01 September 2015

First and Goal by Jake Byrne Reviewed by Bonnie Roof

Jake Byrne dreamed of playing professional football but, at age 14, found out he had type 1 diabetes - determined, he persevered. 'First And Goal', written by Jake and his mother, Holly Michael, is a collection of 90 devotionals. Each titled alphabetically with a football term, and relating a personal experience from his journey to the NFL, enhanced by a related scripture which the reader can apply to his/her own situation. It will appeal to both youth and adults, male and female. I enjoyed reading Jake's story, and was inspired by his courage, determination, and faith. He currently works in Dallas, and has a blog to "educate and encourage others, especially diabetic youth, to be active and achieve goals - regardless of what life throws at them". 

Following are excerpts from 2 of the devotionals:
TWO MINUTE WARNING (A stop in the game clock, 2 minutes before each half. Normally results in a TV commercial.):
Jack relates his first year of tackle football, as a 3rd grader, and in his awkward chubby stage. Constantly being yelled at because of his mistakes, he hated football - yet his father forced him to complete the season. Just as the 2 minute warning is a time for the team to regroup, he needed 2 years to regroup and decide if he would continue the sport. Two years later, when his friend encouraged him to sign up for youth football because of his size, and knowing all his friends would be playing - he decides to try it again. It was the right decision and time.

When pushing oneself, or being pushed by another, and it doesn't work out - he urges that it not be counted as a failure. "Is there anything that you gave up on because of poor results, thinking you weren't good at it? Have you given it a season of rest? Maybe it's time to try again."
(There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1)

EXTRA POINT (After a touchdown, the offense has a chance to kick the ball through the goal posts to earn an extra point, which is also known as the point after touchdown or PAT.): 
Lying in her hospital bed, the doctor confirmed what Holly Michael already knew - she was miscarrying. She argued with, and questioned, God. Why would He take her first child? A nurse entered the room and encouraged her to "always have hope", leaving without physically examining her. Considering the cramps and huge loss of blood, hope seemed useless. Yet, contemplating the nurse's encouraging word, Holly realized hope meant giving one's trials to God, and trusting the outcome to Him. Obstacles can prevent an extra point after a touchdown, yet an attempt is made. Scared and sad, Holly made an attempt by giving her situation to Him - dedicating the baby to Him in prayer, trusting Him for the outcome, and understanding that a miscarriage would be His decision. Immediately after, she was filled with a peace, bleeding ceased, and the baby was okay! Hearing the baby's heartbeat, for the first time, brought her to tears, also surprised looks from the medical staff - she never again saw the nurse who had comforted her.

A few months later, looking into her newborn's eyes for the first time, he stared at her with what she can only describe as "wisdom from heaven", cooed, then just as suddenly, his gaze switched to one of an innocent newborn. She knew from that moment, God had big plans for Jake's life. "Like the football soaring into the end zone for the extra point, hope - rising up to heaven - always brings the best results. It's never pointless." (You have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother's womb. I will ever praise you. Psalm 71: 5-6.) 

Quotes taken from 'First And Goal' (Jake Byrne and Holly Michael, Harvest House Publishers), and Jake Byrne's blog: www.typewon.net

Giveaway: We're giving away a copy of this new devotional this week. Currently #1 in Teen Devotions on Amazon!Leave a comment to enter!

30 August 2015

First and Goal by Jake Byrne--Interview with Holly Michael: Overcoming Diabetes

First and Goal by Jake Byrne

Welcome, Holly! Holly Michael is the co-author of this book by her son, Jake Byrne, a young professional football player. Holly will share about dealing with Juvenile onset Diabetes. 

Holly's interview:
Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God's help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your characters has had to get past?
Jake Byrne and mother, author Holly Michael
Jake’s mom here, speaking for both of us. One of the most difficult things that Jake and I had to go through was his diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes.  He was fourteen and had a starting spot on his high school varsity football team as well as early interest from college scouts. Neither of us knew anything about the disease.  I had only known one other person with Type 1 Diabetes, a classmate, and he died young from diabetes complications. This was new and very scary territory for both of us.

What is your favorite Bible verse and why?
In this situation, definitely Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jake and I spoke about God’s plans for him during those days while we learned about diabetes. We were told his pancreas longer worked and he would be insulin dependent for the rest of his life. Tough news to take, but early on Jake determined that he wasn’t going to let diabetes take him out of the game of football and that he would still focus on his goals and dreams. But diabetes meant a major lifestyle change for Jake. His endocrinologist assured him he could still play football if he did everything right. Controlling his blood sugar and acting as his own pancreas by injecting the correct amounts of insulin was no easy task for a teenage boy. I’d heard the horror stories. I worried he would go too low in the night and not wake up. Once, during a college football game, playing for the University of Wisconsin, I watched him go down on the field. I could do nothing from my living room. I paced the room, praying, until I finally got a text back from my daughter who was at the game, watching. Leg cramps, she said. 

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your book First and Goal – What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up. And why?
Jake and I wrote First and Goal for those who are struggling to overcome challenges in their lives. He wanted to encourage kids and adults as well to never give up.  First and Goal is fun and inspirational read. Jake shares his faith through his professional and personal journey, giving God the glory through Scriptures that tie in with the stories and football terms. As one reviewer put it, “You don't have to play – or even like – football, to enjoy Jake's story. Full of truth and wisdom, and sprinkled with lots of scripture, Jake encourages all who read his story to live for God, giving all to Him and not feeling defeated during the rough times.”

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?

Jake and I worked together on this project, which was a sheer delight. I enjoyed our time together through personal time, Skype, and phone calls during his football season. The very short stories came from Jake. We researched Scripture to find fitting Bible passages for each of the situations and football terms. God’s Hand was really in it as it came together so beautifully.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?

Jake has an autoimmune disease and anyone with any disability or disease will enjoy this inspiring and encouraging devotional. The short reads are perfect for daily inspiration. Jake is a real overcomer and I think anyone who reads this book will come away inspired and filled with hope.

Back Cover Blurb:

Jake Byrne dreamed of playing professional football. He had the size, the talent, the drive...but at age 14, he found out he also had type 1 diabetes.

Still, Jake was determined to reach his goal. And God was determined to guide and empower him all along the way.

Jake's journey to the NFL is the backdrop for this collection of inspiring devotions based on nearly a hundred football terms. Jake takes you to the weight room, practice field, and even across the goal line. You'll feel as if you're lined up next to him, facing a very large defender you're about to take down. He also includes Scripture and then ties up each story in a way that feels real and encouraging. You'll discover...

* what to do when God calls an audible in your life
* how to respond when God puts you on special teams
* why prayer is never an incomplete pass

These quick daily readings will help you press through your own difficulties and experience God's dream for you.

Jake Byrne

Jake blogs at www.typewon.net
He can be reached through the following social media:
Facebook Page (Type Won): www.facebook.com/typewon1
Twitter: @sugarfreejb82
Instagram: Jakebyrne81

First and Goal, published through Harvest House Publishers, can be purchased at many books stores and online booksellers. Link for Book at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1FAYKo8
Also on Barnes and Noble
Emma and Jake Byrne

Jake’s and Holly’s new release is First and Goal – What Football Taught Me About Never Giving UpJake Byrne grew up in Rogers, Arkansas. A type 1 diabetic since the age of fourteen, he has since been proactive combating the disease and mentoring diabetic youth. He played football for the University of Wisconsin as a tight end, and went on to compete in the NFL. Originally an undrafted free agent who signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2012, he has also been a Houston Texan, Kansas City Chief, and San Diego Charger. Currently, Jake and his wife, Emma, live in Dallas and have two dogs –Yeti, the Great Dane, and Duke, the Dogo Argentino.

GIVEAWAY:  A paperback copy of First and Goal by Jake Byrne and Holly Michael, or you may choose an ebook format.

27 August 2015

Noela Nancarrow reviews LILACS FOR JULIANA by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Lilacs for Juliana
Hearts Overcoming Press (August 15, 2015)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****

Lilacs, Lumberjacks, and Love!

Set in 1891, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where towering pines and scented lilacs dominate, Book Three of The Christy Lumber Camp series sees new boss Richard (Moose) Christy readying his first lumber camp. This captivating tale holds promises of new beginnings for Richard in life, love, and work… but will it all come crashing down around him like the felling of the mighty pines?

Scents of leather-bound volumes, ink-print, and paper, surround Juliana Beauchamps, the petite dark-haired Head Librarian. It was here in the library that the vibrant Juliana first met the colossal lumberjack Richard, whom the children imagined was a folklore character come to life. He not only made a huge impression upon the children but also on Juliana, who began to yearn for him to ask her to the upcoming Lumberjack’s Ball. 

Richard begins to realize he has strong feelings for the pretty librarian after he nearly lost her in a shocking incident, but with so many obstacles between them including a much wealthier and suspicious potential suitor, Juliana’s mixed signals, an age difference, and lilacs… Can it be possible for them to find happiness and a life together? 

Author Carrie Fancett Pagels sweeps the reader up in a tale rife with love and longing, faith and forgiveness, and smiles and sighs. Weaving tension throughout the plot was the mean-spirited Library Board Trustee, Mr. Hatchens, who because he was against female Librarians, tormented Juliana frequently. Oh but it was such sweet justice to see the mighty ‘Moose’ stand up to this weasel in defense of his library lady!  ‘Lilacs for Juliana’ is immersed in vivid historical details from the geography down to the furniture and food, giving not only great insight to this booming era but also in painting every scene in realistic colours, scents, and sounds. A wonderfully enchanting, page-turning story!!

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

'Lilacs for Juliana' is available on AMAZON in e-book format and available soon in print!

GIVEAWAY: In celebration of Carrie's wonderful new release, I'm giving away an e-book copy to one blessed commenter! To be eligible please leave your email address with (at) and (dot) to protect yourself against spammers.

25 August 2015

Diana's Review Of LILACS FOR JULIANA By Carrie Fancett Pagels

Hearts Overcoming Press, Aug. 15, 2015

Reviewed By Diana Flowers
5 stars~

Love, Lilacs, and Lumberjacks!

In Lilacs for Juliana the reader is swept away to 1891, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula—replete with the sparkling sapphire waters of the Great Lakes, gargantuan virgin white pines, and massive lumberjacks guaranteed to take one's breath away!

While reading to her children's group about a popular legend of the giant lumberjack, Paul Bon Jean aka Paul Bunyan, sweet Juliana Beauchamps – St. Ignace's new librarian – is shocked to see the man of her dreams listening to her storytelling. Paul Bunyan's lookalike, Richard "Moose" Christy, the new lumber camp boss outside of town is instantly besotted with the petite librarian. However, when the dashing beer baron from Milwaukee, James Yost, comes to town, Richard has plenty of competition for her affections. A male library trustee is determined to drive out all female librarians and if successful how will Juliana help support her mother and sister? And will Juliana's love for lilacs come between her and the handsome lumberjack?

Lilacs for Juliana is Book Three in The Christy Lumber Camp Series and what a story it is! I don't know how the author packs so many descriptive details and subplots into a short novel, but she manages it quite nicely indeed! The aroma of freshly cut pines, flapjacks, and lilacs permeate the readers' senses in this heartwarming tale of a young woman's sacrifices, hopes, and dreams–and an unpretentious lumberjack who sets those dreams in motion! Be sure to grab your copy today!

Lilacs for Juliana is available on Amazon in e-book format and available soon in print!

GIVEAWAY: In celebration of Carrie's new release I am giving away a choice of an e-book copy OR a paperback (when it comes out soon) to one blessed commenter! To be eligible please leave your email address with (at) and (dot) to protect yourself against spammers.

24 August 2015

Happy Birthday Angel Teresa!!!

Happy birthday to our Angel Teresa!!! Here are some beautiful pink roses for her!

TERESA, if I could make a cake like you make, I would!!!  That's a picture of Teresa's cake she made for my birthday two years ago. When I next see you in South Carolina, I will make sure we eat some cake together!!! 


We know it is hard to celebrate without your beloved husband, Carlton, by your side. But I have to believe he'd want you to enjoy this day!!!

Carlton Mathews
We all LOVE you here on Overcoming With God blog, Teresa!

Know that we are all praying for you and that God will restore the joy in your heart as you go through this difficult time.  

This post is going up because we believe Carlton would have wanted us to do so and we have to believe he is celebrating your birth in heaven just as we are here on earth!

GIVEAWAY: A $10 Amazon gift card to one of our readers who leaves a prayer of blessing for our Angel Teresa's birthday and year ahead!!!

22 August 2015

Christmas Traditions Review - By Guest Angi Griffis

Christmas Traditions Series

Guest Review by Angi Griffis
"Handcarved Christmas"-by Cynthia Hickey
Laura Worth has traveled all the way from Missouri to Montana to meet the man she intends to marry, Benjamin Cooper. The only thing is, she’s never met him, except through his letters. Laura’s excitement grows until the moment she arrives at his ranch and he opens the door…only to find that he knows nothing about her. Deciding that she can’t make the long trip back to Missouri, Benjamin agrees to marry her. But it’s going to take both of them a little time and a little getting used to being married. Cynthia Hickey has crafted a sweet, romantic Christmas story that’s sure to bring a smile to your face and a sigh to your heart.

"Sadie’s Gift"-by Niki Turner
Sadie Hubbard is a nurse at the local Preventorium, and desperately wants to give the resident children a special Christmas. But lack of funds makes it near impossible to fulfill her mission, causing her to resort to the only way she knows to make a little extra money. Taking her beloved family heirlooms to a pawn shop. Nathan Wells has suffered recent heartbreak and just wants everyone to leave him alone to his grief. When he and Sadie meet by accident, literally, Nathan must learn to get along with her since they are boarders in the same boarding house. As Christmas draws ever closer, will Sadie be able to help Nathan find the Spirit of Christmas again? A beautiful story by Niki Turner, reminding us what the true Spirit of Christmas is all about.

"The Fruitcake Challenge"-by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Jo Christy is tired of life in a lumber camp and wants to start a new one for herself in another location. Being the camp cook, she dreams of getting a job in a bakery and living on her own. But there’s a new man in camp and he’s determined to court her. Despite the fact that she gets annoyed with constant attention from the camp’s new lumberjack, she can’t help but feel drawn to his sweet nature. But when Tom Jeffries, said lumber jack, issues a challenge to her to make a fruit cake as good or better than his mother’s, sparks fly between the two. As Christmas approaches, it’s Tom’s desire to make Jo his wife…if only he can convince her. Carrie Fancett Pagels has written a sweet, fun Christmas story full of romance, humor, and hope. Get ready to snuggle under a blanket with a warm hot chocolate and a good book!

"An Apple For Christmas"-by Darlene Franklin
Ruby Nelson has quit her research position in New York to take a teaching position at the Spruce Hill Female Academy in Vermont, in the hopes that she can teach the young girls and help them to learn valuable skills they will need later in life. Even before the first day of school, she receives a visit from two of her students (twin sisters, Margil and Pippin) and their handsome father, MacIntosh “Mac” Cortland. Mac discovers that she is interested in horticulture and invites her to visit their apple orchard. In the weeks that follow, it doesn’t take long for the girls to warm up to Ruby. Deciding they would like her to become part of the family, they plan a scheme designed to get Ruby and Mac together and all it takes is ‘an apple for Christmas’.

"Christmas Lessons"-by Patty Smith Hall
For history teacher Claire Davenport, everything was going just fine. Her life, her job, and the Christmas project that she was working on to help the less fortunate families in their school district. That is until she’s coerced into a partnership to work on the project with the last man she wants to see. Her former fiancĂ©, Billy Warner. And it doesn’t help that she feels self-conscious about the disability that caused her to break off their engagement in the first place. Coach Billy Warner has come back to his alma mater to teach history and coach the team. Backed into a corner, he reluctantly agrees to help Claire with the Christmas project. But still he wonders what triggered Claire to break their engagement two years before. As Christmas approaches, the two of them begin working closely together, and Billy is determined to find out what caused the breakup and hopefully win back the heart of the woman he loves, maybe in time for Christmas.

"Nutcracker Christmas"-by Jennifer Allee

Isabella Brandt loves the Ballet. For years, she has dreamed of being the lead dancer in a major production. When a twist of events lands her the principal role in The Nutcracker and at the same time temporarily disables the accompanying pianist, she must rely on the music of an accomplished violinist from the San Francisco Ballet Company. A very handsome Hungarian violinist. Victor Randolph loves playing his violin in the orchestra. When a little accident causes him to cross paths with the lead ballerina in The Nutcracker, he never imagines that he would fall in love with her. Yet as the weeks progress, he finds himself drawn closer to her. But then a visit from a surprise caller stops Victor from telling her how much he cares for her. Now the only thing to get them through is the Lord and a Nutcracker Christmas.

CFP:  Thanks, Angi!!! Great reviews!!!

We'll have reviews of Angela Breidenbach's Eleven Pipers Piping later on the blog! We're missing a review of Gina Wellborn's novella, also, which we'll be including in future reviews. 

Giveaway: We have three ebook giveaways this week of this novella which PTL is now at #3 and was at #2 on Best Selling Holiday books on Amazon (right next to Debbie McComber's Christmas release!!!) We are THRILLED about this collection--get it while it is on sale!  Over $20 worth of novellas for only 99 cents right now while on sale!!!

20 August 2015

Lilacs for Juliana -- Pagels' Pals, Newsletters Subscribers, and Friends Party Today!

It takes a village to make a book! And today I'm having a smallish private party on Facebook to celebrate with my Pagels' Pals Facebook group, my newsletter subscribers, and friends. See that graphic above? Our Aussie Angel reviewer Noela Nancarrow made that unbeknownst to me, about two weeks ago. I felt so blessed! Events in our life like a book release, a baby, a milestone, need to be celebrated and savored.  I even saw some recent research showing that CELEBRATING helps cement your friendships! Yes, even more so than being there for the hard times--which I am BIG on--was some research indicating that the friends who celebrated with you were the ones you could count on! I was kind of surprised, having gone through emergency gall bladder surgery in April, RIGHT after The Lumberjacks' Ball released, plus a grueling Achilles and foot surgery the previous year (awake but numbed during it) with a difficult recovery (Praise the Lord, I am doing better now after undergoing another procedure this March with PRP.) BUT, all that said, those wonderful folks there for me during my recoveries have a special place in my heart. My reader friends from Pagels Pals were INCREDIBLE!!! And of course the OWG Angels had gorgeous flowers sent and were there for me. I wish I had more pictures of ALL the flowers that I received during that time after the gall bladder surgery. Flowers were EVERYWHERE.  And I'd shared this picture before but here are the flowers God sent me:

Lilac Trio, April 2015

This little tree had been in the yard for years and never threw one bloom! Then, as I was recovering God sent me THREE pinkish whitish lilac blooms!!! I grinned ear to ear and hobbled outside, clutching my side (I had over eleven inches of scarring) and took some pictures of what the Lord sent to encourage me. He was still there! I felt so encouraged!

My sequel to The Lumberjacks' Bride was supposed to release early summer, near the time the lilacs bloomed in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where my story is set.  BUT, I had no desire to write. And I trusted God that if He wanted me to do this story that He would give me the desire and the ability to do so. Once He whispered to my heart to get up and go write, the story POURED out of me! I wrote over 15,000 words (maybe closer to 20,000) in about five days. That's unusual for me and especially for having just had major surgery.  A God thing for sure.

Lilacs for Juliana by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Are you one of my newsletter subscribers? Did you get your newsletter this past week? Are you attending the party? If you didn't, email me at CFPagels(at)gmail(dot)com with "Newsletter not received" in the subject line. Also, if you would like to subscribe, send to the same email with "Subscribe to Newsletter" in the subject line.  Hope to see you at the Facebook Party at 5:00 EDT today!  Blessings!

Giveaway: An ebook copy of Lilacs for Juliana, a short novel-length Christian historical romance.  Now available on Amazon and available soon in print!

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