Getting to know . . . Rick Stuckwisch.

HRMS front coverEmmanuel Press and I asked the Rev. Dr. D. Richard Stuckwisch to write a pastoral response to the chapters of He Restores My Soul that will appear at the end of the book. His words of wisdom are such a help to me personally. I pray that they will be a help to you as well.


Describe a normal day in the life of Pastor Stuckwisch:

Not sure there is such a thing! But many of my days include e-mail correspondence, phone calls and pastoral visits, reading and study for myself, and reading aloud to my children. I listen to music on my computer and in my car, multi-tasking all the way. Several times a week I’m gathered with Emmaus for daily prayer or Divine Service, and most of my days conclude with a glass of wine with my wife, LaRena.

What three words best describe your personality?

Analytical. Introspective. Shy.

Who do you go to for advice?

Depends on the particular topic, but I probably consult with my wife more than any one other person. I’ve got several go-to guys for computer related questions, all of them friends and members of the congregation. I’ll talk to my married adult children to get their perspective on many aspects of life, because I admire and appreciate their insights, and I enjoy talking to them anyway. There are a handful of colleagues that I rely upon for pastoral conversation and pastoral care for myself.

What do you like to read?

I like history and theology, and I’ve enjoyed various books on personality, psychology, and sociology, though I have to filter those latter selections pretty carefully and consistently. I probably read as much or more fantasy-fiction for my own entertainment as anything else. But one of my foremost passions in life is reading aloud to my children, and that really runs the gamut of children’s literature and young adult fiction.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I’m still trying to figure that out! I can hardly imagine being anything else other than a pastor, honestly. But there are days when I wonder how my life would differ if I had followed the advice and encouragement of my high school guidance counselors, who suggested that I should be an actuary. At one point I seriously considered the military academies (West Point or Annapolis), but I’m glad I didn’t go that route.

Beverage of choice?

Give me a hazelnut latte or a regular unsweetened ice tea during the day, a good dark beer or a glass of Riesling in the evening.

Mac or PC?

PC all the way.

What do you want to eat when your wife is cooking? 

She makes so many good things, and I’ve never been a picky eater. I do enjoy several of her casseroles, and she makes a great homemade pizza.

Confirmation verse?

“My Peace I leave with you, My Peace I give unto you; not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (St. John 14:27).

Which song do you hum the most?

No way I could nail that down to a single song! My life runs to a pretty varied soundtrack, and music of all kinds is a constant in the background. I love good Lutheran hymnody, so that sometimes becomes my earworm. But I also enjoy country, pop, rock, and heavy metal, so it really depends on my mood and the circumstances at any given time. I more likely to sing along than to hum a tune on my own, but Shinedown is my go-to band more often than not.

If you could name the hero of a fiction book, he would be called:

I’d have to have a particular story in mind to think of an appropriate name. But I did get to name eleven of the heroes in my own non-fiction story: DoRena, Zachary, Nicholai, Monica, Ariksander, Oly’Anna, Justinian, Frederick, Gerhardt, Job, and Katharina.

What is your superpower?

My wife, our children, and our growing number of grandbabies!

What is your Kryptonite?

My grandbabies! They’ve had me wrapped around their fingers before they could even say hello!

How do you use hymns in your daily life?

I often turn to them for inspiration and comfort, and I find myself drawing on their words in my preaching and pastoral care. They are an important part of our family catechesis and daily prayer, as well. But they come to life, for me, in the Divine Service and daily prayer with the congregation.

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

I like mountain views and ocean scenes, though I’m not a terribly adventurous traveler! Honestly, the scene I love the best is pulling up to the homes of my faraway children, which would look pretty nondescript to almost anyone else.

Shoe of choice?

Basic cross-trainers. I’m not devoted to any particular brand.

Favorite movie villain?

Hannibal Lector, maybe? I’m normally not a big fan of the villain!  Recently, though, I was impressed with Thanos in the Avengers: Infinity War. He outshone the heroes in that one. Darth Vader was impressive back in the day. Voldemort makes a great villain, but he could never be my “favorite” anything.

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

Boy, that’s a tough one. There’s a dozen or more that I turn to with regularity. I don’t know that I have any one favorite. If I don’t have to narrow it down to one, I’d list at least Psalms 8, 16, 19, 23, 29, 51, 67, 84, 91, 96, 98, 116, 121, 127, and 130. But that’s already 10% of the Psalter!

What is your part in this book?

I had the privilege of responding to the profound stories of these brave and courageous women with the Word and promises of the Lord, in the hopes that they and their readers might be comforted by the Gospel, encouraged in their callings, and strengthened in their faith.


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.

Getting to know . . . Mollie Hemingway.

HRMS front coverMollie Hemingway is an award-winning journalist, political analyst, contributor to Fox News, and — wait for it — pastor’s kid.

She is also a contributing author to He Restores My Soul.


Describe a normal day in the life of Mollie Hemingway:

Get up, check Twitter, answer emails, return calls, interview people, prepare for TV shows, drive children around, write until the wee hours, get to bed.

What three words best describe your personality?

Loyal, goofy, determined

Who do you go to for advice?

My mother, my husband, my best friend

What do you like to read?

Books on political philosophy

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Relaxed, organized, helpful

Beverage of choice?

Tequila or coffee, depending on the hour

What do you want to eat when Mom is cooking? 

POPCORN

Confirmation verse?

Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

Which song do you hum the most?

The Te Deum

What is your superpower?

Making my foes angry

What is your Kryptonite?

Bad smells

How do you use hymns in your daily life?

My friends regularly host hymn-sings, and I like to hum my favorite tunes and meditate on my favorite verses — usually not the same ones.

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

The view from the top of a 14,000-foot mountain

Shoe of choice?

All of them

Favorite movie villain?

Hans Gruber

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

141, probably

What is your chapter about?

Challenges associated with vocations in the public square


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.

Getting to know . . . Julia Habrecht.

HRMS front coverJulia Habrecht, contributing author to He Restores My Soul, used to be the Head of Exhibitions at the Toledo Museum of Art. Now she’s a wife, mother, and headmaster of the largest classical Lutheran school in the nation. The woman obviously did not peak in high school.


Describe a normal day in the life of Ms. Habrecht:

Now that the school year is starting, I rise early so I can leave the house as soon as possible to take advantage of at least an hour of uninterrupted time before faculty devotions at 7:50. By 8:20 the entire staff and student body are confessing the Apostle’s Creed and reciting the Lord’s Prayer together. The rest of the work day could be filled with visiting classrooms, chatting with parents, students, and staff, substitute teaching, administering first aid, responding to email, preparing for meetings, and hopefully enjoying a visit from my son. At some point around 5 PM I wonder where the day went. Hopefully a teacher is free to join our family for a delicious dinner prepared by my husband. After books and the first round of devotions, I spend some one-on-one time with my son singing and saying additional prayers before he goes to bed. My husband and I try to catch up on the day before deciding it’s our bedtime too.

What three words best describe your personality?

Nurturing, generous, and serious

Who do you go to for advice?

My husband, my parents (Dad is an LCMS Pastor), brother, sister-in-law, and a few dear friends (you know who you are!)

What do you like to read?

Current selections on my desk and nightstand include: History of Art for Young People (Janson), Lutheran Education (Korcock), Wise Blood (O’Conner), Thank, Praise, Serve and Obey (Weedon), and Ideas Have Consequences (Weaver)

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Director of a world class art museum

Beverage of choice?

In the mornings: black coffee

During teacher parties: any gin cocktail mixed by my husband

Mac or PC?

Mac. Trying to use a PC is an exercise in frustration.

What do you want to eat when Mom is cooking? 

Veal parmigiana (my go-to birthday dinner as a child) or any of her pasta dishes

Confirmation verse?

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Which song do you hum the most?

I’m usually humming the hymn of the week the students are learning or whatever is playing on Lutheran Public Radio.

If you could name the heroine of a fiction book, she would be called:

Esther Beck

What is your superpower?

Seeing the potential in people

What is your Kryptonite?

Comic book references

How do you use hymns in your daily life?

The more hymn-singing the better. A great day includes singing with the faculty, hearing ILS students share the faith through song, congregational worship, and playing hymns on the piano in the evening.

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

The canals and piazzas of Venice or Florence or beautiful Lake Michigan

Shoe of choice?

Hunter rain boots — a must have while standing in the rain during school carpool.

Favorite movie villain?

Robert De Niro

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

I recite Psalm 23 every night to my son before he goes to bed.

What is your chapter about?

The tension between caring for my son and caring for the many other neighbors God has given me to love.


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.

Getting to know . . . Rebecca Mayes.

HRMS front coverRebecca Mayes, contributing author to He Restores My Soul, is petite, quiet, and reserved. Except for when she’s not. Her wit and humor are larger than life. They bowl you over, pin you to the floor, and tickle your feet until you can no longer remember what it was that made you sad in life.


Describe a normal day in the life of Mrs. Mayes:

Before the boys get up, I do devotions and then go for a bike ride. When I get back, I do piano with Jonathan, then devotions with both boys. I work with Jonathan on his other subjects, periodically checking in with Caleb on his [homeschool] work. When the boys are working independently, I jump in the shower. Before lunch I prep for the classes I tutor by preparing lesson plans, translating Latin, or doing Logic flashcards. After lunch I read to the boys for a half hour. Afternoons include making a grocery list, baking, laundry, shopping, helping with more school assignments, playing games with the boys, or catching up on emails. After supper Ben and I have been watching the Harry Potter movies in German while I iron or we fold laundry together. I try and get in some reading, too, before bed.

What three words best describe your personality?

My husband says that I am sincere, caring, and matter-of-fact.

Who do you go to for advice?

My husband and parents.

What do you like to read?

Classic literature and non-fiction (topics on parenting, health, education, etc.)

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Wiser

Beverage of choice?

Sparkling lemon-flavored water or a glass of Merlot.

Mac or PC?

PC

What do you want to eat when Mom is cooking? 

Queso dip and fried, fresh fish.

Confirmation verse?

Psalm 23:4

If you could name the heroine of a fiction book, she would be called:

Katharine

What is your superpower?

Beating Ben Mayes at ping pong.

What is your Kryptonite?

Hormones

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

Mountains, water, and evergreens.

Favorite movie villain?

Severus Snape

What is your chapter about?

My chapter features the inner thoughts of a woman who has left behind a homosexual lifestyle and is now part of a loving church family. Based on personal interviews, this story recounts the woman’s journey as she is guided by faithful, Christian friends to receive Christ’s forgiveness and live a new life — a life rich and blessed, even under the cross of continued temptation.


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.

Getting to know . . . Kristin Wassilak.

HRMS front coverThe most appropriate way to read this interview with Deaconess Kristin Wassilak, contributing author to He Restores My Soul and reigning Greatest Listener on the Planet, is with a glass of full-bodied red wine in hand.


Describe a normal day in the life of Deac. Wassilak:

Up at 5 AM, coffee, devotion, off to the dog park, get ready, work, evening with family, walk the dogs, work out whenever works for that day, asleep by 10 PM

What three words best describe your personality?

Empathetic, goofy, serious

Who do you go to for advice?

My husband and my best friends

What do you like to read?

Thrillers and novels written by authors with a sense of humor and irony

Beverage of choice?

Full-bodied red wine

Mac or PC?

PC

Confirmation verse?

John 8:31-32

Which song do you hum the most?

I’m not a spontaneous hummer.

If you could name the heroine of a fiction book, she would be called:

Jane Eyre. Oh, is that one taken?

How do you use hymns in your daily life?

I have the privilege of singing hymns every day in chapel at Concordia University Chicago and hearing them practiced by student and faculty organists all day. They are what I hum most of the time, but otherwise, I’m not a spontaneous hummer. 😉

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

Water, mountains, and forests

Shoe of choice?

Hiking sandals

Favorite movie villain?

Hard to choose! Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) in Die Hard or Johnnie Aysgarth (Cary Grant) in Suspicion or Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban) in the original series and Star Trek II.

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

Psalm 34

What is your chapter about?

Christ doing and thinking for me what I cannot do or think for myself (i.e. everything)


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.

Getting to know . . . Christina Roberts.

HRMS front coverKantor Christina Roberts, contributor to He Restores My Soul, has a Zimbelstern, and she knows how to use it.


Describe a normal day in the life of Kantor Roberts:

6:30 – I begrudgingly get out of bed and enjoy the cup of coffee my undeservedly-kind husband poured for me ten minutes earlier so that it would be at exactly the deliciously warm, but not-too-hot, temperature I love.

7:45 – Attempt, with varying levels of success, to get my five children and their stuff out the door and to our Lutheran school where as a staff we (my husband is one of our teachers) sing, pray, and hear God’s Word together before the student body arrives.

8:30  – Once the building is teeming with children we gather again for more singing, praying, and hearing.

9:00 – I usually sneak back home to squeeze in a run or bike ride, shower, and throw something in the slow cooker for supper.

10:30 – Settle into my office to plan and practice the music for our church and school.

1:00 – Teach music classes, band, and choir to K-8 students, and every once in awhile pop across the hall to flirt with the 7th/8th grade teacher.  It’s cool, he likes me, too.

3:30 – We work with one of the most amazing staves of people (that’s how you make staff plural in music, so surely it works here, too, yes?), and after school I love hanging out on the front step of the building to chat it up with them. They constantly remind me of the importance of delivering Jesus to these little ones that surround us. Then, sometimes, we all go get our sweat on with a good workout.

4:00-7:30 – The late afternoon and evening hours are typically filled with a blur of homework, drama practices, basketball, taekwondo, swimming, library trips, choir rehearsals, house work, and meetings.

7:30 – Read-aloud time with our five children. It’s the best. We snuggle, laugh, discuss how we would act, enrich vocabulary, develop inside jokes, and nurture our own relationships with good fiction as our tool.

8:00 – More praying, singing, and hearing as we close our day and tuck our not-so-little-anymore ones into bed.

8:30 – After the children (finally) get settled for the night, my beloved and I spend a couple of hours just chatting, working around the house together, watching a show, sipping an IPA or glass of wine with a good piece of chocolate, and reading. Then we lie down and sleep for the Lord faithfully makes us dwell in safety and rise to His new mercies every morning.

What three words best describe your personality?

Zealous, self-deprecating, devout. (I let my sister pick, see below.)

Who do you go to for advice?

My husband, my sister, and my pastor.

What do you like to read?

My reading log is filled with a good deal of literary fiction, as well as some mystery, fantasy, historical, and science fiction. My friends and I used to blog our way through classic literature, and although they don’t work their way onto my nightstand as frequently, good books of the past are still the rule I use to measure what I love about reading. I also dig a good nonfiction, especially those that are both practical and philosophical as they deal with issues like time-management, organization, achieving productive and meaningful work, parenting, and finding beauty in this busy and distracted world.

Beverage of choice?

Margarita.

Mac or PC?

I use a PC, but I’m partial to a bullet journal and a set of nice pens and pencils.

What do you want to eat when Mom is cooking? 

Vegetables from her huge and gorgeous garden.

Confirmation verse?

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

Which song do you hum the most?

Whatever one I last heard.

If you could name the heroine of a fiction book, she would be called:

Joy

How do you use hymns in your daily life?

Hymns are pretty much my job description. I pray them, I teach them, I practice them, I compose them, I interpret them, I study them, I struggle with them, and I adore them. Meanwhile, they instruct me, they shape my curriculum, they move my hands and feet, they fill my heart, they dominate my earworms, they bring me peace, they remind me who I am, and they connect me to the people around me.

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

A sparkling green field of young corn framed by windmill-dotted sandhills and the full spectrum of colors available in a Nebraska sunrise or -set.

Shoe of choice?

Danskos. Everyday. All day. (Okay, fine, I don’t run in them. For that, there’s Brooks Adrenaline GTS.)

Favorite movie villain?

Here’s how I’m super-awkward at parties: I don’t remember anything about any movie I’ve ever seen.

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

I have the huge advantage of having the Psalms ever in front of me for work, which saves me the decision-fatigue of figuring out which ones I need most. Instead, the Lord, through the lectionary of the Church, assigns me parts of His own hymnbook.

What is your chapter about?

Jesus. At least I pray His presence is what dominates as I share the struggles of being a church musician fighting against despair, fatigue, doubt, and anxiety. I hope the chapter is ultimately an unveiling of the joy that Christ has put into my life so that others may see it in theirs as well.


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.

Getting to know . . . Heidi Sias.

HRMS front coverDeaconess Heidi D. Sias is a contributing author to He Restores My Soul, but do not let her title fool you. She can spout off sports stats just as quickly as Scripture references.


Describe a normal day in the life of Deac. Sias:

My days vary greatly as a deaconess who works remotely, living more than 1,000 miles from my organization’s campus, Lutheran Friends of the Deaf in Mill Neck, NY. I work from home a lot, so my workday might include sitting in front of my laptop with gesturing hands while working on a sign language translation, writing numerous emails or copy for marketing projects, or meeting with co-workers flung across the US via Skype or telephone. Working remotely also means a fair amount of travel, so spending hours driving in the car or going through the air travel dance to workshops, conventions, or conferences, is also part of the deal. On these trips, long days of work can include teaching church interpreters, attending meetings in various places (some completely in sign language), volunteering for fund raisers on the Long Island campus, or meeting new people while working at a convention exhibit. The balance of the hustle and bustle of trips with the quietness of working at home to recuperate is imperative for me. After work, the evenings are filled with spending time with my husband after his long day at the office: making a meal together, taking a walk at a local park, reading together on our patio while watching the hummingbirds battle it out for the sweet nectar contained in our feeder or the resident hawk look for his evening meal, playing a competitive game of darts, watching a suspense show on Netflix, running errands, or even sitting side-by-side while doing some more catch up on work, writing, or editing. My evening always ends with a devotion and reading in bed before I drift off to sleep.

What three words best describe your personality?

This is a difficult question to answer about oneself. With input from others I came up with loyal, thoughtful, meticulous.

Who do you go to for advice?

My husband, my mom, several close pastor friends, or a few of my closest girlfriends.

What do you like to read?

I like reading all sorts of genres: suspense books like Stephen King’s 11/22/63; historical fiction like Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City; sports books like Jim Abbott’s Imperfect; travelogues like Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country; war stories like Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken; westerns like Nannie Alderson’s A Bride Goes West; classics like Alcott’s Little Women or Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment; or theological books such as Walther’s Law & Gospel, Preus’s The Fire and the Staff, or C.S. Lewis’s Surprised by Joy. Suspense books are my current addiction. I’m also currently reading Stephen King’s book about writing, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, which is quite good.

Beverage of choice?

Ice water

Mac or PC?

Mac

What do you want to eat when Mom is cooking? 

Hmm … my mom doesn’t really like to cook, but she does make really good mashed potatoes.

Confirmation verse?

Acts 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”

Which song do you hum the most?

I am more of a whistler than a hummer, but my husband says I have a wide whistling genre, from hymns, to pop songs, to commercial jingles, to making up my own tunes. And I often sing them, rather than just whistling them. Tunes seemingly come out of nowhere and often become my earworm for the day.

If you could name the heroine of a fiction book, she would be called:

Hannah

How do you use hymns in your daily life?

Usually a Sunday worship hymn sticks in my head for the week, and I’ll randomly sing it throughout the week. It’s a good way to be exposed to a variety of hymns. I’ll also go looking for a hymn when I’m going through a difficult time, and use it for meditation and encouragement.

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

Mountains, mountains, mountains.

Shoe of choice?

Brooks sneakers for worn out knees

Favorite movie villain?

I have two: Darth Vader and Gollum.

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

Psalms 6 and 27

What is your chapter about?

My chapter is on living with a chronic disease, but I hope that it will help anyone going through suffering, so that they may look to Christ and His promises for comfort, realizing all we receive is gift.


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.

Getting to know . . . Cheryl Magness.

HRMS front coverCheryl Magness, contributing author to He Restores My Soul, is a rockstar wife, mom, writer, editor, musician, teacher, philosopher, you name it … She’s good at everything she does. Truly.


Describe a normal day in the life of Mrs. Magness:

I’m going to do a typical Friday, because I love Fridays. Wake up at 5:00, have coffee and check email/do devotional reading, get ready for work, drop son at bus stop, go to work, go to Bible study (I get to go to Bible study at work!), write and edit some more, go to chapel (I get to go to chapel at work!), write and edit some more (have I mentioned I have the best job in the world?), pick up son at bus stop, drive home, work out on the elliptical, have a drink on the patio with my husband, eat supper with the best family in the world, do some chores, read or watch a show, fall asleep at around 10:00 because I am wiped out by that time.

What three words best describe your personality?

I asked my family for help with this one. Their suggestions: deliberate, protective, and caring.

Who do you go to for advice?

1. My husband
2. My kids
3. My homeschooling mommy friends

What do you like to read?

The classics. A few of my all-time favorites are Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Jane Eyre. In adulthood I went through a long period of not reading very much, at least not reading novels. Life was too chaotic! In recent years I have rediscovered my appreciation of the novel, and I’m reading them more. There are so many I want to read that I never have! Right now I’m reading Main Street by Sinclair Lewis.

Beverage of choice?

Buy the book to find out. 🙂

Mac or PC?

PC. Not that my husband hasn’t tried to convert me. I do have an iPhone, though. Does that count?

What do you want to eat when Mom is cooking?

Chicken & dumplings and buttermilk pie.

Confirmation verse?

I was an adult confirmand and am not sure if I had one. If I did, I don’t remember it. But if I could choose a confirmation verse now, it would be Romans 8:38-39: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Which song do you hum the most?

Whatever our church choir is working on.

How do you use hymns in your daily life?

Sing and play them!

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

Mountains. Their power, beauty, and stillness calm my soul. “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121:1-2).

Shoe of choice?

Whatever I can fit my orthotics into.

Favorite movie villain?

Do soap operas count? I’m a longtime viewer of The Young and the Restless and have to admit I have a soft spot for Victor.

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

Psalm 4, because I have frequently struggled with insomnia, and the psalm reminds me that “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Ps. 4:8).

What is your chapter about?

My chapter is about bringing up children in the faith when it is a departure from your own childhood.


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.

Getting to know . . . Pamela Boehle-Silva.

HRMS front coverBelieve it or not, there are a couple of contributing authors to He Restores My Soul I have yet to meet in person. One of them is Californian, Deaconess Pamela Boehle-Silva, R. N.

That being said, after serving as Pamela’s content editor, I feel like I have known this woman all my life, and I adore her. Read on to see why.


Describe a normal day in the life of Deac. Boehle-Silva:

Get up about 4:45, make an espresso, throw in a load of laundry, read to prime the pump (poetry or some spiritual writing and Scripture), write for about 30 minutes, do some yoga, eat breakfast with my husband and do our daily devotions together, hopefully get in a walk before I head to Holy Cross for a day of diaconal work, then the day is open: visiting those in need at home or in the hospital or nursing home, prepping for teaching Bible classes, catechesis of youth, reading, writing, checking in with folks about “stuff,” and after work I might take a yoga class, cook dinner, work in the yard, read or watch a little TV, then tuck myself in bed early!

(Can you tell I like routine????  Like the rhythm of the liturgy, I find the extraordinary in the ordinary.)

What three words best describe your personality?

Oh, boy, that depends on who you talk to! Lively (headstrong!), passionate, compassionate.

Who do you go to for advice?

Well, it used to be my mama….now, my husband, a few close friends, and my trusty notebook which is another form of prayer for me.

What do you like to read?

Poetry, Classical literature, and a wide variety of spiritual writers: Kathleen Norris, Eugene Peterson, Heather King, Henri Nouwen, Anthony Esolen, and a variety of CTSFW seminary professors!

Beverage of choice?

Cappuccino or a Latin American drink: lemonade blended with mint and ice

Mac or PC?

Mac

What do you want to eat when Mom is cooking? 

Well, back in the day … bread pudding, roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate torte.

Confirmation verse?

John 15:5

Which song do you hum the most?

Depends on what I am listening to … could even be a hymn or the liturgy from Sunday.

If you could name the heroine of a fiction book, she would be called:

Margarita — named after a friend of mine from Mexico who is one of the bravest, kindest, hardest working women I know.

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

Ocean, mountains, or any kind of flowers and trees

Shoe of choice?

Flip flops

Favorite movie villain?

Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

Psalm 121

What is your chapter about?

Caring for someone with dementia; finding joy in the midst of sorrow, hope in the midst of grief and despair; relying on God’s promises always to remember us even if our own memory fails; the wounds of the crucified and risen Christ as our anchor; how God’s goodness and mercy follow us all the length of our days to sustain us in our trials; how even a disease like dementia cannot rob us of God’s mercy.


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.

Getting to know . . . Cheryl Swope.

HRMS front coverCheryl Swope is not just a contributing author to He Restores My Soul; she is a twice-contributing author, penning two of the fourteen total chapters in the book. She has that many wise, comforting things to share, as you will discover below.


Describe a normal day in the life of Mrs. Swope:

4:30 a.m. writing in the quiet hours with a large mug of tea and local honey — this is my treasured time

6:30 a.m. break: breakfast with my son and helping him prepare for his work day

7:30 a.m. writing in the next round of quiet after my son leaves

9:00 a.m. break: chatting with my newly retired husband over his coffee, often outside

9:30 a.m. “second breakfast” with my daughter who is now up; help her prepare for her 10-2 work day

10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. official writing & working — with break for lunch & non-negotiable lap swim

3:30-6:30 p.m. afternoon walk, family dinner, conversations, phone calls, household calendar planning

6:30-7:30 p.m. family games, nighttime routine, early bed for children

7:30-8:30 p.m. sitting outside with my husband, reading, early rest for grown-ups

What three words best describe your personality?

My (gracious) family says, “caring, loving, thoughtful”

Who do you go to for advice?

Any of five girlfriends who have known me the longest and know me the best, and whose advice is born of the unmatched combination of their faithfulness to the Holy Scriptures and their love for me

What do you like to read?

My grandma (who readers will meet in one of my chapters). My grandma left me nearly fifty years of her priceless, well-written, newsy daily entries. When I read those pages I feel as though I am back on her sofa listening to her stories and sipping apricot or blackberry brandy with her till late into the night.

Beverage of choice?

A new find — young hyson green tea — from a local shop, Sassafras Creek Originals, in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri

Mac or PC?

PC, but only because I could not understand the Mac quickly enough to be productive and had to return it!

What do you want to eat when Mom is cooking? 

My mom’s big, healthy spinach salads filled with blueberries, pecans, feta cheese …

Confirmation verse?

We did not have this practice in the tradition in which I was raised, so I “share” my daughter’s, Isaiah 41:10, which she often writes on cards to anyone who is suffering: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Which song do you hum the most?

Whatever song one of my children played moments before on the piano (often a very simplified Musette by Bach)

If you could name the heroine of a fiction book, she would be called:

Lydia Mae (after my grandma’s favorite grandma)

How do you use hymns in your daily life?

Always in the car; every weekend in the kitchen with KFUO; late work nights with LPR, and every evening in my devotional reading

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

Our backyard trees and garden from our porch swing with my husband

Shoe of choice?

Lifestride mary janes for speaking; soft pink Vionic mule slippers for quiet writing at home

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

Psalm 23, the very psalm chosen for our book

What are your two chapters about?

“Train Up a Child” is about those who fall away — or those we fear will fall away — from the faith, the women who love them, and the Shepherd who seeks them.

“Motherhood and Mental Illness” gives an inside look into our two children who live with mental illness and, I hope, provides a reminder of God’s faithfulness to us in Christ Jesus no matter the crosses we cause or the crosses we bear.


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.