My full cup

A Brew of Fresh Grace

7 Women and the Secrets of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas {A review}

7womenEric Metaxas has written a marvelous book about 7 women. Seven Great women. Seven Great Women who changed history.

I seriously could not put this book down. I lost myself completely in the pages. Inside a of a week I became Joan of Arc and Susanna Wesley. I tried on the life of Hannah Mare and Saint Maria of Paris.

I cried again with Corrie ten Boom and Rosa Parks. What a different and difficult time in our world’s history. So much hate and yet these two ladies choose love instead. I want to be like that.

I served selflessly with Mother Teresa.

With each woman I was shocked and offended when my real life interrupted and I had to jolt back to reality.

This is a must-add to every library! And a definite must read for every woman (or girl)! This would be a great book to read through as  a part of your home-school curriculum. Or to read as a book club.  It would be a KILLER Mother’s Day gift for the Momma in your life. Oooohhh give it as a graduation gift to the graduates!

So order your own copy of 7 Women and the Secret of Their Greatness today!! Right now. Hop to it!!

 

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

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All the Spiritual Blessings.

 

I’m kicking it old school today.  I’m going all the way back to the very basics. I’ve spent some time last night and this afternoon studying who I am in Christ. Scripture is full of verses that speak to that very issue.

Yet so many of us live defeated lives because we don’t take the time to study and then to believe that what the Word says God says is true of us.

I’ve had several eye-popping discoveries, or re-discoveries as the case is. I haven’t learned anything new, but with my mindset lately it is as if I’ve forgotten all I ever learned. So over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my discoveries with you. Who knows maybe someone else needs to know this.

Today I read Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (nasb)

This is such an encouraging verse!! We have been blessed, it is past tense. God already blessed us!!  It doesn’t say, “God will bless you in every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…” but that “God…has blessed us with every spiritual blessing…”

I know I am a spiritual being with a physical body. I am not physical-ness. I am spiritual, and so are you. We are so much more than mere flesh and blood. In fact, our skin is just a covering for our true self,  it makes us visible to others.

Which really comes in handy when you’re sitting on the subway.

So we are spiritual beings. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

I also know that when I came to the cross, confessed my sin and accepted the free gift of Jesus sacrifice for my sin, I was crucified with Christ and yet I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me and the life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Also in that very moment, I was sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit of Promise. My life was hidden with Christ in God.

According to Colossians 3:1 I am seated in the heavenly places with Christ because I was raised with Him.

So I am a spiritual being. I am seated with Christ in heavenly places. And I’ve been gifted with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places.

But I need them here where I live in the flesh. Where I’m fighting to learn truth, where I’m struggling to see His hand. Where the rubber meets the road. Where I’m trying to be optimistic, where I view the coffee cup as full even as I’m choking on the grinds in the bottom.

Here. Where I live by faith. In the Son of God who loved me and Gave Himself up for me.

That is where I need the blessings. All the spiritual blessings.

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Coincidentally speaking

The other day I picked my oldest up from piano lessons and she excitedly greeted me with, “Momma! I have two new songs! They’re both classical, and Mr. B and I both know that isn’t ‘me’, but if I want to be a concert pianist I have to learn classical.”

(Just an aside, I love teachers like our beloved Mr. B, teachers who see talent and gifts in people and work to bring it out. Teachers who know their students so well they know what is them and what isn’t them, but also are willing to teach them the difficult things that they need to know even though it isn’t really them.)

She went on to tell me that she had been given one of the songs a year ago and had hated it. But this day something was different. She didn’t want to go to class, she wanted to play Raindrops (or some other title in D Major) by Chopin.

She hates Chopin. We call him, sometimes affectionately, Chop-In, because he’s choppy. She almost always refers to him as “that drunken Chopin”.

She doesn’t know what makes this year different or why she didn’t like the song last year at all. I don’t either.

One thing I do know. There is no such thing as a coincidence. Not at all. Everything happens when it is supposed to happen.

Sometimes God says no to something because the time isn’t right. (Or sometimes because the answer is just plain ol’ no.) Now is not the time for that. Then He in His unending grace and wisdom will pull it back out when the time is right and He will work it into a thing of great beauty.

I’ve experienced this is in my own life lately. I find myself questioning, “Why couldn’t I do that before? I didn’t do anything differently this time but it wasn’t there and then BOOM it was. What changed?”

Nothing. Nothing changed except my need and my heart.

We may never know why God says no at one time and then yes later, but that is where our faith comes in . We have to trust His heart fully. We have to rely on His wisdom. We have to rest our weary souls in Him and wait for His timing.

There is a saying, “Coincidence is just when God chooses to remain anonymous”. I call that an affront to God. God, who made the world and all it contains, who makes Himself very clearly seen in all creation, does not choose to remain anonymous. Everything He does points to Himself, we are the ones who are just to blind, to sinful to see through the facade to see Him at work in us. Through us. And all around us.

Oh Lord, please open our human eyes to see You working in us, through us…

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Monday Monday

I need a do-over for today and it’s only 8:30. Here is some wisdom from this Monday.

If you happen to be in the shower with soap covering every square inch of your flesh, when your eye itches, it’s best that you not reach up and rub it with soapy fingers.

Just sayin’.

I’m sure you’ll thank me for that bit of smartness for today.

Moving right along.

If you should happen to have gotten an email from amazon.com that you need to change your password because they might or might not have found a list online with people’s usernames and passwords posted and your name and password might or might not have been on it; so you follow the directions (for once in your life, for the love of Pete) and tell them “I forgot my password”.

Which I should just like to say, I did not. I remember it completely. So I lied. See following directions can lead to sin. And sin, people, is bad, very very bad. Much worse than not following directions. But I digress.

When you tell the nice people at amazon.com you forgot your password they want you to either give them your email address or phone number. I’m not even sure I gave amazon my phone number and they sure as anything did not send me a birthday greeting text for my birthday on Saturday so I’m pretty sure I didn’t give it to them.

I digress again. I put in my email address. My email address that I have had for lo these many, many years now, my email address that has my name in it. Now my name is something I’ve had far longer than any silly old email address.

Email addresses come, email addresses go but my name is stuck fast.

You have no idea how surprised I was to see, after giving them my email address, that they claimed to have no knowledge of our relationship. Just like that. I was forgotten. They suggested I double check my phone number or email address. I did and it looked great to me.

So what email address did I use? Hmmmm…probably one I no longer have access too. You see there was a time when I thought oh say, every other week I needed a new email address for whatever purpose. I’ve slowly killed those off…err gotten rid of them.

That’s when I looked closer and realized I had misspelled my own name.

People, I misspelled my own name.

Now I know I lost an hour of sleep and I know my birthday was last Saturday. I know. But I misspelled my own freaking name!  I had hoped to hold off any dementia until I was at least 50 and I know I’m close but honey, I’m not ready for this yet.

In honor of all things misspelling my own name, I probably put some caffeine in my coffee this morning. It’s only half-caff but still, I firmly believe that forewarned is forearmed. So arm yourselves like men.

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True Confessions

I recently sort of bumped into an old friend’s website. I thoroughly enjoyed poking around there and I even listened to some podcasts.

Those are interesting things. I’d never listened to any before and thought there was no time like the present to start. I picked one and listened to it last Saturday after my own quiet time.

And then I picked another one. I picked another one on Sunday. I picked a couple to download to my phone to listen whilst waiting for my child at a dance class.

Some of the things I heard made me question whether or not I believed that to be true. Sometimes I just argued right back with my phone. Other times I tried to tuck it away for further thought later. (And sad to say I’ve not pondered any of those because I’ve forgotten what it was I was going ponder.)

There was one statement though that made me stop, back the podcast up, and listen again. ThenI paused the whole thing and sent a text message with a quote, and asking for further clarification.

The next day I received a response. Not the kind I wanted, nor the kind I was expecting. I expected an easy answer, “Oh well, Mrs. FullCup, if you would look here, there and everywhere, you will see quite plainly why I said that. Oh and by the way, it’s been a while. We really should get caught up over coffee.” Except I hadn’t said I was Mrs. FullCup. But I did. You see the reply I received went something like this, “Who are you and why am I getting this?” Only much more polite.

When I again quoted the part in question, expecting again an answer. I was told in essence to “look it up for your own big girl self.”

(That’s a paraphrase of my own and not a very good one. But for now it will suffice…maybe.)

I’ve now spent two evenings studying it for my own big girl self, and I’m not any closer to knowing the answer than I was when I first sent the first text.  Ecclesiastes 12:12 is my verse right now, “But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless and much study wears you out.”

Amen!

My current concern: that I’ll study it all out and still not agree. There is a distinct possibility of that happening. That means of course, that one of us would be wrong.

There is no other way to look at it. The Holy Spirit (ironically what I’m studying) won’t tell one person one thing and another person something entirely different. The Spirit of God always agrees with the Spirit of God. Always.

Take that to the bank!

 

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Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble {A Review}

(From my 13-year old)

I cannot stress enough what an amazing author Mrs. Coble is, however, this book didn’t impress me as much as her previous ones. To me, it was much slower and it didn’t flow as well.

For the past 15 years, guilt has kept Mallory Davis from her home in Folly Shoals, Maine. But when her father is murdered, Mallory has no choice but to return to the home and people she’s been running from. As Mallory struggles to find the answers to her father’s murder, it soon becomes apparent that she isn’t just hunting down a killer, she’s looking for herself. And what about her former fiance, Kevin, who she abandoned without even an explanation? Can they really start over? As she race to find her father’s killer before he find her, Mallory begins to realize that everything she’d ever known is drawing to a close. But is redemption even still possible?

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Christmas Dance

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

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Whispers in The Reading Room by Shelley Gray {A Review}

(From my 15-year old)

51oh93zrenl-_sx329_bo1204203200_I love fluffy books–almost consider myself a connoisseur of fluff.And can I just say Whispers in The Reading Room is some of the best fluff I’ve read in a long time.

If you aren’t a fan of predictability, I can’t recommend this book. It’s got all the great qualities of a Christmasy-Hallmark movie, sweet, emotional, romantic with a more or less predictable plot, in some aspects. The murder mystery part had me guessing till the end, but I’m mostly oblivious.

I cannot tell you how much I loved this book! Lydia Bancroft is used to her quiet life, divided between her cherished reading room and working hard to hold her place in society through her and her mother’s rapidly depleting wealth. She’s your standard, good-girl, following her mother’s wishes to the letter. Things start looking up for the Bancrofts when Lydia gets engaged to a wealthy, high standing member of society, Mr. Jason Avondale. But there’s a stranger in her reading room that she can’t quite get out of her mind–Sebastian Marks, master of mystery.

Through various circumstances, Lydia allows herself to cautiously befriend the mysterious gentleman, drawn to his gentle caring ways and chivalry. But he’s not good for her social standing–especially after she finds out that under all that mystery lies the owner of one of the most prestigious gambling clubs in Chicago. Lydia ignores the warnings of her “friends” in high Chicago society and chooses to befriend Sebastian anyway.

Lydia’s a pretty stubborn girl once she’s made up her mind and she convinces Sebastion to take her to his club one night. That one night is all it takes, however, and suddenly everything Lydia’s ever known is blurred before her eyes when a murder is committed outside Sebastian’s club. No one is who they seem to be and Lydia must decide if she can trust the man everyone in town seems to fear. Can she act against the natural instinct and follow her heart? What other secrets surround Sebastian and Jason? Is either of them to be trusted?

Shelly Gray has molded relatable yet unique characters true to their time and I truly fell in love with the story. The underlying mystery combined with a dash of romance finish out the novel as one you’ll always leave room for on your shelf.

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Like Father, Like Son by Pete Alwinson, {A Review}

lfls“If you’ve ever finished a book about how to be a man and felt worse than when you started, you need Like Father, Like Son. Forty years of men’s ministry has convinced Pete Alwinson–and will soon convince you–that knowing God’s fatherly love changes everything for a man.”

So reads the back of the book by Pete Alwinson, Like Father, Like Son, How Knowing God as Father Changes Men. It is  a true statement, but one that I think has been said many times before.

I have long heard ( and wholeheartedly agree) of the importance of men, I’m a fan of men. I agree wholeheartedly that fathers are important. I know how important it is to have a good view of God as a father, and how we perceive God in that role changes us. (yes, even though I’m not now, nor ever will be a father.)

This book, though well-written, is more than a little redundant, at least in my opinion. Mr. Alwinson didn’t say anything different in chapter 5 than he said in chapter 1. As I read I found myself getting frustrated because it had already been said.

Mr. Alwinson did point out very well the importance of  having a right relationship with God. He reiterated the importance of completely relying on God to help us parent.  He showed us time and again the importance of fathers–and fathers who are present. He talked about different types of fathers and how they are (or should be) all rolled into one.

If you’re a father, or will be a father someday, you might want to check this book out.

 

I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

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