Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to All!

Last year at this time, we had no idea that we would be living in Mississippi, of all places. But here we are, settled in to our new home. Presents are wrapped and under the tree, stockings are filled, dinner is planned (but not yet started), and the Christmas Eve service is in just a few hours. We are so thankful for the friends that we have made and the opportunities that our great and glorious God has provided for us. We pray His blessings on you, as well. Rejoice, for Christ is born!

Monday, November 17, 2008

In-Law Visit, Part 2 and Church Membership

Well, they are here. Rob is out playing golf with his dad, and Grace and I had a lovely morning of shopping with Grandma! Grace has learned to say "Grandma," but instead of the "gr" at the beginning, it's an "m" sound. We went to a new store in town, Tuesday Morning, where I spent more than I should have, and was tempted to spend even more. We also found a lovely bookstore downtown, where "Mandma" found Grace a pink MS State hat, something she'd been looking to buy for her. Then we came home and had a delicious salad for lunch. I think we're going out to dinner, again...

Also we were privileged to join our new church here yesterday. We were equally privileged to have Grace baptized. We've been made to feel very welcome by everyone here, and we are grateful for that.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A visit from the in-laws

My in-laws are expected to arrive sometime around 2pm today. They will be visiting for about a week, during which time we plan to take them to see Graceland! After all, Elvis still lives on in the hearts of his many fans. I also have to keep up with my schoolwork while they are here. That includes taking the Praxis II test in English at 7:30am on Saturday, and taking an online Sociology exam sometime between Wednesday and Friday next week, when we will be in Memphis.

Also on Sunday, my husband and I are joining our church, and our daughter Grace is getting baptized! We are very excited and blessed, and it adds to our excitement that Rob's parents will be here to see that. We are praying for God to move in their hearts while they are here.

We also continue to follow the new administration with great interest. We are excited to see what the next four years holds for this great country of ours.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Another year has come and gone



THIRTY-EIGHT?! That sounds so adult, so responsible, so... OLD!!! How is it possible that I've lived on this earth for 38 years, yet I still feel so young? It seems equally impossible that I graduated from High School more than TWENTY years ago! Where has the time gone?

It is interesting to read my post from a year ago, in which I said that I am not in touch with very many of my high school classmates. Since then, I have joined Facebook! There are LOTS of my classmates from the Northampton High class of 1988! In fact, the 20-year reunion is this year! Sadly, I will not be able to attend. My family and I have made other plans for Thanksgiving, and the reunion is the Saturday following. I am hopeful that my classmates will have a great time, and will post lots of pictures on their respective Facebook accounts.

I am happy to announce, however, that my life is SO MUCH BETTER now than it was 20, or even 10, years ago. Since the 10-year reunion in 1998, which I helped to organize, I have met my wonderful husband and we have Grace, our beautiful 2-year-old daughter. I have moved cross-country twice, the first time by myself to marry Rob, and the second time with him, just this past summer, for his career. I have attained a Bachelor's degree in Accounting, and started on a Master's degree which will probably end up being in Education. 10 years ago, I was single and had moved back in with my parents. Now, I have a family in my own right and though I never expected to live anywhere but New England, I have lived on the West coast, and now live in the South. I have seen so many wonderful sights in this country, and I am very thankful for all of the things I have been privileged to do. Here's to the next year, and the next decade, and the next 20 years!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Not the Veggie Tales I remember.

Last night, we decided to rent "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything." My previous experience with the Veggie Tales videos has been that they are either Bible stories or fable-like tales, directed at children to teach Biblical values. For example, "Rack, Shack, and Benny" is a re-telling of the story of Shadrack, Meschach, and Abednego. Rack, Shack, and Benny are workers in a factory that makes chocolate bunnies. One day at work, all of the employees are told to bow down and worship the giant chocolate bunny. R, S, & B refuse, because their parents had taught them to worship God alone. At the end of these half-hour tales, there is a summation given by "Larry the Cucumber" and "Bob the Tomato" which gives a scripture reference, and encourages kids to live out the principles illustrated by the story they have just seen.

We expected the same type of lesson from "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything," and were very disappointed. The story lacked the usual wit of the creators, and the only lesson taught was a very subtle message of "do what's right." There was no mention of God. The best reason given to do what's right is so that your kids will be proud of you. Not a terrible reason, but not exactly Christ-centered either. While we intend to purchase several Veggie Tale videos as Grace gets older, "Pirates" will not be one of them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A new era

Tonight, Rob and I watched election returns. We sat, hand in hand, awaiting the results, then they came. Wolf Blitzer announced that Barack Obama is the President-Elect of the United States of America. What an historic moment. Whether you supported Obama or not, it is undeniable that for this country to elect a man as President who is not white is a monumental feat for us.

We are awed, and stunned, and amazed, and incredulous. Right after the announcement, we said a prayer that God would change his heart on the abortion issue before he takes office, and that he would be a man who listens to wise counsel and seeks to do the will of Him who, ultimately, placed him in that position.

May God bless you, Senator Obama. I pray that you really will bring to this country the "change we need."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Faith, Loss, and Rock-n-Roll

Last night, Rob and I made the trek to Birmingham, AL - about 2 hours away - to see Michael W. Smith and Stephen Curtis Chapman in concert in their "United" tour. They began by doing a couple of worship songs together, then Michael left the stage for Stephen's solo portion of the concert.

He began by thanking his friends, meaning the entire audience, for our prayers and support during the difficult time his family is working through. For those of you who don't know the story, on May 21 of this year, the Chapmans tragically lost their daughter Maria Sue in a car accident. What makes the story even more horrendous and difficult is that their older son was backing out of the driveway. He did not know his sister was there. Mr. Chapman was not only open and honest about his loss, he was downright raw, saying that he wasn't sure how to perform for us when all of us knew of this loss. He didn't want to pretend it didn't happen. He expressed his brokenness, and also made a strong statement of faith. He said "I don't know much, but one thing I know with every fiber of my being is that God is faithful."

When he sang his new hit song "Cinderella," about not wanting to miss a single moment of his childrens' milestones, there was hardly a dry eye in the house. The song was written prior to the accident, but he said that many of his songs have taken on new meaning since then.

Without further ado, he finished out his set with a mixture of old and new songs - some of which I loved, and a couple of which were too loud for my more mellow tastes. Then Michael came back out and joined him for a walk down memory lane, with each performing segments of the other's earlier hits. Then Michael performed his solo set, again a mixture of old and new, loud and mellow, and finally the duo ended with a few worship songs that had all of us on our feet, hands raised to Heaven in worship of our glorious God.

Overall, we enjoyed the show. We got home quite late, almost 1am, paid and thanked the sitter, and hit the hay.

What I came away with was a deep sense of Mr. Chapman's faith, as well as having my own faith encouraged. I know that when something inexplicable happens in my life, my response to the grief is often an inability to pray. When I had a miscarriage before Grace was born, I could not even give thanks for my meals without bursting into tears. Watching this man who lost a daughter literally grieve in front of a large audience, yet express his unwavering faith in a merciful and gracious God, was incredibly moving. I pray that the Lord will continue to comfort and strengthen the Chapman family, and that He would continue to reveal Himself to all of us. May I be that faithful when trials come my way. Lord I'm not asking for trial, but when it comes, help me to be strong in You.

Friday, September 26, 2008

artsy fartsy

Now that we're mostly settled in to our new place, I'm back to making cards, and I've even started a scrapbook of our summer trip! I just finished making a birthday card for a very dear friend of mine. I think it may be the nicest card I've ever made, aside from my card-making classes, so I decided to take a picture. I wanted to record it not only to share with my crafty friends, but also to remember how I did it!

For some reason the "add image" feature isn't working so here is a link to the pic on Facebook.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Getting over the Flu

Superbowl Sunday 2008 - the Mellen household was very excited, because the Patriots were not only in the Superbowl, they were going for a perfect season! We had a nice party with some neighbor families - a casual potluck kind of affair, with kids running around everywhere and more food than we could possibly eat.

Then the unthinkable happened - the undefeated Patriots LOST the Superbowl! We were more stunned than anything - the heart and soul of our sports world revolves around the Red Sox, not the Patriots... still, we HAD expected a New England win.

The next day, we woke up sick. All 3 of us. Sore, scratchy throats, throbbing, congested sinuses, body aches, coughing, sneezing - a real Nyquil kind of cold. Rob went to the store for Alka Seltzer and baby Tylenol & Ibuprofen. This cold is hanging on... I saw on the news last night that the Flu is striking late and hard, and Idaho is one of the 31 states where it's been reported. We don't actually live in Idaho, but we're pretty close to the border, and I go to school there. Well, not this week - I thought it best to spare my classmates from the possibility of contracting this nasty bug.

It's been almost a week since the Superbowl, and we're still not 100% better - although we are coming out of it - enough that we're planning to attend the local Caucus this afternoon.

Here's hoping that you & yours manage to avoid the Flu this year. As for the Giants, congrats... I didn't think you had it in you.

Friday, January 25, 2008

First step!

She did it! She took a step! Last night, I had been home from school for about 15 minutes. Rob, Grace, and I were hanging out in our room - Rob and I were talking about our day, and Grace was playing with a toy. She was standing at the bed, hanging on - when she let go - no big deal, she'd done that before - but then, she took a step, without holding on to anything!!! We waited to see if she would take more, but then she seemed to realize what she had done, and quickly grabbed the edge of the bed again. Since then, we have tried many times to encourage her to take another independent step, but she is reluctant to let go of the security of having something to hold on to.

We will keep encouraging her, but we won't try to push her before she's ready. We don't want to scare her away from the incredible world of the bipeds. She will walk when she is ready. For now, it's enough that she took that first step, and that Rob and I were both there to see it as it happened. What a magical moment!

~ Kate :)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Happy New Year!

Hi All,

Since I haven't blogged in over a month, I've probably lost most of the few readers that I had, but here goes... in case anyone is still paying attention...

We had a wonderful Christmas season. We went to Portland, OR a week or so before Christmas for a few days to get some shopping done, to see my uncle & cousin, and to get away from our tiny little town. While we were there, we got some professional pictures of Grace taken...

We are very happy with how well they came out, but we suffered from a bit of sticker shock. We won't go to Sears again - we learned the hard way!

When we got home, we STAYED home, at my insistence, for Christmas this year. It was just us for Christmas dinner... I made a yummy homemade 4-cheese pasta dish that Rob had been wanting me to make for quite some time. He said it was almost exactly like his favorite pasta dish that he used to get in Sacramento before the restaurant closed. Grace loved it as well, since she adores pasta and cheese.

We had a small, casual, fun gathering at our house for New Year's Eve. Since almost everyone in attendance had small children, and no one was staying until midnight, we did a champagne toast at 8pm (Pacific Time).

Now another semester has started - I am taking Advanced Financial Accounting and an upper-division Business Law class. Rob just discovered that he may not need the Monday night class he's signed up for... he has to meet with his advisor to figure it out though. It would be great if he could drop it, because if he does take it, he's gone from 7am until after 9pm on Mondays...a very long day for both of us.

Grace is doing great, she's growing like a weed! She will now stand, unsupported, for up to 5 seconds or so. I expect she will take those first few steps within a week or two. Then the fun really starts! I did take her out in the snow one day last week, thinking that she would enjoy being outside, and be excited about the new experience...

Needless to say, I brought her in pretty quickly. Hopefully next year she will enjoy playing in the snow...

Our Bible study is continuing to meet on Thursday nights. We are studying "The Mortification of Sin" by John Owen. We are finding it very theologically rich, encouraging, and convicting!

That's all for now. May the New Year bring you love, happiness, and prosperity!


~ Kate :)