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Archive for December, 2005

Thursday Ramblings

Addition to earlier post:  Although I indeed did win one game of racquetball against Dan, I failed to mentioned that I lost four – two of those with skunk scores!  So, Dan, my apologies.  Your athletic reputation is thus restored. 🙂

Today played volleyball for a long time and I’m feeling it in my right shoulder tonight from a few to many hits.  Play every week almost since October has been good for skill improvement though. I’ve learned a lot from the weekly games and from folks like Maria and Rick – master teachers with great patience.

I enjoyed a wonderful lunch today with my friend, Adele.  It was great to just enjoy a leisurely lunch where we could catch up on each other’s worlds.  Our poor waiter boy didn’t make a lot of money off of our table thought since we were there for a few hours.  It was great to talk through things with a great friend and I gathered a great deal of strength and fortitude from our time together. Thanks, Adele! Love you.

Christmas is officially over at my home.  I took down all of the Christmas decorations today and have my last gift to deliver tomorrow.  It is official as we press on to 2006 and all the exciting possibilities of a new year.  That always makes me excited.  A new slate; a whole new year of who knows what.  I did mention in my post yesterday that 2005 had been a rough year and it was for a couple of reasons.  However, I failed to also say that it also had many good moments.  I don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.  But it would be shallow of me to say that 2005 was hunky-dory when there were a few big rough patches that hurt.  I’m better for them but they still hurt.  But I had some great moments with my wonderful family; I met some great new friends; I have some awesome youth and spiritual family members in my church; I am blessed in many ways. And more than anything – I have a faithful God who is consistently there for me far more than I am for Him.  As would be expected since He is God and perfect and I am not.  I’ve learned a lot from our journeys together this year and from the many lessons God continues to teach me.

I’m sore and I’m tired so I think I’ll wrap it up tonight.
Much love and prayers for God’s peace to be known by each of you – Melissa

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Making Peace

There are times when you know that your day will not be productive.  You just have that feeling, that presence of mind that makes it difficult to get moving or focused on tasks.  Today was one of those days.  I wasted a good portion of the day.  Some would say that is the intent of vacation days but I feel otherwise.  I paid bills and took care of a few things but that was primarily it.  I ended the day with a fierce game of racquetball with Dan.  I actually won a game this time and of course, it was great to expend some energy that had been building up.

I watched Must Love Dogs tonight.  I was really eager to see it when it was on at the movies but never got there.  Watching it tonight, however, I was fairly indifferent to it.  It never really did pull me in and more often than not, I found the characters and story pretty shallow.  There was a rich opportunity to really dig into the drastic measures people go to meet someone or the well-meaning but not appreciated steps friends and family take to help their loved ones find a "match" so that they can be happy and complete in life. I guess it just struck a nerve with me tonight.  So many are held captive by the desire for that special someone, for that one-of-a-kind relationship with a soul mate.  When I see the desperation in others, it makes me sad that it consumes them so.  But it also bothers me because I recognize that desperate feeling in myself at times. Some days are just fine.  Some days I’m happy as a lark going it on my own.  But then there are other days.  Other days where the desire for a soul mate, a best friend, is incredibly strong.  Days when you remember the richness and joy of being a valued member of a two-person team against the rest of the world.  Days when you replay  feelings of contentment and excitement that come at the beginning of special relationships when all that lies ahead of you is hope and possibilities.  Days when you long to have someone to talk through your day with or to simply hold hands with as you say nothing because nothing needs to be said. Those days are hard. But they don’t last.  Eventually, they come to an end and a new day begins. 

As do the years in our life.  2005 was a rough year in my life.  A rough year on the heart.  A rough year on the innocence. But a year doesn’t last.  Eventually, it, too, comes to an end and a new year begins. Life is too short to let the hard things linger too long.  At some point, we must choose to close it out, find peace in whatever way we can, and move forward.  As 2005 fades out, my prayer is that you will join me in closing out the rough days of 2005, make peace with whatever and whomever you must, and move forward with great anticipation towards 2006.

Peace – Melissa

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Moving Day

I spent Monday helping a family move into their new Habitat home.  It was a great day for moving and  we got a lot accomplished by evening.  The house is beautiful and very much theirs.  The kids were very excited about their new home and new rooms.  What a wonderful fresh start and new beginning for them.  It is wonderful to be a part of something so good and so right.  I was not able to help as much as I hoped with the actual building of the home so I was grateful to be able to help out on moving day along with some others.   Habitat is a wonderful organization that has it right by giving a hand up, not a hand out.  People need a chance to get a hand up when life has beaten them done.

As I was moving and reflecting on how much help the mom was willing to receive from us and others, I wondered if my pride would hinder me from ever receiving or asking for such help.  It is very difficult for me to ask or receive help.  Here this mom was letting us unpack boxes and put away kitchen supplies wherever we decided.  Here this mom was letting a variety of people come through her home and look through her possessions.  That would be challenging for me.  I wondered if she was always this open to this or if the situations that she has found herself in the past two years has stretched her to this point.  I was mindful that I need to get to the point where I can ask for help – hopefully without having life force me.   

I’m taking some vacation days this week before I lose them for 2005.  There are some house projects that need time and some dates planned with friends and family.  Today I enjoyed some time outdoors with the beautiful weather.  I was walking and at one point felt tremendous warmth from the sun on my face.  That is such healing medicine for my soul.  Thank you, Lord, for the warmth and sunshine of today.  What a gift of hope that spring is coming . . .

Peace – Melissa

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Wait for Me

Merry Christmas to each of you!  We began our Christmas Day by gathering for worship – a unique opportunity when Christmas falls on a Sunday.  I do believe it is a wonderful way to start Christmas.  This morning had a very relaxed, family feel to the day and was a pleasant continuation from last night’s candlelight service.  Both services truly helped me to focus in on the beauty and miracle of Christmas.   This morning I led the children’s time and planned a birthday mini-party for Jesus.  I had a large box gift-wrapped and inside were helium balloons (weighted down so they wouldn’t fly to the ceiling).  When I took off the box lid, the balloons popped up and I shared with the children that Christmas is most important because it is the birthday of Christ.  I think invited them to sing along with me (and the congregation) "Happy Birthday" to Jesus.  At that moment, we all heard a beautiful little voice from the back on the sanctuary yelling "Wait for me! Wait for me!" as a little angel with blonde curls and a red Christmas dress ran from the back row and hopped down with the rest of the children.  It was a beautiful spiritual moment.   

"But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."  Luke 18:16

This sweet little girl was not hinderd by 500 people in the sanctuary.  This little child was not paralyzed by fear of failing.  This young girl was not intimated by what others might think.  She simply followed her heart.  "Wait for me!"  I want to be a part of what is going on.  I want to join the party.  I want to celebrate Jesus.  "Wait for me!"

To be child-like once again.  To go back to a time of innocence and freedom.  To discover once again the ability to live with purity of heart and untainted hope.  Jesus says the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  The kingdom of God is reality for those who live with child-like faith.

Wait for me, Jesus.  Wait for me. 

Peace – Melissa

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Oh, Those Songs!

There are those songs.  You know the songs of which I speak.  Songs laced with a hypnotic melody that cause them to be forever burned into our memory.  Songs so infectious that they appear to jump from one person to another like a bad cold.  A young man on a subway is singing a little tune.  An older gentleman sitting near him exits and whistles the tune as he scurries down the sidewalk.  A lady passing by picks up the tune and carries it with her to the waiting elevator and its only occupant – you.  She exits on the third floor and by the fifth floor, your toe is tapping and the humming begins.  Despite your best efforts, you can’t stop it.  By the seventh floor, you give up the fight and belt out your off-key rendition of "I Write the Songs."

The writer of the 89th Psalm understands about infectious songs.  He has a song so infectious he can’t help but sing it.  He has a song that must be released or he’ll burst. It is a song of God’s amazing love and faithfulness.  "Your love, God, is my song, and I’ll sing it!  I’m forever telling everyone how faithful you are.  I’ll never quit telling the story of your love."  Psalm 89:1 – the Message

This Advent season may we be unable to stop ourselves.  May we belt out the beautiful song of God’s lavish love and fidelity.  May our ceaseless humming of this amazing melody pour out onto all who share space with us and go on to infect the entire world.

Advent blessings to each of you and may your Christmas and New Year be filled with God’s perfect peace.

Melissa

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Season of Joy

Here are some thoughts on "joy" from an article I read yesterday. There are four commonalities among those who live joy-filled lives:

  • a feeling of being forgiven;
  • forgiving others;
  • a feeling of life purpose;
  • a strong sense of gratitude.

Gratitude drives joy.  When minds are focused on what they have, not what they don’t have, gratitude is found.  This season of "joy" may we be able to strive for joy-filled lives by pursuing forgiveness, purpose, and gratitude.

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Adoption Day

Today was a very special day for my friend, Adele, and her family.  Today was adoption day for Jessica Ann, the sweet (and energetic) child that has been Adele’s foster daughter for two years – since a few months after Jessica was born.  Adele opened her home and has loved Jessica as her own and Adele is the only mom Jessica has known.  And today, they are legally family – joining Adele’s son, Rashaun, whom Adele adopted in 2002.  I was humbled to participate in both of these special family moments at the request of Adele.  I was present at the courthouse proceedings that see such joyous events as a welcomed change from the usual proceedings.  And I was honored to prepare and lead a brief service of dedication in each instance as a testimony to Adele’s faith in God and her desire to provide a Godly home for her family.  Events like these, even with the chaos that comes naturally with children behaving as children, are beautiful reminders of the important things in life that call for celebration.  Adele is living a life obedient to some of the clearest commands of Scripture – to love the orphans; to care for the children who have been abandoned; to give of self for the benefit of others.  I imagine there are days that Adele wonders if she’ll have enough energy, enough patience, enough will to keep up.  But I doubt there is ever a day when Adele wonders if she’ll have enough love.  And in the end, it is love that will be enough … Adele’s love for her son and daughter; the children’s love for the woman who has always been and will always be "mom" but beyond all of that … God’s abundant love for a woman who has given the greatest gift possible to two very beautiful and special children.  Adele – you are a true hero and I’m proud to call you friend.

On an unrelated note, here is a word from the Word today that is such a good reminder to me.
The Lord doesn’t make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance but the Lord looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions.  I Samuel 16:7  So many things of God are opposite of what we would assume.  We must be careful not to fixate on the wrong things and miss God at work.

Peace – Melissa

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