Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Most Beautiful Thing

It is not like me to post 3 things in one day, but I cannot resist.

Before I posted this morning about the Babe and the Bird, I spent some time praying and literally bawling my eyes out. It started out to be a typical morning and I was to spend time praying, as usual. I'll admit, most of the time in the mornings I do some devotional, scripture reading and then I write out my prayer. Then I speak it out loud. I might pray several times throughout the day depending on what I'm feeling, but I rarely get on my knees. Sometimes yes, but all the time, no. This morning I felt more praying coming from within me and I started to sit very comfy in my chair, bow my head and pray as usual. But He called me to my knees. I almost ignored it, for just a second, but then I moved. Out of the comfy position into a posture that often calls me into sobbing tears. There is just something about being on my knees and bowed with the Spirit before the God of the Universe. It is humbling.

It was intense.

Moments ago my phone rang. I almost ignored it because it was a long series of numbers that looked suspiciously like something unwanted. And then it struck was Africa. I assumed it would be Fatima. She has never called me before. I have called her only once. I grabbed the phone and accidentally hung up. I called back immediately...who cares about phone bills, right? Right...that's what I'm saying.

It was the children. They are on "holiday" setting around thinking of me. It was Keldon first.....Keldon is the beautiful 19 year old I told you of in a post long ago. His parents died of aids and his twin brother did too. He had a lovely family before he was orphaned. He is the most positive and beautiful spirit. Then Sarah spoke. I was sitting in my kitchen floor sobbing. What a gift I have received today. We talked for too long probably according to ATT&T. I got to hear their voices. They were able to hear me shout out my love for them like a blubbering idiot....who cares? I am so in love!

They had me on speaker. We prayed. They asked about all of my family by name (whom they have never met). They begged us to come. They kept saying "we love you we miss you Melissa".

The sweetness that is pouring into my life is almost too much for my heart to handle.

Lord God you have blessed me to my core. You are my King. Praise you Jesus!

The Babe and the Bird

Yesterday morning was quite special to me. It wasn't anything really out of the ordinary as my days events go, but it involved something a bit more precious....a little twist to the sweetness that I encouter each morning as my little boys wake up.

If you are connected to me on facebook you might have seen my status update yesterday morning. It was this:

"Asher was still in bed when I walked past his room. He said "Momma will you come in here and give me some snuggles?" he motioned for me to get on my knees next to his bed and asked me to cover him with my snuggles. After a minute I said "is that what you wanted?" He responded "yes momma, that's exactly how I imagined it". My sweet Tater Tot was imagining momma snuggles. My life couldn't be more blessed."

Asher and Shawn have matching beds. They are platform beds so they are slightly lower to the ground. I can get on my knees next to their beds and lean over them. Somehow I can manage to hug them (cover them) from head to toe, maybe like a momma bird does for her chicks. I guess in all honesty, it is one of my favorite postures.
But the sweetest words from Asher, that he had "imagined" it just really effected me so deeply in my heart. I'm so blessed that while he has the gift to imagine, that I have the willingness to respond. I know this isn't true for all little families. Sadly.

You know I love my birds. I am faithfully keeping their birdhouses full of seed and I get to enjoy visiting birds to my favorite window early in the morning as I sit in preparation for my day, and then again in the evening as they return for supper. I've talked about the birds a lot, and I continue to learn from them as God is teaching me to see them as creatures in relation to humans, as humans are in relation to God. Well sorta....but it sounded good. But I have a new bird. He doesn't really seem to have any friends. I've noticed so many of them travel in pairs. This one, he is kinda red. Of all of the birds, he does one thing none of the others do. He comes all the way to my window, perches up and peeks in. He stares me in the eye and tilts his head slightly. He seems awfully furry to be a bird, but I have decided he is my favorite. I look forward most to his visit and when he shows up I put down whatever book I'm holding and I just turn toward him and smile. I can't help it. He is brave and courageous. Or perhaps he is just hopeful, but whatever he is.....he draws near to me and I like him very much for that. I favor him.

I'm so blessed for the visions God gives me. I believe fully it is the spirit within me that says Melissa...look out, pay attention, we're teaching you something you won't want to miss.

I imagine the Lord God covering me in His love and protection. Everytime I ask Him for comfort He is right there, without fail. He moves my spirit to know He is there...there is just no other way to describe it. Like Asher desires my covering, I so desire this from Christ. Someday when we are together in the Heavenly realms I believe He will smile through His loving tears and tell me how pleasured He has been to know that I have been imagining it all along.

I believe too that maybe sometimes He sees me as the lonely furry bird occasionally brave enough to draw near to Him in search of His smile. And He will weep with me as I am weeping now.

Truck - slight delay

There is a truck update. It is delayed. I have heard from Fatima and the new date goal is by 5/10. There were some hijackings of Zimbabwe buses crossing into South Africa, so Fatima revised her plan. She has sent a scout for the truck and then she and a team will travel together to purchase it. Please continue to pray for her. This isn't just about her finding the is about her mission to be completed safely. I will update as soon as I have more news.

Monday, April 26, 2010

April 2010 Snapshots

April was busy. Besides Easter and Spencers birthday (and work work work) we took advantage of some of the great weather we've had and spent some time at local parks. Here's a few snapshots.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I just realized that I haven't updated in a week. Sowwy! I'm waiting to hear from Fatima. I have been praying for her success and her safety while she is in Durban, South Africa. Her 10 day deadline that she placed on herself is almost up so I'm hoping to hear from her in the next couple of days. Then....I will be able to write more.

We did have a major celebration this week however. Spencer, my oldest son turned 21 on Wednesday. I can hardly believe it. It is just major weird to have a child who is of legal drinking age. We have celebrated a couple of times. :)

I'll write more soon. Promise.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Master Plan

The past couple of weeks have brought a new experience to me in my field of work. I sell houses and condos. 99.9% of the time I am selling houses for re-sale, in other words, not new. New construction is a different beast on many levels...a beast I have been happy to steer clear of. No particular reason. Earlier this year I received a referral from a dear friend (thank you always!) which involved me representing her son in the purchase of a loft in a new construction project. This loft was completed, however. Other than using a different contract, it didn't seem all that different.

Currently, one of my buyer clients has decided to purchase a home that is in mid-construction. It happens to be a home in a historic part of town, not a home in a sub-division. Framing is completed. The roof is on. What is left are the details. Drywall is going up this week. As of yet, only cabinets have been selected which we were permitted to change....and everything else is being selected this week. Trim, hardware, fixtures, etc. We were given a peek at the "master plan". Seeing the detail of this drives a lot of things home for me. There are so many individualized plans that make up the master plan....but the architect put together the master plan first. Only then did the builders begin to pull in the other specialized tradesmen for what they could add to the overall beauty of the finished product. One man cannot build the house alone. If he attemtps the full project on his own, most probably the details will suffer. There is beauty in the details.

In this real life story of a house being built, there is a buyer who joined with a business partner and investor. They hired an architect, a builder, a general contractor....who then hires electricians, plumbers, carpenters, cabinet makers, flooring specialists, trim finishers, painters, carpet installers, designers, agents...( oh yes there are agents)... the original buyer becomes a seller and alas, a new buyer. A lot of trades, a lot of talents and skills, supervisors and consumers and providers come together to complete this master plan. And let us not forget the cost.

The Heavenly Father is the creator and developer of the Master Plan. Do you know what role you play? Are you using your gifts and talents to pull it together? Get on it friends...we gots work to do.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Interrupt Your Regular Programming For This Important Announcement

Fatima has the cash.

I was sitting in traffic at a red light this morning and did a quick check of email on my iPhone. This is exactly how the email to me from Fatima reads:

"Dear Woman of God,

Greetings once more in Jesus s name. I stand in awe of what our lord Jesus Christ has done. The miracle finally reached us. The precious roses were $9 280. Be blessed for ever more.

I will be off to Durban tomorrow and I have given myself a maximum of ten days to conclude the whole transaction and to have the lorry in Zinbabwe. Please keep on praying for me.

love you lots,

Fatima for all"

The subject of the email was, "The Miracle is in our Hands!"

To know Zim is to also know that the mere fact she received it (ok, all but $20) is a miracle. And by the way, lorry means truck.

I praised God out loud with my mouth while driving for at least 10 minutes. Every time I thought I was finished speaking praises to Him I realized I had more and more to praise Him for. All I could really do was praise Him over and over. That was the only thing that made sense. The feeling of finishing kept coming over me and then my mouth would open again and keep going. He told me by His spirit in my heart, that I will never stop praising Him. I will never be finished with praises. I could never praise Him enough. I believe Him now.

I will continue to update you with information as I receive it. Glory to God! We will hear good news.

What is next? My fundraising begins immediately for me and at least some of my family to go back to Zim for what I believe may be one final time. I told those children I would see them again and I believe that should happen and will happen. And then from there, I need to just minister to them from here. I believe God will then send me to a region that does not yet know Jesus. And I will go. My decision now is to get passports for my children and to pray about when to go back to Zim (this year) and to find who we will serve while we are there. I will keep the donate button on my blog and ask that if you are moved in any way to help me raise funds to do one more mission trip to this region, I would humbly thank you with all of my heart. I believe the earliest we go would be August and the latest would be November 2010. It will require several thousand dollars, mostly due to airfare. My greatest desire would be to go with my husband and my 3 sons.

I am so thankful today and so relieved that Fatima received the money. I continue to be incredibly blessed and moved by all of the generosity of 33 people. What an amazing effort by each of you. How I love you! How our sweet Lord loves you too!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

oops - 32 chicks

I forgot Erika. Shame on me.


Not sure how I could forget Erika. She was one of the early ones to donate, just days before her family went on vacation. I was so moved by that gesture, as I'm sure they would have enjoyed those dollars on their trip....but nope, she gave them to me for the truck.

Who else did I forget? I know I've done it. Go ahead, tell me.

It took every one of my brain cells to recall all of these names. I guess I ran out early.

Friday, April 9, 2010

30 Chicks and 2 Dudes

That is how many people contributed to the truck fund for Fatima. YeeHaw!!!! And if I do say so myself, chicks rock!

No word yet from Zim. But I can verify that the funds that were being held in my account are definitely GONE. Buh-bye.

Thank you to Laura, Laura, Laura, Laura (ha yes 4 Laura's), Susan, Tracy, Tracy, Sandi, Vickie, Misty, another Susan, Connie, Sharon, Julie, Sandra, Pam, Julia, Cassie, Lisa, Gina, Kerri, Pat, Elaine, Camille, Marcia, Holly, Karen, Sarah, Melissa, Michelle, Monty and Joe. most of these chicks have hubbies who were fully on board too....praises be!

If I fail to do a blog post soon about my bucket list....somebody remind me. K? Thx! Happy Weekend!

Also, if I am so lame as to have forgotten to mention anyone in the list above, please tell me. I don't want to forget anyone!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Down to the Wire

I woke up this morning with a sinus headache, which is no surprise since I went to bed with one last night. I had the best of intentions to go to my sales meeting today but backed out on that due to my overall haze and grump factor. And thankfully my final walk-thru inspection for a client was cancelled for this morning so that it could take place yesterday.....and therefore, I decided not to even leave home today. Both Shawn and Asher are grumpy as well, with sniffles and some occasional snot bubbles. Mind you they are not green....but the tiniest hint of pitifulness from either one of them this morning, secured my decision to declare today a "home day". On this day I would check my email and not have anything from Fatima. Oh well....I assumed I'd have to wait one more day.

After doing a couple of hours of bible study this morning, wiping snot off of sniffly boys, and lounging in the bliss that is jammies/coffee/no shower/no bra..... I checked email just before noon and there it was. All of the info I needed to initiate the wire transfer to Fatima was right in my inbox. Honestly, I had just been trying to teach Shawn how to say "Hallalujia"....I kid you not. So then I shouted Alleluia's of my own, and he repeated...with hands raised in the air I might add.

Then I proceeded to do what any decent redneck Nashvillian would do. I put on slightly less jammie-style clothing. I brushed my teeth, but not my hair. I found the bra...good. Asher put on his Titans jersey with unmatching britches. I threw a clean t-shirt on Shawn, but not any shoes....and we drove to the bank. And yes, we all walked in. And then we were all sent right out because something wasn't working today. I thought - "damn you Satan". Ok, I "thought" it, I did not "say" it. So, we went to another branch....and it is done. Everybody repeat after me with hands raised....HALLALUJIA!!!!!!!

It will take approximately 4 days for Fatima to receive the funds....and so yes, we'll have to meet right back here for another Hallalujia celebration in a few days just to be sure.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the other day that another sweet friend of mine, GW, tossed in $25 on the last day! I had already calculated it but had forgotton to post it. So yes, I sent $9,300. There were fees involved to do this which I paid separately so that Fatima could receive every penny. So, we'll be eating bread and water for the next few days....(oh i exaggerate slightly)....but it's all worth it.

I deeply hope this experience whether participating or by reading, has blessed you as much as it has blessed me. I am so thankful for every moment of it. I can actually laugh at myself now for being so chicken at the beginning of this when I began to reach out to everyone for help.

In the next week or 2, we should have a photo of the truck. I cannot wait.

God is at work. Thank you Jesus!

Monday, April 5, 2010


I just got off the phone with Fatima. My whole body is shaking with joy. It is 7:20am here and about 2 or 3:20pm there. I was worried when I woke up yet again without an email response from her. I have been truly worried about her, as it has never been like her to take so long to respond.

I searched through the documents that she sent me a long time ago about her organization and finally found a phone number. I have no idea how much that call will cost me, but at this rate I don't care. I heard her VOICE!!!! she sounded not only like she was in Africa, but like she was under water in Africa with a bag over her head. I could barely hear a word.....but I heard enough to know that she A) will send me the swift code to her bank tomorrow (B) that she loves me I am an angel of God (C) and that they are dying for me to come back to Zimbabwe this year, (D) she basically asked God to bless me, my family, my children, my friends, my grass, my trees, my shoes, my name it....she has declared for me to be blessed in God's name. And she knows full well that more than 20 of you made this happen. I plan to organize a list of names to send to her so that she and the children can be praying for all of you. Trust will be prayed for.

So, the money still sits in my account, but that's okay becuase I have learned that my friend is well. And I got to hear her precious voice. I think it is funny that I am begging to send it to her but she sits calmly there, not begging for it to be sent. She is amazing. Please pray for Fatima today.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Firstly....the money for the truck still has not been transferred. I have not heard back from Fatima since sending her 2 emails. And yes, I am worried about her. I am hoping that the only problem is just with her electricity. Electricity is very unstable in Zim. My hope is that this is our only cause for delay. As soon as I hear from her with the info I need, I will wire the money that day!

But, today is Easter. I have enjoyed two wonderful days this long weekend. (Yes I have worked also, but aside from that...) On Friday I took all of my boys to Honeysuckle Hill Farm. Yes, even my Spencer who is about to be 21 years old. We all went and played. It was just really wonderful! We spent 3 glorious hours in the sun, the dirt, on the slides, on the kiddie train, on the big jumpy thingy, drinking slushes, and so on. I am so thankful for that day with all my boys! Then yesterday with all my boys, we got to spend the afternoon at my Aunt's house visiting with she and my cousins, and my mom. Spencer brought his guitar and he jammed a bit for us. We were mostly covered by shade, enjoying the simplicity of enjoying family. It was so nice. Asher blew bubbles and chased kitty cats. Shawn snored for about 3 hours in a soft sweet bed. Spencer sang some incredible songs he has written, while I just basically sat back and soaked up the reality of my life....I am surrounded by love. I have hope and peace and joy. I have plenty of trials and pain.... but I have joy, bottom line.

In the middle of it all yesterday, a contract I have been working on was finalized and many people were happy as a result.

I've spent much time thinking about the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. And I am spending much time thinking about the resurrection. The power. The glory. Taking up the cross and walking with Jesus does not promise to be easy. It does however, promise to be rewarding to the soul. I thank Him.

I'm praying for a completed wire transfer tomorrow to Fatima. I'll update with good news as soon as I have it.

Happy Resurrection Day!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


On Wednesday I received $150 from my sweet friend PS. I received $100 from the precious KE. This morning I had breakfast with a treasured friend for many years and was blessed with $500 for the truck fund. In a moment of utter joy I tossed more in as well. The total in pledges is now $9,300!!! I attempted to wire the funds today but discovered that I am missing one piece of info regarding the receiving bank, and so I have emailed Fatima asking her to obtain that info. They are 7 hours ahead of me, so she will hopefully have that info by the time I wake up tomorrow and can go to the bank first thing in the morning. I will post an update tomorrow!

I am feeling such intensity over all of this. I am now so greatly anticipating the news that Fatima has purchased the truck. She promises to send me a picture so I can post on the blog. I know that will be a sweet gift for all of us to see with our eyes, of what this effort has provided. Again....this is not about an automobile, it is about a ministry.

I rememembered something this week that I honestly cannot believe I had forgotten. The first time I traveled to Zim...upon landing in the capital city and attempting to collect my luggage, it was quickly discovered that about 40 passengers, including myself, had no luggage. All of our luggage had been left in Johannesburg, South Africa, apparantly on purpose. See, the airport in Zimbabwe didn't have any fuel. They were utterly empty of everything at that time. No fuel, no food, no currency....the country was in a shambles. Awful things were going on between the peoples as a result of political unrest. It was truly terrible. There had been a horrible cholera outbreak, which was a virus being spread by contaminated water. People were dying. Tons of people were dying. They couldn't get the medical treatment that they needed to stay alive. They needed hydration, but couldn't get hydration because all they had was contaminated water. This almost scared me enough to cancel my trip. But I went. SO - at the airport....the plane carrying me had to leave our lugguage behind so that they could carry fuel for re-fueling, instead. It took about 5 days or so for me to finally receive my luggage... WHILE I was still in the airport waiting in the ridiculously long line (at the end I might add) to fill out that paperwork to identify my luggage, I met a beautiful young Zimbabwe native who sat with me. She and I were both exhausted and just troubled over the circumstances. Not that this matters, but she was SO beautiful. I was surprised by her because she was very hip and fashionable. I was expecting tribal. She was urban and chic. I was expecting poverty expanding to the horizons, but she was likely more financially secure than I am. But her voice was so gentle and her gestures so sweet. She was so kind to me. She inquired about my travel to Zim and I explained I was there to serve in orphanages in the capital city of Harare. She questioned that... Orphanges in Harare? I replied, "yes, to my knowledge, at least 4". She was stunned. She stated "I had no idea there were orphans in Harare".

She lives right in the middle of it all and doesn't even know what is going on. I was floored by this. Now that I have been there even again and seen that there are in fact tons of orphanages in Harare....I wonder, how could she not know? But this is life as we know it. I live in Middle Tennessee and I know there are homeless shelters here for families because somehow I found out long ago. For several years my oldest son and I served monthly in a homeless shelter in West Nashville. There are orphans, wards of the state right in our city. I know this because I know people who have adopted them. We have no idea truly the brokenness that surrounds us. We live in our little worlds and they become so comfy....and we drive back and forth to the grocery store to replenish the milk and the bread. I get treats for my kids. Today I bought bird food, yet again, for my dang piggy birds taking up residency in my back yard. Tomorrow I will take my children to an Easter celebration at a gorgeous farm where they will play endlessly, and they will fall into the arms of the mother that adores every little hair on their heads.

We all have a ministry. If you think you don't have a are simply incorrect. You have a ministry as surely as I do. For whatever reason, my heart breaks for orphans. My heart especially breaks for orphans who can never be adopted because their governments will not allow it....therefore, forever orphans. Fatima has a ministry. She is one Zim native who has not only been made aware of the plight of the orphans in that country, she is one who has stood up and said "I will not stand for this!". She has rescued children from some incredbily horrible situations. And she isn't done. She is doing more. I doubt she will ever be finished. She will find them, rescue them, feed them, send them to school, get them to the clinics for the anti-viral HIV medications, and she will teach them about the love of Jesus. They will be restored. They will be valued. They will be hopeful. They will serve in return.

The truck is a ministry. It will be loaded up with food to deliver to the various orphanage homes that are spread far apart. They will courier the children to the clinics for their vaccines and meds. The truck serves a beautiful purpose. It is a tremendous blessing in a critical time of need. Fatima has been without a vehicle period for about 2 weeks now and has been traveling by bus.

If you are inspired to serve but you don't really know where or advice is to serve in your community. Find the homeless shelters and begin delivering meals. Deliver clothing, tennis shoes and games to the local boys home. Do something. If writing checks is your that....but get your hands dirty. You will never feel as alive as when you serve selflessly, having compassion on those who are less fortunate, or those who are emotionally wounded. Everybody just wants to be loved. Love is what we're all after. Everybody doesn't have money to give....but we were made to love. We all have love. And we all have plenty to share. Slice off a piece of yours and pass it around.

I dare you.