Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Name Quest by John Avery

The Name Quest is a spiritually powerful , well-written book that is filled with snippets of information based on Scripture, but also a great deal more. By including personal experiences and sketches of examples demonstrated in the Bible, John Avery grabs a shovel and digs us deeper into the Word.

This book is not merely about the various names by which God is known, but page after page of instances and illustrations of God’s love for us, His desire to be in relationship with us, His provisions for us and His quest to guide us along a path that will be amazing if we only choose His way rather than bumbling along on our own.

The back cover description expresses a beautiful summation of the book:
Take an insightful journey into deeper relationship with God through the biblical names of God. Beginning in Babel and ending with a burning Babylon, The Name Quest builds faith and encourages spiritual growth. 
The names of God are like a rainbow—each name expresses part of the spectrum of the character and attributes of God. God is a personality with a multifaceted character too integrated and dynamic to compartmentalize. God’s names are best examined in clusters, around common themes. So that is how the chapters are organized.

I especially appreciated the author’s comparison of a life of faith to being bombarded with confusing options on a quiz show. “Every challenge to our faith is an opportunity to ‘open the box’ for God to work and thus build faith, which is our spiritual capital. Or we can settle for life as usual, and plateau. However, true faith contains no element of chance, and we have nothing of value to lose.”

Another quote from the book particularly resonated with me: “I notice a discipline cycle in my own life. It’s not an exercise bicycle. It’s a circuitous route that I take in my relationship with God. I begin drifting from Him, hardly realizing my condition until life no longer runs so smoothly. Often, I’m the one messing things up. When I admit my drifting and pursue God again, life improves.”   As the reader, I personally have to ask myself: why do we so easily veer off track? It’s been happening since the beginning with Adam & Eve and has continued throughout history. We know how much more efficiently life runs when He is in control. Sealed doors are sprung wide open. People are introduced into our paths that we might never have met. Circumstances change when we consciously seek and follow Him. Yet we find ourselves drifting and in need of a course correction.

Just a suggestion on reading The Name Quest is that the reader not try to devour the entire book in one sitting. This is strictly my personal opinion, but I found that reading one chapter per day allowed me to best absorb and contemplate what I had previously read. Reading multiple chapters during one reading session overwhelmed me. Now perhaps this is because I am simple-minded, but I found that I could retain and more greatly appreciate the content in smaller measures.
Author, John Avery, has over thirty years experience as a Bible teaching pastor, small group leader and missionary. He lives in Oregon with his wife, Janet.

The Name Quest is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to know more about God, even for the knowledgeable Bible scholar, containing something for everyone who seeks God and strives to mature in faith.

For further information, see:

I'll be back again soon with more comments on writing, publishing and life!

Mary Anne Benedetto
Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why on Earth Would I Join a Memoir Group?

 “Writing is a solitary activity,” I heard someone say. “Why on earth would I want to join a memoir group?”

We all need some peeps--people with whom we can share life and experiences. While it is true that the act of writing for a memoir project is typically accomplished as a solo exercise, there are three good reasons to locate and enlist in a memoir writing group:

1-Hearing the stories of others will help generate more of your own memories. I have often heard a memoir group writer say something similar to, “Oh, Laura’s story about her travel adventure reminded me of a trip I took to the Grand Canyon. I had forgotten all about that!” 

2-Hearing the stories of others could make us better writers. As we listen to the style in which others have chosen to write their stories, it encourages us to become better writers. We learn not to simply list facts and dates, but to include how we felt about those experiences and how people, places and events had a deeper level impact on us. We are privileged to learn about the incidents and influences that have shaped the lives of other writers and discover how they chose to describe the details.

3-Joining a memoir writing group enables us to bond with others and make new friends. I have seen it happen every time I hold a workshop series or form a group. People with the same goals tend to bond. They “get” each other and understand the obstacles faced in the project. They relate. They inspire. They sympathize.

If you need that little nudge to begin or continue a memoir writing project, step out of your routine and visit a memoir writing group. It is a special way to meet new friends and make progress on your written legacy. Remember that preserving our stories builds a bridge between generations!

Looking for a memoir writing group in the Myrtle Beach, SC area? You have arrived at the right place!

Life Story Lunch Bunch
·         2nd Tuesday of each month
·         11:15 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.
·         Location-Ryan’s-8671 Highway 17 Bypass-Surfside Beach, SC 29575
·         Lunch & learn to capture & preserve our life stories to share with loved ones & future generations
·         Great for beginners, as well as those who have already started a memoir project
·         Trigger important memories to share as we make new friends!
·         Keeps memoir writers motivated to work on their life story projects
·         Cost: Pay for lunch at entrance to restaurant-$7.00 enormous buffet, $2.19 beverage + wait staff tip = $11 to $12.00 total for meal. Note-Sign up at Ryan’s to receive coupons for greater discount. Eat a gigantic lunch, and you won’t be hungry at dinnertime!

Workshop fee: $7.00 advance registration & payment OR $8.00 drop in registration. Workshop fee paid to A Writer’s Presence, LLC-6313 Longwood Drive Murrells Inlet, SC 29576

Call Mary Anne Benedetto , author of 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, at 843-215-4676 to register in advance each month. Come on out and join us for lunch, making progress on your memoir project and having just plain ole’ fun!

Call or email Mary Anne at if you have any questions. Hope to see you there!

See you soon!
Mary Anne Benedetto
Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!