Second Chances

Everyone needs a second chance at some point in his or her life.  Sometimes it happens as an adult, as a result of a bad decision.  All too often, though, it happens as a young child through no fault of the child.  And it happens to dogs, too. 

Second chances are needed by everyone.

Purchase SECOND CHANCE here

Sandra J. Gerencher explores this idea in her book Second chances: How Adoption Saved A Boy with Autism and His Shelter Dog.  As the title implies, this book is the story of what adoption means to one small family.  This family is Mom, Ryan, and three dogs—PJ, Shelby, and Little Rascal.  In the opening pages, the family adds Chance, a shelter dog, to their “pack.”  As he sees the unconditional love Ryan has for him, Chance learns what adoption is.

This book is interesting in that it is told from the perspective of Chance the Dog.  Ryan’s autism comes into play through his conversations with Chance—it is hinted at that Ryan rarely communicates vocally with people, yet he is able to communicate with Chance.  Ryan teaches Chance that it doesn’t matter that he was unloved before, he is special to someone.

While I liked the message of this book—that everyone, no matter what the circumstance of their early life, is special—I found that I was really confused by the book.  I looked at this as a book for elementary age children, but it seemed to be written for an older audience.  I tried reading it to my 3-year-old and 7-year-old sons and they were both very bored with it.  My 9-year-old, who doesn’t like me to read to him anymore, read the book himself.  He said he liked the pictures in it, but had a hard time following the story.  The book is nicely written; I am just not sure that it hits the intended target audience.


PBS Kids Recommended title

Book web site:

Sandra J. Gerencher Facebook:

Tribute Books website:

Tribute Books Facebook: Archbald-PA/Tribute-Books/ 171628704176

Tribute Books Twitter: TributeBooks

Sandra J. Gerencher is a special education teacher in the Bangor Area public school system. Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked at Lehigh University in a school-based program, as a Program Specialist for adults with disabilities. Over the past 20 years she has worked with children and adults with special needs in such areas as counseling, Behavior Specialist Consultation, behavioral research, crisis intervention and abuse therapy. Sandra graduated from Lehigh University with a M.Ed. in Special Education (2004) and from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia with an M.S. in Counseling Psychology (1999).

Sandra J. Gerencher and her son Terry

Sandra J. Gerencher Bio:

Little Catch Up, I Guess!

I haven’t been updating nearly as regularly as I had hoped to this year.  (Bet ya already noticed that, huh?)  I do have a good reason, though.  I’ve been working on some other writing projects, the church clothing closet, and on some personal research.

At this point, I am not ready to tell everyone what I am researching.  What I will tell you is that this is going to mean a big, huge change in my life. It will be a good change, though!  And I am very excited about it.

If all goes the way that I am planning (and honestly, how often does God allow things to go exactly the way we plan?), this change will mean a week or two off of serious writing.  So I am making a little goal chart for myself.  I am actually thinking that I will make a poster board to put in my work area to remind me of what I want to accomplish.  Would you like to know what I have planned?

I hope you said yes, because I am going to tell you anyway!

In November, I started working on two different novels that I wanted to finish for NaNo 2010.  Sadly, neither of them was finished.  My goal, then, is to finish a rough draft of each book before April 1, 2011.  If I counted right, that gives me 67 days to complete first drafts of two 50,000 word novels.  That is 100,000 words total; right around 1,500 words per day from now until then.  And that doesn’t take into account what I have already written on both novels.  If I can do 50,000 words in 30 days (which I have done three times) I KNOW I can do 100,000 words in 67 days.

In addition to those two novels, I am going to keep up with my new writing venture with Suite101.  Let me tell you, I am really enjoying that!  I have only done a few articles so far, but I am amazed at how easy it really is.  And no, I have not yet been paid for my work with them.  But that is OK.  I am still having fun.

NaNoWriMoNational Novel Writing MonthNovel

Thoughts to Ponder

What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition.  I Peter 3:3-4, The Message

Saturday Thought

If you follow your dreams, the money will come.  Follow the money, and you’ll lose your dreams. ~~Michael Collopy

Book Videos – The Writings of Robert G. Pielke

Book Videos – The Writings of Robert G. Pielke.

I just finished reading NEW BIRTH OF FREEDOM: THE VISITOR by Robert G. Pielks and all I can say is WOW!  In all honesty, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read this book.  I agreed to only because a friend asked me to review it.  I couldn’t put it down!

My review will be up in a couple of weeks.  In the meantime, take a look at the trailers for is on this website.  If you are a history buff or a sci-fi freak, you will love this book.

Book Inspiration

While my waiting for my computer to be repaired, I have been thinking A LOT about my writing career.  What can I do to really build my career?  The simple answer there is “WRITE”.  It’s just figuring out what to write that is giving me problems.  I have ideas, but I don’t know if those ideas are really worth much.

I turned to my bookshelf for some ideas.  There I found two books that I think might be helpful.  Of course, I’ve had that thought before.  I must have; if I didn’t think these books would be helpful, I never would have purchased them in the first place.  One book is Writing From Personal Experience: How to Turn Your Life into Salable Prose.  Sounds promising.  It does raise a question in my mind, though.  Is my life really interesting enough to write about?  I don’t know.  But I suppose that following the directions and completing the exercises in that book is one way to find out.

The other book I found is called The Write-Brain Workbook.  That one is full of daily exercises designed to get creativity flowing.  I have turned to it in the past when I needed some inspiration or needed a way to unblock my writer’s block.  I really hope that working through both of this books will keep me motivated to write.

And if it helps me to sell some writing this year, that is even better!

And of course, I hope it will give you, my dear reader, something fun to read each day.

Suspenseful Intervention

Barbara Covington is living every mother’s worst nightmare.  Her teenage daughter, Emily, has morphed from a friendly, fun-loving child into a teen with a drug problem.  Barbara can’t help but blame herself.  Maybe she didn’t do enough during her husband’s illness and in the months following his death to be a good mother.  Maybe she had just never been a good mother.  That her son, Lance, doesn’t have a drug problem doesn’t matter much.  It is her failures with Emily that drive Barbara’s life now.  She makes one final, desperate decision to try to conquer Emily’s drug problem.  Little does she know that sending her little girl across the country for an intense, in-patient rehabilitation program would plunge her family into a nightmare far worse than the drug addiction ever was.

For years, I’d been told I should try one of Terri Blackstock’s books.  For years, I found excuses not to.  And then I found Intervention available for my Sony Reader, and I thought I’d stop making excuses.  This isn’t the kind of book I normally read.  I don’t normally like thrillers, and honestly did not expect to enjoy this one as much as I did.  But from the moment I read the first page until I finished with the last, I found this book hard to put down.

Blackstock is good at what she does.  In this case, what she did was combine the love of a mother with a daughter’s desire for some sort of independence.  Barbara reminded me a lot of mother, in that she would do anything to protect her children.  I found myself relating a lot to her—I would go to the ends of the earth to find my missing child and ensure that child’s protection. 

I think my favorite part of the book, though, is the character of Emily.  One minute, I wanted to slap her for being so rude and selfish.  The next, I wanted to hold her in my arms as she cried.  The resolution of this story brought tears to my eyes, feeling as proud of the young woman Emily eventually grew into as any mother would.

If you like fast-paced stories that keep you on the edge of your seat, Intervention is a book you should read.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 80 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 143 posts. There were 47 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 19mb. That’s about 4 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was September 20th with 58 views. The most popular post that day was Welcome Donna McDine.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for lynn mcmonigal, lynn corner, where rain comes from, happy birthday karen, and lynn’s corner.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Welcome Donna McDine September 2010
14 comments and 2 Likes on


News May 2009


Apology to My Mom December 2009


Basics of Me May 2009


Happy Birthday, Karen! July 2010
7 comments and 1 Like on,


I grew up hearing the old hymn I Surrender All.  Youu know what song I mean, don’t you?  “All to Jesus, I surrender, all to Him I freely give.”  My dad used to have this cassette from a comedy troupe—I think tthey were The Whitehouse Players or something like that—and they did this skit based on that song.  The congregation was singing the song when God spoke to several people individually about things in their lives that they might need to surrender to Him—like a car or a boyfriend.  It was a very cute skit, and made it nearly impossible for me to sing the hymn without giggling.

Then about three years ago, I heard a song with the same name but different lyrics.  It is sung by Clay Crosse and is one of the most touching songs I have heard in a long time.  (The version below is the only one I was able to find on YouTube; sorry Clay isn’t singing it.)  This song quickly became my prayer.

The thing is, I have become more like the people in the skit, hanging on to the things in my life that I love instead of fully giving myself over to God.  Some days, I really feel like a failure about that.  

What I have come to believe is that when it comes to my Christian walk, surrender is not a one-and-done thing.  The devil is smart—he knows my weaknesses and he knows how to use them against me.  I can’t allow him to win by thinking “I gave that to God once, and He gave it back to me.” 

God didn’t give it back; I took it back.

Surrender has to be a conscious, daily decision.  I have to remember to tell God, “Here, Take this.  It’s Yours.  I don’t want it.  Give me the strength today to not take this back.”  Sometimes I have to do it several times a day.  There are days when I think God probably gets tired of all my give and take where some of my issues are concerned.

In the end, though, I know that what I want most in life is to be used by God.  Every talent I have is a gift from Him, and it is wasted if I don’t use it for His glory.

Lord, if all I have is all that You desire, I surrender all.


God can do anything, you know–far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!

Ephesians 3:20, The Message