The Good Dream - Reading Guide

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The Good Dream - Reading Guide

Use the questions below as a guide for your book club. We would love to to see your comments below.

1. What personality traits describe Ivorie in the first chapter?  Who is she as a woman? What colors or words come to mind when thinking of the boy’s life?  How does the man make you feel?  What role does Sally play early in the story?

2. How are Ivorie’s days comprised?  What is she feeling?  What is her outlook on life at this time?  In your opinion, how has the boy survived life with the man?  How did the discovery of what the boy has to endure affect you?

3. When you first meet Henry he offers his view on Vivien Leigh, animal traps and the Big Q.  Describe Henry and his relationship with Ivorie.  How are he and Ivorie alike and how do they differ?  A cast of characters is introduced at Henry’s store including Holt and Avis. What’s your first impression of them?

4. One bright morning George brings Ivorie blueberries.  What words describe that scene?  Is George good for Ivorie?  How does Refrigerator Lady affect Ivorie?

5. Describe the two viewpoints on the night Ivorie discovers the boy in her garden.  What changes do you sense in Ivorie as the boy continues to show up on her porch?  What changes do you sense in George?

6. How do Jane, John and Milo add to the rhythm of the book?  John says skeletons, witches and monsters are buried in the hills and Ivorie wonders what’s buried in her own house.  What is buried there?

7. What words describe the scene in the bathroom when Ivorie tries to give the boy a bath and discovers his lacerated back and cleft palate?  What do you want to do at that moment?  What is happening to Ivorie?

8. Who is Ivorie when she has finally made her way up into the hills and points the rifle at the man?  What arsenal of words describes that scene?  Why does the man let her have the boy?  What does Henry see in Ivorie when she arrives at her house with the boy?  What do you think it means to Ivorie when Loretta tells her, “Sometimes we’re called on to do crazy things”?  What does it tell her when George doesn’t want to see the boy?

9. What do you think Ivorie is going through when the boy is lying lifeless in her home?  Again, what role does Sally play and why is she important?  From what you see in the boy what do you know about his mother?  As he is getting stronger at Ivorie’s house, what is happening to her?  Can you express the boy’s emotions/feelings on his first truck ride and visit to Henry’s store? 

10. If one word can describe Holt’s insides when the milk truck driver said he saw his brother what would that word be?  Can you name a couple of scenes of some big walls that Ivorie and the boy come up against and start to break down together?

11. How does the attack change Ivorie?  How does it change her feelings toward George?  What words bring to life the scenes in the waiting room?  How about when Peter says Mama? 

12. We can’t change the past but if Holt could go back in time what do you think he would do?  Do you think Ivorie knows who Peter’s father is? 

13. What is the most memorable scene in the book to you?

14. Who are your favorite characters and why?

15. What does The Big Q ultimately mean

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Angels of Morgan Hill - Reading Guide

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Angels of Morgan Hill - Reading Guide

Use the questions below as a guide for your book club. We would love to to see your comments below.

1. How would you describe Jane? What is her relationship like with Fran, John and Henry? How do those relationships change over the course of the book? At the beginning of the book what is Jane's outlook on life? What is Fran and John's? How do their perspectives change throughout the book?

2. One theme in the book is that God uses people to help shape our character. How did Lonnie Gable shape the lives (positively or negatively) of Fran, Jane and John? How was Henry and Loretta used? Willie Dean and Addy? Beef and the boys? Who has had a profound impact (good or bad) in your life? Share those as a group.

3. How would you describe Fran Gable? What is her relationship like with Jane and John? Henry and Loretta? What is it like with Joe Cannon and Addy? What role do you think faith plays in how Fran handles the circumstances in her life with Lonnie, then in the decision she faces about Milo?

4. Who is Henry Walker to Jane? How is his relationship different with Fran? How do the people of Morgan Hill view Henry? Was there anyone else within Jane's reach that could have possibly stepped into the role that Henry held in her life? If yes, who? If no, why was Henry different from the other men in the book? How did you feel when Henry saved Fran? How does Henry's character resonate with you?

5. Minor characters play an important part in the book. Besides the role of annoying aunt, how else does Aunt Dora play into Jane's life? What other secondary characters provide enriching elements in the book? Can you describe how one of those minor characters contributes to the storyline?

6. In what ways do you think the war changed Joe Cannon? What were Joe's strengths? Weaknesses? How do you think the fire that broke out on his property affected him long term? Why was it so hard for him to share his feelings for Fran?

7. Compare Fran Gable and Addy Turner (strengths, weaknesses, personality differences. How does Fran view herself and how does Addy view herself? How do they size up each other?) Why do you think they struck up a friendship with one another? What do you think the conversation about a cup of cold water has on Fran? Do you think Fran would have taken Milo into her home if she had not befriended Addy? Why or why not?

8. Describe Milo at the beginning of the book and note the changes he makes throughout the story. How does his relationship change with Jane and John? What do you think he really feels about Fran? Wouldn't it have been easier to live with the minister and his wife? Why would he ultimately decide to live with the Gables? How did that one decision forever change his life?

9. Why are people opposed to a little boy living with Fran and her children? How is the opposition of Beef and the boys different from Margaret's? How do Beef and the boys really view Fran? How do you think they view Joe Cannon and Henry? How do they view the Turners? How does Fran feel after Margaret's betrayal?

10. In what ways is the community of Morgan Hill a major character in the book? How does the landscape mold the lives of the characters? What part of Morgan Hill is most alive in the pages to you?

11. At the end of the book Jane is a grandmother. What did you think of her as a grown woman? What kind of mother do you think she was? How do you think her relationship with Henry changed after Fran married Joe? Is Jane the kind of woman you'd like to have over for dinner?

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Finding Grace - Reading Guide

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Finding Grace - Reading Guide

Use the questions below as a guide for your book club. We would love to to see your comments below.

1. Finding Grace is filled with stories from Donna's personal journey. Which of those stories was most poignant to you? How did it make you feel? How do you identify with it?

2. Donna relates that it wasn't until she was in college and breaking up with The Boyfriend that she really comprehended grace in her life. Can you identify your first comprehension of grace? Do you know what it is?

3. Mrs. Elrick told Donna that she could "hear the language of words" but it wasn't until many years later that Donna understood what that meant. Do you feel that you've fully grasped how you've been gifted? Are you living out that gift or still journeying toward it?

4. Gertrude Stein asked on her deathbed, "What is the answer? In that case, what is the question?" Donna said the most important questions she was asking at the time was, "How much does the job pay and how many weeks vacation?" Are you asking your life the really important questions? What is your life trying to tell you and how are you answering?

5. Donna kept the molestation from her childhood a secret until she was an adult. How can children be taught to share these experiences? Why do you think some adult victims are unable to share?

6. Did this book challenge you—how will you respond? Did it inspire you—which part and what will you do? Did it make you laugh or cry—why? Which story was most memorable?

7. Donna and her husband describe their path to parenthood as their greatest pain but also their greatest joy. How does pain and disappointment shape us? What would it be like if we got everything we wanted when we wanted it? 

8. Was there any story or event in the book that has caused you to reconsider a situation from your own life in a new light? What does that mean for you?

9. What is the wisdom of grace?

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The Christmas Note - Reading Guide

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The Christmas Note - Reading Guide

Use the questions below as a guide for your book club. We would love to to see your comments below.

1. How would you describe Gretchen and Melissa from the opening chapter? How are they different? Alike?

2. Fromwhat you know about each woman in the early chapters what is it that keeps Gretchen going? What keeps Melissa going?

3. How did each of their backgrounds define and shape them? Is Gretchen anything like Miriam? Melissa anything like Ramona?

4. In your opinion who has been the greatest influence in each woman’s life? Explain.

5. Do you think Melissa’s relationship with Josh when he begins work at Wilson’s is a reflection of the majority of relationships in her life to this point? How?

6. Why does Melissa feel comfortable around Gloria and Miriam the first time she meets them? What is it about those two women that put people at ease? Is there a word to describe Gloria? A word for Miriam?

7. Even after Melissa continues to stiff-arm her, Gretchen pursues her. Don’t you think most people would give up? Why didn’t Gretchen throw in the towel?

8. What is the most emotional scene in the book to you? Why? Was there a scene that made you laugh? Which character would you like to have over for dinner? Why?

9. Is there a character to you that most embodies friendship? How were they a good friend?

10. Did you have a favorite minor character? Why that character?

11. In one sentence, what is The Christmas Note about

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The Christmas Secret - Reading Guide

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The Christmas Secret - Reading Guide

Use the questions below as a guide for your book club. We would love to to see your comments below.

1. What are some of the emotions and feelings that paint Christine's life in the prologue and Chapters One and Two? What are Jason's emotions and feelings? How do they differ from Christine's? How are they the same?

2. How would you describe Marshall? Is Jason anything like him? Why are names so important to Marshall and so unimportant to Jason? Do you think Jason really cared that Judy was in the hospital?

3. Did Christine and Brad ever really love each other? What is it that drives Brad to intimidation and threats? When Christine has argued and fought with him again and she's alone with her thoughts, how do you think she feels? Should Christine's mother been more persistent about her not marrying Brad? Would that have made a difference?

4. At what point did the boulder in the road get insurmountable for Christine? What if Judy hadn't pursued finding "Christy"? Do you think the boulder would have remained in Christine's life or do you think others would have helped her move it? Can you name a boulder someone helped you move?

5. Why does Christine feel so comfortable around Gloria, Miriam and Betty and so uncomfortable around Tamara? What is a word to describe Gloria? A word for Miriam? Betty? Tamara? Can you name some differences between Gloria and Miriam and explain why they get along so well? Why does Christine pursue conversation with Tamara?

6. Jason often feels he can get by on charm alone. Which character provides the most resistance to this and how? In what ways does Jason change throughout the book? What prompts this change? Be specific.

7. What is it about Jason that attracts Christine to him? He's obviously younger and immature. What is it? In the same sense, why is Jason drawn to her? Why does Christine feel so stupid the moment he asks for "Christy"? How is their relationship similar to Gloria and her mystery man? Why does Christine feel sad when she learns of Gloria's suitor?

8. Is there a scene that stood out to you as the most poignant? Was there a scene that made you laugh? Which character was most heartbreaking to you? Why? Which character would you most like to have over for dinner?

9. How did the other gifts get in the back of Christine's car? Why didn't the author come right out and say how they got in there? Have you ever given a gift without recognition? How did that make you feel? Why do you think Gloria and Miriam just didn't give the gifts directly to Christine?

10. What is the secret of the treasure? Was there a character who most embodied the secret? Can you name a specific scene with that character? Why would you recommend this book to someone else

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The Christmas Hope - Reading Guide

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The Christmas Hope - Reading Guide

Use the questions below as a guide for your book club. We would love to to see your comments below.

1. Why do you think Patricia decided upon a career in social work?

2. What are the reasons Patricia's life has spiraled into feelings of hopelessness? How do those feelings change over the course of the book and what brings about those changes?

3. What are the differences in how Patricia and Mark deal with tragedy? Compare that to how Emily deals with the loss of her mother. Do you know someone who believes they have been helped by an angel? Do you believe their story? Did you believe Emily's experience?

4. How would you describe Patricia? How does she view herself? How does she view others? How does her view of herself contribute to her relationship with Emily?

5. How does Nathan Andrews play into Patricia's life? What other secondary characters provide enriching elements to the storyline? How do they contribute to the story?

6. What contributed to Patricia seeing beyond a child in the foster system that needed a home to actually stepping out and helping that child? She and Mark were deep into personal problems so why do you think she chose to help Emily now? How does Emily's presence in their home change both Patricia and Mark?

7. When Patricia was a child strangers pulled together and contributed to a large donation of money for her mother. How do you think that simple act changed the course of the life of Patricia's mother and Patricia herself? What do you think Patricia's childhood was like before her father left and after?

8. What would bring Patricia to the point of thinking of Emily as her own? Do you think those changes came easily for her? Describe some emotions Patricia may have felt as she began to pursue the idea of her and Mark becoming Emily's guardians.

9. Considering the loss of their son, what feelings do you think Mark and Patricia have as adoptive parents? Both Emily and Mia come into Mark and Patricia's home from the foster system. With that in mind, what sort of difficulties or blessings will the Addison's encounter as a result of the girls' backgrounds? Describe the kind of family you think the Addison's are at the end of the book?

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The Christmas Promise - Reading Guide

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The Christmas Promise - Reading Guide

Use the questions below as a guide for your book club. We would love to to see your comments below.

1. If Chaz were sitting this group, what would you ask him? Considering all that you now know about Gloria's life, what would you ask her?

2. In what ways are the lives of Chaz and Miriam similar? Have you personally known anyone who is "difficult to reach" on a personal level? If you managed to get close to them, how did you do it?

3. In your opinion, what is the source of tension between Gloria and Miriam? In what ways are the two women similar? Different? Do you like, dislike, pity or have other feelings for Miriam?

4. Who was your favorite character in the novel and why?

5. How do Chaz, Gloria, and Miriam change over the course of the novel? Which character can you most closely identify and why?

6. How have the choices Chaz and Gloria made defined their lives?

7. As you read The Christmas Promise, did you begin to feel as if you knew the people involved? If so, would you rather have Miriam or Gloria as a neighbor and why?

8. How would you describe this book? Is it a love story or of heartbreak? Is it the story of a mother's devotion? A novel of how choices define us? Or is it something bigger and deeper?

9. Why do you think Marshall Wilson gave Matt a second chance? If you were his employee would you have been inclined to fire him or keep him?

10. Why do you think Matt and Erin would have been drawn to each other?

11. One of the underlying themes of the book is that of destiny. What other themes did you discover in your reading?

12. What do you think Gloria's relationship is like with her son today? What kind of father do you think Matt will be? What kind of mother do you think Carla is today? Is Miriam still self-absorbed or do you think she readily befriends others now?

13. What do you think the author is referring to by the promise of Christmas

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The Christmas Blessing - Reading Guide

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The Christmas Blessing - Reading Guide

Use the questions below as a guide for your book club. We would love to to see your comments below.

1. Discuss the role that Nathan's mother's death may have played in his life. What effects, if any, do you see of Nathan's mother's death in the lives of the other characters in the book?

2. In The Christmas Blessing, what is Nathan feeling? How does he view himself? How do you think he may view others? How do you feel about his struggles as a doctor-in-training? At the end of the book, how do you feel about his chosen career path?

3. One of the book's main themes is that our humanly perspective is limited and we must have faith in God that he has a larger plan for our lives. How does Nathan lose perspective in the book? How does his view of himself and his purpose in life change? Can you share a time in your life when you had limited perspective of your circumstances? What was the outcome?

4. Why do Meghan's feelings for Nathan frighten her? What are her fears about falling in love with him? How do Nathan's feelings for her become more prominent in the book? How might his marriage to Meghan enhance his role as a doctor?

5. Describe the ways in which those who come in contact with Charlie are changed. What is Charlie's view of life? How is that different from the view of the other characters in the book?

6. Minor characters are an important part of The Christmas Blessing. Can you name three minor characters? Can you describe how one of those minor characters contributes to the fabric of the storyline?

7. Have you ever had a boss or work associate like Dr. Goetz? How could Nathan have handled Dr. Goetz' presence in his life better? How can people like Dr. Goetz enrich your life?

8. Someone gives a generous gift of money to Charlie's parents on Christmas Day. Why do you think they chose to give the money anonymously? Who might have given them such a gift? Do you think it could have been one of the other characters in the book? Can you share a story of something similar happening to someone in your community?

9. How has Robert Layton's awakening in The Christmas Shoes influenced his life? How have his relationships changed? How does he manage to become an inspiration? Does his change remind you of anyone you know?

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The Christmas Shoes - Reading Guide

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The Christmas Shoes - Reading Guide

Use the questions below as a guide for your book club. We would love to to see your comments below.

1. How would you compare Robert and Kate's marriage to that of Jack and Maggie? How are the relationships different? How are they similar?

2. One of the main themes of the book is that we must figure out what the most important questions in life are. How do the questions that Robert asks himself change over the course of the book? Do you ask yourself similar questions in your own life? Are they questions that get you closer to what matters most to you in life?

3. Another major theme in the book is that God can use even the smallest things to change us. How did God use the small things in life to change Robert? How has God used small things in your life?

4. Faith in God is a significant part of Maggie Andrews' life. How would you describe her faith? What role do you think faith plays in how Jack, Maggie's mother and even Maggie herself handle her illness?

5. Besides the role of teacher, how else does Doris Patterson play into Nathan's life? What other secondary characters provide enriching elements to the storyline? How do they contribute to the story?

6. Compare Robert Layton and Jack Andrews. They are very different men but both make powerful contributions to the story. What makes them stick out in your mind? What unique contributions do they make to the book?

7. Robert's mother senses something is terribly wrong with Robert and Kate's marriage and she confronts him about it. Do you think she steps over the line or is she in line with her role as his parent? If you are a parent, is it easier to confront your children when they are younger or older like Robert is in this scene?

8. What contributed to Robert Layton seeing beyond a child that was simply getting on his nerves on Christmas Eve to actually helping that child? Do you think he would have helped Nathan had he met him earlier in the book? How does this simple encounter change Robert's perspective?

9. As you caught a glimpse of Nathan as an adult at the end of the book what did you think of him as a young man? What do you think his childhood was like? What sort of changes do you think Robert Layton faced during those years? Which storyline resonated with you and why?

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