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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Talk to me, Abba.

I long to prevail upon you...to rush over you with crashing wave after powerful, crashing wave. I want to spread out my desire before you. Stop moving. Come away with Me. Share my hunger. Do you not discern my great longing for you? Have I not made Myself open enough to you? Every obstacle you set up to Me, I tear down. Stop building the walls. They are a joke against my desire for you. My desire for you is fierce and powerful beyond your comprehension. Let Me love you. Let Me heal you. Let me saturate you in an anointing that will drip love off your entire being. I am here waiting to answer you. I am here waiting to do the very thing you have asked Me to do. Lay down. Rest. Let Me do the thing.

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."
 -John 10:27

To read more about this segment, see this post.
©stephaniecherry.com

Monday, August 30, 2010

Intercessors Arise by Debbie Przybylski


Debbie's book about intercession was refreshing to the spirit and wise beyond literary comprehension. Each page told of amazing missionary journeys and deep spiritual insight. I found so much peace  reading through the pages and being drawn into the heart of God. It was a nice change of pace to see a book about prayer that isn't about getting something or having someone else become the person that you desire them to be. This book is simply about having a heart for the things that God desires. It is about meditating on His word and His work. There is an intimacy that God desires to have with us. He longs to have us not only come to Him for our needs, but also listen to Him as He shares His desire for the nations. 

I love the line that says "if we know how to worry, we know how to meditate." We simply must train our minds away from fleshly pursuit to thinking of God's radical provision.

Allow yourself to be led chapter by chapter through exercises in letting go and learning to trust. I cannot recommend it enough. 

"Intercession is not human beings prevailing on God, persuading Him to do something He does not want to do. it is exactly the other way around! Intercessory prayer is God finding someone on earth who will invite Him, in prayer, to do what He wants to do. He gives believers the joy and privilege of shaping the prayer in our own thoughts and words; but the more we practice prayer, the more artfully He will shape our thoughts until they are His, more and more clearly." -John Loren Sandford

This book was provided for review by NavPress.
©stephaniecherry.com

Friday, August 27, 2010

David Crowder's House Restoration


A recent edition of Waco Today featured David Crowder's six year renovation project(we had to go check it out). I said a quiet prayer that God would let our house be completed before six years was up for us and then I dove in to the details. David and his wife bought the home of the man who invented Dr. Pepper. It is encouraging to see something that took so much effort and energy come to completion. May we soon see the same thing. You can read the story of the Crowder renovation here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Gomer: You're so Vain!

Recently, our friend Ben came to get some rest and relaxation here at Gomer's House. I think the fact that we had to go downstairs to brush our teeth made him sad. He devoted way too much time to helping us rerun some pipe and installing this vanity. I think it took 14 trips to several hardware stores and a night of being up til 2:45 to get this sink up and running, but run she does. We brush our teeth with joy!! Thanks, Ben. Many blessings upon you.

Did I tell you that Denbigh sang all of Carly Simon's You're So Vain to me at Lowe's when we bought this vanity? 

Now, we are waiting for our antique frame to be fitted with a mirror from Ziegler glass and to keep working on the tub. Stay tuned.



©stephaniecherry.com

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

 
I saw Eat, Pray, Love. I had thumbed through the book and found myself disturbed by the author telling her readers that every religion had their own version of the Holy Spirit and that we are all our own god, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt.

There was a part of me that was hoping this woman would actually find something and it might turn out to be more like Under the Tuscan Sun. I was sadly mistaken. Oh, I get it. She supposedly learned to love and be loved. The parts I find so ironic are the fact that none of the things she was seeking out seemed to work for her.  She fell asleep meditating and laughed as the medicine man told each person the same thing. It was a revelation that these things were not a cure. One man in the movie had been seeking healing at the ashram for a long time and was still left desperately hungry for it. The thing that seemed to help this woman learn to love was being confronted by others about her actions and fears. Mysticism did not heal her.

As a Christian watching the movie, it was overwhelming to see the humanity and desperation of these people worshipping false deities. We all learn and categorize false religions, but to see people with elephant statues and chanting day in and day out made me weep. We see deep emotion and pain looking to be healed in religions that can never offer healing. I am also not sure what her husband really did that made her divorce him. In real life, she was having an affair and she left. It was all very eye opening. You could easily hear the enemy whispering that all ways lead to "god" in this film.

I did receive some positives. We could all take a clue or two about learning to enjoy life and each other. We could all learn how to rest and make love. We can do this in life right where we are. We can devote ourselves to meditating on Christ and learning to be patient as He reveals Himself. We seem to even take this busy stance of trying to Bible study God to death. Maybe we should learn to rest in His presence. Perhaps, if we quit making religion about rules, people would want to find what they were looking for among us. What if they walked among us and found love? 
If you are looking to find yourself, try this instead: http://www.labri.org/
@stephaniecherry.com

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Talk to me, Abba.

I have written poetry for you. I have calmed the sea and I have stirred it up. I have waited patiently for you to notice. Look for Me, beloved. It is time for the entering of a new season. Release yourself to me as we move into a new way of life. Linger in My healing. Sit and breathe. I want to give you something unheard of before now. I desire to taste this life with you. Don't exclude Me. I yearn for you. You belong to Me. 
Drink Me in. 

"and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb that is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather healed." -Hebrews 12:13

For more on this segment, see this post.
©stephaniecherry.com

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont

"A writer is someone on whom nothing is lost."
-Henry James

Anne Lamont has given us one of the most witty and insightful books on writing that I have ever encountered. I found myself underlining most of the book as I gleaned how to write and how to live. One of the portions that spoke to me was about learning character development. You cannot write a character into a plot. You must let the character develop into a plot and see where it takes you. This advice is for writing fiction, but I saw it as good real life admonition. We often try to fit others into the plot or role we desire for our lives instead of encouraging and allowing those in our lives to develop naturally and fluidly. Embrace the character. 

The title of the book came from her father giving her brother advice on a report that was due the next day (one he had not even started). He was so overwhelmed by the many birds he had to discuss that he could not even begin to write. His father told him to relax and "take it bird by bird." I need to remember that myself.

Anne is witty, raw, and full of vulnerable humanity. I would recommend this book to all writers and people who desire to tap in deeply to the creative intuition that exists within us. Anne is a born again Christian and recovering alcoholic. She has written many books on faith, on writing, and several novels.

If you are trying to find answers in Eat, Pray, Love, I would highly recommend that you indulge in some Anne Lamont instead. She found what she was looking for.

"There is ecstasy in paying attention." 
-Anne Lamont
"So you may have gotten into the habit of doubting the voice that was telling you quite clearly what was really going on. It is essential that you get that back."

"My deepest belief is that to live as if we're dying can set us free. Dying people teach you to pay attention and to forgive and not to sweat the small things."

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Swing for Every Tree- My Story

I think I felt trapped in myself for much of my growing up. It was like an episode of HGTV's Designed To Sell where people live in cluttered, run down houses that could be easily fixed. They live that way until their house won't sell and they need help. The disrepair that these people were satisfied to live in is evaluated and eliminated. This overhaul took a matter of hours and a few extra hands. Hours and hands. I don't want to stay there. I don't want to live in a run down house that I can't even sell to people who don't have good taste. I want to do the work. I want the story to develop.
Several years ago, people in my life started dying. Losing brothers, babies, and grandparents is something that makes you evaluate your life. I noticed something in each of them that I was so impacted by: Passion. This started a whirlwind season in my life where I began yearning to write a better story. My grandfather's paintings hung outside of the oval office, but that wasn't what made his story great. He painted quietly every day, laughed a lot, and deeply loved a woman for his entire adult life. His life and ethic inspired others to live.

All of this death prompted me to make a list of the things I wanted to do to help me live. I wanted to write. I read that Nicholas Sparks reads 60 books a year to improve his writing, so I set a goal and started blogging about a book every week. The more I read, the more I wanted to tell a better story. One day, after some morning prayer time, I looked up at my husband and told him that I didn't want to live out the rest of my life in the suburbs doing what every one else was doing. So, we sold our house. We found this 100 year old, 5,500 square foot house in the middle of nowhere that needed to be rescued. This began our story.

Last year, I received A Million Miles and I began my list making again. What story did I want our lives to tell? What story did I want our house to tell? I was given this teary-eyed vision of a respite for the broken. If I could tell any story with my life, with the life of our home, it would be a story of rescue. It would be like one of those paintings that you would never know an old painting was hidden under it unless you were told. A real life Redeeming Love. 

The list. How could I inspire others to live, love, and redeem? I would have to live my life to the hilt. What are the things I want to define my life? This is when I discovered that the best stories are often told in the edit. What would be kept and what would be left on the cutting room floor? So, we quit everything. Walking away from things is difficult. There are things that keep us from telling a better story and we must release those things to live.

I want to lavish love on others. Cook, Wife, Mother, Writer, Photographer, Painter, lover of the orphan. Inspire. I wanted to create a southern version of those houses like Italian people have where you feel loved and full and more alive after being in them. Everywhere there will be art to inspire, food to fill you, and people to show you the next step. It's like Paula Deen meets Under the Tuscan Sun. I started hanging a swing in every one of our glorious 40 foot trees to remind tired hearts of whimsy.

Most of the things on my list were really about documenting the story of rescue. To paint, write, cook, and photograph, I needed to do it. I needed to take classes. No more wishing for a future time of doing these things. I am selling stuff so I can get schooled in how to live out my creative dreams. Anyone want to buy a couch? 
I deeply desire to take my family on this creative journey with me. That led me to think about my husband. Now, my grandmother always said that all a man needs is sex and food to feel fulfilled by his wife. Did you know that there are sex classes in Austin, Texas?       Oh. My
I laughed and asked if I could even put that in my blog. Then I learned another part of a good story: don't try to church it up. Live and Make love. I have some dear friends who buy each other a "clean" sex book every anniversary and read it together. For thirty-eight years their passion for each other has been inspiring others. I love it that my 50 year old friends can make my 30 year old friends blush! 
We have a strong desire to bring others into our story and let them be heroes with us. We are looking for babies to rescue. So, we pray. A lot. My hope is to never be afraid to share the works of God and the rescue that He has orchestrated for us. So, I guess my way of learning to live a better story is by no longer being afraid to have one. It is to, above all else, drink love deeply and create an environment of hope. Pull up a rocker on the porch with me, grab a Mason jar full of sweet tea, and imbibe the story.
I desire to learn to get out of the way of my own story and to let the characters of my life develop with grace. I want to throw myself into writing and experiencing in order to leave a legacy of vibrant life and love. I guess I am hoping to create a map for people with my own life.

I wrote this to define my desire and for a chance to win a trip herewww.donmilleris.com/conference
©stephaniecherry.com

Oh. My. Chicken Salad

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ode to a Bath

We were privileged to spend some time with a couple who lived in our house for almost 40 years. He was a writer and PhD in counseling and she was a painter. One of the funny things that came up during our conversation was the bathtub. She said she had painted it pink on a whim and she was sorry. I laughed because I had, a few days before, said to Denbigh, "I wonder who thought that would be a good idea."

In a recent edition of a home restoration magazine, there was an article on redoing the outside of your cast iron tub. It sparked Denbigh to start sanding it down so we could repaint it. After this you prime with Rustoleum primer and paint. It costs about fifty-five dollars. I am looking for a soft blue, like sea glass to paint it. I am sure you will see it come to fruition in the coming weeks. Thanks for keeping up with our progress.
©stephaniecherry.com

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

You are Deeply Enjoyed.

I am just going to be completely honest. I feel like I am not supposed to talk about the deep hurt that I have recently been walking through or the years of emotional abuse in church that led up to it, but I know God cannot be glorified in me feeling shamed for the actions of others. I have to let them own those and I have to take ownership of the healing and ministry that comes from it. When God gave us the vision to prepare a respite for those wounded in the church, I thought I had enough empathy at the time to understand. It seems laughable now. I cannot tell you how many times I have wept with God over heinous things those who claimed to be serving Him did in His Name. Over the course of the last few months, I was reminded time and time again that people who work in ministry desperately need to be reminded that God in heaven loves them. I begged God to let me help Him remind them. We all need to be reminded that no matter how others treat us, we are tenderly loved by our Father. I am thankful that God enabled me to be obedient in the face of horrible oppression. He freed me and I want to lead others to that healing and freedom. It is okay to walk away when He tells you to no matter how hard it is. I came across a quote the other day that made me tear up. It is painful after years of not being loved to be reminded over and over that God deeply enjoys us. He does. How He loves us, beloved.

"One of the most fundamental realities in the Spirit is that our Bridegroom King so desires, pursues and enjoys us as His Bride. When the human heart is assured through the revelation of the Spirit that we are deeply enjoyed, then something powerful is awakened within us. This is truly the beginning of our experience of the Divine romance."
-Mike Bickle, "The Bridal Paradigm


"Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me." 
Psalm 66:16

© stephaniecherry.com

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Talk to me, Abba.



I created this day for you. Look at what I have done. The brilliance of it is a gift. Slowly drink it in. Engage is the beauty and the grace this moment offers you. Listen. I want to be with you and hold you. I want to share the splendor and divinity that are locked in each second. Don't miss it. Don't miss Me. I am the Rose of Sharon. With great delicacy I have begun to unfold Myself before you. Remove the distractions of this life. Bring the cup to your mouth. Drink. Indulge. Feel the warmth of the sun on your face. Look up to see the canvas I have laid out before you. The glow of morning was made for you. Every hue was hand painted to delight you. Take delight, dear one. Rest in the colors of my love. Breathe. Like a child emerging from it's mother, let the air fill your lungs. Scream. Feel. Live. This is not a life I designed for you to live by rote. I have created a unique sensory experience for you. 
Awaken your senses. Come awake.


"Arise, shine, for your light has come, 
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. 
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you."
-Isaiah 60:1-2

For more info on this segment, see this post.
@stephaniecherry.com

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Mark of the Christian by Francis Schaeffer

I believe I paid under a dollar for this book. It is only 35 pages long. Though cheap and short, it addresses the love we should have for one another in John 13 in the most comprehensive and intelligible way I have ever seen. Francis minces no words.

He boldly addresses our need to weigh if those who claim to be in the faith truly are. One who is a false brother or a "Christian" by religious affiliation only cannot receive the Spirit love that we are endowed to give one another. The love between true Christians is a unique gift that we are only able to give and receive because the Spirit within us enables us to do so. If we are in Christ and refuse to give this love to a fellow believer, the world has every right to judge us as not being in Christ. To not love is to refuse His mark.

John 17:21 tells us that we should be one as Christ and the Father are one. To refuse to be unified as one tells the world a deep message according to this verse. It tells the watching world that the Father did not send the Son. Schaeffer again addresses the ideas of false unity that are propagated throughout the church. Beware of being unified in anything but Christ. 

"It is not a mushy, gooey, romantic love, but one that is practical and that a watching (sinful) world can see." Christian love is deep and selfless. What are we showing to the watching world? 

©stephaniecherry.com

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Baylor Cottage in Salado, Texas

Denbigh whisked me away to Salado to celebrate our anniversary. We slept at the cottage on the property on at the Inn at Salado Creek. I loved it. For the cost of your average hotel room we spent the night in a quaint cottage with two big rooms and two baths...complete with jacuzzi tub. I highly recommend it. The location is perfect. It is located right on Main Street within walking distance of all the shops, restaurants, and the creek. We took in the annual art fair, indulged in food, and shopped (my fave is Splendors) til we dropped. 
Check out Salado.
We would love to this around the tree in our backyard.


©stephaniecherry.com

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gomer: "My Dream Sink"



Dear friends, this is my dream sink. I am completely enamored with it. I want to buy it and remodel the kitchen around it. I am in love. I have this thing for copper. It's 859 dollars. That's way out of my budget for remodel, but that's because there really isn't a budget. We just pray for things and God is gracious enough to answer us. If you saw my current sink or my current kitchen, you would pray for this sink as well. My kitchen is frightening (except for my lovely stove). We don't even have a floor anymore. All the cabinets need to be ripped out. It's a disaster area. Much like some of our lives, I would say. So, I am praying that all the lives that come here have their old ugly stuff ripped out and they find it replaced by the exquisite garment of praise. May that be physically manifest in my kitchen with my dream sink. Amen. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Movie: Sweet Pea Beauty

I absolutely loved this. Sweet Pea Beauty is the first movie geared just for girls from Veggie Tales. It gains it's insight into true beauty from the book of Proverbs. See more info on CrossWalk.

©stephaniecherry.com

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Talk to me, Abba.


I want to provide for you. I want to teach you to love your children, your family, your husband in such a way that it seems decadent to others. Don't try to figure it out. Let me work. 

I know it is hard for you to hear me tell you that you are beautiful. Listen. Embrace this truth and stop being afraid to let the world see what I have been quietly working on. It is time to come out of your cocoon. Exposing loveliness makes you very vulnerable. People will refuse to see. People will try to mar your beauty, but there is beauty in that. It exposes their own fears and I can offer them healing. It's not personal. It is a divine story board. Let Me tell your story. Stories are so much better told through the eyes of a lover.

©stephaniecherry.com

For more on this weekly segment, see this post.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Roaring Lions by Warren Baldwin


Warren's book was a nice break from mainstream Christian books. There was no formula for success. There was no grand vision or theory on how to do something. This book is full of good old fashioned wisdom that was given by God.

I truly enjoyed revisiting Proverbs in an easy paced, direct look. The stories to go with each Proverb were full of wisdom of their own. How often we stray from the simple truths of God to attempt to find complicated solutions. These solutions end up simply being a bandaid on an open wound. Proverbs invites us to remember that the lucid gems given to us can impact every area of our lives. Pursue righteousness, love your wife, and be kind. These words could transform our every day life.

This would be a great daily devotional book to do each day. A proverb a day. You could follow it with this Journible.
This book was provided by Warren Baldwin for review. Thank you, Warren.
©stephaniecherry.com

Friday, August 06, 2010

Food: Jack Allen's Kitchen



If you are looking for an excellent date place, Jack Allen's is a hot spot. It's rustic elegance makes it a perfect Texas experience. Sitting under the covered patio was quite comfortable, even in July. The service was befitting the atmosphere of laid back hospitality. All around, it was exquisite. 

Now, what you really want to know. What did I eat? 



Chicken Nachitos Slow roasted chicken, black beans, American cheese, cotija cheese and house pickled jalapeno. The black beans and cotija cheese  on these made me melt.


13 Spiced Chicken Pasta Red pepper linguini, spinach linguini, fresh jalapenos, chipotle cream and cotija cheese. The pasta was perfectly spiced and the raw jalapenos were divine. Dive in if you like a little spice.

Lastly, I had a chocolate mousse topped with ganache and garnished with a slim praline. It would be worth going for all on it's own. Fabulous.

Oh my! I will be seeing you again, Jack Allen.

©stephaniecherry.com

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Gomer's Bonfire of the Vanities

We didn't actually light any vanities on fire (besides our own). The pedestal sink in our bathroom accidentally got broken during a work day and we needed to replace it. We had been wanting a vanity with a bit of storage for the bathroom for quite some time. Here is a picture of the display model. The one we ordered is the next size up. I long for it to come so that I can show you pictures of us brushing our teeth at it!

I prayed for a few things to get done soon. The bathroom(s), the baby room, the kitchen, and insulation. We are ripping down all the drywall in our bathroom and replacing it with the kind that is mold resistant. Right now, the bathroom is REALLY ugly and depressing. All the solid wood pine walls are exposed. The clawfoot bathtub needs refinishing. Shelves need to be built. Dry wall needs to be hung. The vanity needs to be installed. 

This may sound depressing, but it is kind of exciting. Every day something here becomes more beautiful than the day before. We hung some more drywall on Tuesday. Next week, the epic tale of our new vanity will ensue and our lives will be glorious! 

Adding it up: the vanity was $500.00 and the fixtures were $89.00. The hundred dollars worth of dry wall was given to us. 
Answers to prayer!

©stephaniecherry.com

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Music: NeedToBreathe


I was sitting at lunch with a few pastors the other day. They were recounting their horror stories of multiple children to me and how it took so much away from their lives. Remember, I am pregnant with my second child. Internally, I was trying not to laugh at their insensitive statements. Later that night, at worship, I was dancing with my daughter who fell asleep on my shoulder. I nuzzled my face down into her neck and I just recalled how quickly time had already passed. In that moment of abandoned love, I poured out my love to the Father with deep thanks. In a few years, I would not be able to hold her like that any more. May we each enjoy the deep love that God has trustingly laid out for us and imbibe of the delicacies of His passion toward His children.
Drink love deeply.

©stephaniecherry.com

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Talk to me, Abba.



You are beautiful. I have given you gifts beyond your dreams. I have lavished kindness on you. Lay your head in it in rest. I have spoken your future and it will come to pass regardless of the work of the enemy. My word is truth. My word is reality. I have shown you light and led you through darkness. I have given you eyes to see beyond the natural. Use them. I have enabled you to step out in courage. Keep going. Come to Me. Bring others. My body is performing circus acts and emotionally manipulating people. Bring them away from the pretense to be with Me. I want to be intimate with My beloved. I want to remove all the trappings that consume you and pour forth My Spirit all over you. I Am your Father. Tell Me your desires. Tell Me when you desire Me and I will come to you. 

To find out more about this weekly segment, please see this post.

©stephaniecherry.com