Intros and Get to Know Nicole {Book Club}

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Hey Bookies! Today we start our spring read of Humble Roots and Scouting the Divine. In both of the intros to the two books (Wonderment in SD, Sowing Seeds in HR), I enjoyed hearing a bit of the back story of  what lead the authors to write these books.

This is what I’m looking forward to in Scouting the Divine, “an intentional search for ways to move from reading the Bible to entering stories that can be touched, tasted, heard, seen, smelled, and savored. Scripture is sweetness and sweat, bitterness and blood, tremors and tears. Scripture is life—and we are called to live it.”

In Humble Roots, the idea of humility and “Yes, there is something here. Something rich and restful. Something true and beautiful. Something that will lead us to flourishing and peace.”

What draws you to these books? What are you needing or hoping for at this time? Next week we will read Part 1 about the Good Shepherd in Scouting the Divine.

It is fun to get to know other readers, so let’s get to know Nicole.

Introduce yourself. If you can share . . . where are you living? How long have you been there? What do you give a majority of your time to? What passport country do you hail from?

We moved from the US to South Asia a few months ago! At this point, the majority of our team is settling and we started language school in January. We will also be helping with overseeing projects related to education, community and economic development.

How do you prefer to read your books? Physically or electronically? How has living overseas shaped your preference?

I prefer physical books but am having to learn to love Kindle with the lack of availability of the kinds of books I want to read here (and small luggage allowances).

Do you tend to read one book at a time? Or have multiple books going at once?

I definitely have multiple books open at once. A few months ago I was reading a history of our new country, a fiction set in our new country, a devotional, and a book about the current refugee crises. Now? Since starting language school all I have time to read is language  homework :-).

Which Velvet Ashes Book Club books stand out to you? In other words, which do you remember? What do you remember about them?

This is my first time joining the book club. (Amy here . . . welcome!)

In the last year or so, which book or books that you have read would you recommend?

Looming Transitions, Shawn Smucker’s The Day the Angels Fell, Ed Cyzewski’s Flee, Be Silent, Pray, Shelly Miller’s Rhythm of Rest, Johanna Reardon’s No More Fear, Kate McCord’s Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places, and Tahmima Anam’s Bone’s of Grace.

Where do you do most of your reading?

Riding in the car

What book has changed you as a person other than the Bible :)? How did it change you?

Sarah Bessy’s Out of Sorts met me at a time when my faith was shifting and I felt like there was something wrong with me. It gave me permission to question and wrestle with God, to surrender completely to the ways my faith was growing, and open myself up to the reality of a God much bigger than the box I had placed Him in.

What was a favorite book in childhood?

Charlotte’s Web

What are you currently reading?

Seeking Refuge (Bauman), The 3D Gospel, The Bones of Grace

Overall, do you tend to read more fiction or non-fiction? Are there any genres you just can’t get into?


What do you have on your “to read” list?

The Rest of God, Making Marriage Beautiful, Sacred Rhythms, Soul Keeping, Soul Bare, Present Over Perfect, Falling Free (to name a few in my kindle queue).

Thanks Nicole. I can see we are interested in some of the same books. And Charlotte’s Web? One of my favs too. I wrote 9 Lessons on friendship from a pig and a spider.  I bet other Book Club members also have points on connection with you!

See you, my reading friends, in the comments.


Reading plan for Humble Roots and Scouting the Divine:

March 6—The intros to the two books (Wonderment in SD, Sowing Seeds in HR)
March 13—Part 1 (The Good Shepherd) in SD
March 20— Chapters 1 and 2 in HR
March 27—Chapters 3 and 4 in HR
April 3—Part 3 (Land of Milk and Honey) in SD
April 10—Chapters 5 and 6 in HR
April 17—Part 4 (The Vine) in SD (Retreat this weekend!)
April 24—Last week was retreat so to have time to focus on the retreat, no extra reading his week. We will have a Get to Know and get back to reading this week. Also, I will announce the summer reading!
May 1—Chapter 7 in HR
May 8—Chapters 8 and 9 in HR
May 15—Part 2 (The Harvest) in SD
May 22—Chapters 10 and 11 in HR
May 29—We made it! Two books read in tandem we will review and have a Get to Know 

Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash







  1. Hadassah Doss March 5, 2018

    Thanks, Amy, for all you do to put together our book club. I’m excited to read through these two books, and look forward to the journey they will take us on.

    Right now, I’m most taken with Humble Roots. But that may be because it speaks to what I desire: “Peace doesn’t start with me; Peace starts with Him.”
    Another hard thing to read, but something I needed to hear: “You’re. Not. God.” I’m frighttened at the thought of having to face my pride, but so ready to be rid of it as well.

    Nevertheless, I’m very interested in having the same thirst for and wonderment the author speaks of for the Bible. Recently, I attended a meeting where a woman who referred to herself as a Storier recounted a Bible passage word for word and then drew our thoughts and feelings out about it through questions and deep listening. It brought the passage to life as she asked what we saw and how we felt. That’s the kind of experience I’d like to have every time, and maybe going on this journey with the author, scouting the divine, will make the stories more real and more relevant than in the past. Hopefully, it will cultivate my mustard seed faith, as it cultivated hers.

    1. Amy Young March 6, 2018

      That meeting with the Stories sounds really interesting!!

  2. Rachel Kahindi March 6, 2018

    I had heard of Humble Roots, and wanted to read it. Micah 6:8 has been on my mind this year, so I was glad she quoted “walk humbly with your God” in the intro.

    Scouting the Divine is new to me. But the second sentence grabbed me, and I’m really looking forward to reading it. “…faith isn’t about becoming good — it’s about becoming godly characters in a greater Story.”

    1. Amy Young March 6, 2018

      The word “Scouting” caught my eye. I keep thinking of Joshua and Caleb as they scouted out the promised land — “12 Went Down to Spy on Canaan, 10 were bad and 2 were good,” as the kids song goes. I want to be like Joshua and Caleb, scouting the divine . . . seeing where God is, not where the “giants” are. 🙂

  3. Michele March 6, 2018

    I have also been more excited about Humble Roots. Scouting the Divine is not one I probably would have picked up on my own, but I did like the intro, and, since I am constantly telling people that putting themselves INTO the stories in the Bible (especially the Gospels) is a great way to read them, the author’s goal drew me in! Also, I think it will be cool to discuss here because of the variety of experiences people may have. For example, how will what we learn about shepherding in North America compare with what readers may have observed in Africa or South America or other parts of the world?

    And Nicole, I hope reading along gives you a good break from language school! 🙂

    1. Amy Young March 6, 2018

      I just finished reading the section on the shepherds in Scouting and I think, based on what you said here, you’ll enjoy it, Michele. At least I think you’ll enjoy learning more about shepherding and how that knowledge brings the scriptures a bit more to life 🙂

  4. Joy March 6, 2018

    Thank you for the book club! I’m not a participant, but often come here to look for some good titles, and to read the posts of a book I’ve enjoyed. Would you please consider a side bar of a lists of the books, maybe with links to the posts about those books? It would make it easy to see what is and has been read and where the discussions are about each book for those of us who don’t keep up in real time. Thanks for your consideration.

    1. Amy Young March 6, 2018

      Hi Joy! If you go to the book club page (, you’ll find a listing of all the books. You can also see of the book club posts there :). With the list of the month, you can read the posts that go with the book. Glad you look for reading options here 🙂

      1. Joy March 7, 2018

        Oh! Thank you for the link. That is just what I was looking for, and you even have the dates under the books to make finding the discussion easy. Thank you!

        1. Amy Young March 7, 2018

          Yay!! I love it when a problem is that easy to solve :).

  5. Spring March 6, 2018

    I also love Charlotte’s web! It sounds like,you have some great non-fiction suggestions. I am going to have to check them out. I hope language school isn’t too overwhelming for you.

  6. Suzanne March 8, 2018

    I love pottering about in nature and often draw spiritual insights from things I see there. In this sense, both books appeal to me. I liked the idea presented in the intro to ‘Humble Roots’ that the root of anxiety, stress etc is pride – that I try to do what is God’s job. My job is to work WITH him (take on his yoke) but not to BE him! It sounds crazy when I put it into words, but sometimes I act like the world depends on what I do. That pressure is so unnecessary.

  7. Karen March 8, 2018

    I loved the intro to Scouting the Divine, because the author says so beautifully what I feel about Scripture … I readily recognize how fascinating it should be: “a castle with too many banquet halls and bedrooms to count — and enough secret corridors, underground passages, and trapdoors to occupy the most inquisitive visitors for a lifetime,” but then the author goes on to admit that sometimes she goes for months without feeling she can’t really connect, and how frustrating that is. For me, this was one of those moments in which I thought, “this author and I can identify with each other.”

  8. Anna March 9, 2018

    I haven’t done one of the book club books in awhile, but I am looking forward to reading these two. I enjoy books that bring a different perspective to the way we look at God. It’s too easy to fall into ruts.

  9. Anna March 9, 2018

    Thanks for answering the get to know you questions. Of the books you’ve read recently, I really enjoyed “Looming Transitions” and “Why God Calls us to Dangerous Places.” I’m intrigued by “No More Fear.” That’s one that I haven’t heard of before. i just checked “Out of Sorts” out from our digital library after being on the waiting list for a long time. I’m looking forward to reading that.

  10. Lisa March 9, 2018

    Honestly, what draws me to these books is simply the VA book club! I haven’t previously been involved, but I am at a point in our overseas life (2-1/2 years in) where I’m just desperate for good connection with others and regular renewal. I found in the US that there were regular points for renewal with others, but here not so many. I’m realizing that waiting for an annual vacation or conference is just not enough. Our last vacation the *entire* family got sick with the flu… right now I’m at a conference… watching my sick daughter sleep…! I need to build in regular, daily or weekly, opportunities to catch my breath. As important as it is, I need something more than “just” my devotional time. I thought participating in the book club would help me. So, I didn’t even realize there were TWO books in the discussion this spring until after I bought Humble Roots! Now that I’m clued in (!), I think I’m most excited about Scouting the Divine. I like her emphasis on story – where my story fits in with God’s story, and how my story might have a happy ending – is something I’ve been thinking about a lot the last few months. I’m also excited about the emphasis on understanding the agricultural themes in the Bible – Phillip Keller’s book “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” was one of the first “Christian living” books I read, all the way back in junior high. But there is much also to glean from Humble Roots: I too am feeling stressed, anxious, and totally overwhelmed. How do we cope with all of the pressures of modern life? Missionary life (whatever that is) on top of everything else sometimes feels like just too much. I appreciate very much what she writes here: “We are made in His image, but we are MADE, nonetheless.” I think too often, as we talk about “being like Jesus” we forget that we aren’t God, we can’t know everything, we can’t do everything, and we can’t control everything. So, for different reasons, I’m looking forward to reading both of these titles. Thanks so much for facilitating this group!

    1. Julia March 11, 2018

      HI Lisa, I was nodding my head as I read your comment about joining the book club out of a desire for good connection with others and regular renewal. Book clubs have always been an important part of my life. Moving overseas the need for that ¨Good connection¨became so apparent. What I have found I enjoy the discussion around the books. The books are wonderful, but than the discussion centers around where many of us are at in the world. How the specific book relates to us as women who live overseas, who are back in their passport country, etc. I would love this discussion to happen face to face, but this group is the next best thing.

      I am very excited about the combo of two books. I can see how they go together. Humble roots grabbed my attention with her describing how she was feeling- worn out, anxious, caught in cycles of comparison and perfectionism. I get that. Then Scouting the divine feels like a warm down to earth chat about how God´s word can come alive to us and speak to us in new ways. Not stressful demanding ways, but gentle, intriguing ways. Revealing how perfectly God knows us and desires to care for us. Spending time in nature is where I truly connect with God. I am looking forward to learning more about the natural elements and their meanings.

      Nicole, thank you again for sharing about who you are!

  11. Carolyn Stoker March 9, 2018

    Humble Roots spoke to me immediately since Micah is one of my favorite books – so I went in to it knowing I would love it. But what actually hit me most was the three words – “You’re. Not. God.” It brought me back to one of my favorite songs that I have gone back to in times of loss, confusion, or pain. the song is “God is God” and the chorus is what really hits me

    God is God and I am not
    I can only see a part of the picture He’s painting
    God is God and I am man
    So I’ll never understand it all
    For only God is God

    I can’t wait to read these books!

  12. Michelle March 13, 2018

    I’m excited to join book club. I attended the last two Velvet Ashes retreats with a group of ladies in my area. When I headed over to the website to register for this year’s retreat, I saw the link for book club. I enjoyed the introduction for both books. But I think the concept of “Humble Roots” resonates with me more right out the gate. Pride is something that I struggle with. In this season of life I am desiring to seek humility more. To learn to be quiet. To rest in a place of peaceful humility before the Lord. I chuckled a bit at the intro to “Scouting the Divine” as I’ve lived in a rural African village for the last decade. I often have felt that the Bible is more relatable in the culture I now live in, than in the American one I grew up in. Thanks for letting me join you in this journey!

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