Archive for December, 2010

Thinking About A New Year

Hey, Sweet Things! I’ve been praying for you this very day. I’ve especially been praying for those of you who’ve commented about how much you want to do the Scripture memory but you’re scared of failing. First of all, I pray that God is going to give you a glimpse of what your brilliant little mind is capable of doing when doused in His Word. Second, if you spend the year meditating on 24 verses, I pray that you’ll realize that you cannot fail. It will produce a harvest whether or not you get each Scripture down word for word. The captivated mind that tears down strongholds is what we’re after. Keep that before you. Pray for a supernatural unction to internalize Scripture then thank God for it in advance. He makes a way for us to obey what He wills for us to do.

Now, on to something that I keep pondering this morning. Like many of you, I’m a thinker. Years don’t come to ends or beginnings without me getting caught up in what’s behind or in front of me. That’s good if it leads to change. That’s bad if it leads to dread. We’ve all heard this definition of insanity: doing the same thing the same way and expecting something different. Yet, for the most part,  we live life in that maddening loop. One of the things God has taught me along the way is to try to hear from Him about one area at a time that He’s pinpointing for change. Much more than that is too overwhelming. Anyway, He’s a God who’s into process with the lives of His children. We need look no further than Philippians 1:6 for proof of that. What He may begin in an instant He may complete over a lifetime. Instead of making a list of resolutions for 2011 that are broken by the time they’re spoken, is there simply one thing about us we really wish to change? I could think of a dozen things I’d like to change but this is the one I think God is pinpointing as our joint effort for the top of 2011: a mental loop I tend to get into when I get offended or hurt by someone I love. I have come to believe that my first minute’s reaction is what determines the cycle of the next (usually miserable) two days. So, here’s my specific prayer for the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011.

My Dearest Abba Father,

I’ve lived long enough to know that any 12-month period of time on Planet Earth winds a pathway through thicket and thorns. It’s just too long a period of time not to get hurt or offended. I also know that You have tucked many joys in the oncoming year and I don’t want to miss them because I can’t quit obsessing over what’s hard. You’ve gone to measurable lengths in the last year to show me how the enemy of my soul operates in one specific area: he can’t block You from blessing Your children so he tries to block Your children from enjoying it. I do not want him to cheat me of reaping from anything rich You send my way this year. Even the treasures hidden in darkness. As this year ends and a new one begins, I am so thankful that I have Your Spirit without limit in my life and that, with You, change in a long pattern really is possible. You’ve done it before in my life. Come do it again. I am asking You in particular, Abba Father, to run to my aid in that first moment when an opportunity for offense happens and urge me by Your Holy Spirit to head into a thought-loop that spirals upward rather than downward. Simply put, help me to get over things fast. Honestly, Lord, sometimes I just make life harder than it has to be. Some things that wound me aren’t even about me. Help me to see where I’m jumping into somebody else’s loop and to quit getting hung by my own. I choose joy in resting this petition at Your feet, Lord, and I refuse self-condemnation or fruitless regret. You never would have brought this to the forefront and called for it in prayer if You didn’t have something good in mind. You began this work. Now come and take it to the next level. I’m excited about it, Lord, and see a glimpse of liberty on the horizon. Thank You, Father.

If you also want to post a prayer about ONE THING you’re asking God to do in you toward a more victorious 2011, feel free. There’s something about writing it down in a public place that makes it memorable. A record you can go back and read can be a beautiful thing. Try to resist wallowing and writhing in these  public requests. It’s Satan who tries to make prayer a dreaded exercise in self-loathing. In God’s economy, even when our prayers are mostly pleas of repentance, they lead us to relief.

Hey, Siestas, let’s not respond to each other’s comments this time. By all means, let’s pray for each other but let’s leave the response space to God.

I’m honored to walk with you into 2011, dear sisters. We’re getting closer to the 1st! Hold your head up or you might miss your new beginning!

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Siesta Scripture Memory Instructions

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.

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Christmas Traditions in Siestaville

Good morning, Sweet Things!

It’s one of those rare days around the Moore house when we get to sleep late. I got up about 7:30 because I like to have a few minutes before everybody else rouses around here. I just got finished with my quiet time and had you on my mind so I thought I might show you what life looks like from exactly where I’m sitting:

My man and I usually get a tree that is way too big for our low ceiling and have to cut two feet off the top. After all, we are the Moores and if medium is good, more is better. This year we got one that fits our size room a little more appropriately and is less accommodating to Star and Geli for chewing and climbing and all-around-dragging. Up front is me in my favorite house slippers. They are called “The Pinks” (forenamed by Melissa and I when we got our original pairs). Everyone in the family knows The Pinks and God forbid one of the dogs getting hold of them. I am very picky about my house slippers because my man keeps the house ten degrees below zero and my feet nearly freeze into nubs.

To the right of The Pinks you can see the very top of my favorite coffee cup. I’m annoyed at myself for not getting it in the picture better but I don’t have time to take another one and upload it. My Greek tutor, Dr. Joe Wall, and his beautiful wife gave me a set of dessert plates and cups and saucers from Russia where they train pastors. (Replicas of Catherine the Great’s official dishes.) I don’t have a ton of attachments to things but, if my house caught on fire, these would come out right after the baby pictures and the dogs. Coffee and tea drinker that I am, I love delicate cups and saucers. So do Amanda and Melissa and we have used this set no less than a thousand times. They have the added sentimental value of coming from people I love and respect so they make English tea or fresh brewed coffee taste even better.

On each side of the tree are dolls that hold candles and move their arms (hence, the blur). I’ve had them for twenty years and they mesmerize me. I could sit and stare at them for hours. Annabeth is also completely taken with them. She stands right in front of them and needs to talk to me at length about them. The one on the right has a hood on her red velvet coat and AB likes to put it on and off and on and off and with the delicate touch of a chimpanzee. Nonetheless, the doll stands tall and takes it like a trooper.  If you’re wondering where the presents are, we don’t bring them out until Christmas Day because they take up too much room in our den.

Shhhhhhhh. Don’t tell them you saw what’s in them but these are my girls’ stockings:

I made each of these from kits with my own little hands right after each girl was born. (Amanda was born ten minutes after we were married. Not really. Nine and a half months to be exact and, no, I’m not kidding.) Of course, I also made a stocking for Keith and one for me. I still can’t believe I did it. (Don’t you dare ask how hard it could be. This might as well have been chiseling heads on Mt. Rushmore for me.) That was back when I had more hope of being the home goddess. I may have even had a sewing machine back then. I had high hopes of carrying on family tradition. My mom could sew anything and I didn’t have a store bought dress until junior high. My older sister, Gay, and I dressed alike all our young lives and still think it might be fun.

Uh oh. Melissa and Keith are up so I’ve run out of time. Here’s one more. It’s a picture the girls and I took yesterday at Saltgrass Steak House with Melissa’s I-phone on our Christmas shopping day. By 2:00, we hadn’t gotten a single gift but we’d eaten twice.

Oh gracious. I love those girls so much. They remain the greatest proof in my life of God’s inconceivable redemption. Even more than the ministry, as thankful as I am for it. God didn’t just do a miracle in my serving life. He did a miracle in my HOME. In my own troubled family. How Keith or I either one did not destroy this home is a mystery only God can explain.

OK, so now it’s your turn. What holds a special Christmas memory or tradition around your home? Do tell!

I love you guys so much.

PS. OK, because you insisted, here’s a close up:

And I couldn’t bring myself to show it to you empty so you just caused me to have a fourth cup of strong coffee. I’m typing really fast and feeling extra energetic. Going to get off and do handsprings in the den until I calm down.

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Last Day At LPM before Christmas

Hey, Darling Things! A quick, random post here. The last day of work before Christmas is always ministry-on-steroids around this place. We close to the public and work like crazy to get last minute details done. Several of us (yours truly included) will still have to put in a few days between Christmas and New Year’s but this is our last day of 2010 as a team. Characteristically at some point on the last day, all of us pitch in and help Diane and Evangeline with resources. Lots of people place last minute orders that they’re hoping will make it by Christmas Day and we try hard to accommodate. This year someone also came up with this insane idea that tagged on, oh, about 6000+ orders and in December, no less.  (Perhaps you’ve noticed that we are having to freeze new SSMT spiral orders for a few days because we’ve gone into back order for printing.) But we are so happy and the Lord is so faithful!

Christ has called us to Romans 15:13 over the last week due to some long term struggles a few of us are having.  We’ve been saying it back and forth to one another as a reminder of His blessing to us. Maybe you could use this reminder, too. Hopelessness is never of God. Never. Nothing is too difficult for Him. Nothing is beyond His reach. His restoration. Even His reconciliation. I’m going to try to write the verse by heart to you:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

As you trust in Him.

As you trust in Him.

AS YOU TRUST IN HIM.

If we’ve got His Word on it, let’s not stop believing Him for our situations until our lack of hope transforms into an OVERFLOW of hope. Do it, Lord. I felt the victory begin the moment I started committing the verse to memory. God is so amazing.

Anyway, here are a few random pictures from the last two days. I had so many more but they won’t upload and I’m so annoyed. This is a quick pic of our staff Christmas lunch yesterday at Grand Lux by the Galleria:

This is your very own Siesta Mama stuffing envelopes with spirals. That’s my buddy of 30 years, Johnnie, to my right (she’s the one the David revision is dedicated to. That’s my buddy of 20+ years, Diane, to my left. She is one of our LPM managers and one of the people I trust most in the world:

These are some of the last minute orders waiting for our wonderful UPS man.

Gotta go! I get to babysit tonight! I’ll be in plenty of touch around here. I love you guys!

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Spirals, Daughters, and Bookstores

Hey, Siestas! You are the biggest blast of a blog community EVER. Thank you for being so much fun about the Siesta Scripture Memory Spirals. You would have thought we were doing one of those big Oprah giveaways where everybody in the audience gets a really fabulous free gift and women scream for fifteen minutes. Oh, man, I wish these could have been free gifts! Would you believe that 1393 of you placed orders within the first 24 hours?? At this point, over 4000 of you have placed orders so it’s safe to say that we at LPM really did scream for fifteen minutes – and, yes, with absolute joy. Even laughter. I got a text when they hit a thousand spirals and it had about 20 exclamation marks at the end of it. I threw my head back laughing before the Lord and flat out slapped my leg. About a month ago when I shared this vision with Sabrina, I said, “I don’t know. I may be wrong but I think they’ll like them.” Well, you did. Which tells me it had to have come from God because some of my really good ideas have sunk  deep into the abyss…but only after costing us an arm and one and a half legs. Anyway, back to the spirals. To say that my staff is busy is an understatement but we’ve got wonderful volunteers and everybody will still get the designated time off for the holidays. I go down stairs every little while and tell them I’m sorry (and they laugh and say you’re a privilege to serve) and we’re also trying to feed them a lot. Here are a few of them hard at work right now:

(There is lots of hugging at LPM. Nancy Mattingly heads up correspondence around here – oh, MAN! I am so thankful to God for her – and her daughter Sara just got home from college for the Christmas holidays and came to lend a hand. That’s one of us hugging her. We adore all the LPM offspring.)

We are getting them in the mail (the spirals, not the offspring) as fast as humanly possible but, as you can see, we are big in heart and small in numbers around here. Still, we are pressing on and you will have them at the earliest possible date. There’s no loitering around here. I hate to rub it in but I already have my set. I’m chomping at the bit to write the first verse in it but I’m waiting till January 1st on the dot.  Remember me telling you that I can tend toward obsessive thoughts? Well, case in point: I’m fighting the mild urge to obsess over which verse to choose first (what if it sets the tone for the year?) and which pen I want to use. I’d also like to have better penmanship on this year’s set. Ordinarily by the time I get to April and I’m in the middle of this crisis or that, my verses look like they’ve been written in an ambulance – and maybe half the time they should have been. I know you’re thinking I should get out more but just think how much I get out already and remain this odd. Well, I hope the Lord is getting some amusement out of us being this excited about memorizing Scripture. And don’t tell Melissa and Amanda but I am making theirs stocking stuffers.

Speaking of getting out more, guess what I’ve been doing? I flew to Atlanta two days ago, jumped in the car with Melissa, and started a two-day trek home to the Lone Star State. Colin has a brand new job that is enabling them to come back to Texas! Wooooooooo-hooooooooooo! Or in the expression coined right here in Siestaville, “Yahoo-Jah!” (Hold the “Yah” for about five seconds then say the “hoo-Jah” really fast. It has a rodeo-type feel to it.)  Colin is on his way right now with the moving van and Melissa and I got home with one of their two cars last night.

A couple of quick shots on the I-phone…

Walking to the car where we’d climb in, pay for parking, and head straight out of town. I am walking behind her thinking how I can’t believe this is really happening. Baby girl is heading back to Texas!

The first border we crossed out of Georgia. We literally drove through snow and sleet the first hour here. It was really exciting for me though. Snow is still a novelty around here!

The sky as we crossed the border into Mississippi:

A toast for miles behind us:

Day Two was really sunny and I wore my sunglasses for hours. Finally they were making deep dents and, let’s be honest, my nose doesn’t need any added distress. Melissa had this tiny little rag on her console for some reason and I made good use of it. Michelle said I looked like I was about to stage a hold-up at a Stop -N Go.

We had every plan to take our very best picture at the “Welcome to Texas!” Landmark in our own home state. Just as we were driving by it with my I-phone out the window, an eighteen wheeler sped by on our right side and gave us the evil eye. May God forgive him. We railed about it for a solid hour. No, there was no going back. It was freeway and would have taken too long to recreate. We consoled ourselves with sugar.

Thank you for enduring this long, unimportant-to-anyone-else  family narrative. It’s not over yet. I’m just thanking you now so you can continue hanging on by a thread. We are beside ourselves to welcome the Fitzpatricks back. We’ll have them in Houston for at least several months and will soak up every minute. I think you can anticipate hearing much more about them and from them as we have her back at the Living Proof office. We are so happy and praise God with all of our hearts. Except for small amounts of time over summers or holidays, Melissa has been away from home for ten years and from Texas for eight. She’s got itchy feet like her mom so don’t look for permanence out of them in Houston but we’re at least hoping that, wherever they ultimately land, they’ll stay within half day’s driving distance. That’s all up to the Lord. When you raise your kids with the hope that they’ll follow hard after Jesus and live their lives as a divine adventure, there is literally no telling where they’ll end up. We’re so happy for seasons we get to spend together.

Amanda made last night one of our all-time best 4-Moore memories. When Melissa and I drove up last night, Amanda was standing in the driveway holding big welcome home balloons and blowing a party horn. (I snapped a picture but the flash caught their eyes funny and they look a little possessed so I’ll spare you. And myself. It was my worst nightmare when they were growing up.) At that very second, Keith drove up from out of town, too, and the four of us had this spontaneous moment together. The timing was so perfect that we couldn’t have planned it. We got in a group hug and blew our party horns as loud as we could then laughed our heads off. Then we did what Texans do when they get back from being out of State: we headed to a Mexican restaurant and rekindled our family affections over hot sauce and tortilla chips. We topped off the evening by driving around our subdivision of 26 years and looking at Christmas lights. The whole evening was a family gift with a big red ribbon God alone could have wrapped around it. Our little family has been through a lot and grace is the air we breathe. We don’t take moments like these lightly.

Right now I am praying in Jesus’ lavish Name that He will appoint some spontaneous moments like these for you and your family or friends. I am well aware that life is hard and all of us could use some reminders that God has not forsaken us – and never will – and that He is only good and never malicious or unfeeling toward us. My next memory verse is James 1:17 “Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.” (James 1:17 HCS)

Oh, thank You, Lord. You never change. You never turn Your back on us.

We are blessed to be His daughters, Siestas.

OK, I’ve got a ton of work to do so I’ll sign off right after one last thing. For you Houston-area girls, we are having a book signing tomorrow (Saturday) at the LifeWay Christian Store in Willowbrook Court from 12:00 noon to 1:30. (17776 Tomball Parkway) This location is really special to us because it’s the closest one to my home. I have no idea how many times I’ve been in that store and perused those shelves for something new to read. It is also the location many years ago where Keith took me as a surprise to see the first Bible study on the shelf. (The original A Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place) He’d called the store in advance to find out when it would hit the shelf (I was too green to even know to ask)  and took me out to dinner that night without saying a word about it. When we drove away from the restaurant, he said, “I need to make one stop on the way home.” I was perplexed when he drove up to the Christian bookstore because it really wasn’t his thing but what wife would pass up an opportunity like that? He grabbed me by the hand and made a bee-line straight to the aisle where they’d told him in advance he’d find the new copies. I was so shocked I couldn’t believe my eyes. There wasn’t much to that original Bible study cover (a big purple flower, I recall) but it was a beautiful sight to us. We neither one said a word. We just stood in the aisle and cried. It was priceless.

All that to say, this Willowbrook location is “home” to us because it was simply the most convenient location and became such an active partner in Bible study ministry. I’ve shopped in there a jillion times. I’ve sat cross legged in the resource/commentary corner and pulled books off shelves more times than I can count and also bought innumerable music CD’s. A couple of years ago, my good buddy, Johnnie, and I dropped by there after having lunch next door at Sweet Tomatoes and had Jackson with us in the stroller. He was almost three at the time and there was a stack of Get Out of That Pit hardback books near where we were perusing. We got so tickled as he kept pointing at the cover and yelling, “Bibby! Bibby!” Silly stuff but fun family memories.

It’s a great store and I, for one, loathe the thought that on-line book orders (as many as I’ve placed!) would ever replace the kind of store you actually get out of your car and visit. I don’t know about you but, half the time, I don’t even know what I want to read until I see it.

Anyway, that’s where Michelle (AKA: “The Hawk”) and I will be tomorrow.  Melissa and/or Amanda may drop in but Michelle will be there for sure to help me. If you want to drop by and grab something off the shelf to have signed for somebody for Christmas, we’ll be blessed to serve you. These days the really abbreviated versions of certain written messages mean that the price range starts lower. We never, ever want to talk the women we are privileged to serve into overspending. No pressure here whatsoever. We just want you to know that we’ll be there to serve you…if you want to be served. Grin.

I sure love you guys. You are such a bright spot in my ministry life. I think of you every day. And right about now, my whole staff is thinking about you every minute. Pray your spirals home!

I’ll be back on here soon, Sweet Things. This mama loves you.

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My Fun Little Siesta Surprise!

Hey, Sweet Things! Do some of you remember me telling you that I had a little surprise for you in the works? THIS IS IT!!!!! Our very own Siesta Scripture Memory Team SPIRAL!!!! Inside are 30 blank index cards just begging to be filled with your choice of memory verses. I’m almost having to stand up to type because I am so pumped. For those of you who are new to our community, one of the things we prioritize and love to do around here is memorize Scripture. It is a huge part of calling the mind captive to Christ (2 Cor. 10:3-5) and most of us know from experience that our battles are won or lost in our MINDS. I have been actively memorizing Scripture as a primary Spiritual discipline since my early 30′s. I am thoroughly convinced that God used it to bring immeasurable healing to my mind, my memories, and my thought life. I tend toward obsessive thoughts and fears and unrelenting replays of bad memories and, when I fall away from actively hiding God’s Word in my heart, they come back with a vengeance. Anybody else? There are no words big enough to express the difference Scripture memory has made in my life. God also showed me along the way how much accountability and partnership can enhance the success of the discipline. Two years ago I was trying to decide who I should ask to be my accountability partner for that year and God brought the idea to my mind to make it the whole willing blog community and to offer accountability to them in return. The result was one of the neatest experiences we’ve ever had on this blog. I honestly have never felt the pleasure of God more fully over anything we’ve done here.

We created “The Siesta Scripture Memory Team” and each made it our goal to memorize 24 verses, two a month for that calendar year. We signed in on the first and fifteenth of each month with the present verse God was placing on our hearts. (We didn’t memorize the same one together. It works best if we each get to memorize the verses that most apply to our present lives and circumstances. However, I always offered my verse in case someone else was drawing a blank or felt that it also resonated with them. In those cases, some of us memorized the same thing.) We logged in twice a month with our first names, cities, verses, and translations and held each other accountable to get them hidden in our hearts for keeps. We worked hard and saw victory after victory over the flesh and the kingdom of darkness. We topped off the year with a free event in Houston for those who kept their commitment. The only ticket in was a well-used spiral. We had a BLAST. As long as I live, I’ll never forget what all of you looked like in pairs, saying half of your verses to one another.

Well, the SSMT (Siesta Scripture Memory Team) is BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! We will begin January 1st. Look for very specific instructions next week on how to participate. (Hold off on as many questions as possible until that time because the post will answer so many.) Everyone is welcome! Even those who have never visited our blog before. Anyone who wants some accountability in memorizing Scripture is invited. Let me also quickly say that no one is pressured to participate. You won’t be an outcast here. We still do many other things on this blog. It’s just an offer made in much love to those who would benefit from it in their walk with Christ. Living Proof Ministries exists to encourage women to love the Lord Jesus Christ and walk with Him in His Word. This is one way we hope to accomplish our ongoing goal to the great glory of God.

Again, I will get you all the details within the next week BUT I needed to let you know NOW about our brand new, you-inspired SSMT spirals! Let me tell you a couple of things about them in advance:

*You are by no means required to have one to participate! These are strictly for those of you who want one! It is very easy to go to your neighborhood Walgreen’s, CVS or Target and grab a spiral of index cards. That’s what I’ve done every year up until now. (But, admit it, aren’t these the cutest things ever?? I.LOVE.IT. I am so thankful for Sabrina who jumped on the vision the moment I expressed it to her and for Cheryl Casey who listened carefully to the concept then created this design for it and for our beloved Cathy at Copy Doctor who sped ahead and got them printed. As we always say around here, it takes a village.)

*You are welcome to order one even if you don’t wish to participate in the SSMT. Many of us may not want the added pressure of 2 verses a month but we still like to keep a Scripture memory spiral. By all means! There is no legalism where these are concerned. If you want one, you can have one. If you don’t, you’re free!

*We very much wanted to serve you with this spiral and not attempt to make any profit off of it. We are offering it to you only at our cost plus shipping and handling. This is NOT a way for the ministry to make money. You’ll see that it is $3 plus S/H. Sabrina got the cost as low as possible. I was thrilled with this outcome.

*Now, listen to this part carefully. Once you place your order, we will turn them around as quickly as humanly possible. Please keep in mind that our staff is small but very willing to serve! We also have Christmas holidays to celebrate so the ministry will be closed part of the time. Many of you who order right away may have your spirals by January 1st but if we end up with several thousand orders (we have no idea what to expect), yours may not get to you until the second week or so of the new year. Please know that we’re going to get them to you as fast as we are physically able. Just write your first couple of verses on temporary index cards until you receive your order then write them again permanently in your spiral when you receive it. Sound good?

And, because I know someone’s going to demand to know now: yes, we are going to have another SSMT celebration (in mid-January 2012) for those who keep their commitments in 2011 but no one – let me say that again – NO ONE will be scorned for not showing up with this cool spiral. I mean that. I am also laughing out loud at the ridiculousness of it. I am acting like a nine year old.

OK, if you want one, here’s what you do. Copy and paste this link into your browser and it will take you straight to the order page:

http://www.lproof.org/store/product.asp?itemid=2011SMTspiral

Listen, even if you don’t care one iota about a spiral of blank index cards, please know that we at Living Proof Ministries so desire to serve you and cheer you on in your walk with Christ Jesus. He is everything to us around here. May He be thrilled to spend 2011 with us!

I love you,

Beth

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Deeper Still – Birmingham

DeeperStill – Birmingham AL from Rich Kalonick on Vimeo.

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Talk To Me Tuesday: Topic 8!

My dear Siestas, talk to me today about miracles. I know some people who could use one. Take some stones of remembrance this day and be used of God to build up somebody’s faith. Ground rules: No exaggerations. No make believe. Just pure honest Biblical truth about what you know your God can do from first hand experience.

You guys are so dear to me.

Lord Jesus, show up in a mighty visitation this week in our community. You are our Hope and our Salvation. In You we place our trust. The very sign of that first Christmas was a miracle: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means, ‘God with us.’” O Come, O Come Immanuel. So many need to know You are here. Grant us eyes to see and hearts to love. You are our everything. Thank You for Your goodness to us.

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Happy and Home From Birmingham

Hey, Darling Things! I have you on my mind because I’ve just seen 80+ of you this weekend backstage at Deeper Still. It made me wish for all of you. You really should see yourselves as a group. You are so adorable that you can’t even believe it and you ranged from fourteen years old (yes, one of our active bloggers) to…well, old enough to be your Siesta Mama’s mama. Many of you also really like each other which makes a mama especially happy. Seeing so many of you in one place was an overload of joy. What made it even more fun was having Melissa and Amanda jump into one of the group pictures right before Rich clicked the shot. Both the girls were with me for the weekend in Birmingham and all three of us worked our happy heads off. Melissa assisted me in Michelle’s place so I don’t have to tell you she stayed busy. She was a delightful companion. (Melissa has new highlights, by the way, and is dang near blond right now. It looks beautiful! But don’t get used to it. Melissa gets bored easily and does something different every few months. About the time you start picturing her with light hair, she’ll be brunette again. I have so much respect for that. As for me, my hair just keeps coming in blonder and blonder the older I get. I hope you bought that. Lord knows I bought it.)

Amanda helped host a dozen or so of your very favorite women bloggers – like Big Mama, Boo Mama, and Kelly from Kelly’s Korner Blog – at the Deeper Still event who are connected through their participation with Compassion International on various blogger trips. Many of you will remember when Amanda and Melissa went on Compassion trips and blogged about their experiences and helped children find sponsors. They’ve each been in the last eighteen months. All the gifted bloggers gathering in Birmingham this weekend had done the same thing in recent years or months and some on the same trips with my girls. These kinds of trips make friends for life so it was a really happy reunion. We were so honored to have them at the event. Even our Compassion buddy, Shaun Groves, came to the last part of the conference. I bet he had an eye opener. Travis could have warned him. If a man needed to find a bathroom, he had to call upon the God of Moses to part the Sea of Estrogen. I’m pretty sure Shaun also endured the question and answer portion at the end which is notoriously unsuitable for mixed company. But that’s another story. Let me simply say that our friend Kay Arthur will say absolutely ANYTHING if it’s Biblical and, well, Priscilla and I can say a few things ourselves that we might not want our mama’s to hear. Kelly Minter behaves best of all (although she’s still really funny) and has a wisdom and way about her that I find almost irresistible. (Come to think of it, her mother actually was there. That’s why she behaved so much better than we did.) I am crazy about all my team members. Kay is utterly amazing and I love Priscilla Shirer to pieces. I am just so happy to say that I hardly ever have to work with a soul I can’t stand. Grin.

Oh, man, I soaked my daughters up like a thirsty sponge. I only get to bring them along on events a couple of times a year. The Living Proof Lives are way too all-consuming for me to be able to host family members properly but since there are multiple speakers at Deeper Still, it is not as demanding. I didn’t say it’s not as much work, mind you. Whew! We are beat-like-a-drum when it’s over. And so are you, I bet. I just mean it’s not as demanding on any one speaker. Not only were my girls there this weekend, tons of their buddies were at the event, too, and just about nothing makes me happier than to be with a whole batch of young women, especially if a few of them happen to belong to me. Melissa’s dear friend from Atlanta, Heather Whittaker (also a Compassion blogger), drove over with her and we laughed our heads off with her. She’s quirky like we are so we get along really well.

I also had another really special encounter. Finally, after all this time, I got to meet Angie Smith. So many of you love Angie and have followed her blog (one of my favorites ever) and read her fabulous book I Will Carry You. I feel like I’ve known her for years because I am so familiar with her and my daughters are so fond of her. (She and Melissa went to India together.) We’d just never come face to face.We found out she was in the same hotel and texted her to drop by and see us while we were getting ready. We’d have kept her all night if we could have. It was a really sweet time. And pretty funny – a plus for a woman who puts a high premium on funny. There were so many others I got to hug and chat with briefly and think how I wish I could know them well and hear all of their stories.  I keep thinking about two darling young women I met and took pictures with and loved instantly and as they waved goodbye, they said, “And, Beth, each of us weaned babies to be here this weekend!” They sort of patted their chests when they said it, grinning ear to ear, and I just died laughing. I could have flat-out (no pun intended) taken them home with me. Amanda and I got really tickled about it again on the airplane home. Only in women’s ministry. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I’m going to try not to get too sappy here but I just want to say again that I am glad to be a woman among women who want to be God’s women. I marveled this weekend over how He ties our lives together. How much richer He’s made our lives because we have each other. How we can laugh together, pray together, and cry together and sometimes without knowing each other’s last names. Just in case it’s been a while since you’ve heard it, you are valuable beyond human reasoning, you are gifted beyond mortal brilliance, and you are loved beyond replicating. No one can do for you what Jesus can. Let’s resolve to be the excellent women He has called us to be. Let’s stay in His Word. Let’s stick together. Refuse to turn on each other or compete. Die daily to our own insatiable flesh and live life in the Spirit. And leave some margin for laughter.

And, you know what occurs to me as I reflect over the weekend? I didn’t just get to be around some excellent women. I got to be around some of their excellent men. Men like Jerry Shirer. (You are such a good sport, Brother. Thank you for loving our girl so much. She is wild about you.) Men like David Platt (pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham and author of Radical). I cannot tell you what it meant to me to spend a few minutes with him and Heather between sessions. He commissioned the entire group at the end of the conference and prayed for us. He and others like him were especially grateful for Kay’s special charges to the wives during the Q&A.

And, yes, men like Jon Acuff (Stuff Christians Like) but, Lord have mercy, there is no telling what he’s going to say in his blog about nearly drowning in that tidal wave of Bible toting women. That man has three of the cutest girls in his life that I’ve just about ever seen. Jenny, I loved finally meeting you!

And I loved meeting Michelle. A hair stylist by trade. A Christ-seeker by heart. She was on our plane to Birmingham on Friday, determined to get a word from God all by herself at Deeper Still. Didn’t know a soul going. Oh, Michelle, wherever you are out there, I so hope you got your word. I take that back. I know you did. He did not invite you there all by yourself on a date with Him then stand you up. He never leaves us at the altar. Whether you got your word in that huge auditorium of 14,000 or in your hotel room all by yourself, I know your God sought you out. He’s just faithful that way.

He loves you so much and wants you to know it.

PS. I do not know how I managed to get home from that event without a picture of Melissa on my I-phone! We were glued together the whole time! She’s going to be getting back on here really soon. The Moore/Fitz/Jones girls love you guys.

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Deeper Still Birmingham Ticket Giveaway

Oh, I hate to put this post up so close to Curtis’s concerning the upcoming Passion Event but this one is super time-sensitive. If you haven’t read his post, please go back and take a look then get word to every college-age person you know. And let’s help as many of them as possible to afford the trip! We are huge fans of what God is doing through Passion and our entire family is involved. Even Keith gets totally into this one.

Now, for the quickest post in Siesta Mama history: ANYBODY WANT TO GO TO DEEPER STILL THIS WEEKEND BUT CAN’T AFFORD IT??? We’re looking for the first 15 of you to call Living Proof Ministries at 1-888-700-1999 during work hours today or tomorrow. Talk to either Kimberly or Susan.

I love you guys! Hey, how many of you are going this weekend? Whether you’re going or not, PRAY FOR US!

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