Friday, June 20, 2008

Christ the Lord

First of all, happy 55th wedding anniversary to my grandparents, John and Sue Moore! Thanks for building a legacy of love, devotion, perseverance through loss, and serving each other with joy. I'm proud to be your granddaughter.

Second, I have two more books for your summer reading. Does the name Anne Rice ring a bell to you? Anne Rice is a best-selling mainstream author of 28 novels, the first of which was Interview With a Vampire. (Remember that movie from the 90's with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise?) Rice returned to her childhood faith in Christ in 1998. Four years later she consecrated her writing to Him, vowing only to write for and about Christ for that point on. (Here is her bio and here is her profession of faith.)

Here is a quote from Rice's "Essay on Earlier Works":
"For me, the entire body of my earlier work, reflects a movement towards Jesus Christ. In 2002, I consecrated my work to Jesus Christ. This did not involve a denunciation of works that reflected the journey. It was rather a statement that from then on I would write directly for Jesus Christ. I would write works about salvation, as opposed to alienation; I would write books about reconciliation in Christ, rather than books about the struggle for answers in a post World War II seemingly atheistic world. My books reflect now, as they always have, what I see and feel and struggle to understand."

Anne Rice has written two fabulous books that have enriched my personal faith in Jesus Christ and helped me understand what life was like when He walked the face of the earth. The books are Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt and Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana. I've always loved Christian fiction, but my husband has never given it the time of day. He got his hands on these books before I did and I've never seen him so excited and eager to talk about any book. And he loves to read. If Curtis likes these fiction novels, that's saying something!

The first book, Out of Egypt, is set when Jesus is seven years old and his family is returning to Israel from Egypt. He is just beginning to understand who he is. The second book, The Road to Cana, takes place when he is thirty years old. I'm not going to say much about it because it is just better to read it than to hear my book report. These books are written in first-person narrative, so they read like an autobiography.

If you are feeling skeptical right now, that's okay. Just get the first book and see if it does not get you thinking about, praising, and loving Christ more than you do now. There's a whole section at the end of Out of Egypt in which Rice shares her conversion story and explains why she believes Jesus is the Son of God. She also describes her research for the book in detail. It is awesome. To read about our Lord from such an exceptionally talented, intelligent writer is a treat.

So, if you have a long plane ride coming up or some extended time to lay by the pool or beach and read, I highly recommend taking these books along with you. You can find them at Barnes and Noble (or any major bookstore) or on If you do get them, let me know what you think!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day '08

Happy Father's Day to the men who read this blog - all four of you! I hope you enjoyed a great day with your offspring.

This morning we woke up and got ready for church as usual. (And YES I am enjoying having Curt home to help us get ready on Sunday mornings. We haven't been late one time!) Jackson and I gave him the new George Strait CD, Tim McGraw's Greatest Hits, and some framed portraits of Jackson that I had done last week. One will go to his new office and the other will be in our house. It was my first time to take Jackson to one of those portrait studios. Gasp! It was also my last. It was just as awful as I thought it would be. Jackson does not like to pose for pictures. Thankfully we did get some good ones. I was going to cook my husband's favorite meal tonight, but I gave him a coupon for it instead. It involves raw chicken and y'all know my issues, so I have to pump myself up to make it. The coupon requests 24 hours notice.

My sister came to town today, so lunch after church at my parents' house was extra fun. Mom made roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli rice casserole, and rolls. Oh, and homemade pound cake. Thank You, Jesus. It was sooooooo good. After lunch, Curt and my dad played golf and the rest of us were lazy at home. The Tate girls had given my mom a children's book called Dog Heaven and we took turns reading it and bawling. It is a precious book. I would recommend it if your child (or parent) is going through the loss of a dog or two.

Tomorrow LPM is having its first board meeting since we moved to the new place and afterward we are hosting an open house. The office I occupy once a week with my co-workers, Sherry and Jenn, has been in desperate need of some decorating. We are only there once a week and all have small children, so we just haven't had what it takes to decorate it. We had to do something with the bare walls before the open house. I am so excited because our ministry director let me commission my friend Corey to decorate it for us. Tonight we went to the office to see everything she had done. It is AMAZING. I cannot wait for everyone to see it. I am going to take some pictures to show y'all what a great job she did. I will look forward to my one day a week in the office even more now!

The whole day was great, but there was definitely a highlight that beat all. We got some huge, great, awesome news that we are going to have a new niece or nephew! Curt's sister Lindsay and her husband Matt are expecting a baby this December. Praise the Lord! Sister has some crazy self-control because they did not tell a soul until today and she is already in her second trimester. We are all thrilled and personally, I am rooting for her to be in the pink club. We get the news - pink or blue - in just a month! Lindsay, that little baby is so lucky to have you for a mommy.

I feel like I need to say more about the men in my life (Curtis, Dad, Pappaw), but I already poured out my heart to them in their cards. So I'll just say that I feel very fortunate to be loved by some of the most unique, committed, loving men on the face of the earth. And I'm also very thankful for the men in my husband's life - like his dad, grandfathers, and mentors - who have helped shape him into the great husband and father he is. Curtis, you are a spectacular daddy and you impress me more and more with every passing month. Your son adores you and he thinks you're the coolest.

Finally, if today was a hard day for you, for whatever reason, I pray that tomorrow will be doubly blessed. Know that your Father loves you.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Us

Curt and I are celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary this weekend (along with Father's Day and my mom's birthday on Monday). I can't believe it was a year ago that we were living it up at El Dorado Royale in Mexico. This year is a little - well, a lot - less eventful, but we are just as blessed. The last 12 months have been very full. Last summer we ended the Saturday service at First Irving. Afterward we dove back in to college ministry at full speed and had a great fall with our students. We took a Thanksgiving trip to Jackson Hole. The Lord opened the door for Curt to come on staff with LPM. We celebrated Christmas with Curt's family in Missouri. We married off my sister. Curt took his last trip to Honduras for the foreseeable future. We said goodbye to a church family and incredible friends that have impacted our lives forever and planted our lives back in Houston, Texas. Curtis bought me my dream house that I'm still pinching myself over. I hope I never stop. We bought some grown up furniture. We rejoined the church where I grew up and where Curt worked for 2 years. We reconnected with lots of very dear friends from our newlywed years and me with some girlfriends from high school. After being church staff members for our whole marriage, we got to find out what it's like to be a visitor again. We joined a Sunday school class that we weren't leading. And we love it. We've put ourselves out there and made some new friends. We've fought and triumphed over some new work dynamics between us. We've watched our baby become a little boy. For the past three months we've had regular date nights with free babysitting. Give Him praise, people! Tonight will be the ultimate date night/grandparent babysitting extravaganza. Jackson is spending the night at my mom and dad's so we can SLEEP IN. A moment of silence, please. I am so pumped. I'm praying that my body clock doesn't wake me up at 7:20. Tonight we are having dinner at some cool place downtown. I hope they have good dessert. I won't expect the ricotta strawberry bombe. That wouldn't be fair. Later, peeps.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Prayers for My Parents

Please pray for my mom and dad this morning. Last week we found out that their dog Beanie has cancer throughout her body. They will say goodbye to her this morning. I can't tell you how much they have loved their dogs and to lose them both in a span of three weeks is just hard. Thanks, y'all. My dad was in a car accident last night and no one was hurt. He fell asleep at the wheel driving back from Beanie's special vet in South Texas. He hit the guardrail while over a bridge, of all things. We know that God protected him and was with him. We are extremely grateful. I know God will let my mom and dad know He is with them today.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting

We had a big first with Jackson on Friday. We went to see Kung Fu Panda. (Yes, I know. Curtis owes me big time! Foreign films are on the docket.) I will consider this his first movie even though it was technically his third. It was our first time to make it through the whole movie. When he was about four months old I took my two boy cousins, who were staying at my house and going to church camp with me the next day, to see Nacho Libre. He only made it half-way before we had to go bounce around in the hallway. But it was all good because I'd already seen the movie with Curtis. The next movie was one of those $1 morning shows last summer. He made it until our popcorn ran out, which was half-way. So on Friday we got a large popcorn and brought a little cup from home that he could hold in his lap. Worked like a charm. Homeboy can put away some popcorn, y'all. I was concerned that he would want to get out of his chair and throw a fit, but that was actually not his problem. It was the talking. And his talent for mimicking the sound effects. Let's just say he was enthusiastic about Kung Fu Panda. So when you're in a kids movie (especially a cartoon), at what point do you take your child out for being loud? Can you get away with more at a matinee?

We nearly heaped trouble on ourselves when we left the theater without his two little monster trucks, but Curtis was able to retrieve them before the cleaning crew swept them away into a garbage bin. Whew. The monster trucks received a new name last week. They were originally "monchy trucks" or "mommy trucks." Now they go by the name "monsh." Bless his heart, he spent two days asking for monsh before we figured out what he meant.

On Saturday I went to step aerobics (missed you, Missy B!) and then went to Shipley's to get Curtis the dozen donuts he asked for. Curtis will be spending some time at the gym this week, God love him.

Later on we went to swim at the Altic's pool and grill burgers and chicken sandwiches. It was the perfect weather for doing that. Kay's parents, the HFBC interns (which all four of us used to be), and the Smith family stopped by the pool too. Fun times. Jerrell made some guacamole that I really just wanted to eat with a spoon.

Sunday morning we went to church for the first time in two weeks. It was good to be back. Our Sunday School class is finally zoned to the CLC, which is the main worship venue while the sanctuary is under construction. It was great and worth the wait. Jackson fell asleep on the way home and ruined all of our naps.

Later in the afternoon we dropped him off at my mom's house and went to visit one of our old DBU students who is in the hospital. Please pray for her. She has been there 11 days and has had 3 surgeries. She now has blood clots in her arm. It's summer and she is ready to take road trips with her friends and do all the things you're supposed to do when you're 20 years old. Please pray that she will be completely healed asap and get to go home.

Afterward, Curt and I had a really nice dinner at Grotto. We got this dessert that I found described on another web site as a "strawberry and ricotta angel food bombe...decorated with shaved strawberries and whipped cream." Oh my. Kelly, I will take you to this place if you ever find yourself in Houston. The dessert tray is three levels high! I will also be frequenting the gym this week, God love me.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Sister Speak

How many of you firstborns always wished you had an older brother or sister? I longed to have an older brother when I was younger. Maybe I thought he'd protect me from mean people at school and teach me how to play sports. By the time I was staring college in the face, I realized how much an older sister would have benefited me. I would have had answers to all my questions. I might have even followed her to college and had someone hang out with in those first few weeks when you're really insecure and do stupid things because of it. (Was that just me?) Of course, I'm sure I would have endured my share of torture had I been blessed with an older sibling. And how do I know this? Because I am an older sibling.

The Lord was sweet to give me two big sisters, Amy H. and Jennifer H., when I was really needing it, which was at age 18. Ten years later, we are still doing life together and I am still looking to them for advice and prayer. I love you, ladies!

Through the blog world, I have become acquainted with an author and speaker named Marla Taviano. She is a wife and a mom of three little girls and is just a few years older than me. I have read two of Marla's books in entirety and I think she has a great Big Sister voice. A Christ-centered Big Sister voice at that. The latest book of hers that I read was Changing Your World One Diaper at a Time: A Reflective Journey Through Your Baby's First Year. It came in the mail right before we moved and I just had a chance to pick it up about a month ago. Let me tell y'all something. I do not have the time or attention span to read boring, serious books at this time in my life. Hello, I have a two-year-old. If I'm going to read non-fiction, it needs to speak to me right where I am and I'd prefer to laugh along the way.

Now I'm going to put on my own Big Sister voice. If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant within the near future, or if you are in that amazing learning curve that is your baby's first year, please bless yourself and get your hands on this book. No one is paying me to say this and I'm not getting a free gift because of it. I just think it's a great book. If you're not there yet, you'll learn a ton. If you're already there, you'll be encouraged AND learn a ton. If you've already been there and are thinking about going there again, you'll be reminded, encouraged, and learn some things you didn't get the first time around.

One thing that sets Marla apart is that she's had so many different experiences that I think she can relate to just about everyone. She knows about miscarriages, the sometimes very long and sometimes short journey to conception, epidurals and natural childbirth. She's very relatable and has a sense of humor. She invites you to celebrate motherhood but doesn't make you feel bad for having Calgon, take me away! moments. Her tone is conversational, down to earth, and grace-filled. One of my favorite things about the two books I've read is that she uses a lot of quotes from women she's surveyed. I loved reading their perspectives.

If you're not even thinking about having kids yet and you've made it this far, I appreciate you sticking with me! If you're married, you might want to pick up Is That All He Thinks About? How to Enjoy Great Sex With Your Husband. Your husband will thank you. Your husband might even take over your blog and give a heartfelt endorsement. But if his mom and grandma are reading, he might leave that to you.

You can connect with Marla through her web site and her blog. Boo Mama beat me to talking about this book (shame on me! I've been writing this in my head for 3 weeks), but the benefit is that they're doing a special of all three of Marla's books for $20. (There's one called From Blushing Bride to Wedded Wife that I havent' read.)

Well, I'm off to call my little sister and tell her, again, how sorry I am for calling her swamp thing when we were kids. Y'all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Jackson Antics

Jackson is having one of his little growing up spurts. A few days ago he said, "I love you too" to his daddy for the first time and "Bless you!" to me after I sneezed. It was so fun.

I know he is at the stage where I need to start letting him "help" me with things. That will be a nice growing experience for this recovering perfectionist/control freak. On the day of his verbal enlightenment, we went shopping and I, having been moved by his big boy-ness, let him carry a bag into the house for me. He was so happy with himself. Just about every afternoon he and I go to the mailbox and he helps me retrieve the junk mail, bills, and occasional card or birthday party invitation. Now he gets upset if we go out the front door but don't get the mail.

Since Jackson doesn't have any siblings or cousins in town that he has to share with, we still have a really long way to go on that. (He's currently learning with Keegan and Jayk.) While we were in San Antonio Curt came up with "High five for sharing!" Jackson loved it and henceforth I shall confess that my husband is a parenting genius. We'll see if it sticks. I'm not sure it's as effective coming from me.

Speaking of that, Curt and Jackson have a secret handshake. I guess it's not much of a secret since they do it right in front of me. It's more like their special thing that I am not allowed to participate in. I have been known to make Jackson do it with me, but I always get in trouble. He understands now that it's only for daddy and he rejects me in my moments of rebellion. Curt confessed today that it's rooted in him feeling a little left out by all the time I spent one-on-one with Jackson while I nursed him. They needed a thing. Well, thank God, I no longer have that thing with Jackson, so what is my thing now? I'm sure we have one. I just need to think on it. Maybe a mom doesn't need a thing.

Please allow me now to share our favorite Jackson saying, which is "Dip it." He went through a few weeks when he said "Dip it" non-stop throughout the day. It sounds like "Dep it." "Dip it" is applied when he dips his waffles into a small bowl of syrup, tortilla chips into salsa, french fries into ketchup, etc. Hands down, one of the best parts of parenting is getting to hear your kid's speech develop. The process of them trying out a new phrase in a hundred different scenarios is highly entertaining. My previous favorite might have been "It's stuck!" Right now Jackson is constantly telling me that something is "broken" or "broke it." Now back to "dip it." Curt and I have taken over this phrase, to the point that we say it more than Jackson. If I ask Curt what he thinks we should do on Saturday, he might answer, "Dip it."

Jackson hit a huge and memorable milestone yesterday. He approached me with poop covered hands and said, "Stinky! Mommy, stinky!" That's going in the baby book, folks. It was sick and he's lucky I didn't vomit on those stinky hands, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. We are at a stage right now where if I let him run around without pants or shorts on over his diaper, that thing gets stripped off or, apparently, dug around in. We have been very lucky so far not to have any disasters, but I am done tempting fate! Lesson learned!

A Little More About Curt's Devo Journal

Hello, peeps. Thanks for your fun comments for Curtis! Yesterday felt like such a huge day for us. He went to work on that devotional journal the first week he started at LPM. I helped with the editing part, so it has both of our blood, sweat, and tears in it. For our entire marriage up to this point, I found a lot of joy and fulfillment serving alongside my husband and being his sidekick in ministry. When we decided to move, I wondered how this new position would change things for us in that respect. Well, isn't it interesting that God had this project for us first thing? I honestly tried very hard to get out of it because I didn't see how editing my husband's work would edify our marriage. But the Lord! He gave us the victory of being able to work on this together and not have to go to marriage counseling because of it!

Sunni left a comment that she was going to LifeWay right away to find the devotional journal. What a sweet friend! But it made me freak out a little bit that I wasn't more clear about what this product is and what it is not. It was actually not published by our good friends at LifeWay. It was published here by Living Proof like Mom’s “Wising Up,” “Measureless Love” and numerous other CD’s. We worked closely with a professional graphic designer and had it printed by a company that LPM uses regularly for products we sell in our own resource department. In order to keep costs low and get it done in time for Father's Day, we had it done in the form of a paperback booklet. Our resource department wanted to release it first as a special offer then in several months it will be available for regular purchase. Until then, keep in mind that the donation can be anything and certainly doesn’t have to exceed an estimated cost.

From the first week I met Curtis, when we were staffing a mission trip for teenagers, I was blown away by the gifts God had given him and his passion to help others walk with God. I have been proud of him and humbled to get to spend my life with such a man at least a thousand times. But I don't think I've ever been more proud of him than I am right now. Honestly, I can't imagine feeling this any bigger than if we walked into LifeWay and saw a display of books with his name on it. Maybe I'm even more proud that it's a booklet. I know my husband is excited about the content and the hope that the men who use it will develop the habit of having a consistent quiet time. His excitement isn't from the achievement of having a book in the bookstore.

Hopefully, if God ever did have that down the road for Curtis, He will have given us hearts that only care that the bride of Christ is prepared for her Groom, not hearts that rejoice because our family has another published author. I have a huge lump in my throat right now. I just want y'all to know that we love Jesus and we really want to serve him well. Lord, let anything that is fleshly and self-glorifying melt away like wax. Let us be completely nauseated by it. Help us honor you and have pure hearts. If you ever want to know how to pray for Curtis and Amanda, that would be it.

God bless you and your family today.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Loving That Byline

I'm so proud of my man! Check out his new devotional journal for fathers here. Way to go, my love!