My Boxing Gloves and My New Fight…

I decided it was high time to clean out my closet.  Imagine: shoes everywhere, hats, purses, and clothes that I haven’t worn in 12 years—count them,12. Some things I choose to hang on to for sentimental reasons. I get that from my dad, Rick (who even cried when it was time to sell and buy a new mattress).  As I was going through the many layers of things and deciphering what needs to stay, what needs to go, what can be sold and what should be given away, I came across my boxing gloves.

A little over 8 years ago, before I had my son Hutch, I was in the best shape of my life. I took boxing and I loved it. I loved the excitement in the ring. I loved hitting the pads. I loved learning how to react quickly and effectively to take someone out.  I loved the fight.  As I stared at these gloves that I’ve only used a few times since then (I can no longer do any high impact exercise because of a back injury), I realized I still have all too much been drawn to the fight in my life.

Only now I have loved the fight in the arena of the everyday, in-person, or online. Social media has been a training ground and ring for quick, reactive come backs to get the most bang for my 140 characters. I see it happen every day and I am just as guilty as the next friend. As I stared at the boxing gloves and knew it was time to let them go, I knew fighting was something I need to outgrow as well.

I don’t want to fight anymore. It’s not accomplishing anything. Sure it feels good in the moment to fight back, to react, to one up each other with a scripture or doctrine here and throw a critique there. But this isn’t who I am or what I am called to be.  This hopeful, peacemaking nature that I am created in is beginning to finally mature and bring itself out.  My life can be a better defense than my words.


…Read the rest here

Timothy’s Gift – an update and appeal…

Timothy’s Gift – an update and appeal…

In less than 2 weeks I will be standing in front of some 300 men with no extra agenda on our end except to entertain them with some of the best singers and players around, to lift their spirits, and to remind them of their worth as a child of God.

Timothy’s Gift HOPE TOUR will be on it’s 7th concert tour down to institutions in Florida. With this tour from June 16-20th, we will complete 68 programs with touching well over 15000 inmates and staff in less than 2 years.
That means over 15000 have been reminded of their worth and their hope.
Hope, we have seen, is infectious.  After we leave each institution, hope has continued to spread.  The legacy of Timothy’s Gift is one that what we start in a 2 hour program will be carried out long after we leave those grounds.  The encouragement from inmate to staff and vice versa, the hope and realization of possible change, the light of worth and this outlook on themselves and others, once ignited, spreads.  We recognize our place in this process and we recognize the need for your place.  Your partnership with us helps to sustain the level of excellence that we have been able to achieve in our prison outreach. This heart of our mission and level of excellence that we bring continues to give us favor with the Department of Corrections in both Florida and Tennessee.   We’ve heard from staff  “In the 28 years I’ve worked in the Dept. of Corrections, I’ve never seen anything in the likes of the talent and hearts of TG.” “You all have encouraged us as much as you’ve encouraged the inmates!”  We’ve heard countless times of inmates, “This is the first time in over 20 years that I’ve felt hope.”  “You’ve reminded us that we are not forgotten.”  “I’ve never heard music like this!”  “I’ve haven’t smiled like this in a long time.”  “Today made me feel like I will actually make it in here.”

This June HOPE tour, Ron Miller and I are taking in another incredible cast of singers, musicians and volunteers including Melinda Doolittle (American Idol -3rd place finalist from Season 6) and Michael Passons (founder of the American Music Award winning Christian group, Avalon).  These wonderful people choose to jump on a bus for long travel days, stay in moderate accommodations and make next to nothing.  They choose to be a part not because of the benefits for them.  They choose to be a part because they believe not only in the mission of Timothy’s Gift but also because they have seen the results of our previous work.  We are able to be the hands, feet, the face, the voice, and the smile of God.  We are able to show these men and women the love of Jesus first hand.
For this 5 day trip, we will be going into 10 institutions (8 of which have never experienced the Hope Tour).  We will arrive at some prisons before the sun even rises and then drive on that afternoon to encourage more at another institution before the sun sets.
For this June HOPE tour we are needing another $2318.00 to cover the rest of our expenses.  I’m asking if you would consider extending your financial support.
Timothy’s Gift has been the most life-giving ministry that I’ve even been a part of.  I wish I could take you all with me. If only you could experience what I have experienced.  If only you could just look into the eyes of the least of these and then realize that this is exactly what LOVE does.  Love extends.  Love reaches out. Love goes into the darkest of places to reveal as much light as possible.  That’s our call and I’m asking if you would join us. 
Thank you for your thoughts and support.
P.O. Box 111642
Nashville, TN 37222
filled with hope, Melissa