Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Little Salty Book Club

above photo credit: Ian Taylor
 Perhaps you read A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson. It was delightful. I wrote a raving review about how much I loved it. I loved it so much that I passed it along to one of my besties. She loved it too and we read it for our church's book club. My friend Amy has a lovely home and she hosted us all with great Southern flair. I am posting pictures of her handiwork. 

I mean...look at this floral piece, y'all.
We had pulled pork sliders, beans, rice, pound cake, congealed salad...and on and on. I loved hearing the ladies talk about what they loved in the book. It's funny because it kind of seemed like normal life to me. 

The thing that touched me about Sophie's book beyond her humorous banter was that she was tender toward those around her and she had a real, tender love of Jesus. That kind of sweetness toward the Lord and others is a rare gift. I thought so much of it that I sent her a note. She wrote back and you can see that at the bottom. 

Also in the photos below you can see where we crowned Amy Queen of the South as she ruled book club from her throne. 

If you are in New Braunfels, our next book is The Hiding Place by the beloved Corrie ten Boom. Contact me for more info.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Talk to me, Abba.

Zephaniah 3
The Conversion of the Nations
“For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples

    to a pure speech,

that all of them may call upon the name of the Lord

    and serve him with one accord.
From beyond the rivers of Cush
    my worshippers, the daughter of my dispersed ones,
    shall bring my offering.
“On that day you shall not be put to shame
    because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against me;
for then I will remove from your midst
    your proudly exultant ones,
and you shall no longer be haughty
    in my holy mountain.
But I will leave in your midst
    a people humble and lowly.
They shall seek refuge in the name of the Lord,

    those who are left in Israel;
they shall do no injustice
    and speak no lies,
nor shall there be found in their mouth
    a deceitful tongue.
For they shall graze and lie down,
    and none shall make them afraid.”

Israel's Joy and Restoration

Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
    shout, O Israel!

Rejoice and exult with all your heart,

    O daughter of Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away the judgements against you;
    he has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
    you shall never again fear evil.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Fear not, O Zion;
    let not your hands grow weak.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival,
    so that you will no longer suffer reproach.[c]
Behold, at that time I will deal
    with all your oppressors.
And I will save the lame
    and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
    and renown in all the earth.
At that time I will bring you in,
    at the time when I gather you together;
for I will make you renowned and praised
    among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
    before your eyes,” says the Lord.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Passion Principles by Shannon Ethridge

This post is for the ladies. Shuffle off, fellas.

You probably recognize Shannon's name from the Every Woman's Battle series. She has been bringing healing to to our abused hearts and misguided notions about sexuality for years. It is amazing how many wrong ideas we formulate from life lessons and from the church about our role in marriage. Shannon seeks to sort much of this out for us in her latest book The Passion Principles.

I think most everyone could go through this book and find things that could bring healing or freedom to their marriage. Sex is such a bonding agent and we very often misuse, abuse, or neglect it. These pages are filled with simple ways to get past the hang ups and get on with the enjoyment. If you are married, pick up a copy. She touches on all of the reasons we may be misguided or distancing ourselves from our spouse. Our goal is to honor one another and take pleasure in one another so that our earthly reflection is a reflection of our heavenly of delight. Enjoy, ladies. I loved it.

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

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tiny Graces.

Last week, I was unable to attend something that I truly wanted to go to. I cried for a while after because my heart yearned to be there. I know that God heard me because of my Sunday morning. 

After a lovely service on Easter Sunday, a seventy year old male friend came up to me with tears in his eyes and handed me a hundred dollars. He told me that God had nudged his wife to send my husband and I out on a date. I started crying, y'all. I hardly ever get to go on dates with my husband. Then, here comes his wife and hands me fifty more dollars and tells me to get a sitter. I cannot tell you how much this touched me. It was a gift of personal care for my marriage. It also spoke to me because this week it is my birthday and my husband is about to start leading worship for about 100 days straight. There most likely won't be a date again until August. The Lord knows. I had been really wanting to go out with him, y'all. The Lord heard me.

We invited our dear friend and college student  to dine with us and our family on Easter because he couldn't get home to Chicago for the holiday. He is so delightful and musically brilliant. It was great to just have him with us. As I was walking through the restaurant, I came across some wonderful people we know. I had never been to this particular eatery so I asked what she would recommend. She told me the mimosas. I just laughed and asked if that was all I should get. She said it would be fine because they send bread to your table. She was kidding of course. The food there was phenomenal. 

Later on, they send a mimosa to my table. I just burst out in laughter. I was actually touched by the gesture. Then I found out that they had paid the bill for our entire table... my family of five, my mom, step-dad, and friend. That really got me. What a grand gesture by a man who is one of the top poker players in the world. I recently found out that he sends his winnings to an orphanage in the Sudan. 

There are beautiful people all around us dressed in normal clothes. Don't miss them.
Happy birthday week to me! Send fence or a nanny or a pool. 

Love y'all.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Beauty for Ashes.

Abba is talking to me. Perhaps you remember my post about how God kept giving me the theme beauty from ashes for a window of time. If you missed it, read it here. My dear friend Betsy gave me the most precious gift that carries on the theme. I completely teared up when she gave it to me. Her kindness spoke volumes. Would you please say a little prayer for her family for me?

Those two three letter words are "beauty" and "ashes." Keeping in mind that you read Hebrew from the right to the left, you can see that the words have identical letters with the first letters being transposed. It is a powerful play on words. He takes what was and realigns it to himself. I thought of how Christ changed places with me and that is how I became beautiful. We were transposed and He took my place on the cross. Beauty for ashes.

from Biblehub: "to give unto them beauty for ashes; in the Hebrew text there is a beautiful play on words, which cannot be so well expressed in our language, "to give peer for epher" ; in times of mourning, it was usual to put on sackcloth and ashes, Esther 4:1, instead of this, Christ gives his mourners the beautiful garments of salvation, and the robe of his righteousness, and the graces of his Spirit, and his gracious presence, together with his word and ordinances, and sometimes a large number of converts; all which, as they are ornamental to his people, they yield them joy, peace, and comfort: and this is a beauty that is not natural to them, but is of grace; not acquired, but given; not fictitious, but real; is perfect and complete, lasting and durable, and desired by Christ himself, who gives it: "

Friday, April 18, 2014

How to Get a Button out of a Child's Nose.

It was Saturday night and we were all beginning to get ready for church on Sunday. Denbigh was shining his shoes and ironing his clothes. All three of our girls were playing happily in their room. My husband said something about how nice and quiet it was. (You can imagine that this doesn't happen much here.) Of course, we all know that you are never supposed to make remarks like that. Our middle child was being quiet because she had put some thing up her nose and was trying to get it out. Eventually, she came and told me that she could not get the round thing out of her nose.

Y'all, the emotional upheaval of this parenting thing is too much. Attaching your heart to tiny human beings is a roller coaster ride to say the least. My husband decided to try and pull this thing out with tweezers and he was getting frustrated that she wouldn't just sit still and let the man get it out. She's three. She was in full blown hysterics. She is weeping and shaking and telling us that she couldn't breathe. Thankfully, we know that if you are talking you can breathe. This didn't keep me from getting upset however. My sweet girl was so exhausted that her eyes kept rolling back in her head. After about an hour of this, (while Denbigh is texting our pediatrician) I decided she and I needed to take a little walk and calm down. We went down to the kitchen and got a cookie. I sat her on the counter and talked about the spices I use for cooking. She thought it was so interesting. I asked her if she had ever smelled mommy's pepper. I poured it out in my hand and let her touch and smell it. Then, I rubbed a dab on her nose. We came back upstairs and I laid her in my lap and held her and talked to her. Then, a huge sneeze and a button flying out! Bless the Lord, y'all. I know Jesus gave me that idea. 

The funny thing is that she kept telling me that the thing she put up her nose was green, but when it came out, it was definitely white.  

We celebrated her heroics and she wore her Supergirl cape and princess heels to church on Sunday. 
I thought I would share in case any of you other mommas need the idea later. Grab the pepper.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sam Houston BSM at Gomer

This past weekend was perfectly delightful. Five guys from the Sam Houston State University BSM stayed with us and volunteered. Friday night they showed up around six in the evening and put together our new trampoline. My girls were in bed when they finished putting it together, so I tested it out for them. Of course, they all were on there over the next day. They did this for the children, I'm sure. 

They did a ton of work around the property by cleaning up brush, putting up more fence, trimming our giant trees, and putting foam on the ceiling in the living room. They are all around nice guys that bless us. We are so grateful for their coming. Thank you, gentleman, for your hard work and gracious hearts. Come again anytime.

What I made for supper: Chicken breast topped with cream cheese, jalapeƱo, bacon, and a slice of aged swiss. 

In other news, our beloved bassist and drummer are going on tour with the O Hellos and opening for Need To Breathe. We have been interviewing fill in players. I'm really thankful for the journey that God has our boys (who are truly grown men) on. Bless the Lord. 

It's a month from the start of summer camp season, y'all. I'm trying to prepare myself mentally for this. It's pretty hard to leave home for 3.5 months. It is a wonderful place to be ad the staff is amazing. It's just hard because my husband is busy all day and night. I really miss him. Everyone is so busy that I don't have much fellowship. It's kind of lonely. I am happy to go a serve and counsel and love people though. It is rich and rewarding. Pray for all of the staff there. You can only imagine the warfare that hits these people. SO much kingdom work is happening and the enemy is on an all out war against it.

I'll be home some this summer as well hosting groups and guests. I am grateful to do it. Please think about volunteering here for an hour or a day or a week. Bring your husband, bestie, small group, or church. 

love y'all.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

An Almost Male Model

We don't own a t.v. because we are a t.v. free respite, but a few weeks ago we were visiting my daddy and I saw a commercial for Victory motorcycles. It made me have a truly humorous flashback about my husband. Perhaps you know that he is known for his hair. Even though there are four females in the house, we refer to him as the diva. It's all in good fun. We desperately love the man.

A few years ago, I convinced him to send in his head shot to try to get some gigs doing catalogues and such. I told him to put that hair to work! Low and behold, Victory Motorcycles contacted him to do a shoot for a thousand dollars. He accepted it because the man thought he'd be sitting around looking good on a bike. He hadn't ridden in years. As the date approached, they contacted him and told him he would be doing a video shoot at high speeds through the winding backroads of the Hill Country. He panicked a bit. He thought he would break his arm right before he left to go play his guitar on summer tour. He called the shoot off.

Of course, I told him he was a beauty school drop out, but I supported his decision. On occasion, when he talks too much about his hair, I like to call him an almost male model. He was almost the face of Victory Motorcycles.  This concludes another segment of the chronicles of the Denbigh.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Talk to me, Abba.

Jesus has been talking to me about being gracious in the face of critical and judgmental people around me. I would say that my natural, fleshly bent is to just think those people are obnoxious. I think God has purpose with them however. Perhaps it doesn't come out as the beautiful exhorting message that is going on in their mind. Perhaps most of us lack the ability to actually articulate what we are trying to say. I know I stick my foot in my mouth all of the time. I stumbled on a quote last week that I have been pondering. I didn't write down who said it, forgive me.

Here it is: "If I refuse to see God in others, they will never see God in me."

Now, I am quite sure that most of us would apply this to tattooed homeless people, but I thought about the people in my Christian circles. I'm just dumbfounded at the things people will say in the guise of encouragement or exhortation. I am making a choice to listen to the voice of God in it. Sure, people are poorly worded and line most things with a little jab, but Jesus is still alive in them. I am choosing to see Jesus in them and respond with grace. I think what our Abba wants is for us to show kindness to one another in a way that helps us each look more like Christ. Instead of dwelling on the things people say or how they say them, choose to see God in them. I will choose to see Jesus in you and put away my critical reacting in order to spur you on toward Him. It is all the same thing on different sides. Critical acting to critical reacting. Choose to look for Christ in them. We aren't pressing on through criticism in spite of our brothers, but for them. Keep sharing your story.

They will know us by our love for one another.
John 13:35

Monday, April 14, 2014

Living So That by Wendy Blight

Living So That is one of the four books in the new inScribed collection of studies by women. They are beautifully packaged and marketed. Looking at them, you want to pick them up and read them. 

I attended a Bible study on Romans years ago. I had to take notes the entire time to stay focused because the teaching was dry. I stayed because the content was good. That is how I found this book to be. I had a hard time getting through it. The content was good for the most part, but the delivery could be dry, some what like a Sunday school lesson. It is a mass delivery of the facts. Of course, the Scripture in the pages is wonderful and beneficial. It was simply hard to stay to course with the delivery.

There were other things in the book that turned me off to reading it. Some were quotes. One in particular was a chapter on that story about the two wolves fighting. You have probably heard it. It says there is a good wolf and a bad wolf inside of and the one that wins is the one we feed the most. The bad wolf is to represent the flesh and the devil and the good wolf represents the Holy Spirit inside of us. The chapter is about feeding the good wolf. The problem with this concept is that it is completely unbiblical. The Holy Spirit does not gain power in any way by our actions. He does not need our help to win. The Spirit representation of the Word of God is going to accomplish It's purpose regardless of what we do. This ideology puts the focus squarely where it does not need to be, on me. There were other brilliant things in these pages, but I think it gets too confusing. 

Preaching the gospel to myself.

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

Friday, April 11, 2014

National Sibling Day

I don't know if you follow the Facebook, but yesterday's feed was full of pictures of brothers and sisters for National Sibling Day. I had been seeing them and my heart was a little sad. Then, my husband looked at me and quizzically asked if this was a real thing or something made up. I burst into tears, y'all. It is funny how you can be going along just fine and then something catches you completely off guard. If you are missing your sibling(s), I'm saying a little prayer for you too. Be blessed, sweet friends.

I came across this and spent much of my evening meditating on it. Let it be our prayer.

"Come in, O strong and deep love of Jesus, like the sea at the flood in spring tides, cover all my powers, drown all my sins, wash out all my cares, lift up my earth-bound soul, and float it right up to my Lord's feet, and there let me lie, a poor broken shell, washed up by His love, having no virtue or value; and only venturing to whisper to Him that if He will put His ear to me, He will hear within my heart faint echoes of the vast waves of His own love which have brought me where it is my delight to lie, even at His feet for ever."

Charles H. Spurgeon

Thursday, April 10, 2014

It's Practically Southern Living.

Y'all, follow me on the Instagram. I'm SCherry77.

Perhaps you tuned in yesterday when I waxed poetic about the irises in my Southern garden. It's practically Southern Living over here, lovelies. I talked about my day of bringing things down from the third floor and the fact that I clocked eight miles on my fitbit in the house that day. It was crazy.

We have so much stuff. We have stuff in boxes and against all of our walls in this enormous house. We did have a cute normal-sized house before we moved here. When we get out the things we had in our house before, they look like miniature versions of how they perfectly fit our other home. That means we had to let go. Then people give us stuff left and right. Some of it is nice and some isn't. The trouble is that we have so much stuff that we can't get to the walls to finish the work. I had a bone-deep need to purge so we can finish working around here. 

I cleaned out about half of the third floor and sold or gave stuff away. It was quite a bit of fun for me. People aren't going to garage sales because they have buckets of I sold some things and gave many more away. I made some new friends and learned about people's lives. I gave away bulbs from my garden. It was great.

The Denbigh (aka my man) was leading worship at a men's retreat. (I had a garage sale with my three girls in tow and it was crazy.) He also spent about 100 hours working on the Carolina Creek Christian Camp summer theme song and cd. Chad Jaso produced it and it is fantastic. Chad is in the O Hellos. He's brilliant. Catch him live if you can. 

...and these are the days of our lives... Now to clean up Gomer from the yard sale boxes and dirt I drug all around.  

Keep loving people, y'all. 

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Prize Irises

As you may know, I had a yard sale this past weekend. I made a complete mess of my house. Everything went to the wayside and there was stuff everywhere. I had on my fitbit and in one day of bringing stuff down from the third floor, I clocked almost eight miles. I did that inside my house. More on that later.

Saturday morning came and I had sold most of my stuff by 9:30. The interesting thing to me was the number of older women who kept asking me if they could buy my irises. Of course, I was thrilled to give them away. They all came from the gardens of dear friends. Isn't that how a Southern girl's garden grows? We ask our friends for clippings. I started with about forty iris from varying locations and I now have a few hundred.

My first ones came from my momma's house and my friend Shelley. The next I plucked up when my parents sold my brother's house after he passed away. I pulled them up out of his front flower bed. I pulled a few from my dad's ranch. I took some from a neighborhood house where an older gentleman died making meth. They remind me to pray for my neighborhood. My heart is tied to my garden. As I work I pray for those I love.

My grandmother always taught me that the iris needs to be divided. I figure that the best way to divide is to share. My momma taught me that you feed an iris with bone meal and blood meal. That sounds delightful, I know. It works and apparently if I were to enter an iris competition, I'd have some of the most prized irises in the South. Eat your heart out. I mean, I live in a mansion with prize irises. Now, if I just had drywall on all of my walls.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Talk to me, Abba.

Sometimes, amidst the chaos and the noise I can hardly think my own thoughts. My mind is constantly bombarded with the words of those around me . . . the words of my children. Even when I awake early in the morning I find that my brain is still cluttered with the words that take over my days. Often, I find myself with my head still on my pillow simply asking Jesus what He wants for the day. What does He want to say. What does He want. 

Abba, I just want to be near you. I want to listen to you. Tell me your heart. Bend my ear. Talk to me through the clutter, the noise, the chaos of this life. Let me hear Your voice. Your beauty abounds in every spring flower. It abounds in the soft songs of my children and in their laughter. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for this day to bear witness to your grace. You lavish me with grace upon grace from your fullness. Thank you.

Monday, April 07, 2014

The Storytelling God by Jared C. Wilson

I was taught that the Bible was mostly about me as I was growing up. It wasn't as direct as I make it sound and I am sure that you were taught the same way. Every story that we read, went through in Sunday school, or heard from the pulpit was about our moral application of said story. We needed to have the faith of Joseph or the patience of Job. Here are five steps to being an awesome believer like so and so. Emulate the guys in the hall of faith. Get to work being a better believer.

Then, I started wondering if God had written the hall of faith in Hebrews to simply say, "Hey, look what I did with these jokers." I wondered if Job wasn't about Job at all. Perhaps it was about the God who sustained him. Perhaps, it preached the gospel to us.

As I began reading Jared's book The Storytelling God, he emulated my thoughts. The first lines really captured my attention. He tells the reader to throw out our flannelboards because the Bible isn't a book about our morals or how we should be acting. The entire Bible is about the redeeming power of Jesus Christ. Isn't that refreshing. Isn't that powerful. He, the Lord Jesus, isn't wanting us to be tripped up by our own effort. He is calling us to think on rest in Him. 

I loved this book. I loved it more than I can convey to you. It is one of the most brilliant and well written books that I have ever read. I loved it because it reminded my heart of Jesus and his finished work. I loved it because it truly preached the gospel to me on every single page. This is a must read. It's about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Book Description:
"Throw away your flannelgraphs...
The prodigal son. The good Samaritan. The treasure hidden in a field. Most of us have heard Jesus’s parables before. Yet if these stories strike us as merely sweet, heartwarming, or sentimental, we can be sure we’ve misread them. In The Storytelling God, pastor Jared Wilson helps us to see how Jesus’s parables reveal profound spiritual truths about God, humanity, the world, and the future.
Discarding the notion that Christ’s parables are nothing more than moralistic fables, this book highlights how each one is designed to drive us to Jesus in awe, need, faith, and worship."

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