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Archive for August, 2004

Day Two of vacation was a pretty decent day. Despite the constant rain, I managed to take two full jeep loads of stuff to the Salvation Army. That is a cleansing feeling. Nice to have clutter out of the house and my life. As I look around, I still see some more items that I know will soon find their home there.

I was able to spend an hour with Blake today. He is so sweet and smells so good!! I honestly love baby smell (not the diaper smell obviously). He was sleeping and he woke up just before I left ready for his next meal. He is a great baby and my sister is absolutely loving being a mom (which she is very good at.) It is wonderful and exciting to have a baby in the family. This new life brings “new life” to all of us in so many ways.

I spent some money at Lowe’s today and I have all the stuff I need to begin the kitchen redo tomorrow. I cleaned out the kitchen and removed the hardware from the cabinet doors. A little spackeling tonight and they will be ready for sanding, priming and painting tomorrow. When it’s all done, I’ll post before and after shots here on the website. I’m excited about the changes and looking forward to a brighter and cheerier kitchen. Maybe it will inspire me to actually cook . . .

Peace – Melissa

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Vacation update from Day 1: laundry done; dishes done; yard (jungle) mowed; cell phone fixed; checks cashed; kitchen cabinets emptied; NCD report written; and two movies watched. Fairly productive day, don’t ya think? I saw Princess Diaries 2 – cute flick (better rental) and The Notebook – beautiful work of art based on the story by Nicholas Sparks. I wish I had his writing gift. Very powerful film – bring tissues. Tremendous story about real and lasting love which overcomes all things.

I was thinking about my youth a lot today – for most their first day back to school. I wondered how it went; how they are doing; what they experienced. I pray for them to be strong; to live in grace; and to see themselves like God does – beautiful and special and very much loved.

Tomorrow will be focused on taking a large haul of “stuff” to Salvation Army; making my prep list for the kitchen redo; heading to Lowe’s for supplies and hopefully sneaking in a visit to my favorite guy, Blake. If it doesn’t get rained out, I may head to the Helias/JC softball game. We’ll see what I can get accomplished.

Let me leave you with this thought from Hebrews 12:16: Watch out for the Esau syndrome; trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. Definitely a word of caution to me. It can be so easy to take the short route or to settle for something less than God’s best to satisfy a need or desire. Doing what I want usually is satisfying a short-term appetite. Like drinking a soda when you’re really thirsty. Temporary thirst quencher but doesn’t last and doesn’t deal with the real need. Being Esau means settling for less and living with regrets. God has better plans and hopes for me than than an Esau fate.

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My youth kids returned to school today thus marking the official end of summer. In honor of their return, I have taken the week off!! I’m staying in town and using the town to get my house in order and to redo my kitchen. It needs to happen now before we get into full swing with our fall programs. I’ve enlisted the help of my dad to get the kitchen projects done before Saturday! (hopefully)

NEW BLAKE pictures in the “Blake Pics” photo album. Check them out. He’s so cute. I’m sure I’ll see him over the break as well.

It was a busy week and weekend so I didn’t post much last week. I had a informational meeting for 7th graders and their parents. Then Saturday was a big Back to School bash. It was a full day but a lot of fun and some good worship before they returned to school.

Just wanted to post some pictures and assure everyone that I am still alive. I should return to more regular posting this week.

Peace – Melissa

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Where is the Love?

Tonight was our last night of Elevation – our summer youth program. Each week this summer our talks have been based on hit mainstream songs from secular musical groups such as Hoobastank; Audio Slave; Black-Eyed Peas. Tonight one of my senior boys (who is going into youth ministry) brought the message based on the song “Where is the Love?” by Black-Eyed Peas. Let me tell you – it is pretty powerful to have a 17-year old boy be the one to bring the challenge of “where is the love”. He used Romans 12:9-21 passage to challenge us to know what sincere love is and to “practice what we preach” (lyrics in the song). (By the way – there are some great lyrics to this song. Check it out sometime. Lines like: “Father, Father, help us. Send some guidance from above cause people down here got me questioning, where is the love.”)

Now, I can’t assume to know exactly who Black-Eyed peas are referring to with “people down here” but unfortunately, my mind pictures Christians. Judgmental and unloving Christians. People who do not extend the same grace and mercy to others that God extends to them. The most common images of absent love that make me question “where is the love” involve so-called Christians. It is by far easier to excuse the absence of love from those who live with the absence of the Spirit than from those who profess to be full of the Spirit. And I know this is unfortunately the position and experience of so many un-believers. They have been on the receiving end, not of Christian love, but of Christian judgement and coldness.

Mirror Time: Where is the love in my life? Do I talk about it more than I actually do it? When you read through Romans 12, there are so many of the challenges that I fail at. “love from the center of who you are; practice playing second fiddle; don’t quit in hard times; help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality; bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath; make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.” Reflecting on this list, I have enough areas in my life to work on to keep me quite busy. And the world is in such need of love, every person’s little steps toward bringing more love into this world will be used mightly by God to break through the darkness and pain in this world. When a room is pitch black, even the dimmest light shines bright.

Peace – Melissa

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Vintage Mullins

I’m chilling to some vintage Rich Mullins tonight as I clean up from having Common Ground friends over for a bbq and meeting. I took all of my Rich Mullins’s cds and loaded them into my cd player. Hit “shuffle” and savor the classic stories that Rich forever tells through music. Many of the songs bring back memories – places; people; smells. Lots of college memories when I was really into Rich Mullins. I can remember cranking Rich up in Leslie Hall at SBU.

I had lunch with a friend today (hey A!) that was just introduced to my site due to sharing pictures of Blake. She said she was surprised that I had a website. I told her it began in late July as sort of a spiritual growth exercise. I’m trying to stretch myself to become more comfortable with being transparent. This is a very uncomfortable area for me which is good. To know that several folks are reading my thoughts and opinions (even though they are not earth-shattering secrets or intellectual phenomenons) causes me some anxiety. So – good – it obviously is working.

Changing gears: Hebrews. I marveled today at the beauty and power of Hebrews 8 as God describes the beauty and flawlessness of the new covenant. Read these touching words from verses 10 – 12: “This new plan I’m making with Israel isn’t going to be written on paper, isn’t going to be chiseled in stone; This time I’m writing out the plan in them, carving it on the lining of their hearts. I’ll be their God, they’ll be my people. They won’t go to school to learn about me, or buy a book called “God in Five Easy Lessons”. They’ll all get to know me firsthand, the little and the big, the small and the great. They’l get to know me by being kindly forgiven, with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean.” (the Message) How much we are loved! That God would even give another covenant try with us; that God would even desire to call us his people once again. How hopeful it is to know that all hearts are made to desire God. It is built into us by our loving Creator. And how overwhelming it is to know that God wipes the slate of our sins clean forever! As Audio Adrenaline sings, our sins are forgotten, they are no longer, they’re on the ocean floor. What peaceful, comforting warmth envelopes me as I head to bed. I hope this same warmth envelopes you as you reflect on God’s great promise.

Peace – Melissa

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Life Goals

Blake Update: He and mommy went home today. All are doing well and adjusting to the beautiful changes in their family. Thanks for all the nice notes and comments.

Some of our young singles group, Common Ground, helped with move-in day at Lincoln University here in Jefferson City. It is a step forward in realizing one of our goals of reaching out to the college students in the community. It was a fun day and we enjoyed helping out – mostly at the girl’s dorm because the girls brought the most stuff. It was amazing. I forgot all about that process and how crazy move-in day is for families and students.

Life Goals: I am a list and big-picture person. It helps me to continually set goals and evaluate them throughout the year. It gives me direction and reminds me of what I have deemed important in life. In January, I ran across a site where a guy had listed 25 personal goals for the new year. I liked several of them and printed it off. Let me share a few that I adopted for myself plus some of my own. Some I’m doing well with – others have been subtly ignored. Maybe some of them will inspire you.

Goals:
1. Read two books a month.
2. Save $1000.
3. Memorize more scripture.
4. Involve myself in the life of others.
5. Give myself and possessions away.
6. Watch less than two hours of TV a week! (not counting morning news)
7. Be more reflective and prayerful in my spending.
8. Enjoy the small things more.
9. Write two songs.
10. Develop a healthier lifestyle.
11. Commit to memory and skill “Prelude in C# Minor” by Rachmoninoff.

Peace – Melissa

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Day After

Made a couple of trips to the hospital to see my sister and Blake. He is a doll (sorry, Greg – a handsome doll). 🙂 He slept most of the day. Sleeping and eating are his big priorities – just like his aunt! HA

I took a few more pics today and added them to the photo album on the left. The first five in the album are new ones – including one of me holding Blake. Despite the look on Blake’s face in the photo, he loves me – really.

Hung out with some friends tonight. Then, afterwards, spent some time with some youth “decorating” cars. Did you know it is difficult to get plastic wrap to roll? Just an FYI.

Peace – Melissa

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