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Archive for October, 2005

Dentists are our friends

My tooth is aching a little tonight but it is fixed.  After a little lecture on not seeing a dentist in over 8 years (I know, I know), my dentist filled my cavity and sent me on my way.  Of course my take is – one cavity after 8 years – not bad. ๐Ÿ™‚  I think I’m missing the point.

I didn’t have a lot of trick-or-treaters tonight.  Maybe 15 or so.  I was able to bake some cookies for an office going away party tomorrow and get laundry done.  I really, really want to go to bed right now but my sheets just went in the drier about 15 minutes ago so guess I’ll wait.  Yes, I only own one set of sheets for my bed.  Its never been an issue before.

I posted some pictures from the Halloween party I went to Saturday night. What great friends. I may have some more to post later when I get Maria’s pictures. Love you, girl!!

I forgot to write yesterday that while at the Fall Fun at the church Sunday, a little boy peed on me.  I was holding a little boy to give his grandma a break.  We were walking around and I was thinking, "Man – I’m sweating a lot.  It must be hot carrying him."  After a few moments, I realized "That’s not sweat!" ๐Ÿ™‚  Apparently his diaper runneth over.  So I found his grandma, returned the kid and borrowed one of the many extra youth tshirts that I keep in the youth room.  All was well. That is the third time in my life that I have been peed on.  Once by my sister when we were little; once by my nephew, Blake; and now little Nicholas at church.  Is that normal?  How many times have you been peed on?  I’m trying to gauge if I’m just blessed, normal or oddly under-peed upon.  I rarely hear other people talk about this so I have no information upon which to gather a conclusion.

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Weekend in Review

What a weekend.  I’m exhausted. Friday night was our bonfire.  On Saturday, I made pumpkin cookies in the morning.  The afternoon was spent playing golf with some of the guys from CG.  There were seven of us and we were able to stay together for most of the 9 holes before the course marshall made us split up.  It was a gorgeous day for golf.  My game was not the best and I lost my putter.  I think I left it on the fourth hole and I realized at the end of the fifth hole that it was gone.  I think some guys playing after us probably picked it up and followed the finders/keepers rule. I asked them about it but they said they didn’t see it.  I’ll pick me another one sometime.

Saturday night was a costume party at a friend’s.  It was a lot of fun and entertaining to see everyone dressed up.  I’ll post some pictures when I get copies from friends. I went as a Swiss Miss girl or a Renaissance Tavern Maid – depending on who you ask. Apparently it wasn’t quite obvious but that’s okay.  It was only $10 which was the important thing to me!

Today was our Fall Fun for Families at church.  We set up bunches of tables and give out tons of candy.  We had a ton of kids and it was a great afternoon! I posted a few pictures in the Ministry photo album.  Also – my nephew Blake was there in his MIzzou Tiger outfit.  There are pics of him in the Blake photo album. Oh – and on my car ride to church this morning a portion of my tooth came off in my mouth. See – I wasn’t kidding about my jeep and me coming apart!!!  Geez… ๐Ÿ™‚  Guess I’ll have a dental appointment sometime this week.

Beautiful moment of the day … looking up into the balcony during the 8:15 am service and seeing a whole row of "common grounders".  I can’t explain what joy that brings to me. Seriously.  I was playing piano tonight and thinking about the many wonderful folks of CG and the new people that have joined the group recently.  Today our Bible study room was packed. That is a wonderful site to me – not because of numbers but because of the relationships I see being built between people and with God. I know there are so many folks in our community that are hurting or lonely or just live with this overwhelming sense of chaos or emptiness in their soul.  Each of us needs sincere connections with other human beings and with God.  We are designed for that.  When Common Ground fellowships together – when community is present, I know God is present.  That is why everytime I am observing or in the midst of CG (whether at Mosiac or on the volleyball court or on the golf course or in Bible study), it is an overwhelming worship experience.  I can’t help but see the beauty and the promise of God at work and I can’t help but be overwhelmed with joy when another person finds a home with us. Words are inadequate to express the sentiment of my heart when I think about these things. 

I was playing some Nicole Nordeman songs tonight and found this one to be appropriate for what our prayers have been for CG from the beginning.  The title of the song is "Please Come".

Oh, the days when I drew lines around my faith
To keep you out, to keep me in, to keep it safe
Oh, the sense of my own self entitlement
To say who’s wrong or won’t belong or cannot stay

‘Cause somebody somewhere decided
We’d be better off divided
And somehow despite the damage done
He says, "come" …

There is room enough for all of us, please come
And the arms are open wide enough, please come
And our parts are never greater than the sum
This is the heart of the One
Who stands before an open door and bids us, "come"

Oh, the times when I haved failed to recognise
How may chairs are gathered there around the feast
To break the bread and break these boundaries
That have kept us from our only common ground
The invitation to sit down
If we will come …

There is room enough for all of us, please come
And the arms are open wide enough, please come
And our parts are never greater than the sum
This is the heart of the One
Who stands before an open door and bids us, "come"

Come, from the best of humanity
Come, from the depths of depravity
Come now and see how we need
Every different bead on this same string
Come …

There is room enough for all of us, please come
And the arms are open wide enough, please come
And our parts are never greater than the sum
This is the heart of the One
Who stands before an open door and bids us, "come"

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Melissa Needs …

So . . caught this internet thing going around where you google "(insert your name) needs" and post the first 10 reponses that come up.  Here are "Melissa needs":

1.  Melissa needs a fuller understanding to be sure she in on the right track. (um . . scary)
2.  Melissa needs a cigarette every morning when she gets up in order to get herself going.
3.  Melissa needs blood will you help me?
4.  Melissa needs to board the blob ship that is hovering overhead. (stop laughing)
5.  Melissa needs to select information from the Partners table.
6.  Melissa needs her meds.
7.  Melissa needs athletic promotions director phone.
8.  Melissa needs someone from near there who will work with her today to get a van and crates and come up with some kind of temporary holding place for this . . .
9.  Melissa needs attention and will do "things" for attention.
10. Melissa needs computer assistance!!!

Funny, isn’t it!! Try it.

Tonight was our CG bonfire.  Perfect night for tossing the football and making s’mores.  Autumn is definitely here. I’m heading to bed.  I have a golf game tomorrow afternoon and some Halloween fun tomorrow night!

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I was blessed to share two meals with friends today.  Lunch was a wonderful delight with a girlfriend of mine with whom I find many commonalities with as well as some rich differences.  I enjoy her strong spirit and her rich individuality โ€“ traits I admire and respect.  It was a blessing to spend some time with her.  Then, tonight, dinner was shared with a dear friend of mine and we had a wonderful time of sharing about life and new experiences.  So, I count myself rather blessed with the communion that occurred today over meals.

I arrived home with three youth waiting on the sidewalk ready for c-groups. Had a great crew tonight.  However, they got a crazy idea in their heads.  Three of the girls decided it would be a great thing to make a โ€œDate My Youth Ministerโ€ webpage.  I humored them for awhile hoping that they catch my sarcasm about it.  They said, โ€œWe could leave your last name offโ€ to which I replied โ€œYes, that would be swell since female youth ministers, especially female youth ministers named Melissa, are so common that it will be difficult to narrow it down with me.โ€ Ha!  Now of course it has got me thinking if such a page existed how I would describe myself or my interests.  Just what I needed โ€“ something of no value to process and think about. J

Time to wrap this up and get some sleep.  I have a morning of strategic planning ahead of me and an afternoon and evening of church work.

Signing off with this wonderful reminder from Thomas Merton:

"The eyes of the saint make all beauty holy and the hands of the saint consecrate everything they touch to the glory of God, and the saint is never offended by anything and judges no man’s sin because he does not know sin.  He knows the mercy of God.  He knows that his own mission on earth is to bring that mercy to all [humankind]."

Itโ€™s about mercy โ€“ not judgment.  Let us Christians keep repeating this to ourselves.

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Car Survey

I know it has been one week since I posted last. People have been tremendously kind in not pointing that out which either means they are kind or they haven’t noticed that its been a week which really isn’t a compliment, is it. Life has been busy and the few times I’ve been able to sit down to consider posting, I’ve been at a lost for what to say.  I could give you a play by play of my day but that really isn’t too interesting unless you are one of those individuals who craves being in the know.  And if you are then I find it quite entertaining to mess with you and leave you in the dark about my agenda – albeit professional or personal – for the past week.

I mapquested the YMCA today because it has been so long since I’ve been there, I wasn’t sure if I could find my way there tonight. Not that I haven’t been active.  I have.  I just am completely out of my routine at the Y and need to get back to it asap.  But tonight I did make it back for a racquetball match with Dan.  I’ve been wanting to play racquetball for a long time.  I had my first game back in April and haven’t played since.  I even bought equipment but hadn’t been able to break them in yet.  But tonight I did.  It was a great game and Master Dan taught me some new racquetball skills.  We played five games and here are the scores (my score first) – 2 – 15; 7 – 15; 0 – 7; 8 – 15; 9 – 15.  Yes – I didn’t win any but notice the improvement.  (except the little skunk game in the middle – yeah, don’t know what happened there.)  Improvement is good.  The best sound still is a racquetball whizzing past your head.  See below the cool impact the ball makes upon contact with the wall.  This is why we wear the freaky goggles that leave red marks on your face.  I’m a wus and even brought cotton to put between my goggle and my forehead because it digs in so much.  But it didn’t help . . .

Good times. Good exercise.  I’m hoping this winter to get a lot of racquetball and tennis playing time. I think that will be fun and will keep the winter blues at bay.  My golf season is about done with winter approaching. 

I’m reading a new book by Don Miller titled "Throught Painted Deserts".  Very interesting as I have found most of Miller’s books to be.  He writes a little about admiring people who ask "how" questions but never need to ask the "why" questions.  This is what he says, "And that is what I mean by admiring peoiple who don’t think about the why questions, because they can just get a job, a big house, a trophy wife, and do whatever they want and never ask if it is connected to anything, whether their how is validated by their why." (20)  I am a "why" person and there are indeed many times I wish I was just a "how" person.  It would save so much mental work and energy to not truly care about the why because so many times the why questions can’t be answered to my satisifaction.  But yet I can’t honestly be happy with the how questions because I need the answer to the why questions in order to determine if the how questions are even worth answering.  This may not make sense at all but I really resonated with Miller’s thoughts.

Okay – I’m wrapping this post up with a little survey for my readers.  I’ve decided to get a new vehicle in 2006 and I have no idea what I am going to purchase.  So, I’m open to your auto biases and shameless plugs. What should I buy?  What should I toot around in for the next 10 years?  My red jeep is part of my identity for my adult existence in JC.  What car screams "Melissa"? ๐Ÿ™‚  Leave me a comment and tell me what to shop for.  If I buy the vehicle you suggest, I’ll give you the first ride.  What more motivation do you need?

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C-Group Craziness

It’s Tuesday night and that means c-group adventures.  I arrived at my house after a run to find two of my guys chillin outside in the street.  They were sitting in lawn chairs by one of their cars listening to techno music.  Of course it was a perfect night for such activity.  I joined them for awhile before some of the others arrived.  Later they were practicing a little kung-fu trickery.  Enjoy the shot…

Dsc03027_1No one got hurt in the making of this photo.

Oh yeah – Bible study happened too.

In case you were wondering.

Which I would wonder too based on my descriptions of c-groups sometimes.

What a gorgeous day today!  I took a late lunch, grabbed Subway and went to the Governor’s Garden for a great lunch outside. It was a picture perfect day.  There were several kids at the garden on a school field trip and it was nice to hear the sounds of them playing while sitting in the sun.  I was thanking God repeatedly for such a blessing of a day.  The beauty is not lost on me that is for sure.  I sat outside for awhile just listening to the sounds of spring (ironically).  I watched a Monarch butterfly make its way around the garden.  I felt the warmth of the sun on my face and my feet.  I prayed through many things and felt God’s warmth embrace me.  It was one of the most nourishing lunches I’ve tasted in a long time.

I did something progressive today.  I took tomorrow morning off so Preston and I can celebrate the day by playing golf!!! ๐Ÿ™‚  Yep.  I worked 12 hrs on Monday and 10 hours today.  Thursday (which is my day off) will be spent in a conference all day in Columbia.  So I definitely deserve to take the morning off and since it is such gorgeous weather and I know this is a brief window to enjoy, I’m hitting the greens tomorrow and I just know it will be a great game!  I’m going to have my lowest score to date.  I can feel it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I am human

"Our incredulity in the face of God’s immense love, and also self-hate or an unyielding sense of guilt, can be formidable obstacles to God’s love and are often subtle and unrecognized forms of pride, in putting our ‘bad’ above his mercy."

I’ve been processing (I know – surprise, surprise).  I had so much to think about from my conversation with Preston the other night.  We are alike in so many ways and understand each other to a degree that is down right scary. And Preston has the ability to call me on things in such a compassionate way that brings me clarity.  It is in our nature – both of us – to be overly self critical.  In a constant state of self-analysis and self-desconstruction.  Do we enjoy this?  No. Does it annoy people around us?  Guaranteed.  Do we wish we could stop?  Most definitely.  But it is an internal battle that is constantly engaged.  I have standards that I hold myself to and these standards are on saint proportions. The only major problem is that I am not a saint.  I am human.  Yes, I, Melissa, am human.  Now, each of you know this.  You have no difficulties understanding and believing this, I am quite sure.  You see my imperfections and flaws and yet, most of you, still choose to love me – or at the very least tolerate me. And you really give it no more thought than you give to your weekend plans.  I, however, wallow in this mud-pit of self-critique chastising myself for not forgiving more quickly; for not loving more; for not living and thinking more selflessly. 

Resulting consequences of this mindset:
1. When people genuinely like me and care for me I am truly amazed and humbled by their choice. 
2. It has helped me to have a viable schema with which to pathetically grasp the incredulousness of grace.
3. I can tend to be a very self-absorbed person. 
4. I rob myself of the freedom found in Christ.
5. There is a tendency to keep people at a safe distance so they don’t see your weaknesses or true nature.  The more people get to know you, the more likely they are to … well, know you.  And that can’t be good, can it?  Not if I assume they are expecting to find perfection just like I’m expecting perfection there to be.

But most aren’t expecting to find perfection.  They would be worried if they did.  It is only me that is expecting such a ridiculous and impossible thing.

So how do I learn to not expect so much?  How do I learn to give myself a break?  How do I learn extend grace to myself as well as to others?  These are rhetorical questions to myself tonight.  I don’t have the energy tonight to answer them.  I think that it is simply enough tonight to ask the questions.  It is a small step in the right direction.

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