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Monday, December 07, 2015

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado


I do not read many fiction books like this, but for some reason it intrigued me. That being said, it was a cute story that I read in just a few days. It had an interesting story line and tugged at your heart. Our protagonist is separated from her husband who had an affair. God was up to something in his life, but she was too stubborn to see it. We the many twists and sometimes cheesy turns she takes to be willing to love again. The story is based on a highly unlikely scenario, but it does leave the mind asking questions. If you could ask God one question and get the answer in writing, what would you ask?

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


Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Giving Hilariously Tuesday

Hey, y'all. My man hit a deer last night in our good car. We are all a little shaken up, but at the very moment Denbigh and Lulu were hit by a deer, God prompted my heart to pray. They drove home. They walked in the door to me. Of course, our Lulu was in tears, but they were fine otherwise. Our car is messed up. It's not worth much, but it's how we got around. It's how we get to where we serve. If you have an old car lying around, we could use it to share the love of Jesus. 

Our original estimate for windows was around $20,000 which of course we giggled at. We have a darling friend (who will love that I called him darling) that owns a window company. He made us a bid for $13,500. We are starting with our room which is around $3,500. Some of the windows on the third floor are missing and rain is getting in so that's up next. If you feel led to give to our 501(c)3 non-profit, we would be honored and humbled to receive your gift.

It takes a lot to run this house and feed our guests. The emotional stamina needed alone is intense. We could use your prayers. I am so thankful for words of encouragement and the grace you show us. I can't write out all of the things we do here because they are private in nature to the people we befriend and provide for, but I would love to share with you. God is doing beautiful things in the underbelly of his kingdom right before our eyes. We see walls break down and love received. It is a privilege to be a part of. Thank you for being a part of it with us. I cannot tell you how thankful we are for the simple ways you show up for us.

Give hilariously. Give wildly. Love someone today.

Here is our donation link:

Shop my Etsy store to help us in ministry and 10% goes to help Matt and Erin adopt.




Monday, November 16, 2015

A Bible-Thumping Do-Gooder Rescue Tribe

I started thinking about creating The Gospel Mom when I was in a situation where I desperately wanted someone to preach the gospel to me and it didn't seem like anyone knew how to. I wanted to start a tribe of people, a village that was encouraging and lifting up the fellow members with Christ. Of course we know that the religion Jesus loves is one that cares for the orphan and the widow. How can we do that? In the spring, some friends and our family had a worship night and raised money for an adoption. All I could think of is that I wanted to do more. I wanted to rescue more babies. 

John Piper is quoted as saying that adoption is the visible gospel.

So we invite people into our family. We open up core places in our lives. We set extra places at our tables. What else can we do? Well, our hope is to start a Bible-thumping do-gooder tribe of rescuers. A village on a mission. A reconnaissance team. We will find out what the enemy is doing and we will aid in rescue efforts. 

Y'all, I want to help Matt and Erin adopt. I am asking for you to shop my Etsy store for your Christmas presents and I am going to give them at least 10% of the profits. All of the profits go to ministry, but these are designated just for them.
A photo posted by The Gospel Mom (@thegospelmom) on

Would you like to join my Bible-thumping do-gooder tribe of rescuers? 
All you have to do is shop, spread the word, and pray wild prayers. Pray for the salvation of their child. Pray for their finances. Pray for every need they may have. As it is in heaven, let it be one earth. 
Redeemed. Rescued. Ransomed.
Family.

Purchase with purpose. Shop to adopt. 

Here is the link to their adoption site:

Monday, November 02, 2015

Thanks For Showing Up


The giant tree before.
Here I am, y'all. I have been doing a lot of things besides writing here. I keep longing to put my thoughts down and document this whole thing we are doing. It's a testament to God's faithfulness and a revelation of the deep work he does in our hearts. 

We had our big Southern picnic a few weeks back. It is always such an encouragement when people give up part of their day to encourage us. It is so meaningful because it is so hard to do the work. As a person who was deeply wounded over and over by rejection in my formative years, putting yourself out there and asking for help makes you feel unbelievably vulnerable. It feels like standing on a street corner yelling to people, "Help me! Love me! Remind me of the gospel!" Will. Anyone. Care. It's akin to creating art. Because we are so rooted in the care of the people and in the art we create, we identify with it. If they reject it, if they don't show up, they reject us. That isn't the case for the most part. It is also not the point. We have to keep showing up and preaching the gospel no matter. Of course we will be despised and rejected. We are the light of Christ. 

So when people show up, it helps us keep showing up. When people fund our hearts' desire, it brings us to our knees. There are many tears over here. Thank y'all. I needed to know and feel the love of Christ through you. I needed those hugs and that encouragement. I needed the affirmation. Thank y'all. Thank you for encouraging us to keep showing up through very hard days and rejection as we love, invite, and share Christ's beautiful story of redemption. You are our personal heroes. Thank you. Thank you for believing in the radical thing we are undertaking. Thank you also for helping us get some new windows. Thank you for keeping food on the table here so we are never without something to serve any guest that might come. Thank you.

Luis hanging from our tree.
In case you missed it, one of our giant trees split down to the roots and was leaning towards our house. We had to have it cut down before all of the crazy storms coming in. I am so glad that we did because the storms over the last few weeks were intense. That tree would have definitely ended up in our bedrooms. Thanks to our dear friend Alan for coming out and getting help to get that tree down. Of course, y'all know that our beloved neighbor Fritz had to come over here and get in on the manly action. Alan also took Fritz on a tour of his father-in-law's pickle factory close by. I loved that so much. Loved people love people, y'all. Keep caring for those around you.

We are also employing a young man in our neighborhood to do work around here and help send him to college. We would love help with that. 
Here's the after. I kind of like it. It's a blank canvas. Send trees.



So, now you can see some of the disrepair a few of our windows are in. We are repairing every one of them that we can, but some just need replacement.
I have also started making jewelry to help fund things around here. Invite me to your Christmas market. Check out my shop on Etsy.




Or buy pies from my man through the holiday season. Bring him to your church or your living room. He has a project that he is currently working on. Be looking for it.

Give to Gomer's House! Gomer's House Donation Link

I made this for my friend Camille.

I am stamping lots of metal. Tell me some things you might be interested in. I am also doing names.


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Here's Your Peg Leg.


A few months ago, my friend Christy was in Haiti working at the orphanage she oversees and I saw this post come across my news feed for a conference on mentoring, reconciliation, and race relations. I felt that gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit to take her. Before she was even wheels on the ground back here in the states, I had purchased our tickets. 

I do not think either one of us knew how weary we were until we got there. Attacks come when you are serving, of course, but sometimes you just get deep in the bone kind of weary. Loving addicts, missionaries, ministers, and orphans is hard work. We were left craving to be washed in the gospel love of Jesus Christ. It just was not happening.

As we stepped into the conference, we honestly did not know what to expect. It changed our trajectory. It set us back on the road of hope. Every single speaker preached the gospel to our threadbare souls and encouraged us to get back in the game. 

We are not these high profile people. We are the people working recon in the underbelly. We were the statistics these people were trying to mentor and somehow God redeemed our lives. I kept thinking of being abused as a little girl and as these people spoke, I realized that they were reaching out and fighting for hundreds of people just like me...just like the people we are reaching out to now. Thank you all for speaking deeply into our hearts.

Recently having been hurt preaching the gospel, I had gone in feeling like a warrior on the side of a battlefield not knowing what to do. When Bob was talking about taking the witch doctors off the zip line, I felt like God threw me a peg leg and told me to get back in there. 

We heard Bob Goff speak a few weeks ago. He told a story about witch doctors trying to hex him. As the Honorable Consul for the Republic of Uganda, Bob decided to call a meeting with them all. He asked these guys that wanted to see him dead what they needed. They told him that didn't know how to read or write. So Bob started a Witch Doctor School and gave them two free books to learn to read. The Bible and Love Does. There is more greatness to this story. He took all of these guys zip lining and they quit selling kids for child sacrifices. I was so struck by this because I've been weary in dealing with some people in my own life. None of them are Witch Doctors. Surely I can muster up some mercy and courage and get back on the battle field. Love does. What do you need? Photographer- Keshia Clark in Costa Rica #Mercy #newmercy #courage
A photo posted by The Gospel Mom (@thegospelmom) on



A photo posted by Stephanie Cherry (@stephaniecherryartist) on

A photo posted by Stephanie Cherry (@stephaniecherryartist) on









 Espwa:Haitian Creole for Hope.
More to come.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

A few months ago I picked up a copy of the 25th Anniversary edition of Paulo Coelho's famous book The Alchemist. Perhaps you know his book was pretty much a failure and then all of a sudden it took off like gangbusters. It is on quite a few lists of books you must read in your lifetime. Critics consistently herald it as life-changing. It's a simple and yet complex story of a man trying to find his personal legend and make his way in this life. 

I enjoyed just reading the story and following  our hero on his journey. I can completely see why self-help gurus would love this book. It's really about finding your own way and conspiring with the universe to follow your legend or destiny. The great parts are watching our hero overcome seemingly impossible odds to find himself and the love of his life. It's a interesting story.

There were confusing portions to me, however. I couldn't always tell what he was trying to say. Of course, story is meant to be that way. There is an abundance of relying on omens and intermingling of faith as though all gods are the same. It was still thought provoking. Most things are, just as long as you don't worship them. 

Have you read it?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

First Family Detail by Ronald Kessler

I picked this book to review because it is something my husband is interested in. It gave us some interesting things to talk about. It scarred me and gave me hope. I was not shocked at all about the ways of many of our presidents. We are well aware of their sexual exploits. I had no idea how far they went however and I am sure that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Clinton had several mistresses that showed up right when Hillary would leave. I never realized how much man power and money it costs our nation for these escapades. It also puts our country in great danger.

 LBJ was the worst scoundrel. He hung around the White House pool naked giving orders to his secretaries. He also did this in front of his wife and children. He had a bevy of beauties ever at his service...even some of his friends' wives. People gave him permission to do this. He had women staying at his ranch with his wife there and would go be with them at night. I kind of want to throw up. Is this ancient Rome?

Jimmy Carter shocked me a bit. They said he was terribly fake and cared nothing about the things he was elected for. It was like he was a tv character, but behind closed doors he was a awful fellow. I read that Chaney is much the same.

Hillary's behavior really threw me for a loop. The Secret Servicemen consider it a punishment to be put on her detail. They refer to it as the worst detail you can get assigned to. She told them to never speak to her and hide behind curtains and in doorways so as not to bother her. When people would speak to her, she would tell them to "f" off. She too is a tv personality. They say she champions things in her speeches and mocks the idiots who believe her in private. I had an inkling that she was not nice, but I wouldn't have guessed she was such a villain. It makes one think of Cruella De Vil...saying she loved puppies only to make them into a coat. 

Thankfully, there have been some nice presidents with morals and manners. Both Bush families were a delight to the Secret Service. My favorite to read about was Reagan though. He may have been the kindest and most genuine president to go through the White House. HE would invite agents to supper and invite them to hang out with him. He would make jokes and they say that he was an all star gentleman in front of the ladies. 

The book was fascinating and disheartening. It also gave some hope for the human race. May God give us an honorable person to run our nation. It's an interesting read. Grab a copy. 

This book was graciously provided by Crown Publishing for review.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Seven Women by Eric Metaxas

I took this read down to the beach last week. I stayed up one night until 2 a.m. to finish it. It was good. It is the follow up to Eric's 7 Men which I thought was exceptional. This book was more so to me. Perhaps I could better relate to it's characters or because it spoke clearly into things I am processing right now. I would go so far as to tell you that it is life changing.

First there is Joan of Arc. I honestly have no idea what to think of her and her chatting with dead people, but she was courageous and followed whole heartedly what she firmly believed God was telling her to do. The crazy things she stated came to pass. She never wavered in her commitment and was willing to challenge even the highest in authority in her kingdom face to face to do what compelled her.

I had never read anything about Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles. She was quite the intelligent woman and well read. She taught all of her children to read and educated them in the gospel with great passion. Their story took some crazy turns. He husband left her for a year over a political disagreement and then returned. They also had a strange demonic force of sorts that tormented them for a period of three months. It is documented in her letters to her boys who were at college. Beyond that, it leaves you with the feeling that what we are doing with our children is of the utmost importance. I loved her upon reading her story.

Hannah More was one of my favorite of the women. She was witty and smart. Hannah started a movement in her day that reached out to the poor and offered them education. It was called Sunday School, but it was more than what we think of today. It taught all the tenants of education to the poor who could not attend regular school due to needing to work. She also held great friendships with William Wilberforce and John Newton. She and Newton are the ones that encouraged Wilberforce to champion the abolitionist movement. Miss More was a genius of a writer taking on male contemporaries of her day and outselling them under a pen name. Her writing is credited with changing the culture of her day. She was a genius.

Saint Maria of Paris was one of the wildest stories in the book. Her past, divorces, annulment,  and then on to being a nun. She was in no way full of the religious ways of the church. She moved in with the poor and served them. Of course she did this amidst violent disagreement from the church. She could also be seen on occasion drinking a beer. "At the Last Judgment," she told her friend, Konstantin Mochulsky, "I shall not be asked whether I satisfactorily practiced asceticism, nor how many bows I made before the divine altar. I will be asked whether I fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the sick, and the prisoner in his jail."

Y'all know that I love Corrie ten Boom. I am ever moved by her simple, humble faith in Jesus. Her willingness to be subject to abuse in her middle age is striking. It convicts the heart. I have read much about Corrie and each time I come to love her a little more. As you read her story, you cannot help but love her sister Betsie. I want to be a Betsie. When Corrie would become angry at those around her (even when one beat her frail sister), Betsie would remind her to forgive and bless. After she was beaten and near death, Corrie was set out to attack the guard at the concentration camp. Betsie told her not to look at them or her and to look only at Jesus.

I thought the back story on Rosa Parks was interesting, but it really left me wanting to know more about her. It did show how long she had been fighting this battle of segregation. Her story is interesting. I thought that this section highlighted the movement of segregation more so than Parks herself. It was still fascinating.It shows us that sitting on that bus and refusing to move was the least of things Rosa did for her people. She was always giving and meeting for the common good.

Mother Teresa's story was compelling to me as well. Her controversial work among the poor and sick in Calutta is deeply moving. She moved in among the poor and invited other nuns to do the same. She lived among the slums and did not even have a bed for some time. She stated that she had given up all to attain this great prize of serving these people. She was given so much simply by asking those around her if they would like to do something beautiful for God. The Calcutta city authorities even gave her a large building to house the sick and dying as she cared for them. She was asked to open houses all over the world. She did. She even opened one personally for the Pope in Rome. She was a dear friend of Pope John Paul II. Her life is a testament to how God can use use the humble.

The book is an amazing read and I highly recommend it. It will greatly encourage you to press on into deeper areas of the faith.

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

Monday, August 31, 2015

Nobody's Cuter Than You by Melanie Shankle

When is the last time you just read an honest to goodness story? Not one where someone was trying to impress you with their high moral standard or wow you with their step program. Y'all, I loved this book. It made me laugh out loud. Melanie is one funny lady. This is one of those books that is good to read to lift you out of a funk. It reminds you that the most important things in life are the people God lends to us. 

I can see some Christian ladies might get up in arms about Melanie's honesty and her story, but I so appreciated it. I am becoming more and more grateful for people who tell honest stories. I think they glorify God more in the end anyway. 

I loved following her journey through childhood, A&M, and motherhood. I may have snorted a time or two. She made me feel better about my mothering and realize that I can do this with my girls by my side. I was also encouraged to press on in hard relationships. Love keeps loving, y'all. It's a thing. I just want you to read it.

If you are looking for some theological treatise on fellowship, this is not for you. This is dirt on your hands, messy hair friendship at all cost read. Melanie has my heart. Read it. Laugh. Let go. Enjoy your friends. It made me long for this. May we all know deep, rooted friendship like this.



Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sacred Marriage by Gary Chapman

Sometimes you stumble onto something that resonates deeply in your heart. The words in this book were like that to my marriage. Yes, this is what I want too. I yearn deeply for sanctification and holiness for my husband and myself. Honestly, much of it brought tears to my eyes. I want to embrace and face the challenges that marriage brings at you. I desire that sacred space you enter into with someone after you have overcome a great obstacle.I want to confront my selfishness and become a life-giving spouse. 

The real purpose of marriage is not to enjoy infatuation and make me happy. It isn't just some formula to protect us from sexual immorality. It's sacred space. One quote in the book stated that marriage is a merciless revealer. It shows a light into the darkest parts of the human nature. It's true. In that space we can choose to submit to the healing of Christ. This book is a guide on how to do that. 

"We preserve our marriage because it brings glory to God and points a sinful world to a reconciling creator."

Our marriages preach the gospel to a lost and dying world. How fiercely we should protect them. We must become reconcilers ourselves. 

I WANT TO QUOTE THE WHOLE BOOK TO Y'ALL!

"Marriage requires a radical commitment to love our spouses as they are, while longing for them to become what they are not yet. Every marriage moves either toward enhancing one another's glory or toward degrading each other." -Dan Allender and Tremper Longman III

Every single page made me want to love my man more, better...to seek Christ to change me into someone who loves more deeply.

Read it! 

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

Salsas and Moles by Deborah Schneider

Do y'all love to cook like me? I am one of those people who will come up with and work on a recipe for years before I think it is just right. I love the creative chemistry that happens in the kitchen. For years I learned about making my favorite food group, Mexican food! There is one thing I need to learn to make in order to make a complete meal. I want to make some salsa that will knock your socks off. Enter Salsas and Moles.

I read through this book and was really impressed with the large amount of information given. I had no idea how many varieties of sauces there were out there. I didn't know exactly what made a mole a mole. I wanted to share in case you are like me and want to make rocking salsa.  I have begun my experimenting and preparing to be the best salsa maker in the tri-county area. 

This book was graciously provided for review by Crown Publishing.

Check it out.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

My Covenant and Denbigh's Hair

I was looking through some old pictures of me and my man and I thought y'all might need to see his hair over our years of life together. I would also like to applaud the Lord Jesus for holding things together. We have had a lot to overcome as a couple and Jesus is so faithful. I can testify if you ever need anyone to talk to. 

Back to my man's hair. So. You can watch it change and see the styling products he used and the tools he had over the years. And he's going to kill me for this post. But, let me tell y'all one thing. I have a couple of great weapons in my being married arsenal. The first is of course, Jesus and the gospel He preaches deep into my heart every day. Second is basic human kindness. Speak to and about your spouse with great care. If we are guarding a covenant, we should act like it's important enough to lavish love on. The third thing is to laugh. We have approximately forty billion little inside jokes. I mean some things could really suck the life out of you if you didn't laugh at them. Choose to laugh. Make fun. Tease about things that don't hurt the other person. Secretly my man loves the hair attention because HE IS A DIVA!! You should see all the dressing room selfies he sends me (and he should thank God right now that I am not putting them on the interwebs). Four views of one pair of pants. You guys. You should also see him try to do the Running man. He makes me giggle so. Hip Hop artist he is not. 

We are still learning. We have made great friends who are hard core fantastic. We have loved and lost babies. We have been slandered and hurt by the church and we have found solace in her.  I think we are best friends and I also think we are still learning about what this thing is all about.
Bathing it in prayer. Covering it with laughter.
I love this man and his coiffure.

 The first baby God lent to us outside of the womb.
 This girl and this old house we bought have taught me some serious humility. 
 Then, one year we had matching hairstyles. Um, this almost did me in. It's just not okay to match hair. We also had matching bags (purses!) one year, but we don't talk about that.
 And so we learned to laugh and love through the hardest and most blessed of days.
day after 
day... 
 We lost people we love and learned to celebrate through pain.
 We prayed over and he married many people. 
Sometimes we go to Tastee Freeze so we can sing about Jack and Diane together. 
Here's a little ditty about Jack and Diane...outside the Tastee Freeze...
We have adopted, loved, toured with, and helped raise bookoos of adult people. Like these...

 and this one...
 and we made more babies ...
 and helped people learn to get along...
 and we made more babies...
 and we adopted more people . . .
 and more people. . .
 and all my man's dreams came true when someone gave him what I refer to as his "girlfriend"...
 and we have been blessed to share the best memories...
 with the best people...
 and created some of the best days...
 and we adopted more people...
 and his hair has stood up through it all...
 even through adopting Fritz :) ...
 and these two wildcats...
 and we cared for some of God's best things...
and we have longstanding relationships that are a testament to God's goodness...
all the way back to when God spoke to my heart to marry him while reading Ephesians long ago. We think God's call is a draw to the easy road, but in reality, it's something we can remember when we face so much in this life. He calls us to war for another human being, to seek the best and most beautiful things in them, to remind them of their best selves. Covenant is a battle because it is holy. It is sacred. It is precious. Ode to a man who is kind and a God who is always good.

Your hair looks real, real good, baby.
(There are many more precious friends I did not have photos of, but you know you are loved).
Happy Anniversary, Denbigh Shay Cherry.