November 29, 2007

Insert Your Own Title Here

When I first started blogging, I wanted to be one of those breezy bloggers...full of wit and an uncanny ability to make even the mundane seem spectacularly funny. Since that's far from the person I am in "real life", it didn't take long for me to realize that my blog wouldn't have that personality, either. (Sidenote: I don't watch this show anymore, but I can't help but think of Monica Geller saying, "I'm breezy"...when she most definitely was not!) Since I don't have a knack for making the everyday seem remotely interesting, I've tried to devote my blog to the deeper things in my life (just remember, "deep" is a relative term).

Like everyone else, I have limited time. Reading blogs has fit into my schedule, but writing...not so much lately. I've got several posts in mind, but I'm too busy mulling over things going on in my corner of the world (you know, the working, the shopping, the bill-paying...) to really breathe life into those thoughts.

The postman brought me two neat gifts this week, and I want to share those with you. And can I just say that Proverbs ROCKS! And so does JoAnne Heim! I will share what I'm learning & hopefully post something with at least a teensy bit of substance, after I decorate my new tree this weekend. (I loved having a live tree, but I'm excited that the artificial is going to allow me one less thing to do in's all about simplicity!)

And now, go find something more worthwhile to read!

November 27, 2007

The Lord's Prayer

A friend sent this to me via email today. I just had to share it. The prayer is in blue type, and God's response is in red.

Our Father Who Art In Heaven.

Don't interrupt me. I'm praying.

But -- you called ME!

Called you?
No, I didn't call you.
I'm praying.
Our Father who art in Heaven.

There -- you did it again!

Did what?

Called ME.

You said,
"Our Father who art in Heaven"
Well, here I am.

What's on your mind?

But I didn't mean anything by it.
I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day.
I always say the Lord's Prayer.
It makes me feel good,
kind of like fulfilling a duty.

ell, all right.
Go on.

Okay, Hallowed be thy name .

Hold it right there.
What do you mean by that?

By what?

By "Hallowed be thy name"?

It means, it means . . good grief,

I don't know what it means.
How in the world should I know?
It's just a part of the prayer.
By the way, what does it mean?

It means honoured, holy, wonderful.

Hey, that makes sense.
I never thought about what 'hallowed' meant before.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in Heaven.

Do you really mean that?

Sure, why not?

What are you doing about it?

Doing? Why, nothing, I guess.

I just think it would be kind of neat if you got control,
of everything down here like you have up there.
We're kinda in a mess down here you know.

Yes, I know;
but, have I got control of you?

Well, I go to church.

That isn't what I asked you.
What about your bad temper?
You've really got a problem there, you know.
And then there's the way you spend your money --
all on yourself.
And what about the kind of books you read?

Now hold on just a minute!
Stop picking on me!
I'm just as good as some of the rest of those people at church!

Excuse ME.
I thought you were praying
for my will to be done.
If that is to happen,
it will have to start with the ones
who are praying for it.
Like you -- for example.

Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups.
Now that you mention it,
I could probably name some others.

So could I.

I haven't thought about it very much until now,
but I really would like to cut out some of those things.
I would like to, you know, be really free.

Now we're getting somewhere.We'll work together -- You and ME.
I'm proud of You.

Look, Lord, if you don't mind,

I need to finish up here.
This is taking a lot longer than it usually does.
Give us this day, our daily bread.

You need to cut out the bread.
You're overweight as it is.

Hey, wait a minute! What is this?

Here I was doing my religious duty,
and all of a sudden you break in
and remind me of all my hang-ups.

Praying is a dangerous thing.
You just might get what you ask for.
you called ME -- and here I am.
It's too late to stop now.
Keep praying. ( . . pause . . )
Well, go on.

I'm scared to.

Scared? Of what?

I know what you'll say.

Try ME.

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

What about Ann?

See? I knew it!
I knew you would bring her up!
Why, Lord, she's told lies about me, spread stories.
She never paid back the money she owes me.
I've sworn to get even with her!

But -- your prayer --
What about your prayer?

I didn't -- mean it.

Well, at least you're honest.
But, it's quite a load carrying around all that bitterness
and resentment isn't it?

Yes, but I'll feel better as soon as I get even with her.
Boy, have I got some plans for her.
She'll wish she had never been born.

No, you won't feel any better.
You'll feel worse.
Revenge isn't sweet.
You know how unhappy you are --
Well, I can change that.

You can? How?

Forgive Ann.
Then, I'll forgive you;
And the hate and the sin,
will be Ann's problem -- not yours.
You will have settled the problem
as far as you are concerned.

Oh, you know, you're right.
You always are.
And more than I want revenge,
I want to be right with You . . (sigh).
All right . all right . .
I forgive her.

There now!
How do you feel?

Hmmmm. Well, not bad.
Not bad at all!
In fact, I feel pretty great!
You know, I don't think I'll go to bed uptight tonight.
I haven't been getting much rest, you know.

Yeah, I know.
But, you're not through with your prayer are you? Go on.

Oh, all right.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Good! Good! I'll do that.
Just don't put yourself in a place
where you can be tempted.

What do you mean by that?

You know what I mean.

Yeah. I know.

Go ahead. Finish your prayer.

For Thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory forever.

Do you know what would bring me glory --
What would really make me happy?

No, but I'd like to know.
I want to please you now.
I've really made a mess of things.
I want to truly follow you.
I can see now how great that would be.
So, tell me . . .
How do I make you happy?

YOU just did.

November 24, 2007

A Special Announcement

Well, not as special as Janelle's...but special indeed!

I was practically blown out of the water to get an email asking me to consider being a

I didn't have to think twice about joining this wonderful ministry at 5 minutes for Mom. I'll be contributing every other week. You can read my first entry here on Monday. Stop by and visit me, and the other amazing women who share what the Lord is putting on their minds and hearts.

November 19, 2007

Giving In

R was catching a nap before going to work. I was alone on the sofa. Commercial break.

I'll just flip the channel for a minute. I'm not going to get caught up in it. Just a peek, to see what's going on this season.

And so with one push of a button, I gave in to the temptation. I decided, for one split second, that I could have something the Lord had instructed me to give up. I wanted just a taste. What was the harm?

I pressed the remote. The channel changed. The screen literally faded to black and cut to commercial just as I was tuning in.

I knew Someone was working.

He holds victory in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
--Proverbs 2:7-9

Praise God! He protected me from myself! He shielded and guarded me. Although I'm far from blameless and faithful, I'm trying so very hard to be. I want to get to the Promised Land! I don't want to let Him down. My spirit was strong, but my flesh was weak. I'm so humbled and grateful that my Father took care of it for me. He knew that even one minute would have pulled me back down into the pit. I'm so glad He didn't let me fall. He gave me strength to change the channel and be obedient.

It only took about 15 seconds for me to realize "what is right and just and fair". My feet are firmly on the good path He's planned for me. Not by MY might, but by His.

Now THAT's something to be thankful for!

November 17, 2007

My Dearest Daughter

(Photo from MSN clipart)

Well, it's late and you've finally gone to sleep. I'm already looking forward to the morning, when I'll be able to see your smile again.

For nine months, almost every person I knew (and even some I didn't!) tried to tell me how much my life would change when you arrived. I tried to smile and be a good sport, as if I agreed with their wealth of wisdom. But inside I was thinking "Yeah, right. I'll make some adjustments, but I'm not going to be one of those people who lets having a child change her entire life."

God must have gotten a big kick out of that, because I'm sure He knew that motherhood would bring so many things I wasn't prepared for. Things like:

*Being so tired sometimes that I can hardly remember my own name
*Having to take a tour of our county at 3:30 a.m., to get you to go to sleep
*Thinking that 4 1/2 hours is a "good night's sleep"
*Calling myself "Mommy"
*Being amused with a game of "peep eyes" for 45 minutes
*Checking on you at night, and feeling as though my heart is lying in that crib
*Wondering if I'll ever eat a hot meal again
*The strength required to carry you in your "pumpkin seat"
*Having lost the baby weight, but still looking pregnant
*Not being able to wear my wedding ring yet
*Having cereal spit in my face
*The way my heart stops when I see you & Daddy playing together
*Not needing an excuse to watch cartoons anymore
*Crying every time I see another child hurt
*How good you smell sometimes
*How bad you smell sometimes
*Looking at you, and wondering if my mom could've possibly felt the same way about me
*Being so forgetful
*How much fun it is to hold you in my arms and dance around the living room, singing along with the radio
*When you can't stop crying, wanting to scream, "Why me, Lord?!"
*Other times, when I feel so incredibly blessed, that I whisper, "Why me, Lord?"
*Actually discussing, and caring about, which diaper brand is best
*Having my daily vocabulary include words like "poopy", "pie-pie", and "Boo Bear" (your nickname)
*How often I stop working during the day and think about how much I miss you
*Making up silly songs
*A diaper, after you've eaten carrots
*The way my heart melts when you smile
*Constantly wondering if I'm doing this "mother thing" right

I could keep adding to this list. Every day brings something I didn't expect. Although I had time to plan for you, you came into my life like a whirlwind, touching every corner of my world. Being your Mommy has been the most challenging journey of my life, and the first thing that I've known I can't do on my own.

Before you arrived, I was a confident, career-minded, in-charge-of-my-life, organized, and fairly intelligent woman. I hope you get to meet her someday, because she was pretty cool. But, for now at least, she's been replaced by your Mommy!


I wrote this when my daughter was 6 months old. It seems an appropriate entry in Scribbit's Write-Away contest, "My Life is Different Because...". I've shared the story of CJ's birth here. Indeed, 9 years later, this miracle of God continues to touch my life in unexpected ways every day.

Before CJ, I was a woman. Now I'm a mother, and that's made all the difference.

November 15, 2007

Moving On

My time in the desert is through...for now. I wanted to continue on in Deuteronomy, cross the Jordan and get to the milk & honey. But, the Lord whispered that we have some work to do before we get there.

So, Proverbs it is. And I can see why.

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
for attaining wisdom and discipline;
for understanding words of insight;
for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,
doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young-
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance-
for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
--Proverbs 1:1-7

The Israelites didn't just walk right into the Promised Land. They had to fight for it, many times over. The battles would require discipline and wisdom. Two things I desperately need in my life. So, lessons from the wisest human who walked the earth are in order.

Discipline isn't pleasant, but necessary. I can't get to the Promised Land without it. I'll admit, right now I'd rather just plop down in this good spot and resist God's calling to go beyond (even though I gave the Reubenites grief for it!). Staying here and burying my head in the desert sand is a much easier option, but it won't bring the victory.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
--1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Training camp has begun. Can't you just hear the theme song from "Rocky"? Let's get moving, and keep our eyes on the prize.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith...
--Hebrews 12:1-2

November 12, 2007

Crossing the River

When I started my journey in Numbers, I was a little hesitant. Now, I'm sad to be leaving. I've learned so much in this desert journey. To say that God has done some major demolition & reconstruction would be an understatement. As my time here has drawn to a close, I'm a little unsure of where I'll go next. I'm waiting on His guidance. I know there's a Promised Land on the other side, but I have to be honest...He's brought me to a pretty nice place now. I like where we're hanging out, me & Jesus. I'm not quite sure I'm ready to move on just yet.

The Reubenites and Gadites, who had very large herds and flocks, saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were suitable for livestock. So they came to Moses and Eleazar the priest and to the leaders of the community, and said, "Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo and Beon- the land the LORD subdued before the people of Israel — are suitable for livestock, and your servants have livestock. If we have found favor in your eyes," they said, "let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan."
--Numbers 32:1-5

Some of the Israelites felt the same way. They didn't want to move on. After spending 40 years wandering in the desert, they finally found a comfortable place where their livestock would flourish. It was a good place.

It wasn't the best place.

As I read this, I immediately thought, "You idiots! You asked Moses not to MAKE you cross into the Promised Land?!"

And my Father gently said, "Melissa, how many times have I brought you close to the Promised Land, and you've refused to go in?"

Oh. Yeah.

But that was the old me. The new me is determined to get to her Promised Land! Whatever it takes...I'll give it up. The glimpses I've been getting aren't enough. I don't want to dream about it anymore. I want to hang my shingle there.

I didn't go to church much as a child. But one song from my childhood has begun to play over and over in my mind.

On Jordan's stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie.

I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land;
Oh who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.

*I Am Bound For The Promised Land
Rev. Samuel Stennett, Miss M. Durham, arranged by Rigdon McCoy McIntosh

November 7, 2007

A Worthy Goal

I'm still reading "A Woman After God's Own Heart" by Elizabeth George. I'm drinking it in during my quiet time. She stirred my heart today. Quoting her husband, Jim:

With every encounter, make it your aim that people are better off for having been in your presence. Try in every encounter to give something to the other person.

How different my world...would be if I put this into practice.

Raising the Praise

I admit, I'm one of those people who's started listening to Christmas music already. I adore Christmas music (and Josh Groban's "Noel"...a-maz-ing!) Still, I love the whole idea of Thanksgiving. Giving Thanks. Praising God for how He's blessed.

That's why I was so excited to see this:

Each day, I'm posting something I'm thankful for (in my sidebar). Something that's especially blessing me at that moment. It may be spiritual, material, substantial or trivial...that's not the point. What matters is setting aside a minute each day to thank my Father.

If you'd like to join Leah in this challenge, click the button and find out more. She's so friendly, she'll even email you the code so that you can have your own cute button.

November 5, 2007

My Brother's Keeper

It was all his idea. Honestly. My brother & I found a bottle of Mercurochrome. Wouldn't it be great fun to paint my hand with it & trick our parents?

(Let me stop right here & say that I worshiped my older brother. I would've done anything to make him think I was cool and fun to hang around with. To the point of being an idiot, obviously.)

He poured the garish orange liquid over my hand, and we walked into the house to find Mama. His arms around me. Me holding my hand up. I even managed to summon up real tears.

Daddy, who was in the backyard, had seen us outside with our heads bowed together. He realized that we were probably up to no good. We didn't know he was behind us when we found Mama. She nearly fainted. Fortunately, Daddy was there to recognize that my hand was not cut off. But by the time the punishment was over, I nearly wished it had been.

* * * * *

Faced with the Israelites' complaints (yet again), Moses & Aaron sought the Lord's instructions.

Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them. The LORD said to Moses, "Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink."
--Numbers 20:6-8

I'm sure Moses was just about at his wits' end with leading the stubborn, ungrateful children of Israel. How much more did the Lord expect him to take? Perhaps with all his heart, Moses wanted to be obedient. Maybe his frustration got the better of him. Maybe he was distracted and didn't pay close enough attention to everything the Lord said. Whatever the reason, he decided to take matters into his own hands, literally.

So Moses took the staff from the LORD's presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.
--Numbers 20:9-11

Although the Lord allowed the water to spew forth, He was angry that Moses and Aaron didn't follow His command to the letter. Punishment was swift.

But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them."
At Mount Hor, near the border of Edom, the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Aaron will be gathered to his people. He will not enter the land I give the Israelites, because both of you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. Get Aaron and his son Eleazar and take them up Mount Hor. Remove Aaron's garments and put them on his son Eleazar, for Aaron will be gathered to his people; he will die there." Moses did as the LORD commanded: They went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community. Moses removed Aaron's garments and put them on his son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain.
--Numbers 20:12, 23-28

My heart broke for Moses when I read this. Not only was he a witness to his brother's death, but he was responsible for it. His emotions, pride, and just plain human-ness caused him to disobey God. Unfortunately, he wasn't the only one to suffer as a result of the sin. Aaron's life was taken from him, while Moses stood by and watched. I did Moses feel when the Lord told him to take Aaron on the mountain and strip him of his clothing? To see his brother, with whom he'd ministered and witnessed countless miracles of God, naked before him and the entire nation. Was he filled with guilt and regret?

Just as Moses watched Aaron pay the price for his sin, Moses also paid the price for Aaron's. Aaron was with Moses when the Lord gave the directions to speak to the rock. Perhaps Aaron, more than anyone, knew Moses' penchant for impulse and emotion. When he first saw Moses raise the staff, he should have stepped in. He could have grabbed the staff and reminded Moses of God's command. Yet he looked on in silence as Moses disobeyed the Lord.

Friends, we are our brother's (sister's) keeper! Though it's not considered to be politically correct or tolerant, we cannot simply stand by and watch fellow believers disobey the Lord without warning them of the danger. Aaron failed Moses as much as Moses failed him.

My brother formulated the plot, but I knew that scaring my parents was wrong. Scared of what he might think, I went along with the game. In doing so, I let my brother down.

Lord Jesus, help me to love our brothers and sisters enough to stand up to them when they disobey you. Give me the wisdom and strength to reproach them in love, and to direct them back to you. Remind me to check my own heart and motives so that I am not sitting in judgment. May I love them as you do. Lord, I also pray that when I am disobedient, You will send someone to me to remind me of Your truth, and bring me back to you.

November 1, 2007


I attended Women of Faith this past weekend with a couple of girlfriends. It was truly a time of fun, laughter, refreshment, and reflection. Of all the things I heard, the words of Luci Swindoll resonated most with my heart:

Shut Up and Let Go!

She confirmed what the Lord's been saying: Stop the Whining! & Enough is Enough. Truly, it's time for me to let go of some things.

Within the past few weeks, I've purchased:

~Real Simple Cleaning
~Simplify Your Time
~Simplify Your Space
~Living Simply

Are you sensing the craving of my soul right now?

Inspired by Laura, I decided to make a weekly trip to the consignment shop. Today was my second drop-off. As I went through closets, purging TWO large garbage bags of clothes, purses, and shoes, I couldn't get this song out of my head.

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise you
I just wanna praise you
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I'm gonna praise you
I'm gonna praise you

There is freedom in simplicity. I'm not there yet, friends...but the pursuit has begun.