Friday, March 27, 2020

I'm Steph. I Strip Paint, Write Words, and Read Books

 Hey y'all, I've been stripping paint for about 5 or 6 hours a day. I am about halfway through the back of the house. It's quite a challenge. It's a huge mess. It's a huge mess! I'm hoping to finish scraping by the end of next week so that we can open the pool. We need to change out the liner after a beloved guest accidentally ripped it.

How are y'all doing at social isolating? I read a post by Makoto Fujimura about how artists are inherently self-distancing and it is easier for us to cope right now. He is amazing. Watch this.

Nihonga Slow Art from Windrider Productions on Vimeo.

The part of this that is breaking my heart is seeing all of the people losing jobs, the sickness, the homeless going without food, The beauty is seeing people be kind and intentional. People are finding each other again. I am praying that the hurt, the pain, the loss, and the beauty lead people safely to the arms of Jesus. 

I am working on a personalized, guided prayer journal. It's twenty years of learning to journal summarized in the most simple way with your name embedded in scripture. I am hoping to use it to raise some money for our homeless friends. Say a little prayer for me. 

Denbigh has been out giving away McDonald's gift cards to the homeless. If you'd like to help him, you can give at

What I've read over the last few weeks:

Shift by Abby McDonald : rating: meh, kinda like a Sunday school lesson

Yes Sisters by Angelia L. White: rating: pretty good, shows the value of good friends

Shepherding Women in Pain by Bev Hislop: rating :Oh my word! It's a powerhouse

Listened to:

Murder on the Orient Express: great!
Pale Faced Lie: intense, but good!

I love y'all and I'm praying for you to feel the sweet nearness of Christ in your every day.

Friday, March 20, 2020

I read Joy at Work by Marie Kondo

This may be my favorite of Marie Kondo's books. It may be because it met me right where I am at or the fact that it goes far beyond the act of tidying. Marie quietly leads us to not only honor ourselves and our spaces, but also how to honor others. Instead of going into work with cluttered hearts and minds, we can bring clear thoughts, and even, you guessed it, joy.

I appreciate Marie. Her words have helped me release a lot of clutter and get to know what I actually love. It seems that our external clutter is often tied to things we need to release internally.

She tackles, desks, offices, work hours, and meetings. Our responsibility in these things greatly needs to be addressed. Her co-writer also helps us tidy our digital life. This has been a huge challenge to me to learn how to tackle things daily and store things properly.

Marie shared how she was afraid of going into television because people can be so cruel. Someone told her that she should do what she felt led to do because people hated her already. She was completely shocked that people would hate her for her work in tidying so she googled herself. The first thing she read was an article entitled "Why We Hate Marie Kondo." After reading these things, she decided to go ahead with television. I am thankful for her tenacity and courage. Great read.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Home Makeover: Social Distancing Edition

Hey y'all, 
we are using this quarantine (aka social distancing) to paint our 105 year old mission house. We let missionaries and those in need of rest come and stay with us to find rest. It's been a long journey of restoration, but when God call you, you stick to the path even when deeply discouraged. Some of that comes from people, some from funding, and some from not being able to go out to the homeless like normal. 

We are uncertain about getting to serve the homeless like we normally do, but I'm happy to drive down the streets throwing sack lunches like candy in a parade. Pray for our friends on the street. May your heart be open to seeing them as human beings. I promise you that we can not even wrap our minds around the trauma most of them have been through. 

Making the world better for one makes the world better. Use your time to write cards, make calls, and check on people. 

I am personally working on a bit of writing for a project that I have been thinking about for over a decade. It's a culmination of 20 years of studying prayer and journaling. I'm looking for quotes that have the word beauty in them and any scripture that you have personalized with your name in it. Send them my way. Please and thank you.

Sipping my lavender honey latte (I made myself) and signing off!
love y'all.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Y’all. Read Get Out of Your Head by Jennie Allen

I feel like I walked this journey right along with Jennie. The enemy loves to pound the inside of my head until I can’t think straight anymore. I wasn’t sure that this was going to be a book I could enjoy. I wonder every time I pick up a Christian book if it is going to be full of nice Christian words or if it is going to tell me how to trust Jesus to fight back hell for me. I much prefer to be trained for warfare.  This book did not disappoint. I don’t want to cause any spoilers, but Jennie was up to her eyeballs in demonic oppression and could not see it. Her rescue came in the form of community and the book of Philippians. Read it. This is a book for all of us who hear those negative voices in our heads. There is a plan in place for our deliverance and redemption. 

She quotes one of my top ten favorite books quite a bit. Humility by Andrew Murray. I fell in love with it about 14 years ago. I can still tell you where I was when I read the forward. It was deeply convicting to me. You might want to grab a copy of that as well.

Growing up I was surrounded by plenty of negative voices. They tore at my soul and held me captive though you would never know it by looking at me. Some of them are still speaking hate over me. Even when I wasn’t with those people, those voices were on repeat in my head. For most of my life, I assumed my own inner voice was a jerk because the words were in first person. Then I learned that the enemy does that. He will eat you up and spit you out and make you think you did it. He’s the classic narcissist. The thing I have dealt with is learning to take those thoughts captive instead of being held captive. As I was reading this, I realized I could also take that voice captive. My role here is to bag the thing and run it as fast as I can to the feet of Jesus. If you take the time to document the voices of people and the words in your own head, you’ll see a common theme. That theme comes from one abuser. It changes every relationship we have. We no longer have to overreact. We don’t have to cower in shame. We have a choice to play offense here. We can fill our hearts and minds with words of life. Jennie’s book is a guided help to us all.

When we bought our mission house, I felt like the words coming at me were so powerful that they resembled death threats. I felt like I was walking through a dark underpass alone chasing God’s hand and guidance. Then I realized I wasn’t chasing Him and those were not my thoughts. May this word bring you  freedom.

Thanks to Waterbrook Publishing for graciously giving me a copy of this book to review.

Friday, February 07, 2020

I read Isaiah’s Legacy by Mesu Andrews

Isaiah's Legacy (Prophets and Kings #3)Isaiah's Legacy by Mesu Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The story of Manasseh has always gotten to me. How could a man raised in Hezekiah's household and tutored by the prophet Isaiah turn so far into evil? Reading this made think of the ways the enemy has turned my own head as well as the heads of those I loved. We live in a day of sacrificing babies, a culture bent of worshipping sexuality and self. It seems shocking to read it in the context of the Old Testament kings, but we are also living it.

I really enjoyed this book as a whole. I had a hard time getting into it because of what seemed like an overuse of cutesy nicknames to me. It made the gravity of the telling seem less. About halfway through I was able to begin ignoring it and get into the story. There are gaps filled in and historical narrative that fills in blanks for you. Some, of course, is made up for the sake of story. It gives you a whole picture of the events that unfolded and led to Manasseh turning away from and returning to God. It's fascinating. It is also a warning of us all. Through it all, this is a story that will stick with me.

View all my reviews