Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review/Giveaway: Life Lessons From a Horse Whisperer

A WINNING READINGS GIVEAWAY!

Title: Life Lessons From a Horse Whisperer
Author: Dr. Lew Sterrett with Bob Smietana
Genre: Christian nonfiction
How to enter: Leave a comment on THIS post right here! If you're a subscriber or a follower, leave a second comment for a second entry.
Entry deadline: March 10, 2010
Restrictions: Open internationally!

That's right, enter right here for this giveaway. This is my review copy, so it has been gently read.

And for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card & signed copies of this book, TWEET THIS: (must use hashtag #lewsterrett to be entered - no limit on entries! Tweet away!)
Life Lessons from a Horse Whisperer: not just for horse lovers! http://ow.ly/169ym RT to win $50 to @amazon #LewSterrett

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I've been reading up on strong-willed children and the comparison to dogs - how you need to establish your dominance or they will continue to challenge you and disobey you much like dogs challenge each other to determine the alpha male. It's a little discouraging. Because I am definitely not an alpha male and have no desire to be one, but I REALLY wish my 2-year-old daughter would respect me authority and obey, especially in life-threatening situations!

Well, this book kind of balances things out for me. It's not about child-rearing, per se, but there are lots of applications. And the concept of gaining the horse's trust rather than breaking its will - I like it! I'm trying to figure out its application in the child-rearing department - since that's where all my energies are focused right now.

Life Lessons From a Horse Whisperer is written by Dr. Lew Sterrett. This 192-page paperback is published by Monarch and has a list price of $13.99.

ABOUT THE BOOK!

A champion trainer and true horse whisperer, Dr. Lew Sterrett has used patience and a firm but gentle hand to earn the trust of more than 3,500 horses. In this book, Lew tells the stories of his work with these horses and the lessons each one has taught him. Sometimes heartbreaking and often uplifting, Lew has condensed his lifetime of learning into messages for the Christian life. Today, Lew shares these messages with more than 50,000 people each year through horse training presentations at Miracle Mountain Ranch and nationally through his Sermon on the Mount Ministry.

The author's engaging style and adroit mixture of well-tested anecdotes and thoughtful instruction make this a winning read-and not just for horse lovers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR!

A champion trainer and true horse whisperer, Dr. Lew Sterrett has used patience and a firm but gentle hand to earn the trust of more than 3,500 horses. Dr. Lew Sterrett (Ph. D) had little idea that his boyhood interest in horses would open doors internationally for speaking and training. During his years in 4-H, he savored many opportunities to train and show horses and earn national recognition. As a student leader at Penn State University he benefited from many mentoring relationships from which he received valuable training, experience and honors. This foundation provided a basis for an extensive horse career with a unique emphasis on training youth and community leaders.

Lew has served as the Executive Director of Miracle Mountain Ranch Missions, Inc. (MMRM) since 1977. MMRM, located in northwestern Pennsylvania, is home for a summer youth camp, and a leadership training center for youth, adult, and family groups. He has also promoted safety in public riding programs, serving as President of the Certified Horse Association for 7 years. A licensed pastor, certified Youth, Marriage and Family Counselor, he earned his PhD from North Tennessee Seminary in 2007.

Find out more about Dr. Lew Sterrett on his website: http://www.sermononthemount.org/

Let me say that, horse lover or no, there is SO much to be gained from reading this book.

For starters, it's interesting. It's a nonfiction memoir, but it's a story - an easy-reading one. The author shares his background; his childhood, his education, his career and ministries. And he shares stories from his horse-training experiences. The challenges are all there, as well as how they were overcome.

And the book is full of life applications that make you stop and think. Lessons for restoring a broken marriage. For leading a business. For raising a child. And it all points to learning from the greatest trainer of all time - Christ.

On a personal level, here's what I've gained. It seems that there is a lot of emphasis in Christian circles on disciplining your children. Controlling them. I feel like I'm constantly having to pick my battles with my daughter and somehow establish control - and then I get criticized for not picking ENOUGH battles and for letting her get away with some things.

Let's step back and focus on God's grace for a moment. That's what I need to do. Share His love in my interactions. And ignore all the criticism. Because ultimately, it's God's role to woo my child to Him, and I don't want to stand in the way with my power issues.

I still question myself, but I'm trying to focus more on God's love than on my control, singing songs, sharing prayers, creating space for freedom while still establishing safe boundaries, and using other methods to circumvent the power struggles. Never giving up - but taking each day as a new one. And sometimes it works!

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the review copy of this book!

Buy the Book!
Read an Excerpt!

Now for a few interview questions with the author:

SOME PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED BY HOW MUCH HORSES CAN TEACH US ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. WERE YOU EVER SURPRISED BY YOUR HORSES? WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALIZE THAT THE SAME DYNAMICS THAT ENABLE A HORSE AND TRAINER TO WORK TOGETHER CAN ALSO APPLY TO PEOPLE?
Having no established model for such a thing, I was first caught off guard when riding a horse named Ribbon at Miracle Mountain Ranch. Having learned to play the expected Christian role, and having come to MMR to serve the Lord with a sincere heart, I was shocked and dumbfounded when, upon seeing her negative but subtle attitudes express themselves, I was convicted that I was very much like her. It was not a pleasant experience; though she was pretty to look at, I was very bothered by her sour response. I thought, 'Surely I couldn't be that difficult of a person.' It was not a perspective I wanted to tell others about. Little by little as I was faithful to His Word, to regular investments in people, and to the training, I began to see more and more relational principles that could be illustrated by the horse/trainer relationship. As it was a convenient tool in my hands, I began to get my nerve up and share it with
others. It wasn't long until others began to request it.

YOU'VE WORKED WITH AND SPOKEN TO A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT AUDIENCES - AT RISK YOUTH, HOMESCHOOLERS, CORPORATE RETREATS, AND OTHERS. HOW CAN HORSES SPEAK TO SO MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE ALL AT THE SAME TIME?
Our audience is a broad spectrum. It includes all ages and ranges from very secular to very Christian, and total horse enthusiasts to non-horse observers. But we do share things in common: we are all people and we all share the same relational situations. The very principles that profit a horse/trainer relationship help humans to see their needs more objectively. Illustrating these with horses helps people appreciate God’s greater purpose for their lives from a relational and not necessarily “religious” perspective. The context is fundamentally sound, pithy, yet entertaining and non-threatening.
YOU SUGGEST AT VARIOUS POINTS IN YOUR BOOK THAT TRAINING HORSES IS ABOUT TEACHING THEM TO TAKE SIMPLE STEPS. WHAT LESSON CAN CHRISTIANS TAKE FROM THIS TRAINING?
'Obedience is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams' (Isaiah 15:23). Man often pursues unhealthy habits and poor decisions with impulse sacrifices. Perhaps people can be bought off for a time, but God values faithfulness over impulsiveness because faithfulness results in confidence. Little steps that are taken consistently bear far better fruit over the long haul than great talent; character prevails over skill. When applied to the home this produces harmony and growth.
IN CHAPTER SIX, YOU MEET BERRY AND DESCRIBE HIM AS “THE HORSE THAT WOULD CHANGE MY LIFE.” HOW DID HE CHANGE YOU?
Berry, though outwardly beautiful and inwardly kind and cooperative, came to a place in his training that seemed impossible to surpass. As chapter 6 tells you, we thought Berry had reached his pinnacle. Finally, instead of trying to force the issue, I went back and started some basic training to increase his flexibility. Eventually, he overcame the physical challenge that was holding him back before. What I learned from him impacted me. Character is a reflection of the heart and will always surpass natural beauty and talent in the long run.
WHAT IS A SOFT ANSWER? HOW IS IT USED IN HORSE TRAINING? CAN WE USE IT IN OUR LIVES?
Often an action provokes a reaction, such as a harsh reaction to a harsh statement. It would be like jerking the horse’s mouth because he doesn't respond well. Whenever a trainer or parent reacts to an immature action he or she loses perspective and becomes childish. Soon the child or animal begin to push the buttons of the authority and thereby exert their will over the parent. A soft answer is not one of low volume; rather, it is a response to the need that keeps the real objective in view. It actually turns away wrath and provokes a responsible response. It includes seeing and responding to the need and not merely reacting to the words.
IF THERE IS ONE MESSAGE YOU WANT READERS TO TAKE AWAY FROM OUR BOOK, WHAT IS IT?

Every trainer wants a relationship with the horse. Man’s ways are opposite to God’s—we are deceitful and addictively self-absorbed—but God wants a relationship with us. To get there, God often has to corral us and get us to face the futility and deception of our own reasoning. Like the horse, we can’t 'save ourselves.' The story of this book is that not only does God want a relationship with every reader, but He has already sent the trainer, the Lord Jesus Christ, into our arena to speak our language and to elevate us to fellowship with him. It is our privilege to respond to Him in humility (repentance) and trust (faith) in His offer of forgiveness and eternal life to all who believe in Him for salvation.

74 comments:

buddyt said...

I have been a horse lover and a rider all my life and I would like to see how the author ties in horses and Christianity.

I would also like to know more about how he goes about doing his horse-whispering.

Carol

(International entry)

Buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

Abi said...

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Steph said...

I think that Life Lessons From a Horse Whisperer sounds like a fascinating book. Thanks for the review.

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Melissa B. said...

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