Saturday, August 4, 2012

Win a $500 Weekend Getaway Package from @ColleenCoble and Connect with her at 8/23 Facebook Party!

Celebrate with Colleen by entering to win a $500 gift certificate to!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $500 gift certificate to
  • A copy of Tidewater Inn.
  • Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 22nd. Winner will be announced at Colleen's "Tidewater Inn" Author Chat Facebook Party on 8/23. Colleen will be sharing the story behind the book, hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills, and of course, there will be plenty of fun giveaways - books, gift certificates and a Book Club Prize Pack! She’ll also be giving a sneak peak of her next book too!

    So grab your copy of Tidewater Inn and join Colleen on the evening of the August 23rd  for a chance to connect with Colleen and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

    Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

    Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER about Colleen's giveaway and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!

    Vanished by Barbara Ann Derksen, a review

    About the book:

    Their lives are changed forever when murder and kidnapping take Brian Strait and Andrea Wilton to Haiti, the land of voodoo and street children. Vanished tells the story of their search for their friends, Trent and Diane Michner, but before they ever get started, a neighbor is murdered on Andrea’s doorstep and then her house is burned to the ground. Two men in a black Mustang shadow the couple. 

    Max Shuster, the murdered man, leaves a note and extensive funds leading Andrea and Brian to Haiti where the two come across some more disappearances. This leads them to believe they may be on the right track. In the meantime, they befriend an abandoned five-year-old girl who introduces them to the plight of children in Haiti whose parents have disappeared.

    Andrea and Brian, as well as the missing couple, are Christians who attend the same church. The two novice sleuths learn a new skill, scuba diving. Learning about new cultures and embarking on paths that take them out of their comfort zone is the common thread that takes the two detectives into subsequent adventures.

    In the epilogue, Brian and Andrea are introduced to DJ, a biker friend of the Michners who has a mystery for them to solve. Set in the biker culture, book two finds both learning to ride motorcycles. SinceBarbara Ann and her husband ride during the summer with Christian Motorcyclists Association, she understands the world of biking so will be able to give credence to this novel. She has already interviewed a former member of an outlaw gang and an intelligence agent for the state DEA.

    About the Author:

    Author Barbara Ann Derksen served as a journalist for American newspapers for 8 years with over 2000 articles published in those papers as well as in some international magazines. Her first book was published in 2003 . This year, she’s working on her 13th book. 

    My Review:

    You've heard the saying, "Don't judge a book by it's cover."   Well, Vanished is a book I had to apply this saying to.  Honestly, I didn't LOVE the cover.  Even after having read the book, I don't love the cover, BUT  the book is a different story.  I really enjoyed this book!!

    Derksen has done a wonderful job in writing Vanished.  She kept me on the edge of my seat and reading late into the night.  Andrea and Brian worked well together even though they really didn't know each other in the beginning.  They work hard and learn to trust each other and God more and more as they go along in this adventure.  In the meantime, God uses them to find their friends and to change the life of a little girl.  He also changes their lives in the process.  

    Vanished shows up that God can change our lives and direction in life if we are willing to trust Him and do what He wants us to do.  

    This was a great book if you like a little adventure and mystery as well as Spiritual content.   I would also say this book is good for teens and up as there are some dark and serious situations covered in this book.  

    To purchase, please check here: or B& .  

    I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

    Friday, August 3, 2012

    Top 5 Back-to-school Deals from Money Saving Mom for Aug 3-5

    Kid's Jeans for $9 Shipped From Old Navy: Old Navy has all their Kid's Famous Jeans on sale for $10through August 15, 2012. This sale is both in-store and online.

    If you are planning on purchasing multiple pairs, you can sign up for Old Navy emails to get a $10 off $50 coupon. Plus, shipping is free on orders over $50. So you could potentially get five pairs of jeans for just $9 shipped each.

    Kid's Jeans for as Low as $8 Shipped from The Children's Place: The Children's Place is offering free shipping on all denim orders, no minimum. Plus, you can use coupon code E6H76QDP82 to get an additional 20% off your order. They have jeans priced at $10, making them just $8 per pair shipped after this coupon code.

    Crayola Crayons for $0.25 at Toys "R" Us: Through Saturday (August 5, 2012), Toys "R" Us has Crayola Crayons on sale 4 for $1. You must purchase in quantities of 4 to get this price. You can price-match at Walmart, if that's more convenient for you. These make a fantastic addition to Operation Christmas Child boxes.

    Backpacks for $0.01 After MaxPerks Rewards at Office Max: Use your MaxPerks card to purchase a backpack or messenger bag from OfficMax and you'll get 100% back in MaxPerks Rewards minus $0.01. For example, if you purchase a backpack for $39.99 out of pocket, you'll $39.98 back in MaxPerks Bonus Rewards via an email coupon within 90 days. You can use this email coupon like a gift card to purchase anything at Office Max. This offer is good through Saturday, August 4, 2012.

    Get In Free Weekend at Sam's Club: Non-members can stop by Sam's Club this weekend (August 3-5, 2012) for their Get In Free Weekend. Non-members are able to enjoy the same prices as members during this special weekend, no coupon is required. Sam's Club often has great deals on bulk office and school supplies, as well as bargains on electronics.

    MSMCrystal Paine is a wife, mom of three, author of The Money Saving Mom®'s Budget. Visit her blog,, for the best back-to-school deals and for practical ideas and inspiration to get your life and finances in order. 
    Litfuse Publicity Group provides marketing and publicity services for authors with a focus on building relationships and 'fusing' authors with their readers. Litfuse creates targeted campaigns unique to each author and each book. No cookie cutter campaigns. Come see what's stirring in the nest.
    Litfuse Publicity Group | Seattle | 206-947-3743 | @litfuse |

    Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    TBCN INTERVIEW with Nora St.Laurent

    Nora Stlaurent’s Bio: Nora is the CEO of The Book Club Network Incorporated. Nora and her husband run The Book Club Network She runs two book clubs near Atlanta, Ga., Former ACFW On-Line Book Club. Nora currently writes a Book Club column for the Christian Fiction OnLine Magazine and is a Book Club Talk Columnist for Novel Rocket. You can read author interviews on her Finding Hope Through Fiction blog, located at, and reviews around the web at The Christian Pulse Mag, Title Trakk, Novel Reviews, and Suspense Zone. 
    What inspired you start TBCN? 
    The Book Club Network was born out of a desire to share Christian Fiction authors with other book clubs, share book club ideas with other leaders and to encourage the authors who are writing such amazing books. The economy has been really tough for a few years and people are not parting with money like they used to. Through TBCN they can take their time and find the right book or win it. We have give away opportunities each month. ALL of our contests are from the 19th – 21st of the month.
    I run two face to face book clubs one at the Christian Book Store I work at and the other at the church I attend. It’s a position I never imagined I’d be in since I didn’t read for pleasure much before I started working in a Christian book store 11 years ago. 
    But since I love talking with people and the main thing to talk about in a book store is books I started reading Christian Fiction (publishers sent ARC copies to our store and I started checking them out) The first book that rocked my world and got me hooked in Christian Fiction was a book by Linda Nichols called Not a Sparrow Falls her next book did me in and I couldn’t stop talking about it, At the Scent of Water was her next book that prompted me to contact the author and let her know how much her book touched my spirit.
    After reading these two books and telling customers about these reads I had a reason to read.  These books spoke to me because I wasn’t expecting it. It reminded me of the stories in the bible. Jesus is the greatest story teller and He knew a story could change a life or prick our spirit and move us in a direction we never thought we’d be in.
    I tell you all that to say I’m dyslexic and I have not been a fan of reading. Movies were more my thing. I could watch a movie of a book and have a lot more fun. Reading Christian Fiction changed my life in more ways than one.  I wanted to tell everyone about the greatest book I read, and I’d do that at the book store.  It was possible to talk about the new book I read and loved for about a month or more but when At the Scent of Water and Not a Sparrow Falls were not on the shelf anymore, I had to find some other books to talk about at work.  I’m not a very fast reader so; discovering the next new book was a challenge. Would I get the book read before it disappeared from the shelf?  How long do books live on a book shelf? The shelf life of a book was a mystery to me and still is.
    I was whining to my husband Fred about my problem. How can I get the word out about great books for a very long period of time??? Being a man who likes to face challenges head we began to talk about how we could do this and the fact that I can’t read books fast enough to keep up with it’s shelf life at the store.
    I also told him as a book club leader I wanted to promote great books and share them with other groups. Not everyone has the advantage of working at a book store and see what new books hit the shelves each week. Another struggle I had was if I had an author speaking at my book club I wanted to share them with other book clubs in the area. How could I do that? Where are book clubs meeting?
    Our answer to many of these questions and more was the birth of The Book Club Network - TBCN. Connecting authors to book clubs and readers to their books; it’s also a network of book clubs as they post what they’ve read and how the meeting turned out.
    It’s a place to find where a book club is located. We have a member map where you can find a book club near you. Message them and see if they are accepting new members. I envision it to be similar to be similar to the Weight Watchers program (don’t laugh Grin) you can go to a meeting anywhere in the country right? All you have to do is look on line and get connected. This is my hope for the future of TBCN.
    Have there been any surprises for you @TBCN? What benefits have you seen by bringing readers and authors together?
    I’ve been encouraged and fascinated by our growth. I can see there were other people out there like me wanting to connect with other book club members.
    I’ll tell you what has surprised me is the author/reader interaction each month. This is something I didn’t foresee as I’ve watch the authors are having a blast interacting with the readers and visa/versa. The beauty of this discussion is it’s there forever for all to read no matter when you join TBCN.
    The authors have done a great job coming up with questions for reader to answer that give them a peek into their book – create interest and then the discussion helps book club leaders connect with the author. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the amount of authors that want to be featured @The Book Club Network. It’s been a great thing.
    The interaction with the authors is almost like having a book club meeting on line. It’s a huge benefit for both the authors who’ve wanted to ask clubs questions and readers who want to get to know authors. The authors are catching on. Our sponsors have loved the interaction as well. Members have told me that they love the author interaction from the 19th-21st as much as having a chance to win all these books. It’s hard to know if a book will be a fit for your group so these interaction times are helpful for that and so much more. Another thing I love about TBCN members is the fact they are not afraid to share what they think in a good way. I’ve learned so much and laughed out loud in some discussion where the questions lead to sharing funny moments.
    My hope is that book club leaders and/or members participate in the discussions and make that book connection with the author and their book. I want TBCN to be a tool for them in picking out their books. Maybe invite the author to speak to their book club on the phone. It’s my hope. The discussion will be there forever. No worries about a books shelf live here @TBCN. So, everyone has time to get to know each other!! It’s a beautiful thing!
    How can readers join in the anniversary celebrations?
    It’s easy to sign up to be a member of TBCN.  We ask a few questions for you to answer and for other information that helps us keep spammers and other information seekers out of the network. It’s also FREE. You have opportunities to win lots of books. For our BIRTHDAY BASH we are giving away 10 books a day and announcing winners once a week. You’ll have all week to enter the daily featured contests. 
    Do you have any other comments for my readers?
     If you are avid reader this is the place for you to learn about the latest in Christian Fiction and interact with the author each month. 
    Are you a book club leader? Well this is the place for you to find your next book club pick. We’d also love for you to set up your Book club page at our site for others to see. It’s a place to share your latest featured book. Post pictures of your club and the field trips you’ve taken. The authors you’ve met and the book fun you’ve had. Learn from other book clubs that have already set up their pages. 
    Want to start a book club but felt it was too overwhelming? You can learn from other experienced book club leaders, and you can start right away making your book club list!
    Do you like to win books? This is the place for you. You’ll have a chance to get to know the authors and their books and read genre’s you normally wouldn’t. We’ve been giving away about 100 books a month and for our birthday bash it’s going to be 10 books every day; starting August first. Winners are picked weekly and announced each weekly.
    THANK YOU! You’ve been a grand host to have me here and let me talk about The Book Club Network and our Birthday Bash!! I hope to see you there @TBCN 
    You are a Blessing!!
    Nora :o)
    The Book Club Network CEO

    Monday, July 30, 2012

    The 3-Minute Difference by Wayne Nance

    It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!

    You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

    Today's Wild Card author is:

    Wayne Nance

    and the book:

    The 3-Minute Difference

    Mission Books; New Edition edition (July 1, 2012)

    ***Special thanks to Rick Roberson of The B&B Media Group, Inc for sending me a review copy.***


    Wayne E. Nance, better known as the "Real Life Attitude Guy", is the well-known developer of the ABCs of getting your life under control. He is founder and CEO of Real Life Management, Inc. With his help, more than 50,000 struggling people have successfully improved their lives and given Wayne credit for helping them do so. Top corporations, the U. S. Army, organizations, and churches throughout the United States also use the Life Management system for the benefit of their employees and leaders. Wayne has been called Dr. Phil Foxworthy, a funny guy with a serious message.

    Today, Wayne is a highly respected speaker, trainer and author of The 3-Minute Difference, Mind Over Money and Liten Up for Life. He previously hosted "The Real Life Attitude Guy" simulcast on Dallas radio 570 (Fox Network) and is currently working to launch that programming on the Web. As president and CEO of Real Life Management, Inc., Wayne's life focus is to provide the education that he feels has been insufficient in matters pertaining to health, finance, relationship building and how they are related.

    Wayne lives in Texas with Shannon and their three daughters, Christel, Melissa, and Kara.

    Visit the author's website.


    Are you overweight, broke, or headed for divorce? Even one of these problems can be personally devastating. But what if you're facing all three at once? Years ago, Wayne Nance's life was out of control.   An incessant smoker, he weighed 315 pounds.  His marriage was disintegrating and his finances were bottoming out.   He finally realized that his obesity, debt and relationship meltdown were surface problems resulting from his core attitudes and beliefs. In The 3-Minute Difference, Nance describes his journey back from the ragged edge of reality to a healthy, productive life. His personal journey uncovered a proven solution-a solution that can alter your health, money, and relationships in only three minutes.

    The 3-Minute Difference is about more than just weight, money, and marriage. With the five insightful steps Nance offers for ALTERing your attitude, you can apply these principles to any area of your life that is out of control. Nance thoroughly explores each step, defining and explaining them in detail. Readers will come away with surprising, perhaps first-time ever insight into their own core attitudes and how they impact their beliefs and choices. The 3 Minute Survey is a valuable tool to use in improving life in the areas of finances, relationships and health. The 3-Minute Difference shows you where to start and then gives you a plan on how to get there."

    Product Details:
    List Price: $16.98
    Paperback: 320 pages
    Publisher: Mission Books; New Edition edition (July 1, 2012)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1618431188
    ISBN-13: 978-1618431189


    INTRODUCTION A Crisis in America

    I want you to let your mind indulge in a little bit of fantasy for a moment.   Imagine yourself in a very successful career.  You’re making quite a bit of money—well into six figures. You’ve got a gorgeous 6,000-square-foot home with a fancy pool and a water- fall in the backyard. Parked in your three-car garage is an imposing Mercedes-Benz sedan. On your wrist is an enormous Rolex watch, the one with all the diamonds on it that dazzles everyone who sees it. Sound like a life you’d care to have?
    It did to me. It’s the American Dream, after all. And in 1984, I had that dream and more. I was the kid from the poor side of the tracks who had raised himself up by his bootstraps, got a good education,  went to the big city, worked  hard,  and eventually met with success.
    And you know what?  There’s not a thing wrong with that.  If that picture is similar to a dream you’ve always had, or a dream you’ve actually attained, I say, “Great! Don’t give up on that dream. Keep that dream alive.”
    But know this: if you had seen me living that dream in 1984, you’d have said, “Wayne Nance has the perfect life.” But you’d have been dead wrong!  Because the truth is, my life was out of control. Meaning that I was making bad decisions that created serious long- term consequences for my happiness, health, wealth, and family.
    Do you ever feel as if your world is spinning out of control?  A lot of us do in the post-9/11 world,  with  the economic  downturn that followed, the disaster of the stock market and the loss of many people’s  retirement funds,  the  ever-present  threat  of terrorist at- tacks,  the downsizing  of companies and  the offshoring  of American jobs, the erosion of values as corporate scandals have come to light,  and  so  many  other  things  that  make  us  worry  about  the future.
    Those are serious matters, for sure. But did you know that there’s a crisis in America that actually affects more people on a practical, daily basis than any of those “world-class”  headline-grabbers? It’s a crisis that shows up all over the place but can be seen most graphically in three areas that all of us deal with every day: the lifestyle issues of food, money, and relationships. To put it bluntly, way too many Americans are fat, broke, and unhappy at home and at work.

    •   67 percent of Americans are estimated to be overweight or obese by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standards.
    • 85 percent of Americans will retire with Social Security benefits as their only means of support. In other words, they’re broke.
    • 51 percent of Americans are divorced. Many others remain in marriages that might be called “psychological divorce.”
    Clearly, something’s wrong in America!  Especially if you overlay those numbers on top of each other. Just imagine three pie charts showing the 67 percent of Americans who are overweight, the 85 percent who will retire virtually broke, and the 51 percent who are divorced.  Stack them on top of one another, and what do you see? That a lot of Americans are all three—fat, broke, and unhappy in their relationships. But that’s not the worst of it. The saddest thing is that many people struggling with one, two, or even all three of these problems don’t even think they have a problem!  Take obesity, for example. A 2004 Associated Press poll found that six people out of ten who qualified as overweight by government standards said their weight was just fine—healthy, even.
    Or consider this observation from the national sales manager of a company  that  helps  small  businesses  and  individuals  facing bankruptcy work  out settlements  with their creditors:  “From  personal experience,  I see that  as people get further  into debt . . . they start making short-term decisions and don’t prioritize  their debt correctly.  Eventually, they start feeling overwhelmed, give up and go into denial.”1
    What happens when someone goes into denial about their debt? They go deeper in debt.  They may also start eating.  Indeed, The Toque, a satirical Canadian website, imagines a VISA card issued by McDonald’s called (you guessed it) the McVISA. The idea is that people will be more likely to eat at McDonald’s if they can charge their Big Macs.
    With that premise, the site invents twenty-two-year-old Josie Amblin, a student who uses her McVISA card at least ten times a week! “I can’t stop,” she confesses to a fictitious reporter. “It’s just so easy to purchase a burger and fries with credit.  I know I can’t afford to eat at McDonald’s this often, but I can’t help myself!”
    Amblin racks up $2,100 on her McVISA card, even though it only has a $1,500 credit limit.
    The whole story is a spoof, of course. But it hits the nail on the head. “I can’t stop! I can’t help myself!”  That’s the cry of someone whose lifestyle is out of control.   Someone who is making bad choices that will create serious long-term consequences for their happiness, health, wealth, and family.
    In 1978, I was a poster child for being out of control in all three of the lifestyle areas I’ve mentioned. I weighed 315 pounds (that’s fat, by the way, even if you’re six feet, one inch tall). I was a financial advisor, but I had five credit cards maxed out. And at home, my wife, Shannon,  wasn’t exactly happy  with me because she and my daughter never saw me because I was too busy making  money for the family. At least that’s what I always told them (and myself): “I have to work this hard to provide for our family.” Yeah, right!
    I was in total denial. I was caught up in a crisis that I didn’t even see. I was succeeding and making lots of money, and by society’s standards I was doing just fine. Only I wasn’t doing fine. You’re not doing fine when you can’t bend over and tie your shoes without being out of breath. You’re not doing fine if you’re giving great financial advice to other people, but your own financial condition is a house of cards just waiting to collapse. You’re not doing fine if you never spend time with your family because you’ve got to keep one step ahead of the hounds that are chasing you.
    Because I didn’t have any boundaries, I let other people’s opinions determine my opinion of myself. I looked fine to them, so I thought everything about me was fine, too. But it wasn’t. My life was out of control.
    Some people hit bottom and then finally wake up. I had to hit bottom three times before I woke up! (I’ve always known I was a slow learner.)  The first wake-up call came in 1978, when I was twenty-eight years old, with a beautiful wife, a one-year-old daughter, and another baby on the way. I was just at the point when a young man should be enjoying life to the fullest. Instead, my doctor was warning me that if I didn’t stop eating, I’d never see my fortieth birthday. Was that what caused me to change my ways? No! Guess what I did when I left his office? I headed straight across the street to a pancake house. I’m not kidding! And I charged the meal on a credit card. (You see, I do understand someone like Amblin!) So what was my first wake-up call? It happened during my annual visit to the “Big Men’s” store.  I was packing on so much weight that every year I needed new clothes—in the next larger size. You can imagine how embarrassing it was to make that trip. So it became my style to shift attention (and  blame) away from myself by complaining  about  the clothing manufacturers in Asia and how they were cutting their styles too small, or to joke that my wife was shrinking  my clothes in the washer.
    But on one trip, when I started mouthing off, the old tailor spoke up. For ten years he had listened to my bull and said nothing. This time around he had had enough. He was getting ready to retire, so what did he care?  Right there in front of my wife, he turned to me and said, “It’s not your wife or the Taiwanese, pal. If you weren’t such a fat slob, you wouldn’t have a problem!”
    I was stunned. I’d never been so insulted in my life. How dare him! Boy, was I ever mad! So I showed him. Why, I walked right out of that store without buying so much as a dime of new clothing!
    But in truth, that guy did me a favor.  Because what he said was true. And it hit home. I was fat. Overweight. Obese. Whatever you want to call it, it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I finally faced up to a cold, hard reality: my weight was out of control.
    At some level I’d known that for years. But I had been in denial about it for years, too, really since I was a boy. You see, I come from a dysfunctional family on the outskirts of Houston, Texas (“dysfunctional” means you can get away with anything if you’ll just deny reality). Our family was the kind where Momma cooked everything in bacon grease. And if somebody  didn’t  have a third helping  of pie for  dessert,  she’d feel totally  offended.  But guess what?  In spite of Momma’s cooking there wasn’t a single “fat” person in the family. No, sir! We weren’t fat, we were just “big- boned.” That extra 50 or 60 or 90 or 100 pounds everyone was carrying was just the result of a “slow metabolism.” Just a “large thyroid.” And so Momma always told me that being fat just runs in our family. We had that “fat gene” going, don’t you know? (You see how denial starts early?)
    With a background like that, it’s no surprise that early on I became the fat kid.  Eventually, the fat kid grew up to be the fat man. Only I wouldn’t admit that I was a fat man. I had all kinds of excuses to say I wasn’t. I was in total denial. “Justifiable denialism” is what I call it. I lied to myself to justify my poor decisions.  But the  scales don’t  lie, and  your  waist  doesn’t  lie, and  your  health doesn’t lie. And by the time I was twenty-eight I was getting sick and feeling tired.  And to be honest, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
    So I did what almost everyone does when they finally accept the truth that they’re carrying too much weight: I went on a diet. In fact, I went on lots of diets. The grapefruit diet. The water diet. The low-carb diet. The six-meals-a-day diet. You name it, I tried it.
    Sure enough, I lost weight.  And gained it back.  So I’d go on another diet, and lose weight. And then after I’d lost the weight, I’d quit the diet and I’d gain the weight back. Plus a little bit more. So I’d go on another diet, and lose the weight again. And then . . . well, you get the picture.
    One diet I followed was Dr. Atkins’s first diet. He had two of them over the years. I tried the first one. He said if you ate about  as much  cheese and  eggs and  red  meat  as there  are  in the  state  of Texas,  you’ll lose weight.  I tried that and I did lose weight.  I lost about forty or fifty pounds, and pretty quickly.  But then I was diagnosed with a fissure tear in my colon, because I wasn’t eating any fiber or carbohydrates.
    Surgery laid me up for a month.  And while I lay in that bed, I said to myself, “If I ever stop bleeding and get out of this bed, I’m going  to  learn  something  about  nutrition,” because  I had  never learned anything about it in school. I had been an athlete, but in my day the people in charge just said, “Eat chicken-fried steak, Wayne. You need something that’ll stick to your ribs. Don’t worry about the gravy. You’ll run it off.” I knew nothing about nutrition, food supplements, or how to balance my diet.
    So when I got well, a friend told me about a book by Covert Bailey titled, Fit or Fat? Boy, was that a lucky break!  Bailey had a great concept: fat makes you fat. That was in 1979.  Amazing, isn’t it? Fat makes you fat. When  I read  that,  I realized  that  about  98 percent  of what  I was eating contained fat. I also discovered that when I wasn’t eating fatty foods, I was eating Oreos and chocolate milk and stuff that was loaded with sugar.
    Bailey opened  my eyes to a lot,  and  I was shocked  to learn how  much  I didn’t  know  about  nutrition. After that, I couldn’t learn enough about it. I got really serious about what I ate, and I lost more than a hundred pounds over a two-and-a-half-year period.  All of a sudden I was the new thin guy. The 205-pound guy instead of the 315-pound guy.
    So I’d gotten my life under control, right? Not exactly. I was only focusing on my weight. My spending was still out of control. Which means my work habits were out of control.  At 205 pounds I wasn’t  spending  any  more  time  with  my family  than  when  I’d weighed 315. I’d gone from being a big, fat, broke man with a lot of stress and an unhappy family to a thinner broke man with a lot of stress and an unhappy family.
    Fast forward to 1984. By then, as I’ve said, I was making quite a bit of money.  I had the house, the car, the watch, the American Dream.  I sincerely thought I had it made. And I was thinner, too.
    And yet . . . what difference does it make if you live to be one hundred if you’re miserable?  I was miserable.  I went through tremendous mood swings and depression.  I thought, “How can I be depressed when I’ve got it all?”
    About that time I went on a trip to Philadelphia. I was now in insurance, and a very large insurance company wanted to honor me as one of its top ten salespeople in the country.  Quite an honor!  As I was riding on the bus from the airport to the hotel, we stopped at a red light downtown. I looked over and saw a big Catholic church. Suddenly tears started coming down my cheeks. I felt terribly sad. “I really don’t want to go to that hotel,” I was thinking.  “I just don’t want to go. I don’t want to be honored. I don’t want anybody giving me an award for being a guy that’s a workaholic who never sees his family, who just focuses on his money, his Mercedes, and himself. I feel very fake. I don’t feel good about this at all.”
    But soon I was dropped off at the hotel.  Sure enough, I had my big private suite, all decked out with a complimentary fruit basket and a bottle of champagne. That was kind of cruel in a way, because I didn’t have Shannon there to enjoy it with me. The fact is, she had declined to come to the convention. She didn’t like being with me at that point in my life, because I was pretty much a jerk.
    So there I was, the big shot in his big fancy room—all by his lonesome for a whole week. And boy, was I lonesome! So one day, right in the middle of the convention, I walked out of that hotel and went and found that Catholic church.  I’m not Catholic,  but I went inside and  ducked  into  a pew and  got down  on my knees,  and  I cried out to God: “Help  me understand why I’m so miserable!”
    I didn’t really know what to expect. Nothing happened right away.  I finished the convention, collected my award,   and went home. About a week later, Shannon  told me that our girls’ elementary  school  was having  an open  house,  and  she wanted  me to go and  meet their  teachers.  I was still feeling kind of depressed, so I said I didn’t want to meet any teachers.  But for some reason I relented and went anyway.
    My older daughter’s fourth-grade teacher had asked the students to make posters in answer to the question, “If you could have three things in your life, what would you want?” I looked carefully at the artwork arrayed on the bulletin board. Of the thirty-two kids in that class, twenty-six of them had drawn as the top three things they wanted out of life: more money, a sports car, and a big house.
    Suddenly a light went off in my head. It was my second wake- up call. I thought about  those posters all the way home—driving in our Mercedes-Benz  to our six-thousand-square-foot home, driving past the other  six-thousand-square-foot homes in our subdivision, each with a Mercedes-Benz or sports car in its three-car  garage. By the time we arrived I had clarified my thinking.  “You know what?” I told Shannon.  “I’m miserable. I’m miserable because I’m trying to keep up with the Joneses, and I never wanted to be a Jones to start with. The worst of it is that we’re sending that message to our kids, and it’s the wrong message.”
    Within  a year of that  night,  we sold the house,  got a smaller house in a different  neighborhood, I traded  in the Mercedes  for a pickup,  started  wearing  cutoffs,  and  got a Mickey  Mouse  watch made  of plastic.  I said to myself, “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I’m going to refocus.” And in that  way I came to grips with  the fact that  my financial  lifestyle was out  of control, and  I needed  to  start  dealing  with  the  money  issue,  just  as  I’d worked  on the weight issue.
    But I wasn’t out of the woods yet. Far from it. In 1992 Shannon and I hit rock bottom in our marriage. Remember,  I’d been in denial for years thinking  that  if I just provided  a nice lifestyle for my family,  they’d think  I was great.  Sure, we’d downscaled to a more modest home and all, but I was still providing well for my family.
    But  one  day  Shannon   finally  decided  to  cut  to  the  truth. “Wayne, you’re basically a jerk,” she said. You can see that people sometimes have to shoot pretty straight in order for me to “get” what they’re saying.
    At first I felt terribly defensive.  “Look at all I’ve done for you!” I thought to myself. “Look at all I’ve provided for us! Just look at all I’ve managed to accomplish in my life! Why, don’t you realize you’re talking to Wayne Nance here?”
    But she was firm and clear: “I hate to tell you, Wayne, but you’re just a jerk. I don’t like you. And I hate to tell you the truth, but your kids don’t like you very much, either.”
    That was yet a third wake-up call. Somehow the thought that the four people I cared about most in this world didn’t like me very much got my attention. “This isn’t working well,” I thought. “I started out fat, and I fixed some of that.  Then I started chasing money, and I fixed some of that. Yet now my family doesn’t like me very much. I think I better take a long, hard look at myself.”
    So I did.  I went for counseling and had a lot of discussions over a long period of time. I came to grips with the fact that life is complicated. You can fix one thing about yourself, but that may only lead to problems with other things. The real question is, what’s driving your behavior? What’s the underlying  thing that’s creating all the  surface  problems  you’re  trying  to  fix? That core thing is what you’ve got to go after.
    It was at that point that I encountered a powerful truth:  there is more to managing one’s lifestyle than merely making “right” choices. You see, almost  all the diets, budgets,  relationship books, and  other  lifestyle advice I had  gotten  said that  if I just made the “right” choices, everything  would  work  out.  Just eat less fat. Just stay within a budget.  Just tell your wife you love her more.  Just show up at your kid’s soccer game. Just count to five when the annoying person at the office pushes your buttons. Those were all the “right” choices. Do those and you’ll get your life under control.
    Problem is, I’d made a lot of those “right”  choices. But my life still was not working.  Worse yet, I was having to put enormous energy into making “right” choices. So much energy, in fact, that if I let my guard down for an instant,  or if I felt tired or down or angry or whatever,  I’d just blow off my resolve and do it the old way— order  that  extra  meat patty  and the double  fries, buy that  tie that cost twice what  I intended  to pay, take on that  extra  speaking  engagement even though  I’d promised  Shannon  I’d be home that weekend.  Clearly, something else was contributing to my behavior besides making “right” choices, important as those were.
    That’s when I encountered this breakthrough truth,  the truth that allowed me to start getting my life under control: most of what causes us to make the lifestyle decisions we make is not our choices, but  our  attitude  and  our  beliefs.  By attitude I mean the inborn “wiring” that we brought with us into the world.  Our attitude has to do with our basic outlook or orientation toward life, what we focus on, what matters to us, what we put our energy into. Attitude makes the biggest difference in our behavior.  Later in the book  I’ll take  you  through a simple  3-Minute  Survey that  will show  you your attitude, and I’ll tell you where you can get more information about  your “hardwiring.”
    When I learned that the core of my lifestyle problems was my attitude, I started on a journey that continues to this day. I wondered, “Am I the only person in America who is struggling with food, money, and relationships?” What I discovered shocked me.
    I began going to health spas and fitness centers, where I traded speaking and training for the opportunity to interview spa participants.  That gave me lots of firsthand data about the issues people really struggle with.
    I found that millions of Americans are in crisis in those three areas.  In addition, I discovered that there is a link among those three issues—obesity, debt, and divorce. The link is people’s underlying attitudes. I discovered that certain attitudes are especially at- risk for obesity, debt, and divorce.  In other words, many of the same people who struggle with their weight and other health issues struggle with their money and related financial issues, and also struggle with their relationships, both at home and at work. They struggle because of their attitudes. And sadly, they don’t even realize that their attitudes are leading to self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors!
    Would you like to know whether you (or someone you care about) are one of those people? Better yet, would you like to know how  you  can  regain  control  over  your  lifestyle,  no  matter  what your wiring may be? This book will help you do that.
    First it will help you understand your attitude and how it affects everything you do and every decision you make.  Then it will take you through the same five-step plan that helped me lose more than a hundred pounds and keep the weight off for more than fifteen years.  The  same plan  that  helped  me pay off my five credit cards,  so that  today  Shannon  and  I live debt-free.  The same plan that has allowed Shannon and me to stay married—and increasingly happy—for thirty-one years.
    Now let me point out that I have not written this book on my own.  This is a joint venture between me and my co-authors, Bill Hendricks and Keet Lewis. We decided  that  we would  write  the book  from  my  perspective,  using  the  first-person   singular  (“I,” “me,” “my”). But rest assured that this book expresses a common understanding among three partners. Indeed, Bill and Keet will tell you that they, too, have felt out of control at various times in their lives. They use this program daily to better manage their lives and businesses.
    Bill understands the challenge of keeping life in balance, having lost his wife to breast cancer several years ago, and single- parenting his three daughters in their adolescent and teen years. Meanwhile he has headed  a consulting  practice  that  uses the phenomenon  of giftedness  to  work  with  businesses,  nonprofits, and churches to manage their strategic “people issues,” and with individuals seeking career guidance.
    Keet has an extensive background in managing companies spanning several industries.  Today he is a busy entrepreneur with a variety of business and charitable activities.  He teaches the concepts in this book in his consulting work with companies, schools, and religious organizations. Like me, he has struggled at times with his weight and finances, and he has personally witnessed the success of our program.
    Others have also contributed to the ideas presented in this book.  I’ve mentioned Covert Bailey’s influence on me. Keet first learned about attitudes from his friend, Zig Ziglar, who taught him that attitude is everything.  As Zig so aptly puts it in his foundational work, See You At the Top “Your  attitude determines your  altitude,” and  that  “we  can  Alter our  lives by Altering  our Attitudes.”
    Keet began  his personal  dedication to understanding behavioral  science when,  as the CEO  of a manufacturing company,  he studied  and  applied  the principles  relating  to temperament as explained  by bestselling author Dr. Tim LaHaye  in his classic work, Why  You  Act  the  Way  You  Do.  Dr.  LaHaye wrote many other books on temperament, and they are a must read for any serious student of the subject. Additionally, Dr. James Dobson, Dr. John C. Maxwell, Dr. Steve Farrar, Dr. Howard Hendricks, Dr. Bill Bright, Josh McDowell, Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Dr. Tony Evans, Rich DeVos, Dr. Ron Jenson, Dr. Jack Graham, Judge Paul Pressler, and Bill Hawkins have all contributed much to our understanding of life- style issues like parenting, personal responsibility, and leadership through their very insightful writings. All of them have helped to lay a foundation for our work at Real Life Management.
    Keet, Bill, and I hope that this book  will be a helpful complement  to the work  of people  like Bailey, Ziglar,  LaHaye,  Dobson, Maxwell, Rainey,  Jenson,  and  others  who  have pioneered  in the field of attitude and lifestyle management. Above all, we want this book to offer hope.
    If I was able to regain some control of my life, you can do the same, no matter how desperate you feel your life has become. I’ve helped countless people just like you over the years through my training  workshops and  seminars  at corporations, health  spas, financial planning  firms, universities,  churches,  and many other  settings. Almost all of the folks I’ve met have tried way too many of the quick-fix diet, budget, and relationship gimmicks on the market. Most of them were discouraged. A lot of them were desperate. Some had even given up.  “I’ll never change!” They said.  If that’s how you feel, I implore you to keep reading. Because I’m not going to ask you to change.
    You read that right. I’m not going to ask you to change. The word “change” implies that you need to make a 180-degree turn- around and basically become someone other than who you are. I’ll never ask you to do that.  God wired you the way you are, and I’m fine with that. I want you to be fine with that, too. You are just fine the way you are! But I know you’re not happy with the way you live. So come on inside this book with me, because I’ve developed a proven strategy to help you turn your life around.