Friday, December 28, 2012

God Speaks: Real Stories of God's Guiding Hands in Real People's Lives: Christian Man Healed by God's Touch (Video)

The book "Treasuring Grace" was inspired by a dream in which co -author Tracy Roberts feels that God spoke to her and directed her hand in the writing of the story. Many people feel God's special influence in their lives in direct or indirect ways.  This column seeks to bring you some of their inspirational stories.

Why are we surprised that God and Angels help us and heal us when we call to them? Here is another beautiful and inspiring  TRUE story of how God and angels have intervened in someone's life. 


 Do you have a story to share? A comment about this video? or a story about how God has influenced your life. Please share it here...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

26 Acts of Kindness: Be Part of It

The Newton shooting inspired a movement of love and charity. An act of heinous violence resulted in an outpouring of sympathy so great it was as if the world wanted to wrap its arms around the families and try to make things right... if only they could.

Although the town is grateful for the generousity of gifts and donations, unlike natural disasters, this type of event does not get better from truckloads of boxed items.

With this in mind, a movement called the 26 Acts of Kindness was borne.  People are encouraged to, in memory of the 26 victims of the Newtown shooting, perform random acts of kindness to those around them.

Isn't this, afterall, what we Christians should be doing all the time? Acts of kindness to those around us? This is a wonderful reminder and a terrific way to start the habit with your kids and family members... with your church groups and social clubs.  Be part of the movement.

Read more about it here: 

Newtown Shootings Inspire '26 Acts Of Kindness' Campaign

A woman and child earlier this week at a makeshift memorial in Newtown, Conn. 
A woman and child earlier this week at a makeshift memorial in Newtown, Conn.
Shannon Stapleton /Reuters /Landov
 
The idea is simple:
Do "26 acts of kindness" — one for each of the 20 children and six adults killed last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Stories and photos are coming in to the "26 Acts of Kindness" Facebook page.
Facebook.com/26acts
 
Since NBC News' Ann Curry tweeted that idea earlier this week, it's taken off. Thousands have tweeted back to her about things they've done.
— Donating trees.
— Delivering meals.
— Anonymously leaving money for a co-worker who's struggling.
— Helping a stranger who's short on cash in the check-out line.
— Donating frequent flier miles to Make A Wish.
You get the idea.
There's a 26 Acts of Kindness page on Facebook. It's had more than 31,500 "likes."
And there are variations on the theme: "20 acts" to focus on the children; "27 acts" to include gunman Adam Lanza's mother, Nancy, who police say he killed before the attack on the school. Curry writes to those who've joined up: "All good. You are in charge of this wave now."

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/12/20/167713372/newtown-shootings-inspire-26-acts-of-kindness-campaign

Friday, December 21, 2012

Making Whole: Healing Through Art: The Mask of Grief

by Diane Steinbach

Making Whole is a bi-monthly art therapy column focused on art to heal.  

This week's tragedy in Newton has left the nation coping with grief for the loss of innocent lives and may have re opened wounds for other parents of lost children. No matter who we have lost in our lives, children, or loved ones of any age, getting through the grieving process is difficult and we are often forced to maintain a mask of composure and hide our often overwhelming sorrow to deal with the tasks of daily life.

This process asks that you use an actual mask shape, make a dimensional mask or simply draw it out on paper.   Show, on the left side, the outer face you show to the world, and use the right side the inner emotions you feel regarding your loss or grief.  

By drawing out or expressing the duality of emotions, responsibilities and the conflict of doing what needs to be done and feeling, we give permission to our inner selves to release those emotions and recognize their truth and importance.  

When you show the mask to others, do they turn away or do they embrace you? 

They, most often than not, embrace and support you... you can always find true friends who will, and that means that you need to spend Less time with the mask on the left on... and more time wearing your true feelings on your face.  

The more time you spend sharing your grief, the more you can work through it and come back to the world stronger and with a sense of purpose renewed.  




Diane Steinbach is an art therapist and the author of: Art As Therapy: Innovations, Inspiration and Ideas:, Art Activities for Groups: Providing Therapy, Fun and Function and A Practical Guide to Art Therapy Groups

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Friday, December 14, 2012

God Speaks: Real Stories of God's Guiding Hands in Real People's Lives: The Miracle on Hwy 6 (Video)

The book "Treasuring Grace" was inspired by a dream in which co -author Tracy Roberts feels that God spoke to her and directed her hand in the writing of the story. Many people feel God's special influence in their lives in direct or indirect ways.  This column seeks to bring you some of their inspirational stories.

The below video features a story and news footage about a car crash and rescue that is truly inspirational and shows the awesome power of prayer and God's love for His children. It was presented originally on The 700 club, and the video includes additional 700 club commentary for your consideration.     Enjoy the real life story.... and I hope it uplifts your day....

Evidence of Angels~The Miracle on Highway Six





  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Does the Military Support Abortion?

A recent article published on After Abortion.com sites that the Senate recently voted to authorize insurance coverage for abortions for women in the  military who become pregnant through rape or incest.



Studies have shown that only 50% of women who get pregnant by rape choose to have abortions, but pro-lifers fear that with insurance coverage military women may feel pressured to do so.


Check out the article and decide for yourself.

Paying for Abortions Harmful to Military Women Who Become Pregnant Through Rape


Women Who’ve Been There Call for Better Support, Not Abortion

Abortion advocates are applauding a Senate vote to authorize insurance coverage for abortions for women in the military who become pregnant through rape or incest.
But many women who’ve been there — including the members of the Ad Hoc Committee of Women Pregnant By Sexual Assault (WPSA) — say that abortion will harm, not help, women who become pregnant through sexual assault.
The group says that covering abortion fosters the expectation that women who become pregnant through sexual assault want and need abortions, despite research showing that only half of women in such situations have abortions and that many believe abortion only causes additional problems.
If abortion is seen as the solution, women who become pregnant through rape will be more likely to be pressured to abort, face discrimination or disbelief about their stories and have difficulty finding the support they need.
The book Victims and Victors, based on one of the only surveys ever done of women who became pregnant through rape or incest, includes the story of a woman who was pressured to abort by medical personnel and family members after becoming pregnant through rape while her husband was in the military:
Abortion was very strongly encouraged by the military medical personnel, as well as by my husband and family. My husband said, ‘Abortion now,’ while I was still in the hospital. He called my parents, who agreed with him. I was told I was emotionally unable to make the decision, so my husband would make if for me. I checked myself out of the hospital to escape a forced abortion. I could not rationalize how the violent act committed against me gave me the right to commit a violent act against an innocent child …
Continue reading at:  http://afterabortion.org/2012/paying-for-abortions-harmful-to-military-women-who-become-pregnant-through-rape/

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Making Whole: Healing Through Art: Guided Imagery Tortoise Shell

by Diane Steinbach

Making Whole is a bi-monthly art therapy column focused on art to heal. 


Guided imagery is a tool used by therapists and people in many professions. It is a system of visualization as a way to relax and move into a state of calm and sometimes a meditative state. Sometimes it is used as a tool to help people visualize things they fear, and to work through those fears in a guided imagery before facing the fear itself in reality.  The skill of the therapist or leader of the imaginary journey will determine how intensely the client in involved in their "fantasy."

As a tool for healing, it allows the artist to start in a restful, relaxed state of mind, without fear, and to approach an art process openly and honestly.  The following process is found in my book Art as Therapy: Inspiration, Innovation and Ideas.

In this case, I use the term "guided imagery" in a much looser fashion.  For you to complete this process on your own, I would want you to simply gather your art tools, crayons, markers, or paints and paper, and get yourself into a relaxed state of mind first before you read the following guided drawing assignment.

  • So, take a deep breath, and relax.... close your eyes and find a quiet space before you begin the rest of this process. 

Think about a tortoise shell. A tortoise shell reflects all the beauty in nature, as well as an image of the life of the soul beneath it. If you had a shell, what would it look like?

Draw your shell.


Processing notes (read when you are done with the exercise.)

If your shell is flimsy and full of holes, you feel insecure, damaged, wounded. Why? What can you do to strengthen your shell? Make it harder? Over the next days, work on your shell and fortify it. Invite your friends, if you wish, to help you make it stronger.

If you shell is vibrant, extravagant and bold, you are an individual person with a creative spirit...good for you!
The act of drawing and working on the shell can be meditative... lose yourself in the process and see what the colors and shapes tell you about yourself.

Diane Steinbach is an art therapist and the author of: Art As Therapy: Innovations, Inspiration and Ideas:, Art Activities for Groups: Providing Therapy, Fun and Function and A Practical Guide to Art Therapy Groups

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Do Some Christmas Shopping!

Purchase your copy of Treasuring Grace to stuff some stockings or place under the tree! This beautiful Christian story is a perfect gift for Christmas and is available from Amazon, Healthy Life Press and for your Kindle!

Friday, November 30, 2012

God Speaks: Real Stories of God's Guiding Hands in Real People's Lives: Prayer for Answers


The book "Treasuring Grace" was inspired by a dream in which co -author Tracy Roberts feels that God spoke to her and directed her hand in the writing of the story. Many people feel God's special influence in their lives in direct or indirect ways.  This column seeks to bring you some of their inspirational stories.

During my research for this column I came across a Christian forum on the topic of God speaking to everyday people. On the forum people shared some of their true life stories, with the hopes of inspiring others.  It is my hope that by sharing some of their stories here as well, that we can spread the word and bring hope and faith to more people through their inspirational experiences. It is my sincere hope that these kind believers do not mind.

Ask and You Shall Receive...


Back in the early 70's when I was a very new believer in my early twenties, I had decided to see if what the bible says is true about hearing His voice, seeking and finding, and asking and it being given. I did not want to believe in a God who was not real, and who could not talk to me. His word said that He would talk to me. So this was what I focused on. I had learned from other believers and from the Word, that He answers prayers that are in line or according to His will. So I choose to ask Him which denomination or church I should join. I knew that it was His will for me to hear and know the answer to this, and I was VERY determined. I prayed for over four months solid. One day, I was loading the dishes into the dishwasher and I stopped right in the middle of putting a dish in and said, impatiently..."Lord ..You said that you would answer and I have not heard" and my thoughts were interrupted and I heard in my head these two words...."Peoria and Philadelphia"...those words meant nothing to me. I was just a kid and I knew nothing about those places as I was born, raised, and still live on the west coast. I knew that I knew these words do not come from my own mind...it just didn't make sense...yet!! I was and always have been a researcher, so I got out my National Geographic’s and tried to find out what I could about them. We didn't have computers back then, and I didn't own a set of encyclopedias either. I searched through these magazines until I became weary.

 I asked the Lord "what do I do with these places, what do they mean"?

He said very clearly again in my head, "call Bethlehem". I thought for a few minutes and decided that I would look up churches in the yellow pages that had the name Bethlehem. The first page I turned to in the book showed a church that was just blocks from where I lived and it was called Bethlehem. I decided to be brave and call the pastor...I wanted to see if this was the right church and to prove (even though I already knew) that this was all from God. I called him and simply asked him (without telling him my story) if Peoria and Philadelphia meant anything to him, and he said, "why yes, I was ordained in Peoria and my first church was in Philadelphia, why do you ask"? I told him my story.

He was amazed, and frankly, in my naive ignorance, I thought it was odd that a pastor would be so amazed. I did not yet know that there were some Christians, pastors, and churches that held the belief that God does not speak to us anymore. God used a naive young person like me to tell the pastor that He does indeed still talk to His children.

Much later I found out that after the pastor spoke to me on the phone, he went to his next standing appointment he had with a young couple that had an interest and questions regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

He explained to them our phone conversation, as he was still amazed. I later became friends with that same young woman. It wasn't long after that this couple moved to Arizona to start a Charismatic church. God can do amazing things through anybody that is willing. I just wanted a church home and to believe in a God that was really real...and He took care of my needs, taught the pastor something very valuable, and also confirmed what a young couple was wanting confirmation in....all at the same time. God is alive and well, and He speaks to you if you ask and then listen.... and keep on listening no matter how long it takes.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Ireland Abortion Laws: What do you think of the case of Savita Halappanavar



The recent case of Savita Halappanavar, a dentist who apparently died from blood poisoning due, in part from, some say, because she was unable to get an abortion in Ireland has blown up the Pro Life/Pro Choice debate.

According to some reports, Halappanavar was already carrying a 17 week old baby who had died in her womb, and hospitals were still unable to perform the process to remove the fetus. Other reports say the baby still had a heartbeat at the time of the termination request.

In any case, it calls attention to the Pro Life/Pro Choice debate and the situation in Ireland where some pro choice groups complain that women must go to the UK to get abortions in the cases of rape, incest or other tragic circumstances. 

Whatever your stance, read on about this interesting and controversial case.. tell us what you think.

 (From the BC Catholic Paper)

Pro-lifers warn against snap judgments regarding Ireland abortion case



Following the death of a pregnant women in Ireland who was denied an abortion, pro-life voices are advising careful examination of the circumstances rather than abortion advocacy.

Debate over Irish abortion law has been heated since news broke of Savita Halappanavar, a 17-week pregnant woman who died in a Galway hospital on Oct. 28.

Halappanavar's autopsy has revealed that she died of blood poisoning and E. coli ESBL, an antibiotic-resistant strain of the bacterium.



“Instead of jumping to the conclusions that Halappanavar needed an abortion and that Ireland needs to legalize the killing of the youngest of its kind, the reasonable approach would be to get to the bottom of what Halappanavar’s condition was and examine how it was, or was not, responded to,” wrote Stephanie Gray, executive director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform Nov. 20.



E. coli ESBL has recently spread throughout the U.K., causing urinary tract infections which can develop into blood poisoning.



“The presence of E. coli ESBL is particularly problematic if Halappanavar was given antibiotics to fight an infection that was resistant to those very antibiotics,” Gray said.

Both the Irish health department and University Hospital Galway are making independent inquiries into the circumstances of Halappanavar's death.

On Oct. 20, she went to the hospital suffering severe back pain and there found she was miscarrying. She then requested an abortion, but was told medical staff would not make such a move as long as her daughter had a heartbeat.



Prasa, the child, died four days later, and after another three days Savita succumbed to blood poisoning and E. coli ESBL.



“We have yet to hear from the hospital and the medical professionals involved as to what precisely happened, but with this report of her dying from E. coli ESBL one wonders how killing Halappanavar’s baby Prasa would have killed the E. coli,” Gray noted.


read more: http://bcc.rcav.org/canadian/2172-pro-lifers-warn-against-snap-judgments-regarding-ireland-abortion-case-


Note: The above article is from a Catholic newspaper. Other new sources may report the story differently.

Friday, November 16, 2012

God Speaks: Real Stories of God's Guiding Hands in Real People's Lives: God in the Passenger Seat


The book "Treasuring Grace" was inspired by a dream in which co -author Tracy Roberts feels that God spoke to her and directed her hand in the writing of the story. Many people feel God's special influence in their lives in direct or indirect ways.  This column seeks to bring you some of their inspirational stories.

During my research for this column I came across a Christian forum on the topic of God speaking to everyday people. On the forum people shared some of their true life stories, with the hopes of inspiring others.  It is my hope that by sharing some of their stories here as well, that we can spread the word and bring hope and faith to more people through their inspirational experiences. It is my sincere hope that these kind believers do not mind.




"God in the Passenger Seat"
 

"I've had several experiences where the Lord spoke to me. It saved my life a number of times. Like once, when myself and my wife went to the seaside to take some time off. I was behind a slow truck, and decided to overtake it - since it appeared quite safe to do so. Right then, He said "No, my child" - and I obeyed. About a second later, a car came racing past - way over the speed limit. We would have had a head-on collision, since there would have been nowhere to go to avoid an accident.

It's sad that there are so many "God made me do it" stories out there that make people believe that God not only never speaks to His children, but that anyone who believes that is crazy."


Do you have a story to share about how God intervened in your life? Please write us here at Treasuring Grace to share your story...

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rape and Abortion: The Real Statistics May Surprise You

There has been a lot of talk in the news lately about rape and subsequent pregnancies.  Although there is really no dispute that rape is a traumatizing and violent event, abortion is not the choice of every victim whose rape results in an unwanted pregnancy.

Afterabortion.org recently printed this article that focuses on the misinformation about the choices rape victims make when faced with pregnancies. I think you'll find it interesting.

“Rape hurt my mother, but abortion devastated her.”

This comment was recently posted to our web site:
My mother was raped at age 16. Her parents forced her to have an abortion. She stopped going to church, dropped out of high school and became depressed. Her young adulthood was during WWII and she had a problem with relationships. She eventually married my father after only a two week courtship and she told him what a horrible woman she was because of the abortion.
They vowed to have as many children as possible. God sent them ten children and she lost one to miscarriage; she mourned the lost baby along with her aborted child. When she was pregnant with me, her third child in four years, the doctor told her she wasn’t really pregnant and that he would remove some tissue. She knew what he meant and got another doctor.
I told my dad how blessed I was that mom knew what he meant and he then told me, 60 years later, that the reason she knew was because of the rape and subsequent abortion. She took this secret to her grave and I would have never known except my dad was praising me for getting involved in the pro-life movement through 40 Days for Life.
I was almost not here along with my four children and six grandchildren. My dad told me she mourned that aborted child her whole life and she never forgot and never received healing. My mother died at age 67 and I was told her secret when I was 60.
Rape hurt my mother, but abortion devastated her.
Stories like these are why women who have experienced a pregnancy resulting from sexual assault have created The Ad Hoc Committee of Women Pregnant by Sexual Assault (WPSA).
For the last eight years, WPSA has been petitioning Congress and state legislators to hold hearings at which women who have actually been pregnant following rape or incest could tell their stories and talk about what they and other women facing such a situation really want and need.
We collected stories and surveys from nearly 200 women who experienced a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest for the publication of our book  Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies,Abortions,and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault. Most who aborted told us that abortion only added to their trauma and was not a good solution. Further, many reported having been pressured to abort by others.

Read more at :  http://afterabortion.org/2012/rape-hurt-abortion-devestated/

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Making Whole: Healing Through Art: Doorways through Time

by Diane Steinbach

Making Whole is a bi-monthly art therapy column focused on art to heal.  




The basic timeline has been used to depict and review a persons life path in a therapeutic way for decades. A simple line with demarcations for years and notations of important events help remind us of our journey, accomplishments, defeats, and choices along the way. 

As a visual tool, a timeline has endless possibilities for life reflection. A more creative approach means realizing that no ones life takes a straight line with a neat and orderly list of data and statistics. Our lives, and all the choices we have made, all the people who have come in and out of it, who we have loved and lost, all of our mistakes and successes, are made up of color, texture, scars and depth. 

In this approach to a life-reflection timeline, I ask you to consider your most impactful moments, the moments that have shaped you, hurt you, and healed you as doorways you have walked through to get to the next part of your journey.  Each doorway, from start to where you are today would look differently... perhaps the very first door that you entered into this world would look golden bright and new... perhaps a doorway to a toxic relationship would look battered, made of wood and broken.  

Use paint, pencils, collage materials, old photographs, any medium you feel most comfortable in, and create your time line of doorways and doors... 

Once finished, look at your journey. What does it tell you about the choices you have made? What are your doors made of? Have you had to squeeze through them? Have they been easy to open? to see through? Have you been able to guess what was behind them before you opened them? How can looking at them now help you in the future? 

Create an image of the next door you want to walk through.  Make it the most beautiful door you can dream of... post it somewhere you can see it everyday and make that choice a reality. 


Diane Steinbach is an art therapist and the author of: Art As Therapy: Innovations, Inspiration and Ideas:, Art Activities for Groups: Providing Therapy, Fun and Function and A Practical Guide to Art Therapy Groups

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Behind the Bookcovers: Insider Tips for Christian Writers

Treasuring Grace is a Christian themed book that was published by Healthy Life Press. Being a first time author makes it hard to break into the writing business and the Christian market, although growing, makes it even harder. We know there are a lot of you in the same boat, with great ideas, inspired story lines, but not really sure where to go with your manuscript or how to take the next step.  
We asked our publisher at Healthy Life Press some questions about breaking into the Christian Publishing business (referred to a CP in the future) and wanted to share his valuable information with you here. We are sure you'll find it fascinating and helpful.


Q:  I have written my book and have used the Kindle e-book uploading software to put it online. What more can I do to promote my book and get it to sell?


A:  Purchase read, and re-read, and implement the advice in the book Platform, by Michael Hyatt.
Read more about this book in this article by the Christian Post: 

 
-->

Michael Hyatt Shares Blog and Social Media Tips in 'Platform' Book

Life in this fallen world is hard. It's easy, at the end of a long day of ...

By Katherine T. Phan , Christian Post Reporter
May 23, 2012|2:02 pm


Michael Hyatt, chairman of Thomas Nelson publishers and an influential blogger, built his large online audience using blogs, Twitter and Facebook. He is now passing along marketing tips and techniques that he has learned over the past eight years in his latest book Platform: Get Noticed in A Noisy World.

Hyatt argues in the book that in today's crowded marketplace compelling content is no longer enough for someone to get noticed. As a former CEO of Thomas Nelson, Hyatt had to turn away authors and writers with brilliant material because they didn't have a platform to market their message.

"Content was king still but platform had become queen," he told blogger Brad Lomenick in a recent interview.
Without a platform, even a great message or product can get lost amid all the "noise" created by other competitors and distractions, according to Hyatt.

Platform serves as a step-by-step guide on how any author, business owner, sales people or pastors can build a platform or expand an existing one using blogs and social media.

"This book is a for someone who has anything to say or sell," said Hyatt.

The book is divided into five parts / steps:
• "Part One: Start with the Wow" talks about how to make a compelling product by making sure the experience of the user exceeds the expectation.
• "Part Two: Prepare to Launch" helps the reader create a mindset to succeed by having clear goals and team.
• "Part Three: Build Your Home Base" teaches a reader how to draw and build an online audience through blogs.
• "Part Four: Expand Your Reach" gives the ins and outs to using Twitter and Facebook.
• "Part Five: Engage Your Tribe" is on how to monitor comments and follow up with blog readers.



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Friday, November 2, 2012

God Speaks: Real Stories of God's Guiding Hands in Real People's Lives

The book "Treasuring Grace" was inspired by a dream in which co -author Tracy Roberts feels that God spoke to her and directed her hand in the writing of the story. Many people feel God's special influence in their lives in direct or indirect ways.  This column seeks to bring you some of their inspirational stories.
 
  During my research for this column I came across a Christian forum on the topic of God speaking to everyday people. On the forum people shared some of their true life stories, with the hopes of inspiring others.  It is my hope that by sharing some of their stories here as well, that we can spread the word and bring hope and faith to more people through their inspirational experiences. It is my sincere hope that these kind believers do not mind.



-->
"When i was in school, i had 2 different professors say that God literally speaks to them. 

I am still not 100% sure what they mean but, when i asked one of the profs what he meant, he told me that sometimes, it's like the holy spirit is whispering into his ear so quietly and it's like a person is standing next to him. 

He told me other times, when he's praying, meditating or doing something else, sometimes the holy spirit will just grab his attention and point him in a direction, whether it's to pray for someone or to mentor someone. 

In class once, he shared this story -- there was this 1 student named Anton who used to go there, and he said, this one day, he just felt led to text him -- he said God placed a verse on his heart and told him to text that number and he said he text the number w/ the verse and by saying whatever it was that he felt God leading him to say. 

He said that later that day, he got a text msg back and the text msg said something like this, 

"i don't knoe who Anton is, but, thanks for what you said to me, that really touched my heart, it's something that i needed to hear right now." 

So, apparently, the kid changed his phone number w/o telling this prof. but God knew something bigger was going on and used this prof. as a tool to help this person out and he told us, that he had gotten a few other text afterwards from this other person asking for advice.

 So, God speaks to people and uses them in his own ways." 

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Little "Chicken Soup" for an Autumn Day

Hi friends,
We are all familiar with the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series of books, which has gone from one simple book of endearing and heartwarming stories to a ever-expanding group of books for every subset of reader.

Chicken Soup for the Parent's Soul, particularly appealed to me, and I am sure each of you have your own stories of moments with your parents, or children that would fit right in to these beautiful moments shared on the pages of the book.

ParentsSoul.com shares a few of the stories from their book and I wanted to share them here as well.  Follow the link at the end of the story to continue reading further samples and to order a copy.
Enjoy.


(The following stories are excerpts from Chicken Soup for the Parent's Soul. We hope you enjoy these offerings, and also hope that you will order your copy through our website today!)

"The Pickle Jar"

As far back as I can remember, the large pickle jar sat on the floor beside the dresser in my parents' bedroom. When he got ready for bed, Dad would empty his pockets and toss his coins into the jar. As a small boy I was always fascinated at the sounds the coins made as they were dropped into the jar. They landed with a merry jingle when the jar was almost empty. Then the tones gradually muted to a dull thud as the jar was filled. I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar and admire the copper and silver circles that glinted like a pirate's treasure when the sun poured through the bedroom window.
When the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the kitchen table and roll the coins before taking them to the bank. Taking the coins to the bank was always a big production. Stacked neatly in a small cardboard box, the coins were placed between Dad and me on the seat of his old truck. Each and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would look at me hopefully. "Those coins are going to keep you out of the textile mill, son. You're going to do better than me. This old mill town's not going to hold you back." Also, each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled coins across the counter at the bank toward the cashier, he would grin proudly. "These are for my son's college fund. He'll never work at the mill all his life like me."

We would always celebrate each deposit by stopping for an ice cream cone. I always got chocolate. Dad always got vanilla. When the clerk at the ice cream parlor handed Dad his change, he would show me the few coins nestled in his palm. "When we get home, we'll start filling the jar again."
He always let me drop the first coins into the empty jar. As they rattled around with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned at each other. "You'll get to college on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters," he said. "But you'll get there. I'll see to that."

The years passed, and I finished college and took a job in another town. Once, while visiting my parents, I used the phone in their bedroom, and noticed that the pickle jar was gone. It had served its purpose and had been removed. A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside the dresser where the jar had always stood. My dad was a man of few words, and never lectured me on the values of determination, perseverance, and faith. The pickle jar had taught me all these virtues far more eloquently than the most flowery of words could have done.

When I married, I told my wife Susan about the significant part the lowly pickle jar had played in my life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more than anything else, how much my dad had loved me. No matter how rough things got at home, Dad continued to doggedly drop his coins into the jar. Even the summer when Dad got laid off from the mill, and Mama had to serve dried beans several times a week, not a single dime was taken from the jar. To the contrary, as Dad looked across the table at me, pouring catsup over my beans to make them more palatable, he became more determined than ever to make a way out for me. "When you finish college, son," he told me, his eyes glistening,"you'll never have to eat beans again unless you want to."

The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born, we spent the holiday with my parents. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to each other on the sofa, taking turns cuddling their first grandchild. Jessica began to whimper softly, and Susan took her from Dad's arms. "She probably needs to be changed," she said, carrying the baby into my parents' bedroom to diaper her.

When Susan came back into the living room, there was a strange mist in her eyes. She handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand and quietly leading me into the room. "Look," she said softly, her eyes directing me to a spot on the floor beside the dresser. To my amazement, there, as if it had never been removed, stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered with coins.

I walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my pocket, and pulled out a fistful of coins. With a gamut of emotions choking me, I dropped the coins into the jar. I looked up and saw that Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped quietly into the room. Our eyes locked, and I knew he was feeling the same emotions I felt. Neither one of us could speak.

by A.W. Cobb

Excerpted from Chicken Soup for the Parent's Soul and reprinted by permission of A.W. Cobb. ©1999 A.W. Cobb 


Read more here... http://www.chickensoupfortheparentssoul.com/sampleStories.html

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Making Whole: Healing Through Art: All The News That's Fit To Report

 by Diane Steinbach

Making Whole is a bi-monthly art therapy column focused on art to heal.  

The following process is based upon a project I wrote about in my third book Art as Therapy, Inspiration, Innovation and Ideas.  

It's a collage process that utilizes the newspaper as almost a spontaneous word association therapy session in a creative way that can open up new ideas about your own motivations, inner thoughts and emotions.


Here's what you need:
Daily newspapers, including comic sections, advertisements, everything.
18x24" Masonite board,
Modge Podge decoupage medium,
Sponge brushes.

  • Pull apart the newspaper sections and pile in a heap on the table near your Masonite board and Modge Podge.
  • Close your eyes and relax, clear your mind of any preconceived ideas of what you Want to create. Allow yourself to accept what comes to you.
  • Reach into the pile of papers and glance over the headlines, images and words that jump out at you. As you see things that relate to you, how you are feeling or that just resonate with you in some way, rip them out of the paper and put them in a pile in front of you.  Continue to do this as you work your way through the newspapers.
  • Once you have a good selection of collage/torn newspapers in front of you, begin to glue them onto your Masonite board with the Modge Podge glue. First put some glue onto the board, then apply the newsprint.  Do not try to put the newspaper in neat, orderly, easy-to-read columns, mix them up, in a collage fashion. Overlap, turn, flip and rotate in a careless, random fashion.  Cover the entire board.
  • Once the whole board is covered go over the entire board with one more coat of the Modge Podge to seal.  Allow to dry.

Once dry, look at the piece as a whole. What words come out over and over again? What is the overall feel to the piece? Is there a theme? Is it an optimistic themed piece? or does it dwell on the dark side of the news? Is there a balance to the words and images, both negative and positive? Do the words represent things that have happened to you or how you feel? How do you feel when you look at the piece.

Hang the piece in a central area and invite close friends to give their opinion of how the piece makes them feel? How does their reaction make You feel? Talk to your friends about the process.

What you will find is that you have picked out words and images that relate to your current state of mind, you current inner thought process and inner emotions. They may not be things you are comfortable letting other see in you everyday, they may be feelings or thoughts you are more comfortable keeping hidden, but when you use the "news" to talk about these feelings, you can open up a discussion about these deeper parts of you, and begin to work through them and bring them to the light, whether with close friends or family, or just for yourself to further work on or accept.


Diane Steinbach is an art therapist and the author of: Art As Therapy: Innovations, Inspiration and Ideas:, Art Activities for Groups: Providing Therapy, Fun and Function and A Practical Guide to Art Therapy Groups

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Behind the Cover: :Insider Tips for Christian Writers #4

Treasuring Grace is a Christian themed book that was published by Healthy Life Press. Being a first time author makes it hard to break into the writing business and the Christian market, although growing, makes it even harder. We know there are a lot of you in the same boat, with great ideas, inspired story lines, but not really sure where to go with your manuscript or how to take the next step.  
We asked our publisher at Healthy Life Press some questions about breaking into the Christian Publishing business (referred to a CP in the future) and wanted to share his valuable information with you here. We are sure you'll find it fascinating and helpful.

Dealer's Room: Book Conference Eastern Conn.

Q:  Do you recommend that an unpublished writer or a writer of a vanity or e book go to any writing or publishing conventions or conferences?
Yes, I believe that one can get objective feedback from professionals on one's writing in this context. I also think you can connect with prospective publishers and/or agents at writing of publishing conferences or conventions. Also, one can connect with others in the same situation, and the encouragement can help over time, in ways that are hard to predict.

Q: Are there any gatherings, conferences or conventions that you recommend any writer should go to, that will help get their book to market?
I'm sorry, but I cannot recommend any particular conference. But if one wishes to publish Christian books, one can most likely make better connections in the context of a Christian conference.
Dr. David Biebel, author/co-author/collaborator of 19 books
Publisher, Healthy Life Press
www.healthylifepress.com
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Friday, October 19, 2012

God Speaks: Real Stories of God's Guiding Hands in Real People's Lives


The book "Treasuring Grace" was inspired by a dream in which co -author Tracy Roberts feels that God spoke to her and directed her hand in the writing of the story. Many people feel God's special influence in their lives in direct or indirect ways.  This column seeks to bring you some of their inspirational stories.
 
  During my research for this column I came across a Christian forum on the topic of God speaking to everyday people. On the forum people shared some of their true life stories, with the hopes of inspiring others.  It is my hope that by sharing some of their stories here as well, that we can spread the word and bring hope and faith to more people through their inspirational experiences. It is my sincere hope that these kind believers do not mind.

Below is a story that reminds us that even the smallest effort and kindness is evidence of God's influence in our everyday lives.  Enjoy.




 Once as a child I was tobogganing alone, in farm/country land behind my house that I used to sneak off into and I had decided to take this one "hill" I had discovered that was way steeper that day than usual due to large amounts of snow and steep drifts that had built up. I closed my eyes on the way down, enjoying myself.... It was one of these plastic sleds with the little hand breaks on the sides. Suddenly I heard, I kid you not, a audible, loud, echoing "STOP!" and I was so alarmed I cranked on the breaks without thinking. 

I had turned my head around as t seemed like it had come from behind me, and had opened my eyes then. When I turned my head forward again, I saw that I had somehow, on this sled, turned towards the treeline, and not two inches in front of my face was a sharp broken tree branch sticking out at me like a spear... If I had kept going I would have been skewered, basically. I looked and looked and there was no other sound or evidence of another human being around me whatsoever. No foot prints, it was just me and the wind and trees and grey sky. 

I didn't think it was God or an angel at the time but there is just no way anyone even close by could have seen me at the bottom of the dip in the land there without me seeing them, especially if they were going to be close enough to notice I was heading towards this branch.

The only other time I heard God, it was not audible... It was a strong strong whisper or almost like a "thought injection" I guess during a very upsetting past event, while I was praying but it was a very hysterical, upset and selfish prayer. And then suddenly cutting through everything racing through my mind was "be patient!" and it was so strong and commanding of my attention, like there was no way to confuse it with those times my own head is generating random thoughts...and after that moment, i felt sudden clarity and peace. 

Not to mention somewhat foolish about my reaction. So there they are, my only two experiences where I felt there was verbal communication... For what it's worth. The one potentially saved my life. The other... I will never know for sure how it affected outcomes.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Book to Share: "Giving Sorrow Words: Women’s Stories of Grief After Abortion"

Published in July of 2000, Giving Sorrow Words: Women's Stories of Grief After Abortion, written by Melinda Tankard Reist,highlights both the motivations and the deep emotional scars that those who choose to have abortions face after their life-ending and altering decision. 

This collection of stories from 18 different women is a moving testament to usually unspoken loss associated with this trauma.

Check out this recent excerpt featured on Afterabortion.org. and then pick up a copy for yourself.


So Much of Me Died: Mary’s Story

Note: The following is an excerpt from the book Giving Sorrow Words: Women’s Stories of Grief After Abortion.
Giving Sorrow Words
I remember the events surrounding my abortions clearly. There are some things that are so utterly terrible, so devastating, they never fade from the mind or heart.

I idolized my boyfriend, whom I met when I was 17. I was 23 when I first became pregnant by him. We had been together on and off for several years. Despite his treatment of me, which at times could be very cruel, and his vicious temper, I truly loved him. I just had to try harder, or be better, or take more care to avoid upsetting him. I dreaded his temper and would put up with just about anything to avoid a scene.

I think that he became aware of this gradually, because over the years his dominion over me increased to a point where he became a tyrant. I had to wear what he said, do my hair the way he wanted, never have friends of my own over unless he was out of town. I really never stopped to analyze any of this. I guess I was too young and besotted with him to realize that ours was not a normal relationship. I believed that if only I could please him more, everything would be all right.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was thrilled. It had not been planned, but I was truly happy. I spent most of the day working out the baby’s due date, who it would look like, and thoughts of that nature, but when my boyfriend arrived home and I broke the news, he flew into a terrifying rage. I wept, begged and cajoled, but to no avail. He was adamant that I have an abortion.

A week later I was in the abortion clinic with him, supposedly to receive “counseling” from a clinic staff member. She was aged around 40, and wore glasses and a white coat. She seemed so motherly and sympathetic at first; she even told us that she had four children of her own. I was crying my eyes out, saying over and over that I did not want the abortion. I was desperate; I knew it was impossible for me to stand up to my boyfriend on my own, but I thought that this “counselor” could support me and perhaps help him see reason.

Instead, she sided with him. I now had two people haranguing me. I was saying over and over that I wanted to have the baby, but the two of them just bulldozed over me completely. I felt cornered. I was sitting down, and they were both standing over me. I had once received training in how to close a sale, and I felt that this “counselor” must have been to the same sales training seminars.

Read more here: afterabortion.org. 

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