Archive for January, 2010

So Long Insecurity Discussion Group

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five

Week Six

Week Seven

Week Eight

Conclusion

Hey, Siestas!
Several of you asked this week about the upcoming schedule for our Siesta So Long Insecurity discussion group. All of a sudden I realized that it was just days away and I’d better hop on it! I’ve had the shelf date continually in my mind but my priority attentions to it have been shoved behind the SMT Celebration and the launch of Tuesday night Bible study. My blond brain can only sufficiently handle one thing at a time and it’s finally time for this to be the one thing.

For those of you who aren’t up to speed on the subject, this blog community was my biggest resource and, hands down, my most valuable one for the new book, So Long Insecurity. I thought it would be so appropriate and insightful (and fun) to go through it together when it comes out. Well, it’s coming out on Tuesday so we better get this big ball rolling! I’ll put the information in the form of an FAQ for those of you who find that kind of layout most helpful. So here goes:

What’s the plan?
To go through the book together here on the blog over the course of nine weeks. It will conclude the week prior to the SLI simulcast (on April 24th) and I’m anticipating God using our discussions here to add insight into the messages I’ll share that day. He’s used you so many times in this ministry.

How will it work?
Every week I’ll give you a reading assignment (roughly two chapters a week) along with one or two questions based on that material. Those who want to respond will do so through posting comments.

Who should participate?
Anyone with two X chromosomes! Everybody’s welcome! Some of the things we do together on this blog – like summer Bible study and Scripture memory – are over the heads or outside the interests of many of our female coworkers, neighbors, siblings, or friends. Not this time. This subject matter was purposely written to be relevant for any woman trying to survive this culture with a little dignity. My prayer is that, in the pursuit of dignity, they will discover real Security. (Proverbs 3:26 NLT) I give you my word it is not a trap. It is what I believe from the marrow of my bones to be the Truth. If you’re unsure you want to risk asking someone outside the Christian community to join us, grab hold of the book quickly, read it for yourself and see if you think a few of your friends might be open to going through it. No pressure. It’s entirely up to you. God alone has the power to draw people to His Son.

When will we start?
So Long Insecurity hits the stands this coming Tuesday, February 2nd. I will give everyone who wants to participate one week to get your hands on a copy (bookstores, Amazon, etc.). Then, on Tuesday, February 9th, I’ll do a “roll call” (First name and city) to see who’s going to participate. That’s always a ton of fun. In an outreach setting like this one, it will be a blast to see brand new names. On Thursday, February 11th, we’ll start our reading assignments and our first week’s discussion questions. Each Thursday for the next nine weeks I’ll pitch another set of assignments and questions on the blog until we reach the conclusion. (For those who are afraid that one week might not be long enough to get a copy of the book in your hands, keep in mind that, even if you get yours late into the second week, the reading goes quickly enough to put you right on schedule.)

What if I don’t want to take nine whole weeks to read the book?
I just knew somebody was going to ask that question. I’m laughing but I’d be the same way. You can read the book as fast as you’d like then look back on it chapter by chapter as we slow down and do it together as a group.

But what if I don’t want to participate?
Then don’t! I’ll love you so much anyway and meet with you plenty of other times on the blog.

WOW. This is about to be a reality. I just have one last thing to say, Siestas. If you hate it, you helped me write it. SHARE MY PAIN!

I love you.

*Update*
You can sign up for the SLI DG on the roll call post.*

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Whew! A Quick Hello!

Hey, Darling Things! How are you? I have been in a whirlwind of activity for the last ten days and, since I’m still not quite my back to my normal abnormal, everything on the periphery has had to bow to the urgent. Out of respect to you wonderful Siestas who were not here with us in Houston last weekend, I will refrain from saying as much as I’d like. AJ penned such a fabulous recap so I’ll leave my comments at this: I’ve never had a better time with a group in 25 years of speaking. I’m not even kidding. I wish I had the opportunity to interact like that all the time. I will never forget it. My gratitude to God overflows.

I really had an epiphany about our whole blog community while 507 of us were together last weekend at the SMT celebration. I marveled at the love and laughter between Siestas from all over the country – 42 States! – and Canada who’d come to know each other simply on the basis of expression of heart. I watched (and participated) while so many had their pictures taken together like they’d been friends all their lives and most of them hadn’t been face-to-face until that very weekend. They hadn’t been drawn together by a single outward characteristic. Not similar jobs, finances, age groups, appearances, or stations in life. They’d been drawn by one another’s hearts in Christ and on the Internet of all things. Seeing it in action was nothing less than astonishing. I am honored to be a part of this community. You have won my respect in so many ways over the last several years. I reflect back on the days when Amanda began talking to me about starting an LPM blog and me thinking that I needed something else to do like I needed a hole in the head. I had no idea what this little town would come to mean to me. You are a big priority in my ministry life.

OK, as my friend Amy says, if we’re going to serve up that much cheese, somebody grab the salsa and let’s at least make queso.

My man is in the mood to talk so I’m not going to be able to carry on. I’ll wrap it up by saying that God gave us the neatest group for Bible study last night. I asked them to raise their hands if they were attending for the first time and we were blown away by the numbers. I bet well over a third were brand new. I could not believe it. I hope so much they stick it out. I love the story of David. God used it in countless ways years ago to give hope and dignity back to this former pit-dweller. I find myself once again in a great place for a brand new heart. A heart a whole lot more like His.

I love you, Siestas! Let me know how you’re doing! And don’t be too long winded because I really do try to read as many of them as I can. If most of us see a super long one, we usually end up having to skim it just for time’s sake. No telling what we’re missing. Give me a shout when you get a chance. Blessings to you!

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Tuesday Night Bible Study

We start A Heart Like His tonight! Are any of our Houston Siestas attending?

Your prayers for a smooth and God-honoring semester of Bible study are appreciated.

Please visit the Houston Connection page on our web site for more information.

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Siesta SMT Celebration Recaps

Hello, ladies! I hope everyone made it home safely and happily from the Siesta SMT Celebration. For those of you who were unable to join us, please know that we missed you and thought of you a million times. I don’t know when or where, but I feel certain there will be a “next time.”

Yesterday would have been a great day for me to write a recap of the event, with it being so fresh on my mind and heart, but I was so tired I could barely string two sentences together. Did anyone else feel like that? Thanks for your patience as I spent the last 48 hours recuperating and tending to my family. I know Mom would be on here right now except that we start our new semester of Bible study tomorrow (yippee!) and she’s got her sweet little head in her books today. So here is my feeble attempt to recap a weekend that was too wonderful for words. Please forgive my lack of pictures. I will work on those tomorrow.

Dressed in my black and green SSMTC t-shirt, I set out from the house on Friday afternoon and headed to The Omni. Hillsong United was playing loudly in the car and it was one of those times when I probably embarrassed myself in front of other drivers but didn’t care. My heart was so full! I got to the hotel and drove to the back to find the “free” parking garage, which I knew about thanks to a comment I read from one of you. As soon as I got out of my car I saw a group of Siestas who were leaving to have dinner at Pappasito’s. It was such a fun encounter – the first of many! I made my way into the lobby to check in to my room and there were Siestas and pink feathers everywhere. My first thought was, “They came! They really came!” What a wonderful sight! I got to see Tiffany, Adrienne/Fuzzytop, and Melana/Moose Mama as well as many other beautiful ladies in pink boas. (That was such a great idea, y’all.)

I dropped everything off in my room and looked out the window to see some of our Siestas (I think) hanging out by the pool. They weren’t actually swimming, but I was so glad they got to enjoy the beautiful warm day. Next I went up to 1123 to check out the hospitality room the hotel had given us. It was so pretty! I felt like I was in a palace. I got to visit with some more sweet Siestas and then it was time to head to the church.

It was not long before our ladies started to arrive. In fact, I think some of y’all beat me there. I was stationed at one of the name tag tables, which is where I met Kelly Jo from Kentucky and my bloggy friend Charity who brought me a box of tea from the UK. We had never met face-to-face but I felt like I knew her. I’m sure you can relate. Melanie/Big Mama was there (in a very cute jacket) bearing cookies from her favorite bakery in San Antonio. Siesta Tiffany brought the Moore girls two boxes of cookies from JD’s Chippery – our favorite place in Dallas. Are you kidding me? Could we be any more blessed? My friend Marla Taviano came in from Ohio and it was such a gift to have her there. She made her own boa out of fun scraps of pink fabric. It was so adorable!

Wow, this is already so long and the conference hasn’t even started. Sorry!

Soon it was time to begin. Mom came in and Melissa and I went on stage to help her welcome everyone. I immediately got a hundred massive butterflies in my stomach when I got up there and saw all 507 ladies. It was very exciting to see everyone though! We shared some fun statistics about who was there and where they came from (even Alaska and Hawaii!) and then it was time for worship. Travis Cottrell led us with a Houston-based praise team (which included our own LPM sister, Kimberly McMahon/KMac, and our Tuesday night worship leader, Lisa Pierre) and the iPod band. They were awesome. We were on the front row and could hear everyone in the room singing so loudly. It seemed like the group didn’t even need a warm-up – we were at a “10″ from the start. During worship it struck me that in Siestaville, Jesus is truly the first and deepest bond that we all share. Our love for Him is the Reason for all of this.

(Please allow me to interject that I just heard from a Siesta who discovered on Saturday morning that her 4-year-old son had unpacked all of her unmentionables to “play a trick on mommy.” That deserves both an “LOL” and a “bless her heart!”)

Beth brought a great message from Psalm 119. She had her own little trick planned in which she tried to tell us that we’d be memorizing all 176 verses in 17 hours. I just looked for my notes to share some of the points I wrote down, but I can’t find them anywhere! Oh no! Y’all will have to help me out.

After the session, we all had Siesta Mama’s Texas sheet cake and mingled in the church foyer. Can you believe she was able to bake that much cake and teach the conference? Neither can I! We have Chefs Paul and Katherine to thank for our yummy dessert. Lots of fun pictures and hugs later, it was time to say goodnight.

Melanie/Big Mama and I took Marla to have a traditional Texas Aggie dinner at none other than Freebird’s. Melanie is about the size of my pinky and she attempted to eat a monster size burrito. The monster won out in the end. I’m not sure if Marla was a fan of the Freebird, but she was a good sport about it. We finally headed back to the hotel and then Marla and I went to the hospitality room to hang out. It was after 11 at that point and there were only two Siestas up there. I was so sad to have missed the party! But more ladies trickled in and we pulled up chairs in a circle. That was a neat time. Two ladies were having a little issue with their room, and all of a sudden one of the Omni workers walked through the door and called out their names. He said, “You are now the Mistresses of the suite.” Then he swung open a door and revealed their beautiful new room that adjoined the hospitality suite. Everyone was squealing and laughing because it was just so cool to see God loving on them.

By this time I think we were all about to drop. Marla and I went back to the room and crashed. I slept until about 3:40, at which point I woke up never to drift back into blessed dreamland. It was a combination of being too excited and the room being too quiet. Oh, the irony of being unable to sleep in a quiet room! The good news is I was pretty much ready by 6 a.m.

We made it back to the church and grabbed some food. I think some of our ladies got to try breakfast tacos for the first time. (One of my faves!) After prayer time with the team, it was time to begin. Morning worship was tremendous and Travis had us ready to receive our word from the Lord. Mom brought the second half of her message and the Lord was moving in our hearts. She got really hyper toward the end and Melissa and I couldn’t stop laughing in amazement. She’d told us (and demonstrated) that she got so excited while listening to a Chris Tomlin song on her walk that she stopped, did a knee lift and played the air guitar. In the middle of the neighborhood. Oh my word, my parents are going to have to move now!

After Mom finished teaching, we broke up into pairs and said our memory verses to one another. Everyone spread out throughout the church and courtyard, which was a sight to see. Mom and I said our verses to each other while Melissa went out and took some pictures of our girls doing their thing.

Thirty minutes later we met back up in the fellowship hall where the event took place. It just happened to be in the room where Mom’s Sunday school class used to be, which was really special for her. We gave away some door prizes like $25 gift certificates to our LPM store, some Wising Up DVD’s, and a few So Long Insecurity books. We also had the ladies vote for their favorite blog name or screen name. Spicy Magnolia/Meghan came in second place and Lopsidedhalo/Brittney came in first! They came on stage to explain why they chose those names and then we gave them copies of SLI. They were both so adorable!

We did a little question and answer session with the time we had left. It was kind of like the one at the Siesta Fiesta in 2008, but shorter. Those are fun to do with Mom and Melissa but later on I always wonder if I said something dumb. That’s why writing is so much better! I can always go back and edit this post but once you speak something outloud, that’s it. That freaks me out a little bit.

Travis and the team closed us out with worship and I think we would have stayed there all day if we could have. Melissa, Mom and I hated for it to be over, so we decided to go out in the foyer and see everyone off. We got to hug a lot of necks, take some pictures, and say “See you next time!” It was bittersweet!

I want to end by telling you what WONDERFUL, AMAZING, GODLY, BEAUTIFUL, HILARIOUS, SMART, WARM, LOVING, GRACE-FILLED women you all are. We love you ladies so very much. I’m not just talking about the ones we got to meet, but also you sitting on the other side of the screen who didn’t get to come this time. You ladies are jewels and we love getting to journey with you. Thanks for everything you add to our lives and for how you enrich this ministry.

And thank you for coming to the Siesta Scripture Memory Team Celebration! We had a blast!

Okay, I’m going to try something new. If you would like to share your own SSMTC recap and/or pictures from your blog, you can link to it here. Copy and paste the link that goes directly to the specific post you have written (not just to your blog in general). If this goes well we might be able to use it for future events, which could be fun! If you just want to leave a comment, you can still do that. Just look below the McLinky and you’ll see where to do it.

Siesta Scripture Memory Team Celebration Recaps

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Weekend Weather and Other News

Welcome to Houston, where it’s already spring!

Friday
Partly sunny
High – 74
Low – 58
Rain – 0%

Saturday
Cloudy
High – 74
Low – 54
Rain – 20%

Sunday
Partly sunny
High – 68
Low – 43
Rain – 0%

When we suggested various activities for this weekend, I never dreamed we could have included “Lay out at the beach or the hotel pool.” Seriously! It will definitely be warm outside, but you might still want to wear layers in case it’s chilly inside the church.

Siesta Audrey sent me a little itinerary of where some Siestas will be at various times during the weekend. If you would like to eat and shop in places where you’ll probably bump into other pink feather boa-clad ladies, this list is for you!

Thursday 5pm–Tiny Boxwood’s
Friday 3-5:30pm–Pappasito’s or Cyclone Anaya’s (Mexican)
Saturday 1:30pm–Cafe Express
Saturday 5pm–The Galleria
Saturday 5-7pm–Collina’s (Italian)
Saturday 7-8pm–The Chocolate Bar or Dessert Gallery
Sunday 9:30–Church at HFBC (there is another service at 11:00)
Sunday 12pm–Benjy’s

*Note that Audrey has NOT reserved a party room in each of these places. These are just suggestions of where you could show up and try to sit together or, if that doesn’t work out, just enjoy being in the same place. The times listed may not be exact. Your best option may be to simply talk to other Siestas around you and see what their plans are. Let’s also keep an eye out for Siestas who may be traveling alone and try to include them in what we’re doing.

Ladies, we’re so excited! We’ll see you TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PS – Expect to encounter rush hour traffic on Friday afternoon/evening.

The Chocolate Bar
1835 W. Alabama
Houston, TX 77098
713-520-8599
www.theoriginalchocolatebar.com

Dessert Gallery
1616 Post Oak Blvd
713.622.0007
www.dessertgallery.com

Cafe Express
6570 Woodway St.
Houston, TX 77057
713.935.9222
www.cafe-express.com

Collina’s Memorial
8800 Katy Fwy.
(Ste. 109)
Houston, TX 77024
713-365-9497
www.collinas.com

Pappasito’s
10409 Katy Fwy.
Houston, TX 77024
713-468-1913
www.pappasitos.com(click on the I-10 location)

Cyclone Anaya’s
5761 Woodway Drive
Houston, TX 77057
713-339-4552
http://www.cycloneanaya.com

Tiny Boxwood’s Cafe
3614 W Alabama St.
Houston, TX 77027
713-622-4224
www.thompsonhanson.com
(Click on cafe down at the bottom)

benjy’s
2424 Dunstan
Houston, TX 77005
713-522-7602
www.benjys.com

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The Real Deal.


Hello lady-friends!!!
It has been ages since I have been on the blog and I have missed you madly. I am so looking forward to seeing a handful of you this weekend in Houston! For now, I don’t have time or space to fill you in on all that I have learned in my Seminary experience thus far (oh but I will!) but I want to introduce you to a friend of mine. I’m certain that I speak for all of us when I say my mind and heart have been utterly consumed with thoughts about and feelings for Haiti. This earthquake and its resulting devastation in one of the poorest countries of our global community has been one of the most horrific events to occur in my lifetime and it has rocked me emotionally. One of the most helpful outlets for me has been a family I am acquainted with through Moody Bible Institute who lives in Northern Haiti. The updates on their website have taken what has seemed like such a distant event and brought it home for me. The wife, Pam, is exactly my same age and we went to Moody at the same time. I did not know Pam well enough but what I knew about her was that her face lit up the halls. She had a quiet confidence about her and a smile that warmed my heart every time she passed by. And that is saying quite a bit considering it was -15 degrees most of the times we ran into one another. But back to Haiti- Pam, her husband Matt, and their two little boys have lived in Haiti for three years. They work for Fellowship International Mission and are involved in discipleship and sustainable development. Oh, and by the way, Pam is 36 weeks pregnant. Did I mention that they live in Haiti? As I told my Mom on the phone several days ago- these folks are the real deal. I contacted Pam at the end of the last week and asked if she would be willing to write a short blog for us. I thought there would be no way under heaven that she would have the time or energy to do such a thing but she did it. Pam, it is a privilege for us to read your story. I mean it.

Please meet Matt, Pam, Silas, and Luke.

And again:

Just a boy’s life. An older picture I dug up from their website. Love it:
Look at her smile:

Pam’s story:

It had been a long, tough week. My boys were sick and for eight straight days it seemed like all I did was clean up puke and diarrhea, heat another pot of water to give Luke a bath, change Silas’ sheets again, and hold my 8-month-pregnant-self together when I thought I just couldn’t stand one more stench. The rain didn’t stop all week, which meant when you don’t have a washer or dryer, my piles and piles of laundry were not going to get clean—or dry! I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for myself, and at age 27, it was one of those days when you just want your mom!

It was Tuesday, about 4:30pm. My boys were finally feeling better, the sun was shining, and my laundry was drying! My husband Matt took the boys over to the central park across the street while I caught up on a few e-mails. I quickly wrapped up my work and hurried outside to join them, anxious to get some fresh air. After about 20 minutes the boys and I headed back to the house. As we were climbing the stairs, the house began to shake. Having grown up in California, I knew the drill. I snatched up Luke in one arm, Silas in the other and hurried to get under the nearest doorway. As we stood there for what felt like a long time, I second-guessed myself, “Hmmm, the rules might not apply in Haiti. Maybe this doorway wasn’t such a good idea.” Thankfully, the shaking slowed, we were safe, and there was no apparent damage.

I started on dinner and called a friend who lives about an hour away. The phones were down. Matt tried to get online—internet was down too. Little did we know that family and friends back home were listening to breaking news of a 7.0 earthquake that leveled Port-au-Prince, and were now trying to contact us to no avail.

After dinner, Matt ran out to an Internet cafe with a satellite connection to see if he could find out any news. I bathed the boys, got them in bed, and waited for Matt to get back—I was anxious to hear. The look in his eyes when he walked in the door said it all. His face was pale and he blinked back the tears that filled his eyes. “It’s bad, Pam. It’s really bad.” We talked for a bit and then he headed back outside to talk with neighbors and friends. I retreated to our quiet bedroom, picked up my Bible and read Psalm 46—how perfectly fitting.

The next morning it became apparent just how deeply our community was hurting. In Haiti, Port-au-Prince is not just the nation’s capitol; it’s the nation’s heartbeat. Wipe it out, and it’s only a matter of time before the entire country goes down. Water, gas, food…Port-au-Prince supplies the population with nearly everything. Furthermore, everyone has family and friends in Port-au-Prince. Outside, groups of people huddled around small radios to hear the latest news reports. The few that have television made it available for others to watch. Neighbors were desperately trying to call loved ones—still no word.

Helpless. So much need; yet feeling so helpless. Our neighbors were feeling the same way. We are connected to resources that could help, but how? Matt and I sat down that evening and racked our brains for ideas. We wanted to help our community, but as we continued to hear reports from Port-au-Prince, it became apparent that loading up a vehicle and heading there was probably not the best idea. So, we began coordinating an effort to get much needed supplies to those who are in Port-au-Prince and who are in a much better position to help than we are. Supplies will be gathered in the Dominican Republic and distributed to organizations (orphanages, hospitals, etc.) so that they can stay on the ground and keep their doors open to help. (For more info on this you can see our website: www.highwaytohaiti.com)

I took the boys next door to see how our neighbors were doing. They brought me a chair, as they always do. No one was really in the mood to talk—I was glad because I wasn’t either. So I just sat with them. The matriarch of the family (affectionately known as “Big Mama”) was trying to call her son in Port-au-Prince as I watched my two play in the dirt. I knew she knew that I understood.

“Bondye pa renmen Ayiti” (God doesn’t like Haiti) is the word on the street. And though I know it is the furthest from the truth, I can’t blame them for feeling like that. From its beginnings as a slave colony, the people of Haiti have suffered and endured unimaginable tragedy, abuse and injustice. When you think things just couldn’t possibly get any worse in Haiti, they do. Time and time again, Haitians display their iron resilience, and somehow find a way to press forward.

These are the days they don’t prepare you for in Bible College. These are challenges I don’t remember hearing about in my missions classes. It was all so fun back then—translating the book of Jonah from the Hebrew text, studying the historical backdrop of Jeremiah, and understanding the literary structures in the Psalms. And yet, what do I say to my neighbor who believes that God has forgotten about them? And even if I knew what to say, who am I to say it? After all, I have a roof over my head, food to eat, clean water to drink, and…at the drop of a hat, I can get out of this mess and go back to the comfort of the US if I want to. If I offer them myself, I offer nothing. But if I offer them Jesus, I offer everything. For who better to understand their pain and suffering than He who endured the pain and suffering of the cross. Who better to comfort than the Father who watched his own son as he was crushed under the weight of the sins of mankind. Why He allowed it to happen? I don’t know. But in times like these, I can only cling to what I do know. And I know that He is good, and that His thoughts are higher than my thoughts, His ways higher than my ways.

On Tuesday, the boys and I will head back to the States. I hate to leave at a time like this, but baby #3 is soon to arrive! Matt will stay and continue to coordinate relief efforts for a few weeks. Please continue to pray for the people of Haiti. May they turn to the God of all comfort, to Christ the Savior, and to the Spirit who intercedes on our behalf.

Pam McCormick
Fort-Liberte, Haiti

The reason that I wanted us to hear Pam’s story is three-fold. First, I want us to continue to pray fervently for all of those who live in Haiti. Including Pam and her family. Though she is heading back to the States this week to have baby #3, the entire family of five will travel back to Haiti several weeks after the baby is born. Second, I wanted to share their website www.highwaytohaiti.com with you so that you can stay informed firsthand with updates from folks who are on the ground in Haiti. Third, Matt’s updates have dramatically helped me direct my giving; especially the post http://highwaytohaiti.com/2010/01/14/how-you-can-help/. I encourage you to read his posts from the entire past week.
I love you all so much. You are an amazing group of women.
“For Thou dost light my lamp; The LORD my God illumines my darkness… For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God… (Psalm 18:28, 31a)
Melissa
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Siesta Scripture Memory Team Celebration

We’re just days away from our big celebration, ladies! I can’t believe it’s almost here. There are about 500 of you coming, which is going to make for a really fun group. I’d like to share a few last minute things with you.

1) Siesta Anne told us that some Siestas have decided to wear pink feather boas while they’re traveling and once they’re in Houston so that they can easily recognize each other. They asked me to let all the Siestas know so that everyone can join in the fun. We’ve heard that Michaels and Hobby Lobby might be good places to look for those. Siesta Teri even came up with a verse to support the boas. (If anyone needs an extra verse to memorize last minute, here you go!)

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” (Psalm 91:4)

Love it!

2) We sent out an email earlier this month with information on how to order a Siesta SMT Celebration t-shirt. We know that some of you did not get this email because it was caught in your spam filter and we’re so sorry about that. It is too late to order a t-shirt, but we will have a few extras available for purchase at the resource table on Friday evening.

3) Beth will be dressing casually this weekend and she welcomes you to do the same.

4) The most frequently asked question we’ve had is where to eat Mexican food. That makes me laugh so hard, y’all!

Here are my picks for Tex-Mex close-ish to the church.
Pappasito’s
Escalante’s
Guadalajara
Ninfa’s on Post Oak

Houston girls, am I leaving something out?

If you love fine Chinese food and you happen to be at the Galleria, my current favorite is Gigi’s Asian Bistro, which is located in the mall.

Oh my word, I am so hungry right now!

If you’re here on Thursday night and want to splurge on a great steak, we have a great restaurant called Taste of Texas. If you go on a weekend night you’ll have a very long wait, which is why Thursday night might be best.

5) Don’t forget your Scripture spirals!

6) Here’s a link to our Siesta SMT Celebration FAQ page in case anyone has a question.

Friday can’t come soon enough!
Love,
Amanda

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That’s Not What I’m Doing

A few evenings ago, the Joneses were over at our house for dinner along with Keith’s parents so we could celebrate CJ’s and Pop’s birthdays. (Curtis’s was over the holidays while they were out of town so I had a roast and mashed potatoes and green bean casserole waiting for him when they got back to Houston. It happens to be Keith’s Dad’s favorite meal, too, so they made a great pair for a Moore celebration.) My adorable grandson is not much for lingering at the dinner table once his half-pint tummy is full so, about the third time he was told to get out from under the table and back up in his chair, I started strategizing an exit plan. I didn’t have to wait long.

“Bibby, wanna play wis me?”

Sensing this was escape from an inevitable time out, I quipped, “Of course, I want to play with you!”

And, while everyone else sat at the table and talked, Jackson and I headed to the den to play. We play all sorts of things when he’s at my house. Last night, for instance, we played toy store and he “sold” me (and his mommy) various toys from his big box at Bibby’s (actually, his old pack ‘n play) for pennies and nickles that he promptly stuck in his play-wallet. It was great fun. He’s like a lot of sales folks, however. He is more inclined to sell you what he wants you to buy rather than what you request. I was just as content with his selections anyway. It makes me really happy when he thinks something like a lizard would suit me best. Last night was a departure from our norm. We ordinarily play cars. We sit across from one another, each with a matchbox car, and we say in unison, “One, two, three, GO!” And on “go,” we each spin a car as fast as we can toward the other with the chief objective to make them crash. It’s harder than you think for a boy and his grandmother and we high-five if they do.

Several nights ago, the night on the table for this post, the play of choice was blocks. Brand new ones, as a matter of fact. I’d ordered him a really cool set off the Internet for Christmas and, when I received them from UPS, the toy company had added a smaller bonus box. I promptly snatched them up for Bibby’s house. Maybe you’ve seen the kind. They’re made for little builders with all sorts of accessories like wrenches and bolts and wheels.

You can’t imagine all the shapes you can make. Hence, my story.

Jackson didn’t feel very well that evening like most people in Houston. He’d been coughing and snorting like his life depended on it. As a matter of fact, much of the time we were down on the floor in the den, building blocks, he had his head propped against my right shoulder. I reasoned to myself that when I don’t feel well, my creative juices tend to be stifled and, if that were the case for the three-and-a-half-year-old sitting next to me, he could probably use some help with construction concepts. So, I said, “Why don’t you put this piece right here?”

Shook his head.

“OK, well, how about putting this wheel on this side so it will roll really good?”

Shook his head again.

Hmmmm. Almost out of ideas. “Well, we don’t have many bolts on this side. Wanna put a few over here?”

He picked his head up off my shoulder, looked straight in my eyes, and said, not rudely but firmly,

“Bibby, that’s not what I’m doing.”

It was everything I could do not to bust out laughing.

Instead, a very serious, “Oh, I see! Sorry, Buddy. You go right ahead.”

To which he seemed relieved.

The lesson wasn’t wasted on me. I didn’t have to wait till my head was on the pillow and started spinning. I never made it off the floor without thinking how often I try to help God out with ideas. “Why don’t You do it this way?” Or, “why don’t You do so and so with so and so?”

I’m forever giving God workable suggestions about how He could – sometimes, if I may be so bold, should – handle something. Or someone.

Anybody else?

Don’t you know there are times He wants to say to us right out loud in our stubborn hearing, “Child, THAT’S NOT WHAT I’M DOING.”

Often, we just don’t know what God is doing. So often we think we do but, the truth is, we just don’t. Thankfully, He does. He really does. He doesn’t need our help. Our brilliant ideas. Or our last ditch efforts because He ignored our first ten suggestions. He just wants our cooperation.

He is constructing something beyond our human rationale. He knows in advance every piece – past, present, and future – that will be required for the finished work. He has all the patience in the universe to put it together. We see one little part and one little moment. He, the One who is, who was, and is to come, sees beyond the singular piece to every generation and condition He means to effect. Meanwhile, He works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. The one thing may not be good at all by itself. In fact, it may be horrendous. Criminal. It’s when He weaves it with all that comes before it and all that will come around and behind it that something good, something beneficial, emerges.

Never let Romans 8:28 become so familiar that you subconsciously fold it into your spiritual fairy tale file. It is as true today as it was the moment the Apostle dripped the letters on the parchment. Don’t blow them dry.

Maybe it’s not that God isn’t listening. Maybe it’s just that what we keep suggesting is not exactly what He’s doing. And, if that’s so, what He’s doing can only be better and more effectual than what we think we’d do in His place.

John 13:7 says something that keeps ringing in my ears.

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

Later.

LATER.

L.A.T.E.R.

We WILL understand.

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Various and Sundry Things

Hello friends. I just got home from a fun morning with the LPM crew. Beth was interviewed on Great Day Houston at the CBS studios. Her segment is about the new book, So Long Insecurity. Mom’s portion won’t air for a few weeks, but most of my wonderful co-workers were there in the audience for today’s live show. You may have even seen them! Several of our girls were made to sit on the platform, front and center. When we were on our way there, Sabrina sent us a text message saying they had been moved to the stage and were feeling insecure. It made us laugh really hard. Our dear sisters who just happen to like being in the background were the ones who ended up on camera the most. Oh, the irony! Debra Duncan was a gracious host and we were thankful for the opportunity to get the word out about the new book. We are praying for God to use this message to free many women from insecurity. Some may even be introduced to Jesus for the first time.

I’m switching gears now. This is going to be one of those random posts that I’m known for.

Jackson has had a double ear infection this week. We’ve been very blessed not to have to deal with a lot of these, thank You Lord. But early yesterday evening I began to feel some pain and pressure in my own ear. We went over to my parents’ house for dinner and by the end of our time there, my ear was stopped up and hurting pretty bad. It gave me a lot of sympathy for my boy.

When we got home Curtis pulled out that infamous little watering can slash tea pot that some of you know and love. Yes, it was the neti pot. If you weren’t here for our previous discussion of the neti pot, you should read this. Did he even ask me? No. He just started mixing the saline solution and giving me instructions.

“What? I am not doing that!”

“Yes you are.” He spoke with authority.

For some reason I lost my will to fight.

I made him leave the room and shut the door behind him. I know he wanted to watch but it was too weird.

So I did it. I wish I could say it wasn’t awful, but it totally was. I felt like I had just taken a ride through the ocean with Flipper, but without the amusement of being best friends with a dolphin.

Afterward I found out you’re not supposed to use the neti pot when you have ear pain. Awesome. It was in that moment that I humbled myself even further and poured Similasan Children’s Ear Ache Relief into my ear. It helped!

In the neti Pot’s defense, I should say that my sinuses felt much better this morning. However, if I were actually speaking to you and not writing, my voice would be unusually loud because I can barely hear a thing out of the right side.

Alright, enough of that.

I have some news that I have been putting off sharing. I’m just going to blurt it out, like pulling off a bandaid quickly. We are not doing the Siesta Scripture Memory Team in 2010.

*Cringe*

Are you still there? I hope so. We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately and we knew we needed to get you up to speed. Forgive us for taking so long. We’re still just getting back on our feet around here. First let me say that we’re so sorry to those of you who are disappointed. If you were hoping to join in this year, you might want to consider rounding up a group of girlfriends to do it together. Mom says she learned years ago that specific (and challenging!) commitments like those need a beginning date and an ending date or people tend to drop out or lose interest. Most people have a hard time keeping something like that up indefinitely. She says we’ll probably do it again in 2011 if we still have significant interest but, since we’d committed to exactly one year on the blog, we needed to take time to celebrate it with our original team, let everyone have time to fulfill other commitments, then get back to it next year. Thank you for your cooperation!

Finally, isn’t our new blog design adorable? Kelly from Fabulous K Creative did it for us as a gift. Wasn’t that sweet of her? She asked if she could surprise us with the design and I said yes. I’m so glad I did! I love how cheerful it is. Kelly, thank you for blessing us!

Have a great Friday, everyone!

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Cries For Mercy

My Dear Siestas,

We’re having the same conversations in our family that many of you are having in yours. Melissa called me a little while ago and said, “You don’t sound good, Mom. What is it?”

I told her I was just standing in front of the television screen still trying to wrap my mind around the ever-worsening horror in Haiti. She then said, “That’s just what I was calling to talk about.” While we were on the phone, Amanda called and we also shared our heart sickness over the unimaginable tragedies there.

Melissa mentioned that the more she watched, the more hopeless she felt and that suddenly she grasped hold of the obvious: “I don’t have to just sit here feeling like there’s nothing I can do. I can find a way to give.” Amanda and I agreed that doing something tangible to help – like getting down on our knees in believing prayer and back up on our feet to open our checkbooks – might be the only way we three Moore women can sleep tonight.

Many of you already have avenues for giving to disaster relief. Others may not know exactly what to do. Compassion is already in active operation toward aid for Haiti and so is World Vision. You can also get on the official Red Cross website and give online. Go to Redcross.org then look for “donate” and choose “International Response Fund.” You’ll see Haiti specified there. I know for a fact that many of you are financially strapped right now and you might be looking for a way to make a vital contribution but one that won’t put you further in the hole. Perhaps this ready option might work:

Text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross relief efforts. It will be charged on your cell phone bill.

On any given day, around 10,000 independent visitors come to this blog. Ten dollars may not sound like a lot until you multiply it that many times over. Sister, if you don’t have an extra dime to help, God knows the desires of your heart and esteems your powerful intercessory prayer. Let’s just not sit here and twiddle our helpless thumbs. Join us as we cry out for mercy.

And miracles.

I am honored to kneel alongside each of you and band together as a group and give.

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