Checking out Karen Kingsbury’s book tour in Nashville

A few days ago I barely tagged along with a friend for the Baxter Family Reunion. Now before you get ahead of yourself by assuming I was going to a real family reunion, you should know– as I learned that day– the Baxters are a made-up family about whom a million and a half books are written. The “reunion” is a book tour by author Karen Kingsbury, celebrating the release of her new book To The the Moon and Back* which I can’t wait to start reading!

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I said ‘barely went’ because, as is the case with me and social things, I don’t usually say yes quickly (unless it’s sand volleyball–always a yes). So I was reluctant to go but three things changed my mind…

  1. Read synopsis, got hooked…
  2. Francesca Battistelli singing…
  3. Took nap, dreamed I should go…

For being such a stubborn person, I’m glad I caved and attended this event! Francesca was great, she even did a performance of “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman* soundtrack– a movie that’s already earned a spot in my top 5 all-time favorites. She was funny, too, along with having an amazing singing voice.

Then Mrs. Kingsbury took the stage for a Q&A with Francesca (or Franny as Karen and only the closest of friends call her), mostly about their relationship and Franc– Franny’s thoughts on the Baxter family. Mrs. K went on to tell stories from her life, about how she relates and connects with the characters she writes about, so real of a connection that when she had to write the death of one of them, she cried! That’s pretty wild but I’ve caught myself thinking about characters from another series I’m more familiar with (the Mitford series* by Jan Karon), and I remember once almost praying for one of them! Crazy.

She told an fascinating story about her father, his love for their family, his love for a Rod Stewart song, and how God shows up in her and her family’s lives daily, often with this song as a sweet reminder…


Throughout her talk she encouraged us to write a best-seller with the days of our life. I love how she presented that! But how do we do it? Here were her four points…

  1. Love well
  2. Laugh often
  3. Look for the miraculous
  4. Live your life for Jesus Christ because every story needs a hero

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If you have a chance to attend her book tour, give it a shot! I have a feeling you’ll be glad you did, just as I am!

-Out of the Wilderness

*Links to Amazon are part of my participation in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for this site to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

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Sand volleyball at camp

One thing I miss the most about Nashville as I’m on a sorta lengthy vacation is sand volleyball. My brother and I are in Missouri volunteering at a sports camp so you’d think there would be a chance to play some while we’re here…heck, there’s even a sand volleyball court! So I start the week with high hopes.
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But at the same time, around here sand vball seems to be treated more as a ladies sport, and because I’m a random old dude, I won’t play unless other guys do. Unfortunately, the bros here play basketball during their free time.

That is…..UNTIL YESTERDAY! I saw a co-ed vball game going on and ditched my brother to get some sand between my toes.
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Now you gotta know I’m not good at sand volleyball, maybe slightly above average. But my level of competitiveness and desire to win is entirely too high. I’ll kick a niece in the shin to get ahead.

What can I say, that “be like Mike” commercial went straight from TV to my eyes to my brain to my heart to my soul to my life to my evil determination to rule the world. Watch out LeBron! Watch out Kerri Walsh Jennings!

Wow, went off on a little tangent there.

OK, back to volleyball. I hopped on the court and played socially for the first few points. But there were good players on the court. I channeled my inner Brandon Sommers attempting an entertaining/encouraging play by play commentary as we hit back and forth. Brandon’s the master, but I tried. Meanwhile, I’m also determined not make a fool of myself by trying too hard amongst these middle/high school/counselor folk.

It was so fun! A great reminder of the fun I have in Nashville playing sand volleyball. Plus the net is low so I did take the opportunity to spike one on a high school guy. Call it a learning opportunity for him. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I bet karma will pay back once I’m back in Nashville. But for that one moment in time, I was April Ross. I was the wind beneath your wings. I was the future of American volleyball. I was the lion king.

Naaaaa sibenyaaaaaaaa!!

I was like Mike. Except in volleyball. But also not at all as good as Mike.

-Out of the Wilderness

Sand volleyball for the win

I’ve been playing sand volleyball probably an average of 4 times a month since the summer started. It’s quickly become one of my favorite things to do here in Nashville.

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photo courtesy of Brandon Sommers

I was first introduced to it by my friend Bill who played a lot of sand volleyball here in town. I only went a handful of times in all of 2014 and 2015. But this year I’ve fallen in love. It’s so fun to play, though I’m probably only slightly above average as far as skill level goes. I think a big part of what makes it fun is the attitude of most of the folks that play there. It’s a friendly environment. Most disputes are settled with some sort of joke and laughter coming from both sides of the net.

If you’re in Nashville and have a hankering to get on the court before winter sets in, do it! You won’t regret it.

-Out of the Wilderness