Archive for May, 2009

What’s Up for Summertime Study, Siestas??

Hey, Siestas!

It’s time to get ready for (drum roll, please) the 2nd Annual Siesta Summer Bible Study! Every woman is welcome! If you’ve already got a different Bible study scheduled for the summer with your friends or a group from your church or neighborhood, that’s fabulous. Go forth and do that thing!

For those of you not participating, it is important to know that we will not hog the blog all summer with this Bible study activity. It will only require a post or two every other week. We will have plenty of other things going for all our Siestas.

This opportunity is for the rest of us that either don’t yet have a plan to stay in the Word this summer or just think this sounds different and fun. And is it ever! We had a blast last summer. I really do think it was one of the most unique ways any of us has ever done Bible study. Our class was made up of single women, married women, widowed women, young women, not-nearly-as-young women, church-going women, not-yet-church going women, happy women, angry women, SAHMs, heads of corporations, and women all over the United States, many from Canada (yea, Canadian Siestas!!) and several other nations. It’s hard to find a class like that.

You interested? OK, so here are the answers to the most important questions. Unless you participated with us last year, the concept will not make sense until you’ve read all the instructions so hang in there till the very last word and I think you’ll get the idea. Here goes:

WHAT BIBLE STUDY ARE WE DOING? This summer’s Bible study selection is the workbook called:

Me, Myself and Lies by Jennifer Rothschild. (Due to our summer schedules and our every-other-week format, we will not add Jennifer’s coinciding DVD sessions into our study. You, on the other hand, are welcome to purchase those and work them into your own personal or group experience. All we’re requiring and officially working from in SSBS is the workbook.)

HOW LONG IS IT? Very good question! Jennifer’s study is a perfect 6-weeks long. Doable for the summer, don’t you think??

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? The basic premise of the study is to learn how to guard what we’re saying to ourselves and what we’re stuffing destructively into our minds. Hmmmm. I think I could use that. How about you?

WHEN DO WE START? Since Tuesday is LPM’s normal day for Bible study, we tend to be partial to it. We’ll launch our Siesta Summer Bible Study 2009 on Tuesday, June 23, 2009 then, in like fashion to last year, we will “meet” every other Tuesday from that point on until August 4th. (MORE ON HOW WE WILL MEET TOWARD THE END OF THIS POST.) We’re just talking about meeting four times here. Between those times we’ll each do two weeks of homework on our own. The assignments are not long and but they are packed with riches. I really do think we can work this format into even some of our busiest schedules, Siestas! And, boy, will our families and friends and work mates be glad we did! With all the relational demands and upside-down schedules of summer, this is no time to take off from the study of God’s Word. As I told you last summer, for me, 3 months out of Bible study is roughly 2 ½ months in the pit.

So, here’s the meeting schedule:
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 (1st Mini-Session/LAUNCH/Group instructions)

(DO WEEKS ONE AND TWO OF HOMEWORK ON YOUR OWN.)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009 (2nd Mini-Session/Group Instructions)

(DO WEEKS THREE AND FOUR OF HOMEWORK ON YOUR OWN.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 (3rd Mini-Session/Group Instructions)

(DO WEEKS FIVE AND SIX OF HOMEWORK ON YOUR OWN.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 (4th Mini-Session/Conclusion)

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO GET STARTED? 3 Very Important Things!
1. You will each need to get your own copy of the workbook “Me, Myself and Lies” by Jennifer Rothschild and have it well in your possession by the time we launch. (We aren’t able to get it for you through Living Proof but I wish we could.) Please don’t wait till the last minute to get it or you may not be able to start on time! If you have a LifeWay Christian Store, you should be able to find it on the shelf but the easiest way may be on line through the LifeWay Website. Here’s the link:
http://www.lifeway.com/e2/shop/?R=829882

2. You are strongly encouraged to pull together a small group if at all possible. You are MORE THAN WELCOME TO PARTICIPATE SOLO, but, for the sake of richest fellowship and best accountability, try as hard as you can to enlist three or four other women to meet with you every other Tuesday. It could be in one of your homes or in a Starbucks, for crying out loud. (You don’t have to wait until the evening to meet but keep in mind that the mini-sessions will not be posted until that morning. If you meet too early in the day, the video may not be on-line yet.) Four meetings this summer shouldn’t be too overwhelming and you can rotate houses if you like. Make sure that the women you invite to participate know that the gatherings will be low on stress and high on much needed fellowship and rich discussion.

If you want to work food into it, by all means do!! That’s what we did last year and it was so much fun. We will not post recipes this year because it’s not part of the original series as it was for “No Other Gods.” Keep the emphasis on a relaxed and refreshing atmosphere where you can develop some wonderful relationships in Christ. In this superficial culture that surrounds us, where friendship takes place through text message (I’m as guilty as anybody!), we have a huge deficit of pure depth in women’s relationships. Let’s make this real. The goal is to have those two weeks of Bible study finished each time you meet (after the launch) but the fellowship will still be worth your while if you couldn’t get all your homework accomplished. Let’s have lots of encouragement without loads of condemnation.

AN ALTERNATIVE: MEETING ON-LINE IN SMALL GROUPS. By far, the way to get the most out of this experience will be to form small groups in your area where you can get together face-to-face. However, if you try really hard and can’t make it happen, get a few women to meet with you on conference call or on line and work through the discussion questions together. It’s not ideal but it works and it is still more effective than going solo. Email worked quite successfully for several groups last summer. If you have no choice but to go solo, that’s fine, too. Just work extra hard to stay connected through the mini-sessions and through participating with feedback. Your Siesta Mama just wants the best for you.

3. Sign up ON LAUNCH DAY (not before and not today) and be so kind to give the biographical information we’ll request. (Questions like, Group or solo? If group, how many? Who’s the group comprised of? Where are you located?) This is one of the most fun parts. We get to see what our class looks like. THIS TIME I WILL ASK YOU TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. AT OUR FIRST GATHERING I’LL ASK YOU TO TAKE ONE PICTURE OF YOUR GROUP (or yourself if you go solo and if you look remarkably like Angelina Jolie, we’re going to get suspicious) AND SEND IT IN BY EMAIL OVER THE NEXT WEEK AND WE’LL TRY TO PUT IT TOGETHER A SLIDE SHOW. Wouldn’t it be fun to see what we look like?? Don’t do it yet. I’ll tell you when. MORE ON THAT LATER.

SO, BETH, CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT HOW IT WILL WORK? Sure!

On each of our meeting days (every other week starting Tuesday, June 23rd through Tuesday, August 4th), I will “facilitate” our summer study through a video mini-session about 15 minutes long. In it I’ll give you instructions for discussion questions or activities for your group meeting that day based on our previous two weeks of study. (THE VIDEOS ARE PITIFUL, ONE-TIME-TAKES, DONE IN-HOUSE WITHOUT PROFESSIONALS. AND IT’S PART OF WHAT MAKES IT FUN. LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS DRAMATICALLY. THEY’RE SO BAD THAT SOMETIMES SABRINA AND I GET SO TICKLED THAT WE CRY. BUT THE INFORMATION IS REAL AND THE STUDY IS SERIOUS BUSINESS.) You will then implement them into your gathering. If at all possible, try to watch them as a small group at the very beginning of your meeting time so that everybody’s on the same page. (Bar any unforeseen technical difficulties, I will make sure the post is up first thing on those Tuesday mornings.)

YOU’LL CHECK BACK IN EVERY SINGLE TIME WE “MEET” AND THIS IS HOW:
Your way of checking back in with me will be by telling me something about your gathering afterward in a comment to that same post. It will be left up all day Wednesday for your feedback. YOU WILL BE INSTRUCTED NOT TO LEAVE A COMMENT UNTIL AFTER YOUR SMALL GROUP MEETING. The comments are meant to be your feedback to the study. I’ll remind you of that each time.

It’s going to be so much fun! And, at the top of our list of priorities, it’s going to be a joy to God, attract His wonderful favor, bring Him some substantial glory, and help keep us out of the ditch.

REMEMBER, TODAY IS NOT SIGN-UP DAY. BUT, if you’ve already got a plan going for Bible study this summer, let’s hear it! Let’s have the entire population of Siestaville in the Word of God!

I dearly love you.

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Dessert and Veggies

Ladies. Three words.

Cookie brownie bars.

Oh my word.

If you should come across this Betty Crocker Hershey’s Cookie Brownie Bar mix on your next visit to the grocery store, do yourself a favor and grab a box. You might even want to hide it under the other groceries in your cart. Another shopper might be too lazy to go find their own and take yours instead. That is called covetousness. And also stealing.

Mom and I (Mom, really) made these last night when we were at her house. Then she had the gall to send them home with me. Doesn’t she know I just had a baby? I still have 7 pounds to lose!

While we were having our treat, Jackson kept interrupting Bibby with pleas to watch Larry Boy (of Veggie Tales fame). I said, “Sorry, Mom. But isn’t this what you always wanted?”

When grandkids were only a twinkle in her eye, she began dreaming of the day when she would enjoy Veggie Tales with them. Only in her dream she is wearing a Larry Boy costume.

“Larry Bibby,” she said, “I’ll call myself Larry Bibby.”

If, by the grace of God, we ever find an adult-size Larry Boy costume, I promise you will be the first to know. Right after Jackson.

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The Sad Story of One Backslidden Cook

Hello friends!  

So Amanda and I have been reminiscing about my cooking days as though they were ages ago. Um, it was only a year ago that I was flipping out gourmet fruit tarts like I was the Barefoot Contessa.  Let’s just say that apparently my passion for cooking faded quickly.   I went from thinking about cooking every second of the day to loathing going to the grocery store altogether.  Not sure how that happened.  But it did.  Maybe it was a temporary newlywed high. Or maybe it had a little something to do with cooking on a tight budget.  I started planning my meals and it really became a chore to cook.  I’m not sure what happened but I just know it happened. 
Dangit. 
Has this ever happened to you? Is there any hope for a cooking revival for me or am I done for…?  Maybe considering my familial history (a.k.a. my Mom), cooking is just not in my destiny.  Perhaps it was only a fool’s hope that cooking would really stay dear to my heart.
To make matters worse, I really don’t like cooking in the summer.  I prefer making winter meals because I love the warmth of the oven on a cool day.  All this to say, I am in a full on cooking crisis.  I have one and only one recipe that I really like right now and I thought you might, too.  It is wonderful for a warm day.  When we make it I try and make extra because it lasts so well throughout the week.  It pairs great with basic Turkey Burgers, if you are a Turkey Burger fan.  
So here it goes, my one little recipe just for you.  This is pretty much the only thing I’ve made in the past two months.  I wish I were exaggerating.  Please don’t judge me.
Couscous with Spiced Zucchini
Ingredients
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plain couscous
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 lb zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (crucial to the recipe, don’t leave it out)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preparation

Bring broth with 1/4 teaspoon salt just to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour over couscous in a bowl and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside until ready to use.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion with 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add zucchini and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to moderately low, then stir in coriander, chili powder, cumin, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Gently stir zucchini mixture into couscous and cool to warm or room temperature. Just before serving, stir in mint and lemon juice.

Makes 4-6 side-dish servings. 

Recipe from Gourmet Magazine September 2005 


Do you have a recipe that rocks your world right now? Or would you rather just eat out?  


Love to all,

Melissa 

P.S. This is for Roxanne Worsham… since you are going on vacation and all.  I usually don’t share my secrets but here it goes.  This is the mascara I use and I buy it over and over and over again:

I go light on the bottom but way heavy on the top.  The natural look is not for me- I like blackest black :)  

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Living Proof Live – Laramie, WY

LPL – Laramie WY from Rich Kalonick on Vimeo.

Thank you, Rich!

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An Explanation and An Offering

I would like to take a moment to apologize to all of you for the fact that when my sister called to get my favorite quote last week, all I could come up with was something my 3-year-old says about skunks. It went something like this:

Melissa: “Hey, Mand! I need to know your favorite quote for a blog post.”

Me: Looks down at the baby pool she’s sitting in while she watches her son play in the sand box. Laughs.

Melissa: “Why are you laughing?”

Me: “I’ve got nothing. Call me back in an hour and I’ll have thought of something.”

An hour later, I still had nothing. What I did have was a pathetic case of mommy mush brain. I wish I could say that I’m thinking about or even reading lofty and inspirational words when I’m hanging out with my kids day in and day out. It just isn’t true. But I have enough little kid quotes to sink a ship. For instance, this morning Curtis sat down with Jackson and me at the breakfast table to pray with us before he left for work. (This doesn’t happen every day, but we’re trying.) He said, “Okay, Jackson, what do you want Daddy to pray for you about?” Jackson said, “Ummmmm, sprinkled donuts!”

Lofty quotes I have not, but that which I have, I give to thee!

How about some pictures?

These are from our recent trip to Disney World.

These are from Annabeth’s dedication service at church.

Janelle and Ella came down for the weekend. (Janelle actually made that pink tutu for Annabeth.)

These are from Memorial Day, which we spent at Lake Conroe with some generous friends.

Curtis was trying out Jackson’s first fishing pole.

Here’s Jackson with the worm he named “Clumsy.”

Annabeth thought it was too loud at Marble Slab.

And here’s my almost-four-month-old in her robe after bathtime.

Mom, I think she looks just like me and Melissa here!

Oops.

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Wish We Were On My Back Porch Together

I am not sure how a basically intelligent, sound-thinking un-isolated woman could miss a couple of thousand people she’s mostly never met face-to-face but, man, I wish we were having a Siesta-fest this afternoon. I’d pour the coffee and get Two Belles to send the pound cake. I have a yearning for you guys. Some of our most active and delightful Siestas were at the Laramie, Wyoming LPL this weekend but I didn’t get to talk to them one on one. I love that a number of you guys get to often meet up at the events but my hands are so full with the large group that I hardly ever get to connect. You’re always on my mind though and I surely do wish I could.

I’ve been hanging out with my man all day at church then here at home but, now that he’s caught up in the old classic “Bridge Over the River Kwai,” I thought I’d take the opportunity to catch up with my sisters. So, brace yourself. This will be random.

So, how did you like the men’s post on insecurity? Wasn’t it insightful? I loved it. It was just what I was looking for. There was only one that made me want to kick him in the shin with my pointy-toed cowboy boots on but, God-fearing woman that I am, I will refrain from identifying his anonymous, pompous self with an excerpt. And if you were in Laramie where I tanked him, shhhhhhhhhhh. Seriously, thank you so much for getting your guys on here. It was a huge help. I was raised in a home with two brothers and two sisters so I get as big a kick out of the guys as the girls, it’s just that girls are who I’m called to serve. Thank your guys for helping me serve you. I’ve got all their answers on one file and I’m going to print them out and put them in a notebook just like I catalogued all of yours. Then I’ll go through them carefully and see which ones I want to quote. When the book comes out, you’re going to see what a big part of it you are. Actually, what a big part of my ministry life you are.

I absolutely loved our group in Laramie! We met right there on the campus of the University of Wyoming. We were ecstatic to top off at over 2800 people. Our theme this weekend was pulled from Psalm 66 out of The Message: “He trained them first.” We talked about the priority of strict training to run our races effectively. Being willing to pay the price to be mighty in Christ. In the last session I knew we were going to bring up the Titus 2:4 concept of the older women training the younger women so God prompted me to have all the women and girls between 10 and 29 sit on the floor level for that session and everyone else sit in the upper level. It was such an incredible sight. Watching those young women worship before that last session built up my faith for what the church has ahead. I saw young women who truly have hearts and lives set apart to Christ. Later in the session after introducing the Titus concept, all of us 30 and over stood up and stretched out our hands to them as if to lay hands on them and told them that we pledged to be there for them. Don’t get freaky on me. We weren’t up to any hocus pocus or channeling. We were just doing something symbolic to represent a Biblical concept. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that sight. (P.S. to Laramie LPL girls: #8: He trains us to trust Him deeper. So sorry!! I taught it, just never said it! Ever a work in progress.)

I have loved these recent posts! I totally dug Melissa’s quote post. One of the things I like about working with Melissa is that she calls me on my cell phone to read me excerpts like the one she shared with you guys. I reminded her of Rabbi Heschel’s quote and that’s when we came up with the idea to ask for your favorites. I can’t even tell you how much I enjoyed having that child home for the better part of last week. She is a huge part of the Moore family dynamic. We miss her so much. And speaking of recent posts, I also thought Curtis Jones ought to danged-well start an Ask-Curtis column! I loved his answers! He is really the most incredible young man. Keith and I have often said that Curtis honestly cannot know what all he knows as young as he is. It is a God-given gift. I love him like my own flesh and blood.

Speaking of Curtis, the Jones’s left right after church today to go to a lake house with several other families. Since I’d been out of town four days, I was about to split in-two to see my grandbabies. I did get to smooch all over them after church and help them get to the car. I cannot express to you the joy I have when a certain little 3 year-old boy sees me down the church corridor and yells at the top of his lungs, “Bibby!!!!!!” Oh, I’m so drunk on them. AJ said she’d bring them to me at the first opportunity after they get home tomorrow afternoon so I bet I get to have them Tuesday evening. And, anyway, I miss their mommy, too. I’m so proud of her. Amanda will often say that she was not one of those little girls that played dolls all the time (she preferred stuffed animals) and was obsessed with having children but, once she did it, (my words now, not hers) she took to it like a duck to water. She is a darling mother and she and CJ are doing their best to raise children that love Jesus and love His Church.

Oh, I forgot to say that we are keeping Beckham, the Jones’s Golden Retriever, while they’re away. He is the sweetest guy. Huge and sweet. He does just fine with Geli, our birddog, but Star drives him to distraction. You know how OCD border collies are. Every time he sits down, she sits in front of him and dead-locks him in a stare. It makes him so nervous. She’s so in love with him, she can’t stand it. He’s a British blond and I think Star thinks he’s a sheep. She wants to herd him in the worst way.

We had the BEST EVER Memorial Day Service at our church today! Pastor Gregg invited Houston’s Mayor Bill White to address our congregation and I was amazed by his openness about Christ. I’d never had the pleasure to meet him. Pastor also issued a special invitation to every family on record in the Houston area that had lost a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan. I could not believe how many responded to his invitation and, at one point, he had them stand so that we could honor them. In all my years at HFBC, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a longer standing ovation. It was tremendously moving. Pastor asked one of our ministers (Arthur Craig, head of our HFBC campus for the hearing impaired) to share the story of the loss of his son 7 years ago in Afghanistan. It was incredibly powerful. As God alone would have it, his son wrote him a letter only 7 days before he was killed and it arrived about 12 days after. In it, he shared how he was growing in Christ and he told his dad and mom how much he loved them and what good parents they were. Can you imagine having a treasure like that? We do not understand why such suffering comes but God goes out of His way to show those who are willing to see how much He cares for them. Pastor Gregg finished off the service with a wonderful sermon on the most appropriate Scripture: no greater love has a man than this: than that he lay down his life for his friends. It was a great day for this Army brat and for every single person in our congregation. I deeply appreciate Pastor Gregg for never one time coming before our church body without utmost preparation. I’ve come to love him and his wife, Kelly, so much. I’ve never had a pastor younger than me before and, in this case, substantially younger! It’s a new experience. And, as it turns out, a wonderful one.

I’ve got a new assistant! Don’t worry, my dear Susan that I’ve talked so much about and worked alongside for ten solid years is still with me at Living Proof. Are you kidding me? No one is loved more at this ministry than Susan Kirby. She does a wide variety of things but none more important than providing timely counsel to her own staff. She is my very trusted com padre and the only person on staff I’d have to have kidnapped and gagged if she turned on me. For a while she’s understandably wanted to go to a four-day work week. Once we moved to the new building, her drive lengthened to nearly an hour each way. We were able to arrange a shorter work-week for her here recently but with some alterations to her responsibilities, leaving the hyper administrative slot open. (Apparently I am a full-time job) About a month ago we welcomed a 29-year old young woman to LPM that I’ve loved and admired for several years. Her name is Michelle Parrozzo and she’s a good friend of Amanda’s from their days at Texas A&M. If you are familiar with Get Out of That Pit and remember anything about the story I told about the Kennedy Center symphony, perhaps you’d be amused to know that Michelle is the one that took AJ and me. I was in D.C. to speak and Michelle worked at the White House (yes, really, and for much of that administration) and, at her invitation and escort, we actually got to sit in the President’s box. It was one of the most exciting and ultimately most hilarious moments AJ and I have had together. Michelle is not only among the best executive assistants you could ever imagine. She is also hysterical. I have already gotten a huge kick out of her.

And perhaps, on occasion, she me. But not in the best way, since I seem to have no end to a knack for blunders. Hence, one final random story. Yesterday she and I were flying home from Denver where Rich (driver, photographer, and all-around LPL extraordinaire) and Ron (security – please hear that in proper Bon Qui Qui) had driven us after the Laramie event ended. The plane was packed and we were in seats 8D and 8E, aisle and middle. The dude behind us put his pillow in between our two seats the last hour where we could hardly see each other. It was so annoying. Then, when we began to make our final descent into the Houston area, we were told to bring our seat backs and tray tables into their upright and locked positions which I promptly began to obey since I’m a rule keeper. But my seat wouldn’t pop up because the pillow was stuck between our two chairs. So, instead of moving the pillow and risking the offense of a fellow passenger, I decided to do what I’ve seen flight attendants do a trillion times. I’d just push the button with my right hand while reaching behind the seat and pulling it forward with my left. So, I reached behind me and got a good, firm grip and jerked forward. Then something twitched.

And I realized that I had not grabbed the seat. I’d grabbed the dude’s knee. Right on the back fold of his knee, as a matter of fact, where I got a firm grip on his upper shin and pulled briskly forward. And with the force of a woman half my age. Is it my fault that the seats are so close together that his knee was practically impaled in my chair-back? Huh? Huh? Is it my fault that his pants felt like the same polyester as the airplane seat?? Huh? Huh? Is it my fault that the maneuver was even necessary since he’d stuck his pillow between our seats? Huh? Huh?

I was mortified. I was so undone that all I could do was slap Michelle on the knee like thirty times. Then, I was laughing so hard I couldn’t get out of my mouth what I had done. She got tickled before she even knew what had happened. Suffice it to say, I told Michelle that she’d have to get my brief case out of the overhead compartment (but to be careful when unloading it as bags may have a tendency to shift during flight) after we reached the gate because I was bolting off that plane without looking back. And that’s exactly what I did.

As Melissa sometimes says, “Mom, it’s hard to be you.” Heck yes, it is.

PS. Did one of you make the mistake of saying that it had been too long since you’ve seen a picture of the grandbabies? Alrighty then!

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Ask Curtis: Part II

Thanks for all the great questions ladies! Obviously, since there were so many questions, I won’t be able to answer them all. So we will stick to those most frequently asked. Which means we will start with the question I hear most often.

What’s it like to be Beth Moore’s son-in-law?

It is everything you think it would be and then a thousand times better. In her Mother’s Day card I wrote that I wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world, except maybe more hair. But the truth is I wouldn’t even trade her for more hair (and if you knew how much hair I had when I met her and how little I have now, you would know that means I love her a lot). Beth would be an amazing mother-in-law even if she was just “Beth” and not “Beth Moore.” The great spiritual conversations and Bible trivia matches are just the cherries on top. She is my favorite teacher, a gifted author, but an even better mother. And I’m incredibly proud to be her son.

How can I help my husband grow in his relationship with God and step up as the spiritual leader?

This is difficult to answer since each question was asked by a specific woman with a specific husband who has a specific personality and history. How you encourage your husband will depend a lot on your relationship history. I told Amanda last night that if for some reason I spiritually relaxed to the point of deadness that she should confront me quickly and harshly. Loudly. With weapons. Why? Because that’s who I am. That’s who I told her I was when we met and were married. If you have seen your husband have a passion for Christ, but is now colder than a penguin with a popsicle, confront him. Don’t worry about offending him. He needs to be offended.

However, if your husband has never shown the kind of faith you are praying for, be gentle. First Peter 3:1-3 says “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.” Peter was specifically writing to women with unbelieving husbands, but I think the principle applies to this situation. You will never win him over with an argument, and deep faith is not the result of well-reasoned rhetoric. Continue to pray, be respectful, and be faithful.

With those things said, here are a couple of things to remember:

1) Show him that being a Christian is something you “do,” not just something “you are.” In our current church culture it is very easy to believe the main point of Christianity is to (a) be in church, and (c) behave. Help him see there is action to be a part of. Find a mission trip where he can build stuff. Is there a widow in your church who needs a handy man for a few projects? A fatherless boy in the youth ministry who could use a fishing trip? Men aren’t drawn to deep faith because they feel like being “men” is something you have to do outside of church and not inside. Show him differently.

2) Make sure that your vision of a spiritual leader is not too narrow. He may never look like your pastor or Bible study leader. He’s probably not wired the same way. Don’t confuse helping him be everything God wants him to be with helping him be everything you want him to be. Be encouraged. God is at work in your husband. It may just progress a little slower than you would like.

I’m having a difficult time with my teenage son. He doesn’t want to go to church. What should I do?

Ask yourself three questions:
1) Does he pay the mortgage?
2) Does he buy the groceries?
3) Does he pay for his own health insurance?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then you make him go. I myself was a church kid who at age 15 did not want to go to church. I thank God everyday that my parents made me go. Just like skipping school was not an option, skipping church was not either. I think most teenagers go through a stage where going to church is not their favorite thing. Had my parents given me the option to stay home, I would have not been in the place where God began to draw me toward him.

Hey! What about all the single ladies? Why does it seem like we have to do all the work in starting the relationship?

When it comes to dating, men are delicate creatures. It’s true. Men fear two things: (1) being alone, and (2) failure. He risks both with dating. At some point in every man’s life he has pursued a woman and she has rejected him. Thus, like the caveman he is, he learns that being pursued is easier than pursuing. Therefore, many men are content to let the woman do all the work because it’s less risky.

Think of the pursuit like a dance. He will take a step and you respond with a step. This encourages him and rewards his bold first move. He will take another step and you again respond to his step. That, my friends, is a dance. If he asks you to “grab a coffee” with him and you say you can’t because you have to feed your sister’s birds, he’ll quit the dance. Or, if he sees you are willing to make all the first steps, he may be content to let you drag him all over the dance floor. That may sound alright at first, but it will leave you both empty a month later.

Why are men so bad at communication?

We’re not. We just do it differently. Next time you’re in a social setting, notice how the men have no trouble talking with other men and the women have no trouble talking to other women. I think men express themselves more easily in “doing” and women express themselves in “saying.” Going to work, mowing the yard, and taking the family out to dinner are “I love you” from him. I think you’ll find that you and your husband are often saying the same thing. You are just speaking a different language.

What Bible Studies do you recommend for men?

If you are looking for an in-depth Bible study similar to Beth’s, I recommend Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. It is the same size as Beth’s and takes about as long each day to do. I think that may be a little more than most men are ready or willing to chew. If your man is at the beginning stages of a consistent Bible study time, he is who I had in mind when we put out Drive Thru the Bible and Deepening a Father’s Heart. (Amanda adds: I can’t link directly to anything in our online store for some reason, but you can find both of them there.) Finally, I always recommend John Eldredge’s resources for men. God has used his writing to help and heal broken parts of me over the last few years. Plus, he’s the person I would most like to spend an afternoon fly fishing with.

Thanks for all the questions. Sorry we didn’t have time to get to all of them. Now, go kiss your man and give him a gift certificate to Bass Pro Shop.

-Curtis

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Grab Life by the Mane

Greetings blog-world.
I’m not sure about you, but I’m having a hard time paying attention today.  With the long weekend ahead, I am getting a bit jittery.  Not to mention, Atlanta has been, for the most part, absolutely fabulous this week. Low 70′s. Warm sunshine. A nice cool breeze. Hardly a cloud in the brilliant blue sky. The smell of fresh jasmine permeating the air. With this distractingly beautiful weather and Memorial Day weekend ahead, I’ve been needing a little extra motivation to keep me sitting still in my office throughout the work day.

I came across this quote, printed it out, and it has been really inspiring to me this week. So naturally, I thought I would pass it along in case you were a little bit distracted today like I am. The quote is apparently by Mark Batterson, who I am not personally familiar with so you will have to correct me if I am in the wrong.

“Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Grab life by the mane. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Consider the lilies. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshipping what’s right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze a new trail. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don’t try to be who you’re not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away. Chase the lion.” 
- Mark Batterson

Have you recently come across a quote that you loved? It doesn’t have to be your favorite quote ever. I don’t think I could even narrow down what my all-time favorite quote is. I have a working list of quotes that I add to regularly and I like them all for different reasons and seasons.

Here is one of my Mom’s:

“Faith is not clinging to a shrine, but an endless pilgrimage of the heart, audacious longing, burning songs, daring thoughts, an impulse overwhelming the heart, usurping the mind- these are all a drive toward serving Him who rings our hearts like a bell.” 
- Abraham Joshua Heschel

And finally, here is Amanda’s:

“What’s that smell? Is that a snuck?” 
-Jackson Jones

We hope you have a fantastic Holiday weekend.  Take life in.  You are loved. 
The Moore-Jones-Fitzpatrick women. 

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Compassion Winners and Some Final Thoughts

You all are amazing, you know that!?!  We had 104 people apply for a scholarship to sponsor a child in East India through Compassion in a one hour period of time.  That is incredible.

So, here it goes.  Our winners were chosen by Random.org:

8- Sara @ 2:46

15- Lindsay @ 2:49

75- Laurie @ 3:23

58- KrisPT @ 3:12

48- Melody @ 3:07

44- MiMi @ 3:05

103- Tera @ 3:42

17- Living in His Arms/Jennifer Dayton @ 2:50

76- Laura @ 3:24

37- Stef Layton @ 3:00

Congratulations, Ladies.  And thank you for your willingness to write and to love a child in East India.  Now please send your full name, physical address, home and cell phone number, along with your email address to blog@lproof.org and we will get this ball rolling! 

Since we are talking about India and Compassion right now, I thought I’d leave you with a few final memories of mine.  Patricia Jones, one of my fellow India-bloggers, told us on our last day in Calcutta to walk away with one “snapshot” from the trip.  One very vivid picture that could sum up our experience. Well, I need to have two.  I know, I’m overly verbose if not just downright rebellious. You should have seen me in Middle School.  It wasn’t pretty.  I’ve always gotta walk over the line, just a little bit.  Sorry, Patricia. By the way, I miss you.  And everyone else from the trip. 

Deep breath.

So here are my two snapshots: 

Here I am at one of the Compassion projects hanging over a little boy reading a passage from the Gospel of Matthew in Bengali.  

I cannot tell you how many times I asked the children what their favorite thing was about their particular Compassion project.  The vast majority of the time it was something along the lines of, “The stories about Jesus.”  I would either say or think to myself, “Mine too. Mine too.”  I wanted to tell them that even though I live a “lavish” life in America, I would feel completely and utterly hopeless without those stories that tell me about Jesus Christ. Scripture didn’t just change my life once.  It still changes my life on a daily basis. There were so many barriers that kept me from fully relating to the children I encountered:  the sheer difficulty of their daily living conditions, the language barrier, and the cultural divide.  But the hope of Jesus Christ revealed in the Scriptures is something with which I can relate.  I’m convinced and have been for many years that I couldn’t handle the difficulty of life without the hope that is ministered to my soul when I read about Jesus. 
These beautiful Gulmohar trees with their brilliant orange blooms are scattered here and there throughout the lush green landscape in Calcutta. 

The Gulmohar trees represented to me just a little glimpse of beauty in a city full of so much pain and so much ruin.  They reminded me something akin to a voice calling out in a desert.  A little spec of hope.  A tiny brush stroke of color.  Just when you are tempted to think there is no beauty left in this world, nothing to hope in, little to look forward to, God paints a brilliant orange in your grim and gray horizon.  Life is really hard. The really tough truth is that living is much harder for some people than others.  The injustice is hard to stomach and it takes a lot of guts to stare it in the face.  As I’ve been back home I haven’t done the whole typical “hatred toward greedy America” spiel- and I have people like you to thank for it. I couldn’t lose hope even if I wanted to.  I couldn’t lose hope because every single day since I’ve been home I’ve gotten a new letter or email from someone who is giving up his or her life for the sake of another.  People who are speaking on behalf of those who don’t have a voice.  Those who would never be heard even if they screamed as loud as they could.  I’ve heard from people who are honestly being the hands and feet of Jesus to a truly broken world.  People who make me want to follow Christ better and harder.  
There really is some good out there, isn’t there?  I want to be brave enough to face the suffering in our world but not at the expense of recognizing the light shining in the darkness.  And there is light shining.  Its pale reflection is seen even here in something so silly as a little dinky blog.  I see it. It might be dim compared to the overwhelmingly dark background but I still see it.
Let His Kingdom Come,
Melissa 
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