Miracle At the Higher Grounds Cafe Review

wpid-20150426_193637.jpg

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book to review by Family Christian.  All opinions are my own.

Two of my indulgences: good coffee and good books. I absolutely love a great cup of coffee, especially when I am reading. So I was really excited to get a copy of Max Lucado’s “Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café” to read and review. I was curious how one of my favorite authors would be able to work coffee into a Christian fiction book, but he certainly did.

I couldn’t put the book down. It was that good.

At the time, I was on bed rest for a back injury. It took me a while to find a comfortable spot where the excruciating pain would subside enough for me to hold the book. But I did – yay, me! Then I opened the book and began to read. It was almost a good thing I had the injury, because if I needed to go to work or be productive, it was not going to happen until I finished the book – which took me less than two days.

The story begins with Chelsea Chambers heading back home to Texas with her two children. She had separated from her NFL football–star husband, and had a long road ahead of her as she took over her mother’s coffee shop. Mourning the loss of her mother and marriage, Chelsea dives into her new place in life, making cupcakes and lattes and struggling to balance it all, including a large IRS payment.

Max Lucado brilliantly takes the struggles most people face in their lives – joblessness, marital strife, parenting pressures, debt, family issues, loss and more – and weaves it into this story. Just as Chelsea is about to give up hope, she hires a clumsy guy who really has her back – and he helps her run the coffee shop  and provides moral and spiritual support. He also gives the go-ahead to an Internet company who installs a free-trial Wi-Fi service that brings customers into the Higher Grounds Café in record numbers. This divine Internet connection is a direct line to God, and everyone who logs on to this connection gets the chance to ask Him one question, which He answers. Needless to say, business is booming, with lines out the door from start until close, until the night the modem is stolen.  Once again, Chelsea is faced with the worry and stress of the business failing, in addition to the pressures of single parenting, dealing with family issues and trying to decide what she will do at this point in her life in regards to her marriage and career.

I think anyone who reads this book will feel the anxiety and stress of the main character, and can easily put themselves in her shoes. She feels completely alone in her battles. But once she types in her question to God and has her “a-ha” moment, she can see that she never was alone – that God was beside her the whole time.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of this book, it is available at Family Christian stores as well as their online store. If you read this book – or have already read it, please share your comments in the section below. Happy reading!

© Lynne Cobb – 2015

Lessons learned from a wet paper

“The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day.” – Wayne Gretzky

Every morning, I talk to my dad and tell him how much I miss him. On Sundays, Thursdays and Fridays, I miss him even more. Those are the “new” home delivery days for our sort-of daily paper. Yes, the paper is published daily, but budget cuts and cost-saving plans now make for a three-day home delivery service. Out of tradition, we still get home delivery of the Detroit Free Press, “our” paper, and just seeing the masthead makes me think of Dad even more.

After a night of downpours and thunderstorms, I woke up to coffee brewing (I so love programmable coffee makers!) and, while on my way to the front door, I wished Dad a good morning.

Hey Dad, I bet you’re going to be ticked this morning,” I chuckled to myself as I opened the door.

I was right. He’d be livid. Heads would be rolling downtown.

My paper was soaking wet, even though it was in a plastic bag.

Dad was a circulation guy, just like his dad. A late paper was unacceptable, unless it was due to a late press run. A wet paper was completely unacceptable. Period. End of story. Trust me when I tell you that you wouldn’t win an argument with him over a wet paper. If you were one of his carriers, you would be told to “think ahead.” If there was even the slightest chance of that paper getting wet, you were going to go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that paper was dry – even if you had to triple bag the blasted thing.

I know this because my brothers, sister and I all had paper routes. So did our friends, our cousins and, eventually, some of our spouses. We learned from him how the newspaper “food chain” works. Here’s how (imagine him throwing in an expletive or two for emphasis):

“The carrier can make or break the paper he or she works for. Don’t you know that papers aren’t made for free? Someone has to pay all the people who get that paper on the doorstep every morning. So, the advertising rates are based on the circulation numbers. Circulation numbers are based on sales, particularly home delivery subscriptions. Sometimes content comes into play, but nine times out of ten, people quit the paper because of lousy service.

“So, if people quit over service, how do you justify ad rates? Or if the advertiser gets mad and takes his business to the competition, what do you think will happen? How do you pay people when revenues are down? You don’t. You lose numbers. You lay people off.”

Whoa – that’s one serious business lesson to learn.

Customer service skills were drilled into our heads at a young age, along with the world’s strongest work ethic.

Needless to say, the areas of circulation that were run by my dad were like a well-oiled machine. He knew the people to put into the right places to, in his words (and with his famous nod), “get the job done.”

At the time, I didn’t appreciate having to spend an extra minute on my route, bagging papers “just in case.” But as time has moved forward, and I am out and about in this world, I realize just how important those customer service skills are, and see the value in his lesson.

Sitting here, having a refill of coffee and waiting to get a dry paper, I lift up my mug and say, “thanks, Dad.”

And I will try really, really, really hard not to use an expletive as I patiently wait…

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb