Nancy Thurston Big Topics at Midnight: A Texas Girl Wakes up to Race, Class, Gender and Herself by Nancy Thurston is no ordinary memoir.  Welcoming the voices of her ancestors alongside her own, Nancy explores the threads of race, class, gender and spirituality that run through her life as doorways to healing and transformation.




What a privilege to share with you excerpts from Nancy Thurston’s memoir Big Topics at Midnight: A Texas Girl Wakes up to Race, Class, Gender and Herself. Nancy is the Chair of Harvest Time’s Board of Directors and a close friend.   For ten years we have been companions along the money and faith journey.

Leaving no stone unturned, Nancy looks wide, digs deep and takes an old toothbrush to those nooks and crannies that are more easily ignored but when cleaned out, make a house sparkle.

At times, I barely understood what she was up to, like the spring day that she called me from the side of North Carolina road where her ancestors owned slaves seven generations ago and where she had just completed a prayer ritual.  “You are doing what?” I asked.  Or the time she called me from Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania amazed at the strange way that town told its story, focusing on the thirteen millionaires who lived there with barely a mention of the immigrants who worked underneath the earth excavating coal.

As I listened to Nancy’s explorations, I began to wonder about my own ancestors and how my story fit into a broader historical picture.   How surprised I was to learn that my ancestors were among the Irish coal miners of Jim Thorpe that I had read about in Nancy’s research!  Later, I recognized that my questions about money and faith sit inside of a much larger story that includes poverty, immigration, success, and the Kingdom of God.

At one point, Nancy playfully sent me a pin that reads, “Be A Good Ancestor Now.”  Nancy’s book is also her attempt to create a different future for generations to come. My hope is that listening to these excerpts will inspire each of us to wonder about our own family and cultural history and to begin to imagine how our choices can be a part of creating a future full of life for generations to come.

Nancy recently joined me in my friend David Strohm’s studio to record excerpts from her book.  Please click here to listen.  If you like what you hear, I hope you will consider purchasing a copy of the book at  In addition to being a fascinating memoir, Big Topics at Midnight is a fundraiser for three organizations of which Harvest Time is one.



  1. Your post, Excerpts from Big Topics at Midnight | Harvest Time, is really well written and insightful. Glad I found your website, warm regards from Mallory!

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