Melissa’s Fall 2008 Top Ten

Greetings blog-land! I do believe it has been months since my last entry and I could not wait another minute to say hello. Seriously, I miss all of you fine women! Unsurprisingly, my Mom has been working me harder than ever before over the past few months. The name of the game has been ‘focus’ and ‘more focus’ and so unfortunately my blog time was obliterated. So, in an effort to catch up with you, I’ve composed a list of my top ten Fall 2008 highlights. You’ll find that they are in completely random order. I know, how predictable, right? So here goes:

1. Living Proof Christmas Pictures. Have I mentioned how awful our Christmas pictures were last year? They were beyond hideous. The weather was so humid in Houston that not even photo-shop could cover the multitude of our hair sins. Well, this year we were determined to have better results. All was going well until my Mom looked at me half-way through and said, in front of everyone, “Melissa, check your barn-door.” This was my Mom’s archaic way of telling me that my zipper was wide open. Yes, apparently, my fly had been open throughout the entire first half of the photo-shoot. So much for earning respect from my fellow LPM staff!

2. Seeing a true Autumn season for the first time in my life. I walked around my neighborhood in Atlanta last weekend with tears in my eyes. The trees were raining leaves in all kinds of glorious colors. I will ponder that moment in my heart for as long as I live, a moment when I was content with merely having a set of eyes to see the beauty of God’s creation.

3. Reading Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense by N.T. Wright. What a great and refreshing read. Here is just one quote I love, “the Bible isn’t simply a repository of true information about God, Jesus, and the hope of the world. It is, rather, part of the means by which, in the power of the Spirit, the living God rescues his people and his world, and takes them forward on the journey toward his new creation, and makes us agents of that new creation even as we travel” (191). Just a glimpse into this wonderful book.

4. The Siesta Fiesta in San Antonio still makes the list! Not only did I have such a wonderful time seeing many of you in the flesh, but I am still pondering the profound implications that the theme of inheritance has for us as the covenant people of God. I have a feeling that we have barely scratched the surface of that one. What a great time of fellowship, worship, and the Word!

5. Walking into my home in Atlanta last week to find an embarrassing display of flowers and a new sweater from Colin Fitzpatrick. The best part was that it was completely unexpected. I mean, we weren’t in a fight or anything! I never knew that a little bouquet of flowers could mean so much. I’m learning more and more that little thoughtful things make the big things in marriage a whole lot smoother. I love my husband madly and I’ve had so much fun settling down into ‘normal’ life with him.

6. Auditing a Hebrew Reading class. We have translated Deuteronomy, some of the Psalms, and are scheduled to translate some of 1&2 Kings for next week. That is a whole lot of Hebrew, let me tell you! It has been so fun to be back in the formal classroom. My strength as a Biblical Research Assistant would be greatly diminished if I did not keep up with my Hebrew and Greek reading skills.

7. Driving to Macon, Georgia to visit our very own Georgia Jan. She is even more charming in person than she is in blog-world. We ate at a quaint little French-country restaurant called “The Back-Burner.” If you live near there, I strongly recommend it. Georgia Jan is my kind of woman- she can cook and talk some Scripture. A rare woman, indeed.

8. Teaching LIT. My Mom and I have been co-teaching a class for 17-25 year old women. This Bible Study is unlike anything we’ve ever done at Living Proof. For better or worse, I planned and outlined the study. It has been fun to actually see it run its course, in spite of how absolutely over-ambitious it was. I am really proud of my Lit ladies. They’ve paid attention to all kinds of tedious things, including transmission issues, translation theory, and biblical genres. And that is only a start. Just in case you may be interested, we asked them to do the following for their bonus project:

  • Choose any passage (about 5-9 verses) of interest, preferably a passage that you are not overly familiar with.
  • Read the passage several times, at least twice out loud.
  • What book of the Bible is your passage in? Who is the author? Who are the Recipients? What is the occasion and genre of the book?
  • Compare your original Bible translation (whether it is NIV, NASB, etc.) to other translations- use at least three or four translations. Make note of the significant changes/differences in a chart or some other helpful way.
  • If there is a word that sticks out to you in your original Bible translation, use a concordance to do a word study on that word. What is the Hebrew or Greek word that your English translation is rendering? Where else is it used?
  • Are there any topics/places/concepts in your passage that are unfamiliar to you? Use a Bible Dictionary to look up unfamiliar concepts and to answer general questions.
  • After you have done as much of the leg-work as you know how or have time to do, then consult one or two solid commentaries on your passage.
  • Conclude with how these resources contributed to your understanding of the passage. (P.S. I just noticed that I created an outline within an outline. I am annoyed by my own self. Anyhow, I really am so proud of the Lit girls. Some have already turned in their assignments. I could have cried reading one of them today. I was astounded by the spiritual insight. We all bring something important and different to the interpretive table, with our various experiences and backgrounds. It is beautiful. I can’t wait to read the rest of them.)

9. Making the entire Thanksgiving menu in Mid-October for our next-door neighbors. I made my very first Turkey! I labored for two days straight. I stuffed it with fresh sage and quartered onions and all kinds of stuff. I also made two different kinds of stuffings, a traditional cornbread stuffing and an apple-rye stuffing. Both were divine. Did I mention that my husband has gained ten pounds since we got married? Blush. I’m so proud.

10. Waiting in anticipation for my sweet niece that is coming into the world this February! Glory to God in the highest! I got her the cutest little diva boots. I am not sure Amanda went for them, though. Boo. (Amanda says: Whatever! I LOVED them!)

Enough talk about me, though, what the heck have y’all been up to? What have been the highlights of Fall 2008 for YOU? So please, de-lurk and tell me how you are, if only for the sake of proper social reciprocity!

Much Love,


180 Responses to “Melissa’s Fall 2008 Top Ten”

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  1. 1
    twinkle says:

    Hi Melissa! Loved your Top Ten list. How awesome you met with GaJan! I agree totally on how fabulous she is. And genuine. Her heart is as big as Texas!

    I’ll do a quick Top Five…

    1. Of course, the Siesta Fiesta was grand. The trip there and back, the city, the siestas I met, the TEACHING (so awesome!), the shopping and the worshipful singing at the event. It was wonderful and a memory I’ll treasure forever. And I got to hug Amanda!

    2. Praying 40 days prior to the election. Beautiful time spent with my Jesus. No matter what, He is my safe Haven.

    3. A new nativity purchased! I bought a nativity this fall. One by Karen Hahn. I can’t wait to display it for Christmas. Oh, I just can’t wait for Christmas, period!

    4. Studying Jeremiah. I am so humbled. It has been a much-needed reminder of how holy my God is and what He requires of me.

    5. Fall colors and smells. Our leaves here in this part of Georgia have been so beautiful! I drive I-16 5 days a week and it is a glorious sight to see the trees decked out in their colorful drama. I bought a few candles the other day scented with “warm apple pie” and they have been adding a wonderful fragrance to my dining room. I see God in the creation and He just takes my breath away.

    Enjoy those flowers from your sweet Colin…

    Much love!

  2. 2
    Anonymous says:

    Melissa I will agree with you about our Fall in Atlanta… breathtaking! God is so good to provide us with such beauty.

  3. 3
    Kelly says:

    Thanks for the update and for wanting to hear ours!

    My top three:
    1. Campfires with my whole family on a mini-vaction “luxury camping.”

    2. Having mornings to myself now that my youngest is in pre-school!!!

    3. Seeing God work in our church through the food pantry ministry (that I can volunteer with now – see #2) and our Monday night Wising Up study. You know, I decided to start leading Beth’s studies at my church because I wanted to do them, but the ladies who take each journey with me have become as precious to me as the teaching.

  4. 4
    Holly says:

    1) Beautiful fall here in Colorado–good and slow in the turning of the colors!
    2) Having Ethan and Ezra show up at our door on Halloween–both have been very much in need of prayer for their lives this year.
    3) Seeing cookbooks go out our door and enjoying the comments from thankful Siestas!
    4) My Chris having a wonderful job this year, where just today they told him he was awesome! An engineer likes to hear that once and again.
    5) Learning to do new things, like knitting 2 washcloths!
    6) Finding my energy again after a health issue a year ago.
    7) Enjoying our family like nobody’s business!
    8) Seeing the Lord daily bear my burdens! Thank you, Father!
    9) Finding that “face down” through Stepping Up has truly changed my life.
    10) Seeing the LORD in the dailyness of life and finding such peace in knowing He really does care for me.

    LOVED meeting you, Melissa! I have always thought we’d be such good friends, if we lived close by.
    AND I love what God is doing through you and Amanda, seeing the up and coming servants in this generation. Well done, good and faithful ones. Your Mama and Daddy did so well.

  5. 5
    Dena says:

    You sooo do not need my top ten – BORRINGGG!!! 🙂 Not really! But I thought I’d come out of the lurking shadows and share that your bonus homework sounds suspiciously similiar to our fall study on the Psalm of the Ascents – hmmmm mayhaps you are related to the author 🙂 Glad to hear about your life and your vigorous study of the Word! You are a blessing!


  6. 6
    Moops says:

    Great to hear from you, Melissa. Thanks for the tips on Biblical exegesis.
    I’m teaching a Bible study class on The Questions of Jesus. “What do you want?” “Why do you worry?” “Why are you so afraid?” “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” “Where are you?” This has been an incredible study and very interactive when the Lord asks us the same questions. Jesus has such a unique way of clarifying what’s really in our hearts and His use of questions shoots straight to the target.

    Glad to hear you are still cooking up a storm. It’s a great time of year for culinary delights!

    Blessings to you!!

  7. 7
    Cheryl Barker says:

    Melissa, one of my highlights this fall was going to my first-ever writers conference. Not only was the learning experience wonderful, but I got to meet a bloggy friend and also won first place in one of the categories of the conference writing contest. What a gift from God!

    Another highlight was a surprise visit from our daughter and her boyfriend. I walked into church one Sunday, and there they were. I was beyond excited! 🙂

  8. 8
    Valerie says:

    The fall colors have been magnificent here in NC as well. We moved a few miles down the road this year and have found that, in addition to cheaper gas, there’s a nature preserve nearby that has put on a amazing display of colors. I grew up in Texas and my first fall out here simply took my breath away; I never knew it could look like this!

  9. 9
    Gabby says:

    You are so right about the little things in marriage adding up to something big.

    Best things for me this year?
    My kids being healthy, happy, and both getting baptized in the last year.

    My hubby and I enjoying our 12th year of marriage.

    Teaching a SS class that has challenged me to study the Word and rely on the Holy Spirit for a talent that is truly only from Him. (I can’t believe I actually read things in more than one translation and then look words up).

    Deeper Still conference in Atlanta- just plain awesome.

  10. 10
    Way More Homemade says:

    1. Soccer. 7 y/o daughter’s team is in the semi-finals and hopefully finals tomorrow (Saturday).

    2. A Christmas Carol. Our church is doing the broadway musical this year. Big undertaking. Both daughter and I are in it. She’s playing Scrooge’s sister at 8 yrs.

    3. BSF. We are studying the Life of Moses and we’re currently in Exodus 18-19. What an incredible blessing it has been so far.

    4. Our group of couples is continuing to meet and we’re going through a series of Nooma DVDs. Have you heard of them? Great conversation starters.

    5. Our couple group’s dinner party still makes my list. It was in September as we finished Experiencing God as Couples. We had Rack of Lamb with Sun-Dried Cherry Sauce, risotto and green beans. And chocolate fondue for dessert. It was a wonderful night of good food and good company. It will remain a highlight for a very long time.

    6. Getting to attend the Life Today taping and joining up with some Siestas as we waited in line to be seated. It was a blessed weekend.

    So, I didn’t come up with 10.

  11. 11
    kittyhox says:

    The highlight of this season was the birth of my daughter on November 4th – three weeks early and “small for gestational age,” she is a tiny four-and-a-half-pounds of perfection.

  12. 12
    Anonymous says:

    FUN to hear from you, Melissa!!
    Top three highlights:
    1. My oldest daughter’s wedding in September after she waited patiently for that godly man for 29+ years! Praise the Lord Almighty!
    2. My middle daughter and her husband welcoming their first baby into the world and thus making me a Grandmother, just days ago! Again, praise the Lord!
    3. Doing the Deeper Still study on the life of David. Could those 3 powerful teachers be any more anointed! Wow. It is knocking my socks off to study with them!
    We love you and pray for you!!

  13. 13
    Inksstillwet says:

    LOVE your list! Here’s a look at my fall:
    1. Enjoying the sunrises on the drive in to work-until the time change!
    2. Facilitating the Stepping Up bible study.
    3. The women in our small group bible study. Giving each one a devotional at the end-loved the surprised excitement on their faces!
    4. Beginning once a week prayer with a prayer/accountability partner.
    5. My husband baking me a made-from-scratch apple pie! Yum!

  14. 14
    Michelle V says:

    Oh, Melissa, I am still laughing out loud at the thought of your mom telling you to check your barn door!

    Thank you so much for sharing with us! I enjoyed meeting you in S.A. and especially hearing you talk to and about “Dr.” Bowen. We’ve faciliated your mom’s studies together for the last few years! She’s an amazing woman!


  15. 15
    Anonymous says:

    Melissa- It was so great to hear from you. Here’s a quick update. I had a beautiful baby girl this fall. I had to smile when you said you bought your niece boots. I just purchased the cutest boots for my little girl.
    Fall is the South is the best- especially in TN and GA.

  16. 16
    Evangelism Chick says:

    Happy Fall, Melissa!

    Glad you’re back and doing well. Are you going to share your stuffing recipes? Loved your Bible Digging outline.

    As for me…doing well…thanks for asking.

    1. Living Leviticus
    Thanks to you, I’ll never look at infectious diseases the same again…hahaha… Started charting out the sacrifices (finished Burnt), when I was prompted to go to Hebrews 9-10. I took that to mean…”new covenant, Susan.” He led me to the Timothys. Good thing… needed them for # 2 below.

    2. False Alarm
    On Monday, thought I might be moving to Raleigh, NC to join AnGeL Ministries. God made it clear that it was not the right time to go back to work.

    3. Dinos playing with Lions
    My Drew (6) and Devin (3) were a Dinosaurs and Lion. Probably last Halloween that I’ll be able to dress them in cute costumes.

    4. Exam- 2 days/10 hours
    Sweet hubby (also gained double digits our first year of marriage) left his career 13 months ago to study for and take the Certified Financial Planner exam on Nov 21-22. Were in the home stretch. PRAYER APPRECIATED.

    5. Chick Night
    Many lives were changed for eternity as a result of the outreach event. Thank you all for praying!!

    6. 2008 Spiritual Resolution
    Realized recently that the “Taming my Tongue” resolution was untamed. Taking “Conversation Peace” study.

    7. Can’t leave off with the imperfect # six. Hahaha.

    With that…let me tame this entry. So sorry so long.

    Love you,


  17. 17
    glorysuzy says:

    Melissa, It is great to hear from you. My fall actually wouldn’t appear to some as a very great fall. But really it was a time when we are seeing blessings without measure. My husband has been sick since January and finally in July, a doc decided to do a EKG and discovered he had suffered several heart attacks and had “the worse blockage they had ever seen”. The first doc’s would not do bypass and said he needed a transplant. We stepped back and pondered that for a week and then decided to go for a second opinion. From the very first appointment things were different and to make a long story short, we have been home from the hospital for 2 weeks tomorrow and he is doing great! We saw Gods hands in everything that happened with us and I can not tell you the peace we both had through it all. It was amazing.

    During my husbands recouperation I took the Psalms of Accent and began to re-read it at a slower pace, mapping out the Feast with dates and activites related to them. Also, I have added other teachings realted to the Feast one of which is a Jewish preacher who is familiar with the tradtions and festivities. While I was doing Psalm of Accent last fall, I was so excited about the timing of the Feast and the things that happen through out the Bible in these time of celebrations and the prospect of our Lords return happening during the last feast. I have wanted to go back and do a deeper study ever since. I have already learned so much and I’m not out of the first week! And I’m am SO excited!

    It is a wonderful Fall! And I am so happy to hear for the third member of the DYNAMIC TRIO… 🙂

  18. 18
    kara with a k says:

    Hi Melissa, your fall sounds like it’s been awesome. And that bonus project sounds right up my alley.

    Here’s my top 5 of the fall:
    1) Leading a bible study at work- we are doing a Kay Arthur study called Lord Give Me A Heart For You- it has been soooo good.
    2) The Christmas Open House at my workplace. We had great food, got to listen to some wonderful christmas music and enjoyed seeing a lot of people come through. Always a great time.
    3)Arts and Crafts Fair here in town. It’s one of my favorite things to do in the fall. Good food. Arts. Crafts. Good food.
    4)The splendid fall foliage we’ve had in my neck of the woods. Absolutely divine!
    5)Starting a blog. I wanted to do it for so long and finally got up the courage to do so this September. It has been such a blessing and I’ve met some wonderful people already.

  19. 19
    Anonymous says:

    The highlight? A year ago today, my marriage was on the rocks, and divorce was inevitable. But God did a miracle and this fall (as oppose to last) my marriage is back together and my children are doing great. Amazing what God can do in a year if you co-operate with Him and yield (and forgive). All Glory to God.

    Florida Girl

  20. 20
    Bonnie/ Mom of 3 says:

    It is so good to hear from you Melissa. I share this big city of Atlanta with you and yes, the fall and spring seasons are absolutely gorgeous with God’s hand in full panoramic view. I live in the Dunwoody/Norcross area and I’ve always been taken back by the beauty of the trees and landscaping. I tell folks who only believe Texas is the place to live that they are missing what God created in landscape here. FYI … A wonderful place to take some girlfriends for lunch is The Farmhouse in Dunwoody. It’s in a historic home in downtown Dunwoody and has a delicious and delicate lunch menu … be sure to make reservations. Also, you and Colin would love a drive to Elijay where you can often visit pumpkin/apple farms while enjoying the gorgeous drive through the mountains.

    God bless you Amanda. I’m saying a prayer for you and Colin tonight.

  21. 21
    Tara says:

    Melissa! It is so good to hear from you! Thank you for the update on what you’ve been up to. The LIT class sounds like it is going great! And the Siesta Fiesta definitely is something that I will always remember too:) I had to chuckle when you told us that Colin has gained 10 pounds since you married. My husband and I did the same thing- Something about wanting to cook and making your home, just adds the weight on:)

    A quick top 3 from me:
    1. The smell of pumpkin and apple spiced candles
    2. The colder weather that makes the warm sweaters and scarfs reappear
    3. The beautiful array of colors in the leaves

    Don’t be a stranger around here- We love to hear from you!


  22. 22
    Profbaugh says:

    Lots going on here in the PROFBAUGH household. Here are some highlights:

    1. My son is finishing his senior year in college as an urban/cross cultural ministry major>. Looking at grad schools/seminaries now.

    2. I’m working with a spiritual life coach who is “kicking my butt” by pushing me “deeper still”.

    3. We’ve been praying like crazy for our 4 year old pooch, Payton who has been very sick. PTL she’s getting better bit by bit.

    4. The Siesta Fiesta was a definite highlight of the fall for me.

    5. We welcomed a new pastor at our church. He’s been really great and our small, country, new-start church is growing.

  23. 23
    Erin says:

    OH MY WORD, Melissa. That assignment got my juices flowing! I’m going to do it…and man, do I need to sign up for a Lit class.

    Also, love the quote from the book. My Mom is starting to come to terms with who Jesus really is after a long life of a lot of religion and not much relationship…and she has been wondering, “isn’t God bigger than the Bible?” I’m going to send her this quote, it’s just what I’ve been trying to explain.

    Are you going to give us the recipe for the apply rye stuffing? Sounds yummy!

    PS–I’m a new Siesta. 🙂

  24. 24
    Katie says:

    Hey chicadee! Love the post. The trees here in Alabama are breathtaking too! I am constantly trying to find the words to compliment God with on His fine work with creation, but my words are so limited. I can’t help but think, if this is just something He thought up in His mind, then how much more beautiful He must be!

    This season of my life is very intense. Starting in August I have been working on breaking free from the old man and learning to live through the Spirit. I have never known or believed or wanted God for myself like I have these past couple of months. Its like I am waking up to new life and I am noticing and appreciating His creation nowadays as if I have never even seen it before. The more I know Him the more I realize how much of a babe I am in Christ. I feel like, spiritually speaking, I am a little fawn trying to walk, but my knees keep wobbling too much….

    Hey, is there any way you could post the work you give the girls at Lit? I know I’m pathetic for asking, but I’m desperate! I’m so ignorant when it comes to the Word compared to you and your mom and I often wonder what it would be like to know what you know. Pray that I keep going with Him and don’t stop! I love you girl!

  25. 25
    Miranda says:

    Awwl!! You went to Macon?? I am from Warner Robins!! I go there a couple weekends out of the month to visit family, because I am in school in Augusta, the moment. I have one year left!! Woo Hoo!

    Well.. it’s fun to know that you’re a Georgia Peach too! God does love fruit!!! *wink*wink*

  26. 26
    Anonymous says:

    Hi Melissa! I’m loving this autumn season as well! I don’t remember when I’ve paid as much attention to how beautiful the fall leaves are! Two of my biggest fall highlights this year is finding this blog(feeling like I have met amazing sisters in Christ and friends) and my two children. Their birthdays are in October and November. It seems I’ve only blinked and they’ve gone from babies to teenagers! Awesome kids these two! God Bless!
    charlotte – in Georgia

  27. 27
    jennyhope says:

    I saw some real live crowns in New Orleans today and they were BLING. I mean BLING. I was wondering if I should buy one to wear to the breaking free taping to show that I truly believe I am an heiress like your mom said. Then, I decided not to be a stumbling block. You know I am kidding I wouldn’t have worn it!!
    Love you guys!!!!

  28. 28
    jennyhope says:

    ps I am coming to thanksgiving!! I hate to invite myself

  29. 29
    Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife says:

    I love your being in awe over leaves.

    I lost a baby a few years back and was in a funk I didn’t know I’d ever recover from. God absolutely peeled my eyes back to His presence and tenderness toward me by allowing the colors of the fall leaves to invade my gray world. I’ll never forget that moment as long as I live.

    I always love your posts! 🙂

  30. 30
    Mary says:

    So great to “see” your sweet face! I’ve missed reading your posts. Here’s my list for Fall 2008 Top (Let’s not commit to a number just yet).

    1. Attending the Breaking Free Live taping with your sweet Mom. In fact, we have one more day! What an amazing blessing this has been! (I’ve been so awestruck to look back at my old book and see how far I’ve traveled with the Lord. It’s been an adventure)

    2. A week in Smoky Mountains with my man — love getting away for some us time! And I love that he loves it just as much as I do!

    3. Finishing my manuscript after lots of edits, additions and all that wonderful jazz. But I’m blessed to have such an incredible publisher (Thomas Nelson) publishing my book.

    4. Meeting Siestas at the Breaking Free taping — love me some Tammy (Grateful in Ga), Jenny Hope, Traci from KY, Di from Ohio, Vicki from Eufala and Linda from KY. And all the others whose name I don’t know.

    5. Doing and then leading the No Other God study. The Lord used this study to make a huge impact on my life!

    6. Spending time with my sweet daughters — Paige and Charity (who’s been married a whole 6 months now).

    7. Enjoying the beautiful fall colors of the south (it’s amazing, isn’t it Melissa?). I love the changing colors!

    Looks like it’s going to be a top 7.

  31. 31
    Keri says:

    Hi Melissa……

    1. Let’s see, it’s been football, football, and more football around our house.

    2. I just received the “John, the Beloved Disciple” 90 day devotional and I am LOVING it.

    3. I have perfected my mom’s Green Chile Stew recipe, thank you very much HEB for your hatch green chiles.

    4. I spoke for the first time at a women’s event and now have even more admiration for you ladies that do that sort of thing all the time.

    5. I’ve been dumpster diving for a retainer twice.

    That about does it…….oh, how I long for some fall color around here, but Houston just does not bring it in the fall. I hope you enjoyed every second of it!!

  32. 32
    bethany says:

    oh…so good to hear from you girl!
    Sounds like you have been a busy little bee!
    As you’ve asked…here are my top events for the Fall of 2008:

    1. Joining and completing “A Woman’s Heart” with a wonderful group of ladies at church! Quite a story as the church is 50 miles away from my home so I’ve had the joy of sleep-overs on Monday nights with my table leader Robin as well as a sweet co-worker who is a buddahist(God is going to do amazing things in that relationship!).

    2. Spending time with my new (2months)niece Kensley….ohhhhh she is soooo very cute! Never knew how much you could love another person but between her, her brother Cole, and my nephews Evan and Isaac, I am slayed!

    3. Seeking God in the daily grind and stress of my job. I am an early intervention teacher for young children with autism and currently I am fatigued and struggling with sensing purpose and direction with my career. I know that I make a difference…just feeling overwhelmed right now!

    4. Enjoing the unusually warm fall weather here in sunny California! Today it was 77!!!!

    5. That said, anticipating the cold weather so that I can bust out my cute coats!!! (I have a slight love affair with cute coats!)

  33. 33
    Lisa says:

    Fall Top 10..Session 1 – 9 of New Orleans Taping of Breaking Free. Tomorrow will be 10 & 11 but I don't think it will top 8 & 9. We keep saying that it can't get any better but each night it does. Worship tonight rocked!! I can't sleep tonight. I just keep hearing myself say over and over to God, "I love you , too." and He says it right back to me.

    New Orleans may not have all the colors of fall, ours are very muted, but this fall we are blessed by Breaking Free. And what an incredible blessing it will be to the rest of the world.

  34. 34
    Beth says:

    Melissa, love the post. Living about 120 miles northwest of you in Fort Payne, Alabama, we are so blessed each year to be in a valley with mountains where we can see the seasons change. God is so creative.

    Would like to share a few of my highlights-

    1. Celebrated 20 years with my soulmate and partner in this life. He truly is the love of my life.

    2. Attended LPL in Louisville with my best friend. What an awesome time of fellowship and worship.

    3. About to wrap up He Speaks to Me by Priscilla Shirer with a group of ladies on Sunday nights. Just what I needed during this season.

    4. Have to lift up a praise for answered prayer. Have a 25 year old stepdaughter who has suffered with bulimia for 6 years. She is back at home with us since Mother’s Day after being in the hospital twice and almost dying. She finally was able to find a job about 3 weeks ago. A major praise. I would love to hear from any siestas who have dealt with family members who have had eating disorders. Some days it gets lonely because very few people understand the rollercoaster ride. Things are so much better but lots of prayer still needed for a full recovery.

    5. In our community we have been known as the sock capital of the world. But now we have had several factories close and so many people laid off in just the past several months. God has allowed me to witness some of the stuggles families are facing and is helping me see just how blessed I am and how we are called to help those in need right at our back door.

    6. A son who is 17 and safely driving so far. He is such a blessing to me.

    7. Coming to Atlanta December 5th for my hubby’s birthday to see the Hawks play. They are finally doing good.

    I love your writing. Your whole family is a blessing to me. Love to you and yours.

  35. 35
    Maria says:

    Melissa, I am totally jealous that your doing this LIT for 17-25 yr olds and teaching them how to dive and study the word. I wish I lived in Houston so I could attend. I loved the outline you gave us. Do you hear the printer printing????. Its a keeper for me. I pray that you and your Mom do somekind of video study for this.

    As far as the fall, I have been preparing to do a speaking event for 500+ women on the Wonder of Gods love. I have anxiety already and overwhelmed. I dont know how your MOM does it with a stadium full!!! I cant tell you how many times I have had to run to the bathroom because the nervous knots are already starting. Strengthen me Jesus. I love you, I love your writing and you are precious. To God be the Glory in all you do for this ministry. PS.. I wish it was fall for at least 4 months so we could look at those colors.

  36. 36
    Andreea says:

    Hey Melissa,

    Loved your list! I loved that you got the baby boots! How cuute!

    I’ll give y’all my top 5:

    1. Attending the Simulcast (wasn’t fall exactly, I think, but I had so wanted to go to one. Thought I’d have to wait till next year..but we found out 3 weeks before that I could actually go.) I was beyond excited. We could call this one the Top Fav. thing of the yr.

    2.Doing the “Breaking Free” study.

    3. Being able to get back into choir, b/c I am no longer “stuck in night school” during practice night. 😀

    4. No more final exams, since I’m finally done with grad school (finished in July).

    5. Reading y’all’s wonderful blogs.

  37. 37
    Lopsided Halo says:

    Hey Girl! If you ever get the urge to drive to Lexington Ky…come on up and we’ll have a blast 🙂 My treat!!

    Here is my list:
    1. walking into what I thought was the room for the siesta PJ party yelling “heyyyy siestas” only to realize I had walked into a military conference ceremony with everyone full salute. Oops!

    2. Getting my picture taken with Momma Beth at the siesta! I photo-shopped it to look like it was just the two of us at starbucks!! I needed my moment OK?!!

    3. Saving my own life and the life of the poor lady next to me from what I thought was a man jumping out of the bushes coming to attack us….but it was really just a noisy heater turning on outside the building and rattling the bushes! What can I say….Jesus will save your soul and I’ll work on savin’ your flesh!

    I could go on…but I’ll stop for now!!!

  38. 38
    mccroak says:

    Looking forward to doing a scripture study in the manner you suggested. I've always wanted to have a way to guide myself to insights – just reading never seems like enough.

    I enjoyed visiting a more seasonal region of the country this fall as well.

    Most people don't realize that Florida also has 4 seasons there just different than other places – We have Summer's Almost Here, Summer, Summer's Almost Over, & the shortest – Christmas

    It is nice to have jacket weather in October.

  39. 39
    Holly says:

    God has totally been teaching me to rely on HIm this fall. My husband and I are preparing to move to Tanzania (East Africa) as missionaries next March. We rarely know where our next paycheck will come from right now, but God has provided EVERY SINGLE TIME. I have never trusted Him more and it is such a peaceful thing to give Him all my worries.

  40. 40
    Aunt Rhody says:

    I shall not be socially improper. Here goes:
    1. Having 3 of 4 daughters and their families home in September
    2. A perfect weather day at San Antonio Sea World with the Rowdy Girls, my twin 2year old granddaughters, and their parents and Grandpa.
    3. Wednesday morning Bible study–Wising Up. I’m loving this study.
    4. Playing in two adrenaline pumping symphony concerts
    5. Attending the live musical, All Shook Up, with my husband.
    6. Morning rehearsals with the piano ensemble.
    7. 3 (so far) performances with my violin students. One on the city sidewalks, one for a music club, one for Junior League’s Christmas fund raiser.
    8. Raising funds and gathering gift cards for families devastated by Hurricane Ike and living in Austin.
    9. Weekends with my husband, however quiet or busy they may be.
    10. Listening to sermon podcasts while I work out at the gym. It’s good for my body, soul, and spirit.

  41. 41
    tulip says:


    Our highlight this fall actually comes through the struggles we are enduring at this moment. Although my husband and I have 4 beautiful children, we have just suffered our 4th straight miscarriage in two years. We feel God has told us we will have another child but we have lost 1 at 8 weeks, 2 at 11-12 weeks and 1 at 15 weeks.

    How can this be a highlight for me when my heart is aching over these losses? Because over these difficult two years, I have become closer to my God, learning to love Him more and asking Him to show me His glory and let me hear His voice. With past pregnancies, I have been reluctant to share the good news because it has been painful to have to return to tell them about our loss. However, this time, God told me it was alright to tell people. Thinking this pregnancy would be different, I began telling the women of my church and the ladies in my homeschool circle about this pregnancy, our struggles and asking for their prayers for this baby. I prayed daily, specifically, as Hannah did for Samuel (“I asked God for him”) for this baby and making sure I gave everything to Him to do His will. When we found out we had yet again lost another baby, I discovered why God wanted me to share my story. I began to feel His warmth and love wrap around me through the concern, love and prayers of these precious women. To hear them ask about me and the baby, knowing that they really cared and that they were presenting my struggles before Him has been such a comfort to me. He is showing His love and I am hearing His voice through these dear friends of mine, some I barely know. They have come alongside me as true sisters in Christ and I am extremely grateful to Him who not only has blessed me with His Son but cares so much about me that he has blessed me with these friends. Although I’m struggling more this time physically and emotionally, I also feel stronger and more sure every day that it is NEVER a bad day when you KNOW that God is still on His throne!!! I have had more desire to be in His word, to reach out to other women in their hurts and struggles and to want more of Him every day until I’m just bursting with His love! I have also felt closer to my dear husband and am more in love with him now than I was when we married 10 years ago. He has been my earthly rock and support and is truly my best friend! Thank you, Jesus!!

    I don’t know what God has in store for our future or why we are struggling with this “secondary infertility” but I know that the “why” is not nearly as important as the fact that He loves and cares for me and I’m delighted to be able to say that, without a doubt, God is never absent, asleep or uncaring. He never takes a coffee break nor does He delight in watching us struggle. He is sifting me for His glory and as I cling to Him, I am thrilled to know that He has heard my prayer…..I am receiving more of Him every day, seeing His glory and hearing His voice.

    Jesus is MY Fall 2008 highlight! Amen!
    Praising Him!
    tulip in Idaho

  42. 42
    Adele says:

    Ah, Melissa, it’s good to have you back. Thanks for what you do behind the scenes for the studies that God uses in profound ways through your mom!

    ’08 has been a tough year in Kenya. Last week, though, I turned 40, and chose to look back over some of the highlights of my life so far. It was a fun excercise and a reminder of what an AMAZING GOD we serve.

    I won’t bore you with the details here. You can find the entry on my blog. It’s called THE VIEW (since a teenage friend said I am now “on the hill.” I thought the view from the top of the hill is rather splended.

    Be blessed, siesta.

  43. 43
    Leah says:


    If you think fall colors are great in Atlanta, you should have been here in our North Georgia mountains. Strangest fall I’ve seen in a while. First we had the yellows in early October, then in late Oct and early November in came the reds and rusts. Stunning, just stunning.

    My top 5 in 2008 are:

    1. Siesta Fiesta – what a blast

    2. That I did not find one gray hair in my head!!! Praise Jesus!! Could be cuz I don’t let the color grown off enough for the grays to peek through!! LOL

    3. How hugely the Lord has blessed my speaking ministry.

    4. That my family have been healthy and so very blessed even in these tough economic times.

    5. This is yet to come, but that I will be having an opportunity to co-teach our Sunday night sermon/message with my pastor ( on 11/16 – tomorrow night. Being a Baptist, you can understand how very HUGE this is. I’m praying that there are no hymn books that get thrown at me!! LOL Only one other time have we had a woman speak a message/sermon from our pulpit and thankfully that was well received, so I am hopeful that the legalism that can be so rampant won’t rear it’s ugly head!!

    It is good to hear from you. Come visit us in these beautiful north GA mountains!!


  44. 44
    Anonymous says:

    For you, I will happily de-lurk. Favorite things this fall:

    1. Having my parents hang out in Alaska with my family for the past five weeks (we’re getting a wee taste of what life is like for all of you who have family living nearby).

    2. Attending more football and basketball games and gymnastic meets than I ever could have fathomed.

    3. Writing and teaching a Bible study to a group of girlfriends (this one was SO MUCH FUN but SO MUCH WORK. Oh my. Beth – I would think of you so often and marvel at how you’ve let the Lord use you. Every week felt like “finals” week in college. I think for whatever study the Lord has next – I’ll make sure it is all mapped out and written beforehand. Anyway – I didn’t know my admiration and appreciation for you could get any higher – but I was wrong).

    4. Picking blueberries one Sunday afternoon on a mountain’s edge in the fog and keeping an eye out for hungry grizzly bears. It was beautiful and scary all at the same time.

    5. Enjoying my new little Poogle puppy (Beagle and Poodle mix) – named Cosette (think Les Miserable – which, it turns out, is apt given how miserable house training has been); but little Cozy is too, too cute. I think God stopped Himself early on the “Dog Template” and realized He’d created something so perfect and uncomplicated (for the most part; albeit there are some dogs out there who could probably use a therapist’s couch). Thank You, Lord, for dogs.

    Warm in Alaska.

  45. 45
    doxielovers says:

    My greatest fall highlight has been seeing my eighteen year old daughter grow closer to the Lord and His word. I have terrific kids, no where near as rebellious as their mother was at their age. However, our oldest daughter started to turn away from God and even her family a bit. I finally figured out that my talking to her was doing nothing. After about two years of prayer and a careful eye on her, we have seen God do some pretty big things in her life. She has really develop a very tender heart towards her family and others. Totally God! Long story short, we now love to call her “little preacher” in a loving, not obnoxious way, because she is always telling us what she has read in devotions recently as well as living in out in her life.

    Thank you Jesus!

  46. 46
    fuzzytop says:

    Hi Melissa!

    That’s a wonderful list. We moved here to TN in 2005 from Phoenix AZ, where I had lived for 35 years, so this is my third “real” Fall, and it is just glorious. I stopped the car and pulled off the road last week to take some pictures; kids thought I was nuts….

    OK – here’s my list:

    1. Siesta Fiesta – getting to finally meet my sweet friend Melana in person! Plus meeting Tiffany and Veronica…

    2. Fall (see above)

    3. Finished up a Bible Study I had started this spring – ‘Secrets Jesus Shared’ by Jennifer Kennedy Dean. The last week on the parables of forgiveness moved and convicted me deeply.

    4. Seeing my kids participate in Fall sports – softball and football, even though both teams had losing seasons…

    5. We adopted two new kitties – one named “Handle” (her tail is a completely different color from the rest of her body) and the other named “Blue Meanie”, just because he’s bluish-gray and feisty

    6. Starting a blog…. Well I’ve set it up, and am motivated to start blogging…

    7. Finding the nativity set my daughter made back in first grade – it survived our move to TN!!! She made it entirely out of paper and scotch tape, and when she first showed it to me, there was something like a picket fence, which she had colored yellow, all around the nativity scene. I asked her what that was and she said “…that’s the glory of the Lord – it shone all around them.” And then she gave me a look like I was dense or something….

    8. Taking 8 girls to Girl Scout camp last weekend. Had an absolute blast, weather was perfect, and we made some wonderful memories.

    9. Loving my family…

    to Kittyhox – CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  47. 47
    Nesha says:

    Enjoy your sweet presents from Colin! Yes, those unexpected surprises are wonderful no matter how many years married (13 for me).

    Here are the highlights from VA:

    1. Volunteering at their schools and learning the teachers ways. I do have a 6th grader this year so that is a big change with the block scheduling.

    2. Sports: The constant rotation that happens. Done with football and now off and running with basketball starting today. This will be my 2nd year in helping coach Upward for my 2nd grader. My youngest son also does gymnastics.

    3. I agree with everyone that the Siesta Fiesta is still on the list and maybe forever. The traveling, my wonderful roommates, the message given, worshipping together, hugging Amanda & Melissa to let them know how I appreciate all the hard work, etc. I might even get to meet up with one of my roommates over the Christmas holiday when I travel to TN to visit family.

    4. Coffee once a week with friends at Starbucks while the kids are at school. The workers even wonder where we are if the day has been changed-hehe.

    5. Apple Festival at Graves Mountain. The food, tree color, the fun are great but bringing apples home fresh picked and baking pies & making applesause is a highlight to me. The sky was awesome as we were leaving and hearing my 7 yr old son say "I love how God paints the sky with all these colors. Do you think I can do that one day?"

    6. Now that the boys are older we have started volunteering at various needs. We will vol. at the Essex Village and put Thanksgiving baskets together for those in need. We just finished with the Operation Christmas Child with putting together packages but also helping the church with the organization of it all. The boys are enjoying it.

    Thanks for reading one life in VA!

  48. 48
    sammie says:

    Melissa, I can relate to your fall story. I can remember the first time I looked at Gods creation and said, “wow this is completely amazing.” I called everyone I knew and was asking if they had seen the sky that day. He gives us, “eyes to see,” in so many different ways. Thanks for the book tip, I have been looking for one.

  49. 49
    SondreLyn says:

    My fall highlights so far have been unexpectedly warm weather in GA. (On the coast) I know that sounds odd, but we were in NH last year and the continued sunshine and warmth is salve to my soul.

    My parents are coming to spend Thanksgiving with us. I am beyond THRILLED! They live in San Antonio and I haven’t seen them since Easter when I went for a visit to see them. Is it all right to be a 42 year old woman who wants her momma? 😀

    My son has a beautiful, sweet, wonderful, GODLY girlfriend! We adore her! And he will be home for Thanksgiving. (Sans said girlfriend *boo hoo* My daughter [who is a senior in high school, which is why I laughed so much at this] actually told me that she would be so glad to see Ashley [the girlfriend] when she comes home for Thanksgiving. I had to laugh, because of course, she will be going to see HER family [in Huntsville])


  50. 50
    Dee says:

    I love your LIT Bonus Project – I wish we could all read everyone's Project. I bet that is good reading! I love how excited about the Word you are! What a delight!

    My top Fall:
    1. My 5 kid's are all in school (Kinder-10th grade)so my husband and I have a date day every other Monday! Love it!!!
    2. Adopting a son. We had 3 boys when we moved to Texas from Maryland 5 years ago. 3 years ago we adopted a 7 year old. This year we are adopting her birth brother. She is now 10, he is 9.
    3. Asked to be the MOPS Titus Coordinator for our local group. It's a wonderful ministry!(love it!)
    4. Started a Moms In Touch group for my kid's elementary school.
    5. Having women in my home to do Bible studies. Right now it is "The Miracle of Life Change" by Chip Ingram. We have done three Beth Moore studies! Those are our fav, of course! (o:

    I love the Fall & Spring! Old life is gone, new life has come…
    God's beauty is infinite!

    Love reading your blogs!
    Blessings over you & your hubby!

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