About Allison Bottke

The author of the Setting Boundaries book series from Harvest House Publishers.

Stop Hoarding Your Hurts – Set Healthy Boundaries with Negative Thoughts – Foreword by Bonnie Keen

 #7 Coming Spring 2017

Although I’m frequently referred to as a “boundary expert,” the truth is I’m the most boundary-challenged person I know. They say to “write what you know,” and I’ve followed that adage since book one in this series; Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children.

As someone who has experienced extreme boundary violations in life, this current topic is especially close to my heart—and to my senses—as negative thoughts and painful memories can sometimes appear without warning. It takes a concerted effort not to hoard my hurts at times, and I’m not always successful.

Can you relate?

[Read more…]

When a “First Book” is Born – Rejoicing in Labor and Delivery!


Are you a published author who knows the feeling of holding the first copy of your newest book?

I remember the first time I held my first published book in my hands. It was in February of 2001. “God Allows U-Turns – True Stories of Hope and Healing” arrived in a simple padded envelope from my publisher, along with a lovely “congratulations” letter from Tim Martins, the new President and CEO of Barbour Publishing, and Greg Buick, the also new Vice President of Publishing for Promise Press–the imprint under which the God Allows U-Turns compilation series was being published.

That debut book went on to become a series of 13 books that built the foundation of my writing and publishing career. A career that has introduced me to countless industry professionals and blessed me with long-time friendships with some of the most amazing authors of our time.

Yet I can still recall that “first book” as though it was yesterday. Can you relate to that feeling?

Without doubt, it’s a magical time…holding your first “book baby” in your hands.

Fast forward 15 years and 31 books later, and it’s still a special moment when that first “author copy” arrives. It’s a feeling unlike any other, filled with joyful emotions of excitement and wonder and equal parts of anxiety and fear…”What if no one reads it, or even buys it?” Or the worst fear, “What if they don’t like it?”

As a writer, I get that trepidation—and I pray it never goes away. It shows you still care.

In my alternate role as a developmental editor, I’ve experienced the blessing of watching many first-time  authors give birth to their “book babies,” and it’s a joy unlike any other. As of today, I’m in the final countdown with a first-time author who will be launching a brand-new  website next week—in association with a pre-release book campaign in preparation of her September 6 “delivery date.” She is pregnant with passion, purpose, and yes…a little bit of panic as she enters this home stretch.

If you know the feeling of giving birth to a book—be it your first or your latest—will you please share your experience, photos, and words of encouragement on my Facebook Page with Dr. Victoria Sarvadi, as she prepares for the release of her debut book? Let’s rally around this courageous woman whose first book is a powerful memoir that is going to grab you from page one and hang on to you until the end. Stay tuned to updates, announcements, and some exciting FLASH GIVE-AWAYS.

Allison Bottke and Victoria Sarvadi, Fall 2014

Join the conversation and the countdown here…




NEW! Audio Book for Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children


Listen (FREE!) to Carol Kent’s powerful Foreword from Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children as narrated by Margaret Strom.



Setting Boundaries with Painful Memories – Stop Hoarding Your Hurts – Reader Feedback Questionnaire

Hoarding Junk in Head

Why Does Someone Live Like This?


I had just finished watching a movie on television and randomly clicked through the channels to see if anything else caught my eye. When I saw a woman teetering precariously atop a huge mound of junk, I stopped.

She was nicely dressed and appeared to be in her forties. Her long dark hair was pulled back in a ponytail. The narrator said the woman worked part-time as a clerk for a local hardware store. As I watched her awkwardly navigate the space, I was stunned to hear the narrator say this was “Carla’s” bedroom.

Upon closer inspection, you could see piles of clothes, but they were strewn haphazardly among boxes, stacks of newspapers, magazines, and books. There was no visible furniture other than a broken lampshade lying on its side atop a mishmash pile of junk. Plastic trash bags filled with God knows what, dotted the space. Most disconcerting was the trash; food wrappers, pizza boxes, soft drink cans, yogurt containers, and obvious garbage contributing to the landscape.

Well over four feet of refuse and personal belongings covered the entire floor.

The camera followed Carla as she proceeded to what looked to be a walkway, where the tower of trash was somewhat less dense but nonetheless, still difficult for her to traverse. As Carla tried to get a foothold, she would often slip and fall into the rubble. Eventually, she reached a place where a slight clearing was carved out of the chaos, revealing what appeared to be a large circular micro-fiber dog bed.

“This is where I sleep.” She said quietly.

I stared in horror as the camera zoomed in on a visibly active roach population moving freely amidst the debris surrounding her “bed.” My initial horror was superseded by a scurrying pair of rodents vying nearby for their own turf.

Suddenly, I felt like a gawker driving by a horrendous accident—torn between the knowledge I should keep moving, but compelled to stare.

[Read more…]

Balancing Our Boundaries

Finding Balance

Work Life Balance Signpost Showing Career And Leisure Harmony

Maybe you have challenging relationships with adult children, difficult people, toxic relatives, or even with food. Perhaps you’ve experienced an internal struggle with painful memories or emotions, with stress, expectations, or habits. When setbacks happen in life, we can’t give up. We can regain balance! God is always in control, and He will never give up on us—so we mustn’t give up on Him, on ourselves or on the people in our lives. The Bible teaches that we can do all things through Christ, who gives us strength. SANITY is possible—one step at a time!



SS01_ABThe Six Steps to SANITY Can Change Your Life!

No matter what trial or tribulation we might experience, no matter how insane the situation may seem, God loves us and wants the best for us. He does not cause bad things to happen, but He sometimes allows them to happen for a purpose that we don’t always see clearly. The older I get, the more I realize that life doesn’t get any easier … we just get wiser about how we view it. It’s all about perspective. I’ve often had to change my perspective in order to regain balance in my life and set healthy boundaries with my own thoughts and actions. Practicing these SANITY steps can help us find balance, especially when life spins out of control.


S = STOP repeating the same negative actions and expecting different results

A = ASSEMBLE supportive people around us

N = NIP excuses in the bud

I = IMPLEMENT a plan of action

T = TRUST the voice of the Spirit

Y = YIELD everything to God


God’s peace,





February Update from Author Allison Bottke

Allison News Blue Jacket Large file size



Economic Outlook In Crisis Monitor Showing Bankruptcy And DepressionWhen we last spoke (on August 28, 2014,) I had reached a critical impasse in my life and career. After fifteen years and thirty books, I was seriously contemplating shutting down my websites and putting an end to my writing career. It was just too hard trying to juggle everything by myself. The wind completely went out of my sails. Things were looking mighty dismal (particularly with respect to my finances,) and I was on the verge of losing my house, my car, my security, and my sanity.

How did I get here, God? What am I doing wrong? How did I end up back on the gerbil wheel of insanity? 

Little did I know how miraculously my Higher Power would answer these desperate questions.


Trust Faith Buttons Show Trustful Or FaithfulnessFirst Things First

I thought my faith was strong, that I had reached a place in life where I fully trusted God. But did I really trust Him? Or, was I trusting in my own dysfunctional devices and making less than effective choices? What was God trying to teach me? What lesson did I really need to learn?

Readers who have heard me over the years on TV or radio know I’m uncomfortable when a host calls me a “boundary expert.” Although I have devoted myself to this topic for many years, the fact is I’m one of the most boundary challenged people I know. Truthfully, it’s my Achilles heel. I’ve felt called to write books on this topic not because I’m any kind of expert, but because this ministry is how God teaches—and reaches—me. Learning how to handle difficult choices causes me to delve deep into God’s Word for wisdom, discernment, and direction. Consistently learning how to regain my balance, trust God and find sanity is how I’m able to authentically share the Six Steps to SANITY with others. However, knowing this doesn’t make the lessons I need to learn any easier.




When we last spoke, I was drowning under the pressure of seemingly never-ending financial struggles. I was gasping for air and going down for the final count when a fellow author (and close friend) stepped in to throw me a life preserver.

Mary DeMuth listened to my anguished cries of defeat and despair. And as she prayed for me, something miraculous began to happen. I realized I had to stop fighting so hard to keep my head above water. I had to stop trying to do it all and fix it all. I realized that in a sincere desire to help myself, I had only enabled myself! I became my own worse enemy. Clearly, I wasn’t practicing what I preached.

I had to jump off the gerbil-wheel of insanity and actively apply (not just talk about) the Six Steps to SANITY, starting with the “S” step.

Lord, please help me to STOP repeating the same behavior and expecting different results! I can’t keep up this pace any more. If it’s Your will that I lose everything I’ve been trying so desperately to hold, so be it. I’m trusting You to take care of me and clearly show me what You want me to do.

I didn’t know which way to turn any more–I had to YIELD everything to God, the “Y” step in SANITY. So, I prayed for wisdom and discernment, Mary prayed for me to find peace and relief from the fear and pain, and together we asked the Lord to help us find possible solutions.


Solutions Not Problems Notice On BoardWhat To Do Next

YIELDING everything to God wasn’t easy. Admitting I didn’t have the answers and asking for help wasn’t easy. Nothing about the six months following this massive melt-down was easy. However, it has been the most spiritually enlightening and fortifying season in my fifty-nine years of life. I feel like I’ve come out of a spiritual fog—like I’m seeing the world—and God—through new eyes. And I just had to tell you—and thank you.

So much has changed since we last spoke.





Difficult Choices

When I realized I needed to STOP the insanity, I was leasing a small house in the DFW area, but I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to downsize and move. I began to actively explore alternative living situations and started to sell off my furniture, jewelry, books, and other personal property. It was crunch time. Next, I weighed my writing options, and I was torn. This is really all I know how to do, but it’s very hard to make a living in this business, especially as a single person who is solely responsible for every expense and struggles with Dyslexia and Adult ADD. When another friend suggested a GoFundMe Campaign, I was immediately against the idea. However, after seeking feedback from trusted advisors and after a great deal of fervent prayer, I felt convicted to tell readers (like you) what was happening.



Help Letters Falling As Symbol For Support And AdviceReaders Come to the Rescue

I prayed for strength to follow the “A” step in SANITY and ASSEMBLE supportive people online and offline to help.

I’ve always been transparent in sharing my life experiences in my books, but this level of vulnerability was very risky. Close friends were well aware of my increasing financial difficulties, but for the most part I appeared quite successful to the public. In our world, it’s one thing to share the emotional and psychological fallout of abuse, abortion, addiction, and even divorce…but it’s another thing entirely to share financial despair and desperation.

However, within days of revealing my critical situation to readers, God showed Himself through the loving generosity of my brothers and sisters in Christ, who called, prayed for me, sent encouraging letters and email, and contributed financially to help me stay afloat. I wept. Several people offered temporary rental homes. And God continued to show His provision through my gracious and compassionate church community. I was overwhelmed at the outpouring of love I felt.

However, while this sudden influx of financial blessings would allow me to address immediate needs and temporarily stop the financial hemorrhage, it wasn’t a long-term solution to the ongoing problem. Although deeply grateful and blessed by the help, I still had to face the fact that it didn’t look like I could make it on my own as a freelance writer—I couldn’t seem to generate a consistent flow of dependable income or clients, and I couldn’t keep up with the growing demands of handling all the administrative tasks and marketing and promotion responsibilities in addition to the writing. As much as it broke my heart, I began to think it was time to give up on my writing dream—to consider that maybe it wasn’t a calling after all.

Lord, I’m almost sixty years old, what am I supposed to do for income? I have nothing in savings, nothing in reserve, how am I supposed to live? I need you to show me…

Before August came to an end, the Lord clearly revealed His will about my calling. He gave me a miraculous writing project that took me out of self-pity and self-reliance and placed me on a path where His love, grace and mercy were so visible—so viscerally apparent, that I had no doubt whatsoever I was walking completely in His will, that I was doing exactly what He called me to do.


31 Days of Moumtaintop Miracles

A Book Years in the Making

When Susie Jennings, the Founder of Operation Care International approached me to help write her book on miracles, I was familiar with the project. I was one of several writers who had bid on the writing project several years previously. At that time, I presented her with a sample of how I would write/edit one of her miracle testimony stories. I enjoyed working on The Widows Pendant, but that one story had taken a considerable amount of time, and my projected fee reflected the hours it would take to complete thirty-one true short stories using Susie’s notes and ideas. It turned out that Susie’s book wasn’t a key priority for her back then, and she set it aside when God called her in another direction.

However, when she called me in late August things had changed and now she needed a complete book in less than one month. It would take an extraordinary commitment (and supernatural power) to accomplish the work within her requested time frame.

I completely agreed that Susie’s ministry message of how to understand and care for the growing homeless population needed to be shared, but I was in the throes of a monumental life change—selling, packing, and trying to figure out where I was going to live and how I was going to survive. The GoFundMe Campaign had just launched, and I was overwhelmed with life. I didn’t see how I could possibly help.

However, Susie was determined. She was certain I was the person destined to be the midwife to help give birth to her first book. And so, Susie did what she does best—she prayed for a miracle. She prayed that God’s will for my life—and for her book—would be revealed to both of us. And I prayed, in earnest, desiring to be led by God’s spirit and not by my own will or financial need.

It quickly became apparent to Susie (and me) that God wanted me to work on this book, at this moment, for a fraction of the fee I initially proposed, and in a crazy timeframe that seemed humanly impossible. I prayed daily (often hourly) for God to do His miraculous work through me.

Okay, God, Your call to take on this project is coming in loud and clear. I will be obedient. Use me to help Susie share her story and the amazing ministry and message of Operation Care International. Please handle everything else in and around my life—and give me the wisdom, strength and creative vision to make this book possible–and pleasing to You.


susie & allisonNo Time to Waste

Time was critical. Susie had carried this baby in her heart (and on pages and pages of notes) for many years, and the time had come for her “child” to be born. By the first week of September, I was putting in 15-hour days in the delivery room. I worked over 280 hours during a 37-day stretch on nothing but this project. I wrote and edited while I ate. I prayed about the project in the shower. I even took hard copy print outs with me to the bathroom. The only time I stopped was to sleep, or to respond to the comments and financial blessings readers were sending online.

Together, in record time, Susie and I gave birth to 31 Days of Mountaintop Miracles, One Woman’s Journey of Unconditional Obedience. The manuscript passed from my hands to the publisher on October 1, and Susie received her first shipment of books on October 14, in plenty of time to give 1,000 complimentary copies to guests at the Annual Roaring Lambs Hall of Fame Banquet on November 15, where Susie was being inducted into the Hall of Fame for her lifetime achievement as the Founder of Operation Care International. It was a monumental day for Susie, in so many ways.

Susie Jennings’ life of obedience is a powerful testimony of faith, and her ability to see miracles in every moment is inspiring a nation.

Susie’s beautiful and anointed book on miracles had a miraculous birth of its own, made possible by both of us trusting in God and faithfully walking in His will every step of the way, and by readers like you who helped me survive. With 100% of the proceeds from all book sales going directly to Operation Care International, I am deeply honored and blessed to be the person God used to help bring this extraordinary collection of 31 Days of Mountaintop Miracles into the world.


Time For Miracles Message Showing Faith In God

The Miracles Continued

As I worked 15-hour days and prayed for God’s provision, financial gifts from hundreds of people enabled me to stay afloat. Before October came to an end, the Lord helped me pay off several significant debts. He also brought me a roommate to help with monthly expenses, so I could remain in the house I was renting. Then, through earthly intercessors, He introduced me to several serious clients who were looking for a professional writer/editor. The tide had shifted, and so had I.

I believe God was changing my life because through this entire crisis, I was changing how I honored and served Him. I had learned a powerful lesson during this journey about unconditonal obedience.

In his book, The Blessed Life, Pastor Robert Morris writes, “God is a rewarder. This is a truth about God of which many Christians don’t seem to be aware. He loves to reward us when we diligently seek His presence, His will, and His ways. He rewards good work, and He rewards good stewardship.”

I had worked hard over the years and tried to be a good steward—or so I thought—but the reality was that I had failed miserably in actually walking out the words in Joshua 24:15, “…choose this day whom you will serve.” In my fear of not being able to make ends meet, I had been serving the spirit of money—mammon—and not the true Spirit of God. I have always tithed, but not with the kind of intentional committment and loving obedience that blessed God.

As God began to open the eyes of my heart with new wisdom and give me new direction, I began to read and interpret His Word in a fresh new way. Suddenly, every message at church seemed to address my financial issues and lead me to applicable scriptural teaching. As the blessings in my life increased, the more convicted I felt about the biblical mandate of stewardship and tithing.

I believe that because of my faithfulness and obedience to Him and to this conviction, He has rewarded me in unimaginable ways, including the blessing of bringing some very important book projects into my life for this New Year. Projects that I feel are destined to inspire readers around the world.


Hand writes the word thank youThank You, Jesus!

Six months ago, my life was falling apart as I tried desperately to keep running on the gerbil wheel of insanity. Although money is still tight, I’m no longer drowning. I’ve jumped off the gerbil wheel and I’m trusting God to provide. Today, I’m wealthy in blessings and rich in God’s love. Today, I’m on the road to sanity and peace.

Thank you, Mary. Thank you, readers. Thank you, God.



Finding BalanceWork Life Balance Signpost Showing Career And Leisure Harmony

Maybe you have challenging relationships with adult children, difficult people, toxic relatives, or even with food. Perhaps you’ve experienced an internal struggle with your own stress, expectations, or habits—or maybe you feel like I did—frustrated over your job, career, purpose, or finances. When setbacks happen in life, we can’t give up. We can regain balance! God is always in control, and He will never give up on us—so we mustn’t give up on Him, on ourselves or on the people in our lives. The Bible teaches that we can do all things through Christ, who gives us strength. SANITY is possible—one step at a time!



SS01_ABThe SANITY Support steps work—no matter what trial or tribulation we might experience. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that (even me!) God loves us and wants the best for us. He does not cause bad things to happen, but He sometimes allows them to happen for a purpose that we don’t always see clearly. In my recent situation, I had to learn to stop placing so much emphasis on generating money—and more on being a good (and obedient) steward of what God was providing. I had to change my perspective in order to regain balance in my life and set healthy boundaries with my own thoughts and actions. Practicing these SANITY steps can help us find balance, especially when life spins out of control.


S = STOP repeating our own negative behavior

A = ASSEMBLE supportive people around us

N = NIP excuses in the bud

I = IMPLEMENT a plan of action

T = TRUST the voice of the Spirit

Y = YIELD everything to God


We are moving forwardMoving Forward

I respect and appreciate you as a reader, and I want to be professional, responsible, and dependable in communicating with you. My vision for this newsletter has always been to provide you with valuable resources that will meet your needs, empower you to stand strong in your faith, and help you set healthy boundaries.

Thank you for allowing me to give you an update on my life in this February 2015 issue, to share my heart with you. Thank you to those who have shared your hearts with me. May the peace of God that passes all understanding guard your hearts and minds. And may you feel the love and protection of Jesus with every breath you take.


God’s peace,






2884Attention DFW Readers

Barnes & Noble Book Signing

Susie Jennings will be conducting her first public book signing at the Lincoln Park Barnes & Noble. Please mark the date on your calendar and stop by to say hello to Susie, show your support for Operation Care International, and get your signed copy of 31 Days of Mountaintop Miracles!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

3:00 – 4:00 PM

Barnes & Noble – Lincoln Park

7700 West Northwest Hwy. Ste. 300

Dallas, TX 75225


PS: If you’re at a place in life where you feel this newsletter isn’t what you need, please simply return to the Mail Chimp email you received from me and click on the UNSUBSCRIBE link at the bottom, and you’ll automatically be removed, no questions asked.

Make Your Writing Dream a Reality


Want to make your writing dream a reality?

Join me and an amazing faculty of professionals at the beautiful Lake Yale Conference Center in Leesburg, Florida for the annual Florida Christian Writers Conference from February 25 thru March 1, 2015. Visit the website now for more information, and make sure to check out the Faculty Blog for timely tips and updates on workshops, keynotes, continuing education classes, and more.


NEW Revised Companion Study Guide Material

What began as one book has grown into the acclaimed Setting Boundaries series.

Setting Boundaries with Adult Children

SANITY Support

Companion Study Guide



Sanity Support Cover


Workbook & Leader Guide

Now Combined!

12-week program developed

for small groups

but also applicable for Individuals and Couples

Click on image above for SANITY Support product information.


Talkin’ About the Stress of Being a Teen Girl – Join Me Today LIVE on The Debbie Chavez Show at 11:05 AM (CST)

Debbie Chavez Logo


It’s that time again! In August of 2013 Debbie and I talked about the challenges women have in setting healthy boundaries and listener response to that program was off the chain. In Auguist of 2012 our discussion on setting boundariers with food also brought a flood of listener phone calls.


Today we are going to cut right to the chase and discuss the serious issues teen girls are facing today and we’d love to have you join us as we talk about A Young Woman’s Guide to Setting Boundaries – Six Steps to Help Teens Make Smart Choices, Cope with Stress and Untangle Mixed-up Emotions.


The program is streaming live online and if you miss it a podcast will be available in the next few days.

Join us today, Monday, August 25 at 11:05 (CST) streaming live from Faithplace.org on The Debbie Chavez Show.


The Debbie Chavez Show is carried Monday through Friday at the internet radio station. Debbie Chavez is a faith-based, internet talk radio host as well as a dynamic and transparent women’s conference speaker. Debbie Chavez is a pastor’s wife who interviews expert guests for Biblical wisdom and answers listener questions.
Faithplace.org consists of shows produced and distributed by the 501(c)3 non-profit organization Great Awakening Productions. Their mission is to fill the spiritual void in conventional talk radio with biblically-based perspectives that are presented by hosts who are not only dynamic, transparent, and frank…but have years of accumulated wisdom and experience in their fields. They desire to point listeners toward a deeper relationship with the God of the Bible. Currently, they have listeners in all 50 states and over 95 countries.


What is Your Agenda, God?

Solutions Not Problems Notice On Board

I’m having a tough time trying to figure out God’s plan for my life.

I’m overwhelmed by the obstacles and I don’t know which way to turn.

How like God to send me a message via the Harvest House Weekly Devotional.


Monday, August 18, 2014

When I Need to Make a Fresh Start

This devotional by Lloyd John Ogilvie from the book: Praying Through the Tough Times is just what I needed to read today.


How about you?