Conference Will Tackle Women's Problems; the Christian Seminar Will Use Stories and Tips, Not Glossy Theology, Says the Organizer

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Byline: MARY MARAGHY

A family counselor and widowed mother of 10 children living in OakLeaf Plantation is teaming up with an internationally known Christian singer to put on Christian conferences to revive, nurture and inspire women of all walks -- single, divorced, young and old.

The first event will be Friday and Saturday, Aug. 11 and 12, at the Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts, selected for its 1,600-seat capacity and its sophistication.

"We're dreaming big. It's gorgeous. We're going for elegance. We want to pamper the women who come," said Debbi Dunlap, a recently widowed mother of 10 who runs a counseling center at The Church at Argyle. "We want to pull out all the stops."

Dunlap is a Florida State University graduate and attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. The author of 11 books about Christian counseling, she and other professional and amateur speakers from across Florida will discuss self worth, sexual abuse, anger, forgiveness, breast cancer, eating disorders, financial management, divorce and grief.

It's not glossy theology, Dunlap said, but personal stories and practical tips to help women get a grip on daily trials.

"Life is not a bowl of cherries. Christians have no immunity from suffering," said Dunlap, who will share how her faith sustained her after her 52-year-old husband of 30 years died suddenly in September, leaving her alone to direct his counseling practice and to raise seven children age 19 and younger. The rest are grown. "I would have crumbled. I know I'm in bigger hands. That's what holds me together. …