Monday, December 28, 2009

LIFE Update

I just have to tell you all how fun it's been playing "LIFE" with the kids! They even played today by themselves and only needed me to sell them insurance at the beginning and count their money at the end! : ) Very nice! (Of course, Timothy had to be locked out of Mik's room while they played, but he got to watch Dinosaur Train, so he didn't mind too much!) The cutest thing though was how sad Mikaela was the couple of times we played when she didn't have any babies! She was seriously disappointed and jealous of me and Toby... but then, after all of the "baby girl" and "baby boy" and "twins" spots had passed, she landed on "adopt twins" and she literally squealed with delight! Made this mama so happy. : ) I don't know what I loved more... how even in "just a game" she so much wanted to be a mom or how even in "just a game" she was just as thrilled to adopt as she would have been to land on the other baby spots. I just know it was sweet! : ) Unfortunately, I have nothing as sweet to say about the other game they've been playing with each other where they build and then try to catch each other in a mouse trap. ; ) They're playing and having fun (as long as Timothy isn't there to help!) (don't worry... he was taking a nap this time) but it doesn't have quite the same emotional connection as the other game. I wonder why... I hope you all are enjoying whatever you and your family acquired for Christmas and that the end of 2009 is sweet for you too! I've been thinking about all I've learned this year and might make a post of it... I guess we'll all just have to wait and find out! : ) Blessings friends!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thank you Sheri!

My good friend Sheri pointed out the humor in my mentioning my blog on our annual Christmas letter when I haven't updated my blog in over a month. : ) Yep. : ) I was going to write something this afternoon, but didn't. And I would now, except that Mikaela was given "The Game of Life" yesterday by her Uncle Brad and, wouldn't you know it... it came without instructions. (It was an old set...) So she's waiting for me to teach her how to play, but I have to look online first for some instructions because I can't remember all of the rules. Don't we often find ourselves wishing for an instruction manual for "Life"? I'm so grateful - beyond grateful - for God's Word and all He teaches me through it! I shudder to think where I would be without His instructions for me. I'm so happy to have made it through this year memorizing more Scripture than I have in a very long time and I'm so excited that in a few weeks I'm going to be attending a celebration event in TEXAS at Beth Moore's home church with a bunch of other ladies who have been doing the same thing (memorizing the WORD.) It's such a bizarre thing that I'm actually going, by myself, with my husband's enthusiastic support, far out of town... I KNOW it must be because God has something to show me, teach me, or do in me there or it wouldn't be happening. Makes me grateful as well that I have such a good Instruction Manual to be memorizing because whether Mikaela is fully aware of it or not, I'm teaching her and her brothers more about LIFE everyday than they (or I!) realize! Anyway... I have more to say and will hopefully get to sharing it with you soon. I can hear Lowell asking the kids where I am and Mik's going to be wondering where her "Life" teacher wandered off to. See ya soon! Keep reading your Instructions!!!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Public Service Announcement for all you online shoppers!

I just found out (or was reminded about) a really easy way you can support Holt International Children's Services! (They are the agency we used for our adoption and they are wonderful!) If you do any online shopping at, start at THIS PAGE on Holt's website first and Amazon will donate 5-15% of the total of your purchase to Holt!!! Easy as that! So while I'm not telling you to shop there, IF YOU DO, please start at THIS PAGE first so children all over the world that Holt cares for can benefit from it. THANK YOU and have a WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING!!!!! : )

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Waking Up...

Yeah, so it's been a while since I've posted anything here! It's funny. When I first started blogging I was quite obsessed with what I was going to write about and would think about it ALL THE TIME. I wanted to have a blog that all sorts of people read (roll your eyes with me, please) and I watched my sitemeter stats to see what the average number of hits per day was and tried to write every other day (so people would keep coming back!) and well, it became a bit much! I recall hearing a DJ (do they still call them that?) on the radio say she used to have a blog and I wondered how someone could ever stop once they'd started? Well, I guess now I know! : ) No, I'm not stopping, but I'm sure not thinking about it all the time like I used to! Probably because right now I'm busy thinking about so many other things. But there's another reason my blog has been so quiet lately. I haven't known what to say! I've been going through a season lately that has been a bit hard to describe or explain or understand. I like it when I know what I'm struggling with and can explain it. I love it when I know what God is teaching me and doing in me and I can share it with others. But through most of the last few months, I have known God was doing a lot of work on me but I couldn't even put my finger exactly on what it was. I would have fleeting glimpses of Him but then they'd be gone. Once I had the feeling I was in a spiritual operating room and God was doing surgery on me - which explained why I couldn't see or feel or hear much (I was under anesthesia I guess) as well as why God wasn't talking much. (I don't think surgeons are normally real chatty when they're working.) But I KNEW He was as work doing something deep inside of me. I've felt like I was pushing through some thick darkness - not scary or depressing (Praise God!) just tedious and confusing. I've known that this was one of those journeys that would be easier to explain or understand once I was through it and could look back and say "OH! That's where I was! That's what we just got through!" This song from Sanctus Real explains pretty well what I've been feeling. Chaos and peace, not knowing what God's doing, but knowing still that He's definitely doing something! At other times I've had thoughts about spiritual "seasons" and how this year has brought me through them all. Amazing new fruit (spring and summer), glorious opportunities (fall), and then a time of pulling back and working hard on the roots preparing for future harvests (winter). (That would be now.) But I think my winter is almost over. I've started feeling more and more like I'm wrestling out of a cocoon or trying to wake up from a long nap - not fully asleep or fully awake yet. This week I found Ephesians 5 (as if for the first time) where it talks about living a children of light and the light making things visible and it reminded me of what I was praying about (and wrote about here) about Creation and the light and when I read Ephesians 5:14 it was as if God was whispering in my ear "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you!" Yesterday I listened over and over to a fairly new song by Matt Maher called "Alive Again". (You can watch/listen to Matt explain the story behind the song HERE or you can listen to the song HERE.) It expresses so well what I'm feeling... or what I'm starting to feel... waking up, coming alive again... the light on the horizon when the sun's about to rise... I can hardly wait. And you KNOW that I'm going to be back here to tell you all about it when I finally get the words... because I'm pretty sure Spring is on its way! : ) ~Melissa

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Mundane and Miraculous

Hi there... Nothing grand to say today, but I wanted to share with you something that's got me thinking and thanking right now. This week I've been reading about two families who I "know" through the Holt adoption forum. They are right now overseas getting ready to bring home their new kids. One family is in Thailand and the other is in India. Both are having beautiful experiences with their beautiful children!
I, on the other hand, am here. Here = getting ready to make dinner, helping my daughter finish her homework that has already caused much frustration this afternoon (how can it take sOOOOO long?????) (And, why are commas, those little marks, so confusing, frustrating and confusing to 3rd graders?). Feels a little mundane and not so exciting here. Life is full of all sorts of days and moments. Mundane and maddening, heartbreaking, deliriously joyful, clearly miraculous... all happening in different ways to different people all over the world at the same time. I don't know how God handles knowing everything at the same time. Just the fact that He can shows He is SO OTHER than we are.
Mostly I just wanted to share a little of the miraculous with you today in case you're stuck in the mundane and could use a breath of fresh air. Go check out these blogs and read about these families who are getting to enjoy the amazing (miraculous) blessing of adoption. I hope they make you smile.
Looking for God's miracles in today's mundane,

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

You Gotta See It...

I can't figure out a way to post this video on my blog because it appears to just be a Facebook video... But if you're my friend on Facebook, make sure you check out the video I posted on my profile last night. It is guaranteed to make you smile and maybe even laugh along! It's the cutest thing I've seen in a long while! : )
Make your day a happy one, friend! The joy of the Lord is your strength!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Steps of Faith

Back awhile ago Heather wrote something on her blog (here) that inspired me. Here's what she said:
"My dad preached a great sermon last Sunday... He gave an analogy of a string of pearls, and how, if you look, back on the circumstances of your life and string them all up like a string of pearls - when you go through a new trial, you can go back and touch every pearl and say "This trial was preparing me for now."
When I first read that, I was in the middle of wondering what this school year would be like, knowing that Lowell was going back to school to get his masters (did you know that yet?) and how that would impact our lives, plus some other things that I was feeling quite unnerved about. I'm not the kind that relishes and looks forward to change. I'm VERY happy to maintain the status quo in many ways. But God isn't like that. He knows the status quo, if left alone for long enough, will create stagnancy in our lives, so He created life to be constantly changing - whether we like it or not! So, back in June after I read about the "string of pearls" I felt inspired to actually make a necklace that represented some of the "pearls" in my life - steps of faith or times I recall God at work in my life.

That, by the way, is my beautiful daughter and the necklace (which she helped me make) looks much better on her than it did on the table. : ) I made it with her and we talked about things I remembered God doing in my life, times I was afraid and trusted God to help me, or times I didn't know what to do and God led me. Each one of those beads represents something special to me... when I asked Jesus into my heart, trusting God for the money to go to FPC, trips to Mexico, marrying Lowell, praying and hoping and waiting (years) for a baby, each of my kids, church, retreats... just to name a few. I wrote them all down so I won’t forget and I wear it. I wear it on days when I need to REMEMBER that God is faithful and I don't have to worry about the future that I can't figure out. I wear it when I need a tangible, touchable reminder of God’s plan being worked out in my life. And I love it when people ask me about it because I can tell them what it is and hopefully encourage them, too.

And by the way, I’ve given up on figuring out what God has planned for my future – or at least the near future – and how He’s going to accomplish whatever it is that He’s planned. I’ve wondered quite a bit this summer (okay, obsessed) about where He’s taking us and none of it has (yet) turned out like I expected. So for now, I’m just going to keep reminding myself that God knows the plans He has for me. And I don't need to know it all. (SIGH.) Just like He knew how each trial and blessing in my life was preparing me for now, He knows what’s next and what’s down the road. I intentionally left the necklace with extra space and tied so I can add to it as time goes by because I know there will be more to remember and share. But for now, I'll keep remembering and holding on to what I know... He is faithful. He is good. And He knows what He's doing.

Keep walking by faith...


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Well hi!

Just wanted to say hello to you all after a month of bloggy silence! This has been quite a month... camping, first days of school for Mikaela, Toby AND Lowell... lots of stuff! This morning I got to go to a Beth Moore simulcast event (she was in Green Bay... it was broadcast live in over 500 satellite locations) and I was SO blessed. God spoke to me about so many things I REALLY needed to hear right now.
One of the last things Beth said was to keep speaking faith to each other. You know how there are times when we need a shoulder to cry on or someone to nod along in understanding... but other times, we need a sister or brother to just speak some FAITH to us! I know I need that right now. I'm sick of whining and feeling sorry for myself and really don't need anyone else to join me in feeling sorry for me. I need people to get in my face and speak the truth (in love, of course!) and remind me of what I know already!
Can any of you relate?
Well, I'm thinking that this blog is one way I can throw some faith out there in someone's direction... maybe even just back at myself. : ) But either way, I'm hoping to be sharing some more soon about what God's showing me. He's doing some deep cleaning in my heart these days and it's not pretty... but I know it's needed. And I know He's good.
What's He been teaching you lately? Any words of faith to share? I'd love to hear it...
See ya soon (maybe even with some pictures!),

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Times are In Your Hands

Time flies when you’re having fun. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives. They grow up so fast! Sunrise, Sunset… Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow! Time is money. Time is tickin’ and time’s a wastin’! Carpe diem! We are a people obsessed and uncomfortable with TIME. It either goes by too quickly or not fast enough. We either regret or long for the past while we are worried about or impatient for the future. We’re running late and determined to stay awake as long as possible (thank you, Starbucks!) so we can squeeze every second of life out of every day. We sing about it, muse about it, waste it (thank you, Facebook!), talk and whine about it. (When did they get so big??? How is it already the end of July???) Maybe it’s not the whole human “race.” Maybe it’s just me. But a Google search for “time management” brings up 223 million results. A search on just the word “time”? 3.5 Billion! So apparently I’m not the only one. I am NOT a good time manager. I’m not good at keeping scrapbooks or remembering things and it makes my heart ache when I think of how fast my kids are growing up and how much I’ve already forgotten about their younger years. I feel like I’ve been going through the last several years with my heels digging into the ground, trying desperately to SLOW THIS WORLD DOWN! Stop the sun! Slow down the clock! Slow down the calendar! Stop already with the growing! I can’t keep up! Well… I’m done. I quit. Time, you win. I won’t fight you anymore. I can’t manage you. I can’t slow you down or speed you up. BUT I CAN, with Christ’s strength, learn to live with you as my friend instead of my foe. I will stop wasting my today’s missing the past and worrying about the future. I’m going to learn to live “for such a time as this.” I asked God to show me His truth about time and found many familiar verses. “He has made everything beautiful in its time… ” (Ecc. 3:11) “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” (Isaiah 43:18) “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt. 6:34) It’s pretty obvious that mourning over the past and dreading the future are not God’s plan for my day to day life. But the real surprise came when I found myself again in Genesis 1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light… God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.” (Gen 1:1, 3, 5) There you have it! The first day. All in just the first 5 verses of the Bible. But He wasn’t done! On days 2 & 3, He created the seas and plants as unmistakable reminders of the passing seconds and seasons, all counting down, as it were, to the end of this world as we know it. But in case we didn’t notice, on the fourth day He also created “lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night” to “serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years.” (Gen 1:14). One of the first things God created was time. And He called it good! It isn’t evil or meant to steal my joy. With the Psalmist I will choose to say “But I trust in You, O LORD; I say ‘You are my God.’ MY TIMES ARE IN YOUR HANDS...” (Psalm 31:14-15a) God wants me to trust Him with how time passes and rejoice! It’s all counting down to His triumphant return! When I see my children growing up and I’m shocked that it’s time to turn the calendar again, I want to learn to say, “Hallelujah!” I am that much closer to seeing Him face to Face! “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “Who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8) Whether we like it or not, He is the King of the ages and He is returning soon! (Rev. 22:7) As I learn to see my past and my family and my future in the light of eternity, I find a whole new contentment and purpose and perspective as I agree with what my mom always said: This too shall pass! “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” I trust in You, O Lord. You are my God. My times are in Your hands. And I’m glad.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Where am I?

Getting through another transition (school to summer)... Surrounded by laundry... Trying to ignore the state of the kids' bathroom... Looking forward to Mik and Toby going to VBS this week... Still searching for a renter for our condo... Thankful for all the great dads in my life... In love with my husband... On my way to bed soon... In God's hands and always in His sight.

Psalm 121 I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. He's got His eye on you, too. : )

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Grand Finales!

What a week this has been!!! Thursday was Mikaela's last day of school and just in time, on Tuesday she made it into the Million Word Club at her school!!! That means she read over a million words this school year! Just to give you an idea what an accomplishment that is, the goal for 2nd graders is to read 75,000 words by the end of the year and only one other 2nd grader made it into the Million Word Club this year. (Yes, I am extremely proud of my little bilingual girl!!! Sorry, I can't help it!!!) Here she is getting her MWC shirt from the principal Wed. morning in front of the whole school:
With her teacher...
The front says: READ?
The back: I DO!
THEN, yesterday we all got to go down to the Fresno County Superior Courthouse and finalize our adoption of Timothy!!! It means he is officially, forever ours and we are so happy do be done with that part of the process. (We still have a few formalities like applying for his soc. sec. card and registering at the Thai embassy sometime, but the legal stuff is done! YAY!) After the court ceremony we celebrated at Timothy's Grandad and Grandma's house with lunch and lots of fun!
Waiting outside for our turn...

The Jury... : )

We're done! Our Finally Official Family!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Can't Find the Words

Well, there is a lot going on in my head and heart these days and every once in a while I think about blogging about it all and I keep not doing it because I'm not sure what to say. It's also probably because much of what's going on has to do with resting more and being still more. Sometimes that means blogging less. Hopefully soon I will have the words to explain some of what God is doing in my heart. But for now, I will just say IT IS VERY GOOD. You might remember that back at the beginning of March I talked (in this post) about the chaos that has been drowning me for so very long and how badly I needed God to speak and let there be light in my darkness and confusion. PRAISE GOD, He is answering my pleas and doing something DEEP and I hope PERMANENT in my heart and mind in this area. He is breaking through!!! Yay!!!

Genesis 1:1-4 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness."

: ) The light is GOOD. And the tide is coming in. : )

Sunday, May 03, 2009

God is Still Good

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all...” Psalm 34:18-19 Sigh... This has been a heart-breaking week. I won't explain it all because it isn't my story to tell, but some dear friends of mine have had one of the hardest weeks imaginable - literally... I have been honored enough to sit with them through some of it and as I have prayed for them and cried for them, these words have echoed through my thoughts: "God is still God and God is still good." No matter what happens or how things appear, that Truth will never, ever change. The other night, I wrote the words to a song - for my friends and anyone else who might need it - for me when I need it. I hope they encourage you wherever and whenever you might need it, too.

God is Still Good God says He never changes His promises are Truth Even while the storm still rages And we’re searching for proof As faithful as the sun is to rise And the seasons are to change When all other hope is gone This eternal hope remains God is still God And God is still good When all you see is darkness Though your heart’s been torn in two You will find the strength to believe Walk by faith and not by sight In the middle of the winter And in the darkest night Hold on to what you know with all of your might God is still God And God is still good Even when you don’t understand His ways, His “hows”, His “whys” You can count on His love Don’t you dare listen to the lies God is faithful and He’s loving God’s Word is always true God is able, God is holy God is always, always with you He will hold you, He will help you He will quiet you with His love He will carry you, He will heal you His grace is more than enough God is still God And God is still good The sun is going to rise (and Joy comes in the morning!) And Spring will come anew God will give you strength to believe To walk by faith and not by sight His strong arms will hold you All through the darkest night Hold on to what you know with all of your might God is still God And God is still good You can trust Him because He loves you You can rest in His strength God is still God And God is still good

Written by M. E. 5.1.09

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bringing In The Tide...

Hello friends!!! As always, I have way more I would love to tell you than I am going to be able to right now. So for now I'm going to stick with explaining my new blog title/theme. : ) It all started a couple of years ago with an ice-breaker question. "If you were a sea creature what would you be and why?" I decided I would be a sea turtle because in some areas of my life I feel as free and graceful as a sea turtle in the ocean and in other parts of life I feel like a sea turtle plodding along on the beach in the sand. : ) For example, today was a day of life "in the ocean." I got to lead worship this morning at church, got to challenge and encourage people (and see them respond! Woohoo!), then spent the afternoon in a leadership meeting for church with people that I LOVE talking about what God's doing in our church. Today was just sweet. : ) Tomorrow, however, will be life "on the sand." My house is a mess. The laundry is piling up all over the place. The floors are sticky and crumby. And I have other things to try to get done aside from pulling the house back together. I have struggled through the years with housework, time management in general and have many times gotten overwhelmed by it all. One day as I was pondering the "sea turtle" feeling and how hard it was for me "on the sand" I heard God whisper to me to "Bring the tide in..." Ahhh... I knew what He was saying. Bring the spiritual stuff INTO the mundane. PRAY when I'm doing the dishes. WORSHIP when I'm folding the laundry. SPEND TIME fellowshipping with God throughout the day. So for me that's what "Bringing in the Tide" means... learning how to view everything from the perspective of bringing God glory, no matter what I'm doing. I'm still learning a lot... but you know me. I'll be back to tell you about it!!! : ) Bless you all this week!!! Remember Jesus loves you so much more than you have ANY idea or ability to comprehend... : ) Love, Melissa

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Well if you're reading this on my blog (and not in Google reader or something like that) you might see that things look a little different. I'm playing around with changing the look (and title!) of my blog and it got goofed up and I don't have time to do anything else, so for now (after I change just ONE more thing...) I'm just going to leave it alone and hopefully this weekend I'll have some time to work on it because I'll be at the coast with my hubby celebrating our 13th anniversary WITHOUT OUR CHILDREN and it seems very logical that I would spend some of my free ttime playing with my blog. Ideally, while I'm sitting on the beach listening to the waves. (Though I suspect the wind would blow sand into my keyboard and that would not be good... so maybe not on the beach.) Can I just tell you I can't wait????? Not to work on my blog... to get away! It's been a year since we've gone anywhere without the kids and while I love them dearly, I am really ready for a little time away - and I know I'll love them even more when I come home. : ) And I can't wait to spend some time reminiscing with my hubby about when we got engaged and stuff like that (b/c that's where we're going!) Maybe I'll see you there...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Tree, A Curtain & A Stone

Once upon a time, a couple thousand years ago, a seed was planted… surely by the very hands of God. The Father, Son and Spirit must have formed this seed carefully, intently watching it fall to the ground, to be covered with earth and die so that it could live and grow. For this would be no ordinary tree. It would grow straight and strong and someday be cut down… to be raised up again so that the Son of Man could die upon it for you and me. It must have been a holy moment when the seed first opened beneath the ground, beginning to reach for the sun and the sky… And to this day it still points to the Son. I wonder. Did Jesus know? Did he ever walk by that tree and know it was the one? Was it already growing the night the angels appeared to the shepherds singing “Glory to God in the highest!”? Did it grow like a silent keeper of the time that was passing, of the time that was coming when Jesus would fulfill the prophecies and shed His blood so that we could be forgiven and one with the Father? For long before the seed was planted, a curtain was hung in the temple. Woven under the watchful eye of God by skilled hands, it stood as a symbol of the separation between God and man. Sacrifices were offered. Blood was shed. The merciful Father forgave, but knew that one day, the curtain would be torn! Not by human hands bent on destruction or even the passing of time, but by the mighty hands of God as Jesus cried “It is finished!” God reached down from heaven and tore the curtain in two from top to bottom! How He must have longed for that day to come! How all of heaven and hell must have been awestruck at the death of Christ giving way to this! The removal of the separation between God and man! The price was paid for all! Hallelujah!!! But those who loved Him didn’t understand. They didn’t know. And they came searching. Grieving. Mourning. They didn’t know that when the foundations of the world were laid, a stone was formed... a stone that would seal the tomb of its Creator, only to be rolled away on the 3rd day! The beloved women and astonished disciples came and saw that huge stone, rolled away to reveal the empty tomb and the fulfilled promise that Jesus would rise again. And they believed! The stone was rolled away. The curtain was torn. The tree had served its purpose. It was finished. And Jesus was alive!
The Matthew 27: 50-54
"And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, 'Surely he was the Son of God!' "

Friday, April 03, 2009

A Hiding Place (Scripture Memory verse #7!)

My next memory verse/passage (as part of this) is Psalm 91. Yeah, the whole thing. I actually had it memorized several years ago, but it's been buried under all the mommy things in my head (hah! I have piles of stuff lost in my head just like in my house!) SO, in light of the intensity of life these last few weeks, God and I agreed it would be good to re-memorize it! I just wanted to share a couple of things I have already gotten out of studying the first two verses. It's neat (to me, anyway!) that in the first 2 verses alone, 4 of God's names are used by the Psalmist. I love that! Here is verse 1 with some other meanings of the words in ( ). 1 He who dwells (remain, sit, abide, inhabit) in the shelter (covering, hiding place, secrecy) of the Most High (Elyown – the Most High God) will rest (lodge, stop over, pass the night) in the shadow (shade) of the Almighty. (El Shaddai – almighty, most powerful) I just love this image. Sitting (makes me think of how hard it is for me to sit still…) or dwelling – staying in the hiding place of the Most High God… It’s not just a shelter, but a secret hiding place! I LOVE THAT… maybe because I feel so surrounded and watched by the enemy right now, the idea of having a hiding place in God seems like something I’m desperate for. So if I stay in the Most High’s hiding place, I will rest – pit stop! – in the Almighty El Shaddai’s shadow. I love the picture of being hidden in His huge shadow. Ahhh... 2 I will say (speak, utter) of the LORD (Jehovah - Yahweh), "He is my refuge (shelter – from elements or danger) and my fortress (stronghold), my God (Elohim), in whom I trust (trust in, be confident, to be bold, to be secure, to feel safe, be careless.)" God continues to put me (or allow me into) situations where my faith is tested and I am challenged to TRUST HIM. The other day I was at my old college without my kids and I stopped in at our old prayer chapel. It was the strangest thing to open those doors and walk into this little old building and feel like I had walked back into 1994. Same carpet, same smell, same pews, same pictures on the walls... That place is so special to so many people that I don't think anyone will ever let it be updated or modernized. I walked up to the front and found a binder from the years I was a student there. It contained prayers people had written, including some of mine. I found a few and one... well, let's just say it could have been written by me today. I was getting ready to graduate and nervous about the future and the change that was looming on the horizon. What's funny is that I had NO IDEA what really was in store for me in the months following that entry (some of you know what I'm talking about) but GOD KNEW. Even then He was calling me to trust Him and I knew that I could and had to. And HE WAS SO VERY FAITHFUL. I'm in another one of those places right now. Change is looming on the horizon and it's quite scary for me. I was so struck the other day by how much and how little has changed in the last 15 years. I still struggle with trust... but God continues to be faithful. He always will. I wonder if trusting ever gets easy. I sort of think that when trusting Him with some things gets easy, He just finds new things for us to trust Him with. Because if it wasn't hard, would it really be trust? I don't quite know how to explain what I mean... maybe because I need to go to bed. Maybe because it can't really be captured in words. But either way, I'm thankful for Psalm 91 and what God is reminding me through it. My job is to rest in Him and trust Him. His job is to protect me when I do. And I know He will.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring Fever

The trees are blooming (achoo!) , the sun is shining , I'm procrastinating (it's so hard to pay bills on a beautiful day like this!) and we are now the proud owners of 6 baby chickens! The kids each picked out two (Timothy had some help) and are enjoying watching (and playing with) them. It will be an interesting adventure. : ) Hopefully at least some of them are female so we'll get some eggs in a few months. If we end up with any roosters we'll have to send them out the my sister's farm. : ) (Where they will live happily with the other chickens, ducks, geese, goats, cats and cows.)
Look to me like hours of entertainment for the children... and trauma for the chickens! : )
Spring also means it's almost MCC Sale time and the playhouse is just about ready to be auctioned off! My hubby is so talented it's just amazing. : ) You all can feel free to come to the sale and bid on the playhouse next Saturday at noon! All of the proceeds go for disaster relief around the world. Can't beat that!

Happy Spring everyone!!!!! : )

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Will Give You Rest...

I'm so glad my God is a God who hears me when I cry to Him. As you probably saw in my last post, I've been feeling very tired lately. God has been continuing to call me to REST IN HIM, but I was having trouble figuring out how to do that. It seems that when I get wound up and tense, I just have no idea how to unwind myself, even if I want to. So, again, I am thankful for a God who chooses to quiet me with His love (Zephaniah 3:17?). Have I ever told you about my friend Lisa? I met her many years ago when her son, who is now in high school, was a hilarious student in my Kindergarten class. She had prayed for God to put him in just the right class, and He did. I loved her son. He added a lot of spice to my days. : ) But what neither of us had any idea about was how God was beginning a friendship between us that would be a GIFT for years to come. I love thinking back on the day when Diego was still in my class and she brought me a banana - because God told her to. : ) She wrote something on it... but I can't remember what. And I know she was a little disappointed, I think expecting me to say something about how I had just been praying for a banana! or something like that. : ) I just thought it was sweet and I appreciated it - but the real fruit of it was that I knew she was someone who listened to God. And that was significant. Anyway, several years ago we started praying together and eventually started praying together once a week at 5:30AM at my house. We never had an official agenda or format, other than inviting God's presence to be with us and telling the enemy to stay away and asking the Holy Spirit to speak to us about whatever we needed to hear from Him about. Then we just talk with God. We talk to each other some, but are really most interested in what God has to say. We listen to Him and through the years the time He has done SO MUCH stuff in our hearts I can't begin to tell you about it all. He is SO faithful to reveal what's really going on in our hearts and heads and what the TRUTH really is and when we agree with Him, so much freedom comes! I can absolutely say we are both very different people today because of what God has done in us during those sweet, sweet times. In the last year or so we've invited a few others to join us and it's been even better. The reason I even mention all that is to share what He showed me this last week. I was so tired and worn out from all of my worrying and God graciously took me in His arms and filled me with peace. I was just enjoying resting in His arms when Lisa had to keep praying asking the Holy Spirit to reveal any lies I was believing. I sort of ignored her because I was just enjoying Jesus at the moment. But then I started hearing the lie: you can't rest or relax because you're going to forget something! Something's going to fall through the cracks! That's what I had been believing and what had been keeping me from resting in Him. As I shared with her what I was thinking, I explained it was as if I couldn't sleep because I had to stay on watch, as if there wasn't anyone else to take the shift and what would happen if I let my guard down? Knowing even as I was saying it that God was reminding me that He never stops watching and I CAN let my guard down and rest because He's on duty. : ) Just the day before, Jennifer had sent me a verse on Facebook. It was Psalm 121:1-2. That morning with Lisa and I read Psalm 121 again and it was SO CLEARLY connected to what God was saying to me. Later that morning, I looked up some of the words from it and there are 6 times (in only 8 verses) where God says He watches over us, over my coming and going, etc. In other words, He's got my back. : ) The Hebrew word implies He's on guard duty so I can rest. So this half of March I'm memorizing Psalm 121 and thanking God for bringing me to a place of rest once again. Life is still sort of chaotic around me, but I'm feeling peace in the middle of the storm. Hallelujah!
Psalm 121
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Break Through!

Hi friends! Just a couple of thoughts to share before I have to get my children fed and Timothy down for a nap. First of all, my husband and I are in a really challenging place in life right now. Don't worry... our marriage is fine. : ) But God is challenging us (and the enemy is joining in) and we could really use your prayers as we seek to walk by faith and not by sight or leaning on our own understanding. If you want to know more, you can email or call me. : ) But it sort of leads me to my second thought... How hard do I try to keep blogging? You've probably noticed I haven't been writing as much lately... certainly not for lack of stuff to talk about. There is SO much I'd love to share here, but I'm debating about whether or not I have time or if it's worth it. If it's just so I can keep a small handful of you informed of my life, I'd be just as happy (or happier) to chat with you more often on the phone! But IF there ARE more of you out there who would be sad if I quit blogging because you are somehow encouraged by the things I share, would you consider letting me know? (Comment, email or call me!) It might make a difference in whether or not I continue at this busy juncture in life. And if you do want me to keep blogging, would you also pray that God would help me know when in my week it fits in? My weeks are fuller than ever before and I'm not sure where the time to blog is. I promise I won't feel bad if I don't hear from you. I'll just take it as confirmation that I can stop for now and continue to focus on other things. : ) I hope I don't sound like I'm whining because I'm not... I'm just trying to be honest. : ) I know God is faithful and will never leave us or forsake us and that His grace is unfailingly powerful and abundant and available to us. I'm dealing with uncertainty and fear, but know that God is going to break through and our faith will be strengthened in the process. Last night I wrote a song - inspired by a time of prayer at the retreat and by reading the book of Micah (and some other stuff.) I'll leave you for today with the words from the song and pray God will break through wherever You need Him to in your life as well... BREAK THROUGH I am weak, I am weary You say, “Come! And I’ll give you rest” (Matt. 11:28) So I’m coming, giving all my burdens to You Show me how to let go Teach me Lord how to learn from You (Matt 1:28-30) You’re my Shepherd, and I want to follow You (Micah 5:4) But sometimes it seems like I’m locked up inside The walls are too strong and I can’t find the light In all Your strength and majesty and greatness… (Micah 5:4) Come and break through! (Micah 2:13) Lord Jesus, how I need You to Break through all the walls, shatter the darkness Break through I long to be free! And I have no strength on my own But with Your Spirit, I am filled with power and might (Micah 3:8) “All the nations may walk in the name of their gods We will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.” (Micah 4:5) Come and break through! Lord Jesus, oh I know You Will break through all the walls, shatter the darkness You’re gonna break through “But as for me, I watch in hope I wait for God my Savior; My God will hear me… Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.” (Micah 7:7-8) “Enemy, don’t gloat over me!” (Micah 7:8) Lord Jesus, You are my peace (Micah 5:5) Oh God, speak and let there be Light! (Genesis 1:3) I will not be afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken. (Micah 4:4) 3.13.09

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

March Memory Passage #1

Sorry this isn't a fabulous retreat recap. While our retreat was AMAZING because God is AMAZING, since coming home I've been back to life and it's challenges and God is wanting to do some Spring Cleaning in my heart and head (and apparently, my house.) Genesis 1:1-4
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness.
I picked this passage because I feel so out of control with my house and "time management." My weakness in this area is consuming me and draining me in a ridiculous way. If you have struggled in this area, you might know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, all of my most wordy and elaborate explanations will never really be able to help you understand my dilemma. So just trust me that it's bad. The Hebrew words that describe what the earth was like in verse 2 imply that the earth was chaos and I feel like I'm living in chaos. I know it's not that bad compared to some people. I know it's not so bad that I can't have people over. I'm not beating myself up here. I just know how much it affects me and my family and I SO want to be done with it. I have tried and tried and made progress but still struggle. Life is fuller (and in MANY ways more wonderful) (and more challenging) than ever around here and I'm thankful for that, but it's making it even more obvious that i NEED God to speak Light and Truth into my chaos. And I'm going to ask Him to do that and expect Him to do that. It's what I "preached" about at the retreat! Trusting God's grace to do the work in our hearts because we can't do it with our efforts... We have to approach Him in humility and confidence in His ability and desire to do what we cannot do. Whether it's set us free from our sin or help us in our weakness. His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in my weakness and that's what I'm after. So now you know. : )

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Poor Hawaii and Vermont...

I just read on the Target website (the part where you find a store location) that there are currently no stores in Hawaii or Vermont. Just in case you were thinking of moving to either of those states, I thought you should know. (And to think I complain that there isn't a Target within a mile from my house!) : ) Melissa

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Home and Happy : )

Hey everyone... Just wanted to let you know I'm home and so thrilled with all God did this weekend! He just lavished His love and His grace on us! It was wonderful and I thank you so very, very, sincerely much for your prayers. My kids are still a little sick and we're all tired, but I'm happy. : ) More info later... Love, Melissa

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Women's Retreat Countdown!

Hi friends!  Sorry for the lack of blog activity here, but I’ve been busy taking care of coughing children and getting ready for our church’s Women’s Retreat that is THIS weekend!  Woohoo!  I wish every one of you (the girls, anyway!) could come…  I know God is going to meet us and speak to us and bless us and I’m so incredibly excited to get to speak and share all that God has shown me about His truly amazing GRACE and trusting Him.


I would absolutely still be so grateful for your prayers as I finish getting ready, gathering my notes and other stuff to take, prepping my family and home for my absence for the weekend, etc.  My heart aches to leave Timothy for the first time, but I KNOW that God has been preparing him and Lowell for this weekend.  Timothy is so much more bonded to Lowell than either Mikaela or Toby were at this age!  I know they’ll be fine, but I still wonder a bit how he will react to me being gone.  I’m trusting God to be sovereign over it all – as well as how tired I will be at the end of it.  I’m grateful that it doesn’t look (yet!) like there will be a repeat of last year when I got the stomach flu 2 days before the retreat (please God!).


This is such a dream coming true to be able to speak to my sisters…  I can’t wait to see what God has in store for each one of us.  Myself included.  I already feel so blessed by what I’ve learned in preparing for this and I know there is so much more!  Thanks for your prayers for me and everyone else that will be there and all of our families…  Pray that every word I say would be what God wants me to say and nothing more or less.  And that He would use it to speak to our hearts like only He can do.


I’ll give you a report when I get home!


J, Melissa


Saturday, February 07, 2009

25 Random Things about Me

On a lighter note, I just posted this on Facebook (I wrote it while I was sick this week... and in case you've been wondering, we are all finally well!!!!!) Anyway, I thought I'd post this here too... Just for fun! 1. I LOVE WORDS. I love talking, singing, reading, blogging, writing, word games… but I am especially talking about studying words and what they mean – especially words from the Bible. Finding out what the original Greek and Hebrew words meant (before they were translated into English) is like treasure hunting for me! I love it!!! 2. My first job was working the cash register at McDonald’s. Job #2 was at Domino’s Pizza where I answered phones, put people on hold (“ThankyouforcallingDomino’sPizza,willyouholdplease?”) and learned how to juggle with over-proofed pizza dough. 3. I played the clarinet from 4th grade through my Jr. year of high school and learned to play guitar in college so I could play and sing at the same time! But the instrument I love the most is piano. I hope someday to play better… but piano’s are definitely not as portable as guitars! 4. I speak Spanish well enough that I used to help lead worship in Spanish at church and teach Kindergartners and first graders in Spanish when I was a teacher before Mikaela was born. 5. I have a big mouth, but I prefer to say I have a “big smile” and I DON’T do the wide-mouthed frog joke anymore and haven’t since I was in college. So don’t ask. (I don’t stick my fist in my mouth anymore either.) 6. I have ADD. I can’t think when I’m stressed and I’m disorganized and almost always late, can’t judge how long things will take to do, can’t remember things, get obsessed about things and distracted very, very easily. Sometimes it’s sort of like my brain has a mind of its own. 7. I write music/songs and love to share it/them when someone asks or there’s an occasion for it, but I rarely just volunteer. 8. Spring is my absolute favorite season – the world comes back to life and the sun returns!!! 9. The first thing I remember about my husband Lowell was seeing his picture on a “Get Lowell a Date” fundraiser can at the snack bar in college my freshman year – and I thought whoever he was, he much have a good sense of humor to let his friends do that to him. (Or he had some funny friends – I was right on both.) J 10. I love sitting at the beach, listening to and watching the waves. Could do it for hours. 11. I love being in the mountains – especially near water. My favorite spot in the mountain world is the lookout over Kings Canyon just before you get into Hume Lake… Breathtaking!!! 12. I can’t believe I’m only half-way through with this list. 13. I don’t like big cities. Wouldn’t ever pick a big city to go to for a vacation… (Thankfully, my husband feels the same way.) 14. I love to bake but don’t like to cook. Too many things to do at once and too many decisions (and mistakes!) to make. And it rarely turns out the way I want it to. 15. But I make a really good chicken pot pie - from scratch! 16. I don’t like making decisions! The thing that has been stressing me about this 25 things list? That I have to decide who to tag at the end. (And do I check to see if they’ve done it already? Does it matter??? I don’t have that much time…) 17. I love carbs, but carbs don’t love me. 18. My husband still brings me flowers. : ) And I love him so much that one of these days he’s going to get his own list of 25 things I love about him because I could go on and on… 19. I love my kids and think they’re the greatest kids in the world – and I don’t take any of the credit for it. 20. I can’t keep my house clean. I thank God for and how she taught me to at least keep my laundry and dishes mostly under control. I’ll get the rest eventually! 21. I am NOT a morning person and never will be. 22. I am NOT a cat person and never will be. (I was bitten by a cat once…) 23. You can tell what kind of mood I’m in by how much I’m talking. The happier I am the harder it is for me to stop talking. : ) If I’m quiet, something’s probably bothering me. 24. My dream is to someday get to speak regularly at women’s conferences and retreats and meetings – to tell them all the amazing true things about Jesus – and to be on staff somewhere where I can do prayer ministry/counseling and help women live their lives in the FREEDOM God wants for them! 25. While I live and when I die I want to be known as God’s Friend – Someone who walked with Him… I love Him so, so much. THE END!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

I'm Memorizing Luke 12:48...

For the LPM Scripture Memory Challenge (go! join! do it!) we're memorizing a different passage of the Bible (we each choose our own) on the 1st and 15th of every month. This is #3! OK. This one is intense! I was just writing about it in my journal, so I'm just going to paste here the verse and what I wrote about it. “But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48 I was sort of scared to choose (or accept?) that verse as it feels a bit intimidating to live out. I have been aware for some time now of how great of a spiritual inheritance I have and just how much (I’m sure I don’t really even know the half of it) I have been given by God and so many others who have invested in my life. I know that I am RICH spiritually and my job is to share as much of the wealth as I possibly can. I HAVE been given much and entrusted with much… and I know that part of what I’ve been given is God’s grace for the tasks He’s called me to. In the next 2½ weeks as I finish getting ready for the women’s retreat, I am going to be challenged to believe that I have been entrusted with and given enough to do what God is calling me to do. (I'm still not completely over my fever thing and the kids definitely aren't either!) Is it possible that He’s made it too hard for me? That I won’t be able to do what He’s asking of me? Not according to God’s word! He is asking much more than I think I am able, but He is not asking me to do more than He will enable me to do BY HIS GRACE. And isn’t that exactly what I’m talking about? This is going to be perhaps the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced (that I can think of) where I had to trust God entirely AND give it my all without it turning into striving. Teach me how to do that, Lord, as I’m not sure that I’ve ever succeeded in this before! But I know we can do it together. You have given me much and others have given me much and it is right that much be expected of me. But I know I can’t do it without You. Help me Lord! I know You will. : )

Friday, January 30, 2009

Little House in the Suburbs: The Fever Episode

Last Wednesday Toby came down with what I'm now calling "The Five Day Fever." He spent hours that day on the couch with a fever and chills. (Thankfully this one skips the stomach!) While the first day was definitely the worst, he had a fever off and on for the next 5 days! Close to 104 at some points. It finally broke Sunday night and he's been fine since. Yay.

I tend to think that I am immune to the illnesses my kids catch because I hardly ever get sick. Apparently, I should have been more careful last week because by Wednesday this week, I was feeling achy and cold and tired and by evening I had my own fever. And a few hours later Timothy had one, too. And this morning Mikaela came down with it! Lowell is the only healthy one left. Last night Timothy (also known as Fever Boy) (who is also getting 4 molars in right now, thankyouverymuch) woke up about 10 times (I'm not even kidding) so I was not the happiest camper when morning rolled around and my temp was still 102. Fever Boy unfortunately doesn't sleep or nap well when he's sick. Big bummer. Cause I'd really like a nice nap right now!

But I've been surviving and even thinking we could all just camp out with our blankets and make some memories together as we all lay around feeling cold and tired and achy. Around lunchtime, though, everyone was hungry and grumpy and Fever Boy was crying and I almost started crying myself. Not the kind of memories I was hoping for! I made it out of the recliner to go make lunch and saw on my windowsill the verse I'm memorizing right now. Ahem.

"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in persecutions, in hardships, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
I'm still working, especially on days like this, on not feeling sorry for myself. It's amazing to me that Paul was able to say He delighted in his weaknesses and all the other persecutions he suffered. Amazing. I told God I was having trouble delighting in feeling sick with 2 sick kids but remembered what I have been learning about God's grace as I prepare for our women's retreat (in 3 weeks!) See where it says "My grace is sufficient for you"? Well, that word "sufficient" means far more than we usually think. The Greek word it's translated from actually means "to be possessed with unfailing strength." WOW. His grace is possessed with unfailing strength and that strength is perfected in my weakness. (It makes sense especially considering how many times Paul refers to strength and power in the following sentences.) I'm wishing I had more time and energy this week to work on my talks for the retreat, but I'm trusting God's grace to be unfailingly strong in my weakness.

As I made lunch in my nice 20th century kitchen, I started thinking about Ma Ingalls and all the feverish children she tended with everlasting grace and patience (she was amazing-esp on TV!) and about how I don't have to cut wood for fires or do laundry in the snow or medicate my kids with quinine and what-have-you and I don't have to worry about hungry wolves or plagues... We just have a Five Day Fever and Tylenol and Motrin and lots of blankets and a heater and Kleenex and refrigerators and couches and soft pillows a house with insulation and in a few days this will all be a memory. And in a couple of hours my husband is coming home and I'll get a nap. And God's grace is unfailingly strong.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Work In Progress... (With Pictures!)

12:05 pm: Our friend Todd came over today to build a playhouse with Lowell to donate to the MCC Sale in a couple of months. It will be auctionned off along with a lot of other items and the proceded go to relief projects all over the world. It's a really fun event that we have attended and spent money at since we were in college. It's a tradition! But this is the first project they've attempted to donate, so I thought it seemed like a great opportunity to take some pictures and even attempt to blog about their progress while it's happening! (I'm feeling quite ambitious... or avoiding paying bills and doing the dishes. You decide.) Here's how it's going so far.

And here's how the kids are helping. : ) Be sure to check back later and see how things go and to find out whether or not Brownie (our other dog) comes back since he took the opportunity when the gate was open and nobody was looking to wander off! Mikaela said, "That's the end of Brownie, I guess." : ) (I doubt it...)

2:15pm: The men are at Home Depot, Timothy is asleep, the older kids are watching WordGirl (Thank you Tivo & Thank you PBS!), the dishes are done and Brownie is back in the yard where he belongs. And the house now looks like this:

It has also crossed my mind to wonder where this playhouse is going to sit for the next 2 months before the MCC Sale actually occurs... Hmmmmm.....

Next task: the bills!

7:17pm: They're done for the day... kids are getting ready for bed, I'm getting dinner cleaned up and ready for church tomorrow where I get to lead worship - with a sore throat and a voice that may or may not work with me tomorrow (I called in some extra back up in case my voice is a no show in the morning...) Apparently the house is going to be a resident of our breezeway for the next couple of months. There's still more to do, including painting which I've been informed has been delegated to Sandra (Todd's wife) and me, and nobody wants to move it more than once. I can't blame them. What I can't figure out, though, is why they started it so early. They OBVIOUSLY aren't as committed to procrastination as I am. Go figure!

A few more pictures of the helpers...

(Don't worry... Todd used to be an EMT and Lowell took the screwdriver away right after I took this picture.)

THE END (for now.)

Happy Saturday!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Heeeeeeyyyyy O!

When you have a nickname like "O", you notice that people say "Oh!" a lot, you enjoy singing Angels We Have Heard on High (especially the chorus... Gloooooooooooooooria...) and you inspire people to do their best Harry Belafonte imitations. Timothy (or O, as we still often call him) even gets in on it. He does a really cute "Ayyy O!" that I really need to get on video one of these days! So one day back a few months ago we went searching for the famous Banana Boat Song to play it for our kids (OK... it was probably Lowell... not "we") and this is what we (I mean HE) found. We've watched it many, many times since and I thought that after the dreary weather we've had around here lately and in many other parts of the country that this would be a fitting moment of sunshine for you. Enjoy!!! I'll be back soon with more ponderings... Smiles & Smooches, Melissa

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly...

Remember that song? Then she swallowed a spider to catch the fly... Well, this afternoon that's what I almost did. Swallow a spider, that is. I have a big plastic mug with a lid THAT DOESN'T CLOSE that I use for water and apparently a spider decided to investigate it and drowned inside. I only know that because when I was getting ready to make dinner I took a drink and felt something weird and non-water-like in my mouth. I spit it out and it was a spider. Then I spit some more. And some more. (Mikaela thought it was quite funny.) At least it appeared to already be dead and it wasn't very big. I don't know what I would have done if it had been big and alive! Yikes! (And yuck!) Now aren't you glad I shared that with you? And can I advise you to check your next lidded beverage for spiders before you take a drink? You might thank me someday. (I wonder how long it will be before I stop checking my drinks for spiders...) So... what else have I been doing other than almost swallowing spiders, you ask? Well, trying to use my time wisely, for one thing, because it seems to be in scarce supply these days. It seems that the famous "supply and demand" principle applies to time, too. Since Timothy joined our family, it seems that I have less free time than I used to. And since I started helping out with worship at church in December, I have even less time. (I have been really leading worship, though. And I enjoy having Timothy around too. : ) Even if he is perfecting the "Mommmeeeeeee" plea.) Well, aside from taking care of my wonderful family and helping at church on Sundays, I have also been preparing for our upcoming 3rd annual Grove Community Church women's retreat! It's coming up February 20-22 (in case any of you want to join us!!!) AND I have the absolute privilege and honor of getting to speak at 3 of the 4 sessions!!! I am extremely excited and hopefully I'll take some time in the coming weeks to share with you what I'm studying and learning in preparation for it. Last year it was an amazing experience to share with the ladies at one of the sessions about God's LOVE and to lead the worship at the retreat, but God began several months ago to start moving me toward volunteering to speak at our retreat this year instead of leading worship again. To be honest, it was scary to volunteer because the ladies were considering someone from another church (with more experience) and a Beth Moore video series and compared to either of them, I felt quite inexperienced (for good reason!) and a bit intimidated. But I also wasn't feeling passionate about leading worship this year and there were a couple of other girls who were and I was feeling quite strongly about wanting to share/speak. So I spoke up and eventually it was decided that I would do it (with another gal speaking at the Sat. evening session.) It's definitely a step of faith (for me and the other women who said I can do it!), but quite appropriate because I'm talking about trusting God and believing we are who HE says we are. I'm actually basing the bulk of what I'm talking about on the book TrueFaced, so at least I'm not completely on my own. And do you want to know something very amazing? Just this week I found a friend on Facebook who I knew in college and haven't talked to since then (=quite a few years ago!) and it turns out she GOES TO THE CHURCH started by and pastored by 2 of the 3 authors of TrueFaced. I am wondering why God has reconnected us at just this time when I'm working on this... because it can't be a coincidence. : ) Well, that's all for the moment. I have so much more I wish I could tell you... like about how God has even been preparing Lowell and Timothy for the weekend I'll be gone. (Lowell takes care of Timo on the mornings when I'm playing+singing at church and Timo has turned into a major "Daddy's Boy!" as a result of it. So amazing! It will be SO MUCH EASIER for me to leave knowing how much they have already connected lately.) I can't wait to tell you more sometime soon... : ) Melissa PS I don't think I mentioned it, but every Jan 1st, I try to ask God what He wants to teach me about that year. This year He wants to teach me about ministry. And He gave me this passage to memorize: "Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." 2 Cor. 3:4-6 As part of a challenge on Beth Moore's blog, I'm memorizing scripture 2x a month. It's nice to have close to 3,500 others doing the same thing (picking our own verses.) I'm hoping to post about it... but no promises! (If only they would all come exercise with me, too!) Anyone else want to join the fun??? Let me know if you decide to!