Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fancy That.

Buy your Fish Fry tickets here:
How Many Tickets?

On Tuesday, my man dedicated half the day to the dining room. He finished putting up the house wrap and then was able to get the sheets of foam up on the walls. Two of the walls already have sheet rock, but the two outside walls needed insulation and sheet rock. I am glad he had to cover that house wrap up. It would have driven me crazy to have all of that upside down around me. He didn't even notice which way it was going. As you can see below, it was covered with foam. I won't lose any sleep over the upside down words.
I am about half of the way done with the floor. My goal is to be done in a bout a week so it can cure before our open house. Are you coming? It's fish and fish tacos from 11-4 with live music and art. We have tea and water. Bring any other drinks you would like. There may even be some pie for sale.
Isn't the old girl pretty? For ninety-nine, she's still got it. She's getting it back, rather. I was thinking about how it is our job to evoke beauty from things as people in Christ. Working on this house has allowed me to process through many hard things. It has become easier to see how God painstakingly sloughs of the old and steadily reinvigorates  life into us. We are going to be really something when he's done with us, friends.

Don't forget to pray for me on Friday morning. I am driving to Brownwood to speak to MOPS about our identity in Christ. Here's to knowing who and Whose we are.
love y'all.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Talk to me, Abba.

There are words that very hard to say. Words like miscarriage. Somehow, if you don't say it, it doesn't seem so real. Maybe it didn't happen. Maybe you made it up. Maybe you are delusional. One minute you see a faint line. The next you are bleeding unexpectedly. There you are. All you can mutter is, "Abba." It might sound more like, "Abba?" You know he is very present in your grief and your questioning. His presence is so thick that he doesn't even need to say a word to you. You still hear him.

There is a season for everything . . .

Thursday, September 19, 2013

This Floors Me.

Well, y'all, here we are. I have been carefully removing the paint from those windows. In every crack, cranny, and crevice. Whew. They are big. The other ones in the room were big. The moulding is big. Who thought of all this wood? Well, I am enamored with it and I am in my last little bit of stripping the paint off. It's quite the tedious process in order to protect the old wood. Some of the panes of glass were actually being held in by the old paint. Some re-caulking was in order. As you can see, my man started putting house wrap up. Next we will foam the walls and drywall them. Then put up a beadboard ceiling and mould it out. 

I have begun staining the floor. It's blowing my mind. It's 99 years of gorgeous character. I am choosing to do it all by hand so we can keep all of the little bits of "charm" that have occurred over the years. I wanted to sand it, but keep the aged spaces and all of the little scratches and divots. Oh my word. This girl is pretty. You'll have to live in suspense. I'll post a picture next week.

Next Thursday I will be speaking at MOPS in Brownwood. If you think of it, say a little prayer for me. 

Don't miss our fish fry on October 12th.
love y'all.

Give to Gomer's House.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Gomer's House

There is a great book about theologian Francis Schaeffer and his family called L'Abri. In it you can read of stories where their family opened their home in the Swiss Alps up to anyone needing respite or curious about Jesus. There would be great theological conversations, warm food served, and beds made for the guests. These people were not people of wealth. They were people of prayer. They asked God for the means to be this hospitable. He graciously answered them.

I share this because people are always asking us what we do with our house. Why would anyone buy a hundred year old mansion to restore? It's hip for Christians to downsize. Well, we wanted to be somewhat of a L'Abri of the South. We travel, lead worship, and speak six months out of the year, but when we are home, we are open to everyone.  Pastors who need healing from hurts inflicted by God's people, missionaries in need of respite, college kids in need of a home (or some chicken), alcoholics, abused spouses, and seekers of any sort. We let people join our family for meal times and devotions. In fact, we have had hundreds of people do so even though we are only half of the way through with our restoration.

We named this house after the prophet Hosea's wife because of the lengths he went to in order to restore her.

Invite Denbigh & Stephanie to speak and lead worship at your next retreat.

You can make your tax-deductible donation here 
Gomer's House is a 501(c)3 tax deductible organization.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Talk to me, Abba.

Even when life is hard and full of grief, Jesus has given us such a sweet gift in himself. Often when I am caught up in being overwhelmed by the life that swirls around me, I have to step back and remind myself of one thing. I have a good life and I serve a good God. The people we love are not perfect. The earth is not perfect. We have a great gift though, beloved. We can think on Christ. Instead of obsessing about our spouse, our in-laws, our another baby lost, we can think fondly on the tender love that Jesus Christ has for us. We can dwell wholeheartedly on the lengths that he has gone to in order to ensure our love relationship. We have a good thing and we have a good God. He speaks to us. 
He listens.

Thank God for all He has done for you. He has shown you the path to life.

"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." -Psalm 16:11

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist

 I saw this delightful book arrive in the queue for review with the publisher and I was immediately drawn to it. Reading the title and the description evoked beautiful (and hungry) thoughts. I don't know about you, but the sacrament of communion brings to my heart such tender thoughts toward Jesus. The book begins with her telling us that we can bring that blessing to our table at home. Every time you break bread with someone at your table, you can practice the thankfulness of the Eucharist. You had me at Jesus, Shauna. I was hooked. It evoked thoughts of the verses in Matthew that tell us whatever we give or do for others, you do for Me. I was hungry and you fed Me. Don't you love it. You can bring that delight like John reclining on Christ's breast right to your table. Be thankful.

Shauna is a wordsmith. She is so rich in her descriptive language that she made me want desperately to do two things: love people in a deep, abiding way and eat decadently. She also made me laugh with her confessions of loving fake cheese. Her stories of love and loss were woven in a sensitive, healing way. She didn't have pity parties over her pain or others'. She baked a cake or made a torte and she showed up with love.

I told a dear friend of mine (Amy) about the book and when she started it, she told me that the author was her new bff. That dear friend is also the chair of the book club at my church. She had a whole gaggle of ladies do it. We had the most fun trying out the recipes and sharing what we gleaned.

My rector's wife, Sandy, shared a point during the evening about how it is Jewish custom not to bless the food but to bless the Lord for the food. Maybe you remember that was one of my favorite things I read in Lois Tverberg's book. It brought back memories of A Quiet Place of Rest where we are taught that Samuel's main role as a prophet was not showy acts, but to minister directly to the Lord. I loved that. In my mind, I tied all of these things together as a reminder to focus on serving and blessing the Lord at my table. Eucharisteo.

I gave this book to several darling friends. You'll love it.
PS. Guess who is getting to go hear Shauna at Hope Spoken, a conference for Christian bloggers in March. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Home Sweet Home, Y'all.

We drove out of here on May 15th and I waved to the old girl and told her I would be back to her restoration come September. We did come home long enough to wash clothes on occasion, but for the most part, we have been gone for four months. This can make a restoration project a bit challenging. We just have to trust the Lord for his timing and work like the dickens when we are home. Mostly, I work like the dickens because Denbigh is doing another retreat as I type this. He will be back in a few days. I like to compare myself to the wife in It's a Wonderful Life or like the reverse roles of the characters in The Notebook. 

To be direct, we could not possibly take on this project without your help. I am constantly in awe of how God's people show up and take care of a need here. It is hard for people to take on so much hospitality, but giving financial gifts to Gomer is a way for people to be involved. You get to serve people with the warm love of Jesus vicariously. You get to be the hands and feet as well. 

On top of these things, I have been painting and doing some photography so that we can pay for things that are needed around Gomer. Each morning, I jog 4 miles, read God's Word, homeschool, strip paint, and paint on canvas. I have generally done this all before noon. I try to take the afternoons to just play with and enjoy my family and neighbors. There are alot of people hurting here, friends. If you think about it, pray for the tiny dot of Fentress. May Jesus shine his beautiful light on us.

Our annual fundraiser is October 12th. We are doing a fish fry/ fish tacos. I cannot even tell you how much we would appreciate your support in what we are doing. We want to bring people into our home so that we can share the healing love of Christ. There will be live music and art for sale. My man is going to be baking up some pie. Get your orders in. Say a little prayer for us. It's a constant spiritual battle. Love y'all.

Support Gomer's House.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Talk to me, Abba

I was invited to speak to a class on prayer on Sunday morning about prayer journaling. It brought to my mind this wonderful poem from The Deep Place Where No One Goes by Jill Briscoe. I thought I would share it with you. If you were in the class and want to know the name of the journal I go through, it is called a journible. It is my favorite type of journal because of recording the scripture in it.Leave room to listen for Jesus.

Take a Pen and Paper
By Jill Briscoe

Taken from Jill's book
The Deep Place Where Nobody Goes

Try taking a pen and paper to the Deep Place where nobody goes. Then you can read His letters in the Golden Book and write a reply.

I write it out on paper and I think my thoughts out loud
I speak my heart's foreboding and I pray about the cloud
Of deep and dark depression and a sense of dread and doubt
So I write it out on paper and I get my feelings out.

Then I take it to the Throne Room and leave it there above
And I know that I am understood with sympathy and love
I wait a while in silence till the Spirit meets me there
And He takes my piece of paper and He turns it into a prayer.

I bring my tired believing and my faith that pants for power
And I lay it at the altar in this quiet, scared hour
And I ask for fire igniting weary faith and dying hope
And I cry for stern believing and I seek for power to cope.

Then I read the treasured Scripture that will lift my spirits high
Turn tears to precious laughter and kiss my fears goodbye
I wait until He calms me down and nerves me for the fight
And then He leads me upwards and onwards in the night.

So I revel in these moments in the shadow of the Throne
Where I hear the Father's voice like many waters falling down
There's freedom and forgiveness and unremitting love
So I hate to leave the Throne Room for the shallow place above!

Sleeping forgiven, waking to grace
Nightmares forgotten, things back in place
Coming close to His footstool in the Throne Room above
He settles my soul, and I listen to love.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me by Ian Cron

What would you feel like if one day you woke up and realized that your absentee, alcoholic dad was in the CIA and you never knew? Ian tells us what waking up to this realization was like for him. We follow him through the tale of his childhood and how scared and lonely his growing up years had been. We watch his dad erode into an alcoholic demise and see the impact that it had on Ian.

This is a book that I think many of us can relate to. I didn't have much of a childhood myself and I wholeheartedly connected to Ian's struggle. He went through his own battle with alcoholism trying to cope with the sting of having an angry, demeaning parent. The amazing part is how our protagonist survived. He clung to the words of a radio personality and hung on to hope. We follow him through a Catholic upbringing and some truly fearful situations.

The beauty of this story is where Ian is at now and how he is choosing to live invested in his family. He is a pastor and author. Ian is a fun dad. He has chosen to forego the pain of his past and be the father that he didn't have growing up. He is a lighthouse of hope to those of us who want to be better than the example we were given. Read the book. You'll like Ian. He's funny.

This book was graciously provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Miscarriage | Infertility | Hope

I encountered Jesus as a young child in a church pew in the balcony of an old country church. Through a lifetime of trial, I knew he was the...