Monday, October 29, 2007


Well, you'll see at the bottom of this a reference to a Women of Faith copyright and all of their rights being reserved.  I don't really know exactly what that means, but I'm hoping it means that as long as I acknowledge that's where this came from and I don't make any money off it, that they won't mind me sharing it here.  My good friend Paula emailed this to me tonight and I loved it, so I thought I'd share it with you all hoping it will encourage you like it encouraged me.  I believe it is written by Anita Renfroe, who I just discovered, tours with Women of Faith (they do big women's conferences, in case you aren't familiar with them) and she is the same Anita Renfroe who has become a huge youtube star because of her mom version of William Tell's overture which, is you haven't seen yet, you have to see!!!
Hello, Girlfriends!

 We're home off the road for a few days and I am once again faced with scaling the heights of the mounds of dirty clothes we have all unceremoniously dumped from our suitcases. After all the sorting and pre-treating we crank up the washer and dryer and wonder why our "large capacity" machines can't handle "more" of "Mount Washmore". I have been tempted to cram it full (I know, I know: the clothes don't get as clean when you overload…) until I hear that familiar "ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-THUNK," alerting me that something is out of balance and, if I don't go take care of it (pronto!), my washing machine may walk its unbalanced self into the next county.

 I understand my washer because I feel unbalanced a lot of the time. This is not something that's easy for me to admit because I have spent a goodly portion of my adult life chasing this lofty and elusive concept called "balance". I have read books about it. I've listened to Bible studies about it. I have heard lots of talks at women's events concerning it. I have GIVEN talks at women's events outlining the "seven steps to achieving it". I even know a couple of women who seem to have mastered it.

 But here's the absolute truth about it:
 I'm giving up on it.


 In fact, I'm not so sure that it was ever that great of a spiritual pursuit to begin with. There seems to be a lot of Scriptures you could interpret to be in support of it, but nothing that says, "Verily, verily, be ye balanced, sayeth the Lord." What we do find in God's word is a lot of Scripture concerning the subject of seasons. (planting, waiting, watering, working, weeding, harvesting, letting the ground rest ― then
 starting the whole cycle over again). Some of those seasons require lots of  work (planting, harvesting), some of them require less physical labor and more patience (weeding, watering, waiting), and some of them require periods of no visible activity at all (letting the ground rest so that it can be ready to plant again).

 When you are in the middle of any one of those seasons it doesn't seem very "balanced." If you are in the week when you have to get the crops in or they will rot, you have to put in some strenuous days and nights because the window of opportunity is so small. If you took a snapshot of people feverishly working during that week, one might correctly say, "Well, that's not balanced at all!" Or if you look at a farmer resting by the fire in the dead of January you might think, "No balance there!" But it's a season.

 Not all seasons carry the same work load or rest opportunities. They do all have their unique rhythms and it is up to us to recognize the beauty of each season and to know that it will, over the course of a lifetime, add up to something akin to "balance" – although we are unlikely to find it in a single day, or even a single week or month.

 So I am praying for you, as I pray for my own self, the ability to recognize your season you are in and to stop beating yourself up because you can't quite get to the place of perfect balance every day. As the writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us, "To everything there is a season and a purpose for everything under Heaven."

 Enjoying this season in my life,


 Copyright 2007 Women of Faith. All Rights Reserved.

A Bad Movie

Well, I'm trying to figure out what to do with this information and thought I'd start with putting it on my blog. Last week my sister-in-law sent me this link about a movie coming out in December called The Golden Compass. It's advertised as a kid's movie (like Chronicles of Narnia or the like) and stars Nicole Kidman so will likely be big... but the author is an athiest who wants to get kids to not believe in God. The movie is a milder version of the first book in a trilogy and the author is hoping the movie will get parents to buy the books for their kids. To read more about it, click here. If when you go to the site, it jumps to an ad page, try clicking on your back button. I hope and pray enough Christians find out about it and speak up about it so that it doesn't get promoted without people knowing the truth about the author's purpose.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Because it's my job.

It's my job to post videos of my family on my blog, that is. : ) This video was taken yesterday late afternoon when it was almost raining outside. This is Fresno after all. We have to celebrate whatever rain we get! So watch the video and you'll get to see Mikaela and Toby's riding skills and my hubby's video/editting skills. The talent will astound you. : )

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Could this day get any better???

Hi everyone! I am celebrating right now!

First of all, neither of my kids woke me up last night. No bad dreams or tummy aches for the first night in maybe a week or so. So very nice.

Second, I got to sing this morning at a Women's Breakfast for our church and it was really fun. I had a couple of ladies tell me after how rested they felt, which was neat b/c the songs (and our pastor's wife's great talk on Psalm 23) talked about being still and being filled and I'm praying God will keep calling us to that and that we will let Him quiet us more and more. I need it so very much! (Which is part of where the songs came from to be sure!)

Thirdly, when I got home I found an email from somebody congratulating me on winning over at BooMama's. "What??? I won something????" And sure enough, I did! She was hosting a giveaway for some beautiful jewelry made by Lisa and I am one of the 2 winners! I can hardly believe it and am so excited. It's really a big blessing. Just this week Mikaela found this in the closet I'm trying to move out of (it's supposed to be Toby's now) and while it's really cute if you're a Kindergarten teacher, I haven't taught in almost 7 years now and it's not really the look I'm going for these days. If, however, YOU are a teacher of little children and you think you would wear this ever, please let me know and I'll be very happy to give it to you as I am very soon going to be the recipient of something much much more beautiful and much much less educational.

And for that, among so, so many other things like the happy sounds of my kids and a roof over my head today I am feeling very, very blessed. Because I am. Thanks again to Lisa and BooMama and most of all to God! : )

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Show & Tell

Just for fun, I thought I'd share a few pictures with you today.
First we have the kids showing off their new Lego. After a couple weeks of waiting since Daddy won them (uh, the Lego--not the kids!) on an ebay auction, the box of used, purchased by the pound Lego finally arrived today! This is only the new stuff-- and they are very excited about all the new cool pieces we were missing in our current collection and already building stuff!

Next is a picture of Toby taken last week. Can you see the scar forming on the bottom of his chin? He's actually healing very nicely. I'm so glad we didn't bother with a potentially traumatic trip to the Dr. that day.

And last but certainly not least, we have Mikaela's latest hair creation. She's even done this on me once. So far it hasn't caught on much elsewhere, perhaps because of the impaired visibility it causes, but you never know! If you see this on the fashion runways soon, you'll know where it all started! : )

Happy Thursday everyone!

Monday, October 22, 2007


Thank You Jesus for Sunday morning!  I wish you all could have been there--not to hear me sing, but just because it was such a great celebration of God and what He is doing in the lives of people at our church.  But here's a little rundown on my part of it. 
Every Sunday morning our church has a prayer time.  (Think of it sort of as Sunday School with the topic being prayer and the purpose being not to talk about it but for people to learn and do it together.)  It starts at 9:00 and I was going to practice my song for the first time with the bass player and the drummer after the prayer time which I knew probably wouldn't be over until 9:35 or 9:40.  (The service starts at 10.)  I got there around 8:45 so I wouldn't be feeling rushed and I paced around a bit while the worship team practiced.  I wasn't nervous, but I was feeling restless and wondering how it was going to work out.  I decided to sit down, try to relax a bit and pray when God said "Open your Bible."  So, I opened it and found myself on page 1589 where my eyes fell on the red words in Luke 24:36 "Peace be with you."  I can't quite describe what it meant to me, but perhaps you can imagine.  I sat there with tears in my eyes and thanked my loving, gracious Savior for being so very close and amazing and real and for speaking to me and for offering me His peace.  And I knew everything was going to work out just fine.  And that even if it didn't, that I was going to be fine because Jesus was with me.
Well, I was able to participate in the prayer time with everyone (again, I wish you were there!) as we prayed for the various ministries of the church and after it was all done and we prayed for the pastor and the couple who was going to be sharing their testimony I finally got to practice and it came together beautifully.  (The guys had heard the song b/c I had emailed them a recording of it.)  I got to sing during communion and felt so blessed to get to be part of the service that way.
The day was topped off by a lunch and dessert auction to raise money for our women's ministries and a shocking (almost scandalous) amount of money was given generously by the people who were there.  It was amazing and so much fun.   God is hilarious sometimes!
I pray that this week you will experience God's peace that He so generously offers to each of us.  I'm realizing more and more places where I don't live in Christ's peace and I'm expecting that the Holy Spirit is going to deal with what He is exposing because that seems to be the pattern lately.  But I'll (hopefully) tell you more about that soon...  : )
Peace to you!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What I thought was going to be a really quick post...

Well, I haven't forgotten about you all.  I just thought you should know.  And I want to thank you all for helping me achieve my first week of having an average of a whole 10 (TEN!) visits to my blog per day this last week.  I've been watching my sitemeter thing for a long time just waiting to hit 10.  My blog life is now complete.  : )
I didn't blog yesterday b/c it was my fabulous husband's birthday, & I watched a movie with him instead of blogging (aren't I sweet?) and tonight Lowell's cousin Charis and her hubby Maarten (I think that's how it's spelled) are coming to stay at our house overnight, so I'm trying to get ready (or at least I will be when I'm "off the computer".  So all I'm going to do right now is tell you that I'm very excited that tomorrow I get to sing one of my songs at church during communion!  : )  Since I still haven't figured out how to put music on my blog, I'll just give you here the lyrics to the song and what I typed up to put in the bulletin explaining the song.  (In the bulletin so I won't go talking too long in the middle of what it supposed to be communion accompanied by my singing--not communion accompanied by me talking.)  (Not that I ever talk too long...)  Feel free to make up your own melody if you are so inclined.
I'll let you know next time how it goes.  : )  If you see this before Sunday morning at 10:something you can pray for me! 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Psalm 51 (Renew Me)


Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love

According to Your great compassion, cleanse me from my sin

Wash away my iniquity; against You only have I sinned

Create in me a pure and steadfast heart, O God


I cry

Renew me, Restore me

Transform me to Your image for Your glory, O God


Cleanse me and I will be clean; wash me whiter than snow

Don't take Your Holy Spirit from me

or send me away from You

Save me from my guilt, O God, the God who saves me

Then I will teach transgressors Your ways

And sinners will turn back to You


And we will

Praise You, Extol You

Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare Your praise


Restore to me the joy of Your salvation

And grant me a willing spirit to sustain me

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit

A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise


~M. Ens, July 2007


      As you listen to this song, I pray God will bless and speak to you.  It was written during a time when I was feeling awful about a sin God had exposed in my heart.  I felt guilty because I knew I had betrayed God.  The words King David wrote (after he was confronted regarding his sin of adultery and murder) in Psalm 51 became my prayer as I cried out to God to renew and restore me because I knew I could not restore myself.  God was the only One who could forgive me and save me from my guilt.

      David declared that he would teach transgressors (anyone who violates God's laws or commands) God's ways and that sinners would return to God.   David knew that God was gracious and compassionate and forgiving and that as God restored him, David would be able to testify to God's kindness and encourage others to cry out to God for forgiveness as well.

      I am so grateful that God will never turn away from a heart broken by its sin.  When I am sorry and ask for His forgiveness, He will never deny me.  He created each and every one of us for His glory (Isaiah 43:6-7) and wants to continue to transform us into His image.  God does the work of changing us and we get to tell others about it and extol (praise highly!) Jesus' mighty Name!  Hallelujah!



Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What to say???

Well, this is the perfect time to write something (Lowell is at a meeting and the kids are in bed) but I have too much to say and don't know where to start. I could tell you about the appointments I had last week with the psychologist and the conclusions he had about my alleged ADD. I could write about the book I finished reading last weekend about the life of Oswald Chambers. I could tell you about what it's been like babysitting my niece Bailey this and last week and what it makes me think about bringing home a toddler from Thailand. I could tell you about the 2 chances I'm going to have to sing (songs I've written!) at church on Sunday and at our Women's breakfast the next Saturday. I could put Stacy's mind at ease by explaining what money-making ventures I've started or I could tell you all about her new puppy. Or I could tell you about all the things God has been teaching me lately about being still and not thinking (i.e. worrying) so much about stuff. So do you see my problem? Well, I guess I'm going to start with the psychologist's conclusions about my brain, because I can see in my decision making process here some of what he was talking about, so why not? To try to make it short, he did a bunch of tests with me and concluded that according to some of the tests I seem to be fine and according to others it seems that I have some attention issues. He also observed from the 567 (yes, 567!) questions that I answered on the MMPI-2 test (google that if you want to know more) that (among many other things!) I seem to think/worry about things a lot and that while I'm not complusive in the OCD sense, I can be a bit obsessive. Hmmm..... Yeah, he was right about that! You can see this in how hard it was for me to decide something as simple as what to write a blog post about. Not really a big deal, and yet I'll go in circles trying to decide. No wonder I'm so exhausted at the end of the day! I probably do more overanalyzing in a day than I need to do in a week. (or half a week. or maybe I'll think about that some more and get back to you.) Dr. G also encouraged me to find a place to work that is free from distractions if I really need to concentrate. That will be a challenge, but since he also determined from all the tests that I was pretty smart, I'm hoping I'll figure something out. (If only smartness was the same thing as common sense I'd be home free.) (And no big decisions have been made about treatment, in case you're wondering.) I was pretty nervous going into the last part of the testing and Jesus really met me on the way there asking if He could just come with me? It was such an obvious thing (He is everywhere and inside me, right?) yet it spoke straight to my heart. He was with me and had been leading me up to that point, so I didn't need to WORRY about what was going to come out of it. I just needed to trust Him and remember He was with me and let Him take care of me. And that's just what He did. : ) So maybe soon you'll get to hear about the other stuff I mentioned at the start of this post. But for now, I'm glad I'm learning to relax and be still more and obsess and think a little less. So far it's been a good thing.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Wow! It worked!

Below, you'll find a short video (not from a video camera, hence the not super quality) of Mikaela taken at the Fall Program last week. The boy she's with is named Kyler and after the program, Lowell informed his father that they were going to have to have a talk about his son dancing with our daughter. : ) Mikaela's class sang 2 songs. It was a fantastic, fun program and over in less than an hour! : ) It was really neat to see/hear the older kids in the Bilingual program singing/reciting poems in both languages so fluently. Fun, fun!

El Twist de Mik's Colegio

Click on the big arrow twice to play video.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Excuse me... I have an announcement to make.

(Drumroll please...)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to announce to you all that, after much procrastinating and avoidance of the finest kind, Lowell and I officially and finally finished and filed our taxes tonight!  (What???  Were you expecting something more exciting?)  And we even figured out that since taxes were due on April 17 this year (I can't remember why) our 6 month extension was good until Oct. 17 so we are actually 3 days early!  (So very sad, I know.  Especially considering we are getting a rebate.)
So, I just want all of you who care to know that hopefully I will be returning to the normal blogging schedule tomorrow (whatever that is.)
And if you don't care...  well, you know anyway.  : )

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Taxing my Brain

I'm giving myself literally ONE MINUTE to tell you that I am working on our taxes this week and probably won't be doing much/any blogging until they are done...  seeing as they are due Oct. 15 and that is coming up soon.  Which is why we're finally getting them done. 
OK.  Time's up!  : )  Bye!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

To Stitch or Not To Stitch

First of all, I have to say that word ("stitch") just does not look right.  All those consonants and only one vowel???  It's almost as bad as the street I used to live on...  "Kerckhoff".  Anyway...
(Oh...  and you might not want to read this if your stomach was already turning when you read the title up there...  because this post IS NOT about quilting!)
Yesterday was one of those days mothers all around the world fear.  The kids were in the front yard playing when I heard a thud followed by a cry that got louder with each wail accompanied by a sister yelling "Mom!  Toby's really hurt!  He's REALLY HURT!"  Well, I could tell that much by the wailing.  And by the blood.  On Toby's chin, hands, shirt, legs, the sidewalk...  So of course, the first matter of business...  Where is it coming from?????  Other than a minor scrape on his knee, it was all coming from the underside of his chin.  Thankfully, no teeth were involved.  He fell and his chin landed on the scalloped brick edging between our driveway and the flowerbed.  And I was sure, at that first moment, that he was going to need stitches because it looked bad. 
You might be asking yourself a few questions right now...  "Why in the world is Melissa torturing me by writing about this?"  or perhaps, "Why in the world am I reading this???"  And to tell you the honest truth, I don't really have a good answer for you.  Sorry.  It's just the most dramatic thing that's happened around here in quite a while I guess. 
Well, after holding a washcloth on his chin for a few minutes while I called Lowell (who had no vehicle b/c he'd taken our van to get worked on) and my mom (who rescued us by coming right over from her school) Toby mostly calmed down, got cleaned up and the bleeding surprisingly stopped.  My mom and I started wondering if he really needed stitches after all.  Maybe a butterfly bandage would be enough.  And let me tell you...  I really could not stand the idea of him getting stitches if not really needed.  The idea alone just freaks me out.  But I had called the Dr's office and they thought I should bring him in so they could look at it and decide.  And I agonized over what to do.  Decision making is really not ever my strength.
Here's where I got really brave.  I decided I didn't have to do what they said!!!  It took a bit of waiting and talking to Lowell and my mom and Jesus, but I decided the bandage we'd done was probably enough and if he had a scar on the bottom of his chin, so what?  I think he'd rather have a scar than stitches.  Funny thing is I felt like I was being brave (dealing with it ourselves, rebelling against the nurse's orders) and scared (of the stitches) all at the same time.  I will be so, so glad when he's totally better and I don't have to fret about it anymore.
But in the meantime, I'm getting an idea what he might look like someday with a goatee.  Mighty handsome, I'd say.  (Assuming the scar doesn't get in the way.)  J

Saturday, October 06, 2007

It Must be the Jet Lag

Well, we are home from our whirwind tour of central Oregon. I was happy to leave the clouds behind as we flew out above them, but it was nice to visit our friends and for Lowell and I to spend some time together. As you may have noticed, I didn't add anything else to my blog while we were there. I didn't end up having much time after all at the hotel Fri. morning b/c we checked out a bit early (and then I went shopping until Lowell got out of his meeting) and at the Kyllo's farm they only had dial up internet and we were busy discussing all sorts of important things so I skipped the blogging. I'm sure you understand! A highlight of the trip was getting to stop in at the Holt International office in Eugene because we were in the area. It was nice to get to meet one of the gals working on our adoption and see the place where it all happens. We also got to ask her some questions about when we go (like if they cared if we take our kids or not and if we can stay there longer or should come home right away) and found out we are now #8 on the waiting list! : ) There is a good chance we will be matched with a child by March (and a small chance it could be sooner). That visit was a nice treat. Anyway, I thought you'd be happy to know that after seeing Mt. Shasta and Half Dome and El Capitan from the airplane (so very cool!!!!!) we are safe and sound back in our little house in Fresno. And the dogs are happy we're back. And I'm going to go cook some Mac and Cheese because I'm not sure what else to cook for my hungry children. It's amazing how fast I forget how to do stuff like that. (Maybe it's the jet lag...) I hope your Sunday is filled with good fellowship and meaningful time spent with God... but then, those things are good any day of the week... ~Melissa P.S. Because I like to give credit where credit is due, I feel the need to add to this post by saying that when I walked into the kitchen, Lowell was already emptying a box of pasta into some boiling water. What a guy!!! : )

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Hey! Guess What?

I'm in Portland, OR! Lowell actually flew up here yesterday and I joined him today--a couple of hours ago, actually. Lowell is attending a conference about cleaning up contaminated land (called "Brownfields") and I'm along just for the fun of it. We're going tomorrow to see our friends Sam & Melinda Kyllo who live not toooo far away and then we're going home Saturday. And I have another couple hours yet today and several more tomorrow morning ALL TO MYSELF!!! So you might be hearing from me again before we leave here tomorrow, since I have, you know... TIME! It was so very strange today to travel without any family or friends. I sat next to another woman and though we exchanged a couple of comments while we waited for the military jets to land so we could take off, we didn't have even what I would call half a conversation, really. And I kept thinking I had to be forgetting something or someone since I wasn't carrying anyone or their backpack or holding any hands or turning around every 3 seconds to see where the kids were or what they were doing. And I felt so anonymous. To think nobody around me knew if I had kids or a husband or a church or a job. It was very strange. I actually wrote a whole lot more here, but lost it when the connection disappeared. Bummer!!! But Lowell's back from his meeting now so I'm not going to take another 20 minutes to redo it. You'll just have to make up your own ending for this post. And maybe I'll tell you tomorrow what it actually said. : ) It was the best blogging I've ever done, I tell you! Have a nice day everyone!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Take My Life and Let It Be

Take my life and let it be

Consecrated, Lord, to Thee

Take my moments and my days

Let them flow in ceaseless praise

Take my hands and let them move

At the impulse of Thy love

Take my feet and let them be

Swift and beautiful for Thee

Take my voice and let me sing

Always, only for my King

Take my lips and let them be

Filled with messages from Thee

Take my silver and my gold

Not a mite would I withhold

Take my intellect and use

Every power as Thou shalt choose

Take my will and make it Thine

It shall be no longer mine

Take my heart, it is Thine own

It shall be Thy royal throne

Take my love, my Lord I pour

At Thy feet its treasure store

Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for Thee

These words were written by Frances Havergal in 1874. She was 36 and had just experienced God using her in an amazing way after having recently fully surrendered her all to Christ. I read them this morning (the song is on the Passion Hymns CD) and it was as if I'd really heard them for the first time. I'm not sure what else to say but that they truly express the desire of my heart... that God would use every part of me for His glory. And I know it's out of joy and love that He wants me to serve Him and others, not out of obligation or guilt or fear or duty. And that is perhaps one of the most freeing, glorious thoughts of all.

Take me Lord, and I will be, ever, only all for Thee!