Oakhurst inspirational speaker featured in new book

Linda Newton, Associate Pastor at Sierra Pines Church, is a big fan of the highly popular “Chicken soup for the soul” book series. And the “Chicken Soup” publishers are big Newton fans.

She is a fan of the highly popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series - one of the most well know, and largest selling series of books every published - and the Chicken Soup publishers are fans of Newton. The company just published, for the eighth time, a short story by Newton in the recently released “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles - 101 Inspirational Stories of Faith, Answered Prayers & Divine Intervention.”

The new book is the latest of the series of 250 Chicken Soup titles that have sold more than 100 million books in the United States and Canada alone.

“I often tell stores when I speak at church, but I had no idea I could write one,” Newton said. “When I sent the first two stories I had ever written to “Chicken Soup for the Chocolate Lover’s Soul,” and both were accepted, I was hooked. I’ve always loved the Chicken Soup books and how they make you laugh and cry, sometimes simultaneously. I am so delighted to be among such gifted story-tellers.”

The latest in the series from Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, contains inspiring tales that demonstrate how miracles can arrive when people least expect them. The short stories in the book offer glimpses into the lives of regular people who found themselves in extraordinary, unexplainable situations, their prayers answered and their lives forever changed.

“These testimonials are about the anonymous angels who touch our hearts and save our lives, and the astonishing power we can find within ourselves,” said John Edward, world-renowned psychic and bestselling author John Edward, who wrote the foreword to the book. “Miracles come in all shapes and sizes, and this book is filled with a wide variety of them. The personal stories in the book to me, all come down to one thing, our connection to a higher power or divine source.”

Newton’s story “Divine Tapestry,” is included in the book. The wife of Sierra Pines Church Senior Pastor Bruce Newton, Linda’s story tells of the couple’s relocation to Oakhurst with daughter Ashly, who at the time suffered from complicated and challenging heart problems.

It was a series of events that led the Newton’s to Dr. Hillel Lakes at UCLA, possibly the most prominent heart surgeon in the world, having studied under Dr. Christian Barnard. At the time, Dr. Lakes was one of only two doctors in the world that had the knowledge and skill to perform the intricate surgery to save Ashley’s life.

Dr. Lakes performed the extremely intricate heart surgery on Ashly in 1991 when she was six-years-old.

It was days after the successful surgery that Bruce read a story in a medical journal published several years earlier. He read that the procedure to repair Ashley’s set of congenital heart problems had been performed 347 times and had succeeded ‘zero’ times.

“The story describes a difficult time for our young family,” Newton said. “Yet despite our hardship, God was weaving together a step-by-step plan, nothing short of a miracle to keep my daughter alive.

“If I live to be 100, I will continue to be awed by the amazing tapestry God put together on our behalf,” Linda writes. “What a miracle.”

Ashley, who turns 30 in April, has been thriving ever since the surgery and currently is working in Los Angeles as a host on a comedic news program (Sourcefed) for the Discovery channel.

Matt Sconce, junior high youth director at Sierra Pines Church, has known Linda for 28 years, and calls her one of the most dynamic and passionate people he has ever met.

“Linda and her husband, Bruce, are an amazing team that grew Sierra Pines Church from about 20 people to where it is today at well over 1,000 people calling it home,” Sconce said. “As a pastor, she has a heart for God and the people who are hurting in the community, and her background gives her the ability to empathize with anyone. She has such wisdom and insight that can help others and is able to share it in hilarious and powerful ways as a public speaker. That is why she is so sought after to speak at events around the nation.”

In his foreword in the book, world-renowned psychic medium, popular television host and bestselling author John Edward writes, “The personal stories you’ll read here about hope, faith, answered prayers and divine intervention are to me all about one thing—our connection to a higher power or divine source. Once you make that connection, miracles await you like a new world awaiting discovery.

Another story in the book was written after the Dec. 14, 2012, Sandy Hook, Conn., school shooting that killed 20 children and six adults. The story was by a distraught mother vacationing in Florida. Scarlett Lewis was praying that her son Jesse, one of the victims, is with Jesus. Minutes later, a small airplane appears overhead, having just written “Jesse & Jesus” in the sky.

Natasha Stoynoff and Amy Newmark share their own stories of grace and gratitude, from Stoynoff’s grandfather who missed boarding the Titanic by 20 minutes, to her friend Jamie whose malfunctioning alarm clock caused him to miss a deadly train wreck, to her former roommate whose late-arriving babysitter kept her from her desk in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Newmark points out that her father missed Pan Am 103, the flight from London that was blown up by terrorists over Lockerbie, Scotland.

“You can call it coincidence, luck, or fate. We prefer to think the odds are with us that we each get one fabulously epic and divine intervention in our lifetime that saves us,” Newmark said.

In addition to her contributions to the Chicken Soup books, Linda Newton has written three empowerment books: “12 Ways to Turn Your Pain into Praise,” “I Want Something Better Than Jewels - 31 Days of Biblical Insight for a Woman Seeking God,” and “Sapphires from Psalms - 31 Gems of Encouragement for a Woman Seeking God.”

Newton also travels internationally presenting women’s and couple’s retreats, and healing workshops.

She holds four workshops a year at Sierra Pines, and her next is “Healing the Hurts That Are Holding You Back,” on March 27 and 28.

Details: (559) 683-2882, See her blog at

Additional Newton stories in Chicken Soup books

• Chicken Soup for the Chocolate Lover’s - two stories - 2007

• Chicken Soup for the Tea Lover's Soul-- 2007

• Chicken Soup for the Soul:Think Positive--2010

• Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels Among Us--2013

• Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen--2014

• Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What?--2014

About Chicken Soup for the Soul

Chicken Soup for the Soul, the world’s favorite and most recognized storyteller, publishes the famous Chicken Soup for the Soul book series.

With more than over 100 million books sold to date in the U.S. and Canada alone, more than 250 titles, and translations into more than 40 languages, “Chicken Soup for the Soul” is one of the world’s best-known phrases.

Today, 22 years after it first began sharing happiness, inspiration and wellness through its books, this socially conscious company continues to publish new titles, and a variety of licensed products and digital offerings, all inspired by stories.

“Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles - 101 Inspirational Stories of Faith, Answered Prayers & Divine Intervention.” (Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC; Amy Newmark and Natasha Stoynoff; Feb. 10, 2015, $14.95).

Chicken Soup for the Soul has recently expanded into visual storytelling through movies and television.