memoirs and autobiographies of some incredible lives
Seven Songs for Seven Dogs
A veterinarian introduces us to her seven beloved dogs and the songs inspired by them.
written by L. Meredith Averitt, DVM
illustrated by Maegan Penley
As a veterinarian and lifelong animal lover, Meredith always knew she’d have dogs. But seven? It turns out that when it comes to a family of wriggling, happy dachshunds (and their poodle big brother), more really is merrier. In Seven Songs for Seven Dogs, you’ll get to know Lexi, Topher, Caddie, Carly, Sera, Chester, and Grady; gain a glimpse into the world of dog showing; and delight in seven silly songs inspired by this canine crew.
My Turn on the Couch: Our Cancer Journey
Three generations of a family support each other as they battle cancer together.
My Turn on the Couch covers the span of nine years in the Alimenti family, during which three family members each face a shattering cancer diagnosis. This is a true story of how that family confronted these challenges, drew closer as a family, and remained resilient despite the hardships. The primary author, Carol Alimenti, tells the story of her mother’s struggle with cancer, coping, caring, and fighting for her son, Chris, who was diagnosed with leukemia, then having to face her own terminal diagnosis. While caring for her son, she must come to accept the finality of her own life. The book began as a journal and as therapy, but transformed into a collaborative project among the family members as they united to help Carol finish this book and cross the final goal off her bucket list. All the family members who ultimately contributed to this story learned what it meant to be “on the couch.”
This compelling story is a testimony to the power of love, family, hope, and an unbridled faith in God. These key ingredients have allowed the Alimentis to defy the odds in the hope that one day they will reunite again in a land without suffering, tears, and pain—and most of all—without cancer.
Kindle ebook available here ($4.99)
One Leaf in Time
Sylvia’s story of a childhood in Japanese-run internment camps in China during World War II.
One Leaf in Time chronicles the life of Sylvia Churchill Prince, born in Tientsin, China, where her father was a successful businessman. For the first eight years of Sylvia’s life, the Churchills enjoyed a life of luxury among a community of foreign businessmen and dignitaries. The outbreak of the Second World War brought that life to a sudden stop, as the Churchills were rounded up by Japanese occupiers and transported to an internment camp in Weihsien. Prince offers a warts-and-all description of camp life, describing the harsh treatment imposed by Japanese officials, but also the resilience of internees from countries across Europe and North America. As her account reveals, it was possible to find entertainment, respite, and even joy in an environment where danger was but one misstep away.
Poems about the roads and journeys one takes throughout life.
Roads Taken is a collection of some of Tucker Carwile’s favorite poems. They were selected because they show the roads he has taken, whether right or wrong, and express the emotional range of a life well lived. Written over a period of years, this collection of work is the expression of his true vocation. These are poems of sorrow and pain, battles and spirituality, the loss of friends, the beauty of nature, humor reminiscent of the past, changes over time, and love and joy found. Tucker’s decision to pursue a career instead of following his passion for writing led him down many roads away from poetry, and away from his true soul mate. The fifth and powerful final section of poems, “Roads to Happiness,” captures the long-awaited reunion with his beloved. After traveling miles of roads, they both ultimately discover the true contentment that only real devotion can give.
The Princess Rancher
After the end of her marriage, Kelly transforms her life and becomes a cattle rancher.
Kelly Williams wasn’t born into ranching. Before she ever learned to ride a horse, her life was one of globe-trotting and high comfort as a national food distributor. But when her marriage fell apart, it set her off on a new path that would lead to open spaces, tangles of barbed wire, and the sweat, dust, and tears of cattle ranching. Through it all, the thing that remained constant was Kelly’s love for food, and her memoir serves as an ode to the ages-old tradition of the men and women who toil from sunup to sundown to put beef on our dinner tables. It’s a story of risk, reward, and reinvention that captures a disappearing, American way of life.
The Perfect Dozen
The touching tale of 12 perfect puppies and the family that raised them.
In 1997, Gail Canada encountered an abandoned black Lab puppy running along the country road near her house. She took him in and named him Jake, having no idea of the journey she’d begun. Eight years later, she and her husband Randy would bring home a yellow Lab puppy named Hannah, and Hannah and Jake would become the parents to a litter of twelve tiny Labradors: six yellow, six black; six male, six female. A perfect dozen.
This is the story of a bustling canine family and the humans and animals whose lives they touched. It’s a book for anyone who has ever loved a pet like a family member. And it’s an exploration of the touching behaviors and antics that make our pets so much like us, and what we can learn from animals to help us be more like them.
Benjamin E. Mays Institute
Educating young black males
by Sadiq Ali
For many young black American males, the future seems bleak at worst, uncertain at best. The challenges seem frightfully beyond the reach of society’s current institutions. Realizing the state of emergency firsthand, educator Sadiq Ali successfully established an African-American all-male school in Hartford, Connecticut. In Benjamin E. Mays Institute: Educating Young Black Males, Ali describes the creation and life of the school, its successes and struggles. Perhaps most importantly, Ali uses his knowledge and experience to address ways that others around the nation can use education to improve the future for today’s young black men.
Impressions Behind the Pink Ribbon
Writing Through the Laughter and Tears with My Metastatic Breast Cancer
by Norma Woody
Following her diagnosis with an aggressive form of metastatic breast cancer, Norma Woody found herself the bearer of two seemingly unendurable burdens: the knowledge that she was dying, and the realization that too much of the life she had left would be spent in solitude and pain. Yet as the door to her physical life was closing, a window to her inner life was flung open. In her time spent alone wrestling with thoughts and disappointments, Norma found solace in writing, and was able to explore her creative mind and unlock feelings long denied her. In the process, she plumbed new depths of forgiveness, releasing expectations and uncovering within herself a greater childlike wonder for the world and a deeper respect for the God she had always believed in. Impressions Behind the Pink Ribbon is her record of that journey through hardship to peace, and it stands as a gift bestowed in unending faith and love.
Fighting Hitler from the North Jersey Suburbs
A portrait of the American homefront during World War II, as remembered from childhood.
For children residing an ocean apart from the imminent dangers of World War II, the war’s effects were nonetheless felt in a way that shaped a generation. In Fighting Hitler from the North Jersey Suburbs, author James C. Berrall focuses a nostalgic lens on the American home front during the second great war, offering a child’s-eye view of the commotion and peculiarities of wartime. Drawing on his boyhood experiences, Berrall recalls everything from popular contemporary songs and radio programs to the looming anticipation of air raids and military invasions. A true portrait of an era, Fighting Hitler from the North Jersey Suburbs chronicles the formative years of both a young man and an emerging superpower.
From Morning 'til Evening
The Autobiography of Grady W. Powell, Sr.
From Morning ’til Evening traces the life of Rev. Grady Powell, Sr., a devoted man of God, who has served as pastor of churches in Virginia for more than fifty years. This vivid and personal story chronicles Rev. Powell’s journey from his upbringing in Brunswick County, Virginia, through his marriage to Bertie Jeffress of Pittsburgh, the raising of five children, and the challenges and rewards of a rich professional life. Ultimately, we join him as he stands in the pulpit of Gillfield Baptist Church in Petersburg, Virginia, where he ministered to hundreds of parishioners.
This is the story of a man whose faith and family are truly his touchstones. We follow him on his journey from youth to his professional and personal destiny and, finally, to his dance with retirement, where in the evening of his life, he reflects on the deeper meaning of God, the importance of family, and the people he serves.
Panic: One Man's Struggle with Anxiety
Join the author on his journey from anxiety and panic to self-understanding and acceptance.
by Harry Floyd
Anxiety and panic are a part of life for almost everyone. They can come without warning, and for many people, facing and overcoming these conditions can be a lifelong battle. In Panic, author Harry Floyd shares his own struggle with anxiety in an effort to guide others who suffer with this often debilitating condition. To combat anxiety in his own life, for years he explored myriad approaches and treatments, including counseling, medication, behavioral techniques, meditation, and spiritual practices, all of which he shares in these pages. Join Harry on his personal journey from anxiety and the paralysis of panic, to self-understanding and acceptance.
Among other topics, Panic discusses:
- Anticipation and its role in anxiety
- How to react when anxiety strikes
- Understanding the life cycle of a panic attack
- Trying new habits to combat the condition
- Trusting oneself
- How openness can make a difference
Smashwords ebook available here ($3.99)
Harper: 48 Days to Change the Lives of Millions
A story of Harper’s struggle, compiled by her parents to raise awareness and honor her
Harper Ann Stanfield came into the world on August 20, 2012, a beautiful newborn with brown eyes, a strong will, and a life-threatening condition known as a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH)—a hole in her diaphragm that permitted her abdominal organs to migrate into her chest cavity, obstructing her left lung. For weeks after—and through multiple surgeries—machines would be her constant companions, breathing for her, circulating her blood, and removing toxins from her body. Her parents, William Stanfield and Erin Byers, watched on and waited, helpless to change their daughter’s circumstances and often unable to even hold her.
To keep their community of family and friends informed and to help raise awareness about CDH, they started a Facebook page and posted daily updates on Harper’s struggle. These posts are compiled here, in Harper, a tribute to a tiny fighter and to all the children like her, both among us and in our hearts and memories.
Redeemed by the Light: With the Faith of a Mustard Seed
With God’s grace, Keith struggles out of a life of addiction, poverty, and depression.
In Redeemed by the Light, author K.W. Rustin tells the story of his harrowing journey through a blur of alcohol and drug addiction, broken marriage, serial housing situations, unemployment and the inevitable depression and loss of self-esteem that accompanies a life gone wrong. Along the way, he is blessed by the mercy and grace of God, so this is also a story of his redemption. As he writes, “the dark veil of alcohol covers a lot of people, and the testimonies of Christ are for all who will hear. If I can help one person shake off the weight of depression and save one child from hopelessness, I will have done my part, because we are not alone. There is hope in the words of Jesus Christ.” Join Keith as he travels from the darkness into the light.
Matzo Balls and Christmas Trees
The story of a first-generation Jewish-American woman, lovingly rendered by her daughter.
The holidays bring a special ache to those who have lost a loved one in December. The winter of 1974 rendered Randi Wolf Lauterbach a twenty-two-year-old orphan and changed her world forever. Thirty-seven years later, with the anniversaries of her parents’ deaths approaching, Randi’s mind was immersed in thoughts of her mother—thoughts clamoring to be recorded. A first-generation Jewish-American, Margaret Wolf possessed a sharp wit, a penchant for music and gambling, and a strong foothold in her cross-cultural community of family, friends, and neighbors. When she passed suddenly, the woman who had seemed larger than life became but a memory cradled in the hearts of those who knew her. But, oh, what memories she left! Framed with humor, nostalgia, and warmth, Matzo Balls and Christmas Trees paints a timeless portrait of familial love—a love that transcends life and death and is renewed with each passing season.
Why Men Don't Ask for Directions
Laugh-out-loud essays about everything from sports to politics and everything in between.
by Roger Loring
Roger Loring shares wisdom gained from years of keen observation about many of the difficult questions we all must answer: why spitting has helped make baseball the slowest game on the planet, how a bill becomes a law, assuming Congress ever actually votes on a bill, why children should give up their textbooks for sports equipment, the importance of pocketknives at Christmas, and much more. He unravels complex issues that have remained unsolved for far too long, such as the role of psychic predictions in society, the value of DNA testing on reality TV, the significance of astrology, and the value of making lists. Proving that nothing is beyond his discerning eye, he explains why auto mechanics are more frightening than clowns and reveals the hidden dangers of political campaigns. But perhaps his most important accomplishment is that he settles, once and for all, the age-old question of why men don't ask for directions.
A Young Life of Light
A remembrance of the life of Patrick, an artist who touched many despite health struggles.
written by Harry Hathaway Warner
iIllustrated by Patrick Gorman
What constitutes a life well lived? It’s a question often pondered in the wake of loss, and it’s one that catalyzed Harry Warner to write this book following the death of his seventeen-year-old grandson, Patrick. Patrick’s life was brief and far from easy. Born with Marfan’s syndrome and severe respiratory complications, he was given a fifty-fifty chance of survival; at eleven months, he contracted a virus that would leave him deaf in both ears. His early years consisted of a string of hospital visits and struggling to communicate in a hearing world. Yet, through it all, a remarkable young man was formed—a talented artist and sportsman with a love for the outdoors and an ability to inspire his peers in ways that would only be fully revealed upon his passing. In A Young Life of Light, Warner memorializes Patrick’s life, person, and achievements, and proclaims a simple, valuable truth: the good life is measured by the impression it leaves in the hearts of others.
Echoes in Ferryland
The intertwined histories of a girl and Virginia’s Northern Neck as they grow up together.
Echoes in Ferryland offers the rich perspective of a woman looking back at her life and describing history as she saw it unfold before her very eyes. Nancy Clark fondly reminisces about her childhood and memorable life spent in Virginia’s Northern Neck, a region of rivers that witnessed the rise and ultimate decline of the steamboat. Her story tells of a simpler life—and the “unabashed naïvete that came with it,” she writes—where there is a deep respect and honor for the past as well as the acceptance of inevitable change that comes with modernity. Join author Nancy Clark on her life journey through Virginia’s “Land of Pleasant Living.”