Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Cheri Tillman who, along with her husband, started Big Yellow Dog.

1) First off, what is Big Yellow Dog? 

We are a faith based company committed to developing content which inspires the spirit to true greatness and encourages deeper relationships among one another and God.

2) What does the name mean and how did you come up with it? 

James and I both feel passionate about utilizing the gifts (skill sets) God has given us. My advanced degree is in business coupled with over 25 years in the corporate world and James’ advanced degrees are in Divinity and Mental health counseling with numerous years in ministry and business.  As we discussed the “vision” of our new business we started by outlining our core values and the more we talked the more we realized our core values duplicated godly character traits and the fruits of the spirit which lead us to the name Big Yellow Dog. See more at the About Us/Our Story link on our website here: http://www.bigyellowdogllc.com/ourstory/

3) What are the goals of Big Yellow Dog? 

First and foremost we want Big Yellow Dog to glorify God. With this in mind, our aim is to become the “go to” source for inspiring biblical truths which speak to every individual regardless of where they are in their walk with God. We produce inspiring blogs, books, podcasts, public speaking venues, as well as programs that assist other faith based companies to fund the needs of their ministries.

4) Can you tell me more about the blog sections of your website? (Healthy thinking, parenting, etc.) 

We want to create a place for the entire family to share

  • Clifton’s Corner – Inspire children’s creativity in a manner in which they can learn healthy life skills and healthy thinking through a variety of activities, such as; art, poetry, photography, and much more.
  • Parenting: Heart of the Matter.  A place which Inspires parents by offering the needed tools and content to rear exceptional children who know and follow God’s path.
  • Healthy Thinking: a place  which Inspires individual transformation through “Healthy Thinking” blogs and podcasts
  • Bookstore: Inspire hearts through uplifting and enlightening books and media in our online store

5) There is a book that you and your husband have out, what is it about? 

We have one book currently out called “Son of the Wilderness”. This is part 1 of a trilogy “The Kingdom Chronicles”. We will be releasing part 2 “Princess of the Palace” on May 1st, 2015 (see story summary below) and part 3 is scheduled to be released August 1, 2015.   All 3 will be released in eBook format separately and combined into one printed book which is scheduled for release September 1, 2015.

Son of the Wilderness is a story written in classic fable style for the purpose of inspiring the young reader’s heart to develop moral character. The story is set in a fictional kingdom where a noble King is faced with a heart-rending decision either to let his newly born son grow up in a palace full of decadence or send him to be reared by a Woodsman where he will have no knowledge of his royal heritage. Follow the arduous adventures of the Son of the Wilderness as he discovers life’s true purpose and receives the reward of both Kingdom and a noble heart.  The fable is accompanied with a “thought provoking” parental discussion guide which opens up a dialog about the importance of developing Godly character.  Son of the Wilderness is the first part of a life changing trilogy.

Princess of the Palace is written in classic fable style with the purpose of inspiring the young reader’s heart to develop moral character. Follow Princess Kira as she grows up in a neighboring Kingdom with the dreadful obligation to marry and King’s lazy and unworthy son. But Kira’s irrepressible spirit is unwilling to sit idly by enjoying the life of nobility, rather pursues the rigorous training of a knight and reaches out to the poor and needy of the kingdom. When an evil army attacks her homeland she joins in the fight only to fall in love with the truly honorable Captain of a fierce regiment of mountain warriors. Torn between duty and love, Kira has a terrible decision to make; does she honor her promise and marry the unworthy prince or does she pursue happiness with her noble Captain.  Discussion guide accompanies this fable as well.

In addition to the fables, a Young Adult novel will be released on June 1 “Wynona and the Dragon”. Adventures are always unexpected; it’s in their nature to be so. But when Wynona is forced to leave her bustling, successful life in order to return to the dismal hometown she thought she’d left behind for good, she is confident that the last thing she’s embarking on is an adventure. How could visiting her dying sister Beth and facing her dreadful past be anything but a miserable tragedy? Meanwhile, the local sheriff discovers the dead body of an exotic animal keeper near an empty, open cage labeled with the haunting sign: “DRAGON BEWARE.”

As word gets out about the escaped beast, a group of live-action role players, including Wynona’s ex-boyfriend Brandon, decide that finding the dragon could be the boost they need to get more game cred. At first, Wynona sees this as just another example of how lame Brandon is, but Beth urges her to look at their quest as a beautiful belief in the unknown.

Confronting one surreal situation after another, Wynona is pushed beyond the breaking point when she encounters a supernatural experience that defies human explanation and leads her to entertain the possibility of a loving God capable of miracles.

6) What benefit can people get from coming to your website? 

Our desire is that they will find inspiration, along with tools built on biblical truths to assist them in being all God created them to be.  We also plan to have activities available that will assist patents in teaching their children healthy thinking skills which can lead to more successful lives.

7) How important is your faith in your personal life? 

Utmost! Our desire to glorify God in everything we do is at the center of why we have created Big Yellow Dog LLC.

8) How did you cope with the tragedy that happened in your life?  

I have to say I have never seen my situation as a tragedy but rather as a character builder. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I have never felt extreme frustration with the challenges but there has been a “seed” of intrigue and excitement that comes with it that is beyond my own understanding. Blindness at a young age is one of several “challenges” I’ve been given. In addition, I’ve had several brain tumors, unknown immune diseases that left me at Mayo too weak to care for myself, and other Life threatening challenges. However, beyond my own comprehension I have felt a deep peace and calmness knowing God would give me his strength to do the things He wanted me to do.  Maybe that is why I feel so passionate about Big Yellow Dog – now that my Strength has been restored and I have this dream for Big Yellow Dog I can’t help but think it is of Him and not of me. Did I mention that one of the books we will be publishing in 2015 is “Secret Blessing” which is an exploration of the way God uses suffering in the lives of Christians.

9) What can we learn about God through animals? 

That He has a sense of humor! Can’t look at Clifton and not laugh.

10) I see you have a partnership with Crown, can you explain that partnership and what you do with them? 

Actually “Crown Partnership Program” is a program created by Big Yellow Dog to offer faith based organizations an opportunity to raise funds for their ministry needs. Note: In 2016 the U.S. book and music industry is projected to reach $52.3 Billion – $6 Billion of which is faith based content. Unfortunately 80% of the $6 Billion goes to support secular businesses and in many cases results in the promotion of ungodly materials. Our program offers churches and other faith based organizations the opportunity to capture a percentage of these dollars and place these funds back into God’s Kingdom.

11) Who is Big Yellow Dog for? 

We hope to attract everyone who has the desire to know the beauty of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ regardless of where they are in their walk.

12) Are there any cool stories you can share about someone visiting your website and having their life transformed? 

We have only been up and running for one month but already have received communications from Pakistan, China and other foreign countries. We had one woman in Canada tell us our blog on forgiveness gave her the motivation to go and reconcile with her sister. I am sure that more stories are on the way. Our job is to be faithful and provide content that will move people closer to God and one another.

If you’d like to read some of Cheri’s materials and or get in contact with her, please visit her website: BigYellowDogLLC.com

Michael Krauszer

Author: Michael Krauszer

Michael Krauszer is the founder of ChristianLitReview.com, a website dedicated to providing a Christian perspective on all forms of literature. Additionally, Michael has been a full-time staff member at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge for the last four years, working as a Ministry Assistant and Pastoral Intern. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English from The College of New Jersey and is currently in pursuit of his MA in Theological Studies from Veritas Evangelical Seminary. Michael is also a Christian freelance writer and you can find some of his writing at FaithAndEntertainment. Visit Michael's Facebook page here: Christian Literature Review.