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Book Review: “Married for Real: Building a Loving, Powerful Life Together

by: ellis j. still

“What I had to do for myself, was to figure out my faults, and where they came from. I had to try to improve on those qualities  or at the very least try to keep them from affecting our relationship.”

                - Tamara George

Abingdon Press publishing company has afforded me the opportunity to review the upcoming new release “Married for Real: Building a Loving, Powerful Life Together” by Eddie and Tamara George.

Although my NFL football team is on the east coast (Philadelphia Eagles), I remember when Eddie George played for the Tennessee Titans. While his time in the NFL was extremely successful, his next career is just as successful. Eddie is currently the Founder and CEO of George Enterprises, a Landscape Architecture firm (my major in college & first career choice) that plans and designs new neighborhoods and communities.

Tamara (better known as Taj) is a former member of the singing group Sisters With Voices (SWV). With SWV, Taj has chart toppers such as ‘Weak’ and ‘Right Here’ to her credit. The group separated in 1998 to pursue individual efforts. Since then, Taj has earned her Bachelor’s of Business Administration, played a significant role on the CBS reality television series ‘Survivor’, and is an accomplished author of two books, including this one.

These things are what I know about Eddie and Tamara from a distant onlooker/admirer point of view. Married for Real takes a closer look at life behind the limelight… the challenges that they faced that you could never possibly see from watching them perform on stage or scoring touchdowns. You see their successes in public, but what you do not see is their struggles and triumphs in private. You do not see how Christ saved their lives and their marriage.

“Married for Real: Building a Loving, Powerful Life Together” is a funny & lighthearted, yet transparent look at marriage. It deals with what happens when we allow baggage of the past to go unaddressed, and speaks to how Eddie and Taj overcame tribulation. The book “grows out of the realities of life” – keeping it real… not always happy go lucky stories, but real life challenges that marriages face.

The book will quickly make you realize that a great relationship does not have to be (and will never be) perfect, and brings awareness to the fact that that men and women have totally different perceptions & thought processes on any given topic. It is written together as a couple, but also includes viewpoints from both Eddie and Tamara as individuals.

Married for Real is an easy read, with funny and descriptive storytelling. It is a must have for your library as a single person or as a couple.

Question:  How are you building a loving, powerful life with your spouse (or future spouse) together?

Click Here to view and/or purchase the book at The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore.

© 2012, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have a marketing connection to a brand, topic or product herein. Through the use of affiliate links contained herein, I may collect fees from purchases made. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
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Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

Live your  life like a Heart In A Box!!!

by: ellis j. still

We are born to dream. As children, we use our imaginations to explore the visions of our mind by acting out what our future could be like. I played with fire trucks and those yellow Tonka construction trucks that were made out of metal, with the assurances that I would be a fireman or construction worker when I grew up.

My next phase was wanting to be an explorer in outer space that would one day save planet Earth. This came from repeatedly watching entire seasons of Star Blazers, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica with the one-eyed Cylons. Later came Star Wars, of which I have all six episodes even today.

From there it went to realistically figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. I had great passion for drawing. I also started working in retail at age 16, so maybe I would own my own business one day. However, as I got older, and the world became more real, the creative imagination seemed to disappear and I sought practical venues for planning out my life.

You are taught to do what is proven… what everybody else is doing. To follow the status quo. Very seldom are you taught to be imaginative… to think outside the box – or in this case, inside the box.

Tina and I are avid watchers of the TV show Grey’s Anatomy. While we don’t always agree with the content, it is a well written show, whose characters we often we have dialog about in our home as if they were real people.

There was an episode where one of the main characters was tasked with watching an actual beating heart that’s been placed in a box until it can be transported to its new recipient. The Heart In The box becomes the inspiration to no longer be average, but go on and do great things… that the same imagination that created the Heart In A Box is the same imagination that dreams are made of… that spawns great movements.

Anything that you do in 2012 should be more interesting

than a Heart In A Box.

Anything that you do in life should have meaning, both to yourself, and to others. Anything that you do should be exceptional, and inspire others to greatness.

Dreams are created by a combination of what we see, our imagination, and how we envision it happening… our special personal brand, based on our life experiences.

Are you stuck in a job or situation, but you have a great idea for a business inside of you? Are you doing what you need to do just to get by & merely existing, or are you following the passion that is within you? Are you listening to the voices inside your mind that gives you excuses why you can’t make things happen, or do you listen to God’s word which says that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

Heart in a box is all about not living mundane, but doing extraordinary things in an extraordinary way. It is about being inspired to do something outside of the status quo. It requires creativity and courage. It’s about not just knowing and reciting the words “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-17), but owning it… knowing without a doubt in your inner core that God will do what he promised… that “every place where you set your foot will be yours” (Deut. 11:24). You have to have Faith that as you act on your dreams, God will make up the difference.

Heart In A Box is special because normally when you do a heart transplant, you take the heart out, put it in a cooler, and then you rush to put it into a warm body, and pray that it beats. But with Heart In A Box, it never stopped beating. It never knew that it was not supposed to be beating. The heart did not know that it was doing what it was not supposed to be doing. It just did it.

Question: What are you planning to do in 2012 that the world has told you that you cannot do? What are you planning to do in 2012 that is more awesome than a Heart In A Box?

© 2012, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Heart In A Box image courtesy of http://greysanatomyfans.wordpress.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

Tinellis: The year of leather

By: ellis j. still

On Monday, August 1st, 2011, my wife Tina and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. This year we spent our anniversary close to home, and low key. We had already done an extensive amount of traveling thus far this year, and so we felt like we needed to pace ourselves. Year three of marriage is the gift of leather. I got Tina a new leather case for her IPad 2, and she got me a custom leather golf club cover for my driver. She cooked a ridiculous breakfast (I fell asleep on the couch afterwards) and surprised me with an anniversary dinner of all of my favorite foods (short ribs, mac-n-cheese, blueberry cheesecake, etc.). We spent time at the movies, seeing the new Smurf movie (we spent the entire next few days speaking in Smurf), and Transformers 3 (interesting how they integrated Star Trek with Transformers – “The needs of the many…”). Peanut was his usual unconditional loving self, wanting a lick our faces every time Tina and I kissed, and turning every hug into a group hug. Life cannot possibly get any better than this for Tinellis.

Yet also, this was a time of reflection. We are three years in, and have grown in many ways, both as individuals, and as a unit. There have been many times of laughter, and many times of pain. Many areas of strength and many areas of weakness. Many prayers have been answered, and many prayers that we continue to act in faith on.

I realize that there are many couples out there with stories to tell about how they have maintained their marriages for many more years than we have been married. Yet part of my point is to reiterate the fact that marriage is great. The world tends to paint a picture of marriage as a ball-and-chain mentality, and emphasizes how common divorce is. However marriage can be fun and joyous. Like anything in life, marriage is what you make it. I am having more fun as a married person than I have had my entire life. When Tina and I were dating and considering marriage, we had a conversation early on where we made a deliberate and conscious decision that there will be no divorce, and that we will continue to grow as a family in Christ.

When I think back on the past three years, these are some things that I have learned:

  • compromise means that everybody wins
  • it is important to maintain a balance between work, love, and play
  • keeping God as the head of your marriage is the single most important thing you can do to keep your marriage vibrant and prosperous
  • staying active in ministry / church activities is an important way to stay connected for spiritual growth

Question: What are you declaring your marriage to be?  How are you and your spouse guarding your relationship against divorce? Any thoughts?

© 2011, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification emails. Thanks!!!
ellis

Travel:  Sandals Resort, Bahamas – The place where God lives

by: ellis j. still

February 1st, 2011 marks two and a half years that Tina and I have been married.  When I think back on the past 2.5 years, I can truly say that I have been having the most fun I have had my entire life.  Tina and I are not just husband and wife, but we are also best friends… partners in crime so to speak.  Sure – we both have friends that we have known for many years, but there is nothing like the friendship that my wife and I share.

But I digress… this post is about reflection on our honeymoon.  Sandals, a couples only resort, is a great brand, and is known for its exceptional customer service.  They certainly lived up to their expectations when we went to visit. Upon arriving at the Bahamas Airport, a Sandals representative picked us up in a Rolls Royce town car.  That pretty much set the tone for the entire ten days that we were there.

Everyone that was there had a pleasant demeanor, and the butler that was assigned to us managed to anticipate our needs before we even knew what they were.  Knowing that securing dining reservations were a challenge, she made dinner reservations for us at all of the fine dining restaurants for our stay.  She assisted with any questions or needs that we had, both on the resort and for off resort excursions.  She would also scope out a shaded spot on the beach for us in the morning and reserve it for us. 

We had all an all inclusive package, so every night we would order burgers at 2am (the burgers were ridiculously good by the way) and they would bring it to us (no charge and no tipping allowed).  The dining was 5 star quality both in taste and in presentation, and included dinners on the beach and on the marina.  All of the meals in general were excellent which surprised us (I have had my share of bad resort food).  There was a mixture of passive and active activities, and the resort has a separate private island that you have to charter a boat to get to.  The grounds were impeccably maintained and kept clean, with winding paths that takes you on a journey of discovery through the colorful flowering of vegetation

It was incredible how openly Christian the Bahamas Island was. The bus driver played Shekinah Glory Ministry, Fred Hammond, Kim Burrell, Karen Clark Sheard, Israel Houghton and the like on the bus loudspeaker system, with many people nodding and worshiping along with the songs being played.  

Wow.

The atmosphere was incredible… on a city bus, no less.

Likewise, we were curiously surfing radio stations in our resort suite when we noticed that there were many many public FM gospel radio stations for our listening pleasure, as opposed to one per regional market (if any) in the United States.

It seems like the entire Bahamas Island attends church on Sundays.  We inquired to our butler as to how do we get to Mount Tabor Baptist Church, whose pastor, Bishop Neil Ellis, had preached at our church in New Jersey not long before.  Our butler was surprised at our request.  She explained that going to church is commonplace for people who live in the Bahamas, but tourists seldom have such requests.  It was easy to get a ride to the church, with one of the ministers finding someone who lived near the resort who gave us a ride back.  

So in conclusion, it seems like our great experiences at sandals Bahamas was noteworthy because of the customer service at sandals Resorts. Yet also, the Spirit of the island as a whole (in which the resort was also covered) also played a significant role in our honeymoon experience as well.  However, I am not naïve to think that seediness does not exist in any given place, and I am sure that the Bahamas is no exception, but it is refreshing and reassuring to know that there are places where Christians are not only free to worship out in public, but where people are not afraid or embarrassed to openly pray and worship in public out of their desire for more of Him and without care of others.  Dr. Myles Munroe who pastors Bahamas Faith Ministries International also came to visit in New Jersey once said “I am From Nassau, Bahamas, the place where God lives”.

Maybe those of us in the United States should take field trips to the Bahamas in order to witness a demonstration that faith does not end and begin with Sundays.

“I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” Romans 1:16

Question: Where are you going on your honeymoon or next vacation? Are you taking Christ with you?

© 2011, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

__________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification.

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2011: The Year of Disillusion

By: ellis & tina still

Welcome to 2011!!! This will be the year of great expectations for TBB. We have some exciting events and new resources planned for the year, so keep your eyes open as we venture into new areas of service. We have thousands of new titles to browse, and beginning in February, we will have catalogs that you can download with all of the new and upcoming releases. We have partnered with Neilsen BookScan, so all of your purchases count towards national best seller lists, allowing you to support your favorite author. TBB has grown immensely in the short time that we have been open and we have you, our customers, to thank for that.

So, I guess you are wondering about the title of the blog: “2011: The Year of Disillusion”.  You are asking yourself what is that about?  We are supposed to start the year off positive, and speak life into the months to come, to have optimism that every area of our lives will be better than the last. That our business will grow; that we will advance at work; that our personal relationships will grow and be more fruitful, and that stress will no longer be a burden in our lives.  Every year we resolve to do something differently than the year before.  Every New Year we say that “this year will be our year”, but by the end of the year, we find ourselves in the same exact place… disillusioned.

This is a cycle that is easily repeated if you do not pay attention. You find yourself making the same or similar resolutions or declarations every year without noticing it.  After a while you stop making them all together, disappointed by hope.  Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, self, what you are DOING differently from last year?  What changes have you made in your thinking?  In your actions?  Are you working harder and smarter? What are you doing to get yourself out of your comfort zone? What barriers are you removing from your life?  What are you loosing?  What are you binding up?  What changes have you made in the people you have around you, especially those who revel in your failures? How much quiet time have you dedicated to spend in prayer?

Faith without doing is not faith.  It’s just a word that has no weight to it. Your faith is fostered in your doing.  At some point you have to give your words some substance so that you can grow beyond anything you have ever imagined.  

In Habakkuk 2:2-3 is reads “Write what you see (Vision).  Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run,  The vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming.  It aches for the coming-it can hardly wait!  And doesn’t lie.  If it seems slow in coming, wait.  It’s on its way.  It will come right on time” (MSG).  What is your vision?  More importantly what is your plan?  What are your goals for this year?  In five years? In ten?  What are you doing to get better? Not in acquiring “things” but how are you growing?  How are you praying?  How are you developing yourself to be able to handle what God has in store for you?  How are you leading?  What have you cut out of your life, or out of your business?  What are you planning to do differently this year?  What changes are you making in the people you keep around you?  How will you grow together in marriage?  How will you grow in your singleness?  These are just some of the questions to ask yourself in your quiet time.  

Every year brings a new set of challenges. You got over the stumbling blocks of 2010. Rest assured there will be new ones in 2011. 

Question: How can you break the cycle?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
____________________________________________________________________
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification emails. Thanks!!!
ellis

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