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Monday, July 26, 2010

FIRST WILD CARD TOUR: Sweat, Blood and Tears


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! 

If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. 

A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the
author and a full chapter from each book toured. 

The reason it is called a FIRST WIld Card Tour
is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non-fiction, for young, or for old or for somewhere in between!

Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Wild Card author is:

and the book:

David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist,
for The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Xan Hood is an author and speaker ministering to young men between
the ages of 18 and 25. He is the co-founder and co-director of
Training Ground in Colorado Springs where he disciples young men
through their program in work, wilderness, and worship ( He
has also written for New Man magazine and Discipleship Journal. Xan
began working with young men in Tennessee and in youth groups in
Nashville and Knoxville. He and his wife live in Colorado Springs,
Colorado, with their first child.

Visit the author's

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
240 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)

Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434766810



You would be
amused to see me, broad sombrero hat, fringe and beaded buckskin
shirt, horse hide chaparajos or riding trousers, and cowhide boots,
with braided bridle and silver spurs.

Theodore Roosevelt

I had always heard that Theodore Roosevelt was a
tough, hardy “man’s man” sort of guy: a hunter, outdoorsman, activist,
soldier, explorer, naturalist, and “rough rider.” But it wasn’t always
so. Much like me, he was raised a refined, tame city boy, a member of
a wealthy, powerful family with political influence. He was a sickly,
asthmatic youngster who at the age of twenty-three still appeared
boyish and underdeveloped. Both the press and his fellow New York

assemblymen made light of his high-pitched voice and
“dandified” clothing, calling him names like “Jane-Dandy” and
“Punkin-Lily.”2 He was what we now refer to as a “pretty boy.”

It seems Theodore knew he needed to escape the confines
of the city, to be tested and initiated beyond his Jane-Dandy world.
There was only one direction to go: west.

“At age
twenty-five, on his "first trip to the Dakota badlands in 1883,
Roosevelt purchased a ranch, bought a herd of cattle, hired ranch
hands, and, spending considerable time there, began to develop his
Western image.”4 It is said he took rides “of seventy miles or more in
a day, hunting hikes of fourteen to sixteen hours, stretches in the
saddle in roundups of as long as forty hours,” pushing himself
physically and mentally.5

Within two weeks of moving
to Colorado, I drove up alone to the Orvis store in Denver to purchase
a complete set of official Orvis gear: waders, boots, vest, and a fly
rod. I had come to the West to bond with earth, wind, and rivers that
I could fly-fish—and to find God. The fishing needed to be done in
official Orvis gear—only the best.

You see, coming
from a town of status and wealth, the type of gear you chose was very
important. It needed to function, but it also needed to make you look
good so you could feel good while looking good.

my eyes Orvis was the status symbol of real and serious fly fishermen,
the hallmark of class. I stocked up on floatant, little boxes,
nippers, and line—all Orvis products and logos, of course. I paid with
a new credit card and walked out.

While Theodore
would become a great, brave man, his first attempts out West were
about as comical as my own. It is written that he “began to construct
a new physical image around appropriately virile Western decorations
and settings.” These photographs show him posing “in a fringed
buckskin outfit, complete with hunting cap, moccasins, cartridge belt,
silver dagger, and rifle.”6 In a letter to his sister back East, he
bragged, “I now look like a regular cowboy dandy, with all my
equipments finished in the most expensive style.”

Though he looks like a young man in a Halloween costume, something
much deeper than child’s play was occurring. A rich city boy was
exploring another side of himself. The costumes, however foolish they
appeared at the time, were a part of this becoming and would, in time,
become him.

I was also searching for a new image,
one more closely connected with nature. In his book Iron John, Robert
Bly writes, “Some say that the man’s task in the first half of his
life is to become bonded to matter: to learn a craft, become friends
with wood, earth, wind, or fire.”8 I had yet to experience that. Ralph
Lauren Polo shirts and a posh lifestyle were simply not enough. And
while it’s likely that neither of us could have verbalized it at the
time, Theodore and I were learning that a man had to find something
away from all of it. I think his fringed buckskin and my Orvis gear
were safe compromises between the worlds we were straddling.

A week after I bought my Orvis gear, I drove about an hour
away to the South Platte River. An Internet search revealed that I
could quickly access it from the road. On my way I stopped at a little
fly shop in Woodland Park, Colorado. A retired-looking man had blessed
my obvious naïveté but left the teaching to a sheet of paper,
diagrammed for a nymph-dropper rig. He made a few fly suggestions and
sent me on my way with the paper and a pat on the back. It was time to
become Brad Pitt: Orvis-endorsed, perched on a rock, waiting for a

I arrived on the water’s edge at about 2 p.m.
Like a warrior dressing for battle, I donned my Orvis gear and set to
work on the nymph-dropper rig. About an hour later, after clamping on
weights, indicator, and tying two flies onto the razor-thin line, it
looked like I’d tied my grandmother’s collection of jewelry to a
string. I stood in the middle of the river, flung the line out, and
whipped it back and forth, feeling good and enjoying the four count

Though I filled the hours with flipping and
whipping, I could not seem to hook a fish. Were they in the rapids?
The calm water? Should I cast upstream or downstream? The paper didn’t
say. It didn’t help that every few minutes I would get caught on a
branch, or grass or algae would get on the flies, tangling them with
knots. It was getting dark, and I was getting lonely and frustrated at
Orvis, God, and myself.

But there came a last
minute hope: I remembered Dan Allender telling a story at a leadership
conference about going fly-fishing with his son. As an unsuccessful
day of fishing came to a close, he told his son they needed to call it
a day. But his son kept fishing, and then, on the fifth and final
cast, as all hope was fading like the sun—BAM!—a massive trout on his
fly rod. It was a miracle. Dan concluded his speech with this lesson:
“God is the God of the fifth cast … He comes through in the end.”

And so I began my count. Okay, Lord, I prayed. This is
for You. Help me fish. Catch me a trout. One cast … nothing. Second
cast … nothing. Third cast … nothing. Cast again … nothing. God of the
fifth cast … not for me. Eleventh? Nope. I kept going. God of the
seventeenth cast … God of the twenty-second cast …

Before long, darkness covered me, and I could no longer see my
orange indicator. It was over. There would be no fish that day.

I stood all alone in the middle of the river, holding my
empty net. There wasn’t a soul in sight—not a fish, not even God. It
was haunting. I demanded an explanation. Where are the fish? Where are
You? Just one, God. All I wanted was one. One simple fish would have
made this day worth it.

Would God not give a man
dressed in Orvis a fish if he asked?

Cafe Lily's Review:

Xan Hood writes of his journey to manhood in Sweat, Blood & Tears. Having grown up in a home of comfort and priviledge, Xan discovered that although he was married with a mortgage – he still had a lot of
growing up to do. Having a weak sense of what it meant to work hard along with no solid understanding of finances proved to cause him much frustration when he was trying to support himself and his wife.

According to the author, true masculinity yearns for both physical and mental labor.  Xan learned the value and satisfaction of hard work and the spiritual satisfaction being a man of God – a leader.  Like so
many other men, Xan also struggled with pornography which he thought “validated” him and made him feel powerful.  When he realized that part of his struggle stemmed from wanting to be loved, he was able to
turn fully to God with his struggle and begin the process of healing.

Readers may find this to be an interesting book because it’s strictly from a guy’s point of view.  The author shares openly and honestly about his thoughts and feelings.  The author uses his life story to encourage other young men to grow up not only naturally, but spiritually as well.

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