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Showing posts from 2020

Let Justice Roll Down by John Perkins

View this post on Instagram Several years ago I sat in a small auditorium in OKC learning how to bring reconciliation among classes and races. We learned to bring healing by giving place to people who have no place. We alleviate pain by offering a spot in our very lives. There were and are so many things I will never be able to wrap my mind around. I wept learning about the fatherless generations and the pain that has been caused. As John Perkins spoke over us that day, I grew to love him. He has been through terror and pain and left safety to share the gospel. He didn’t scream at us or tell us how angry he was. He spoke of such forgiveness that it gripped my heart. You can read his story here. He made a choice to make the heart of the racist white man his mission field and I will forever be grateful for his example of forgiveness. #675 #bookstagram A post shared by Steph Cherry (@heystephcherry) on Aug 20, 2020 at 8:29am PDT

We Carry Kevan by Kevan Chandler

View this post on Instagram I might just love Kevan now. I did not have a single clue what this was about besides these guys carrying a man in a backpack across Europe. Upon opening the book, I saw that the forward was written by one of my favorite authors, Andrew Peterson. He had carried Kevan around the Warren and become a mentor to him .   The more I read, the more I loved this adventure and these men. The sacrifice it must have taken to carry someone for 3 weeks through huge crowds and up steep cliffs. It’s beautiful. I found out that Kevan loves Jesus and had been studying the servant’s heart in John during this journey. What a powerful picture of that idea literally carrying someone is. There are amazing details about places he traveled in the book. One of my favorites was when he traveled to the Peter Pan statue and told the stories of how green parakeets escaped from a pet store 30 years ago. Those birds turned into a flock

The Story Garden: Playhouse Remodel

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View this post on Instagram One of my mom goals has been to create spaces that spark the imagination for my children. I used to only read theology books, but I came across a quote years ago that opened up my thinking. I can't tell it to you verbatim or who said it. The gist of it is that imagination is what helps us conceive of heaven and all of the wonders of God. Without it, we make God dull and formulaic. Peter Pan shows us how rare adults with wonder are. My hope is that my kids hold tightly to imagination and carry it with them into adulthood. {Blog link in profile} A post shared by Steph Cherry (@heystephcherry) on Aug 3, 2020 at 9:04am PDT One of my mom goals has been to create spaces that spark the imagination for my children. I used to only read theology books, but I came across a quote years ago that opened up my thinking. I can't tell it to you verbatim or who said it. The gist of it is that imagination is w

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

View this post on Instagram I picked up this book at an estate sale. Take all you want she said. I’ve been thinking about this woman who owned this book. I’ve wondered about her life. I’ve wondered about her family and I whispered a little prayer for them. She had a lovely settee and a popcorn ceiling and two mink coats. Apparently I own one now. I looked through her jewelry and missed my grandma. The book has an old smell that reminds me of my grandparents home. And the words. The words are the most honest I’ve read in a long time. Pages 156-159 are ripped. It’s during the running of the bulls in Pamplona. I’m sure it’s all tied together. Reading about the fury of the torero must have gotten the best of her. It’s sexy and it’s sad. Ernest was a brilliant, vibrant, selfish, mentally ill fellow. Hadley I grew quite fond of. Now, I’ve told you everything about the book and nearly nothing at all. #bookstagram A post shared by Steph C

The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey

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The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey My rating: 3 of 5 stars The Crushing Depths is a murder mystery set in the deep blue sea. It was a compelling story about a Coast Guard Investigation into a death on an oil rig. Many sub plots developed and more crimes needed to be solved. A helicopter crash into the ocean at night started this book off and kept me from sleeping. There was a lot of drama from the oil company and protestors. It was high energy. I enjoyed the story. I am not much of a romance reader, but I just overlooked all of the hand brushing and buff bod talk and stuck to the story. The Christian references seemed a bit awkward, but I went with that too. All in all it was an entertaining read. View all my reviews  on GoodReads

Stand All the Way Up by Sophie Hudson

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Stand All the Way Up: Stories of Staying In It When You Want to Burn It All Down by Sophie Hudson My rating: 5 of 5 stars Sophie has a calm, direct way of speaking that is nurturing to me. She tells stories that are lessons, but you would never know it. I read her book shortly after my brother died and the portion on her grief and losing her mama got me. Her humor always lifts my soul. The comical lens she shares her common stories through help me see the humor in my own life. Read it. I wanted to applaud her humility and grief over racism in Alabama and frustration with church. I feel like she wrote a book to us today over a year ago. Kudos, Southern Diva. You make us all proud. View all my reviews

Prayer of Agur by Jay Payleitner

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I read a book. I realize I have shocked you all. This particular book landed in my lap at an opportune time and seemed to fall right in line with every other book God has been using to talk me through grief lately. It fell right in line with the last 5 books I have read over the past month. This is not a shout out type of book review. This is how I saw the Lord speaking to me through another man's words during a time of pain. I do not want to sound like a broken record, but I have lost 18 people in my family is the last 17 years. My remaining brother passed away recently just weeks after my husband's brother passed away suddenly. Grief from all of the compound loss made me feel like I had been run over by a truck. Compound that with all of the things that have gone viral in our nation of late and I was needy to hear from God. The first three lines of Proverbs 30 made me need to catch my breath. I am weary, God, I kept repeating it in my head before I moved on to the nex

Reading, Restoration, and Grief

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There are stages of grief. I think I may be in them all simultaneously. Denbigh pointed out that we have lost 18 people in our family in 17 years of marriage. That seems unfathomable and could account for why I feel like I have been run over by a truck. It's been a hard road. Sometimes grief is a deep loss of a person. Sometimes it is the aftershocks of the mess a person caused with what they left behind. Sometimes we grieve the relationship that was never fully realized in life because of alcohol or drugs or mental illness. Sometimes we mourn the life we could have had without abuse. It's been a mixed bag of the torturous and the beautiful for me personally. I found myself 20 feet in the air asking God a simple question after my third brother passed away recently. What are we going to do with it all? Where are we going from right here? Over a decade ago, I was reading Ron Hall's book The Same Kind of Different as Me. Ron had a gallery close to my grandparents in Ft.

The Neglected C.S. Lewis by Mark Neal & Jerry Root

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The Neglected C.S. Lewis: Exploring the Riches of His Most Overlooked Books by Mark Neal My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is one of those books that you read and feel like you have a mountain of homework in order to understand everything in it. Outside of Lewis' fiction and apologetic work, he has mounds of works that are largely overlooked. He is a man full of thoughtful opinions about the works of others. I have found some new books by other authors to read that he wrote about. The thing that has stuck with me from this book is how important reading widely is. Reading takes us into the thought and hearts of others and gives a clear-eyed view into the plight of another. Given our current rioting, I can see how important it is to figuratively peer into the window of another man's house. We can see things and move on the behalf of others because we have developed a sense of care. "Reading at the level Lewis advocates is a yearning for connection and clarity, to imagin

The German Heiress

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The German Heiress by Anika Scott My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is an interesting and different view of WW2 from the vantage point of the German business owners and citizens who were threatened to comply with Hitler’s army. I had a bit of trouble getting going with this story. I’m not sure if I didn’t like what was happening or if the beginning didn’t flow to me. After I paced my way through those initial pages, the story ramped into high gear. I don’t want to issue any spoilers, but I was overwhelmed to see how the war had such an effect on everyone around. It was incredibly easy for people to be killed simply because someone said they were involved in a crime against the Reich. Businesses were forced to comply and use forced labor. After the war, people were left to live in bombed out houses and were in fear of the people who came to rescue them from the Nazi regime. I read that this debut novel was meticulously researched. I couldn’t find what our author researched. I do

A Holy Hush : Silence is Healing

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It's a gray day here. Gray days cause a quiet hush to fall on the land. They feel like tears. They aren't sad tears per se. I call them tears of presence. When a time of quiet comes and I can hear the gentle voice of the Lord, my eyes tend to water. It's a washing away of sorts. That meek and wild voice of God destroys old things and propagates new ones simply by speaking. Even though the exact words that he is saying are not always understood by us, we feel it. It reverberates deep within. The holy hush falls upon us and we are changed. I heard Makoto Fujimura say that our churches will need new wine skins for our new wine after this pandemic. The world will be different. We will all be different. We will seek the Lord more desperately. I think we will all need new wine skins to hold the fermented fruit of this season. God has drawn us away from the business of life and invited us into his quiet, contemplative presence. That has changed us. We are remembering to enjo

The Simple Folk

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I have been wanting to go to Bob Goff's  Dream Big  seminar for years, but the $3500 price tag was a huge deterrent to me. When I saw that he was opening up an online version for $200 during our quarantine, I immediately purchased it. I have to tell you that I am so glad I did it this way.  He tells you that if you go through the questions too quickly to do them again because you haven't thought deeply enough about your answers. Friends, I have spent three weeks in the introduction and I have cried quite a bit. I wasn't expecting this at all. I thought I'd go through this and formulate a plan to best help homeless people in my community and maybe learn to be more hospitable to those around me. I've never been a person who wants to follow their dreams or dream big. I just like to follow Jesus around. He's doing crazy stuff and it is absolutely wild to be in cahoots with Him.  Here's what I didn't expect: When asked what my dream was, I had t