Archive for June, 2010

Random Stuff

Good Tuesday morning, Dear Siestas!

I pray your week is off to a great start! Mine started with a powerful sermon by my pastor, Gregg Matte, and an equally fabulous worship service on Sunday next to some of the people I love most in the world. Like numbers of you, I’ve been in the same congregation for many years and have deep investments in relationships there. Within six or seven rows of where we usually sit, I have dear friends from kindergarten to their seventies (yes, in our contemporary service). I’ve known many of the adolescents all their lives and have watched some of the young couples grow up, fall in love and get married. In fact, I stood with a few of them. My church is a wealth to me. I had the privilege of praying with one of my close 8 year-old friends at the altar on Sunday whose granddaddy is in the hospital and has her scared half to death. There’s just no way I can tell you what those moments mean to me.

I’m an early riser by habit but I was dead to the world Sunday morning and way overslept the clock. I got up rubbing my eyes and said to Keith, “Blast it, I’m up too late to get ready for church.” He very uncharacteristically said, “You can make it!” and I got ready in a record 45 minutes. (Keith does not have a churchy background and is not very churchy by routine. He is often very amused if I play hooky then act guilty about it all day. He’ll think of things to bait me then laugh his head off when I fall for them.) I told him never to expect me to get ready that quickly again but I was so glad we went. It was a truly great service.

My man is one of the most unique people I’ve ever known. He’ll say absolutely ANYTHING which means he’s been known to hurt my feelings on (frequent) occasion…but then he sends me a text while I’m out of town with just one sentence: Come home to me. And I do. I love him so much. He also does really unique things. When I got home Saturday night, I saw this pile on the kitchen counter:

He saw me staring and said, “Oh, I cut the fringe off that fancy pillow on the couch.”

I’m sitting here speechless just as I was that night. But I am bent over laughing. That’s my man. He thinks an ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure.

OK, my other random thing is that I have a new travel case for my Bible and computer. I AM SO HAPPY! Perhaps you are not a traveler and do not understand the great importance of your carry on. It is your best friend on the road. It’s under pressure to meet all manner of requirement like fitting in the overhead and going under the seat and rolling down an Express Jet aisle. It also has to be cooperative in the security line when you’re trying to pull your laptop in and out and put it on the conveyor belt. These are not small matters. It also has to fit the large box of Hot Tamales one of the guys from the production team gives me as a reward at the end of most conferences.

To tell you how challenging it is to find exactly the right bag, I have carried the same one for some 12 – shoot fire, maybe 14 – years. The handle is almost impossible to get up and down any more and it’s beat nearly to oblivion. I love it so much though. It’s been good to me. Loyal. I even feel a little guilty about the rest of this story.

Sabrina, my coworker, has tried so hard to get me a new one through the years but I always have a reason for rejecting this one or that one. About a month ago, Hawk and I were at the airport on the way to a conference when we spied a woman with the cutest powder blue bag I’d ever seen. It had never hit me that my bag could be useful AND darling. What was I thinking??? Anyway, we attacked her, got the information on the brand, and ORDERED THAT BABY. Rich and Ron from the LPL team have helped me haul that one black carry-on all over the United States for years. They were so shocked to see the new one, they were too frozen to even lift it in the car. “Whose is this??”

It’s mine! I just love it! And so far, through two trips, it’s passing all my flying tests. It’s a bit too wide for my taste but its cuteness is giving it the advantage at this point and is making it worth the trouble to turn side-ways down the aisle. I may get annoyed with that after a while. We’ll see how it goes.

My small group and I are loving our Ruth study so far! Like some of you, we are meeting each week with one another and every other week with the Siestas at large. The first week of homework is fantastic. Don’t you love it? If you’re doing a different study this summer, tell us what it is!

I cannot say enough about our St Louis group. They were absolutely incredible. God was so gracious to grant us a strong sense of His Presence. He is all we have to offer. All we have of value. So many Siestas were there! We tried hard to get the Siestas together at the end of it for a clandestine group picture but most of them didn’t see the slide we’d been slipping up on the screen during break times. I didn’t get to meet Sister Lynn and I was so ticked! I did, however, see her beautiful face out there. I also got to meet five of our other regulars who were so darling that I could hardly stand it.

Well, Siestas, I better get off of here and down stairs at LPM for lunch. We’re eating in today. You are on my mind every day. Just wanted to say hello!

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St. Louis Recap Video

Living Proof Live – St. Louis from Rich Kalonick on Vimeo.

*Rich, I’m loving this new style! Thanks for doing this for us!

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Jackson’s Love Language

One of my son’s love languages is being sprayed with water. Sometimes I climb up in his fort and spray him with the hose while he runs around the back yard. He loves it so much. Today, after I filled his little love tank by drenching him thoroughly, we used the hose to make a water slide.

Annabeth was asleep during all the fun, but I couldn’t resist showing this. She looks so innocent, but it was only minutes before she threw The Tantrum of a Lifetime.

Have a great weekend, Siestas!

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St. Louis LPL – Ten Ticket Giveaway

*UPDATE*
All the tickets have been given away now.  I hope you girls have a great weekend together!

Hi ladies! We have ten tickets to give away to the Living Proof Live event in St. Louis this weekend. If a complimentary ticket would enable you to attend the conference, please call our office toll free at 1.888.700.1999 and ask for Kimberly Meyer. I will update this post when all the tickets are spoken for. (If you’d like to purchase a ticket, you can do that here.) Please pray that Jesus will be glorified through this gathering. Thanks, sisters!

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Tenderhearted Toward You

My Dear Siestas, I can’t take long with this post because I’m pretty swamped with work and, besides, it’s almost time to go home for the day to my man. I wish I had a unique way to convey what I feel but by the time I think of just the right words, the emotion will probably pass. I’ll just take a messy stab at it before my heart cools off.

At the moment I’m writing this note to you, we’re almost at 1000 comments on the Siesta Summer Bible Study launch. A number of the comments are replies and MANY are glorious solo sign-ins but, even accounting for all of those, we already have several thousand women – in groups or as individuals – doing Bible study together… and barely 24 hours into our journey. Chances are, many others will join us over the next week or two.

You are literally from every corner of the country and from several other parts of the world. You are students, SAHMs, singles, marrieds, and widows. Many have been through painful divorces. Some of you are doctors. Several in med school. Many are teachers. Others of you are missionaries. For those of you who have pictures with your blogger names, you are as different as night and day but as darling as every other. Truly (and I’m not sure how to explain it), I never meet a woman I don’t think is darling. I love all the ages. All the shapes and sizes. Skinny behinds. Wide behinds. Long hair. Short spiked hair. I reckon it’s just because God suited me for women’s ministry.

Anyway, I sat in my bed in my pajamas this morning and checked the blog after finishing my quiet time. We’d had 297 comments come in over night. As I checked each one and read your sincerity and fervor and saw such humility in your self-professed lackings and needs, I shook my head and said out loud to our God, “You must love them so much.” As I watched you reply to one another and invite one another to join in, as I saw you reach out to all our solo girls to make sure they felt completely plugged in, share email addresses with one another and even ask to meet up in person, I nearly started crying. Even now I am choking back the tears.

In a strange sort of way I can’t quite explain, I had a Psalm 8 moment. “Lord, who am I and who are we that You would allow us to join together this wonderfully weird way and seek You? AND FIND YOU, for crying out loud????” The Internet has brought such harm and havoc to individuals and homes but this day I sit in awe of the beauty of several thousand women with hearts knit together in Scripture from all over creation with one lofty aim: to seek Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World. Our Kinsman Redeemer. Our Life and Breath.

We are every denomination. We are all sorts of colors. We come from every possible background. And here’s the part that makes me want to lay on the floor and bawl. (Honestly, I’m about to do the ugly cry.) We have been drawn into all these circles of relationships not based on looks, talents, finances, social status or even denomination. We have been drawn by God through our attraction to one another’s hearts conveyed in simple terms and short lines in blog comments, of all things. Something that didn’t even exist 10 years ago. It first hit me when many of us met for our Siesta Scripture Memory Team Celebration in January. I heard Siestas squeal when they met each other for the first time face-to-face and saw them hug like there was no tomorrow. I watched them huddle  for endless pictures and thought to myself as I savored all the differences in age and type, “Would we have been friends at all if we were out in the world where social decorum strictly dictates? Would we have given each other this chance if we’d known each other’s faces, jobs, and worlds before we knew each other’s hearts?” Maybe. But I don’t think so. I think we are an odd composite study in sociology. What would happen if people could only see each other’s hearts first? Who, then, would become friends?? Just think of all the priceless relationships we miss because we look for those who remind us of us.

It’s been different here in this strange little web town we call Siestaville. And if we’d just lean in a little toward the heart of God and close our eyes for just a moment, I think we’d feel His pleasure. No, it’s not perfect around here because we’re so imperfect. Lord have mercy, I’m so imperfect. Sometimes we misunderstand each other or hurt each other’s feelings but those times are the exceptions. Overwhelmingly, this is as sweet a congregation of women as I believe you could find on Planet Earth.

We are a snapshot of the true church. The girly half, anyway. All different kinds of people attracted strictly by spirit. One Body of believers. One perfect Savior. I do not know why on earth this terrible former pit-dweller has gotten to serve this beautiful community of women – let alone be called it’s mama! – but today I am moved beyond words.

And crying.

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Siesta Summer Bible Study 3 Launch

Hey, Siestas! It’s time for summer Bible study! For the sake of rich fellowship and vital accountability, we hope as many of you as possible are meeting with small groups and on every other Tuesday or as close to Tuesdays as possible. You are absolutely welcome to join us solo but try to stay as involved as possible in the discussions so that you’ll feel plugged in. This is what you’ll do every other Tuesday:

1. Watch the video so you’ll have your instructions for your gathering or for your solo experience. I will always put the bare bones of the instructions in writing on the post just in case there is a video malfunction.

2. (You will find these instructions reiterated in this post because it’s fundamental to the experience.) If you are in a small group, designate one person who will write a comment to this post briefly telling us about your group and your discussion. It can be a different person each week or the same. START THE COMMENT WITH THE CITY, THE NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS AND LOCATION THEN DESCRIBE YOUR GROUP AND ADD SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR DISCUSSION. For instance, I am meeting with my Monday staff members so my comment will begin with:

Houston, Texas; 8 of us; Meeting at Living Proof Ministries. Our group is primarily made up of…The main part of our discussion was about…(And so forth).

3. If you are going solo, your comment will become the way you complete the assignments. In other words, you’ll see that I ask you to describe this season of your life in one word. In your comment, tell us what that one word would be.

Make the length of it one good, descriptive paragraph. Try not to write too much or readers will tend to skip over it.

This clip is to give instructions for your first gathering – the one you are hopefully having today or in next 24 hours. You can watch this together or your leader can watch it and pass on your instructions.

Summer Bible Study – Week 1 from LPV on Vimeo.

I so hope that makes sense! Now, here are the written instructions for your gathering just in case you can’t get the video to work. Welcome aboard! May God take us on a journey that we’ll treasure for many years. Let’s find the Ruth in us, Siestas!

Today in your small group, here’s what I am asking you to do:

1. If you don’t know each other, spend a few minutes finding out some basic biographical information about one another.  (Single, married, still in school, or in a career. Children, no children. The regular stuff. Keep in mind that everybody fits in Bible study. You don’t need to all be alike. In fact, the more alike you all are, the less you may sharpen one another.)

2. Each of you in your small group characterize your life in this present season in ONE WORD.  Have the leader record these.

3. Each of you in your small group share one specific goal you have this summer for being in Bible study. Have the leader record these, too.

4. Look at the very last verse of the Book of Judges (Judges 21:25) because of its placement just prior to the book we’ll study together this summer. Discuss several specific reasons why doing what each of us sees fit at any given time could be dangerous. After several minutes of discussion, read Jeremiah 17:7-14 and talk about how this segment relates or contrasts to Judges 21:25.

Leader: this is very important. You get back on within 24 hours of meeting and write a brief summation of your group time as a comment to this post. Tell us how many came, your city, and something about your group or your group discussion.

*UPDATE*
Here’s a link to the first chapter of Ruth in case you don’t have your workbook yet.
http://www.lifeway.com/lwc/files/lwcF_Ruth-Sample-Chapter.pdf

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Happy Monday and Heads Up for Bible Study!

Good Monday Morning, My Dearest Siestas!

I hope you had a great and God-filled weekend. I cannot express to you how much I loved watching your interaction with one another in response to Friday’s post. It was one of the most rewarding moments of my, how shall I say?, blog life. I am so honored that God would allow AJ, Melissa and me to be a part of this community of sisters. May He find much joy in what takes place here.

I had a very busy weekend doing one of my favorite things. Jackson and Annabeth stayed with my man and me from Friday morning till Sunday noon while CJ and AJ had an anniversary weekend away. We played, sang, danced, watched movies, read books, and ate snacks for meals for the better part of three days. Wedged in there tightly, we got a little sleep. The kids are super active but so good. AJ and CJ are terrific parents. Both children are affectionate and appreciative and surprisingly polite for their young ages. That’s saying a lot these days. When I went to bed last night, I replayed our sweetest or most memorable moments. I could hardly go to sleep for thinking about them. I took a few pictures with my I-phone which means poor in quality but rich in love.

Jackson is just like his mommy in that he loves to swim. I knew Keith would be gone all day Saturday and I’d be on my own with them so I chickened out of taking them to a public pool. Too many people. Jackson has had two summers of swim lessons but I still wanted him in plain sight at all times and where I never had to take my hands off Annabeth. I asked my dear friend and coworker, Sabrina, if I could bring them to her house because she has a really fun pool in her backyard and she was gracious enough to welcome us.

AB has serious Bibby-itis right now but after about an hour she let Sabrina’s daughter, Kelli, hold her in the water and I got to play with Jackson. This is us. He splits my heart in two.

This is all four of us – Jackson, Annabeth, Kelli, and me – before we called it a day. I do not know what I would’ve done without Kelli. She spent every minute out there with us. I’ve known her and her older sister, Hayli, since they were little girls and they are God-nieces to me. I’m blessed to be called “Aunt Beth” by them.

When Sunday morning rolled around, I knew the big question was upon me. Was I woman enough to get both of those kids to church? And ON TIME??? Some of you saw this picture on Twitter. (Yes, I Twitter now because AJ set me up for my birthday – @BethmooreLPM. I’m limiting myself to two tweets or less a day. If I start misbehaving with it or getting addicted to it, I’m firing myself from it.) I can’t resist showing the picture here as well. This was how AB woke up:

Killed me. By the way, she is a clone of her mother right now. When she was an infant, she looked just like Jackson who looks just like CJ but the older she gets, the more she looks like AJ when she was her age. Anyway, despite the hair malfunction, we did make it to church, bathed, dressed, ON TIME and with all our shoes on. BUT, for the first time in my entire memory, I forgot my Bible. Hahahahahahahahaha. I had to use one of the complimentary copies in the pew. I took no small amount of flack. I even gave it to myself with great glee. If you can’t laugh at yourself, then nobody seems funny.

OK, enough of the weekend recap. TOMORROW IS OUR BIG DAY!! SSBS (Siesta Summer Bible Study) III launches with our first Tuesday gathering. I will give you instructions for our roll call tomorrow. You will also have your regular video-greeting plus written instructions for your group discussion in case you have trouble with the video. Bar some kind of technical problem, you will always find it posted early in the AM for those of you who want to meet mid-morning or over lunch. If you can’t rally a small group, you are welcome to go solo but our hope is that you have some Godly fellowship and accountability this summer. As well, you can meet on any day during the week, but our aim is for as many of us as possible to meet on Tuesdays. Within 24 hours of meeting, we are asking a designated person from your group to write a comment to that post with a brief summary of your time together. This is the accountability part. You’ll understand more about it tomorrow.

I just wanted to give you a heads-up that it’s time to begin! You do not need to do anything in preparation for tomorrow’s gatherings in your small groups. No homework is due. You’ll get your assignment for the first two weeks tomorrow.

This is so exciting, Ladies! Let’s get ourselves in some Scriptures!

Your mama loves you.

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What’s Up This Weekend?

What are you girls up to this weekend? It’s a big Jackson and Annabeth weekend for my man and me. Amanda and Curtis are celebrating their anniversary away till Sunday so we are officially ON in every way. And mighty happy about it. AB’s already down for a nap and Jackson has been helping Paw Paw clean the boat. This was something Amanda and Melissa loved to do when they were little, too. The difference was, the girls didn’t want to actually go fishing in it but mark my word. Little man does. If I’ve heard, “Paw Paw, when I’m a bigger boy…” once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. He melts my heart. I guess Bibby’s going to have to break down and go fishing when that time comes. I don’t think I can bear to take my eyes off of him in real fishing water. We’ll see. Jesus could come back by then. Keith just asked if he could take Jackson with him to the boat store to pick up some supplies. Would you believe I have never let the boy out of my sight when I’ve had him in all this time?? What a danged control freak. Keith put up with me saying, “But can you promise me you won’t let go of him for one single second?” so I guess I’m going to have to give it up. I have butterflies. What an idiot.

I love how so many of us who have been around Siestaville a good long time really have made some true, flesh and blood sister-friends, especially if we’ve attended some of the events. Georgia Jan is one of mine. Same age. Kids same age. Grandkids same age. Been married forever. (None of those are prerequisites for friends but it just throws us years forward into a relationship.) Both love Jesus. Over our happy heads in women’s ministry. Flawed but trying. Anyway, she’ll have her grandboy Zeke this afternoon and we wish like mad we could have them together. They are exactly the same age and they’d have such a big time.

Do tell! Anybody else made a real friend on here? This would be such a fun time to hear about it. If you haven’t had the time or opportunity, just tell me what you’re up to this weekend. Chat a while, Siestas.

I sure love you guys.

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Living Paints Ministries

Our staff celebrated Bethie’s birthday at Painting with a Twist.

Evangeline, Mom, Sabrina and Susan.

KMac, Michelle, Mom, Sherry and Jenn.

Diane, Mom, Kimberly and Linda.

Just call her Baby Hawk.

This is the original canvas that we were painting from.

This was not painting by numbers, people!

Evangeline was contemplating all the art with our instructor.

Breakfast treats, coffee, and juice.

Jenn and Sabrina drying the first layer of paint.

Michelle and I are swaying to Friends are Friends Forever.

We’re renaming ourselves Living Paints Ministries.

We were that fabulous.

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Laugh With Me

I loved my devotional this morning. It helped that I actually got to sleep in because I have the day off. Worked all weekend. And I do mean WORKED. I love the Deeper Still events but, because they last a half day longer than a regular LPL’s and the sessions are super long, you go home pretty wiped. Hence the day off. (I don’t take Monday’s off because of staff prayer time.) So, I was really rested when I was sitting propped up in my bed having my prayer time this morning. The Scripture hit me so tenderly that I nearly cried. You know the story. It’s about God’s fulfilled promise to Abraham’s wife, Sarah. Read the portion again and intentionally look at it as a woman because that’s sort of what this post is about. Be amazed and thankful that God has a long history of also making and keeping promises to women.

Genesis 21:1-7 (GW)
1 The Lord came to help Sarah and did for her what he had promised.
2 So she became pregnant, and at the exact time God had promised, she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age.
3 Abraham named his newborn son Isaac.
4 When Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him as God had commanded.
5 Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born.
6 Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.
7 Who would have predicted to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet, I have given him a son in his old age.”

I got stuck on that part that says, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” I sat in a carload of women in front of the hotel in Denver Saturday night. We’d just spent all evening together at a restaurant. You might reason that we’d spent all weekend together but we just kept talking a hundred miles an hour and didn’t want to get out of the car. It’s just a woman thing. Our ages ranged well over twenty years but for that moment, we were BFF. Kelly Minter and I were in the back seat and I looked straight at her and said, “Yep. This is what I love about women. I love being a woman.”

Cheesy. I know.

But I do.

I thought it was so cool that Sarah knew that many would laugh with her. If I were a betting woman, I’d wager that she was talking about other women. I can’t see the men really slapping their leg over it, then clapping, and then throwing up their hands and shouting, “Glory!” like me and my buddies would do. I’d bet they just slapped Abe on the back and said, “Way to go, man.” Most of the time, if God’s really done something cool in my life, I like to tell my girlfriends about it because I know they’ll laugh and clap their hands, too. In fact, I intentionally tell the ones that I know will most appreciate it.

It doesn’t have to be something really huge like Sarah’s miracle either. Women can find all sorts of things to laugh with one another over. Here are a few I’ve experienced just here lately:

Melissa: While we were in Israel, we went out in the parking lot to wave good bye to the first half of our group departing for the States. The rest of us would not be going till the next morning. There was a bit of a delay and they had to sit for a few minutes before taking off so I decided to start entertaining them (outside the bus on the pavement) with cheers, a few little dance moves, and kicking my feet to the side and clicking my heels (yes, in a dress. It is a move I do very well). To my great surprise, Melissa got into it with me and up and did two cartwheels for them. (Not in a dress.) It made me so happy that I laughed and laughed. My little budding scholar! I said to her while I bent over laughing, “You have what it takes for women’s ministry, Honey!”

Amanda: Melissa and I always say that AJ is the funniest one of the three of us. She’s just not the extrovert so it’s not as obvious. Here lately she hopped in the car with me on our way somewhere and I said, “What’s that in your hand?” She said, “My Weight Watchers charm. I got it for reaching my goal. I’m going to put it on Annabeth’s charm bracelet so she knows what I had to do to get over her.” I clapped and laughed, not only over AB’s well deserved charm but over AJ’s darling college-looking post-partum figure. A met goal is worth laughing and celebrating together.

Kelly Minter: You know what a big fan I am of Kelly’s. I love her. I love watching these young women teachers come and take their places. I cannot describe my joy or my peculiar feelings of elation over it. I sat on the front row at Deeper Still next to my beloved Priscilla when Kelly took the stage to share a devotional early Saturday morning. As she took that platform, she would speak to more people (by several thousand) than she’d ever addressed before…and she killed it. (I hope you realize that’s a good thing.) Honestly, I pumped my fist in the air and yelled, “Whoo! Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!” Hawk looked around and said, “Did anybody hear her do that but me?” I couldn’t help myself.

A person I can’t name yet: A very dear loved one of mine is expecting her first baby and I am beside myself. I nearly hurt myself with joy when she told me over the phone. I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. I love God for what He’s done in her life. I will love this child next to my own blood grandchildren.

Another really close loved one: She’s the one whose 1-year chip from AA I showed you several weeks ago. God is so busy restoring the years the locusts have eaten in her life that, if He weren’t omnipotent, He’d honestly have no time for the rest of us. We have laughed and laughed over the wonders He has done in her behalf.

What about you? Is there anything wonderful God has done in your life – big or small – that this community of women could laugh with you about? Look back at those Scriptures. Has God done anything for you about which you could say, “God has brought me laughter” or “Who would have predicted…?” Give us the chance to clap our hands and laugh with you.

I’ll close this post with the devotional that accompanied those Scriptures this morning. It’s Charles Spurgeon. It about killed me in the Spirit. I loved it so much. Enjoy, Siestas. Your Mama loves you.

It was far above the power of nature, and even contrary to its laws, that the aged Sarah should be honoured with a son; and even so it is beyond all ordinary rules that I, a poor, helpless, undone sinner, should find grace to bear about in my soul the indwelling Spirit of the Lord Jesus. I, who once despaired, as well I might, for my nature was as dry, and withered, and barren, and accursed as a howling wilderness, even I have been made to bring forth fruit unto holiness. Well may my mouth be filled with joyous laughter, because of the singular, surprising grace which I have received of the Lord, for I have found Jesus, the promised seed, and He is mine for ever. This day will I lift up psalms of triumph unto the Lord who has remembered my low estate, for “my heart rejoiceth in the Lord; mine horn is exalted in the Lord; my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies, because I rejoice in Thy salvation.” I would have all those that hear of my great deliverance from hell, and my most blessed visitation from on high, laugh for joy with me.
Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening.

PS. Speaking of things fairly peculiar to women, I thought I might go ahead and tell you that I typed this whole thing standing up in my wrap-around terry cloth robe so my self tanner could dry. I want to be tan on my birthday.

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