Sunday, June 22, 2008

Getting Over Myself (Step One)

As I was doing the dishes the other night God told me to try posting some music online. (Are you sure God???) Well, a few weeks ago I wrote a song that I titled "Yours" and in part of the song it says that "the song I sing" is God's... so when He told me to post it somehow, I think He was in a way testing to see if I meant that. Was it really His? Would I do whatever He said with it? It so happens that I had already played around with recording the song, so all I had to do was figure out how/where to upload it and post it. I still have some kinks to work out, but I did it... and if you click on the title of the song down there, it will take you somewhere where you can play my song! (And no, I'm not singing, playing guitar, singing harmony and shaking a shaker-egg all at the same time... the computer program lets you/me record different "tracks". It's sort of like time-travelling or the movie Groundhog Day. But different.) To be honest with myself, God and you... I'll tell you that this is scary and I'm very tempted to tell you everything I hear wrong with the recording (my playing, singing, etc.) and would fix if I wanted to take the time. I have major issues with comparing myself to other musicians and caring about the fact that I'm not as good or entertaining or whatever. And God is telling me loudly and clearly to GET OVER MYSELF! This is NOT about me. It never has been and never will be. I have always known that all the glory belongs to God and I don't want to draw attention to myself, so I go to great lengths to avoid that. But in doing so, I also sometimes avoid opportunities to use the gifts God has given me. I get scared and end up chickening out for a variety of wrong reasons. So I find it very appropriate that the first song God is challenging me to put out there for anybody to listen to is about everything being His. It's His to give me, to take away, to use, to share, to encourage with, to challenge with. I have to stop comparing my gifts with other people's gifts and I have to remember it's all His. I'm all His. And you are too... And every single moment of our lives is meant to bring Him glory as we offer up and lay down our hearts to Him. Lord, it's all Yours. YOURS (CLICK HERE! and then click "play") This moment is Yours... let it bring You glory Before it is gone (this moment is Yours) let it bring You praise This moment is Yours... I offer it to You I will trust You and thank You in this moment This day is Yours... let it bring You honor Before the sun sets (this day is Yours) let it bring You fame This day is Yours... I lay it down before You I will serve You and thank You for this day My days and nights My past and my future The ground beneath my feet Everything I can see is Yours The air I breathe This heart that beats The song I sing Everything I am is Yours I am Yours... let me bring You glory I am Yours (with all I am) let me bring You praise I am Yours... I owe You my life I will love You, thankful that I am Yours and You are mine I love You I’m Yours Written by M. E. 5.27.08 Y, Melissa

Monday, June 16, 2008

Finally, Flying, Fish, Fathers & Fruit

Well, I don't have a real thought-provoking post for you this week...  Just some random thoughts that I managed to make all start with the letter F.
Finally, Mikaela is done with First grade!!!  We are happy and I am amazed at how much we have both grown this year.  Perhaps more reflection on that will be coming, but for now I'll just say I'm grateful for how it ended and that vacation is here!!!
Flying airplanes doing stunts and leaving swirling smoke trails were fun to watch at the annual Father's Day weekend airshow Saturday morning here in town. It was lots of Fun!  Sorry...  I'm not going to take the time to post a picture right now so you'll have to use your imagination.  (Sun, airplanes, beach chairs, umbrellas, sun, exhibits, more sun, more airplanes...  you get the picture!)
Fish were friends, not food (except for the Goldfish crackers and gummy-fish) at my niece's birthday party on Saturday evening.  Bailey turned 2 and her parents put on quite the Fabulous party.  Toby finally (after watching kids much younger for at least an hour) got up the nerve to go down the inflatable waterslide and there was no stopping him after that.  Hooray!
Father's Day weekend was special.  For maybe the first time in a long while, I got to see all 3 of my dads (Dad, Step-Dad, Father-in-law) on Father's Day weekend.  And we also celebrated my favorite father of all...  the father of my kids!  (Well, God's really my favorite Father...  but you know what I mean!)  I love each one of you men so much!!!
Fruit!!!  Not just eating it...  but learning about it!  This summer, God gave me the idea to teach Mikaela and Toby about the Fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23) and we're very excited about it. There are nine "fruits" (though I think they're really aspects of the same Fruit?) listed in that passage and we have exactly nine weeks of vacation, so we're going to talk about one each week.  I'm excited as I know that kids will learn a lot and I will too...  And maybe we'll all be showing some spiritual fruit by the end of our study as well.  I'll be sure to keep you posted.
: )  Have a Fabulous week Friends!!!
J, Melissa

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Same and Yet So Different!

I've been thinking lately about Belly Pregnancies vs. Heart Pregnancies. Things like: The desire to know when the baby's due vs. the desire to know when the baby's coming home; Not knowing until you're in labor when it will happen vs. Not knowing until you get a phone call when it will happen; Ever-Changing Physical Appearance announcing that your life is about to change vs. Nothing anybody would notice (I hope!); Seeing an ultrasound of your baby growing inside you vs. Seeing a picture of your baby living on the other side of the world; Having the grocery store clerk ask you when you're due vs. wondering if you should say 2 or 3 when they ask how many children you have; packing a bag to go to the hospital vs. packing to go to Thailand; being careful about chemicals and caffeine and medications because YOU are your baby's environment vs. having no control whatsoever over your child's environment (except through prayer!)... But still there are so many similarities... Dreaming about what his personality is like, what he'll be when he grows up, what his name will be, wanting to get his room (which he'll share with Toby) ready, wanting to prepare the siblings for his arrival, falling in love before you've even looked into each other's eyes, lots of tears upon finally meeting (his because he doesn't really know who you are and yours because he's finally REAL and in your arms...) and mostly a deep sense of having to trust God and gratefulness in being able to, knowing that we are being blessed beyond measure with another little heart to love. I started "feeling pregnant" when our dossier was sent to Thailand... almost exactly 9 months ago. What's a few more months??? Just one more difference... Y, Melissa

Sunday, June 01, 2008

"We made the best jam in the world!!!"

On Friday afternoon, my mother-in-law, Mikaela, Toby and I undertook our yearly sticky, sweet tradition of making homemade jam. (My kitchen floor still hasn't quite recovered...) Toby declared that night when he tasted it smeared on some bread, "We made the best jam in the world!" (And I have my mother-in-law to thank for teaching me how to do it and for doing it with me. I never get around to doing it on my own. And it' wouldn't be nearly as much fun!)

It's still strawberry season in Fresno, and I'm sorry if you don't live here or somewhere you can get real fresh strawberries because they truly are so amazing! So, of course, after eating lots of them... we turn them into jam! (And here I am washing/de-topping them. Exciting, huh?) This last year I ran out of jam and had to (gulp!) buy some Smuckers. It couldn't be that different, right? WRONG! Now I understand why people rave about this stuff when we give it to them. It truly is so much better!

This year I decided we should try making cherry jam, too, because we had a bunch of cherries from our cherry tree, but I was sort of disappointed with how it turned out. (The Cherry-Strawberry, however, was quite yummy!) And Mikaela holding a bowl of cherries (that just begs for a pun of some sort!) was a photo-op we couldn't pass up!

Toby found these jar grabbers and had lots of fun holding jars (Agh! Over the tile!) with them.

I don't have any pictures of the cooking/boiling/"don't touch that it's hot!" part of the process because I told Lowell he really needed to NOT be in the kitchen at that moment. You'll just have to imagine what it's like to be stirring a pot of boiling, fruit lava next to another pot of boiling jars... with 2 eager children really wanting to help or at least see what's going on! It is truly an experience that stretches the best of both mothers and Buelas!

But in the end, (after pizza because we DO NOT cook dinner after making jam and thankfully our husbands don't argue with that!) we are rewarded with jam that is delicious, can be eaten or given away and memories that last longer than the jam will. It's so worth the pounds of sugar and boxes of pectin and moments of insanity and the sticky spots on the floor. And I couldn't help but imagine what it's going to be like next year with a toddler running around again! But we've done it before with little ones, so we'll just do it again. But next time, at Buela's house!!!