The Revelation of the Book of Revelation

Is there a reason why the Bible starts with Genesis and ends with Revelation? I don’t think of the books of the Bible on a continuum but a story that comes full circle—a place that starts and ends at the same point. My revelation of the Book of Revelation is how it explains the struggle of getting back to the days of Genesis.

Genesis defines who God is and the perfect human relationship with Him. You can see through Adam’s and Eve’s relationship with God, the design He had for humanity. Revelation revels Christ’s identity and the hope to restore humankind back into the perfect relationship with God while at the same time showing how broken our world is by the reproach in the letters to the 7 churches. And to think, this was the condition of the churches just 95 years after Jesus’s birth. What might the letters look like today in 2021 with untold numbers of Christian denominations. When Jesus ascended into Heaven, I imagine his vision was for one church and not hundreds of religions.


Revelation identifies Christ’s full identity and the only means of getting back to the original relationship design in Genesis. Thom Rainer in his research published in Autopsy of a Deceased Church says that 90% of churches are sick or dying. Is God taking away their lamp stands? Have you watched the documentary The Clergy Project, which in my opinion, should be renamed Atheists in the Pulpit? If you haven’t, it will have you questioning whether your pastor has lost his or her faith in God while still preaching the Word in which they don’t believe.

What’s surprising about the 7 letters described in Revelation is that these were churches of Jesus’s day. You’d think they wouldn’t struggle as much as we do today, but it appears the struggle hasn’t changed much in 2000 years. These early Christian churches stood in what is now known as present day Turkey, and yet you can hardly find any Christians in the area.

Will you recognize your church in one of the 7 letters?

  1. Ephesus: The judgers. They focus so much on not sinning that they lost the love and acceptance of people.
  2. Smyrna: The fearful. These were the suffers. Encouraged to be faithful, not fearful, so they could receive the crown of life
  3. Pergamum: The tolerators. They tolerated sin by bowing to the external pressure of being open-minded to the culture at large
  4. Thyatira: The Jezebels. Promoted and took part in sexual immortality that was widely accepted in the day
  5. Sardis: The spiritually dead. Active in doing good deeds but superficial because corrupt inside
  6. Philadelphia: The hangeron-ers. Probably the only church not rebuked. Told to hold tight even though their strength may be weak
  7. Laodicea: The half-hearters. These are those who believed and relied not on God but on their own self-sufficiency

These letters cover the same struggles that are going on in most churches across the country and world.

What Can Be Done?

Many people have never had a spiritual encounter with Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit. The only way to God is through a personal relationship with Christ, which means you have to get comfortable with the spiritual realm—the same one described in stories throughout the Bible such as Jesus tempted by the devil for 40 days in the Judaean Desert and demons jumping out of people and into pigs. The world hasn’t change except the demons have multiplied.

Your ability to have a personal relationship with God is a spiritual battle through Original Sin. The Good News is that God made a way to reconcile us to him. You must focus on your relationship with Christ and not by adhering to the rules. Get into the Word, pray, and let God reveal Himself to you. When you do you will have the power to live according to the exemplified values of Christ and bring more Heaven to earth.

Full Circle

Genesis tells the story of God walking and talking with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Revelation describes people worshiping God face-to-face. Genesis describes a garden before an evil serpent. Revelation describes a perfect city without evil.

The only way to come full circle is to walk through the narrow gate. “…For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:14 (NIV). The narrow gate is an invitation from God for a personal, spiritual relationship.

If you’d like to talk more about Christ, Salvation, or the Bible, don’t hesitate to reach out for a conversation.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to find their purpose, be the heroes of their own life stories, and help them be a shining light in this spiritually dark world. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as you coach by reaching out to her at

Where Are You on the Spiritual Continuum?

We’re all on a continuum of spirituality. The question is where are you today, and what direction do you want to go? One anchor of the continuum is the Demonic Spirit with the other end as the Holy Spirit. If you think no one would sit on the right hand of Satan, think again. There are devil worshipers, witches, and warlocks walking among us. I’ve met them. From my perspective the Religious Spirit sits in the middle.

Many people may understand the difference between the Holy Spirit and Demonic Spirit but are confused in the definition of the Religious Spirit. Aren’t people who profess their faith in the Christian religion of the Holy Spirit? Not necessarily.

The difference between the Religious Spirit and Holy Spirit is the ability to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit. There are many people who are Christian in head knowledge and mind acceptance. These types of Christians are typically rule-based and judgmental of people and situations that don’t align with religious laws. They have no personal relationship with the Holy Spirit and aren’t able to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit for healing, miracles, and casting out demons.

Those who know the Holy Spirit have personal relationship with God through their heart connection. Although they have knowledge of the religious, they tap into the power, discernment, and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. The body (flesh) and the soul (mind) don’t intimately know the Holy Spirit. They go along for the ride when the heart and the Holy Spirit commune. People aligned with the Holy Spirit feel the love of Jesus Christ and are compelled to be obedient to the Lord’s calling for their life. They actively seek the knowledge from their books written in Heaven before they were born, and their greatest reward is to live out those pages for the Kingdom.

Our spiritual being is on a journey. Where are you on the spiritual continuum and where do you want to go? What will you do next to get there?

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to find their purpose, be the heroes of their own life stories, and help them be a shining light in this spiritually dark world. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as you coach by reaching out to her at

If You Don’t Know Genesis, I Doubt You Know My God

The God that breathed out stars is the same God that created you. Before you were ever born, books were written in the heavens about you and your purpose (Palms 139:16). God has a plan for your life. Will you choose to live out God’s design for your life through obedience or exercise your free will?

Why it’s important to understand Genesis?

Genesis has powerful messages through the stories lived by the founding families of this earth. Their life lessons are taught in our classroom, where we can learn more about our God of yesterday, today, and the future, as we build our personal relationship with Him. In Genesis we:

  • Learn of the power and glory of God
  • Understand the catalyst (The Fall) that continues to cause pain and suffering in God’s children
  • Provides hope and assurance that we can be reconciled with the God who created each one of us in His image

If you don’t get the lessons in Genesis, you’ll likely question why you struggle so much, wonder why you’re “here”, and feel a level of emptiness in your life. Truly, how fulfilled is your soul?

What does Genesis reveal?

God is always talking to us regardless of whether we choose to listen. He is a good, good Father.

  • God gives us free will. He doesn’t demand our obedience but allows us to suffer the consequences of our choices.
  • God desires obedience which is the highest form of love, praise, and worship. Whether we realize it or not, He is the Father that knows best.
  • God still loves us even when sin. After Adam and Eve took a bite of the apple from Tree of Good and Evil, God was creating a plan to reconcile humanity to Him through the blood of Jesus Christ.
  • Not only are we living with our own sin from personal choices, we’re also suffering with the generational sin we inherited.

I may understand Genesis more than most, because obedience is one of my core values. Some have the illusion that freedom is doing what you want. God says freedom comes from obedience to Him and knowing what not to do. Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit although everything else in the Garden was hers for the taking. How often is your attention drawn away from the much that you have toward the little that you don’t?

What are the life truths from Genesis?

If you’ve spent time in Genesis, you may have some of your own truths that God whispered to you. Messages that resonate with me include:

  • God is faithful to those who obey Him.
  • God does not always protect us from trouble but deeply cares for us, never leaves us through our suffering, and can make good from our bad choices.
  • Obedience is a committed walk with the Lord, but the world will try and pull you away toward the pleasure of sin.
  • You may be faithful and obedient, but you will never be perfect. Our sinful nature is always carried with us.

I encourage you to read The Book of Genesis and pull out the voice of God that is talking to you through His Word.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to find their purpose, be the heroes of their own life stories, and help them be a shining light in this spiritually dark world. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as you coach by reaching out to her at

How I Forgave and Found Freedom

Part 3 of 3-Part Series

Why Forgive and How to Forgive provide the foundation to build our stories of forgiveness. My prayer for you is that you find peace in your self-gift of forgiveness toward another person regardless of how severe the sin. I know people who have horrendous stories that include mutilation, sex abuse, abandonment, and even murder. Although my own personal history touches on some of these and the process of forgiveness, I share my story of freedom that started in November 2010, when I met my current husband over breakfast after his mother connected us through That, in itself, is its own crazy God story.

My Story

Darin and I became fast friends, keeping it friendly, after I learned over our first breakfast that he was separated, living on his own, and a few months from finalizing his divorce. He had two daughters, one 19 years who was already away at college and the other, 13-year old Sarah*, who primarily lived with her mother.

We kept a low public profile in friendship, even when the relationship eventually turned to dating. Unfortunately, Darin’s ex-wife struggled with mental health issues which spilled over into her sharing raging falsehoods about Darin and me to Sarah and anyone else who would listen. Darin was forced to create two separate lives in order to enjoy the company of two important women in his life. Well after the divorce Sarah still refused to meet me.

Darin continually encouraged Sarah to meet me since he knew at some point our courtship would lead to marriage. She in return refused with no explanation. Darin’s bribery and cajoling had no influence in changing Sarah’s mind. I occasionally wrote letters of encouragement and among other points let her know she was always welcome. I didn’t want her to feel reluctant in reaching out in the future, because she felt embarrassed by her past behavior.

Eventually, I accepted Jesus as my personal savior, and Darin and I believed God brought us together for Kingdom work on earth. Our relationship strengthened in love and mission while Sarah continued to dig in her heels—refusing to meet me. As time passed, I can honestly admit I increasingly felt frustrated and disrespected as well as developed ill feelings toward Sarah as well as her mother who had contributed in creating this sour situation.

After 2 years, Darin told Sarah he was going to propose marriage by the next time she saw him. At the time Darin didn’t know that this would be the last day Sarah chose to see her father for several years. I felt more hurt and disrespected which was magnified by the pain I saw in Darin as he struggled with his daughter’s choice. It’s been 10 years since Darin and I met, and I have yet to have a conversation with Sarah.

By the eighth year, I was angry at Sarah—to the point that I hoped she never took me up on my open-door offer. My heart was hardened, I didn’t feel generous in spirit, and I admit that unforgiveness got a foothold. I didn’t wish her harm in any way, but neither did I wish good things for her. That was the ugly truth. My natural heart is always wanting the best for people—afterall, that’s why I became a life coach. I didn’t like the way my unforgiving thoughts made me feel about myself.

My Story – The Act of Forgiveness

I knew that I had to forgive Sarah—not that she was asking for it—but so I could be free of these negative feelings toward Sarah. I know how hard it is. Half of me was feeling hurt and justified based on how Sarah was treating me. The other half of me knew that my feelings were clashing with my Christian values and putting a degree of separation with God. I knew forgiving Sarah was 100% within my control, independent of what Sarah did or didn’t do, and was a gift to myself—albeit a hard gift to receive.

I sat quietly with God, asking Him to help me with a forgiving mindset and confessing my sin of unforgiveness. I forgave Sarah for any ill-will, attitude, and behaviors toward me. “I forgive you, Sarah, for … I pray that God blesses you by …” [details intentionally omitted]. I kept repeating the words aloud, giving the words power. The more I forgave Sarah, the more peace I found. I had to repeat my words over and over to push out the demonic influences.

We live in a fallen world, so the Devil will continue to plant seeds that disconnect us from people with unforgiveness and thus causing greater separation with God. I admit that as time moves forward and nothing changes with Sarah, there’s a propensity for negative thoughts to slowly creep in. When they do, I immediately turn toward God and give it back to him. That’s how I keep my freedom in forgiveness. When I go to Jesus, give it to Him, and ask him to replace it, He does. Thank you, Jesus.

Who Do You Need to Forgive?

Who do you need to forgive? When will you do it? I suggest you do it now. Don’t let one more minute, hour, or day go by holding onto the pain and separation from God. Ask spiritual help from the one who knows all and is always in control. Would love to hear your story of forgiveness. If you’d like to share it with someone, send me an email at

*Named changed to protect her identity.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at or by visiting her website at

Your Core Values: Expressed through the Eyes of Jesus

matt-botsford-bBNabN9R_ac-unsplashI have two questions for you? The second we’ll get to later. The first is: what are your core values? How would you describe them in action in your life?

With a foot in the secular life coaching world and another in the ministry of Jesus, I hold some unique perspectives. The more I work with people, we invariably touch upon their core values and how these values shape their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. If you’d ask me what my top five core values are, I’d have to say service, leadership, authenticity, love, and obedience.

You might say, “Sounds like a good list,” and you’d leave it at that. Afterall, these are my core values. You’re likely more interested in exploring your core values. I say, “Do it,” and encourage you to describe what your core values look like through the worldview of Jesus. My second question: how did Jesus embody your core values as he lived his short life on earth?

You are uniquely made by God, and He instilled a unique combination of core values that are rooted deep inside you. Think of an apple with its core full of seeds. The skin and flesh of the apple is you, and the seeds at the center are your core values. Your life sprouts and grows out of your core values.


I can see the beauty and appreciate my core values even more, when I see how Jesus lived them out as described through the Bible.

  • Service: Jesus was the ultimate servant by healing the sick, feeding the masses, and bringing the dead to life. During the last supper and their protests, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, even Judas, whom He knew would betray him.
  • Leadership: The only litmus test of a leader is whether he has followers. The Bible is full of stories where the crowds flocked to Jesus, yet ultimately his leadership is revealed in his ability to convince a small tribe, his 12 disciples, to give up their lives to follow him and become fishers of men.
  • Authenticity: Jesus was the poster child who exemplified authenticity. How many times did he unabashedly tell stories and speak truth that countered the prevailing thoughts of the Jewish culture and Pharisee leaders? He always spoke truth regardless of its repercussions or how it fit in with conventional culture.
  • Love: Jesus embodied love with encouragement, discipline, and teaching. He knew everyone’s heart and still accepted them. Jesus had the longest recorded one-on-one conversation recorded by the Gospel writers with the Samaritan woman at the well. Who was she? The lowest ethnic and gender class shunned by her community for immoral sexual behavior. Jesus loves when others don’t or won’t.
  • Obedience: Jesus embodied obedience when he knowingly sacrificed himself on the cross for humanity’s sin and for our salvation. That was the ultimate act of obedience to God’s plan. Amen!


What is your favorite Scripture that embodies your core values? Here are mine:

  • Service: John 15:12: This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
  • Leadership: 1 Peter 5:3: Not domineering over those in your charge but being example to the flock.
  • Authenticity: Ephesians 4:15: Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
  • Love: Galatians 5:14: For the whole law is fulfilled in the statement: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
  • Obedience: 1 John 2:6: And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

My prayer is that you’ll spend time identifying your top core values and thinking how Jesus embodied them. Through this self-reflection, you’ll hopefully realize how much you and Jesus have in common.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at or by visiting her website at

Marriage Success: More About Skills Than Feelings


When Love May Not Be Enough

A young couple sits on our coach, excitedly telling us of their wedding plans: the venue, the guest list, food, and where they are going on their honeymoon. Although their conversation focuses on the wedding ceremony, we’re happy that they decided to invest in their marriage by signing up for our premarital coaching. I ask, “Why are you getting married?” They look at each other as if it’s a trick question. Then they turn toward us and in union respond, “Because we love each other.” By the tone of their voice, it’s obvious they are punctuating their answer with a question mark.

Marriage Statistics

If nearly all premarital couples say they are getting married because they love each other, and if nearly 50% of first marriages and 70% of second marriages end in divorce, you might comfortably conclude that “love” is not enough to sustain a healthy, long-term marriage. Why is love not enough? Perhaps, whether they are aware of it or not, the way these couples are referring to “being in love” is actually a physical response of “feeling in love” that is wholly driven by the chemicals Oxytocin and Serotonin. Unfortunately, studies show these intense chemicals diminish over 6 to 24 months and cannot sustain themselves during a long-term relationship or marriage.

Love Chemicals

When the “love” chemicals dissipate, couples who rate their marriages as fulfilling and happy have tools in their toolkit which allow them to communicate and solve problems that are a normal part of two people becoming one. Countless couples argue and never resolve or manage their conflict, and their marital issues continually recycle and present themselves in different ways. Spouses who rate their marriages as strong and satisfying have effectively dealt with their differences and sores.

What is love? It’s more than a feeling and rooted in knowing a person on a deep human level in conjunction with accepting who they are. Accepting doesn’t necessarily mean liking everything about them. No one can genuinely love someone they don’t truly know. I feel my husband’s love, because I am completely vulnerable in showing him who I am. He knows me as well as myself and chooses to accept my good, bad, and ugly.


Marriage Strengthening

Marriages need strengthening now more than ever. Societal forces are conspiring even more to undermine couples and marriage. The rate of marriages is declining in favor of increasing rates of cohabitation. Few would argue against equal rights, opportunities, and pay for women, but this shift is changing women’s attitudes toward men. As women grow in independence, they view men as less essential. Now more than ever, we need to fight for marriage and protect its legacy for the couples and their families.

Where does a couple start? Whether you are in a serious relationship, premarital, or married, find a highly recommended marriage coach who can meet you where you stand, help you define your marriage vision, and then take you on a journey that includes communication and conflict resolution skills, budgeting, marriage needs and relationship expectations. Find one who will help you self-explore to understand how you show up to your significant other based on your worldviews and values. Get the support you need to have a fabulous marriage!

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a marriage coach along with her husband, Darin. She helps couples across the world via seminars, workshops, and private sessions. Sandra customizes a relationship journey for her clients based on her expertise and curriculum content from Prepare & Enrich, SYMBIS, FOCCUS, and Marriage on the Rock. Couples design their marriage, learn tools, and then work toward achieving their vision. Learn more about the ministry or sign up for a session by contacting Sandra at

Dog Rescue: A Passionate Tale about Tails


Alex and Pepper

Shine Ministry Spotlight: Step into the World of Rescue with Alex Davis

Spotlight gives ministries and volunteers the opportunity to share their passion to connect with others who may want to contribute or partner with their mission.

Does your heart ache when you see the photos of sad dog faces, some of whom are bruised, battered, and starved? Have you wondered how you could possibly help those poor souls who have no voice? You can. Learn more about the rescue world and how you can make a difference in the lives of both rescuers and their forever families—one foster, one adoption at a time.


You’ve probably heard the horror stories of raids on puppy mills, properties of pet hoarders, and dog fighting rings. Maybe you’ve encountered a hungry dog rummaging through garbage on the side of the road. Texas and many southern state shelters are full of unwanted animals who’ve grown up on the streets, were dumped on the side of the road, or owner-surrendered to a local high-kill shelter. The euthanasia list is a continuous tally of dogs who are days, hours, and minutes from their last breath. Yes, the stories are sad, but there is hope for many of these dogs. Just a few states away, in Colorado the local shelters and Human Societies are relatively empty with many families wanting to adopt a life-long companion.


States such as Texas and New Mexico have supply and Colorado has demand—a perfect solution. But how do we get these dogs to their forever families? The heroes are the non-profit rescues and their dedicated volunteers who step in to fill this void. Their sacrificial stories are amazing—joyful, heart-wrenching, tiresome, and heart-warming. One young woman’s story will both inspire you and leave you feeling exhausted. My prayer is that Alex’s story will move you to take just one small step deeper into the rescue world where your efforts will be personally rewarding.

Pa 2

Alex’s Story

When Alex was 6 years old, her mother asked her, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” She replied, “I want to be a seal trainer, have 10 dogs, 10 cats, and 10 kids.” In middle school, Alex slept in the garage for a week on a blow-up mattress with 2 stray dogs she nick-named Scooby and Spice. You could say she was babysitting those two until she could find their owners. In high school, Alex volunteered at the Houston SPCA. Now at 25, Alex is a certified veterinary technician with 3 dogs and 1 cat. She’s fostered over 200 dogs in nearly 4 years and directly touched the lives of thousands of rescue animals. What does the future hold for Alex? Who knows, but it may be too small to fit in those 10 kids.


Alex and Scooby [2004]

She adopted her first dog in 2013, followed by a second and a cat in 2014. Based on a New Year’s resolution, in January 2016 she submitted her foster application to New Hope Cattle Dog Rescue (NHCDR) and got her first heeler, Juno, that March. Over 50% of first-time fosters adopt their rescue, and Alex almost became one of those statistics. She refused to become a “foster failure” and pushed through her tears to let Juno go to another family, so she could once again foster and give more dogs a chance at a forever home.

Today she searches social media sites for dogs to tag, runs short- and long-haul transports, provides basic medical care, screens adopters, does adopter home checks, evaluate fosters, helps with behavioral training, attends and sets up adoption events, serves on the Board of Directors of NHCDR, and works collaboratively with many other rescue non-profits.

How Does Rescue Start?

As Alex became more entrenched into the rescue world, she became aware first-hand of the struggle in springing a dog out of so-called Texas prison. There are multiple hands that touch a dog’s life from when it’s pulled off the Texas streets or shelter to its forever destination in the home of a Colorado family. The most critical need in the system is available foster homes—especially in Texas where the process begins.

SpotRescue starts when someone posts on social media, commonly Facebook, a dog found dumped on the streets or when volunteers post photos/video of available shelter dogs. Yes, there are volunteers who walk the Texas shelter aisles—whose sole purpose is to put those adoptable dog faces behind wire cages on social media, so someone’s heart can be tugged. A Colorado rescue can commit to take the dog but will only do so if it has a short-term foster in the shelter area that can hold the dog for about 1-3 weeks while out-of-state transport can be arranged and the minimum vetting completed to take the dog across state lines.

Two PittiesShelters will routinely allow registered 501c3 rescues to pull dogs for free by submitting their nonprofit incorporation papers or completing shelter forms. Ideally, the local foster will provide a home environment, learn of the dog’s behaviors and personality, take it to a vet to secure its health certificate and vaccinations (at rescue expense), and ensure it makes its transport to Colorado when space has been secured.

SprinklesColorado volunteers will pick up the dogs off transport and typically take them to their next foster home until they are adopted. Fosters take daily care of the dogs, which includes helping with training (crate, potty, behavior, and basic commands). Dogs are also spayed and neutered before their adoption. On average fosters give a loving home to these rescue dogs for a couple days to a couple weeks and commit to taking them to scheduled adoption events, vet appointments, and meet-and-greets with potential adopters.

OxAdoptable dogs are posted on the rescue’s website, social media pages, and available at the adoption events. Potential adopters must fill out an application and are screened, which includes home and vet (if family own other pets) checks. The adopting family must typically agree that the dog spend most of its time indoors. Although each rescue has its own rules, most have a trial adoption period to make sure the fit is right. At any time if the family can no longer care for the dog, the contract stipulates it must be returned to the rescue. This process delivers a high permanent adoption rate.

The Price to Adopt

Most rescues require a $250 – $350 adoption fee, which barely covers the cost of vetting (vaccines, heartworm test, deworming, spay/neuter, etc.) and transporting across state lines. Behavioral training, food, supplies, and special medical care (orthopedic surgeries, Distemper, Parvo, etc.) are typically covered by donations—not the adoption fees.

OakMany people don’t understand why the adoption fees are so high for unwanted rescue animals. The truth is that rescues want to make sure they put a happy and healthy dog in the home of its forever family. With that end goal, rescues are just covering their basic costs in the adoption fees.

Fostering Makes You a Rescue’s Hero

Rescues are looking for fosters with big hearts. There aren’t any special requirements to be a foster other than a willingness to open your home and show patience as a dog acclimates to its new trauma-free environment. As Alex says, “If you can love a dog, have patience, and be understanding, you can be a good foster.”

IMG_6318Fosters may find they work on crate and potty training as the history of the dog is mostly unknown. If the foster/dog fit is too strained, rescues will do their best to find another foster home. Fosters must realize rescue organizations run solely on volunteers, so nothing happens overnight.

Many families help the system by joining the ranks of relief fosters—helping long-term fosters who need to go out of town for a couple days or week. Rescues are always happy to have fosters who can relieve other fosters on a case-by-case choice which keeps the dog in a home environment and saves the kenneling of $15 to $40 per night.

Rescue Comes with a Personal Price

How does a young rescuer fit in the demands of rescue while earning a living? Not very well. Rescuers like Alex pay a heavy price to rehome these dogs. She’s lost personal relationships, forgone work hours, and self-funded expenses (gasoline and wear and tear on her personal vehicle) from her own meager vet technician salary of $25,000 per year.

IMG_6224Although Alex has gained an incredible support network of friends who have a common passion and knows the pure joy of connecting the family and rescue, the price has been expensive in both money and untold hours in the field.

How many hours does she dedicate to these dogs? On average Alex spends 4 hours a day on social media—tagging shelter dogs, responding to texts and calls of dogs in need, arranging transport, answering foster questions, etc. Because of her reputation in the rescue world, she routinely gets calls from locals for help with a dog they found abandoned or a neighbor who wants to get rid of a dog.


Every 3 weeks she donates one of her days off for a 15-hour transport run. After cleaning crates and loading the van, she may travel to New Mexico to pick up 20 dogs and drive them up to Denver. There are 1-2 adoption events per month which usually involves 5-6 hours of her time for travel, setup, and tear down. None of this includes her time for taking dogs for vetting, supplies to fosters, and meet-and-greets with potential adopters. Oh, and she cares for upwards of 5 rescues in her own home.

Alex’s Future

Alex has a heart for the working dogs (cattle dog/heeler) and bullies, because people misunderstand these breeds. Many adopters don’t realize the energy level of working dogs who require lots of exercise or a “job”—otherwise, they can get destructive. She favors pit-bull mixes because the press has turned the American Pit Bull Terrier, once referred to as the loyal American family dog, into a villain.

DeliahToday Alex is serves NHCDR, breed specific for heeler mixes, and she tags pitties with From Forgotten to Forever Rescue (FFTF). She has a dream to own property to build kennels as backup to her own foster-home rescue. Her passion is to save death row dogs—those minutes from euthanasia—victims of shelter overcrowding. Alex is truly the champion of the underdog of underdogs.

Roosevel aka Max

A Simple Request

Please be a foster. Why? Because fostering adds so much joy to your life as you see these dogs’ personalities come to life. You can be a change agent who can help a dog go from being traumatized to thriving.

DiamondIf you have a dog or two, the rescue will require that your pets are spayed or neutered. No one wants an oops! If you’ve ever thought of fostering, do it. The upside is how fulfilled you’ll feel in helping an underdog, and the only downside may be some adjustment in a temporary living situation.

You Can Help in Other Impactful Ways

The innocent victims are the dogs, and the heroes are those volunteering in the rescue world. You too can be a hero, and there’s many ways to help:

  • Reach out to a local rescue and offer to be a short-term foster.
  • Offer to be a substitute foster for a long-term foster going on vacation
  • Offer to transport dogs from foster to transport
  • Donate money and/or supplies to a local rescue
  • Help a rescuer with expenses for gas, oil/filter changes, gift cards for services, or money to help defray their own out-of-pocket expenses

Any amount helps. If you’d like to learn more about rescue, send a word of thanks, or gift a woman who cares too much, you can reach Alex at  or 281.881.1826.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon who has a heart for ministry and servant leadership and can be found in the mission field coaching on relationships and marriage strengthening, drilling water wells, installing filtration systems, and teaching hygiene. You can contact Sandra at

Are You Letting God Speak into Your Life?

devotions 55

As a Christian life coach, I’m always encouraging my clients to pray and hear what God wants to share about their purpose and direction as well as to set and go after personal goals that align with God’s vision. So, when my dear friend and Colombia mission mate gifted me with her recently published book 55 Devotions: Let God Speak into Your Life Today, I was proud and overjoyed in her accomplishment of combining all her God-given talents for His glory.

Brigitta has a love of Jesus, people, travel, and an eye for capturing nature’s beauty through the lens of a camera. Putting all together for good, she combined photos, Scripture, and stories for the purpose of inspiring others to action. A brief snip-it from the Importance of Encouragement (Day 35):

“The person whom I had met during the hike was on top of the wall. He told me that there was a great view from up there. He told me to come up. I hesitated, but he said that he would help me. He climbed down to the middle, and I found the right places to put my foot and climb up and then later down again. He did not really do anything, but his offering to help and his being there was enough encouragement for me to manage to climb up and down by myself….When you encourage me, do not tell me what I cannot do, but tell me what I can do.”

Although a perfect book for the coffee table, you’ll find yourself picking it up to read again and again versus watching it accumulate dust after the first read. This inspired work can be a powerful family devotional to read together, discuss, and share how you might be motivated to live a little bit differently tomorrow than you do today. I encourage you to take inventory of your talents, dream how you can bring them together, set a goal, go, and see how people draw closer to God through your commitment to say “yes” to Him.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, premarital/marriage, finances, and ministry. She coaches individuals and couples to be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her at

Failure Is a Must for a Good Life Story


milkovi-FTNGfpYCpGM-unsplashWe should all have at least one great story to tell, and it is the story of our life. And if we want to make ours worth a read, it must have certain elements.

A good story has a theme that helps the reader learn something about his own life through the penned words of the writer. All memorable stories have a character that struggles with internal feelings or needs or a conflict which may or may not be a result of his own doing. The important part of the plot is the character must win or lose at least partially by his own initiative and choices as opposed to being rescued.

Why am I sharing the structure of a great story? Because we’ve entered a time when failure isn’t a socially acceptable option, and parents will go to great lengths with their time, money, and excuses to ensure their children don’t fail. In my opinion, these parents are robbing their children of a full life—experiences of personal growth and the telling of a good life story.

To ensure we’re talking the same language, let’s define failure. Failure can be driving hard for something never achieved or never working hard enough to achieve anything of personal significance. Failure can be not having the right priorities and living with the outcome. In the worse scenarios, failure can mean choosing selfish behaviors that result in harm to others. You may have other definitions, but these capture some common ones.

Who doesn’t like a good story where somebody struggles and overcomes failure or a series of failures? I don’t know one good story where someone has been rescued when he should have rescued himself. Parents should allow their children to (1) live with the consequences of their choices and (2) live their own life and not the plan parents dream for their children.

My encouragement to parents is to suspend any helicoptering parenting that clears obstacles in the path of their children or rescues them from their poor choices. Instead, pray for your children as you let them fail while they figure out life, and with faith you will likely see them flourish as they learn first-hand from their mistakes. Perhaps their story will be so compelling, it will find its way onto the New York Times best selling non-fiction list.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and premarital/marriage coaching.  She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at

Life Coaching: What to Look for in a Coach?

Coaching Profession

Coaching has become one of the fastest growing professions, expanding beyond the ranks of sports to include life, executive, wellness, and leadership to name a few life coachspecialties. Brick-and-mortar as well as online schools are popping up and offering training and certification with a small investment of time and several thousands of dollars. These schools advertise they can teach you how to coach and build a client portfolio delivering a 6-figured salary. I’ve yet to find anything sustainable that does not require time, patience, and hard work. Without a doubt coaching can be transformational, and the responsibility lies with the client to vet a coach to find the best fit.

What I Would Look for in a Coach

Coaching helps people define and meet their goals, and coaches help clients get results. Coaches typically market themselves with certifications, degrees, and diplomas, yet a coach’s education is only one aspect of creating a successful coaching relationship. Other factors someone should consider before choosing a coach include:

  • Degree/Training/Certification: Does the coach have some form of training, formal education, or certification? Master’s degrees are available from colleges and universities. If selecting a coach based on his training, make sure he graduated from a program endorsed by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
  • Length of Experience: Many coaches hang their shingle up on a part-time basis, because it takes time to build a practice. They still have full time jobs to pay their bills, so when a coach advertises he has coached for 3 years, ask more questions regarding the amount of time he’s invested in coaching.
  • Type of Experience: Although coaching uses a general set of tools and processes, a coach who has practical experience in a specific field brings added value into that area of coaching. They’ll be able to offer suggestions if a client becomes stuck on how to navigate toward his goals.
  • Recommendations: Can the coach provide recommendations from satisfied clients? If coaching is primarily individual-based, recommendations may be more difficult to secure as clients don’t want to reveal they are coached. With business coaching, companies are usually more forthcoming with recommendations.
  • Business Legitimacy: Is the coach coaching as a hobby or business? Does the coach have a social media presence (business website, LinkedIn profile, Facebook Page)? What does it say about them? Although there are many talented coaches who approach coaching as a hobby, clients should be comfortable with the cost/reward structure.
  • Connection: Don’t underestimate the value of the coaching relationship. A coach can have all the right tools, processes, and background experience on a subject and be limited in what he can do for the client because of personality fit and connection. Liking, respecting, feeling comfortable, and being inspired by your coach is very important.

How I work with Clients as a Coach

As a Life & Leadership Coach, I approach my clients holistically because humans are multi-dimensional. Although a client may come to me to work on one specific issue such as transitioning careers, changing jobs, and learning teamwork skills to name a few, we explore what is happening in each area of my client’s life. As an example, if we’re going to work on changing careers, I need to know about his/her marriage. Why? Because we need to understand how the spouse will either support or challenge my client’s ability to change careers. Since I have a broad knowledge and experience base, I routinely coach on relationships, marriage, finances, career, jobs, business management, and time management.

I typically offer a free 30-minute call, so I can (1) answer any questions about myself, (2) understand what you are seeking from coaching, and (3) recommend how I think I can help you. During the call, you learn (1) how the coaching process works, (2) whether you are comfortable with me as a coach, (3) have any coaching questions answered, and (4) whether the fee/schedule fits.

During the first session, we typically review your Wheel of Life Assessment to understand how satisfied you are with each life dimension and how they affect each other. You then prioritize where you want to initiate improvement. Most coaches are trained not to advise and only ask open-ended questions so their clients can figure out what they want to do. In my coaching practice, I wholeheartedly drive on questions but find that clients at times need my support with brainstorming options and solutions. They also need help vetting these options against their standards and discussing approaches to get over obstacles.

Next Steps

I highly encourage people to consider coaching in an area of life that they’re struggling through. Coaching can be a powerful tool as just about any athlete can attest to.  The most difficult part is finding a talented coach you click with that can help you achieve your goals.

 [Note: The opinions and views of this article are of the author’s own and do not reflect those of any coaching organization or other professional coaches.]

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and premarital/marriage coaching.  She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at