Saturday, June 28, 2008

da month of june: recap

And I thought that last summer was crazy!

This is Josh. He is all graduated. Yipee! Way to go!!

We came home to this!!! Cray-zee! I had no idea what water could do to a community. We are just back into our home but it is really oddly dark with so many houses still empty. God has been so faithful.

(but it was kinda fun boating through town, which is an entire story in itself.)

This be Josh and I. After t's crazy 80s birthday. Boy did he look good with a mohawk! The 20th was our 10 year anniversary! And to celebrate? A waterpark of course.. as if we didn't have enough water!

Ollie turned the whooping four years old. We brought the kids to Wall E tonight. It was Ailah's first movie. ( Bad idea.) Each time the little robot would say "Wall E" in his cute little voice, Ailah would yell, "Ollie" though the theater. Happy Birthday little man.

Dairy Queen and the pool have opened. Summer is here. Which means.. we leave in less than five weeks till Bulgaria. Oh my.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

no more water.

we have electricity.
we have hot water.
we almost have a house to live in!

i have 201 blogline feeds to read!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


A few weeks ago a questioned came up at girl's bible study:
who do you really admire as beautiful?

Yesterday at the doctor's office, our 2 year old was drawn to the most beautiful of ladies. Earline was born and raised on a cotton farm in Mississippi. She struggled raising her five children alone in Chicago. Life had taken her many places before sitting beside me. Ailah immediately knew she was beautiful, seeing through her aged body and gruff voice. She played with and loved my baby for over an hour, sharing with me many struggles and much heartache throughout her life, and her trust in Jesus. She is truly one of the most beautiful women I have ever met.

Last night our youth pastor gave more than an incredible message, it jumped out and grabbed my heart. He talked about how many facts we know about public figures.

Even Christian public figures. Seriously, did you know that Toby Mac has 4 children? Two which are twins. He lives in Tennessee. He is going to be at Sonshine festival this year, with John Rueben. Who by the way is only a couple days older than me.

But when I went to both of their concerts, neither one called my name out of the crowd. It didn't matter how much I knew about them, they didn't know me. I was a nobody to them. Is it that way with Jesus? Do I know a lot about Him and even like Him a whole bunch. Or do I share my life with Him everyday as my friend, as if a king or a president was in my presence, calling out to me, "Melanie, my friend, get on over here!"

I know so much about this actor or that- but how about the "least"? How do we know them? Do orphaned faces make the cover of People magazine, "look at those cute little dreads or her scared big beautiful eyes! "

How many times have I tried to be the beautiful that I have pictured in my little head. Have I thought that I was what I weighed or wore, or was gifted in?

What is beautiful to me? Where do I see it? The adorable. The successful. The famous. The talented.

Earline was raised in segregated Mississippi. MLK words," I have a dream that even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heart of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!"

Sometimes I think the lies that entrap me about beautiful hold me down, bind me with strings and ropes and chains. Not allowing me to love as Ailah loved and be blessed by Christ reflecting through Earline. Do I dare stretch MLK words to "to live in a world where they will not be valued by the world's image of beauty, color of skin, or continent of birth, but by their identity in their Creator?"

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I have so been wanting to write another post about Africa. In light of the fact that I have only been there through the pages of books, I feel that my perspective is inadequate, and that I only can touch the tip of the pandemic that is destroying God's people there. Huge sentence, I realize.
Yet, in looking at the hopelessness on the faces of the tragedy that has recently effected a nearby community, my heart breaks. It wonders why. I can place names and faces and family members on the loss here. I can somewhat understand. Not completely, but my heart grieves for them and I can tangibly see their heartache. The Chapmans, and an incredible testimony of trust and praise even in the storm here. It makes me cry, God this really really sucks. It does. Don't think that I doubt you, but You have left me lost.

The following is my own heart's cry for Africa. I do not pretend to know all the years of political agendas and instability of each country. However, today I heard a comment about the country of China, pertaining to the earthquake which alluded to, "there is too many people there anyway, they just need to be fixed."

My stomach turned. It was so easy to see the judgement in the comment and selfishness, and ignorance.. But how many times have I blocked my emotions to the empty faces and longing eyes for hope and concluded, it's just too big. I can't help a continent. I can't. There are just too many people there.

Too many priceless, God woven, soul filled individuals who are just like my neighbors, facing a hopeless and pain filled situation, and I am silent. And if I knew their names, and if I saw their faces, could I turn away?

There are like a billion numbers and statistics floating around. In Kenya and Zambia 6% of woman are infected with HIV by 15, 13% by 16, 20% by 17, 24% by 18, 30% by 19, and 40% by 20. Twelve million African children have lost one or both of their parents to AIDS. Swaziland had and HIV infection rate in 2004 of 42%. The young adult age is simply disappearing because of AIDS. Leaving an older generation who is dying and countries filled with children left to hopeless abandonment. Girls faced with a decisions no one should ever face. If only there was political agenda that had interests in people, real people. If each of these statistics were recognized as a person.

I wonder: who looks at her as a gift the way our daughters are lavished on? The little girl whose mother desperately wanted to see her baby grow. But was robbed of the joy of motherhood too soon, without the arms of safely to leave her child. Her father never even seeing her face, for AIDS left him without hearing the words, "Daddy." Where is his girl? ? My closet itself a bigger refuge than she has have ever obtained. What words of encouragement and tenderness and hope can the street children offer, or the ten other children that fill her garbage built hut? Someday my own little girls and boys are going to ask me, "mom what did you do?" More than them, my Lord is going to ask.

I am not laying a guilt trip today. But I am in a similar place as the tornado and loss, saying: this really sucks. I am heartbroken once again and lost.

We are called to be His, His hands and His feet, to be His agenda. Yet, are we looking into the faces of His people, looking for Him in everyone we meet? Where have we missed Him? When I have I turned away?