Monday, July 1, 2013

Feeling like Coffee? and the Soli Deo Gloria Party


Welcome to the Soli Deo Gloria party!
This is a place where women gather to encourage each other to live authentically,
sharing our heartbreaks, our joys, and the wisdom from God that sustains us.
Please, link up your heart with ours and encourage other's before you leave.  Only have time to read one?  Choose your neighbor -- no one wants to leave a party empty-handed!
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I wrote the review of this book...and then I remembered.  Today is ATKT!  What is that you say?  Across the Kitchen Table is where we let our virtual friends (yet true sisters) into our kitchens.  (Click here for some FAQs.)

What to do, what to do?  What to do is take advantage of the fact that I am with the author (!) at Speak Up! and we can do a joint ATKT.  You didn't know you would get twice the fun here at the SDG party, did you?

So, enjoy Amelia and me as we get together for a real coffee break!  And then, since after watching you'll love her so much, read my review and enter to win a copy of her book (AND find out how to purchase it!)
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Here's my written review:

I didn’t think I’d know it all, but I assumed I’d have a pretty good handle on what Amelia Rhodes talks about in her new book, Isn’t it Time for a Coffee Break?  The book is about “doing life together in an all about me world.”  It’s about authenticity in relationships, letting down our guards, and loving people well.

I am authentic.  I have let down my guard a lot.  I love many people well.

And then there are a few…not so much.

And those few matter.  As much as I would like to relegate them to the outskirts of my life and my heart, God wants something better for me and for them.

He wants love to permeate all of my relationships, in some form or fashion.

As I settle into the chair on the plane on my way to Speak Up! and delve into chapter 1, I am confronted by all the things love is.  There are twenty “Love is…”statements Amelia pulls from scripture, but I have a hard time getting past the first one:

“Love covers wrongs.  (Proverbs 10:12,17:9)”

I swallow and continue reading.  It doesn’t get much better.

“Love does good to those who hate you.  (Luke 6:27)”

And then,

“Love blesses those who curse you.  (Luke 6:28)”

The final straw:

“Love prays for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:28)”

I’m on the first chapter, and I feel God’s call for me to put the book down.  He wants to talk to me.

I kinda feel like I’ve been pulled over for speeding.  The police officer is walking up and I can see him, lights flashing from his car, in the rear-view mirror.

But just as the police officers want to keep me safe on the road, so God wants to keep me safe from things like unforgiveness, unnecessary self-protection, the burdens of bitterness, pride, and resentment.

I sit on the plane and I imagine those hard-for-me-to-love people.  And I get to a place where I think I can love them, but then these questions pops into my mind:

What if they just hurt me again?  How long can I keep up the cycle? How many times can I risk myself?

Later on (after I am permitted to read again, the flashing lights gone), I find a hint to my questions in chapter 3.  Amelia writes:

“We can plant love and generosity, even weed out our own selfishness and sin.  But we cannot control which relationships will grow.” (p. 71)

And I realize I am not responsible for their reaction to me and I have a big God who tells me He will protect me.  And so in the seat of the plane, I start praying the armor of God over myself.  And God and I make a plan.

A plan to love.  (Feel free to ask me if I follow through with this plan.  Ahem.)

Love and relationship growth are just a few aspects to Amelia’s book.  I’m only halfway through right now, but I wanted to write what was fresh on my heart before you know, I, um, forgot the plan.  The plan to love.

Here are some other tidbits that might spark your interests:

From chapter 3, Share a Cup: Generosity
“You may not realize the deep value of the daily little things you already do.”  (p.64)

From chapter 4, Experience the Variety of Blends: Practice Hospitality

“Hospitality is not about being Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray…It’s about opening up your heart, as flawed as you are, and your home, as cluttered and confined as it may be, and letting people in.” (p. 88)

Amelia does a fantastic job of exploring all facets of relationships and showing us how God desires us to live – as a living, breathing, loving, helpful, fun community.  It’s a book that stokes my enthusiasm even more for my sisters and how we can live together, putting our facades and competition and never-measure-up feelings aside and joyfully living as Christ created us to be.

Are you ready to be fired up about friendship?  You happen to be in luck.  Not only can you purchase Amelia’s book, but you can also win one today, using the Rafflecopter widget below.
You can purchase this book on Amazon.com or wherever books are sold.  Find it here.  Make sure you enter to win the giveaway!  Amelia is giving away 2 copies!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Are you new here? Welcome! We'd love to shower you with some love and encouragement, so if this is your first time linking up, will you put "I'm New!" as your caption under your linky picture? Want more info on what this sisterhood is all about? Click here.
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Want to show a sister some love? Tweet her post using the Twitter handle #sdgsisters. Make sure you check the # later for some great posts to read!
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Did you see?  SDG Retreat Registration is LIVE!  Click here for more info & the link to register.

linking with Jen


45 comments :

  1. Sounds like an awesome book. You got me with this phrase:
    "unnecessary self-protection"
    Ouch. I need to get over myself. Stop doing that. Let God protect me; my job is just to be authentic.

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    1. Such a true thought - to let God protect us!

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  2. I need this book! I was just pondering on many of these things just now while I was alone in the car on the way home from a Bible study. Did she write this for me? Seriously. I think she did.

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    1. Jen, you are in good company! :)

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  3. Thanks for hosting the giveaway Jen, the book sounds like helpful read as I navigate a new season of cultivating friendships.

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    1. Oh Shelly, I so understand new seasons of developing friendships. Bless you as you seek to follow Him!

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  4. I love meeting blogging friends. How fun for both of you.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

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    1. Glenda, Jen was as real and warm in person (even more so!) than she is here!

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  5. I find that when I am authentic, I get hurt. And then I hold back, again. Yes, even by Christians. And I know we are all "human" but when we feel like we can't be ourselves because someone will be unhappy with us, unfriend us, stop talking to us....we- I - tend to hide our/my authenticity.

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    2. Margo, I find the hardest hurts seem to come from other believers. I held back for so many years. It wasn't until I really grasped God's love for me that I could start to release myself to share His love with others. It's still a process of looking to Him and stepping out in faith!

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    3. You are right -- anyone can hurt us. This is why, I think, we must learn to wear that belt of Truth before we speak. To know that we will be covered by Jesus. (But it does still take time to process the pain, too.)

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  6. Lovely to get to "meet" Amelia tonight! The topic of the book is one that I am passionate about -- it's exciting to discover this great resource.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and reading/watching!

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  7. Good to know that at least one other person gets that same "pulled over" feeling. :-)
    Loved your video and the review.
    I think one of the hardest things for me about community—online, especially—is concern about being judged, especially about my faith. I straddle two worlds: a fairly secular one, and one overflowing with faith. I thought I was over the "what if I write too much/too little about God and faith, but apparently I am not. I do agree wholeheartedly with what Amelia says: “You may not realize the deep value of the daily little things you already do", and just let God take things where he will.
    I wrote this week about each us having the potential of being a Johnny Appleseed of encouragement, and that is exactly what you ladies are. Thanks!

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    1. I think it's hard to straddle both words, be appropriate and respectful, and still live our faith diligently and without hiding it. It can be work to be authentic, can't it?

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    2. It can definitely be a challenge to straddle the 2. I just keep coming back to love. No matter where I am, am I showing and sharing His love with others?

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  8. I laughed at how you said you needed to stop and write down your plan before you forget it. I'm that way, too! The plan to love - I love it :) Sounds simple enough, but we know that it's not easy. It takes daily practice and patience - and help from our big God. The other part of your plan, praying the armor of God over yourself, that is wise too. Thank you for sharing this and letting me know about this great book.

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    1. Great minds think alike, don't they, Courtney! :)

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    2. I'm in good company then! If I don't write things down I forget!

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  9. Amelia,
    It's always fun to watch vlogs and get to know people better! I like you already because of your name, but I think I told you that before. I have an Amelia. She's ten, but she's ALL about community. Let me tell you!

    The book sounds fab. So glad you and Jenny from the Block got to meet in person, and she introduced you to us vlog style.

    ps I love Michigan. Used to live there. Visiting there soon.

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    1. Amy, I never heard the name Amelia growing up. I'm so happy it's catching on these days!! Oooh, if you'll be near Grand Rapids when you visit, we should try to hook up. Meeting online friends in person is the best!

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  10. You got me with this one quote from the book...."But we cannot control which relationships will grow.” That hit me deeply. I would love to win the book :) but if I don't, I will surely be buying the book. Thank you for sharing about it. And for hosting the link-up which is a blessing!

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    1. Thank you for sharing with us what hit you. It's a hard word to swallow, but we just trust that God knows what is best for us, right?

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    2. Thank you for stopping by! That was such a hard lesson, but so good to learn. It ultimately comes down to trusting God and putting my trust in Him and not other people.

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  11. Oh and I don't talk for my across the kitchen table...I'm dancing. Hope this is good. Ha!

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  12. PS

    One last thing: Amelia, Jen doesn't tell many people this, but she actually really wants to be called Jenny from the Block. Please refer to her as this on all forms of social media.

    It would really mean the world to her.

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    1. You, Amy, have such a way with stories. I'll be thinking up your new nickname, friend. You just wait.

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    2. Got it. Jenny from the block. Which block? She used my blocks for her talk. Oooh that rhymes!

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    3. Y'all are out of control!! :)

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  13. The hardest part for me about community is letting go. Even if I have good intentions, I don't always get to decide how community works. God has a way of surprising us in best ways when we let him truly rule. Like so many other areas of life, I need to let go.

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    1. It is so good when we finally do let go. And we know in our heart, it will be. But trying to get that info to our heads is another story!

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    2. For me, letting go is all about control. I'm such a type-A person! It's not always easy but it is always good because He walks with us as we reach out to others.

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  14. I created my Unconditional Love Rules (30-something total) - because God-love is hard - and I was struggling. My challenge taught me to open my heart to choose love for those that aren't easy - I think that's the trick - we think it should be easy to love - but God calls us to fight for the unlovable - to plant His seed, soften their hearts - He wants every one - not one sheep lost. I love this book - I'm looking for a small group book - and this might be a good one for families:)

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    1. Oh your Unconditional Love Rules sound so interesting and beautiful! It's definitely not always easy to love, but He promises to be the source of love and to fill us with HIS love for others.

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  15. There is a theme among bloggers and in the church today to be real, unmasked, authentic isn't there, Jen!? I love it! Bringing God's people..and all people together, really....through love! :)

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    1. Yes, through love!! The core of it all.

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  16. Thank you so much for this. I recently had a friend who I had fallen out with. Just, without going into any details, say I was the one who hurt in the whole process. And the one thing I need to work on is forgiveness. And how to love after. I don't want to but I know God calls us to love no matter what. To show and give love. But in my hurt flesh, I want to be the meanest I have ever been!

    This is something I definitely need to pray about.

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    1. Oh Michelle, praying for you as you seek restoration and God's direction. It's never an easy process, but is worth it to follow God's example. The chapter on forgiveness was the hardest for me to right, and God moved in my own heart in a few situations while writing it. Bless you.

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  18. I need this book too...so much I'm going ahead and purchasing! What a great review you've given, Jen. Making a plan to love. Oh I just love this! And you and Amelia are a delight together!

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    1. Oh thank you Beth! It was so fun to meet Jen in person :)

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  19. Thanks, Jen, for always being authentic :) Sounds like a lovely book.

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  20. Amelia, I so can relate to the move to Florida feelings and finding salvation (of a different type!) :-) in your church family. Where in FL are you? We're in South FL. We've been blessed with a great church, too, and a life group that is our family here since we don't have relatives anywhere close. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Michelle

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  21. Thanks for hosting the giveaway Jen, the book sounds like helpful read as I navigate a new season of cultivating friendships.
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