Sunday, January 25, 2009

Passport

I am going to the Dominican Republic soon...well, early March. It hardly seems possible. I still have Zimbabwe on my brain everyday. I cannot wrap my mind around another desperate need, in an entirely different part of the world....but I'll be on my way to another part of the world where children are starving. This time, I'll be focused on physical work work work. I'm excited about that. Most of the physical work I do revolves around cosmetic improvements. I love to paint, landscape, install hardware, change out lighting, even plumbing fixtures. But in the DR, I'll be helping to construct a feeding center and a church. A church that will reach the community for the Kingdom of Christ and a feeding center that will provide nourishment and extend life, day by day.....literally. I'll be honest.....there is a part of this that I do not want to do. I'm not looking forward to flying again....as I still have not recovered from my last flight....my sinuses are messed up and I'm even having some inner-ear dizziness and balance issues. I'm not looking forward to the smells. This time, I'm traveling with a group....whom I mostly do not know...but a group I'll belong to none-the-less, and therefore I might not have time to be by myself, to pray, to regroup, to ponder and process, etc. What if my back hurts? What if I re-injure my wrist? And blah blah blah........ but I am going. And once again, I am going in the hope that I can make even a small difference in the kingdom. I just love the Lord, and I'm thankful He has put these missions on my heart. He is doing an amazing work IN me and I hope to work it out FOR Him.

Thank you to all who have helped me raise the money! I am so blessed and grateful. My goal is almost met....and I could not have done this without the support of others. God Bless you sweet ones!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Excitement

OK.......I'm too excited to keep this a secret!

I'm starting a charitable fund that is going to benefit my little orphanage over in Zim in the short-term....but will benefit other kids in the long run. Kids with special needs. Kids of poverty (locally). Kids who need bibles. Kids who need hugs. You name it. I am so freaking excited!

More to come.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dogs, Nuns and Balloons

Ok..... there is nothing important here, except for the cute video at the end. I'm just warning you......

I almost put my dog to sleep. Poor Sammy. Spencer has a sleep disorder, so I've purchased some OTC sleep aid to help him fall asleep at night. The prescription stuff was messing with him....so we decide to try some good'ole Tylenol PM. I was leaving one out each night for Spencer to remember to take it. One night he said I forgot, but I was pretty sure I remembered. Oh well.... this morning I found a pretty blue Tylenol PM geltab in my rug, underneath the dining room table (where Sammy normally sneaks off to destroy things with his teeth). Amazingly....he didn't swallow it....but the evidence is in the fang marks. Bad dog!

Yesterday I was driving my kids to school and I was behind a Honda CRV. The back seat had 3 big white things in it, apparently not moving. I wondered what it was. They looked like ghosts.... but I had kinda decided they were cut-outs or something...maybe a prop of some kind. Or maybe something large in the backseat covered up with a sheet. It just looked weird and funny to me. I was behind this vehicle for at least 10 minutes..... All of a sudden at a stop sign, the 3 ghosts all turned around to look out the back window. I think they passed their destination... but it FREAKED me out! They were nuns.

We may be getting close to the sale of our home. I'm excited and hopeful. I'm on a hunt now for land or a house that will accomodate our needs! I'll keep you all posted!

Lastly....here is precious video of Shawn playing with balloons, left over from the baby shower that I hosted here at our house this past weekend. Needless to say, the balloons were a big hit!!! Enjoy!!!!!
video

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Saw Our Freedom

So, there's this piece of my trip to Zimbabwe that I haven't really been able to articulate. Have I mentioned that Zimbabwe is REALLY far away? I always swore that I would NEVER go anywhere that required me to be on a plane for more than a few hours. I am claustrophobic and also very sensitive to motion sickness. But trust me, God says yes even when we say no, and I'm sure I'm not supposed to argue with God. (I've learned this several times!)

One of my layovers was in Washington D.C. When I left Zim, I flew 19 hours (including a stop for fuel without de-planing) to Washington D.C Dulles International airport. We landed on time. I arrived to my next gate on time. I could almost taste my children....as I would be seeing them in 2 hours. Home free..............almost. See, I had to be slowed up/down in customs...so I was one of the very last to arrive to my gate. The plane had reached it's maximum weight capacity because of all the extra cargo due to Christmas gifts, etc. GREAT........here I am with ONE bag obeying all the rules.....and I get DETAINED in customs in my own country......and I can taste my children, and I'm on a schedule, and I am inconvenienced, and I can't get on my airplane to take me to my home........and I can see it through the window. 5 seats remained empty. I couldn't have one. (They let my bag on, by the way...and wouldn't let me have it back....as this makes SO much sense!) Let the tears begin......seriously people.....helpless. I have been flying and/or in an airport for the last 27 hours...am 1.5 hours away from home and I cannot go ANYWHERE. I allow my tears to flow, my head to pound and my heart to break.....then I walk to customer service to get onto another flight. I stand in THAT line for almost 2 hours, only to find out that I just missed the last flight to Nashville, TN. I seriously look at this guy like he is solely responsible for saving my life. He didn't like that look. The solution was to put me in a cab and send me way across town to the Reagan Airport, where I would get to fly into Chicago and then eventually to Nashville. I pile myself into the cab....and off I go...

off I go, passing by the Washington Monument
off I go, passing by the Arlington National Cemetery
off I go, passing the Pentagon

I saw freedom. I saw the markers of men and women who died for my freedoms, for without whom, I might not have clean drinking water. I saw government buildings and monuments that would remind me I have a government who does not shut off my power because they are greedy.... and I saw the skyline of the capital of my nation, where I can go to the hospital when I need medical treatment, and where I can send my children to school for free. I was surrounded by a population of citizens are not worried about a Cholera outbreak or an AIDS epidemic. I was breathing in the sky hovering over the city of the home of the man who says he wants to better the lives of the people of our nation, while having just left the capital of a nation that is home to a man who is so corrupt and so greedy that he cannot even recognize the truth of the beast that he is and how many lives he has caused to suffer and die as a result of his polluted heart.

I'm not saying America is perfect....nope...you'll never hear me say that. And I'm not saying our government doesn't have it's own forms of corruption..... but I am saying that this is Disneyland compared to Zim. That's all I'm saying.

I had to be detoured. God had an amazing vision for my eyes to see and a conviction for my heart. I had never been to D.C. He had a plan for me to face some realities before I could face the faces of my children, whom I am raising, in the free world, in a home with power and clean running water.

Thank you, Africa.

Thank you, United Airlines with your weight restrictions.

Thank you, friendly cab driver who was pleased to point out what God desired for me to see.

Thank you, orphans.

Thank you, Lord God.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Brotherly

















Oh, these boys bless me.






















Monday, January 12, 2009

Tender Mommy'ness

Kissing the boo-boo's. It's a common thang'round'here. For whatever reason....Shawn thinks it is okay to walk forward while looking backward. You can imagine...... we have lots of little dents in our walls. The cute thing though is....he's just watching us......he loves us. But it isn't exactly gonna get him to where he wants to go....safely.

Asher is 4 years old, but his "hurt cry" is very infantile. Man....that boy can really rack up the bruises in a short period of time. He has nearly lost an ear, 2 or 3 times this week. If I kiss it anymore I'm gonna swallow ear wax.......ooooooohhhh, okay that was gross and uncalled for. I apologize.

This thing happens to me when they get hurt. If there is a genuine hurt cry involved, I feel my upper lip shape into some grotesque expression, my eyes squint, and my nose sniffs. I cannot truly describe it......but it hurts me more than I can explain. And of course, I'm the kind of mommy that comes running for the "authentic" cry. They are 2 and 4. It works. They need me and want me and I'm so glad they are still so small. On the other hand....Spencer has had some boo-boo's lately that I just cannot mend. I would do anything. A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G....but there isn't much I can do. I cannot pick him up and hold him. I cannot kiss the hurts away. I cannot replace the feelings of sadness with gallons of chocolate or promises of a trip to the playground.

They grow up. Hurts happen. Some last for a long time. One day....you can't wipe the tears away and you can't make it all better. I trust my children to the God of this universe and the God of my heart and soul. I know they are in His hands. All we can really do is give them to God.

Sometimes being a mommy just hurts. It's worth it. But, ouch! ouch

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jasper

I've received a popular question lately........is my new header photo of jasper? YES, it is. The rocks you see in the header are indeed, jasper. You can see that it seems to offer no limit to color. I'm finding it to be pretty magnificent.

When I went to Zimbabwe, I was able to purchase some jasper stones very inexpensively. My favorite is a large stone (about the size of an egg) that is ocean Jasper. It came out of the ocean off the coast of South Africa, probably near Cape Town. I only had to pay $8 for it. I have tried to take a decent photo of it, but I can't seem to get a good one....I'll keep trying.

*****Other changes have taken place on my blog....new background, etc. I have also added a feature at the end of each of my posts....where you can check the box next to -funny, -interesting, or -cool. I did this because I have so many "lurkers". I get tons of email about my blog posts.....but all of you are too shy to leave comments. This way, you can mark that you've been reading, without signing in to leave a comment, or even being identified for that matter. You can still remain anonymous...etc. I went to my office for a meeting one day this past week and several people said "oh i love your blog". I was really shocked to even learn they were reading it. I think I have the most popular, least commented, blog on earth. Ha. That's okay.....but I love to know that people are enjoying my blog. It motivates me and inspires me to keep posting.

Stay tuned....I'll be writing more about my trip to Africa this week...and also have a hilarious video to post.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Confession!

I got jiggy with it yesterday...... bustin a move in my car while driving alone and listening to rap music on the radio. I gotta tell ya......I don't like that Kanye West with his "i'm the best attitude" but it's a little difficult to deny he's got some good rhythms. The funny thing is my radio rarely EVER moves off the Christian radio station, WayFM. But once in a while, I wander.

More confessions.....I've said 3 or 4 bad words this week. Satan seems to really be zoning in on my friends families and my own family. He's working overtime. My bible study girls are getting together today after a holiday break and we're gonna really sock it to him. Cover your eyes if you are easily offended...but here is the conversation that Sujette and I had last Sunday night, IN CHURCH of all places.

paraphrased...but not exaggerated...

Sujette: Satan is really working hard on our group.

Melissa: I'm kicking Satan in the nuts this year! (go ahead, giggle...it's no sin!)

Sujette: Oh honey, he's got extras...we're gonna have to keep kicking! (for the record, I'm wearing boots to bible study today!)

This conversation went on a little longer, just a few short feet away from Pastor Pete in the lobby, but he didn't hear us, I don't think. I personally think there is no better place to threaten the devil than in church. (please don't quote me on that)

No more confessions today!

Has Satan been harrassing you lately?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My Year So Far

So.....2009, eh?

Well, it started off with a lot of drama. And, perhaps that is an understatement. Much of it is not really appropriate to discuss here.....so I won't, but drama certainly defines the start of this new year for me. Here we are now on day 3. So far this year, (aside from all things Asher, Shawn and Spencer), I have been horseback riding twice, have been to the grocery store twice, have had one house showing (my house is for sale).... have seen not a single one of my friends yet, have been hiking once, have cleaned my entire house once, have helped Spencer apply for about 10 jobs, have thought about the Zim kids at least 1,000 times, and I have probably burped outloud 6 times. I know that you were dying to know these things.

I am super excited about Real Estate even though the economy is not healthy. I am taking 3 listings in the next 2 weeks and am preparing to help 3 buyers begin the search for their new homes. I have ordered some updated marketing materials and will take over a new desk in my office. All of these things excite me.

My greatest hope for this year though, still centers around Zim. I have discovered through my research and a relationship I developed in Zim, that I can help these kids get clean running water on their property and that while the expense is big, it is not astronomical. I will, hopefully with the help of some fundraising efforts, help them get water this year. It will be done. I believe. I'm attaching a photo here of my favorite little boy just after he had a make-shift bath. They did not have running water on this particular day......so they re-use old dirty water, and they basically only wash their feet. It is scary and the water can be terribly unsafe.

I hope you'll consider helping with these efforts. Stay tuned!!!!





The water they currently use does not come from a reliable source and it is rarely available. Zimbabwe has had a Cholera epidemic in recent months which has resulted in thousands of deaths, and is spread through contaminated waters, and then is highly contagious between humans. 5 of the children of this home have had Cholera. At least 1 of them has already died, 1 of them recovered from the Cholera but got a nasty infection and could lose his foot/leg, and the other 3 were still in quarantine when I left Zimbabwe. They really need a clean and reliable water source.