Category Archives: Book Clubs

Come Enjoy 5 Fun Treats at Book Club Monday, 11/27 (“Christmas Playlist” by Alistair Begg)

Friends! Be thinking of who to bring with you to our next Book Club gathering on Monday, November 27th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. You won’t believe what all is on our agenda!

First up, we have some special guests coming who will serenade us! Yes, the Cincinnati Christmas Carolers are joining us! (www.cincycarolers.com )They will not only get us in the Christmas spirit, they will be the perfect segue way into our book we’ll be discussing, Christmas Playlist—Four Songs that Bring You to the Heart of Christmas by Alistair Begg.

Many of you know of Alistair and have been blessed by his preaching on the radio via Truth for Life. (www.truthforlife.org )  He’s been the Senior Pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio since 1983. (www.parksidechurch.com )

I used to listen to Alistair every morning after dropping off the children in carpool.  His Scottish brogue, along with his inspiring message, calmed my frazzled self to enjoy the day.

The second treat we’ll experience is watching a short-but-sweet video message Alistair made just for us! How fun is that?

Thirdly, all the while this is going on, we can taste fun Christmas party appetizers everyone is bringing (how about that Christmas tree-shaped cheese mold?!!!) to share.  Get creative, but please do avoid fruit cake. (Nobody quote me on that, and please do forgive me, I know some of you actually like the stuff.) And relax, no judgment will surface if you blow into Kroger and buy something readymade.  Food is food is food.

Fourthly, we’ll have a lively discussion about the book, your favorite songs, Christmas traditions, you-name-it.  This will be a sure cure for any potential Scrooges to infiltrate your homes.

The four songs Alistair shares with us straight from Scripture will prepare our hearts and minds to embrace the Christmas season. Unlike the innkeeper who said, “Sorry, there’s no room in the inn…”, we will uncover ways to make room for Jesus and celebrate His birthday in the best possible way this Christmas.

Fifthly, and finally, in addition to your Christmas party appetizer, please bring a wrapped ornament for our Ornament Exchange! This was so fun last year and a huge bonus to have a new ornament to take home and hang on your tree. This will be our grande finale to a most outstanding and uplifting meeting.

Make arrangements now to join us, toting friends with you, at our Christmas Book Club gathering, Next Monday, November 27th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Middletown United Methodist Church.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

Please call Nancy Tinnell to RSVP:  (502) 245-8839.

‘Til next time!

 

 

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Come Meet Author Laura Frantz Next Monday 10/23 at Book Club!

Friends!  Grab your friends and head over to Middletown United Methodist Church next Monday night, October 23rd, from 6:30-8:00 p.m., for what’s sure to be a blast of a book club meeting!

The gals at Branches Book Club have invited author Laura Frantz to come and speak about her book, A Moonbow Night.

Whether you’ve read the book or not, do come as it’s always a treat to get to meet and hear from the author. Laura is currently living in Berea in a log cabin. Her passion for history influences her writing, including her book we’ll be discussing, A Moonbow Night. It has several twists and turns I’m excited to ask her about. Be thinking of questions you’d like to ask!

LauraFrantz.net

One of many fun snippets include Kentucky’s very own Daniel Boone and his family making an appearance in the book.  The connection to their family with Tempe is one of many surprises. Set in 1777, Laura’s characters truly live a pioneer life.  Our modern day comforts we experience didn’t exist back then. (Yes, they camp a lot!)

Some of Laura’s epigraphs are actual Scripture, while some frighteningly foreshadow what’s ahead:  “Our way is over mountains, steep hills, deep rivers, and muddy creeks; a thick growth of reeds for miles together; and no inhabitants but wild beasts and savage men.” (Francis Asbury) Yikes…

Laura exhibits her character’s faith and prayer lives throughout the book. She paints lovely portraits of God’s creation as well while her characters traipse across many miles, i.e. “The woods were an unending palette, its unearthly hues evidence of a Master’s hand.” (One of many reasons I love Christian fiction.)

Nancy Tinnell said, “I’m such a city girl that my enjoyment of the frontier-themed books we’ve read in book club has come as a surprise to me. Laura Frantz is the real deal! She grew up in Kentucky, having lived in both western and eastern regions of our state.”

Nancy added, “A Moonbow Night is about as authentic as it gets. Every page is so thick with descriptive language that you can almost hear the leaves blowing in the breeze and the twigs snapping under someone’s foot. She writes beautifully and makes the forest come alive. And of course, there’s a love story!”

Yes, well, let’s chat a minute about that little love story.  No spoiler alert, but I must say the relationship that blossoms throughout the book didn’t happen as quickly as I’d have liked.  That is what makes the book such a page-turner, the reader nearly YELLING for Tempe and Sion to become united, in the midst of running from Indians—as in the kind that’ll scalp you!

I got tickled at Laura in an interview saying she likes to give her main male character dark hair as well as making him tall and handsome.  My guess is Nancy may be envisioning a twin to Tom Selleck.  (We’ll have to ask her Monday night.)

Because of Laura’s Kentucky influence, we’ll be having Kentucky-themed food, so think about what you’d like to bring. Country ham biscuits, grits, derby pie anybody??? (I also discovered Laura likes peanut butter and chocolate anything, so a good ole’ Reese’s cup could do the trick!)

Finally, I’m happy to report Laura has a new book coming out in January, The Lacemaker. Let’s remember to ask her to give us a sneak peek.

We hope to see you next Monday night, October 23rd, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Middletown United Methodist Church. Please call Nancy to RSVP at (502) 245-8839.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

‘Til next time!

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You’re Invited to a Super Fun Book Club Monday, September 25th! Come discuss “Looking for Lovely” by Annie F. Downs…

Friends!  Grab some of your friends and please join us for next week’s Book Club meeting on Monday, September 25th! The more the merrier…

The Branches Book Club gals will be discussing Looking for Lovely—Collecting the Moments That Matter by Annie F. Downs.

Even if you’ve not had time to read it yet, you’ll love hearing the discussion, PLUS we’re having a yummy potluck supper. If time allows, please bring one of your favorite dishes to share.

Annie’s agreed to make us a little video message, so that’s an added bonus.  You’ll love her down to earth style, appealing to all ages.

Mark your calendar now to join us next Monday Night, September 25th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Middletown United Methodist Church. You may call Nancy Tinnell to RSVP at (502) 245-8839.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

A few favorite things Annie creates via her book include:

Her hysterical sense of humor will instantly grab you. Her SHOUT TYPING WILL KILL YOU AND YOUR FUNNY BONE.

Her honesty in difficult situations will encourage you. (My favorite chapter on such is “Quitter”. Love her phrase of “broken crazy” for a rough spot in her life. I, too, have had some times when I wanted to run away and my guess is other readers will relate as well.)

Her book is also akin to a travelogue for anyone who loves Nashville.  Makes me want to go follow along for some of her food, finds, and favorite go-to’s.

Annie offers great ideas in helping us look for lovely. She tells us finding lovely requires perseverance.  In fact, she says, “I want you to be branded by perseverance.” Sounds like hard work, but thanks to her help, she makes us readers feel as if she’s holding our hand along the way.

When we arrive at “lovely”, this brings us joy, ultimately bringing God the glory.  Remember “a heart at peace gives life to the body?” (Proverbs 14:30a)

One suggestion for looking for lovely is as simple as waking up in time to see the sunrise. This brings a smile to my face because it’s easily achievable. Her description of a sunrise is a beautiful visual as is why she loves a sunrise:

The chapter called “Ryman Auditorium” is also wonderful.  Here’s a great question we can ask of ourselves:  What is your favorite venue and what does it do for you?  Annie asks, “Is there a building or venue that speaks to your soul in a way that’s unique to you?  Maybe it’s a theater or a library or a church.  Go there, give yourself to it, and see what God does for you in that place.”

One of my favorite places in Louisville is The Palace Theater. (www.louisvillepalace.com )   It is beautiful from top to bottom, literally.  John and I were blessed to see Michael Buble in concert there years ago, on our anniversary, no less.  This was before Michael became really popular.  It’s our favorite memory to date.  What’s your favorite place to go? (Please comment and let me know!)

Another fab chapter is called, “The Sound of Music.”  Annie’s take on music, its’ mood-changing capabilities, and why it brings peace made me want to stand up and say, “Yes!  You go, girl!” There are few things that can stir your soul more than music. It’s a way to, as Peter says in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

I find myself pulling up songs on my iPhone when I get to keep our granddaughter, Claire. The music not only calms me down, I believe it calms Claire down!  Our favorite two to begin with include, What a Beautiful Name It Is by Hillsong Worship and O Come to the Altar by Elevation Worship. (She can’t talk yet, but I’m sure she’d agree. Smile.)

When you have time, checkout David Baloche’s “Labyrinth” album. Scripture guaranteed to put you at rest, or as Annie says, “That’s what music does. It holds you together when you think you’ll fall apart. It reminds you of truth. It grabs your hand as you try to cross the finish line. It fills your ears with peace when it feels like there is no peace.” Amen.

Annie offers some of her favorite songs to listen to in her book as well as reminding us David gave us so many right in the Psalms. Worshipful rest, right?

These are just a sampling of the many wonderful ideas Annie gifts us with.  You don’t want to miss reading Looking for Lovely.  Annie will bless your socks off.

Do join us next Monday?  We’d love to see you!  Don’t forget!  9/25, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Middletown United Methodist Church.  Come and bring your friends.  Bring a dish for the potluck supper!  Meet new people and learn from the discussion.  Book Club is the BEST!

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

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Save Saturday, August 5th for “Shelf Life: A Day With Rachel McRae” Inspiration, Learning, Lunch, and Fun!

Friends!  Grab your calendar and save Saturday, August 5th for a fun day with a gal sure to become your friend, Rachel McRae. 

The gals at Middletown United Methodist Church have cooked up quite the agenda for anyone interested in attending. On Saturday, August 5th, from 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. we will be blessed to hear from Rachel McRae and several other local authors. (Wait ‘til you hear who all is coming!)

Rachel has been working for LifeWay for nineteen years.  She’s currently their Senior Book Buyer.  She’s been buying books for fourteen years.

Originally from Knoxville, she now calls Nashville home.  She is a member of Brentwood Baptist Church. (I hear a little bright orange a la University of Tennessee comin’ on.  We may need to have a discussion…)

Rachel’s favorite type of books is Christian fiction. On Saturday, August 5th, we will get to hear about the nature of Rachel’s job, how she programs her day to read and select books.  She’ll also share her top ten list of Christian fiction novels as well as trends she’s seeing in Christian fiction.

In addition to Rachel, we’ll get to hear from Nancy Tinnell who will encourage us to consider our own stories. How they are uniquely important, even if they’re not in a book.  She’ll show us the Hebrew names for God and how they speak to your story.

You do not have to have written a book or love writing to attend… IF YOU LOVE TO READ YOU’LL LOVE THIS EVENT!

One more enticing tidbit: This event will also offer an Author’s Forum featuring several local authors:

Liz Curtis Higgs

Kristy Cambron

Sarah Ladd

Icing on the cake:  This event includes lunch and shopping opportunities at the LifeWay display and store they’re bringing, as well as door prizes!!!  Can it get any better than this?

Get a group of your friends together and reserve your spots at the bargain-price of $15.00 each ASAP!!!  You may call Middletown United Methodist Church to register at: (502) 245-8839 or you may email Nancy Tinnell at:  Ntinnell@middletownumc.org

We look forward to seeing you and hearing from these wonderful writers, and speakers.

“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.” (Hebrews 10:25 NLT)

‘Til next time!

 

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Great Summer Reading Suggestions! Announcing the 2017-2018 Book Club Season…

Friends!  Need ideas for your summer reading?  You’ve come to the right place.

It’s with great excitement I bring you the 2017-2018 Branches Book Club line-up.  Grab them now for a summer of fun reading. Then you’ll be ready to join in our delightful discussions at our meetings.

We meet on Monday evenings, from 6:30-8:00 p.m., on the below dates, at Middletown United Methodist Church.  As we get closer to these dates, I’ll be sending out more details as to our theme and food ideas for each meeting. Such details make our time together that much more fun!

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

First up, on September 25th, we’ll be discussing Looking for Lovely by Annie Downs.

The following synopses of each of these books are thanks to our friends at Amazon:

“In Looking for Lovely, Annie F. Downs shares personal stories, biblical truth, and examples of how others have courageously walked the path God paved for their lives by remembering all God had done, loving what was right in front of them, and seeing God in the everyday—whether that be nature, friends, or the face they see in the mirror.

Intensely personal, yet incredibly powerful, Looking for Lovely will spark transformative conversations and life changing patterns. No matter who we are and what path God has us on, we all need to look for lovely, fight to finish, and find beautiful in our every day!”

This is her latest book, plus she has several other excellent books as well. Checkout her website:  www.anniefdowns.com

Our October 23rd selection is a page-turner of a novel by  Kentucky author, Laura Frantz who is coming to be with us that night!  The book is  A Moonbow NightYou won’t want to miss meeting Laura and getting to know her. Here’s her website:  www.laurafrantz.net   Don’t miss her fun recipes!

“On the vast, uncharted Kentucky frontier of the 1770s, Temperance Tucker has learned to be fleet of foot, accurate with her rifle, and silent about the past. But her family secrets complicate her growing attraction to a handsome Virginia land surveyor with a harsh history of his own. Will the hurts and hardships of the past prevent them from a fulfilling future?

With her signature sweeping style and ability to bring the distant past to vivid life, Laura Frantz beacons readers to join her in a land of Indian ambushes, conflicting loyalties, and a tentative love that meanders like a cool mountain stream.”

Our November 27th selection is a fun little petite book that packs a punch by none other than Scottish minister and author, Alistair Begg.  It’s called Christmas Playlist.  Catch one of his sermons via www.truthforlife.org  You’ll love his Scottish brogue. Alistair is the senior pastor of Cleveland’s Parkside Church. (www.parksidechurch.com)

“Music is everywhere at Christmas chart-toppers, carols, children’s tunes… Alistair Begg takes us to four songs that were sung by people at the very first Christmas (and his favorite carol).

In this short, winsome book a teenage girl, a respected priest, a group of angels and an old man bring readers to the heart of Christmas, showing them the joy and peace that comes from meeting a baby who lay in the food trough and changed eternity.”

For our January 22nd, 2018 meeting, what better way to kick off the new year than by reading a more-than-enthusiastic (understatement of the century if you’ve heard him speak) author named Bob Goff.  His book will be just what we need:  Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World. Don’t miss his website: bobgoff.com

“As a college student Bob spent 16 days in the Pacific Ocean with five guys and a crate of canned meat. As a father he took his kids on a world tour to eat ice cream with heads of state. He made friends in Uganda, and they liked him so much he became the Ugandan consul. He pursued his wife for three years before she agreed to date him. His grades weren’t good enough to get into law school, so he sat on a bench outside the Dean’s office for seven days until they finally let him enroll.

Bob Goff has become something of a legend, and his friends consider him the world’s best-kept secret. Those same friends have long insisted he write a book. What follows are paradigm shifts, musings, and stories from one of the world’s most delightfully engaging and winsome people. What fuels his impact? Love. But it’s not the kind of love that stops at thoughts and feelings. Bob’s love takes action. Bob believes Love Does.

When Love Does, life gets interesting. Each day turns into a hilarious, whimsical, meaningful chance that makes faith simple and real. Each chapter is a story that forms a book, a life. And this is one life you don’t want to miss.

Light and fun, unique and profound, the lessons drawn from Bob’s life and attitude just might inspire you to be secretly incredible, too.”

A little p.s. on this…I’m currently reading Bob’s wife, Maria’s book, Love Lives Here:  Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You WantIt’s an excellent read as well.  Big thumbs’ up.

February 26th finds us back in fiction:  Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon. Irene is amazing.  She’s written fifty plus books and has received many awards.  Read more about her on her website:  irenehannon.com

“Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her coastal Oregon hometown. As a result, she has zero time for extracurricular activities–including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn’t looking for love either–but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief? Yet wishing for things that can never be is foolish.

Nevertheless, when Lexie enlists Adam’s help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different–and better–future planned for them than either could imagine.”

On March 26th, we’ll discuss Choosing by Rachelle Dekker. Rachelle happens to be the oldest daughter of bestselling author Ted Dekker.  Read more about her via rachelledekker.com

“Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she’d spent a lifetime preparing for―her Choosing ceremony―to end in disaster. Ripped from her family, she’ll spend her days serving as a Lint, the lowest level of society. She knows it’s her duty to follow the true way of the Authority.

But as Carrington begins this nightmare, rumors of rebellion rattle her beliefs. Though the whispers contradict everything she’s been told, they resonate deep within.

Then Carrington is offered an unprecedented chance at the life she’s always dreamed of, yet she can’t shake the feeling that it may be an illusion. With a killer targeting Lints and corruption threatening the highest levels of the Authority, Carrington must uncover the truth before it destroys her.”

We’ll finish out our season on April 23rd, reading a novel by a favorite author of mine, Julie Klassen. Her book we’ll be reading is The Innkeeper of Ivy HillShe loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austin.  We will have fun with this novel!  Read more about Julia via her website:  julieklassen.com  (The book I read long ago and loved was The Apothecary’s Daughter.)

“The lifeblood of the Wiltshire village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. But when the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant owner. Jane has no notion of how to run a business. However, with the town’s livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must find a way to bring new life to the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to find her place in the world. As she and Jane work together, they form a measure of trust, and Thora’s wounded heart begins to heal. When she encounters two men from her past, she sees them–and her future–in a different light.

With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane employs innovative methods to turn the inn around, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place. Will her efforts be enough to save The Bell? And will Thora embrace the possibility of a second chance at love?”

Get these dates on your calendar and be thinking of friends you can invite!  You’ll enjoy this variety of Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction and your summer all at once! We look forward to seeing you in the fall!

‘Til next time!

P.S.  Next week I’ll have details to share about an amazing event with even more amazing speakers on August 5th from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Save the date!

 

 

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Come Meet Author Sarah Ladd and Learn About Her Novel, “The Heiress of Winterwood”, Monday, April 24th, 6:30-8:00 P.M.

Friends! I pray you and your family had a blessed Easter. We rejoice that He is risen, indeed.

It’s with great excitement I get to tell you a wee bit about Book Club and turn over the details to my dear friend, Nancy Tinnell. Nancy will reveal what all is happening next Monday, April 24th. Be thinking about who you’ll invite to bring with you to Book Club! You do NOT want to miss this!

The gals at Branches Book Club have really cooked up some fun. Here’s the book they’ll be discussing:

Even better, you’ll get to meet the author, Sarah Ladd!

Now, please allow me to pass my pen to Nancy Tinnell:


“The Heiress of Winterwood”
Sarah Ladd

Why do we love Regency fiction so much? Even as an adult, it’s easy to fantasize about a wardrobe of empire waist dresses with ribbons trailing down the back, and, of course, an upswept hairdo!  Shades of Mr. Darcy!

Sarah Ladd makes it easy to love period fiction in The Heiress of Winterwood. Though we may look back on those days with the idea that it was a quiet and genteel time, Sarah brings to the surface the reality of what it’s like to marry under pressure so you don’t lose your property; the struggle Amelia Barrett experiences when she finds her heart has been touched by another man; the disappointment felt when trusted family members are found to be not so trustworthy.

Amelia is a “good girl,” a rule follower, and she must learn that sometimes being obedient and faithful to God challenges our own rules and requires that we follow Him. Oh, how Amelia learns to trust in the Lord and lean not on her own understanding! (A vision of Proverbs 3:5-6!)

Author Sarah Ladd will be joining us at Branches Book Club on Monday, April 24th, at 6:30 p.m. for the final meeting this spring before we break for summer. What a great time this will be to ask her questions about her work.

As a bonus, Lifeway Christian Store will have a display of Sarah’s books, AND, last but not least, Lifeway will be selling copies of our next season’s book club selections at a discount. Can it get any better than that?

Well, as a matter of fact, it can! Our snack theme is an English tea party, a la Downton Abbey! Bring your finger sandwiches and cookies (or biscuits, as the British say), and enjoy an evening with Sarah Ladd and your book club friends. There will be door prizes, tea and dainties to consume, and the schedule for fall and spring’s book club selections, so you can get a head start this summer.

You may remember author Kristy Cambron’s visit last September when we read her book, The Ringmaster’s Wife. Kristy and Sarah are friends, and it was she who suggested we invite Sarah to be with us. All of us at Branches Book Club are excited Sarah’s coming, and, of course, we hope to see all of you! Make plans to join us!


THANK YOU, NANCY!

Please call Middletown United Methodist to RSVP at: (502) 245-8839.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

We look forward to seeing you!

‘Til next time!

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You’re Invited to a Super Fun Book Club! Monday, 3/27 at 6:30 p.m.: “The Promise of Jesse Woods” by Chris Fabry

Friends!  Grab  as many friends as you can find and dash over to Middletown United Methodist Church next Monday, March 27th from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

 The girls at Branches Book Club will be discussing a beautifully written novel by Chris Fabry called The Promise of Jesse Woods and you do not want to miss a minute of it! 

Because there’s a mouth-watering church picnic scene in the story, we decided we’ll be having our own potluck supper Monday night.  Please bring a side dish to share if time allows.  The main course and drinks will be provided. Just one more incentive (read “bribe” and smile) to get you and your friends coming to Book Club!

One more teaser:  Chris has graciously sent us a twenty plus minute personal message about this book, so you won’t want to miss him either!  

Every single book I’ve read of Chris’ I declare it to be my favorite, and The Promise of Jesse Woods is no exception.  What’s fun about Chris’ writing is my sweet Hubster, a/k/a John, enjoys Chris’ books too and we have a blast discussing them.  This book received the 2017 Christianity Today Book Award Merit in the fiction category.

Some of his other books have won the coveted Christy Award (Dogwood 2009, Almost Heaven 2011 and Not in the Heart 2013)  and the Christian Book Award (also Almost Heaven 2011).  Click on his website and check out all the other books Chris has written:  fiction and non-fiction. And don’t miss his daily radio show, Chris Fabry Live on Moody Radio. (www.moodyradio.org )

One of many endorsers of this book happens to be author Charles Martin. Many of you know how much I like his writing and you’re in his camp as well.  Charles says Chris’ book is “a tender coming-of-age story of first love, innocence lost, and the soul-freeing power of truth.”

Before we get into a few glimpses of this novel, you guys out there may be interested in at least two of Chris’ non-fiction books. My guess is you had no idea he wrote these very cool, true stories:

Coming Back Stronger—Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity by Drew Brees with Chris Fabry

The Winners Manual—for the Game of Life by Jim Tressel with Chris Fabry

(Fun sidebar:  John and I happen to have a copy of this book, signed by Tressel.  This came about when our dear friend Joe Daniels was Coach Tressel’s Quarterback Coach.  Like Tuesdays with Morrie, Jim Tressel sat at Joe Daniels’ bedside every single Tuesday while he battled cancer.  He gave a most poignant speech at Joe’s funeral.)

Back to our book:  You’ll love the characters in The Promise of Jesse Woods and feel as if you’re riding bikes down the roads of Dogwood, West Virginia with them.  You’ll sympathize with Matt whose extra pounds he’s packin’ bring him relentless teasing.

He and his family have moved to Dogwood for his Dad to be the town’s new preacher.  This makes Matt not only the new kid in town, but the Preacher’s Kid, and we all know what comes with that…

Matt quickly makes two new friends, both dragging a wagon full of baggage.  Matt’s new friend Dickie, is biracial, which brings that whole component with the story’s setting in 1972, while his other friend in the trio happens to be a girl named, Jesse Woods.  She becomes Matt’s first love which complicates matters just a tad.

In the book, Chris flips back and forth from 1984 to 1972, however you figure this out easily and read that much faster, trying to figure out where the plot will take you next.  One of the bad guys in the book will make you so mad because of how he affects so many, Matt’s Father, included.  His name even sounds like a dark cloud hovers over it:  Basil Blackwood.

At one point in the story, Matt wonders when his Father may grow a backbone no thanks to the very wicked Mr. Blackwood. Seems Mr. Blackwood minds the church’s business more than his own.

When Matt moves away to Chicago, he loses touch with these friends who’d been inseparable.  He says, “After high school I had ripped the rearview off my life.”

It’s back in Chicago where Matt gets a blast-from-the-past phone call from Dickie.  They really needed to patch things up, but the more pressing matter comes with Dickie’s announcement that their beloved Jesse is getting married in a few days.  Oh my…

Will Matt return to Dogwood?  And if he does, will he stop the wedding?  Will Jesse’s fiancée go after Matt?  Ah, my friend, you must read the book to find out!

Before we close, I’ll share just one of many beautiful quotes I’ve highlighted and dog-eared.  Matt is talking with his father who says, “Life is never easy…it may seem like it on the surface, but there’s a struggle to it all.  When Jesus told the disciples to go across the Sea of Galilee, they got in the boat and obeyed. And that was when one of the biggest storms blew up. So obeying God’s will can sometimes get you into trouble. But it’s better to follow him into a storm than to stay on the shore alone.”

One thing I always hunt for in a book is the meaning of its’ title.  You will flat fall out of your chair when you reach the meaning of The Promise of Jesse Woods.  I never saw it comin’…

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest book story and grab this book.  Even if you don’t finish it before Monday, you’ll still enjoy and be blessed by our lively discussion, fun fellowship and delicious food.

We’ll look forward to seeing you Monday night, March 27th at 6:30! 

‘Til next time!

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