Life sometimes throws curve balls, threatening your job, health or retirement account, perhaps unraveling your most valued relationships. It can be tempting to rely solely on hard work or dogged self-determination to turn things around when challenges arise. Yet Bonnie St. John believes one additional life ingredient can dramatically transform life’s tough situations: joy. As an amputee, Paralympics silver medalist, Rhodes scholar, Harvard and Oxford graduate and single mom, St. John has faced some of life’s toughest challenges—and she doesn’t speak of joy lightly. Her new book, Live Your Joy (April 2009), is a powerfully inspiring collection of real-life, modern-day stories that reveal the power of joy: living it, pursuing it, sharing it, and making it a top priority.

“When you learn how to create joy in your life, you stop being a slave to what is happening in the world, and you become the master of your own destiny and emotions,” writes St. John. “You can always raise the level of your joy reservoir because it’s coming from inside you. And that is an amazing feeling!” Now, more than ever, Americans want to rise above life’s difficult circumstances, to enjoy life in spite of setbacks and challenges.

Bonnie’s life experiences uniquely qualify her to address methods for dealing with tough challenges. She was abused as a child, endured numerous surgeries for the amputation of her right leg, struggled to finance her Harvard studies, organized her own training regimen to become an Olympic ski medalist, and succeeded in the high stakes, high pressure world of Washington politics. Positive thinking and drive led her to more and more professional success, book contracts, and speaking engagements, yet there was still something missing. She discovered that the energizing feeling of joy is more than positive thinking and achievements.

In Live Your Joy, Bonnie shares simple tricks and tools she has learned to increase one’s daily “joy factor.” Her tips include:

• Add “to feel” items to your “to do” list. Make it a priority to feel gratitude, feel wonder, feel in love with nature, and feel love for family. The resulting joy is surprising and empowering.

• Build a “portfolio of dreams.” Don’t just hope for one thing, or dream of one thing. Draft an entire portfolio of goals -- and a few of them will actually come true.

• Beat the “joy stealers.” Notice your tendency to focus on the negative—including the people and situations that trigger negativity—and nip it in the bud. Be intentional about your pursuit of joy.

Live Your Joy includes stories from Bonnie St. John’s own life and from the lives of others who have taught her how to live with joy. She guides readers through a process of steadily increasing their joy, by learning and practicing new habits and behaviors. Chapter titles describe the attitudes and practices St. John encourages, knowing full well these will affect the reader both personally and professionally: Confidence, Hope, Positivity, Authenticity, Humility, and Resilience. While she admits it’s not possible to live your joy every minute of every day, Bonnie encourages people to adopt the attitude that, at a minimum, each day can offer a little more joy than the previous one.

By Bonnie St. John
Published by Faith Words
ISBN# 978-0-446-57925-4
207 Pages

Back Cover: Throughout her life, Bonnie St. John has struggled with daily “joy stealers, “ In this book, she shares her experiences along the perpetual journey for joy—stories that will teach you how to find joy in each and every day, no matter how unlikely it may seem. Each chapter holds a piece of puzzle, the building blocks to living a life with joy: hope, confidence, positivity, authenticity, humility, friendship, resilience, and faith. As you read, embrace each notion and apply it to your life. As you do, you will find you are better able to truly become your own source of joy.

Finding joy in life is not an easy task, but Bonnie will lay the path for you to make the daily choice of joy over bitterness. Know that no matter what obstacle lies ahead of you, you have the choice to move past it with love, laughter, and happiness. It’s time to open your self up to joy and accept and appreciate its power!

REVIEW: Bonnie says, “Joy, comes from the inside out. It feels like a flowing grace that pours out from me into the world. It is a feeling of goodness, a sense of well-being through thick and thin. It is hope, confidence, friendship, positivity, and faith all wrapped into one.”

Bonnie has done amazing things in her life, which many of us only dream of. She as won a silver and bronze Olympic medal for ski racing in the 1984 Paralympics, she has an honors degree from Harvard University, received a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, was appointed to the White House National Economic Council for 4 years and was quoted on millions of Starbucks cups, “….Gold medal winners just get up faster.”

Bonnie has had challenges to over come personally and physically. She truly is an inspiration and fascinating to read about. She isn’t perfect and struggles daily, like the rest of us, but she makes a conscious choice to “live her joy.” And not let it pass her by.

Inside these pages are candid stories from her life, where she has made the choice to live her joy no matter what. She says, “Setbacks aren’t always the worst things that can happen to us. To the contrary, we often have to take a step back in order to take a step forward. .. If we always try to bend the world around how we think things should be, we’ll never get ahead. We need to realize that flexibility is one of our most important assets…sometimes setbacks are really a gift.” Amen to that Bonnie!!

I hadn’t heard of Bonnie before reading this book. Now I want to know more about this amazingly gifted woman whose heart is after God and loves sharing the gift of joy with whoever is put in her path. I know that I’ve got a lot to learn from this special lady. She’s very encouraging, practical and definitely someone I’d like to meet.

Nora St. Laurent
ACFW On-Line Book Club Coordinator


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