Archive for October, 2011

What’s Help? What’s Not?

Hey Siestas! Happy Monday! I saw such ministry in action in your comments to the last post. Thank you so much for your compassionate hearts and authentic walks with Christ. You are a true privilege to serve.

I’ve been meditating on something for the last few days that I thought you might get all wound up in, too. We all know – I pray – that God is the only true Redeemer and wonder worker and that He alone is our Savior but, according to Scripture, He very much wills for His people to minister to one another through the power of His Spirit. Here’s the question I’m pitching on the table today:

When you’re trying to get back on your feet, whether you’ve fallen into sin, discouragement, distraction, pain, betrayal, or anything else that can tumble you to the ground, what do you find really helpful from fellow human beings and what do you find UNhelpful?

Really reflect on the questions before you answer them because I want you to think in terms of what is authentically HELPFUL. Not what your flesh or my flesh craves when we’re down. Not what simply soothes us for the moment but does us no real help in the long run. What really does help? And what doesn’t?? Also make sure that your answers are reasonable. In other words, our mentors may not be able to move us in with them for six weeks and cook for us while the two of us hash all of this through. Grin. No one can make us his or her whole life. Only Jesus is meant to be our lives. (Col. 3:4) Think within the bounds of what people are reasonable capable of doing. Within those lines, all is fair game.

Here are the ground rules: Be genuine. Be kind. Please do not try to get back at someone on here who has disappointed you. Let’s have pure motives here today. You know that I say that in love. It’s just human nature. Lastly, please answer succinctly. Just a few sentences for each question so we can read them all. If you want to participate, start each of the two answers like this:

It really helps me when someone…

It really doesn’t help me when someone…

We’re not looking for right or wrong answers. We’re just reflecting today on what reasonable things we can do for one another to actually help and considering what things simply do not. We are liable to discover that what helps one Siesta doesn’t at all help another. I think this is going to get very interesting.

You are the most wonderful blog community on earth. I am NUTS about you. Go for it, Girls! WHAT HELPS???

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Let’s FIGHT for our Marriages!

Hey, Sweet Things!

As you can see from our title today, our topic is fighting for our marriages! The video is much longer than usual this time around (almost 25 minutes) and very un-slick and unrehearsed. It comes to you with a ton of love, however. I hope you get a chance to view it and, God willing, find some encouragement from it. In the event that you don’t get time, I want to make sure I put some written information here that God could cause to be life changing for a number of you. We talk about a wider range of topics concerning marriage on the video but one of the things I tell you about is a Godly couple I recently met with a profound ministry to those who have been devastated by infidelity. It’s called Affair Recovery and you can learn all about it at www.AffairRecovery.com. Here’s a short bio:

• Affair Recovery is based in Austin, Texas, and is the first company to offer anonymous online group support worldwide for those impacted by infidelity.

• Rick Reynolds brings over 20 years of experience and insight to his role as president and founder of Affair Recovery. [I suggest reading “Rick’s Story online: “In 1984, my marriage was devastated when I betrayed my wife. We had no idea where to turn….” ]

• Rick has counseled over 2,000 couples in-person, and to date 500 couples have completed Affair Recovery’s new online courses.

• They help people heal from the pain of affairs and betrayal.

• All of our materials are created by clinical professionals many of whom have personally experienced infidelity.

• “The introduction of interactive online courses through AffairRecovery.com is a dream come true for me as a marriage counselor,” says Reynolds. “Every day I wondered how we could provide more people out there with the access and support they need, when they need it and in an affordable manner. More importantly, how we could create a community that supports and encourages one another through the recovery process. Now we’re making that happen every day with clients through our online solutions.”

As Rick and Stephanie say,
“”It’s not as hopeless as it feels.”

Wouldn’t it be something if the devil got caught in the snare that he hid for your marriage and you let God restore and redeem all you’ve been through? With God, all things are possible. Even life after betrayal.

Let me say one more thing before I close. I say it on the video but it’s crucial that I say it here, too. Be VERY CAUTIOUS about your comments to this post. We will also be moderating them very carefully so give us plenty of time to post them after you leave them. The purpose of this blog and this post is encouragement and edification in Christ. Please do not divulge secrets, name names, malign or slander, even if you think someone deserves to be outed. I say this with much love and compassion: if you are not in the frame of mind to RECEIVE encouragement and edification or not in the frame of mind to GIVE encouragement and edification, please forego leaving a comment this time around. By all means, participate through reading, listening, praying and considering. You are so loved here, even if you’re madder than a hornet at your spouse and at what you’d call the system.

Many of you on here are involved in various women’s ministries. I hope you are blessed and relieved to know that a Godly framework exists for you to recommend to many who feel hopeless after infidelity.

And in case it’s been a while since anyone said this to any of you, I am so sorry for the hurts that have come to you. God collects your every tear, knows your every fear, and He can take every piece of your fractured heart and create in you a new one. There is life on the other side of absolutely anything if we’re in Christ. Even something that we feel like will nearly kill us. That’s what resurrection power is all about: raising the dead.

I love you so dearly.

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All Things Social Media

Good afternoon, Siestas!

I have a few housekeeping items that I wanted to share with all of you so I hopped on real quick.

Oh, but before I get into the details, could you please give the Lord some praise with us? We woke up to 50-degree weather this morning and it was glorious. We’ve been waiting for this day since March. In fact, we were so thrilled we ate lunch outside today. Thank you, Lord!

First off, we are all up in social media’s business. Doesn’t that make you so happy? Never do I want social media to replace my real life, face-to-face friendships, but let’s be honest, the times are changing and social media is big deal. Of course, we here on the blog are well aware of social media because well, that’s exactly what this blog is. Grin.

Secondly, as you can see we are having a few blog formatting issues. A few of you have brought it to our attention and we just want you to know that we’re working on it. Please be patient with us as we fix this minimal issue. We know it makes commenting a little more difficult because of where everything is placed, but know that we still have commenting capabilities, you just have to search a little harder for it. Y’all are always so sweet to bring things to our attention that we may not see right away!

Thirdly, and I’m not sure why we haven’t said anything up until now, but we have an official Living Proof Ministries facebook page. Can I get an amen? If you’re on facebook and want to join us just click here and “Like” our page. How easy is that? So far we’re just posting status updates and pictures, but it’s been fun learning all things “pages” on facebook. Help us spread the word and share the love.

Fourthly, thanks to our third item, we have now created a SSMTC event on our facebook page. Because we know the vast majority of you are traveling from all over the U.S., we decided this might be an easier way to connect with other Siestas coming from your state as opposed to putting your information out there on the blog. Please know that by “attending” this on facebook, does not mean you are registered. We still need you to register for the celebration on our website by clicking here, but this will be a wonderful avenue of connection with other Siestas. You have all the privacy control you want on facebook. Aren’t you so thankful for that? Click here to see the invite and attend! Yay, facebook events!

Fifth, and lastly, we now have a twitter account for Siestaville. Y’all, seriously, we’re going all out over here. So, if you have twitter and want to join in on the fun, just simply follow @Siestaville. Easy peasy! This account will be both fun and informative.

Well, ladies, that’s all I’ve got for today. Whew!

With all of that said, don’t forget to hug someone today. Or tell them you love them. Face to face. It’s just different and unexpected in this media crazed world. We love y’all!

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Happy Bosses Day!

Today was like any typical Monday at LPM. We all arrived, debriefed our weekend with one another then put the pedal to the metal and got to work. Every Monday, as you’ve probably heard us say over and over again, instead of eating lunch, we have staff prayer time.

This Monday, however, we put a slight hold on our routine to celebrate our beloved bosses, Beth and Sabrina. Instead of scattering back to our offices after prayer time, we had a few surprises, which included a gift for each of them and snacks to celebrate these dear ladies. It was only necessary!

Our snacks included some delicious pastries from Panera Bread and we got our sweet Beth an incredibly soft and comfortable blanket and Sabrina a beautiful brass bracelet. It was so fun to watch them open their gifts with such excitement. I think my favorite part was when Sabrina was opening her gift and Beth said, “I’m so excited and I don’t even know what it is!” When it comes to all things girly, exciting and fun, there is just no place and no women like The Villiage. They do it up right!

All fun aside, these ladies are so dear to each and everyone of us at LPM. Sabrina works tirelessly to serve not only y’all, but also her staff. She does so much behind the scene work that I don’t even think I know all that she does. I am deeply grateful for her. Not to mention the fact that she can have a lot of fun! But that should come as no surprise to you.

If it weren’t for God’s work in Beth’s life, Living Proof Ministries wouldn’t exist and most likely, we would not be celebrating these wonderful women today. To say we love her is a vast understatement, and I know y’all love her too. I often think of John the Baptist when I think of Beth because she has certainly prepared and paved the way for us to know and love Jesus greater. Her greatest desire is that we would fall head over heels in love with Him and I think the Lord is pleased with her and the way she’s done just that and continues to do just that.

Both of these precious sisters are not only godly, but hilarious, fun, generous, beautiful, teachers and can pray down a room. They make LPM an even sweeter place to work.

I’ve only been on staff a mere six weeks and I can honestly say it’s been some of the sweetest and best weeks of my life. I couldn’t have imagined how much I would love these ladies like I do today. Yes, I think I can speak on behalf of every staff member at LPM to say that these bosses are a blessing

Yesterday was actually National Bosses Day, but today, how can you bless your boss? I realize that you might not be in an ideal situation and your boss may not be a blessing, and for that my heart is tender to you, but oh, if you blessed them in Jesus’ name. Let’s pray for our bosses!

So, here’s to our bosses! LPM loves you both so, so much!

P.S. How many times can I use the word bosses in one post? Forgive me, friends.

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2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 20!

WHAT???? The 20th verse???? You know what that means, don’t you? Those of you who have clocked in every single time so far have accumulated enough verses to qualify for the celebration! However! If you’ve gotten this far, you surely want to see it all the way to 24 and not just for the celebration but for the fortification and fruit of 2 dozen Scriptures in your darling head. Scripture memory has meant so much to me this year. Except for a full-on-crisis season of time when I promise you I would have lost my ever-loving mind without it, I have never sensed more of a harvest deep in my soul from the process.  I so hope you can also testify that your year would have been altogether different without it.

I will get right to it because I am expecting a ton of family over to celebrate Amanda’s 32nd birthday and I have a Texas-size pot of chicken and dumplings to cook! Here’s mine:

Beth, Houston. But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you. 1 Peter 3:15-16 The NET Bible

Let’s hear it, Siestas! Hey, don’t be alarmed if it takes me a good while to moderate all the verses or even if it sits on zero for a little while. I’ll bring them in every couple of hours so I can still get the most out of a Saturday off. I hope you have some Sabbath time this weekend, too!

Talk to you very soon.

You’re a big deal around here.

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An Assortment of Things

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A Little Friday Fun, Anyone? Let’s Play 20 Questions!

OK, you guys, I’ve got a window just to have a little fun. I’m going to take the first 20 questions you ask as long as…

1) They are questions that have short answers (In other words, this is not the time for an explanation of TULIP).

2) They’re not heavy questions. (Remember, this is mostly just for fun. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask anything spiritual. It just means that we’re not going to handle heavy topics like, for instance, my abuse background. That’s for another time.)

3) I actually know the answer. (If I don’t, I’ll try to do you the favor of not acting like I do. Grin.)

Only one question per person! I’ll take the first 20 that I can answer in my time frame! Oh, and I’ll just post the questions I hope to be able to answer so that it’s not frustrating to you to have your unanswered question dangling there. Make sense?

I love you guys so much. What this really means is that I wish you and I were just sitting around talking this afternoon over a cup of coffee…or tea for you tea drinkers.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

 

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iPhone Dump: In Honor of Steve Jobs

By now you know that all of the world is buzzing about the death of Steve Jobs. Every unique quote has already been said about him on twitter, blogs, articles, or facebook so I have nothing new to say, but I am grieving the fact that we lost a very brilliant man who changed the way we use technology. Not only did he change it, but I bet he has made his way into each of our lives in some way, shape or form. Currently I’m writing this from my MacBook Pro, with my iPhone perched on top of my Bible and iTunes is open just waiting to be played. I’d say he’s most definitely invaded my personal space. He was genius and I am honored that I get to use his products daily.

Truth be told, I was the girl that always bashed the iPhone until I gave into peer pressure two years ago and purchased my first 3GS iPhone, since then, I am the girl that’s trying to convert everyone else. It wasn’t until this past May that I actually purchased my first MacBook Pro after my computer saw its final days, so I can’t say much, but it goes without saying that now that I’ve gone Mac, I’m not going back. I love it.

About a year ago, however, I started doing a series of iPhone dumps on my own personal blog and I think it’s only appropriate to visit that series once again in honor of Steve Jobs. After all, without his brilliance, there would be no iPhone dump. I have a serious problem when it comes to the camera on my iPhone and I’m not exaggerating or lying one bit when I tell you there are currently 1,857 photos and 62 videos on my iPhone. It’s sick. But if you’re like me, the convenience of that camera is what makes it so popular. And need I even mention all of the really fun camera apps? All of the apps can take an ordinary photo, and make it look nearly professional in two seconds flat.

Without further ado, please bear with me as I share some very random photos off of my iPhone thanks to Steve Jobs.

I recently celebrated a friends birthday at Dave & Busters. Simply stated, it is a Chuck E. Cheese for adults. After eating, there is a fun arcade with games that you win tickets for. Typically, I wouldn’t care less about the number of tickets I had, but when I realized there was a chance we could take home a coffee maker, I was all about it. Thanks to our friends and their tickets, the roomies and I took home this gem. So cheap, but it produces some mighty fine tasting coffee. We have no idea how long it will last, but it’s a fun memory. I think I was the only one overly ecstatic about the coffee maker, so much so, I needed my picture made with it.

This picture was taken from my balcony at my apartment a few weeks ago when the fires were raging. Y’all, those aren’t clouds you’re seeing, that is smoke. Beautiful, yes, but so sad. This picture was edited using Instagram, a really fun photo app.

This here is as big as you’ll ever see my hair. I was ten here and this was one of my glamour shots. My mom sent this to me one morning with a caption that said, “I bet Beth would LOVE to see your BIG HAIR at age ten!” Ha ha! I, however, think this is quite the scandelous picture. I was ten, y’all. Ten.

My roommate Michaela (on the left) is a high school art and photography teacher and a few weeks ago we went to the homecoming football game with her. My other roommate, Bethany, is on the right. We had so much fun soaking up some Friday Night Lights! (Because I know I’ll get asked, I used the app “Diptic” to split the photos and then used “Instagram” to edit it. See ladies? Isn’t the iPhone camera so fun?)

The other night I had the urge to bake my mom’s famous banana bread. If you’re an expert baker like I am (insert sarcasm), you know that the trick to finding out if your said item is baked thoroughly, is to poke a toothpick in the middle and if it comes out clean, all is done and well. Obviously, I needed only one toothpick, but ended up with 50. It was a toothpick disaster. This right here is proof why I don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen. When in a battle, the kitchen typically wins.

While at Hobby Lobby the other day I kept singing, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas..,”. Hmm, I wonder why?!

That same day, I purchased and took this lovely mug home with me from Hobby Lobby. You can thank the clearance rack for said purchase. Isn’t it so cute?

Kelly Minter recently sent Beth some coffee. Beth so graciously made some and shared it with us at work one day. It did not disappoint.

Here are a few of us enjoying said coffee. From left to right you have Diane, Susan, your Siesta Mama, Kimberly and me.

This was on our way to lunch one day. Me, Beth and Diane were crammed in the back of the car. I am sure you can tell that we were already moving based on the blurriness of the picture.

A few Saturday’s ago I had a hankering for some Chick-Fil-A. It had been at least two weeks since I’d indulged in the blessing of it, so I drove myself over to the nearest Chick-Fil-A. My feelings were immediately hurt upon arrival. How dare they shut down for 19 days? I was so, so sad. No worries, though, I kept the car moving and drove to a different CFA. A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.

I’m not sure if any of you have ever heard of the restaurant in NYC called Serendipity. They are not only known for the movie named after them, Serendipity, but also for their frozen hot chocolate. This summer I got to experience the goodness of it all while I was in NYC. Y’all, it was the best dessert I’ve ever put in my mouth. Fortunately, for us, you can take it home with you. Well, not the frozen part, but the mix. The other night we busted out the mix and relived every moment all over again. It may not be as good as sipping it in NY with your best buddies, but it will do. A little known fact you may want to know is that it can now be purchased at your local Williams Sonoma.

I was at Costco the other day and had to take a picture of these ginormous dates. Why, you ask? Because they look like roaches. Who would willingly eat these? Ew.

This past Friday night I was able to attend the David Crowder concert with some friends at the House of Blues here in Houston. This is their last tour as a band, so it was really neat to be there. Touring with them was John Mark McMillan (who wrote the song, How He Loves), Chris August and Gungor. It was a great night and a great concert.

The other day at lunch we were talking about fish and I was telling my co-workers about this fabulous salmon from Costco, of all places. Later that week I purchased some and sent a picture to my boss who was curious. If you’re a fish lover (which I’ve just recently become), you may want to check it out as well. You just stick it in the oven for 20 minutes and you’re good to go. Enjoy!

We here at LPM enjoy a good piece of Dove Chocolates. The best part, however, is the inspirational quotes you find inside each wrapper. This was my quote yesterday. It made me sad because I would most certainly take the time to notice the colors of the leaves changing if in fact I didn’t live in Houston. Here, we’re lucky if they change by March. It’s very unfortunate.

This is my sweet family. We all happened to be in one place at one time. We were at a dear friends wedding. I have two brothers, Brien and Kevyn, one older and younger. And those are my parents, Sam and Kristy. I dearly love these peeps.

Last night my roommate Bethany and I decided to go on a bike ride. The entire evening ended up being comical, but we at least enjoyed being outside preparing to go on our ride that lasted all of eight minutes. So why the picture? Because we believe in safety first.

Thank you, Steve Jobs, for sharing your gifts and creative talents with the world. I clearly am blessed by them as the iPhone has brought me endless entertainment.

Happy Thursday, y’all!

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Howdy from Amanda

Hi Siestas! I sent Mom a text a few minutes ago asking if I could drop in and say hello today. I’ve missed y’all! How is everyone? I’m looking forward to seeing many of you in January at the SSMTC. I was just at LifeWay’s Dot Mom conference in Birmingham and enjoyed seeing a handful of our Siestas there. It’s funny how we feel like old pals by now! Speaking of that event, if you’re a mom you must find a way to get there next year. It was phenomenal. I recapped it here on my little family blog if you want to see what it was all about.

The problem with popping in every now and then is I don’t even know where to start! It seems like we have a brand new life these days. I’d say we are finally adjusted to having our firstborn in kindergarten. (I’ve stopped worrying that I’m going to forget.) He loves school but, I have to admit, his face lights up on Saturday mornings when I tell him he gets to stay home. Yesterday I got to help with the writers workshop in his classroom, which is officially my favorite use of my journalism degree. I cannot stop thinking about how precious his face was when he would look up from his desk and catch my eye. I wanted to give him lots of embarrassing hugs and smooches, but I controlled myself and waited until he got home. The highlight of the experience was at the end when the class thanked me by giving their “seal of approval,” which consisted of them barking like seals. It was pure kindergarten greatness.

Annabeth is the source of much laughter in our home. Y’all, she is funny. Curtis and I used to pray that our future children would not be boring and, Lord have mercy, He answered that prayer. I ordered Annabeth a butterfly costume from Zulily (moms, have you found that yet?) and when it arrived we all got a full display of girlish delight.  She was wearing her Christmas pajamas from last year  when I opened the package, so you can just imagine what she looked like with a tutu and butterfly wings on top. It also came with a wand, which she was desperate to sleep with. She was not about to let me pry that thing out of her sweet, sticky little hands. I forgot all about it until the next morning when I was greeted at my bedroom door by a cute little bed-headed urchin wielding a butterfly on a pink stick. Seeing her delight in all things girly is really a joy. We went on a long walk with Jennifer Hamm (Bible study coordinator at LPM) and baby Karis this morning and Annabeth wanted to bring five baby dolls with her. I talked her down to two.

There is so much more that I could say – especially about the journey we are on with our new church – but I will save that for another visit. Thank you all for interceding for us. We have needed and felt your prayers. I hope you ladies have a great Wednesday!
Much love,
Amanda

 

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Living Proof Live – Baltimore

Hi ladies! Here is the recap video from Baltimore. Thank you so much, Rich!

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