Spring is in the Air

Spring is in the air……
springisintheairWinter in Central Virginia has been unusually mild. A dusting of snow is all we’ve seen so far this season. Although cold days and nights have been scattered here and there, warmer temperatures have been enjoyed by almost everyone lately. Yesterday, our neighborhood was filled with runners, joggers, bicyclists of all ages and people walking their dogs. Even the dogs seem to know the weather is momentary and the best thing is enjoy it while you have the opportunity to be outside.
Frisbees flying through the air and basketball hoops giving the sound of “swoosh” as each ball entered the hoop gave a feeling of warmth to come.
Short sleeves and short pants have been pulled out of closets and drawers. Parents are checking to see if outfits from last summer still fit the children. There were no plans to look at summer clothing until a few months from now.
What a beautiful day! Sunshine and warm temperatures.
Daffodils, tulips and hyacinth flowers are pushing away dirt and peeking through to find the warmth of the sunshine. They are greeting the world with great anticipation of making beautiful, colorful flowers.
Downy woodpeckers, brightly colored bluebirds and red cardinals are flitting from trees to bird feeders, looking for the ever present seed to satisfy their hunger. A Mama bird with her growing belly is a sure indication that baby birds will soon be chirping loudly.
Wait…this is Virginia after all and the weather changes from hour to hour sometimes. Yes, as I listened to the weather forecast today, the news had changed once again. Yesterday’s heat is gone and today is windy and temperatures in the 40’s. Such a difference!
Put away the shorts and tank tops for now. Bring back out the sweaters and thermal underwear.
No problem, because here in Virginia, we are used to changing weather.
Just like Spring, change is in the air. We anticipate with joy the sunshine and the warmer temperatures to come.
What glorious sights and sounds the Lord gives us to enjoy! Each day is a blessing and there is something to look forward to each and every moment. Even in our struggles, God sends His love and mercies to us. We need to pause, listen and look for those special gifts He is sending.
If you are experiencing cold temperatures, don’t worry, warmth is coming because… Spring is in the air.
Blessings,
Melissa Henderson

melissa_hendersonMelissa Henderson lives in Mechanicsville, VA. She was born in Hampton and has lived in various cities in VA. She and her husband, Alan, have been married for over 37 years and have one son(Mike) who is married to daughter-in-love(Christine). Melissa was taught the love of reading and writing at an early age, from her parents. She is now working on her first inspirational fiction novel. Her passions are volunteering, Bible Studies and reading and writing. You can find her online at MelissaGHenderson.com

Member Spotlight: Melissa Henderson

Thanks for stopping by the ACFW Virginia Blog today!

Today we’re focusing on our member, Melissa Henderson. Grab something warm to drink and sit down to learn about Melissa.

melissa_hendersonPlease tell the readers about herself:
Hi, I’m Melissa Henderson residing in Mechanicsville, VA. My Husband (Alan) and I have been married for over 37 years. We have one son (Mike) who is married to sweet daughter-in-love (Christine).

What is a fun fact about you?
Stories are constantly flowing through my mind.  I can laugh at myself and at plenty of experiences in my life that bring laughter and joy. That is why our family motto is “It’s Always A Story with The Henderson’s.”

What’s your favorite genre?
I enjoy reading Christian inspirational fiction, and that is my favorite genre to write.  Children’s stories are also a favorite of mine to read and write.

Please share about your writing:
Currently, I am writing my first Christian inspirational fiction novel. Scheduling a specific time to write each day gives me focus and helps me be dedicated to the story I am creating. Attending writing conferences and workshops have given me courage and excitement about writing.  I learn something new at each event.

What has been the hardest thing you’ve faced on this writing journey?
The hardest thing about being a new writer is having a feeling of not being a “good” writer. Thankfully, there are many writers who are encouraging me along the way. Their wisdom and knowledge are great comfort.

How do you spiritually prepare for writing your stories?
I spiritually prepare for writing my stories by praying first and asking God to give me the words that He wants me to share with others.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about Melissa. You can follow her on her Blog.

Thanksgiving: Sitting at the Little Table by Melissa Henderson

I love Thanksgiving. The truth is, I just plain love holidays. My life is full of special memories and some of those memories are from when I was a little girl, about age 8.

My parents and I often visited my oldest sister and her husband and their boys. They lived about 2 hours away from us and visiting them was always fun. My tom boy ways could really be expressed while playing with those nephews of mine. Actually, the boys were more like brothers, since we were close in age. The word “nephew” was never thought about until we were older in age.

My sister would prepare a meal of delicious, mouth watering food each Thanksgiving. Some of the most memorable meals included corn pudding, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and the tastiest turkey and of course, there was always dessert. The table was so full, that there was hardly room for silverware and napkins.

The food was placed on the big table, where all the adults ate the meal. Then, there was the little table, where all of the children sat to eat the meal. My nephews and I sat at that table and enjoyed our own world. We could giggle and have the best conversations.

Sometimes, the adults would “fix” a plate of food for us and bring the plate to our table. Other times, we were allowed to hold our plate and walk around the table while making our choices. Someone would ask us which item we wanted and then, they would spoon a helping of that food on to our plate. Carrying our own plate didn’t always work out, as we tended to lean our plate to one side while gazing at the food and then, spill the food on the floor. Truly, the plates felt very big to us.

Our table enjoyed the most fun. The occasional green pea or spoon of mashed potatoes may have been seen flying through the air, in an attempt to make each other giggle. Also, burps and other body sounds were alive and well at our little table.
Hardly ever were we caught misbehaving, because the adults were having their own conversations. Maybe they knew what was happening at the little table and didn’t want to draw attention to our shenanigans.

After we finished eating the delicious meal, we could go back outside to run and play and be full of joy and laughter.

As I grew a little older, maybe 9 or 10 years old, I wanted to sit at the “adult” table. I felt that I was too grown up to continue dining with the little kids. So, that special Thanksgiving day arrived, and I was given the news that I could sit with the grownups. The excitement was overwhelming. Now, I truly was a grownup and didn’t have to sit with those little boys anymore.
My seat at the table allowed me to view the bowls of food up close and personal. Yummy to the tummy was my motto.
This was going to be great.

Strange thing, once I was allowed to sit at the grown up table, all I could do was look over at the little table and feel lonely. All of the adults were having their own conversations. Yes, they enjoyed laughter, too, but, I didn’t understand what they were talking about.
I was shocked to realize that I missed the little table and all the fun there.

My parents looked at me with the “I knew you would feel this way” look when I asked to go back to the other table. They knew I missed the fun at the other table.

My nephews welcomed me back to the table as if I had never left. Back to pea throwing, mashed potato launching, armpit sounds, burps and most of all, a table full of laughter and love. Yes, this is where I belonged, at the “little table”.

As I matured in age and mind, my spot at the adult table was ready and waiting for me. As the nephews matured and grew older, the little table and it’s four little chairs were put away and room was found for all of us, around the big table.

These memories remind me that God has a place for all of us, young and old, at His table. You are welcome just as you are. Come, come, just as you are. He is waiting to welcome you. His arms are open wide.

I am thankful for all the blessings from God. Blessings that include memories of sitting at the “little table” and sharing love and laughter with family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving!


melissahendersonMelissa Henderson lives in Mechanicsville, VA. She was born in Hampton and has lived in various cities in VA. She and her husband, Alan, have been married for over 37 years and have one son(Mike) who is married to daughter-in-love(Christine). Melissa was taught the love of reading and writing at an early age, from her parents. She is now working on her first inspirational fiction novel. Her passions are volunteering, Bible Studies and reading and writing. You can find her online at MelissaGHenderson.com

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month by Melissa Henderson

Yes, you probably have heard the same message over and over again. “Ladies, get your mammograms.” Maybe you are tired of seeing and hearing that message.

Well, let me tell you. I will never, never tire of seeing and/or hearing the message that tells women to get their mammograms.

In 2005, I went to the doctor to get my yearly exam. The normal tests. I schedule the routine exam each year. I was determined to keep on top of things with my health.

My doctor discussed all the regular things with me. She asked questions like, “How are you feeling? Is there anything odd going on with your body? Do you have any concerns?”
That was the extent of the conversation.

I mentioned that my yearly mammogram needed to be scheduled and asked her to sign the form for that procedure.
Her response amazed me. “You don’t really need to have a mammogram each year. You are only 44 years old.”
Trying not to be angry, I proceeded to tell her that I felt in my heart that this is a test that I should get every year. My Mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer years ago. So, yes, there is a history of breast cancer in my family.
The doctor finally signed a form and left the room. My yearly mammogram was scheduled.

On the day of the mammogram, I walked into the building with a happy bounce in my step. This would be over soon and my husband and I would go out to eat.
The technician called me back to the waiting area. I was asked to change into a hospital gown and wait for someone to call me. Everything was done as usual. After a few minutes, the mammogram was done and I headed out to the car.

After a couple of days, the phone rang and a very nice lady from the test center explained that my images were distorted and I needed to come back and have the mammogram done again. No problem.

Next day, another mammogram. Only this time, the technician came and told me that the radiologist would like to speak with me. Wondering what that was all about, I sat and waited patiently. Finally, a nice nurse came in and explained that an ultrasound needed to be done. This was because the radiologist saw something suspicious.
That was when my heart started racing faster. What could this mean? Certainly this had to be a mistake.

While the ultrasound was performed, I chatted with the technician. We were having a great conversation, until all at once, she became quiet. She explained that she would be right back and she left the room.
When she returned, the radiologist was with her.
He gave me the news and showed me the screen that gave him concern.

The tumor sat right on the chest wall.

The world started spinning. This couldn’t be happening to me. What? Why? How?
The radiologist explained that I would need to see a surgeon right away.

After scheduling an appointment with a surgeon, meeting with her and discussing my tumor, surgery was scheduled.

The surgeon told me something that has stayed with me always.
“You never would have felt a lump. The tumor is on your chest wall. Thank goodness you had a mammogram.”

Surgery and removal of lymph nodes showed cancer. I went through a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, and 5 years of anti-cancer medicine. I am still here today and able to help others going through the cancer experience.

My message to every woman is to listen to your body and get your MAMMOGRAM. I am an 11 YEARS CANCER SURVIVOR! 🙂


melissahendersonMelissa Henderson lives in Mechanicsville, VA. She was born in Hampton and has lived in various cities in VA. She and her husband, Alan, have been married for over 37 years and have one son(Mike) who is married to daughter-in-love(Christine). Melissa was taught the love of reading and writing at an early age, from her parents. She is now working on her first inspirational fiction novel. Her passions are volunteering, Bible Studies and reading and writing.

September is ITP Awareness Month

While recently chatting with a friend, I mentioned that our son, Mike, has ITP. My friend looked at me as if I had just spoke in a foreign language.

“ITP, what in the world is that?”

ITP is the abbreviation for idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, which is a rare bleeding disorder characterized by a low amount of platelets in the blood. Our platelets are needed for clotting of the blood. ITP is an autoimmune disease the can result in the destruction of platelets. People with ITP often bruise easily and/or bleed easily. There is not one specific cause of this disease.

We first found out about this condition when our Mike was in his late teens. He started with what looked like a rash on his body and extreme fatigue. No amount of rest and hydrating seemed to help. He went to the doctor and they sent him to the hospital. That was very scary to our son and to us, because we had no idea about ITP.

The hospital stay and i.v. treatments finished and he still had low platelets. A medical oncologist saw him and prescribed a regimen of Rituxan. Even though Mike didn’t have cancer, Rituxan is sometimes used for treatment of ITP. Some cases of ITP are so severe that the spleen has to be removed. We are thankful for the doctors that helped Mike.
Mike went to the hospital weekly and received the i.v. treatments. He finally felt a bit better.

Platelet counts have to be monitored and any sign of bruising, petechiae(tiny red dots on the skin) and extreme fatigue mean there could be a low count. When the platelets are low, even shaving can be a problem, as any cut can cause excessive, dangerous bleeding.

Mike is feeling well now and we are thankful to God. But, Mike has to be alert to any symptoms of ITP.

September is ITP Awareness month. Purple is the designated color to wear to support people with ITP.  There are still many people who have never heard of this condition. Also, there are more people with this condition than we ever knew.

So, if anyone tells you that they or someone they know has “ITP”, you will know what they are talking about.


melissahendersonMelissa Henderson lives in Mechanicsville, VA. She was born in Hampton and has lived in various cities in VA. She and her husband, Alan, have been married for over 37 years and have one son(Mike) who is married to daughter-in-love(Christine). Melissa was taught the love of reading and writing at an early age, from her parents. She is now working on her first inspirational fiction novel. Her passions are volunteering, Bible Studies and reading and writing.