Archive for the ‘family’ Category

We Made It!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Palm Branch Nostalgia

I love Holy Week. Beginning with Palm Sunday. I’ve always loved Palm Sunday.

As a little girl I remember sitting in Sunday school class waiting with great anticipation for “big church.” Not just because I scorned that our church wouldn’t allow me, seven-years-old at the time, to matriculate into my Mom’s adult Sunday school class. And not even because the allotted big church hour was a sure-fire promise of an extended arm-tickle from the hands of one or both of my parents who were clearly trying to keep me sedated during the service. I’ve just loved the theatrics of Palm Sunday from the beginning.

You see, on Palm Sunday, the choir at Houston’s First Baptist Church would come flooding out of all entryways into the sanctuary carrying and waving massive palm branches. I can still picture them in their formal robes down to the floor streaming through the aisles. Yes, I said aisles, for ours was a sanctuary with multiple aisles. A whole bunch of them. I never have understood what all the fuss is about a center aisle. The more aisles the merrier. In my mind, if you’re really a good Southern Baptist, you want more aisles for the invitation at the end of the sermon. It’s less about pretty weddings and more about evangelism, church growth, and Lottie Moon. That’s how we roll.

Fast-forward fifteen years. Times have changed in typical fashion and since I have been out of my parent’s house, I have not attended even one church that has incorporated palm branches into their worship service on Palm Sunday. It’s funny because I tend to think of myself as sort of an old soul, yet I always attend contemporary churches. And I love contemporary churches, I might add. I also really like palm branches. This has created something of a dilemma for me.

An aside – so, last week was a bad week. Now, I didn’t say horrible, but it was relatively bad. I was having some severe migraines that were keeping me tied to the bed, which I hate. Then, my car got hit while it was sitting parked on the street. Hit and run. Go figure, right when we’re trying to pay Uncle Sam. Colin duct-taped it back together so we’re okay now. I then tried to gather myself enough to walk outside so that I could hunt and gather some food, so as not to fail my little family unit. I went to the store, bought all my groceries, and when I got home my rotisserie chicken was raw. It was raw. I have never even heard of a raw rotisserie chicken. Nearly threw me over the edge.

So back to the dilemma. Since I had a relatively stinky week, I knew that another Palm Sunday without palm branches would simply be too much for me to bear. So, we decided this past Sunday to search for the most liturgical church in our area. One that might just have some palm branches. Palm branches are the theme of this blog if you have not gathered it.

Have I told you how much I love the Lord? Sure enough, the congregation had gathered fifteen minutes early in the parking lot so that the branches could be distributed to each congregant. As we walked in the sanctuary, the congregation in its entirety were waving their palm branches. It wasn’t quite like I remembered it, but I didn’t give a rip. I was thrilled. I wanted to make a scene, a scene like David made with the ark of the covenant. I wasn’t planning on stripping off my outer garments (2 Samuel 6:20). But I wanted to make a scene. And I’m not even the especially demonstrative type. I’m actually quite reserved. In our family my mom sort of takes the cake in the dramatic worship department. And we let her. Well, she doesn’t ask for permission. But anyway, there is just something about Palm Sunday. It just moves me. I’d like to think that if I would have been in Jerusalem over two thousand years ago, I would have joined with the multitudes and gone out to meet the living and incarnate God, King Jesus, with a palm branch. Now I probably would have been too stubborn or even too self-conscious, but I like to think that I would have cried out “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD, even the King of Israel!” For, He was and is and is to be worthy of such outlandish and royal acknowledgment.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t think all churches everywhere need to have palm branches for people to hold on Palm Sunday. I just like it when they do. It is a tradition that I love. I tend to like it when we in our modern day churches try to engage the text and enter in. Palm Sunday is an example of experientially engaging with the text of John 12:12-13 and chiming in with those ancient voices. The modern fused together with the ancient – that’s what’ll get me going all mystical on ya.

Well, at the end of the Palm Sunday service I noticed the sweet lady next to me had several palm branches. So I gently and sneakily took one for myself to keep as a reminder for me during Holy Week. Colin keeps saying I stole her branch. But I didn’t steal her branch. She had like five. I just wanted one. One stinking palm branch to cover up those bleak palm-branch-missing years. Now I realize I should have probably asked her, but I blame my thievery on the Excedrin Migraine.

Oh, and as a side-note, Amanda just called me. She bought Annabeth’s first Easter dress. I’m not bitter. I promise.

Sigh.

This year I am nostalgic for all things Easter and all things Houston and my family. The Fitzpatricks don’t have the luxury of going home to Houston this year – I’ll say it again, we just paid Uncle Sam! And he is seriously grouchy. But, what I would give to buy a pair of outdated white patent leather shoes and a matching floral pastel dress and white hat with Amanda again – if only to embarrass her. She never was much for us matching. She was always too cool.

So if you’re still out there and you haven’t fallen asleep from my various tangents in this blog, then I would love to know what you love most about Holy Week. What is one of your favorite traditions in your home church? Something you look forward to year after year? It doesn’t have to be dogma or even something exceptionally reverent, though it might be; but it could just be something fun or sweet that your church does year after year to build community or even just to set apart this week as unique on the church calendar.

A peek at Easters past…

Annabeth comes from a long line of bow heads.

Look at my face! Is all my nostalgia really a hallucination?

Here we are with our Memaw. And I think that’s the Impala Amanda mentioned a few days ago.

I called my sister and said, “Look at the one of us in the hats.” Then Amanda pointed out that we are, in fact, wearing hats in every picture together. Also, notice her purple quilted Bible carrier.

Happy Holy Week from The Matching Hat Sisters!

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Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Let the giving of thanks and the feasting begin! Happy Thanksgiving week, everyone! LPM is closed for the week, so I’m not sure how much activity there will be on the blog. I definitely want to take advantage of our five days off. What a blessing! You know what is so awesome? My hubby has these five days off, too! So for the first time in our marriage, we have a whole week off of work to just spend at home. We are normally in Wyoming or Missouri for Thanksgiving, but this year we just get to have a staycation.

I feel certain that these three things will happen this week:
1) Our Christmas lights, Clark Griswold style, will go up. Curtis normally does this over a span of several days. Our little oak tree was completed last night. I’m looking forward to seeing his “vision” for our new house come into fruition.
2) I will make butterscotch haystacks with the intention of taking them to our neighbors. Hopefully I won’t get lazy and keep them all! That would not be good for Pregnant Girl’s figure.
3) We will get some work done on Jackson’s big boy room and the baby’s nursery. And by work I mean we will order some furniture, which we should have done long ago.

As for the rest of the Moore clan, my parents have been at their ranch since Friday. I spoke to my dad this morning and he said they weren’t ready to come home and, in fact, they just wanted to live there forever. (My mother later debunked this statement. They’re coming home tomorrow.) I simply cannot imagine my mom living in a place where there are no people to witness her good hair days and well accessorized outfits. She needs witnesses! And I’m not talking about deer, steer, and wild hogs.

Melissa and Colin are saving their travel days for Christmas, so they are not coming home for Thanksgiving. We’ll miss them so much, but they will be spending Thursday with some dear friends and will have a blast.

Also – this is so exciting – Curtis and I are expecting to get a phone call any day that his sister is in labor with her firstborn. We can’t wait to meet our sweet little nephew.

Have a great Monday, friends!

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Boss’s Day and a Birthday Party

Hello, friends! Look who arrived at our office on Monday, just in time for our Boss’s Day lunch celebration.

Our first copy of Esther is here! LifeWay always sends my mom the first one to roll off the press. It was such an exciting day! Mom brought her out while we were all there together, seated around our banqueting table and enjoying Nancy’s orange pineapple cake and Kimberly’s banana pudding. Then she had Nancy read the dedication page aloud to us. It was dedicated to my sister and me! What a surprise and what a special honor! What is so fun is that Melissa had just arrived from the airport a few minutes beforehand. It was perfect timing. (Esther’s estimated shelf date is November 15. But it could be a little earlier or a little later.)

All of us at LPM are incredibly blessed to have the WORLD’S BEST BOSSES! Beth and Sabrina, you lead us with such grace, wisdom, humility, and strength. We praise God for you!

The gift we gave our bosses was a donation made in their name to a family that has been severely affected by Hurricane Ike.

Changing topics now. Monday night our family had my birthday dinner. I had requested spaghetti and meatballs from my mom and she came through big time! It was so good! She also baked me a cake for the second year in a row. Now I’d like to rise up and call my mother blessed because look at this beauty. My mother loves me.

What? Do you not think my cake was exquisitely beautiful? The nerve! Maybe you need to see it in the gentle glow of my 29 candles. (I am getting dangerously close to more than a gentle glow.)

Still not doing it for you? Well maybe you’d like to take a look at my cake from last year.

Mom had a little icing malfunction and all she could squeeze out was “H B A,” which symbolized “Happy Birthday Amanda.” Do not be fooled by this cake’s appearance because it was the best cake of my life, only to be outdone by this year’s blue ribbon winner.

I got one present from my parents – a gift bag full of spending money which I plan to put into action this weekend. Mom is taking me on a little getaway and we are going to shop! Isn’t she the sweetest? Have a great day, girls!

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Little Miss Princess Siesta

It’s a GIRL!!!! A G-I-R-L!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are beside ourselves. Out of control. Come mid-February we will have a brand new little Siesta. The crowd at the mall better part like the Red Sea. Let me to some pink.

Thank You, Father. We’d have loved another boy like crazy but You had a woman-child on Your mind. You have flipped two families. Thank You.

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While Edouard Drops By Town

Hey, Siestas! While many of you are doing the usual thing, a lot of us in the Houston-Galveston area are holed up in our homes waiting for Tropical Storm Edouard to drop by town. (What was someone thinking? If it’s coming to Texas, it would be more aptly named Tropical Storm Bubba. If you must call it “Edouard,” please roll a very long “r.”) I was planning to take a much needed day off but I’d intended on doing it at the Galleria shopping with AJ while our darling Jackson was at Mother’s Day Out. As it turns out, most of the LPM staff has been instructed to stay home and only a few that live just down the street from the ministry are going to the office. It’s really not a day for getting your shopping bags to the parking lot of a large mall. It’s that kind of day when your umbrella turns inside out (I hate when that happens) and you nearly do the Mary Poppins.

So here we are at the Moore home, rain peppering against the windows: Keith, Amanda, Jackson, Beckham (very large sweet, sweet Golden Retriever), Queen Esther (AKA: Star – 3 month-old very happy, very active Border Collie), Angelina (AKA: Geli, Keith’s 2 month old German Shorthair – ADORABLE and has the cutest antics. She acts a lot like a bucking bronco at this point) and Little Fig (no trouble at all, mostly just causes AJ a few waves of nausea at this point). Curtis is speaking at a camp so he’s missing all the action. Amanda adds: Pics of the puppies are coming soon! They’re on my laptop but it’s at my house.

These are some highlights from the morning:
*Amanda very sweetly and patiently to Jackson at the breakfast table with his fruit cocktail: “Son, when you need to wipe off your hands, can we use a napkin instead of your hair?” (There’s not a bit of fresh fruit in the house. That’s why he had to have fruit cocktail. I hate having to feel guilty. And I hate fruit. Come to think of it, I do have cherries but Amanda swears they were the very things that caused the Great Diaper Blow-out of 2008.)

*It is 10:40 and AJ is on her third breakfast. Amanda adds: First my toast and canadian bacon, then Jackson’s uneaten toast, and finally some Cocoa Pebbles.

*The TV is messing up because of the storm so we’re watching Lion King. Jackson loves it. It only took Amanda a record 17 seconds to start crying. That “Circle of Love” opener gets her every time. Amanda adds: Um, that would be “Circle of Life.”

*I’ve given Jackson some multicolored stick notes to amuse himself and the room is well wallpapered in them. If you really squint, it kinda has that stained glass look. Now Jackson’s mad. A green one is stuck to his heel.

*I’m hungry but I can’t think of what I want to eat. Since Edouard decided to drop by at the very last minute, we just weren’t prepared with the great snacks I prefer for a long hold up. Most of what’s in the kitchen are the extra ingredients we didn’t need for our LPM lunch feast by Melissa last week. Today we can eat all the Ricotta Cheese and dill weed we want. (Don’t call CPS. We have plenty of Jackson food. It’s me I’m whining about.) Amanda adds: I’m not gonna lie. I got excited when I saw Spaghetti-O’s with meatballs in the pantry this morning. That’s what I’ll be having.

We love you. We hope you love us. Especially today. We need love.

UPDATES: (I know you are sitting on pins and needles.)
*Yes, Mr. Ed it is. Very good, Siestas. Very good indeed. I should have thought of that myself. I was late taking my vitamins this morning or I would have.

*Many rousing rounds of hide and seek. Oh, the joy Bibby brought Jackson when she hid in the dog crate.

*Keith went to the store! What a man!!! Groceries galore!! Fruit for the Mister: Grapes, nectarines, strawberries. Snacks for AJ and me: moon pies, stuff for queso. Real food for Keith to actually cook. Ick.

*AJ is eating spaghetti-o’s with meatballs.

Please, stay tuned. This is liable to be a nail biter.

*Yes, that’s exactly what we’ll do with the Ricotta. Almond flavoring and almonds. Yep. Great idea. Y’all are brilliant. I’m not doing that tomato thing though. That would require cooking. And my oven mitt is out on the bike seat.

UPDATE FROM MELISSA IN ATLANTA:
UM, I JUST GOT OFF THE PHONE WITH MY MOM. I ASKED HER HOW SHE WAS DOING AMIDST THE TROPICAL STORM/HURRICANE EDOUARD AND SHE ANSWERED LIKE A THIRTEEN YEAR OLD. SHE SAID, “WELL, I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOO BORED, MELISSA.” AND THEN SHE SAID SOMETHING THAT REALLY SCARED ME. SHE SAID, “OH, AND I JUST BAKED A CAKE.” YOU KNOW WITHOUT A SHADOW OF DOUBT THAT MY MOM IS BORED TO TEARS WHEN SHE BAKES A CAKE FOR NO GOOD REASON. WELL, I GOTTA GET BACK TO MY RESEARCH…SOME PARTS OF THE COUNTRY ACTUALLY HAVE TO GO TO WORK TODAY. LORD, THAT THIS EDOUARD WOULD PASS SO THAT I COULD GET SOME OF MY BRAIN CELLS BACK.

Beth: WELL, THEN ALL OF YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT THE REASON I AM SO BORED IS BECAUSE AMANDA AND JACKSON ARE SOUND ASLEEP AND HAVE BEEN FORRRRRRR-EVERRRRRRRRRR. AND YOU MIGHT AS WELL ALSO KNOW THAT I HOME MADE CHOCOLATE ICING FOR THAT CAKE, TOO. IT LOOKS LIKE THEY’D SMELL IT AND WAKE UP. MAYBE I’LL TRY TO TAKE A NAP, TOO. OR MAYBE I’LL JUST HAVE ANOTHER CUP OF COFFEE.

3:00 PM. Amanda and Jackson still asleep. Watching Rachael Ray. (Why? Because I just baked a cake, didn’t I???) Did you know you can get Ecoli (sp?????) from your purse?

7:40 PM. 20 minutes before Jackson’s bedtime. All three dogs look like very happy drowned rats…and smell like them, too. Keith is watching the hunting channel acting like the rest of us aren’t here. He earned that right after making King Ranch Chicken for all of us for dinner. And used every pan in the kitchen. I’m sending those to Washington State, too. All of our hair looks like lightening struck the house and we were all holding golf clubs. Amanda and I are in the corner of the kitchen floor playing matchbox cars with a two and a half year old who does not appear to be in the remotest ballpark of sleepy. We knew we were descending into delirium when, a few minutes ago, we broke out in an impromtu duet of the 80’s version of “Pass It On” with our best Tiny Tim voices. To which Jackson yelled, “NOOOOOOOOOO!”

Oops. The matchbox car just broke.

Amanda’s having more cake.

It’s the circle of love.

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Things Once Spoken

Four summers ago Curtis and I were wrapping up our time in Northeast England. We had volunteered to spend five months there working with teenagers. On our last Sunday at Thornaby Baptist Church, our dear friend Maxine presented us with two gifts in front of the congregation of about forty saints. I was doing an ugly cry and was desperately in need of a Kleenex. I kept turning around to face the other way because I was so embarrassed. Then in a moment that brought a bit of comic relief, we opened up the gifts to find these:

I started giggling immediately because I was a bit confused and I knew everyone was going to wonder if I was pregnant. At that time in our marriage we didn’t have maternity insurance and we were not even talking about having a baby. Maxine realized that I was a little embarrassed and announced, “Amanda is not pregnant!” Actually, she called me “Amander” but I always loved that. There was a quick consensus that Curtis and I must be pregnant in the spiritual realm, meaning God had spiritual fruit and offspring that would come forth soon. I refused to believe that the father-son figurine was a prophecy of any kind. 😉

Later I realized that Maxine and I had been talking about Willow Tree figures one day and I had mentioned that I thought the one with the pregnant lady was beautiful. I had seen it at my friend Jennifer’s house. She remembered that conversation when she saw the figurine and wanted to bless me with it.

We took the figurines back to America with us, but we didn’t display them right away. I did not want any visitors to our house to think I was expecting. At some point during my pregnancy with Jackson I got them out and proudly displayed them at long last. It would be some time before Jackson was as old as the little boy in the second figurine, but he was a boy nonetheless.

Nowadays Jackson Jones is looking a lot more like the little boy in the picture. He’s definitely not a baby anymore. Around April I noticed that I had stopped identifying with moms I saw with babies in strollers. I wasn’t one of them anymore. It was such a strange feeling! We had graduated on to little-boyhood.

My heart is kind of pounding right now because I am so excited and blessed to be able to say that at this brief moment in time, both of those little Willow Tree figures are true of our family. A prophecy given to us four years ago has come to pass! We are expecting another Little Jones around February 12, 2009. Today I am 11 weeks along. We had an OB appointment this week and got to hear the little heartbeat. He or she seems to be doing well in there! I have so much to say, but it wouldn’t be that fun to stuff it all in one post. I will save some for later.

By the way, I went into Baby Gap for fun after my appointment and I was blown away by the cuteness of all the fall clothes for baby boys. Oh my word. Pregnant Girl almost cried over this. I am so ready to shop in the 0-24 month section again. I’ve missed it so!

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Hey, Dear Ones! I’ve been meaning to hop on the blog all weekend long to say Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms but I’ve been so busy being one, I haven’t had a solitary second! Melissa flew in on Wednesday and worked at LPM the rest of the week so she could be here for Mom’s Day. She’d missed her coworkers so much and they’d missed her, too. She also needed to hang pictures in her office and put her own personal touches on it. She’s got taste none of us around there can really emulate. An interior design major turned Bible exegete creates a curious mix. Amanda worked in the office several days this week while Lis was here so it was a particularly wonderful atmosphere around the ministry for me. Colin flew in, then, late Thursday night and hadn’t been home since they’d moved to Atlanta. He is so darling. We all enjoyed having him like crazy.

Since Melissa and Colin had to leave pretty early today, we had our Mother’s Day celebration yesterday. Curtis graciously babysat our little guy while Amanda, Melissa and I did our Mother-Daughter thing at the greatest mall in Texas: The Houston Galleria. We were there when it opened. My idea of a good time is to give my girls a tad of shopping money and tell them they only have that one spree to spend it. The offer ends in four hours. With great glee, then, I watch them go into a frenzy to try to spend it. They balked at first because it was Mother’s Day but 1) they’d already spent plenty on me and 2) that’s what I wanted for my gift anyway. As young adult daughters often are, both of them are on a tighter budget than me so it’s such a blast to watch them get something they wouldn’t afford for themselves. We all three tried on one thing after another in three consecutive dressing rooms and sometimes Lis and I just shared one so we could see each other’s outfits. (Amanda’s more modest than we are but we always try to peek at her to make her mad.) We laughed like crazy and talked about everybody we had anything nice to say about and tried to bite our tongues over anyone we didn’t. Sometimes more successfully than others. JK. We behave pretty well. As long as nobody’s been ugly to one of my girls at which point I can seem suddenly overtaken by invisible powers and principalities.

We ate at Kona Grill there at the Galleria for lunch and it was really good. The hostess at the restaurant was a sister in Christ we’d never met and we really hugged. She was just adorable. Tiny little thing. Me and both girls all had on heels so we looked like the Jolly Green Giant’s twin sister and two daughters. We’d have loved for her to have sat down with us but I think she thought she might have needed a high chair. We piled our shopping bags in the booth, sat down with joyful sighs and ordered Sushi for appetizers. AJ’s liked it for a while but I’m just beginning to develop a taste for it. My buddy and one of my God-daughters, Amy Hodge, has been teaching me to eat it and even with chopsticks. I let her order for me because she knows some safe stuff I like. If I’m not with her I just order California Rolls unless they have deep-fried sushi on the menu because I know I like that. Whatever kind I get, I drown the first one in soy sauce and enough wasabi to make me cry then as soon as the waiter gives me CPR, I eat another one. Really fun. Melissa was so proud of me for trying something new. She said, “Right about now, Mom, I’m picturing you on the Texas Cyclone (the terrifying, rickety roller coaster at the old Texas icon, Astroworld), with your hands straight up in the air, practically free falling down the steepest part, screaming happily like me and Dad instead of riding The Serpent with all the five year olds.” I looked at her dryly and said, “It’s just Sushi. I’m not even sure I like it.” I hate roller coasters. I liked the Serpent. The one at Astroworld anyway. Not the one in the Garden. Nor the one in my business. After loading up the car and making one last stop at Anthropologie (and me griping about the price-tags), we headed home because we had lots of preparation to do.

The girls and I threw a Mexican Fiesta at my house for Mother’s Day Eve with Keith’s parents, our dear forever friends, Johnnie and David Haines (we raised our kids together), both sons-in-law and, of course, the Master of Ceremonies, the Little Mister. We ordered fajitas from a really terrific place by Curtis and Amanda’s then made all the fixings around it. Melissa made the best queso from scratch that you have ever tasted in your life. I’ve never seen so many things go into queso. Whatever happened to Velveeta and Rotel, for crying out loud?? She also made guacamole from scratch with an equal number of ingredients. I never saw so much chopping in my life. I just cleaned up behind her. Didn’t know what else to do. Amanda made a sopapilla cheese cake that was honestly one of the best desserts I’ve ever tasted. She left it at my house last night late and, after I ate nearly half of it, explained that she didn’t take it home because “you would not believe all the fat that went into that thing!” She said, “I knew I didn’t want it at my house!” Thank you, Amanda.

We had the best time, laughing and talking, and playing with Mr. Center of Attention. Lis and Colin had gotten him a ton of toys. One of them was a big bubble maker. By the time the evening was over, we all needed a “Slippery When Wet” sign hung around our necks. We were all suds but no duds. (I’m proofreading this now and realizing that I might need to explain that by “duds” I don’t mean clothes. I mean party poopers.) Everybody got into the action. It was only about 95 degrees in the shade. Houston is just perfect for eating outside if you can avoid encephalitis from twenty-five mosquito bites per leg. It was a terrific evening. Really.

I love the fact that our blog is for anybody who will give us the privilege to serve her, whether single, married, divorced, or widowed. I try not to overdo the wife and mother thing because our single siestas bring something so important to this mix but on this day everybody understands. So with your permission, I just want to say that I love being a mother. I’ve never had a harder job but I have never done anything in the human realm that gave me more sustained joy. My parenting days won’t be over until my days are completely over but here are a few things I’ve learned along the way – and many of them from making mistakes and getting to try again:

*Kids are pretty danged resilient. Ours survived some rough times but knew their struggling parents – fighting so hard for wholeness – loved them like crazy (and sometimes just loved them crazy) and were steadily trying to get healthier and healthier. When Keith and I each came to conclusions that we were messed up enough to mess them up, we went to counseling. The girls knew it and respected it.

*They don’t expect their parents to be perfect but they sure as heck expect them to be real. They despise hypocrisy and disrespect what is disrespectful even if they’re too scared to say so. They respond well to genuine apologies and, in fact, don’t learn to extend them otherwise.

*They need lots and lots of hugs and kisses even if they act like they don’t. They need to be told “I love you so much” over and over even if they don’t seem to be listening. They are. Don’t just give in to a sullen child and become sullen with him/her. Some kids have everything to lose if you let them win. Keep fighting for a relationship and try to take interest in their interests and sooner or later, they’ll cave in and smile. I respect few parents on earth more than Dr. James McDonald (pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in the Chicago area) and his wife, Kathy. When one of his kids became a teenager, he felt an unfamiliar distance grow between them. He became so worried when it persisted that he told his church he was going to need to take some time off and wasn’t sure how long. With Kathy’s blessing, he told the teenager to pack a bag and get in the car with him. He drove out of the driveway, and took off on a road trip, explaining to the child that they’d return when their relationship was mended. Needless to say, after some very awkward hours, they ended up talking, crying, laughing, and making memories that they’ll have for a lifetime. Now, that’s some fine parenting.

*They need to laugh a ton with their parents and be silly. There need to be lots of private jokes that only family understands. When both girls married, those were the things they recalled to their daddy and me most.

*They need to know that God is not just the Boss. He’s the biggest blast in all of life. They love to learn the wonders of God in creation. Things like how He made a bumble bee to fly even though it’s aerodynamically impossible and how animals exist in Africa and Asia that we’ve never even seen in a zoo. They long to be taught simple pleasures that cost nothing more than a moment of time away from the TV, computer or cell phone – like marveling at a sunset or applauding God over a sunrise and clipping roses from a bush and putting them in a vase. Or watching roly-polies. Digging up earthworms. Fishing for a perch. Beholding a lady bug on a tree trunk. That all of these things are wonders of God and that He’s worth jumping up and down over.

*They need to know the beauty of Christ when they’ve done something wrong and feel guilty. They need to know that they have a destiny; that Christ planned their lives for this exact time in history and has given them gifts to discover and develop as they grow up. That they are important because He’s so important. That nothing so bad can happen to them that He can’t use for good. That Mommy and Daddy can’t make them Christians. They have to accept His free gift of grace and invite Him into their hearts. That we think nothing is worthier of celebration than that and we’ll risk throwing out backs out to do cartwheels when they let Christ do something wonderful in their lives.

*They need their parents to follow through. To say “no” when “no” needs to be said. They need their parents to be parents at the risk of being very unpopular. They need parents to intervene in an unhealthy relationship with the opposite sex. They need not to be given so many material things (even if we can afford it) that they grow into discontented, narcissistic adults. Nothing is less pleasant than a thirty year-old brat.

*And when they become parents, they don’t need their parents to turn their noses up at them and act all pious like they never lost patience with their kids. They know better anyway. They don’t need parents to forget how hard having preschoolers was and tell them, “These are the best years of your life!” No, these are the most exhausting years of your life. Wonderful! But exhausting! They need us to maybe chip in and pay for them to get their houses cleaned from top to bottom every now and then rather acting like we wish they were better housekeepers.

*Their friendships with their siblings need to be high priority. This one I blew so I share it with you as a regret. I regret allowing them to bring friends along so often on family outings. Yes, they begged but I wish I’d more often said “no.” Yes, they’d have pouted. But they also would have gotten over it and turned to each other. We always had their friends around and I think it may have kept my girls from making good friends of each other for a very long time. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I think it’s also really weird when parents severely restrict the home to family and don’t encourage their kids to make friends and get involved at school. Me? I think they’re hiding something. There’s something really freaky and cultish about sequestered homes. (NOT in your wildest dreams talking about home-schoolers! I’m talking about homes where virtually no one but the family members who live there are allowed. I think that’s weird but what do I know??) At the very least, kids don’t end up developing social skills and, instead, become really bizarre adults that can’t get a normal job. Sorry. My point is, I think there should be a pretty steady dose of activity just for family so kids have to play with each other instead of ganging up on each other with their peers. I believe in having a revolving door to my children’s friends and having tons of spend-overs but I am convinced that I allowed it so often that my kids made better friends than each other. Our best memories are from family vacations where Amanda and Melissa were all they had. Joyfully, they are best of friends today but it’s because, when they moved to different cities, they learned that nobody is like your sister. Take it from me. I have one sister that I never lay eyes on. Don’t even know for certain where she is. Doesn’t sober up enough to have a conversation. Let alone a relationship. I miss her so much. We were inseparable growing up. You feel incomplete when you’re out of sorts with a sibling. They’re too much a part of who you are. No one should be a better friend than your sister.

*God gives lots of grace to parents. Good thing, huh? Let me offer you some encouragement based not only on my experience but that of many other people I’ve known. If you give a rip and try a flip, this whole parenting thing often turns out so much better than you thought it would. Sometimes you can’t even believe that’s you your kids are talking about. You realize they forgot some things. And now you need to, too. Praise You, Lord, for parenting mercies.

Amanda and Melissa, you are the greatest daughters God ever could have given me. So witty. So funny. So loving. You make me think. You make me laugh my head off. You make me spend. And you make me pray. Boy, do you make me pray. Amanda, Happy Mother’s Day yourself. Oh, my word, you are a fabulous mom. Melissa, Amanda and I can only imagine the fun mom you will be one day. What a blessed child that will be. Never a dull moment.

Oh, wow, Siestas. I went on longer than I meant to. So, instead of closing, I’ll go on a minute longer. I thought if you wouldn’t mind humoring me, Mother’s Day might be a sweet day to share a poem God gave me many years ago when I was sitting in a hotel room in a city where I was speaking. It was a rare occasion when I left on a Thursday instead of a Friday and I was miserable thinking about how my children would have to get ready for school without me. I was so homesick I could hardly stand it. I’ve read it here and there along the way so you may have heard it before but it’s dear to me, especially today, so handle it. It’s the only poem I ever memorized. No, it’s not a sacred one…unless you think parenting is sacred. And I do.

It happened just exactly like this:

I called to check on home last night
To see if all was going right
My man assured me all was well
And it was true…I could tell.

I felt so far away from home
So by myself, so all alone
No noise here, no bouncing balls
No fussing kids, no endless calls.

I asked if everything was set
I didn’t want him to forget
To take care of the “mother things”
To hang their shirts and crease their jeans.

He said, “Your oldest set her clock
She’ll get us up right on the dot
Don’t worry now, they’ll get to school
We love you much, we’ll see you soon!”

The phone went dead. I wasn’t through…
I barely said, “I love you, too.”
I sat and stared down at the floor
“She’s never set her clock before.”

She’s just a kid, not old enough
To wake without a mother’s touch
What chance is there at school they’ll say,
“You’re one great kid! You’re loved today!”

Kids need to hear those words first thing
Before a careless clock can ring
And furthermore, they like, I frowned,
Hot cocoa when they first come down!

“Dads,” I thought, and fell in bed
Then after while to myself said,
“He’s probably right, give them a break
She is fifteen, for heaven’s sake.”

“Fifteen,” I sighed, “Where has it gone?
Since that first day before the dawn
When she and I told secrets dear
And her first bath was in my tears?”

I’d held her close with just one arm
Reached for the phone to call my mom
“Oh, Mom,” I sobbed, “I love her so!”
She cried as well and said, “I know.”

The years are mean…they rush on by
The kite string slips into the sky
She’s nearly grown, yes, plenty old
To wake up when the clock says so.

I felt so sudden like a fool
It won’t take Mom to get to school
How silly…they will all be fine
Just go to sleep and rest your mind!

I tried to let the dawn go by
Without a call to check and pry
To see how everyone had fared
Got your lunch? Homework prepared?

I finally grabbed the phone and dialed
It seemed to ring a country mile
My heart sunk swift…they must be gone
Dad’s out the door…dog’s on the lawn.

I started to hang up the phone
Until I heard a voice on
The other end as up he leapt
“For heaven’s sake, we’ve overslept!”

Suddenly the house lit up
He threw the phone, said, “Kids, get up!”
I heard each voice at a time
They were mad, but they were mine!

I cheered them on from miles away
I heard them readied for their day
And just before they slammed the door
She yelled, “Thanks, Mom!”

That’s what I’m for.

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The Sound of His Voice

Merry, merry Christmas, my beloved Siestas. It’s about 1:00 PM on Christmas Eve afternoon and I’ve got a little down time for a few precious minutes. I’m out on my back porch watching the birds at the feeders and Beanie in my flowerbeds and having another cup of coffee. I finished the last of the wrapping late this morning then started the preliminary cooking for Christmas dinner tonight. We relish the leftovers on Christmas Day after opening presents and eating a big, lazy breakfast but there’s much to do before then. The cornbread (baked in bacon grease, of course) and biscuits are cooling on the kitchen counter in high hopes of transforming into my mom’s unsurpassable cornbread dressing. Sometimes I hit the mark. Sometimes I don’t. Dressing is fickle that way. But even if it’s not as good as Aletha’s, it’s plenty good enough for the Moore’s who are used to my cooking. Rachel Ray I’m not but Happy I am.

I made iced sugar cookies last night. A little while ago I finished the homemade bread and it will rise and be ready for baking by late afternoon. I’ll make brown sugar and cinnamon sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, roasted Turkey, and the best danged gravy in the South if I do say so myself. It’s my specialty. I’m not getting too fancy because it’s just six of us this year: Keith’s parents, Melissa, Colin, Keith and me. Every other year is huge because the entire extended family plans their “Moore” Christmas on the same year. That’s the way we like it so all the aunts and uncles and cousins can be together for Christmas at least once every two years. We celebrated with Amanda, Curtis and Jackson over the weekend and they headed up to Missouri to be with the Joneses. Amanda has terrific in-laws. They built a home themselves on ten gorgeous acres outside Springfield and just moved into it. Jackson will have such a blast running his legs to near nubs on that oversized yard with his best friend, Beckham. They were expecting a light snow and I so hope they get it. As I recall, Amanda and Curt first kissed in a Springfield snow about seven Christmases ago.

This morning in my quiet time I read the profound, almost inconceivable words of John 1:1-16. They were especially on my mind because of something Melissa mouthed to me yesterday during the sermon. Pastor Gregg was preaching on Anna, Simeon and the Christ Child in the temple courts and made brief mention of the infant cries of the baby Jesus. Melissa looked past Colin and one of my darling young girl friends who was sitting beside me, fixed eyes on her mother and whispered, “The Word made flesh.” Ah, yes. The Word made flesh. Who can fathom it? I’d memorized the segment of Scripture many years ago (in fact, on the airplane trip where I brushed the old man’s hair) but I wanted to read it this morning as if I’d never seen it. I picked up a different version so I wouldn’t anticipate the words and slowly read John 1:1-16, trying to ponder it. Breathe it.

The tears stung in my eyes as the thought hit me afresh: Four hundred years of silence had followed the last of Malachi’s words. According to the Prophet Amos, generation after generation of God’s covenant people had “staggered from sea to sea” and wandered “from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord” but did not find it. There was a famine in the land. “Not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” Many leaders rose and fell in Israel. Some served the people well. Yet I am amazed – so intrigued – that the masses never mistook a single one of their great leaders for an authentic prophet speaking the inspired words of God. They knew the difference. It seems that in their desperation they would have done everything they could to conjure up some kind of word yet they didn’t. Couldn’t. What a testimony to the canon of Scripture! And to God’s determination that His words be utterly distinct yet humanly recognizable.

When any of us wants someone to hear something special, we ask everybody to be quiet so the drama of the sound will increase in its contrast to the silence. That’s what God did. He ordained 400 solid years of silence so that every willing ear would be alert and in-tune when He once again opened His mouth. The drama in the heavenlies would be at fever pitch and the robes of angels would be bursting at the seams.

And there it came. Reverberating from a crude stable and the arms of poor, inexperienced parents. The silence of God was shattered in the form of a wailing infant fresh from his mother’s womb. Absorb it again. God broke the sound barrier with a squalling baby boy. Hope was born amid the soiled sod of earth. The Logos was engraved from the inside out on a precious parchment of human skin. “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” Oh, that this Christmas we would behold His glory! The glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

“From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.” John 1:16

I love you.

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Wouldn’t It Be Fun?

Hey, Siestas! I moderated comments (thanks for the applause!) during Camper’s bunk time and now he’s up so I just have a few minutes while he plays right here in front of me. You’re absolutely right. I am kid crazy! But, I am also nuts about serving Jesus to women – all ages, shapes, denominations, types and sizes – and I couldn’t help but think that I wish some of you who could really use a break could have camp yourself! I wish so much I could fix some of you extra weary and discouraged siestas a hot fudge sundae on homemade vanilla Blue Bell and tell you how much you mean to Jesus and how vividly He wants to speak to you through His Word. I don’t see that happening very soon but I’ve been thinking about something ever since several of our blog siestas have written about having met up at events. It’s not nearly as good as camp (that would be a total blast but finding a way to do it would be nuts!) but wouldn’t it be fun if we could choose a central United States location of a Living Proof Live event in 2008 for regular bloggers (who could) to attend? At this point this is totally theoretical but I’m going to look into whether or not there would be a way to set aside a certain amount of tickets for a specified event and hold them only for a certain amount of time. I might even be able to get a section set aside at the event (my staff is going to kill me for throwing this out there but keep in mind, it’s just a wild thought at this point) so you guys could sit together and see each other face to face. If it worked, we’d choose an event in time enough for all of you to save up your money for tickets, travel, and lodgings. I know it would be a lot of money but with time enough in advance, maybe you could set some aside. Maybe some of you could make a full Saturday out of it and get with some of the people you’ve really connected with. It’s just an idea but let’s see if God shows us in months to come that it was His idea.

OK, I’ve gotten in enough trouble for now so here’s quick recap on today’s activities at Camp Bigs (named after a family endearment):
*Camper bath time (a must particularly if you recall forementioned camp theme song to the tune of “The Wheels On The Bus”)
*Quality time with Camp Cook (aka: Paw Paw Keith) – consisted of much rolling around on floor followed by a cartoon while cuddled up with blanket on Cook’s comfy tummy.
*Lunch at a great burger joint with LPM staff aunties who all made very big over our little dude. We are baby folks around LPM with several young mommies on staff and we make a very big deal over their little ones, too!
*A field trip to Barnes and Noble because Camp Director is a book freak and wants Camper to be one, too. We got some new interactive toddler selections for camp.
*Our standard puppet show with stuffed animals when Camper first wakes up from his nap. After he rubs the sleep out of his eyes, he stands up in his crib and points to a stuffed bear and puppy so that Camp Director will put on a show. It’s a hit every time.

And now it’s supper time! Whew! Camp Director is busy, busy, busy! (On the third time around I accidentally wrote “busty” instead of busy. So glad I caught that!! Man, I need to cut these solar nails or I’m liable to get into trouble.)

You guys be blessed and have a little camp time with your Father. He loves you so and I’m so honored to be able to remind you of that.

PS. I don’t make a habit of answering to specific blog comments because I’d never be able to keep up with them but I feel the need to call back to something. Darling Ones, never ever go to the wasted energy of feeling jealous over me or my family. We are people delivered from cavernous pits. People you couldn’t have even respected in our past lives. Rich in strongholds and deep in sin. Miracles if you’ll ever meet them. And we still have plenty of challenges and issues. We’re still super connected with real life and we bruise and bleed often. We still get our feelings hurt at each other and have hard days. Fellow sojourners. That’s all. What we have of any success whatsoever, anybody can have. JESUS. He’s it. He’s everything.

I love you. And, yes, I got a fresh tan today. Heehee.

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