Living Proof Live South Dakota Recap

A huge thanks to our friend Rich for another great recap!

Living Proof Live | Sioux Falls from LifeWay Women on Vimeo.

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Impossibly, Nearly Unforgivably Random. And I’m sorry in advance.

Have you ever wanted to blog so badly because you love your blog community so much you can hardly stand it but your mind is as fried as a Louisiana catfish? Well, that’s me today. My heart is huge with affection for you right now but my brain has shrunk under the weight of my bleached blond hair and my tired tongue is tied in about ten thousand tiny knots. I had the great privilege of serving in Sioux Falls, South Dakota this weekend and used up about 500,000 words and, incidentally, got to have my picture taken with about 40 of you darling things the moment it was over. I’ve spent today researching the next lesson I’m writing for Children of the Day and serving my beloved staff at our devotional and prayer time. (We usually have it on Mondays but I got to have a day off with my handsome man yesterday.) And so, here I sit, wanting so much to say something meaningful to you and to say it well and yet girlfriend is tragically bereft of words.

Therefore, instead of staying quiet when I’m bereft of words which is the better part of wisdom, I’ll do what any good, fast-talking sanguine would do: I will just say stuff that comes to my mind. So here goes for what may be the single most pathetic post of my blogging life. And all because I love you and don’t want you to feel forgotten around here. So, actually, you’ll need to take some responsibility for the anti-profundity that is about to blow up all over you like your four year-old with a stomach bug after a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs.

Random stuff going through my head – or through my life – or anywhere in the vicinity of 100 noticeable miles from me that I have energy enough to say. I’ll go for 20 of them:

1. The main thing I love to get at a fried chicken drive-thru like Church’s is okra. I love fried okra like nobody’s business. No matter what size container of it Keith brings home, I eat it. And I am never glad I did. No, I don’t usually eat that way. I only eat that way if Keith makes me eat that way by bringing it home and setting it under my generous nose. And I like a lot of salt on it. I’m sorry this was first but we’ve fasted all day here at the ministry and I am starving. Well. Not really starving but a tad hungry.

 

2. I wish I did not use the word “tad” so much.

 

3. I wish I did not use the word “so” so much.

 

4. 80% of my travel so far this 2013 has involved drama. Delays. Cancelled flights. You name it. No, I’m not superstitious or anything but my luggage is and it will be happy when it’s 2014.

 

5. I love serving at Living Proof Live as much as ever and, in some ways, maybe more. I’m not sure what’s up. Well, Jesus is up.

 

6. My beloved “Miss America of Hair” is out for 3 months with the cutest new baby girl you have just about ever seen. And I could use a strong antidepressant and maybe even a nerve pill. I have told MAOH (Miss America of Hair but it is unfortunate that I had to tell you that) that I am particularly gifted at rocking babies and have no doubt that I could do it even while she is cutting and blow drying my hair.

 

7. I hate that I’m so selfish.

 

8. I hate even worse that my hair looks like it has been teased with egg beaters then baked to utter unbreakability.

 

9. Travis has written a new theme song for Living Proof Live and it is just fantastic. I love it so much. There I go again with a “so.” So, so, so. It’s always so. I’m never underwhelmed. It’s always overwhelmed for me. At some point he’ll record it. I’m talking about Travis now. Please stay with me. I hope it’s while we’re still actually doing the event but we’ll see. He does not seem to be in a hurry. If the song turns into a video, I’ll go ahead and bless you by doing an interpretive dance.

 

10. Keith has new really cool, chunky black glasses that Melissa gave him for Father’s Day and he is so handsome in them. I’ve been working with him on how to wear them because Keith has never made “cool” a big priority. I know. I can’t understand it either. But, that fact is, in order to pull off this new look, I’ve told him over and over that he’s got to own it. He’s getting better at it. And every time he practices it with me, we get tickled to no end.

 

11. Jackson and Annabeth are at the best ages ever. 7 and 4. I’m bonkers over them. Of late, Annabeth has been swiping her mother’s cell phone and taping videos of herself. They are so funny that Melissa and I push play over and over and over again and laugh as hard the 15th time as the first. Annabeth sings really loud on them and mostly in an unknown language. It’s like once she hits record, she knows she needs to sing but cannot for the life of her think of any words. Like me and today’s post.

 

12. Tomorrow (August 7th) my mom has been with the Lord for 15 years. I cannot fathom it. She was the axle on which my entire family of origin wheeled. We miss her so much and we are still in the process of sewing our family back together. We all love each other very much but we don’t really know what to do without her. She said jump. We said how high? It’s like we haven’t jumped in 15 years. The spring went right out of our family step. Sorry. That one came out of nowhere. And now I’ve got a lump in my throat which is going to force me to have to say something unfathomably stupid for #13 so I can pull out of it.

 

13. Queen Esther is going to the beauty shop tomorrow for a trim. Please do not tell me that you do not know that Queen Esther is my 5 year old Border Collie who goes by “Star” for short. I cannot take it. Not after what you put me through with #12.

 

14. After untold years of unwavering devotion, I have recently switched from Starbuck’s Breakfast Blend in my coffee maker at home to Gevalia Traditional Roast. I still love Starbuck’s Breakfast Blend but it was out of stock recently at Kroger and Keith grabbed us some Gevalia and, honestly, it almost makes me high. Oh, not really. Calm down. But it does make me really anxious and really nervous but in kind of an exhilarating way. I think it may have more caffeine. And goodness knows, all I need is more caffeine.

 

15. I struggle with insomnia.

 

(So tickled. It’s deplorably bad manners to admit to, on occasion, making your own self laugh. I wouldn’t do it if this were a better post. But it’s not.)

 

16. Pause. Pause. Thinking. Thinking. Oh! Here’s a good one! Keith had to put a rabid raccoon out of its misery 2 weeks ago. I was just glad he didn’t take it to the taxidermist.

 

17. Getting desperate now. And hungrier. Hmmmm. I left my phone charger in the hotel room in Sioux Falls. That’s not a very good one. Let me see if I can think of a better one. Ok. I mostly just use my spray tanner on my arms. My legs that used to be golden brown by sun and then by spray are now a very odd shade of corpse white.

 

18. Kind of a fun new study experience (translation: not in-depth like COTD but much more than just a listening guide) has just come out called “Sacred Secrets.” We hadn’t intended to do it but had so much fun with it at an LPL event that it turned into something. I took a couple of weeks off from writing COTD to develop it with my editor. I’ll tell you about it when I’m in a more coherent mood. Now’s not the time. It’s not that I’m not in the mood to tell a secret. It’s that I can’t be trusted with anything sacred in this frame of mind.

 

19. I’m so dang glad it’s August because we can’t get it over-with in Houston until it gets here. Understand what I’m saying? It has to come to go. A lot of things are like that. We dread it all year long around these parts. I now take the dogs for a romp in the country at 7:00 PM so the temperature can drop below 100 degrees. I’m embarrassed at what a terrible point that one was. I know we’ll both be relieved for me to finally get to the next one and put us all out of our misery.

 

20. The last of my staff just texted me and said, “We are heading out!” So, I better get my tail out of here pretty soon, too, before there’s a creepster in the parking lot. Anyway, I’m hungry.

 

And I want fried okra.

 

I apologize, y’all. It’s been humiliating, hasn’t it? Can it just be the thought that counted today? I love you guys like crazy. Stay tight with Jesus. He’s everything. I’ll talk to you soon and it will be like I’m a different person. Only, underneath my skin, this is pretty much me. And THAT’S why we can each be thankful we have Jesus. Or we’d just be plain-old-us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 15!

Hey, Everybody!

Soon after this post is published, I’ll be on a plane to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for this weekend’s Living Proof Live. I love going to the Dakotas so I am filled with joy over the privilege to serve there and anticipating God’s gracious and obvious (please let it be, Lord) presence crowded around us and welling up within us. Please pray for Jesus to be exalted, experienced, and enthroned there and for many to be saved and stunningly delivered.

My Scripture memory selection this week is springing up from my Monday morning reading there in my den at home. I’ve mentioned many times that I use a different translation for my devotional and prayer time so that the words will fall particularly fresh on me and so that, if the reading happens to be a familiar segment, I can’t anticipate it and unintentionally dismiss it. The translation I often use is The NET Bible. I’m going to give you the whole segment I read Monday morning so that you’ll see the verse I’ve chosen this time around in its context. This is Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NET):
17:5 The LORD says,
“I will put a curse on people
who trust in mere human beings,
who depend on mere flesh and blood for their strength,
and whose hearts have turned away from the LORD.
17:6 They will be like a shrub in the desert.
They will not experience good things even when they happen.
It will be as though they were growing in the desert,
in a salt land where no one can live.
17:7 My blessing is on those people who trust in me,
who put their confidence in me.
17:8 They will be like a tree planted near a stream
whose roots spread out toward the water.
It has nothing to fear when the heat comes.
Its leaves are always green.
It has no need to be concerned in a year of drought.
It does not stop bearing fruit.

If you are like me, you found the way the NET translates the very first verse (V.5) a little disturbing. You’ll be relieved to know this isn’t the Scripture I’ve chosen to memorize (smiling) but it still needs addressing so that we’re not too distracted by it to engross ourselves in the remainder of the segment. If you’re familiar with the passage, you are probably more accustomed to wording like the NIV: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man.” The fact that the NET makes God the one “putting” the curse on man makes us squirm. Before we let it tie us in a knot and throw us in a lake of fear, we have to remind ourselves of our position in Christ. We have the glorious benefit of living this side of the completed work of the Cross and resurrection.

Galatians 3:13 says to our great relief: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us – for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’”

Jeremiah 17:5 is still tremendously relevant to us because it unfolds the misery of counting on mere flesh and blood. I wonder if the “curse” talked about in this verse is of the same ilk as the one in Genesis 3 that came directly from God to man after the fall in the Garden. If Adam and Eve were doing anything at all when they ate from that tree, they were shifting their trust from God to themselves – mere flesh and blood – by attempting to be God-like. Though the Cross of Christ bore the curse for us, we can still endure the desolation that invariably results from placing our trust and confidence in people rather than God. This gets us where we’re going in our post today. Look back at Jeremiah 17:6 because this is the part that totally captivated me.

“They will be like a shrub in the desert. They will not experience good things even when they happen.”

Read it again if you need to but don’t proceed until you’ve tried to absorb that second sentence. Have you ever been right in the middle of something good happening and yet missed the full experience and joyful impact of it? Surely you’ve said silently to yourself as I’ve said to myself, “I should really be happy right now. What is wrong with me??” You know the feeling. You’re in a celebration or service of some kind or a holiday gathering and yet you almost feel detached from it. You’re there. But you are somehow disconnected from experiencing it. You know “it” (the positive thing presently happening) but you can’t feel it. It’s a good thing but you don’t feel good about it…or in it. What on earth is that about?

Jeremiah would suggest that the experience of good can be disconnected from the good because we are in a season of shifted trust from God to man. When we’ve set our hopes for happiness in how well all our people are doing…getting along…flourishing…affirming us…satisfying us…and all-around-generally-blessing us, and we even get a glimmer of it, we can’t experience the good because we know down deep that we can’t hold onto it. As much as we love all our people, we know that, ultimately, they are not going to come through for us. One shoe will drop. Then the other. The disappointment will come. And the harmony we feel for this moment with our fellow humans could at any second flip upside down into complete mayhem.

Notice the part that says “they will be like a shrub in the desert.” Isn’t it ironic that the more we depend on flesh and blood to come through for us and to fulfill us, the more isolated we become? You’d think that numbers alone would insure company and community. In other words, why derive our strengths and confidences from one God when we could get infinitely more out of all these people? Out of all these communities? Out of all our fellow church members? Out of all our Facebook friends? Our fellow tweeters? Company is one click away.

But it never works that way, does it? We never can let down our guard completely and find any shred of real security from flesh and blood. The person obsessed with us today can turn on us tomorrow and we know it. The person who makes life worth living for us today could die on us tomorrow and we know it. I don’t mean to be morose. I just mean to point out the emotional tightrope we’re walking. Being vastly people-oriented rather than God-oriented always ends up taking us to a place of isolation because they’re invariably busy when we want to play, invariably distracted when we want attention, and invariably more taken with themselves than with us. And so, there we sit, with our trust and confidence in mere flesh and blood and we end up feeling like a shrub in a desert.  Just as Jeremiah 17:6 says, “It will be as though [we] are growing in the desert, in a salt land where no one can live.”

Trust in man can seem a great place to visit but no one can really live there and come out calling it living.

It’s so odd to me that the more drawn I feel to God and the more taken I become with His Presence, the freer I am to love other people and the less I hold them responsible for me. Community with God increases our “experience” of good in a community of people. It is its own paradox.

And all of this brings us to the verse I have chosen for my memory work this time around:

Beth, Houston. My blessing is on those people who trust in Me, who put their confidence in Me. Jeremiah 17:7 The NET Bible

And what earthly difference would that make? Well, let’s see…

“They will be like a tree planted near a stream whose roots spread out toward the water. It has nothing to fear when the heat comes. Its leaves are always green. It has no need to be concerned in a year of drought. It does not stop bearing fruit.”

Notice a very intriguing contrast hidden in Jeremiah 17:8 – “It has nothing to fear when the heat comes.”

Reflect back on 17:6b – “They will not experience good things even when [good things] happen.”

When we place our confidence in mere flesh and blood, we are shortchanged even when good things happen. When we place our confidence in God, the Immortal Invisible, we have nothing to fear even when hard things happen. The former leaves us a dry shrub. The latter makes us a fruit-bearing tree.

We never get this lesson learned once and for all, do we? Or maybe it’s just me. I still get so tempted to put my confidence in people and to think that, if all my loved ones were safe, well, and flourishing, I could be so happy. The truth of it is, I do want those things for my loved ones but God alone can come through for them and for me. Anyway, at the end of the day, I could have everything this world could offer and all the good that man could possibly do me and still sit back and think, “Why doesn’t it feel better than this?”

My blessing is on those people who trust in Me, who put their confidence in Me.

Let’s hear your verses, Sisters!

 

 

 

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LPL Sioux Falls – Siesta Scholarship Tickets

Good morning, ladies!

We’re posting our Siesta Scholarship Ticket Giveaway a day early because, as most of you know, tomorrow is SSMT. So, before we got to that, we wanted to make y’all aware that thanks to our fund, we have 20 tickets to give away for this weekend’s LPL in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Just a friendly reminder that these tickets are for those of you that desire to go, but financially just can’t pull it off right now. We’d love nothing more than to send you!

If this is you, or if you know of somebody and you live around that area, you can call us at 281-257-3344 or call toll free at 888.700.1999. Please ask for Kimberly and she will hook you up! If you happen to call during the lunch hour, or we miss you for some other reason, please leave a message and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

We love y’all! Happy Wednesday!

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A Weekend in the Rocky Mountains

Hey y’all! (I almost said ladies instead of y’all, but I’ve been up north all weekend and just needed to get back to my roots. Grin.) I feel like it’s been a while since we’ve talked, so I thought I’d pop in, say hello and share a little bit about my weekend, if that’s okay with you. Grin. Last week was busy to say the least, leading up to a very fast and furious trip to Colorado this past weekend. There are pros and cons to extended family living thousands of miles from you. While my brothers and I didn’t grow up with any of my grandparents or cousins within a short distance of us, the beauty is that we get to visit Colorado fairly often. (When I say our entire extended family lives in Colorado, I mean every last one of them. Both my mom and dad’s side.) Of course, we don’t get to go as often as we used to when we were younger (thanks to getting older and becoming responsible adults), but if I am “forced” to visit anywhere, Colorado isn’t too shabby. Especially when the weather is a bit unusual in July leaving us with 60-degree temps in the evenings, with highs reaching only the mid-seventies during the day. It was glorious.

And now I sound like a weatherman. Laughing.

The reason for this particular weekend trip was to celebrate my grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary! Can we all just have a moment of silence? 60 years! That deserves more than a few exclamation marks! I think we can all agree that 60 years is a rare reality for most couples. Of course, my grandpa being the hopeless romantic that he is (do you sense my snarkiness?), after I asked him what the secret to being married for 60 years to the same woman was, said, “Well, for starters, from the beginning I let her be the boss.” This was especially rich coming from him because my grandma might be the least bossy person I know, but there you have it. True love. He’s a funny man.

We ended up cramming in so much throughout the weekend that I’m pretty sure I came home needing a vacation, but we had the most fun, hilarious time. Maybe one of my favorite visits.

Besides sitting on my grandparent’s back porch for breakfast each morning (I’m drooling thinking about it right now), I’ll share a few highlights from, what I have labeled as, the fastest Colorado trip ever.

Estes Park:

We flew in really late Thursday night due to a delay, but that didn’t keep us from hitting the ground running Friday morning to make it up to Estes Park for the day. I’m convinced not one inch of Colorado is ugly, but there’s something majestic about being surrounded by the mountains on every side of you. Estes Park lends itself to that kind of view. We ended up on the lake this go around after renting a paddle boat and pontoon boat and it was so much fun! I literally laughed the entire time. Who knew that paddle boating was such a workout? Of course, the minute we got on the lake it started raining, but I’m not sure it would have been as fun had it not have rained. Afternoon rain showers in the mountains are nearly unavoidable. But there went my straight hair!

Our view while paddle boating. Rough, right? Also, the rest of our family is on that pontoon boat. Who in the family is smarter? Laughing.

After that we walked around downtown Estes for a bit before driving home. It was such a fun day!

The Celebration:

When my Grandma and Grandpa celebrated their 50th anniversary, we threw a big party for them! It was like a second reception. However, neither of them are really keen on parties, so for this anniversary, we just had a small family “linner”. You know, Grandpa can’t eat too late lest it mess up his stomach. We are rarely ALL together as an extended family, so this was a treat. We had a private room at a neat steakhouse there in town and we all left stuffed to the brim. I’ve said this at least a thousand times, but I’m truly so blessed to have been able to witness their marriage up until now. Far from perfect or easy, but they’ve been so faithful to each other. They have loved so well, the best they humanly can.

Lovebirds for 60 years!

Thing One and Thing Two:

If you’re familiar with Dr. Seuss, then you might get that reference, but if not, I am betting right now you are terribly confused. Allow me to explain: We (the grandchildren) had some funny shirts made that numbered our birth order. (Thing 1, Thing 2, Thing 3, etc.) These “Things” in the Dr. Seuss book, The Cat in the Hat, are apparently the cause of much mischief. We figured this was appropriate since we’ve brought much mischief to their life as grandchildren. This also helps them keep us in order. It may be incredibly cheesy, but we got a good laugh out of it, as did Grandma and Grandpa. Take a look for yourself:

You would think with as many pictures as we took we’d have a least ONE where we’re all smiling and our eyes are open. Nope. Not one. It’s so unfortunate. This is the best I could do. But you get the point.

Also, you might find it humorous that while we desperately wanted a picture with Grandpa and Grandma, Grandpa was actually sacked out in his chair while we were being photographed. But it’s his party and he can sleep if he wants to!

Cousins!

My brothers. :)

Fort Fun:

Because what else do you do in Fort Collins? Grin. Saturday evening after all of our celebration festivities, the cousins loaded up for a bit of fun at Fort Fun. It threw me back to 8th grade when my friends and I used to frequent Mountasia. It’s just a fun little place where you can ride go-karts, play laser tag, putt putt golf along with all the arcade games in the world. We ended up just playing putt putt in which we confirmed that I am the world’s worst putt putt golfer. It’s a sad reality, really. That, or I just need some more putt putt practice. We also rode a giant slide that also brought out the inner ten-year old in me. Fun times.

I mean, y’all. My sweet cousin may have been terrified. I just laughed the entire way down. Also, right before we took off she grabbed my hand. I obliged!

The static!

By the end she was laughing. And this picture pretty much sums up my trip. Fast, furious, blurry and hilarious!

Fort fun ended our weekend adventure, because sadly, yesterday afternoon I hopped on plane with my big brother and we headed back to Houston where we were greeted by the lovely Houston humidity the minute I stepped on the jetway. Lovely.
I’m so thankful for a small weekend getaway and all it meant. I will treasure this weekend forever!

Anything exciting happen on your end? You know, like putt putt golf?

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Summer Bible Study Wrap Up With Beth and a Special Guest!

Make sure you read all the way to the end, Siestas!

 

Hey there Siestas!

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to put pen to paper (actually fingers to keyboard) and write you a post. I’ve been popping over and reading your comments for a long time now. Your community is beautiful and I’m thrilled to be able to be a part of it today.

Except…I’m kind of sad too.

See, your Siesta-momma and I had a blast shooting a video for you that we all fully intended to have up today but, lo and behold, all the wonders of technology didn’t work any wonders for us. We’ve spent the better part of three days trying to get the video from our computers in Dallas to the computers at Living Proof in Houston to no avail. My poor husband (who is the CEO and head-honcho of all things techie at GB ministries) has sat for hours upon end, staring into several different laptops and programs trying and re-trying to get that video to send sans glitches and freezing frames to no avail. It has simply refused to act right. He came home late last night with a glazed over expression and went straight to bed. . .fully dressed.

So, here I am writing to you instead…nearing midnight – as we’ve finally thrown in the towel trying to get the video to you.

But here’s living proof (you better believe that pun was intended) that we filmed something…

Ahhhhh, that makes me feel better at least.

We tried Siestas. Promise we did. And we had so much stinkin’ fun. Hate not being able to share our goofs and giggles with you.

In any case, I hope you’ll still allow me to congratulate you on a job well done in your completion of the Gideon study! I am so honored to have served you and pray that your spiritual life has been enriched and encouraged. I hope that it was as rich for you to read it as it was for me to write and teach it. Truly, Gideon went above and beyond my expectations giving me little surprise lessons along the way.

Isn’t that the way God’s Word always is – gift giving, surprising, blessing us with every page we turn?

This study didn’t disappoint.

I’m so anxious to know what most surprised you in your study of Gideon? How did God speak to you in a way that you didn’t expect?

I’ll be thrilled to read your responses!

Thank you again for allowing me to serve you. I pray that we can do it again sometime soon.

Blessings
Priscilla

============
Y’all!  This little gem came to us this morning around 3:30a.m.  It is brought to you by the blood, sweat, tears…and sleepless nights of Jerry Shirer. Sometimes technology tries to get the best of us, but in the words of our Siesta Mama, he “perse-dang-vered”!  Jerry and Priscilla lived up to their ministry name in this little project.  Going Beyond Ministries. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your hard and frustrating work Shirers!!  LPM and the Siestas LOVE you guys!

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I’m Never More Like _____________

About three weeks ago I hosted “Girls Weeked” for three of my best friends. Now, before you correct me on spelling “weeked” wrong, I want to assure you I spelled it correctly. You see, the very first year we kicked off our annual girls weekend happened to be a special weekend where one of my best friends, Joanna, was getting engaged. Clearly, as her best friends, we became great deceivers and lied to her the entire weekend until the actual proposal, which was so much fun, yet incredibly hard. Anyway, in my excitement the night before she was to become betrothed, I felt the need to bake us a cake to kick off the weekend. I’m incredibly classy, to say the least, so I baked us none other than a funfetti cake. Fist pump for funfetti, y’all. You know you love it, too. Of course, baking and decorating go hand in hand, so in my attempt at decorating, I wrote “Girls Weeked 2006″ and excitedly presented it to the girls when all was said and done. I was SO proud of myself! They nearly all died of hyperventilating right there on the spot when they realized I spelled it completely wrong. I tend to do that when I get excited about such things. From then on, Girls Weeked stuck.

That story is completely irrelevant to the post, but it was fun to re-live.

Moving on.

We actually missed a few years of intentionally planning our girls weekends, but that’s what happens when weddings and babies and moving across the country takes over!

So, needless to say, we were all a tad excited to be together again, and in our home city. Originally we had all planned to attend our ten year reunion together, but when all was said and done, we ended up not going. Don’t hate us. We had our own, and albeit, more exciting reunion. However, since I knew I’d be hosting them this time, my apartment needed a little tidying. Ironically, the week before they came I got into this purging mode and nearly threw or gave away every belonging I owned, and it felt good. That really helped when it came to cleaning. But, having a full time job and something social nearly every evening also put me in a bind, which means I found myself dusting, and um, vacuuming a little after midnight one night.

I’m pretty sure I scrubbed my entire bathroom as well.

BUT I WAS ON A ROLL. You know when you get in those modes and you feel invincible? That’s how I felt. Even my roommate thought I was crazy, but man, our apartment has never looked better.

However, as I was being crazy lady and on my rampage, I thought to myself, I’m never more like my mother than when I’m cleaning at midnight.

It’s true. My mother is the QUEEN of late night shenanigans. Vacuuming. Packing. Cleaning. You name it, she’s most likely been found practicing her craft at midnight. Although it’s not become a true habit of mine yet (we won’t discuss waiting until the last minute to pack), I definitely inherited the get it done at midnight trait from her.

We’ve all experienced something like that when we’re in the middle of accomplishing something and we immediately think of who we’re mimicking, which means, of course, I want to hear yours.

I’m never more like my daughter than when…

I’m never more like my mother than when…

I’m never more like my husband than when…

I’m never more like my grandma than when…

I’m never more like my teacher than when…

You get the point. This could be so funny. Or maybe not. But it’s worth a shot.

Oh, and for the record, the one thing I did NOT do for my friends this year was bake them a misspelled cake. But, to make up for my lack of baking skills, I took them to Tiny Boxwood’s and bought them a cookie. I’m certain they’ve never loved me more. And lest you think that’s lame, don’t judge until you’ve had their cookies. They’re change your life good.

And because we like pictures, here I am with my girls. You might be interested to know that I’ve known these girls since the womb. They’re truly the sister I never had. Only the Lord could weave such a sweet, strong friendship together. Only He could sustain that. I don’t take it for granted and am truly forever grateful!

 

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A Recap & A Prayer Request

Good morning, ladies! Since we had SSMT on Monday, we couldn’t get the Providence recap posted for you as quickly as we typically do.

Something you  might appreciate is that on Saturday, our dear photog, Rich, tweeted a picture he had taken of our Siesta Mama. It was fabulous. It goes without saying that I both replied and favorited the tweet to which he responded that it was now time to work on the recap video, which feels like cramming for a final. Oh, the pressure. THAT is just a little taste of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. We so appreciate the entire LPL team. They work and serve tirelessly, to the great glory of God and it does not go unnoticed, and we don’t want it to. So, thank you to the entire team for doing what you do with excellence. To you we say well done good and faithful servant.

Also, you wouldn’t waste a prayer on Beth as she hops on a plane this afternoon to go speak at the Awaken NOW Conference, hosted by LIFE Outreach International, in celebration of their 50 years of ministry. LIFE Outreach International produces Life Today and I’m sure many of you could testify to the blessing that that program is to you, so we send her off in blessings and prayer. Asking for focused thoughts, boldness, faith and energy, Lord! I know Beth, her family, and LPM are so grateful for your petitions on their behalf. Where would we be without the ability to intercede for ourselves and others? Thank you so, so much.

Without further delay, here is the recap video!

Living Proof Live | Providence from LifeWay Women on Vimeo.

Happy (rainy) Wednesday to you all!

P.S. Just this. Just for fun. Grin.

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2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 14!

Hey, Sweet Things!

 

I’m writing this post to you on Saturday night from the seat of a gigantic United Airlines plane on my connect flight from DC back to Houston. The Living Proof Live team and I had the tremendous privilege of serving in Providence, Rhode Island and God worked in such a distinct way that I will remember it for many years. I hope forever. God is doing something different this year at LPL. I don’t quite know how to define it but I have been flat-on-my-face grateful that He is not only still in it but stirring the pot. Not one of us on the team wants to be there a moment longer than Jesus is. We don’t even want Him to make an obligatory “appearance” because He loves us and feels sorry for us after we’ve scheduled all of this. We want the event to be proactively Jesus for His own sake and for His own glory and because it is a delight to Him and because He looks forward to it. Nothing less than that and, if it’s not that, we want Him to move us each elsewhere.

 

It’s so strange. We began this year looking back to the previous 15 but, by our 3rd event, it was like we all fixed our faces forward as if nothing in the world mattered but what was in front of us. No “yesterday’s plan.” No “yesterday’s work.” This is today. Something is up. Something new to us. There is something liberating and also a little frightening about just saying to Him, “Do what You want, God. Anything You want. We’re in it with You or we’re not in it at all. All bets are off.” Anyway, I’m not sure why I went off on all of that. God just really has my eyebrows high on my forehead right now wondering what He’s doing.

 

I have a group of about 30 of you Siestas fresh on my mind because we met up quickly after the event for our group picture. These were your northeastern sisters and the cutest things you can imagine. Well, just like all of you are. All ages and types, with this one glorious bond: the lively love of Jesus Christ. I am so crazy about you guys. I cannot fathom the grace of God to have stirred up a community of encouragement in Christ where relationships really do seem to have some substance to them. It’s an anomaly that still isn’t wasted on me.

 

You have marked my journey of faith. You’ve encouraged me and made me want to keep running my race energetically and earnestly. You’ve helped me get back up even at times when you didn’t know I was down. You have been a harbor of joy, peace, and laughter in an online Christian world that can be astonishingly fractured. You are a corner of courageous gentleness in a culture that has lost its manners.

 

And, good grief, you guys have impacted my Scripture memory life so dramatically that I hardly have words. After every Living Proof Live when we meet up for our (clandestine) Siesta picture, I always ask, “Will I be seeing any of you in January at our SSMT celebration?” Invariably there are those who answer with infectious enthusiasm, “YES!” It makes me so happy. The previous celebrations have been like a family reunion on steroids. I hope so much you’re staying up with your Scripture memory, saving your money, and planning to head to Houston that weekend. We aren’t really a beautiful city but we’re a happy one and a hospitable one, I believe I can confidently say. And we can offer you Tex Mex at virtually every four way stop. I mean, what more could you want, people?

 

The verse I’ve chosen this time around is one God seemed to lift from the page of my early morning Scripture reading last Monday. I continued to say it and pray it throughout the week and referenced it several times this weekend in Providence. It’s easy to memorize and it puts a concept in a nutshell that is as vital as breath to us in this believing life we’re living. Here it is:

 

Beth, Houston. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 1 Corinthians 4:20 NIV

 

God is using it to remind me that this thing isn’t about incessant chatter and nonstop Twitter noise and learning to speak fluent Christianese. It’s not tantamount to Bible banter and doctrinal debates and holy hair-splitting. It’s not about getting together at church and threatening week after week to live changed lives and think renewed thoughts. It’s not about getting all lathered up and sweaty-headed at events over theories of effective, influential, and abundant lives. This Christ thing to which we’ve been called is about actually doing it and through an unction not remotely our own.

 

When the Holy Spirit comes, He comes with power.

 

Where the Holy Spirit goes, He goes with power.

 

Whom the Holy Spirit infiltrates, He infuses with power.

 

Our lives were meant to be powerful. Less talk. More demonstration. Through things like a love that we know good and well is utterly beyond us and a faith that emerges in tact from a minefield soaked in blood and strewn with flesh. We were meant to be able to do what we can’t, like who we don’t, bless who we’d curse. We were promised strength in weakness and extravagant grace in our deprivation.

 

We were meant to wonder what has derailed or gone awry when a season of our lives persists in powerlessness for weeks on end. We were promised more than this. We’re not meant to write our own personalized chapters in a revised standard version of The Emperor’s New Clothes so the world could have a harder laugh at us. We who have placed our trust in Christ Jesus, the living, breathing-on-us Son of God, have been clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49) And it’s supposed to show.

 

Every limb of our lives where we welcome the Holy Spirit can be infused with strength not of this world and, yes, even in continued weakness or infirmity, should that be the case of our present calling. The coexistence of the two is the mystery of it. We’re not superwomen. We’re a long shot from perfect. But we were meant to be vividly powerful through the One who saved us and made Himself at home in us. Let’s not forget that today. Let’s not be satisfied just to talk about it. Let’s not just clap and cheer during that part of a service when a pastor or teacher tells us we’re called more than conquerors. The New Testament is not the theory of Christianity.

You may feel powerless right now, Sister, but, if you are in Christ, make no mistake: you are not. Get some backbone back in your prayer life if your spiritual spine has deteriorated. With reverence for His holiness and with the boldness He said we could bring to the Throne of Grace, read to God from His Word where He promised His people victory as they looked to Him alone…

…and where He promised to clothe us in power

…and where He said He’d make Himself conspicuous through our spiritual gifts and through supernatural works in His Name.

If you don’t know where those places are, go hunt them down. (But you could start in Romans 8, Luke 24, Acts 1, Acts 2, 1 Corinthians 12 and Hebrews 4.)

Tell Him you’re going to ask for it and ask for it and ask for it in His great Name and for His glory until He gives it to you and frees you from whatever this present powerlessness is. And then DO IT. Ask and ask and ask and tell Him you will do whatever it takes to cooperate and mean it! Throw your hands out to receive. And, then, when He gives it – and He will – don’t take credit for it. Appreciate it. Thank Him and thank Him for it. Know that it’s grace. Use it audaciously to bring Him attention.

 

Sister, you cannot fulfill your foreordained purpose without power. Go back after it but, whatever you do, don’t try to get it without Jesus coming with it. Power for power’s sake will blow you up. God-given unction isn’t meant to just come and go with periodic personal revival. We were meant to live powerful lives. Let’s get to them. If you’ve got an area of carnality that is quenching it, I promise you it’s not worth it. Believe me, I’ve been there. Repent, turn from it and get on with it. You’ve got a calling. And it takes divine power.

 

You mean so much to me. Hold tight to Jesus.

 

 

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For the Love of Music

For those of you who are well acquainted with social media, the term “tbt” or “throw back Thursday” is nothing new to you. In fact, if you’re anything like me, on occasion it can be a bit overkill. Not that I don’t love watching people walk down memory lane and seeing old photos, because I absolutely do, but I can only take so many throw backs before I start to confuse present day with current day people. It is, however, endearing on occasion. And I might be saying that as a disclaimer since I’m about to throw us all back. Grin.

Recently I was at my parent’s house and my eyes came across an old photo that is framed on my dad’s dresser and could easily be labeled as one of my favorite pictures ever. I actually happened to spot it just after our small group from church had gone around and shared how long we’d been impacted by music and how we initially came to love it. That picture reminded me that truly, I’d been immersed in it since the beginning of time.

I dearly love my immediate family. And despite all of our differences, quirks and challenges, one common theme that flows through all five of us is music. At any given moment when we’re all together, not a minute goes by that we’re not discussing artists (old and new), harmonies, bass lines, records and well, I’m sure you get the idea. From the beginning of time my mom has either been a music teacher or, for the better part of 23 years of my life, a piano teacher. Countless students from ages five to 18 are constantly flowing in and out of our home. Needless to say, while living there, you hear the good, the bad and the ugly. I say that endearingly since I’ve watched student after student come in with zero knowledge of anything musical, at the beginner level, and graduate as a high school student knocking out pieces that leave you speechless. (For reference, look up David Lanz. Beautiful.) We all have to start somewhere. And practice really does make perfect.

You might be wondering if my mom taught each of us to play the piano. And what might make you laugh is that, because we are her stubborn children, she taught each of us as much as she could before World War 3 broke out. You know, because when Mom is teaching you something, clearly you’re right and she’s wrong. Our lessons were short lived. But thankfully, the Lord graced us and we all play a little. Actually my older brother plays the most out of all of us, as he went on to do a little bit more with music in college, while I only took one measly piano class after graduating. But still not a time goes by that we don’t walk in her house and either sit down or tap at the piano ourselves. It’s our first instinct.

On top of that, I literally cannot remember a time that both of my parents have not served on the worship team at their church. I’ve lost count of how many years my mom has played the piano while my dad has simultaneously played the guitar or bass. And it goes without saying that we were all involved in the choir and or praise team, you know, when choirs became less cool. Laughing.

Needless to say, music runs through our blood. And I imagine it always will.

My dream would be that, although I’m no music or piano teacher, the love and appreciation of music would be carried onto my children, and their children, and so on and so forth. I’m not sure much more would make my parents happier either, besides the obvious of growing up to love Jesus. I’m almost certain that when I was 16, my dream of marrying a man with any musical talent was a deal breaker. Meaning, if he was musically challenged, it would be absurd to even consider liking him. I’m laughing now. And while that would still make me so happy, to marry a man with similar gifts and passions, I’m letting the Lord work that one out. It’s no longer a deal breaker, but it would be a bonus.

I’ll never forget my freshman year of college when all five of us did the “special music” at our Christmas Eve service. Yes, you can just call us the Von Trapp family. We might as well have become a traveling band. Talk about a throwback, every time I hear “Light of the Stable” by Emmylou Harris, I immediately think of Christmas 2003.

I recently came across this quote by an actor I’m not well acquainted with but it summed up my family perfectly, “I’ve always thought people would find a lot more pleasure in their routines if they burst into song at significant moments.”

And all the people said amen. Those that have been around our family know we don’t just do this at significant moments, but really at any given moment a song that would be appropriate for that occasion pops in our head. In fact, I should apologize in advance to anyone that, in the future, might spend any amount of time with us.

Music calms. Music is universal. Music speaks where words fail. Music ministers. Music is simply a part of us. Music, after all, was created first and foremost by God. He put that gift in us.

Nearly every time I drive up to my parent’s house for a visit, and they live only 20 minutes from me, without fail my mom is found playing the piano. When we were little and all living there, people used to ask me if the constant sound of the piano, and people coming and in and out for lessons was annoying. I can truly say that not for one minute did it annoy me. As time went on, I found it very comforting. It was normal. I can’t speak for some of her students who may have been annoyed however when I, on occasion, would be yelling at my brother from the top of stairs, at the top of my lungs, mind you, because he was picking on me, but that’s another story for another day. Big brothers are both a blessing and a curse. Some of you may understand.

This entire post sums up my love for this “throw back Thursday” picture. For the love of all things music.

My mom and I sitting at the piano. Where all is right in the world. She always has and always will by my favorite piano player, and for once, I think it’s okay to be biased.

And those glasses? Well, they speak for themselves. Love you, Mom.

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