Archive for November, 2010

Talk To Me Tuesday: Topic 7!

Good morning, Sweet Things! I’ve sure had you on my mind this morning. I just got back from a long brisk walk with Star and took in the wonder of God through stormy thick clouds and heavy winter winds. (Think South though. Everything’s relative here.) I had planned to work out on my equipment in the garage but once I saw the cool wind whipping the leaves off the trees, I couldn’t resist getting out in it. I thought I just might feel a hint of God in that great northern and I did. I told Him how mighty I think He is and how wonderful. How capable He is of doing utterly anything. How nothing is impossible for Him. Then I asked Him certain things and, even though I don’t know exactly how He will answer, I know that He will indeed answer.

Oh, Sisters, we are among the most blessed people on this planet. Do you know today how blessed you are?? We have the King of the universe to look to and to be loved by. He planned for each of us before the foundation of the world and even chose the works we would do in His great name. (Eph. 2:10) He intentionally set us in our generations and planted us with divine purpose in our parts of the earth. (Acts 17:24-27) I am amazed by Him this morning.I don’t want to take divine intervention for granted. We – you and me – are the stuff of miracles. Even to discern the living, breathing voice of God through His written Word is a wonder.

I am anxious to hear from you through today’s Talk To Me Tuesday topic! I’d like to know about a time when you were desperate for divine wisdom in a particular area (whether relational, work, ministry, or otherwise) and you had no idea what to do. You sought God and you received wisdom that you are certain only He could have given you. For all you women who have walked with God for ten or more years, one thing I’ve noticed on this blog is that we are actively mentoring our young women whether we realize it or not. We have many college-age women in this community as well as a number of high school girls that post comments often. Have you seen them on there? It blesses me every time! They are looking to us to help them learn how, among other things, to hear from God and discern direction. Share today (as succinctly as possible!!) how you received wisdom from God to do something that you know you wouldn’t have figured out any other way. This is not limited to all of us mentor types, however. Scripture proves through examples like Samuel and David and Timothy that God speaks to the young as well as the old.

Talk to me, Siestas! When have you lacked wisdom, petitioned God earnestly for it, and known without a doubt you received it?

PS. I almost forgot! If you used one of your Siesta’s recipes for Thanksgiving, tell her, too!

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For Thanksgiving

Hey, Sweet Things!

I’m writing this to you the afternoon before Thanksgiving. I will be too covered in family to have much time for written reflections on the actual day. I’m here by myself at my house of so many years. From where I’m sitting at our big round dinner table (my favorite piece of furniture in my house), I can see the top of the stairs. It seems like only yesterday, two little blond girls stood at the top of those stairs with their nightgowns on, their blankets clutched tightly in their arms, and adorable little bedheads, looking down at me in the kitchen, saying, “Is it morning yet, Mommy?”

It usually wasn’t what any decent sleeper could ever call morning but who can resist warm, snuggly preschoolers fresh out from under the covers? Especially if they hadn’t wet the bed? And, thank God, I was spared a pair of bedwetters. It really was yesterday that I saw two other children those same ages apart at the top of those same stairs, both with an uncanny resemblance to the first two. “Bibby, can I have a treat? And milk? Or juice? And can it be chocolate?”

“The juice or the treat, Buddy?”

Thinks for a moment.

“The TREAT!”

Good choice.

Well, that’s what the oldest one said anyway. The younger one just echoed, “Treat, Bibby! Treat!” I was standing within three feet of that one. She only gets to be arm’s distance from Bibby most of the time.Her smile melts my heart. Her little short pony tail slays me. And her miniature track suit is more than I can bear. I can’t stop laughing over the mysterious fact that, when you ask her what her (hard-to-pronounce) name is, she emphatically says, “Paw Paw.” You can imagine that Keith isn’t about to be the voice of reason. He likes things just like they are.

I feel so thankful today. And not because it’s been a sparklingly spotless year for the extended Moore/Jones/Fitzpatrick family because it hasn’t. Is any whole year like that?? Any whole month?? It’s certainly not for this flawed crew. I feel gratitude because God has been gracious to us and right there with us through every up and down. I don’t know about your house but life can be a roller coaster here at this address. He’s kept His word to us even when we didn’t keep ours to Him. He is always better than He has to be.

Sometimes we just need the quiet to reflect on His goodness. I’m getting that today. Keith’s running errands. The dogs are outside. Sweet potatoes are cooling off on the kitchen counter and I just pulled a large iron skillet of cornbread (yes, drenched in bacon grease) out of the oven.

It’s everything I can do not to tear off a piece of that hot cornbread and butter it and shut my eyes and be back for just a moment in my mama’s kitchen with her and my grandmother. They’d crumble theirs up in “sweet milk” and eat it with a spoon but I wouldn’t. I’d just laugh at their wonderful countryside and eat mine like I was mostly city side, except for licking my fingers and maybe my hand. And they’d say in unison, “Well, you’re snubbin’ your betters.” I miss them so much today but I’ll try to do them right with my  turkey and dressing. Thoughts like these make me grin really big and feel like I could cry if I’d let myself.

But I won’t. Because I’m too busy.

Georgia Jan (who I became friends with through Siestaville) and I have already compared notes today on our dressing recipes. The holidays make us want to reach out and connect with people who have touched us through the year. Or through a lifetime. Thanksgiving is about so much more than cooking and traveling. We all know that. It’s about being audaciously deliberate in celebrating the goodness of God with at least a few people you really love. Or maybe just really like. Even for one day. People as quirky as you are. And probably because they’re kin to you.

Here are a few things I feel especially thankful for today:

For a belief system where we can have absolute certainty of our salvation.We know this isn’t it. We know where we’re going and it’s good. We know that this turns out very well.

For a belief system where nothing – not even your worst disaster or failure – gets wasted.

For a belief system where every day is a new day and every act of repentance is a brand new beginning.Who has that but us???

For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is the entirety of my belief system.

For His indwelling Spirit who enables me to be so different than the old me. And different tomorrow from today’s me.

For the sacred holy Scriptures. Oh, thank You, Lord. My food and my drink.

For my man. Every year we defy the odds. He just walked in the door and kissed me on the forehead. I’m thankful we’re at it again.

For the inestimable, ongoing gift of my blood daughters, Amanda Moore Jones and Melissa Moore Fitzpatrick. My best friends. I really don’t know what a soul mate is exactly but, as best I can tell, they’re both mine. I never have a thought they’re not some part of, in this way or that.

For my three beloved sons, each “my true son” in the spirit of the Apostle Paul’s words to Titus: Curtis Jones, Colin Fitzpatrick, and Travis Cottrell. They are that to me. Trav and me on a speed walk in Rapid City, South Dakota, last Friday morning:

Oh, mercy, for my darlings, Jackson and Annabeth. If life is a meal, they are my constant dessert. From the backseat of the car just a few days ago:

(At the age where he makes goofy faces but there still ain’t no denying he’s one handsome boy.)

For my co-laborers in the great Gospel of Jesus Christ at LPM. “The Village.” I love them so much.

For my extended family on both sides. Blood brothers and sisters and the same in-laws for decades. For the inexpressible privilege of having my older sister, Gay, back in my everyday life. Not a day goes by that I take that for granted.

For Keith’s parents and, gracious me, at this point my own: John and Sue Moore. We want them next to us for the rest of their years.

For the unspeakable gift of spiritual daughters. I did not see that one coming. DELIGHT.

For my dear friends. The kind that have had my personal cell number since my first phone. And don’t mind carrying on a whole lot of relationship by text.

For my pastor, Gregg Matte, and his wife, Kelly, and their two children. For the church family they shepherd. I’ve never seen one exactly like it.

For my neighbors who love me even though they think I’m a tad whacked.

For renewed physical strength and health. I was one sick girl this time last year.

For YOU.

Yep, you, Siestaville. I thank God for you. You’ve made my life richer in Jesus. And at the end of the day, that’s what I care most about.

For just this moment, I picture all of you on this list right here at my small table and I smile.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Praise be to the Lord, for He has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song. The Lord is the strength of His people, a fortress of salvation for His anointed one. Save Your people and bless Your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.  Psalm 28:6-9

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Talk to “Them” Tuesday: Topic 6!

Good morning, my favorite blog community! I hope you are so blessed this week and that, no matter what your year has been like, your thoughts are on God’s goodness to you this Thanksgiving season. One thing is pretty certain: you are BUSY. Most of you are either going, coming, cooking or eating. Some of us who are in charge of our family gatherings are doing all four. I started my grocery shopping list this morning and I’m already in Pre Traumatic Stress thinking about getting to Kroger today. Not really. I’m actually looking forward to it. I love this time of year and especially this holiday because it’s not so commercialized.We will miss Melissa and Colin like crazy this week but we are so glad they are joining another family in the Atlanta area on Thursday. They can’t get home to their folks this year either so they’re all celebrating together. I hope so much that many of you are doing the same thing. Borrow a family this year if you can’t get home!

I think God’s given me a neat idea for today’s “Talk To Me Tuesday.” As you can see from the alteration in the title, we are going to do something a little different today. You’re going to be talking to someone else instead of me but you’ll have this platform to make it public and, in doing so, extra special. Sometimes a public acknowledgment can esteem someone like nothing else. It’s your way of saying, “I want everybody to know how wonderful this person is and how much God has used him/her in my life.” Choose one person that God has used to bless you this year and express your thanksgiving to God for them through a letter the length of one meaty paragraph. (Please no longer or people will tend to scroll past it. If it’s too long, we have a hard time publishing it anyway.) I know that it’s hard to choose just one person so consider making your choice based on the one who might not often get a public acknowledgment or might need the encouragement the most. You will address the letter straight to them: Dear _________________… (And then sign it, of course.)

After it’s been posted, jot down the time it appears and let your person know to look for it.

I think this will be such a sweet post. I am looking so forward to seeing you boast in the Lord by giving very specific gratitude to someone He’s used to bless you. Over and over in the epistles, the Apostle Paul set this example.

So, go for it, Girls! You are so dear to me. And I dearly love seeing how dear you are to one another. May God smile every time He casts His eyes toward this webtown we call Siestaville. I love you and will certainly talk to you later this week!

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LPL – Rapid City, SD

Living Proof Live – Rapid City from Rich Kalonick on Vimeo.

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A Good Morning and a Rapid City LPL Giveaway!

OK, you guys made me so hungry with all your recipes that I could have eaten my own arm off. That was so much fun! I’m going to narrow my choices down at the first of next week and I also plan to keep going through the recipes over the Christmas holidays. I can’t express to you how much your participation blesses my life and watching you relate to one another is right up there with the best parts. My life is so much richer with you in it.

Michelle and I have our suitcases packed and we’re heading up to Rapid City, South Dakota for this weekend’s Living Proof Live. We are going in a day early because it takes several flights to get there and our arrival time on Friday would have left no time for a delay. A cancellation (sadly not unusual) would have been pretty catastrophic. As it is, we’ll fly out before noon today and get there tonight. I am super excited though. I can tell you in advance this will be one of my favorite groups ever. (I’m not sure I’ve said that many times before, come to think of it.) Travis, the team and I LOVE North and South Dakota. We have story after story and memory after memory from those two great States. Oh, how we pray Jesus will show up so powerfully and do such depth of ministry, restoration, and reconciliation that we remember it forever. I have said so many times that I believe in “events.” I believe that something can happen when we get away from our usual surroundings and go, in effect, to a “high mountain apart” with Jesus. (Matthew 17) Right there we  can see Him transfigured in such a way that marks our entire estimation of Him. Yes, those kinds of fresh revelations can happen any day and even amid our usual routine but there’s nothing quite like saying, “I’m going to spend the weekend with Jesus and I’m not coming home without Him.” I don’t think He ever turns us away empty handed when we determine to seek Him with that kind of tenacious spirit.

Anybody want to come to Rapid City for Living Proof Live this Friday and Saturday but lack the money for a ticket? Oh, please call us and come! My beloved coworker Kimberly told me a few weeks ago when we were in Spokane that some of the women who got free tickets to the event literally cried on the phone. (You don’t need to do that for us to appreciate the privilege though. Grin.) It moved me so deeply and even now I could get a lump in my throat over it. I want you to know that these free tickets are gifts from this entire blog community. Several years ago we established the Siesta Scholarship Fund and you cannot fathom all the tickets and materials and scholarships that have gone out of our office through the provision. We laughed yesterday that God seems to treat it like the widow’s jar of oil in the Old Testament. We can’t seem to use it up. I believe He has honored it.

So, if you’d like to come but can’t manage the cost of the ticket right now, there are 20 comps just waiting to be claimed. Call Living Proof Ministries at 1-888-700-1999 during work hours today or tomorrow and talk to either Kimberly or Susan. Remember that Houston is Central Standard Time when you place your call.

The entire staff of Living Proof Ministries is blessed beyond measure to serve you and every single one of us considers you a huge priority. The word “Siestas” is said multiple times around our offices every single week. (In fact, we’ve got something fun in the works for you right now that I’m excited to tell you about but that will have to wait. I’ll just keep you wondering.)

OK, gotta get to the airport! I love you, Girls.

Your blog mama.

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Talk To Me Tuesday: Topic 5!

I love, love, love our Talk to Me Tuesdays! I had no idea how fun it would be. One of you made my day yesterday on Twitter by saying you couldn’t wait for it to be Tuesday so you could take in some good stories from the heart of Siestaville. (My paraphrase) I’m so glad this is working for somebody besides me. (And, yes, the writing is coming right along so this two-month commitment is accomplishing its goal.) One good thing about not posting so much is that we take a little longer to read the comments and I love that. So many people are putting their hearts out there. I want them to know it’s not pearls before swine.

OK, I’m totally pumped about today’s topic. I got my inspiration from watching Good Morning America this morning while I was putting on my mascara. They’re doing this “Count Down to Thanksgiving” thing and this morning they had on a chef to bring a few fresh ideas to the table. SO, with Thanksgiving in a little over a week, Talk To Me about one of your favorite holiday dishes and – listen carefully here – TELL ME EXACTLY HOW TO MAKE IT. Yes, the recipe or don’t even mention it. Don’t taunt me here. Take me to Cooking 101. A Holidays for Dummies kind of approach. That’s not to say you can’t give an elaborate recipe. Some of you Siestas are fabulous cooks. Strut your stuff (or your stuffing) here! Just make sure that your directions are really clear so we can follow them without calling you next Thursday at 11:30 AM crying while all our company is standing in the kitchen staring at us. Now’s the time to share our recipes so that we have ample opportunity to read through all of them and plan some into our Thanksgiving menu. (Yes, I really do have a Thanksgiving menu and I really can bake a turkey and make cornbread dressing. It’s one of the meals I do best. I can do fat food. I just can’t do healthy food. Keith’s parents officially handed the baton of family Patriarch and Matriarch to us several years ago so we host all four generations. Our holiday meals will be extra big this year since Keith’s sister and her family moved home from Japan so we’re moving lunch here to the ministry so that there’s room for all of us at one huge table.)

HERE’S THE REALLY FUN PART! Let’s each commit to work one Siesta dish into our Thanksgiving holiday (even if you’re not a cook and it’s the only one you make) so that we can have a little touch of Siestaville on our table. It will be a way to remember one another and be so grateful to God for this wonderfully quirky community. I’ll write a post right after Thanksgiving to let you share which one you chose. Be sure and give your name and city with your recipe so that your sister can point you out if she chooses your dish. And don’t be offended if no one chooses yours. I can think of two times in my entire adult life that someone outside my own family has asked me to share a recipe with them.

I’m really excited! Bring it on, Siestas!!!

OK, so this is not a recipe but I have discovered the world’s best sugarfree gum and I’ll taunt your taste buds in closing.

And just in case you want proof that this really is your very own Siesta Mama writing these Tuesday posts to you:

And she loves you like crazy.

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Talk to Me Tuesday: Topic 4!

Good morning, Siestas! I just had a malfunction on the moderation page and, when I closed down and tried to reopen, I think it may have eaten about nine comments to the previous post. I’m so sorry if yours was one of them! I hate when that happens. All four Jones and Melissa, and I are packing up and heading to North Carolina to be part of a gathering near Asheville at Ridgecrest Conference Center. We are so excited to be together and to serve together. We also can’t wait to be with Travis who is family to all of us Moore/Jones/Fitzpatricks. We wish Angela, Jack, Lily Kate, and Levi were going, too! That would be the ultimate. We’ll also have so many other friends there – a reunion of sorts in a lot of ways. Anyway, you won’t waste a prayer on any of us. We never get this thing down. We pray not to get in the way of the Holy Spirit and that the pleasure of Christ will be upon us all. The group will be smaller than our LPL gatherings which means we’ll be able to see many faces and hug lots of necks. It will be water to our thirsty souls.

OK, so it’s TUESDAY! And that means it’s time for you to talk. Here is today’s topic:

Talk to me about a memorable time in your life when God broke through your hardheartedness, doubt, numbness or bitterness (or maybe even grief) with what almost seemed like a single stroke. In other words, has there ever been a time in your life when an event, a moment, or sudden revelation was used by God to crumble a wall that had long since been in place? I’ve been mulling over how a single God-ordained moment can change an entire season. If you’ve had one of those, describe it. After so many other things hadn’t “worked,” why do you think the breakthrough came like it did? (Keep in mind, some things just remain mysteries to us.) Take your time and think it through. Let it cause you some thanksgiving while you’re at it.

I will look so forward to your answers! You are dear to me, Sisters. May Christ be continually attracted to this community we call Siestaville.

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Hello Autumn Monday!

Hey, my darling Siestas! Keith and I are on our way back from our Cactus Ranch, rolling east on I-10. I thought about you so much and took a few pictures with you in mind. I put the first two on Twitter so, if you’ve already seen these, you can skip on down to the rest. This is where I had my Sunday morning worship service all by myself but, as cool as I think it is, it’s a poor second to  my home church. Church is about people. Not places. The Lord still heard my prayers and received my praise and I was able to intercede for Pastor Gregg as he delivered his sermons and Curtis as he taught his Sunday School class and, Tammie Head, one of my darling “mentees,” as she taught hers.

I got very amused after tweeting this picture because so many people were dismayed by this small piece of sausage on this big fire pit. Some even mourned how lonely it looked. The thing is, I was the only one eating it. It was jalapeno cheese, by the way. So dang good.

Now, here’s what I wrote to you late yesterday afternoon so keep in mind it’s a day old:

It’s a near perfect late afternoon. There is no sound except what nature makes. A north wind is shoving the first thoughts of winter into the Texas Hill Country even before she’s come to grips with Fall. Leaves are blowing off the trees before they’ve had time to turn colors. The crickets don’t know the time changed today and they’re waking up early for the night, chirping like we should be yawning. A fire is crackling in the big pit and the wind is keeping the flames high and the smoke heavy and oscillating. Both dogs are playing in the yard. Star’s feelings are hurt that I’ve put down the ball and picked up my laptop. She hates the sight of that silver apple rising up from my lap in the worst way.

The early evening sun is casting a shimmery gold over the field between the big red barn and me. It makes the pasture look soft and inviting, like you could take off your shoes and run through it barefooted in your long white flowing skirt with your wide brimmed hat in your hand, ribbon cascading from it. Hair extensions flowing behind you like you’re in a commercial where you’re about to meet the love of your life and be swept up into happily-ever-after. But you best think again, unless you want your feet to be cactus cushions, swollen up like honey dew melons, and the hem of your skirt to be embroidered in burs. We don’t wear skirts out here anyway.  It’s harder to see if you’re about to step on a rattlesnake. Hair extensions do sound exotic though.

I’ve walked I don’t know how many miles since we got here on Friday. I suppose twelve or so and mostly by myself. My man is in his element here so he stays busy and I read and go on long walks. I pray a while, then say my memory verses, then nothing at all. I just try to see what I feel. And try to just think my thoughts before God and see what comes of them. We’re moving so fast these days that it’s hard to know how we feel about things, important or otherwise. Our feelings get all cross-wise and we end up getting mad about something we don’t even care about and not caring about something we should be mad about.

We go back home tomorrow, thankful for a three-day weekend, and ready to see Jackson and Annabeth. They’re at the age where they change overnight so I don’t like to go long without seeing them. We babysat them on Thursday night before we left town and ate Lil’ Smokeys (cocktail wieners) and anything else of equal nutritional value that they wanted. Cookies. Cheetos. Whatever. AB was in the cutest outfit ever. I held my I-phone up to take her picture and she looked up at me and said, “Cheesth!” I nearly died. Jackson is unbridled delight and, with the least prodding, tells me all the scoop from inside the Jones home without even knowing it. And it’s always good. But, boy, is it funny.

Oh, my word. I can see a whitetail deer about a hundred yards from where I sit. A doe. (A deer. A female deer…) She must have seen Keith drive off in his pickup, kicking up dust for a while. The dogs are frozen stiff. Mesmerized. They’ve learned the hard way that, if they bark, the fun is over. There’s another. And another. Too dark to take their pictures. I love this time of day, just as the sun goes down. If I could freeze any time of day and make it last a little longer, this would be it. Just to give pause for one long moment at the end of every day, turn back the covers and say, “Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Psalm 116:7

I think of you so often, Sisters. I will touch base with you again tomorrow on Talk To Me Tuesday. By the way, I was greatly comforted by what big mouths we have here in Siestaville. Just think what could happen if God got a hold of all our tongues! I love you, Sweet Things. Fight the good fight of faith. Jesus is so worthy.

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Talk To Me Tuesday: Topic 3!

Good morning, my favorite blog community! I was so thrilled to hug the necks of about 50 of you Siestas at the Spokane LPL. You can rest assured you are this teacher’s pets. Thank you so much for your participation here and for your genuine warmth when I get to meet you face to face. Your sincerity and reciprocal love comes across and makes me think again and again how God has blessed us here with something unusual and maybe not all together explainable. He’s so gracious and He meets our needs in all sorts of unexpected ways.

I have LOVED our Talk to Me Tuesdays! This topic ought to be fun, too. In fact, I might especially like this one since I am one who has often fallen victim to the malady that we are about to spotlight. Talk to me about a time your mouth got you in trouble. (Believe it or not, all of these have ties to the James study, whether subtle or outright.)

Ground rules:

*Keep it clean. Of course. In other words, if your mouth got you in trouble with profanity, please refrain from sharing it. Grin.

*If it involves someone else (and the nature of it means that it usually does) either don’t identify the other person(s) involved or make sure it’s fine with them for you to share it.

LET’S HEAR IT! I’m already smiling. Maybe that’s because misery loves company.

Lastly, you Houston area girls come to Living Proof Bible Study tonight if you can and help me welcome that darling young thing, Sarah Reeves, as our vocalist and worship leader for this event. Let’s make her so glad she came to serve us. We’ll also wrap up our series on Imago Dei and I’ll actually try to have more than one point we “get.” God help me. This session is very applicable and, if you haven’t attended either of the other two sessions, it would stand on it’s own. If you’ve never even come before on a Tuesday night, I think you’d get a word from the lesson. He’s spoken loud and clear to me even just this morning. May He be glorified.

I love loving Jesus with you, Siestas. Let’s press on toward the goal. He’ll be standing at the finish line.

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LPL – Spokane, WA

LPL – Spokane WA from Rich Kalonick on Vimeo.

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