Tempered Joy

Hey, my dear, dear Sisters! I had the biggest blast with the Siestas who made the trek to San Antonio and missed the rest of you so much. I’m back from a real, live vacation and pecking away at my computer in my office. Star’s right here at my feet. It’s Labor Day so my beloved staff members are with their families just as they should be. Since I really did take the week off (I usually cheat and still throw work into it somehow but refrained this time), I really needed the day to get a jump on the load I knew would be waiting tomorrow.

I’d have lots of silly things to tell you but my frame of mind is seriously tempered by Gustav. Having lived in Houston for 35 years, I, like anybody half-awake on the Gulf Coast, am highly alert to the constant wave of threats written across the sky from August through October. We find ourselves in a terrible quandary, asking God to cause the storms to bypass our areas but sick at heart to imagine them hitting another. None of us want to lose our homes but none of us want to see others lose theirs either. Of all people on the planet we want spared, surely its the population of New Orleans. Oh, Jesus, especially the poor. And, Lord, our dear Franklin Avenue Baptist and other faithful fellowships like it that have only recently reopened their doors. Have mercy! My heart has been in my throat for the areas devastated by Katrina, many of which have yet to be rebuilt. Let’s give highest praise to God that He sucked some of the air and water right out of Gustav’s angry lungs. This morning in my quiet time I reminded our gracious Father of His powerful words to us in James 5:16b-18. “The prayer of the righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” Elijah, a man with “like passions as we” prayed a change over the weather. THE WEATHER. And God heard him and said yes. That ought to give us some courage to pray like the same thing could happen today.

Keith and I have been in the wonderful middle of nowhere for a solid week on our cactus land at the edge of the Texas hillcountry. No cell phones. No internet. Just him and me and our two new baby girls, Star and Geli. The most exciting things we had going were watching God paint sunrises and sunsets, cooking on the Old Smokey, dodging rattle snakes, and taking rides on our rigged-for-dirt-roads golf cart with the dogs to admire the wildlife. I read the new Jan Karon novel (I think the name is “Home to Holly Springs”) from cover to cover and LOVED IT. Yes, I’ve read all the Mitford books and am so sad when one ends and another is not out yet. She is one of my favorite all time fiction authors. I want to be her BFF.

On the way home Saturday afternoon, however, we saw the eeriest sight. Keith was asleep at the time and yours truly was driving his big ole blue Ford truck. I even went the speed limit. (Believe it or not, I’m a slow driver. The leading cause of road rage in America, you might recall.) We were going east on Interstate 10 and right around the Luling exit I came over a hill and saw 200+ yellow school buses from Dallas, empty except for the drivers, in the left hand lane traveling lickety-split in a caravan our same direction. A police car led the pack and another had its back. We’d seen several Red Cross emergency vehicles already on our way home but this sight beat all. We knew those school buses were heading either to Houston or New Orleans (it was still up in the air – no pun intended – at that time) for emergency evacuations. I told Keith to wake his hind up and look at a sight he might live the rest of his life and never see again. It was so freaky. And to be one of very few vehicles heading their direction while traffic packed the west-bound lanes was sobering. There was no turning back, though, because Curtis, Amanda, Jackson, and our little Avocado were in Houston and I was going to be where they were or bust. Turned out our fair but hot city would be just to the west of Gustav’s fiercest breath. Far better than that, it appeared that New Orleans might not be hit as hard as they were three years ago. Oh, Lord, be her levee.

Anyway, I’ve looked so forward to saying hello but feel like it’s just not the day to be silly. And, oh, could I have been silly. After all, I’ve been perched on a porch for a week watching my man move the earth all over heck’s half acre on his green tractor. About the time I decided to venture out on my own and go for a walk, he popped the clutch and hollered, “Lizabeth, did you bring your snake boots?” Where am I? But I’ll just have to save that for another time.

I love you. Gulf Coast girls in particular, let us know how you’re fairing through the weather. We are on our knees for you.


200 Responses to “Tempered Joy”

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  1. 1
    lori says:

    I will be praying for all in the path of the storm.

    And on another note, it is really good to hear from you Beth. You made an even bigger inpression on me at the meet and greet. You just have such a big heart, and it was so nice when you told us what we can pray for you. And gosh the way you looked and Melissa and Amanda when they spoke was beautiful, and to strech you even futher the way you responded to the siesta’s. I am just glad God picked you for that plan/path he has you on and you said yes.

  2. 2
    beyond this moment says:

    I pray you’re rested and refilled and I’ll join you in praying for God’s staying hand on the weather.

  3. 3
    Jennifer Janes says:

    I have been praying for those on the Gulf Coast as well. I keep remembering Jesus calming the storm on the lake with the words “Peace, be still.” I am praying that He will calm the winds and waves again.

    I am also praying for you, Beth, as you prepare for Deeper Still in Las Vegas. As I prayed on Saturday, the Holy Spirit brought me to a standstill. I sensed Him speaking to me to pray Isaiah 61:1-4 for the Deeper Still event. I will continue to do so. I know He is faithful.

    I’m glad it looks like Houston will miss most of the Gustav excitement. Where I am, we’re expecting wind and heavy rains the next couple of days! I continue to pray they will dissipate!

  4. 4
    Anonymous says:

    aren’t snake boots a part of the full armour of God?

  5. 5
    robinjonescotton says:

    All you gulf coast girls I am praying for your safety and that the storm would weaken and only dump much needed rain. We love you all .

  6. 6
    annie's eyes says:

    John Deere is my husband’s bff. Going green takes on a whole new meaning for us. So glad you got away for real hill country rest. My heart is overflowing for New Orleans and Baton Rouge, right now, as I listen to the news, and the rest of the Gulf Coast. May God be our refuge and very present help. Sure loved Siestaville, btw. Love, Annette

  7. 7
    Cheryl Barker says:

    Oh Beth, you are brave. I would never vacation anywhere where I had to take snake boots! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. 8
    laughing out loud says:

    Waiting out Gustav…got the whole family playing various board games, and may even get Anne of Avonlea out later if the power holds.
    I am thinking we will excape by the hair of our chinning chin chin, but better safe than sorry.

    Prayers and love to those closer to the storm…


  9. 9
    Mary Watkins says:

    Oh Beth, it was so good to hear from you today. Mike and I have been in much prayer for the families who are in the pathway of Gustav. Our prayer has been that God would calm the storm and spare innocent lives. My husband, Mike, said God is answering our prayers. Gustav hit land as a catagory 2 instead of the predicted catagory 4. Praise You, Lord, for hearing and responding to the prayers of Your people.

    Evacuees started arriving yesterday. First Baptist Church in West Memphis is housing 100 and my church FBC in Marion, Arkansas is presently hosting 81. Those I’ve spoken to are grateful for a place to stay but most are emotionally beaten down. Siestas, lets stay on our knees for all who are affected by this storm. May our great Comforter meet their every need. All hotels and emergency shelters are packed as far north as Cape Girardeau, MO.

    I am so glad you, Keith, and the pups had fun on your vacation and you made it back home safely.

    Love you,

  10. 10
    Linda says:

    It is hard to imagine another storm hitting that same area again. Like you, Beth, I find it hard to know how to pray. We are safe here in S.A. and the kids just moved from Houston to Dallas. I’m thankful, but I found myself asking the Lord to just somehow make that storm diminish and not cause great harm to anyone.
    Thank you for the way you shared your heart and your time at the Siesta Fiesta. For this grandmother of seven, it was a wonderful time of refreshment and renewal and just flat out fun!
    I’m glad you and Keith had time to get away. It sounds like a fun time – rattle snakes and all.

  11. 11
    Melinda says:

    Welcome home! It was such a pleasure to see and spend time with you and your girls in SA – that weekend is not something any of us Siestas will soon forget! I also don’t think I’ve ever posted here, that through your blog I ordered a prayer journal from Debbie Williams, and then, through a set of “it could only be God” circumstances, we ended up at the conference and the Siesta Fiesta together! It was an amazing time! You just never know what off-hand comment you make on the blog will have an effect you never imagined!

    I’m also praising God with you that Gustav lost some steam and then hit west of New Orleans. Will continue praying for all those who have and will suffer damages.

    So much love to you and yours,

  12. 12
    WallysMama says:

    Beth, I am so thrilled to find your blog! Your God-given wisdom and words always speak to me….talk about wanting to be someone’s BFF! I live in Starkville, Mississippi but have friends and family who have fled Gustav’s path. Thank you so much for your prayers on their behalf. I sure hope Gustav doesn’t cause problems for your fair city, as well. Welcome back and welcome to my blog roll!
    In His grip,

  13. 13
    Just Berean Real says:

    Hello Beth and Siestas ๐Ÿ™‚

    It’s a slow “comment” day, I see. Gals must not be laboring on their keyboards this Labor Day.

    Deep thoughts, reflecting on Gustav, Katrina: Living in SoCal, we live with the uncertainty of earthquakes, but I always wonder why I’m here, in cushy SoCal, while others are in areas of the country who consistently are affected by hurricanes. Then I think, why am I in the cushy United States of America, while others living in abject poverty in third world countries. THEN I think, why/how am I a Christian, so certain of God’s Truth while others are lost…I could go on and on. I think TOO much, but it always brings me back to a place of thanksgiving and I just marvel at God’s mercy on me – that I can in turn share with others.

    Anyway…beside that I just wanted to say to Beth, that as much as I desire to be married (45 and never been), I don’t know if I could be in a relationship where “snake boots” are required residents of my closet ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ But then again…

    BTW – I’m going through Breaking Free for the first time…wow. Enough said!

  14. 14
    Laura Beth Fletcher says:

    Welcome Home Beth…so glad you and your man had a wonderful vacation! My mother also loves Jan Karon and the mitford series! I know how you feel about the kitchen, but did you know there is a cookbook with all the recipes from the series? I thought maybe Melissa would enjoy cooking some of the recipes for you. My mother’s fav out of the cookbook is Esther’s orange marmalade cake…”It’s to die for!”
    I echo your prayers for our coastal southern siesta’s and their families!
    Missed the siesta…just had a baby girl but I rejoiced with you all reading about it and enjoyed all the pics!
    Love you too!
    Laura Beth

  15. 15
    Jessica says:

    I am safely tucked away in Atlanta (Georgia) but I am praying for those of you in Gustav’s path. I’m so thankful that he turned out to be more of a gentleman than we thought. Stay safe and know you are loved.


  16. 16
    rusty'swife says:


    I am so glad that you had such a restfilled vacation. There are no better sunrises and sunset than West Texas.

    I do have a couple of questions for you.

    Where in the world did you find snakeboots small enough to fit you?

    Have the “girls” had their snake shots yet? Ask your vet mine gets her’s along with rabies once a year.

    I am praising God over Gustav’s loss in strength. And for the safety of all our brothers and sisters in Christ, and that this will be a very fruitful time of ministry for those whom do not yet know Christ as their savior.

    Glad you are back and rested.
    I am praying that God will prepare you, Pricilla, and Kay for Deeper Still this weekend. Oh to be with you three sevrants. I pray that as you three pour yourselves out on these men and women, that God will pour His Holy Spirit into you. May Jesus be seen in Las Vagas like never before.

    In Him,

  17. 17
    bethany says:

    Welcome Home Bethie Dear!!!

    So glad to get on here this afternoon and find a post from you. I am so praying for everyone on the gulf coast. I will forever be impacted by the pictures that my brother bought home from serving 3 months in Mississippi on relief and clean up (he’s a firefighter) following the devastation of Katrina. Your scriptures about Elijah praying for the weather is so important for me to know…thank you for bringing that to my attention. I’ve been praying.
    As for the rattlesnakes….yeah, not too fun! My brother killed 3 last week up at his place and 1 or 2 up at my parents place. Scary, especially with my 2 1/2 yr. old nephew running around.

  18. 18
    Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife says:

    Seems like a lot of us are in the same spirit. I have Mule Day to blog about for Pete’s sake, but today wasn’t the one to talk about such things when many of my dear sisters are packed in vehicles unsure of what they’ll find when they return home.

    So glad you had a restful vacation. Looking forward to silly times again.

    Loved you so much in San Antonio! Thrilled I got to say hello to you and your girls even if it was from the bleachers. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. 19
    Rebecca says:

    Been through a few storms myself on the Carolina coast before moving to Colorado. I know what its like. Started praying for all in the Gulf coast last night and was glad to see all the preparations being done for you.
    Beth glad you enjoyed your porch vacation, sometimes those are the best. Be safe ya all!!!!!

  20. 20
    ittybittyloie says:

    Glad you have 2 new furry friends to travel with you. My dear friend Sadie, a 13 yr-old collie-shephard mix, absolutely gorgeous girl, has cancer, and I know I’m going to lose her soon. She seems to be the only real friend I have right now, as God seems so distant lately. I’m praying that He will spare her from alot of pain.
    Glad you had a restful week.


  21. 21
    Gena says:

    Thank you so much for your encouragement in how to pray during something like this. I’ve always felt the same way about praying for a hurricane to go somewhere else (those folks in somewhere else wouldn’t be too pleased). Good to “hear your voice” again. Glad you’re back.

    Hoping for a just a little rain in Houston,


  22. 22
    Kim Safina says:

    The Journey Continues ~

    Blessings Keith & Beth on
    Labor Day!
    With "Heaven Bound" blessings,
    Kim & Dave

  23. 23
    Kecia says:

    Thank God, so far it’s not as bad as it could have been! We’re still praying…

  24. 24
    Cathy Davis says:

    Glad you’re back home safe and sound! While I’ve sure missed you and your wit (as I’m sure we all have), our hearts and minds are with the Gustav folks. I’m so glad God took it’s wind and rain down a couple of notches!

    My husband is in Savannah, GA area right now and it looks like there might be 2 hurricanes headed straight for that part of the coast!!

  25. 25
    skoots1mom says:

    Thank you, Lord, for giving Mama Siesta a rest…with hubby and puppies…You rejuvenate like no other, and we’re especially thankful she didn’t get too close to a rattler.
    I echo all the previous day’s prayers again today as Gustav moves on and Hanna begins to bear down. We on the east coast are now putting our energies in her directions and are eager to be blessed with your taking the “wind out of her sais”

  26. 26
    Holly says:

    Oh, I have been praying…my cousin is just near Lafayette. Our families in E. Texas…

    Prayed for you and Keith, too…every single day, I asked God to refresh and restore you–to delight you, too!

    I wonder, what do you cook over that stove out there in the country? Also, were you surprised by the ending of “Home to Holly Springs?” Oh, I was! Can’t wait to get my hands on the next one. Colorado and Jan Karon go together so very well in the winter time.

    I’ve got thanks coming in the mail your way tomorrow. Though, I cannot say thanks enough. Love you!

  27. 27
    Anonymous says:

    I am praying for all of you.I just wish they all would go away.now there is another one.So I am praying for all of America.For many thigns to many storms, fries & everyting else.So all keep us informed from all the thigns thats going own.God be with you & many blessing each day to you & yours till your in our Lords hands.

  28. 28
    Anonymous says:

    Hi Beth, I missed you and am so happy that you are back now.

    Next Monday night, we are starting Living Beyond Yourself. I am looking forward to digging into the fruits of the Spirit and learning more. Can’t wait to see your hairdo on the video. My church was one of the host churches for the Aug 1-2 Simulcast (Louisville). What a blessing that was – treasure the wonder!

    I, too, have been praying that God would weaken Gustav. He is able!!

    Kalamazoo, Michigan

  29. 29
    doxielovers says:

    Thank you Beth for putting to words our thoughts and prayers for those in the Gulf. May the Lord continue to tenderly care for them.

    So glad for you and Keith (and puppies) to have had such a relaxing week together.

    Love to all,

  30. 30
    Georgia Jan says:

    Beth: Glad you are home sister and that you truly rested, retreated, and READ from my 2nd favorite author (you know who is first!) I love, love, love Jan Karon books. I've been known to "save mine" and read them s-lo-w-l-y so the story will last longer. Weren't the twists in Home to Holly Springs sooooo good? I love Jan Karon too. Glad to hear you're a Mitford fan – I should have known. I've been thinking about starting over and reading through them all again.

    Have you ever read any of Eugenia Price's books? She was a believer who lived on St. Simons Island, GA, for many years before she died. She wrote novels on Georgia history using true historical characters after much research. Her Savannah series is wonderful, and she weaves the Gospel in every book.

    We too have been glued to the TV and praying for the folks in the path of Gustav. Thank you Lord that it was not as horrendous as anticipated. Praying that the next hurricane following (Helen?) will spare our beautiful city of Savannah here in Georgia as well…

    The Siesta Fiesta was marvelous and us "Georgia Siestas" are going to be getting together soon for a mini-fiesta.

    Love & Prayers,
    Georgia Jan

  31. 31
    Kim says:

    Beth, Thank you for your words. Praying for your family and everyone effected by this storm. Stay well….

  32. 32
    Kristen says:

    So glad you were able to get away for a week with no distractions!
    Praying for you and the rest of those who live along/ or near the Gulf Coast!

  33. 33
    Phil and Lori says:

    Beth, it was such a joy to run into you and help find your starbucks and cell phone charger! Did it work? I would have loved to have been able to sit and visit and tell you all the Lord has done in my life. He particularly used Patriarchs. I would love to tell you about it! Did you try the Mexican food restaurants I suggested? I saw Travis at church and the pics of the cabinets he built. Sweet! He said that he had invited you to church but that you had to head home. My husband preached on Sunday and boy would he have been nervous if you had been in the house! Maybe next time if I ever get to run into you, we could have some time? My 9 year old son did not believe me when I told him that I had seen you and actually talked to you. He wanted “proof” that I had really seen you. He made me laugh! He finally decided he would just believe me since I could not give him any proof. He thinks you are my best friend.

  34. 34
    Mr. and Mrs. D says:

    God is so good. Way back in May, my mother decided to take a trip to the NorthEast to see me and my new hubby. Little did she or I know at the time, that God had GREAT evacuation plans for her since she lives right in the path of Gustav. She has had a hard time enjoying herself while knowing that our friends and family are back home, but I am thankful that God spared me some anxious moments thinking about her safety.

    Praising God,

  35. 35
    Ang baylis says:

    I hate to leave anyone out who wasn’t able to join us in SA, but I have to tell you how much I enjoyed our time. It was NOT by chance that we all met each other via this blog! I loved stopping at Buc-ees on the way to SA (and on the way back) from Houston with my friend, Annette! My husband loved the Beef Jerky I brought him! I can’t imagine the sight of those buses. Glad you were able to enjoy your much needed vacation. I hope you feel rested! By the way, your daughters are absolutely the sweetest girls around! Glad they are my “Peeps”! Too cute!
    Love you,
    Angie xoxo

  36. 36
    Rebecca says:

    Beth, your amazing! im praying for any one and every one afected buy the hurricane!

  37. 37
    twinkle says:

    Beth, I’m sure the snake boots would look so cute on you, but I like these much more:


    I wore them to Santonio and would have shown them to you if we’d have had time to chat about important things…like boots! You know heiresses need a really good pair of boots!

    Welcome home and it was grand taveling clear to Texas to meet you at the Siesta Fiesta. Wish we’d had more time!

  38. 38
    Tiffany says:

    Gulf coast ladies yes!! Please keep us updated on how things are going over where you live. Here in California I have been on my knees and praying for everyone. Especially New Orleans. My heart broke for you. I have never been through a hurrican…we have earthquakes over here in Cali (not fun ha!)

    Welcome back Beth! I am so glad I stumpled upon this blog of yours. It is refreshing and fun.

    Have a wonderful Labor Day.

  39. 39
    Becky says:

    Hello Ms. Beth, so glad you and your man had a great vacation it is always so good to just get away. I am joining you and all the other siestas in prayer for the gulf coast and now for the east coast as Hannah seems to make her way. I truly look forward to the stories you have for all of us about your adventure.
    Attalla, AL

  40. 40
    kat says:

    Glad you are back…and had a sweet time of rest and refreshing.

    Praying for those on the Gulf Coast.

  41. 41
    JayCee says:

    Glad you're back and glad you had a restful vacation….snakes & all!

    We are praying for everyone affected by Gustav. Like everyone else, we are so glad it lessened in strength. PTL!

    Getting ready to send "Living Beyond Yourself" to a missionary in the Domincan Republic who would like to do the study with others but couldn't afford to buy the kit, so we are donating our church's copy…pray that they will be as blest by the study as we were!

    Will pray for your week back to work – know how much work can pile up when you are gone for that long!

  42. 42
    ahorne says:

    I’m here in northwest Florida –
    we did not get the brunt of the storm here (and we, too, are thankful, but praying for those to our west). Things were very mild here today, and I pray that conditions rapidly improve all across the Coast.

  43. 43
    Betty Shoaf says:

    Beth, loved the pics from San Antonio. Our prayers are with the Gulf Coast girls (and everyone else). One of these days, I plan to be in your audience!!!

    Love & Prayers

    Betty Shoaf

  44. 44
    Michelle Bentham says:

    definitely on our knees for you… ALL.

    Love you Beth, glad you had such a time with your “supper” man…

    Praying in agreement and thanking God for taking a bit of the wind out of Gustav. Praying for those in the path of Hannah and Ike as well. God’s blessing, speed and favor to all.

    We are awaiting the call to see if we will be hosting a family in our home who has been evacuated.


  45. 45
    Anonymous says:

    God spear us this time. Thank y ou Jesus. i live in OceanSprings ms next to biloxi ms. we didn’t even lose power. i had a house full but was so thankful to share with other. no matter what the out come could have been i still say i am TOO BLESSED TO BE STRESSED.
    In His service, Jeanette

  46. 46
    Leslie Young says:

    Thanks for praying! My folks are without power and have trees down in Baton Rouge, but otherwise okay (with a New Orleans cousin who lost everything in Katrina safely tucked in with them). Meanwhile, in North Louisiana, we were furiously harvesting corn ahead of the storm – friends and neighbors were pitching in and helping one another. We didn’t get it all, but we’re thankful to God for every kernel we got. Now we’re snuggled in, lights blinking off and on, and waiting it out!
    I’m so wierd about the Mitford books – I hate to start one, because I’m so sad when it’s over. So I put it off as long as I can stand it!
    Glad you had a little break, Beth. We’re about to start Stepping Up in a couple of weeks and looking forward to it!

  47. 47
    Anonymous says:

    I too am rejoicing with ya'll that the "bluster fell out of the blow" this time around. Our dear Mimi, & Papa-John live in DeRidder La – so we called this morning to check on them. They were prepared & ready, with a house full of family, & just a big mess – Mimi is loving it!! So is Mathilda…While I was checking on the family, my enthusiastic boy was desprate for news of Mathilda. She is a true Heinz 57 – a bit of every puppy color you've ever seen, all blended together. It ends up looking sorta brown, just like your kids watercolor paints after a new masterpiece. She has a barrel body, skinny legs, & spread out feet, the up-down kind of ears, & Mathilda doesn't walk, she wiggles… a beauty she is not, but to this 7 year old, she is the bomb! Oh the wonder of little boy priorities :)!!

    All is well for Mimi, Papaw John, & Mathilda – & we praise GOD. HE is so good – here is the precious part though….if things had been different, & even if all was lost, HE would still be good, & worthy of all my praise!!

    I was listening Beth – HE holds all our lots! & My boundry lines are pleasing, & beautiful.
    What an Inheritance!!

    I so enjoyed the fiesta with ya'll!
    & praise HIM for your time of rest –

    Mistie Woods – Abilene

  48. 48
    Nichole's mom says:

    I have a friend who lives in the Camen Islands who prays the hurricanes into the water. She does not want them to hit her but does not want them to hit anyone else either!

    I’m glad you had a good vacation. I knew you had to be away from computers else you would have had to comment on Melissa’s chili caper! That was funny Beth. And then Amanda was adorable with the disappearing comments and erasing comments… Anyway… Glad your home.

    Praying the hurricanes into the water,


  49. 49
    Rachel says:

    I’m a So. California girl…haven’t got a clue what snake boots are for. Are they made out of real snakeskin? I bet that really makes the snakes scare off quickly!

  50. 50
    Joanne (The Simple Wife) says:

    Welcome home! So glad you got some time to rest and be still and hang with your man and little girls. Though I could do without the snakes. I think that would keep me home.


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