Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Trolls & Truth by Jimmy Dorrell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am a big fan of Jimmy’s work with the homeless. I’ve watched as he has grown Mission Waco into a big life-giving organization. I drive to his church once a quarter to serve tacos to the homeless. My hope is to catch a little of his humility and the way he gives dignity to the homeless, mentally ill, and special needs individual.

His book is more of the same. It’s full of simple stories that call out wealthy churches and complacent Christians to stand up for the least of these. It’s full of stories of people who began changing from being loved and accepted. Knowing these stories changes you. The common thought is that these people just need to get a job. Some of them do. Many more are unemployable. Mental illness and illness of other kinds has left them without an ability to work. This is where Jimmy will tell you to love everyone and do your best to do the best thing for them. Great read.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Steph Cherry (@heystephcherry) on

Monday, March 18, 2019

It's an Update Y'all.

One of my favorite stories I have ever read was by Corrie ten Boom. Most of you know the author of The Hiding Place. This story is in a lesser known work entitled In My Father's House. In it, Corrie tells her readers what shaped her into the woman that was able to faithfully serve those around her in the concentration camp. She tells of starting a large girls' club in her town and many other volunteer roles she undertook. She talks about the kind and purposeful way Papa ten Boom taught her to live. The thing that stuck out to me and has become a perpetual prayer of my life is her service in a hospital that specialized in special needs and mental health. She gives this place credit for teaching her how to be ready to love and share the gospel with anyone. She learned how the communicate the gospel and every story of Jesus in the most simple way so that anyone could understand while serving these people and she saw miracles. Later when she was in the concentration camp, she was able to speak plainly and calmly to women in panic. Many came to know Jesus there. She took her Father's teaching on relying on God, her sister's deeply grateful heart (You may remember her thanking God for the lice that kept the guards away), and the ability to articulate the gospel to the least of these and she became a prophet of the goodness of God in the darkest place most of us can imagine. She spoke life in hell. 

That has long been my own prayer. Don't let me piddle around leading a nice churchy life, Jesus. Train me and send me in. Teach me to speak to people with words that give dignity and life. Send me to the offensive. He has. He has been teaching me. He has been repeatedly putting my heart through the wine press using pressure to create beauty. He has led me into dark valleys. Where I used to know of people hurting, I now know people hurting. I am constantly asking Jesus to remove the things in me that make him hard to see. I keep asking to be sent out to serve. Send me to the homeless. Send me to Haiti. It has only fueled a fire to do more. Send me more. He is. I'm ready to go again. 

This whole thing has morphed into something more for me. We have been praying about breaking off from the people who run our non-profit and starting a new one. The vision is expanding. The call is expanding. My need to sit with and hug the people on the fringes is expanding. My intercession is expanding. 

At the end of last year, I wrote out some of the top ministry needs I have. This is probably 1/3 of our total needs, but they are what is on my heart. I went to Haiti for 10 days. That changed my life. I have been able to feed the homeless more than ever before (food is an excellent gateway to relationship and hugs). God has put around $11,000 of the $35,000 needed in our laps. He has given us clarity to our call and vision. Now, we are going to step out on faith and follow Jesus to the edges of society where I hope to learn to share the gospel in the most clear and dignifying way. Come with me. 

I am humbly asking for you to pray for us. Pray for protection. We walk in some dark places and come up against much warfare. Thank God for the money we have to start with and ask for the remainder. Pray that we hold on to the words he has spoken into our hearts. 

I am adding new items to my shop every day. I am always thankful for those of you that use your purchase for purpose in my Etsy store. Thank you.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Thrive in Retirement by Eric Thurman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Eric has done a great job putting together a holistic book on retirement. He challenges us from every possible angle. Most books about planning for retirement seem to only speak on money. This one goes far beyond that. Seeing my parents decline emotionally, relationally, and mentally has been hard for me to see. There are many things outlined here that would have helped the age better if they had followed them. Eric sets you up to know what is coming at you when you retire and be able to prepare for it. He delves into everything that creates a rich life and gives practical steps to achieve that end. I am 41 years old and I gleaned many good things from this book. I realized that I can implement many of these things now and coast on in to thriving in retirement. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Misfit Table by Tiffini Kilgore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have been following Tiffany on Instagram for years. I have been getting sneak peaks at her stories through her feed. I could tell that she has had a horrible battle with emotional abuse and disease. I have also been struck over and over by the power of the words she shared. This book was more of the same. It is a steady walk through abiding with God in the midst of pain. Her humility and vulnerability are freeing beyond what I can express. Her story is freedom. She gives voice to the inner voices we all fight and then she blows them up with God’s word. She is a warrior. We can follow her from trauma to joy in the pages of this book. It is never easy to loose the bonds of pain, but it is worth the bloody fight. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

I read The Last Suppers by Mandy Mikulencak

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have spent quite a bit of time in Huntsville, TX, home of executions in Texas. They moved the executions outside the city, but there is a heaviness that hangs in the air on execution day to me. Other people don’t seem to notice. I am not making a political stance. The whole situation is desperately sad. The types of turns your life must take to end up on death row are unimaginable to me. I am grieved for those left in the wake of it on every side.

When I saw this book at the DCA airport, I stared at it for a moment. It’s a novel about a woman who fought for the last suppers of death row inmates. The book is full of plot twists and thoughtful looks into the lives of the inmates and families surrounding them. The story is set in the 1950’s and shows the dark side of racism and the clan.

There is some alluded to sex and murder, but it isn’t overly descriptive. It tells a story I feel could be real. It not only shows you what is likely happening behind the scenes. The gift it gives is the ability to see past the label to the humanity of each person.

I was sitting in my mom’s house watching the news and reading this book. On the news was a story about an execution that day. The man executed was someone I knew growing up. It was a sobering twist to my reading.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Y'all. I read Girls' Club by Sally Clarkson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book made me happy to read. It encouraged me to start a girls’ club of my own with my three girls. The chapters are written in story form to share about the original girls’ club and how they carried the club into their grownup lives. Their girls’ clubs have included women all over the world as God has moved them.

I started focusing more on what I can do to instill this sense of sisterhood in my own girls. I have begun taking them each on dates and coordinating a girls’ club of my own.
It’s a great encouragement.

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...