Blog Archives

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:

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.


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.

Just Stuff

I made the commitment to post every day this year.  Today, I just don’t really know what to write.  Not that I have nothing in mind—it’s just that I am not sure that my thoughts are thoughts I want to share right now!  Does that make me selfish?  Maybe.  But I want to be sure that I understand all that I am processing before I share too much.

If you could keep me in prayers for some decisions that I will soon have to make, I’d greatly appreciate it.  Also, keep my 3-year-old in your prayers, too.  He is scheduled to have his tonsils and adenoids removed on Tuesday, and he isn’t so sure he wants to go!

So bored

I am beyond bored with the layout of this blog! Oh how I wish I knew enough to create my own “perfect” blog layout. Since I don’t, I am going to mess around with the available themes from WordPress. There has to be SOMETHING there I can use, right?