Tag Archive | testimony

A Gift for You

If you have the luxury of sitting quietly for a couple of hours to indulge in an inspirational story, A Gift for Me by Tosha Holliman would be the perfect book! I was immediately captivated by the smile on the little boy’s face standing there with his two prosthetic legs on the front cover, and then I saw what appeared to be “a gift” in someone’s hands in the background. The gift was that same little boy, appearing to be not much older than a newborn in the picture, with no legs and missing part of one arm. HE was the gift, the good and perfect gift from above! (James 1:17)

It didn’t take long because just reading the table of contents sucked me in. Once I started, I honestly could not put the book down. It’s literally one that you can read from cover to cover without ever getting out of your seat. I found myself rushing through page after page because I couldn’t wait to see what the author was going to say on the next page. I felt myself full of all the same emotions she experienced as she described her life’s journey and innermost thoughts. The struggles with love, compassion, heartache, heartbreak, disappointment, frustration, shock, concern, anger, devastation, hurt, pain, and unforgiveness seemed so very real as I found myself praying along with her.

I could identify with Tosha, the wife and mother of 4, although I basically had nothing in common with her other than wanting what we all want out of our Christian walk with the Lord, a perfectly normal and happy family living a quiet and peaceful life. That would not be the case for Tosha and her baby boy; yet she discovered God had something much more precious in store for her. This gift came with strings attached because this gift was given to bring glory to God.

You’ll read the book’s synopsis on the back cover which explains against all odds, this mother decided to keep her baby even when doctors said you still have a small window to abort. As she felt him move and heard his heart beat for the first time, her heart, body, and soul connected with his immediately as he continued to grow and thrive in the womb. God gave her a glimpse of Aidan walking one day. She believed whole-heartedly in the power of God. In this excellent testament of a mother’s love for her child, she opens the story of her life and shares the true blessing of Aidan Jeremiah as God is continually being glorified through their lives.

I highly recommend anyone searching for answers or needing encouragement along life’s journey to pick up a copy of this book. You will experience God’s grace and mercy like never before. Although your journeys may be different, you will form an immediate connection with this loving, faithful mother. You will find yourself bonding with Aidan and cheering for him before he was even born. This is certainly a gift that will bless you beyond measure!

Please visit http://peculiarunlimbited.bigcartel.com/ to order your copy of this extraordinary book today!

Then visit https://www.facebook.com/PeculiarUnLIMBitedFoundation/ for more information and find out how Mrs. Holliman is encouraging and inspiring others to go from impossible to possible. Aidan is UnLIMBited and will inspire others to live life with no LIMBits! As an added bonus, you’ll find some very cute videos of Aidan on that Facebook page too.

As Aidan’s photo card says: Thank you for sharing my journey with me and for accepting me for who I am…. Aidan

If you’d like to meet Tosha, she’s hosting a book signing in the Memphis area on February 18, 12:00-2:00 p.m. Come get to know her while enjoying refreshments, prizes, and hear excerpt readings from her book. And guess what; I have a gift for YOU, the first 3 people who leave a comment on this blog post! I’m going to her book signing and will purchase 3 books to give away. If you’d like for me to send you a complimentary copy of A Gift for Me, just be one of the first 3 people to leave a comment on this blog post, and I’ll ship you an autographed copy after the book signing. That’s my gift to the first 3 people who comment on this post. Has Tosha’s story changed the way you look at challenges you may be facing? Have you ever received a gift you didn’t think you wanted, but now you can’t live without? What gift has God surprised you with?

What I’ve Learned from Living Inside the Testimony

It was never about me!

Yes, IT WAS NEVER ABOUT ME!!!

When I started writing what I thought would be my first and only book in January 2009, I thought it was totally about me. It didn’t take me long at all to realize that it was really about God’s amazing love and abundant blessings. The book was to bring HIM honor and glory. As I’ve noted on my website, I’m a nurse by profession, author by passion, and storyteller by the grace of God. My desire is to help readers discover that we all live inside testimonies meant to be shared to help inspire and encourage others.

Now that it has been almost 7 years since my first book, and I’m in the process of “wishing” to begin my 5th one, I want to take some time through this blog to reflect on each one. I hope that you have been inspired, encouraged, and enlightened. I hope that you have discovered that you do indeed live inside a testimony too and that by sharing your own testimony, you can help inspire and encourage other people. For we are overcome by the words of our testimony. (Revelation 12:11)


Living Inside The Testimony took me only 30 days to write the first draft from cover to cover. It took 44 years of living before I was prepared to write it. I had been living inside the testimony my whole life, but it wasn’t until God sat me down to right the book that I realized it.Living Inside The Testimony

I have come to realize that God was with me all along, and even when I did not acknowledge him in my life as I should have, he was always with me to ensure that I would walk down the path he had pre-ordained for me. Like the song says, Order my Steps in Your Word…. So even though the book is about me, it’s not “really” about me. It’s my testimony that I hope by sharing, others will discover God’s amazing love and abundant blessings in their own lives.

As one book reviewer described it, “This book is not your everyday read. It’s far from it. It’s a wonderfully amazing story of Ms. Collier’s walk with God. It’s her living testimony, her daily struggles, her daily acceptance that she is walking with her Father. Ms. Collier’s testimony is told with exuberance and love, helping people to understand that there will be trials along the way, but having faith and hope in your heart will help you to overcome any obstacle. From her ups and downs with her high school boyfriend, to marrying him, and living life as a wife, to work and pregnancy and family, Ms. Collier shares tragedies and milestones.” (Reviewed by Molly E. for Readers’ Favorite)


Angel in My Room is a story of love, compassion, and forgiveness. I hosted an online radio talk show for about 6 months (but that’s another story) and had the distinct honor and blessed privilege to interview Lillie Hopkins as she told her story for the first time after keeping silent for 31 years.  After the interview, it became apparent to both of us that she had so much more to share that would be a blessing to so many other people struggling with the insecurities of love, compassion, and forgiveness. We had no idea when the interview first aired in February, 2011 that the end result would be this book which I released a short 7 months later.Angel in My Room

I never thought I would write anything. I certainly didn’t think I’d write a book about my own testimony, let alone the testimony of someone else. But there I was in 2011 writing another book. Lillie had waited 31 years to talk about it, and she chose me to tell her story. Well, that’s not exactly true. God chose me. He knew all along that I would write it all those years later, and the sole purpose once again was to bring HIM honor and glory for what he had done through Lillie’s life.

Sometimes other people can describe it much better than I can. “Betty Collier has done an amazing job of writing Lillie’s story into a marvelous and inspiring book. The chapters flow nicely and once I began reading this book, I found myself so intertwined with it that I couldn’t put it down. I was truly moved and it tugged at my heart greatly. I also thank Lillie for sharing her story because it will inspire so many people who have not had the courage to forgive themselves even though God has forgiven them so easily. Through one woman’s journey, we feel her heartache and pain, her personal sacrifice, and her devotion to God. This is such a moving story and so many of us can relate to Lillie’s pain and suffering. Not all people are able to move past the agony and despair, but this book will change people’s lives forever.” (Reviewed by Rita V for Readers’ Favorite)


SHOWgrins will captivate you as you read the five inspirational stories of courage, determination and spirit from women who refuse to define themselves as only Sjogren’s patients. Join them on their journey of self-discovery as they reclaim their lives and find new purposes and meaning to how they can make a difference and be the women they always wanted to be. Those are the words of Steven Taylor, CEO, Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation. Sjogren’s (pronounced SHOWgrins, hence the title of the book) is actually an autoimmune disease that few have heard about, yet 4 million Americans suffer from this incurable disease on a daily basis.SHOWgrins

I started my journey with this book basically because I identified with the common symptoms of this difficult to diagnose disease, and I thought I had it too. It wasn’t until midway through writing it that my doctor told me he didn’t think I had Sjogren’s. But I was determined to tell the stories of the five fabulous women in the book to help bring about more awareness and education, as well as to raise much-needed funds for research into treatment and a cure one day. I ended the book by declaring my life was far better after meeting these 5 incredible women even though I didn’t have Sjogren’s. Well, as God’s Master Plan would later unveil, 2 years after I published the book, that same doctor officially diagnosed me as having Sjogren’s after all. WOW! WHEW! WHAT!?!? I never wanted to have Sjogren’s, but I did want to know if I had it, so that I could learn how to live well despite having it. So once again, I realized it wasn’t about me after all. It was about the 5 women in the book and what I could learn from them. Had I never met them, I likely would have crumbled and fallen apart after years and years of searching for answers to all that ailed me. Not only was my mission accomplished to bring about awareness and education of this little known disease, I was well-prepared for what I would learn to face for the rest of my life. Instead of being devastated, I am more determined than ever.

However, for those of you reading this post who know my mother, don’t tell her I have Sjogren’s! I don’t want her to worry about me. Please and Thank You!


The Book about James is my fourth book, but I am delighted that Julia Gray wrote it for me! Okay, so I was her mentor, consultant, manager, coach, and even picked the picture for the front cover, but James is her son, and she was the best one to actually tell that story. The book was my idea, I had the vision, but I couldn’t write it like she could. I had planned to write it, but once again, “fate” stepped in, a.k.a. GOD stepped in. The Book about James Little did I know when I first asked Julia if she would be willing to share her innermost thoughts about raising James that she had always desired to write a book. I had no idea, and quite frankly, I was afraid that she would reject my book proposal. Once again, I learned by being obedient to what I felt God had called me to do, I helped Julia fulfill a dream of hers.  More importantly, the book is changing lives and misperceptions about children with special needs. According to Jo Gilbert, Executive Director of Madonna Learning Center, “This book makes you laugh, cry, and give thanks, but it also inspires you to experience the love and joy that children with Down syndrome have to offer. God places children with special needs in our paths for a reason, and he is in full control.”  Ms. Gilbert’s words ring true on so many levels. God puts many things, people, and situations in our paths for a reason.

As a judge from Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards noted, “When people of faith talk about situations that may not be ideal, sometimes the temptation is to sugarcoat the less glamorous side of life. Yet Mrs. Gray lets us see the darker side of her thoughts without becoming maudlin, self-pitying, or causing the reader to doubt God’s faithfulness. This book is uplifting and definitely one that will be appreciated by Christians everywhere. I feel certain this book will be a perennial resource for those who need it. I hope readers who need it most will find it.” So, with that being said, it doesn’t really matter that the whole thing was my idea, does it? What matters is that Julia did a beautiful job telling her story, and for that, God will once again receive all the honor and glory.


And finally, about this “wishful thinking” 5th book which I have actually been praying about for the past 4 years… I fretted over whether to include this as part of my post at all. I woke up this morning with no intentions of writing anything today. After all, Christmas is right around the corner, I have oral surgery for some major dental work scheduled for Monday morning (part of those issues I deal with because of Sjogren’s, but that too is another story), and I have so many other things to do. I won’t even go there as I’m sure your TO DO lists are just as overwhelming as mine. Anyway, halfway through the day, I grabbed my laptop and took a seat in my favorite room in my house to try to get motivated while I looked at all my pretty Christmas decorations. I knew it was time! I prayed, asked for guidance as to what I needed to share with you today, and if I should include this picture.Living Inside the Testimony with Keith Lee

No, it’s not a book cover, but it is the beginning of my next journey which actually began over 4 years ago. For the sake of brevity (which I think I have already surpassed) let me back up just a tad bit and explain. This is a picture of Mr. Keith Lee and me from a couple of months ago when I had the privilege of meeting him for the first time to present my book proposal. (I couldn’t leave without getting an autographed basketball! After all, I was a Keith Lee super-fan long before I became an author). He never said I couldn’t share this picture with others, but I have been hanging on to it and not saying a word as I patiently and prayerfully wait for him to give me an answer about allowing me to have the honor of writing his testimony! If you’re not from Memphis or didn’t follow his basketball career, look here for more information about Keith Lee. This is probably the most “public” information you will ever read about him. Even in today’s social media craze, some people prefer to remain private, and very little is known about the personal side of Keith Lee. As the article states:

The media had always wanted the quiet 6-11 giant to say more, and now here was another reporter, asking the 51-year-old former Memphis State forward to reminisce on his college playing days more than a quarter-century after he led the Tigers to the 1985 Final Four.

Lee very politely declined. Maybe some other time. “I thank the fans for their support,” he said softly, clearly still appreciative of his place in Tigers history and in the hearts of the thousands who cheered for him from 1981-85.

He would simply prefer to remain private, like he always has…

And while he remains a private man, Lee said he’s enjoying himself as a coach at Raleigh-Egypt, where he’s sharing his knowledge of the game with players too young to know how dominant he was at the college level. Five years ago, he earned his degree at Memphis in interdisciplinary studies.

“I give God all the glory. I’m just a vessel used by God,” said Lee, who spent three seasons in the NBA and several more as a pro in the Continental Basketball Association and United States Basketball League.

Although I have no idea if this book will ever come to fruition, just accepting the fact that it is possible gives me the faith to believe. Perhaps it won’t be Keith Lee (because he is really a very private person who doesn’t even grant interviews, let alone entertain the idea of someone writing a book about him) so if this doesn’t work out, I’m sure another name will pop in my head, and God will direct me further. I certainly won’t be discouraged. For now I am satisfied just knowing I can accept this idea without doubting God, so whatever he decides to do, and wherever he decides to lead me, I’ll be there, ready to interview and write the testimony… whether it’s Keith Lee or somebody who is completely off my radar right now. The more I think about it, the more insane it sounds, but I will leave this paragraph here anyway. Only the Lord knows if this is going to happen or not. And if it does NOT, then the seed has already been planted in my head for me to “dream big” so even if I’m not ever going to be Living Inside the Testimony with Keith Lee, it will be someone…. Someone who walks through the door that the Lord opens. (Actually this paragraph is what I wrote on 4/7/11 when I first started praying about this book, and I just copied it here because it seems to fit.) I thought it and wrote it in April, 2011, and I still think it now.

I know Keith Lee has a story to tell. He has never told it. I know he has a testimony to share. He has never shared it publicly. I know there is no one who can help him tell it better than I can. I am praying that God will help him understand that so that he can be a blessing to others. It has nothing to do with my confidence or lack thereof. It has nothing to do with my writing ability or lack thereof. As a matter of fact, it has nothing to do with me at all. Quite simply, “Living Inside the Testimony with Keith Lee” is all about bringing honor and glory to God. I am assured of that, whether I ever write the book or not.

What testimonies do you have just waiting to be shared with others?

 

Dear Facebook Friend: Thanks for Venting!

I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed this morning and saw this post being shared by a friend from a year ago:

Today my Moma turned 81! I asked Moma what she wants for her birthday- she said “Chicken Alfredo from Macaroni Grill” check- that’s for dinner. We started talking about her being a year older- she said- all I want is for my family – kids, brothers, sisters, Grandkids, great Grandkids) to have good health, peace, prosperity and happiness. What a great reminder for all of us. I am going to share something a little more personal with my friends- My Moma did not receive one birthday card and only 2 phone calls today wishing her Happy Birthday. If she was on FB she would have received numerous Happy Birthdays- but she is not-What has happened with folks sending a bday card or picking up the phone and spending two minutes to wish someone Happy Birthday? (this is a rhetorical question, no one needs to respond) what a shame! Moma won’t say anything about this- it just breaks my heart.

After my friend posted this, she received over 20 comments from her family and friends wishing her mother a Happy Birthday. All she really wanted to do was vent, but her friends chimed in anyway.

This made me stop and think about social media and what has happened to face-to-face contact and really caring for each other on a personal scale instead of over social media.

So yesterday, my friend updated her post from last year and shared it again:

Today Momma turned 82- pretty much the same except she wants Eggplant Parmesan for dinner! She will definitely have that for dinner!!!

Several people have chimed in to wish her Happy Birthday again this year. But if things are pretty much the same, I guess she didn’t get very many personal phone calls or birthday cards in the mail this year either.

My friend doesn’t know I’m blogging about her Facebook post; however, she does subscribe to my blog, so I assume she will see this. First, DEAR FACEBOOK FRIEND: I’m posting this without using your name or any of your pictures since I didn’t ask for permission, but I sure did want to post a picture of your beautiful mother. Instead, I’ll share this picture of Jeanne Cooper to help make my point. When Ms. Cooper passed away in 2013 at the age of 84, Entertainment Weekly shared this post.

Jeanne Cooper, who played matriarch Katherine Chancellor on CBS’ hit soap The Young and the Restless, has died. She was 84.

Actress Jeanne Cooper arrives at the 37th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards held at the Las Vegas Hilton on June 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ATI)

Actress Jeanne Cooper arrives at the 37th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards held at the Las Vegas Hilton on June 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ATI)

Cooper, who has starred in the daytime series since its first year in 1973, had been in and out of a Los Angeles hospital recently due to an undisclosed illness. Her actor/son Corbin Bernsen had been informing fans of her condition via Facebook, where he confirmed her death today. “My mother passed away this morning just a short time ago, peaceful with my sister by her side, in her sleep. I was going to visit this afternoon, thought I had time. Reminder to self – time is a precious thing. I too am at peace however. I said my goodbyes several times over during the last few weeks.

“I’ll go one last time now for a gentle kiss a final farewell for this lifetime,” he continued. “She has been a blaze her entire life, that beacon, that boxer I spoke of earlier. She went the full twelve rounds and by unanimous decision… won! And while her light finally gave into the wind that gives flight to all our journeys, there will always be a glimmer left behind by what she stood for. I will speak about that more in coming days, months I suppose. I will certainly dedicate what remains of my life to continue her purpose of honesty, equality, humility, empathy and love.”

So now I really started thinking… DEAR FACEBOOK FRIEND: Thank you so much for venting last year and reminding us again this year about your mother’s birthday and the lack of attention she was given. Too often we forget our manners or lose them completely. Social media has actually made us much less personable and much more thoughtless. I appreciate you so much and hope you don’t mind that I am sharing your post anonymously to make a point.

When I googled Jeanne Cooper’s funeral, I was surprised to see so many hits. There were all sorts of articles and videos, including a video that showed how Y&R aired her TV funeral.  Her family also had a private service in addition to the public memorial. I should have known to expect that since she’s a larger than life beloved soap opera star. There was such an outpouring of love and support for both her natural family and the Y&R family. Maybe we can learn from this (albeit shaky) comparison of these two vastly different lives. My friend’s 82-year-old mother is still alive and well. We shouldn’t wait until someone has passed away to show how much we love and care for them.

If my rambling thoughts have at least prompted you to think about those you love and hold close to your heart, then I have accomplished my task for this morning. I want to inspire others to live inside the testimony with me. Inside this testimony, we love, support, and encourage each other in a personal way by sharing our lives and our time with others.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines testimony like this:

  • An outward sign
  • Firsthand authentication of a fact
  • A solemn declaration usually made orally by a witness under oath in response to interrogation by a lawyer or authorized public official
  • An open acknowledgment
  • A public profession of religious experience

DEAR FACEBOOK FRIEND: Thank you for venting, and please tell your mother that I said Happy Birthday! Living to be 82 years old is quite a testimony all by itself. Loving your mother the way you do is the bonus testimony!!!

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Let’s all remember to share our lives and our time with others in a personal way, not just on social media. And let’s remember what my friend’s mother wanted for her birthday: for my family – kids, brothers, sisters, Grandkids, great Grandkids) to have good health, peace, prosperity and happiness.

Isn’t that what we all should want?