Archive for October, 2009

And All Was Well in the Toy Box

When Curtis and I started volunteering occasionally in the preschool department at our church, I was embarrassed to find out that I didn’t really know how to play with the little girls. The boys are easy simply because I have one and I am now equipped with the ability to make engine sounds, the importance of which cannot be overestimated. But toddler girls were a mystery to me. What has shocked and tickled me about them is how much they love to play with the baby dolls. I had no idea!

Usually there are more little girls in the classroom than there are baby dolls, so you can imagine how they follow each other around, hoping to recover any doll that may be fumbled. In spite of the inevitable fumble, these baby dolls are very well taken care of by their pint sized mommies. They hold them close, with their little plastic heads over their shoulders, and they walk around patting their little backs with such intensity. One Sunday Curtis had a line of girls who wanted their baby dolls swaddled. It takes a lot less energy to sit next to my friends in the married young adults department, but you cannot get entertainment like this anywhere else.

I never really played with dolls when I was small. I was much more into stuffed animals, My Little Ponies, and an E.T. doll that I dragged everywhere I went by one arm. Ironically, Melissa loved baby dolls and she has yet to have any interest in giving me a niece or a nephew. Even though I never liked dolls myself, I’ve been so excited about getting Annabeth her first one. I didn’t know when this big event was going to occur, but when Annabeth started crawling last week, and when she started crawling repeatedly to Jackson’s large plastic garbage truck, I knew it was time for some girly toys in our house.

So Mom and I went to Target yesterday and bought Annabeth’s first baby dolls.

Here’s the tiny one. I thought it would fit nicely in the diaper bag.

Here’s the big one, which I later realized doubles as a bath toy.

I am now presenting Annabeth with her first doll. We are in the dining room because it’s the only room that isn’t a mess right now.

Perhaps counting fingers and toes?

This doll is useful for teething.

We’ll take that over this.

Let’s see how she does with two.

Annabeth is either giving this baby the infant Heimlich maneuver or demonstrating the colic hold. She’s already so advanced.

Thumb sucking is Annabeth’s sign that she would like a nap. Motherhood is very tiring. Who knew that two were twice as much work?

Thank you for my first dolls, Bibby!

What was your favorite toy when you were a little kid?


Moore of the Family Freak Show

Well, Siestas, we finally got Melissa to Houston safe and sound after much traveling drama and, to a great extent, have you to thank for that since you prayed her through that storm. If you didn’t catch the previous blog (like you don’t have more to do than stay up on our trivia), this is Lis’s first trip to Houston since the fourth of July and we could not wait to get our hands on her. The morning she departed Atlanta, a terrible thunder storm hit our fair city and, after a long delay, she was diverted to New Orleans. We finally got that child home after substantial travail. We are trying not to complain about the recent bad weather in Houston because it’s nearly November, which, to those of us in the Gulf Coast, means the end of hurricane season and we have been spared even from serious threats this entire year. After Ike left Houston in the dark for days on end exactly a year ago, we have much to be thankful for.

So, our girl is home! We wish we were getting to play the whole five days of her visit but it’s reading week (Fall break with homework) for Columbia students and she has a big paper that must be emailed to a prof on Friday. (THEN, she, AJ and I get to play like nobody’s business for one full day.) I also had to prepare for Bible study last night (which I blew, btw. Needed one more day to have studied so badly but just didn’t have it. Had been in a taping over the weekend. Too much work. That’s another story. The next two months are much better, praise God. I loved last night’s material. Just didn’t present it clearly.)

Melissa needed me to get her up early this morning so she could get back to work at our breakfast room table (which also serves as our dining room table since we have no dining room and I’m the better for it). (As you can tell, I lack a little focus this morning. It was this very personality that tried to teach Revelation 12 last night. God love my class.) She went straight to work in her pajamas. Keith (who loves his girls so much he can’t stand it) came and stood over the table with all her study paraphernalia and stared at her. He said, “How did this happen?” To which she said, “Dad, you never have liked me as well since I gave up interior design for Bible exegesis.” We all nodded and laughed. It’s nearly the truth. Amanda had a very deep spirit from childhood and the handwriting was on the wall early that she’d probably end up in some kind of ministry work. Keith held out that at least it could be two against two. You ask me why it has to be “against.” I’m not sure. You’ll have to ask Keith that. He’s a dyed-in-the-wool…hmmmm…I can’t quite think of the right word for it. Religious bucking bronco. That’s it. He’d just like to occasionally have somebody who’d sit around and use bathroom language with him. (Yes, he knows I’m writing this and he is laughing. I’m sorry. This is our family. It nauseates us to have to act like we’re people we’re not. We are works in progress and every once in a while wonder if we’re making any.)

You also need to know that Keith keeps a big chip on his shoulder about his wife. Do NOT let him ever hear you say a bad word about me. He will never get over it. I have long since forgiven and been forgiven by numerous people who hurt my feelings over the last thirty years but Keith has never forgiven a single one of them. If you want him on your warpath, just go right ahead and be mean to his wife. What does all this have to do with Melissa and her studies? Keith adores her! She and Amanda are his princesses. But make no mistake. I am his queen. He does not want Melissa to know or study one single thing his wife does not know or has not studied. Needless to say, in formal education, she tutors me. In plain living and daily ministry, I tutor her. It works beautifully for us. But not for Keith.

He looked at all her paraphernalia this morning and said, “What is that thing?” (It’s one of those book holders that keeps your book propped up and open.) Lis stared at him a second because it was pretty obvious what it was. Then he blurted out, “I’m getting your mother one of those!” To which she said, “She already has one. At work. Sitting right by her computer. In fact, it’s a fancy one.” He looked over at me and I nodded.


By this point he was disgusted with both of us.

Then, he pulled a vintage Keith:

“Do you think they make one of those contraptions that attach to a toilet for other people that like to read?”

(In the last one you can see a Scripture cup from a set of dishes one of you gave me. Ordinarily, I might have thought Scripture dishes were a little over the top but I actually love these. Each of the eight sets has a different phrase and reference on them. The big joke between Melissa and me is that if I don’t think she took time for her quiet time, I give her a cup of coffee in one of these mugs and ask her to take a few moments and meditate. Yes, it’s a freak show.)


A Tomato Made Me Cry

I woke up this morning at 7:22 to a loud crash of thunder. In my pre-tea grogginess I could only form one clear thought: my sister is flying home this morning! I flew into a frenzy of getting myself and the kids ready so we could be at the LPM office when Melissa arrived there from the airport. But the rain, thunder and wind grew worse and I had to face the fact that she might not be arriving on time. Or anywhere close. Her flight had taken off on time but the airline web site was showing an hour delay. Then we got word that her plane was diverted to New Orleans. She’s safe and sound in the airport, but we don’t know when she’ll make it here.

I’m so bummed, Siestas! A couple of nights ago I was scooping the goo out of a tomato before I chopped it up. I don’t really like fresh tomatoes, which causes my mom to wonder how she could have given birth to me. She’s been known to salt one up and eat it like an apple. Curt and Jackson like them, so I went ahead and put one in our taco salad (see below). Jackson will eat tomato wedges like they’re candy, which makes me wonder how I could have given birth to him. Anyway, as I was scooping out the seeds, I was instantly taken back to when Melissa showed me how to do that. We were in the kitchen at the beach house we’d rented over the fourth of July. And I started to tear up because, y’all, that was the last time I saw my sister! The fourth of July! What is this world coming to?

Okay, I know I’m being melodramatic, but that’s seriously way too long. When I count it up, three and a half months doesn’t sound all that bad. But it seems like a lifetime ago.

I just got a text from my mom saying that Melissa has just boarded her plane. Praise Him! Please pray with us that she gets home safely and quickly.

You wouldn’t waste a prayer on my mom either. She had the taping at Life Today over the weekend and is now getting ready for this Tuesday night’s Bible study. It takes a lot out of a person.

Also, I’ve taken more pictures than I can possibly count this month. I can’t wait to share some (possibly a lot) of them with you this week.

In the meantime, here is my Uncle Wayne’s taco salad recipe. Most of my favorite recipes came from Uncle Wayne. When Curtis and I got married, he sent me a big envelope full of recipes from his and my grandmother’s kitchens. It was simultaneously sentimental and practical – the perfect gift! Especially since I only knew how to cook one thing at the time and that was frozen pizza. Oh, I’m kidding, y’all! I could also make pigs in a blanket.

Taco Salad

2 pounds of lean ground turkey meat
1 to 2 cans of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Iceberg lettuce, chopped (half a head should do it)
1 or 2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cups of grated cheese
1 bottle of creamy French dressing
1 avocado, sliced
1 bag of tortilla chips, scrunched in the bag

Brown the turkey meat in a skillet. Add kidney beans. Cover and cook on low for 10 minutes. Meanwhile put lettuce, tomatoes, and chips in a large serving bowl and top with grated cheese.

Drain the liquid from meat/bean mixture if necessary. Pour meat and beans on top of cheese in the bowl so that the meat gets the cheese melty. (Is “melty” a word?) Then pour French dressing over everything and toss well. Put avocado on top to make it look pretty.

*Most of the time the Jones family uses lean ground beef rather than turkey. What can I say? We’re Texans. I also tend not to use a whole lot of the dressing. It just depends on your taste.

Uncle Wayne’s helpful tip for this salad is that it doesn’t save well for later. It’s tragic when you think you’re going to have a few more bites later, only to find it’s all turned to Play-doh. If you want to enjoy leftovers, save some of the meat and beans and chips. Then start all over with fresh lettuce, etc. You’ll pat yourself on the back for such good planning. I hope you enjoy it!

*Update* Melissa made it to the office safe and sound. Thanks for praying!


Like Slaves in Search of Little Masters

My Dear and Darling Fellow Sojourners, I wish I had all the time to be on here this morning that I’d like to take for this post but I am in the midst of preparing five messages for the Life Today taping this weekend. To say I have some work to do today is an understatement and I bet many of you know the feeling. Our schedules are beyond us, aren’t they, Girls? My heart is so impressed with something, however, that it’s about to burst so I’ll at least offer it in the short version and leave it in God’s hands.

So many of us in this community have been freed from big things. We’ve also, thanks to the persistent, sustaining grace of God, learned how to be on guard against other big things. We know that there’s a life we do NOT want to return to and that our joy, our anointing and our profound effectiveness thrive only when we are dancing free in Christ. But it’s occurred to me again recently how insidious the smaller things can be. If our enemy can’t hang us with one big rope, he’ll gladly strangle us with a thousand threads.

We forget we’ve been set free. We keep returning back to that enslaved way of thinking and living and find ourselves in bondage to a host of little masters. Most of these things are not bad in themselves. Maybe they’re even good. They’ve just taken more authority and attention than they should. I’ve had one of those recently. That’s not true. I’ve had a lot more than one but there is one in particular I became most aware of. It wasn’t a bad thing. Not a sinful thing. It had just become too much of a thing. It had the makings of an addiction and, Lord, have mercy, I’m the last person who needs to open that door again. I had lost the ability to be moderate with it. People can say what they want about whether or not we can hear the inaudible voice of God in our spirits but, as I live and breathe, there I was doing that thing again and I felt Him say, “STOP IT.” Not forever because it’s not a bad thing. In fact, a person would be kinda weird without ever doing this particular thing again. The instruction I discerned from the Spirit was to give it up just long enough to gain back some moderation. Would you believe, as silly as the thing was, that the first few days without it were really hard? That’s how I know it had the makings of an addiction. A week later, however, I felt a full release of joy. It wasn’t even a challenge anymore. In fact, it was a praise and a restoration of time and energy and focus that I could lift up to God. It’s been a month now and my date for having it restored is coming up pretty soon. I feel cheerful about it but, mostly, I couldn’t care less. I could live without it a whole lot longer if I needed to.

1 Corinthians 6:12 speaks to those things that aren’t bad in themselves but have the propensity to enslave us. Those things that I’m referring to, in this post, as little masters. Under the inspiration of the Spirit, Paul reframed a common colloquialism of his time. You’ll see it in quotations in the segment below just as you’d see it in quotations in most of your translations. Paul was frustrated with new believers in Christ who were twisting around the whole idea of freedom from religious laws and using a common saying in their culture to support their carnal appetites. He made a distinction that is the difference between day and night in our daily lives if we’re willing to listen.

“Everything is permissible for me” – but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me” – but I will not be mastered by anything.

Something may be permissible that has grown out of proportion until it has ceased to be beneficial. It has taken a place of mastery. Authority. We feel enslaved to it. Maybe some of us can actually go from addiction straight to moderation but most of us have to actually stop the thing for a while to give the power over us time to break. Then, if our flesh dies down about it and we can manage to rediscover that beautiful thing called moderation, we can reintroduce it. IF we will employ the strength of the Holy Spirit within us to command it to behave and keep its place. I’ve had a few other things in my life, things that offered no benefit whatsoever, that simply had to be cast out for good. And, after I could get over those first pangs of craving, I gladly said good riddance.

That’s not bondage to me. That’s not a life of denial to me. That’s freedom. That’s where I’m happy. Effective. Liberated. That’s where my arms are loosed to grab hold of all the incomprehensible graces for which I was apprehended. (Phil. 4:12) I don’t know how this speaks to you today but sometimes we in find ourselves in similar places. It’s often not the big things, Girls. It’s that host of tiny masters. Put them back in their place. They’ve grown from trolls into monsters.

I love you. I’m committed to walking victoriously with you. Let’s remember today that “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)


The Amazing Adventures of Miesta Moose

Miesta Moose was on the road again. Where did he think he was going?

None other than Memphis, TN. Miesta Moose, you’re quite well traveled by now.

Miesta Moose waited with lots of ladies outside the FedEx Forum on Friday afternoon.

Here’s our fair mascot with Siesta Emily, who was attending her first LPL event with her mama, Lavonda.

M.M. waiting on the Word!

We heard Miesta Moose, along with many other Siestas, helped pay Starbucks’ light bill for a month after the Friday night session.

M.M. sang the blues next door to the Westin.

He even got to meet Morgan Freeman.

“Moose was here. 10/9/09”

Where will he end up next?

Did you know?
-Miesta Moose belongs to Melana/Moose Mama from Wyoming.
-He debuted at the Siesta Fiesta in San Antonio in August of 2008.
-Besides Memphis and San Antonio, he has also been to the Living Proof Live events in Billings, MT, Laramie, WY, a simulcast location Sheridan, WY, and to Travis’ Jesus Saves Live taping in Atlanta last January.
-When Moose Mama can’t take him, he travels with other Siestas.
-He wears all the wrist bands from the events he’s attended around his neck, but I’m told it’s getting a little crowded.
-He was originally intended as a gift for Beth, but Moose Mama says now he’s become “a symbol of the craziness that is Siestaville.” Amen to that!
-The camera loves him. His favorite pastime is taking pictures with all the Siestas.

Many thanks to Melana, Lavonda, Emily, Adrienne and Miesta Moose for making this post possible and for making Siestaville such a fun place to be.


For the Love of Bacon

A few days ago, I ran to Kroger for some speed shopping when I was overcome by a sudden craving for bacon. I could nearly taste it, burned to a perfect crisp like my Nanny used to make it when we were taking a day off from charred quarter-sized patty sausage. I can fry up some mean bacon. Except for the minor variation of frying mine up in the microwave with a paper towel on it, family members in a blind-taste-test can’t tell a speck of difference. The paper towel that occasionally gets lodged between your back teeth comes out easily with a toothpick after an hour or two of softening. And, around these parts, we always have a toothpick. Motivation mounting by the minute, I flipped through the packages searching for a pound that looked vaguely lean. And just when a sinking soul would be tempted to wax philosophical with that deep, troubling question, “Isn’t lean bacon an oxymoron?,” I came upon a beautiful sight. Right there on the bright, shiny package of a well-known brand: “30% Less Fat!”

Smug with a heart-smart selection of fine meats, I headed to check-out with my lean sliver of wisdom, wishing I could pull a coupon for it out of my purse while everyone else in line froze with awe at my every-womanliness. Darn it, where had I put that environmentally friendly Kroger bag I bought last year when Melissa went light green? Nevertheless, I floated on air to the car, put my cart in the parking lot-slot in case someone was watching, then floored my mini SUV all the way home. I flew into the kitchen with bliss in a white plastic bag.

I grabbed some scissors, cut open the package and pulled out a few pieces, ready to fry them up to my healthy heart’s content. That’s when I had my first suspicions about that 30% less fat. But, I’ll let you be the judge. Here’s a look at the package:

A closer look at that percentage. OK, I realize it’s a bit blurry but it wouldn’t have been nearly as realistic if I’d removed it from the clear plastic. And if I’m anything at all, I’m a realist.

Luckily, I happened to still have a few leftover slices of regular bacon in the refrigerator, so I pulled them out, just in case I was imagining things.

Then, I fried up 2 slices from each package. That’s a toothpick on the left-hand side, so you can measure the bacon to proper scale. Keith and I are more sophisticated than many of our extended family members. We insist only upon toothpicks that come in colors.

So, there you have it. Thirty per cent less fat. Your Siesta-shopping tip for the weekend: if you want 30% less fat, eat 30% less bacon. Sniff.

You learned it right here.


Big Giveaway Winners!

Hi ladies! You all made my birthday so much fun. Thanks for your sweet words and for entering our big giveaway. Without further ado, here are our big winners who will each receive two tickets to the 2010 Living Proof Live event of their choice.

Plymouth, MN
8:18 AM

Louisa, VA
8:29 AM

Lindsee Lou
8:43 AM

Shreveport, LA
8:57 AM

Amy from Beyond Normalcy: Life with Twins
9:03 AM

Hamilton, OH
9:05 AM

Tania Scott
9:06 AM

Waco, TX
9:38 AM

Jon and Brittany from The Yeagers
9:38 AM

9:29 AM

Fayetteville, GA
10:13 AM

Cartersville, GA
10:28 AM

Fort Worth, TX
10:35 AM

Kim C.
Athens, AL
11:19 AM

Melody Argueta
Cleburne, TX
11:19 AM

Vicki Cluxton
Fort Wayne, IN
12:05 PM

Franklin, TN
12:23 PM

Sarah Jenkins
Bancroft, Ontario Canada
12:23 PM

Joy Sherman
Springfield, OH
(I accidentally deleted
the time on this one.)

Lisa B.
Trussville, AL
1:57 PM

Cabot, AR
2:06 PM

2:59 PM

Bethany at 6HartsforHim
3:14 PM

Jennifer (HoosierMama)
Plainfield, IN
3:14 PM

The Gores
3:45 PM

Donna @ Way More Homemade
4:09 PM

Sarasota, Fl
4:35 PM

5:11 PM

Ashley U.
Dunwoody, GA
6:36 PM

Wake Forest, NC
6:38 PM

Congratulations, Siestas! Just email us at and we’ll fill you in on the details. Please include your contact info. Thanks so much!



Hey Ladies,

This video from Catalyst has been floating around quite a bit today so a number of you have probably already seen it.


If you have not seen it, please give it a look. I bawled my eyes out. It is moving. [And there is a nice little shout out to my beloved Alma Mater] If you don’t have a whole lot of time start it up around 8:00.

I think you’ll enjoy hearing someone other than myself talk about Compassion.

I hope you ladies are holding up well and dodging all the germs out there. I’m on day 5 of the Fall nastiness virus. Never been more thankful to live next door to Blockbuster.

Love to you!


Catalyst 2009 Compassion Moment from Catalyst on Vimeo.


Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 20!

8:15 PM UPDATE: I FOUND MY SPIRAL!! PRAISE GOD!! I am so happy. Thanks for getting into that with me, Siestas!

Y’all, I’m nearly panicked. I cannot find my Scripture memory spiral this morning! I’d already written my new Scripture in it for this round and I’ve seen it within the last twenty-four hours but I don’t know where I set it last! I looked in all the regular places and especially at the console of my car but no sign of it. I have a feeling that it slipped into the floor board and under the front seat but it was too dark to see in there when I was out searching this morning. Of course, I can fill in a whole new one but I WANT THE ORIGINAL. It and I have been through a lot together this year! I always write my address in the front of my spiral in case it ever gets lost and I’m careful to word it in such a way that the finder can clearly see that it’s an emergency. “IF FOUND PLEASE RETURN TO…!” So, if I left it somewhere, maybe someone will have mercy on me and mail it back to me. Blast. I bet I find it this morning. Lord have mercy, I’m one of those who can even manage to turn Scripture memory cards into drama. Well, there you go.

Here’s my verse for this round. It’s out of The Message and I love it already!

Invigorate my soul so I can praise You well,
use Your decrees to put iron in my soul. Psalm 119:175 The Msg

OK, Siestas, let’s hear yours! I love you guys.

PS. Watch for the announcement of the 30 winners of 2 tickets to the LPL 2010 of their choice tomorrow (Friday) morning!


A Big Birthday and a Grand Giveaway!

*Comments are now closed. We will announce the winners on Friday morning. We’re so excited!*


It is none other than Siestaville’s very own faithful Blog-Master’s big day and we are going to party down! True to form, she has requested that 30 of you get something for her 30th birthday. And since she is my firstborn and it’s such a big year, I’ve decided to give her a double portion of what she’s asked and total the number of giveaways at 60. Amanda loves friends and friendships as much as anyone I’ve ever known so, in her honor, we’re going to do our giveaways in pairs and let friends enjoy them together. Here’s how it’s going to work:

We are going to leave this post open for 24 hours then do a random drawing of 30 commenters (YOU CAN ONLY COMMENT ONCE!). Those thirty winners will each receive 2 tickets – one for her and a friend – to the Living Proof Live event of their choice in 2010. (See LPL schedule on our website for a list of terrific cities.) If you don’t have a blogger identity, no big deal but, be sure and identify yourself in your comment with your first name and your city. You will also be identified by the exact time you commented. Winners will be posted after the random drawing in 24 hours and told how to contact us. WE ARE PUMPED! (Remember, we moderate all our comments here on this blog which means they each have to be approved. That means your comment may not show up right away or may not show up for several hours. I’m spending the day with Amanda for her birthday so I will be away from the blog for chunks of hours at the time. I’ll get right back to it when I can. Please don’t comment a second time until 8 hours have passed and you still don’t see yours. Since this one involves a drawing, we have to keep it fair, Siestas!)

Now, humor a mother for a few minutes while I take a walk down memory lane with one of the most wonderful creatures God ever caused to touch my life. Happy Birthday, Darling! Dad, your Noogs and I love you so, so much.