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Cec with Mark and Sharon Fincannon and Torry Martin

In March, Cec enjoyed meeting Mark Fincannon (left), casting director of more than 200 major Hollywood films, and his wife, Sharon. On the right is Cec's friend Torry Martin, who is a writer, speaker, and actor.
When a Man You Love Was Abused
Not Quite Healed
April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. If your church or organization ever needs a speaker who can address any type of abuse, please consider Cec. Sexual abuse, in particular, is a topic he's passionate about, and he understands the long-lasting effects. Pictured are a few resources he's written.
Stolen: The True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor
Talents
I can’t remember when I didn’t know I could teach. In school, I reached out to the so-called dumb kids and did what I could to help them improve their grades. While still in high school, I became an excellent bowler and taught others how to play the game well.
Fifteen years ago, I was teaching a group of twenty people about talents—how to recognize and use them. One of the things I suggested was to ask our friends what they see as our special abilities. “All of us have talents of some kind. Sometimes we don’t recognize those talents,” I said. “Others may see them, but we remain unaware.”
“I’m a teacher,” I said. “That’s my primary gift.”
“I disagree,” one woman said. “You’re an encourager. You do that better than anything else.”
Her words stunned me, and my impulse was to shake off her comment.
“She’s right,” someone else said.
Within minutes, most of the people confirmed that statement. And I was in total shock. I had never seen myself in that light.
That day, I accepted the truth about myself.
Since then, I’ve self-observed the way I interact with people. It’s a natural reaction—okay, it’s a talent. I wouldn’t know how to teach someone to imitate me, because I see that as a divinely given gift.
I’m writing about this because many of us feel worthless. But I still remember a saying that was bandied about years ago when I went to graduate school in a predominately black university. It went like this (even though grammatically incorrect), “God don’t make no junk.”
As useless as you may feel, you are gifted in some way. You may not be able to see it yourself, so ask your friends. 
I am gifted. So are you.
Personal News
I have one trip this month to Iowa, where I grew up (and where Twila lives). I’ll be in Davenport, Dubuque, Coralville, Manchester, and Cedar Falls.
  • Thursday, April 14, I’ll do a TV interview and speak at the Inspire Café in Dubuque.
  • Friday, April 15, I’ll do an interview with Ken and Deb on WDLM (Moody Radio), and spend time with my sisters and family in Davenport.
  • Saturday, April 16, I’ll speak for a mini retreat at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Coralville.
  • Sunday, April 17, I’ll preach and teach Sunday school at the United Methodist Church in Manchester. That evening, Mary Potter Kenyon and I will do a seminar on grief.
  • Monday, April 18, Mary Potter Kenyon and I will speak at the American Martyrs Retreat House in Cedar Falls on the topic of Finding Hope in Grief.
  • Tuesday, April 19, I’ll do a writing seminar called How to Write Your Story at the Quad Cities Prayer Center in Davenport. The event is sponsored by One Eighty.
With the help of Allison Restagno and Helena Smrcek, I’ll speak in the Toronto area the third week of May.
The Twila Zone
Words from My Assistant, Twila Belk
I learned on March 10 that an uninvited guest had shown up to my party. Its name is breast cancer. Since that date, I've been caught up in a flurry of tests and appointments. Because of the nature of the cancer, the oncologist wants to attack it aggressively. I will start with chemo and follow that with surgery. My treatments should begin within a few days, and although I've cleared my upcoming travel schedule, which included several conferences, I still have plans to boss Cec around when he's in Iowa this month. 
I’m at peace and am experiencing God’s embrace in a big way. I’m confident He has good plans and that He has something wonderful in store through this. 
Because God's timing is perfect, on March 10 I also discovered a just-posted review on Amazon for Raindrops from Heaven. It made me want to jump up and shout, "Yay, God!" and I could sense God's smile on me. Here's part of what Brian Simpkins said in his review: "My sister gave me this book after I lost my son. As I have struggled to live through each day, God's words are spot on and give me the encouragement, hope, comfort, and guidance that I need as I try to begin to heal my shattered heart. It's like it was written just for me! I look forward to reading it every day along with my Bible...The words will remind you that God is right beside you, no matter what trials or tribulations you are going through. He will never forsake us!
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