Wednesday, January 30, 2008

God's Voice

Just today, I added a new link to the side of my blog. Maybe you've noticed it. It's called "Got Jesus?" As I was typing the description under the title, I went deep into thought (not something I do very often!). I typed, "Knowing God's peace, perspective, and purpose begins with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ." That's true. I know it for a fact. There is no peace without Jesus. And with my perspective, which is often skewed, I often get a false message because my perspective can be wrong (oh my gosh, did I just say that...I hope my children aren't reading this!). I've also learned over the years that God's purpose for me is much higher than my own. God is able to do far more through me than I could ever ever do. Yet, I still try to do so much on my own. That includes listening to the wrong voice.

Last weekend at the Southbrook Women's Retreat I read an excerpt from the book Becoming A Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes. Here it is:

My voice says quit.
God's voice says be committed. Matthew 5:37

My voice calls for instant gratification.
God's voice says to exercise self-control. Galatians 5:23

My voice says look out for myself because no one else will.
God's voice says love others more than myself and think of their interests above my own. Philippians 2:3-4

My voice says get even.
God's voice says forgive. Matthew 18:21

My voice says get my own way.
God's voice says be a peacemaker. Romans 12:18

My voice says glorify me.
God's voice says glorify Jesus Christ. John 17:5

My voice calls for pride.
God's voice calls for humility. Philippians 2:3

My voice says look good on the outside and no one will notice the ugliness on the inside.
God's voice says be pure on the inside and the outside won't even matter. Proverbs 31:30

My friends, do you know the only way to tell the difference between your voice and God's? It's by developing a personal, ongoing, and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and knowing the TRUTH of His Word. And it really is simple.

If you don't know Jesus, click the "Got Jesus" link on the side. And if you do but you're struggling with hearing God's voice, create some quiet time and just look up a few of the verses listed above. God's voice is the only one that matters. He loves you so much and would love to spend some time with you now.

Have a wonderful day!


Monday, January 28, 2008

Southbrook Women's Retreat

In one word...Fun!!!! Oh my, what a wonderful weekend I had!!!! I had the pleasure of speaking this weekend in Black Mountain, NC at the Southbrook Women's Retreat. Southbrook is a wonderful church located in Weddington, NC (I think...or Waxhaw:)...anyway, what a great group of women. There was plenty of laughter and lots of love among us. It was a time to retreat from the busyness of the real world and take time to soak in the fuel that fills us up....God and girlfriends! And we truly got a lot of both!

Southbrook ladies, if you are reading this, I hope you'll post a thought or story about how this weekend filled you up. Or what you took away from the weekend. Or how God touched your life this weekend. Or how a friend impacted you. Anything really.

I can tell you that I was blessed big time! I felt so welcome and comfortable, like I could tell y'all anything ("rah rah").....seriously though, we equipped ourselves to chase away the "pirate" (Harella....little pig little pig....just kidding sweet Harella!) and most importantly, we gave up our insecurities and the lies of our minds to make way for the Truth. Ladies, don't let that pirate come back....hold tight to what you know and believe it. Arm yourselves with the Truth...your Treasure Chest (God's Word) and live your life to the full! Like Jesus said:)
This was the first speaking event that I brought someone with me. My super sweet friend, Amy Woods, came with me. We had such a great time together. From shouting rude comments out in the hallway to loudmouths and then eating dark meat KFC on the way home....we had a blast. Plus, Amy was such a huge help to me. She worked the book table and helped to keep me calm. She prayed for me before my first session and was instrumental in keeping me grounded and focused all weekend long. Amy, I just love you to pieces. Thank you so much for coming with me and for all of your help. You are a wonderful friend!
Oh how I wish women everywhere had the opportunity to attend a retreat like this one. I hope the pictures posted above can give you a little glimpse into the true beauty of this event. I will never forget the stories, faces, and testimonies of the ladies from Southbrook. I will be praying over your "hearts". Please remember how much you are loved and that there is absolutely "no condemnation in Christ Jesus"......Bless Your Heart.....You Are Beautiful....Beware of Pirates.....You Are a Princess....and you have touched my life! Thank you my friends:) Please keep in touch.
Much Love,
***I started a new It is for those of us struggling with weight and self image. Please check it out and participate if you'd like encouragement on living life to the full!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Rice and Beans Night

Yes that's right. It was "rice and beans night" last night. In case you didn't read my last post, once a month we have rice and beans. On that night we write letters and draw pictures for our sponsored Compassion child, Maria. If you haven't read about her, please read the previous post, she's a doll.

Honestly, my family does not like rice and beans. Well, I take that back. My husband and I like rice and beans. Hayley Grace likes rice. Dylan likes the taste of it all, but hates the texture. Hayden and Blake hate it all. We have rice and beans to remind us that for some, this is just about all they have. Even though rice and beans is not very popular around here, you don't hear anyone complaining. They know if they do, "Mom will go on one of her 'well now maybe you can imagine how Maria and the children in Ecuador must feel each day' tirades." It's one meal I fix that there is just about as many leftovers as we had to begin with. I wish I could send the leftovers to someone who would appreciate them.

Even though the food isn't a big hit, this ritual we have is quite meaningful. We not only talk about the needs of Maria and her family, but we also talk about how blessed we are and how much we have. We talk about the prayer requests that Maria has. You see, not only do we write to Maria, but she writes to us too. We pray for her as a family. The kids all pitch in from their allowances and we send the letters and $32 a month to Ecuador. It is such a blessing.

Well, as you can see from the pictures, we have quite a lot of leftovers from our rice and beans dinner, so if you are hungry, come on over! I'll serve ya a heapin' helpin' of R and B! They are quite tasty!



Saturday, January 19, 2008

Meet Maria, an Ecuadorian Princess

It's hard to believe that it's been 5 months since my amazing trip to Ecuador. What an awesome experience. I had the privilege to travel with my dear friends from Proverbs 31 Ministries and Compassion International. We got to tour Compassion Projects and go in the homes of many sponsored Ecuadorian families. What a culture shock that was. I promise I will never complain again about my lack of anything. When my kids complain that they have to share a room, I can tell them that atleast they don't share a room with 7 other people. At least we have solid walls around us and roofs above us. We have no exposed wires, we have running water, we don't have to milk a cow for calcium, and we have choices for meals. We have a closet full of clothes to choose from and our floors are not made of dirt. These amazing families in Ecuador survive on love, hard work, and the hope they have through Compassion and Jesus Christ. It was humbling to say the least. I fell in love with these people who were welcoming us into their homes and treating us like good friends. They shared their struggles and amazingly shared what little they had to offer to eat. One family even taught me how to make torillas from scratch over a iron skillet and fire.

Last summer, our family decided to sponsor a child in need through Compassion. I can honestly say, it is the best thing we did in 2007! Our child is named Maria Jose' Loor Valencia and knowing how we are making such a big difference in her life has been extremely rewarding. She is 8 years old. During my time in Ecuador, I was able to meet and spend about an hour with Maria Jose' and her sweet mother.

I was a little nervous about meeting Maria. Fortunately I had a translator (the beautiful and super sweet Veronica) and she was able to assist with communication. We met at the hotel where I was staying. Maria's pastor got a cab to bring her and her mom to meet me. When I walked in the room where they were, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I looked into the eyes of this beautiful little princess...this sweet child of God...and it was as if I'd known her my whole life. We both had tears in our eyes as we embraced. She called me, "Madrina", meaning Godmother. It's a title I treasure.

Maria's mother thanked me over and over again. You see, by sending $32 a month, Maria is able to receive assistance financially for clothes, food, supplies, school, after school programs, and she also is taught the Word of God and how Jesus loves her and her family so much. Maria's family is Christian, except for her father. Her mother asked that we pray for him, that he learn and accept the love of Christ in his life. She has seen how the Lord has blessed them and is often their only hope. She is also receiving hope through Compassion International. To learn more about Compassion and to get information on sponsoring a child, please visit our Compassion blog, There are many pictures there of our entire trip.

During the hour I spent with Maria, we talked about things many little girls like to talk about: dancing, dolls, basketball, fighting with siblings, chores around the house, dreams for the future (she wants to be a dance teacher someday), school (she makes good grades), friends (they like to pretend and draw), and Spongebob....yes that's right, Spongebob. All the kids there loved Spongebob! I don't know why, but that just cracked me up. On a side note here, my friend Rachel, while meeting with her sponsored child, showed him a picture of a starfish and asked if he knew what that was. He replied, "Si, Patrick!" (in case you don't know, Patrick is the starfish character in Spongebob Squarepants) Ha! Ok, back to Maria. We drew each other a picture and I painted her fingernails. We also blew bubbles. She was so beautiful. I so wanted to bring her home. And her mom too! I can't wait until one day when my whole family can go back and see her again. This is a relationship we hope to continue for as long as she needs us.

When it was time for Maria to leave, a piece of my heart went with her. To keep in touch, our family sends her letters and pictures. We send a little extra at Christmas and on her birthday. My friend, Lysa TerKeurst, gave us a great idea to help our family "kind of" experience and appreciate the life Maria lives. On the night we set aside for writing Maria, we have rice and beans. That's all. No one is allowed to fix themselves anything else or get a snack later. My kids do NOT like rice and beans at all! But I tell them, truly this is just about all Maria and her family do eat. Not much more. And they don't complain. They are thankful for what they have. So our rule is, no complaining. And if your tummy is growling later due to the fact you didn't want your rice and beans, well just think about that for a while. We need to not take our food or anything else for granted. We are so blessed.

I seriously hope you will check out the Compassion International Blog and I'd be happy to assist you in finding a child that you could sponsor and make a huge difference in his or her life for just $32 a month. It's a gift with many great rewards in return. Not only do you send financial support, but you also send hope. You begin a relationship. You may not be able to change the whole world, but you can change the world for one child.

Blessings...and say a prayer for my Maria tonight as you drift off to sleep in your cozy comfy bed. Sweet Dreams Friends,


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Here she is...........

Ok, I said I would post Hayley Grace minus 2 teeth and here she is. I hope you can see her 2 teeth missing. She's so proud of them. The tooth fairy was very good to her. $5 for the first tooth and $2 for the 2nd. And the $ is already spent! She said it was one of the best days for her life!
Well, I don't know what people are doing tonight, but our family is watching American Idol. We have been waiting on this day forever, it seems. Once college football season is over, American Idol is our next sport. I like it once the real talent presents itself. My kids, however, like it when the "no talent" and "crazy" people are on. So, they loved tonight! And it was hilarious. And somewhat sad.
If you haven't visited in a while, please go to We have a new website and it rocks!
I'll be posting about my family's Compassion Child soon also. Her name is Maria and I posted her picture last time.
Much Love,

Friday, January 11, 2008

How to post a comment and other info....

Me and Maria, my sweet Ecuadorian princess

Happy Friday People! Are you glad it's the end of the week? I know I am. I'm ready to relax tonight in the den with my family. It's Friday Night Movie Night and tonight's feature is Herbie the Love Bug. We are watching the know the one from the 70's? Exciting:)
I've gotten so many emails from people who cannot figure out how to post on here. And sorry to say, I'm not much help. I know there is help page (somewhere). If you have a blogger account it's quite easy. Or if you have a web address to enter in (that would be the URL...I didn't know that until recently), then it's easy. And you can always take the Anonymous route. Just sign your name to your comment so I know who you are please. But let me just say, that if you don't have a blogger account, you should get one. Why? Because it's just fun. Plus it's a great way to keep up with people. I think I'm also going to have a Taylor Family Blog soon and let the kids post as a way to communicate and post pictures for our family. If you have any easy directions for those new to blogging, please do tell.
And last but not least. I have to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sweet, loving, and beautiful sister, Tricia. Girl if you ever read this (and she probably won't!) please know I love you so much! Happy Birthday Sista!
Hope you are making it a great day.
***Coming soon: My trip to Ecuador, I can't wait to introduce you to Maria. She's the child we sponsor through Comapassion International. See picture above.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hayley Grace Lost 2 Teeth Today!

Me and Hayley Grace (with all of her teeth)

Well, my baby is growing up. It seems like yesterday she was just getting her 1st 2 teeth. Those first 2 teeth took forever to come in. It changed her whole appearance when they did. She was 1 yr old then. Well today, now 6 1/2, she lost those same 2 teeth. She pulled one before school and the other during school. She is so excited and expects to be rich by morning with all that money the tooth fairy will bring her:) Once again, her appearance has changed. Is it any coincidence that she is also wearing dangly earrings for the first time today?

I am finding myself a little emotional about this whole tooth losing business. Maybe it's because she is my baby. Or maybe it's because she hit another "first" milestone. I don't know, but don't you find that when these things happen with your kids, it just tugs at your heartstrings?

All day I found myself thinking about the time I have to raise my kids. On the one hand, it seems it will last waiting on a new tooth to grow in. But then again, in the blink of an eye, they are grown and quick as a tooth falling out. So, what's the moral of the story? Don't blink. Enjoy the people God places in your life today.

Speaking of enjoying the people God places in your life today, I had the honor of having lunch with a real Queen today. Queen LeAnn, the sweetest friend, boss, P31 lady I know:) (And no, I'm not trying to brown nose the boss!) Seriously though, today is LeAnn's birthday and I thank God for her presence in my life. I enjoy seeing her each day. LeAnn, if you're reading this, Happy Birthday again. I love you!

Well, I must go. Laundry to fold...ugh, but as I fold it, I will think of the special people who wear the loving and fun family that God put not only in my life, but in my home. I hope you will take the time today to enjoy some precious moments with someone you love. If you have some of those moments you'd like to share, I'd love to hear about them. Take Care!


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Finally, Melissa is blogging:)

Hello, hello and welcome to my newly created blog! Please be patient with me, this is new and I've been resisting it for quite a while! To all my Proverbs 31 sistas...THANK YOU for encouraging me to do this. You said it was easy to create the blog. I didn't believe you. Ha! It took me less than 5 minutes. You were right! I can't wait to figure out how to post pictures and links. I promise to get your links up here very soon. Is that as easy as setting up this page? Please say yes:)

The current blog you are viewing is under construction. I plan on getting the infamous Dawn to help me create one that is more viewer friendly, but in the meantime, I hope you'll visit often!

Let me hear from you soon. Happy New Year!