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. 


"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, 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 
 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.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Did you read it? I have seen many reviews on the positive and negative. One bookstore I read about is offering refunds on the book. People wailed about her not wanting the book published. Articles said she was ready to release it because she had safely secluded herself from the publicity this time around. I don't know. I don't have the answers. I just wanted to read it.

This is the first book Miss Lee had written decades ago. She was told by the publisher to write the backstory and that became the infamous To Kill A Mockingbird. In my mind, this book is like getting to read Harper's really well done draft of a novel. You can see her style evolving. She is not talking in the first person voice of Scout that we all were so enamored with. The book is darker, jaded a bit, but humble. I enjoyed it. It was as if a friend handed me a story she thought about telling. It brings you face to face with the heart things she faced and how Atticus failed her in a respect. I just love how she tells an honest story. It is full of bumps and pain and walking away. It's full of anger and learning to walk out grace. 

I will admit that it is very emotionally charged. At one point I had to set the book down and walk away. I think all of us book lovers feel like we let the Finch family into our family and loved them so. It hits you hard there in the middle, like a punch in the gut. I am not sure things were as bad as Scout seems to think in her story. We will never know. What I do know is that she was faced with a tragic emotional reckoning. She tells the story to show how she was wrong as well and confronts her own bigotry and sense of pride. It challenged me to walk things out with people I disagree with. 

I read it in one day as if it were my own life unfolding. 

Did you read it? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Your Sacred Yes. by Susie Larson

I enjoyed this book immensely. I reveled in much of it. Page by page, it not only taught me deep heart lessons about serving God exclusively, but it preached gospel truth into my weary soul. I cannot tell you how many times I stare into the face of situations I am dealing with and simply want someone to preach the gospel to me. There are many angry, self-righteous voices looming in the body of Christ. It is a beautiful reminder when something like this comes along. We only serve one Master. There is no need to let the opinions of others (or our own opinions) dictate our schedule how we deal with things in our life. What rest! What joy! Our God revels in grace and service to him. If he calls us to something, we must be all in, but we don't have to be that way with anything else. 

Gary Thomas wrote that Susie's book made him want to be a person who drinks from a deeper, quieter well. I agree. I have reevaluated so much. I have words underlined on nearly every page. We all feel this pressure to go where people are pulling us, but we have this divine gift of using our "no" to sanctify and protect our "yes." We can be on a life-giving path. We can resolve to refuse to go on any path with anybody where God is not directing us. Then we are free to dive in to the sacred journey Christ calls us to. 

This book was graciously provided by Bethany House Publishers for review.

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...