December 3, 2014

Interview with Bob Kellemen on Gospel-Centered Counseling

 Several years ago, after finishing my doctoral studies, I went through the process of becoming certified as a biblical counselor. Along the way, I've met some very knowledgeable people with loads of experience.

One of the people who I have learned tons from is Dr. Bob Kellemen. Bob is the Executive Director of the Biblical Counseling Coalition, the Vice President for Institutional Development and Chair of the Biblical Counseling Department at Crossroads Bible College, and the Founder and CEO of RPM Ministries.

Obviously Bob stays pretty busy. And that's only a partial bio. I'll share the rest when I post my review of the book.

For seventeen years he served as the founding Chairman of and Professor in the MA in Christian Counseling and Discipleship department at Capital Bible Seminary in Lanham, MD. Bob has, also, pastored three churches and equipped many biblical counselors along the way.

Additionally, he has written over a dozen books, most of which I have read, including his latest book Gospel-­Centered Counseling: How Christ Changes Lives.

October 31, 2014

Breathing On Her Own: A Review

The book:
Molly Tipton and her husband are looking forward to retirement, but Molly’s life suddenly spirals out of control when her oldest daughter is involved in a terrible accident. An icy road and a sharp turn leave one woman dead, another clinging to life.

While two families grieve, details emerge that reveal Molly’s daughter was driving under the influence. As she prepares her daughter for the prospect of a vehicular homicide lawsuit, Molly discovers her oldest child is not the only one injured and forced to deal with past mistakes. If it’s true that time heals all wounds, what are we to do with our scars?
The review:
To be honest, because this was the author's debut novel, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Would it be slow moving? Will the plot be believable? Will it keep my attention? 
I must say Breathing on Her Own far exceeded my expectations. And if I wasn't armed with the knowledge that this is Rebecca's first novel, I would never believe it. She has mastered the art of writing fiction very quickly.

The storyline is very realistic. People face these types of situations each and every day. I've faced some of them myself. There's a good chance that you have, too. And if not, you know someone who has.

It took a chapter or two to fully draw me in. After that, I was up late reading the rest of the book. It really grabbed my heart. It also touched wounded places in my spirit and rubbed a few scars. 
Although we read books for enjoyment and also to pass time some books do far more. This is one of those stories that has depth. It causes reflection and pondering. I'm a big fan of that.

Rebecca did a masterful job of weaving the tale. She developed the characters enough to bring them to life and shared enough detail to bring the reader in close without being wordy or boring.

One of the things that stood out to me were the private thoughts of Molly Tipton. Oh how I could relate to her struggles of faith and just life in general. I really liked how the author included them as a secondary narrative in the background.

Breathing on Her Own is one of my favorite fiction reads for this year so far. I highly recommend it for individuals who enjoy fiction and also to those looking for books to be discussed in club or group type settings.

I'm very much looking forward to hearing more from Rebecca Waters in the coming days.

The author:
Rebecca Waters draws on her role as a wife, mother, and grandmother as well as her vast experience as an educator and researcher for her writing.

Rebecca sees writing as both a gift and a ministry. Although she has published in professional journals in the field of education, Rebecca now turns her pen to the world of fiction.

She has published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Lookout Magazine, and Home Health Aide Digest. Breathing on Her Own is her debut novel.

You can connect with Rebecca in the following places:

October 14, 2014

Hidden Blessings: A Review

The book:
Diagnosis: breast cancer. Prognosis: terminal. Life: only beginning.

Her diamond caught the sun's rays and refracted glittered light about the room. She'd asked herself again and again: How could she be so blessed? Partner at a prestigious law firm, engaged to the man of her dreams . . . there was no doubt. God had smiled on Kendra Woods.

But the moment Kendra is diagnosed with terminal breast cancer, her world collapses. Within days, Derek backs out of the wedding and the firm suggests a leave of absence during her treatment. Of all the roles Kendra has played over the years—daughter, sister, friend, student, attorney, bride-to-be—cancer patient seems the most unwelcome in the world.

October 1, 2014

Interview with Amy Bovaird

I've recently had the great joy of meeting new writers, both published and unpublished, through the My 500 Words group which I joined in January of this year. While my expectation goal was to use the group as a tool to rebuild a daily writing habit it has offered so much more. I have found the interaction there truly enjoyable and gained several new friendships.

One friend, who I am getting to know better, with all of her spunk and good humor is author Amy Bovaird. We all have a story to tell and Amy's is extremely inspiring. Her memoir Mobility Matters is coming out in just a few days.

Amy is, in her own words, a vision-challenged globetrotter. She's been to places that I have only dreamed of and has much to share from her experiences. I love her writing voice and the way it reflects her zest for life.

You can currently you download the first chapter of Mobility Matters for free on her blog. I highly recommend that you subscribe while you're at it. She is a delightful storyteller who is fun loving and adventurous. Not to mention the fact that you'll find her very encouraging.

September 22, 2014

Lessons I learned from dodge ball

My mind flashes back to gym class. I was probably about 8 years old. Two classmates had been chosen as captains. It was their job to pick members for their teams.

The name of the game was dodge ball. 

I recall the sense of dread that would come over me as one by one they would call out names. It wasn't of importance to me what team I was on. I had only one concern. "Please don't let me be last pick." 

I usually wasn't. But I was rarely first pick, either. 

This was in part due to the fact that I wasn’t allowed to wear pants in elementary school. A little girl in a dress isn’t as agile as the rest but I still managed to dodge the ball well. So I typically got picked somewhere near the rear. 

At least it wasn't dead last. 

Eventually I was allowed to wear shorts under my skirts on physical education days. This made me a more desirable choice, not to mention the added bonus that kids could no longer look up my dress when we had to rope climb. 

I was able to put more of myself into the game and take more risks. This increased the likelihood of getting on a team faster and also gave my ego a bit of a boost. 

It’s the little things when you are small. 

Third grade went by, fourth grade, fifth grade--by then I was actually good not only at dodging balls but at most things related to sports. 

By sixth grade I had "arrived." Well, nearly. I was a top pick for almost anything team related. Although never the captain I no longer lived in fear of being chosen last and the humiliation that accompanied it. 

But that changed one fateful day. 

It's interesting how certain memories are etched in the mind. Some experiences are burned into our brain like a brand of some kind. The fine details have blurred a bit with time but overall I have a strong recollection. 

Our class had recess in the gym. I don't recall if the weather was inclement or this was our teacher's choice. What I do remember is that we were playing dodge ball and I was all in. 

You see. I had something up my sleeve. 

My sixth grade teacher had three pet students. This was obvious to everyone. Somehow it had become my goal to become the fourth. 

Slowly I'd been inching my way toward this objective. I was being called on more often. I’d been left in charge for a brief moment--once or twice. My reputation was about to be elevated to an unforgettable level of importance. 

How could I not be stoked?

Everyone has the desire to be chosen. We want to be remembered for being good at something. We enjoy being elevated and adored by their peers or deemed special by others.

I wanted all of this and did all that I could to reach the invisible bar which would allow me to rise to the top like the cream of the crop which I so desired to be. 

With new found confidence I approached an afternoon game of dodge ball with more zeal than ever before.

As team member and opponents toppled one after another, I managed to remain safe. In fact, when it all boiled down to the nitty-gritty it was one-on-one. All that remained was me and the vicious opponent staring me down. 

Resolving to win, I hurled the ball as hard as I could. Dodging it was much more difficult without others to hide behind. The game went on and on. Sweat was flying as we both defended our positions.

 And then it happened. 

As I was running backwards to prevent being hit with the ball I ran smack into the teacher who, for reasons I'll never understand, decided to step out onto the court unannounced. 

I managed to escape being hit but not without trampling forcefully on my teacher's foot. Of course this was not done intentionally. Without eyes in the back of my head, I had no way of knowing she was behind me. 

Her screech followed by a hard yank, which left my arm throbbing, ended the game that day. "As far as I'm concerned, you just lost young lady." I can still hear the anger in her voice and recall the strange sensation of color and heat rising fast up my cheeks. 

She was in pain and I was deeply embarrassed. 

Needless to say I lost my place in the running for "teacher's pet" that day. I have a feeling that she was angry with me long after the bruises healed. They were pretty significant. The next day she was sure to call me to the front of the class to show me the damage that I'd done to her foot. 

I genuinely felt bad both for her and for me. 

In the end I'd gotten what I wanted. It was something to be remembered for with an accompanying reputation, elevated status and plenty of attention. I was taunted for the rest of the school year for nearly breaking the teacher's foot. 

Yes, the clumsy ox. I was now "that girl." 

That pretty much ended my desire to get ahead of others in life. Or perhaps I should say any compulsion to climb the ladder at other people's expense. 

I learned that what goes up must come down. It is easier to take those tumbles without everyone's eyes locked on you.

 I also discovered that people are very fickle. You are at the top of their list one day and off the paper the next. 

Mostly I realized that there is something about trying to schmooze my way to a place of elevation that is just not natural to me. 

Who knew that a game of dodge ball could teach so much?

September 15, 2014

Win a 7″ Kindle Fire HD Loaded with 20 Free Kindle Books

Most people know that I read a lot of books. If you weren't aware of that now you are. I've been reading and reviewing books for nearly a decade now. I really enjoy it.

What might be surprising, to some, is to hear that I have never had the pleasure of owning a Kindle Fire HD. I've always wanted one but I just haven't gotten around to getting it.

I use the Kindle app on all my devices. It's the next best thing, right? Well it is but I would still like to win a Kindle Fire HD.

Which is why I'm so excited about this giveaway.

My friend, Keiki, over at The Vessel Project is hosting a fantastic giveaway courtesy of Lighthouse Publishing. If you don't subscribe to her blog for daily updates of Christian book specials you are really missing out.

I recommend joining her list.

And while you are over there you will want to enter the contest to win a 7 inch Kindle Fire. It'll come preloaded with 20 free Kindle books courtesy of LPC.

You'll find all the details and rules of the giveaway here.

April 2, 2014

Changing the tape

We were in Charleston, WV with an itinerant preacher and his team. It was rare for us to accept invitations to travel but since we'd planned to slip over to another area of the state to spend Thanksgiving with my grandparents the timing of it all couldn't have been better.

Most of us didn't know each other well. Many in the group had never met before. We spent the early afternoon having lunch and getting better acquainted. The wonderful mix of temperaments made the meal a very entertaining experience. More then once I nearly spewed hot chocolate through my nose listening to the humorous stories being shared.

What a fun bunch.

God Is Not Fair: A Review

We all have them at one time or another. Whether they come, as unwelcome visitors, when trials or tragedy occur or as a result of watching someone else suffer---they are as common as "a cold."

In her latest book God Is Just Not Fair Jennifer Rothschild takes each of these questions apart and examines then in light of Scripture.

Who better to do so then someone who has asked them all herself.

Having lost her sight as a teenager, Jennifer has navigated the world blind for her entire adult life. And she does it with grace and dignity, I might add, not to mention while maintaining a sense of humor.

I've read all of her books because there is much to be gleaned from this woman's life.

This is by far the author's most candid work. It may very well be my favorite. I found myself laughing, crying, and praying as I read.

Jennifer's words provide incredible insight for those in the thralls of hardship. They also brings bountiful comfort and hope.

And who doesn't need hope?

There is not a person alive who in some way won't find themselves within the pages of this book.

It is not wrong to ask questions. In fact, it is right. How we process them and where we turn to for answers is what makes all of the difference. There are only two potentials when dealing with hardship: we get bitter, or we get better. Much of that depends upon the lens through which we choose to view life.

I'm so grateful that Jennifer Rothschild has chosen to view her hardship through the lens of faith.

Even in the darkest moments while suffering deep depression, due to chronic exhaustion and other physical changes, she continued to look to the right source for her answers. With more holes in her "blanket of faith" then she could possibly patch she allowed God to fill the missing pieces.

There is so much to be learned from her experiences as well as her teaching. I find myself re-reading portions of this book over and over again.

God is just not fair. Sometimes that can be a very hard pill to swallow. Which is why you need to read this book. It is medicine for the soul...a real heart cure!

March 28, 2014

Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful-A Review

Do you ever feel lost in the shuffle? If so, you're not alone.

In her new book Why Your Weirdness Is Wonderful  Laurie Wallin states "In these busy days, spent vying with the seven billion people on earth for jobs, resources, real estate, and recognition, we can feel lost in the crowd, unimportant, isolated in the midst of the throng. In the building intensity of these times, we need to know that we still matter. 

That to someone, somewhere, we're not just known but loved intentionally, wholeheartedly, deeply. You know the way I'm talking about: the falling-in-love, time-stands-still, life-lives-in-his-smile, who-cares-if-he-chews-loudly-or-never-irons-his-shirts kind of love. Everyone wants to feel that kind of unconditional affection from someone."

March 12, 2014

Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful-An Interview with Laurie Wallin

"What if the weirdest, most annoying things about you exist on purpose--for a purpose--to bring life, joy, strength, and healing to this world?" Laurie Wallin from Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful

Did you flinch when you read the quote? Shake your head? Resist even considering the possibility? If so, you're not alone. So did I. The very idea that my quirks or annoying character traits might exist for a purpose was/is mind-boggling to me. And it appears that I'm not alone.

Many people, of both genders, find it difficult to embrace the notion that what they or others deem as "weird" could be even remotely "wonderful." 

Which is why life-coach, speaker, author, wife, mom, Laurie Wallin, has written a book to address the subject. Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful will be released on March 18th. (It can currently be pre-ordered in either the paperback or Kindle version on 

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