Tuesday, September 6, 2011


For a while I've been praying about starting some type of ministry to support/encourage women.  In an attempt to go forward with this I'm separating my personal posts from my devotional-type ones and switching to Wordpress since I can do some more customization on there.  I would LOVE it if you would hop on over and check me out/follow me there! 

My personal blog address is:  www.meljustme.wordpress.com

My ministry one is:  www.timbus31.wordpress.com

See you there!


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Who Are You?

Growing up I often felt as if I was not my own self but rather an extension of those around me. I never seemed to be introduced as "Melonie".  If we were at home I was "The Preacher's Kid" or "Mrs. Brodbent's Daughter" (mom's a teacher).  Once a year during our family reunions I became simply "Evalee's". 

I thought that maybe when I got older and began to live my own life that finally I might be able to be me.  Nope, not gonna happen.  About that time my kid brother's (who is a child genius, started his own business at eleven, was a member of the chamber of commerce by fourteen, and graduated high school at sixteen) business started exploding and I turned into "Josh's Sister".  Then I got married and I knew that now I would gain the honor of being able to be introduced as me.  I waited eagerly for the first opportunity to arrive and stood patiently wanting to soak it in.  "Hey! This is Mrs. Hixon, you know...Chuck's wife."


Because of this traumatic upbringing I tend to pay attention to how people are referred to.  Last Wednesday Chuck and I visited a local church.  As I was watching Hila Fay get settled into the nursery the new pastor came over and introduced himself.  We chatted for a moment before it came up that he knew my father.  I waited for usual "preacher's kid" joke but was quite stunned, and proud, when instead he said, "Yea, he prays for me every Sunday."

Wow! What an absolutely amazing testimony!  How would it be to have such intense ministry (dad has bunches and bunches of preachers and ministry people that he systematically prays for, if you are interested you can find him on Facebook under Pastor Al Brodbent) that you are introduced by it? Or what if your christian zeal became so well known that you began to be described as, "You know, the one that leads all those people to Christ" or "She's that lady whose always going around helping everyone else"?

I know longer desire to be introduced as me.  It seems as if finally I have warmed up to the idea labels.  It also seems that one is never too old to be properly schooled by their dad.  Love you Old Man, thanks for the inspiration.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Give A Man A Fish: True Welfare Reform

Excuse me for a moment while I deter from my normal programming to step up on my soapbox.

As I've spent the summer outside sweating, along with my husband, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and toddler, weeding, watering, and picking the garden so that we can have fresh food on our table and canned goods to supplement us this winter, a thought occurred to me.  Why, when our country is in such a monetary detriment, are we handing out money to able-bodied people?  I'm not talking about the poor in health or physically disabled, but the people with strong back and workable hands?

Instead of enabling the weak of mind and motivationally challenged, how about giving them a community garden? Create a space, perhaps a rooftop garden, renovated vacant lot or people's own back yards, and teach them to garden. Provide them with seeds and instructions and mandate a certain amount of time that each person must work. Then give them canners and cans and have them store up for the winter.  Sort of a don't work/don't eat policy. I figure if its good enough for my family....



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One Chance to Say Goodbye

Imagine this: you are sitting all alone in the doctor's office. You've just been told that you have a fatal condition and mere moments to live. The doctor hands you a pad of paper and a pen and tells you that he'll deliver a letter for you.

Who would you write to? Your spouse, kids, parent or best friend? What would you say? Would you tell them how much you love them or remind them to always clean behind their ears and wear clean underwear? I pondered on this for a while and decided my letter would probably go something like this:

Dear Chuck,

How do you start a letter like this? There are so many things to say. The most important is for you to always remember how much I love you. I know our separation will be most impossible to bear, but believe it or not each day will get better. You are my best friend, my lover, my gift from God and you and Hila are the hardest things to walk away from.

Tell Hila everyday how much mommy loves her, but don't idolize me. Tell her all my 2% times so she understands that I was far from perfect, except in how much I loved her. Hug her tight on her first day school, tell her how beautiful she looks and smart she is. When she gets her heart broke that first time, hold her tight and let her cry all the while whispering how much you love her. When she becomes a woman DON'T have that conversation with her, neither of y'all really want to go there...take her to Aunt Carla or Aunt Lisa.

At the moments when ya'lls hearts seems unbearable, go outside to a clear night sky and gaze up at the big dipper. Know that it is filled with my love and pours out each night over you both.

You are an amazing man, full of strength and courage and wit. I love you.

Does that sound something like what you would say? It seems crazy to do anything with those last moments but to devote them to letting others know how you feel...until you read 2 Timothy.

When Paul wrote 2 Timothy he was imprisoned in Rome.  He knew he was going to die, but wasn't quite sure when the deed would be done. He writes a letter to Timothy (a letter that turns out to be the last one ever found) beginning it with a plea for Timothy to come to him and and filling the letter with last bits of christian instruction and wisdom.

When I really began to think of this I became quite convicted. How many of my "living" moments do I spend trying to further Christ's kingdom? Paul dedicated even his last moments to Christ, moments where any other person (or at least me) would spend tieing up loose ends and begging for their life. If Paul can go so bravely towards a death for Christ, surely I can do my best to live for Him.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

34 moves in the Making

After many years of dreaming and talking Chuck and I have finally decided to build our dream house on the farm. In order to understand the significance of this move it would probably be best if you understood a bit about me. Between my father being a pastor and owning a consulting company, our family was constantly on the move. On average, I've moved every two years; never having lived in a house (or place) more than four years until I moved back to Wynne, Ar and met my husband.

Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that before I could legally take a drink I had travelled to every continental state plus traversed into Mexico and Canada; but a sense of longing courses through me whenever Chuck and pass by places that hold childhood memories I long to give Hila a sense of history, one place that she will always be able to refer to as home.

So with all of that Chuck are putting actions to our dreams. We have put a lot of thought and research into our decision.  Because of cost efficiency and minimal upkeep we have decided to build a metal house, and after spending last week at my uncle and aunt's house climbing up and down their steps toting a 30lb toddler it will be one story.  I have a goal to repurpose as many things from Chuck's childhood home as possible, even if the items are used in non-traditional ways.

Last weekend Chuck, his sister Lisa, and I tore down the old trailer. Next we will sort through the old house, then tear it down and begin preparing for laying concrete for our new home. And, to keep things interesting...we've set a goal to have our house completed by Christmas! Nothing like a short time-frame to keep life spicy!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Absolutely Me

Few people know me better than my best friend.  It became evident in a small gift that she gave me earlier this week.  It was a small, simple hat but it represents so much of who I am. 

Growing up I hated the color pink, it represented weakness and "girls-girlness" pretty much everything I was opposed to.  Until my mother came down with breast cancer and bravely fought and won her battle. Then pink became a color of strength and dignity and hope.

The camo makes me smile, reminding me of the first time my husband took me to the woods or his romantic proposal several months later under a canopy of whistling limbs. It represents good times with friends and family alike, and attests to the passion that hunting has become.

Argyle shows my quirky side. I was slightly obsessed even before it became a trend, and will continue to be even after it no longer graces the racks of all the popular boutiques. Even I don't understand the tie it has on me, but it is what it is.

It seems fitting, that on the anniversary week of Carla and I being best friends for six years, she gives me such a wonderful gift showing how completely she understands me.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ode to My Feet

I used to have two feet.
They were the things at
The end of my legs
That carried me to-and-fro.

That is...
Until I went to the garden,
And picked up one too man a hoe!
(The garden kind)

*For clarification no I did NOT literally chop them off

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Origins of a 2%

Quite a few people have asked me where I got the nickname 2% from (ok, not really but it makes me seem more important starting the blog out this way).  I got the name from my best friend after one of my many "episodes".  She had been watching tv and one of those pharmacy commercials came on that said something to the effect that adverse reactions only happen 2% of the time, she quickly surmised that that is my life story!

The truth is, until we met our best friends I thought I was normal...that everybody gets themselves into the types of predicaments that I do (and always have), apparently not.  After talking about it, we figured out that my condition must be hereditary, and I must have got it from my father.  The first incident that I can clearly remember happened on a trip my father and I took to pick up our camper when I was about seven.  The beginning of the trip was fairly uneventful.  The return trip started out the same way, until we passed through the friendliest town EVER.  Seriously!  Everyone in this town was waving like crazy!  I figured that mom must have really done my hair cute that day, so I sat up on my knees to get a better view and gave my best Miss America wave (elbow-elbow-wrist-wrist).

As we left town, and dad and I were still talking about how nice they were, I noticed quite a bit a dust blowing up on my side and remarked so to dad.  Suddenly his whole demeanor changed, "Are you sure its dust?"  I looked closely into the side view mirror, "That's all I see, daddy." 

"Mel, stick your head out the window and make sure."

Really!  Could this day get ANY better?  I excitedly cranked the window handle and lowered the window as fast as my little hand could.  Deciding to take advantage of what I was SURE would be the only time I would get to lean out of window without getting in trouble, I thrust half my body out the window, hanging onto the interior of the van with one hand and pulling my bangs out of my face with the other.

"Yea, daddy.  It's dust...or it could be smoke from the flames."

Or how about the time my dad drove over a mattress on the interstate and managed to get it lodged under the van, causing blue/grey smoke to billow from behind it?  Course that one ended with dad calling the nearest fire department on his bag phone, racing to a stop in front of the firehouse and me being rescued and carried to safety by a muscular, uniformed fireman so I'd say that time the 2%ness was definitely in my favor.

Incidents like this plagued my life so one could easily understand how, to me, this was normal.  I didn't know that spraining your wrist and getting strep throat the week before your wedding, then while on your honeymoon discovering that your allergic to nuts and coming down with a stomach virus was abnormal.  Or that when other people had tonsillectomies they didn't have adverse reactions to the medicine, have a seizure and fracture the ball thingy that holds their shoulder and arm together (course that ended up fun too 'cuz whenever someone would see my arm in a sling and ask me what happened I'd just say, "I had a tonsillectomy." and leave my bf, Carla, to explain!).

Since these are only like, 2% of the 2% moments of my life (it would take a novel to cover them all) even I must conclude that the nickname fits. 


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Recycling--Farm Style

Recycling, on a farm, has a whole different meaning than city-slickers definition of  gathering all their paper, plastic and glass and sorting it into the appropriate tubs.  Miss Fay can find more uses for items that normally I would trash, than any person I know!  Paper take-out bags become gift bags filled with fried pies, cool whip tubs become take-home containers for dinner leftovers, grass clippings become hay for the mules and horse; the list is endless (and perhaps because I'm hungry when I write this everything today seems centered around food).

One of the most ingenious, I saw the other day.  After our work is done for the day Hila Fay lives for us to pull out the old, duck-taped pool (which we recycled from the old house), fill it with ice-cold water from the hose, jump in with no aversion to the frigid temperatures and dance around with Aunt Lisa.  She'll play for a good half-hour, until her finger-tips wrinkle up and we pull her out.  Then we transfer the water to a fifty-five gallon barrel and make one more trip to the garden where we dip the water out bucket by bucket and quench the thirst of the tomatoes, beans, squash, potatoes and every other plant that looks the slightest bit droopy.

Recycling definitely takes on a new meaning out here.  In fact, it brings to mind the trendy phase that I see being tossed from the designer's mouths on tv, "re-purpose".  It tickles me a little, thinking that Miss Fay's way of life is now a popular craze!


I have spent the most glorious week working out at the farm.  Each day after Hila gets up from her nap, we'd wait for daddy to get home from work them eagerly gather our stuff and head out.  Some days we'd gather hay, some we'd tend the garden and one day we did nothing but feed the animals and laugh as Hila played in the little swimming pool that Chuck found in the old house.

Life on the farm is filled with hard work, but I've realized several things about it.  Despite the fact that the work is sweat drenching tough, it is freeing and enjoyable.  Everybody chips in and the work goes by fast and is usually filled with laughter and playful teasing.  Chuck, Fay & Lisa may be some of the hardest-working people I know, but they put just as much effort into having a good times...even if it means Fay spending each afternoon cooking over a hot stove so we can have full bellies, or Lisa and Chuck racking their brains to come up with a swimming pool for little Hila who cannot get enough of playing in water! 

If I never make it big, or have hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank to pass on to my daughter when my time of roaming is done, if I never have priceless gems or great works of art to leave her; then I can be content knowing that I have been able to pass on a way of life that will always sustain her.  She will learn everything she needs to know, right there on the farm.  She'll learn to love and trust God with all her heart.  She'll learn that with determination she can live off the land.  She'll learn the value of hard work, responsibility and good times.  She'll learn that love is unconditional, and if she's lucky she'll learn how to make Big Momma's 1/2 moon fried apple pies!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stuck on NBC's The Voice

From the very first commercial I was intrigued by the whole concept of NBC's The Voice. Each judge chooses their team, sight unseen, by voice alone. It brings to mind the recording artists of old, and families piled around the radio listening & bonding.

In a six degrees of seperation sort of way I have justified my slight obsession.  Since I first truly became fans Blake Shelton, and his now wife Miranda Lambert, after seeing them on my favorite hunting program then supporting Team Blake is the only thing a good huntress could do! :-)

Using the same six degress justifications I have found that since my toddler LOVES music and will start to dance if she hears someone hum, the only right thing is to dvr The Voice and watch it over and over during the day! I have learned, though, that apparently I talk more to the tv than I realize. While watching it again today Hila walked up to the tv, pointed at Blake Shelton and proudly proclaimed "Bake!".

While some of the judges may be a bit uh...grumpy...overall I have really enjoyed the show and rack up the snide remarks as all part of the competition, for the show is as much a competition for the judges as it is for the singers.

I know this blog may fit outside my normal range, but I just couldn't resist, and if you have a moment pull up some videos and vote for Team Blake...after all a vote for Team Blake is a vote for hunters everywhere! Pha-ha-ha!


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Commen Sense Hay

I have never been known for my common sense. I once spent several hours on a hot Arkansas summer afternoon washing my husband's truck as a surprise for him. When he got home from work I was disgusted because, despite my best efforts, I couldn't figure out how to stretch my short arms enough to reach the top of his cab. He approached me with his slow swagger, and sweet smile, and after I explained my dilemma he opened the truck door, stepped up and washed off the top. Really? I had tried everything BUT that, including attempting to climb up the hood and jump far enough forward while standing in the bed (I'm sure it was quite the site for anyone who happened to drive by).

Yea, I've pretty much always done things the hard way or paid for things because I didn't know how (or couldn't think of a way) to do them on my own.  So I was brilliantly surprised the first time I heard that Chuck's mom, Fay, and sister, Lisa, had gone to rake up some "hay". Here we were paying forty-plus bucks every week and a half for hay when all we really had to do was wait for the county to come out and mow around our rural roads and fields and there was plenty for the taking!

Sometimes the most brilliant ideas are the simplest. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Mother's Metamorphose

Isn't is amazing the changes our moms' go through as we age from an infant in their arms to being mothers of our own? I remember how as a child my mother was all knowing!  She amazed me how she could solve all of my problems, even if it was just with a hug or a cool cloth on my head.

Somewhere around my pre-teen years, though, my mom started losing it. She fell from that super-hero status and began giving crazy advice that would have set me to being the laughing-stock of the entire school! By the time I had become a teenager I found that I now knew more than her.  Her condition remained the same through my early twenties and didn't begin to improve until I got married.

I reckon maybe the shock of seeing me in my white dress, committing my life to another was enough to rattle some sense back into her because suddenly some of her advice began to make sense again.  I am proud to report that even though it took the birth of my own daughter to help my mother once again see the light, she has finally recovered from her "lapse" and is once again the all knowing, cape-wearing, superhero of my early childhood days!

Things My Toddler Has Changed for Me

*as inspired by the game of "Things"

10.  Amount of stretch marks

9. Body parts that sag

8. How I now look at every object she touches and think, "Which orafice could that be shoved up?" AND "Could it be retrieved?"

7. What I'm willing to go to Walmart looking like/covered in

6. How I now understand those parents who can hold a conversation, without pause, while their kid hollars at the top of their lungs

5. How every parent thinks their kid is the cutest EVER (only mine really is)

4. That nothing can wipe away a bad day like a spontanious kiss

3. Making her laugh is addictive

2. One can get accustomed to living in a constant state of fear, especially when their toddler enters the climbing stage

1. How I want to be a better christian/wife/mom, just so I can be worthy of her adoration.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


For the past four years, one day a week, August through May my husband has been attending "Electrician" classes. I have watched him stress and struggle and fret through increasingly tougher texts and got the joy of watching him graduate from his apprentic-ship on his way towards Journeyman and then Master Electrician.

The affair was simple, dinner at a local restaurant with the graduates and their one alloted guest; but the pride that overflowed the room was hard to ignore.  Everyone of the graduates managed to attend (and pass) the classes while holding down full-time jobs, and most of the men had families. Their dedication and determination to make more of themselves is something to be admired.  Despite the popularity of taking the easy way, these guys stuck to it and have walked away knowing that the past four years were not wasted.

I have a new respect for electricians of every type.  They work hard regardless of the elements around them, they hold in their heads a wealth of information and work around dangerous equipment in dangerous situations all so that we can see with the flip of a switch, or water our fields in the midst of a drought.  So here is for the electrician, whether you are starting your journey or nearing its end...thank you for a job well done. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Chicken Doodles

A couple of weeks ago my bf's son (who is the UBER country salesman) talked my husband into buying some chicks off of him.  Now we are the proud owners of nine chickens. Hila and I are fascinated with the little squawkers, checking on them whenever we go to hang the laundry on the line. Hila kneels down and points at them saying, "cheekin" trying to convince me to let them out to play.
Problem is, I've never actually had much experience with them. The squeemish city-girl in me just knows that as soon as I pick one up its gonna poo all over me! Mind you, I have no problem going knee deep in mule-poo to get my beloved Minnie, but something about chicken poo on me sends me to shuddering.
Hila, apparently, has no such objections as she tries to shove her chubby fingers through the chicken wire to "pet" the birds (which to her means squeezing their heads).
I do like the idea of being able to step outside and watching the chickens scramble towards me as I sprinkle their feed around, and gathering fresh eggs for my recipes...as long as there are no evil roosters that send me running for my life and Chuck comes home to find me and Hila up the maple tree!

Perfect Fried Deer

A little fact around my house is that Chuck is the better cook.  While I have come a long way in recent years, there are some things (like pancakes, monkey bread and fried deer) that I doubt I will ever surpass him in!  I thought that ya'll might be interested in his fried deer secret so here goes: 

1.     Chuck prefers to use deer steak, he cuts it into small pieces and then soaks it in Italian Dressing for at least eight hours.

2.     When we are ready to cook dinner we tenderize the meat.  It didn't take me long to figure out that that little hammer thingy is NOT to be used to de-clump my powder laundry detergent...go figure!  Way-lay the pooh outta the meat for about 45 seconds on each side.

3.  Salt & pepper each individual piece, then coat them with flour.

4.  Put enough oil in the pan to coat each piece and let it get hot before adding the deer meat.

5.  Depending upon the thickness of the deer meat, it will take about 10-15 minutes for the venison to get done.  It should look like the picture when it is ready to eat!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mattress Shopping

Our matress is approximately 527 years old. It was created before quilted tops, before any real cushioning of any type at all existed; or at least if it had any of these luxeries they are a part of its extreme distant past. All that remains is a tan-ish, somewhat bouncy, very creaky rectangle.

After a realization that it has GOT to be contributing to my continual back/neck aches and Chucks sore backs we are in the baby steps of looking for a new mattress. Since I've never bought myself a new mattress I am a bit overwhelmed. Obviously I want something that is not going to break the bank, but neither do I want to be so cheap that I end up hating the new mattress as much as the old.

It almost feels a bit like I'm picking a new relationship. I mean, think about the amount of time and the importance the "bed" plays in ones life. Besides the countless hours sleeping, it's the place you run to and throw yourself on when your heart is broken. It holds your tears and frustrations. It is the mountain piled upon when the kids (and dog) wake up too early or run from the thunder. It holds the secrets of late night conversations between friends and lovers. It comforts you during the flu, and let's you take refuge when you just need some time to hide from the world.

With all the parts it plays in my life, this seems like such a big decision.
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Friday, May 13, 2011

If Words Were Spelled Like They Sound

If words were spelled like they sound in most of America the pledge of allegiance would look like this:

I pleg aleegans tu tha flag ov the United States ov America; tu the Republik for wich it stands; wun nashun under God, indivizibl, with liburty and justis for all.

If they were spelled like us southerners talk, it'd be more like this:

Ah pleg awleeegans tu da flag ov da U-nitid States of Amereeca; n tu da Republik fer wich it sta-ends; wun nashun under Gawd, indeevizibl; wit liburty n justis fer awl.

Just Sayin'
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Yesterday was a good day.  I was like uber housewife.  I got up, put on a roast for dinner, hung two loads of laundry on the line, cleaned the kitchen, made home-made bread, picked up feed for the mules and ran it to the farm when Chuck forgot to take it with him, all while taking care of Hila.  Today, not so good. 

My Kindle got wet and now is merely a shadow of its former self; I stepped in dog poo...twice; Hila got choked on a fruit chewy thingy and all I could think of was bf’s mother in law saying, “Put yer hands above yer head!” so even though I know cpr and all that stuff all I could think was to grab Hila’s arms and pull them above her head waving them about as if she were a screaming “Pick me!  Pick meeeeeee!”  The offensive grape chew finally flew from her mouth (along with breakfast’s banana and a few things I didn’t recognize) and we changed to grapes for the morning snack. 

Then my electric shut off.  I called the company and they said the bill had not been paid (even though I KNEW I had sent it last week) and the woman kindly suggested that I go onto my bank’s website and check to see if the payment cleared to which I responded that I would be delighted to IF I HAD ELECTRICITY; “Oh, yea”.  So, I paid the bill AGAIN, and when the electric came back on checked the website and sure enough the payment I sent last week had indeed cleared.  When I called the lady back her response was, “Huh.”  Really????

Now Hila’s down for a nap and I’m torn between completing the only house-related thing I’ve done today, put a load of darks in the washer, or laying down and joining her in the hopes that when I wake up it will be a better day or an alternate reality; at this point I’d accept either.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hangin' Old School

For the past three summers our electric bill has been skyrocketing (I have this theory that we have an "electric leak" of some sort but my electrician husbands just laughs whenever I mention it).  In an attempt to thwart the impending bills I have resurrected the old clothesline in the back yard.

Chuck filled in the open ends with some spray foam to keep the wasps away (I am epi-pen allergic), I gave myself blisters spray painting the poles a pretty green then my husband ran the line and added some support for the aging poles.

A surprising thing happened when I started pining up the clothes and dutifully checking to see if they are dry; I found that I love it!  Maybe its the extra dose of vitamin D or the fresh smell and crisp feel of the clothes, I don't know but I do know that I'm filled with an extra sense of pride and accomplishment when I dress in the morning or lay down in my fresh sheets at night.

I'm anxious, too, for the electric bill next month to see if its making a financial difference.  I doubt, though, that any financial gain will make me give up my new found pleasure.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Accountability Partner

Almost six years ago, I met my best friend.  I was out on my very first coon hunting trip with some longtime friends of mine and they took me down the road to meet their brother and sister-in law.  Introductions were made first to Terry, who stood by the dog box lifting the howling hounds in, then to Carla his wife.  She had her back to us as we walked up, and I had to cough back a laugh as she turned around.  Here stood this tiny woman, decked out head to toe in camo for the hunt and as she turned around we had to take a step back and give her pregnant-bulging belly room to sway.  I stood and smiled politely as I was given the accustomed introduction.  “Carla, this is Melonie the preacher’s daughter.”  Instantly a contagious smile spread across Carla’s face, “Howdy!  I’m Carla, the drunk’s daughter!”

Immediately, I liked her.

Almost two years would pass before her and I would become "bf’s" (best friends).  We visited a each other a couple of times in the in-between, each time drawn as if a magnetic force pulled us together.  I was pleasantly surprised when her family started attending our church.  I was absolutely THRILLED when I got a call from her sister-in-law saying that Carla had accepted Christ that evening after church.  I waited what seemed like days, really about ten minutes, before calling and congratulating her.  We talked for hours and created a bond that exists to this day.

Carla and I are many things to each other: confidants, partners in crime, sisters, and shopping pals (or lately, internet window-shopping pals).  Most importantly, from the very beginning we have been accountability partners.

Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”  (NLT)

For years now, we have done our best to help each other “tow the line”.  When we see each other stray, we loving do our best to get each other back on track.  We even have a “vent” rule.  When one of us is really upset, we call the other up, and without a greeting just say: “Ok, I’ve got to vent.”

The rule is that no matter what the other says, right or wrong, we listen empathetically as the other gets it out of their system.  Then, inevitably, after the angered friend has calmed down you’ll hear the other say, “Alright, now you wanna know what I really think?”

When one of us is “on fire” the flames quickly spread to other, and when one’s flame begins to flicker as we allow Satan to creep too close the other friend is there to help rekindle that flame through their prayer and direct, but loving, confrontation.

We have discovered that a friendship, like any other relationship, is not always easy.  We have had our ups and downs.  Periods have gone by where we barely went to the bathroom without talking, then spells where months passed and we didn’t so much as whisper.  I have found, through all our times, that my relationship with the Lord has been the deepest when I have had her by my side softly saying, “You wanna know what I really think?”

There have been many times when I have been tempted to take the low, easy road; to give up on my faith or just have a moment of weakness, that I have stopped short for fear (or foreknowledge) of Carla’s reaction.  Just knowing that she was there with every intention of holding me accountable for my actions have shown me the truth in Solomon’s words.

 James 5:19-20 says, "My brothers, if any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his life from death and cover a multitude of sins." 

As Christians, we are called to be a support to other Christians.  We are to love them, and give them our ear, but when necessary hold them accountable for their actions.  As hard as this can be, especially in a society where the popular mandate is to never offend, it is a necessity (and, speaking from experience, a true Godsend).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I am a Tree

            Recently a friend of mine went through a tough time.  It seems as if around every bend she came to she was faced with another daunting obstacle.  As I sat at home, after a phone visit with her, I was reminded of a verse.  Jeremiah 17:8:

                        He will be like a tree planted by the water: 
                        it sends its roots out toward a stream,
                        it doesn't fear when heat comes,
                        and its foliage remains green.
                        It will not worry in a year of drought
                        or cease producing fruit.
                        (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

            I can picture this tree, standing tall and proud by the crook of a flowing stream.  All life around it is barren and stark as the unforgiving sun bears down; but this tree is not just surviving....it is thriving!  The lush grass around it is cool to the touch and shaded by the olive-green leaves, which stand, in stark contrast to the glorious blossoms scattered impulsively throughout.  Mist floats up from the stream and a slight rainbow connects the tree and water.

            When it seems as if I cannot handle one more thing thrown my way, I think of this tree and am reminded of God's grace.  I am grateful that I am that tree with its roots stretched out toward the life-giving water.  I am thankful for God's promise of never giving us more than we can handle; though there have been times when I doubted that.

There have been moments when the weight seemed too much and it felt as if at any second I would come crushing down under it, but I have to remember that with that promise comes the assurance that we will be able to handle it...not because we are that strong, but rather because He is.  He is the stream that gives us life; that keeps us blooming in the midst of the drought.  He will carry the weight, but first we have to
stretch our roots towards Him and give Him our burdens.  We have to realize that we cannot handle it (or fix it) on our own, His promise is dependant on our ability to trust Him.

            I wish I could say that when times get tough I always remember that promise of peace, but I don't.  I know, though, that when I allow myself to become overwhelmed with the grief of the moment, that is not His choice for me, but rather my own.

30 Days Facebook Free: Day 14

You know what's amazing? I actually have gone a day or two without thinking about Facebook! At first it drove me crazy, I had no idea what was going on with anybody.  But, now...I kinda like it.  I find that I'm MORE involved with people. Instead of just writing a quick "Hi!" on their wall, or only "seeing" what is going on in people's lives I'm re-acclimating myself to their worlds.

I have more time for actual phone calls, and just a little while ago I actually sent a real email to a friend. I never realized how out of touch I had become, and how focused on how others were living and what they were doing. Now, instead of stressing of what's going on in Facebook I'm spending more time in the Good Book learning to be a better me.

I miss seeing the pictures and reading the funny statuses and updates, but I'm substituting that by working on my writing and trying to develop myself as a christian, wife and mother. I don't want to lose touch with those far away, though. This experiment is intended to make me stronger, and without family one is not; so I have to make an extra effort to pick up the phone and send cards, letters and emails.

I'm still not sure what my end conclusion will be, but I do know that I am a better person when my life does not revolve around the social network.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Gardening for Dummies

Every year as spring rolls around I voice my intentions to plant my own vegetable garden, this year I'm doing it again! Since I'm on a mission to cut as many expenses as I can so I can be a SAHM I fully intend to follow up this year.  I've even dusted off my Gardening For Dummies book and been making a list of the plants I'm most eager to get. 

I've decided to start off relatively small.  So far my list includes: green beans, purple hull peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, bell peppers and maybe some zucchini (maybe I can bribe my mom with some fresh zucchini to make me zucchini bread!).  Chuck will probably make me a raised bed, since the only decent spots in the back/side yard are low.  Hopefully I can keep all of the neighborhood animals out of it, but I can always make a cute scarecrow!!! Oh, how fun that will be!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Faith by Choice

One of the most wonderful things about being a Christian is that I am one by choice.  Not once has God ever forced anyone to believe in Him, or to follow His guidelines.  What so many Christians forget, is that just like many other choices that we make in life, it sometimes comes with consequences.

Recently my husband and I realized that we were going to have no choice but to buy a new “ride”.  The transmission went out in my red Ford Escape and with Chuck taking his Master Electricians class every Thursday evenings; two vehicles are a requirement right now.  We know this purchasing a new vehicle is not a decision that should be made lightly, we looked at every alternative possible, reviewed our budget and finally made a choice to find a vehicle (within a certain price and payment range) that would meet the needs of our family.

Now no one forced us into this decision, we have done it of our own free will.  We must keep in mind, though, that this choice does comes certain responsibilities and consequences if we do not do keep our commitments.  When we sign the paperwork, we agree to make payments, each month, on time.  If we have a late payment then we will be responsible for additional late fees.  If we continually make the payments late then we’ll have multiple (costly, mind you) late fees, our credit score will be affected negatively, and we will run the risk of the vehicle being reposed.  If we choose a vehicle that the payments are too high, and we make the payments anyway, then that could take the money away from other necessities (food, electric, diapers…).

Choosing to be a Christian, to have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, is much the same.  God does not force us to believe.  He doesn’t grab us by the collar, haul us down the aisle at church, and throw us on our knees demanding that we say the believer’s prayer and follow His ways.  He doesn’t have muscled men in black who follow us around threatening to break our fingers until we get “saved”.  No, He places a burden on our heart then leaves the rest up to us.

Once we make the choice the accept Christ as our Savior we are choosing to believe in His Word and agreeing to abide by it (even the parts that don’t sound like too much fun).  That means that just as with the responsibilities with our new vehicle, we have responsibilities to Christ.  He lies down his guidelines and, like it or not, expects us to abide by them. 

30 Days Facebook Free: Day 7

Hi. My name is Melonie and I'm a Face-a-holic.

It's been one week without Facebook and it's not been easy. I never realized just how addicted I was to it. Every spare moment I had, from riding (not driving) in a vehicle to lapses in any conversation, was spent "checking my Facebook". I was so involved in what he/she said on Facebook that the first few days without checking it I was at a loss.  It's almost ironic that I spent so much time "checking" up on people that I would "check-out" of reality and miss what was actually going on around me.

Perhaps, so far anyway, what I miss most is the connected feeling that FB gives me. It makes me feel like no matter where I'm at, or how far away my loved ones are, that we are still a part of each others' lives. What I do not miss is the drama and gossip that goes along with it. Nor do I miss the snide comments that are not-so-vaguely aimed at each other. I despise just how uncivilized people have a tendency to become on there; as if it's alright to say whatever we please just because we can't see the expressions on our "friends" faces and then continue on in life as if our comments don't affect people.

Perhaps, for me anyway, the worst aspect of Facebook was the respect that I lost for some people and the relationships that were ruined because we didn't show the self-control necessary. I know I mentioned this in the first FB blog, but because it has such a lasting effect I'm going to take a moment to reiterate its importance. Even if we delete our comments, its nearly impossible to remove them before someone else sees them and then the damage is done; and trust me on something, our "friends" get it. Even if/when we think we are being sly by not specifically mentioning names (or "unintentionally" leaving them out) we're really not, we just look weak because we're going about it in a round about way instead manning up and speaking to them. *And, on a side note when we are "vague" like that we run a risk of insulting/hurting someone that we had no intention of because they think we are venting about them and/or they assume its about another person then run and tell them....rinse & repeat*

So far, despite feeling unconnected with the world around me, the good has outweighed the bad. I've spent more time playing with my daughter, bonding and snuggling with my husband, and talking and laughing with my friends and family than I have in a long time. Even though I tend to be a bit paranoid now, wondering who is saying what and if its about me, I enjoy being connected the physical world around me instead of being obsessed with the virtual one.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Farm; Part 3

Though the farm may remain the same, a time-warped scene from a 1940’s movie, the people that encounter it are not.  I’m not sure if it’s the land itself, or the people on it, or maybe even a combination of the two, but somehow they have a way of slowing things down and luring you into their ways.  The change is relatively slow, but definite and perceptive.  In fact, I’m not even sure when it began to occur in me.  It’s almost as if I suddenly awoke and found that my wardrobe had replaced itself with t-shirts, jeans, and mud-covered boots.  My pin-stripe suit is still there, but now it hibernates in the back of the closet under a gray cloak of dust.  My stylish shag has grown out and spends most days wrapped up in a miss-matched ponytail holder to keep the stray hairs out of my eyes.
It’s not just my appearance that the farm has altered.  My priorities and even ideas of fun have also been completely re-arranged.  Oh, how my friends of yesterday would gape to see me covered in dust climbing down from the tractor or gladly spending my days working on the house and playing with the kids.  I don’t think they would understand the pride I get from simple things, like having Chuck tell me that the blackberry cobbler that I just pulled from the oven (whose berries were picked not an hour before) was better than his mama’s.  They would probably laugh in my face when I tried to convince them that the best times are had with friends close by cooking some crawfish or saddling up the mules for an evening ride.
Instead of dreaming about traveling the world, or becoming a famous writer, I now want nothing more than to see my daughter raised up on this farm.  I want my daughter to learn the old-school ethics of hard work and keeping your word, not because she is told to but because she sees it every day.  I want her to want to carry on the traditions of the farm, to see the rightness in being content with what you have and trusting in God to sort out the rest.
In comparison with the thousand acre farms that surround us, our little haven stands out like a mom and pop craft shop on Rodeo Drive (that fancy one in Beverly Hills).  Still, I wouldn’t trade it for all the farms and their equipment combined.  It is more than dirt and plants and trees.  It is a symbol of contentment, pride, endurance and simplicity. It represents the ability to live, without lowering your standards.  It gives evidence to the power of determination, grit, and hard work.  It is my husband’s past, my daughter’s future, and all of our present lives.  It is me.  It is you.  It is anyone who chooses stand for what they believe in, or not give in to the latest trend just because it is the latest trend.  It is a return to family dinners and quality bonding time.  It is America, as it was intended and as it could be once again.
“It” is a small farm in the flatlands of the Arkansas Delta.  “It” is my home.