Archive for June, 2007

Finally! My Impressions of the Husbands’ Survey!

My Dear, Dear Patient and Wonderful Siestas,

I am so sorry it’s taken me so long to post my impressions of the surveys I took among participating husbands! AJ may have already explained by now that my window of opportunity was suddenly eaten alive by a dear old soldier’s homegoing and, to tell you the truth, the next month was eaten up by my own unexpected grief. It zapped the energy right out of me and what little I had, I spent on the absolute musts. You’ve been very patient and I am so grateful. For you new Siestas, about 5 months ago I took a survey of 7 questions directed not just at men but at husbands for the purpose of added insight into the two-part series I was teaching out of Proverbs about being wives. The comments were not posted so that husbands would feel free to speak. They were asked to be honest but respectful and not one of them broke that code. As I share the insights I gathered from these great guys, I will quote some of them but anonymously, of course. I’m not kidding when I tell you these guys were terrific. They were warm, funny, heartwarming, and concerned. Some of them made the tears roll down my cheeks. Others caused me to laugh like crazy.

Gentlemen, months ago I tried to convey my thanks but let me say again that you changed the whole complexion of the series I taught and you taught me (and AJ) more than I could possibly have taught my class. You get an A+ from this student. Keep following hard after Jesus and prioritizing the woman God entrusted to your care more than anything else on this planet. And never minimize the power of flowers. And dinners out. (Be sure and notice her the second she walks into the den, decked and ready and tell her she’s gorgeous…and mean it.) The power of movies. And shopping sprees. And dishes in the dishwasher. And a jillion “I love you”s. Then pitch the pride and throw in a handful of well-timed “I’m sorry”s in the mix and you’re good to go.

You blessed me so.

Siestas, here are the seven questions I asked:

1. How long have you been married?
2. Accepting that no marriage is perfect, would you say that, generally speaking, you are happily married?
3. Would your answer to the previous question surprise your wife?
4. What do you wish your wife knew about you but you are afraid to tell her?
5. What is the best part of having her as a wife?
6. What do you wish she’d do differently?
7. What one thing do you wish I’d share with wives from a husband’s point of view?

Here are a few of my impressions organized under each question:
1. We had everything from newly weds to husbands who’d been married for 40+ years. I couldn’t believe it! The husbands were surprising exact in their answers to the length of their marriages. For instance, one said, “11 years, 8 months, 21 days.” Very few of them answered without some kind of extra specification. They really do remember their anniversaries…and I got the feeling that, for these guys, it was a good thing and not the birthday of their Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

2. These husbands were surprisingly – no, shockingly – happy in their marriages. I came to the conclusion that the kind of men who were willing to complete a survey on a ministry blog simply were some of the cream of the crop. They really did care about their wives and their marriages. Most of them were men of at least saving faith and all of them reflected a high regard for the covenant of marriage even if they admittedly didn’t know what to do with it. I became convinced of two things as I read their answers to this question:
*****I believe men tend to be happier in a decent marriage than women. I am convinced that, if I’d taken this survey of the wives of these same husbands, they would not have answered as overwhelmingly positively. A couple of reasons kept creeping into my mind: The men are either more easily satisfied with their marriages…or they are more clueless. Because I’m a woman, I can rag on us a second. I do think we as a gender tend to be harder to make happier but, to be fair, we also tend to be feelers (i.e., it doesn’t matter if it’s a good marriage if it doesn’t feel like it is all the time. Sometimes we’re right. Sometimes we’re too hard on it.) and our idea of good, solid relationship is usually harder to attain than theirs. Don’t get me wrong, Girls. I love us. I just think, based on the kind of guys most of us are married to, they probably tend to be happier than we do with the relationship. Food for thought but don’t choke on it. Just pray about it.

*****I am more CONVINCED than ever that Christian marriages (not perfect marriages) where couples go to church together (particularly if they attend couples classes or groups together) and pray together when they have problems are IMPRESSIVELY HAPPIER AND MORE FULFILLING than those that don’t. Our divorce rates may be an embarrassment to American Christianity but I am convinced that those who stick it out – and are willing to devote their marriages to Christ – laugh together more, talk together more, parent together better and “get” the whole idea of a life partner a whole lot more those without Jesus.

I am more convinced than ever that Jesus is the enduring common denominator of all the great marriages I’ve witnessed. (And, be encouraged! I’ve yet to see a perfect marriage but I’ve seen many a good one!) But, Siestas, our men don’t have to be like us in their expressions of faith and spirituality. They are not girls and, for that reason, they are by and large NOT as overtly mushy about Christ as we are. We’ve got to let our men be men. Trust me when I tell you that after 28 years of marriage, I have never made an iota of progress in changing my husband by trying to shame or nag him into spiritual leadership. (And goodness knows, I’ve tried) The only success I have ever had is by fighting the battle in the heavenlies through prayer and through throwing my own self before the Throne of Grace for change. I say this with great affection for our husbands: the only sustained success I’ve ever had is in bowing down before the Throne and behaving myself and leaving the way clear for God to smack my man. It really does work.

3. I asked the third question because I’ve seen a strange phenomenon over and over. I’ve seen passive men of overbearing women go on for years as if it didn’t bother them…then one day without warning, they are finished. They refuse counseling. They refuse to try again. They’ve had enough. But they never even gave a warning. I am a big advocate of finding a caring but truthful way of telling a spouse if you are (legitimately) unhappy or unsatisfied. Even the most dysfunctional people deserve a warning from spouses who are quickly approaching the end of the rope. Even a legitimate ultimatum (yes, there really are some) at least offers a chance. The question I most often ask a woman confiding her feelings about her marriage to me is, “Have you told him this?” Sometimes both women and men really are clueless and need to know how serious things are before it’s too late. But, whatever you do, don’t make idle threats! They have an uncanny way of back firing.

4. I was as moved by the answer to this question as any of them. Many of the men told me that their wives knew virtually everything about them. Others got really vulnerable in their answers. The most common responses were, “How scared I am that I will fail her (or her and the kids),” “How much I need to know I’m a man in her eyes,” “How afraid I am of not being successful,” “How terrified I am that she’ll figure out that she married beneath her.” Over and over they said, “I work as hard as I do because I want to give our family as much as I can.” I was deeply moved by the pressure many of them are under and how much stress and fear haunts them. This one said volumes: “at times I feel like a frightened little boy in a man’s world.” I loved this one, too: “that I need her more.”

5. Now I get to brag on you wives and as I glance back over my notebook of survey answers, the tears are stinging in my eyes. When I asked them the best part of having you for a wife, you should have heard them. So many of you have genuinely shown your men the love of Christ. You have loved them, graced them, encouraged them, forgiven them, and prayed for them. As I assess their answers, Girls, I’m proudest of you for proving your faith GENUINE. They’ve seen you in the Word and they know you are different because of it. Overwhelmingly the husbands who participated in the survey respected the faith of their wives even if they didn’t share it. Keep it up, Ladies, even when it doesn’t look like it’s working. Christ should never appear to be a competitor to our husbands. Jesus ought to be the best thing that ever happened to our husbands because of the impact He’s had on us as wives.

6. OK, Girls. Don’t get defensive on this one. Imagine the kinds of answers we might have offered if asked what we wish our men would do differently! The surveys were tremendously complimentary. Many of them said, “Can’t think of anything” but those don’t lend the insight some of us may need today. The ones that got specific said things like, “I wish she wouldn’t be so hard on herself.” “I wish she still had some of that confidence she had when we dated.” (Needless to say, I know many of the things you’d say to that. I’ve been there, too. Life is hard. Working full time is hard. Keeping a home is hard and so is raising children and, at times, the roles within the home – or out, at times – are not very edifying. I simply want you to know that they like us when we have, for lack of a better word, a little sass. The healthy ones like a woman who knows she’s competent…even if she knows she’s a long way from perfect. If life is beating you down, don’t just accept that posture. Get some support. Maybe even some counseling. You are competent in the Spirit of Christ, Sweet Siestas. 2 Cor. 3)

And, now, let’s just go ahead and get it over with. You knew to expect it. They want more intimacy. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t make me say it. And don’t act like they’re making you do it either. God agrees with them on this one. He’s the very one who inspired the Apostle Paul to tell us not to withhold ourselves from one another except for brief seasons of prayer. (Apparently, some of you have been in prayer a LONG TIME.) My beloved Sisters, take it from a woman who’s been married a long time and seen a whole lot of marriages go down the drain. PHYSICAL INTIMACY IS PROFOUNDLY IMPORTANT TO A DECENT MARRIAGE. With tremendous love and compassion, I will tell you what I told the women in the resulting session. You can say “no” or act miserable and disinterested so many times that you teach your man not to want you. But you can’t teach him not to want. My man is going to want. That’s the way he’s wired. SO, I want him to want ME. Want yours to want you, too. I know this is complicated, Ladies, and that some of our men have serious issues. That’s what good counselors are for. And I’m not one of them. We will never settle all these issues on this blog. With tremendous love, I simply offer a report on the survey hundreds of your men agreed to take. Very few of them were ugly. The bottom line was, they’ve got a lot of temptations out there but they really do want their wives.

And I know you want a few things from your husband, too, like real conversation and some emotional needs met. Talk to him about it! And in the meantime, pray to desire your man then respond by faith and really try to meet his needs. See if, in time, God won’t move upon him to start meeting some of your heart-needs. And if he doesn’t, God is going to get him. You won’t have to.

7. What one thing do they wish we knew? Overwhelmingly: “How special they are,” “How much we need them,” “How much we care about what they think,” and over and over, “We need their respect.” I heard this one in varying words many times: “That we are a very simple animal and it doesn’t take a lot to please us: a little food, a little [intimacy], and a lot of support.” Often: “It isn’t easy to be a man in this culture. We need some help.” This one provides a fitting final statement: “Wives, you will lead us more quickly to repentance with your love than you ever will your rebuke.”

The bottom line of the survey of this particular group of men was this: they love their wives and overwhelmingly esteemed them in their answers more highly than themselves. It was a pretty special group of guys. And I realize they were the cream of the crop and on their best behavior. Still, I wanted you to know they did you RIGHT.

In closing, my darling Siestas, I wanted to share something with you that I heard a comedian say on television a few years ago because I thought how funny and true it was. He said, “I took a survey of what women want most in their men. And here’s what I found out. They want another woman.” He didn’t mean it in the alternative sense. He meant that they want their men to act, feel, and communicate like a woman…and yet somehow be a man they can respect. Praise God, Siestas, that are guys are not girls. I want a real man. Don’t you? I like for Keith to get in touch with his sticky sensitive, metro side for about ten minutes at a time, then I want those cowboy boots back. If I can’t have a perfect man – and I can’t – then I want my own. How about you? Then let’s let them be men. And if they’re the kind of men God doesn’t appreciate, fight that war in the heavenlies and on your knees. God is faithful and He will handle it.

COMMENTS: I know this report is going to open a can of worms and I wish we were set up to handle the long comments something like this invites. I can’t wait to hear from you but please try to choose one thing to comment on and keep it pretty succinct so I can read all of them. And, please, please, please, get counseling just like Keith and I did (more than once) if you have serious issues. If by any chance you are being physically abused or you in any way suspect one of your children is being physically or sexually abused, get yourself and your children into a safe place immediately then get solid counseling. You will not do an abusive man any favors with your co-dependence and you could very well get hurt. I love you so much. Be smart, Girls. Be smart. May God show Himself mighty and miraculous to you! NOTHING IS TOO DIFFICULT FOR HIM!

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Greetings From Melissa!

Hello Ladies!!! Well, I thought that I would post a brief but boisterous shout out since today marks one week since my first day of working in the real-adult world. I am working as a Research-Assistant for Living Proof. I feel all grown-up driving back and forth to work in my heels! It has been quite an adventure thus far and my Mom, I mean, my boss, already has me buried under a huge stack of books….I guess I won’t be giving up being a student after all. Highlights of this week have been: 1) Overhearing one of my co-workers say, “Of course we have tiaras, this is a Women’s Ministry for crying out loud”. I am not sure that this exact statement has ever been uttered before in the entire history of the human race…thank God I got the privilege of being there. 2) Getting to participate in Bible Study discussion with my co-workers at my first official Living Proof staff-prayer time. These women are more amazing and more fun than I could have imagined! 3) Meeting with Mom briefly every afternoon to discuss the next Bible study research project! So exciting…I can’t believe that studying Holy Writ is my actual “job”! I keep having to pinch myself every now and then! Well, I better get back to “work”…I have a meeting with my Boss-Mom (please take note that I did not say “my Bossy Mom”)! I hope you ladies are having a blessed day and will look forward to the next time I get to chat with you!

Blessings,
Melissa

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Blog Housekeeping – Help with Comments

*UPDATED*

Hi ladies!
I just need to do a little blog housekeeping today. Thanks for putting up with the boring stuff. We have new siestas joining us every day, so it helps to do this from time to time.

Let’s talk about comments for just a minute. In the wonderful world of the Internet, there are many options for communicating: blog comments, instant messages, emails, message boards, chat rooms, etc. Sometimes the choices are overwhelming! At LPM we are only using email and blog comments. Of course, we do regular mail, telephones, and faxes, but we’re just talking about the world wide web today.

We love hearing from you through the blog. Here’s a quick explanation of how to leave a comment. Click on “(number of) comments” underneath whichever post you want to respond to. Then it will give you a space to leave your comment. Type out whatever you want to say, then do the word verification. The word verification protects us from spam. Then you will click “choose an identity.” If you have a blogger/google account (which means you have your own blog or profile on blogspot), fill in your name and password. If you do not have a google/blogger account, choose “other” and fill in your name and your web site address if you have one (that’s optional). You can also choose “anonymous.” Then click “publish your comment.” You will see a line at the top that says something like “Your comment has been saved until owner approval.”

Here’s an important question. When should I send an email and when should I comment on the blog?

If you would like to…

-Ask a question about resources, Beth’s calendar, a specific conference, Beth’s favorite restaurant, something you heard through the grapevine, how the blog works, etc.
-Suggest something for a future blog entry
-Receive a personal response for any reason
-Share something (perhaps tragic or troubling) that we will want to respond to
-Share sensitive information about yourself or your family
-Share anything like music lyrics or poems with Beth
-Submit a comment that accidentally turned into a novella (I’m so guilty of this)

…please go to our contact page and send us an email. The contact page will allow you to choose an area of the ministry to send it to. “The LPM Blog” is one option among several. Basically, it will help us stay organized and serve you more efficiently if we can keep everything that needs a response out of the blog. For your convenience, there is a permanent link to the contact page on the sidebar of the blog underneath “Questions?”.

Sometimes I read a comment that I agonize over because I wonder if the writer will regret having shared so much. Then I either post it and wonder if I should have, or I don’t post it and then I feel bad because I will never be able to explain to that person why. So please read through your comment before you submit it and make sure you have not shared anything about yourself (or another person) that shouldn’t be posted online until the glorious return of our Lord. Because once it’s there, literally anyone with access to the Internet can read it at any time. We should all assume that the one person we wouldn’t want to read it will in fact read it.

Please also keep in mind that not everything you read on the Internet is true.

With that said, I want you all to know that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this blog. It is an absolute joy to be the blog gardener of sorts. I’m not sure why I just got that mental picture, but I kind of like it. Especially since I do not have my mom’s green thumb. If someone has written a handbook on how to manage a Christian ministry-based blog for women, please let me know. I will have us all read it together. Since I don’t know of one, we will just continue to learn together as we go. Not everything in life is black and white and that carries over into blog-land. I really appreciate how patient you all have been with me over the last seven months as I’ve tried to figure out how to handle everything from moderating comments to navigating the gray areas. Thank you so much!

I got a great suggestion from a blog sister to add a permanent link to this post so that it will be easy to find. You’ll see it in our links section for future reference.

Blessings,
Amanda

“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6b).

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Birthday Shopping Spree

CAUTION: Read no further if you are offended by completely trivial girl stuff.

OK, so here’s what I got! As Melissa says, I dropped it like it was hot. (The money, I mean, and if that means anything bad, Melissa and I don’t know it does so forgive us.) The cutest cuffed jean capris EVER. (I got them at Banana Republic and I never would have spent as much as I did on them, but remember, I had a gift certificate and, by the way, I met one of our Bible study sisters who worked there and we had the best time together visiting through the dressing room door.) I also got a darling large billed straw hat for when I’m in my backyard in the sunshine messin’ with my birdfeeders and my flowers. (My sweet and very committed dermatologist says absolutely NO SUN on the face. At my age, I mind her.) A couple of little T’s for wearing under stuff that would otherwise be too low. (Modesty isn’t always easy with some of the cute summer stuff, Siestas, but it’s a must if we’re going to walk our talk.) THEN, I went to Steinmart (still with gift certificate) and got two new jackets and one pair of brown dress capris for speaking (I had told myself I wouldn’t spend my birthday money on work clothes but I couldn’t resist and, anyway, they’ll certainly be put good use.) And my favorite part was a brand new pair of chocolate brown patent leather open-toed heels. They are DELICIOUS!!!! And, dern it, then I went over my gift certificate balance and had to put some on my own card. To top it off, on the way home, I had to stop at Walgreens (thank goodness not for you know what) for a thing or two and I splurged on a jar of macadamia nuts and ate a third of them on the way home like I just didn’t care that they were about a million grams of fat. Nope. On your birthday, you get to not care. (And I don’t know about you, but it’s still my birthday as long as I’m still getting presents.) It was a great day and everyone involved (me) had such a good time! Seems like I’m forgetting something I got. If it’s of great significance, I’ll let you know. OH! I know one thing I wanted to say. A few of you asked for pictures of some of it. I’ve got to learn how to do that. AJ knows how but I don’t. Keith’s got a really great camera but I’m too scared to use it. I just need to get me one of those digital disposables. I’ll see if I can learn how soon.

NOW, for a couple of far more important things: Melissa is off to a terrific start at LPM. We are beside ourselves to have her. She and I are having a total blast comparing notes and she is researching so hard (and her office is really cute. She was an interior design major before God called her to Bible exegesis and, clearly, some of it stuck.) I have stacks of Esther commentaries that I’ve already begun studying one by one. (I read numbers of them before I ever write the first word. Won’t start writing still for several weeks at least.) I’ve assigned Melissa a couple of tough books of the far more academic variety on what we’re studying and she has specific instructions on what she’s to do with them. She’s already got pages of notes for me to give a look and consider. I already know that I’m going to be able to use several things she’s discovered and I’m so excited. Melissa is not afraid of hard work and I am so proud of her, just like I am of her big sister. Melissa is having a hard time being in Houston without AJ, though. She tells me almost everyday, “I want Amanda to move HOME! I want her to work at Living Proof with me HERE!” If and when God wills. Right now, my firstborn’s getting to work out of her own home and still be with my grandson!

Lastly, if you get a chance, be sure and read our Siesta’s excerpt from Tozer on meekness. It’s under the “Missed You a Ton” comments and it is INCREDIBLE. Look among the longer entries and you’ll easily find it. I’ve read that book more than once in past years but I didn’t recall those exact words. So rich! You guys make me want to love Jesus more. That’s the kind of folks I like nearby. And that’s what Siestas are for. I love you.

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Missed You a Ton!

Good Grief! I have missed you Siestas a ton! Thank you so much, AJ, for keeping us so well connected. That’s why it’s a dang good thing she and I did this thing together. Make no mistake, she is the hub of this wheel. You know by now that we had a nasty bug overtake our household and Keith, Melissa, and I all three (in reverse order) were as sick as (not cute but gnarly) dogs. Thank goodness, it came toward the end of our time with Jackson so it didn’t impair his time with us nor our time with him. We had the week of our absolute lives. He is the most precious little guy in our world and at the cutest age we’ve experienced yet. He is the happiest, most demonstrative (gets it from his Paw Paw, I suppose) little thing you’ve ever seen and moves at brake-neck speed at all waking hours. We praise God and shake our heads in wonder that the little dude never got the stomach bug after being completely surrounded by it. We would have been heartsick to see him take it. It was the kind that makes you so sick you can’t hold up your head for a day but then it kinda has after effects for the next week. Keith was the last one to take it (on Father’s Day!) and he still doesn’t feel normal. In the midst of it, however, I had a fabulous birthday and I am so grateful for all the greetings and blessings from my beloved Siestas.

My LPM staff went so over the top for the celebration on Monday (closed the office all day) that I’d be embarrassed about it if I hadn’t had such a blast. They spoke every love language a set of girlfriends can speak and we laughed our heads off from start to finish. I got such darling gifts! A new purse, some new earrings, a necklace set, a cross wall hanging, a wooden birdhouse made like a daisy with PINK petals. SO CUTE! A nearly lifetime bag of birdseed, a darling dessert tray, a photo album for our mountain cabin, and, lo and behold, four of them went together on a FOUNTAIN FOR MY GARDEN/BACKYARD!!! And what great presentations! I was nearly buried alive in pink and purple gift bag tissue! I had to keep coming up for air. We usually have fun with (all of our) birthdays at LPM but this one was totally out of the ball park and I have lovingly chided them that we’re not going that out of control on this woman’s birthday again. I just want the same kind of celebrations we have for each of them. I love them so much.

The LPM Board of Directors also gave me a gift certificate (not outlandish, of course, but plenty enough to be a blast!) and I am just about to leave my house for a tad of a shopping spree. And, no, of course, I don’t really need anything. Few of us really do. These kinds of things are just pure grace. Pure-dee overflow. I’ll let you know later what I got. I love you like crazy! I haven’t forgotten about our event idea. It really may have been God because we are already dialoguing with LifeWay about it. We are looking at a few possibilities and I’ll let you know something soon. Yahoo-Jah!!

By the way, in case any of you Cleveland girls sign on, I could NOT have had a better time in God’s Word with you on Friday at WOF than I did. I am nuts about you. Of course, no doubt you think I’m nuts whether or not about you but I just want you to know that my nutty-ness is steered toward you right about now. You were a fabulous group of women and our God was so extravagant and faithful to meet with us. I have a strong feeling in my spirit that a number of women came to faith in Christ Jesus on Friday. I can’t wait to find out! I’ll let you know that, too, as soon as I get word. That trumps the report on my shopping spree by about ten trillion times but I won’t have the report as soon.

All this and Jesus, too!!! He is the joy of my life and what joy to rejoice in Him with all of you!

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Haircut

I took Jackson to get his hair cut on Tuesday. Twice. The first time was a disaster. A couple of minutes into the cut, I found out the hairdresser had never cut such a young child’s hair before. And my young child wouldn’t be still, no matter how tasty Mommy’s Dr. Pepper and soft pretzel sticks were. He ended up with half of a duck tail in the back. Remember those from the 80s? When we got home and I fully surveyed the damage, I made a second appointment with a lady in our neighborhood. She was a pro. He looks as cute as he should now. But so grown up!

Before

After

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Party!

The birthday party on Monday was a huge success. The day began with breakfast in the office, where we watched a special birthday video that The Village (what we call our staff) spent months preparing for Beth. We are not going to put it on the blog because it is very long and, among other reasons, I am on it singing. And I do not sing.

A look of surprise, followed closely by tears.

We piled into two cars and drove to the Galleria. We had lunch there at Ruggles and prepared ourselves for a little friendly competition.

We divided into two teams – Alpha and Beta – for a scavenger hunt in the mall. Due to an unfortunate incident at the Nordstrom counter, my Beta fish were beaten by the Alpha dogs. In true LPM style, the prizes for both teams (gift cards) were equally great.

Alpha Team – Sabrina, Beth, Di, Melissa, Nancy, Linda, and Kimberly

Beta Team – Kimberly Mac, Evangeline, Julie, Sherry, Susan, and Amanda

We were too close to a Starbucks to pass it up. Here’s our fearless leader in action. I think she might be putting milk and sugar in my hot tea. It’s extra good when she does it.

We ended the day back at the office with presents and some marvelous cakes! They reminded me of Alice in Wonderland. We had chocolate, lemon, Italian creme, and wedding cake. Glory!

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Anniversary, Birthday, Father’s Day, Oh My!

We’re back! We had the most fabulous time in Mexico. I will share some pictures in a few days when things calm down a bit.

Jackson had so much fun at camp! I just spoke to my mom and she was concerned that she left everyone hanging after Wednesday. Unfortunately, she came down with a stomach virus on Thursday. It hit Melissa on Saturday and my dad this morning. Not fun. The Jones family is praying not to get it but we are bracing ourselves.

Even though my mom was really bummed about Melissa being sick yesterday, I think she had a great birthday. We took her to La Madeleine for breakfast before Curtis, Jackson and I had to drive back home. While we were there, we ran into a group of women from a local church who were planning out Bible studies for the next year and a certain person’s study was on their list. That was a lot of fun. Then as we were leaving a woman stopped my mom to tell her how much she loved her hair and asked if she could take a picture of it. That was also really fun. Then she went shopping with our sweet friend Amy who is like a big sister to Melissa and me. Amy arranged for the Queen of Beth’s Ipod, CeCe Winans, to surprise Bethie with a phone call and sing happy birthday to her. Amy, that was brilliant! Last night Dad took the birthday girl out to a really nice dinner at their favorite steak restaurant. She said they had a really wonderful time.

Barring any sickness in my trio, I will fly down to Houston and back on Monday to be with my LPM sisters for the big birthday party. It’s also Melissa’s first official day of work! I will take my camera and hopefully get some fun pictures of the day.

Happy Father’s Day to my sweet daddy. I hope you get to feeling better! I’m so thankful to be your daughter and to have the influence of your wisdom, humor, perseverance, transparency, generosity, ability to discern why things are the way they are, loving lectures on not carrying false guilt, and your unconditional love for our mom and family. Thank you for showing me Jesus through your character. And thank you for loving my boy so much. You are a hero to me and I love you!
Love,
Manda

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Wouldn’t It Be Fun?

Hey, Siestas! I moderated comments (thanks for the applause!) during Camper’s bunk time and now he’s up so I just have a few minutes while he plays right here in front of me. You’re absolutely right. I am kid crazy! But, I am also nuts about serving Jesus to women – all ages, shapes, denominations, types and sizes – and I couldn’t help but think that I wish some of you who could really use a break could have camp yourself! I wish so much I could fix some of you extra weary and discouraged siestas a hot fudge sundae on homemade vanilla Blue Bell and tell you how much you mean to Jesus and how vividly He wants to speak to you through His Word. I don’t see that happening very soon but I’ve been thinking about something ever since several of our blog siestas have written about having met up at events. It’s not nearly as good as camp (that would be a total blast but finding a way to do it would be nuts!) but wouldn’t it be fun if we could choose a central United States location of a Living Proof Live event in 2008 for regular bloggers (who could) to attend? At this point this is totally theoretical but I’m going to look into whether or not there would be a way to set aside a certain amount of tickets for a specified event and hold them only for a certain amount of time. I might even be able to get a section set aside at the event (my staff is going to kill me for throwing this out there but keep in mind, it’s just a wild thought at this point) so you guys could sit together and see each other face to face. If it worked, we’d choose an event in time enough for all of you to save up your money for tickets, travel, and lodgings. I know it would be a lot of money but with time enough in advance, maybe you could set some aside. Maybe some of you could make a full Saturday out of it and get with some of the people you’ve really connected with. It’s just an idea but let’s see if God shows us in months to come that it was His idea.

OK, I’ve gotten in enough trouble for now so here’s quick recap on today’s activities at Camp Bigs (named after a family endearment):
*Camper bath time (a must particularly if you recall forementioned camp theme song to the tune of “The Wheels On The Bus”)
*Quality time with Camp Cook (aka: Paw Paw Keith) – consisted of much rolling around on floor followed by a cartoon while cuddled up with blanket on Cook’s comfy tummy.
*Lunch at a great burger joint with LPM staff aunties who all made very big over our little dude. We are baby folks around LPM with several young mommies on staff and we make a very big deal over their little ones, too!
*A field trip to Barnes and Noble because Camp Director is a book freak and wants Camper to be one, too. We got some new interactive toddler selections for camp.
*Our standard puppet show with stuffed animals when Camper first wakes up from his nap. After he rubs the sleep out of his eyes, he stands up in his crib and points to a stuffed bear and puppy so that Camp Director will put on a show. It’s a hit every time.

And now it’s supper time! Whew! Camp Director is busy, busy, busy! (On the third time around I accidentally wrote “busty” instead of busy. So glad I caught that!! Man, I need to cut these solar nails or I’m liable to get into trouble.)

You guys be blessed and have a little camp time with your Father. He loves you so and I’m so honored to be able to remind you of that.

PS. I don’t make a habit of answering to specific blog comments because I’d never be able to keep up with them but I feel the need to call back to something. Darling Ones, never ever go to the wasted energy of feeling jealous over me or my family. We are people delivered from cavernous pits. People you couldn’t have even respected in our past lives. Rich in strongholds and deep in sin. Miracles if you’ll ever meet them. And we still have plenty of challenges and issues. We’re still super connected with real life and we bruise and bleed often. We still get our feelings hurt at each other and have hard days. Fellow sojourners. That’s all. What we have of any success whatsoever, anybody can have. JESUS. He’s it. He’s everything.

I love you. And, yes, I got a fresh tan today. Heehee.

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Finally, A Moderation I Can Do!

I’m so excited! I moderated! Amanda will be so proud! Believe me when I tell you that moderation has never been my strong suit. Keith and I always say there’s a reason why our last name is Moore. Maybe I’ve finally found a moderation I can actually do! I think I accidentally lost a few posts in my learning process but most of them made it! If yours didn’t, please forgive your well-meaning, much lacking Siesta.

Newest update: Today the executive director of Camp Bigs took every single camper she had (registration: one) on a field trip to a mall that has a preschool play-yard. We had the most fun! Most of the kids were older than Camper so he tried to act extra big in order to fit in. He ran as fast as his little legs would carry him and climbed as high as Camp Director would let him and talked in his own toddler-speak as loud as he could as if everyone could understand him. (I could use the granny gift of interpretation this week.) He was so darling, I could have eaten him for lunch but he and I both were too full of Sonic. He was so worn out when the Camp Bigs bus pulled out of the parking lot that I couldn’t keep him awake. Since Camper never takes a nap if he’s had the least wink in the car, his afternoon nap consisted of twelve minutes. It’s liable to be a long evening. Grin. Then again, that’s what grandparents are for.

It’s just about time for camp swim time so I better get going. (That means the temperature in Houston has dropped below 120 degrees in the shade.) Now I wish I’d had time to get a new spray-on tan yesterday. Last week’s is fading a bit but have no fear. Tomorrow’s a new day and a new tan. By this time, I bet Camper’s mommy is getting a real live one on the beach! Thanks for doing life with us, Siestas! I so enjoyed your comments. I love loving Jesus with you! More from Camp Bigs tomorrow!

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