"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 25:11

Thursday, March 22, 2012

STAND BY ME by Neta Jackson


Sometimes the person you most need is the one least like you.

Kathryn Davies is a bright young woman from a prominent Phoenix family. But after making a leap of faith at a Christian music fest, dropping out of med school, and moving to inner city Chicago, her family all but disowns her.

When Kat discovers SouledOut Community Church, she longs to become a part of the multicultural church family. But her tendency to immediately say whatever she’s thinking steps on the toes of nearly everyone she meets—especially Avis Douglass.

Avis has a strong faith, is the principal of one of Chicago’s highest performing elementary schools, and is a founding member of SouledOut. But the country’s economic downturn has thrown both her and her husband’s jobs in question. And Avis hasn’t heard from her youngest daughter in months—an estrangement that gnaws at her every day. Where is God in this?

Kat’s flamboyant zeal for living a “radical” Christian life is a stark contrast to Avis’s more reserved faith. But in God’s timing, the two women discover they need each other in ways neither of them expected.


As a kid I was crazy about horses and animals of all kinds and loved to draw (horses, mostly). Since I didn't have a horse, I wrote stories about them instead. My high-school English teacher sent one of my stories (about a couger) to a Scholastic magazine writing contest and it won First Place . . . and the rest, as they say, is history. I wanted to be a writer!

I grew up on the campus of a private Christian school in Seattle where my parents were teachers. A lovely childhood, though fairly sheltered. But college took me back to the Chicago area and a whole new world. My husband and I settled in the Chicago area soon after getting married, and even though we both grew up in solid Christian homes, our search to deepen our faith took the form of Christian community for much of our family life raising kids. Eventually the critical issue of racial reconciliation became the call of God upon our life, and we chose to immerse ourselves in African American and multi-cultural churches. Our world and our hearts expanded. What a gift these relationships of faith have been!

All during this time, my husband and I have been a writing team--writing books with expert resource people (as their co-authors) on a variety of topics (from medical ethics to stories of gang kids), then writing a whole series of historical fiction about great Christian heroes--40 titles in all!--called the Trailblazer books (and a series of "Hero Tales," five volumes in all). Now we are each writing adult fiction--the Yada Yada Prayer Group series for me, which was inspired by my real-life Bible study sisters, a multi-cultural group of feisty women going on 12 years now that God has used to turn my life upside down, or rather, rightside up! (I have to admit, sometimes my real world and my fictional world get a bit mixed up!)

I've been married for 40-plus years to the same wonderful man, we are truly partners in life. We raised two kids plus a Cambodian foster daughter, and together they've given us eight beautiful grandchildren! As one of my girlfriends and I agree: The best stress-busters in the world are pets, gardening, and grandkids!





This is the first book I have ever read by Neta Jackson and I have to say I loved it!

I thoroughly enjoyed her style of writing, her characters, the premise, the plot, the whole shebang. Stand by Me is a story that is full-bodied, full of life, and full of the wonders of how God would use others in difficult times to remind us of His ever-presence.

Kat is a gem God uses to help shake Avis's world. Kat is not just energetic, enthusiastic and believes in God, she also dumpster-dives and salvages food for those around her, including Avis.

Avis is the worship-leader with high standing in her church, SouledOut, but finds her personal life is full of bumps and obstacles with her daughter and husband. 

Kat sees a strong, sold-out Christian in Avis and Avis sees an over-enthusiastic college girl disrupting her life. Kat sees a warm, mother-figure in Avis and Avis sees an annoying dumpster-diving girl.

I hope to see a sequel to this book. 

Stand by Me is a story worth reading, laughing about, crying over and just allowing God to point out the similar things He is working out in our own lives. A church is filled with many personalities, gifts, strengths and problems, but in the end, God is the one who uses each person to sharpen the other, to strengthen one another, to pray with and share in His wondrous love.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. It is well worth it.

This book was provided freely for the purpose of review by the B & B Media Group, Inc and Thomas Nelson Publishing. I am under no obligation to provide a positive review.



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