First and Goal: What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up By Jake Byrne and Holly Michael

IMG_1177Today, we welcome authors, Jake Byrne and his mom, Holly Michaelon the blog to showcase their latest release, First and Goal: What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up.

Hello, Jake and Holly! So glad you could join us. First question:

Have you always wanted to be an author?

Jake: Writing a book had been in the back of my mind for a couple of years. As a type 1 diabetic, it took a lot of trial and error to manage the disease and compete in sports. I wanted to share my experiences to encourage others to never give up despite diabetes or other obstacles.

Holly: Of my three kids, I never imagined Jake would be the one who would follow the same path as me. I’m thrilled. My answer is also, yes, I also carried that thought in the back of my mind from my childhood. I loved reading and writing ever since my mom picked me and a Dr. Seuss book up and sat down. My writing career began as soon as I could form words to letters and scribble poems for my parents and siblings. The day I found out I was pregnant with Jake, I started writing letters to him in a hard-bound journal. I gave it to him when he left home to play football for the University of Wisconsin.

I love a mother-son writing team. 🙂

What do you love the most about writing, and what do you like the least?

Jake: The most? The finished project! Seriously, the process was fun, too. I enjoyed combining the anecdotes and stories with Bible verses and football terms. The least? Typing on a keyboard. Not my favorite thing. Thankfully, as a team effort, with my mom as the ghostwriter, we completed the project by deadline.

Holly: And I love to type! Just love how my fingers can fly over those letters when the words flow into my mind, or in this case from Jake’s mind. We were an excellent team on this project. I also love the editing process. What do I like least? I certainly don’t dislike any part of writing. But, for fiction writing, I dread the empty page before I begin a new chapter. I do love writing fiction, but as one who writes both fiction and nonfiction, I think nonfiction is easier for me.

An empty page is a scary thing.

How did you come up with the idea for this devotional?

Jake: During football season with the San Diego Chargers, my mom called and the topic of writing a devotional IMG_7155using football terms came up in the conversation. It sounded like a perfect way to get across a message of encouragement to never give up on dreams no matter what mountains have to be moved.

Holly: Yes, he was all in. And with the help of God, Jake moved a lot of mountains to go as far as the NFL with football. And I was super excited after that phone call with Jake. I was only a couple of days away from going to a Christian Writer’s Conference when we talked about the idea. We put our minds together and came up with a one-sheet that I presented to Kim Moore with Harvest House Publishers. Kim let me know right away that she loved it.  And within a short time we were offered a contract.

God works in wonderful ways! 

Do you blog? How often?

Jake: I just started my blog and am not as active as I should be, but am working on it. I’m also working for a Marketing firm as well as trying to get my foundation, Type Won, started. The foundation’s goal is to help support kids with Type 1 diabetes to stay active and healthy. And, I also recently got married. My wife Emma has been a real blessing and helper through all of this, someone who shares my dreams and goals.

Holly: I love Emma. She’s amazing and an answer to prayers for a perfect wife for my son. Jake’s always got big goals and he’s been working hard trying to fit the blogging in with everything else, including busy days surrounding the release of First and Goal. I also blog on my own blog at about faith and family. A lot of Jake’s journey into the NFL was chronicled on that blog. I am also part of a blogging team on a couple of other blogs, including this one!

And we love having you here. ❤ Last question:

What fun fact would you like your readers to know about you?

Jake: I fear clowns and miniature ponies.

Holly: I can understand the clowns. I fear them, too. The miniature ponies…well, maybe Jake fears the ponies because he’s bigger than them and if he rode them he might kill them. Lol. Now he owns a Great Dane dog that’s bigger than a miniature pony. My fun fact: Ever since I was a teenager, whenever I drive alone at night I fear running into a row of aliens standing on the road, holding hands to block my way and abduct me. Ok, Jake, maybe the shetland pony fear isn’t so weird.

Clowns, ponies, and aliens. Sounds like a book in the works to me.

Thanks so much for dropping by, Jake and Holly. If you’d like to win a signed copy of First and Goal – What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up, please leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win.

First and Goal: What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up51bkshxQaxL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

Jake Byrne dreamed of playing professional football. He had the size, the talent, the drive…but at age 14, he found out he also had type 1 diabetes.

Still, Jake was determined to reach his goal. And God was determined to guide and empower him all along the way.

Jake’s journey to the NFL is the backdrop for this collection of inspiring devotions based on nearly a hundred football terms. Jake takes you to the weight room, practice field, and even across the goal line. You’ll feel as if you’re lined up next to him, facing a very large defender you’re about to take down. He also includes Scripture and then ties up each story in a way that feels real and encouraging. You’ll discover…

  • what to do when God calls an audible in your life
  • how to respond when God puts you on special teams
  • why prayer is never an incomplete pass

These quick daily readings will help you press through your own difficulties and experience God’s dream for you.

Jake Byrne grew up in Rogers, Arkansas. A type 1 diabetic since the age of fourteen, he has since been proactive combating the disease and mentoring diabetic youth. He played football for the University of Wisconsin as a tight end, and went on to compete in the NFL. Originally an undrafted free agent who signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2012, he has also been a Houston Texan, Kansas City Chief, and San Diego Charger. He and his wife, Emma, live in Dallas. Jake blogs at Page (Type Won):

Twitter: @sugarfreejb82

Instagram: Jakebyrne81


Holly Michael has enjoyed a writing career as a journalist, features writer, and a regular ghostwriter for Guideposts magazine before authoring novels and nonfiction books. Married to Anglican Bishop, Leo Michael, Holly has three grown children and lives in Kansas City. She blogs at

Contact her at or on Facebook @  or Twitter: @HollyMichael

In First and Goal – What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up, Holly Michael joins her NFL player son, Jake Byrne, in this football-themed devotional published by Harvest House, due for release in August 2015.