I'm Only Being Honest.....

God has been bringing me into a new awareness of something in the recent days. I am guilty of not speaking my mind. When I say this please do not picture the cranky woman in a movie sassing everyone around her to pieces. What I speak about is when I see a friend who could bring peace to her home by speaking in a gentle voice to her children I remain silent, The friend who tears down her husband in public, or is lost in a world of bad finance decision, I don't speak up. These are all situations that flutter though my mind as I am being molded and corrected by God this week.
In the past I've balked and cried "Well, I want to always be loving we are called to love and there are so many judgmental Christians around"

What is the biblical definition of love?

Love must be sincere hate what is evil and cling to what is good
Romans 12:9

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
1st Corinthians 13:4-5

 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1st John 4:18 

So in this light, when I hold back from sharing a truth that might set someone free or be honest with them when they talk with me I am caring more for myself than I am for them. Stick with me and let's watch  this add up.
My fear keeps me from honesty, in that moment I care more about their potential reaction and my suffering because of it rather than speaking the truth lovingly. I am living in fear, not being sincere, dishonoring, not living in faith and not being kind.
Recently, a friend of mine saw me open a door in our conversation and gently walked through it with her words. "Melissa" she said, "since school has begun you've changed and I see a lack of peace in your life. In the summer you had clarity and focus but, now you seem almost frantic" 
I was totally open and agreed with her observations. 
The reliance she had on the Holy Spirit meant that when the time was right he prompted her to speak. She stepped out and obeyed. I am sure the desire of "How will Melissa react" was there lingering in the background. However, that brings me to another thought, once she spoke the truth in love she was not responsible for my reaction. You are responsible for speaking in love and listening for God to prompt you but, not for the other person's response.... wrathful or accepting. You and I need to be ok with not people pleasing. At this point we've traveled back to that root sin again having a desire to please men over desire to please God and living in fear about it.
The complete and total realization of this blew me over. 
Thank goodness, I serve a God who is ok with me not getting it right the first time. He is abundant in mercy and overflowing with love for each one of us. 
 So this morning as I listened to 
 James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, 
who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

I first repented of this sin, and then asked for his wisdom in the areas of my life where this may play out. The need is great for us to speak the truth but, it must be done in love at the right moment.  Allow your ears to be tuned to his frequency and listen to that voice. He's just waiting to change you and me into his image.Change is not always easy and I am finding this week, it HURTS quite a bit. I know as my life weaves on it will mean sweet blessings.


Everything is better at the beach they say and last proved no exception to the rule!
We spent 7 glorious days on the central Oregon coast enjoying a shocking amount of sun and water fun!
On the day we arrived, I rolled down my window breathed deeply in the ocean air and just sighed. I could not believe how sunny and warm it was. We all actually got in the Oregon Coast water... including my dad!

The house my parents had rented had a hot tub on the back deck and it was something of a nightly ritual for the kiddos and I to climb in. One of the best thrills of vacation is stepping out of our norm and into the exciting.

We took so many day trips and had so many lovely sites to get to. We spent time at the Sea Lion Caves, which is the largest Sea Cave in the world. It is amazing to come down over the hill and listen to the growling and barking wolves of the sea as they are called. We also found time for tide pooling and exploring the various beach caves. You can see me below trying for my best explorer pose and yet somehow missing the mark.

Grandma and Grandpa took us to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and this was terrific. We did the touch pools, waved to harbor seals and stood in amazement at Passages Of The Deep. It was a morning of learning fun.

After a week of playing and visiting with Grandparents on the coast it is a sad thing to go home. We had such a wonderful time relaxing and exploring.... now we have beautiful memories.

Everything's Ok Because We're On Vacation!

It's been a rocking and rolling summer for sure at the Walters home. Finally a few weeks ago we got to get out, travel and just relax as a family.

Heading to Diamond Lake Oregon
Queen of the bug spray!
We began our travels camping as "just us" at Diamond Lake in Oregon. It was a tad on the chilly side and we spent a lot of time curled up in blankets, or playing cards while in front of the fire. It was amazing though!

 The kiddos and Dave were able to see Crater Lake for the first time. It was amazing and the crystal blue water striking against the white clouded sky. When we arrived it was a nice sunny but, by the time we left the sky filled with lightening, thunder and hail! My how things can change!

Fun things to take home!

 As with any photo shoot there are nice photos and then, well there are um photos. This one made me laugh out loud so I needed to include it in hopes it might make someone else laugh. Life is unpredictable. Plus, I love my little photo bomb girl!

We discovered this beautiful falls on a short hike from the road. It was such a lush green area! There are many waterfalls in this area known as "Thundering Waters" I'll include a link for fellow outdoor lovers to track down falls of their own. Thundering Waterfalls. 
After several days on our own, we packed our modest camp up and headed for Lapine State Park to join up with the Walters clan. 


 My favorite thing we did was Big Obsidian Flow Hike. It was stunning and like climbing a mountain of glass. My sis Abbie and I agreed that we had a maximum view for minim effort. This was a 1 mile hike and just perfect for the kiddos to enjoy. Bella and her cousin spent most of the time pretending to be explorers discovering a country where no one had been despite the adults behind them.  Uncle Jon spent most of the time disobeying signs and climbing on things. Conner stared at him in wonder as he ran from rock to rock himself.

 Each night different groups took care of meals. Abbie and Katie did a yummy fajita dinner but, also found time to goof off. I loved just being around the campsite playing cards, laughing, telling stories and just about everything.

We also made time to discover Newberry crater and the Lava Lands. Here is the entrance to the Lava Caves. It was chillingly cool!
All too soon though it was time to pack up for our adventures and head home for 2 days. Then, came chapter 2 of our vacation. Come back for an update soon!

It's A Chicken World!

The chickens have been moved into their home for a while now but, it has not been as 'homey" as we would have liked. Work has slowly progressed in perfectly our chicken raising technique.
Dave got some pretty amazing paint that the kiddos and I applied. They were painting away and managed to get most of it on the coop and not on themselves.
Conner is very fond of painting as it allows full expression of his love of art.

Here are some pictures of the coop post-paint. It was scorching hot outside as we finished painting. Too bad you can't feel that through the photos.
Dave has been doing quite a bit of research in ways to make sure the chickens are kept in fresh food and water. He discovered a way to turn a garbage can into an amazingly simple feeder. The white is PVC and the chickens just poke their heads in.
No spilled food and I can put over 60 lbs of food in and just let it be.

Finally, here are the ladies themselves. All huddled up and ready for evening to fully descend. 

Vision Quest

I experienced something yesterday that I hope to repeat several more times in the coming year. I had an amazing, intense encounter with God.
It was my friends suggestion that we pack our bags
(filled with Bibles, pens, notebooks and encouraging reading material) then get alone with God in his creation.
We started very early in the morning and drove out towards Lassen Park.
We shared our struggles, joys, sorrows and some silly things inbetween. We found a short hike in to a couple of beautiful lakes and started out.
Arriving at the lake we split up and I stayed at the first lake while she went over the ridge. I sat on a rock and drank in the sights. This photo shows the amazing view I had. I was ALL ALONE out here!
Totally excited, I opened my bible and for 2 hours was able to journal, pray and just walk around out in this exquisite place.
The Lord challenged me in so many areas. I focused specifically on myself in three parts.
1. Motherhood Walk
2. Wife Walk
3. Life Walk
This morning session was filled with a lot of conviction from the holy spirit and strong direction for some choices I needed to make.
As I finished reading Psalm 139 my friend came back over the ridge. To my amazement she had also finished with Psalm 139. WITH NO PRIOR communication! Isn't God wonderful?
From there we headed out to see the visitors center and soak in some more of the park.
I can't believe I live close to this!

We were ready to begin our alone time round two
and we finally found an amazing little spot tucked in to a picnic area.

It was like something out of a fairy tale, with the stream rushing past. Here it was really about God revealing his love for me. He filled me with joy and I felt totally reassured of his continued hand in my life.
We only spent about an hour at this spot but, the timing just felt right here. Finishing in prayer we left and had dinner in town.

I've seen women's retreats before and though I have nothing against them. Sometimes I think our focus can be shifted from really just connection with God. It can be tempting to let lights, cameras, laughter, action and music really pull us away from just enjoying his presence. Are these things some how evil? In no way. Never again though, will I doubt how lovely it is to just sit and talk with God.

Does this sound interesting to you? You could do it as well. Grab a friend or yourself, pick the day and place. THEN, go do it! Time with God always brings blessing!

Real Life

Real life.... real life... real life....
Thoughts are swirling in these old gray cells of mine right now. This week has brought so many interesting things into my life.
I had a pretty sweet little post typed up and sent it into cyber space but, it just did not feel quite right. It was wearing an apron, lipstick and heels TONIGHT.....
that is not what my post needs to wear.
It is wearing sweats and has its hair in a pony tail.

Today I experienced pain and hurt beyond what I expected. My goal in life is to love others and love GOD. I try to live this out as best as my feeble little hands and mind can. There is someone in my life who is very important and because of their choice to sin I can not be close to them anymore. I have remained where I always have been. They have have packed their bags and run from GOD. I have not changed. There however are those moments when your conviction and dedication to God supersedes relationships. I say this not as Mrs Judgy Mcjudgerson but, a simple sinner who loves her Lord and is just trying to work my own life out as I follow the HIM.

 Today I thought... text them... write them... tell them you love them. Despite not having the closeness I can do this one thing. I can love from afar.
My text was met with such animosity and anger. Words came zig zagging out of the phone at me in a torrent of hate. It hurt, oh my it hurt.
I put the phone down and walked away. Everything in me begged "Pick it up and really let em have it.... pull back on the bow and let the arrow ping"
Instead I called a friend and just cried.
It was then during the call she reminded me this person is hurt. There is so much pain in each word that was given to me. It was then I saw past the words and saw the hurter as a person.
She reminded me to take this to God and leave it at his feet. No replaying the conversation, no dwelling and no allowing myself to be sucked down.
I praise the Lord for putting my friend in my life. She gave me wisdom and such a good listening ear.
You know what? She was so right. It's been a struggle today to focus on not having a one sided mental battle with the hurter.

There will be times in life like this. Where we are kicked in the gut as we climb the mountain in our life. I look on things that happened this week and this fits with what else I've been learning and struggling with.
Finding my value, not from others but from above. It is in him I am made strong. He fills me with his strength!
I will fall asleep with this on my mind......

1st Thessalonians 4:11

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, 
to mind your own business and to work with your hands just as we told you. 

Falling In Love With The Falls

It's just gorgeous all that crashing, cascading water isn't it? We were so blessed to be able to go and enjoy Burney Falls as part of the Oak Run School group. There is nothing like spring in Northern Cali

 The weather was warm but, with slight clouds and just was begging  for some outdoor fun!

We enjoyed a hike down to the falls as a large group of different ages. We laughed, and admired the whole way down.

Van Driving Momma

Lately as we participate in the great spring wrap up for school and activities it feels like I might be spending more time in my van than walking my property.  Although, it means I've memorized all my Mumford And Sons playlist.

As we've been enjoying all this action the moments still have been sweet and silly, My daughter always has time to join me in a crazy pose or two.
Nothing says wedding style like my 6 year old in gorgeous red heels!

The last few weeks have been especially precious in the amount of time Bella and I have spent together. God has been working on my heart to forget the idea of "winning" battles as a parent but, instead to win her heart and forge a relationship with her. Parenting is not about having children who perfectly behave. For me it is about developing both of them as people who love God, and love people. So our time has been especially sweet in this area as we grow to love each other more.

After a bit of the running around we had our amazing friends over for dinner and whilst the children hooted and hollered a rattle was heard. Bella came inside breathing hard. "Snake snake"
So, Dad grabbed his gun and sure enough it was one of the biggest rattlers I've seen. It sure sent chills down my spine. I am an accidental country gal and being raised in the city all this local color is new to me.
I've almost stopped checking the ground each step I take, as my fear subsides now three days later.

May has now turned to June, and with that comes many more fun things. Today my little man graduated from preschool. We've come so far since he was 2.
I am proud of his progress and the Lego boy that he is becoming
The month of June means more time at home for which I am grateful. Days spent in the pool ,cuddling chickens, reading in the sunshine and STARING at that pumpkin on the vine as he grows.
HOWEVER, before all that staying home begins we have to do
one my most anticipated events which is my gal pal being 7! One of our favorite spots in the summer sun is the lake at Whiskeytown.