What Moments Have Changed You?

Beautiful Alpine Photo by Gayelynn Watson

This week in our book group, I led the discussion on The Power of Moments, by Chip and Dan Heath. Now, as a student, and lover, and writer of fiction, I usually limit how many non-fiction and self-help books I will read in any given year. Some people are the opposite. They feel that unless a book is “true,” they are wasting their time reading it. Maybe I’ll write another post on another day about what I believe are the differences between factual and true, but for today, I’ll just say I have found some of the greatest, realest truths in well-written fiction. As Stephen King says, “Fiction is the truth inside the lie.” So, I will continue to choose to read fiction most of the time. Except, this year:

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact
The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact
by Chip Heath and Dan Heath  Image from Amazon Books

The Power of Moments is not fiction, but it landed in my lap, so to speak, and so I started it, fully expecting to put it down before long. Honestly, that’s what I thought, but I found it very readable, entertaining, thought-provoking, at times even inspiring. More than that, it caused me to make some changes in my life. I’m not sure you could say anything better about a book.

A brief synopsis: The Heath brothers explore the moments in our lives that are memorable. –An aside: Most of those really memorable moment happen when we’re young–but while so many of our experiences when we are young are about growth and change, that doesn’t mean we can’t have powerful moments as we grow older– They break down what makes a moment memorable, and at times life changing. These are the elements that singly or combined will make a moment stand out: Elevation, Insight, Pride, Connection. The authors have some wonderful examples that illustrate each of these elements. They go on to suggest, and show, how we might create more powerful moments in our lives and the lives of those we work with and for, and those we love.

One of the changes I made was to step up, and take more seriously, my writing. I had a moment when I turned fifty. (Not every moment is a happy high point. Some are a sudden realization that you are not happy where you are and need to change). I decided I was running out of time if I really did want to write. So I started and stopped, started and stopped. And then I read this book and got serious. I now write, (or edit) at least a little, every day.

Screenshot of the beginning of Chapter 1 of The Secrets We Keep
Taking a break from work at the cabin.

Another was to try to create and provide some memorable, unifying moments for my children and grandchildren,

Look at that face. Rhyat is having a moment.

To record and learn from some precious memories,

What a wonderful week with our Alberta, Canada missionaries.


And to reconnect with old friends.

So, I’ve been thinking about powerful moments. Moments that were different/special and elevated from the normal, moments where I had a sudden insight–and make a change because of it, moments where I felt a sense of pride in accomplishment and celebrated growth, or moments of deep connection.

What are the powerful moments in your past? Who did you share them with? Are you still trying to create powerful moments? Who will you share these with?

The Best Conversations

This winter I went to physical therapy three times a week–a weird shoulder injury.  I always took a book with me for the time at the beginning when I sat with the heat and that electric massage (which I loved) and the time at the end when I sat with the ice (which I didn’t love).  Since I read a lot, I brought in a lot of books.  My physical therapist has a very friendly office filled with very nice people.  And, in my opinion, books are always good conversation.

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Can We Enjoy Poems Again?

Do you remember studying poetry in school? Do you cringe?  I think two activities have added to our negative feelings about poetry: the deconstruction exercises we do/have done in school where we are asked to take a perfectly crafted and evocative poem, pull it apart, and point out every poetic device so that we can “interpret” it. And then our understanding of the poem is judged by some little understood yardstick. Often, we are required to bare our souls in the writing and sharing of a poem. 

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And speaking of Harry Potter

We recently had dinner with a family who are big fans, might I say obsessive fans of the Harry Potter series. I have enjoyed reading Harry Potter myself. I believe J.K. Rowling is a gifted storyteller. So, this may seem somewhat random, even contradictory, and I realize that I’m speaking of what to some is sacred ground, but I am just going to put this out there and take the flak. I’m talking about Harry Potter. I just struggled with the end of that series.  I’ve thought a lot about it because, hey, it’s Harry Potter, and everyone just raved (still raves) about it.  And it is an engaging series. Let me just say in my defense that I really like the Harry Potter series.  The books are clever and egrossing, but I really, really was disappointed with that climactic scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

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