and More Honesty

I don’t want last Friday to become a theme of my blog.

Because it isn’t about me…though it is where my heart is right now.

And I have to tell y’all the truth…I’m completely and utterly torn. Like, wake-up-at-4:30 a.m.-with-tears-streaking, torn.

In the dark, I whisper why‘s and how‘s and what-if‘s…all of those questions that should never be uttered because I know


And my sweet girl sleeps soundly in her room, and everything in me aches to lift her from her gonna-be-a-toddler-bed-soon crib, even though it’s the wee hours of the morning, just to feel her heart beating against my chest. How I would gladly sacrifice sleep and a less-tired day for the reassurance at that moment that she is alive and well.

I opt, instead, to tiptoe into her room, rest my sweating and shaking hand upon her chest, and wait until she’s taken a few deep breaths. Satisfied, I leave as quietly as I entered.

But sleep has escaped me and there’s nothing to do but lie there in bed and…pray.

I know my prayers aren’t meaningless and unheard, but how can a person feel that their words to God can mean anything in light of the magnitude of heartbreak enveloping so many lives?

It’s a question I grapple with as I lie there.

The household doesn’t stir for almost an hour an a half more; even the dogs are oblivious to my nighttime restlessness.

I talk to Him. About the families, about those aching. I pray for those I know personally who need extra strength or healing. I talk to Him about my dreams, about my hopes.

I give thanks.

Thanks that I have the blessing of a little girl who is the sunshine.

Thanks, too, for the shadows that preceded the sunshine, because they brought more beauty than I ever dreamed possible.

And in that moment, I remind myself…

Oh, what dark shadows are surrounding these lives right now.

But, oh, what complete beauty will come.

Weeping may last for the night, but joy…JOY…comes in the morning.

He’s promised us this, and so we can know and lean on this Truth.

Oh, Father, we anxiously await the day when You will bring that JOY. And until then, we lift these precious families to You, knowing that You’re holding each of them in Your strong and sovereign grasp.


Honest Thoughts

I try to be honest in this space.

Obviously, there are things that I don’t tell you, things that don’t need to be shared, and things that just plain don’t belong here.

But I think this particular type of honesty does have a place here, especially after last Friday, a day that will be etched in the minds of most of us for heart-wrenching reasons.

I think that’s why I need to share.

You see, it has been a really, really hard few weeks in the parenting department.

It felt like, almost overnight, my sweet, usually-compliant, full-of-love daughter did a 180.

She and I were constantly butting heads over everything…from helping to pick up toys to getting her diaper changed; from sharing with others to simply doing what mommy asked her to do. She would yell at me, throw temper tantrums, and often hit.

I don’t share these things to embarrass her later in life…goodness, I was two once, and no angel, I’m sure. πŸ˜‰ And it wasn’t like there weren’t any good moments…it just felt as if the difficult ones overwhelmed everything else.

My meter-o-patience was teetering dangerously toward empty in the middle of last week. It felt like every moment was infiltrated by a toddler determined to do exactly the opposite of what I wanted from her.

And then Friday came.

We had a really good morning together, but by afternoon we’d had a couple rough patches, and I felt like we were both in survival mode until Tobin came home from work.

And then I logged into facebook, which led me to turn on the news, where the tears immediately started to fall.

Little kids. Why, God??? Why little kids?

I’m pretty sure those words came out of my mouth as I buried my head in my hands for a minute or two.

And then I felt her hand on my knee.

Mommy? Mommy? It’s ok. You don’t need to cry.

In an instant she was in my lap, snuggling deep into my left shoulder, allowing herself, uncharacteristically, to be held tightly for several minutes.

The whole time I prayed was a mix of Oh, God, be near and Thank You, Father, that my girl is in my arms.

The crux of it for me? Is that there are going to be Days. Weeks. Stages.

Ones that I don’t love like I should, ones that I squeeze out of my sponge rather than soak up.

I don’t think there’s a parent out there who would say that parenting is easy and without frustration and tears.

The events of Friday broke my heart. There’s nothing I can say that people haven’t already said…my eyes fill with tears when I think of parents who have empty arms and shattered hearts over those precious children who are gone from their lives much too soon.

As I held my daughter tighter on Friday, it was almost like God was saying,Β  You know what, Mel? There are going to be those days. But hold her close and love her because I’ve given her to you.

Oh, my Mae…we are going to struggle. We are going to have some rough moments. But, as has already been true, I know the good and the wonderful will always outweigh those moments that are less-than that. I want you to know, sweet girl, how much I treasure you, how much

I. Love You.

To the moon and back. Plus infinity.


Thank You, God, for my girl. For mommy-daughter moments shared, for lives impacting others, for overjoyed laughter…

And for Love.

Always. Love.



Bless the people who have words tonight.

I sure don’t.

That’s why I’m thankful for a God who does.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds… Psalm 147:3

His grace is sufficient, His power is made perfect in weakness… 2 Corinthians 12:9

Though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, there is no fear. He is with us. Psalm 23:4

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies are neverending. They are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. Lamentations 3:23

Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5

Oh, God, be near to those who are hurting tonight…may they feel Your love and presence surrounding them completely.


Hanging on to a Memory

I apologize for the quality of this…phone camera + two dogs = dark and extra noise.

Don’t worry, you’ll still love it! :)

This moment is something that has just recently started happening in our house, and I don’t know how long it will last! Gotta get it on video while we can. :)

Oh, I love her.

And despite the years passing and the no-longer-baby-but toddler we now have, I wouldn’t change a single thing.

I love you, my Maelie girl!


Cookies…Oh, Cookies

So it’s gonna be one of those posts.

The kind where I type a few words between cookie batches. πŸ˜‰

The kind where I desperately attempt not to be serious because, honestly, there’s so much going on in my brain (and heart) that I’d rather not completely spill everything tonight because I want to actually sleep.

That, and I really need to focus on cookie-baking.

Can we say, Pro. Cras. Tin. A. Tion. ???

I am so, so bad.

We have a neighborhood party at our house on Sunday, and yours truly seriously started baking the cookies for it today. (Let’s just say we have a LOT of cookies to go.)

Last year I think I was done a week in advance with everything perfectly frosted and sprinkled and stored in the freezer.


It’s funny how childhood has quite the bearing on our Christmas cookie preferences as adults…at least it rings true in this house.

Tobin loves these cookies his mom always made (and still does) called Bon Bons. Basically sugar-ish cookie dough wrapped around something like cherries (his favorite), chocolate, or nuts. Oh, they have frosting, too. They’re ok, and since they’re his favorite, I can’t remember a Christmas in our married lives when we haven’t had a batch (or twelve) of them in our house. πŸ˜‰

But my favorite are still plain old sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles. When I was growing up, I loved when my mom would bring home sugar cookie dough and a can of frosting and a jar of sprinkles and I could “make” my own Christmas cookies.

I still love them…though my sugar cookies don’t come from a tube anymore. (But don’t ask me about the summer of ’08 when we were home from Indonesia and the tube of sugar cookie dough and the spoon. Ever. ‘Cause if I told you the story, you might wonder how on earth I managed to NOT die from salmonella. Really.)

Ok, ok, that was quite the confession. πŸ˜‰

Back to cookies…not cookie DOUGH.

So we have a list of several kinds to make by Sunday, and while I enjoy making them, it seems a bit daunting right now. One batch at a time, I guess. :)

But other than the two kinds I talked about, we don’t have any others that are every-year-or-die-from-cookie-withdrawl. We’re both suckers for peanut butter and mint, so this year the other three types of cookies on our list involve those.

Are you drooling yet?

I am. And I ate, um…I ate some cookies today. The number will not be disclosed until I attempt to run off at least some of the calories tomorrow morning. πŸ˜‰

So, what about you or your family? Are there any kinds of Christmas cookies that you just have to make in order for the holiday season to be complete? (Recipe links are welcome!)

Now off I go to bed.

To probably dream about cookies. πŸ˜‰ G’nite!


Little Blessings (Pt. 56)

:) Perspective.

:) Two year-old energy, love, and hugs.

:) Christmas music.

:) Cookie-baking. (Ok, so I counted that blessing early. Doing that tomorrow. :))

:) Friends who make me smile.

:) Coffee on a freezing, almost-winter morning.

:) Boots. (Goodness, two years ago I spent a whole post ranting about how much I hated that people wore them over their jeans. Guess what?! Totally. Addicted.) πŸ˜‰

:) Grace extended when I am undeserving.

:) Words of encouragement…spoken and written.

:) A Father Who knows my needs and meets them.


What He’s Doing


I love those moments when I hear His voice, loud and clear.

I know He’s talking to me.

I virtually-cracked open my Kindle today to read Jesus Calling. I’m not always disciplined enough to actually read it every day or even on the correct day, but it never, ever fails to give me a heart-pull. (And, random…I just saw that she wrote another one that came out a month ago. YAY!)

Sorry. :)

Anyway, so I’ve been kind of at odds with myself in the last week, battling through allowing myself to dream and letting my head somewhat-float in the clouds but at the same time being intentional about keeping my feet on the ground and enjoying all of the blessings God has given me now.

I think I’ve done ok.

But the real deal is beginning, and I have to admit to you that I’m scared.

Scared of failure, scared of rejection, scared of people thinking I can’t do it.

And I’ve known, as I’ve read through others’ candid thoughts over the last week, that I just need to kick this fear to the curb and trust Him.

It always goes back to trusting, doesn’t it? :)

That’s why I loved these words today. I hope they bless you, too.

“Be willing to go out on a limb with Me. If that is where I am leading you, it is the safest place to be. Your desire to live a risk-free life is a form of unbelief. Your longing to live close to Me is at odds with your attempts to minimize risk. You are approaching a crossroads in your journey. In order to follow Me wholeheartedly, you must relinquish your tendency to play it safe.

Let me lead you step by step through this day. If your primary focus is on Me, you can walk along perilous paths without being afraid. Eventually, you will learn to relax and enjoy the adventure of our journey together. As long as you stay close to Me, My sovereign Presence protects you wherever you go.”

(From Jesus Calling by Sarah Young)

So here’s to…Dreaming. Book-Writing. Learning More. Loving Better. Growing closer to my Father. Embracing Trust.

And, I’m sure, a whole lot more. πŸ˜‰

Just where I am tonight…thanks for reading. :)


Friday, Um…

My favorite Friday link-up is taking a break for the month of December.

I will miss it…miss my five minutes, miss my blog hopping to visit my writing friends, miss them hopping over to say hi, miss the topic being chosen for me.

Now the truth comes out. πŸ˜‰Β 

So I was really trying to alliterate my title.

Many thoughts came to mind. Such as Friday…



…frustrations? (Sorry, out of the three, this one would have made the most sense today.)

But I don’t want to write about that at all.

So, here are my Friday thoughts…a sweet friend sent me some verses today that are definitely worth processing. :)

This game of waiting never seems to end.

When I think about it, life for everyone can be viewed as a series of events that leave us waiting.

Waiting to finish school…

…get married…

…buy a house…

…have kiddos…

…find that perfect job…

The list really never ends.

I joke that I don’t wait well, but the truth is that I really don’t.

I want to, but I so often allow my mind to race, my fears to set in, the worst outcome to become my reality…

That’s why I need to continually remind myself of this…

Do not be anxious about anything…

Words straight from Scripture. Somehow the whole NOT worrying thing must have been important for us to grasp if He put it there.

but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving

God, do you know how hard it is to give thanks while I wait? Oh. Yeah. You do. You’ve already been there.

let your requests be made known to God.

Why is it that my first instinct is always to worry instead of pray?

He may already know my heart, but He still wants to hear from me. I feel pretty special knowing that. :)

But maybe my favorite part of all of this is the next verse.

And the PEACE of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

Amen. Amen. Amen.

God, I know I’m such a worrier…I let the what-if’s take over far too often instead of trusting in what I know of You…that You are faithful and have it all figured out. I pray for Your peace while I wait…because I know it only comes from You.

Waiting. Would appreciate your prayers. Hopefully I’ll be able to give you an update soon!

Hope you have a great weekend…thanks for stopping by!


This Beauty

It’s been beautiful, this week.

Oh, my goodness. I don’t even know where to start and don’t really want to spill everything yet.

But y’all know that I’m on my way with my God-Sized Dream, and this week, I’ve spent some time connecting with 99 amazing sisters from all corners. It has been wonderful, beautiful, albeit time-consuming…but I am so looking forward to the journey we have begun and will travel together.

This week has been beautiful for other reasons.

Oh, some of that beauty has come up from the ashes. Like the kind where I crumple myself into a ball in the corner and cry my eyes out because I am so convinced at the time that I am an utter failure at mommyhood. (To be less dramatic and more honest…I will say that this very thing only happened once.) It just felt like the discouragement was dumped on me this week.

But in the middle of those moments there have also been times of surrender…times that make me wonder how I ever thought I could do this by myself. ‘Cause I can’t. Oh, God, I need You. Always.

I’m thankful for beautiful reminders…because my Father knows this journey of grace and where exactly He is taking me.Β 

I’m thankful for my beautiful daughter, too. Oh, we butt heads as mommy and daughter will. (Though it seems the head-butting started a bit early… ;))

But then we have moments like Tuesday night when she snuggled deep into my shoulder and we read Love You Forever. And she sang the song with me and it was one of my favorite mommy moments to date.

Or the morning snuggles I had with her earlier in the week when she kept saying, I love you, Mommy.

I never get tired of those words. Such beauty.

And, though Tobin and I struggled through this one, we’ve found beauty in waiting. That seems to be the theme of our life, and this week has been a test in patience and trust. We are hoping for an answer to that waiting soon…and trusting that no matter what, it will be beautiful.

Some days the road is paved with seemingly ugly and depressing, yet, I am so incredibly humbled by Grace.

I shudder when I consider life without it.

Of all the beauty in my life, that Grace is the most.

Thank You, Father.

Thank You.


Just Some Thoughts…

Hey, friends…so, I was thinking about Indonesia today and trying to get back into book-writing mode, and this story just clicked with where I am right now…I’m sure it will make it into the book, but I thought I’d share anyway. :)

When we lived in Indonesia, there was something I had to get used to in order to survive there. (Both mentally AND physically.)

I had to resign myself to the fact that when I walked along a street…which was most often a busy street…there would be motorbikes, angkots, cars, buses, carts, and sometimes even horses :) right next to me…often, whizzing by me. (Well, minus the carts and horses.)

And I mean right next to me. Like, within inches. Or less than that.

For someone culture-shocking…which was me the first three months we lived there…it can be overwhelming and scary. But eventually, this extrovert who cannot stay home and never go out accepted the fact that it was just life there.

And it became a normal part of life there as it does for everyone…but potentially a little too normal.

Fast forward two-plus years.

Several mornings a week I get up to run. My route is pretty set…I’m not a creature of habit; it’s just that my mornings are my time, and I’d rather lose myself in my world of worship than pay attention to where I’m going or potentially get lost. :)

One thing that bugs me…and I mean really bugs me…is the fact that when I’m running on the street, drivers go around me by, like, TWELVE feet. (I’m really not exaggerating here.)

I’m not a selfish runner. In fact, if I can get off the road and run in the grass, I usually will. I don’t want to be that pain-in-the-butt runner who hogs the road and makes traffic stop simply because she won’t move.

Recently I caught myself becoming annoyed with drivers who would either stop and wait ’til I passed or move waaaaaaaaaay over…because, to me, it’s perfectly acceptable for them to whiz by within a foot or so.

Oh, how Indonesia has altered my perspective.

As I was running this morning, I started to think about how easily I became accustomed the closeness of vehicles in Indonesia…despite the fact that the situation could be dangerous…or even deadly.

For me, it was just Indo-life, and I learned to make it part of the adventure rather than stress over it.

But as I thought about that more and more throughout the day, I started to wonder…

What kinds of things do I allow to become close to me? Are they things that don’t belong there?

It’s so easy to let that little sin that’s “really no big deal” creep in and become a normal part of everyday life, almost to the point of excusing it because that’s just the way it is…or, worse, not even realizing it’s there.

And while Indonesia driving might be an exception to the rule, there should never be an exception for sin.

I know I’ve got a few (or more) of those little things…things for which I make excuses because it’s just how it is. How I am. Wrong.

That was a challenge to me this morning.

So as I laugh to myself at the drivers who feel the need to put a football field between them and myself, at least I’ll have a good reminder…

To keep those things that are dangerous at a distance.

But, should you be one of the people who pass me in the morning, (hey, admit it, we’re practically friends by now!) just know that you can drive a little closer to me. You can even stop and say hi if you want. :)