Archive for December, 2012

Merry, Merry Christmas, Sweet Things

It is Christmas Eve morning and, for just a few minutes, all is still in my house. Keith is sleeping unusually late, Geli is nestled up on her bed (because a single degree under 80 is far too frigid for that whiny-baby German Shorthaired Pointer) and Star is outside chasing squirrels from the bird feeder. I slept late myself and have just finished my quiet time and my second cup of coffee. Things are about to rev up around here and I know the same is true for your household, or if you’re out of town, your family and hosts. I’m looking so forward to it. I dearly love this time of year. I’ll do much cooking today in preparation for tomorrow. I’m also having a little cooking class with Melissa this afternoon to teach her how to make a homemade pie crust.

You and I are delightfully comprised of all sorts of women: too young to be married, married, single, single again, and many widows. For those of us who are married, our husbands are the God-ordained head of our homes but, according to my man at least, the wife is largely the heart of the home. We often set the thermostat, so to speak. (Unless we’ve got a mean alcoholic husband who keeps the temperature enraged constantly. If that’s you, I’m so sorry and I will pray for God to deliver all of you to His great glory and by His tender mercies. I hope you are seeking solid, godly counseling and loving wisely. I just had to throw that in. I am an optimist by nature but I have not had the kind of life that lends itself to much naivete.)

I think this ability to set the thermostat of our gatherings is true for all of us women in many ways, married or single. Just watch and see if the temperature in our homes or apartments, and in many of our celebrations and among our friends these next few days is not set in large part by

our female tenderness,

our joy,

our willingness to overlook an offense,

our mood in serving,

our ecstasy in giving…and our enthusiasm over receiving.

Holidays are a LOT on a woman. I haven’t been sick in three years but I came down with a bad cold two days ago. Last night my sweet man hugged me and said, “Woman, you’ve been working too hard, writing, scurrying all over the place, then working on all of this.” He motioned with his expression to a lively, perhaps overly-decorated den, many presents, and a kitchen full of groceries for cooking. He couldn’t have been kinder and more sincere nor could he have offered to help more. Had he been none of those things, I would have wanted to say with considerable attitude, What was the other option? It’s got to all get done.

Yes, it does. We could all argue that we could down scale the whole thing and it would be easier and that’s absolutely true but that’s not liable to happen around here anytime soon. This is a family that loves celebrations and four lively generations engage at the drop of a hat. We thrive on it! But it is a LOT of work, isn’t it, Sister Friend?? And, it just occurred to me as I am writing this that the major reason I don’t delegate more of it is because I want to control all of it.

Ouch.

That was painful.

Let’s have a real live MERRY Christmas this year and at least quit stressing over all manner of thing that doesn’t even matter. There’s enough that does! Let’s get to it! I’ll pray for you and you pray for me that this will be our best Christmas celebration EVER. Let’s fire our inner Martyr Martha and let’s fire up the indwelling Spirit of the living Christ. Let’s serve lavishly and joyfully with a fresh awareness of His reigning presence in our homes as we celebrate His glorious advent. And then, let’s have guts to say to everybody at some point, “I’m going to take a nap! I love you guys and I’ll see you in an hour!”

We tried to think of a gift we could give all of you that might whisper to you how much you are loved here at LPM, a gift that might be used of God to encourage you this holiday season. This is a collection of things I’ve written and recorded around the Christmas theme and story. It’s not liable to be everybody’s taste but, for those of you who would like it, we want you to have it as a free download. Maybe you could listen to it while you cook or while you nestle up with a blanket for a few minutes by the fireplace.

 

 

If you’d like to have this free download, click on this link and then enter the Promotion Code: christmas2012

Once you enter your promotion code, you will see instructions on how to download each of the three sessions, Mary’s Reflections, A Country Christmas and The Shepherd’s Story.

Oh, mercy, Sisters, we love you so much. I love you so much. Stay in the light these next few days! We are blessed women indeed.

Merry Christmas.

 

 

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Passion 2013 Prayer Partners

Happy Friday, Siestas! Did you hear the big sigh of relief coming from LPM this morning? We made it to the end of the week alive and well! I told one of my co-workers yesterday at lunch that I’ve never wanted a week to slow down more than this one. But, we’re so happy and grateful to serve each of you!

The ministry will shut down at noon today and then each of us will scamper off to our Christmas destinations, however, before Christmas gets completely past us, I wanted to bring your attention back to Passion 2013. Do you remember last year when we were able to scholarship and meet with 1000 young women at Passion? If you remember, a few months ago we announced that this year when we wanted to give out scholarships to 2000 young women to attend the conference.

Well, it was our desire that, after giving out each of the scholarships, we could rally together 2000 Siestas (you!) again to partner with each of these girls and pray for them. Listen, if the Passion team is believing God to fill the dome this year, why can’t we believe God to provide 2000 prayer partners?

So, I am thrilled to announce that we have our website up and running to make that happen!

Here is what you need to do: Click on this link.

When you get to that page, the instructions are very clear how you can receive the name of the girl you will be praying for.

Here’s why we need to bounce on this with both feet: Passion is January 1st – 4th so it’s coming up very quick! If you could take five minutes to do that, we would appreciate you more than you know and some wonderful young woman’s experience at Passion may be altogether intensified. You might put her name in your phone every day as a reminder to pray for her before, during and after Passion.

At the bottom of the page, right before you enter your email address, there is a “counter”. If you see “0″ then that means there are no longer any girls available. Praise the Lord! However, don’t let that stop you from joining this army of prayer warriors January 1st – January 4th while we’re all at Passion.

We love you ladies so much and hope you know what a vital part you’re playing in each of these girls’ lives. Let’s make sure each of them are lavishly covered by name. We know the Lord will show up and can’t wait to see lives changed and transformed. I am sure when we get back we’ll have a tremendous report for you. We know you’ll want to hear all about it!

Thank you for partnering with us and praying. We love you all so much!

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Traditions, Traditions, Traditions!

Good morning, ladies!

We are swirling over here at LPM getting ready to close down for a few days over Christmas, but, I didn’t want another day to pass before I had us discussing all things traditions.

We’ve covered Christmas parties, affordable Christmas gifts, so it only seems appropriate to share our traditions with each other.

Hear me loud and clear, if you and your family don’t have many traditions or maybe you just aren’t too fond of them, no guilt whatsoever. Saturday morning I went to a Christmas brunch with some ladies from my community group and they all went around and shared some of their favorite traditions. Hearing their traditions was neat and got me thinking for what I might want to do with my own family one day. We can all learn from each other!

I did end up sharing a few things that I would losely label as traditions in our home, but I guess if you do the same thing every year, whether big or small, it’s still a tradition.

For one, my parents have served on our worship team at my church since I was a little girl. That means that the minute the doors opened at church, we were there. With that said, I can tell you the number of times we’ve missed the Christmas Eve service at church on one hand. The only reason we missed a Christmas Eve service was if we landed in Colorado that particular year to visit our family.

Secondly, and this makes our family really weird, but we open gifts s-l-o-w and l-a-t-e. It was torture when we were youngins, but as we’ve gotten older, it would be weird for us to open our gifts before two o’ clock in the afternoon. One year we went the entire day, ate our Christmas meal, visited our dear friends, then came home and opened our gifts that night. That was a one time deal, but it’s how we roll. We also open up our gifts one by one.

And that, my friends, is the extent of our family Christmas traditions.

I’m sure my mom will read this entry then proceed to call and tell me all the things we do that I left out, but for the life of me, I can’t think of one tradition we have.

Let’s hear from you, ladies. I have no doubt these are going to be some fun comments to read!

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Siesta Scripture Memory Team 2013 Instructions!

Hey Siestas!  We’re two weeks out from our big launch and, based on the number of people who got Siesta spirals -not to mention those grabbing their own – we should have one titanic team!  May God get much glory! (If you’re interested in a spiral and have yet to purchase one, click here for the details.) Numbers are nothing if they don’t translate into fruit displayed in our lives but if we truly decide to live out the words that are going to live in us, remarkable things are in store for the Kingdom of Christ among us.

Here is everything you  need to know about how to participate in the 2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team!

First, a few things up front since many people joining us have no previous interaction here:

*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. If you don’t know Him, we’d love for you to stick around and get to know us and see if anything around here draws you. Everyone is welcome. Here’s a bit of our back-story on the weird name: When we first began the blog, 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. (For you newcomers, Ephesians 6 calls the Word of God the “Sword of the Spirit.”) 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 saw stacks and stacks of Siesta Scripture Memory Spirals being stuffed into envelopes for shipping, it hit me with fresh impact. What if thousands of women really did memorize 24 Scriptures in 2013?? What are the implications of that? What kind of repercussions might that have in our personal lives and our homes? That’s worth getting riled up over. SO, 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. Just throw in a can of jalapenos and grab a tortilla chip.

*Very often you will see me refer to SSMT. Just so nobody’s confused from the start, that is an abbreviation for “Siesta Scripture Memory Team.” If you’re not participating in SSMT, please know 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 2013, 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 2013. 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: “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3 ESV

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. THIS ONE IS KEY! 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 on January 17-18, 2014 which is the biggest blast ever. I’m telling you about it now so that you can have it for a little extra incentive. Our main incentive is the will and good pleasure of God, of course, but He Himself authored great celebrations in His Name so feel free to be excited at the thought. Also, I want you to have plenty of time to start saving your money for your transportation and hotel. We do not charge for the event. Your entrance fee is your well-used spiral. By the way, we hope to have Travis back again to lead us in worship and Amanda, Melissa, my whole LPM staff and volunteer team will be there  to serve you.  Here’s how you qualify throughout the year:

*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, 2013)

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. I may sound like a broken record but you have to let me say it again as we embark on this wild journey together. 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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Merry Christmas Giveaway!

Ladies, please forgive me for the delay in posting our winners! But, here we go…

The two winners of the commentaries are: (Drum roll please…)

1. Shannon Velasquez

2. Laura Hauser

And the 20 winners of Praying God’s Word are…

1. Dawn Kaser

2. Amy Sappington

3. JoAnn Janik

4. Beth Miller

5. Miranda Arnold

6. Andrie Baker

7. Teri Cowan

8. Becky Dixon

9. Chantell Lodge

10. Paulette Carson

11. Erica Rhodes

12. Maren Brandsma

13. Lezlie Steiner

14. Jennifer Dove

15. Corie Reynolds

16. Barb Touchette

17. Tania Larson

18. Michelle Killpack

19. Sarah Sykes

20. Holly Hackney

Congratulations, winners! We love you! You should get an email from me (Lindsee) with instructions on how to receive your book!

 

 

*Comments are now closed, ladies! We’ll let you know as soon as possible who the winners are. Happy Friday!

We have the ecstatic joy at Living Proof of serving a mighty wide and delightful demographic: W-O-M-E-N. Bless You, Lord! That leaves us gorgeously wide open to do all sorts of fun things around here like the Autumn giveaway with candles, eye shadows, and boot socks. I love that kind of thing! And you have certainly proved to be a tad fond of it as well. Did you see how many women entered that drawing?? Sister-friend, you know good and well that I’d send every one of you a pound cake for Christmas if I could! Don’t tell me that can’t minister. Lots of things can spice up the life of a God-pursuing woman and spread a grin across her darling face. But we exist to do one thing here at Living Proof that drives and pervades everything else. It’s the only reason our doors are open. We exist to invite women to come to love the Savior of the world more and more through the study of His Word. NOW WE’RE TALKING.

SO, drum-roll please! Here is our Christmas giveaway! Now, listen up carefully because I need you to let me put some conditions on these so that the people who will use them most get the best chances to win. That’s a win for all of us! First on the agenda of Living Proof Christmas giveaways are…

TWO 12-volume sets of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary.

 

 

Woooooohoooooooo! I’m so happy! Women often ask us what set of commentaries we’d recommend to someone starting to get serious about studying on her own and building a Bible-resource library. I especially keep an ear out for you young Bible teachers just beginning to fan the flame of God’s gift in you. We are serious about you around here and you stay on my radar. We want to be good big sisters in the faith to you, intentional and involved. I usually recommend this set of commentaries to someone beginning to get serious for several reasons: it’s obviously far more helpful and instructional than a 2-volume (Old Testament/New Testament) set but not as overwhelming or technical as the sets that have a commentary for almost every book of the Bible. You also don’t need any background in ancient languages with Expositor’s though they give pretty regular insights into original words. And they’re interesting! That, Sister, is a big plus…and one you might not want to take for granted. I write these words with a grin. Lastly, a 12-volume set will give you a really good taste of commentary-style research so you’ll know if you want to keep filling your plate. One huge way you’ll discover that you really want to go on and invest further into a wider (higher dollar!) set is that you’ll use these to no end.

SO, here’s the deal! If this sounds like something you know for a fact you’d put to good use and you promise that you wouldn’t let it collect dust on a shelf AND you also do not have this set on any Bible software (please check!), ENTER THIS DRAWING!!! Since we’re giving away another item as well, be sure and say that you’re entering the drawing for the commentaries. You can let us know with just one little extra word like this:

Beth, commentaries!

Well, you don’t exactly have to put an exclamation point after it but I’m liable to think you’re more enthused about it if you do…and you know that we’re big on enthusiasm around here. It’s a random drawing so I’m really just kidding.

 

Before I tell you the second item in the giveaway, I have to give you a little background information about why we’re including it, especially since it won’t be new to many of you. Last week two of my good friends from B&H Publishing Group in Nashville came to see us at Living Proof and surprised us with a stunning piece of artwork they’d had commissioned to capture the heart of the book Praying God’s Word. These pictures do not do it justice, especially because you can’t see the stick figures – for lack of a better term -  of the women behind the overlay of life-jarring words, Freedom Comes Through Taking Thoughts Captive to Christ. This will be in my possession for the rest of my life. It represents so much to me. Well. It represents liberation. It’s a Physician’s prescription for anyone willing to go to the trouble of getting it filled. And it symbolizes to me the most intense process I’ve ever been through with Jesus beyond my salvation.

Here are my friends Selma Wilson (president at B&H, standing to my right) and Jennifer Lyell (executive editor at B&H) and I holding the picture:

 

We learned from them that a staggering one million people have been impacted by the message and method of the book, whether in its original book form, day-by-day version, devotional journal, or Scripture cards. We are floored by the grace of God. We take no credit for it. It’s His Word put to prayers to demolish 14 different strongholds ranging from unbelief to food related issues. If you’re familiar with Praying God’s Word, you know it’s not a book you read. It’s a book you use. And, Girlfriend, I still get mine out.

About 18 months ago, I was nearly drowning in an assault that wouldn’t recede no matter what I did in my usual daily practices. If I’ve got half a brain working, that’s when I start stacking up Scriptures and turning them into very focused and faith-filled prayers. When we’re in a long-term battle, praying straight out of the Word can be the perfect answer because it puts the burden on the strong shoulders of Scripture rather than on the weary limbs of a bruised-up warrior. Because it’s God-breathed rather than man-breathed, the Bible has a way of rejuvenating the soul rather than depleting it. I looked all over my house for a copy of Praying God’s Word so that I could get serious and turn up the volume on some victory. I couldn’t find one anywhere because, every time I have one at home,  I end up giving it away. I marched myself into work the next Monday and snagged me a new copy and the Scriptures became a loaded canon to me all over again. And, boy, did I take aim and SHOOT.

As I try to make clear in the introduction to the book, it’s not the only way to pray but when I really want both barrels loaded, whether I’m interceding for someone else or praying for my own aching soul, it’s the method God has taught me to take. It keeps me from wearing out in longer-term prayer demands or in a crisis where my emotions are stirred up and raw. The approach helps me keep my head on straighter when I’d otherwise probably lose it.

All that to say! To celebrate what God has done out of His grace and for His own purpose, we want to give away 20 copies of this resource to 20 women who have never before had any form of the book Praying God’s Word. We knew instantly that we wanted to give copies away to commemorate the occasion, but when we told B&H that we were going to do the giveaway, they beat us to the punch and insisted on providing the copies themselves. We love and appreciate them so much. I cannot begin to voice my gratitude enough to LifeWay and B&H (a division of LifeWay) for partnering with me on a number of themes that were pretty outside the box (OK, WAY outside the box) for all of us at the time. In so many ways, it’s just a new day.

A good day. We’re talking about some things these days that were basically off limits to people from my denominational background when my parent’s generation filled the pews. As Paul told the Thessalonians, we have to test what is good but open dialogue for testing the spirit is a beautiful thing.

So, how many of you do not own a copy of this book in any form and you know for a fact that you’d put it to good use? That means you wouldn’t just read it, you’d USE IT. Then, Girlfriend, ENTER YOUR NAME IN THE DRAWING, and this time just add the letters PGW to your comment line.

We are beside ourselves to provide these for you. Anything we have to give you is from the bounty of God’s grace to us. You do not know anyone who has lived in more defeat in the course of her life than I have. You do not know anyone who has loathed herself more or has suffered with deeper, nearly lethal regret. Jesus is the difference between the blackest, bleakest night and the wide-open, beaming sunshine to me. I inhale His mercy every single morning.

I am honored to serve you.

OK, Girls. Let’s have a giveaway! Drawing closes at noon on Friday and winners will be announced soon after! Look for instructional post for SSMT on Monday.

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Christmastime Is Here

I don’t know about you, but Christmas parties are currently running through my mind.

It might be due to the fact that when I hopped on facebook Saturday morning, the first five items that popped up on my newsfeed were pictures of five different couples that had gotten all fancy the previous night to attend their company Christmas party. I am not even exaggerating. It was a very pretty sight!

A few nights ago I got together with some girlfriends and we were discussing all things Christmas parties when I told them that one year I attended seven, I repeat, seven, Christmas parties. That’s what happens when you work on staff for a student ministry.

That year the White Elephant gift exchange was in full swing and by party seven, I was plum out of ideas. And I’ll admit, a little exhausted from the White Elephant. Why is he white anyway? Rabbit trails. I have become one with them.

And now this post is becoming more like the zoo. Rabitts and elephants. Gota love ‘em.

Anywho, I was in a bind for that last party and feeling kind of snarky, so I decided to create my own white elephant gift in the form of a homemade ornament.

You bet I did.

Later that night, this ornament ended up on my friend’s tree.

I know. It was a treasure. Truly a keepsake.

You wouldn’t be shocked to know that that was the last White Elephant gift exchange I participated in. I retired after that. (At any moment the elephant could resurface in my life, but for now I’m content without it.)

All of that got me thinking about some gifts you all could give that aren’t as high dollar. Who doesn’t love a good, affordable gift idea?

These are off the top of my head, but just go with me.

Need a gift? Look no further.

1. Nail polish. I don’t know about you, but I am a polish freak. I typically have a color on my nails at all times. Just ask my co-workers. You can even get some great nail polish brands and colors for under $10. OPI and Essie are my personal favorites. Plus, who doesn’t love getting a nail polish color with a name like “The Spy Who Loved Me” or “Chick Flick Cherry”? So fun.

2. Scarves. Let’s just say I may own a few or fifty. But y’all, you can find scarves for CHEAP. I love places like TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshall’s and Target for scarves. They come in plenty and they’re adorable.

3. I was about to say a potted plant, but I’m not so sure that’s very fun or cool, so I’m just going to leave it at that because who knows, one of your love languages might be the potted plant. And if so, you are my hero.

4. A Relaxation Basket: This might include foot scrub, bubble bath, maybe some fuzzy socks. Whatever makes you feel relaxed.

5. A coffee or tea mug. You know where I’m going with this. Add a bag of tea or coffee and voilia, you have a gift!

6. A journal and a good pen. Clearly there’s a difference between a good pen and a bad pen. Go for the good!

7. Big earrings. Yes. I love my pearl studs, but every now and then to throw a big earring set in the mix makes me feel extra girly all over again. You can find big, cheap earrings anywhere these days! And I do mean anywhere. I think I saw some at HEB, our grocery store, the other day.

8. A board game. My current favorite is a game called Quelf. However, if you lean more towards the shy side, this is not the game for you unless you’re in a group you can be 100% yourself around. But it’s so fun and you will laugh your head off at all the ridiculous things they make you do!

9. An iTunes gift card attached with a hand written note. You can buy pretty much any album on iTunes for $10, so you really can’t go wrong with this. And who doesn’t love a new CD? Did you also know that you can purchase an album on iTunes and have it sent to your friend? It’s magical and easy.

10. Of course, for those of you with a crafty side, anything homemade is so special. Much like my homemade ornament. But seriously, even a homemade loaf of banana bread, a homemade picture frame, a homemade wreath, etc. This is where Pinterest becomes your best friend. I like to think I’m crafty by simply pinning creating ideas. It’s pitiful!

If that’s not the bear minimum list I’m not sure what is. How about y’all spice it up a bit and add some of your ideas! I’d love to hear your creative gift giving ideas.

And by all means, if you feel led, please share a hilarious White Elephant gift you’ve received. This might just bless us more than we know.

Lastly, and only because it’s so fresh on my mind, I went to my first Christmas party of the season last night. It was with the team of people I get to serve with on a weekly basis at my church, Bayou City Fellowhip. They have become like family to me and getting to lead worship with them this past year has been one of the sweetest gifts! That’s the best kind of party, isn’t it? Stellar people, hot fajitas and no mention of the White Elephant. Grin.

I know this may not mean much to you, but we snapped this picture before we all scattered last night and it makes me so happy to look at. Some of the most genuine, sincere, humble people to serve with. I know some of you ladies feel the same way about teams you serve on. You get it. Thank you, Lord!

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A Loquacious Hello

A Loquacious Hello from LPV on Vimeo.

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It’s Spiral Time, Sisters! Let’s Spiral Up!

Hey, you wonderful Siestas! GUESS WHAT I’M HOLDING IN MY HAND???

Need to see it closer up? Come on, now! Is this darling or what??

You ready to get busy on some Scripture memory in 2013? I AM! I AM! I can hardly wait! Our instructional post for our Siesta Scripture Memory Team (SSMT) will be published in mid December but, in order for most of you to have your spiral in your hands by the time we launch on January 1st, we need to start taking orders right away. Mind you, the official Siesta spirals are completely optional. You can easily pick up a generic spiral at any office supply or virtually any drug store chain. But having the same one is a ton of fun for those of us who like this kind thing! We use them all year to record our 2 verses a month then we bring them with us to the celebration in Houston in mid-January 2014 (egad!) as our ticket into the (free) event. And yes, any well-used Scripture memory spiral will serve the same purpose.

Our SSMT spirals are $4 each, plus a fairly nominal shipping and handling fee. You’ll see that on the order form. We try to keep the price as low as we can and still cover costs. To order your SSMT spiral, visit the LPM website by clicking here. Please, please try to make your order before or by December 19th for delivery by January 1st. For those of you who don’t get word about the spirals in time for January 1st, no worries. You’ll still sign in on all the posts like everyone else and just fill in your verses the moment you get yours. Even if you don’t make your order until January, you’ll have it in your sweet hands before you’ve had time to get to your 3rd verse out of 24. No big deal!

If for some reason you have problems with the link, go to: www.lproof.org, then click on “Store” and under store click on “New Products”. It is the third to last item under “New Products”.

Here are a few questions I’m anticipating:

*Can I still get one of those cute spirals if I don’t necessarily want to sign up for the accountability twice a month on the blog team? Yes, you certainly may. You are welcome to use it for anything you want but we so hope you’ll write some Scriptures in it! That’s what it’s begging for. Smile.

*May I order more than one spiral? Yes. A number of you have already told me in advance that you’ve got daughters or sisters who are joining you this year on our Scripture memory team. You are welcome to order yours together if you live in the same town.I also like to use them for Christmas stocking stuffers for my daughters and special loves but shhhhhhh. I don’t want them to know.

I am beside myself! It is everything I can do not to go ahead and start writing verses in mine. Now, to find the perfect pen! Just think what awaits us on this page right here…

I love you guys so much. I am so blessed to journey with you in our pursuit of Christ. Nothing we’ve ever done on the blog has produced more fruit or seemed to incite more obvious favor from God than Siesta Scripture Memory Team. May it please Him more than ever in 2013!

 

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Happiness Is…

Happiness is wearing a long sleeve t-shirt.

Happiness is watching magical reunions happen in baggage claim.

Happiness is holding a newborn baby.

Happiness is a new coat of nail polish.

Happiness is an encouraging text message in the middle of the day.

Happiness is snail mail.

Happiness is an empty email inbox at the end of a workday.

Happiness is laughing so hard you can’t breathe.

Happiness is the blank pages of a new journal.

Happiness is an unlikely friendship.

Happiness is zero humidity in Houston.

Happiness is hearing your name from someone you didn’t think knew your name.

Happiness is my mom’s chocolate chip banana bread mini-muffins.

Happiness is the straight lines on the carpet left over from vacuuming.

Happiness is an empty laundry basket, even if it only lasts for a day.

Happiness is your favorite song getting played on the radio when you’re driving.

Sometimes it’s just the little things in life.

Your turn.

Happiness is…

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