Monday, December 29, 2014

A Girl and Her Warhorse by Angie Goeke

I recently read Angie Goeke's book A Girl and Her Warhorse. This was not a publisher review. I bought a copy to support her. I loved the premise of her book. 

"The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue." Psalm 33:17

The book is more of a Bible study with questions and scripture to meditate on. In the study, she talks about her husband being her warhorse and how her warhorse fell. It's really a powerful thing to think on. What are you truly looking at to rescue you? 

John Piper says that we read books for the sentences. One sentence that I took away from the book was about having a rebuilding year. After there is a problem in a marriage, the couple will take time to rebuild their marriage. After we confront our warhorse, Angie encourages us to have a rebuilding year with our first husband. This is a powerful and beautiful thing to do heading in to this new year. Make room for Christ. Allow rebuilding.

Congrats, Angie! 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gomer's Weekend

 Here are a few custom pieces I did last week. If you have need of anything, let me know. I love to create custom orders.
 The roots of a family tree begin with the love of two hearts.
 We had a good number show up on Saturday and burn things, rake leaves, and pick up pecans.
 This is what I worked on all day. I followed this girl in a circle.
 These fabulous gentleman began putting up bead board in my studio. Aren't you just crazy about them. Right now it is about two thirds of the way finished. I never thought I'd see the day, y'all. So grateful.

 Craig put some drywall up in our bedroom. You never know what a great thing drywall is until you live without it for years. 
 Sidenote: This is what I am reading. So good!
 Dave helped with the ceiling and installed bunch of fence on the hay side of the house.
 Look at my drywall, y'all. It is pure magic.
 It's hard to see, but my neighbor Fritz is up in that tree putting up lights for my girls to look at out the window at night.
 Sorry his eyes are closed, but look at his awesome mustache. Hey, Fritz!
 All the boys were getting rides and getting dumped out.
 In other news, our heart daughter graduated from college! We love her and her husband so much. He lived with us and he proposed to her on the front lawn several years ago. The Lord bless you, Synda! We also had a lovely houseguest Saturday night. 

I am really thankful to everyone who came and helped here over the weekend. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We get a little weary and your beautiful efforts encourage our soul. Thank you.
 Come caroling! We will have s'mores, cocoa, and witty banter fireside. 
Love y'all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Look and Live by Matt Papa

I started reading this book and thought it might be some cheesy, cliche book. Around page thirty-four, it hooked me. The way Matt started sharing about the glory of God and it's purpose in our lives resonated so deeply within me. That's what the whole book is about. I mean, it sounds too simple, but it is perfectly true. I want to read it aloud to all of you. I wish I could get you a copy for Christmas. It made me yearn for the Lord afresh. I wish I could type the whole thing out here. 

I found so many profound and soul stirring things in this book. I had to share them with friends, write them in my journal, and send out bits over the inter webs. Know that its good. Get yourself a copy.

"No matter how deep the pain is, a clear, warlike articulation of the gospel can always eclipse and outweigh whatever I am enduring." -Matt Papa

This book was graciously provided by Baker Publishing for review.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Daring Heart of David Livingstone by Jay Milbrant

I have read the bare minimum about David Livingstone in the past. My daughter read about his missionary journey in homeschool. Reading an in depth biography about his life was truly fascinating to me. He began his career as a missionary to Africa attempting to set up a mission colony in the interior. His funding was dropped and he was disheartened. He had done such detailed work in documenting parts of Africa and  making discoveries that the Royal Geographic Society decided to sponsor him to go back.

During all of this he was a heralded national hero because of his discoveries in Africa. He spent years in Africa attempting a great challenge and lost many of his crew and his wife in the process. Eventually, his mission failed. He went home to England and was treated as a outcast for failing his country. Eventually, the country needed him again and sent him back to look for the source of the Nile.

There were many interesting parts to Mr. Livingstone's journey. The harsh conditions he traveled through for years are unfathomable to me. The many times he had fevers and was near death are numerous. The other aspect I had not explored much was the slave trade in Africa itself. We have all read about the effects of slavery in the United States, but reading about it at the source was nauseating. He wrote first hand accounts from his journal of the 40 bodies that would float by them down the river each day. The tribes and mercenaries hunting and killing their own for gain is incomprehensible. I grieved over and over as I read of people tortured and killed who could not make the terrible journey to the ship to be traded. Their homes were raided and families were torn apart. It is the lowest state of the human condition.

Our Mister Livingstone kept writing letters and telling of the inner horrors of the inland slave trade. He was instrumental in seeing slavery abolished. False reports that he had died led to a media frenzy and opened the door for him to speak to world-wide media outlets about his expedition and about slavery. Dr. Livingstone died without completing his mission of finding the source of the Nile. His death sparked a fire to abolish slavery at it's source and shortly after his death.

I highly recommend this book. See deep into history and freedom.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin

This is the second book in Lynn Austin's new series The Restoration Chronicles. I enjoyed this book immensely ... all 476 pages of it. I have read and heard the story of Esther many times, but always from the view of one sitting in her courtyard. This story gives you the historical background for the entire Jewish kingdom. It tells of what happened in Babylon where many of the Jews were still in exile. I thought it was a fascinating portrait of what these people endured and the depth of their trials.  

We see how the decree led Ezra to be over the Jewish exiles of the time. The underbelly of the story shows how God used this to start journey that would lead many of the Jews to return to Jerusalem. We also see how many were so entrenched in Babylonian customs that they refused to leave. I thought the portrait of the beautiful people of God assimilating into the pagan culture was such a trumpet call to our day. 

I loved this book. Sometimes I think Christian fiction is written for school age children. It is so overdone that it is ridiculous. I enjoy Lynn's writing. This is my second series of hers to read. The first is The Chronicles of the Kings. I highly recommend it as well. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

It Comes Full Circle

As you may recall, my studio had some water damage from before we moved in. This led to the tearing down of the beautiful ceiling. I salvaged all of that wood and began making signs out of it to pay for restoration. A few of those signs ended up in the hands of my beautiful friend Camille after a tragic event in her family. God used that ceiling to bring us together. We became friends because she ordered some things from me on the internet. She is now one of my dearest friends. 

As we had duct work ran out to this room, we had to get a ceiling up before we could run it. Denbigh and Camille's husband have become really good friends as well. When we needed to get a ceiling up ASAP, Denbigh called John and asked for help since he is a custom home builder. Of course, I am thankful for John's extreme generosity. Today I was struck by something else. God brought our families together by ripping down this ceiling. Tuesday, it came full circle as John came over and helped put a new ceiling up. I had this realization today. God can do whatever he wants by whatever means He wants to. God is a God of redemption. He even redeems ceilings. 
I tried to get a good picture of the whole room, but it is really impossible to do. It runs the whole length of the back of our house. It is 360 square foot and has 12 glorious windows. We will put the bead board up and strip the wood walls in there. I cannot even tell you what a glorious thing it is to paint in this room. Thank you for everyone who donated to us. That ceiling alone costed over $600. *I have a feeling that this room will house many youth to sleep over for mission trips. 

Christmas is coming. Check out the goodies in my Etsy shop. I give discounts for multiple purchases.

Custom Order: "The favor and beauty of the Lord God be upon you. May  he establish the work of your hands." Psalm 90:17

Here is the best pic I could get of the ceiling. It shows about 2/3 of it. It is a big room. It is also heated and cooled. That seems pretty crazy to me. I have never been able to work out here in the winter. The guys at Southern Comfort did an amazing job. They will be back sometime after the first of the year to run ducts under our house to heat and cool the first floor. 

If you are going to buy a pie for Thanksgiving, think of us. We will be delivering to Waco, Kyle, & New Braunfels. We use that money to feed our guests here at Gomer for the year. Thanks so much.

Love y'all. Be blessed in the Lord.

Give to Gomer's House.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

God's 80 Grand & Amber

I did a little math in my head the other day, y'all, because that's what delightfully nerdy people do. We figure stuff. We like right angles. Fractions bring us joy. I digress. Anywho, at the beginning of this year we needed $28,000 to refinance Gomer's House and God gave it to us. We need $28,000 in air conditioning and God gave it to us. We needed a car and God gave us two. Now, the thing that blows my mind is that God has somehow seen fit to give a couple of yahoos in the middle of nowhere somewhere close to 80 grand this past year. What. 

I remember our first few years when we paid for every single thing in this house out of our own pockets. That meant we did without most everything like sinks, kitchens, insulation, and heat...for years. We waited. After God directed my heart to start painting, my first fundraiser netted a few hundred dollars. I would cry every time someone bought something from me that cost $20. I cried the first time I saw running water in my new sink. Cried, people. Don't think I don't pray for wells to be dug throughout the world every time I turn on the faucet. 

Now, this past year has been a blur. Blllluuuuuuurrrr. I never really stopped and looked at all that happened. Something struck me the other day when I noticed God was providing for two things that cost an identical amount of money. Then I realized exactly how much that was. Then I realized how very much more He had given. I am blown away. 

Thanks for seeing us, Jesus. Thanks for shaping our hearts and then funding the Jesus love you put in there. You are more than I could say. You are everything laudable.

I don't share a lot of the stories that go on inside Gomer. It is mostly because the things we deal with are very private and the pain is very deep. God has allowed us into some of the most broken places and I humbled that He would let us. I did want to share about our friend Amber.

Denbigh met Amber in 2003 in Odessa, MO. He was there leading worship. Over the years, a mutual friend kept her up on Denbigh's whereabouts. In 2006, she moved to Texas with her family. Later, her church was looking for a worship leader and contacted Denbigh. He didn't end up taking the position, but it did end up opening a door for their church to come spend a week with us and do some mission work this spring. A few short months later, her husband was diagnosed with liver cancer. He went to be with the Lord in September. She came and spent the afternoon here on the way to pick up his ashes. The most brave and beautiful thing she did was come and sing to kick off our fundraiser just a short time after her husband had passed away. I share this because God brought our hearts together before this all happened. He reunited us all this year. He knew full well what the year would hold. He is sovereign. He has grown our friend Amber into a beautiful woman of faith. 

Come out next year to the fish fry. I'm sure Amber will be back on the ticket. Pray for her and her daughter as they find their new normal. Pray for peace and encouragement. Pray for provision.

Lean in and listen for the stories of the people around you.

Support Gomer's House.

Down South by Donald Link

Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything

I am sure that you can tell by looking at the cover of this book that I am head over heels for it. Look at those prawns, y'all. They are so beautiful that I want to hug you. This book made me happy. Even if were not full of amazing recipes, the witty banter and food photography is enough to bring joy to your heart. I remember when cookbooks were just photocopied recipes. This is like a bonus book inside page after page of culinary delight. 

From a cocktail entitled The Cherry Bounce, to gougĂ©res, to rĂ©moulade, beignets, and spicy grilled quail, this book has it all. It's a little bit fancy and a bit down home. Of course, there are crazy whole animal recipes that I could never conjure up the courage to cook. Perhaps that just makes me a semi-Southerner. People who cook whole ducks, alligators, and pigs are a brute force to be reckoned with. 

Pick this book up. Even if you just set it on your counter and never open it up, it will make you happy. You can also decide to open it, slather something with butter and fall helplessly into pure bliss.

Monday, November 03, 2014

The Wisdom of the Sadhu

I read this book. It took me a while. I hate to even write a review about it because I didn't like it very much. I have a hard time not liking things. I mean, I have to work at it. I just couldn't get into it. I thought it was going to give some sort of biography of this famous convert to Christianity, but it was just a bunch of "yodaesque" dialogue. I thought the writing could be easily confused and misconstrued. There were about five sentences that I thought were interesting and helpful to me. I am sad to say that I cannot recommend this book. 

The Wisdom of the Sadhu was graciously provided for review by the publisher.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Big Update

I'm back. At least I am trying to be. I have good days and bad days, but they seem to be evening out. Five months of feeling bad is enough for me. I want to get back to work.

So, an update. I cannot tell you how thankful we are for all of the people that came out to our house for our annual fundraiser. Like I told you, the kindness of friends and the outpouring of support overwhelms my heart. The encouragement to press on through another year is much needed. It's hard work and we are incredibly thankful for the love.

Our initial project for the fundraiser this year was heat and a/c for the downstairs, but then the unit went out on the second floor so we decided to switch gears toward that. Before the day even arrived, a donor stepped up and said they would foot the bill for the...ENTIRE house. Now, in a normal house, that would be several thousand dollars. In our house, the estimate came in for $28,000 for all three floors. I cannot even wrap my mind around that. They began on Monday and will finish our second floor on Wednesday. Then they will come back soon to begin the first floor. To God be the glory because I could have never come up with this on my own.

Back to our fundraiser. It rained and for a few minutes I thought no one would show. Of course there are people who rsvp and don't show, but we just absorb the cost of their food. God generally provides over and beyond anyway. We had about 120 people in the chilly weather. It turned out to be a perfect day to play outside and listen to music with friends. John made divine fish and sang. Our beloved adopted son Cat Clemons wowed the crowd with his amazing music as always. We raised about $2,500 on the actual day of the fundraiser. With mail in donations, our total became $11,000. With our heat and a/c taken care of, we can now tackle another major project...and pay for the huge food budget we use to love on people who come here. We are so humbled and thankful. It's nice to be reminded that God sees us and wants to help us on our journey. Thank you, Jesus.

The night before the day of the fish fry, we had a full house. We had a full upstairs and a family of six sleeping on our floor downstairs (with no a/c!). It was so fun to have them around while we cooked and made pies until two in the morning. If you could have been a fly on the wall, y'all! We love the La family.

Thank you to everyone who helped us make this day such an extraordinary event. There is no possible way that we could ever convey what your kindness has meant to us and the encouragement that is has brought our weary spirits. Bless you. Bless the Lord.

If you would like to help us with food costs or project costs, you can give a one time donation or a monthly gift. Thank you for loving people with us.

Love y'all.

Here are some pictures from the day:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New Items in the Store

Hello fine people, I just wanted to remind you that I have an Etsy store that supports Gomer's House. All of the proceeds help restore and provide a warm meal for people. Of course, those are just side dishes to getting to love them with the love of Christ. I'll be posting more about our weekend and updates about heat in the next few days. Thank you all for supporting us and helping us provide a place of warmth for weary souls. It truly does take a village.

I put the coffee cups and a few new items in the store. If you would like a t-shirt, please let me know. I am ordering up a new batch and need sizes. Cards coming soon also. Thank you so much.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Moses Leads the People

We received this book on Saturday and my girls took off with it several times before I could read it. I had to track it down in their room. We know by this that the cover is attractive enough to make them sneak it out of my room. I thought the illustrations were good as well. It can be a bit of an intense story to tell to a young reader with all the blood and death of the first born. I thought they did a good job of tackling the subject. They stayed on par with the scripture. We can all appreciate that. I read through it with my three year old and she gives her approval. There are great sight reading words as well as a few more challenging words to stretch the reader. 

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

Thursday, October 09, 2014


It's that time of year when I cry. Sometimes accepting love can be painful because you expect the bottom to drop out of things or you have not been conditioned to receive it. When people show up at our house and give so much of their time and their resources to help us, it gets me. It really gets me. I might be tearing up now. It is completely overwhelming to me. It's a powerful redemption story that plays out in all of our lives. Jesus is beautiful. 

We have had some miraculous things happen here. Of course, you can remember earlier in the year when we "somehow" had the thirty thousand dollars we needed for our house. I still cannot even wrap my mind around that. The beauty in the history of this house is truly something special. We have not had some grand benefactor swoop in to help us pay for the repairs. Gomer's story is one of literally hundreds of people showing up with small amounts of money, time, and other resources to bring restoration. 

I think it's great when things happen and HGTV shows up to make your home dreams come true. That has not been our journey however. I realized that, you, dear friends, are our HGTV. You show up in my yard to eat fish, buy art, and listen to my husband do some picking and grinning. You show up here to paint, build, sweep, and pray. You are the most important part of our journey. Thank you.

Come share in the beauty of what God is doing here this Saturday. 11-4
There will be fish frying, the sounds of the South in the air, sweet tea on the table, and grace abounding. Thank you for helping us to get heat and a/c for our home. 

Come sit a spell.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Hey, love y'all.

This post needs no pictures, y'all. On our way home from church Sunday, our two-year-old starts vomitting. It was coming out of her nose. Then, the other end. Everyone has felt bad and I have one still in bed a little shaky and complaining that her tummy hurts. I mean, who needs photos of this stuff. I have been trying to get ready for our fundraiser next week, but well, its a slow go. Last night, Chacha falls and hurts her face. What's a mama to do? Sit down and hold a Hello Kitty ice pack on her baby until the swelling goes down. Same with today. I just love the tiny people and rest when I can. Someday I am going to get some awesome stuff done. It just won't be today. That's okay by me.

Let me tell you some fun things. On Friday, I spoke at MOPS in Brownwood and took a bunch of art with me. That same day, in Burnet, Hill Country Church took a bunch of my art to their ladies retreat. Both were huge sellers. Around $1,200. I was also commissioned to do a piece for a new OB/GYN clinic in New Braunfels. It amazes me as I pray over pictures how far they  have gone out and how many thousands of people have come to see them. God has allowed me to put scripture in a hospital, a midwife practice, and OB/Gyn practice and countless other places where people need to be reminded of a God who loves them. It never cease to amaze me. Thanks, God.

A guy at our church has a new outside a/c unit he purchased and is unable to use. He said we could have it if it will work for us. We might have bought air again! Pray for that, y'all. We have had some good donations coming in the last few weeks and are anticipating a good turnout for our Southern Fish Fry. Please come if you are around. Let me know if you would like to come.

Last week, my Lulu wanted to go take a picture to a neighbor we had not seen in a few weeks. So, we walked over and delivered the drawing. When we arrive, I found out that her husband had been in the hospital to have part of his stomach and bladder removed because they had found cancer. I told Lulu I thought that the Holy Spirit had prompted her to make that picture so we could go love on our friends. That same day some friends from another state wanted to buy some tickets for anyone who might need them. I'll be delivering some fish to our neighbors next Saturday from a couple of people who want to share the love of Christ in Texas all the way from Virginia! 

Please keep praying for me too as I heal. Love y'all.
You can donate by visiting

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wonder-Working God by Jared C. Wilson

Jared Wilson is quickly becoming on elf my favorite authors. The reason is very simple. He doesn't get carried away with signs or wonders or the inner workings of a story. Of course, it all has meaning. That meaning is to preach the gospel. The point of everything is Christ. It is the deep, bloody, resurrected Christ that is the power of our salvation. Our finite minds are so often distracted by what we should be doing or prophets or gifts. That is why it is always such a gift for someone to simply remind my heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your encouragement, Jared. Thank you for speaking to my heart about the one thing that matters. Thank you for reminding me to not be distracted by the signs and wonders I see and lose my focus on Christ. 
Thank God for the gospel. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Paul by Nancy Sanders

I really enjoyed this little book on Paul. I thought it was perfect for young readers and adults alike. It is full of everything you would want to know about Paul in smaller doses and more simple language for the young audience. The layout was great. It had simple graphs, charts, and maps that were easy to follow along. The author did a great job compiling this little book about Paul. I highly recommend it.

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

Thursday, September 18, 2014

We Make Awesome Stuff

Hi friends of Gomer,

I am still battling infection and running at about half throttle, but I have managed to stain some things downstairs this week. I also have rods in my closet because my man put them in. Closet rods are awesome. I have been living out of totes for, oh, two years. There is always so much to do that you can't do it all, but today, I can hang some stuff up. Don't take your closet rods for granted, y'all. Tidy storage is a gift. My closet is still the size of a normal hall closet, but it has majestic and wonderful rods in it now!

I have also been painting a bunch and trying to get ready for two events next week. I have also been sketching up a t-shirt design for the 100 year anniversary of Gomer. I'll let you know when they are available. My sweet friend Tina had twenty of these awesome mugs donated for the Southern Picnic fundraiser as well. You can get one here on October 11th. Please come and support our ministry. Our heat and ac died so we are hoping to have heat for winter. We will have lots of fried fish, a shrimp boil, and many other picnic items (even vegan ones). Of course there will be art and PIE. We kick off our fall pie making. If you would like to join us, send me an email

Have a blessed week. Love y'all.

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...