Religion

‘Soccer Mom' wins devoted following

Lynne Thompson of Turlock, Calif., is a typical mom, busy with life and raising two children – Cassie, 14, and David, 12. There's also her husband of 22 years, Pete, who works as a therapist, and a pet white rabbit, Prince Charming.

In her spare time, Thompson has freelanced for Christian magazines for 13 years, including a Focus on the Family magazine called Focus on Your Child. Focus on the Family, a nonprofit organization founded in 1977 by evangelistic leader James Dobson, reaches 220 million people.

Writing for that audience is heady enough, but for Thompson, the story gets better. She landed a spot doing “Soccer Mom Moments” on Focus' “Weekend Magazine” radio show. Her segments are heard about once a month by more than half a million listeners. Thompson also gathered 50 of the stories in a book, “The Official Soccer Mom Devotional: A Book of 50 Brief and Inspiring Devotions” (Regal, $12.99), published in April.

How did she hit the big time?

It started as commentary on her Web site, and friends passed her stories along to Dan Robbins, producer for ‘Weekend Magazine.”

“I was struck by the fact that she had a creative way of looking at life situations,” Robbins said.

“I called her. She was scared to death. We coached her. I'll admit she's not the greatest radio host of all times, but I think her stories are something worthwhile.”

Her first segment aired in the fall of 2006. Stories include:

“I did one about a mocha fast, how I gave up mocha for a week to remember to pray for a friend of mine who was going through a tough time. Every time I wanted to go through a drive-through and pick up a mocha, I was reminded to pull over and pray for my friend …

“I taped one on God kisses. It talks about how God uses little markers throughout the day to let us know he's thinking of us. I used the story of how I was stranded in a broken-down car with my two kids. When the tow-truck guy showed up, he didn't have a clipboard. Instead, he asked me to sign the paper on a book. I looked at it, and it was ‘Anne of Green Gables,' which is my favorite book. It was kind of funny, this big, burly guy with ‘Anne of Green Gables'; it felt like it was a kiss from God, a fun coincidence.”

She flies to Colorado Springs, Colo., these days to tape more segments. Earlier this month, she recorded 18 segments over three days.

The “Weekend Magazine” show, Robbins said, has a magazine format with nine to 12 topics. Most are interviews by show host Bill Maier, vice president of Focus, interspersed with segments such as “Soccer Mom Moments.”

Thompson, 45, is getting toward the upper range of the target audience, and there has been talk about transitioning to another kind of segment.

For the moment, however, she's happy to be a soccer mom.

“My son actually does play soccer, but the term ‘soccer mom' doesn't mean someone whose child plays soccer,” she said. “It refers to moms who are busy.”

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