Happy Birthday To ME!

Treated myself to Coffee and Breakfast at Barns and Noble

Invited my sweet friends Amy, Callie and Angela to join me at Connie's pool!!

4th of July 2013 Farminton Fire Works

Tuesday's with R & B

What a blessing Rachel and Bennett have been in our lives. Our Tuesday nights started with just Rachel coming over getting to knowour family then she became a part of our family! A year later she asked if Bennett could start joining our Tuesday night dinners. The answer of course was YES because we all knew she had been crushing on him ForEVER!!

So now 2 years later Rachel and Bennett are happily married and JT and Claira not only have  a big sister but a big brother too.

What a blessing these two are to family! 


Buffalo River Float 2014 aka "30 miles of hell!"

Claira and Jay just got back! They had an amazing time, but both have no desire to kyak that far again...EVER! (Their words) 

They Conquered the rain, wet sleeping bags, Claira flipped and got going again (by herself, she is Dauntless!), she jumped off a 40 foot bluff (Yep, she is Dauntless!), Jay had coffee without sugar and creamer (what a sacrificial Dad you are, really) All of that and all they came home with was....


I Choose JOY January 2014

3. Claira realized that she needs to reach out to the girls in her church small group. Instead of having the attitude, "they are too worldly for me", she wants to develop relationship with them and help them with their struggles. GRACE

I have recently  been introduce to this amazing blog that has inspired me to start counting my joys! The Most Important skill-that-your-2014-really-needs blog post inspired me in realizing Jesus' GRACE over me even more!

JT showed Claira GRACE when he saw her using his computer w/O asking permission. He kindly asked if she would ask permission in the future. 

4. Something old, something new, something blue. 
Mrs. Jean and her husband Ira were such special people in my life. They always invited us over to enjoy time with their Grandaughters and Enchiladas.  Not long ago Claira captured this wonderful picture of Mrs. Jean, now, when we had a special girls lunch at my Mom's house. 

With Christmas money from my in laws I perchased new boots, which I love, and then my mother in law, Denni took me on  a special shopping trip for jeans. My most dreaded shopping item. Thanks to her wisdom I am now the proud owner of jeans that fit great and look amazing. The best part, she bought them for me. So unexpected and so kind!! 

Blue Willow with a surprise heart when I picked up my cup of tea. Yes, I'm LOVED! Or maybe it was a reminder to love. 

My Sunday afternoon read. We start back to homeschool tomorrow after an amazing Christmas break! Time to put the teacher hat on. "Lord, I need you, as always!"

Things to see....Season 4 Downton Abbey watch party begins tonight!  


Phil 4:6-8
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. 

7. Graces others give me:

Jay prayes God's grace over me very day befor he leaves for work. I am a very blessed woman to be married to this godly man! 

My friend Callie is gracious by inviting Claira  to join her for thier "old lady" painting class every other Thursday. 

Angela is gracious to forgive me, Rebecca is gracious to let me vent, and Rachel is gracious by always hearing me, really hearing me. 

9. Gift Held
Sat with JT & Claira at lunch, laughing and sharing stories with one another. What amazing children The Lord has gifted me, each fitted for thier unique purpos.
Gifts walked by: the beautiful flowers I saw at Wilson Park this summer.

12. Beside:

Below: spent this beautiful Sunday on the Crystal Bridges Trail. 

14. Startling Graces of God:
Romans 3:19-22 God knew that I would never be able to do all that is expected of me by the standards of the law so he sent Jeaus so that I would be blameless of my sins. I don't understand it, but I  so thankful for it. I need to reflect more on the completeness of Christ instead of the incompleteness of me. 

23. Three Gifts found in Christ: Romans 5: 1-3
       1-Faith in Christ = Peace
       2-Faith in Christ = Highest Privilege, Confidence and Joy looking forward to sharing God's glory. 
       3-Faith in Christ = Confidence in Salvation, Endurance and Strength during problems and trials.      
          Strengthened Character 

27. Three Gifts found in the Kitchen:



Immediate Need for Rehoboth House

email sent Sep. 6, 2013
Dear Friends and Family,
As many of you know, we will begin raising money very soon for food and projects to help  Rehoboth House for this next year. We have done very well  staying within our budget this past year!! We currently have $153 in the account to carry over into this coming year!
As of yesterday, we have an immediate need. All the children were sent home from school because their uniforms are in poor condition. We have not helped purchase uniforms in three years, so the condition of them isn't surprising.
Each uniform cost $15 dollars, this may seem a small amount to us, but that amount of money is actually half a months wages for the average family in Kenya. Since our dear friends, Caleb and Peter, are caring for 28 orphans, plus their immediate families, you can understand why coming up with $420 to purchase uniforms will be difficult.
Jay and I would love for you to help us purchase new uniforms for these children. We are so excited that the Lord continues to give us the opportunity to provided for these special children in HIS name for HIS glory!!
There are two ways you can donate:

Give Online This link will take you to the New Heights Church Website where you can donate to "Gresham African Aid" immediately.

Mail Check To:

New Heights Church
PO Box 8668
Fayetteville, AR 72703
Please write Gresham's African Aid on the memo line

(Note: If we receive more money than needed for the uniforms we will use the balance to provide food.)

Thank you ahead of time for your prayers and donations!!
Jay and Melissa

News From Rehoboth House

“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”
–Mother Teresa

Thanks to many of you this quote has come true at Rehoboth House (click to learn more) . It is a small thing to us (Americans) to donate $2,500 a year to feed 25 orphans three meals a day, but the love they receive with each meal is so incredibly pleasing to our Heavenly Father.

ay and I wanted to share with you all the good news we have received from Peter.

  • God provided an extra $300. Peter was able to use the money to pay for the certification of the children’s home.

  • 3 of the older girls passed all the exams needed for secondary school (High School). They are so proud that they will be able to attend.
  • All of the children are healthy, doing well in school, and well fed. Praise you Jesus!

  • Peter and Eunice have rented a three bedroom home so that they can take care of 5 more orphans. We are so humbled by their selflessness and willingness to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these special treasures.

  •  Eunice gave birth to a baby boy named Allen! We are so excited! Mom and baby are both doing well.  “Baby” Melissa will now be called “Big Sister”.

When Jay and I returned from Africa last summer I was given a book for my Birthday. This friend had no idea how needed that book would be for Jay and I. We came home knowing we wouldn’t be returning to Africa for a long while, but our God is so gracious. Through this book He has helped us realize a responsibility we have to continue to come alongside Peter as he reaches out to the orphans in his community. “For God, so loved the WORLD…”

“It starts with you. In the end, God simply calls you to be faithful to the things He has given you to do. He doesn’t require you to be a superstar, just faithful and obedient, by praying, loving, serving,
giving, forgiving, healing, and caring- doing small things with great love.”        -Richard Stearns

We are so honored to be advocates for Rehoboth House.
Looking Ahead

  •  In August we will begin raising funds for food. Please begin to pray about contributing.
  •  We want to talk with Peter about future expansion of his business or other business opportunities so that more needs can be met through his ministry.
  • We know that in the near future the children will need school sponsorships.  Secondary (High) School requires a fee. We may need to help provide for their schooling until a business is established to cover the expense.
  • Our goal is to help without hurting. To help without them being dependent on us. Peter and his partner Caleb also desire to stand on their own two feet. We want to offer a “leg up”. Please pray that God shows us how to continue to do this.

Gresham Family Update:

Jay is now working at Mercy Hospital in Rogers in the OR and PACU. He loves his new position! He still plans to further his education after he settles into his new role. God has made clear to him the need to gain as much knowledge and training possible.

I have loved being homemaker this past year. What a great time for me to be Jay’s cheerleader and helper and to also be completely available to JT and Claira as they navigate through their teen years.  It is like the “Private School” version of Bighouse. We are still living at Woodway Apartments  (click on link to learn more) which enables me to love on, help and hopefully encourage the families and college students around me.  

JT will begin his 11th grade year at Providence Academy,  he is working at Modern Mission (outdoor laser tag) and becoming an incredible young man.

Claira, is the community babysitter, it seems, but she is incredible at it! All the kids love her more than me! (Yes, I’m slightly envious) She loves photography and will be homeschooled for her 8th grade year.

For all of you that have contributed financially to this cause, THANK YOU!!! The children cannot express it to you themselves, but we know they are so incredibly thankful and so are we!

email update jul.18, 2013


Road Trip

Claira and had so much fun in June seeing the Morton's. This was our third time to visit Bartlesville and we loved it!!! 

Crazy Claira loved our upside down photo. I love that she always makes life interesting. I  so "in the box" she is so NOT! The Lord knew I needed her to makeup life so much more fun!! 

Rebecca's mom, Karen was also visiting with her incredible embroidery machine. For my birthday Rebecca had me pick out the designs and fabric I wanted on my very own tea towels. Two days of crafting with two great women was so much fun! 
I ended up saying bye to my best friend and my little girl. Yes, Claira stayed for another week! So, I headed home through Tulsa, for whatever reason I loved the look of these overpasses. 
When I got to the towers I started missing Claira like crazy. When we get to this point she always says, "Yay! We are almost there!!!

Over the next week Claira enjoyed being apart of the Morton Family aka Morton Camp and we realized how quiet our house is without Claira. And, none of us liked it, even JT. 

So glad you came home to us Claira!! 


The Story of Rehoboth House

Helping w/o Hurting:
We learned so much about orphan care while in Kenya. After seeing many children’s homes and hearing  stories of “well adjusted“ orphans who are thriving as adults we are  even more confident that Peter is doing it right. Kenyan believers are raising Kenyan children. These children are living in the environment they will, more than likely, live in as adults.

Their life is no longer hopeless it is redeemed. Praise the Lord

Currently Peter is lay pastor of a house church, husband to Eunice and father to baby Melissa. Together they provide funds for the needs of 20 orphans ages 3-12. Peter continues to run his Pikki Pikki business and minister to the children and widows that live in Kipsongo.

Peter’s goal for Rehoboth House isn’t for the children to
just survive but for the them to thrive.

He uses   60% of the revenue from his taxi service to house, clothe and feed the children.  He also helps manage and teach the widows of the Kipsongo community about business and marketing their own products. 

Rehoboth House Day to Day– 20 beautiful children, all with first and last names, are so proud to live at Rehoboth House. Their names are all the they have left of their families. These children are completely orphaned, meaning, they do not have a single living family member that can care for them. 
-All school aged children are enrolled in public school
-They are fed three meals a day
-They are provided with clothing and medical care
-They play with other children in their community , daily
-They are cared for by Nixon and Fatuma  who have a  son  and Eunice who has two sons of her own
-They are being  shown the gospel of Christ by the love they receive from  those who care for them

The Back Story 

In 2009 Jay and Ken Childress went to Kitale, Kenya to meet Peter Odihambo . During this trip they realized Peter was a true brother in Christ with a burden for orphans and widows in his country. They also discovered that he is quite the entrepreneur. He, at the time, owned a pay phone business that was funding a children’s home of 20 orphans. Jay and Ken raised funds for him to become owner and operator of a“Pikki-Pikki” motorcycle tax service.
In 2010 we, along with others, have helped Peter move the children to a better home, buy uniforms for the them, purchase a grain store for a widow, seed for planting and chairs for the church he helps pastor.
In 2011, thorough the donation of good friends, another “pikki pikki was purchased, and two drivers were hired.

Why Rehoboth?  
When we asked Peter why he chose the name Rehoboth he told us to the story of how God blessed Isaac with a large household, so he went out trying to find well large enough and land for all of his household. After searching he finally found a place that had plenty of water and land so he named it Rehoboth which means– Room Enough.

Gen. 26 : 22 … “Isaac said, For now the Lord has made room for us and we will surely thrive.” 

Peter is spreading the gospel by his devotion to care for those in need. He loves God, loves his neighbors, and is making disciples of others who will, by God’s grace, do the same as they mature into young men and women. 

Kitale, Kenya is surrounded by communities that were developed during the violence of the 2007 political uprising. The Kipsongo area is a slum that is filled with women and children that were displaced in 2007.  Many local believers and expats have put countless hours and time to provide care for those living in Kipsongo.