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Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way

Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way

4.9 29
by Jimmy Wayne, Ken Abraham (With)

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Imagine yourself a thirteen-year-old hundreds of miles away from home, in a strange city, and your mom leaves you at a bus station parking lot and drives off into the night with her lover.

That’s the real life story of country music star Jimmy Wayne. It’s a miracle that Jimmy survived being hungry and homeless, bouncing in and out of


Imagine yourself a thirteen-year-old hundreds of miles away from home, in a strange city, and your mom leaves you at a bus station parking lot and drives off into the night with her lover.

That’s the real life story of country music star Jimmy Wayne. It’s a miracle that Jimmy survived being hungry and homeless, bouncing in and out of the foster care system, and sleeping in the streets. But he didn’t just overcome great adversity in his life; he now uses his country music platform to help children everywhere, especially teenagers in foster care who are about to age out of the system.

Walk to Beautiful is the powerfully emotive account of Jimmy’s horrendous childhood and the love shown him by Russell and Bea Costner, the elderly couple who gave him a stable home and provided the chance to complete his education. Jimmy says of Bea, “She changed every cell in my body.”

It also chronicles Jimmy’s rise to fame in the music industry and his Meet Me Halfway campaign: his walk halfway across America, 1,700 miles from Nashville to Phoenix, to raise awareness for foster kids.

Join Jimmy on his walk to beautiful and see how one person really can make a difference.


“If your story could use a better chapter, take inspiration from Jimmy’s.” —Max Lucado, New York Times Best-Selling Author

“It reads like a movie to me, and if so, I’ll be the first one in a seat to see it.” —Dolly Parton

“Walk to Beautiful will open your eyes to the hurting people around you.” —Frank Harrison, Chairman and CEO, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated; Chairman and Cofounder, With Open Eyes

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Abandoned by a bipolar mother and her husband at the age of 13, musician Wayne was bumped from foster home to foster home until he knocked on a door, asking for odd jobs, and met Bea and Russell Costner. The couple gave him the love and stability he'd never known, which saw him through high school and college and into a career in country music and advocacy. Wayne settled into his new life, watching with sadness as Russell Costner succumbed to cancer, observing Bea's strong faith, getting his first job, forming a band, and discovering his voice as an advocate for children who, like himself, were left to fend for themselves or stagnate in juvenile detention centers. Wayne also saw his career in country music take off after he was discovered during an audition for a talent program. Today, he is also national spokesperson for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for children. Wayne's story is one that will reverberate with any who have found themselves without hope, love, or stability. Its message of the importance of faith and fortitude will inspire a wide audience. (Oct.)

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Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
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Read an Excerpt

Walk To Beautiful

The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way

By Jimmy Wayne, Ken Abraham

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2014 Jimmy Wayne
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8499-2210-7



I ran to the edge of the stage and scanned the crowd of eighteen thousand screaming fans and flashing cameras. The pinpricks of light reminded me of the stars back in North Carolina. My childhood friend Rob Daniels and I had spent our breaks at the Osage textile mill, standing on the edge of the concrete loading dock, staring at the starlit sky. We were kids sharing our dreams about becoming famous musicians someday. I looked over at Rob and nodded at our images on the Jumbotron behind us. Rob grinned from ear to ear. We both knew what the other was thinking: We did it, man!

It was October 21, 2009, and we were playing Madison Square Garden along with Dierks Bentley as part of the closing leg of Brad Paisley's American Saturday Night Tour. Brad had already taken the tour to more than half a million people that year, but even he was excited to play "The Garden" for the first time.

"This place sure would hold a lot of hay," Brad had quipped as he gazed around the arena, as genuinely in awe as the rest of us.

Brad's crew had loaded into the arena, starting at eight in the morning for a seven thirty evening show, so the stage was already set when the artists and bands arrived midafternoon. After about a half-hour sound check for each artist, it was time for dinner. I went backstage to the dressing room area, where I could keep my voice warmed up in private. Shortly before seven thirty, my road manager knocked on the door. "Ten minutes, Jimmy," he called. I walked from the dressing rooms toward the main stage.

Even being backstage at Madison Square Garden was intimidating. Photos of entertainment legends Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, U2, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Elton John—Elton played the Garden more than sixty times—the Rolling Stones, and more stars than I can name lined the hallway leading to the stage, a silent reminder of you better be good. They had all graced the stage on which I was about to perform for the first time.

My musicians—Radio Band, as I had named them—fidgeted anxiously. I adjusted my ear monitors and noticed I could hear the excited crowd through the ambient microphones located around the stage. The tour manager sent the band onstage to get set.

I'd been on tour with Brad since June—Brad had been out for twice as long—and I was still just as excited every night when the stage lights came up. But tonight was special. I was about to step out onto one of the world's most famous performance venues.

I waited offstage for my cue. The drummer hit the intro to our first song, one I had written called "Cowboys & Engines." Playing lead guitar, Rob struck a hot, quick riff and then the whole band joined him. The crowd was pumped and on their feet, instantly catching the rhythm.

It was showtime—my time!

My heart was pounding as I ran out on the stage, and the crowd greeted me with an enormous roar. Cameras flashed, lighting up the arena like a million fireworks.

Rob and I had dreamed about performing on this stage since our early days, when we'd played together in our first heavy metal band. Rob knew me as Jimmy Wayne Barber, long before the music world had ever heard of me and years before I dropped my last name. And now we were here, on the stage at Madison Square Garden. We had made it. This was not a dress rehearsal; this was the big time! The dreams of a couple country kids from North Carolina had come true.

I ran to the right side of the stage and out on the ramp. The flock of fans on the right side of the arena screamed loudly. I bolted back across center stage and onto the left ramp. That side of the arena erupted in a huge roar. The crowd was going wild, and my adrenaline was pumping too. We rocked all the way to the end of the song, and when we hit the big ending, the response from the crowd was nearly deafening.

"Thank you!" I called out, knowing it was impossible for anyone to hear me. Without another word we lit into our second song. We performed "Stay Gone," my first big hit, then "Kerosene Kid," a song I wrote about a kid whose life was a lot like my childhood, living in a trailer park, going to school with the smell of kerosene all over my clothes, and being laughed at by the other students. The upbeat tempo of the song masked the message, but the crowd got it. Following "Kerosene Kid" came "Trespassin'," and then the band members cleared the stage, leaving only me as the lights went down.

All I could see were the runway lights, an exit sign on the far right corner, and the thousands of small camera lights. With my black Takamine guitar still in my hands, I walked out to the edge of the catwalk that extended into the audience and gazed into the crowd. It was a heady moment, to say the least.

A single spotlight came on, shining down from far up in the rafters, as brightly as a lighthouse beam. I blinked, allowing my eyes to adjust to the blinding light, and the pivotal events of my life flashed through my mind in a millisecond.

I thought of that day in the Gaston Mall, when I'd rummaged through a bargain box of old CDs and found a Daryl Hall and John Oates Greatest Hits album. I purchased it for one dollar, and when I listened to it, I was mesmerized. The song "Sara Smile," a megahit for Hall and Oates, caught my attention, and I fell in love. That's where this night all began for me.

I thought about Ellen Britton, the guitar teacher who taught me how to play the chords to "Sara Smile." My performance of the song got me my record deal. It opened every door for me, and in return I sang it nearly every time I opened a show or picked up a guitar and stepped onstage.

But for me, this moment wasn't simply about music. A movie was running in my mind. This moment is for the hungry boy who asked the neighbor for food; the homeless teenager who carried around his belongings in a plastic trash bag; the young man who lost the greatest girlfriend because he chased his dream and prayed that God would bring her someone she deserved so she wouldn't have to wait on her dreams. This was for the man who believed in himself and wouldn't accept no for an answer.

I performed "Sara Smile" acoustically, just my guitar and my voice. A few years earlier I couldn't even play guitar; now I was accompanying myself on a hit song in Madison Square Garden.

As soon as I struck the first few notes, the crowd recognized the Daryl Hall and John Oates hit and began singing along. More cameras flashed. I eased into the vocals and shivered when the crowd roared in approval.

The musicians were already back onstage when I finished the song to thunderous applause and cheers. The audience erupted again as Radio Band began playing "Do You Believe Me Now?" which had been number one on the charts for three straight weeks and had been instrumental in getting me on Brad's tour.

This was our last song of the evening, so I tried to soak up every sensation. I wanted these moments indelibly impressed in my memory. The crowd knew the lyrics and sang along as we finished our set. Young girls waved, looking up adoringly; others were still screaming on the front rows.

The band members looked at one another in ecstatic amazement. The crowd wanted more, and we wanted to give it to them, but we were out of time. I didn't want to leave the stage. I wanted to live in the light; I wanted to stay right there forever! I wanted to bask in the love that swelled up from the audience toward me; pseudo-love or not, I didn't care. It felt like love to me.

But the headliner, Brad Paisley, was backstage, gearing up, getting ready to come on and drive the crowd over the edge. My time in the spotlight was done.

I took one more bow and pointed to the screaming women in the front row, as well as the people in the balconies and side wings. I was living the dream—and it was real.

With a final wave, I exited the stage. The guys in the band were rowdy and slapping each other on the back, wiping sweat from their faces. I headed back down the long hallway toward the dressing room.

I had just played Madison Square Garden.

A special birthday cake, made for me by Buddy Valastro, the "Cake Boss" on whom the TLC reality show was based, was sitting on a table as I arrived in my dressing room. Who gets treated like this? I thought when I saw the cake. I was a huge fan of Cake Boss and watched the show regularly while I was on the road. The room was already filled with people ready to celebrate my birthday a few days early.

This was totally different than my fifteenth birthday, when I had spent the night in a jail cell. Life sure had gotten better for me. I hardly remembered that boy who had been locked up in the detention center. That was all behind me now.

After the surprise birthday party, I freshened up and got ready to go back onstage. As we had done every night of the tour, Dierks and I joined Brad for his final, over-the-top number, "Alcohol."

The entire crowd was euphorically swaying with the music as Dierks and I burst out from backstage, entering the performance area through a door under the drum riser, which sat high above the stage. The scene was electrified with strobe lights as an enormous sign dropped down, flashing "Free Beer." The huge video screens were ablaze with images of brews from around the world, exploding like fireworks. Other images featured imaginary beers, such as "Bradweiser."

Dierks and I sang the chorus a couple of times with Brad, but more than anything we worked the crowd, the two of us striding back and forth from one end of the stage to the other while Brad continued to play and sing center stage behind his microphone stand. Near the end of the song, Brad launched into a phenomenal display of his guitar-playing ability, ripping a nearly two-minute-long guitar solo that whipped the crowd into even more of a frenzy. Meanwhile, Dierks and I continued to interact with members of the audience, racing now from side to side onstage, always careful to point the attention back to Brad but still having a blast improvising our own responses. We slapped hands with audience members and reached down and hugged women in the crowd; we even served as amateur photographers, accepting fans' cameras and taking quick pictures of Brad, still ripping on his guitar solo, then handing the cameras back to the ecstatic Paisley fans.

Two minutes on a live stage is a long time not to be singing, so as the standing crowd below the stage reached up toward me, I stretched out backward and fell into the waiting bed of fans. Dozens of hands held me high above the floor, moving my body along several feet away from the stage and then back again, catapulting me back onto the stage floor just in time to join Brad and Dierks for our final stage jump, the three of us huddling together in front of the drummer, then leaping into the air and landing simultaneously just as the band hit the ending note. To say the crowd went wild would be both redundant and an understatement. But they did.

Dierks and I quickly exited, heading backstage and allowing Brad to enjoy the adoration of his fans. Soaking wet from perspiration, I was glad when the stagehands handed us fresh towels as we made our way back to the dressing room area, the roar of the crowd still so loud it prevented any real conversation without yelling.

It was at least a half hour before my heart stopped pounding. Our road manager was pushing us to get out of the building, but my four band members and I stopped long enough at the exit door to pose for a photo in front of a Madison Square Garden sign. Then we rushed onto the tour bus waiting for us on a side street. Once aboard, I headed to the back lounge, slumped on the couch, and stared out the window.

Outside, I could see the busy, bustling New York City streets. The concert was over, so I could see the taxis and people flooding the streets, people streaming past each other, oblivious to everyone around them—including the homeless people, some of whom were lying in doorways on cardboard boxes to break the October chill of the cold cement below them.

Oh, yeah. The homeless people.

That used to be me, I thought.

Another thought flitted through my mind—this one of a beautiful, grandmotherly woman named Bea. I wished Bea could see me now.

I quickly closed the window blinds.



After being on tour since June, I finally got back to Nashville the first week in December 2009. I was so glad to be home. Sleeping in my own bed in my own comfortable Nashville townhome felt fantastic. Although I had traveled the country in a first-class, million-dollar tour bus, stayed in some fabulous hotels, eaten at fine restaurants, and enjoyed plenty of backstage food, there was no better feeling than to snuggle with my pillow and sleep in my own home.

Despite my road fatigue, I awakened early, as I usually do, the morning of December 3. Wearing only flannel pj's and a T-shirt, I rolled out of my toasty warm bed and instantly felt a chill in the air. It was unusually cold in Tennessee that year, so I reached for my Ugg slippers and threw on a heavy robe before ambling to the kitchen.

I yawned, stretched, and reached for the coffeepot. While on the road, traveling musicians learn to graciously accept almost anything that resembles coffee, but now that I was home, I brewed some of my favorite blend of GoodBean coffee that I had special-ordered from Jacksonville, Oregon. As the delicious brew slowly dripped into my coffeepot and the tantalizing aroma wafted through my townhome, I reached for one of the many specialty mugs I had collected. Today's choice was a large yellow cup with the words Rise Up imprinted on the side.

I'm trying; I'm trying to rise up, I thought, alternately gazing at the cup and the coffeepot, wishing I could hurry the brewing process. But good things take time.

When the coffee was finally ready, I filled my cup, careful to allow room for Coffee-Mate hazelnut-flavored gourmet creamer—another personal favorite. Man, I have a great life! I thought as I stirred the rich creamer into my GoodBean. It doesn't get much better than this. I took a sip of coffee and savored the taste while I reminisced about the sensational tour I had just completed, everything I had accomplished, and the many dreams that had come true for me in 2009, the memories of performing at Madison Square Garden still fresh in my mind. I moved about the kitchen then eased into the foyer to look out the front window, warming my hands with the coffee.

Brr, it looks cold outside, I thought. Despite the arctic blast that had gripped the southern part of the country, I saw people happily moving about the neighborhood. It was still relatively early in the Christmas season, but many Nashvillians had already decorated their homes; some had started holiday preparations more than a month ago. Others were out stringing Christmas lights in the frigid air. They appeared to be enjoying the cold weather. Brr, not me. A shiver shook through me as I looked at the frost-covered grass. Without even thinking about it, I reached over and pressed the button on the thermostat, nudging the temperature control higher by a few degrees. I raised the cup of hot coffee to my lips and allowed a sip of GoodBean to slip down my throat, warming me as it went, it seemed, all the way to my toes.

As I heard the furnace kick on, a sense of guilt suddenly overwhelmed me. I felt convicted by my oh-so-comfortable lifestyle. I wasn't rich, but I had some money in my bank account. I wasn't blowing money like a rock star, but I certainly wasn't hurting either. The amount mattered little. It wasn't that I had so much, but so many kids I had personally encountered had so little.


Excerpted from Walk To Beautiful by Jimmy Wayne, Ken Abraham. Copyright © 2014 Jimmy Wayne. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jimmy Wayne is a former foster kid turned country music singer/songwriter whose songs, story, and walk halfway across America in 2010 continue to help bring awareness to kids who age out of the foster system and become homeless. He earned the prestigious “Million-Air Award” for receiving one million radio spins of his song "Do You Believe Me Now." He is the author of Walk to Beautiful, his New York Times best-selling memoir, and the author of the novel and made-for-TV movie Paper Angels. Jimmy lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

Ken Abraham is a New York Times best-selling author known around the world for his collaborations with high-profile public figures. A former professional musician and pastor, he is a popular guest with both secular and religious media. His books include One Soldier's Story with Bob Dole, Payne Stewart with Tracey Stewart, Falling in Love for All the Right Reasons with Dr. Neil Clark Warren, and Let's Roll! with Lisa Beamer.

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Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
JamiLynn More than 1 year ago
I just bought this book on my NOOK and can't put it down! Jimmy Wayne is truly inspiring and this amazing book has a message that everyone needs to hear. I plan on buying hard copies of the book so I can share it with my family, friends and coworkers.
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
A special thank you to Thomas Nelson--W Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Walk to Beautiful, The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way is a poignant and inspiring account of Jimmy Wayne’s journey, written by Jimmy Wayne and Ken Abraham—one which will forever change your life! Jimmy Wayne is known for his altruistic and giving heart. In the country music industry he is known for his song writing, and hit songs, while being supported by his many fans, worldwide. However, readers may not be aware of the horrific childhood and challenges on his way to stardom and adulthood. This is like “Job”; one hurdle, obstacle, disappointment, and challenge after another, and yet Jimmy possessed the drive, talent, determination, and tenacity, even in his darkest moments; to overcome his troubled past. He was fortunate to have some people along the way who took a chance on this remarkable young man, and he desires to give back and pay forward. I will be honest, I am not a country music fan (even though my sister who resides in NC is an avid fan). A great deal of Jimmy’s childhood took place in Gastonia, NC area, with some of the crazy people and backward views. Wow, I had no idea the power and impact of this beautifully written and extraordinary book. The more I read, the more intrigued, I became and began reviewing Jimmy Wayne’s website, and listened to all the videos and was highly impressed. Walk to Beautiful portrays the story of how Wayne was able to rise above his background with the help of supportive, adoptive parents as a teen, and become a successful country singer and in-demand motivational speaker. The book takes you from Jimmy’s early years as a boy, left many times on the street alone by his mother, bullied by his peers, to fend for himself; growing up being passed from one foster home to another, with neglect and abuse, tortured, with no food or place to live, or sleep. However, one woman and man took him in, and taught him about love, music and living. From 2010 when Jimmy walked from Nashville to Phoenix on his Meet Me Halfway campaign, he set out to raise awareness for foster youth who have aged out of the system. The walk in itself helped stem the idea to document certain thoughts and memories, which led to the birth of Walk to Beautiful. I highly recommend this beautifully written and inspiring book, and well deserving of 5 stars. It will change you. Nashville, and country music fans will love all the stars, names, mentions, and tidbits. Foster children and troubled youth, will find hope and joy in these words, for the future. Congrats, Jimmy, thanks for putting yourself out there, with courage and bravery to tell your story, and relive your past, forgive those who turned their back on you, and share with others while making a difference in lives across the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In his amazing book Jimmy Wayne shares IN DETAIL what he endured as a child at home and in foster care. Jimmy refused to give up and become a statistic of the foster care system. You will learn the PIVOTAL MOMENTS in Jimmy's life where it is clearly obvious that he was protected and guided by God's hand. You will be amazed as Jimmy tells of the genuine love shown to him by his angel Bea and her husband Russell, who took Jimmy into their home and hearts and changed his life and future forever. You will be inspired as you read the ways Jimmy is using what he learned from Bea's love to help the foster children of the world today. His love for Bea is even perfectly shown in Jimmy's chosen title of this book"Walk To BEAutiful." Read this book. You will experience emotions from one extreme to another. You will cry. You will get angry. You will laugh. Most of all you will be inspired to help make a difference in the lives of foster children and others.
NicInNash More than 1 year ago
This book is a must-read - you won't be able to put it down.  What a showcase of God's work and redemption!  It will break your heart, but then piece it back together again, leaving you inspired.   I will be gifting this book to many people this year.  It's my prayer that as they close the book, they will be moved to action - to jump off their couch with a renewed passion to go make a difference in their world.
PeggyA7 More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book, Walk To Beautiful by country music singer Jimmy Wayne. This is a true story, his life. Everyone needs to read this book, you will be inspired, amazed and want to make a difference in someone's life. Jimmy Wayne survived when at times it seemed impossible. You will see what God can do if you just put your faith in him. Even if you are not a reader buy this book. read it, and also give as a Christmas gift for someone. I know I have already done this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I came upon this book purely by chance, and will never think the same about foster children ever again. I pray that I can find my direction of how I can "Walk To Beautiful" and show God's love to those in need around me everyday. This life story has sure made me change my thought process about the word "beautiful", now I see the word "beautiful" as an action word, not merely a pose. Thank you for sharing your life walk, it is truely "Beautiful"!
ReaderForeverJE More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, this is one book that anyone with concerns about the lives of foster children in the United States should read. Told with honesty and passion, this young man's story provides insight into the difficulties foster children face as they "age out" of the system. In addition, there is a sense of hope for a future in which foster children are as valued and respected as any other young person, especially as they become young adults. I found Jimmy's story to be disturbing, compelling, and definitely well worth the time to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jimmy- I had to keep reminding myself through the gasps, smiles tearing of my heart and all the tears that this is your true story. You have showed us all how the power that one person has in this world is a miracle that only through God can come to be. This is absolutely the best book I have ever read. If you are reading the reviews pondering a purchase please do not hesitate. Thank you for sharing your remarkable story and courage. Bea is so smiling and waiting for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book. Jimmy Wayne was very open about his troubled life. He is a true inspiration on the power of forgiveness. One person can  make a difference. I highly recommend this book.
lydiao 9 months ago
I enjoyed this book. I would give to a higher rating, except for at times it rambles on. His story is moving and very sad. How he kept his sanity is admirable. His music is good, and I think would have done better if it wasn't all based on his religious beliefs and his past. If this is the path he chooses then become a gospel singer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jimmy is an inspiration!
Boundlessbookreviews More than 1 year ago
I grabbed this on Audiable for a road trip without knowing anything about the story, or who Jimmy Wayne is. Well, I know all about him now; I’ve heard all his songs, and read everything I could find about him online. As a foster parent, Wayne’s story really touched my heart. I had no idea a “hero” like this existed for my kids; I’m happy to have found one. I’m sure I will own all his CD’s soon; these kids really need someone like Jimmy Wayne to look up to, and I will be honored to get to introduce them to him. I will be purchasing this book is paperback and audio book for the kids that come through my home. This story was written and narrated beautifully; I didn’t want it to end. My husband and I always listen to books on our road trips; but Walk to Beautiful, made a 10 hour drive from Georgia to Ohio, quicker than it has ever been. I rate it with 5 HUGE Boundless stars for, “I absolutely loved it!” I wish I could give it 10 stars....Beth
Rakhi_Jayashankar More than 1 year ago
I generally don't post the review of books by legends. I feel that I am not qualified to judge them. Here I am in a dilemma. Should I review this book or not? Since I got the review copy, I ought to. Hence I am posting this review. Autobiography of Jimmy Wayne. With this single sentence, the review could be done. Great language, touching events and what not. The book made me realize that truth is stranger than fiction. If it were a fictional story I would have written off as a story with too much of drama because I would not have believed that these much can happen in a single lifetime. I salute the singer's will power and fighting instinct. If you think that your life is not worthy, grab this book. More than an autobiography, this is a self help book, inspirational and touching. I had tears running down my face. Very few books do this to me. I am not dragging the review. The book is one of the best reads. A five star from me. Thank you book lovers for this book. My review came late since I have been thinking that I am not qualified to review this book. Since I got a review copy I am posting the review. Else I would have just given a five star without much explanations because the book doesn't need one.
ShannonTeal More than 1 year ago
Jimmy your book just goes to prove that there is a still small voice in all of us that softly and continuously says no matter your circumstances, “You can, and you will”.  All we have to do is be still and listen.  No matter what the worlds screams at us from every direction. That voice is constantly and steadily saying, “You can, and you will”.  Our parents do not define us. Their words and actions speak volumes as to who we think we are, what we are worth, how we believe everyone else perceives us, and who, if anyone, can we trust.  However, that voice is stronger, and more powerful in shaping our path and future than anything else.  All we have to do is be still and believe that there is something more.  No matter where life takes us, or how poor our choices are along the way, it is not our sins or mistakes that matter, but what we do after those choices are made that define who we are and our character.  Do we own them? Do we learn from them? Are we so ashamed that we cower and hide, or can we give ourselves enough Grace and Mercy to rise above it and share our stories with others? Then after all of that can we be humble enough to maintain a sense of compassion for others to take the time to listen and understand their story.   This book has so many layers that spark a multitude of thoughts to consider and reflect upon.  I personally would love to hear Patricia’s story, or even more intriguing would be Bea’s.  Who or what circumstance in her life inspired her to give of herself the way she did?  I also lived with a 90 year old lady for 2.5 years of my life in my early 20s. Her life story was unbelievable.  I was forever changed by her willingness to open her home and her heart to me. I am a better woman today because of her.  It just goes to show you are never too old to give, inspire, change, and make a difference.  Sometimes we see the frailties on the outside of the elderly and forget to ask about their journey.  We see their beautiful, glowing white hair as a sign of age and time more than a crown of wisdom, and strength that was earned.
NadineTimes10 More than 1 year ago
"When, Jimmy?... When will you do anything to help someone other than yourself?" If it takes nothing else, it takes courage to write something like Walk to Beautiful, country music star Jimmy Wayne's personal account of childhood hunger and homelessness, abuse and neglect, his experiences in foster care, and his (oftentimes humbling) rise in the music industry. I couldn't read Wayne's story without reacting physically at times, whether that was gasping, cringing, laughing, or blinking back a few tears. "The Crazy Years" of Wayne's childhood are just that, with enough tumult to make the reader's noggin spin, and conversely, the compassion Wayne runs into in "Saved by Love" is a relief to come across. I take it I'm not familiar enough with country music, its artists and songs, for most of the names and titles peppered through Wayne's career accounts to have made much difference to me, but the highlighted events kept me reading. What I find most compelling is how the author comes to himself, that he evidently doesn't want to be famous just for the sake of being famous, but he uses his platform to further a cause his life has made him genuinely passionate about. Here's an engaging memoir, a call to action, and an inspiring read. _________________ BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
KSA1 More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read!  It is so much more than just a story of a young boy that endured a horrible childhood and raised himself up to become the man he is today.  This book inspires by teaching us that all it takes is one simple act, one person to care, one idea and the willingness to decide that you can make a difference in the world. With love and compassion - anything is possible.    This is not a book you will read and put on the shelf and forget about but a book that will change you forever and get you thinking what can I do to make a difference in this world! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are so many things a person can take from this book. For me, I feel it's perspective. No matter how bleak things may seem in your life, someone else out there has it worse. No matter how dark the day is now, brightness can be right around the corner. I think it is easy for people to fall into the woe is me state of mind. But do you have the strength and conviction to "Walk To Beautiful"? Jimmy's vision of beautiful is helping foster kids, especially those about to age out of the system. He has been in that darkness and wants to help bring the light that his foster mom Bea brought to him. I think there are so many causes and needs out there, that everyone's "beautiful" could mean something different. But imagine how great a world it could be if everyone was on their "walk". This book is inspirational, emotional, and engrossing. I look forward to meeting a really special person on Sunday, and asking him to autograph this book for me. Read the book and try everyday to walk the walk, whatever your walk may be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
tvez More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down.  It was heart wrenching to read about a child who did not have even the most basic level of care. A child who saw things that would scare and scar most adults.  This precious child endured so much.  No child should ever see such things or experience that much torment!  Thank God for Bea and Russell! Thank God they saw the kind heart and need in Jimmy and followed their heart!  I loved Jimmy Wayne's music before I knew his story.  Then I knew he was a foster child, but that was all I knew.  To learn about the extreme hardships he overcame and miraculously has such a kind, caring heart, despite all he has been through, now I love him even more.  He is such a talented artist, but he is so much more!  This book has changed me and I hope somehow I can make a difference.  Jimmy Wayne, you are so deserving of every good thing you are blessed with.  This is such an inspiring book.  I am so glad Jimmy and Ken came together to let the world know about lives we might never imagine exist otherwise.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have always respected Jimmy Wayne more than any other music artist or person for that matter because of his passion to help youth in the foster care system and him bringing awareness to mental illness and sharing his life story with all using his beautiful voice and God-given talent. I worked with youth similar to those Jimmy speaks of in his book & those that had to endure what Jimmy did throughout his life. If only they had a Bea in their life as Jimmy finally did or someone like Jimmy to bring them hope that maybe their life can turn into something beautiful besides feeling as if they are a nobody, will not account to anything, would end up dead before they were an adult, etc. Maybe they will read this book or happen to hear of who Jimmy is and will feel “light in their darkness.”Author Ken Abraham assisted Jimmy in sharing his life story in a way that makes you feel as if you are right there in the story with Jimmy, feeling what he feels, seeing everything through his eyes, seeing the traumas uncover but also being there for the good that he was able to experience. Your heart will ache for Jimmy as he often is left hungry for days, left sleeping outside in the cold or inside a trailer with no heat, power & electricity, having to move numerous times which then leads to having to change schools, leave his friends, be ridiculed by new peers, be abandoned by his own biological mother over & over again only however to continue to wish she had changed each time she would come back for him with a new man in her life, to have to face so much trauma in such a young life. He recognized that she had an illness, except unfortunately there is so much shame and stigma attached that so many like Jimmy’s mom do not seek assistance nor utilize resources, or self-medicate using drugs and alcohol. She did love her son as he so did her, but she was not able to be the mother Jimmy and his sister so deserved and needed. Due to being abandoned so many times in his life, it was difficult for Jimmy to attach to others, to tell others he loved them, to trust because so many times Jimmy as well as so many in the foster care system or those who have faced similar life situations and abandonment are scared to attach. I do however know Jimmy is one of the most loving people that there are. It is prevalent throughout this book. Jimmy was able however to love again thanks to the BEAutiful Bea Costner.I truly believe that Bea was brought into Jimmy’s life for a reason and he into hers just as so many characters throughout the book were that you will read about. I am so glad that Jimmy was able to have closure with Bea before she died.Jimmy was saved that day he grabbed the non lethal antibiotics vs others that were lethal and most likely would have killed him the day he tried to commit suicide. He was saved for a reason. He was saved to be brought into Bea’s life to be there for her after her husband Russell she so loved died after decades of marriage. He was saved to become the “Bea” for so many others in this world who need to feel the love, hope, and encouragement, that Bea gave to Jimmy by sharing his life story through music and this book “Walk to Beautiful!” The voice that speaks often to Jimmy throughout the book is one that brings him closer to his faith and one that places him on his life journey showing him the way..the walk to a beautiful life.
JenDMiller More than 1 year ago
Walk to Beautiful is the powerful life story of country singer Jimmy Wayne. This book takes you through the ups and downs of his life from the horrors of Vance St to the high of playing Madison Square Garden. No child should ever have to endure the things Jimmy went through and witnessed. It's by God's grace he survived his childhood. When Jimmy was 16 he met Bea and Russell Costner. They took him in, and changed his life. Jimmy's now using his platform to tell his story in hopes that people will be inspired to get involved and meet these kids halfway. And, you will be inspired and encouraged when you read this book! Ken Abraham is a very talented writer, and told Jimmy's story in a way that captivated me even when I was reading parts of Jimmy's story I already knew. Walk to Beautiful is a must read!
KellyFry More than 1 year ago
I had the wonderful opportunity to read Jimmy Wayne’s book "Walk to Beautiful" through an Advanced Reader’s Copy. For me, reading isn't always easy. I find that when I can "hear" the author's voice, I connect to the story in a deeper way. Having heard Jimmy speak and sing on several occasions, it was the beauty of his writing that allowed me to hear his voice on the page. During the chapters of Jimmy’s life as a 12-13 year old boy, it was his pre-adolescent voice that impacted me the most. SO POWERFUL, and I say that from a mother's prospective, having raised a son myself, and remembering what life was like for him during those particular years. Those are the years of emerging…from a boy to a young man…defining years, to say the least. I can only imagine how hard it was for Jimmy to write this book. I’ve gotten to know him as a friend, and I know how HUGE his heart is. NO CHILD DESERVES to grow up with stories like his, and the ones we hear about every day. Jimmy has done a POWERFUL thing by writing about his life. It not only brings awareness to those who are unfamiliar with the struggles many children face each day, but it can also bring a sense of healing, inspiration and hope to those who have lived it. "Walk to Beautiful" has a rhythm...a tempo...and a melody that is much like Jimmy’s music...simply BEAutiful!
trishoneill731 More than 1 year ago
To say Jimmy Wayne is an extra- ordinary man  is an understatement. Jimmy speaks and WALKS the WALK – to Beautiful – truly. His life story as it unfolds in his book, is heart wrenching, his experience digs deep down to your soul and somehow – through all the many adversities, Jimmy endured –  your soul connects to the scarred humanness and compassion of his soul. The encouragement and love of Russel & BEA- u- tiful BEA, shined a radiant brightness on the atrocious darkness that was the author’s life experience. Bea was truly a candle  that lit the way and comforted a precious child  and encouraged Jimmy to be all he can be.  Sharing his experiences, the author, takes you on a ride, & hold on, because there is always another twist around the next corner and in the end – your heart in full of the radiant, BEAming light and love her candle shone – on Jimmy’s soul and how that empowered soul, of said author- shines intensely and BEAmingly and connects to your soul and incalculable souls through his book, music and driving determination to help Foster Children. Triumphantly, in the course of the book and Bea’s nurturing love, Jimmy’s soul awakens to her compassionate and fervent care that children should know that they are God’s gift and deserving of such Love and Caring.  His book describing his life’s journey and his walk halfway across America - empowered his soul and showed the way for others to care and give. In this story – God’s gift was Loved this Much and truly this diamond (Jimmy) was made between a rock and a hard place. He shows you his heart, his souls & his dreams. The book may have an ending BUT the next chapter of the author’s life, for sure will be one of harmonizing & BEAming, as she continues to light his way.  BEA shines brightly, today,  in the life and radiant, compassionate, caring soul that is Jimmy Wayne’s!  
TracyinNC More than 1 year ago
Best book I have read in a long time!  I laughed, I cried, I was angry and wanted to seriously hurt some people and I rejoiced over the time it took me to finish this book (about 7.5 hours).  I could not put it down! Walk to Beautiful is so well written and easy to read you will not  want to put it down either!   Whether you know of Jimmy Wayne or not, a fan of his music or not, READ THIS BOOK.  You may know him as a Country Music star but you don’t know about his rough childhood and teen years.   Anyone from any walk of life can gain knowledge and be inspired from this story.  I'm so thankful Jimmy, with the help of fourteen-time bestselling  New York Times author Ken Abraham, shared his story.  Jimmy has shown that your past only defines your future if you let it.  Jimmy was abandoned, hungry, homeless, beaten up, locked up and moved from place to place.  Jimmy found Bea and Russell and that is where his life changed completely.  The book also introduces some other wonderful people in Jimmy’s life that refused to give up on him.  This book  shows that our children need us.  You never know what a child is struggling with at home.  Jimmy shows in this book that children who are  put into the foster system are not bad kids and if one person would step into that child’s life and offer some encouragement, the direction can be changed.   This book also shows that faith in God can see you through even your darkest days.  With faith, you can learn to love and  be loved and also forgive.  Please read this book and I promise you will be encouraged and I hope challenged to make a difference!  Dolly Parton stated after reading 'Walk to Beautiful', 'It reads like a movie to me, and if so, I'll be the first one in a seat to see it.'  she is spot on and I could not agree more!!!