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C. S. Elston

Chris’ Books:

* For more information on his books, click the pics above

About the Author:

Chris Elston has worked as a writer in various mediums, including the film and television industry, since the 1990’s. He primarily grew up in the northern suburbs of Seattle, Washington, went to college about twenty-five miles southwest of Portland, Oregon and then lived in the Los Angeles area for fifteen years. He now resides in Prescott Valley, Arizona with his wife and business partner, Andrea. Together, they own and operate Shine-A-Light Corp, which includes a publishing house, and a non-profit organization called Shine the Light Ministries.

First Name Acrostic:

Christ follower


Rambunctious on occasion


Saved by the 5 solas

Travel Bucket List Items:

In the U.S.A. — I’d like to take a road trip through the northern states because I haven’t been east of Montana and north of Illinois/Indiana as an adult. We could turn around and head back once we stopped for a “Frrrozen Hot Chocolate” at the iconic Serendipity3 between Second and Third avenues in New York City.

Outside the U.S.A. — Israel.

An adventure — I’m typically just happy to survive the day.

An Accomplishment He’s Proud Of:

Finding the most amazing woman on the planet and somehow convincing her to marry me.

Five Favorites:

Movie – The Shawshank Redemption

Music – Christian, Classic Rock, Country

Food – Pizza, steak

Book – After God’s Word, that’s like a 50-way tie and I’m not going to list them all

Vacation spot – Hawaii, Lake Chelan (Eastern Washington State)

“Family Photos”


Coming soon: The Four Corners of Winter

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Michele Renee DeRouin

Michele’s Books:

Coming Soon: Swimming From the Shadows

* For more information on her books, click the pics above

About the Author

After growing up in Bakersfield, California, Michele earned a degree in Child Psychology and spent twenty years working in social services. In 2001, she moved to the mountains of Arizona where she learned to hunt, fish, and rock climb. During that time, she felt God moving her to write a book. In 2017, she moved to the island of Oahu, Hawaii, where she retired from social work and began to write her first novel.

Michele has two grown children and one grandchild. In addition to her love for the outdoors, Michele enjoys painting with watercolors and digital mediums and has sold over 200 pieces of art. Her strong faith in God has helped her to overcome many obstacles and her heartache inspired much of her first book, Cracks in the Floor of Heaven. Michele has also been blessed with many gifts from God, who has taught her how to have joy despite pain and hope in the midst of hardship. She remains an optimist, has a heart for helping others, and plans to write many more books that she hopes will bring light into the darkness and healing into the lives of hurting people.

First Name Acrostic:

My faith keeps me

In the light because I am

Chosen for a purpose

Helping others creates an

Ease in trusting God and

Loving others makes

Everyday special

Travel Bucket List Items: All of the Hawaiian islands, New Zealand, and the national parks.

An Accomplishment She’s Proud Of: Her move to Hawaii.

Five Favorites:

Hobby: Swimming and body surfing

Food: Fish tacos

Music: For King and Country and ’80’s tunes

Movie: Burnt

Season: Summer

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Living Life Beyond the Golden Arches . . . My Message to all 2021 Graduates

 I once heard a pastor say that the McDonald’s extra value meal represents everything that is wrong with today’s thinking and contradicts everything that honorable members of society should stand for. For example, the idea behind the extra value meal is this: get as much as possible by giving as little as possible. It causes you to ask questions like “How far can I stretch my dollar?” “How much can I get without it costing me very much?” Now don’t get me wrong… I went through college. I lived on Top Ramen.  I know the value of a dollar.  That’s not my point. The question that we should be asking ourselves is, “What can I give knowing that I might get little or nothing in return? You may have noticed there are not that many people asking those kinds of questions which is why I believe society is quickly unraveling at the seams and there are not very many who care to pick up a needle and thread!

Not only does the value meal glorify an unappetizing outlook, but it also sacrifices nutrition and quality for convenience and quantity. The food offered in an extra value meal is not exactly what you want to base your dietary regime on, and yet it’s offered in the largest amount. Its popularity suggests that people will readily forsake what’s good for them for what conveniently and inexpensively satiates their appetite. How popular would the value menu be if the items you could supersize were salads and grilled tilapia? Society is dependent on people who don’t buy into sacrificing anything for convenience…those who are willing to make choices that do not compromise integrity, core values, or Biblical truth. There are so many opportunities in life to sacrifice these things for convenience. Please don’t do it. We all know the value meal does not hold out in the end…you usually end up with a stomachache and quite possibly multiple trips to the bathroom. Society is dependent on people whose character is defined by what they do when no one is looking, what they do when they know they won’t get caught, and what they do when they know they wouldn’t get praised either! People of true character are so needed more than ever right now!

Aside from just the value meal, the whole McDonald’s mentality is all about speed.  Fast food is exactly what the name implies…it is a quick fix.  Instead of putting time and energy into a homemade dinner, you can be in and out of McDonald’s in 5 minutes with everything from your drink to dessert. Scholarship does not reflect this same principal, as you all well know.  You spend hours studying, you pay attention in class, you absorb knowledge. Scholarship is more than getting the right GPA. It is a life-long love of learning… and that does not happen overnight.  Each time you decide you want to learn something; the experience will be so rewarding that the next time will be that much easier and soon learning becomes a habit. At that point, your desire to learn makes getting A’s easier, and the focus isn’t on the grades anymore, but the acknowledgment that life is full of learning opportunities…embrace it!

Think about McDonald’s slogan… “I’m lovin’  it.” The world says… it’s all about me! I’m hungry…  I gotta feed the need.  An honorable member of society says the opposite and prizes citizenship above all which involves looking out for the needs of a group. It requires you to look beyond your own interests as encouraged in Philippians 2:4 – “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (NIV) I love that Paul doesn’t advocate total selflessness but implores his readers to look beyond personal desires and not let them run your life.

The main topic of this blog has not only made me hungry but reminds me of an event in Jesus’ life recorded in John 4: 31-38. The disciples were urging Jesus to eat something. I’m not totally positive on the background of that, but for some reason they were. Jesus’ response to them was simple: “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” As the disciples were wondering who could have snuck him a snack pack, Jesus patiently went on to explain that His sustenance was doing the work of the Father and He was looking for some additional employees. The harvest of men’s souls was ready to be reaped. Others had laid the groundwork and it was time for the disciples to pick up their garden tools. Oftentimes we reap the benefits of someone else’s works. A good leader does that. They learn from other’s mistakes. They learn from other’s examples. You have amazing parents and a heritage of teachers and education that you can reap from and build your leadership style from. You in turn will sew what others will reap. You will lead by example. You will lay the groundwork for your siblings, your friends, or future students to harvest. What you leave behind as you use your God-given leadership abilities to do his will.

And that’s the main point that I want to leave you with.  None of this means anything without a personal relationship with the Lord and a desire and dedication to doing His will. He loves you. He created you. He gave you the characteristics that are recognized in this society.  My charge to you is this: seek to understand how you can use them for God’s glory. He promises to be faithful to complete the good work that he’s begun in you. Allow yourself to be used by him. Do not give into the value meal theology and the McDonald’s mentality. Live your life beyond the Golden Arches. Just some food for thought. Congratulations on all your achievements and the many more that have yet to be seen.

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No Running Down the Halls in Teacher Shoes

by M. N. Kollar


Stand up straight. Smile but not too big. Hands steady and calmly clasped in front of me.  Wait for the students to settle. Oh yeah, and somehow hold back the rivers of sweat about to roll down my forehead and pits. I remind myself that any day I don’t run screaming out of the classroom is a victory.

Every day is the first day of school when you are a substitute teacher. I started out anxious to fill little minds and touch little hearts and ended up wanting to push myself into a locker for the whole day.

When they were in a state of what passed for ‘settled,’ I handed out the blank sheets of paper. The teacher had left a list of essay questions to be chosen from and I selected what I hoped would be a fun easy one and wrote it on the board. Those blank sheets, those cold stares, those snickers from the back of the class.

This is high school. I didn’t even sign up for high school jobs, this was one of those pleading phone calls at the last minute that make you feel too guilty not to take. Then my family waved to me like they were sending me off to war.

There he was, my Waterloo. A gang member, maybe, but definitely a tough guy. He walked away from the desk and the sheet of paper and proceeded to sit at another desk and talk to a friend.

My husband looked at me with pain in his eyes and reminded me that high school kids can be mean. I lied to him and told him that I didn’t care, I’ve been toughened up by having a teen aged daughter.

I considered just letting that kid do what he wanted to do. I considered playing it safe and just making it through the day. I considered what it would be like to challenge him and lose. I wiggled my toes in my ‘teacher shoes.’ How I decided to walk over to that new desk and gently lay a crisp blank sheet of paper in front of that kid, who was at least a head taller than me and outweighed my by twenty pounds, I can’t explain. I just did it. Probably not the bravest thing I’ve ever done in my life but pretty darn close.

My oldest, the aforementioned daughter, offered me good advice about not trying to act too cool because teens see right through this and don’t appreciate it. “Besides,” she whispered, waving her hand from side to side at throat level, “you are not cool.”

I wasn’t prepared for a fight or even an argument but I certainly wasn’t prepared for what I received; compliance. Well, maybe it was just indifference but it was good enough! He and the rest of the class accepted my instruction about what was to be written on the blank sheet without much trouble. The assignment was to write an essay about wishes; anything you could wish for. Simple. Heartbreaking. Uplifting. Some could not break free of their bonds and wished for cell phones and sneakers. Some asked me what a trip to Alaska or Paris might be like. I referenced the Aurora Borealis and sitting in cafes. We talked. We laughed. We dreamed.

My oldest son, wise beyond his years but not eager to voice his opinion, just hugged me a little tighter when he heard I was heading to a high school.

I was not cool but I did actually know some stuff. When one of them asked me how to spell environment, I remarked that it was a tricky word and that I always pronounced it ‘environ-ment’ in my head when spelling it to help me get it right. For whatever reason, I was called in to corroborate that a tomato was indeed a fruit. ‘Tough Guy’ asked me about where I lived and was it nice and what were my kids like. I talked WITH him and the others. I didn’t talk AT them or DOWN to them.

My youngest had no idea about the treacherous water Mom was about to be thrown into but he could feel the icy winds of fear blowing around the family. He made sure I had an orange with me.

My biggest surprise came at the end of the class. Since we did officially make it through the assigned task, I set about drawing picture riddles on the board as a treat. I wasn’t sure if they were too old for this type of thing because I usually sub in elementary school and do not have a high school ‘bag o’ tricks.’ It turned out that the class enjoyed the riddles immensely and were fully engaged. Some of the kids even began to share some of their own visual riddles.

What surprised and amazed me was when one boy, clearly neuroatypical and with a severe speech impediment, drew something on the board and began to talk about it. The other kids in no way ignored him, brushed him aside, belittled his efforts or displayed any of the attitudes I would have expected. I watched as they patiently tried to make sense of what he drew and spoke. They put their full efforts into participating with him. The way they treated him just melted and reshaped my heart. I was blown away. I was humbled. What I would have missed out on if I had played it safe and just tried to make it through the day.

I wondered a lot of things about that day. What if I hadn’t laid down that sheet of paper? What if I had decided the kids were too old for games? 

Most school days I do admire teachers, the ones that walk into that classroom day after day and year after year. Admiration, certainly, but not envy. On that day, however, I envied that feeling of connecting with these amazing kids and maybe even making a small difference in their lives. I did manage to teach them something that day; tomatoes are fruit and Alaska and Paris are worth a visit. It may be a cliché, (who cares – many things become clichés because they are true) but I received more than I gave that day and, because of it, I became a better person.

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Welcome to Shine-A-Light Press

Shine-A-Light Corp, a multi-media company striving to “shine-a-light” in a world with far too much darkness, is pleased to announce the launch of Shine-A-Light Press. Founded by a husband and wife team who are combining their twenty years of experience, Andrea’s running a classroom and Chris’ as both a film/television writer and an author, Shine-A-Light Press is producing both books and educational curricula for preschool through high school.

Our commitment is to provide quality curriculum, supplementary material, and literary works that can easily be integrated into your current curriculum and used as either read-alouds or simply for personal enjoyment. You will find that our educational resources exceed most widely accepted learning standards, but many are aligned with state standards and/or Common Core for certification purposes.

The products offered by Shine-A-Light Press are available in both hard copy and digital formats and can be purchased in our public store or are included in our various membership packages. Whether you are a single-family with one child in second grade, a homeschooling co-op serving several grade levels, or a P-12 school with 800 students, there is a membership level that applies to you and a price tag that matches appropriately.

Memberships grant the account holder access to the digital material appropriate for their membership level, including early access to new products up to a month before they become available in the store. A perfect example is our new book “The Four Corners of Darkness” which will be available in the store at the end of the month but is currently available as an eBook to our upper elementary, middle school, and premier membership levels. New products that arrive during the annual membership cycle are added to the membership at no additional charge to the account holder. Plus, every member has an automatic 15% discount on all products in the store, site wide.

We have many products planned beyond what you can currently see in the store. Many of which will show up in the next few months. More are already on the calendar to debut in the months that will follow. Our inventory will continue to grow but we are committed to maintaining a personal, small-business level of customer service and family atmosphere. We look forward to getting to know you, serving you, and want to start by saying, “Welcome to the Shine-A-Light family!”