For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards (book review)

I’m passionate about community. My mercy heart screams out when I feel as if someone has had to to walk a dark path on their own or even celebrate a special day by themselves making the victory feel a bit hollow.

When I posted about Jen Hatmaker’s new book “For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards” I wrote about the gift of community that has been the best part of being on the launch team.

Today I get to tell you more about the book itself because today is launch day!

For the Love is a witty, deep and beautiful piece written from the trenches of life. Jen Hatmaker lives the life she writes about with a simple approach to grace and love.

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Jen shares her heart on women in Haiti as well as those in arms reach we can gather around our own tables. As I took in the thoughts of her heart I remembered the days where simple comments from other women put pressure on my soul for me to become a person I was never created to be.

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For the Love leads me to the freedom in Christ to fully rely on Him to lead the way. No longer will I ascribe to the manufactured, Pinterest perfect ideal taken from a polished speaker as some fancy event.

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If you’ve ever read anything by Jen you’ll know to expect humor and plenty of it. Her views of life are often wrapped up in the hilarious stories that are laugh out loud funny.

This book was all quotable so I finally stopped highlighting because I realized that reading it all over again would be a gift to myself. My next time through will be a book club style with some women who have become a safe place for me to gather.

If you have ever struggles with being a woman, mother, friend, Christian, wife or just with personhood, you’ll find a beautiful path in the pages here.

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Order yours at Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Christian Book

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PS
A special shout out to my launch team besties for creating the great graphics from the book so we could all share them with you! You have all been an example of organic grace that is the fresh water needed to grow a community of love.

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That (2nd) Time We Moved a House

Driving up to our home, it’s hard to forget that it hasn’t always been in that spot.

For the first 110 years, the white farmhouse sat on the other side of Roseburg, nestled into the trees along with a smaller home and barn on N.E. Winchester Street.

Local hotel owner D.C. McClallen had the home built for his family in 1895. Although the McClallens weren’t native to the Umpqua Valley, they were well respected in the community. It would seem that the house was built shortly before McClallen and his wife passed away, a couple of years apart.

Soon after, it is believed one of the McClallen grandchildren occupied the house.

Over the years, other well known families have owned the property.

Pete and Nelle Motschenbacher moved to the Winchester Street location in 1941.

Their daughter, Susan, remembers raking leaves in the front yard as the news broke that Pearl Harbor had been bombed.

As a teen, Susan spent summer nights sleeping on the front porch. She recalls cool summers and large parties her mom loved to host in the front yard. Susan’s mother, Nelle, worked for Roseburg Lumber owner Kenneth Ford in those days and her yard parties were well known throughout the Umpqua Valley.

Another popular feature was the fish pond that spread 10 feet across the front lawn.

In 1996, Nelle was unable to continue living in her beautiful family home and passed away shortly after moving out. Susan’s daughter occupied the residence for the next four years until the family decided it was time to sell.

In January of 2003, an article about the house was placed within a display advertisement in The News-Review. It proclaimed, “Wanted: Good home for a historic home.”

With a few bits of history woven throughout the piece, it was asking the public for help in finding someone who would be willing to save this bit of history from being torn down.

The owner at the time, Cascade Community Federal Credit Union, had been advertising the house for months with no real prospects. A friend of ours suggested we take a look to see if there was something we could do with the home. He had plans to mention it to my husband, Russ, but I made it clear he was to keep it to himself.

While Cascade was looking for someone to move the house, our family was settling in to our freshly renovated home on Calkins Street in Roseburg.

For the first 15 years of our marriage, we moved every two years. Purchasing a home that needed loving care, he’d fix it up and we’d move on. It was never planned that way. Each time we’d say, “This is the one we’ll stay in.” Of course, something else would catch his eye and we’d move again.

Weary from renovating and breathing in drywall dust, I was settled into our sweet traditional home. But it wasn’t long until he caught wind of the opportunity to save a piece of history. Almost one full year after the printed plea in The News-Review, Russ made a proposal to Cascade. The offer to move the home and remove the remaining buildings from the property was excepted.

Moving a home isn’t as simple as putting it on a trailer and dropping it on a piece of land. Usually months of work are involved from preparing the land to renovating the home once it’s placed. It’s a huge undertaking, but Russ has never shied away from hard work when beautifying a home was a possibility.

The work began early in March 2004. Preparing the home to move was a full-time endeavor.

It took four months to get ready. The most difficult job was deconstructing the top floor to avoid issues with overhead fiber optic lines on moving day.

We planned to also transfer the beautiful rhododendrons and bulbs that had been part of the house’s landscape for several decades, but the night before Russ arrive with buckets to dig them up, someone had come and helped themselves to the plants.

On Sunday, June 6, 2004, the day of the house move, Susan (Motschenbacher) Gerretsen gathered across the street with longtime friends and neighbors to bid farewell to her childhood home. I recently spoke to her on the phone and she remembers being grateful that this piece of history would be safe.

Anyone who has moved will tell you it is always stressful. Moving an entire house takes it to a whole new level.

With tarps on the roof and boards over windows, Russ and our daughter Rachel walked behind the sad looking structure during its move. We often tell people that it looked like Dorothy’s house from the Wizard of Oz after it was dropped on the wicked witch.

For several months, Russ spent 10- to 18-hour days building up the foundation and restoring the old home. It was ready to be occupied by February 2005. Landscaping and finishing touches would come later.

For the past 10 years we’ve nestled in to our piece of Roseburg history. With joy we huddle together with family and friends, adding to the legacy of the home Mr. McClallen lovingly built for his descendants.

The address may have changed but its purpose hasn’t.

It’s still a place to fill with laughter as we build on the loving legacy of other generations.

 

This story originally appeared in the News Review.

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Making Room at the Table

I want to be raw and honest and real. I want to be polished and on point and put together. I hope for my words to be true but I wonder if they should be filtered.

Like a photo, edited to highlight the best parts – leaving some truth in the original image – I more often want you to see what is pleasing.

My words aren’t always seasoned with grace. They are sometimes raw with the passion that pours from my mercy heart. That place in my soul, shaped by my Creator that sees the lonely, the hurting, the tossed aside.

I know what it’s like to not fit in. I’m okay with that.

Those days of striving to fit in only managed to draw me away from my true self. To fit in we must become an imitation of someone else. A cheap imitation at best. A piece of plastic that will break under pressure or melt in the heat.

Belonging. To belong is a different story. To Love Passionately means that everyone belongs. No one is made to feel like an outsider but there is a place for everyone.

I ache when I see someone made to feel as if they don’t belong. When there is no room at the table.

Growing up in home of seven people, we always had leaves for the table.  Whenever someone came we would extend the table to make room for others. We would offer them the best chairs and pull up a stool or folding chair for one of us.

There was always room at our table.

One Sunday I brought home two friends for supper. My mom had invited the local baptist college president that day. My brothers were mortified that I’d brought long haired friends with holes in their jeans and flip flops. At first glance my mom was upset too.

She relayed her angst later. “I’ve always told you I wanted an open home. My first thought was what our guest would think. Then it dawned on me that he is a college president and probably enjoyed having more young people around.”

It was true. Our meal was full of laughter, good food and warm company. My friends weren’t the type to fit in but there was no doubt, they belonged.

Jesus picked twelve very different men. He asked them to follow Him and only expected them to reflect Him in the things that mattered. In fact, He used their differences to benefit the ministry.

Sometimes I feel like Peter.

Sinking Peter, Denying Peter, Impulsive Peter, Clueless Peter must have drawn many an eye roll among the disciples.  He wasn’t known as a charming “Yes Man”.

Peter had questions.

Peter had ideas.

Peter had really big feelings.

These are the ways I feel like Peter.

In hindsight, we love Peter. His bold honesty and tremendous faith are something we want to connect with. That vulnerable moment where he stepped out on the water is how we hope others see us. Boldly fixing his eyes on the Savior he was woven into a miracle. Peter’s legacy is one of faith and failure in the same story.

Peter sank and sometimes we sink too.

We hide our face as the water begins to wash over our ankles. When our gaze of faith strays away to become fixed on our own achievements we start to sink. Sinking leads to flailing until I’m reminded to reset my gaze back to the one who says “You belong to me”.

When we focus on our position we lose the ability to see the One who never waivers. We begin to grasp our influence in our clenched fist instead of an open hand. Open hands understand that opportunity is a gift, it isn’t earned. When we get that. we begin to make room at the table.

We want faith without failure.

We forget that faith comes with grace. It accompanies failure and pain along with awkward imperfections.

We look for faith we can see and require others to earn grace. Ironic isn’t it?

When including others is contingent on how well we agree, we all miss out. When we believe leading means assembling people who never see things from a different perspective, we lose. The souls we’ve been entrusted to serve lose too.

Those who think exactly like us don’t stretch us. They keep us from climbing out of the boat and sometimes even worse they strand us on the shore.

 

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Grilled Spicy Thai Chicken Wings

Oh how I love the simplicity of summer. The long days, lazier mornings and easy meals lace together into memories we carry into the colder, barren days of the year.

Last year I bought my husband a nice grill for his birthday. It might be akin to him buying me a classic car but you can’t deny the importance of good equipment, right?

Although he does a good amount of the grilling I’ve been glad to have a place to cook outside on the scorcher days we’ve had lately. It’s also been fun adding new recipes to my arsenal because as much as I like burgers, there is so much more when it comes to great grilling.

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Eating should take in all of the senses beyond the taste. The smell of spices, how it looks on the plate to the dripping sauce or sticky fingers. Food that makes your fingers sticky is my favorite.

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Around here we like our spice too. My favorite restaurant makes deliciously hot wings that are served with a bowl of hot water for your fingers. The gooey factor is off the chart not to mention you can order them as hot as you can stand.

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I sometimes feel the urge to be MacGyver in the kitchen. Thankfully I’ve never blown anything up. I do pick through the refrigerator and cupboards to do whatever it takes to feed a craving. Match that with some newly acquired grilling skills and we have an appetizer or light main dish that heats up your lips but not the kitchen!

Grilled Spicy Thai Chicken Wings

16 chicken wings, tips removed

avocado oil

course sea salt

fresh ground black pepper

¼ cup Ginger People Sweet Ginger Chili Sauce

2 tablespoons coconut aminos or soy sauce

1 tablespoon Sriracha (can add a bit more for more spice)

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon grated ginger

 

Heat grill to a medium heat. Brush wings with avocado oil. Season with coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Grill wings over direct medium heat, turning once or twice until skin starts to become crispy, about 10 – 15 minutes.

Mix remaining ingredients

Brush sauce over wings, turning and glazing every 3 or so minutes until wings are done, about 10 minutes.

Serve warm with a side of fresh greens. Don’t forget the wet hand towels!

In a hurry? Flash frozen chicken does not have to be thawed before going straight to the grill!

 

This  article previoulsy ran on The News Review and on NRtoday.com

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