Sunday, April 18, 2010

Knuckleheadedness: Soccer Woes

I pray over my boys every night before they go to bed. Maybe they're technically too old for that but it's a nice time for us to spend and they get to hear my heart for them when I talk to our Father about the wishes I have for them. So, if they're 21 and still need my night time prayers I think I'll be ok with that.

Well, even though it's such a nice moment it's also usually got a laugh or two thrown in because those two just are not capable of being serious for very long. I think that's ok though. God made them that way so He understands, right?

Here's what happened: (That was totally said in my most Monkish voice)

I'm praying for them and I said something like, "Help them to hide your Word in their hearst so that when they go through rough times they will have your Promises to help get them through."

When I finish Austins says, "So, Mom, does that mean you're expecting us to go through hard times?"

I say, "Well, as long as we're alive there will be times we hit a rough patch, but God has promised to always be with us no matter what."

Austin replies with, "Yeah, even when you get your head stuck in the goal."*

First I look at him like, 'Huh?!' Then I say, "yeah even then....", flick him in the nose, and of course laugh hysterically.

They both crack me up every day. I can never be sure what's going to come out of their mouths and I LOVE it!

*apparently this really happened to one of his little buddies on his soccer team. I can only imagine....... and probably don't wanna ask..............

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My Mother's Day Gift

See that pretty necklace above? That's what I'm asking for as my gift on Mother's day. The day after I wrote this post featuring the faces of some beautiful young ladies aging out of orphanages soon. I saw this neckalce posted on HopeChest's Facebook group, and when I read that proceeds from the sale of these necklaces go to programs like HC's Young Mothers Program, I knew that it was what I wanted to receive this year.

So, can someone tell Rick to read my blog?  Thanks ;o)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Weird Fact Wednesday: "Turn Left..... No... You're Other Left"

Did you really learn your left from your right in Kindergarten? Cause I didn't, and I have finally come to the conclusion it wasn't for lack of poor Mrs. Moorehead trying to teach me. Sorry Mrs. M, it was ALL me! Actually, I'm just carryin' on; I never blamed any one for my lack of directional skills, but I bet I drove my poor teachers crazy.

I am now, 26 years out of Kindergarten and I still do not know my Right from my Left. When someone says raise your Right hand there is a 50/50 chance I will actually raise the right one (yes, pun totally intended there). I always have to take a moment, look down at my hands, and remind myself which one I write with before I can proceed. This is usually not a problem so much. Where it can get tricky is when I'm driving and the passenger is telling me where I need to turn. If it goes like this we'll be fine:

Passenger: "Ok, keep going straight and about 50 feet ahead you need to turn left."

Me (thinking): 'Ok, left..... left.....' (wiggle my left hand on the wheel a little bit) 'Oh, that way.'

Then we turn and all is well with our World's.

Below is the incident that prompted me to put this as my Facebook status the other day: "If  you're like me and don't know your right from your left, please raise your right hand....... I'll wait......" I thought that was pretty clever and was so glad to find out that a few of my friends are the same way. Halleluia, I'm not alone!

The problem comes in when Rick is the passenger. He is pretty sure I can read his mind and I am equally sure that I can not. Here's what I mean:

Me: "Um, I don't remember how to get to this Doctor's office from here."

Rick: "Go straight through this light and then turn left."

Light turns green as he is speaking and I proceed to go. I hear left but my brain is thinking right. I don't turn.

Rick: "Turn LEFT! HERE!"

Me: "Right here?! Already?!"

Rick: "I said left....."

Me: "Well, you didn't give me enough time to think about which way was Left. You should know by now, you need to point which way you want to go and say, 'that way'. I don't know my Right from my Left."

He just shakes his head. Poor man, he didn't know what he was getting himself into when he married me. But, that's ok he loves me, even if I am Directionally Challenged.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Calling All Superheroes

 **Thanks Tara for bringing the broken link to Tom's blog to my attention :) That's fixed now, AND his newest post is another way to help the gorgeous young ladies like the ones pictured below. I'm thinking I know what I want for my Mother's day gift..... **

I copied the post below from Tom Davis' blog because I think it's important and people need to know what's going on. I watched Oliver Twist the other night and couldn't help but think to myself how all of the things happening in that story are still happening today. If we don't reach out to the orphans they have a high tendency to become thieves and prostitutes. I can't help but think, who is really to blame?

I don't know about you, but I'm called to be a "superhero", for lack of a better term. Proverbs 24:11 tells us to "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter." I think that's pretty clear and I like this translation of verse 12: "Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Um, I'm a recovered He-Man and She-Ra addict so to my little brain these verses say that God is expecting me to act as a superhero to those who are about to perish. You don't feel like a superhero you say? That's ok, cause Philippians 4:13 tells us that we can do ALL things through CHRIST who STRENGTHENS us. Well, that's good, cause my heart is huge but my muscles need a little help.

The girls whose beautiful faces are scattered through this post? They are just a few of the ones who, if not rescued, will perish. They are close to aging out of their orphanages and are at high risk of being a target of sex traffickers just like the ones Tom mentions. What to do? Pray for them first and foremost. Adopt them or show their faces to someone who can. Share this post or Tom's on your blog, Facebook, in an email.  Donate to ministries like HopeChest or Stella's House who work to keep girls from being trafficked. Go to Adopt a Child Ukraine and check out the girl's profiles or AdoptUSkids to see profiles of kids in foster care here in the US who face these types of risks as well. We have to do something, it's obvious if you go back and re-read Proverbs 24:12.

Sex Traffickers and the Craziest Day...Ever

Today, we meet a psychologist to girls who have been rescued from the sex-trade.

As we walk down the street, she tells us she has a "surprise" waiting at our destination. I'm up for surprises. In fact, I kind of flow with them. The day is clear, a slight breeze is blowing, and for the first time I don't even need my Northface jacket. We sit down in an outdoor cafe with green umbrellas and Ahmad tea signs all around. Reminds me of Kiev and the sun feels good. 

"Do you want to know why I brought you here?" Nothing to fear, no need to worry. Of course we do. The black stuff in my cup isn't real good so it's not the best espresso in the city. "Why are we here?"
"One of the girls you will meet was trafficked from this restaurant." At that moment, my world changed. The crowded city street was a different place. A man from the Middle East appeared over Anne Jackson's right shoulder. Something about him, it wasn't right. 

"In fact, they're here right now. And so are the girls who are being trafficked. They lure girls here for a job. Then they are sent to Turkey, Israel, and Russia."

I saw them. Teenagers draped with blond and brunette curls. You've got to be kidding me. And I've brought Anne here? I mean Simon and Brad are one thing, but a girl? Someone I'm responsible for, and I've brought her into the midst of a den filled with sex-traffickers? I looked to the right and saw two more men emerge out of the restaurant. They weren't Moldovan. Simon's camera didn't help things. He was shooting pictures and video faster than Usain Bolt runs the hundred yard dash. 

Now we're the center of attention. We tried to play it cool, acting like we belonged there and were just shooting a plain 'ol video about life in the big city. My chest got a little bigger, my sixth sense a little stronger. If there was ever a time I longed to be a CIA agent.

An overweight, middle aged man sits down with a young girl at a table ten feet from us. She might be seventeen. We captured the photo. She bats her eyes and tries to impress her. He hands her a wad of cash for last nights exploits. I'm sickened beyond explanation. And then I realize, this happens every single day. What am I suppose to do? Turn a blind eye? Pretend this evil doesn't exist? Go back to my comfortable life and wish that young girls aren't trafficked like this right in front of my eyes? 

Something inside tells me I can't. I've been exposed and I'll never be the same.

At least ten traffickers sniff us out. They're behind us, in front, to the right and left. We're absolutely surrounded. But were not in prison like the young girls who fill the chairs. We have a choice. Their choice had already been made for them. 

This place has the heavy-weight title of the highest rate of trafficked women in the world. Tens of thousands simply disappear. Our psychologist friend pulls out a local newspaper. "This is how they trap them. Local ads promising well paying jobs abroad. Everyone wants to leave so all young girls are potential victims."
I look to the left and to my utter shock, see two girls reading the same kind of newspaper. Once your eyes are opened, it's everywhere in this place.

"I brought you here so you can see the realities in our country. It doesn't do you any good if I only show you what most people want to see. This is the reality." 

Tomorrow, we will be with five of the girls who have been rescued from this nightmare. I want to be a real presence in their live and fight back the evil that had control over their life. Thank God there are people here who go to the front lines every day. I have to do something, I can't sit on the sidelines and hope this goes away. 

We're in Moldova. Who would like to join us?  We stood up from our table and walked out of that hell hole. The beautiful blonde girl didn't have that choice.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Weird Fact Wednesday: Musical words

Pretty much any word I hear can trigger a song. When my kids were little they were fascinated by this, I think they thought I knew every song known to man. Nope, I can just sing every song known to Melissa at the drop of any random word. Doesn't matter if it's a song I can't stand, once the word triggers that weird part of my brain here comes the song* and it's stuck there for who knows how long. Sometimes this is ok with me, sometimes it is so not.

Last night was "Get your motor's runnin'" in an email title and of course I start singing the song. Who wouldn't, right? Except, can I just sing a little bit of the song and get that out of my system? Umm, No! You can't sing that song without bopping your head and growling like that dude does, ya know? Or well, maybe you can..... but I can't. Cause I'm just weird like that. Ask my kids, they'll tell ya.

{Oh, and the bold and asterisk above? Any takers as to what song came running to mind at the typing of those words :) }

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Missed Update

Hmmm, so just the other day I realized that I never did an update post on our homestudy woes (there were more, but two links in a row is enough for tonight) And, get this! It's not bad news! Go ahead and say, Hallelujah, I know you want to.

After we thought we were getting somewhere, more paperwork was lost (If you're looking for an agency and have contemplated one in the Carolina's, contact me first), and then someone went on vacation, and apparently there was a staff change in there somewhere cause all of a sudden I'm speaking to a new person. But, praise God, cause I think this person was the only one in the place who could get something done! I had to fax her the same papers that were already lost twice because they didn't make it to her with everything else and once I did that, the very next day my HOMESTUDY WAS FINISHED! She even made four copies, one for USCIS and three for me, had them all notarized and sent me the other agency documents I need to include for our dossier all signed and notarized., and then overnighted all of this to the places it needed to go. When the Fed-Ex guy delivered that package Noah almost had a heart attack at the way I squealed and jumped up to go to the door. Poor kid.

So, now we are waiting for USCIS, who just told me today that they need more evidence, and all I have to say is, "Ms. USCIS officer if you think that scares me - think again! After that homestudy escapade "needing evidence" ain't nothin'!" Besides, I'm pretty sure I have the evidence she's looking for in a folder in my dossier packet. I sent it all via fax to the homestudy agency and just assumed they would send it to USCIS with the homestudy. Um yeah, why did I assume this?.....

Friday, April 2, 2010

Music and Life: Zephaniah 3:17

Did you know that Zephaniah 3:17 says that the God of the Universe rejoices over us with singing? I have been going through a tough time the past few months and this verse was spoken over me so many times by different people. It was as if the Lord was saying, "Hey, I DO love you and I'm here - even if you don't feel like I am." Every time I would hear this verse it was like I was getting a reassuring hug from my Dad.

I learned that whenever a song would stick around in my head or I would find myself singing something constantly, especially if it's a song that is not a favorite, to begin to listen to what God might be trying to say to me.

This one, by Jimmy Needham, has been running through my head since yesterday and this morning I finally realized that the words are speaking to how I've been feeling the past week. I have been struggling with feeling like I just don't care sometimes, like my joy is fading away. I know that I love God and believe that Jesus is my Savior, but sometimes it feels like I have to work at keeping myself in a right place. And, of course then I can fall into feeling guilty.

But, then I started really paying attention to the song that had been running through my head for the past day and a half. I realized that this is the song that He is singing over me right now and he wants me to know that I'm forgiven, loved, and free. Even when it feels like "my joy has been on holiday and my peace has almost passed away", He is still here and He still loves me. I am so glad!