Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Siesta Celebration!!!

My first encounter with real live Siesta's and not just screen names was this past weekend at the Siesta SMT (Scripture Memory Team) Celebration!! This past year I have memorized 2 verses a month along with over 2,000 other ladies on the LPM blog. And it has been a ride! I'll be honest though the only way I could do this with two toddlers (boy-4 and a girl-just turned 3) was to memorize in chunks! In other words I would be super busy and not get to them as often as I wanted for a couple months then take a day off and CRAM! Thankfully God blessed me with the gift to memorize easily so I pulled it off but I commend those who faithfully added their verses in the proper timely order.

Anyways another fun fact is I think this post has the MOST pictures of any other post I have EVER done and for that reason will probably be a little lengthy but I just couldn't leave anything out! My Siesta adventure started by my mom's best friend, Sandy (Chile_Siesta) (and her and her husband have been chile farmers for YEARS, her husband even winning Top Chile Grower in NM one year which is where her name comes from, JUST in case you were wondering) Anyways she asked my mom if she wanted to do the challenge with her and of course my mom agreed but had to learn over the course of the year about blogland which she was completely unaware of before. And knowing that I loved to blog asked if I knew of Beth's blog and was going to do it as well. I had absolutely no clue of her blog so I was greatly excited and jumped right in filling in my first two verses to catch up. Now I live in Willis TX which is only bout 45 minutes north of Houston (or where First Baptist Church Houston is...since you ladies now have an idea of where that is) so my mom and Sandy flew over here, I picked them up and we actually added to the fun of our weekend by staying at one of their good friends houses who lives in Richmond (Sugarland area).

This is their good friend, Gay-Ann, then Sandy/chile_siesta is in the middle and then my mom, Denise/ mima_siesta is on the right. We had a very nice visit and I got to sleep in!!! Which if you have toddlers you understand the greatness of this small thing! The neighborhood they are in is beautiful and I got to run on their walking trail that circled around the subdivision and God just blessed me with 60 degree weather that morning, bright and sunny! Oh it was gorgeous!
Now here I stepped in the photo because this is the three of us that went to the Celebration. So yes the one on the right is me, Ivy/poison_ivy!

On Friday, after taking our time getting around that morning and enjoying good company Gay-Ann took us to a delicious and cute little restaurant called Sandy McGee's in Richmond TX. If you like "girly food" as my husband would call it you will LOVE this place and must visit it sometime! Here is what the inside looks like from the back:
and of course thinking of my blog thought I need a picture of the sign so people can identify it when looking so asked my mom, yes while I was driving to hand me my camera. I was gonna drive by and snap! lol and I just had to include this picture because my mom was trying to hurry as fast as she could to get me my camera and have it turned on and ready for me and in doing so snapped a picture! hehe...so here I am reaching for my camera:

...and I did get my picture in time though (well ok after circling the block once and coming back!)

and I was concerned for my bloggers that they couldn't read the sign so then I even stopped in the middle of the road turned around and snapped another shot so I could later zoom in on the sign for you! Lol, good thing it was a small town and this kind of thing was ok to do!

Then it was finally time to head off for the main reason we came!!! The Omni! No just kidding, the Siesta Celebration! We did head to the Omni first and even though I am roughly familiar with the Galleria area had an interesting time trying to find it and follow our GPS which was pretty much taking us to nowhere on the map it showed...long story but we found it to say the least! We hurriedly got checked in, were so tired from trying to find the hotel that we just chose valet parking over more decision making and directions and then rushed to the hotel dining room for the quickest nice dinner in our lives! We told them when we came in we had to be in and out in like 20 minutes so they kindly suggested items that wouldn't take long but sadly in the end we had to beg them for to go boxes and silverware. Which of course a fine dining place that it was didn't have plastic silverware so what did they do...gave us real silverware wrapped in a napkin! We couldn't have laughed harder as we stuck silverware in out purses and when the Hotel Town Car arrived had to ask our driver if he minded us eating in the car. The hotel restaurant did ask that we leave the silverware in our rooms when finished which of course we did but YES we had silverware in our purses the entire first night of the conference!
We did however make it there, got our name tags, all 3 of us proudly placed our names in the "Memorized all 24" verses bag and rushed in to get the best seats we could. Beth spoke on Psalm 119 which I was excited about because one of my verses was FROM that chapter! I won't go into the message much here or I will be here all day but when we got back to our hotel that night we decided we would all fill the bathtub halfway and sit and soak our feet together. During this my mom says "We should all share something that spoke to us tonight." Both Sandy and my mom shared what meant the most to them that night and then my turn came and I had to sheepishly say that actually the preaching was VERY GOOD but a song we sang that night meant the most to me! I had gone through a really hard season the year before and when I thought I had finally sorted it all out it came crashing down on me to reveal my heart had NOT truly dealt with it but stuffed it instead. Funny how we THINK we have it all together huh? So anyways without getting into it too much this past Fall I attended Beth Moore's live bible study on Revelation for the first time ever! It was such an experience and I was thankful to be going and carpooling with a good friend who had been to several of her live studies! Well I mark the beginning of a new season with her bible study. I finally was TRULY over it letting God do His full work in me in that area and so this past fall and winter has been an incredibly blessed time and a huge growth for me spiritually since I finally was alive again!
Well if you go to her Tuesday night bible study you have heard and are familiar with Lisa - their worship leader for bible study which I LOVE, LOVE LOVE listening to and had told my mom and Sandy ALL about hoping she would be singing, no offense Travis! So when she WAS singing with Travis I was SO thrilled and I think it was the last song we sang the first night was one we often sang at bible study and I immediately felt the joy swell up from within and out of me just remembering the blessed season that began last fall and hasn't ended!! That song meant so much to me and brought back so much that it's hard to explain. And goodness I'm getting carried away so let me show some pics of the first night before I go on....
Here is when we first arrived and ladies were finding their seats (above)
We HAD to get a picture of us in our pink boas and our spirals!

The night started with all three ladies up on stage to bring some fun facts, tidbits and a HUGE welcome!

Ok I know this one is fuzzy but I love how I caught Beth - cuz to tell you she was excited was an understatement! A proud teacher? -oh yes!

We HAD to take the opportunity to snap a photo with Travis Cotrell (pronounced CAUGHT-trull, NOT Ca-trell, as we learned!)

And I was UBER-excited to meet the one and only Lisa herself which brought back so much joy to me that night through her singing!! She told me to look for her on Tuesday and you better believe I will - course if we get our regular seat she can't miss me! Last study my friend and I would get there over an hour early every week to have the same front row seats each week!! SO WORTH IT!
Another goal of mine was to get a picture with all the familiar faces I knew which of course included Beth and her daughters, Melissa and Amanda - didn't quite happen but I did catch Amanda in the Meet and Greet that night! I quickly chatted with her but mainly just got a photo because I know they are being grabbed by EVERYONE and I kind of smiled the next morning when I said hello to her because I recognized the face of "OH HI (but I have no clue who you are!!) and no I'm not saying anything bad about Amanda because I love her but I SO related - my husband and I youth pastor a group of almost 300 kids a week! Even with 300 I can't remember everyone so I could never imagine being a known "face" of a ministry with 1,000's of women!!! Bless you three!!

I also quickly grabbed a shot of Chef Paul - who I had also bragged about to Sandy and my mom about his coffees and hot cocoa with the REAL DEAL whipped cream!! OOOH can't wait till study starts tonight!!
This one I was VERY happy to meet! Since I would sit front and center at bible study I recognized this man RIGHT off the bat as "the Mic guy" and I had dubbed him that name since about the 3rd week not knowing his real name. He was out and about chatting among the throngs of women everywhere not the least uncomfortable (dealing with 1,000's of women each week for her study) and when he asked where we were from I was glad to say I'm just north of here...yes I go to her Tuesday night study....yes I know you as the Mic guy!! So glad to meet you! And so we are all clear Mic guy's name is Mark. This man is a true servant and has such a warming and cheerful disposition!

I was on a roll capturing Beth's "workers" so I also went up and asked...oh no I think her name is Jen???? Again I know their faces like no body's business but names...not so much. However every week I see this lady on a walkie talkie keeping everything organized and she also gets the wonderful job of being on stage when the doors open on Tuesday nights to kindly yell at us to WALK!!!! so no one gets trampled that week. You think I'm kidding??? Sadly I'm not! This is ladies with bibles and bags flinging!

Okay FINALLY it is day two! We had no idea about the cool conference room they had given us or I WOULD have been there all night but we came back walked the hotel trying to find these swans the cab driver told us about, then got a hot tea from the Starbucks down stairs and headed upstairs to eventually go to bed. That morning started EARLY!! 4:45 AM for me to be exact. I woke a few minutes before my alarm and used it to sneak in the bathroom and get a quick devotion with the Lord (funnily enough I'm working through "Whispers of Hope" by Beth right now.) Then we all three sleepily got ourselves ready and packed and were checking out by 6:15. Why so early? Well being early for weekly bible study and because of that being spoiled with front row seats gives me motivation to always get UP FRONT and personal! So I shamelessly guilt-tripped my mom, and we found ourselves at Starbucks by 6:30! I'm on a 28-day challenge right now (which will come on another post) that involves diet, exercise and sleep so since I obviously busted the "sleep" part that night I got myself some oatmeal and the yogurt and fruit/granola cup form Starbucks to at least stick the eating part! We made it there early and didn't get front row but sat in the third row this time and were very pleased!

SINCE we got there SOOO early we used the time to of course say our verses but also to all put our shirts on and take some photos!

While trying to find someone to take our photos I walked over and saw a girl with the EXACT same camera I have, which is rare cuz we have Canon Rebels. So I of course was about to ask her to take our picture since she would know how to use mine but before I could speak the words she says to me "Cute hat! I'm such a hat person!" Oh it was instant friend! lol...must love photography and loves cute hats! I asked her to take the photos and after we were done she went to get HER hat so we could take a HAT photo!

In talking with her afterwards as my mom and Sandy said their verses again to each other we discovered we are both married, both have kids, both work with youth -I'm a youth pastor and she does small groups with teen girls, we both love photography and blogging and of course Beth Moore! And to make it even more ironic - or I should say an encounter meant by God since irony doesn't truly exist - when we decided to take the picture with our beloved spirals I flipped mine open to Romans 8:28 and she exclaims "No WAY! I have that verse too! So even though you can't see it both our spirals are reading Romans 8:28 here! I can't wait to find her on blogland after I'm done writing this ridiculously long post (which I think anyone who reads it all the way through should leave a comment just that they DID!)

I decided I should include a picture of the front entrance of the church for you blogger who never have been to the church or to Houston for that matter. Funny story in that actually too - when the Omni Town Car dropped us off they dropped us off at the back entrance and I was like wait this is the wrong church! And almost made him take us somewhere else because I didn't recognize it at all (thankfully I finally saw a sign with the familiar logo swish thing) and decided ok this is the right church but I don't know where to go! And here I was the one who was supposed to know where to go! I knew the church was big but had no idea! I'd been there over 12 times, once a week and knew nothing of the back entrance! hehe!

Here is a classic of Beth! She is so full of life and character! And that morning was nothing short of FULL BLOWN BETH! When I was telling my bible study friend about it that's the only way to explain her hyper-ness was it was full blow Beth! in FULL color! lol, love you Beth! And just so you know the three of us were laughing at what an outing with Beth Moore and Georgia Jan/Fuzzy Top would be like! YIKES! lol, love you both though!

Here she is really getting into it. Even though poor Beth was called a "nugget" by Melissa that morning! Sorry Melissa but I had to blog about you calling your mom a nugget (due to her outfit) which was very cute by the way! But I SO get the teasing your mom thing!
And here is one of my favorite singers all pumped for worship!

And I just had to take a picture of this sweet lady in front of me. I tried to get a picture when she had both her hands raised but didn't make it in time. But this lady - whoever you are - blessed me so much. We were singing an old hymn that talked about the power of God's WORD and you could tell this lady knew this song deep in her heart! She didn't need to read the words, just raised her hands and worshipped God. I do know some hymns but not like she does and never will they mean as much to me as her. It was a blessing to watch. Know ladies, that even though it seems us younger generationers just don't get it and even though we worship a little differently we DO treasure the old hymns and the traditional ways too, even if we don't know them by heart!

Travis had to Ex-nay the Ipod band for a true moment of deep worship that we all experienced that morning.

After a great opening session we all broke out to say what we had worked SO hard for - our VERSES! I couldn't help but slip out in the patio for a picture or two of all the ladies spreading out lifting up sweet voices speaking God's powerful word!

Here is my mom and Sandy deep in concentration hoping they make it through all 24 when it's the final time to say them!

Sandy couldn't be distracted when she said hers so she would close her eyes and my mom and I shared a smile because as she got into them you began to hear her just speaking to the Lord. It was no longer reciting them to us to pass a test but we were listening to her pray and love and worship her Creator. It was beautiful.

And then my mom's turn...

They opened up the next session with more door prizes to which Beth's hyperness got her in a little trouble when she asked about the Grand Prize only to discover that oops! there was no grand prize. Lol, owell!

After that blunder they made sure she finally got her Starbucks she so desperately needed and she calmed down, well a little....for Beth at least!
Above is Spicy Magnolia - winning second place in "Best Blog Name"

And this is Beth Moore argueing with Georgia Jan that that is NOT her real hair color! And proclaiming that she just can't trust anyone with their real hair color! lol, oh Beth you just crack us up!

Well that was it! And I won't go into anymore...I don't think at least :)
But to finish off my post to make my teacher proud - 176!!!
(anyone else know what I mean??? hehe)


Longmeadow Mama said...

Oh my goodness! You were sitting right behind me on Saturday! I was right next to the hymn lady you mentioned (that's my big head right next to her in one of the pics!) I feel bad that I don't remember her name..I had just met her that morning! She was a sweetheart!
What an incredible weekend. I very much enjoyed your recap and all the pictures!
Thanks for sharing!

Lisa said...

You crack me up! What a fun time we had in Houston! I didn't get to meet you personally but I remember you from your hat. This was my first Siesta gathering as well. Can't wait for the next opportunity!
Blessings ~ Lisa

Marla Taviano said...

This is the cutest post ever. And yes, I made it all the way through! Love the pics and your commentary. And I love your name. Ivy. So pretty. Have a great week!!

Leslie Young said...

You are a living DOLL! I loved every word and picture of this post! I've so enjoyed reading everyone's recaps and it just kills me that I didn't get to hug and meet all 507 women there! Press on, you darlin' thing!

Luv2Praise said...

I am posting to tell you not only did I get through your blog but loved it! You are so darling. I see young women like you at these events and marvel at how I wish I had followed the Lord at your age. You are so sweet and your Mom must be so proud of your following God's plan for your life. I remember seeing you there and thinking how cute you were. God Bless you darling, and keep on blogging! Blessings - Lori

Chile siesta said...

Oh Ivy, my goodness gracious! I knew you were good, but this blog is amazing. You certainly have a gift for writing and taking pictures. Now I know why that camera went with us everywhere, even to the bathroom,lol. I was so blessed to get to spend the weekend with you and your mom and all those beautiful other Siestas. Beth never ceases to amaze me either. The most rewarding part is to know that we did it and now have 24 verses of Gods holy writ pressed into our hearts. Thank you for being part of such a special time & an excellent chauffeur. I look forward to 2012 Siesta gathering (if there is one) and my own daughter being with us as well. Love you lots!!!

sister sheri said...

You captured the event so succinctly! I loved the gal you met with such similarities... I had the same experience this weekend too!

Angela W. said...

I made it. :) All the way through. And enjoyed ALL of it. I'm so thankful for you and all my other siestas who have blogs to record their version of the event on. I'm almost more amazed at home reading these recaps hearing what God did than at the actual celebration. I did say almost. :) What a wonderful time and an amazing God!

Sandy said...

This is a great post that I read all the way through! :) It was an awesome weekend!

Jean M said...

From a fellow SMT Siesta in NC, loved your post! Loved the weekend. Loved reliving it reading what you wrote. :)

Mima siesta said...

Hey 'lil feather' you captured it beautifully and I never imagined you were such a good reporter. It was so much fun to read and relive the whole weekend with the pictures to go with it. Some of my favorites were the pictures and comments about those who serve behind the scenes, the pictures of all the ladies saying thier verses (speaking the word to each other) (us too-wish I had snapped one of you), and the wonderful stage shots of fun, worship, and Beth at her best! Doesn't it make you think of how fun heaven will be when our focus is all the same - Our Awesome Saviour and Lord and we will have fun there this weekend proves that! Thanks for getting me out of bed so early, those front rows are better. Best of all, I loved sharing this time with the Lord with you and Sandy, it will be treasured in my heart of hearts for a long, long time. Terrific blogging - take a bow!

Beautiful Daughters said...

I so enjoyed meeting you. I loved reading the rest of your blog too!
What a great recap of SMT Celebration! It was a wonderful weekend. Your pictures are AWESOME! Guess what I have? Your lens cap! lol As I was leaving Saturday,someone said "Who lost this?" I quickly, said I know whose it is. I looked for ya but did not see you. I can drop it in the mail if you email me your address.
Hope you are doing well this week.
Hugs Rachel