few of them lately from random paperwork back and forth.. they received my app for the college, they received this transcript, then that one, then I was accepted into the college itself, then they needed this paperwork for financial aid, then they assigned so and so to my admissions contact…. etc etc etc.

The degree audit was one of the other letters last week. I feel owe their transcript analyst a thank you present of some sort… as everything transferred perfectly, and the classes they listed as my ones to fulfill their requirements leaves me with all a’s and b’s except 1 c.

But this was the letter for the second choice of the two programs.

I have an interview on monday.

It wasn’t till I opened this letter that I realized exactly how much I’m expected the answer to be “no”.

My first thought on seeing that the letter was from the department was literally to think of sending a facebook message to a friend of mine who also went back to school, telling her “yay, i wont have to take chemistry!”

But… instead I’m on to the next level.

What strikes me the most is how different this is than the first time through college. I had no fears on acceptance, to anything I applied to.

But now… after a decade… I’m both pessimistic and honestly scared.

I wonder exactly how many rejections I’ve had in the past decade. For that matter, in the last few years. I’d guess at least into the thousands by now. Most of the time without even an interview.

Most of the time feeling like I didn’t even really have a chance.. no matter if I could have easily done the job.

So I’m trying to convince myself that this will be different.

That this will be based on ability.

That this is academics, not popularity networking.

But it’s not working well.

And this interview is really scaring me.

Because my biggest fear right now i that I won’t be judged fairly.

You see, the application process said that “those who meet the academic qualifications will be given an interview”. The one question all year has been whether or not they were going to hold the gpa from the former classes against me, or just look at the more recent ones, or look at the official college degree audit.

So if I’m getting an interview, they obviously went with one of the latter two, and that hurdle is passed (for this program anyway).

And with that passed, so is the objective portion. The portion where I would be ok if I failed to get in due to just not having what I needed.

But this subjective portion is starting to terrify me.

Not because I’m scared I’ll freeze up, or won’t be able to come up with good answers…. one perk of going through tons of job interviews that never went anywhere is that they don’t scare me too much anymore.

But I’m scared because it’s so easy to be judged by any number of irrelevant factors.

Will they be able to see beyond the fact that I’m older than they other applicants probably are?

Or that I’m female?

Or that I’m not only fat, but fat and trying to go into a profession that’s related to health?

Or that I’m more of an introvert and not the happy bubbly type that instantly makes friends with everybody?

Or even that I have hair that’s starting to get really long in a profession that will probably require it to be pulled up most of the time? Or even that I wear glasses in a profession that requires visual elements?

Or that I’m a single parent if the topic of children comes up?

Should these be things they consider? Are they things they ever realize that they are taking into account?

Should I make efforts to try and minimize them in a last ditch effort to make it into the program?

I’m filled with thoughts of running out and purchasing the strongest spanx I can find, chopping my hair off at the neck, wearing my contacts instead of my glasses even though they drive me eyes nuts in allergy season, putting one of my old rings on my left hand… and doing the best fake bubbly impression that I can come up with.


That’s not me that they’d be seeing.

While I have enough comfort in my own skin to not be too concerned about these sorts of trivial surface judgements on most days… with the sort of weight on the future that this interview could end up having, it’s really giving that comfort a run for its money.

That comfortable me is having a hard time being coaxed out from under the bed… and really feels like sending “least possible judgeable factor” me in it’s place.

Will I regret it if I don’t try my hardest to remove irrelevant factors as much as I can, and I don’t get accepted?

Will I regret it if I do, no matter what the result?