January 2016 Recap

January 2016 has been a great month capped off today with a trip to the OSU vs. Maryland basketball game with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. My husband performed for over 500 students from the state of Ohio prior to the game. We were also given a tour of the OSU weight room which was pretty cool and exciting. I’m worn out an exhausted this Sunday evening. Our family has been passing around a nasty bug and it seems to be my turn for the leaky nose and spiking fever. Woohoo!

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As January 2016 comes to an end I just wanted to highlight a few important posts from this month:

First of all, I began my first 24 Book Challenge for 2016. As part of the challenge I have posted in several memes which have kept me accountable for constant reading. I’m currently a few chapters away from finishing book #2 so stay posted for a new post soon.

This month I also began a series entitled, “Today at Covenant…” which is based on the sermons from my church by Pastor Travis Davenport. This month he preached on the Five Solas. You can find four of the five sermons below, but because of the FCA event I missed week five.

Sola Scriptura

Sola Gratia

Sola Fide

Solus Christus

I also completed a 21-Day fast along with members of my church. The purpose of the fast was to promote revival in the church. Additionally, I focused my prayer during this time on seeking God’s will for my service to him. During this time God spoke clearly and tangibly into my life and I look forward to sharing with you about the direction God is leading me in a few weeks.

In the area of fashion, this month I focused on my puffer vest, snow boots, and Alex and Ani. All three are winter favorites and things I’ve enjoyed adding to my personal collection.

Thanks for sticking around this month and being a part of my reading community. I’ve got some new post ideas and things coming up in February. I’m excited to continue the editing process this month for my novel. Not long now and I’ll be looking for Beta Readers for the next phase. Stay tuned!

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Five Minute Friday: Quiet

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Quiet. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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Being quiet is difficult. When I set time aside in my busy schedule to pray I find that I’m often the one dictating the agenda. Eager to get things off my chest or burdened with a heavy heart I come to God with all these questions, but don’t quiet myself for long enough to hear a response. No wonder I feel like sometimes my prayers go unheard. It’s not that God isn’t listening rather it is me who is not doing the listening. You can’t hear an answer when you are talking over it.

Today my challenge to you (and myself) is to take a few minutes and be quiet. Write down or speak your requests to God and then wait. This can be uncomfortable I know. In our chaotic world silence can be awkward. Trust me, any glimpse of quiet that accidentally happens in a high school classroom is always thwarted by that one student who shouts out, “awkward silence.” But, today don’t be afraid of the silence. Embrace the quiet. Listen to the whisper of God. Unload your heart and let him heal your spirit.

James 1:19-My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

My Fuel

As a full time mother, teacher, and wife I struggle with finding time for writing on the side. Writing has been a passion of mine for a while, but over the past year I have had countless opportunities to use my writing as a ministry. The idea alone that God has gifted me with the ability to use my writing to reach others fuels me to make it a priority. I try to write daily, however, many days writing is an after thought. It happens when chores, grading, cooking, bathing, and playing are completed. When my daughter starts to slow down, I turn on the coffee pot and prepare for my writing time. As much as I would like to nap as well, I find myself turning to coffee for the pick-me-up I need to make sure the writing gets accomplished.

Putting pen to paper can be quite the task after a long day. Some days the creative energy just flows, and other days it’s in need of some fuel. So naturally, I turn to coffee. For me, coffee fuels about 85% of all my writing. Rarely do I sit down to draft a blog post, work on my manuscript, or journal without the accompaniment of a warm cup of coffee. Most writing sessions begin with a good brew. Even as I write now I’m watching my daughter play while sipping on a medium-roast pour-over with two creams and six thousand packs of sugar.

Each of us has something we turn to when the creativity is just not there. Or the ideas aren’t flowing like a mad river.

What fuels you?

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Alex and Ani

If you are tuned into the wonderful world of jewelry then you are familiar with the latest craze in bangle bracelets. Alex and Ani is one of the leading companies right now in the market. According to their website the company’s purpose is that it, “constantly strives to develop new, cutting edge techniques to create sustainable products to enhance the lives of consumers.” Their products range in styles and prices, but one of their most popular items is the bangle bracelet. Bangles start at $28.00.

The current trend is to build up and wear a collection of their bangles. I’m a newbie on the Alex and Ani scene. I received my first bracelet for Christmas. My parents purchased one for myself and each of my sisters. I love my Sister bangle. It is made from recyclable materials and is infused with energy technology. I’m excited to build up my collection of these affordable and cute bangles. To check out some of their other bracelets head over to the Alex and Ani website.

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Face+Floor=Disaster

After a fun-filled Saturday at COSI (Center of Science and Industry) my daughter was completely exhausted. She had ventured into a submarine, built a rocket ship with massive legos, and pretended to be a doctor equipped with a stethoscope for about an hour straight. On our ride home she was fast asleep before we ever reached the freeway.

It was a great day. A family date for the memory books. But all things must come to an end and when we arrived home her fun-filled day of learning and exploring met its term.

Our daughter made it into the house without waking. It was bit early for bed so my husband laid her on the couch for just a moment as he took his coat off and I did the same. In the moment it took for us both to remove our coats our daughter fell off the couch and landed on the wood laminate floor of the living room catching herself with the front of her face.

She was a bloody mess. She didn’t wake before she hit the floor so she did not even try to cushion her fall. This terrible plummet resulted in a split lip, bruised cheek, swollen mouth, and loose tooth. Now, she’s only three years old so at least it was a baby tooth, but now my poor baby resembles Cindy Lou Who with a crooked front tooth.

She will be going to see her dentist on Thursday to make sure that there was no lasting damage done in the accident. I doubt they will do much, but I want to be on the safe side. This is her first big accident, and I felt terrible as her mother as she cried and bled in my arms. However, in the back of my mind I knew that sooner or later my clumsy little girl was bound to be hurt. I didn’t enjoy this experience, but it was a good reminder of the resilience of children. After all, I’m still aching at the memory of what happened, while she’s loving the fact that she gets to eat ice cream and soft foods until the tooth reattaches.

A year ago I would have been a nervous wreck as a result of this event. I would have blamed myself and thought that it spoke of me as a parent for allowing this to happen to her. I have thankfully moved on from the part of my life where I saw myself through such a critical lens. At the end of the day it was terrible that it happened, but kids will be kids. Accidents happen, and I will just be thankful that she is okay and take those extra hugs and cuddles.

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Highlighted Monday #2

Highlighted Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Rebeca at “Books and Messy Buns”. Anyone can join, you just have to do the following:

  • Pick up the book you’re currently reading (be it a physical or electronic copy)
  • Find a sentence you like (because it’s funny or cute or mysterious or whatever  you find interesting)
  • Highlight the sentence
  • Make a post in your own blog where you share your highlighted sentence and link back to my blog as the host

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My highlighted text today comes from Schooled in Revenge by Jesse Lasky:

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My husband and I are big fans of the television series, Revenge.  We are both also in love with reading. Wide-reading is actually one of my New Years Resolutions and so in my attempt to leap beyond the best-sellers I’ve turned to lesser known titles like the one above. (For more on my 24 Book Challenge see this link.) My husband actually purchased this book for me and stuffed it my Christmas stocking as a gift.

I’m halfway through reading Schooled in Revenge, a novel based on the television show that I love.

One thing I enjoy about the book is that there is different cast of characters from those on the show. I’m learning about new people of affluent America. The television show is set in the Hamptons among an elite cast living off of fortunes build on deception. The above highlighted text draws a comparison between the setting of the television series and the setting of the book which is Napa Valley. I am able to indulge my desire to be rich and famous through Revenge. It’s a guilty pleasure.

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

 

Today at Covenant…Solus Christus

Today was one of the best services I’ve experienced in a long time. Pastor Travis changed up the order of service, which is a great way to rock people’s routines and gear them up for really listening to the message. It’s funny how habitual we can become as people. When the worship band unplugged after the second song you could actually see people looking around for songs three and four. Everyone wore a bit of confusion on their face as the Pastor approached the stage long before his anticipated cue. There was such a strong desire for an explanation that not a mind wandered as Pastor Travis began to move ahead with his sermon. To be honest, I liked the shake-up. It’s nice to get knocked out of routine sometimes. We lived on the edge today at Covenant Church. The worship band still did four songs today, but they held off and did two after the pastor’s message which was brilliant. What a great way to prepare to depart and face a new week than with more worship!?! Things were different today, because the pastor’s message was heavy. Today was the fourth week in the Five Solas series at Covenant Church by Pastor Travis Davenport.

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Solus Christus: (Christ Alone)

John 14:6- Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me…”

So far in the series we have learned that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, plus Christ alone, plus nothing. Christ lacks nothing and does not need adding to in order for us to achieve salvation. Much like we discussed last week, we are saved by faith in Christ alone not faith plus morality. We cannot add to our salvation because Christ has already done what we could never do.

Jesus+nothing=EVERYTHING

Jesus+anything (works, morality, service, etc.)=nothing

In the first week of this series we focused on the authority of scripture in our lives as we dove into the term, Sola Scriptura. The scriptures were written to point us toward Jesus, the giver of salvation. The scriptures without Jesus are worthless. Much like the Harry Potter series is worthless is Harry Potter’s character. (Had to AMEN that parallel drawn by the Pastor during service being the Potter nerd I am.)

But all nerdy parallels aside, if Martin Luther, leader of the Reformation, was correct in saying that, “Jesus is the center and circumference of the Bible,” then why are so many churches shying away from Solus Christus? So many have replaced the idea of salvation with morality.

Numbers have become a priority to modern churches and let’s be honest the story of Jesus isn’t always going to bring in numbers. The story of Jesus is messy. It’s offensive. It steps on toes and makes people uncomfortable. It causes radical change. So instead of preaching the gospel so many churches are turning to a morality-centered message. Sermons on how to organize, build your marriage, and stock your savings accounts are all good things, but should never take priority over the message of Jesus. We, as the western church, should be careful not to ever confuse salvation with morality. When you stand before God at the gates of heaven your organizational skills, marriage, and savings accounts will not be your ticket to move forward. Christ alone saves us. (Solus Christus)

When you remove Christus from “Solus Christus” your church is left solus. (I really liked that play on words.)