That Old Desk Keeps Coughing It Up

OK, Siestas, remember two posts ago when I told you about finding those old Scripture cards in that desk drawer? Eureka! Old girl struck gold again! To appreciate this particular brand of gold, you have to think in broad terms. In my family, amusement is a fist full of gold. Absurdity is a brick of  gold. And a belly laugh is a ton of gold. To my dear friend Sophie (Boomama) and me, the national reserve of gold would be anything that makes us lean back in our chairs and clap our hands with glee. I’m not saying you’re going to get one of those. I’m just helping you sort out various levels of gold so that you know when you’ve struck the mama load.

I was three drawers down this time, looking for a set of immunization records which, incidentally, I never found. Since this is the second discovery I’m sharing with you from this old desk, I’ll provide a proper visual.

I love, love, LOVE that piece of stained glass above it. Keith’s youngest sister, Mary, salvaged it – with permission – from an old Methodist church under reconstruction. Our friend had it framed for us and we’ll keep it forever.

Back to the desk. So, this time it wasn’t Scripture cards from the family altar that I found in those bottomless drawers. It was speaking notes from the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Honestly, I sat in the floor slack-jawed, looking from message to message and laughed so hard that I could have cried. And sometimes I felt like crying so hard that I could have laughed. I wish you could tell from this picture how thick the stack is. (Every bit of three or four inches.)  Some of the messages are on typing paper from my first word processor but many of them are handwritten on notebook paper.


How about a closer look?

Could you possibly have  missed that I used HOT ROLLERS (I think you’re supposed to say it really loud) as an illustration?? I bet you anything it was to explain how we need to plug in to the Holy Spirit. Bless my sweet heart. I can hardly sit up to type. The worst part is that I am still using hair-related illustrations. One would so hope she’d grown in 25 years. Below is one of my favorite smatterings of messages. Please behold the broad stretch of topics. Can you make out the one at the top about “Table Manners and Table Settings”?

Talking was all I ever could do. My brothers and sisters were musical and theatrical. I simply talked. As you can see, it took me a few years to figure out what I was actually called to talk about. There were innumerable messages about Christian fitness in the stack. I may keep some of them. After all, Jane Fonda made an aerobic come-back. Here’s another one. The part that nearly sent me over to my side, kicking my legs, was the “POEM, end.” (It is of such importance that, lo, it is in my notes twice.) Well, of course, say a poem then end. That’s what speakers and even preachers did in those days. Please note my commitment to cultural relevance as the inclusion of a story about Rosanne Barr clearly illustrates. (Correct spelling of her name is actually Roseanne but I didn’t know that at the time nor did anyone ever whisper in my ear, “You’ll be showing these notes to a LOT of people in 20 something years.”) Oh, what I would give to know what story I was telling about her. As you might note, my source was the Enquirer.



No doubt, you are on pins and needles by now over this riveting post but, alas, the fleeting clock permits me, yea, only one more brick of gold. But it’s a doozy. This is a list of my seminar topics that I included in my “packet” to anyone who showed interest in asking me to speak.

Perhaps my favorite of all is “The Many Hats of God.” (I can no longer sit up to type for laughing. Lord, I am so sorry that I helped these innocent audiences of God-fearing women picture You wearing all manner of head gear.) My mind is eased only by the clear remembrance of often receiving a potted plant as honorarium. And, if you care an iota about accuracy, please picture me giving most of these messages wearing a corsage pinned over my bosom by the pastor’s wife. (That is not a bad word. Check your hymnbook.)

In closing, permit me to say that, if you think the (looooooooong) life of a Christian communicator is easy, you have clearly been set straight today. My son-in-law Curtis, is presently going through a stack of old cassette tapes of my earliest Sunday school lessons and messages to see what needs to be kept and what can be tossed. I can hardly look him in the eye right now. And he’s my pastor. Oh, the gifts that keep on giving.

Well. There you have it. Surely somewhere in those notes you’d find this saying: “Be patient. God is not finished with me yet.”

And, Lord knows, He’s still not.


251 Responses to “That Old Desk Keeps Coughing It Up”

If you'd like your own pic by your comment, go to Click the first button "Get your gravatar today ->", and it will walk you through a simple process to select a picture.


  1. 201

    Christy H., Sherman, TX.

    “You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and serpent.”

    Psalm 91:13 NIV

  2. 202
    Rachel Olsen says:

    Oh, Beth – thanks for sharing your old notes and speaking topics with us. It gives me hope. Hope that I too will improve over time. And confidence because I already know not to do “poem, end.” 🙂

    Love to you ~ Rachel over at P31 Ministries

  3. 203
    Cyndi says:

    And in that day you will say,
    “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name.
    Make known His deeds among the peoples;
    Make them remember that His name is exalted.”

    Isaiah 12:4 (NASB)

    Cyndi, Friendswood, TX

  4. 204
    Beth Rottrup says:

    Exodus 14:14
    Beth R
    The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

  5. 205
    amy martin says:

    I am cracking up…I love how real Beth is even in the midst of deadlines and research. It makes me mindful that all the “notes” I’ve jotted down, messages God spoke directly to me regarding a situation, that even after all the years of waiting, He has not finished the “poem, end”!!! He’s still at work bringing into completion the things he lay on my heart all those years ago while I was on my knees! He knows the resolution and at times I’ve had nothing to do but roll on the floor , tears streaming from laughing so hard at myself and my own “insight” to what God was saying!!! somewhere in my notes it says : “have you not heard, have I not said” and if you know me (and my family) we tend to be somewhat sarcastic and God knows just how to get my attention and make me realize he never changes!!!! Thanks for sharing in the misdst of your busiest moments and reminding me that God is!!!!be blessed!

  6. 206
    Helen says:

    Helen, North Carolina

    May the God of hope fill you wiht all joy and peace as you trust in him. Romans 15:13

  7. 207
    Sue S says:

    Beth, I love how you keep it real and can laugh at yourself! I just love you to pieces!
    God has used you to teach me so much! I appreciate you more than I have words to say.
    Thank you for the laugh. Especially the HOT ROLLERS!
    You delight me!

  8. 208
    Brenda says:

    Brenda, Denton, Tx: “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” Psalm 16:5-6 ESV

  9. 209
    Cindy Howell says:

    “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:18 (NIV)

  10. 210
    Andrea Porter says:

    Dearest Ms. Beth,
    Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us at such a busy time. I am glad that you got a good belly laugh, they always raise my spirits. I have notes and scripture everywhere, in the house, also a Phillipians Bible study that I am trying to get better organized, to possibly submit for publishing. It was very encouraging to see that my notes look a lot like yours and also encouraging to see the vimeo with, (sorry I can’t think of her name),that teaches a Sunday school class at your previous church, and it took 7 years for her Bible Study to get published. Hope springs eternal. Thank you.
    Warmly, Andrea Porter

  11. 211
    Dana says:

    I just have to share this! I L-O-V-E the LORD for using me in His work and the manner He chooses to do it! His timing in everything is so wonderful! My son is almost 17 (my baby’s growing up so fast!). Anyway, he played little league baseball and then on school team for a few more years. I was asked at the ball park where he played little league to work gate duty for them last night! I was thrilled to be back. A young mother with four precious children walks into the park carrying….you got it! “Get out of the Pit” by our siesta mama! Well, don’t ya know that caught my eye and we had such a good conversation. I live near an army post and there are many military families here. This woman’s husband is in the Army and he has already transferred to another post…Ft. Hood. Just as soon as the baseball tournament is through she and the kids are joining him. So, we talked about Bible studies and the simulcast in September! I encouraged her to look on Lifeway’s website and find a host church in her new area and maybe she can meet new Christian sisters that day. Well, she walked back and forth making several trips to her car and each time she stopped and talked. So, I just had to share with you all how wonderful it is when God puts people in our paths in the most seemingly random places!

    Thank you for letting me share. Thank you to all of you at Living Proof for doing your jobs and allowing us all to grow closer to the LORD and be used by Him for His glory!

    Have a great day!

  12. 212
    Cynthia Ellsworth says:

    Cynthia, Russellville
    Psalm 119:11 HCSB
    “I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.”

  13. 213
    Dawn Deare says:

    I love this post! I have spent time looking back through notes of Bible studies I have done in the past(many of them yours, Living Beyond Yourself was my very firsts Bible study and is still my favorite!) and love to see where God had me right at that time. Coming to Christ at an older age (26) I look back and think how simple my thinking was back then but I times I miss that new believer thought process, it is because He said so!!!
    Thanks for sharing these type posts. I so enjoy them and I totally agree you found gold!!

  14. 214
    Brandi says:

    This post really touched my heart today and encouraged me. Thank you!

  15. 215

    I must say that this is very encouraging. I often feel that the Lord is calling me to be a communicator of sorts, and while I am getting better (ie not crying the entire time), this is not something that comes easily or naturally to me. It is encouraging to know that everyone has her starting place. And if we just remain faithful and obedient, our paths will become clear with time. Thank you!

  16. 216
    Lynda T says:

    I have a desk just like that. Mine swallows a lot of stuff and I just recently cleaned it out. One of my biggest regrets is that I threw away years of journals when we had our last major move. Some of that stuff would have encouraged me so in the bad times.

    Thank you for your ministry.

  17. 217
    Gail says:

    Thank you for sharing this view of your ministry! I love that you keep it real! We need “real” so much these days. I love you! God bless you!!

  18. 218
    Diane Alsens says:

    Beth, this is my first time reading your blog. This post reminded me of two ways I often feel when I speak:

    “I talk gud. Am gud speeker.”

    or (hear theme song from Looney Tunes)

    “Yyyyyyaaaa-da Dah-da DA-da……DAH…DAH DAH DAH DAH DAH!” (see a woman dancing a fool dance on a stage to get people to respond) “……Ya-da ta da! Ya da ta da! Ya da ta ta da DAHHHHHH—-AHHHH—-AH! Is this thing on?”

    May our great God continue to bless your speaking!

  19. 219
    Sandy says:

    Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you He will never let the righteous fall. Psalm 55:22 NIV

  20. 220
    Karen Robinson says:

    I am a huge fan and have been to your LPL weekends 3 times now.They were awesome and life-changing for me!I have done several of your Bible studies as well!I need some advice although I have done your Breaking Free study!My mother in law is very insulting of me. She talks about me in a negative way in front of me and when she thinks I can not hear her in the next room.She comes and stays with us for a week in the summer and it takes me about a month to recover emotionally from it.I could use some advice bigtime.I have never confronted her,no one ever does in the family.I apreciate your help!!!!

  21. 221
    Cynthia says:

    It’s so fun to find cards, letters and notes from previous years, it DOES make you laugh and Thank God for the seasoning! I can still remember nursing one of my babies right before getting up to speak, and I mean right before.I can laugh about it, now but I probably could have planned it better, thinking back-haha.

  22. 222
    Deborah Mott says:

    Thank you for lightening up the load by laughter in the right way! I came so heart sick I can’t even explain and your blog brought me smiles and hope b/c if GOD can heal you He can heal me. His purpose for us to know HIM and you help me do that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  23. 223
    Heather says:

    Heather from Crystal Springs, MS- Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly to be admired by others, for you will lose your reward from your Father in Heaven. Matthew 6:1, NLT

  24. 224
    Janet says:

    BE joyful always pray continually. Thessalonians 5:16 NIV

  25. 225
    Elizabeth says:

    I forgot to post earlier…

    Wilmette, IL

    So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

    2 Corinthians 5:9 NIV

  26. 226
    Patricia says:

    Patricia, Dallas Tx

    Psalms 23:1-3 {ESV}
    The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    (2)He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
    (3)He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Leave a Reply

To receive a daily digest of comments on this post, enter your email address below: