Come Meet Author Ann Gabhart and Hear Her Talk About Her Novel, These Healing Hills, September 24th!

Friends!  Mark your calendars to join us next month for what promises to be a superb first-of-the-season Branches Book Club meeting on Monday, September 24thBonus:  Author Ann Gabhart is coming to be with us to talk about her page-turner of a book, These Healing Hills.

The girls at Branches Book Club at Middletown United Methodist Church invite you to come and bring some friends! The more the merrier! We’ll be meeting from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

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

These Healing Hills is the winner of the Grace Award in the Action/Adventure/Western/Epic Fiction category and is also a finalist in the Faith, Hope, Love Reader’s Choice Awards in Women’s Fiction.  Bravo, Ann!

Allow me to give you a petite teaser on These Healing Hills…

One of many aspects I love about this novel is it’s about the frontier nurses in Appalachia.  These were and are very brave souls who attend nursing school with the intention of traveling the hills of Kentucky and caring for the sick.  Delivering babies, a la nurse-midwives, is their specialty.

Ann clearly did her homework, researching these nurses’ education, mode of transportation, culture, etc. These Healing Hills opens in 1945, just after the war ended. We quickly meet Francine Howard. She has come from the big city of Cincinnati to the very tiny town of Hyden, in Leslie County, Kentucky to become a frontier nurse. (Please see a real frontier nurse below!)

 

Fran arrives with two built-in challenges before she ever begins work at the clinic. The first challenge could perhaps be the reason for Fran leaving Cincinnati and joining the Frontier Nurses.

Fran had had a close relationship with a young man who had been at war.  His homecoming surely meant their future wedding.  Unfortunately, he met and married a gal in England. Fran learned he was bringing this new wife home.

The second challenge involves Fran’s mother, who’s still in Cincinnati. She is completely against Fran moving to the mountains and pokes fun of the “hillbillies and their ways.”  While we readers fall in love with Fran, we easily get upset over her mother who speaks her mind mercilessly.

While Fran catches on quickly to nursing, as well as traveling on horseback, she doesn’t catch on so quickly to the mountain’s trails and becomes lost. More than once.

Enter one handsome young man, Ben Locke, who’s also just returned from the war.  They have several chance meetings and are obviously attracted to one another.

Fran befriends Ben’s whole family as she takes care of his brother, Woody, as well as his sister, Sadie, and delivers a baby of another one of his sisters, Becca. (This is only the beginning of several plot twists.)

In my research of the frontier nurses, I happened upon this picture.  This is one of the real nurses who called on families.  Thanks to Ann’s writing, this is exactly how I pictured them. (Note the dog and lots of children.)

Ann weaves the importance of prayer and reliance upon the Lord throughout her novel as well as tucking in Scripture verses and a song here and there.  She also writes so visually you feel as if you’re right there with Nurse Howard (Fran) and her patients.

I happen to know Ann’s a dog lover, and she doesn’t disappoint by including a loyal, super smart dog in the story as well as some puppies who we readers become endeared to.

Here’s a favorite quote:

Not without frightful occurrences, including an encounter with a rattle snake, and a mysterious shooting, Ann keeps us guessing while rapidly turning the pages of These Healing Hills.

Will Fran stay? Will she and Ben give in to their attraction to one another? Will her former boyfriend meddle in the middle? Ah, my friend, you must read this book to find out! And read it before our September 24th meeting!

It was a sad day for me when I finished the book. I didn’t want it to end. It begs for a sequel, and that’s going to be my first question for Ann when she comes to book club!

Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab These Healing Hills. You have plenty of time to read it before we all get to meet, greet, and hear from the author herself, Ann Gabhart.  Be thinking of questions to ask her! You do not want to miss this opportunity!

Mark your calendar:  Monday, September 24th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Middletown United Methodist Church.  Please RSVP to Nancy Tinnell at (502)245-8839. (Because of the ongoing remodeling, we will be meeting in the sanctuary.)

One final fun fact: Since we chose Ann’s book in the spring, she’s had yet another book release, River to Redemption, this past July. I’m sure we can ask her questions about it too! (It’s next on my nightstand.)

 

‘Til next time!

 

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Book Clubs, Book Reviews

What is Barefoot Hope?

Friends! I learned a new, fantastic-n-fun phrase this week. The crazy thing is the phrase popped off a page I was reading in a book I’ve read more than once. Huh? How did I miss this?

The phrase is barefoot hope.  Its inspiration came from a winsome and bright four-year-old little girl.

Author Kay Swatkowski had her four-year-old granddaughter, Nikki, over for a visit. It was a cool, crisp spring day. Kay had just let Nikki out in the backyard to play. Within seconds, she noticed Nikki had plopped down on the ground, immediately taking her shoes off and “flinging her socks through the air.”

(This story comes from Day 43 of a Grandmother’s Prayers: 60 Days of devotions and prayer. This is one of my favorite daily reads, thanks to my sis-in-love, Margee, who gave it to me when our little Claire Elizabeth was born. I read it, and when I complete the 60 days, I start all over. It’s a superb gift for new grandmothers!)

Kay said Nikki was barefoot and dancing with joy. Nikki hollered to her, “Grandma, where is my pool? Can Papa put up the swing? Summer is here!”

Kay told her summer wasn’t here yet, that it was too cold, and she best put those shoes and socks back on. Clearly determined and overly astute (!!!) Nikki said, “But Grandma, look at the trees! Summer is here.”

Kay couldn’t argue with that as many of their maple tree’s branches were dotted with green buds. Nikki correlated the buds with summer.

Kay said, “Nikki was filled with hope. Barefoot hope—a hope that made her act in faith on the promise of warmth, sunshine, and hours on a swing.”

We readers are then shown Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:32,

Kay said Jesus “shared this parable to encourage His followers to be as observant about watching for the signs of His coming as they were about anticipating the coming of summer.”

As if reading my mind, Kay confesses she wishes she had a barefoot hope not only for the coming of summer, but more importantly for His coming, Jesus’ return. She said her hope is “more of a wouldn’t-it-be-nice hope that does little to change my daily life.” My excuse is I simply forget. Ouch!

Now she shows us how to tie this subject to our grandchildren, defining barefoot hope as a prayer for them, praying they will:

“Hope in His promises.

Hope in their future.

Hope that God will always be with them, even in their struggles.

Hope for forgiveness.

Hope for divine intervention.

Hope for healing hurts and broken relationships.

Hope that Jesus is coming again to right the wrongs of this world and to take us to live with Him.

…as they trust in Him, they will overflow with a barefoot hope that makes them sing and dance with joy.”

Kay’s love for God and His Word permeates all of the pages of her book. She blesses us readers with numerous Scriptures which pertain to the day’s subject matter, and  in this case, hope of all kinds.

To learn more about Kay’s book, CLICK HERE for my post from last August.

Run, don’t walk, and grab this book! And kick your shoes off while you’re at it!

‘Til next time!

Comments Off on What is Barefoot Hope?

Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Grandchildren

“Uh, Ma’am, We’ll Be Needin’ to CUT SOME HOLES in Your Walls…” (Quick! Grab Chocolate on the Brain—Foolproof Recipes for Unrepentant Chocoholics by Kevin and Nancy Mills)

Friends!  Ever had a plumbing disaster nearly derail you?  The below story actually happened three summers ago, but the COOKBOOK ON CHOCOLATE you’ll learn about is what needs repeating.
Please enjoy:

Ahhhh, Monday morning. Some of us dread Mondays, while others cherish Mondays.

Me?  If I’ve planned properly, as in NO PLANS but playing catch up, I cherish Mondays.

Silver Blue Pen On Open Business Agenda

Last Monday, I happily had no plans.  We were just back from a family vacation and there was lots of playing catch up to do…

However (!!!), as Hubster was hustlin’ out the door, rushing to work, he leaves me with, “Oh yeah, plumbers are comin’ today to address that leak.” (The one we sorta forgot about while on vacay.)

Buzz.

Quiet day evaporated.

Sure enough, as John pulled out of the driveway, in rolled the plumbers…  Seems we had a wee bit of water in the basement. They’d traced it to an upstairs toilet.

Hollering back and forth between two floors, the two guys would say, “Hear anything?”

Then, what you never want to hear a plumber say, falls out of one of their mouths….”Oh, no!”

Followed quickly by, “TURN IT OFF!!”

Worse, they’re now both dashing downstairs, looking at walls in our living room and dining room.  “No! Not the dining room!!!  We have NO. SPARE. WALLPAPER!!!” I thought to myself.

Thankfully, they concluded they’d need to cut some holes in the living room wall.  I chuckled to myself, as I’ve been toying with lightening up the room paint-wise.  I blissfully gave them my blessing….  “Sure!  Cut away!!!” (I can soooooo see Hubster shaking his head….)

holes in house

Honestly, if we only had a very tall, full-length mirror, we could hide the holes with the shiny new pipes now installed.   It was all the fault of a very old cast iron pipe which had split “clean in two” as one of the guys reported.  Jolly good.

Next up (watch it be on a Monday), Buzzie-the-drywaller will come do his miraculous repair work, followed by our relentlessly faithful painter who might as well move in.  There are endless projects in this house, no thanks to our last foray with When You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

So those guys will come to the rescue of our home, but what could possibly save this Monday?  Days like these call for prayers for patience plus recognition of unrealized blessings .  They will quickly derail your woe-du-jour.

Praying Hands

I LOVE how the Message phrases Matthew 5:3 –

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope.  With less of you, there is more of God and His rule.”  Oh, yes, we could ALL use a little more of God, don’t you think?  I often forget to pray, “Lord, please empty me of me and fill me with you.”

May I offer additional “help”?  Few things come to my aid more than chocolate.  Rich, I know.

My cousin gave me a very fun cookbook you would all love called Chocolate On The Brain: Foolproof Recipes for Unrepentant Chocoholics by Kevin and Nancy Mills.  (Mother and Son, no less.  Furthermore, it’s no coincidence my maiden name is Mills, either.  Surely we’re related….)

chocolate on the brain

Kevin says their book is not for “people who like to nibble, who can eat just one piece of chocolate and move on.

The book is for:

…those poor souls enslaved by chocolate,

who sit at work and think about chocolate,

who hatch plots to get other people’s chocolate,

who buy their loved ones gifts of chocolate only to consume them themselves

who are rendered powerless by chocolate as if it were Kryptonite….”  (At the very least we must be second or third cousins.)

The book is a boatload of fun because it not only has loads of delish recipes, but Kevin’s Mom, Nancy, gives helpful “Mom Tips”.  There are also fascinating fun facts and historical dates with explanations of how chocolate made its’ entry into our world. Many of the recipes can be done in less than thirty minutes.

Chocolate cake with fork on a red napkin

Psalm 34:8 tells us, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.”

Next time you find someone wanting to blast thru’ your walls, or something equally lovely, pray, and reach for some chocolate.  Don’t forget the dark variety is good for your heart. Or go buy some to “share” with a friend.

Smile.  Don’t frown.

As my friend Liz often reminds me, “God’s got this.”

‘Til next time!

 

4 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews

Meet Guest Author, Cathy Fyock and Discover a Must-Read, Color Today Pretty by Stephanie Feger

Friends! I’ve got a big treat for y’all this week.  You’re going to get to hear from Cathy Fyock, a super talented book coach who lives right here in Louisville. I’m one of many beneficiaries of her talent, because she got me started with my book, God bless her!

Cathy’s going to share how she came to be a book coach plus she’ll introduce us to local author, Stephanie Feger and her new book!

Without further ado, please welcome Cathy Fyock to these pages…

Meet Cathy Fyock, The Business Book Strategist

Isn’t it just amazing how God works?!

If you would have told me ten years ago that I would be a book coach helping authors write their books, I would have told you that you were crazy.

But when God has a plan, He has an amazing way of bringing all the pieces together!

I was in Human Resources in the corporate world for many years, then ended up as a consultant, speaker, and author running my own business. I was blessed to have my Mom work with me for many years (as a side note, she also worked with the amazing Liz Curtis Higgs, but that is a different story!).

When Mom passed away I lost my mom, my best friend, and my coworker all at once. I limped along in my business for a while, then decided I needed to be a part of a team. For several years I struggled to find the right team, only to learn that I am truly an entrepreneur who needed to have her own company. But what to do?

About this same time I received a call from the National Speakers Association Kentucky chapter (I’ve been a member now for 30 years), and the president told me he’d heard I’d written my book in six weeks. (See book below.) He asked me if I had a process, and would I be willing to give a presentation for the chapter on my process? But, there was a catch—would I be willing to coach two members on their books and then give my presentation. I said, “You had me at ‘give a presentation.’”

Upon coaching these friends and giving my presentation, my colleagues asked, “Have you ever thought about being a book coach?” I said, “No, I’ve never even heard of a book coach!”

The more I started thinking about it, the more I knew this was a God-thing! It was a perfect match for me, and something I’d been training for my entire life. Isn’t God good about knowing us deeply and preparing us for His plans! In my wildest imagination I could not have dreamed up a more perfect role for me.

God introduces Stephanie and Cathy

How new author, Stephanie Feger, author of the amazing book—Color Today Pretty: An Inspirational Guide to Living a Life in Perspective—came to find me as her book coach is one of those amazing stories.

Stephanie had gone to a Bible study, and told the group that God was calling her to write. She’d been writing a blog for some time, but had no idea about how to move forward with a book. The woman sitting next to her wrote my name and number on a piece of paper, slid it to Stephanie, and the connection was made!

Stephanie’s book is about finding the Holy in the humdrum, and seeing God in everyday experiences. Through Stephanie’s relatable and powerful true stories, you’ll be inspired to lead your own life more richly.

Because I’ve been so involved in Stephanie’s book journey as her book coach, I’ve been able to witness first-hand how her book is making a difference in the lives of others. Just today she sent me this message:

“When I was writing my book, I would tell myself that if the messages in my book made a difference in one life it would be worth it. Many times, I would pray for that person who may need to read what I was inspired to write. Recently, a woman shared with me that she had suffered a stroke and was battling anxiety. One night she woke up with a panic attack and didn’t know what to do. She grabbed her Kindle and opened my book. She told me she wasn’t sure what she would have done without my book as it helped calm her in that situation. That one person I prayed for as I wrote each page, I had the opportunity to meet. THIS is why I wrote this book. For HER. For that one person.”

You’ll find God speaking with you and inspiring you in every chapter. And you’ll find yourself seeing a cardinal bird or hearing its song and think of Stephanie and her grandmother, recalling God’s way of letting each of us know He is close.

Are you ready to be inspired to find your purpose, to see the world the way my friend Stephanie Feger does, and Color Today Pretty?

To find your copy of Color Today Pretty on Amazon, follow this link:  https://www.amazon.com/Color-Today-Pretty-Inspirational-Perspective-ebook/dp/B07CSJ5HW5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1530828692&sr=8-1&keywords=color+today+pretty

THANK YOU, CATHY!

And prayers and best wishes to Stephanie and her new book.

Friends, don’t miss Cathy’s other book, From Blog to Book. And if you have an inkling about writing a book yourself, jump on the phone and give Cathy a call. She’ll gift you with a vision for where you’re going.

‘Til next time!

Comments Off on Meet Guest Author, Cathy Fyock and Discover a Must-Read, Color Today Pretty by Stephanie Feger

Filed under Book Reviews, Guest Post

Heat Got Your Tongue? (Help on taming the tongue from Karen Ehman…)

Friends!  With the exception of last Saturday’s cool temps and low humidity, we’ve been HOT and HUMID here in the Bluegrass State since before the first day of summer.  I don’t know about you, but heat is not my friend.  I get tired, and cranky, and my tongue gets me into trouble.

Notice I’m blaming my tongue, not my heart—where the words bubble up out of in the first place. Anyone else?

I discovered a super helpful book around Christmas season of 2016, called Keep it Shut:  What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All by Karen Ehman.  I dubbed it the “Perfect Handbook for the Christmas Season.”  Click here to read more.

Sadly, like most things, I loved it, but promptly forgot about it until….my friend, Sue, in South Carolina told me about a devotional she was reading, Zip It:  The Keep it Shut 40-Day Challenge, yes, by Karen Ehman! I ordered it immediately.

This little book packs a powerful punch.  It’s just what the doctor ordered for a quick, fast, booster shot to TRAP YOUR TONGUE. It piggybacks off of Karen’s Keep it Shut book. She tell us that on our 40-day journey together,

Each of the forty devotionals are divided into four parts:

1 – The devotional itself, always introduced by a pertinent Scripture,

2 – “Today’s Takeaways” – great ideas to apply to our lives,

3 – “Lesson for the Lips” – thought-provoking questions to get you moving in the direction of the takeaways, and

4 – A closing prayer.  

One of my favorites is from entry 7, “Your Heart Thoughts are Louder than you Realize.” From several points in Scripture, Karen shows us Jesus knows our thoughts before they’re ever spoken.  She says,

“Jesus hears the words of your heart.

Jesus hears the words you speak to others.

Jesus hears the words you say to yourself.”

Here’s where things get interesting.  In “Today’s Takeaways,” Karen says, Keep a clean “word-robe.” Likening our heart and mind to a closet, Karen asks, “What kind of “word-robe” do you have hanging in there?

Think on that question a minute.

She suggests, “Keep it clean, fresh, and full of His promises!”

How’s that for a wonderful word picture?  That’s stuck with me throughout the entire reading of this book.  It smacks me daily, too, as John and I’ve just had our closets re-done.  Neat and orderly is now their potential, however, should the closet police visit unexpectedly, dirty laundry, spare hangers, and stray tennis shoes could possibly  be discovered…

Let’s close with Karen’s beautiful prayer:

Friends, these highlights are just from one of the forty devotionals Karen blesses us with.  Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab this book!  It would make a great gift for your friends too!

Huge thanks to Karen Ehman for being bold and honest enough to share her experiences with us.  These are ones we can all relate to, laugh about, and learn from.

Once you read this book, let me know which ones are your favorites.  Two others that made me howl while simultaneously stepping on my toes (but in a good way) are:  “That time I spied ugly in the mirror,” and “But you don’t know my family.”  I’m telling you, they’re for all of us!

‘Til next time!

Comments Off on Heat Got Your Tongue? (Help on taming the tongue from Karen Ehman…)

Filed under Book Reviews, Life Lessons

When Your Proficient Procrastination Backfires… (Part 2 of 2) PLUS FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Friends!  Thanks to all of you who commented on last week’s post. (If you missed this uncanny story, click here) Many of you are jumping in with Liz, Nancy and me on our one-year journey!

There are a couple more pieces I’d like to show you. I discovered numerous methods of Bible study taught by Carole Mayhall in her book, Come Walk with Me:  A Woman’s Personal Guide to Knowing God and Mentoring Others

One method I tried this Spring was super simple and kept my face in the Word once our Bible study group adjourned until fall. Carole suggests we readers take Psalm 119 (Yes, it’s the longest psalm in the Bible!) and read just eight verses per day.

When you look at the text, you’ll notice there’s a word at the beginning of each section of eight verses.  These twenty-two sections correspond to a different letter in the Hebrew alphabet.

What began to convict me about this exercise, is of the 176 verses, only 5 do not mention God’s Word.  It uses words such as “statutes”, “law”, “decrees”, “precepts”, “commands” referring to God’s Word.  The conviction came with phrases like,

“I delight in your decrees,”

“I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches,”

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”

“My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.”

“I hold fast to your statues, Lord;”

“Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.”

I confessed to both Liz and Nancy that while I love doing Bible study, it never occurred to me I should delight over His Word, as in each and every word. I believe this conviction came in a timely fashion to prepare me to finally agree to read the Bible thru’ in a year.

Yet one more book was discovered from researching author Pam Gillaspie. (She’s who authored the book, No More Excuses! An Almost Too-practical Guide to Reading Through Your BibleIt’s the one I found right after I’d found my Mother’s One Year Bible.)

Via Amazon, I discovered Pam has written a number of Bible studies and this is the one that made me gasp yet againSweeter than Chocolate! Sweet Words and Real Solutions from God’s Book (a Flexible Inductive Study of Psalm 119)

I gasped for two reasons:

1 – Clearly I’d met my match in chocoholic aficionados, and

2 – This gal is obviously talented and smart to have written so many Bible studies (see below) AND to be published by Precepts Ministries, AND one of them is on Psalm 119!

I quickly ordered Pam’s study on Psalm 119 because I enjoyed doing Carole’s exercise and felt the need to review it.  Pam’s workbook is very thorough and I love its layout.

I believe the Lord shows us His sense of humor from time to time and this is a perfect example to couple the study with chocolate. Pam goes so far as to suggest grabbing a piece of chocolate before diving in.  Ever obedient, I did as I was told. Smile.

Finally, let’s return to Liz and Nancy and me INVITING YOU TO JOIN US in reading The One Year Bible.  Here are TWO more reasons you may wish to prayerfully consider reading thru’ the whole Bible:

1 – Carole Mayhall says, “I wanted to become familiar with the entire Bible because I didn’t like to think of getting to heaven and having Micah ask how I liked his book and having to confess I hadn’t read it! (Well, that was just one reason.) To absorb the whole scope of Scripture, I needed to know the entire panorama of God’s activity throughout history.”

Wow! Imagine if we’d never read letters written by Paul, or King David, or King Solomon, or Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, or James, just to name a few? We wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings, would we? (Plus 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us all Sripture is God-breathed.)

2- Who can argue with Charles Spurgeon? He said, “Many books in my library are now behind and beneath me. They were good in their way once, and so were the clothes I wore when I was ten years old; but I have outgrown them. NOBODY ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.” Amen.

Don’t forget, if you comment, “I’m in!”, your name will be entered in a drawing to win the exact same Bible we’re reading. We’ve already had several of you from last week take the plunge.  Bravo! (I’ll draw from the names and let you know next week, giving y’all a few more days to comment.)

‘Til next time!

P.S.  One of the comments I received last week was from my cute little friend, Trish Roberts.  (Those of you who know her are nodding.) Trish taught me about an interesting looking Bible called The Wayfinding Bible. (No, I’ve not ordered it. Yet.)

Check it out as it’s got many different options for navigating thru’ the Bible. Oh, and it’s in the NLT too! Trish said she and Eddie have it downloaded on their phones for when they travel.  More great ideas!

SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME…

6 Comments

Filed under Bible Studies, Book Reviews

When Your Proficient Procrastination Backfires… (Part 1 of 2) plus FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Friends! Any procrastinators out there? I thought I was at a professional, proficient level until three recent occurrences taught me otherwise…

I’ve been a practicing procrastinator since college. (Scary math:  thirty-six years ago. Oh my.) Pulling all-nighters, accompanied by more than one human’s caffeine quota should allow, I scrambled thru’ four years of college with so-so passing grades.

This past April, a new friend of John’s sent him a One Year Bible published by the folks at Walk Through the Bible, called The Daily Walk Bible:  Explore God’s Path to Life. This Bible is in the New International Version. Ever the optimist, John jumped in regardless of the fact that January was way in the past.

I have several friends who’ve read thru’ the Bible in a year’s time, some more than once. I confess I’ve successfully avoided  it until now. Plus, I concluded that if, and that’s a big IF I were to attempt such, I’d much prefer to read it in the New Living Translation.

I toted John’s new Bible with me when I visited Liz Curtis Higgs one day, showing it to her.  I was relieved to discover she was in the same boat as me, not having bitten the bullet to take on such a project.  She was also in agreement that if she did jump in, she, too, would prefer the New Living Translation.

Fast forward to Mother’s Day weekend.  Gordy and Lauren were in town and the one request I uttered was for Gordy to go thru’ his college “stuff”, still in his old room. (Trying to be tactful here.)

The piles stressed me out every time I walked by his room. (He might have a few procrastinator skills in him too given he’s been out of college six years.)

Mission accomplished, all he left for me to go thru’ was a pile of books. Later that day, I divvied them up into books to be taken to the Christian Book Nook (They’re at 2116 S. Preston St. in Louisville.), while the others will be donated to the Little Free Libraries in town.

When I reached the bottom of the pile, one super thick book stopped me in my tracks.  Get ready for this: It was The One Year Bible.  Guess which version?  Oh yes, it was in the New Living Translation.

Having no recollection of having bought this book, I opened the first page. There, in my Mother’s handwriting, was her name:  Anita Mills. I nearly dropped it like a hot potato.

I dashed down the stairs to show John.  He said, “Wow, now what are you going to do?”

“Well,” I hesitated, “I may start in 2019.”

Now on a roll of decluttering, I made one more round of checking for books to donate or sell, stopping in Woody’s old room. I found a few to clear out the shelves, stopping at a thin, purple, paperback book.  This time I gasped when I read the cover:  No More Excuses! An almost too-practical guide to reading through your Bible—Especially for Women by Pam Gillaspie.

“What?” I hollered out loud, now rushing down the stairs again to show John. We then opened the title page, and Pam, the author, had signed the book for me, see below:

I have zero recollection of this book, either, much less how these books have been in our house for nearly eight years without my knowing about them.  Either my Mom is shouting down from Heaven to me, or the Lord is saying, “It is time you read my Word ALL THE WAY THROUGH.”

John grinned and said, “NOW what are you going to do?”

To which I’m ashamed to say, I replied, “I’ll think about it.” (CAN YOU SAY, “STUBBORN-AS-A-MULE?”)

The following day I drove to Lexington as I was meeting my buddy, Nancy Sleeth, to walk and have lunch.  I toted the two books to show her and find out if she’d read thru’ the Bible before.

She’s done so nearly every year (of course she has), however this year she had not, being busy with editing Matthew’s new book.  She quickly offered, “You know, I’ve really missed my daily readings.  My One Year Bible is EXACTLY LIKE YOURS!”

Before I could comment, she said, “Let’s do this together!  I’m ready to jump back in!”

Now what do you say to that? I stammered, “Uh, well, ok…when do you want to start?  July 1st?” (We were at the end of May by this time.)

“Nope,” Nancy said quite matter of factly, followed by a declaration:  “Let’s start June 1st!” I had no argument left in me…

Matthew prayed a commissioning prayer over both of us, reminding us God’s grace will cover us when we miss a day here and there.  Is God in the details or what?

Not wanting Liz to feel left out (!!!), I decided she needed a Bible just like Nancy’s and mine.  Dubbing it an “early birthday gift”, I told her the story and invited her to join Nancy and me.

God bless her, Liz jumped in head first, joining us on the Summer Solstice, and so, now we are three. (Fun sidebar: The day we celebrated her bday early, Liz and I went and had our nails done. Don’t hers look beautiful in the below pic? And an even better sidebar: CND Nails gives the best pedicures EVER in their 26 new chairs. Call (502)894-4445 if you live in or near Louisville. You’ll never leave the chair!) Back to our new mission…

Friends, there’s NOTHING like accountability. I’d LOVE for you to jump in with us, with whatever version you prefer. 

Comment “Count me in!” if you’d like to join Liz, Nancy and me. Your name will go into a drawing over the next two weeks (more to this story next week). One lucky person will win a copy of the same One Year Bible we’re reading.

Pray about it. I’ll give you more reasons for jumping in with us next week.

’Til next time!

16 Comments

Filed under Bible Studies, Book Reviews, Friends, Scripture