Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday's Mail Memo - Book Swap (Confetti, Joy & No Complaints)

Waving to all the Mondayers joining in with Sian this year as we share a favorite piece of mail from the previous week . . . although I'm (already!) bending the rules a little bit to share something I received  right before the new year. (Read on to see why I'm just now sharing it.)

2017 Book Swap with Brenda

Back in December, my sister Brenda and I decided to have a monthly book swap beginning in January. Brenda asked for books that are encouraging and FUN and motivating. I have quite a few ideas of books I think she'll enjoy, and my plan is to alternate between non-fiction and fiction throughout the year. Brenda felt like the biggest challenge would be hers as she tried to choose books that I hadn't already read. If you've been around my blog awhile, you know I'm an avid reader, so I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with each month.

We agreed to send our packages to arrive the first week of each month, and we both actually mailed our January packages before the new year. Robbie dropped my package into the mailbox at his office building on December 30, and later that same day I received a package from Brenda.

January Book From Brenda - A Complaint Free World

Along with the book, A Complaint Free World, she sent a Complaint Free bracelet and a cute envelope and note about this book.

This book is easy-to-read and quite motivating as it encourages readers to become aware of how much we complain. The bracelet is designed as a reminder and is supposed to be moved from one arm to the other each time the wearer finds herself complaining (or gossiping or criticizing or using sarcasm - all various forms of complaining). The author challenges readers to go 21 days without complaining, noting that it takes most people several months to a year to actually complete the challenge. I was glad that Brenda had written in her note to me that she wanted to share this book because it's something she hoped to accomplish someday . . . so I won't assume it's because I complain too much. :)

While I've decided not to try the 21-day challenge, I have worn the bracelet several times to help me be aware of my own complaining. I admit that I'm more apt to complain first thing in the morning when I'm not quite ready to start the day, when I'm tired, and when I'm hungry. I really enjoyed this book and it's definitely made me more aware of all the complaining that goes on each day in our world.

Here are a few points to ponder from the book:

What we call news is actually Bad News. We're encouraged to stop watching, listening to, and/or reading the Bad News during our Complaint Free journey. This is easy for me, as I've mentioned before, I rarely watch or listen to the news, preferring to get a once-a-day summary via The Skimm.

I invite you to consider how often complaining about illness might be an unconscious attempt to get sympathy and attention or to avoid doing something.

I love this quote from Charles H. Spurgeon that the author shared as encouragement to continue working toward the 21-days: "By perseverance the snail reached the ark."

Instead of complaining about a situation or social cause that needs to be changed, discern what needs to be done and then begin to speak in terms of what it will be like when the challenge no longer exists, when the gap is bridge, when the problem is solved; you will then excite people to join you in improving things.

I was thrilled to receive this book from Brenda (and highly recommend it if you haven't read it)!

January Book to Brenda - You Bring the Confetti, God Brings the Joy 

I was so excited for Brenda to receive the package I mailed out containing You Bring the Confetti, God Brings the Joy by Luci Swindoll. I found a box in our shipping supplies stash, adhered quotes inside, and filled it with paper confetti. I created a bookmark and also included a note to my sister saying that I hoped she found lots of ways to celebrate life in the coming year.

I sealed the box and added numbered washi tape along with confetti and book stamps. I actually forgot to snap a photo of it, but Brenda sent one when it finally arrived . . . two weeks later!!! I was so excited for her to get the book all packaged in the confetti that I was terribly disappointed when each day she texted to say "no package." In fact, I prepared another book and sent it out right before this one finally showed up at her house because I figured this package was lost between here and there (only 5 1/2 hours away in the same state!). I was thrilled when it finally arrived last week . . . and that's why I haven't shared about it before now.

You Bring the Confetti, God Brings the Joy is an older book, written in 1986 when the author was 64-years-old. I purchased this book at a Women of Faith conference in the late 1990s when I heard Luci Swindoll speak. She even autographed the book to me on the title page. It's a FUN book to read, although there are a few things that definitely date it as before the technology boom - she mentions calculators, using mail order catalogs to save time ordering gifts, and cassette tapes just to name a few.

The premise of the book is to celebrate life every day, and the various chapters give ideas for celebrating now, birthdays, mealtime, camaraderies, reunions, knowledge, work, accomplishments, imagination, beauty, America, and God. I especially like her reminder to learn just for the FUN of it and to celebrate your loved ones home. As I was re-reading the book before mailing it off to Brenda, I made a list of ideas for celebrating during my ACTIVE year, including celebrating my daily exercise (I actually applaud myself when I've completed a session here at home now!) and planning ACTIVE birthday trips and more outings with friends.

My favorite quote comes early in the book when Luci shares the party "scripture" she made up as a little girl: Verily, verily I say unto you: thou shalt find a party at the end of this street. Turn not to the right nor the left, but direct your steps toward it. Great will be your fun upon arrival. Walk ye in haste.

I also appreciate her reminder that: We are most appealing to others, and the happiest within, when we are completely ourselves.

I'm looking forward to this monthly book swap, and I'll be sharing the packages I send and receive throughout the year. Did you receive any happy mail this past week?


  1. I am so glad you enjoyed the book. Now to work harder on my 21 days.

  2. Two interesting books to feed the mind and soul! The importance of little everyday rituals is just beginning to grow loud for me.

  3. I will be adding both of those to my Goodreads list. It sounds like you gals will enjoy the monthly swap a lot, and we'll enjoy hearing about it.

  4. What a great pairing of books. I like the title you sent Brenda, reminds me of a similar Mennonite book, 'Why Not Celebrate?' from a similar time period. Read it before I had kids and it affected my parenting.

    Such a neat idea too, looking forward to hearing about your book swap year.

  5. I have always been a fan of celebrating the ordinary everyday moments. A book swap sounds like a fun idea.

  6. what a great idea, I loved the Spurgeon quote x

  7. What a great post...this means we have a year of book swaps to read about, right? Hurray to that! That first book has me interested because I saw a poster the other day and it has stayed with me. It said "Did you have a bad day/ Or did you just have a bad five minutes you milked all day?"

    Have a great week Melissa

  8. I'm always happy to see a book review or two! These both sound interesting, and I love the quote Sian added to her comment. When I finally get home and have time to write a decent post about my OLW you'll be able to see that this post is relevant to it.

  9. Honestly, I don't think I want to take that complaining challenge. Some of my best stories are the results of complaining about things---social security, Sprint, traffic! My friends and I really do believe that "misery loves company!" We share out complaints and then they don't seem so bad! As for health issues---we're at that age where we all have something to share. And, yes, we are sympathetic to each other!


Thanks so much for your comment - it's like a ray of sunshine in my day!