Please excuse the mess....blog under renovations !

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Here's Another Giveaway I Wanted to Share

MckMama and The Grammie Diaries have teamed up to do an incredible double giveaway.  If you love photography or digital arts, this is one you definitely want to get in on.  Check out both of the links for details on how to get your chance to win.

http://www.mycharmingkids.net/2009/12/power-of-two.html
http://grammiemommy.blogspot.com/2009/12/power-of-two.html

Oh and this blog isn't turning into a giveaway site.  I promise to get a real post up soon.  Life has been full of last minute Christmas knitting and spending time with family.


Blessings,
~*Melody*~

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Giveaway You Must Know About

Head on over to MckMama's blog and check out this newest giveaway.  OMGoodness she's giving away an HP Touchsmart computer.  Would this be an awesome Christmas gift to your family?  Head on over and get in on the giveaway.

HP Touchsmart Giveaway

~*Melody*~

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Prepping the House

I love being a dinner party hostess.  It's so fun getting all the food in order for the big meal.  I just wish I had more space, more time and a bit more money so I could have these get togethers more often.  Of course, I'd also have to find some friends to invite over too.  I've always dreamed of doing that though and I make do with what I have.

I have a ton of cleaning and laundry on my to do list today.  I went out shopping all day yesterday with my mom.  We picked up the last minute items for the meal and spent a lot of time looking at books.  That's a passion we both share.  It's also a delight to see how excited my mom is to go a book store or even a store with a decent book selection.  LOL, she's so cute.  I hope I can share that love of books with my own child someday.  It's a fun thing to share.  Add to that a great deal on a book and it's almost like heaven!

I'd better get back to that laundry soon.  I'm also defrosting the turkey in some cold water.  I'm praying that my big bird will be thawed by late tomorrow night.  I slow cook mine overnight so its super yummy.

Happy Thanksgiving !

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sick Break

I'm sorry for my absence over the past few days.  The dreaded bug finally hit me.  Thankfully it wasn't the flu.  I think I got a little bit of the stomach virus and a cold.  The cold has turned into some nasty sinus stuff though and that's what's kept me down the longest.  Yesterday was probably the worst day so far because my ears were throbbing most all day.

Praise God I'm feeling better today and He took away the ear ache.  Ugg, ear aches and tooth aches are some of the worst pain.  Please continue to pray that I'll be able to get rid of all the yucky mucus.  I'm doing my best to get it all out so that I don't have to go get antibiotics to clear up an infection.  I haven't been to the doctor for an illness all year and I can't tell you how happy that makes me.  This is the longest stretch of good health of my ENTIRE life !  To God be the glory !  And my thanks also to the natural health route I'm on. 

I have a busy weekend planned.  Today I'm cooking for our church's annual Thanksgiving dinner.  I'm taking (the very mountain traditional) chicken and dumplings, a sugar free banana bread and cornbread.  So far I've only gotten the chicken cooked, but it shouldn't take long to put the banana bread together.  Then I'll fix the cornbread last and if I don't have time to make it, then it won't be any major loss. 

After the dinner, RL, Lou and I will have some family time together.  We're going out to a late movie and maybe some dessert. LOL....today is not a healthy food day for me.  I'll try to pick out some good veggies at the dinner though.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Recycled Holiday Cards

Let's face it, as the holiday season approaches many of us will be faced with receiving a large amount of Christmas cards, most of which we'll look at once and put in a pile somewhere.  When someone writes a personal message to me, I'll keep the card of course, but what to do with all those random cards that you get from church and distant or unknown family members?

Here's a great craft tutorial that Vicky Howell posted.

There's many other options too.  You can make origami ornaments too. Here's a cute small star ornament template that you can download. I save a lot of the card fronts to recraft into new cards and scrapbook pages.  Reused card fronts also make excellent post cards.

Hope you'll join me in repurposing those unwanted cards.

~*Melody*~

Monday, November 16, 2009

Well.....

Well after two days with no blog posts...I'm discovering that I'm not doing so well at this daily blogging thing.  Oh well, I tried.  I'm thinking that November is probably not the smartest month of the year to try to do this blogging for the whole month thing.  Saturday I put off blogging till right before bed and my internet connection decided that it just wasn't going to connect to the server.  I thought I could make it up on Sunday, but I wasn't able to do that.  My best friend (from high school)'s dad passed away.  So I spent some time with her and her family Sunday and earlier today.

My brain has been in Thanksgiving planning mode for days.  I'm excited to get started cooking my giant bird.  LOL. Thinking about this years' bird makes me laugh so.  We actually had to take my freezer door apart to fit the bird in there.  Yes we literally got out the power screw driver and removed screws and such.  I still had to wedge the poor thing in there.  Oh I'd love to have a video of my husband and I squeezing that 24 lb. frozen bird into a tight little space.  RL and I laughed the entire time.  It was just great; definitely an experience I'll never forget.

I've also been planning on purchasing a new set of pots and pans.  I've had my old ones for several years.  They are mismatched and most are from a cheap set I purchased to "hold me over".  Slowly over time they've become unsafe for food, so I've now retired them to craft project use only.  I wish there were a way to recycle all but one or two of them.  Anyone have any ideas?  I plan to keep the next set for many years because I'm hoping to purchase the Faberware professional stainless steel series.

Alright enough with my ramblings.  I hope to get back to my green series soon.

~*Melody*~ 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Love Through Technology

This is posting a little late because my internet connection kept going in and out while I was trying to post last night. I am dating it for 11-13 though because it was suppose to post then.

A few nights ago, or rather should I say, a few early mornings ago, I received a text from a young college age guy from our church.  He was first asking for scripture for a particular topic, but it became apparent to me that he just needed someone to talk to.  We chatted back and forth in texts for close to an hour and a half.  For days I've been contemplating my next cell phone upgrade.  I'm an avid texter, but have been reconsidering the amount of my texting lately.  I even *shudder* had serious thoughts about what it would be without so much convenient texting.

After the texting with this individual, I realized what a great blessing we have with all this modern technology.  I mean how often are we able to travel to where the person is just to be there for them.  Modern technology has its inconveniences, like the annoying "ok" or the random "what's up?" texts.  But what if we looked at these attachments as opportunities for ministry?  What if we used our cell phones and smart phones for God's glory?  Not to mention what about our Twitter and Facebook accounts.  God has opened up the world to us and we should be using these things to reach others for Christ.

So I'm going to challenge you all.....This week make it a goal to use these devices to reach out to at least 1 person. Try to make a positive impact on that one person, whether it's just a random person in your contacts list or some needy person on your church's prayer list.  I'm going to be joining you in this challenge.

~*Melody*~

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Reusing Common Kitchen Trash

Occasionally curiosity overtakes me and I go web searching for strange things like how to reuse my trash.  I found this particular use a month or so ago. 

How to Reuse a Banana Peel

So does anyone else have any creative ways to reuse common trash?

~*Melody*~

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WiFi Problems and the Next Green Installment

So I'm sitting in a Wendy's restaurant at the moment.  I had hoped to directly blog this entry, but I'm writing it on a document file to save for later posting.  It really irks me that a restaurant advertises free WiFi but it doesn't work at all.  I'm techno-savvy so it's not merely an operator error.  I went to the front to complain about it and the lady looked at me like my hair was on fire.  She just laughed and then looked down at her register.  In hindsight, I'm almost certain she had no idea what WiFi is, but she should have asked someone else if she didn't know.  Oi !

Anywho, so that leaves me here a little preturbed.  At least there was a Frosty and some fries involved.  Everything is better when ice cream is involved.  (Although I'm well aware that Frosty's are far from being ice cream...but that's a different story for a different time.)

So to continue my green theme, I'd like to focus on paper and packaging waste for this entry.  Up until about 2 years ago, I was the world's worst to print out anything and everything.  I'd end up with enormous piles of paper on my paper tray and most of it would never even be looked at again.  I literally was putting all these print outs in boxes for "future filing".  Haha...I laugh at myself at the thought of that.  I clearly had a problem I was not willing to address.  I'm not sure what prompted me to change my ugly habits, but I'm so glad I did. 

I pay a lot of my bills online, but its a rare occasion that I print out those receipts now.  Instead I take a screen print of all the important info, like the confirmation number, date and such.   I periodically back up all these receipts to either jump drive or CD and file that away.  You can have the receipt emailed you as well.  I've cut my paper usage to nearly nothing.  In the past two years, I've bought one 500 sheet pack of paper and I have at least 75% of that left. If something is printed at my house, it must be extremely important and something that's going to be used immediately  (or business related). I also haven't bought any ink cartridges for my printer in that two year time span.  Saving money on ink cartridges is a great blessing, but it's also good for the Earth.  I plan to have my empty ones refilled in the future.

Now what about packing materials and tissue boxes?  Well I reuse most of those too.  Whenever I buy a box of tissues I make sure that I like design on the box because I cut them up to make cards and on scrapbook pages.  The cardboard can be reused to make things sturdier or to make the random pom pom or two.  I also reuse pretty packing materials on scrapbook pages or cards.  You have to be a little creative, but it can be done.  I like to see people's faces when they inquire where I got the materials for those cards.  Anytime you buy perfume or cologne there's usually some beautiful backing paper in the box.  It's one of my favorites to reuse.  And of course, all bubble wrap and packing peanuts get reused over and over again.  

So that's it for tonight's dose of green.  I must say I'm pretty proud of myself for keeping up with this daily blogging so far.  ;-)

~*Melody*~

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Not So Inspired Tonight

I've been trying to get motivated to blog for a few hours now.  *sighs*  Alas there's just nothing inspiring me to write.  Ever have moments like that?  There's a ton of things on my mind that I could write about, but I just absolutely have no desire to pull them out tonight.

The rain has poured down here all day.  Today was the perfect day to lounge around with something warm in your hand.  I cuddled up on the couch tonight with some new wool and new knitting needles.  The knitting was pleasant and relaxing.  Sometimes you just have to relax a bit, no matter what's waiting on you to be finished.  There are times when one just simply craves the simple things in life.

*laughs* It's ironic that I just wrote that last statement, because earlier this evening I was looking at the new VW Droid phone.  It's anything but simple.  In fact, if I decide to get it I'll have virtually everything I could ever want or need technologically speaking at my fingertips at any moment.  The perks are definitely tempting.

Alright, I've done enough babbling.  It's time to call an end to this uninspired post.

~*Melody*~ 

Monday, November 9, 2009

Back to the Green

Now that we've discussed household cleaners and such, it's time to talk about my favorite green things.....repurposing.  Repurposing is finding a new purpose and reusing items.  You'd be surprised at how easy it is to repurpose many of the items you throw in the trash.  Before I throw something away, I do my best to think of a way to reuse it.  Sometimes I'm not quite sure what to reuse it for, so I wash it and put it away in my hallway closet/pantry.

I reuse a variety of things.  For this post, I'm going to focus on containers.  We all buy items in containers of all sorts, shapes and sizes.  There are so many storage options available when you simply take some time to clean out an old used container.  When buying things in the grocery store I often buy an item that's in a nice container.  Nice containers for me are made from a sturdy plastic or glass and have a sturdy lid (preferably a screw on lid).  On the rare occasion that  I buy an individually packaged product, like snacks or yogurt, I try to buy only the ones in a small plastic container.  These small little containers can be used for small crafting items like beads and screws.  Of course, jars are the best containers to reuse.

My favorite and most repurposed containers are large spaghetti sauce jars, jelly jars and peanut butter jars.  I wash all my jars by letting them soak overnight and washing them by hand.  I then run them through a dishwasher cycle making sure to run the sterilize function.  The peanut oils in the plastic jars are a bit difficult to get out sometimes.  I often have to wash these at least twice in the dishwasher to get rid of all the oils. 

Those tiny baby food jars and containers are great for holding spice mixtures in the kitchen or minced and whole garlic in the fridge. 

I keep many of our large juice bottles to store water or use for tea or Kool-Aid (when we have it).  Milk jugs are only reused for outdoor and garden projects.  They make excellent homes for new seedlings in the spring.  Or they will provide a nice little bird feeder in a pinch.   

For a crafty project, I sometimes use plastic bottles to make plastic beads.  Here's a great tutorial on how to make these beads here if you'd like to make these yourself.  It's a fun little project that does an excellent job of keeping all those bottles out of the landfills.

Many flimsy plastic bowls get cut up and used as craft templates.  A butter bowl can be turned into a loom to make a quick knitted scarf or the base for a child's play crown.  Small lids from those bowls usually end up being coasters in my living room, while the large ones are used as reusable paint palettes. 

Cans are also great to reuse too.  You can paint any can after a good cleaning and scratching up with some sand paper.  Here's a nice little link to show you some pencil cups and a few other container ideas.  
 
I'll try to take some pictures over the next few days of containers I've repurposed and share them here.  Until tomorrow......

~*Melody*~

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Back Home in NC

I just got home from my fabulous trip to SC.  The time with family was so great.  It's a weekend I don't think I'll ever forget, but oh how I wish it could have lasted longer.  If only we were a wee bit closer, I could visit more often.

Anywho, I'm exhausted from a long trip through the mountains.  But I thought I'd finally share the little beauty I've been working on lately.  It was a present for the birthday boy Grayson.

Here is Elijah.....









Edited to Add:  Elijah is a Ysolda Teague pattern.  You can check out Ravelry or her website for pattern info.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bullets of the Day

* It's amazing how the body is able to run on such little sleep.  I'm certain that this is surely the grace of God.

* Children brighten even the smoggiest of days.

* There's nothing quite like the look of a proud Momma.  Daddy's delight comes in a close second.

* Blind ambition is a great motivator.

*  I've never wanted someone who looks like me more......

My appologies dear blog readers.  Tomorrow I will write a longer post to document the weekend and I hope to have a few pictures too.

~*Melody*~

Friday, November 6, 2009

Girl Time is Lovely

Adrian and I have had some great girl time tonight....a little cooking, a little shopping, and finishing up with a little crafting.  Oh how I miss having close girl friends.  It's very therapeutic and necessary to experience life together with other women.

We've been preparing for Grayson's big 1 year birthday party tomorrow.  I can't wait to see the enjoyment on his face.  It's going to be a beautiful party.

I'm a bit tired from the travel and all so you'll have to forgive my short entry for tonight.

~*Melody*~

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sore Finger Thursday

Tonight I'm going to take a break in my green entries.  I'll resume these on Monday because I'm going on a little weekend gateway.  I'll be surrounded by family and celebrating a dear sweet little boy's first birthday.  Today I've been preparing for the trip and finishing up some last minute knitting.

I learned a valuable lesson today : my fingers and small needles don't make for a good match.  My poor fingers are so sore from knitting that I can barely stand to type.  Oi I'm telling you I'll never forget this one.  But I guess that's what life is about; living and learning.

Tomorrow morning I'm hoping to have time to do a nice and sunny fall mini photo shoot with my latest knitting pretties.  I can't wait to share with you my latest creation.  It's one of the cutest things I've made in a while.

So this is short and sweet.  Tomorrow night I'll be blogging from a different state.  Prayers for a safe journey are much appreciated....

~*Melody*~

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Green Household Continued

To continue last night's topic, we've also done a few other things to keep our home as chemical free as possible.  As I mentioned in last entry, we do a few household maintenance things in a more green way now.  In addition to the routine maintenance on our air condition, we also purchased reusable filters for our heating and air systems.  These can be purchased relatively inexpensively if you buy them out of season.  Each reusable filter can be used for 5 years.  We bought extra large ones that we can cut in half so we saved in cost there as well.  Once the filter can no longer be used inside, I'll probably repurpose it as a door mat or scrub pad for our little patio. 

We've reduced and almost eliminated the use of any pesticides by planting catnip around our home.  Catnip also will protect your home from rat infestation.  Occasionally we still use a sweet borax trap inside for the periodic ant problem.  To combat any fleas, we sprinkle 20 Mule Borax soap on our doormats and around the perimeter of our home.  This can also be used directly on your pet to help them get rid of fleas and ticks.  Lavender is a good plant to use to keep insects at bay too and a drop of lavender oil on your pet's neck will rid them of fleas as well. 

Hope this gives you some ideas for useful things in your own homes,
~*Melody*~

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Green At A Young Age


My green roots began back in the early '90s with a group called Kids F.A.C.E.  It was an environmental awareness and activist group for children and was sponsored by Walmart Stores.  I had my own club, complete with local chapter meetings and sponsored clean up events.  I have fond memories of spending hours cleaning up local neighborhoods and trying to educate others on the importance of taking care of our Earth. 

It was a nice start for me.  I don't remember the exact years that I was involved in this club, but the lessons I learned through it have stuck with me my entire life. 

Today environmentalism is dubbed being green.  Back in my early days, I was dubbed a tree hugger. *chuckles*  There are actually a couple pictures floating around out there of me hugging trees.  Even before my Kids FACE days I always felt a closeness to the Earth.  Maybe it's my Cherokee background or maybe it's because my family always honored the land we were using at the time, with either case I feel like I am supposed to take care of God's wonderful creation.

A few years ago I began really thinking about how I ran my household and what impact that made on the Earth.  I started looking at the chemicals I was using to clean my house, the amount of disposable containers I used and the amount of paper we wasted. 

The first step toward green living came with changing the cleaning products I used.  I'd like focus on that topic for this particular post.  I keep a vinegar and water spray bottle on the back of my sink at all times.  We use this cleaner as a sanitizer in the kitchen, to clean the bathtubs and sinks in the bathroom, and a nice window and glass cleaner all over the house.  We own a bird and the vinegar solution is also safe enough to use around her cage.  There's a world of uses for vinegar and I encourage you to do your own research to find some uses for your own home. 

We use a natural laundry detergent that is free of dyes, phosphorus, enzymes, ammonia, naphthalene, phenol, sodium nitilotriacetate along with numerous other chemicals. Not only are our clothes cleaner, but they are also much safer for our skin.  We don't have to worry about rashes caused from leftover chemicals in our clothes, plus we aren't wondering what we're flushing into the sewer system.  I fill my Downy ball with pure vinegar.  It does a wonderful job of softening, whitening, and preserving the color of our clothes.  We don't use bleach at all.

All our mopping is done with hot water and pure vinegar.  You'd be amazed at how shiny and clean your vinyl and hardwood floors can be with such an inexpensive cleaner. 

Baking soda is used for tough stains (as a paste) and for deodorizer (just sprinkled or in the box). 

We've also reduce chlorofluorocarbons by no longer buying aerosol or propellant cans of any kind.  We also do regular maintenance on our air conditioning units to make sure we aren't leaking freon into our home or air outside.  (This is about to go off topic.  So I'll continue this discussion in another post.)

There are a few other natural cleaning products and options we'd like to incorporate, but for now we are pleased with our progress so far.  The environmental benefits are great, but the fringe benefits are even better in most cases.  The air quality inside our home is dramatically better which has almost eliminated any asthma problems I previously had.  We are also overall more healthy now than when we used those chemical based cleaners. 

Green to be continued.....

~*Melody*~

Monday, November 2, 2009

NaBloPoMo Day 2

Lately I've been doing a lot of reminiscing and contemplation about my past.  I'm trying to bring out the happy memories.  It's too easy to always focus on the bad memories, which does nothing but bring you down.  Why is it that bad memories stick better in our minds than the good times?  As I get older, I'm finding that memories of good times are fading quickly.  In fact, there's times when I have difficulty even remembering anything about my childhood.  Oh how I wished I remembered those times that I swore I'd never forget. 

I also wish that I had wrote in a journal or a diary on a more consistent basis.  I love to write so that wasn't the issue.  The issue has always been that I haven't taken time to write.  Goodness, so much of my life has revolved around learning how to take time for myself.  I still am very guilty of missing the mark.  God has tried to show me the consequences of being in too much of rush, but I'm constantly pushing His wisdom and leading aside.  Why must we be so stubborn when we know better?

So that leaves me here, making a conscious decision to take time to document life; the good and the bad, to be more open to experiencing life; not just merely existing, and to enjoy the whole experience.  Life is far too short to just go through the motions.  Wouldn't you agree?

~*Melody*~

Sunday, November 1, 2009

National Blog Posting Month



Or NaBloPoMo as some like to call it.  I've always wanted to join in the National Novel Writing Month, but just haven't felt like I'd have time to commit to such a large task.  So here I am trying something a little less daunting.  I hope I can complete a whole month of blogging.

So for tonight's first post, I'll talk a little about my weekend.  Friday night I had a great time with our youth group at their lock-in.  It was so fun and incredibly stress relieving to be with those teens.  There was only about 35 of them so we were able to split up into a couple groups for games and such.  I just enjoyed the carefreeness of being with them.  I laughed and felt like myself again.  Goodness it's been so long since I felt like me.  Give me a bunch of teenagers or preteens anyday. I much prefer them to adults.  ;-)  Well except my closest friends  (too bad most of you live too far away from me to hang out.).

Saturday morning I taught my first craft class.  It was just a small group of women at my church.  They seemed to have a good time and learned quite a few new things.  I had hoped that it could be an ongoing thing, but I don't think that will be possible.  Maybe some other time, who knows.

Tonight I am thoroughly exhausted, but I feel fulfilled.  It's nice to feel like you've done something with your life and truly lived.  I feel like I lived this weekend.  And much to my surprise, life is good.

~*Melody*~

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sitting at the Coffee Shop

Growing up I would have laughed at you if you'd told me that one day I would look forward to hot cup of Joe.  I'm having a nice gentle white chocolate mocha while my dear husband is sipping a kicky chocolate peppermint latte.  'Tis very refreshing indeed.  Our local coffee shop The Daily Grind measures right up there with Starbucks.  I'd say that their Macchiatos are much better than Starbucks.

Anywho, this entry isn't a coffee review.  I guess I was just being reflective today about some lifestyle things.  I sat for about an hour cleaning some gooey glue off of some glass containers I'm repurposing.  Yesterday someone asked me to sell them some of my MSG free ranch dressing mixture.  Thankfully I have a few containers laying waiting for such the task.  I do really enjoy repurposing.  It's great for the wallet and the planet.  Lately I've been searching the 'net for some repurposing inspiration.  I do a lot already, but I like the challenge of looking for even more ways.   I'm thinking about doing some posts on my 'green' ways.  Would you be interested in reading that?

As I was writing this entry, I wasn't sure which blog to place this one in.  I'm a bit torn at times between combining my two blogs anyway.  Oh well, I can't decide for now.  So you get this entry in both blogs.  ;-)

~*Melody*~

P.S. You can check out my bloggin pic in my Twitter feed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Things Are Changing Around Here

As you can see there's been a few changes around the blog.  I was thinking about trying to keep both of my blogs pretty similar, but now I'm not so sure.  I'm going to keep the blog like this for a while and see if it grows on me.  If not, I'll be changing it up again.

Be sure to scroll down on the right hand side for my bloglists.  You can click on each set and you will be taken to the list.  I'll be updating more lists in the next few days.

Hopefully all the changes will be finished soon.  I'm eager to get back to writing again.

Something I'd Love to Win

How Much Fabric? Card GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

I'd love to win one of these neat fabric card cheat sheets. It would be very helpful when I go to the fabric store. I'm one of those that buys way too much fabric for my project. LOL, which is just a great excuse to make something else. ;-) Anyway check out the link for your chance to win as well.

~*Melody*~

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Remembering Our Babies : Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month



I'd be honored if you'd join with me in honoring the lost babies around the world.  Many times people have asked me what they could do to help or ease my pain from our many losses.  I'd never really known how to respond till about a year ago.  The best way to help someone through this kind of pain is to honor the child that was lost.  Validate the sense of overwhelming loss and grief that the mother and father are bearing.  Last Mother's Day was particularly hard for me because we'd lost a baby a few months before.  In fact, our baby was due to be born on Mother's Day.  I shared my heartache in a few Facebook status updates.  People showered their love and support on me.  It was one of those most healing things I'd ever experienced. 

In 2008, I received an unexpected text message from a college friend on Mother's Day.  It was a Mother's Day blessing.  I cried as I read it, but it made me feel so much better because someone had remembered me.  I believe you are a mother from the time that a child is formed in your womb.  I know this isn't common place, but I know that there has been life inside me before.  The life God formed inside me was for a purpose; even if that purpose didn't directly relate to parenting a child.  I am the mother of 10 children; children who are waiting for me in the very presence of God.

Before I become an emotional mess, I'll end this post with one last request.  If you know someone that needs your support, please don't hesitate to offer your love.  We don't need a day picked out to honor and cherish those children and their parents.  We need people who care for others on a daily basis.  I do hope you'll join me on this special day though.  May it's purpose be inspiring to your life.

~*Melody*~



ETA:  These graphics are a bit on the cheesy side of life, but overlook them.  It's the meaning behind all that cheese that matters.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Started a Trend !

A friend of mine, Nicole, was inspired by my current giveaway so much that she decided to do her own !  She's a gifted writer with a refreshing viewpoint.  You should definitely take a look at her blog and then enter her giveaway.

Tonight I plan to add my favorite blog lists back to the blog.  I've added a few new ones and categorized them as well.  I hope you'll take the chance to read these inspiring people too.

~*Melody*~

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Bit of Advertising

As most of you know, I have a little business called Creative Radiance.  Well I've just unveiled my newest blog makeover there complete with a giveaway.  So if you are interested in earning your chance to win a little something from me, just hop on over for all the details.

Creative Radiance

Or if you are interesting in shopping you can head to my Etsy shop.  I'll be stocking it in the next few days with some holiday items so be sure to check back soon.

Thanks,
~*Melody*~

P.S.  The blog changes are still coming to this blog as well.  I hope to have them completed in a few weeks.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Under Construction

Please excuse my blog mess over the next couple days. I'll be under going some major changes, which will probably have a few bugs here and there.

;-)
~*Melody*~

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cloud Pictures

Have you ever gazed up into the sky to see a cloud formation that you could swear looks like a frog or your favorite animal? If you haven't, I encourage you to go stare at the sky (during the day) till you see something. A long time ago, I was the leader of a girls ministry that was similar to Girl Scouts. I'll never forget the lesson that had us to go outside and cloud gaze. It was such a fun time with the girls, which most of them remember vividly to this day.

This afternoon I was alone because my husband had to work the late shift at work. I did a few things around home and then couldn't take it anymore and had to get outside. I grabbed my knitting, my cell and headed out the door. My van stopped just inside the parking lot of our local recreation park. I decided I'd go enjoy some time on the swings. Originally I had planned on knitting while I swang, but when I got there I felt like God was urging me to spend some time alone with Him. So I found the 'perfect' swing, which coincidentally was the one that squeaked the loudest, and began to swing my legs and pull that swing higher and higher.

For a little while, I watched a young family play frisbee on the baseball field. I laughed at the thoughts of the teen boys asking who "that girl" was as I walked by. Sometimes it's nice not to be called ma'am. ;-) But then a set of birds flew by and the skyline caught my attention. I began breathing in that fresh mountain air and noticed that it wouldn't be long before the sun would be well below the mountains that surrounded me. For a brief second, I felt like someone was watching me from behind. I turned my head in an attempt to see if someone was around me, but didn't see anyone. As I looked back forward, the sky got my attention; more specifically the clouds got my attention.

There in a large cloud formation was something that looked like my beloved childhood dog, Ginger. But this Ginger had wings ! LOL. I chuckled outloud and told God, "Very funny!". Then I heard very clearly, "I care enough to want to make you laugh and to see you smile.". It's amazing what happens when you spend time with God and don't expect anything. You just come with an open heart and mind. I didn't come with any specific requests and I wasn't seeking answers. It was all just about spending time with my Father alone in the park this evening.

God's been teaching me some amazing things this week. I began reading a book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I'm part of a book club that's reading this book right now. What an amazing book it is! I'm taking my time, absorbing it's words and letting God teach me through it. There's a few online videos in the first chapter that the author directs you to watch. After watching the last one, I just felt impressed to let my Wednesday night girls class watch it. The video is mainly focused on a call to salvation, but it's not the typical salvation video. The video helps you to think about your relationship with God, how amazing this life really is, and how no one leads an ordinary life. It explains some of the main principles of the Bible and God's love for us.

After the girls watched the video, I could tell that God was working on hearts and we discussed a few things. I felt God's leading, so I gave the girls a challenge for this week. Their challenge was to take a few minutes out this week (especially during a hard moment), go outside or to their bedroom window, pick something to focus on (a bird, a tree knot, etc.), tell God their need for Him, and wait. I challenged them to allow God to show up and let them feel His presence. I went on to explain that I couldn't tell them what they'd feel, but for me when I ask God to do this, I feel like a little girl climbing up into my daddy's lap like I did when I was a kid.

All of a sudden, I noticed tears running down the cheeks of one of my girls. I paused for a moment and asked God to take over. I walked over slowly to the crying girl and comforted her. I'm not sure what I said, but soon another girl was crying. Before I got around the room to her, tears started forming in another's eyes. It kept on like this till the whole room of girls was crying. As much it pained me to see them crying, I knew that God was definitely in our midst and He was working on their little hearts. God was using this time to allow them to open up and let some feelings out. I went around to each one of them and just let whatever God wanted to come out of me. I held them as they shared things and cried some more. The girls began to love on each other too. I really saw God in that room.

All this time, I've been asking for God to show me where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing. But I had it all wrong, I didn't need to be the one to show up, it was Him who needed to be allowed to show up. I still can't pinpoint what was different about this particular night, but all I know is that God was the only thing that mattered in those moments; moments that flew by so quickly. Wow what a blessing it was to be a part of it all!

I believe that God opened up this time with the girls to draw me closer to Him. I can't do anything without Him. I've been so concerned lately with discipline issues and finding the right curriculum for these girls. But I now realized that God can cure any discipline issue I'll ever have with them. The problems and issues that surround these girls are greater than I knew and God alone is their answer. I simply just need to point them in the right direction and to encourage them along the way. This past week has put a passion and a love in me that I haven't felt in a long time.

Thank you Abba for showing me Your grace and mercy. Thank you for wanting to see me smile. Thank you for the girls you've placed in my care. Thank you for allowing me to see Your glory. Thank you for helping my girls to let their feelings, fears, and tears flow out. I pray that I would ever seek You in the difficult and the good times. Blessed be Your Name. A Name Above All.

~*Melody*~

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Are you looking....?

Are you looking for some encouragement today? Well let me direct you to the latest post over at (In)Courage. It's a great one that I think you should read and then pass along to others.

We Live in Wait

Blessings....
~*Melody*~

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Reflections from Women of Faith 2009

I'm writing these entries a bit out of order. But I just couldn't wait any longer to share this with all of you. (And by you, I mean the one or two of you who read this blog.)

This is directly from my paper journal.....

I realized this weekend that I don't know how to extend grace to myself. Maybe I've never even known the true meaning of grace. Talking about this on the drive home, I explained grace as the ultimate pardon of which one doesn't earn. God extends grace to us because He wants to, not because He has to. Personally, I've never given grace to myself. I've only saw perfection and failure with no in betweens. I've left grace out of the mix and caused a lot of unnecessary hardship to myself. Oh what mistakes I've made and oh how horrible I've been to myself !

I know God has been trying to get this message across to me for so long. Yet I've closed my ears so many times to this wisdom. But this weekend, my ears were finally opened and I heard from God. I saw very clearly for the first time in so long.

My grief, bitterness and mostly regret were washed away the moment I asked God to help me allow myself grace. I've been holding on to so many things; much of which I didn't even realize. I've allowed these things to steal my joy and to rob me of the peace from release.

Thank you Father for opening my eyes and my heart. You always mean good for me but I've not been seeing some that good Father. I've been hanging onto the what-ifs and if-onlys in life. But I make a commitment from this point forward to show myself grace in all situations. I ask Lord that You would help me to extend Your grace to myself just as I would to others. I vow to learn the ultimate truth of grace. I want to live in grace instead of regret.
In Jesus Precious Name......AMEN


2 Corinthians 12:9-10
"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why for Christ's sake I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardship, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><


So as you can read above, my life is in for a big change. It's also one of the reasons why I want to give this blog an overhaul. I've focused my life over the years through two categories: Success and Failure. No more. My life is much more than a hit or a miss. And so what if I make a few misses here and there. Ultimately those misses shape who I am. Rarely does success make a lasting impact in the grand scheme of things.

I hope you've been encouraged by this entry. I hope God starts speaking to you about grace too. As I mentioned earlier, I'm sure He's been trying to show me this for years, but I was just too stubborn to listen. Please open your ears and listen today. Don't let your own insecurities and/or upbringing keep you from experiencing the grace and joy that God meant for each of us. I encourage you to join with me in this quest for grace.

Blessings to each of you,
~*Melody*~


P.S. There will be a lot more entries on grace in the future. I'm going to be studying this until I feel like God releases me from it. Also the entries about Women of Faith will be coming soon too.
Oh and please if you read, I'd appreciate if you'd leave a comment. Your responses and feedback are very important to me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Quick Little Interuption **ETA

So this post has nothing to do with my entries about the Women of Faith conference, but I just had to take the time to blog a bit about my life as of late.

Well I've been in a great mood for a little while now. It's gotten so much better since the conference, but in general I just feel happy. It's so refreshing to feel like I'm able to let go of things in my brain a bit and just be content with life. I feel the rush of freedom flowing through me and it's quite exhilarating. As I told someone recently, I'm going to thoroughly enjoy this feeling as long as it may last.

My husband's squad has set up a little gym in one of their truck bays. I've been going up there and working out some lately. It's nice to be able to work out and not feel like the whole world is staring at me. Best of all, it's completely free to use at anytime we wish. There's also that added benefit of working out with your husband (*blush*). I enjoy spending the time with him and keeping our bodies healthier. Last night I could really tell that the workouts helped to mellow my brain clutter. Brain clutter....aka the never ending chatter, thoughts, pictures, memories, etc. that go on inside my head. I was able to go to sleep last night before midnight with absolutely no trouble at all. I didn't have the 30-45 minute fight with myself before laying down. Nor did I have the hour or so of tossing and turning before I fell asleep. It was lovely !

I'm also excited about my upcoming anniversary and trip. Friday my husband and I will celebrate 10 years of wedded bliss. We are planning to spend the day together and have a nice meal out somewhere. But we are waiting till later this month to take a week long beach trip. We went to the same beach on our 5th anniversary. It was the first time I'd ever been to the beach. I'm hoping and praying that hurricanes and tropical storms will stay away for the duration of our trip, because I really want this one to be special. I'll share more details about it all later.

I wish I had more time to blog on a daily basis. It seems that I've lost many of the readers I once had and that saddens me. But with everything in life its just so hard to keep up sometimes. I'm taking a lunch break right now (and have yet to get anything to eat). I'm working hard on making more plarn bags for my shop on Saturday. There's more details about in my Creative Radiance blog. So I guess I'd better get my food and back to work.













Lou and I on her 15th Birthday !!! My my, where have the years gone? My sweetheart looked so beautiful on her day!


~*Mel*~

**ETA : Oh and I forgot to mention that I've finally decided it's time for a blog change. I'm still gathering up ideas (and courage) to make a complete change. I'll probably change sometime next week after all my conference weekend updates. I'd love any ideas you have to share. I think I'll change both this blog and my Creative Radiance one too. My life is changing all around so why shouldn't my online presence change too?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Women of Faith 2009

This past weekend I went to the Women of Faith conference in Atlanta, GA with my church's womens' ministry. Honestly, I had some pretty low expectations and I was nervous about being with this group of women for the entire weekend. But God surprised me in some amazing ways. I came back refreshed and literally changed in a way I never knew was possible.

I can hardly wait to tell you all about it. I've been journaling the entire weekend with highlights of the weekend. I have yet to write everything completely out, but I plan to do this in a couple different blog posts. I'd like to write the events as chronologically as possible. But I did finish writing out my most important reflection from the weekend. It's a little late tonight and I'm incredibly tired after my day and evening workout, so I'll post more tomorrow.

Be on the look out for my blog posts in the upcoming days. And please if you read them, I'd appreciate if you'd leave a comment. Your responses and feedback are very important to me.

~*Melody*~

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Unredeemed

One day my life will be fully redeemed. One day I'll stand before my Maker and know the reason for my journey in this life. One day I'll of be reunited with my children. I'll see each of them face to face and whole. They will be perfect and I will be perfected just by knowing them. One day the tears that stream down my face will be loving wiped away. And until that day arrives, I'll hold on and "Just watch and see it will not be unredeemed"

~*Melody*~

Please enjoy the video. I've been waiting for so long to post this. Selah's CD just came out today. If you've never heard Angie and Todd's story, please check out Bring The Rain .



Unredeemed by Selah


The cruelest world
The coldest heart
The deepest wound
The endless dark
The lonely ache
The burning tears
The bitter nights
The wasted years

Life breaks and falls apart
But we know these are
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered is laid before the lord
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed

For every choice that led to shame
And all the love that never came
For every vow that someone broke
And every lie that gave up hope
We live in the shadow of the fall
But the cross says these are all
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered is laid before the lord
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed

Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But you never know the miracle the father has in store
Just watch and see
It will not be
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blog Giveaway and Ramblings

There's a lovely book giveaway over here . I encourage each of you women to go check it out and enter for your chance to win.

My Ramblings in Bullet Form :

  • Today was a blessed day with family. Watched Julie and Julia, ate some late lunch and did a little shopping.
  • Been thinking a lot lately about the book idea/notes I have...WiFi at the local rec park sounds very inspiring.....once it ever stops raining here.
  • Weekend birthday plans .... my cousin Adrian, hubby Nathan and baby Grayson coming in for a weekend visit...Saturday B-day plans include coffee run and a visit to a local yarn shop......YAYNESS
  • TTC - still seems to be going ok, nothing to report or complain about.....a bit apathetic actually
  • I can't tell you the number of times adoption has crossed my mind in the past month. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what that means.
  • Been enjoying lots of bubble baths lately.....yummy lovely bubble baths.....ahhh
~*Melody*~

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How He Loves

Tonight I visited a good blogger friend of mine. She reminded me of this song and pointed me to this lovely video. I can't tell you the number of times I've sang and danced to this song in pure worship before my Lord in my personal worship time. It sends chills all over me every time I do think about how much God does love me.

Lately as our family has been going through a great time of trial, God has continually surrounded me with His loving arms. I couldn't have made it through without His tender loving touch. Thou we are still in this storm, He has guided all of us through the toughest part by only His grace alone.

I appreciate all the prayers that have been sent up on our behalf. With a heart filled with thanksgiving and gratitude, I report that we are doing better. God has moved and continues to make the impossible possible. We will need more prayers and guidance to make it completely through. Thank you for being so supportive without any questioning. In time, I will be able to share more about this part of our journeys.

Please watch the video and be blessed by it's words.





"How He Loves"
Verse 1:
He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

Pre-Chorus:
And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us so

Chorus 1:
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.

Verse 2:
We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss,
And the heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

Chorus 2:
He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Shattered and Broken

There's a lot of things going on right now in my life and in our family that I'm not at liberty to talk about. I'm going through one of the hardest times in my life, maybe even harder than loosing my children. My heart has been shattered in a million pieces and I'm trying with all my might not to lose one of those little pieces. Please say a word of prayer for myself and our family. I need people now to pray like they've never prayed before.

With constant tears streaming....
Melody

Monday, July 20, 2009

Randomness

After re-reading my Sad Sally post this morning, I started thinking about the origin of my sudden emotional low. I began taking my soy isoflavones 5 days ago so that I could resume ovulation. It's about that time that I began feeling these sudden lows coming on. I'm also quite crabby at times too. So maybe the soy is influences my moods a bit more than I thought. It doesn't change the fact of the way I feel, but it does give me some hope that its not just me.

I have been trying to focus on other things today. There's a little project that I've been pouring myself into. It's a surprise for that special little girl in my life. I'll share it with you all as soon as she sees it. I'm also beginning to plan next years' garden. I know that sounds a wee bit strange, but my step dad told me a few days ago that he'll plow out a large garden plot for me next year on his property. EEEEEKKKK I absolutely can't wait to grow all the lovely vegetables. I'm planning out which ones I want and can grow in this area. So far I have quite a list going. I'm going to make the list and then sit down with RL so that we can fine tune it.

Then there comes the matter of how to preserve our crops next year. I plan to start buying a few canning supplies pretty soon so that I can buy them slowly over time. That should help reduce the initial cost of buying them all. I think my mother-in-law will let me borrow a few of her canning pots to use, so I'm going to focus on the jars and the smaller items.

You will probably be hearing more about this little venture of mine in the next few months. It's strange because I never dreamed in a million years that I would enjoy gardening this much. The food you grow yourself (mine is organic) tastes so much better than anything store bought or restaurant prepared. I actually enjoy eating vegetables now. It's good for my morale and my health !

Ok I'm off again to go relax with my knitting. I have fresh green beans in the crock pot and am going to steam some brocolli in a bit. Yummo !

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Looking Through

I've spent a couple hours tonight looking through blogs I'd had bookmarked and some of my favorites. It's quite alarming to me that almost all of them had something to do with motherhood. I think I sometimes sabotage myself when I read them, especially several of them in one sitting. I find joy and wisdom in their words, but I leave their sites with pain in my heart. The longing I feel for a child just never goes away. I sound like Sad Sally writing about this all the time, but it's my way of coping; my way of not spontaneously screaming out my frustrations.

This afternoon was lovely. The gentle breeze was blowing and I decided to go outside and knit for a while. I carried my laptop out there to listen to a couple podcasts too. It was just a peaceful time rocking back and forth on my hammock swing. I hadn't been sitting there long when a little boy came running over to me. He wanted to share his "fruits" with me (they were actually a plastic wheelbarrow full of toys). This little boy just wanted some attention. I stopped my knitting and took the "fruit" he offered. A big smile came over his face as he realized that I'd take time for him. He soon skipped on his merry way, but returned shortly after that. He ended up sitting with me on the swing and swinging for a bit. After he left all I could think about was my childhood. I was always the person that the little kids flocked around. I'd go on great adventures with them and we'd play make believe for hours. I found such great joy in the company of those children. I always dreamed that I'd be surrounded by my own children one day. I planned on taking them on adventures too. We'd run around and play in mud puddles. And maybe if we were lucky we'd find some tadpoles in one of those puddles. I dreamed of taking them on hikes to see waterfalls and then jumping in the cool water in the summer time. And of course, I dreamed of teaching my children how to make things with their hands. I looked forward to seeing what their little minds could imagine up.

But that is not my reality. My reality is quiet. I can't stand the quiet. The quiet taunts me and tempts me to come here: at my desk, reading about the life I'd rather have.

Don't get me wrong. I won't abandon these friendships and connections I've made online. I do genuinely care about you all and want to be involved in your lives (as much as possible via our online relationships). But there are times when I have to pull myself back from such things. I don't do this because I'm jealous or mad. It is simply the only way I can cope.

I'm supposed to be on this journey to finding contentment. I find it periodically, but at other times it seems very illusive. Constantly going through highs and lows gets tiresome quickly and isn't the ultimate goal I seek. For now, I'm still learning and adjusting. There are times when I hit hard against my own stubborness. Yet more times when I'm faced with an overwhelming sense of fear and abandonment. I wonder when I'll ever find that sound balance.

The only one thing I'm sure of is that God is right here with me every step of the way. He won't leave me and He never has. My feet get weary often in this life, but I know that He's willing and able to carry me when I can't continue. I feel like I've spent more time in His arms than I have on my own two feet. I'm sure He doesn't mind, but I desire to not feel so weak and helpless sometimes. The Lord is my strength; my only strength. In Him I will wait.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Plarn Bag Line and Upcoming Dates

I made an oops when posting this entry to this blog. I usually keep all my Creative Radiance items over on it's own blog, but after thinking about it I decided to leave this post here as well.

_________________________________________________
I'm pleased to introduce my newest plarn bag line. These bags are hand crocheted from recycled grocery store bags that I've turned into plastic yarn. So far I offer three sizes of plarn bags. I'm making mostly tan bags right now, but will be offering white bags soon. Since these bags are made from plastic you don't have to worry about getting them wet or how to wash them. The possibilities are almost endless!

I first introduced these bags at my local shop at the Farmer's Market. People have been fascinated and have asked for more bags. So I'm doing my best to deliver just that. These bags will make an appearance in my Etsy shop this week, but I will be offering them at a discounted rate to my local shoppers. Below are pictures are some details of each bag.


The Lunch Bag - a small bag measuring 8" wide by 11" tall (including handles). **
This little bag would be a nice little reusable lunch sack or a small fruit/veggie tote.



Drawstring Plarn Bag - this medium bag measures 10" wide by 15" tall. **
The perfect catch all bag with versatile handles. I've placed a beach towel, swimsuit and sunscreen in this one to make a wonderful beach/pool day.





Market Tote - the large bag measuring approx. 14" wide by 16" tall. **
This bag would be a nice addition to a nice long day of shopping.


**Please note: All bags have 2-4 inches of overall stretch as well. The mesh middles make it easier for the bag to stretch to accommodate it's contents.

UPCOMING LOCAL SHOP DATES :
I will be having my shop at the Andrews Farmer's Market in Hall Memorial Park from 8am - 12 noon (weather permitting or unless I sell out early) on the following dates in July.

July 4th and July 18th

(On vacation July 9th - 13th)

If you are a local customer and have missed my local shop date, please contact me via email at shopcreativeradiance@yahoo.com or leave a comment here on the blog. I will do my best to accommodate your needs.

The August shop dates and locations will be posted as soon as I make the schedule.


Thanks again for your support!
~*Melody*~

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Just something about....

Ya know there's just something about being in God's Will. You know His mercies are neverending, you know His prescence is all around, and you feel Him smiling down on you ! Ah, just pure ah!

I haven't felt like this in such a long time. I think this is contentment. I've been seeking for quite some time for God to help me be content with what He's given me. It's not that I took things for granted, it's that I was living for tomorrow instead of today. I was searching for who I wanted to become instead of embracing who I am today. Slowly I've been releasing and God has been filling me up ever since.

*takes a deep breath in* So this is what I've been searching for....it was here with me all along and I didn't even know it.

'Tis pleasant..... Thank you Abba...You knew how much I needed this.

~*Melody*~


P.S. This is a cross post from my other online journaling site.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Life Changes

I've been delaying writing another post partly because I was in incredible denial and secondly because I've been so busy with all the changes.

My godchildren and their parents no longer live close to us. They have been assigned a new pastorship in the middle part of the state. So I'm adjusting to the fact that my dear little ones now live 5 hours away. It's been hard to face the facts. There's times when I can still hear my goddaughter calling out my name. I half expect to turn around and feel her wrap those little arms around me. I digress...I know that their family has to follow after God's Will, but I will miss seeing them on a regular basis.

The ministry oportunity that was presented to me a few weeks ago is still something I'm pursuing. It's not where I want to be and I feel like it's not really where I'm supposed to be, but for now I'm needed there. I will continue in this position until we can find a suitable replacement. I'm a litte pressed for time right now so I'm not able to go into any details at this time.

This will have to be the end to my quick update. I'm blogging from the public library because my internet has been down all day at home. I hope and pray it comes back on soon. Until next time....

~*Melody*~

Friday, May 29, 2009

Direction

Lord,
I need your divine direction in my life. There are so many things coming all at once at me. I know that You are in part of this, but Lord I want to be in those parts and only those parts. Help me to know what Your Will is for my life. I'm trying my best to make You my priority in these decisions. Right now Lord I feel so unsure of the way I should go. I don't like feeling like this and I know there's no confusion in You. Please help me to make the appropriate decisions and let me know that it is the right way for me.

In Jesus Name.....AMEN.

______________________________________

After posting my last entry, I had a personal sort of open-your-mouth-insert-foot moment. It turns out that the very thing I was talking about turned around. I've been presented with a couple of opportunities to do some actual ministry within our local church. One of them will include using my creativity to teach some summer classes to our women. I'm very excited about teaching these classes and have already began to put together the things I need for them.

The next ministry opportunity came unfortunately when some truths came to light about a former person in leadership. I have worked in this type of ministry before (please forgive my vagueness) and feel very comfortable working in it again. However, I'm very hesitant to jump back into it. I do fear that I will "get stuck" there. I'm extremely uncertain about taking on this ministry again.

I'm equally concerned about the amount of things I'm actively involved in. One of the biggest lessons I learned from my former church experience was to never take on more than you can handle. I spread myself so incredibly thin while at that other church that I was on the verge of burnout at all times. I didn't have any time for myself and my family life suffered because of that. I refuse to fall back into that trap. I know God delivered me for a reason and I can't willfully jump back into it.

There's also my personal life to consider. I've been working hard over the past few months to prepare for the summer selling season for my home business, Creative Radiance. As it is now before any new commitments, I only have a couple of free Saturdays to set up my shop. If I don't have time through the week, I won't be able to continue making things and won't be making any money. We desperately need for me to earn some income over the summer. I must consider this as well before making any decisions

Oi !
~*Melody*~

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Late Night Blogging

I haven't blogged here in the entire month of May. Part of me has been longing to share my heart, but most of me said I should guard it closely. You see over the past month, life has hit me with some incredible highs and lows. I am feeling stronger now, but there are moments when I'm overwhelmed with pure emotion.

Mother's Day came and went; another special day with empty arms. Our last child was due on Mother's Day so emotion and pain hit me hard on that day. I honestly haven't cried that much since our first couple miscarriages. I don't know what came over me, but I just let the tears flow. Many people at church noticed. I'm not sure if they all knew why I was crying, but they noticed. I received two lovely cards telling me that they were thinking about me and how I should be celebrated as well on this Day. I appreciated all the kindness and support from my church family. I also opened up a bit on my Facebook statuses. I'm amazed at how many people responded back with love, prayers and *hugs*. I never realized so many people would actually care about me enough to respond back, but they did and I am so grateful for those comments and their concern.

Shortly before Mother's Day came news about future plans for my godchildren and their parents. I can't share too much yet, because nothing is finalized yet, but there's a very high possibility that my godchildren will no longer live 15 minutes from me. It's more likely they'll live about 5 hours away. My heart breaks when I think about the distance between us. I love both of those children like my own. I have loved and cared for them their entire lives and the thoughts of not having them near have brought great sadness to me. I know that God has a plan for this family and that His ways are much higher than mine. I know that I can't be selfish and expect God to keep them near me because I love them so much. I also knew that there would probably be a day when God called them away. I know these things......but it doesn't make it hurt less.

One of those highs I spoke of above came unexpectedly for my fertility. While charting my temps, I discovered that I had indeed ovulated on cycle day 14, which is perfect in terms of a normal cycle. I could hardly believe it! Seeing those little reds lines on my chart sent such hope to me. My temps were staying high and my heart raced each day at the thoughts that I may be carrying another little one. After about a week's worth of increased breast tenderness and a few other odd symptoms, I was almost certain that I'd be announcing God's miracle working power in me in the next few weeks. Cycle day 28 came and as I took my temperature that morning I was so certain that it would be high that I almost didn't even look at it. But when I did look at it, I found it was extremely low, 96.5 to be exact. My heart sank as I realized that I wasn't pregnant and this was the signal of an impending start to a cycle. Later that day I did begin spotting. Thankfully, I was with my godchildren and their mother at a doctor's appointment when I discovered the spotting. They helped me keep my mind off of things for a while. However, later that evening those all too familiar feelings creeped back in and the deep disappointment lingered.

A few days later I was able to reflect on the past cycle though. God did bless me with a miracle; the miracle of a textbook, normal cycle. I couldn't ask for a better, more balanced cycle than the last one. I know that God sent the evening primrose oil my way for a reason. I took 3000mg for the first part of my cycle (prior to ovulation) and the results prove that it helped me. I also kept taking my 5 days of soy isoflavones and used progesterone cream the last part of my cycle. I plan to go on a soy break for 2 or 3 months and continue using EPO and NPC only.

I wish I had the time to blog about more things tonight, but I need to get some sleep. Tomorrow is one of those long, tiresome days at church. I should describe them as stress filled days. I don't have the time or the energy to fully describe what's going on lately. I wish I could say that the stress derived from the overwhelming amount of good or ministry that we are doing, but sadly I can't. I am very discouraged and disappointed at the lack of actual ministry being accomplished right now, particularly through the women's ministries. Being a member of the leadership, I guess I should assume some of that responsibility. And before I say anything else that I might regret, I guess I should end this here and just ask for your prayers. I need some direction right now. I have seriously considered backing out of women's leadership for various reasons. I don't like to quit anything and find it hard to say no when asked for help, but I am learning that there are times in life when one must walk away from things. I don't know if this is one of those times or not. I'm just praying about it right now.

Blessings....
~*Melody*~

Monday, April 13, 2009

An Unexpected Bend **EDIT**

I thought I'd give a brief ttc update since I've had some time to think about things. I'm going to be praying earnestly over the next few days about our next steps, but I believe it's time to move on from the soy isoflavones. It's been 5 or 6 months since I've last ovulated. The soy stopped working after that cycle. I'm not sure why. I started loosing a little bit of weight and that seemed to get everything off cycle. I don't think I've lost any during my past cycle so I can't blame weight loss this time. Maybe the soy only works for a limited time. *shrugs* There's really no way to determine the cause of the change.

My only course of action now is to find another natural treatment that might help. There are few natural options; evening primrose oil, vitex or chasteberry, a complete shutdown with the aid of progesterone cream, acupuncture, etc. And then there's the other option, returning to fertility drugs. I want to stay on the natural treatments as much as possible. Fertility drugs are my last and finally option. We've decided that we won't even consider these again till my 29th birthday.

I am going to add evening primrose oil to my next cycle from cycle day 1 till the day of ovulation or cycle day 14, whichever comes first. I may try to combine the soy on CD 3-7, but I'm not sure yet. If I do add vitex or chasteberry to the mix, it will be taken everyday and the results aren't noticeable until at least 3 months in. I have used vitex in the past with minimal results. It took 6 months to see any improvement. I would prefer to use something with a more immediate result. Right now our goal is to have a regular cycle and to see ovulation again.

A complete shutdown with the aid of progesterone cream takes 3 months. The shutdown basically stops every aspect of your cycles and puts your body into a temporary pseudo menopause. I've researched this in depth and while the logistics make sense, I'm still very cautious about doing this. I know 3 months doesn't sound like a long time, but it is when you only have basically 2 years of time to work with. Remember doctors have predicted menopause to start around age 30 for me. Although recent research has shown that most women with PCOS have a peak of fertility at age 35. I don't want to take any unnecessary chances though. I'd love to believe the new research, but at this point there needs to be much more research before those findings can be labeled conclusive.

Acupuncture is definitely something I'd consider. However, right now there's no way I could afford it. There's also not any definite research that shows conclusive positive results from acupuncture on PCOS patients.

So I'm left back at almost square one. It is a familiar place though as I've been here many many times before. Just the other day I was thanking and praising God on a private forum about his blessings to my health. You see there are so many other aspects of my health and fertility that could be wrong, but they aren't. God has spared me from so many things and I thank Him for that. I feel like I was attacked a bit after sharing that praise, but that isn't going to stop me from praising God for those blessings, because they are MY blessings. No matter how long this road of infertility might be, I will NEVER stop praising God for His work in me. And though I can't see the end or even the next bend of this road, I will journey on and through this journey I will bless others because that's what God's instructed me to do. I can't control the journey or PCOS, but I can control how I take this journey.

~*Melody*~

**EDIT** I need to clarify something. When I mentioned above that I felt like I'd been attacked since posted the praise entry on a private forum, I WASN'T referring to being attacked by an individual. I meant that I feel like Satan attacked me in my personal life. I'm so sorry if I offended anyone over this. I'm sorry that I didn't make my point very clear in this post. Please know that I honor and treasure each of you that are on that private forum and I would never post that I felt attacked in my blog. I would first consult with you all about the situation. Oh dear....I feel so bad for not being clear in this post.
EEKS :-(

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

STELLAN

Please check out the news link below. I've been following this lady's blog for quite sometime. I remember praying for Stellan before he was even born. He was born a healthy baby, but this month he became ill again like he was in the womb. You know you think about your own situations and get down. But then you read and hear stories like these and realized how blessed you are.

~*Melody*~

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TTC Update

Tomorrow I begin my soy isoflavones again. This cycle I'll be taking 200mg for 5 days. I've had the most ovulation success at this dosage, so that's why I'm returning to that dosage. I lost 8 lbs. and it totally messed up my last cycle. I'm not sure why. I thought that weight loss was supposed to help your reproductive organs. Maybe not for me.

I'm praying that the soy starts working again. It hasn't worked since my December '08 cycle. I'll also be adding Evening Primrose Oil gel caps in this cycle. They are supposed to help my cervix to open more. Since I've had so many miscarriages my cervix has some scars and is harder than it should be. I'm praying that the evening primrose will help without causing too much pain for me. They have been known to cause uterine contractions. I'm willing to take the pain if it brings results though.

Sadly we've already pass the mark for conceiving and giving birth to a 2009 baby (full term that is). I did take some time to mourn the loss of another year. But there's still hope of conceiving sometime in 2009 for a 2010 arrival. So many of my high school classmates are pregnant right now. They will all give birth within a month or so of each other. No doubt their children will be good friends and classmates. I was hoping to join them. Maybe that's a bit selfish of me to want my child to have "instant" friends, but one can dream right? It's definately going to be hard at my 10 year reunion this year if I'm not expecting yet. But that's another story for another day.

My husband turns 30 in less than a month. He seems to be ok with the big 3-0, but I'm so scared of aging. I've started to see a gray hair or two on his head. When I first saw one, I literally cried; not because of his changing looks, but because I realized we're getting old and haven't even had children yet. I've been praying for his health and that God would keep him young. He's so loving and so caring for me. Honestly, I'm scared that our best days are behind us though. I'm wondering if I'll even have the energy and ability to care for a child whenever we get there.

Most of the children in our neighborhood were outside playing yesterday. It was a gorgeous day and I had all the windows and doors open. I sat for a little bit watching two young children playing in my yard and closeby. I couldn't help but think about how much I'd love to see my own child out there playing. I've always wanted to be able to participate with the neighborhood families, but we don't have a family to participate with. Being childless doesn't just affect me emotionally, but also socially. There are so many social things that "require" the presence of children. I've never wanted to be the partier or the adult socialite. I want nothing more than to be a mother covered in breastmilk, slobber, and Cheerios. There's nothing I dream about more.

I've been reading a book called Knit Together: Discover God's Pattern for Your Life by Debbie Macomber. I'm only a couple chapters into it. So far it's been talking about how God gives us dreams, passions and desires. The author uses her own story of becoming a writer as a basis for her encouragement to face your dreams with expectancy. Reading this book is very bittersweet for me. On one hand, I am encouraged to continue to hope that my dreams will come true. But on the other hand, I can't make my dreams come true like so many can. I can't put my all into things and see actual success, because I have absolutely no control over my body. While I have many dreams of doing things for God, when it comes down to it, my one true dream is to be a mother. I believe that all the other things will fall into place. Meanwhile though, I'm just sitting around waiting and trusting that God has my best interests at heart.

In an effort to conclude this rambling session, I'll close with the scripture basis for the above mentioned book.....
Psalm 139
1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. 5 You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. 7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; 12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You. 13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;When I awake, I am still with You. 19 Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men. 20 For they speak against You wickedly; Your enemies take Your name in vain. 21 Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

So Hard to Explain....

Suicide is such a hard thing to explain. Tonight we learned of someone directly linked to our church family who committed suicide. Amongst all the tears you could see real fear and questions written all over people's faces. What can you really tell a teenager about suicide...other than the fact that it happened. There's no answers and no reasoning that bring any comfort to the hurting.

Suicide is such a selfish act. It's wounds go far deeper than the physical act. People's lives are forever changed by suicide. I know my life has been changed by several suicides. There's a certain kind of anger that rises up in me when I think about those in my own life who've committed such an act.

I desire your prayers for our church family during this trying time. Pray that God will send comfort and guidance over our teens specifically.

Thanks....
~*Melody*~

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Change of Plans and Illness

Wow its amazing how fast plans can change, huh? My weekend ended up being nothing like what I wrote about in the last entry. Lou changed her mind and didn't stay with us. So we took on a different project....living room reconstruction. There had been a spot on our floor that felt weak under your feet. So my hubby and I moved around the entire living and dining room so that we could pull back the carpet and address the flooring issue.

Sure enough when we got the carpet pulled back, there was a square that had to be replaced. Apparently one of the tongues in our tongue-n-groove subfloor had given out over time. So we got that all replaced and the carpet back down. Then there was the hard task of moving everything back.

I'm amazed at how much junk one can accumulate over a couple years. There were things inside our entertainment center that I never even knew existed. LOL, it was a bit of a hidden treasure hunt, particularly with a video of Adrian and I from Summer '04. Goodness that video was taken almost 5 years ago. My my how life has changed in those 5 years.

We finished up all the moving and cleaning Saturday night. I believe this is a true miracle. I didn't think we'd finish till later in the week because there was just so much stuff everywhere. I was so surprised and so proud of my husband for all his help in getting the cleaning done.

Shortly after I went to sleep Saturday night I woke up feeling very dizzy and I was freezing. I reached over and grabbed my trusty thermometer (read annoying) that lives beside my bed (thanks to infertility). My temp. was right at 102 degrees (F). Oi. I knew it then, I had picked up the nasty little virus that has been floating around for months. Here it is spring and I hadn't caught it yet. I thought I'd escaped it, but I was wrong.

Today is the first day I've felt well enough to sit up for a while. My fevers finally broke sometime overnight. I'm so thankful because I was beginning to feel out of my mind. Its wonderful to feel level headed again. ;-)

~*Melody*~

Thursday, March 19, 2009

With a More Level Head

First of all, I just want to thank all of those who read my last post. Thanks for your support, wisdom and prayers. I appreciate that you gave honest and genuine responses.

I'm not exactly sure what drove me to such a low. I think it may have been rooted in the time I spent in that room earlier that day. The questioning had been in my mind for some time though. It's very ironic that I was writing that entry while watching "Mama Mia". LOL, you'd think that a light hearted musical would have brought me some happiness and an uplifted entry. Oh well, that emotion filled entry is over with now.

Today RL and I spent some time with Genna at the park. She is so precious sometimes. There were several little girls that she talked to. She was even encouraging them to be big girls on the swings. I enjoyed going down the big metal slide with her. LOL, it's the only one adults can really fit on. It's also the one I used to play on as a child. I find it rewarding to share something with our goddaughter that I enjoyed as a child.

Poor Genna was totally exhausted though. She took a lot of water breaks during her playtime. She was super clingy too. We went to McD's for a snack and to let her play in their play area. As I was standing in line waiting for our food, RL came carrying her back to me. She was crying and I was sure she'd gotten hurt. She wasn't hurt, just wanting her mommy and to go home. We brought her home and she cuddled with me for about 45 minutes while we watched TV. It was so nice snuggling up with her. I was telling her how much I enjoyed our cuddles. She looked up at me and said "You love me and I just love you too." I almost cried. Good times...yep good times.

Our night ended with Lou's chorus concert and some late dinner at the Mexican place in town. Tomorrow's plans are for some grocery shopping. I've been using coupons lately and have been learning about ways to save as much as possible. I need to do a post about what I've learned. Maybe I could do that tomorrow. I'll also be doing a bit of cleaning before we pick Lou up from track practice. She's staying the weekend with us. So that means I'll get to be "momma to a teen" for the weekend.

~*Melody*~

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