Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tonight, Tonight!

Tonight is my debut as a Bible Study Leader! Am I ready? Why not? The study that I ordered did not come in. I had planned for it, so I don't have much of a backup plan, though I knew I should have made a plan B! Plan, plan, plan...
I know the plans I have for you...
Oh, I'm not in the least worried. God knows what we need for tonight, so I don't have to do ALL the planning. It may just be that this week is a week to specifically pray for particular people each day. I think I just lied a little. I WAS worried, but I have been calmed! Last night I was in a huge worry and panic trying to come up with a perfect week-long study. Just one week. I was thinking up questions and even trying to gather cross-references. Then I realized God's timing is perfect, and for His reasons, the study will start next week. No panic necessary!
I would ask for anyone to pray for me tonight. I will be giving my testimony. I want the focus to be wholly on God's transforming power in my life, not on "my" story. I don't want to lead anyone to think that they can continue in sin since God will forgive them until they feel that they can get back on track. I want to convey the freedom I have in living in Christ. I hope to share the fulfillment I receive from Him alone. My story isn't earth-shattering, and I think it will resonate with many. My life is far from perfect, either in my living it or in the blessings I receive. Life is still hard, but with Christ it is LIFE!
I did find the verse in Proverbs about the value of close friends. It is Proverbs 27:10 "Do not forsake your own friend or your father's friend, And do not go to your brother's house in the day of calamity; Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother far away."
I hope to be a better neighbor to these women. Many of us are far away from our families, and we need to gather together and support each other. I hope to be an example of Godly friendship!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Maniacle Moose Monday

OK, so this picture was taken a while ago (the snow has melted substantially, though not completely), but it was the most recent moose photo I had. Today was craziness with moose. I got up at 5:15 AM to make my hubby his lunch before he left for work, and by 7:30 I was ready for some physical movement. My dogs were, too. I took Bella out first (she's still in heat) and she promptly alerted me to the moose calf in our woods. I called her back and we waited cautiously as the calf made it's way down our yard and off to...? So I ran Bella around the yard a bit, put her up in her kennel, and let Rowdy out of his. As he was trotting around his "girl's" trail, I saw the calf again, running across our front yard. I instantly called Rowdy to me and as he ran my way from the lower corner of the backyard, the moose came around the house, saw him, and began to run towards him. This is really not what I had hoped would happen. Fortunately, Rowdy made it to me and we parked it on the porch. This calf was freaked out or something as it continued to come towards us, shaking it's head and stomping. In case you didn't know, that is not a good signal. Moose are the size of horses, so it's best not to have one charge you, even a calf! So, we keep watching this wild thing, and it finally starts to go down the yard, into our swamp before the lake, and heads back out to...? We did see the crazy thing one more time (at least) on our walk down the road, but it stayed out of our way. I had visions of having to explain a DLP on a moose calf to the Fish and Game. A DLP is a kill made in Defense of Life or Property, usually reserved for bear killings. Anyway, no spiritual thing on that one! Just a crazy Monday story! Oh, and since I typically don't write anything until later, I am on Alaska time, so it likely registers as a Tuesday entry to some. Oh well... Our final visit came this afternoon and it had momma with it. My guess is that it was scared and couldn't find it's momma and was trying to be brave this morning!
I had a fabulous walk on the beach Sunday with Rowdy. We picked up this driftwood, which, by the way, was not in the least bit lightweight, and I found my first piece of seaglass! I was so tickled that God put that there for me to find! I even thought out an entire post about about it, but "maybe on another day" as my neice used to say.
Yes, I'm just posting pictures now. I thought this moss was so fascinating! And you can see how the front of my house will not be snow-free for a while. This is why we call it breakup instead of spring. The snow/ice is finally breaking up and letting the green through!

My "lawn" is a lovely moss-green! It's better than the snow-mold dusted with ash, so I'm really not complaining. I am so thrilled that this PJM Rhododendron actually made it through our January that had 2 weeks of -30 temps and then the +30 temps! I can't wait til it flowers! We are so much later than most. I just about die when I see pictures of green grass and flowers blooming and leafed out trees in other places! Let me tell you how much I appreciate that first bit of green! Actually, I can't tell you. It truly must be experienced to garner full appreciation!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I caught a blog entry from one of the billions of blogs I was surfing tonight, and I apologize that I won't be able to give credit to it. It struck a chord with me. She talked about being planted and how she hadn't allowed herself to in her "new" home of 3 years or so. I can so relate!

It's funny how all my life, my goal was to get as far away as possible. I remember looking at colleges that were on each coast, and since I lived smack-dab in the middle of the country, that was as far as I could imagine going.

I grew up in the same house throughout my childhood, minus my first few months that went to readying the house with remodels. If I remember correctly, I have always had the same room. It was the 2nd floor south east corner room. I liked the views from my window. It stretched out as far as the eye could see out east. I could see for miles. In western Kansas, that is a typically simple feat. The landscape is marred by the occasional tree cluster that indicated a farm yard either past or present. Most were relatively present tense as drought and late freezes had worked their way through, diminishing the cottonwoods and elms that mostly sprang up around the old farm houses. I went to school with the same 8 or so kids from pre-school through my senior year with various additions/subtractions every year. I even had one teacher that was only a couple years late with teaching my dad. Yes, I grew up in a place of heritage, where everyone knew who I was, or who I belonged to.

It sounds so quaint, peaceful, sweet. I loved it until I hit Jr.High and then I despised it. I couldn't uproot myself any which way I tried. I tried many many ways for many years. Try as I might, I could not establish my own identity apart from that family tree. I didn't just want to uproot, I wanted to be pruned off completely. Looking back, the heritage that I was linked to was a fairly good one. It wasn't that I was embarrassed by it, I just wanted my own identity.

It's fascinating to see how in the last 12 years I have fought hard to keep my roots shallow in order to have a quick and painless move whenever I needed it. My relationships with most everyone, with very few exceptions, have been intentionally shallow. That way, WHEN I move, it won't be hard. In the last 12 years I have moved 9 times. The longest I have stayed in any home has been 3 years. Am I still so afraid to put down roots? (oh, and it's pronounced like foot, not boot where I came from!) Yes, I am. Why? I don't really know.

My next question begs to ask why I am sharing this. Again, I don't really know. I think it's to help me process why I think God is asking me to plant myself a million miles from where I want to be. Where is that? I don't know that either. Just not so far away from my sister, who consequently I spent that childhood trying to separate myself from! Perhaps I am supposed to enlarge my borders like Jabez. But I'm not asking for it! Oh dear. It's that growth thing I think. Did God give me the desire through my youth to experience distance to prepare me for experiencing distance? I'm likely over thinking that one.

I have no answers. I'm not sure God is giving those to me just yet. I have noticed that I disengage with people after a period of time, and prepare to leave [the relationship]. I don't think I should do that. I am reminded of a verse in Proverbs, and I can't remember where, that states something like; better is a friend nearby than a distant brother. I took huge offense to that. There is no one better than my sister. Period. Have I given anyone a chance to be anything close? Of course not. Oh dear. I'll have to find that verse again and make sure it really said that!

I think what I'm saying, is that I need to put down some roots. They don't have to go down to Australia, but I need to at least put out some feeder roots. I know enough about plants to know that if you keep one in a pot forever, it will become stunted. I really don't want my growth to be stunted. I also know that those feeder roots are easily damaged, and they don't all make it. But some do. Some grow and ... ok, I'm getting a bit dreamy here. You know where I'm going!

Alright, time to feed the plants: Mr Wonderful is home and needs his supper!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

First Book Review!

Today is day 3 of Monster Cold. It has laid me out. I've even called in sick to work. I usually hate to do that since it's just a cold, but I am not feeling the love toward the actions that led to me catching this cold. In light of that feeling, I'm going to try to do my part of not passing this thing on to anyone else, my husband excluded! I'm tired of laying around, but today is kinda cloudy and cool, so I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. It also allowed me to start and finish a little book that was so sad and sweet.

Dorie The Girl Nobody Loved
is a little book I just read. It only took me a couple days of intermittent reading, but it had my full attention. I found it on a shelf in Salvation Army (a place we frequently shop due to the fact that my husband literally burns through clothing and I can't pay full price for books to fill my dream library). In my lofty literary lists, this isn't a heavy hitter. In fact, it was a nice reprieve from some of my heavier reading material. It's a very quick, easy read.

I would not say that this story is light, however. I am so blessed to have grown up in an "ideal" setting. I had 2 parents, in the same house and on the same page, to rear me and my siblings. I was privileged to have the freedoms of farm life as a child which meant running around a fence-less yard and riding my bike as far as I could. My parents were not rich, but not poor and we had many things beyond the necessary. I had the blessings of growing up hearing the stories of Jesus and was encouraged to make Him real in my life. I loved my childhood, even though I was the "strong-willed" one! I was loved by my parents and grandparents. Still am. Dorie was not.

In fact, Dorie had none of the privileges I had growing up, but God made Himself real in her life too. I was horrified to read of Dorie's childhood and moved to tears to see how God held her. Dorie's story was a great story of true love, forgiveness, mercy and a million other things that exemplify a life lived for Christ. It was not a story of being a victim, rather being victorious. I cheered for her! I enjoy biographies of those who have walked before me successfully! It is so encouraging. I also saw how I should live out my religion through the active mission in James 1:27. I have been loved specifically so I can show love.

The only criticism was that it could have been more. It seemed to skip over so much. Perhaps the details would have been too much? Given the length of the book, I don't think it was meant to be a full biography, but her story of the transforming power of God's love.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday's Memorization

No I don't memorize a new passage every Monday. I just happened to wait until today to post my 15th verse for the LPM Memorization Challenge. It actually was not planned, I'm just that far behind on my blogging!

In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered me by setting me free. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The LORD is with me; He is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.
Psalm 118:5-7

I would like to call on anyone who has not connected to mycharmingkids, to do so today and tomorrow especially. Through "random" connections starting with the LPM blog, I came across her blog and it just touched me as it has touched countless others. Read the story of Stellan, or just know that he's a little boy with a heart that needs healing and we need to pray for him and his family. He's going into surgery Tuesday. If you visit, check out the name gallery and you can see how Stellan came to visit and saw Mt.Redoubt steaming! I have counted it a privilege to pray for this family that I have never met.

and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
James 5:16b

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Could there be anything else created that could make someone happier?! This is the most fabulous example of pure, happy freedom to be whatever! I love that my sister allows such creative freedom in her home! I don't imagine this would be a going-to-the-store outfit, but even then, she can allow some levels of freedom of expression! Oh how God smiled and laughed with me! And her mom, I'm sure! This is a "Glamor Photo" of my niece who happens to be the best age ever: 3.5 years old! Don't you love it?! It is now my computer wallpaper, so every time I turn on the "pooter" I can have my dose of Happy! Yes, I'm using way too many exclamation points, but seriously, how can I not?! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just heard Beth Moore (DVR) on Life Today speak about how we CAN be HAPPY! Happy is circumstantial, but God is IN and OVER our circumstances. Yes, Joy is much deeper, but she hit on what I've been feeling lately, and it felt wonderful to have that extra confirmation. If you watch the show, you know I'm "Asher!" I am FEELING BLESSED!

I hope that if you come to this blog today, you needed something to make you HAPPY! I hope that you can see God in your circumstances today and not just find Joy, but Happiness!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday's Marvels

Perhaps my alliteration will be different every week. Is there enough M words? We shall see, we shall see.
I took this picture at work last Friday. I truly marvel at how creative God is within His creation. I feel so honored to be able to experience it in such a way. Being in a nursery and seeing the new cultivars and varieties that are constantly coming out is fascinating.

I mentioned before that I had been reading in Psalms, primarily the praises. I have been so blessed, especially the last several years. In the mighty blogosphere, I read of so many who have such incredible needs and hurts. I am encouraged by their commitment to find their strength in the Lord and let Him lead them through their particular valley. I know it will be my turn someday. I'm not a doomsday-er or trying to find troubles, but I know I will have my own valleys and deserts to traverse. I've sampled them in the past. In the meantime, I am having sublime pleasure in basking in my Lord's goodness. I almost feel guilty in light of the troubles of others, but rest assured, I am sending prayers their way.

I am having such a sweet filling of the Spirit. This Easter was such a special time for me and I long to surround myself with more. I have been praying that this would happen for me for a while, and though it hasn't happened suddenly, it has been a good continual filling. I hunger and thirst for His word, I brought out all my books that I want to read to spur me on and challenge my walk, and I love spending the day talking to my Father.

Being able to participate in the goodness of God is so important. Good times can so often cause me to believe that I am doing things well, when in fact, it is God who is giving me peace. In being able to praise Him, the good times are not just good they are infinitely exquisite! The snow falling while the sun was shining on the enormous flakes with blue sky overhead was surreal, and I took it as a gift of humor this morning! Most of my local friends were thoroughly frustrated and annoyed by the snow since it's supposed to be melting. I love that God and I could have a little laugh about it! It was like a giant snowglobe.

Then I cleaned my closet. I must backup just a couple days ago and share that I had a huge desire to buy a new Easter dress. I wanted a cute new dress that had a full skirt and a wide belt: sort-of 50's style. I love hats and was determined that I would wear one of mine. The dress would have to work with it, or worst case scenerio, I could buy another one (though I don't think my options here are too great). I was reminded that I had just had buyer's remorse from a shirt I had just bought that I thought was cheaper than it was, but I was too embarrased to tell the cashier to take it back. I decided my punishment would be to forgo the dress this year. Instead I went up to my "summer" clothes in storage and began to rummage. I hadn't looked through these clothes for almost 2 years as our last summer was unusually chilly. I discovered several dresses and cute skirts that I had mostly forgotten about. I will admit that a couple of these are not in the current style, but they weren't too old. I felt like God was telling me that I don't have to worry. Consider the lilies...! I felt so humbled. I also felt so loved. I almost cried. I wore one of my dresses with my hat. I won't say that I didn't still have moments of slight envy when I saw some of the super-cute dresses. I'm not perfect. So today, I cleaned out the clothes that I no longer wore and saw how full my closet is. I have to say, that I also tried on a pair of jeans that I thought didn't fit anymore, and they fit! That really made my day - I can surely see my Lord rolling His eyes!

I hope I can always see the Lord's blessings when times are good. I hope I can always thank Him for all the loveliness He puts in my path.

"I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; The humble shall hear it and rejoice. O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together." "O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the the man who takes refuge in Him!" Psalm 34:1-3, 8

Saturday, April 11, 2009


And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment. Luke 23:56b

I was wondering today what the disciples and those who loved Jesus did on "this" day. This is what I found. I didn't research any further than my 4 gospels so maybe there is more written somewhere else. I can't imagine what feelings of defeat and confusion they'd have. How awful this day would have been.

I have had an especially wonderful weekend so far! Nothing extraordinary has happened, but I have just had such a feeling of freedom. I went to a Good Friday service with my employer, his wife, and a co-worker. It wasn't "my" church, and it was so beautiful. I love the opportunity to worship with other believers! We sat in our chairs quietly, and the screen up front showed scripture and pictures set to music and songs. Like I said before, it was beautiful. The service included singing, choir, special music, and the sweetest words spoken by the pastor before communion. The pastor said something that struck me. I will try to paraphrase what he said:

Just imagine the moment that Jesus gave up his spirit. He left his earthly body and just try and imagine the sound of the heavenlies as he appeared before his Father! That moment, when Jesus appeared! Oh, what immense Joy!

It brings tears to my eyes again. To have been able to witness the moment Jesus entered his Father's presence - wow. That moment of horror on earth was supreme jubilation in heaven!

That moment of horror on earth is what set me free from sin. I am so aware of my freedom this year that I feel almost bad to have been so joyously peaceful on Good Friday. That horrific sacrifice removed my sin and tomorrow I will celebrate Jesus' resurrection that gave me life! I feel that life so acutely. I am not sure why God has opened my heart to feel this so deeply, but I am thankful. He remembers my sin no more. What a gift. What freedom.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name...

Some friends of mine are expecting a baby girl and are so excited! I am, too, really. I love it when friends and family have babies! There is so much to share. As soon as I heard she was having a girl (she has 2 super cute boys), I instantly went out and bought this adorable onesie (I'm not a mom, is that how it's spelled?) that was red and had these darling ruffles on the back side! I couldn't resist getting some tiny sweet socks as well. So many things! They are actively and openly discussing a name for their sweet thing, and it got me thinking.

I went to a website that gave the origins of names and I was first looking at their choices. Then I went to mine. How narcissistic is that?! I know. I already knew the meaning of my name, I thought, and just wanted to see if there was something different.

There wasn't.

I felt rather indifferent about my name, as it was given to me and I didn't give much thought to changing it, except in the 3rd grade when I desperately wanted to be called Lisa! I think it was an 80's thing...Anyway, I liked my name. I never had any nicknames as I didn't like the ambiguity of "Mel" and I despised "Missy." I don't know why. I know several fabulous Missy's, but it didn't fit me I guess! I think I was trying for a nickname in Lisa, but I'm glad that didn't stick. I finally did get a nickname in college. My incredible roommate, Merv (not her real name: and you have to pronounce it Muvv), began to call me Meli. I loved it! She was the only one to call me by that name until my sister had my first niece! I am now Aunt Meli to 10 1/2 nieces and nephews and it is the most dear name I can think of. I hope they never call me "Melissa."

Melissa is of Greek origin and means honey bee. That just isn't very inspirational. There's little imagery or mystique in "honey bee." I did find it fascinating that there was nymph in Greek mythology named Melissa who cared for Zeus AND a good fairy in Ludovico Ariosto's poem 'Orlando Furioso'. That made me feel better. It also made me want to look up that poem! It felt a little more magical than a bee. The name is also a latin classification for a group of mint herbs. Yes, the connection with the bees is inevitable!

I wonder why God prompted my parents to name as such. I could philosophize that I could spread His Word like the bee spreads the pollen from flower to flower, or that I'd better not be bothered much or I'll sting, but God knew I'd be named Melissa. He knew it before my parents did. He knows my name! Luke 10:20 says that because I received His salvation, my name is recorded in Heaven! MY name! I do rejoice in that fact! I am so beyond comprehension that this little bee is written in a heavenly book.

Did Jesus have a nickname? Did He choose to reject any silly ones? Did He have any special names that only family or the closest disciples knew and were never recorded? Jesus' name was written on the cross. It said JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS. There are so many names for my Lord, and this week I want to bask in the name of Jesus! The Lord is Salvation! Salvation.

That brings me to my middle name: JOY! I think that says it all!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Marvelous Monday!

Barely made it. I thought I would be really good at utilizing my only day off when my husband is at work to do a very thought out, serious, deeply moving entry. Not so much. I think a couple weeks ago when I thought up this genius idea, he had the day off. When he has a day "off" it really means a day of work on the house that necessitates my help. I am usually thrilled at the change of events and enthusiastically drop any plans that I had (usually much more relaxing plans) and jump right in! Note the sarcasm. I'm working on all that, sarcasm included!

Then there is today. My fabulous husband (seriously, no sarcasm) has such a strong work ethic that I often feel guilty if I haven't been productive in my days home. I felt very proud of myself today, as I did laundry, re-stacked the wood pile, cooked a fancy meatloaf with mashed potatoes on top, walked the dogs, and cleaned the kitchen and living room. Oh, and I made our 2-week menu and went grocery shopping, stopped at the bank and even browsed the bookstore! I felt like a superwoman! I cannot figure out how moms do it. I would go batty. Kudo's to moms!
So all that to say, I have not spent too much time on my "pooter" as a nephew used to call it. I try to stay off the computer when my lover is home so as to better give him all my undivided attention as we watch t.v. or whatever! Well, he's out at a practice for a musical (he's a phenomenal drummer), so I'm back online!

Sometimes I really should take more application of all the Proverbs that speak of fewer words. Does it count if it's online and not out the mouth? This way I can peruse what I've "said" and edit if needed! A deep theological discussion for another day perhaps.

On a slightly more serious note, I am on for starting this women's group. I am so lost! I am so glad that it is not about me. Talk about going batty... I felt led to begin this group now and I think the timing is not at all conducive to good management! I thought I would wait until fall, but that was not the message I was getting! O.K.! I figured there would not be interest in it until fall, when the timing would make more sense. I threw out my thoughts of starting this to my pastor and he instantly put it into the church news that is sent via email and printed to be passed out at church. To my surprise, I've had several responses! Apparently, I'm not the only woman in our church who desires a women's group. I'm sensing this is why there was a push to do this now. But really? ME? Am I really a good representative to facilitate this? I am reminded of an acronym that was once used at another church for the qualifications of a leader: FAT. Lovely, huh? On a simplified explanation, I need to be faithful, available, and teachable. I think that's right. Alright, I will strive to be FAT!

I love the Sunday School study of Esther that we're doing as it has shown me so much. I felt that God was telling me that He wanted me to do this now, and if I wasn't going to, He'd use someone else. Didn't Mordecai say something similar to Esther? I clearly am not in such a place and time to save a people from genocide, but it struck a chord. I can let myself be used and place myself in a position to be used thereby enjoying the blessings of seeing God work, or I can let someone else do it. I cannot tell you how excited I am to see what God has planned for us!

I am researching studies that I want to do - too many and so little time - and other research materials that I'd like to utilize for myself. I have been praying my head off for God to be glorified in this and not me or a specific study. I have been toying with logistical issues, and decided that this can't be for everyone, so it will just have to be. God will decide what it will be for those who come.

Well, I think I hear my husband coming!
So much for deep, theological entries!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

How Great Is Our God?!

How great, indeed.
I have been reading recently in Psalms. I have no real plan there, but just felt like praising! I have been skipping the lament Psalms and focusing on those that give thanks. The Psalmists have been so much more adept at putting into words what I feel lately.
Psalm 19 has been so perfect today. Not only have I seen the glory of nature in the steaming plumes of Mt. Redoubt and the perfect 2.5" snowfall the other day, but I feel the restoration and knowledge from His Words. I have felt filled and joyful when I spend time with Him. I have also felt open and exposed. I feel that when I want to have my whole self filled with the Spirit, I have to open up all of those areas. In that vulnerability, I have to humble myself to admit those deep-seeded faults and sins. How wonderful that He is quick to forgive and heal!
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer."
I am deeply seeking His guidance now as I prepare to begin a women's Bible study group. I have felt the need for myself at least, to be filled midweek with encouragement and teaching. I admit that I have some specific desires for the group, but I truly want the Spirit to lead. I don't have a concrete plan, unusual for me, and I don't even have a location, date, or time pinned down! I expect the Lord to guide and open the doors for the right logistics. Don't worry! I do have options! I have never led a group or taught above elementary school ages, and I feel a bit overwhelmed. I am extremely excited to see what the Lord is bringing and that I get to be a part of it. I have been encouraged and lifted up in this process and whatever happens, Jesus will be glorified.
Any studies that you'd suggest we can start with?! Again I have ideas, but I will never reject insight and instruction from those who have been there before me!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Your Love O LORD

Psalm 36:5-7 NIV

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O, LORD, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

This is for my memorization. I thought against putting it up on the first, since I didn't want to "fool" anyone into thinking I wasn't really memorizing! No loopholes here!

I am in so much awe of the LORD's creation! This song of a Psalm is such a love expression. I love it! Today it began to snow while I was in the greenhouse transplanting geranium plugs. As much as I was annoyed at the fresh snow, I could not deny it's beauty. One of my most favorite things is to take a walk in the snow. I just cannot deny God's presence in the falling of snow. I love those walks when I feel His presence all around me. I take it as a personal gift! I am so in love with my Creator! How incredible His imagination!