Inspiration

Wheels of Wisdom by Tim and Debbie Bishop: A Book Review

Wheels of Wisdom Book

(Photo Credit: Amazon)

Although Wheels of Wisdom: Life Lessons for the Restless Spirit masterfully penned by Tim and Debbie Bishop is avowedly not a theological book, the inspiration one gains from reading it will allow him or her to experience the wondrous presence of God. Tim and Debbie Bishop, after remaining single until 52, married one another. For their honeymoon, they embarked on three fascinating bicycle tours across the nation—totaling over 10,000 miles. The valuable lessons they learned about God, life, nature, and humanity (including themselves) are detailed in this work.

Instead of traditional chapters, the authors composed 52 “lessons,” with 3 “personal reflection” questions at the end of each “lesson.” The “personal reflection” questions enable the reader to delve deeper into the ideas engaged by each lesson. At the beginning of each lesson, the writers provide powerful words of inspiration to engender an alluring context. As I was reading the book, I found myself constantly highlighting the beginning inspirational words, and these words offer some of the most rewarding takeaways.

Debbie Bishop offers excellent advice for those needing to discover their vocation or remain committed to their calling. She encourages readers to endure the hardships that will inevitably emerge as they walk in their callings, understanding that these hardships are “part of the process” (p. 9).

One feature of their unconventional—to say the least—honeymoon I appreciate the most is how it exposed to them how much they have to be thankful for, especially how blessed they are to have found one another at this late stage of their lives. An enthralling romanticism surfaces as the intense connection between Debbie and Tim becomes more and more clear through what these bicycle tours teach them about their embryonic marriage and the possibilities available to them through their marriage.

For those contemplating marriage, they should read this book to observe how a lasting intimacy, as the one the Bishops possess, requires more than what’s physical; an immutable intimacy reveals a profound spiritual bond. Unfortunately, too often, couples thinking about marrying or newly married overlook unearthing the spiritual imperatives of a healthy, fulfilling marriage. The Bishops, however, challenge these couples to create more mature visions of their own unions.

Both authors emphasize the significance of a willingness to change as critical to a successful marriage. In any relationship, individuals must demonstrate a willingness to change for it to remain satisfying and productive. Tim and Debbie employ their differences as vehicles for loving and appreciating one another more. This lesson about honoring differences is timely for our nation, considering Americans are increasingly become more hostile, even bloodthirsty, over their differences. Our differences should unite us—just as they unite the beautiful couple, Tim and Debbie Bishop.

In short, I highly recommend this fascinating book. Tim and Debbie Bishop and their uncommon honeymoon experiences extend to us a hope of what’s possible when we refuse to lose hope, when we devote ourselves to love, giving it and receiving it, and when we invite God into our lives as our supreme guide and comforter.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Memory Will Protect Your Heart

 

Sad Black Woman

(Photo Credit: Ex-Superwoman)

Psychology teaches us to judge people by their previous actions. While one should forgive people, and forgive them immediately, don’t forget their track record. Even when you’ve just met a person, evaluate his or her words and assess his or her fidelity to those words. Unless you have some type of mental condition adversely affecting your memory, it offers great power to protect you from heartbreak. Listen carefully to what people say and closely observe whether they deliver on what they communicate.

One of the central reasons why an individual must engage in close analysis of what others communicate and their corresponding actions is selfishness often enters the equation. People’s selfishness can have devastating effects. Although you cannot guard yourself against all acts of others’ selfishness, valuing the power of memory permits you to diminish opportunities for falling prey to such selfishness.

It’s okay to trust people—just exercise good judgment. As much as possible, make sure the people you trust have a track record that merits trust. Words alone are meaningless. What real evidence is available to help you determine whether to trust someone? If you ask that question each time you make a decision, you will greatly ameliorate your outcomes.

Memory, an invisible best friend often neglected, is waiting to collaborate with you to defeat those who would attempt to do you harm. Let memory guide your thoughts, your actions, your values, your principles.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Transformative Power of Reading

Transformative Power of Reading

(Photo Credit: Black Christian News Network)

One of the most powerful ways to awaken, develop, strengthen, and renew your inner intellectual is through reading substantive pieces each day. When you read substantive works, your knowledge grows, your imagination becomes broader, and your capacity to dream elevates. Reading permits you to not only discover many or most of the answers you seek, but also it enables you to formulate the right questions, questions that will lead you to a better, more interesting, and more successful life. This intentional focus on your inner intellectual will pay true dividends in enhancing your self-concept and naturally and ultimately your self-esteem.

When you read quality material, material that relates to your interests, aspirations, and search for answers, your purposeful reading will serve as a strong defense against negative factors affecting and influencing your self-concept and self-esteem.

Reading substantive literature, such as slave narratives, allows for you to place the challenges, barriers, and problems you face in their proper context. When you read slave narratives, you will learn about individuals who persevered and triumphed in impossible conditions—conditions much more difficult than you will ever be able to imagine. These stories about how American heroes and heroines endured these impossible conditions will inspire you to continue to strive for success—even when success falsely appears unlikely and barriers seem like they will never be conquered. Look for the strategies, values, principles, and thinking that led to those individuals’ success. Find ways to incorporate what contributed to their success into your own life.

Use your school library, public library, and the internet to find books and articles that pertain to your interests and goals. One of the greatest investments you can make in yourself each day is to read something that is going to support your interests and place you further on the path to achieving your goals. Each day is an opportunity to learn something new. Don’t waste a moment in self-doubt. Expand your knowledge, expand your horizons, expand your imagination through a commitment to reading meaningful books and articles that pertain to your interests and goals.

A commitment to purposeful reading every day is one of the most powerful ways of strengthening your self-concept and self-esteem. With this commitment, your mind becomes occupied with self-advancement, pursuing your interests, and meeting your goals.

Let books and articles occupy your mind, limiting the amount of time for condemnation, peer pressure, and self-doubt to discourage you and halt your progress.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Nature Speaks, Nature Remembers: My Strong, Protective Flower Tree

Flower Tree

(Photo Credit: Ginnie Ann Daniels)

I had some trees cut around the house that seemed likely to fall. After the trees were cut, some of the remaining stumps left such distinctive prints. One, in particular, evoked the memory of when Billy and I, as a young couple 30 years ago, purchased our home. What follows is the dominant impression this idiosyncratic tree, uniquely mine, engendered.

The tree reminded me of you 30 years ago when we first moved in, so strong with muscle limbs, protecting our little family from storms and harsh sunrays. Yet, with time, the strong become weak but still try to withhold winds and persevere. Each year, more dead leaves fell, and we could tell—with unspoken words—this once robust tree was dying.

Flower Tree

(Photo Credit: Ginnie Ann Daniels)

Your strong roots embedded lasting memories for your seedlings, family and friends. We have to let go and start anew. With exultation, however, we never forget that the strong leave roots in the dirt with everlasting memory of the last leaf that fell.

I can now look out of my window to see and remember my strong, protective flower tree.

In loving memory of Billy Daniels, spouse of Ginnie Ann Daniels, married nearly 44 years (23 days short of 44 years).

Ginnie Ann Daniels, El Dorado, Arkansas, Author

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Editor

Pop-Up Sermon: Unload Unnecessary Baggage

Although we keep important items in our metaphorical luggage, too much unnecessary stuff remains. Continuing to carry all of this junk weighs you down, presses you small. “Bag Lady,” one of Erykah Badu’s most powerful and popular songs, reveals the toxic nature of maintaining excess baggage, and people disregard at their own peril the valuable lessons this song offers. You must realize that immense stress will kill you. It’s essential, therefore, to remove stressful phenomena and people from your life. Don’t get buried in the baggage you elect to transport.

Today is the right time to release the excess, dispose of the trash, and organize the clutter. Consuming and hanging around mess will turn you into mess. If you really don’t like mess, then get rid of it. Don’t go another day dealing with unhealthy stress levels, guilt, shame, condemnation, worry, and fear; tap into a hope on the inside of you far greater than them all.

When you cannot find any joy and benefit in a thing or person, then it’s time to disconnect from it or him or her.

You possess the power to improve your life today: dump the junk now.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pop-Up Sermon: Show People Themselves

Couple Arguing

(Photo Credit: Urbanette)

One of the most effective ways to show people how they behave is to respond to them the same way they respond to you. This, of course, goes against what is traditionally taught in most faiths. From time to time, however, you need to expose people for who they are by demonstrating to them how they act. Jesus often employed parables (elementary teachings) to make profound and enduring statements. You might contemplate approaching people in the aforementioned way as a means of adopting a similar pedagogical practice used by Jesus.

By temporarily choosing the ways of others, you can cause them to abandon their unfavorable conduct, considering they will not like when these ways are used against them. This strategy presents a meaningful opportunity for you to teach them valuable lessons and change their lives potentially forever.

At some point, you simply have to let folks know their behavior is unacceptable, and you must engage in efforts to discontinue their troubling conduct. You possess the power to ameliorate those around you.  Although they may not know yet, you’re the change they need to see in their lives.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pop-Up Sermon: Be Valued and No Fool

Be No Fool

(Photo Credit: No Way Girl)

With this piece, Revolutionary Paideia launches a new weekly feature, “Pop-Up Sermon.” What is “Pop-Up Sermon”? From one sentence to a full-length piece, this feature, “Pop-Up Sermon,” will offer you a sermon that you might not receive from your church’s pulpit. Uncomfortable truths will often be submitted to you. As spineless, milquetoast, equivocating, and self-serving preachers are becoming more prevalent, I commit to being that preacher for you who will deliver what you might not want to hear but need to hear. The central goal is to speak some relevant, useful words into your life at least once a week. Be sure to check out Revolutionary Paideia each day, considering a “Pop-Up Sermon” could emerge at any time.

Today’s Pop-Up Sermon:

Learn to appreciate people. When people fail to appreciate you, then you have a responsibility to teach them how to appreciate you. This may, unfortunately for them, mean ignoring them. Know your worth; then govern yourself accordingly. Don’t let folks use you, and don’t be their fool.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison