Archive for the ‘family’ Category

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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Easter Weekend 2011

Hi Siestas! This is Amanda checking in today. How was your Easter weekend? We had a great one. Mom asked me to share some (which turned out to be a lot) of our pictures. I apologize in advance for the wonky spacing. I tried three times to remove the extra lines and it kept reverting to this.

Our Easter celebrations started out with “Broken for You” at Houston’s First Baptist on Thursday night. Pastor John from First Baptist Irving (who used to be the youth pastor at HFBC) gave the message and it was like a big family reunion. We took the Lord’s Supper and had an awesome time of worship.

On Saturday evening we had a cookout and Easter egg hunt with my dad’s side of the family.

Here’s me, Memaw, Aunt Tina, Aunt Mary, Mom, and Cousin Hannah. Melissa, where were you?

 

Aunt Mary, Aunt Tina and Mom.


 

This was our fancy Easter table. We had hot dogs, cajun potato salad, fruit, chips and dip, and cake.

 

Melissa, Mom and Annabeth.

 

Jackson has been in this shirt in almost every picture I’ve taken this spring, but I can’t help it. He’s so handsome in it.

 

Aunt Mary and Mom.

 

Aunt Tina was so sweet and mindful of my little kids. She brought this swing to hang from the tree and tiny lawn chairs for them to use.

 

Hot dogs in the lap. Typical.

 

The guys had fun with some cascarones (confetti-filled eggs).

 

The brothers, Ben and Joe, look like they have rumbled a few times before.

 

My brother-in-law, Colin.

 

Ben cracked an egg on my dad and he got some projectile German chocolate cake in return.

 

 

This is Dad giving directions to the young men on how to sweep the field for snakes in preparation for the kids’ egg hunt. I’m sure my aunts were pleased.

 

It begins! And no snakes.

 

 

Annabeth found Lip Smackers from Aunt Melissa in her first egg and she pretty much forgot about everything else.

 

Texas girls need their lip gloss even when stomping through fields of grass and dried up leaves.

 

Annabeth having a fit in the dirt.

 

Post-fit rebound.

 

AB with Cousin Hannah.

 

Jackson got a lot more eggs than his sister.

 

She wasn’t bothered.

 

 

This is how we say cheese.

 

The progression of a toddler with lip gloss. One.

 

Two.

 

Three.

 

My dad squealing like a piggy.

The big kids got to do an egg hunt too. The stakes were a bit higher, although they didn’t know it.


Boys will be boys.

Running into the arms of…

 

Bibby!

 

The search is on!

 

My Easter chickies.

 

Pops on the Gator.

 

Colin, Dad and Melissa.

 

Some were not so enthused about the Mickey Mouse bags used in the egg hunt.

 

John and Hannah finding dollar bills in their eggs.

 

This is Cousin Joe stuffing his money in his pocket while being very quiet about being the Egg Hunt Winner.

 

Those dollars saw the light of day for .5 seconds before they were hidden deep in pockets.

 

We had decided to go to the evening Easter service at our church, so we spent a lazy morning at home. Curtis read the Scriptures to us and we turned on some great worship music.

We nixed the Easter bunny but I still made the kids Easter baskets. They had no expectations, which was nice. For the record, that plush Belle doll is hideous but I thought Annabeth would like it. She didn’t.

 

It just wouldn’t be natural if my kids weren’t in Christmas pajamas. They were waiting to get their baskets.

 

They were so tickled to get a surprise.

My mom used to give us these panoramic eggs when we were little. I saw some mini ones at HEB and had to grab a couple.



Annabeth thought it might be good to eat.

 

Later that morning Annabeth came down with a 102 degree fever. She didn’t have any other symptoms except for not wanting to eat and wanting to sit in our laps. I gave her Tylenol and every time it started to wear off, her fever shot back up. She was much better the next day.

I’m thankful that God seemed to have prepared me to miss church on Easter Sunday. Any other year I might have been devastated. I ended up taking Jackson to lunch at my parents’ house and then Curtis took him to church that evening. Annabeth and I sat on the couch together and watched some of the web cast. Also? Singing along with the web cast made me realize what a truly joyful noise I make. Bless my heart!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend worshipping the Risen Savior and loving on your families.


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Songs in the Car (by Amanda)

Every now and then I have an experience with my children that takes me back to the days when my mom had a fabulous wardrobe of leotards and large, geometric earrings and drove a sweet, earth toned stay wag that was named after a dinosaur.

Yesterday morning on the way to the kids’ school, we were listening to the Passion: Awakening CD. “How He Loves” was playing when we pulled into the parking lot and I brought the car to a stop right when the song was getting really good. Some of you musical people know the name for that part of the song and are saying it to me like I can hear it through the computer screen. Anyway, y’all know which part I’m talking about.

It seemed like such a shame to turn off the car before we got to sing “And we are His portion and He is our prize! Drawn to redemption by the grace is in His eyes. If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking. And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss and my heart turns violently inside of my chest. I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that He loves us…” Jackson threw off his seat belt and climbed in the front seat and we sang it together with all our guts.

I remembered being only yay big and in the back of that station wagon, sitting behind my mama’s big 80′s hair and belting out some Amy Grant and Larnell Harris. Nothing in life was so urgent that we couldn’t finish “Angels Watching Over Me” before we got out of the car.

*****

This old church directory photo from FBC Victoria, Texas, came into my life this week. There is no end to how much joy it’s given me. When I look at it I feel loved.


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Jones Family Update

Howdy, Siestas! I feel like I should introduce myself again because it’s been so long since I’ve written. Our summer was b-u-s-y but wonderful. Curtis preached at a Bible study gathering called Metro and at a few churches in our area, I led the Ruth study with some blogging girlfriends, we hosted out of town family members, went to Galveston a couple of times, and did lots of swimming and playing with the kids. Tomorrow Jackson and Annabeth will start pre-k and mother’s day out, so I suppose summer is coming to an end for us. Our normal Wednesday church schedule picks back up tonight and I can’t wait to see all the fellowship supper crowd. We have been missing everyone! Jackson gets to join the kids choir as of tonight. I think he is going to love it.

I have a little story to tell you that will explain my recent absence here on the blog. One day in June I was trying to get some work done and I went into the dining room (away from the kids) so I could concentrate. A few minutes later Jackson came running over to me and said, “Annabeth is on the TV!” What in the world? I ran in the living room to find my 16-month-old walking on the console behind the flatscreen and about to dive off into a pile of toys. Needless to say, I was horrified. I brought my laptop back in the living room and tried to finish whatever I was doing. A few minutes later I looked down and saw Annabeth sitting on our golden retriever’s back. All she needed was a saddle and she had her own little pony. I was horrified again! Beckham is a very patient dog and he loves the kids, but that was not okay. I was bit in the face by our family dog as a child and I know better than to trust any animal completely. This happened three feet away from me and I didn’t see it because of my computer screen.

I knew my days of working at home were coming to an end. I either needed to return to the office or stop working. Not only was it becoming unsafe for my children, but I constantly felt frustrated and discouraged as an employee and as a mother. I’m sure many of you can relate to how I was feeling. It was maddening because the world tells women we can have it all – career, romance, family, friends, leisure, and a peaceful home  - but the truth is we are all making sacrifices in one or more of these areas in order to carry the others. I felt like my entire family was revolving around me and my needs, when what my soul really longed for was to have the time and energy to serve them.

After many conversations with Curtis, a long heart-to-heart with my mom, and lots of prayers shot up to God in desperate moments, we decided that I would take a step back from my job at LPM for the next year. I have 12 months left with my son before he begins kindergarten and I want to make the most of that time. Next fall we will reevaluate our situation.

I confess I was really nervous to talk to my mom about this. It can be complicated when family members work together. But in my heart I kept hearing my mom say, “No amount of success in ministry can make up for failure at home.” My mom has kept to that after all these years and I’ve benefitted from it in countless ways. Now it was time for me to decide on my own. Would I choose what was best for my family? I could not have imagined how graciously my mom  would respond to my cries for help. She was 100% mom and 0% boss in that moment. She told me that when she’d kept the kids the weekend before, she’d sensed that this was coming.

Once Curtis, Mom and I were on the same page, I felt a flood of relief and joy. For about three hours. Then the seriousness of walking away from my job of 8 years came crashing over me. Satan told me the disgusting lie that I wouldn’t be important anymore. As if I should need to be important anyway! I was pretty emotional – swinging from extreme happiness and relief to sadness – for a few weeks. In fact, during that time I wrote two other versions of this post that I deemed too melodramatic to publish.

It’s been two months since the decision was made and a little less time since I handed over my administrative responsibilities to my co-worker, Kimberly McMahon/KMac. She is an awesome lady and I’m very thankful for the gifts God has given her.

Our family is definitely enjoying the harvest from this change. I feel a lot more peace. And that’s a pretty big deal! My relationship with Jackson has improved dramatically. He needed me to say yes more. I’ve been cooking, which my husband appreciates. I will say, though, that motherhood is hard any way you slice it! Can I get an amen? Did this make my life perfect? Uh, no. Did I magically become Supermom? I wish. But do I like motherhood more? Yes. Definitely.

Mom has invited me to keep writing here whenever I have something to share and I look forward to doing that. I will finally have some alone time now that Annabeth is starting mother’s day out and Jackson will be inPre-K. Praise the Lord!

I know that many of you reading this are desperate for your situation – whatever that may be – to change. Please know that when you cry out to the Lord, He hears you! He knows what you are going through. He is your Shepherd and He cares for you. Pray, pray, pray. First Peter 5:7-8 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (NIV) I am asking God to show you His love, power and care right now.

Siestas, thank you for loving my family and for supporting us. We love you very much.

Sincerely,

Amanda

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Fourth of July ’10

We had such a wonderful 4th of July! I hope you did, too.

Our dog Beckham shares a birthday with the U.S.A., which is ironic because he absolutely hates loud noises like thunder and fireworks. Bless his heart. Here he was trapped on the stairs by the baby gate and waiting ever so patiently to be rescued.

Our little firecracker was having a rare moment of stillness.

She loved the cowboy hat that I’d found for Saddle Ridge Ranch VBS.

Curtis and Jackson did some little fireworks in my parents’ back yard.

Fun times with smoke bombs.

Mom and Annabeth.

You might not be able to discern from these pictures how obsessed Annabeth is with her Bibby.

After a feast of fajitas, we all crammed into the Suburban and headed to Pine Forest to watch the fireworks. Doesn’t my dad look comfortable?

Dad and my Pappaw.

Jackson wore himself out on the golf course hills with my cousins.

Mom and AB with Hannah and John. They just moved home from Japan and we’re so happy!

We spent every 4th of July at Pine Forest growing up, but hadn’t been in at least 10 years. I loved getting to bring my kids this year.

Jackson and Bibby.

The fireworks were great!

It was Jackson’s happiest night. Maybe Bibby’s, too.

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Jackson’s Love Language

One of my son’s love languages is being sprayed with water. Sometimes I climb up in his fort and spray him with the hose while he runs around the back yard. He loves it so much. Today, after I filled his little love tank by drenching him thoroughly, we used the hose to make a water slide.

Annabeth was asleep during all the fun, but I couldn’t resist showing this. She looks so innocent, but it was only minutes before she threw The Tantrum of a Lifetime.

Have a great weekend, Siestas!

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This Curt Jones Guy

June 16, 2000, is when everything changed.

I’d just finished my sophomore year of college and was one of four summer interns working in the missions department at my home church. The other interns were Kay Bridgwater, whom I’d grown up with, and Jerrell Altic, a college student from Missouri. Kay and Jerrell had met the previous summer as missions interns and by the end of it they were in l-o-v-e. The fourth intern was going to be another guy from Missouri named Curt Jones. Everyone already knew him well but I’d never met him. Strangely, our two bosses, William and Bob, seemed to think This Curt Jones Guy and I were going to hit it off and get married.

Seriously? For once I was hoping not to be distracted by a boy. I didn’t really want to hear about my supposed future with some guy from Missouri named Curt Jones. At the same time, Curt Jones was having to hear about some chick named Amanda Moore down in Houston and he didn’t really want to hear it either.

The week of June 16, 2000, we were in Missouri helping lead an event called Mission Vision. Mission Vision consisted of a handful of youth groups and leaders staying in Hamlin Baptist Church. We did missions training and various projects during the day and at night we had speakers, a drama group called Clear Vision, and worship with By the Tree.

After Mission Vision, This Curt Jones Guy was going to come back to Houston with us and work for the rest of the summer. I hoped that at least he’d be cool and we’d get along well.

I should mention that I didn’t even want to go to Mission Vision. I can’t remember how I justified to my boss, William Taylor, that I would need to come home early. He conceded and I had a plane ticket to get me home in the middle of the week. I was such a good intern! Bless my heart, we were only a week into the job and I’d not yet realized how much dying to self ministry requires. I’m definitely not done learning that lesson.

Back to June 16, 2000.

Mission Vision hadn’t yet started. Jerrell, Kay and I drove over to the home of This Curt Jones Guy to pick him up and go to a water park in Branson for the day. Curtis got in Jerrell’s Chevy Blazer and had his cap so low over his face that I couldn’t even tell what he looked like. Of course I was trying to figure that out. Even though I was trying not to go there, I remember reasoning that if our bosses’ predictions turned out to be right, I would always remember meeting him there in the driveway. But surely they were wrong.

We had a great time at Whitewater with no shortage of awkward moments. Really, who wants to be in a bathing suit the first time they meet a new co-worker? At one point we were waiting to get our tubes to take up to the top of a water slide. I was first in line and the next tube that came was a double. If I took it, then I’d have to get in it with This Curt Jones Guy I barely knew. No thank you. I let it pass and took a single. Awkward! Jerrell, of course, called attention to the weird moment and I’ve never lived it down.

I couldn’t tell what Curt’s personality was like until the four of us had a little brainstorming session while sitting in front of the wave pool on some lounge chairs. Curt was in charge of student recreation at Mission Vision and we were helping him think of  a theme. Here’s what we came up with in our 20-year-old humor and brilliance – The Toilet Bowl: Like the Super Bowl, but Different! Nice, right? The daily rec prizes were a plunger, a toilet paper roll, a toilet seat, and a bed pan. We spray painted everything gold. And that is how I bonded with my future husband.

That night – June 16, 2000 – found the four of us praying in Jerrell’s parents’ living room. We prayed for Mission Vision and for our summer serving together. I got a peek into the heart of This Curt Jones Guy as he prayed for God to be exalted.

The recreation ministry required many, many trips to Walmart and Curtis always invited me to ride along with him. I’ve never been a big fan of Walmart, but I have a lot of affection for this one particular store where I happened to fall in love with my husband. We’ve never really had a song, but we do have “our Walmart.”

I remember seeing Curt’s sweet Grandma Dixon for the first time. She was serving food to all the students and I thought she and Curtis looked alike. Curt’s younger sister, Lindsay, was attending Mission Vision as a high school student. We shared a mirror one morning in the bathroom and I wondered if I would be getting to know her soon.

It was only by God’s grace and sovereignty that I ever got the job as a missions intern. Unfortunately, I’d skipped out on the youth group experience in high school and had never been on a mission trip. We were training kids how to share their faith and I had no idea how to share mine! Every day we took a group of kids to a different setting to share their faith. Curtis took it upon himself to be my partner and teach me how to do this. I’m naturally a pretty shy person and witnessing to someone I didn’t know was way, way, way outside my comfort zone. But Curtis was amazing at it. I was blown away watching him turn countless conversations with strangers toward Christ.

Not only was This Curt Jones Guy funny, not only was he great at leading rec time, not only did he have beautiful blue eyes that both of my children now have, he was passionate about leading people to Christ. I liked this guy! Curtis and I have a deep sense of partnership in ministry and there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s because of those times we went out and shared our faith together.

Needless to say, I decided to cancel my mid-week trip home.

On the last full day of Mission Vision, we went to do some evangelism on Commercial Street. I really liked This Curt Jones Guy but I didn’t know if we would be more than friends. Another leader even asked me if we liked each other and I denied it. A few minutes later Curtis and I went into a soda fountain type of place and sat down at the counter. We ordered Dr. Peppers and hoped to share the Gospel with the server. The first thing out of the server’s mouth was, “Are you two married?” It was becoming clear that God was growing our hearts together. That night we finally admitted to each other what had been obvious to everyone else.

The day after Mission Vision wrapped up, I was supposed to fly home with Kay and Jerrell and Curtis was going to drive his car down to Houston. I decided to cancel my flight – again – and make the drive with Curtis. We had twelve hours to talk about everything under the sun. Every time we make that drive from Springfield to Houston, we point out all the places we stopped on our first trip. A lot of times we play the old Shane and Shane and Enter the Worship Circle CD’s we listened to. I had no idea how familiar I would become with those small towns along the road in Oklahoma. There are some very creatively named churches along the way, which inspired a game called “What would you name a church?” When we stopped to get gas in Huntsville, Texas, I called Mom and said that This Curt Jones Guy and I would be home soon and to please make Dad behave. They instantly knew.

Next week we get to celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary and our tenth year of being together. There’s something so great about knowing we’ve been together for a decade. I love it. It feels like something to celebrate.

A few years ago my engagement ring cracked where I’d had it re-sized. I had it repaired but it was wearing very thin again. While we were in Missouri I took my engagement ring to the jeweler it was purchased from and had them make me a new white gold tiffany setting. I handed over my ring and watched the jeweler pry open the prongs and dump out the diamond. It had an unbelievable amount of gunk underneath it. If nothing else, it would look a hundred times better just from the  stone being cleaned! They handed the old ring back to me empty. I waited in anticipation for five days and finally, on our way home from Silver Dollar City in Branson, I got to pick up my diamond in a brand new band. It was beautiful! My round solitaire looked so happy and shiny. It had been a long time since it looked like that. I sort of wished I’d made this investment sooner. If Curtis had given me a brand new diamond three times as big as that one it would not have thrilled me as much as seeing that same one looking just as pretty as the day he gave it to me. Prettier, really, since it represented everything that we have been through and done together.

Our marriages are somewhat like my engagement ring. The core – the diamond – holds a great love story with lots of passion and commitment. But everyday wear and tear and the occasional traumatic event can do a number on the metal that holds it together. Some of our rings could just use some polishing while others need some real restoration. God can do both! Remember that He loves marriage. He created it, after all. I’m praying that God will show each one of us a specific way we can invest in our marriage to strengthen it and bring out its beauty.

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A Mother’s Day Hello

Happy Mother’s Day from LPV on Vimeo.

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Easter 2010


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We Made It!

Whew! I can’t believe it finally happened! We made it to WordPress! Thanks for following us to our new home. Don’t forget to bookmark our new address or subscribe to the new feed if you like using a feed reader.

I’m sitting on my couch with my laptop, but I feel like I’m driving a new car with this unfamiliar dashboard in front of me. Just for kicks, and so we can all test drive the commenting process, tell me something fun or interesting about a car you’ve had!

My first car was a 1987 Mustang GT convertible. It was my grandmother’s car and she gave it to me when I turned 16. Can you believe that? I was really blessed, to say the least!  It was beautiful and fast off the line and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how much fun my friends and I had in it.

I was a little too proud of that car and the Lord humbled me many, many times in it. For one, when it rained really hard, the water would leak inside from between the windshield and the top. I remember driving home from Texas A&M for an orthodontist appointment and it was monsooning outside. The rainwater was pouring in and I had nothing to soak it up with, so I took off one of my socks and tried to soak it up with my right hand while my left hand was on the wheel. Oh, and I was bawling my eyes out! I have no idea how I ever made it home.

On the night my sister turned 16, she did not have her car yet. She would soon be given a 1969 Camaro that she and my dad loved working on together. But that night I let her take my Mustang out to celebrate with her friends. Melissa and I just happen to be complete opposites of one another. For example, when the traffic light turned green I would accelerate as fast as I could to the speed limit. Melissa lived to blow right by it. As I remember it, on that night – the very night of her 16th birthday and the start of her official driving life – Melissa burned up the engine of my car! Bless my mom’s heart that she had to raise two daughters who are as different as night and day.

Every spring when the weather is as gorgeous as it is in Texas right now, I miss that car like crazy. Maybe one day when I’m done with booster seats and carpooling I’ll have another convertible.

Now maybe I can get my sis to tell us a Camaro story!

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