Thursday, February 28, 2008

Laughing Through the Tears

I've never seen anything like it. The Face to Face service for John was today. The chapel was full of lives he impacted. I overheard more stories, and remembered some of my own. The best part of the whole thing was that everyone who got up to speak had some funny story to tell about him. We all knew him as the biggest goofball and prankster. He was serious about his call and his Savior. What an example he was. The service was so anointed, and struck a chord with many of us. Who is going to step up? What a challenge! I don't know how many people it's going to take to fill his shoes (of course, they can never be filled!) Missionary. Youth worker. Friend to many. Missionary. There was a man in front of me who was from his ministry in the inner city of Baltimore. I couldn't bear to see his body wracked with sobs. But, by the end of the service, with tears still running down his face, he was laughing with the rest of us at one of John's antics.

I started typing this the other day, and can't finish it; but I want to post it anyway. Tina's post on it is way better, and since we share a brain (and her half is way better), I want you to read hers instead of mine....


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Unveiling

It's a new day... and I have a new blog name! The following is what I posted on my other page. Yes, I'm THAT lazy. I don't feel like typing the same idea again, so here it is:

I'm not sure if I even have any readers left, but I didn't want to leave you all stranded. I've changed the name of my blog. I was just not loving the name I had chosen, because come to find out, it was NOT very unique. I think my new blog name is a little more unique, even though I'm not sure it really illustrates what my blog is all about. I'd love some feedback on it... And, here it is... drumroll please...

Melissious Intentions (as you can see above!)

Please give me your feedback! I'm thinking it's kind of cute. Melissious has been my screen name on every site, email address, etc., since pretty much the dawn of the internet. It has many meanings... let's see if you can figure it out...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Through a Glass Darkly

I just saw him last week. He had gone to Istanbul, Turkey to be a missionary, so I thought it was a little odd that I saw him in a crowd the other day. He even looked a little more clean-cut than I'd ever seen him, even when he was dating my dorm head in college. He was looking pretty good.

Well, apparently there was something going on that I, and many of our mutual friends - even his closest friends - had no idea about. He came back from the mission field for a visit, and now he's gone. It can't compute in my mind. Big John. I haven't really even cried yet. I've felt right on the verge, like tonight at church when I saw one of his really close friends walk out sobbing, or yesterday when our youth pastor got up, lip quivering, and said how much he'll be missed at camp. "He was always at peace there, sitting out in a boat on the lake, looking out over the campers." He will be missed. Greatly. The heartache is real. The confusion, the disbelief - we don't really know what to do with it. I can't believe I'm here again, within what, a week, writing about losing someone again? I really don't know what to say, because it really isn't real to me. I can't process it.

In any respect, it makes us hug the ones we love tighter, and want to call our friends and tell them we love them - just in case they might not have known. Even those ones that I haven't seen in a while, I feel like they're a part of my heart, and it aches for them sometimes.

Our pastor said something yesterday that has really stuck with me. It's tempting to want to blame ourselves for this. John was getting help, but we could have done more. If only I had spoken to him when I saw him last. If only they had taken him out to lunch last week. If only someone had known, like really known. Well, Someone did know. Does know. He's here to hold us in our sorrow, and He's there with John by his side. A perfect Big John, with none of the troubles that were haunting him. Yeah, we're left here with the hurt and confusion. We are trying to look through this foggy glass darkly, but he is seeing face to face.

On the other side of that, though, is this... Jesus, when he was teaching his disciples how to pray, told them to say "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven." I take that to mean that we can have a taste of Heaven here, now. Yes, we long for Heaven. Yes, we now have one more person to miss desperately. I've even asked God again if He's sure He doesn't want to just take all of us. Then I see the fullness of His Body here. The love of the family, the comfort in the little clusters of friends holding each other up through this. We can see Him here and now. If we just focus on that - those moments of clarity - we just might make it through this. To the other side.

Face to Face.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Ode to Grandpa

Today was my dad's birthday. My mom, the sentimental softie that she is, decided it would be nice to spend the WHOLE day together as a family. That means, my 4 crazies, plus my sister's 2 - with no boundaries (unless you count the horribly polluted bay on one side - I guess that's a boundary of sorts!)

It started out beautifully. It was a balmy day of somewhere near 65 degrees here in Baltimore today. The sun was shining; the birds were singing and all that jazz. The kids had fun "seagull bowling", as we so gracefully call attempting to run over flocks of birds who are trying to steal our food. Then, as we made our way along the harbor, the wind started up. Along with it, came the clouds... and the rain. We had made it quite a ways away from our cars by this time. Puddles seemed to form out of nowhere. And I don't need to tell you the solution to this equation: little boys + puddles = ... yeah, soaking wet, screaming car full of fun. One good thing that came out of it was <<>> which I would have done if I hadn't left my camera at the restaurant. Oh yeah, we went to a restaurant afterwards. Call me a glutton for punishment (or a Daddy's girl, either one will do.)

After trying unsuccessfully all day to get a picture of Grandpa with ALL the grandkids, we figured out the best way to get them all together was (get out your sunglasses, folks!)...

CAKE, of course!!!! (duh)
I had the good sense to email this picture to myself from my dad's phone since my camera had died (and I subsequently left it at the restaurant so this is my only picture of the day!)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Speechless Saturday

Last night we made brownies... This morning I woke up to...


And just in case we didn't know who the ring leader of this parade was, he signed his handy-work...

Friday, February 15, 2008


Conversation on the way home from the mall with my 4 year old:

"Mommy, what is 'selfish'?"

"It's when someone isn't grateful for what they have and wants everything else."

"Mommy, I'm selfish."

"Oh, really? Well, selfish kids get all of their toys taken away and given to kids who appreciate them."

A couple of minutes of silence...



"I'm NOT selfish."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

So I'm Sitting There Buck Naked...

I was very close to becoming the butt of an internet mass-forward joke tonight.
My dear, sweet husband planned a nice, romantic dinner of take-out straight from the Outback bags. See, with four little beasties running around, it's hard to go out when we both worked a full day with a babysitter at home. So, while I put the crazy midgets to bed, he went to pick up the food (45 minute wait.)
I got the kids in bed with time to spare, and an idea hit me. Everything looks better by candlelight! So, I got out a nice tablecloth and a bunch of candles and set up a nice little atmosphere. You know what's good about candle light? It makes the world a little smaller and hides the mess...
It took longer than expected for the food, of course. While I was waiting, the thought popped into my mind, "All I got him was a silly card." I thought, "You know what would be funny? If I was sitting here completely naked when he got home. That would be a fun present (especially with the whole darkness hiding things)!"
Notice the shock on his face as he walked in the door...
Unfortunately, I ate entirely too much chocolate and candy today, and was feeling that the darkness wouldn't hide ENOUGH, plus, I suddenly thought the table would look prettier with more candles and some dishes... so at the last minute I changed my mind. If you look closely at this picture (to the right of my husband between his shoulder & the door frame- yeah, I know it's horribly grainy, but remember, it was dark in here!), you'll know exactly WHY I'm glad I did... It's a face. He happened to meet up with one of his best friends in the parking lot of the restaurant. He came home with him to borrow a movie. Boy am I glad I went ahead and went with the card!
Even without the naked surprise, I think he was pretty happy.

Valentine's Blues

So, I got my best friend a Valentine's card today, and a PRESENT. AND Chocolates. She was mad at me. Does that make sense?

I also got in a fight with my husband this morning.

Typical Valentine's Day.

**Editor's Note: I would like to retract the statement that my best friend was mad at ME, she was just not having a great day (read her Valentine's Day pot and you'll see why.) I took it personally for most of the day, because TOM is visiting and it was just one of those days. I HEART her and she liked the presents (I think.) And she still loves me even though I'm a diet saboteur.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

No Wonner They Scream! Fry mah hide!! Fry mah hide!! Fry mah hide!

This was too funny for me to pass up! This is a site I got from Memarie Lane, and I just couldn't pass it up. I put in my post from this morning and chose "Redneck". It "dialectized" the text. Tell me this isn't hysterical!!

Last night ah had a poppin' problem wif mah lef' ear. Yo' know, like yo' git when yer flyin'? Yeah. SO annoyin', but not pow'ful thet trimenjus of a deal, ah reckon. Wal, at 3 in th' mo'nin', ah woke up t'excruciatin' pain in mah ear. It felt like ah was bein' stabbed, seriously. ah c'd hear li'l squeakin' noises; ah pow'ful thunk mah eardrum was a-gonna pop. ah took 4 ibuprofen, an' rummaged th' medicine cabinet until ah foun' some Similisan, as enny fool kin plainly see. ah put them drops in an' waited patiently, tryin' not t'scream (too loudly.) Th' whole lef' side of mah haid an' neck were in pain, as enny fool kin plainly see. Finally, ah decided t'take some Unisom (a couple mo'e than th' recommended dose, of course) an' it wawked wifin an hour. ah woke up this hyar mo'nin' t'mostly pressure in th' ear. ah decided t'stop at th' Targit Clinic on mah way t'wawk (mo'e on this hyar later, mebbe - LOVE th' Targit Clinic! Fry mah hide!! Fry mah hide!) An hour later ah was armed wif majo' antibiotics, eardrops, an' a diagnosis of an ear infeckshun wif a bust TM (tempanic membrane, which ah believe is th' eardrum, dawgone it.) Yeah, thar is blood a-comin' outta mah ear. Purdy pitcher. All ah can say about this hyar is thet ah now unnerstan' whuffo' mah chillun scream fo' days on ind when they haf an ear infeckshun! Fry mah hide! Warnin': ah gave mah bess friend rights t'post on mah blog, acco'din' t' th' code o' th' heells! ah wanted her t'post mah quirkies o' whutevah thet is; on account o' ah doesn't feel ah HAVE enny quirks. ah's puffick, it's ev'ryone ELSE thet has all th' quirks.

Quirky confessions - *Evil laugh*

Hello world. This is Tina, Mel's bff in the whole widest world. I am here to post in lieu of her as she cannot manage to think of any her quirks. This is quite funny because I at the drop of a hat can think of many. Get ready to be entertained and thank you Mel for allowing me the pleasure of being a guest blogger. I feel most honored. Thanks Laura for tagging Mel.

1. Sauces - every food must be swimming in some kind of sauce. A common phrase when ordering food is "can I get a side of buffalo/general tso/soy/honey mustard sauce?" Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. We took a trip to Taco Bell a month or so ago. She asked for LOTS and LOTS of sauce. The woman must have given us about 100 packets. We used about 20. The rest sit in her desk drawer "just in case". The beauty is that her kids have become sauce cravers too. "Wanna dip it!!"

2. Eating - basically, it's like this. What it takes me 10 minutes to inhale, it takes her about an hour. Slow as molasses eater. Which I guess is a good thing.

3. Stinky pillow - there is this pillow that she MUST sleep with every night. I call it the "stinky pillow". I don't think it's stinky, it's just old and ratty and is barely clinging to life with the multiple safety pins holding it together. And yes, when already running late to the airport, she has made the driver turn around so she could get her beloved and cuddle him close to her face.

4. The fan - in addition to the 'stinky pillow' we have Mr. Fan. Mr. Fan blows all thru the night on high speed, so as to drown out any noises and to lull her into precious slumber. I would have to say, this is one of my quirks too. I cannot sleep without the 'wirr'.

5. DRAMAmine - it's her miracle drug. Mel gets quite car, airplane, sea.. 'anything that would move her' sick. But when she's driving, she's fine. And usually when I'm driving, she's okay too. Except when I'm backing up. I've yet to figure this one out.

6. Do you smell that? - a very common question when hanging with Melissa. Her best work would probably be on the Swat K-9 team because I swear, she has the sniffer of a bloodhound.

She's not TOO quirky but she's got 'em peeps. But it makes me love her all the more! Hooray for quirky confessions!.

Thanks, Amanda

No Wonder They Scream!!!

Last night I had a popping problem with my left ear. You know, like you get when you're flying? Yeah. SO annoying, but not really that big of a deal. Well, at 3 in the morning, I woke up to excruciating pain in my ear. It felt like I was being stabbed, seriously. I could hear little squeaking noises; I really thought my eardrum was going to pop. I took 4 ibuprofen, and rummaged the medicine cabinet until I found some Similisan. I put those drops in and waited patiently, trying not to scream (too loudly.) The whole left side of my head and neck were in pain. Finally, I decided to take some Unisom (a couple more than the recommended dose, of course) and it worked within an hour. I woke up this morning to mostly pressure in the ear. I decided to stop at the Target Clinic on my way to work (more on this later, maybe - LOVE the Target Clinic!!) An hour later I was armed with major antibiotics, eardrops, and a diagnosis of an ear infection with a burst TM (tempanic membrane, which I believe is the eardrum.) Yeah, there is blood coming out of my ear. Pretty picture. All I can say about this is that I now understand why my children scream for days on end when they have an ear infection!

Warning: I gave my best friend rights to post on my blog. I wanted her to post my quirkies or whatever that is; because I don't feel I HAVE any quirks. I'm perfect, it's everyone ELSE that has all the quirks. :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Terrific Tuesday - Thank You, Mr. D!

Okay, could you sense the sarcasm dripping from that title? No? Well, fasten your seatbelts, folks. I have yet ANOTHER foolish story for ya. I have to warn you, it's going to be predictable, but bear with me...

Tuesdays are my carpool day. This means, I wake four peacefully sleeping cherubs (who instantly turn into vicious demons as soon as their eyes open) and whirlwind - yes, that's a verb - them into the car. I then head to the park & ride, where I add two MORE boys ("the Austins", actually one Austin and one Auston) to my brood. Can you do the math? That's SIX boys together in a car - at 7:25 in the morning. This particular morning went off pretty well, other than the fact that I did NOT want to get out of bed. I did NOT want to wake up the cherubs and get them dressed. I happened to glance out the window as I was walking across the hallway (open foyer) to get them, and noticed that there was a dusting of snow (I can hear the predictability bulb going off in your head) on the road. So, being a native Baltimorian, I freeze in my tracks, turn off the light and race back to my room in search of the remote. I turn on the news and stand there waiting for the delays to flash across the screen. There were like 3 schools opening late and a few closings (yes, folks, for a dusting - and I'm NOT exaggerrating!!!) Groan... and off I go to wake them up. The second I get in the car I turn on the radio. I make it to the park & ride a couple of minutes late - thank you, Mr. 1983 Ford truck, for going five miles UNDER the speed limit the entire way and missing those 2 green lights! The boys hop in my car (and by "hop" I mean gingerly climb up into their seats and start looking at toys and talking to my boys before even thinking to buckle their seatbelts.) And we're off... boy the roads are clear, gotta love election day. As we drive in, I hear that most of the Christian schools in the area are either closed, opening late, or closing early. There's a winter weather advisory for later in the day.

We pull into the school a full TWELVE minutes early. There's the security guard and one teacher pacing back & forth in front of the school. It's Auston's teacher. She walks up to my car ("Aw!" I'm thinking in my head, "She's going to come GET the Austins out of the car and WALK them into school!") Yeah, wrong. She walks up with a huge smile, with what looks like a hint of pity in her eyes. Still not registering in my brain. Down goes the window... "There's no school!" WHAT?! I had the radio on the ENTIRE way to school. They did NOT cancel it. Well, our school goes by the Baltimore County school system - which didn't HAVE school today because of the elections. Therefore, they were not listed in the "School Closings" on the major television or radio stations. Finally, at 8:07, when I was almost all the way back home, I heard on the radio "We are still getting calls about school closings. Greater Grace just called in to say they're closed today. Thank You, Mr. Principal! Those of us who need to leave about an hour before school starts at 8:15 in order to get there in time, could have used that call about TWO HOURS ago.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The School of Suffering*

I was kicked out of my own bed by a 27 pound 3 1/2 year old this morning. We are not the "family bed" type of family. I like my space. I don't sleep well being kicked by children (or my husband, for that matter) all night. Well, at 5 o'clock this morning, I was awoken by the dear husband shouting something in my ear. Owen threw up in his crib!! Great. I thought we were done with this. I've been basically out of commission for two weeks - three if you count the week Glenn was sick before that (he's STILL sick!) Each one of the boys, except for Jake, has gotten this lovely stomach bug. It's been quite a trying time around here. I feel like it's just one thing after another.

I know that all one of you who read my blog have been concerned about my last post. I hyperlinked some of my old posts and alluded to the fact that I had writted about someone who had died. Well, I haven't yet. I just wasn't really ready. It wasn't someone I was particularly close with, but I am close with some of his family and it just really hit home for me. I tend to overly-empathize with people, if that's possible. This was a young father who used to attend our church. Now, our church is like a huge close-knit family. I was actually born into this church. My parents have been a part of it since the early 1970's. I may not be super-close to everyone here, but when someone is going through something, or if someone loses a loved one - even if I'm not close with them - it's like losing a long-lost brother, aunt, grandfather, etc. This guy who passed away last week was in high school (our church has an affilliated K-12 school as well as a Bible College, both of which I graduated from) when I was in elementary school. I'm friends with his sisters-in-law and his nieces. My boss was one of his best friends. Two of his kids are in our middle school. He also left behind a 3 year old. I have had a hard time thinking about this whole thing. I wish there was something I could do for them, yet I don't want to bother them since the wife and kids don't know me. I just burst into tears when I heard that the baby has been walking around the house saying "Where Daddy go?" I can't handle that. Then I think, this could just as easily be me going through this.

It makes me realize how blessed we really are to be a part of such a tight-knit family. Also, just to know that this man is now in a place where there is no more temptation - no more sin - is such a comfort. It wasn't such a perfect situation that he was taken Home. He had been drinking and was walking on I-95. I've learned this past year that none of us are above temptation. This could just as easily have been me or someone I loved who made one simple choice and was taken from the ones who mean the most to us. There's just no room for judgment here - only love and support.

After all of this, another member of our church was called home. This was someone I did know personally, the mother of one of my favorite teachers and mentors, grandmother to one of my sister's best friends. She had been battling Alzheimers, and joined her husband in Heaven a few days ago. This is a time of rejoicing (and sadness, of course) for her family and friends here. At one point this week I said to God "If you want to take us all home, can we just all go together?!" I felt like I couldn't take any more bad news (another close friend of mine had a migraine stroke and was in the hospital at the time - she's in her 30's!) We may not understand His ways, but I'm really learning that all things are for our sakes. I can't imagine how hard these times are for these families, but even the way that their friends and family react to the situation, is a testimony to me, and has already made a change in my life.

Just as these things were happening, I went through something in my own life. This is something that has happened in the past, and something I've reacted to in a completely different way. I've asked myself in the past, how things like this could possibly be the will of God. I read *something on our church's website that was written by John Newton (the author of Amazing Grace and other hymns.) It really made an impact with all of these trials and tragedies still fresh in my mind. "A Christian without trials would be like a mill without wind or water; the contrivance and design of the wheel-work within would be unnoticed and unknown, without something to put it in motion from without. ... But the Lord sends afflictions one after another to quicken our desires, and to convince us that this world cannot be our rest." He also said that if we didn't have any trials and lived a perfectly comfortable life, we would not be able to accept or identify with Christ, who lived a life of sorrow, unaccepted by His own people!

As I'm writing this, I'm thinking that it almost sounds selfish to say that these things happened for my sake, but I think that this is exactly how I should live. This may have happened for many other reasons, but why not take it and learn from it myself? We have a personal God! I learn through my own failures that I can't judge another soul; and I learn from the failures of others how to truly forgive as I've been forgiven. I've been forgiven much, therefore I can forgive much. I can even use this in my daily life. My little boy is whining. He won't stop. This is for me. I can learn patience. It's also for him, I can teach him that I love him even though he's impossible. :)

Praise God!

This is Not for You (Yes, I Mean YOU)

These past couple of weeks have been a little difficult to say the least, and my blog has been suffering. I heard something yesterday from a former editor of the Baltimore Sun that put things into perspective for me, though. He said "The difference between a writer and an editor is this: a writer writes for himself. An editor writes for someone else. When you write for yourself, it takes away all the pressure and expectation." I like that. I'll admit it. Sometimes I write on here, and as I'm writing I'm thinking, "This is silly, nobody wants to read me rambling about my kids pooping all over the house, me forgetting it's a vacation day, or someone they don't know dying." I think I'm not witty enough, or serious enough. My stories are not new, every mother goes through this. Well, you know what? I enjoy writing about those things. It gives me an outlet for my thoughts. So what if my blog is just one big brainstorm, and I never come up with the perfect title, or if my blog name is unique enough. Am I going to get down on myself if I don't post every day? No. I'm not going to be afraid to write about what I want, the way I want to write it. I'm not going to worry about how many readers I have or how many comments I get. Not that I was really worried about it, but I'll admit I started wondering if anyone out there liked my writing.

Writing. For me. I've always liked writing. I felt at home in English class. My senior English teacher in high school was the classic English teacher. Strict, no nonsense, even a little bitchy (okay ALOT bitchy.) She used to yell at me for chewing on my pen. Seriously, she was like a drill sargent. I, on the other hand, was not the prize pupil. I won't fake modesty and say that I wasn't smart. It wasn't that. I just didn't really care about school. Homework was not a priority. And I was a little bitchy myself. Needless to say, Mrs. Kirby and I clashed once or twice. Yet, she was my favorite teacher ("you can't start a sentence with a conjunction!") Well, I guess you shouldn't have taught me about Poetic License! It irritated me to no end that she detested the word "got" or "made"; she absolutely would not allow us to describe something as "nice" or "good." I got (that one's for you, Mrs. K) pretty good grades in high school. One or 2 C's out of pure laziness... or something a little more passive aggressive - but we'll not get into the psychology of the whole thing (Private Christian school my entire life, etc.)

Rewind to Composition 101. Anyone remember? I don't know how your teacher did it. Mine would set a timer and we'd brainstorm. Probably for five minutes, we'd write whatever popped into our heads. I loved this part. Just write and write. I'd usually start with a few descriptions of the people around me "Billy has the most annoying reading voice, why do they always pick him to read aloud? And why does he always WANT to read aloud?" Inevitably I'd find something to write about amidst the rubble that was my brainstorming paper and I'd focus on that - but only because we HAD to. Secretly, I hated when that timer went off. For those five minutes I felt so alive! I would write and write until my wrist throbbed in pain, massage it a little bit, and write some more. I didn't want to have to fence in my thoughts, corral them into a masterpiece. That was too much work!

And so, about 10 years later, I started a blog.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

One Day

One day eyes that are blind will see You clearly,
And one day all who deny will finally believe.
One day hearts made of stone will break in pieces,
And one day chains once unbroken will fall down at Your feet...

So we wait... for that One Day, Come Quickly!
We want to see your glory, every knee falls down before Thee,
Every tongue offers You praise, With every hand raised.
Singing Glory, to You and unto You only,
We'll sing Glory to Your name.

One day voices that lie will all be silenced,
And one day all that's divided will be whole again!
One day death will retreat and wave its white flag.
One day Love will defeat the strongest enemy!

So we wait...
For that one day, come quickly!
We want to see your glory, every knee falls down before thee.
Every tongue offers you praise, with every hand raised.
Singing glory, to You and unto You only, we'll sing glory to Your name!
We know not the day or the hour, or the moments in between.
We know the end of the story!!

When we'll see...
Your Glory! Every knee falls down before Thee.
Every tongue offers you praise, with every hand raised.
Singing Glory to You and unto You only
We'll sing Glory to Your name.

Lyrics by Selah, Artwork by God Almighty