Day 4 ~ Dream Coming True

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WOW!! Don’t you just love it when you see God working…when you see how He is bringing a dream to life!! AND in the most unexpected places!

So, I am at work right now. I am a graduation advisor at The University of Georgia ~ my alma mater. I love being here on campus and I have a good job. After teaching for 17 years, it has been nice to have a break with no lesson plans, no grading, and not dealing with discipline issues.

I never expected this to happen though. I had one appointment today. I knew it would be an easy one since everything looked good for him to graduate next semester. I don’t know how the conversation even started but it was a great one!

After he graduates, he is going to work in an orphanage in Africa for a year (an orphanage that he has spent time at the past two summers). He has been working with the organization Orphan Aid Liberia, which is based in Cartersville, GA.

I told him of my idea of sending dresses to little girls all over the world and he said they ship supplies to Africa several times a year and would love to work together. This is AMAZING because I had put this part of my dream on hold because I didn’t know who to talk to. I knew I could send dresses to the DR through my church in the summer, but I wanted to do more. Here is my more.

I cannot stop smiling and I am so excited to get started!! What a way to enjoy Day 4 of Living with Purpose!!

I will be putting up more about collecting dresses soon. In the meantime, check out this amazing ministry. Maybe there is a way you can help too.

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Blessings to You!
Melissa

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Marriage & Mommyhood ~ Priorities

Today is the kickoff of my new (in)courager group. I joined up with my friend, Laura Pratt, in the Marriage and Mommyhood: Finding grace in the balance group.

Not sure I could have found a more perfect group for me. I am looking forward to learning, sharing, and growing with these other moms. Sometimes we just need others to listen, those that have been there and done that. A place we can go for grace and encouragement.

Do you struggle with all the responsibilities of being a wife and a mom, while also becoming who God created you to be?

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I know I feel like I am drowning at times. I have so many things I need and want to do, but not enough hours in the day. It is during these times that I have to stop and re-focus…time to look at my priorities.

Finding time to spend with my heavenly Father has to come first. I need His love, strength, and guidance to get through each day. I find that if I don’t have my quiet time I start doubting myself and I let the negative thoughts start creeping in. You know…the ones that tell you that you aren’t good enough and you can’t do what God is calling you to do. The only way to fight these thoughts is through His Word and asking Him for help.

My husband and children come next. My family should be my most important ministry. Sometimes it is easier or you get more appreciation by helping others outside of your home, but God blessed me with them and they should get my best. Annette Soldini calls this the Family Ministry Golden Rule…”goes a step beyond the regular golden rule: treat your family members as you would like them to treat you and see them as your most important ministry.”

After that, my life gets messy. I have got to start doing a better job organizing everything…cleaning, blogging, reading, crafting, exercising, and following my dreams.

As I look over my calendar for the next month, I will HAVE to be organized to get it all done! It seems a little crazy with everything else I have to do but I have decided to take the 31 Day Challenge. This is a challenge to write for 31 day straight in October about a particular subject. After lots of prayer, I decided to do it and came up with my subject…31 Days of Living with Purpose. Each day I will look at a different part of my life and how I can improve. I am looking forward to seeing the changes in my life at the end of the month. Want to know more about the challenge? Hop on over to the Nesting Place.

As a mom, I don’t think I will ever find true balance in my life. I just need to focus on God and His plan for my life, my family, and then prioritize the rest.

How about you…How do you manage all of your responsibilities? I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you for stopping by and I pray you have a Blessed week!
Melissa

 

A Reminder ~ Psalm 37

I love how you can read a passage in the Bible many times over the years but then when you read it again…it jumps off the page.

Psalm 37 was that way for me today. Have your read this passage lately?

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Our Lord reminds us that He is here for us. Life may be hard and it may not seem fair, but He will take care of us. He is our refuge.

3 Trust in the Lord and do good

4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord: trust in him and he will do this:

6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,

7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;

23 If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm;

24 though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.

These verses remind me of how I am to live. I am to trust my Father and follow His plan for my life. I can only do that if I spend time with Him and stay close to Him.

Sometimes fear keeps me from stepping out and doing what He wants me to do. I have to remember that as long as I am following Him, He will hold me up with His hand and help me.

My Father loves me and He loves you too! What desires has He put in your heart? Are you following His plan for your life?

Just some things to think about on this beautiful Sunday morning.

Blessings to You!
Melissa

Still Dreaming

Have you ever had that feeling…you know, the one where you feel that you are here to be more, do more?

In Holley’s book, You’re Made For A God-Sized Dream, she tells us that “We are made for a pupose, and until we are intentionally pursuing it, we feel half alive. We are dreamers waiting for someone to wake us up so the real adventure can begin.”

I know God made me for a purpose and He has put dreams in my heart. My problem is that I get in the way. I try to start figuring things out and take charge. That is when He stops me and tells me to be still. I have been in this struggle for a few months now.

I know He is teaching me to slow down and take one thing at a time, but that is so hard for me. He is also changing some of my dreams, some dreams that are hard to let go.

Another thing Holley reminds us of is…”Our part is not control. It’s not results. It’s obedience. It’s intimacy with the One who asks us to trust him even when nothing makes sense.”

I have to remind myself that it is not “what” I get done, it is the journey and the time spent with my Father.

Also during the past few months, I have felt Him calling me to do more in my own home. I feel that He wants me to work on my relationship with my husband and our children. Sometimes it is easier to go out and help others instead of working on the hard parts in your family.

Our pastor is even doing a series on family right now and one question that I have been wrestling with is…If you could change your family, what would it look like?

It was also perfect timing (God’ timing) that I was chosen to be on Courtney’s launch team. Her book is so honest and thought provoking. She reminds us of what is truly important in this life and who God created us to be. (You can order yours right now and get 10 FREE ebooks!)

I am truly a work in progess and I am so thankful for His love and grace! I will continue to work on letting go and following His plan for me, focusing on the relationship and not the tasks.

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How about you? Do you have areas that you need to work on or let go of? I’ll ask you the same question as my pastor…If you could change your family, what would it look like?

Hope you have a fabulous week!
Blessings to You,
Melissa

I Am Different…I Am Beautiful

Have you seen the latest news from Duck Dynasty? Sadie Robertson is producing weekly video devotionals and designing a modest clothing line. She is using her status as a television star to make a difference in this world. It is so refreshing to see a young star step out and be different.

One of my dreams is to start an organization in our county schools. A group where some of our high school girls mentor middle school girls. I want to help them step out and be different. I want to step out and be different too! I think we can all grow and make a difference in this county and beyond.

Want to help me get started? I am selling t-shirts to help raise funds to start this organization. They are $12 and you can get them on Etsy if you don’t live near Winder. I love that Sadie is inspired by the same verses!

3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4

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Have you started a similar organization? I’d love to hear from you. I can use all the advice and guidance I can get. 🙂

One thing to remember is that we can all make a difference in this world, no matter how big or how small. What can you do today to make a difference in someone’s life?

Blessings to You and remember…You Are Beautiful!
Melissa

 

 

Step Out~Trust God~Go Deeper

Don’t you just love it when our Father sends us messages? He reminds us that He is there and that He loves us so very much!

The past few weeks have just been hard for me. I felt like I had lost my direction and was so frustrated about things in my life. If you read my last post, you will know that part of the problem was not spending enough time with God so that I could feel Him near and hear Him speak to me.

Well my sweet Father has been speaking to me loud and clear over the past few days. I have to admit it makes me feel so special and loved when He does it. 🙂

One thing I have realized is that I am trying to do way too many things. All good things, but too many for me to handle. I just end up feeling overwhlemed and can’t do anything well. I have to slow down and focus on what God wants me to do right now.

Isn’t it funny that Jeff Goins issued The Slow Down Challenge just when I needed it? This challenge helps us

  • Live with greater intentionality
  • Have better focus
  • And develop deeper relationships.

I also felt like our pastor was speaking directly to me Sunday. He taught from Matthew 14:22-33…when Peter steps out of the boat. Here are some of my notes…

  • The disciples didn’t recognize Jesus at first ~ When Jesus doesn’t move like we think He will, we panic. We try to take control or just settle and go back to where we started.
  • Jesus tells Peter to “Come” ~ Jesus wants us to step out on faith, He wants us to take the next step.
  • As you take the next step, here are some things to remember…
  • Focus determines direction – what are you focused on?
  • Distractions and other voices are everywhere – who are you listening to?
  • Jesus has the power to rescue you – do you trust Him?
  • We grow through our stuggles
  • Do we TRUST that God is really in control?
  • Keep following and trusting Him because He is faithful.

Step Out ~ Trust God ~ Go Deeper!

And if all of that wasn’t enough, the title to the blog for our study yesterday was “Hearing God’s Voice“. Lysa gave us five questions to ask ourselves when we are trying to discern God’s voice…

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This week I am taking time to slow down and listen for my Father’s voice. I need help figuring out what I need to be doing for Him and what I need to give up. I want to follow His plan for my life. I want to step out of the boat with unwaivering faith and say “Yes” to whatever He asks me to do. I may struggle or be scared but I have to remember that He is faithful and will never leave me.

How about you? Are you hearing His voice? Are there changes that you need to make in your life so that you can follow the dreams He has put in your heart? I’d love to hear from you so that I can pray for you.

Blessings to You,
Melissa

He’s Still Working On Me

When I think about how much I have changed over the past few years, I start singing the song “He’s still working on me”. Do you remember that song? My dad had it on cassette and loved to hear me sing it. I never realized how powerful the words were to this song until recently.

He’s still working on me
To make me what I need to be
It took him just a week to make the moon and stars
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars
How loving and patient He must be
‘Cause He’s still workin’ on me

There really ought to be a sign upon my heart
Don’t judge him yet, there’s an unfinished part
But I’ll be better just according to His plan
Fashioned by the Master’s loving hands

In the mirror of His word
Reflections that I see
Makes me wonder why He never gave up on me
But He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray
Remember He’s the potter; I’m the clay

(written by Joel Hemphill)

I feel Him working on me each day…changing a little at a time…shaping me for His plans.

Change is not easy but it is necessary. He often requires us stepping out of our comfort zones, taking a leap of faith. This keeps us where we need to be…relying on Him. The dreams He has put in my heart would be impossible to do on my own, but I know I can do all things through Him (Philippians 4:13).

He supplies my strength, my hope, my joy, my peace…he supplies me with everything I need.

Since I made the decision to give Him control, my life has not been stable or comfortable. Walking away from a full-time position was very hard but He has been so faithful. We just get by some months, but we have a home, cars to drive, food to eat, and clothes to wear. I am thankful for everything He has blessed us with.

He has shown me that life is about so much more than things. It is about love and relationships. It is about learning and growing. It is about living the life He has planned for us.

I have always been a planner so letting go of our future was a hard transition for me. It took some hard times for me to give that up. Oh I still have my calendar (I’d be lost without it) but I am open to changes. I know that God’s plan is so much better than mine.

We are in a waiting period right now and patience is not something that comes to me naturally. I have gotten better but still have a ways to go.

There are some other job opportunities out there for me right now. I have applied and interviewed for two of them. I believe one job would be great for me and my family but I have struggled with the other one. It would be a great position with a better salary but one that would take a lot of time and effort on my part. It would be nice having more money coming in but my first ministry is to my family and I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that. I am a wife and a mom and those two responsibilities come first. (I think I now have my answer about the second position.)

God is so good and I am proud of the changes I see in me. Giving Him control of my life though is not just something I did one day and it is done…it is a daily thing for me. I still struggle and I still make mistakes. The difference is that I know my gracious Father forgives me and will continue to help me. Each day I turn to Luke 9:23. I want to be His disciple and bring Him honor and glory.

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How about you…is He still working on you? Is it hard to turn it all over to Him? I’d love to hear from you.

Blessing to You,
Melissa

Ready to Live Uncomfortable

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WOW!! Ann’s latest post really hit me hard. You can see that God is using her, speaking through her words.

Living radical isn’t about where you live — it’s about how you love.

You are changing the world – when you are changing one person’s world.

Go ahead, give us that. We want that. We are the generations that are done living the comforts of this world and we’re ready to live uncomfortable because we’re ready for the comfort of God.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that she is writing about her time with Katie, the same Katie I am reading about in the book Anything by Jennie Allen.

I have been wrestling with my God-sized dream. Just not sure where He wants me and what He wants me to do next. Things are changing though. I hear him speaking to me, leading me.

I am working on plans and details for our Beautiful You conference. I thought it should be this Fall but not anymore. February seems like the right time. This is getting bigger than I ever imagined. He is using me and I am nervous but so very excited. I want to see lives changed in my county and beyond!

I can see my dream growing and going to places I had not imagined.

I am so thankful for all the women that bless me and inspire me with their words. I know that God placed them in my life. I have never met them, but they feel like friends. I hope to meet all of them one day.

I am also blessed to have those that I do know…those that help and support me.

My heart is beating fast and I am making a list of things to do and people to contact. I am so excited about what God is doing in me and through me!

I’d love to have your prayers as I pursue this dream. Please let me know how I can pray for you too.

One more thing to think about from Ann’s post…

We want clarity; God wants us to come closer. Life is always clear when you press closer and see it through the sheer love of God.

Blessing to You!
Melissa

 

A Celebration for Education {Lanier Technical College & Barrow County Schools}

What a beautiful morning! I was able to go celebrate with friends and family from Lanier Tech and Barrow County this morning.

I was surprised at my emotions at the ground breaking ceremony. It hit me as I sat listening to the speakers that Lisa Maloof had finally seen one of her God-sized dreams come true. Years of dedication and hard work made today possible.

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Next Fall there will be a new Lanier Tech Winder Campus and a Barrow County Career Academy. What a blessing for those in this area! There will be training for all ages and for the specialized skills needed in and around Barrow County.

Our speakers talked about the importance of education and training and reminded us that what we were a part of today would affect generations to come.

Our Georgia Representative Terry England was there and our Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. I was especially happy that my cousin and new President of Lanier Tech, Ray Perren, was there. He is such a good, honest man and leader. I know he will do great things for the staff and students at the college.

I can honestly say that working at Lanier Tech was the best part of my teaching career. I loved the people I worked with and I enjoyed teaching skills that would help our students reach their goals.

I still remember my last day at Lanier Tech. It was so hard to leave but I knew God had other plans for me. I have no doubt that He put a love in my heart for the people and students at this college and will lead me back there one day. I am so thankful that I was able to be a part of their celebration today.

Blessings to You,
Melissa

Summertime at UGA

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I’m probably a little biased, but I work at one of the best schools in the world! Yep, I’m talking about the University of Georgia! I might feel this way since I grew up only 30 minutes away and ended up getting both of my degrees from here. I also had the privilege of traveling around and cheering on the Bulldogs with the Redcoat Band…I was one of the girls out there with a flag.

Our campus is buzzing with activity this week…orientation is going on for the new students. It is kind of quiet in our office so I have been able to get out and walk around (when it is not raining). I love our beautiful campus and I have so many memories here…some good, some not so good.

What a difference 20 years makes…I am such a different person than I was when I walked around this campus as a student. I wish I could impart some of my hard learned wisdom to the students here, but I am sure they would listen as well as I would have back then.

I would tell them to…

  • be confident in who they are and remember that they are God’s masterpiece.
  • find a career that makes them happy and gives them purpose…don’t just pick a career because of money or because others want them to.
  • read and study The Bible…have a close personal relationship with their Creator…only then will they be able to follow His plan for their life.
  • wait to find someone who loves you for you and wants the same things out of life…don’t ever settle.
  • dream God-sized Dreams!

Yes, life would have been different if I had taken this advice when I was young. I don’t wish I could go back though. My experiences have made me who I am and I am thankful that I have a loving, gracious, and patient Father.

How about you? What do you wish you could tell students just starting college? Were you already confident and following God’s plan? Are you just getting started…what do you think of this advice?

Blessings to You and Go Dawgs!!
Melissa