Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Purposeful Design-Understanding the Creation

I’d like to introduce you to an award winning book, Purposeful Design - Understanding the Creation, and talented author Jay Schabacker.

According to Mr. Schabacker, “I wrote this book because I want everyone to have an immensely positive view of themselves, of this world that we are in, and of others, mostly through understanding our own astounding and loving creation.”

The following is an interview with this fascinating writer:

Please help us get to know you. What can you tell us about you? I’m a family man with grandkids spread all over the U.S. I’ve had such a varied career I can’t quite believe it – as an engineering graduate, I had a hand in NASA’s Apollo Moon Project. Then with an MBA in Finance and Investments, I had the opportunity to start an investment management  firm specializing in mutual funds.  I soon became interested in Creation, and as chairman of a Back to Genesis conference with Ken Ham in 1992, my horizons expanded. Now I am into providing the Good News to others thru books, speaking engagements and the like. Life is indeed interesting – even as I approach the 80th milestone.

What was the inspiration behind this book? I have a passion for others – how they are doing – and how they are thinking.

What do you hope the book accomplishes?  A) That Christian moms and dads would have a greater and more positive influence on their children’s world view and a God-centered approach to life. B) That children of all faiths and families would respond to God’s tug on their hearts and souls and thus dispense with all negative thoughts and actions that might be offensive to our God. C) That many more might be “Born Again” into the family of God.

For whom is the book written?   The book is written equally for all age groups. The concepts challenge me – as I researched them – and adults of all persuasions learn something that they have not been aware of before. Various age groups from lower elementary and on up find content in the book which is understandably presented and interesting. People tell me it is a book that they “can’t put down.”

Do you have a life verse or a verse that you have claimed, and why is it meaningful to you?   A couple of verses that have come to mind because they are on the subject of my work are  Psalm 66:5 – “Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf!” and 1 Corinthians 12:18 –“But in fact, God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”

What is your greatest encourager when you write and why?   I discovered that the Holy Spirit (my greatest Encourager) was alive in my thought and thinking as I composed the pages of Purposeful Design – Understanding the Creation. At length I came to understand that I could not have done it on my own.
Jay Schabacker
A review by Cristi Schwamb in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC states, “This book is divided into seven chapters, each dealing specifically with a single day of creation. The chapters are packed with examples of how God’s design for our world is perfectly arranged so that life can exist the way we know it.”

Last thoughts by Jay Schabacker are: Part of why I wrote the book, Purposeful Design – Understanding the Creation, is to leave a positive legacy to my children, grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Of course, I believe there are negative consequences in not believing in God. And, also, I believe the concept of Purposeful Design trumps the worn out phrase of Intelligent Design – as Intelligent Design doesn’t invoke God’s personal touch. My message is simply – “There is a heavenly Father who loves you!” “Be thankful for it!”

To learn more, please visit:

Purposeful Design - Understanding the Creation is filled with colorful photos which depict pertinent illustrations to support the text. I believe that Jay Schabacker wants readers to understand that God has a plan, which included a very deliberately and intricately developed creation. I know that this is a book I want my own grandchildren to read and ponder. It is packed with information that makes one say, “Aha! This makes perfect sense!”

Spring is just around the corner, and I hope to be posting more often this year. For articles and reviews on South Carolina's Beach Author Network member books, please visit http://www.beachauthornetwork.blogspot.com or http://www.abookfeast4u.blogspot.com!

God bless,
Mary Anne Benedetto

Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Capturing Memories of Elderly Loved Ones

Clara (Mary Anne's mom) and Mary Anne Benedetto

I read the magazine article with enthusiastic interest. The writer disclosed a poignant account of traveling to another state to spend time chatting with her aging mother and capturing her life stories for posterity. I giddily cheered from the sidelines as she discussed their time of trading special memories.

Her mom offered never previously revealed heartwarming insight about the kindness of her own mother and what life was like as she was growing up. The writer was thrilled that she had taken the time to visit and make copious notes about these stories, and she hopes to eventually return to gather more information and perhaps publish her mother’s stories in book form.

Wait a minute. Make notes? Had she tried to write down everything that her mother had said? What did she miss? What became lost in translation? Could her mom’s stories have been stifled by her attempts to scribble down pertinent quotes? One story leads directly into another, so what may have been sacrificed?

There is a logical answer. Tape recorders. No, not the old fashioned kind that take up table space and have large reels to delicately feed through the device. Recorders of today’s generation are compact and efficient. Examples of two types that I personally use are:

1-A mini-cassette recorder with small tapes. I prefer using this model to loan to elderly individuals who are going to record their stories at their own leisure. Simply designed and easy to operate, most anyone can work with these devices. The sound quality is generally excellent, which makes transcribing the recordings seamless. This is also a very inexpensive option.

Mini-cassette recorder

2-A digital recorder. Although it is a more expensive alternative, I especially like to use this type when I am conducting telephone interviews. I purchased an attachment from Radio Shack that is used in conjunction with the telephone and, once again, it provides a clear,  good quality sound. This equipment is very small, lightweight and easy to carry in my handbag. One of its great features is a built-in USB port to save the recording to your computer if desired.

Digital recorder
One negative aspect is an issue that I discovered the hard way. After spending 45 minutes recording my mother’s stories by telephone, I detected an annoying humming sound upon playing the recording. I found that I obtain the best quality sound without interference when I have recorded from a handset that is not located near all of my office’s wireless activity. I don’t understand the technical aspects of this issue, but I am just reporting my personal experience.

Another caveat in using the small digital recorders is that while it wasn’t difficult for me to learn how to operate this little gem, I believe that it could boggle the minds of many elderly. Also, judging from my own mom’s dexterity difficulties caused by her arthritic fingers, anyone with this condition would be challenged by operating the tiny device. So this is not the best choice for providing to an elderly relative and asking them to record stories as they feel so moved.

It is often suggested to me that we simply video the loved one telling his or her stories. In theory, this is a great idea. In practice, it becomes more complicated. Many elderly folks freeze when they know they are being videoed, and this method may actually inhibit their story sharing.

When I wrote the book, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, one of the most important resources I included was a list of almost 150 questions that anyone can use for generating memories of loved ones or for formulating their own stories. It definitely simplifies the process during a memoir preservation project! Available in paperback and e-book on Kindle and Nook, this guide is a compact and powerful toolkit for capturing life stories. Visit http://www.awriterspresence.com for links to all formats.
Bravo to the writer of the aforementioned magazine article for her fervent attempts at preserving her mom’s stories! I wish that I knew how to contact her to direct her to this blog post. I’d love to be able to enhance her memoir gathering experience and make it immeasurably easier and efficient.

Have you captured the stories of your grandparents and/or parents? Those unique tales vanish if not preserved. It is well worth investing the time to be sure that family history continues to be shared with future generations.

Blessings to all. See you soon!
Mary Anne Benedetto
Helping People Write the Times of Their Lives

Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!