Monday, February 28, 2011

Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski

Mike and Sam decided to leave their cozy college dorms to live a life of homelessness for five months. They traveled to five cities using the money the got panhandling. They slept under overpasses, in shelters, in parks, and always near the feces and urine left by the homeless community. They were shunned by Christian after Christian and accepted by a few. Praying for their daily bread took on a whole new meaning, as did their faith.

This book wrenched my gut. It made the humanity of these people seem desperately real to me. We like to categorize them and refuse to help because they are just going to buy drugs with our money anyway. That does not excuse us from kindness. Most of the people on the street suffer from deep mental illness and addiction. There is little to no hope of recovery. They are surrounded constantly by people just like them. There is little to hope for. We would all like to think that they could get a job and be just fine. The truth of the matter is that many of them have not attained the simple life skills to do this. Most come from abusive homes and have never had much if any help. These are things we cannot understand from our comfortable judgmental perch.

We must not deny basic kindness to the most needy. We must no longer avert our gaze from the eyes that are longing to find hope. Give them food. Take them to eat. Look at them with dignity and grace. Be kind. What is God calling you to do with this?

This book was graciously provided by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for review.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Walton's Fancy and Staple

I have a friend named Anne. I think she is walking poetry. She told me of a trip that she had to Sandra Bullock's second Austin eatery and I had to try it out. To put it mildly, I fell into food love. 

I went through the line and the first thing that caught my eye was this little bee cake. It had to be mine. Look at it's little fondant body and almond wings. So cute. We ate it.
 This was my foodie cohort (and dear friend), Emily. We shared all of our delicious fare and raved to one another. She got the fruit tart for desert. I was in too much of a food coma to get a picture by the time it arrived. It was delicious.
 Yummy coffee to cut the sweetness of the meal.
 Spicy Bird. My. My. My. If you like spicy, grab this bird. I thought it was amazing.
 I had never tasted the decadent goodness that is the Monte Cristo. This cake like bread holds between it the most amazing turkey, ham, and swiss you can imagine. It is dipped, deep fried, and sprinkled with powdered sugar. If you get right down to it, this is a gooey French toast sandwich and it is divine.
 Here was my other date, Maesyn.
 There is a small parking lot on the left if you are coming down sixth. It is just past Nueces. I give you this info because I missed it.
Here were some random shoes hanging from a power line downtown as I was driving home. 
Keep Austin Weird.

These are my boots I wore to Walton's. My husband ordered them for me for Valentine's. I think they are two totally different colors, but I am going to keep them. I grew up on a ranch, have lived in Texas all my life, have serious southern drawl, but I have never owned boots that were not stilettos. Look at me. Off on a new adventure . . . in boots.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gomer: The Wonder Years

Look at what a little drywall can do. The picture on the top was taken the day we viewed the house with the realtor and the second was taken last month. 

Sometimes, I wonder what on earth we were thinking by taking on this gigantic project. Then I remember that this was all God's doing and He has called us to do something we absolutely cannot do. We have been at this for two years. For a deeply organized person, living in the middle of constant remodel can give me a twitch. To keep myself going I make little pockets of sanity that I refuse to let get cluttered or disorganized. The inside of the microwave is very clean. Sometimes I open it simply to see something that is not covered in drywall dust. She's a gem. Come check it out. 

I have also been trying to put all of our rooms up in individual albums on our facebook page. That way you can see the progress of each room. Join our facebook page. See what we are doing.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

If by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Talk to me, Abba.

Open your heart to Me, beloved. I have much to share and give to you. Release your hold on the things you hold dear and follow my leading. This is not a time to build up your possessions. This is a time to lavish my love on those around you. Bring Christ to those around you. Build up my house. Bring it up outside the walls of the traditional church. Be Jesus where it is not comfortable. Do not worry about my provision in these matters. Trust Me.

For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.

-Hebrews 3:4

To find out more about this segment, see this post.

Monday, February 21, 2011

While The World Watched by Carolyn McKinstry

While The World Watched is a personal guide through the Civil Rights era by a woman who lost her four closest friends in a church bombing in Birmingham. This is a first hand account of what happened at that church that day and what it felt like to be a black teen during this time. She marched with and sat under the teaching of Dr. Martin Luther King. Narrowly escaping two bombings and losing those closest friends, she fell into depression and alcoholism which God delivered her from. This story is truly inspiring.

I was taken aback by the cruelty to black people as described in this book. Bombs went off around them all of the time. This was the first bomb to go off in a church. It killed four little girls, beheading one of them. As the congregants were outside in shock, white people in their Sunday best drove by laughing and singing, "2, 4, 6, 8, we don't want to segregate."

Emmit Till was tortured and tied to a seventy pound fan and thrown into a river for complimenting a white woman. When he was found, they did not even clean his body up before delivering him to his mother. She left the casket open so people could see what had been done to her son. A magazine ran an article describing the torture and they received death threats and hate mail. One person wrote in to say that is what had to be done to keep the negroes in their place.

There is much more than I can say. I was deeply touched reading Carolyn's personal account. It gave faces, names, and emotions to a story I was only mildly familiar with. What a testimony to the strength of a people to persevere and speak up. May we refuse to turn a blind eye to the atrocities around us today.

The sermon title on the sign outside the day of the bombing was from the book of Luke.
"Father, forgive them. 
They know not what they do."

This book was graciously provided by Tyndale Publishers for review.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Crepes a la Mode

This Saturday would be my brother Mike's fortieth birthday. Instead of grieving the loss of my brothers, we have started a new tradition at the Cherry house. We have cookies for breakfast on Clint's birthday and Crepes a la mode for Mike's birthday. My daughter loves it...and my husband overlooks the fact that I give my daughter major amounts of sugar for breakfast twice a year. It helps me heal. 

Since his birthday and the anniversary of his death are just days apart, I have vowed to always be with my mom during this time every year. My goal is to help her have fun and celebrate his memory. He was always so fun. He reminds me of a handsome, charming Bill Murray. He was so witty and warm. 

My mom, my three year old, and I are all going to go get mani/pedis. We are going to have a big celebration dinner, take a lovely drive to see my aunt, go shopping, and eat more! We will probably squeeze in a cry or two as well, but they will be tempered by the great and lavish love of God that swept my brother home. I was driving in my car the day he died and God told me it was okay the minute he died. Only God can reassure our hearts in such away. God prepared my heart and told me he was going to pass away before we even knew anything was wrong with him. God has been gracious to prepare my heart for this journey. 

Take a minute today and LOVE what you got.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gomer: Resurrection

 Denbigh and Joel built this ceiling where there was a big ugly gaping hole to the duct work and the third floor. I must say I am pretty impressed. When is the last time your man built a ceiling? 
 Here is what generally happens after work days. Laomai passes out. She goes 110 mph all day long and then crashes. A few weeks ago we had to take everything out of every room so we could insulate. All of this stuff ended up in the conservatory, my studio/office. Just so you can see what I am up against, I have included a pic for you to see. Most of the stuff has come back out. See below what I am left to put away. Pray for me. Also, I am room by room trying to clean little tufts of insulation out from under chairs and in every corner. Say a little prayer for my sanity. I keep listening to Charlie Hall's Mystery. It says, "sweet Jesus Christ, my sanity." Amen.

 Here are some pics of the tomfoolery that occurs here during the day.
 I got up on a ladder and helped my man hang that top sheet of drywall. I must say, I am pretty impressed with myself. It's great to see the brown getting covered and radiant light emerging. 
My man and I are feeling led to start a church (apart from our house church). I must say that this is a testament to God's healing because after enduring abuse by a church leader, I wasn't sure that I would want to do this again. That really upset me because I have loved church all of my life. It had been the only place I felt safe for most of my life. I want to help make a safe place for people to come to meet Jesus. Here we go on another wild adventure. Church planting. Home Schooling. House Restoring. Retreat Having. Worship Leading. Traveling. Crazy people for Jesus.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Talk to me, Abba.

You know that I am for you. My desire is for you. You belong to Me. Tell yourself this repeatedly. Remember that you are Mine. Rest in that. As I choose paths unfamiliar and seemingly uncertain. You are secure in My guidance. You are tucked tenderly under My wing. Trust Me. I AM good. Taste My goodness.

"I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
   and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
   and the parched ground into springs."

-Isaiah 41:18
For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Becoming A Woman of Influence by Carol Kent

Carol Kent is telling us a story. Her story is how to shape the lives of those around us with with words and kindness. She gives many illustrations of how we can profoundly impact people with simple notes, prayers, and by mentoring.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It gave me great encouragement to continue to pour out into others and some new tactics to be able to reach people. I personally learned about asking good questions to get to the heart of a matter and how to tell a story that communicates truth. Story is often less intimidating and easily received than just spouting Bible verses at people. It also encourages people to open up to you, encouraging intimacy and fellowship. Kudos, Carol Kent. You have inspired me to press on with the love. 

This book was graciously provided by NavPress Publishers.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Steamy Lovers Espresso Mousse

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you who love covenant! I saw this recipe on KXAN and thought it would be a perfect Valentine's Day treat. Enjoy. Share the love.

Steamy Lovers Espresso Mousse 

Yields 6 servings 

2/3 cup steaming hot milk 
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (use higher quality chocolate for best results) 
1 egg (or ¼ cup egg substitute) 
2 tablespoons sugar 
Pinch of salt 
1 ounce espresso 
Whipped cream 
Chocolate shavings

In a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring milk to the steaming point, just until the milk starts to stick to the sides. Remove from heat and set aside. In a blender, add chocolate chips, egg, sugar, salt and espresso. Blend ingredients on low while slowly adding hot milk. Blend 1 more minute until mixture is smooth. Pour mixture into 6 demitasse cups or small bowls. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings to serve.
See the original segment.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gomer: Frosty the Hole Digger

You thought we were crazy when we moved to the middle of nowhere to restore a 5,500 square foot house. We're not the only ones. Andy and Stephen Faught came to our house last week to dig holes in the freezing weather. It's bad enough inside the house because of it not being fully insulated. These crazy guys came to work the snow. They even worked under the house where there is no sun to deflect the chill. Our neighbor Eddie showed up to get in on the fun as well. 

"What on earth are these mad men doing?" They are saving us fifteen thousand dollars. That is what it would cost for a company to level our house. They are digging holes and filling them with concrete for greater stability. It's really fascinating.

Lots of other things have been occurring here as well. Drywall is going up. Electrical boxes. Fountains hanging. Ceilings put up. Keep checking in on all of our pictures.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

If You Yell, You Lose.

Around my house, we try to live by a principle to not yell at or get frustrated at our children. I did not come out of a household like this and it is very important for me to make sure my children feel safe and loved. I have always thought that yelling was a character flaw. It reveals a weakness and a desire to control someone else. I am not trying to control my children, I am trying to reveal Christ to them and pray that they embrace Him. Do I want them to behave well? Of course. I do not want them to grow up and be well-behaved people with black hearts. 

As I was reading a parenting book, I came to the realization that if your kids get you to yell in any situation, they have just won the battle. They have exercised power to get you to change your demeanor. That led me to a phrase I say every day. "If you yell, you lose." I want to be a winner, friends. I have even had to unfortunately repeat this to myself in dealing with some adults. 

We also pray the fruit of the Spirit quite a bit around here. Self-control is a powerful gift of the Spirit that enables us to do the very things we want to do in the first place. Love. Be joyful. Be peaceful. Be patient. Be kind. Be good. Be faithful. Be gentle. 
(See Galatians 5:22-23)
If you yell, you lose.

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...