Hey, Sweet Things! I hope you had the sweetest Christmas day. You guys had such special traditions. I loved picturing many of you yesterday doing the very things you described. Yolanda, I keep thinking about you coming from a sharecropper’s family and getting to pick out anything you wanted from the grocery store at Christmas. That you got the okra and your brother got the cool whip made me so happy. What a culinary pair. I hope so much I’m remembering those details right! If I’m butchering your story, correct me and forgive me.
Our family had such a great day! We stretched from a 22 month-old to two nearly 80 year-olds. We read the Christmas story together, prayed as a family, and tore into presents of all shapes and sizes. I was so whipped by late last night that I almost couldn’t make it to the mattress but the Moores, Jones, and Fitzpatricks had indeed celebrated the birth of Christ and shared much joy and laughter. And food. God lent me the cooking gift for 24 hours and my meal was so stinking good that I kept wanting to high-five my own self. Every time the conversation went to something else, I tried to subtly steer it back to my miraculous kitchen extravaganza and how it all came off at the same time. These are Christmas miracles, people. Not pearls before swine at the Moore house.
I don’t have a single picture to show you right now because I never picked up my cell phone. Melissa took great pictures with an actual camera but those will have to be uploaded. We’ll get them to you soon. So many fun things happened yesterday but I’ll mention the one that still had me tickled when I got into bed last night: Jackson’s first shot at karaoke. I got him a Phineas and Ferb Karaoke Machine and his parents thought it best not to get it out of the box until they got home at a later hour. Amanda videoed his debut last night and texted it to me on my I-phone. I’ve watched it over and over. I sent it to Travis and he had the good sense to love it, too. He thought maybe he noted a worship leader in the making based, I believe, on Jackson’s enthusiasm for the craft rather than his actual pitch. It is so hilarious and endearing that I can hardly stand it. Of course, little Miss is right up in his business but he occasionally acquiesced and put the microphone up to her mouth. She, too, sang with considerable gusto. The two main words of the kids’ song were “born again” (really LOUD) so the karaoke experience was the richer for its fine theology.
OK, I promised myself I wouldn’t do this because I need to stick to the task at hand and keep this post very focused so that we can direct people back to it in the future. SO, on with our important purpose: how to participate in the 2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Team! Here are a few things to know up front:
*For you new comers, “Siesta” is just an endearment for “Sister.” There’s no club to join and no person you need to become. If you’ve trusted Jesus as your personal Savior, you’re a sister in Christ. When we first began the blog several years ago, it never occurred to any of us how much we’d come to love each other. As the community grew closer and closer and the participants more and more familiar with one another, one of you asked what name we should call each another. I tried to say, “I’ll tell you what we are: We’re sistahs!” but spell-check switched it to “siestas.” It stuck and that’s been us ever since. We even liked the thought that its actual meaning is to take a nap. We’ll know we’ve been a place of divine intervention if we’re a respite from the female competition and clatter out there. Only Jesus can give us that kind of relief in this exhausting culture.
*We call this a Scripture memory “team” because that’s exactly what we are. We’re a really long line of women standing shoulder to shoulder with our swords drawn. And we don’t draw our swords to wound people, to convict our family members (God’s job) or to cut off the ears of our hearers. We draw our swords to fight the good fight of faith. While I was helping stuff Siesta Scripture Memory Spirals into envelopes on the 22nd, I said to my coworkers, “JUST THINK, what would happen if 6000+ women really did memorize 24 Scriptures in 2011?? What are the implications of that? What kind of repercussions might that have in our personal lives and our homes?” And we got all riled up. You bet this is a team. Don’t be too cool for it. Remember, God’s Spirit is a fire. If we’re too cool, we can’t help but quench it. If cheesy works around here, we’re not ashamed.
*Very often you will see me refer to SSMT. Just so you’ll know, that is an abbreviation for “Siesta Scripture Memory Team.” I also want the rest of you to keep in mind that we don’t limit the entire blog to our Scripture memory participants. It has a big presence on here because it’s twice a month but we still do lots of other things. Please don’t feel left out or forgotten.
OK, NOW FOR THE INSTRUCTIONS. You can cut and paste these somewhere if necessary. Here’s how it will go:
1. On the 1st and 15th of every month of 2011, you will find a post by 8:00 in the morning where I will ask for your memory verse and give you mine. This will begin New Year’s Day. You are committing to 24 Scriptures in 12 months. In previous years, I’ve found this to be a very doable pace. If you do much more, you’ll tend to fall behind and not retain. If you do much less, the impact is negligible. You really can do this. So many of you will surprise yourselves with what you’re capable of doing in the power of the Spirit. Yes, it takes work but it’s tremendously fulfilling and the results are nearly immeasurable. Look at it this way: you’re going to be meditating on something: unforgiveness, toxic memories, misery, lust, greed, dissatisfaction, jealousy, competition. Choose Scripture! Christ Himself said as a man thinks, so is he. He also said His words are spirit and life. This is work worth doing, Sweet Thing. Never – NOT ONCE – have I ever known anyone to get to the end of a Scripture memory commitment and say that it didn’t make any real difference. Not a single time.
2.You are to enter the verse you’ve chosen to memorize for that two-week period within twenty-four hours of the post going up. I’ve been asked many times if it’s okay if you’re late supplying your verse and, yes, of course it is, but try to avoid doing it often. The people who make it to the very end of the year are overwhelmingly those who stay up with it month to month. Please know up front that one of the important parts of this process is the exercise of self discipline. This culture is mass producing wimpy narcissists. Year-long commitments like these that require punctuality and focused energy push back on that degenerating trend. All that to say, please don’t drop out if you get behind. I just want you to know that this will be much more successful if you treat it as a real, live commitment you are willing to work hard to keep.
3. When you clock in with your verse those two times a month, keep your comments limited to your name, city, verse and translation. Long comments on SSMT days are no-no’s. It won’t take you long to figure out why we maintain that rule. Wait till you see the powerful sight of hundreds if not thousands of verses flowing down the comment stream. It is a gorgeous sight. When you’re having a bad day, all you have to do is scroll down a few hundred of your sisters’ Scripture selections and I promise you, you’ll get a word. It’s a very powerful thing. Here is a sample comment:
Beth from Houston, Texas: “Forget about what’s happened! Don’t keep going over old history. Be alert! Be present! I’m about to do something brand new. It’s bursting out. Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road in the desert and rivers in the badlands.” Isaiah 43:18-19 The Message
(That was my first Scripture from last year so I wrote it from memory. If you choose that one, you better double check it. It’s at least 95 per cent accurate…I think. Yep. Double check it.) Always add your translation because so many of your sisters will want to know where you found the wording for your entry. One of the great impacts of this process is how much we reap from each other’s selections. Often you’ll see a sister say, “I’m doing the one so-and-so did last time!” (Yes, you can make a comment that brief. Those can be fun. Occasionally you’ll even see someone write, “For the sake of my marriage, I’ve chosen to memorize…” That’s okay, too, but try to keep it very succinct.)
4. As often as possible, choose a verse that means something to you in your present season or circumstance. This is the reason why we don’t all memorize the same Scripture. We’re not all going through the same things. The more you let God lead you to verses that direct you or edify your soul in your present circumstances, the more He will renew your mind toward your challenges. This is a huge part of 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 where we’re told to demolish strongholds and take our thoughts captive to Christ. If you don’t have a verse on your mind or you’re drawing a blank when the 1st or 15th rolls around, you are welcome to share mine. I will always include it in the post. You might also look at a few of the comments and see if one of theirs resonates with you. I say this next part with a grin: try to refrain from memorizing Scriptures that you think your spouse or your children need to learn. Memorize what you need to learn. That means do your best to avoid jotting your verse on a stick note and planting it on your bathroom mirror where your man can see it and repent of his sins. He probably won’t because he’s got your game. I bet you can guess how I know that.
5. I strongly recommend that you stick with only one verse to memorize each time. (This is just a recommendation and not a rule. You’re free to do whatever works for you.) Keep it simple and meaningful. (If I were addressing you live, I’d have you repeat that sentence back to me so just go ahead and say it out loud in order to nail it down. That sentence could be your best friend through this process.) If you do too many verses or get too complicated, you will soon be overwhelmed and want to drop out. Better to do 24 simpler verses over a 12 month period of time than a chapter over the first month then quit. We want this to be a discipline we practice for the rest of our lives. Think marathon. Not sprint.
6. Either shortly before or after making your entry each 1st and 15th in the blog comment, write the verse by hand in your own spiral. (Again, that’s a recommendation and not a rule. I’ve discovered that there’s something about writing it with your own hand and picturing it later in your own handwriting that helps it sink into your memory bank. I’m not entirely sure why.) Take that spiral with you everywhere you go. Read it and read it and read it and read it. Do mental gymnastics with it. Flip that baby over and over. Many women have told me along the way that they’re not good at memorization and I truly understand that. I also beg to offer two responses: First, that may change. Give the Holy Spirit a chance to do something brand new with you. Second, even if you don’t get your verses down word for word, you are still meditating on them as you read and reread them. You still, thereby, accomplish one of the most important goals: captivating the mind to Christ. You just can’t lose on this one. Either way, it has a powerful effect.
OK, I think that’s enough to get us prepared for January 1st. Now, let me tell you well in advance how to qualify for our Siesta Scripture Memory Team Celebration mid-January of 2012. (I’m writing this from my home on Sunday evening and I forget exactly which weekend in January 2012 we scheduled it. I’ll double check and let you know shortly so you can save money for your transportation and hotel. We do not charge for the event. Your entrance fee is your well-used spiral. By the way, Travis is planning to be there again to lead us in worship and my beloved LPM staff and daughters are looking really forward to it, too.) Here’s how you qualify:
*Clock in by first name and city at least 21 out of 24 times. (But please make your goal 24 out of 24!) Let me reiterate that you can be late with your entry on a 1st or 15th of any month but, by the end of the year, there has to be a record in the comment sections of you signing in at least 21 out of 24 times on a SSMT post. Make sense? Please give us 24 hours to post your comment before you assume it got lost. We still moderate all comments and the amount we get on SSMT days necessitates a slower pace. Thank you for your cooperation!
*Bring your spiral to the celebration. Again, that’s your ticket in.
*Be prepared to say any 12 of your 24 memory verses to another Siesta (of your choice) during the designated time at the celebration. (We get in pairs.) Some of you will be tempted to let this be a deal breaker but don’t back out! Siestas are really sweet and patient with each other and we are notorious for giving each other hints. We can even act out charades if necessary. If you’re one of those who genuinely struggles with memorization, just tell your memory buddy up front and she’ll give you all the grace you need. Tell her the gist of the verse as accurately as you possibly can. She’ll be able to tell that you are well acquainted with it and that the goal was accomplished even if you can’t say the verse word-for-word.
*Register for the event when the time comes. (December 1, 2011)
Whew! Have I exhausted you?? I’ve worn myself to a pulp. Sorry this is so wordy! We just want to answer as many of your questions up front as possible.
I want to tell you something before I sign off. You have impacted my walk with Christ. This community has given me encouragement when I was nearly down for the count. I am more disciplined because you are here. You make a difference in my life. You make me think, and laugh, and study. You offer me company when I am lonely. You stir me up to love and good works. You are used of God in my life to make this hard world a better place.
That’s what Siestaville is for. Women walking alongside women on our way Home, stirring up excitement toward that great day. SSMT is just one way we do that. AND IT’S A WHOPPER. Let’s do it, Sisters, starting this coming January 1st! I’ll talk to you again about other things before then but I don’t want the New Year to take you by surprise.
Your blog mama loves you.