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. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Making Whole: Healing Through Art: What Are You Made Of?

 by Diane Steinbach

Making Whole is a bi-monthly art therapy column focused on art to heal.  
Paper dolls can have hinged appendages or be simple silhouette forms


Using the self-portrait in any of its forms as a tool to self-analyze is always useful.  It helps us visually identify how we feel about ourselves, and how the thoughts we have about ourselves can impact the way we feel and deal with our daily lives.

In this self-portrait activity, we start with a paper-doll form cut out of cardboard and using collage picture images of textures like stones, rocks, wood, and feathers and actual textural collage materials like lightweight fabrics, small screws and nails we create a tactile and visual representation of our how we see ourselves.

First gather materials. Find papers or magazine images of textures like images of rocks and stones, and actual fabrics.  Glue stick, super glue, and scissors.

Cut out a paper doll form that is at least 12 inches tall out of cardboard.

Using collage materials, cover the form with images of materials that relate to how that part of your body acts or feels.

For instance, if you head feels fuzzy, use cotton balls to cover it.  If you think you are hardheaded, cover it with pictures of granite or concrete.  If you think you have a screw loose, put screws or pictures of screws on the head. Get the idea?  

Do the same for all the areas of the body on the doll form.

Once complete, look at the complete form… at the representation you created of YOU.  When you see it complete, what does it tell you? What do you think others would see or think if they saw it? Do you think it is an accurate description of you?

Let the doll sit in your space for a few days.  Look at it and see if it still seems to fit who you think you are. 

Are there things you would like to change about it? Would you like to be less hardheaded for example?  How would you do that? Can you make a change on the doll to represent that? Do so. 

Continue to work on the doll to change the things you want to change… one thing at a time.  Look at the doll continually to remind yourself of the changes you’d like to make.

Remember, a self-portrait only captures your interpretation of you in that moment of time, and you, like your portrait, are always a work in progress… the journey continues.

 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 10, 2012

Behind The Bookcovers:Insider Tips for Christian Writers #3




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: Can a writer submit a book for publication with a traditional publishing company, that they have already published themselves as an ebook or done a vanity publishing with?


Yes, as long as the writer in view owns the copyright and the contract with a vanity publishing house is not exclusive. One must take care to review all the stipulations before signing any contract, because it's easy to sign away rights that later you may wish you still owned.
If you do own the copyright, you can try to sell your book to a commercial publishing entity. In order to have any success, you will most likely need an agent to represent you, and you will have to show a good sales history for the title in question, plus access to a loyal "tribe" of followers, of significant size, who will continue to help you promote your work should you reprint it. However, you should ask yourself why any loyal follower should repurchase your book, most likely at a higher retail price. 
 Q: Are there certain people or places a manuscript or book should be reviewed to get it attention and increase its sales? How can a "nobody" author get their book in the hands of the right people?
 


There are some bloggers who specialize in reading and promoting books. To gain access to them, you usually have to pay somebody, and be prepared to provide the book in either printed format or eBook format, plus have it available to sell should anyone express an interest in buying. Your best approach to marketing your book is via social networking, NOT through conventional advertising OR through hiring an agency, since most of them are still using old methods in a publishing world that is headed full speed toward ePublishing and electronic or online purchasing and away from purchasing through bookstores. As unfortunate as this is for the future of booksellers, what is, is ... and they can survive if they adapt. At the same time, Christian booksellers specialize in gift books oriented toward spiritual needs, so if your book fits that description, you will have a better chance of convincing Christian bookstores to stock it. Start with any Christian bookstore that is within driving distance, and go meet the buyers. Personal connection is all the more important in a digital world.
Dr. David Biebel, author/co-author/collaborator of 19 books
Publisher, Healthy Life Press
www.healthylifepress.com

Friday, October 5, 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.




-->
That day, for me, was business as usual. My desk was close to what we called "The smoking balcony". I could see people go outside to have a cigarette. There I was, sitting at my desk and dealing with some technical challenge. Someone walked past me - obviously to go and smoke outside. Usually, I wouldn't bother looking up - as watching people smoke does get boring after a while.

Somehow, I looked up - and started into the eyes of someone standing outside. I could see the most intense pain and hurt in those eyes. Right then, the Holy Spirit said "My child, won't you go outside, and talk to him?" - with such love and compassion that I got up right then.

So, after introducing myself, we started talking. As it turns out, on the previous day, while I was on leave, something terrible happened to him, at work. It was his first day at the new employer - and after a doctor made a mistake with his medication, by prescribing a dangerous overdose, he collapsed in full view of everybody on the floor. He appeared drugged - and was taken home. He told me that he was going to initiate a malpractice lawsuit. I encouraged him to do it, as it would clear his name. He sued the doctor for malpractice, who offered to settle out of court.

Afterwards, I mentioned this to his team-lead - who clearly still had no idea. This stopped the rumors, and the man and his team became good friends. As I spent time talking to him regularly, his life started changing around. The last time I saw him, was at his wedding - and he truly was a new man. All the hurt and pain was replaced with joy and fulfillment.

It was such a wonderful joy to be able to minister to someone, under guidance of the Spirit, and to see that person truly prosper. It's true what the Bible says about it being better to give than to receive. The joy of receiving something doesn't always last very long. But the joy of giving, and seeing the profound difference it makes can last a lifetime. 

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dirty Little Secret? Abortion Death Rates Covered Up

According to a recent article from the Elliot Institute, although the Centers for Disease Control are charged with the responsibility to keep track of deaths due to abortions, as they are other important health related data, they fall far short of their duty for unknown reasons.

Needed as all data is needed for future reference and research, keeping accurate records of deaths caused by abortions would tell researchers information that might give women better guidance on the safety of the abortion process as opposed to giving birth in higher-risk pregnancies.

Read the article below:

“Invisible” Abortion Deaths

One of our past posts included the stories of five women in Maryland who died as a result of abortion, and whose deaths were never counted as abortion-related in any official statistics. Here’s a link to an article about another “invisible death” on the RealChoice blog — that of 17-year-old Latachie Veal, who died in Texas on Nov. 2, 1991, as a result of abortion:
Legend has it that the Centers for Disease Control keep track of abortion deaths. The case of Latachie Veal should lay that legend to rest.
Latachie was 17 years old, and 22 weeks pregnant, when Robert Dale Crist performed an abortion on her at Houston’s West Loop Clinic November 2, 1991. According to Latachie’s family, she bled heavily at the clinic, and cried out to the staff for help. They told her that her symptoms were normal, and sent her home. Several hours later, Latachie stopped breathing. Her brother-in-law called 911 while her sister did CPR, to no avail. Latachie was dead on arrival at Ben Taub Hospital.
As the article goes on to point out, Latachie’s death was never reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This is despite the fact that Latachie’s family sued Crist and the story was picked up by both mainstream media outlets and pro-life organizations. Further, Crist apparently discussed the case at a seminar attended by the person whose job it was to tally abortion deaths for the CDC:

Continue reading here: 

What do you think?

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