Mark D. Eckel: I Just Need Time to Think! Reflective Study as Christian Practice

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Mark Eckel, author of “I Just Need Time to Think!” and Professor of Leadership, Education & Discipleship at Capital Seminary & Graduate School, Washington, D.C.

He sat across from me and uttered the famous phrase, “I just need time to think!”Eckel Cover

One of my students said what I often hear.  Life, and education, is moving too fast.

People who care to take their time to study hate to be rushed.

My motivation to write I Just Need Time to Think! is inspired by classes who love to ponder, meditate, contemplate, and deliberate over their studies.

Dr. Mark Eckel (ThM PhD) practices the craft of teaching-learning with students at Capital Seminary and Graduate School as well as other venues.

The book’s subtitle is just as important: Reflective Study as Christian Practice.  For years I have utilized the Hebraic concept of selah to encourage reflection with my students.  Selah is a word that appears often in the Psalms.  I wanted students to stop, think, and consider.

Instead of requiring hundreds of pages, students were asked to read forty, musing over ideas.   I wanted question, stimulation, tension, or compare-contrast.  I wanted students to agree or disagree with me.

  “I had never thought of that before” or “This idea bothered me” or “The page prompted me to write” were introductory clauses which made me smile.

What we reflect upon shows what is valuable to us.  I value time.  I want my students to take it as they study.  I want to give them an interlude. Pause for thought. Take a break.  Take a minute.  Take a breath.

My job as a professor is to help my students succeed.  Students succeed when they do well in their studies.  Doing well in studies takes time.  I believe time for reflection values my students, their time, and their study of God’s Word and His world.

The same student who wanted time to think gave me a Christmas present that year.  He created a metal sign with a phrase I repeat constantly.  But what he wrote on the back of the sign was most important.

“I enjoy not only your teaching style but the time you give us to learn.”

Class dismissed.

Connect with Mark on his website www.warpandwoof.org; and through Twitter (@MarkEckel) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/mark.eckel.92).

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-500 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress, by tweeting us @westbowpress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


MOGDA WALKER: Write a book? I’ve been meaning to!

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Mogda Walker, author of “From Faith to Faith.”

Walker book

I’ve always been a voracious reader, so no one was surprised when I majored in English, although writing was a secret passion. While growing up in rural Michigan, I rarely had to look outside my large extended family for entertainment. My younger sister and I would frequently quip, “We’re putting that in our book.” She’s a hoot, and I really have to thank her for jump-starting my writing.  Six years ago, we tossed around topics for a book we planned to co-write and spent hours brainstorming ideas, even setting deadlines. A typical firstborn and total control freak, I finished long before the deadline and waited. And waited. And waited! She’s my baby sister. Need I say more? Smartly, I continued writing.

Three manuscripts later, my long-suffering husband of twenty-six years encouraged me to self-publish.  After doing an exhaustive Internet search for self-publishers, we contacted WestBow Press. A total publishing novice, my hand was gently held. I owe the WestBow Press staff a heartfelt thank-you and a double hand salute for making my dream an awesome reality.  The WestBow Press team of professionals helped me create a wonderful product that I’m honored to promote and share. Being encouraged to have my novel reviewed by KIRKUS REVIEWS and receiving third-party approval has only intensified my enthusiasm.

Mogda Walker (pen name M. Lynn Walker) at a book signing in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Mogda Walker (pen name M. Lyn Walker) at a book signing in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

My first novel, “From Faith to Faith,” arrived in early August and contains two novellas set in rural southwestern Michigan. In both stories, readers are introduced to characters dealing with sin, others seeking redemption, and those who’ve acknowledged God’s lordship in their lives. I have fond Midwestern memories, and in my youth, I attended a wonderful community church. The pastors are now deceased. Thus, I created Indigo Beach, a fictional town also located on the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan and the fictional New Life Full Gospel Church, pastored by Deon Bradford. Working in lay ministry for many years, I’ve come to understand that God isn’t looking for perfection but rather obedience, which is far greater than sacrifice, as 1 Samuel 15:22 states. I have also come to realize that He does not call the qualified but rather qualifies the called. My spiritual journey is ever-changing.  And trust me, God has a keen sense of humor. On January 19, 2014, my husband and I are being ordained in ministry.  Never saw that one coming. Writing faith-based fiction is my ministry.  Look at God!

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-500 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress, by tweeting us @westbowpress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


Gail Lipe: Self-Publishing? No Way?

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Gail Lipe, author of “No Time to Quit

“Self publishing? There is no way I am going to have my work associated with some of the garbage that is self published.”

Author Gail Lipe with her mother Gail Johnson.

Author Gail Lipe with her mother Gail Johnson.

That was how I felt until I realized how much the publishing industry has changed. In the past, self publishing meant nothing in the book industry, and could even be a writing death sentence. Now, authors are discovered through self publishing.

The journey of writing my book, “No Time to Quit: Life in a Broken Package”, didn’t start until about 10 years ago. My sister and I took our mother to see the Statue of Liberty, and as we drove from Minnesota to New York, I interviewed Mom, recording her life experiences on tape. A few years later, Mom and I went to her home town in Kansas where I continued the research.

What is so great about my mother’s story? The fact that she is alive is a miracle. She was a premie twin born in a small country hospital in 1932. The hospital lacked the facilities to take care of a tiny one-pound-nine-ounce baby. She died shortly after birth, and a nurse disobeyed the doctor’s orders to call the morgue and breathed life back into her. That is the first of many miracles that paved the way for my mother to live a long life.

It took a while for me to realize how much her story affects others. My mother was the guest speaker at many functions, which is where I realized her story is unique. Watching others as her story unfolded I saw that the children were quiet and adults were riveted to the examples of God’s work in Mom’s life. That is when I decided her story can help others.

The manuscript was completed about three years ago, and I began sending it to agents and publishers, but no one was interested. Then last year, I ran across the Women of Faith writing contest. It sounded like the perfect place to submit the story, and I was hoping to win a publishing package.

I didn’t place in the contest, so I dismissed the whole thing. A few weeks later I got a call from Westbow Press, the company working with Women of Faith on the contest. I ignored the calls and stated I was not interested in self publishing. Then at the end of February, I got a another call while I was sitting in a hospital room with my mother. For some reason, I decided to talk with the man and explained Mom’s story to him. He choked up.

The next day, hospital staff said Mom is an inspiration, and I shared those comments with family and friends. Someone offered to help finance the project. It was like all the pieces were coming together and God was telling me that now is the time.

I received my first printed copy of the book in July, and it is beautiful. Working with each individual at Westbow Press along the way has been a positive experience. They took my manuscript, my ideas and my artwork and created a book I am happy with.

– Gail Lipe

Connect with Gail at her website www.naturescanvas.org; and through Twitter (@GailLipe) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/NoTimeToQuit).

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-500 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress, by tweeting us @westbowpress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


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