Archive for the ‘Amanda’ Category

Colorado Road Trip

Some dear family friends blessed us with the chance to stay in their condo in Vail, Colorado, last week. Mountains? Cooler air? A place to relax? Yes, please!

The drive took two days there and two days back, so we had lots of quality time and adventures. I got to know parts of Texas I’d never seen before, like the plains and the panhandle. If there was ever any doubt, I now know that I’m a city girl through and through. All the wide open spaces with no buildings for as far as the eye could see made me very nervous! It was beautiful though. We spent the first night in Amarillo and ate at The Big Texan, which is an experience I’ll never forget. The next day we drove up through New Mexico and got to see the Capulin Volcano, which was very intriguing to Jackson. He wanted to know where the lava was. The drive from New Mexico into Vail was like going from glory to glory. The mountains got bigger and bigger until we were finally driving right through them in tunnels because there was no way around them. The scenery was incredible. We celebrated big time when we finally got to the condo in Vail and saw the lovely creek behind it. It was perfect!

The best thing about our time in Colorado was being able to play outside with the kids in the cool air. Vail is filled with really neat playgrounds and we tried to visit all of them at least once. One day we drove through Independence Pass and got to see the Continental Divide. It was cold up there, y’all! And glorious! We had lunch in Aspen and I promise you I’ve never fallen more in love with any town.

We headed home on Sunday and just happened to be driving right by New Life Church in Colorado Springs right before their service was starting. At the last second, we exited the freeway and headed that way! It ended up being the perfect thing to do. The kids loved getting to play in their classes and Curtis and I enjoyed having some time to worship the Lord together. Even though we didn’t know anyone there personally, we had the same Father, Son and Holy Spirit and it felt like family. I love that about the body of Christ. I even saw a lady carrying the Esther DVD set and wondered if she was a Siesta!

You may be wondering how on earth we survived 4 days in the car with a four-year-old and a one-year-old. We couldn’t have done it without these things:

Psalty CD’s
-A DVD player
-Candy blocks and necklaces
-Lots of snacks
-Sticker books
-La Quinta Inn
-My Blackberry (for my sanity)
-Mommy hiding in the back row of the Suburban behind the whining toddler. It took us a while to figure this one out.
-The grace of God!

Here are some of the pictures we took. If you click on a thumbnail it will enlarge once. Click again and it will be full size.

Thank you for blessing us, Weir family!

Share

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

Share

VBS!

This summer I did something I never thought I would or could do. I’ve had many opportunities to be involved in youth, college, and women’s ministry, but there is one big area of church life I’ve never ventured into – Vacation Bible School! The thought of working with kids has always made me really nervous. Last summer I was asked to help, but Annabeth was only four months old and I wasn’t ready to be a part of something so involved. God gave me a passion to pray for my friends who were teaching and I realized what an incredible mission field we had inside our own church. I secretly hoped I would have another chance to say yes. Sure enough, this year I was asked to help in the kindergarten classroom that several of my close friends were helping in. It was a definite yes!

As soon as I said yes, the insecurities and worry set in. Do I really know how to relate to school age children? How am I going to get myself and the kids ready and make it to the church on time five days in a row? What is my role going to be? What if I’m terrible at it? My fleshly mind and the mind of Christ were at war in my head. I resolved that it was going to be an incredible lesson in living beyond myself! Amen?

It ended up being a great week. Praise the Lord! I did not know how we were going to get everything accomplished, but we saw Him do it! Our kids were wonderful and the other teachers amazed me. I’m so thankful God made me get out of my comfort zone and serve at VBS. Our church did LifeWay’s “Saddle Ridge Ranch” and it was great. Being a horse girl at heart, the theme wasn’t that much of a stretch for me. I was in charge of the “dramatic play” rotation, so I got to pretend to camp out and roast marshmallows, paint “gold nuggets,” act out a Bible story, and decorate post cards. It really was a lot of fun. Although I want to give every school teacher a big hug and say God bless you!

These are my Top 10 VBS Memories:
1. My friend My-An wearing a costume to teach about the feeding of the 5,000.
2. When the kids took a package of dried fish from My-An’s lesson and made it our class mascot. They insisted on carrying it to recreation, music, and crafts that day.
3. Being the Minister of Squeeze Cheese during snack time.
4. Feeling like it was 5 p.m. every day when I got in my car.
5. Walking 21 six-year-olds from the gym up to the third floor. C-R-A-Z-Y!
6. Trying to make myself do the motions during music. Ha! That was so hard for me! Also, hearing from the music teachers how enthusiastic Jackson was when his class was in there.
7. Enjoying the relative independence of kids a little older than my own.
8. Sneaking off to the break room for a Dr. Pepper.
9. Sweet little snaggletooth mouths saying their memory verses.
10. Seeing the body of Christ work together to create an amazing week for these kids. I was in awe of what God can do with all of our different spiritual gifts and talents.

Were you and/or your kids involved in VBS this summer? If you have a story or a Top 10 list to share, please do!

We proclaimed him, admonishing and teaching our kids with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end we labored, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully worked in us! (From Col. 1:28-29.)

Share

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.

Share

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!

Share

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.

Share

Unexpected Joy

We are home. Mom and Melissa are home. All the LPM girls are home. Well, they are at work today, but still. Home! Home is good!

My little family had a very fun, unexpected blessing at the end of our trip. My friend Janelle, who lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, invited us to stay with her family on the way home from Missouri. It was perfect! We drove eight hours on Sunday with the goal of making it in time for dinner. Janelle’s husband, Heath, is an amazing cook and was making a feast for us. We had our eyes set on the prize all day. First, we stopped for an hour in McKinney and met up with my college roommate, Mel, and her precious new baby. I have so many sweet friends in DFW that I miss terribly! Mel and Janelle are both the kind of friends who are more like sisters.

We arrived at Janelle’s house just in time for dinner.

Jackson and Ella, who were born in the same hospital just two days apart and were each other’s first friend, were thrilled to be together. It’s so precious to see how much they love each other despite the physical distance between our families.

After dinner, Annabeth went to bed, the “big kids” watched a movie, and the grown-ups turned out attention to Phase 10. This has replaced UNO as my new favorite game. I have no pictures of us playing it, but we played for hours. It was so much fun. Does your family have a favorite game you play together?

The next morning we had an amazing breakfast at a restaurant called Mimi’s. It was like a cross between La Madeleine and IHOP. I loved it and deeply regretted not going there when we lived 20 minutes away. The last time we were with Janelle’s family we hit up Cracker Barrel. I guess breakfast is our new thing. It used to be Double Dave’s pizza.

Ella was concerned for Jackson’s safety and wanted to hold his hand. We were cracking up.

Our children formed a praise team.

Just the girls.

We finally made it back to Houston on Monday evening after four more hours on the road. We picked up our dog, Beckham, from a very generous friend’s house where he was spoiled and loved on by her three darling kids. He climbed into the back seat of our Suburban and pouted like a small child. He wouldn’t talk to us until the next day. I don’t know if he’s mad that we didn’t take him to Nana’s house (he thinks he’s a grandchild) or because he didn’t want to leave Heather’s family.  Bless his heart.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. Melissa is preparing a post for tomorrow and I can’t wait to read it! Y’all have a great Wednesday!
Love,
Amanda

Share

AJ Checking In

Hello from Springfield, Missouri! I’m sitting at the table with my mother-in-law, who is writing thank you notes to all the folks who have sent flowers, and with my father-in-law who is watching Jackson try to draw a back hoe on a sheet of paper. This morning he took Jackson for a ride on his back hoe and they moved some dirt around. Jackson loves life in the country. I have to confess that going back to the city does not sound like much fun to me either. I’ve loved watching the fireflies glow all over the fields at night. We don’t see much of that in Houston.

Melissa and I had had high hopes of blogging from Israel every day. Since I had been before, I was going to take on most of the burden of doing that. When I had to stay behind, I believe Melissa made the right choice to savor her pilgrimage rather than do all the work of blogging it. I know she will have some neat things to share with us when she gets home. I did talk to my mom this morning and she sounded great. They’d just been to the Church of the Nativity and were doing some shopping.

Thank you so much for your sweet words and prayers for Curtis’ family. Grandma Dixon was an amazing lady and I would love to sit down and write about how much she meant to me and especially to my husband. She was a treasure to this family.

I hope all of you enjoy a wonderful Memorial Day weekend with your friends and loved ones!
Blessings,
Amanda

Share

Living Proof Live – Tampa

There’s a story in the Moore family lore that involves my mother teaching her Sunday school class while she was in labor. As soon as she was done, my parents snuck out of church and headed to the hospital to have me.

We have a new story to add to the family lore that involves Curtis teaching Sunday school and sneaking away to the ER as soon as it was over. A few hours later, he was having an emergency appendectomy. The appendix had already ruptured (it was a “contained rupture”), so we are probably going to be here in the hospital for 2-4 days. My mom is helping with the kids right now and Curtis’ mom and dad will come toward the end of the week. I’m so thankful for their help.

Rich sent me the Living Proof Live – Tampa recap video, but my computer isn’t liking the Internet connection here and I can’t embed it. Here’s a link until I can make that happen:

LPL Tampa Recap

We would greatly appreciate your prayers both for Curtis and for my mom, who is preparing for the So Long Insecurity Simulcast that will take place next weekend. If you’re interested in finding a host site near you, just click here. Thank you, sweet friends!
Love,
Amanda

Share

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!

Share