Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When coffee becomes art....

My friend Judy and I had lunch together today, and we ordered vanilla lattes. The barista made beautiful swirly feathery designs in the foam, and they were so gorgeous that we decided they should be photographed! Check these out... Aren't they gorgeous???

And they were delicious too!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happiness Roadblocks

I read an article yesterday on AOL titled “Happiness Roadblocks” (You can read the article here), which stated that happiness is largely up to us. The article claims that “…50% of our happiness is cultivated in ourselves, and 50% is innate,” and that we can learn ways to be happier.

Learn to be happier? I’m all for this! Tell me more!

The article went on to describe “common roadblocks to happiness and a guide for getting around them.” What resonated with me when I read these was the fact that I have heard all of these guidelines before. In scripture. It reminded me that the Bible truly does tell us how to live.

Here’s the recap, of the happiness roadblocks as listed in this article, to which I’ve added corresponding scripture references.

1) Expecting the worst: According to this article, pessimism and expecting the worst elicits a stress response, that wears us down, prevents us from enjoying the moment, and robs us of our happiness. Perhaps this is why In Matthew 6:25-27, Jesus teaches us not to worry, saying “…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” and in Matthew 6:34, he says again, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

2) Passing the buck: I struggled to understand this one the first time I read it in the article, but what it boils down to is this: we cannot expect someone or something to be responsible for making us happy. And if someone or something does make us happy, it simply won’t last. Lasting happiness does not come from our circumstances. It simply cannot. The writer of Ecclesiastes knew this all too well. In Ecclesiastes Chapter 2, he declares pleasure, wisdom, folly, and toil meaningless. Happiness, he said, comes from God. Ecc 2:24-26 says “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness.”

3) Thinking life should be perfect – and yours is not. Oh boy. This is a huge stumbling block for me. I would so love for my life to be perfect, and believe me, it is a long way from perfect. But rather than focusing on what’s wrong or missing from our lives, the article suggests that we focus deliberately on what is good and right in our lives. Gratitude, the article goes on to say, has been found to decrease depression. Scripture tells us this in so many places. Ephesians 5:20 tells us we should be “…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And scripture reminds us of the many things we have to be thankful for! First and foremost, for the indescribable gift of Christ (2 Corinthians 9:15), and Psalm 106:1 tells us to simply be thankful for God, that He is good and His love endures forever. Scripture also tells us to be thankful for the material things we do have. In John 6:11, Jesus gave us the example when he took the loaves, and gave thanks. I’m trying to be more deliberate in remembering and counting my blessings, and encouraging my children to do the same, as I know we have so much to be thankful for.

4) Not thinking of others. Ever. Acts of kindness, both big and small, make us happier. The article claims that “…in doing these things, we activate the part of our brains that give us a little endorphin boost so we feel better.” Jesus told us that next to loving God, the greatest commandment we are to follow is to “love our neighbor as ourselves”, which encompasses loving, caring, giving, and doing for others. Can we be truly happy, completely isolated from ever doing anything for anyone? I don’t think so….

5) Expecting life to be fair. News flash for anyone out there that is still expecting fairness out of life: LIFE IS NOT FAIR. It’s just not. Good people suffer. Good people hurt. But even thought we know better, don’t we still expect fairness? In many ways, I know I still do. Years ago I read somewhere that over 90% of fights between siblings could be boiled down to two things: a perceived unfairness, or a need to prove oneself to be right. I see this all the time in our two children. When they were younger, it was over little things, like, who got the bigger cookie, or whose turn it was to pick a TV program. But now, as they have grown older, they are still arguing over what they perceive to be unfair. In the book of Job, we see a dramatic illustration of how horribly “unfair” life can be. Despite the fact that Job was an upright and blameless man, terrible things happened to him. In Job’s case, the unfair calamities that beset him were orchestrated by Satan, but Job didn’t know that. From Job’s persepctive, I think it must have seemed that life was just one horrendous unfairness after another. Yet despite the unfairness he experienced and his subsequent temptation to blame and curse God, Job remained faithful. Aren’t we to do the same? To not look at the unfairness of life, but instead, to look at the goodness of our God? And along the way, to alleviate some of the unfairness and suffering of others that we see? And if life was fair, we would bear the burden of our sins and Jesus the sinless savior would never have died for us. So along with being grateful even though our life is not perfect, we need to bow in humility and not demand or expect that life treat us fairly.

Are you looking to bump up your happiness level? (Boy does that sound like an informercial!!!) Well, I think we would all like to be happier. And we can start with being positive, recognizing that people or things cannot be responsible for making us happy, getting rid of our expectation that life should be perfect or fair, and taking our focus off ourselves and instead, focusing on doing for others. I’m happier already.

Have a wonderful day...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Treasure in Heaven

It’s been ages since I posted anything here. If you missed me at all, well, I’m sorry. It’s not that I’ve had nothing to write about; instead, I’ve just found it painful and difficult to write about the things that have been on my mind and heart.

Earlier this year, right before Mother’s Day, my brother-in-law died very suddenly. He and my sister had driven to upstate New York to pick up their daughter from college, and were driving back to their home outside Washington D.C., when he became very ill. As my sister described it later, he was fine in the morning when they set off for home, but within a few hours he felt terrible. So terrible, in fact, that she pulled off the road and called 911 for an ambulance. He was taken to a nearby hospital and died shortly after, of what the attending physician described as “heart trouble”. He was only in his mid-50’s, and without any apparent health issues. He wasn’t overweight, and didn’t suffer with high blood pressure, diabetes, etc, and he was not a smoker or heavy drinker. The loss was understandably devastating to my sister and niece, and shocking to our family as well as his friends and co-workers. It would be many weeks before my sister learned that the definitive cause of his early and sudden death was mitral valve prolapse, a genetic condition of which he was unaware.

I wish I could say with certainty that he is now with Jesus in heaven, but I just don’t know. When I traveled back to DC for the memorial service (aside – the service was held in a Unitarian church, which is worthy of another entire post), I learned that as a child, he had been raised in the Catholic church, but clearly, he was not a practicing Catholic. And from the choices he and my sister made forbidding the exposure of my niece to anything Christian, I had concluded he and my sister are nonbelievers. This has been heavy on my heart all summer. I am heartbroken for him, and I feel guilty for doing nothing to reach him. My siblings and I are not close, and we hardly ever see each other, perhaps only at weddings, the occasional family reunion, or as in this case, a memorial service. Sigh. So even though I think the last time I saw him was 8 or 9 years ago, I still feel guilty that in the times I did see him, I made no attempt to speak to him, or to any of my siblings for that matter, about the gospel. Although I have prayed for their salvation for years, the extent of my attempt to “reach” out to any of them with the good news has been my deliberate selection of Christmas cards, carefully chosen to emphasize what I believe - that Christmas is about the birth of Christ, not snowmen, stockings, Christmas trees, or ‘Happy Holidays’. But now that he is gone, I feel such guilt and shame for not doing more. Pathetic. Ouch.

Fast forward….

A few weeks ago, hubby and I were watching David Jeremiah’s show, ‘Turning Point Ministries’ on TV, where he was talking about his new book "The Coming Economic Armageddon". He quoted the passage in Matthew 6:19-21

19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

This has been stuck in my head ever since..... So what exactly are treasures in heaven that we can (and should) be storing up here on earth? The only thing I know of that fits that description is relationships. My relationship with Jesus, and my relationships with people. To me this means reaching people for Jesus, building relationships with people here on earth that will continue and will be treasured in heaven.


I feel like I blew it with my brother-in-law, and am continuing to blow it with the rest of the lost in my family. All these months later, I still have NO IDEA what to say to my sister. Yet these things, these relationships with my relatives, reaching the lost, these are the treasures Jesus tells me to store up. But yet, in the case of my sister, my niece, my other siblings, I simply don’t know what to do or say. So, for now, I keep in touch, I tell her I love her, I ask her how she is doing, and I pray pray pray.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Self Control

My mind wanders... It dips and dives, chasing threads of random thoughts that drift into the forefront of my mind. I am reluctant to focus, wanting to avoid the dreariness and details of the work at hand. Work I am, nonetheless, being paid to complete.

Focus Adrienne! I chastise myself again. I want to be a good worker, worth my wage. Proverbs 18:9 (The Message) tells us "Slack habits and sloppy work are as bad as vandalism." Ouch.

But my mind is so difficult to control

holy experience

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy (Saint) Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day!

Yesterday James gave me this homemade Mother's Day card:

I hugged him and told him I loved him, and then we laughed, and I asked him, "Why did you call it Saint Mother's Day?" and he told me "...because moms are saints!" So sweet!

And I loved how he used a different color ink to highlight "App St.", (Appalachian State University) which just happens to be one of his favorite football teams. That boy is a mess, but I love him so.

Happy (Saint) Mother's Day y'all!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Memory Verse - May 1st

I loved memorizing scripture as part of the LPM blog scripture memory challenge last year, and I've continued with memorizing verses this year. But this will be the first time I have posted one here on my blog.

These were the key verses from the message at church last week, and they really resonated with me:

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.  2 Peter 1: 3-4  NIV

First, verse 3 tells me I have everything I need for life and godliness. This means no excuses for being ungodly! I am equipped to be godly.

Second - I get this "everything I need" through God's divine power; in bringing me to the knowledge of himself, through Christ, He supplies everything I need.

Third - Through his glory and goodness, he gives me his very great and precious promises. My Zondervan NT Commentary (see reference below) states that these "promises" are referring to salvation, as mediated through Christ.
Fourth - So that I may participate in the divine nature! How do I do this? My commentary stated it like this: "This happens in at least two ways: 1) the promises themselves have a purifying effect on the believer's life and 2) conversion entails a break with the corruption caused by evil desires." So that in coming to know God through Christ, believers (that's me) escape the corruption of sin and Christ renews and restores the image of God in them. Hallelujah!

I also liked the version of these verses from the Message:

"Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust. "

Participation in the life of God.... what an amazing invitation.

Reference: Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary, Vol 2: New Testament 1994

Monday, April 26, 2010

So Long Insecurity

I am so grateful I attended the SLI simulcast at FBC Woodstock last weekend. Darlene and I planned to leave at 6am to drive down to Woodstock, where we would meet up with Kristin (Kiki) for the event.

The enemy was messing with us from the get go! Darlene said she had all sorts of minor issues popping up the week before, and she wondered if she would even be able to go. And the enemy seriously tried to derail me early Saturday morning by messing with my coffee. I had set the pot up the night before to make a full pot of coffee, knowing I would want some first thing Saturday morning, plus I wanted to take a thermos for the drive. Well, when I dragged my bleary-eyed self into the kitchen at 4:30am, I was assaulted by the smell of burnt coffee. Somehow the pot was not all the way in the machine, so the latch to allow the coffee to drip from the filter basket into the pot had not engaged, and my full pot of coffee had spilled over the filter basket, onto the sides of the pot and the heater plate, and all over my kitchen counter. This has N-E-V-E-R happened before with this coffee pot. Spiritual warfare, I'm telling you!!!

After the coffee mess was cleaned up, a new pot made, I showered and dressed, and was on the road in time to meet Darlene. The drive down was uneventful, and we arrived there at FBC Woodstock in plenty of time. Kiki had arrived early enough to line up and get us great seats right in the middle of the sanctuary. We had our Bibles, our books, and Miesta Moose; we were ready!
I was blessed to share this event with Darlene and Kristin. They are both so sweet and so much fun.

Beth brought a great lesson, painting a scriptural picture of what a secure woman looks like. She is:
Saved from herself
Entitled to the truth
Clothed with Intention
Upended by grace
Rebounded by love
Exceptional in life

Rather than dive into all the details, I want to just capture a few of the things that struck a deep cord with me:

• I am SUPPOSED to be a poster child for the before and after – this is part of my calling. The change and transformation in me and my life should be visible.

• Grace was never meant to be an excuse to continue living in our bondage… Interestingly enough, I heard this again in the sermon at church on Sunday. Pastor Craig was preaching from 2 Peter 1:3-12 on the assurance of salvation, and one of the things he said was “…Grace was never intended to be an excuse for us to continue in our sin.”

• When Beth talked about how a secure woman is “Saved from herself”, it hit me that I have been so self-absorbed in the past in my relationship with my hubby and our kids. That was hard to see in myself. I see daily that I have been lifted out of the pit of sin and destruction that I felt destined to wallow in, but I had not seen so clearly my self-absorption in my relationship with hubs and our kids. I felt so tender towards the three of them, I literally wanted to run out of the sanctuary and hug them. Lord, save me from my self-absorption!

• Being clothed with intention, the point that “we will NEVER be secure by accident” was a huge AHA moment for me, and the wording about putting off the old and putting on the new just stressed how much this is a deliberate act of will. Walking in it before we feel it…. I had been waiting and wanting to feel better first, and while I had glimpses of that, I found myself saying “Lord, I don’t FEEL changed yet! What is wrong with me???”

• Her point that when we are insecure, everything comes to us as an offense, just about slayed me. Case in point - My dear husband has a very bad habit of just leaving his empty soda cans and wrappers on the counter. Not surprisingly, this just ticks me off. I take it personally, thinking to myself "...he KNOWS this drives me crazy, and he still does it, so he must be doing it just to get to me." Add to this random comments I hear, and the voices in my head that repeat things from my past, all of these things have been HUGE offenses to me. On Saturday I realized that none of that has any real power to offend me, and in most cases, there was never an offense intended. Hubs doesn’t leave his garbage laying around because he is deliberately trying to tick me off – he does it because he is simply too lazy or forgetful to throw it away. Nothing more than that. I realized that people can make mistakes because thet are sinful, flawed human beings, not because they are directing offense at me. This change in my perspective was huge to me.

• Grace, grace, nothing but grace. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound... I loved Beth’s point that I can give grace away and also keep it. Amen! And the picture she painted of the blood dripping off the crown of thorns, sprinkling the ground at the foot of the cross…. Why had I never seen that picture before? Sin (thorns), covered with the cleansing blood of Jesus, at the foot of the ultimate mercy seat, the cross of Christ? What an amazing picture!!!

• I laughed when Beth reminded us that John is only one who describes himself as the disciple Jesus loved. I’d heard that before, and I used to think that made John seem a little presumptuous, but I realized that he (John) was totally right. He was dearly loved by Jesus, as am I! And you! It doesn’t make me presumptuous to claim that; it makes me a believer in the promises of God. Totally changed my view. I think for the first time ever I have truly truly truly engrained in my heart that He DOES love me.

• Finally, the point about being the exception, the standout, not for bold accomplishments and deeds, but just because our hearts and minds are different. Our security is not derived from the world or anyone in it, and is not altered by the world or anyone in it, but is based on nothing but the fact that I am a dearly beloved child of God, chosen by Him, redeemed, guarded, carried, and protected by Him, His most valuable treasure. What a security I have!!!

And lastly, I want to add two things Travis said…

• We are not a blurry sea of 300,000 indistinct faces, but God sees everyone of us, we are 300,000 “ones” – unique, recognized, valued and treasured on our own. I've struggled with this in the past; the feeling of being insignificant, lost and forgotten in the crowd. I relish being a "one".

• I loved Travis’s comment about “no-one can sing praises for you…” God wants your praise and my praise, your worship and my worship, and he wants it directly from our mouths. Every song I have sung since then has been more heartfelt….

The whole event was huge to me. It felt like I had all the pieces to a puzzle before me, but I could never see how to make them fit. Beth's message and Travis's words just rotated the pieces so I saw things in a new way, and suddenly, it all clicked into place.

So Long Insecurity! You have been a bad friend, indeed.

Friday, April 23, 2010

An amazing story...

Please read this post by Jenni! What an amazing story!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Four Leaf Clovers...

We must have a mutant form of clover growing in our back yard. I had always thought four-leaf clovers were especially rare, but they abound in our back yard. Rachel has been picking them and pressing them, and last week she made the sweetest art work by placing four pressed four -leaf clovers on some brown parchment paper and putting it in a wooden photo frame. Beneath the clovers she added this saying:

Many an opportunity is lost because a man is out looking for four-leaf clovers.

~Author Unknown

And it got me to thinking - am I looking for four-leaf clovers, for good luck and happy circumstances, for the quick fix to my problems and in so doing, missing opportunities? I was reminded of Paul's writings in Philippians 4:11-12:

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Portrait Update

I wrote here about James's portrait, which I have been working on F-O-R-E-V-E-R! Well since then, I have done some more work on it, mainly working on the shirt, but I don't have any updated photos to post yet... I'll add some soon! Note to self - plaid fabric is very difficult to handle! In the meantime, this is the portrait I did of Rachel several years ago, just to prove to myself that yes, I CAN actually finish these portraits.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

I'm playing along with Jenni .... Her Top Ten Tuesday for this week is " Top Ten Things That Don’t Make Sense to Me".... Sounds like fun, so here's my list:

10. Taxes

9. How our dog, Sally, still has any fur left, given the vast amounts she sheds on the couches, floors, her dog bed.... By now, she should be utterly and completely hairless.
8. The appeal of shows like Oprah, Jerry Springer, The Bachelor, etc
7. Oreos - the cookie part by itself is too bitter, and the filling by itself tastes too much like shortening, but put them together, and they turn into something yummy.
6. Why do men seem to lose their rear ends as they age? I swear my hubby used to have one, but now - just flatness!
5. Why are french fries infinitely more delicious when they are pilfered from someone else's order? (Sorry sweetie!)
4. Why do teenagers text each other when they are in the same room?
3. Deliberate mispellings in the name of marketing... Krispy Kreme comes to mind...
2. The appeal of NASCAR
1. How anyone can look at God's creation and NOT believe...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Winter Rain

The sky overhead,
looms grey and dark.

Clouds blanket the land,
like a soggy fleece,
wrung out by God’s hand.

The wet, boggy ground,
squelches beneath my feet,
sodden and damp.

And then through the clouds,
A ray breaks through,
A shaft of light,
And a spotlight too.

God is good...even when it rains.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Calling all statistics geeks and Jesus freaks!

There's an old joke amongst statisticians, a play on the famous "Love means never having to say you're sorry..." line from 'Love Story'. The joke is: "Being a statistician means never having to say you're 100% certain..." Cracks me up. Statistics humor - what an oxymoron!

But I fell in love with this t-shirt the minute I saw it. Because despite the geeky statistics joke, it speaks the truth - we will all die, and we certainly don't wan't to go without Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

James's portrait

I've been working on this color pencil portrait of James forever, and not making much progress. So, I thought I'd post it here, and challenge myself to work on it every week until I get it done.... I love drawing these portraits, and it's very relaxing to sit and work on one while I listen to my iPod, but I don't like getting started unless I have an hour or more to work on it, and realistically, I haven't carved out a free hour to work on this in weeks. Sigh.

It takes many many hours to finish one of these, as the colored pencil is applied in many layers, and it is fairly slow, meticulous work. I think I've put about 20 to 25 hours in it so far, and I'm less than half way done. Anyway, I'm going to give this a go and try and get it done - soon. Like before he graduates from High School...

And here's the reference photo I'm using to create this portrait. I love this photo of James, taken when he was about 4 years old.

Tennessee Snowman!

Rachel's Tennessee snowman...

and the view from our front porch.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Top Ten (or more) Memories from SSMTC

Oh, where to start….???

Here’s my Top Twelve List of the “Most Memorable Things from the Siesta Celebration”:

12) Dial “R-U-HAIRY?” Yes, we REALLY saw this (several times) on billboards in Houston. Melana and I laughed every time we saw it…
11) Starbucks coffee with peppermint syrup - Thanks Tiffany for introducing this to me!
10) Pappasito’s – The BEST Mexican food I have had since moving to Tennessee…
9) Beth re-enacting her Chris Tomlin/air guitar episode for the siestas…
8) Tiffany’s deranged GPS….
7) Pink feathers everywhere!
6) Great worship with Travis, Kim, Lisa, Siestas, and the iPod Band
5) Meeting and getting photos with Amanda and Beth…
4) Siestas! Seeing old friends and meeting new…
3) Hearing a WORD! Through Beth’s teaching and Pastor Greg’s sermon on Sunday.
2) Saying those 24 verses!
1) Feeling God’s presence in a huge way…

So here are the details:

Melana, Miesta Moose, and I set off from my house early Friday morning, with our pink feather boas, for the drive to Nashville airport. I was so ready for this event, looking forward to meeting up with siesta friends and longing to hear God speak His Word to me.

Melana and I met our first new siesta friend at the Starbucks in the Nashville airport, BeckyB, and I knew right then that this was going to be such a fun weekend. Tiffany (ForHisGlory) was there at Hobby airport to pick us up, and off we headed to the Omni Hotel. I was so happy to be with Melana and Tiffany, but we were all sad that Lavonda wasn’t able to join us for the weekend (sniff). Our group simply felt incomplete. Melana had made a stand-in for Lavonda, which we affectionately named “Stick-Vonda”.

Me and Melana with "Stick-Vonda"!

On our way to the hotel, Tiffany suggested we meet up with Karen and Daimy for lunch at Pappasito’s. I’m telling you, we had been in Houston for all of 30 minutes, and simply could not wait any longer for Mexican food. (Aside – there is NO good Mexican food to be found where I live in TN. We have a small Mexican restaurant here named “El Metate” and the local gals call it “Elmer Tate’s”. That should tell you how dire the Mexican food situation is here in small town TN….) But I digress. Tiffany’s deranged GPS (more on this later) finally gets us to Pappasito’s where we join Karen and Daimy. I had met Karen at the Memphis LPL, and she is such a delight. I love how her eyes sparkle and she gives you a little wink every now and then – so endearing. And Daimy is just gorgeous and precious and it was so nice to meet her. Pappasito’s was yummy yummy yummy – the guacamole (they make it right at your table!) was to die for, and my fish taco was just perfect. Miesta Moose enjoyed it too…

Tiffany, Melana with Miesta Moose, Me, Karen, and Daimy

Moose supervising the guacamole prep...

OK, we FINALLY get going to the Omni hotel, making a slight detour into Rices’ Epicurean Market to buy tons of See’s chocolate, and as we traipse into the lobby of the Omni, dragging all our bags, there is Amanda! It was so nice to finally get to meet her and give her a hug. She is such a kind and gracious person, and so sweet. Our room at the Omni was wonderful, and soon it was time to leave for the event.

Now, it’s a good thing we left early, because Tiffany’s GPS managed to turn what should have been, oh, say a 10-minute drive from the hotel to the church, into an hour-long (not kidding) misadventure in Houston. We did several loops on Katy Freeway, we passed BACK by our hotel not once, but twice, and we passed by the church once but couldn’t get to it because we weren’t on the frontage road. It was maddening! The crazy GPS even told us at one point to “Turn right at Buckingham Lane”. Please behold this photo of where we were directed to turn!

Buckingham Lane.... Not really a good place to turn, despite what the GPS says.

We finally made it to HFBC, and everywhere I looked, I saw pink feather boas. It was so good to see old friends from the Siesta Fiesta – Lichelle and Evie, Patty, Lora, and to meet siestas that I feel I know but have never actually met – Georgia, Deborah/Twinkle, Emmy, Georgia Jan, Yolanda, and Miranda. Cameras were constantly flashing as 500+ siestas ran around hugging necks, taking photos, and just loving on each other. Siestaville is just filled with sweet women.

Me with Lora (By The Lamp Light)

Patty, Melana (Moose Mama) and Georgia

Evie and Lichelle

Tiffany, Melana and Miesta Moose, Me (with horrible hair!)

Beth, Amanda, and Melissa came to the stage and welcomed us all, and Travis and the Amazing iPod Band led us in worship, and then Beth taught the first half of her lesson on Psalm 119. I didn’t know that:
  • Psalm 119 has 176 verses, divided into 22 groups of 8 verses each. Each of the 22 groups corresponds to a Hebrew letter, and every line in a section starts with the Hebrew letter for that section, making it an intricate, elaborate Hebrew acrostic.
  • Psalm 119 has been described by some as dull, repetitious, but Beth said it covers “… an amazing gamut of emotions..." and reflects "...a life lived out with God, from A to Z.” I thought that was very fitting for this weekend, as she had directed us at the start of the memorization challenge to pick verses to memorize that we NEED, that speak to us in our lives.
  • Psalm 119 uses 8 different words for God’s revelation to us, and 173 of the 176 verses include one or more of these 8 words. The eight words are testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgments, Word, words/promises/sayings, and Torah/law. The psalmist (who is unknown) decribes a love for these revelations of God.
  • The sentiment “I love your law” is repeated over and over in the Psalm, and Beth taught that we should think of this as “I love your teachings”. That made a lot of sense to me.
  • The psalm includes 70 different prayer requests, many of which are essentially the psalmist praying scripture and promises found in scripture back to God. It is so important for us to know the Word of God; how can we pray it if we don't know it?

On Friday, Beth stated developing a run on sentence, illustrating each section using verses from Psalm 119 as well as other scriptures. One of the key points she made was from verse 105 which says “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” The psalmist believed that God is capable of leading us, and that when the time is right, He will reveal to us our next step. Beth talked about how so many of us want God to shine a spotlight out into our future, to show us the end result, so we can know where we are going and see where we are headed, but God doesn’t promise us that. He promises a lamp, which will illuminate our path just enough for us to see the next step He is calling us to take. That was huge for me. I am one who likes to see the map, to know the route I’m taking before I set out on the journey, and it’s often so hard for me to move forward when the end result is unknown.

After the Friday night session, we went to the church lobby for a meet and greet, with coffee and some of Beth’s delicious Texas Sheet cake. We waited in the long line hoping to get a photo with Beth, but she had to leave long before she had a chance to meet everyone in the line. We headed back to the hotel and went up to the hospitality suite and visited with the siestas there for a while, and then went to our room to crash.

Melana and Travis

On Saturday morning we headed over to the church early. After the worship, Beth finished up her lesson on Psalm 119. The full run-on sentence, which she developed over Friday and Saturday is:

I am a resident alien, looking for direction, in deep want of wonder, in peril and need, deeply troubled by humanity – especially my own, recognizing that to follow is the only free road, for a straying sheep longing to be found.

Some other points she made included:

  • Blamelessness is not the same as perfection, but rather it means to be free of willful sin.
  • In this day of internet and social networking, it is so easy for us to hear a message and think "Oh this is good, I need to pass this on to my friends!" and we pass stuff on before we have taken the time to absorb it ourselves. Beth encouraged us to NOT pass things on that have not been planted in our hearts.
  • Prayer is our means of unburdening our hearts before God. Nothing we do or say can ever be done behind His back, because God never turns His back on us.
After Beth was finished teaching, we paired up to say our scriptures to each other. It was almost surreal, to sit in the courtyard area and hear the buzz of words as groups of siestas shared their verses with each other, and then to see the high fives and hugs. I loved it. We finished up with a beautiful commissioning, which I got to share with Melana, whom I love dearly. She is such a good friend to me.
Melissa and Beth - Beth said Melissa told her this outfit made her (Beth) look like a chicken nugget, but we all thought she looked adorable :o)

Too soon, the event was over. Beth, Amanda, and Melissa slipped out the door during the final worship session, but they came back to the foyer and stayed until everyone who was there managed to get a photo taken with Beth. These ladies are the real deal - so kind and willing to serve.
Me with Siesta Mama Beth!

Tiffany, Karen, Beth, Lindsee, and Daimy

For lunch we went back to Pappasito’s! After all, what could be better than having great Mexican food for lunch two days in a row? After lunch we went to the Galleria, where we ran into several siestas, including Carolyn/Warm in Alaska and Kiki, who are just delightful. We walked the entire mall until our feet ached, and had a great time shopping in Charming Charlie’s. I bought James a “Don’t Mess with Texas” t-shirt, since I had bought Rachel a pound of her favorite See’s chocolates. (See’s candy is another thing that, sadly, isn’t available in small-town TN…)

Leaving the mall, we headed over to The Chocolate Bar, but we arrived there about 45 minutes before any of the siestas planned to be there. Since we so tired, we decided that if no-one else showed up by 7, we were out of there! Happily, lots of siestas showed up and we had such fun visiting and talking before finally dragging ourselves back to the hotel.

Sunday morning we planned to meet some siestas at the Express Café for breakfast, but when we arrived there the place was completely empty. We headed across the parking lot to La Madeline café, where we had a lovely breakfast before heading over to HFBC for the 9:30 service.

Arriving at church, we met Amanda in the lobby and she told us that the service in the huge sanctuary would have the choir and orchestra, but in the chapel, the music would be contemporary. Pastor Greg preaches in the sanctuary, and this is displayed on a screen in the chapel. We decided to head into the chapel for the contemporary-music-version of the service. Pastor Greg taught on “Family Squabbles”, using the story from Genesis 13 of Abram and Lot parting ways. At one point, talking about husbands and wives, he said “…we sometimes forget we are on the same team.” That was a word I needed to hear, to be reminded of the fact that hubby and I ARE on the same team.

All too soon we were back on the freeway heading to the airport. Sigh… But while I was waiting at the gate in the airport, I heard someone behind me talking on their phone, and she was obviously talking about the weekend events. Well of course it was a Siesta – Betty from Oklahoma! She and I visited for a while until she had to catch her flight.

My flight and drive home were uneventful, and it was so good to be home and see my family.

I won’t forget this weekend. Of all the LPL events I’ve been too, this one was special. I truly felt God’s presence all weekend – in the worship, the teaching, the sermon, the sharing of verses, and the friendships.