I am a book giver for World Book Night


I received 20 copies of the “100 Best-Loved Poems” from World Book Night, to be given away on April 23, 2014.

World Book Night is an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person.  Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people go out into their communities and give half a million free World Book Night paperbacks to light and non-readers. 

World Book Night is about giving books and encouraging reading in those who don’t regularly do so. But it is also about more than that: It’s about people, communities and connections, about reaching out to others and touching lives in the simplest of ways—through the sharing of stories.

This is the first year I participate in the World Book Night event @wbnamerica. I am proud to be a book lover and I am excited to be a book giver.

Related Post:

Volunteer for World Book Night

The Wonder of His Name

I am a regular listener of KTIS Faith Radio. One of the programs I enjoy listening to is Revive Our Hearts by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (also host of Seeking Him). The program can be heard weekdays at 1:30pm on KTIS 900 AM in Twin Cities.

Nancy grew up in a family deeply committed to Christ. At an early age, she surrendered her life to Christ and to His call to full-time service. Her love for the Word and the Lord Jesus has made her an excellent Bible teacher.  She has a passion for teaching and encouraging woman, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. to Freedom, Fullness & Fruitfulness in Christ.  Through her radio programs of Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him, Nancy has touched millions of women’s lives.  

Nancy is also a prolific author. She has authored about 20 books, including Lies Women Believe, A Place of Quiet Rest, Seeking Him, Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy; Choosing Forgiveness: Your Journey to Freedom. Her books continue to transform women’s hearts and lives.

Since March 5, 2014, in the days leading to Easter on April 20, Nancy has been doing a series titled The Wonder of His Name. It is a study of 32 names of Jesus. You can find more info here and listen to it online or on your phone.

I like the series so much I got the book The Wonder of His Name. This devotional includes meditations from Nancy on 32 names of Jesus. The series and the book help me better understand the different aspects and characters of Jesus. 

I highly recommend Nancy’s teaching and resources to anyone who want to grow deeper and stronger in faith.

MnDOT announces 2014 construction program

It’s spring. And in Minnesota, this means the start of the road construction and maintenance season.

Today MnDOT announced the 2014 state highway construction program at its annual statewide news conference held at the Central Office in St. Paul. District staff and their local news media participated in the news conference via live-streaming on the Internet.

The 2014 construction program of 308 projects includes work on 74 projects in the Twin Cities and 194 projects in Greater Minnesota. An additional 40 projects statewide will improve safety at railroad crossings, and make improvements on runways and terminals at regional airports. The work includes projects funded by the Corridors of Commerce program, a bonding effort aimed at improving roadways for freight travel.

The $1.1 billion program will provide vital upgrades to the state transportation system. It will improve highways, bridges and other infrastructure to ensure the safety and mobility of the travelling public.

For a complete list of projects, including construction dates, traffic impacts and maps, visit www.mndot.gov/construction

MnDOT urges motorists to check www.511mn.org for up-to-date information about traffic and road conditions.

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Twin Cities Teen Lit Con 2014

I read about the Inaugural Twin Cities Teen Lit Con in the MetroBriefs, and want to spread the news about it.

Saturday, May 17, 2014
10:00am – 4:30pm (Doors Open at 9:30)
Henry Sibley High School
1897 Delaware Ave, Mendota Heights, MN 55118 
FREE. Open to Everyone. No Registration. 
Authors. Workshops. Exhibits. Book Arts. Book Sales & Signings. Photo Booth.

The 2014 Teen Lit Con is an inaugural event to bring teens together with their favorite authors or favorites they hadn’t known about before attending. There are 10 authors participating: Maureen Johnson, David Levithan, Ally Condie, Derf Backderf, Catherine Clark, Carrie Mesrobian, Geoff Herbach, Anne Greenwood Brown, Swati Avasthi and Pete Hautman. There will be panels, keynotes, writing workshops and an exhibit hall with book sales, book signings, and other book related cool stuff to do.

The purpose of this day is to celebrate teen literature, promote reading and writing, and to create a community of readers by connecting teens and authors.

If you are a teen, teacher, librarian or parent and want to get involved:

  • Get your teen readers there! Need help? Apply for bus reimbursement award (see below).
  • Follow on Twitter @TeenLitCon and #teenlitcon. Re-tweet!
  • Teachers & media specialists can volunteer the day of the event. Details & sign-up at MELSA.
  • Teachers & media specialists can sign up for CEUs. Get a t-shirt!

Metro schools can apply for bus reimbursement!

MELSA will fund 10 bus reimbursement awards for up to $350 each to help get your teen readers to the event.

Here are the details:

  • You must commit to bringing a minimum of 25 students.
  • Buses must have chaperones that plan to stay at the event.
  • Apply by 5pm, April 10. We will let you know by 5pm, April 14 if you have received the award.
  • Apply here.

Questions? Ask Kathleen James at kathleen@melsa.org.

Strategies to increase emotional intelligence

Now, more than ever, I believe that success in life depends largely on one’s emotional intelligence (EQ). EQ is more important than IQ in order to have a fulfilled and content life with meaning, purpose and great relationships.

Life is difficult with people who might have a high IQ but low EQ.

According to Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, authors of Emotional Intelligence 2.0,  EQ has four core components: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

Understanding the four skills will improve your EQ.

Self-awareness is to know yourself as you really are. You use your self-awareness skills to notice your feelings and judge if your needs are being satisfied.

Self-management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions to actively choose what you say and do. You use your self-management skills to express your feelings and act accordingly.

Social-awareness is to recognize and understand the moods of other individuals and entire groups of people. You use your social-awareness  skills to better understand the other person’s needs and feelings.

Relationship management is your ability to use your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully. You use the relationship management skills to make relationships work.

The book contains the following strategies in each of the four areas to increase your EQ.


Self-awareness Strategies: 

1. Quit treating your feelings as Good or Bad

2. Observe the ripple effect from your emotions

3. Lean into your discomfort

4. Feel your emotions physically

5. Know who and what pushes your buttons

6. Watch yourself like a hawk

7. Keep a journal about your emotions

8. Don’t be fooled by a bad mood

9. Don’t be fooled by a good mood, either

10. Stop and ask yourself why you do the things you do

11. Visit your values

12. Check yourself

13. Spot your emotions in books, movies, and music

14. Seek feedback

15. Get to know yourself under stress


Self-management Strategies:

1. Breathe right

2. Create an emotion vs. reason list

3. Make your goals public

4. Count to ten

5. Sleep on it

6. Talk to a skilled self-manager

7. Smile and laugh more

8. Set aside some time in your day for problem solving

9. Take control of your self-talk

10. Visualize yourself succeeding

11. Clean up your sleep hygiene

12. Focus your attention on your freedoms, rather than your limitations

13. Stay synchronized

14. Speak to someone who is not emotionally invested in your problem

15. Learn a valuable lesson from everyone you encounter

16. Put a mental recharge into your schedule

17. Accept that change is just around the corner


Social-awareness Strategies:

1. Greet people by name

2. Watch body language

3. Make timing everything

4. Develop a back-pocket question

5. Don’t take notes at meetings

6. Plan ahead for social gatherings

7. Clear away the clutter

8. Live in the moment

9. Go on a 150minute tour

10. Watch EQ at the Movies

11. Practice the art of listening

12. Go people watching

13. Understand the rules of the culture game

14. Test for accuracy

15. Step into their shoes

16. Seek the whole picture

17. Catch the mood of the room


Relationship Management Strategies:

1. Be open and be curious

2. Enhance your natural communication style

3. Avoid giving mixed signals

4. Remember the little things that pack a punch

5. Take feedback well

6. Build trust

7. Have an “Open-door” policy

8. Only get mad on purpose

9. Don’t avoid the inevitable

10. Acknowledge the other person’s feelings

11. Complement the person’s emotions or situation

12. When you care, show it

13. Explain your decisions, don’t just make them

14. Make your feedback direct and constructive

15. Align your intention with your impact

16. Offer a “Fix-it” statement during a broken conversation

17. Tackle a tough conversation

Mark Zuckerberg’s goal for 2014 – write a thank-you note every day

Being the Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg gets a lot of media attention. Recently I read an interview and profile article about him in BusinessWeek. What I found most interesting in the article is that Zuckerberg sets a personal goal every year, to become a more educated and compassionate human being.

In 2010, he wowed to learn Mandarin. In 2011, it was to eat only animals he slaughtered himself. In 2013, he set out to meet a new person who doesn’t work at Facebook every day.

In 2014, Zuckerberg intends to write at least one well-considered thank-you note every day, via e-mail or handwritten letter.

Writing a thank-you note every day is not a new idea by Zuckerberg. I first heard about it in the book titled 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik. The author tells how writing a thank-you note a day changed his life.

I am glad Zuckerberg has set this as his personal goal for 2014.  As an influential individual, he has the power to inspire others to do the same. 

I like to write thank-you notes or express my thanks in person. Today I wrote a thank-you email to an individual who did a Webinar presentation I attended.   

I received the following response: “Many thanks for your wonderful email. It definitely brightens the day!”

A thank-you note warms the hearts of both the sender and the receiver. Everyone needs encouragement. Everyone wants to feel appreciated and valued. It feels good to be appreciated, especially when it’s not expected.

A simple thank-you note is good for our soul, mind and body.

Commit to Live Fit! 40 Day Challenge

Commit to Live Fit! 40 Day Challenge  is a 6-week journey of faith and fitness that leads to a healthier you by focusing on 6 key physical and spiritual steps. It started on March 3rd by Live the Promise host Susie Larson on Faith Radio. 

If you are interested in getting fit physically and spiritually, please join Susie Larson on this challenge. You can register at the following link. Even when the challenge is over, you can still do it on your own and at your own pace.

It’s never too late to embark on the life-long journey to live stronger lives – physically and spiritually. 

Register – http://myfaithradio.com/commit-to-live-fit/

  1. Week one – Drink Water, Read the Word 
  2. Week two – Stretch Your Muscles, Stretch Your Faith 
  3. Week three – Nightly Prioritize 7-9 Hours for Rest/Sleep, Daily Cultivate a Heart at Rest
  4. Week four – Guard Your Heart, Work Your Heart
  5. Week five – Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Soul
  6. Week six – Stand Tall, Bow Low

Physical Disciplines
Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day (or better yet, half of your body weight in ounces)
Stretch in the morning and evening
Set aside 7-9 hours for nighttime rest/sleep
Work your heart
Nourish your body
Stand tall

Spiritual Disciplines
Read the Word of God every day
Stretch your faith every day
Rest in the Lord
Guard your heart
Nourish your soul
Bow low

One tip for conducting a successful meeting

I read a tip about staff motivation in the March 2014 issue of Communication Briefings, and I had read similar tips in the past. I think this is a great idea, something easy to adopt and could reap great benefit by any leader in any organization.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner has an interesting strategy for weekly staff meetings. Before getting down to focused business talk, Weiner asks every person in the room to share one personal and one professional accomplishment from the previous week.

Beginning a staff meeting with sharing everyone’s personal victories and professional achievements has several benefits. It can –

  • establish a tone of positivity not only for the meeting, but also for the organization.
  • set the team up with a positive frame of mind instead of one focused on what’s going wrong.
  • increase team spirit and reduce negativity in the workplace.
  • build stronger relationships when people know each other better through sharing personal stories.
  • make people feel recognized, appreciated and motivated which leads to high productivity.

Using this “power of small wins,” any leader can bring some positivity to a meeting and employee interaction by allowing his staff to share their personal and professional achievements.


Assistance dogs

Today at lunch time I went to an interesting presentation titled “Fur, Fun, Facts : How Puppies Become Service Animals,” offered by our MnDOT Employee Resource Group called FUEL (Employees Energizing Disability Awareness). 

Our MnDOT disability program coordinator is blind. When he is at work, he always has a guide dog with him. I have also seen other guided dogs in the public. So I had always wondered about these assistance dogs. 

During the presentation I learned about different types of assistance dogs and two organizations in Twin Cities that are involved in training these dogs. 

Assistance dogs provide a specific service to their handlers with disabilities, and greatly enhance the quality of their lives with a new sense of freedom and independence. 

There are different types of assistance dogs. 

Guide dogs are for the blind and the visually impaired. 

Hearing dogs are for the deaf and hard of hearing. 

Service Dogs are for people with disabilities other than vision or hearing impairment. There are mobility assistant dogs, seizure assistant dogs, diabetes assistant dogs, autism assistant dogs, allergy assistant dogs, post dramatic stress disorder assistant dogs, therapy dogs, etc. 

With special training these dogs can help mitigate many different types of disabilities. They can be trained to work with people who use power or manual wheelchairs, have balance issues, have various types of autism, need seizure alert or response, need to be alerted to other medical issues like low blood sugar, or have psychiatric disabilities. 

These specially trained dogs can help by retrieving objects that are out of their person’s reach, opening and closing doors, turning light switches off and on, barking to indicate that help is needed, finding another person and leading the person to the handler, assisting ambulatory persons to walk by providing balance and counterbalance, providing deep pressure, and many other individual tasks as needed by a person with a disability. 

Service Dogs are either rescued from animal shelters or bred in selective breeding programs and raised by volunteers prior to their formal training. 

Most service dogs are Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds. Service dogs can be identified by either a jacket, backpack or harness. 

The Seeing Eye is a national organization and is the oldest existing guide dog school in the world, started in 1929. 

Can Do Canines is a local organization located in New Hope. It provides specially trained service dogs to people with disabilities other than vision or hearing impairment. There is no charge except an application fee. There is a waiting list for the dogs though. 


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23 Mobile Things #Thing 3 – Utilities

Thing 3 of the 23 Mobile Things, a self-paced learning program, is about utilities. 

Utility apps can turn your phone or tablet into a really useful tool. I have a few common utility apps on my iPhone, such as calculator, compass, flashlight, and clock. They are really handy tools.

I have also downloaded RedLaser Barcode & QR Scanner and QRReader on my iphone. I use the apps to scan the barcode on an item for price information, and I can scan the QR code in a magazine or book to read an article or for additional information.

What is a QR code?

QR Code stands for Quick Response Code. They are small, like barcodes, but in a square shape with typically black and white dots filling up the square.  QR codes can be used to share data. You can use RedLaser to create, share and scan QR codes.

You can enter the URL of a website, a text, contact info, etc. and let RedLaser generate a QR code for you.

I used my blog URL http://onmymind.areavoices.com and created the following QR code with RedLaser. If I scan the QR code, it brings me to my blog website right away.


My new Jeremiah Study Bible has a QR code for every Book in the Bible. When I scan a QR code, it brings me to a website. I can access more information online and watch a short video of Dr. David Jeremiah introducing the Book.

When organizations create their brochures, they can include a QR code, so people can scan the QR code on their smartphones and go to the websites for more information about the organizations.

I also have Wi-Fi Finder on my iphone. When I travel, the app is handy to help locate free or paid public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Thanks to the #23ThingsMN team for making learning new things easy and fun.  


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