Interview with Tom Schutle, Author of Spiritual Ambitions, Public Speaker & Red Cross Volunteer


Our ambitions determine the kind of person we become, and the kind of person we become determines what we will do in life. And since what we do in life can have lasting—even eternal—results, it’s no surprise that many of us strive to reach our ambitions. Yet while we can be consumed with pursuing worldly, secular ambitions for career and family, our spiritual ambitions are too often left to chance as we drift through life.

Tom agreed to an interview. Enjoy! Let’s begin. Please tell the readers a little about yourself. 

My name is Tom Schutle. People have told me I am a deep thinker over a wide range of topics, and an observer.

You are an author. When did you publish your first work?  

What is the Title?

Spiritual Ambitions, (How rich Do You Want to be in Eternity) is my first book, published in January of 2018.


What do you do? 

 I was the environmental steward for an incinerator. I am currently retired, spending my time volunteering for the Red Cross, working in a jail and prison ministry, and writing.



 Start off with the 2-3 specific accomplishments or experiences.

I am absolutely not athletic, but  rode in the BP MS-150 bicycle ride, and successfully rode from Houston to Austin (172 miles).

I also won the District 68 toastmaster evaluation contest in 2016

 What are your greatest professional strengths?

I bring a creative focus to every problem, looking to the basis to resolve them. I am also very eclectic, being well read in my field, and able to bring greatly different subjects to solve seemingly unrelated problems. I also have a high level of integrity, which has put me in interesting situations.


Greatest Weaknesses?

I get so focused on what I am working on that I tend to come across as aloof and intimidating.


Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to?

The organization I support the most is the Gideons International, because their mission is to put the Word of God in as many places as possible where people are hungry.


What do you think you have had to overcome to be who you are today?

Tough question. I grew up in a place where I had to work fields all day. As a result, I have trouble socializing at most levels.


What is the last book that has made you cry? 

If a fictional book is such that I would cry, I generally put it down. I am touched by true stories of people who gain success in spite of terrible circumstances and the huge cost they incur.

I just finished “Hope for the Caregiver” by Peter Rosenberger, published by Worthy Inspired. I recommend it for those that are either a primary caregiver, or soon will be.

I’m working through a book by Donald Frazier, “Greek Nuggets” published by Tate publishing.


What’s your dream job? 

Since I am retired, I can choose my job without worrying about hours or pay. I am getting close to living my dream job, with my efforts in prisons, and writing.


What is your definition of success?  

After I die, hearing Jesus say “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”


Would you say, while on earth now, you are successful and if so, in what ways? 

 I can never say I am 100% aligned with my definition of success. But, I am more so today than yesterday, and plan on being less today than tomorrow.


What are a few of your greatest professional achievements?

I have a bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from Case Western Reserve, and a Masters in Engineering from the University of Louisville. More important than my degrees is the life-long attitude of continually learning. I have completed the creative writing specialization – Wesleyan University, through Coursera. As an engineer, I was once the president of an associated trade association. My writing will far eclipse that, and hopefully, will be more impactful.


Thank you for that! Do you have long-term goals that you can share with the readers?

Spiritual ambitions really are goals that are moving targets. No matter how close you come, the target is always just out of reach and still a viable goal. 

In many ways, Spiritual Ambitions describe my overarching life goals. I believe that our spirituality determines almost the rest of our life. Because of this, concentrating on my relationship with Jesus will positively impact the lessor parts of my life.

In a more specific sense, A second book, The Last Leaf, will be released in two months.

I have four more projects scheduled for 2018, which are:

  • “The fire in my belly,” about the journey of an immigrant family told from the perspective of his furnace, which is in polish edit
  • “Is the Holy Spirit a Liar,” discussing why we don’t see more changed lives after salvation and what we should, individually, do about it, is about half-finished
  • “Examples of Sin,” This tentative title addresses examples of sin from scripture, with the objective of putting a mirror to ourselves, is about a quarter finished
  • “Why doesn’t God hear me?” This tentative tile addresses, scriptural, reasons why God doesn’t answer prayer, is in outline form

In 2019, I’m planning another book, “The Lazy Man’s Way to a Successful Marriage,” which is at the conceptual stage.

I work best by working on the first one, then, when stuck, switching to the second, and so forth.

I have other goals (the typical lose weight, exercise, blah blah), along with reading the Bible through, participate in two exhaustive Bible studies.


 That’s very good! So, if a youth walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?

 God has created you for a purpose that only you can accomplish. If you don’t, that purpose won’t get done. No one else can take your place. Your challenge is to discover that purpose, which starts with a practical relationship with Jesus. After that, He will guide in that purpose.  I have observed many situations where people have a good concept, but somewhere, fall down in the execution. If it really is a good goal then one should research that goal, asking for advice from those that have done the same thing or similar. 

Typically, people don’t seem to reach their goals because they haven’t “counted the cost” or in other  words, have not determined the resources (time, skills, and money) to accomplish the goal.

Using my book as an example, I soon found out I don’t have a lot of the needed skills to bring it to market. I could have learned the skill, settled for a lessor goal, or hire the work. I don’t want to learn the skill nor settle for an inferior product, so I chose the third option. My belief is these decisions will give me the best chance for my goal to be successful.

It is very hard to create. I am unable to do more than about two hours of creative thinking at one time. Much of the writing effort is “grunt” type work, such as reviewing for grammar, sentence flow, etc.

I am currently frustrated by how the seasons flow in “the Fire in my Belly.” It is important that certain things happen when there is snow, and others in summer, yet the way people age makes this extremely difficult to get correct. The difference is minor to the reader, most might not notice the issue, but I am striving to do the best I can and I know when it isn’t my best.

Finally, be very careful whom you admire. You begin to become like those you admire.

How do you go about reaching goals?

We make time for those things important to us. The key is to monitor progress and make adjustments as needed. I personally like the acronym SMART when setting Goals

S – Specific

M- Measureable

A – Attainable

R- Reasonable

T- Time goal will be accomplished.

It sounds like I am very organized, but I am not. Reaching goals is a major struggle for me, which was one of the reasons behind developing “Spiritual Ambitions.”

I want to point out that I have written a detailed, twelve-page plan for “Spiritual Ambitions.” As I move through the process and learn more, I continually revise this plan.

A quote I like is “Plans are worthless, planning is invaluable.”

It is important to write goals down, and then look at them. Goals that you don’t keep and set before you to see are monuments for good thinking, not practical living.

Monuments belong in cemeteries. 

I have learned one major fact from my writing effort. The amount of resources – my time, energy, cost, and the time to bring the book to market – is far, far more than I anticipated.


Have you ever created a vision board? 

No. However, I use other  tools which accomplish similar objectives, such as mind maps, etc.



I love quotes! Do you have a favorite motto that you live by?

I have two

1)      Seek first the kingdom of God

2)      If everyone agrees with you, you are probably wrong.

By the way, the kingdom of God is His complete governing rule in my life.


If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you???


The book’s web site is

Through email –

Impactjunkie Pitch notes at The Worklodge.

There are over 20 million people trafficked globally and this crime not including the porn industry profits an estimated $150 billion dollars a year.

Let me begin by sharing a true story of an average American family. We were raising a family. Buying a house. Working. My husband is a union crane operator working here in Houston. We were driving along the hwy in November 2014 when we came across a museum where I learned about the history and current problems of human trafficking and how relevant this is to today’s society.
That day changed the way I saw the world paround me. It was just the beginning for me. I went home realizing I wasn’t hearing enough about human trafficking.

Human trafficking is old bondage of people selling people for a profit, predators preying on vulnerabilities of the weak.

I began to study and According to the National center for missing and exploited children an estimated 2 million American kids runaway from home every year. Within 48 to 72 hours on the streets, one third fall into the hands of pornagraphy and prostitution.

I published a fiction novel In April of last year titled Pushing Back the Darkness and have sold hundreds of copies. I’m working with a team of eight writers and we are in the second phase of editing a curriculum now titled Called Out: A 16 session emotional healing and restoration curriculum for survivors of sexual abuse. Our goal is to have this published In July of this year.

I have been invited to teach and bring awareness to over thirty different settings and speaking engagements at churches, schools and libraries , but I want to scale these workshops and replicate them across America. Research your city and community. Human trafficking affects all of us.

My goal is to launch this program engaged in the fight to end modern-day slavery & help with aftercare of survivors. Through education and awareness we can bring Hope to those who have none. We can change the very communities we live in by making meaningful impact in a place of need. We have identified the problem and now we offer a solution. Thank you.

Those were my notes from the IMPACTJUNKIE meeting at the Worklodge which was an incredible place!!

The original Temple of #Solomon was built with cedars from #Lebanon. When the foundation of the new temple was laid, the description of simultaneous joy and weeping is noted in #Ezra chapter 3 :10-13. The older community remembered the former temple and the new generation was celebrating.

You will not find recorded here the grumbling, murmurs or complaints of the older crowd. One reads the sound was heard a far off and people couldn’t discern the noise of joy from the noise of grief and weeping. They did it together. Unity. The old hand in hand with the new.

There was no thought of “if it’s not done my way then we cannot work together”

The glorious praise was shouted when the expectation of the temple #foundation was laid and the first steps completed. They had a long journey a head of them but the work could not be done alone. The people had to work together in unity.

There was mourning for the loss and rememberance of the #destruction of the original temple but the glory of the New Temple would surpass that of the first.

How does that apply to

What does that have to do with Tribes!?

Well, I believe that We must all work together and not have a “my way” mindset.

Or a hindsight viewpoint of constantly remembering the old ways and not putting our hand to the plow and helping with what’s going on today and now.

Today and #Tomorrow is a better day. We are headed to a bright future of the church if we work together to bring in the harvest and labor for souls #together.

Help your brother with his dream. Help your sister with her vision. Work together for the kingdom of God. may be a New thing but it is out there helping others and using the tools we have in our hands. Using our time

Talent and treasures today….get involved!

Interview with Rise Author, Hallie Schaefer

There’s a myth that has circulated for far too long. We all think we are too ordinary to make a difference and make a change. This author is an advocate, an Abolitionist and an author but what was her great win this week????

She learned a new recipe.

Let that sink in. She is just like you and I but she’s a voice. She is asking a change for something that matters. Meet Hallie Schaefer.

What is your career? 

– Right now, I’m a work-from-home mother of three. I do freelance writing when I get the chance and hope that writing and storytelling will be a career later on. Before this, I was a social worker for several years working with at risk youth.

What is a goal you have that’s worth working for, starting now? What are you passionate about?

– I’m passionate about stories. I think stories are what connects us to each other and makes us feel like we can relate to one another. My goal is to share stories of hope and that they encourage those that I meet along the way.

Can you explain what human trafficking in America means and looks like?

– It’s not the Hollywoodized version that many are used to seeing. It’s not the street fights, Liam Neeson style version. It’s quiet. It’s hidden. It could be someone falling in “love” with the wrong person, a person who forces them to do sexual things for money. It’s minors being abused and used as sex objects. It’s being emotionally, mentally, or physically abused by someone that forces you to do things you don’t want to do.

Tell us about your book. 

– “Rise”, while themed around human trafficking, focuses on hope. In the story, the girls face the realities of human trafficking, dealing with the guilt, pain, and shame. They find that God still loves them, no matter how they see themselves. This unconditional love helps them break free of the invisible bonds their traffickers held on them.

What exactly made you passionate about being an advocate and bringing awareness to human trafficking in America? 

– I learned about human trafficking in 2008, during my freshman year at college. I had never heard about it before, but after the summer reading requirement of Not For Sale by David Batstone, my passion for it just grew. I wanted others to know about it too. With more awareness, people are empowered to protect themselves from it and know the signs well enough to be able to save someone else from it.

What wins did you have this week?

– I learned a new recipe! Sweet potato flatbread. I’m pretty sure that I’m the world’s worst cook, so this was a huge win. Lol

Can you begin by telling me what made you decide to follow your career path?

– I’ve always loved to write. But when I was figuring out my major, writing wasn’t considered an option because it didn’t seem like a worthwhile thing to study, but more of a hobby. I chose psychology with the goal of one day getting my doctorate. After working in the field for a few years, I realized it was not my passion at all. I still longed to write. And now that is what I am doing, and I’m loving it!

What is there to be said of difficult life experiences and how can we transform them?

– Adversity shows us just how much we are capable of. We can choose to let it crush us, or we can grow from those experiences.

When was the last time you were out of your comfort zone?

– All of the time. Lol I have social anxiety, and when I’m presented suddenly with an unexpected situation that involves strangers, I tend to shut down. I had an interview with a human trafficking organization last week and when I was interviewing the CEO, everything was fine. But once she turned the interview around on me and started asking questions to get to know me and to learn about my book, I physically started shaking! I wasn’t scared, but my body just took over and I had to really fight against my natural flight response.

What is your favorite quote or mantra?

– It’s a bible verse. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” I love that we are not defined by our pasts, but through Christ, we can be who we are supposed to be.

If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in your life, what would it be and why?

– Time. I would slow it down.

What advice would you give someone concerning Who they need to become in order to accomplish their wish/dream/goal?

– You already are that person. If you wait until you “have it all together” before you start your journey to accomplish that dream, you’ll never do it. Start now.

When do you feel like your true self?

– When I’m with my family. They’ve seen me on my best and worst days and still accept me for everything I am and for what I am not.

If you were the bravest version of yourself today, what would you be doing?

– I would be doing public speaking engagements, spreading awareness of human trafficking. And I wouldn’t be shaking while I do it.

What is keeping people from living their best life?

– Fear and self-doubt.

Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to? 

– There are way too many to name. For this entire year, all proceeds of my book “Rise” will be going to human trafficking organizations dedicated to helping victims. Each month, I will choose a new one, highlighting them on my website.

How can people know more about that nonprofit? 

– I will be posting information about each organization each month so that others can learn about them.

How can individuals achieve goals without sacrificing their values?

– By keeping true to themselves and prioritizing.

How do we make our values a reality?

– By making a plan and a commitment to do so.

What are a few of your new year goals? 

– Figure out a better work/life balance and to do things I’m afraid to do.

If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you???

– Either my email or message me on facebook

Thank you for helping with exposure!! 🙂

Girl, Taken – An interview with Author Elena Nikitina


Elena Nikitina


To me, age is a state of mind.  Depending on the day, I can feel myself anywhere between 18 and 90.

What are you passionate about? 

I’m an artist at heart.  I enjoy writing, painting and photography.  My other passions are Latin dance and shooting weapons at the range.  I love to work out and create things as well.  I love to design new stuff from scratch or transform ugly things into beautiful ones. I love fashion and my dream is to create a fashion clothing line one day. I’m also passionate about real estate – I’m a licensed agent in Ohio.

What human trafficking looks like and how does it affect American youth? 

Human trafficking is illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor.  Behind those words there are many broken human lives.  Each story is an incredible tragedy of a person who is torn away from his normal life and deprived of his freedom and human rights.

Young people are particularly vulnerable, as criminals can find victims and manipulate them through internet, social media and private chats. One report cited “13 years old as the most common age in Ohio for youth to become victims of child sex trafficking”.

What motivated you to write a book and more importantly what inspired you to get involved with bringing awareness to human trafficking? 

The book Girl, Taken – is a true story about kidnapping and survival.  The plot of my book took place in real life and I just described it in my own words.

I saw and experienced things no one should have to go through.  I’m sure that right now, right at this particular moment, there is someone who is suffering from being a victim of kidnapping or trafficking or facing a similar ordeal in life.  I wanted to deliver a message to those who seek hope or to those who are about to give up. Hope and faith should never leave you, even in the moment of total and all-consuming despair.

Every human trafficking story looks similar to mine.  The incredible tragedy that involves not only one person – it’s an adversity for all family members.  Unfortunately, most people consider human trafficking as a problem of the past or believe that it is limited to being outside the United States only. Only by bringing awareness and education about this problem taking place everywhere there will be a chance to fight this crime.

Tell us a few statistics concerning human trafficking in your city and the surrounding areas. 

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery that occurs in every state, including Ohio.  Ohio ranks number five in the nation for the most human trafficking cases. Last year, 375 Ohio trafficking cases were reported based on calls to the national hotline–according to Polaris, a nonprofit organization that tracks human trafficking cases in America and across the world.

If any readers might think a loved one is in harm’s way what would be a few actions you would suggest so they can get the help they need?

The professional help from the therapist and a good family environment are the best sources, in my opinion.

What steps did you take to begin bringing awareness and getting involved?

I’m at the very beginning of my journey at the moment. I think social media is the best way to bring the awareness.

What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them? 

Through the horrifying months of my captivity – witnessing atrocities, surviving bombings and sexual violence, and trapped in a land where countless people were dying every day, I fought desperately to stay alive, stay sane and not lose the one thing that kept me going – my hope.

We never know what we are capable of until we are placed in a situation when you have to make a choice – stay strong or break down.  Choose to remain a victim or choose to become a survivor.

At some point, I decided for myself – I wanted to be a survivor and not a victim.  I like to believe we can all make this choice, no matter the hardships we face in life.

What advice would you give to parents of youth? 

Pay attention and talk to your children.  Be proud of what they are accomplishing.  Love them.

So many people have dreams and want to start nonprofits or businesses because they have a burning desire to change the world. They want to be men or women of influence with a powerful message. Then doubt sets in or failure happens. 

-What are your thoughts about this? 

Robert Kiyosaki – famous American businessman and author – once said: “Winners are not afraid of losing.  But losers are.  Failure is part of the process of success.  People who avoid failure also avoid success”.

Pursuing things that truly matter gives people a sense of purpose and this, in turn, will help people persevere in their pursuits.

-What would your message to these people include? 

Take a risk to make a difference.  If you win, you will be happy.  If you lose, you learn.

What is your favorite quote or mantra?

This too shall pass.

My favorite of all times, meaning that nothing is permanent.

When everything is good, remember that it won’t last forever. So, enjoy and cherish it while you can. When things are bad, remember that it won’t last forever. Have faith, bad times eventually will pass.

What motivates you?

Achieving the desired results motivates me.

When was the last time you were out of your comfort zone?

A few days ago, I was honored to give a public speech about my book Girl, Taken.  That was something I have never done before and had zero experience with. I was way out of my comfort zone.

What are your most important gifts you have to offer your city and state?

Every voice has an influence. Many voices have the power to change the world or to stop a crime.  To be involved in the organization or a group with like-minded people – is a gift that every citizen should offer to their community to improve the quality of life.

If anyone is interested in contacting you further what would be the easiest way to reach you? 

The best way to reach me is through one of my social media accounts:

Is there anything else you want me to know that will help me write this article?

As I mentioned earlier, I wrote a book Girl, Taken – A True Story of Abduction, Captivity and Survival.  In 1994, just after my 21st birthday, I was drugged and abducted from my hometown in southern Russia by a group of gangsters. The idea was to hold me for ransom, but an unfortunate thing happened.  Soon after my kidnapping, the first Russian-Chechen War broke out…

I would love to share my story with the readers of your blog.

Readers love Girl, Taken.

Here’s a small sample of what they are saying:

“This book will astonish and inspire you.  It is the harrowing tale of a young woman who saved her own life through nothing more than courage, determination, and inner strength.”

“One of the best books I’ve read in the past few years…”

“Girl, Taken kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time.  She is lucky to be alive.  Very intense, hard to put it down.  I would definitely suggest you enjoy the book for yourself and feel what it’s like to be kidnapped…”

Girl, Taken – A True Story of Abduction, Captivity and Survival.  You can check it out on Amazon

If the church is like a hospital…

Church isn’t a museum for good people. Church is a hospital for the broken.pexels-photo-316080.jpeg

If this quote is true then let’s examine some of the things a hospital has and compare them to what a healthy church needs and should actively be doing. 

How do we respond as a church? Do we know what to do or what to say? Often we do not, so we just keep silent or turn away. God forbid!

Parallel the following hospital responsibilities with those of the church. 

There are many people who contribute to your care while you are in the hospital. Numerous people and services work together to provide you with successful treatment in a hospital, from medical assessments and daily treatment to medication and catering. 

The key roles for staff in a hospital can be broadly categorized into four areas being:

  • doctors (medical staff)
  • nurses
  • allied health professionals
  • support staff.

All these people will play an important role in your treatment and recovery.

Think of all the people a church needs every service. 

  • Pastors
  • Sunday School teachers & Nursery workers
  • Musicians and Singers
  • Greeters and Altar Workers

People should always be welcome. You and I both know which hospitals to avoid in our city.  We all have those horror stories of the hospital that didn’t serve breakfast or lunch at the right time and when they did get around to feeding the patient, the food was soggy and tasteless or the scary time when the hospital put the wrong name tag on your wrist (or in my sister’s case, her baby’s wrist!!) Some people say a family knows within the first eight minutes of driving into the parking lot of a church whether they will return or not. You get a feeling of the atmosphere of a hospital the moment you get out of the vehicle and meet the front desk receptionist. 

  1. Is she bored? Smacking on gum and playing on her phone? Does she greet you with dead eyes and reluctance? 
  2. Is she a drill sergeant who never meets your eyes but wants to know all your details and insurance cards and living will info immediately?
  3. Does she smile warmly and immediately assess the situation and make you and your companions feel like you are in good hands? You no longer have to panic. You can rest now, someone is going to make everything better. 

People should be told the truth with compassion. When my daughter needed her fifth ear surgery, my heart was overwhelmed. I cried. The doctor waited and watched and reassured me that we were on the right track. Negative news must be delivered, but it doesn’t have to be thrown at someone. There are cancers that must be cut out and surgeries that have to be scheduled immediately but the delivery of the news can be softened with a kind touch and reassurance. Doctors and nurses rally together to make the family know they are in the right place. Healing takes place in this room. We have the source of healing here. You are safe here. We are not here to hurt you. 

Some of the responsibilities for a hospital CEOs may include:
  • Creating a positive and productive work culture through leadership.
  • Setting the standards for excellence in operations.
  • Hiring and ensuring qualified staff.
  • Maintaining high quality in the delivery of patient care.
  • Implement clinical policies and procedures.

Stop and think about that for a moment. 

  • Are our churches creating a positive and productive place for families to come and worship?
  • Do we have adequate Sunday school teachers and nursery workers to help aid the parents and give them the relief they need to take a mental break and concentrate on the service? 

What is the moral responsibility of a hospital? A portion of the answer stood out to me and I copied it here: The responsibility is primarily administrative, with duties owed to its patients, health professionals, and the community served. The hospital’s primary obligations are to develop norms to which the hospital and staff must conform, to serve patients by providing the best care possible, to allocate resources so as most effectively to respond to the needs of the community.

If the church is to be like a hospital then some of the moral responsibility would include:

  • serving the guests and church family by providing the best services for all ages and church leaders as possible
  • responding to the needs of the local community effectively

Roles and Responsibilities of Hospitals and Public Health Units include:

  1. The hospital is the lead for CDI infection prevention and control, outbreak reporting and outbreak management for their facility. *Hospitals are on top of what is going on in their city. Is there a wide-spread virus going around? Hospitals are proactive and ready to administer whatever medicines are needed. 
  2. Outbreak Management-which includes Coordinating the education of staff, patients, volunteers, and visitors regarding outbreak infection prevention and control measures. *Hospitals are on top of educating and making people aware of the dangers and ways to keep oneself healthy. They send out warnings and provide education.

    ***(We as a church must have our eyes and fingers and ears on the heartbeat of our city. What problems does our city deal with that other cities might not and how can we as a church fix those problems? Examples would include: homelessness, hunger, large numbers of high school drop outs, human trafficking and prostitution, gambling, theft, unplanned pregnancies, abortions, domestic violence, AIDS, gangs)

Emergency and Trauma Care

If you have a medical emergency or are in an accident and an ambulance is called, paramedics are the people who care for you and they may take you to the emergency department.

***(This would be our Outreach team, Sunday school Van drivers and Bible Study groups–Laborers going into the fields to bring those to church who do not have a way)

Ambulance paramedics

If you have a medical emergency or serious accident, paramedics are the medical team who arrive by ambulance to assess your medical condition and treat you before taking you to hospital. They manage your treatment on the way to hospital until you are in the care of the emergency department.
pexels-photo-263402.jpegParamedics may:

  • provide advanced life support
  • perform clinical procedures
  • decide which hospital or medical facility is the most appropriate for their patient.
 ***(This would be our Outreach group and van drivers. They would be encouragers and offer bible studies that told of the New Life experience. They would buy lunch for the guests and make them realize they are valued. They would direct them to the right rooms for the right classes upon arrival at the church. These guys are the ones the guests call first. They know they can rely on them to pick them up for church and maybe even stop by the store for a coke on the way home. If anyone in the church cares about the guests, these guys should.)

A triage nurse sees you when you first arrive at the emergency department to work out how serious your illness or injury, provide first aid and prioritize your care.

 ***(This would be our First Impressions team and Bible study leaders who points you in the right direction to the right small group that would fit your need whether it be for Singles, Youth, Addiction Recovery Support group, or a Marriage class, etc.)

Studying online, I came across a list of great questions I wanted to share from This Site

Comparing a hospital to your church, ask yourself the following questions. Which ones do you need to work on? 

  1. How welcoming are we to a variety of people?
  2. Do we expect something of them or have prejudices that draw or repel us?
  3. Do we speak plainly and simply?
  4. Do we answer their questions instead of pushing our agendas?
  5. Do we speak the truth in love?
  6. Are we willing to live with others even when it is messy and risky, or do we try to keep our lives sterile, protecting ourselves from potential struggles, sacrifices, and inconveniences?

pexels-photo-263210.jpegAnd continuing in the vein of comparing churches to hospitals- There are so many times a hospital realizes it has done all it can do for a patient and refers that patient to another hospital for specialized care. I sincerely believe that churches should be working together hand in hand helping one another instead of back-biting, slashing and tearing down one another in jealousy.


One hospital may specialize in cancer treatments while another has an excellent maternity ward and NICU-neither are better than the other. Both are vital components for healthy patients. 


One church may have a well oiled system concerning small groups and after care for divorcees and addicts. They may specialize in walking with people who have hang ups and habits while another church may have an incredible Sunday school program for children and an amazing youth department with a healthy Hyphen College and Career program for young singles straight out of high school. Another church may be incredibly missions-minded and burdened for sending laborers to overseas missions.

None of these churches have to be in competition. 

There is so much more in-depth studying I could do but this is just a small taste of how we can think about our churches. I hope this helps in someway. I plan to also blog on how a church can unfortunately be parallel to a museum. PLEASE feel free share or leave me a comment or add your own additional notes below about how a hospital compares to a church and vice versa. I do not in any way think my opinion is one of any significance concerning starting churches or running churches or daughter works or any other type of church we attend and maintain. This is just a product of thoughts running through my head concerning the quote we so often use. 



Get Off Your Phone and Play with Your Kids — A Letter to Myself

Tales for All Time

Last week, my cousin posted a funny Facebook status. “Without prompting, ask your child these questions and write EXACTLY what they say!!” I thought it would be a fun experiment with my extremely precocious 3 year old Nova. This girl says hilarious things that are way outside of her age range, so I was excited to hear her answers. Of course, her answer to the first question was great: “What is something Mommy says a lot?” “No!” Sadly true, but still funny to hear. Another good one: “How tall is Mommy?” “You’re big!” Silly, cute, and basically what I expected from her.

But the one that really hit me hard was this:

“What’s Mommy’s favorite thing to do?” Nova’s answer: “Do work on your computer.”

I felt a quiet disappointment. I was hoping for something like, “Playing legos with me!” or even “Doing laundry!” But she thinks that my FAVORITE…

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Human Trafficking Awareness Interview with Michigan State Police Trooper Steven Kramer of Flint Post

Interview with Flint, Michigan State Trooper, Steven Kramer

Steven A. Kramer, age 44 is a community Service Trooper of Michigan State Police-Flint Post. For over the last four years, Trooper Kramer has pledged to do something to change the dynamics of the way human trafficking is viewed and dealt with in Flint, Michigan. Flint is well-known as the city drowning in so many other problems and fighting so many difficult obstacles. Studying online recorded the racial make-up of Flint consists of 57% black; 37% white while 42% of Flint residents live below the poverty line. The average household income is only $39,000.

Flint has ranked as one of America’s most dangerous cities for several years based on FBI crime statistics of violent crimes per capita.

Human Trafficking is just one more nightmare this city is trying to combat.
Human trafficking is both sex and labor trafficking.  It is a form of modern-day slavery that occurs around the world and in the United States.  It involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring, or receiving a person through the use of FORCE, FRAUD, or COERCION.  ANYONE can be a victim of human trafficking and ANYONE can be a trafficker. Flint and Michigan State Police are hoping to bridge the gap with Flint neighborhoods.

Below is an interview with one of the heroes on Flint, Michigan streets.

How long have you worked in this field?
I have been with the Michigan State Police for twenty years.  I have been in my current role as a Community Service Trooper /Recruiter for almost five years.   I have been involved with Human Trafficking awareness for about the last four years.  My partner, Trooper Amy Belanger  also works in this field and is heavily involved with human trafficking.  We have been partners for about three and a half years.
What are you passionate about?
I would say I’m very passionate about my job, especially  the work I am currently doing with the community. One message I want the world to understand is there is no such thing as a juvenile prostitute! If they are under age, it is trafficking!

What does Human Trafficking look like and how does it affect American Youth?
This is a tough question to answer, because it can look like so many different things.
Human trafficking is a crime that affects victims of any age, gender, race, or immigration status. Human trafficking occurs in all parts of this country – from cities, to suburbs, to rural areas.

Traffickers/Pimps are constantly coming up with new ways to lure our youth into this lifestyle.  They prey on desperation, curiosity, and naivety. 

Pimps/Traffickers can be girls, women, boys, young men, and older men.  Many kids are runaways at the time of recruitment.  Between 100,000 and 200,000 of United States Children are taken into trafficking each year.  The desired starting age is twelve to thirteen for girls and twelve years old for boys.

What motivated you to become a state trooper and more importantly what inspired you to get involved with bringing awareness to human trafficking?
My main motivation to become a State Trooper was my father.  My father worked for and retired from the Detroit Police Department as a Detective Sgt.   For as long as I can remember, being a police officer is all I ever wanted to be.  I look up to my father and have much respect for him.  I guess I wanted to follow in his footsteps.  It was his suggestion to join the Michigan State Police if I really wanted to be a police officer.
I would say the more I learned about human trafficking and how it happens everywhere, I became interested in seeing what I could do to help.
I joined the Genesee County Human Trafficking task force and began to learn more about it.   I also attended presentations from victims speaking about their experiences.   I see how it happens and how it affects our communities.  I felt that helping to educate the community was a great way to help.

Tell us a few statistics concerning human trafficking in Flint, Michigan and the surrounding areas.
It happens in Flint, Michigan the same way it happens everywhere in the United States.
Some interesting statistics:

  • 62% of victims are tricked into trafficking by someone they know and trust (boyfriend/girlfriend, best friend, ect.).
  • 35% of victims are sold into human trafficking by their own family.
    Only 3% of victims are kidnapped.
  • Every year, 300,000 children in the U.S. are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation.
  • Every minute, two children become victims of sexual exploitation.
    A trafficker/pimp will know within seconds of contacting their victim if they “got them”.
  • It takes as little as 8 minutes for a trafficker to win over his/her target.
  • 90% of all the children trafficked for sexual purposes are American children.
  • There are as many as 2.8 million runaway children each year in the U.S.
  • Within 48 hours of a child being on the street, 1 in 3 will be approached by a sex trafficker.
  • The most common approach is the “lover boy” approach.
  • This is where the trafficker will appear interested in a romantic relationship while gradually coercing the victim into prostitution.

If any readers might think a loved one is in harm’s way what would be a few actions you would suggest so they can get the help they need?
Be aware of and look for the warning signs.
Some warning signs of a victim include:

  • unexplained absences from school,
  • inability to attend school,
  • runs away from home,
  • makes references to frequent travel,
  • sudden changes in behavior or material possessions,
  • makes reference to sexual situations that are beyond ages specific norms,
  • drug addiction,
  • signs of physical abuse,
  • Avoids eye contact,
  • fearful of authority figures.

There is a lot of valuable information online at sources like the FBI, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Polaris project, and many more.

The National Human Trafficking hotline number is 888-373-7888

What steps did you take to begin bringing awareness and getting involved?

I am a member of the Genesee County and Shiawassee County Human Trafficking task forces.  I give presentations on human trafficking awareness at:
community action groups,
neighborhood associations,
Law enforcement,
Fire stations,
Medical professionals,
and anyone who requests one.

What advice would you give to parents of youth?
Monitor your children’s activity!!!  I can’t stress that enough.  Kids today have cell phones, tablets, computers with basically unlimited access to the Internet.  Parents are too trusting of their kids.  We should be keeping tabs on what our kids are doing!
There is no such thing as violating your kids privacy when they are under 18!! 
You should know what your kids are doing online including:

  • Who they’re talking to,
  • Apps on their phones,
  • Online places visited.

If anyone is interested in contacting you further what would be the easiest way to reach you?
The best way to contact me is via Email:
Storytelling is never going to go away. I am honored to have the opportunity to be an outlet of sorts to bring honor to

Michigan State Police Trooper
Steven A. Kramer
Flint Post
Community Service Trooper/Recruiter

Men like Steven need to be recognized for all they do to help open eyes and bring awareness to the crisis of human trafficking in Flint, Michigan and around our country. Together as a community and as a country we can make small steps to help bring awareness and support to those affected by human trafficking.

One person that has been personally impacted by his actions is Rebecca Huey. I’ve spoke with her many times. She’s a phenomenal person.
She had the privilege to meet Michigan State Police Officer Trooper Kramer, Flint Post when she was a special guest speaker as a Christian Actress for a Human Trafficking event held by the Genessee County Medical Society Alliance in 2015.

Now as an Entrepreneur, Actress and Motivational Speaker, Rebecca Huey’s life has been changed for the positive by being able to share her story with Trooper Kramer which gave her the opportunity to begin to heal. Over time, she was able to share with Trooper Kramer her story and journey and how she is overcoming and excelling today.
Rebecca is an American actress known for her award-winning role Store Clerk “Best Cast” in redemptive romance feature film Providence that came to theaters in February of 2016. She was nominated and chosen Top 10 and Top 3 in 2015 and Top 1 in 2016-2017 by fans from across the world and Faith Flix Films, Tennessee for her press release interview.
Faith Flix Films released her interview in 2015 and it has traveled around the world bringing many others hope – the only hope that can be found in Jesus Christ.

Rebecca is also a female business entrepreneur that holds a business degree from a private college and is the owner of Education Creation LLC with Trademark Cursive Kidz™.

So in her words concerning Trooper Kramer:

He is a voice for me and so many others that don’t have the strength to speak right away. He has gone above and beyond his job. He deserves to be honored and recognized for his sacrificial hard work, tireless effort to help others, superior dedication to combat human trafficking and for being a loyal trusted voice for those that don’t have the strength to speak. 
He is doing so much to help so many others in human trafficking in Michigan. He has helped me more than he will ever know and he deserves to be recognized for all he is doing. -Rebecca M. Huey 

America tips her hat to you, sir. Thank you. Keep up the good fight. We stand with you.

Written by Author Laura Aranda who published her first novel titled, Pushing Back the Darkness in April 2017. This novel brings awareness to human trafficking in America. You can find the book on Amazon or at her blog:

For speaking engagements email:

Helping Families Succeed-my interview with Carrie Dean of Calcasieu Parish Police Jury/ Office of Juvenile Justice Services

I am doing a happy dance about sharing this incredible lady’s interview with my readers today. Carrie Dean is an incredible woman, visionary, mentor and friend. I truly am glad God allowed our paths to cross several months back when I first published my novel. Enjoy learning more about what she does.

January is National Human Trafficking Awareness month and this is one of the people I wanted to introduce my readers to.

Meet Carrie Dean.

What is your career? I am employed by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury/Office of Juvenile Justice Services. I have been a counselor, probation officer, supervisor and grant manager. My career is helping children, youth and families for the last twenty-eight years.

What is a goal you have that’s worth working for, starting now? To develop an effective task force to educate the public and to assist victims of sex trafficking with services to reduce the effects of their trauma.

 What are you passionate about? Helping struggling families and helping youth realize they can succeed despite family history.  I am especially passionate toward making a difference in youth’s lives.

Can you explain what human trafficking in America means and looks like? It means modern day slavery.  It is the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain. Human trafficking with minors is child abuse as they cannot consent to sexual activity.

What do you do that helps a girl that has runway? Listen and believe, find a safe place, set up counseling with a trained therapist in trauma.

What exactly made you passionate about being an advocate and bringing awareness to human trafficking in America? I have been interested in human trafficking for several years, but seeing firsthand the young girls in our area being victims opened my eyes. It is here, it is NOW.  

What wins did you have in the past few weeks? I guess during the holidays and being on vacation gave me some time for reflection. It was time to regroup ideas, efforts and goals for 2018.

Can you begin by telling me what made you decide to follow your career path? I have always been interested in psychology and I’ve always communicated well with children and youth.  I didn’t know where these interest would lead me, but after college and a few different jobs, I ended up at the juvenile office and after 28 years, I still love what I do.  

What is there to be said of difficult life experiences and how can we transform them? I had quite a bit of difficult life experiences in my youth that could have resulted in different outcomes. It’s a choice you have to make and good choices are a lot easier when you have a good support system.  Good support and mentorship can come from family, friends, churches and community, and this is so important, especially to our youth.   


When was the last time you were out of your comfort zone? I think this happens every day if you act on your beliefs and don’t change for others.

What is your favorite quote or mantra? This is a hard one. I love quotes. I have two taped to my desk.

1. You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins. 

2. You should never treat people in different ways because of their outward appearance.

If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in your life, what would it be and why? There are too many ramifications to change one thing in your life. If you change one factor, it changes more than that one thing. So, no I wouldn’t change anything due to consequential changes of other factors. It is tempting, but not worth the risk.  

What advice would you give someone concerning Who they need to become in order to accomplish their wish/dream/goal?Don’t “become” anyone. Be yourself and your dream/wish or goal will appear and you can work toward it.

When do you feel like your true self? Helping families succeed.

If you were the bravest version of yourself today, what would you be doing? Probably the same thing, only being more assertive on what I believe in and want.

What is keeping people from living their best life? Fear of failure or ridicule.

Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to? The ones that monies go to the cause and not in someone’s personal pocket.

How can people know more about that nonprofit? AWARENESS

How can individuals achieve goals without sacrificing their values? Stay true to yourself and never compromise values. It is not worth it. Research your goals and put in the hard work.

How do we make our values a reality? Never stop!!

What are a few of your new year goals?  To find additional funding for Human Trafficking services and obtain additional training in this area.

If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you?  or 337-802-1813

❤️🌎Exclusive Interview: Creating World Change Through Your Career with me & Alice Hoekstra, Founder of Career Networking for Romantics

I hope the Audio attachment works.

Here is the :

Facebook Live  

Link–I hope that works so you can watch!!

We had a fabulous interview today concerning our business and how to deal with trailblazing without cheerleaders. We also talked about human trafficking and bringing awareness to those all around us. How to be safe. January is not only National Human Trafficking awareness month but also National Stalker Awareness month–so we provided tips on how to stay safe and keep those you love safe.



The Littlest Abolitionist

Have you ever been blown away just by hearing something about someone incredible?? I have been today!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Well, let me add to that by saying, never doubt that a small young girl can change the world.

With permission from her mother, Anne I will be able to interview the Littlest Abolitionist.

This little girl is doing something to change lives! Wow!!

Watch A’s vlog that she created this summer to raise awareness. Her efforts earned her a nomination for the 2018 Ohio/Michigan Liberator Award. She is a finalist and her family will be attending the awards gala tomorrow!!

A’s award winning video

She has given several presentations and has been invited to give several more presentations this year.

As a result of her efforts, the Columbus Gifted Academy 4th & 5th grade students are raising money through Penny Harvest to help end human trafficking.

Although I suspect she might be quite a bit younger than the people who try to make a change in the world concerning human trafficking awareness, she has rightfully earned the nickname, the Littlest Abolitionist. She has my heart already!!!

Her strategy is prevention through early education.

In addition to her work, she is also a competitive swimmer and an honor student.

In any event, thank you for your incredible work, dear sweet A.

The world needs more people like you! Please watch her videos. Show her some love!! And watch out for our video chat interview together!!! Coming soon!!

A’s vlog