Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What I'm Thankful For & My Warm Fuzzies

Tonight was my church's annual Candlelight Service. I was TRULY blessed by everyone there and their stories!
In particular Arlene's, Angel's, Noe's & Jessica's. I won't go into particulars about what they said, because it was dear to their hearts & shared with us in confidentiality.
I do want to focus on Angel & Jessica telling me how much they appreciate me and what I have done for them this year. As I reflect & was talking to God about it, He spoke to me and reminded me of something he taught me recently. I always say, "I just do what I do and am who I am. Not looking for any thanks or special appreciation." What God has revealed to me is that it's through HIM that I can do this. Being quiet & still, allowing me to hear what He has to say to me and being obedient in His will for what he has for me. It's in and through Him that I can touch these lives. In the same breath...when 'Melissa' tries to do it, whether in my own strength, thoughts or wants, that's when I fail, exhaust myself and don't accomplish what was sent out to do.
WOW, isn't God awesome!
It just reveals to me that through Him, I can do any & everything! That even though times get tough and I go through crap, as long as I turn to Him, I can still walk without growing weary. Serve and accomplish His will. Reach out and be used by Him...Hahahahaha, I am chuckling at the very thought that this vessel of doubt, insecurity, pain, whatever I think of myself, can still do His Works!
Then Noe got up and talked about who he appreciated. He then went to give his "warm/fuzzy". As he spoke, he said, "This gentleman (key word my friend!) has been placed in my life. I have gone through some times where I was a Joseph, but God has given me a Jonathan to turn to. That gentleman is, Jose Herrera". WOW, that's my husband. So I came home & looked up Joseph & Jonathan, what a blessing, is all I have to say!

So, tonight, I wanted to get up and honor a few people, but my thoughts just would not come together! Needless to say, I didn't get up & say anything, but I wanted to just take time to blog & express my appreciation about a few people in my life.
Before I do that, I must add...I do have the best church family EVER! They are closer than my own & I wouldn't have it any other way!
My Pastor & his wife are the BEST you could EVER come by! The light that they shine, the example that they set, I could go on & on! Pastor Todd & Mishelle,,,Thank You! Words couldn't describe what you two mean to my family & I!

First of all is, Robin. Where do I even begin? Robin has been such a role model to me through her life. No matter what she went through, she remained in her walk with the Lord. Declaring His promises, standing on His word & covering her family with prayer. She lived 30 FULL years & touched everyone she came in contact with. I even had people on my prayer chain telling me what she inspired in their lives. Robin, I love you for all you are, did & stood for!

Secondly is Kindra Crandell. Kindra has been one of those people in my life that (through the whole time of me knowing her) has been one to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. God has spoken to me numerous times through Kindra and has helped me on my journey of finding Melissa. She has allowed me to serve the Lord by serving his Princess' at MOTS, a position I DON'T take lightly. And encouraged me in many areas. Kindra, I thank you & am SO very grateful for you!

Last but not least is Monica...Even Monica! *that would be an inside joke ;-)* My warm/fuzzy goes out to you Mon!
I remember singing a song as a child, "What a friend we have in Jesus." When I think of Monica, I literally sing, "What a friend I have in Monica." Talk about sensitive to the spirit! This girl hasn't a clue that I am going through things in my life, but the spirit whispers to her and she acts on it. There have been days & times in my life this past year where I am DONE! Monica wouldn't have a clue of what I'm going through & I get a text or a call from her. She allows me to vent without judgement & condemnation. She encourages me in love, lifting me up.
God has really been putting me through the fire with my personality. Finding who I am, not only as Melissa, but who I am in Christ. If anyone knows, it's NOT easy! It hurts, tries, breaks, and everything else that's unpleasant. Well, Monica has been there for me through it all. Speaking life into me, encouraging me, telling me like it is but in love. I have 2 best friends in my life that I know I can turn to no matter what. I believe God has placed Monica in my life to be my third.
Monica, for ALL you are, all you do for me & my family, everything that you have stood with me through...I thank you & love you!

I pray everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving. Remember what this is all about! If it wasn't for God giving us His son, we would not be here.
Thank you my Father for your love, grace & mercy! It's beyond anything I could ever dream or imagine!

If you so feel, please share your Thanks with me!

Nope, it never ends!

As mentioned in my previous post, Delayna was diagnosed with an ear infection & bronchitis. She was prescribed Amoxacillan on the 16th of November. She was on that until the 23rd, when I called the Dr because she was pulling at her other ear and her buggers weren't getting any better. Not to mention the rash on her little wahoo. So they called in some other antibiotics and nystatin for the rash. I gave her the other antibiotic, Cefdinir, that night. She woke up Tuesday morning with bumps on her legs. At first I thought it just a few spider bites, but as the day went on they got worse. So I called the Dr around 12 to ask about it. They wanted her to come in right away. So I took her in, by then they were on her trunk & arms. Dr. Cuni looked at her and said it was an allergic reaction to the antibiotic.
So she switched her to another antibiotic & said to treat her with Benedryl. Here's some pics of her.
This is Weds. morning, really bad!

Tuesday night, not as bad.

My poor girl, we just can't catch a break over here!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I have been so out of it lately. For the past 4 weeks to be exact. I don't know why. My house is a disaster, my room is in complete shambles, I am forgetting EVERYTHING and can't seem to find anything.
I just don't know what is going on. I feel like I am living everyday for the day & not thinking about the next. I'm not enjoying my days and anticipating it to be over. I don't know what is wrong & I'm frustrated by it!
I remember taking a class in college and it taught you to exam what it going on in your life. Have you been dealing with sick family members, stresses, big changes, emotional issues. When I remembered this I started to evaluate everything that has happened the last 4 weeks.
Delayna started to get sick, running fevers, runny nose, not sleeping, very cranky. It then went into her chest and she was just a monster.
Dominic got sick & was home for 2 days just laying around not feeling good.
Then the news of Robin. Honestly, when I would get news about Robin, I always felt a peace about her condition, even the last time she was really bad. But not this time...My heart sunk and I felt as though God told me, "Melissa, she's coming home with me this time." I literally went into a shell. I didn't want to deal (which is what I do when things like this happen).
That week was my first Pampered Chef show, the AYSO fundraiser handout (which always makes me stress), I had to teach at FUSION, James' birthday Halloween & Adriana's birthday. We had a good time, but I felt an emptiness. That's when I got the call about Robin going home in her sleep that morning.
That week was rough, I had MOTS on Wednesday and Delayna was still sick. Saturday I had a full busy day with Ant going to UCLA, soccer games, AYSO dinner. Sunday church, family pics, FUSION.
The following weeks was full with soccer, a friend's birthday, a Women's Event and planning Girlie Talk.
Which brings us to this week, Delayna being diagnosed with bronchitis & an ear infection, MOTS, soccer practice & a game during the week, Anthony being diagnosed with a throat infection, Jose working in Hollywood all week (he was leaving around 4:30am & getting home around 8-8:30pm) making LONG days for me! Soccer tournaments, some horrible news in my family and just a stressful FUNK!
I am SO over it all! I need a break, a maid and a chef!
I am emotionally, physically, spiritually and every otherlly spent!
As I type, I have a baby sleeping, Jose & Ant at the soccer fields watching other kids play & Adriana bugging to go...she has a game in 20 mins.
I want to be DONE! Done with running, rushing, being lost, and not having a handle on my life.
OK, off I go, to yet another soccer game.
I will try to update on my baby girl turning 10 months later & all her new found activities. Oh and the other 3's school reports...Adi made honor roll!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Letter To Robin

Boy have I had a hard time writting this! I've really been dealing with depression & heartache over not being able to be at her service. I decided to write this and let it go. I am praying it brings some healing to me.

Anyway, here it is...

November 14, 2009

Dear Robin,

Well, this has been erased about 1,000 & 1 times. I keep trying to write you in the past tense, but just can’t seem to put the words the way I want them. I should have written this 2 months ago, when you could have read it, but I let that time pass me. So here I sit, writing to you & knowing you can’t read it, but I’m sure you hear it.

I want you to know how much I love & appreciated your friendship. I know you will say it was our friendship, but I suck at friendship. It’s something the Lord has been dealing heavily with me about & has once again used you for me to see something. I let my time go to tell you, while you were still here with me, and am now kicking myself for it. I guess a lesson learned…procrastination won’t get me very far.

You have become a true beacon of light in my life, honestly!

I have been in some situations where I have called upon you as a support. You stood with me, not only as my cousin, but as a sister in Christ. Giving me scripture to claim over the situation, prayers to pray over it, love to get me through and support to hold me up during my trying times.

You didn’t feel me with bologna, but truth. As much as it hurt, you said it…Now if that isn’t something we all need to learn!

You are someone who, no matter the circumstance, stood against the raging storms. Not only did you stand against what was given to you, you stood with your head held high, not backing down and ready to take it on, no matter what was thrown your direction. Standing on God’s promise…He is in control at ALL times.

You taught me to take every day as a blessing, no matter what it gave me.

Not to take my health & life for granted.

Robin, there are so many of us, including me, who take our bodies, temples, lives for granted. You fought everyday for yours. So many of us are capable of walking, running, playing with our children, even simple tasks of cleaning our house, mowing our lawn, grocery shopping, and the list can go on! When you wished you could do it, we are capable of it.

Watching you, taught me not to take those little things for granted.

I remember when you had your lung transplant and told me you were training for a marathon. I was awe struck! It made me reflect on what I was doing with my life. I started Weight Watchers and finally said to myself…I am doing this for Melissa! If Robin can do it in her condition, then damn it, why aren’t I?!?! I was working out on my elliptical everyday and told myself I was going to run & told everyone I knew how you inspired me. Robin, I’ve NEVER ran in my life! It killed me in school, but I knew if you could do it, so could I. Well May 24, 2008 was my first time I had Jose take me out to go running…Girl, I did it! Because of you, I did it! It didn’t last long, because a month later I found out I was pregnant, but it doesn’t mean I’m stopping. You have inspired me to take my health and run with it! I am taking hold of my life and making it the best I can, and one day, I promise you, I will be in a marathon.

Who knows, with all the effort I put into my local Relay For Life, I may start a Great Strides Chapter, here in Riverside County, in remembrance of Robin Joyce Stocking! Now wouldn’t that be something…something I need to start praying about =)

Robin, I am truly at a loss of words of what you mean to me! For years, I was envious of the relationship you had with Lourdes. But I now see, He saved the best for last! Who knows, if we were as close as teenagers, maybe we wouldn’t have had the relationship we had as adults. I can’t say. But what I can say is…Our Heavenly Father knew & had a plan all along!
Before I wrap this up…I have a confession to make. I haven’t told anyone, but my mom yesterday what I’m about to tell you.

When we were about 7 & 8 years old, my grandma and one of our Aunts, or even your mom took me out shopping at a department store. When we were there, they showed me a rack of sweaters and told me that they wanted to buy one for you for an early birthday present. Well, for whatever reason (I’m sure you & Lourdes were being “really nice” to me), I was pissed off at you. So they told me to pick out a sweater that you would like. So in my anger, I looked for the ugliest, most disgustingly ‘old’ looking sweater on the racks I could find. After all, I was MAD & I wasn’t about to get you something cute. After I picked it out, they asked me, “Are you sure this is what she would like?” Of course I replied with my sweetest voice, “Yeah, she’ll like it!” Then they asked, “Well, is it something you like & would wear?” Again…”Yeah, it’s way cool (or whatever the ‘hip’ word was)”. And off we went. Later that night, or even the next day, there was this surprise party of some sorts. I happened to have a surprise. My surprise was that my grandparents were taking me to Idaho that summer! Then they handed me a box to open up…It was that UGLY SWEATER I PICKED OUT FOR YOU! They wanted to surprise me with a sweater to take to Idaho & I was able to pick out my own sweater! I had to act surprised & excited to get that god awful sweater…After all, it was supposed to be your ugly sweater.

Robin…I love you! More than words could express, cards could describe or flowers could show!

Until that meeting in the sky…Your Cuzin…Mis, Mit, Mel

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Buh Bye

Jose was home from work today, so he took the kids to school for me. After I kissed everyone and walked them to the door, I stood there telling Delayna to tell them "BYE BYE".
To my dis-belief, she started waving her hand, imitating Jose. Then saw my hand opening & closing, and began copying me too!
Then later on in the night, Jose went to his softball game and the kids went over to my brothers to visit. Again, I told Delayna to tell them Bye Bye and she started opening & closing her hand.
Awe, my little big girl!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

StreetLife Made The Front Page Of The Record Gazette!

I walked out to the street Friday morning as my family loaded up to head to school. I picked up the paper and found an article at the bottom that got my attention. It began with Mark's name and mentioned how he lived under a tree in Cabazon. That story was all too familiar. I began to read on, with tears in my eyes, that a couple with so much compassion can reach out and touch the homeless and needy in such a way is amazing! You see, my mom has been addicted to drugs & alcohol in her life, as has my father. My father & his girlfriend were homeless, up until 2 weeks ago, when they came to my house and said, "Melissa, we want to thank you for your prayers. We are no longer homeless. We have a home, rent free and the landlord will be paying us to do maintenance on her rentals." I know this article, as I've lived the life through my parents.

Faith in the Pass: Compassion on the street corner

Published: Friday, November 6, 2009 12:22 AM CST
Mary Hilde
Special to the Record Gazette

Mark lives under a tree in Cabazon. Sometimes he’ll be on a corner, holding a sign that says, “Homeless and ugly. Anything will help.”

After the 10:30 a.m. Sunday service at Legacy Christian Center in Banning, Mark was saying goodbye, Bible in hand, smile on his face, ready to be dropped off by his tree. Hopping on the bus with Pastors Terry Gray and his wife Teri-Lynn, we were off in a whirl of chatter and laughs. Pastor Terry asked Mark, and an ex-homeless couple also aboard, what they thought of the service. He talked to them about God’s changing power, handing out apple juice.

But let’s back up.

Fifteen years ago, Pastor Terry and Teri-Lynn were homeless. Terry was a drug dealer, addict, alcoholic, and his life was on the verge of collapse. He came home one day and his wife was gone, her ring on the counter. She had said, “You’re supposed to be the leader. Where are you leading us?”

Terry clearly recalls this fork in the road and his agony. Would he lose his wife and five children, everything he cared about?

“I cried out to God to save me,” he said. “And he did.”

The drug dealing and addiction stopped immediately, the alcoholism lingered. Eventually that was gone, too. He was so thankful and wanted to give back.

A couple years later, Terry and Teri-Lynn started reaching out to drug addicts and the homeless. They felt it was their calling, their purpose.

Today StreetLife Ministry is a group of 15 workers, who drive around to find local homeless for church. In his three-piece suit, Terry has gotten in the dirt to literally pick up a homeless guy for church. Sometimes he goes into the trees to get them out. Teri-Lynn has equal spunk, and has told many an inebriated soul to “get up, we’re going to church.”

They go to parks, liquor stores and other hangouts where addicts and homeless loiter. They have no words of judgment. They know homeless by name. They hug the dirty and drunk. They cry with them, laugh with them. On Saturdays, they drive around handing out food, clothes and hygiene products. On Sundays they pick up the same people for church.

“If God can turn us around and use us, he can do it for anyone,” said Terry. “We are living examples of what God can do.”

Terry and his wife said they pray for the eyes of Christ, to see people as God sees them. They take Matthew 25:34-40 seriously, helping “the least of these.”

The reward is watching the homeless like Mark change. On the bus Sunday, Mark asked what he could do to get off the streets, and Terry said he’d put resources in his hands. Terry asked Mark if they’ve ever let him down in all these years. “No, no you haven’t,” Mark said.

As we dropped Mark off near his “tree house,” Terry grasped his hand and said, “You’re my brother. You know that, right? I’ll always come for you. If you call, night or day, I’ll always come.”

Mark got off the bus with a smile and wave, joy on his face. He’ll be back for church next week, for sure.

Mary Hilde can be reached at


Mary Hilde, a graduate of the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication, has worked for newspapers in Oregon, Minnesota and California. This is the first of a twice-a-month column on faith and values in the Pass. Hilde, a Seventh-Day Adventist Christian, lives in Beaumont with her husband, a school teacher. Share your thoughts and ideas with her by writing to

Friday, November 6, 2009

Robin Joyce McRae Stocking

Born August 20, 1979, taken home November 4, 2009
Where do words even begin? My precious cousin, whom was 356 days younger than I was, yet exalted oh so highly in my spirit. She was such a spiritual "older sister" to me, a leader, a warrior, no denying, God's Little Princess.
Robin was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and fought a LONG hard battle, NEVER giving in to the disease. I remember when Robin got her double lung transplant in 2007. She was ready for her body to reject these new lungs she had been blessed with. But God had such a miraculous plan for her. She was out of the hospital and on her road to recovery in a matter of weeks. She was amazing! She didn't take her gift for granted, not for a moment. I remember her telling me about her training to do a marathon...WOW, a marathon! I can barely walk a mile without throwing in the towel. I marveled at her and what she did in the time after her body recovering from her transplant.
I remember, the Dr's were besides themselves when they did her transplant. They said she shouldn't have been living with the way her lungs were, but isn't that what we've heard all her life? Robin shouldn't be alive.
But she was! More than physically, Robin was ALIVE in Christ!
God had his hand upon her, for Him to live through her, so that Robin could touch those that she did within those 30 years she walked this earth. She never took a day for granted.
I know things happen for a reason, but we don't always understand. When I heard the news of Robin's new lungs "going bad", I knew it was for a reason the Lord allowed this to happen to Robin. But Why? She continued to fight, trusting the Lord in what HE was doing. Never really understanding.
I received a few phone calls informing us that, "Robin wasn't doing too well." But we stood on the Lord's promises, trusting he would heal her. As time went on and her body grew weaker, we were told, "Robin's body can't fight the infection and the Dr's can't do another transplant."
It was a knife in my heart, but I KNEW there was something going on. God had something in his hands working something through someone, somehow.
Confusion, lost, unsure, pain, aggravation, questions...WHY!?!?!
But, God knew what he was doing.
Robin lived her life to the fullest. She loved her husband beyond words. She adored her baby boy more than life.
She was able to watch Christopher play baseball, she was SO proud! I remember texting her during one of Ant's tournament teams while she was out at Chris' game. We were talking about signing Chris up for indoor soccer. She was so excited & it was a topic we could totally talk about for DAYS!
When she got her lungs, she was so excited to take her boy out to the beach & while in San Francisco, had the opportunity to.
I could go on for days about my dear cousin, but I can't continue. I have a letter I must write and send off to her. I knew I should have written it 3 weeks ago, when I had the 'push' to do it, but chose to ignore it.
Now my chance has gone. But I must get some things off my chest and show her my appreciation for all she did for me.
More things on Robin will follow...I want to remember as much as I can. Until then, here are some photos of her...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Word Filled Wednesday

1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions;if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
John 14:1-3

My dear Cousin Robin lost her battle to Cystic Fibrosis this morning. She has been a true beacon in my life these past few years. Her older brother sent out an email this morning and had this scripture in it. It hit me & is what is giving me comfort, knowing, I will be seeing her one day soon!

You can join in the WFW over at this weeks host here: