I had a backlog of books and articles to write about, hence my last couple of postings are all done today, a cold and snowy October 10. So many good books …. I once had the thought of reading a book a day (something like the Julie and Julia project only that was with recipes!) and blogging about that. I nearly do that, but I don’t think I could read a book a day right now, although I’m sure there are people who could do this!

I went outside my usual genre recently and read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch as well as 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper. These books went well together and are both ,memoirs on dealing with dying as viewed by the authors themselves. By now, both books have been on the bestseller lists for quite a while and Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture has circulated the internet and email inboxes to wrench tears from us all. Both books demonstrate strong people who are understanding life and death from different viewpoints and give readers a new perspective on living life to the fullest each and every day. Because life and death are so individual for each of us, I won’t go into the memoirs, other than to say if you have a sense of wonder about life and death, you need to read these. They help prepare our hearts and minds for what will eventually happen to all of us, born and not-yet-born. My heart goes out to the Pausch family and I’m filled with respect for the memories and legacies Randy Pausch has left behind for his family, his students, all his readers, and the world. Both memoirs are inspirational and motivational reads filled with pointers and suggestions for daily life and how to make the most of every day.

And, while 90 Minutes in Heaven is a different genre than what I usually read on weekly basis, I decided to give this a try since it’s been on the bestseller list and seemed to continuously check-out at my local library. While Christianity-based, filled with scripture, miracle and the power of prayer, there were also gems of wisdom that anyone would appreciate, like the man who went blind and lamented about all the things he could no longer do; when turning the question around, what can you still do? and coming up with a list of thousands of things the man could still do and the decision to do those things every day of his life.

Also, to make every situation, good or bad, into a learning lesson and teaching tool, to impart wisdom, share the lessons with others, and help others in pain or grief or in their happiness. That life is short on time. “Got to get on with your life.” Ultimately, we all feel the time crunch, but you have to make the decision to make good use of time and maximize it or in Piper’s words, “magnify it to the max.” Also, learning to live with a ‘new reality’ and adapting to changes. Just because we once lived our lives a certain way, doesn’t mean we’ll always be able to live that way (especially in the case with Piper or other accident victims) and you have to set a new normal. What used to be normal, won’t be normal after any major change, either mental or physical. So you can either adapt to the new normal or get stuck in the past, feeling depressed and tormented about what was. We have to move on, move forward. Don’t get stuck in the mud or worse yet, perpetual quick sand! Sometimes, the simple act of reading an inspiring book can help get you out of the mud or quick sand. That and a good support system of friends and family.

If you liked these books, you would also like The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom and The Shack by William P. Young and also Obit by Jim Sheeler.

Take care, love one another, and be well with yourself and in the world!