Woof! Jake the Boston Terrier, Interviews Donna Winters

As you know, I love dogs and have three of my own. The most outspoken of the three is Jake, a rescue dog. Jake is a Boston Terrier that a fellow blogger willed to me upon his death all the way from Pennsylvania. And since this boisterous canine is more than able to speak for himself, I’ll let him take it from here. Woof! Welcome, Donna. I’m always excited to get to know my mom’s skin friends who enjoy the company of fur kids like me. Tell me, what in your childhood created a love for God’s creatures? When I was very young, about four years old, my parents bought a Cocker spaniel puppy. I loved that dog, but after several months of training it, my mother was unable to housebreak it and it was re-homed with a family who had a nice outdoor doghouse for it. Soon after, my mother went back to teaching, and with both of my parents working full-time, my mother said it would not be fair to have a dog or cat and leave them home alone all day. Thankfully, my best friend from third through sixth grades lived on a dairy farm. Her family had cats and dogs. I slept over many, many weekends at her place and got my fill of pet cuddling. I always liked cats, but my husband forbids them. He grew up with a marvelous mixed-breed dog and wanted to adopt a dog early in our marriage, so I became a “dog person.” What in your childhood created a love for writing? I was the kid who always wanted to write letters to relatives and pen pals. Other kids hated writing letters, and even my pen pals couldn’t keep up. No one else in our family was a writer so my mother was perplexed about me becoming a writer of book-length fiction. I explained it by saying that writing is one form of being creative, and many in our family are, or were creative, including my mother who went to her heavenly reward in 2008. What do you write? Mainly, I write for my Great Lakes Romances® series. The books are historical romances set in Great Lakes cities and towns, mostly in Michigan. You can find them at http://www.GreatLakesRomances.com. What are your favorite: Wild animals: Since I live in the north woods, I love seeing the deer. They are especially graceful and peaceful, making me wonder: why can’t all of God’s creatures, both quadrupeds and bipeds, be more like the deer? Domestic animals: Dogs and cats. What pets do you currently have? Currently we have Babe, an American Staffordshire Terrier mix (some call the breed “pit bull”). She is...

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Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids?: How Moralism Suffocates Grace by Samuel C. Williamson

My degrees are in Christian Education. So as soon as author Samuel C. Williamson asked me to read and review this book I jumped at the opportunity. Could it be that my life’s work has been for naught? Had I led a generation of kids and teens astray? I had to wonder because some of the kids I’d worked with through the years had not only left church, but had also strayed from the Christian faith all together. Would this book hold the answers for me? Why was this happening? I enjoyed this book so much that I want every teacher in my church to read it. This isn’t a book that slams Christian Education programs in the local church, but a book that explains the difference between the Good News of Jesus and the yolk of moralism that too many churches place upon their parishioners. On page 71 the author writes: “Our hope doesn’t depend on how good we’ve been…Our hope depends on seeing Jesus.” Are we revealing Jesus in the Old Testament stories? The Old Testament laws are to be a mirror showing us that we simply can’t ever be “good enough.” This mirror should make us grateful that we have a Savior. We can live in Grace. What freedom! But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD Jeremiah 9:24. Fact is, we can never be good enough for God. That’s why Jesus came. The message we need to send our kids in the Bible stories is that these people were able to act wise and good, ONLY because God’s GRACE enabled them and God’s GRACE strengthened them. God’s beauty kisses the beast in us. God’s grace is immeasurable and that’s the message we should be teaching people of all ages all over the world. Have I always incorporated this strong and most important message of grace? I’d like to think I have. But perhaps I could have done better. Perhaps the message of grace wasn’t clear enough. I am certainly determined to make it clearer now. Needless to say, this book receives five stars from me. I think it’s a must-read for every Christian–especially if they are teaching. And writers, you are teachers. Tweet This: Does your writing gift your reader with the knowledge of grace? What do you remember most about Sunday School growing up? I’d love to talk with you about it in the comments...

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Autism and First Place Chili

We’ve had a chili-cook-off tradition at our church for the past seven years or so. For the past three years my twin sons with autism have won first place! The first year, they used my recipe and I guided them through the process. The second year their Dad’s recipe was used and Dad entered with them. Last night they entered by themselves with Mom’s recipe and won again! Isaac did all the veggie chopping himself with our Vidalia Onion Chopper. I don’t know what the secret to our chili is. I think it’s a pretty basic recipe. We make it just hot enough to sting a little, but not enough to make people run for the water fountain. We do live in the north. I think our chili is milder than those in Texas. However, I do love the tickle if cayenne pepper in my nose, don’t you? My secret ingredient? I think it might be butter. My secret recipe sautes the onions and peppers in butter. I also use a very high quality beef grown locally and humanely. What’s the secret ingredient in your chili? Tweet this: Congratulations to Isaiah and Isaac for winning the chili...

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Erica’s Edition: Hello to Karla’s Readers!

Today’s Post is the first in what I’m calling “Erica’s Edition.” Erica is my college intern this semester. Take it away, Erica! How scary do you find it writing to someone you’ve never met? It’s a pretty daunting task for me, so I figured–why not start by telling you a little about myself?  That seems like a pretty easy way to break the ice. I grew up in Pittsboro, IN (it’s pretty small) and went to a great school (it has actually been in the news lately)! Students Make Touching Choice at Homecoming I played soccer from the age of 6 up until 19 and my best friends were my teammates. I have a little brother who’s turning 14 next Monday. I never really got along with him until this past year. Luckily we’re starting to have things in common (like playing Minecraft) that we can talk about. I’m in my junior year at Manchester University studying English. There is so much I love about Manchester. The small class size is excellent—I mean right now I have one class, Lit Theory, that only has 3 people in it and my Expository Writing class only has 5 people. When people say small class sizes I always pictured between 10-20 people, but this extreme is nice because it allows the professor to understand each one of us and awards us the opportunity to get off topic in class while still remaining relevant to our subject and our lives. Today in Expository Writing we had a 10 minute discussion about one of the girls starting an Engagement Planning business, a la The Wedding Planner (2001). I also really love the chances that I have to be involved. Right now, I’m co-editing our literary arts magazine, Spectrum, and although it’s keeping me super busy because I’m trying to find new ways to promote it on campus, it’s really rewarding. I get to look at great art and read amazing stories and poems. I even had the privilege of speaking with MU’s president, Jo Young Switzer, about submitting a story to us, which she very graciously did. Part of what is going to make me busier this semester is my wonderful opportunity to work with Karla. I’m lucky enough to have a professor who recognizes my desire to work as an editor and brought the idea up to me (another great thing about MU).  I’m glad for this opportunity because of the exposure to online promotion Karla is giving me. Under her guidance, I’ve started my own blog, The Slanted Shelf. I’m proud of my blog title and I’ve had a couple comments on it so far. I named it “The Slanted Shelf” because...

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Introducing Writing Intern, Erica Graphman!

I’m thrilled to introduce my new college intern, Erica Graphman, to my readers! You can read Erica’s blog here: The Slanted Shelf.  She will be helping me with my online presence via social media and blogging. Erica grew up in Pittsboro, Indiana, population 3000. (North Manchester’s population is 6000.) Here’s what she had to say about moving to North Manchester to attend Manchester University. Why did you decide to become an editor after you graduate? My senior year of high school one of my English teachers was trying to help me find a career path for me and he suggested looking into majoring in English since I love reading so much. After some research, I set my mind on editing. Why did you decide to attend Manchester University? Manchester has a great community. It’s very similar to my hometown, but a little bigger. There was still some change in size, which I wanted, and it was away from home but not too far that I couldn’t go back whenever I wanted. Hobbies? Reading, running (when it’s warm enough), watching movies Okay, I’m with you on the reading and movies, but I’ll leave the running to you. What’s your favorite color? Green Favorite food? Strawberries! My grandma has a patch and grows them every year. They’re best when you pick them and eat them while they’re still warm from the sun! 🙂 I agree with you there, Erica! That’s my absolute favorite, too! And my grandma raised them as well. So I know exactly how sun-kissed strawberries taste. Nom! Erica will be interning with me until the end of spring semester. I’m excited that we’ll be working together as she has a keen interest in editing and building a career doing so. She’ll also be posting on my blog once a week or so. Please join me in welcoming her to the team! Tweet This: Welcome to the team, new intern, Erica Graphman!...

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