Sunday, October 23, 2016

Take Your Life Back - Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop

Take Your Life Back: How to Stop Letting the Past and Other People Control You by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop is written for those who react to life rather than respond. Are you always letting the past and other people control your life? This may be the book for you. Using personal examples from their own lives, along with both clinical insights and truth found in Scripture, the authors demonstrate that your past history and habits can be overcome. When you set clear boundaries with others, you can learn to appropriately respond. Not letting people and situations control you will bring a new confidence and freedom to your life. Many things that happened in your childhood set the pattern to how you view yourself and your expectation from others. The book covers a wide spectrum of behaviors that impact one's life through forms of abuse, trauma, dependency, and more that can make you unaware of circumstances that may prove to be eye-opening as you reflect and remember how even a seemingly small matter may have shaped the way you see yourself and how you react to others.

Authors of the 
Life Recovery® series, Stephen Arterburn and Dr. David Stoop, are well experienced in helping others understand the issues that cause them to struggle and stumble, and can equip you with the tools to make positive changes in your life. Although it can be difficult, especially if you have deep-seated trust issues, the idea of having a "safe person" to talk with and provide support as you begin the healing process. There was a lot of info and insights provided in the book, but I did sometimes lose interest while reading. However, I would recommend it to those wanting to take control of their lives.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Cheryl Wicker - Coach at Amplify with PR

Cheryl Wicker, PR expert, speaker, agency owner and entertainment professional has branched out to use her expertise and knowledge gained in the industry to launch a new coaching program for professionals who want to learn to effectively do their own publicity. This “hands-on” solution is perfect for those on a tight budget, or for people who simply prefer to do their own marketing. Using virtual workshops and coaching calls to walk clients through the process, Wicker created “Amplify: How to Get Your Message HeardThrough Free Media Exposure” to teach them how to do their own PR during a 6 week program. A free educational webinar based on the program is currently available to those wanting to learn more:

Equally comfortable both in front of and behind the camera (‘Flag of My Father,’ ‘Finding Normal,’ and ‘God’s Not Dead.’), plus with additional experience as a multi-media journalist and working at Howard Publishing (now Howard Books with Simon & Schuster), Wicker is a multi-talented creative freelancer, utilizing communication, promotion, organizational and networking skills in a variety of roles: TV/film producer, casting director, actress, publicist, host of “Christian Movie Connect” and Media Correspondent for several events and conferences. As she has become more in demand as a speaker due to her experience in PR, people turned to her for advice with increasing frequency.  “My life mission is to help people of purpose impact the culture through media. However, I have to combine the practicalities of running a business with my mission to help others reach the world with a message that matters,” explains Wicker. “My solution is to help equip and empower people with the necessary tools and knowledge required to do their own PR at a fraction of the cost.”

The Amplify virtual coaching program created by Wicker teaches the ABC’s of DIY PR for both those new to marketing, as well as those who have experience.  Wicker teaches “journalist-focused PR” to help those enrolled in her program to craft a press release that is more likely to capture the interest of journalists who receive numerous pitches daily. Participants in the Amplify program will have access to downloadable material and videos that are used during the training. 

Wicker will be speaking next at the Churches Making Movies Film Festival, a three day event of movie screenings, insightful workshops, and family-friendlyactivities in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Wicker will be leading a workshop on Oct 8th at 10:15am. Her topic, “The Indie's Guide to DIY Film Marketing,” will include teaching you some of the tricks of the trade she uses in her own agency. She will also show you how to hire and manage your own freelance team.

Other workshop leaders include screenwriter Sean Paul Murphy and Isaac Hernandez, Vice President of Parables TV. However, the festivities start Oct 7 with a Red Carpet event with host actress Jenn Gotzon when director Dallas Jenkins will present a Sneak Peek Red Carpet Screening of his eagerly anticipated film, “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone.” Keynote Speaker for the evening will be Mrs. Austen Williams. To learn more about speakers and films, visit

Contact Info For Cheryl Wicker:
Cheryl Wicker - PR Expert & Coach
Free Media
Premier1 Studios - Facebook

Christian Movie Connect - Facebook

Follow @CherylAWicker
Cheryl Wicker - LinkedIn

Cheryl Ariaz Wicker - IMDb
Cafe Connect - Facebook

Friday, September 30, 2016

5 Minutes With Jesus - Sheila Walsh

5 Minutes with Jesus: A Fresh Infusion of Joy by Sheila Walsh is a small book that packs a powerful punch of hope and joy. When you are going through a dark valley or just stuck in a boring rut, joy can be difficult to find---but, our strength and joy are found in the Lord. It may not be easy to reach joy, but it is attainable. Jesus embraces His followers with a love that is almost tangible, but is manifested as a feeling of joy in spite of circumstances.

Sheila Walsh uses short stories, insights, and encouraging scriptures to help the reader discover joy in God's goodness, creation, and love. Each devotion reminds you that, no matter what, there is joy and peace to be found, and you can find it when you are frequently spending time in Jesus’ presence! Walsh and co-author Sherri Gragg provide a daily dose of encouragement through humorous or touching stories coupled with scripture that will provide light, no matter how dark life may seem. This book would be an excellent gift for anyone who needs encouragement and joy---including yourself! I highly recommend it.

I received this book free through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Befriend by Scott Sauls

Befriend: Create Belonging in an Age of Judgment, Isolation,and Fear by Scott Sauls is a timely book for today's world that is becoming increasingly intolerant of others having different beliefs and viewpoints. At one time we could simply agree to disagree, but we are devolving to a culture of name calling and stereotyping anyone who does not fully embrace our own thoughts. Not quite there yet, but this is a perfect time for a book like this to help us see that we can be friends with people who view thing differently...and perhaps even learn from them.

Befriend was written in answer to the question, Is real friendship too risky?" With the increased use of social media, many of us have "friendships" on various social media platforms that may include many people we have never met. Or, we have friends from church, school, work, sports, etc. that we may actually spend physical time with, but, no matter whether in person or via the internet, we do tend to stick with people who are similar to us in thoughts and deeds. Honesty is rare, and we seldom take the time to cultivate a relationship with anyone outside of our comfort zone.

Sauls demonstrates the "Jesus model" of friendship through 21 meditations meant to inspire actively pursuing God’s love through expanding your circle of friends. Jesus had friends that included a wide variety of people, and many did not just fit into His personal belief system. Scott Sauls, teacher and pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, uses each chapter to highlight a segment of people we encounter and examines how a true friendship can be grown.

My thoughts? There were some chapters, I was mentally applauding and yelling, "Preach it!" and then there were a few that stepped on my toes a bit. Would I be his friend in spite of not agreeing with a few of his views? Most likely, yes. I am willing to consider another's point of view, but have a few unshakeable opinions myself. There was one Scripture that we interpreted differently, and one parable that omitted part of the story, but nothing shattering; he merely demonstrated a point with what he used. I am as guilty as anyone else for sometimes gleaning a portion, and no harm was meant by it. Bottom line: in a time and place where we are growing angrier and less willing to compromise, Befriend is a great reminder that we are called to model Christ---not called to get everyone to agree with us or be banned from our presence.  

I received a copy of "Befriend" from BuzzPlant at no cost to myself in order to write a review. I was only asked to give my fair and honest opinion.

BuzzPlant is also offering a copy of "Befriend" to one of my readers. Leave a comment to be entered into the random drawing. Entries must be in no later than Tuesday, October 4th, 2016. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Afters - Live On Forever

Live on Forever by The Afters is a celebration of God's faithfulness, protection and promise, made more poignant due to it coming out of a season of tragedy. Health scares of a band member and a friend, and the deaths of a friend from church and of the infant daughter of the band's soundman during the two years the band spent writing and recording this album was cause for them to press even closer to God and His protection and shelter.

Josh Havens, guitarist and lead singer, when asked to pick out a song that sums up the spirit of the album, chose “Battles.” “It was the last song we wrote and the fastest we wrote,” he says. “We don’t typically write songs fast; we’ll change lyrics and melodies and craft our songs carefully. But ‘Battles’ poured out, the music and lyrics, in one day. It’s about standing up against fear and knowing God is always with us,” Havens explains. “It’s one of the takeaways we hope people get: ‘Don’t give up to fear."

I like this album. There are other songs The Afters have done in the past that I like better, but this is a good collection. To be fair, the style is more the type I will listen to now and then rather than a full set, but that is more due to my personal preference than anything else. The fact that I have listened to the CD several times, sometimes hitting replay at the end, is great. On most "pop" music albums, there is usually at least one song that has me hitting Mute. And, the more I listen to the lyrics, the more I like each song. 

My favorites on this CD are "Sunrise," "Live On Forever" and "When You Are With Me." The thing about this album that pleases me most is that it is songs TO God rather than ABOUT God. Since music is such a huge part of my praise and worship time with God, I love to sing songs to Him. It's always good when I don't have to change the lyrics to make sense when I am talking to Him.

Bottom line is that I really do like the album, and while it is not my favorite musical style, the words are inspirational and uplifting---especially encouraging if you are struggling or going through a difficult trail---or ready to praise Him for seeing you through it. 

GIVEAWAY: Propeller/Flyby is offering one CD to a reader of this blog. Simply respond no later than Sept 29, 2016. Winner will be announced September 30, 2016. Open to US and Canada residents only. 

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

iTunes: LOFAlbum-iTunes

Google Play:  LOFAlbum-GPlay
Amazon: LOFAlbum-Amazon

Get Connected with The Afters:
Official website:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Student Body

The Student Body is a documentary by high school journalist, Bailey Webber, who, after experiencing students having a voice that will be listened to, seeks justice for her peers after learning of the experience of another student (Maddy Karimi). Together the 2 girls use their passion to engage lawmakers and health professionals to tackle the controversial "Fat Letters" being sent to students after government mandated BMI testing. Bailey and her award-winning filmmaker dad, Michael Webber, team together in this excellent documentary that was the well-deserved winner of the 2016 Independent Spirit Award.

The issue of childhood obesity was what sparked the controversy with government sponsored bills that sounded good on paper, but were actually intrusive and upsetting to student and their families. The reaction caused a backlash that negated the proposed benefit and did nothing to solve the original issue or the problems that followed. Children as young as 5 were told that they were fat, based soley on one testing method done at school. When a student in Ohio demands to be heard by the school board, Bailey Webber is inspired to champion the cause on behalf of Maddy and the other students affected. In a determined battle, Bailey sets out to make the bureaucrats realize the effect these letters were having on children and expose the hypocrisy of their own unwillingness to undergo the same treatment. Tp view trailer, 
Click Here

I will be honest. I did not expect to like this film and was wishing I had not agreed to view it. I really had not done more than glance at the subject matter (childhood obesity), so I thought it would be a dry little documentary/lecture. However, within minutes it captured my full attention. Very well made documentary that addressed so much more than expected. Bailey Webber's tenacity in getting a well rounded story with varying viewpoints actively engaged me as a viewer. I even found myself verbally responding to several answers as though I were along with her on this journey. I seldom get this caught up in a story; it may have been because this is reality, but I have gotten bored with 2 minute real-life videos. To keep my interest for 85 minutes is impressive.

Not only was it an excellent look at a very controversial subject, especially the government intrusion into the personal lives of children and their parents over matters that should be left up to a child's parents and healthcare providers, but she also brought in healthcare providers who were both in favor of and opposed to school and government sanctioned BMI (Body Mass Index) testing. Even with the lawmakers, there was the views of those who agreed, disagreed, and some who felt compelled because of potential backlash. Altogether a fascinating look at how something intended for good may actually create more problems. I expect to see much more from this skilled young filmmaker in the future. She has learned much from her father, but it is more than obvious that she has her own talent and ability to shine on her own as she shines the spotlight of truth in her documentary. Excellent film that you need to see when it comes to a theater near you. I noticed they use GATHR, so you can actively bring The Student Body to your theater. Check out details HERE.


Disclaimer: I received a link to view this film from producer Elliot Wallach of Edify Media, but was not required to give a review. My thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

About Bailey Webber Bailey Webber is a student investigative journalist, writer and co­director of The Student Body. Her story of courage and activism has been featured in numerous newspaper and online articles. She has been honored by the National Association of University Women for her advocacy work, is an ambassador for the National Eating Disorders Association as well as Proud to Be Me in which she has written several articles, blogs, and has participated in panel discussions. Bailey is also an up-and-coming public speaker and has appeared as a guest on several television and radio shows. Bailey is the daughter of Michael Webber, a motion picture producer and renowned documentary filmmaker. As such, she has grown up around movie making and has storytelling in her blood. The Student Body is her directorial debut.

About Michael Webber:  Michael Webber is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and producer/co­director of The Student Body. Webber has produced numerous theatrical films for studios such as 20th Century Fox and Lionsgate. Eventually applying his storytelling skills to non­fiction filmmaking, Webber would go on to produced/directed his “passion project” ­ the hit documentary The Elephant in the Living Room. The film was praised by critics as one of the best films of the year, winning 5 Best Documentary awards and opening as the #1 independent film in the US.  Michael has been guest on countless radio and television talk shows around the country, including appearances on The Today Show, ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News and Nightline. He was
also the subject of an ABC 20/20 special by Emmy Award Winning journalist Jay Schradler.

Monday, September 12, 2016


Jesse Dean (Rusty Joiner: Last Ounce of Courage, Dodgeball, Days of Our Lives), a recently discharged soldier and his wife, wife Julia (Jocelyn Cruz: Strike One, This Is Our Time) move to Philadelphia when he takes a job as the outreach leader in the church Julia attended before their marriage. Jesse was not a Christian before meeting Julia, but has fully embraced his new faith and eager to share it with others.

Jesse gets a great start with connecting with his new community, but the presence of an abortion clinic across the street, and encounters with 2 different women who talk to him regarding decisions of whether or not to have an abortion have a tremendous impact on him. The pastor, church members, families of the pregnant women, the police, and even his wife, advise him to back off before he lands in jail.

Despite opposition, Jesse feel compelled to take action on his conviction to be a voice for the Voiceless and talk to those considering entering the abortion clinic. Being supportive of the women whose decision to let their child live is another important step he considers vital after an initial reluctance ends in tragedy. Help comes from a reluctant source--- a neighbor (Susan Moses) becomes a staunch supporter, even as his wife battles her own insecurities and painful memories.

The winner of multiple awards, Voiceless has been honored as Northeast Film Festival’s Best Feature and People’s Choice for Best Feature Film and Best Feature Film from the California Independent Film Festival. 
Comedian Paul Rodriguez also stars as Virgil with James Russo as Pastor Gil. Written and directed by Pat Necerato, the film is rated PG-13 for thematic material and some violence. Voiceless will be coming to theaters on October 7, 2016. For more information and to see which theaters will have screenings, visit their website:

Many thanks to Icon Media Group for allowing me to see Voiceless in advance of the theater release for review purposes. They only required an honest review. I am sharing my thoughts below:

Voiceless is a very well made film that not only touches on the controversial subject of abortion, but also on taking a stand and remaining firm on your convictions. Of course the story is told from a pro-life point of view, but it clearly shows that even Christians have mixed views on the subject and whether or not they should personally be involved. Elements that I loved were that the entire focus was not only on the unborn child. Many of the people who are in favor of abortion throw out a criticism that pro-lifers are only concerned with the "fetus." (While I don't find that true among the people I know, I do concede that there are people who are unsupportive of the women who choose to give birth, and even the children themselves as they age.) Jesse's total involvement and commitment to help the women who chose Life and his encouragement to others to get involved---to be the "Hands and Feet of Jesus" is an aspect of the film that touched me deeply, and I hope encourages other viewers to walk farther with the women who have more decisions to make after the one to not abort. A helping hand is more than just a hand out. 'Miss Elsie' (Susan Moses) was one of my favorite characters in the film. Jesse and Julia cranky neighbor secretly had a heart of gold and more courage than many as she also makes a decision whether to remain an outsider or get involved with others. 

Honestly, I loved all of the characters in the film (and the actors who portrayed them), since even the ones whose views differed from mine added layers to the film. We get so angry at those who disagree with us or who chose to remain uninvolved that we often fail to see from their perspective. While I remain as adamantly pro-life as ever, I did see how a pro-choice person could reach a different conclusion than me. That small common point can be the talking point (as opposed to the screaming point) that opens a conversation. 

The downside for me was that the film leaned more toward the typical "Christian movie" ending. Not as bad as many, but that may just be me. I do see that it would serve the purpose more...which is to encourage more Christians to get up, get out, get involved, and make a difference. I can't really complain about that. 

The film is going to be in a limited run, but you can check with the website to see if you could bring it to your area; More theaters are being added. If you can, I recommend you go see it. When it comes out on DVD, Buy Voiceless. Whether you are pro, anti, or indifferent about abortion, the movie will show that there is more to the story and that sitting back and ignoring the issue is not the answer.