Family Man by Bettye Westbrook

My name is Bettye Jones-Westbrook.  I was born in a family of ten siblings. Six sisters and four brothers. My parents did the best that they could to raise us with God’s help.  My parents were not educated.  My momma learned to read when my oldest sister started school. They learned together.  My daddy never learned to read.  Education was important for his children though, so we had to go to school.  Daddy was the first-born out of his siblings.  His father’s name was Matthew, and he was born during slavery. When slavery ended, my grandfather had no family except his father and mother, because his two brothers were sold during slavery.

 

Daddy worked hard farming, and at the end of the year, he would just break even. One day, Daddy came home and said to my mother that they did not make it.  Because he did not break even, they lost the farm. But he had an option to stay on the farm and continue work for the person that he was share chopping with …but God.

 

I can remember how Daddy would only buy what they did not raise on the farm.  He came home with a barrel of flour, sugar, salt and the major items. Momma would use the flour sacks along with some cloth to make our dresses. I can remember momma looking in the Sears catalog to make our dresses, and that was a gift from God.  Daddy was the best dad. He would take us riding in the horse and wagon.  He owned a horse named Bob, and a mule named Ole Jim.

 

At the age of twelve, I can remember my daddy saying, “Yes sir” to a white boy my age. I stood there feeling so awful, and I think the young guy was embarrassed too. But that was him, and the time he was from.  You see, Daddy was born July 3, 1903. My parents bought their first truck in 1953, and my brother was the driver.  

 

My daddy loved God above all.  He was the janitor at our church.  He also served as a deacon.  I can remember momma telling us that she taught daddy a verse in the Bible each week, so when he helped with the devotion, no one would know that he could not read. What love!

  

My Daddy would take us to Church every Sunday.  Ironing, playing ball and cards was not allowed because Sunday was Holy.  With the help of God, my daddy kept his family together. He was a family man. God blessed him to see six of his children grown and doing well and a host of grandchildren. He had one son in college, and two in school when he went home to be with the Lord. I loved my dad, and I thank God for him. When up against the odds, he didn’t give up. He made a stand and trusted God for everything.

About Timeless Memories

For centuries, we have used story telling as a way to maintain our traditions, values, and history.  As we have transitioned to the 21st century, we use the internet and social media to share who we are -creating a gap in our story telling traditions for those that experienced some of the most prolific events of the last 100 years.  The Great Depression, two World Wars, miraculous medications and awesome inventions mark some of the incredible happenings witnessed first hand by today’s seniors, many of whom do not use email or the internet.  The stories of how we lived life before computers may be lost in the shuffle from paper and pen to bits and bytes.

Timeless Memories: Our Legacy for Your Generation is a compilation of stories, poems and reflections of the seniors participating in our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ Legacy Program.  This one of a kind program offers a platform for our writers to leave a footprint of their history to this generation and beyond.

A portion of all sales benefit St. Luke A.M.E. Church in Waco, Texas, provider of Writing for the Soul Workshop Legacy.

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Life is hard.  Life is not fair.

Forward from Stories of Hope

Life is hard.  Life is not fair.  We’ve all heard these phrases, spoken them ourselves about our own lives, and helped family or friends through circumstances where these phrases apply all too well.   Some of us, if we are lucky, don’t have to endure the heartache these simple words bring with them until we are well into adulthood and can somewhat deal with them in a healthy way.  Some of us too, have these fantastic support systems of friends and family to help us through times that challenge us.  But then there are those of us whom, for unknown reasons, get thrust into challenges and dire situations at a much too early age.  How does the universe determine who gets to breeze through life with few problems and who has to endure tribulations that sometimes we think we will never survive?  We may never understand why certain things happen to some people and not others, and maybe we aren’t meant to understand.

What we do know is how we handle these events can either plunge us deeper into despair and sorrow, or catapult us to a better place if we so choose to channel our energies in that direction.  This may be an easier task if you have had enough life experience to truly comprehend what is going on and make the right decisions moving forward.  But when life deals you a bad hand earlier in life, those experiences are not generally there to draw from.  We do not even know where to start, or how to start, in picking up the pieces and changing the direction of the momentum in our lives.

Having taught for 14 years, I have seen a lot of kids endure some pretty ugly situations.  For some of them, they still struggle to overcome their challenges, to change their life’s path.  Some still do drugs.  Some still sexually offend.  The list is lengthy and sad.  Some have even committed crimes that have landed them behind bars as adults.  So many of these kids have gone through things in their incredibly short lives, which most middle-aged adults would shudder at the thought of going through.  It is so difficult to see them battle within themselves and try to comprehend why they struggle so much to “get it together.”

But then, every once in a while, you come across a kid with something deep inside of them that you can sense, but can’t explain.  These kids have a drive within them that pushes them, propels them to do something, to change their life’s path.  And they do! Why does this happen for some and not others? You see the same type of kids in front of you who go through the same kinds of life-altering events in their lives, yet the outcomes are so vastly different.

Every single one of these adolescents is a very special person with an incredibly varying list of difficulties and struggles.  However, woven throughout these adversities sometimes emerges an inner spirit, a drive for change and for something better.  They all have a story to share, and a lot of times they want to share it, need to share it.  These are the stories of those kids who overcame their challenges, and of those who continue to battle them.

Eric is currently conducting one of his workshops in-house with our students.  I have been completely blown away by the response that our students have given Eric and this program.  I have kids in class who struggle to write a sentence for me, write an entire page in a few minutes for Eric! Kids who have declared loud and clear to me, “I don’t write. I don’t like to write. I can’t write. You can’t make me write” who end up writing; and write from their gut.  Some of the responses from my kids:

“I love this workshop. I have never wanted to write before. Now I do.”

“I can’t believe that I am going to be a published author!”

“I want to write a book now!”

Eric really works to connect with the kids on an emotional level and can elicit written responses from them that astound me. He works from the very beginning to create an atmosphere of acceptance and safety that allows these kids to express themselves not only on paper, but also verbally in front of their peers. It is an extremely awesome scene to witness. You can definitely feel the healing that is going on with the kids through this process.  The kids want to continue to write and carry the process on long after Eric is gone. Some even ask to work on their own stories in class and after their work is done.  Kids ASKING to write because they WANT to.

This workshop is truly amazing and will touch whoever chooses to embrace it and dig deep into themselves.

Sincerely,

Sarah Lankford

Special Education Teacher

State of Missouri

About Stories of Hope:

Stories of Hope is a compilation of heart wrenching, and liberating short stories written by youth participating in Writing for the Soul Workshop™ around the world. Through a unique structure offering both engagement -and reward, this workshop brings education and passion together in a way that offers permanent life changing impact. As noted in the forward by educator Sarah Lankford, these unique and amazing individuals have received a rare opportunity to share a story they needed to share … and develop a love of writing as a result.

Details:

eBook:$9.99 USD
Soft Cover: $12.99 USD
Size: 6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Color: Black & White on White paper
Page Count: 158 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1537368849
ISBN-10: 1537368842
buy-nowBISAC: Nonfiction / Biography & Autobiography / General
Purchase a copy of the book or download the eBook and enjoy it from your favorite device today! Stay connected with updates from our workshops in the United States on Facebook at: Writing for the Soul Workshop™ in North America.

New in September: Dreams Never Lie by Elsie Varn Harrell

Dreams Never Lie by Elsie Varn HarrellJosh Howard is only eight years old when the little girl next door, Doni, is kidnapped and killed.  Josh vows to catch her killers when he grows up.  As an FBI agent, he knows the chance of solving the case after so many years is slim to none, but he still dreams about Doni.

Josh is assigned a serial murder case in which the victims are tortured and raped before being killed. After a long string of murders with no leads, Josh starts receiving coded messages from the killer, warning when another attack will take place.  Then, there are hints that connect the killer to Josh’s new wife.

As Josh faces one of the most perplexing cases of his career, his personal life is now in shambles.  Will he be able to stop this maniac before he strikes again?  Will he be able to save his marriage?  Is his wife the next intended victim?

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About Elsie Varn Harrell

Elsie was born and raised in Brooksville, Florida a small town about 15 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. She moved to Texas with her three children in the 1980’s where she met her husband on a blind date. The lovely couple recently celebrated their 30th anniversary.

Elsie lives in a small town in Texas where she is an active member of a Baptist church. Elsie is an insurance agent, and is also hard at work on her next novel. She loves the north-central Texas area as is evident in her books.

More by Elsie Varn Harrell

The small north-central town of Glenwood, Texas is being methodically burned to the ground. Every few days another fire. Acres of scorched pasture, and skeletal remains of the once majestic trees that surrounded the township attest to the skill of the arsonist. Sheriff Dodge Brewster is frustrated by his inability to find even a single shred of evidence.

Several teenage girls in surrounding communities have been brutally raped. When the rapist finally targets Glenwood, the girls are not only raped, but murdered also. Deep in the woods outside of town, a Vietnam vet lives as a hermit. The people of Glenwood accuse him of every misdeed that occurs. The arson, rape and murders are no exception. They are demanding that Dodge arrest the vet, but new evidence in a turn of events point to his own friend.

Will Dodge be able to prove his friend’s innocence? Will he have to arrest him? Or will he go along with the townspeople and arrest the Vietnam vet?

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TGIM Celebration Release: Loopholes by Paul Kurko

One year ago, Paul signed with TGIM Digital Publishing and released Issues. This year, celebrate with us by ordering Paul’s second release: Loopholes.

Loopholes by Paul Kurko

Life is a roller coaster for all of us. No matter where you are in life, no matter your age or your station, life has a way of throwing us curve balls.  Sometimes, it seems like you are on top of the world, only to have events change suddenly so that you are struggling.  Other times, you may be in dire circumstances with no hope, when suddenly, against all odds, a loophole changes your situation for the better.

Loopholes is a journey through those times in my life when God showed up in a big way; those circumstances where I should have lost my freedom, or even lost my life because of the decisions I made, where suddenly I was delivered from the worst possible consequences.  God’s grace is real.  And while we all suffer the ups and downs of life, I hope these stories from my life can show you that God is always working behind the scenes as our Divine Counselor, finding those loop holes we didn’t even dare to hope for.

Buy The Book $12.99Download The eBook

Booking for Paul Kurko

20170624_201819861_iOSEnlighten, entertain, and encourage your group by booking Paul Kurko for your next event. His motivating and inspiring message touches the hearts of diverse audiences from all walks of life.

“Paul’s story really encouraged me, and reading his book gave me hope. It was like I was drowning in life, and Paul threw me a life jacket. I was afraid to pursue my dreams until Paul spoke to us.” -Cameron White, Student

The cost of $700 is definitely less than the benefit you get when you book Paul for your next event. Your group will step beyond motivation into impact, and leave with tools they didn’t have before. The price includes 50 of Paul’s books entitled ‘Issues’ that he will autograph for your group. You may purchase copies at a discounted rate if you need more. Price does not include travel. Use the Contact Form below to book Paul Kurko.

Writing for the Soul Workshop™ Legacy

“When I was a child, I used to sit on the floor at my grandmother’s feet while she told me stories of her life. She told me to never forget, but I only remember a few. She expressed how she had to defend herself because she was small. Through that story, I learned that I must use more than my fist; I must use my head instead. I sometimes wish I could remember more of those stories.” –Renée Walker, TGIM Publisher

Do you have stories and life lessons to leave to your loved ones? What if there was a way to leave “Timeless Memories” for your family?

For the first time in the history of our company, we are in position to impact four generations through our writing program. See, we’ve adapted our curricula to be accessed in a whole new exciting way. We call it: Writing for the Soul Workshop™ Legacy. This workshop allows all ages to leave a footprint of their history to this generation by submitting their stories during our writing program in Waco, Texas. Their stories will be published in ‘Timeless Memories: Our Legacy for Your Generation’.  The book is set for release July 7, 2017. Listen to what a couple of excited writers are saying about our Legacy Program:

More Testimonials:

“I enjoyed so much… The Writing for the Soul Workshop presented by TGIM Digital Publishing. Bro. Eric L. Jones along with Renée Walker were both very personable and transparent answering all our questions and giving good advice. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up but I’m so glad I came to be a part. It is an excellent program.” – Jocelyn Long

“The Writing Workshop was very good. It is an enhancement to my writing. The Instructor, “Eric” was very good and inspiring. It was a very good session and I enjoyed it very much.” -Johnette Hunnicutt

“The program was a great experience. Because you share your personal story, it is enlightening and gives an opportunity to share with others. I believe it is a program that would be very beneficial to our youth.” -Florence Clarke

“The workshop today was on time as well as awesome. I learned so much in a short period of time and I feel encouraged to write more.” -Nettie Burton

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What’s your story?

We all have a story to tell. Let us help you tell yours. All ages are welcome to participate. You can share your story in memory of a loved one. Who knows …your story just may impact someone else’s life. Submit your short story, poem, music, and art to be included in our project for inclusion in the release of: ‘Timeless Memories: Our Legacy for Your Generation’.

Please do not submit manuscripts that contain any of the following: obscene or explicit material, unnecessary profanity, vulgarity, or inappropriate or graphic love scenes. Any material considered for publication that is found to be graphic  will require a mandatory edit of the material and may result in a rejection of the material.

Please note that we do not publish graphic material. Therefore, you may be asked to remove graphic material or language.

Submitting your story is easy! Simply use the Contact Form below, or send your story to our publisher via email at: submissions@tgimonline.us.  Everyone who submits their story will receive a complimentary Pieces of Me Anniversary Edition eBook for participating.