Friday, April 9, 2010

Author Tour and Review: Anne Vincent - "The Way to Stillness"

The Story of Mike

Mike was a legally blind young boy from an economically disadvantaged home in the rural south. Somewhere in first grade the schools had given up on him. Students and teachers had pushed him aside saying, "Never mind Mike, he can't read." And Mike cooperated – if he “couldn't read,” he wouldn't read.

Dr. Kirk, a psychiatrist at Vanderbilt had worked and worked with this boy and had been unable to determine why he was not reading. She heard that I had a special gift for teaching kids to read, and asked me to assist.

Mike's family drove him from Kentucky to Nashville to meet with me. Since it was all they could do to put together the gas money for the drive to Nashville, I knew I had to make every moment count.

We started talking and Mike expressed an interest in machines. I checked with his parents and took him down to the boiler room at Peabody College on the campus of Vanderbilt University, where we went in and asked to meet the engineer.

The engineer was a patient man with a wonderful heart, and Mike asked him all sorts of wonderful questions about the boiler and the heat it was radiating. The engineer allowed Mike to touch and explore the machinery - and I realized that Mike inherently knew more about science than he could learn from any book. He already knew more than many students at the graduate level, and here he was coming to me because his school thought him slow!

His parents found the gas money to bring him back again the next week and at the next session, I gave him an article on heat. I told him “Don't read it. Just look at the words that you can make out." He started picking out just choice words so that he could get the idea - and of course, he could tell I knew nothing about the subject. Here, in my complete ignorance of this subject, was a boy who knew so much.

I thought to myself "He is my teacher! Here I am with this treasure, this miracle in my hands!"

After some time his teacher from Russellville, Kentucky called me, amazed at his improvement, saying, "This boy's never read before, and suddenly, he's scanning the material in class and raising his hand to respond to my questions. The other kids just look at him now in disbelief. I have to look at the book just to stay ahead of him!"

It was disturbing to me because it happened so fast. These wonderful things were happening for Mike and I knew they were real; yet, it seemed like magic, and I had difficulty accounting for everything that was happening. I wasn’t completely sure what to think. I experienced great self-doubt because the results of my work with Mike far exceeded what I had believed possible.

One of the things that made me more comfortable with Mike's turnaround was this: I had invited Dr. Lillian Bloeschl to come to Nashville. She was in charge of counseling at the University of Graz in Austria. I had met her there, and invited her to spend a month here in Nashville. Having sat in on one of my sessions with Mike she said, "You know, Gayle, you don't have to know clinically what's happening here - it's enough to know that Mike is now reading at grade level and beyond."

But I wanted to fully understand how I was able to achieve these results, and I couldn't. “Lillian," I said, "If I could explain this scientifically, it would be one thing, but I feel kind of like the medicine man at the circus or a magician at the carnival that magically unlocks the box through some kind of trick. What's happening here that this boy can read?"

Mike’s success was not coming from me.

About the Author:
Anne Alexander Vincent, Ordained Minister of Pastoral Counseling, is the Owner of Cottage in the Woods, a licensed ministry center of the National Christian Counselors Association. She is completing her PhD in Clinical Christian Counseling through the NCCA. With more than 30 years of counseling experience, she has completed her 8th year of intensive training under Dr Patrick Carnes, PhD as a Certified Multiple Addictions Therapist and Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist and with the International Trauma and Addiction Professionals as a Trauma and Addictions Therapist.

If you would like to learn more about Anne, you can visit her website, "Cottage In the Woods" at

The Way to Stillness:Powerful Tools for Those in Helping Professions
Authors: Anne Alexander Vincent & Gayle Alexander
Publisher: Cottage in the Woods
ISBN: 9780984087600
Audience: Adults
Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis (from Pump Up Your Book):

As she approaches her 90th year, Gayle Alexander, looks back over a career of service as a master counselor, gifted teacher, and minister. She was blessed to be mentored by some of the great souls of our time, Viktor Frankl and Norman Cousins as was her late husband by Mother Theresa. She shares the Love Motif, her unique approach to connecting with others at a deep level, offering a practical guide that anyone might use as a manual on their spiritual journey.

Full of rich insight and profound and inspiring life lessons gleaned from 50 years of private practice, being a “companion on the way” to thousands of individuals, she offers powerful tools to a new generation of helpers. It is her hope that educators, clergy members, physicians, clinicians, therapists, counselors, and anyone involved in the mentoring process find their own Way to Stillness and pass it on.

My Comment:

Let me start off by saying, I'm not in a helping profession - or maybe, in a way, I am. I'm a mom, wife, sister, friend, daughter... and in those instances, I have helped someone - but certainly not professionally, nor do I claim to be a professional. With that all said, when this book arrived, I had no idea what to expect, and thought it would be way over my head. Instead, I got a beautiful book that I believe can be used by anyone.

First, let me tell you about the beauty of the book. The cover gives no clue to the amazing photos that are inside. Every other page has a breathtaking black and white photo that makes you stop and study it. You just can't glance at them. You really need to look at them. They demand it!

The book itself is divided into small sections and focus on things like hope, dreams, spirituality, love, etc. and appear to be in meditation form. When reading and meditating on both the photos and the prose, I found many useful messages that I personally could use in everyday life. These meditations helped me to be more aware of myself and my surrounding friends and family.

One of my favorite sections is called "Character and Courage". Another that I really enjoyed was the Story of Mike (see above).

I enjoyed the Christian insight and views as well as the Bible references. I know that this will be one book I will be reading and using over and over.

This book was supplied for review for this tour by the author and Cheryl at Pump Up Your Blog. Thanks so much Cheryl!!!


  1. Thanks for the lovely review of Anne's book. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I haven't read my copy yet, but I can't wait.

    Readers can follow Anne's tour during the month of April by visiting

    Thanks again.


  2. What an awesome post!!! Great review and I would now love to check out the book further, you have truly piqued my interest!!

  3. Lovely review! I had not been enticed by the book (or cover) but your review changes my opinion! well done.

  4. wow, what a review!!

    thanks for sharing!!



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