Meet Our Contributors

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Women


Meet Our Contributors

Debbie Albeck and her husband, Bob, live in South Florida while her two children attend college. Although her background is in health care, Debbie actively volunteers at nearby schools, her church, and community. She plans to become involved with environmental protection issues. E-mail Debbie at [email protected].

Catherine Berg received a BS from the University of Central Oklahoma and an MA from the University of Texas at Dallas. She has been published in Sojourn Journal, Taj Mahal Review, Virginia Woolf Miscellany, Mad Hatters’ Review, and Dallas Arts Review. Contact her via e-mail at [email protected].

Lorie Bibbee lives with her husband and four children. She loves storytelling, writing, and speaking to ladies when she and her family aren’t traveling to new places and trying new things. She plans to continue writing and speaking to teenage and adult women. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Olivia Bibbee is an exciting young author. She has recently had poems published in two books and is continuing to write at an amazing pace. She plans to write and publish short novels and other imaginative stories.

Janis Bonnie is a proud wife and mother of two wonderful children. She works for the family business, Joe Bonnie & Son Moving, and is a distributor for Juice Plus+. She enjoys spending time with her family. Please visit her websites at and

LaTonya Branham earned an MA from Antioch University McGregor, and a BS from Wilberforce University. She is a college administrator and an adjunct professor. LaTonya and her husband live in Dayton, Ohio, and devote their time to youth and community outreach ministries.

Cathy Carpinello is happily married and the mother of three teenage children. Her passion is reaching students with the love of Jesus Christ. She coaches cheerleading, supervises the middle school praise and worship band, and serves as “lunch lady” at her children’s school. E-mail her at [email protected].

Julie Cruz received her BA from Florida International University in 1991. She is a stay-at-home mom of three. She enjoys volunteering, traveling, and attending Bible studies.

Hulda Currie notes that “to be without my wonderful Lou took the wind out of my soul. I do know he is in good hands — God’s hands. Love you, Lou!”

Cindy Dumke is a small business owner in South Florida. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, writing, boating, and enjoying nature. This is her first experience writing for publication.

Carrie Ellis received her bachelor’s degree in 1983 and her Juris Doctorate in 1987. She practices law, and enjoys cooking, camping, hiking, and traveling. Carrie started writing as a teen, and enjoys writing poetry and real-life stories of inspiration. Her love of storytelling developed from her cherished grandmother, who turned real-life stories into bedtime tales. You can e-mail her at [email protected].

Andrea Federman moved from her home in Bavaria, Germany, to South Florida in 1991. She graduated with a major in English and achieved her degree in hotel management. Andrea has a passion for editing and proofreading, as well as writing inspirational stories and poems. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Elizabeth Fenn received her BS in nursing from Purdue University in 1994. She worked as a pediatric oncology nurse for nine years before staying home with her three children. She and her husband have enjoyed watching their children grow and explore the world around them.

Susan Forma is a licensed massage therapist and Reiki master. She enjoys teaching her clients, family and friends about living a nontoxic life filled with essential oils, healthy living, and a positive attitude. She lives with her two children in South Florida. For more information, contact her at [email protected].

Being the sole support of her children for most of their childhood has given Gail Frank the inspiration to start writing. In addition to true stories of miracles, she also writes children’s stories and poems. Gail hopes to compile these stories into a series of books and turn them into cartoon features from which children can learn.

Cynthia J. Freels is a retired RN. She is the mother of five and grandmother of eleven. Cynthia spent ten years working with homeless families and some of the most wonderful people you would ever want to meet. She likes to travel, read, sew, and work in her gardens.

Jacqueline M. Gaston received her BS in 1989 and MEd in 1996. She is a special education teacher in Virginia. Jackie resides with her four beautiful children and supportive husband, and aspires to become an author. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Darleen M. Gilbert is a grandmother of eight and a great-grandmother of one. She attended Willamette University and Oregon State University. For twelve years, she has volunteered in the secondgrade classroom of her daughter, a teacher. Inspired by a writing class, she has written Stories of My Life, a gift for her children and grandchildren.

Charlene F. Gossett holds an associate’s degree in Broadcasting and Practical Theology and a bachelor’s degree in General Studies. She enjoys reading, running and NASCAR. She also teaches first-graders in Sunday school. She is currently writing her first NASCAR romance novel and has plans to write inspirational books for women. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Christina (Stina) M. Harris received her BA in Literature from Ramapo College and is a member of the National English Honor Society. A freelance writer, she plans to have her first novel published sometime this year. Please feel free to contact her via e-mail at [email protected].

Carol Holmes is married to Steve, and is the mother of four children and grandmother of ten. Carol likes to refer to herself as a “domestic engineer” or, in other words, a housekeeper. She loves music, singing in the church choir, and spending time with her family.

AmondaRose Igoe specializes in helping entrepreneurs and business owners communicate their message clearly, concisely, and powerfully. AmondaRose teaches her clients how to connect with the mind, heart and spirit of their audiences, which makes her a highly sought-after professional speaker, author, public speaking trainer, and coach. Contact AmondaRose at

Kathleen Johnson has been an attorney for thirty-five years. She is a cum laude graduate from the University of Georgia and received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Kathleen and her husband have one daughter, Katy, who was Miss Vermont and Miss Vermont USA.

Deborah L. Kaufman has enjoyed working in international adoption, domestic foster care, and teaching English to middle- and high-school students. She is a wife, mother, and proud grandmother. Deborah enjoys reading to excess, teaching Bible study, and writing inspirationals and romantic suspense. You may e-mail her at [email protected].

Kimberly Kenney received her BA, with honors, from Purdue University in 1994. She is a homemaker and is busy raising her three amazing boys. Kimberly enjoys exercise, volunteering, and spending time with friends and family.

Nancy Kershaw is an Oregon State University extension faculty member. She lives in Netarts, Oregon, and works with the 4-H program. Nancy enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading, and walking the family dog on the beach.

Gerri Kinley resides with her husband and three children. She received her BA in education from Florida Atlantic University, and has taught and tutored elementary school students. Gerri has also distinguished herself as a professional mezzo soprano soloist in South Florida.

Francinne Cascio Lawrence, MRE, MSW, is author of the Baby on Your Hip gift-book series and a mother of three. A popular keynote speaker, she enjoys sharing the message that parents deserve to be as hip and happy as their baby. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

At age thirty-three, Kim Leonard was diagnosed with breast cancer. She spends her time reaching out to others who are suffering with the disease. Kim and her husband Brad have three girls. She enjoys spending time with family and friends. She also enjoys running and Pilates. Contact Kim via e-mail at [email protected].

Sharlene H. McClendon has been married for seventeen years and has four girls. She is currently taking classes in psychology at Liberty University. Sharlene loves leading and attending small groups. In addition, she enjoys traveling, reading, and writing. She plans to write inspirational materials to help women accept and love themselves. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Laura Bartolini Mendelsohn is a spiritual counselor who helps people heal and live their dreams by accessing the wisdom and guidance of Spirit. Using spiritual tools in her own life, Laura has achieved spinal healing, straight As in school, financial independence, and a first marriage after age forty-five. Contact Laura through her website at

God went from Lisa Murphy’s head to her heart several years ago. She now feels like she’s in love every day. Lisa’s favorite Christian quote is “I can’t answer all the questions, but I can’t deny the experience.” Lisa prays that you experience God’s love and purpose in your life.

Janice Flood Nichols earned her BA from Seton Hill College and MEd from the University of Pittsburgh. As the author of Twin Voices: A Memoir of Polio, the Forgotten Killer, she devotes her time to speaking about the importance of polio eradication. Visit her website at

Mary O’Reilly-Seim is an Angel Therapy Practitioner® certified by Dr. Doreen Virtue. She writes and publishes inspirational messages for spiritual growth. Her Words of the Ages daily messages, inspirational calendars, and posters are available at

Maria Rodgers O’Rourke is a popular and accomplished speaker, columnist, and teacher. Author of the Prepare Your Heart series of devotional journals, she inspires and guides others to recognize and embrace the hidden meaning in life. Maria and her husband have two children. Visit Maria at

K.P. lives and works as an educator on the west coast with her now ten-year-old child, her husband, and a motley assortment of pets. She enjoys writing, teaching, and all outdoor activities. Her current goal, to master Sudoku, is progressing slowly and painfully.

L.P. is devoted to her family and believes firmly in guardian angels.

Stephanie Piro lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three cats. She is one of King Features’ “Six Chix” (she is the Saturday chick!). Her single panel, “Fair Game,” appears in newspapers and on her website: She is also an illustrator, a designer of gift items for her company Strip T’s, and a part-time librarian. Contact her at [email protected].

Tracy Powell currently resides in Arizona with her family. She embraces adventure and enjoys writing, horses, scuba diving, and traveling. Feel free to e-mail her at [email protected].

Nancy Purcell teaches creative writing in the adult education program at Brevard College and coaches new writers. Nancy is retired, and loves gardening and travel. She recently completed her first novel.

Adleen Rawlings is a retired co-owner and general manager for the business she and her husband owned and sold in 2002. She now loves spending time with grandchildren, traveling, walking, singing in church choir, golfing, and volunteering at her church. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Melody Riccardo is a mother of six children and a grandmother to three. She is still surfing, and loves nature, animals, and the arts. Melody dreams of inspiring others through lessons learned in life. Melody is currently creating art molds and castings with her husband/sculptor, Chris. Contact them at [email protected] or [email protected].

Sandra Brese Rice, married to Jeffrey and mother of Zachary and Emma, was a Lutheran school teacher for thirteen years. She then became a Parish Ministry Consultant for Bethesda Lutheran Communities where she still visits schools to do disability awareness presentations. Sandra enjoys singing in the worship band at her church.

Clara Riveros was born in Colombia, South America. She has three daughters and lives with her youngest, Melissa, who has Down’s syndrome. Clara retired and enjoys spending time with her six grandchildren, but she spends most of it with Melissa’s busy training schedule for Special Olympics.

Phyllis Saxton’s love of words is one of the greatest gifts her mother ever gave her. Some of the most important gifts can’t be held with your hands, but only felt with your heart! This is Phyllis’s first attempt, at age seventy-seven, at having her writing published.

Loretta D. Schoen grew up in San Paolo, Brazil, and Rome, Italy, and now resides in Florida with her husband, two cats, and two dogs. She enjoys traveling, working with abused animals, and spending time with her grandson, Aiden. She is currently writing medical stories to inspire and empower patients.

Christy Holstead Semple is a writer and speaker about positive living. She and her husband teach these practices through their firm, The Kind Deeds Company. The birth of their daughter has inspired Christy to write an inspirational children’s book about love. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Holly Shapiro-Robillard is happy in her new position as CEO of the household after working twenty-two years in the title insurance industry. Holly enjoys both indoor and outdoor activities that include her family. She also enjoys reading, cooking, and walks on the beach. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Ingrid Michele Smith was born in Jamaica, and has lived in Miami, Florida, for the past thirty-eight years. Since her husband’s passing in 2004, she has grown spiritually and developed an interest in the angelic realm. Ingrid loves to travel and is the proud mother of two sons, Michael and Steven.

Robin Smith thanks God. She comes from a wonderful family and has an amazing husband, Steve. They have four incredible children: Mikayla Joy, Caleb, Stephen, and Emily. She has a BA from Messiah College and enjoys teaching kindergarten. She loves motherhood, basketball, the beach, and fishing.

Tamilyn Sosa has been an insurance agent since 1987. She enjoys reading, writing, and praying. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Jennifer Stango received her BS in nursing from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and practiced as a critical care nurse until she became a stay-at-home mom with her four children. She enjoys running, volunteering at her church, and spending time with her family.

Sandra Diane Stout received her associate’s degree in Business Studies from Indiana University Kokomo and is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. She is a Recording Secretary at Indiana University. Diane enjoys directing church drama and designing costumes, and is an accomplished pianist. She writes children’s non-fiction. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Jeanie McGuire Tennant is a Christian wife and mother, and a leader in her church. She has worked as a teacher, director of technology transfer for two universities, director of an innovation and entrepreneurship institute, and president and CEO of a technology business incubator. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education.

Toni Thompson and her husband, Al, have been married twentyeight years and have three grown children and two grandchildren. She enjoys leading Bible studies, crocheting, and making jewelry. She also writes for church publications. She started writing to pass along life stories and prayers for her children.

Audrey Valeriani is an author, columnist, self-esteem and relationship coach, board chair of Self Esteem Boston, and founder of The R.E.A.L. Women’s Club. Her book, Boot Camp for the Broken-Hearted: How to Survive (and Be Happy) in the Jungle of Love, was a finalist in the National Best Book Awards 2008. Visit her website at; e-mail her at [email protected].

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