Book

Surprise from Blood:Water

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I love my Blood:Water family. Not only are they championing my memoir, "One Thousand Wells," they launched a surprise campaign in honor of the book.

1000 for 1000

Starting August 18 — the week before my memoir released — they launched 1000:1000. They are spending one-thousand hours for "One Thousand Wells" to bring 800 kids in Africa access to clean water.

They are raising funds to build raintanks at two different schools in Kenya. You see, kids in Africa often are forced to miss class or school altogether because they are out collecting water to drink. By providing clean water at school, kids are back in the classroom learning, ultimately helping create a brighter future.

Would you like to join Blood:Water's 1000:1000 campaign? Click here.

Across the U.S. in 20 Days

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Wow, what a week it's been. This week launched the beginning of my "One Thousand Wells" book tour. The excitement and adrenaline from the release of my memoir still surges through me as I make my way across the country in 20 days.

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The book tour began in Nashville, the launching pad and home for Blood:Water, the organization behind the 1,000 wells in "One Thousand Wells." I am in awe of the people who showed up at the Nashville Public Library to support me, love on me, learn about me, and get my book. I pray all who read the words are touched by the story and can find themselves in it.

As you read the memoir, you will find it full of stories of the band Jars of Clay. In the memoir, I let readers in on a little secret about the band. While touring, they would like to stop at karaoke bars along the way. They'd get up, sing, and blow everyone out of the water with their talent. Little did their audience know, the karaoke stars were Grammy-award winning musicians.

So we wrapped up the first night of the book tour with a little karaoke. Here are some photos from the night.

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After crooning our hearts out, Lead Singer Dan Haseltine and I packed our bags and headed to book tour stop two — Knoxville, Tenn. Knoxville has always shared a special place in the Blood:Water story. No one city has financially supported the nonprofit as much as the big town in East Tennessee.

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The next day we hit the road again, headed to Charlotte, N.C. Time for some more karaoke anyone?

After arriving in Charlotte, I dropped a signed copy of my memoir into a book share next to Luna's Living Kitchen. Perhaps one day I will hear a story of the hands to which my book traveled. And above all, I hope we learn to love the world more, together.

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Today we travel to Raleigh, N.C. I hope to see you there or somewhere along the way. Click here to see if Dan and I are headed to your city.

My Top 5 Keys to Success

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Tomorrow is the day I've been waiting for. My memoir, "One Thousand Wells," will be officially released. I am so grateful to everyone along the way who has helped shaped this major milestone in my life. I pray anyone who picks up a copy is blessed by it. With that, please enjoy the final installment of the video blogs previewing the memoir. Readers like you sent in questions about the book, and I sat down with Blood:Water's director of marketing to answer them.

Two questions stood out.

1. What was it like starting a nonprofit as a woman?

2. What would you tell someone are your top 5 success tips to starting a nonprofit?

https://vimeo.com/136977547

 

With thanks to the Giffords

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A couple of years ago, Jars of Clay and I found ourselves on our way to Key Largo, Florida, where Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford had offered to host a fundraiser for Blood:Water in their Ocean Reef home. The exclusive gated community towered along the edge of the kind of beaches that I had only seen in magazines. We commuted by golf carts, dined with millionaires, and had access to the most perfect coastal air. The Gifford’s home was stunning, their friends were so kind and welcoming, and yet I couldn’t feel further from where I had just been. image

One week earlier, I was tucked beneath the mosquito net of my bed in a Kenyan village, listening to the bloodcurdling screams of a child in pain. Our clinic was just a few hundred feet from us, and you don’t have to listen too closely to know what helplessness sounds like. A two-year-old boy in desperate need of an IV had severe dehydration. It was nearly impossible to find intravenous access on his body. Baby Alfred wailed as multiple attempts were made on his tiny little hands. Eventually, the clinicians succeeded and breathed a sigh of relief, and they moved on to the next patient. Our over-worked and exhausted clinicians served through the night as the hours eked by. Every bed was full. Patients continued to come through the night, whether on the back of a motorcycle as it hastily passed along the dirt path to the hospital doors or on one of the multiple runs of the hospital ambulance.

On most days, the noises in the village are the songs of small triumphs, murmurs of hope through the daily work of transforming this community toward health and healing. But that night, staring into the darkness, through the sounds of rushing vehicles, crying babies and colleagues shuffling through the dorm to grab juice and bread for the overwhelmed nurses, I could only hear the deep, dark voices in my heart that spoke about defeat and injustice and inadequacy. Nine babies died while I was there that month, and then I returned home to a different world.

If you think too hard about how wide the gap for the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor actually is, it can make you a very cynical person. It can feel discouraging, disgusting even. But there in the hospitality of the Gifford’s family room, Kathie Lee interviewed me in front of her friends and asked me to share about the people I knew in Africa. I thought of baby Alfred and the overworked nurses and the occupied beds. And I leaned into my calling of knowing and loving people from opposite sides of the world, and introducing them to one another. And then, in a way that only she could do, Kathie Lee made a powerful and beautiful invitation to her community to give generously to our friends in Africa. And they did, almost as much as any group of people had for Blood:Water before.

No one is disqualified from responding to the love of mankind, and that’s the beautiful thing about love — it binds us to one another, regardless of what station in life we are in. In light of the recent passing of Frank Gifford, I give thanks for his life and for the spirit of generosity and love that both he and his lovely wife embody. I pray for his family as they grieve his passing, and I hope to God they know how deeply their generosity, advocacy, and faith affect these least of these.

 

 

Sitting Down with Jars of Clay's Dan Haseltine

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My memoir, "One Thousand Wells," is full of stories about the band Jars of Clay. So I thought it only fitting to sit down with Lead Singer Dan Haseltine to get his take on the book. https://vimeo.com/136048639

You can join Dan and me this fall as we tour across the country talking about "One Thousand Wells." Here's a list of cities and dates. You can sign up to join us here.

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Pre-order "One Thousand Wells" at onethousandwells.com.

 

Enter to Win "One Thousand Wells"

In less than two weeks, "One Thousand Wells" hits a bookstore near you. It's a date I have eagerly been awaiting. And today, you could win a copy of the memoir for free. otw-facebook

1. Enter to win Jena's memoir on Goodreads. 2. Like Jena Lee Nardella's author Facebook page TODAY, and10 people will be selected randomly to win. 3. Follow Jena on Instagram TODAY, and 10 people will be selected randomly to win.

Or simply pre-buy the book at onethousandwells.com and help get the memoir on the New York Times Best Sellers List.