Pages

Friday, July 17, 2020

The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Crushing Depths is a murder mystery set in the deep blue sea. It was a compelling story about a Coast Guard Investigation into a death on an oil rig. Many sub plots developed and more crimes needed to be solved. A helicopter crash into the ocean at night started this book off and kept me from sleeping. There was a lot of drama from the oil company and protestors. It was high energy. I enjoyed the story.

I am not much of a romance reader, but I just overlooked all of the hand brushing and buff bod talk and stuck to the story. The Christian references seemed a bit awkward, but I went with that too. All in all it was an entertaining read.

View all my reviews on GoodReads



Saturday, July 11, 2020

Stand All the Way Up by Sophie Hudson



Stand All the Way Up: Stories of Staying In It When You Want to Burn It All DownStand All the Way Up: Stories of Staying In It When You Want to Burn It All Down by Sophie Hudson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sophie has a calm, direct way of speaking that is nurturing to me. She tells stories that are lessons, but you would never know it. I read her book shortly after my brother died and the portion on her grief and losing her mama got me. Her humor always lifts my soul. The comical lens she shares her common stories through help me see the humor in my own life. Read it. I wanted to applaud her humility and grief over racism in Alabama and frustration with church. I feel like she wrote a book to us today over a year ago. Kudos, Southern Diva. You make us all proud.


View all my reviews

Monday, July 06, 2020

Prayer of Agur by Jay Payleitner

I read a book. I realize I have shocked you all. This particular book landed in my lap at an opportune time and seemed to fall right in line with every other book God has been using to talk me through grief lately. It fell right in line with the last 5 books I have read over the past month. This is not a shout out type of book review. This is how I saw the Lord speaking to me through another man's words during a time of pain.

I do not want to sound like a broken record, but I have lost 18 people in my family is the last 17 years. My remaining brother passed away recently just weeks after my husband's brother passed away suddenly. Grief from all of the compound loss made me feel like I had been run over by a truck. Compound that with all of the things that have gone viral in our nation of late and I was needy to hear from God. The first three lines of Proverbs 30 made me need to catch my breath.

I am weary, God,

I kept repeating it in my head before I moved on to the next portion. We moved into the only prayer in the book of Proverbs. That astounded me. Proverbs 30 is  also the only mention of God having a Son in the book. I sat there and thanked God (and Jay) in my head for showing me Christ in this book. When You are shown Christ anywhere, it can help you see him everywhere. I wanted to see him everywhere desperately. Even though I have written out the book of Proverbs, I have been truly beginning to see the beauty of the book after. The true Wise Man of Proverbs is a healer when we look to him. I am thankful to see him illuminated so clearly here. I see you, Jesus. You're beautiful.

We follow the rest of the Proverb seeing God's attributes on display. There is something centering about meditating on God. We will never wrap our minds around him, but what a joy it is to try.

I appreciated Agur's prayer to balance on God's provision and seek no extreme in poverty or riches. It's something we could desperately use in our current cultural climate.

Agur's prayer for neither riches not poverty is still resonating in my head each day. He asked for only what he needed each day. He didn't want too much so that he thought he had no need of God or too little that he might steal and dishonor God's name. I wondered if I could truly do the same.

Thank you for writing this book, Jay. It has spoken deeply to and challenged me.

My dear friend Robert has Jay on his podcast today. You can find that here: https://bit.ly/PrayerofAgur






This is book 665 in my journey to read 700 books by the end of the year (in a total of 12 years). https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/70094937-steph-cherry

Thanks for following along with our mission to the homeless and the restoration of our mission mansion at The Boho Table.

This book was generously provided by Jay Payleitner and Multnomah for review.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Reading, Restoration, and Grief


There are stages of grief. I think I may be in them all simultaneously. Denbigh pointed out that we have lost 18 people in our family in 17 years of marriage. That seems unfathomable and could account for why I feel like I have been run over by a truck. It's been a hard road. Sometimes grief is a deep loss of a person. Sometimes it is the aftershocks of the mess a person caused with what they left behind. Sometimes we grieve the relationship that was never fully realized in life because of alcohol or drugs or mental illness. Sometimes we mourn the life we could have had without abuse. It's been a mixed bag of the torturous and the beautiful for me personally. I found myself 20 feet in the air asking God a simple question after my third brother passed away recently. What are we going to do with it all? Where are we going from right here?

Over a decade ago, I was reading Ron Hall's book The Same Kind of Different as Me. Ron had a gallery close to my grandparents in Ft. Worth. When my stepmom read his book, she was blown away by his transformation. During the reading of that book, I knew that my brother was going to die from that same thing that Ron's wife died from in the book. It's a fascinating read about a Ron's wife having a dream about a homeless man and their taking him in. God has used that story to help me have direction for my healing grief.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that Ron had a new book out. Walking Our Way Home. It was about the 10 years of his and Denver's, the homeless man, friendship since his wife's death. I downloaded it on Chirp so that I could listen to it while I was scraping and painting. Then my brother Bart died. I am honestly still in shock. I am sad for my family and wondering how I am the last child left of both of my parents. Grief. I was surprised to hear that the book I was listening to was equally about navigating grief after his wife died. It helped me tremendously.

I started reading Sophie Hudson's new book Stand All the Way Up. I just love her. Her down to earth writing and depth of heart always make me feel at home. The thing that surprised me was the chapter on grief at losing her mama. I knew that this was for me right then. The rest of the book is funny and prophetic and wise. It was exactly what I needed right in that moment. As a side note, she even tackled racism and the church in a powerful way.

David Kessler, protege of Elizabeth Kubler Ross who wrote Five Stages of Grief, wrote a new book from some of their research entitled Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief. This book is rich with hope and I cannot recommend it enough. We all go through the stages of grief in different areas of our life. This book helps us see what we can do with our pain. We can transform pain daily into more life. It's a choice we have to see our worst moments as seeds for some of our best. We can pray for post traumatic growth. We can get the help we need.

Reading through Dream Big by Bob Goff was a continuation of Finding Meaning for me. Bob has written a book about getting past all of our internal and external hurdles. It has helped me to continue forward motion through the long reaching effects of abuse as a child. It's giving me new words for myself. I have found meaning in loving the homeless and starting a non-profit for them, but the continual unraveling of God's work in me to give more is unending. I am thankful for the boost.

I sometimes wonder if I will ever finish this house, but I am always thankful for the picture that it offers me. Healing comes and washes over us. I have heard it said that angels talk to a man that is walking. I think Jesus talks to a girl that is restoring.

Other posts that might help you in grief:
Grief is a Gift
Trying: Miscarriage | Infertility | Hope