S: Melodye's Birthday, 2011
BC: The End
FC: Happy Birthday, Melodye! Celebrating 40 Years March 12, 2011 | 39
1: For four decades you have shared laughter, tears, joy, love, tea, recipes, and a listening ear with countless people who are privileged to call you "friend." In this book, Melodye, it is our turn to share with you -- our memories and our blessings -- to bring you joy as you celebrate 40 years on this blessed day, March 12, 2011. | 39 | almost ^
2: The best day of our lives...and only getting better from here on out!
3: At 23 and 25 we had NO idea what adventure we were starting! | July 31, 1994
4: a proposal at the Jefferson ("Wiw yu mawwy me? Sowwy abot da tung fing") ... Wedding in Richmond ... | Tennis & amusement parks ... a boyfriend who couldn't make up his mind ... letters from Columbia ...
5: ... honeymoon in Southern VA ... (popping in for Bob & Sheri's wedding in Rochester) ... continued in the Bahamas ... moving into our first house in Columbia (during the sickest 10 days of your life!) (ah, I miss that overstuffed chair from the dump) ... school at CIU ... Work as a nurse and programming ... Christmases in Charleston ... Small group at Cornerstone ... invariably rainy campouts ("look - a spot of clear sky") ... beach campouts (and walks on the beach) ... cooking lessons long distance ... Israel ... a summer in Albania (you didn't have to make mayonnaise after all!) ... Candidate School ... STOP (stopped) ... the heartache of no children ... the move to Albania ... language lessons (remember 3.5 hours with Lida on Wednesday afternoons!?) ... the joy of a newborn child ... again! ... and again! ... making a home ... the heartache of loss ... building team ... cold house ... to warmer house ... to warm house ... visits from parents ... live-ins from parents! ... discovering along the way that Tirana was "home" ... your blossoming self confidence ... traveling Europe and even Turkey and Thailand (did you ever imagine you would one day be in all the places you've been?!?) ... home assignments with barns and creativity and mile after mile in the car ... ministry to ladies ... boys growing up and heading off to school ... the "golden years" of parenting ... Mornings with Lori & Tony & Sean WHAT'S NEXT? I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE!!! | Your BLESSED & Loving Husband, Peter
6: It all began with one gal and one guy. The two became one. They prayed and God brought a precious baby girl into their lives - the Melodye of our hearts. | C
7: Dearest One - we watched you grow; we watched you explore your world; we prayed that God would use you for His glory. | You were the joy of our hearts. Your smile, your curiosity, your struggles, your love for your friends, your independence - all went together to develop the young woman who with fear AND courage began "missions" in 1987 when she went to Norway with Teen Missions.
8: A collage of your life . . . college, career, PETER (we Love him), and then Albania. God's journey for you has been rich and full. AND - it has just begun. | Happy 40th Birthday! May Our Father Bless You With Many More! Loving you with my whole heart - MOM
9: 1971 - what a great year that was! Rosemary and I had been married for five years and I had my eye on an Opel two seat sports car. Now, I almost had your Mom talked into this little car. Then while in Colorado we found out that you were going to be a part of our family. I could not see how we could get a car seat, stroller, and playpen in this car. What a joy it was to have you as our baby. We would wake you just to play with you and then you would just go back to sleep. At least that's the way I remember it! When we traveled to the West Coast, you were able to spot the arches of McDonald's before we could even see one. Always sharp in spotting food places! One place we stopped for food had Kansas chicken (rabbit) and we could not get you to stop eating it. What a place that was! Oh, how I remember your art work in California where you drew all over the wall as far up as you could reach. How fun that was to remove! Just a perfect angel you were! When we moved to Bremerton, Washington and William came along in 1974, he was your doll baby. You would drag him with you everywhere. Even when we got back to Virginia in 1975 and years to come, he was your toy to play with.
10: It is really hard to believe that forty years have passed so quickly. You were entering Liberty before we even knew it and then graduation and on to playing tennis. Look where that led to! I am so proud of my beautiful daughter and the mother of my perfect three grandchildren. Only God could have prepared you for some of the hard spots you have faced in life since reaching Albania. You have learned well and are such a resource in helping others.
11: Well, you are now entering your middle years - some of the very best years are now to come. I am so pleased to see how you have matured in life and in your spiritual walk. I look forward to continuing to see you mature as a strong wife and a helpmate to Peter, mother to your children, and leader to other women you mentor. Surely you are a Proverbs 31 wife. I love you so much, DAD
12: "The Lord your God has watched over you and blessed you every step of the way for all these forty years ... " Deut 2:7 | In 1994 you were the first of our three wonderful daughters-in-law to become a part of our family. What a blessing for us! | Happy Birthday
13: You gave us our first grandchild in 1999. We don't have a picture of Christopher but have a hospital picture of all three children when Jonathan was born.
14: Such great memories of our year in Albania. bicycling, mentoring, dancing, friends
15: And memories of yours and the children's visits to Wellsboro. How we love those times. | Do you remember your first visit to Wellsboro? Sliding down the icy road?
16: You are a fantastic mother | from snuggling your children, | to showing them how to be a computer Geek. | to sharing your ice cream with them,
17: And God's great gift to Peter as a wife
18: Memories! My first memory of you is at a young professionals' retreat... a rustic cottage. Or was it primitive? Fun. A lover of beauty... wonderful parents... a much-loved home... sincere, fun to be with. An incredibly beautiful wedding... I was so naive about how to be a groom's mother... Amazing honeymoon pictures Your first beautiful home... Your adjustment to learning the ins and outs of Columbia, the way you helped Mother and Daddy. Our family trips to Florida and Canada. "Are we having fun yet?" while sailing. And then that phone call from Albania to us in Zambia about your baby. What an amazing gift from God. What a wonderful time we had with your family in Albania. You are an amazing woman of God. We are so proud of you!
19: We pray that God will richly bless your next forty years as much as he has the first forty. We Love You.. | Dad and Mom
20: This is written by Mary Hugh Cook, the mother of Rosemary Willaford and the Grandmother of Melodye Bowers. At each birth I thought they were the most wonderful babies I had ever seen. Rosemary was staying with Clifton and I before Melodye was born because Bill was away in the Navy. He was home a couple of days before she was born. They stayed with us a couple of months before they could go with Bill. I enjoyed Melodye so much. They were not so far away. I could see her often. It was such a joy. In time, they moved to California and then to Bremerton, Washington. When Melodye's brother, William, was born, I went out for a couple of weeks. By this time Melodye was three years old. Along with enjoying the new baby, I had so much fun with Melodye. They lived close to the Puget Sound and Melodye and I would walk down there every day and feed the ducks.
21: When she was about four and a half years old, they moved back to Virginia and stayed with us until they could get settled. The family moved to Beaverdam. School started the next year and Melodye went to Piedmont Christian School through High School and then to Liberty University. It was such a joy to see her grow up. After graduation she met and married Peter. He is such a gem. Melodye's entire life has been a joy and blessing to me. God was so good to give her to me for a granddaughter. BUT, then, God is always good. Thank you, Lord, NANA
23: I'm not sure who will be reading this, but there are some things you should know about my sister. Somewhere, I have many more pictures of her, in boxes and in books, and hidden in the garage. With enough encouragement, they may see the light again someday... OK, so maybe I don't have incriminating photos, but neither do I have photos of the memories that are coming to mind: Melodye baking sugar cookies while I played football with my friends from down the street, and then serving them to us hot and fresh out of the oven. Melodye sitting on the floor with me in the back room eating grilled cheese and homemade bread & butter pickles while watching Star Trek re-runs. Rushing to bring in firewood on a cold winter night only to run into/get run over by Melodye with a log (no photo, but a permanent scar on my lip from the stitches). Melodye making candies, and melting chocolate (and possibly some plastic) in the oven. Melodye the homecoming queen. I'm sure those pictures survived, but where? Melodye nursing a dog-bitten cat. That was the first cat, but there were many more to follow before she got her first human patients. Melodye squashing caterpillars by the dozens. Really, ask her sometime.
24: Melodye is three years ahead of me, so I get to watch her do things first. Melodye got a job, learned to drive, had a wreck, graduated first, and then went to college. By the time she was done, I was in college somewhere else, and we didn't see much of each other for awhile. And then one day we were living at home together again for a very short time. Oddly enough, I had my own camera by now, but have far fewer pictures of this time, which is likely a good thing. Melodye asking me if her skirt is long enough to cover the run in her hose before she goes out on a date... Melodye and Peter getting married -- and attempting to burn down the church in the process! Then we again go our separate ways, and from here on the memories come in fits and starts, with bright highlights punctuating the next several years: Melodye and Peter go to Albania! (William inherits the cats Sunkist & Shasta), Christopher!, Joshua!, Jonathan! William and Amy get married, with Peter officiating! But there is another bit that she gets to do first: Melodye turns 40! Melodye, I love you, and am thankful for these and many other wonderful memories from the last 37 years. The times we get to enjoy together now are much shorter and are highly prized, but I can hardly wait to find out what new ones we'll make in the next four decades.
27: Happy Birthday Mommy! Hope you have fun with your friends, enjoy your gifts, and have fun at the party! Thanks for having a birthday, it means that we could ride in a limousine and have some good food. Do you like the pictures I used on page 9? I put it together and I also did the front cover and pages 4-5. Hope you like it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love you, Christopher (P.S. Now that your 40... I mean 29, can you now let me play wii 24/7)
28: I love you Mommy! I hope you had a good birthday party! Love, Joshua
29: I love you Mommy. I hope you had a good birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! love from Jonathan.
30: ~ Corfu ~ September 1999 One of our family's favorite memories is the vacation we took with you guys in Corfu. We'll never forget the long drive to Saranda, the ferry crossing, the interesting people we "bumped" into on the way to the hotel (and again, later in the trip), the scooter rides, and the time together with good friends. "Hi, we're Americans! You know, from the United States of America," is a line sure to get laughs around our house, too. Melodye, you and Peter have always been, and will always be, two of our best friends!
31: We felt that you and Peter were kindred spirits from the first time we met in Albania in the summer of '96. Being with you through Candidate School & PILAT, videoing butchers off your balcony, joining in Peter's agony (as well as laughing at him) after the water incident with the neighbors' "dog," and sharing in the beginning of a wonderful life in Albania have been highlights of our lives! Peter's "work of art" will forever be a part of our memories, and Matt will never forget meeting you at your gate for a little sugar now and then either! Thanks for a special friendship! ~Matt and Cindy | The Bowers and The Wrights in the Early Days Pictures from "Candidate School" with "IMI" in 1997
32: Don enjoyed his visit with you in Albania in 2008. Sue is hoping to come along next time! We thank God for your life and ministry. | gh | Happy Birthday to you! May the coming years be richly blessed by our Father.
33: Hi Melodye. So glad to participate in celebrating the 40 years that you, Melodye have completed! Its just the beginning and the best is yet to be. All the best to you and to Peter and to your family. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. You guys will enjoy the next 40 more than you can imagine. We pray that God shall continue and increase His blessings upon you, your family and your ministries. His love and ours, Jack & Susannah Dabney
34: It’s not so bad turning the big “4-0.” I went through it almost 4 years ago. So don’t be scared and just sit tight And I will tell you what it’s like. The biggest change seems to be A slower pace to one’s memory. But it’s not so bad ‘cuz doesn’t Paul say To “Forget the former things” each day?! Another thing that’s kind of a drag Is noticing some body parts that sag. But once you get the “hang” of it, It’s not so bad to have nothing others covet! Now, this may come as no surprise When you will have to squint your eyes. It’s not so bad when words are all a blur. Readers help, of that I’m sure. When dealing with physical aches and pains, Pray, “Hear me, O God, as I voice my complaint!” You’ll gain new perspective from Psalm 64:1 And think, “It’s not so bad; bring on 41!” “Life begins at 40” they say, So kick up your heels and celebrate the day! It’s not so bad to be this age because In 10 more years we’ll go through menopause! | Happy Fabulous 40th Birthday, Melodye!! Love, Debra (Deering) | It's Not So Bad
35: Remember the good ol' days... Cutting up pumpkins with axes... Dancing with the ladies on Tete Marsi.... Canning pickles till the stars came out... Always being asked if we were sisters.... I miss those things from the good ol' days... Have a wonderful birthday! | Guess who?! *LG*
36: Happy Birthday, Melodye Here's our prayer for you: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that your life may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 If that is true, you will be an ongoing blessing to all those around you (which you already are) Warmly, Steve and Barbara Wibberley | Congratulations and mazal tov, Melodye! Welcome to our distinguished club--although I've reached another milestone since the one you're reaching March 12. At any rate, may God bless your coming year richly. Love, Bryan & Yvonne Beyer
37: HAPPY BIRTHDAY MELODYE You have always been a sweet encourager, kind, and one to reach out to others. What a blessing you have been in our lives and I know in many others as well. The people of Albania are blessed to have you there ministering to so many of them bringing hope, sunshine, and a multitude of blessings to brighten each day. May your birthday be filled with joy and sunshine as well. "THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH" Nehemiah 8:10b Hugs, David & Wendy Snow Col.1:18b
38: Happy Birthday, Melodye! As you look through this album of memories, may you see how much you are loved! So many memories, so little space--Budapest (our tour of statues; speed-walking to the bus station; coffee that tasted like dessert); vacations in Corfu and Thessaloniki; cooking fund-raising dinners; scrapbooking at Chateau Linza and so much more! I have been so blessed by your friendship! Love, Carolyn
40: Happy Birthday Dear Melodye, It has been such a blessing to get to know you! I pray for God's richest blessing to be yours as you enter this new season of life. May you be blessed as you have so blessed others. Much Love and Blessings, Valerie Lambright
41: Melodye, Congratulations on almost reaching adulthood! You're special to us, especially since your wonderful hospitality last fall. But my fond memories go back to the time we met at the Bowers as you cared for Lou. Always caring! Well, last year I learned what a marvelous job you've done of parenting. Those are three splendid young men! I'm praying for you that this year will be your very best! With admiration and affection, Uncle Robertson & Deb
42: Day at the pool in Tirana. June 2010 | Melodye all by herself in the kiddie pool. You've always known how to do it with style. :-)
43: Melodye, | we wish you a happy, happy BIG birthday!! We enjoyed getting to know you a little better during our last year in Tirana thanks to literary society and some fun days in the park! Also, we are thankful for all your help with our move. Lots of love and respect from the Van Cleve Family.
44: Note Written by Uncle Al a Week After You Were Born . . . Dear Rosie and Bill, Thanks for the interesting enjoyment of the weekend. Wake me earlier next time. I enjoy thoroughly being a brother to both of you and I'm going to have a good time trying to define my role as an uncle. Say hello to Melodye Christine for me. I called her today, but she wasn't in. I was really disappointed. My Love, Your Brother
45: July 2005 You think I'm small BUT just think! In two years I will be steering the boat! Who knows what I will do two years after that - in 2009! The world is at my fingertips! YEA! | July 4, 2007 FREEDOM! This is the greatest! Wonder if I could take us all the way to Albania!!! | UNCLE AL & JONATHAN | . . . AND TIME MOVES ON . . .
46: Happy birthday, Melodye! You are such a blessing in my life! It is so great being able to spend so much time with you - working out, cooking, watching movies, traveling, and just hanging out! I appreciate you putting up with me, as embarrassing as I can be! Looking forward to all the fun memories that I'm sure will come! Love, Lori
47: Where to begin!?!? The memories are endless - making applesauce, red velvet cakes, Christmas cookies & crafting, Indian food, March birthdays, fun in the snow, stinky wax ornaments, dirt from Dajti, "jamming" with combs... Your friendship is priceless and I thank God for you! with love - jen
48: We were instant friends, you and I. You invited me to attend that spinal cord conference as future-sisters-in-law, and kindly asked me to be in your wedding. We enjoyed the craziness of the Israel trip together - washing laundry in the bathtub, hogging the front of the bus, and surviving terrible Lebanese food. We shared vacations with the whole Bowers crew, gasping together as Dave jumped out of trees into the water. We worked magic in your kitchen.for Grandaddy's last Thanksgiving, We shared hair brushes and curling irons, fears and creams. | And then there was that bittersweet vacation at Williamsburg, where we laughed at our pilloried men, and cried over baby-dreams not coming true. And you went, following the call, and found the baby-dream wasn't dead after all. One year later, we sat in a field in a West Virginia park, enjoying each other's company. You and Peter came with baby Christopher and a van full of baby gear. Bob and I brought less stuff, but a new life, David, was with us. Together we rejoiced!
49: But look at our blessings now: they certainly keep us on our toes! I wouldn't change a thing, and I'm sure you wouldn't either | And through all these years, we are still friends - always will be. Happy Birthday, Melodye, from your sister in love.
50: Isaia 49:16 "Ja une te kam gdhendur mbi pellumbet e duarve te mia; muret e tua me rrine gjithnje para syve." Ti je kenaqesia e Zotit! E dashur Melodi - Gezuar 40 vjetorin! Edhe 100 me shume! Endri, Dyshi dhe Eliana
51: HAPPY 40th MELODYE!! You are a blessing and we celebrate YOU today! So many wonderful memories - picking me up in the heat of the day (and summer) to welcome me to Albania, baking cookies, Italy, England, and you driving on the left side, dinner after church. and so much more. But mostly I cherish the many cups of tea with you and your open door. You were such a blessing to me . With heartfelt love & hugs, anita (Deut. 2:7)
52: Hey Gal, Remember our little skit for WMF? Well now you are getting to the point of being the senior missionary. Wonder what your skit with a younger missionary will look like? From outhouses, helmets, big Bible to jeans, cell phone and skype. It was such fun doing that with you. But it is even more thrilling to be teammates in the greatest venture on earth. Love, Carol Froelich
53: Hi Melodye....just wanted to add my love and appreciation for your life and how you are living it out...overflowing to others your love for Jesus. I am very thankful to be one of the people who has been encouraged by you...especially by your notes.. Thank you for bringing me into your very rich life, obviously filled with love and friendships. Bless you in this New Year of your life...bless you with a very real deepening in the knowledge of His love. Deb Rupe
54: On the Journey with you.... | You are such a beautiful woman and sister-in-law! You are so gifted at creating beauty around you, and order and nourishment. We have been blessed by that, each time we see you! May all around you sense Home. May your family and others around you be rested in the journey, restored by laughter, encouraged by your care and love. We love you!!
55: Dave & Jen, Leslie, Robbie and Aileen Bowers
56: Hi Melodye, It’s strange to think I’ve lived so long in Albania without really knowing you until the last few years. The thing that stands out the most to me about you is your friendly inquisitiveness and openness to include others. You show an interest in people by asking them questions and learning about their lives and I believed this has blessed many because it shows you care. And in the midst of your busy schedule with team and ministry activities, you’ve thought to include others at times who aren’t in these groups, which is also a blessing. So thank you for being a blessing to me and many others. And may you continue to be told about the fruit of your kindness in the years ahead! Love, Gretchen
57: Dear Melodye Even though I don't know you very well I feel like you are someone special who lives life from the heart! You always share your laughter and spread happiness. I have enjoyed so much teaching your children. They are simply wonderful. U bfsh 100! me dashuri Fitorja
58: Melodye, You are such a blessing to so many people! Whether it's with your amazing gift of hospitality, your servant's heart or your sense of FUN...we love you lots and hope you have an amazing birthday! ~Krystal
59: Happy Birthday Melodye I am so very thankful to God for your friendship. You are a wonderful listener and sincere counselor when I need one. Your home has always been a respite for Austin and me and your gift of hospitality has been an inspiration. I have loved all the times of working together on CCL events and other projects as well. Birthday Blessings, Beverly
60: Dear Melodye - Thought you might get a kick out of this - something to look forward to as you gain another year!! Hope your day is special - you sure are!! Happy Birthday! Consider yourself hugged! Love, Becky TELL ME THIS WON'T HAPPEN TO US! An elderly Floridian called 911 on her cell phone to report that her car has been broken into. She is hysterical as she explains her situation to the dispatcher: "They've stolen the stereo, the steering wheel, the brake pedal and even the accelerator!" she cried. The dispatcher said, "Stay calm. An officer is on the way." A few minutes later, the officer radios in. "Disregard." He says. "She got in the back seat by mistake."
61: Friends | Three sisters ages 92, 94 and 96 live in a house together. One night the 96 year old draws a bath. She puts her foot in and pauses. She yells to the other sisters, "Was I getting in or out of the bath?" The 94 year old yells back, "I don't know. I'll come up and see." She starts up the stairs and pauses "Was I going up the stairs or down?" The 92 year old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea listening to her sisters. She shakes her head and says, "I sure hope I never get that forgetful, knock on wood." She then yells, "I'll come up and help both of you as soon as I see who's at the door." As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on Interstate 77. Please be careful!" Well," said Herman "It's not just one car. There are hundreds of them!"
62: Happy Birthday Melodye! We have so much history together. In so many ways, We have grown up together. We have experienced chocolate cucumber cake, conferences (in good conditions and bad).... | most embarrassing moments, team outings, comings and goings, road trips, good times and hard times. We love you Dave and Julee
63: Through the years...
64: Dear Melodye, As you can probably tell I am not very good with these types of things. I wanted to say Happy 40th Birthday!! Even though we are several countries apart on the mission field, I still feel your friendship and understanding especially on those days when we just have to laugh!! We have fond memories of being in small group with you and Peter at CIU. I wish I had some great pictures to put up here but don't!! That was before the days of the digital camera and we were poor seminary students back then:)!! It was fun to be newlyweds together. Blessing to you and your family on your special day and as you continue to serve the Lord in Albania. We would love to have you visit us in Spain someday. Love in Christ, Jennifer Fields (& Jerry too). | Sooo Melodye, the Lord has granted you FORTY years!!! I thank Him for that, and I thank Him for you Melodye, not only on this, your special day, but every day. When I think of you, Melodye, I think of a young woman who loves God, who is gracious and principled, one who has strength of character, one who will choose to be righteous even when it is difficult. I thank you for the way you have encouraged me through your walk. May the Lord continue to be very near and very real to you. May He bless you abundantly Melodye. Happy 40th! Love to you in Jesus, Pat Barth
65: Dear Melodye, It has been wonderful to get to know you over these years we have served together in Albania. We have appreciated your creativity, commitment and servanthood. Thank you for your love and friendship. Wishing you an-ice time on your Big Day! With love Nikki, Roger, James and Beth
66: love, Eda | Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30 | Happy Birthday Melodye! Thank you for all the 'many little' things you do for me! You and your beautiful family, have blessed me in so many ways!
67: Hey Melodye, I think this is the perfect name for you..... I really thought this lately! You are such a loving friend, and having a coffee at your house with the wonderful deserts that you cook, it has been like music for our friendship! I miss you, miss all the beautiful things you organize with your mom and by yourself :) and wish you continue to do and have millions of beautiful things in the many many future beautiful days that I pray God will bring your way! With love, Ada
68: Dear Melodye, It was a pleasure getting to know you and your family for a few days in 2008. The time with you in your home is a treasured memory. Have a joy-filled Birthday! Love, Betty Ann Stedwell
70: In nineteen hundred and seventy-one a girl was born who made life fun She grew, she was married, gave birth to 3 boys Her life has been filled with so many joys She can laugh at herself when life gets too serious She prays with her husband when the future is mysterious She can sing and make music like her name implies Her morals and standards she will not compromise She doesn’t abide in a place that is glamorous Yet her life has been nothing short of adventurous Her house is not large, her car is not “smart” Her walls do not display a lot of fine art But what her life lacks in normalcy and “fluff” The Lord has made up for with other fine “stuff” There are people whose lives have been changed by her touch Although she would say that she hasn’t done much
71: Whether typing or teaching or helping at school Whether mentoring women with Bible study tools She knows how to encourage, to empathize, too She’s a friend you want to have right next to you She will laugh when you’re happy, cry when you’re blue She can offer advice on a hearty beef stew She models how to make do in all circumstances She knows when it’s time to kick back OR take changes Happy Birthday to you, this girl who’s turned 40 Your life’s been a song that plays “double forte” I rejoice and sing, and strike merry rhapsody For the life God made and named “Melodye” Love, Kristin Froelich
72: Happy Birthday Melodye You are a wonderful woman! You are an inspiration to all who know you.. God has truly blessed you and your family. We miss you while you are away but know that you are doing God's work and you are always in our prayers. Happy 40th Birthday! Love, Al, Alice, Nathan & Emily
74: Remember the 80's? From pre-teens to teenagers to young adults, we three have been friends through it all. I remember the sleep-overs, birthday parties, church youth group activities, banquets, trips, bad hair years, etc. You were our best friend growing up and we couldn't have asked for a better friend.
75: Now we are all grown up and have reached the milestone birthday of 40. And even though we haven't seen each other in many years, and live in different parts of the world, thanks to modern technology we can still keep in touch. | HAPPY 40TH BIRTHDAY, MELODYE! We hope it is a wonderful birthday! From your friends, Pam Prior Smith & Pat Prior Weeks
76: God has made you such a blessing to many with your wise perspectives mixed with lighthearted laughter. You are an amazing godly woman, and I am so thankful God gave me the gift of meeting and knowing you! Many birthday wishes sent your way, and may God richly bless you in the coming year with increasing insight into the depth of love He has for you. In Christ, Jennifer | Happy Birthday, Melodye! | "I thank my God every time I remember you." Philippians 1:3 NIV
77: Dear Melodye, Happy, Happy, Happy 40th Birthday to you! It is a time of life, when everything just comes together – - the children - the marriage - you’re comfortable in who you are and yet strong enough to still be changing - you’re growing in your faith and still humble enough to know that you still have miles to go - you’ve found your look – hair and clothes - others come to you for advice and your still wise enough to seek out mature women - it’s just the best time of life! Enjoy your day, enjoy your year – you only turn 40 once – so enjoy every last minute. Blessings to my younger sister! Much love, Amy
78: Melodye: On your birthday and for many years to come, I hope you receive the same hospitality, generosity and kindness that you have given to me.. I cannot tell you how much your willingness to welcome me into your home and life meant while I was in Albania. May God richly bless you! With Love and Thanks, Jill
79: Melodye, Whenever I think of my time in Albania, I realize how much you are a large part of my memories. I can't even imagine what life would have been like without your friendship and companionship. You add color, warmth and beauty to all that you touch. I treasure the times we had together -- whether walking to the market, drinking tea together, watching Alias, or getting to eat delicious meals with your family. As you celebrate your birthday, may you realize how very special you are and how much you and your life are worth celebrating. May God's blessings continue to be poured out on you and your ministry. I am confident that you will continue to be a blessing to others as you have been a great blessing to me. Happy Birthday Melodye! I love you, Judy
80: "GEZUAR DITELINDJE!" from the Young Mom's Group, Nxenesit e Jezusit
81: "This is the awesome Bowers family photographed in Tunisia by me (Kyle)"!
82: Happy 40th Birthday Melodye!! I feel like our friendship has just begun and I am blessed that it has. I hope you have a wonderful birthday and that this | book will bring back beautiful memories for many years. Someone sent us a card recently and I want to quote from that. The author is unknown. A birthday is the first day of another 365 day journey around the sun. Enjoy the trip! With my love and blessings, Karen Metzger
83: I'm so thankful for you - you are a blessing and inspiration! Whoever thinks missionary life is dreadfully serious has never had the chance to meet you! Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for life with everyone around you! Love, Maureen
84: Welcome to the ‘40’s club, it’s a great time of life! I have been getting to know you more over the last 7 years, ever since your eldest joined us in Kindergarten at GDQ, 2004. | the pleasure of teaching Christopher and Joshua in Grade 2 and little Jonny for PE and Art. Thank you so much for your dedication to Albania and for sharing | the lives of your children with me. It is a privilege to serve you as you serve others. What else: Fun-n-Laughter, Films-n-Food, Field Trips-n-Favours (cover at school - couldn't think of a word starting with "f" to fit!) | The Hostess with the Mostess, warm-n-welcoming. The most awesome chocolate sauce Fondu’s! Thank you, Melodye, for the years of Friendship, thus far. Have a wonderful Birthday and ‘Edhe Nje Qind’ ! -Jane | Since then I have had
85: Happy Birthday Melodye!!!! I just turned 40 myself on March 3rd. Now you have the privilege of being in this popular group! J I hope you have a very special day and enjoy going through all the messages you receive. What fun! We grew up in Immanuel together; then off to Liberty at the same time; and now we still get to see each other on your visits home. I’m glad to know you and share happy memories of the past. God Bless You on Your Special Day! Love, Debbie Peterson | Dear Melodye, Happy Birthday! Blessings for a wonderful year. Lovingly, David and Grace Brunner
86: Melodye, I have many memories of you.. . but couldn't find any pictures right now to add. Funny - I can't even remember how we got to know each other. I remember going to your wedding shower with my mother and you talking about the overwhelming idea of having to make your own mayo. That was a deciding factor in whether or not you were going to date Peter if my memory serves me right! Then I remember getting to know you on e-mail. Somehow I guess my address was place on your family e-mail list. I remember you talking about being in a dark place and feeling like I could totally relate. Spending time praying for you and wondering how you were doing. Then the idea of you coming back and wondering if we would get along in person as well as it seemed on paper. When I look back - it doesn't really seem like we ever officially "met" for the first time. It just seems like we got to know each other. And yet - when I spend time with you it feels safe, comfortable, real. You are so real and not pious. You seem so comfortable with who you are so often and yet so polite and well mannered- something that seems to be leaving our culture all together. =) I really enjoyed the summer of Kings Dominion. I still have the picture somewhere of our kids all lined up on the carousal. so little and too cute. And the summer we were privileged to keep your boys for a few days- what a treat to really get to know them better. But one of the best memories that sticks out for me is the last summer you were here going out for a girls night with my mom and yours. What a treat! I am grateful to have gotten to know you and to have spent so much time with you thru the years. Even tho in reality it hasn't been much - and we no longer "talk" through e-mail. I always dream of some day visiting you in Albania. Now that I have traveled memory lane - let me tell you what I really appreciate about you. I love your willingness to change and adapt. Your support of your husband. Your honesty when we talk. I admire how gracious you are when you hear criticism or others opinions of what you "ought" to be doing. Even tho in your heart you might feel like snapping back. I love to see how you are raising your boys. its nice to know there will be men like them in my children's generation. =) oh and your creativity - esp with family pictures!! i love them. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! love, Becky Edwards
87: Dear Melodye, Your name suits you! God has blessed you with a sweet spirit that bring a sense of rest and joy to those around you, as does a beautiful piece of music. I once wrote a prayer letter of all the pictures I would having taken, if only I'd had a camera with me. Picture taking and organizing isn't one of my strengths, but as I did with the prayer letter, I will do now recording special snap shot memories with words rather than images. Melodye with the book club at my (white) home when we read (or at least started) Snow: What a joy it has been to have you be a part of it. You definitely add a sweet element to our little community. Melody and Lori in the garden in front of your home: Who else do I know who begins to plan for Thanksgiving dinner by planting sweet potatoes in the Spring? I like that! Melodye at church: Your love for people shines as you talk with others. Melodye with her mother: What a sweet relationship you have with her. It is clear that your friendship with her makes both of you richer women! Melodye with Peter and the boys: Your whole family is a blessing to those around you! Thanks for being you. Melodye on your bike with a son strapped in behind you. One of the occasional sights over the years that always makes me smile is seeing you pass by on your bike! My prayer for you as that this will be a year full of smiles and laughter. I pray that even on the "hard days" you will have an ever increasing awareness of how close God is to you and of His smile for you. With love, Sonja
88: E DASHUR MELODYE, Une jam e bekuar qe kam pasur privilegjin qe ti te jesh pjese e jetes sime. Ti me ke mesuar me jeten tende se si te jem gjithmone e qeshur, e bute, e organizuar. Eh sa shume dua te jem te pakten sa cereku yt si zbukuruese dhe kuzhiniere. Perendishmeria jote ne trajnimin e personave rreth e rrotull teje dhe ne rritjen e djemve te tu, eshte nje sfide e vazhdueshme per mua. Falenderoj Zotin qe te ka perdorur per gdhendjen e karakterit tim dhe qe je pjese e kthimit te ketij kombi tek Krishti. Faleminderit per jeten tende Melodye! -Anula
89: Dear Melodye, Happy 40th Birthday! We are so happy to get to celebrate with you. We wish you Gods richest blessings for the next 40. :) Much love from Hannes, Doris, Benjamin and Hannah Steets.
90: Dearest Melodye, I praise God for you, your friendship and your example. Every time we talk, I come away encouraged. Your perspective continually lifts the tendency to look to self and instead to trust God. Thank you for your open home, whether for a meal for our family, coffee together as women, or just for our children while we are traveling. Your hospitality is amazing! I am so grateful to God for you, Melodye, and I consider myself privileged to minister alongside of you in Albania. Happy Birthday! Edhe 100 vjet! Nikki Doci
91: Melodye, Happy Birthday! I've been told that life begins at 40... all the life lessons have been learned and you can sit back and relax! Yay! Enjoy! :) | Thank you for the many good times we've had, your hospitality, humor, delicious dinners, road trips, leading our women's Bible studies, praying for us, crying & laughing with us, etc. Love ya and thank God for you! May this year be a blessed one! Love, Liz
92: You have been a dear friend for nearly 15 years. Most of those we've been separated by an ocean, but you remain close in my heart. Every time we are together it is as if the years between visits evaporate. You are loved, dear friend! Have a wonderful 40th!
94: Happy 40th Birthday Sweet, Sweet Froend | Dearest Melodye, How thankful I am for the years God has blessed me with your friendship. My life is filled with sweet memories of you. You have never ceased to share a heart-filled listening ear drenched with compassion and love. You are my inspiration for true hospitality and Godliness. God was so gracious to me to author our friendship in the early years of our marriages. What joy those newlywed years were growing together with you. Thank you for always making time for me and the many mothering conversations we have shared. My children’s lives are enriched because of you. Our time of laughter and joy in Boston brings me to praise God for the pleasures he bestows upon us this side of heaven. How grateful I am that our friendship will last for eternity because of His great love for us. I love you. Deanne
95: Though the years and miles have separated us, I love it that I can still pick up the phone and call you. No matter how much time has passed, our friendship is still there. I pray that your 40th year is your best one yet, and that the Lord will continue to bless you and your family. Happy Birthday Love, Lisa
96: The Celebration Itself: March 11, 2011
97: Riding to THE PARTY in a LIMOUSINE!
98: The "DO" plus a stop at the Rogner
99: The Party: 40 guests, fun, food, laughter, cake, blessings, friendship. | Happy Birthday!!!