Book Review: Victim of Grace by Robin Jones Gunn

Robin Jones Gunn is a highly successful author of several fiction series. She’s ministered to many young women with her Christy Miller series, and to many adult women with her Sisterchicks series. A brand new book, Victim of Grace: When God’s Goodness Prevails, is Robin’s memoir of what it means to be what she calls a “victim of grace.”

Let me introduce you to the concept of being a victim of grace. At first, it would seem backwards, as grace is a privilege, a gift. I tried to figure out how that was being a victim, which connotes something negative to me. The more I read, the more I understood.

Robin says, “My thoughts ran to a deep place. I considered how there is nothing I can do, nothing to make the rain fall or the wind blow. Unprovoked by any act o my part, God gives me breath. He opens his hand and gives and gives and gives. I don’t control his faithfulness. I don’t initiate his mercy. I can do nothing to earn his kindness. I don’t deserve his gifts. The truth is, I am powerless to stop his love for me. I did nothing to activate his goodness toward me. I am incapable of deflecting the endless showers of blessings that come from his storehouses and rain over my life. It’s all grace. Grace upon grace…I am a victim of grace” (pg. 15).

Then I understood.

This book is Robin’s story, but it isn’t just a biography. She cleverly weaves the memoir and story into an application that inspires the reader with a sense that we can be victims of grace too. As she talks about how God worked in and through so many details and how his plan brought her so much satisfaction and joy, I can see how God does that for me too.

Robin shares her journey into becoming a published author, a mother, a wife, and a speaker. I heard her share this story during several evening plenary sessions at a writer’s conference in 2012 and I was inspired then. As I read the story again, I could hear her sweet voice, hear her smile, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Ultimately, it’s the story of how God took her dream and brought it to fruition in a more marvelous way than she imagined. She uses examples in each chapter from women of the Bible and truth from scripture.

The discussion questions at the end of the book help readers interact with the material and apply the concepts to life. Readers will learn to consider their own dreams, look at what obedience means, make peace with limitations, embrace each season of life, and look for God’s grace in and through their own experiences.

I highly recommend the book, and it releases TODAY! It’s also available in eBook.

I received an advance reader copy of the book from the Amazon Vine Reviewer program in exchange for my objective review. I was not compensated for my review or required to write a favorable review. 

About Robin Jones Gunn

Over the past 25 years Robin has written 82 books with almost 4.5 million copies sold worldwide. To her great delight, Robin’s books are doing exactly what she always hoped to do – they are traveling around the world and telling people about God’s love. She is doing the same. Over the past ten years Robin has been invited to speak at events around the US and Canada as well as in South America, Africa, Europe and Australia. 

Robin and her husband have two grown children and have been married for 35 years. They live in Hawai’i where she continues to write and speak in rhythm with her life verse:

“But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the LORD Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” Acts 20:24.

 Read the rest of Robin’s story

Finding Hope in the Questions Amid National Tragedy

What are we to make of tragedy? What are we to make of moments when our fellow Americans fear for their lives and suffer deep loss? Do we move on with life as if nothing happened? Do we rivet our eyes and ears to the television for up-to-the-minute details, or do we shut it off and shut it out? How do we cope with the unspoken fear that burns in our minds, “If it happened there, could it happen here too?” What do we do with our fears?

So many questions.

This week, my heart stirred for the people in Boston who hunkered in their homes waiting for word of a captured killer. I grieved for those fighting for life and courage in hospital beds, limbs missing, bones broken, and skin marred from shrapnel. 

But I also grieved for the people devastated by a fertilizer plant explosion in Texas. At the same time they were displaced and wondering when they would be able to get back to the shards of their homes to sift through what remained, the news media abandoned their story to focus on an American terrorist. 

That prompted more questions.
 

USA Today Photo  More info

Why does this person get all of this attention? Why are we focused on the motive behind his insane tirade? What of the people who lost their lives in the Texas explosion? Don’t they get fair media time? What about the people who died in tornadoes in the South just a week before? How do we forget so quickly? Where is justice?


Questions might seem to us as a sign of a lack of faith. A sign of insecurity. 

But, I don’t think so.

Questions are a sign we still care. When we stop asking the questions is when we have given up hope. As long as we ask the questions, hope is alive. We’re looking for a solution. Answers.

I have hope because when I ask the questions, I always come back to one answer. 

God. 

I ask, “Why? What can we do? Where do we go for help?”

He answers, “I am still here.” No question in his voice. Just affirmation that he is still in charge. Evil may be present, but it will not prevail. 

So, ask the questions. But then listen for the answer. Can you hear the whisper of hope? He is here. Let’s not forget. 


Book Review: Unglued Devotional by Lysa Terkeurst

Do you ever wish you didn’t come unglued when someone irritates you or life hands you a disappointment? What happens when you’re tired or annoyed…when you can’t resist the urge to criticize? Lysa TerKeurst wants to help you break the cycle of coming unglued.

In her book Unglued, Lysa TerKeurst deals with the subject of handling emotions without stuffing or exploding. In the Unglued Devotional, TerKeurst provides a 60-day guide for making progress on handling emotions. Borrowing subjects and some anecdotes from the main book, she provides a practical way to apply the content from the book in a daily devotional format. Some of the devotions give suggestions for an action step to take, others give inspiration from Lysa’s story. All teaching is based on a key scripture verse and each day ends with a prayer.

The back of the book has an explanation of the different personality types in dealing with emotions. Readers will be able to identify themselves in the assessment, and then book encourages readers to do a deeper assessment on the unglued website.

I can see how it would be a more complete experience to have the book and the devotional book. However, this is a good interaction with the material, and I think it works well as a stand-alone. I appreciate that it isn’t gimmicky in any way that would make me feel obligated to purchase the whole resource package.
 
I heard Lysa speak recently on this subject at the Free to Fly women’s conference and it was very good. In both this book and in her speaking, she’s very open about her own struggle and in her transparency. I really appreciate how she comes alongside the reader and doesn’t judge.

I received a copy of this book for review purposes from the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze program. I am not obligated to give a favorable review and I am not compensated for reviews. 

Want to find out your response type? Check out the assessment on the Unglued website

Lamp Needs a Makeover – What Would You Do?

Normally, I feature What Would You Do with This? questions on Wednesdays. But this time, it’s a friend emergency. My friend’s thoughtful mother-in-law got her a lamp to replace one that she has been wanting to change out. I really do mean thoughtful, and not sarcastically. Her MIL found it at a thrift sale. I think it has a lot of charm, but it doesn’t quite fit my friend’s style. So, to honor her sweet MIL, my friend really wants to make this work in her home.

She isn’t sure yet what she would change about it, but she wants something changed. I will give you a whole bunch of shots of different angles of this hanging lamp, and maybe you can help me come up with something do with it. She’s given me permission to do whatever it takes. 

 So, what would you do? Leaving it white is not an option. And the paint is built up to the point where I think I will have to strip it with a water-based stripper. Where there are chips in the paint, I can see some shiny silver-colored metal. It’s pretty heavy, so I’m thinking maybe it’s stainless steel?

There is a close-up of the chain below. I think I will need to paint it or something, as the gold isn’t very attractive. I could remove the power cord, but only if I have my husband unwire it from the lamp and I pull it out of the chain links.

 
 
 
 
 

There you go. Have at it! I can’t wait to hear your ideas. And this isn’t some hypothetical thing either. I’m going to be choosing an idea and carrying out the makeover. 

Michelle

Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com

Upcycled Tin Can Snowman that Melts Your Heart

Where I live in Northern Wisconsin, we haven’t had a day where the temperatures have climbed to the 50s since sometime last year. Our winters can be long, and I leave snowman stuff out from November to the end of April.

Yep. We get our use out of our winter decorations!

My mom recently made me another snowman for my collection. She’s inspired by the plethora of ideas on Pinterest. And, being a school cook she has access to a lot of empty tin cans. So, she created this snowman for me.

His arms are a little long, and they went off my photo, and I might shorten them just a little to make it easier to store him away…granted our snow does stop and summer arrives here up ‘nort’.

Here’s the scoop on how she made him. She spray painted the cans with white. I suggest a rust-preventing type, especially if you store your decorations in a place where they encounter a little moisture. She glued them together. You can use hot glue, or if you plan to put it outside, try something like Gorilla glue, E-6000,  or Liquid Nails

She used buttons and hot glue for decoration and made a scarf and hat from scraps of felt. You could sew a hat, or if you have an aversion to needles flying across fabric too close to your fingers, you can make it from felt. The top of the hat is a circle glued to a tube of felt, with another Frisbee-like piece for the brim. You could also make a stocking hat by using an old wool sock tied at the top with a tassle added. Or, if you’re even more into Trash to Treasure, cut off the arm of an old sweater, tie one end for the top of the hat, and you have a knit stocking hat. I didn’t make a sample because, my husband wouldn’t consent to having a sweater in his closet with only one arm.

If you don’t have felt for the scarf, try a scrap of flannel and cut fringes on the ends. 

My dad got into the project by drilling holes for Mom in the sides where she wanted to glue stick arms. If you want to be able to store your snowman away during the summer, you could skip the glue and just “stick” [oh, I’m punny today] the arms into the holes. Then, you can remove them for storage. And if necessary, your snowman can get an arm transplant next winter if these arms don’t work out. Now, there’s a bonus.

Now, you’re probably wondering where you can get a nose. For the snowman, that is. I don’t know a thing about human nose suppliers. My mom made the nose from Model Magic clay. You know, the stuff that’s really light weight and dries quick? You’ll find it usually with the kids craft supplies. She used paint to make the rosy cheeks. 

For someone who doesn’t consider herself all that crafty, don’t you think Mom did a good job? And, thanks to our snowy weather, I don’t feel compelled to put him away for spring yet.

Michelle

Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com