The Cross & the Pen: God Allows U-Turns for Kids
- Thursday, November 06, 2003
If you have young children or grandchildren, you will want to take time out of your busy schedule and read the interview I recently had with Allison Gappa Bottke and Heather Gemmen, coauthors of three recently released children's books (God Allows U-Turns for Kids/Cook Communications). As a forward, let me tell you how much I love these two women! Allison and I met one another and then hit the ground running with our friendship. We've roomed together at various conferences, cried together over our loved ones, and lift one another up in prayer regularly. Heather Gemmen, children's editor extraordinaire, is the kind of woman you ask God for when it comes to friendships. She's loving, warm, and honest. For a really fun night, you'll want to join the three of us as we sit around talking about our ministries, our families, and our love for the Lord in general. Wanna listen in on a recent conversation?
Eva: Allison, before we talk about God Allows U-Turns for Kids, tell me a little bit about your personal U-Turn and the U-Turns project.
Allison: I'd love to! I spent the first 35-years of my life as a non-believer. I was a card-carrying feminist entrenched in the New Age movement; you know, all of that "the power of the goddess within" nonsense. I followed my horoscope, had my tarot cards read on a regular basis, and often consulted with a psychic for guidance. I was so lost! I look back on those years now and it's almost as though I was another person - I guess I was, really.
The Holy Spirit got a hold of me in the fall of 1989 and I've never been the same. I was at another dead end in my life, nothing was working, nothing was right. I was out walking and I entered a church on legs that were not my own. The sermon that night was specifically for me. The pastor, who has remained a good friend and guide to this day, talked about being lost. He talked about filling the empty places in our soul with everything except a relationship with Jesus Christ. That was so foreign a concept to me! My U-Turn started that night and in a few months I began writing my testimony and called it God Allows U-Turns, because that's what He did for me - he turned my life around. Literally.
Eva: So there are how many "adult" U-Turn books out now?
Allison: We have four volumes now available in the true short story compilation series and we are currently working on three more. Actually, we are working on literally dozens of "niche volumes" in the series, but we have three specifically lined up for the next releases: God Allows U-Turns for Parents, for Teens, and for Couples. Future volumes in ongoing development are God Allows U-Turns for Seniors, for cancer survivors, for teachers, for nurses, and on and on. Thousands of true short stories have been submitted for consideration and we are always looking for more.
Eva: What made you move from the stories of U-Turns in adult's lives to those created especially for children?
Allison: "The Choices You Make Change the Story of Your Life" is our trademark. In praying about that statement it became clear to me that those choices begin at a very young age. Sure, as kids we don't get to choose a whole lot - our parents do that for us, and rightfully so, but one area children can make their own choices is in their heart. They can choose to love or hate, they can choose peace or anguish, they can choose laughter or sadness. God has some pretty specific choices he'd like us to make in our heart. If I had been exposed to faith-based choices as a young child I wonder how different my life would have been.
Eva: Heather, tell me about your initial meeting with Allison and how to two of you came to collaborate on this precious project.
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