When Regina Brett turned 50, she wrote a column on the 50 lessons life had taught her. She reflected on all she had learned through becoming a single parent, looking for love in all the wrong places, working on her relationship with God, battling cancer and making peace with a difficult childhood. It became one of the most popular columns ever published in the newspaper, and since then the 50 lessons have been emailed to hundreds of thousands of people.
Brett now takes the 50 lessons and expounds on them in essays that are deeply personal. From "Don't take yourself too seriously-Nobody else does" to "Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift," these lessons will strike a chord with anyone who has ever gone through tough times--and haven't we all?
|Publisher:||Grand Central Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Regina Brett has been a newspaper columnist for fourteen years, eight of them for Cleveland's Plain Dealer, where she was a finalist in 2008 and 2009 for the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary. She also hosts a call-in talk show once a week on WCPN, the Cleveland NPR affiliate, and speaks regularly to companies and not-for-profit organizations.
Read an Excerpt
God Never Blinks50 Lessons for Life's Little Detours
By Brett, Regina
Grand Central PublishingCopyright © 2010 Brett, Regina
All right reserved.
Life Isn’t Fair, but It’s Still Good.
The hat always came back, more faded yet stronger than ever.
Frank started it.
I had undergone my first chemotherapy and couldn’t imagine being bald. Then I saw a guy wearing a baseball cap bearing these words: LIFE IS GOOD.
Life didn’t feel good and it was about to feel worse, so I asked the guy where he got the hat. Two days later, Frank drove across town and stopped by my house and gave me one. Frank is a magical kind of guy. A house painter by trade, he lives by two simple words: Get to.
They remind him to be grateful for everything. Instead of saying, “I have to go to work today,” Frank tells himself, “I get to go to work.” Instead of saying, “I have to get groceries,” he gets to. Instead of saying, “I have to take the kids to baseball practice,” he gets to. It works for everything.
The hat on anyone but Frank might not have carried the same power. It was navy blue with an oval patch that announced its message in white letters.
And life was good. Even though my hair fell out, my body grew weak, my eyebrows fell off. Instead of wearing a wig, I wore that hat as my answer to cancer, as my billboard to the world. People love to stare at a bald woman. They got a message back when they gawked.
Gradually, I got well, my hair grew back, and I put the hat away until a friend got cancer and asked about that hat I used to wear. She wanted one. At first I didn’t want to part with mine. It was like my binky, my security blanket. But I had to pass it on. If I didn’t, the luck might run out. She made a promise to get well and pass the hat on to another woman. Instead, she gave it back to me to pass on to another survivor.
We call it the Chemo Hat.
I don’t know how many women have worn it these past 11 years. I’ve lost count. So many friends have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Arlene. Joy. Cheryl. Kaye. Sheila. Joan. Sandy. Woman after woman passed it on.
When the hat came back to me, it always looked more tired and worn, but each woman had a new sparkle in her eyes. Everyone who wore the lucky Chemo Hat is still alive and thriving.
Last year I gave it to my friend and coworker Patrick. He was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 37. Patrick got the hat, even though I wasn’t sure it could tackle any kind of cancer. He told his mom about the hat, how he was now a link in this chain of survival. She found Life is good, Inc., the company that made the hat and makes other products with the motto. She called the company and told them the story of the hat and ordered a whole box of caps.
She sent them to Patrick’s closest friends and relatives. They took pictures of themselves wearing the hats. All over his refrigerator he put up photos of college friends and their kids and dogs and lawn ornaments wearing the LIFE IS GOOD hat.
Meanwhile, the folks at Life is good, Inc., were moved by Patrick’s mom. They held a staff meeting and challenged their employees, “in the spirit of the traveling lucky Chemo Hat,” to pass their hats on to someone needing a lift. They sent Patrick a photo of all 175 of them each wearing a hat.
Patrick finished chemo and is fine. He was so lucky; he never lost his hair, it just thinned out. He never wore the hat, but it touched him. He kept it on a table at the bottom of the stairs where he could see that message every day.
It got him through the really bad days when he wanted to quit chemo and give up. Anyone with cancer has known those days. Even folks who have never had cancer have known them.
Turns out it wasn’t the hat but the message on it that kept us all going, that keeps us all going.
Life is good.
Pass it on.
Excerpted from God Never Blinks by Brett, Regina Copyright © 2010 by Brett, Regina. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
The Fifty Lessons 5
Lesson 1 Life isn't fair, but it's still good 7
Lesson 2 When in doubt, just take the next right step 10
Lesson 3 Life is too short to waste time hating anyone 15
Lesson 4 Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does 19
Lesson 5 Pay off your credit cards every month 24
Lesson 6 You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree 28
Lesson 7 Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone 33
Lesson 8 It's okay to get angry with God. He can take it 37
Lesson 9 The most important sex organ is the brain 42
Lesson 10 God never gives us more than we were designed to carry 47
Lesson 11 Make peace with your past so it doesn't screw up the present 51
Lesson 12 It's okay to let your children see you cry 56
Lesson 13 Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about 60
Lesson 14 If a relationship has to be kept secret, you shouldn't be in it 65
Lesson 15 Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks 70
Lesson 16 Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying 74
Lesson 17 You can get through anything life hands you if you stay put in the day you are in and don't jump ahead 78
Lesson 18 A writer is someone who writes. If you want to be a writer, write 82
Lesson 19 It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else 87
Lesson 20 When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer 92
Lesson 21 Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save anything for a special occasion. Today is special enough 97
Lesson 22 Overprepare, then go with the flow 102
Lesson 23 Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple 106
Lesson 24 Start saving 10 percent for retirement as soon as you get your first paycheck 111
Lesson 25 No one else is in charge of your happiness. You are the CEO of your joy 115
Lesson 26 Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?" 119
Lesson 27 Always choose life 124
Lesson 28 Forgive everyone everything 128
Lesson 29 What other people think of you is none of your business 133
Lesson 30 The passage of time heals almost everything. Give time time 138
Lesson 31 No matter how good or how bad a situation is, it will change 143
Lesson 32 Your job won't take care of you when you are sick, but your friends will. Stay in touch with them 148
Lesson 33 Believe in miracles 152
Lesson 34 God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do 155
Lesson 35 Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger 160
Lesson 36 Growing old beats the alternative. Dying young looks good only in movies 165
Lesson 37 Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable 170
Lesson 38 Read the Psalms. No matter what your faith, they cover every human emotion 175
Lesson 39 Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting for you to discover 179
Lesson 40 If we all threw our problems in a pile and got a look at everyone else's, we'd fight to get back our own 183
Lesson 41 Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of now 188
Lesson 42 Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful, or joyful 191
Lesson 43 All that truly matters in the end is that you loved 194
Lesson 44 Envy is a waste of time. You already have everything you truly need 198
Lesson 45 The best is yet to come 202
Lesson 46 No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up for life 210
Lesson 47 Breathe. It calms the mind 214
Lesson 48 If you don't ask, you don't get 218
Lesson 49 Yield 223
Lesson 50 Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift 229
Author's Note 235
About the Author 241
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you have ever seen the incredibly popular e-mail that has circulated over the years, claiming that Regina Brett was a 90-something woman who wrote in to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, you will get the same lovely surprise that I did. The short, sweet and smart advice that was on that list is here in the book...written by the 50-something Regina Brett. I have to admit that I was a bit shocked that a woman in her fifties could have come up with what sounds like the wisdom of a person who has lived a much longer life. It's no wonder that people attributed the clever statements to an elderly woman. Instead, the author has lived a very full life and has decided to pass on some bits of: Common sense (Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does), Faith (God never gives us more than we are designed to carry), Relationship advice (You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree), Healing (The passage of time heals almost everything. Give time time), Worry (If we all threw our problems in a pile and got a look at everyone else's, we'd fight to get our own back) and so much more... I enjoyed the list of thought provoking statements completely on their own, but with Regina's quick accompanying stories there is even a greater impact. This is an easy read, great to break into a chapter or two per day or to reflect on certain ones at appropriate times. It certainly is going to go to my daughter and her to friends as they face graduation and can use these lovely tidbits to get them started on the right path. It's much like having Mom or Grandmother to chat with at any time and give a reliable piece of well-earned advice. Excellent.
Everything I learned I learned in my childhood. The problem is most of it was a troubled one that I carried into my adulthood. This book is a good start to help you recognize your problems, especially when you are somebody like me that needs to make peace with the pass. I am glad that I read it.
Regina Brett is an amazing writer. Each of her "Life Lessons" is written as if she is sitting at the breakfast table talking one on one with you about your particular issues over a cup of coffee. It is as if your best friend dropped by for a quick chat and instead helped you get your life in order. Her message is always thought provoking, sprinkled with humour, tears and the kind of clarity that renews your spirit in friends, family and life.
I read this book when I was 38 and LOVED it! I passed it on to friends and decided I wanted to read it again so I bought a new copy! Then at 39 I was diagnoised with breast cancer and I've read it a dozen times. No matter where you are in your life you should read this book!
I started reading God Never Blinks and I couldn't put it down. It seems to me that almost each chapter fits my shoe. We all know what Ms. Brett tells us, but I needed to be rimindered. Excellent book. Armonia Eddy
I loved this little gem of a book. Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett has put together 50 little snippets of lessons that she has learned as a young single mom, an adult college student, cancer survivor, and exceptional woman. Life Lessons made me laugh, cry, and examine how I try to live my life. A quick and reflective read. Very enjoyable
I read a few books a week...this will rank as a keeper and all time favorite. If you feel you're in a tough period of life, if you want to be inspired, or if you want to think, these essays from the author fit the bill. She thinks like I do,and it's like chatting with a friend. Spiritual, but not religious....she's a cancer survivor, survivor of childhood abuse, and other difficulties...so she knows of which she speaks. If I could give this more than five stars...I would.
Brett, a journalist, shares lessons she has learned during life as a single mother and cancer survivor. Practical but encouraging, each chapter gives examples from life to back up her advice. A book that could be read more than once. The short chapters make this a book easy to pick up and put down quickly.
From my blog...Once I read that a book could not be well reviewed if the review was only a few sentences long, and while this was thought provoking and to some extent I agree, every now and again I am asked to review a book that is so profound, so honest and life changing that the book, even the title, speaks for itself. Such is the case with God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life's Little Detours by Regina Brett. Her debut novel includes 50 Life Lessons she realized she had learned the hard way, as the best lessons are usually learned and Brett views these as life's gifts to her and her gift to her readers. The lessons are short, to the point, honest, witty, and yes, some will require Kleenex, but above all, each lesson is not only universally true, but lessons everyone needs to learn. God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life's Little Detours is an absolute must have for anyone, young or old, religious or not. Sometimes, brevity is the only way to write, as Regina Brett clearly demonstrates in her book, God Never Blinks.
I got this book at the library last week. I saw this sitting in the new section, and I feel like the book was calling my name. Yes it was already in my to-read list, but it was sort of in the back of my mind. But once I saw this book knew I had to read it at that moment. I did get a stack of other books as well, and read one before this, but when I did read this, it sucked me in. I didn't expect to finish this in a day, I was expecting two to three at least, but I didn't. I will be reading this again,and actually buy it someday.I was reading each lesson, and not every one I could think of a way to apply to me at the moment. I finished it right before heading off to bed, so I was able to sleep on it. I woke up and here I am no writing my review. I think now, that even though not all the rules apply to me at the moment, they will someday. Like Lesson 36 "Growing Old Beats the Alternative. Dying Young Looks Good Only in Movies." She gives a list of things to do when you 50 and appreciate the age and have fun and to really live life, appreciate the old life. I am far from 50, but when it comes around I will be ready.This is a very quick, fun, and inspiring read.This book is a great book, and I think everyone should read it, weather your Christian or not.
The thoughts that provoke life are written in this book. A reread for sure!
God would be pretty well off with a weeping angel
It is an accessible book for readers of different ages and stages in their lives. I bought this on my Nook but will buy a paperback as well because the chapters are full of wisdom that you need to read time and time again. I will keep it by my bedside for those nights when I need to be reminded of what's really important in life and to remember how far I've traveled.
One of my New Favorite Books..! am going to use it as our book selection for our book club
I've incorporated this into my daily Bibly study. Funny, insightful, with life applications for everyone. I've recommended it to all my friends.
Heard about book from a tv show.unbelievable read..its a feel good read because it makes you not feel bad about life experiences.you can learn something from everyday life..can pick up at a drs apt waiting for children and read a chapter...i bought 3 copies for friends
The book consists of short stories (or lessons) that a woman has learned throughout her life. I love reading about God and how He always comes through in every circumstance in our lives good or bad. I enjoyed the book, reading each chapter as sort of a devotional every day. Even though I didn't "learn" anything new about God and how He subtly works in our lives to woo us closer to Him, it was a refreshing read for me as I recalled past circumstances in my own life where He was there all along.