Monthly Archives: April 2016

MEGA Announcement!!! Branches Book Club’s New Upcoming Season Promises Fun, Food and Fabulous Literature…Plus Meet Some of the Authors!

Friends! Grab your calendars and jot these dates down! You have plenty of time to read and plan to make these nights of fun, learning, fellowship, and fabulous foodie themes! The possibilities are endless!

Further bonus: So far, two of these nights have the authors coming to speak, answer questions, etc. Other potential Skype visits from authors are in the works. Please put that on your prayer radar!!!

Branches Book Club has a phenomenal season planned for you and your friends. Checkout , plus like them on Facebook, and send Nancy Tinnell your email address if you’d like to be on the mailing list to receive updates, etc. Nancy’s email is:

Grab as many of these books as possible for your summer reading! (Some don’t release for a while—see dates below.) Be praying about who to invite to come with you. Spread the word!

Drum roll, if you please…..HERE WE GO!!!………………………

September 26, 2016 – The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron. Kristy hails from Indiana and is going to drive to Louisville to join us that night!

Checkout her website, and watch the teaser video of The Ringmaster’s Wife. The book releases June 7th.

Ringmasters Wife

Since the book is about life in the Ringling Brothers’ circus in the 1920’s, we’ll have a circus theme with circus food, under the Big Top. Our boys would beg for cotton candy, while I’m hoping for caramel corn. (Deep, I know…)

Publishers Weekly says her novel includes, “heartbreak, loss, hope, and triumph, all set against the colorful backdrop of ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’.”

Come meet and hear from Kristy!  Her book has already been named in Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion and Spirituality Top 10!


October 24, 2016 – Come meet and hear from TWO authors this night! Liz Curtis Higgs and Bill Higgs!!!

We’ll get to hear Liz interview Bill about his new novel, Eden Hill which releases July 1st. You can pre-order this now!

Set in our sweet State of Kentucky in the early 1960’s, we’ll watch the characters struggle with change and competition. Can one extend grace to a competitor right across the street?

Many are saying Bill’s writing is Garrison Keilloresque. Charm and more charm. Bill’s dry wit will bless your socks off.

One of Bill’s many interests and talents is showing us how things from the past can teach us lessons right now. Wait ‘til you see how this unfolds in his book. This is his first novel and we will celebrate with the Higgs!

Eden Hill

We’ll also get to hear from Liz as we discuss a super fun contemporary novel, (this was also her first contemporary novel) called Mixed Signals. It’s about a female radio host (wonder how that topic came up???).  Belle’s radio program featuring golden oldies is a hit, while her own love life suffers. Who will she wind up with?

Only Liz can take us on such a fun, surprising journey. While we’re on the topic of radio and oldies, Nancy Tinnell promises to serve up root beer floats for starters!!! Stay tuned and make plans to join us!

Mixed Signals

Liz’ newest book, 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart releases October 18th, so she’ll have those on hand for us to snatch up. This is a beautiful gift-sized devotional that’ll also be good for small groups, Bible studies, etc. Liz is challenging us to memorize these verses! Anyone up for the challenge?

31 Verses to Write on your Heart

Plus, don’t forget her newly revised Really Bad Girls of the Bible: More Lessons from Less-Than-Perfect Women coming out July 19th with new Bible study and Discussion questions. She just finished recording the audio version as well.

Really Bad Girls

November 28, 2016 – Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Story by Davis Bunn. Davis has won three Christy Awards and has sold more than four million books. This book is about a couple’s special planned Christmas in their own home, anticipating their first baby’s arrival.

Debbie Macomber says this is “a great story filled with emotion, depth, and spiritual beauty.”

Prayers of a Stranger

Main character Amanda Vance learns many pearls of wisdom on her unexpected tour of the Holy Land after a traumatic occurrence. This book will prepare us for newfound awe in the miracle of Christ’s birth as we head into the Christmas season. Christmas will be our theme!!!


January 23, 2017 – Five Brides by Eva Marie Everson

The plot of this book makes me want to read it yesterday. Get this: “Five, single, fiercely independent women live together in a Chicago apartment in the early 1950s, but rarely see one another. One Saturday afternoon, they spy a wedding dress in a storefront window….

Without a single boyfriend or date between the five of them (!!!) they decide to pool their money to purchase it. Can one dress forever connect five women…?” (from )

Five Brides

Author Eva Marie is a southern girl, growing up near Savannah. Some of you may know her from reading her Potluck Club books. Here’s just one of the six:

Secrets in the Sauce

Checkout her other books:

While we’ll be on the ever growing topic (and industry!!!) of weddings, we’ll get to feast on, bet you can guess: wedding cake!!! YUM…


February 27, 2017 – The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore

Huh? A novel by Beth Moore? Yes, you heard it right….Beth’s first novel releases September 20th!

Beth Moore
It’s got quite a plot, too. A young girl, Jillian Slater, gets word her father’s died. She returns to New Orleans to see her Grandmother, dubbed The Ice Queen, who she hasn’t seen in twenty years.

Never mind her Grandmother lives in an apartment house, also known as Saint Silvanus. Seems remnants from the tenants, coupled with new findings from her father’s death investigation, get them to wondering who or what has them under a spell!

I love this: “Only God himself can orchestrate the undoing of all that is going on at Saint Silvanus.” ( )

Undoing of Saint

The story’s set in New Orleans, so I’m hoping for some beignets in action a la Café du Monde. Not a real chicory fan, from their coffee, but perhaps we can whip up something fun and frothy!??!!


March 27, 2017 – The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry

A few years ago, we read Chris’ first novel, Dogwood, in Book Club at Southeast and it was a huge hit. It also earned him a Christy Award right out of the gate. He Skyped with us and was a total blast and a perfect gentleman.

He recently wrote the novelization of War Room. He’s won three Christy Awards and one Christian Book Award, plus he received the 2014 Christianity Today Book Award of Merit for Every Waking Moment just to name a wee bit of his talent.


Next March, we’ll be reading The Promise of Jesse Woods. This book releases July 1st. Set in the summer of 1972, you’ll be happy to learn the main character is moving back to Dogwood, West Virginia with twists and turns sure to bless us all.

Hubster has read several of Chris’ books, too, so these are not chick-lits!!! Great for guys and girls! His realistic writing will captivate you from the first page. Where he comes up with his plots is beyond me– they’re sooo good!

Promise of Jesse Woods


April 24, 2017 – The Heiress of Winterwood (Whispers on the Moors) by Sarah Ladd

Sarah’s writing has been compared to Jane Austen and Jane Eyre. This book is set in Darbury England in 1814.

This, too, has a wild plot: Amelia Barrett, “heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s baby. She’ll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father—a sea captain she’s never met.”

The characters “must learn to have faith and relinquish control so they can embrace the future ahead of them.” Relinquishing control is hard for all of us, plus the issue of pride laces the pages as well. Great lessons for us all!!!

Heiress of Winterwood

Now when you think of England, and the era in which this book is set…it’s sorta in keeping with Downton Abbey, don’t you think? We’re going with it, and will be serving up High Tea, of course!!!

Write all these dates in your calendars and get ready for one of our best seasons yet in Book Club! Now you have quite a Summer Reading pile, don’t you?

Branches Book Club is a beautiful visual of Hebrews 10:24-25, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”  Please join us!

Blessings to all and lest you worry, I promise we’ll return to our Spring Cleaning series next week. The dirt  can  wait…!

‘Til next time!



Filed under Book Clubs

When Your Prayer Life Needs a Boost…(You’re INVITED to a fun discussion of “Before Amen” by Max Lucado at Book Club Monday, 4/25, 6:30-8:00 p.m.)

Ever start praying only to discover you’re making your grocery list or adding to your to-do’s list??? Distractions-a-plenty bust up a prayer faster than you can yell, “Help!!!”

Satan’s M.O. is distractions. He specializes in keeping you from prayer because prayer makes him run. You’d think we’d be more mindful of that little fact. (As I’m typing on my laptop, incoming emails pop up in the corner of my screen, just as a petite irritating example!)

Unplanned Detour

I have a new little prayer journal that’s so portable I throw it in my purse or my Bible study bag. But….it gets buried and forgotten because of so many other things. Frustrates the tar outta me. Can you relate?

If you can relate, seems you and I are in good company with none other than well-known author, speaker, and preacher Max Lucado. He begins his book Before Amen—The Power of a Simple Prayer with:

“Hello, my name is Max. I’m a recovering prayer wimp…distractions swarm like gnats on a summer night…When I pray, I think of a thousand things I need to do. I forget the one thing I set out to do: pray.”


Confession: Before I buy a book, I look for several things. Right or wrong, I judge a book by its’ cover. (!!!) See above how pretty this one is???

Secondly, of course, I consider the author. No challenge there. Think I’ve read every book Max has ever written.

Thirdly, I look at the endorsements. Never mind Max has seven pages of twenty-two stellar endorsements ranging from George Strait to Christine Caine. Can you say, “Variety”???

Kathie Lee Gifford, another of the endorsers, cracks me up. She says, “A new book by Max is like going back to your favorite restaurant. You know it’s going to be delicious because it never disappoints…” You go, Kathie Lee. I’m in your camp. (For proof, checkout another post on another one of Max’ books:   Grace—More than We Deserve, Greater than We Imagine)

Serving dishes. Food restaurant.

One of Max’ many gifts is writing so readers of any age can understand. He reminds us of the Disciples’ request to Jesus, “Lord, teach us how to pray!” Doesn’t that make you feel better, that the Disciples, who spent the most time with Jesus himself, asked Him how to pray?

Jesus’ life exuded prayer. He went away by himself many times to pray, sometimes spending all night long in prayer. (Mark 1:35, 6:46; Luke 6:12)

Max reminds us:

“Jesus prayed before he ate.

He prayed for children.

He prayed for the sick.

He prayed with thanks.

He prayed with tears…”

Jesus answered the disciples with what we know as the Lord’s Prayer. (Luke 11:1-4) Here’s a formula we all can remember:

Max dubs this “the pocket prayer”: 

Max Lucado Prayer1

What’s so cool about this short-n-sweet prayer is Max parallels it to the Lord’s Prayer. In each of the nine chapters, he takes the prayer apart, phrase-by-phrase, showing us how to apply it to our everyday lives. More importantly, it’s something we can all remember!

Bonus: There’s a Study Guide at the end of the book for Bible study groups or Small Groups that’s excellent. It further expounds on each chapter with Scriptures to look-up in four sections spelling out the word “prayer”:

Personalize, Reflect, Abide and Yield.”

Please join us Monday, April 25th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Middletown United Methodist Church for our last Book Club Meeting of the season. I’ll be sharing sweet tidbits from Before Amen before we dive into discussion.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243

In addition to the discussion, we’ll be having all kinds of FUN:

Potluck Supper – Please bring a dish if time allows.

Extra Special Door Prize valued at over $50.00!!! If you bring a friend, you and your friend will be entered in the drawing!

Bring any books you may have you’re no longer wanting for a Book Exchange! Take home a new book for summer reading! (Books not taken will go to the church’s annual Book Drive for Veterans.)

Finally, the BIG REVEAL for next Fall and Spring’s selections will take place with a couple of HUGE announcements, special guests, etc.!!! You do NOT want to miss this!

I’m excited to see you on Monday, April 25th! Pick up your phone RIGHT NOW and call a friend to come with you!!!

‘Til next time!

(Not to worry, we’ll return to our Spring Cleaning series soon!)



Comments Off on When Your Prayer Life Needs a Boost…(You’re INVITED to a fun discussion of “Before Amen” by Max Lucado at Book Club Monday, 4/25, 6:30-8:00 p.m.)

Filed under Book Clubs, Book Reviews

When You Have Children of Any Age in Your Life…You Need This Book Like YESTERDAY!!! (Spring Cleaning Part 2 of 4)

Calling all Aunts, Moms, Grandmoms, Neighbors, Foster Moms, Teachers, Babysitters, and well, you get the picture. Any of you with any morsel of influence over any child, LISTEN UP….

Before you say, “Nah…it’s too late, my kids or grandkids are too old…”, let me encourage you by telling you I’ve already muttered that, however I’m highly inspired for our future grandchildren, Lord willing, and for young Moms whose paths I cross.

Yes, it may be too late for your grown adults—my muttering went something like this: “Wow…I soooo wish I’d had this book while we were attempting to raise our boys!!!” Be ye of good courage, there is HOPE for the future…

Drum roll, please…..The book? Run don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and snag Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wills Wyma.


Before you begin reading the book, become acquainted with Kay. She’s the most fascinating, brutally honest, hysterical funny wife and Mom of five kiddos I’ve ever read. Checkout her blog: “Because a Mother Of Adolescents and Teens should never walk (or drive) the road alone.”

At the beginning of this year, I introduced us to just one concept from Cleaning House…Why We Need More Iron in Our Diets….This week, I’ll share a few of a thousand and one of Kay’s brilliant ideas.

Kay’s epiphany came from countless chaotic incidents with her kids. She confesses, “Youth entitlement seems to have reached epidemic proportions in both my family and society as a whole—and I was appalled to realize that I, like many of today’s well-meaning parents, am a primary carrier of the germ.”

With so many kids and so little time, Kay says she did most everything for them because she could do it faster which made her household run more smoothly. But….she realized her message of “I love you, so let me make life easy for you…” desperately needed to be:


Thus “The Experiment” was born in the Wyma family. Kay came up with twelve things she wanted her children to know before they left for college. They took one per month for a year.

Each endeavor is an excellent idea in and of itself. Add to that their actual experiences filling each page, which literally bring the house down (a/k/a bring the reader to tears from laughing so hard).

While they sound simple, just give one of these a try:

12 Things

Just let those sink in for a few minutes. Aren’t they all excellent ideas? Coming up with some of your own?

At the time Kay wrote this book, her five children were 14, 12, 10, 8, and 3. You can only imagine the varying results given their ages.

Teamwork” was not remotely in their vocabulary in the beginning, but you’ll soon see light bulbs in their little heads growing from dim to bright-light-wow and it’s the most fun revelation ever. Ever. E-V-E-R.

People connect letters to compose the team word. Teamwork concep

I found myself saying out loud, “Come on now, YOU can do this!” and they aren’t even my kids! My favorite epigraph Kay uses is: “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” V. Sassoon

Chapter/“Task” Nine is “Team Players – The Benefits of Working Together.” Kay says, “Really, who wants to go it alone?”

She reminds us of Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:

Eccl 4 9_12b

Hubster was way better at teaching teamwork to our boys than I was.  When we lived on River Hill, we had nearly five acres of land with very tall trees.  Every time a storm blew thru’, those trees translated into a mess of sticks covering our yard.

John was constantly rounding up the boys.  They all got out there and picked up those sticks. We were all rewarded with a family lunch at Austin’s. (Those of you from Louisville, are you missing Austin’s like we are???)  Yes, they worked well together, but to this day they all say they have no desire to have a lot of land!

Kay’s team/family learned these wonderful benefits from real-life hard work and teamwork: “efficiency, combined skills, strong relationships, creativity, and self-esteem.” I love this: Kay says, “Our overall family goal is to grow in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and Man.” (Our precious Lord did this in Luke 2:52. STELLAR goal for one’s family!)

Process this from Henry Ford:

“Coming together is a beginning.

Keeping together is progress.

Working together is success.”

Empty Blur Asphalt Road And Sunlight And Sign Which Symbol Succe

Each of Kay’s twelve chapters end with two not-to-be-missed sections: “What They Learned This Month.” And “What I Learned This Month.” She also includes several “light bulb” moments from other authors and contributors, adding excellent quotes from books that have all been added to my “to-be-read” list.

This book is a treasure trove of pearls you’ll want to return to, and consult, time and time again.

Kay closes her book with, “If there is any truth or wisdom in this book, it isn’t mine. I’m just along for the ride. All wisdom within is supplied by the Author of truth. He has so much more to share and gives generously without finding fault (see James 1: 5).” Kay’s family’s version of choice is the NIV.

If you’re brave enough to try any of these experiments, please comment! If you’ve already done some things along these lines, please report in as well! These are sure-fire ways to dive into the whole concept of Spring Cleaning!

‘Til next time!



Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Life Lessons