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Brenda Spahn was a businesswoman who wouldn't take no for an answer when she discovered that God wouldn't either. When she invited seven hardened parolees into her Southen mansion, she expected to house them, not love them. But her reluctant decision to serve women prisoners developed into a career, a calling, and a ministry that had helped thousands of women leave prison for good.
In the tradition of The Blind Side, this remarkable true story shows the power of living out your calling, the beauty of God's mercy, and why loving others always changes us first.
Number of Pages: 240
|Publication Date: 2014|
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Seven ex-cons who changed her heart forever…
For Brenda Spahn, entrepreneur and businesswoman, wealth was a lifestyleuntil a brush with the law threatened to send her to prison. In those dark moments, Brenda made a promise to God.
Spared incarceration, a renewed Brenda glimpsed into the lives of women serving time in one of the worst places in Americathe Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama.
What she saw prompted a God-inspired vision.
With a heart to help and a will that couldnt be crushed, Brenda fought the system and overcame tremendous obstacles to take ex-cons into her own home and help them navigate the alien world of life on the outside.
This is the story of Brendas journey from rags to riches to redemption. Its the story of the first unlikely year of her "Whole Way House" and of the extraordinary lives of the first seven women who came to call her "Miss Brenda." Its a story that testifies to the power of faith and how God changes hearts every day.
Irene Zutell is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Pieces of Happily Ever After and coauthor with Vanessa Williams of You Have No Idea.
pastor lesWilliamston,MIAge: Over 65Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5Brush with prisonApril 30, 2014pastor lesWilliamston,MIAge: Over 65Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 3I am ambivalent about this book. It is well written and presents some remarkable challenges . The way that Brenda stuck with these ladies and how the Lord honored her commitment is a blessing.
I do believe that many opportunities to present the Gospel were missed. There were too many social answers in place of Biblical ones.Seldom was a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus presented as the answer to the many struggles that these ladies were experiencing.
I do not believe that "baptismal regeneration" was the intent of the author; one episode made it appear that was how one comes to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus.
There was crude language that was not necessary.I do pray that people would realize this is not necessary to communicate a truth.
It was a good read but I cannot give it five stars.It was good to learn of some of the situations still extant in prisons today.I admire the hours ,prayers and commitment that Brenda made to reach these ladies .
GHayesOregonAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Wonderful storyApril 18, 2014GHayesOregonAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This book far exceeded my expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and, in the course of doing so, my capacity to love grew.
"Miss Brenda and the Loveladies", by Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell, is a true story of Brenda Spahn, a self-made wealthy woman. Thanks to a former client; a woman nailed for embezzlement who used the whistleblower law to get a reduced sentence, Brenda, the owner of a prospering tax preparation service, quickly became a victim of the IRS. Brenda was able to escape prison (being innocent of anything but a minor infraction), but chose to give up her tax preparation business.
During the time she fought to keep out of prison she says "Sometimes in life we make decisions that change the course of our destiny. I made mine one day later_."
"Was God telling me it was time to stop ignoring Him and start listening to His call, the call of my destiny?
In those moments, the frenzy that had consumed my life suddenly seemed miles away. My heart became quiet. I knew the answer."
From that point forward Brenda's began a major change of course in the path of her life. This book is the story of how her organization "the largest and most successful nonprofit transitional center for women in the country" began.
It is a wonderful heartwarming story of how Brenda started out working with seven very hardened ex-con women that, to be honest frightened her. But with Brenda's love and determination, and guidance from God a story of redemption can be written. I laughed and cried as I read my way through this journey of Miss Brenda's, and the Loveladies. I learned to have compassion and love for women whom, if I'd met them on the street, I might not have acknowledged. Through her story I came to have a clearer understanding of God's love for all of his creation.
This is a beautiful story of challenges, struggles and ultimate success; success that comes with finding and fulfilling one's true destiny. This is a book I highly recommend for reading.
"I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."
JeanieKearney, NEAge: 25-34Gender: female2 Stars Out Of 5Won't inspireApril 4, 2014JeanieKearney, NEAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 3Value: 3Meets Expectations: 2"Lovelady" is the author's maiden name, but it's also what she came to dub each woman that she took under her wing in what she calls a "whole-way house" (as opposed to halfway). These are women that are newly released from a hellish-sounding Alabama prison. In most cases they have known no other life than drugs, poverty and abuse, and thus no way to escape those. Spahn tells the story of how she herself had gone from the lap of luxury to the throes of despair and near-imprisonment.
A client at her tax-preparation business had falsely accused Spahn of tax evasion, in the hopes that the client would get a reduced sentence. Spahn says she wound up pleading guilty to filing four false tax returns in order to avoid prison. It was after this that Spahn was inspired to open what became her "Lovelady Center," in the hopes that these women make a fresh start that lasts.
I say upfront that Spahn is not Catholic. That became clear when she told the women that she'd been ordained specifically do this work. Also, not passing judgment but just relaying further evidence: Spahn is twice-divorced and now married again. Later, she herself baptizes a woman in a ceremony (I use the term loosely) that's not like your grandmother's, or even your own. You'll cringe, as Baptism is cheapened by a purpose (or lack thereof) entirely different than ours.
Late in the book Spahn tells about her own upbringing in faith, and her start in a Baptist church at age 11. A Catholic wishes Spahn had have begun with this.
Written by a Catholic or not, this book drags, and you won't be inspired. By describing how she repeatedly tried to convince people she is not crazy, Spahn seems like she's trying to convince the reader of the same thing. There may be an audience for this book, but this reader isn't in it.
"I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."
DanniAge: 25-34Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5AmazingMarch 28, 2014DanniAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5There are very few books that can make me laugh, cry, and just plain out root for the characters. But that was the thing with this book, these weren't just characters, these were real people. Real people with real stories. There was something about the Loveladies stories that were gut wrenching yet held such hope. A hope that can truly only be found with Jesus.
This book is raw and honest. If you have a soft heart it maybe difficult to read this book. These ladies went through drugs, rape, abuse, and some unimaginable things. Things that only Jesus could heal.
Read this book though. Brenda enthusiasm is infectious and heartwarming. These stories need to be shared.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.
mojoTexasAge: 35-44Gender: male3 Stars Out Of 5a book about healing after prisonMarch 24, 2014mojoTexasAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 3Value: 3Meets Expectations: 3All right I'll admit it, I'm not a woman. And lately I have been reviewing a lot of "woman books" for our church library. But don't hold that against me.
In a nutshell this is book about women ex-cons and how the author, Brenda Spahn helped turn their life around through Christ and Community. Did I know that's what the book was about when I picked it up? No. To be honest, I picked it pretty fast and was a sucker for a flashy picture with a catchy title (not to mention all of the smiling ladies on the cover).
The first thing that caught me off guard was the tone of the book. Waterbrook is a Christian publisher, and yet the book is written in the voice of a person ... who swears. So that was a little off-putting, but hey, it's in character, right?
Through the book, Brenda tells openly about how she overcame the struggles of drug addiction and how she came to know the seven ladies featured in the book. The story is about a shelter and a home where these broken women can stop and put their lives back together.
And while the message was certainly inspiring, uplifting and encouraging, I really had trouble identifying with it. Not because I am not a woman, but just because so much of the subject matter was so foreign to me. There are also a lot of other graphic descriptions of sexual abuse and drug usage that threw me a little.
Thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah for this preview copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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