About Becky Jacoby

For years, I have written commercially and still do, but my real passion is writing suspense fiction and including some K-9 characters. Can't seem to leave them out of my nonfiction either. So, if you like dogs. . . .

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Review of Kelly Tough, Live Courageously by Faith

Book review of Kelly Tough, Erin Kelly with Jill Kelly, BroadStreet Publishing Group, LLC, Racine, WI, 2015

Cover of Kelly ToughLet’s start by discussing the book’s presentation. The Kelly Tough cover is appealing and leads one to realize it is a tender father, daughter text with some connection to the NFL. The cover font is strong, as is the dark blue band at the top and bottom, and the subtitle tells the reader it is a Christian or inspirational book.

There are numerous black and white family photos.

The interior of the book is highly readable.  At the conclusion, there is information about Krabbe Leukodystrophy and newborn screening. There is also a summary for anyone interested in the path to salvation. There is a total of about 215 pages.

My opinion on the text?

I should admit up front that I am predominately a business/promotional writer and when I read, I rather choose fiction than nonfiction because I do so much research relative to my work. Additionally, I am not an NFL fan—not that I dislike football, I just don’t like it enough to follow it. I have other hobbies and interests. So the tie-in with the NFL meant little to me.

However, having grown up without the presence of a Dad, I thought I would be inspired by the father and daughter relationship story. Having lost my mother to cancer before she turned 50, I thought I could relate. Sadly, not so much.

As it turns out, the book has the feel of a devotional. Each chapter tells a “family story” relative to a reflective passage at its end.

My writing credits include two recent devotional books, and I read a devotional daily to set the tone for my day. Father figure, mom’s cancer and devotional format: three common touchpoints…

Then… Continue reading

Review of Miracles from Heaven

Book Review:  Miracles from Heaven: A Little Girl, Her Journey to Heaven and Her Amazing Story of Healing, Christy Wilson Beam, Hachette Books, New York, 2015 

Review of Miracles from Heaven

Review of Miracles from Heaven

I like to begin book reviews by discussing the book’s presentation, as I feel if the appearance of the book doesn’t catch one’s eye, it is likely to remain unread. Miracles from Heaven has a very attractive cover which clues the reader right away to the content of the story. The title and subtitle are eye-catching and clean as they seem to emerge from light, implying the spiritual experience of a miracle. The tree, photographed from the ground up, plays significantly in the heart of the story as the reader soon finds out.

The book is a little over 200 pages on cream stock with a legible font size and adequate leading to make it easy readable for the eye.

A miracle as a mother’s heart tells it

The author’s voice (in this case, the little girl’s mother) writes with eloquence as well as sensitivity. While she speaks of her faith, she does not dramatize it nor does she discount it. It is integral to the family’s personal experience and is related with realistic dialogue of a believer’s heart. For the most part, the family’s story is related in enough detail to understand both the severity of the child’s condition as well as the impending healing. The miracle is subtly described and almost downplayed, which was a bit disappointing until I thought more about the story.

When I began reading Miracles from Heaven, I realized I had read half-way through the book before I took a break. Being a mother (and grandmother) myself, I found myself sympathizing with Christy’s substantial emotional, financial… Continue reading

The Act of Listening

Be a blessing

Be a Blessing. Use words that build and nurture.

I’ve always been the quiet type.

After all, I have two ears and only one mouth, and to me, that means I should listen twice as much as talk. So, I engage in the act of listening, not a passive activity. It requires presence…full engagement.

Currently, I’ve found myself in a circumstance that requires me to use my listening skills and respond in a mindful, encouraging, and understanding way to someone I love dearly who is going through a serious trial.

However, even if I spoke to someone I didn’t particularly like, I would speak the same. Each of us deserves that kind of respect.

When I am called upon to “counsel” someone, my sense of responsibility grows.

I know my words are imbued with the creative power that God gave each of us. I am mindful that the listening I do is deeper because my feedback may be relevant to solving a problem or making a decision. There are consequences to words, whether seen or unseen, as well as actions.

In what I say, I acknowledge the person’s state of mind and underlying feelings. I try to wait before I speak and consider whether my words will build up the body or be critical.

Words can be used as weapons.

We have all experienced that, I’m sure. I know I have.

Sadly, I once allowed another’s words to diminish me. I no longer do that. But we all need to grow in awareness and faith so our Spirits will be strong. We need confidence in ourselves and our core beliefs.

If we have unintentionally let something hurtful slip, then we apologize. That is what forgiveness is for. Aren’t we glad to know how to forgive?

However, if our spirits… Continue reading

Creative Comforts: A Devotional for Artists and Crafters

Creative Comforts,  a  30-day devotional

Creative Comforts, a 30-Day Devotional for Artists and Crafters

After a long journey: Creative Comforts is published.

The arts and crafts-themed devotional Creative Comforts is now available in print and Kindle / digital format. The book was released yesterday. For those who prefer a printed copy, Creative Comforts will be available within the next few days.

If you are a writer, designer, crafter, quilter, photographer, painter or passionate respecter of those who are, you will enjoy these personal stories and unique perspectives. Each was written from the point of view of the craftsperson or artist and is sure to inspire the kindred creative spirit in each of us.

Please accept my gratitude.

Thank you to all who contributed to this book, supported it along its journey toward publication, and continue to share it with your friends and dog-lovers.

Comments as well as reviews would be appreciated.

 

Happy Bones Dog-Themed Devotional Is Here

Happy Bones, Dog-Themed Devotional

Happy Bones: Not Just a Dog’s Love, a 30-day dog-themed devotional.

After a long journey: Happy Bones is published.

The dog-themed devotional Happy Bones is now available in print and Kindle / digital format. The book was released January 30th and, thanks to Betsy Duffey, it already has a good review.

If you love dogs, you will connect with the 30 personal stories which are often poignant and sometimes humorous. Each furry friend will lead you to an insight of faith while leaving paw prints on your heart.

Please accept my gratitude.

Thank you to all who contributed to this book, supported it along its journey toward publication, and continue to share it with your friends and dog-lovers.

Comments as well as reviews would be appreciated.

Look for Creative Comforts, a craft-themed devotional to be released in the next three weeks.

Glare of Comparison: Excerpt from Creative Comforts

By Andy Lee, Guest Author

Creative Comforts is a soon-to-be-released co-written devotional on Hands with a Purpose. “Glare of Comparison” is an excerpt from that 30-day devotional. 

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Andy Lee, Writer, Speaker, Mentor, Mom

Andy Lee, Writer, Speaker, Mentor, Mom t http://wordsbyandylee.com/?page_id=561

What does it mean to be creative or artistic?

Have you tucked away your dreams, buried them under the dirt of self-pity and disappointment, because of fear of failure?

Many of us have a dream to create something special or unique. We’ve heard a call from God, but we look around at other people who have succeeded in similar dreams and callings and rapidly sink in the quicksand of doubt. Sometimes that quicksand becomes a stronghold. Sometimes we become so caught, we cannot find a way to escape.

Comparison is part of our human nature, but it’s a dangerous game—one of the greatest tactics and favorite diversions of the enemy of God.

I remember a battle I had one night inside my head.

The negative voice repeatedly told me that I couldn’t be a great speaker or writer. It reminded me there were many people more gifted than I—even named names.

But another thought fought back in the midst of that battle, “He’s right. You alone aren’t great, but I AM and I live in you. My power will shine through you, the one who needs my help. Trust Me.”

In that moment, I was free to serve wherever God opened doors. I didn’t need to wait until I perceived it was time because it was no longer about… Continue reading

Another New Year Comes: A Perfect Time to…

A year in reflection

Another New Year approaches. What are you thinking about?

 

As another New Year comes, most people talk about changes they wish to make in their lives. Resolutions are typically the same year after year.

I look at things differently.

Every day brings change. I don’t need to ask for it. Life requires constant decisions and adjustments, and I long ago learned I am not the one in control.

For that, I am grateful.

So, I look reflectively at the past year and list just a smattering of what I am thankful for.

  • For those who allowed me to be a part of their lives
  • For opportunities to have spent time, prayed, laughed or shared special moments with people I love and who have loved me.
  • For a wonderful husband, children, grandchildren and family
  • For longtime and recent friends
  • Beloved animals, especially our rescued dogs
  • For a thoughtful, resonant employer.
  • For my Jesus Calling book that keeps me focused every day and my church and pastor who has taught me deep unto deep
  • For a health condition that reminds me how special life really is
  • For talents that continue to find expression
  • For attributes that give me insight, compassion and empathy
  • For wisdom to listen and mindfulness to speak
  • For abundance and provision so I (we) may help others.

There is much  more, but these reflections are the ones most on my heart.

I hope this coming year will hold all that you imagine and more. Thank you to all my readers. I appreciate your patience and hope you will hang in with me as I try to bring several books to you.

Happy New Year!

Memory Book: Excerpt from Creative Comforts

Creative Comforts is a soon-to-be-released co-written devotional on Hands with a Purpose. “Memory Book” is an excerpt from that 30-day devotional. 

In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery. Proverbs 28:23, New Living Translation 

A memory book birthday giftTo celebrate my husband’s 50th birthday, I invited family and friends to a surprise party in his honor. Before the party, I asked each person to submit photos, letters or mementos to include in a Memory Book as a group gift. Since Bob and I had begun dating a few months prior, I had only met a handful of his friends and none of his family. However, each enthusiastically—and confidentially—helped me network among others I didn’t know who wanted to contribute to the book. It was a fun way to offer Bob a lasting gift plus get to know more about those close to him.

Over the weeks before the party, as submissions rolled in and I compiled the book, it became clear how dearly Bob’s family and friends loved and admired him. He had blessed the lives of many people who readily delighted in saying so.

Bob walked into the party truly surprised, happy to see a roomful of familiar faces. Some he had not seen for quite a while. In fact, one friend had driven six hours to participate in the celebration.

He opened the Memory Book with an astonished grin.

As he passed around the book, “remember when” conversations sparked. One friend said, “It’s great to be so appreciated while you are alive.”

I don’t know who had the most fun that day, Bob, his friends, or me watching the joy flowing around us.

While it is much more fun to celebrate love and friendship, it is not always the case as people… Continue reading

Excerpt from Happy Bones: A Dog-themed Devotional

In Hiding (One dog devotional from Happy Bones)

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.” Isaiah 43:1

Colored pencil rendering of Abigail

Colored pencil rendering of Abigail

Boooom! Thunder clapped over the roof loud as a jet. Lightning crackled across the eaves, forewarning a heavy storm. Abigail’s big brown eyes went wide. Her floppy ears perked as she began to shudder and pant. She ran behind a chair then crawled under the bed, instinct taking over. She crept under the box spring just beyond my reach. She couldn’t be coaxed out so she remained there till morning.

When we woke, she emerged happy to greet the day, as if nothing strange had happened, as if no storm had occurred. She showed no signs of having been terrified the previous night.

How marvelous to let go of fear so readily, I thought. I wished humans could do the same. I wished all people believed in the Lord and could trust in Him to bring them through their fears.

We had rescued Abigail from a local shelter, so her history was unknown.

When we had first brought her home, we observed her for any signs of legacies. As we expected, she was initially cautious. Beyond that, we quickly learned she had a particular sensitivity to loud noises, a trait shared by Boxers.

Two years and many thunderstorms later, she has come to trust us. Instead of under the bed, she runs to us to sit on our laps when thunder, fireworks or other loud noises startle her. She seeks comfort and protection from us now instead of seeking to hide.

Oh, she still shudders and leans into us, but she responds… Continue reading

Review of Top Dog, The Story of Marine Hero Lucca

It seems fitting that this review of Top Dog (Lucca’s story) coordinate with Veteran’s Day. After all, Lucca and her handlers, Willingham and Rodriguez, are heroes worth honoring.

I first learned of NY Times bestselling author Maria Goodavage because of my love for dogs (as she used to run Dogster.com). We chatted a few times by email. Not only had I written a dog-themed devotional and a series of dog rescue stories, but I was working on a novel whose protagonist was a former Marine turned single mom who was beginning a contract military working dog and police dog training business.

Goodavage wrote Soldier Dogs and Top Dog

Author Maria Goodavage with her dog Jake. (photo courtesy of Dogster.com)

Goodavage’s first book, Soldier Dogs, was a must read for me and not only did I find it riveting, it also solidified some of my research and knowledge about military working dogs. So, when she announced the release of Top Dog, I knew I had to read it, too. And I’m so glad I did.

Top Dog is the story of Lucca, a four-legged warrior.

Lucca is a German shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix who is partnered with Marine Staff Sergeant Chris Willingham. Their attachment goes soul-deep from training to the trenches. The two are inseparable and work in tandem amid the dangers of battle, trying with all their resources to save lives and knowing not every effort will have a successful outcome.

Goodavage’s writing connects us immediately with Willingham and Lucca. We feel the camaraderie between them. It beats like one heart as the two move through one adventure after another during two deployments.  When Goodavage takes us into combat with them, the inherent danger and tension are tooth-grinding. Thankfully, she intersperses the reality of battle with brief respites… Continue reading