Archive for May, 2010

AJ Checking In

Hello from Springfield, Missouri! I’m sitting at the table with my mother-in-law, who is writing thank you notes to all the folks who have sent flowers, and with my father-in-law who is watching Jackson try to draw a back hoe on a sheet of paper. This morning he took Jackson for a ride on his back hoe and they moved some dirt around. Jackson loves life in the country. I have to confess that going back to the city does not sound like much fun to me either. I’ve loved watching the fireflies glow all over the fields at night. We don’t see much of that in Houston.

Melissa and I had had high hopes of blogging from Israel every day. Since I had been before, I was going to take on most of the burden of doing that. When I had to stay behind, I believe Melissa made the right choice to savor her pilgrimage rather than do all the work of blogging it. I know she will have some neat things to share with us when she gets home. I did talk to my mom this morning and she sounded great. They’d just been to the Church of the Nativity and were doing some shopping.

Thank you so much for your sweet words and prayers for Curtis’ family. Grandma Dixon was an amazing lady and I would love to sit down and write about how much she meant to me and especially to my husband. She was a treasure to this family.

I hope all of you enjoy a wonderful Memorial Day weekend with your friends and loved ones!
Blessings,
Amanda

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Our First Day on Pilgrimage!

Hey, our darling Siestas! This is your happy but bleary-eyed Siesta Mama writing you from our first stop on pilgrimage. Melissa, the entire LPM staff (minus AJ and CJ), many of our volunteers (for whom this trip was thrown) and I made it to Tel Aviv about seven hours ago, loaded onto buses and headed a half hour’s distance to Joppa. (We are 100-strong) For those of you who are interested, this is the very place Jonah boarded a ship to flee from the will of God. It is also the place Peter raised Dorcas (Tabitha in Aramaic) from the dead. We do not know why she was named Dorcas. We hope it was not because her father was an infamous Dork of antiquity.

Perhaps many of you know by now that Curtis’s beloved maternal grandmother passed away suddenly the night before our flight so AJ did exactly what she should have done. She cancelled out on the trip and headed to Missouri with both children to stand by her man. We miss her so much and bear all the Joneses on our hearts as they mourn their loss and celebrate the absolute certainty that she is with Christ.

We will spend tonight here in Tel Aviv then load back onto the buses in the morning and head for Caesarea and Megiddo. Here are a few pictures Melissa has taken for us so far:

The beautiful coastal city of Joppa, our first stop on the trip.

The Mediterranean Sea

Our First Teaching Session overlooking the Sea:

(I got a little amused when I looked at this one. That’s Hawk standing up in the back. She’s keeping a good eye on her charge. That would be me.)



The Hebrew Text of Jonah which mentions Joppa as the town where Jonah boarded a ship for Tarshish in attempt to run from the Lord (1:3). (That’s Melissa’s Bible. Not mine.)

While we were in route, we came upon quite an intriguing sight. This is a gathering of Jews from one of the most orthodox sects in Israel. They are protesting a building development they believe to be upon an ancient gravesight.

And to make things more interesting , they were “helped” into a restricted area by some police.

Our sweeping view of Tel Aviv from the Hotel

We wish every single one of you Siestas were with us here! We’ll try to stay in pretty close touch. We love you!

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LPL – Grand Rapids Recap

Living Proof Live – Grand Rapids from Rich Kalonick on Vimeo.

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Maryam and Marzieh Acquitted

Praise the Lord! Maryam and Marzieh have been acquitted of all charges by the Iranian judicial authorities. Elam Ministries says that they arrived safely in another country today. You can read the press release here. Thank You, Jesus! Thank you for praying, Siestas!

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Siestas Internacionales

About a month ago I was playing around with the web site that tracks statistics for our blog. It’s fun to look at even though I hardly understand what any of it means. That day I clicked on something called “Map Overlay” and proceeded to be sucked in by a map of the whole world. When I moved my cursor over a country, it showed me how many visits our blog had had from that country in a certain number of days. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The Siestas are literally all over the world. Even in countries I’ve never heard of! Praise our God! I called my mom and we discussed it in happy tears. For those of you who are joining us from outside of the U.S.A., know that you are dearly loved and remembered.

On that note, I want to give a couple of hints to the international Siestas who may be hoping to join our summer Bible study. (All the details of SSBS3 are here in case you missed it.)

If you are in Canada, David C. Cook is your LifeWay distributor. You can order your book from them here.

For everyone else, you can click here to see a list of LifeWay distributors by country. They may be able to help you get a copy of Kelly Minter’s Ruth workbook. I’m praying for God to work everything out for you.

Just for fun, here’s a list of the countries with the most visits this month.

1. United States (with 95% of our visits)

2. Canada

3. United Kingdom

4. Germany

5. Australia

6. South Africa

7. Japan

8. Netherlands

9. Singapore

10. Brazil

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LPL Grand Rapids Ticket Giveaway

*UPDATE* The ticket giveaway is now closed. Special thanks to my co-workers for helping out with this!

Buenos dias, Siestas! We are giving away ten tickets to the Living Proof Live  – Grand Rapids, MI event, which is this weekend. If you would like to attend the conference but the ticket cost has been prohibitive, please give Kimberly Meyer or Susan Kirby a call at our LPM office today or tomorrow. (FYI, tickets are still available for purchase.) I will update this post when I get word that all the tickets have been spoken for.

If you haven’t already read our Siesta Summer Bible Study III announcement, please don’t miss it.  We’re really excited about our summer plans.

Thanks, ladies! Have a great day!

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Siesta Summer Bible Study III

Siesta Summer BIble Study III Launch

Second Gathering

Third Gathering

Final Gathering

Video greeting from Kelly Minter

_______________

I can’t believe the blog has been around long enough for us to be having our third annual Siesta Summer Bible Study! Wow! We had an amazing time studying Kelly Minter’s No Other Gods in 2008 and Jennifer Rothschild’s Me Myself and Lies in 2009.

It’s finally time to announce the book that we’ll be going through together in the summer of 2010 – Kelly Minter’s Ruth: Loss, Love & Legacy! We’re thrilled that Kelly has written another study and can’t wait to dive into it with all the Siestas.

Let me fill you in on some details.

Who: As before, we want you to assemble a group of in-real-life friends, co-workers, family members, acquaintances, church family, Siestas in your town, neighbors, or whatever mix of ladies God puts on your heart.

What: Spend the summer together in the Word! Our workbook (also called a “member book”) is a 6-week Bible study on the Book of Ruth. We will meet every other week to discuss two weeks of our homework.

When: We are partial to Tuesday since that’s our normal night for Bible study at LPM. So we will launch our SSBS3 on Tuesday, June 22, and “meet” every other Tuesday until August 3. Yes, you can meet another day of the week if necessary but you’ll see when the time comes that it’s the most fun when we all do it on the same day.

I’ll give you the basic schedule now so you’ll know what to expect but Beth will  have much more to say about it closer to the time of our launch. If we don’t answer your questions now, save them and see if they get answered within the next several weeks.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 (1st Mini-Session/LAUNCH/Group instructions)

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

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 (2nd Mini-Session/Group Instructions)

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

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 (3rd Mini-Session/Group Instructions)

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

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 (4th Mini-Session/Conclusion)

Where: Wherever you are most comfortable. Kelly’s workbooks are part of the Living Room Series. Her core group of ladies meets in her living room and they always share a meal together. In fact, you’ll find recipes in the workbook if you’d like to use them. We think that’s a really fun part of the experience. The first summer my group met in a different house each week and last summer we met in the same house each week. We’ve had some siesta groups meet in restaurants and coffee shops. Do whatever works for you and your ladies.

Why: A summer lived in Bible study is one lived in victory!

How:

1. Get your workbooks. LifeWay will have plenty of them for us, but you won’t want to wait until the last minute. You can find them online on LifeWay’s web site and on Kelly Minter’s web site.

2. Assemble your small group. You are more than welcome to participate solo or with an online discussion group, 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. Let the ladies know that the gatherings will be low on stress and high on much needed fellowship and rich discussion. Keep the emphasis on a relaxed and refreshing atmosphere where you can develop some wonderful relationships in Christ.

3. Sign up on the blog on our official Launch Day- Tuesday, June 22. We’ll ask you a few fun questions about your group.

4. Beth will facilitate the study by posting 15-minute videos on the mornings our meeting days. They will have instructions for discussion questions and activities that will be based on the previous two weeks of study. The videos will be like the ones you’re used to seeing on this blog – very casual and homemade! The idea is to incorporate the videos into the beginning of your meeting times if possible. In case the video aspect of the study doesn’t work for you, you will also find the discussion questions typed out on the blog.

5. After your gathering, you’ll check back in by telling us something about your meeting via a comment on that same post. Don’t worry if your group can’t meet on Tuesdays. You’ll still be able to find the post and comment throughout the week.

What if:

-I want to use the discussion questions in the back of the workbook instead of the ones on Beth’s videos. Go for it!
-I really, really want to do the study but it’s not in the budget. Email me.
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I’ve already committed to doing another Bible study this summer? That’s great! Stick with it.
-I don’t want to participate but still want to be a part of the blog. We totally understand and want to see you around Siestaville this summer. Know that the Bible Study will only take up one post every other week.

We look forward to getting started next month!
Love,
Amanda

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Graduates Anyone?

It’s that time of year when hard-working students – AND those making it by the skin of their teeth – walk across platforms and get their diplomas.  Anybody besides us have a graduate this year? If so, tell us about him/her! No matter what the age or kind of graduation – from kindergarten to tech schools to doctorates – if an official ceremony is involved, let’s celebrate!  If you ARE the graduate, that’s even better. We love any opportunity to celebrate a Siesta. Tell us what God has enabled you to accomplish and what your plans are now.  This is what community is for.

While we join you in your celebration, please join us in ours. Here’s a huge Siesta shout-out to Melissa Moore Fitzpatrick for earning her second Master’s degree, a Th.M from Columbia Theological Seminary. Child, you have worked your fingers to the bone. You’ve done what it takes and at no small cost. Your Dad, Amanda, Curtis and I are so proud of you and amazed by you. THIS from the high school athlete dash prom queen with the blue and white 69 Camaro Z28 who mostly studied for a test on the way to school that morning…while driving. You are a stud, young lady.  Just like your sister. I celebrate the different directions Jesus has taken the two of you and I am so proud of the young women both of you have become. Make no mistake. You both need Jesus equally to make it through the lives He’s entrusted to you.

Colin, Melissa was so right to say that this graduation was just as much about you as it was her. Thank you for so often gazing at your new bride over a sky-high stack of books and papers and for listening to Hebrew lingo and doctrinal debates you never cared to know about. I have a feeling you didn’t see this coming when that young woman passed you in the halls of Langham Creek High School ten years ago. Keith, Amanda, and I will love you forever for how you love our girl and for how much you support her continued theological education. She’s so worth it, isn’t she? I speak this blessing as much over you as over her:

May God sanctify you, anoint you richly and shine His light brightly on your next steps. “May He remember all your sacrifices…May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy…and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.” Psalm 20:3-5

OK, Siestas! Let’s hear it for your graduates!

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My Tutoring Session With AJ: Adding Images

Hi, Siestas! AJ, our trusty Siestaville Blogmaster, is sitting right next to me in my office at LPM and she is tutoring me on how to add images into my posts. As you might recall (if you have admirable taste), I rocked at it when we were on Blogger but I’ve stunk it up on WordPress. Hence, Heaven alone knows all you’ve missed. In order to practice my new skills, I am going to take you through a random backlog of pictures I’ve taken with my iPhone during this season of blog-blackness. Knowing in advance that these are pictures taken with a cell phone should tell you what level of quality to expect. I know. I can’t wait either so let’s get right to it!

This is a picture I took of AB when I moved into AJ’s with the kids while she moved into the hospital with CJ. In order to give Jackson a bath by himself and let him be a fish for 20 solid minutes until he wrinkles up like a prune, I had to put AB in the Pack and Play. This is her cutest “Bibby, get me out of here before this gets ugly” look.

This is Jackson being Jackson. No, it’s not a clear picture but it is clear Jackson. He is my best friend in the whole world. Never has there EVER been a Bibby who loved a boy more.

This is Trav and me. After every few LPL’s when we get to hang around with the team and all act silly, one of us holds up our iPhone in front of our own face and says, “Hurry, jump in!” We have noticed over time that if he is holding the camera, oddly, he is the main one in the picture. If I am holding the camera, of all things, I’m the main one in the picture. Such a mystery. We have a ton of these. I bet you can guess who is holding the camera on this one. No, I have not been drinking. My eyelashes were just getting heavy.

My in-laws (Meems and Big Pops, who live right next to us) recently put in a vegetable garden and the four of us (them, my man and me) are completely obsessed with it. Sometimes the four of us just sit there in folding chairs and stare at the veggies like we could watch them grow. That’s Meems. (Short for Memaw) You can see the tiniest glimpse of Big Pops in the corner. Per Travis, one might wonder if Meems was the one taking the picture. It would have required a really long rubber arm, however.

This is Big Pops showcasing our first tomato. As soon as it ripens, we four have agreed to quarter it as our firstfruit and eat it together with hilarity and thanksgiving. Now that we have a vegetable garden, we like to say, “We grow our own food.”

This is a very good friend of mine’s recent 1-year token from AA. My pitiful photography here is a crying shame because, if you could really wrap your mind around this, you’d know it was worthy of a screaming shout of praise. Yahoo, God! I love You, I love You, I love You, I LOVE YOU!

The next four comprise a series. Recently, while Hawk and I were waiting at the gate for a flight back to Houston, a small herd of people walked right in front of us and one of them dropped the equivalent of a Sonic Route 44 Dr. Pepper. It hit the floor with a boom and exploded. The mother of said spiller promptly began dabbing at the edges of the broken dam with something the size of cocktail napkins while Hawk and I looked at one another like, “Somebody do something!” All the sudden, almost like a ray of light from Heaven broke through the ceiling and shone upon it, I looked up and saw this on the wall directly in front of us.

Does that say SPILL CENTER????? Could my eyes be deceiving me??? Let’s take a closer look!

I was like Clark Kent spying a telephone booth just in the nick of time. “Hawk, look!” said I! “A Spill Center!” I leapt over to it in a single bound and, knowing not what it was, perceived that I should reach into the bottom of the cylinder and pull. To my great surprise, this was no super absorbent giant towelette! It was the greater blessing! BEHOLD!!

I set it down right over said spill and some might say I saved the day. I felt empowered! Like any minute official airport personnel were going to wheel up on a golf car, saying “Scuse cart!” through the herd and deputize me. I was red-faced with humility.

While I waited, I felt a demonstration was in order. Here is what could happen to a person if caution is not quickly heeded. Or if Clark Kent can’t find a phone booth.

Whew. Even recounting it to you is thrilling. My heart rate is elevated.

Thank you, AJ!! If not for your excellent tutorial, all of Siestaville would have missed this profoundly important visual experience.

Lastly, with further thanks to AJ, I now have a picture with my blogger name when I comment. When it came Gravatar-time in our tutorial session, my brain was already at maximum absorption so I made AJ do it for me while I iced my forehead. She felt, then, that it was only fair that she get to choose the picture. You’ll understand when you see it. It goes to prove what I’ve long since believed. Every kid wants her parents to love each other.  They can survive without it – many of us are proof of that. But, they want it still.

I love you guys!

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Pilgrimages Past and Future

Some very exciting items are beginning to accumulate in my dining room. There are travel hair appliances, a travel bag, a neck pillow, a name tag, luggage tags, and an itinerary.

Did you spy the LPM logo? Our whole LPM crew and lots of our volunteers are taking a journey together in a couple of weeks. Wanna guess where we’re going?

The Holy Land!

My passport’s a little rusty, but it still works!

When I was 17 years old I had the amazing blessing of going to Israel with my mom. I found that old photo album this morning. Pardon the unfortunate quality of these pictures. I don’t have a scanner and rather than drag my babies up to the office to use theirs, I just took pictures of my pictures. I’m a skilled blogger, y’all!  Melissa and I are going to blog from Israel and I don’t want to steal our future thunder, so these will be pretty random.

Here I am in the airport with my friend Debbie.

Here’s Mom in a funny hat on our 12 hour layover in London. I fell in love with England that day.

This is Mom with Mary Helen Davis, whom our resource center is named after. We love her so much.

This is something that will never happen again as long as I live – a mother-daughter overalls picture. Wrong…very, very wrong.

Here’s the wonderful Nancy Mattingly in the airport on our way home. I’m sure she was calling her family to say she would see them soon. Her youngest, Sara, would have been 5 years old at the time. Sara is now my kids’ babysitter and her graduation announcement is sitting on my counter. Time? It is a’flyin’!

Have you ever been to the Holy Land? If so, what is one of your favorite memories of being there? If you’ve never made the pilgrimage but hope to one day, what do you look forward to experiencing?

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