Eps 118: Reading People (and Ourselves) | Guest, Anne Bogel

Eps 118: Reading People (and Ourselves) | Guest, Anne Bogel

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Today’s guest is Anne Bogel.

Her book is Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Can Change Everything

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Lesson 28: Soul School-The Myth of “It Is What It Is”

Lesson 28: Soul School-The Myth of “It Is What It Is”


Soul School, Lesson 28 is special – You can access PART II for just a buck. (Ten dimes. Or, Four Quarters.)

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What does “It is what it is” mean to you?

Today, I talk about what we can change and the work of Carol Dweck.

The pivotal and transforming power of “growth mindset” as seen in her work and case studies could change dozen of things you thought were unchangeable in your life: your health, relationships, circumstances, living arrangements, learning, lifestyle, career, and much more.

Dweck shows that we tend toward two main ways of thinking. Making a strategic switch and using a particular word as we frame our thinking and describe our situations has a profound impact on outcomes. Her case studies prove it–listen in.

• After you listen to PART I (click the audio button below) be sure to watch the video lesson, PART II here (a Varsity Club PREVIEW special-for just $1).

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Thanks for listening today. Be sure to subscribe (see below) and listen to the Friday episode with my guest and soul friend, Shane Tucker on the topics of desire and rhythm of life.

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Episode 14: A chat with Ed Cyzewski

Episode 14: A chat with Ed Cyzewski

Shownotes for Episode 14: How-to pair wine and chocolate for a great party + a chat with author, Ed Cyzewski

(Your ears are not fooling you. In Columbus, Ohio at 9:30 pm a man rides a bike around and rings a bell as he sells frozen chocolate covered bananas. Too funny. And it sounds delicious, if not suspicious. That’s why I’m featuring chocolate in the wine segment today! Enjoy it. It’s bananas, after all.)

Want to try the practice of EXAMEN?

In this episode Ed and I chat about one of his favorite spiritual practices. It’s been very transforming for me too. It’s the practice of Examen (typically pronounced: EGGS-Aye-men).

This age old practice of reflection, mindfulness, and prayer to begin and end one’s day goes back ages in Christian History and is reflected in spirit throughout the bible. Like in David’s sentiments in the Psalms (like Psalm 119) and in Isaiah 26:9.

“My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you…”

So today I offer you my personal version of the Examen practice!

I call it “The Daily Sharpening Ritual”
–It’s the perfect way to supercharge and renew personal and spiritual awareness in your life.

It’s a simple but effective worksheet makes the practice easier to sustain. I hope you give it a try.
The practice takes just 3-5 minutes each morning and just before bed.
• You can see surprising changes in awareness in only 5 days.
(Simply print out 5 copies and follow-through for 5 days!)

Both EXAMEN-like worksheets below work like an Examen practice, but the 2nd one features prayer more fully in addition to reflection and mindfulness.

Check them out to see which one you like best. Print out both if you’d like:

SharpeningPRAYER• The SHARPENING Ritual 


(Enjoy these resources with my compliments…tipping what you can is optional.)

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Lots of heart, sweat and occasionally tears for your enjoyment and inspiration. You get to decide what that means and what it’s worth.


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Thank you!
With Love,





Best tips for the tastiest pairing Party of chocolate and wine!

A how-to.

A chocolate and wine tasting party is so much fun.

• It’s ideal for groups of 3-12 people.

• Have each person bring some wine and provide samples of high quality chocolate and let the fun start!

It’s the acid:
One of the tasty things you can do is pair chocolate and wine. Both chocolate and wine have higher levels of acidity which makes them a naturally delicious match.

Well-paired wine and chocolate work together to make each one taste better. Delicious qualities come out in both the wine and the chocolate and even form a third taste. A careful selection is needed.

Here are some ideas of which wine to pair with which kinds of chocolate treats.


The most  important tip to remember is to keep the wine sweeter than the treat it’s pair with.

(If you don’t it can make the wine seem less tasty and flavorful or heighten its bitterness. yucky.)


Make sure you have high-quality chocolate. 

Many supermarketers have a premium chocolate section and you probably only need one bar of each kind or just a good quality box assortment. Baked good work as well and you can search online too.


Taste test the chocolate ahead of time: Pick out certain fruit flavors, determine the sweet and bitter components they have, check for nuttiness qualities and levels of acidity. If the chocolate has a creme center this will take on added complexity that might pair well with fruit-forward wines. 


A rule of thumb is that darker wines tend to pair better which darker chocolate and should be served first: More full-bodied, (heavier feeling in the mouth) dark and drier (not a sweet style) red wine pair well with the more bitter chocolates that have a higher cocoa %.

White wines tend to pair well with milk chocolate blends and chocolates that have sweeter and fruitier flavor notes.

Remember TIP #1 one …keep the wine SWEETER than the chocolate!

Pick your wines according to the flavors you’ve tasted in the chocolate,
 and ask your guests to bring a specific variety of wine.

Here are some specific ideas for the kinds of wine you may want to serve, but you can feel free to experiment and see if your palate prefers something different.

Bittersweet chocolate (70% to 100%): This chocolate type enters the bitter range with deep intensity. Good choices include Bordeaux wines (merlot, cab franc, cab save), Beaujolais, Shiraz, Port, Malbec.

Dark chocolate (50% to 70%): Pair this with more robust wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, off-dry chamborcin and Port. A Chianti can match well with chocolate around 65 percent cocoa content.

Milk chocolate: Try Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Muscat, and dessert wines. Champagne is also a natural match for milk chocolate. The crisp, dry flavour of the bubbly contrasts perfectly with the creaminess of a simple milk chocolate tablet. Be careful of the higher sugar levels in milk chocolate, as these may cancel out any fruitiness in dry red wines, leaving them tasting bitter.

White chocolate (which is really cocoa butter) : Match with Sherry, Muscato (a.k.a. Muscat) a fruity Chardonnay (un-oaked), These wines will pick up on the buttery, slightly oilier tones of the cocoa butter. Vidal Blanc, Niagra blends, catawba blends.

Champagne or sparkling wine goes well with all chocolate types. It is a variety that compliments many kinds of wines. Many fortified dessert wines work well across the chocolate spectrum as well because they tend to be sweeter.

To keep every one sharp and feeling well, Offer your guests some bread or light fare before you begin and keep the wine samples to just an ounce. 

1. Take take a small sip of wine and note the aromas and tastes. Some hosts offer guest a sheet to jot down their observations.

2. Then bite into the chocolate and note what it happening as you taste and eat it.

3. Then you sip the wine again and note the new flavor notes and changes that the chocolate brought to the wine. It’s amazing how much the taste of the wine will change according to what it is paired with.

4. Don’t rush through the pairing. 7-10 minutes per pairing is about right. Allow people to really luxuriate on the experience and talk about the flavors and taste combinations they are experiencing.

This is not a consumption event, it’s a sensory group experience where enhanced awareness is key. Relax and take your time. Chocolate and wine are luxury items.

It’s a great lesson for life too. The point isn’t to bulldoze through life and get it out of the way, but to really notice what is happening and take it all in deeply. Downshift to a better appreciation of encounters with others, with our surroundings, and ultimately with ourselves and to God who makes a home within us.

• Enjoy yourself and let me know of the pairings you came up with  (in the comments section) and how your pairing experimenting went, or what your plans are. I’d love to know. You can post pictures at the Spark My Muse Facebook page too.

Do you have questions? Leave them here, use the voice mail feature, or use the contact page and I’ll try to answer them in future episodes.


Sparking your Muse…
a chat with Ed Cyzewski


Visit Ed’s website.



Interview notes


Ed talks about his upcoming Christian Writer’s Survival Guide book


The practices of prayer and writing are connected in so many ways.


Contemplative prayer

Spiritual Direction

and how Ed is learning more about Holy Spirit and waiting on the Lord


From my experience…”Type A” or productive person’s view of prayer is active or proactive (maybe not involving much listening to God) (Lisa)


Apophatic prayer – God is found in the silence more than I thought (Lisa)


“The Creative process and prayer require us to enter with hands open”.


For both (writing and prayer), you can’t force the outcome…


Submit to the process.

Do the work.


“[A] general principle is to create space to allow inspiration and good writing to happen.”

Maybe (it can happen) in retreats or in different ways.


My favorite podcast Krista Tippet’s show On Being Onbeing.org (Lisa)

Pico Iyer-  (paraphrase) “So much information is coming in but we have less space to process it.” -Pico Iyer The Art of Stillness


Never a moment wasted because of technology…but at what cost?


(Ed) on not having times for his brain to slip into neutral..


Ed says walks helped clear his mind, and he had to detox and ween from media.


We have a loss of self and fear of quietness.


40 Day Ignatian retreat bringing a terrifying and alone sense after 2-weeks until she found God in the quiet.


Ed’s method for unplugging and creating space:

Relent technique-going offline after 5pm and weekends.


Leaving my phone in my car when I go for walk to eating out. (Lisa)
• I’ve experienced less anxiety (to my surprise).


(Ed’s sarcasm) College students in the 1990s would die all the time, every week, because they didn’t have cell phones. Funerals every week for the mobile phone-less.


In the 1980s my dad got collect calls from “pick me up”. (Lisa)


UK study showing that teens are more anxious because of tech and over-connectedness.


Maybe because the media (they are using) is socially consequential and not neutral: like watching tv or listening to radio. (Lisa)


From his upcoming book:

Allowing space to grow and learn. His spiritual practice of Examen.

The app he uses: Examine App

The practice helped him come up with writing topics.


The practice showed him the imbalance of his life.



Contemplative writer’s Facebook on group


Kirsten Oliphant

Andi Cumbo-Floyd


The group has lots of generosity there like a support group.


How Ed keeps a balance in mood and outlook when the stories he writes about are negative and make him angry.

How he uses a generous redemptive approach and giving his anger time to dispute so he can write with redemption in mind, inspired by Richard Rhor.


God wants to redeem everyone.


…Controversy and hit pieces build a quick blog audience…but the challenge is to be redemptive and to still confront in love when necessary…


“I’d rather be an Atheist than attend the Village Church” (his angry article)


Trying to encourage others to be redemptive and holding back if he can’t do it in a redemptive way. Waiting is important.


How we change. Example: Women in Ministry and how Ed’s mind changed.


“God is all about the long game.”

(It’s not helpful to create animosity)


(Lisa) “The power of heightening Empathy (to solve problems). Sharing stories helps.

The job of a person who is called to communicate for something bigger than themselves is to ask…

‘Am I able to show people something that they haven’t seen, but  then once they see they know it’s true. And they can’t unseen it’.”

“And to feel it too…what that (other) person is feeling.” -Ed

(If you’d like to have Ed back to discuss how writing can be “soul-killing” and what to do about it, please let us know and leave a comment! Was the show too long? Too short? Ed and I decided we are curious about this, so let us know.)


Friends, readers, listeners…I need a little help with this anonymous survey.
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Shane Claiborne is joining Spark My Muse as a guest this summer! WHOOP whoop !!!

Episode 9 – Wine: moderation vs. medication (The famous HALT method)

Episode 9 – Wine: moderation vs. medication (The famous HALT method)

Spark My Muse
Episode 9 – Wine: moderation vs. medication (The famous HALT method)


This is a surprise “mid-week” episode. This show normally goes live each Wednesday. Episode 10 and 11 are longer special interview episodes.

Episode 10 (airing May 27th) Emily Miller writer and journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times and Relevant Magazine

Episode 11 (airing June 3rd) Daniel J. Lewis prolific creator of an entire network of podcast programs, including nationally-awarded shows on how to podcast, comedy, and the #1 rating discussion show for ABC’s series “Once Upon a Time”.

Check back for those!

This episode was brought to you by “The Daily Sharpening Ritual”–The perfect way to supercharge and renew personal awareness in your life.
The simple but effective worksheet was designed to create extra awareness and transformative improvement with minimal planning and effort.
It takes just 3-5 minutes each morning and at night.
• You can see big changes for the better in only 5 days. Give it a test try, you have nothing to lose.
(simply print out 5 copies and follow-through!)


While tipping is appreciated…these are yours to use for free.
Choose either or both options and see which one you like best:

• The SHARPENING Ritual 


Wine segment

How much wine is considered “drinking in moderation”?

Rule of thumb: 2, 5oz glasses per day is moderate drinking, and no more than one drink per hour, or four drinks per occasion (like an all-day event like a picnic or wedding)

But if it’s hard to go a day without drinking wine (or wanting to), rethinking your relationship with wine is needed.

The show details some physical repercussions of over-consuming wine, and a practical way to build mindfulness.

• If you unsure that your consumption is healthy, jot down the feelings behind the desire to consume wine so it doesn’t master you.

• Wine can too-quickly be used to medicate ourselves, and this hurts our Souls. Be mindful. :)
(“Soul” meaning what it does in Hebrew: our whole-self, mental, spiritual, creative, relational, etc)

Sparking your muse

Featuring the book by Brennan Manning called, “The Wisdom of Tenderness”.

Explaining “the HALT method” for decision-making:

Brennan Manning died last year, and he is probably best known for writing the Ragamuffin Gospel. He accumulated a lot of wisdom through life, but it didn’t come cheap. Poor choices, wrong turns, and hard lessons molded him, eventually, into a person of great compassion and grace–a sage for the poor in spirit and those smart enough to listen. Many sought him out for his wisdom.

When Manning came into recovery as an alcoholic he learned a buzzword from AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). AA folks use it as a method and smart tool to create greater awareness in those vulnerable to slipping back into alcohol abuse.

• They stay on the lookout for four qualities that make them susceptible to relapse and are encouraged to seek help when they identify them occurring in their life. Before they take a sip they look for the signs and call for backup.


If H.A.L.T., then halt.

Regular internal check for these:

H – Hungry (not just for food, but a longing in general)

A – Angry (or stressed, or frustrated)

L – Lonely (or rejected, or left out, feeling alone in the world)

T – Tired (often tired from helping others or being otherwise overcommitted)

We all need to cultivate an awareness of our vulnerabilities to avoid a slide into poor choices, creative slumps, or dangerous behavior.

Sometimes we don’t even realize our feelings while we are having them or how we are trying to soothe our selves.

Let’s develop the awareness to halt and take an internal inventory or seek help when we get run down, over-extended, or when we find ourselves feeling in some way hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.

 It is awareness which is at the heart of any ingenious creative pursuit, meaningful transformation or spiritual growth.


NEW next week (May 27)…A great interview with my friend, Emily Miller (writer and journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times and regular contributor to Relevant Magazine).

JUNE 3rd, comes an interview with expert creative, Daniel J. Lewis!


Please take part in this anonymous 30-second listener-survey so I can continue to produce the show.

Spark My Muse

Episode 1 (Grape Juice is Unnatural)


Sparky My Muse Podcast-Episode 1
(Grape Juice is Unnatural)

Welcome to the Spark My Muse podcast!

This episode was brought to you by “The Daily Sharpening Ritual”.
A worksheet designed to create extra awareness and transformative improvement
It take 3-5 min min in the morning and at night. You can see big changes for the better in only 5 days.

Choice either of both options for this resource:

• The SHARPENING Ritual 


So, What you can expect on the show?

• I will add a new show about once a week.
• Once a month I want to feature Interviews with interesting and creative people.

• A segment about “wine for newbies” will be featured each time.
And each show will include, one way or another, something on how to improve yourself and live the good life: as a person, as a creator, and as a person on planet earth!

The wine segment for episode:

I work at Spring Gate Vineyard and I learned something sort of odd.

Did you know Grape juice is unnatural?

Grapes are considered a berry.
The skins have yeast and the fruit inside contains sugar, so that fermentation is the natural outcome.

Extraordinary means have to be taken to stop the process. Usually fermented wine was diluted with water in ancient times.

Martin Luther is attributed as saying:
“Beer is made by men. Wine by God.” He was very fond of both.


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Special perks and rewards are available too. Join with the Spark My Muse community at the Spark My Muse page at Patreon! Click the image for more info.



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