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Monday, November 13, 2017

Stones of Remembrance by Daniel G. Amen

I originally found interest in this book because all year long I keep hearing and seeing the word "remember" every where I go. Remember. I have been on a mission to remember the things God has done for me and those I love. I did not initially realize that this little is a companion to a book entitled Memory Rescue. The timing of me reading this book hit me pretty hard as I sat in the neurologist's office with my dad for his dementia that is progressing. It is truly one of the hardest things I have dealt with. It's hard loving someone so much and being able to do nothing to help them. If my help involves change for him of any kind, he doesn't want my help at all. It's a deep ache to miss people who are not missing from you physically.

As this disease progresses, I feel like I need to read everything I can to help me transition to this next phase of life. It seems like that angst of having your first child. I have no idea what I am stepping into and want to be prepared as possible. I'm thankful for all of the people who have gone before me into this wild unknown. I am grateful for those who have left guidebooks so that the journey does not feel so lonely.

This book is small. It has just a few simple pages on the brain and a lot of scripture to deal with what our brain throws at us. As I read through the pages, I felt conviction and great hope. It's something I could easily see myself tucking in my purse or at my bedside table to read again and again.

I have not read the book that this is a companion to, but this book was encouraging and gave battle verses for life in the unknown. Memory Rescue is on my wish list. I recently ordered another book that the Neurologist recommended called 36 Hour Day. It's about caring for people with Alzheimer's and Dementia.

This book was graciously provided by Tyndale House Publishing for Review.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Miscarriage | Infertility | Hope : My Story

I was recently asked to write a story of my journey through miscarriage and infertility for the Trying Collective. I thought I would share it here as well for anyone who might be hurting. 

Stephanie's Story

November 9, 2017

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 there. I did not always know or understand what he wanted of me, but I knew I was wanted. We could go through all of the pain and abuse of my life and unpack each tiny detail, but that is not what this is really about. I love what Frederick Buechner said, “Pain is not the biggest thing that has ever happened to you.” That is true. I have beheld far greater glory. As I clung to his word through all of this, I knew he was there.

My story about trying begins long before I began trying to have children. I tell you this because almost half of the population has been abused in some way. The attack on my uterus began when I was four-years-old. I spent most of my life believing that I was broken and I was crippled by shame. I carried that shame into every relationship I had. As I encountered people in the church, I never felt safe enough to ask for prayer or help. I could hear in their words shame heaped upon shame, even when they were trying to seem compassionate. I simply could not bear even one more ounce of shame.

Through all of this,... read more

Saturday, November 04, 2017

When Did Everybody Else Get So Old by Jennifer Grant

Y'all know I am forty. I often forget that this age is middle-aged. I picked this book out of the review queue and thought it would be interesting to prepare for the future. As I was reading, I realized that I have or am living all of the things in this book. In many ways it was helpful and encouraging. In many ways I thought it was WEIRD and preached capital T Terrible doctrine. Here's my two cents.

Jennifer talks about why teenagers make fun of us, rebel against us, and detach from us. That is always helpful to remember because it helps us to engage the issue instead of reacting to it. She didn't give much help in the engaging area however. She also dealt with how our kids make fun of us as a way to build their independence and prove themselves separate from us.That can be helpful in affirming our children's individualism. 

Really this was a strange group of essays that formed a memoir. She went from wearing glasses that her kids said look like Elton John, to losing her addict sister, to being cremated, to being Episcopalian. The part about her sister was interesting. She shares a little list of what not to say to people who are grieving. When someone loses a family member that is an addict they also grieve their life and loss of relationship. It's a grief doubled.

At the very last chapter, she lost me completely. She went on this strange rant about verses used in the Bible to clobber others. Ones that preached repentance and justice. She said that she thought everyone gets to go to heaven. Honestly, I think she took those "clobber verses" and hit people who believe in repentance and our need to be forgiven by a Holy God with them. It was some of the worst theology I've read in a while. 

That leaves me to tell you that I do not recommend this book. 

This book was graciously provided by Herald Press for review.



Wednesday, November 01, 2017

I read A Crazy, Holy Grace by Frederick Buechner

This was the second book in a set of previously unpublished lectures by Frederick Buechner. The first one I read I loved the whole way through. It spoke to me page after page. This one was good and thought provoking until the middle. Then It lost me.

You can read about the other things I loved in this book here: http://www.stephaniecherry.com/2017/10/off-book-stack-remarkable-ordinary-by.html

The first part was all about remembering. That hit me because that's a bit of a buzz word in my prayer life. I think often of the stones of remembrance in Joshua. I often go back through prayer journals to remember what God has done for me and ask him to do it again. He told a story about a dream he had where he was in a hotel. He wanted to find his way back to the room he was in the night before and couldn't. He asked to front desk clerk how to get to that room and the clerk told him that he only needed to know the name to return there. The name of the room was "remember."

Now, the second half lost me altogether. These lectures were originally spoken so I don't know if they lost something without the emphasis of human voice. Perhaps I was reading it wrong. It seemed to me like he was saying he was summoning his dead grandmother to have a conversation with. I couldn't figure out if this was real or he was imagining it. All I know is that it came across incredibly weird.

That leaves me to not want to recommend this book to you. If you read it, perhaps you can share your thoughts on the latter half with me.