You’re Invited to Book Club and a Christmas Party on 11/25! “Christmas in Winter Hill” by Melody Carlson

Friends! This coming Monday, November 25th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m., please make some much needed time for yourself before all the Thanksgiving and Christmas madness and head over to Middleton United Methodist Church for a full night of fun and holiday cheer! You won’t want to miss our discussion on Melody Carlson’s newest Christmas novel, Christmas in Winter Hill.

We’ll navigate Krista Galloway’s struggles with Christmas past and her journey in discovering the true spirit of Christmas with her eight-year-old daughter in a new town famous for its Christmasville celebration.

Here’s a description, courtesy of Amazon:  “Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn’t always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, ‘Where’s the snow?’ Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista’s Christmas spirit before the big day?

Bestselling author Melody Carlson invites you to spend this holiday season in a town you’ll never forget–and never want to leave.”

Christmas in Winter Hill is sure to encourage engaging discussions!

And, as is tradition during our November gathering, we’ll get to enjoy a huge spread of holiday treats! Have a to-die-for favorite appetizer? Bring it with you, and check out all of the other delights that are sure to please. We can be your guinea pigs if you’re trying out a new recipe on the fam this Thanksgiving. There are so many options, you won’t go away hungry!

To top off our night of holiday fun, bring a wrapped Christmas ornament and join in our annual Ornament Exchange! This is always a hit, and a fun way to add a new ornament to your tree.

Grab your friends, and join us on Monday, November 21st from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Middletown United Methodist Church. And please do have a most Happy, Blessed Thanksgiving on the 28th!!!

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

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

‘Til next time!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are “affiliate links.”

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Come to the Kentucky Book Festival this SATURDAY, November 16th!!! Located in the Alltech Arena in the Kentucky Horse Park – Lexington, Kentucky: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Friends! When was the last time you had the unfathomable opportunity to meet over 150 (That’s right:  ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY) authors in the same place, featuring their books, offering to sign them personally, just for YOU?!!!

I’ve been blessed twice before to attend this event, as an attendee, never as an author, which makes this year doubly exciting and a double blessing and honor and privilege for yours truly…

The Kentucky Book Festival is at the Kentucky Horse Park, in their lovely-n-large Alltech Arena.  It’s all day long this coming Saturday, November 16th, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Admission and parking is FREE!!!!

 

You do NOT want to miss this opportunity!  I call it heaven on earth, being the I-can’t-help-myself-bibliophile that I am.

My first book festival I attended was with Nancy-the-hugging-evangelist (Her name is explained in Chapter 4 of my book) Aguiar.  We not only got to attend the book festival, we also got to have lunch with Paula Deen and 1,498 others—Dare to ask us the story…

That year, I met the darling and engaging Jan Watson. I bought one of her books, immediately falling in love with her wit and wisdom, later inviting her to come and speak at one of our book club meetings.

Here are a couple of her excellent novels:

Jan then introduced me to Ann Gabhart, which led to us inviting Ann to come and speak at one of our book club meetings…

Can you see where I’m going with this?!!!

This year will be the 38th annual Kentucky Book Fair.  It’s in partnership with Joseph Beth Booksellers, one of my favorite all-time bookstores in Lexington.

You can go to Kentucky Humanities’ website to see who all will be at the book fair and strategize your mission upon arrival.  (I’ve got quite a shopping list. You can see a few I’ll be hunting for at the end of this post…)

Go to:  www.kyhumanities.org

There are so many authors, that many of us will be three to a table, shoulder to shoulder.  I cannot wait to meet these folks!  (Hot tip:  Be sure to get a good dose of caffeine before you come.)

Think Christmas gifts GALORE!!!

Just a few of the many notables include:  Wendell Berry and his wife, Tonya, Scott Pelley from CBS News and 60 Minutes, and Joe B. Hall (for all of you UK fans:  CATS! CATS! CATS!)

Fun sidebar:  I grew up around the corner from Joe B. Hall.  His son, Steve, and I went to Glendover Elementary School, and yes, we walked or rode our bikes to school.  (But not in the snow….)

This week I’m happy to report many of these authors have been visiting lots of classrooms in lots of schools.  Over 2,000 books were distributed to schoolchildren in an effort supported by the Kentucky Colonels, the Elsa Heisel Sule Foundation and Kosair Charities. Bravo!

Books at the fair will be positioned by genre:  Fiction, Non-Fiction, Children’s, and Poetry.  Books for ALL ages will be plentiful.

Kentucky Monthly magazine says it so well:

Load up your car and COME TO THE KENTUCKY BOOK FAIR!

We’re ALL excited to meet you…

‘Til next time!

P.S. These are just a few books on my radar for Saturday (The book descriptions were found in the Kentucky Book Festival catalog.).

Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter’s Search for Meaning in the Stories of Our Times
by Scott Pelley

Scott Pelley introduces us to unforgettable people who discovered the meaning of their lives in the historic events of our times. Truth Worth Telling is for readers who believe values matter, and truth is worth telling. Pelley, known for his work on 60 Minutes and the CBS Evening News, is a reporter and photographer whose work has been recognized with numerous honors, including 37 Emmy Awards. Sponsored by Campbellsville University.

 

A Prairie Girl’s Faith
by Stephen W. Hines

Although the faith of the Ingalls’ family pervades books in the Little House series, the more specific details of Laura’s faith have never been fully explored until now. Hines, a recognized authority on Laura Ingalls Wilder, has authored or compiled several best-selling volumes on her life.

 

The Faith-Filled Grandmother: Promises, Prayers, and Practical Advice for Today
by Teresa Kindred

Written with the help of grandmothers from across the world, this book provides a blueprint to mitigate the impact of a transient society, fragmented families, and strained relationships while sustaining Christian traditions. For 13 years, Kindred wrote a column for Kentucky Living magazine. Her blog, NanaHood, has been chosen as one of the Top Ten Grandparent blogs in the world.

 

Coach Hall: My Life On and Off the Court
by Joe B. Hall & Marianne Walker

Joe B. Hall was the head basketball coach at the University of Kentucky from 1972 to 1985. In this riveting memoir, Hall presents details about his life on and off the court. His record at UK was 297-100, and 373-156 over his career. Walker is a retired professor of English and philosophy.

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are “affiliate links.”

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Need a Gift Idea? Try This New Book Releasing Monday, November 4th…

Friends!  Checkout the snippets below from a brand-new book, rolling hot off the press next Monday, November 4th!  Perfect timing for stocking up on Christmas gifts or if you need a gift idea for ANY REASON, THIS is your ticket:

Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore next week and grab Lucinda (Cindy) Secrest McDowell’s newest book, Life-Giving Choices:  60 Days to What Matters Most.

You’ll be astonished at all the words (60 entries!) Cindy blesses us with.  Each day and topic concludes with a prayer and a question prompting you to take action.  Carol Kent calls it a “timeless devotion.”  I agree, and when I finished, I started all over again!

Cindy tells us, “It is actually within our power to decide each day HOW we will live out numerous interruptions.”  She adds, “Don’t settle for the good when you can choose the best.”

She shows us exactly how to do this in our everyday lives. You’ll find it very empowering.  Carol Kent says Life-Giving Choices will greatly impact the way you live your life.”

One of many favorite quotes in the book is:

My three favorite entries are:  Choose to be Fearless, Choose Serenity, and Choose Friendship, but ALL of the other entries are well worth studying and pondering.

#8 is all about tackling fear, “Choose to be Fearless.”  Cindy offers four practical tips:  (the first two will get you rolling…you’ll have to read the chapter to get the rest!)

“ 1 – Be assured of God’s constant presence in hard times.
2 – Trust God is stronger than anything the enemy can send your way.”

Cindy includes this quote from Max Lucado in his book, Fearless, which kills me:

#25 is “Choose Serenity.”  I suppose this resonated with me because I always desire, but would rarely say I’m on serenity overload.  Sigh…more like “calendar overload”, which incidentally is of my own making…

What I especially love about this entry is Cindy spells out the word “serenity,” attaching a lovely word with each letter, i.e. “S” for still, “E” for established, “R” for restored…(You don’t want to  miss this entry!) and each letter is loaded with pertinent Scripture.

The entry opens with one of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 17:7-8 in The Message which says,

Note we’re to “put down roots”, “NEVER worrying,” “ALWAYS bearing fruit,” all the while trusting the Lord.  My friend, Liz, and I were talking yesterday about our older friends who still faithfully trot (optimistic verb for us future “old folk”) to Bible study year, after year, after year.  We agreed we want to do exactly the same thing.

I confess it’s not a good thing if I’m not in Bible study (I’ve learned that the hard way). The bonus from Bible study is being held accountable, and mining for more nuggets of gold in God’s Word. Kelly Minter coined the phrase “relational serenity” regarding fellowship with your friends and how this concept is even more beautiful when we’re planting our faces in the Word, “putting down roots” together.

This brings me to my 3rd favorite entry, #44, “Choose Friendship.”  Cindy uses Proverbs 27:9, “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul” to begin with and adds, “Grace is always the best formula for friendships.”

Also in this section, we get to read a quote from Eugene Peterson in his book, Leap Over a Wall:  Earthly Spirituality for Everyday Christians. Look how he depicts friendship:

Let’s close with a beautiful prayer from #49, “Choose Rest.”  This entry ranks up there with the one on serenity. The prayer sucker punched me while also encouraging me.  Right about NOW I’m off for a much-needed nap!

Enjoy:

Now you know what I’m going to say, Run!  Don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab this brand-new most helpful devotional, surely to bless you and your friends.

Don’t miss Cindy’s website:  lucindasecrestmcdowell.com

‘Til next time!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are “affiliate links.”

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“You’re Invited to Book Club, Monday 10/28! “Afraid of All the Things” Guarantees Hilarity, Encouragement & a Personal Message from Scarlet Hiltibidal!

Friends!  Load up your car with buddies and head to Middletown United Methodist Church (MUMC) next Monday night, October 28th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. 

We’ll be discussing a highly unique book called Afraid of All the Things:  Tornadoes, Cancer, Adoption, and Other Stuff You Need the Gospel For by Scarlet Hiltibidal.

Scarlet isn’t afraid to tell you why she’s been afraid of you-name-it most of her life.  Her various antics, some real, and some imagined, will have you crying from laughing so hard, God bless her.

The gift she gives us readers is her discovery of holding up the Gospel to her fears.  Our sweet Lord teaches her He is her answer. His perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)

One of many favorite quotes is:

A favorite Scripture she reminds us of is: “I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Lord, make me live in safety.” (Psalm 4:8)

Scarlet blesses us readers with Scripture after Scripture, promise after promise, we can cling to for many scenarios.  Through her many trials, we see her put this into action. (These are great lessons we can take note of.)

One of Scarlet’s scariest moments dealt with her Mother’s cancer.  Some of you may not know who her mom is.  I bet many of you know of her. She’s often interviewed on the Eric Metaxas Show.  Curious?  Scarlet’s Mom is Victoria Jackson from Saturday Night Live!!! Who knew?

You also don’t want to  miss how Scarlet and her family came to adopt a deaf orphan girl from China.  How it comes down is astonishing and obviously an only-God-could-orchestrate this endeavor.  Watch the beauty of others embracing them during this time and helping to assimilate their daughter into the United States.  This is a beautiful picture of the body of Christ.

Checkout Scarlet’s website:  www.scarlethiltibidal.com

Also, friends, you don’t want to  miss the sweet, personal video message Scarlet sent us from her farm!  She’s tickled pink we’ll be discussing her book this Monday!

You’ll also be amused by her newest book, He Numbered the Pores on My Face:  Hottie Lists, Clogged Pores, Eating Disorders, and Freedom From It All . (And she just announced she got a contract for another book!  We don’t know its topic yet.  No telling given her hilarious titles.  Congrats, Scarlet!)

Come and laugh with all of us and be encouraged.  Bring your friends! Sky’s the limit on snack options.  From the below quote in Scarlet’s Acknowledgments, can you guess what I’m bringing???

We hope to see you Monday, October 28th, from 6:30-8:00!

RSVP to Nancy Tinnell @ (502) 245-8839.

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are “affiliate links.”

 

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When You’re Married Almost SEVENTY YEARS… (“Great is Thy Faithfulness”)

Friends! Our family has been on an emotional roller coaster for several weeks over my Father-in-Love, Bill Hoagland.  He was taken into the arms of our Sweet Lord on Sunday, September 22nd. He would’ve been 92 this month.

A sympathy card we received in yesterday’s mail says, “A life is a continuous thread. It weaves itself through love and memory, and remains a part of everyone it has touched.”  My friend Jayne Combs, who sent the card said,

What a dear, dear thought.

Bill and Adeline are blessed with four children, two daughters-in-law, 12 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren for starters!  The number of friends who flowed thru’ the visitation and funeral were astonishing and such a beautiful blessing to all of us.

When planning Bill’s funeral (I called him “Possum” while our kids called him “Huggy”), all of John’s siblings, plus Marte and I, gathered at the Hoagland’s house Sunday afternoon and came up with thoughts for the obituary, favorite hymns for the funeral, etc. Many of our memories were like warm blankets, comforting us, making us laugh one minute and cry the next.

One of my favorite memories of Possum was watching him play the piano.  He could play be ear which always fascinated me.  When I met him for the very first time and shared I, too, play the piano (but NOT by ear!!!), I believe he decided I was okay to enter the family.  That was one of our fun things we could do together.

Possum frequently sported a bow tie.  At his funeral, there were twelve grandsons who became two teams of pallbearers, each wearing a bow tie.  That was one of many scenes causing us all to tear up.

The final honor guard presentation was a sight to behold:   Two young men from the Unites States Navy entered the sanctuary accompanied by taps, saluting the casket, reverently folding the flag, and presenting it to Adeline.  Not a dry eye existed, and I know Bill would’ve loved this.

Beyond all of Bill’s accomplishments, far and away were the heights he and Addie would go to for their marriage.  Addie often says, “He was always so kind to me.”

Those of you who knew Bill, know he and Addie were inseparable.  What one couldn’t do, the other could, always helping one another.  They sailed all over the city eating at many restaurants along the way. They would’ve been married SIXTY-NINE YEARS this November.

Below are a couple of older photos of the two lovebirds.  I think they look like movie stars!

One of the many lovely hymns sung at Bill’s funeral was “Great is Thy Faithfulness” by Thomas Obediah Chisholm. Thomas was born in a log cabin in Franklin, Kentucky. Rob Morgan, in his book Then Sings My Soul:  150 of the World’s Greatest Hymn Stories, tells us Thomas began teaching school at the early age of 16.

He came to Christ when he was 27 and because of numerous illnesses, went from job to job. Upon discovering his many new blessings each day, He wrote “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” taking the phrase from Lamentations 3:22-23,

The lyrics speak not only to our own faith in God, but I believe they speak to Bill’s devotion to Adeline and to his family:

Thomas wrote over 1,200 poems and hymns. His friend, William Runyan, is who composed the music to this song and many others.  He was so moved in particular by this one, Rob tells us “he prayed earnestly for special guidance in composing the music.”

The hymn didn’t take off at first.  Finally, Dr. Will Houghton of the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago made “Great is Thy Faithfulness” an unofficial theme song for the school.  But who really made it popular was the one and only George Beverly Shea and the choirs at the Billy Graham Crusades. (These are only a few of the many fun facts you can learn from Then Sings My Soul.)

This summer, soon after our two new grandsons, Ford and Henry, were born, they got to meet Huggy. This tickled us pink to see so many generations.  There’s that thread Jayne taught us about.

When I stop and think John and I’ve been married thirty-five years, right about half of what Bill and Adeline were, I can’t imagine life without my “better two-thirds”.  Our family would covet your prayers for Adeline as this journey ahead will be challenging.

My sis-in-love, Marte, told me soon after both her parents died and mine were both gone as well, “Oh, but we’re only shortly separated.”  Amen and Amen.

Below are the “Fabulous Four Sibs” :  L-R:  Van, Billy, John and Margee, and a more recent photo of Bill and Adeline.

 

May it be said of us as we lean toward Heaven, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” And as Bob Hope used to sing, “Thanks for the Memories.” We miss you, Huggy!

‘Til next time!

 

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Who’s Your Constant Companion? Let’s look to Anne Graham Lotz and her new book for some answers…

Friends! Mark your calendars for next Tuesday, October 1st. Why? You’ll be able to snag a copy of Jesus in Me: Experiencing the Holy Spirit as a Constant Companion.


I found this book to be a superb learning tool (turns out I’m not the only one who forgets they’re filled with the Holy Spirit!), a beautiful peek into many personal and poignant, heart-warming stories of Anne’s and of her family’s, who we all admire, plus excellent ways to become better acquainted with the Holy Spirit.

The book’s divided into 7 parts:

(My favorite is Appendix A: “Learning How to Hear the Holy Spirit’s Whispers When You Read Your Bible.” All four are very thorough!)

There are 27 chapters within these 7 parts. They’re short and sweet, each packing a punch. You’ll find yourself more than once saying, “Wow, I had no idea!”

Anne calls the Holy Spirit her Divine Companion and claims He’s a divine necessity. This was evident when she wrote the book. During this process, her own Father went to Heaven. She was already a widow, and six months after losing her Father, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, having to undergo the horrid effects of chemotheraphy.

She tells us, “Through the ups and downs, the tears and joy, the grief and comfort, I have experienced the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit.”

It’s not lost on me that this very week our family is also dealing with loss. My sweet Father-in-love, who was 91 years young, went to Heaven on Sunday morning. It was a glorious day and a blessing for Dad (I called him Possum) to no longer suffer. Our family would covet your prayers for my Mother-in-love, Adeline, Bill’s wife of almost sixty-nine years as she travels this journey.

After Anne’s children took care of her for fifteen months after Danny’s death, she learned the Holy Spirit can comfort us through the love and care of others. But when she did walk thru’ the door of her empty home, she realized she was still never alone. Her Comforter and Friend were with her all along. She sensed the presence of the Spirit of God. The number of reassurances such as this one fill the book.

One of several “aha” moments occurred when she says, “When He comes to indwell us, the newest believer has as much of the Holy Spirit as the oldest believer has, because we don’t get a person in pieces. Yet regrettably, He seems to get us in pieces.” For example, we give more to Him on Sunday than any other day, buzzing about our own agendas. Ouch and oh-so-true.

Another convicting (but in the best of ways) activity Anne includes is a list of sins for us to take an inventory of. Pure fun, huh?!!! She suggests reading thru’ the list 1-3 times. (See Appendix C)

At one time, Anne felt like she was far away from the Lord. She couldn’t quite put her finger on the problem. After reading thru’ the list a total three times, she said, “I realized I wasn’t as wonderful as I thought I was!” She was happy (and relieved) to report her relationship with the Lord was restored.

Don’t miss her trip to India that almost didn’t happen. The brutal attacks from Satan were so numerous you can’t imagine. It was if she had an iron-clad will to proceed full steam ahead. The lives that were reached for Jesus were almost too numerous to count and many who were with her said their team brought light to the darkness in that country. (See Chapter 6, “Our Strengthener.)

Two other examples I’d never thought of are:

1 – If God said Abraham was His friend three times in Scripture (2 Chronicles 29:7, Isaiah 41:8, and James 2:23), Anne reasoned, “why couldn’t I ask God for me to be His friend?” (This was the inspiration for another beautiful book by Anne, The Magnificent Obsession: Embracing the God Filled Life)

Anne shares with us that one of the things she misses most about her Mother was her understanding and her ability to give her children wise counsel, comfort, and encouragement. She also said she never tired of hearing her Mother pray. She says, “The tone of her prayer was as tho’ she was speaking to a powerful and well-connected FRIEND.” There again, the lovely bonus of being God’s friend.

2 – If Solomon could ask God for wisdom, why can’t we? (2 Chronicles 1:10) One of Anne’s many gifts is showing us multiple ways we can apply God’s Word to our lives. As my friend Caroline says, “This, friends, is where the rubber meets the road.”

A beautiful pray-er, Anne includes written prayers at the end of many chapters. I found myself putting many of her quotes in my journal. She always gets to the heart of the matter, quickly, while I spin in circles!

One more tidbit, so as not to reveal the whole book (!!!), is we learn the Holy Spirit is “the Fire of God.” Anne reminds us that fire is used to describe the Holy Spirit all throughout the Bible. She said, “The Holy Spirit sets our hearts on fire for God Himself…You and I should be FIRED UP all the time!”

She continues,

Here’s the BEST application question: “What is the spiritual temperature of your heart? Cold? Lukewarm? Or is it on fire? What practical steps can you take to fan into flame the fire of the Holy Spirit?”

You also don’t want to miss where Anne shares what her Mother wrote in her Bible when she became a Christian. I’m not about to spoil that for you. It’s beautiful.

Now you know what I’m about to say…Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab this book! You will LOVE it.

And checkout Anne’s website. It’s full of great information, most of which you can download for your small groups or your own use:

‘Til next time!

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YOU’RE INVITED TO OUR FIRST BOOK CLUB MEETING OF THE SEASON, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23rd! Special giveaways and message in store…

Friends!  Branches Book Club gals would like to invite you and your friends to kick off our season Monday night, September 23rd, from 6:30-8:00 p.m., at Middletown United Methodist Church.

 

We’ll be discussing Amanda Barratt’s excellent novel, My Dearest Dietrich.  You can read my review of it here.

 

 

Amanda has been most gracious and sent us a boatload of goodies:  bookmarks, postcards with quotes by Bonhoeffer, recipe cards for Apple Kuchen, etc.  You can take these home with you.

 

Amanda also made us a lovely, personal video we’ll get to watch.  She was on a book deadline for her next novel which we’ll get to hear about, so it was extra generous of her to take the time to speak with us!!

 

You’ll be stunned at her wisdom and strong faith at such an early age.  I hope you caught her on the Eric Metaxas show recently. Here’s the link to her interview.

 

If time allows, please bring something German to eat.  (Kroger has German potato salad.  LOL). Please call Nancy Tinnell to rsvp (502)245-8839.

 

Load up your car with friends and neighbors!  You don’t want to miss this fun night!

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

We hope to see you Monday night, September 23rd, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.!

 

‘Til next time!

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