Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Thanksgiving

November 29, 2006
Winter weather has finally arrived in North Texas ! Drew and I went to the park today with some friends and played in the 80 degree weather. Then at 6:00pm the cool arctic front rolled in and cooled us to 45 degrees! Our low tonight is expected to reach 25 degrees. It was the most amazing feeling sitting on the grass with Drew feeling the arctic air push it's way into the area. The wind was so powerful and fierce, the thunderclouds darkened the sky within moments and the birds fled south for safe terrain.
Our Thanksgiving was wonderful - filled with family and friends. We were blessed with 10 people surrounding the beautiful table John built. We read Psalm's of Thanksgiving and as we ate shared what we were thankful for this year. Drew played with his friend Jonathan in the backyard and both of them cried when it was time for Jonathan to go home. Our Thanksgiving was very relaxed and refreshing after our crazy week of preperation.
Friday morning came early as John, Drew and I awoke at 5:00 am . We are crazy! I had some Christmas deals I wanted to grab at Bass Pro and Kohl's. John and Ruben went to Circuit City and Home Depot - then to IHOP for some breakfast. I am happy to report that almost all of my Christmas shopping is complete! One crazy day in exchange for a peaceful Christmas season - not too bad of a trade! This week I have been busy ordering Christmas pictures and writing our Christmas letter. I will be leaving for Seattle on December 16th and returning to Texas on Christmas Eve night around 11:30 am; I am trying to get everything done early this year. I even made and delivered our first batch of Almond Roca - John added his own touch this year by putting Symphony Chocolate on top instead of a regular Hershey bar.
We are still shopping for our "adoptive family" and some friends and family have been helping shop for the kids. I don't know how a family of 8 can afford gifts at Christmas, it gets expensive!
I will share Drew's gifts for this Christmas, Kohl's had their Fisher Price toys 50% off so we bought Drew his first train set! It is called Geo-Treks. It is very nice because you buy sets and each set fits together with the next one. Drew will love it! The set we found has a remote control that handles the train as it goes through the airport and police station. We also found Drew his first tricycle at Target, it has a handle on the back so we can steer the trike while he learns how to peddle. I can't wait to see his face on Christmas morning!
Drew weighed in today at 23.5 pounds! He is growing! His has a new phrase this week "I dropped it mommy!" He is also repeating most of the words that we say. We were reading a book this evening and he pointed out the Zebra and said "ebra."
Well, John just came in from the cold, I better go warm up his Fajita dinner!
Love, Melissa

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Reflections of Joy

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. Please write me back or call me with your prayer requests - I really enjoy praying for each and every one of you!

I have been reflecting this Thanksgiving Season on finding joy. I tend to get a little depressed when trials and lack of routine come into my life; a friend encouraged me to jot down, for an entire day, the things that I can find joy in. Wow, was I blown away at what I discovered. I assumed joy would come when "big" moments came around like Thanksgiving dinner or a trip to Six Flags, but I discovered that my true, abiding joy, was found in the small mundane things of life. My joy wasn't found in an emotional experience, but was mental choice to shift my focus onto the "things that are lovely and pure and profitable..." Those short moments when I stood in wonder at the Lord's creation, or the cute little babblings of my 2 year old son, or the quiet meditation of a Psalm, was where I found real intimacy & joy in the Lord. As Christians we already have joy (it is one of the fruits of the spirit), all we have to do is grab onto those moments and abide in the Lord. Please join me in praying for our group of ladies, pray that joy would be a constant stream into our life, reflecting off onto others, shining the light of the gospel to future generation.

Father God, might my joy filled life finally be experienced when I capture delight in the small, insignificant slices of moments that would have ordinarily been missed each day; for joy doesn't become visible when I am waiting for an emotional experience, but shows itself in reflections of simple, almost missed seconds, pieced together into a puzzle called joy.

In Christ,
Melissa

Friday, November 24, 2006

Williams Family Thanksgiving 2006

Ø In January 2006 John found a new job with Home Depot. Praise the Lord for his provisions -- the lessons in faith we were taught along the journey were well-worth the trials.
Ø Thank you Father for bringing our family to a new church that is centered on You alone. We thank you for the Foree family ; it is such a blessing to be able to serve others who are in need. I pray that all 8 of them would come to know You as their Lord and Savior.
Ø In October of 2006 John finished his Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice! Praise be to the Almighty for the support and finances he provided. This is such a huge blessing to our family and to John's career!
Ø A wedding focused on the Lord, uniting two believers together is such an honor and privilege to be apart of. Our family thanks you Lord for our newest member - Ruben Cabrera. We thank you that you choose such a godly and humble man to be the servant leader of Julie. Thank you for this fresh addition to the family, we pray the Lord's protection over their marriage. Lord do not make it easy and care free, but unite them together through trials and love. May their marriage always be centered on You. We thank you for family that lives close and enjoys being together.
Ø Almighty God we are thankful for this wonderful Christ centered home that you allow us to live and raise our precious little boy Drew in. When we see others who live in such awful conditions it humbles us. I pray that we would give more generously of our time and finances in 2007 and that our focus towards holiness would remain steadfast and unwavering. Thank you that Melissa is still able to work from home! This blessing comes only from you Lord!
Ø I, Melissa, am especially thankful for my husband who leads us by example, who is always willing to serve, and who never raises his voice to us. John is such a godly man, sinful, but is striving day by day for a closer relationship with his Creator. Thank you Lord for this man you have provided for my well being. He cares for his family with gentleness and love.
Ø Praise you Lord for your indescribable gifts, for your personhood and your sacrificial love. Thank you for not being content to leave is in our sin, but you sacrificed all you had for our salvation. Help us to grow more towards you this coming year; help us to grasp the treasures of your holiness that are revealed each day through your creation, your cross, and your crown. May we bring you more Glory in 2007 and become more like you each day.
Psalms 31:19
How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you;
which you bestow in the sign of men and those who take refuge in you.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Silence?

Silence is such a peace to relish -- except when your toddler is running around the house somewhere! I discovered today that while I was enjoying the quiet; Drew was coloring his entire face with mommy's lipstick. He came up to me with a sheepish grin literally from ear to ear. It was so cute I had to post a few pictures of his little rampage. After seeing his camouflaged face, can you imagine what my carpet looks like?
Drew had a lot of new words this week! I have been trying to teach him one familiar word for each letter of the alphabet so this week he learned - apple, cow, drill, Jesus, God, obey, thank you, & two. He is also saying the word "guy" all the time and I can't figure out what he is saying. Drew can point out where all his body parts are and can locate most animals on a page if asked. He knows a few animal sounds like the duck, dog, cat, cow, and chicken. Lately, Drew has been playing with daddy in the garage working on words like: dewalt, planar, & garage. To John's surprise Drew can say hammer & drill! I think Drew can also say "garage" but it comes out "auge." It is safe to say that if Daddy is home and in the garage Drew is there too. A few days ago Drew went to the garage door and asked for John, only he was at work. I made the mistake of saying that "daddy will be home when you wake up from your nap." A few minutes later Drew went down for his nap, only he slept about 1 ½ hours instead of the normal 3 hours. So, when Drew woke up he immediately ran down the stairs and knocked on the garage door thinking Daddy was waiting for him. Oops! Drew went into meltdown when he discovered that no one was in the garage.
As you can probably tell from the video's I am attempting to potty-train so Drew knows how to say the words: potty, poo poo, pee pee, & tinkle. Not much success to talk about, unless you consider him pooping in the bathtub every night?
We are all excited for Thanksgiving! It is my favorite holiday! I shopped for food this weekend and now have everything we need for the Thanksgiving dinner. We are having a houseful of 10 people this year. I am already working on writing down what I am thankful for this year - I love hearing everyone's lists as we sit around the table waiting for the Turkey to be done. It is so good to relish in the Lord's blessings, for " Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17.
We had another guest speaker in church today, can you believe we were actually able to hear from an Atheist & a Communist in church today! It was amazing how God works! The speakers name is "sun" and he is the ambassador to Vietnam, he was here thanking our church for the 14 years they have spent working in Vietnam. Our pastor was asked by the Vietnamese government to create a model for the 14 years worth of work our church has done in Hanoi . Then Northwood (our church) and the Institute for Global Engagement worked together with the Ambassador to Vietnam to create and sign a religious covenant agreement - signed in September of this year! They then invited our church to partner with other American churches to bring the gospel to Vietnam . Amazing! The gospel is being sent all over the world, the church in the U nited States might not be strong, but the church in the 10/40 window is exploding. I was greatly encouraged by what I heard today, Vietnam is no longer a war torn country -- it is an up and coming nation that deeply desires to adopt religious freedom into its culture. You can read more about the work being done at http://www.glocal.net/v2/index.php.
Happy Thanksgiving! May your table be blessed with family and friends, and maybe a needy family or two!
Melissa

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

" The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.
Henry Ward Beecher

Sunday, November 5, 2006

It has been a while since I have updated. We have had so many fun things going on, it has been hard to find time to updated. Drew finally grew his last set of teeth for a while. His mouth is full of teeth and don't have any gaps! That being stated he has finally started talking! Drew loves to repeat words and enjoys singing the song Twinkle Twinkle, only it comes out "Tinkle Tinkle." Drew did loose 2 pounds during his last bout with teething, but hopes to be back to the 23 pound mark soon. Drew is going to school on Monday's and loves it! He no longer cries when I take him to the door and he leaves with a huge smile on his face, happy to show mommy his latest art project. Last week he made a scarecrow puppet and the week before he made a tree with his hand print as the leaves. Drew loves napping at school and proudly carries his nap mat to and from school. Monday's are his favorite day! Drew's wardrobe has finally been moved into Autumn! I gladly boxed up his summer clothes last week and pulled out all the pants and long sleeve shirts. Mommy was even fortunate to find a nice pair of Oshkosh boots on sale this weekend to match all his new warm clothes! Drew's most common words this week are "bird, tree, circle, & square." We were reading a book a few days ago and I was showing him all the circles. The next book we read he pointed to a circle shape and expressed with a huge grin "urkle"! It was so cute! The latest change in Drew has been his "quiet times" in the morning. Mommy was having issues getting her Bible read before Drew woke up in the mornings, so someone at church suggested having "mat time." It was a great idea, now after breakfast, Drew lays down on his mat and reads books quietly, then Mommy can get her reading done in quiet first think in the morning so she doesn't forget. Drew loves to read books, he also knows that when mommy is done he can come snuggle on her lap and she will read to him aloud from all his favorite books. Drew's favorite book right now is by Max Lucado, I can't remember th name, but it is a children's book about a wood worker who creates these wooden people called "Wemmicks" they have all sorts of adventures and always end up making messes out of their lives. Then they go the the carpenter Eli who helps them through their latest trial. I don't know why Drew loves it so much but we must read it at least 3 times a day. The book where they paint their noses to fit in with the others is Drew's present favorite. Motherhood is very fun but very exhausting! It must be the shortened days and the chilly weather that is making me so tired.
Well, we all went camping last weekend and had so much fun. We camped next to 480 cub scouts, not as peaceful as we were expecting, but still fun! We know next time to ask if the scouts are having any jamboree's! Drew did get to watch his first flag raising ceremony and we showed him how to say the Pledge Of Allegiance. We went camping with our best friends the Tyson's, and the Newlyweds Julie & Ruben. It was Ruben's first camping trip and I think he left with great memories! John showed him how to play with fire and Julie instructed him on how to make a fire. He relished in John's cooking and enjoyed just sitting around chatting with everyone. Ruben did the devotions on Saturday night, he really asked a tough question that cut us to the core. He had us look at our attitudes, the ones we have with those closest to us. I know it was very convicting to me, it was great having everyone share their weaknesses and ask for prayer in certain areas where they were struggling. We all really appreciated Ruben's direct and challenging words; we all left changed ! Drew loved camping, in fact he cried the whole time we packed up camp on Sunday. He really wanted to stay and play more. Drew made sure to stop all the scouts and give them 5, he also played with sticks, ate chicken with his bare hands, romped through the woods, ate dirt & food off the ground, and slept like a champ! We all had a relaxing and peaceful time enjoying God's creation. We did make one vow though' we were making a "William's Camping List" the next time we camped! My mother had to come visit us on Saturday to bring all the things we forgot, like pillows, my bathroom bag, the comforter for our bed, & Drew's wipes! Agh!
October 31 was a blast, Drew dressed up like a Bumble Bee and we took him to the church for a carnival. He learned quickly that candy grabbing was a game. So Drew spent the whole night getting candy and giving it to Daddy! We then took him home and visited a few families in our neighborhood. Drew loved knocking on the door, but thought he had to walk right in once the door was open.
John is not busy for once! He has been working and playing in his garage with his new graduation/birthday toys - a Dewalt planar and a Rigid router. John also had the other half of his back surgery last week so he has been a little stiff. I have been a little under the weather with a sinus infection and Drew has had a slight cold. I have been busy writing a piece for the women's group at church. It has been really challenging for me! Please pray that the Lord will give me pertinent and real life examples that will be an encouragement.
Tonight we went to a presentation at the church by the International Justice Mission. Their stories were amazing and they really brought to light so many injustices in the 3 rd world, most done to innocent women and children. I encourage you to look at their website www.ijm.org. John and I were deeply touched by the work that his organization is doing within the limits of foreign governments to free the oppressed. Most people do not live free like we do in the U.S. and their stories of bringing hope to the orphaned and freedom for the children enslaved to prostitution reminded me to not get comfortable and forget about those who are suffering. There is plenty for American's & Christians to do, as we were told this morning about the story of Jesus multiplying the loafs and fishes to feed the 5,000 - Jesus too can multiply your (insignificant) gifts if you just lay them at His feet. He only requires our obedience to perform miracles.
Below is a link to a recent broadcast from the Today Show that reveals a little about what the IJM stands for. http://216.128.18.195/IJMflash/TodayShowFlash/ijm_player_f.html

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Gratitude is... the leading edge of joy. It happens when the big reality hits you.
You have no more right to be loved than anyone else.
Your job is a fluke.
Your children have no more right to health and security than the children in Bosnia.
Your friends are not obligated to put up with you.
Your education---well, you were not born into the poverty of Calcutta.
It is all gift.
Every single molecule, every smile, every taste of sunshine is gift."
~Radical Hospitality, Homan and Pratt

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Gratitude

" Gratitude is... the leading edge of joy. It happens when the big reality hits you.
You have no more right to be loved than anyone else.
Your job is a fluke.
Your children have no more right to health and security than the children in Bosnia.
Your friends are not obligated to put up with you.
Your education---well, you were not born into the poverty of Calcutta.
It is all gift.
Every single molecule, every smile, every taste of sunshine is gift."
~Radical Hospitality, Homan and Pratt