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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Clearing Clutter Clears Your Mind…and then some… (With help from author Ruth Soukup)

Friends!  I pray this finds you well and rested, having had fun family time over Memorial Day Weekend.

Wait ’til you hear what nearly happened:  My sweet husband, John, and I recently came within hours of buying another house.  As in Sunday night, before we were to answer the contract Monday morning, we were leaving the potential purchase and I said, “Ya know, I’m just not 100%.”  To which he replied, “Me neither.”

KUNG…..Are you kidding me?  I’d already mentally placed furniture in each room thanks to sleepless nights among other distractions. We’d be gaining a neat, “lock and leave” concept-of-a-home with a four foot by eight foot patch of grass verses our current two acres, a first floor master, etc.

John stopped the car mid-hill and we said in unison, “Let’s not do it.”  That was that.

While some of our friends considered us in dire need of a psychological evaluation (!!!), others “got it”.  Several of our friends are downsizing, simplifying, and purging their homes of stuff so their poor children don’t have to years later. Having gone thru’ that with my own parents, that experience was no picnic.  At  all. At  all.

One huge “aha” moment occurred during this lapse of sanity.  I declared while in a major panic mode:  “Wow, if we have to show this house for sale, the first and second floors are good.  But  the closets?  And  the basements?  Major deal-breakers. Buyers would run for the hills.”

You may have noticed “basements” is plural.  Yes, we have two basements.  Both small, but both very full of stuff.  Largely thanks to my parents’ home we emptied.

Thus we’ve begun the purging process.  We’ve made good dents in all the closets.  But, we’ve not ventured down to the basements yet.  Soon tho’, very soon.  It’s a very good feeling to finally begin this long, overdue process.

There are a gazillion books available to aid those of us in the pack rat category.  One which many of us have read and continually quote is Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up:  The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

One of Marie’s suggestions is to hold up the item in question (whether to keep or toss), and ask yourself, “Does this bring me joy?” My friends and I’ve had a boatload of fun discussing this.

The other good news is there are numerous organizations more than happy to take your stuff, friends in need, maybe even consignment opportunities. Our “trash” is morphing into someone else’s “treasure”.  Hallelujah!!!

Another book I read years ago is by a guy whose fame largely came from Oprah. His name is Peter Walsh. He’s written many more books since the one I read.  I confess I totally bought this book on a whim because the title made me howl right there in the bookstore: Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?  For  real?  Yet it seems there is a correlation to people with stuff also carrying around extra pounds…Hmmm…

Even better news, I’ve discovered a lovely Christian author named Ruth Soukup.  She’s authored several books on decluttering and comes highly recommended.  Her most recent book is called Unstuffed:  Decluttering Your Home, Mind and Soul.

Check out her amazing blog, too:  www.lvingwellspendingless.com

On Ruth’s blog, she says her mission is to “eliminate overwhelm and make your life just a little bit easier.”  Amen. She even offers many amazing recipes!

Lysa TerKeurst says, “As women, we have the tendency to overstuff our lives, our schedules, and our homes with things that really aren’t beneficial.  And our souls suffer because of our unwillingness to let go.  Ruth Soukup tackles this issue head-on and gives practical steps to be purposeful with the stuff we let into our sacred spaces.”

Ruth’s book is divided into three parts:  Home, Mind, and Soul.  It’s not just about decluttering stuff, she helps you seriously look at your schedule, your paperwork, and other people’s stuff…as in letting go of guilt.  i.e. “My Mother would never forgive me if I got rid of _______________.”

She also talks about when you’re “drowning in magazines” as an example of the paperwork part.  (Please, no one venture onto our porch right now as there’s a pile of magazines and catalogs awaiting my review.  Hello? Busted.)

Regarding your soul, Ruth addresses friends, wellness and your spirit, “Letting go of the need to do it yourself.”  She tells us, “Each chapter will offer sidebars of concrete ideas you can implement right away to clear the chaos and create calm, clutter-free zones within your home…”

While we may have missed the spring cleaning season (it’s not quite summer yet, is it?), it’s never too late to begin purging.  Your home and your family will thank you, trust me.

Before we close, let’s look at some other books by Ruth:

31 Days to a Clutter Free Life:  One Month to Clear Your Home, Mind and Schedule

Living Well Spending Less:  12 Secrets of the Good Life

31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero:  Freeze Your Spending. Change Your Life.

Before I return to editing my book, I’m tackling two horrendous looking piles surrounding me on my desk.  Got a place in mind you need to tackle?  Go for it! Just start, little by little.

Clear the clutter, clear your mind.  You’ll be honoring the Lord with your efforts and He will be well pleased.

Proverbs 16:3 reminds us to include God in our efforts: 

‘Til next time!

 

 

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Big Excitement from Sally Lloyd Jones’ Jesus Storybook Bible—10th Anniversary! And more!

Friends!  Blessings to you this week.  I’ve got some fun news for you about more than one book by one of my favorite children’s authors, Sally Lloyd-Jones. (We adults enjoy her books as much as our children and grandchildren do.)

I first learned about Sally Lloyd-Jones one weekend when our middle son, Gordy, was home from college several years ago.  He asked me if I’d take him out and buy him a book.  Friends, now this kind of request rarely happens from a boy who’s in college.

This wasn’t a book he needed for classes.  This was a book he heard about from some kids involved with the ministry of  Campus Outreach. All the kids were talking about and reading a children’s Bible.  The Bible?  The Jesus Storybook Bible—Every Story Whispers His Name.

Yes, well, I don’t know about you, but if your child asks you for any Bible, wouldn’t you be thrilled?  Gordy and I marched out and bought a copy for him and a copy for John and me.

The staffers at Campus Outreach were smart.  They were showing college students all about the Bible via Jago’s cool illustrations and Sally Lloyd-Jones’ storytelling skills based on the Bible. Sally’s creation has not only reached and touched college students’  lives, now in its’ tenth year, it’s been translated into thirty-three languages all over the world. Ponder that for a minute…

Here’s a pic of the new gift edition:

Sally begins by reassuring us readers, “You see, the best thing about this Story is—it’s true. There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.”

I love what she says in the section on Adam and Eve, “You see no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children—with a

Never Stopping,

Never Giving Up,

Unbreaking,

Always and

Forever Love.”

(These five types of love are repeated throughout her book.)

Another favorite part is found in Paul’s transformation when he says to the people, “It’s not about keeping rules! You don’t have to be good at being good for God to love you. You just have to believe what Jesus has done and follow him. Because it’s not about trying, it’s about trusting. It’s not about rules, It’s about Grace: God’s free gift—that cost him everything.”

I just love how she explains the Gospel.  This book really is for everyone, not  just children!

I discovered another book by Sally at a shower given for me to “Stock the Grandmother’s Library” my cousin Bonnie hosted.  Talk about book heaven! Baby’s Hug-A-Bible is an adorable book, and one where the child can literally hug the fleece-covered book.  It includes ten favorite Bible stories in rhyme.  It would be a great way to introduce your child or grandchild to God’s Word.

For the toddlers who are being potty trained, don’t miss another one of Sally’s books with the best title ever:  Skip to the Loo, My Darling! A Potty Book.  The illustrations and rhyming words are just too terrific.  Beyond clever.

I heard Sally interviewed about this book on the Eric Metaxas Show.  They are long-time friends. You’ll find their back and forth banter priceless. www.metaxastalk.com

She was also recently on his show talking about the 10th Anniversary edition of The Jesus Storybook Bible as well as the Stories and Songs Tour she would be doing with Amy Grant and Ellie Holcomb.  (It ran from March 19-May 13.)

Sally was born in Uganda.  She reveals while she was only nine years of age, at a boarding school no less, she experienced God speaking into her life about her future. It’s an irrefutable God-incident!

Sally’s newest children’s book, Found:  Psalm 23 sounds strangely familiar to her own story.  It’s her paraphrase of Psalm 23 from The Jesus Storybook Bible.

The books we’ve talked about this week are just a sampling of many, many wonderful offerings Sally’s written.  Pop over to her website and check them out. (www.sallylloyd-jones.com ) I can’t begin to say which is my favorite, but I’m on a mission to “research” them all, one by one, and soon will be reading them to our little Claire, Lord willing.

‘Til next time!

 

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Encouragement We Need This Mother’s Day Week…

Friends!  Blessings to you this Mother’s Day Week!  Whether you’re a Mom, or an Aunt, or a Grandmother, or a Mother-like-neighbor, I pray we’ll all be encouraged this week not only for ourselves, but so we may in turn encourage the precious Moms who are in our lives.

Many of us know Mothering is no piece of cake.  It’s the most rewarding experience we can have, and yet it’s one of the most difficult jobs we’ll ever hold. (As in it never ends.  Case in point:  My sweet Mother-in-love, who’s a mere eighty-six years old, is found often worrying about one of her sixty-something daughters who’s battling Parkinson’s.)

I nearly fell out of my chair this morning (for many reasons you’ll soon see) as I was reading a devotional by my good buddy, Debora Coty.  I’ve written about this book before, Too Blessed to Be Stressed—Inspiration for Every Day—365 Devotions for Women, but this particular entry is well worth sharing.  First, here’s the book:

Second, let’s have some fun and encouragement together thanks to Debora’s entry on May 8th, Surviving the Hood.  (“Hood”, of course, referring to Motherhood.   LOL.)

Debora believes our reward awaiting us in Heaven will be “something akin to a twenty-four-year deluxe spa treatment with a Godiva smorgasbord.” I knew as soon as I read that I was all in on this day’s devotion.

Debora dubs her friends who are moms “mom-sisters.”  Let’s just see how some of their quotes affect you:

  • “Giving birth to a child is the beginning of a long good-bye.” (Debora’s friend, Sarah) This is killer.  Don’t even broach this subject with me as our family has just been blessed with our first grandchild…
  • “If you wouldn’t want someone calling you poopy-face, don’t call anyone else poopy-face.” (Deborah’s friend Debbie explaining Matthew 7:12, a/k/a The Golden Rule, to her twins.) This is grand “toddler speak.”

  • “I’m a parenting survivor!” (Deborah’s friend Carol at her son’s high school graduation.) This is brilliant  and empowering given the popularity of Survivor on TV. Yes! Let’s say that together, “I am a survivor!”…

Take a moment to pour over these little numbers.  I still can’t believe this:

  • “Think you’re busy? According to Guinness World Records, the greatest number of children born to one mother is sixty-nine children (an 18th century Russian peasant)…

She had twenty-seven pregnancies:

 16 sets of twins,

7 sets of triplets, and

4  sets of quads.

 I’m betting her tombstone said, ‘Rest in Peace. Finally.’”  I know.  Mercy sakes’ alive…

And, I love this…Here’s what happens when your kids finally get a glimpse of what you’ve been thru’:

  • “When my friend Eddie asked her son, married one year, when he planned to have kids, he answered, ‘I’m not ready to share my fries like you always did, Mom.’” I confess I didn’t always want to share my fries or cookies or…

Finally Debora leaves us a jewel of a Scripture to encourage us to “continue to diligently pray for our children and grandchildren”:

If you’d like to learn more about Debora’s devotional, here’s the link to my recent review.  All of Debora’s books are wonderful with her hysterical humor and heartfelt devotion to our Lord, whom she calls “Papa God.” Checkout her website:  www.deboracoty.com

Happy Mother’s Day!  And many thanks to my dear Floridian friend and mentor, Debora Coty, who continues to bless me every day.

Next week you’re in for another treat with some astonishing stories proving God pursues us even as young children…

‘Til next time!

P.S. It’s our distinct, overwhelming pleasure to announce the birth of our first grandchild, Claire Elizabeth Hoagland.  Born May 9th at 9:17 a.m.  Mamma Diana, Papa John Jr.  and Baby Claire are well. Huge answer to prayer! We praise you, Lord.  Claire weighed 7 lbs., 15 oz., and is 20 inches long. Here we go on our new adventure!!! Needless to say we’re ALL smitten. =)

Here is the girls’ side of the table at Our Last Supper before Baby Claire’s arrival. Left to right:  Yours truly, LT, Lauren, and Diana (9+ mos. pregnant!) This was at one of our favorite hangouts, Noosh Nosh.

 

Here are the new proud parents, Diana and John Jr with Baby Claire.

Have you ever seen any bigger ear-to-ear grins on new grandparents?  We hope to be called Lolly and Poppy, but I’m told whatever the grand darlin’s call us is what we’re called.  So be it for the little angel.

Here, unbelievably, are our three grown sons with Claire.  Left to right, Proud new father John Jr., Uncle Woody in the center with Claire, and Uncle Gordy (maybe Uncle “G”) on the right.

Amen and Amen.

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New Book by Author Nancy Aguiar is a MUST-READ! (“Five Drops—Stories of Faith, Family and Fun)

Friends!  I’ve got wonderful news for you about an equally wonderful new book.

Nancy Aguiar has recently released her debut book, Five Drops—Stories of Faith, Family and Fun. It’s available here in Louisville at the Living Word Bookstore in Southeast Christian Church (www.livingword.org ), or Carmichael’s (www.carmichaelsbookstore.com ) will order it for you, or you can get it from Amazon.

I’m blessed to call Nancy a dear friend and mentor.  Yes, I can be objective and honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed reading her book. I could hear her telling the many beautiful stories she shares. This book would work perfectly read as a devotional, but my prediction is you’ll keep reading as one story makes you curious about the next one!

So what’s the meaning of the title?  Five Drops…?  Nancy shares it was her maternal grandmother, “Mammy”, who was born in Sweden, yet chased Nancy’s Grandfather, “Papa”, to the United States, marrying him and learning English.

As often as she could, Mammy would invite her Swedish friends over and serve them coffee and pastries.  Nancy says, “They would chat for hours and find renewal and healing in friendship and laughter.”

Like many of us friends today meeting up at Starbucks, Nancy reveals, “Coffee was the key ingredient in each of those afternoons.” Mammy filled and refilled her friends’ cups until they would finally say, Fem droppar” which translates:  “five drops”…as in just a little more coffee in their cups while their afternoon was winding down.

Nancy said her family, now two and three generations from Mammy’s, still uses this phrase about whatever it is they’re having:  coffee, water, juice, second helpings of dessert, etc.  Can one say, “Fem droppar” when consuming chocolate??? (Maybe hot chocolate?)

Nancy reminds us Jesus is the Master storyteller.  Since Jesus told stories so often, surely such a skill is important.  Nancy’s Grandmother was not the only storyteller in her family.  Both of her parents were and for that, she’s forever grateful.

Nancy warns us, “The fast-paced society of today is missing that special gift of time and the art of story. We must reclaim it. What my parents didn’t share with me orally is now gone…Telling and retelling stories to the next generations must be of greater importance…That’s why I wrote this book.”

We lucky readers get to read fifty-five stories by Nancy covering every topic you can imagine.  She takes you right along with her, many times telling on herself while including an important lesson. She’s serious one minute and laugh-your-head-off-funny the next. She blissfully includes pertinent Scripture regarding many lessons for us all.

In “Ms. Polly”, she tells us, “Every day lived to the glory of God is a day well-lived.”  In “Appalachia”, she says, “My takeaway that day was to be thankful for all we do have—all that has been given to us in the course of one day—and to value each person God places in our lives, even if they’re there for a few hours.”

In “Time for Prayer”, she concludes, “Until freedom is taken from us, we should be willing to pray whenever and wherever we can. Such a privilege I will never take for granted.”  

A few chapters have Nancy taking us along on mission trips. On one of them, she “gets” to pull a person’s tooth and I am not pulling your leg! (Way to go, Nan. Had I accompanied you, you’d have been scraping me up off of the floor…)

In “Sumo and Sal”, we learn she was a witness in a real-live murder case.  Imagine being scared to death, literally, in the paradise of all paradises, Hawaii? Good news is she has more praiseworthy stories from there where we all can rejoice. (Don’t miss “Jade Bracelets”.) Here’s a recent picture of Nancy and Ron in Hawaii:

Nancy also tells about some of the elderly women she cared for.  That was one of her many careers where her giftedness shone like the light of Jesus.  She took care of my own Mother, and wait for it:  Preached Mother’s funeral!

It was the second book in The Redemption Series, Remember,   by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley that caused Nancy to consider caring for the elderly while they were in “Heaven’s Waiting Room”, as Karen called it.  When our Book Club got to Skype with Karen, we had Nancy approach the camera to tell Karen how her book caused this new career to happen.

Suddenly, tears began falling down Karen’s cheeks, as did the rest of the attendees’ faces that night. Confirmation Nancy was right in the middle of the Lord’s will.

Besides being an author, Nancy’s also been a teacher at a local college, a Bible study teacher of numerous classes, a preacher (Seriously—she’s preached more than one funeral.), and is a linguist (She speaks several languages, having lived in Germany while in high school.) She’s currently working in the healthcare industry.

She and her husband, Ron, are about to celebrate their fortieth anniversary this year.  They are blessed with two children, a son-in-law, and one grandson who’s the light of their life.

After proofreading this post, my dear husband just informed me I made the grave error of omitting the most fun fact about Nancy:  She gives the best hugs any recipient could dream of.  Those of you who’ve been on the receiving end are nodding. (He also just brought me “fem droppar” of some of his infamous coffee as I’ve consumed way more than one should have at 6:00 in the morning.)

More good news:  Nancy’s the Speaker for a Ladies Breakfast, held at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church on May 20th, from 9:00-11:00 a.m.  Please see below for more information if you’d like to hear her:

Go grab a copy of Nancy’s book for yourself and one for a friend (this makes a fabulous gift), Five Drops—Stories of Faith, Family, and Fun.  Drinking a cup of coffee or tea while reading it will make it that much better.

God bless you, Nancy, for leaving such a beautiful legacy for your family and friends!

‘Til next time!

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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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Let’s Get Inspired EVERY DAY, Thanks to Author Debora M. Coty

Friends!  No, you’re not seeing double, but due to my multi-tasking I had the wrong cover of this wonderful book I’m sharing about.  So the below is what you need.  My apologies!  Please enjoy:

Friends!  Have I ever got good news to share with you!  Spring has sprung, and with it, daily inspiration, thanks to author Debora Coty and her new book, Too Blessed to be Stressed…Inspiration for Every Day.

Short and sweet, each devotion includes a clever title, a Scripture verse, an anecdote to go along with the title, and a prayer to close it out.  One of many, many of my favorites is entitled, “Perfecting My Stinky Face.” (Makes you curious, doesn’t it?)

For those of you who don’t know Debora, you’ll love getting to know her because she has the funniest sense of humor I’ve read in a long, long time.  She’s also a great storyteller and you’ll think you’re sitting right next to her while she tells you what’s transpired.

I love how she calls her grandson “grandbuddy.”  His name is Blaine and in this particular story, he was watching her put her face on…Wondering what all that stuff was, Blaine asked his Mimi what it does.

Deb told him her blush gave her more color.  He then  asked why his Mimi wanted to be pink. (!!!)

Next up, a little spray of perfume.  Further curious, typical of a three year-old, the “why” question returned.  Deb told him she thought her perfume made her smell pretty.

Oh, Blaine’s response is worthy of an award for best comedy:  While making a stinky face…he said, “Uggghh.  You smell like my Pull-Ups.”  Wow. Outta the mouths of babes.

Her point to this devotion is we all make “stinky faces” over something.  Not so pretty to look at when passing a mirror.  Many times we don’t even realize the scour our faces are sportin’…

Deb teaches us, “The face is the window into the mind.  Reading expressions is our feedback mechanism to know what’s going on inside others.”  Reminds me of that saying, “If you’re so happy, you may want to notify your face.”  Makes me laugh every time.

Right before the ending of the devotional, Deb asks us to consider a couple of questions:

 “So does my countenance bless or intimidate people?”

“Does Jesus-joy shine through my eyes and encourage through my smile?”

While we readers are pondering those questions, Deb closes with a beautiful prayer:

See how neat this devotional is?  And it’s just one of three hundred and sixty-five!  One  for each day.  And you know my rule for devotionals:  “Like shoes, you can never have too many devotionals.  Change them up as your mood does.”

Last year, I was blessed to get to meet Debora in person in Clearwater Beach, Florida.  Hubster and I happened to be vacationing there for a few days .  She drove over from Tampa just so we could meet face to face (our faces were happy that day!!!) and sip on some tea. We had a ball and our time flew out to sea before we were close to being finished.

Deb and I’d been emailing for a few years after my happy discovery of her book Fear, Faith and  a Fistful of Chocolate—Wit and Wisdom for Sidestepping Life’s WorriesIt’s another one not to miss.

I love what one of her endorsers, Rhonda Rhea,  says of this devotional, “Too Blessed to be Stressed…is just like the right touch of soul caffeine—perfect for my morning. I love that it’s compact and clever. Witty and heartwarming, yes, but best of all the wisdom tucked inside is biblical, and each devotion directs my focus to God who wants my day…”

A couple more fun facts and then we’ll close…So back in 2011, Too Blessed to be Stressed—Inspiration for Climbing Out of Life’s Stress-Pool was published.  Debora’s publisher got the bright notion to birth a few more offshoots from this and a cookbook was born as well as a three-minute devotional which then led to this three hundred and sixty-five day one.  (See the post from March 2016 for more on Deb)

Debora says this devotional is “ready to rescue readers from the joy-sucking dully-funks.”  The devotions cover about any topic you could come up with:

“Relationships,
Love,
Boundaries,
Hope,
Brokenness,
Revitalization of spirit, body, and faith,
and Refreshment”—just to name a few!

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore and grab this devotional!  You’ll be so happy you did!

‘Til next time!

 

 

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