- The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate
Tyndale mini-interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8IAxfgzzqI
The TV interview with Emily Iazzetti: http://www.momseveryday.com/video?videoid=2647866
The TV interview with Emily Iazzetti: http://www.momseveryday.com/video?videoid=2647866
Mini-Movie Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvuDuh8PdDs&feature=c4-overview&list=UUeRpQGXe2yAw99CfIPBFXFw
September 1, 2013
Tyndale House Publishers
Book SynopsisWhen Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola's rambling Victorian house.Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola's walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola's youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper--the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything for Tandi.
My reviewPub date Sept 1, 2013 The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate
First wanted to read this book as part of the summer reads for the whole family campaign by JKS communications.
Love the setting for this in the outer banks and she recalls being there with her grandparents, closeby the house that was featured in 'Nights in Rodanthe'. There is also talk of the ship that didn't make ti to shore and the wild ponies.
She has run away from her husband in TX after having suffered an injury from falling from a horse-and she's attempting to get off of pain killers and just drives til she reaches the end of the road. She meets a 90 year old woman who rents her the bungalow out front and she and her teen daughter and younger son live with her.
She's trying to get a job with no luck as it's only April-tourist season won't start for another month or so. After she finds the old woman dead and learns the church will inherit the house and bungalow she agrees to clean the house for the church in lieu of payment for the bungalow.
Tandi also has met a guy there, Ross who house sits and does long haul trucking.
She is determined to just rid the house of all personal possessions til she reads a few of the letters the woman had written to her father. Then she discovers a rosary and knows she must go through every box before just tossing them out.
She has been feeding the cat but she has no idea how he gets in/out of the house and water in the bathroom is running at times-almost like a ghost wants her to do something n a certain room upstairs.
She's been finding so many clues as to who Iola Anne really was, and Zoey her daughter comes down with an illness that will keep her from her many jobs.
Really liked how this book moved along-never a dull moment. Troubles arise when her sister tracks her down and she does cause trouble...
Loved most the seashell store and all the design work, pink and light blue seaglass and what those working there mean to Tandi.
Few characters that are easy to keep track of while others are introduced.
Loved how she fought for what she believed in...
She feels a bond knowing others had to raise her and she finds out why...I liked this book so much I did buy 4 other books by this author.
I received this book from JKS Communications in exchange for my honest review.
Liked this book so much I also go her other works and the prequel to this one: Sea Glass Sisters.
Sea Glass Sisters - prelude to The Prayer Box
Synopsis:Elizabeth Gallagher has been balancing on the ragged edge for a while now. Then a rough case on the boards of her 911 operator’s job collides with a family conflict at home, and Elizabeth finds herself finally coming apart at the seams. A four-state road trip—trapped in a car with her mother—is the last thing she needs. Their destination may be beautiful Hatteras Island, but the reason for going is anything by pleasant. After one disastrous hurricane, and with a second one working its way up the coast, it’s time to convince Aunt Sandy to abandon her little seaside store on North Carolina’s Outer Banks and return to the family fold in Michigan. But when the storm sweeps through, the three women will discover that sisterhood and the sea can change hearts, lives, and futures . . . often in the most unpredictable of ways.
Sea Glass Sisters by Lisa Wingate
I first wanted to read this book after reading The Prayer Box by the author and the fact I love sea glass..
Elizabeth is a 911 operator and she raises with her husband two high school kids, one boy, one girl and both are graduating this year.
Her mother who live close by is up in arms about the family compound and how her sister wants to sell parts of it rather than leave it for the families and generations down the road.
This hits home with me as some of my family wants to do the same thing. After the really bad night at work with nightmares abound she leaves with her mother from Michigan to drive to NC on the outer banks to try to persuade her sister.
Elizabeth is kept abreast of things happening at home with the missing child and her kids and husband and news of the hurricane approaching an her aunt's bad health. They batten down the hatches and help others in the town with chores so they will remain safe. One visit is to the 90 year old Iola Anne who also appears in The Prayer Box=a book by the same author.
Love that this woman has a jewelry/seashell shop near the ferry, on the ocean with sand dunes and the feeling of community as they all gather. Love the idea of the hurricane party-we usually have them after to use up food that will spoil.
She is trying to believe in God again to help her get through the work crises and the hurricane.
Miracles can happen ...Excerpt from The Prayer Box is included.
I received this book from Net Galley, Tyndale House Publishers via JKS Communications in exchange for my honest review.
Lisa Wingate is a magazine columnist, speaker, and the author of twenty mainstream fiction novels, including the national bestseller Tending Roses, now in its nineteenth printing from Penguin Putnam.
She is a seven-time ACFW Carol Award nominee, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, and a twotime Carol Award winner. Her novel Blue Moon Bay was a Booklist Top Ten of 2012 pick. Recently the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along
with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work
to promote greater kindness and civility in American life. Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for Bethany House, Penguin, and Tyndale House. Her bestselling books have become a hallmark of inspirational Southern fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader’s Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, American Profiles, Woman’s World magazine, Woman’s Day magazine, and others.
When not dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via the
Internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book Tending Roses has been used
to promote women’s literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library
system has used Tending Roses to help volunteers teach adults to read.
Lisa lives on a ranch in Texas, where she spoils the livestock, raises boys, and teaches Sunday
school to high school seniors. She was inspired to become a writer by a first-grade teacher who said
she expected to see Lisa’s name in a magazine one day.
Lisa also entertained childhood dreams of being an Olympic gymnast and winning the National
Finals Rodeo but was stalled by the inability to do a backflip on the balance beam and parents who
wouldn’t finance a rodeo career. She was lucky enough to marry into a big family of cowboys and
Southern storytellers who would inspire any lover of tall tales and interesting yet profound
characters. She is a full-time writer and pens inspirational fiction for both the general and
Christian markets. Of all the things she loves about her job, she loves connecting with people,
both real and imaginary, the most.
Q&A WITH LISA WINGATEYou originally had the book set in Texas. What made you switch to the coastal setting?My special reader-friend, Ed Stevens, visited the Outer Banks (his daughter Shannon has a
beach house in Duck) after Hurricane Irene, and he asked me to set a book in the Outer Banks to
draw attention to the destruction there and the plight of residents—Irene was mostly thought of as
a “nonevent” because it didn’t hit New York, etc. as was predicted. But the damage was very bad.
It’s a post-hurricane story, and we’ve had our share of hurricanes here in Texas. We lost
our family beach houses (relatives on the coast) during Ike several years ago, so I understand the
aftermath of having family treasures scattered to the tides and the feeling of losing a place you’ve
loved and where you’ve made memories.
You researched the book from the Outer Banks?
Our trip was amazing. We canvassed the place. A reader friend–now–gal pal and my
mother (my assistant) went with me. We photographed like crazy, talked to locals, found a location
for the fictional village of Fairhope, and learned about what the people on Hatteras were going
through. And that was pre–Hurricane Sandy. Now it’s even worse there. I do hope the book will
bring attention/tourism/help, etc. to the Outer Banks, and Hatteras in particular. They are great
people and it’s a beautiful place with rich history.
Your fans make big impacts on your writing—and your family. How did your aunt Sandy
contribute to The Prayer Box?
Aunt Sandy is my mom’s sister, and while she and my mom (who I based the character
Sharon on) wish I would have made them a bit younger in the book, they are great inspirations.
My aunt designed her character and the Seashell Shop and made beautiful sea glass necklaces, glass
boxes, and hummingbird suncatchers that will be given away as reader prizes. She is an amazing
What exactly are prayer—or gratitude—boxes?You can create the boxes for your own life and as gifts for occasions. Wouldn’t it be
wonderful, when a child graduates, to be able to give that child the box of hopes and prayers
written during the first year of life? Or for a couple on their twenty-fifth anniversary to reopen the
box from their first year of marriage? For years, I’ve given journals or prayer boxes to couples as
wedding gifts and encouraged them to write down their hopes and gratitudes during their first year
of life, then keep them. It’s a great exercise while they’re doing it and a precious keepsake for later.
It’s also their story, preserved.
How do you write for both Christian and secular audiences?I try to write books that can be shared between people who are in vastly different places in
their faith and spiritual lives, and I see The Prayer Box as that type of book—appropriate for a
Christian person to bring to a book club that is not specifically Christian, for instance.
What’s the overall message?
In this cyber age, it’s more important than ever to equip families with ideas for generating
family table talk and storytelling. My first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, was inspired by stories
shared by my grandmother. I’ve since watched that book travel around the world, and her stories—
those simple remembrances from a farmwife’s life—have affected many lives. Our stories have
amazing power and value, yet we’re in danger of losing that tradition of sharing our stories,
particularly with the next generation.
What’s on your nightstand?
Endorsement books, usually! One of the best things about being an author is having the
chance to read and discover new books before they travel out into the world. Aside from early read
copies, there’s usually some research material on my nightstand. Currently I’m reading about the
lost “little races” of the Appalachian Mountains, for the novel that will follow The Prayer Box. Also
on the stack is a journal given to me by a reader, where I write down quotes and story ideas I don’t
want to forget.
Tell us about the e-novella prequel to The Prayer Box you’re releasing in July.Titled The Sea Glass Sisters, this is a story of the sisterhood in Sandy’s Seashell Shop, a
prominent theme in The Prayer Box. In this prequel, Sandy’s sister, Sharon, and Sharon’s daughter
Elizabeth travel to the Outer Banks determined to convince Sandy to move back to the family land
in Michigan and give up Sandy’s Seashell Shop before the financial costs of hurricane repairs
bankrupt Sandy. The three women end up riding out the second hurricane on the Outer Banks
and form a life-changing sisterhood.
How did you write twenty books in twelve years with kids at home?I’ve always loved to write, but I didn’t get serious about freelance writing and selling until
after I’d graduated college, married, and started a family. I wrote and sold various smaller projects
in between naps, diapers, and playgroups. And when the boys were older, during soccer practices,
in carpool lines, while helping with homework, and in all sorts of other situations.
People often ask me if I need quiet in order to write. With boys in the house, if I’d waited
for quiet, the writing would never have happened. I learned to lose myself in a story amid the
noise of life and I loved it that way.
I asked myself what makes a story last, what really makes a story worth telling and worth
reading? I wanted to write books that meant something, that explore the human soul.
I came across a notebook in which I’d written some of my grandmother’s stories. I’d never
known quite what to do with those stories, but I knew they were significant in my life. When I
rediscovered the notebook, I had the idea of combining my grandmother’s real stories with a
fictional family who is like and unlike my own family. That little germ of an idea became my first
women’s fiction novel, Tending Roses.
Now that the boys are practically grown and the house is often quiet, I’m redefining the
writing routine again. Just as in books, life is a series of scenes and sequels, beginnings and
endings, and new discoveries.
AUTHOR’S NOTE ON PRAYER BOXINGDear Reader,
This is how The Prayer Box came to be: by accident, if you believe in accidents. I glanced
across the room one day, saw the small prayer box that had been given to me as a gift, and a story
began to spin through my mind. What if that box contained many prayers accumulated over time?
What if there were dozens of boxes? What if they contained the prayers of a lifetime?
What could more fully tell the truth about a person than words written to God in solitude?
Of course, Iola would say those random questions that popped into my mind—and The
Prayer Box story itself—weren’t accidents at all. She would say it was divine providence. Something
that was meant to be.
I believe divine providence has brought this story into your hands, as well. I hope you
enjoyed the journey through Iola’s prayer boxes as much as I did. If the journey is still ahead of
you, I hope that it takes you to far-off places . . . and into inner spaces, as well. More than that, I
hope it will inspire you to think about keeping a prayer box of your own and maybe giving one to
The little prayer box that was given to me was by no means unique. I’d heard of prayer
boxes, and I knew what they were for. They’re either keeping places for favorite Scriptures, or
they’re similar to a prayer journal, only more flexible. Any scrap of paper will do, anywhere, any
time of the day or night. The important part, in a world of fractured thoughts, hurried moments,
and scattershot prayers, is to take the time to think through, to write down, to clarify in your own
mind the things you’re asking for, the things you’re grateful for, the things you’re troubled about,
the hopes you’ve been nurturing.
Put them in the box and . . .
Let. Them. Go.
That’s what trust is. It’s letting go of the worry. It’s the way of peace and also the way of
God. It’s such a hard road to travel for people like me, who worry. When I’m writing a story, I
control the whole universe. In life . . . not so much. Actually, not at all. Things happen that I
hadn’t anticipated and wouldn’t choose and can’t change. That’s the tough part.
Closing the lid on a prayer box is symbolic of so many things. When we give a prayer over
to God, it’s supposed to be in God’s hands after that. I think that’s what Sister Marguerite was
trying to teach Iola when she gave her that very first prayer box. Life is, so often, beyond our
control, just as it was for that little ten-year-old girl, far from home. I like to imagine that Sister
Marguerite decorated that box herself, prepared it with young Iola in mind, don’t you?
After studying more about prayer boxes and using them myself, I’m surprised we don’t do
this more often. Prayer boxes have a long-standing tradition, both among early Christians and
among Jewish families. Jews and early Christians often wore small leather or carved bone boxes on
the body. These phylacteries or tefillin were a means of keeping Scripture close to the wearer.
Large boxes, called mezuzah cases are still affixed to the doorposts of Jewish homes today.
It’s a beautiful tradition, when you think about it, to surround our coming in and going
out with a brush with God. It’s also a reminder, as family members pass by, to pray and to trust
that our prayers are being heard. That’s one of my favorite reasons for keeping a prayer box inside
the home, as well, or for giving one as a gift. When you see the box, you’re reminded that things
are supposed to go in it. In other words, the prayer box isn’t meant to gather dust; it’s meant to
inspire a habit. That’s the real idea behind making a prayer box attractive—and the reason I think
Iola must have decorated so many of hers. I imagined that, as each year came, she prepared a box
that represented her life at the time, and then she kept the box out where she would see it and be
reminded that her Father was waiting to hear from her.
I wonder if Iola ever gave prayer boxes as gifts, just as that first box was given to her. Maybe
that’s what she did with some of those many glass boxes she purchased from Sandy’s Seashell
Shop. Do you think so? What better way to bind a family, help a friend struggle through an illness,
see a just-married couple start off right, celebrate a tiny new life just born, send a graduate off into
the world, than to give a prayer box and an explanation of what it’s for? The box can be something
you buy premade or something you decorate yourself. If you’re hand-decorating it, why not
personalize it with photos or favorite Scriptures?
Are you inspired to consider spreading the tradition of prayer boxing yet? I hope so. I could
go on and on with ideas and stories here, but that’s another book in itself. If you’d like to learn
more about how to use prayer boxes in your church, your study group, your family, your ministry,
your community, or as gifts, drop by www.LisaWingate.com for more information about prayer
boxes, some examples, sample notes to include with prayer box gifts, and ideas for making, using,
and giving them.
My wish for you is that, in this age-old tradition, you and others will find what Tandi
found when she entered Iola’s blue room in her dream. May the glorious light fill you and shine
upon you and draw you ever closer.
We all know who waits inside the light.
Author Website: http://www.lisawingate.com/
Examples of Prayer Boxes