My Books at the Beach this Week

Every summer that I can remember, I have spent a week at the beach. This year is no different as we packed up last weekend and headed to Florida with the kids and my parents. Several years ago, I started bringing along Anne Morrow’s Gift From the Sea. It’s my favorite book to read at the beach. Each time I find something different to inspire me and I am still amazed that it was written over 50 years ago. I was even more in awe of Anne Morrow when I discovered that she was Anne Morrow Lindbergh; mother of the baby that was so tragically kidnapped and killed years before. If you are looking for one book to take to the beach – this is always my pick.

This year though, I decided to bring three different books. All three motivational, all three pretty wonderful. Here are my thoughts so far…

To kick off the trip last Friday, I began with The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. It’s a book that everyone should read. Give it to someone as a graduation gift, share it with a friend, and make sure your kids read it. I really do believe that I am a glass is half full kind of gal, I take things in stride, and am overall a pretty happy person – but I was humbled by this book and truly inspired to live a little more aware of the moment. On Friday I heard that Randy passed away and my only thought at the moment is that because of his life, the world became a better place. It’s a must read.

On Tuesday I began The Winners Manual by Jim Tressel, head coach of The Ohio State Football Team. I have to admit that I’m a little biased – that I already knew I would love it. I got to page 7 of the prologue and had tears in my eyes. Why? Because as I read, I realized how truly blessed my son is to be able to spend 5 years of his life learning from this great man as an OSU Football player. You may not be an OSU football fan. You may love to hate the Buckeyes, but the Winners Manual is really not about winning a football game, but leading a winning life. Coach Tressel has been collecting for years stories of faith, family, and principles that he believes are important to becoming a winner. Every year he shares an updated collection with his players. Here he shares the people and stories that inspired him along with tons of great quotes. I’d tell you more, but my father stole the book right out from under me and being the nice daughter that I am, I moved on to my third book. I’ll get back to the Winners Manual on the way home. So far though, I think it’s also a must read and apparently alot of other people agree as it just hit #3 on the New York Times Best Seller list for Inspirational books.

The book that I’m reading now is Tony Dungy’s Quiet Strength. At this point you would probably assume that I am a huge football fan, and you would be correct, but I’ve actually never read a book about football. I’m really not reading about football this week either. All three books are about life, success, love, family, inspiration, and more. Two of them just happen to involve football. Well, actually all three do if add Randy Pauch’s dream of playing in the NFL. Even if you are not a big football fan, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy these last two books.

Tony Dungy interests me on several levels. Initially, he intrigued be because I think the Indianapolis Colts led by Peyton Manning are a really fun team to watch. Secondly, I saw Tony Dungy on the tonight show after they won the Super Bowl and I found him to be humble, interesting and inspiring. The third reason is really a mom thing. When anyone says my son is undersized for a linebacker, all I have to do is refer them to the Colt’s roster. I appreciate that he chooses players based on talent and heart rather than numbers. 

I haven’t finished the book yet, but so far it is really very good. Tony Dungy is a man with a strong christian foundation who loves God, his family and the game of football. He writes an honest account of the role that they have all played in his life to date along with the people and events that have influenced his path in life. Yes, it’s a story thats written around football, but again, it’s not really about football as much as it’s about faith, honor, integrity, inspiration and life.

My thought is you just can’t go wrong with any of these books. I’d recommend all three. Even if you don’t love football I think you’ll walk away with a sense of renewal and energized to strive to do great things with your life.

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